Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Storybook Photoshoot

 I've always had stories running around in my head.

They never get out though.
They just lurk and then, every so often, demand to be brought to life.

That's easier said than done though, right? How many of us share the dream of writing a book one day? But where to start?

 What makes me think I could even write one?? I mean, my spelling is atrocious, my grasp of grammar is worse and . . . well, I didn't even finish high school . . .

Here's the thing. My parents separated when I was 11. (And then divorced a few years later.)

There were several turbulent years after that. Lots of moving, lots of new schools. Pretty tough stuff for a shy introvert. I moved here just before I turned 16 and finished grade 10 in our little private school. I would have had to finish high school in a huge public school. One known to be rather rough at the time.

 I couldn't do it. My mom promised I wouldn't have to go back if  and only if, I found myself a job. Not long after, while out for breakfast one day, I applied for a job and got it! That, for the most part, was the end of formal schooling for me. (Poor mom. I found out years later that she'd figured I wouldn't have the courage to get a job. She'd thought it was a safe promise to make. . .)

So. Stories in my head, and a story I kept telling myself about why I couldn't write them down.

Stories want to be told. My stories found another way. They snuck up on me through my photography. The Photoshop Artistry course and then the more advanced Awake class I'm taking, began to show me another way to tell a story, one told with digital artistry.

But it didn't stop there. Stories still nagged me to write them down.

So now I am.

I'm combining photography, digital art and words into an 'illustrated' short children's story and Nelena and her girls agreed to be my models for the project.

I hope it will be a good story but, even if it isn't, at least I won't have to regret not trying . . .  (If there are any English teachers out there interested in editing an amateur's work . . . drop me a line. I'll need all the help I can get! ;) )

The first 'illustration' is at the top of this post. I'm also sharing other images taken during our storybook photoshoot. It took the whole day, with Holly doing hair and makeup for these three lovely ladies (the girls got blush and lip gloss!), but my, was it ever fun!

This is the  above image before I worked some digital magic on it . . .

The day began with hair and makeup.

It's not all glamour as this girl can tell you . . .

But she soon got into the swing of things.

Her big sister hung out with me while I created the wreaths for their hair.

Once we got to our beautiful garden, (not mine, this one belongs to my dear friend Nicole) it was time to get into character.

How exactly do fairies act??

Let's think about it with tea and cookies . . . or in this case, apple juice and cookies.


No photoshoots are problem free.

"You're worried about my wreath when there are wasps flying around my head?!!"

The girls were game to climb a ladder in hopes of seeing themselves fly in their story. Of course there's always a spotter close at hand!

Then it's time for a little fun!


We got many, many beautiful images, ones I hope will make lovely illustrations for my story one day.

Until then I'll leave you with these . . .


A big thank you to Holly, Nelena and the girls for helping me with this dream!
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Touring the Front Garden.

It's finally done.

After months of work . . . and months of procrastination . . . the front garden is finally done.

As a matter of fact, it's nearly immaculate. For the first time ever.

Here's the thing. I love, love to plan out a garden. I love playing with different ideas and trying to find ways to use a variety of plants and plan for bloom time as early and as late as humanly possible in my northern prairie garden. I do not love heavy digging or weeding. At all . . . I certainly don't find it therapeutic as so many do. But, I love to look at beautiful gardens. I love to pick bouquets for myself and my friends. And nothing is better than an early morning in the garden, still in pj's, sitting by the pond, with a cup of tea and homemade bread slathered with butter and homemade strawberry jam. Unless of course, I also have a good book to read.

So I compromise. I accept that my garden will always be a little weedy and slightly disheveled. I count on strong design and shrubs to draw the eye away from lurking thistles and that crazy purple bellflower that looks so great . . . until it takes over the entire garden and nothing you do will ever get rid of it.

 I leave room for serendipity in my garden. I can plan each detail until I think the design is perfect and turn around to discover that birds have planted seeds from a garden blocks away, and that one small thing can take a garden from lovely to sublime, even if  just for a day or two. I see God so clearly in those moments. A reminder that He is the ultimate Gardener, and those moments were created specifically for me, because he loves me.

 Serendipity can only happen in a slightly messy garden.

So messy is good right??

But, for the first time, I'm also seeing joy in maintaining my garden. So I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts, because as much as I might tell myself that this time I'm going to keep it up for the entire gardening season, I know myself well enough to know how unlikely that is.

While my garden is at it's best, I thought I'd give you all a little tour . . .

I made the concrete leaves as well as the hands decorating the front gazebo. I love a reason to play around with a little concrete.

And . . . for those of you thinking I'm exaggerating my inability to keep a well tended garden, feel free to drop by for tea in the back garden. But bring your machete with you. You'll need it to make your way to the gazebo . . .


 I hope you enjoyed your little tour!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Amelia's Baby Shower

It's been a few weeks since we threw a baby shower for Amelia but . . . better late than never, right??

Kim had asked months ago if we could throw a Garden Tea baby shower and . . . since that's right up my alley . . .  of course I said yes!

We hadn't counted on all the other things going on though. Or thought about the fact that summer would be rapidly approaching, so the day of the baptism found me scrambling to find a date that would work for as many people as possible.

 Which turned out to be only four days later.

Oh my. The garden hadn't been properly cared for in weeks and weeks and it had been raining much more than we were used to here on the prairies. It was desperately needed mind you, so no one was complaining,  we just aren't used to getting rain nearly every day.

The weather held though, and I spent 3 days in the garden, weeding, pruning and primping.

The shower would never have happened without my dear friend Joyce's help, because by the middle of day 2 in the garden, I was pooped beyond belief. (Joyce and I have organized countless events together over the years and it was such fun to work together again.)

Joyce and I brainstormed the menu, decorations and games and Joyce did the majority of the shopping, leaving me more time to work in the garden.

She also made some lovely, delicious cookies! (I must admit I hid most of the leftovers from Henry and Jesse so I could eat them all myself!  ;D)
 On the day of the shower Joyce got here early and we went right to work, decorating the garden and setting up an extra canopy (thank you to Linda A for lending it and bringing it to the house!) and arranged seating for 25 guests. There was a chance of showers but we figured as long as everyone was under cover we'd be alright.

We did make one big concession to possible bad weather. We had originally intended to have food and seating areas sprinkled throughout the garden but decided to decorate the covered deck that leads into the house and have all the food served there, just in case.

The weather held until the guests began to arrive.

It started showering, but that was okay, this was a baby shower after all . . .

More guests arrived.

It started raining a little harder and the skies just kept getting darker.

The wind began to blow. There was some quick rearranging of the food tables as the end closest to the edge of the deck was starting to get wet.

 There's nothing fancy about soggy food!

I held out hope that it would blow over and we would still be able to get into the garden.

The rain showers turned into a deluge. So much rain came down, that even if it did blow over, the gazebo, which is on the lowest spot in the garden, would have water coming up over the floor.

So . . . we crammed into my teeny, tiny house. All 25 of us. Just like sweaty sardines. The clever, brave ones sat out on the deck where it was cooler, and damper.

And yet. . .

We all had a wonderful time. Because in the end, it's all about the people. Pretty decorations are wonderful, but if all you have are family and friends to visit with . . .

That, really, is all you need.

*(Of course good food and some fun, funky drinks help too! ;D)

So, without further ado, I give you Amelia's baby shower:

It's wet out there!

Kim's sister Jaclyn made this beautiful baby carriage with her wonderful cupcakes.
The brave ones . . .
Crystal helps Joyce with last minute preparations
It's present time!
Close friends of the new mom.
Great Grandma checks out the loot.
Great Oma and Mrs.V check out the loot as well!
Once a secretary . . . Joyce keeps track of the gifts and gift givers.
Kim's mom and sister-in-law do some ooohing and aaahing as Great Grandma and Aunt Evelyn look on.
Kim's niece, Miss O, approves of this one . . .
Amelia hangs out with 'Aunty' Brienne

25 people will not fit in my living room. Some of us hung out in the hallways . . .
A fabulous time with family and friends
 And of course, once Grandpa got home, he had to have a little Amelia snuggle time too!

The guest of honour's ready for bed . . .
God has richly blessed us with this new, darling addition to our family.


14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

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