Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shutting out the Noise of the World Wide Web.

I can't enjoy reading a good book the way I used to.

From the time I first learned to read, I reveled in the abilitly to pick up a book and, regardless of where I was, find myself lost to the world around me, deep in what ever adventures were unfolding on the pages before me.

It drove my mom crazy. She would trip over me in the oddest of places, curled up, book in hand, deaf to the world around me.

I have a very busy brain. It never really shuts off. In the last several months, I started noticing that I couldn't read a book with that deep, single minded focus anymore. I found myself fiddling with the top corner of my book's pages, riffling through them as I read. Every few pages my mind would jump out of the story and look for something else.

  "I really should be cleaning the kitchen."
"That laundry pile is growing deeper by the minute. Maybe I should run down and throw a load in the washer."
"Man, those weeds are getting high, I should probably get out there and do something about them."

Those thoughts are nothing new. They are thoughts I began to have (and ignore) the day I got married and had a home and husband of my own to care for. A good book usually won out and by the time I got to chapter three, they would leave me alone until I'd finished the book.

Not now though. Now my mind also jumps to thoughts like, "Hmmm, it's been 20 minutes since I've checked Facebook, I'd better go see what's happening there." or, "I wonder if I have any new email?"

Things have gotten even worse since I made the decision to pursue photography as a profession. 

There's photography techniques to learn, like composition, exposure, editing and off camera flash, or marketing, social media and how to run a business. The list of things I need to learn to run a successful, lasting, photography business just goes on and on.

I love to learn. I research everything to death. In pre Google days that meant a large stack of books beside my chair that I could dip in to when ever I got the chance. Books I would read through from cover to cover.


Now the minute a question or idea pops into my head I can run to the computer any time of the day or night and google the subject to my heart's content, coming up for air hours later, as I succumbed to the need to follow just one more link.

It's gotten even worse since I gave in and started checking my emails and Facebook on my iPhone. Although I might have deliberately turned off my computer on a particular day, I could still distract myself with my phone.

Even if I could fool myself into thinking all this 'research' was the best way to move forward with my photography, the fact of the matter is, I just can't accept that I'll never again be able to lose myself in a good book the way I did when I was a kid.

I want my husband and my kids to once again trip over me in odd places, book in hand, deaf to the world around me.

Morgan and Kim are getting married in two weeks. Hunting season has started and Henry's going to be in the bush as often as he possibly can until the end of November.

And I am going back to my childhood. It's time to quiet my mind and learn once again to focus on one thing at a time.

Aside from my Still Life photography class, which is online, I'm going to stay off the internet until,  gulp . . . the end of November.

I will check my email each morning but then all my devices will be turned off for the rest of the day.

I have a stack of fiction piled high beside my chair, cook books bristling with markers for new  baking recipes to try out for the wedding and an assortment of photography challenges I've set for my self to do rather than to read about how to do.

I honestly don't know if I will succeed at this challenge, but the sweetness of losing myself in a good book, or the ability to focus on one. thing. at .a. time. is too precious not to try my hardest to do so.

I know I won't be able to resist Instagramming or Facebooking a few pictures of the wedding though, so I am giving myself an exemption for that. ;D (Look for me there on the weekend of November 7th. Henry and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary that Sunday as well!)

I'd love to know if any of you struggle with the lure of the world wide web. . . .

 For some reason, I'm not able to access the comments on my blog at the moment, but I do see each and every one in my email inbox, so please, drop me a line and let me know I'm not the only one . . .

See you December first.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Relearning an Old Lesson. For the Umpteenth Time.

Things have been pretty busy around my house for the past several months. I'm starting to hate the word busy. I use it like it's a good thing. A good thing that I have no control over . . .

The truth is, I have plenty of control over how many things I say yes too. I also have control over how I choose to manage the things I say yes to as well.

I've been given the opportunity to do some really amazing things this year and I feel beyond blessed by them.

But . . .

Managing those wonderful things doesn't always go the way it should. More often than I care to admit, I allow myself to plunge into a project so wholeheartedly that everything else fades around me and I end up with things like this happening in my home:

My brain starts running faster and faster until I've totally lost my sense of perspective.

I was reading through my blog today, gathering a little info for something I'm working on and I came to this post . . . (click on link to check it out) It was a good wake up call.

Now if I could just figure out how to make this lesson stick!  

Sigh . . .

In the mean time . . . this young man is getting married in three weeks! Whoo Hoo!

Bridal Shower on Monday night. Time to get baking!

Enjoy your weekend.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall gourds. Still Life Photography.

I visited Lowe's a couple of weeks ago and purchased some wonderful pumpkins to decorate the front step for fall.

I decided to go with white pumpkins and small gourds this year.

Before I put them out though, I wanted to use them in a still life for Kim's Start to Finish photography course.

I love everything about still life photography. Searching for the prettiest light, using beautiful things from around the house and playing with just where to arrange things is such a peaceful pursuit.

It's very satisfying . . .

Here are two still life projects I did this week:

What are your favorite peaceful pursuits?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Learning Photoshop. Now Naomi's a Baby Fairy.

 Henry and I had a argument last week. It doesn't happen all that often but, when it does, well, I'm not a yeller or a fighter. I clamp my lips tightly lest I say something I'd regret. Sometimes that means going for a long walk and arguing with him in my head for an hour before I come back.

Then we talk about things and most days that's all it takes to put things to rights.

I hate getting mad though, so I'll often read a good book, or watch an uplifting/beautiful movie afterwards to make myself feel better.

What I really love to do though, is make something pretty.

I've been wanting to take the plunge and make an art piece with my photography that involved fairy wings.

 And that's what I did!

I started with this picture that I took of Naomi and her mom Elizabeth earlier this year.

Then I gathered up my courage, opened up Photoshop, watched a few tutorials on YouTube and made this:

It's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how my first try turned out. And with a baby this cute how could it not turn out pretty??

So, what do you do when you have a disagreement?

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Friday, October 10, 2014

A Joyful Princess

The other day I had my niece Clara, and her three brothers, out at a local park for one last photo shoot before the snow falls. (because snow's going to happen, and usually sooner rather than later here on the prairies.)

We spent a big part of the afternoon shooting 'Fairy Tales' because I want to work on learning art photography over the winter and these guys make adorable subjects.

I couldn't resist sharing this series of photos of Clara though.

This is how I want to live when I grow up . . . 

Joyfully, with abandon.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Weddings. Trying on the dress.

Things are getting exciting over here as we start the countdown to Morgan and Kim's wedding day.

31 more sleeps!

A few months ago we all went on an adventure as Kim searched for her dress. Mom's, sisters, bridesmaids . . . everyone was there.

 It's a special privilege,  being there while the bride tries on her dress. I felt blessed to be included.

So many pretty dresses. . . so little time . . .

In the end Kim didn't find 'the' dress on this trip. (you didn't really think I would spoil the surprise did you?!) It was sure fun looking though.

We ended the evening with delicious food and good company. The best way to finish off any adventure.

Tomorrow?? The mom of the bride and the mom of the groom are spending the day shopping for all those last minute bits and pieces.

I'll be Instagramming all day! Come spend the day with us.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY Wedding Flowers

Several months back, my cousin Leona asked me if I'd be interested in doing the flowers for her son Scott's wedding.

I was pretty intrigued by the idea. Years ago, my sister Lisa and I helped our younger sister Tamara do wedding flowers for one of her family members and I had done bouquets and boutineers for my niece Rebecca's new sister-in-law a few years ago as well, so I'd had a little experience.

This was a little more challenging though. I was going to be in charge and I was doing all the flowers.

Hmmm . . . would I do it?

Of course I would! I love a creative challenge and when it involves fresh flowers, I'm hooked!

Once Leona and I had scoped out a local handcrafted shop and figured out how to balance between rustic (her), elegant (me) and reflect the vintage the bride was looking for, (and that I love) I was ready for the first step.

I started out by making a few boards on Pinterest and sharing it with the bride to get a feel for her style and colours. Once she had chosen her favorites, I headed to Costco to pick up an assortment of flowers I thought we might use. Leona and Annemarie (the bride) came over for a visit and I put together a few ideas for the bouquets. The next step was to raid my styling shelves for a variety of vases, china, cake pedestals and glass cloches as a starting point for  the floral arrangements that would decorate the church and reception. (I learned about keeping an assortment of pretty things to use for styling Thanksgiving dinner tables, a Christmas mantle or even just a pretty vignette on my side table from Rachel Ashwell) I also got to see Annemarie's beautiful wedding gown and figure out how to incorporate a vintage pin belonging to the groom's grandmother.

It's so much fun to take all the pretty things I've collected over the years and find a new way use them together. Once we added a beautiful plant stand I had tucked in a corner of my office, the look started to come together.

 Roses were ordered from Costco online and the rest of my flowers came from our local wholesale florist. I must say, figuring out just which flowers to use in addition to the ones we did the trial with, as well as how many of each would be needed, was pretty tricky.
 Thankfully, the woman at the florists was very helpful.

As the wedding came closer, I started getting nervous and began haunting YouTube for tutorials on everything from making hand tied bouquets, to how to construct corsages and boutineers. It never hurts to take a refresher and some of the beautiful work out there was so inspiring.

 My stomach grew queasy, sick at the thought that the roses might not be delivered in time, or, delivered, but broken or wilted . . .

Did I have enough flowers?? Too many?? Would the school's refrigerator hold all the arrangements??

My antiperspirant got a real workout the week before the wedding.

A project like this was too big for me to do alone so I recruited my daughter Holly and friend Audrey, as they both have an excellent sense of style and have had experience doing flowers before.

All that sweating the week before also made me question whether I had enough help. . . thankfully, Jesse wasn't working yet and he too has a great sense of style and he's super handy! He was recruited as well.

That turned out to be a lifesaver. Holly went to bed the night before our big day sick, and woke up the next morning even sicker. She came anyways, but we were all grateful for the extra pair of hands.

diy wedding flowers

diy wedding flowers
Instagram (alifeofwhimsey)

diy wedding flowers
Instagram (alifeofwhimsey)

diy wedding flowers
Instagram (alifeofwhimsey)

The roses arrived right on time. I picked up the flowers from the wholesale and got straight to work prepping the flowers. Outer petals and thorns needed to be removed from 200 roses, then leaves and unsightly petals had to come off all the other flowers. Jesse spent the evening getting the center pieces for the reception prepped.

The day before the wedding arrived and we loaded up the truck and headed to school where we were going to put everything together.

You know what??

 It was great fun. We all had similar tastes when it came to putting everything together and I love collaborating with other creatives. Everything turned out beautifully and aside from a few glitches like the fridge being too cold and freezing some of the flowers (good thing I had extras to fix the arrangements with!) it went much more smoothly than I had expected. My help left around supper time and I finished up around 11 that night with a few fixes needed the next morning due to the freezing that occurred to some of the arrangements and a couple of bouquets.

diy wedding flowers

diy wedding flowers

diy wedding flowers

It was an amazing creative adventure and I'm thankful for the opportunity to take it. 

diy wedding flowers

I ended up with waaay too many pictures for this post even though I neglected to take a good close up of the bouquets, corsages or boutineers (It seems that, although I ramble in both word and photo, I was not thinking like a photographer or blogger during this project . . .) so I indulged myself and made a short (non HD) video slideshow with them instead. 

Enjoy . . .

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