Friday, July 18, 2014

Morgan and Kim's Engagement Session

A while back, Morgan asked if I would take some engagement pictures for he and Kim.

I was honored. After all, how often do you get the opportunity to do something that special for one of your own kids?!

Of course, I had never done engagement photos, so a little research was required. Did they have a location in mind?

Fort Edmonton?! Ooooh I love Fort Edmonton! I have a season's pass! The possibilities for cute shots would be endless there!

I've done a few 'location' shoots now and for me the most important thing, aside from getting the good shots, has been that we have fun while we're there.

 I want to have the chance to play and laugh together. I don't want people to feel awkward and stiff, or like a bug under a microscope playing Simon Says . . . ( put your left hand here, your right hand there, look up, look down . . .) Not that I don't give a bit of direction mind you, sometimes your left hand just looks better when it's over there. I just don't want that to be the main thing going on.

We had a blast. I bribed Holly and Jesse to come along as assistants with the promise of lunch at the Hotel Selkirk. Jesse can always be bribed with the promise of good food. . .

We wanted to start out on the train, but it had left just as we got to the ticket window, so we had a bit of time to kill before the next one came.

I love riding on the train. We choose the cool car that Brad Pitt used when he was here several years ago, making a movie.

First stop, the Fort.

Kim hadn't been here in a while and as a history lover, wanted to check out everything. . .

My kind of girl!

We spent time in the park,

Played in the playground,

and ended the day with a bang. Or rather, a ride on an old fashioned Ferris wheel.

People . . . The Ferris wheel seemed like such a great idea . . . how cool would those pictures be???

I didn't think it through.

The seats on Ferris wheels swing back and forth. While you are way up in the air!

When I leaned forward to look at Morgan and Kim (and the ground faaar below) I thought I was going to throw up!  I decided right then and there not to lean forward again.


I contemplated yelling at the ride operators that I needed to get off. Now.

But no. Because what about the art? What about the cool shots I had envisioned?  The show must go on.

I had to discard more than a few cute shots because I was too chicken to lean far enough forward and my feet kept getting in the shot, but I did manage to get these . .

Of course, I had to be the last one off . . .

The things I do for my kids . . .

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Life of Whimsey Just got a Makeover!

This had been in the works for quite some time. I was never really happy with my last makeover and my efforts to fix things didn't work at all.

Truthfully, weirdly, it made me not want to blog. I felt so depressed looking at my blog when a new post went up, that, even when I wasn't crazy busy and had a little time to write I just . . . didn't.

I've tried learning how to change up the design myself over the years with very little success. I seriously doubt that coding will ever be in my future.

So, what can a bummed out blogger do??

She can turn to the professionals!

I've also been mulling over what to do about my photography portfolio site and found myself on Etsy time and again, looking for a new logo, or marketing packages that could help me find a 'look' that I loved and could keep for the long haul, rather than changing it out time and again because I was never quite satisfied.

I've finally done it!

With a beautiful photographer's marketing package from Brydka at Studio Bee Kay and the fabulous web design skills of Rita over at CoffeeShop Designs I'm finally happy with both my blog design and my portfolio site. Brydka included a ton of elements in her marketing package including a logo, Blog Header (which Rita made into a slide show!) cool frames and a Facebook timeline cover. She also added pretty much anything I'll need for marketing once I'm ready to go from amateur to professional photographer. (I'm aiming for early next spring . . .)

It's all just so pretty and I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing me here more often. Don't forget to check out all the fun links on the menubar under my header. Rita did a fabulous job with that as well!

I'm a huge 'do-it-yourselfer' but sometimes . . . it just makes more sense to turn to the professionals!

Thank you ladies for giving me this  beautiful design and all the tools I need to 'do-it-myself' going forward. 

You are awesome!

So . . . what do you think? Do any of you find it more difficult to work in a less than appealing environment or is it just me???

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's time for a change of pace . . .

There's been a lot of photography stuff going on lately and I thought it was time for a change of pace.

It's been ages since I've posted about baking and I figured today was the perfect day to remedy that. (aside from the 27C temps.)

When I know I want to get baking done on a hot summer's day, I make sure I get up early and open all the doors and windows to cool things off before I get started.

It's been busy around here and there have been a few too many spontaneous trips to the grocery store for goodies, so the other day I was determined to do a little baking.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law years ago and it's one of my favorites. I get three loaves at a time, they stay nicely moist for a few days and, as with most homemade goodies, they satisfy you for a lot longer than a couple of cookies out of a box.

So. . . without further ado, I give you Cinnamon Loaf . . .  (a big thank you to Idelle Peters for the lovely ('recipe card'!)

And, if,  like me,  you like to see how a recipe's supposed to come together you can check these out . . .

Ta Da!!!


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Monday, June 30, 2014

Finding Inspiration On Pinterest

Several months ago, a young mom contacted me and asked me if I'd be interested in trying out a photography set up she had found on Pinterest.

 I'm always game to try something new, but I was neck deep in plants and struggling with exhaustion. (which I later discovered was due to seriously low iron)

I asked if she would be willing to wait until June to try it. She told me there was no hurry.

A few weeks back we touched bases again. I did a bit of research, we set a date and before you knew it, I had a sweet little girl playing dressup in her mom's wedding dress.

We started in the studio, but my tiny space was a little cramped when it came to displaying that much dress. . .

 There were a few challenges, as fitting a tiny three year old into her mom's wedding dress required a little creative tailoring. . .

To change things up a bit we moved to the garden.

 Susan was a good sport and packed up her little sweetie, the dress and a bag full of clamps and we headed off to the Museum. The nice thing about that location was the variety of options when it came to  posing her.

Fist stop . . . the fabulous stone steps . . .

We finished off here, on this steep wooden staircase.

Then, because I love pretty, frilly things, I figured out how to use this fabulous frame in Photoshop. . .

 Isn't she adorable???

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saying Good Bye to Growing Wisdom

I'm nearly at the end of my Extreme Home Purge and I've come across some interesting things in the process.

One thing that I discovered, was just how long I have been working on growing a gardening business. Before I started Growing Wisdom, I had started Le Petite Jardin. (with a whole lot of help from my friend Ev.) 

That was in 2003! Over 10 years ago!

I shut that down after a few years, when I realized that I wasn't able to manage getting a business off the ground while mothering teenagers, and driving a school bus and volunteering.

I never quite let the idea go mind you, just let it simmer until a better time presented itself.

I've always wanted to make a living by utilizing my creativity. In the early days, when my kids were small, I had hopes of writing for a living, then, as they got older and my interest in gardening grew, I thought gardening might be the better way (have you ever seen the statistics when it comes to making any money writing??) and began working towards making that happen. I took courses and got my Master gardeners diploma in 2001. I read everything I could get my hands on, attended garden club meetings and visited gardens where ever I could. I even visited a beautiful garden in Victoria while on a 3 day cruise with my sister Lisa. And, because I'm a bit of a rebel, it wasn't Butchart Gardens, but rather, a much smaller garden with a wonderful story and a beautiful design . . . The Abkhazi Garden was such a treat, and one I got to by catching a city bus and crossing my fingers that I'd find my way back to the boat before it sailed that evening.

I ate, slept and breathed gardening.

In the end though, I discovered that as much as I enjoyed sharing my love of gardening and making cool things to enhance other peoples gardens, I didn't love the business part that had to happen to actually make a living from it. I looked at my own garden as a portfolio rather than a retreat from the worries and cares of daily life.

And there have been plenty of worries and cares over the last few years. . .

Pair that with the ever growing Big Box competition in the gardening market, and  . . . well. . . things just weren't fun anymore!

I also wasn't making a living with my business and I needed to.

It is very odd how, for years you think you have so much time to plan for retirement, and then, one day, while blithely making plans, you're caught up short in the realization that you are 49. 49! Your husband is 54 . . . !

People, that means if he wants to retire at a traditional 65 there's only (gulp) 11 years to go!

How did that happen??!

So, the time has come to say good bye to Growing Wisdom, and to gardening for profit in any form. It was the oddest thing, but when I made the final, irrevocable decision to shut the doors I just felt . . . relieved. I had thrown everything I had into it, learned a lot, had great times, met lots of interesting people and grew as a person. Rather than feeling as though I failed, I felt empowered with the knowledge that I was making the very best choice for me and for my family.

Life has changed a lot for me in the last few years. What's important to me has changed as well.

Henry and I are entering a new chapter as a couple as our kids grow older, leave home, get married and seek out adventures of their own.

What I do going forward is going to reflect those changes and will be a melding of old and new interests and skills.

But that's a conversation for another day. . .

Today is all about saying good bye to a dream that has brought me great joy and leaves me with beautiful memories and skills that have allowed me to plant an oasis I can step into from my back door.

Dreams shouldn't be laid to rest without something special to mark the occasion however, and I am holding a Garden Open House, complete with wine and cheese, for anyone (family, friends, blog readers, garden enthusiasts . . . you . . .)  who'd like to help me mark the occasion.

Say Goodbye to Growing Wisdom Open House: Wednesday, July 23, 7-9 pm.

 RSVP to by July 21 (so I'll know how many bottles of wine I'll need ;D )

I'd love it if you could join me.

© A Life of Whimsey