Monday, July 28, 2008

Grateful Monday

Hi friends! I've decided to start a Grateful Monday theme here on my blog. It's the start of the week and tends to be a bummer after the I thought Monday is a good day to celebrate and think about the wonderful things in life. Just to try and start things off positively.
I'm overwhelmed by all the things I could write about, so I thought I would start off with this prayer a good friend sent me in the mail. I'm not trying to come off as a religious zealot here, so please know I just wanted to share some comforting words. It has universal appeal if you aren't religious or of the same beliefs as me. Most of us have heard the serenity prayer...but usually just the beginning of it. It's especially studied in 12 step programs. My dear friend trimmed this out of her church bulletin and mailed this over to me and, well, it's provided me with peace and the reminder to enjoy each moment. This will likely be the most religious post this blog will ever see; thanks for bearing with me...I just had to share in case these words help anyone else too.
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And Wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

Today I will start exploring my watercolors again. I will have fun dabbling the paint into the water and watching it spread across the paper in swirls. I will allow myself to get lost in the colors and go to that place in my mind I went to as a child...where my own world is safe, perfect, and free of judgement. Where time stands still yet moves by so fast. Where wild, bucking, knotted thoughts are still and let me alone. I encourage you, today, to do one thing...even if just for a few minutes that you used to LOVE to do as a child or even just a few years ago...but just haven't allowed yourself the time for. It's time to reconnect with that joy and that PLACE again. Just for the sake of doing it. For the sake of enjoying a moment in time. I've written myself a permission slip; may you do the same!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photography trials



Hi friends,
I spent much of yesterday figuring out what I needed to do to try and get more professional-looking shots of my portfolio work. Note that I didn't say "professional." I'm no professional when it comes to product shots, so I can only do the best I can! I spent hours experimenting with lights and with a hand-made lightbox/studio in a box. Nothing was working.
I went out to Joanne Fabric and bought a handful of options for backdrop material and ended up favoring a light colored burlap. I put together little layouts of my invitations on paper beforehand and then once I was happy, moved them to the fabric. The planning was because I have a certain size and scale and shape the photo has to be to fit on my website I had to design my "layouts" of the elements to fit this size and shape. I ended up getting rid of the lightbox and lights and simply just used my flash. Something I would NEVER normally do. But it was the most bright and true-to-life option without having to worry about shadows and uneven light. Who knew, after all that work?! I added some props here and there just for effect but probably didn't really need it. I've posted the shots from before (using lights and a makeshift lightbox in the beginning of this week) and the afters (the ones I just did) to show the difference. I'm happy with how they are coming out (after a little work in Photoshop) and I think I'll continue to photograph most of my portfolio in this method. I'll likely change up the background material depending on the subject. This is definitely a learning experience!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Macro fun

Hello friends! Today I thought I'd show you a few photos taken with my new macro lens (Canon 100mm). I've been needing something that can get in and take good detail shots of my work. This lens takes a lot of practice! You can see Maren's dog rolled in some dirt beforehand and the shot picked up the little pebbles in her fur. It's not perfectly focused...I would need a tripod and a perfectly still dog for it to have been sharper. But you get the gist. I tried out the new lens over the past few days as I took all new portfolio shots of my letterpress wedding suites...but it was all for naught as I am unhappy with how they came out. Not because of the lens, but because of my lighting. I'm struggling with getting professional looking shots. I built a "light box" but am having trouble finding lights that will do the job. I guess I'm learning a lot, so it's not all a total waste of time. I will try to redo the shots today using a giant outdoor flood light we have. It looks like it will do the trick, but I guess we'll see!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Show and Tell Tuesday

Show & Tell Tuesday is my chance to show you some favorite objects around my home and why I like them.

My first Show & Tell Tuesday item is a rather simple one. While Chris and I were roaming around Florence, Italy last year we happened upon a great stationery shop. It was filled with hand-made and hand-printed papers...all with beautiful patterns and colors. It was a dream for me! I was scared the flat paper would get completely wrinkled and ripped on my trip home, and when I happened upon this great clip wrapped in my favorite paper there...well, I was sold. This is a clothes pin covered in 2 bits of board wrapped in handmade paper. I love the saturated colors in the pattern. It now sits on my vanity table in my bedroom so that I can admire it each day. This souvenir enabled me to have my favorite paper without worrying about ruining it in transit...and it's also a useful item I can admire for years to come. Who else wants to share in Show & Tell Tuesday?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rockport, MA

Hi friends! Wow, I'm so touched by all your lovely comments and emails. I feel like I've had several virtual hugs and I'm wrapped in so much support. Thank you so much. We are moving forward with a positive outlook and I know we are so close to realizing our dream of starting a family. Onward and upward! As I'd mentioned yesterday, we spent several days in Rockport, MA (and a full day trip to Salem, MA). WOW. I loved it in Rockport! As someone who grew up in southern Maine I am a bit used to the coastal "tourist" towns and it takes a lot to get me excited about one. I find that some are too "chic" and therefore boring with the same scenery over and over. Some are too "rustic" where there is not much to do but admire mother nature or deal with cheesy junk shops. I found Rockport to be perfect. It wasn't too crowded and was easy to get around. It didn't feel like a "tourist trap." There were lots and lots of gift shops (some kitchy and some more high end) and TONS of art galleries with lots of styles of art to choose from. I was so inspired as I walked through them all. We ate at a variety of amazing restaurants with magnificent coastal views (some of boats in harbors and others with rocky shoreline) and delicious food. We stayed at the Yankee Clipper Inn and had an amazing room in the Quarterdeck had a little sun porch with big picture windows overlooking the ocean. At the right angle it felt like being on a cruise ship looking out at the water. And they offer an AMAZING breakfast there. Heaven. The views at the Yankee Clipper had me sighing every few minutes. They have it landscaped with every kind of summery flower you could imagine. It was out of some sort of New England summer fantasy. As a fun fact, John and Jackie Kennedy once stayed there. Everywhere we drove in Rockport seemed to offer a different stunning ocean view...whether it be of a hidden cove, a majestic rocky shoreline, or a quiet inlet filled with boats. It had a little of everything and all in walking distance. I highly recommend going there and it's only 1 hour away from where I live, so I plan to go back frequently. I can't believe I've been missing out. It satisfied my nostalgia for home/Maine without the high gas prices to get there! And so ends my Rockport commercial. The results of our little trip have me very inspired and thirsting to start painting mind is swimming with different ideas (and I'm scared that I won't do anything about it because I'm not sure which ideas I want to pursue.) I have to pick a direction or two and see where they take me. (nervous wringing of hands) I'll never know unless I try, right?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Hi friends, I'm sorry it's been so long since I have written. I've needed to take a little time to be in my own world. I turned 30 yesterday...I wasn't sure how I would feel about it...and I've decided that it's ok. I felt a little sad at how fast time flies. It feels like yesterday I was 15 and didn't yet have many cares. Life has layered on many more joys and complications since then. Yesterday was also the day my fourth pregnancy loss was confirmed. I was 6.5 weeks pregnant, but I've known it wasn't going well from practically the beginning...just by how the levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG wasn't doubling every 2 days like it should. It's been a nerve-wracking few weeks living in 2 day increments to see if the blood tests showed better results...and always feeling let down and sad. I now know for sure and it's a relief to at least know what is happening (the docs were really thinking it was another ectopic and luckily it wasn't.) My amazing husband took me on a well-planned birthday trip to Rockport, MA for a few days to do touristy things in the area and to just escape to the healing ocean. It was just what we needed to clear our heads, have some fun together, and relax a little...we had to return yesterday, July 14, for the final blood work and ultrasound that would confirm what we already had known. I'm in a good place now with the whole thing. I have a really good feeling about the next time. Fifth time will be the charm, I just know it. I have a deep feeling of peace inside and know it will all work out. I've never had that feeling before and I certainly welcome it! Some friends have asked how I can keep such a positive outlook and I just say that it takes hard work and a lot of thinking. And here's what I know: I am lucky. Very, very lucky. I have the ability to get pregnant...something many people struggle with. I need to remember to be grateful. I can keep trying. There are young women out there who are losing their battles with cancer who will never know what having a child will be like...who would trade with me in a second to have these problems. My heart aches for those families who are losing a loved one much too soon. I am grateful for what I have and thank God every day for the abundance in my life. It is easy to get caught up in a problem and it is important to pull out the lens and get the bigger picture...that we are all part of nature and the cycle of this thing called life. It is a joyous and bumpy ride and one that I choose to enjoy and cherish. I owe it to those who cannot.