Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Photo Challenge: LOVE!

Thanks so much to those of you who participated last week - a shout out to They Call Me Mama for an awesome cupcake shot!

This week's theme is LOVE!!
cardboard crown
Here is my Emma-bear showing some love to our dog, Molly.
This is the shot the hubs thought I should use for this challenge.

my lil sis and me
Above is yours truly (on the left) with my wonderful, awesome, amazing little sister. (Love her SO much!)
This link-up will be open until next Tuesday, but don't wait until then! Link up your shot :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Other Awesomeness

The Paper Mama

The guest judge at the Paper Mama Photo Challenge is
the theme is "self" for this photo challenge

off for our first day of school
here's a photo for this challenge... sooc
from the first day of school!
I love the light on my face- the warmth and evenness- I don't usually get that kind of quality of light in my car snapshots. :)


The theme at Mama & the Dude's is "oops!"

I plenty of "oops!" moments.

Here is an in-camera "oops!"
I stepped outside to take these product photos for my One Peal product feature post
when my lens totally fogged up!
And here is an editing "oops!"
a fun mistake
this is from several years ago
it's a photo of my three girls
they were about 5, 4 & 2 years old.
wearing their "fairy costume"
I have to add just one more:
This was a happy accident. I was messing with the focus tool in my editing software, trying to blur some of the background when I accidentally blew the while thing completely out of focus. I added some texture to it later on and actually sold some prints of this!
I love it :)

Misc. Awesomeness... and yuck.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

TOTAL Awesomeness - I got over 1,000 hits on my blog this week for the first time :) whoot whoot!

Awesome - my birthday! I turned 27 on Thursday and as a surprise Daniel gave me a Bamboo touch pad & pen with a copy of Adobe Elements 7 - yayyyy!

Amazingly Awesome - my birthday cake. Josiah and I made a cookie cake with 2 Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix sprinkled with butterscotch and white chocolate chips baked in a 9x13 and then drizzled with melted chocolate, white chocolate & butterscotch chips - total awesomeness.

Also Awesome - brownie cupcakes. Need I say more? They were amazingly tasty.
brownie cupcake

NOT Awesome - I had to pick up Katie-Abigail early from school because she'd thrown up at school - all over her mat and in her hair. ick. sticky icky ick. She felt better as soon as we got home. That was weird.

Awesome - spending Saturday at our friend's lake house.

NOT Awesome - I forgot to bring my camera. bummer. Katie-Abigail spent most of the day on the beach collecting shells and I so wanted to photograph that moment.

NOT Awesome - Josiah was up at 11 last night throwing up. Awesome - he didn't get much of it on the bed because he threw up all over me. NOT Awesome - getting thrown up on by your almost 3 year old. Awesome - Daniel cleaned up the mess while I cleaned up my son.  Awesome - Josiah and I had a sweet moment to cuddle in the quiet of the night. NOT Awesome - Josiah woke up every two hours asking for a drink of water. Awesome - Josiah slept in a little bit! NOT Awesome - Josiah is super-cranky this morning from being awake nearly half the night. Awesome - I get to stay home with my little man. I'm so thankful to be a stay at home mom today!

Awesome - the Paper Mama sent me a first draft for my new header and y'all it is going to be amazing!!!! She has done such a great job so far.

Awesome - This week's "Read to Me Mommy" Monday Post

Awesome - the photo challenge theme this week is "Love" enter here tomorrow!

Open Sky Shop Awesomeness - I'll be announcing the winner of my laptop case giveaway tomorrow!!

Photography Class update: there are nearly 50 participants registered for my first ever SLR Photography class!! I will be closing registration on Saturday, September 4. It's not too late to enter to win a free class! (If  the winner has already paid for her class I'll refund the registration fee) I'll be publishing a class schedule for the rest of the year soon! Registration will open for the October Simply Basics of Photography class on September 1 - this is a repeat of the class I offered in July. It will be held October 4-30.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Weekend!

brownie cupcake
This is a cupcake made with brownie mix - SO good!
Happy Weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

the NEW i{heart}friday

I've decided to change up my Friday posts to feature some of my favorite photos that I've come across this week. Click on the link below each photo to see more of their work in a new window. I'll try to feature some less well-known photographers and bloggers. Please let me know if you like this better than the old format :) Hope you enjoy this as much as I've enjoyed putting it together.

{brittany godfrey}
her blog


her photography blog

{Marina Miller}
the most amazing session
from a professional photographer in Hawaii

She is also selling a Calendar on Etsy

If you'd like you can grab this button for your blog.

p.s. I just read a post on MckMama's blog that brought me to happy-tears it's called I'm gonna miss this - have you read it? It's worth taking a minute to read it all the way through. There are definitely days that my desire to be a mommy right now could be measured in negative numbers, but then there are those wonderful perfect moments when I would not rather be anywhere or anyone else that who I am right now, doing what I have to do this moment.

"Read to Me Mommy!" Monday

(lol - I accidentally published this on the wrong day! Well, I guess you get to get Monday's post a couple days early! Happy Weekend!)

Welcome to "Read to Me Mommy" Monday - every Monday I'll feature a book that I've enjoyed reading to my children :)

This week I enjoyed reading Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, it's fun to read with just a few words on each page. In my view any book that says "mate" and "bloke" and "glee" is a fun book to read. ha!

The theme of the story is counting down - it's one of those "and then there were five..." types of books, but it really works. The rythm and rhyme of this book is very nice and the illustrations are adorable!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And we have a WINNER!

The voting has slowed down and there is an obvious winner so I'm calling it.

Chelsey at The Paper Mama won with nearly twice as many votes as anyone else!

I couldn't be more pleased. Chelsey is an awesome blogging friend and she {obviously} does an amazing job with blog design!

Before & After at Pixel Perfect: Vote!


cloned background
altered tone to make it less pink
put on a transparent white overlay




my little helper :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thank you

Thank you for rememering to
thank you for remembering to
it's been so much fun!

to vote :)

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Flowers

The Paper Mama

I tried to think of something more recent to post for this challenge but I kept thinking of this particular shot - it's from when my oldest Beth was about three years old, I took it in our front yard on a Sunday morning. It's not perfect, but I do love it.

It wasn't the best of days... but it wasn't the worst of days

Okay, so please please pardon my "Tail of Two Cities" humor... it sounded better in my head. Seriously though, after a stressful trip to the Library I pretty much spent all afternoon on the couch while Josiah watched Sesame Street. It's crazy watching that show, since I watched it every day as a kid.

Can I tell you something? Third grade homework sucks. Plus my third grader struggles with keeping her focus, so math homework took two freaking hours. I'm a 20 minutes and we're done kind of mom (sorry Mrs. M) and while I keep reminding myself and my daughter that this is good preparation for later, I am really hating this. However, Katie-Abigail is doing great. I am so very happy that she is going to school and it is such a joy to help her with her homework in the afternoon.

The best part of my day was watching the vote on my blog. I checked on the poll every few hours and I thought it was {mildly} exciting to see Chelsey's lead get greater and greater. If her lead is still as great tomorrow morning as it is right now them I'll call it and close the voting. I have enjoyed this process very much, it was so much fun to see what you created and then to watch the vote. Is this something you'd like to do again?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: VOTE!

the vote has CLOSED

I took this photo yesterday - it was SO much fun!

Okay y'all - now is your chance to VOTE for your favorite blog button!

You can vote for your favorite button below but please remember that you can vote only once per day.

The winner with be payed $60 to help me with my blog-layout overhaul. Plus I will place their blog button on my blog until the next layout design change- free advertising!
(If the winner of the vote is unable to help with the design changes they will still have their button placed on my blog, but will not be payed for the layout changes)

Product Feature: One Pearl

This post is a tad bit long for a product feature post - however I am so in love with this shop and with the products I a featuring that I just couldn't help myself.

All of the product photos with the border are ones that I've taken. The ones without are from the One Pearl website.
onepearlDSC_8286 2

My featured shop this week is called One Pearl and it is an online shop that gives 100% of it's profits to children's charity. I totally and completely love the products that I was sent. It is a long 70" string of pearls that can be worn in a variety of ways. I twisted them up to make a short necklace for the photo above, but I also arranged them into something longer for the photo below.


The shopkeeper, Theresa, was very kind and wonderful to work with. She responded to my email quickly and is just a great person. The products I requested for this review came quickly (in under a week) via UPS. The product is beautifully packaged and would make an excellent gift.



There is a beautiful story behind this jewelry so I though I would share it in one mother's own words.
The One Pearl Story
By Theresa Wing Hines,
Founder of One Pearl Jewelry

I equate the birth of One Pearl with the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes. When One Pearl was conceived, my life was in turmoil. My heart was shattered and my soul was broken. Years of angst in our family came to a head and exploded with the forced removal of my older son from the only home he’d ever known.

Just one month into his sixteenth year, my beloved son was “taken” by escort, to live in the wilds of the smokey mountains. In the dead of winter, he was completely cut off from the world as we know it. Taken by force. Hopefully isolated from all that could do further harm to his broken spirit and mind. In this setting, the healing began, but ever so slowly. He was inundated with hours of therapy and metaphorical tasks, all whilst encapsulated in the harsh mountain winter. Just as a pearl forms when a particle is introduced to a foreign environment and coated with nacre, so my son was beginning his transformation in the wilderness. A jewel in the rough, slowly taking shape.

It was during one of my darkest times, in the early weeks of my son’s absence from home, that the analogy comparing him to a pearl came to me. It struck like lightening. He was my pearl, and was only beginning to take shape. I decided that each piece of my jewelry would feature a contrasting black or white pearl to symbolize transformation and hope. Profits from sales would be used to help initiate transformation in the lives of others, whether through education, health care or behavioral programs. I was going to take the bleakest moment of my life and try to make something good come from it. One Pearl literally saved me….

My younger son, at home, trying in vain to understand what had happened to his brother. Confused and scared, he forged ahead. Already one of the kindest souls i’ve ever met, he is coming out the other side an even more understanding and compassionate human being, with a heart of gold. He is also my pearl.

My older son was gone from home for over two and a half years. He has emerged transformed by therapeutic schools and programs. My younger son, shaken and challenged by his brother’s experience, is resilient and strong. They have both rounded the corner. To me, they are present in each piece of One Pearl jewelry i wear.

We are just one family though, and are so fortunate to have had the resources to get help. The enormous expense of my older son’s treatment was not covered by insurance. My heart aches for those families whose children desperately need this help, yet cannot afford it. Angered by this, i began to piece together a plan…that plan became One Pearl.

One Pearl’s mission, then, is to help those who need these types of services but cannot afford it. We donate money to a range of organizations, each of which is providing an educational, therapeutic, or health benefit to people in need.

This lovely pearl, which adorns every piece of my jewelry, to me, represents my beloved sons.

I relate to this story in a deeply personal way. I was nine when my younger brother was born. I helped him brush his teath, I helped him learn how to read and how to write his name. We were very close, until I hit my teens and was too busy working and dating. I got married when he was only eight years old and after that it was hard to keep up a relationship with him.
This is a photo of my daughter Beth with my brother Ian in 2004

He would come spend the night  now and then and we'd watch movies and play video games... I had no idea what was really going on.
photo by my brother - edited by me.

When he was only 16 years old my brother took his life
My little brother would be 18 next month. We all miss him so much. I would have done anything to help him if I had known what was really going on. When I wear my jewelry from One Pearl I remember my brother and the many, many teenagers just like him who are living on the edge and at risk of not making it to adulthood.

 The contrasting pearl on each One Pearl necklace and bracelet symbolizes the child who is helped through your purchase. I am so pleased to feature the work of Theresa and support her vision for One Pearl.The products featured below can be purchased without ever leaving my blog.

Thank you for supporting my blog through purchasing products from my Open Sky shop!

Next week I've got a great new earth-friendly shop to share with you so check back again soon. :)

And don't forget - there is still time to enter my Latop case giveaway!

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