Five For Friday: Home Edition

Friday, January 30, 2015

My little Five For Friday idea is really so simple.... and I LOVE the idea of it. And when I remember to do it, it's really really fun for me. 
But somehow, two Fridays got away from me already! D'oh!!! 

So for today's post, I'll do a Two-For, and post ten total images. Why not, ya know? 

Today, I decided instead of shots of my people, I'd share a little of our home. And since this month has been one of tackling little overdue projects and clutter corners, it seemed like a fun idea to share with you guys my Five Worst Clutter Spots, followed by my Five Favorite Corners of the House. Easy enough! 

To begin with,  let's get real. We ALL have Clutter Corners. Places that catch all the "stuff" and keep catching it. Place we can never seem to keep tidy no matter how many times we work on it. I think this is universal. Also universal, I think, is how much of a relief it is to see that others have them, too, so we don't feel as alone in our messes. So for the happy benefit and my readers-- so you can feel like your clutter is not alone-- here are my five worst areas for clutter catch-alls. A note: all five of these areas have been MUCH MUCH WORSE than you'll see just happens to be a good average cluttery day for them. And also, every blue moon, each of these areas looks "show-house worthy." Okay, just kidding. They've never looked that good. Ever. 

1.  The peninsula of our kitchen counter. It's CONSTANT. The con: it's very visible, so that's embarrassing. The pro: it keeps the entry table and the dining room table from becoming clutter spots, and I would choose this over those two areas any day. 

2. The buffet/sideboard area of our dining room. Also keeping stuff from piling on the dining room table itself, this piece of furniture has a constant rotation of art supplies, school papers, projects, toys, and miscellany atop it. Today is not really too bad, shockingly.... Some book stacks that need different homes, and some school papers that need to be tossed or filed. Oh, and that darn set of Costco giant salt and pepper grinders. We NEVER USE THEM. Anyone want them?

3. THE. BASEMENT. Listen--- it's unfinished, so it's going to be a "Stuff Place." And really, though it's been better than this, it's going to always look a bit like a yard sale gone wrong. So I don't really HATE this clutter corner. This spot is the staging area for our toys, and it is here that I decide what to bring upstairs next when I rotate toys. The kids think it is HEAVEN down here, especially because they're not allowed down here, making it even more mystical and awe-inspiring. My big problem, clutter-wise, happens when I bring the now-dormant toys back downstairs. I am usually trying to do it fast, so my kids aren't trying to come down to join me and "help", so I end up shoving the tubs and extra toys in the first blank areas, and over time, the original order of things is done for. One good naptime afternoon down here, and it will look WAY better. Or at least, maybe, to me it will. 

4. The far end of our bedroom. Our master bedroom is HUGE. Like, "not really a good use of space" huge. Maybe if we were in a mansion and one end had a fireplace so we could put a couple of chaise lounges around it next to the 15-foot wall-to-wall bookcases (you know, like THIS.)... But yeah. That's not this house. So instead, we use one end of the room as my sewing/craft area, and the rest of the not-bed part of the room as the "catch all" for all kinds of boxes and tubs and piles of outgrown clothes and photos that need to be hung and papers that need to be filed, etc. And the sewing area gets out of control pretty fast when I'm digging for something I need and don't take the time to put everything back. So it ends up like this. A lot. *sigh* Oh well. We'll never have a Better Homes and Gardens master suite, even if we do buy a couple of chaises. Haha!

5. My desk: Even when all the papers are filed away and the camera gets put away and I am able to find a home for many of the things around here, this place always looks like a workstation. And I guess that's okay. In the house before this one, the thing I'd HATED about our furniture arrangement was that my deskspace was one of the first things you saw when you came in the front door. So when we moved to our current home, I thought a long time about where I wanted my "workspace." And this view, here in this photo, is one that most visitors never have to see. It's tucked along a wall that would require you to make a full u-turn to get to it, and so even though it's kind of an eyesore, its a functional one, and I'm at peace with it. Mostly. Also, look at my newborn babies Quinn and Noah. I love them.

So. There you go. Keeping it SO SO real over here. This is my real life. And these are just the five most common areas. There are plenty of other piles and messes around my house today, I promise you. But let's forget what we've seen now, okay? To shake off all those clutter heebie-jeebies I just gave you all, let's finish this post today on a more cheerful note. Let me show you the five areas of our home that are worth seeing, and that I feel particularly in love with.... And these five photos are particularly meaningful to me because when we lived in the house before this, we always lived in it as if we were just visiting. I never let myself sink into it and "make it my home" as much as I should've- especially since we ended up staying there for three full years, plenty of time to nest and settle in. So my vow when we moved here 1.5 years ago was to not make that same mistake. And so these five images show me that I've stayed true to that promise to myself. These are pieces of me, on my walls and around my home, and they make this house OURS, for as long (or as briefly) as we get to be here. 

1. In our entryway, probably my favorite: a little printer's tray of treasures and doo dads, a birdcage-memo-holder with photos and our three babies' announcements, and stacked on the table, our family photo books.

2. The basic stacks of little, colorful bowls on my kitchen counter. These things get used all day long, and I just really love them.

3. A bit of spare wallspace at the end of our kitchen: There was never a "need" for this area, so when I put the table there to break up the expanse of blank wall, there was no plan for what would go here. The plants ended up needing a good sunny spot and this table fit the bill, and the rest of this just kind of happened around it organically. And now I adore it. The most recent addition--- the little 5x7 oil painting of my childhood home. It is my cherished Christmas gift from my mama this year. It amazes me and I love it.

4. After all the color in my house, it surprised me, then really really pleased me, to accidentally assemble this calm little area near our entry. I really really love the neutral tones, the simplicity, and that little pop of red in the vintage thread box down below. Oh, and there's Spencer the Engine. Trains are always showing up in random spots in my house, and it's becoming a full-time job keeping them picked up. Irritating. But cute, too. (See, he even still has his ickle coal car all attached and all.......)

5. Our "Photo Room" and its feature wall. This room would traditionally be the living room in this house, but we decided we really needed a room for my photography business, a place I could set up and use studio lights if necessary, so we re-purposed this long, open room into The Photo Room--- one part studio, one part office, and one part playroom. And because the room has a non-traditional, less-structured purpose, I let these photos go up onto the wall in a similar fashion. A bit random, not pre-planned... I just went with my gut each time. And the touch of wildness to the arrangement is so appealing to me as I look at it now. It gets to be a "display" for when I have clients over, and that is awesome.... But it is also just a way for my kids to see each other and themselves and hopefully sense my devotion to them via my work in photographing them. (There's a smaller wall to the left of this one where I have our family photos hung... so they get to see their parents and grandparents in photos, too, I promise.) In addition to loving this wall, I just love the vintage desk and the pile of quilts--- all used as photo props here and there, but also used to serve my family here at home.... And the storage shelf with vintage books and a rotation of vintage toys that could be used in a session in a pinch. I love this whole space--- visual eye candy.


So, a reminder that if you, the reader, want to post a "Five For Friday" yourself, I'd love to add your link here. you could do five images on Instagram or Facebook, too, if you're not blogging much these days. And it doesn't have to be photos! You could do a Five For Friday list, and just write a few things. Let me know in the comments if you do play along, and if you have a link for me to add here. Because I love seeing what YOU'RE up to, too! 

Thanks for reading, friends. Always.

In the Month of May (in 2013)

I've been tackling some long-overdue projects the last week or two, and it's been really satisfying. One project has been working on finishing Noah's preschool yearbook from 2012-13. I'd scanned his art way back in the summer of 2013, and had photos from his preschool teachers, but the project had stalled after that. But this week, I got a wild hair to try to get it back on track, and I've been obsessed ever since, working like crazy to just GET IT DONE. But in the process of gathering all the images I needed, I remembered that I'd taken some quick photos of Noah with his face paint on, from a performance they did in the spring of 2013. When I went to get the photo, I realized I'd never taken it from its original RAW form in Lightroom to an edited JPEG form that was usable. So what began as a simple photo search became a full-on cull-and-edit session for the month of May, 2013. Going back through those many many images from just one month of my life in a year that is almost 2 years gone was really tender and fun... so many sweet moments and images of my kiddos' faces, never seen by anyone but me. *sigh* My endless yearning to be caught up and to not let this happen... and yet it happens month after month, and is just my Sisyphean task in life. Personal photos. *sigh* 

But anyway. Since they're done, I'm going to share some favorites from the random month of May, 2013. Why not? 

So enough rambling. (It's past my bedtime, and I am not making much sense!).... Here ya go. 

Noah's First Congregational Preschool Enrichment Circus Performance Face Paint Portrait:
(Whoa. How's that for a title!?) (He was in his "Prowl" phase at this time in his life--- an obscure autobot from Transformers who was green and black. He was obsessed.)

And then in the spring of 2013, Noah got to play on his first official sports team--- a very very noncompetitive t-ball league in which he got to wear a legitimate uniform, but nearly no one on his team ever actually hit the ball well or remembered how to run bases. It was darling. So is he:

One day while nursing baby Quinn, age 4 months in May 2013, I took my camera out and just photographed the kids when they got in range. In hindsight, I'm in LOVE with this limited window light and how it converts to black and white. I almost forgot about these unplanned random snapshots, and now I'm newly in love with them. And look at wee little Lulu--- newly 2 years old in these photos... the age Quinn is now! How time flies....

And then there's Quinn. Little baby Quinn, age 4 months, going through his "bald phase" and just a cute as a button. On this day, we had a gorgeous May afternoon, and the three kids and I soaked it in on our front porch, waiting for Joe to come home from work. No special occasion--- just pretty light, cute faces, and the itch to take photos... as always. 

And then just some of the other kiddos on that day.... ♥

What fun! And what a good feeling to get even a small bit of those backlogged photos DONE. Able to be enjoyed. I swear one day I'll figure out a system or some personal discipline in order to better manage my photodocumentation of my life. :) Til then, these random flashbacks will have to do. 

And I need to go to bed. Tomorrow (today), a Five on Friday! I was so SURE I was onto something with that idea, that it would be EASY to remember to manage a blog every Friday.... and yet here we are and I've missed two in a row. D'OH. My life. Welcome to Flakesville. All flakes welcome. 


Two Years of Quinn

Sunday, January 18, 2015

On this, my baby boy's second birthday, I give you one photo from every month until this one. How quickly they change, how swiftly they grow. Happy Birthday, my happy little man, my Quinn Atticus. 

Plushie Stuffie Squishy Creepy Minecraft Creeper | A Tutorial-ish

Thursday, January 15, 2015

 So there've been a few Creeper sightings around our house lately. I mean, we've had Minecraft creepers of different sorts around here for awhile now, since Noah joined the craze a couple of years ago.... But most of those Creepers have stayed in their books, or on the computer screen... and even Noah's toy Creeper, Creepy, hasn't been THIS much of a sightseeing wanderer. But since Christmas, when this fluffy homemade guy was given to Quinn (because Quinn ADORES Noah's "Beepy", as he calls him, so I figured he needed one of his own, but less, well, creepy), things have gotten a little weird around here. 

I mean, the cupboards? Thirsty, Mr. Creeper?

 Taking a turn in Quinn's high chair...Maybe he likes to be spoon-fed?

Longing for warmer weather so he can go out and play....

And I mean, really. Checking himself out in the bathroom. So vain. 

It's ridiculous. But you know, he's also kind of cute and lovable. And maybe, just maybe, you need one, too. a fluffy, plush, homemade Creeper pillow friend. So I doodled a quick how-to for you guys. Because, why not? It could NOT be any easier. And then, once you make one, you can stage random Creeper photos around your house, too. Because it's January. And cold. And the days are merging into one another. And we're all getting a little bit of cabin fever around here, amiright? 

Make yourself a Creeper Stuffy. Stuffie? If not for you, I bet you have someone in your life who would appreciate one. 

And for pete's sake-- let's all get outside sometime soon. I think we might all be losing a little bit of our minds. 

{Questions about the DIY? Ask in the comments, and check back. I promise to answer! }

Quinn, Lucy And Noah: Recent and Random Portraitness

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It was right around Noah's birthday, when I was making his photo collage, (which I realized just now I never blogged. Ha! Oops! Facebook wins this one.) that I realized I really don't have many current portraits of Noah. Lots of snapshots, which are the meat of life, but the last good portrait I'd taken of him was when his front teeth were still growing in, and he'd changed enough from then that they didn't look current to me. 

I managed to scrounge a snapshot that worked, though, and got his collage done. Here! Blogged! 

But it got me itching to do some new photos of all my babies. Portraits, moments of just them, in front of my camera for the sole purpose of being photographed. And I do know that snapshots are the real story, and I adore them, too. But I really am a sucker for portraits. It is one of the greatest joys I get from having some skill in photography. Just taking time to fill the frame with them, getting them to look into the lens, laugh into the camera, gaze pensively-- whatever they're feeling. And grab that moment to keep for always. I cherish it so very much. 

(Now, getting a beloved photo of ALL THREE at ONCE? Well, that's not an experience I cherish, and in fact, it brings out the Monster Mama faster than anything, so I almost never even attempt anymore. I just know the photos will end up like this, probably:
Which, in hindsight, is also darling.... But when there are NO keepers, in a "wall print" sense, in that moment I am not able to step back and love the funny moments, and so my poor kids only see Rage-y-Mama, and that's not good.)

So anyway, back to the tale of the new portraits. On a whim, just a week or so after Noah's 7th birthday, I set up a  backdrop by my favorite light in the house, and just had it there, chillin', all day. I wanted my kids to WANT to come explore it, and not feel pushed or beleaguered. I wanted to just take it slow all day, and grab photos if the moment presented itself. Put them in decent clothes up front, but then let it be what it was after that (which is why Lucy is in a tutu and tiara. Her plan. I rolled with it.) Maybe, maybe even get some of Lucy and Quinn together. (I was probably not going to manage all three anyway, because Noah gets home at 3:30 pm when the little ones are napping. By the time they're up, it is too dark to shoot. Stinkin' Daylight Savings.)

I'd gotten that fun new rug, and was excited to get it into some photos, so I made it part of my setup for the day. The mini pumpkin was just there to use as a "look at me! Look at the PUMPKIN" attention grabber... haha! 

ANYWAY... So though I did all this back in November, I'm a weird photo hoarder, and I hold onto them and wait and wait to "share" them, and I don't know why I do this (please someone tell me I'm not alone in this dumb, weird quirk?!)... But I cannot TELL you how many little sessions with my kids I've done that I NEVER SHARED, and they are so past relevant now... Because of this crazy quirk. 

But today is the day for these portraits. Quick, before my kids look completely different. 

Because I adore these photos. My kids. Their eyes. Their expressions. Their vastly different personalities. And yes, I even adore that I conned Lucy and Quinn into being nice with each other AND sitting still(ish) long enough for photos together. 

And the Noah photos-- oh my HEART. His eyes tell volumes of stories, I think. He's just so lovely, and so wise, and still such a 7-year-old stinker. I love him, and I am so glad I got some new photos of him. I have opportunities all day long to grab photos and snapshots of the little kiddos.... but I miss out on moments with him, not to mention he grows ever more UNwilling to pose for photos.... so these are extra special to me. 

Okay. Enough blah blah. Here's my Hoarded Session From November 2014. My beloved babies. 

{that smile-scowl of Quinn's... Ack!}

{Oh that one above.... I can't stand how much I love it!}

{Why yes, Noah-- if I can get just a few more out of you by letting you make faces in a few, I will concede happily.}

{His socks for the day.}

{And even that "fake smile" he loves to give me.... There at the end.... It has its own charm. And I love it.}

Next up--- a session from 100 years ago I don't even think I ever edited. Just kidding.   
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