Monday, January 30, 2012

The Peanut Gallery

Different people have different ways of hanging a wall gallery. I know there are about a million different ways to hang a wall gallery and almost all of them have been posted as blog tutorials.

I was always so intimidated by having to hang a collection of pictures but I always wanted them all over my house. So I did it, and now I will add to all of those tutorials out there by telling you how I hung my wall gallery.

Step 1:
Brainstorm all of the possible layouts over a cup of coffee, or in my case a cup of hot chocolate with a 3 year old. Think about whether you want it to be a symmetrical layout or an asymmetrical layout. What size area do you need it to fill?
Coffee w Emma family photographer

Step 2:
Grab a piece of butcher paper or wrapping paper, scissors, and your snazziest measuring tape.
Snazzy leopard print tape measure family photographer

Oh, and a 3 year old critic if you happen to have one. I had one on hand, so ....
Hanging Critic family photographer
Notice the hot chocolate still around her lips

Move all of the toys to the edges of the room so you can have some space to work. What? You don't have to do that!?! Huh, what am I doing wrong here?

Anyways, cut your paper to the size of the area that you are going to hang your gallery. Grab all of the things you want to include in your gallery and begin playing around with different designs.
Designing wall gallery family photography

When designing an asymmetrical gallery, be sure your layout is anchored with a straight line. In mine, I made a straight horizontal line toward the bottom. This creates some organization to what otherwise could just be jumbled chaos.
Designing wall gallery 2 family photographer
I knew what frames I wanted and what pictures I wanted in them, I just needed to have the pictures printed, so not all of my frames were ready, obviously. But I knew about what the finished product would look like.
Tape a few pieces of parchment paper together to create a translucent piece as big as your other paper.
Then flip over all of the frames and put the parchment paper over the layout.   Mark the where the hanging hooks are on this paper. Sorry, I don't have pictures of this part.

Step 3:
Hang both pieces of paper up on the wall where you want your gallery. Now you can use a nail to make pilot holes in the wall for your gallery. Don't forget to adjust your holes where you're using hooks.
Take the paper down and put your nails up.

Step 4:
Hang your gallery.

Step 5:
Grab a glass of wine (or sweet tea) and sit back and enjoy a job well done!
Wall Gallery family photographer
Obviously, I don't mind mixing color with black and white. It's a subjective thing. It's just not in my personality to always be symmetrical or follow the rules, but for some, this looks pretty crazy I would bet.
On this occasion I used all black frames, but I also like galleries where frames are really mixed. They need to compliment each other, but you can mix wood with metal too.

*** Thank you to Rose Photography for taking our newborn photos and to Peter Northcott for taking the family portrait.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pirate Ship Park

Everything in our world is "pirates" right now. The kids are obsessed! So it's a great thing that the park that is right down the road from our house has a pirate ship playground.
It's been a while since I've taken the camera to the park, but I decided to do just that. I'm having a Valentine's petite shoot coming up soon, so I thought I'd scope out some spots knowing exactly what my goals were.
So I got some pictures of the kids too of course (my favorite little "subjects") and it's quite apparent that Emma loves the camera. She just cracks me up!
Pirate Park kids photography Storyboard

The kids had the place to themselves and they had a great time together. I always love to watch and listen to them together. They really are best friends.
Pirate Park 13

Emma had to "walk the plank" but as you can see, this did not shaker her!
Pirate Park 9

Pirate Park 7

I love "sliding" pictures. Drew had a great time sliding "down into the water" from the pirate ship.
Pirate Park 1

Pirate Park 2

Pirate Park 3

Valentine Petite Shoot

Valentine email Promo photography mini shoot session

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Little Comfort Needed

Emma came into our room yesterday morning at a quarter to five, crawled into bed, and tortured us with kicks to the legs, which turned into kicks to the head (I seriously don't understand how she gets any sleep with all of that tossing, turning, and flipping!)
Then, after a bit of time I realized why she was there.  She was sick.  And I mean SICK!
We've been so fortunate to have very healthy kids.  We've hardly even gone through illness and this is only the second time I've had to deal with throwing-up kiddos (my theory is that I did enough of that during pregnancy for all of us!)
So here we were... a sick little girl.  I felt so badly for her.  She was such a trooper through it all though.
She couldn't keep anything down.  About mid day she was able to keep a little chamomile tea down.... about two spoonfuls every 10 minutes.  She thought her tea was such a treat compared to what she had endured all morning and early afternoon.
I mean, doesn't your heart just melt for these adorable eyes and sweet little face!?!
Sick Emma Welch Rarebit comfort food little girl fireplace
Please excuse the grainy photos.  These are pictures of Emma in front of the fire.... another comfort that we offered her.

Sick Emma little girl photography
Doesn't this face just scream, "I don't feel good!? 

Sick Emma 3 photography little girl
and this little face is the trooper in her trying to persevere

I once read on Melissa Lester's blog, "A Little Loveliness" (one of my favorites) that when she was sick her mother use to fix Welsh Rarebit to help their tummies.  It's a comfort-food, and while it may not have cured her, it let her know that we all care so much about her and are focused on getting her better.  There is nothing to make a little one's spirit better during sickness than knowing that her family is caring for her in every way they can.

Here is a great recipe for Welsh Rarebit, from Alton Brown.   When you're not making it as a comfort food for a sick little one, you can give it extra little punch and thicken it up and use it as a fondue recipe.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Geaux Honey Badger!!!!

Well, I think this video says it all.

Look out Bama!!!!

GEAUX TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time... everyone is coming up with their New Year's Resolutions. Some of us spend this time of year over-analyzing our character and picking it over with a fine tooth comb.
I have come to the conclusion over time that baby-steps work for me. I refuse to set myself up for failure by stating the grandiose resolutions that basically state that I'm going to be perfect. 'Cause that's just absurd!
But that's not to say that I'm not going to be working on things to make myself better.
It is a time of renewal and so for me, this year I resolve to put forth renewed effort into tools that have helped me in the past and that I think will make my 2012 better, easier, and more enjoyable and fulfilling.
I'll be posting a few of my favorite things over the next few weeks. These are all things that I have personally tried and found great success with.

Since physical fitness seems to be the most popular new year's theme, we'll start there.
The best diet/fitness plan that I've ever tried is Jackie Warner's plan. I read "This is Why You're Fat" from cover to cover and really bought into it.
Source: via Mary on Pinterest

The basic philosophy (there's way more to it than this, I'm just skimming here) is that your liver is the key to your healthy kingdom. If your liver is not healthy, you won't be healthy. It makes sense to me so I followed it.
I kid-you-not when I tell you that within 3 days I saw results that I didn't see when I was constantly working out off of the plan.  AND I didn't have to work out nearly as long as I used to.
I've never been good at dieting. It's just not my forte.  This is a girl who loves her Oreo cookies.  But with this plan, it was all worth it and I never felt hungry or jipped in any way.
 So now I'm off to reread parts of the book and detox my liver again so that when I do want to indulge after five days of "eating clean" my liver can make quick work of everything I toss it's way.
Then maybe I'll be brave enough to post pictures of me in a swimsuit when it comes time to post about summer vacations.  Ha!  Yeah right!

Looking Back At A Wonderful Holiday Season

I have a book that Nana gave me that I fill out after each Christmas (OK, so I'm starting it this Christmas even though she gave it to me in 2008... but at least I've started it). It is a book of Christmas memories that records all of the details and traditions from each Christmas.
I love filling it out. Looking back at the past month and how magical it is reminds me of how special and precious these times really are.
We have so many traditions that I love so much and I look forward to doing all of them every year.
We start the month out by decorating after Thanksgiving (or whenever we get back from Thanksgiving if we've travelled like this year).
Bobby our elf comes to see us as soon as we decorate. The first time he visits us, he shows up with his book and movie so we enjoy his story and meaning. Then, the second night, he brings the kids their Christmas pajamas from Santa. They get to wear them all season long, but they are the pajamas that Santa wants them to wear for Christmas morning.  From that point on, he just creates mischief practically every day.
Bobby Christmas photography family photographer

We also enjoyed building a gingerbread house. The kids did great!  They each got their own side of the roof to decorate.
ginger house christmas family photographer

Ginger house 5 Christmas family photography

*Notice how they are ditching the house project and going for the goods*
Ginger House 6 Christmas family photography
(Please excuse Emma's hair.  Some days she let's me fix it, but most days she won't even give me 30 seconds to brush it without running away)

Holiday treats were so fun this year too.  I made Molasses Spice cookies for a cookie exchange that I attended at my friend, Lauren's house.  I came back with a treasure of good cookies and recipes.
The treats that I gave to Drew's teachers as part of their Christmas gifts were not made by me though.  My friend, Cammie made them for me.  She's make some of the cutest cake pops in town.  The ones I ordered are pretty simple compared some of the more extravagant ones that she can do.  If anyone in the Charlotte area ever wants to order some, just let me know and I'll point you in her direction.
Cake Pops 1 product photographer christmas family photography

The kids have been telling me that they wish everyday was Christmas and I explain that it would lose it's magic if it were everyday, but secretly I wish right along with them that everyday we could live this magical time of year.

A Princess Birthday Lunch

The world according to my princess daughter:
When it's your birthday, you should have a princess luncheon. There should be plenty of pink tulle.

(Mama forgot to take pictures of my cupcake stand, so we'll have to use the picture of the one she got her inspiration from. Mine had a fluffy tutu on the bottom too and the prettiest pink icing you've ever seen on a cupcake)

There should be pink bows tacked onto anything that doesn't move!

Little girl princess party photographer Family photographyLittle girl princess party photographer Family photography
even on the fruit and vegetable cups served on a silver platter

And the princess should be surrounded by people who love and adore her!

All while donning her prettiest princess dress!
Little girl princess birthday party photographer

Ok, so the front embellishment has been ripped off, but she's a princess, she can do whatever she wants!
princess birthday party photography
and I never said she was a "refined" princess

And of course she gets to devour all of her treats!!!!
including breakfast (a princess' birthday should last all day!)

Yep, that's what a birthday should be according to Emma. And so that's what she got.

Happy birthday, my little princess!

PS. Next year I'll make sure to make time to take pictures of everything (:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Princess Emma

My baby girl is 3!  I can't believe how quickly time is flying.  We've had a wonderful day of good friends, family, and even a phone call from Cinderella herself!
I'll be posting pictures of the princess luncheon soon... or at least the ones that Mary took.  I enjoyed the party sans my camera but I was devastated when I realized I didn't take pictures of the table scape and everything decorated and set up.  And now... well, it's all been taken down and cleaned.  But I'll share Mary's pictures as soon as I can.