Friday, July 29, 2011

Bailey's senior photos - Marilyn Inspired

I'm workin' ovah 'ere. (that was done in my best Italian accent.


Kinda did some different kind of stuff for Bailey's senior photos. You can check them out over here. There are a LOT of Marilyn Monroe inspired photos.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Before and Afters - the Magic behind the camera


I won't go too much into Bailey's senior shoot because I have a BUNCH of photos to share (this afternoon??!), but I will say she's been dreaming of being made up as Marilyn Monroe, who she idiolizes, for years now.

This was just one of 9236 awesome photos. OK, maybe not QUITE that many, but still, culling photos last night was almost painful.

However, sometimes things don't go exactly as how you see them in your head, so you have to do some work to them. I wanted to show you how drastically different the before/afters were on this photo.


Straight out of the camera shot, vs full edit shot.

Kind of embarassed by my SOOC as it's kind of dark. I realized into the shoot that I needed white behind Bailey, so I added a reflector behind her as a backdrop. However, I really liked her expression in an earlier shot. I pulled the background from a later shot and used that around her head. I then pulled photo into lightroom and added fill light for the dark side of her face. I then used the infared preset which blew out the fur completely, so I pulled it back a bit with recovery and reducing the brightness. I then pulled it into PSP to fix any blemishes (I don't use photoshop for this, I really like PSP and have used it for 10 years, I can work fast in that program).

This is one of the few photos I MIGHT add a white vignette. I had one on, and liked it, but I lost too much of the hands so I removed it.

And this is where I'm going to admit something else.... I don't shoot RAW. Ever. I only shoot JPG and I've yet to have a problem ONE time with it. I suck at change, I like things the way that they are, and this is what works well for me.

My point is, that jpg is way more forgiving that people give credit.

If you have any before and after shots, feel free to share your links!
(and like I said, probably this afternoon/evening I'll have photos of Bailey up!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hannah and Sam are married - St. Joseph, Missouri Wedding Photography


Hannah and Sam are newlyweds. Shared more photos than I EVER have for a wedding! (Probably because it's one of my favorites so far!). See more of their photos here.

Spotted in SW Iowa

On the way home, bellies full of ice cream, Gene spotted and photographed this:

There's just something to love about fly-over country and our extreme patriotism.

and corn.

**crickets chirping**

When Gene and I got married, we went to our pre-marital counseling as required. Personally, I enjoyed it because I love the big lug so much. Gene on the other hand, kind of dragged his feet. "Can't we just find someone that won't require it?"

"No. I want Tim to do it."


So every couple weeks, we'd meet up with Tim and talk about relationships. Tim would ask a few questions about each other, about family, about our desires for the future and most of the time we were pretty much on the same page.

One of the questions was about what the other really "needed" in life. Color me shocked when Gene wrote down that I needed alone/quiet time. I'd never said this to him, I suppose he picked it up on his own. Maybe it was all that time hidden away in my scrapbook room he figured it out. ;P

After 2 weeks of small people, large people, weddings (4 weeks), heat, noise, etc etc etc. I needed peace.


Yet, I wanted to "do something" on Sunday. Just Gene and I. He suggested we drive all the way to Des Moines and go antiquing, but I wasn't really feeling a long car ride and a lot of walking. Instead, I suggested a trip to my hometown (20 minutes away), a trip to the lake with a picnic and the opportunity to shoot photos "not people".

On our way out of the lake, we decided to go on a big of an explore and took an off road. Quiet and hidden. We weren't supposed to be there, but the pull was too great. Plus it was Sunday, no one was going to be slapping us with a ticket on a Sunday.


At the end of that road, it lead is right back into the lake, where the sign read "no motorized vehicles beyond this point". Ooops.
My only other requirement for the day was a stop at my childhood ice cream place for a peanut butter malt (not a shake). We sat out in the shade getting brain freeze and petting the neighborhood cat.
It's moments like this that make me want to move back to my podunk hometown.
All because of peace. Quiet. Solitude. Zen. It's a little like moving back to 1974, but in a good way. But the downside is that it's maybe a little too close for comfort to people from my past, so I'll stick with my 2 acres in BFE.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's so hot, the chickens are laying hard boiled eggs



Yeah, it kinda feels like we've been walking around on the surface of the sun the past few weeks. My A/C has been in overdrive and I'm really not looking forward to getting my light bill this month. I feel kinda like a sloth. Kinda said a little hallelujah when my 2 latest brides didn't want to go outside for photos (I actually talked one into 5 minutes). Even the pool is hot. It was kind of a tactical error, buying the pool cover that keeps the pool hotter. Kinda felt like a stock pot getting in today.
On the up side, my clothes seem to dry faster on the line.
Go me, trying to be all positive and stuff.
I totally get the appeal of Southern California now - sorry guys I still don't want to live there. However, I'm now open to the idea of living north in the summer, and in Texas in the winter.
I'm kinda serious.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Trash to Treasure - Homemade China cabinet

Today's trash to treasure was kind of a happy accident. You know, when you don't plan something at all and it just sort of falls into place like you tried. The truth is, if you tried you'd fail miserably.

At least that's how it works for me.

Anyway, I started by finding a cute little dresser at a garage sale for next to nothing. I decided I'd paint it a cute color and add it to our booth at the antique mall. However, I temporarily left it rough "shabby chic" style.

The next weekend, I found this little cabinet at a garage sale with a glass shelf. It needed a little love but it also, was a steal. If I would have asked, he would have given it to me for free to make it go away.


The cabinet used to have a door at one time, so there were hinge marks where it had been. My plan was to paint it and put it in our booth too. That's when I had an epiphany!

If I put the 2 pieces together, I'd have a really cute little china/knicknack hutch!

Gene thought I was nuts. Mainly because the dresser had to come back home. Oops. Sorry dear.


Gene had to take the glass shelf and grind out a chip (shell) in the edge. We're lucky that he has access to this type of equipment. If you don't, just go to your local glass shop and ask if they can smooth out an ugly shell. Depending on how deep it is, they might be able to make it look better (they can't put glass back in, it'll just be ground smooth). It shouldn't cost much for them to do this for you!

I got it home and decided to paint it all one color. I was super stoked about the very unusual color I picked...


Wait for it!!




Yes sorry, I am really that lame.


There was lots of sanding, taping, filling of a few holes, priming and then FINALLY a coat of paint. Prep work kinda takes the fun out of it!

It was around this time, that I realized that the top piece, was going to be too big for the bottom piece. That through a wrench in my plan for a few weeks til I figured out a solution.
Solution came in the form of a pre-glued ponderosa pine board from Lowes. Gene cut it down for me to size.


I also realized that the topper piece was not sitting flush on the bottom, so I flipped it up to remove some little nail type "feet". This gave me a chance to see all the places I missed painting (sigh).


The new pine top was supposed to be painted also, but we decided it might look cooler with a two-tone look. If we hated it, it could always be painted later. We have tons of this color of stain - it's called fruitwood. It's also a real PITA. Everytime I stain something, it's a different color.


This time being a very acceptable golden honey color.

We then attached the top with some power grab adhesive and several finish nails set below the surface and filled with putty.


The finished product!

It immediately went to our booth (we had to do some creative arranging to make it all fit in the back of our Jeep). I kinda of forgot to take a photo before I left, oops, so I took 2 photos since I couldn't get back far enough for one.

In the end, Gene thought it was awesome, the girls all wanted it for their rooms and I decided to add a little $$ to my asking price. (it's at Kat & Company in St. Joseph if you're interested in it - #38).

Difficulty: I give it an intermediate since we had to cut a board. If you wanted to do a project like this and don't have tools, you can have them cut boards for you for a small fee in any lumberyard.


$1.00 - Top cabinet
$3.00 - Bottom Cabinet
$15.00 - board for new top
$3.00 - paint (was $10 but plenty left for muliple projects)

$22.00 - total cost!

I think this would be so cute for a little girls room for her collection of ponies or something cute! It would also be nice for a small collection, in a house that may not have a lot of room for a traditional china hutch.

Share your trash to treasure links too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It. is. aliiiiiiiiive!

Sooooo, I've kinda had some issues this past week. The biggest being the fact that I had no internet access for 8 days. Yeah, I was having some DT's. After lots of swearing and calling Century Link every name under the book. Customer "service"? Notsomuch.

Lied to repeatedly. Yes please!

The best thing to happen was have a "supervisor" treat me poorly. Once I spoke to his boss, everything was fixed within 24 hours. Fancy that.

Anyway, since I missed so much time, I am going to give you the quick run down of life at the Cease Fire Ranch this past week. You'll get a really good grasp of how boring I really am :p
-If it couldn't get more sucktacular, my central air can't keep up with the heat. Hoping that's all it is because my A/C hasn't shut off hardly at all for days. :/ Even with being topped off on freon. Apparently A/C guys are scarce. Kinda hard to get one to show up! In the meantime, my light bill will probably hit a record high.

-Shot a wedding on Saturday for the daughter of Gene's co-worker. It was hotter than hades and I was secretly estatic she didn't want to do any pics outside.
-Broke up about 328 kid fights.

Invited a friend to spend the night. Like 4 girls wasn't enough. Mack was in his own personal hell.

Lost a tooth. The first one ever. She talks now with a lisp. Grandpa paid her $2 for the tooth. I think he's hell bent on keeping it. (how do I insert a befuddled look here?) Shortly before this (like 3 minutes) I had to break up a fight and have a therapy session. It was a very exciting 10 minutes.

Adorable cat alert!

-Have a chicken that's gone broody. That means she's going to sit on a clutch of eggs come hell or high water and dammit you better not touch them. I did anyway because I wanted a head count. My apologies to the 3 that were sacrificed before I figured out she was broody. Don't think there won't be chicken updates.

Set off fireworks. Grandpa completely sucked the fun out of it. Sometimes he's way too bossy.

A Canuck showed up at my house. Actually, a "honorary" Canuck. (he married a Canadian and lives there). This is Michael, my husband's middle son. We've not seen him in around 4 years. He wanted to come back for his class reunion and made a vacation out of it.

Took pictures of a cute girl to finish out my series of little grandgirls hanging on my wall. Figured out she's a camera ham.

-Speaking of pics of cute girls. I took more shots of Bailey (the senior, not the grandchild) on Tuesday night. Super awesome Marilyn Monroe inspired shoot. More of those pics coming soon.

-Sent a clutch of small children on their way to their grandma's house in Arkansas. They should be there now. Miss them, but enjoying my clean carpets and peacefulness too.

I think that should catch us up. I feel kind of reluctant to tag this post with "the good life" because I've had stress headaches for 2 weeks now.

Now to return to our regularly scheduled programming. I have a trash to treasure to share tomorrow!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Soooo.. I've kinda been busy.

In the past few days I've:
Shot a wedding - one of my best ever
Cleaned my house (which was pointless)
Shot a senior - can't wait to share, she drove an hour and half just for me
Drove to St. Joseph ...... twice

Came home once with this:



Well, not that.




I see you doing the math in your head.

For those that have been following along all these years, yep, there's a new 4th granddaughter that we never had the opportunity to meet before, her name is Bailey.
Long story.

There is a whole hierarchy shift. There is drama. There is some Lana therapy, and Lana threats of holyterrorifyoudon'tgotosleep! There was even a lost tooth.

But mainly there is lots of swimming, watching movies, pestering the cat, and getting a little too sunburnt. Oops. I forget sunscreen.

More tomorrow, I have to share some photos. I'm getting backed up! So much awesome raining down around here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trash to Treasure - Lawn furniture

A couple months ago, Gene painted our deck. In the process it was all cleaned off and I told him it would look really nice if we put some furniture on it.

Rather than go to the store and buy a set, I decided to just wait and see if I could find something decent at a garage sale. Literally, a few days later, I pull up to a sale and they had FOUR patio chairs, without cushions, otherwise great condition for three whole dollars.

Three dollars!

I'm in!

I knew that the most expensive part was going to be finding cushions for them, but I knew also, that if I waited, something would fall into my lap. A week later, it did! Here's how I fixed them up into something super comfy and kinda cute for my yard.


Left: We started with our basic patio chair, nothing fancy, but in super condition and sturdy.
Right: I bought 3 cans of spraypaint (krylon hammer finish) and painted them, pretty much exactly the same color. haha. I really stewed over the color too. In the end it was a good thing because I didn't have to worry about being perfect with the paint. You can see it's a slightly different sheen.


Know what this is? Take a wild guess. This is the cushions I found at a garage sale. I knew I'd have to alter it, but it might just work!

Figured it out yet?

It's a church pew cushion! That's not blasphemy is it? It's not like I stole it, I paid the church in their garage sale for it. hah.


One cushion was just long enough for 2 chairs, so I had to cut them in half. Not as hard as you might think, I'm not a perfectionist. I just folded it in half and cut on the fold. I then went back and cut back the inner padding approximately 2 inches to make room for the folds at the end.


I then folded over the raw edges 1/4" and pinned them together. The ends were carefully folded in, and the tie was added before sewing. It was difficult to sew across the open end as we're talking 4 layers of upholstery fabric.

I broke two needles and I'm not done yet! arg.


Left: This is what I used for ties. I used to sell twill tape in my scrapbooking business and this is left over. It would be better if it was red, but it was FREE so that makes it awesome. Plus it's much sturdier than plain ribbon.
Right: Approximately 23" from the top, I tacked 2 additional ribbons to tie to the bottom of the seat.


Ok, maybe slightly ghetto, I wanted to sew across the fold but it was way too thick. In the end it saved me hundreds of dollars AND it's comfortable, so that's what matters most.

Difficulty: intermediate. You should know how to sew by hand very well, or have a machine. Otherwise all straight line sewing.

$3.00 - 4 chairs
$10.00 - 3 cans of spray paint
$1.00 (yes really) 2 church pew cushions
$0.00 - twill tape

Total cost for new set of patio furniture:

A week later, Gene found a nice coffee table with a slate top, metal legs and we added that for a complete set. It's fun, and easily cleanable when the chickens poop on it. :/ That was $20.00, so $34.00 for a complete set.

So excited! My first "official" trash to treasure ;)
More soon! I have 2-3 projects in the works.

Please share your links to your favorite trash-redo.

One more time, and this time with FEELING!


OK, that was fun! Let's do it again!
Haha. Having my SITS day, just so happened to correspond with a day that a well known photographer linked up to my blog from facebook, AND I had a blogher link on the long weekend from Pioneer Woman's site... so I had a LOT of hits yesterday. Technically not my best traffic day ever, but the day with the most comments ever.

I read them all! Thanks everyone so much for all the kind words. I'm King of the WORLD! OK, just Queen of the internet.

This afternoon, I'm starting a new feature on Mz-Cellaneous! Trash to Treasure. So excited, I have several projects in the works.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How I spent my Fourth

Sitting on the bank of the lake, eating apple pie, singing songs stuck in my head (which for the record, were written by my husband), and shooting away.

As usual, some of the best fireworks of the night, were by mother nature herself.




To take better fireworks photos, I brushed up on my skills by watching this video from creative live.






How did you spend your holiday?
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