Friday, March 29, 2013

Our new adventure!!

Rural bride weddings inspiration blog rustic vintage outdoors midwest bride grooms

We are proud to announce our new adventure!

I've been thinking for a long time about creating a blog that's inspirational for brides like the ones we find in towns around America just like my town (Maryville, MO). As I have shot so many weddings here, I realized that there's probably a lot more brides taking the VFW or the community gym and turning it into a "ballroom" than there are "ballroom brides".

I find them inspirational because they have taken something very rough around the edges and created something incredibly beautiful in the process. It was then, that I knew that there were other brides struggling with the same issues. That's why was created - to bring all those people together.

I hope you'll visit the blog and visit it often. Please put it in your feed burner or your bookmarks. We're still doing a bit of work on the site here and there, but we're 90% there. This is what has consumed my life lately!

Right now we're having a special giveaway. If you like our facebook page, you're entered to win a DIY Bride book! Please join us and invite your friends too!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Workin' for "the man"

And sadly, I think at this point, "the man" is just me.

I've gotten really busy... driving to a secondary location to "work" has been good in ways, annoying in others - we haven't worked out all the kinks yet but I kind of like my little "apartment in the city" as we call it.

One thing that I realized was becoming a problem was keeping track of all the things in my life that needed toting back and forth.  Calendars (multiple ones for different projects), notebooks with project ideas, my kindle, phones, etc etc.  God forbid I want to carry something extra like an actual book.  You know, I don't think carrying your work stuff in a Wal-mart bag is really all that professional.  Ya think?

I finally deduced that I needed something and pulled out my old leather planner.

I used it one day and realized it was still too small.

So, I caved and bought a briefcase. I'm now "the man".  I feel like a traveling salesman ready to sell you a brand new Fuller Brush.  Sometimes I even put a sandwich in there.

Can I interest you in a low rate mortage?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Toy Triumph

About 15 years ago, I was at a pretty different place in my life.
We (my ex and I) were having a rough go of it.  We were pretty broke to say the least. If I could do things different (I probably wouldn't because where I am now is because where I was then), I would probably think a little wiser about money.
But it ended up being a good thing because being really scared teaches you something.  It teaches you where you don't want to be.
We got into a debt repayment program and avoided a bankruptcy which is always a good thing.  After a couple years things started to turn around about the same time we needed a car. We nervously went out and applied for a car loan on a Dodge Neon and got it.
I loved that car.  For me it symbolized that things can be fixed, things could get better.  It was triumph over a low period in my life and damn I was so proud of that car.  So much so that I still own it and can't bear to part with it although I've not driven it in 3 years.
I won't pretend like my life was great.  That I was rolling in cash.  It was just a Neon after all.  A couple years later, I was on my own and finished paying off that car by myself.  Another triumph - I could do it without help if I needed to!
Along comes Gene.  We live our lives and slowly pay off old bills, buy a house, buy a car (more car than I ever dreamed I could have - triumph), start businesses that we always dreamed of starting, remodel a house, etc etc etc.
A few years ago, I was following one of my favorite photographers blog and I loved her photos.  I wanted to see what her equipment cost her because I wanted to take beautiful photos too.
What I found really discouraged me.  Her camera was $2000, her lenses were over $1000 each and I felt really dejected.  I would never be able to afford that!  I wasn't going to be able to be a great photographer. 
What I did do though, was I bought the best that cash could afford me, which was a used Canon 30D which at the time cost me around $300.  I remember my heart pounding as I hit the "buy" button on that camera.  I'd never bought anything so extravagant for myself ever.  Every year or so, I would upgrade my equipment to the best I could afford at the time (always used) and give Gene my old camera, then sell off the 3rd wheel.
About 2-3 years ago I stopped buying equipment (I was getting by ok) and started saving for a studio to be built.
I had outgrown my 5D classic.  I actually outgrew it not long after I got it.  I think if you're constantly pushing your camera to it's limits, that it forces you to grow and be creative.
"This church is made of walnut, there's 3 windows and 4 light bulbs.  How am I going to make this work?"  That usually meant that I would have "artistically" grainy photos and Gene wouldn't have any back up shots (the 50D couldn't handle it).
Life circumstances change.  Sometimes on a path that you didn't plan but ends up being for the best.   We ended up downtown Maryville with a glass shop and a photography office (no studio ... yet anyway).
I'd outgrown the camera and was looking to upgrade.  I decided to step over the markii and go straight to the markiii which fixed a lot of issues they'd had with the markii.  In shopping, I found that new was only a few hundred bucks more than used.  Why buy used when I could get brand new with a warranty for just a tiny bit more?
And just like that I did it.  No fanfare, no pounding heart.  Click.  Done.

Yesterday it came.  My brand new markiii.  It's the first pro camera I've ever had that was brand new.

When it got here, I was a little teary-eyed.  Not because it was an exciting new toy (ok maybe a little of that) but because it was a little like that Dodge Neon 13 years ago. 

I did that.  I can do it.  I didn't need any help.
Dammit, I think I'm successful.

Rarely do I feel proud of myself - most creatives are that way.  We all think we suck.  But I've afforded myself a day or two to feel proud of myself and wonder ahead.  Can things get better?  What might be the next great thing that can happen if we stay on this track? 

Live is already really great right now, so at this point, it's all gravy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Office bathroom mini remodel

Our building where our office is located years ago used to be a car lot/gas station.  What I've found over the years, is that when a place is build, designed and ran by men, it's mostly utilitarian.

Which makes fluffy pretty things harder for us girls.

Our bathroom at the shop looked exactly like it had been occupied by men for a really, *really* long time.  Brick walls, painted concrete floor (that's pretty beat up) and a mirror hung by a 6'5" man.

We decided (meaning *I* decided) it had to be updated.

The bakers rack was just there to hold things temporarily, but it was turning into months and months.  It wobbled (the floor is slanted) and it didn't hold much.  Plus what you could see was out there for the world.  I was really embarassed when someone had to use the bathroom.

Here you can see how bad the floor is.  It had been painted numerous times which just chips and looks worse and worse. 

The sink is very ugly... of course... and to make it worse there's a bulletin board over it.
Well, glad you asked.  It's because when they were tracking down the water issues a bunch of MEN decided to beat a hole in the wall to try to find some pipes.  Which they didn't even use in the repair.  *sigh*  It made for a huge mess and I guess someone thought putting a bulletin board there was a great idea.

We threw down a floor (linoleum that we already owned), bought a couple base cabinets and an upper, bought stock counter top (only had to cut off an inch) and added our small fridge in the center.

We bought this mirror at a garage sale last summer for $3.00.   We put a board over the hole and painted it the same color as the wall then hung the mirror on it and the piece that stuck out, we put a paper towel holder on it like it was supposed to be there.

Oh the opposite wall, I hung mirrors that I spray painted.  I find these mirrors at garage sales for $1-$3 and just pop out the mirror and spray paint it.  Super cheap and really cute.  I'll probably had a couple small canvases here too.

We still have to stain/varnish the cabinets and add some more artwork to be cute, but in the meantime it's pretty darn acceptable.

This remodel was under $500.  I could have done it cheaper but I just wanted it done instead of messing with it for a long time.  The base cabinets are not anchored to the wall so if we ever leave we can take them all with us.  The uppers we used 2 holes that were already in the wall so we did no more damage (no one cares anyway), and we can take it down and take it with us too.

We'd be like the beverly hillbillies, carrying around our bathroom on the top of our jeep.

I keep telling Gene that it's only one shower stall away from being our apartment in "the city".  Really, that's Gene's shot across the bow.  He better be nice or it's HIS apartment in the city.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flowers will soon be here

Here's hoping for spring soon, but in the meantime, here's some "wintertime flowers".

Monday, March 11, 2013

WARNING: Fake uggs are a gateway boot

"My feet are cold."  I've said this pretty much every wintery day (and some summery days) for most of my life.  I'm pretty sure I have the worst circulation in NW Missouri.

I hear exercise fixes that.


So I got to the point I was wearing 2 pair of socks a day and I was still constantly cold.  I finally decided to break down and look for something warmer.  It just so happened that Kohls had some fake uggs on clearance.  Normally I can't wear boots because of my ugly fat calves, but these had little stretchy buttons on the side.

I hemmed and hawwed over the $31.00 purchase and finally broke down and bought them (oh and another pair of boots too.  A girl can't have too many shoes).

Probably the best decision I've made in months.  Not only do I wear them 16 hours a day (when I'm not sleeping), my feet are rarely cold.  I had a super cold shoot yesterday and when I left, my feet were STILL WARM.  Let me tell you, that's a monumental task.

Now I want the real thing.  And um... they're a tad bit more expensive.

Stand out of the way, I might have to bat my eyelashes and say "pwease" to get what I want.

This calls for a fake ugg haiku!

Warm and fuzzy toes,
my fake uggs you complete me.
Bring on the real boots!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Office Tour

We've been so busy lately, a lot of stuff going on in our world, but the recent business development is that we had our official ribbon cutting this week! 
The Chamber offers this for all new businesses and we took them up on it.  It's a great way to get you name out one more time (and it works, we've had lots of walk-ins this week). 
We expected 4-5 people to show up for the cutting and we hard closer to 15.  It was kind of funny seeing us all gathered around our little office, but everyone really liked the new shop.  Since it was all cleaned up and I had it decorated cute, I took a few shots.  This is when I realized I hadn't shared pics of the office yet!  oops.

 I have some of my watercolors at the shop.  I'm going to be dedicating a corner to my artwork at some point.   I doubt I'll sell a lot there, but it makes me happy.

 I have a small collection of bell jars (LOVE!) and Gene found my latest one.  It was a great deal, but BIG.  So we put it on display at the shop.  Love it there.

 Here is a shot into the corner where the bathroom is, and also at our desk.  It was actually a glass table that we got a great deal on.  I'm still contemplating getting something different as there's really no storage.

 That couch, well, we might have to have a sacrificial fire if we ever leave there.  We had to take the door off the hinges to get it in the office.  oops.

However, I really love it and it really warms up the office.

I think it's safe to say, we have the cutest glass shop waiting room in probably 4 states.

This just got real.

Ohhhh... and... I got our new website done (well, almost.  Long story).

And on that note, I've been working on ANOTHER business project (a whole new business!!)  I'll be sharing that with you next week.  It's going to be pretty much awesome.
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