Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bloomville and a Preview

Lately I have been hopscotching to all sorts of blogs, and somehow I stumbled upon Bloomville, a lovely line of Danish products with beautiful lifestyle photos. I love the mix of old and new: a weather worn table juxtaposed with a crystal chandelier, galvanized metal paired with porcelain, burlap pillows along side a cashmere throw.

I feel busy--too much so. It is barely manageable. I have so many projects in the works, all of which I had hoped would be completed by January. As Robert is a fan of saying, "It is what it is." My New Year's resolution was to be more content with the momentum I can manage around my children. So, I am trying to be satisfied with where my business is today, even though customers may be frustrated that I have had so very little available to purchase in the month of January. It is coming...

I adore Bloomville's style, and it fits perfectly with a little sneak peak of something I have been working on. The bootie patterns have been such a success that I thought I would add in another. I highly recommend Simone Howell's gorgeous clutches, but if you are so inclined to make a purse yourself, I will be offering the pattern for the bag below. This is one of several version of the pattern. I will sell the pattern and the samples soon. This photo is taken on the old porch post in my kitchen, which is where I used to hang my purse every day... until Mia ate an entire pack of gum, now I hang it higher.

The pattern also includes one for the little coin purse, pictured below. The other photos are snippets of random pictures of my house: the profusion of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, the toile cork board I made, my affinity for green leaves, the collage of our pictures from Italy, our distressed dining tables...

So, I am curious, what is your favorite decorating style or your favorite place to visit for design inspiration?
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Photo Editing--Another Embarrassing Confession

People tell me all the time that I am a good photographer. I tell them I am not. They think I am being modest, but the truth is that I take pictures in a way that would make most photographers cringe. To start, I have noticed that my camera has a tendency to underexpose {meaning the pictures come out too dark.} While I will admit that I know a little about ISO, aperture, f-stops, and all that, I don't know a lot, and I don't have all the right equipment to get the perfect shot right out of the camera in some situations. I have a Canon 40D and 50mm lens--that's all. I wish I had a macro lens, a great wide angle lens, and a 50mm that would take good pictures in low light. But right now, I am just wishing.

What I do have, though, it a good eye for editing. Fortunately, for those of you who don't have a lot of fancy equipment either, perhaps you'll be inspired to edit your way into a better photo. You can see some free photo editing programs here. If you have been following my blog for awhile, then you know that I sporadically show how I edit my photos. If you are just joining, you can see previous posts about photo editing here, here, and here.

So.... er, this is a little embarrassing, but this is the before, straight-out-of-the-camera picture:

Not impressive. My Mia always looks cute, but the photo isn't nearly as striking as the first one, so let me show you how I got there.

First thing, crop it. Sometime I want to do a blog post just on cropping a photo because occasionally it is the difference between a ho-hum photo and a great photo. In this case, I like the picture both ways, but if I crop it, you will be able to see the detail better.

This is better, now the focus is on her face, in particular her eyes, which I thought were the best part of this photo.

Next step, I ran a color pop action. I use Nicole Van's. If you don't speak photoshop, then it's all going to sound like gibberish, so basically I made the photo lighter and brought out the color.

Next, I smoothed the shadows and splotches on her face. I don't like skin smoother actions because I think they look too over done. I just use the clone stamp.

Next, I bumped up the contrast on the photo. This made a big difference.

Finally, I sharpened the photo a little, around her eyes especially.

So, ta da! From a little boring and under exposed to much more interesting, focusing on Mia's eyes, her best feature in this particular photo. Here is the before and after side by side.

Isn't this fun? So, why stop there? I mean, who cares that my rug still smells like chicken. {If you read my comments in the previous post, you'll understand.} Let's play around a little more. Here is a softer, more vintage version.

Another vintage version, this time with a little grain and a sepia hue.

And finally, a black and white.

Hope you are having a happy Sunday. Find beauty in every day :)
Friday, January 15, 2010

The Pendulum Swing

I can't speak for every parent, with the gamut of personalities and mothering styles, I can only speak of how it is for me. And, for me, parenting is a pendulum swing, a dichotomy of emotions, jerking from maddening frustration to outright euphoria, and back--generally with only minutes inbetween.

For example, this week I woke up to my beautiful girl: pink cheeked, hair disheveled, and mouth spread wide with joy just to see me in the morning. And the day begins with an endearing start. However, before there is even time to hear the coffee finish percolating, this same angel-faced child has found a brown, soft candle. {She calls candles "my happy birthday." Oh, and incidentally some candles, particularly the expensive, smelly, soy-based kind, are exactly the same consistency as chapstick.} Well, this lovely little child smeared that soft, oily, waxy brown candle all over my gorgeous, slate blue, tuffeted silk duvet from Z gallery--before I've even had a sip of morning coffee! Before I could even register the catastrophe, the morning {still pre-coffee} continues on with a litany of boisterous breakfast request ranging from bananas to waffles to chocolate milk, which will get smashed, thrown, or spilled respectively and doubtfully consumed. Finally, the coffee is brewed, the children's appetite temporarily satiated, and I think to myself.... nobody better bother me for the next 5 minutes and let me drink my coffee. And, shockingly, they don't. In fact, they give me maple syrup kisses, and then go play.

It's quiet.

Then, after 5 minutes of blissful silence, shocked with a jolt of realization, I become aware that it is suddenly too quiet. Around the corner, one curious little child has discovered the potted plant that was temporarily moved inside to escape the atypical freezing weather. And, this aforementioned child, has taken a Spiderman bowl and dumped heaps of dirt in a trail leading through the dining room, across the living room, and onto the ivory rug in the bedroom. But, to be fair, she also had her little red toy vacuum with her. Observing my shocked expression, she further explained that she only made the mess so she could, "help Mommy clean." Frenzied, already exhausted, and only a half cup of coffee deep into the day, I grabbed this little child squarely on the shoulders and set her on the oil-stained duvet, on the brink of a break down. Mia then says, chocolate brown eyes deep with remorse, "I'm so, soooo sorry, Mommy. I was only trying to help," her little cheek pressed against my shoulder, while she's rubbing my back with soft pats. And she's so loving and adoring that I chuckle, even though my laugh seems to have the slight ring of insanity.

And so the days go.

One minute, we're in the car. I am drinking coffee, and Aidan and Mia are eating madelines. {Thank you, Starbucks.} The two of them start making each other laugh. They are so giddy and silly and sweet. It's such a precious moment, and I think: I live a charmed life. My children are precious; they make my life complete. Five minutes later, we have arrived at our destination, and Aidan is kicking me because he wants to go home, Mia has dumped an entire box of raisins in the car, and I am threatening to leave them on the nearby street corner.

Earlier today, Mia grabbed a diaper cover from her dresser, calling them "her undies" and insisted she take them with her. {She's not potty trained, and she was wearing pants.} When I asked her what she need them for, she said, "Just in case." She's so funny; she makes me smile. And then...later today, those same "undies" are in the toilet, along with a few toys, and half a bag of pretzels. It's just how life is for me. It's maddening and wonderful and definitely messy. So, I am sorry I've been away for while. I have been busy, not just with messes--though there have been quite a few of those--but also with planning. I'd love to tell you what, but in just over a week I will be able to show you, and that will be more fun. Also, I didn't mean to leave you hanging, so in case you didn't see the Twitter post, the reason the shoes in this post had no labels was because I decided to sell my patterns. You can see them here. *note* all three pattern listings are the identical set of patterns

Production levels are down right now, and I don't have much in inventory because I am working on so many projects. Please know that the time I am investing now will hopefully lead to having regular inventory in my shop in the future. I'll be able to talk more about it very soon. Also, while I did sell out in some Gretel sizes, I do have more of the Hansel and Gretel boots and will start selling those again with the launch of my website.

I did have time to resurrect the $2 Giveaway and make two little hats, though, just like the one Mia is wearing. They have a funky little shape, but they're cute. There are only 2, and when they're gone, they're gone!


One last thought, I will offer more pink boots, more Raelynn's, the riding boots, and several other tall boots soon.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hello, Gorgeous

clockwise from top left: crepe paper rosettes by luckygirlgoods, blush by gabriellekai, venetian window by rebeccaplotnick, and vintage bustier by vintageopulence.

Let me explain the title of this post. Mia has this little toy chipmunk she carries around; it is a token from our *ahem* frequent trips to McDonalds. So, this chipmunk, when you squeeze its ear, says, "Hellloooooo, gorgeous." She plays with it incessantly. And so now, when I see something pretty, I find myself saying, "Helllooooo, gorgeous." I know--it's embarrassing. Nonetheless, I saw some of these items on Etsy, and that was exactly what I thought. I love pink... and ruffles and vintage things. I'll admit it. But I actually like pink better for women then I do baby girls, maybe it's because I don't care for that ubiquitous and trite little girl pink. Plus, pink is a good color for red heads, which, of course, I am.

Anyhow, I was inspired by these lovely pinks and started creating. A cream brooch with pink center...

Some vintage tapestry, dusty pink boots. They have hand crocheted flowers {made by my grandmother out of organic bamboo thread}, an organic cotton ruffle, and rose and leopard satin lining. Very girlie.

One last thing, another flower to clip to collar, hat, hair, or favorite tote.

I created an extra one of each, for whoever might want one. {The boots are size 6.} The paypal link is below. Happy Tuesday!

***SOLD OUT***
Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

I love New Year's. A fresh start, a new hope, all that. There is something about the promise of growth, potential, and dreams that leaves me smitten with possibilities every January 1st. And, yes, I make resolutions.... well, maybe not resolutions in the conventional sense, but more like a life assessment: what do I like about my life, what can I stand to improve, and how can I love people better, live my life with a deeper sense of purpose.

So, happiest of New Years to you and yours! Tell me, do you celebrate with gusto or begin your year with resolutions?

Oh, and yes, as promised, I have some unique items I said I would be offering. I have a list of things I wanted to create for Mia or myself, but these leaped into my mind and I had to make them. They are not exactly one-of-a-kinds, since I have 4 pairs, but pretty close. They are burgundy, not red. The flowers are made from hand-felted Scottish wool. You can see another picture here. Please allow 5 business days plus shipping to receive them. International customers will be issued an additional shipping balance.

***SOLD OUT***


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