Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Mini-Sessions 2011 ~ Chicago / Lake County Family Photography

What an AWESOME weekend of fall mini-sessions! Despite the craziness of shooting around weather and the impending arrival of a baby (that would be mine), I loved every minute of capturing the beautiful families who came out to join me for mini-sessions this year. It was wonderful to see so many faces I've seen before as well as a few new ones.

This weekend was made all the more special because it officially wrapped up my shooting schedule for 2012 as we await the birth of this new babe. Didn't make it out to your own KSP portrait session in 2011? Don't despair! I will be back and ready to shoot in the new year. Who's up for a snow session this winter?

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Project Nursery: Step 6

Step 6: ART!!!

As promised, I am back to share the art we used to polish off the nursery walls. This is where I really planned to bring the vintage book theme into play, so a while back I started trolling etsy and some local stores and markets for vintage books that I thought might fit the bill.

Originally, I had planned to gather some inexpensive old books and cut them up to create a large gallery, but in the end, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. A couple of the books, in particular, I really fell in love with, and I just could not take scissors to them. Instead, I sweet-talked the hubster into taking them into work and surreptitiously using the color copier to copy out the pages I wanted (Shhhhh! No telling on him!). I'm so glad I did it that way because Max and I have already enjoyed a few hours reading several of the books I purchased, and now they are on display in the nursery to see and be read.

Here is the final illustration gallery over the crib. Don't mind the blurred out frame. We recently settled on a name for this babe but have decided not to share it until he arrives, and that frame includes the baby's first initial, so it will have to remain blurred until further notice.

Clockwise from top left, the illustrations came from Peter Pan, Dick and Jane, Raggedy Ann, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Travels of Babar.

A vintage book nursery, clearly, must include lots and lots of books, but traditional book shelves, while practical, don't show off the part of a book that most appeals to a child: the cover. The solution is to turn the books around, of course! Although these ledge-style shelves can be found at any number of children's retailers these days, my father-in-law graciously agreed to make them for me, thus saving me some money and allowing me to customize the size and color for the nursery. He even called Land of Nod to get the exact specifications for their shelves! Thank you, Al, for the awesome shelves!

Lastly, I wanted a piece of art in the nursery that incorporates our faith, since it is an important part of our family and I want to pass it on to our boys. I settled on this passage which is found, in various forms, throughout the Bible. The final product, itself, was a DIY effort. I covered a blank canvas purchased from Hobby Lobby with some scrap fabric and stapled it to the back. I arranged the text as a photo in photoshop and had it printed on regular photo paper. Then I used modge podge to attach the photo to the fabric and modge podged over the top of the photo only. Here's the final result:

Only a few more things remain to finish up the room. I'll probably wait to do a final reveal of everything until after baby arrives because I am planning to use some photos of the little man himself to complete the walls. But it looks like the little guy could be arriving any day now, so you might not have long to wait!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Project Nursery: Step 5

Who's ready for some TEXTILES?!?!?!?

Oh yeah. You know you've been waiting and waiting for this! Right? (Just go with it.)

To start with, let's reminisce about the DIY no-sew crib skirt from this post. Once my additional fabric arrived, I finished that puppy up and got it in place. Next I had to wait for the bumper to arrive. I ordered a custom-made bumper from this Etsy vendor. The way it worked was I selected and purchased the fabric, then sent it to her and she whipped it up into this lovely six-panel bumper. (I'm guessing her sewing machine skills are bit up on mine). The bumper arrived today and it is so pretty! Rather than being one long piece, it is six separate panels that tie together onto the crib.

As far as I can tell so far there are pros and cons to this approach. Pro: since our crib does not have any slats in the back, we can always remove the back two panels since they are unnecessary and don't have anything to tie on to. Con: if we want to use the back two panels, they droop forward a little bit, so I'll have to throw some velcro or something onto them to hold them up. In reality, I'll probably just ditch the back two panels once the baby is sleeping in the crib full time, but for now the whole thing looks pretty nice.

I also finally got around to whipping up some happy yellow curtains for the room. I gave the sewing machine one more shot. It didn't go well (so the Mighty Mender now resides at the Goodwill). But not to worry. Remember, I have a long and successful history with iron-on hem. Curtains? Piece of cake! Yes, you too can DIY some basic panel curtains in no time. All you have to know how to do is a) cut straight, b) fold and pin, c) iron in creases, and d) iron on the iron-on hem. Voila!

I chose to hang mine using curtain clips, but if you make your top seam wide enough, you can run a curtain rod through them, too. Here's a close up of my handi-work and the curtain clips.

And for my last (for now) textile project, I used some fabric remnants to make a book-themed bunting for over the closet. (Because it's practically illegal to design a baby nursery without bunting these days.) My plan for the bunting was to not only pull in the book theme, but also bring some aqua touches into the room. I LOVE the result. (FYI this is also a no-sew project. I assembled everything with hot glue). Aren't you totally digging that aqua chevron fabric? I know, me too.

By the way, you should pretend that fabric hanging out on the rocking chair is a quilt. It will be. One day. And in case you're wondering, the book pages in the bunting are from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and were purchased from this Etsy vendor (she tore up the book, not me. I still can't bring myself to deconstruct a book for this room. Yet). Oh and all the fabric came from the designer Premier Prints, but I purchased a lot of it from Fabric.com and also from BuyFabrics.com.

So, you likey? Me likey. No rest for the weary, however. Only five more weeks to go and there's still much to be done. Stay tuned for my next trick....ART!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

33 Weeks

Here are a few of me and my boy (boys, I guess) hanging out at 33 weeks. (I am 34 weeks now.) Max is getting so excited about the baby. Kissing the baby is a daily ritual--a ritual I love except when we're in the middle of the grocery store and he tries to lift my shirt up to kiss the baby. I absolutely cannot wait to take pictures of the two of them together. In the mean time, click on the link below to read the text for this week's pregnancy page.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby Luke is Six Months Old ~ Northern Illinois Baby Portraits

Luke is one of my Baby's First Year babies, which means that not only did I get to see this guy as a newborn, but I got to play with him six months old AND I'll get to hang with him again for his first birthday! How awesome is my job?!?!?

We started out Luke's session by heading out to the country. Luke's mom wanted to do some family pictures in a farm/country setting. Sadly, I don't own a farm. No worries though! Turns out Luke's mom is TOTALLY AWESOME and went and knocked on the door of a small local farm to ask if we could use their property. Seriously, how completely cool is that? After gettin' our country on we headed back to Luke's house for some studio shots, including a little Halloween and Christmas action. Man, I just love holiday season!

Hey Luke! Keep on growing. I'll see you in six months!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Goodness ~ Lake County, IL Lifestyle Photography

This session is definitely up there in my top 10 favorite sessions list. Not only was the whole family Beeee-autiful (with a capital B), but during our design session mom uttered one of my most favorite sentences to hear from a client: "I really just want to get pictures of my kids being themselves."

After all, as a parent what do you really want to remember most about the time spent with your kids? For me, it's things like lazy Sunday mornings goofing off around the house and snuggling in bed. So after capturing these guys outside in the wee hours of the morning, we headed inside to get some true lifestyle shots. I love the result. Sunday morning goodness at its best.

(p.s. I went a wee bit overboard on this preview. Just consider it their reward for being willing to be up and at 'em at 8:00 in the morning!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet Lucas ~ North Shore Baby Photographer

What a great time I had getting to know six-month-old Lucas and his mom and dad this weekend. Lucas was so full of happiness and smiles, and mom and dad were obviously overflowing with love for their little guy. After some studio shots, we headed out to Glenview to take advantage of the late afternoon sun. I even managed to snap a few of mom and dad on their own because, after all, parents need pictures, too!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Project Nursery: Step 4

Step 4: Fail

Or, at least, semi-fail. Every big project needs to have some failures along the way, right? Where's the fun in having a totally awesome, failure-free, straight-and-narrow, gorgeous, pin-worthy home improvement project? No where, that's where. That's what I'm going with, anyway.

This weekend I decided to tackle two projects. One: Line the drawers of the changing table/dresser with pretty paper. Two: Get started on the DIY crib skirt. Unfortunately, to varying degrees, both of these little projects had a bit of "fail" involved.

So lining the drawers of the dresser. Sounds so easy right? Especially when you're working off of the very clear instructions written by John and Sherry at Young House Love, which even includes pictures to show how easy it is. Then there's me.

I loved the idea of lining the drawers just to add that extra bit of "pull it all togetherness" and (maybe) give me a bit of cheer every time I open up the top drawer to grab a wipe while on poopy patrol. To start with, I picked up this wrapping paper at Blick Art Supplies.

Although perhaps a little girl-ish, the yellow shade is exactly perfect for the stripes on the walls, so I had to go with it. After cutting it down to size, I pulled out what I've recently learned is the work horse of the craft world, Modge Podge. Spread myself a thin layer on the inside of the drawer and ever so carefully lay the first piece of paper into the drawer. Smooth it out, make sure it's lined up straight and wrinkle free. Voila!

But wait. No voila. Because after it dried for 30 seconds or so, the paper started bubbling up and wrinkling. Ack! Unfortunately, though, at this point it was too stuck to try and smooth it out. The result was something like this:

Major bummer and not so pretty. I called Adam in to ask his OCD-influenced opinion on what I should do, but being luke warm about the project to begin with, he only said "well, if you pull it up, you might mess up the drawer so it will have to stay that way." Gee, thanks.

So on it stayed and despite my best efforts to fix the issue, all three drawers ended up as wrinkly as a raisin. Oh well. The colors are still bright and cheery, and they're going to have clothes on top of them anyway, right? Here's the end result. What do you think?

But no matter. Putting aside my feelings of crafting inadequacy, it was time to start project number two, the crib skirt. Let me preface this with telling you something important: I don't sew. Okay, I can sew a button and I can sew a little dinky pillow, but beyond that it's a no go. Despite my fairly extensive education, somewhere along the way I missed How to Use a Sewing Machine 101. Until now, though, it hasn't mattered, due to a little miracle called iron-on hem. Oh iron-on hem, how I love thee. I love thee so much I made 20+ table runners for my wedding reception using you. I love thee so much I made Max's curtains for his bedroom using you. But this weekend I decided to stray. Forgive me.

All along I've been hoping that I could not only make a crib skirt for the nursery, but also the curtains and a quilt. After some thought I passed on the task of making the crib bumper to an Etsy vendor (more to come on that when it arrives), but I felt fairly confident that if I could just get my hands on and learn to use a sewing machine, the rest I could handle. So I had my mom send me her mini-sewing machine, the White Mighty-Mender 100 and off I went.

Things were going well. I had my fabric measured and pinned up. I carefully followed the instruction manual to get the machine threaded up. I was feeling good. So I sew:

Sure my lines could be a little straighter, but I'm feeling okay about this project. That is, until I turn the fabric over and see this:

Holy Hot Mess, Batman! What on earth did I do? Obviously, there must have been an issue with how I threaded the bobbin thread (is that even the right term?), so I take all the stitches out, unthread the machine and start over. Only this time I can't get the bobbin thread to thread at all. The instruction manual (and extensive google searching) keeps telling me I just turn this little knob and the needle will pick up the bobbin thread and off I go. But no. No matter what I try or how many times I turn the darn knob, the bobbin thread will not be picked up. After an hour of trying (and some less than desirable language), I end up with this:

Now, this should be the place in the blog post where I tell you that I had a sudden epiphany or I spoke with a friend who quickly set me on the right path or the sewing fairy visited my house and made everything for me. But it's not. Because you know what I did? I put the blasted machine away and I pulled out the ironing board and my good ol' friend iron-on hem. And in no time, I had a crib skirt. I had no idea how to use the sewing machine, but gosh darn it, I had a crib skirt. Seriously, what was I thinking with that sewing machine business? Okay, so if I really want to do the quilt, I'm going to have to figure out where I went wrong, but for the crib skirt, iron-on hem makes me happy.

Here's the final result (ignore that one side is missing, I ran out of fabric and had to order more):

Oh and by the way, I used this idea from Honey & Fitz to make the crib skirt adjustable to that when we lower the mattress as baby grows the skirt won't drag the ground, a problem we ran into with Max's crib skirt. Great idea, right?

So, for those of you in the know, where did I go wrong with the mighty mender? Anyone? Please help (or offer to make me a quilt and some curtains. I'll take either one!)

And so ends the semi-fail portion of our Project Nursery program. Next time, on to bigger and better things!