Friday, June 29, 2012

Woodland Dancer Photo Shoot

Forgive me for this much delayed post!
I wrote back in May about my photo shoot with Sharon Miller of Erthtones. I don't even know where to begin when writing about Sharon. She is an incredible person + photographer. One of the kindest, most loving souls I've ever known.
Sharon and I met back in 2009 when she was photographing a massive breast cancer event that my husband was performing at. Back in those days they used to call him 'animal' because he was so insane on the drums. He played them standing on his stool. He played them standing in FRONT of them. He would periodically get up and RUN AROUND STAGE. It was wild! But eventually he calmed down and stayed a little more strapped in.
Anyway, one of their sponsors had mentioned to Sharon that John was getting married (to me *cough, cough*). She took the opportunity of slipping him her business card while he was running around wild which he later turned over to me.
And oh my word.
I fell in love.
One look at her style, eye and treatment... I knew we were a match made in heaven. She began shooting John and I for our engagement session, which someday I'll post pictures of, and eventually became the official photographer for my husband's band (which he is no longer part of, but she is still their photog!). We became friends and every now and then I have the pleasure of sitting for her to help bring her genius ideas to life.
This is one of those times. Now, I'm not the best ballerina... though I'm working hard to get better every day. So you'll have to excuse my form. This was the first time I've done a ballerina inspired shoot and oh my word... way harder than class. Holding my position for long periods of time was really difficult, so sometimes you can see that I cheated for the sake of stability.
So forget my form and check out how incredible Sharon is!
After a while, I took off my tutu and slipped into this floaty little dress for some pictures along the water. Sharon absolutely loves nature and is wonderful at capturing the beauty of her environment. I love how she plays with light and changes her shot to get not only the most out of her subject, but also the scenery. 
And she always gets a few shots of John whenever we're together. She has a hilarious picture of John carrying my giant pink performance tutu around, but I love him too much to publicly share it, even though it's a gem! Haha!
This last one is another favorite. I love the hazy treatment. Sometimes I'll see the same picture processed three different ways and I can never tell which I like best. Sharon is amazing. She isn't afraid to try new (or weird) concepts. I absolutely love that. She loves to spice everything up. There's no such thing as a boring shoot with Sharon!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Sharon shoots live action, talent, special events, families (really anything) with a sort of brilliance and uniqueness that can't be found elsewhere. She shines brightest when capturing life, though. She has an excellent understanding of life. I always adore working with Sharon, and I constantly check her facebook page to see what latest gorgeous photograph she has cooked up. Feel free to check it out as well, you won't be disappointed. 
And now- I'm off to celebrate the weekend! I didn't get nearly half as much done as I thought I would on my staycation. Mostly because I got that tattoo on Wednesday, and since it was my hand, I haven't been doing much of the cleaning or organizing I intended to do. Silly me. I can't believe we're already to another weekend, but here it is! I hope it treats you well, and as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tattoos + Closet Control (more organization!)

Here's another little organizational tip from today. Do you know Modcloth? It's a fantastic clothing company. Several weeks ago they had a photo spread on their blog and I could see that they hung up their fabric on the wall using hangers. It was so charming. I thought about doing that in our amusante room, but it didn't make sense. It DID however, become a brilliant organizational tool. How many of you have fabric buried down so deeply you've forgotten it existed? That was me. I kept it all in a tub. Bad idea. I decided to hang it on hangers in the closet and it's SO much easier to catalog and use what I have now! I took the scrap-ish pieces of fabric and set them up on a 5 layered pant rack (far right). Again. So useful. I used to use the pant hangers to store ribbon, but I moved the ribbon over to a new storage rack with TUESDAY's tutorial. I still use the second pant organizer for tape, though. 
Here's an up close shot of the pant hangers working their magic. 
Also, yesterday was take your wifey to work day for John. I blogged about how I had been running around in the Grand Rapids area all day. I went with him because I had a tattoo touch-up appointment and I didn't want to drive into GR by myself. I'm a wuss. John ended up getting a massive mural from wrist to elbow!
It's themed around my favorite book that John has grown to love. I'll walk you through it.
This is the beginning. He originally had a rose illustration tattooed on him with my actual signature running along it. Who is "aundrea" you ask? Well, that's my full name. John never calls me 'auna' :) It's interesting, my parents + brother have never, ever used short forms for my name either. But they're the only 4 people I know who haven't. Anyway, that tattoo is a couple of years old. 
He ended up leaving with all kinds of goodness! It's really sweet actually. I have the stars tattooed on one spot and one of those birds is also behind my ear with John's name. So there's a bit of a tie-in between his mural and 2 of my tattoos. John is over the moon excited, he's a tattoo junkie. I'm the only thing standing between him and a sleeve. I can't get on board with a sleeve, though. So this was a good compromise. Right now the rose looks a bit disconnected from the rest of the mural, but once it heals everything will match perfectly. If you're wondering about stars, roses, birds + planets... I can't explain it. You'd have to read the book.
As for my touch up, sadly... I should have listened to my artist the first time. He warned me against white ink. I didn't listen. Even though he went over the scar tissue in a darker ink, I'm pretty sure it's still going to be invisible. It's a shame, really, because he drew me the most beautiful peony you've ever seen. If you click on the picture and blow it up, you can kind of get a glimpse of the greatness. If it doesn't heal darker, I'll have to go for a round three. I hate to even ask him to do the same tattoo three times... all because I didn't listen to him. So, maybe it'll be a lesson learned and I'll just have to keep sporting a wedding ring! 
We're almost to the end of the week. I can't believe how quickly it has gone by. I'm really in awe. I hope yours was delicious! As always, thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

So, I went to work with John today.
Apparently I prefer getting up at 4 am to driving by myself in downtown Grand Rapids. Have I ever told you that I'm kind of a baby? You see, today is Tattoo Touch up Day and our artist is in DT GR, where John works.
And I hate that drive.
So today, I got up and drove in with him, then slept in my Jeep for a couple of hours and now I'm blogging live from Starbucks!
I wish it could be Biggby :/
I didn't even drink the coffee. Judge me, I don't care. I love Biggby.
Anyway- this is the piece I was telling you about YESTERDAY. I absolutely love how it has turned out. I made a couple of revisions after taking the pictures yesterday (which you can see below- though the quality isn't as good) and then I have a few more ideas for today. So I'll have to post a final product soon.
My boss, Genny, gave me this bathroom set when remodeling her home. It was made to be screwed into the wall, but the rack and bathroom cabinet were too heavy for our apartment walls. I decided to use them for craft storage and turned them upside down so that they would rest on the heavy shelf (top side). I gave it a good cleaning and then started the steps below. Don't be afraid to take an old bathroom cabinet and put it somewhere else in your home for storage. I love this so much, I wish it could live in our living room, but currently our home is too small. Next home... this is getting a more prominent place. You can rest it on a table, in the laundry room, on a large shelf... wherever. Don't feel chained to the bathroom!
(1) Paint it. You can't really tell because of the original color of the cabinet, but I taped it off and went to town. I painted in stripes... everywhere... as well as just entire sections of grey. Though it comes off looking much more blue in pictures?
(2) Assess it. At this point I thought I was finished and stuffed it full of goodies, but as I looked at the pictures, I realized that the top half seemed a bit separated from the rest of the cabinet with all of the white. I also decided it needs new knobs (which I haven't gotten yet- but will visit Hobby Lobby for). 
So I added a cute little heart on top. But then I decided there was still too much white. So I painted the top grey entirely, then added a grey stripe to the shelf on top. The little white heart didn't turn out as well as the original grey, but I can't redo it. I mixed my own custom paint for this bad boy, so matching it exactly to cover up the white heart would be nearly impossible. 
I like it much better with the top painted as well. I think it ties it together nicely. Again, I love how this turned out. Because it's grey, it can go in nearly any room in our home, so as soon as we get a bigger home, this bad boy is getting a bigger display place! 
John and I attempted to make the CAKE WAFFLE ICE CREAM sandwiches I saw on Pinterest the other day. John loved them but I wasn't really feeling it as much. I think it didn't turn out as well because we used a brownie batter that was all natural and flavored with stevia instead of sugar. Have you looked into stevia? I'm not sold as to whether or not it's better or worse than sugar. It's marketed as Truvia, Purevia, Stevia in the Raw and many other brands. It's funny because my BFF, Steph, asked me what I thought of it a few months ago and I didn't realize it was the same thing as Truvia. Ah well. Any thoughts?
I'm about to hit the mall, then grab lunch for my Johnny Boy. I hope you have an excellent day! As always, thanks for reading.  



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Towel Rack to Organizer

I am really having a hard time getting on board with Tuesday. It just doesn't feel like a Tuesday at all, which is throwing me off! Not that it's a bad thing, it's just odd. I feel a little bit twilight zoned today. Does that ever happen to you? On topic. I got an old bathroom set from my boss (thanks, Genny!) who has donated a few things to the cause of "blog". I didn't have a use for a bathroom set, but she knew I'd find a way to reuse it. It was a towel rack + a cabinet. I really loved them both, they were beautifully made. I decided they'd be great as part of my organizational kick this week and have the first installment finished for you today! It's the towel rack! Obviously it was made to hang on the wall, but it's a bit too heavy for my apartment walls, so I decided to flip it over and turn it into a ribbon/craft supply organizer.
Here we go!
(1) Prep it. Here it is originally and in the direction it was meant to face. As I said, I flipped it over to sit on its top so that it wouldn't hang heavily from my apartment walls. I gave it cleaning with a wet rag but didn't sand it or anything. Even though it's laminate, the acrylic paint stayed on just fine.
(2) Paint it. You can't tell but I taped it off to make little striped areas. Then I gave it three coats of acrylic letting it dry between and removed the tape. 
(3) Fill it. Once I was done, I set it on top of a book shelf and stuffed it full of ribbon, glitter, stamps and ink. It's nice because these things were small so I didn't have a good place for them. They were always getting jumbled and lost. Now I know just where they are! AND... since I've moved my ribbon, the old storage area is being used for something entirely new, which I'll show you later this week. It looks a zillion times better.
What's your favorite organizational tip? I need all of the help I can get. It's an interesting time in history; I feel like women are a bit caught in the middle. Expectations have shifted so that we work full-time jobs, but the majority of house work (cooking, cleaning, child-rearing) still depends on us. That's all just a generalization, obviously. Not every woman works full time and not every household is mainly overseen by a woman, but it's fairly common. There's also a huge shift toward DIY and a return to sewing and other skills which were common for women to know in my Grandma's day. I just wonder how things will sort out. In the mean time, my house isn't as organized as I want it to be- so share, please. 
Tomorrow is TATTOO DAY!! I got a tattoo a few months ago and my artist warned me to choose a different color. Alas, I didn't pay attention.... as usual... so he's doing it over in a different color tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes. I maintain that white ink rocks, but it didn't work for the location or design I chose. We'll see if I can talk him into doing white ink again in a different location. Heh.
So anyway, happy Tuesday and as always, thanks for reading! 



Monday, June 25, 2012

Le Weekend, Skydiving + DIY Sewing Board

I have mixed feelings about this past weekend.
John was out of town the whole time, which is an auto bust. Plus, my "corrective lenses" + phone broke, so I was totally sequestered in our apartment all weekend. Seriously didn't leave at all. Which also means I never got dressed. That was a bonus.
On the other hand- the forced quarantine meant that I got a TON of work done. My house is a zillion times cleaner + I was able to take on bigger projects for la vie that I just haven't made time for yet.
And hey- let's talk about inspiration. I have THREE theme weeks brewing...
a) The already scheduled Natural + Organic Product review
b) An organizational themed week- based on my efforts to wage war against my craft room this weekend.
c) Downton Abbey ... don't judge. I may or may not have watched 10 hours straight between Friday night and Saturday. The costuming is INCREDIBLE and really inspired me. I couldn't stop eyeing them all up and down. I've already planned out at least 5 DIYs from Downton Abbey. It's going to be awesome.
In other weekend news, my mom felt the need to jump out of a plane. She's kind of .. adventurous. I am, too, but my sort of adventure looks more like hopping on a subway all alone in Vienna, Austria with no idea about where I'm going or am. Hers is much more... terrifying. Thankfully she lived. Good job, Mom. Don't ever do it again. I want my future children to have a fighting chance of *meeting* you.
This last one gives me heart palpitations. Shudder.
And now- let's talk about this fab sewing board. John and I went to visit his parent in Cinci the weekend after my birthday (reference BUNNY WEEKEND if you haven't seen it...). His mom is a sewing woman and understands my love for it as well. She gave me a BUNCH of awesome sewing tools that I'm currently learning how to use and a lot of awesome thread, too. Which is great, because otherwise I'd just use white. 
For everything.
She also gave me something precious- and it's this peg board. It was made for her by her brother in law, and her mom had one just like it, too. She has had it forever and she decided to give it to me (aww...)! I really love it. I knew immediately how useful it would be for organization + keeping things right at my finger tips (I'm talking to you, elusive scissors...). I gave it a little coat of paint to match my sewing area and hung it this weekend. I love it so. Thank you, Momma K!
If you want your own- follow the steps below!
(1) Get it. Start out with a peg board. If you have one, awesome. If you've found one at a second hand shop or garage sale, still great. If you need to make one, get the board + pegs from a home improvement store (I googled some for $5 and some for $200, haha! Be careful out there!) and then frame it. You can always get good frames at Goodwill or Salvation Army. Just take the glass out.
(2) Paint it. If yours is already assembled, be sure to tape it off before painting. I decided to leave the inside cream because it would still match. If you want to paint it all, just let it dry for a full day in between (at least) so that the painters tape doesn't rip off your fresh coat (assuming you're using multiple colors- if not spray paint it!). I used regular acrylic and didn't sand or anything. It came out perfectly. I also painted the very tips of the pegs in the same light aqua shade for a fun little pop of color.
(3) Display it. Wasn't that crazy easy? It looks great on the wall. I wish I could get a better picture! I absolutely love it. Plus I can just throw whatever I need up there. You could even store threaded needles on the pegs. It's wonderful. If you're wondering about my sewing table, the DIY is here.
PS- Check this out. My MIL also let me raid her (massive!) thread collection in addition to really beef up my pathetic thread supply. If you look at the picture, you can see some spools with tags that say .59 cents. Blow.My.Mind. Thread is SOOO expensive now and it appears that they were just GIVING it away before! Some of the spools had 10 cent tags, but I don't think you can see them in this picture. Wild.

Now that I've hung it- I can see it needs some art. I'm going to try to get a picture of my MIL, her mother, my mother and my grandma (four separate pictures). Then I'll frame each one and put 2 pictures on either side of the peg board (stacked on top of each other). All four women are seamstresses or sew, so I thought it would be really sweet to have them looking over me while I work. It may encourage me not to cut corners, too ;)
Anyway- I have big plans for organization this week! I can't wait to share it all with you. I hope your weekend was fab and this week is a lovely breath of fresh air! As always, thanks for reading!