Friday, February 27, 2015

FairyTale Fridays

As most of you know, I love to read. As a kid, nothing was more enjoyable than a long, leisurely visit to the library on a Saturday morning.

One of my favorite spots in the library was the fairytale section. I read every. single. Brothers Grimm book they had, and a wide assortment of fantasy novels began to stack up beside my bed, ready for midnight sessions with my flashlight under the covers.

I still love a great fantasy/fairytale story.

About a year and a half ago I bought an online Photoshop Artistry course with the idea of creating visual Fairy Tale stories. It was pretty complicated and intense though, so I kept avoiding even getting started. In January, Sebastian, who teaches the Artistry course, launched a year long course designed to help you think, live and create like an artist, with the idea that over the year you would work through the original course and the new one together, getting assignments and inspiration every two weeks.

I couldn't resist it and managed to be one of a limited number of people accepted into the course. (The number of people accepted was limited so he could give us all individual help when we needed it and I definitely need it!) I made it into the course by setting my alarm for six o'clock in the morning while on a romantic get away with Henry on New Years Eve . . .

Not particularly romantic I know, But what's a girl to do? ;D

And I was as quiet as a mouse while I was doing the happy dance after I got in. Henry didn't hear a thing.

Since then I've been working on some  images I took last fall of my niece and nephew Clara and Andrew. They did an awesome job of dressing up and playing pretend with me. That gave me the first image in the story running through my head. I posted it on Facebook.

A few weeks ago I decided to step it up a bit and really start learning new techniques and began to search for a variety of images I could combine into one Fairy Tale 'story'.

I decided to continue the story I started with Andrew. First there was a gorgeous landscape image by Vladim that came in one of my Design Cuts deals, a lovely Elf from Faestock on Deviant Art, and the owl and wolf that appeared in my first fairytale image. Then came the hard work of making it all into a believable story. I'm a rank beginner but I'm having too much fun to care that it's far from perfect. Time and practice will help with that. (Not that anything's ever perfect of course . . . ;D)

I've been working on this off and on for the last few weeks so I'm hoping no one drops by unannounced over the week end.

My house is not fit to be seen and my cupboards are bare.

Good thing Henry and the kids are old enough to fend for themselves . . . . 

Here's the newest installment in my FairyTale Friday series:

And, in case you missed it, here's the first part of the 'story' . . .

Aren't stories awesome?!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Celebrating Special Occasions

 I love celebrating special occasions.

Often I'm 'too busy' with day to day stuff that just has to be done right now to take the time to make these occasions extra special.

 Well, last week I made the time. It was my dear friend Nicole's birthday and it deserved to be celebrated with style.

The first thing to decide was the menu. Nicole loves homemade soups and salads so I started there. Potato soup is always welcome on a chilly winter day so out came the carrots, celery and onion, along with garlic, potatoes, chicken stock and seasonings. Lots of chopping , a bit of sauteing, a long simmer, then a quick whiz with the immersion blender and . . . voila! Delicious homemade potato soup!

My plans for a homemade dessert were scrapped when I started to run late, but I found the perfect substitute at the grocery store.

Out came the prettiest table cloth I could find, my china got a quick rinse to get the dust off and the kettle was put on to boil for some fragrant green tea.

A bit more chopping to add veggies to my baby greens, a good oil and balsamic vinegar and I was pretty much ready to go.

We had the loveliest time.

It was such a pleasure to slow down and make a delicious lunch for the two of us. I could have just put the soup pan on the table and grabbed a couple of everyday bowls from the cupboard and we still would have had a lovely time.

Adding in the pretty little details just kicked it up a notch and allowed me to express how much our friendship means to me . . . .

Happy Birthday Nicole!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Visit to Greenland Garden Center

I went to Greenland garden center last week to see if it would be a good place to take engagement photos.

I, of course, figured I might as well make it a bit of an adventure and asked my sister-in-law Evelyn to come with me. She's an avid gardener too.

There are days I really miss having my sisters close by and I really appreciate having sisters-in-law to go on little winter outings with me.

We pulled up into the parking lot after we'd finally managed to navigate all the crazy road work, talking about everything under the sun. It was the perfect start to the perfect day.

I hadn't been to the garden center for a few years and I was blown away when we walked in. It was such a lovely place to spend a chilly winter day, eating lunch, and getting inspired for the up coming garden season. It turns out it's going to be great for engagement photos as well! Whoo Hoo!

Rather than ramble on about our visit I'm just going to let you enjoy it in pictures . . .

Spring will come again! 

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Monday, February 9, 2015

A Valentine Party using my Printables

With Valentines Day fast approaching I thought I should do something to celebrate this year.

We don't normally do things for Valentines, as Henry assures me that everyday is Valentines Day . . .

Uh huh . . . 

However, I am a romantic, and I love a party, and I just made some printables that cried out to be . . . printed.

I had big plans.

Lots of pretty little details. The use of things that had to be ironed. Recipes for fabulous cakes were perused.

I love a party! Even when it's just my immediate family.

And then these two got engaged . . .

Photo: Danielle Lucier Photography

All the more reason to have a fabulous party.

I planned my dinner for this past Sunday evening.

I woke up Saturday morning exhausted. Argh! I had so many things I wanted to do. But I was too tired to do them. I wasn't too tired to ask more people to the party though.

I woke up Sunday, still Nothing was done yet. But I asked more people to the party.

Thankfully my kids/guests pitched in and we still had a great party.

I still used my printables but I didn't iron my tablecloth or bake a cake (I bought one from Costco) 

Dinner itself was a simple one. Baked Ham, garlic mashed potatoes, cauliflower and white sauce, beans and homemade apple sauce. (And gravy. Lots and lots of gravy. Because, as Kim says, with Morgan, gravy is a way of life not just a nice sauce.) I didn't bake my biscuits or start with appetizers.

You know what? None of it mattered in the end. We all just enjoyed the good food and good company. There were still pretty details even if they weren't quite what I had planned.

And that's okay. Because after all, Valentines Day is all about the love, not about the pretty details.

I hope you all have the loveliest of Valentines Days!

playing Nintendo DS together . . .

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