I’ve always been reluctant to call myself a “photographer” for a myriad of bogus reasons (“I didn’t major in photography” or “I don’t have this or that lens” or best of all, “I’m not good enough”), but ironically, it’s the one creative medium that makes me incredibly happy, EVERY SINGLE TIME. I love everything about it, from the conceptualizing to the shooting to the editing to the sharing. I’ve been toying with the idea of pursuing photography as my main gig for quite some time, but I haven’t had the confidence to really go for it. That is, until now.
So when my friend + fellow blogger Heather asked me to shoot food photos for her amazing recipe posts, I gladly agreed. Food is a tricky subject to capture; not only do you have to get the lighting and the composition just right, but you have to make it look appetizing…no easy feat! Needless to say, it’s been an exciting creative challenge for the both of us, as Heather works her magic in the kitchen and I work mine near the window with the best natural light.
(I can attest that these recipes are incredible. In fact, I even made Heather’s green chile corn casserole (shown above) for Thanksgiving!)
There’s something about having a baby that has forced me to truly reevaluate everything in my life, from the to the way I drive to the words that I say to the way I can support my little family while still being a stay-at-home-mom. I’ve been in need of a change of pace for quite some time and Briar has been the perfect catalyst for pushing me to make things happen. Plus, I figure, if I can capture babies and food (two tricky subjects) with a moderate level of success, I can capture anything, right? (Ha!) ;)
These days, I spend more time dreaming about all the things I want to make (thank goodness for iPhones while nursing!) than actually making the things I want to make. Nonetheless, I still crank out a project or two every so often and when I do, it feels good. Like, ”hey, I should do this all the time!” kind of good.
Now that Briar is s-l-o-w-l-y working her way towards longer, more consistent stretches of sleep (HALLELUJAH), I have a tiny bit of extra time on my hands to dive into creative projects. This month, I have a huge list of things I plan on making, which include but are not limited to: wreaths, wall hangings, packaging ideas, stockings, ornaments, and of course, a December Daily album. It’ll be a Christmas miracle if I can tackle the whole list in a single month with a four month old in tow, but I’m determined to take a stab at it!
Supplies used: 12 x 12″ Second City Patterned Paper // Second City Chipboard Alphas // Second City Die-Cuts & Transparencies // Candy Buttons // Paper Mate Felt Tip Pen
P.S. My Black Friday sale has been extended through Cyber Monday! Don’t miss out!
My 2014 holiday stamps are finally here!
01. Merry Christmas | 02. Open Me | 03. All I Want for Christmas Is | 04. May Your Days Be Merry + Bright | 05. Shiny + Happy | 06. Happy Holidays | 07. Let It Snow | 08. Made With Love | 09. Holiday Cheer Inside | 10. To / From | 11. Wish List | 12. Sending You Joy This Season
When designing these stamps, I tried to think of all the various projects they can be used for: holiday cards, packaging, tags, December Daily albums, Project Life, etc. I fully realize that wooden rubber stamps are an investment, so I want to be sure that the style + tone of my designs will lend themselves to creating year after year.
Over the next handful of weeks, I’ll be sharing all the different ways I incorporate these stamps into my holiday crafting. (p.s. let me know if there are any particular projects you would like to see!) This really is my most favorite time of year and I can’t wait to make things festive :)
Find these stamps + more HERE.
Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween. John and I loved every minute of Briar’s first big holiday. Her costume lasted a whopping fifteen minutes before she spit up on it, but hey! Not too shabby for an almost three month old.
Just a friendly reminder that today is the LAST DAY to stock up on October stamps! I’ll be rolling out the November / December holiday stamps this week…so much fun! I’m finalizing the designs today, so let me know if there are any particular holiday-related phrases or sentiments that you want to see :)
P.S. The winner of the Ameda pump has been announced!
Good news, guys: the nesting instinct is still live and kicking! (Insert a million “thumbs up” emojis here). My free time may be more limited these days, but I am still very much obsessed with making this house a home for my little family.
The other day, I decided to take advantage of one of Briar’s midday naps and paint the back wall of our dining room hutch. It was a simple project that took maybe an hour and only required a single bottle of Martha Stewart craft paint + a paintbrush. As a new mom, I’ve learned that any kind of task that can be started + finished in a single stretch is a major victory!
How it looked before painting the back wall.
The back story behind this hutch:
A few weeks after moving to Pasadena, I spotted it abandoned on the curb and instantly knew it had to be mine. I had SO MANY pieces of glassware from our wedding just sitting in boxes…needless to say, the timing could not have been better! Sure, the hutch wasn’t perfect and the brown paint job was, well, not exactly my favorite. But the price point! (Or lack thereof.) It was truly meant to be. So I convinced John to help me lug it in the house and it’s been sitting in our dining space ever since.
I still have grand plans of painting the whole thing white + then wallpapering the back wall, but in the meantime, the bright pop of aqua is totally filling that void. I love the color that it brings to our dining room and I am so thrilled with the way it showcases my glassware!
Nesting instinct, feel free to stay forever.
October stamps are now in the shop!
There’s a mix of everything, from Halloween (guys, what should Briar’s costume be?!) to my favorite phrase to general sentiments that are perfect for all kinds of paper projects! Here they are:
01. Happy Halloween | 02. Trick or Treat | 03. XOXO | 04.You’re Amazing | 05. Hi, Hello, How Are You? | 06. October | 07. Good Vibes Only
During the great “I’m going to be pregnant forever so I might as well organize this house” situation in early August, I put together fifteen grab bags stuffed with paper craft supplies. Now that I’ve finally figured out how to balance a baby in my arms while I work (literally!), these bags are now in my shop! I hope they bring you many a happy crafternoon :)
Stamps + grab bags here!
Whenever I’m asked to package my blog into a neat little description, I always struggle a bit. I mean, really, what is this blog about? I talk about everything from wedding planning to productivity to crafting to having babies. There’s no single topic that drives my blog; it evolves as my life evolves.
Blogging is like exercising: the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Coming up with things to blog about is definitely the hardest part of the process, but also the most rewarding. I can’t tell you how good it feels to finish a post that I am proud of and then wake up excited to go look at it again the next morning. 2014 has been a good year for me, blogging-wise. With the exception of an informal “maternity leave,” 2014 has been the year that I committed to posting on a daily basis. It has been the year that I’ve found my blogging stride + style. It’s the year that I’ve pushed myself as a creative, both through photography + writing.
Even though I have been blogging in various capacities since I was in college, I feel like I am just now getting started.
You can read more about my thoughts on blogging in the Autumn issue of Artful Blogging magazine :)
P.S. Today is OFFICIALLY the last day to stock up on my August limited edition stamps. Yes, I realize I totally skipped over the month of September (whoops!), but a certain little someone was stealing my attention away. Plus, I wanted to give you extra time to snag my most favorite stamp I’ve ever designed ;)
One of the most surprising things I’ve noticed since having Briar is that although my roles + responsibilities have changed, I still feel like myself. For some reason, I had assumed that being a mom would essentially turn me into a brand new person with brand new likes + dislikes, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Instead, I’m still the same ol’ Ann-Marie, who wants to make stuff and decorate my home and go thrifting for treasures, just with a lot less time (and no free hands!) to actually do those things. If anything’s changed, it’s that I’ve learned to seize those short bursts of free time and get things done as fast as possible. They may be infrequent but they’re perfect for squeezing in quick projects that satisfy my need to create + make my living space a happy place for the three of us.
One of my recent projects: a gold fringe mobile to hang over Briar’s crib!
The gold fringe was leftover from our wedding and I had no idea what to do with it until it hit me to cut it into 3 foot increments and turn those pieces into tassels. Then I stapled each tassel along a lengthy strand of baker’s twine and somehow managed to fold it in half enough times to create this cool chandelier shape.
The best part of all (aside from the fact that I was able to incorporate my beloved GOLD into the baby’s room) is that it’s super lightweight, making it both easy to hang from the ceiling with super tape AND earthquake-safe.
Briar is still sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom (where she will stay until she’s at least 18), but we spend a lot of time in the nursery / office. As the sunlight shifts throughout the day, the golden light reflecting off the mobile bounces around the room like a disco ball, completely captivating both the baby and myself.
Long live gold fringe!
Before Briar arrived, I went into serious laser focus mode and cranked out as many projects as I possibly could. In fact, the night before I was induced (I didn’t know I would be induced), I stayed up late mopping the whole house, deep cleaning the kitchen sink, reorganizing the coat closet, and crossing items off my to-do list like nobody’s biz. I don’t know if I’ve ever been (or will ever be again!) so productive in my life! Now I’m thanking Pregnant Ann-Marie for plowing through those projects because lord knows that Mom-of-a-Newborn Ann-Marie considers having her coffee before 4pm a major accomplishment. But it’s all good, I promise :)
Some of my favorite projects that I managed to eke out pre-Briar were these three tutorials:
Woven Ribbon Wall Hanging. I think we all know by now that I love a good weaving project. Using ribbon instead of yarn was definitely a bit of a challenge, but with colors like those found in this ribbon set, it was well worth the extra effort!
Clothespin Wall Decor. Decorating Briar’s nursery will forever be one of my all-time favorite ongoing projects. I love adding new touches here and there, so when I saw these adorable clothespins, I knew they would bring in a little playfulness to the spot above Briar’s changing table.
Geometric Banner. When it comes to pretty patterned paper and my Cameo, I simply cannot be stopped. I found this awesome shape designed by Amy Robison in the Silhouette store and had to give it a whirl. Now the banner hangs in my office (next to the much-asked-about bunny vase!) and makes me happy :)