Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

I am really excited for Christmas... really.  I can't wait to see the kids open their gifts and see Mr. John's family on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas day.  The food the fun, it's going to be great!  But, there's also this feeling I'm trying to shake.  I guess the best way to describe it is a mini funk and even typing that makes me feel stupid and selfish.  The feeling mostly comes from trying to do everything.  Trying to get everything done, made, clean, and ready.  Trying to keep the right perspective on things.  Trying to get that perfect gift for ______.  Trying not to feel guilty about the things I didn't have time for.  Trying not to worry about everyday worries too.  Trying... trying... trying...

I'm so blessed and have so much to be thankful for.  I need to stop trying so hard and just enjoy my family and Christmas.  So I was looking for a little inspiration on youtube (of course) when I stumbled upon a clip from Mr. Krueger's Christmas.  It is a short Christmas movie starring Jimmy Stewart and it is incredibly moving.  Below is a short clip from the movie, but if you haven't seen it I highly reccomend watching the movie in its entirety. 

I hope anyone and everyone reading this (myself included) can keep things in perspective and find the joy.  Enjoy the beauty around you.  Enjoy your family.  Remember the greatest gift that was given to each of us and the reason we celebrate Christmas: the birth of our Savior.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Busy = Blessed

I can't remember the last time I fell into bed before midnight.  Wait, I can't remember the last time I went to bed before 1:00.  And there have definitely been nights when my head hit the pillow at 5:00 a.m. a couple of times!  Taking/editing photos and painting have taken up my days and nights.  The beautiful thing about it is that these are the things I LOVE to do and I've been offered some great opportunities.

At the same time I look around my house and feel like I haven't gotten anything accomplished.  There's the half decorated tree.  Got to finish that...Hmmmm... maybe I should take down the Halloween decorations while I'm on the ladder?  My house looks like two holidays have collided.  Something like The Nightmare Before Christmas and it's pretty creepy and yeah, maybe a little depressing.  It's so hard to balance all these commitments and spend quality time with the family.  I need some serious time management skills between shuttling the kids to gymnastics and piano, volunteering in their classrooms, learning Christmas accompaniment for church choir, taking/editing family portraits, painting a commissioned piece, shooting a commercial, hosting a Christmas dinner party next week...

wait WHAAAT?  Yes, you read that right.  Last week John and I shot a local commercial at our house for a car dealership.  I'm torn between laughing and peeing myself over it.  I am dreading the moment I see myself (especially the part when I'm in my jammies!)  Baaaaahahaha!  Okay, no more teasers.   
Bailey snapped some shots from upstairs

So after I was done pretending to be a big television star (pfffffft!) and back in the real world of checking email and paying bills, I got an email saying I had a payment.  hmmm?  Payment for what now?  and that is when I discovered that I sold my witch canvas on etsy!  My first etsy sale!  I was so excited.  I packaged up that baby right away and sent her off to New Jersey.  It is so encouraging that in the huge etsy world someone picked my stinky witch feet to purchase.  I'm inspired to list lots more. 
sending my baby off to New Jersey!

So I recently finished editing all those Halloween wedding pictures and a large family photo shoot, and today I finished a commissioned painting.  These projects were incredible, fun, and great experiences but I was ready to do something selfish.  I scrounged around in the garage and found some scrap wood and I painted this sign.  I like the simplicity of it, but another part of me wants to do more.  I think I'm going to make some kind of frame for it if nothing else.  Whaddya think?

 15 x 21

So, it's not too late and if I'm lucky I will be asleep before midnight tonight!  It's a miracle!  Good night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Busy Much?

Sorry about the neglect blog!  So many things have happened this past week.  Since I last posted I've celebrated a brand new nephew.  He is soooo cute.  Here, I'll prove it:

My sister Andrea, new baby Tanner, and proud daddy Dustin

See?  I told you.  You see the proud and exhausted parents in the back?  They're adorable too.  I guess that's where he gets it from.  Speaking of babies, MY baby turned 5!  Adorableness must run in the family because look at him.  awwwwww! 
MY baby!
I can't believe he's FIVE. He woke up the morning after his birthday and said, "Aren't you going to wish me a happy birthday?" I guess he wants it to become the normal routine.  Then of course there was the All Orange Conan Extravaganza.  Look at all that orange!  Conan did not disappoint and it was extra fun to watch it with great friends... wearing orange beards... and eating orange food. 

A whole lot of orangey goodness

Then John and I headed to San Diego for a convention and got to see my other sister Vicki and her cute family.  (I am lame and didn't bring my camera :(  After that was a photo shoot with the sweetest couple for a brochure.  They live in their beautiful vineyards and it was breathtaking.   
WOW!  What a great week!  I dont think these next several weeks are going to slow down as we ramp up into the holidays!  Big plans and projects coming up.  I hope I can keep up!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

C'mon Coco!

Raise your hand if you are a fan of Conan!  Who can resist that orange fop of hair, that pasty white skin, the mountain man ginger beard...  ahhhhh, he had me at the string dance!  So those of you that are feeling me here know that tomorrow is Conan's triumphal return to television.  We are so excited here at my house that after the kids are down for bed, we are throwing an orange inspired extravaganza all in the name of COCO.  

Anyone who is a devout Conanite is invited.  But please be aware than an only orange food rule will be strictly enforced.  Butternut squash soup, carrots, hummus, cheese crackers, and orange slices will be on the menu.  You can BYOB or one will be provided.  And by BYOB I mean BRING YOUR ORANGE BEARD of course.  Yes, some people have scoffed at having a party on a Monday night at 11:00 p.m.  But to those people I ask, "Where is your Conan spirit?"  Mr. John and I have had a complete boycott on late night talk shows since that fateful night in January when Conan sang his farewell Freebird.  (tear)  This is Conan Eve and I have been a good girl and am soooo looking forward to the big reveal!

Here are the cookies I made for the orange occasion:

Happy Conan Eve everybody!  Don't forget to leave out milk and cookies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Epic Halloween Wedding

On Halloween Eve I was honored to be the photographer at a wedding.  But to call it a wedding sounds much too simplistic for this epic event.  This was a Nuptial Halloween Extravaganza!  (Hmm... I may have to rework that title some more)  It began the usual way with the lovely bride cloistered away getting ready and the groom combing his beard.  It took place at the groom's parent's beautiful home and there was a classic tent for the reception.  It was when the guests began to arrive that things started looking a little... different... 

Among the guests there were a couple of zombies, Lady Gaga, ooh there's Jack Skellington and Sally!  Is that who I think it is?  Yep, there's Mario, awwww and he brought Yoshi along too.  The whole gang from Beetlejuice was invited?!  Everyone was dressed to the nines, some even to the elevens.  After the wedding party literally boogied down the aisle to their custom music selection, the ceremony began.  It was the most entertaining ceremony I have ever witnessed and I am willing to wager, ever will.  The officiant began the ceremony by saying, "Let's talk about zombies."  It was in turn macabre, sweet, hilarious, and emotional.  In short?  Pure genius.

After the ceremony the wedding party exited danced back down the aisle, this time in a conga line to Shake Señora (from Beetlejuice).  The party then moved to the tent which was beautifully decorated, and yes, quite creepy.  There was a full-sized Uncle Fester-looking mannequin that I kept trying to talk to all night.  The tables were draped in black with drippy candles, let's not forget the spider webs, broken baby dolls trapped in bird cages flanked the gift table, and there was a constant stream of fog creeping out of the cauldron punch bowl.  The cake was black with red roses cascading down the layers, and perched on top were the happiest looking skeleton bride and groom.

After the costumed guests piled plates high with carnitas and guacamole and ate their delicious dinner, the new Mr. and Mrs. shared some cake and a dance.  The bride then tossed the bouquet and the couple stole off into the night only to return a while later transformed.  Up until this point in the evening the groom wore a sharp looking tux and the bride was in an exquisite white beaded gown.  They returned to the party as Morticia and Gomez Addams with some of their party as Wednesday, Pugsly, and Thing. "Gomez" and "Morticia" skillfully serenaded each other with songs, much to the delight of all the guests.

The whole wedding was amazing and photographing it was even more amazing!  There is only one problem:  How will I stay awake at a "normal" wedding ever again?!  The guests were a riot and the wedding party was so easy to work with and so fun. Thanks to my good friend Cindy who also helped me shoot the wedding. Now I feel like I'm giving an acceptance speech! but a great big thank you also to Brandon who suggested me and lent me all kinds of crazy toys!  Carrie and Dominick, I thank you so much for having me and I hope your life together is always as fun and exciting as your wedding was!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sage's Super Sensational Seventh Selebration

L-R invitation, the banner, Sage making a wish, the kids making their custom snack mixes, the view from above, Cherry 7 Up: age of the birthday girl, the inspiration for the color scheme, and choice of beverage
I survived Sage's party... I think.  The pom poms are still hanging from the ceiling and I'm finding goldfish cracker crumbs here and there, but it turned out great.  There were 18 kids so it was a little crazy and A LOT LOUD, but oh so fun!

We kicked it off with a snack mix table where the kids got to scoop their own custom snack mix into a ziploc bag.  There were things like chocolate animal crackers (my new favorite!), goldfish, peanuts, almonds, craisins, marshmallows, fruit snacks, pretzels, and honeycomb cereal to choose from.  Then we played a memory game where there were double pictures of Sage on the wall that were covered and they had to match the pictures.  We played boys against girls and I can't believe how hyped up they were the entire game!  They were so competitive and they loved seeing baby pictures of Sage.

After the memory game we put a balloon on everybody's ankle and they tried to pop each other's until we finally declared a 3-way tie between the last balloons standing.  Those last three kids would have been there for hours, Bailey being one of them.  The kids really had a blast with this one.  It was loud and crazy.  One mom came in the front door during this game and was very concerned at the noise :D Several kids asked if we could play it again.  So if you're looking for a fun party game and you can stand crazed children and the volume, this is a great one!

I made 7 Up cupcakes at the request of the 7 year old birthday girl for the guests; and made her a tiny layer cake using her easy bake pans so she could have something that would hold 7 candles.  After cake she opened her mountain of presents and we played a game of pictionary.  A lot of kids started getting picked up at this point.  We sent them all home with a thank you cookie and collapsed on the couch!

My goals for this party were:
  • that Sage have a fabulous birthday first and foremost:  check
  • not have a need for utensils:  check 
  • sew something:  check (remember I am not handy with a sewing machine)  I sewed the banner!
  • not buy invites, favors, or decorations:  check
Times are a bit tight and I really didn't want to go out and buy lots of stuff.  Most of the supplies I already had and just needed to buy the snacks and the drinks.  I did buy a new scalloped circle punch for the cupcake picks and some remnant fabric for the banner, but other than that, I really stuck to using things I had on hand.

I'd say the party was a success.  It was made all that more special that both her grandmas, grandpa, Uncle Jim, Aunt Kellie, and Aunt Cris could come too!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkins, polka dots, and beanies oh my!

This past weekend we headed up north to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.  It was a great drive... until we were about 8 miles away.  It took us ONE AND A HALF HOURS to go those last 8 miles! When asked about how the festival was, it's hard not to factor in the horrendous traffic and the fact that Sage had to pee during that last hour 1/2 and there was NOWHERE to turn out or even go behind a bush so we discovered a new use for a gallon ziploc bag and the people traffic at the festival was so dense that Bailey got elbowed in the head countless times and Denver almost lost an eye and other unfortunate circumstances.

We enjoyed pumpkin soup, watched a pumpkin carver, saw ginormous pumpkins, and watched a pumpkin pie eating contest that Sage described as, "Ewww, that is gross!"  This was the largest festival I've ever been to and it was fun and there were tons of things to look at and do, BUT (that's a big but) considering our misadventures I don't think we'll be making the trek again.  Here is Bailey on the way to the festival.  I love how her fashion sense matches her personality perfectly.  (Yes, those glasses are purely an accessory and aren't prescription.)

Bailey is a colorful character

John offering me some pumpkin frozen yogurt

awesome garden store

Denver hitching a ride
This weekend we have some exciting plans as well.  Sage is turning 7 and we are throwing her a party.  I finished the cookie favors last night at 2:30 this morning.  She wants a 7Up cake since she's turning the big SEVEN so I went with the color scheme of Cherry 7Up.  It should be a little crazy, but very very fun!

Sage's birthday party details

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adams Family 3rd Annual See Canyon Adventure

Every year John and I gather our crew and head down the coast about 45 minutes to a beautiful spot by Avila Beach called See Canyon. It is chock full of apple orchards and little farms tucked back off a narrow road. It is gorgeous and we always have such fun tasting apples, having a traffic jam with wild turkeys, drinking fresh-pressed cider and getting some flavored honey sticks for the ride home. Visiting See Canyon during the apple season always makes me feel beyond blessed with the beauty of nature and the love of my family. It's always a special day.  

I'm hoping we can visit again before the season is over!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventures in Colored Pencil

After a busy afternoon of teaching a craft class at church I dusted off my colored pencils and settled into the couch next to Mr. John.  I haven't drawn in a long time and it sounded fun and relaxing to mess around with my colored pencils with the sound of a football game in the background.

First I scratched and scribbled myself an apple.  I know it's a little rusty.  I usually like to reference the real deal, but I thought instead I wanted to see what my memory could produce.  It was a good exercise for my brain!
I also recently rescued an Intro to Chemistry book from the free box at the library and wondered aloud to my dad what I should do with it. He suggested I paint Frankenstein's monster on a page. Yes, genius does run in the family. So, I ripped out a page from my newly acquired, funky smelling, 1950's chemistry book. Once again, I asked myself, "What kind of images are stored in my brain? Is there a *Frank sitting up there?" I resisted the urge to go look up some images of Frank and once again just go with it.
 * Frankenstein is the creator of the monster, but for ease I'm calling my monster Frank ;D

I've seen Frankenstein images for 32 years.  There's a hazy recollection of a Frankenstein movie seen ages ago and for some reason Robert De Niro is floating in that haze.  Then there's Young Frankenstein which is ridiculously... ridiculous.  (Who can resist Gene Wilder?)  Of course the Boris Karloff images are classic.  I had no idea what would result from this potpurri of Franky goodness.

So, here is my Frank, in all his green glory.  I found it hard to make him ugly.  Mr. John let me know when I started that he looked too Arnold Schwarzeneggery.  I kept adding wrinkles and warts and scars to monsterify him.  Then Denver, my 4 year old ran and got me a little Frankenstein wind-up toy he has and informed me that the bolts should be in his temples.  It would be interesting to read the book and then see what kind of monster I'd create.  Are the descriptions of the creature in the book very descriptive?  I think I just gave myself homework. :D


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Little Post and BIG news!

There is nothing better than to sit and listen to the rain through the open window while I paint.  I could seriously lose an entire day to that!  So, for this little post I thought I'd show you the little thing I painted today.  It's a little bit bigger than the witch canvas.  This one measures a whopping 4"x 2"!
Mr. Pumpkinhead
... and for the big news:  I now have 2 things in my etsy store!  Guess what they are?  Here is a clue:
I would love to hear what you think! 
awww, don't they look so cute together?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Random Weekend Stuff

I made these B O O canvases the other night and thought I'd share.  I covered these crazy-sized canvases I found at Michael's with pages from a psychic book (I had to spell that about 10 times before I came up with the correct spelling!)  There is always a box of free books at our library and I love grabbing ones I'm interested in reading, but it's fun to find ones to deface  lovingly repurpose as well. 

Yesterday we had family over for my mom's birthday potluck dinner.  It was super yummy and fun to be with my parents, 2 of my sisters, 6! of my nephews (no nieces could make it) plus my bunch.  Oh, and one brother-in-law that I have to mention, since I mentioned everybody else.  Just kidding.  Love you Dustin!

For my mom's cake I found this scrumptious looking recipe from (formerly known as Recipezaar) because whenever there's a group of unsuspecting guinea pigs I experiment with some new recipe.  So I made a Chunky Apple Spice Cake but instead of using the butter sauce that is on the recipe, I frosted it and used maple extract rather than vanilla to make a Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

I thought the cake, which is filled with diced granny smith apples, raisins, and pecans (recipe calls for walnuts) would be a little too sophisticated for the little one's palates, but everyone from the 2 year old to the 68 year old LOVED it!  It was a little crazy to slice into, because I made a double layer cake and with all the bits and pieces inside, it was very hard to cut and keep it purty lookin'.  Ahhhh, well.  The taste made up for the messiness.  

I saw the cake banner idea somewhere in blogland and can't find it anywhere! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Little Something I painted

I thought I'd do a very little post about a little something I just finished painting.  We are talking a very little  something!  My sister got me these little canvases and I had fun painting one of them today.  This one is a 2 inch square stretched canvas.  You think I can find a frame for this?  I would love to see their faces at a custom framing place if I brought this in to be framed.   
My fingers for perspective... and to show off how awesome I coordinate with the witch's tights :D

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Papier Mache Pumpkins, Profusely Bleeding Fingers, and other news

I have been without my husband for 18 days now.  EIGHTEEN days.  That means two more to go until he comes home.  Mr. John got one of those all you can fly passes from Jet Blue and he has put it to good use; meeting current and prospective clients all across the country, interspersed with football games, baseball games and (at the special request of our kids) having a cupcake or four two at DC Cupcakes, all in the name of business.
So, what have I learned from my 20 days of flying solo?  The simplest way to put it is:  Life is easier, more fun, louder, and less stressful with Mr. John home.  I can't wait for Saturday!

While he's been away some things that haven't happened... besides the uh... well, the obvious.  (blush) ahem.
  • I haven't gone to bed before midnight.  (sometimes not until 3:00)
  • The television hasn't been turned on, except to play the occasional movie or video game.  
  • We haven't been reading the scriptures every morning (boo).  
  • And the mail hasn't been collected.  Actually, it has, but I really really have to make a serious effort to remember it every couple of days or so.  That's Mr. John's job!  Don't judge me.  
So, I've been working on my papier mache pumpkins and was finally to the carving part.  I happily carved out the face with my knife and moved on to the top.  All those layers of paper took quite a bit of force to cut through.  I was hurrying so we could get to Sage's gymnastics class and I stabbed the knife right into my thumb!

Me:  "Awwww, shoot!"
Sage:  "What???!  Mom, WHAT?!" (hysterical crying)
Me:  calmly walking into the kitchen cupping/hiding my profusely bleeding thumb, "Nothing.  It's OK."  I take a peek and see blood dripping down my arm rhythmically with my heartbeat.  crap

Did I mention that Sage is super freaked out by blood and when she saw me cutting into the pumpkin she was already dreading the worst?  Did I also mention that the last time I saw a lot of blood (coming out of Sage's crushed finger) I threw up?  I've never been known to get grossed out by blood before, but something about the ripe old age of 32 has changed that for me. 

There I am trying to wrap my finger while simultaneously hide it from Sage, while trying not to faint.  I sound like such a wuss!  Bailey brings me gauze and I quickly wrap it up tight, breathe deeply for a minute to ward off the naseau and off the 4 of us go to gymnastics.   

Now, here we are on Thursday.  My thumb is healing nicely, my pumpkins are painted, Sage has a fever, I have a nice migraine forming, it's almost 6:30 and I don't know what's for dinner.  So many adventures and experiences while Mr. John is away!  Did I mention that I can't wait for SATURDAY!?
Sage, my 6 year old, a couple of days ago

My pumpkin creations and cause for a near-fainting spell ha!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blackbird singin' in the dead of night

Pumpkin and Boo like having birds inside too
Autumn is upon us and I couldn't be happier.  Yeah, so I'm still wearing flip flops and it's still hitting temperatures in the 90s, but most mornings are beautifully overcast and sometimes... I ALMOST need a sweater.  I'm officially calling it:  AUTUMNTIME!  So to celebrate I started two autumn projects today and finished one.  Here is the finished project.  I found a great branch down the road and after creeping it up with some black spray paint it was ready to be hung on the wall and adorned with my dollor store, black-feathered friends.  It couldn't have been easier, or cheaper. 

The other project I started was a papier mache pumpkin.  I've been wanting to do one of these for a long time and it's coming along great.  It's quite messy, but it's so easy I think I want a whole patch.  This one I'm doing is pretty large (about beachball size) and I'm still debating if I want to turn it into a jack or keep it whole so I can leave it out all through Thanksgiving.  I can't wait to see how it turns out. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Over-haul on the Hall

Sometimes I like to pretend I can sew and I'll pull out my sewing machine and go to town.  My efforts usually turn out like I plan.  It's crazy.  I guess I'm a pretty good pretender.  Well, about a month ago I decided to pretend I could use power tools like saws and nail guns.  Guess what?!  It pretty much turned out like I planned!  I sawed and nail gunned and made myself a faux board and batten hallway for myself.  I found the awesome idea on the House of Smith's and ran with it.  Check it out.  Shelley answers all the questions you could have about this kind of project.  What a great blog!

So, this is definitely a different kind of project for me.  Every step is pretty tedious, but I learned a ton from doing it and I love the result.  Now, I need something on the other wall.  The moral of this story is:  Don't be afraid to pretend you can do stuff try new and exciting things. 
Please ignore the dirty, dusty footprints... I do

I have another frame for that blank spot.  Just need to get a pic of Mr. John and I!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fun with Fowl

Such a busy day today.  Mr. John and I made multiple trips to Lowe's.  One trip was because we bought a bunch of lumber and forgot we were in our Honda!  Just a little FYI: 8 ft long boards don't fit so great in an Accord.  All the trips were worth it though because I have such plans for that wood.  Such plans!

Anway, busy day and I still finished this little guy.  Or did I?  I'm not sure if I want to antique him or not.  I love dirty, old roughed up things, but some things look better without the grunge.  hmmm...  
A big reason I finished him so fast was that I read about the brilliant idea to dry the papier maché in an oven.  It was in this article about the incredible Johanna Parker.  So, I'm very new to this, but I put him in a toaster oven and it worked wonderfully.  I think he needs some friends. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Autumn is Coming!

School started on Monday and it has been super quiet here during the day!  This is our first year with all three kids going off into the big world.  While it feels a little weird to not have anyone shadowing me all day, I am starting to see the possibilities.

Monday, I organized the pantry (I found some disgusting exciting stuff).  Yesterday, I was able to paint and finish a papier maché cat I made.  It was amazing how fast a project goes when there are no distractions.

Making this little guy has opened up the floodgates. I'm ready for autumn. I'm sorta ready to be kid-less during the day.  I'm ready to get my art on!
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