In case you haven't checked in this week (for shame) you may be noticing that I've changed the look of my blog. I'm one for change even though I may tell you that I hate change. I'd be more accurate if I told you that I hated the transition, but I DO like change.
I've reconfigured the categories over there ------------->>>>>>
I'll be adding a few more categories in the coming weeks under the 'At Home' section. I've got a few guest bloggers lined up that will be blogging about things that behoove you and not necessarily recipes. I needed to tidy up the blog and remove some old categories and add some new ones. IF, IF, IF you find my new system over there ----------->>>>>>>>>>>> too fancy or hard to navigate then please let me know so I can make it user friendly.
We loaded up and went to Mimi's a few days ago to borrow her closet, turned craft room. Isn't this neat? I'd like to have one installed in my own home for unruly children and reinforced with a dead bolt. Oh, I kid.
While there, I worked on a little project:
It's so flippin cute that I would really like to add bows and ruffles to the rear-side of my Hanes. But, I run the risk of turning cute into horrendous so I'll refrain from embellishing my own under-britches and stick to embellishing Natalie's shirts. Deal? Or no deal?
I first saw this t-shirt idea on the Family Fun website. If you've never been on their site and you have small children, you should bookmark it and check it often. I loved it when I was a teacher and I love it as a momma.
I bought these fat-quarter fabrics at an awesome fabric shop in Old Town Spring a while back and I loved the patterns and colors. I was going to use them for a different project, but never got around to it so I decided to use them for this.
My theory for mixing and matching is choosing patterns that all have complimentary colors despite the pattern and throwing one that belongs on a totally different color pallette for quirk. See the green on the far right? It doesn't really match, but it's green and it works.
To start, you'll need a 1 inch by 12 inch strip of each fabric. I'm giving measurements for those of you that must have numbers, but I didn't measure.
Next you'll need a plain tee. Using a marker, make two parallel rows of dots. One set for each strip. Just see below because I know I'm not making myself clear.
Using pointy, sharp scissors, cut a teeny slit on each dot.
So, these little guys are now 2, but if you ask their momma they will always be her babies
We met up at the park with scooters ready to go and I must say that I have the most sylish of clientele. I've said it before. I'm not into "props." BUT, I hardly consider the things that my clients have been bringing into our shoots props. How do you guys know just what to do? I love these red scooters and I love the plaid shorts sitting atop.
Liam is the serious one.
But, when you succeed in making him smile you have really scored big in his book. He's not frivolous in his affection so just one smile from him sends my heart racing.
Brock is the smilier of the two.
And he'll win you over in a New York minute with his jovial personality.
Feet shots are cute, but twin feet shots are exponentially cute.
How you like them ham bones?
I've always loved Ralph Lauren ads with their East Hamptons, Americana flair so I was blown away by Julie's set up. It's the perfect 4th of July vignette without being over the top.
This is my first time to go to the Jackson house for pictures and I've driven past it 4,409 times, but the view from the road does not do it justice. The home is a 1915 home that was relocated from The Heights district. I got a tour and Julie has posted a few pics on her own blog, but I still don't think the pictures do the house justice.
I liked this next shot with the blown (over-exposed) sky because it reminded me of those Ralph Lauren ads or the Abercrombie ads. So, here the over-exposure worked.
But, Cash wasn't so thrilled about the whole photo shoot idea.
So, I had to be quick with the button and ready to capture him when he found me the slightest bit entertaining. It was worth the extra sweat.
And Taylor is a breeze to shoot with her soft, unassuming smile.
Here's one from Julie's cozy porch.
And a slice of life I couldn't resist
Happy Fourth of July, dear Blog Friends.
I was in a pinch yesterday and needed some enlargements fast. I called Steve at Kingwood Photo Lab and he was more than willing to help me out. He printed out several enlargements for me and had them ready the same day. I was so pleased with the excellent customer service I received there and I can't say enough good things about them. If you need quality prints and fast this is an excellent place to get them. He is located on W. Lake Houston Parkway in the little shopping center right next to the Alspaugh's Ace Hardware.
Kingwood Photo Lab
2714 West Lake Houston Pkway suite 170
They have a really neat website, too, if you'd rather submit your prints that way and pick them up later.
Thanks, Steve, for the excellent service!
You'd never know how hot and uncomfortable it was by the looks of these beautiful girls.
Now, the Doskocil Ladies I have photographed a few times and they are still beautiful, still fashionable, and still lovely. Little Ava, however, was a much more willing participant this go 'round. She was all smiles and very willing to give me a few minutes of her morning.
Sister Amanda is a dream daughter. I wish I could video tape her and show you just how personable she is. She is a little lady in every respect. She talks like a little grown up and works the camera like no one's business. She's polite, respectful, and such a little helper. I think I'll keep her for myself. She'd fit right in with my brown eyed, brown-haired brood.
And what may strike you first about Angie is her beauty, but let me assure you that her kind demeanor and smarts are formidable contenders.
But this time, I got to meet Aunt Christina and the much-talked about Cousin Audrey who could easily be the third Doskocil daughter. She is squishy and coo-ey and made me question my decision of not having a third child (until I took my 2 children to WalMart today and sweated worse than I did at aerobics class). Though my desire to procreate one more time has swiftly left me, I still think she's dang cute. Christina, it was a pleasure meeting you and your sweet girl.
I've never owned a pair of boots, but I could seriously use a pair like Angie's. I love those and I've never LOVED a pair of western boots.
My mother is the original artisan in my family. I suppose it was her 23 chromosomes that forged the innate desire in my own persona to create. My dad is a pretty creative and smart dude, but creative and smart about dude things like buildings (award-winning buildings).
As long as I can remember my mother has created with her hands. So, I can't apologize if at times I seem overzealous. Perhaps, my desire to dabble in all things from photography to yo yo quilts has at times annoyed you. Did you want to throw up when I posted pics of my Halloween decor? I can't help it. It's in my genes. It's her fault.
She's always dabbled in floral artistry, but has recently taken on clients interested in her high-end floral art. I went with her to a client's home recently to take pictures of her work for her portfolio and I had to share some of her work with you because I'm so very proud of her and glad to have been formulated in her creativity-infused body.
my very favorite
I'm back to shooting schedule this week and next before leaving town for a week. So, I'll be posting some this week, but not everyday as I have the kids full time and a few commitments this weekend that will require some attention during the week.
Like many of you, I've always got a mental list of 'projects' I want to start and ideally finish, but this one I wanted to share with you as it is an easier alternative to a traditional keepsake quilt.
I'm no seamstress. I can thread my sewing machine and sew a straight stitch like it's nobody's business, but the buck stops there. As much as I would love to concentrate more on improving my technique I'm just not that passionate about it.
Let me preface this project tutorial by telling you that I'm no packrat, but I am rather sentimental about certain objects - one of them being my kids clothes. When I recall events or milestones in their lives, I tend to associate them with the things they were wearing. I really wanted to create a keepsake for them using swatches from favorite shirts, but as you know I'm no seamstress so a traditional quilt is realistically not gonna happen. However, I've discovered the simplicity of yoyo quilts and I'm giving this a go. Yo yo quilts can be used as coverlets or you can affix them to a backing for a more traditional look. I haven't quite decided what I'll be doing, but I have plenty of time to decide as this will be a long on-going project.
The basics: Creating a fabric yoyo
1. Cut a template out of cardstock of a circle with a 4 inch diameter. Use this template to trace and cut circles out of your fabric. In my case, I'm using my son's shirts.
6. You may have to loosen the pull just a little to get this cute, flat, puckered yoyo. Be sure you secure a good knot before cutting off the needle and thread. Here's a handy video I found on the web to show you how to properly do this. My tie-off technique is far from proper.
This is a fabric yoyo
And then I will sew the three lines together to make a yoyo block!
This is not an overnight project by any means, but I've loved working on it because it's such a portable project. In the afternoons, when I take the kids outside to play I take my stuff with me and work on it while they play. It is very relaxing and it's a great feeling to make something with my own hands that my son will be able to treasure in future years.
I hope some of you will try this!
First, I've got 6 shoots booked in the next 2 weeks. I can squeeze one more in Friday, June 26th in the morning or late afternoon if anyone is interested in that day. Otherwise, I'm now booking for July. I'm also going to take a limited amount of appts in August. It is soooo hot and soooo mosquitoey and soooo uncomfortable in August. I may just book evening shoots in August if I feel like a lot of people are really set on a shoot during that month.
To the goods...
You guys recognize Shanna, don't you?
She has amazing Christmas decorations and it turns out that she also has an amazing crockpot. It's a good thing she puts that crockpot to good use or I might've called her frivolous. Actually, she's the crockpot queen in my facebook circles. She cooks out of her crockpot several nights a week and she's almost smug about it. Oh, Vivi, it's the easiest thing and my family just loves what I make. Rather than allowing Shanna to forge on in her domestic superiority I decided to invite her to the blog. And since she accepted my invitation to share a few of her secrets, I won't call her frivolous or smug. I'll call her the Crockpot Queen. How you like them apples?
Recipe Numero Uno:
Sunday Crockpot Chicken
2 cans cream of celery
3/4 cup of sour cream
1 box of chicken stuffing (use low sodium if you can find it)
1 stick of butter, melted.
First, you cut your chicken into cubes. I learned that my granite countertops are beautiful AND functional. From now on I'll be hacking up my poultry on the countertop. And, disinfecting with Clorox, of course.
the chicken cubes will go into the crockpot first
sprinkle with some of the poultry seasoning
sprinkle the dry stuffing on top of the mixture
drizzle the melted butter on top
Cook this on low 4 to 6 hours, but be careful not to overcook so you don't dry out your chicken.
Shanna sent this crockpot home with me and this got RAVE reviews at the Killion home. It was Thanksgiving supper in a bowl! Ideally, I would've plated a pretty bowl of this for a final picture, but when it was time to eat the thought of pausing for a photo never entered my mind. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
Her amazing crockpot is sitting next to me all cleaned up and ready to go home. I considered staging a burglary in which the robbers would've taken this beautiful piece of cookware, but I know it's not Christian. I'm a Christian (despite my past road-raging, bird-flipping tendencies). I'll just be a good girl until Christmas rolls around afterwhich I may resume my road-raging, bird-flipping tendencies. Or just politely honk for 32 seconds. Polite is Christian.
Recipe Numero Dos
Sloppy Sloppy Joes
4 lbs. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 cup chopped onion sauteed with the meat
1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 cans of tomato soup
1 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of ketchup
3 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
brown your meat, drain it and put it in the crockpot
Mix everything together and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.
I didn't get to personally sample this, but she assured me it's a family favorite and it smelled divine. I'm sure you could half this recipe as it makes a lot.
Now, everybody, hail to the Queen.
The Crockpot Queen.
Thank you, Shanna!