Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Our 2015 Christmas Card

Whenever I see a beautiful image or video, I'm always interesting in the behind the scenes. I love that what seemingly looks effortless usually comes out of chaos. This is most definitely true of this year's Christmas card.

I spotted some ugly sweaters at Target and knew I had to get one for the photo. The look on her face says it all. This dog hates wearing anything. She hated this sweater so much that she nipped at it when I took it off of her. She wore it for all of 10 minutes, so I don't feel bad. And she got a ton of treats. 

She also hates wearing her rain coat. But! She won't go outside in the rain unless she's wearing her coat. Oh my little, over dramatic terrier. 

So here's what you don't see - 

The camera is only a few inches off the ground. To get it there, I had to put it on my tripod, then put the tripod on it's side, then put it on a low box. 

I couldn't find the remote, so I had to use the 10 second timer. I'd get a treat in my hand, push the timer, run over to Charlie, plop her into position and then say "Stay. Stay. Stay. Stay..." until the camera took the photo.

Every time I moved, Charlie moved. With each try I had to reposition her.

After 20 tries, I was sweating like a maniac. 

Some photos ended up great. Others ended up like this. The brown on the bottom is from the box I had my camera on. Oops.

I do love this photo, though. It's sort of a fail, but I love it. I love all the curls in her hair. I will admit that I photoshopped out one of her nipples. What is it about nipples that makes them so weird? And it's black so it was super obvious. #awkward

This is another favorite. Maybe it's that I think this little butt is adorable, but I also just like that it is unconventional. I love that this photo is a little weird.

So I used it as my Christmas card. Well, one of them. I couldn't decide on just one photo, so I went with three options. I gave this one to the people that I knew would love how weird it is. 

This is card number 2. This one is a little more traditional. Along with many other people, I gave this one to Cameron and Hannah. Charlotte sent me a video of Hannah opening the card. I think she was really thrown off by Charlie in a sweater. She basically didn't recognize Charlie. Once she figured out who was in the photo, she loved it. 

This is the last photo I chose. This one is all about the ugly sweater. This is one of the cards I gave to people who I know actually really like Charlie. Like my mom said "I like the one of her butt, but I want to see all of her." 

People that meet Charlie tend to really like her. And I've always really appreciated that. It really wonderful when the people that I love and that love me - also love my dog. This pup is a big part of my life and I really appreciate when others take an interest in her. 

So with that, I'd like to wish you very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I can't wait for 2016 and all the possibilities it holds. 

Ginner & Charlie 

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Desktop Wallpaper

Let's go with "better late than never". Yes, yes - I think that will work. Sorry these are coming a week into December. This holiday season is flying by and I'm just trying to keep up!

So allow me to get to the point with as few words as possible - 

In this post you'll find 5 desktop wallpapers - without and without the calendar.

I could overanalyze these puppies and cringe at all the mistakes (like how grainy they are), but when it comes down to it, I really do like these photos. Frost is my favorite and I love seeing it up close. I hope you do, too!

Click "read more" for download links.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Learning to love my home

Let's be honest here, folks. This homeowner thing isn't all hearts and rainbows and fresh paint. It can be a real struggle and sometimes it can feel more like a burden than a blessing.

But when it's all said and done, I love this house. 

If I'm being really honest - I haven't always been able to say that. Not too long ago I was researching apartments. But under all of the repairs, time, money and stress, I have a home that I love and it's time to remember that. So today I'm going to tell you what I love about this home of mine.

I love the light. The light in this house is one of the main reasons that I bought it. It's a row home, but being on the end, I've got extra windows. Being in my home during daylight is one of my favorite things and even after almost 3 years, that hasn't gotten old - not even a bit.

I love that it's just the right size for me and my pup. Parties here can be tight and I don't have much seating. But when it comes down to it I only need 2 seats - one for me and one for my best pup. The kitchen can feel tight at times, but there's plenty of room for dancing.

I love that all of the walls are full. Everywhere I turn is another photo or piece of art that I love - even in the bathroom. Everywhere I turn there are photos and art that I love. Filling my home with meaningful art has been a joy.

I love the yard. It's tiny and cute and perfect for us. Outdoor movie nights are my new favorite thing and will be happening on the regular next summer.

I love the potential in this house. I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but I feel there's potential in more than just how it looks. I just feel like this house is going to be used for something greater than I can imagine. It's my motivation to be more involved in my church and community. When it's needed, I want to make sure I'm ready to say yes.

I love the lessons I've learned in this house (even though I didn't enjoy the process of learning them). I've learned to be more assertive and responsible. 

Maybe it's the time of year. Maybe it's the new Adele album on repeart. Maybe it's just time. Either way, I'm ready to start loving my home again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Brightening Up the Bathroom

My bathroom is my favorite room in this little house. I know that sounds a little strange, but allow me to explain...

This room, this semi-clean, mostly-empty room is the only room in my house that is done. It needs no work. It requires no attention. And (knock on wood) nothing has broken yet. It gets some of the best light in the house. It's the most low-stress room in my house. It also happens to be where I spend the majority of my time in the morning.

BloomNation inspired me to create a post showing how I would use flowers in my home. Until they approached me, I hadn't heard of them, so I did some research. They are a flower delivery service that supports local florists through their online market place. I popped my zipcode into the box and a second later had list of arrangements available from a local florist. Very cool!

With the evenings being so long these days, I was looking for a way to brighten up my space. I read a long time ago that flowers in a room can have a positive effect on your mood. I don't know about you, but mornings tend to be the toughest time of day for me. It seems to take me a long time to wake up. So if there's any room that could use a mood-booster, it's this one.

My dear friend came over for brunch on Saturday, so I got flowers for the table. Once we were done, I decided to spread them around. I didn't have any bud vases, so I used bowls from the kitchen.

Kitchen bowls weren't exactly what I wanted, but I'm really trying to stay on top of my budget. It's easy for me to say no to hair cuts, pampering and new clothes, but I find it very difficult to say no to things for my home. I had to control the urge to get on pinterest and look up adorable little glass bud vases.

(Like this one, this one and this one.) Oops.

Owning this home has been a big challenge for me. It's been in a constant state of being worked on for the last year and a half. And not the fun stuff like painting and new kitchen cabinets. The short version - oil tank, water heater, leaky faucets, broken doors. As much as everything is fixable, it's never fixable alone. I can rarely handle it on my own, let alone fix it on my own. It's a real struggle to be independent and completely dependent at the same time.

But maybe that's what this is all about. Maybe I need to learn to let others help me. Maybe this was just what I needed to help me get better at budgeting. Maybe I'm learning patience and trust. Maybe I'll sell this house one day never fully understanding its importance in my life.

I fully believe God has a plan for this little house of mine. I know it even more when I look at these flowers he gave me that, no matter what they are in, brighten my day and my mood.

Until I can see the future, I'm going to live in the present and enjoy each day in my home. I'm going to decorate for Christmas in November and put flowers in my bathroom. Whatever makes the day brighter is a good thing.

It's amazing what a few small petals can do.

How do you use flowers in your home?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

November Desktop Wallpapers

My macro lens has been my favorite since the day I bought it. It's the lens that forced me to learn how to shoot in manual mode. It's also the lens that had me on the edge of tears when I thought it was broken. Every session with my macro lens teaches me something new and I love the way it challenges me to see things differently.

I may or may not have an unusual attachment to my macro lens. Let's not talk about it.

These photos are inspired by last week's DIY notebooks. I took a close up of the stitches on the notebook and new immediately that I wanted to use that same shot for desktop wallpapers. The big block of stitches just looked so good. There is so much texture and depth in those little stitches.

Each wallpaper is sized for widescreen and you have the option to download with and without the calendar.

Click "read more" for download links.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DIY Notebooks

Work has been crazy for the past month. All of my energy has gone to some big presentations which is why I haven't posted here the past 2 weeks. Welp, the presentations are over and I finally feel like I can relax (aka: empty out my Hulu queue).

PS. If you aren't watching Quantico and Blindspot - you should be! So good!!

Ok, back to why we've all gathered here today. I bought these notebooks with the intention of DIYing them a little. I had no idea how, but sometimes the blank canvas itself is inspiring.

I've been writing down ideas for the past few weeks, but finally settled on adding some cross stitch detail. 

And just incase you think cross stitch is so blah - Did you see that LC also does cross stitch? I've loved her ever since she was on Laguna Beach (when we all thought "that's so donzo" was cool to say). The girl's got taste and I'm definitely feeling much more on trend these days. 

There were actually 3 notebooks in the pack, but I knew going into this that I would lose one to a project fail. I opened the notebook and laid it flat onto the cutting mat so the Silhouette blade could cut the cover without damaging the rest of the book. But I didn't take into account that the rolling bar would hit the spine if my design got too close to the edge. I ended up with one notebook that I had to chuck. Oops!

I'm in no way a girly-girl. I'm not into pink and hearts and glitter, but for some reason I put a heart into every cross stitch project that I do. It's a mystery. But I guess the reason doesn't matter if the result is nice, right? Maybe I'm a girly-girl at heart. (See what I did there?) 

For these designs, I used all 6 strands of floss. Typically, I only use 3 or 4, but I really wanted these designs to look full. I also wanted the center holes to disappear. There's nothing I can do about the edges, but it's nice when the holes in the center of the design aren't visible.

This design probably looks a little strange to you. It's actually initials. Do you see it now? E. S. They are my sister's initials. She also inspired the colors. She loves purple and orange - together and individually - so I gave her a little of both.

The first design was simple and small, so I wanted something big and chunky for the second notebook. I stumbled across this cross stitch alphabet inspired by this quilt pattern.  I love that it's abstract.

Stitches upon stitches upon stitches. I just love it.

I think I need to join C. S. Anonymous. I'm only a few steps away from cross stitching everything I own! Watch out, Charlie!

Have you tried cross stitch yet? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hannah's Birthday

We celebrated a very special birthday recently.

Our little princess is getting bigger every day and it's so much fun to watch... and photograph. I was kicking myself for not setting aside time for a project, but I realized that these photos are my creative project.

Kids are hard to photograph, especially when they know you so well. They don't stop moving to pose or say cheese, they just live and move and play. For example, they might put 2 party hats on their head, come over to show you, stand still for 1 second and then walk away. They've taught me to react quickly.

I'm constantly changing settings on the camera and moving myself when I shoot these kiddos. Sometimes I ask them to look at the camera. 80% of the time, they won't. They've gotten too used to me asking for that.

Most of the time, I try to capture what is happening and what they are doing without them noticing me. Like this shot of Esther and Hannah playing.

And this shot of Hannah hugging her new dress.

Each time I go through the day's photos, I learn something about how I shoot and what I like to shoot. It's such a fun experience.

If you haven't tried photography, I highly suggest it. It's much easier to pick up than you might think and it's incredibly rewarding.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DIY Clock

For my 30th birthday (yikes!) my BFF, Kristin, got me a DIY clock kit from Bri + Co.  It was so perfect. She gave it to me right when I started up the blog again. It's amazing how your friends can know you so well. Right when I'm looking for creative projects, she gives me a clock kit.

It took me quite a few weeks to figure out what I wanted to do with it. After some pinterest searching and a few failed mock ups, I finally found my inspiration -

[please pin from original source]
(1) This wall at the office designed by Emily Henderson. She also used stripes similar to this on the floor of the Oh Joy studio. They look amazing and I'm obsessed with them. If I was in anyway a risk taker in my home, I would have a wall like this.

(2) This fabric from Joann Fabrics stopped me in my tracks - along with every other fabric by Nate Berkus. I was surprised that I could love upholstery fabrics so much, but when I saw the designer it all made sense.

If I ever become a millionaire, I'm going to have Nate Berkus design my entire house. The man is a genius. I stalk his stuff at Target. Seriously stalk it. I want all of it.

Ok, back to the clock.

Illustrator has become a favorite tool for my DIY projects. Being able to see the outcome of a project before starting is really helpful. I was able to size my stripes, layout them out and see the outcome before cutting any vinyl for the stencil.

Painters tape comes in 1" or 1/4", but of course I wanted my stripes to be 3/8". Because I'm a middle child and we don't make anything easy (just ask my family).

So instead of cutting painters tape by hand and most likely having crooked lines, I cut strips out of black vinyl using my silhouette Cameo. One direction at a time, I placed all the strips onto the clock face and just eyeballed the width of each stripe. The control freak in me was blown away by my lack of measuring. Thankfully it turned out pretty good and no mistakes are staring me in the face.

 I was really impressed that the paint didn't bleed under the vinyl. I'm a big fan of clean, crisp lines.

The outcome was exactly what I wanted and so perfect. 

You might be wondering why there are no numbers. Let's be honest, who needs a clock anymore? With my phone always by my side and a computer in the room, I'm never looking at the clock. So I skipped the functional and went straight to beautiful.

It was such a fun project and I really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out the pattern. 

Thanks again for the kit, Kristin!