Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Engagement Photos

I wanted to share a post about our engagement photos and the process.  I thought it might be useful for photo sessions in general or to impart my knowledge to someone who may be preparing for their own engagement photos.

First thing, a good photographer can take great pictures of you no matter the location.  That being said, a great location can make for really spectacular pictures.  Knowing that I would have my very talented friend shoot the photos, I wanted to pick something fun and different that would be new for her and fun for us.  Originally I thought a Fair themed shoot would be so fun, but my fiance said he wanted us to take nice pictures without a gimmicky theme.  Especially since I am doing stuff like that for Salty Sisters all the time.  Our next plan was to go out to our friend's farm property.  Unfortunately, the only week we had available to do our pictures, it rained every day so we had to come up with a back up plan.  Janie, our photographer, suggested a park that has a beach where she has done many shoots, except to use parts of the park that she had not considered before.  Finally, Friday afternoon, our last available day to do the shoot, the sun came out and the sky cleared up in enough time to get some pictures.

I knew that I wanted a shot on a dirt road holding vintage suitcases for our save the dates.  I had also acquired a really fabulous vintage sofa that we are using at our wedding.  I knew I did not want beach pictures but I was ok with water in the pictures.  So with all that in mind a put all of my trust into Janie capturing what we wanted.

As for our wardrobe, I wanted classic with a twist and clothes that reflect what we typically wear.  I also knew that one of my outfits needed a little drama, and all though I might not wear it in real life, that it would look great in pictures.  So Chris stuck with jeans a shirt and blazer for one outfit and then changed into a different shirt for his second look.  I chose a blue and white polka dot dress with a large flower brooch for the first look and wore a denim shirt and over sized white tulle skirt for my second look.  I went heavy on the makeup, knowing that it turns up lighter in the pictures.

So here are some pics with our first outfit.  And I will note some interesting things about some of the pics.

This clearing is actually part of a Frisbee golf course.

Janie had us climb into this patch of overgrowth for some of these shots.

This quaint dirt road is actually a very short path used by service vehicles at the park.  And this area is not very wooded, but through the lens you wouldn't know otherwise.

This is the shot we ended up choosing for our Save the Date.

The next batch has me in a new outfit and Chris changed after a few shots.  But this time we hauled out the sofa down to the shoreline.  This park has an actual beach but we liked how the grass met the water in that area.

While Chris went to change his shirt we took these.

 Then we abandoned the couch and took the rest.

As a side not this last batch was all taken after the sun had set.  We kept asking Janie if it was getting too dark but the camera was picking up so much light and it was this beautiful pink color.

I am soooooooooooo happy with how our pictures turned out.  We felt so dorky at first, but the more natural we could get ourselves to act the better those pictures looked.  I also said I didn't want kissing pictures and we publicly kissed in that hour more than we have in our whole relationship.  And go figure our save the date picture has us kissing!  So just go for it, certain poses that you wouldn't expect to look great might be your favorite and some that you thought would be great might not look as good.  

Most of all have fun and be yourself!

Here is a breakdown of the Stuff and vendors:
Chalkboard Sign- Salty Sisters Junk
Vintage Suitcases- Salty Sisters Junk
Vintage couch- Salty Sisters Junk
Tulle Skirt- Habana Collection
Location- Picnic Island Park, Tampa, FL

We also made photo books of our shoot on Shutterfly and they came out great.  Highly recommend ordering from them. We made a large one for ourselves and our parents and smaller ones for our grandparents.

Friday, March 8, 2013

DIY Vintage Postcard Save the Dates

I have not been doing a good good job keeping up with DIY's or any blogging lately but now that I am planning my own wedding there should be lots of fun posts coming your way.

I wanted to start with our save the dates.  I had a lot of fun working on these and they came out great.  We got a lot of responses from our friends and family this week when they received them so I figured I would share how I put them together.

I am by no means a sophisticated graphic design artist and I do not have really fancy software, (although I just started subscribing to adobe creative suites online subscription, I have no idea how to use all that stuff yet!) so I used Microsoft Publisher to make the layout for the cards and then uploaded them to Mpix and ordered them.

I am learning very quickly that there is really no such thing as a budget wedding, unless you only invite 20 people.  So with that being said, there are certain things that you inevitably have to pay for, but I thought this was a great way to cut some costs.  I probably spent about 6 hours working on these and the cost came to just a little over a dollar after postage. This was about 50-65% cheaper then ordering one with a premade design online.

First step was to chose our picture, which we had professional pictures done so that was easy.  I wanted the save the dates to be more fun and whimsy so I went with a fun picture and a chalkboard background for the info side.

There are no filters or edits to the coloring of this picture.  The effect is all natural light and shot by the talented Janie Koike from Life Writing Photography.

I got the specs needed to layout the cards from the Mpix website and made sure that I set up the page according to their dimensions.

The Save the date and numbers font is Janda Stylish Script and the flourishes are from the Nymphette font.

Our names are Captain Howdy Font and the "and" is from Bergamont Ornaments font.

I made a text box for each word and the date at the top.  Then each flourish was added and then some tweaking was involved to get it just right.   Then I grouped the text boxes together so I could move it around.
Our names are in the same text box which works fine because it was just straight across and centered.

For the backside I downloaded a free chalkboard background I found on the internet via google search.

I wanted to use a mix of fonts for the information but I also wanted it to be legible so I tried to stay away from anything that was over styled.

All the cursive is the same Janda Stylish Script that was used on the front.  I also used Captain Howdy again for the names, Florida and the bottom line.
The date is EcuyerDAX, the fancy "And" is Bergamont Ornaments and the plain lettering for the rest is Modern No. 20.
The dot lines were just free form lines available through Publisher.

When I saved the image I saved them as Jpegs with high resolution.

I like to use Publisher because its really easy to position all the boxes in a simple way.  Before I started laying everything out though I searched through tons of websites for ideas.   Originally I was going to just order them through a similar premade template, but I would like something from one company and another from somewhere else, and with Mpix great pricing I figured it was worth taking a shot.

From the beginning I knew I wanted something with a vintage feel to notify our guests about our date and destination wedding and I couldn't be happier with the results.  I think that the save the dates are also a great way to have fun and be less formal about announcing the wedding.

I also opted for the larger 5x7 size since this would be hanging on fridges and I wanted all the info to be easily read.  At first I thought maybe it would be too big, but it was just right.  Also the stock was very thick and perfect for sending as a postcard.  VERY pleased with Mpix.

On a side note, I had a vision of a dirt road and vintage suitcases as the pic for our Save the dates before we even took the pictures, so it worked out perfect that I had that in mind during our engagement shoot.  I will be doing another post about engagement photos soon.  I will also be sharing a post about our invitation process with the company we chose.  I have been able to incorporate some original artwork into the design that I am looking forward to sharing.

Email me with any Questions and I hope you enjoyed this post!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mee Maw's Doll House

When I was about 6 or 7 years old my Mee Maw, my mother's mom, made me one of my most treasured childhood toys.  She built me a doll house from scratch and not one detail was left out.  The doll house stayed at her home in Ocala and I always looked forward to going to visit and play with it. 

I just made a recent visit to their house and slept in the guest bedroom .  As I lay in bed, I looked at the dollhouse sitting in the corner of the room. I slid out of bed and snuck over to the doll house and decided to snoop around, as often did after everyone was asleep when I was young.  Even in middle school I would still check on the doll house and make sure everything was in its place... We have Christmas decorations for it so occasionally I would still decorate it. 

 I think for every girl who loved to play with dolls, one of the most difficult things to do is to no longer play with dolls.  It is a hard day to pack them up and put them away.  For me it was a long process.  First my mom and I packed away my Barbies, at the beginning of the 5th grade and Mee Maw took them to her house and she kept them in the hall closet.  Then the other dolls like my cabbage patches and what not got put away.  But for years I still went to Mee Maw's and puled out those Barbies and played with that doll house. She never teased me and often sat with me and brushed their hair and changed their clothes.  If you loved dolls like I did you totally get what I am talking about here!

Now that I am older and an avid crafter I marveled at all the work and craftsmanship that went into making me this special toy.  It had carpet, wallpaper, curtains a wrap around porch, windows, even a box of oreos and milk (our favorite late night snack with Pa Pa) you name it.  Mee Maw decorated it similar to her own meticulous home.  I spent hours playing with this house, rearranging the furniture and trying to keep my brother from touching the house.  On more than one occasion, the ninja turtles and batman had trashed the house.

Here are some pics

White Victorian with blue trim, astro turf grass, quartz stone walkway, Palm trees, mailbox, bike, rocking chairs and even a wreath on the window... the last kid to play with it left the butcher block in the patio but it also has a mini knife set!

3 stories, the kids room, bathroom and laundry room in the top floor, office and master bedroom on the 2nd floor, and family room, kitchen and dining room on the main floor.  Pistachio green, mauve and county blue color scheme.

kids room complete with naked kids!

laundry room behind the carriage

mini bathroom complete with tissue box, scale and towel rack

Study with sewing machine, and mini candle sticks even a sconce and door to the upstairs porch.

Master Bedroom with desk and a mini bible that has the first three books of the new testament in microscopic type. And Mom doll taking a nap!

Even pics of my brother and I hanging in the frames on the wall!  How about the detailed wallpaper with border and all!

Family room with tv, knitting basket (just like Mee Maws and she even started a piece with yarn and toothpicks as the knitting needles), fireplace set and the oreos and milk on the coffee table.

Kitchen and dining room, I love the little mouse trap, and there is a box of corn flakes by the sink, oatmeal on the stove and coffee and cake on the table.  There is even a spoon display on the wall.

I loved the tea set sitting on the display.  I often had tea set up in the doll house:)

I can't wait to pass this treasure onto my own children one day!  Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse from my past.  You can see where I inherited my attention for detail!  

Thank you Mee Maw for spending countless hours on making me this house and thank you for always letting me play with my dolls:)

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Measure of a Year

A huge storm hit home this week.  Not only did Tropical Storm Debby reek havoc on our city, a storm of a different nature has also been blowing, wildly through my heart.

This week we received news that close pastor friends of ours from Guanito, Cuba, Pastor Alexei and Pastora Iliancie, brought into the world, their first child.  Much like the waters from the storm surged in to flood our streets, emotions of a year since my trip to Cuba have surged and seized my heart.  

I remember the day we met the Pastors, it was the beginning of our trip and they had just arrived from a long and difficult journey to arrive to Havana to meet my Mother and our group.  They had breakfast with us and we had brought some peanut butter with us and Iliancie ate some for the first time. It was love at first bite with her and that jar of peanut butter!  We spent the entire morning with them as they came with us while we ran our errands around Old Havana, exchanging currency and picking up some supplies for our week ahead.  They were such a vibrant couple singing out in joy and thanking God for the blessing of our team.  
Enjoying their first Peanut Butter and Jelly

While we were riding in the bus, Iliancie complimented my sunglasses.  They were my oldest pair, and I brought them just in case they got lost or broke. As I looked at her glasses they were practically falling apart and the tortoise shell coating was flaking off.  The lenses were terribly scratched and it's the only pair she had.  My heart sunk thinking about the 10 pairs of sunglasses I had at home.  I had regrets for not bringing them all.  I took off my sunglasses and I told her to have mine.  At first she refused saying she didn't want to leave me without glasses and I said ok, then let's trade.  Her face lit up and she put my sunglasses on and started doing a series of model poses.  She hugged me and showered me with kisses, and again she sang out thanking God through song.

The Hyde Park UMC Team with Pastor Alexi

Within a few minutes she had burst into tears along with the rest of us.  They received many gifts that day and the promise of more to come.  We brought money for them to take back to our sister church, sashes and runners for their pulpit and altar, medicine, clothing and a laptop.  My mother would be returning that Fall, so I asked the Pastora to make a list of all the things they need that my mother can bring them.  She asked for fabric and sewing materials so that they could make dresses for their liturgical dancers and that they had a lady in the church who could sew them all by hand.  (When my mom returned that Fall, among many things, including peanut butter, she brought them a sewing machine.  With great joy they all celebrated for this wonderful gift, and they are now able to sew many things for the church and the community.)

That day started  a lifelong relationship between our family and theirs.  My mom sent the Pastora maternity clothes, baby clothes and a multitude of things throughout the year.  They write each other, and although I haven't gotten to see them in a year, sometimes I hear Iliancie's songs.  There are days, without reason, that I can feel my Cuban brothers and sisters fill my heart with prayers. For as much as I pray for them, many more of them continue to pray for me.

So how do I measure this year?  My emotions can be measured by the degrees of a storm. Fierce winds that rattle and shake me or a soft breeze that carries the songs and cries of my brothers and sisters in Cuba.
Surely I could measure it in tears, those of happiness and of sorrow and longing for my brothers and sisters. I could measure it in laughter.  I think I will measure it in eggs.  I still think of Cuba every time I buy eggs, see them or eat them, and I am reminded that I can have as many as I want, at any given time.  I guess that here I can use eggs as a metaphor for blessings.  For as many eggs as I have, I am even more abundant in blessings.

An egg ration Market in Old Havana
Each person gets 5 eggs a month

PastorAlexei and Pastora Iliancie hatched a big egg and had a baby girl this week.  With great honor and overflowing love, they named her, Drema, after my mother.  Out of curiosity I looked up the definition of Drema, and it means "joyus music."  For this child I cannot think of a better name.  It was with Joyous Music that we met the Pastor and Pastora.  It was with Joyous Music that the Pastora sang out in love and thanks for her blessings.  And most of all, there will be Joyous Music when we return this winter to reunite with our family in Cuba.  With Joyous Music I will sing out to my new baby sister and  I wish "Dremita" (little Drema) a life filled with Joyous Music as her generation will be the face of change and hope in her country.

I wish I was in Cuba right now, sweating, wearing ugly clothes that don't fit, and sorting rice at the Methodist Center. Until then, I will long for the day that I see my Cuban family and every day I will raise my eggs in a toast to Dremita with the promise of a future life filled with an infinite amount of eggs and Joyous Music:)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salty Sisters goes on Vacay in the Salty South!

Just got back from a great Vacation in the keys last week, and although we were soaked by a tropical depression that morphed into our dear friend Debbie, we had LOTS of laughs and a TON of inspiration!

Chris Fishing


getting ready for some really rocky night fishing

So windy we could only fish off a bridge and this one happened to be in the middle of nowhere and we had LOTS of fun

Something about wearing boys clothes that make us look so feminine

1 am cookies!

 Father's Day

Checkin out some local sites

Blue Heaven is really heaven for your mouth!

Car load of Gasparilla Goodies

Adult night out

 A night out in Key West is not complete without a drag show!
 I wanted those letters
yup! We are havin Fun!
 Not so much fun...
 Tried to make the best of it!

And this is what I like to call baby Debbie... and she followed us all they way back to Tampa and stayed for awhile!  As I type this, Tropical Storm Debbie is still waging a wind war you can't barely go outside!

It was fun and I am looking forward to the rain stopping so my wood can dry and I can make all the goodies inspired by this trip!!