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Christmas, Christmas time is here

2 Dec

I always look forward to Christmas.  It is one of my absolute favorite seasons of the year.  I say seasons because I like for it to last as long as a season.  In fact, I propose that we add a new season to the calendar.  Spring, Summer, Autumn, Christmas, Winter.  That is how it should go.

But as much as I look forward to it every year, THIS year I am even more excited about Christmas.  Because this year, I get to see my daughter really experience the fun and excitement of the Christmas season for what is really the first time.  Her actual first Christmas was last year, but she was only 3 months old, and honestly, as cute as she was, she was still kind of a blob, and not very interested.  This year, she is pointing at lights, decorating the tree, gasping in delight at the lights on the neighbors’ houses, and talking to santa.  It really is SO much fun!

We’re planning to take her to see Santa for the first time, drive around to see the Christmas lights (where’s the best place?  anyone??), bake Christmas cookies, and any other fun holiday activities we can think of.  We are open to suggestions.

We’ll be doing traveling to see family, and participating in the Hein family Christmas celebration for the first time in a couple years.  We’re really excited about that!  There are still family members on that side (Joel’s family) that haven’t met Clara yet!

Nervous Energy

15 Aug

After we got home from Clara’s surgery and knew that she was ok, I think the rest of us didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  We had so much pent up nervous energy, that we couldn’t just sit around.  Clara just wanted to eat and drink, and play every now and then, but was pretty low key compared to a normal day.  So we took advantage of the energy and the time, and worked on a few little projects around the house.

Joel and I had taken a trip to IKEA on Tuesday to get a few extra bookshelves for the office.  We had 3 big ones from before, but with law school and Joel’s insatiable love for books (I love them too, but don’t have all that much time to read anymore), our book collection had outgrown the available shelf space.  So we figured out that 3 of the skinny Billy bookshelves with the corner hardware that allowed us to put one on a short wall, one in the corner at an angle, and the other on the long wall beside the 3 big shelves, we’d have more than enough room, and it made a complete bookshelf wall.  Here’s the after.  I forgot to take a before photo.  Whoops!


While my dad and Joel put together the bookshelves, I asked my mom to help me with my hallway art arrangement.  I’ve been planning this ever since we bought the house.  I knew I wanted a big arrangement of photos and other pieces, but I was having a hard time picturing it in my head.  I finally ordered some canvases that I knew I wanted to incorporate into the arrangement, and when they arrived a few weeks ago, I knew I finally had all the pieces I needed.

The stained glass was a christmas gift from my mom a few years ago – there is a great salvage shop near where they live.  I’ve been wanting to hang it ever since I got it, but never had the perfect spot.  I knew it had to be a part of the hallway.


Last year when we were home for Christmas, my mom and I went to an antique store/salvage shop and found a bunch of great pieces.  I knew at that point that I was going to work on this project, but that I didn’t have all the elements I needed.  So we spent a few hours walking around, picking out fun, different pieces.  Here’s what we got:  4 different shaped iron pieces, 5 old keys, a keyhole, an old drawer pull, and 2 old metal stencil letters.

Other items included: frames I already owned, blank canvases (already owned), an old map, thread, a knob ($1.50 at home depot), corrugated cardboard, some old keys we had, hot glue, and some chain we bought at home depot.  Who would have thought that all of these things could come together to make a cohesive arrangement?

So, after an afternoon of painting, glueing, sewing, and hanging, here is my hallway!  A couple of the frames still need new photos – I’m planning to print more family photos for those (the three across frame and the top right hand frame) and then it will really be done!



I love coming down the stairs and looking toward the front door and seeing this.  Makes me smile every time.  For those of you who will ask, my sister took the photo of the three of us in the snow, and the one of Clara alone is from her first week here on earth, and the other photo canvas is from our trip to Hawaii a few years ago.  I love the way it all turned out!

My dad also cut a piece of plywood for me to put on top of two shorter bookshelves that we had that I’m going to use as a sewing desk!  Woohoo!  Photos of that when I get the sewing room all put together.



Laundry Room Makeover

3 Jul





So, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can show you my laundry room makeover.

I can hardly believe that I’m showing you this… the before pictures definitely show how disorganized this space was – it kind of became a dumping ground for cleaning materials, random items, baby things, pool floats, and anything else you can think of.

This is embarrassing… but here’s the before:

As you can see it was a total disaster.  That’s my ironing board set up along the wall, acting as a counter.  Not ideal.

But now, 3 IKEA cabinets, a few hours, and some help from my dad later, it looks like this:


There’s still some organizing left to do, but I think it’s a great improvement!  Even with the cabinets taking up floor space, the room feels bigger to me.

I put together all the cabinets and their innards, and my dad came to help with a few things and he cut the countertop and attached it for me.  He also moved an outlet for me since it was too low on the wall and would have sat behind the cabinets.  The water lines are in a kind of weird spot, so he cut a notch in the far corner for me – near that dust buster – so that they wouldn’t get pinched.

So in addition to the cabinets, I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, and decided to do a row of hooks on the right hand wall.  I was just going to paint a stripe on the wall and put hooks on the stripe, but my mom suggested that I use a board instead, which made more sense, since then I could put hooks anywhere I wanted, not just on a stud.

You’ll still see the nails right now – I’m planning to go back and patch and paint over the nail heads… One thing at a time.










Yay for a functional laundry room!!

Finishing Touches

5 May

I just ordered my rug.  Finally.  I did it.

So now all that’s left is to find a last few things to put on the walls and the living room will be done.

I really want to do something like this:

via That's Happy

It’ll be different photos, of course.  I need to start working on taking those photos.  Probably shades of blue instead of yellow.  But I love the concept, and that’s what inspiration is about, right?

I found the perfect frames.  Square, with mat, white, good price point… The only downside?  They’re only available from Ikea.  In store.  No online sales for these perfect frames.

So what’s the problem?  Well, I live about 3 hours from the nearest Ikea in Charlotte.  Sad day.

I haven’t found anything else that I like as well as these, and I don’t imagine I will.  So I guess I’ll have to make a road trip to Charlotte soon.  Too bad I didn’t find this before so that I could have done it the last time I was there for a shoot.

Think I can talk Joel into a small detour on the way to St. Louis?  Hmmm….

The Rug: Found!

24 Mar

Hello friends.

Today, Clara has decided that she doesn’t want to sleep.  I suspect that there’s another tooth on the way.  Makes for a fun afternoon.

I have been on a search.  The search for the perfect rug for my living room.  You might remember the color we chose for our wall – Determined Orange:

Well, I love the color.  It’s fun, bright, and not too much to overpower the room.  I also love the hardwood floors in here, but with a 6 month old who will be crawling and walking before I know it, it’s going to be necessary to have a rug.

I’ve looked and looked and looked.  There are some great rugs out there.  My problem is that the ones I love are too small for the room.  I need a rug that’s at least 8×10.  I actually thought I would need one bigger than that, but after doing some measuring, I think that will be good enough.

The other problem is that any rug that has orange in it seems to be mostly brown – which, paired with our brown sectional, sucks all the light out of my bright living room.  So, back to the drawing board.

Enter, Ballard Designs.  I don’t know why, but one day I randomly got their catalog in the mail.  Maybe because we moved and then our address was sold to the entire universe of companies that want to sell us something.  I don’t even know why I looked at it – I typically just throw those things out.  But, I flipped through it.  They actually have some really cool stuff, and I’d consider buying more stuff from them eventually.

But this is what really caught my attention:

I like the paisley design, the navy pulls in the color from the dining room walls, and there’s just a hint of orangey-red in there to tie in to the wall.

But since I’m not one to gamble on expensive things like rugs, so I checked out their website to find that they offer swatches of their rugs for you to check out.  Awesome.  And they’re free.  You just pay for the shipping, which wasn’t really that bad.  So I ordered the swatch, and it came today!  And… I love it!


And, so it is that the decision has finally been made!  Woohoo!

The Chair

8 Feb

So, an update on the chair… A lot of the fabrics that I liked were somehow out of stock when I went to order.  So I started my search over again.  And I found this.  A stripe that has the same colors as the polka dotted fabric, and an orange that just happens to match my wall almost exactly.  Not too much of it, but just enough to pull it in.  And it has blue.  Really, I think it was meant to be that everything else sold out.  I wasn’t sure about the scale of some of those other patterns as well.

Anyway, here’s what I went with.  I think I got enough that I can make a little throw pillow after I’m done reupholstering.  Yahoo!


Pardon the Tracer machine in the shot – I’ve been trying to get a little more artwork done for Clara’s nursery in my free time.  Oh, wait.  What free time?

But back to the important stuff – what do you think of the fabric???

2010 In Review + 2011 Goal Setting

6 Jan

It seems the thing to do the first few days of the new year… review the last year and look forward on what I want to do with the next one. Everyone’s doing it. So I’m jumping on the bandwagon, I guess.

2010 was a crazy year for us. Here’s the quick recap:

Just about a year ago we found out I was pregnant. And our lives changed forever.
We were also waiting to hear about Joel’s law school applications. A week or so after discovering we were pregnant, we also go his acceptance letter to Campbell’s law school.

The next few months seem like a bit of a blur, but somewhere in there I started this blog, quit my part time job, and started making decorations for Clara’s room.

Over the summer I shot a ton of weddings and got a lot of comments like “Wow, you’re about to pop!” and “This must be your last wedding, huh?” But mostly, people were super nice, and the staff at several of the venues were really great about making sure that I had plenty of water to drink, which I am not always good about.

I took September and October off for maternity leave, and Clara showed up (finally) on September 27. Recovering from delivery took a while for me. I admire those of you who bounce back super quick and look like nothing ever happened to you. I remember a lot of people telling me I looked good, but it was all an act. Makeup can do wonders. And since I still look about 5 months pregnant, I think they were just being nice. But thanks, folks.

Since we’re completely insane, and having a baby while in the first semester of law school wasn’t enough for us to have on our plates, we decided to move as well. We’re now in Holly Springs in a fabulous house that I could live in the rest of my life and be happy. This place is awesome, and I love it so much! Our neighbors are super nice. I’ve never lived in a place where you talk to your neighbors when you go out to get the mail, they bring you cookies or brownies when you move in, they offer to take in your packages and collect your mail for you while you’re out of town. It’s really so nice.

For the holidays we headed to Iowa, Greenville, and Holden Beach, and it was great to see family and friends and celebrate Christmas with everyone. I am so glad to finally be home though, and I’m trying to make this week a productive one before Joel heads back to school on Monday. Speaking of the holidays and school – I have two or three posts coming up on those topics. Also, a post on our little trip to the pediatric dermatologist for the spot on Clara’s head. Stay tuned.

So here we are, 2010 is history, and 2011 is in full force! I can’t really believe it – the last few months of 2010 flew by so quickly I can’t even really remember them. That could be partially because of mommy brain… but still. Clara’s 14 weeks old now, and she’s growing so fast. The 3 month mark really is magical. She was adorable before, but she is starting to grab and play with toys, giggle a bit, and jabbering up a storm! I don’t even know what happened to my tiny baby girl…

So, what’s next for 2011? I don’t really do resolutions. I always break them. But I do love goals. Resolutions seem so much like rules – don’t drink soda, lose 15 lbs – and when I don’t meet/follow them I feel like I’ve failed and I give up. Goals are something to work toward. Much more positive. So my goals for 2011 go a little something like this (in no particular order):

– Get back in shape. To do this, I have several sub-goals.
1. Start and complete the Couch to 5K program. (Tomorrow is Week 1, Day 3)
2. Run in a 5K race. (Maybe a 10K race as well. I have no desire to run any farther than that. At least not at this point.)
3. Get back to Crossfit. (I’m giving myself until the end of this month – trying to work out every day to get back in some sort of shape before I go                             back there.)
4. Mix in weight workouts. (This is starting today. Think circuit workout, kinda.)

– Take time for myself. Read, create, be inspired, relax. This is hard for me to do. Especially when I’m trying to keep the pressure off of Joel so he can concentrate on school. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for me. But to keep myself sane, I have to try.

– Complete my 365 Days of Clara project. Maybe continue it for a second year. I’m loving it so far, and I can’t wait to put together a book for the whole year. (Hope you’re not tired of it yet, facebook and twitter friends)

– Be intentional with friends. Having a lot less time on my hands and living a bit farther away now, I’m finding I have to be much more intentional about hanging out with friends. I don’t mind that, I just have to remember, it’s important to make that time. Relationships are important. Friends, you are important to me. I miss your faces. Let’s hang out.

– Go on dates. This is also harder since Clara came along. But Joel and I have talked so many times about making sure that our relationship is the focus and not our kids. Kids are great, they deserve time and attention, but our marriage is really important to us too. So we need to make some time for just the two of us. Somehow. I think the beginning of that is a date night. We’re starting a “kid exchange program” with Kelli and Brandon so we can go out on dates at least once a month, and so can they.

– Get the house done. This has several sub-goals as well.
1. Hang pictures on the walls. In Clara’s room, create more paintings for the walls. So much more wall space.
2. Create a frame/art wall in the entryway. It’s a blank canvas just begging for something fun!
3. Paint our bathroom. Maybe a nice calming shade of grey/slate blue?
4. Fix up my craft room. Put all extra stuff away, and make a place where I can work on projects. Or at least spread them out.
5. Get some area rugs. Clara will be crawling before we know it. And then walking. Oh dear, and then driving. We need something softer than                             hardwood floors for her to fall on. Those inevitable falls.
6. Get bedroom furniture. Yahoo! I ordered this today! No more dorm room master bedroom!  I would like to have made it myself, but there just isn’t                     time, if it’s ever going to get done.  So, I just bought some instead.  Photos to come.

– Shoot some killer weddings! I have 9 on the books right now, I’m hoping for about 10 more (or more!) for next year. I would love to be shooting lots of great weddings. Also, I’d love to shoot some different traditional weddings as well. For example, I would really really love to shoot an Indian wedding or a Chinese wedding or a Jewish wedding. If you know someone doing a different style of wedding, please, oh please, tell them about me! I would love to photograph it! I’ll travel anywhere!!


There are a ton more things I want to accomplish, but this is a good start.  I’m going to try and keep you updated on this.  If you’re interested, that is.

Today? Today I’m going to get dressed, brush my teeth (it’s the little things, people) meet some friends for lunch, drop off a fun package to another friend, feed and change Clara countless times, buy some more yarn, make dinner, hang a shelf in our entryway, take out the trash, finish laundry and maybe start on another hat.  Little goals make big progress.  I’m just gonna take it day by day.

Here’s to a great 2011!  What are your goals??

Freezer Paper Stencils

22 Nov

Before Clara was born and I had extra time to do crafty-type things, I was working on a project.  You might have seen it mentioned here.  I promised a tutorial, so I’m delivering on that…. finally.

This is a really easy, really fun project.  It’s great if you’re having a baby, or if you know someone who is, these make really great gifts!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Blank onesies (or t-shirts or whatever fabric you want to put your design on)
  • Any image you like (I got mine from google images and inspiration from blogs I follow)
  • Freezer Paper (I found it at Harris Teeter, after searching several other stores)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Exacto knife or scissors (depending on how complicated your design is)
  • Iron
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Foil

So, I used white onesies, but you could use any color you like.  I’ve seen some cool bright colored ones at the Targets, or you could use t-shirts for older kiddos or adults.  Custom t-shirts for all!

What to do:

  1. Print out your image in black and white.

  2. Cut off a piece of freezer paper that’s big enough to cover your image, and have some leftover on the sides.
  3. Place freezer paper over the image (important: SHINY SIDE DOWN) and trace the design onto freezer paper.
  4. Use your exacto knife to cut out the image you’ve traced.
  5. Place the negative image (one on the left) onto the onesie in the location you desire.
  6. Iron it onto the onesie.  Use medium to high temperature.  If you have pieces that are independent from the main piece (like the center of the O lin LOVE), iron on the biggest piece/frame first, then fit in the others as you go.  Just double check that everything is stuck and the edges are well adhered before you are done with the iron.
  7. Take it back to your painting area, and use a paint brush, foam brush, or whatever kind of brush you like best, to apply the fabric paint of your choice. (I have heard that there is an additive you can put in regular paint to make it work like fabric paint as well – don’t know what it’s called, or what it really does, but if you have a stash of acrylic paint already, you might want to check it out.)
  8. Once your paint has dried, peel off the freezer paper.
  9. Give it 24 hours, then heat set the paint.  To do this, put an ironing cloth (or a pillow case or any spare fabric you have) over the painted area and iron it.  There are probably specific directions for this on the fabric paint bottle.

Here’s a picture of the finished product:

Then you’re done!  Have fun!

Paint Colors

30 Oct

Ok, so I’m having an internal struggle with color. Of the walls.

I seem to get into a rut.  My rut used to be green.  I painted our downstairs green.  Then our master bath – a kind of seafoam.  Then I didn’t like that so I painted it an ocean blue.  Then we had a baby and we painted her room robin’s egg blue.  Then we put our house on the market and we painted the downstairs a barely-not-white color of blue.  So now, my rut is blue.

Now we are moving into a new house.  I don’t want to paint all the walls, just a few accent walls.  But I do want to use fun, bold colors.

Here’s the house….

Clara’s room will stay the same.  Blue.

There are only a couple other places I want to paint at this point.  The dining room and the fireplace wall in the living room.  Here’s the dining room:

And the color I want to paint it…

Blue.  Haha.  But I love it – LOVE it.  With the white trimwork, I love the way it pops!

By the way – if you want to try this out, I did it on, which allows you to upload a photo and mask off a wall, and drag any of their paint colors onto it to see what it would look like instantly.  Love that.

Here’s the other wall I want to paint:

The question is, what color do I paint it?  Our furniture is dark brown, but besides that I don’t have any other color restrictions.  I seem to be gravitating towards…. oh, you guessed it…

Blue.  But I don’t want the whole house to be blue.  So I am asking for your help.  Help me figure out what color to paint that wall.  Just the one wall.  Please?  I have to decide this week, because we close next Tuesday and move in next Friday!

If you suggest the winning color, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you have amazing taste!


4am Ramblings

9 Sep

Well, good morning.

Today I woke up at 4am, for no good reason except that my back was hurting.  It was just better to get out of bed than keep tossing and turning.  I’ll be napping later, thank you very much.

So, lucky you, you get to read what my brain thinks of on 4 hours of sleep.  If you’re a regular here, you might want to get used to it… I hear that this is going to be my common state of being very soon.

1. UPS Deliveries
I love getting packages from the UPS man, or the FedEx man, or even the mailman.  I don’t discriminate.  When I know a package is coming, I check the tracking numbers obsessively.  When it’s a surprise, well, who doesn’t love a surprise package in the mail??
Yesterday I got 2 packages from the UPS man.  The pump I ordered and my diaper bag.  YAY for the diaper bag, especially.  I LOVE it.  I’ll do a full review soon, but suffice it to say, it was well worth it.

If you like sending packages, I’ll give you my address.  I love getting them.  Hahaha.

On a side note, why do the delivery guys always put the door mat over top of a large box?  What about that says “nothing to see here” ??  To me, it just draws more attention, because people are like “what the crap is going on with their doormat?”  Any thoughts?

2. My desktop computer
I have been working on a large and daunting project the past couple days – getting all my photo files organized and backed up (again).  Never fear, they are backed up.  I have had too many hard drives fail on me to chance that again.  But the issue is that everything is kinda all over the place, on multiple different harddrives, and while I have a list of what is where, I would like to have it consolidated.  The computer has been working fine – sometimes slow, but I figure that’s because it’s been on constantly for 3 years.  But for some reason, last night it stopped working.  I just tried to re-boot again, and it just makes that apple boot noise – you know the chime I mean – and spins and spins and spins.  I guess I’m going to have to make a trip to the apple store to get them to look at it… but man, I just really don’t want to.  I want it to magically start working again.  What do you think my chances are of that?

3. The office
Yesterday I had a long list of things I wanted to take care of.  I got 2 of them done.  But, to be fair, at least one of them was a large project.  I touched up the paint in our master bathroom.  This has needed to be done for a while – we put up new blinds and my first paint choice was still in existence where the old ones came down.  The second project was cleaning and organizing and decluttering the office.  Does everyone have a “dump room?”  The office was definitely mine.  It’s a single-purpose room (at least it was – now Joel uses it for studying), and easy to cut off from the rest of the house if there’s a mess in there.  Just shut the door.  Throw everything in there and shut the door.  That’s what usually happens.  And then I have to always make time for a big cleaning.  Since we’re trying to sell our house, that doesn’t really work anymore.  So, I got out my trash bags, empty plastic bins, and went to work.  It took literally all day, but I finished.

4. Selling the house
Yep, it’s on the market.  We had a showing last Saturday – our first.  We were out of town, which was probably a good thing.  I cleaned before we left on Friday, and decluttered as much as I could.  It’s a process, people.  I would love to live in a house that looks like a magazine all the time, but that just isn’t how life works.  At least not mine.
We are painting our downstairs this weekend.  Apparently, the green I painted my living room and dining room aren’t appealing to everyone.  I kinda knew this going in, but it’s our house, so we did it anyway.  So it will be a lovely barely-blue to go with our grey kitchen, white cabinets, blue countertops (we inherited those and they made the color selection process WAY more difficult… but it works now), and hardwood floors.  My dad is coming up to head up the process, and of course Joel will be here to help.  My mom and I are escaping to look at houses or visit the farmer’s market or something fun like that.

5. Dishes
I hate doing them.  That is all.

6. World Market
They are having a fall clearance sale.  I love that store.  It is kind of amazing and they have the best chai mix I’ve found.  I have tried chai almost everywhere in Raleigh since we got back from India 2 years ago.  Starbucks’ chai is terrible.  Sorry Starbucks.  I like you, really I do.  But your chai is awful.  Helios isn’t much better.  The best coffee-shop chai I’ve found is at Coffee and Crepes.  But it is still lacking.  But World Market sells a mix… I know, I know.  A mix.  But seriously, if you use milk (NOT water), it is the closest thing I’ve found to the chai I had in India.  Even Joel conceded that it’s pretty close.  Nothing will ever touch the freshly hand-ground spice mix there… but it’s close.
Also, I got a little 4-drawer library drawer set there.  It’s adorable.  Someday, when I have room an money for it, I want a big library cabinet.  You know what I mean – the card catalog kind with the little drawers?  Dude, they’re expensive.  But one day, I will have one.  And perhaps I will paint it some bright color.  Or just stain it a beautiful deep wood color.  And fill it with craft supplies.  Or something.  One day.

Oh, I could spend a fortune here.  I bought all the paper I used for our wedding invitations from this site.  They have all kinds of amazing things on this site.  Just a few things I’m drooling over… (but not buying because I’m DE-cluttering):

Who wouldn’t love to get mail in one of these beautiful envelopes??

If this calendar doesn’t make me want to stay organized, I don’t know what will.  I have a thing for typography and letterpress-looking numbers and letters

Oh there is so much more that I could show you, but you should just go check it out.

8. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
I love this show.  It happens to be, in my opinion the funniest late night show on television.  I am watching Friday’s show right now, and my favorite segment is on… Friday Thank You Notes.  If you haven’t seen this – well, you are missing out.  For example, “Thank you, omlette, for being a much more popular way of saying ‘egg taco.'”  I mean, he just makes me laugh.  It could be the sleep deprivation, but I’m pretty sure I just find him hilarious.

Jimmy, if you happen somehow to read this, thanks for making me laugh, even at 4 in the morning when I want to just cry because I’m awake.  Also, if you want a photographer to come visit your show, or SNL if you ever host, I’m your girl.

Ok, now I am completely delirious.

9. Doctors
I see them again today.  Hoping they announce that I’m making progress and baby girl will join us soon.  I guess we’ll see.

Until then, I’m going to sip on some ginger ale and crushed ice.