Two Thousand and Twelve

The beginning of a year always feels weird to me.  Is it the letdown of the extreme, months-long Christmas hype being over with the snap of two fingers?  (Well, I guess it would be one thumb and one finger.)  Is it the uncertainty that the coming year brings?  For me, it’s always a bit awkward, like I suddenly can’t find my footing, and it takes awhile to get “comfortable” with the new year.

Two thousand and twelve years since the birth of Christ.  That sounds old, but is it?  As much as science wants to claim it knows everything, or try to LEARN everything, the truth is that, when you think about it, we don’t know if our world is “old” or not.  Been around for a long time?  Sure, but we don’t know the timeline Earth has as a whole.  Every day that the sun rises, this planet is older than it’s ever been.  I mean, duh.  Same with us.  I’m older now than I was when I started typing this sentence.  But the difference between human beings and the planet is that we know the general length of time we can be expected to live, unless illness or accident should take us before our bodies give out.  We don’t know if 2012 is as old as the earth is going to get, or if people will laugh at those silly Mayans in the year 1023984789323.  As a Christian, I believe it when the Bible says that Jesus will return “like a thief in the night ” – no one knows when it’ll happen – but even people who share my faith seem to think that the world is ending if they live through an earthquake or five.

But this post isn’t supposed to be about the end of the world.  Goodness knows I am so incredibly sick of hearing people theorizing and joking about that, I don’t really care to think about it ever again.

This post is about a new year, and some of the things I hope to accomplish in it.

Now, I’m not going to post a list of resolutions.  It’s come to the point where I cringe at the word, it having become a colloquialism for “something I would like to do but have already accepted that I will eventually fail at.”  (Sorry, Churchill, couldn’t think of a non-awkward way to not end that sentence with a preposition.)  I am simply going to go through some little and some not-so-little goals of mine that I sure hope will happen this year.

*I would like to no longer be afraid of my sewing machine.  Sure, I use it all the time, but the poor thing probably gets so bored with doing straight stitches and zigzag stitches when there are so many other possibilities.  I’d like to learn to insert a zipper, snaps, multiple buttonholes (one is easy enough, but spacing multiple buttonholes and buttons apart evenly so that the garmet/what have you fastens the way it should is a whole other animal).  I’d like to be confident in sewing instead of biting my lip and hoping for the best.

*I’d like to get good at the piano again.  I played for seven-and-a-half years, then my teacher stopped teaching and I had to go to another teacher.  My new teacher didn’t like that I’d never learned to sight read (I play by ear) and took it upon herself to teach me.  I just wanted to play songs I liked; I wasn’t interested in being able to say I had some technical skill (that, yes, I probably should have had anyway, but I don’t really care).  Learning under her was more difficult than learning piano in the first place had been.  So, being a stubborn seventeen-year-old, I quit, and though I have a very nice keyboard, I haven’t touched its keys in years.  We’ve recently moved it into the living room and I hope to bring it to life once again.

*I’d like to declare Ryan and myself debt-free.  We are well on our way, having paid off our credit card and my car in 2011.  After the rest of my school loans, we’ll be debt-free.  (This doesn’t include the house we still own in Oklahoma – grumbleeconomygrumble.  Anyone need a 3-bed, 2-bath in Broken Arrow?)

*I’d like to cure myself of my paralyzing fear of snakes.  “Paralyzing” is the key word.  I accept that I will always have at least a healthy fear of snakes, but I want it to be just that – healthy.  No more seeing a tiny, harmless snake and reacting by jumping ten feet into the air, screaming, sobbing, hyperventilating, fleeing the scene and refusing to ever go back to that particular location, and subsequently having nightmares for weeks that there are snakes chasing me and I can only move in slow motion, or not at all.  I want to be able to go on hikes, nature walks, into the woods, etc without gearing myself up as if I’m facing my own gruesome death.

*I’d like to blog more – and I’d like it to be because I want to, not because I’m playing to some audience that I’m really hoping exists.  I’d like to not care whether what I blog about is interesting to a lot of people.  If I feel the need to express something, I want to do it without criticizing myself about it.  I will have great days and weeks and months.  I will have bad days and weeks and months.  I will blog.

*I’d like to make exercise a consistent priority in my life.  I’d like to view it positively, maybe even as something fun (gasp), and not as punishment for eating a piece of chocolate cake.  I have no unrealistic goals of never eating this or that again, because I know myself and as soon as I tell myself I’m not allowed to have something, I’ll obsess over that very thing.  As the great Jack Black said in School of Rock, “I like to eat.  Is that so much of a crime?”  Because of this very hobby of mine, I’d like to enrich my life with consistent exercise.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now.  What are some things you’d like to do this year?  The world is young!  Well, that may be entirely false, but I’d rather die believing I have my whole life ahead of me any day.

Mason Jar Snow Globe: My Version

Has anyone else seen these?  They are magical.  They are beautiful.  They are so overpriced, it’s just funny.  Here’s how I made one for a fraction of the price.

You’ll need a mason jar (1/2 off at Hobby Lobby = 75 cents), some little Christmas trees (also HL 50% off = $1 for a bag of 3 larger, 75 cents for a bag of 5 small), hot glue gun, and enough white glitter to generously cover the base of the jar.  I like the look of the silver glitter-tipped trees in Anthro’s version, so I also used some Mod Podge and silver glitter that I already had on hand.

I poured some Mod Podge onto a foil-lined plate and gently dipped the tree all around – don’t drag it unless you want bigger clumps of glitter.  (You could also use any glue, but Mod Podge is what I had on hand and it worked great.)

The glittered tree:

While the trees were drying, I hot glued the pieces of the lid together by gluing a rim around the ring, then attaching the flat circle part.  (I am sure there are technical terms for these lid parts that I do not know.)  😉

Arrange your trees/whatever other figurines you’d like you use (woodland creatures, etc), making sure they will fit inside the jar width- and height-wise.  Hot glue in place and let dry.  I got pretty sloppy with my hot glue, but I knew the glitter “snow” would cover it so I wasn’t worried about it.

Pour the white glitter into the jar.  (I lucked out with JUST enough!)

I applied hot glue all around the rim of the jar, then screwed the lid on.  Practice screwing the lid on without the glue a couple of times (I know that sounds silly, but it’s tricky) because obviously there’s not much going back once the glue is on there.

Turn over and enjoy!

Goes perfectly with my woodland scene cake platter (an idea I stole from this post from Nienie).:)

Because I liked how this turned out so much, I went a step further and did the same to a huge apple cider jug that I dug out of the kitchen trash at church last Sunday.  (I am nothing if not resourceful.)  This one was a bit trickier and involved many antics with two marshmallow roasters-turned-pair of tongs.  After a few furrowed brows, heavy sighs and the realization that I had glitter on my tongue, it worked out.  For this one, I used fake snow flakes (also from Hobby Lobby).

The happy woodland family:)

Are you going to make one or some?  Show me a picture if you do!

Changes

Hi, all (are there any of you out there, anyway?).  I wanted to announce that this blog will be seeing some changes in the near future – changes that make me happy.

I have decided to no longer *actively* pursue professional photography.  Taking photographs is something that I love to do, and I want to keep it that way.  I have found that for me, seeking out clients is stressful and disheartening, especially in an industry that is becoming more overly saturated by the day.  Doing photoshoots for families and couples for the past two years has been very enjoyable, and I hope to be able to continue to do it for loved ones in the future.  I am not stepping away from my camera; on the contrary, I hope to view it as more of a friend than a business tool from here on out, and therefore use it even more often.  I am also not announcing that I will never do a shoot for someone again – I have a couple of them coming up that I am most excited about 😉  And if you are reading this and would like to talk to me about taking some photos, please go ahead and contact me.  The purpose of this announcement is mostly to say that, because this blog has thus far been geared mostly at attracting potential clients, I haven’t really had many opportunities to post.  And that makes me sad.  (It also tells me that I haven’t been trying very hard, which in turn tells me I don’t want to be a professional photographer that badly.)

See, if you know me at all, you know that I have a lot in my imagination and on my mind at all times.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and, though I’ve gotten some criticism in the past for being “too honest” online, I like it that way.  I am and always have been an open book, and I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone, anyway.  That, and over the past few months, I’ve come to feel restless, and I’ve recently realized that it’s because I don’t have a way to consistently express myself creatively or emotionally.

What I’m getting at is that I’d like this pretty blog o’ mine to become a personal one.  I have a plethora of blogs that I follow, and getting those glimpses into the authors’ lives is one of my favorite things about every day.  I want to be able to post the way they do.  Maybe I’ll even pick up a few people who look forward to seeing if there’s a new post on my blog each day, too.  Maybe not.  I’ve gotten to the point where I recognize that I need to do this not for the Google analytics telling me how popular my blog is, but for me.

What I hope you’ll see: more frequent posts that capture the big and little goings-on in my life and my feelings about them (and, of course, plenty of pictures).  I’ve felt like time has really been slipping through my fingers lately, and I’m hoping to slow that as best I can by giving myself something to look back on and remember.  This blog will henceforth be my attempt at that.  If you’re reading, thanks:)

Col + Phil + Elly: Portraits

I was honored to shoot portraits of my dear friends Phil and Colleen and their daughter, Elly, last weekend.  I also did Colleen’s maternity shoot last year and Elly’s newborn photos.  Always so fun to work with this adorable family!

Thanks as always, lovely friends of mine, for letting me be your photographer!  :)

My Fall Branch

I have a branch I took from an old graveyard suspended above my dining table (what, doesn’t everybody?).  I decided to make Elsie’s leaf garland to give my branch an extra little boost for fall.

I think I might make some fabric birds to hang here and there, too.  We’ll see.

Happy (early) fall!

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