Wreath obsessed.

18 11 2011

My friend Kim has started a new business making wreaths and hair accessories. I am totally obsessed with her wreaths (and would be the hair bows if I had girls).  You;ll see one on my front door as soon as I have time to pick out the colors. Check out her etsy shop and buy something fun.  Her prices are so low that I sort of feel like I’m stealing from her but I think she really enjoys doing it.

If you do order from the site, make sure to enter the code 0SHIPPING (that’s the number zero) at checkout and you can either pick it up at her house or she can bring it to you.  That will be a standing coupon code for Charlotte friends so use it any time and share it with any friends in Charlotte you might refer.

Also, you can use the coupon code 1STTIMER for a 15% discount on your entire purchase from the site now through Cyber Monday.  If you order something that is custom-made, remember that she’ll need a little extra time to make it.  Anything ordered by Cyber Monday will certainly be ready well before Christmas though.


It’s your chance.

3 11 2011

I could go on all day about the value of owning original art and while I don’t feel any need to persuade you to agree with me, I do want to invite you to a show and sale hosted by my client and friend Judith Voglesonger. Judith brings emerging artists to market and at the same time offers new and existing collectors an opportunity to purchase high quality, original art at affordable prices. She shares my passion for bringing art into the homes of people who never thought they’d be able to own an original.

I know the majority of us don’t have funds to spend on “extras” right now, but i would challenge you to consider the riches that owning and enjoying real art offers.  It’s a recession proof investment I promise.

Here are the details:

Fall Art & Jewelry Show

Original Art, Limited Edition Fine Art Photographs and Vintage & Repurposed Jewelry

Cash & Check only

Wednesday, November 9th 10-2 pm

Thursday, November 10th 10-2 pm

Friday, November 11th 10-2 pm

Saturday, November 9th 10-Noon

3330 Cambria Road, Mountainbrook, Charlotte NC



See more inventory on facebook at ‘JWV Artists’

“The unspoken language of fine art evokes a spiritual and emotional connection with the viewer that represents a truly valuable accomplishment for the  artist.”  – Kristen Thies  Wisdom and the Dreamer

I’ll also be selling jewelry at the show from my new venture REPURPOSED so I’d love for you to stop by and say hello.  I’ll have a good size inventory with lots of variety at very reasonable prices so grab a few gifts for Christmas.  JWV has a great selection of photographs as well, that would make great gifts.

What do we wear?

24 10 2011

This is random, i know.

One thing I’m often asked is to help pick out wardrobes for family photo shoots.  I love getting the chance to do that because it’s just one of those things that makes me tick.  I’ve been meaning to write a post on the subject for the past few years, in order to offer DIY tips and just never got around to it, but I stumbled upon this while visiting a favorite blog last night. She titled her post “What do we wear?” as well so now I don’t have to write one…just read hers. She makes the same point I stress…coordinate, don’t match.  And be open to inspiration. We used the colors from the maps we made our airplanes from to inform our wardrobe decisions for this shoot.  We may or may not have included too many colors…but if you know me, that’s a great expression of freedom.

Christmas cards: taking this year off

26 09 2011

As part of my radical effort to truly slow down (see previous post) I decided to stop working. Initially I had hoped to stop altogether for a while and then to slowly pick up small projects until all three boys are in elementary school.  But then…reality set in and I realized work for me isn’t just a fun thing I do to pad our budget. All that to say I have started taking on freelance projects again and plan to start back full force in January.  I have decided however, not to do Christmas cards this year.  For the past four years I have spent every spare moment from the middle of October to the middle of December working on cards and as much as I love it, it really robs me of fully enjoying our family during the holidays. I want to take just this one year to actually think about Halloween costumes before 5 pm on the 31st, contribute to the Thanksgiving meal, decorate the house for Christmas, be involved with Christmas shopping, and not be a high-strung stress ball as I wait anxiously for those last-minute cards that might not make it in time for Christmas. I hate doing this to such a faithful client base but I hope you’ll understand and come back next year for exciting fresh designs.

Exception to the rule…if there is a photographer out there who has an open slot in October, November or early December I will gladly trade family photos for 150 custom designed cards. We’re desperate this year because Hope moved to California and Jen is busy being a mommy! Just email me at spay@carolina.rr.com if you’re interested.

The Red Balloons.

3 05 2011

Dexter turned two on April 17th and we had a little celebration.

Now I do love to throw a party–it’s the ultimate creative opportunity–but this year my heart was in a different place and I was hyper aware of my thoughts, feelings and motivations.  This party needed to be small and rather low-key. It was a busy day and there were just a few guests but it felt impossible for me to really make it as simple as I had hoped I would.  The party was to celebrate Dexter but honestly the details were more about me and my idols.

If he remembers anything about the party at all it will be the cake and the red balloons…the two things I had nothing to do with…oh and maybe the red lollipop.

But this is what I’ll remember…

Likely this will be the last cute party I throw. When they turn three they have opinions about what they like and want, and they don’t usually provide good inspiration for whimsical party themes. But…I’m sure I’ll still have plenty of opportunities to sort out the difference between an idol and a creative outlet.

What a coincidence…

9 02 2011

iPhone 4 is now available on Verizon…and my birthday is Friday.


The Willow Cottage at Cold Mountain.

14 01 2011

Thanks to my Mom’s planning and effort, we have spent the last three Christmases in or near Asheville.  This year she found an amazing property at Cold Mountain, just outside of Waynesville, NC. After deciding on the Willow Cottage, we realized that the owners are relatives of a close friend of ours…such a small world.

When she first found this property we were smitten with the photos and the idea of having 200 acres for exploring. If you have boys with adventurous spirits you understand the appeal. The cottage itself, was designed by renowned architect Keith Summerour.  His idea was to take the very finest elements of luxury homebuilding and scale them down to an enjoyable, sensible size of 2300 feet. Inside, the materials, craftsmanship and design are beyond lovely. The exterior features locally harvested stone, cedar siding, and unbelievable Ludowici clay tile roofing. For me, it was a welcome change from the ultra modern environment I tend to appreciate and to create. We felt as if we were stepping back in time to an era when craftsmanship and materials still mattered and when children were free to enjoy the outdoors without the fear of human predators (we did see evidence of Bobcats and some other wild animals).

The Willow Cottage is one of two homes on the property at Cold Mountain and the other one was vacant so it was wonderful having the entire place to ourselves. The clear waters of the East Fork River run through the property just 300 feet off the cottage which is located in the heart of the meadow area of Cold Mountain and is next to a historic dairy barn and a bass pond bordered by Willow Trees. Being “out” was so perfect for our family this year but it was nice being just 35 minutes away from Asheville and 15 minutes from Waynesville.

My parents graciously offered to take Bradley & Bennett up almost two days early. I missed them, but having time to pack and clean was the best gift of the season. I cleaned out cabinets and drawers that have been accumulating junk for years. I also knew how great it would feel to come home to a clean and orderly home since we’d be trying to integrate all the new “stuff” that comes with Christmas. Poor little Dexter was a basket case for about 10 days leading up to the New Year. We have battled ear infections with him since he was six months old and having run out of options to treat them, we scheduled an appointment for him to get ear tubes on the 30th. We knew it meant leaving vacation a bit early but we had no choice. His constant crying and a five-day sinus headache for me, sadly put a damper on my experience but everyone else said it was the best Christmas ever.

Joe and I arrived on Christmas eve day just in time to enjoy my dad’s yummy chili and to go out and find a christmas tree. The backside of the property once had a small tree farm on it so there were still plenty of frasier firs growing wild.  They were super tall so we found one that we were able to cut the top off to use for our tree.  Bradley & I had been planning the ornaments we would make for the tree but we weren’t able to fulfill that vision because it snowed so much the next day we couldn’t hunt for the things we needed to make them.  Fortunately, there were several hydrangea bushes that we were able to harvest the dried flowers for tree decorations. It was simple but beautiful.

Like I said before, the accommodations were beyond exquisite. Every detail had been carefully considered.  The boys slept in darling trundle beds at the top of the stairwell beneath a majestic window.  It was almost too storybook to be real.  There must have been some magic slumber dust in the beds, because they usually require a dark, quiet cave for sleeping.

Christmas morning we were woken up by the pitter patter of little feet running to the window to check for snow…and while we were watching the first flake fell from the sky.  It only added to the magic.

We decided to take gift-opening more slowly this year.

Batman shirts, Legos, books, Mimi’s boots and Great Grandpa’s new i-pad were among the favorite gifts.

It snowed all day and night until every surface as far as we could see was covered with a fluffy white blanket (a little too fluffy for making snowmen). My Dad did manage to make an awesome snow fort (using a plastic shoe box to mold the “bricks”).

We sledded and sledded and sledded some more.

And I wished and wished and wished I was a photographer.

Dexter cried the entire time we were there, but Bennett was really good…

…and Bradley was really bad.  Just kidding. He was an angel.

The boys all enjoyed music time with Mimi and even when it wasn’t time for music they enjoyed getting into all her instruments. If I could handle the noise (or afford it) I’d replace all our toys with instruments. I’ve never seen them so content.

There’s a part of me that would love to begin creating some Christmas morning traditions in our own home but for now we are really enjoying the excitement of being away and together as a family for the holiday.