how to spend your Fourth of July

So you know that breast cancer walk that I'm doing? Well, us Starbucks girls are holding a bake sale as a fundraiser this Saturday at the Ocean City Starbucks. I know that most of my bloggy readers don't live in this area, but if you do, swing by and meet us! We're starting at 7 am and will be there until the goods run out. 


I'm joining the fight

This laughing, vibrant, slightly drenched lady is Randi Hower Dye, my mother in law. This picture was taken in July 2005, and on March 17, 2006 she died from breast cancer. 
You can't see it in the picture, but at this point the cancer had spread through her body and she had to be pushed everywhere in a wheelchair. At our wedding in November she walked down the aisle, though, and sang for the last time in public. She was incredibly gracious, and I wish I'd had a chance to know her better. I think the best thing I can say about her is that she was my husband's best friend. Not many moms can claim that of their oldest sons. When she died she left behind 6 kids and a husband, and the youngest three were 8, 11, and 15. To me, this is the saddest part of all. 

So this year, in October, I'm going to walk in the Breast Cancer 3 Day in Washington DC, and I'm going to raise at least $2300, and to do that I need your help. Click on the button on the right hand side of my blog or go here to donate to the cause. And because I really really believe in what I'm doing, I'm going to give something back to you: when you make a donation of $25 or more, I'm going to send you a 5x7 print from my Etsy shop. I'm not making any money on these, but I want you to have a reminder tof how you've given. So when you're filling out the donation form, under "personal note to the participant" write in the name of the print that you want and I'll get that sent to you. It's a win/win situation: you get an awesome picture AND the knowledge that you've helped others. And if you want to pass this along to others, I'll be super grateful. 

Don't worry, dear bloggy friends, I'll keep you updated on the progress! 


on being discouraged

So last week one friend got discouraged, and another bloggy person took an at home rest cure, and it started me thinking again about this business of being creative just how much it takes out of you, and what happens when the inspiration runs out? 
Se, here's the thing about being creative: it's a heck of a lot of work. Trust me when I say that it's much easier to just follow than it is to continually pull together ideas and create something where before there was nothing, and, what's more, create something unique. And while I appreciate well-reasoned critics and enjoy their commentary and definitely think that any piece of creative work needs to be able to stand up to scrutiny, sometimes I head nagging, yammering, uninformed nit-picking and it makes me want to say "Just go create ONE SINGLE THING--I don't even care what, you can even bake a cake for all I care--and then come back and we'll try this again." Because constantly pushing yourself is hard work. (This is why I no longer carry my camera to personal events; I can no longer turn off "photographer brain," that phenomenon whereby I'm constantly checking the light, looking for angles, and trying to shoot mundane subjects in a way that hasn't been shot before.) 
Ahem. Sorry. That's a bit of a rant, I think. 
So anyway, sometimes you (and by "you" I mean me) get tired, right? And there is NOT ONE SINGLE IDEA in your brain that doesn't involve a) a couch b) chips or c) eating ice cream right out of the carton. Or, you know, whatever those bad habits are that you revert to in times of stress. 

The above quote may or may not be applicable; I really have no idea. It's just been permanently inscribed on my brain somehow, and I had to share it. But I think it does apply; half of overcoming discouragement is just keeping on. 
Ok, so on the actual process of regaining creativity; I'm to share what works for me and what I've seen, and please share your ideas in the comments or your own posts. I want to know!

The biggest thing for me is rest. Since creativity is a discipline, it's hard work! And work is, by definition, tiring, no matter how much you love it. So when I start losing ideas, the first thing I try to do is catch up on my sleep. (Sadly, if you are stressed this doesn't always work, since the brain is racing in circles attempting to resolve issues and you just can't sleep.) 
Sometimes I need to do something else that I love. I suppose this sort of falls under rest, because turning off my brain can definitely jumpstart it again later. Reading a delightfully fun book, going on a picnic, building a bonfire in my backyard and making s'mores with friends, or hitting the local goodwill are my favorite ways to relax and distract my brain. On a related note, the more balanced my life is between life/work/solitary time/socialization, the more ideas I have, it seems. 
So now I'm rested and relaxed and my house is clean (yes, this helps me), and I'm still hating the thought of generating a new idea? This is when I start hitting the inspiration hard. Movies, books, blogs, and music all kickstart my brain into high gear. 
These are my favorites:
Movies: Marie Antoinette, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Atonement, Vanity Fair, I Capture the Castle. Most of these films have a common theme: they're absolutely gorgeous to look at. I can watch them with the sound turned off, and they start my brain whirling with new ideas of ways to use light and angle and props. 
Books/Magazines: I have a stack of old Vogues that I flip through periodically, as well as the "Day in the Life" series of books. Also, I am strangely obsessed with any behind-the-scenes of a restaurant book, starting with Michael Ruhlman's "chefs trio" through Kitchen Confidential, and now am lusting over the new book by Eric Ripert
Blogs: This could be a long, long list, but I'll pick my top five. Lauryl, Color Me Katie, Poser, E, Doe Deere
Music: I listen to music slightly oddly; when I hear it, in my head I see scenes that should be happening in time to it. I know, right? So a good roundup of the iPod can give me ideas like nothing else. Best ones: Amy Seeley, Vampire Weekend, Ray Lamontagne, Mika.  Soundtracks: The Patriot, The Last Kiss, Les Miserables (dreamcast!), Band of Brothers
Ok, enough of my ramblings. What do you do when creativity is at an all-time low? 


wednesday wonderfulness

It's summertime, yo! I've officially busted out the ice cream maker and am once again working through my ice cream cookbook. (Check out some of the awesomeness.) Friday was coffee, raspberry swirl, and peach ice cream; that was in honor of le brother's 21st birthday. No pictures, though. Anyway, here's what's inspiring me lately. 
As I type this I have a very quiet bunny and  a very LOUD guinea pig hopping around my ankles. Surreal. I love my life. 


just for fun I take pictures sometimes

So last week I dropped by the salvation army and I found this amaaazing vintage gown, all beaded and glorious, and it was only $9. When I found another, same size, right behind it, I knew that someone had died and I immediately searched the racks until I found all the vintage stuff, which turned out to be one slip, the two gowns, and three suits. So I bought the whole lot and brought them home, only to realize that this gown was freaking TINY. The only person I could think of who could fit it was, fortunately, game for anything.

So this afternoon instead of going to the beach, Eli did hair and makeup on Scarlett, and when she got it all done I went outside and snapped photos for about 45 minutes. These are the results. Did I mention that this is essentially my backyard? Also: meet gatsby the chicken and lucy the lop. Yep, they're cute.

The pink dress is the vintage one. The hat is also vintage, and I found that at goodwill some time ago. Eli's green dress is vintage, from goodwill, and her headband is forever21.

our muses



fields of grassy stuff

inspired by marie antionette

and gatsby the chicken

that's lucy the lop to you

do you like my hat?


motivational monday

As I was doing some monday-morning feed-reading, I came across this post, and it just kinda stuck in my head. So I rummaged through some old photos (I don't have time to shoot a new one, not this morning) and found one that, although you've seen it before, I think works. Enjoy.

motivational monday


wednesday wonderfulness, the stormy weather edition

It's storming like crazy here, and I'm avoiding work by sharing some of the loveliness I've run across this week. 
Ok, enjoy the rain!


why anthro still inspires everyone

Catalogs that contain more inspiration per inch than Nylon magazine.

How much do you love these rooms?

This catalog also featured several different artists.

Apparently this most recent catalog was shot in Austin? Lovely. These photos really make me think of Bekah's work. Girl, are you holding out on me?

Also, I think I need to make this dress.

You can check out the whole catalog here.