Around Here: July

The start of the school year is near and even though I'm not the one going back to school, it still brings about that "new start" feeling that I love so much.  So in the spirit of new starts, I'm hoping to jump start this blog with new content.  

June and July have flown by as we settled into our new house.  We've become addicted to transforming homes and this one is no different.  We've already painted 50% of the interior walls, added a plethora of plants to the yard, and we've only just begun.  Making a house a home is one of our favorite hobbies.  And Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray is my absolute favorite wall color! 

we love puj cups

Speaking of setting up home, I've been eyeing these Puj cups for quite some time but only recently realized they were available with Amazon Prime shipping which meant the price didn't almost double with shipping!  I even tried DIY-ing cups last year with magnets but it failed.  Finally ordered them and so far these have been a big hit.  It's a small win, but no longer cleaning up 10 cups at the end of the day has been very worth it. 

Have you checked out Prisma yet? This new app transforms your photos into art.  After seeing the fun photos my brother in law was creating I decided to check it out and I've been obsessed ever since.  Working on a wall art idea for the playroom using these. If it turns out, I'll definitely post about it soon! 

boutique personal photo editor for wedding and portrait photographers

Really enjoying my new venture in editing for photographers.  While being the one behind the camera will forever bring me joy, it's been an incredible pleasure to work with a few photographers and help them in their business. 

Also working on a new memory keeping project and I'd love to know, what do you struggle with most when it comes to documenting your children's lives or your own?  Taking the pictures?  Finding the words to go with the pictures? Creating something tangible with these photos/stories so that they may be viewed for years to come?  Leave a comment below! 

Planning the Boys' Rooms

Just a month and a half into our new home and we have nearly finished painting every wall on the main floor.  Not everything is completed in these rooms, in fact we're using our old tv console as a coffee table currently, but having a fresh coat of Agreeable Gray and Anew Gray over the yellow, blue, and sage green is a good start.  

The upstairs is next and since I wanted to get an idea of what colors we'll be painting the boys' rooms, I decided to put together a little inspiration board for each to help guide me.  

To get the ideas flowing, I do what I often do: scroll Pinterest while scanning the room for empty spots that need filling.  And since these were fun to put together, I thought they might be fun to share alongside a few before pictures. 

I can't wait to have these rooms done! 

Ephram's Room


The biggest change from Ephram's previous bedrooms is that we got rid of his bedframe.  Beau did a great job building him one 3 years ago, but it was getting pretty grungy in the areas that we didn't sand and wood fill very well and hard to clean. Note to self: use the select wood next time.  The thought of taking it apart and bringing it with us just wasn't making either of us happy.  I fell in love with the iron spindle bed we got Alwyn a few months ago, so I'm planning on getting Ephram a similar one.  

When it comes to the decor, much of it is staying the same.  I slowly curated and created artwork for his walls in the last house, like the wooden mountain and the wall gallery.  I'd like to add a few more art prints to match his current interests since he has a bit more wall space, and eventually add a desk.

While antique shopping a few weeks ago for nightstands, I came across two mid-century desks like the one in the inspiration board that I loved.  I'm hoping when I'm ready to spend the money on one, I can still easily find one.

I didn't end up finding an old table to refinish for a nightstand, so I bought a Tarva nightstand from Ikea for each of the boys.  They come unfinished but with a bit of paint and stain, they're still pretty cheap!  My plan for now is to stain the top and paint the rest white.

 A few before pictures of Ephram's new room:

I'm most excited to try hanging a pegboard!  I knew Beau would roll his eyes on that one, but I think it could be a cool addition to both of their rooms.  And I'm debating on painting the small wall that leads to the jack and jill bathroom a dark gray, almost a chalkboard color.  Maybe I'll let him paint something on it like a dinosaur or pony or lego guy.  We'll see...


Alwyn's Room


Ephram's room felt quite a bit more finished than Alwyn's room did at our last house.  When I created his first nursery, I really went with a white & bright feel as I was transitioned Ephram's room into more of a colorful toddler room.  I added some art with a fun wall gallery at the previous house, but this time I'll be adding in a bit more color.

He is now in a twin bed (the one pictured in Ephram's inspo board), and finally has a bedspread after months of searching.  For some reason I always look at Ikea last.  I try to avoid them, but in the end, they always seem to have a reasonably priced version of what I'm looking for.  

I plan to leave Ephram's pegboard brown, but I love the idea of painting Alwyn's to add more color in.  I'm not sure yet what I'll be hanging on these pegboards, but I had wanted a spot to hang awards, hats, and hooded sweatshirts near his door, so I'll try that.  The tricky part is making it work with the chair rails.  It prevents me from hanging them close enough to the ground for him to reach, which is the opposite of what I want, so I need to think that one over.  I have a love/hate relationship with the chair rails... 

Artwork will be another big addition.  I clicked over to yesterday morning after seeing an email in my inbox and ended up drooling over at least 10 art pieces.  Alwyn is our outdoorsy kid and the only true Texan in our family, so I'm definitely going to play with that aspect of his personality in his room.  That personalized cowboy boot is my favorite.  And he and I already started gathering sticks from the yard for those stars.

A few before pictures of Alwyn's new room. 

And after all that, I'm still think I'll be going gray with the walls!

Fun with Fireworks (How to)

Backyard fireworks are becoming a tradition around here, and since I'm not fond of crowds, you won't hear a complaint from me!  Especially when friends and family join us!  

Fourth of July has become one of my favorite holidays because I love to photograph the kids enjoying the fireworks.  I have a little tutorial at the bottom of the post if you're interested in getting those creative firework photos next year. 

We kicked off our day with water balloons, croquet, dinner and, of course treats.  Then ended the day in the backyard with fireworks.  

And then the fireworks came out.  I love how they lined up biggest to littlest all on their own.  

An intense game of Rock Paper Scissors to decide who got to shoot off the first firework. 

A few more snacks and finally the sun set. 

How to take Fun Firework Photos

Switching your camera to manual mode will allow for you choose the correct settings to capture the motion of the light.  

  • Use a long shutter speed (how long the shutter is open). I suggest starting at 4-6 seconds and adjusting as needed. This is the most important part as it allows the camera to catch the long streaks of light created by the fireworks.  While fireworks are pretty in person, I love the way we can creatively capture them with a camera. 
  • A tripod is very important for these types of photos because of the long shutter speed.  If you don't have one, then set your camera on a something sturdy that will not move.  I have this one by Manfrotto, but a light-weight tripod like this one works just fine as well. 
  • Choose a high aperture.  By using a larger aperture (around f11-f14) you are increasing the area that is in focus and since it can be hard to focus in the dark, this increases the likelihood of getting an in focus image. 
  • Normally in a dark situation you would want a higher ISO, but you don't want to unnecessarily add digital noise to the photo, so keeping the ISO at a low number is just fine for fireworks. 

A few other things to try: 

  • Use portrait mode to get those tall fireworks.
  • Try creating a silhouette by having someone stand with the firework glow behind them. 
  • Try it with glowsticks too!  The kids ended the night with a glowstick party in the barn which made for some pretty sweet photos also. 

Hope you had a great Fourth!