Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Not to mention that testing out all your delicious recipes took a lot of time. Not to mention that, even after that, I was having trouble making up my mind (just me?) so, I called for some reinforcements and we finally have a winner!
Congratulations to JanAlyssa from Awesome Meter! Not only did she bless us with an easy recipe for frozen chocolate mousse pie, but I love her story about carving out a little piece of home over the holidays, even when home was far away. Check it out!
JanAlyssa is the lucky winner of the Leslie Graff domestic series painting of her choice, as well as a set of notecards from Leslie. We are all officially jealous! Leave your e-mail address in the comments section and we'll get the goods to you right away.
(Which I am sure you don't believe because I have not proved myself to be very timely. But I mean it this time.)
For the rest of us, there is still all sorts of contesting going on (are you Daring to Design?) and lots more good stuff coming your way, so stick with us!
Friday, August 27, 2010
For those of you planning to spend your Saturday morning at the Shabby Apple Garden Party sale, though, I am afraid I have some bad news. (Don't shoot the messenger, OK?) Seems there is going to be some bad weather this weekend, and some other bumps in the proverbial road as well, so I am sorry to announce that the sale is off.
I am sorry.
Let's all take a minute.
Need a tissue?
The silver lining is, we are still giving away the Cider dress from The Berkshires to one lucky blogger! And, there are still other really great things going on here. And, you all mean a whole lot to us, so we are going to make it up to you for sure.
Thanks, guys. You're the best.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The rules are the same and simple as ever.
1. Design a dress. You definitely DO NOT have to be a professional designer, or an artist, or a seamstress or anything like that. Just think of what you would want to wear and put it down on paper the best you can.
2. Put up a sketch, computer drawing or photograph of your design on your own personal blog, with a post that includes the words "dress design for Shabby Apple dresses." The words "Shabby Apple dresses" should be a link back to our site (http://www.shabbyapple.com/). Don't forget this step! Posts without a link back to our site will not be considered.
3. Also include some ideas for fabrics and colors in your post, and tell us about your design inspiration.
4. Once your post is up and running and just the way you like it, send an e-mail to email@example.com with the direct link to your entry post.
5. Remember that the dress you design should adhere to Shabby Apple standards. That means it should have sleeves and a hemline to the knee, and let's leave the cleavage out of it, shall we? (I mean, come on, your grandma could be reading this!)
6. Dresses should also be appropriate for the Spring season.
7. If your dress is chosen, it will become part of Shabby Apple's next spring line! Fame! Fortune! You will be responsible for getting a sample made, but not to worry if you can't make one yourself. We'll hook you up with the resources you need.
Now, the rules. And you know how cranky I get when you don't follow the rules, so read carefully. If you please.
1. The contest is underway RIGHT NOW and entries can be submitted up to 11:59 EST on October 15, 2010. I will stay up that late and watch the entries come in, so don't even think of sneaking one by me.
2. Our favorite 15 entries will be posted on this here blog by October 22, 2010.
3. Then you, dear readers, will have a chance to vote on your favorite. Whoever has the most votes by November 15, 2010 will be the big winner! And that big winner will be announced November 22nd. (It takes me that long to count all the votes, you see.)
So, what's in it for you, you might be wondering? Well, I am glad you asked. Your dress will become part of the Shabby Apple Spring collection, and the winner will also receive a 3% royalty on every dress sold of his or her design. I told you: fame AND fortune!
Just because we love you that much.
The clock is ticking, so get sketching my little designing friends!
I dare you!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Today I was walking down the hall at work and there was this woman walking towards me and when we passed each other in the hall with our early-week frowns on our faces she said, "Is it Friday yet?" and I said, "I wish" and man, did I mean it.
But do you know what is going to be even better than Friday? Saturday! Because this Saturday is the annual Shabby Apple Garden Party dress sale. And that means that your favorite Shabby Apple dresses are going to be available to you, our loyal and much beloved customers, for outrageous prices. Have you heard that some dresses will even be as low as $5? Because it's the truth!
It also means a chance to break out your best Roaring Twenties finery, because the 1920s are the theme of the morning, and we want to see you in your very best. What's that you say? You would be more likely to doll up if there were prizes for the best dressed? Very well! Consider it done!
And, as if this deal could get any sweeter, there is more.
If you happen to have a little blog of your own, you might consider putting up a little post about our little Garden Party, with a link back to our site. Leave us a link to your blog in the comments section of this post, and you could be the winner of the straight-up darling Cider dress from our new line of fall dresses, The Berkshires. We'll select a winner at random from among all the commenters, but remember, you have to link back to our site to be eligible.
And, of course, if you don't win a dress, just stop by the Garden Party and buy one for practically nothing anyway. Win, win, win!
The pertinent details once again:
What: Shabby Apple Garden Party dress sale
When: THIS SATURDAY, August 28th, from 8a.m. to 12 noon. (The early bird gets the worm and all of that)
Where: 2485 Haven Lane, Salt Lake City, UT
Why: Are you even asking me that question?
See you there!
Friday, August 13, 2010
The contest ends today.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
1. Turn off the flash.
Lighting is key in taking good pictures. If you look for beautiful light, you are almost bound to end up with beautiful pictures. Adding a flash is, in my opinion, a great recipe for messing that up. Flashes distort what could be beautiful. Sure, there are occasional times you must have one, at night, for example, if you don't have a high enough ISO, and sometimes you need to use just a fill-flash. But as a general rule, get rid of that flash!
When I first started family photography I did it purely on my driveway in front of my garage. I know, that sounds very picturesque, right? But I promise it looked like studio lighting. I bought a black, king-sized flat sheet and hooked it up to the bottom of my open garage and shot awqay. Something about the light bounding off the pavement with the backdrop created beautiful light.
And this one was on my back porch, which is north-facing. My personal favorite.
Porches or garages are great in the shade. Again, the pavement creates a great reflector of beautiful sunlight to light up faces. This one was on our front porch.
Open doorways, with you outside and your child or children looking out the door, also provides you with great light. This one was inside our back door.
Even though shady areas work great, don't limit yourself to just that. In the early morning or evening when the sun slants just so, there is gorgeous light to be found.
And don't forget back-lighting.
If it's too hot outside (like it is most of the time where I live in the desert), you don't need to invest in expensive lighting equipment if you want to get good indoor shots. You just need to know where to look for the light. Almost every home has got some good lighting somewhere if you just look for it. I utilize beautiful light inside my house wherever I have north-facing windows.
This is by my friend's north-facing window.
2. Composition: get creative with it.
Get down on the ground.
Look down at the subject from high above. Try standing on a stool or chair.
Get closer. The closer we get, the more we really "see." Try getting so close you only capture half of the face. Get close up and take pictures of toes, fingers, just a smile. You'll be so happy with the results.
3. Catch emotions and relationships.
I also always ask the kids to laugh instead of smile. If you ask them to smle they undoubtedly make a super cheesy smile, and I'm not a huge fan of the cheese-ball smiles. Unless, of course, it is totally "them," in which case I love the cheesy ones.
Remember, subjects don't always have to be smiling.
Or looking at the camera.
4. Capture the little things.
I think it's important for moms to remember to capture little things about kids whether it makes an artistic picture or not.
I love this one of my Lucy because it epitomized her at that time in her life. With her bedroom around her and her morning smile and her blanket there beside her that she HAD to have to sleep with every night. I want so much to remember all those little things. So I take pictures of them. I wish I had pictures of things like that from when I was growing up.
5. Always have a camera ready.
My big camera is too big to carry around all the time, although sometimes I do feel like it's attached to my body. But I ALWAYS have a point-and-shoot in my purse that I can pull out when I have an opportune moment. It also videtapes, which I lve, so I can capture things on the go. Even my six-year-old has captured some masterpiece videos with it that we are going to love some day. You don't need a bunch of fancy equipment.
I seriously LOVE this picture of my baby. Because that's how she sat every single day in her highchair, legs crossed nearly over each other while the top half was certainly far from "neat." And I'm glad I had my camera right there to get it.
And this is one of my favorite pictures, with my old camera. This is totally Claire. She always ran like that, with her tongue hanging out. And if I didn't have my camera ready I would have forgotten that.
Let's remember though, that I am a little bit crazy when it comes to trying to capture every moneht. I want to hold on to time a little too much sometimes. But photography helps slow things down for me.
And that makes me happy.
Thanks so much to Shawni for sharing a little piece of her life and her passion with us. To learn a little bit more about the things that are important to Shawni, read up on her real passion, the I Love Lucy project. You can also hear more about Lucy's story here.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
As I mentioned in my first post, I was raised by nature lovers.
My parents raised me to adore the beauty of the world. The pointed it out everywhere we went: The various colors that made up a gorgeous sunset. The spring buds making their grand debut on the barren tree branches. The way a field of grain looked when the sun was slanted just so. Maybe that's why I always feel so compelled to take close-up photos of nature everywhere I go.
My family rolls their eyes at me as I lag behind with my camera, but when my daughter got back from science camp last year armed with a whole slew of nature close-ups on her camera fashioned after the ones I take, my heart jumped. She's getting it. She loves nature, too.
And then my son called me from his friend's house to tell me to look at the sunset one evening last spring. Yes, I think it's soaking in... little by little.
I want to give you a challenge here and now. Get out and notice the details of nature. Whether it's the way the leaves look with the sun shining through them, or how a sunset reflects on a puddle of water. Try not to only capture it in your mind, but also in your camera. It will make you appreciate nature more than ever before.
How, you may ask, can I capture nature best on my camera? Well, most point-and-shoot cameras have a "macro" setting. That's what I use on trips when I don't have my big camera along. Just find that setting and get the camera right up about an inch away from what you want to photograph and shoot away. I'm telling you, there is amazing capacity in one of those little digital cameras.
If you want to try to capture nature with an SLR camera, my suggestion would be to put the camera on "aperture priority" mode at one of the largest aperture settings (the smaller the number the larger the aperture. I know. Confusing). This will get what's in the forefront most focused and blur out the rest.
When I get home from trips where I've taken a lot of nature shots, I like to put together collages of my favorite shots. And then, voila!, I have a momento of all the gorgeous nature we saw on that particular trip.
In short, I love capturing nature.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This wonderful magical contest is to help you get excited about our upcoming line of wonderful magical dresses, Yosemite. Like you need any help getting excited about a new line of Shabby Apple dresses, right?
Anyway, back to the wonderful magical contest. It's quite simple, really. Just head over to the Facebook page, find the collage you see above, and leave us a comment on the picture with your name and the name of your favorite National Park.
Now, here is where the work starts. Once you've left your comment on the photo, get as many people as you can to "Like" your comment. Tell all your friends! Tell your mom and dad! (Are they on Facebook? Mine are. Wierdsies.) Tell your co-workers, the grocery store clerk, that cute guy at the gym! Tell everyone you can to "Like" your comment. Because the person with the best-liked comment is the winner! And the winner wins the dress of their choice from the new collection. (The rest of you will have to wait until the beginning of September.)
How wonderful! How magical!
You have until Friday, 6p.m. Mountain (Standard? Daylight? I have no idea) Time to take advantage. So, hop to it! And may the most popular comment win!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I have a friend who is a phenomenal photographer. When I asked her what kind of camera she uses, she smiled and said, “I use my eyes.”
I liked what she said because sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in having the biggest and the best equipment, when what really makes a magical shot is, indeed, your eye. Yes, your eye is what makes up the composition and seeks out the best light, etc.
So as I talk about photography equipment, keep in mind that expensive, newfangled equipment does not necessarily equal good pictures. The best camera in the world can only go so far if you don’t pick up the instruction manual and know how to use it. Remember that your heart and your eye are the most precious pieces of photography equipment you’ll ever have.
Sure, having a big camera with all the bells and whistles is great, but I think some people go out and buy new equipment before they're really ready for it.
I guess the advice I have would be to completely outgrow what you have before you upgrade. Learning how to really see things...lighting, expressions, etc. can be done from any camera. My brother, who happens to be one of my very favorite photographers, just barely upgraded to an SLR camera (Single Lens Reflex…one that switches out lenses, etc.) this summer. Up until now his beautiful nature shots have come directly from his little point-and-shoot camera:
With that introduction, I must say that I do adore my photography equipment. Maybe it’s because I did start with a point-and-shoot, and moved up when I was ready. I’ve learned to really appreciate what I have.
Right now I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. Up until this year I was a complete Nikon girl (I had a Nikon D200). I believe Nikon and Canon are equally great, but I switched over because I wanted video capacity. (To read more about my Canon vs. Nikon woes click here.)
I personally think that a good lens is almost more important than the actual camera you use. Through the years I have always loved portrait lenses. My favorite with my Nikon was my 50mm 1.8. It was a "prime" lens (one that doesn’t zoom in and out…you have to move yourself in or out to capture what you want) which makes it much more cost-effective but not as user-friendly. (Canon has a comparable one).
But near the end of my Nikon years my portrait lens got replaced with a Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 lens which promptly took it’s place on my camera and rarely came off. Zoom lenses like this are more expensive...but worth every cent in my book.
The lens I use on my Canon is a 24-70mm 2.8. I love it like I loved my Nikon 17-55 lens.
A good telephoto lens is a great addition to have in your “bag.” I have not purchased one for my new camera yet, and I’m feeling lost without it because I love to take shots of my children without being “in their face,” and a telephoto lens can help you do just that. It is also a must for school plays, strings concerts, etc.
I can’t wrap this up until I say I always carry a point-and-shoot camera in my purse. It’s just as much a part of my photography equipment as anything else, because sometimes it’s all I’ve got when I really want to capture something. I mean, this photo is one of my very favorites not because it’s anything spectacular, but because it captures the relationship between two of my daughters at the science museum one random day when I wouldn’t have dreamed of dragging along my big camera.
I also use my point-and-shoot on trips to capture nature shots. I think the macro setting does a pretty darn good job.
The point-and-shoot I use is a Canon Power Shot SD750.
So there you have it, a brief overview of photography equipment.
Tomorrow I’ll get more into capturing nature, because man alive, it is beautiful and needs to be captured!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tell me you are not already drooling over this...
... or this...
... or this...
I, for one, am dreaming of those magical days when summer slips into fall and the air starts to smell crisp and clean and leaves start to color and apples start to ripen and it feels like the whole world is starting over again new. And I think I would like to have one of these dresses to start over with.
For now, I am trying not to sweat to death and wearing nothing by my underwear. But that is another story.
Tell me, friends. Which dress from The Berkshires is your favorite?
Monday, August 2, 2010
When I sit down to think about it, I’m not really sure what, exactly, brought on my head-over-heels addiction to photography.
Maybe it was my memory. You see, it has always been bad enough that I felt like I must have a photo of things to really grasp them before they slip quietly out of my brain never to be remembered. To me, a photo is like a safety-net holding on to those things I cherish most in life.
Or maybe it’s the love of beauty my nature-loving parents instilled into each of their children. I see the beauty of things around me that takes my breath away, and right then and there I am on a quest to capture it. Much to the chagrin of my children, I just can’t let that perfect slant of the sun on a field in the evening go.
Or maybe it was simply the birth of my first child. After waiting my whole life to become a Mother, I wasn’t about to let his newborn-ness or his first smiles slip into the past without lassoing them first with the help of my camera. As his tall, teenager self stands before me today I thank my lucky stars I have him “bottled up” to a certain degree when he was my baby.
Yes, there are many reasons to love photography. Probably the most over-arching one, to me, that takes all these “maybes” into account, is that photography can capture moments.
And I’m all about moments.
The moment in time when my daughter could only run if her tongue was stretched down to her chin, somehow seeming to catapult her forward. Or that moment when a newborn soothes herself by clutching the side of her face, or all those moments when children seem to magically bond…their smiles connecting their hearts as they interact.
Somehow my love of photography swept me into doing family photography.
One wonderful lady had seen my passion for it and asked me to photograph her son’s wedding reception. Me??? I asked her incredulously? But it made my heart race with adrenalin that felt good, and pulled me into the world of capturing moments in other families. It gave me such a rush to see those families show up at our designated locations all dressed to the nines. I knew exactly what it took for that mom to get those children napped and fed and scrubbed clean and there on time (I was a mom, after all.) My heart raced as I got into my zone of capturing the “here and now”…the moments…those relationships that even tomorrow would morph into something different.
At the birth of my fifth child I was full-swing into my photography business. As much as I loved it, I felt it pulling me away from my family more than I wanted. All I ever wanted from the time I was a little girl was to be a Mother, and although I had been able to juggle things OK until then, I felt a nagging worry that my balance was getting a little out of whack.
But I continued bulldozing ahead with the things that swirled around in my life until one day when, after a series of worries and tests and doctor visits, my baby was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome, one that was going to take a lot more of my time, and my heart to help her and my family deal with.
Something had to give. I couldn’t keep up. And reluctantly I had to let professional photography go. Part of me mourned for a long time after that. I loved the rush of adrenaline photography gave me. It pushed me to do something hard, and there’s a great reward in that. But of course, my family came first (leaps and bounds first) and I knew it was the right decision to put photography in the back seat for a while.
Even though capturing other families’ moments is gone for now (some day I’ll take it up again), my family moments are still prominently playing before my eyes. And the world stretches out its glory before me every day. Yes, there are still countless things to photograph.
And I love to seek them out.