Throw some dirt on it

The main news right now is obviously the tornado in Oklahoma, and my heart is absolutely broken for these people. I’ve only seen the devastation from a tornado once, in Alabama, and there are almost no words to describe the vastsness and the completeness of the destruction. It just goes on and on and on — there’s no rhyme or reason to it. But the good news is the death toll has been cut nearly in half and America is rallying behind these communities. The best news is that God is in control!
While this news was breaking, I was out shooting for The Journal’s main photo. A super rare occurrence, that’s for sure, and also a very boring concept for centerpiece art — breaking ground at the site of a new high school. But the editor suggested we have somebody throw some dirt at the camera, and since I aim to please — that’s exactly what I did. Not my favorite, but when I think about me crouching in the mud in my shiny gold heels (they matched the shovels!) having a man throw dirt at me…it probably provided some entertainment. And it certainly mixed up the front page. I also snagged a few details, per my two years of photojournalism classes :)
The community is super pumped about this new facility and all it will offer the students, and I was pumped that there were free cookies!

(Click on an image to open the gallery and see captions!)

Keep Oklahoma in your hearts and prayers.

The little things

This was a really good week. It wasn’t anything crazy special, I just made an effort to be more appreciative of the small things.
Like this view on my run Tuesday night

Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell

Or walking around barefoot and not stepping on cat litter
And how awesome clean sheets feel
And this sweet kitten I got to play with Wednesday morning at the animal shelter
How YOU doin'?

How YOU doin’?

Or conversations with a good friend
And cuddling with my kitten
Or the fact that I can watch Cinderella on VHS
And the pretty colors at the salad bar that I eat for lupper WAY too often
ingles salad bar
Lupper, for the record, is lunch+supper. (My work schedule means I eat at really weird times.)
Friday morning I spent a few hours soaking up some sun out at the lake
lake glasses
A friend gave birth to a precious little girl
And I later had dinner with some people from church at their house in Anderson.

The littlest details in life are still blessings, and after a very self-centered view last week, I wanted to make sure I saw those. I loved meeting new people when I volunteered at the shelter on Wednesday and listening the the squeals and giggles of little girls playing Friday night while I got to know my new church family.
Some days moving to a small town where I don’t know many people is really rough, but after a lot of prayer and an attitude adjustment, things are definitely looking up. And I don’t think the 75º weather is hurting, either :)

Just for funsies

Going through more of Sister’s maternity photos and found this that I thought I’d let all (both) of my readers have for free.
Ladies and gentlemen — my Momma.


Proof that I get it honest, y’all.


I love coffee, people.

Since high school it’s been apparent that two of my favorite things in the whole wide world are photography and coffee. These days I get the chance to drink coffee more often than shoot, but this is proof of the fact:
This puppy holds 18 oz. of coffee, y’all. Veritably enough to help me take over the world. Or something like that.
Thanks to a friend from high school for finding this gem and sending it my way. It’s most likely the closest I’ll get to owning a 70-200 f/2.8.

The count up is on!

Since we don’t really know how many days until Sister has her baby, we’re counting up instead of down!
I spent the weekend in Marietta with Claire, John, Momma and Daddy. It was a happy Mother’s Day (and un-Mother’s Day) indeed. We were able to spend some time playing games, cutting up, painting, eating and watching the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family. TWICE.
I also got to sneak a few maternity photos, which is about as rough as you’d imagine when the subject is on bed rest. But, Sister is a trooper and we broke the rules a little.
I told her I’d edit every day that she doesn’t have the kid, so hopefully I have a lot of work ahead of me!
We tried to incorporate as many props as possible since we were limited to the hospital. We used flowers, scrabble tiles and a picture frame. When we went out to the courtyard I tried to use the trees and shubbery to mix it up, but when you’re shooting surrounded by buildings there isn’t much to do. But, hey, at least we have a few shots to remember this sweet time before Baby is here. And every day that Baby isn’t here is a day I can look on Pinterest for more ideas ;)
They’re doing an ultrasound at 3 p.m. EST and going to discuss the possibility of continuing bed rest at home. So send some prayers her way; I know she’s tired of being stuck in the hospital!

Claire pouting in the hospital window, as seen from outside.

Two-and-a-half weeks in the hospital makes for a very sad Sister.

"BABY MORROW" spelled out in scrabble tiles, held beneath her sweet baby bump.

C&J are a puzzle and board games kind of couple, so we loved this idea we saw on Pinterest!

The forecast is beautiful this week! I might convince myself to get up early and go to the lake one of these days and let some freckles loose.

God is good!

Jewelry tree on the cheap

I found a group of volleyball players that get together on Saturdays and play in Greenville, which is only about 45 minutes from Seneca, so I figured I’d make the trip up, play around, get to meet some cool people and explore Greenville a bit before heading home.
However, it was cold. And windy. And kinda rainy.
After 15 minutes of waiting with one other guy, we decided to call it quits. But that wouldn’t deter me from my plans, no sir! I changed out of my volleyball clothes and told my GPS to take me downtown. I was going exploring!
Thanks to a tip from a friend, I found some free parking and got out of the car and headed on my way in search of some lunch.
Then I got cold and decided it wasn’t worth it.
True story.
On the way home, I spotted the coveted Hobby Lobby.
Oh happy day.
Oh happy, happy, happiest of days!
I had a gift card from Christmas burning a hole in my proverbial pocket and felt the Pinterest bug bite into my brain.
Game on, Hob Lob.
Game. On.
After an hour or two (or three? I don’t remember. I might have blacked out from craft overload) this is what I came home with.

Blue gingham, red polka dotted and turquoise chevron fabric; a 1/4" wood dowel and a 4" wood plaque.

Blue gingham, red polka dotted and turquoise chevron fabric; elastic thread; a 1/4″ wood dowel and a 4″ wood plaque.

I’ve got a couple of sewing projects that I want to conquer. (This dress/skirt in particular.) But I was set on making a jewelry tree for my necklaces. They seem to be all the rage and also expensive. I present to you my $2 necklace displayer extraordinaire.

3 ft wooden dowel — $1.29
wooden plaque — $.79

wood glue
sand paper
drill (optional)
hot glue (if you get desperate)

I want to take a minute to give a shout out to my Daddy who bought me a couple of really helpful tools on accident. When he rigged my curtains back in January, he left me these two little gems:
A baby saw
and a drill bit that fits in my cheap-o screwdriver. Lifesavers, y’all. Life. Savers.

The first step is finding the center of the plaque and drilling a hole for the screw that will anchor the tree. I suppose you could skip this step and just use a screwdriver and screw if you wanted to. I didn’t.
Just measure it both ways, x marks and spot and you’re good to go.

You can set that aside for a bit as you now get to construct the actual tree. I decided I wanted a 20″ tree with four 4″ limbs. Not your style? Change it.
The beauty of this project is that you can totally customize it. This is the most basic I could come up with on a rainy day. Just remember to sand the raw edges after you cut.
I cut my pieces and drilled a hole in the bottom of the tree trunk, for lack of a better term, to make screwing it in easier.

I then marked on the tree where I wanted my limbs to go and planned to just nail them on.
Apparently a certain someone (me) can’t hammer (remotely) straight to save her life (or project.)
One out of four isn’t bad, right?
I put wood glue between the two pieces, but after messing up two of the limbs, I was literally inches away from just using the hot glue gun and calling it a day. But I didn’t. I stuck it out. And some of the nails stuck out, too.
Once my limbs were secure on my trunk, I easily screwed the trunk to the base and landed with this guy.
It’ll get a coat of paint, obviously, but I’m honestly just amazed that it’s still standing.

8.decked out

Part of me wants to return to Hob Lob and get some cute drawer knobs to put on the top of the tree (They had a super cute bird one. Appropriate, right?) and maybe something on the ends of the branches. Who knows? I may end up adding some little hooks here and there or a row of nails for earrings.
So, what do ya think? Any ideas on what I could add or do better on the next go-around?


An update on my sister — for those who may or may not know — she went into labor on Wednesday, April 24 just shy of 29 weeks. I got a call from mom at work and flew down to Atlanta (a post on my AMAZING co-workers who covered for me is coming) to be with her and her husband in the hospital until Momma could make it from Ky. Long story short, they are both stable for now but the doctors feel she could go back into labor at any time, so she’s on bed rest at the hospital. Each and every day without baby is a blessing because the little monkey needs every minute to keep growing. Thanks for all the prayers, they’re absolutely working, so keep them coming! God is good!