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    Annabelle Molly

    So my first shoot from this morning highlighted two things: 1. Our new dog is super cute. 2. I have a lot to learn. I need to find a community of photographers (or create one!) to really get to the bottom of this. I do think I might sleep with my new camera under my pillow tonight. Again, two reasons: 1. I love it. 2. I think I will learn everything about it by osmosis while I slumber. That's how it works, right?


    The "term dark ages" means way way back when there were darkrooms.

    It's no big secret, I am going to be 40 this year. 4. OH! Yep, it is true. Well, and not even really this "year." It is actually next month. And I am not a grumpy birthday girl. I'm really not. And this year as everyone else (mainly my parents, brother and younger husband) were all freaking out that I was going to be 40 I continued to insist it is really not a big deal. Puh-lease, it is just a number. Right? Well, as the days get a bit closer, I've been getting a bit more antsy. Kinda irritable. A little mid-life crisis-ish, one might say?

    Well, my parents really wanted to get me a super-nice gift this year, and even though I kept thinking about how much I would LOVE and really NEED a DSLR to be a decent art director, parent and let's face it, creative human being, I couldn't stand the idea of how much those cameras cost. Think of everything you could have instead? And yet, I couldn't go one more day, right!?

    Being that I am turning 40 it is obvious I grew up in the dark ages. And that means back when there were darkrooms. And yes, I spent quite a bit of time inside of one or two of those. I can still remember the sunny days lost spent inhaling chemicals in the darkness, with entire rolls of film underdeveloped and streaky, drippy photo paper highlighting every flaw in every photo shot. I know, I am supposed to say that's when I fell in love with photography, but it isn't. I never had the patience for the darkroom.

    It was when I was out shooting that I loved photography. My dad would chauffer me from one Kansas City landmark to the next, sneaking down to the banks of the Missouri River, capturing one barge after another. Understanding composition, lighting, and mastering the techinicalities of my old and all.

    So, it is fortunate for me that the new digital cameras have taken the dark room out of photography, and here I am, as of today, back in business! I am armed with my new camera, and I am ready to go! I can't wait to start creating, to get that piece of me back again. I hope to share my photos and what I hope I'll learn as I go.

    I've been borrowing a very kind friend's DSLR for the past several weeks, and had a chance to get my feet wet. I already shared a couple of my Gracie photos here, but I will post them again:


    Taking a DSLR camera for a spin this week

    My awesomely talented and amazing photographer friend Sherri Mayer was kind enough to loan me her old Nikon D40. She's upgraded, and is saving this camera for her 4 girls (yes, 4!) for when they're old enough to take phtoography in high school someday. Like I did! In the stone ages. With film. You know, the long plastic strip with the holes bordering each side? Do you remember it? I took photography again in college. It was a requirement for a degree in graphic design. I remember stinky afternoons in the darkroom making prints. And the love hate relationship with the chemicals and the paper and the expense. Not to mention hunting around for things to shoot. Ah! How photography class is wasted on the young. Now that I have the two greatest subjects in the world...and the digital seems a whole new world might be opening up for me.

    Natalie's friend is here playing this afternoon so I took just gracie out in the yard a voila! It is amazing what a difference a decent peice of equipment, some dusty old photography knowledge, and way too many hours in a dark room can make in a photo.

    And I think I'm just getting started! Wait until I get ahold of Natalie...and my neice and nephew...and...well, the possibilities are endless!

    And if you're interested in seeing Sherri's amazing work, you can visit her here.


    Find of the year!

    I am seriously so. in. love. with the awesome vintage flash cards I found at the flea markets on Saturday. First of all, check them out. The color is so jazzy, almost cobalt, super graphic but a little bit old school blueprint I couldn't help but snap them up! And then, just look at them. A big 'ole arrow pointing to the planet (dotted with the proper number of moons, thankyouverymuch) and whamo! Education at its finest. Of course, I am not even thinking to myself "now what planet could this be?" -- aside from the obvious, Staurn -- but all I had to do was hand them over to Natalie, and it was like a party trick in action. Watch the 6-year-old rattle off the correct planet names...and ooh and ahh in amazement! Which I did, but only because that's what I always do when it comes to my girls. And so at 50 cents each, these have got to be my best find ever. Now, what to do with them? Something with a frame, right? And a mat or a poster or maybe a mobile...hmmm....

    Oh, and if you are in the Kansas City area and you've not been to the West Bottoms on the first weekend of the month, you've got to go. Good Juju is there, as well as Liberty Belle and Bottoms Up Antiques. All great opportunities for super tasty finds like this one! So get out there and explore!


    I'm not the only blogger in the house.

    I guess I should say my husband and I are not the only bloggers in the house (as he also blogs for work). My 6 year old, Natalie, also started a blog about 6 months ago. She's our big bookworm and not only loves to read, but also loves to write. Her love of books is such a big part of who she is, it seems natural she'd be able to whip up a story in no time. Even though I know that at the age of 6 it can be quite unusual to already be an accomplished author! We are quite proud of her, and I wanted to share her super-cute site with you.

    And because of Natalie's love of reading and my love of the library, we read lots and lots of books in this house. I recently picked up a darling new book (have you seen it yet?) called Full Moon and Star by Lee Bennett Hopkins. It is such a fun book and reminded me so much of a couple of Natalie's stories on her blog. She seems to be facinated with the moons and stars as well and has a couple of entries involving these subjects with quirky personalities added in.

    In  Hopkin's book these two adorable friends both write plays. They are simple stories but with real stage direction that familiarizes children with how stage stories really come together. The play they decide to write together has three acts, and at the end they decide to remain friends forever. It is a genuine story with great art. I was as taken as the girls! (Maybe moreso?)

    Natalie's best stories are inspired by the books she's read. I love to see how she can take a story and give it her spin, often making it even more interesting and sometimes silly, too. Feel free to check out Natalie's site, and I'll keep you posted on what we're reading and writing about here as well.

    If you're interested in Full Moon and Star, you can  get it here: Full Moon and Star