Snap Shop Phoneography

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I am finishing up my second week of a three-week online course for phoneography. I had never heard of phoneography before signing up, but it’s simply taking pictures with your phone. I have a fairly nice camera, but I never seem to have it in easy reach anymore. Even when I’ve got it in my purse, it’s too cumbersome to pull it out, turn it on, and set the features for the pic I want. My phone, however, is sadly always within reach. I love taking pictures, as you can see by my blog, but I feel like they’ve been missing just something.

That’s what I’ve loved about this class! I’m learning tips and guidelines for great photo-taking, not just with my phone, but especially with my phone. I’ve been learning to recognize and define what it is that I’ve always liked about certain pictures and how to prepare myself for the shot that I want.

The course is taught by Ashley at Under the Sycamore. She is fabulous and a beautiful person inside and out. I’ve been following her blog for a while now and love pretty much everything she puts out there. Not only is it great content, but the photos that accompany her entries are gorgeous! She has a whole slew of ready-models too, with their five kids and yard full of chickens. Talk about blog-envy. 🙂

So, if you are interested in an easy-peasy intro guide to good phoneography, you can sign up on her website. She also offers an online DSLR course for those with fancy shmancy cameras.

I think my favorite part of the course is the photo-sharing. This is done through Instagram. We use the hashtag #snapshopstudent and share the photos we are testing out and wanting some critique on. Not only does Ashley offer valuable advice, but the other students in the course do as well. Here are some of my photos for you (you can click on any of the images for a better look):

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Shots around our backyard and neighbor’s yard.

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impatiens after the rain and a late blooming sunflower

suns 01 3 st

I love my sunflowers! These are growing from the seeds we gave out at our wedding. I was very late in planting them.

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beautiful sky shots, caterpillar and our shed

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vintage sugar bowl, painted to fit in with our kitchen; windmill at a local park; niece’s soccer match.

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berries in the backyard and a blissful afternoon of 1 Peter and white chocolate pumpkin mocha from Cavu Cafe in West Chester.

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The Huz working on our rain barrel set-up and the wedding quilt his grandmother hand-stitched us.

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Yes, sunflowers again. 🙂

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around The House; rain barrel, porch rocker and pavers.

You can find me on Instagram at xapatotheworld. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

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Wedding Details – Ceremony

I promised that I would put up reviews of the vendors I used for the smaller details of the wedding. I’m going to start with the ceremony first and then move on to the reception. First, I would like to say that most of these photos were taken by Sadie Hodge of Sadie and Jess Weddings. I did a pre-review for her here and you can find their Facebook page here.I’m going to include things that I bought as well as things that I made and was inspired by something on Pinterest, online, etc. I will try my best to site the resources for you. And here we go!

Program

Ceremony001 I went simple with the programs. We printed them out ourselves and I designed the whole layout. The top image is something I designed and made into a stamp that we used on our invitations. (Post 1, Post 2 and Post 3) The bird in a tree stamp came from Hobby Lobby. I only stamped one program and then made copies of it. Yes, it was the easy way out, but I was still putting these together the week before the wedding, so I was loving “Easy.”

At the bottom, there is some text that I think was very helpful. It says, “Please do not use any flash photography during the ceremony. Be respectful of our hired photographers. Also, please put your phones on silent. Thank you!” We commissioned everyone at the rehearsal to mention it to guests. I had originally planned to have some sort of verbiage like this, but that was only strengthened after reading this.

The order of participants we chose was: Officiants, Parents of the Bride, Step-Mother of the Bride, Parents of the Groom, Grandparents, Bridesmaids, and Groomsmen. We listed our grandparents together with their spouses and any that had passed away, we put an asterisks after their name and a note “(* in loving memory).”

We worked out the order of the ceremony with my pastor and included instructions for communion. We (Matt and I) love communion and since we are coming from two different churches, not to mention the many churches represented by other friends and family, communion is a great way to draw unity with a diverse group of people. Different churches have different traditions in the act of communion, so we had to make sure everyone was on the same page. It worked out wonderfully!

We also invited the guests to sing along with our singers while people were walking down the aisle. The back page of the program shared the lyrics of the primary songs so people could join in. It was a lot of fun to walk down the aisle to people singing along one of my favorite songs, “For the Beauty of the Earth.” Ever since I heard it at Meg’s wedding in Little Women, I have wanted it in my wedding. We also had “Greatest Commands” which is a great acappella song that Matt’s church sings, “Blessed Assurance,” and “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”

Rings and Bibles

Ceremony194Matt and I have great love for our families. We both have lost two grandparents each, one from each side in the last 4 years. We wanted to include those who couldn’t be there as much as possible. We know they’re in heaven, and would’ve been so glad to be here for our wedding, but God decided to take them on home. What you see here is my Pappy Cook’s Bible and Matt’s Grandpa Charles’ Bible. It was inspired by this pin. My grandma decided to give Pappy’s Bible to my nephew, Jason, who was a junior groomsman in the wedding. It has his notes and everything and I heard that Jason just loves it. Pappy is touching our lives and discipling us even after he has left earth. What a testimony that man has.

Unity Candles

Ceremony007This is a two part mention. The candles came from The Oliver Company on Etsy. They have all sorts of home sweet goodness, beeswax coming straight from their own hives. I just checked the shop and didn’t see the unity candles on there, but I’m sure they will be back. In the meantime, check out the other great products they have from lip balm and honey soaps to burlap flowers and bows.

The stands came from Morgan Hill Designs. I was looking for something unique and something that could be customized to our wedding colors. Totally found it with this purchase. I loved the “His” “Hers” and “Ours” labels. I haven’t found a place for the His and Hers yet, but the Ours with the pillar candle is displayed with some other things from the wedding in our living room. It is perfect. There is a guide for paint colors on the shop and you just have to designate what it is you would like. I just took another stroll through her shop and there are 75 pages worth of items! all hand-carved and painted. So many unique finds and completely personalized. Be aware that there is a bit of a turn-around time. She is up-front with the prep time so be sure to read the fine print so you’re not disappointed or act too late.

Groomwear

Formals073We got most of Matt’s outfit from JC Penney. My original thought was that he would be in all red with the khaki’s, but he wanted to make sure he stood out from the groomsmen, who would also be wearing red and yellow. He chose a white shirt and we managed to find a red bow tie at the store. However, the red suspenders proved a little more difficult than we anticipated. I thought that with the hipster culture going on right now, suspenders would be super-easy to find. No go. I looked everywhere and it just wasn’t happening.

Naturally, I redirected to Etsy. Dapper Gent is THE place to go when you are looking for suspenders, bow ties, or matching sets. I found what I was looking for quickly and received our order in record time. It was good, we were running close on time. The cost was a little more than I was anticipating, but at that point I was willing to pay a little more to get what we (ok, I) wanted. They have so many cute sets for kids. Absolutely precious if you have a boy and he’s cool with stepping up his style.

Jewelry – Bride

Picture taken from Etsy.com

I chose to go minimal. My dress was so detailed and beautiful that I didn’t want too much else taking away from it. My makeup was minimal and done by my MOH. The hair complemented the dress (wish I had a good picture of my hair, but I don’t) but I still wanted a pop of color and a way to tie myself into the wedding besides my flowers. This necklace was just the ticket. It matched the dress perfectly and combined the wedding colors in a way that I swooned for. I bought it from Winter Garden Studios on Etsy. I had originally wanted to find a jeweler in my own area, but this was far and beyond what I could’ve wanted. Here’s the best picture I could find of me wearing it.

Jewelry – MOH and Bridesmaids

Picture taken from Etsy.com
These earrings were for my Matron of Honor. I fell in love with these when I saw them. If I could wear earrings, I probably would’ve got them for myself. I bought them from McKee Jewelry Designs on Etsy, which I would link for you, but Etsy says she no longer exists. That’s sad. Lanna (MOH) was wearing yellow for the wedding, so her accents were all in red.

Picture taken from Etsy.com
For Amy, my bridesmatron, dear friend. Her dress was red so her accents and flowers were more yellow. Yellow is our collective favorite color, so it worked out perfectly. I discovered IKE and Co through the Craft Weekend blog and fell in love with these earrings. They are perfect for Amy. Ike is the name of their dog, by the way. IkeandCo is on Instagram too and she puts up some great stuff. 🙂

Picture taken from Etsy.com
These earrings were for my two nieces who were the junior bridesmaids of the wedding. They were wearing red dresses so their accents and flowers were mostly yellow like Amy’s. JoMazing Accessories has quite a bit in their shop so I recommend stopping over for a visit. She’s currently on vacation, so give it about 3 weeks.

More on the Wedding

You can find more about the wedding by checking out the Countdown Post. I posted each week leading up to the wedding and detailed a lot of the preparations for the big day. Soon to come, Wedding Details – Reception.

Insta-post: Paint By the Glass

Friday night, I indulged in a fun evening of painting at Paint By the Glass. I’ve gone three other times, the last one being to paint a vibrant color rendition of Union Terminal in downtown Cincinnati. This time, my mom joined me to paint Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

We have been so excited to do this one. In case you don’t know about Paint by the Glass, here’s the gist. A “class” is held and people can sign up to come to a specific painting class. The painting is sketched out on the canvas and the artist instructs and demonstrates for those in the class. They serve wine and such as well as hors d’oeuvres. You can read about my first visit here. I’ve gone with friends and also by myself and enjoyed myself in both settings. I’m not usually intimidated by flying solo for an evening.

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Sampling of the paintings they do in the class.

Some of these I hadn’t seen before; I would love to do the butterfly and flower one at the bottom!

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Nothing like well-loved brushes.

This is probably my new favorite thing! If only it didn’t come in a plastic bottle!

They always start you off with a blank canvas and the picture sketched onto it. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them give any guide to the colors and such on the canvas, but it was very helpful since there was a lot going on with this painting.

Blues are fun. This painting took a lot of blue. I mean, A LOT of blue. And yellow, but that comes later. You always start from the furthest thing back and come forward in the picture. We were supposed to do it all in flat colors, but I wanted to make mine with a little more texture before putting on the etch strokes. I like how it turned out.

Cloud etches, purple mountains and swirls in the sky

Yellow!

I wish I had paid closer attention to how big the yellow circles were and actually closed them in a bit with the blue, but it turned out alright having really large moon and stars. Making the swirls within the stars was probably my favorite part.

My final product! ‘Twill look great in The House!

I love how my tree and village turned out on the bottom. I had so much fun painting this! I think I do a lot better with more abstract painting. There aren’t as many rules, but I love coming to these classes and learning little tricks here and there to be a better painter. Kat and Ashley were the instructors that night and they were so helpful. We had such a large class that both were painting a canvas and walking around to help.

Well, you already know that I’m a pretty big nerd, but I do get it honestly! My mom loves to watch the show Doctor Who and got me hooked on it as well. One episode, I think last season, had The Doctor and companion Amy go back to visit Vincent Van Gogh. Afterwards, when they were in a modern art gallery, they looked closely and found a Tardis (his space ship) tucked into the painting. Mom was really keen on duplicating that into her painting. She got the basic shape down and then Kat (a fellow Whovian) helped fill in the details. Mom is so excited for her painting now.

Check out my previous review of Paint by the Glass here!

NightLight

NightLight International.

Check out this great site/organization, rescuing women from exploitation in the brothels and bars of Thailand and giving them skills and industry to maintain a life of freedom.  Some of the jewelry is a little expensive, but how much should freedom cost?

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

NightLight is an international organization committed to addressing the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by catalyzing individual and community transformation. NightLight’s vision is to offer intervention to sexually exploited women and children, to enable them to discover their dignity, and to provide a program of holistic transformation, empowering them to live and work in their community.

NightLight’s mission is to build relationships and provide hope, intervention, rescue and assistance to women and children exploited in the sex industry by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom. NightLight builds support networks internationally to intervene and assist women, men and children whose lives are negatively impacted by the sex industry.

In Bangkok, Nightlight operates as a business (NightLight Design, Co. Ltd) and a non-profit (NightLight Foundation). In the United States, NightLight operates as a 501c3 with branches in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Promo: IKnowHope.com

The wife of a new family in church had one of the coolest bags I had seen lately.  Upon asking her about it, I found out that it was re-purposed from old coffee sacks!  I’m a huge fan of re-purposing and so had to investigate further.  It was made by an organization called “I Know Hope” which was founded by my new friend’s mother-in-law.  Here are some of the details of the history of this group:

iknowhope.com

Know Hope was founded in 2009 by Connie Baker. Connie was born with a heart to help children around the world. Especially the desperate and the suffering ones. In 2005, Connie began taking teams of people into mountain villages around Tijuana, Mexico to build houses, churches, and orphanages. It was through these trips that her eyes were opened to the desperate children in the world.

In 2009, shortly after hearing a message preached on Matthew 25, we launched this non-profit organization called Know Hope. Our mission is to get the message to children around the world, that there is hope in Jesus Christ. The way we send that message is by bringing food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and aid to the orphans of this world.

So what they do is gather empty burlap coffee sacks and pull the best part of the bag and make sweet hand-bags.  These are on sale throughout the US and Canada at different shops, or you can just go to their online site:  Know Hope Store

Here are some examples of the bags:

I really like this one.  It’s like totally my style, especially with the big “S” on the front. 🙂  It’s a midi bag measuring 8″ high and 12″ wide.  Has matching blue liner with 1″ strap.

I believe this one is $25.

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I like this one as well.  Just the colors are really nice.  Brown and blue go together so well…and teal is a kind of blue!  Measures 12″ high and 14″ wide (medio size) with a 1 1/2″ thick strap.  This one/size costs $35.

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This last one is my favorite!  I love the rhino and the colors!  It’s super-cool.  I would totally buy it for myself, but I’ve placed a moratorium on spending (we’ll see how long that lasts) until the end of summer.  You can get this particular design as either a medio (12″H x 14″W) or a grande (insert big smile here) which can hold a 15″ laptop.  Cool, huh?

And it all goes to a good cause:  feeding hungry children around the world.  That’s something that I can get behind easily.  Enjoy!

http://www.iknowhope.com/