I will continue to celebrate motherhood. So if breasts, birth, dilation and mother's milk makes you uncomfortable please consider yourself warned.
Follow at your own risk. You'll find the follow button at the bottom of the side bar.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Photographing Newborns Tips from Mommy

Nothing beats a professional photographer but you can still take great sleeping newborn portraits of your own children in between sessions. These are some things I have learned...
First things first,
1. Purchase solid sheets for the baby's bedding, white or black.
(choose the color that contrasts the most with your baby's skin tone)
2. Solid sheets on your own bed or floor will also make a great backdrop
3. Place the crib where it gets indirect light at some point throughout the day.
(Soft morning light is perfect but I also love the yellow glow right before sunset.)
4. Put the baby to sleep just like normal and keep an eye out for the perfect light or moment.
When taking your pictures you do not need a fancy camera or a studio. The pictures shown were taken with a basic point and shoot. The tricks are..
Shoot without a flash
use your portrait setting (the icon usually with people on it)
macro setting ON (typically a flower icon)
use your zoom or get close, fill the frame and focus on just her lips or toes
choose the right angle (capture those long lashes by shooting from the side and slightly above)
Try, try and try again, with digital you can take hundreds at no extra cost
you can also edit with photobucket for free..fade the background out by sliding the contrast bar & adjusting the brightness (start first with black and white copies so you don't also have to adjust the color saturation)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breastfeeding Christmas Tree Ornament

Sculptures by Artist, Elizabeth Bonita, are also available in similar style tree ornaments.
I can not think of a more appropriate place to display and celebrate motherhood. Each member of our family chooses their ornament each year. As we hang them we remember when and why we choose each one. I hope to add a custom created ornament from Elizabeth to our collection very soon. I will tell my youngest, "I choose this ornament because this was the last Christmas you were latched to me body and soul. I choose this ornament because being a mother to you and your sister is the greatest thing I have ever done". I really believe breastfeeding mothers created from paint, clay and wood can help show that the flesh and blood mother is just as beautiful and worthy of celebration. Thank you Elizabeth for creating such a beautiful work of art and making a bold statement by displaying such a proud mother. To see more of Elizabeth's work, visit her websites: http://ElizabethBonura.etsy.com and www.WeddingSculptures.com .

Friday, November 28, 2008

Breastfeeding in my Imagination

My second daughter is a busy baby. She fights nursing, wiggles, squirms and refuses to be discreet. Unlike my first she refuses to be covered. Nursing her has taught me that any place can become a private beach. I relax look at her and forget about the rest of the world. I focus on her smirking face, her ornery eyes and I stop worrying about the uncomfortable glances and scowling faces. I love this painting by Emily Balivet because whether I have the luxury of nursing in a comfortable nursing room, the passenger side of a car or a crowded store I am always nursing her on a deserted beach in my imagination. I hope you find that same peace wherever you choose to nurse from a bathroom stall to the food court. I hope that the world fades away and there is nothing but you and your adoring child.

The featured painting is titled "The Lap" by Emily Balivet and available on Etsy or visit
Emily has been designing and selling her work worldwide for over 15 years. She is entirely self taught and her artistic talents extends to a wide range of creations from clothing to toys and everything between.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Locked, Loaded & Lactating

When hubby gets too sassy I threaten to squirt him with breast milk, one quick squeeze. A shot to the eye, perhaps the ear. Despite military training and two tours in Iraq just the threat of my milky spray sends him running.
I try to remind hubby that the milk on his cereal is expressed from a cow's breast. This is an ongoing debate we have. He tries to distance his milk from the nipple with words like udders and pasteurization. So I have offered to have my milk pasteurized . Then will I be cleaner than a cow? Worthy of consumption? He shelves the Wheaties and reaches for an orange.
** I have a wonderful supportive husband who despite his fear of breast milk nurtured me and cared for me during the recovery of my emergency cesarean, uterine infection and mastitis. We manage to live happily in a constant state of debate by always being half serious and 100% in-love

I loved how bold and powerful the featured painting is. There is nothing apologetic or discreet. It is vivid and striking. I was more than a little shocked when I realized this moment was so realistically and powerfully portrayed by male artist, Paul Richmond. His own description says it best, " This painting represents the female influences that were an integral part of my early development. Without knowing of the social ramifications, I looked to women as providing a role model for shaping the way I related to the world around me. The love and nurturing that I felt from the females in my life allowed me to feel safe and at home with who I was".

To top it off his talent he also has a great sense of humor that really comes through in his other work. I enjoyed learning about Paul's inspiration and life as much as I enjoyed looking at his art. He exudes a certain confidence and unapologetic honesty that I struggle to embrace as a mother. I am often offering explanations for why my daughter is mismatched, my dishes are undone and why my laundry takes a back seat to Jenga marathons. Maybe one day I will learn to say, "This is just the mom I am and that is enough".
If you would like to learn more about Paul Richmond and his work please visit..

Monday, November 24, 2008

Four babies, does it get any cuter?

Congrats to our friend Gabriella Wright of Red Bird Photography for capturing a great photo of FOUR baby blessings!!
She has been honored with a merit from Professional Photographers of Hawaii Quarterly Print Competition!!


This self reflection and account of my daughter's birth was triggered and inspired by Sarah Kiser's painting, Some Enchanted Eating, pictured above.

My first daughter was born by emergency c-section, rushed, agitated but healthy in appearance. Once she was tucked in the nursery and my morphine high was wearing off we learned her heart rate was 240 and rising. They had her in the regular nursery hooked to a heart monitor awaiting transport to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was crying with an intensity that increased the beat of her already too fast heart. I tried to nurse her but my tasteful ballet pink robe was getting in the way, the sash tangling in all the cords and wires. Fed up and without hesitation I stripped down to the waist . I vaguely remember over a dozen shocked faces and the nurses rushing to plant themselves between me and an audience of scowling faces. They were expecting clean, shining and post birth perfect babies. Instead they got me, breastfeeding behind glass like a gorilla in a zoo.
I was haggard, graceless, lit by fluorescent light and terrified but I will always remember that moment with the perfect indirect light glow, slightly out of focus with soft edges. There was only my daughter pressed against me and the sound of her heart beeping a little slower with each dry suckle.
It was the exact moment I lost my last shred of modesty and learned my body was magic.

"I hope that through my paintings I can make it clear that breastfeeding is natural, wonderful, beautiful and completely normal and beyond that, it is a magical experience for both the mother and baby"

Sarah Kiser http://www.sarahkiser.net/

The featured painting is available in a dainty 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" print, perfect for displaying in a series or tucking in your diaper bag. I wish I had had it then to gaze at it when I needed to be reminded that I am enchanting, natural and full of magic.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Thank you for the artists who choose to give motherhood the proper presentation it deserves. Thank you for presenting mothering as an art worthy of display and not intended to be tucked away. These beautiful images captured my attention and I just can't help sharing them with you. I hope to share a little something special about each artist with you this week as well as a little something about my favorite mommy things and mommy moments.

I think there is a void in all art forms that needs to filled with mother as a verb not a noun. Often the subject is dismissed as being too sentimental, insignificant or controversial yet every person is a mother or has one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Make Messes Not War

Photo entry

I read the chapter on introducing solids in my mommy manual but this is NOT what I had in mind!
"Be sure to check out http://www.iheartfaces.com/ to see all the other beautiful faces that have been entered into the contest!"

The Gift of Messes

There are many gifts you can custom create yourself and you don't have to be Martha Stewart to pull it off. For children I suggest giving the gift of messes. My daughter's personal favorites are bath slime and finger foam. Here is the recipe card. Your child and tub will both get a good clean scrub while your child plays. Another bonus is that if you have the camera ready while she messes you will also score a one of a kind gift grandparents are sure to treasure.
Strapped for time and want a unique gift out of your creative league? Handmade and custom created items don't have to break the bank. Often you can commission a designer or artisan for a custom item equivalent to or less than department store prices. Etsy has a unique feature called Alchemy where you can post a request and artisans will fight for the honor of making your dreams come true.
Please feel free to print the recipe on card stock and attach it to a gift bucket or craft box full of the necessary supplies. Just click on the recipe card to enlarge it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Loving Paradise but Missing Oklahoma

I may be in Hawaii but my heart is still in Oklahoma. This blog always reminds me of home, http://todayinidabeloklahoma.blogspot.com . Whether you are from Hawaii or Italy you have got to blog on over and see what you're missing. Be prepared this blog serves up a heavy dose of sarcasm Oklahoma style. It also might be the last shred of documented proof that smart rednecks do exist.
Why in the world would I miss Oklahoma when I have paradise?
Well Lake Wister doesn't trump the ocean but Hawaii has SPAM on the McDonald's breakfast menu? SPAM?! For breakfast!! Every Sooner worth her salt knows a girl needs bacon, eggs, fried potatoes and biscuits all smothered in gravy to maintain a girlish figure. My Grandpa Roscoe swore bacon grease gravy induced early puberty and yes my grandfather really was named Roscoe and I have a real live Uncle Bubba.
Happy Holidays from Hawaii and a special thank you to the women of Idabel for reminding me of home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Gift of Beauty

I have decided to give everyone on my list handmade creations. I already have my eye on some stunning one of a kind creations for my family and friends. Check out my Christmas List for a sneak peak. Everything is beautiful from gourmet fudge to bath soaps. These gifts are sure to please. I am really excited about the chennile ice cream cones for my imaginative princess and the wooden rattle for the baby. Don't you wish you were on my list?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Daughter's Designs

My daughter not only picks her own clothes she designs them. For family portraits she designed her and her sisters tutu and insisted we continue with a very dramatic red and black theme. Like a true Diva she insists on being the only princess in the shot and is always absent from group pics. Where was she? Coaching us from the sidelines and keeping Grandma company. Maybe someday we will score a true family portrait. Thank you Gabi for capturing this moment with our youngest. Luckily our Diva is always willing to pose solo so I was able to photograph her in her favorite hat.

TracyLacy Trinkets shares my daughter's love for bold and bright contrasts and composed a gallery of stunning red and black images. No gallery is complete without a tutu and I am thrilled to see ours on her beautiful list.... http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=21697

Cute TuTu Pics

There is just something very special about a baby in a tutu. The owner of Catherine Lough Designs put together a collection of tutu cute images on Etsy and I am so proud she featured our youngest princess. Please check it out and see all the little princesses @

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My New Favorite Thing

Moons Harvest Bath Cupcakes on Etsy
If you are on my Christmas list odds are you will be scoring one of these adorable cupcake bath bombs. These delicious looking treats look good enough to eat. I am sending these to all my family and friends with LUSH addictions. Everyone on my list will be getting handmade items from good enough to eat bath products to real edible homemade blondies and chocolate treats all from Etsy. Don't you wish you were on my list?? Here is the link...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Couture for Holiday Divas

I just have to share these Christmas pictures of my little princess!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas Fairies

These great pics of my Snow Fairy Set and Holly Fairy Set were sent to me courtesy of Allyson from Picture the Moment Photography. Allyson really is amazing and I loved making these sets for her holiday portrait sessions. I am always so excited to see my designs on such pretty princesses and in the hands of talented photographers. Thank you to the special fairies who brought these costumes to life!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gourmet Candy

I am not above bribing my daughter with candy. There! I admit it. I would say you can strip me of my mother of the year award but I lost that honor years ago. If you are going to bribe your kids with candy go gorgeous, go gourmet!! This rock candy really is as stunning as it is tasty. I like it so much hubby can now bribe ME with candy!! I would take more pictures but it's already gone and it was delicious. mmmmmmmm

Friday, November 7, 2008

Do I look like a glass of MILK to you?!

The baby has a serious sense of humor. Today while eating one of her baby biscuits she pulled down my top and dunked her biscuit!! At least we weren't in public, this time. Just call me by my new name, Mommy Moo. Do you think this is a sign it is time to wean the little comedian?

A Royal Exchange

Hello my fellow crafting princesses!! I'm selling everything but the kitchen sink including photo editing and graphic design!!! Go ahead and post your best offers! Hugs, Jen

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wedding Vows and Wedding Pictures

My wedding was perfect. I loved every second of it and wouldn't change a thing except the vows. We used the traditional vows and added our own touch of sentimental fluff.
I, Jen, take you to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward (until the kids are born and then we will be two children apart until college, deal with it) , for better or for worse (but I don't have to like it) , for richer, for poorer (as long as we have separate accounts) , in sickness and in health (yes, even when you suffer from severe ASSicitis), to love and to cherish (most of the time but when you fart in your sleep it will be a challenge); from this day forward until death do us part (Please note: death is still an option so don't think marriage puts you in the clear).

Feel free to use these vows in your own ceremony. People told me marriage would be hard but they failed to mention there would be times I would want to bury him in the backyard. I have an amazing and wonderful husband but we are two separate people learning to share everything and that is just plain tough. Sometimes thumbing through pictures encourages me to lay down the shovel and kiss like the day we were first married.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Power of Photo Props

First things first…a happy child is key to the perfect portrait and is more important than angle, shutter speed, backdrop or even lighting. Props not only add that special something to a portrait they can also help shy children forget the camera and get rambunctious children to stay right where you want them...
To get your child to "stand here", never say, "stand here".
Instead scatter something of interest in the direction you want your child to go and get the camera ready. A favorite tree, bush or backdrop?? Scatter seashells, flowers (real or silk), treats, prizes, jewels or Easter eggs in front of it and hand them a coordinating bag , basket or satchel.
Cameras are portable so move around and follow.. instead of trying to get your child to change position, change YOUR position and follow THEIR movements for "natural" poses and expressions. Click away! Your child does NOT have to be looking at the camera. Some of the best shots will be when your child is oblivious to you and the camera.
For this shot I scattered shells in the front yard and we went on a seashell hunt. We also go to the beach for treasure hunts and I hide prizes and toys in the sand. If you have snowy winters you can bury jewels, shells, money and other prizes in the snow for a winter treasure hunt. Remember treasure does not have to be expensive to excite your child. It actually helps to sneak in silly things when they aren't looking like an old sock to get them laughing and catch them by surprise. Be sure to have the camera ready. I hope you enjoyed the photo tips!