Pauline’s Photography teddy bear seated in red radio flyer wagon in front of a weathered barn door

Children’s Fall Photo Sessions

It’s time for fall photo sessions!  I’ve been busy creating a fun fall theme for the kiddos that will also lend itself to getting some beautiful portraits.  We begin the session photographing children in front of a white wall with simple props that will be suitable for creating classic wall art to hang in your home.

photo portrait of young girl with her cocker spaniel puppy
Aren’t they Adorable?

After getting the classic images, children will be invited to play in the red wagon and the John Deere tractor. While shopping for John Deere toys to enhance the fall theme I found the large tractor at Target.  What child can resist a ride on a tractor?  And, thanks to my mother, we now own it!  We will load the wagon and trailer with pumpkins and siblings to create memorable photos.  The kids will look adorable in their overalls and plaid shirts!

Photos can be beautifully edited as is, or families may choose from several backgrounds that are perfect for the classic images and the wagon or tractor.  All of the images will have ground cover with fall leaves.

The children’s photo studio is set up for kids to have a fun experience.  Toys appropriate to the theme are available to play with while listening to music that makes children feel comfortable.

More of my work with children can be seen on the photography page and the fall page.  Fall sessions may be scheduled in September through early October.  Families can contact me for more information and to schedule a photo session at 971-506-8911.

 

Pauline’s Photography children’s photography studio

Children’s Photo Studio

 

photo portrait of young girl with her cocker spaniel puppy
Aren’t they Adorable?

Last week the garage was converted into a photo studio.  I’ve always wanted to do this but couldn’t in my Portland home since the gym was used for the preschool.  Having to share space with the preschool meant needing to set up and take down equipment for each photo session.  We cleaned out the garage, hung some curtains to hide the storage area, and painted the wall white. There are still some things to do, but at least the space is now usable.  I love that we can hang items from the ceiling.  We couldn’t do that in the preschool gym since the ceilings were too high.

After converting the garage, we decided to do an autumn portrait session with Tessa.  We gathered a few fall items and had some fun with our new set-up!

I recently completed Sandra Coan’s strobes class and would like to try out the skills with some child models.  More info about my work with children can be found here.

 

 

 

 

Pauline’s Photography Fall red bike pillow

Girl’s Sewing and Crafting Weekend Retreat

Breakfast & Tassels

Our girl’s weekend began Friday morning when I picked Misty-Jade up from the airport.  From there we found a wonderful breakfast at the Henhouse Cafe in Gilbert where many traditional foods are served with a Mexican flavor.  We shared a Santa Fe omelete and a lemon blueberry mascarpone pancake.  The food was awesome and followed by a short shopping trip to the mall.

Later in the day Gramma and Misty-Jade made tassels for her blanket and the DIY tree branch to decorate her bedroom while I began preparing fabric for our pillows. The chunky tassels are super easy to make, and directions can be found on many internet sites.  We used directions from Design Sponge.  The tree branch was spray painted white before attaching tassels.

Marble Dipped Vases and a Blanket

Saturday morning Misty-Jade created marble-dipped vases.  It took a few tries to make it work, but the end result was perfect!  We did find that the nail polish will flake off, so we’ll see if we can find a sealant to spray on them.

After finishing the vases, we began working on the blanket.  One side was cut from navy blue fleece and the other was cut from white Shannon Cuddle fabric which feels very luxurious!   A monogram matching Misty-Jade’s bath towels was embroidered in the corner.  Then the tassels were tacked to the navy fleece before sewing both fabrics together to form a cozy blanket with just the right feel and weight.  I’m sure she’ll appreciate this blanket on cold, snowy Utah nights!

 

 

We ended our day with an outing to the Harkin’s Theater to see the “Lion King” followed by a swim in our pool.

Waffle Breakfast and Pillows

Sunday morning began with healthy Easy Oat Waffles.  We grind our own grains ensuring our flours are fresh.  One of my favorite sites for healthy and organic foods is Forks Over Knives.

The rest of the day was used for finishing the blanket and pillows.  My mom and I love pillows but have found that there’s not enough room to store all the different pillows for every season or holiday.  Envelope pillow cases solved that problem, so now we only have to change the pillow cases which are much easier to store.  The DIY directions by So Much Better With Age are super simple and easy to follow.  I also found a tutorial at sew4home that helps to maintain the square corners of the pillow.  You can see the difference in the corners of the beige pillow in the pictures.  Each pillow front was embroidered with a fall design before construction.  We’re making five more pillows before September with additional designs.

Relaxing and a Birthday Celebration

A girl’s weekend retreat would not be complete without relaxing, cooking, watching movies and just spending time together.

Our Completed Weekend Projects

Weekend Craft and Sewing Projects Completed
All of our projects for the weekend!
Pauline’s Photography

Shanghai

Last December Misty-Jade surprised me with the most awesome gift I could ever have wished for.  We spent Christmas break visiting Disney World and as always went to Epcot which is my favorite Disney park.  We saw the Shanghai Disneyland display at the China pavilion, and of course I was dreaming of the day we would return, and she could experience China for herself.  After returning to Iowa for her final semester, she called to say she wanted to take me to China as her graduation gift to me!  At the end of May we flew to China for the most incredible three week tour we will never forget.

We arrived in Shanghai late at night and were met by one of our former exchange students who was wonderful in helping us plan our vacation.  Jo took us to the Campanile Hotel near the Jing An Temple and helped to get us checked in.  We didn’t have time to recover from the time change because Jo kept us busy first thing in the morning until late at night for the next two days.  There was just too much to see, and we didn’t want to miss any of it.

 

History Museum

We spent the first morning at the Shanghai History Museum which had some amazing collections and beautiful displays.  I must have taken pictures of everything but of course can’t post them all here.   I’ve included a few that attracted my attention. I was very impressed with the detail of the printing plate and the resulting print it created.  The preciseness of the print is just extraordinary.  There was also a display about Chinese opera and several costumes.  Again the detail is exquisite.  I was also impressed with the tools used to eat crab.  I would never have thought so many utensils would be needed for that task!  One of the last exhibits we saw shows Shanghai as a refuge city for Jewish people during WWII.

I enjoy visiting museums in the US, and most provide excellent exhibits.  However, as is to be expected the same types of pioneer pieces, architecture, or art are found in many of them.  I believe people get used to seeing these items and walk through without looking very deeply at the exhibits.  The Shanghai museum offered new items as well as displays of familiar things, but seeing them from a different cultural perspective was very insightful.   There is so much to see, and I would enjoy visiting again.

 

Walking the Streets & The Bund

We did a lot of walking around Shanghai as well as taking the Metro and buses throughout the city.  Shanghai’s transportation system appears to work very well and seems to be easily navigated by everyone.  I always thought New York and LA were large, but Shanghai is gigantic!  Actually it wasn’t until visiting Shanghai that it ever occurred to me that Jo, who lived with us for a school year, must have thought Portland is extremely small without as much to do.

The Bund was one of the places on our list of things to see, so we eventually made it there.

 

Shanghai Tower

From the Bund we took a ferry across the river and took the elevator up the Shanghai Tower.  I think we landed on the 118th floor and then took the stairs up one more.  The view is incredible.  My only disappointment was the smog covering the city blocking what otherwise would have been a fantastic view.  That being said, China is trying to clean up the air and those who buy environmentally friendly vehicles are rewarded with less taxes on their car’s registration.  Those vehicles can be spotted by their green license plates.  We also found that China is encouraging recycling throughout the country.

Yu Garden

One of the last sites we visited on our first day was the Yu Garden.  I had expected a garden, but discovered it is more of a shopping area.  The buildings were beautiful, and we had a great time exploring the area.

 

Pauline’s Photography Photo of rose cuddle Easter bunny.

White Cuddle Rose Easter Bunny

2018 Sew Stitchery Expo

I took the beach house and headed up to Puyallup, WA a few weeks ago to attend the Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  The shopping was incredible, and there were way too many seminars to choose from!  I went home with a multitude of  patterns, tools, and ideas to keep me busy for a couple years:)

I’m in Love with the Bunny!

I fell in love with the purple cuddle rose rabbit that was sitting in the  Carol’s Zoo  booth.  The pattern was purchased, and I finished the rabbit a couple weeks ago.  The rabbit was made from Shannon cuddle rose fabric in snow white, and the eyes and nose were purchased from Carol’s Zoo.  They can also be purchased in bulk online.  Carol had made plastic templates of her patterns, so I bought the plastic at Joann’s thinking it would be easier to use than paper for tracing the patterns onto cuddle, minky and fur fabrics.

The plastic templates were perfect and made tracing very easy.

A minky and cuddle workshop was offered at the expo where participants were given many helpful ideas for working with these fabrics.  Since the fabrics are slippery, the presenter suggested using lots of pins or clips.  I purchased a box of Clover’s Wonder Clips and was very pleased with them.  I probably over clipped the rabbit, but it didn’t slip while sewing.  After the rabbit was sewn together, it was stuffed with just enough fiber fill to give it shape, but loosely enough to cuddle with.  A yellow ribbon was chosen for Gymhawk colors, and it works for Easter too. The Easter card was made with my Silhouette Cameo.

Best Friends Forever!

The rabbit was shipped to its new home in Iowa and is now best friends with the most well loved green bunny.  Fourteen years ago the ER nurses gave the green rabbit to Misty-Jade after she broke her elbow.   The rabbit has been to every gymnastics meet since, traveled all over the country, and rescued several times after being left in stores.  She now has her own ID tag!   I only wish I could thank the nurses who gave the rabbit to her.  The rabbit helped Misty-Jade get through surgery, a year of physical therapy, and a change in gyms.

Photo of Hawkeye Backpacks

Good Luck Gifts for the Gymhawks!

My daughter, Misty-Jade, is a member of the University of Iowa gymnastics team.  Every year parents volunteer to support the team by sending Hawkeye Honey gifts  to the girls at each meet during the season.  The first year I sent a bag of goodies with things from or made in Oregon.  Last year Misty-Jade and I decided on cups with the team’s theme for the season.

Photo of mug with glittered vinyl
2017 Hawkeye Honeys

This year she wanted me to machine embroider socks for each of the girls.  There was no way that was happening!  So, in the end she decided I should sew drawstring backpacks for everyone.  A couple weeks before she needed these, she found a pattern that worked perfectly for this project.  The directions can be found at Pockets full of Wonder.  We chose four different beautiful cotton fabrics made by Moda and Quilting Treasures.

My original thought was to machine embroider the logo and 2018 team theme, but decided vinyl would be a better option.  I used Siser easy weed heat transfer vinyl and am very pleased with the results.

The last step was putting the cord through the top and loops at the bottom.  Misty-Jade filled the bags with St. Patricks items for good luck.

Last weekend the Gymhawks were at Rutgers for the Big 5 meet where they placed second and earned a spot in the evening session at the Big 10 meet.  They left for Illinois today and will compete Saturday at the Big 10 Championship!

Photo of Iowa Women’s Gymnastics Team
Photo by Iowa Women’s Gymnastics 
Photo of Spaghetti Dinner

Instant Pot Spaghetti!

Last weekend we went camping out at the coast with the goal of photographing waterfalls and autumn leaves.  Since Amber is back in school we needed electrical hookups and wi-fi for homework assignments, so we stayed at an RV park.  During the day we went hiking at Sweet Creek Falls and captured some wonderful fall photos.

Amber has been wanting to try the Instant Pot on a camping trip, but I hadn’t wanted to lug it out camping and back home after each trip.  The RV’s crock pot broke a couple months ago, and I had been thinking about replacing it with an IP.  When I found a larger IP on sale at Fred Meyer I purchased it, so now we have one for home and one for glamping!

 

 

 

I like using the Instant Pot for soups, chili, dried beans, baked potatoes, and vegetables.  Amber suggested making spaghetti, so we gave it a try.  The recipe we used can be found at The Salty Marshmallow.  The IP is wonderful for making one-pot meals, and we always freeze the leftovers for quick and easy lunches.  The hamburger and onions are cooked using the saute mode, and then the dry spaghetti noodles, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and water were layered on top of the meat.  After locking the lid on the pot, the spaghetti cooked for 8 minutes.

 

 

 

The spaghetti was served with my favorite veggie, broccoli, and garlic bread.  The spaghetti was okay, and it works for a camp meal, but it was a bit soupy. However, it did get thicker as it sat.  Some of the noodles stuck together during cooking.  I love my IP, but some things are still better cooked using a conventional method.   This spaghetti may not be my favorite, but there is definitely a place for the Instant Pot in my beach house!

 

 

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Photo of girl in front of tree

Kinders Farewell Party & Last Photo Session

W and R left for school last week, and B went this week.  We’ll miss having them at preschool, but I’m sure they’re ready for the next adventures waiting for them.  Although, since W’s sister is still in preschool, we might get to see her occasionally.  Before leaving for Kindergarten the girls had a final photo session and a Peter Rabbit party.

Here are some snapshots of the party.

Their final photo session.

All the teachers wish the girls the best of luck in their educational journey!

Photo of Middle Lewis River Falls located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Lewis River Lower Falls, A 5+ Star Campground!!

What Makes Lower Falls a 5 Star Campground?

Everything!!!  I’m a member of Campendium, a site where parks are reviewed and rated on a 1-5 star basis.  My goal is to eventually go full-time RVing, and I’ve found their site to be quite helpful.  A few posts back I lamented that my beach house doesn’t fit into the tent section at Millersylvania State Park. Lower Falls Campground is the answer!  The campground has everything I could have asked for!  Well, except for a lake to go kayaking on, but I’ll take this park any day.  It is a gorgeous, green, lush campground that RVs can fit into.  The sites are huge and spaced far apart giving families the privacy they seek in a camping experience.  Campers actually feel like they’re out in the woods.  Children have plenty of space to play and won’t be quite as tempted to cross into other’s sites.  The trails are easily accessible from the campground and hikers can be down at the river to view the beautiful waterfalls in a short time.

Trailer Access

The campground was easy to drive to, however, the National Forest Service website does warn that it might be difficult for trailers to get through a short section of gravel road and that you drive at your own risk.  I called the forest service the day before to confirm the warning was still in effect and to determine whether or not we should go.  The lady I spoke to said it should be okay if we drive slow.  The mile long section of road is passible, but slow going is definitely the key.  Fortunately I drove it very late at night and couldn’t see what I was driving over.  It didn’t look so bad then!  Driving out I put the truck in 4 wheel drive; probably didn’t need it, but it made me feel better.  The other obstacle while towing a trailer is dodging the overgrown trees, even on the paved roads.  I hit a few branches on the way in, but didn’t damage anything.  On the way out I drove down the center of the road as much as possible to avoid them.

The road doesn’t look so bad in the video, but Amber’s having a difficult time holding the camera still due to the road conditions.

Trails & Waterfalls

The crown jewels of this park are the waterfalls!  They are photographic heaven!!  The only thing I didn’t bring were the right shoes to stand in the middle of the river to photograph the lower falls.  It wasn’t possible to stand in the river at the middle falls, and I didn’t see a way, other than swimming, to get across the river to put myself at a better angle for those images.  There must be some other way across, but that will have to wait for another day.  Most of the trails we hiked were easily accessible with great views of the falls and several points to stop and enjoy the surrounding areas.

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Photo of Butte Creek Upper Falls in Oregon

Butte Creek Falls, Oregon

Road to the Falls

I’ve been wanting to get out and practice using the neutral density filters more so decided to visit Butte Creek Falls. Last year I purchased “Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon” written by Adam Sawyer at Costco.  It’s a great reference for finding falls within a reasonable distance for a day outing.  We checked the directions and other information in the book against some internet sites.  Obviously some directions were better than others, but it was easy to find and we were able to drive directly to the falls.  The last 4 to 5 miles is a gravel/washboard road, however most vehicles will make it just fine.  The washboard is fairly minor compared to others I’ve experienced.  There is a section of one lane road that feels more perilous than it actually is from the driver’s perspective as it winds around and overlooks the hill.

The Trail and Falls

The hike is on a beautiful .9 mile, easy loop trail, with a couple hills, and the lush green foliage and shade were much appreciated on a hot July day.  The straight part of the trail leads to the lower falls, but we weren’t able to get to its base.  We saw some people go down the side of the rocky hill to get there, but we chose not to do that with our camera equipment.  Another family came along and opted not to go down as well.  Those who are more adventurous have the falls and pool all to themselves!

Then we took the loop trail to the upper falls which were easily accessible, and several families were playing in the water.  It wasn’t as crowded as other falls tend to be, and we were able to get the photos we wanted.  On the way out of the loop trail I saw another view of the upper falls I didn’t see going in.  I’ll have to go back and photograph it with the neutral density filter.

 

Visiting Butte Creek Falls is well worth the scenic drive through farm country and the gravel roads.  It’s about an hour from Portland depending on your starting point.  On the way out we stopped at a farm stand and purchased fresh picked blackberries and strawberries and then finished our day with strawberry shortcake for desert!