This blog will stay active for a while still (until my hosting runs out, I'd imagine), but I've switched to a different format.
See you there!
Just a quick note...
I'm archiving this month, as my external drive is full. If you've had a session in 2012 or prior, and find yourself wishing you had ordered a few more prints, or gave all yours to family members, now's the time to get them.
Between now and March 6th, I'm offering 20% off prints from any session that took place prior to this year. Just shoot me an email, let me know what session you're looking for, and I'll activate a gallery for you.
2013. Already. While I'm not messing up the date on various forms and signature requireds and checks (yeah, we still have to write a few of those), I'm still not done with 2012. The year, yes. Everything that was supposed to be done during it, no.
So instead of a list of resolutions and changes and goals, I give you 2013: the year stuff gets done. Random projects that were started, recipes that were saved to try, ideas that were scribbled on post-its and stuck on the desk, only to be covered with papers and notes and other post-its. As these things turn up, they're actually going to get done.
So far so good. I made soap, like bar soap. I had the wooden mold sitting here, and the book with the directions, for weeks on end. We'll find out this weekend if it's going to burn the flesh off our bodies, but we're optimistic.
I've been cooking more...less "hey swing by and pick up dinner on your way home", which is always a plus. So we've knocked out a few of the recipes I've got laying around. A dozen down, seven billion more to go....
Grapefruit vanilla marmalade, which we tasted at the farmers market, and decided to try. What we ended up with was actually a vanilla citrus (red grapefruit, Meyer lemon, and orange) syrup. Which, honestly, way better. Because given the fact that no one in this house actually likes marmalade, 8 jars would have been overkill. But the syrup, heaven. We've been eating it on pancakes, and as soon as I remember to get some white soda, I'm going to try it in that.
And lastly, as an offshoot of our farmers market obssesion from last summer, I'm going to attempt to do as much of our grocery shopping as I can locally. Which I'm going to define as "grown/made in Michigan". I've been reading about this, and a lot of people define local as anything produced within 100-150 miles. I'm stretching that, because we hit the Eastern Market in Detroit at least once a month, and I'm pretty sure they draw vendors from outside that range.
Honestly, this shouldn't be to difficult, all things considered. I've already got local sources for just about everything we need, it's just a matter of remembering who's where, and planning ahead. There's a phenomenal meat guy at Eastern Market, and I usually pick up something when I'm there (breakfast burritos are big here right now, made ahead and frozen), but then it's Tuesday and I can just quick stop at the grocery store and get whatever it is.
One last note, regarding portraits and summer stuff and travel....I'm looking at mid-summer and around October for Milwaukee trips. Oddly enough, our whole summer is almost mapped out, so I'm going to play with those dates a little more, and will be emailing out before the end of March.
Oh. And while I'm staring at the backup software running on the other screen...I'll be doing a print sale, probably later this month, early next. Anything 2012 or earlier. I'll email about that as well...
All for now...
Already 2013? Where on earth did the rest of 2012 go? If I really think about it, I can probably account for the whole year, but man, did it just fly by.
A brief recap...
First session from 2012...
And the last session from 2012, squeezed in the weekend before Christmas.
Another milestone from 2012, I met Elmo. Or Elmo's cousin with the lazy eye. From a birthday party I photographed...
Two weeks spent in WI over the summer, sessions and a wedding. As a guest. I know.
And my girls stood up...(not from the wedding photog, which was not me, which honestly? I forgot how much fun weddings are when you're not working)
And farmer's markets...good gravy did we hit the farmer's markets this summer. 2-3 times a week, just about every week. The only day that I wasn't able to find a market that was less than 30-40 minutes from my house was Mondays.
Our favorite houseguest....he spent just under a month a half here. Ginge was thrilled. Beyond thrilled. And if I have to be awake at 5am to snuggle with someone, well, he was pretty dang snuggley.
My favorite photo from a trip to WI. That's 8 years and 4 kids worth of photos. Which I love. LOVE. And why I keep going back.
Best day trips this year? Food trucks and the beach. Not together, unfortunately.
Best book? Gone Girl. I finished it standing in line waiting to get into an orchestra concert, it was that good.
Speaking of orchestra...I spent a great deal of time driving to and from.
And finally, for now, I was able to work with our groomer on a fundraiser for a local shelter. I've done this in the past, back in WI, and it's such a good time. I love photographing dogs, probably more than anything else. They're just always so dang excited to be there. Sessions took place at the groomer, and someone from the shelter was there to give out their info.
All for now...
ps. If 2012 had to be described in one word, it appears that word would be Instagram. While I won't be ditching the big camera and shooting everything with my phone, it sure is a great toy.
Today, my baby turns 6. And with that, I give you some of my favorite dog photos currently on my hard drive.
First up, my birthday girl. I love her to pieces.
Next...how could you not trust this face?
He's all "OMG THIS IS FUN!!". They're all "dude. settle down."
What? It wasn't me!
Happy Birthday Ginge!
I knew I had photos to get online today or tomorrow, and I like to try to ramble on about something when I post them. So today, rather than hurricane or election or World Series news, I give you Randomness From My House, volume 752.
My oldest daughter usually takes treats for her friends at school on her birthday. Or their birthday. Or Wednesday. Usually, it's something like cake pops, or cookies, something easily transported. This morning, she loaded up 6 tiny little pumpkin pies. 6 tiny little vegan pumpkin pies, because one of her friends doesn't eat eggs. They tasted fine, but the texture was a little different.
Last night, I spent entirely too long googling "homemade ramen noodles". For what, like 50 cents a package, why on earth would you make these at home? But I read bad things about the seasoning packet, so I was looking for a way to substitute something else for that. But now I feel like I should be making ramen from scratch.
Also, if I saw you in Milwaukee the day they called me and let me know the dog didn't eat breakfast, which for her, would be the equivalent of bleeding from her ears, she's fine. Apparently, the two socks she had eaten, along with the starfish and God knows what else, did not agree with her. Shocking, I know.
With that, I give you siblings.
All for now...
A quick update, before I dig in to all this downloading/editing/printing....
I'm back from Milwaukee, so if we were working on something before I left, I should be wrapping it up this next week. If I saw you in Milwaukee, I should be wrapping up your session within the next two weeks. As usual, it was wonderful to see all the families I've been seeing for the past few years, some as many as seven. It's especially cool to see the prints from all those years hanging in houses and framed on desks. I meant to grab photos of the walls with my phone, but always seem to remember that when I'm in my car driving away.
Holiday cards...I know I've got a handful of people I saw this summer who were waiting to order those until fall, now would be the time. I'm planning on having everything wrapped up mid-November, so we should touch base in the next week or so.
Older sessions....as in anything 2011 or before. I've had a number of people ask about getting some additional prints. Sometime between now and the first week of December I'm going to run a special on those, I'll mention it here and on Facebook (photography on fb ), and again, it will be for anything 2011 or prior.
I think that's everything...or not.
In the meantime, sisters. Again, a lot of the families I see back in WI are people I've been seeing for a number of years, so they usually remember me. And shy, they ain't. Which I love.
All for now...
Or, as it happens, the tv stand, because the nightstand is in the corner and is dark and they’re actually piled up on the floor under it.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – This one’s actually up next. I’ve heard great things, and I’ve heard not great things. So we’ll see. But if you’ve read it, let me know what you think.
“India’s Summer” – This was a freebie, so I don’t feel bad that I only sorta liked it. It’s about two sisters, one who lives in California and is famous, and her twin, who’s visiting from London, discontent about how her life is going, and her experiences over the course of the summer. It probably would have been much more enjoyable if I was lying at the beach reading it, because it’s that kind of book, but I was in blankets with a sweatshirt on wondering why we hadn’t turned on the heat yet. Every time they mentioned sun or swimming or beaches, I cursed the fact that I need to either find my mittens soon, or pick up another pair.
On a side note, back before we had this dog, I had one pair of wooly mittens that I had for about 10 years. The first winter we had her, she chewed them all up. Now, I seem to buy a new pair every year because last year’s have gone missing. Hm.
“Food in Jars” – Applesauce. Enough said. (Miss Braces likes it in her lunch in the winter, especially after she’s gone in for new wires and her whole mouth feels like it’s in a vise.)
“Happier at Home” – I’ve been following this woman’s blog for a while now. In her last book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin spent a year actively trying to be happier. Which sounds a little like, “duh, doesn’t everyone?”, but as it turns out, no, they don’t. Most people say they’d like to be happy, or happier, but just assume that what they’ve always done is going to get them there. The book is divided into months, and each month focuses on a different thing. In Happier at Home, again, the book is divided into months, but runs the course of a school year. Which for me, is a more accurate calendar than the traditional January through December. I love the whole idea of this. Of looking at your life and seeing what’s really important, and what’s just there. Where you’re spending your time and whether or not it’s really what you want to be doing. Simplifying or expanding, really, I just love the idea of someone taking the time to really be aware of their life.
“Artisan Breads Everyday” – Yeast has triumphed over me for the last time. (Cinnamon rolls, I’m
looking at you.)
Hmm. That's currently a pretty odd assortment.
There are three things that I love with a blind passion, if you’re not including people. Books, coffee, and shoes. I don’t even need to be buying any of them; just being in the vicinity of them makes me happy. If I happen to drive past a coffee shop, and can smell them roasting beans from my car, my day is automatically 10 times better. When it’s too cold or wet to be outside, but we’re tired of being in the house, I can pack up the girls and we’ll go hang out at the bookstore for the afternoon. Some days we buy something, other days, it’s just enough to sit and be surrounded by a million different stories and ideas. And shoes? Hmm. Well, I have more than some people, less than others. We’ll leave it there.
Last month, I had one of those days where I knew no matter what I attempted to do, nothing was going to get done. There was a huge list waiting for me, but I couldn’t focus on one thing long enough to finish it. Rather than stay and fight it, I grabbed my camera and jumped in the car.
I frequently drive past a used bookstore in Royal Oak. I don’t know the name, or the exact location, other than it’s on Woodward Ave, and on a corner. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wasn’t even sure it was Royal Oak, and while I was sure about Woodward, I wasn’t sure where, and I didn’t want to spend the morning cruising up and down looking for it.
Hello, Google. And while I never did find the bookstore I was originally thinking of, I did find what could possibly be the happiest place in Michigan.
John K. King Used and Rare Books. The largest bookstore in Michigan, and one of the largest in the country. Basically, where I’d like to go when I die. Established in the ‘60’s, and moved to its current location in the ‘80’s, the used book portion of the store occupies an abandoned glove factory in Detroit. There’s a second building, with offices and other administrative stuff, where the rare books are housed, as well as another location in Ferndale. Which may or may not be the bookstore I was originally looking for.
Four stories of used books. They gave me a directory when I walked in. According to the cashier the day I was there, this collection represents John King’s life work. If, someday far from now, my life’s work is even half as breathtaking as his, I would consider it a life well spent.
The link to the store John K. King Used and Rare Books.
And some photos...
More photos here.... Facebook
A Milwaukee recap, of sorts...
One of the things I enjoy most about the sessions I schedule back in Wisconsin is that a lot of these families are families I've watched grow for years. To see how much someone has changed over the course of the year always amazes me. With my own, it's more of a "turn around and they've grown 4 shoe sizes" type of thing. You don't notice it as much when you see them every day, but one day you look up when they ask you something and they're little people, with thier own quirks and personalities.
When I schedule in Milwaukee now, it's rare that it's someone new. For the most part, it's people I've known for years.
First up, Mr. A, who I met at a wedding in late 2008, and first photographed early 2009.
January of 2009
And mid 2012, my last trip in.
Next up, Miss E, who I met in 2007, after photographing her older brother the previous year.
Last one for now...my own.
2007, January or February, right after we got G for Christmas.
and 2012, about two weeks ago, sans G, because she was busy napping.
It’s been a heck of a two months. And this coming month isn’t going to be any different. With school right around the corner, I used to think that would mean things would slow down. But now I’ve got two middle schoolers. And orchestra practice. And string lessons. And cross country practice and meets. Swimming, track, band concerts, conferences, and meetings.
So no. Slowing down is not what’s going to happen.
But right now, with peppers roasting for dinner, the girls out walking the dog, and a cup of hot (lukewarm) coffee, it’s quiet.
Yesterday, with a dozen plates in the air, we took the day to just be. The girls and I spent the day at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Recently, our county, along with two others, voted on whether or not to add $15 to our yearly taxes to go towards helping keep the DIA open. There’s arguments to both sides, mainly, did the DIA even need this to continue, but for me, it’s such a small price to pay to ensure they stay open, especially in an area where so many things are being cut or closed. Bonus? Our $15 gives us free admission.
Guys. Gorgeous. Really, I’m not even sure how else to describe it. The building itself is amazing, the collection, even better. Highlights from the girls? My oldest loved the African tribal masks and the courtyard painted with scenes of Detroit. My youngest, the sarcophaguses and van Gogh, aka, that crazy guy who cut his ear off (yay 4th grade art unit!).
Patti Smith’s Camera Solo exhibit is still there as well, until September 2nd. I had read about it a while back, and thought, oh, I’d like to see that, and then forgot all about it.
Honestly? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a collection of photos that I’ve loved as much as I love this. So much smaller than I thought they’d be, most were 4x5 or 5x7, they were soft and dreamy and whispery and gorgeous, in a way that is so exactly opposite of what most photography is right now. Most were of objects, there were a few portraits, but not many. And I loved them. Every single one, and as a whole, even more.
If you have the chance, go. I’m not sure where it’s headed when it leaves Detroit, but I hope to make it one more time before it does.
A link to an article about the exhibit, along with a few images...
As an aside, we stopped at the Detroit Public Library on our way out. This? Right here? Why it's important for Detroit to pull through. Second only to the Boston Library on our list of "coolest frickin librarys we've ever been to". Because yeah, we have a list.
The Mini, resting after a few hours of wandering, on the steps of the Detroit Public Library.
If you know me, or if we’re Facebook friends, or if you know my immediate family, you’ve probably heard about my niece to some degree. It’s been the topic of conversation since last Halloween. If you don’t, it’s enough to say that she’s facing some hefty medical issues.
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got favorites. Out of all of our nieces and nephews, this girl and her brother are clearly my best guys. Part of it is that I’m old enough now to appreciate them, part of it is that I don’t see them nearly often enough, part of it is watching their little family unit, who honestly, couldn’t get any frickin cuter.
As usual, we made time for photos while I was back in WI. With everything she’s got going on, the fact that she’s so tiny, facing such huge things, never really leaves my mind. It’s always floating around, just on the edge of things.
But you’d never guess any of this by looking at her.
My niece, conquering the world. Love her like I love my own.
And her brother. Good gravy, is that boy sweet.
Remember that game? 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Consider this 6 degrees of Facebook. aka, One of those times Facebook is awesome.
A few weeks ago, I was out for whatever, and stumbled into the Detroit Mercantile Co.
I met Robert, who runs the joint.
Robert runs the joint with Robert.
Robert (the second one, keep up here) also does something with screenprinting, and Mack's Dad does said screenprinting.
Mack's Dad is married to Mack's Mom.
Mack's Mom saw the blog/photos I posted about the Mercantile (see that one here shameless self-promo )
Mack's Mom is also a heck of a gardener, makes damn good pie, and is in general all around awesome.
And then there's Mack.
Yeah. I know. You just want to squeeze him too.
In the never-ending stream of "yes, this is actually what we're obsessing about right now", I give you the Great Pedometer Battle of 2012.
While getting ready for our first rummage sale, we unearthed 2 pedometers. On Monday, the first day of the competition, my youngest smoked my husband by about 3000 steps. Monday night, my husband vowed to never work from home again. Tuesday, my youngest clocked in at 11,000+ steps, my husband around 9,000.
Today, as she was leaving for school, we sent him taunting photos.
The battlefield? Sidewalks and playgrounds.
The weapon? Her trusty Chucks.
Her will is strong. Her feet are fast. And, she gets to take a cell phone with her when she goes out for a walk, so there's that.
I can't help it. I'm infatuated. It's like that boy in high school that your parents and friends told you to avoid, but yet you find yourself sneaking out your bedroom window to go make out with him in the high school parking lot. (As an aside, Mom, if you're reading this, I never, ever did that. Ever.)
You've heard the rumors, the warnings. He's too old, He drives to fast. Parties a little too much. He has...gasp...a tattoo.
But then. The longer you know him, the more you see. He saves orphaned puppies. Helps little old ladies across the street. There's the grit and the edge that make it darkly appealing, but there's the resilience and optimism that pushes your simple crush into full blown infatuation.
Detroit, you fascinate me. And whenever I'm out wandering, and stumble across another little piece of amazing, I love you even more.
Don't be surprised if one day we come home with matching tattoos.
I was out yesterday, after seeing a link on facebook for a new place called The Detroit Mercantile Co., which opened on the 19th in the Eastern Market. Housed in a converted fire station, they carry a little bit of old, and a little bit of new. Carhartts new jackets and old letter press letters. T-shirts and vintage cameras, dog collars with seat belt clasps, typewriter keys made into jewelry. A copper-plated bike from the Detroit Bicycle Co, and a marlin.
It's like walking into a treasure chest. And I'm pretty sure I need a print of the Detroit bus lines for my dining room. And as soon as Ginge ruins her Lions collar, she's getting one with a seat belt buckle.
Photos are here...https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adina-St-John-Photography/358568037504029 and as soon as typepad stops thwarting me, I'll add them here.
Recently, I took my youngest daughter clothes shopping, or as I've come to think of it, my afternoon of payback for every terrible thing I ever did. Don't get my wrong, my daughter is very easy to shop with, and very laid back about the whole thing. It's the trips the mall that I've grown to loathe. Long past are the days when we could safely enter a children's store, choose the sizes we need, and be on our way.
Now, we have to frequent the dreaded "teen" stores. Our latest trip landed us in Aeropostle, which, from across the mall, looked innocent enough. Imagine my surprise when, after trying on a handful of t-shirts, I had to veto V-necks across the board.
Fortunately for me, my brother and his wife had babies. And my neice clearly needed a little wooden farmer, with all his animals, and butterfly socks in multiple colors, which she prefers to wear on her hands.
One of my favorite new stores...kid's clothes without cartoon characters and toys I would (and have, but don't tell anyone) buy for myself.
The Purple Bear, in Birmingham, and the Purveyor of Fun, Patience.
Argh. For some reason the photo is clipping. Just click on it to see the whole thing.
Until next time...
A while back, I had a conversation with someone about hidden messages in music. He had heard someone speak, or read somewhere about an artist whose music had somewhat controversial messages, and had gone back to listen to it again, and sure enough, there were the messages.
While I don't doubt that he did hear what he thought he heard, I also really believe that if you're looking for something, you'll generally find it.
Which, in a round about way, leads me to something I drove past a few weeks back, that reminded me of a blog I had stumbled over a few months after we moved.
Prior to moving out here, the only thing we knew about Michigan, specifically south-eastern Michigan, was what we had caught on the news every now and then. Generally, it was about Detroit. And generally, it wasn't flattering.
Fast-forward to when we actually got out here, and I happened across a blog written by a guy who lives in Detroit with his wife and two small children, and their by-no-means-ordinary, everyday life.
Last spring/summer, they spent a good chunk of their time working in an empty lot, taking it from an abandoned space to a thriving garden. Along with the successes and failures from the garden, he touched on some of the challenges living in, or gardening in, such an area. One post that stuck out was concerning the less-than-attractive graffiti on the building across the street. Rather than spend the remainder of the summer staring at the wall and bemoaning the graffiti, he talked to the owners, and took action.
Fast forward to this spring, the lot has been leased for parking, so the garden is gone, but the revenue will help a local business stay in business, and the graffiti-covered wall? Still sporting bee stripes instead of tags.
If you're looking for it, you'll generally find it. Good or bad.
I drive by this little antique store probably 2 or 3 times a week. Every time I drive past, I look at what they have sitting out front, and tell myself one day I'm going to stop there. A week or two ago, I was having lunch with J, and we had a little time to kill, so we wandered in.
It's was like finding a treasure chest. We poked around for about an hour, and then had to be on our way. I went back the following week with my camera, and asked if she (the Button Lady) minded if I took a few images.
I was reminded of 2 very important things... 1) you will always learn so much more from listening than from talking. As someone who's made her living in an unusual manner, the Button Lady has some facinating stories to tell. and 2) if you have the drive and ambition, you can make a life through your passion, regardless of what it is. Who would have thought you could support yourself via buttons? Not me, that's for sure. But if you're the leading button expert in Michigan, and supply buttons to jewelry makers and museums, you can do just that.
www.gibbons-shop.com is her site, with the address and contact info.
Amazing. Really, really amazing.
More photos on fb...