my girls

january's nest

The weeks following the holidays and December’s festivities leading into a brand new 12 months, new chapters awaiting to be discovered leave me feeling like a nestling in my warm home, making preparations to soar into the new year! It’s a time of renewal and cleansing, as I organize closets, drawers, filing cabinets and make my dream lists of what the year ahead may transpire - some are in my control, while others I leave up to the Universe to take hold, guide and make manifest. It’s possibly one of my most favorite times of the year. I’m great at dreaming up new schemes - just ask Kurt!! (;

the january light

I’ve been on a Facebook cleanse, as a friend of mine calls it. I tiptoed my way back in after taking a full 2 months of “deactivation” and reactivated my personal account a week ago, but I must tell you, I’m not really “there.” I apologize if I’ve missed the latest news that my friend connections have posted within the site, however, I’ve found that my mental health and creative life was suffering — actually, I only realized it after taking the break. It was much needed. I do love Instagram though! Please connect with me there if you haven’t already! So… please, fill me in, friends. Let me know how things are going with you!! You all know how much I love your comments!

Emilia's Art Studio

I’ve put my girls on a cleanse also. The minecrafting, youtube watching, pinterest pinning, and anything unrelated to homework has been put on pause. I noticed Alanna writing again; Emilia is creating up a storm (quite literally a STORM - and I go in to her new art studio space to scraps of paper, glitter, pens, markers, colored pencils galore!! - insert my scary face!!)! Alanna has always been a book worm, but she’s been more so while on the internet fast. They are making their plans for when the break is over as they prepare to make videos for their youtube channel, including stop animation. But, in the meantime, I think they’ve gained a new appreciation for their creative selves.

the mill property

The girls and I took an afternoon and made our way to a local favorite, The Mill Property Antiques. January is a great time to find good deals while treasure hunting within their brick and mortar walls. I love to find unique gifts to give while rediscovering the past nostalgia of collectibles that are a plethora here!! Although, there are new, antique inspired goodies here that are equally rare finds! Plus, it’s just plain fun to browse the booths!

the mill property
the mill property
the mill property

I added some vintage finds, and not-so-vintage items to a happy house-warming package I sent to my Chelsea and her partner, Sara, as they settle into their new home in Craig, Colorado. I’m so dang proud of the two of them!! Talk about brave girls - they surely are! We’re counting down the days until we visit them!

the mill property

I’ve been dreaming (there I go again!) of painting an entire wall with chalkboard paint for YEARS! Well, we did it!! We’re calling it our “Welcome Wall.” It just happens to be the wall you first see when you enter our home. Perfect! We’ve been having so much fun with it.

the Welcome Wall

I’m in the process of developing plans to expand on my summer program for girls ages 7 and older, to include year round art activities in our studio space! We’re set to launch this new idea into life this February with a Pizza & Paint Night on Saturday, Feb 16, just in time for Valentine’s Day! The girls will be making their own personal size pizzas (rolling out the dough and all!) then we’ll paint a Valentine’s inspired design on 11x14” stretched canvasses! This is bound to be a memorable night together with my hive of Busy Bee girls!

There will be more art nights and days coming up this year to keep our girls buzzing along together in a safe, creative space where they can grow their beautiful minds, and keep their hands busy making art. A calendar of the spring events will be coming up via my newsletter. Have you signed on yet? If not, click here to subscribe. Special discounts apply for our alumnae of girls.

Alanna outlined Emilia (:

Alanna outlined Emilia (:

Emilia outlined Alanna

Emilia outlined Alanna

The Busy Bees Summer Camp calendar will be announced on Friday, February 1. I’m loving all the positive responses to the ART studio and for your warm encouragement and friendship. It’s going to be loads of fun and Busy!!! (: Check out the new page I added to my website for a preview of what’s to come: Busy Bee Girls

Please let me know how you’re settling into the new year. What’s one thing you’re dreaming of? What’s on your agenda to create? I’d love to hear from you! xo Wishing you ease and joy in your day.

with gratitude, Barb

If you plant them, they will come...

After dreaming of the idea for many months now {number 5 on my Eighteen for 2018 "bucket" list} about the notion of creating a sunflower patch in our side yard - to attract butterflies, bees, birds and children and families and their high school seniors to my home studio - the plot has been planted.  

First, we mapped out our plot.  I would have dug up the entire side yard, but that's a whole lot to take on!  I'll gradually chip away at the new one, though, so that gives me something to work towards.  We measured and looked to the sun for the optimum growing area.  Sunflowers need abundant sunlight!  This location is just right...    

My 3 Girls Photography Family Portrait Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

We had toyed with the idea of renting a sod remover - yes, they make such a creature!  One day, seemingly out of the clear blue (but possibly not), I remembered reading about using tarps to starve the grass and keep it from growing making it easier till up the earth underneath!  Yes, tarps!!  This method does take longer than the quick, one-day option of gas powered equipment, however, we had time on our side.  

After many weeks, roughly 5 to 6 weeks, Kurt pulled up the brown tarp and tilled the 12' x 16' ground.  The first pass with the tiller went well in breaking up the sod, but did not dig deep enough to loosen the nutrient rich, organic soil underneath.  It was time to take action!   

Curious note:  If you try the "tarp method" at home to remove sod, be sure NOT to use the blue tarps!  We tried that at first in combination with the brown one.  The blue tarp actually encouraged (Vigorously!!) the sod to grow underneath!  The blue tarps have an opposite effect - so if you have a patch of ground where you want the grass to grow -- throw a blue tarp over it and watch with wide-eyed wonder at the results it produces!  No lie!  Crazy blue tarps. 

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Portrait Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

I set to work hoeing the patch in preparation of planting!  I got about half way, before giving in.  Farmers (especially organic farmers) do not get enough credit for the intense hard work that gardening is.  My right hand was so sore that I couldn't use it for a full day afterwards without shooting pain.  I suppose I should be thankful that was all that was in need of bodily recovery!  I guess carrying around heavy camera equipment has helped to strengthen my arm and back muscles -- Oh the benefits of photography that keep on producing!!  Ha!!  

I'm happy to report that Kurt helped me with the hoeing and together we finished the plot; hands recovered fully!   

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania
My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

I was careful in my selection of seeds.  I chose Sow True Seeds' openly pollinated, untreated, organic seeds:  Evening Sun;  Lemon Queen;  Autumn Beauty.  And planted them in neat rows according to size (taller ones in the back, shorter in the front).  What can I say?  I'm part OCD after all, for which gardening is my therapy.  Things out of my control do me good.  Plus, I get pretty flowers to admire!   

I planted last Sunday and noticed this morning on my garden walk - because I'm obsessively observing the patch every day - the little wonders sprouting up out of the earth!!  Hooray!  Gardening.  What an absolute thrill!  

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania
My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

I will report back here from time to time to let you know how these little babies are growing!  Aww, so fast!!  Grow, babies!  Grow!!  

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

In other news... 

Today is the girls' last day of third and sixth grade!  Hello fourth and seventh graders!!!  I can't believe it!  So, as I write this, they are enjoying their last day of the 2017-18 school year in preparation for summer vacation!  I have a feeling they may not be as excited as this photo from this morning.  Emilia, I'm most surely, will come home crying this afternoon.  She loves school and her teachers and her friends, the sensitive soul she is, and doesn't like to say good-bye.  Even though it's only for 11 weeks, that's a lifetime to a nine-year-old!  

Me?!  I'm enjoying this beautiful, quiet, birdsong, seed-sprouting, quiet (oh, did I say quiet again?!) morning all to myself.  I love summer and having the girls home with me 24-7.  I also love quiet, sunny mornings of reflection, photos, and coffee...  And on that note, my morning is complete.  Summer vacation, here we come!!!         

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

Happy Summer to you, friends!!  Make loads of FUN-fabulous memories!!!

xoxo

My 3 Girls Photography Child and Family Photography Berks County Pennsylvania

Favorite Five Frames

Family time was in full force this past week!  We had a somewhat impromptu family reunion at our home that was planned and put together in just a little over 2 weeks time.  That's how we roll.  It all came together and there were family members from as far as Florida, Tennessee and Colorado.  The idea was to honor my 93-year-old grandfather, and I think we managed to do just that quite well.  Lucky for us, the weather warmed up and we were able to enjoy the sunshine!  

My Chelsea even made it home for a few days!!  She's in Colorado these days working in tourism management.  The girls were all together again and it was so good for all of us.       

family and child photographer

Chelsea had years of softball as a kid, playing catcher.  She gave Emmy some pointers since she has just begun playing this spring.  

family and child photographer

Family group shot!  The in-between, set-up shot, at least.  Just for the fun of it!  What a crew we are!    

family and child photographer

This sweetheart was center of attention for an evening with "adopted" family.  Chelsea's best friend (close enough to be a sister) from the time they were 5 is now a momma!!  And I'm officially a "Gigi" - I'll take it and love my new title!  Thanks, Jen!  We all loved clapping along as Miss Juliette danced, took more and more first steps, and stole our hearts.  That's okay, she can keep mine.  <3  So fun!  

family and child photographer

And we're off and running!  This was Emmy's first game and run towards home base!!  She's loving softball!  

family and child photographer

It's a super full week ahead:  preschool photos, head shots and Mother's Day events quickly approaching.  Does anyone else feel like May brings us the 2nd busiest month (next to December) of the year?!!  We've got this, friends.  It's all welcome hustle and bustle especially since spring is here and with it, warmer temps!  Enjoy your week ahead!     

family and child photographer