Better Photos and a Blog Birthday Giveaway

alice in wonderland blockThank you to everyone who commented on flickr and here about this block while I was sleeping last night! A little bit of sleep + positive feedback helped me feel so much better.  Sometimes when I’m creating on my own, I know I’m on the right path and I’m delighted with the results. Other times, I’m not so sure and I really appreciate all the kind feedback. I also realized this morning that a big part of my problem with the block was that I took the pictures of it at night and they were not showing it at its best. This morning I tried again and I’m much happier with the results.

eat me detail
drink me detail

I promised a giveaway and a giveaway I will deliver. This blog is one year old this week and what an intense year it has been! My husband has two teenagers who have lived with us every other week since we got married five years ago. This time last year their mom told us that she had taken a job in Florida. It took almost a year for her to move, the kids are now living with us full time, and it has not been an easy transition for anyone. We’ve spent the last two weeks dealing with some pretty serious crises behavior that I think has settled down for now, but has left everyone wiped out.

Why am I telling you this on my “birthday”? I think because part of what I like about the online sewing community is that I don’t have to tell you what is going on in my family–we can interact around ideas and projects and give feedback and I can escape into a world that doesn’t have anything to do with hurt kids in crises that I’m not able to fix. But I also struggle with feeling like there is something untrue about presenting myself in such a limited way and sometimes the family stuff breaks through. So this is where I am today: tired, humble, grateful for family and friends who have been bringing us meals and grateful for you all who inspire me and encourage me to take time for myself to make something beautiful.

Here is what I want to give you on my birthday. I have a set of five letterpress cards that I made as holiday gifts this year (printing is by far my favorite new skill this year) and a stack of fabric that is ready to move on from my stash and hopefully will find a happy home in your stash. There is some Amy Butler, Michael Miller, Michael Kauffman, Jay McCarroll, a random Japanese print and a couple unidentifiables, held together with a lovely piece of trim that I won on Sew Mama Sew’s giveaway day. 

blog birthday giveaway!
blog birthday giveaway!

Here’s how to win:

Leave me a comment telling me one of the following things. I’ll pick a winner Friday, Feb 24 after 5pm CST.

    • something real about yourself (define “real” however you choose)
    • a photography tip
    • something you are grateful for
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36 Responses to Better Photos and a Blog Birthday Giveaway

  1. Happy Blogiversary! I hope things will be able to work out with the Kids. That can be really really tough…Blending families is really challenging. Today I am grateful for an extra day to relax with my family. The weekend went way to fast and It’s nice to be able to spend more time with my husband before the busy week starts up again. Something real about me is that when I quilt or sew, I rarely use pins. It’d rather take stitches out than pin the fabric together first. Thanks for the chance to win such beautiful cards and a wonderful stack of fabrics!!

  2. Katy (LethargicLass) says:

    ■something real about yourself (define “real” however you choose) I was baptised with the water of the River Spree which is where East Germans were shot trying to make it to freedom
    ■a photography tip I wish I had one for you LOL!
    ■something you are grateful for discovering quilting through Flickr… I never would have started down this path without it and all the swaps

  3. Laura says:

    Happy Blogiversary! I am thankful for my awesome husband, who is doing a great job of picking up the slack while I rest through my twin pregnancy.

    Thanks for the chance to win, and I hope things settle down for you at home!

  4. Monica says:

    I am thankful for many things. But mostly I am thankful for the safe return of my son from Iraq. And I am thankful that he is stationed two hours away from us so we see him often.

  5. First, your block is fabulous in any light! I’m sorry the past few weeks have been especially trying and I hope the next little while will bring some calm into your lives. I’m also in the market for photography tips with my new DLSR which I’m finding a bit unwieldy. For shooting macros of project work, I like to make sure the natural light source is at my back, shining onto my pillow/pin cushion/bag/quilt rather than hitting it from the side. I love your typeset cards and that is one fabulous stack of fabric! Thanks for sharing on your bloggy birthday!

  6. Happy Blogiversary! Since you shared, my real would be that after an extremely tough year, I’m finally climbing out of a black hole and getting back on the right track. A big part of that has been because of investing myself in sewing and working on launching a new venture.

  7. Sorry things have been rough. I too struggle with how much personal info I should/want to share.
    A photography tip for you: lay a piece of linen or other neutral fabric on a table or the floor by a bright window, then use that as your surface. That way you don’t have to always use the same location, but you have a simple background that doesn’t distract from your photos.

  8. JennX says:

    Our kids do challenge us more than anyone don’t they? Perhaps that is my ‘real’… I struggle daily with being a mom- and rarely feel “good” at it.

  9. Kerry says:

    Something real, I like to be polite and well mannered on my blog and in real life but with close friends I can be incredibly crude and a enthusiastic swearer.
    I absolutely love your cards and have enjoyed seeing your printing exploits on your blog, happy anniversary x

  10. Sardaana says:

    Happy blogiversary and thank you for the great chance!!! I totally agree with Krista, your block is wonderful in any light :)
    Something real about myself….. We went thru rough times, me and my daughter. Last winter, spring and summer were so increadibly hard, I couldn’t even enjoy sewing, live my Flickr life, finish swaps or enjoy taking pictures. She is getting better and better and I’m sure we’ll have wonderful times back!

  11. Happy Blogaversary, its awesome you’ve made it to 1yr already. Sorry life has been a little crazy but kids will do that to ya, but no matter what we still love them.

    Something about myself:
    I am the only one in my entire family to be the most honest person and because of that a lot of my family members hate me. But I have an amazing fiance, son, and cat that make my life amazing!

    Good luck to everyone!!

  12. felicity says:

    Thanks for a great giveaway, Suzanne. I’ve been struggling with kid-related stuff myself these last few weeks – it’s sapped much of our emotional energy as parents and sewing has been a welcome respite from the drama.

  13. Alison says:

    Hmm, something real about me, I always eat 2 fried eggs and a cup of tea for breakfast.
    aliben7 (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. Hueisei says:

    Happy Blogiversary! I’m grateful for the person who invented Internet Technology that able to let people chat on Internet. Because, I met my wonderful husband on MSN and we blessed with a lovely son. :)

  15. Genevieve says:

    Thanks for sharing about your family! Hope everything mellows out for you.

    Something real, I’m 28 and still single. I want a big family (LOTS of kids…like 12) and I’m starting to hear my “biological clock” ticking. But, I know that God can do amazing things and I’m trusting him for what I want. He may bring me a husband and let me have those 12 kids or he may not and I’m OK with that because he helps me by OK with it. :)

    Happy Blog Birthday! I’ve enjoyed seeing all of your craftiness over the last few months. :)
    Genevieve

  16. Kati says:

    So cute!!
    I am grateful for healthy kids and newborn screening that allowed that! :)

  17. Bryanna says:

    I kind of agonized over which option to take for my comment – and then I realized I definitely wanted to tell you something real about myself. I feel like we have so much in common in terms of our reading tastes and sewing tastes, loved swapping with you so something real it is!

    Since moving to Boston I have seriously lost my sewing mojo. And then I feel bad about that! There is so much inspiration in Flickr, pintrest, and blogs that I feel like I have no excuse not to constantly want to sew!

  18. SewLindaAnn says:

    Considering the situation with the mom moving like that it sounds like the kids were lucky to have you there to fall back on emotionally as well as “moving in.” It’s a tough world sometimes. Something Real is always easier for me. My difficulty to live with is now being separated from my son’s dad (his idea), but for financial reasons and to help my son (19 with Autism) we are living in the same home. Yes, it gets easier with time. But it would be nice to have a fresh emotional start on my own one day.

  19. Yana says:

    It was fun and nice year for blogging, I’m sure:) congrats!
    Ok now it’s about me. I live in Siberia, and it’s very strange, because I hate being cold, and here 8 months of the year – freezing!:)

  20. Ashley says:

    Happy 1 year! I wanted to share something real….I think it is good every now and then to break through the nice photos and beautiful projects and shine through a little real life. It lets us know that behind the scenes we are all somewhat the same. We all falter, have bad days, and sometimes aren’t as put together as we seem. We are human. :) My something real… Being a stay at home mom sometimes i feel a little inadequate as a provider. While I know I provide greatly for my family and it isvery appreciated sometimes I just feel lacking. It most likely stems from being able to provide so much more financially when I worked 40-50 hours a week . I know that no one can make me feel better about it but me so I have decided to change things and get out there and sell some of the crafts I make.Don’t get me wrong my husband thinks I provide more than my fair share and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere other than with my children. I just think I would feel a little better about me if I could help here and there with a little income.
    Sorry for the saga.:) I just wrote a post about this so it is fresh in my memory. I hope things start to see brighter weather for you at the home front. Thank you for a chance to win and a chance to share a little of myself!

    Ashley @ Thereisnoplacelikehomemade

  21. Erika says:

    Congrats and Good job! Thank you for the generous giveaway. Through a pretty rough year, I’ve become thankful for EVERY day and EVERY experience that I am blessed to have because nothing is a given.

  22. Jocelyn says:

    I love your Alice in Wonderland block. It is such a classic story, never grows old. I am grateful for each day that I have with my children & husband, and try to believe that I will not hold so tightly to the days that I don’t ‘get’. I want to live with joy, not grief.

  23. Sydney says:

    Congratulations on one year! I love these paper pieced blocks and seeing yours is definitely moving me towards the courage to try it! I’m grateful for all my choices in my future. Right now I’m living in London and deciding where to move next.. I’m always grateful for my health, my loving boyfriend, the fact that I have a job (in my field too!), a roof over my head and that I pay for it all, all by myself! Not too bad for 2 years out of university and in the current economical climate :)

  24. jmbmommy says:

    Happy One year! Real? I am like you. I like that I can be away from the messy-ness of “real” life on this “world wide web”, but that I can still be messy me here too. I like that I can have a really hard day, share it on my blog and that I have a whole bunch of really nice friends “hold” my hand as I have a little cry. Your block is wonderful. So glad we are bee-mates. :)

  25. Krista says:

    Oh my stink… Something real. I really want my sister in laws to accept me but can’t seem to stay on their good sides. (there’s 7 of them) so I’m trying to just be happy with my world and not worry about others. Easier said than done!

    I’m grateful for birthdays. My middle mucnhkin is 2 today and I love that we get to have a whole day about him!!

  26. Tamara says:

    Blessings, it is always wonderful to come across a blog in which someone shows appreciation for what one might think is a small and insignificant thing. I used to take life for granted and didn’t make time to stop and smell the roses. These past two years have been huge eye-opening experiences that have shown me that I should appreciate everything, whether it be big or small. I see a beautiful flower that calls my name, and I thank the Almighty Mother Goddess for her brilliant and delicate handiwork. I walk past a rock on the ground, and I thank the Mother Goddess for doing whatever she needed to do in order to get me to notice that rock. I have enough money in my bank account to pay my rent, and I thank the Mother for supplying me with what I need in order to handle my financial obligations. I could go on and on. I have finally learned to love and accept the “real” me, not the facade that people try to make me. The “real” me has opened up a new viewpoint of the world, from my eyes, and invite everyone to sit with the Mother and let her show you how to access your realness. Thanks so much for letting me share. Tamara Kelly :) BTW, Happy Birthday, and much success and love towards a second year of creativity and bliss.

  27. Staci says:

    That block is just fabulous! You used those prints to such great advantage. Something REAL about me: The thought of having my hair turn grey makes me totally nuts! I literally have the occasional nightmare about it!

  28. Carla G says:

    Happy Birthday! :) I think your block is cute! I am grateful for a hubby that supports all my creative endevors. He even found me a new sewing machine on sale, just spur of the moment, as my old one was acting up. :)

  29. Pingback: Today | Girl For All Seasons

  30. I so grateful for the new bundle of baby curled up on my chest!

  31. Let me keep it real , real fast…being a step-mom is the most difficult “hat” I have ever worn. OMG!!!!! How’s that for real ?

  32. katie says:

    I am grateful for my sweet baby girl. She reminds me every moment to face challenges and conquer them… then cuddle with the ones you love.

  33. Cecillia says:

    I am so grateful that my baby boy is happy and healthy!

  34. ohangelina says:

    thanks and happy birthday !
    i am knitting waaaay too many shawls for myself ! :)

  35. consuelo says:

    Happy Blog Anniversary. And by the way I love your new block. Very sweet! Something I am grateful for is creativity. I see it everywhere. In nature, in my children, and I love it when it bubbles up in me. Thanks for the generous giveaway!

  36. Happy Blog Anniversary! I was going to write a reply yesterday but there was a little hand tugging on my pants leg. And of course I never came back until now… now that my little angels are sleeping. Speaking of sleep, today I was super grumpy that my little one woke me up before the sun came up. And I mean grumpy grouchy and very crusty. Not one of my finer mom moments… It was also a wet, miserable, snow and rain day here in Toronto, Canada. So that didn’t help much either. When #2 took his lunch nap and #1 actually wanted to nap with me (what a sweetie!), I ended up giving myself a break and took at nap with him. When i woke up, the sun was shining through my window in the most beautiful way. And as I lay there, looking at my sleeping son, I felt so grateful for the opportunity to be able to see my kids grow up. Then, #2 woke up and called me from the other room. And when I saw his sweet, smiling face, again, I felt so grateful. It was such a nice moment with the two kiddies that I didn’t bother to reach for my camera. I just recorded the moment in my mind (and now on your blog!). However, my photography tip is to take pictures of kids AFTER their naps. Their messed up hair and rosy cheeks always look nice in pictures! Hope you have a great weekend!

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