So. Much. Dust.

September 12, 2014

Wow – so the move from Blogger to WordPress has obviously (see the hideous page design) been complete, but I’m still working on the actual design aspect. I have no idea what I’m doing, you guys. No stinking clue – I’m not a web designer! I’m not HTML5 savvy! What is HTML5?? I was just getting used to HTML when they started adding CSS and then I was just like, “Eh, I’ll hire someone.” Totally, totally regretting that decision now. I should have figured it out and today I’d be designing my own wordpress child theme, but no . No, instead I’m lurking on Etsy for three days straight trying to find the one theme that just screams “Prairie & Co.”

Anyway, excuse the dust. I’ll get rid of it soon, I promise.

Ringing in Spring

April 3, 2014

    Last week I shot a series of pictures revolving around a lovely, lovely bouquet of pink ranunculus I picked up at Trader Joe’s on a whim. Some of you may have seen them on Google+ or on NHSP’s blog, if you stopped by there this morning. I shot your typical bouquet shots, then moved on to practicing freelensing, a technique I’ve been wanting to try for a while. (If you’re interested or just curious, Everly Films offers an informative and visually stunning tutorial here.) After that, I painstakingly clipped each bloom from its stem, laid them on a swath of green fabric and began shooting from above. 

    As I shot away, the kids waited impatiently on the sidelines until I said, “Ok, they’re all yours”, whereupon they swooped down upon the poor blooms somewhat like winged monkeys and spirited them off to the bathroom sink.

Angel Darling
Pink & Green
My Funny Face

Squeeze In

     I just threw that last one in there because it makes me laugh. Why does he want in that corner so badly?

    These two really put those poor little blooms through their paces. That sink became the equivalent of a Inquisitorial Spanish dungeon: hot water, cold water, soap, complete submersion…They had a blast. And then asked me to leave the flowers in the sink for three hours until Daddy came home. 

Uh, no. 

[My Kids] and The Jump Project

March 27, 2014

   Most of you know, probably from a post I made on Facebook that my grandmother passed away last week. You’d probably think that this post would be about that and her, but I’m just not there yet. Instead I’m going to share something that makes me so happy, a little side project the kids and I have started calling The Jump Project.
    A while ago, the week that it got so cold the schools shut down and no one went anywhere if they could help it, the kids and I started The Jump Project. Its what happens when you have two rowdy kids and a creative-type mom stuck in a house for days on end: something’s gotta give and a bit of supervised furniture-jumping was our ticket out of Crazyville.

Jump (The Remix)

Fly Away
Lean On

Lena Can Jump
Exit Stage Left

    What was originally just a way to keep them active and happy has turned into wall art for the living room. I’m planning on blowing up my favorite three after a reshoot – I wished I hadn’t focused so much on Eli’s feet in his pictures and want to make sure we start nice and early when the light is at its best in that room.  Won’t these be so much fun as wall art and set the tone for a family room perfectly?

A Long, Long Time Ago…I Posted Here

February 19, 2014

    Hey there, gal-pals and guy-pals. You’ve probably noticed I have been missing; my girl Meagan even popped by my Facebook page to remark on how quiet it had been. If you can just close your eyes for a moment and imagine me making a really guilty face, that would be great. I’ll give you a second. 

    It feels like I ran this blog in a different lifetime; like maybe many, many years ago, perhaps I was a blogger. Then Life just grew legs and walked away, with me in its back pocket. I don’t feel like I have any free time anymore. There’s always something, somewhere that needs to be done and by the time my day has wound down I just want to crawl into bed and fall to sleep, hopefully without drooling all over my pillow. 

   This blog, unfortunately, has suffered in this time draught. While I’ve been hard at work in other areas, its been easy to let this one go. Not because I don’t value you all as friends and readers, just because in the end, a few things had to suffer so I could continue being a good mother and wife, so I could go to dinner with friends and clink glasses over a plate of candied kumquat crostini. In the past I’ve said things like “I know you don’t mind” or even “I hope you don’t mind”, but I’m not going to say that this time or maybe ever again. I’m not a big, powerhouse blogger, there isn’t a staff around me that helps with my posts, I’m not crazy organized, and I am fine with that – my calling is not blogging.

    Before the move, my life was organized around this blog. I’m ashamed to say it, but I planned crafts with my kids around this blog. Some people may say that at least I was spending time with them, but I don’t see it that way. The minute I do a craft with my kids for any reason other than to simply spend time with them, I’ve become a fool. This blog, as much as I love it, should only ever be the result of a life fully lived, not the cause of it. 

    I may go missing for a few weeks on end. You may not hear from me for a month. Just know that I am living my life. The one that doesn’t involve me sitting in a chair, staring at a computer screen. When I get something I think you’ll love or when there’s something I need to get off my chest, I’ll bring it right back here. In the meantime, you know where to find me.

Fairy Dust: Perception, Photography & Blogging

January 7, 2014

    Oh, you guys it is so cold here. SO. COLD. Our heater decided to take a vacation, the lights in our kitchen stopped working (I mean really, call-the-electrician stopped) and life right now seems a little on the primitive side. Luckily, I have my camera to help me alter my sense of reality.

Parsley in the Morning

    Isn’t that lovely? So fresh and green. It makes me think of warmer days – prolonged exposure might convince you to take your coffee outside. If it weren’t mid-morning, I mean, because coffee mid-morning is crazy. I’m totally drinking a cup right now. Life on the edge, let me tell you. Back to the picture. Its warm, yes? It is warm, it is bright and it is clean. Clean, clean, clean. And then you have this:

A Little Truth

    Not as light and fresh looking as the photo above, is it? Nor is it as clean as that teeny stretch of pristine counter top would have you believe. Let’s see, I’ve got shipping boxes, recycling and some old sheets that haven’t made it to the outside bin yet. If you were to look down the bar in the other direction you’d see…

A Little Truth

   Several holidays represented! Hearts for Valentine’s Day, a bedazzled pumpkin for Halloween, “Merry Christmas” tape and a tree ornament. There are also cleaning supplies, a school photo, junk mail and wipes. Oh, and one of Eli’s birthday presents that I had to rescue from Lena. Did I put that stuff there on purpose? No. Its been sitting there for well over a week; I pushed it all down to the end so I could get my shot. Speaking of my shot, wait til you see what’s behind it.

A Little Truth

    Dishes! Dishes for everybody! But finally, in this one, you can see some of the beautiful light that inspired the shot in the first place. There it is: the reality around the shot. It starts with inspiration, seeing beyond what is actually around you – what could be. Shooting in natural light doesn’t allow you an hour to clean up the mess; if I had stopped to clean up, the light would have changed. So I shifted things around, wiped down the cleared section of counter top and composed my image thoughtfully.

    When I got the image on my computer, I set to editing. First, the yellow came down and the magenta went up: it make a huge difference it the paint color – love it. I added a little exposure, or brightness, and upped the highlights and whites just a tad to give it that fresh feeling. I also upped the vibrance, but lowered the saturation a little to keep it from looking too heavy, and Bob’s your uncle. It was all just tweaking, done in less that five minutes, but gave the picture just a tad more of the feel I was going for.

    This whole post was written just to say two things. First, art allows us to alter our own reality quite easily. Photography is an art as much as anything else and the artists who practice it can tell their audience anything they want because the audience only sees what the artist wants them to see. Second, because of this, be careful to whom you compare yourselves. As viewers, we don’t know what’s two inches beyond the frame, let alone two feet, and post-processing is usually left a mystery. Remember that photography is an art of perception, whether in the hands of a photographer, a blogger, or some random person you follow on Instagram. I’m not trying to vilify photography or photographers – after all, I’m as guilty as anyone. We should all remember that in the case of photography, as with all art and even if the photographer doesn’t see themselves as an artist, seeing should not be believing. Its just fairy dust.

Take A Deep Breath & Relax. Not Really!

January 3, 2014

Art in the Morning

The holidays are over, the new year has begun and we are in the last few days of Christmas break. Time to relax and spend all day in our jammies or, if you’re like my kiddos, half your jammies.

Loads of bloggers have been posting their resolutions this week and I’m going to say that I don’t really have any. I mean, other than exercising more, being patient and optimistic, get my business in gear and a handful of other things that I’m pretending are totally not New Year’s resolutions, I don’t have any at all. I feel like New Year’s resolutions are jinxed: if they’re labelled as such, they are bound to be broken so I pretend to not have any. But there I go, breaking Resolution #3: Be Optimistic. I didn’t even make it three days; good thing I can try again. 

I realized the other day that I’m not nearly as pessimistic as I thought as I read a friend’s blog post about the January/February doldrums. She really doesn’t like this time of year, but I found myself getting excited – apparently I really like the doldrums! I love the calm that comes with this time of year in the midwest: the cold, the snow, the bright winter light, the lazy days. There’s nothing better than holing up with my babies, snapping a few lovely pictures of our mornings together, editing them at my leisure and then, around lunchtime, getting my patootie in gear and actually doing something useful, like laundry. Being a stay-at-home mom may not be the most glamorous job in the world but it definitely has its perks.

Except that I’m not just a stay-at-home mom anymore – I’m also a business owner! New Hampshire St. Photography is legal. Its real, which is empowering and utterly terrifying. I have always known that I wanted to own my business, but I would never have thought that would happen already. I wouldn’t be at this point without my husband’s support and belief in me. How did such a messed up person get this lucky anyway? And how did my husband get so lucky in marrying such an awesome, messed up person?

These next few months should be interesting. I’ll be hard at work on New Hampshire St. Photography’s website & blog, as well as a few photo projects I have outlined for January and February. Oh and some classes through ClickinMom’s CMU. So much to do, so little time! Thank goodness for these slow months!

What do you guys have planned for the next few months? 



Looking Back: 2013 in Review

December 31, 2013

    Its hard to believe that this is the last day of 2013. It feels like yesterday that I was voiding checks for dating them “2012”. So much has happened this year: Eli turned five, Jon got his dream job, I finally made it back to England, we moved (huge!), the Pres rolled out the insurance exchange, Lorde made it big singing about living in crappy cities, Lena told me to go away so she could potty in private…So much. I mean, who knows what 2014 holds for us? There’s so much to look forward too, but I like using this day to look back a bit. Because, for us at least, 2013 was an overall good year. 

We played. Lots.

We enjoyed the quiet moments, because they’re pretty rare around here.

We explored. Outside and inside.

We celebrated special days and ordinary days.

More than anything, we lived wonderful lives this year, full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and we are in a better place now than we were a year ago. (And, in case you’re a literal thinker, I’m not talking literally although I do really love my new house.) A year ago tomorrow, I posted a quote by Neil Gaiman as a challenge to myself: 

I managed to do that this year – maybe not as much as I should have – and I feel like I have grown a lot. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, I’m happier and I know that I’m just beginning to plumb the depths of my own strength. I’m excited for 2014, to see the changes in myself, to watch my kids grown and my husband be even more amazing than he already is. He finally cleaned out the garage, so who knows what 2014 holds?! The world is our oyster! 

Happy New Year, people. Stay safe out there tonight if you’ll be out and about. My mother-in-law is taking our kiddos overnight, so naturally we’re staying home and watching movies. Maybe 2014 will make us fun again. Who knows? The garage is clean, so anything is possible.

Winter Mornings

December 30, 2013

    Wow, so Christmas is over. I thought we’d have loads of downtime, but that didn’t really happen for us this year. Both kids and Jon were sick the entire week leading up to Christmas break and then I got sick the few days before Christmas, so you can probably imagine what that did to our holiday plans. I was so scared that we wouldn’t get to host our traditional Christmas brunch, but the germs left just in the nick of time.  Unfortunately, our Christmas cards are still sitting on my desk…Whoops. Lucky for us they say “holiday”, so I’m pretending they’re New Year cards. Ha! 

    One thing I’ve become very grateful for on these quiet winter mornings is the light that falls on my desk. It sounds like such a simple thing, but light affects my mood so much. This gorgeous, winter morning light fills me with such peace and tranquility that I can easily spend hours sitting here, just enjoying it. Not that doing that is good for my to-do list, but hey – its Christmas break. If the old to-do list can’t be ignored now, when can it?

Living Life, Taking Portraits, Being Awesome. I’m Back!

December 2, 2013

    So first things first: I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We certainly did; it was so hard to come back home after all the fun we had with my family. I’d love to tell more about that, but what I really want to do is show you what I’ve been up to in my absence! (Other than moving, of course, and I certainly am looking forward to showing you all the new place soon.) Some of you might know that I recently started portfolio building for my photography business, New Hampshire Street Photography, and its finally time for a proper family portraiture post. My first official family portrait post. Yay! 

    This a family session from the beginning of October with one of my favorite families in the whole wide world. I truly cherish them; they are funny, caring and real and her boys have stolen my heart. Just look at them and tell me they don’t steal yours, too. Its impossible! They are so full of life and constant surprises; photographing them was so much fun.


    I had such a great time with them during their family session and can’t imagine a better way to start the fall season. Thank you, again, to my wonderful friends for being my test subjects and your continuous support of me and my dreams.

If I Never Go Away…

October 2, 2013

    You know how this ends, right? If I never go away, how can you ever miss me?! I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from the blog – I may post, I may not – for the next ten days. I know its a big blogging no-no, but there’s a lot going on at Chez Hemphill right now. 

    Long story short, we are probably moving. I say probably because the new house still has to go through inspections and there’s always a wee chance those won’t pass with flying colors. So in addition to getting our new house ready to move into, we have to ready our cottage for new owners. I also want to plan out how to blog through this move. You guys were with me through the last move and I’d like you to be here for this one, too.

    With the move comes visits to preschools, finding new doctors, making new friends and, of course, packing. We’ll need to prepare the kids – get them ready to sleep in a new house, go to a new school and adapt themselves to a life in which nothing is the same except Jon and I. (Its actually terrifying when put that way, isn’t it?) For me, it will also include the sadness of leaving more wonderful friends than I can count. We won’t be far away, but far enough away that “Meet me for coffee in 30?” won’t be happening. There’s definitely a sadness to that. We’ve found our niche here and now must go find it somewhere else and, even with the bigger house and the conveniences of its location, I am sad for the closing of the Lawrence chapter of our lives. Its been such a good one – wonderful, really. 

    Here’s to a new chapter in our lives and the blessing of being able to cry such happy tears at the close of this one! I am a lucky woman!