July 31, 2007

My Day Job

For some of you who don't know me, you might read this blog and think "all this girl does all day is decorate her house and do projects". Alas, that is not entirely true. Though I do have the pleasure of working at home and usually part-time, I do have a little business I run (besides photography) that I don't really talk about much.

It's called pink penny and we design albums for professional photographers. It's all done on the computer and we don't actually make the albums, but we do design the layout and "tell the story" of the day with images. Here is one I finished recently that I really like. The photography is by a team of two girls - Amy & Megan who make up Click Imagery based in Massachusetts.

click on the image to see the whole album

I think the reason this is on my mind today is I have four albums to finish in the next two days. The way the business works is very up and down so we can have three weeks of nothing, then get 6 albums in two days. Our goal is to crank out a first design within 2 days so you can see, I'm going to be busy this week. Busy-ness is good and no day of doing whatever I want gives me the same satisfaction as working all day and having something to show for it. It's a good balance and I am oh so thankful for both.

July 30, 2007

A Kitty for Miss Penelope

Come October we will have a new baby in the family - Forest' sister is having a little girl, Penelope Abigail. This is the first baby since my new found love for craftiness so I attempted a handmade gift for the shower last weekend.

Meet Kitty - a sock doll from a Japanese craft book that I don't know the title of...my mom scanned the pattern for me, so she would know if you want to ask her. You can find her over at sewthatsit.blogspot.com.

I didn't have a pattern for the dress, but I winged it and made up my own little pattern which is fine for a baby doll - I don't think Penelope will notice that my seams don't match up on the sleeves and that the arm holes are a little small...at least for a few years anyway.

Never mind that I stayed up until 2am Friday night to finish - I started on Monday but ran into a few issues with the size socks I was using. I recommend boys socks unless you want really big animals. In the works this week are a puppy and a lamb for two other very special babies who have recently arrived...

p.s. I didn't bring my good camera to the party, so these are with our ancient little digital camera. Sorry they are not the best...

July 26, 2007


Thanks everyone for the kind comments about the Amy Butler clutch! It seems that people get most excited on this blog when I show things I've made, so I will try to do that more. I am working on some little sock dolls for three special babies who are coming soon and will pics of my progress this week.

Most of you probably know this, but with Blogger I can't email responses to comments so all my responses will be directly in the comments section of that post...you can always email me as well at raya@rayaphotography.com.

Forest is having Lasik eye surgery today at 2 pm - no more glasses and contacts! He is very excited, and if you think of him around that time say a little prayer. The surgery is not risky or anything and he's supposed to be able to go back to work tomorrow, but you know, anytime a laser is cutting your cornea I think some prayer might be in order : )

July 25, 2007

Putting Some Things to Rest

Staring at my closet this morning from bed, as I do every morning since we have no closet doors, I made a decision to finally retire some shirts that I haven't worn in ages and probably won't wear again. I share a pretty small closet with Forest - divided right down the middle - so every hanger of space is valuable real estate.

These are all shirts that I love, but either don't fit like they used or are outdated. My favorite is the sequin bolero that I just HAD to have and couldn't wait for the 200 knock offs that would come two months later. I probably wore that thing 4 times.

When I was a cocktail waitress at a busy restaurant I had to dress up every night so I have a lot of leftovers in my closet from that dressier (and skinnier) time. It's amazing how many calories you burn running back and forth from the bar for 5 hours in heels.

I give most of my clothes away to friends or thrift stores, but for any special items I have a small "hope chest" that I've started for a future daughter or daughter-in-law. Any shoes, bags, clothes, accessories that are special to me or that might be valued again in 25 years are put in there. I remember looking at photos of my mom as a girl and wishing so badly she had saved her dresses from the 60's. Some of this may not appeal to them, just like I have to accept that as much as I love my wedding dress, nobody may want to want that either, but it will be a fun walk down memory lane someday...at least for me.

July 24, 2007

Handmade-ness and my 100th Post

Handmade Clutch Montage

Well well well..whadya know. I have posted 100 times on this blog already - can't believe it. It's sad considering I have now out-posted the blog that Forest and I have shared since the day we got married almost three years ago. We were going strong with that one, but once I started the paper pony it was all over. We'll get back there someday, but its hard to have two or three blogs and keep up on all of them. That's a lot of time in front of the computer that I don't always have or want.

Lately I have been having more fun doing things like sewing this clutch. I bought Amy Butler's In Stitches months ago and have been gearing myself up to try and make something. It always takes me awhile to start a project for fear that I'll screw it up (it's a complex I have about pretty much everything in life). But finally, I had such the urge to sew that I busted out the book and the machine and got to it.

This was surprisingly easy to make and I completed it from start to finish in one evening. I had a few episodes of staring blankly at the instructions for 30 min. trying to get my head around exactly what I was supposed to do next - does that ever happen to you? Like, you're reading it over and over but nothing is actually getting into your head...my episode had to do with attaching the liner to the outer fabric in such the right way so that when it was flipped around everything lined up correctly blah blah blah. Eventually I figured it out, but not before I threw a small frustrated tantrum on the living room floor.

I was tempted to make some modifications to the shape/size, but stuck with the original pattern this time just to see how it all worked. I did make one change and that was to use a magnetic closure instead of the recommended Velcro. I'm just not a fan of Velcro and the magnetic one makes it look a bit more polished. The exterior has two layers of batting, and I think next time I might just stick with one. The batting makes it feel like a quilt and a kind of "country" where I was going more for funky/cool. There are larger photos on Flickr - click here to see.

Anyhow, that's my rant on my first "something other than an apron" sewing experience... far from perfect but overall a success.

July 20, 2007

Flickr Friday

If you're in need of a pick-me-up this Friday afternoon, check out these recent Flickr faves:

Flickr Friday 7.20.07
(click on the image to see who these belong to)

I have big plans to begin sewing my clutch this evening (just another exciting Friday night at our house) and tomorrow is a work day at the house - cleaning, painting, etc...

Side note: Did you know MOO now has little sticker books made from your photos? Again, so fabulously cute, but what would I do with them? I don't think it matters...I'll buy some now and figure it out later.

A lovely weekend to everyone : )

July 19, 2007

More Inspiration Boarding

Jess just moved into her own place which actually has a lot of space and even more potential. She's pretty much starting from scratch, save for a few pieces she had in her old place, so we decided to make an inspiration board for her new look. She loves 70's decor, China, orange, white, brown, and lots of graphic elements.

I couldn't find a really cool frame this time around so I used a simple frame and more of our leftover cork. Lugged all my mags up to her new house and we spent about 2 hours looking and watching America's most recent dumb game show "Don't Forget the Lyrics". Talk about a creative title. The contestants sing karaoke style and have to complete the missing lyrics to a popular song from varying genres, which the contestant chooses from...it's no "So You Think You Can Dance" which we did not get home in time for. Sorry Faith, I tried.

Here's the finished board - inspiration is just spilling off this thing.

My favorite is this Christian Louboutin Heel. If Jess were a shoe, this is the one she would be.

I am all about inspiration boards lately. I owe one to this girl since she has purchased her first home and it's my new tradition to give my first time homeowner friends an inspiration board as a housewarming gift. My magazine collection is getting put to good use these days..more images and notes about this board on flickr...

July 17, 2007

Fab New Fabrics

On a whim I went into our local fabric store the other day. It's right next to the bank and I had just made a deposit from my business account into our personal account so I thought, why not. I have an apron I'm making for a friend and was looking for another fabric as well as anything else I liked.

I picked up these three pretties:

I think I'm going to attempt to make this clutch from In Stitches by Amy Butler with the yellow fabric. This is by far the most complicated pattern I've ever tried so we'll see if I can make it happen...I'll probably leave off the decorative flower, but I like how it's an over-sized clutch - usable day or night.

My sewing machine weighs about a thousand pounds and I got it out to fix a shirt this weekend, so I figure while it's on the table I might as well try to make something else before I put it away. Otherwise it might be months before I attempt another sewing project...

July 12, 2007

More Fun with Flickr

bighugelabs.com is always fun to play on - here's a new flickr toy I just found that creates a palette of colors from a photo you choose.

These are web colors, so it could be especially useful when creating your blog or website - especially if you have a photo banner and want to coordinate your background, font colors, etc..I end up doing this every time I change my header and have to go into Photoshop to manually select colors with the eyedropper.

I had some fun playing with this for our house last night too - using images of pillows and things to see what it came up with. I love the idea of using one item and planning your decor around it. For me its our white Bertoia diamond chair and the green/blue Anthropologie pillow that sits on it. Unfortunately it didn't really work with that image because of the wall and carpet colors - came back with a bunch of icky browns...that was a bad example, but you get the idea.

Inspiration Board 101

I made this board today so I'd have somewhere to put all my ideas for our living/dining area. I bought the frame at Goodwill ($3.99) and used some of the leftover cork we have. We covered an entire wall in our office with cork that we purchased in 4'x8' sheets, but you can buy cork in smaller rolls and in 12" squares at office supply stores. I replaced the glass with the cork, re-attached the backing and it was a done deal.

I also hung it right next to my computer so I look at it all day long. It's much nicer than the white wall I stared at previously.

There are heaps of notes for this image if you view it on flickr, as well as some detail shots.

New Reading Material

Hi friends, just wanted to take a second and tell you about some new blogs I've been introduced to lately. Have a gander:

Wee Wonderfuls
Making it Lovely
Pink Shirts and Car Wrecks

July 11, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday

Our dog Maisy turned one on 7-7-07 (lucky dog). We aren't "buy our dog a birthday cake" people, but I at least wanted to take a nice photo of her. She's so freakin' cute, but moves around too much especially when I pull out my camera. This time I got smart though and tricked her with treats. So the reason she's staring up at the ceiling is not because she's following my direction and holding a classic 3/4 professional portraiture pose, it's because she wants that Trader Joe's chicken stick.

A couple times she couldn't handle it any longer. Happy birthday Maisy! I love you, but am so glad you're half-way through your puppy stage ; )

Can I get some inspiration please...

I finally got sick of looking at our half-done living area this week and have started gathering some ideas so I can do something about it. I had planned to make an inspiration board for decor8's Amy Butler contest, but that date came and went...so now I'm just doin' it for me.

I pulled out all my design mags (see, that's why it pays to keep them..just keep telling your significant other that when they complain about how much space they occupy) and started ripping.

So I've got a little collection of pieces/ideas and I am also pulling some fabrics off the Internet, etc...Inspiration boards are really good for me because they keep me focused. I like a million looks so I tend to go all over the place if I don't have something reining me in. I'll post the finished product soon...

July 10, 2007

Thrifting/Antiquing Finds from this Weekend

Here are few things I nabbed this weekend. I haven't been to the shops in awhile and I was on a roll...but all things I needed of course.

Little flower cups. Ok, I didn't really need these. But they were .30 ea. What a bargain!

Printed tablecloth. I've been jealous of everyone else's, especially because is Summer and I only own boring white ones.

Small bottle/vase for dining table ensemble. Reads "household extract". I don't know either.

I made someone a mix tape...

The best part about making CDs is creating the labels.

July 9, 2007

Must Close the Browser

Every time Fo goes away on a business trip, I get bored and buy things on the Internet. Happens every time. Tonight I purchased...

This Modest Mouse poster from The Decoder Ring Design

Scout the Elephant Love=Creatures by Look What I Can Do. Purchased from Grumble Toy

Thankfully he will be back tomorrow.

Vintage Handmade

I had quite a successful weekend at the antique/thrift shops in Ventura with my dear friend Amy who came up for a spontaneous shopping day. If you live in the So Cal area or are passing through, downtown Ventura has a great collection of not-too-expensive antique stores and great thrift stores.

One of my favorite finds is this dress found at Sassy Sally's. Sally said her grandma made this dress who knows how many years ago. She had just put it out on the racks that day, which was perfect timing because I had a wedding to attend in the afternoon and had completely spaced about finding something to wear.

I've always fancied the idea of having vintage dresses, but don't often find ones I can wear on a daily basis. Sally does a lot of reconstructing old clothes + carries all kinds of other vintage finds. I would love to do a full post about her shop because its super cute! Hopefully in the near future that will happen.

I'll post the rest of my finds tomorrow. Until then...

July 6, 2007

Have art. Must hang.

If you've been to our house you know that our walls are pretty much empty. This is because I'm indecisive and have a hard time committing. Here is a small collection of artwork I've collected over the last few months, but have yet to hang. I think most of this will go in my office - which doesn't really solve my problem with the rest of the house, but it's a start. If anyone has any favorite artists, or sources for cool prints send 'em my way.

From left to right: print of a girl with a camera from Etsy, Vogue cover with Jane Fonda from Ebay, small printed card from a shop in Santa Monica, Print from Etsy.

July 5, 2007


We've been back from Maui for almost a week now, but I just looked at the photos today. Here are some photos and highlights from our week:

• Swimming with Sea Turtles
• Spending time with three of our best couple friends who were visiting at the same time
• Lorraine's Shave Ice in the tiny Kahakuloa Village
• Beach walks
• Stalking sand crabs - I swear you can see their brains through their shell! I wanted to inspect further, but those suckers are quick.
• Finishing three books. One really good one - Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, and two okay ones not really worth mentioning.
• Bronzing, bronzing, bronzing
• Dinners on the Lanai every night
• Flying in an 8-passenger Cessna from Maui to Kona on our way home - what an adventure.
• The Sean Paul wannabe at the airport on the way home who, when stripped of his do-rag and Stunna shades looked less like a Latin stud and more like a dorky frat boy. The best was when he did a little jig down the airport cafeteria line and flirted with the aloha shirt & hair net clad girl behind the counter. We heard him say he was from Boston.

Double Rainbow

Sunset outside our condo

The beach in front of our condo at the Papakea Resort, Lahaina

Leanne, working up the guts to jump off this cliff. I don't do cliffs myself so I just took pictures.
Water shoots up from this hole in the rocks every time a wave comes in. Dan the daredevil is seeing how close he can get.

Shave Ice at Lorraine's. She puts ice cream at the bottom. Best ever.

Old church in Kahakuloa. Lorraine says that the Christians built their church on one side, and the Catholics took the other. Missionaries had a large impact on the Hawaiian islands, as I read while I was there. They were the ones who wrote the language in the 1820's - unfortunately they weren't linguists so they didn't do a very good job. The Hawaiian language used to have many more sounds, but the missionaries couldn't tell them apart so now there are only 12 letters - a,e,i,o,u,h,k,l,m,n,p,w.

July 4, 2007

Simple Summer

Clean whites, summer dresses, painted toes, green grass, blue sky...
I have more vacation posting to do, but wanted to take a break to wish you a fun and celebrated Independence day. The sun is out and the ocean is warm, so you know where we will be today.

July 3, 2007

The Ch(K)ristas

Krista, Christa, & Me

What has your blog done for you lately? Mine introduced me to the lovely Krista (far left) who I got to meet face to face while I was in Seattle visiting my friend Christa (middle). As the Internet grows bigger the world seems smaller and smaller and connections like these seem to happen more and more. Krista found me through Design*Sponge and somehow put it together that I knew Christa. I think she emailed me the week before I went to Seattle, and then I just happened to be there when she was having an engagement party - Christa is in Krista's upcoming wedding and invited me along to the party...

Both of these girls are creative and talented - I think that's what I've learned most from blogging - just how many creative people there are in the world and how each person has their own talents, etc...Christa is in marketing, currently for a cutting edge nail salon, and has great style. Krista is a writer and jewelry maker (check our her etsy shop - www.kristafayeknowslove.etsy.com). For her bridesmaids she found each one a unique dress, all on ebay - isn't that cool? Christa showed me hers and it was perfectly Christa and very beautiful.

My time in Seattle was short, and I was feeling under the weather while I was there, but this made it all worth it. Thanks girls : )

July 2, 2007

Long Time

Wow, its been awhile. We are officially back from vacation - it was lovely and we got to see so many of our friends. Our trip began in Gig Harbor/Tacoma, then Seattle, and finally onto Maui for a week. I'll do a few posts about our trip, but first here are a few photos of Pikes Place Market. This was basically my first trip to Seattle (I'd been there when I was really young). I was most impressed by the fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. So beautiful -

So much to blog! I'll be playing catch up this week and look forward to showing more highlights of our trip. And am glad to be back to a normal blogging schedule again. For awhile there I was a bit distracted, but I really missed it. It's good to be back : )