A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: January 2015

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31 January 2015

Make Valentine's LAST Longer than a Day

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Flowers die. They wither up, shriveled and brown and fall over broken at their necks.
On February 21st every year, many women throw out bouquets of those broken, tired blooms.
Today, I am going to show you three ways to make Valentine's Day last.
While cut flowers will always make your girl smile, there are gifts you can give that will KEEP her smiling.

Thank you to Proflowers.com for providing the lavender wreaths as the creative impetus for this post!

NOW.  Do you recognize that cluster of flowers?  That is lavender -- arguably one of the most beautiful smelling flowers and certainly one of the best for preserving.  ...and THAT is the key. Preservation.  One way to give your girl flowers that last is to simply give her a PLANT instead of cut flowers.  That plant will at least last several months and at best, she can plant it in the garden in spring and it will last for many years.  Today though, I want to focus on another floral gift that you might not immediately think of when you think of Valentine's Day.  

Think round.

Think fresh.

Think fragrant.


A fresh floral wreath will smell amazing when it arrives (this is FRESH lavender folks!  I wasn't expecting it to arrive so purple!!), but as the lavender fully dries, it will still keep its shape and still smell amazing.  These lavender wreaths from Proflowers.com are made of a bright blue/purple lavender and they come complete with a pretty satin bow and a whole heap of lavender buds that have fallen off during shipment.  Note that the wreaths are still lush and full, but there was at least 1 cup of lavender buds in each box.  DON'T THROW THEM OUT!  Use those fresh lavender buds as decoration, as a cheese topping (below) or save them for future crafts.  I love lavender in THIS MICROWAVE SOAP and THIS HONEY BUTTER.

While your Valentine might love flowers, chances are they definitely like cheese or chocolate.

If you think chocolate is the way to her heart, you won't want to miss these brownie ladybugs :)

...or these conversation heart "pops"!  Who wouldn't love those?!?!

To create a Valentine's table, I decided to take the ribbons off of the wreaths and flip them horizontally onto the table.  
Smack in the center went candles and the cheeses were piled high with lavender buds and orange slices on a tiered stand.


After Valentine's day dinner, the wreaths can be hung traditionally and enjoyed for months and months!

 So this year for Valentine's day...think about a gift that can be enjoyed over and over again.

Think potted plants.

Think preserved and dried wreaths.

Think cheese and chocolate that can be savored for weeks!

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20 January 2015

ICY 5 Minute Photoshoots

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This is one of my very favorite pictures of the boys -- taken 2 years (?) ago.

It was the product of one of our 5 Minute Photoshoots.  (YES, only 5 minutes!)
Here are my winter photoshoot tips and tricks!

1. HATS and COATS -- First of all - NOTE THE PAJAMAS.  Cute hats can do a world of good and photoshoots in the winter mean you can THROW A COAT ON IT.  You do not have to pick out the absolute perfect coordinating outfits or even get hair perfectly brushed and hair groomed.  If you have some cute hats at the ready, a photoshoot is only minutes away!  

2. SNOW LIGHT -- Notice how "clean" the light looks in these photos.  If anything, it years towards a little too blue or super white.  Do you want to wager a guess why?  You are right!  It is the snow!  Snow provides a lovely reflective surface and the gray skies that accompany it are the perfect sun diffuser.  In other words, snowy days are cold and uncomfortable for photoshoots, but they are perfect for getting beautiful photographs.

3. STARTING SILLY -- With older children, they can be a little silly and then (usually) reign it back in.  
Particularly during winter, a little silliness can equal a little WARMTH and that keeps smiles on everyone's faces.

Sometimes though...the silliness just plain morphs into grimaces.

Use the "silly time" and "grimace time" to get your settings perfect.


That is when you tell a joke.
...but not a potty joke.
Tell boys potty jokes and they get TOO silly.
Just tell a "itty bit" funny joke...

Then SNAP...





4. Finally, note that all the outtakes are in color, but the final shot is in black and white.  There are two major reasons.  The first is that ALL my big canvases in the houses are currently black and white so that they all work together, regardless of the season, etc.  Secondly, black and white blends all those colors of coats and gloves and hats that we just grabbed out of the drawer.  The cute lines of the hats still show, but the red, teal and green are no longer clashing.  YAY for black and white!

Remember -- 

Silly + Settings + Joke

Consider Black and White!

...and DONE.


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