Tuesday, May 24, 2011

modern daisy

I am a middle child.

Growing up, my older sister was your typical book smart, straight A , over-achieving, always pleasing, responsible and logical first born child.  My younger sister was equally smart, combined with all of the sweet attributes that go along with being the baby in the family.  Both went to college near home, and then on to be nurses.  And they are fantastic, might I say.

And then there's me.

In the amount of time my sisters studied for their A's, I earned a B.  I always had to work just a little bit harder in school.   I was labeled the "creative one",  "the dreamer" and "the funny one" to name a few  .....which truthfully, I always thought was a very polite way of saying I wasn't quite as smart. 

If you asked me in high school what I was going to be when I grow up, I would have told you very matter of factly that someday I was going to replace Barbara Walters.  Naturally that's why I went to a small private college in Michigan that only offered journalism as a minor LOL.

In college, I majored in communications and minored in journalism.  I took a class in telecommunications, and learned the in's and out's of teleprompters, sound boards, and video editing. I produced and edited my very own documentary, (quite a contentious one I might add :),  and learned the reality of the business.  And I realized that if I truly wanted to do this with my life, not only was I at the wrong school, but I would also most likely need to work 3rd shift at a small tv station in Kansas reporting on dustballs and the likes to get my foot in the door. 

And quite frankly, I just didn't want it that bad. If I'm honest, it was just a pipe dream.  I wanted to go straight to the top.  And lets face it, I really liked Tim at this point in time, and he's just not New York material :)

I changed my focus and concentrated more on writing.  After all, I wrote for my high school newspaper and enjoyed it.  The summer between my junior and senior year I took the initiative and got a job at a very small town newspaper.  For $5 an hour, I spent my days driving around town "looking" for stories, and my evenings with my reporters notebook in hand, seated in the back row of township meetings- listening to residents discuss/dispute property zoning, tree placement, sewer lines, and everything else in between.   I enjoyed seeing my name in print, and even wrote a controversial article that received many huffy letters to the editor, that I was secretly proud of.

My favorite part of the job tho?  The paper came out every Friday, so Thursday was typically a high stress day.  I quickly learned newspaper layout, and photo scanning (a pretty high tech task in 1997).  I was also taught basic graphic design skills, which allowed me to help proof ads as well.

There was a police scanner that sat in a place of prominence on the main desk in the center of the office.  It was like background music, always spitting out information, and giving leads to many potential news stories.

One warm, sunny, summer afternoon an accident on the local highway came over the scanner.  I just happened to be the only reporter in the office.  I was given a camera and instructed to go take pictures, and get all the information I could.  My stomach immediately went to knots, but I went.

It was a bad accident.  A jack-knifed semi, and a really mangled pick up truck.  I later learned the accident was fatal.  I circled the chaos in my trusty old blue oldsmobile over and over and over again in a daze.  I had a really sick feeling in my stomach, and hands that wouldn't stop shaking.

I just couldn't make myself stop. I would get close, slow down, and then speed up and just keep driving.  I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't bother the people on the scene.  I couldn't make myself get close enough to take a picture and then ask for id.  It seemed so incredibly disrespectful to everyone involved. And so, I went back to the office to tell my boss I was sorry.  Thankfully another reporter was back, and happy to head out with such a sweet lead.

On that day, I realized I wasn't cut out for the reporting business. I don't like to bother people or be in the way... clearly not the makings of a good reporter.

Heading into my senior year, I was engaged to Tim, and didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life.  For about a week I was in love with the idea of becoming a teacher.  I looked into it, but I soon realized that I was more in love with the idea of decorating bulletin boards than I was with children.

I remembered the bits of graphic design I learned at the newspaper, and enrolled in the 3 graphic design courses that Calvin had to offer.  And I absolutely LOVED it.  After college I sent out applications and got my first real job doing graphic design for a local distributing company that sold parts and accesoriees for atv's and watercrafts.  I made sales flyers and worked on their parts catalog. A dream job.

Because I loved it so, naturally the company went out of business 4 months after I began. From there, I hastily took the first job that was offered to me. What was presented and packaged as a fantastic public relations job, turned into door to door sales... and I hated it.  Remember I don't like to bug people?  Because I was able to set my own start time, I truly had to will myself to go in to work every single day. Sunday nights a sense of dread would wash over me as I thought about the week ahead.

About 1 year in, I convinced Tim to let me quit, and I purchased the best graphic design software money could buy in 1999 .  I ran into one of my former co-workers at the atv store who was just happened to be working for the former competitor.  He hired me on to do some freelance flyers.  Eventually that company went out of business as well.  A friend got me a freelance job making a catalog for a local greenhouse. And I learned alot of hard lessons.  I made wedding invites, baby announcements, and I also began working part time in the office for Tim's family concrete construction business.

And then Austin came along.  I continued to work part time.  And soon we were blessed with Sydney, Dylan and Stella.  I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home for the most part, and able to take the kids to the office with me when necessary.  However, working with 4 kids takes 3 times as long, and I simply had no time or energy for anything extra.

And then came Elle.  I ran my last payroll 4 days before she was born, and became a true stay at home mom.  I needed a break, and the time to focus soley on taking care of our 5 little blessings.

Staying at home these past 18 months has given me a little extra time to dink around with my graphic design program again.  Which finally brings me to the reason for this post.  You still with me?  I've been all pictures and no words lately, so today I'm chatty natty:)

Tim bought me a new computer for my birthday this year, bless his heart, and my programs now run at lightning speed. 

I've been having a grand old time combining my 2 creative loves. Graphic design meets fabric and felt flowers,  to produce my very first digital elements kit now for sale in my etsy shop!

I'm so excited! Stay tuned ....more flower kits coming soon! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

it's clear we need to get out of the house more....

...because the "dumpter guy" had their full attention for a solid 10 minutes.

"The guy waved mom!"
Happy Monday all!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Clearly she has my hair...

Happy Friday all!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Sunday, May 8, 2011

for you mom....

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

For the love of owls...

Several  months back, I stumbled upon this fabric at a local store...

...and I absolutely fell in love. 

All I can say is the owls and colors sucked me right in. 
(The fabric is much cuter in person ) 

A few days later I was searching online to see if there were any coordinating fabrics to go along with this beauty, and I came across this...

....and my love affair deepened. 

So I bought 2 charm packs...84 little squares- 2 of every fabric, because there was just no way I would be able to leave any out.  They were made for each other.

My package arrived in the mail and I just stared at my squares for a few days, admiring their loveliness. Not exactly certain what i wanted to do with them....apprehensive of wrecking them.

In the end, I decided to try making a quilt.  A quilt for Stella.  After all, she shares my love affair with owls, and her room is next on my list to finish up.  And the colors fit her personality perfectly.

Since I have zero knowledge on quilting, I just started lining my squares up all pretty, and sewing them together. I'm pretty certain they sell quilt patterns, with special names and styles, but I'm also pretty sure I wouldn't know what to do with a pattern anyway, so I just dove right in my way.  

 I  started sewing the squares in rows of 3, and then sewed 3 rows together- which turned them into squares of 9. After I made a bunch of those, I realized that not only are quilts time consuming, but I would need a lot more of those fetching little squares. 
 I now know why those intricate quilts are so expensive.  Worth.every.penny.

 Well, I got stuck and left it lay in a big scrappy heap for a good 2 months. I didn't really know how I wanted to put it together, I didn't want to mess it up, and I was sick of it. 

This past Saturday, I finally got sick of seeing that scrappy mess draped over my ironing board...and decided I needed to figure out how to finish it up. 

In the end, I pieced it together Natalie style.  Nothing lines up, there is no binding along the edge, I backed it with a cozy fleece, and quilted it together along the edges of the squares.

And  I absolutely love it, imperfections and all.
 Stella loves it too.

And I'm pretty sure I will never make a quilt again :)

Pics of Stella's room coming soon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

just a few pictures...

Austin participated in his first Pinewood Derby race for Cadets. I grew up with all sisters, so this was pretty new and exciting for me as well :)  Tho he was a bit bummed to come in 46th place,  I'm pretty sure he had a really good time, AND learned a lesson on the importance of straight wheels. He's already dreaming up next years car.

Easter.  Best picture I've got.

Target shooting out back.  Clearly the cat was looking for a little excitement :)

and these 2 have already been in the swamp collecting tadpoles :)