Sunday, January 29, 2012

January Snow

Is he not the cutest little 4 year old ever?

It snowed last weekend. Beautiful white snow. Despite beings sick I had to get outside with my camera. And I'm so glad I did.

Did you notice Joey rocking those to-big-for-him pink gloves? Yeah that's because his gloves were lost :) That's our life.

Did you notice how happy they all look? How excited they are to be outside and having fun in the middle of winter.

Did you notice how vivid the colors appear against the white snow?

The snow's been gone for several days and been replaced with cold rain.

Hopefully we'll get at least one more snowfall this winter.

~Mary Kate

Friday, January 27, 2012


I never used to think of myself as artistic.

I was (and still am) horrible at drawing and I concluded that I was horrible at art in general.

Being a perfectionist didn't help because I would get so frustrated every time I attempted to draw a picture since it never turned out the way I had envisioned.

So when my mom signed me and my sister up for water color classes in the Fall of '10, I was not happy.

Linking up the above photo to Sweet Violet's Photography Challenge the theme is "something different".

But you know what? It turns out I LOVE painting with watercolors. And my paintings actually turned out okay. In fact I loved watercolor so much I decided to take another class this past fall.

The class finished at the beginning of December and yesterday I pulled out my paint supplies for the first time since then.

It felt so good to be painting again. The first dip of the brush in water. Mixing the blues and yellows and reds to get the perfect color. The first stroke on clean white paper. Blending the colors on the paper and watching a picture begin to form.

Painting was a well-needed break from life yesterday. I can forget my mountains of homework and chores for a few hours.

Yesterday I did the painting on the right (inspired by this image on pinterest: here)
Add caption

And I finished the following snowman picture. (The one on the right is from one of my classes this past fall)

Last night when I was taking these picture I decided to photograph my other favorites because I haven't shared any on this blog before. So here are some of my favorites from the past year:

These aren't perfect and they definitely are not the best watercolor paintings but I'm proud of them. I'm proud that I can paint watercolor since I used to believe that I could never be an artist of any sort. 
A bokeh Christmas tree is a lot harder to paint than I thought!

Another thing I'm trying to remember when it comes to both my painting and my photography is to be myself. There are a lot of times this past fall in the watercolor class when I would try to paint like somebody else in the class. And each time that I worried about painting like other people the picture didn't turn out.

Inspiration comes from everywhere. My photography, photos I found on pinterest or google images, photos from books. Usually the photo is simply the base for the picture. I think that's one of the reasons I like painting so much. I can take a photo and then make an almost completely different picture through painting.

So it turns out that between my painting and watercolor, I am artistic. :)

Although, I do I have many "what was I thinking?" paintings.

I put a collage of four of them together.

Okay, first picture in the top left corner. That paining was going to be great but then I went and added that strange thing/animal in the middle. It's like a cross of a bird and dolphin :). (Now you can stop wondering why there are no paintings of animals). The next one isn't too bad, it's the very first one I did but those things in the middle, well they are supposed to be rocks in the ocean. Yeah. ahem. Moving on clockwise, the bottom right one, why did I piant a brown background? And those flowers are not very good. And I saved the best worst for last. What is it? I have no idea. See it started with the moon and then the sun and then the earth and so on, but then I have that weird white area with weird colored planets and then I have so random transparent boxes and a bunch of splashes of paint. I told you it's the worst. :D

What do you think? Do you have any artistic outlets besides photography or writing?

~Mary Kate

(My lightroom trial ended which is why my watermark is different. So it's back to picnik until I can buy lightroom in a week or two.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


As I was reading Isiah this morning this verse jumped out at me. I almost didn't pay special attention to it.

Am I praising God through my photography? Or am I taking all the praise? After all He made everything in my photos and He gave me the gift of photography and He helped me get enough money for my camera and equipment.

 Later on in the same passage, Isiah says,

                         "Human pride will be abased, the arrogance of men brought low, And the Lord alone will be exalted, 
                           on that day the idols will perish forever." Isiah 3:17-18

So today I want to praise God in all his glory for everything he has made and everything he has given me.

Because He is GOOD.

~Mary Kate

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where I'll Be

This Monday I will be joining over 350,000 people in the 39th Annual March for Life in downtown Washington D.C.

Last year' March they was an estimated amount of 400,000 people:

It means sacrificing, time, sleep and comfort.

It means being outside in the freezing temperatures.

It means being a WITNESS. Being a VOICE for the over 40,000,000 babies that have been killed in the U.S. alone since abortion became legal in 1973.

And every year the number of marchers has grown.

Thank you to all my fellow marchers. This will make a difference. In 38 marches the number of marchers as gone from 20,000 to 400,000. And 2005 in San Francisco the Walk for Life began with just over 7,000 participents. This past year over 40,000 people participated in the Walk for Life.
That's almost half a million US citizens raising their voices for the unborn.

I can't describe the emotions that go on that day. And only those who have been able to participate in the March (or Walk) will understand. It is truly incredible to be able to participate in this amazing day.
One of my pictures from last year.
If you can spare 12 minutes of your time than I encourage you to watch this video:

How an Abortion Saved the Lives of Many from Rebecca Keliher on Vimeo.

Life is Precious.

~Mary Kate

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

this is the real deal

Linking up to Black and White Wednesday

I'm sitting on our red recliner in our living room as I type this.

Dad is at work, Mom is picking up Cecilia from school and I'm home watching the kids.

The floor is strewn with toys and coats and random objects like a bike tire pump and a blanket.

School papers and books clutter the dining room table and bowls of half-eaten soup sit on the kitchen counters.

Half of the Christmas decorations are down and away but the boxes for the other half sit haphazardly on the couch and table in the family room. 

Rose, dressed up in a peach colored dress layered over her bright yellow hoodie, is talking in her "princess" voice and twirling about the house. 

Joey, being the destructive 1 year old that he his,  is walking around with a plastic salad bowl full plastic silverware that he dumped out of the pantry earlier.

I look over and notice one of the cats is curled up asleep on the piano bench which has been pushed against the living room couch.

Benny, carrying his wooden hammer that came with his tool set, walks into the room, talking to himself.

Me: "Benny, what are you doing?"
Benny: "Playing a game"
Me: "Oh! What are you doing in your game?"
Benny: "Rescuing the princess from the evil dragons and bad guys"

Of course! I knew that hammer had a purpose, how could I have missed that it was for defending the princess?

A little while later the kids find the cookie stash and I see their guilty faces covered in white frosting and cookie crumbs.

I can't call out to stop because I'm sick and currently don't have a voice. So I get up, walk over,take the cookies away and send them downstairs to watch a movie.

Because it's too rainy, windy and cold to send them outside.

This is the real deal. The part of family life that usually gets left out.

But despite the many days like today, big families are wonderful. Homeschooling is wonderful. Really :) Sure we may not be the cleanest house, and we certainly aren't the quietest house and we may not have the best children award, but we have love. Lots and lots of it. And for every sad cry, angry yell and toy on the floor there are twice as many joyful laughs, "I"m sorry"s, and hugs.

Because this is family life. And it's good. Really good.

(I went outside to take pictures outdoors for the first time in weeks. I'll share more of my photos in another post)

Linking up this photo to Sweet Violet's Photography Challenge

~Mary Kate
Linking up this post to Project Alicia:WW

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Etsy Inspiration

Today I was on etsy looking at different photographic prints for sale because I'm considering opening an etsy store. I came across a ton of gorgeous photos but one store in particular caught my eye and I love, love, love the photos in this store. {Her beach photos are my favorites.}

Anyway as I was looking through her beach photos and then other beach photography, I started to wish I had such amazing beach photos. And then to my delight I remembered that I still had several beach photos from last summer that I had never done anything with. So I transfered the ones I wanted to use from the family pc to my laptop. The photos I saw on etsy inspired me to edit these photos a little differently than I normally would and I love how they turned out!

I can't believe the photos above were ones I overlooked when I was sorting through my beach pictures in the summer {by the way these are from Ocean City NJ in case any of you were wondering}. I guess it shows you how changing up your editing routine can make a BIG difference.

This next photo was actually taken in June 2010 at Ocean City, NJ with my previous camera (a Kodak Z918 - which is just a more advanced point&shoot). Here's the originial, SOOC shot:

 And here is the edit inspired by beach photos found on etsy:
 {Linking up this before & after at Follow God Every Day}

You can't even tell it was taken with a point&shoot! I'm so glad that I my editing skills have improved because I definitely couldn't have edited it like that a year ago.
And another one taken with my point&shoot:

 And another beach before and after:
 And the whole edited picture:

I know I've shared the below photo before but it was one of my favorites from the summer but I wanted to try editing it similarily to the above photos so I re-edited and decided to share the before and after:
And this is what it looks like {already edited once but "before" this newest edit, I don't have the original on my laptop}:

What do you think? Do you like this editing or do you think it's a bit much?

~ Mary Kate