Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inspiration Point

Sunday morning, 8:06am

Thank you Mother Nature for providing this gorgeous view this morning for my run!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Stitches

If I hadn't heard the story first hand, I would have thought it was an urban legend. One afternoon a friend of mine confided in me that while she didn't consider herself very crafty, her husband was. Not only knew did he know how to sew, but he had actually made her wedding dress. And not just any wedding dress, but one of those beautiful traditional Chinese red silk wedding dresses! When I saw her husband some time later, I asked him how he learned to sew and he shrugged his shoulders and simply replied "my mother taught me".

So, while I am not exactly preparing my sons to make their future brides wedding attire, I hope to make them feel comfortable with the idea of sewing. This afternoon I gave Matteo and Nico a bit of burlap in embroidery hoops, large tapestry needles and some yarn while I set up some things for my own sewing project.

Last Summer I bought myself a nice stack of Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks fat quarters. A quilt, a princess and the pea set later... I still had little scraps of fabric that I was hesitant to throw away, because it was I was sure I could find some use for it later! Well, the inspiration came to me over the weekend, when I came across these wonderful camera straps from House on Hill Road (and what a gorgeous blog!). Learning that Erin was out of stock, I decided to try making one myself.
I have to admit that I was very wary of making my own camera strap. With a few of our lenses, the camera can be a bit heavy and I didn't want to risk having any kind of malfunction where I would see my beloved camera in pieces on the ground due a faulty strap of my own making, so I decided to make a simple patchwork cover for the strap.
Mama's New Camera Strap!

I patched together some of the fabric pieces, quilted it with bamboo and used some corduroy fabric for backing and slipped the camera strap through it... voila! Instant personal style!

One of my favorite features I was able to put on it was a small pocket to hold lens caps. I think this is Ivan's favorite feature as well, since I'm notoriously bad at finding the caps when it's time to put them on.
With the camera around my neck so often these days, I love that I can also merge my passion for crafting with a strap of my own making, rather than something that blasts the make and model of my gear.

It was a fun afternoon, sewing with my boys. They seemed to enjoy being part of the process, picking out scraps and pretending to sew with their little wooden sewing machine. I'm hoping that years from now, when asked how they learned to stitch, a simple shrug and smile will follow with the words:

"My mother taught me :) "

Monday, January 25, 2010


..: exhale :..

Monday morning 10:18am
the children in trusted, loving hands

after a weekend without beloved husband, father, soulmate

At a favored French cafe
journal, and cafe au lait in hand

time to gather my thoughts
and recalibrate

getting my bearings back
my head empty,
to fill up again
with life's laundry list

for now
I will savor the quiet
the food before me
and be grateful for all the precious gifts and small moments
that I have been given the gift of this time alone
to see

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Waldorf Dolls- Learning from the Sage

Today, I spent a rainy afternoon in the warmth of the beautiful Berkeley Rose Waldorf School learning how to make Waldorf dolls from dollmaker extraordinaire, Christine Schreier. As many of you know, Christine is the proprietor of the wonderful Puppenstube. She also shares her incredible expertise with others in her dollmaking workshops.

Christine started the workshop with a candle lit in the middle of the table. In her own work, it is a practice that she does to invite the spirit of the beings that she is creating and to hold the focus of what she is doing in the highest intent. It reminds her that she is creating not only for her own benefit, but that the work she is doing is going out in the world representing something, in the case of a doll, a human being. She strives to put her best intention out towards that and it reminds her that creativity is a sacred gift.

She had brought pre-made bodies made out of velour for the Nicky dolls and wool for the Bunting Babies. One of the truly unique and wonderful aspects about Christine's methods of making dolls is her use of recycled materials when possible and normal every day items. It was nice to know that it's not necessary to buy specialty doll making supplies. I love that repurposed sweaters, skin colored knits (like t-shirts) and dental floss (for strong thread) are items that can be found locally and inexpensively.

We learned forming the body comes first, so that the dolls head can be made proportionally

I had been intimidated for quite some time on how to make a Waldorf doll head, but through Christine's teaching, found it to be not as daunting as I had feared. (Though I still was uncomfortable with sticking such a long needle into my "baby's" head!)

Adding features to our dolls

Christine's wonderful pincushion made from a recycled sweater.

Christine gave us a little peek into her basket where she keeps the dresses for her flower children in progress. We're hoping that can be another workshop in the future :)

I snuck off for a few moments to take a picture of the lovely space that is the Berkeley Rose School.
Berkeley Rose School

...and here is my new baby
she's very tired after a long day of being birthed :)

When I arrived home, Matteo instantly hugged the newest member of our doll family and asked if he could care for the new baby. It was as if he could feel the love that I had poured into making my first Waldorf doll. It was a magical day, getting to know some really lovely women, spending time with a dear friend and learning a new handwork skill to that instantly brought my child joy.

With much gratitude for the sacred gift of creativity,


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Holga-The Luddites Camera

*note to self* a purse will screw up photo composition every time

I've been cheating on my camera

I met another one recently, Holga. I picked her up for $25. She's cheap, unpredictable, flawed... but all of these qualities make her oh so much fun. I love the vignetting of the images, the retro feel of the photos and the soft, ethereal quality the camera produces. These are a few pictures from my first roll, nothing spectacular, but I see the promise.

If you look in the mirror you can see Nico and Luca battling it out at the train table, while I am blissfully ignoring them taking this picture

shot up through a horizontal tire swing

In an age where people are always looking to better their lives through new technology, the luddite in me appreciates that I need to put gaffers tape along the camera seams to prevent light leaks. With my beloved digital camera, I can see images instantaneously on the display screen. Holga is a rules girl playing hard to get and makes me wait a few days for film processing.

Despite it all, I'm still in the throes of a deep infatuation... sigh

So, friends... please share, what low-tech item gives you joy?

Thank you so much everyone for your truly wonderful, supportive comments on my new venture into interior photography! Being new to this field, I'm still feeling insecure about my skills and you all are helping me gain the confidence to keep moving forward! I've been spending less time on the blog as I have been fortunate to get more properties to practice on, but I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for your encouragement! xoxo, Marina

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WIP Wednesday-Photographing Interiors

A loft I shot today. With 3 kids, do you seriously think this would be my house?

I've been feeling a bit of an itch these days. Wanting to feel like I can be more than mother, wife, daughter and sister. Though I love and cherish all those roles... I want a title... you know, something glamorous like photographer. I've had the incredible good fortune to photograph toys for some wonderful websites, but realizing that niche can be limiting, I started looking into various other specialties. I ran into a realtor friend recently who suggested I try shooting real estate properties and it seemed like a light went off in my head. OF COURSE! I love interior design! I love watching HGTV! I can do this! So this wonderful friend offered to let me practice on one of her recent listings.

That's what I did this morning and I have to be honest and say it.was.hard. I learned how much I still have to learn about lighting, about composition, about my darn camera. I wanted to name this post "tearing my hair out". Before today, I was quite verbal in how much I hated how those super wide angle lenses made some interiors look distortedly large, but I swear to you, as I was standing in a shower of a bathroom that was barely 5" by 5" trying to get a shot of the entire bathroom, I would have given my eye teeth for one of those. Sometimes when the frustration was running high, I would stop. Take off the 20mm lens and put on the beloved nifty fifty (50mm) for some closeup shots that would soothe me.

Despite the frustration, I still felt so much excitement about the possibilities and it felt as if the universe kept delivering more signs that perhaps this was what I should do as more opportunities seemed to present themselves today. While I was shooting at my friend's listing, the stager who had done the house stopped by and we chatted for awhile. After learning that I was just starting out and working on my portfolio, he very generously offered to take me to a few of his recent jobs to get more practice. So what had started out as a single home photoshoot, turned into three!

There is so much for me to learn, not the least of which is reigning in my impatience and frustration, but I am trying to do as my lovely husband gently chides me "patience".

My crafting will continue, but for this moment I hope you don't mind that I share my photography as a work in progress.

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year

New Years, we found ourselves by the water. It's one of the true cliches of living in California that you can be sledding in the snow one day and then digging at the beach that same week.
Sitting by the water brings me to a place of calm introspection while I watch my boys at play.
I was reminded of time passing along far too quickly with my Luca Bean taking his first steps that day
I'm not very good at making New Years Resolutions. I know that there are areas in my life that could be improved, but I also know that I want to be gentle with myself and my expectations. So instead, I sit and envision the life that I want for me and my family. I want closeness, I want happiness, I want the boys to feel unconditionally loved... I want to create bonds that will hold us all together through the years...

But I also want the boys to feel freedom and independance... I want to help them discover who they are... and to find joy on their own
That is my journey, thank you for joining me in it...

Happy New Year, Dearest Friends
May this year bring you joy

With Love,