A Month of Gratefuls – January


A few years ago, I started keeping a gratitude journal. In that journal, I kept my statements to one single line. This exercise encouraged me to look closer and take notice of little things that enriched my life. Things that I would miss, were they not there. I found that this practice encouraged me to be more mindful and expressive of the things for which I was most grateful. I have fallen out of practice and genuinely miss the activity. I would like to invite you to grab a journal or notebook, start today by making a list of the things you’re most grateful for. The obvious things like your health and a warm, dry home but also the little things. Fresh bed sheets, the sound of your children reading out loud, someone else doing the dishes so you don’t have to. These are the things that  remind us of our abundant wealth. Take a look around. How rich are you?

January Gratefuls

  • above normal temps allowing frequent daytime and midnight snowshoeing expeditions with my best pal
  • enjoying reading the bible
  • the work rotations at Ray’s job that allow him to be home every third week
  • longer days (welcome back, sunshine!)
  • quiet days of fearless creativity
  • the way the house smells after a day of baking
  • the incredible support of all the people who’ve purchased Kihembe bracelets
  • hand lettering
  • sharing my love of the Desire Map with anyone and everyone
  • welcoming a very special little person into our lives via Brooke’s decision to become a foster parent
  • laughter over ridiculous things
  • quality time with my children; one on one
  • breathtaking sunrises
  • frost feathers
  • rekindling my passion for sewing
  • the lightness of forgiveness and apologies
  • casual visits with friends over tea
  • remembering Tanzania
  • collaborating
  • receiving abundance

What are you grateful for? Share some of the things that have prompted you to experience gratitude in the comments below. I really want to know what is standing out in your heart right now, looking back on January.


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Made by Hand – the January Edition

january copy

I am a maker. I love to create and work with my hands. My interests are ALL OVER THE MAP! I love to knit, sew, spin & weave yarn, paint, draw, color, and most recently carving spoons has been my top thing to keep my hands busy. Over the past few months, my Instagram feed has been filling up with the amazing artwork of one carver in particular – Ariele Alasko. The gorgeous pieces she shares on Instagram led me to search out my own tools and I finally sat down to give it a go. I got my gouges on Amazon. This is the set I got

and I want to add this set to my collection too:

This scraper set will be great to have once my new wood working vise is set up next to my fancy new bandsaw.

I need to stock up on more varied grits of sandpaper but so far, I’m loving the look of leaving the tool marks on the spoons. The trickiest thing so far has been working on carving out the bowl and getting rid of the majority of the bulky material without having a vise set up. You’d laugh at my method for using the rubber mallet and gouges to dig out the bowl! It’s innovative and resourceful but far from efficient, ergonomic or really all that great. I also scored a fantastic leather apron from Lee Valley but this one at Amazon is pretty much the same.

In my limited carving experience, starting with kiln-dried cabinet-grade oak was dumb. I got blisters. My blisters got blisters. I was frustrated, progress was slow. I was worried that I had made a terrible mistake. Then I tried seasoned Blue Spruce. From the wood pile. Chopped a piece down to size with the axe, ran it through the band saw, drew my design and kicked its ass! That’s right. Much softer, yet still hardwood. Carving bliss. Made the two spoons you see in the above image in less time it took me to make the oak one in the middle. Carving dried oak SUCKS. Upside to that experience is that the wood I worked with after was a piece of cake. Hooray! I love carving. I have a lot to learn but it is incredibly satisfying to grab a hunk of wood out of the wood pile and turn it into a real live, actual spoon.

Have you ever tried carving? What have you made? Do you still work with wood? What pieces are you most proud of? Share links in the comments!

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To my faithful, loyal, beloved clients

Since making the move to my new studio space in the Sportees building last summer, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time and creative energy getting super clear on what I want to do. While I’m not currently accepting bookings from new family/kids/newborn clients, I AM taking limited bookings for YOU, my existing clients. If I’ve photographed you or your wee ones (or your not so wee ones) I want to let you know that I would be deeply honored and humbled if you chose to commission me again. I have decided to disconnect my commercial phone line so the best way to reach me is via email or the contact form here on my site.

My schedule is limited but flexible. I invite you to get in touch and book a shoot so that I can see you and welcome you into my new space. Also, I have created a new investment guide exclusively for my returning clients. Please take a look at the investment guide HERE.   **note this pricing is not applicable to beauty and glamour shoots.

You’ll notice that the pricing reflects what I was charging in 2012. This is my way of thanking you for coming back to work with me. I am so excited to see you again!

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Challenge52 – week four

creative52-4-51 copyI can’t even begin to tell you how much I have loved creating these challenge images. Of course, we usually shoot for hours and I only show you one image but this right here is one of my favorites from over two hours of shooting and changing light setups. The challenge for this week was to show negative space. Now, my logo is tucked up into the right hand corner and distracts a little from the amount of negative space but it’s there. Of course, as always, Kiko did the makeup which is gorgeous. Tamara is the model and the incredible fascinator headpiece was a super fun score that I got at the business upstairs from me, Sportees.

I was quite torn as to whether this would be a color or black & white image. I settled on color. What do you think of this image? It might have made me jump up and down and throw a fist pump…

Brooke - I have also loved the weekly challenge52 shoots. I’ve been able to see you do so many different things already!! What I love about this image is how the lights you used in the studio make the image look so very different in the camera compared to what it looks like on set.

And I hope you gave yourself a high five along with that fist pump!

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Don’t lose your edge


For the last several years, I have been a hugely devoted follower of the teachings of Danielle LaPorte. Her methodology is fresh, truthful and surprisingly obvious. She teaches that we deserve to feel joy and that our life experience is meant to be a good one. Society tells us to fit in, be the same and blend in but this is contrary to how we are actually wired. We’re all uniquely imperfect, flawed beautifully and that to fully accept ourselves as we are right now is the key to a fulfilling life experience. I have spent days upon days trying to be liked, good enough and approved by others but only in recent years have I invested that energy into deliberately embracing who I am as being exactly as I am meant to be. In doing this, I’m freed from the pressure of being accepted and validated externally. Now, make no mistake, this is NOT easy. But it IS simple.

“When you are your own best friend, you don’t endlessly seek out relationships, friendships, and validation from the wrong sources because you realize that the only approval and validation you need is your own.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

By releasing the hunger for approval from external sources, we are freed to embrace every aspect of who we are – particularly the parts we have previously attempted to modify so that they might be accepted by someone else.

This kind of freedom can be found by looking inside. By clicking the image below, you will be taken to Danielle LaPorte’s online shop where you can find the same tools I use for my journey of self discovery and self love. This is an affiliate link which means that the unique code embedded in the image will assign a small portion of your purchase to my account. I will receive a commission for directing you to the shop. I would love it if you could ensure that you make your purchase through this link so the commission is assigned accordingly.


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