Featured on the cover for the June issue of BRAVA Magazine!

My interior design photography is featured on the cover of BRAVA Magazine this month!

A few more of my photos are peppered throughout the magazine, particularly in two articles:  “Rethink Your Space” and “Change is a Choice.”  See below to see the other spreads I’m featured in or CLICK HERE to see the full June issue!

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Created to be Creative

I am an artist.  As an artist I show my work at various galleries on occasion and when I do I always encounter a person or two who approaches me in a sort of state of awe.  Not necessarily about my work, but about the work of having created something.  There is a group of people, perhaps even the majority, that think they are not creative.  I’ve also come to understand that this group of people thinks there are two groups of people:  creative and not creative.  I don’t believe that.  The simple truth is that we were created by the Master of Creativity and if we are made in His image, which we are, then we are not only all capable of creativity, but I would assert that we are all called to be creative.

I am not suggesting that everyone go out and buy a camera or pick up a paint brush.  I am suggesting, however, that each of us uses our innate creativity to bring beauty into our every day, ordinary lives.  Such ordinary circumstances like parenting, marriage, your home, your routine, work, dating, and eating are all areas that can, and should, be subjected to your art of creativity.

Creative Parenting

Parenting is often the root of a mommy and daddy’s existence for approximately 18 years.  I am not an ordinary parent, but I do parent two dogs and it is similar in a lot of ways.  I have found each dog to be so different in personality and demeanor, so much so that they require completely different methods of “parenting.”  I go into depth about the differences in discipline and love languages from dog to dog, or Haley to Sam, HERE.

In my case of parenting my dogs I have transformed a simple walk into a field trip to the park buried in the back of the neighborhood.  Here I can let them off the leash to romp about and play fetch.  I have also transformed the art of a “walk” itself on the occasion I strap on my roller blades and let the dogs pull me all around the neighborhood.

In the case of parenting children the same can be done.  It’s all  about transforming the daily, normal activities and making them not only more exciting and tailored to your children but perhaps even more exciting and tailored to you so you can better enjoy that time with them.  You could transform making meals into family collaboration.  In my experience kids love to be a part of the food making process.  Especially if it involves making something sweet 😉  Or maybe you could transform the bedtime routine into a game – make it a timed race, see who can pick out the craziest pajamas, cleanest teeth contest, etc.

Creating a Creative Marriage

I am married.  Josh and I have discovered that we do best when we customize the way we love to make our counterpart feel it to the full.  I’ve found that the days I’m feeling entitled to being loved a certain way by him are actually the days it is best to focus that attention outward and go out of my way to love on him.  A great way to get started in creatively and intentionally loving your spouse is by picking up Love Dare at your library or buy it (so you can mark it all up).  A less creative although very important way to create a creative marriage is by building each other up in some basic needs like prayer, going to church, dreaming together, budgeting together and MORE.  Once those basic needs are taken care of and you not only have your heart set in the right place but by going to God with your problems you will often find suddenly a creative solution is placed before you and by doing these simple things together you will find you are suddenly inspired to love more and to love better.

Creativity in your Home Space

A home is your habitat.  It is the place that is perhaps the only place you can call your own.

In nature I see so many intentional home builders.  Some male birds build nests to impress the lady they have their eye on, bees build a crazy awesome infrastructure of cubbies, beavers build dams with paramount precision, ants build ridiculously ornate infrastructures of pathways and niches, male clown fish have the job of picking out the prettiest available anemone for their mate and babies to live safely, and that’s just the cherry on the giant, seemingly infinite, sundae of creative home spaces within nature!

So, then, why is it that people often completely neglect the aesthetics of their home?  Now, wives, please to do not bring my article to you hubby and declare, “see, we do need that China hutch I’ve been eyeing!”  No, but I do advocate setting a budget to fix up the place and make any necessary purchases to bring your home to life.  And, more than that, I recommend getting creative with what you already have and see if you can’t repurpose or refurbish things you already own. I just recently finished my own Remaking Home project to infuse creativity within my home space so if you want some inspiration or motivation CLICK HERE to read more about that 🙂

Creativity in your Routine

I once read somewhere that to inspire creativity one of the best places to start is your daily routine.  I am a creature of habit in so many ways so I understand those of you who feel hesitant to give this a try.  However, I have found that with an appropriate ratio of structure and flux my needs to keep a sense of balance and inspire creativity are both met thoroughly.  For example, I set aside Mondays and Thursdays aside for a Sunshine Moment business matters and photo editing; on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I attend to business and blogging in the morning and then I devote the rest of my day to writing, homesteading, researching, or any number of other creative adventures I want to commit to (my areas of flux); Saturdays are reserved for booking shoots and more a Sunshine Moment; and Sundays I maintain as my Sabbath (another area of wonderful flux) and I never miss church unless I absolutely can’t help it.  So there, now you are all too well-informed about my daily work life 🙂

Creative Dating

Josh and I have found that our best memories are of times when we did something a little outside the box or used our money in a creative way.  Maybe there’s a free concert in the park, or maybe you want to go get ice cream, or maybe you can go on a picnic.  Get out and have some fun or stay in and invent a new activity.  The standard dinner and a movie date is particularly rockin’ when you don’t do it all the time 🙂

Creative Eating

This one is simple.  We eat every day.  Those of us that have a passion for food this is your area to get creative!  Spice up your salad, soup, sandwich, or otherwise sumptuous meal with a pop of color, a prop, placement, or presentation 🙂

These, of course, are just a few ways to spice up your life with a little creativity.  There are so many other areas of life that you can concentrate on and make them special.  I know you will find some amazing fruits out of the extra “labor” you put in!

Remaking Home | a Summary

Remaking Home | Blog Post 5 / 5

Today I give you the last of my Remaking Home Blog Posts!  This post serves as a summary of the whole project from start to finish, including before pictures 🙂  I will guide you through the project in the order I finished the rooms – ironically, the last room to be finished was the first room I started so I figure by rate of finishing is a better gauge.

First, the premise of the whole project.  This Remaking Home overhall idea was born last fall.  Josh and I had spent significant amounts of time praying about a new place to live fitting in certain specific criteria.  When we moved into this home we asked the Lord for a personal relationship with our landlord, office spaces for both Josh and I, and a place that allowed dogs.  We still needed all those criteria fulfilled but we now were additionally seeking a place where I could grow a garden and open a studio.  Instead of answering our prayers with a new home, He brought me a vision of how to make the studio happen in our current home and gave me the guts to ask our landlord about our garden.  Several months later the Remaking Home project is finished, I held my first session here in December, threw my a Sunshine Moment Photography Studio GRAND OPENING, and have planted my garden.

In order to open a studio in our apartment I knew the whole home needed a serious makeover.  I knew my clients would be walking through my living room to get to the studio and they would walk through the living room, kitchen, and bathroom if they needed relief.  That left one room for our bedroom but instead of using that space for our bed we decided to give Josh a music room.  We were excited about our artist’s bungalow and resolved to sleep on our hide-a-bed indefinitely.  I am happy to say, this arrangement not one works but our hide-a-bed is actually more cozy than some normal beds and I have been thriving in my studio space!  God is so good!  Thank goodness for his brilliant idea 🙂

ROOM 1 | Kitchen

The kitchen was done first because this room didn’t need any repainting and I needed to move the furniture around anyway.  This was our most initially successful room. When we first moved in I chose this subdued red color for two of the walls to blend the cabinets and the counter tops into the space better.  With a trip to IKEA, Josh and I decided kitchen ware as “wall art” would be a nice touch so we proceeded to buy the prospective equipment and hung our pots, pans, and baked goods in the corner by the oven.

All I did to touch up this room was ditch a table, bring in a smaller one, and resituate the knick knacks.  (INTERIOR DESIGN TIP:  don’t underestimate knick knacks – use them for accent colors and presentation and the key is quality, not quantity.)

For the full blog post on Remaking Home in the kitchen CLICK HERE.

BEFORE

Not a true before picture because I had already moved the yellow and brown tables from their original spot but the knick knacks are different.  Sorry for my forgetfulness in the BEFORE picture department 🙂

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AFTER

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ROOM 2 | Bathroom

The bathroom was another easy fix room – mostly because it’s such a small space to work with.  For this room I switched out all the linens, added a shelf, switched out the toilet seat, and painted two walls.

For the full blog post on Remaking Home in the bathroom CLICK HERE.

Sorry, I don’t have a BEFORE shot of this room…

AFTER

0008 0009 0010ROOM 3 | Living Room

The living room was my next easiest fix.  Like the kitchen, Josh and I were mildly successful in painting the first time around and the general position of most furniture.  However, it did need some serious adjustments.  In this room I switched out the upholstered furniture in favor of some new items, painted the remaining tan walls, built a collage of images of Josh and I as a visual centerpiece, adopted a rustic shelf from Mom and Dad Calhoun, rearranged our media and knick knacks, refurbished and hung a chandelier, reworked the lighting, changed the hardware on the entertainment center, and changed our shoe department.

To see the full blog post on Remaking Home in the living room CLICK HERE.

BEFORE

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0001 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006 0007ROOM 4 | Studio

This room needed the most work.  I needed it to serve as my office, the place where we sleep, a place to hold meetings, and a place to conduct various photo shoots.  That’s a lot of activity to fit in one space while trying to uphold an open and beautiful space.

Everything about this room is different and new.  Not a speck of original furniture remains.  With a lot of repainting, repurposing, and a little bit or purchasing I finally came up with the perfect convertible room.

CLICK HERE to see the full blog post with images from each room arrangement and function.

BEFORE

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0001 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006ROOM 6 | Music Room

This room didn’t actually need a lot of work, but it posed the biggest creative black hole for me.  I puzzled over this room in circles.  I would come up with the perfect idea and then that perfect idea would be over taken by another perfect idea and so on.  Finally, with the push to finish the room before the a Sunshine Moment Photography Studio GRAND OPENING party I moved my last item and painted the last wall only two days before the open house.  This room stretched me because it was everything I didn’t know.  My job was to create a space that would serve as Josh’s office while be the ideal space for practicing drums, keys, and guitar.  Since the room doesn’t have a lot of available wall space due to the radiator, double doors, window, and closet spaces I was left to puzzle through all the pieces I needed to artistically display within the space.

For the full blog post on Remaking Home in the music room CLICK HERE.

BEFORE

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My desk used to be wedged into the corner of this room.  This shot was taken after I had already moved my computer.

AFTER

0001 0002 0003 0004Thanks for reading about my Remaking Home adventure and I hope it was educational, inspirational, or both 😉

To see all of my Remaking Home blog posts CLICK HERE.

Remaking Home | Studio

Remaking Home | Blog Post 4 / 5

Back in November of 2011 I started working for Houzz as an Ideabook Photographer.  Then, in December of 2011, I started working at Sherwin Williams as their Design Product Specialist.  Lastly, in mid January Josh and I moved into a new apartment where I was granted permission to paint the walls.  My very first walls to paint!

My spark of a love for interior design was quickly provoked into a steadfast fire because of my new involvement with interior design.  All of a sudden it was a huge part of my life – making its way in as a profession, into my photography, and into my personal space.  I started finding myself standing around my house dreaming up new ways to make it look better all the time.  However, professional interior design requires capital and I couldn’t justify laying down the cash to upgrade and rework until God nudged me to open an in-home studio space.

a Sunshine Moment Photography Studio

This room was the reason behind my redesign.

As I mentioned in previous Remaking Home posts.  Opening an in-home studio space required upping the quality of most of the rest of my house.  I was aware that my clients walk through my living room to get to the studio and they would walk through my living room and kitchen if they had to use the bathroom.  This meant I had to at least work on my living room, kitchen, and bathroom.  Well me creating a studio involved kicking Josh out of his office and moving his stuff into storage.  A couple of days later, on a coffee date, we were talking about my new project and the forlorn look on his face in regards to not having personal space gave me an idea.  The idea:  forget having a bedroom, we are artists and our art is our priority.  So the bedroom transformed into the Music Room, Josh’s office became my studio, and now we sleep on a hide-a-bed.

My first step in the studio was a repainting overhaul.  I knew I wanted yellow because it is my favorite color and my business name is a Sunshine Moment.  I mean, come on, it had to be yellow!

I painted it once.  It looked like I had spread Velveeta macaroni and cheese sauce all over my walls.  So I painted again.  The second color choice was one I actually brought home back in June and was a color my friends Aaron and Lynette used in their kitchen that I love.  On this rare occasion the transplant of a color looked beautiful.  My walls are a warm yellow color that fools me into thinking every day is at least partly sunny.  That is good for my soul.

My next step was finding a desk.  The desks Josh and I had before were no longer satisfactory due to the new nature of interior design perfectionist.  So, we disassembled the “desk” portion and I painted the shelves the same yellow as my studio walls and stuck them in my studio.

I knew I wanted a corner desk with shelves and at least one drawer – shelves for easy access to the supplies I use daily and a drawer to hide my keyboard and mouse when I’m not using them.  I also knew I wanted something made of real wood that was not too dark but not too light.  Lastly, I wanted a desk that a rolly desk chair would push in all the way when not in use and that would fit my legs comfortably even if I sat cross-legged (because that’s how I sit at least half the time).  I was picky because I knew what I wanted after having many a desk before.  Finally I made a trip to IKEA and rolled chairs over to desks so I could sit and get a feel for them.  After scouring the web and hefty personal debate I decided I would spring for the Hemnes Corner Workstation.  It’s awesome.

My next step was furniture.  I agonized over this detail and feng shuied every room every other week until I finally settled on the arrangement below.  With a the little addition of a coat rack for my clients to hang their coats and purses and a rug to break up the floor space I was finally satisfied.

When I was finished fussing with the furniture I could work out lighting.  This room doesn’t have an overhead light, though it doesn’t matter anyway because Josh and I light our world with lamps.  The first lamp was easy because I obviously would need some form of light at my desk for working in the darkness.  Over Christmas I was inspired to hang lights around my big front window because there are no outside outlets.  I like it so much I’m keeping it up, they are just white lights after all.  And finally, I worked on the lanterns.  I already had hanging lanterns in this room so I simply moved those and bought one more for a little extra fun.

Finally, I added my canvas prints to showcase some of my favorite work in my favorite space 🙂

This space is functional.

The set up featured below is what my space looks like when I have client meetings and certain photo shoots.  It has four purposes total and three functional set ups.

PURPOSE

  1. Office (included in all arrangements, desk remains set up in the corner)
  2. Meeting Room
  3. Photoshoot
  4. Bedroom

SET UPS below…  and Sam modeled a little bit, he has to be involved in everything 🙂

Meeting Room and Portrait Session Set Up

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Newborn and Boudoir Session Set Up0007 0008 0009

Bedroom Arrangement 😉0010 0011 0012 0013 0014

a Photo a Day | April 15 – 21

1M2Tu 3W4Th 5Friday 6Sa7Su

Monday:  Remaking Home | Music Room

Tuesday:  Remaking Home | Kitchen and Bathroom

Wednesday:  Sports Photography | Baseball Teams (blog post coming soon)

Thursday:  Landscapes | Flooding at Judson University

Friday:  My Photogenic Pups

Saturday:  Event Photography | Rhythm and Raag (blog post coming soon)

Sunday:  My furry kiddos