Happy Birthday / National Hot Dog Day!

Today is the greatest day of the year. It’s my birthday and National Hot Dog Day!

This past weekend I got to spend some time with my nieces and nephew. They went camping nearby, so I visited them for a day, and we had hot dogs for lunch. I love spending time with them since I don’t get to very often, but every time I encounter children I remember how messy they are. I was shocked when I saw the hot dogs they fixed themselves! The following are examples of how not to fix your hot dogs. Unless you’re 8 years old, that is.

First, Alena’s had lots and lots of mustard and dill relish.

Daphne’s with a slice of cheese and a big blob of ketchup in the middle.

I should note that Lennon’s hot dog is actually okay–he is only two years old so didn’t fix it himself. But the choice of toppings does not live up to my standards for him, in all honesty.

Elvis (a basset hound mix–can you tell?) wasn’t very discriminating with his.

I’m not sure if hot dogs will be part of my birthday today, but I am at least counting on cake.

Whimsical Weekend on Film

My friends Tricia and Melissa visited this weekend, and we were determined to do the most whimsical thing we could think of.

I had previously bought a Groupon for entrance to the Dallas Arboretum, specifically to see the summer’s Alice in Wonderland garden. (I can’t deny how whimsical I truly am, sorry.) I spared Joseph and instead took Tricia and Melissa along, and we had a nice picnic.

I had never been to the Dallas Arboretum before, and it was beautiful. I’m definitely going back when it’s not summer. I don’t really know what we were thinking spending the day outside when it was over 100 F, especially with a non-Texan in tow. Melissa is from New England, and this is only her second Texas summer. The arboretum has no signage, and we weren’t offered any sort of map. We walked big circles trying to find our way out, and I think we all felt certain we were going to be trapped and inside and die of heat exhaustion.

But we survived (barely)!

Tricia and I only had film cameras for the sake of the whimsy. These were all taken with my dad’s old SLR, a Nikon F-601.

I also brought along my Brownie Hawkeye, which I’m sure must have made me look pretty obnoxious. No photos from that yet; I’m going to develop it myself (it’s B&W 120 film) because I truly am that pretentious. I’d appreciate any advice from others who have worked with film! I’m looking at buying all my supplies online. Right now I’m mainly torn on what developer to choose.

Ben & Kate: The Wedding

Ben and Kate’s wedding was one I was very excited for. After taking their engagement portraits at the beginning of the year, I knew their wedding day would be both fun and sweet. And that it was!

Kate and I have known each other for over a decade–I actually still usually call her by the nickname I gave her back then, Kbit (pronounced “ki-bit”). So getting to spend this day with her and her family was extra special.

The wedding was at the Wildwood Inn in Denton, TX, which is an absolutely beautiful venue!

I joined the bride and bridesmaids for a very calm hour as they got ready. Meanwhile, the groom was apparently having way too much fun with his party. I sent my second shooter to follow them around, and I was so surprised when these were the photos I got back. So much fun!

Do you see that bit of blue behind Ben? That is the TARDIS he built Kate and used as a prop when he proposed.

We were all chanting “Kiss, kiss, kiss” to the two on the left. They didn’t kiss.

I should mention their first dance was to Kermit’s The Rainbow Connection. Between this and the TARDIS, you just have to love the Ben and Kate.

Photos #2, 19-25, 33, 41, & 57 were taken by Allen Jung.

Ben and Kate, thank you so much for letting me spend this day with you. I wish a world of happiness! If the wedding is any indication of your marriage (how could it not be?), there’s a world of laughs and sweetness ahead.

Visiting GWB Presidential Library and Museum

Yesterday I visited the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the SMU campus with my lovely friend Asma. I am a big fan of presidential museums in general (regardless of political affiliation), so I was really excited to visit. The museum was really well done, and the architecture alone is pretty incredible.

Above: The First Dog, Barney, and his fan mail.

Below: Gifts from other leaders, including a taxidermic lion from the president of Tanzania.

I really love when buildings include wildflowers in their groundskeeping (like one of my favorites, the Elisabet Ney Museum). So beautiful and so appropriate for Texas!

Extra: This picture was taken in the full-size reproduced oval office (unlike LBJ’s in Austin–it is 7/8th scale!).

I had to include this, even if it’s slightly embarrassing. I don’t understand those who have mastered the cell phone selfie thing. I am so bad at them.

Cute Gingham Skirt For New Sewers (Simplicity 2286)

Guys, I did it. Finally. I made an actual article of clothing! I kind of made a skirt once before, but it ended up being completely unwearable. I was so intimidated by that pattern it took me six months to finish it, and then it ended up a disaster.

Needless to say, that didn’t help with my fear of sewing.

I can begin a knitting, crocheting, or embroidery project without a moment’s hesitation, but sewing? Sewing just terrifies me. I love clothes and am really particular about design, quality, and fit. Becoming a proficient sewing seems like the perfect way to build the wardrobe I want, but sewing projects can fail in such catastrophic ways.

I picked up this pattern (Simplicity 2286) right after I got my sewing machine when Hobby Lobby was having one of their sales where all patterns are $1. But I never got around to sewing it because I didn’t really like the way the skirt looked (and my fear didn’t help).

I’m still not totally in love, but I do have to admit I’m proud! The skirt took just a few hours to whip up, and I’ll likely be altering the pattern (it’s a bit too full for my taste as is) and making many variations.

Here are some photos from the process. It really was very easy, and I encourage everyone with similar sewing intimidation to go for it!

My materials! The pattern, a yard and a half of fabric, elastic, and rick rack. Not pictured: thread, sewing machine, measuring tape, pins, fabric pen, and scissors.

First, cut your pattern according to your size. Pin the paper onto the fabric and cut around it.

All cut! I kept the paper attached to the pieces until I was ready to use them to avoid confusion.

Sew, sew, sew, and trim the edges so they don’t fray.

Guiding the elastic through the waistband was the most time-consuming part.

Next time I maight make the waistband a bit wider.

I’ll also probably omit the rickrack on the pockets. I love rickrack, but I think it’s too girlish with this skirt.

The end result!

Like I said, I’m going to alter the pattern a bit and make another. I’m thinking a heavy cotton in navy.

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