A Family of Four

I had a quick portrait session with this beautiful family a couple weeks ago. Seriously–look at them! They are all gorgeous. I had so much fun, and their [extremely adventurous] boy was making me laugh the entire time.

Lunch with Tilly

On the way home from Houston after Chris and Lerin’s wedding, Joseph and I stopped for lunch in Spring so I could see my dear friend Victoria. The last time I’d seen her was actually the night Joseph and I got married, but I still call her my “bff soulmate” because she’s the closest friend I’ve ever had.

We met each other when we were chemistry partners in high school. We were awful in the lab, but it allowed us to bond over our mutual love for Harry Potter. We gave each other a variety of nicknames–I was normally Luna or Uhliska (a kind of joke ugly spelling of my name that I ended up finding endearing), and Victoria was Tilly (I think because it seemed British to us? I remember it was inspired by a girl featured in Teen Vogue).

I’m so glad we finally managed a time to have this long-overdo catch up. We had Vietnamese food for lunch and then went for frozen yogurt. Victoria is just as lovely as always!

Chris & Lerin: The Wedding

I’m struggling for words here. Lerin and I first met in 2000 and became instant friends. Neither of us expected I would marry her brother seven years later. In fact, we’re all still getting used to the way this worked out.

I’m so happy I got to join her family in celebrating the marriage of such a wonderful couple. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of holidays and family gatherings together (plus annual Creepy Couple Portraits). Chris, you and I really did marry into the greatest family in the world!

While the ceremony was tender and traditional, the reception was pretty wild. Hours and hours of dancing, with and without costumes.

The Best Use for Your Stand Mixer

Yes, your stand mixer look beautiful on the kitchen counter, but maybe you’re like me and don’t use it nearly as much as you anticipated? We could make constant batches of cupcakes or pies, but that might not be the best idea. I found the solution: make whipped cream.

Seriously. Fresh whipped cream is more delicious than you could imagine, and having a stand mixer means preparation is ridiculously easy. I am constantly whipping up (haha) batches on the fly. Keep a jar of whipping cream in your fridge, and you’ll be surprised by how often you finding yourself using reaching for it.

There is no need to ever buy store-bought whipped cream if you have an electric mixer of any sort, but especially a stand mixer. You add three ingredients, turn the mixer on, walk away, and come back to a bowl of white heaven. Eat it with fruit, pancakes, hot cocoa, pudding, or by the spoon. You can even pipe it through a pastry bag for a nice shape!

Prep your mixer by cooling the metal bowl in the freezer for a few minutes.

Our three ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla.

Attach wire whip.

Begin beating on medium until stiff peaks form.

You’re done! It’s that easy. Now eat it off the spoon or sample it with every item in your house. Store the rest in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

Fresh Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Set metal mixing bowl in freezer to chill for a few minutes (though this doesn’t always happen in my house–I just don’t have room enough in my freezer!).

Add whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium until stiff peaks form.

You can also spice it up if you want: add a couple tablespoons of a flavored liqueur, 1/2 teaspoon citrus peel, or 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of extra sugar.

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Tony Firman’s Bookbinding Workshop

Last weekend I took a bookbinding workshop with a couple classmates. I had been looking forward to the day since Tony Firman visited my rare books class as a guest lecturer.

Tony is a joy to listen to and learn from, and after seeing him demonstrate the binding of a miniature book I knew I needed to learn more. We all know how much I love tediously particular crafts, like embroidery, and I thought this might be right up my alley. During his lecture I couldn’t stop thinking, “This is a thing? People actually get to do this for work?”

The workshop was so much fun, and I recommend anyone in DFW contact Tony for your bookbinding or miniature book needs (we all have a lot of those, right?). His work reflects his meticulous craftsmanship, from the typesetting to binding and casing. I’m going to have to order some of his handmade miniature books, if only I can decide which I most need!

His workshop teaches four different binding methods, and each of the four books you create is about the way in which it’s bound. I decided to work with miniatures rather than full size books because, again, I love tedious and tiny work. Plus, miniature books are also just about my favorite thing in the world. They combine my two greatest loves–literature and small, cute things.

The beginnings of a small paperback book.

Punching holes in a gather of a more sophisticated hard-cover book that will have a sewn-signature binding.

A bit of time must be spent waiting for glue to dry, so Tony entertained us with his collection of books, explaining the varying binding methods or significance of the book itself.

Bookbinding also involves a lot of trimming. There’s not much room for error in miniature books.

Measuring and cutting the boards of the casing was the most difficult task. I was relieved to finally cover the casing in fabric.

Some of Tony’s miniature collection. The books above were created by Tony himself.

And now, my four completed miniature books:

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