Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Post-Wedding Bridals

While wedding dress shopping months before our wedding ( I want to say it was January?) Meghan and Nina swiped the perfect dress from the rack for me. The bridal store assured me it would be in by June 10th at the latest, which was a little unnerving considering our wedding was July 30th. The bridal store also assured me "Oh, but honey, they hardly EVER take that whole time. That's just to be safe." Well...I checked for packages every day with bated breath...right up until JUNE 9th when it arrived with one day to spare! Still needing to have a bustle fashioned and be altered to fit mini-me, I obviously did not have time for a bridal session before the wedding.

Enter Kristen Catt, a local photographer who shot my friend Lindsay's wedding in June. We scheduled a session for mid November, trying to hurry before the last bit of fall escaped us. I once again turned to the farm, where Sean and I got engaged and where our bridal party took pictures the day of the wedding.

Of course, a freak windstorm seems to roll in whenever I'm trying to accomplish something important (our move-in day) but I told Kristen I could handle anything, as long as I didn't blow away.

We are still waiting to see all of our wedding photos from our wedding photographer (sigh...) so I still haven't been able to do a wedding post yet, but here are a few of my favorites from the shoot with Kristen on that lovely wind-blown November day!

We started at my Aunt/neighbor's house to borrow her beautiful staircase.

We then headed to the farm, and started at the ideal setting for a photographer...and old farmhouse with a GORGEOUS turquoise door!

Behind the scenes look: I was standing in my wedges on one single plank bridging an open gap with no structure underneath. There was nothing I was scared to do. I love stuff like that!

When we first walked up, Nina asked if someone lived there. I said that yes, a farm worker used to, but not anymore. She was still creeped out and approached slowly. When setting up for a few shots, Kristen fearlessly flew open the door to take some photos with the door half open. Nina thought this was NOT a good idea.

"You guys, there might be someone in there."

"Helloooo?" I said into the door. "Oh ok", "He says he's nice."

Poor Nina was so uneasy. Which made it TOO easy.

While posing for some pics standing with the door open, I found the perfect opportunity to glance inside the house slowly, and then with widening eyes, let out a soft and terrified but most believable "gasp!" I could muster.

It worked. If Kristen had been shooting Nina right at that moment, it would've been the shot of the day. Her knee drew up in protection and her face went pale as she muttered an "Oh sh..." and hopped off the ground.

It was priceless. For me anyways.

"Do yall think I'm nimble enough to get up on that fence in this dress?"

"Um, Yes!"

Getting up might've been the easy part. Staying up while perched on a fence post on one hip, in 35 mph winds, proved a bit challenging. While my hair whipped wildly around, she managed to catch this perfectly fan-blown look.

Oh, weathered red barn. I think you could make any girl look presentable perching up against you.

My frilly, ruffly wedges have to get their moment to shine!

Weeds get such a bad reputation. I myself, HATE them in my flowerbeds. But here, they served as a perfectly ovaled halo for me to repose in.

A bride and a barn. Peanut butter and jelly...

How awesomely, vintagey, cool is this old turquoise bob truck? I've seen an old picture of Dad with it in it's new and pristine state. But I think it has only gotten better with age.

We noticed a bit of a sunset made an appearance on this mostly overcast day and stepped out into the field. Yes, it appears the farmers were not considerate of my upcoming photoshoot, as they went ahead and picked the cotton the week before. Can you believe it?

I love the way the dress looks in this one.

Brides, if you can stand it, I would highly recommend taking bridal photos after your wedding, if you, like me, have a love for natural, rustic, or southern style shoots. I was able to lay in the dirty, wet fields, roll in weeds, and perch on fences and trucks without the slightest worry.

See? Happy Bride. No worries.

F.O.R.D. Love it.

One of my FAVE faves for last. So much fun!

I hope you liked! Thanks a million Kristen!

Cross your fingers with me that we get our wedding photos soon.

Until next time!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tortellini Tomato Soup

The time in autumn when night begins to fall before I even get home from work, is right about the time that I literally could eat a different soup for supper every night of the week, and we just about do. I pull in the drive, pick up the day's mail and run in from the harsh, cold wind wanting nothing more than to walk in smelling a pot of soup ready for me! Well, I don't exactly have a maid preparing my dinners for me upon arrival (nor would I want one) so I have to yearn for that feeling for just a little while longer.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese is OF COURSE a staple of fall and our pantry is ready to produce that quick, comforting supper any time we get the craving. But this idea for an upgraded version is genius and went over very well in the Gray household. And it only left me waiting for about 15 minutes!

You Need:
2 Cans Tomato soup
1 cup vegetable or beef broth
1-1.5 cup of milk or half and half
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Refrigerated Tortellini (I used cheese)
Seasonings (I used Italian seasoning, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder)

Boil Tortellini as directed in salted water and drain.

To a pot, combine tomato soup and broth, heating to medium. Gradually mix in milk/cream and stir. Add your seasonings.

Cook on medium low 10-15 minutes. Add your parmesan cheese.

Stir in your tortellini and call it a day! A warm, buttered roll finished us off.


Enjoy :)
The Grays

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Front Porch DIYs: table and chalkboard

Hey Yall!

Happy fall days from the Grays!

Around here in Arkansas, if you don't like the weather...just go to sleep and wake up tomorrow! We've been wavering between near freezing temps and warm weather for the last month or so. I braved a windstorm to pose for some post-wedding bridals yesterday and today it was calm and 70!

The tree in our front yard is gorgeous in the fall while it lasts, but it drops leaves of epic proportions! The bright red and orange hit the grass last week, but because we have the friendliest neighbor imagineable, we came home after a long day of work to a mowed and leafless front lawn! How is THAT for southern hospitality?

We've been spending our fall days lately trying to spend a little more time cozied up at home despite our crazy schedules. I've been making progress ridding our garage of misfit pieces that are waiting for an update and a purpose.

I'll be honest, I don't even remember where I got this table. I don't know if I bought it, was given it, or found it...that's how long it's been in our garage.


I painted it sunny yellow and gave it just a subtle bit of distressing to use it as a happy little porch table.

This BIG piece of framed art was the perfect size for a front porch chalkboard greeting.


Nickel spray paint to the frame, chalkboard paint over the glass, and some fun doodling, left me with this...


As crazy as the up and down weather is, we're trying to enjoy the change before the harsh winter hits. We couldn't be happier with weekends of Razorback football and pizza, home projects and family time while we plan for the coming holidays.

I hope your fall days have been abundant with blessings.

~~The Grays

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shutter and empty frame collage

I feel complete again! I've been without my beloved laptop after it suffered a near fatal crash. We were terrified we had lost all of our precious pictures and videos forever but it was brought back to life! I'm so behind now but here's the first of MANY projects I've completed lately.

And it's a good one:)

This HUGE shutter/door is one of the best junk finds I've ever gotten my hands on. I love the shape and size of it. All that would've made it better is if there had been two!
Because I loved the piece so much, the pressure was on to choose just the right color and not screw this up...

Safe route with classic chippy, cottage white?
Trendy route with distressed turquoise?
Roy G Biv scrolled through my mind as I studied this beauty.

I decided, nothing says happiness quite like an antique, bright, golden-rod yellow shutter...right?

I used a wire brush to scrape the loose, chippy paint off to provide a smooth surface.

I painted the shutter with SW "Goldfinch" that I diluted a little with water. After 2 coats, I sanded like a mad woman until I exposed the brown and white underneath to my liking. I glazed with Ralph Lauren "Smoke" in just a few places to antique it even more. And that's it! With hanger hardware installed on the back, it was ready to hang proudly over our living room couch.

But the large wall never seemed complete with one lonely piece in the center, so this shutter wasn't going to do the trick alone.

I gathered a random assortment of open-back frames and knick-knacks from around the house.

I also threw in 2 of 4 small shutters I found.

Ivory spray paint for the frames, mocha and turquoise distressing on the little shutters and alot of configuring on the floor was all it took to finish this one up!

~The Grays