a woven life

a parenting and lifestyle blog


Photography Styling Challenge|Fashion

Photography Styling Challenge Fashion

I have no qualms with admitting that I experienced great apprehension about this month’s Photography Styling Challenge.

You see, I vacillate a lot about the role of clothing in my life and the effects garments have on my perception of well being. I generally maintain a very functional attitude about clothes; they protect from the elements. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t some degree of personal style in my life, I just strive relentlessly to prevent my sense of identity from becoming consumed by my wardrobe. I believe it to be spiritually imperative that we take a step back in our culture and ask ourselves why clothes are important, where they come from, and how they impact our abilities to feel right within ourselves.

Mini-lecture aside, I believe in the power of bodily decoration, I have a closet crisis at least quarterly, and I have deep respect for well-made and beautiful clothing. I lust for things I can’t afford but try to corral that in healthy ways. In my world view, it is completely acceptable to have the hots for a $150 pair of hiking boots because the sole is flopping off the current pair you own. Maybe hiking boots don’t constitute fashion and this is tip-toeing into rant-land. I’ll stop myself for you.

The following pants are from Oren’s handmade collection of funky stuff. I gain so much satisfaction from seeing him toddle about in handmades. The dress being the exception, as Oren does not wear dresses, although if he wanted to one of these days I would sew them so happily for him.

Upcycled Pants

In my sewing I utilize many fabrics that are already laying around my house. I maintain a mountain pile of worn out clothing in need of upcycling. The pants above belonged to Michael, I cut off the legs below the knee and made these pants based on Oren’s measurements.  The pants below were created from a very roomy pair of stretch knit pants that I lived in towards the end of my pregnancy.

Upcycled Sweats.

This romper I created for a friend’s daughter in honor of her third birthday. I was so happy to be sewing a little girl’s dress! You’ll notice that Oren has plenty of home-made pants but few tops. Dresses are so simple to whip up, if only I had a daughter as well. This dress was sewn using a vintage McCall’s pattern, number 5473.

McCall's Romper.

The pants pictured below are another clothing refashion. The flannel of these pants was salvaged from a large men’s flannel shirt and the woven cotton is from a vintage bed sheet. These pants are so cozy-warm. I love the yoke detail of this pattern and they are reversible to boot! These are the Quick Change Trouser from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings.

Upcycled flannel pants.

This final pair of pants are my absolute favorite of Oren’s wardbrobe so far. They are for this coming spring season and I lovingly dub them his Cabana Pants. I love making these pants, the pattern is easy to follow and absolutely addicting. I made pair of pants using Growing Up Sew Liberated’s Pocket Pant pattern by Meg McElwee. The fabric is a rare treat, purchased from Sarah’s Fabrics in downtown Lawrence. I almost can not go in there, in fact rarely can I afford to. The trim for the waistband, pockets, and cuffs are from a vintage bed sheet. Love that vintage sheeting. 

Cabana Pants.

On the “styling” side of things, I knew right away that there was going to be no way I could convince Oren to model these pants for you. So I opted for interesting backdrops around my home. And just as I construct this prior sentence, I look over and realize Oren is wearing something I’ve made. Today’s house outfit for this chilly winter day:

Oren PJ Cape.

Mister Cheese. Goodness. Here Oren is rocking some jersey knit leggings I made. On top he is wearing what I call his PJ cape-jacket. This number was upcycled from a pair of footed fleece pajamas. The zipper gave out on them completely and rather than replace it, I turned it into a cozy house coat. And the Ninja Turtle tee shirt was papa’s when he was a little guy. George has also asked me to mention that he is pictured above as well. Poor attention deprived diva-cat.

If fashion fixes and fantastic photography are your cup of tea, please explore some other posts!

And a special welcome to two new participants this month,


Photography Styling Challenge|Patterns

PSC Patterns

For this month’s Photography Styling Challenge, I had to look no further than my kitchen pantry.

Just reading the word “pattern” in this month’s prompt took me back to elementary school, forming arrangements with plastic geometric tiles. I loved this activity; creating flowers and houses and nameless other configurations. I was pretty thrilled at the prospect of this post and spent days chewing on the subject. Should I photograph a cut sewing pattern laid out? Should I head outdoors seeking naturally occurring patterns over staging?

I opted for a small arrangement of items from my home, we have so many small things.

My pantry yielded legumes, nuts, dried herbs, pasta, and grains.






To explore more patterns in people’s lives:


A Photo an Hour

Or perhaps I should title this: How we spend a day in the kitchen. A good portion of the following photos were captured in the kitchen, where we apparently live our lives.

So. One photo an hour, on the forty minute mark. No editing, almost no staging (aside from moving a spoon closer here, a book further there). This is our life. One day. An hour at a time.

It starts at 5:40 AM.

5:40 AMEvery morning begins with dishes. It is our passage into the day. We just don’t mess with dinner dishes at our house. They hang. We’ve bigger things to do after dinner: dance, wiggle, alligator roll, read stories. What would we do while coffee brews if we didn’t have a few dishes to wash?

6:40 AM

6:40 AM

A kitchen clean, a second cup of caffeine.

7:40 AM

IMG_5244The sky turns light. Breakfast is happening.

8:40 AM

8:40 AMBrowning organ meat for stock.

9:40 AM

9:40 AMOne of the best views of my day. A lap nap and catching up on some reading.

10:40 AM

10:40 AMPlanning the garden.

11:40 AM

11:40 AMPlaying in the kitchen.

12:40 PM

12:40 PMLentil soup for lunch.

1:40 PM

1:40 PMDaily baking. A skipped afternoon nap. A delighted baby chattering about the broom.

2:40 PM

2:40 PMReading half an article from Orion magazine. Okay, maybe only a quarter of it. Dingo-Pajama can only be distracted for so long.

3:40 PM

3:40 PMAwaiting play.

4:40 PM

4:40 PMPapa the race car ramp is home.

5:40 PM

5:40 PMA day done. This is evening at our house.

From here we transition into bed time. There might be a photo of a dark room at 6:40 PM, where I am patting a baby’s back while he nods off. At 7:40 PM you might find Michael and I at our evening tea, sharing time together or apart, working on writing or sewing. 8:40 PM, we are reading in bed. Early to bed, early to rise.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Until next time,















Photography Styling Challenge|Bedroom


Hello November. Greetings beginning of a new month (even if you are one of the worst months). October zipped right on by. How can the best month be so closely situated with the worst month? Ponderings aside, the first of the month brings with it the Photography Styling Challenge. This month we are focusing on the bedroom. I greatly wanted to style Oren’s room for this challenge, because it needs the face lift anyway. However, his bedroom has one North facing window, I couldn’t bring myself to work with this. So my bedroom it was.

I focused less on styling than I did on lighting. The day I shot these photos was cloudy. For some of the photos I reflected light off of poster board. For some closer-up photos I used a hand mirror to play with light. Both of these actions being no easy feat since Ogie-Bogie pants took off with the camera base for my tripod. I’ve not seen the base in weeks. I didn’t have the easiest time capturing cloudy-day shots that were well framed without the assistance of the tripod. I carried on anyway and came up with the following about this space:

The day begins and ends in this room. Nighttime reading, curled under down. Morning toe-stubbing and curtain pulling. Goodnight and good morning uttered on breath minty with paste or stagnant from sleep. A space to cradle dreams. Soft; like when the sheets are clean and the closet is freshly organized. Chaotic; like when the closet is puking and the dresser is weeping socks. Life; like a newborn babe sighing it’s first day of breaths or throwing back the sheets while the world tumbles and rolls around you in hangover. We’ve called this room the bedroom, but I would like to argue that just as much living occurs here as in other rooms of home.



A place where vintage linens can mingle with antique tapestries.



Where collections find home.





Where piles occur like it’s a law of the universe.



Where a wine-rack can be a nightstand, which in my past may have actually been loaded.



Where Chief Joseph is both on the wall and in bed next to me on the back of my husband.

And because I can’t resist showing off the other corners I love:

If you are here killing time, you might want to check out the other participants in this challenge:

I would like to welcome and say howdy to the new participants this month:
Until next time,
Nini Coco


Photography Styling Challenge|Morning


Today is the first Monday of the month. Which means that today is photo challenge day. The theme for this challenge was “morning”.

Now. Morning is 100% absolutely the best time of day in my home. Oren willingly plays, dismantling the spice rack and shelf of pots and pans. This goes on for almost an hour. I am allowed time to brew coffee, make breakfast, do dishes, groom our unicorn. It is a magical time of day where the possibilities are as many as I can count. I had chewed on the theme for quite some time, thinking it would be such a breeze.

At first I wanted to shoot morning light. But “light” is a future prompt, which I may have enough fodder for already. Then I wanted to capture the spirit of baby at his peak of awesomeness. Turning a camera on him always yields the same series of photos: blur, followed by hand in the entire frame. My next thought was food. Breakfast being the most important and absolute best meal of the day, I thought I would shoot an eggy meal. Finally, it struck me, how silly I am. There is one thing that morning revolves around. And you know what it is. It’s coffee.

The rules for this post remain the same as last time, no editing. This is about learning how to use a camera.



This was my first setup. Which I do not love. It took me a long time to configure the best angle. My first morning of shooting I came out with this result over and over. After pouring over these photos that evening, I realized it was the angle of the photos. This picture is all horizon, no coffee. I liked the props, though the stain in the wood was fighting with the pine cones, rendering them invisible. The vase of sticks felt out of place and willy-nilly to me and the coffee beans were making this feel too staged, despite trying to recreate an image which utilized beans as a prop. I couldn’t make it work in a way I wanted.

So I tried again. Elements that I knew I wanted to keep were the surface I was shooting on, white dishes, and the spoon. New: perspective, coffee in a white cup, rearranged props.


I was much more pleased with this series, the direction it was going proved more satisfying for me. The above was of my first shots. That’s me reflected in the spoon, you caught me. This photograph is all pine cone though. Which is great, because it is a precious trio of cones. But I wanted more coffee. After reading a lot about how to use my camera and photography in general, I had attempted to put into practice the rule of thirds. The results, I feel, was unsuccessful in this shot. That’s okay. Deep breathing. I took this rule of thirds so seriously as to try and separate the photo into three with three separate props: spoon, cones, coffee. It is unsuccessful because, as you can tell, the coffee is still approximately half of the photo. I will continue to work utilizing this concept, perhaps I may even find myself satisfied in the future.


Then there was this photo. This is like, ideal date with myself. A blank slate of paper, a full cup of coffee. I took a sip of said coffee, and set it down again to shoot it. I wish I had turned the handle. While this is how the mug was placed back onto the dish organically, I was displeased with the handle’s direction. I felt it was pulling the eye to the bottom of the photo and not creating a line towards the cones and up to the spoon. I was also starting to struggle with my camera’s ISO settings and the lighting in my house. This session was shot near a south facing window, however as the day moved on I found the light became concentrated in less than desirable places, casting odd reflections on my dishes. I recovered from this by utilizing a tripod and white board. Oren loves the tripod. I can’t use a tripod without a third body to restrain him. He climbed the tripod, taking it down. I released my camera moments from disaster.


Handle rotation: accomplished. This image is pared down. The notebook is removed. This is about coffee. Despite this being my final image, I still see room for improvement. Coffee flecks from the french press are visible. There is still an interesting reflection in the liquid. I am visible in the spoon. Still. I am, over all, very pleased with how this photograph came out. This particular prompt, “morning”, has provided a great leap in my skill set. I now have knowledge of my camera’s white balance and I am becoming very comfortable shooting in Manual mode. All because of coffee. Impressive stuff, that caffeine.

Thanks for following this process.

If you are interested, you can check out the work of those individuals partaking in this challenge with me (which I recommend because it is likely that they came up with some brilliant shoots):

Redesigned by M


At the Corner of Happy and Harried

My Food Tapestry

Inge Kathleen Photography

Pies and Puggles 

City Girl Searching

The Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

Feeling sparky,