Wedding – and more gratitude

Today is Day 6 of my Gratitude Challenge. To be honest,  can’t remember how long it is supposed to go on for – so let’s just settle for forever. I have had so much to be thankful for over this last week, and then I realized: they are all the same things I should be thankful for all the time. Seriously, I am going to spend time being grateful every day moving forward. It has had such a positive effect on me as a relaxation or meditation technique … which has been really helpful when working on a huge project like this wedding I’ve just done! (How’s that  for a segue?)

I have been working on these wedding pics for a while – I was honoured to be asked to do the photography for two of my close friends, Joss and Liz. With a final number of 3000 photos taken over 2 days by myself and the hubs using 2 cameras and 5 lenses, this was big! And they are finally here!!!

Here’s a sampling of some of my favourites. I will be posting a larger series on my business Facebook wall (https://www.facebook.com/maxjordandesign?ref=hl), so mosey on over there if you want to check out more! While you’re over there, make sure to “like” and “follow” the page!

Without further ado! My amazing friends and their beautiful wedding:

The beautiful bride

The beautiful bride

Hand-made everything!

The most amazing touches.

The most amazing touches.

Mmm...candy!

Mmm…candy!

Wedding

You  may now kiss the bride!

You may now kiss the bride!

Lovely dress

Lovely dress

Wedding Wedding

So. Much. Love.

So. Much. Love.

Beautiful sunset, to end a gorgeous day.

Beautiful sunset, to end a gorgeous day.

… So much love! The whole weekend was such a blast – great food, family, and friends. I’m so fortunate that I got to play such an important part. And still yet another thing to be grateful for: the hubs. He shot photos alongside me the whole time, and was my support though the whole processing phase (that turned me into a cranky zombie). Thanks babe!

The hubs, looking good, has my back (camera #2)

The hubs, looking good, has my back (camera #2)

Working with the happy couple!

Working with the happy couple!

The sunsets on The Point were beautiful… More gratitude.

Stunning views all weekend!

Stunning views all weekend!

xox
MJD

Gratitude Challenge… Day 3

So I’m on Day 3 of my gratitude challenge. I missed Day 2 because I am on holiday and am only occasionally going online. Don’t worry – I was grateful even though I didn’t write about it on my Facebook wall! Today I am feeling a huge amount of gratitude for the beauty of nature around me. I may live in the big city of Toronto, but I try to surround myself with nature as often as possible. I live right on the beach, near hiking trails, and bicycle to work. However, up north is a whole other level of nature! I am simply overwhelmed by all the beauty out here in Northern Ontario … All you have to do is pay attention to the details and (maybe) get up with the sun.

Here are some of my favourite moments from this week on my holiday:

Mist over the water and a heron takes flight

Mist over the water and a heron takes flight

My nephew is an early riser - this pic my sister trying her hand with my camera!

My nephew is an early riser – this pic is my sister trying her hand with my camera!

Mornings can be some of the hardest moments to capture. First, because getting up early is hard, and second, because the lighting is transient and evolves rapidly. For myself, the getting up part is easy as the house was full of early risers: my nephews, niece, and dogs! The lighting part is a challenge for every photographer, but I think I did ok.

Evenings are beautiful as well:

My father relaxing on the dock

My father relaxing on the dock

My nephew venturing out into the great unknown

My nephew venturing out into the great unknown

The lighting can be peaceful or dramatic – reflective water always adds more beauty, because you get double the colour. The picture of my father on the dock was so serene… dark and beautiful.

The time in between day and night can also be visually stunning – you need only keep your eyes open for all the little moments that are worth capturing.

A little plant making its way through the pavement

A little plant making its way through the pavement

My mother and niece enjoying the great outdoors

My mother and niece enjoying the great outdoors

Some of the lighting up here is so surreal, it is almost unbelievable. Much of the photo editing I now do in Adobe Lightroom 5, and I do my best to ensure that I am not altering my photos to create a moment that was never there. I only retouch to try and replicate with my photos what I saw with my eyes. I love Lightroom, and am getting more comfortable with it every day. See a before/after split of my post-processing here:

Image on the left is "before", image on the right is "after"

Image on the left is “before”, image on the right is “after”

I’ll be back soon to wrap up my gratitude challenge. In the meantime, I am working through photos of the wedding I shot a couple of weeks ago – stay tuned – it’s the most down-to-earth, stunning wedding I’ve ever been to and it was a joy to shoot.

xox
MJD

Photography, Fitness and Pregnancy

This post kicks off the “5 days of gratitude challenge” for me, and it seems fitting that the fitness instructor whom I am writing about today is the one who invited me to complete the challenge in the first place! I have a seemingly never-ending list of things to be grateful for: my hubs, my family, my friends, dogs, career, etc. But today, I want express my gratitude for the fact that I am able to follow my creative heart. I have the physical ability, the emotional support, the financial means, and (just barely) the spare time to work on the things that make my heart sing, mostly photography, but other creative stuff too. I’m also grateful for helpful photography blogs that give me lots of inspiration and advice, like, https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/31449225/ and https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/63721050/.

Honeymoon at the cottage with the hubs. Grateful, grateful, grateful.

Honeymoon at the cottage with the hubs. Grateful, grateful, grateful.

And on that note, on to the purpose of this post: photography, fitness and pregnancy.

My friend (and fitness inspiration) Reena at https://www.facebook.com/fitnessreena has just publicly announced her pregnancy. She’s already 6 months along – very exciting! When she first told me she was pregnant (at around 12 weeks) we were complaining that there is a real lack of photos of women who are pregnant and fitness instructors. There are lots of photos of women who have “lost the baby weight”, and photos of women in serene meditation-type poses with a full-term belly, but there was little in the way of anything else. Where are the photos celebrating the beauty of change that comes with all 3 terms of pregnancy? We decided to document her experience as both a fitness instructor and pregnant woman.

This will be the first of 3 shoots that I will be completing with her. These photos are of the courageous and powerful Reena while 4 months pregnant:
Reena 4 months

Reena 4 months

Reena 4 months

Reena 4 months

This was a fun shoot, because the morning light was beautiful. Also, the 6am start didn’t seem so bad when the beach is 50 feet from your front door. It was challenging to find ways to showcase Reena’s skill and also showcase the gorgeous scenery. What resulted were photos where each one was different from the next in the evolving light. I learned a lot about what to ask from my subject and what to expect from the weather conditions! I am so GRATEFUL that it turned out so well.

This shoot, and re-visiting it by writing this blog reminds me that there are so many things to be grateful for, even something as simple as the sun rising on a new day.
Reena 4 months

True Love! … And some updates

Hi Everyone,

Can I just start this post by saying that my hubs is a total looker? We got our wedding photos back recently, and I was reminded what I lucky gal I am…

I married a hunk!

I married a hunk! … He’s also a great guy. Obviously.

 

Anyhoodle, I wanted to post a quick blog update to talk about photography. I haven’t been snapping a ton of pics lately, and the reason is simple: my camera is ancient. See, I bought a new camera earlier this year and it broke the first time I used it. It took FOREVER (and a lot of fighting with a big corporation) to get my money back, and now I’m hesitating on purchasing something else. So… I’ve gone back to my old faithful, but it’s over 5 years old now. It leaves me feeling less than inspired.

What DOES inspire me, however, are the awesome people/animals in my life. Two of my sisters were visiting this past weekend, and I caught some impromptu pics of some cute snuggling between my youngest nephew and my pup.

IMG_5073_edited

Seriously, we’re besties (beasties?) now

IMG_5074_edited

Hugs….

IMG_5075_edited

And kisses!

oliver01

“I’m the cutest!”

Seriously, aren’t they the best?

Anyway, it inspired me to get moving on another project I’ve been dragging my heels on, which is some pics of my gorgeous fitness-instructor-all-around-over-achiever friend, Reena. I’ve attached a sneak peek, but I’ll process the rest and release the full series shortly.

This girl can fly.

…This girl can fly.

Finally, I can happily say that I’ve also made progress on the huge blog(s) that are my table and chairs progress… it’s all coming at you soon!

xxoo
MJC

Box spring cover – aka: pretend I have a real bed!

Hi Everyone,

So my first post about something cool that I am ACTUALLY doing is a really fun one. See, my bedroom is really boring right now, and the only thing that we have really done to it is paint the walls, despite the fact that we have lived in our beach-y home for over 7 months. My excuse is that I was too busy trying to get every other room in the house presentable. I’m still VERY far from that particular goal, but I felt that our bedroom really needed SOMETHING – even if it was small. Here’s the “before”:Before bed

As you can see, our bed is simply a mattress and box spring tossed onto the floor. Ugly! This thing needs to have an actual bed frame. Actually, what it needs is to be thrown out entirely, but there is no budget for a brand new bed! (I love my new wall colour BTW… It doesn’t show up well in the pictures, but it is a soft, mossy green. We have a picture rail about 4/5 of the way up the wall that was there when we moved in, so we left the rail white, and then painted the wall above the rail a very light green. It looks so great – I’ll be sure to post better pics in future posts!)

Anyhoo, back to the bed. I was totally inspired by this tutorial:
http://www.mommarake.com/2012/01/diy-upholstered-box-spring.html
Like that blogger, we are trying to keep the budget under control, which means I am the DIY queen. Basically, you cover your box spring to look like it might be a bed frame, and then you prop it all up on legs, so that it appears to be the real deal. I modified the idea slightly for the actual upholstering – as I was worried that the above method wouldn’t provide full coverage of the bed (and then parts of the old, hideous box spring would show through).

What I used:
– 4 yards fabric
– sewing  machine
– staple gun
– 8 small furniture legs
– white paint

Here’s what I did. I bought 4 yards of fabric on sale at Fabricland (which, I must say, is simultaneously the most hilarious and most depressing place, ever). I had to cut the fabric in half width-wise and sew it back together along the sides to make a large rectangle (so that the entire box spring would have fabric coverage, with room to spare, all in one sheet). I got to use my new hand-me-down sewing machine from my awesome MIL – bonus!My second fave toy (after the staple gun)

Once you have your cover all ready, you simply use a staple gun all the way around, ensuring that you are pulling tightly as you go. This is best with two people. I employed the hubs.
Getting started

The hubs also very generously painted the 8 furniture legs white.Painted legs

Poor furniture legs, one of the devilish dogs ate one! Doesn’t he look guilty?Poor furniture leg! Not-so-guilty puppy

Doesn’t matter! That leg was hidden well under the bed any way!

While the hubs was painting, I got to finishing the corners. I wanted each corner to have a little “tuck”. It required a bit of finesse. My first corner didn’t go so hot, but I did great after that. I fell totally in love with this staple gun! The trick is to make sure you are pulling as tightly as possible, and plan the “tuck” in advance so that you have an idea of where the fabric will go before actually stapling.

Corner: step 1 Corner: step 2Corner: step 3  Finished tuck

Once that was all done, it was time to put on the legs. You want to be sure that you are spreading out the legs so that weight is distributed evenly around the box spring to prevent warping. We did 3 down each side, and then 2 in the middle around the centre-ish. I used a drill to create holes where the legs would simply screw in – you can see I drilled right through the fabric. A little awkward, but it paid off, since the legs are holding the spare fabric in place. I decided against trimming the extra fabric, and instead stapling it up under the bed. I felt this was both quicker, and provided better coverage of the ugly box spring.Drilling holes Leg in place!

Now just flip the bed back over, and make it up. Ta-da! A bed that looks like a bed!Finished bed All done!

In total, this took about 2 hours, although if you are doing it all alone, it may be a bit longer than that. Good luck!

xxoo
MJD

Post-Canada Day Fun

Lightning rocks!

Lightning rocks!

Living right on the beach has many advantages. One of my favourites is the excellent, weird and wonderful weather that we get to experience. Beautiful sunrises, heartbreaking sunsets, crazy storms, and more.

Last night we had a delicious Canada Day dinner with family, and got home around midnight to walk the dogs. There was a lightning storm over the lake that was really cool in contrast to the stars. So we zipped home and grabbed the camera for a 10 minute photo shoot session with the night sky.

The clouds with the lightning in it and the calm stars above were such a beautiful contrast :)

The clouds with the lightning in it and the calm stars above were such a beautiful contrast 🙂

Happy Wednesday everyone! 🙂

xxoo
MJD

It’s Time To Get This Show On The Road!

Hi Everyone,

HAPPY CANADA DAY! This feels like the perfect day to really push to get this blog rolling. I’ve been so busy with weddings, baby christenings, art openings, family gatherings, etc, that I haven’t squeezed in the time for blogging. Confession though, I’m also dragging my heels on getting started because I’m worried that I won’t be interesting, or have enough great before/afters to post. However, I’m working on getting over myself (and my darned nerves), in order to get this show on the road.

So, what is this blog about? Basically, I wanted an outlet for my creative energy… I love my day job, but there is not a lot of room for self expression in my 9-5 hospital work. I have found that when I spend my spare time pursuing that which I love creatively, then I am happier overall. Expressing my creativity is like my form of meditation.

What does this mean for you, dear reader? It means that you will be meandering through the creative side of my mind. This isn’t JUST a blog about reupholstering (although I’ll cover that), or refinishing (although I adore that), or even photography (arguably, my greatest passion)… It’s about the pursuit of happiness through getting my hands dirty. I’m going to post about my failures, and what I learned through each project. I also hope to give you a glimpse into my lovely day-to-day existence, by including lots of doggy and hubby pics too!

My pooches want to help out in any way they can! Mostly, their hair just ends up in each project...

My pooches want to help out in any way they can! Mostly, their hair just ends up in each project…

My pups being very gentle with their little niece!

My pups being very gentle with their little niece!

So Welcome.

I hope you stick around with me.

xxoo
MJD (aka. Max)

New Blog!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my new blog!

I wanted to use this space to talk more fluidly about my projects. Hopefully you will find my adventures in refinishing, repurposing, reupholstering, reusing, refurbishing and recreating entertaining and informative!