Posts in Baby
A Mother Daughter Art Collaboration
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll
A Mother and Daughter Art Collaboration, now on Cottage HIll

We love this special mother-daughter session captured at the Refresh Collective, hosted and styled by Melissa Click, and captured by Lauren Jolly at Spain Ranch. Our favorite part? It features a real mother and daughter with a real story.

From Ashley (the mother): My daughter Nora, 4, and I paint oversized abstract artwork in inspired colorways. An extra measure of charm is ever present, as the younger member of this partnership carries full title responsibilities. The results promise to be laughable. 

The process is simple but magical.

Step 1. I toy around with color pallets that inspire me, trying to blend muted tones with saturated, to avoid a juvenile look. This could come from a rug, an outfit, a sunset, or nowhere.

Step 2. I mix our colors, and let her choose her brush.

Step 3. We attack the canvas simultaneously, painting around each other. Sometimes there is a plan, sometimes there is not.

Step 4. We stop when Nora announces that it is finished, and declares some brilliantly ludicrous nonsense that becomes the name, which she immediately forgets.

Step 5. I pick out more colors and we do it again.

As a full time interior stylist and lifelong creative, I have a background in many artistic pursuits. This medium, however, is entirely new to me! Rather, achieving anything on a canvas I would actually share with someone is new to me, as painting one has never ever remotely resembled the grandiose messy masterpiece I envisioned. My movements are too calculated, and the results lifeless, at least in the eyes of this perfectionist. Nora, well, she’s a game-changer. Her approach is so free spirited and joyful, her brush moves so freely and without regret. She is the ying to my yang.

As I learn, and open up to the process, I appreciate my work more, but NEVER would have branched out into this without the ambiance she provides in each piece. Nothing is finished before she’s gotten her hands (and knees, and thighs?!) on it.

This journey began for us just a year and a half ago, starting with a gift we made for my sister. Since, we've been incredibly fortunate to continually be given opportunities to create and share, and every sale goes to Nora's college fund. We're taking it a day at a time, growing and setting new goals...and sharing all the nonsense.

This particular painting in the photos is for sale. The title is 'Colorado, Jeff Bridges, and Jesus' - it is mixed media on canvas, 36" x 48", and can be purchased through her Instagram account here.

You can learn more about Ashley's professional work at Whiteside Art and Interiors. Nora's dress is from Cute Heads and hairbow from Fourth and Pierce. All photos were scanned by Indie Film Lab.

Newborn Family Session

Sometimes we have the honor of sharing not only a beautiful story with you but one from someone we know and love. Carrie Moe of Type A Society is a creative who we not only get to call contributor, but also our friend. Her team designed the cover shoot of The Captivated Issue and was also featured in Chapter Three of The Pioneer Issue. Carrie shared her story of entrepreneurship in the Editor's Course and today, we are excited to share moments of her with her family and their beautiful new daughter. Here are some thoughts by photographer Daphne on their session together:

This was just one of those moments in life when you know; you just know with your full heart that it was all meant to happen. Carrie and I had never met, but from the moment I walked into her home, it felt like we had known each other for years. Not only does she have an incredible gift for creating beauty all around her, but she has the softest, kindest soul. These four, to me, were a vision of life and love and trust and joy and tangled up together; family in its purest form.

I brought my four-year-old daughter with me for the shoot. She instantly ran off to play with little Jackson, while Carrie and I chatted as she styled the most amazing scene for baby Amelie, with delicate baubles and shiny trinkets. Our conversations instantly dove deeper into the meaningful bits of life, and I found myself feeling so grateful our paths had crossed.

As I photographed the four of them, they just beamed for one another; a thick layer of peace and calm serving as a foundation for all that goodness piled on top. It was an immense blessing to preserve these memories for such a truly lovely family.

Artistic Credits: Photography by Daphne Mae Styling and Mother, Carrie Moe of Type A Society

Simple Outdoor Family Portraits

While most families wait until fall for family portraits, mainly to use for holiday cards, we love seeing families take portraits throughout the year to document their lives. It doesn't have to be an elaborate session, just something simple to capture the moments that matter in your life. This beautiful springtime session with Clary Pfeiffer is no exception. 

Faith, Film and Family from The Pioneer Issue
cottagehillmag.com

Beyond ethereal subtleties, deep shades of blue, floppy hats and a classic cup of French press coffee, you will find the heart of fine art film photographer, Jennifer Blair. Currently based in Alabama, Jennifer is wife to worship leader Jonathan Blair and mother to precious daughter, Eleanora. With a growing business and family, Jennifer has gracefully learned how to cultivate a life where she authentically pursues her passions as an artist while remaining rooted in her values.

Inspired in her childhood by the draw of the ocean when the waves crashed over her feet, there was a comfort found in how small she was compared to the vastness of the sea. Enchanted with the way the sea could be calm one moment and raging the next perpetuated a vision that stark contrasts could blend together so organically. “It’s amazing how you can be two seemingly different things at once - like being a business owner and a mom; it’s intriguing how two sweeping differences can exist together.” The blue and green hues that shimmer beyond white capped waves have captured Jennifer’s heart and inspired her as an artist to embrace the same genuine emotion in her work that the beautiful imagery of the sea creates.  

Growing up, Jennifer was never a foreigner to fine arts. Surrounded by creatives - including her Dad and Granddad - piano lessons, art lessons and photography were just a few of the things that sparked her artistic aspirations. Pursuing the beauty of harmony and melody in college, Jennifer graduated with a music degree and met her husband. After finishing school and becoming a newlywed, her creative passions took a backseat for a while as she tried to figure out her place in the world. Seeking any job she could find and trying to make something of herself, she accepted a position as a secretary- but it didn’t take long to discover that sitting behind a desk was stifling the zeal to do something more with her talents.

“I was in a tiny room, at a small desk, with no windows, and I hated it. That is when I started to blog; I needed to have a creative outlet.” Over time, it was clear that being behind a desk each day answering calls was not a good fit, and faith began to take over. “One day I came home from my lunch break and knew, clear as day, that God was telling me to quit my job. I called my husband, who told me to follow God's leading, then turned in my notice when I got back from lunch. ”

It wasn’t until after several months of being jobless that a new calling broke the silence. “In my desperation, and shame of being without a job for what felt like forever, my heart was finally ready to listen. It was then that photography was laid on my heart. I was honestly shocked. It was something I always loved, but never wanted for anything more than a hobby. But I jumped, not knowing anything about photography except what I learned in high school and art lessons. I spent the last of my savings on a sort of ok, semi-professional camera and devoted myself to the art.”  Opportunities began to pour in by the grace of God and that was when things got challenging. Everything happened so quickly, the luxury of having it all figured out was not an option. Every day became a learning experience, and that was when the help of past experiences with film photography bridged the gap.  When there were doubts or setbacks managing something so new, strong will and determination paid off. “I knew that if I put my mind to something, I could do it- of course, some things within parameters. But when my heart is set on something, I’m going to give everything I got, and if I fail, I know I gave it my all.”

As business continued to blossom, Jennifer began to really think about who she was and honed in on developing her brand. Naturally drawn to genuine beauty, Jennifer knew she wanted her style to have a luminous, kind, and elegant essence. Working with graphic designer Kathryn Duckett of Crème brands was one of the highlights of her early career: “I was one of Kathryn’s first wedding industry clients and she was phenomenal from the get go. She taught me if you know who you are, then your work will come from an authentic place. Creating a brand is so much deeper than the colors you use on your blog or what your website looks like. Business is not just about art or a relationship- it’s a mixture of both. The way you market yourself on Instagram, what you share about yourself, it all needs to be a good representation of who I am and what my business is about. Kathryn helped me to see that my life and business should line up.” While learning to preserve a professional environment and boundaries with what she could commit to, Jennifer took delight in developing deep connections with her clients. “I really strive to listen to and understand who my clients are, rather than focusing solely on surface details. My clients and I come up with descriptive words for the day, we discuss the desired imagery. When doing engagements or weddings I want to know what couples admire in each other. I want to know what makes them tick and how they think. This way I create something more authentic instead of photographing pretty things; this makes my job as an artist so much more rewarding.”

With an authentic brand well underway, a new season bloomed with the birth of daughter, Eleanora.  Not sure how motherhood and business ownership would mesh, Jennifer was intentional about not becoming overwhelmed. “I tried to keep my expectations low; I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to be both a good business owner and mom at the same time. I tried to give myself some grace.” To help manage new changes, the Blairs hired a nanny and worked together to create a gracious ebb and flow. “Jonathan and I support each other; we know what each others busy seasons are and we work around each others schedules. Often times when I had to work, Jonathan would stay home with Eleanora; or one of us will take on more household tasks if the other is busy.” There began to be a clarity that to be both a mom and an artist was okay and there was no longer pressure to be one or the other.  “I tried not to look at other people and what they were doing- even other people in the same industry as me. I have to do what is best for my business and my family.”

Keeping their sights on eternity, Jonathan helps to encourage the family when the little things go wrong, even if it’s the tedious tasks of being a parent that wear them down. “Jonathan is so great at reminding me there is a bigger picture, so I try not to focus on what happens tomorrow, next week or next month- today matters.” Having this perspective has brought greater value and appreciation in both motherhood and as an artist. “Eleanora created more balance in my life. Being a mom and an artist has brought new meaning and gratitude to each day. Before I was a workaholic, but now I can step away from things I may not have before. Knowing where my boundaries are has given me more purpose and solidarity.” Learning how to separate business from motherhood took some getting used to, but through grace, things fell into place by being purposeful. “I know if I try to be a mom and work at the same time, I will make mistakes. When I’m with Eleanora I make an effort to put the phone away and not respond to emails. And then when I go to work, I can focus- I’m excited to shoot photos and create something beautiful. Being a mom is a rest from that; it’s still work, but a different kind of work.” Motherhood has brought even more beauty to each day. In the moments of painting with Eleanora and the peaceful walks outside breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the simplicity of nature, there is pure joy in knowing that being a mom has come from the ability to facilitate growth of a new life. Fascinated by what the future holds for Eleanora, being a mom anticipates the excitement of the unknown. “I often think of what she will do when she is older. Maybe she will like art or maybe she won’t. She is her own unique person. She will see life differently than me or my husband. It’s neat to think how I will grow because of her.”

Together, Jonathan and Jennifer are learning to be fluent creatives with a focus. They never forgo breakfast as a family and continue to have a deep connection with their shared appreciation for music- often times writing songs with one another. There are moments of quiet in the morning when Jennifer will try to steal a few minutes of time getting in the Word, sipping on a cup of her favorite French press coffee. And then there are times when there is no room for solitude and the mornings fly by. Hurdles have presented themselves along the way but common goals have kept the Blairs grounded.  “We support each other; my passion is his passion. We are definitely not perfect, but are aware of each others strengths and weaknesses. We know what's best for us and we put each other first.” Jennifer has learned there is an authentic beauty in knowing who she is and letting that shine into all aspects of her life. By taking a few moments and pausing to look at the big picture, faith remains a pivotal part in keeping things together. “Christ is a huge part of keeping me grounded. I try not to stress over the little things and I may not always have things figured out, but that’s okay. And admitting that sometimes I need help is okay, too.”  

“I’ve learned to have core values that I hold dear, and I build my life upon that. These are the things that will hold me steady and are an anchor when hard times come up. Knowing why I’m doing what I’m doing keeps me pursuing what I want to do.” Jennifer has found a way to embrace life in the same way she does the sea. Choosing to see the vastness- the bigger picture- as a hope to hold onto, yet realizing she has a purpose deeply rooted in where she is today.  Anchored in steadfast faith, Jennifer navigates through the calm and the chaos of being an artist, mother, and wife with uncompromising authenticity. “Faith, family, work, friends- they're all intertwined and cannot be separated in my heart.”

Story by Nicole Renee Jordan. See more featuring Jennifer Blair and her family with photographs by Sawyer Baird in The Pioneer Issue, now on news stands. 

Move to the Mountains from The Pioneer Issue
cottagehillmag.com

Without a vision for our lives we lack purpose. The Lyerly family has always had a strong vision for their lives - a dream of the kind of lifestyle they desired for their children, and for themselves.

Michelle and Christopher met and fell in love in the Appalachian Mountains while attending school at Lees-McRae College. The land held a special place in their hearts for many reasons, but in order to fulfill their dream of starting a family a move to the city was the best decision for them. They moved to the city Michelle grew up in and both found jobs that they loved, Christopher as a firefighter and Michelle as a wedding photographer. Over the years they were blessed with two sets of tiny feet running around their home. They built a wonderful life together in the city, but all the while their hearts were calling them back to the mountains. They dreamed of a simpler life.

Read the entire story written by Ally Willix and photographed by Perry Vaile in The Pioneer Issue, now on news stands. 

At Home Newborn Session
cottagehillmag.com

We love this at-home newborn session captured by Heather Moore. Capturing those first moments a baby is welcomed to their new home is so special and sweet. Seeing the entire family together, doing life together, is something, we think, the Hawkins family will treasure forever. 

Mountain Maternity by Jameykay and Arlie
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Motherhood is such a beautiful and miraculous process.  Jameykay and Arlie Photography worked with Liz of LWD Couture to create a mountainside maternity session on the Blue Ridge Parkway that would showcase the femininity and beauty of a woman during pregnancy. The mountains create a cradle for the valley below and they felt this was the perfect depiction of the relationship between a mother and her child. 

Liz describes the thought process behind the creation of this maternity gown: "Jackie has a radiant soul and I wanted to design a gown that made her feel beautiful, feminine and like a true goddess. I chose to use silk charmeuse because it has such a beautiful drape and flow to it. I hand dyed the gown a seafoam green to compliment her lovely skin-tone. My biggest goal as a designer is to create gowns that are not only beautiful, but comfortable as well."

I asked Jameykay to tell me why she believes it's important to do a maternity session: "As a photographer I feel a responsibility to capture fleeting moments in a person's life. I didn't truly find the importance in maternity sessions until a dear, sister-like friend was pregnant with her first child. She had a rough pregnancy and most days she literally couldn't get out of bed much less think about how beautiful she felt while pregnant. The good moments for her were worth saving - not just worth it to her but to me as well. I saw my dear friend as a strong, beautiful, and highly admirable woman who could get through anything. I saw first-hand how important it was to capture and immortalize the goddess she became while she carried her daughter."

Photography by Jameykay and Arlie Photography :: Gown designed by LWD Couture 

Newborn by Emily Jane
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What more intimate time than a couple with their newborn baby, and Emily Jane Photography truly captured that intimacy in these images of Katie and Ian. They included no elaborate set, backdrop, or posing, just their 6 day-old baby and their own bed. There is nothing to cloud the scene from the most important thing, their love for each other and their baby girl. You can truly see their pure awe of the new addition to their family.