Yeah, no fancy, high-end photography here! I snapped this gem using the Photobooth app on my computer. That's the kiddo {Syd} and I {Vanessa} hanging out in my sewing room/office/wo-man cave.

Random Facts:

~I didn't learn to speak English til around the age of 5 when I started kindergarten. Before that, I spoke German and Spanish.

~To this day, my mom speaks to me in German and I answer in English. Yeah, we get funny looks sometimes but it works for us.

~Favorite stores: Target, Ikea, and Whole Foods. 

~I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. I start every day with a big cup of coffee. Instant, in case you're wondering, with lots of milk and sugar.

~I went to 3 different schools in the 3rd grade, 3 different schools in the 8th grade, and 2 different high schools.

~Places I've lived {in order}: Puerto Rico, Texas, Panama, Louisiana, back to Puerto Rico, Germany, and finally Alabama. Yep, Army Brat.

~Places I've visited {in no particular order}: Portland, Oregon / Florida / Myrtle Beach, SC / Georgia / Tennessee / France / Luxemburg / Amsterdam, The Netherlands

~I read. A lot. I get cranky if I go more than a few days without a book to read. I don't have any one  favorite genre, but do prefer to read series. Once I come across characters I love, I want to know more about them. Also, the longer the book, the better.

~I spent my first two years of high school in Germany. Loved every minute of it. I moved to Alabama shortly before I turned 16. Talk about culture shock! I always wonder how different my life might be if we hadn't moved.

~I have a long scar that runs across the bottom of neck. Battle wound from having most of my thyroid removed. The part that was left behind is purely decorative so I've since taken a little pill each and every morning.

~I have a younger sister. She lives in Germany with her hubs when they're not busy working on cruise ships.

~A few of my favorite tv shows {past and present}:  Mad Men, Bones, Glee, House, Mythbusters, Project Runway, Party Down, Friday Night Lights, Veronica Mars, Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

~Current favorite movie: Easy A

~I love music. The kiddo loves music as well, as long as it's a Glee soundtrack. Can't leave home without them!

~I don't like to cook but I do like cleaning {except for dishes}. Unfortunately, that does not mean I have an always clean house.

~Favorite food: hands down, sushi. It just makes me happy. I have my friend, Jen to thank for taking me to Surin West in Birmingham for my first taste years ago.

~I waited tables, bartended, and worked as restaurant manager throughout my 20's.

~I went to college. More than once. I had several majors over the years. To say that I was indecisive is putting it lightly. I came *this* close to graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design. I got burned out with working and going to school and quit. Years later I graduated with a degree in Radiologic Technology. Turns out that Art degree would have been more "me"!

~I worked 3rd shift as an Xray Technologist for my entire pregnancy. The birth of my little nugget was the end of that career and the start of lots of great things like this blog, my Etsy shop, and all the amazing people I've "met" since.

Sydney Claire 3 lbs 10 oz / 18 1/2" long 2/21/08

~A bit more about having a preemie. . . while Syd was only 6 1/2 weeks early, she was itty bitty even for that  gestational age. She stayed in the hospital for about a week and then came home. She's always been a healthy, extremely active, and very bright kid but has had some developmental delay and problems with her right hand. Just recently or finally, I should say, she was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy due to a perinatal stroke. Honestly, it wasn't a big shock as I always felt there was something going on, but am glad to have that official diagnosis so that we can now get her the occupational therapy she needs! Lesson learned. . .don't take no for an answer when it comes to your kids.

Behind the scenes:

I pretty much read two types of blogs: sewing/crafting and photography. I love to read about what sewing machines, cameras, lenses, etc my favorite bloggers use so I thought I'd share my "gear".

Sewing Stuff:

The sewing machine I use most is my Janome DC2010. I seriously love this machine. It's probably one of the best gifts I've ever received. I've had it for about 2 years and it's never let me down. It's a workhorse, it's nice and heavy, and I can pretty much sew with my eyes closed. It runs about $400, so maybe not the cheapest machine out there but definitely not the most expensive. Worth every penny in my book.

I also have:

Brother Innov-is 40  I won this machine through a contest held over at Prudent Baby! To be honest, I haven't had a chance to really put it through its paces. I do think that it's geared more towards garment sewing than more heavy duty sewing. My favorite part of this machine is the dial to select stitches, etc.

Brother 1034D Serger  What can I say? I think just about everyone in blog-land that has a serger, has this one! I got one for dirt cheap and it does everything I need it to do. If you're on the wall about this one, just get it! I do have a few tutorials for this serger if you're interested. Just click on the 'tutorials' link at the top.

Rowenta Pro Master Steam Iron  Irons aren't usually talked about much from what I can tell. I just wanted to share my experiences because I've gone through a lot of irons since I've started sewing. Until I picked up this Rowenta, I was replacing my irons about every 4-6 months. They'd either quit heating up or they'd leak water everywhere. It drove me nuts. No point in even turning on the sewing machine if you don't have an iron to use.  While this one is a bit pricey, it has held up! I picked mine up at Kohls while it was on sale and used a coupon so I got a deal. Now I'm a happy camper. It's pretty heavy though (which I like) but something to consider if you want something more lightweight. 

Camera Stuff:

Canon Rebel XS  I had an incredibly hard time trying to decide what camera to get. I didn't have a big budget and I knew I wanted to be able to get an extra lens so I went with this camera body. I followed the advice of several knowledgeable people in the Flickr forums and spent my money on lenses vs a bigger, badder body. If you're just starting out with DSLR's, I think this is a great pick. Why did I go Canon over Nikon? Again, lenses. The lens I was interested in buying {50mm f1.8} would not autofocus with the lower end Nikons. Otherwise, I don't think it really matters.

I also use my iPhone a lot for photos. Instagram and Shake It are both fun apps.

I love prime lenses!

50mm f1.8  I seriously love this little lens. It's small, lightweight, and inexpensive. Great for low light photography. This is the lens I pretty much always have on my camera. Most of the photos on the blog and in my shop were taken with this lens {except for tutorial photos-use the kit lens for those}. In fact, I say skip the kit lens and just get this one. You won't be sorry.

85mm f1.8 This is my outdoor lens since it's a little too long for indoor use. This lens will give you gorgeous color/clarity and amazing bokeh. 

Sigma 30mm f1.4 This lens is new to my collection. Still getting a feel for it but I am really loving not having to stand what feels like a mile away to get certain shots!

Post Processing:

I use both Photoshop Elements 9 and  Lightroom 3 to edit photos. Both awesome. Lightroom is new to me so I'm still learning. I was able to pick both up on sale with rebates, etc so I spent much, much less than list price. 

So, that's me in a nutshell! Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to ask any question in the comments :)

© {lbg studio}
Maira Gall