• Crazy Kids,  Critters,  Family,  Gardening,  Holidays,  Home,  Martha,  Photography


    Dear Paulette,

    Remember when it was January? Like, just yesterday? And everyone was telling you Happy New Year, and you were in your usual blissful state of all-things-are-new-again?

    And let's not forget all those New Year's Resolutions, which included this beauty:

    Blog more.

    And this one:

    Take pictures of things besides pets.

    It's probably best if you stopped resolving things. That's all.

    Yours Truly,



    I was going through my photos from 2017, and I thought I'd share a few of the in-between moments that either never made it to my blog, or maybe found their way to Instagram instead. Mostly though, they're just pictures that made me smile… and yes, the majority of them are probably of pets.

































    I hope you all had a really lovely start to your new year, and that the remaining eleven months are filled with lots and lots of moments that make you smile. Even if it's mostly your pets. Or fosters. (I don't actually own 1,284 pets, despite what it may look like.)

    I'll see you soon!




  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Photography

    Hold that Pose.

    Sophie and I headed out to the wooded area by the lake last week so I could take some photos, and I had such a fun time with her.. despite how self-conscious she is when I'm taking her picture, she manages to have a little fun and gets me to laughing.

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    I told her that I would say the name of the store, and she had to pose like their mannequins or ad models, and this is what she came up with…


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    Urban Outfitter (known around our house for their corpse-like models):

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    JC Penney (I laughed at this reaction.. clearly not her favorite place to shop):

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    Old Navy:

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    I love blurting out things to my girls when I take their picture, just to capture their immediate reactions. (One time I told Sabrina that whomever's name I said, she had to picture giving them a smooch; that was a hilarious experiment, and we got a lot of laughs out of looking through the photos!)

    Sophie SpiritHood35E tp

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    As fun as it is for me to take my girls' pictures (much more fun for me than it is for my girls!), there's nothing that makes me smile more than when I remember their laughing. Nothing posed, nothing planned.. just them being them.


  • Photography

    Patrick’s Day

    Jaime, Bre and I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding on St. Patrick's Day for a gorgeous Irish family. And how perfect that the groom's name was Patrick.

    Here are some moments from the Bridal Suite…

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    And the groomsmen, attempting to get ready…

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    The groom had a twin!

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    The bride and groom opted to have a First Look, which is always so much fun to do…I thought it was so cute how she snuck up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder!

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    The ceremony took place inside the Durham Museum, which was the original Union Station in Omaha. The historic trains made for some really fun photos!

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    This is my favorite shot of the day…

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    The ceremony was held upstairs, and started right on time…

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    The bride's father…

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    After the ceremony, we all headed to the reception via the Party Bus…

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    The reception was held at the beautiful DC Center ballroom, where the First Look photos were taken…

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    The wedding was such a beautiful event. But what would you expect with we three photogs in attendance?

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    Yes, the reception had a dress-up photo booth area, and we sort of got into it. 🙂

    Thank you so much to Bre and Jaime for shooting with me. You guys are amazing, and I couldn't do it without you. Now, back I go to my real job: designing!  I hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day. And of course, a huge congratulations to this beautiful, young couple!

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  • Family,  Good Things,  Photography,  Ramblings,  Weblogs

    Blog Fodder

    When I first started blogging back in 2004, I had intended to write just about my stitching endeavors – sort of a way to keep myself motivated by posting my plans and progress reports. Then I started designing, and it went from my "Cranberry Crossing" blog (the name coming from the primitive/folk art craft business I had for a few years back in the '90's) to my Plum Street Samplers blog, where – again – I had intended to write strictly about my stitching, whether it be my own designs or others I was working on.


    Soon, however, I became bored with my slow progress reports, and decided to branch out and start sharing a little bit about my family, although I was afraid it might annoy some people. Seven years later, I'm amazed at how many people have written to me to ask about my family… you show your concern when I express mine, and you share in my joy as well. You have no idea how much that means to me! I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are annoyed, as I'd feared, but that's what makes us all different; it's nice that everyone is not the same, or there really wouldn't be anything at all to blog about, no matter who you were.

    So now I have a stitching/designing/dogs/family/cooking/photography/andsometimesTraderJoe's blog. And I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share it all with you.

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    Today is my blog's anniversary, so if you're still reading, I'd love to have a giveaway to celebrate! Just leave a comment (and if you don't like comments, your name will do – or you can email me) in the comments box of this post for a chance to receive 3 currently-released Plum Street Samplers charts of your choice*, as well as an e-voucher for any one future Plum Street Samplers release through December 31, 2011.  The winner will be announced this Friday, July 22nd.

    *This is the fine print: I'm sorry, but I cannot give away any current or upcoming Just Cross Stitch magazines, nor can I give away anything that is or will be released as a retreat or shop exclusive.

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    Thank you so much for always taking the time to stop in and see what we're up to. I feel like I've gotten to know many of you, whether it be through your own blogs or emails, and I'm thankful for this new, "modern" way of making friends!

    See you soon!

  • Photography


    While recently discussing the possibility of Jaime and Bre and I going into the business of photography together, someone suggested we name ourselves "PB&J Photography." I doubt anyone would take us seriously if we called ourselves that, but I thought it was a clever suggestion. 🙂

    Last week, we three got together and shot another wedding. What a perfectly fun couple, with perfectly lovely families. I don't have any of Jaime's photos to post, but here are some from Bre and I…

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    Outside, the groomsmen were a lot of fun…

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    And the groom's mom was awfully happy to see her son looking so handsome…

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    Here's Bre, hard at work shooting details…

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    And this is Jaime, trying to coax a smile from the flower girl…

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    There was a water table set up at the ceremony bc of the heat outside…

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    Later that night, we went outside to test our flashes (it was getting to be pitch black out!), and Bre was our model…

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    (She's probably going to be really mad at me for posting that photo, but it just cracks me up.)

    Here are a few of Bre's photos… I didn't ask her if she minded if I posted them, so I only chose a few to edit. But as usual, it's amazing to me how she sees things through her lens…so romantic!

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    There's something about this last one that makes it my very favorite photo of the day… Bre didn't like it, but I just loved it!

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    Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Butler! And Jaime? Hurry up with those edits, will ya? Come on, how long could it possibly take to edit a measly 4,000 photos?

  • Photography

    High School Sweethearts

    Just last week, Sabrina said to me, "Mom? I'm really bummed. There's only a week left of school, and I never had a sweetheart. Which means I can never say, 'I married my high school sweetheart.'" I didn't feel the need to remind her that there were plenty of sweethearts begging to be hers, but she poo-poo'ed every one.

    Can I say poo-poo on a blog?

    Alex and Brooke were high school sweethearts. (They both went to the same school as Bre, where Brooke and Breanna were cheerleaders.) (Brooke tried out for American Idol once, too. I'll never forget during one of Bre's slumber parties, all the girls wanted Brooke to sing for them. Brooke was embarrassed, so she made them all turn their backs to her while they sat in our hallway, and she sang a country song for them. The girls loved it, and it was such a cute thing for me to see… although Brooke had no idea I had spied them.)

    It was such an honor to be asked to photograph Brooke and Alex's wedding a few weeks ago. I snagged my Canon-sister Jaime to help me, and together we shot about 3,000 pictures in 13 hours. I realize this isn't a photography blog, but if you could please bear with me, I'd love to share some of my favorites from the day!

    I love this shot… Brooke wasn't planning on wearing jewelry during her wedding, as she loves simplicity. Her mother won the argument, but couldn't get the necklace to clasp. Brooke's dad stepped in, and I just loved the way his hands looked, so gentle and fatherly. Once the necklace was in place, Brooke looked at her reflection in the mirror and smiled. "I like it!" she said. (Mothers know best.)

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    Her oldest sister, Breezy, was her maid of honor, and did a wonderful job of helping her get ready…

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    Meanwhile, Jaime was photographing the groomsmen, and doing a fine job of it. The challenge with men is that they don't give doodly (an expression my mother uses frequently) about looking handsome; they want to look cool.. like they couldn't care less if their picture was being taken or not. (Bravo, Jaime! They look handsome and cool!)


    (Btw, it was a very cold and windy day!)

    Back in the bridal dressing room…

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    (The next one is truly what Brooke looks like most of the time…what a sweet young woman she is!)

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    The ringbearers, courtesy of Jaime…

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    We had to shoot the groomsmen separate from the bridal party, as Brooke and Alex didn't want to see each other until she walked the aisle…

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    A couple more from Jaime…Brooke Dyptich 1

    I love this shot of Alex… he was finally getting to see Brooke, and he looked so emotional…

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    Brooke and her dad…

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    Jaime had a lovely angle, as she was standing behind the pulpit, off to the side in a changing room…

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    The next photos were taken just after Brooke and Alex had walked back down the aisle and turned the corner, out of everyone's line of sight. The sun was shining brightly through an open door, and I felt quite lucky that I was standing close enough to them to sneak these…

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    This next one is my very favorite shot of the day! Jaime was standing outside, waiting for them to exit the church…

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    After the ceremony, we took a few of the bride and groom outside – but were forced to stop early bc it had started to rain…

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    The first dance…

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    …and then the father-daughter dance. I could barely keep the tears back to take these pictures.

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    Bre was third-shooting the reception with us…

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    Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. McKamy!

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    You may now say, "I married my high school sweetheart." 🙂

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    May the Lord bless you both.

  • Good Things,  Photography

    A Spring Wedding

    This past weekend I had the pleasure of being my Canon-sister Jaime's second-shooter (a backup shooter/assistant) for a lovely outdoor wedding. I'd never photographed a wedding before, but had always wanted to… and now I know why wedding photographers are so expensive. This was the most grueling experience ever. (In a good way, of course.)

    For nine hours, Jaime and I lugged around about 20 pounds' (each) worth of camera gear and battled wind, clouds, extreme sunshine, and uncomfortable church shoes – all to capture the most beautiful moments of such an important day.

    Did we succeed? I have no idea. We're both still in traction. But Lindsay and Creighton made such a sweet couple, and my favorite thing to see during the day was when she would relax and smile every time he put his arms around her. It was so romantic! 🙂

    Here are some of my favorite images from the day…

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    Her grandfather walked her down the aisle…

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    Her flower girl, getting excited to empty her basket…

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    Whatever did bored little boys do before there were gaming consoles?

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    The groom's brother lost his rose, which was actually quite funny…

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    It was very chilly outside, but the sun was at its brightest best (which made things extremely challenging to photograph)…

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    Congratulations to you, Mr. and Mrs. Micek! And thank you, Jaime, for being a gracious first-shooter.

    P.S. I have to post this last photo bc I found it quite funny; I told Lindsay to think about her wedding night, and this was the look she gave me… Rawr. 😉

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    P.P.S. The very first photo I posted was taken immediately after this one; after I took it, she told me, "You wouldn't believe what he's whispering in my ear." Oh my! 😉

  • Freebie,  Good Things,  Photography

    Woot! Woot!

    I have never won anything. So you can imagine my utter shock (if you've been so lucky as to experience it) when it was announced on Tara Whitney's photography blog that I won a camera bag! A Ketti bag, to be exact!

    I. Could. Not. Believe. It.

    ME??? Did her announcement actually read "And the winner is…. PAULETTE STEWART!!!"

    I was beaming the entire day. No matter what I did, my face was fixed in a grin. I'm so excited about it, I made a freebie to celebrate! But first, here are some pictures of my new camera bag (which is complete with awesome compartments inside for holding lenses and a body)…

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    Isn't it lovely? It's the Berry bag. Ahhhhh…. love!

    And it has the cutest little feet…

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    And hardware!

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    My sister made fun of me when I visited her in Texas this summer bc I had a camera bag the size of a suitcase (a Crumpler "Seven Million Dollar Home" bag) that I lugged with me everywhere. She let me cram my stuff into her fancy Coach bag instead, so I wouldn't look like a tourist. Now she can walk next to me and not pretend she doesn't know me!

    Anyway, I am a very happy girl for winning such a prize. If you have something to celebrate (or you know someone who does!), maybe you'd like to stitch this little chart – if you can sit still long enough to do it. 🙂

    Here is the actual .pdf to click (don't click on the image): Download Woot.

    Use whatever color – or color combinations – you want! Perhaps you'd like this way…


    Or what about this?


    Maybe you'd like to celebrate your independence…


    Or help a loved one celebrate theirs!


    Please note these changes from the original chart:

    1. The patriotic version uses white/ecru to "line" the inside of the flag, which is not shown on the printout.

    2. The "pink" version does not have the breast cancer awareness ribbon on the printout, but is easily duplicated by referring back to the above image, or by stitching the ribbon your own way.

    (Btw, I think a great gift idea to give to a breast cancer survivor would be one of The Attic's Recipes for a Cure cookbooks, along with the "pink" version stitched into a small pillow or ornament. This is by no means a plug, but just an idea. And there are other fabulous charts out there to choose from if you're not fond of this one, of course!)

    (I really hope I didn't sound presumptuous with my idea!)

    Anyway, I'm off to go sit with my new Ketti bag in my lap. Maybe I'll go rearrange the contents again, just bc it's fun.

    Or maybe I should lay off the caffeine.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    P.S. Here is Tara Whitney's blog, and here is Ketti Handbags. 🙂

  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Photography

    Work it, Girl

    A few days ago, Sophie and I walked Mike out to his car before he left for work for the evening. I noticed that the sun was shining beautifully on Sophie's hair, and I asked her if she minded if I took her picture. She agreed, and then I asked her if she wanted me to take lots of pictures of her. "You mean, like you do the girls when they're posing?" she asked. "Sure!" I replied. At this, she was happy, so off we went to a nearby park owned by a local nursery.

    We had a fun time, although there were a few too many frogs in the pond for her liking. And she kept making me walk in front of her, so I could clear out any grasshoppers before she passed by.

    Here are just a few of the pictures I took that day. I love you, Sophie!

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    At one point, Sophie told me to look up…when I did, there were hundreds of marquis butterflies! It was magical! This was the only one I could capture…

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    There was a gorgeous tree there, filled with these beautiful red berries…

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    And my favorite… 😉

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    A girl can dream, can't she? 😉

    (It's just too bad I don't always dream in focus! Ah well, like one of my very favorite photographers, Karen Russell, says: "Photos don't have to be technically perfect, as long as they're emotionally perfect."  I like that.)

    Enjoy your weekend!