Author Archives: des

motherhood // sleep

babe | workhouseblogThere are moments as a mother that bring me down to a place of reason, a grasp on what’s attainable and a call for living slowly. I am learning that the biggest teaching moments are in the spaces between the transitions. This cute sweet chubby foot belongs to a little human who prefers to remain unnamed, she also chooses to not sleep through the night anymore, making life a bit more unpredictable and a little less desirable. My focus shifts. My perspective changes. The ideas I have of what I wish she would do changes to what it is I need to do, to adjust, to make space and room. For the growth. For the change. Letting the end of one phase flow into the beginning of another. Its funny how I always seem to forget this every time there is a new “new”.  I never recognize it at first and fight it until the light falls on its newness; we sit together (usually over a cup of tea), I welcome it in and figure out how to make friends with this adjustment. We then again find our rhythm until its time to befriend yet another change.

How do you deal with transitions? I’d love love love to hear how you’ve create healthy patterns for your family, especially those involving sleep and babyhood.



gratitude no. 18

white sage | workhouseblogThis weekend was beautiful, there is a lovely bubblegum colored flowering tree in our backyard that we somehow didn’t notice last year when we moved here or have since forgotten because Anaïs was born soon there after. Anyways, it is a beautiful backdrop to our backyard and made working back there this weekend feel like a fairytale.

A simple list of thanks:
-lots of time outside in the sun and fresh air
-I had time to sew a few things for myself
-dinner with my brother’s family and the best tacos in the whole state of WA
-watching the baby on the tire swing
-listening to Lucy and her dad build our garden beds
-buying new plants
-listening to the birds
-watching Lucy ride from point A to point B with her tongue hanging out the entire ride (its a new thing here)
-planning a first birthday
-ending the weekend with a bottle of wine and trashy tv



bean 15/52 |workhouseblogbird 15/52 |workhouseblog|a portrait| once a week| every week| in 2014.|

LUCY / sometimes daydreaming is frustratingly interrupted by me trying to catch a moment of perfection. I am assuming the two of us are the only ones who can see the attitude in her gesture.

ANAïS / her 3am wakings wanting to play are surely catching up with her as she takes a 2 hour nap at 9 in the morning. She is either a party animal or cutting another tooth, we have yet to determine which.

linking up with practising simplicity




make / window stars

window stars | workhouseblogwindow stars | workhouseblogwindow stars | workhouseblogwindow stars | workhouseblogwindow stars | workhouseblogwindow stars | workhouseblogwindow stars | workhouseblogWe welcomed Spring Equinox by making some colorful window stars. We said goodbye to winter’s dark skies and welcomed the bounty of color and life that is about to bloom. A simple star can be made by folding 8 squares of kite paper into simple cone shapes (like the reds ones shown above) and then attaching each point with either tape or glue. You’ll work clockwise overlapping the one side of the bottom edge of each point with another- this makes sense once you have all your points made and you can arrange them on a flat surface. There are many tutorial online but we keep referring back to these instructions and just try our best to translate the images.

They catch sun the sun perfectly, add some color to our landscape and change with the light throughout the day. Plus its a pretty simple mess free craft which I always gladly welcome with open arms.


nourish // customized brown rice bowls

rice bowls | workhouseblogrice bowls | workhouseblogrice bowls | workhouseblog

What goes over well here for dinner is the make your own (fill in the blank), be it burritos, fresh spring rolls or brown rice bowls. Giving our children the independence to pick and choose their own creation has created an adventurous eating in our eldest, I can see that the little one is not far behind. For our meals I am really big on keeping whatever I can raw when it comes to our vegetables, we are also a condiment family so anything with a sauce is always a hit, this recipe has both! There is not a lot of prep which helps with the witching hour and the leftovers become the components to an Asian style salad for my lunch the next day.   This peanut sauce is our usual go to for this meal and its good on any and everything including fresh spring rolls but we needed a change. This yummy ginger dressing was passed onto me by a friend and gave our dinner the revamp it needed. I made a simple slaw and dressed it with a bit of sesame oil, a dash of rice vinegar and a touch of maple syrup, seasoned with a little pepper- all to taste. Everything else is just whatever you have on hand.

Make enough brown rice to allow at least 1/2-1 cup of rice per family member

1/4C honey
1/4C soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbs rice vinegar
A large chunk of ginger, peeled & grated (a 2″ piece or to taste)
1 large clove of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

Mix all ingredients, except olive oil, then whisk olive oil in at the end or shake in a sealed mason jar.

Shred 1/2 cabbage and 2 carrots, I simply do this with a knife. Dress lightly with sesame oil, rice vinegar and maple syrup; toss to coat.

ALL THE OTHER STUFF (everything in this category is optional or whatever you have on hand…or need to rid your fridge of)
seasoned nori
red bell pepper slices
sesame seeds
kim chi
a runny yolk egg
sesame oil

Place a 1/2-1 cup of rice in a bowl, topped generously with slaw, drizzle on dressing and top with assorted toppings. We usually ask that there is a  bit of every color in our daughter’s bowl but it doesn’t always happen that way.


ritual // smudge 101

smudging 101 | workhouseblogSpring is upon us here in the PNW, we are slowly cleaning the house trying to take on one major chore at a time. My favorite being rearranging and organizing our goods according to necessity for the season. The woolen basket is now filled with gauzy scarfs, sun hats and small containers to take on nature walks. The mantel now has fresh flowers and has been cleared of all the treasures we gathered during winter. Our nature table has its book turned to April and is surrounded by moss, colorful fairies and flowers. Things are starting to feel lighter and brighter around here. The windows are opened first thing in the morning and if the sun is out so are we- for school, lunch, dinner and evening play. A drastic change to that of our winter, something that we give thanks for and gladly welcome.

Every Spring and Fall I make of point of smudging our home. It is a Native ritual for clearing the energy in a space, an object or a person. Some believe that the smoke signifies the Holy Spirit bringing in purification and blessings as well as removing any negative energies or influences. And in a day and  age where things are tried on, thrifted and passed down there are thoughts that objects can hold energy too, so it is good idea to cleanse goods as needed. I also do a clearing when someone has been sick or after any situation in our home that doesn’t hold our intention or values.

To smudge a space, hold an intention or prayer clearly in your mind and heart. Light your sage or herb; blow out the flames so that your herbs smolder rather than burn; walk around your space being mindful of places behind doors and corners (places were energy can be stagnant). Smudging should be done in reverence and in love. Offer thanks and gratitude. Open windows and doors to let the smoke dissipate and to allow the cleanse to happen.

Here are some suggested herbs you can use and their significance although sage and sweetgrass are the most common. I like to always have a bit of palo santo on hand too and keep some in our car.

Sage: drives out bad spriits, influences or feelings
Cedar: good for prayer
Sweetgrass: one of the most sacred of plants, brings in good energy and influences
Palo Santo: a holy wood, energetically cleansing + healing; good for meditation or prayer
Sandalwood: clears stress form the nervous system, awakens intelligence + lifts depression
Lavender: symbol for magic, love and protection
Mugwort: good for clearing the mind, great for purification and sanctification



gratitude // no. 17

workhouseblogLittle hands helping make sure that our newly transferred plants are kept company. Entering the week with a full heart bursting with love for our family and yet a bit sadden that the mister has to return to work after having him home for almost 2 weeks. When I was younger I used to dream of living in a big architectural home with lots of room and space but I know now that we, as a family, wouldn’t utilize most of it. We are always together and if we’re not in the same room we are always asking where someone else is. Our place now is by no means large or a place where you could lose someone but the absence of one is noticed by all and we just enjoy each other’s company- maybe even too much for some. The baby has now caught on and repeats, “Dad!” until he returns to whatever room she is in or sometimes even if he’s in the room and a bit too far away for her liking. The mister is quiet fond of it.

We had a wonderful time on this little staycation being mindful of not packing our days too full and allowing for moments of deep exhalation. We traveled to Bainbridge to visit good friends of ours at their farmhouse. We played outside. We cooked meals that were time consuming but worth it. We spring cleaned. We stayed in our pjs all day. We watched movies, cuddled and just connected with each other like you do when there is no schedule or agenda. And I went out one night with friends and didn’t get home till 1:30(!), reliving the days before bedtime rituals and night waking.

A little list of thanks:
watching a tv show with 200 other people (so fun, really)
spending time with my BFF
watching Lucy run free in the wild
Anaïs is warming up to friends in shorter amounts of time
teaching Lucy to make lumpia
lazy lazy days
butterscotch floats!
realizing I am half a cuff away from finishing my first sweater which, embarrassingly, has been on my needles for over a year and a half



bean14-52 | workhouseblog bird14-52 | workhouseblog

|a portrait| once a week| every week| in 2014.|

LUCY / got to run wild and free and create some of her own adventures this week including: falling into a cold pond, stomping through wetlands, climbing fences-trees-and-rocks

ANAïS / learning the skill of taking things out and putting them back in, especially fond of putting lids back on boxes. She is saying “dad” about 100x a day even when they are in the same room. 

ME / trying to retrain my eye, working on leaving the wedding photographer behind in hopes that I know longer follow the safe formula. I’ve been carrying my film camera with me most days but am finding it hard to finish a roll every week. 

linking up with practising simplicity


cameras and children // direction

cameras + children |workhouseblog

For our fourth and final part of this series I will give a few pointers on how to engage with your little ones when you’re trying to photograph them. Trust me I’ve had a few hard audiences when it comes to kids, I even had to soothe a crying baby in the middle of a shoot once. I’ve seen and done it all. Keep in mind that the one thing that makes your photographs special is the the people in them. The stories you are capturing, the beauty in the everyday and the moments in time that you’re persevering will mean so much to you and your family in the years to come. Imagine when everyone is all grown up, you’re all gathered around albums reliving memories and retelling stories- no one will even give a second thought about composition or lighting.

A good friend of mine who is also a photographer once told me something that will forever stick with me and is something that I use at every single shoot. It was something so simple yet so profound that I couldn’t believe that I had not thought of putting it into words before. “Give them an action and then shoot the reaction.”, brilliant! While most people think that the money shot is a posed one, its really in the moments in between: the gestures, facial expressions and movements that show your child’s personality. This is where the magic happens. While this may look effortless in professional photos know that behind the scenes is a completely different scenario, it may be in the 4th shot that the everything comes together in harmony.

It’s always been my philosophy to try to make art out of the everyday and ordinary…it never occurred to me to leave home to make art– Sally Mann (one of my all time favorite photographers)


Most frustrations come when you’re rushed to take a photo and your little one has other plans and won’t stay still or do what you envision to be the perfect image. A simple direction like can you count the petals on that flower or can you see my nose behind my camera from where you’re at can do the trick, so can sharing a funny family moment or an inside joke or even asking them to play a character . When shooting action shots ask them to do a couple of steps before the action that you’re hoping to get, like can you run up that hill and then jump as high as you can or can you show your sister how you dance like a penguin then jump in that puddle. Giving them a series of actions helps take the pressure off the action itself and allows them to enjoy the experience. Getting them to participate in an activity is a great option too: gardening, painting, jumping rope, etc… For posed shots you can do the same, saying can you all stand next to each like you really REALLY like each other or having someone directly behind you getting real genuine laughs always does the trick and is the most authentic. There is nothing better than getting that real giant smile that you adore out of your kid.

While posing can be the most challenging part of taking a portrait, at least it was for me when I first started out, being fun and upbeat really does make a difference, crazy baby talk doesn’t. I always ask my subjects to take a deep breath, to relax their face or jaw and to think about something that I know they love and brings them happiness. Unfortunately, I’ve seen fart jokes work too. You know your child best so this should come easy.

For this part of the series, play with your child. Plan what it is you want to get out of this session and be prepared to shoot and shoot and shoot, those little humans can move! Give them a series of actions, get in place and click away, you’ll be surprise by the beauty and life in those images. Make sure when shooting action shots that your have your camera on the right setting so that your camera is able to focus and is up to speed. Don’t be afraid to zoom in and catch the details of a missing tooth laugh or zoom out to seize the feeling of what its like to run on the shores of the beach.

IMG_0256 cameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblog babecameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblogcameras + children |workhouseblog

Thanks for all the feedback in regards to this series, I have really appreciated all your comments and remarks. If there is anything else you have questions about please feel free to ask. And if any of you are interested in a one on one, I would be happy to discuss the details of that with you. Happy Shooting!


gratitude // no.16

gratitude | workhouseblogThe earth on our hands and the sun in our hearts filled us this weekend, so did friends and family. We tilled the ground in the very back of our yard in preparation for our raised beds that we are hoping to build this week. I am so excited to be able to grow food again especially with both the girls by my side, we are mapping things out and talking of seeds and starts. Lucy has requested we grow lavender too. We are definitely enjoying this little staycation with dad, some much needed and desired time with him. Things will be a little quiet here this week but you can surely follow a bit of our adventure on Instagram, if you’d like.

a few other to make the gratitude list:
-watching lucy dive off a diving board for the first time
-having everyone home when the baby took her first steps
-the look on lucy’s face and the hug she gave Anaïs when she took her first steps
-hanging out with my brother over donuts (one of our dad’s favorite traditions)
-spending time with good friends
-spring cleaning
-having our bff family over for dinner
-open heart talks
-cousins who scream and laugh together and run wild in the grass
-authentic conversations

/ photo cred: miss beans /