A Train Station, Clay and a Wedding: A Unique Combination

October has been a working month for John and me. Not the set the alarm clock at 5:30, go in to the office and then return home at dusk kind of work, but instead, the delivery crew for Emily Grace Design, Emily’s wedding rental business. Three Saturdays this month we’ve delivered glasses, dishes, hand painted signs and other decor items to make a bride’s day special.

Last weekend’s wedding provided a bonus since it was located in the Morean Arts Center for Clay in St. Petersburg.


We toured the historic train station turned art center…


where workshops and classes with professional teaching artists are available at the center for pottery lovers of all ages and skill levels.


We especially enjoyed the pieces produced by children and displayed on the fence behind the station.


Art and plants occupied much of the outdoor space.


But a more formal gallery inside showcased the work of artists.



We didn’t get our hands dirty in mud or throw a pot on a wheel, instead we had a hand in creating the space designated for events into the wedding reception area for Shelby and Angel.




As a bonus, we discovered the Pinellas Trail running behind the fence decorated with the children’s work so we’ll be back again soon, but this time for a bike ride.

Thanks to my husband, John, for sharing his photos!

Garage = New Hobby

I didn’t expect building a garage would serve as an inspiration to John, but now that he has room to spread out and work on projects, he’s developing a new hobby…making furniture.

He’s always possessed plenty of tools. Drills. Saws. Sanders. As well as things I can’t name. He’s used them to make picture frames, repairs, and lots of signs for weddings. However, now that he has space, when Emily mentioned that she’d like to have a farm table to use for her event and design business, John jumped at the chance to put his tools to work.

His first farm table proved successful. In fact, so successful that he decided to built a second one for us to use in the family room. We’ve already initiated it as a game table.


Next up, Sarah needs an island for her kitchen. He’s got plans and a list of materials. Sarah should have her island later this month.

Biking, camping, fishing, sailing, photography, framing, gardening, and now furniture making. With all of these hobbies, it’s a good thing he has a new garage.


May Photo Challenge

In February I wrote about the 365 Grateful Project with a goal of taking one picture every day of something for which you’re thankful. I’ve taken at least one picture on most days, but I haven’t always organized them in such a way that they can be shared or are easily accessible. I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed the “Grateful Daily May Photo Challenge” started by Shipra Panosian Photographya friend of Emily’s.

The May Photo Challenge provides a list of topics for daily photos to be posted on Instagram. The guidelines for the challenge are pretty simple:

Starting a Grateful Daily photo challenge with some friends and we’d love for you to join in. Guidelines: 1. Follow the daily prompt and use the hashtag #grateful_daily. The hashtag is to remind us to live out what the Bible teaches… ‘In everything give thanks’ and to be grateful for the beauty in our everyday lives. 2. Camera phone images only! Images don’t have to be taken that day but must be posted on prompt day.

On May 14th, Emily shared the following for the prompt “reflection”.

Day 14: #reflection – Today is a special day for me, and there couldn’t be a more perfect focus for today’s challenge. Today is my birthday, and it’s quite humbling to take a moment and reflect on the blessings, experiences, struggles, and celebrations of this past year. I am so grateful for this life I lead. I launched my Etsy shop, I got married, switched job titles, celebrated birthdays, dealt with illnesses of those we love, found peace and frustration in owning our home, made new friends, and let go of so many strongholds. So grateful for this chance to reflect and can’t wait to celebrate tonight and this weekend with those that love me so much. #grateful_daily #day14 #birthday #publixcakesareugly #impromptuphotoshoot

emilybirthdayThe 31 topics provide variety:

  1. gift
  2. color
  3. morning
  4. mood
  5. shadow
  6. soft
  7. sky
  8. hobby
  9. close-up
  10. key
  11. motherhood
  12. hands
  13. happy
  14. reflection
  15. b & w
  16. lines
  17. vegetable
  18. wide-angle
  19. hard light
  20. grateful
  21. writing
  22. blue
  23. calm
  24. sunlight
  25. hidden
  26. jewelry
  27. homemade
  28. abstract
  29. texture
  30. hair
  31. frame

I jumped in the May Photo Challenge a little late with my first post on the 15th. I’m sure the thought behind the prompt b & w was to post a black and white picture, but that wasn’t what was on my mind.

Day 15 #blackandwhite #grateful_daily A different take on black & white. What’s better than a black and white shake at a Canes game?


And on Day 17 I posted,

Vegetables as decor on our table at Yardbird. Another great place to eat in Miami. #day17 #vegetable #grateful_daily #yardbird


It’s not too late to join that May Photo Challenge. Look for us on Instagram @mcdeea, @emilygracedesign, and @shiprapanosianphotography. And even if you don’t join the challenge, check out the photos of those participating. There are some incredibly talented photographers posting pictures daily, worth following.

I hope the photo challenge will continue beyond May. What a great way to focus on being grateful daily!


Take Your Mom to Work

While take your daughter to work day has morphed to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work, this year we flipped this idea when Emily took me to work.

It’s not often that a Mom observes her daughter in action at work, but that’s exactly what I did when Emily and other wedding professionals set up a Kentucky Derby themed wedding inspiration photo shoot.


And since the Ocala’s the “Horse Capital of the World”, the shoot took place at Longwood Farm South only minutes from home providing the perfect opportunity to watch these young women do their magic.

I’m pleased to say that I did add a few touches to the day:

painting the horseshoes

and as a member of the Mom and Emily team baking a Red Velvet Cake and Derby Pie for the dessert table

Emily Grace Design (Emily’s wedding planning and design company) and Oh Deer Creative (her company specializing in handmade decor items) planned and designed the shoot, created the signs and other decor items, provided the china, and glass wear and the desserts.

Shea Hopely Flowers, Inc., Set Rentals and Design, and The Chef’s Garden Catering & Events worked as a team to make the design come alive; and it was all captured by Caroline & Evan Photography.

Make sure you check out their photographs of the day on Every Last Detail, which posted the inspiration shoot on May 1st. My pictures really don’t capture the full effect of the day. (I didn’t take even one picture of the bride and groom…oops!)

So glad we turned this Take Your Daughter to Work idea on its head this year.