Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hello Again {A State of the Blog Address}

Hello again!



How are you? Did you have a good August?

Did you sneak in any last summer vacations, trips to the pool, or ice cream cones?
Farmers markets?
Baseball games? 
Fresh garden tomatoes? 

I hope so.

I am sitting upstairs in our office, in the most comfortable, yet most generically commercial office chair. My husband brought it home from some sale, and I immediately started wondering how we could harness the DIY powers of the internet and find a great way to make it over. That train of thought didn't last long... it got too tiring. I am content now to just enjoy the function, and not-too-terrible neutral fabric. It's comfy. And supportive. Maybe another day I'll set it in my sights.

When I pause in my typing, I can hear the faint cricket chirps outside. It's a dominant sound, but something I'm so accustomed to that I never notice it anymore. A little lady recently brought it back to my attention as she discovered it for the first time. She's caught on to one of the most calming sounds in existence, and it is now the main feature of her nightly routine. "Want to hear ci-ckuts? Sing song for you!" 2 year olds really know how to not take the world for granted.

Can I tell you something? I feel like T-shirt & Jeans has been a little off kilter lately. Maybe not, maybe it's just me, but in trying to figure out this blog world, I've ended up turning myself around so many times. I've given so much thought lately to changing this, or changing that, or appealing to this crowd, or finding a niche. What I would really like to do this fall is just take T-shirt & Jeans back to its roots. This is a lifestyle blog about casual, relaxed, and simplified (and artistic-because that's the fun stuff) living. Nothing about blogging for me lately has been casual or relaxed, and that's a little unauthentic, isn't it?

I have a reason behind this lifestyle, and I've never thought to share it. It's a story integral to a relaxed life though, so I will share it soon. Maybe you'll see why I'm not motivated to redo this office chair yet, haha.

It's nice to be back. Here's to a great fall!






Thursday, August 13, 2015

DIY Swimming Pool Photography {With an iPhone}


Sometimes, my favorite art is minimal, focusing on lots of texture and lines. I am fascinated by photography pieces that start to resemble a painting, which happens easily with water. I was totally inspired when I saw this swimming pool photography on The Jungalow blog, and knew I wanted to try a DIY version. 



The swimming pool subject is familiar and instantly recognizable (and brings up lots of good memories for our family). However, the texture really takes center stage, and the play of light in the image gives it a brush-stroke quality, taking the familiar scene to an artistic level. I think that's what I love about minimal photography- it makes us see ordinary things from a different perspective, and shows off basic art elements (line, form, composition, etc.) so prominently. 

I used my iPhone, and had lots of fun playing with different wave currents, various camera angles and distances, and color effects in editing. For instance, I lightened the first photo of this post to make it more fresh and translucent, and found a filter that tinted it a soft baby blue. Here are some other pool photos that turned out fun:

I deepened the blues for drama and richness. Love the bright light spots in the middle...

I stood farther above this water, and tried a green coloring.


This is one of my favorites as far as composition. I thought I'd show you how I edited it in my VSCO cam app:

Here's the original shot

I lightened the exposure

Intensified the contrast a bit

Sharpened it a LOT, which I normally don't do, but in the case it works

I played with the temperature to warm up the color 

Then erased that step and went with a VSCO filter instead.

And-- ta da! The final image: 

Doesn't it look like an abstract painting? I think it would be such a fresh addition to a gallery wall, above a beach house fireplace mantel, or any corner needing some texture.

I'll keep you posted when I find a home for it in our house :).

Hope you're having a good month!!



Sharing with > Stone Gable > Karen's up on the Hill > Three Kids and a Fish > Le Chateau Des Fleurs > Mod Vintage Life >  Coastal Charm > Tumbleweed Contessa > Elizabeth Joan Designs > Huckleberry Love > The Dedicated House > Sand & Sisal > Cozy Little House > Elizabeth & Co. > A Stroll Through Life > Savvy Southern Style > Ivy and Elephants > The Blissful Bee > 21 Rosemary Lane > Katherine's Corner > From my Front Porch to Yours > Anderson and Grant > Imparting Grace > Northern Nesting > French Country Cottage > The Charm of Home > Craftberry Bush > Nancherrow > My Romantic Home > Shabby Nest > Finding Beauty > Pieced Pastimes > House of Hipsters > Whipperberry > Thoughts from Alice > Interior Frugalista > Silver Pennies Sundays > It's Overflowing >  By Stephanie Lynn > Simple as That > Twelve O'Eight >




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Snapshots {Summer Adventures 2015}













Every morning, my toddler wakes up and asks, "Can we ride the bus 'gain?" 

She's referring to a small shuttle that runs from a playground to the nearby lake, and it was a complete thrill for her to ride on the backwards-facing bench, with the wind flowing in the open doorways. 

She is relentless with her question, and intently repeats it until I say, "Ok! A different day. We will." 

Over the weeks, the question has varied. 
"Can we see the doggies 'gain?"
"Can we go to the fireworks 'gain?"
"Can we go to the music 'gain? See the drums!"

My answer is the same- A different day; we will. I search for a blank box on the calendar, already full of scribbled events. Sloppy notes that are a small highlight our summer adventures. 

As I take stock of the calendar now, I feel like summer is closing in on us. The days are limited, and chances for another bus ride are narrowing down. I can truly say that we grabbed summer by the horns this year, and experienced all of it. The chlorine, the popsicles, the sand, the baseball gloves, the sunscreen. The outdoor music and patio dinners and open windows. Exploring and adventures- all in our city, mostly for free. Even on the days when I didn't feel like going through the endless routines of getting 3 children out the door, we still did. And I'm so glad. 

August will come and go in a blink, an I've decided to take a little blogging break. If I have something worthy of your time, I'll share it. Otherwise, this space will be quite for a bit. Just a bit. 

Here's to the end of summer, and soaking up every last minute!

Hope yours has been memorable!









Monday, July 27, 2015

Outfit of the Day: White Linen Skirt








Happy Monday!

Summer is just flying by and our days have been full to the brim. This white linen skirt has been a staple in my closet for years, and its flowing gauziness makes me reach for it morning after morning. I wear it with a variety of things, but especially like to keep the outfit simple and neutral. 

Have a good week!


Linen skirt // Ann Taylor (old)
Tee // Marshalls
Sandals // Target (old)
Hat // Target
Necklace // Thrifted







Saturday, July 18, 2015

When Gratitude is Not Enough




On a sticky July afternoon last summer, I started the weekend chore of mowing our lawn. In my rush to get it done during the window of nap time, I didn't grab headphones or entertainment. It was just me, the lawn mower, and my thoughts.

Some people, like my husband, are natural optimists. For me, optimism takes work. I can be positive, it just takes intentional effort. Reframing thought patterns. This particular afternoon, my mind was settling down into its comfortable spot of negativity. I knew I had a whole lawn ahead of me and lots of time to simmer in the worries of my life.

I decided to try gratitude as a method to pull my thoughts up. I am thankful for my comfortable home (with peeling paint and an abundance of weeds). I am grateful for my family (and I forgot to help this child with this, and disciplined this child too harshly, and didn't discipline this child enough...). I am thankful for my physical ability to mow this lawn (which is the only exercise I got this week... I really should not have eaten that chocolate, and those cookies, and...). I am thankful for this person (but worried about their current problems), and that person (who is also struggling with such and such).

Gratitude is an amazing cure, but for whatever reason, it could not boost my thoughts that afternoon.

A voice in my mind gently said, "Why don't you focus on being hopeful today instead?"

I gave it a try.

I am thankful for my home, and I have hope in our ability to work hard and get the repairs done. I am grateful for my family, and I have hope that my efforts and love will discount my imperfections as a parent and wife. I'm thankful for my physical abilities, and have hope that I can someday overcome bad habits. I am thankful for this person and that person, and have hope that they will solve their problems.

I have hope for change, hope for improvement, hope in the power of love and work, hope that everything will eventually all turn out for the best. At the core of this exercise, I found hope in Christ, the true source of it.

Hope was the one thing powerful enough to override my negativity that day. When the motor died and the smell of cut grass filled the air, my outlook was cheery and optimistic again.

When gratitude is not enough, hope always will be.


Sharing with > Stone Gable > Karen's up on the Hill > Three Kids and a Fish > Le Chateau Des Fleurs > Mod Vintage Life >  Coastal Charm > Tumbleweed Contessa > Elizabeth Joan Designs > Huckleberry Love > The Dedicated House > Sand & Sisal > Cozy Little House > Elizabeth & Co. > A Stroll Through Life > Savvy Southern Style > Ivy and Elephants > The Blissful Bee > 21 Rosemary Lane > Katherine's Corner > From my Front Porch to Yours > Anderson and Grant > Imparting Grace > Northern Nesting > French Country Cottage > The Charm of Home > Craftberry Bush > Nancherrow > My Romantic Home > Shabby Nest > Finding Beauty > Pieced Pastimes > House of Hipsters > Whipperberry > Thoughts from Alice > Interior Frugalista > Silver Pennies Sundays > It's Overflowing >  By Stephanie Lynn > Simple as That > Twelve O'Eight >

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad


This simple salad is one of my favorite ways to use the our ripe tomatoes, which are normally pouring out of our garden by July's end. Time got away from us this year and we didn't plant any tomatoes, so the store-bought variety will have to do. These little grape ones are still packed with flavor. The mix of artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and a favorite dressing gives this salad an Italian "al fresco" feel. Pair it with grilled chicken and fresh bread, and you've got the perfect patio summer dinner. 

Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad:

1 large head of red leaf lettuce (washed and torn)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 of a large red onion (sliced)
1 7.5 oz. jar of marinated artichokes (chopped)
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Italian dressing

Toss all ingredients and enjoy!

Serves 4-6