DIY Fabric Garland

22 DIY Fabric Garland Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

As a styled event and party photographer, I have worked with some amazing vendors who create handmade custom pieces. Having photographed many of Lilypaul Designs fabric garlands in the past, I was inspired to try to create my own DIY version for my son’s Monster, Aliens, and Robots birthday party. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out since I’m on the border of being crafty and I don’t work with fabric much at all. I’m so excited that I accomplished this without the use of a sewing machine! I simply used a cutting mat and rotary cutter to easily slice through fabric. Scissors would do the same thing, but this goes much faster and gets smooth, straight lines.

2 Cutting Setup Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I picked up fabric at Wal-Mart and ended up buying one yard of each color at a total cost of about $7 altogether.

1 Fabric Bolts Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

First, lay the full yard of fabric out and folded it in half horizontally. Then cut that piece in the middle vertically.

4 Cutting Fabric Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 5 Cut Fabric in Half Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Next, stack the two halves on top of each other. There will now be a fold at the top of each piece and four layers of fabric at the bottom.

6 Stack Fabric Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Use the rotary cutter to slice through the fabric in one inch strips, using the cutting mat as a guide.

3 Cutting Setup Closeup Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Continue cutting fabric until all fabric is used. Keep fabric strips in folded position and organized by color. There will be odd ends, hold on to them, just in case.

8 Finished Strips Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 7 Odds Ends Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Using a 5/8 inch ribbed ribbon, knot one end to begin making the fabric garland.

9 Ribon Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Determine the color pattern for the garland and begin to use simple knots to attach fabric to ribbon.

10 Beginning Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

To create the knot, hold fabric strip in the left hand and insert index finger into folded section, creating a loop. Place ribbon under loop.

11 Create Loop Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Grab ends of strip with the right hand and insert into loop, ensuring ribbon is now inside the hole created.

12 Insert End in Loop Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Hold on to ribbon with the left hand and lightly pull on ends with the right hand to tighten knot.

13 Pull End Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Tighten knot further by pulling harder.

14 Tighten Knot Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Push knots together to create pattern.

15 Push Ends Together Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

While trying to follow the pattern, it’s possible to forget a color.

16 Missed Color Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

If that happens, simply slide the incorrect color over to create some additional space.

17 Slide Knot Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Determine the color missed, and grab that strip.

18 Add Strip Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Attach the missing strip as instructed above.

19 Insert Strip Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

When the fabric garland is finished, knot the ribbon at the opposite end to keep strips in place. This will create one fabric garland of about 7 feet in length, perfect for a 6 foot dessert table.

20 Finished Product Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

28 Joseph Dessert Table Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Advertisements

DIY Polystyrene Backdrop

28 Joseph Dessert Table Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

After I gave up on my idea for a galvanized metal backdrop, I decided to spray paint polystyrene (insert link) to use as a lightweight and affordable dessert table backdrop for my son’s Monsters, Aliens, and Robots themed 2nd birthday party. I wasn’t completely sure how this was going to work out, but at less than $5 for the entire 4 foot by 8 foot sheet, it seemed like a good idea to at least give it a try.

1 Polystyrene Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I had the perfect Monsters, Aliens, & Robots themed birthday party color palette picked out already – Brilliant Blue, Key Lime, and Dark Gray, but when I saw the silver color Rust-Oleum offered, I just had to have it. I swapped out the Dark Gray for the Metallic Aluminum.

2 Spray Paint Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 6 Spray Paint Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

While at Menards, my favorite hometown hardware emporium, I asked one of the guys working if they could cut my polystyrene so that it would fit in my car. I had ulterior motives here – I knew this 8 foot piece of styrofoam wasn’t going to possibly fit in my SUV, but I also anticipated that they’d be happy to professionally cut it for me on the spot. I had grand ideas of them measuring out and cutting my piece of polystyrene in perfectly portioned thirds. I had not anticipated that the guy out back would just slice right through it all willy nilly with a box cutter without any idea of the type of perfectionist he was dealing with. I chose my battle. I shut my mouth and happily accepted my jagged lines, forced all three pieces in my car (leaving an unforgettable trail of styrofoam pieces), and was headed home to “make it work” as Tim Gunn says.

3 Bad Cut Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I started off by using a razor blade to straighten out the rough edges.

5 Straighten Edges Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I then stacked the pieces to make sure they looked pretty similar, without taking away too much of the width. I ended up placing the thinnest piece in the middle in order to cover up the other jagged edges and use up as much surface area as possible, while maintaining some balance.

4 Stacked Pieces Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I decided to make the middle panel blue, since it was the darkest color, and make the outer panels silver and green.

7 Blue Spray Paint Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I laid out a dropcloth in the backyard to keep things clean and spray painted each panel individually, starting with the edges and then working my way in, allowing for some drying time between colors.

9 Spray Outside Edges Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

The green color gave the polystyrene a crazy spotted effect after applying it. I thought it was just perfect for alien skin though, so I wasn’t stressed.

10 Green Spray Paint Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

The silver ended up melting the polystyrene very quickly! I totally freaked out for a bit, waiting to see if it would just melt the foam completely. Luckily, it didn’t turn to complete liquid and I kind of liked the crater effect. I’m guessing it was the metallic element of the paint that caused this effect, but I’m no expert, just a mom with a can of spray paint.

8 Silver Spray Paint Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I left the completed panels in the garage for a couple days to fully dry. The night before party day, I started the dessert table setup. I was working in a pretty small space with a 6 foot banquet table and a custom backdrop that was definitely no longer 8 feet wide.

11 Table Setup Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

As a seasoned party photographer, I have a few things that make me go a little crazy. My number one pet peeve is a gorgeous, custom backdrop that is the same size or smaller than the table itself. Stylists and planners – you NEED to make it larger than your table! Here’s why – when photographing the setup, you WANT to continue seeing the gorgeous custom backdrop, not the ugly background!

12 Photo Space Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

After I got the panels in place, I figured that maybe, just maybe they’d be happy to stay in place, but I started preparing for battle, just in case. I had a few ideas in my bag of tricks and tape seemed like the most logical answer, with glue coming in at a close second. The thought of gluing the panels together caused me so much anxiety that I’m relieved I didn’t pursue that option. Then I had a new idea – push pins!

13 Pins Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

They were just perfect to keep the panels close together without any shifting.

14 Insert Pin Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

They were also super easy to use and so tiny that they were unrecognizable!

15 Insert Pin Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

After inserting several in the front of the backdrop, I wanted to play it safe and keep the backdrop secured to the China hutch it was leaning against. I’m not real sure how secure this actually was, like, don’t try this with a paying client, but it worked for me! I just used some scotch tape and put a piece on several sections of the top of the backdrop and the top of the hutch. Knowing full well I was dealing with non-sticky polystyrene, I decided to go a step beyond and insert a pin into the center of the tape too. I repeat – it worked for me.

16 Top Pin Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 17 Top Pin Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

This is definitely a very affordable DIY project! The polystyrene costs just under $5 and the spray paint costs just under $4 per can, so overall, you’re looking at an investment of $17. I don’t know how safe this project is – I haven’t been told to the contrary – but then again, I often prefer to ask for forgiveness rather than permission…

DIY “Galvanized Metal” Letter

21 DIY Galvanized Metal Letter Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I came up with the idea to use galvanized metal in my son’s Monsters, Aliens, & Robots birthday party when I was searching for inspiration for his dessert table setup. I found this party from Carol of Partylicious featured by Jenny Raulli of Bloom Designs when searching online. I loved the idea of using  a sheet of galvanized metal as the backdrop and quickly went to Menard’s to find some locally, without any luck. I still have no idea where I could get a sheet of that stuff!

1 Partylicious Robot Party

I decided on a different direction for the backdrop and then came up with the idea of having a big letter J for Joseph in the middle of the backdrop. I checked Hobby Lobby and Michael’s for anything that would work and came up with two options that were just way too small.

2 Hobby Lobby Big J Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 3 Hobby Lobby Little J Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Disappointed in the selection of sizes to choose from, I started thinking harder about the grooves of the metal and wondered if I could achieve the same look from a cardboard box cutout. I picked up a flat moving box from WalMart for less than $1.00 and started freehand sketching a big J on the surface.

4 J Cutout Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Using an X-Acto knife, I sliced through the cardboard to cut out my letter J. I’m always very cautious when using one of these blades, as my brother accidentally sliced his arm with one pretty badly when he was a teenager. Thankfully, it was nothing too serious!

5 Xacto Knife Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Next, I carefully peeled off the flat layer of cardboard, working slowly to try to remove as much as I could with each strip.

6 Peeling Cardboard Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

It got messy after a while, so I just had to start peeling everything I could get my fingers on.

7 Cardboard Layers Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

After I completely peeled off the flat layer of cardboard, I started meticulously picking off all the leftover pieces using a pair of tweezers. This part was quite tedious and time-consuming, but hey, if there’s one thing I have in abundance right now, it’s free time. This is a great project for someone who has a plethora of patience and a healthy dose of functional OCD – not a common combo!

8 Using Tweezers Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Finally I used the same Rust-Oleum Metallic Aluminum spray paint I used on the DIY Polystyrene Backdrop to cover the cutout in paint. The metallic silver gave the cutout the shiny, industrial look I wanted.

9 J to Paint Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I left the cutout in place for a couple hours, to ensure it was dry before touching it.

10 J Painted Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

To hang the cutout, I used pins to attach it to my polystyrene backdrop.

11 Pins for Hanging Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I really love how the final DIY “Galvanized Metal” Letter turned out. I was able to get it to the perfect size for the backdrop I was working with and it was light enough to hang from pins to the polystyrene.

29 Dessert Table Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Monsters, Aliens, and Robots, oh my!

29 Dessert Table Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

It’s amazing my son even had a birthday party this year, quite honestly. I had very valid reasons for not celebrating his 2nd birthday – we were traveling, I had no venue, and I am not a party planner are just a few of those excuses. I can’t help it though! I don’t know how not to celebrate and I certainly don’t know how to celebrate in a small way! Go big or go home!

28 Joseph Dessert Table Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I had the theme chosen before we even left California in July to begin this crazy cross-country road trip we’ve been on. I loved the idea of doing “Monsters, Aliens, and Robots, oh my!” for his 2nd birthday party, as a play on The Wizard of Oz’s “Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!” I consulted with Amy of Dimply Sweet and she was 100% on board with the theme and she helped me choose a color palette. We decided on blue, lime green, and gray. I loved it! She started working on the printable collection and I was blown away with the invitation she created for me. Amy doesn’t just create custom printables, she also prints everything, cuts it, and deliveries the pretties to your door.

3 Invitation Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Amy worked her tail off to create a custom package for my Monster, Aliens, and Robots birthday party. She came up with the idea of using gears as a design element and I thought it was such a great addition. Here are a few of the photos she sent me before mailing off my package.

7 Dimply Sweet Gears Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 10 Dimply Sweet Welcome Sign Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 9 Dimply Sweet Straws Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 8 Dimply Sweet Toppers Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I searched the Quad Cities for a fun venue for a boys’ birthday party and wasn’t too excited about what I found, so I decided to just host the party at my grandma’s house. Just to see what I was working with here, check out this before photo of the empty space. I’d just like to drive the point home that you can throw a great-looking party anywhere! That’s another reason that having a professional photographer photograph your party is so important. In the event that hiring a professional photographer is out of your budget or your client’s budget, it’s incredibly beneficial to know your camera well enough to take your own photos.

1 Before Setup Space Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I took on quite a few DIY projects for this birthday party. First of all, I created a DIY Polystyrene Backdrop for the dessert table. Check out this post for all of the details on that project.

2 DIY Polystyrene Backdrop Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Amy helped me out tremendously by creating a mock-up for my dessert table. I told her I needed as much hand-holding as possible to pull this off without her presence.

4 Dimply Sweet Background Mockup Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

The DIY “Galvanized Metal” Letter is another project I created to hang on the backdrop. Can you tell I created it from a piece of cardboard? Here’s the link to that post, if you’re interested in creating your own.

21 DIY Galvanized Metal Letter Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I’ve also created a great tutorial for making your own DIY Fabric Garland and you can find the details here. It was a fun project and I’m really looking forward to making these for the rest of my future parties.

22 DIY Fabric Garland Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Along the lines of DIY crafts, I picked up a few things at Target and Walmart after Halloween and was able to get a great deal on some after holiday clearance items that went perfectly with a monster birthday party. I found this little monster at Target. He came in a bag as a puff ball, a goggly eye, and a sheet of sticky felt pieces. I followed the instructions and voila!

19 Monster Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I also found this cute monster wreath at Target. He was pretty simple to put together, though he required a bit more time and resources.

20 Monster Wreath Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I used the purple monster to place on the dessert table to fill up space. I also found this great alien balloon at Walmart and it was the perfect size to also place on the dessert table.

18 Alien Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

For the robot, I used a mixture of large and small cans, goggly eyes, and silver pipe cleaners to create him. I then set him on top of a cake pop stand from Michael’s, shocked he fit perfectly on there.

17 DIY Robot Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Speaking of dessert table, I collaborated with some incredible vendors to fill it with sweet treats. I ordered custom lollipops from Lollipics. I chose blue raspberry and green apple and used a photo of Joseph dressed up in his Frankenstein Halloween costume. Can you believe that image is 100% edible?! Lollipics is pretty amazing! I created the lollipop stand using a brick of floral styrofoam and spray paint.

16 Lollipics Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Marie of Sweets Indeed also sent me some scary cute monster Candy Kabobs. Her sour lollis are so fun and tasty! Who doesn’t love sour belts turned into art?!

15 Candy Kabobs Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

A few months ago, I won a great giveaway hosted by Tonya of Soire-Event Design that included an order of her adorable custom cotton candy bags. She came up with design on the label too. Don’t you just love them?!

14 Cotton Candy Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

No dessert table is complete without cupcakes, of course! I ordered mini cupcakes in gourmet flavors from HyVee – my favorite hometown grocery store. They tasted just as good as they looked! The cupcake toppers were handcrafted by the amazing Blanca of Creativities Galore. I’m always in awe of her custom cupcake toppers, so I just knew I needed her to create some for this Monster, Alien, and Robot party.

11 Gear Topper Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 13 Alien Topper Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 12 Robot Topper Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

The amazing NatSweets also spent countless hours creating these amazing cookies based on Dimply Sweet’s original designs. Here are some photos Natasha shared before mailing my cookies out. Her work is just outstanding and I was so thrilled to have her finally providing cookies for one of my own parties, as I’ve photographed her custom cookies on numerous occasions in Southern California.

5 NatSweets Cookies Full Collection Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 6 NatSweets Cookies Full Collection Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I found some cute Halloween cupcake candy toppers at Target and displayed them on the dessert table too, so that guests could decorate or embellish their own cupcakes. The monster divider was found at Walmart.

23 Cupcake Bar Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party 24 Cupcake Bar Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

The dessert table doubled as a guest favor table. I found some fun monster goodie bags at Walmart.

25 Goodie Bag Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

Guests filled the bags with Lollipics, Candy Kabobs, and cotton candy to take home.

26 Goodie Bag Inside Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I even saved some sweets and put together a goodie bag to mail to the hubs, who was at sea with the US Navy. He had to miss out on our little guy’s 2nd birthday party, but I wanted to send him a sweet surprise, so that he could still feel like he was there. He told me he showed everything off to whoever would listen. My job is done! When even the hubs is bragging about my craftiness, well, I know I did a good job.

27 Goodie Bag Mail for Daddy Maria Healey Monsters Aliens Robots Birthday Party

I’d like to thank all of these vendors for their phenomenal products:

Dimply Sweet, custom printables

Creativities Galore, custom cupcake toppers

NatSweets, custom sugar cookies

Lollipics, Frankenstein lollipops

Sweets Indeed, monster Candy Kabobs

Soiree-Event Design, custom cotton candy bags

HyVee, gourmet cupcakes

This Man

Today isn’t a special day. It isn’t a birthday or anniversary or holiday. It isn’t the day my husband returns home from an 8 month deployment, and it thankfully isn’t the day he leaves for one. It’s not a day of significance and that’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to share my gratitude for him. He’s the strong, silent type, unless you give him a beer and turn on college football… But in all seriousness, I feel very blessed that our paths randomly crossed back in 2002. We were just retracing our steps of that fateful day with each other a while ago. It’s still quite amazing to me that we even met, after fully comparing notes.

We have both been through a lot in our lives, prior to the beginning of our life together. Those experiences made us who we were when we began our relationship. Since then we’ve been through quite a bit too – extremely celebratory highs and even some really seemingly bottomless lows. Sometimes I have to remind myself to look back on our entire life together to be grateful for who I have. I get caught up in the moment and don’t always reflect on who my husband is as a whole man. I look at the situation I’m in at the time and react on that alone, often without thinking rationally.

This is a man who has devoted and sacrificed a large percentage of his life to serving in the US Navy. He is still serving. He is great at his job and he loves what he does. He has passion for his service, his duties, and his people. You can see he has a hard time accepting “Thank you for your service,” from strangers. He downplays his importance & sacrifices.

This man has an incredible memory and he is always paying attention to what’s going on, though we may not see that. He can rattle off stats like I’ve only seen winning contestants do on quiz shows. I often have to remind myself that this is part of his personality and talent in this world, not something to be annoyed by.

This is a man who spent his last birthday actively purchasing a motorcycle for a family member across the country, only to not even be contacted by that person when they were visiting close to our home during the holidays. He puts family first. He certainly doesn’t hold grudges. I’m lucky to have that kind of person by my side everyday.

This man’s Command Master Chief insisted that he return home to be with me when I had a major emergency arise while he was on deployment. Men whose wives are in labor aren’t even allowed that privilege. He deserves the respect he has been given.

This same man even went on with marrying me, after I’m sure many encouraged him not to when I had gone through such an unsettling trauma. He is a man of trust and love, and some of the most horrific experiences can bring people closer than ever. I’m thankful he is the sort of man that lives his life in such a manner.

This is a man who exudes passion for everything he loves. If you’re from Iowa, he’d love to hear all about it and he’d love to have you over so that he can grill up some steaks. He’ll insist you play a round of Bags with him. He’s very proud of the handcrafted sets he makes himself. He spends hours in the garage, alone with his thoughts and designs and tools, to create these things. I’ve just finally had my eyes opened to the fact that he has true talent in turning a pile of wood into a piece of custom recreational art.

Without this man, this specific man, I would not have my son. We would not have the son that we have together. Sure, he is just a little boy right now, but it’s our duty and honor to guide him into becoming the loving, creative, respectful, intelligent & hard-working man he will become in no time at all. He will know these stories of his parents. He will know both the successes and failures, the gigantic triumphs and the long periods of no communication. He will have pride in the fact that his father was this man and he will strive to live a life just like he did for himself and for his family.

I just hope this serves as a reminder that we need to celebrate and shout the praises of our significant other on days that aren’t circled on the calendar. They certainly deserve it!

The importance of tagging

PREFACE: I’m writing this with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the terms I use and how I use them, so I apologize to anyone who hasn’t a clue what I’m talking about.

I don’t post as often as I would like to on any of my social media platforms, mostly because I understand the importance of tagging and it can get quite time-consuming. All too often though, I see my photos floating around, with no mention of my name or business. I work with a variety of vendors and stylists across the country, so if I have to find out my photos are being featured on a blog by seeing that one of those vendors or stylists is sharing it, it can be frustrating. I completely understand that not every vendor or contributor can be tagged in every post, but at the very minimum, the photographer (the owner of the photo) and the stylist should be tagged in a photo or post. In my experience, I’ve seen a lot more of the tagging of the stylist alone.

This is simple customer service, quite honestly. The public needs a quick, easily digestible amount of information with simple instructions on how to proceed. Tag me. Tag my business. It’s that easy.

Here’s what happens when my business is not tagged in a post. The mentioned and tagged stylist receives 20-50 new Facebook fans and 15-30 new Instagram followers. They also get contacted to feature the work in other places. Often, it also generates new business leads. Some of the vendors I work with have small but true fan followings and others have massive crowds following and liking their work. I would say that I fit in the small but true fan category when it comes to my Facebook page and Instagram feed. In other words, I have room for growth, I’m happy to have new fans find me and keep up to date with the things I’m doing. When my work is properly tagged, I have gained new clients, paid jobs, and working relationships with industry pros. They love what they see and they click on my link to see more. They send me a message because they are interested in working with me. They send me a message to get my opinion on something. They reach out and get in contact with me. Yes, it’s that important.

When my photo is being used as the foot in the door to get someone to click on a blog post, I truly believe I should be properly credited for drawing that attention. My work has been featured in a variety of blogs and I certainly don’t want to burn bridges with anyone. I’m simply asking that everyone be more diligent about including tags of the businesses that have helped you get where you are. Spread the word. Cross-promote. It’s the responsible thing to do. If I fail to draw in new fans or business, I won’t have much to share in the future.

Now I’m going to make it incredibly simple for you to find and follow my Facebook page and Instagram feed, if you so desire.

http://www.facebook.com/mariahealeyphotography

http://instagram.com/mariahealeywp  @mariahealeywp

Baby’s 1st Haircut

These past couple months have been full of firsts for our baby boy! I had originally wanted to keep his hair long and let him look like a laid-back California baby, but it was just getting too long and he was always getting called a girl…so…I decided he needed a proper “boy’s” haircut. I really thought it would be as simple as going to the barber that the hubs goes to and just getting a trim. Then I started thinking about it and realized this was going to be a bigger deal and could potentially be a really bad situation. I decided to look in to finding a children’s specific hair cuttery and found Pigtails & Crewcuts just down the road from our house. The entire experience was just wonderful! My only issue is that I can’t believe how much it costs to get a baby’s hair cut! But the more I think about it, it makes sense. It’s not like they just sit there and patiently tell you exactly what they want. No, they squirm and look around and move their head when there’s a pair of scissors right next to their ears…some of them even cry. My little guy didn’t but the little boy next to us was having a full-blown tantrum and Joseph just looked at him like he was crazy. Hopefully he’s not “that baby” next time…

Before

Before

After

After

 

 

IMG_9345

IMG_9352

IMG_9343

Baby’s 1st Birthday!

baby boy, birthday boy, world cake, baby's 1st birthday, world traveler, maria healey photography

Joseph’s 1st Birthday!

baby boy, birthday boy, world cake, baby's 1st birthday, cake smash, maria healey photography

Incredible smash cake made by Roni’s Sugar Creations in Chula Vista, CA decorated to look like the world!

baby boy, birthday boy, world cake, baby's 1st birthday, cake smash, maria healey photography

Adorable mini cake banner created by D&P Celebrations!

baby boy, birthday boy, world cake, baby's 1st birthday, cake smash, maria healey photography

Joseph’s cake smash session

I admit it. I’m kind of a celebrator. I tend to go overboard, especially when I’ve got so many wonderfully talented creative professionals in my life that are more than willing to help a girl out! I won’t go in to too much detail about Joseph’s actual birthday party yet, as it will be unveiled in the next edition of Polka Dot Balloon Magazine! Eek! I’m so excited! Yet another feature! I will go in to detail about his cake smash session though!

I had this vision all along that his cake would be shaped like a globe or the world but I had no idea that could actually be implemented! Enter the amazing Roni of Roni Sugar Creations! Not only did she create exactly what I asked her to, she did it even better than I could have imagined! This cake was seriously incredible! I almost didn’t even want Joseph to dig in to it because it looked like such a creative piece of edible art! If you look at the close up photos, she covered this cake in small dots of frosting to create this masterpiece! She’s seriously amazing and you need to get in touch with her if you live in Southern California and are in need of a special sweet treat!

The mini cake banner was created by Pam Smerker of D&P Celebrations and it was a replica of the larger banner displayed on the dessert table for his birthday party. She designed the invite that set the tone for the entire party, but that’s all I can say. Gotta keep some secrets… Pam works with clients all over the country and creates one-of-a-kind party goods that will rock your socks!

The birthday hat and banner in the background were created by Amy of Dimply Sweet. She styled the entire birthday party for me which I am forever thankful for! I could have NEVER gotten it to look this cute on my own! Get in touch with her for your own party styling needs! You will also be forever thankful you didn’t do it on your own!

Joseph’s One Year Portraits

We live in a great, hilly part of Southern California with a view all the way to the ocean. I knew this spot would be just perfect for some later afternoon/early evening portraits of the little guy for his first birthday. We lucked out and he made things run smooth for much longer than I had expected. We got through quite a bit of outfit changes too, so I had new photos to submit to his agency. I can completely understand if he won’t be booking much work for the next few months though! He’s developed separation anxiety typical of 12-18 month olds and I can’t even go to the bathroom with the door shut without hearing him cry and beat on it. Oh boy… Good thing he’s super cute!

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

 

Where did this year go?

“Where did this past year go?” I asked myself as I was preparing for my son’s 1st birthday party. “How could it have already been a year? I haven’t done anything,” I think as I look at what I’ve accomplished professionally in the past 12 months. However, as I look at photos of my growing baby, I can clearly see where the year went – I see the countless late night nursings when I see how tall he’s gotten, I see the visit to Pigtails and Crewcuts when I see how his hair has changed, I see the innumerable trips to Target when I see what size diaper he’s now wearing. Most significantly, I see his, no, OUR resilience as I recognize the changing backgrounds in each of these photos. I have always been on the go and he is now a product of that lifestyle and he just rolls with it! I have changed just as much as my own son in this past year. We’ve both learned how to become who we are and love it. He’s cried. I’ve cried. Neither of us is perfect, but we give to each other a complete happiness that comes from living for someone else.

Image