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>> Wildermuth Creative Portraits <<

  • Behold the turtle.
    He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
  • My Girls Christmas Portrait


    Wildermuth girls Christmas portrait 2010
    I squeezed in just enough time (and space) in my studio to snap a shot of the girls for their annual portrait! This is the version I used to create our annual ornaments this year, though I did them a little differently – printing them on metallic paper backed with matboard instead of my usual dough ornament. I designed this years ornament completely in Photoshop. (Talk about timesaver!)

    Hand made Christmas Ornament 2010
    Here’s how they turned out. Nice! I love the metallic paper and how the lights reflect off of it on the tree. Thanks to Miller’s Lab for the awesome prints!!

    I also wanted to mention Catie’s jacket – we were going with a layered look for her so she could wear the scarf that her friend brought back from a missions trip in Tanzania last summer, and Lee Jeans was awesome enough to provide us with their Women’s Vintage Light Denim Jacket for her to wear. It’s an awesome jacket and she just loves it! I think it really gives their portrait the rugged/vintage look that I was going for this year and I’m just tickled to be able to share their products with you. (Side note, I also picked up 2 pair of their slender secret flap pocket jeans in charcoal and Spy and LOVE LOVE LOVE. You’ve gotta try these jeans!)

    Now I think I’ve got you completely caught up on my Christmas happenings, and it’s just about time to ring in the New Year! 2011?! Already?!

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, too!!

    Merry Christmas!


    Wildermuth Christmas Card 2010

    This Christmas season has left me with little time to put my annual greetings in the mail. I need to remember next year not to complain when the Christmas displays go up in the stores in October – because I am finding out as years go by that starting Christmas in October is not such a bad idea! Though I’m out of time for printing and addressing cards this year, I went ahead and designed our card this year and thought I’d share it with you here. If you would like a 5×7 of this to print out and display, please just drop me an e-mail and I would be delighted to send you the file for printing.

    I’ve also created a couple of desktop wallpapers you can download:

    The cross this year is an ornament made by our youngest, Jayden. We attended church with friends of ours while we were out of town and in His perfect timing, they made ornaments. Since we collect crosses and hadn’t found one yet this year, it was meant to be. The angel is a noodle ornament made by my mom and sister. She fit right into the verse. :)

    Merry Christmas, friends. I hope you all have a blessed day celebrating Christ’s birth. Much love from my family to yours!!! xox

    Just Like Life


    Stream at sunset photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    I wake up each morning and I talk to God. It’s true. In my head, God and I have a little conversation every day, and it typically goes something like this:

    Me: [yawn, stretch] Hey, God. Whew. Made it. Thank you for another day. So, what’chya got in store for me today?

    God: [startles me with the jarring buzz of the alarm clock]

    Me: okay, okay. I’m already up. Did you have to give me a heart attack right off the bat?

    God: [cue lower back pain.]

    Me: Got it. Stretching. Thanks for reminding me. So [touching toes] I was wondering, God, just what is it, exactly, you want me to do today? You know how unproductive I am when I’m going in a million directions and am unsure of what you want me to accomplish for your Glory. What can I do to make it happen today?

    I move around and do morning things, mind spinning – what time is it? Where’s my coffee mug? Oh yeah, I have to get the vitamins out for the girls and take my prescriptions. Hm. Mindless activities fill the next several minutes as I wonder what He might have planned for me today. I wake up my computer and check mail.

    Me: No? Okay, well, I didn’t hear back about that project (a drawing) or that project (code) OR that project (design) so… really? Today’s the day, God? I have been hoping for a day that I could get things done on my own site, to finally get my own portfolio done and… what? What did you say?

    God: [delivers e-mail: client regarding project #1]

    Me: Oh. Okay. Well, I’ll work on that, then.

    God: [delivers e-mail: client regarding project #3]

    Me: Well, shoot. Now what? Do you want me to just put this other stuff off that’s been tugging at me for months?

    God: [reminder: that coupon for the free turkey expires tomorrow.]

    Me: Okay, okay, I’ll take a shower, and go get the free turkey, then I think I really need to just get that project done I’ve been procrastinating.

    God: [don’t forget about your kids. Insert parental issue here.]

    So, I woke up prepared to do whatever God had in store for me today, and He had life in store. And here it is, taking me one direction, then swiftly in another – over bumps, around bends, flowing down this twisty windy lifelike stream.

    I wonder if God just uses Mondays to get us ready for the rest of the week?

    BFF Senior Postcard Design


    Quad City senior photography graduation postcard design by Leanne Wildermuth

    Hey there! I’ve been busy as ever over here. Between Senior portrait sessions, retouching, prints, Grad party postcard design (isn’t it cool?!) and a graphite portrait here and there – every day has been jam packed with fun stuff! And also, random stuff – like doctor and dental appointments, carpet cleaners, soccer practices, window installations – and workouts!

    Did you know that working out was a part time gig? It takes almost my entire morning to get fit, showered and ready to work for the day. It’s a commitment in a big way – and no wonder why so many people can’t and don’t fit it into their schedules. I decided in January to make my health and fitness a priority again – and even dragged my tired old treadmill out of the house last month in place of a new, fancy treadmill that has a fantastic shock absorption deck. (It’s a NordicTrack) I am glad I’ve made the commitment, I feel so much better and I am not fatigued when I do a “one day” chore like painting a room including the ceiling – or doing a full day of yardwork!

    In other news – I don’t think I ever updated here about my e-mail glitch. I was getting a ton of spam so went in and created a filter. For spam. Except it wasn’t for spam, it was for everything BUT spam! I’m such a dummy. It took me a week or so to figure that out. (But boy, did I get a lot done that week. lol) So if you e-mailed me and I never replied, please don’t think me rude. Think it fell off the face of my server, because I selected “does not” instead of “does”.

    Once my schedule opens up a little bit – I’ll be sharing and showing a few more projects in the works but for now, I need to get started on today’s to-do’s.

    I hope you are all doing well and enjoying this AMAZING weather – Spring has sprung and I’ve got the fever! I’d love for you to become a Fan on Facebook – if you haven’t already – and/or send me a friend request to stay up to date with the minute by minute details of my crazy days!

    I’m 39!


    birthday muffin cake blog party invite photo by leanne wildermuth

    I have been celebrating my birthday each year on my blog, with my long time readers and friends, for many years. I Looked back at my first birthday here on my blog (back in 2005!), and thought I’d share an excerpt from that post:

    I’m one year older.
    One year further away from my birth.
    One year closer to my death.
    One year less afraid of that occurrence.
    One year less worried about how people feel about me.
    One year more worried about how I feel about myself.
    One year closer to attaining my goals.
    One year stronger in character and set in my ways.
    One more year to look back with very few regrets.

    One year closer to driving like a complete lunatic and making everyone else on the road angry.

    Funny – all of those things apply this year, too! I feel more and more blessed with each passing year, and though I woke up in a bit of a panic this morning that I’m reaching “old”, I am so grateful for that. I am so glad that I’ve made it another year on this planet, that I’ve had a little bit more time to somehow make a difference to at least a handful of people. I’m grateful for the friends who have stayed with me, I am grateful for the friends I’ve yet to make.

    Days like today are special, they are days to wake up and realize that you MATTER. You matter. What you do is significant, even if only to one person. And that’s a big deal.

    Have a birthday muffin, on me!! (it’s a couple of years old, but I’ve brushed off the mold. Promise.)

    Handmade Dough Ornament : 2009


    Each year since 2001, when our youngest was born, I’ve handmade these beautiful photo dough ornaments from scratch. Last year, I shared my entire process for those who are interested in the dough recipe and the supplies and materials I use to create these sweet homemade memories. You can find those instructions here.

    This years ornament was quite fun. First – I chose a whimsical shower curtain from WalMart to use as our photo backdrop and chose complimentary acrylic paints to decorate the ornaments. Next up – the photo shoot! I selected clothing for the girls to compliment the backdrop, and we had a fun little photo shoot in my studio! From there, I mixed up the dough and baked the ornaments. I printed out photos and sized them on my monitor to fit into my little heart shaped window, and then got to work on decorating the dough ornaments!

    I followed the whimsical pattern on the backdrop and painted the whole heart a cool shade of pewter. I painted the edges and inside of the heart opening with silver glitter – that concealed the rough edges of the dough ornaments. Then I painted a random pattern of circles and bubbles in a pretty teal, and once that was dry I outlined a few of them with a lime metallic sharpie. I used a glue gun and attached a few sparkly gems, dated with a navy sharpie, and then sealed them with mod podge. I traced each ornament onto sticky back felt, punched holes in the felt for the wire – lined up the photo on the back, applied the felt to hold the photo and give the back of the ornament a soft, finished look – and wired them up with floral wire!

    It is definitely a day long task, just decorating and assembling – but in the end, it is completely worth it. Just in the past 8 years, we have all come to cherish these ornaments and I know that in the years to come, they will take on an even deeper meaning for us as the girls grow older and leave the nest. Some day, they’ll be fighting over who gets them! Perhaps we should draw up a joint custody agreement in preparation for that event. hehe!

    I have to share our previous years, so you can see the progression. It’s fun to look around the tree for each year and not only see how the girls have grown – but see how much more elaborate the ornaments get from year to year.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, I wish each of you a blessed day!!

    dough ornaments how to recipe by Leanne Wildermuth

    Noodle Angels


    noodle angel ornaments handmade photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    I have three of the sweetest handmade ornaments on my tree – little noodle angels that were hand made by my mom and sisters a few years ago. This one was catching the light just right this morning so I chose her to share with you today.

    You can sort of see how she was made – so tiny!! A star glitter halo around a wooden ball for her head, a bowtie noodle for wings, elbow macaroni for arms and a tiny little bit of pine to look like she carries a tree. All of this, painted and glittered – just adorable, and genius. I had to get the glue gun out this year to make a few repairs, but they are all just as precious as the day they gave them to us in handmade paper boxes.

    Yes, we are an artsy craftsy bunch of people!

    An Irish Egg


    irish blessing egg ornament photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    Another new ornament to our tree is a gift, from my best friend of 25 years.

    Each year, my dear friend sends a care package with lovingly selected gifts for everyone in my family. I know. I lucked out in a BIG way. She’s totally amazing like that!

    Last year, I opened up my very small package to reveal this incredible hand painted egg. One side, painted in 24 karat gold, is the Irish Claddagh symbol. The heart held in the hands show love, the hands represent friendship and togetherness, and the crown on the heart symbolizes loyalty. Sweet little shamrocks adorn the spacing between sides, and on the other side is a shortened version of the infamous Gaelic blessing –

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face;
    the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
    may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    You may not know, but my grandmother, Julie, came to the US when she was just a teenager, on a boat from Ireland – to care for her sister in Chicago. She met my grandfather in McHenry (she was a nurse) and they bought a farm in Hebron, Illinois where they raised 9 kids! My fondest memories of my grandma were when she would talk to me in Gaelic, and also – waking up to the smell of fresh bread baking when we stayed with them at their home in Florida. I still have relatives in County Cork, Ireland, and it is my dream to visit Ireland one day, if not move there!

    I am not the kind of Irish gal that has a lot of green shamrocks around the house, but I do cherish the heritage my grandmother left us and hope one day to be able to explore the area and home she was raised in. That’s what makes this ornament so very, very special to me.

    A New Nest In My Tree


    owl ornament natural photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    This year, I joined in on an ornament exchange hosted by my good friend Lisa at Lisa’s Chaos. Did I mention that Lisa, her husband Dennis and my family met up a few months ago for dinner at a fabulous little Italian restaurant here in the Quad Cities? No? Well we did, and it was amazing, and it was so cool to meet up with someone that I’d only ever talked to online. Her husband is sweet and funny and together, they are quite a team. So it made sense to me then that her ornament exchange would attract like-minded people who not only enjoy nature, but who are sweet and kind and good-hearted. I love it when I’m right! Lisa paired me with Tracey, from These Nine Acres. A photographer, wife, mom, and owner of a HUGE piece of land (in my eyes) out in Maryland, she is one talented lady and also, has a shop on Etsy you should check out. Not only did she send this gorgeous owl to adorn my tree, she threw in a set of Thoughtful Question cards. Dinner conversation cards – genius! Especially for me, who lacks skills in random topical conversations that don’t involve … um … art, design or my kids! So, the ornament I must share with you today is my brand new addition, this lovely owl from a new friend, met through a just-met friend. I love the internet. Thank you, Tracey!

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