When it’s pouring outside and your first look location is now riddled with mud and who knows what kind of crawly things you get creative. This wall could not have been more perfect. This feel so “old west” to me… chalkboard paint is magic. Perfectly rockstar for these two creatives. Can’t wait to share the lovely wedding days that I’ve captured lately… back to to work (and Nico Playtime) for me! Enjoy your day.
I searched and searched and searched to find the perfect space for my studio and office in Dallas. After 6 months I headed back to one of my favorite Uptown neighborhoods, State Thomas. Known for it’s historical charm and Crooked Tree Coffee House, it’s charming streets always seemed to lure me back for one more look. One beautiful August day I took a left onto Hibernia street and saw a for lease sign. I knew it was meant to be. Situated on the corner of Hibernia and Boll, it was 700 square feet of perfection. I realized as I was blogstomping my the photographs to share that I didn’t take full room shots! (well done shauna!) The space breaks up into three rooms just like a one bedroom apartment. The first is the Client Presentation & Classroom, then the Kitchen & Workroom, and finally my office space- Creative Central. There was even a magical garden in the back (that I never photographed, go figure, right… I’m so fired.) I hope you enjoy the little tour!
UPDATE: WE LOVED OUR TIME ON HIBERNIA! There is nothing sweeter that walking through the door of a perfectly airy space and enjoying the bustle of other creatives working on projects, soaking up classes, testing recipes, and dreaming up ideas… and then heading down to Crooked Tree for a perfect cup of coffee or tea- it was such a sweet season. As Nico got older and could get into EVERYTHING I realized it was more important to me to create a space that is creative AT HOME with and for him than to have a space that was MINE… (wow how parenting changes you!) So, we closed the Hibernia doors… but that beautiful season will remain in my heart- It was such a neat time. Now we are headed to Fort Worth to a really cool in home space (Glory Hallelujah!) I will share as soon as it’s all shiny and pretty!
Our life is a little crazy these days as i’ve eluded here and there… I am finding it increasingly difficult to find REAL TIME set aside daily to dream, create, or get inspired. At the end of each day I find myself looking forward to scrolling through the snippits of days uploaded to instagram by all of the creative souls I follow. It normally takes about 5 minutes and often I’m led to other feeds of really talented people i’ve never even heard of… I don’t have to re-pin, visit personal blogs and follow my compulsion to read until my eyes fall out, or like a facebook page and get lost in another stranger’s life… i can follow, heart, and comment when appropriate and go to bed with beautiful photographs dancing in my head. It’s pretty fantastic. If you want to join me, start with these inspiring few… and come follow me, see what life is really like around the Maness house. Happy Instagraming!!
I’ve been searching for words and even as I type, the search continues. I am sitting quietly. I’ve just returned from my hometown, and this is the first time alone I’ve stolen in many many days. I drove home to put on a grey dress with black details and attended the funeral of one of the most influential women in my life, Sheri Austin.
I’ve known Sheri my entire life. She was a dear friend to my Mama, a busy mother of 4 incredible boys (the youngest of which (Barry) has been one of my most treasured friends for as long as a I can remember), a teacher who lit her classroom with her light and peace, and loved to have fun. She was Mrs. Ely, then Mrs. Austin wife to Don- (another one of my favorite people on the planet), and then finally… when I was a little older she insisted I call her Sheri. For as long as I can remember she was gentle but firm, trusting, peaceful, and always ready with whatever grace anyone needed- on any given day and for any given reason. As I sat on the deck after the phone call from my Mama letting me know that Sheri passed away, I felt a great void. I realized in that moment that aside from my mother and grandmother, Sheri was the single most influential woman in my life. Much of who I am as a mother to my boys is because of the mother that she was to her boys… and I PRAY that I will love my boy’s wives like she did and grow to be the kind of Mother in law she was… she was such an impactful example to me. Much of who I am as a wife is because of the wisdom she shared with me from her life lived. Much of who I am as a friend is because of the example I observed from the incredible friend she was to countless others. The reason I care so deeply about each person I meet is because I watched Sheri treat every person she met as if they were the only person in the world when she was speaking to them. She had a mysterious way of gently getting your attention and keeping it… because you knew whatever words would be spoken were spoken in love and with intent and purpose. I pray that like Sheri, my quest to grow, learn, and improve never waivers… and that I will always remember to look for lessons in everything and teach them with the life I live as well as with the words I choose. I’ve never been in her presence and left empty handed. There were always lessons to be learned from Sheri.
Sheri loved me like a mama, really, like my own mama. I’m pretty sure in certain seasons of my life Sheri and my Mama communicated telepathically during our visits. She could say things to me that only a mother can say… and I received them from her. I remember one evening the sun was going down as we drove to Huntsville to move some of Barry’s things into his first apartment; she told me things she saw in me as a second grader that were coming to life now, she said they were there all along, gifts she recognized then, gifts I didn’t know until that moment I had. She told me lots of other things as we drove that I’ve hidden in my heart; things about being a woman, teaching with your life, and a few things I should know about being a mother of boys. I can still feels the bumps in the road of Highway 75 as remember that drive.
Through the years we shared countless “quick” visits that turned into hours… there was laughter, tears, triumphs, heart aches, victories, fears, and lessons learned poured out during stolen hours as I passed through Madisonville on my way to wherever I was headed. We swapped family updates & current creative hobby ideas… we were never at a loss for words. I marveled at her ability to breathe life into anything that might grow… and to design it in a way that made even the most simple herb garden magical. She was never convinced my thumb was black… even thought I couldn’t keep an ivy alive- I’m telling you, she was a believer in anybody!
I brought Nico to visit Sheri wearing the gift she bought our first baby… there was an embroidered cross on his chest as if it her carried her blessing. Every time i folded that onsie I thanked God for Sheri’s blessing… every one of my children will wear that sweet gift. She was recovering from losing her leg, brave, tired, but not without hope. I listened to her share her loss, her love and appreciation for Don, each of her boys, every laugh of every grandbaby, and her readiness to get back to cooking and enjoying her house filled with little Ely’s. I am so glad, so thankful for that visit. That was my last visit with Sheri.
The service was beautiful. The church overflowed with hearts impacted by Sheri’s life. Each person that spoke painted a picture of a different aspect of Sheri’s heart and life. She was an incredibly beloved wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, friend, and teacher. As Barry approached the pulpit I took a deep breath. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him to speak… the words her shared were perfect. He ended by saying that everyone asks what they can “do for the family” He reminded us all not to take the day for granted, to take the time to make a phone call, to say I love you, and to be there for the people we love… and in doing that we would be honoring his Mother’s legacy.
He couldn’t have been more right. In living out the lessons learned from being Sheri’s friends we pass on her legacy. What an incredible legacy that is. I feel like we’ve all been given a torch to carry and to pass along to light the paths we cross.
I searched and searched for a live video of Christy Nockels singing this song… but had to settle for this video, thankful someone made it, but wish it didn’t end so abruptly- this is my favorite version of In the Garden,” a great hymn that was sung at the service. Enjoy- Sweet Sheri… I know you are running through the gardens with Jesus… discovering flowers and colors you could have never imagined, I know “you are free!!! I promise to live out the love you shared with me, I can’t wait for our next visit! Thank you for the life you lived!