Peridot Rose

My name is Sara. I'm a wife, mother, and photographer and feel fortunate in all areas of my life. See our professional site and blog here: Dotson Studios

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Location: Georgia, United States

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Too long

It's just been too long since I was on here.

Things here are good. Ella has been a handful lately with me weaning her and her teething. Her first tooth came in about 3 days ago and we think she has another one close behind. It made me feel a little better when I saw the first one come in because she had become so needy, clingy and constantly biting me. I thought it was from the weaning since we just closed the door on nursing a week and half ago, but now I think it was due to teething, at least in part. She was a little better yesterday, but worse today so I hope this other tooth is close to the surface.

She's starting to get around even though she's not crawling. She manages to scoot on her bottom across the floor. It's quite impressive. She tries every chance she has to pull her self onto our lap or to standing even though she doesn't quite have the strength to do it yet. She's sure trying! She's been babbling a lot and often sounds like she's saying mama. :) I might be biased but I think it's sweet. :)

Things on the business front have been busy. We've had lots of potential clients over lately as well as online inquiries so that's good. Things are picking up a little bit and that's been encouraging to us. My biggest struggle right now is finding sitters. We have a lot of weddings and engagement shoots coming up and for those couples that don't want an engagement shoot we are meeting them for dinner so that we all get to know each other a little better before the wedding. Needless to say with all that's going on it's been hard to get sitters. So far so good but I'm having to go to some pretty desperate measures at times.

We get glimpses of nice weather here and there. Last weekend we were able to mow the yard and I was able to clean out some of the flower beds. The rest really need some love though so I'll try to do that next weekend. We did this Saturday when it was in the 70's and then Monday we got some snow!?!!! It's been so crazy around here!

I've fallen in love with the Julia and Julie movie!! I read the book a couple of years ago and loved it so I was excited when I saw it was made into a movie. We got in on Netflix and I loved it so much we bought it on itunes. I've watched it like 10 times already. I'm not sure if it's all of the food, or that I love Paris, or what, but I just love that movie!!

So there's an update. Very boring I know. I'll post again soon when I have a more entertaining story to tell. :) Hope everyone is doing well.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Sorry it's been a while since I updated this. We enjoyed every bit of our cake—I think it was the first cake that I've made for just us that we finished. I think I enjoyed the red velvet part more and both me and Grant found ourselves eating the heart part of the cake and throwing away the rest.  :) So next time I think I'll just make a red velvet cake.

Things have been busy here. We had another Bridal Show and it was a much easier experience for us. Everything went smoothly and even though we had less traffic, we are getting more calls and bookings from this show. So we are encouraged.

I've started to wean Ella. This has been something I've been thinking about for a while and starting in early January I've been trying to get Ella to not only take a bottle but LIKE taking a bottle and it's not been going well. I've gone through at least 5 bottles and 5 different sippy cups trying to find the perfect combination that she would take to and came to the realization that the girl just preferred nursing. We have a wedding next weekend and more and more coming up so this was something I felt I had to do. I started on Monday only nursing her when she woke up and when she went to bed and the first two days were pretty rough. By Wednesday we saw improvement and today has actually gone really well. She's already taken 2 bottles today and with only a few seconds of a fight. Plus I was able to get her to take them today while sitting down which is a huge relief on my arm! I was having to cradle her with one arm while using the other for the bottle and she is 17 pounds now so that was soooo hard!

My goal is to get her to take a bottle well during the day, then drop the going to bed feeding and I may hold on to the morning feeding for a while...we'll see.

So that's what's going on in this house. Oh, I've started to go to Physical Therapy for tailbone pain. I've had this pain since I had Ella and finally decided to try to do something about it. After a doctor confirmed it wasn't broken he recommended and prescribed physical therapy for me and I've now had 3 sessions. I've seen a different person for each session, each does a little different thing and I'm starting to wrap my head around this whole thing. I obviously had no idea all of the things that can cause tailbone pain nor do I think I understand anymore my own body. It has been such an eye opening and humbling experience for me. The first therapist did ultrasound and message, the second did a number of different exercises on my hips, lower back, gluts, and legs. I was sore after both of those sessions.

Today I had my third session and she didn't think it was a good sign that I was having more pain since I started therapy so maybe they are working me too hard. I won't say much about the therapist I saw today other than she focuses on your pelvic floor, which gets pretty damaged during childbirth and she describes herself as a "gynecological physical therapist". Apparently your pelvic floor muscles have a huge impact on your tailbone. She feels like she can help me and I'm sure I'll see one of the other two people again as well but for now I'm just with her.

I really hope this helps my pain because as of right now, it's only worse. I'm learning a lot about how I'm sitting wrong and other things I'm doing that are only making things worse so it's more than just therapy, it's learning some different lifestyle things as well. There is a good chance that the pain I had for 12 weeks when I didn't heal properly from delivery caused me to start sitting wrong and tensing up my muscles which in turn caused this pain. Crazy.

That's all folks!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's pretty!!!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Even Ella liked it. :)

Thanks to Amanda the fabulous creator of this cake.

Read below about the process I went through making this - and all the pictures!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Okay. It's done. It's been a crazy day but it's done.
And..... here it is.

I would like to first thank my mom and Grant because this cake would not have happened without their help. Mom for the 100 phone calls I placed to her while making it and Grant for keeping Ella happy and also helping me figure out how much milk I dumped in the icing when I realized that I put more than I was suppose to in.

So. First things first. Going to the store. It took 2 trips.
Here are all of the ingredients I needed in addition to all of of the baking stuff I already have. This shocked me since I feel like I keep a lot of baking things on hand.

I had to go back to the store because after some research (and a phone call to mom) I discovered that Cake Flour is different than all-purpose. Luckily mom told me to look for a box and sure enough - there it was!

The importance of color....I had to buy CLEAR vanilla extract to make white icing and cake, and a giant bottle of red food coloring because well, I was making a red cake and the small tube I had of food coloring would not have cut it.

I wanted to include a picture of my mixer because Grant actually bought this for me as a Valentine's gift when we were dating. Nice gift huh. :)

So I started. Now. I'd like to put in a little background here. I like to bake. I LIKE to bake. That doesn't mean I'm always good at it nor have I pushed the limits of what I can do. Today that all changed. I've never actually made a cake from scratch before. I've always only altered cake mix recipes. So for me, the hardest thing for this whole project was making the cakes.

First Cake - Red Velvet
I started at 9 am on this sucker and I finished at 10:30 - meaning I put it in the oven after an hour and a half of mixing. I didn't have any problems, it was just complex and I didn't want to mess it up so I often read and reread the instructions before I did anything. Plus the creator of this cake altered her recipes and her notes were above the recipe so I had to read the recipe and then go back up and figure out if she changed anything for that ingredient. I put it in the oven and called mom (this happens a lot by the way...calling mom). I told her that it really filled up the pan. I guess my 9x13 is shallow compared to the pan that the lady used because when I opened up the oven I saw that it had overflowed and I had a mound of red velvet at the bottom of my oven. A great way to start the project!

Disaster #1 Red Velvet overflowing...too much batter.

Luckily the cake still cooked fine and since all I was going to do with this cake was crumble it, it was fine. And the pile of cake at the bottom of the stove came up easily.

So as I took this cake out I had the white cake mixed. This was a lot easier to make than the red velvet and I was feeling pretty good about it. I greased and floured 4 round pans and started to put the batter in them and quickly realized I didn't have enough batter.

Disaster #2 Not enough White Cake batter!

So I tried to put them in 4 pans but there wasn't enough so I dumped them into 2 and threw 2 in the oven and called mom. "Mom, this batter was only enough for 2-9 inch pans" Mom "well that sounds right - most cake mixes are for 2 round pans". Great. I had to make a whole other cake. I only had enough butter for what I was planning on but I had a couple of sticks of salted butter I could use for the icing so this was the plan. Mom called me back. "I was looking at the photos on the tutorial and those cakes look small. I think she just used 1 recipe for all 4". I didn't know how they would be enough but I quickly pulled the cakes out of the oven, cleaned out the 2 pans that had batter scraped out of them, greased again, flowered again and dumped a little bit of batter into both. In the 4 cakes went. It wasn't until they were baking did mom figure it out. "You are using 8 inch pans right?" I had 9 inch pans.

Disaster #3-9 inch pans should be 8 inch pans.

So these didn't take long to cook since they were so shallow so after I took them out I took a shower and a little break.

After my break I made the icing. I had bought enough ingredients to double the recipe since it said it was only enough for a 2 layer cake. Plus I thought icing is what will cover up my mistakes. I didn't know if I would need that much so I thought I would make 1.5 recipes. So I threw in 3 sticks of butter and had calculated that I needed 3/4 cup of milk. I added the milk and was adding the powdered sugar when I thought "boy this seems soupy". I stood there staring at the measuring cup and thought, I don't remember measuring 3/4. Did I accidentally put in 1 whole cup? I mentioned to Grant what I had done and he had a brilliant idea. "Did you wash the measuring cup before you used it again?" yes. "Then look for a residue on it at the cup mark". Sure enough we held it up to the light and there was a white ring right at the 1 cup mark.
So in went another stick of butter and some more vanilla.

Disaster #4 Measure Correctly!

Then the building started. I actually enjoyed this part more than mixing the cakes up. I got out the cake plates that I wanted to use and got one cake ready to flip out of the pan flippin. It was stuck. STUCK. I had to use a fork around the whole thing to get it out. This ended up happening to all 4 pans! I'm not sure why, but all of them stuck even though I greased and floured them.

Disaster #5 Cakes Stuck

So I build 2-2 cake high cakes and put them in the freezer for an hour or so. Then took them out and started carving. Grant helped me build the "compass" to have a nice circle and this was by far the easiest and the funnest part of the cake. I guess I'm more of a sculptor than a chemist! I was also surprised at this point how much cake I was going to throw away. I literally carved half of the cakes out of these things, ate a few bites and thew the scraps away. Oh well.

Then I added the crumbled red velvet mixed with icing. This was very pretty and these crumbs were yummy!

Then I flipped the top half to sit on the bottom half...well I tried to at least. I flipped the plate but nothing was coming. I turned it back and did some research and guess what...the cake was stuck to the plate! And it was breaking. Great.

Disaster #6 Cake Stuck

I separated the cake from the plate the best I could and did some repair work with icing.

So at this point my cake is done other than icing but boy it's not pretty. I didn't level the cakes and with the top cake breaking my cake is slightly bigger at the top than the bottom. I iced as good as I could (I'm not good at icing) and then sprinkled the crumbs on. I really wish I knew how to ice a cake well. I love how the lady does it in the tutorial. It's so clean and smooth. I'm going to have to learn how to do this because after all that work I want it to be pretty on the outside.

At least the crumbs are pretty. :)

It took a while to clean up and then I relaxed the rest of the day. I finished it at 4 pm so it was a long cake making experience.

Here's the kitchen when I was done.

We are looking forward to cutting into it tomorrow. I don't anticipate a perfect heart since I had shallow cakes and lots of disasters. But since I ate the scraps I can honestly say that this cake will taste good. :)

Things I would do differently if I made this again:
- buy 8" cakes pans
- use 2 pans for the red velvet so it doesn't overflow
- put wax paper in the bottom of the pans and while I'm working on them
- buy a cake leveler
- buy an icing spatula and learn how to use it

That's it folks. I'll post pictures of the inside in another post.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Doing the Cake

I've decided to do this cake and I'm crazy enough to even make the white cake from scratch.

She says you can do that part with a mix but I've never been a fan of white cake from a mix so I'm going for it.

I'm getting the stuff today and plan on making it Saturday. I've read through the tutorial and recipes a few times so I feel pretty good about it.

I'll take pictures throughout the process and post about it hopefully Sunday.

We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Maybe Not...

So I just read the recipe for the below Heart Cake and she actually doesn't tell you how to make it, just the recipe for the cake and icing.  Plus the more I look at this the more I think this is out of my league.  

BUT, I do plan on making the red velvet part of this with the white icing and crumbles on top.  I may even try to take gorgeous pictures of it like this person did.  I may share those with you as well, but you won't see that beautiful heart in it.  :(

I bet I can do a heart on the top with the crumbles....

I want to try

To make this Heart Cake.

I really love to bake, I can do without cooking but baking just makes me happy.  Maybe that's because the batter is yummy and I like sweets.  :)

I'll let you know how it goes.

Now for an update.  We survived the show and our house is (almost) back to normal.  We still have a booth in the garage but will for at least 20 more days.  Ella seems to be feeling better but it's hard to tell about her ears.  She grabs them now when she's tired, hungry, or upset so it's hard for me to know whether they hurt or not.  I may take her in again just to make sure they are okay...we'll see.  But she's over her cold and acting a lot better but still not sleeping all night yet.  The last 2 nights we've had middle of the night feedings and that's unusual for her. I think she may be going through a growth spurt because I swear I fed her 10 times yesterday!

About 3 days ago she discovered that things that are not her toys are more interesting.  She was playing nicely at her gym thing and the next thing I know she's pulling on the curtains.  Then she was on the couch next to me playing and then I notice she's doing a back bend trying to reach the lamp...and so on.  She's not crawling yet, not rolling, but I think all of that will come soon because she wants to be in places other than where I set her down.  It's going to be an interesting month!

That's all for now folks!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A very hard month

I feel so bad that this blog is so neglected. I know there are some of you that just read this and are not on Facebook so I'm sorry that I've not been keeping you in the loop. So here's a quick rundown of the last month. If I keep this short and sweet maybe I can get it out there rather than waiting for a magical time where I have an hour to write a nice long post...because that time will never come!

So Ella got an ear infection right before Christmas, then got RSV immediately after Christmas which quickly gave her another ear infection. She was only off of antibiotics about 4 days before she got a horrible cold and then you guessed it...another ear infection. That was Saturday which was also the day before we had our bridal show. I'll post some pictures of the booth later in this post. Tuesday night in the middle of the night when I went to check on her, her ear was all bloody so we cleaned if off and were pretty sure she just scratched her ear, but it really bothered us that it hurt her so much she scratched it so bad. So this morning I went back to the doc and we got in with her official doctor today which I haven't been able to see the last 4 visits. It was good to talk strategy with him. He put her on 30 days of a low-dose antibiotic to help prevent another ear infection. He said if she gets another infection during this time or the fluid has not left in 30 days then we'll be looking into putting tubes in. I really hope we can keep another cold away for a month, but if tubes become necessary we are willing to do it to bring her relief.

On another note we have been busting our tails trying to get our new booth done. We did a sketch of what we wanted it to look like late one night. Then we bought all of the supplies and called our parents in for help. We build this thing in a week which meant every time Ella took a nap I was painting, and painting some more. I had to prime it, and then do 2 coats of the white color. I primed the brown walls, did a coat of a color that looked too green, then did 2 more coats of a better color. We also painted the back of all of this black. Our first gallon of "black" was not black at all. It was a funky green grey color so some places I had to paint the "black" twice. You can see from the photo we also had a lot of staining. Everything was going well until the 4th coat of brown paint started to drip as it dried. I think I put it on too thick (not wanting to do another coat). It was dripping right where we were going to put the logo lettering on so we had a problem. It wasn't until Saturday (show was on Sunday) that we thought of getting a canvas and paint it brown to put the logo on and hang on the wall.

Saturday was also the day of set up, plus Ella was so sick I took her to the doctor. Oh, and it was pouring down rain too. Grant and his dad went to set up and got the main walls up and the floor down while I worked on the sign and took care of Ella. That night we were up late (Ella wasn't sleeping anyway) finishing up things, printing off hand outs and a number of other last minute things. Sunday morning came quickly and Grant and his dad left the house about 8:15 to finish setting up. I was planning on leaving at 9 with Ella and Grant's mom with all of the albums and small stuff. Again - it was not only pouring down rain, but it was coming in sideways. As me and Grant's mom were heading to the car I realized I couldn't find my keys. I knew this was bad because I had recently seen them on the table. A quick phone call confirmed - Grant and his dad had both sets of my keys...we were stuck at home. I totally lost it. In front of Ella and my mother in law I used words that I don't like Ella to hear and sat down balling. Ella's sickness had taken so much out of me and I felt so overwhelmed with everything. I wanted to be involved in set up and to see people that I normally only get to see at these shows (other photographers) but I was stuck at home and Grant's dad couldn't bring back another set of keys until all of the big things were set up. After I calmed down I decided to iron our shirts that we were going to wear, I redid my hair since the rain ruined it, and redid my makeup since you know crying like crazy does great things with mascara.

Grant's dad was there about 10:45 which put me at the show at 11:15. It started at 12. I had time to carry everything in, park my car, go feed Ella (she's still not taking a bottle), change, and get ready to try to sell our business to lots of potential clients. We finished setting up about 12:05. :)

We really enjoyed the show. We had a lot of traffic and a lot of compliments on the design. We feel good about it and hope to get some business from the event. Grant's parents brought Ella back when it was done and we hung out there until we had it all tore down and headed home. I felt such a sense of relief! I was finally able to just hold Ella and not worry about the show anymore. Now our garage looks like a bomb went off in it, but that's okay. We are in another show in February so we'll leave all the stuff in the garage until then, and then we'll figure out where to store it until next year!

So there's an update on everything.

Here is Ella on Tuesday morning - starting to feel better. Her eyes were droopy and red when she was really sick so it was nice to see my bright-eyed girl again.

Here is a sketch we did of how we wanted the booth to look.

Here are a few pictures of the booth.