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TheAmy Allender Blog is where you can find all the latest projects, freshest faces, and most current happenings from Amy Allender and The Art of Living Project.  Here, you’ll find inspiration for everyday living, Christian devotionals, awkward moments, design inspiration, and tales of my misadventures as I navigate life in Minot, North Dakota {or, as I call it…Practically Canada.}  I would sincerely love to have you follow along.

If you’d like more information on services I offer and products I sell, check out the photography, design and shop pages.

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DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Last Christmas, I made a few infinity scarves.  They went over really well with the friends and fam.  I found a few tutorials online, I combined a few steps.  I’m sure you could find other tutorials out there too.  But this is my version, and I’m glad you’re taking a look.


The first thing you need to know is that this is easy.  It’s quick.  And you don’t have to be a pro with a sewing machine to make it happen.  Just a couple straight lines.  Really, it’s easy.


Here’s what you’ll need:

1.5 or 1.75 yards of fabric–Flannel works great, but I’ve also used some thick, slightly stretchy knits that have worked nicely too

Pinking shears


Sewing machine



The length of fabric really depends on how you like your scarf.  I like them tight to my neck, so I tend to favor a 1.5 yard cut.  If you like it looser, go with a little more length.  That cut of fabric will yield two complete scarves, so this is a perfect crafternoon project.  You and a friend can each buy a cut of fabric and swap patterns.  Or–since it is the gifting season–you can make one and gift one.  Anyway…


Step One:

Lay your fabric out on a flat surface.  Unfold it and cut down the middle length-wise {so you have two pieces about 27″ across}  Use the pinking shears to prevent it from fraying loose from the seams you’ll be putting in in a minute.


Step Two:

Fold the “right sides” of the fabric together, and pin the open edge.  {Side note…the tutorial is a demo of a different scarf than the one in the intro image}

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Step Three:

Leave a 2″ gap at the end of the fabric, then sew all along the open edge.  Remove the pins as you go, stop about 2″ from the other end.  Back stitch at both ends.

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Step Four:

Turn it, so the right sides are out again and you have a tube of fabric.  Fold that tube in half and line up the open ends.  Follow me here…You’ll have four layers of fabric stacked on top of one another.  Take the middle two and pin them together.

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Step Five:

This is where it gets a little tricky.  But not too tricky.  Get the outer two layers out of the way and start to sew the layers you’ve pinned together.  Start at the very end.  Back stitch.  Keep going all the way around.  Just try it.  It makes more sense once you’ve done it.

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Step Six:

When you are done, you’ll have a circular tube of fabric with just a little hole.  {That’s the 2″ gap we left earlier.}  Tuck the fabric that is sticking out back inside.  Now, you can hand sew the gap…or, if you are lazy like me, fold the seam together and use the machine to sew really close to the edge.

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

After that you are done!  It really is super easy.  I wear the ones I’ve made all the time.  Here’s me at Eddie Bauer last Christmas.  They were making balloon hats for some reason…but who am I to say no to that?

DIY Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Happy crafting!

Winter 1982

This morning I was out of gas.  The kind of out of gas that makes me happy I live on a hill and the meat of the city of Minot, ND is in a valley.  I pretty much coasted down the hill to the physical therapy office.  Because when it’s 0 degrees outside and dark and you’ve got an appointment at 7:30am, there is very little motivation to leave the house early to get gas.  So I ran the risk and coasted the hill.


After said appointment, I high tailed it to the gas station.  There’s one in town I really like.  They give you a discount for paying in cash and they pump the gas for you.  Very nice in the winter.


Today, I didn’t see anyone around, so instead of being high maintenance, I hopped out of the car and went in to pay, then pump myself.  As I walked up to the door an employee stopped and said he’d pump for me, but told me I could wait inside until he was done to pay.  So I did.


Also waiting at the counter was an older man.  Mid 60’s-ish, short {just barely taller than me}, African American, gray hair and mustache.  He was wearing a worn leather jacket, a newsboy cap and a scarf.  I don’t know why, but I also noticed his wedding ring.  Just a plain gold band, obviously worn, it’s sheen pretty dull dressed with years and years worth of scratches.  The kind of ring that’s worn by a man who’s loved the same woman for a very long time.  Sometimes I notice those things.  Probably because I love people.  And I love stories.  And sometimes I like to imagine who people are and what their story is.


As I was pondering this ring, a gas station attendant walked in.  “I think it’s going to be a nice day,” she told us.  “Not too windy.  Looks like it’ll even be sunny in a while.”


“It’s already too cold for me.  I’ve had enough of this winter and it’s only just started.  What do we have?  Another seven, eight months left?  Nah, nah–it’s already getting old.”  The man chuckled at himself.  I was on the verge of asking him if he was new to Minot, but then he went on.  “It’s not the cold that’s so bad…but the wind.  I’ll tell you, I don’t think I’ll live to see another winter as bad as 1982.”


The door dinged as the attendant walked out.  There was silence, but not much.  I love talking to strangers.  I guess it’s a lesson I never grasped as a child.


“What happened in 1982?”


He told me this tale.  It’s so unbelievable, unfathomable, my mind can’t even grasp it.  I wouldn’t have believed it, had he not had the scars to back up his story.


Winter.  1982.  The winter is fierce.  The wind is wicked and wild.  Snow has fallen, but it’s much too cold to stick to the ground, so it blows incessantly with the wind.  The windchill drops below -90.  He recalled a news report stating that the wind chill was -93.  Who knows what the ambient temperature was.  Cold, no doubt.  Arctic.


Because it was so bitter cold, buildings were in danger.  Pipes were freezing, furnaces going out.  One night, in the winter of 1982, while the wind whipped at -93 degrees F, this man and a friend went to their church to check on the furnace.  He said as they were walking in, he reached out to his friend, to steady his arm.  His coat sleeve rode up, just a few inches, exposing a thin slice of flesh between glove and jacket.


At this point in his story, he reached his arm out, reenacting the moment.  He exposed that piece of arm for me and ran his finger across it.


“That’s where it got me first.  It only took a second.”


“What, frostbite?”


“Sure, you can call it that.  Happened so fast.  It burned like nothing I’ve ever felt.”


In that split second, the wind and fridgid air burned his skin.  To this day, on the dark skin of his arm, you can still see the mark.  It looks like a rope burn, subtle, faded…but there.


“My biggest mistake was wearing my watch that night.  I just didn’t think to take it off.”


“Oh, was it on your arm when it was exposed?”


“Nah.  It was on the other arm.”


I gave him a confused look.  Not understanding why a watch on a fully covered arm made any difference.  But he went on:


“All of a sudden, I felt pain on my wrist.  Like a bee sting.  That’s the only way I can describe it.  I flinched and rubbed at it, just instinct, I guess.  But what had happened, was–the metal backing of my watch had frozen to my arm!  When I ripped at it, it tore the skin clean off.”


I’m telling you–I couldn’t fabricate this story if I tried.  I would never in my wildest imaginings think that these things could occur.  Much less in a matter of seconds!  He reached out his other arm–where he still wears his watch–scooted the watch up, and there it was:  another scar.  He reached up to his face and pointed to the fleshy spot where nose and cheek meet.  The air burned him there too, but it didn’t leave a mark.


At that point, the door dinged again and the girl came back in.  He paid.  I paid.  We left.


I’ve been fascinated all day by that crazy tale and I just couldn’t wait to get home and have a second to write it out for you.  Lucky for me, and Practically Canadians everywhere, in his lifetime he only remembers that happening once.  But the fact that it happened at all is just wild.  I’ll probably never see him again, but in my mind that man is now kind of a legend.  I won’t forget the winter of 1982 any time soon…and I wasn’t even born to witness it.


The moral of the story is, be safe.  Don’t expose your skin if the wind is -93˚F.  Don’t wear a watch.


I’m just crossing my fingers Derek and I have moved away before Minot gets another winter like that.




***Disclaimer.  I wasn’t alive in 1982.  There are no records kept of historic wind chills.  I’m not sure if this happened in Minot, or another Practically Canadian location…or the actual Canada for that matter.  But.  This is a true account of what he told me today.  And if nothing else, boy is it entertaining.***



The Sorensen Family | Family Portrait Preview

Family Portrait

I’ve been sitting at my computer for 20 minutes now.  I’ve typed up nearly a dozen intro paragraphs for this post and all of them seem to fall flat.  They’ve been deleted and retyped over and over and over.  Why so many rewrites?  Well, the thing is, the family you see before your eyes was such a pleasure to work with, their children so darling, so witty, the photos so pretty…I just can’t come up with a hook for this post that describes that to you sufficiently.


So I’ll say this:  This is the Sorensen family.  I was nervous when mom, Nichelle {yes, I love that name too!} told me they had five kids ranging in age from 12 to only a few months old.  But as soon as the crew unloaded from the car for their family portrait session, my worries melted away at seeing these lovely strawberry-blonde kiddos.  I love the personality in this family.  It’s diverse and intoxicating.  Everyone had great attitudes {even the littlest of the bunch} despite the chilly air–there was a mad dash for jackets between shots–and the notorious North Dakota wind.  I had such a great time with this gang and I am just so very pleased that they picked me to capture the art of this moment together.


Family Portrait

Family Portraits

kid portraits

kid portraits

kid portraits

My experience has shown me that among siblings {especially in large families} there is usually one that really likes to be photographed.  This, is that child for the Sorensens.  And if you look at the other photos, I think it shows.  I’m a fan of all kids–but there is a special place in my heart for fellow posers like myself.  {As a child I was the kid who loved getting photos taken, and I hated being told how to pose–I had plenty of ideas on that myself!}

kid portraits

They say pictures are worth a thousand words.  I’m not sure about a full thousand.  But I can attest to the fact that every photo has a story.  I don’t share them all, but I will share this–because it is irresistibly cute.  I snapped lots of photos of the family on this day.  Lots and lots were taken in an attempt to try and get a “natural smile” on this little one’s face.  She was the coldest of them all.  So it took a little coaxing to get her to sit and smile with the rest of the family.


At one point she asked for a treat after they were done.  She has awesome parents, who said, of course she could have a treat.  Then they asked her what she’d like.  What did she think they should get as a reward for smiling pretty?


A piece of gum.  Just one.  Adorable.  Kids crack me up.  Their minds are so candid.  I think it’s very endearing.  She smiled very pretty, and I hope she got that piece of gum she was so excited about.

kid portraits

sibling portraits

mom and dad

family portrait

This was a seriously fun group to work with.  I hope you love your photos as much as I do.  And I really hope there’s one worthy of the wall or a Christmas card in here.  Your flash drive is on the way!



Rockwell Maternity | Clothesline Maternity Photos

fall maternity photos

A couple weeks ago I met the Rockwells.  This is them.  Sarah and I emailed and texted back and forth in the days leading up to the session…and I’m so glad she didn’t color me crazy when I asked her to bring a variety of onsies and an assortment of their favorite baby clothing along with them.  I love the clothes line.  I love these photos.  I love this couple.


It was such a treat to spend time with them.  There is something simply magical about a couple filled with joy about their upcoming arrival.  This little one is so blessed to be entering into a family that is so anxious to love her with all their might.  While these two didn’t go on and on about how excited they are to be becoming first time parents, they glow with an enthusiasm that makes my heart go pitter-patter.  I think you’ll see what I mean.
rockwell 3

Clothes line maternity photos

Clothes line maternity photos

Clothes line maternity photos

Once we were all done with the clothesline maternity photos, this might have happened.  Baby-clothes confetti seemed like a good idea at the time…

Clothes line maternity photos

fall maternity photos

fall maternity photos

Rockwells, congratulations on this amazing milestone!  I am so very happy to have met you and spent an afternoon {a chilly afternoon} getting to know you.  I simply cannot wait to meet your little one in December!

story book maternity photos

PS–Thanks you guys for speaking to me in public later in the evening when you ran into me looking like this…I appreciate you acknowledging me, and not thinking I’m completely crazy.

care bear halloween costume

What To Wear In Christmas Photos | 10 Tips

What To Wear In Christmas Photos | Ten Tips Just For You


With mini sessions fast approaching I’ve received lots of questions about what clothes look best in Christmas photos.  Instead of responding one by one with a quick text message answer, I thought I’d thoughtfully put together some recommendations for you.


Now, keep in mind, these are beginners tips.  If you are a seasoned pro at getting the family gussied up for picture day, feel free to go rogue.  Wear what you like.  Get bold, get goofy, be classy.  If you are new at the whole pro-photo game…I hope some of these tips will give you some ideas and be a good starting place for you.


1.  Dress for the same season.

Christmas mini session

Sara Garcia Photo Art{This beautiful portrait come from Sara Garcia Photo Art.  Go over to see more from this precious session.}

This is my first an foremost tip when it comes to Christmas card portraits.  I’ve gotten lots of {very nice} compliments on the clothing Derek and I wore in the sample mini session shots.  But we went through a few options before we settled on the right thing.  Okay–I went through a few options, then told him that he should “…really put on the flannel–it looks cozier.”


We started with him in a cotton button down and me in a sweater I picked up in Norway.  Even if we threw on some gloves and hats it looked like we were dressed for different seasons {me for -10, him for 60’s.}  You can go super cozy or super breezy–just be sure your family looks like they could all be put in the same setting comfortably.


{As a side note…also dress with the same level of class.  One in a cocktail dress and one in a hoodie is bound to look awkward.}


2.  Jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves.

Kelly Klatt PhotographyI love this set and this photo from Kelly Klatt.  Go to her website for more winter inspiration.  It abounds over there!

I’m totally behind sporting outdoor winter wear to an indoor Christmas photo session.  But–like most things, there are guidelines.  A cute coat on the dressy side is good.  Wearing your Colombia ski/sledding parka looks frumpy.  A fashionable hat…or even something on the super warm and silly side is great.  A ski mask is terrifying.

Lodge Christmas Photos


3.  Don’t be over realistic.

Staged Christmas card photos are not meant to be a window into reality.  They are created to be a little whimsical and fun.  {At least mine are.}  So, although you wouldn’t normally wear a jacket inside, or snow boots with cute jeans or hats and scarves without coats–it’s totally cool to do in your Christmas photo.


It’s also totally cool to go classy in your Christmas portraits.  You might not want to go super dressy in a photo that will hang year-round in your home.  So Christmas photos are a great time to get a little fancy, even if that’s not how you usually roll.

DKW StylingThis classy example hails from the blog at DKW Styling.

4.  Think about fabric and texture.


Cozy is the word I love to use when I think about winter portraits.  With that in mind, try to incorporate something cozy into your outfits.  Flannel is a classic choice.  It never gets old.  Textured sweaters or a scarf with an interesting knit is also a good way to cozy up an ensemble.  Layers are also a good choice and they add variety to an outfit.



5.  Uniforms.


Your photos are not work.  They aren’t private school.  They aren’t the military.  So please, please…don’t put your family in a uniform.  {Unless you are the VonTrapps.  Then, by all means do whatever you like.}  Your photos will be lovely if you use things from your closets that your family likes to wear–even if that means you aren’t all dressed identically.  This is a short session, to be displayed for a short time.  So be a little more relaxed.

That said–if you are being geeky, cheeky, or going for that “awkward” look, feel free to dress as identically as you like.  Feel free to click over to Awkward Family Photos for more where that came from…



6.  Going neutral.

Photography By JessThis image via Photography By Jess.  See the full session and other lovely work at her site.

Sticking with a dress code of neutrals is a very safe way to make sure your family looks awesome in your photos.  Neutrals can mean a variety of things.  Mix any of these colors {bonus points if they are cozy, as mentioned in #4} and you’ll look great:  Cream, tan, brown, gray, navy blue, pale blue, black, muted yellows.


7.  Adding color.

Christmas Chalkboard Sessions

If you’d like to add color, but are nervous about it–this tip is for you.  Whatever you do, don’t panic and put everyone in black pants and a blue top.


Instead, stick with a mostly neutral pallet {see #6}, then weave a color or two throughout your family.  Use the color as boldly or as sparingly as you like, but make it consistent.  You can go with one bright pop of color, or weave a color throughout to keep everyone consistent.  These images do a great job of demonstrating how you can add pops of color to your outfits without looking cheesy or too uniformy.


Good colors to incorporate are red {classic Christmas choice}, green, yellow, blue.

This family does a good job of weaving red through an otherwise neutral pallet.  From Rebekah Westover Photography.

Erin Summerill Photography

This family used mustard as their accent.  See the whole session at Erin Summerill Photography.


8.  Going colorful.

This vibrant portrait comes from Chelsey Bell Photography.

Like we said earlier, Christmas photos don’t have to be super realistic.  So, even though your family might not normally go overboard with color–if you are feeling vibrant this is a good time to make it happen.  The key to going with lots of colors is to make sure they have similar intensity {how vibrant they are}, are from the same color family {cool colors like blue, green, aqua, etc or warm colors like orange, yellow, red, etc.}, or they compliment each other.


9.  Don’t be bossy.

Your husband probably isn’t a catalog model.  He probably never will be.  Accept it and move on.  Sure, we can all look at the Eddie Bauer ads and think how classy those guys look.  But, that’s not ever going to be Derek.  Not in a million years.  I could go buy him an outfit straight from the catalog, and he’d probably humor me by putting it on.  But he wouldn’t look like himself.  And he’d probably feel pretty weird.


So don’t be bossy.


Your husband and your family will look much happier during the portrait session if they feel good about what they are wearing.  Let them look normal.  Let them wear things they will wear again.  Don’t coerce your man into wearing a button down under a wool sweater with a scarf and colored jeans.  He’ll thank you for it.  And your photos will look like you–which is the point.


10.  Get more inspiration here.

Kristen Duke Photography has a mega post on this topic.  If you are looking for more specifics and inspiration, check out her site.  It’s one of the best what-to-wear articles I’ve found.


Happy dressing!  I’ll see you guys at the mini sessions.




DIY Sisal Tote Tutorial

A long time ago….way back when there wasn’t frost on the ground and it stayed light until 11 o’clock at night, and I’d just had back surgery and wasn’t allowed to do much…I got glue gun happy and made this adorable DIY sisal tote bag.

Sisal Tote

That first one was a bit of an experiment so I didn’t document the process.  But it came out lovely.  I gave it away as a gift to my cousin and she just couldn’t believe that I’d made it from rope, a pillow case and a flat-rate mailing box.  In my efforts to craft early for Christmas, I’ve made another, and this time I’ve got photos and instructions.

DIY sisal tote tutorial

First gather your supplies:


A flat rate mailing box–or another cardboard box.  Any size will do, but it’ll affect the finished shape of your tote.

Glue gun and lots of sticks.

A pillow case.

Sisal rope in a couple sizes.


DIY sisal tote bag tutorial

Start with your box.  Lay out flat, like the fist image.  Here you can play around with folding up different sides to form the shape of your tote.  The first one I made used a large flat rate box…the skinny kind.  This one is a medium, more boxy box.


Fit your old pillowcase inside as a lining.  Use some glue to adhere it to the bottom then fold the sides over the top.  Cut away and excess you have, then glue the top of the pillowcase to the box.  It doesn’t really matter how it looks right at this point, since it’s going to get covered up.


Then, start wrapping.  Use a bead of glue to secure the rope to the box.  When you get to the skinny sides with no cardboard, gently wrap it around and secure it well on either side.

DIY Sisal Tote Tutorial

This next part is pretty important.  So listen to me and take my advice.  As you continue wrapping, use your hand to keep consistent space on the sides as you wrap the rope around.  Naturally, the box will want to become narrower toward the top.  Every time you wrap around the side, use those polished fingers of yours to keep the space…so you don’t have a tote with a wide base and a really skinny opening at the top.


It’s kind of basic after that.  Just keep wrapping.  Switch rope sizes if you like.  But keep going, around and around and around.


When you want to switch sizes, wrap to the side of your box, then tuck the end down the size {the lining will hide it} and glue it in place.  Then take the end of your new rope, tuck it inside the side of the box as well, glue it in place and start wrapping where you left off.


Once you get to the top, wrap all the way up and over the rim, and do a row or two on the inside of the lining.  You can see that part in this image of the first one I made.

Sisal Basket

Coil and glue rope on the bottom…and you’re almost done.


The last step is making handles.

DIY sisal tote tutorial

Cut two pieces of rope for handles.  If you want to embellish them a little bit, you can wrap skinny cord around them.  Just be sure to space the details consistently so they are symmetrical once the handles are attached.


Attach the handles with hot glue or a combination of hot glue and super glue.  If you are planning to use your tote mostly for decor, hot glue will be fine.  But if you are planning to haul anything heavy in it, I’d recommend using super glue to be sure it can hold up.


Let everything dry and you’re done.

DIY sisal tote tutorial

I really love the way these turn out…even it it does take some time, some glue burns and maybe a hint of crafter’s rage to produce one.  They get easier and easier the more you make…so don’t be afraid.  I’m totally confident in your ability to make a DIY sisal tote.  They really do make awesome gifts.  And they are super fun to fill with goodies and give away.  You don’t even need to wrap it, just slap a bow on it and put it under the tree.


I haven’t decided what direction I’ll go with this one.  {I won’t be giving it away filled with produce…}  Two bottles of wine or sparkling cider and two pretty glasses fit nicely inside.  Or, a couple magazines, a throw blanket and a subscription notice could be good filler.  Or maybe I’ll pack it with picnic supplies.  The options are endless.


Happy Friday.  Happy crafting.

Genevieve Class of 2015 | Minot Senior Portraits

Minot senior portraitsMinot senior portraits

This is Genevieve.  For short she goes by Gen.  And just the adorable spelling of her shortened name should tell you that she is super cool and cute as a button. She’s graduating this year.  At her session I complimented her on being photogenic.  She laughed and said it was because the word had her name in it.  PhotoGENic.  On top of being pretty, and smart, she’s also got corny jokes on her side.  I love it.


But seriously, taking her senior portraits was a blast…even if I did have major hair envy on the drive home.

Minot senior portraits

During every senior session, it seems like there is a defining moment.  A moment where I wonder if I’ve asked them to do something that’s too much, or too odd, or too awkward.  During Gen’s session that moment came as I made her scale several fire escapes wearing precariously skinny heels.  Did they slip through the cracks a couple times?  Did they nearly trip her?  Was she a good sport any way?  Did we get awesome photos?


The answer to all of these is y-e-s.

Minot senior portraits

{Isn’t there something very Audry Hepburn meets Express ad here?}


After scrambling stairs and climbing on roofs we headed out of town.  If you ask me, there’s something very dreamy about a vintage chair in the middle of no where.


senior portraits vintage chair, Minot, ND

senior portraits vintage chair, Minot, ND

senior portraits vintage chair, Minot, ND


Now, you might think these photos have been great.  And they have.  But–I’ve omitted my very favorite two.  One from town, one from country.  They are hanging out over at the Facebook page right now.  Head over and vote for the one you like best.  If at least 40 people share their opinion, Genevieve will win an 8×10″ print!  Oh, and you should just go ahead and like the page while you are there so you don’t miss out on anything fun in the future.


As of right now, I don’t have any more seniors on the books.  It’s been an awesome season of shooting seniors.  Every single one has blessed me with their energy and enthusiasm.  And all of the girls have inspired me to do cuter things with my hair and buy more dresses!  {Because they have all been so very, very fashionable and adorable.}  Thanks a million, class of 2015–and especially Gen…for being a great way to end the season.



2014 Christmas Mini Sessions

It’s November!  Which means, it’s time!!

Christmas mini session

Christmas mini session

Christmas mini sessions are happening.  As promised, here are all the details you need.


I’ve got two dates to choose from.  Sessions last about 15 minutes {but if friends are here for their session before or after you, feel free to stay and visit as long as you like!}  Sessions can be scheduled at any quarter hour, but space is limited–so be sure to get your spot reserved quick.


Saturday November 15th from 1-4pm

Sunday November 23rd from 12-5pm


Session fees are just $50.  You’ll get five fully edited images, with a print release and a release to share them on social media, and a custom Facebook cover collage.  Files will be delivered electronically about a week after your session.  Once they are in your hands you have my blessing to print them anywhere and use them as you please on all your Christmas greeting cards.


For groups of friends, sessions are $50 for up to 5 people.  More people than that, it’s just $10/head–and you’ll all get the files.


**Other discounts do not apply to mini sessions

Christmas mini session


I’ll be collecting and creating more props before sessions start.  I’ll have big wrapped gift boxes, a sled, faux snow, ice skates, chairs, mugs, blankets, and twinkle lights.  But, you know I love creativity…so feel free to bring along something of your own.


What are you waiting for?! 


Call or Text me–574-361-7268


Email me–


Message me via the Facebook page


Or…use the contact form here.


Thanks to all of you who had interest in holiday sessions again this year!  I’m so excited to let the merriment begin!

Christmas mini session


The Rogers Family | Newborn Family Photos

Newborn family portraits

Meet the Rogers family.  {No relation to this Rogers family.}  As you can see, they recently welcomed a new addition into the fold.  Her name is Aurora and she precious!  I know you can’t tell right now, but she’s a red-headed gem.  I just love that red hair!  It makes me think about another soon-to-be ginger baby I am chomping at the bit to meet.  {Read this if you have no idea what I’m talking about.}


The Rogers clan also has two gorgeous dogs.  When they asked if the pups could come, I was over the moon with excitement.  You know I love dogs.  I’m glad they came.  It’s nice to have portraits of the whole family–two-legged and four-legged members included.

Newborn family portraits

After a walk around the neighborhood we took that bundled up baby inside for her very own session.  Since she was about a month old at the time, I’ll call it a not-quite-newborn session.  She stayed wide awake the whole time, which is fine by me because this one has lovely deep blue eyes that will just make you melt.

Chalkboard newborn session

Chalkboard newborn session

Aurora was so well behaved for a wide-awake baby having her first portraits taken.  She was pretty curious about the bright lights and that click, click, click sound.  And there was no fussing…until we forced her to sit in a bucket.  She held out for a few shots, and I’m grateful for that.  Because she looks pretty darn cute!

chalkboard newborn session

Newborn portraits Minot

Eventually she’d had enough and insisted on being taken out.  Mom tried to console her, but to no avail.  The fussing did, however, lead to this precious candid shot of Mommy trying to convince Aurora that buckets are fun, wonderful places to sit.


She was so much happier when we just let her be.

Newborn portraits Minot

chalkboard newborn portraits

chalkboard newborn portraits

newborn feet

chalkboard newborn portraits, Minot

And when she was completely worn out and fed up with all this portrait stuff she was delighted to be held and fussed over my her mommy and daddy.  I love these natural, real-life shots that give us a peek inside the love this family has for their precious baby girl.

chalkboard newborn portraits, Minot

newborn family portraits

Thanks for letting me hang out with your awesome family!  Happy travels and best wishes as you move away from Minot to a warmer {less Practically Canadian} location!




Outdoor Senior Portraits | Sam: Class of 2015

Senior Session Field

Everybody, meet Sam.  He is my second-to-last senior of the season.  He’s smart, and witty and was polite {and game} enough to oblige me as I had him trek from one corner of his family’s gorgeous property to the other.  Those are qualities I always treasure in a senior client.  I’m being very honest when I tell you that this guy is a true gem and I had an absolute blast taking these very country, outdoor senior portraits.

book themed senior portrait

When Sam’s mom told me he was a big time reader, I was so excited to pull my stack-of-books stool out of hiding and into the open air.  Not to mention that I really dig the jewel tones of the books next to those orange pants!  Seriously, how cool are those jeans?!  You might recognize the books {and a few other props} from a photo I posted to instagram {you should follow me @theartoflivingproject}.  I know quite a few of you were curious when I showed you a trunk filled with oversized books, suitcases and chalkboards.

male country senior session

travel themed senior session

male country senior session

Sam comes from a big family.  {One of his sisters married into the Rogers clan I showed you a couple months ago.  If you like these photos, you should go check out that one too!  See it here.}  While we were taking his senior portraits, siblings were popping in and out of the house, an adorable dog was trotting through the yard and delightful smells were wafting out of the kitchen window.  While that might be distracting to some photographers, I’m so happy Sam decided to have his portraits taken at his family’s property–it was a blast to be around such a busy, fun household.  I love seeing people in their element, and at home, in this beautiful yard, he was very much at home.

field senior portrait

boy senior session

Now.  Let’s talk suits.  You know I love suits at senior sessions…but this one just took the cake for me.

travel themed senior session

Okay, so I guess technically it’s not a suit.  But, it sure is classy.  Very European.  These photos remind me of Ireland for some reason.  Whatever it is, I love this suit and these photos are magical.

male country senior session

male country senior session

male country senior session

As you can tell, I had a great time with Sam!  Thanks for hanging out and fighting the wind with me {did I mention we almost got blown over a few times?}  I hope you love your photos, I know I do!

Remember to go over to the Art of Living Facebook page to vote B&W or Color in Sam’s photo contest.  If at least 40 people chime in, he’ll win an 8×10 of the winner.  And, if you like what you see here, I’d love it if you liked the page and shared it with friends so more people can start mastering the art of living.



male country senior session

Well, hello there!

Hi. I'm Amy. Thanks for coming by. I'm in to trying new things and learning to live better. I hope you'll hang around...together we can come closer to mastering the Art of Living.

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