Celebrations

Chalkboard-Sign1For his birthday this year, my son Ben requested a Fantastic Mr. Fox party, which was no surprise considering that he has seen the movie numerous times, and is constantly singing the “Boggis, Bunce, and Bean” song—always pausing and then slowly enunciating the word, “nonetheless.” I loved the theme that he chose and, luckily, the party ideas came easily. I thought I’d share some of them here, in case anyone out there is planning a party and needs a little inspiration.

I went rustic with the invitation and used watercolor to paint some of the text as well as Mr. Fox.

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Chocolate is Ben’s favorite cake and icing flavor, so I baked a decadent and rich two-layer chocolate cake topped with sprinkles. The flags were cut from old fabric scraps and glued to wooden skewers. The “Fantastic Mr. Ben” banner was hand drawn with a calligraphy pen on kraft paper, and then his plastic fox figurine was placed beneath the banner. 

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Every birthday party, we give out favor bags filled with plastic toys and bubbles. Instead of the usual bags, I decided to sew fox masks for the kids this year. Felt is my favorite fabric to work with because it is so easy to cut and sew. Once I drew the pattern on card stock, I traced it over the felt and enlisted my husband to cut out the pieces.

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I also made s’mores kits for the kids and stuffed small boxes with graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. On top of each box, I wrote one of my favorite quotes from the movie to remind each kid how fantastic they are.

SmoresKitAnd it isn’t really a kid’s party without a game, is it? We decided to help out Mr. Fox and played pin the tail on the fox. My husband drew the fox from the invitation on a large poster board, and cut the tails out of felt. Instead of tacks, we used sticky dots on the back and wrote each child’s name on washi tape. It was a hilarious sight to see, and there was a prize for the winner.

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Next year, I hope Ben picks an equally great theme for his birthday party!

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Today we’re sharing our fourth and final installment of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project; the series has been a sweet reflection leading up to Mother’s Day. It’s easy to focus solely on the particular phase a relationship is in at present, but the breadth of these relationships is a good reminder of memories from the past, as well as a look into the years to come. If you missed week one, two, or three, spend some time reading them this weekend. Thanks for sharing these with us, Claudette!

From Claudette: Vickie is my wonderful mom. This past year has been one of her most trying. I’m constantly inspired by her courage, strength, and perseverance. Making her laugh makes me happy.

From Claudette: It never ceases to amaze me how our pets play such pivotal roles in our lives. They are family. And like family, they help us through both our trials and tribulations. Hearing how Tupelo was there for Romy at a time she needed it most was just heartwarming. Romy’s incredible wife, Heather, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She underwent a lumpectomy, 6 month of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, followed by 5 weeks of radiation.

From Claudette: Michelle and Maiya have one of the sweetest mother-daughter relationships, filled with crazy amounts of kisses, hugs, and love. And a lot of silliness. But don’t be fooled, this little 5-year-old is a big fan of Star Wars and can probably out-quiz you if challenged!

{ Photos by Claudette Carracedo }

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Today brings us to part three of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project. In honor of Mother’s Day on May 11, we’ve been sharing installments of the photos Claudette captured of relationships between women of all ages. This week’s are particularly heartwarming, and a good reminder of how sweet a bit of humor between a mother and daughter can be. If you missed the previous installments, be sure to check out week one and week two.

From Claudette: Laurel, an old classmate of mine, along with her family adopted beautiful Dieulane from Haiti in 2012. And wow. This little girl has such a cheerful and energetic disposition. I’m positive it is a result of being welcomed into such a warm and loving family. When leaving the studio I asked Dieulane for a hug to which she replied: “I’m a big fan of hugs!”

From Claudette: Michelle, a lawyer, and Margaret, a retired pharmacist who immigrated to Canada at the age of 21, have an inspiring and dynamic mother-daughter relationship. Clever, bright, and quick-witted. During our session, we went from Margaret insisting on re-combing Michelle’s hair to having brief discussions on vegetarianism, photography, figure skating, and religion. According to Michelle: “We use to go to the library together almost every week to find books to read, starting before I could barely read. She says she was desperate for me to learn to read so I’d sit quietly and not be such a pest.”

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Today I’m excited to share the second installment of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project, which we’re featuring in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day. If you missed the first installment last week, you can find it here. When Claudette started photographing these pairs, “the goal was to create an authentic image that speaks to the uniqueness of each mother-daughter relationship.” While she captured the women on film, she also listened to them describe their relationships to one another and recorded some of the most emotive words.

From Claudette: When Kelly and Maisie came into the studio I was a taken aback by how closely Maisie resembled her mom in high school. I hadn’t seen Kelly in over 20 years. I knew Kelly’s youngest daughter, Indie, struggle with breathing as she was born with paralyzed vocal chords and has had a tracheostomy for 12 years. During the session it was clear to me Maisie has been an incredible source of strength for Kelly throughout the years.

From Claudette: Bianca, my sister-in-law, and Elizabeth are family. They connect on a daily basis over the phone, however, the project appeared to have given them a reason to connect on an even deeper level, which was an honor to witness. I felt we all walked away with a few ‘aha’ moments that day.

The subjects in Claudette’s photos include mothers and daughters who are current clients and collaborators; friends and family (among them, her own mother); and even classmates she hasn’t seen in over 20 years. I hope you’ll check back every Thursday between now and Mother’s Day for new installments highlighting The Mother-Daughter Project.

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Mother’s Day is exceptionally special for me this year, with a 14-month-old daughter at home. Being a mom myself casts a new light on the holiday, not just with respect to my own daughter, but also to my mother. What was about breakfast in bed and homemade cards when I was a kid now has added depth and sentiment. So I’ve been really looking forward to this new series that’s launching on our site today: Over the next several weeks, leading up to Mother’s Day, we’ll be sharing images from photographer Claudette Carracedo’s The Mother-Daughter Project.

“As photographers, our style and vision create the look and feel of a portrait,” explains Claudette. “The Mother-Daughter Project was a way of exploring how much of our personal history and biases affect a session. The idea was to provide a unified look using a single lighting system and backdrop, as well as a allow the participants to describe their relationship to each other as I photographed them. Ultimately, the goal was to create an authentic image that speaks to the uniqueness of each mother-daughter relationship.”

From Claudette: Two years ago Gaile’s mother, Ebie, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 58. Last year Gaile, a talented designer, and her team built a Laneway home for IDSWest. The Laneway home was auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society of BC.

From Claudette: I had the pleasure of photographing Adria’s wedding in 2010 and meeting her first child, Ayla, has been such a delight.

The subjects in Claudette’s photos include mothers and daughters who are current clients and collaborators; friends and family (among them, her own mother); and even classmates she hasn’t seen in over 20 years. I hope you’ll check back every Thursday between now and Mother’s Day for new installments highlighting The Mother-Daughter Project.

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