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  • Writer's picturePamela Buddenhagen

Finishing the mobile studio, planting and.... a bird

Randy and I are in the final stages of getting the mobile studio on the road. I cannot believe how far we’ve come. My husband is amazing and so creative, he gets a vision and tries to explain it to me and I wish I could see what he sees in his mind before anything is put into action. While I stared at the wood, he was looking at a studio. He explained where the lights would be and how he would design the trim and doorways and where he would hang my backdrops. Seeing how he designed our deck and lower level of our house, I said "I'm going to take your word for it that it's exactly what we want it to be" haha. Little by little I started to see what he saw all along, he made walls and a ceiling first. We made many trips to Home Depot to pick out exactly what we wanted when it came to paneling and trim.

It’s easier to bring the studio along to throw everything right inside

Randy, bless his heart, spent countless hours after work every day working inside the studio. One night I was making dinner and opened the back slider to call him in and I heard nothing back. I figured he just didn't hear me over his music so I sent him a text and carried on with what I was doing. When he didn't come in after a bit longer I set out to find him. I went into the studio and saw him laying on the floor. I got so scared for a second until I realized he was definitely breathing. Then I noticed he had his head set up on his kneeling pads. Yup, he made himself comfy and fell asleep, he was exhausted to say the least, couldn't even clean up and come inside before resting. After that I'm pretty sure he took the day off from doing anything out there the next day. I didn’t tell him he was debuting in my blog this way, but this is too funny not to share.

When we got back to business he got to the light switches and electrical outlets, we found pretty lights for the ceiling and then came the big job of installing the panel for the electricity and running all of the wires up the walls, behind the trim. I was blown away. This empty trailer was transforming before everyone's eyes. When we went to turn the lights on and check the outlets one side wasn't working. Hmm, he did some maneuvering and I played the drumroll and we had our fingers crossed..... the left side worked, BUT THE RIGHT NOW DIDN'T. I was starting to sweat, but Randy knew he'd figure it out. I tend to be the more dramatic one out of the two of us. He of course figured out the problem, he had a wire crossed, so that was resolved and he was onto new things. The primer on the walls and ceiling were next and when everything was white and so bright it really started to look like something. I had an awful pain in my arm and shoulder the next day after being in charge of the ceiling paint. I only made one coat and was broken and couldn’t go back for a second. I can be lame sometimes. Anyway, the week the painting got done was a very hot one. It was quite warm in there as the AC hadn’t even been delivered yet. So poor Randy struggled through that and the outcome was fabulous!!

We totally took a break to set the pool up and get that ready, I even got to swim on my birthday. We were glad to get that done and out of the way

We went to Home Depot..again...and picked out the color we wanted. We both loved the same light blue and went with it. Its so hard to hold those little samples up and picture it on your wall. So we did stand there for a bit looking at a few different ones, thinking, “we always go for grays and blues should we choose out of the ordinary for us?” then quickly dismissed that idea thinking, we’ll probably hate it. We are so different but so much alike. Once the caulking was done and sanded and that paint went on, it looked so amazing. We said, "omg, this is our beautiful studio" It feels so nice to have driven so many hours away to purchase it and make it what it is from scratch. All of our ideas, designs and hard work come to life. And when I say Randy worked his butt off i mean every word. I can’t be more grateful than I am right now.

I’m not a painter when it comes to the final coat and precision. To be honest i’m not very coordinated at all, so things like that are nothing anyone wants me around for. I've always wanted to plant though, so I've taken up that this year too. As the past few weeks have gone by and Randy was sawing and nailing away, I've been trying my hand at planting vegetable seeds. I did some research, asked some friends for advice and picked up some planters, soil, plant food and pesticide and I was ready to go. My step daughter Macenzie and I got that started. I also picked out flowers for my mulch bed for my birthday and planted those, along with sunflower seeds. They are jumbo and supposed to reach 16 feet. I planted them with the help of my daughter, Lizzy and they're in front of the girl's bedroom windows. We own a raised ranch so the girls in the bedroom on the lower level will enjoy them as they're growing in and then the girls in the bedroom upstairs will enjoy them when they're standing very tall. In the backyard we made a spot for carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers and 3 different herbs. Pumpkin seeds are also planted and I must say, since I'm a huge lover of fall and holidays I am most excited about having my very own little pumpkin patch. Fingers crossed. I'm hoping they'll be big enough and healthy looking to include in some of my fall photo sessions. I'm taking pride in watching them sprout up right now, so I know I'd love to have them in my set ups.

Back in the trailer, Randy's next and biggest task was to install the Air conditioner/heating unit. It was ordered online and when the Fedex truck pulled up and we watched two men struggle to carry this box up our walkway we just kind of looked at each other like, "oh this should be fun" This big, heavy thing needed to get on top of the trailer....gulp.... He held that off a few days while he cut the hole in the ceiling and got it prepped for the unit to be installed.

Luckily, my dad was able to help with getting this massive box up top. They had Randy’s pickup truck backed up to the trailer, 2 ladders set up and a plan. I was again sweating and thought someone was going to end up in the back of an ambulance. That's how I operate. Well, they had to lift this thing while Randy stood on one ladder, my dad in the back of the pickup and the plan was to first get in on top of the other ladder that was placed in the middle of them. The first try was unsuccessful and all I heard from my dad was "nope nope put it down" I said oh my god I cannot watch, but also couldn't look away. They were both leaning in to pick the unit up but it wasn’t close enough to their bodies. Luckily they got it up on the next try and from there they were golden. The unit is very fancy and we made sure AC and Heat worked and they sure do.

Our dogs liked coming to hang out while we were working in there. We'd take coffee breaks and lunch breaks, bring drinks and fast food back and enjoy the chill out time. It's been a lot of work, especially on Randy but looking at it and feeling such accomplishment is such a huge joy. He made a great small desk for us in there. We'll have our laptop and samples out, along with a monitor to display images from previous sessions. We are designing everything with the client in mind, from safety for little ones while they're in our studio to the end of our time together when we'll assist with ordering.

We purchased new studio lighting a few months back and I'm absolutely in love with it besides the fact that due to their weight and size they were tough to carry to clients homes and set up. These are so ideal for our new place. They're going to be mounted and ready for action.

In between all of this work we decided we should take the dogs on a hike at this place Randy read about. So we got them all leashed up and ready to go, 3 of our girls came with us and we had a great time. The weather was so perfect, a little cool but definitely the feel of a late spring night. Hills were kind of steep and I was grateful to have Zina giving me a boost by pulling me up behind her haha. While we started coming back down a bird swooped by our heads almost hitting us. She literally landed at Em’s foot. She had to stop walking she was stopped in her tracks. We all stood there amazed and realized, ok this bird was injured as it’s not moving or trying to fly away. Well, the bird then jumped on Em’s arm and up to her head. Luckily she had her sweatshirt hood pulled up. Macenzie then took her sweatshirt off and proceeded to try and wrap her into it. The bird then flew to Emily’s head and then onto Macenzies back. We kept walking down the path with her hitching a ride and once we got down we wrapped her up in the sweatshirt and brought her into our van. Luckily the dogs were totally oblivious to that fact. I told the girls “whatever you do, do not let that bird pop out of her little enclosure“. All I could picture was this bird flapping around ballistic because 2 dogs were chasing her over all of our bodies while I drove down the street. I laugh now, but my palms were sweating I tell ya. Luckily we were only about 10 minutes from home. We put a towel into a cat carrier when we got home and put her in that. She was so pretty and so tame almost as if she was someone’s pet before. She was drinking water out of a dropper and eating seeds right from our hands. It was amazing. I contacted a few rescues but because it was 7:30pm they were all closed. Luckily my mom sent me information for one she found on facebook. They were open until 9 and I got this wonderful guy that asked me questions and had me text him pictures. It came back she was a female Cardinal and as luck would have it there was a bird rescuer that’s part of their organization that lived about 12 minutes from us. He gave me her info and I spoke with her and she told me to bring the bird for 9:45pm. Kind of past my bedtime but I didn’t think I was in the position to negotiate haha. Randy drove us over to her house and as I pulled up to this big old charming home i was in awe. There were trees in the big living room window, bird pens of all sorts and sizes throughout the yard and book shelves lined the entire wall in a connecting room that you could see right into. It was dark and the lights were on and no curtains or blinds covered up the beauty. When we got there and started walking up to the big wrap around porch this lady walks out, probably in her late 40s, short with black very curly hair up in a crazy pony tail. She was adorable and what I picture now when I think of a “bird lady”. She was so amazing and promised us she‘d take good care of the bird. I think she could sense we felt attached to her and cared about her outcome. We thought about her a lot over the next few days and I was happy to get a text from the woman asking me exactly where we found her because she would be able to be released within the week. I was glad to hear that and she told me that what she thinks happened was blunt trauma from running into something. That can leave them disoriented and neurologically calm and weird. Unreal. We just keep thinking how amazing it is that this bird needed some help and literally landed with our family. These volunteers for wildlife are also beyond amazing. What they do for these animals is so selfless. She’s already back home and they made sure she was doing well enough to thrive before they released her. That event definitely made our hearts happy. To think about the small life of that little bird and what a huge role we played in it. She’ll never remember us but we wont’ forget her.

Back at Home Depot we hit the flooring aisle. There's nothing else left at this point. This was the last big part of the job and in my mind, most exciting part of the process. Picking the flooring!! It's literally going to tie the entire room together and complete it. After looking at quite a few different options we chose a light wood color that gave me a little bit of a rustic feel which I absolutely love. We are going to make 2-3 more temporary floor pieces as well. They will be made with a lighter material and can be placed down when our clients would like to switch up the wood. As of the time I'm writing this post, this is where we are at. Most of the flooring is put down. We are about half a box short so we’ll need to go back for more tomorrow but this is what we have!! After the last foot or two of floor is down Randy has a few paint touch ups to do and we are ready to start securing lighting to the wall and figuring out how to hang multiple back drops. There will be portraits and canvases ordered for the walls Picking my favorites from all of my past sessions is super exciting! We’ll have many samples on display as well. Albums, photo cubes, greeting cards and ornaments. We are also in the middle of ordering a new logo that will go on the side of the trailer and new watermarks for my social media images!

I have an outdoor maternity session Saturday evening at Roger Williams Park. I cannot wait for that and it is of course at my favorite time of day when the sun is still out but not harsh. It's actually the most perfect and cooperative it could possibly be. This is going to be a beautiful session which I will be blogging about next week. Until then, I hope everyone stays well and can’t wait to show you all the complete and ready to roll studio.

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