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My name is Susan, and Designs by Prater is what you could call my creative outlet that pulls together my photography, art and graphic design endeavors! The most important thing you should know about me is that my life revolves around my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, my family (especially my husband Todd, son JD, and puppy Lexie), family and friends. Other than that, I am pretty much obsessed with photography, Coca-Cola, and the color green (and all shades of green for that matter, especially teal). I love sports but cannot play them worth a lick. I would not trade my time as a college student at Mississippi State for anything in the world. The friendships and memories made there will stick with me forever...Hail State and Go Dogs! And I am very picky about my chocolate chip cookies, grilled cheeses, and shaved ice (gotta be SnoBiz watermelon flavor).

Friday, July 20, 2012

i love etsy {friday's five}

pinterest has become an addiction for many these days. with the ability and ease to create and save countless styleboards for a whole slew of topics, anyone can feel like a martha stewart of the craft world or a julia childs of the culinary world. but before there was pinterest, there was etsy! and oh, how i love etsy!

for today's edition of friday's five, i want to share 5 of my most recent purchases from some of the best shops out there selling vintage or homemade goods.

a personalized chevron iPhone 4 tough case from Pencil Shavings Studio

striped airplane applique onesie from Short and Sweet Peas

retro camera prints from handz' ReStyleshop

baby pilot aviator knit hat and felt goggles for JD's birthday photos from Goodnight Mouse

Christmas stockings in various red and green polka dot and tile patterns from bebe sniklefritz

what treasures and keepsakes have you found recently on etsy? what are some of your favorite shops? let us know either on the blog or our FB page :)

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

a diaper cake alternative {thursday's trend from pinterest}

earlier this year, a few of my best lady friends from collierville threw a little baby shower for angela was expecting her first baby, a precious girl, at the end of april. wanting to make something out of diapers that could double as a centerpiece and not be the traditional diaper cake, i took to pinterest to see what other diaper centerpieces the creative peeps were pinning.

and i stumbled across this pin on how to make a diaper motorcycle:


so with a step by step tutorial, i attempted to make one of my own! How did I do?


  thanks amanda for the pics :) and thanks to this wonderful group of friends!!




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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

babies galore and another congrats {wednesday's window}

so for today's window into my world, i had planned on posting some photos from a recent small and intimate wedding at simply done last month. however, that post will be coming to your computer screen next week now...because i have a very special congrats to share to a family that is very dear to me!

there is this girl named kathryn. she and i have always joked that we can't remember the first time we ever met, but we just became great friends instantly during our freshman year at mississippi state. she was my unofficial 5th roommate, a bridesmaid in my wedding, and one of the subjects from the recent girls day out in tupelo photos i just posted. and she is expecting a baby in just a month from now!

and if that alone wasn't something to cheer about (which it is!), her brother and sister-in-law had their own little bundle of joy today :)  and just another tidbit, while they were preggo together, they also had another sister-in-law AND a cousin both preggo, too...just imagine how fun Christmas will be for the extended family with 4 little squishy cuddlebugs all rolling about in front of the Christmas tree!

many congrats and best wishes to them and all their extended family! enjoy this special time :) 

kathryn the bride (on the right) getting ready for her special day alongside her sister-in law emily (on the left)
emily and kizer (on the left) welcomed Cannon into their arms just over an hour ago,
and kathryn and kevin (on the right) will welcome Kinley about a month from now
and kathryn and kevin, i fully expect you to sing just like this to kinley when she is born...haha!


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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

displaying prints on easels {tuesday's tip}

do you have a lot of frames already holding pictures you don't want to replace in your house and want a new way to display a recent picture? or are you tired of how much of your image is cropped out when you print it in 8x10 size because it is too hard to find an 8x12 frame that you love? well, i have a solution for you that i use all the time in my house!

print your images in whatever size you want, give it a little backing with matboard or foam core, and then display it on an easel!

i love to order these landscape-oriented prints on metallic paper mounted on matboard
to display on these cute little easels i found at hobby lobby

a close-up - the easels come in black and dark natural wood finish
then i find these bigger easels all the time at places like big lots, pier1, tj maxx, etc.
and many thanks to previous portrait client Amy for sending in this shot of how she displayed her large print in her home on an easel, similar to the ones you can find at hobby lobby!


have you already displayed photos in your home on easels? if so, post a picture on my FB page and show off your mad skills! until next time, take care and...
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Monday, July 16, 2012

a recap and a renewed focus {monday's memory}

i think i have apologized before for the lack of posts on this blog, but i am not sure i have ever explained why that has been the case. but before i can move on to sharing with you my goals for {designs by prater} and this ol' blog, i feel i owe you that explanation! so please bear with me as it might get a little emotional, but i hope hearing more about the person and family behind the camera might help you learn a little bit more about what makes up {dbp} and the style of photography i shoot. :)

this last year has held both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for our family. Almost 12 months ago, we welcomed our precious son JD into the world!!! after a scheduled 8 am induction, 14 hours of labor, almost two hours of pushing, and a c-section, he was born late on August 2 weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces. and that day and every day since, we praise God for the sweet little boy we've been blessed with and thank Him for the opportunity to love on and care for one of His children this side of Heaven.

first family portrait
while not glamorous, our first family of 3 portrait that i will always treasure
then 10 days later, the hubs and i celebrated 5 years of completely blissful marriage! hahaha...if i am being honest, though, we are like any other couple - learning each day a little bit more about the other and how we each tick. we've fought over the important and the silly stuff, forgiving each other every time with a renewed  commitment and promise to always put our relationship before our momentary emotions. Thankfully, the love we share only continues to grow stronger as we live, work, play, serve, and worship alongside the other daily. plus, we truly enjoy each other's company and love to laugh together, making life a lot of fun! :)

wedding reception
cutting the cake at our 2006 wedding reception at the palmeiro center in Starkville, MS
(many thanks to our wonderful photographer, Kathy Stephens)
fast forward another month, and we loaded up the car (and i mean loaded it up!) with everything we thought we needed to take our newborn to the beach for a long weekend to meet up with my hubby's family and celebrate the nuptials of his sister Megan to her now-groom Eric. and yes, i was blessed to have been able to photograph their wedding ON.THE.BEACH...

prater and wicker family
the Praters and the Wickers after the wedding
 ...and capture some very special memories that we will all cling on to so dearly for the rest of our lives. and here is why...

that beach trip was one of the last trips we would get to take with my mother-in-law and gave our son JD some very precious time with his nana that he now won't be able to get again this side of Heaven...

jd with nana and papa out by the pool the day after the wedding
Late last fall, nana's cancer spread with a vengeance to her colon and she needed surgery on top of her chemo to hopefully rid her earthly body of the cancer. after spending both thanksgiving and christmas in a hospital with only a couple of weeks at home in between the two holidays, her body, weakened by the chemo and an infection, could no longer fight off the disease.

on the hardest day of our lives, we made what seemed like both the quickest and longest 2.5 hour trip ever down to columbus, mississippi, to be alongside nana and family as we made the decision to take her off life support and release her spirit to inhabit her Heavenly body right next to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, where she has been completely healed. i cannot begin to express what those moments felt like as we witnessed both a tear run down her face once she knew she was leaving us behind and one last smile grace her face as she saw her Heavenly Father and ran into His arms.

one last glorious God-given day when nana got to spend time with all her grandbabies
just days before she went home to be with the Lord...this day was such a miracle!
 ...........so the next several hours, days, weeks, and months have been us learning how to move on. and we won't lie, it's been tough. while i only knew her 6 short years, i feel like i knew her all my life. she loved, and i mean LOVED, her family SO deeply, and our sweet JD and his cousins Peyton and Macie were the apple of her eye. and her husband and children grieve her loss every moment...when they long to hear her laugh or even her get on to them about something silly or stupid they just did. while they rejoice that she is no longer in pain, their hearts still break and their lives feel a deep void. but we keep going....Lord willing and Savior sustaining....we keep going....and we smile....and we enjoy life...and we tell JD HOW MUCH his nana loved him....and we show him pictures of their precious time together.

jd with nana on the quare
this is WHY i take pictures...constantly.

but wait...we aren't finished yet. somehow in the midst of this, life decided to throw a shoulder injury at todd that somehow managed to turn into an infection in his joint leading to surgery, a week-long stay in the hospital, 6ish weeks of daily IV antibiotics through a PICC line in his arm, and many weeks (still counting) of occupational therapy to get full mobility back in that shoulder...all without his mom there by his side. but we keep going...

jd hanging out with daddy in the hospital
we are healing. we are remembering fondly. and we are making memories together.

so that's why it's been hard to get back to life as usual in {dbp} world. but from here on out, you're going to see a newer {dbp}, one more refreshed and, hopefully, a little bit more polished and interesting! so for the next few months or so, i am challenging myself to blog at least 5 times a week with a mix of personal posts, business posts, and tips for you to make sure you are capturing and preserving memories for your family.

so here is what we are looking at for my new blog schedule:
monday's memory: blogging a personal pic from the past, coupled with a personal story
tuesday's tip - tip for you on taking photos at home, displaying photos at home, etc.
wednesday's window - sharing photos from a recent portrait session or wedding or family trip
thursday's trend - talking current trends found on pinterest and even attempting some of them :)
friday's five - sharing fave products, recent discoveries, and random thoughts

and yes, you guessed it! today's post was the first installment of monday's memory...so i hope you made it through to the end. i promise that future posts won't be nearly as long, i just had a lot to catch you up on this time. thanks for listening and take care!


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Friday, July 13, 2012

a congratulatory wish {and welcome to new baby}

Just wanted to take a minute to extend a huge congratulations to one of our wedding couples, Jessica and Jacob, who just welcomed their son Jacob Carson into the world earlier today! May the next several minutes, hours, days, months, and years give you much joy as you experience the indescribable love each precious new gift from God brings to your heart and home. I pray blessings upon you and your entire family! and maybe i'll be lucky enough to get him in front of my camera one day :)




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Thursday, July 12, 2012

a late spring cleaning sale! {memphis portrait and wedding photographer}

We are a little late to our spring cleaning, but if you are a portrait or wedding client of DBP from June 2011 or before, you might be interested in our current sale! :)





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Monday, July 9, 2012

mini : girls day out {tupelo mississipp modern portrait photographer}

i had the pleasure of spending this past weekend in tupelo, ms, spending some quality girl time with a few of my besties from the college days at mississippi state! we always try to get together every six months or so but especially when something big is happening for one of us like a wedding or birth of a child. So this get together was to celebrate the birth of kathryn's first child, the already so sweet and very active baby girl kinley :)

and since i arrived to town early that morning and we had some time to kill before lunch, we just had to do an impromptu photo session, right?!? i just couldn't wait to get kathryn's baby bump in front of my camera for my first photos of kinley :)

and because you don't really have to have a reason to get some fresh new photos of yourself, melissa and april indulged me by letting me at least give them some new facebook profile photos, too ;)

here are a few of my faves!

tupelo 09

tupelo 11

tupelo 12

and yes, they even got me in front of the camera...and maybe a special prize for the first person to correctly answer why this spot was chosen for this pic ;)

tupelo 14

thanks to april for this group photo where even my little man joined in on the fun

tupelo 15

tupelo 17

tupelo 20

tupelo 22

tupelo 23

and for a few extras, watch the slideshow!








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Friday, July 6, 2012

mini : wallace family {collierville family photographer}

i was so thrilled to get danielle and her sweet and active little two year old sydnee in front of my camera again to see how much little miss has grown! and doubly glad that they decided to bring along the rest of the family, too :)

when i last photographed miss sydnee at Christmas when she turned two, she was the quintessential two year old - moving all over the place at lightning speed! it's crazy how much of a difference six short months can make, but while she was still very active, we were able to grab and hold her attention a little bit better this time. but if you know me and my photography style well, you know that the candid shots are my favorite images anyways! so whether standing still or on the move, i think we ended up with some wonderful photos that her family will cherish for years to come.

here are a few of my faves, and be sure to check out the slideshow at the end for more!

wallace 01

wallace 02

wallace 05

wallace 06

wallace 10

wallace 12

wallace 11







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