I'm mthree. Those are my initials. Always have been, and thanks to a hubby with a "M" last name; always will be.

I've been a designer for over ten years, I was an animator and a filmmaker once, I was a bride before I was a photographer, I'm a new business owner, but I've always been an artist.

You can get a glimpse of where I've been, a better look at where I am and a peek at where I'm going right here.

You gotta S -T-R-E-T-C-H your browser window to see the BIG pictures...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Unexpected Delays

The wedding post you all are waiting for (anxiously, I'm sure!) might be delayed until tomorrow. It will hopefully go up tonight, but might not arrive until tomorrow. Please forgive me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Last Monday I didn't have much to say, so I skipped this little ritual. Sorry to anyone who was disappointed.


Have you heard about this guy? He left everything he had, took only what he could fit in a school size backpack and hit the road to complete this list of 50 things he wanted to do. He has been posting his experiences on a website as he goes, and of course it has gone viral - and people are helping him complete his list. I saw him on Good Morning America on Friday - they helped him "Tell Donald Trump 'You're Fired' ". I just love it when people decide to say "This isn't working for me - I'm going to redesign my life". It takes courage to break out of the mold, but I really think that we weren't put here to punch the clock, hate our jobs and just make it through the majority of most days, living for the few hours leftover. It is okay to do what what we love, and to pursue that relentlessly. If you don't wake up everyday anxious to get started on what lies ahead maybe you need to change what you wake up for.


Every once in awhile I have been catching this show, Ace of Cakes, on the Food network late at night while trying to fall asleep. Problem is I find the show so fun I don't fall asleep. It is all about this creative cake making company in Baltimore - they can make literally anything out of cake it seems. What is fascinating to me is the struggles they go thru figuring out exactly how to make each commission. This week is "Wedding Week" and I can't wait to see what they create.


My sister is starting a home-based day care. She came over this last Saturday and did some work for me so I could spend a couple of hours creating a logo and business cards for her. (Yes, that is how busy I am right now - if you ask for a favor I would usually just do, I actually have to buy the time from myself by having the other person do something I needed to do, crazy, I know. But Katie is a gem and was happy to help). Anyway, here is what I came up with. I tried to keep it a bit modern and clean but still kid-friendly without being childish. If you or anyone you know is looking for child care services in the Racine area - please send me an email (mollymthreestudio.com) and I'll give you her information. She is taking clients from infant to 5 years old, and will begin mid-May. (Hey, what good is a blog if you can't stump for your family when they need it?)


Many of you have asked how Ringo is doing - he's doing great! I'm convinced he has grown a bit despite the fact he hasn't gained an ounce. He has learned to go both up and down the stairs and just last night showed off his new skill of jumping off the couch without ending up upside down. (It's a big jump for such a small dog) We are still working on potty training, and thanks to some prompting from the vet, we have begun training him to last all night in his crate and hold it. I'm proud to say that after four nights, he woke this morning without having messed in his crate - I was so, so proud! I'm going to try to grab a pic of him later today, I'll update the blog with it if I do.


Hubby is on his annual trip with the guys to Vegas and comes home tonight. I can't wait, I have missed him so much (and so does Ringo - he has taken to sleeping in Hubby's discarded clothes on the bedroom floor). Which always surprises me because we did five years long-distance where we often didn't see each other for months - and now when he goes on a trip for just a few days I can't wait for him to get back. I talked to him last night and he is having so much fun he has lost his voice - which I always find so cute.


Tune in for the images from the first wedding of the year tomorrow!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Monica has tagged me - with a new game. And since it is Monica who did so, I'll play.

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 songs you are embarrassed to admit to others you like and tell why.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm a bit obsessive about these kinds of things - I went thru a period in high school where I only listened to the Oldies station (it followed my discovery of The Beatles, which I'm still obsessed with), and if you look at my fifth grade folders you will find them emblazoned with hand-drawn versions of the logos for Poison, Guns and Roses and Whitesnake. Admittedly, I think I liked that music at that age because the cute boys did. Although to this day hearing "Welcome to the Jungle" brings back distinct memories of gym class. It is not uncommon for me to listen to the same CD, or the same song for that matter, over and over again for days or weeks.

I introduced Hubby to country music (when we met I worked for FM106 and he made fun of me for it) and now he is a bigger fan than I am. He introduced me to classic and southern rock. I don't think I'll ever convert him to showtunes or classical, but I do try. Pretty much the only music I don't care for is hard core rap (though I do own a 50 cent album) and heavy, heavy metal (though I am a Metallica fan). Oh, and smooth Jazz - I can't stand smooth jazz.

Okay, Okay, I took a trip thru my itunes and made a list. I couldn't think of any current songs I love that I'm embarrassed about, but there are one-time favorites that I'm always happy to rediscover and I'm fairly embarrassed about some of them:

1. "Flowers on the Wall" The Statler Brothers
This song is rich with childhood memories of driving with my family in our brown van between our home in Roanoke Virginia and our family here in Wisconsin. My father loved The Statler Brothers (and Alabama if I recall) and we would listen to a cassette tape to them many times on the three day trip. I can recall my brother and sister and I singing at the top of our lungs to this song, and to this day I know all the words by heart. It is also because of these car trips that I know all the songs on the "Free to be You and Me" album by Marlo Thomas and Friends backwards and forwards.

2. Any current Britney Spears song.
Yes, yes, I know. What can I say - more times than not, the girl gives us something with a killer beat and they make great workout songs. Shaved head or not. This would definately be one that I would be embarrassed to admit to some people.

3. "The MMMmmm Song" Crash Test Dummies
That guy has a killer voice - and the rest of that album is pretty good too.

4. "Mambo Number 5" Lou Bega
I actually used this song for one of my tap dance numbers back in my pageant days. I still get the urge to break out my
sequined gangster hat and bust a move when it comes on.

5. "Gangsta's Paradise" Coolio
This song came out around the time I graduated high school, and for some reason at that time in my life I thought it was cool to play up the fact that I went to a high school that was a bit, shall we say, rough. If you ask Hubby, he will tell you it was in the ghetto. I will be honest and say it is walking distance from said ghetto. It was a great high school, but like all the schools in my hometown, there was a gang problem. An avoidable one if you wanted to avoid it - but my high school experience did include learning to avoid such groups and seeing people get arrested in the hallways, guns being pulled out of their lockers. So, at that time in my life, this song spoke to me for some reason - a clean-cut suburban kid. Doesn't make sense, I know. Yeah, the reason behind this one is embarrassing.

Okay, I tag:
Sarah & Steven

Friday, April 25, 2008

Carie & Peter

Theirs is a classic midwestern young couple meeting - they caught each other's eyes at the mall while out with friends.

When it came time to make it all official - Peter did his best to slip one past Carie. As she puts it "I wore a lot of jewelry back in the day. Rings on every finger". Peter had taken to teasing her about this habit and challenged her to not wear any rings one day. Not one to back down to a challenge - Carie showed up for their date that night with empty fingers. By the end of the night Peter had repopulated one of them with a classic engagement ring. I think Carie will attest that it was worth losing her other jewelry to gain this important piece.

Peter is in the Air Force, stationed in Idaho, so my experience with this couple was a bit condensed. We shot their engagement session on a windy day last week only three days before their wedding. We had a great time though and it was a wonderful warm-up for the big day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Katie & Dave

They traveled halfway around the world to school in Australia where they finally met; one girl from Waukesha and one boy from Madison falling in love down under.
He graduated a year ahead of her and headed to the sunny shores of California. One day she opened her door in Australia and found a trail of hundreds of candles leading up the stairs. Peppered along the way were little notes that said things like "Remember when we rode on a roller coaster?" and "Remember when we swam in the ocean?" and finally, at the top was a note that read "Remember when I asked you to marry me?". She looked up and there stood Dave, with a ring.

In about a month they will add "Remember when we got married?" to that stack of notes.

Katie and Dave couldn't be any more fun or any cuter. We had a blast during their engagement session. They are total hams and turned every location into a playground. As evidenced by this dramatic portrayal of how windy it was:

This sequence happened on a bench by the courthouse. We were shooting away normally when this odd man walked by and started um, "propositioning" Katie. They handled it well, and then when he left, Katie made the face you see in the lower right. I, of course, kept shooting.

Katie and Dave are both musicians, so when we found this sign, it seemed meant to be.

Dave is a drummer, and the tone and rhythm of this song just seemed to fit their energy. That's right people, the slideshow has music!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wedding Numer Uno

The first wedding of the year (for me) is today. I'm excited - I can't wait to get into the groove of shooting again! Ringo is excited too, as you can clearly see.

These are some of the first images taken with the new camera - I'm excited about that too. I love everything coming out of it and seeing my lenses at work in full frame is soooo nice!

Have a great weekend and enjoy any good weather we get.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Design Suite Process - Part 3

This is another post in the continuing series that describes the Design Suite Process. Please click on "Design Suite Process" in the list to the right to see the previous posts.

When we last left Naomi and Mike, they were deciding on their final design after receiving some alternate versions of the original concepts.

They quickly settled on Design #1 and asked for some possible minute changes. Mike, being an english teacher, was concerned about their names not being capitalized. We also played with the wording some more. I could show you all of these incarnations, but frankly, they aren't very interesting unless they are your invitations. And, for the most part they all looked quite the same, except for the Capitalization experiment, which truly did alter the look of the invite.

After some discussion on the lower case version being better suited to the design, Naomi and Mike settled on doing it that way. I then set about designing the other components of their invitations - the rsvp card ( a postcard in this case) the reception card, the directions card, accomodations card, and finally a "More Fun" card that listed the rehearsal dinner and gift opening. To save on mailing costs, Naomi and Mike will be including that card in the invites going to those invited to those events. You aren't seeing that process because 9 times out of 10, once the main invite is decided on, I design these other pieces and they are usually spot on right away since they follow the main design. Once we had all of these other pieces ironed out and they met everyone's approval (triple proof-read on both ends), Naomi printed them out, signed them with an "Ok to print" written at the top and mailed in the proofs to me.

While I waited for snail mail to deliver the proofs, I ordered all of their paper (a beautiful off-white stock with a rich thickness), created the printing plates (an explanation of their printing process is below), cut the paper to size and ordered the ribbon. One of Naomi's main colors in the weddings is the ribbon color, it is a Midori Double Faced Satin ribbon called "Almond Blossom", available at Romantic Flowers. I also ordered the custom die-cut stickers to be made.

Once everything was ready and proofs were in hand, I got to printing. And here, dear readers are the lovely results:
(identifying information has been doctored in Photoshop)

The whole set:

All of the cards to the right of the main invite in this picture got stacked behind the main invite and inside of the vellum sleeve.

All items stacked and ready to be put in the envelope:

The Main Invite:

The Reception Card:

Directions are on the back:

RSVP card:

Accommodations card:

The "More Fun" card:

The pretty envelopes:

These invites were serigraphy printed, a process not unlike the way your t-shirts are printed. The result is a flat ink, not raised (like engraving or thermography) or indented (like letterpress), but with more hand-made hallmark than offset. You can see in some of these photos the variations that can result in ink coverage and opacity, lending the pieces a beautiful hand-made look.

Let me know what you think of the final results, and stay tuned in the coming weeks as we design the rest of their Suite (programs, placecards, etc).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A "Wonderful Life" Party

I love, LOVE it when my clients send me their invitations. It is just so fun receiving them and seeing what all the guests have received in anticipation of their big day. Plus, I can incorporate that into their photography as well, as explained here.

Yesterday, I got the invitation for Silva and Felipe's reception in the mail. I thought it was so clever that I had to share it.
Silva and Felipe are already married, but they are having a reception in Madison in July with family and friends at the Orpheum Theater. So it is very fitting that they have chosen to use the "It's a Wonderful Life" idea for the occasion. And they used a postcard of the Orpheum's marquee for their rsvp card. I just love it. It fits the event, the venue and their attitudes perfectly.
I have to say though that I would be sad to part with such a nice rsvp card - I wonder if that was an issue for their guests as well.
Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to shooting their party.

(I changed their names for privacy with a little photoshop wizardry)

Silva and Felipe got their custom cards from moo.com, though it looks like they designed them themselves. The back of their card has a small sticker of the original poster. Moo has tons of fun prodcuts, including those stickers and one day I will find a use for their mini-cards if for no other reason than they come in a fun box.

Monday, April 14, 2008

MIscellaneous Monday

Proof that I am either a total dork, or just getting old : My friend Jamie came over on Saturday night and we were very excited to watch the latest Harry Potter movie on DVD (yes, I'm that far behind in my movie watching), drink our favorite beer, Summer Shandy (thank God it is back!), and eat popcorn. Oh yes, and watch our dogs play together. I think they are officially best friends now. Jamie even brought some Woofy Pop (yes, I am speaking of special microwave popcorn for dogs) which the boys enjoyed quite a bit. Where were our husbands during all of this? At a boxing match and out with the guys. This is a sad, sad state of affairs, sadder still that we had a great time.


One of the best perks of owning your own business is setting your own hours - and for the last 10 months or so I have completely enjoyed sleeping in until 8 or 9am, staring work in my pajamas, etc. Now with Ringo in our lives, the day begins at 6:30am, 7 if we are really lucky. My reward for getting out of bed this early? A prompt pee and poop in the yard from him. Oh well, he's worth it.


Speaking of Ringo, he has discovered how to climb up the stairs, but sadly not down. We live in a home with three levels, so two thirds of the house is either up or down from where we spend most of our time. So, Ringo gets all excited and climbs up the stairs to the loft, very proud of himself, and then cries for help mercilessly because he can not get down. All attempts to teach him how have so far been fruitless. But, Hubby keeps trying.


I realize I am becoming one of those people who talks about their dogs too much and I need to put a kabash on this.


The first wedding of the season is coming up this weekend! Woot! Please give us sunshine and temperate conditions, please.


Sara's invites are playing optical illusion tricks as they dry. Here is a sneak peak at the reception cards:


I found this blog/website a few weeks ago, and it is hilarious. Check it out for a few laughs.


Yes, I am all fluff today and no substance. Have a great Monday!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I was looking at the Photo Fieldtrip shots below and realized that I kind of didn't give them their due. What you see in that slideshow is more or less straight out of camera - with some basic adjustments. I admit, I was in a rush to get a blog post up so I could get some other work done here in the studio and so I did what had to be done, but not necessarily what needed to be done. While basic adjustments are often enough, sometimes the presence of a photo needs a little more coaxing to come out. So I revisited four of my favorite shots with a little love in Photoshop this morning. I think they are better - and more what I was really going for. What do you think? Do you like the originals or the edited ones better?

*Tip: You can click on the little button in the lower right hand corner of the slideshow (the one with the little squares in it) to get a thumbnail view of each shot, and then click on the one you want to see)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Photo Fieldtrip - Abandoned House

Last week when I was in Elkhart Lake for Alejandra and Eric's Engagement Session, I took a wrong turn coming home. Lucky thing too, since it was because of that wrong turn that I stumbled upon this fabulous abandoned house. Of course I pulled over grabbed the camera and did some exploring.

I was intrigued by this house because the left half was made of stone, with no roof left, and a big tree was growing up out from inside those walls. The right hand side was two stories and covered in stamped metal tin siding, something I hadn't seen before. It looked like the home had suffered from a house fire at some point, and possibly had been boarded up afterwards. What is particularly striking is that there was a set of electric holiday candles still sitting in each window, almost as if the home was abandoned mid-season. There was a more modern house about 75 yards behind this one, clearly of the same property. And this old home had some fun "country" touches added to the front (post abandonment), and was meticulously locked up. It had an odd combination of windows and doors that had clearly been attended to post-destruction, and ones that had been left to the elements. I'm guessing the people that live in the newer home also own, or maybe once lived in this older one. However, it is hard to tell, because the tree growing inside the left side was huge - and had clearly been thriving there for many, many years, yet it doesn't reason that the holiday candles could have survived the elements that long to look as intact as they did. Curious for sure.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Opening Day was fantastic. Nice weather, a great game, and no annoying (okay well not so annoying) people surrounding our seats. Hubby's aunts have a suite, so we spent the second half of the game in the Suite with them and also my Sister-in-Law and Mother-in-Law. All in all, a great time, even if we didn't get to tailgate because of the new puppy.


Speaking of the new puppy - he is doing great. He has figured out going to the bathroom outside with some consistency and the crate training is getting better. (Thanks to all who emailed their suggestions, or commented!) I'm looking forward to seeing his progress next week at this time after we have had a full week of a more consistent schedule. This weekend was pretty rough on establishing any sort of routine for him.


Drumroll please! I booked my first destination wedding! I am thrilled to say that Hubby and I will be spending several days at the beginning of December in Jamaica shooting Deb and Tony's wedding in Montego Bay! If there are any other destination brides out there that want their own photographer, please shoot me an email. Deb and Tony are getting married at a Sandals Resort - known for telling brides that you must use their photographer - not true! As long as the photographer is a guest of the resort with your party, you can bring your own.


Ringo had a playdate on Saturday. You will remember the infamous Optimus Prime who belongs to our friends, Jamie and Craig. The miniature weiner dog always seemed so tiny and delicate to us all, but put him next to the three pound wonder that is Ringo and he is huge! The two had a great time playing together, only trumped by how much fun Jamie and I had watching them and laughing at their antics.

They were moving too fast for most pictures - but I did get this one when they were having a little back and forth over a certain toy:


My computer went in for a tune-up over the weekend - a free service thanks to my Apple ProCare membership. I also had a backup consultation with the Geniuses. Since I shoot weddings, I take protecting my images very seriously. I have been using a somewhat time-consuming process of hard-drives and disks to backup each wedding and session. Since I also had Leopard installed on my machine this weekend (loooove it!) I have a fun new feature called Time Machine that backs up my whole computer every hour, so that everything is retreiveable, even in the event of a full system crash. And I bought a 1 terrabyte backup external hard-drive that with the help of a nifty program called Super Duper, backs up all of my files on my computer and the external hard-drives I store images on primarily, every day. So, if you are a client of mine, your photos now exist on an external hard-drive, are backed up onto the Terrabyte drive, are backed up on disk in a fire-safe box, on disk in your folder, and then also in California on the Pictage servers. There is no way I am loosing anyone's wedding. Whew!


Saturday night, Hubby and I met 13 of my cousins for the Ultsch Cousin Reunion. Since we are all older now (some of us with our own little families) it has come to pass that we don't see each other very often. So, we planned months in advance for an evening out at Lucille's. We had a blast, even though six people couldn't make it. It was so nice to look around the tables and see all of these people that are related and also such good friends. How lucky we are to have family that we truly enjoy spending time with and look forward to hanging out with, and who are some of our best friends. And not to mention, cousins who are so freakin' awesome. Our family rocks. Hubby has a trillion cousins who we see all the time, many of whom are his closest friends, so it was nice to get some time with my side of the family too.


Another drumroll please...(two in one monday!) The doorbell just rang and it was UPS delivering my brand-spankin' new camera! Woot! I can not wait to give this baby a spin! Every wedding I'm scheduled to shoot this year just got a great upgrade since I'll be using this fabulous tool. Don't get me wrong, I'm much more of a "it isn't the camera, it is how you use it" type of person, but the advancements this model has over my last one will really free me up to take some spectacular shots. Woot! (yes, that is also too "woots" in one post)
I'm still stressing that it costs almost as much as my first car did, but I keep reminding myself that it is an investment. I'm sure there will be some test shots up on the blog later this week.


Have a great Monday!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hello, I'm Ringo.

Ringo the Yorkie, that is, named for the Beatle.

On Tuesday, Hubby and I got our first puppy ( and proubably only one). If you know me well, you know that I have been wanting a puppy for about 4 or 5 years now - and that Hubby actually "gave" me one for a graduation gift from Graduate School, but the timing was never right, and so I have waited (not so patiently at times) until now to actually get one.

Our new little Mthree mascot is three months old, 3.2 pounds and about the size of Hubby's size 13 feet and he has been a real joy to watch as he explores and discovers new things. He has what I am affectionately calling a "lazy tongue" because he seems to kind of forget to put it all back in his mouth from time to time, so when he does that he looks up at you and it appears you are being given a silent raspberry.

We have been desperately working on crate training him, but it has been rough to say the least. If anyone has any tips on that, please share them. The potty training is going very slowly, but I feel like he will eventually get that, especially because he doesn't go in his crate all night.

I'll do my best not to make this a blog all about Ringo (hmmm... maybe he needs his own blog....), but I'm sure he will make appearances from time to time, especially as he learns to "sit" and "stay" so I can get a decent picture.

On an administrative note, I will be out of the office most of Friday, and my computer is going in for yearly maintenance until Sunday. I have a backup computer to use, but if I'm not as speedy as usual with the emails, please forgive me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Alejandra & Eric - Engagement

They met at an Anti-Valentine's Day party when he spilled a beer on her lap.
It has been true love ever since.

Last Friday I took a trip up to Elkhart Lake to meet Alejandra and Eric. They live in Denver, so I've never actually met them, only talked over the phone. Eric's family (and in recent years, Alejandra too) have spent many a summer vacation at the lake, so they thought it would be a great spot to tie the knot. We spent the afternoon chasing the sun for warmth (it was a balmy 38 degrees) and dodging the mud. The town is charming, but Allie and Eric were more so.

I was feeling wholly out of practice, having not done a shoot like this in a couple of months, but muscle memory must have kicked in because there are some great results! It is always disappointing how the internet dulls the colors on my work, but in this case especially - the real pictures are so vibrant!

Allie and Eric - enjoy the highlights here and I'll see you in June for your wedding! It was so fun getting to know you!

This store shares Eric's last name - fun coincidence, right?

I asked them if they could dance:

There was this cool caboose parked at the depot:

Here's the slideshow: