Thursday, October 16, 2014

Come see us!

If you are in the area consider our upcoming November workshop classes. Email us at for details.

A quick description: 

November 9, 2014: Glass ball Christmas Diorama with mixed greens,
snow and woodland creatures
November 16, 2014: Thanksgiving centerpiece with fruits, nuts, and
November 23, 2014: Christmas wreath for your front door with natural
Each class is $100.00 dollars per person and comes with all supplies
necessary for completing each project. Class takes place from 1:30 to
4:30 Sunday afternoon at my studio. We will serve both savory and
sweet treats. One of our publications comes free with each class and
there will be fun prizes and giveaways at each event. Class spaces are
limited to ten people.To sign up and pre-pay, email Jenny at

 We will also have a small holiday shop in our
studio exclusive to our class participants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Looking Up...

Giant freezer foam coolers started piling up on the front steps of the studio. 
Like giant igloo ice boxes, we received a barrage of fresh and frozen foods from our new client - all to be photographed in the next two weeks. I had my creative wits to land a new job and client by offering something for free. The funny thing is, that the follow up call with the Creative Director unveiled that we really weren't being considered for the job among the other 200 candidates, despite my rep being college friends from years before. What tipped them was that no one had ever offered to shoot a test for them. No one had ever "put their money where there mouth is." I jumped at the challenge, even though they sent me some of their toughest foods to photograph: even liver. It was not without its challenges, for sure. We needed an extra food-prep person, and many props and fresh garnishes. I worked every day on the photos to keep the pace, and had several items that required some re-shoots. 

 Food shots for a new client saved us at the very last moment.  A creative idea hatched in the nick of time.
As this was going on I prepared to approach another publisher. I put together a huge proposal for a new concept and made some dates to fly down south to make my pitch.  Even with our new client, Jenny and I were beyond struggling.  When you grow your business and it suddenly falters, it is hard to shrink yourself overnight. There are lots of detail expenses that exist that just can't evaporate. I drew from a very small amount of money to buy my plane ticket and with the same vigor as I offered the free test shots, I flew off to try to make a new situation for us. The reception is beyond what I expected, and what they asked of me next made me think fairy tales really can come true...

I am off this week to CITY FARMHOUSE in Franklin, Tennessee. I'll be there signing my new Halloween magazine, meeting Vintage by Nina author and, I'm sure, drooling over many fabulous vintage finds at the show. Come see me if you are nearby, and share your story about your adventures. I am looking forward to the kinship such a show offers, and most of all meeting CITY FARMHOUSE founder Kim Legget. 

See y'all there!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Comforts of Home...

Good idea or not, I am what I do: at least I've convinced myself of  that. Not a great idea, because when things are down business-wise, it really weighs on my self-worth. Regardless, it is a reality that I deal with day in and day out, and as I've gotten older and wiser (to some degree), it can be somewhat debilitating.  Like a roller coaster ride, it has its ups and downs. So in these trying economic times I have to be proactive in defeating those feelings. A business partner at one time told me that sharing these kind of feelings is "too dark" for a blog post. I disagree, as I see this as a way of simply being honest about how I deal with life, and writing about that provides a really clear way of letting it all "go." Here are the ways I combat the lows
SAVORING:  my time with my wife, my dog, my family...the blue skies, the leaves on the trees and the warmth of the air.  The natural world gives me so much pause and astounds all of my senses. Every day it is beautiful and comforting and provides me with something to feel good about:
  BEING QUIET:  Just taking a few moments to sit, reflect, and clear my mind.  I love being quiet with Jenny and Oscar, hearing their breathing, being present, feeling 'great-full' for what each of them brings to my life.

DAYDREAMING:  allowing my mind to wander to whatever "what-ifs" I can create. I often return to my childhood, my old neighborhood, and walk the block and remember so vividly who lived in each house, how we all played together, what the daylight looked like and how different moments felt and the light at those moments. I am lucky to have a very good photographic memory which allows me to run my past as if it were a movie.

 I'm sure there are other things that I do as well, but these stand out as the ones that are most comforting and therapeutic. My mind must must have times of freedom from all the constraints and demands of business, bills, home and car repair, and relationships to expand, and fly and be free. It's important for clarity, decisiveness and coping once one can take in the whole picture. And that is the very best part of combining who I am with what I do.
 Three things that I cherish about my house.
We have a wooden plank walkway from the house to the garage.  It was only meant for winter time, but I decided years ago to leave it in place. It has a worn, gray dock-like appearance about it and I love to hear our shoes clonk and clank on it like when we are on a beach pier.
 From our living room I can see a single urn that I placed in a small side garden in the yard.  It is a seasonal touchstone for me as I can  view it daily. We fill it with flowers for summer, a pumpkin in fall, a tree or twig with lights in the winter.  There is something so simple and poetic about the classical shape of a garden urn.

 Our glassed-in front porch has a dining table that we use for entertaining from time to time. Because it isn't part of our daily repertoire, it always feels a bit more special and sometimes like finding extra forgotten space when we use it.

  Excerpt from Wednesday's blog post:

"I haven't heard back from the client," I said to Jenny. Last night, as I lay awake, I dreamed up a thought: "We give them five free shots so they can see our work, surely that will sell them," I suggested to Jenny. I think Jenny thought it was a risky idea as we didn't really have the time to put into something like that, when we had absolutely no work. I called the client, made the offer and...