Jan 27, 2012

Dream Come True!

Finally!! I can finally tell you what I have been dying to tell you for months now! I am so excited that I couldn't even sleep last night.

I just got my advanced copy of my first book that I ever styled and photographed! Quilts from The House of Tula Pink.

And in honor of the advance copy, I am writing this post in pink!

I have so much to tell you and so many stories that go with this book, that I don't even know where to start. So for today, I will just share some quick pics that I took when I tossed the book down on my table and snapped the pics so I could show you. I don't even have any PR materials to upload yet. I didn't even wipe the crumbs off my table, as you can see, I was so excited!! I am so very honored to be a part of this book. I hadn't planned on writing about this book for about a month, as I was told to wait, but then I suddenly started to get congratulation emails from some people who didn't know a thing about it...and I wondered how in the world did they know? Then I discovered that Tula Pink finally announced the book...and I thought...I better let my readers know about it now! 

Before I go into some of the details, I first must thank some very key people. First, I want to thank Nancy Soriano who recommended me to the publisher for this job. It all started out way back when I attended the book signing in NYC for Where Women Cook, and Nancy approached me (I was floored that she even knew who I was) and told me that she may have a project for me the following spring. That was I all I knew. I am so grateful that she and the F & W Media team took a chance on me and hired me to do this job. By the way, if you haven't been to Nancy's site, you MUST stop over...it is fantastic!

Next, I must thank the publication team that I worked with personally, Kelly Biscopink, and Julie Barnett, for giving me complete freedom in my choice of location, styling, and shooting style. Having never met them before, they gave me complete control of the shoot and provided only technical direction of what shots were needed for the quilt projects. Everything else they trusted to me completely, and for that, I am so very grateful.

I have never met, nor spoke to the author and designer-extraordinaire, Tula Pink. I will admit, if I designed such fabulous quilts, I am not sure if I could just turn them over to a complete stranger for several months and let her shoot them without not even knowing what in the world she is doing with them or if she even gets my vision. But she gave me complete control over her babies, and because she had a name for each of them, I felt a bond with them and finding a "home" for them in each setup was not hard to think of. (Now accomplishing it is a whole different story....)

Finally, I have to say, in all honesty, if it weren't for Debbie McReynolds, Renee Gaska, and Cindy Engelhart, and Rusty at Forever Antiques, this shoot would have never happened - ever. Seriously. These gal pals, business women, (and Rusty) came through when I really needed them. They let me hold their items hostage (more on that later), they gave me keys to their homes and businesses so I could just come in take what I needed, when, and they put up with my crazy hours, fearful days, and encouraged me when I thought I just would not be able to do some of the things I eventually got done. They will be forever in my heart and a big part of this beautiful book.

Like I said, I have so many, many funny and amazing stories to tell, but for today, I just want to show you how excited I am and share with you what I have sitting right next to me as I type this. The book will be available in April, I believe. And I hope to have a button on my blog and WEBSITE soon. Yes, my website was supposed to be done by now...so very excited... but my web guy is waiting for updated software to come in from the company so I wait....I am thhhiiissss close to finally having my website done!

But for now, please take a look at Tula's book. Her quilts are just super amazing...and I'm not even a quilt person. Tula designs fabrics that aren't "grandma" and she is super cool...go look at her site and you will see. 

Thank you for letting me share my joy with you. I so appreciate it and appreciate you...

A special thank you to Tiffany and Alan Smith who lent me their barn for the day...total strangers. I just knocked on their door and moments later, I was unloading my car....a story for later.

Don't you just love the little graphics, font, and the little stitching graphic that Julie and Kelly chose for the layouts? They are perfect, I think. Very talented editors...

I just love the font that they chose and graphic print...

Isn't this little stitching graphic perfect?

Over the next few weeks, I hope I don't bore you, but I will be showing some photos that weren't used, as well share some behind the scenes photos and tell you some really interesting stories and how I felt during those hot months that I shot in this abandon building...and what I experienced.

Oh...you didn't think I forgot about my wonderful barber husband, did you? You've heard of saving the best for last, right? I must thank my fabulous BETTER half for not only loading and unloading many truck loads of furniture...but for putting up for my many bad moods after many hot days in the sun, for my cranky long nights at the computer, and for my many,  many nights of not being home to make dinner or keep him company for my being on the road. He and I don't always do well under stress, but he sticks around and deals with it and for that, I am most grateful. I love him so much. 

Best of all? He plops down next to me on the sofa, positions the lamp just so...and slowly turns each page of my first book and points at each photo as if it is the first time he's ever seen it(and believe me, it isn't) all the while making me feel like Annie Leibovitz.

from my house to your house,


Jan 13, 2012

The Decor Retires, but the Spirit Remains

Well, the trees come down this weekend, the pinecones get packed away, and soon our tiny house will feel just a bit larger with all the "extras" now put to rest for another year.

If only I could find a way to rest as comfortably as the decor does. If my heart would just rest easier in knowing that over the next months, all will be well, and I don't have to know every minute of every day what will happen next. 

But as I take down the trimmings, many of them are dried and crispy...I realize, I am ready to move on to the next season as well. And yet, there is a little something about these  pine sprigs, berries, and twigs that leave me to believe that having them around helped the Christmas spirit come alive for us in our little abode. Nothing fancy, mind you. Fairly humble. Nothing too sparkly, showy, or even top-notch greenery. Last-pickens if you will. Not the top shelf greenery...too expensive for my little budget. 

Even the pinecones were gathered next to a very noisy street, next to an intersection, gas fumes and all, and tossed into my paper sack. But I still admired them as I walked home and stuck my head into the paper sack and took a good whiff and smelled the sap and pine. I live in the city...lots of ambulances, sirens, buses, pedestrians, old people walking, and horns honking. But for some reason, sniffing my fresh pinecones seemed to make it all silent during my chilly walk home.

So, before 2012 gets underway, and since we now have our first real snow...I thought I would share a few photos of our little season in our small homestead, here in the city. I am looking outside now and snow is gently falling and so quiet. 

I slowly came about with a theme of simply "dinner with meaning" for my Christmas dinner party. It wasn't planned, but as I put things out, I realized that I only cared to put things out that really meant things to me. I had bought some new items, but ended up not using them. I did buy the glasses, but I bought them while on a trip with some gal pals. I needed some little chairs to squeeze everyone in, but I got them from a friend. Everything else I used for dinner, I either already owned, or made.

Our space for dinner was very small. 9 x 6 to be exact. I measured it for those of you who might feel you can't do much with a tiny space. And it was tight, we had nine people total for dinner. 

Enjoy the photos below of our quiet homestead. That is what I am calling it now. Right in the middle of the city, that is what we have in a way: a homestead. That will be another post as to why we are slowly becoming "homesteaders."

But for now, enjoy the Spirit that remains since the decor has retired.

Honoring my father with this vignette filled with his pipe, WWII dog tag and Knights of Columbus pin

Christmas morning....early sunrise light coming in.

FIRST light of day coming in....very soothing.

Salt and Pepper shakers borrowed from a beloved friend...a table isn't complete unless you borrow something.

I constructed this tree from a fabricated "stick" and tied natural eucalyptus  branches on it.

Rusty barrel rings and simple eucalyptus leaves with pinecones hang  in windows.

We don't have a dining room. This window seat is the best place we have. An old board from the garage and $15 chairs.

The cabinet I painted black this past summer...Barber husband loved it after all!

Giving each a guest a box of homemade goodies. 

Simple wrapping with twine feels French.

The little chip is a reminder of how well-loved this piece is...it is meant to be used.

Pinecone I found at noisy, busy intersection that now sits quietly, flocked, in my crazed cup.

My beloved tureen. I collect only very old iron stone tureens.

Simple, rusty barrel ring  (found at Three French Hens market) with tarnished salt shakers. 

My handsome father during WWII in Rome, Italy. His photo is behind the cloche. He was modest and wouldn't want to be out front, being shown off. I think he looks like Clark Gable. 

Perfect mirror found at Three French Hens market, topped with leftover sprigs and pinecone.

My silver ladle and gift of silverware, near our table...

My father would had loved this dinner...smoked ham, black-eyed peas, french bread,  cream of mushroom soup...the bottom silver tray was a gift he gave my mother.

Left over sprigs and tiny candles on my "one arm" silver tray is my center piece.

Time to turn on the tree lights. Guest will arrive soon.

My German table runner, with American glasses, English butter knives, and Swedish books in center. An international affair.  This German runner means a lot to me. I bought while living in Europe and I had very little money then.
I think whether it is Christmas or not, it is the spirit of hospitality that really matters. There are so many books, TV shows, and articles on how to entertain...but I don't really see that many on the spirit of hospitality. I sort of feel like a person who solely entertains, is wanting to impress her guests and needs to feel important for her creative efforts. And a person who has the hospitality spirit, hopes her guests feel invited and hopes to make them feel important. It is my hope that I am striving to always be hospitable, no matter the size of my home, budget, or simplicity of the meal. I don't think I could really entertain with those limitations anyway. 

Of course it is fun to decorate, be creative...look who is writing this blog! But to me, there is a difference between entertaining and hospitality. I can usually feel the difference when I am in someone's home as a guest. In my opinion, bringing others into your home is about them, and what will make them feel invited, not impressed. 

Take the rolled napkin above. It's Christmas, I wanted something a little special for my guests, of course. But my Barber husband's family are the guests and they are lovely people, but like most, what good is a "stick" on a napkin, right? (I noticed no one called it by its proper term...lol).

They politely put them aside as we ate our meal, until Barber husband announced during dessert that inside their books (place mats) there was a little something for each of them...lotto scratch off tickets! And eyes lit up when I showed how handy those "decorative sticks" came in to scratch off the numbers. You see, it is kind of a custom in his family to have some sort of scratch off ticket at Christmas. Not really my deal, but why break their tradition? I got to have my "stick" on the napkin, and they got a handy scratch off instrument for their tradition. And they laughed when I held mine up and said, "And you thought it was just something pretty that got in your way...I am a true believer in beauty with function."

And I happened to win $10 with my ticket as well.

Hopefully hospitality also means you can keep the ticket, because I kept mine....and cashed it...

From my house to your house,

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