Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas House Tour 2011

Christmas has always been my favorite time to decorate.  In years past I have had lots of hours to spend getting my home ready for the holidays – decorating, baking gingerbread houses, crafting, etc.  Things were a little different in 2011, as we were blessed with the celebration of my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary over Thanksgiving and my Etsy store had its best year ever.  Thank you!

So needless to say, I just did not have time to do all decorating and blogging like I have done in the past.  Rather than dwell on all the things I could not get done and go on and on about how crazy my life has been over the past two months, I decided to celebrate the season and invite you into my home just as it is!  So welcome to my home for the holidays!

I kept the decorating simple this year with fresh greens and the white color palette I have used previously.

We added an extra stocking on the mantel this year for our new puppy, Abby.

She was determined to be in the picture of the family room shown below.

The living room was also awash in fresh greens – my favorite being the garland draped on the clock.

I hope you enjoyed the abbreviated tour of my house.  Thank you for taking the time to visit!  I wish for you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas and joyous holiday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Floral Photo Shoot – Behind the Scenes

Many people are curious to know what it is really like to be a part of a magazine photo shoot.  So today I would like to share my experience from the holiday floral photo shoot which took place at my house this past summer.

Better Homes and Gardens December 2011 / By: Amy Panos / Producer: Ariella Chezar
Photographer: Kate Mathis / Stylist: Ed Gallagher

I have been lucky to be a part of a few magazine photo shoots and each time I learn something new.  The thing which consistently amazes me most, however, is the amount of planning, work and attention to detail which goes into setting up just one picture.  It takes an entire team of professionals to produce just the right look for a story.

The floral photo shoot took place over the course of three days.  The stylist and photographer, along with their assistants, producer, and floral artist Ariella Chezar spent the better part of the first day unloading all their equipment, supplies, props, and flowers as well as preparing the spaces where photos would be taken. 

My mudroom and laundry room were filled with flowers, the garage became a props and supplies staging area, and the kitchen served as command central as well as where most of the flower arranging took place.  Lots of stuff and people everywhere!

The first day included lots of furniture moving and rearranging - basic set up for the upcoming two days of shooting.  The photographer looked at the lighting in the house to determine what time during the day the light would be best in each room and the floral artist created several of the floral arrangements based on what rooms would be used during the first day of shooting.

Better Homes and Gardens December 2011 / By:Amy Panos / Producer:Ariella Chezar
Photographer:Kate Mathis / Stylist:Ed Gallagher

The second and third days were when the picture taking took place.  The team arrived early and worked the entire day.  Since this shoot was not about my house or family, my kids and I did our best to just stay in the background and out of everyone’s way.  They graciously allowed me to watch (whenever I had the chance)  as they worked their magic.  Each picture appearing in the magazine and online was the result of a coordinated effort between everyone involved. The flowers, props, and lighting were all arranged and rearranged multiple times until everyone was pleased with how the picture looked – a very time consuming process.  After a picture was completed, rooms were cleaned up, put back together, and it was on to the next photo.

One of the funnier moments during the photo shoot occurred when I returned home to find two huge panels of MDF (medium density fiberboard) - painted red - in the garage.  My husband and I joked that it would be ironic if they ended up using them in our living room since we had changed the paint color from red to white.  Sure enough, they did use the panels in our “used to be red room” shown in the photo below.
Better Homes and Gardens December 2011 / By:Amy Panos / Producer:Ariella Chezar
Photographer:Kate Mathis / Stylist:Ed Gallagher

When the photo shoot was complete, everyone pitched in to return my home back to the way it was when they arrived.   They left almost all the flowers and greenery – which was a super nice surprise for me.  Since many of the flowers had been stored in various pots and vases which did not belong to me, I searched through my cabinets to pull out containers to use for all the remaining flowers.  Ariella was so nice in that instead of just putting the flowers in the vases, she spent time arranging them all into beautiful bouquets like the one shown below.

I have to say it truly was a privilege for me to host this photo shoot.  I had a wonderful time meeting the entire staff who put together this fabulous story.   It was a great experience – one which I would love to do again!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Centsational Girl - the Red Door Home December Blog of the Month

If you love blogs which feature just about everything house related, you will absolutely adore Centsational Girl – the RDH December blog of the month.

Centsational Girl is written by Kate – a former lawyer turned decorator and DIYer extraordinaire. 

Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Better Homes and Gardens and Holiday with Mathew Mead.

In fact, her talents are so numerous she has also appeared on the Nate Berkus show on more than one occasion.

Some of my favorite topics which Kate covers include decorating, home improvements, holiday decorating, crafts, furniture makeovers, and recipes.

Kate’s photography skills are something I aspire too and her knowledge of all things "home" seems endless. Not too long ago she added several contributors to Centsational Girl who help scout the blog world for great ideas.

Every Sunday, Centsational Girl features these posts in a series called "The Best of The Blogosphere." TBOTB series is a one stop place to catch up on fantastic ideas you might have otherwise missed. I so enjoy this series!

To see more of Kate’s great ideas, you can visit Centsational Girl HERE. Be sure to leave a comment letting her know you stopped by!

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