Sunday, June 25, 2017

farm stands and newsstands

I have just two ink pads -- black and fuscia -- and a few stamps that don't get used very often, but one day last August I had myself a little stampernoon and enjoyed pressing words letter-by-letter onto all kinds of scraps. I liked how the bold type looked against floral papers and fabric and used this effect to complete a picture frame project which I decided to submit and ship off to Somerset Home. At the last minute I tossed-in some of the other stamped pieces as potential styling props.

The frames made it into the next issue {Explore More, Spring 2017} and I forgot all about the random little things that went along for the ride, so in March when an editor of sister publication Somerset Life contacted me at first I thought it was a mistake. They wanted to use the berry baskets, stamped ribbon, clothespins, and the lunch bag I had sent and needed accompanying text: an essay and instructions.

Knowing it would be used for the summer issue, I decided to write about how it always takes me a while to warm-up to the hot months and how fresh produce plays a big role in that transition.

The magazine's stylists and photographers worked magic and turned all kinds of nothings into beautiful somethings, garnished with strawberries and sweets. And the timing couldn't be more perfect because yesterday I headed to my favorite farm stand for strawberries 4 Town Farm, and in a few days the issue will be on newsstands. Life imitating art, art imitating life ...

And with the baskets emptied to make things like strawberry rhubarb crisp bars from smitten kitchen, the tinkering fun can commence!

Find Holding Summer in the summer issue of Somerset Life


tinkering tip:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

my fifi and me

Image credit: @vintagefarmhome
Image credit: Hollie @vintagefarmhome
Seven years ago Fifi O'Neill arrived at my house for a photo shoot and my life hasn't been quite the same since. I alternately refer to Fifi as my fairygodmother, my French mommy, my Fifi, and she calls me sweet names like Cupcake Girl and Baby. Just last week Fifi returned as my home had changed enough to get the editorial green-light for a second round of styling and shooting for an upcoming publication.

Fifi and I are in touch regularly. We chat about life and new ideas. I write for many of the magazines for which she is the editor-in-chief and founder, and occasionally I develop DIY projects as well. Some location scouting has lead Fifi and her stellar crew of longtime photographer Mark Lohman and his son Taylor, to photograph the homes and businesses of my friends where I'm sure to visit, generally with cupcakes in-hand! I drive to meet her for dinner (she loves to have lobster when she's in New England) and it's always so much fun.

Fifi sets a "let's all flourish" and pay-it-forward example by her actions and I'm compelled to do the same. Her work ethic of "the more you work the more you learn" has helped me reconcile the many jobs and chapters of my life when I felt a lack of direction but now see the bigger picture of how all of these experiences have lead me to the person I am today and the skills I offer.

And don't let the ruffled frocks and hair ribbons fool you, Fifi is a bad-ass. She works harder than anyone I know and is no chump. I love that her mind is always racing with new ideas on which she doesn't hesitate to act -- um, just like me!

Fifi has graciously opened doors for me, introducing me to who would become my first book publisher. She's believed in me and encouraged me from the start. Fifi offered me my first feature writing assignment the day after I'd received the worst call a person could ever get (details). I mentioned nothing, accepted the work, and have always considered it a sign, a blessing.

I've spend the entire weekend assembling images to share about Fifi's return last week after all these years for a second photo shoot here at my house and the things done to prepare, but as I started to write instead the words began to flow about Fifi and I just went with it. So I'll save this stuff for next time:

Click to enlarge

Thank you for reading! If you're not familiar with Fifi O'Neill, below are some links to get you started. Tell her Cupcake Girl sent you.  ;)

Fifi's Florida home in Country Living
Fifi on Instagram