Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favoritesThis week is all about crafts, food and business. I suppose that’s not different than any other week, but I have been downloading a lot of craft books, getting some new foodie supplies and a few food-oriented books, and my friend Kandyce and I are getting serious about our upcycle/vintage/handmade business. So, I have some business goodies I found this week to share with you, too!

Photo from Ashley Pahl

Photo from Ashley Pahl

Snowed In Magazine by Ashley Pahl at She Makes a Home – Ashley teamed up with Anastasia Christou of Anastasia Drawing and Dreaming,  Kayla Domeyer of Say Not Sweet Anne, Lara Habbinga of Lila Art Studio, Desha Peacock, author of the upcoming book, Sweet Spot Style, Megha Silvano of The Art Bug  and Lauren Thomas of The Full Catastrophe to create this beautiful free magazine that is full of holiday decorating ideas, planning, crafts and recipes.

Photo from Make Your Day DIY

Photo from Make Your Day DIY

Make Your Day DIY by Chelsey Andrews and Chelsea Costa – Chelsey Andrews from The Paper Mama and Chelsea Costa from Lovely Indeed came together to create a wonderful 150 page digital crafting book, that is full of awesome tutorials and printables to use with your crafts. To top it all off, any orders before Dec 23 will come with a bonus 2014 printable calendar, holiday gift tags, and a few surprises! The book is $12 and you can order it at makeyourdaydiy.com, you can also get 20% off the book at Poppytalk.

Image from Kate Payne

Image from Kate Payne

Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking from Kate Payne – I got a couple Amazon gift cards for my birthday on Tuesday, so I was finally able to buy this book that I have been wanting to get! It’s $17.98 at Amazon and is full of information that any “half-assed domestic goddess” should know. She talks about decorating on a budget, canning, preserving, thrifting and more. I think she also shares a few recipes, which I’m stoked about! I think she’s working on a new book too….

Image from Wiley Publishing

Image from Wiley Publishing

Plate to Pixel from Helene Dujardin – This is another Amazon purchase that I got because it gives tips on food photography and styling. This is something I have really wanted to get into more, but have had some difficulty with. She also runs a food blog called Tartelette – where she shares recipes, workshops and more. Originally from France, Helene is now living in Alabama and she started her blog in 2006, after leaving a pastry chef position at a French restaurant.

Image from Stephanie St. Claire

Image from Stephanie St. Claire

11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business from Stephanie St. Claire on Medium – Since starting my own business, I have read a lot of articles on what you need to know to run a successful business. Few of them touch on how hard, tiring and lonely it will be, though. That’s what I liked about this article – it’s real, and she quotes Snoop Dogg. A super funny intuitive guidance counselor, she blogs at Blissbombed and offers custom guidance sessions.

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I had been hinting at a pressure canner for SO long and my boyfriend got it for me for my birthday! I am so excited, and now I can really get going with my canning. Christmas presents, anyone? My beautiful daughter is embracing her inner Vanna White and is displaying it for us. Truthfully, she was pushing it around the house and I caught her mid-pause. What a useful gift!

What are your favorite things from this week? Share them in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #fridayfavorites You can find more Friday inspiration on my Pinterest!

My Creative Business Journey

creative business journey

A few years ago, a friend told me that she wanted to get into food photography. I chuckled to myself a little because I could not imagine for the life of me how hard food photography would be. I previously worked at Picture People where my subjects were constantly moving, crying, screaming, sneezing, coughing, everything. How hard would it be to take a picture of food? It just sits there.

In the last few weeks or so, my view of food and product photography has been quite the opposite. When you’re selling photos of children to their parents, your main focus is to make sure the photo is centered, the lighting is good, and the child looks halfway decent. But when you’re trying to emphasize how special and amazing your products or the cookies you made are through photos, it can be tough to make a person feel connected enough to want more. Really tough.

I have been setting up makeshift photo studios in my kitchen, my living room and the baby’s room/office, driving my family crazy. I spend countless hours in front of my computer, trying to make something of what I have. I have all of these amazing editing programs because of my school, and I can’t figure out how to use any of them.

I just want a sharper photo and a plain white background. Is that really to much to ask?! Apparently, yes. I look at all of these amazing blogs with all of these amazing photos, and sometimes I just want to break down and cry. That may be a little over the top, but I know there is something I’m missing.

I was at the point where I wasn’t going to post anything today, just so I could work on editing my photos but I figured this would be a good time to seek advice from anyone who has gone down the same road before. So, while I try to make any sense out of Photoshop right now…I have this to ask of you.

What photo tutorials have you used that you find the most helpful? What are your favorite photo editing programs and why? And how the hell can I remove my ugly background? I’m going to check out my favorite blogs for inspiration and will share the tutorials I find the most useful. But in the meantime…help!