At Home

When working on a book we always take a lot more photographs than we ultimately use. We look for 8 good shots in a house so we have choices for full page shots and detail shots as well as intimate shots of rooms. But ultimately there are always cuts just as the words also get edited for space. My books are usually 224 pages. There are always sacrifices. Do we make photos smaller so we can include more or do we cut words to make photos larger. The process of putting a book together once it’s been written and the photo have been taken is an exercise in compromise.

When I was in grad school, I had one of those teachers you remember all your life. She said, “If you want to be a writer, you have to learn to be an editor” So, you do the creative work and then you put all emotion aside and become the editor. The more unemotionally and professionally you can do this the better the finished project. It’s always hard. What’s worth keeping? What has to go?

I have a file of the photos that weren’t used in all of my books and now, with this blog I get to select from this group whenever I need an illustration.

The other day I was trolling through that file, One of Terry’s gorgeous photos popped up. It was taken on a beautiful summer day on the back deck at Ginny Kinney’s house on Silver St. Her daughter-in-law Lief had styled a table to suggest a lazy afternoon party. I think it would be a delightful theme for a bridal shower – “Come for cupcakes, strawberries and lemonade”.

She started with a theme “birds” and a dominant color scheme of yellow and green;

striped yellow and white napkins, Majolica plates, yellow bowls and a centerpiece of a simple little flowering plant. Lemons and lemonade and butter cupcakes with yellow icing, sprigs of mint in the lemonade glasses and bowls filled with ripe strawberries. The little touch of two birding books for “props” are charming, one with a yellow bird on the cover and two little clay birds on the table. Yes it is “styled” and perhaps a little contrived, but hey, that’s what makes this table setting so inviting. What, after all, is setting a nice table, arranging furniture or paintings in a room but a pleasure for the hosts and the guests? It’s fun to set a table as a creative endeavor.

The best thing about doing this is that it provides an outlet for creativity that doesn’t involve learning how to do something, like a craft or hobby. It’s fun to use the things you own to design a “picture.” Come up with a theme. Find an excuse to have a little party and see what you can create. Doesn’t this photograph make you want to be there?
2. Table setting

Another green and white celebration for a warm weather outdoor meal: alternate vases of yellow and green, fill with bunches of yellow flowers and line them down the center of the table covered with a cloth runner. While I like the look of this I would make the vases shorter as well as cutting the flower stems very short so guests can see each other across the table. Perhaps this is why, while this is a pretty table, it didn’t make the cut. It can work for a buffet or a side table. Notice the pale turquoise color of the bowl and small plate to match the runner. I love the combination of turquoise and lime green. Yellow added in is very pretty- all in the same tones. In Key West they might use fuschia instead of yellow for a brighter palette in the bright sunlight.