Okay, you have been asking, and now it is time to fill you in on how the Better Homes and Gardens photoshoot went last week. I was going to wait until the magazine issue came out next November to share this, but I thought you might be mad with me if I made you wait that long. I know I have told you some of this, but I want to put together the whole story in one post. So let me just start at the very beginning of the entire process:
mid October last year – Ann Blevins, an editor at BHG, contacted me to see if we would be willing to do the photoshoot with them for their Christmas Ideas magazine if we were selected. (She had found us through a blog through a blog through another blog….You know how that rabbit trail goes.) That same day I emailed her back telling her all my concerns and why she might not want us. A few minutes after my email, she emailed back with “no worries,” give me your phone number, and we will talk. So we talked, and she told me that she would let me know if we were selected.
We heard nothing….
until I emailed her
in mid November asking if it was safe to assume that we had not been selected, and she told me that we HAD been selected. The process had just gone slowly. She then put one of their stylists, Nicole Teut in touch with me because she was the one who would be traveling to our home. After a series of phone calls with Ann and emails with Nicole, a date was sent…January 5. But that was one of those “contract days” at school that you are not allowed to miss unless you are dead because it is an inservice day for teachers after the Christmas holidays. So we finally settled on January 12 and 13. And I thought, Piece of cake…I’ll have plenty of time to get it all done by mid January, right? My plan was to start decorating the bedrooms the Saturday before Thanksgiving when I had a week off from school.
I came down with pneumonia the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and nothing went as scheduled….2 weeks of sickness followed by a week and a half of work followed by another week of another sickness; my father in law was hospitalized with a very serious illness about that time, and then it was December 20- something. During that time period Ann contacted me again to give me the news that the BGH website folks wanted to film a series of Christmas how-to videos here the day after the photoshoot people were finished. In my feverish state I agreed to it. But at December 21 not one thing was ready for Christmas – much less a Christmas photoshoot, and no shopping had been done here. The decorating I had done for the Christmas in the Kitchen post had to be totally redone since it had been on the blog (something I had agreed to.) So for the next 4 days, we shopped, and got a tree up. That was it.
I started decorating for Christmas the day after Christmas. It was actually kind of nice. Normally, I have had to decorate for the holidays while fitting it between shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, and entertaining. Being able to concentrate on just the decorating was great.
You know that scene in the movie, The Santa Clause, when the lists of good girls and boys gets delivered to Tim Allen? I felt a little like that when all the fresh greenery was delivered the week before the shoot.Garlands and wreaths galore…and the smell of it all was heavenly!
My husband and daughter helped out a bunch. My mom came over a couple of afternoons to help as well. We worked on decorating until the day Nicole showed up (Jan. 12) to meet the day before the shoot. Nicole and I did a walk through tour of the house with her taking notes. I showed her closets and cabinets with pillows and accessories she could use. I was expecting her to rearrange the furniture, the accessories, something. She stayed about an hour and a half, and then she said she would be back tomorrow. What? No rearranging? She said that it wasn’t necessary, and I was ready. (No I wasn’t. I still had the playroom to do, and that involved 2 chalkboards, a tree, 2 cabinet tops, and a table top, and she asked me to do some greenery in the dining room. She knew I would have them done before the next day.) Nicole then said that she wished she had scheduled the photographers for 2 days because there was so much “material” here. I suggested an earlier start, and she contacted the photographers. They showed up at 7:45ish the next morning.
I had to work the day of the shoot, but my husband and daughter were here for it, and I came home a little early that day. The photographers, Owen Masterson and his wife Christine Anthony were hilarious! I loved watching them work. I wish I had gotten more photos of them, but they didn’t sit still long enough to get any! Nicole, the stylist, is the one kneeling in the photo above beside Christine. Owen is looking on in the chair behind them. They did move a number of accessories around, and gift wrapped packages seemed to move the most of all. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out! They left around 6 that evening – each with a gift box you saw at the start of the post. (I decided to leave off the ribbon though.) We straightened up and vacuumed the house, ate dinner at Cracker Barrel, and went to bed.
The next day Katie Parker, the senior digital food and holiday editor at BHG showed up with Dave and Simon Presley, 2 brothers who are film makers. The brothers are originally from Manchester, England but now live in New York. They were the same age as our sons and a lot of fun. They kept commenting that their mother would have loved the house, and I commented that I could have been their mother.
In all the videos, they needed a “hand model” to hang ornaments, decorate cabinets, hang a wreath, tie a bow, etc. My daughter was the one home that day, so she was their hand model in many of the videos they shot. (And they told me she was not only a great hand model, but she was also a fabulous hostess.Proud of her!) When Ann Blevins contacted me about the video filming I agreed with the stipulation that I would not have to talk on it. But the guys asked me to do an interview, and in my exhausted state I agreed. So in November you will see me answering a couple of questions. (I was sooo tired, I hope I do not come across as totally goofy!)
Katie was also super sweet and gracious to work with. She rearranged some accessories and did some of the “hand modeling” as well. All of it was a pleasure from start to finish, and I am so glad I remembered to take a picture with them before they left. (I have forgotten to do that every single time we have had a shoot here.) I sent them home with gift boxes too.
Believe or not, we have two Christmas parties (yes, really Christmas parties) planned here for this week. I feel like I missed December, and we are just having a belated Christmas here. So this late decorating has all worked out for the best.
And that, my dear friends, was our Christmas photoshoot. I hate that I could not share the decorating with you, but due to the agreement with BHG I am not allowed to do so. There will be plenty to see between the magazine article and the website next year. Just wait until November.
Until next time…