Burtonesque Halloween in 60 days…

August 27th, 2012

With this year’s Halloween party feeling like it is just around the corner, I wanted to post my top ten choices for costumes/ characters. As y’all know, I do extensive research on the theme and have therefore watched every Tim Burton movie at least five times so my favorite characters aren’t your typical top pics. Here they are in no particular order:

10. Aunt Spiker & Aunt Sponge from James & the Giant Peach

(For whatever reason, this photo did not load, sorry ’bout that!)

9. Dormouse

Dormouse from Alice in Wonderland

He is just so cute in his lace jabot, obi belt, and sword!

8. General Bonesapart

General Bonesapart from  Corpse Bride

A skeleton version of Captain Crunch!

7. Harlequin Demon

Harlequin Demon from Nightmare Before Christmas

Part bird? Part Fish?

6. Lock, Shock, and Barrel

Lock, Shock, & Barrel from Nightmare Before Christmas

The original mischievous three kids!

5. Miss Argentina

Miss Argentina from Beetlejuice

What is better than a green skinned woman in a ball gown, with wings and pink hair?

4. Mr Hyde

Mr Hyde from Nightmare Before Christmas

Simply a classic!

3. Mr Soggybottom

Mr Soggybottom from Big Fish

In the movie I never noticed the dog area at his waist.

2. Pin Cushion Queen

Pin Cushion Queen from The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other stories

Just an awesome example of the wonderful mind of Tim Burton…

1. Vincent Malloy

Vincent Malloy from Vincent

The mad scientist himself. I want his jacket!

Photo Styling in my Past Time

August 14th, 2012

When I’m not designing a space or planning a party or working on a movie or building something for the sake of not throwing out the materials, then I’m helping with styling for photos. It’s more of a hobby than business and I love to play around with all the odd accessories and clothes I have found over the years. My inspiration board on Pinterest just keeps growing so I’m going to have to find some time to recreate some of the following shots…

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I’m sure you are seeing a theme in this series. I love coffee, vintage, gothic, and Alice in Wonderland so all four of these potential shoots appeal to me.

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As a child of the seventies, I think it would be cool to get in touch with the roller skating, record listening, disco girl inside.

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And, of course, every year I need to update my head shot for my business and web sites so this year I was thinking I would make it a bit edgier since I am an artist! What do you think?

Sheena’s Birthday

July 20th, 2012

This week would have been Sheena’s 14 year old birthday but instead we mourn the one year anniversary of her passing. She was a good dog who loved to be close, get her head rubbed, and stand in the back yard for hours being brushed. Here is the last picture taken of her and Craig last Spring.

RIP Fluffy girl and know you are missed.

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Halloween all year long…

June 13th, 2012

For those that know me, they know that the only thing I am addicted to is Halloween. I think about it all year long and for the most part, work on it all year long. So when I have down time, you can be sure that I am trolling the internet for inspiration. Typically I stay away from the mundane All Hallow decor that you find in stores and look for unique ideas that I can tweak and make my own. With that said, here’s a look at some creative pieces that got me thinking about how I can do it better.

Dinner Party

I love the vibe  of this outdoor dinner party for the holiday and I have the perfect backyard for it too. Now to just a plan an additional small gathering on top of the annual party.

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I’ve always had a thing for the quirkiness of Halloween decor. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just needs to feel creepy. You can take ordinary items from around the house and with a little spray paint and the right lighting…Poof, it’s scary looking!

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I have a full library in the house so I keep on the lookout for ways to use the books in my holiday planning. After seeing this picture, I had to give myself a pat on the back as I used the trick of turning all my books backwards 5 years ago at a party. Loved the look of it and was thinking of doing the same again this year.

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The food station and fireplace are always focal points to any party decor so finding creative ways to enhance both can be tricky. I really like the use of apples, cheeses, and knives in this set up. And as far as the fireplace is concerned, I can grab handfuls of spanish moss off the trees outside (benefit to living in the South) and I adore the pumpkins in front of the fireplace.

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Martha Stewart must have one of the best creative teams in the country. Each year they come up with a great blend of adult and child friendly ideas for Halloween. Once I spied this pic, I am determined to paper mache a large bone.

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The general vibe of this inspiration photo just makes me happy.

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Finally, I saw this Victorian inspired room and decided it needed to be recreated in my hallway this year. I’ll see how it goes and post photos if it work out. Fingers crossed.

Bad Real Estate Photos – Part 4

May 1st, 2012

It’s time to go back to the series and take a look at dining rooms. You would think this would be one of the easiest rooms to photograph but, according to research, it seems that this is the exact room all real estate agents take for granted. Point the camera, shoot a quick frame, and move on. Well, folks, I hate to burst your bubble…it does take work as you’ll see by these horrific examples:

Back of Chair

Apparently no one thought to step left or right to create a better angle here. The window is lost on the left side, the chandelier blocks the one piece of art that breaks up the room,  AND the giant chair back hides the fact that there is a beautiful fireplace in the room.

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Again we are faced with a location issue. If the picture had been taken to the left, over the couch, we would have had a nice angle of the artwork, dining space, and most likely the gorgeous view outside the doors. Instead all we see if railing.

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Chances are that chandelier was on a dimmer and could have been turned down so that they picture did not get washed out. Chances are also in my favor that someone was capable of removing the stuffed animals from atop the china cabinet and getting that sad little ficus out of the corner.

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Without completely tearing apart the decorating style of this homeowner, we’ll just say that the camera was revolting against it and that’s why it is not in focus!

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Looking here, I can only assume that these people have 8 children and that’s why they needed so much seating in such a small space. As the agent, they should have removed some of the furniture so the space looked bigger rather than letting it feel so scrunched in the breakfast nook.

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In general, this is not a terrible picture. However I would suggest using a table runner on glossy tables to prevent so much reflection and take the knickknacks off the table as they just distract the viewer.

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Props to the homeowner for putting a solid color tablecloth over what I can only imagine to be a very outdated table. But why go through the trouble to hide the table and then leave a box of tissues on it as a centerpiece? Really? I understand that you are still living in your home but these are the photographs that are supposed to make other people want to live there and tissues don’t scream, buy me!

Outdoor photos and what they should look like…

April 10th, 2012

Next time you need to sell your home or put a rental on the market, refer your agent here to see what a good, no great outdoor picture of your property should look like. I will refrain from commenting on all of these pictures as they speak for themselves.

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Daytime pictures should always include the full landscape of the home. There should be no cars in driveways, no unraveled hoses in the yard, blinds should be down but open in the home, grass should be cut, weeds pulled, and you get the picture. Clean it up, frame it out, and take a clear photo of the house.

In the night, you should turn on ALL the lights inside and outside of the home. All the same rules apply and you can even wet down the pavement as it creates a nice, clean shimmer in print.

So there you have, the recipe and examples of what homes should be broadcasting over the internet on the MLS. Good luck!

Bad Real Estate Photos – Part 3

April 1st, 2012

OUTSIDE! Believe it or not but the picture of the front of the house which becomes your holding page photo is the one that people will glance at and make a snapshot decision on whether or not they want to see more. So why would you submit a blurry or blocked picture? Take a look at what I am talking about:

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If I was the client, I would have fired my agent immediately.

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When the shrub on your front lawn hides the entire front entrance to your home, it’s time to trim the hedge before you take pictures.

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It’s a basketball hoop! Will that make the difference between someone buying the home or moving on to the next house down the block? Probably not.

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Apparently this million dollar home comes complete with a weather vane. Now you really want it, don’t ya?

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I’m a dog lover. I have six of my own but tell me what this picture of the dog has to do with the selling of your home? Are you including the dog as a gift with purchase?

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Properties with additional buildings are a great selling point but all this told me is that somewhere on the property, there is an old barn. I’m not sure what color it is, how big it is, whether you can park additional vehicles in there, or any other pertinent information from a picture taken so far away from the building.

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This one is more of a design complaint than anything else. Why would you put two large pillars with an iron gate at the end of your walkway but not bother to include a fence? And why would you, as an agent, want to point out this hypocrisy?

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Lastly, your listing already includes all the information of the real estate agent or realtor representing your property, so why would you use precious listing space for a picture of the agents sign?

After all this ranting and raving about bad photos, stay tuned for a post on great outdoor photos so you can see what they should look like…

Bad Real Estate Photos – Part 2

March 1st, 2012

On to part deux of the bad real estate photo segment. If you are just joining us, please refer back to February’s post concerning the aggravation I have with real estate agent photographs and the purpose to this ongoing rant.

This month’s topic: BATHROOMS! (They come complete with sinks, tubs, toilets, ‘n’ stuff!)

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I had to include this picture as the turquoise floor first threw me for a loop but them I looked a little closer. What do you see?

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By golly, this shower comes complete with shower brush and convenient toilet paper holder just outside the door!

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I would love nothing more than to start criticizing architects and builders after seeing this photo but I still had to post it as every real estate agent needs to know that when you are taking pictures of a bathroom, pick up the rugs. Show Me The Floor! Not only are the rugs distracting but remove a few of the “extra” plants in the room so people can focus on the room itself.

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In case you have never seen one before, this is a sink. An ordinary, no flair, basic stock item sink. So why am I looking so closely at it?

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Showers come three ways: Needing a shower curtain, having a shower door, or simply being a walk in shower with a slight sloped floor for drainage. So wasting precious photo opportunities on something as ordinary as this shower door is pointless.

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Again, it’s a shower tub and it’s tiled. I get it!

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A quick notation in the comments section saying ‘Jetted tub’ would have sufficed.

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This one took me awhile to figure out as there isn’t a lot to go on in terms of sizing so I’ll let you stew on this one for a bit.

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Alright. Final pet peeve in regards to bathroom pictures. DO NOT be standing in the reflection! Stand off to the side and if you have to, use the mirror to reflect the room as it will give you more light and make the room feel bigger.

Happy photographing!

Bad Real Estate Photos – Part 1 of Many

February 1st, 2012

My husband is a realtor (shameless plug through hyperlink) and so I see a lot of real estate photos every week. And every week I am shocked at how horrible most of these photos are. Have the other real estate agents never used a camera before? Do they not understand that they aren’t Craigslisting their clients’ possessions? Perhaps they need glasses and that’s why the picture is blurry. Either way, whatever the reason, I have decided to share some of these tragic eyesores with the rest of you lovely people.

STAIRS with RAILINGS included free of charge! Who knew that these two story houses might have them?

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And from the same collection…

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I don’t know if it’s the purple carpet or the wrapping banister reaching into the next room or the pillar a third of the way up the stairs but this staircase worries me.

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So what you are telling me is that there is a window above the door with a sad little chandelier and stairs that curve? Got it!

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Hey look! Stairs!

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And more stairs…

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And don’t forget the banister! This picture tells me nothing about the house that I couldn’t already see in the exterior shot or the initial picture of the staircase.

So what’s the point? If it is a two story building, we can deduct that there are stairs and railings attached as it’s a fire code. Unless the staircase is spectacular and really deserves the spotlight, don’t include it in the limited 12 pictures you post of your listing. All that tells me is that the actual rooms aren’t worth looking at.

If you cannot find motivation, find motivational posters!

January 8th, 2012

Typically, I am not an advocate for having two similar posts back to back but since I am concentrating on my healthy new year; it seemed appropriate to add these motivational posters as well. These are my top ten!

Regret what you don’t do

Pain of being overweight

Don’t stop until you are tired  Not losing weight

Faster than the couch  Keep Going  Sweat is fat crying

Do it

Exercise or Illness