Monday, November 26, 2012

The Most Beautiful

Since I started playing with other decorators on the Internet, starting years ago with the old Rate My Space site, I have been taking photos of my house to share. What an adventure it was to learn to upload photos then! RMS segued into blogging where the visual vamp emerged. Learning to post was yet another learning curve.

I take hundreds of photos of interiors and home decor furnishings and objects. They are primarily scouting shots, or photos of rooms I am working on. I have a little Sony point and shoot camera. I don't use a tripod, and I am often on the move, or have a long exposure (I hate to use flash) so the photos are, how can I say this politely, soft and fuzzy ha ha.

I don't pretend to have the talent a professional photographer has. I can compose a shot. I know what looks good editorially. But the magic and mystery of lighting, technique, and sensitivity that all combine to make a beautiful photo is well beyond my crappy scouting shots, or blog snap shots.

I have a story in the current issue of House of Fifty. I wrote, and styled it. My favorite photographer Sara Essex Bradley shot it. I think the photos are the most beautiful ones of my home that have ever been taken. And kudos to the designer of House of Ffty Shari, of little blue deer, for an amazing layout.

My little piece of swamp is a cover girl - House of Fifty

The story is about whether to decorate for Christmas or not. I'd love for you to read it and get back to me with feedback.

Excerpt of my article in House of Fifty

House of Fifty has been published for over a year by Janell Beals. She started it out of a reaction to her age when she was trying to get a job. She's neither young or nor old, but in reaction to being somewhat discarded for younger candidates, she decided to get off the anger and pity pot, and start her own magazine.

The magazine is not just for those in the House of Fifty. It's for everyone. It has wonderful articles and photos. Talent is timeless.

The house never looked so good! Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

This month Janell is trying something different. HOF has been free for over a year. The production costs are mostly paid for out-of-pocket, that is, out of Janell's pocket. This month you get a free preview, and then have the opportunity to purchase the online issue for $1.50.

Please buy the 172 page issue (and yes I did buy it). It's cheaper than a cup of coffee, and so much more rewarding. I think all magazines, online and newsstand, need our support. This is the best looking issue yet, and I was so excited to see the fabulous home of one of my favorite bloggers Linda Roberts of Lime in the Coconut featured.

The home of Linda Roberts is featured in House of Fifty

And yes, I am Christmas decorating again this year. It's taken me longer to get motivated, and I almost didn't do it.

I replaced an old fake green tree I had for years. It hit the trash at the end of the season last year. Most of the lights had gone out, and it was a mundane six foot tall cheap tree that no longer responded to fluffing. So I bought a new tree.

I saw a tree on QVC one night while watching insomniac TV. It fascinated me because not only was it pre-lit, it had a system where each section is plugged into the other, so there are no plugs on the light strings to attach. And it had a built-in foot switch. Genius!

The QVC tree

It was pricey, so being the bargain hunter, I found it at half the price on eBay (with free shipping!). I got a nine foot tree, the largest I have ever had. I ordered it in September, so it sat in its huge coffin-like boxes until a few days before Thanksgiving.

The QVC tree

I set it up easily enough. I went back to QVC to get links for all of you since the eBay source is sold out. Then I saw the reviews which are pretty negative!!!! I guess I am lucky that I got one of the good trees ha ha. But the trick of this tree is to follow the directions. the sections have to be lined up precisely to make the light connections.

The naked tree - I almost left it this way!

It has taken me a couple of weeks to drag out the ornaments. At first I was not going to do anything. The tree looked pretty with just the lights. I decided not to do two big trees this year, so all the ornaments from the retro tree ended up on the new nine footer.

It's a different look for sure. And like anything new you bring into the house, you have to get used to it. I'm not sure if I'm in-like with the new look or not. And I'm not sure I will drag all the rest of the house decorations out.

Will I be a Christmas HoHoHo this year? I managed to get the ornaments on the new tree

The glorious photos in House of Fifty were taken last year. That's how it goes in publishing. You work a year ahead for holiday stories. This week Sara and I are shooting another house for publication for holiday 2013.

For me last years decorations were refined to perfection. It is a look I have been tweaking for three years or so. When I look at the photos in House of Fifty, I feel like I've done it, so now what?

Stay tuned to see what happens this year, if anything. It just seems that the holidays came too fast and are too smashed together this year. And I feel like I'm living The House of One Hundred.

Get over to House of Fifty and treat yourself to the great holiday issue.

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And please become a Follower again (or for the first time) on this new blog


  1. Valorie, Thank you for your wonderful post, your fabulous article and sharing your home with House of Fifty readers!

    And I learned something interesting today; our starts in this online world are very similar, starting with RMS (wow, that was something else) to beginning a blog and writing for other publications and finally HOF! I wonder if our paths crossed at HGTV's Rate My Space?!

    Have a wonderful holiday season! Janell

  2. I love your house this time of year. Everywhere you look are little visual sugar plums. But what I really liked was the smell of pine. A full on sensual experience. I was just out and bought some- Let the season begin! xx

  3. Thanks to you, Valerie, I have now purchased my first online magazine. I LOVE everything about your home and really enjoyed looking quickly at the Christmas decorations. Now, I can go back and look at the whole magazine, time and again.

  4. Your gift for making things pretty, your generosity in sharing the gift, and your vision of how beautiful things can be, maybe be grossly understated sometimes, but the demand for your various skills as a writer, a designer, and a decorator is proof that those who count appreciate your talent.
    The gang at home sure appreciates waking up to many different looks all the times!

  5. I love your article Valerie and your beautiful home! I feel the same and thing about downsizing the holiday decorating, then I amp up and go hog wild it seems. Each year I reevaluate and change it up a bit. Have a wonderful holiday and thanks for your story in HoF.
    xo Nancy

  6. Love your article and your blog. I'm now a follower.


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