Behind the Scenes with BH&G

September 22, 2011

Greetings all, perhaps you’ve heard – the Christmas Ideas  issue by Better Homes & Gardens has finally hit newsstands, and yours truly is inside!  I’ve been purchasing this Special Interest Publication for so many years, and consider it one of the best sources of holiday inspiration, so to actually be a part of it this year is completely surreal. 

bhg christmas ideas cover

You might recall that week in late February when I was in a complete frenzy prepping the house for the crew and the shoot. They sent me a list of all the shots they wanted to take for the magazine and of course they all required greenery.  

Because all the fresh garland from Christmas was dried to a crisp in early January and I had disposed of it as a fire hazard, I called on Lynch Creek Farm who came to my rescue. They shipped yards of cedar garland and several fir wreaths too just two days before BH&G descended on my house. 

fresh greenery lynch creek farm


That same morning I was making more felt poinsettias in my kitchen with my morning coffee before the crew arrived.  I’d made several that season but gave them all away so at the last second was making more white versions. 

making poinsettias


I was also wrapping “presents” for under the tree.  Look how I’m such a cheater… didn’t cut a big enough piece but hey, who cares, ain’t nobody gonna see it!  Okay, well you gals and guys see the imperfection so the truth is out.

wrapped presents


Here are those poinsettias pinned on mere minutes before the shot . . .

poinsettias on stockings


From the furniture placement below you can see how the loveseat was moved closer to the mantel and fireplace, the chair was moved forward, closer to the sofa, and the Christmas tree wedged behind my velvet chair.  To get just the right shot, all the furniture was tweaked a few inches in one direction or another and a quick fire lit in the fireplace.

bhg christmas ideas living room shot cg

Inside the magazine, you can see the final image is not taken from this angle, this is my own image I snapped on that day.  All the close ups of the mantel you can see here.

Here’s a close up of another shot that didn’t make it into the magazine but is oh so pretty.  That’s the stenciled and painted ’noel’ pillow in the background. 

noel pillow and present cg


King Au was our professional photographer – he’s completely amazing. I wish I could follow him around for a month just to better my skills. He’s worked for BH&G for a long time and also works for Pottery Barn Kids.  We ended up tucking the fur trimmed tree skirt underneath because it was deemed a little too shmancy for the room shot.  Here is King snapping a close up of some of my handmade ornaments.

ornament closeup


All images were checked, double checked, and triple checked on King’s computer with his highly advanced software (wish I could recall which one, anyone know or care to tell me?)  It was so exciting to see the beautiful images as they were shot! 

capturing closeups


Also on hand to help was Gayle, a long time stylist for BH&G who traveled all the way from San Diego for the shoot (not pictured). 

In the dining room was pure chaos, because I had pulled out every single accessory I owned which we might possibly have wanted to work with.  We used maybe 10% of it, but it was smart to have it all available just in case and in a place that wasn’t getting photographed that day.

dining room accessories

After we styled and shot the living room, we moved into the foyer, with my little girl helping to add more greenery to the banister and patiently waiting to have her hair curled. She’s like me, her hair holds a curl for about 3 ½ minutes tops, so I waited till the last second to make it all fancy.

help decorate


After the entry, we shot the front door wreath with my daughter – there’s King making her smile, what a pro.  Notice how she’s standing on a stool and we’re using my Swiffer to keep the door propped open! 

front door scene


The last room we shot was the kitchen . . .

kitchen greenery

. . . but you’ll have to buy the mag to see it! 

The article tells more about our family and holiday traditions, with an emphasis on entertaining, which we do so much of in December.  Here’s a peek of the opening two page spread with my winter willow wreath and sweet girl ‘answering the front door’ like she would do at our annual party. 

first page spread

Funny, the front door isn’t white anymore and looking at this, I miss it. 

It was an amazing experience and such a professional crew, and even though we’re all thinking of fall right now, including me, I just couldn’t wait to share the experience of shooting the Christmas Ideas  issue with all of you. 

We’ll be buying up a dozen copies for the kids and grandkids. Be sure to pick up your copy where you’ll also find a ton of inspiration, even more blogger’s homes, including Layla’s too – so fabulous!  Our article is eight pages, starting on page 92.

I still can’t believe that’s us, right there, in Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine.  Somebody pinch me. 



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