Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Random Wednesday - cute ideas!

As a photographer I have the beautiful opportunity to see creativity in it's most enlivened moments.  Brides (and sometimes grooms!) create unique weddings they will cherish forever because it represents them.  I encourage every family and couple to depict something they love about who they are  in their photo shoots. Someone told me once to look at your clothes, what you like, what you don't, the colors you enjoy most and your favorite graphic t-shirts :) From there, let your imagination go.... It was a great jumping off point for sure!
I opened this blog in hopes in finding the creative gems that live and work in our area and I have been overwhelmed!! How talented  you all are!
I did want to give a few spotlights to some unique ideas and personal favorites.
 Heidi Barton's Jewelry still have me in awe. Check out THIS piece. Plus, it's one of my favorite colors :)  Check her out here
Debbie Foster from Middleburgh designed my stationary.  Her homemade touch was fantastic. She took my logo designed by Sam Dunnings (Margaretville grad!) and ran with it. I highly suggest her cards to anyone!! Please contact her at for information and pricing!

I shot a wedding with Kristin LiCalzi and thought this was cute for a fall wedding. I am lucky to get eyes and a nose out of pumpkin for my kids' jack-o-lanterns. So naturally...this is impressive to me.


Loved this too. The cork bowl was available to wedding guests. Each guest was to hold one in their palm during the wine ceremony. The bride and groom poured wine from their separate glasses into one in which they drank from the same glass and their guests held tightly to their corks to wish them well!

If you are going to personalize's going to be an instant winner with me.

A themed photo shoot? Newsie style? yes please. Oh wait..those are my kids! How'd they get on here? :)
Have you seen a unique and creative idea in your travels? Let me know! We can feature it on our next Random Wednesday selection!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Personal Touch; Cards With Aubrey

Aubrey Hait, a graduate of Jefferson Central School,  loves getting snail mail from her family and friends and the pure enjoyment of getting mail spurred her decision to start writing letters and making her own cards rather than email or texting. 
Recipients were not shy about telling Aubrey how lovely her handmade cards were. It was then, her business idea was born.
Aubrey now holds monthly card workshops where everything is pre-cut for attendees and stamps, ink, adhesives as well as embellishments are all provided. This enables the process of creating unique and personal cards can be made.
Aubrey became an independent consultant for Close To My Heart, the name of her business is Stampin' Fun with Close To My Heart.
Her venue for selling can be found through her website The creative artist also has her own Etsy shop where she sells her card creations at
When we asked Aubrey what was unique about her trade, we loved her response.
"With the rise of technology, people are now sending facebook wishes, text messages, emails and e-cards to keep in contact and commemorate special occasions.  The feeling someone gets when they receive an email from an old friend is likely heartwarming.  However, had that friend spent very little money to send a handmade card and expressed the same sentiments in their own handwriting, the recipient would feel gratitude and personal attachment to the sender.  This personal attachment doesn't seem to occur much anymore, and I am hoping that my card making business will help keep the bonds between friends solid and everlasting.  Everyone has a reason to send a card!"

Who doesn't love to receive a card in the mail? Aubrey has worked with a variety of costumers including brides who need thank you cards, table numbers, favors and place cards .
Sometimes, it's nice to send a card for no reason at all :)

Aubrey's are also a perfect touch to the holidays!!! She is located in LaFayette, NY but works with consumers across the United States.

Please contact her at.:
Etsy shop:
CTMH website:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saving Something For A Rainy Day?

Sierra Hillis and Stephanie Tompkins have joined forces to create a fresh, creative and unique style to items they love the most.
Sierra said the idea came when she was pregnant and she desired to save money on baby goods.  Though she loved the items she found such as a baby sling and a car seat cover, she didn't have the money to pay big prices on designer items.  It began with designing a sling, then a tote and then a car seat cover.  When she wanted to come up with a unique shower gift she designed a PottiPak and Designer Wipes Case bundle for a gift and that is when the business began to explode.
Stephanie joined her friend with her ability to crochet and the business was born.
RainyDay Originals is about personality and style; YOUR personality and style, something the nearest chain retailer can't provide.
This new business provided individually designed items that are handmade at a reasonable price. The future website can be found at
Please check them out as they provide fantastic tote bags, booties, baby shoes and the cutest of hats.
The business is inspired by Sierra and Stephanie's children and encouraged by those who buy their products and fall in love.
They can also be found on facebook and are located in and near Hobart, NY!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wedding Cakes and other Yummy Art, yes please.

It's Art, but it's Edible!
Not only to we enjoy art, but when it tastes good too...well that is a surefire winner.
Stacy Skog has always enjoyed the culinary arts when baking the occasional birthday cake for family and friends.  Her small time endeavors began to grow as people started to fall in love with her designs and personal touch in everything she made. Delightful Designs was born and Stacy found her niche in a creative business industry.
Each cake, cook or dessert is made with a specific person in my mind and Stacy makes sure she takes time to get to know every client so their personality is translated into a unique and personal product.
Stacy's cakes have graced many weddings and birthday parties as well as office parties and anniversary.  The fabulous cake designer said it takes a great deal of time and effort, but for her, it takes love, passion and a vision. THAT is art!!! She is willing to work with you to design a cake that compliments your vision whether you are looking for a simple classic design or something trendy and fun.
All of the products are homemade to order and deliver where available.
Stacy's inspiration is found in a theme for a party, color scheme or even a wedding gown or invitation. Clients will find Stacy designs to meet with them and find out their dreams for an event and the client, becomes the greatest inspiration of them all.
Stacy an be contacted at 607-435-0742 or at Delightful.Designs@hotmailcom. She is located in Oneonta, NY.
Find her on facebook and book her soon!!!!!
Not to mention, we have worked with Stacy personally and her smile and her service are just as amazing as her cakes!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who Doesn't Love A Tutu??

As a photographer I started noticing the popularity of Tutus for young girls. It's not just Tutus, it's hairpieces and creativity invested in making the perfect outfit...and little girls LOVE them!
It didn't take long for almost nine-year-old Lila Shafer to fall in love with tutus and begin designing her own.
Lila picked apart everything from tutus to jewelry and hair pieces to learn how these items were made and how she could do it better. Her mother, Jenn watched her daughter's interest grow and together they came up with the name Lulu Tutus for a business venture they both wanted to invest in. Lulu has been Lila's nickname since she was born and now it has branded her new-found business.
Who doesn't love a tutu? They can be made in all shapes, sizes and colors and used for flower girl dresses, newborn photo shoots and children photo shoots as well. No two are exactly alike!
The small company is located in Hobart, NY with help from Lila's dad, brother and sister who pitch in when orders get a little big. For your text tutu order please contact Lila!!!
Our e-mail is Website coming soon. Facebook page, Lulu's Tutus.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Windham Lodges Provides Top Notch Service

In November 2006, Jefferson Central School graduates and brothers Adam and Aaron Miller opened the doors to the beautiful Catskill Lodge in Windham, NY.
The brothers invested and designed a lodge geared to mirror the charm of an old 1863 Queen Ann Victorian, but with all the modern amenities of a house built in 2011.
Bathrooms and kitchens are classy, but fresh and each room is complete with an ipod docking station, cable television and a dvd player complete with a DVD library with 200 movies to choose from.
Clients choose Catskill Lodging for many reasons and they keep coming back for more due to it's competitive pricing and the great strides Adam and Aaron take to keep guests happy!!!
The Catskill Lodges are located right in Windham so check them out!! They are a fantastic choice for bridal parties, out of town guests or a honeymoon celebration.
Phone: (518)261-7150

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Heidi Barton Originals - Jewelry You MUST see

There are many reasons for you to check out Heidi Barton Originals, so many that you will just have to visit her link to get the full effect of her talent, creativity and amazing designs.
We wanted to feature Heidi and her work for many reasons, one fantastic reason is the fact that she does custom orders for bridal parties as well as one-of-kind gift ideas for that special friend, family member or sweetheart.
Heidi's jewelry is propelled by her passion for mixing vintage and modern styles incorporating materials from each era. This is not just about Heidi's jewelry, this is about her way of life. Her love of all things fashion spills over into the way she decorates her home and styles her wardrobe. 
"I love to incorporate different lustres and textures in my pieces and I try to design them with some asymmetrical movement, it adds some whimsy!", said Heidi.
Her custom jewelry gets noticed immediately and that is because each piece means something to it's designer and each creation fueled by the love of fashionable creativity.
When Heidi does custom orders for bridal parties it's a beloved endeavor. The entire process includes meeting with the bride, discussing colors, design and styles.  She designs sketches, creates and delivers in style.
"I have even done each necklace in the party with a different design to work with that particular bridesmaid's own style, whether it be bold or simple," said Heidi.
And wait...there's more.
Heidi will also re-design pieces you already own.  Her talents extend even further! She will turn that old heirloom piece that you thought you would never wear and turn it into something amazing with new materials like gems, crystals, and metal allowing you to enjoy it on you and remembering who gave it to you instead of letting it sit in your jewelry box.
Heidi got her start making jewelry in college at the University of Arts in Philadelphia and her passion continues to be inspired.
Her shop is online, click HERE to go see! Heidi is also available to do home-shows or if you are interested in earning free jewelry through hosting your own show, please email Heidi at
Contact info:
Photographed Jewelry submitted by Heidi.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Popp's Topps, It's More Than A Fabulous Name

If you are looking for my site, please click here.

When I first heard of this business, I was immediately excited and eager to showcase the work here.  If you are considering family fall pictures....THIS might be the perfect touch to your unique family.
Amanda Popp, a Stamford resident and mom of some adorable kiddos, recently started her own business with the catchy name Popp's Topps (how does that name not make you smile?). 
The hats are crocheted and designed by Amanda as she strives to create a unique and individualized "topp" every time.
She began crocheting just last year under the tutelage of her husband's grandmother, Sally Whitney who has always presented her family with hand made gifts.  The personal touch of a handmade gift propelled Amanda to venture out on her own.
As she began to conceptualize her idea she had to admit there wasn't anything better than a fun hat on a cute baby.  Of course, the hats aren't just for babies. Amanda can make a hat for anyone and she strives to design it to YOUR liking. Pick the colors, give her an idea and she will do her best to customize it just for you.
"My kids inspire me," Amanda said. "I love seeing their adorable little faces surrounded by one of the hats I've made special for them. They get excited to have a new hat too. I also love to see instant gratification. These hats take me about an hour or so to make, so for me, being a mom of three small children three and under I don't have a lot of time on my hands, but when I get a free minute or during nap time, I can pretty much complete a hat, start to finish. INSTANT GRATIFICATION! And if it allows me to make a little money to stay at home even longer with my babies, why not? I also enjoy crocheting, it's a little escape for me."
Amanda is located in Stamford on Kemper Mountain Road and her contact info is:
facebook - Popp's Topps
Cell - 607-643-3629

If you know anyone who would like to be featured me at or find me on facebook! We LOVE small business as it relates to our photography!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Glassblowing? You bet.

 First: If you are looking for my photography site, click here
In my local(ish) wanderings, I ooze excitement when I find local diamonds of creativity.  I admit I didn't know much about the art of glassblowing, but after visiting with Teddy Halstead, I not only fell in love with the art, but earned a respect for the precision and dedication it takes to make just one beautiful wine goblet or lamp shade.
Halstead's passion for his work is evident in the pieces he creates. Bold colors, whimsical design that are one-of-kind.  You won't find pieces like his in any chain store, that would be insulting to the genius of this art.
As I was watching his artisans stand in front of nearly intolerable heat ovens, blow glass and begin to shape it's future I knew he would be worth sharing.
A better idea of his work can be found on his gallery site,  He visits Atlantic City and Las Vegas  frequently as his work comes in higher demand to clientele who desire unique and hand crafted gifts that explode with beauty.
I could easily see his exquistitely designed items wrapped up for my next bridal gift and I had visions of his work on the head table of receptions filled with dancing and laughter.  His lamps would cause impressive gasps and if you don't know what a wall taco is, it's about time you found out!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them as our purpose is to encourage buying from local businesses and create a community of creative brilliance. If you know anyone who you think would be an interesting feature for this site. Please email your comments or suggestions to
If you know of someone who should be featured here...please email me at We are looking for creative, inspiring and relatable products! So let me know!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Creative Wedding Invitations? This one ROCKS!!!

If you are looking for my site, please go to
Otherwise, sit down and take a look at this amazing idea for a wedding invitation. I fell in love with it when I saw it on my co-workers desk and I HAD to find out what inspired the bride.  I was going to blog it out for you, but she wrote it all so well, I shall not touch what she wrote!!  It's a little detailed, but it will give you an idea for an invitation that will be turned into a small work of art. Seriously, I would never throw this one away, I would probably have it framed.
So thank you Christina Hunt (now Wood  ) of Oneonta, you have inspired me!

In the words of the bride....
When we began planning our wedding, my (soon to be) husband and I determined a “vibe.”  Not a theme…themes seem superficial.  A theme is a topic and people purchase items that concern that topic.  A vibe is a mood – it is the emotion that you hope to evoke from your event.  As a couple known for boundless energy, creativity, and an ability to have a really good time, we had a reputation to keep so planning commenced!
Words thrown around in our bedtime brainstorming session included “classy, casual, old time, local, live music, rural, fun, and a little unexpected.”  We love dancing and have been doing so since the day we met five years prior and we love our community of friends – all of these elements would become a part of the experience.
 Over nachos and beer at a local haunt, Chris Lott, owner of Evening with Designs listened to a summary of our evening’s events.  I brought several images with me that I liked:  sample invitations, font styles, and concert posters (50s rock and country).  After tossing around ideas we knew we wanted an invitation with a traditional front and an unexpected “POW” on the inside (aka the “Get up and dance” effect).  We wanted it to feel like a show poster.
Now, let me explain, Chris Lott is not an invitation designer…he’s a show poster designer! He definitely fits the vibe.  Jared and I were charged with producing a photo of us dancing and from there, Chris would work his magic.  Only problem, we didn’t have pictures of us dancing!
So, one night Jared and I cleared out the living room placing our SONY Cybershot camera on a nearby bookshelf and setting the timer.  It was tricky…it took about 30 shots, but we finally got a few that were worthy of being sent to the designer.  Chris was pleased upon the receipt of the images and went to work.
Draft one was pretty good.  I loved the font and the design elements, but it wasn’t what I had originally envisioned so I pushed Chris to keep working and tweaking the invitation.  When all was said and done, I had dragged him through several weeks of tweaking only to come full circle back to the original with slight changes.  While it wasn’t exactly what I had originally envisioned, it was really awesome invitation and spoke to the mood of our event entirely.  I was elated by the results of his unique vision of the day we had planned for our community of friends and family.
We sent the invitation to print at a digital printing company in a nearby city.  I had worked with this outfit many times professionally in the past and was always satisfied with the price and quality.  It was an easy choice – family owned and very down to earth.  Again it spoke to the vibe.  They were hands-on with the selection of paper to suit the imagery and very attentive to my fairly confusing layout.  “Wait, you mean the photo is on the inside! Ohhhh, now I get it.  That’s really cool,” says the assistant after a very long and confusing (and amusing) telephone conversation.
The invitations arrived and were processed for announcing our intentions to “CELEBRATE” with 300 lovely individuals that have touched our lives professionally, spiritually, and personally.  A most raucous party was about to occur!
As you start your planning process, I offer these thoughts on your “do-it-yourself” day:
    •    Do the research.  Buy a couple overpriced wedding magazines and rip out the good ideas – put them in your planning journal; go online and seek out great invitation ideas to add too.
    •    Look for unique fonts – default fonts on Microsoft products are often overused so look for something tasteful but a little different.  Some cost money and some are free.  There’s a good chance that if you can’t do it, your computer savvy designer friend can find what you’re looking for.
    •    Offer an element of surprise.  Something that speaks to your personalities and the mood you wish to create – make your friends and family excited to join you in the celebration. 
    •    Always remember your vibe.  Fall back to the mantra: this party needs to feel ______ (insert appropriate descriptive words: heavenly, down to earth, sophisticated, intimate, etc.)
    •    Use the ones you love.  Use vendors, friends, and family members you know, love, and can trust to make your day that much more personal.  Those folks that you entrust in the planning process will be honored and proud to have created a magical day for you and your honey. 
    •    Let the artist be the artist.  People always have their own vision about an idea, but if you find a designer you can trust with your idea…then trust him / her even if it’s not exactly what you expected. Imagine that it’s not your wedding – how would you feel if you got the invite in the mail? Does it fit the mood and the couple? If the final product is so off base that it makes you sick to your stomach, it’s time to change the design or (in worst case scenario) the designer.
    •    Have fun.  This is (hopefully) your only wedding so remember not to sweat the small stuff.  Rock the process, have fun, and enjoy being engaged!
A few of the vendors and resources:
    •    The Knot.  (hosted our wedding website and offered a ton of ideas!)

    •    Rainbow’s End Weddings and More.  Oneonta, New York.

    •    Callahan Digital Printing.  Binghamton, New York.  800-797-7314
    •    Eveningwith Designs.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA? Or do you know a business I should feature? I would love to know! Contact me at!~

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gulp. Blogging do-over.

First off: If you are looking for my site, please click here or go to
I just wiped away over a year of photography blogging. I consider it cathartic, but it wasn't easy. I just closed my eyes and I pressed delete.
 I had a love/hate relationship with this blog, almost like trying on a pair of jeans that you can't quite get to fit though your really like them.  THEN! just when you are about to give up and go home, you try on one last pair and BAM, you like the look and feel perfectly.
After churning out several ideas of what I wanted to do here. I decided to integrate other businesses that hold hands with mine. I come from a small town and small town business owners are GEMS of the marketing world.  These people have independent, strong and creative minds that have survived everything  (including the latest floods here in upstate New York.)  Therefore, my blog will focus on them and act as a resource for those looking for the most out of their photographer.  I already have my features lined up for over a month. I was inspired by a recent wedding invitation - and so we will be featuring it here! Glassblowers, cake decorators, card designers, florists, local and obscure places for weddings, jewelry designers, graphic artists and so much more. I am looking to publish a blog every Wednesday, that is my goal :)
Additionally, I want YOUR help. If you know of someone who would be a great feature on this blog. Let me know. I would love to help out a small business. This blog has been averages thousands of hits and I want that to keep growing!!!  If you see a creative idea that others should know about it, please get in touch with me. 
Ideas I am looking for: those that apply to weddings, child photography shoots, newborn portraits and senior shoots.  (think unique jewelry or shops for gifts,  someone who designs clothing or hats, a baker? candy store? get the idea). Email me at with your idea and contact info!
Thanks and see you Wednesday!