Tools of the Trade….

Tools of the Trade.. I enjoy gardening. In an effort to clear out a little tool shed, actually it’s a garden shed that tends to be a catchall. Anyway, I always tend to think of the forks, pots, spades, seed packets and potting soil as the Tools of the Trade. When actually without the Skills to go with those Tools…a good garden may never get made. The definition of the phrase- Tools of the Trade is a combination of instruments and skills you need to succeed.

Never discount the value of a good plan. Before you ever plant a seed, much less plot a garden…you have to have a good cleanup and clear out. Then.. figure out what went right and what definitely didn’t. Prune the dead wood. Cut out diseased plants. Don’t dare put that into your compost pile! Let’s just say, Experience is the Best Teacher. Are you getting the picture?  A plan, organizing, good soil, select seeds. With all of that? ‘Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.’ Will Rogers was right.

There are skills I have and others I don’t. There’s no shame in asking for help. In a garden, a home or a business…don’t just sit there, ask for help. Be willing to learn something new. No one has all the answers. If you’ve been told ‘Knowledge is Power.’ That’s only true if you put what you know if you put Action with it. You could be sitting on an Acre of Diamonds, have the Right Tools and still get run over if you just sit there.

In the last week, I have spoken to 3 entrepreneurs through our ‘Let’s See if We’re a Good Fit’ Sessions. All 3 have unbelievable talents and better yet- they want to succeed. They’ll add to their Tools of the Trade. I salute them for it!

I definitely owe a huge thanks to those who’ve added to my knowledge and made it easier to act, who have the experience to back up their own success and inspired me not to just sit there. They continue to be a resource for me to work smarter to achieve better results. They’ve coached me (yes, even coaches need coaches!) And, they’ve added to my Tools of the Trade.

I am sharing some of my tools of the trade in marketing products or services with you, through our free One on One Session- I’ll send you a questionnaire, do a bit of color mapping of your personality, you’ll tell me your story and where you are on your path and where you hope to go. Then if you choose to add on a Coaching Session- we can talk about that! I’m just an email away.  brenda@camelliascottage.com As we start a new season- great success on whatever you’re cultivating. If you need help, ask for it. Invest in yourself. Tell your story wherever you are on your path, I’d love to hear it. Get organized, gather up those Tools, get help with the heavylifting, before you know it- Things will be up and Growing! All the best.

Love y’all, Brenda

Unusual…

Unusual, that’s what snow is in my part of the world. Tornadoes aren’t. We take pictures of the aftermath of tornadoes, we take pictures of snow when we get it. Most of the ones I have were from 2017. And, I’ll admit- I just love to look at images of snow. Why? Because snow is unusual.

Unusual is something I was called as a child. I had a great aunt who would exclaim to my mother, ‘Isn’t she unusual?’ Referring to me. Every. Single. Time. She saw me. I didn’t like it then.

I came around to thinking ‘unusual’ isn’t such a bad thing after all. The South is full of unusual eccentric folks – we celebrate them even if they sit on the porch in a bathrobe howling to the moon. We might even join them. Why? Because they’re unusual – Memorable is what they are. Being unusual doesn’t have to mean you’re crazy- it could also mean being as unique as a snowflake.

Perhaps you have a gift or talent rarely seen, certainly unique. My mother told me my aunt was being complimentary. It didn’t feel like it then. Still. If you feel that you are out of the ordinary- do not fret about it. Embrace being unique, unusual – let your special gift shine. Be your own unique, original unusual self.

‘Do not fear being fabulous. Give the full measure of reverent abandon, humility and lavish joy- within your power to offer.’    Brenda Wyatt

That quote says it all. Shine your light.

Love y’all, Brenda

Businesses, Coaches and Creators: You still have time to plan February! Send me an email and I will send you our Free February Planning Guide! And, it will help you plan your content too!

Dare to be Simple…

‘Something to keep our Words afloat’… there’s nothing like a story and more to do just that! See that blue in the opening image? That color is very close to The Brand Color- so easily recognizable that it’s become known as- Tiffany Blue! The jeweler so famous that just a tiny Tiffany Blue box tied with white satin ribbon- portends an engagement ring! I worked for the fragrance division of @tiffanyandco – I often had to wear a suit of that same color with a Tiffany scarf and the rules were strict. Only white ribbon was to be used to adorn their packages with the exception of red ribbon during the holidays! Well, I once had a customer who bought the fragrance, I duly wrapped it per protocol- then he asked me if I would mind wrapping that package with a plain brown wrapper and twine because he wanted it to be a surprise!

Here’s the point, unless you have strong brand colors- famous in fact- natural wraps are your friend. I love natural wraps, they save time and money (you can use them all year round!) Yet, here’s the main reason- Natural wraps create nostalgia and we all know creating good memories of a simpler time is one of the best things you can do!

Think twine, muslin, brown paper bags and tags (stamped with a logo?) that’s a good starting point. I also love crisp cello wrap for almost anything. And honestly old fashioned wax paper uplevels even the simplest fare. That chocolate pecan pie? I wrapped it in parchment tied with natural twine. Somehow the pie seemed more homemade and more delightful!

Newsprint, paper doilies, shredded and tissue paper, butcher’s wrap and rolls of plain brown make a wonderful base or fillers. Spend your money on very nice ribbon- the contrast is often the perfect thing! As is a  well designed logo or label. A garden shop I worked for, very often wrapped plants or used folded down paper bags lined with a plastic bag to wrap everything from Forget Me Not’s to Orchids!

Create nostalgia. In fact, creativity and nostalgia aren’t new tools. Yet now, when having an online presence is a necessity- these tools have become even more important! Remember that creativity has been called the newest and best business hack with nostalgia running a close second!

Natural wraps not only save you money, are sustainable and best of all? They’re something to keep your words, your brand and your products afloat in these uncertain times. Be courageous- Dare to be Simple, instead of overdone.

Love y’all, Brenda

*Some of these suggestions are in my free February planning guide (send me an email at- brenda@camelliascottage.com to get yours! And! So exciting! I’m working on a ‘Supplies List’ coming soon!

Color Trends for Spring/Summer 2021

The range of colors is astounding this season- from a Gray which is reliable, stable and reassuring to Browns as earthy as garden soil or golden sands, a veritable rainbow of vibrant, fragrant and fresh as a palette of hollyhocks, zinnias or marigolds. There’s an astonishing array of Pinks, glamorous and soft, vibrantly alive. A range of Greens which are happy, responsible yet fresh. The Blues are still around, yet project optimism- they blend over into Aqua and Turquoise sea tones. There’s a mix of Pastels as playful as flower sprigged dresses, lavender fields, violets or birthday cakes.

The base notes in the spring/summer season are as pale and soft as Buttercream, a Black which is more like blackberries, the ultimate Grays, Silvers, Bronzes, Rusty patinas I love, bread crusts and shortbread hearts. and what is described as Fortuny gold, a pale rich woven color which Shutterstock described ‘as those happy coincidences found in life.’ Overall, the upcoming season moves from a reassuring stable gray to hard working classics on toward vibrancy and playfulness. The palette I show here is what it looks like going into Spring and becomes more vibrant toward Summer

So why should Color matter? It matters to your brand, to what you stock your shelves with, to how you design your photographs and social media grids. Color speaks before you even speak or write a word of content. The images you project will look up to date, stand out in a literal sea of other folks waiting to be noticed and more important? There’s something for everyone in these color choices so you can ‘stay true to brand’ yet make color combinations which speak volumes to your readers. And don’t forget Color is one of my 9 Principles of Design…ever important and ever inspiring color.

I’m thrilled to offer a free gift- a Tip Sheet for January! it’s a 3 page download, our first! I was so anxious to get out to you- it’s not overly styled! Yet, if you’ll send me a message, I get it to you right away!

I hope this Color Story for Spring and Summer is as uplifting as the New Year, here’s wishing you all your heart has dreamed of and much success attracting the good things of life your way!

Love y’all, Brenda

Here’s the January’s Free Tip Sheet for you ! Watch for February’s tips coming soon! 

Time. Timeless. Timelessness…

Pull up a Chair. Set the scene. Tell me a story without saying a word. I want Time. Timeless. Give me Timelessness anyway you can.

I found the value of using a Chair for the first time, when  I set a bowl of cobbler on a black wicker chair- the appearance improved. The chair told a background story like no other prop I had. A stack of books on a simple chair might say-

  • Book Club to some,
  • A quaint bookstore to others or
  • Read the Classics‘ to another,

And what about a wedding bouquet on an upholstered chair- set it outside? A chair in an unexpected place… Well, let me tell you- that’s Timelessness with a twist!

You may think a Hat on a Chair is…old hat?  Yet, it’s still one of the most effective setups that stylists use. Picnics are timeless activities that evoke all kinds of emotions- a picnic basket under an old apple tree, with a book- tells the story of relaxation or taking a well earned break. And while a picnic basket is not strictly a chair- it serves the same timeless purpose, and evokes similar emotions. As does an old garden bench with bedding plants-holding the promise of Spring, is the story it tells.

When you’re gathering images for your business, for your blog- do it with the purpose of creating nostalgia, ease- express calm and timeless comfort. How?

  • Use a chair, not as an afterthought.
  • Use a chair to anchor your work, a story or even specialty items, you’ll send messages all year round.
  • Use an elevated but timeless prop- a basket, a garden bench.
  • A cozy throw, a stack of books, a warm cup of coffee- you get a picture of the story I’m going to tell.
  • Or, let me take you on a sentimental journey with an old book, a classic chair, even scattered dry rose petals.

While you’re photographing Chairs, create a few different scenes- a book, a throw, a vintage napkin and a piece of cake. Why? It’s more efficient to change the props, while you have good light. And! Remember, you’ll  use these images over and over again, they’re timeless, tell a story without words… The photos you create are your treasure chest- filter lightly to create different moods. Give your readers or clients the impression of Timelessness and you leave the impression of stability. It takes very little of your time to add something pretty with your product, or timeless inspiration, perhaps a a short note- perched on a chair seat- you’ll have an image which will remain relevant years from now.

Trust me on this amazing Element of Design, Time. Be sure Time is on your side. Pull up a chair and tell me a timeless story. You know I’d love to hear it.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. I’m working on a List of My favorite Props just for you! Okay for anyone who wants it, too! I’ll let you know when it’s ready, just know A Chair will make it to the Top of the List!