Resilience…

Resilience

Resilience. The struggle to survive. I’ve learned more about the struggles of life in a garden than almost anywhere else. Observing plants teaches me about the will to live in the most unlikely places. Plants teach us about adaptation, self confidence and seizing opportunities where we can find them. What might have worked before, doesn’t always show up. The support you always had, isn’t there, the truth may be, they’re struggling too. That’s a chance to follow survival instincts. Plants know this.

Some seek Light to grow and bloom. Others flourish in dappled and damp shade and manage to be Pretty in the process. Some simply find a way. Often in the worst of conditions, a plant will sprout leaf and bloom- up through an iron railing, a cracked sidewalk or graveled garden path; a fallen log, a scorching sandy beach- even the mighty oak learns to soar above the forest floor.

Exuberance, enthusiasm, even enjoyment of living is right underfoot. Being forced in a jar or peeking through a picket fence. Or drawing life out of itself like those sweet muscari bulbs, why? Because sometimes- you just have to draw strength from within yourself- right? It’s that inexplicable urge to survive, maybe a zest for living- a joy just to be alive… spoken without words. Look close and you’ll hear these things and more.

No matter how small, it seems to me, there’s not just a the will to live despite circumstances or even survival techniques… there’s some inner workings I don’t quite understand. I only know these little survivors speak to me of purposeful filled living. Add in the will to live.

A fern sprout, a cluster of mushrooms, tiny bulbs in a jar- a dandelion or two. Wood violets, beach flowers, a crazy Iris craning her neck through a picket fence turning her face to the sun.

Even a leafy weed and most springing up from a rocky place- oh yes… they teach me so many lessons and more…

Resilience is what keeps us going. Finding light or enlightenment. Absorbing moisture, putting down deeper roots or pulling from your inner strength. A willingness to grow. Nature is where we find beauty, strength, nourishment and salve. After the year we’ve had, I hope your Resilience has shown up. Here’s to a zest for living, getting going and growing again!

Love y’all, Brenda

  • The June Planning Guide will be ready soon and no, it’s not too early! If you’d like to be on the list- just send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com
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The Power of Visual Marketing…

Visual Marketing. I’ve been working on a project about the impact Images and Colors have on readers and more important on Marketing your goods or services. I don’t usually go straight to statistics, yet this time- the Stats are powerful. Did you know folks only recall 18-20% of what they Read? Followed by a whopping 600% recall of what they See! That’s the impact of Visual Marketing. If you have something to sell? Over 300% will make a purchase when Visual Images are combined with compelling Information when compared to Text only.

Okay, sit down a minute, take a sip of coffee., and listen up! We think we know these things yet, considering today’s world of Advertising and Online Sales. I personally believe those statistics are why Instagram is such a powerful platform for product or service based businesses. On that platform over 75% are more likely to read Content that’s combined with Images that evoke emotions. You know, I get it- We’re so busy following our dreams, we forget the boring things that make those dreams come true. Why? Because it takes time coming up with fresh content and compelling images.

Images that symbolize the Doorway to the Opportunity to present and sell your products or services. Or show someone their Potential. Tell someone what and why you’ve created your art, your online shop, your coaching services.

Whew that’s a lot of Math. And not just math, astonishing Information! So, I’ll make this short, so you can get maximum information with minimal effort. I’m almost finished with a 6 page list of My Favorite Styling Materials, Props and Images- I’ll let you know when it’s ready. Still.

Listen to this: There are certain images that Stop the Scroll, make you want to read what the content says. My top 4, (though certainly not all!) are contained in this post. If you’re a photographer, shoot these anytime you find them. If you’re not? Find compelling images like these. Free Stock Image sites abound. Start building a stable of Images you can build Content around. Images that evoke nostalgia, curiosity, calm and compelling. You have to decide what emotion you want to create. The images don’t even have to be related to your brand or product directly. Advertising Agencies have used this principle for years. You can do what the big brands do, with color, images and great content.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. If you haven’t guessed by now- A bicycle creates nostalgia and movement. A cup or a whole stack of cups is a proven image to project warmth and comfort. Eggs always represent Potential, even comfort for food bloggers. A Door or two! Even a bit scuffed, is always perceived as Opportunity. That’s why they’ll always make my top 4 images. And, just an FYI- you can blend stock Images with your own images, like I’ve done here. 3 are Stock Images and one is mine- I’ll let you guess which one!

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!

Texture…

Texture. The roughness of peeling paint. The wrinkles, ridges and bumps of pumpkins, contrast with rough dry stems. The soft fur of a sleeping kitten on a nappy blanket- all are varied examples of how Texture, even on flat images bring life and interest to design. This is especially important when blogging or social media which is dependent on non-textured images.


Soft feathers in vibrant colors play against an ornate gilded mask. Even textured monochromatic barn board and straw nest with the smoothness of galvanized metal show the importance of how light and texture brings life and interest to an empty nest I found and captured in a photo years ago. That image is still one of my favorites, a happy accident for sure.
By contrast- the soft sand, sleek and slick colorful fishes are improved with rippled water and mossy planks, which without those contrasting textures, just wouldn’t be the same.


Add the texture of rough chopped pecans to almost anything and your recipes will have the unmistakable flavor and texture we crave in food. *Tip: Inexpensive paper sacks or burlap bags are wonderful as props*

Dark, spicy ‘Where the Sugarcane Grows’ Gingerbread…topped with roughly spread cream cheese frosting, served on smooth vintage plates is an example of how opposites attract… and really, those crumbs do add a bit of realistic textural charm…
Tell the story of how the sweet and spicy Classic Southern Jezebel Sauce… sprang from our twisted roots, bayous and swamps. The textures help you tell that crazy tale…trust me on that!

And yes, in Autumn we must have the color and texture of fallen leaves to signal the changing seasons.
Texture is all around us- it adds to the tactile experience of life. It’s the thing that makes an image come alive- the sensations we know and love in the world around us. Evoke the sense of touch- real or imagined, folks will love it.
After Light and Color- Texture is Number 3 of my 9 Principles of Design. Look for it, find it, add it to your images and then- watch Texture bring your image to life!
Love y’all, Brenda

Here’s an image of that ‘Where the Sugarcane Grows’ Gingerbread…

Seasonal Wreaths…

Seasonal Wreaths…circles, imperfect, yes! Shapes and form are basic and elemental. And often set the stage in good design. Wreaths add personality, even create  or convey meaning and mood. I enjoy making wreaths, especially with natural materials I’ve collected or grown myself.  Since we grow a type of grapes called muscadines- my wreaths usually start with a grapevine base. I’ve been known to wind up muscadine vines, leaves and all- left plain? I enjoy it just like that!

I’ve used pale green hydrangeas grown here- I’ll admit those were my pride and joy the first year they bloomed. I love the cotton wreath because the cotton came from a special garden established to honor Alabama native George Washington Carver. A former slave who taught farmers how to enrich soil depleted by cotton growth by alternating growing peanuts! And, yes he’s probably the Father of Peanut Butter and more! For sure, he was a pioneer in adding nitrogen back to poor soil. And his work was done at the famous Tuskegee Institute in part funded by Henry Ford himself.

I had a bumper crop of Oregano- the scent when wound up into a wreath is amazing- fresh or dried. Herbs make wonderful additions to wreaths. As wreaths dry, you never know the form or color they’ll take on. Pale papery blooms take on a beautiful hue. Magnolia leaves are stunning any time of year, especially during holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas and beyond.

I made a wreath recently with ‘past their prime’ cuttings of hydrangeas, somehow it pleases me through the beauty of imperfections which will soften and become even more beautiful, I hope.

Shapes often have symbolic meanings. Take circles- there’s no beginning or end. Wreaths are timeless, seasonal- the shape and form feels complete, unified. Circular curves suggest softness and movement, especially when combined with the sharp edges of other forms. Like a door maybe?

Shape and form are basic, necessary elements of design- perfect or not, preferably not. Don’t wait until a wreath or anything else, for that matter, is perfect– just get started. Use Shapes and Forms in your designs. You’ll be glad you did!

Love y’all, Brenda

Here’s that Magnolia Wreath- one of my all time favorites!