What prompted you to start blogging in the first place?
“I’ve always been a writer, and have always had a love for design and antiques, so when quite by accident I stumbled upon one blog…then another…and then ANOTHER…I knew I had found my niche! At first, I didn’t quite know what the focus of my blog would be, I was sort of all over the place. It wasn’t until I picked up my first DSLR camera that I knew instantly it would be photography. The feeling I get when I capture beauty through my lens is like no other.”
How long have you been blogging?
“It will be two years this August. It feels like much longer though, because the friendships I’ve made through blogging are so deep and meaningful, they feel like “forever” friends.”
You have a very unique blog name, what is the story behind it?
“I’m so glad you asked, and not just because I still get called Fiona now and again!
When I was thinking of a name for my blog, I knew I wanted something that obviously had meaning to me, and yet was still ambiguous enough that it wouldn’t pigeonhole me into any one genre or niche. After all, I still didn’t know where I fit in to this great big, blogging world!
My absolute favorite calico cat growing up was named Twig. And my best friend Tom, who is also now my photography assistant, had a favorite calico cat named Fiona. And there you have it.”
What is one piece of advice you would give to a “new” blogger?
“Just to remember that while blogging seems to be all about the flowery prose and the pretty pictures, it truly is all about the relationships. The time you take to visit others, leave comments, and get to know people, will most certainly help boost your following, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s a bonus, to be sure, but it’s been the amazing people I’ve gotten to know that have made my blogging adventure so rewarding.”
What is one piece of advice you would give to a “seasoned” blogger to avoid the dreaded blogger burn-out?
“Firstly, don’t be surprised when it happens to you. It’s something that all of us experience at one time or another, and I think more than anything else, it’s just that still, small voice inside of you telling you to slow down….pace yourself….breathe. So many folks are afraid that if they don’t post for a week or two that the blogosphere will forget they ever existed.
But in the grand scheme of things, taking care of yourself, your home and your family, THOSE are the things which should and must come before blogging. And this is coming from someone who got it all backwards for a while there! My priorities were completely out of whack, as I was neglecting my husband and my household in order to blog, respond to comments, etc. Just be good to yourselves….take a break….the world will keep turning, no one will forget you. Promise. :-)”
How have you learned to balance blogging with the rest of your life Anne, which we are sure is something all bloggers struggle with?
“Ha! Seems as though I just revealed that I haven’t always been quite so good at achieving balance as I am now, eh? 😉 For me, it has truly been through learning from my own mistakes, of which I have made a TON. As I explained earlier, I’ve learned that if I miss a few days of blogging, my friends and followers are always still there on the flip side to welcome me back. And I’ve had to let some things drop along the way, too. When I closed down my antique mall booth and Etsy shop, it felt like a failure at first. But with a full-time job to boot, I simply had too much on my plate. I was doing a lot of things, and not any of them very well. Once I discovered my passionate love of photography, it all fell into place. “Ahhhhh, this is who I am….not the shop girl, or booth owner….I’m a photographer.” I still struggle with the balance thing, but it gets easier as time goes on.”
What are your top 3 favorite things about blogging?
“The relationships…the deep friendships I’ve made have been the greatest blessing, more than I could have ever imagined. That’s number one for me. It’s also numbers two and three, but I suppose I should try and come up with something else!
Another favorite thing would be the never-ending inspiration I get from visiting all of your blogs. I am constantly blown away by the depth of talent out there, and all of you spur me on to be better, more creative and more inspiring myself. So thank you!
Lastly, the opportunities I’ve been afforded due to blogging are more than I could have ever imagined or dreamed of. I mean, getting published? Seriously?! It’s happened a few times now, and I am still so humbled and thankful for the opportunities God has placed in my path due to blogging.”
Your photographs are always so beautiful! When did you realize you had a passion and talent for photography?
“Thank you so much! The photography thing definitely snuck up on me. When I started my blog two years ago, I had only ever used those little disposable point and shoot cameras. Well, after spending a few days getting the lay of the land (blogland, that is), it took me about, oh, a nanosecond to realize that that simply wouldn’t cut it. I remember telling my husband ‘you know, I really think I need to get a REAL camera if I’m going to do this blogging thing!’
So off we went to Wallyworld to get a little pink Canon Powershot, which served me well for almost a year until I upgraded to my Nikon D5000, and finally, my professional, big girl camera, my Nikon D700. It’s been true love ever since.”
(Anne has beautiful photography from her “early” years. I think Anne’s story goes to show that even with a point and shoot camera you can capture gorgeous photographs! So don’t let the lack of a DSLR stop you from taking lots of photographs and learning the art of photography!)
Which photographs are your favorites of those you’ve taken or those that have been published?
“It’s hard to pick, like being asked to choose which child is your favorite! But there are a few which stand out.
One of my absolute faves was actually taken with my old point and shoot camera, it was the pic of that wonderful old hutch in my friend Theresa Cano’s space at Zapp Hall.”
“Her artistry when it comes to styling and setting up a vignette is simply unmatched, so lovely.
Another image which comes to mind is one that I took of one of my lovely old bentwood chairs at sunset. I was utterly and completely uninspired that day, and just on a whim, I grabbed the chair and a few props and just started snapping.”
“What I captured ended up being one of my favorite images, and was even chosen to be used in my Romantic Homes feature.
And finally, the photo shoot I did of Willow Nest for Romantic Country Magazine was just magical from start to finish. The gorgeous B&B belonging to Linda and Ludmil Marcov was filled with endless inspiration, so the shot of the old iron bed, the dress hanging on the door, light pouring in from the window….”
“I loved that image so much that I used as my blog header for months. Those are just a few of my faves!”
Can you share a little bit with us how you felt when you saw your photographs published for the first time?
“It was a combination of feeling blessed, stunned, giddy and humbled all at the same time.
I remember quite well the night I received the e-mail from Romantic Homes telling me they wanted to feature my blog. I let out a little scream and scared both the cat AND the husband!
And when I had the opportunity to do my first feature for Romantic Country magazine, I just hoped and prayed that I would be able to produce something worthy of the trust that had been placed in me by Fifi O’Neill. Seeing the finished product and seeing my name…MY name…in the byline was like an out-of-body experience. I take nothing for granted, I am so very thankful each and every time my work is published.”
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you?
“In lieu of a phone and a boat *grin*, I’ll say my camera, my computer and a bicycle. The bicycle would be to get around more easily, the computer would be my lifeline to the outside world, and my camera would feed my creative soul.”
If you could only have one person with you on that island (and we won’t judge if it’s not your hubby..we promise ), whom would it be?
“Can I say MacGyver for obvious reasons? 😉 I figure my husband would understand, as MacGyver would surely have me off that island and back home in NO time!!!”
(Yes you can say MacGyver Anne! We don’t blame you one bit. He would definitely come in handy on a desert island but given how handsome he is, we think it might be hard to resist taking Mr. Fiona and Twig with you….grin.)
Thank you so much Anne for taking the time to answer our questions and letting us get a glimpse at the Blogger Behind the Blog! Visiting your lovely blog is, as we like to say, “soothing for the soul”!