New Instagram!

I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this sooner, but I finally set up a personal Instagram account! Now I can gush about all my non-Wit & Whistle interests without annoying people who just want to keep up with my product line. Woo! So going forward, @witandwhistle will be only about Wit & Whistle related stuff, and @amandaraewright will have pretty pics of my home, house plants, miscellaneous creative projects (like pottery), and whatever else I come up with.

I need to figure out a way to tie my blog in with Instagram. I don’t like that all my photos eventually get lost in my Instagram feed, whereas my blog posts are more permanent, and anyone on the whole internet can search them out. Do any of you still blog in this brave new social media world?

Here are some photos of our new house from my new insta-g account! After much deliberating I decided to jump on the big circular mirror bandwagon. There’s no going back. I want MOAR! I want them everywhere. Cover the walls. Gimme all the plants and circle mirrors. I’ll die blissed-out.

round mirror fireplace mantel

Fiddle Leaf Fig #3 (RIP Fiddle Leaf Figs #1 and #2) is doing quite well at the new place! I got a tiny cheap one, and it has doubled in size already! The keys to a Fiddle Leaf’s heart are apparently TONS of sunlight and watering sparingly when the soil feels dry. Boom. I win this time, Fiddle Leaf. I guess you do too, because you’re not dying.

fiddle leaf fig new growth

Here’s our master bathroom tub. I don’t take baths, but the dogs and plants tell me it’s nice. Seriously though, if you take a bath don’t you have to immediately shower to wash the soap scum off?

bathroom tub subway tile

The living room pretty much only looks like this when Fern is sleeping, and I’ve hidden all her toys. Actually I think she was awake when I took this, and I just pushed all her crap over to the left and cropped it out. Hah.

leather couch interior design

This guy is putting the monster in Monstera. Holy cow. I’m going to need to take a weed wacker to it pretty soon.

monstera plant

Here’s my favorite plant-y corner of the kitchen. Two more orchids may have shown up since I took this. What? I couldn’t help it! At $8 a piece they were practically giving them away!

kitchen plants urban jungle

Maybe I’ll tie in my instagram with my blog by re-posting my favorite photos here, but with more words. I’m not really a big writer, but I could pretend we’re chatting over coffee and just say random things. You likey?

Another question is, if I separated my Instagram into personal and business accounts why wouldn’t I do the same with my blog? #quandary #ohwaithashtagsdon’tworkonmyblog

Thanks a lot to those of you who still read my blog! I feel like blogging has gotten really weird over the last few years. Like, not totally dead, but mostly dead? It has been a bit demotivating, so I’ve been pretty flaky about posting, but I still love being able to throw a post up when I can! <3

White Background Product Photos

First of all, thank you so much for the rush of orders lately! I’m eternally grateful to you all for keeping Wit & Whistle in business. :) While my office manager/mom has been shipping your packages out in a timely matter, I’ve been busy updating all my product photos. It’s not glamorous work, but somebody’s gotta do it! Initially I was nervous about ditching my tried and true burlap background, but it turns out I love the white! It really makes my products pop. Here are a few before and after screen shots…

Cards with my old burlap background:

Cards with my new white background:

Art prints with my old burlap background:

Art prints with my new white background:

I’d say my new light box has definitely paid off. Redoing all my product photos has been a ton of work, so if you like the burlap better… don’t tell me! Just kidding, you can if you want. I can take it. I’m still going to use the burlap for styled shots for marketing purposes, so it won’t totally disappear. I need to tweak my thumbnail images so they’re bigger and less spaced out, but I’m making progress! My goal is to finish by the new year. Sounds like I’m in for a fun Christmas, eh?

Japanese Maple Mania

Happy (American) Thanksgiving everybody! Wishing you lots of mashed potatoes and gravy, which I have to admit are the best part of any Thanksgiving feast.

I’m jumping the gun a little, but it’s Black Friday sale time! Use the code BLACKFRIDAY here at witandwhistle.com to take 25% off your entire order now through the end of the day Monday, November 27th. (The discount code is not valid in my Etsy shop.)

In other news, it has come to my attention that my husband is an addict. Since we moved into the new house he will not (or maybe cannot) stop buying Japanese Maples. Daniel even stalked the Japanese Maple guy at the Raleigh farmer’s market until he agreed to let him visit the closed-to-the-public tree farm. They offered him amazing wholesale prices and delivery, so now we have 10ish (I lost count) Japanese maples all around our yard. Honestly, I don’t mind his new obsession, because now he can’t say anything about my houseplant problem!

Our forest of maples is currently blazing red. Check out this fall color…

red Japanese Maple

red Japanese Maple

red Japanese Maple

Wit & Whistle Holiday Cards 2017

Here are the new holiday cards I came up with for this year! I’ve got some sketchbook process peeks for you below. I’m going to have to figure out a different way to photograph my sketchbook at the new house. It turns out the floors are too dark to use as a backdrop, doh!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun working on these. Confession, I usually hate designing holiday cards, but this year I worked on them a bit earlier instead of beating myself over the head with Christmas stuff during my summer slump. It worked out so much better! Is anybody else a useless blob during the oppressive heat of July and August? My creative juices ebb and flow from season to season, and summer is not a creative time for me.

My Black Friday discount coupon will be posted later this week, but I’m offering an even better discount exclusively to my newsletter subscribers! If you don’t want to miss out, sign up for my newsletter right here.

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

Light Box Review

For nearly eight years I used the same product photography setup—propped up foam core next to a window. It was cheap and worked for my purposes, but it had some drawbacks. My old setup relied heavily on the weather, and I often had to delay my shoots on gloomy days. My photos were also heavily affected by the leaves on the trees outside reflecting green or yellow light on my setup during spring, summer, and fall. Editing photos took forever, because I had to manually adjust each one. Due to the changing light conditions I couldn’t automate any part of the editing process.

After years of debating I decided I will be changing my greeting cards from A7 to A2 size, which means updating all my product photos. Talk about daunting! I’m switching to a white background for individual product shots, while keeping my usual burlap texture for styled shots. I spent hours reading way too many reviews, and finally bought this light box.

My light box folds flat for storage and easily pops up when I need it. The inside is lined with LED lights, and there’s a white backdrop built in. The box seals the light in with velcro, and there are openings with flaps on the top and front so you can poke your camera in to get your shot. I don’t like that there’s no on/off switch. You have to plug and unplug it to turn it on and off. Also, the white backdrop has a crease in it from being folded for storage. Lucky for me the crease isn’t a problem for flat lay product photos.

My process for re-shooting my cards was to photograph each one with the same camera settings in the same placement in the light box. Then I created a Photoshop action to automatically edit each photo as much as possible. (Here’s a tutorial from Adobe demonstrating how to create Photoshop actions.)

Here’s a raw unedited photo straight from my light box:

light box review

After I ran my custom Photoshop action I was left with this:

light box review

Then I just had to adjust it slightly to finish up:

light box review

I can’t tell you how much time this new process has saved me! I was able to photograph and edit 85 cards in one day! I don’t even want to think about how long that would’ve taken with my old photography set up. At least a week I’m sure.

If you’ve been on my site you know I haven’t switched over to the new product photos yet. I’ll be gradually making the change in late December/early January when the new card size is available.

One other downside, if you have a toddler you will probably have to share the light box.

light box review