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Behind the Scenes at the Better Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot with Amy Graham Stigler

Smock designer, Amy Graham Stigler, was thrilled to be whisked off to New York City this fall for a photo shoot with Better Homes and Gardens. The photo spread can be found in the December issue of the magazine, where she he talks about her design inspiration and her love for stationery. Today she’s sharing her behind the scenes take of what the experience was like in front of the camera.

The day was such a whirlwind. Since it was the first week back to school for my kids the trip was condensed – I flew out to NYC Thursday afternoon and flew back Friday evening. The shoot was all day Friday in Chelsea. The space was a beautiful loft overlooking the Hudson. As I arrived a few minutes early I snuck out on this little side porch, sipped coffee and enjoyed the spectacular view. It was heavenly. After my little moment of peace in the morning the rest of the day was a flurry of activity and commotion. Racks and racks (and racks) of clothes were rolled in. Shoes and jewelry and make up was set out and organized. The set was built from ground up; painting and all. The photographers, the art directors, the prop stylists (etc etc)…all did their thing.

Amy Graham Stigler - Better Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot in NYC

Amy Graham Stigler - Better Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot in NYC

My main liason’s were Jonny Lichtenstein, the fashion stylist, and Better Homes and Gardens Editor Kelly Phillips, and they were both really special talented people. And they were very encouraging…since I really had no idea what I was doing, especially when it came to “modeling.” Probably the most notable thing about my day was just that there were so many people buzzing around, attending to me. At one point I was being interviewed, make up was being applied, my clothes were being adjusted, shoes were being put on and earrings were being clipped…simultaneously. It just struck me as so unique really since, with three kids, I am usually the one attending rather than being attended to. The actual photography-taking turned out to be quite fun (and a bit silly – with a wind machine and all!)…despite the fact that I really (really) don’t love having my photograph taken.

Amy Graham Stigler - Better Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot in NYC

Like my three year old daughter, I actually love to play dress up. I love clothes and shoes and I absolutely adore jewelry and accessories. I am a vintage girl so I usually play with old stuff but it was fun to see what is out there right now. I am generally not a big trend watcher but I definitely got a glimpse of what is going on in fashion right now by being a part of the shoot. Thankfully, tights are in because I am such a fan. And I live in Wisconsin where they are essential this time of year.

Amy Graham Stigler - Better Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot in NYC

What was your favorite part about your experience with BHG?

Definitely the process. It was such a unique experience…so different from my usual workday – FAR more social. The people I met were sooo kind and fun. And I love NYC.

BHG asked you a little bit about your design inspiration – can you share what’s inspiring you now as we head into 2010?

I am invoking Milton Avery, one of my favorite favorite painters. Think graphic and strong and colorful.

Amy Graham Stigler - Better Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot in NYC

For all of the fun, check out the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens and Happy New Year from all of your friends at Smock!

Smock Mom – Fairy Fest

Miette and I recently attended a fairy festival at a local perennial farm. It was our first, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect (aside from lots of little be-glittered girls). On arrival, Miette was slightly awe-struck. Once she got her bearings, in true fairy fashion, she became quite industrious — sprinkling water on ALL the flowers with her wand. For nearly an hour. Other fairy-day moments: watching a puppet show, chasing butterflies and kissing a frog (ok, more princess than fairy, but still). I daresay, by the end, we were both fairied out.

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Fairy Fest

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Fairy Fest

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Fairy Fest

faAmy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Fairy Fest

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Fairy Fest

Smock Mom – Evening Walks

While my last post focused on a  ‘big’ summer event, this week I thought I would reflect on a small and frequent tradition of our family - the evening walk. The best thing about this tradition (besides its ease) is that it is completely mutable. There is no start and stop time. No map. No itinerary. Very few rules. The kids run and look and shout and wrestle. They point out little things they find interesting – bugs and balls and old coins. They ask questions. They chase the dog. They get tired out. And my husband and I just try to soak it all in. Because this time together seems like it may go by just as fast as their little legs…

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Evening Walk

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Evening Walk

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Evening Walk

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Evening Walk

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Evening Walk

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Evening Walk

Smock Mom – Fishoree

Every summer there is an event that reminds me just why we moved to Wisconsin. It’s called the Fishoree and, as the name implies, its a fishing ‘competition’ for kids. (Competition in the sense that there are awards given for such categories as ‘cutest fish’.) It’s a favorite of ALL my boys as it involves worms, tangled line and consequent fish-tales. Oh yes, and a locally brewed beer for my husband (who needs it after dealing with the tangled lines.) Miette loves it as well. This year she spent the entire evening squealing “I wanna catch a beauty!” (As in….“what a beauty!”) And therein lies my focus of the evening – soaking up the sheer beauty of it all.

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom - Fishoree

Smock Mom – I Love Summer Camp

I adored camp as a child. The dusty cabins, the spirited counselors, the fireside songs — I ate it ALL up. So it was with great anticipation that I went as chaperone to my oldest’s camp this past month. My main role was as witness; witness to the constant (loud!) silliness, the new found independence, the occasional scraped knee and consequent (quickly wiped away) tears.

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom: Summer Camp

But I also got to participate in a few of my camp-time favorites — a treasure hunt, a hike in the woods and a visit to the canteen. Next year I am hitting the rope swing.

Smock Mom – The Farmer’s Market

Its no secret that I adore the farmer’s market.  It make me feel hopeful and inspired and, well, just like that ‘kid in the candy store.’  Most Saturdays we zip over to our local market which is quaint and neighborly and somewhat predictable in its offerings. But when we are feeling the need for the unexpected we load up the car and head to Madison for the BIG kahuna of markets.

Amy Graham Stigler, Smock Mom: Farmer's Market

My kids love the sights and samples and crowds.  And the man with the bee-hive hat.  And I love seeking out that odd vegetable that will inspire a new recipe and on a good week, may even convert one of my (very outspoken) strange-food-naysayers.

Smock Mom – Fun with Father’s Day Cards

Smock’s creative director, Amy Graham Stigler, is a successful designer and an incredible mother. We are thrilled that Amy will be sharing weekly glimpses into life as a designer and a mom, and snippets of inspiration along the way. You can read Amy’s past posts on the Smock blog here. First up, Amy’s kids have fun with homemade Father’s Day Cards…

Homemade Father's Day Card

It seems apropos that the children of a card designer love designing cards. And, oh boy, are my children prolific (and competitively so). Father’s Day alone resulted in 20 plus cards filled with loving sentiment and vibrant color.

Homemade Father's Day Card

The best part is that our mantel is always filled with a seasonally-appropriate-budget-friendly display of original artwork…

Homemade Father's Day Cards

One thing I love: ‘our’ lunch dates (by Amy Graham Stigler)

‘OUR’ LUNCH DATE. usually at our favorite sushi spot. although we try to do the occasional ‘date-night,’ lunch dates are a bit easier to squeeze in and they offer the perfect amount of time to reacquaint and revitalize. and afterward i always feel grateful that i have someone as inspired as my husband to share them with.
Amy Graham Stigler inspiration: lunch date 1
Amy Graham Stigler inspiration: lunch date 2

One thing I love: my father (by Amy Graham Stigler)

MY FATHER. For countless reasons. But today, on his birthday, I want to celebrate one of his many talents — woodworking. Every Christmas for the past decade or so my Dad has made each of his five children an heirloom worthy piece of furniture. Each piece is a testimony not only to his extraordinary skill, but also to his seemingly limitless generosity. Thank you Dad and Happy Happy Birthday!!
Amy Graham Stigler inspiration - her father's woodworking
Amy Graham Stigler inspiration - her father's woodworking
Amy Graham Stigler inspiration - her father's woodworking

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