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Before yesterdayCamellia's Cottage

Stairs as an Allegory…

26 August 2021 at 11:08

Possibilities, that’s what Stairs mean to me. Stairs are associated with a journey, progress, growth. And, depending on which way you’re going? Down? Stairs could represent the Fear of Failure or Fear of Falling. Ok, that’s what I’ve experienced, after a knee surgery more than a decade ago- I had fallen on a small run of steps and after surgery I found out that it’s easier to go upstairs than to come down. What a revelation to me.

Stairs are a strong symbol of transistion, change, transformation and growing wiser- leading our minds to a new, different and hopefully higher level. Stairs have been used, even in ancient cultures, as a symbol of going from one level of being to the next level- one step at a time. Ok. Rocky might have taken it more than one step at a time- yet who can forget the image of Stallone standing triumphant? And yess, I’ve gone up those stairs myself! The Thrill of Victory. Really. Out of Breath.

I love beautiful stairways, ornate or humble. And yes, there’s the romance of a spiral staircase, an architectural marvel- symbolic of oh so many things…to me, it’s pure genius. A Black and White Staircase? Coco Chanel would’ve loved it. My personal favorites are a beautiful shade of blue at Independence Hall, the Village Steps with Terra Cotta Pots and the Tropical Green and White- so cool and fresh. Still. All of them have been speaking to me lately.

I’ve been impatient with a project I’ve been working on- I thought I’d be finished..there are more steps than I planned and more to go. Some are new challenges, I’ve been facing or even avoiding. ‘When you start something new, even if you don’t have all the answers, trust your instincts and believe that you’ll rise to the occasion.’ One of my favorite quotes even if I made it up myself! So!

It’s back to basics week. One Step at a Time. A New Perspective- each of the steps or even obstacles are really Possibilities in disguise. *I’m just hoping it’s less than ‘a journey of 1000 miles.’

Love y’all, Brenda

*Okay, an allegory is a narrative in which something like stairs, a place or object is used to express a bigger, more important message to illustrate or explain ideas. Allegories are really an easy way to express a meaningful, even complex idea. In this writing lesson, you’ve seen an allegory express more than just an architectural element- it’s about going higher or further than you thought you could or would.

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A Touch of the Unexpected…

10 August 2021 at 17:14

Gray and White… my prediction for transitioning from Summer to Fall. Practical, solid colors that have stood the test of time- yet still find a way to feel fresh and new. In these continuing uncertain times, I think we’re all looking for the promise of stability, calm and dependability. Gray and White do just that.

I was thinking about this while I was scrubbing clothes in that galvanized washtub. Okay, that’s a lie. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. My favorite Grays are Oyster Shells, Galvanized anything, Old Linen, Silver with the Patina of age, even Old Wooden Spoons washed to a pleasing gray- these things have stood the test of time.

Gray and White Inspiration

Yes, I love those colors, and while they’ve been around a long time- somehow Gray and White is fresh, cool, calm and collected- perfect for summer into fall. Whether cool and crisp or warm and cuddly as balls of yarn- my forecast is that Gray will give us what we need as the seasons change. As Pantone says of it’s Color of the Year- ‘Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.’ White give us clarity and light while the ever practical Gray is timeless, strong, hardworking and wise. I don’t know about you, yet I think that’s just what I need.

So, what’s the touch of the unexpected? Well, it’s that Video and Music- that’s certainly unexpected from me! And, it’s a touch of Humor. You know where I tell you I was thinking about Gray while I was scrubbing clothes in that washtub? Right. And then, there’s building a story around an ordinary color like Gray… And yet, it’s truly the Fashion Industry’s standard of which colors will be ‘new’ in 2021. Ultimate Gray. You can build a story around even the simplest of things… add a touch of the unexpected and your story just might be unforgettable! Love y’all, Brenda

Find the Colors for Fall and Winter 2021 at http://www.pantone.com

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A Writing Lesson using Doors…

19 July 2021 at 23:39

A fun way to Write is to assign Human Characteristics to Inanimate Objects such as Doors.. It’s no secret that I love architectural elements. I take photographs of fences, railings, windows, shutters, windowboxes and more…especially Doors. Though this Writing Lesson may focus on doors, the technique applies to any inanimate object of your choice.

Take this first block of doors… that White Tool Shed, she’s a hard worker, down to earth with an unexpected flair for the dramatic with that blue door. The Hidden Door on a side street strikes me as a shy, private one- though hoping to be found, she secretly longs to stand out. That impressive Pediment in Constitution Hall, speaks of confident authority- yet one who probably wears sensible shoes. In contrast, there’s the humble thrifty landowner who probably caught paint on sale and didn’t give a whit about that showy color! Don’t you know that’s true!

In this block, there’s the introverted nature lover who obviously enjoys quiet and solitude. Bermed in, yet that blue Door is ready to welcome a friend or two. Now, the pretty Door with a Vine is a cheerful soul, a generous gardener who offers rustic dinner parties after holding a cooking class. Don’t you love her already? Oh my, that amazing Ornate Exterior has amassed a fortune, is also home to a fashionista. She’s a not-so-subtle standout with impeccable taste. The humble rustic door is concerned with protecting house and home- how do I know this? Well, it belonged to pioneer Kit Carson!

I had to include at least one window, a warm, open, happy personality, who allows us to see just the right amount of her humble home. as she breezes easily through her life.

Of course, the opening image is a Sanctuary Door- welcome, wise and strong. It’s as if She knows, at some point in our lives, we’re all going to need a discreet Listener. You know? I love them all- beautiful, unique as a fingerprint- serving their own purpose- big or small. Still. If I had to choose, it would be that white tool shed with the blue door. Why? I’ve decided that she’s actually a ‘Work in Progress’. Yes, I definitely relate to that! Which one would you choose? And, if you’d like to give it a try, assign human characteristics to an inanimate object like a Door.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. If you’d like to be on our mailing list for the free planning guides- drop me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

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Creative Possibilities…

10 July 2021 at 17:29

Paintbrushes symbolize creative possibilities, and represent the possibility of Change. It’s said if you dream of paintbrushes- it’s possible that you see yourself doing something unique or the desire to accomplish something worthwhile. If you’re not sure what or how to write, start with a plain or simple image of something sort of common or mundane. Look up the symbolism and you’ve got the start of a great story.

It’s been said that artists prefer wooden brushes made of pine- an evergreen. To paint something that achieves lasting form, meaning and value. And, then there’s Color. Color is the Workhorse of Design. Before we ever read a word, our brains have formed an opinion. Your color choices, your color story has- well, it’s told a story. If your color story is complex, the viewer decides- ‘I don’t have the mental energy for this.’ Am I right? In today’s world of massive amounts of information coming at us- from many directions.

From a young age, we develop emotions around color. Color forms the texture of our lives. It’s been said, ‘ Use language on a 4th to 7th grade level.’ Why? It’s not because we aren’t smart. Because.. a message should be easy to understand. The same is true with color – your color message should be easy to understand. Never be afraid of possibilities, change or to accomplish something worthwhile- achieve something of value. Use Color to start the conversation, evoke good feelings and opinions.

Yet, above all, Keep it Simple. Simplicity is often the most difficult design or art form to achieve- yet Simplicity tends to accomplish something long lasting and worthwhile. Memorable. These are Notes to Self and to You- I hope you dream in Paintbrushes and that Color is the Fabric of your Life.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. please notice- in writing, use symbolism such as paintbrushes. Then, color begins the conversation, let the image set the scene and then begin telling a simple and easily understood message. That’s a winning combination every time.

P.S.S. The July Planning Guide is ready- and it’s chock full of information to take you right into the Fall! In fact, there’s a major Color Story in this guide- an interpretation of the Fall/Winter Colors of 2021! These guides are free. Send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

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Weight…

28 June 2021 at 07:33

Weight.. could we talk about weight? No, no, no- not that kind of weight. And, could we talk about Balance? Okay, weight and balance aren’t just for those amazing Health and Wellness folks. Still. Weight brings Balance to your Visual Designs, especially in 2 dimensional designs such as we find in advertising, on our blogs, in other social media- in other words Photography Graphic Design is 2 dimensional and flat.

On a recent trip to New Orleans, I was having a Ball posing next to a rather weighty Urn.. it occurred to me that weight in graphic design brings Balance and Interest which you cannot achieve any other way. Then… as if to reinforce my thought process, I saw a vintage scale in the French Market. Scale is another one of those words in Design that relate to Balance. Though this scale was for weighing things! So… I jotted down 7 Ways to use Weight in Visual Design.

  1. Use contrasting color. (Apples anyone?)
  2. Move the ‘important object’ away from the other elements in your photos.
  3. Be careful with Font Shapes, Size and Form- especially for Quotes. *Folks are 3 times more likely to pause and read a well done quote- so it’s important to create them well.
  4. Use a singular object. Negative Space does add ‘weight’.
  5. Add a human being- yes, even if she’s faded standing next to a big iron urn!
  6. Use distinct or complex imagery. (Fill up the frame.)
  7. Increase the size of your image. (The first image is a good example)

Here’s the thing, Weight adds emphasis, importance and interest to your visual designs. Weight balance an otherwise same scale photography. Photo after Photo on an Instagram feed for example which are all the same- may look balanced yet not as interesting. Or you may use several photographs on a blog post, yet if you shift the ‘weight’ as listed above in your photographs, they tend to be more eye catching. The same goes for Store Displays. Adding things of different weights or sizes to your displays make them more interesting.

Weight also signals that there might be something interesting or important in the message you’re sending to your reader. *A warning here… Weight can be overdone and perceived as ‘shouting’. Even type fonts can be a little too bold or scary!

Have a wonderful week, folks. You’ve just gotten a message to ‘Add Weight.’ Couldn’t resist that one!

Love y’all, Brenda

The July Planning Guide is almost ready! July is a pivotal month in the Retail Calendar. This one will be different than the others to reflect the upcoming Fall/Winter Season. If you’d like to receive it- send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

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Waiting in the Wings…

17 June 2021 at 11:25

Have you ever felt like you’re ‘Waiting in the Wings’ ? At every age and stage, even when starting something new…there’s that Waiting in the Wings state of mind. Cambridge Dictionary describes it like this:’ If someone is waiting in the wings, they are not yet active or important, but are ready or likely to be soon..’

You may have practiced and prepared. You may have the perfect costume or background for your performance and yet there’s that waiting time.

You may have the prettiest or the most photogenic scene set up and yet, you mind tells you that there’s always someone better than you are. Did you know there’s a physical reaction to waiting in the wings? There is. When you’re in that area where activity on the stage can be observed yet the audience cannot see you- a place where performers stand just before it’s time to enter the stage to perform… we might call this physical reaction- Butterflies. A sensation which is a blend of anxiety, anticipation and excitement all bundled together.

You may be standing ready to undertake a new role. make an entrance or be brought to public attention. Yet, those butterflies are creating fear, they might make you want to give up…

Hang up Your Dancing Shoes altogether.

How do I know this? Because I’ve had those feelings before, okay- many times before. You have butterflies because you are afraid. You have butterflies because you’ve got a bad case of comparisonitis. You have butterflies because you Care.

When you start something new, even if you don’t have all the answers, you aren’t ‘perfect’ or you think someone is better than you are. Am I right? Well, here’s the key- lean on your preparation and your experience. Then trust your Instincts and Believe that you will Rise to the Occasion.

What you have to give is You, and that’s a very special Gift. There’s no one else exactly like You. When the Director of Life give you the cue… Come on out onto the Stage. You’ll be Unforgettable.

I’m thankful for so many who generously Take to the Stage. Ready to be available. Waiting to help. Prepared to do Something. Willing to share their Gifts. We need you.

Love y’all, Brenda

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Color Mapping…

9 June 2021 at 11:15

Some day… it’s something we like to say or muse about, yet Some Day isn’t a Day of the Week. In fact, it’s sort of like ‘tomorrow’ Some Day often never comes around. It’s like Procrastination or wishful thinking. Some Day is a phrase I used for a good while about doing video or coaching or writing a mini-course. And, I’ve made more cringeworthy videos than not! Yet… as I told a friend recently- if 2020 got folks doing business virtually then 2021 is the Year of Opportunity and.. that means getting something out there even if it’s Imperfect. Imperfect can still have an Impact. So!

My hydrangeas started blooming their heads off and the Time seemed right! They are such a beautiful shade of Blue- they made me want to talk to you about Color. I call Color the Workhorse of Design. In fact, of the 5 questions I ask, as a coach is- What are Your 3 Favorite Colors? Why? Because I use Color Mapping as an insight into what their values are, what’s important to them as a person. And those colors might not even be their Brand Colors or Wardrobe choices or even colors they choose for their homes. Color is a way to express Values, even Personality without saying or writing a word.

Color is the Workhorse of Design

Blue is a universally the favorite Color. In its many shades, blue represents Loyalty, Dependability, Trust, Peace, Strength and often in its darker shades- Navy Blue for instance, projects Authority, even Security. Add a bit of Green to Blue and you have the colors of the Sea or a Desert Gemstone, Turquoise. Those are a whole different set of messages.

Without writing a word, Color has spoken. Now, I have a question for you- what are your 3 favorite colors? I’d love to send you my Freebie! It’s the same format I go by! And it’s a Free Download. So! Some Day has changed to It’s Done! I’m writing my mini-course, I’ve done a video or two – and a few bloopers too! I hope Imperfect makes a bit of an impact and that the video is downloaded too! And that you’ll take me up on that free download if you’d like to do some Color Mapping too!

Thank you to all who have stayed with me during the year we’ve been through and to all who have stopped by and of course to those who have followed along! I’m grateful. 🙏Love y’all, Brenda

camelliascottage

Repetition…

19 May 2021 at 22:21

‘Whether it’s the sound of drums, a pan of fresh baked cookies or a tray filled with with seedlings…an arbor of roses, a staircase winding or not, a row of rounded boxwoods or clothes pins on a line. Repetition is the Strength, the Unity, the Structure, the very Heartbeat of Good Design.’    B.W.

One of my 9 Principles of Design is ‘Shape and Form’. Yet, without the strength and unity of repetition- shape and form of any creative endeavor might fail to impress. Think about it. Repetitive shapes or sounds form the basis of Art of the finest order.

img_1045Drummers are uniformed, let one of them miss a beat and the melody of the other instruments could fall apart. And… We all love songs with the repetition of a chorus, right? Seedlings are charming alone, even more so in a group. An arbor of roses is pleasing to the eye as much for the repetition of the arches as for the profusion of bloom. A Checker Board is a classic example of Repetitive Design. A cooling rack filled with cookies, even if they aren’t the exact same size, still the eye sees repetition.

img_5050A winding staircase works simply because the treads are spaced at a repetitive shape, form and space. An historic staircase is beautiful – even more so because of the repetition of woodwork, including spindles and dare I add? the Color.

img_1039We’ve found rounded boxwoods tend to look good year round because of the consistent shape and form. Even clothespins on an empty line are unified in type and shape, even if they aren’t lined up. Why? Repetition of course.

img_4592We love consistency. When a design is unified it gives a sense of order and peace. Repetition could be compared to the skeleton or structure on which any or all of the elements are layered on. Alone, it might be overdone. Just remember, that repetition, whether in color, shape or form is very important in design.

img_1037Whether it’s the sound of drums, a pan of fresh baked cookies or a tray of seedlings..  An arbor of roses, a staircase winding or not, a row of boxwoods or clothespins on a line.. Repetition is good in writing, marketing- making a point in different ways over and over. Repetition is the strength, the unity, the structure, the very heartbeat of Good Design.

Love y’all, Brenda

I’ve been working on a little project which includes the 9 Principles of Design… stay tuned!

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Resilience…

11 May 2021 at 23:29

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
  • And follow us on Instagram, we’re posting often! Find us @brendawyatt_

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Collections and Gift Guides…

3 May 2021 at 20:59

Collections… we all have a collections of some sort. Whether it’s Stamps, Spices (yes, when we travel I bring back spices) Vintage Luggage? I had a small collection once that served as a portable office. Some collect oddities  such as watch parts. And, I’ll admit to having a collection of garden pots. Old Garden Tools- yes, the quirkier the better. Silver Serving Pieces? Books? Heirloom Seeds… oh yes, that’s a very nice collection to have. 

Though, you might be surprised to find out I also collect. Now, bear with me and I’ll tell you. After 30+ years in Retail, I tend to collect- very interesting Advertisement Openers. Why? Because I want to know what makes folks open an email, promotion or an ad. I do this so you don’t have to 🙂

Last week, I sent out email reminders to Create a Gift Guide for their Mother’s Day promotions. Yes, Gift Guides are one of the most helpful and effective ways to promote your products. Why? Because gift givers want you to give them ideas. And, you may just have what we shoppers think a loved one wants- especially if your gift guides offers different price ranges- and yes, this is regardless of what you offer.

I follow the best and brightest advertisers. They are using Gift Guides or announcing a New Collection. I personally love the announcement of New Collections no matter what it is. Whether you’re a shopper or seller- those two categories- Gift Guides and Collections. Count on it. Why? Inquiring Minds want to know:

1) Because these advertisements are genuinely helpful.

2.) A Collection is a peek into the upcoming season. A Gift Guide helps you make current buying decisions.

If you’re eyes are starting to glaze over by now, you’re either not a shopper or a seller. For years, my daughters made up their own gift guides, then sent them to me! I completely adored it. Why? Because it was a Guide for me to get them exactly what they wanted! They did the work so I didn’t have to!

So! I’ll cut to the chase- Collections. Gift Guides. Tell me what you offer. Help me make a decision. I’ve already sent out yet another guide to help sellers work in Batches. To save Time creating Content. It contains a few ideas of how the Big Brands are getting ahead of the Spring Gifting Season. Their gift guides will help those customers they serve, get good ideas and save time too!

If you’d like to get your copy of Gift Guides and Collections for Spring, just drop me a line at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com I’ll be happy to send it to your inbox!

As always, thank you for dropping by! Love y’all, Brenda

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To Write Good Content.. add Whimsy!

26 April 2021 at 19:39

Feeling a bit Frazzled?

One of my favorite quotes is:

‘You have to risk a little crazy in order to escape the gravitational pull of the Ordinary.’ by Tom Samet

I’ve found, to write good Content- you have to risk a little crazy… Visual Images like you see her, start telling the story before you write one word. And, it doesn’t really matter what you do or what your business is- Add a little Crazy… For instance if you’re a Coach who helps with time management- maybe that Frazzled Chick will help you get a smile, and your reader will be drawn in to find out more.

It’s Stretch!

Or maybe you teach yoga or stretching exercises- a crazy Frog will help you tell the reasons you know works! Or part of what you do helps folks relax, an image of a sleeping kitty- yes, they’ll get the concept just from the image!

Do you help folks find their purpose or get direction in their lives? I think I’d read about it, if I saw a charming image of this Big Teddy Bear. It’s wonderful to see a path or a road- though don’t you know, this Bear with a pointing bunny on his shoulder would often get the point across in a whimsical way?

And, really isn’t that what good Visual Marketing does? It uses whimsy. It uses Visual Imagery to market their products or services. A sketch of a castle or even a Sandcastle you built yourself- gets the point across! I will say this- to Write Better Read

I read a story weeks ago, I kept hearing in my head- something about ‘walking through raindrops’  I couldn’t find the quote so I adjusted it, and it prompted me to write this quote:

I felt like most of life, no matter what was going on, I was Dancing thru Raindrops without getting wet.’

And why did I write it that way? Well, I found this adorable image of a Frog and a lilypad- under it’s own natural umbrella! Don’t forget- it’s serious times we live in, often with serious solutions- Still. If you find a great whimsical image- yours or not- Let the image tell the story before you write a word! Everything doesn’t have to be serious even when the subject is. Add Whimsy… Love y’all, Brenda

Now, I know y’all have heard about my *Free Monthly Planning Guides and May’s Planning Guide is ready and it’s jam packed with fun things to write about!

Thank you to all who have requested it! This month, there’s a *Bonus*- it’s a *Mother’s Day Gift Guide* for product and serviced based businesses- you’ll learn how to price your products, how to really make the Mothers on your customers’ list feel like Queen for a Day!  So, if that’s You, all you have to do to get to get the Bonus Gift Guide is- *send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt I’d love for you to have it!

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Free May Content Planning Guide…

21 April 2021 at 13:40

The Free May Content Planning Guide is ready! Loaded with lots of holidays- the most important is the second highest Retail Sales Day in the United States- It’s Mother’s Day! Arriving early this year on May 9- it’s not too early to start planning your Sales, Product Pages and newsletters, gift guides, blog posts and social media.

I’ve been doing these Free Gift Guides since January to rave reviews! I hope you will take advantage of the May Guide. Not only will you save time, you will be able to plan, so that when you’re busy with writing posts or selling products, you won’t have to be rushed to get something out! There’s lots more days for product based or service based businesses. And if you are a Lifestyle Blogger, there’s a lot for you too!

All you have to do get it is- Send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com – put May Planner in the subject line and I’ll send it to you! Looking forward to hearing from you!

Love y’all, Brenda

Stay tuned for a new blog post with even more about Creating Content!

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The Power of Visual Marketing…

11 April 2021 at 18:05

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!

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9 Principles of Design…

29 March 2021 at 19:55

I developed 9 Principles of Design that work for me. They all work hard for you, especially with Visual Marketing.  My Mimi was a florist and my mother dabbled in art and interior design. With that background  and some good training while working in retail, these elements were always present and I hope will serve you well.

  1. Light is always going to be the first principle. It’s that shimmering glimmer of you, the energy that makes you and your designs sparkle.
  2. Color  Which colors you choose tells me a whole lot about You.  Vibrant or calm. Passionate or serene. You see what I mean, that bright house with vibrant flowers says something…it’s hard to believe dreary folks live there!
  3. Texture. Don’t get me started on Texture…it’s been said by fine artists and designers to be one of their favorite ways to add warmth, patina and age.
  4. Mood. Mood has to be there- whether it’s a moody Angel or a whimsical sketch. Mood sets that stage without one written word.
  5. Perspective. Whether it’s peering through a window or painting a landscape- good perspective is a must have! That view is charming to me…
  6. Balance. Ahh, balance. Ok, those cookies aren’t perfectly balanced, yet they’re a good example of balance, color, light, texture and mood. I’ll admit to being so happy I ate quite a few.
  7. Shape. I could say- Shape and Form– because they are always pleasing to the eye. Beautifully shaped Eggs, rounded nest- all in the boundary of a square- yes, it pleases my eye.
  8. Time. A sense of Time needs to be part of design. Something is either bright and new or has the patina of age- history if you will. A blend in your designs is what I seek in a well designed marketing plan. It’s a blend of timelessness- daylight or nightfall- yes, give almost anything Time and it looks good.
  9. Negative Space. Though certainly not last in importance- negative space is an oft neglected art. Did you know in Retail Stores- you can always predict the Value and Price by whether things are jammed and jumbled in (low priced) and then there are high end goods which take up more real estate on a display wall or case (yes, high end- higher price). Space is the easiest upgrade- a big clean out makes a room spacious. Adding Negative Space into your displays, your social media grids, your art, writing and more…uplevels all you do!

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. Happy Easter! and… If you need help with writing content for April, or could use a few tips- our Free April Planning Guide is there for you! Just email me at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

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Curb Appeal…i

23 March 2021 at 18:55

Curb Appeal. Spring seems the perfect time to think about it. Realtors agree that Curb Appeal is the great Attitude Adjuster.  3 Seconds is all it takes to form an opinion or create an impression. It’s interesting that the same 3 Second Rule applies to Social Media, Blogs or Websites. Visual Impressions are everything. Those Pink Blossoms and the Black Door would draw me in. I worked for a beautiful Garden Shop, Most of workdays I was responsible for getting the shop open- with the most important job being- a well swept, clean entrance with a focus on the door. Clean Windows, our most beautiful plants, trimmed and watered and the sign put outside.

Did you know that a clear Landing Page, like an Open Gate invites visitors to look around your site? There needs to be a balance between the Shelter and Open Spaces. The places where visitors gather and the secure shelter where the living or business is done.  A clean welcome entrance, made attractive with green living things adds to the experience whether it’s upscale or an humble place.

Inspiration is also an essential element to- well, almost anything. Approachable, warm, inviting. Uncluttered. Now that’s a word for you- Uncluttered, is your site loaded with pop up sign up boxes that detract from what your message is? Are there ads about a ‘fatty liver’ right in between your glorious recipe, scrumptious floral designs, gorgeous artwork? Is anyone but me bothered by these things?

I’m not looking for perfect, just extra good.. Give me one fabulous, well maintained feature, like that Window Box. Give me a measure of simplicity. Even if the site has more formal structures- well kept, clean swept means even more.

Ahh yes, Curb Appeal. For homes, businesses, websites and social media: There’s no doubt, Curb Appeal = Attitude Adjustment. Visitors will be more interested, inspired even excited to enter your site wherever you are!

Welcome Spring! It’s a great time to get out and look around… I’m thankful and glad you stopped by and stayed awhile.

Love y’all, Brenda

A big P.S.

The April Planning Guide is ready- it’s free and April sure looks like fun! All you have to do is send me an email at- brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

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A Fresh Start with Coaching Sessions and more…

14 March 2021 at 18:23

What’s behind the Green Door? It’s what we’ve been up to, a Fresh Start for Spring! Since January, I’ve been doing Free Planning Guides for Product or Service based Businesses. Dozens have requested those and April’s Guide is almost ready…

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Favorite Images and Props- stay tuned, you won’t want to miss that! Most exciting of all is- My New 1-2-1 coaching sessions which starts with a short questionnaire, that includes your favorite colors for a bit of Color Mapping of your personality.

Then, a free scheduled call- for those who qualify. I’d love to hear your story and isn’t that what we all want? To be seen and heard… You’ll take me inside the world, your work, your struggles, your dreams. After that it’s up to you- we’ll set up a coaching session- to help you get clarity for your next steps toward your ultimate Big Idea. Added in for those who do Instagram and who isn’t doing that? if you’re in business, you really need to be. Find me @brendawyatt_

We’ll talk about upleveling your IG grid because really it’s a virtual Shop Window for the world of online shoppers to see… and of course there’s more tailored to your own business needs.

You decide if one session is enough or if you need more than one. No obligation, no pressure. What I hope to help you see is that – ‘You don’t have to have everything to get to where you want to go’ just a tweak here and there might be all it takes to get your thoughts organized, decide o first steps and before you know it- You’ll have your own Fresh Start to Spring!

Send an email to me at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com for the free planning guides, the free ‘Let’s see if we’re a good fit’ questionnaire or schedule a call. ( A few criteria need to be met because time is limited.) OR  If you’re on Instagram @brendawyatt_ just send a DM there. We adding much more ‘Straight from the Heart Business Smarts’ there, with information on IG about 3 times per week.

A huge thank you to those who’ve already signed up, to those who participated in the research for what works and what doesn’t- shared your hopes and dreams, to help wherever I can. ‘Tell me Your Story’, is an amazing thing! We’re already scheduled for most of March, thank you!

And a massive Thank You to those who’ve encouraged me to begin this new venture- my own Fresh Start to Spring!

Love y’all, Brenda

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Tools of the Trade….

3 March 2021 at 10:48

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

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Growth. Everyone wants it…

22 February 2021 at 21:31

Growth. Everyone wants it, mentally, in knowledge, spiritually, financially, growing a garden and also in personal growth. Yes, growth is greatly desired though to get real growth- you must have a basic curiosity about life and what others are doing to achieve these wonderful things.  In terms of business growth, especially now that business demands a virtual presence. So, whether it’s growing a blog or social media accounts, you must understand this:. Real growth isn’t all about your site. It’s about building a community. Finding out what folks need, where they’re willing to spend their time or money- that definitely means knowing what you are able to offer others. So! What I see is lots of folks trying almost desperately to build an email list, growing social media accounts to massive numbers- so that they can be considered ‘influencers’.  Still. You must know this- Growing just for the sake of numbers should never be the main goal.

On the other hand, just putting your beautiful writing, recipes, advice, gardening tips or photography out there and expecting folks to find you is as unrealistic as opening up a shop on the far side of nowhere and expecting the crowds to just walk in! It’s unrealistic. You must grow..

Last year, using the same principles I’ve used to grow this blog, I tried using them on other forms of social media and the effort produced an increase of almost 1000 followers on just one platform. Before I began, I sat down and made a list of how much time and how much I was willing to do on a regular basis. Not only did I see growth, I found some amazing folks in the process.  So, here’s what I try to do, I call this my Rule of Four for Growth:

  1. Leave a ‘like’ and comment on at least 4 accounts I already follow. I no longer think that just leaving a ‘like’ is quite enough to qualify as ‘engagement’ which is what social media platforms keep data on, and it must be said- those platforms ‘like’ engagement!
  2. Follow no more than 4 hashtags at a time. (Change these up every few months) Hashtags are wonderful places to find folks with common interests or even those who may need your services. I try to leave comments on ‘recent’ posts in the hashtags- not the Top Posts because those are generally very large accounts who probably won’t engage with you or follow you back. And.. I tell the folks I comment on their posts which hashtag I found them on- because we all want to know if the hashtag is working, right?
  3. On Instagram there is a place for Stories- these are a fascinating look into the accounts I already follow. This is a chance to engage by direct message- much like on the ‘comment section’ on a blog post. I leave an emoji or a comment in 4 Stories. *If someone messages you – for heaven’s sake! Respond in kind! This is true engagement, again- that’s what social media platforms like!
  4. Find 4 small accounts you like and aren’t currently following- hashtags are a great place for this! And remember everyone starts somewhere . Like and leave a nice comment- gently introduce yourself and let them know where you found them. *Please don’t confine yourself to one age, type or category.

Diversity is far more fun- you will learn about other cultures, other possibilities and believe me it’s fun to get messages from around your country or around the world. I personally think that a problem with social media is that we spend too much time in our ‘tribe’ and not enough time having curiosity about other folks- and I mean that in the nicest way possible! I’ve learned about seafood on Vancouver Island, skincare from Singapore, fashion design in Australia and aren’t those British gardeners amazing? Yes..

Do the first 3 daily – more than if you have time. Do all 4 if time permits- after I post I try to spend about 15 minutes doing my Four Rules for Growth. Go ahead and make yourself sociable- and watch your account grow! And if you’re concerned… here’s my safety rule- Set controls- you know who the kooks are- my settings are on PG only.

Now, I have a little announcement to make- I currently am accepting a few  folks for my new Mentoring Program! The first ‘Let’s See if We’re a Good Fit’ session is Free! More details to follow- we’re excited that even though our launch date was March 1, we already have all the slots full this week. So, if you’re interested- leave me a message and I’ll tell you how it works. In the meantime…

Love y’all, Brenda

And a big PS- The March Planning Guide for retail  or content posts is ready and it’s Free again this month. Send an email to: brenda@camelliascottage.com  We’ll be happy to send it to you!

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Time. Timeless. Timelessness…

10 January 2021 at 06:22

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!

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