This is the June 2015 issue of Albuquerque the Magazine. It's our city's premier publication, a real glossy magazine full of beautiful photography and stories of local interest. We bloggers have a mention right on the front page, which is really exciting. Apparently, I'm one of the city's "craftiest" bloggers. Whoa.
Inside, we have our own section just for the blogger feature. Eight bloggers from around the city participated in the article. All of us are doing something different - gardening, home decor and DIY and cooking are just some of the areas covered by our local bloggers. I'm really excited to see a feature like this one, to help shine some light on blogging in Albuquerque. There aren't all that many bloggers here but we're all pretty passionate about what we do and it's great to be noticed.
At the end of April, a professional photographer named Antonio Ramon came to my house to take photos for the article. It was really cool and weird at the same time. He brought lights and other equipment, and took what seemed like hundreds of pictures. I've never had my photo taken for anything like this before and when he called to set up the photo shoot, I had lots of questions for him. He was helpful, telling me to wear a plain, dark-colored shirt, a simple hairstyle and light daytime makeup. So I did what he said: I wore a black v-neck top, pinned up the front of my hair on top and put on a little bit of powder, eyeshadow, mascara and lip gloss. I was nervous on the day, not least because I thought for sure he'd catch some glaring home-repair problem on camera, but he didn't - not even the molding we still need to rehang after painting the foyer, or the surprisingly shoddy carpeting in our family room. Antonio was totally chill and very nice and I had a good time working with him.
Here's my section of the article! I have a page and a half (the other half of the second page is a quiz about what kind of DIY'er you are). Sorry for the photo quality; I was trying to keep the glare at bay. This is probably the worst time of year to be trying to take photos of a magazine spread, what with our bright early-summer sun at the moment, but you get the idea. On the left-hand side, there's me in my kitchen. I'm standing at the kitchen peninsula, demonstrating a craft project for Antonio to photograph (more on that in a minute). The right-hand side is close-up photos of the making of the project; Antonio photographed my hands as I worked.
Adam had asked each of us to share a simple DIY project for the home or garden that we could demonstrate for the article. For my project, I decided to teach readers how to create an embroidery hoop-framed fabric decoration for the home. I've made many of these for my own home and I've found them quick and easy. I think they're a great way to bring some color and visual interest to a room. They're affordable too. Have you ever tried making one? I wrote a tutorial for them here on my blog in 2014; take a look right here for more information.
I actually had the chance to help write this article, which I found pretty exciting. Adam asked me to write out the steps for making the hoop-framed fabric decoration, and it's my own writing which appears here in the article! I guess I explained it well. Adam assigned each blogger's project to a different room of the house and mine was designated for the bathroom. You should know that I don't actually have any of these decorations in my own bathrooms, only in the family room and living/dining rooms, but I think they'd be adorable in a bathroom!
There I am, hoop in hand. (And my full name on view in the article; please don't stalk me).
A closer look at the making of the hoop.
Antonio asked me to hang it on the wall. I added it to the display over the couch in the family room. I actually took down a hoop-framed fabric decoration I had hanging in this same place and just reused the nail already in the wall. I liked the way the new one looked, so much that I just left it! It's still there as I write (I moved the other hoop to another area of the wall display, where it also looks better now; win-win!).
My morning with Antonio was fun, but there was still another event to look forward to: Albuquerque the Magazine's Launch Party for the June issue, to which I was invited as a featured subject. The magazine throws a party each month for the advertisers and the people featured in the issue. The party was last week, an evening event held at a residential community for older people (the community was a major advertiser in the June issue).
The Bear accompanied me to the party; it was a big night out for us! I got a little dressed up and even switched purses, opting to carry something pretty instead of the mom-sack I usually lug around. The party was held in the facility's beautiful courtyard, which was filled with meticulously tended gardens, a koi pond, walking paths and a seating area with tables and chairs.
Upon entering the party, I was asked to put my name and info on a card to be entered into a drawing for some really nice prizes (I didn't win anything, but it was fun to participate). I was also given two raffle tickets, exchangeable for copies of the magazine (it was to be released the next day to the public but we could have advance copies that night), and two plastic tokens that we could redeem for one alcoholic beverage each. There was also a delicious catered buffet of appetizers. I particularly enjoyed some tiny meatballs and a skewer with cucumber slices, tomatoes, feta cheese and kalamata olives.
This was my drink. I like hard ciders and had never tried this brand before. It was really good. They also had wine and beer options. The Bear had a glass of white. We spent the evening chatting with all different people and I had the chance to meet one of the other bloggers, Letisha Perry of Blue Eye DIY. She was really sweet and bubbly and I very much enjoyed talking to her about blogging and local life too.
At the end of the evening, we cashed in our tickets for copies of the magazine, which were available at a table under a pergola in the courtyard. I was so excited to have a look at our article and I made a beeline back to the little cocktail table where the Bear was waiting for me. I had no idea what to expect but I was really happy with it. I wish I could show you the whole magazine but take my word for it, all eight of us were represented beautifully and the article makes me very proud to be a blogger in this wonderful city. We're all making our contributions in a different way and I think we complement one another really well.
I hope you'll want to check out the other blogs in the feature! Click on each link below:
Southwest Desert Gardening (Susan happens to live across the street; I told you this was a great neighborhood!)
Paper Crane Wishes
Cooking for Halflings and Little Monsters
Delineate Your Dwelling
Blue Eye DIY
Good to Grow
Desert Willow Lane
If you're local and you'd like to buy a copy of Albuquerque the Magazine, click here for newsstand locations.
Can I ask you a favor, dear readers? Albuquerque the Magazine gives "Best of the City" awards each year. You don't have to live here to fill out an online ballot (you do have to submit your name and an email address, but you can uncheck the e-newsletter subscription box). The ballot is here. There's a "Best Blogger" category and I'd be so pleased if you voted for me. Just scroll down to the "People" section and type in my name, Jennifer Hays, and my blog, Thistlebear, in the "Best Blogger" field. THANK YOU!