Grandmothers Understood the Quality in Home Made March 22 2008, 0 Comments

Growing up, Sunday dinners were at 1:30 in the afternoon and frequently included grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Did I mention that I grew up in a large Italian family? Home-made pasta, which I learned to make as a child and still make to this day, was always on the menu! I remember watching my father and grandmother kneading the dough by hand, then, using a cutting board and razor sharp knife, cut long, thin strips which would become our delicious meal!

My grandmother, Annette, was the family baker. She would be up to her elbows in flour baking away in her kitchen in her house dress. Her seven layer chocolate cake was divine! But she also had a talent for crocheting beautiful afghans. During her adult life she crocheted some 44 afghans, one for each child, grandchild, great-grand child, other relatives and friends. Three colors per afghan. Two colors blended together, one color would lend contrast. (I really think I got my sense of color as a photographer from my grandmother.) She was an artist with a crochet hook. Each afghan had 24 squares, 12 inches each. “Three hours a square,” she used to say to me as I watched her crochet one color into the next. She worked hour after hour. I marveled at her patience. (I inherited that from her also!) Her work was meticulous, the outcome, stunning! “You will have this for the rest of your life,” she told me. I do indeed have three beautiful afghans that she made me and they have no sign of wear.

I often think about my grandmother when I am creating new images or deciding whether or not a new product is a good idea. When we came out with our “Oval Velvet Lined Boxes” I named the first one after my grandmother, “The Annette Coral”. It looks like something she would own. It is elegant in the way she was elegant and it is beautifully made. With all of our products, the deciding factor is how the product is made and in my mind I ask myself whether or not the new product would pass the quality test of my grandmother. Is it something she would own? Would she spend hard earned money on it? Would she give it as a gift?

Almost all of our company’s vendors are “mom and pop” type businesses. They are easy to work with and they appreciate our business. But they have something else going for them…they care about the products they are helping me to produce!!! They assist me in taking my art to new heights. It is as though they too were raised with the notion that a “home-made” approach to quality can yield wonderful results, using the latest technology and equipment! Our gifts are made with the intention that people have them for a lifetime. We happily assemble our gift baskets to order offering a large variety of high quality products. It takes a great deal of time, thought and patience. But it is worth the end result which always starts with capturing the right image…

Today is Saturday. It is 4:00 am. I shower, dress, grab a cup of coffee, check my equipment and head out to greet the dawn. Camera in hand, I wait…I wait…I wait for the light to be just right. I hear my grandmother, “Three hours a square.”