A long time ago in a land far, far away….I wrote a post and took a picture of a farmhouse bedroom.

You can click here to see it.

I thought it was the most amazing picture I had ever seen.

I had just gotten my camera and I was so all about myself and my mad photo-taking skills.


I can remember staring at the picture and telling myself what a rock star I was.

I showed it to my mom and my best friend and the book club…..

…..and even pulled it up on my cell phone for a few random people at Wal-Mart.


I thought that it was the finest picture in all the land.




I just knew that any minute a magazine scout would see the picture and demand it for the cover.


In the end…..(much to my total surprise)… one ever called.

So I continued on….taking pictures and learning everything I could about photography.

I learned how to use a tripod.

And how to focus.

And a little thing called white balance.

But I never forgot about that glorious, wonderful, incredible, once-in-a-lifetime picture.


Until one day….some one did call.

And they asked me for a few pictures of the house.

“Did I have any photographs that were truly wonderful?” they asked.

And I thought of the picture.

THE picture.

That glorious, wonderful, incredible, once-in-a-lifetime picture that had taken on almost legendary status in my mind.


And so I went to find that old post with the incredible picture with my head held high.

This was my chance.

I was really going to show them what I was made of.

I searched through the blog and finally found the post (appropriately titled “5 Amazing Things About This Picture”)….and when I found it….

….I couldn’t believe my eyes.


What happened?


This picture was the picture of my dreams?

It was blurry and out of focus and the white balance was off and it wasn’t sharpened and there were shadows everywhere.


My amazing, wonderful, incredible, once-in-a-lifetime picture didn’t even come close to living up to its billing.


I learned several things that day.

Taking pictures is truly an art.

The white balance button on your camera is your best friend.

Think twice before titling a post “5 Amazing Things About This Picture.”

And as someone much wiser than me once said, “Photography takes a day to learn……

….and a lifetime to master.” 🙂

PS  This post was brought to you by the first roses of the year here at Thistlewood.

Happy almost-summer.:)

sharing at Kim’s.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    If we all got it perfectly the first time, why would we need each other or more importantly the Lord. Learning from your "mistakes" is called building character and the Lord knows we all could use more of that. In addition sometimes your standards reflect the fact that you are in the top 3%. Have a fantastic day.

  2. Image for gina gina

    First, I love your photography and still think the old pic is good, but I remember reading how you forgot to attach the lens before shooting and thought then that I really loved your honesty!

  3. Image for melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

    I just looked at the original pictures and thought they looked pretty good! Wow, I still have SO MUCH to learn about my camera. I need to take a class, but haven't found the time. So, until then, I just keep turning dials and pressing buttons to see what I come up with?! By the way, those moss covered urns are AMAZING! Life to the full! Melissa

  4. Image for Barbara Moore Barbara Moore

    Without a doubt, one of the prettiest bedrooms I've ever seen. You are incredibly talented. Both behind AND in front of the camera!

  5. Image for SuzyMcQ SuzyMcQ

    It's a lovely and serene space, no matter what. And, while the evolution of your photography skills is certainly relevant, the love and care you put into everything you do shines brightly through. I've been a blog follower of yours for a relatively short time, and, while your initial photos may have been slightly out of focus, your true focus toward your readers is incredibly clear and sharp. Thank you for all your efforts.....

  6. Image for Little Bit Little Bit

    Ha! So many things in life are like that... at the time I think I'm a rock-star, then years later, after I've been educated with life a bit more, I realize what I didn't know then, and it wasn't so perfect. Thanks for sharing. Little Bit

  7. Image for Patty O Patty O

    Once again, you entertain us with your wit and humor...and your pictures are magnificent! What beautiful roses you have! Enjoy a beautiful day appreciating your beautiful bedroom, flowers, and photography skills! :)

  8. Image for Tammy Killough Tammy Killough

    HAHAHAHA....It wasn't that bad...and ANY magazine would be lucky to get to come photograph your's lovely. and def. an art that takes time and practice practice practice. It's one of the things I need to give more attention to. Thanks for sharing this cute story. ~Tammy

  9. Image for Angela Angela

    I think the first picture is good too! Photography is always frustrating for me! Something I definitely need to research and "work" on! Have a great weekend! Your roses are beautiful!~~Angela

  10. Image for Katie Clooney Katie Clooney

    You are so right about mastering the are of photography. Someday, I hope to take a photo class and find out what white balance is. Your photos are always beautiful!

  11. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    I agree about photography, Karianne! I don't know how to use most of the features on my camera and really need to find the little manual. I'd love to take some kind of class locally so someone could show me the best way to use it, too. I should look into that!

  12. Image for Mike (CraftyDad) Mike (CraftyDad)

    Your photos are TRULY professional-grade. I am amazed at every one of them. I have a 'fancy camera' and I need to learn how to use the darned thing. We were at my son's Academic Awards ceremony on Wednesday night and my wife said, "You're going to get some good pictures, right?". And, being the confident picture-taker I am, I replied, "Of course." Wrong. Every shot I took was blurry. And dark. I was TICKED. I have a telephoto lens, but it's the lighting (or lack thereof) that gets me every darned time. Auditoriums are dark. Flash-photography is a no-no. What's a guy to do? I have a tripod. Maybe with that and a special setting (or two) I can take great low-light photos. Is there hope? If you (or any of your readers) have any tips, I'd sure appreciate them. Outdoor photos come out beautifully. Indoor shots? Not so much. Have a great weekend. And Happy Mother's Day!

  13. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    You must draw quite the crowd at Wal-Mart! Lovely roses...your photos rock...even if your white setting is off! Happy Mother's Day Karianne! ;)

  14. Image for Atta Girl Amy Atta Girl Amy

    I am still struggling to learn how to use my new fancy camera. And sometimes I even pull out the tripod. (I do wonder what the tile and grout guy thought when he came to do some work on our bathroom and saw the tripod set up in our bedroom.) My photos are getting better, but I still don't understand everything about sharpening and lighting and shutter speed and all those fun things. And what is this White Balance button of which you speak?

  15. Image for Kristina Kristina

    I adore your humility and awareness of self, Karianne. Yet another inspiring post from my favorite blogger and internet friend. Kristina

  16. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    What a great post with such honesty. I really have to sit down and get better acquainted with all the features on my camera too. This is very helpful and informative. Thanks! Cynthia

  17. Image for Jennifer @ Celebrating Everyday Life Jennifer @ Celebrating Everyday Life

    Oh goodness!! You are so adorable! I love your photos but boy have I been there too!! I look back at some of my photos and just cringe - but at the time I was so proud!! Ah well.... that's the joy of the journey, right?! Thank goodness for friends to encourage us along the way!! You ARE a ROCK STAR!! :-D

  18. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Isn't it amazing how naïve we can be? I'm so glad I'm not alone. I'm just beginning to learn how to use my camera, and I really appreciate this post. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Image for Terry Terry

    Well apparently you have come a long way in learning how to use that camera. I will only envy your growing talent and enjoy the pictures. Rose is my middle name by the way and these are stunning...picture worthy.

  20. Image for Regina Regina

    Your roses, AND your bedroom, are lovely!! My knockout roses are blooming, too, and I can't wait for my coral-colored rosebush to burst forth! Happy dreary, cloudy, rainy Friday! ;) (My husband said, "There's only a 30% chance of rain tomorrow. Do you think you could walk to work and let Ellen have the car?" Hmph. I caught a ride . . . )

  21. Image for GinaE GinaE

    Not only have your photos been lovely to look at every day, but you have developed such a great writing style that is fun to read EVERY SINGLE DAY!! No matter what kind of day is a head of me, reading your daily post is always an uplifting way to start. I still think "that magazine" should have your lovely home on it's cover. Maybe I need to send them another email??? My photo taking skills or rather big lack of, are what's holding me back from getting me own blog up and running. I have no idea what the white balance button is on my camera??

  22. Image for Lani Lani

    I remember seeing that post and thinking way back then what a beautiful room you had. You have definitely come a long way in your photography, though, and your new pictures are stunning. I especially love the last one ... the clarity is amazing! Makes me want to reach out and touch the vases to see if they're real :) Like many others who've posted above, I'd love to see you do a few posts on photography tips you've learned ... and yes, how to use the WB button :) Hugs & Blessings ... Lani Simply Fresh Vintage

  23. Image for Haley Haley

    Your pictures are always so incredible!!! I think we could all learn a thing or two from your mad skills!! I just got my first DSLR camera a few weeks ago and boy do I have so much to learn!!! I would love a post about your photography tips and tricks! Your house is gorgeous!!! I'm so in love with the red! Who would have ever thought red could be so perfect for spring?! And new chairs in the master bedroom!? Do tell!

  24. Image for Susie Harris Susie Harris

    I think we have all had "that picture" one time or another. Funny thing is, I'm still trying and have yet to feel it in my bones. I have the new camera, just not the skills lol. I love your home and all the pretty pictures. If I had a magazine, you would be front and center my sweet friend!

  25. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    White balance setting...I need to get out my manual!!! have certainly come a long way in taking your pictures...they are gorgeous and so is your bedroom...Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend Kari!!

  26. Image for Erin Erin

    You can show me your pics at Wal -Mart any day and I will think they're the best (though I would prefer we meet at Target. They have Starbucks.)

  27. Image for Marian Marian

    Karianne, Have I told you how much I adore you today? You are the cutest thing and in the event that we are ever in the same room, I am immediately going to buy you a Diet Coke, you know, the good kind from McDonalds. So cross your fingers that they release enough wait list tickets to Haven that I can come hear you talk. And serve you McD's Diet Coke. I will totally sneak it in, just for you.

  28. Image for Shannon Fox Shannon Fox

    Oh yes. Looking back at old blog photos is a lesson in how far we have come. LOL! I am sure, at the time it WAS perfection though :) Happy Mother's Day weekend Karianne :)

  29. Image for Beverly Beverly

    The difference in the photos is amazing. You have done exceptionally well, KariAnne. I would have a hard time choosing my favorite room in your house, but this would be in the running. Happy Mother's Day.

  30. Image for P Higbee P Higbee

    Are the chairs the same in the two bedroom pictures. Did you paint and recover them more than once and how difficult is it to recover wingback chairs. I have two similar I bought for $25 each, but I am reluctant to tear them apart. Guess I need to just bite the bullet and go for it.

  31. Image for Christina from Dallas Christina from Dallas

    I just want to say that you have a wonderful writing style. You are funny and clever and I really enjoy all your posts no matter what you write about. Of course I love to look at pictures of your house too but it wouldn't be as fun if not for the stories you tell to go along with your pictures.

  32. Image for Debbie Hein Debbie Hein

    Hi Karianne, First of all Happy Mother's Day! This post reminds me once again why I wished we lived near one another. Because I would so love to run into at Walmart...You know, so you could whip out your phone and show me all that is going on at Thistlewood Farms. And then I could whip out my CAMERA 'cause you know I rarely go anywhere without it. Then I could ask you a million questions about photography. I have been thinking to myself lately when I read your blog, that your photo skills have really it was amaing that you now have this post up. I know you are super duper busy with all the painting, baking, cooking, decorating, kids, cute husbands and all. I know that it takes time to do all that you do. Come on, that lipstick and press on nails don't put themselves on. Ha. But it would be really helpful to me, and I am sure several others, if you could give us some photography tips. I would love to learn from someone like you who used to think her photos were amazing, and now they really, really are. Could you maybe do that for us. Please, please, please. And if you do, I promise I will invite you over here. For some "sweet" tea. And my special chewey chocolate chip cookies. "Cause that is what neighbors do.

  33. Image for Marty@A Stroll Thru Life Marty@A Stroll Thru Life

    Such a cute post. I think the same thing about a couple of my pictures, then I look at them later and really laugh. I havn't learned about the white thing yet, and am still working on the tripod. It does take a lifetime. I would love for you to share this at my Inspire Me party this afternoon. www. Hugs, Marty

  34. Image for Jules Jules

    Hi, I am a newcomer to your gorgeous blog...where have I been? I LOVE your style and I look forward to reading through your archives to see your journey.... Jules, Dubai

  35. Image for Michele Michele

    I take horrible photos but my heart is in the right place. I wish I knew what white balance means, haha. I am and never will be a rock star. I am too lazy to even use my tri-pod and it shows. All I do is trip over it and it is most annoying to me. I loved your old pic and new pics, KA- you have always been a true rock star. (Those old peonies are super wow!) I love your bedroom.

  36. Image for Brigitte Brigitte

    Hi KariAnne, I'm one of your faithful silent followers. Your room is stunning of course! What an amazing pop of color those red roses are against the white backdrop of your bedroom! I can tell you love red lipstick! Those flower have the same effect on your room a bright red lipstick would have on your pretty face! Thank you very much for the beauty you display for our eyes to behold! Enjoy your day! Brigitte

  37. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I, OBVIOUSLY, need to RUN to a camera shop and take some lessons. I have no idea what white balance is:(:( I KNOW I need lessons. Your pictures are gorgeous as is your house and I think magazines should be tripping all over themselves to come take pics of it!!! XO, pinky

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