A Year in Review: Five Things We Learned in 2016

Last August we celebrated our first anniversary of the Caruth Studio blog—a milestone we weren’t sure we’d see with all the work that regular posting entails. But now that we’ve made it past our first full calendar year, it’s gratifying to look back and see how far we’ve come. And worthwhile, too, to think about a lesson or two we learned along the way.


Dad sitting in a fishing chair reading a book

Lesson 1: You’re never too old to learn a new skill. And boy, did we learn. From managing social media channels to refining photography and lighting techniques, we had aha moments throughout the last year. We learned some new decorative painting methods, carpentry practices, and how to hang wallpaper (something we’ve resisted for a while). Mostly, what we learned is that you can’t really fail if you give it your best shot.


Lesson 2: Food styling is more difficult and time-consuming than we’d ever realized. It’s so much more detailed and ephemeral than room styling. You can fuss with a room set, certainly, but once you place something, generally, it stays there. And when it’s ready, you can often get twenty good shots or more in a day. With food styling, working with tweezers and pipettes on a set about two feet square, you’re lucky to get 10. And you don’t want to eat any of it afterward, no matter how good it looks!

Image from our Ice Cream Social post.


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Lesson 3: We can design and build a pond. This year we built our third in-ground pond but it was the most ambitious design we’d ever attempted. Since we were working with a pond supply sponsor, it was even more important for us to not only get it right but also to make it compelling. We must have succeeded because it turned out to be our most popular series of posts for the year.

Image from our Pond Project posts. Read the first of four posts here.


Lesson 4: You’re always on the job. This is the kind of work that doesn’t stop at the end of the day or when you take a vacation. Everywhere you look, wherever you go, whatever you think about, there’s a chance to glean something for the blog or other editorial task. There’s no leaving it behind—it becomes part of the way you do and see things and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Image from one of our Flea Market posts.


Caruth team at the State Fair Car Show

Lesson 5: Even if it’s work, you can have a good time. When your work is your life and your life is your work, it’s impossible not to enjoy it. The opportunities to design beyond your own environment, to travel for more than pleasure, to meet and collaborate with new people, to create things that inspire others—it’s a lot of work but, boy, it’s a lot of fun, too.

Image from our Texas State Fair post.

Thanks to all our readers for being the best part of why we do and love our work. We hope you’ll share with us the successes you’ve celebrated and lessons you’ve learned this last year and what you’ve enjoyed or would like to see more of on the blog.

We can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.


© Caruth Studio

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  1. Great work, Debra (and family)! I love seeing your projects online. Congrats on your Caruth Studio anniversary (nice to read some good news from 2016 for a change)!

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