The Creative Stories Project: Hearth and Hammer in Batavia/Chicago, Illinois

The second installment of The Creative Stories Project is up! I'm so excited to announce December's makers and Land of Lincoln natives, Annie and Andy of Hearth & Hammer, a duo of crazy talent, and creators of  literature-inspired scented candles. Not only do Annie and Andy have the cutest house (just wait!), they also have killer products and awesome personalities to match. They were nice enough to let me come to their home and learn about the process to share here, so enjoy! 

December's Spotlight: Hearth & Hammer

Upon my arrival at Annie and Andy's little bungalow in Batavia, Illinois, I was immediately welcomed with smiles and offerings of fresh coffee from the french press. Annie and Andy are easygoing, soft spoken, and full of midwestern hospitality. Good people, end of story. 

Annie gave me a tour of her studio while we chatted about the events that led to the creation of Hearth & Hammer.

 Annie started making candles while dabbling in a whole lot of DIY for her wedding to Andy, her high school sweetheart (cue the awws), a few years ago. Homemade candles, she said, were the favor of choice for guests even though she didn't know much about the process. After a realization that she really enjoyed making them, she began experimenting with new scents to gift to friends and family. Wanting to be unique, Annie decided to create scents based on her favorite classics, thus combining her love of literature and candle making. Once she saw some success, she moved onto selling at a vintage and craft market of sorts in her hometown and Hearth &  Hammer was born.

Annie works in a small room on the ground floor of their home. It's sparsely decorated, except for small prints for inspiration and an old door that's been crafted into a desk. The space is light and airy and conducive to productivity.

Andy, a graphic designer by trade, is the brains behind H&H's beautiful branding. From the logo, to the site display, to each individual candle label, Andy's your man. Seriously, he's good. Just take a look at their website: Swoon worthy. What's more, you can see the branding is 100% authentic and reflected in their home/work space, with rooms elegantly furnished with the perfect vintage goods and old books obtained during their travels around the midwest. It's a brand I absolutely want to get behind. 

Small town charms. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Annie and Andy and strongly encourage readers to procure some of their limited edition holiday scents before they're gone. For a complete list of stockists, visit:, and pick one up for everyone you know (Christmas IS just around the corner). 

Shop Hearth & Hammer:


The Creative Stories Project: Flora Detroit in Detroit, Michigan

Welcome to a new chapter in the Beth Priddy Photography story! The Creative Stories Project has been a year in the making and I'm so excited to finally be able to blog about this endeavor and share.

Eager to meet other creatives in my new home (Chicago), I started getting involved in local events, studying hashtags, and performing volunteer work with small businesses. Once I realized these moments made me the happiest, I decided to start reaching out to specific creatives, asking if I could photograph them in their space and element, hang out, and chat to learn more about their process, their dreams, their visions. The Creative Stories Project was borne out of love for my fellow creatives and the desire to connect. Hopefully this series, posted the first Wednesday of every month, will inspire you, introduce you to your new favorite makers, and make the world a sweeter place.

November Spotlight: Madeline Hovey of Flora Detroit

I stumbled upon Madeline's work while surfing Instagram and was immediately drawn to her dreamy and unconventional bouquets. Fortunately, Madeline was more than happy to get together, talk craft, and let me photograph her at work, and so I traveled up to Detroit.

After agreeing on an early morning, Madeline arrived at the Airbnb I had rented more cheerful than I could ever possibly hope to be at 4 AM. We piled into my car, toured Detroit while she pointed out the best spots for portraits, and grabbed coffee at one of the only local shops we could find open at that hour. When I felt I'd sufficiently captured her rather infectious energy, we headed back, unloaded buckets of flowers, and tools of the trade, and settled into the light-filled loft to get to work.

Madeline immediately began pulling flowers out and arranging them, one-by-one, until she found a perfect fit. As she worked we discussed her background-- a California native, the Los Angeles area to be exact-- with family still there and a husband with roots in Michigan. She expressed that she loved Detroit and couldn't wait to grow her business. She talked of creative meetings with other florists in the area, which led to her recent participation in Flower House, an exhibit featuring American-grown flowers installed in an abandoned home, and the all the possibilities. She told me about how she had originally been a wedding planner, but fell in love with flower arrangement after being asked to create table settings for a event she was coordinating, and decided to go full time.

Madeline was easygoing and full of energy! It was interesting watching her as she studied each piece of her arrangement, adding or subtracting another bloom, and then shifting to watch it move and form the perfect composition. It was magical!

Luckily, we had a lot of space to play with, so we moved from indoor to out with each new arrangement to capture the beauty. 

After so much positive feedback on our collaboration efforts, we've decided to offer some visual goodness in the form of fine art prints (see below). Get it by clicking on the Print Shop in the header for details!

Take a look at Madeline's work here.