Road trip recap: A tour of Better Homes & Gardens headquarters

I have another crafty adventure to share today. I’ve already mentioned the CHA Show and my trip to FloraCraft, and today I’m going to fill you in on our trip to Des Moines, Iowa, to visit the headquarters of Meredith Corporation. I’m sure you’re familiar with Meredith and its flagship magazine – Better Homes & Gardens, along with dozens of Special Interest Publications, like Holiday Crafts and Halloween Tricks & Treats. (And speaking of magazines, don’t miss this week’s magazine giveaway!)

I traveled to Meredith with the marketing team from FloraCraft. We wanted to learn more about Meredith; meet a few editors; provide an opportunity for some hands-on crafting with STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam and other products; and talk about ways to inspire crafters. It was another trip when the winter weather smiled on us and we made it in and out of Des Moines between blizzards.

Metal starbursts in the atrium of Meredith Publishing in Des Moines, Iowa.

Colorful metal star bursts greet visitors to Meredith Publishing.

Our day began with a tour of the Meredith headquarters, and I hope you’ll follow along. We arrived in the multi-story atrium, decorated with colorful, metal star bursts. These star bursts are part of Meredith’s extensive art collection. (If you’re like us and wondering who cleans these stars, we were told that employee volunteers keep them dusted.)

Ever wonder what a million-dollar kitchen looks like? This is the kitchen in which Meredith meets and strategizes with national food companies.

A million-dollar kitchen at Meredith Publishing.

This kitchen, and an adjacent conference room, have a million-dollar price tag!

Here are the test kitchens, where Meredith tests every recipe that appears in its magazines. There’s a staffer whose full-time job is grocery shopping!

A peek into Better Homes & Gardens test kitchens.

This is just one of several test kitchens at Better Homes & Gardens headquarters.

Up in the editorial offices, the craft group has its own “test kitchen” where staffers have an opportunity to craft and sew.

The Better Homes & Gardens craft room at Meredith Publishing.

The craft group’s “test kitchen.”

Meredith’s photo studio is enormous, with set after set ready for staging. They shoot quite a bit of video here, too.

Just one set in the extensive photo studio at Meredith Publishing.

A set in the Meredith photo studio.

There’s a huge storage room with dishes, glassware, linens, and many other props. And there are even more props stored in other locations throughout the studio.

The prop room in the Meredith photo studio has shelf after shelf of photo props.

The “shop till you drop” prop room.

In 1902, Edwin Thomas Meredith published the first issue of Successful Farming, which later became Better Homes & Gardens.

The history of Meredith Publishing. Better Homes & Gardens began as Successful Farming magazine.

Better Homes & Gardens magazine started out as Successful Farming magazine.

After the tour, it was our turn to talk, and we gave a little presentation all about FloraCraft, Dow, and our product line. Then, the editors got to have a little hands-on fun, making their own craft projects.

Meredith editor makes a burlap wreath.

Sara Reimer from Midwest Living makes a burlap wreath.

The Meredith editors gathered to craft with STYROFOAM Brand Foam - fun!

Hands-on fun at Meredith Publishing.

Here I am with Amy Gates and Ann Blevins (right). Ann is the editor of Holiday Crafts and Halloween Tricks and Treats. Ann shared a sneak peek at the pages of 2013 Holiday Crafts and I cannot wait to see it on the newsstands. It’s page after page of beautiful and inspiring crafts and décor!

A visit to Meredith Publishing with Amy Gates and Ann Blevins.

Amy Gates, me, and Ann Blevins.

Fortunately, I came home with a stack of Meredith magazines and books and I can share some of the inspiration with you! I’ve split my magazine swag into three gift packs to give away, and here’s what they are:

  • The spring 2013 issue of Country Gardens and the book Best of Country Gardens
  • The books Best of Flea Market Style and Cottage Style
  • Chicken Dinners (these recipes look so good!), 2012 BH&G Prizewinning Recipes, and the Secrets of Getting Organized.

If you’d like to win one of these gift packs, tell me about your favorite craft or home decor magazine. Or, if you’re not a magazine reader, which blogs do you follow? I want to know all about your go-to sources for craft and home décor inspiration. Let me know by midnight on Sunday, April 21st, and I’ll announce the three winners next week.

The winners are Jessica Weyrowske, Laurie and Joan. Please Contact Me to arrange for shipping. Thank you.

**This Giveaway is Closed**

Happy crafting!


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25 Responses to Road trip recap: A tour of Better Homes & Gardens headquarters

  1. Brenda says:

    BHG us my favorite magazine. But also enjoy Country Living & HGTV Magazine. I read too many blogs to count. I have Pinterest to thank for my DIY and blog obsession!

  2. Denise says:

    I like all of the Better Homes & Gardens, Special Interest Publications. Also all of the Stampington brand magizines. I have so many hobbies to do with crafting I cant name them all !!

  3. Joan says:

    Wouldn’t it be great to get paid to work on crafts all day. My fav is Quilting Arts, but I also like any Home dec type of magazine.

  4. Laurie says:

    What a wonderful road trip!! I would have been grinning from ear to ear the whole time! 😀 I receive Better Homes and Gardens in the mail, but I always get (and keep – have have stacks!) the holiday decorations issues. Fun fun!

  5. caryncc says:

    i like Crafts n Things magazine as well as Pintrest.

    • Sharon says:

      Between Crafts ‘n things and Pinterest, you’ll be in craft heaven! Crafts ‘n things is always packed with fabulous projects! Happy crafting to you, Cary. Sharon

  6. Connie Haack says:

    My favorite magazine would be Flea Market Style. I love repurposing old things into something new and unique. I have also been a Better Homes and Gardens reader forever. Enjoyed reading about your tour of Better Homes and Gardens.

    • Sharon says:

      Those are all great magazines, Connie. I’m always amazed by the creativity in Flea Market Style. Thanks for stopping in and taking the tour. Sharon

  7. Nancy D says:

    I admit it, I’m a magazine junkie! I could spend hours browsing and I do 🙂 Some of my favorites are the BH&G special holiday issues. Love the Halloween crafts! I’ve been a long time fan of Country Living too. And now that I’ve gone digital, one of my new favorites is Mollie Makes.

    • Sharon says:

      Oh yes, Mollie Makes is sweet! I love the style in that magazine (thought it’s sometimes more challenging to find the supplies in the U.s.). Happy crafting! Sharon

  8. Jane says:

    Hi Sharon,
    So fun to see a picture of you!! I would love to go tour Better Homes & Garden (or Meredith Publishing!)
    Here is my favorite web site, only its not just one–it is “Pinterest”. I am addicted to it! I could spend half the day in that web site.
    My favorite decorating magazines range from “Country Living” to “House Beautiful” to “Better Homes and Garden” talk about a wide range……


  9. Debbie Kaste says:

    Oh my gosh, Sharon! You have such a fun job. I’d love to tour those places. I love crafting, gardening AND cooking – in other words I love it all. My most favorite magazine is the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday issue, however. There is ALWAYS something in there that I must try doing and I keep my issues for years and years. So inspirational!

    • Sharon says:

      You will love, love, love this year’s issue of Holiday Crafts! And I can’t lie, some days it is a lot of fun and then there are nights like tonight, when I know it’s going to be a late one . . . Thanks, Debbie.

  10. Denise Royal says:

    I like Martha Stewart Living and I also like to get the copies of the Fall and Holiday
    Better Homes and Gardens.

  11. Thanks for sharing! What an amazing and interesting place!

  12. Jessica Weyrowske says:

    The majority of my creative inspiration comes from Pinterest. I wish I had more time to devote to crafting, but with 2 small children and a full-time job there just isn’t a whole lot of extra time. Blog updates are pretty much the only daily crafty time I get 🙂

    • Sharon says:

      Very pinteresting, Jessica. Glad you find the time to follow Crafts ‘n Coffee, and here’s hoping you can squeeze in a little real crafting now & then. Sharon

  13. Melissa says:

    I love Phyllis Hoffman magazines – especially Celebrate – but BH&G is a classic, too.

  14. Wilma says:

    Fun. In following your blog on the Meredith tour, it makes me think that I was part of the entourage to get into the hearts and minds of the magazine giant ! So they craft also ! They are just like us.. but with a lot more products to craft , and cook with !

    • Sharon says:

      They may be a publishing giant, but yes, they are just like us — cooking & crafting. They do have a pretty great craft room, however, and lots of supplies. Glad you enjoyed the “tour”. Sharon

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