House Feature - Anne Tu Quoc

Anne and I began an online friendship last year and have since bonded over motherhood, our passion for thrifted and vintage decor and our love for a good cup of tea. Anne is an entrepreneur, like myself, and makes the most adorable baby moccasins which allows her to work from home and spend time with her growing family.

"i have two boys lenox and finn with my partner marc, and we live in a little city called fribourg in switzerland. we live right at the border between the german and french part from our country, so we speak both languages. we have lived in this apartment for 6 years, the housing prices are crazy high and we hope to one day buy a house. i think every room has changed at least three times since then. i love doing things myself and i always have idea's for changing things up. like painting a piece of furniture, sewing new pillow cases, or moving furniture around."

Photo by maik-photography for tadah.ch

Photo by maik-photography for tadah.ch

"i love furniture. i sometimes dream of moving so i can start all over again and create a brand new space. i would describe our home as colorful and full of life. its's constantly changing. i love furniture with a history, and i have a story to tell about almost every piece we own. i think it is much more interesting to bring an old piece into a new home, it's so much more personal."

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We share a similar love for greenery, although I don't have the green thumb that Anne has been blessed with. Each room in her home is filled with such unique vignettes and collectibles. The addition of plants really is an inexpensive way to elevate the design. The pink cactus print is by Anny Who.

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This Scandinavian teak bookcase is the perfect spot to showcase the families favourite books, toys, photos and treasures.

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"you will find me at the thrift store almost every week, and most of the time i end up with some new pieces even though i wasn't looking for them. i see some chairs and i know these must come home with me, and i need to sell my old ones."

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Anne has mixed a few pieces from Ikea and splurged on the vintage Togo Ligne Roset sofa designed in the 70's. The space is very open and her boys often play and make forts in this seating area. Her son Lenox made the hearts and black and white drawing that hang above the sofa. The skateboards are Marc's. Anne loved the colours and designs so she turned them into instant sculptures by hanging them on this gallery wall.

Photo by maik-photography for tadah.ch

Photo by maik-photography for tadah.ch

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The entrance leads you straight into the kitchen or to the living room on the left. The kitchen is compact and designed with modern appliances and hardware.

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Anne has such a good eye, she thrifted this entire set! A classic Ghost chair mixed with open back metal chairs adds to the eclectic vibe in the dining room. A dark animal hide grounds the open space, creating texture on the light hardwood.

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Natural light pours through the windows that lead to the backyard. I love the vintage pendant that Anne discovered above the table. Who needs a bar cart when you can have multiple shelves designated for your favourite cocktails!

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"i own a little company called petit mai and i produce baby leather moccs made of vegetable tanned leather and i love it! it's so great to be able to turn what you love into an actual job!"

How cute is the packaging these little shoes come in? It makes me want to have another baby so I can dress it up. 

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The master bedroom is kept clutter free with the use of bookshelves and floating nightstands with storage. The drawing above the bed was done by her oldest son when his baby brother was born. It is their first family picture, what a beautiful keep sake. Anne has an ever changing collection of toss pillows in all of the rooms. The cloud pillow is made in Denmark by normadot. I'm envious as this is such an easy way to transform a bed or sofa. You can never have too many textiles, my husband may not agree though!

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"i discovered my love for plants about two years ago, before this time i didn't own a single plant and the ones i had usually died after a couple of weeks. i don't know why, but since i started buying plants again almost all of them have survived. maybe it's because i talk to them, and maybe also because i love that they bring life into our home."

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An up close look at a few of Anne's favourite plants. A true jungalow!

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Every shelf in this home is so good! Her son's room looks so cozy with twinkle lights and a hanging canopy. The perfect spot to read a book or two.

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"i like to change the look of our home with accessories like carpets, pillows, and some fresh paint. i don't really think of how i decorate our home a lot. it just comes naturally. i often walk into places and with my inner eye i imagine what i would do with it, i love doing this." The bunny print is by Anny Who.

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In her other son's room a hand painted polka dot cabinet, as well as his collection of rocks and feathers create a focal wall. Anne's dad helped her build this bed and she sewed this canopy to create a cozy nook for Finn.

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Anne studied piano for ten years and when her parents no longer had room for it she brought it here for the boys to practice on. "the lamp is an italian brand called stilnovo. i got it from my parents, who saved it from friends who wanted to throw it away. my parents didn't realize it's a vintage piece with some value, but they just thought of me and suspected i might like it. they were right!" The colorful landscape is by Swiss artist Iuna Tinta.  

Spaces like this really keep me excited about connecting with others who have a similar passion for design and interiors. If I ever travel to Northern Europe I will try my best to stop by for a tea, I can only imagine how fun it would be to go thrifting with you Anne.

 

 

Connect, Create and Explore

I'm not a maker who has everything figured out. A new year has begun and I am not referring to a list of goals, I'm taking it day by day. If you don't have a vision board or project planned in the upcoming months, you are not alone. I will continue to go with the flow, and if I am tired I will remember that the down time is when ideas stir in my head. Readiness and natural timing are what I'm focussing on. I am thankful for your continued support and will surprise you with giveaways and snail mail through out the year. Make sure you sign up for my newsletter. Don't worry, I don't have my life that pulled together that I will bombard you with emails. 

Photo by Mary Costa

Photo by Mary Costa

I am a mother and one of the most exciting things I have seen over the holidays is my daughters imaginations running wild. They are just wonderful girls, drawing, colouring and planning for an art sale in a few months. Look at these ladies, I think I'm going to purchase the one on the right, pattern & colour with a dash of glittery ink!

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I'm excited to connect and collaborate with friends old and new. I hope to be curious in the studio and create things I've never experimented with before. I think I may take a break from painting on canvas and explore different mediums like collage. I recently thrifted a few books and ideas are scattered across my work table.

My favourite moments of the day are when I'm able to sit and relax with a cup of tea in hand. A new friend of mine Tiffany Thomas made me this incredible mug that just arrived the other day. My youngest is only six and adores rocks and gems. I told her when she moves out of the house one day I will let her have it. She replied that she was living with us forever. Only time will tell. 

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I read something last month that illustrator Tim Easley said and it has stuck with me. "Strive to create work that people want to keep." No matter what you create on, if it feels special enough to someone they will want to save it. Hopefully it will become a favourite memory, and every time they look at it it will bring them back to that initial moment that brought them joy. 

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"The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life" Marie Kondo. As I continue to grow as an artist I want collectors and fans of my work to know that it means the world to me that a piece I have created is special enough to be welcomed into your surroundings.

Holly's Dream Home

The reality is that, it is freezing cold out, and we've been enjoying a lot of our holiday indoors. I'm becoming quite skilled at Uno and today I made my daughter quite happy by braiding her dolls hair, complete with beads. She looks like she was just chilling on the beach, while I'm wearing my toque 24/7.

I think I'm going to start sharing more spaces here that I come across online that just make me happy. I discovered this home last Spring and kind of forgot I wanted to share it with you. I hope you are cuddled up nice and warm on your sofa sipping a hot beverage. This space is so unique and eclectic. It's filled with colour and my favourite thing, art. The home owner is a graphic designer and the family has since moved but damn, I love it all! She has such a good eye and that bulletin board wall is so good.  I think I need to add a neon sign somewhere in our house this year.  

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Photography by Katrine Rohrberg for Another Ballroom.

 

Photography

I recently stumbled upon the photography of  Erik Madigan Heck and I love it all!  I'm working on a new collaboration and these colours and patterns are inspiring me for sure. Every image is breathtaking, he works with all the well known fashion houses and makes these clothes come to life. 

"Inspired by art history Erik has become a sought-after fashion photographer by blending the traditions of both painting and photography, blending the two with a mastery of light and colour. All of his work is done in camera, without Photoshop, elevating the magic of the images in the digital era."

Here are a few of my favourites in no particular order. 

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All photos by Madigan Heck.

All photos by Madigan Heck.

I read that he released a photography book this year, can't wait to check it out. 

We are all ready for Christmas at our house, wishing you a wonderful holiday. Thanks for following along, can't wait to see what 2018 has in store.

Our New/Vintage Dining Table

Way back in July my husband and I scored a vintage replica Eero Saarinen dining table at an estate sale. I would show you a photo, but it was in two pieces when we picked it up and it is unfortunately still sitting in our dark basement not put together.

This gorgeous design by Jonathan Adler is part of his new Trocadero Collection.

This gorgeous design by Jonathan Adler is part of his new Trocadero Collection.

As soon as I saw this image, I thought to myself that I really needed to try and get this beauty upstairs. The top is similar in design and the colour of wood is almost the same. This version is Rubberwood, I believe our's is teak. It really is a beautifully crafted table that will seat 6-8 people, and we will use it everyday for dining. As I said to my husband while we were bidding on it...it's an heirloom piece. Hopefully our kids will fight over it one day for their own homes! I have also wanted to add moulding to the wall behind the table since we moved in four years ago, 2018 I think it might be the year.

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Design by Allison Crawford, photo by Nicole Mlakar

Design by Allison Crawford, photo by Nicole Mlakar

Most Saarinen tables are oval, ours is a 60" circle. My husband thinks it will be tight, but I know it will fit and we will adjust to the space we have to walk around it just fine. We currently have a vintage rug under the table and it will not fit with the new one. Our hardwood is similar in tone to the table top so that's the only thing that I think will bother me. Our current table is glass and the one before that was glass, which is not ideal for kids but windex has been my daily friend for over 10 years.

Photo: The Modern House

Photo: The Modern House

The above image is similar in design but our tulip base is white. The wood top appears to be divided into sections like Adler's design, this one looks like one piece of veneered wood. 

We have enough furniture now, so I really need to slow down on my thrifting skills in the New Year. My friend recently said that I'm the gal to go to if you are looking for that perfect piece, I'll take that as a compliment.

Inspiration

I save a lot of images on my phone and computer whenever I see something that catches my eye. I recently scrolled through them and decided I would share a few of my favourites with you.

Photo by Nicholas Scarpinato

Photo by Nicholas Scarpinato

I just discovered California photographer Nicholas Scarpinato and his candy coloured cacti prints are amazing! I believe that shipping is included if you are in the US so that's a plus. 

Photo by Black Crane

Photo by Black Crane

As soon as I saw this image it made me want to attempt to paint it. The dress by Black Crane is such a beautiful design and colour. I kept looking at it on my phone, and then one day I sat at my dining table and enjoyed the process of trying to paint an actual person. I will admit that it wasn't anything special, and I recycled it the next day. Inspiration usually doesn't come in the form of fashion for me, but hey I gave it a try.

Photo by Sarah Sullivan

Photo by Sarah Sullivan

I am in love with Sarah Sullivan's work. From textiles, wall hangings and paintings, everything is so darn gorgeous and colourful. I scrolled her IG feed all the way back to 2015, so much talent! Sarah is based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, check out her shop here.

Sarah's pillows are a work of art.

Sarah's pillows are a work of art.

Sarah says: "The personality of each piece is essential. Whether the life of the party or just a welcome friend, my work hopefully transports people to a place of pure, simple joy. I use traditional craft to create a world of youth, comfort, and whimsy. With a modern palate and a graphic eye, I hope to give society a break from clutter and chaos by providing art that one can literally wrap around themselves."

Photo by Mandi Johnson

Photo by Mandi Johnson

When I sit and relax at the end of the day I often read a few design blogs instead of watching television. Mandi's blog Making Nice In The Midwest is new to me, and I love this sunroom she has recently designed. Her taste is neutral in comparison to mine, but her mid century aesthetic is what first attracted me. 

Photo by Gray Malin

Photo by Gray Malin

Gray Malin has captured some incredible images over the years, but his latest collection is hands down my favourite. Iconic mid century designs styled in room vignettes in Bora Bora...crazy!! The above photo is "The Den" Eames classics have never looked so good.

Photo by Cassandra Lavalle

Photo by Cassandra Lavalle

My friend Laura is just that. A determined entrepreneur trying to raise her family and live out her creative dreams. She is a talented artist in Ontario whom I met a few a years ago. We began an online friendship and had the opportunity to meet in person over lunch and discuss art and our backgrounds in the field of interiors. She is such a supportive friend and I'm lucky enough to have my artwork in her home.

A makers auction called "Making Spirits Bright" begins next week to support Laura and her family. They have experienced a number of hardships this season and it's a blessing to be able to support them in this time. Please consider following along on IG @making.spirits.bright the auction is live December 12th. You get to shop some beautiful hand made gifts. I have recently finished this colourful plant study that I will be donating. My last collection of plant studies were created on canvas, this time I'm challenging myself and painting on wood panels.

Eucalyptus in vase, with wallpaper inspiration from the JuJu papers.

Eucalyptus in vase, with wallpaper inspiration from the JuJu papers.

Corner of my home

I got a delivery the other day and this handmade piece was inside. I love all shades of blue and this is the perfect addition to our living room. Liz at Elle Jay Home used vintage mud cloth fabric, check out her shop for unique one of a kind items. She has some great designs out for the holidays that are designed out of vintage wool blankets, complete with fringe.

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Reality is that my daughters love to use our throw cushions to make forts and cuddle with on the area rug.

Reality is that my daughters love to use our throw cushions to make forts and cuddle with on the area rug.

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This is my favourite spot on the sofa, this blog post was written with my butt on that cushion and my feet up on that ottoman. One of the best decisions I made was getting this foot stool recovered with a flokati rug that we no longer used. I love the texture it adds to the space. A little 70's vibe, yes please!

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My mother-in-law gave me this new plant, I read online that I should not water it during the winter months. I'm going to follow those rules, lets hope sunshine can keep it alive! I'm not a fan of red Poinsettias, so this pop of colour suits me fine for the holidays. I think I'll like it even more when it's just leaves.

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It was 12 degrees the other day, which is crazy here in Canada at this time of the year. This gave me the perfect opportunity to finish painting our dining chairs. You would think I would have this on my to do list during the summer, but I'm a procrastinator. My almost 8 year old said it looked silly mismatched, I told her I would get them done before her Birthday party this weekend. I did...mom win! Check out this post to see the before of these thrifted beauties that were an amazing deal.

Moments that matter

I'm proud of myself. How often do you think that...or say it out loud? I'm guessing not enough. You are not alone folks. I often feel like I'm not living up to my full potential. Ambition, success, small steps forward should be rewarded no matter what your job is. Today I'm sharing some achievements that make me smile. It's hard to write about yourself and not sound braggy (is that even a word?) but I'll give it a go.

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If you are not familiar with NYC based artist and author Adam J. Kurtz than let me introduce you. His words are shown in the image above and he has just come out with a book that looks amazing. You can tear out the pages and keep them as reminders and inspiration.

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A few weeks ago I hung some of my work at an independent bookstore in town called Hunter Street Books. It really does make me so happy to think that people are viewing and experiencing my paintings in a public space. Having them stacked in my studio is reality sometimes, but it's such a great feeling to hang them in a unique shop like this.

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If you are not able to view them in person you can check them out in my online shop. Please contact me with any questions. If you are downtown shopping over the next few weeks you can see the collection until early January. 

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A few months ago I accepted a challenge from a local shop Watson & Lou. They asked artists to create a piece of art that had a slogan on it, your choice to make it funny or sincere. One that would help describe our city, Peterborough. One afternoon I sat at my dining table with scissors in hand and cut up an image of my grandma with two of her friends. This was the starting point, all I knew was that I wanted to try collage but was unsure of how I would go about it. I know artists, including myself, talk about the process a lot, reality is it's these moments of uncertainty and experimentation that are the most rewarding. I could have deleted the email and never took the risk of making something out of my comfort zone, but I didn't. 

Photo by Watson & Lou

Photo by Watson & Lou

Photo by Watson & Lou

Photo by Watson & Lou

The framed print from my original collage is available for sale at Watson & Lou, and some fun products are in the works with this design. I'm excited to see how they turn out! This piece reflects my thoughts on why people gravitate back to this city. When I was in high school I couldn't wait to leave and I really never thought I'd move back. I've met a lot of people through instructing painting classes, neighbours and acquaintances who all say the same thing. They just moved back. There is something in the familiar that makes us feel comfort. It's been four years to the day that we moved into our home, and I don't miss living in a larger city.

Photo by Watson & Lou

Photo by Watson & Lou

MOO contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in sharing some information about my business and choice of packaging. I just received an email with the featured artists and I wanted to share it with you. Check it out here

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Promise me something, if you get that feeling of excitement about something you worked hard on or created, that you will share it. Tell those you are close with, it's great to have a cheering squad. Don't worry if you feel like your bragging, people want to share in your successes.

Art by Adam J. Kurtz

Art by Adam J. Kurtz

Thoughts

I recently read the title of Grace Gulley's new book "How To Make Friends As A Grown-Ass Woman" and it got me thinking. Since I joined IG and started this blog two years ago, I have made a lot of new friends. Some I chat with through face time, some live locally and we hang out in real life. Then there are those who are like my cheering squad. Always there to give support and offer real criticism and feedback. 

Photo by Grace Gulley

Photo by Grace Gulley

Grace runs CYL Squad and says to "keep like-minded friends who share big dreams and similar aspirations." I think this is very important in this artistic community. Painting at home is often lonely and I crave communication with other makers. I instruct painting classes weekly which is a great way for me to teach beginners how to create as well as socialize. 

The other night I read something online that was teaching you how to grow an organic following on social media. Suggesting posting only photos in a certain colour palette (perhaps staying on trend with Pantone and the colour of the year...ya right!), making sure that the top nine photos all relate and are not too similar. Also to be consistent posting at least two times daily. Just reading that gives me a head ache!

I post what I feel like sharing whenever I have time to do so. A lot of times it's different styles of artwork. I like to mix it up and experiment with techniques, as I personally love an eclectic style. The process is the most rewarding part in my opinion. I don't have a specific medium of choice and I'm ok with that, I've tried to narrow it down but it's just hasn't happened.

Art by Tessa Forrest

I just read an interview on artist Jasper Johns and felt very connected with some of his words. 

"There’s the question of doing something knowing what the result will be, or doing something that involves a degree of uncertainty. There can be freedom of that sort. Tending in one direction, you may become aware of where you’re heading and may realize that there are other possibilities. You may want to introduce those possibilities to see what the meaning can be."

At the age of 87 he is still creating today. If you are in the UK check out his show at The Royal Academy of Arts.  

I'm still learning to tell my story through my art. I will keep pushing, keep making, and keep experimenting with what feels right. I feel an urge to create Plant Studies again, we'll see what happens when I head to the studio.

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide

We usually put up the tree (it's a fake) at the beginning of December after my oldest daughters birthday. I don't go overboard with seasonal decor, just a bit of stuff I've collected over the years mixed with crafts that the girls have made. My youngest daughter is already cutting snowflakes & drawing gingerbread houses!

I recently saw "A Bad Moms Christmas" and while it made me laugh out loud it also put me in the holiday spirit. I LOVE Kathryn Hahn. If anyone decides to make a movie about me...which isn't going to happen any time soon, I hope she's up for it. In the movie, the ladies all enjoy beers in the foodcourt before they tackle the stress of mall shopping. My go to winter cocktail is a White Russian...yum!

Meet my girl crush Kathryn.

Meet my girl crush Kathryn.

Ever since our girls were small we've tried to limit the amount of gifts we give to immediate family members to one thing. Last month we went to a local Etsy market and a shop in town that supports local artisans called Watson & Lou. We are almost done! No shopping at the mall for this lady.

I thought I would share a gift guide with you featuring the makers of the items I've bought so you can check there stuff out and start shopping!

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"Best known for our colourful geometric studs, MOONLIGHT FOR VIOLET is thrilled to bring you easily wearable pieces in a wide variety of colours and shapes."  Shannon creates out of her home in Toronto, ON. I had a difficult time choosing what colour to get, I also love the colour mint chip. I think these ones will look great with anything. "The brass hexagon forms shown here are filled with polymer clay and filed, and come with 18 karat gold-plated surgical steel bases with tight-fitting butterfly backings."

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Check out Lakeside Stitch Co. based out of Lakefield, ON. Stephanie has a wonderful collection of outer wear to keep you warm this holiday season. I picked up two crocheted market bags to gift in a cotton/nylon blend, that will be great to use for produce or everyday essentials. 

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My daughters couldn't decide which one we should get, all the feathers by Flux Glass Co. are amazing! "I like to keep my designs simple, because I think it’s the beauty of the glass itself that’s the real art." The copper details add a modern touch to this traditional stain glass. Jessica is based out of Orillia, ON. and has branched out and started to create arrows, trees and mountains as well. Her etsy shop is taking a break but you can shop her items online at Watson & Lou.

Photo by Flux Glass Co.

Photo by Flux Glass Co.

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Who doesn't love a bar of soap with a cool cat on the packaging? My daughters loved these all natural ones by Peterborough maker Melinda Richter.  They are synthetic fragrance free & will make the perfect stocking stuffer. Available at Watson & Lou.

Photo by Papirmass

Photo by Papirmass

If you have someone on your list who loves art and decor this is the perfect thing. "Need a gift that wows but don’t have time to figure out how? A gift subscription to PAPIRMASS will keep them surprised, delighted, and thinking of you every single month." I was lucky to win all of the art shown above in an online contest last month by this Toronto company.

"Papirmass is an independent art subscription that seeks to spark curiosity and inspire creativity. Subscribers all around the world love how our monthly mailings help them discover their next favorite artist. Through unique prints, studio interviews, and hands-on artistic activities, Papirmass is all about making creative connections." 

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"Electric City Supply is a furniture and home decor company started by two friends with a passion for industrial/rustic design out of Peterborough, ON." I thought this hanging pegboard would be a great way for a guy to display tools in a workshop or hang a collection of ball caps. Even if you use it as an art piece without any hooks it looks just as good. They are having an online sale until November 22nd, so check them out.

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This 100% natural cotton bag has me singing No Diggity every time I see it. Swell Made is based out of Peterborough, ON. Lesley has lots of unique goodies for the holidays including modern gift tags, cards and even an advent candle! I picked this out for my husband to give to me...I know I'm not the only one who shops for themselves at the holidays. I'll act surprised in front of my kids I promise.

Gift Tags by Swell Made

Gift Tags by Swell Made

So remember shop local and handmade this holiday and support small businesses and makers. You will be less stressed and won't be the person driving around the parking lot at the mall pissed off that you can't find a parking space. 

House Feature - Megan Buckland

I met Meg last year through Instagram. This photo captured my attention and I was curious to see what was behind the walls. It took a while to get it ready for the tour as they were finishing up some projects, but the time has arrived. Let's check out her wonderful space!

"Our home is tiny at just under 1000 SF and it works for us. We try really hard to be minimalists - keeping only what we need and using everything we have. Our design and decorating philosophy is pretty strict - if it requires too much effort or too much time, it gets simplified." I am trying to become more of a minimalist myself, but still have a lot of collectables and thrift shop finds that require lots of dusting...which everyone knows is no fun.

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"My husband Tony is a graphic designer, I'm a commercial interior designer turned stay-at-home-mom (2 years ago), and we have three kids, Oscar-9, Penny-6, and Simon 3. We live in Bloomington, Minnesota, which is a suburb of Minneapolis, in a 1950's ranch-style home which used to be Tony's grandma's! Although it's pretty unrecognizable to what it was when we moved in, his family gets a kick out of visiting and seeing the changes. I love that our home has history."

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Living in a smaller space with three kids can be challenging, but the family puts storage to use in the entryway. An Ikea cabinet has been customized with a solid wood top & a wire basket collects shoes and sports equipment.

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I love this bold pop of colour in the kitchen. The print is by artist Angela Hardison.

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Meg loves to cook and the family spends a lot of time hanging around this tulip dining table. The kids each have their own Stokke chair in red. If you are not familiar with this company you should check them out. The adjustable design ensures a comfortable and ergonomic seating position at any age. 

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"I love the kitchen and spend most of my time here. It's set in the back of the house and has great natural light. We remodelled the kitchen in 2008 and it's time for a refresh. We'll keep the basic layout the same so the changes are mostly cosmetic this time around. New appliances and cabinet fronts are being made." 

 

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When I asked Meg if they were doing the renovations themselves I laughed out loud at her response. "Except for painting, we haven't done any of the work to our house. Outside of operating a drill, neither Tony or I are all that handy and have little patience for projects. Paying for contractors is a lot cheaper than paying for a divorce! ;) And a good contractor you trust is as good as gold!" My husband and I renovated the kitchen in our first home years ago before we had kids and it definitely was a time consuming process. We didn't have to seek couples therapy afterwards so I guess thats a good thing!

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Whenever a family member celebrates a Birthday these white lanterns are strung up. A simple and modern idea for kids or adults.

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Yum...cake! I noticed that this art piece on the wall here was always changing in Meg's IG feed. I asked her how it worked and here are the details. "The photo wall is made up of a product called Photo Curator by the Curator Company. I bought them nearly 10 years ago on FAB, when that was still THE way to shop for design goods! (I miss them). I have 45 sets and each set holds one 4x6 photo. There are little clips in the corners. Tony usually designs the layout and we get the photos printed at Costco. We can change out the wall for under $10! It's such a fun thing in our house! We change them out at every birthday and they also hold 4x6 index cards so once in a while the kids will create art on each card."

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"This is the room we live in. We eat here, watch TV, read, build trains, do homework, play, you name it. Our furniture is kid friendly and easy to clean." The streamlined designs are high off of the ground allowing your eye to travel through them. With the use of light weight pieces the family can easily move them around if the kids need the rug to play on.

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With select pieces in the living room they chose to splurge on this iconic Womb Chair. I love the soft grey fabric & bet that they take turns sitting here to watch TV. Meg commissioned her son Oscar to create the artwork on the wall and draw out the names of each family member. I love adding kids art to my own home, it's such a personal and inexpensive way to decorate.

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"When we did our first remodel in the kitchen in 2008, we chose to keep the kitchen separate from the living/dining area as opposed to a more open floor plan which is popular in ranch home remodels here. Living in such a small home with five people, it's nice to have some separation of space." Lots of hidden storage in the drawers and cupboards in this room.

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Meg's son made this parrot hat at art school. They loved it so much they framed it and display it proudly in the heart of the home.

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"Our bedroom doubles as Tony's work space. He designs almost every night after the kids go down so we've worked hard at accommodating what he needs to work and what I need to sleep!" I looked up Tony's website and guys he just designed that red N that pops up on your Netflix home page... I had to tell my husband I was very excited! 

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Tony's art is hung throughout the home. "I believe in simplicity, clarity, and the importance of all design disciplines."

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"We added additional lighting controls in our bedroom to support work and sleep and it works really well. We keep our room stripped of anything extra to help it feeling open and light."

Cuties!

Cuties!

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"Our boys share a bedroom. One is very tidy and the other is very...not tidy. I help the messy one clean up almost daily to keep the peace! I think adding a bedroom in the basement might be in our future!"

I love this vintage lamp. I think my girls need similar storage for Lego.

I love this vintage lamp. I think my girls need similar storage for Lego.

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Meg has a small workplace with the best gallery wall featuring Larry David...it makes me smile. A few years ago she taught herself how to make simple and modern quilts. 

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The geometric pattern and colours on this piece really caught my eye.

The geometric pattern and colours on this piece really caught my eye.

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"Penny has the best room in the house! It's super small, has a huge window, and is located in the heart of our house." What girl wouldn't adore this space? She's got her own art collection started and a small desk to sit and draw.

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"Last year for her birthday, we surprised her by converting her weird, unused closet into a hideaway for her. The closet sits up a couple feet because it's over the stairs to the basement but it's the perfect size for her to read, color, draw, or get away from her brothers. As our only introverted child, it functions perfectly for her." 

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"Though our house may be tiny, our back yard is huge for a city lot. We added a slatted wooden fence this summer and it's easily becoming our favorite place to be in the warm months. Our kids really enjoy being outside any time of the year so I'm especially thankful we have a place for them to be."

I want to thank Meg for sharing her home with me. I think it is wonderful that her kids will grow up in a home that has such meaning and family history. Good luck on your kitchen transformation, can't wait to see it!

Highlights of the week

Highlights of the week

 

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The Art Scene

The Art Scene

 

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My Creative Process

My Creative Process

 

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Artists I'm crushing on

Last week my husband & I enjoyed a day date in Toronto. We had a few hours before we went to see the band Middle Kids (who were amazing live!) in an intimate concert at the Horseshoe Tavern. I didn't check the hours at The Art Gallery of Ontario so unfortunately we went to buy tickets only to realize that they were about to close. Lucky for us that we decided to go across the street to a few independent galleries that were open & got to see some amazing original artwork.

The exhibit at Bau-Xi of Canadian artist Steven Nederveen was so good. His show "Something in the Air" was very intriguing. His mixed media pieces connected the movement of paint with the natural environment so well. His colour palettes in this collection are my favourite to create with, shades of blues & pinks. Now I'll show you a few of my favourites.

"Something in the Air" photo from Bau-Xi Gallery.

"Something in the Air" photo from Bau-Xi Gallery.

"Emerald Forest 2" photo from Bau-Xi Gallery

"Emerald Forest 2" photo from Bau-Xi Gallery

"Black Sand Shores 1" photo from Bau-Xi Gallery.

"Black Sand Shores 1" photo from Bau-Xi Gallery.

After we viewed that exhibit we walked into Mayberry Fine Art. A few paintings were hung by Canadian artist Meghan Hildebrand from her show "Fire Season." Her paintings captivated me with their abstract dream like qualities. I left feeling very happy, yet sad I couldn't afford to take one home with me.

"Treat Me Well" Photo by Meghan Hildebrand

"Treat Me Well" Photo by Meghan Hildebrand

"Herself, Little By Little" Photo by Meghan Hildebrand.

"Herself, Little By Little" Photo by Meghan Hildebrand.

"Things That Happen To Rock" Photo by Meghan Hildebrand. 

"Things That Happen To Rock" Photo by Meghan Hildebrand. 

The painting above is from her "Cloud Hand" series & has sold. I wish I had the opportunity to see it in person, I love it! These colours & markings come together to make a modern landscape that I relate to.

I treated myself to some new oil pastels that day & can't wait to experiment with them. There's something about seeing artwork in person that is very inspiring.

Watson & Lou

A new shop has just opened up & I thought I would give you a little tour. Watson & Lou is in my hometown of Peterborough ON, & is a unique spot downtown that supports over 30 local makers. You also have the opportunity to rent shared studio space as well as take part in monthly creative workshops. 

 "Our mission is to celebrate the beauty, ingenuity, and kindness of our local creative economy. We aim to provide a platform for local makers to share their work with a wider audience while growing and refining their practice through dialogue and skills-sharing."

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A selection of pieces from North Oar co. & Burn Island. 

A selection of pieces from North Oar co. & Burn Island

Beautiful side tables from Relic of Canada.

Beautiful side tables from Relic of Canada.

A collection of prints are available to choose from.

A collection of prints are available to choose from.

That wallpaper is so gorgeous you could just frame it! I also need to note how full the fiddle leaf figs are, I'm jealous. 

That wallpaper is so gorgeous you could just frame it! I also need to note how full the fiddle leaf figs are, I'm jealous. 

The plate wall by Lou Brown Vintage is so fun!

The plate wall by Lou Brown Vintage is so fun!

How great is that pop of teal behind the till mixed with the copper pendants.

How great is that pop of teal behind the till mixed with the copper pendants.

They have a good selection of art/design books & magazines.

They have a good selection of art/design books & magazines.

Lots of colourful items to bring home, including Cultural Standees by Lucky Jackson.

Lots of colourful items to bring home, including Cultural Standees by Lucky Jackson.

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An overload of cuteness for the little ones. Dolls by Mini Goddesses, Booties by Coyles Cubby, felted bunnies by MonAmieManon.

An overload of cuteness for the little ones. Dolls by Mini Goddesses, Booties by Coyles Cubby, felted bunnies by MonAmieManon.

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A selection of stationary by The Critter Co. &  Swell Made Co. Papercuts by Laurel Paluck.

A selection of stationary by The Critter Co. &  Swell Made Co. Papercuts by Laurel Paluck.

Odd Ducks Vintage makes the most amazing fibre art. Neck Ties by Slice of Blackbird Pie.

Odd Ducks Vintage makes the most amazing fibre art. Neck Ties by Slice of Blackbird Pie.

You can take a selfie under that pretty unicorn. Some of my paintings hanging on the right.

You can take a selfie under that pretty unicorn. Some of my paintings hanging on the right.

If you are local make sure to follow them to see what workshops are happening.

If you are local make sure to follow them to see what workshops are happening.

Tonight Heck Yes is running a sold out workshop making cacti gardens.

Tonight Heck Yes is running a sold out workshop making cacti gardens.

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If you have never tried working with a medium before grab & friend & enjoy a night out. You can sign up for all workshops here. 

If you have never tried working with a medium before grab & friend & enjoy a night out. You can sign up for all workshops here

If you are not local you can still check out the Online shop. Make sure to support local makers for the holidays! 

Two Years Later

Let me give you a little background about this website & blog incase you are new here. My youngest started Junior Kindergarten Sept 2015 and it was during the month of August that I decided to try and paint full time & work as an artist. Since that time I have found myself setting personal goals & deadlines which have forced me to make new bodies of work & explore the creative side that has always been a part of me. I have had the opportunity to have a solo show, several group shows & install some of my paintings in restaurants around the city. I'm so lucky that retailers in the area want to showcase my work for their clientele. Getting my name out there is sometimes challenging but definitely worth the effort. 

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Saturday night I'm going out for dinner with my husband, sister & a few friends to celebrate my Birthday at a new Pub that recently opened. I'm excited to hang out in the space as I installed some artwork before they opened & have yet to sit & enjoy it. One of the bars is painted turquoise, as soon as I saw that I thought, yes my art needs to be here (turquoise is my favourite colour). The above painting "The Blues" is an old favourite that is on display & looking for a new home.

My first blog post was Aug 30th, 2015 & I truly can't believe that I have stuck with it. I thought I would try & do a blog post once a month to let people who enjoyed my artwork know more about my inspiration, & love for Interior Design. Since that time I have posted once a week, which really is crazy as I have never considered myself a blogger. Moving forward I may try to post every two weeks, we'll see what happens I guess.

Photo by Oxford Proper

Photo by Oxford Proper

I still have accomplishments that I hope to achieve & ideas that will challenge me in my studio. I would love to collaborate with others artists or companies, so feel free to contact me if you think we would be a good fit. One of the highlights of this year has been creating a body of work I called "Plant Studies." I've learned a lot from other artists & I have admired Michelle Armas work for years. Her personality seems so down to earth & listening to podcasts where she has been interviewed I've always come away with great tips & advice. The day I put my Plant Study collection in my online shop she was the first to purchase a piece. I am not lying when I say that it brought tears to my eyes. It felt like validation that everything I had been doing was working & I was on the right track.

I'm not sure what the future holds for me & my family, but I do know that I'm the happiest I've ever been. Working a 9-5 retail job is what I left behind when I had my daughters, perhaps one day I will need to step back into that environment to help pay the bills. Right now I'm taking it one day at a time, a creative life is very fulfilling.

House Feature - Lora Neveu

I recently discovered Lora's company on Instagram & fell in love with their designs. The products they make are sprinkled throughout her home & add a ton of personality. "If I had to describe my style I guess it would be vintage surf cowboy, because I love things that are earthy and natural but also really love quirky sparkly things. I come from a fashion background but have always been a maker and DIY-er. I started Sun + Stars in the winter of 2015 with my friend and business partner Kristen McGregor." 

"My husband and I bought our house in the Junction area of Toronto with my sister in 2011. It's split into two apartments. Our family is on the top two floors, they are on the bottom two and we share the outside spaces. It's a nice way to live in the city (more) affordably, plus we have less house to clean and have a built in dog sitter when we go away! Our portion of the house is about 1400 square feet. Sometimes we dream about moving to the country and having a big studio and wide open spaces, but we've lived in the city so long that I think we might miss the convenience of walking everywhere. Plus we have a really great community around us, it would be hard to walk away from it." 

Now let's dive into these photos and see her creative space!

This is a corner of the living room. It's filled with colour, art & music...some of my favourite things. Lora's sister got the girls the yellow record player in Nashville. "They love playing Mini Pops and Blondie records while they play lego."

A few records from their collection. 

A few records from their collection. 

"I'm really inspired by vintage kids books and art prints. I've always been drawn to vintage and have been thrifting and flea market shopping my whole life, some of my favourite pieces of furniture or clothing are things I've owned for years."

"I used to be a big collector, but now too many things in a room create a visual noise that makes it hard for me to relax, plus living in the city space is at a premium so if I don't love it or use it, it goes! Our living room is our all purpose room, this room is rarely empty. We got that big sectional couch from West Elm because each piece is the size of a twin bed so it can double as a guest room when needed. The teak coffee table lived in my house when I was a kid and it's the most useful piece of furniture."

"The kitchen is the room we've done the least changes to other than adding some cupboards and lots of white paint. We're planning on re-doing the backsplash this fall. We do everything in this room, eat, dance, make art."

Using vintage maps is an inexpensive way to fill your walls & add colour to your space.

Using vintage maps is an inexpensive way to fill your walls & add colour to your space.

"In the warm weather we always have the sliding doors wide open to the deck. We eat out there and hang out and there are stairs down to the main back yard."

My favourite colour is turquoise...how great are these painted stairs!

My favourite colour is turquoise...how great are these painted stairs!

I think we all need a pair of these pillows on our bed.

I think we all need a pair of these pillows on our bed.

"Our room is pretty minimal. My life and house are loud and messy, I need my bedroom to be a place that is calm. Most of my collections are capped at 3-5 pieces, except for my plant collection, I tend to fall in love on sight with plants and bring them home with me."

I love the natural light in here, don't we all wish we had a few sky lights? How amazing are the hand made eye pillows Lora made. "The embroidered curtains are panels from a dress that my husband's mom wore when they lived in Mexico (when he was a kid)."

Years ago Lora purchased this print online of grasslands from National Geographic. It was enlarged & now hangs in the bathroom.

A private space to escape & enjoy a morning coffee.

A private space to escape & enjoy a morning coffee.

"Looking out onto our little upstairs deck from bed is another of my favourite things. For a house in the city we are surrounded by trees, you can't look out a window without seeing trees. It almost feels like we live in a tree house."

Lora's studio is at the top of the staircase. A framed print of a Bald Eagle as well as lots of greenery add warmth to this corner of the home. 

"I spend ALOT of time in here, working and listening to music. It really is my happy place. We work on new designs and patterns, cut fabric, silk screen and sew in this room. My husband is an animation compositor and he he often works at night too. I've always found mornings and nights to be great times to work on projects, if you manage to get that second wind!"

I love seeing where other makers find inspiration and their creative outlets. "Together we aim to design items that appeal to both kids and their parents; Pieces that add imagination to a child's bedroom or look playful in a living room. We believe in quality goods made from sustainable materials that will live in your home for years to come." 

The pink door leads to the girls bedroom. "We have three rooms on the second floor of our house. Right now one is used as a studio so the kids share."

Vintage rattan hooks hold the girls dress up costumes & purses. I think the exposed brick is such a great feature, I'm glad they didn't paint it.

Vintage rattan hooks hold the girls dress up costumes & purses. I think the exposed brick is such a great feature, I'm glad they didn't paint it.

One of my favourite elements in this room is the eclectic vibe created by mixing vintage textiles & patterns. I feel like a boring mom as my daughters only have 2 sets of sheets & one duvet cover. Unless I do a complete makeover things always look the same.

"This is probably one of my favourite rooms in the house, it's so filled with light. My kids love jumping on beds and also often fall out of bed while sleeping so we keep them low to the ground. We made the window seat and the "cave" bed in separate DIY projects." 

Vintage textiles add so much colour & personality to the kids room. Lora has painted the ceiling a pale blue which allows the girls artwork & Lora's designs to pop against the white walls.

How cute is this! They are coming out with a new design for fall of a Blue Jay, all you Canadian readers check it out.

How cute is this! They are coming out with a new design for fall of a Blue Jay, all you Canadian readers check it out.

I want to thank Lora for sharing her home with me, & since we are only a few hours away I think my daughters & I should stop by before the snow falls for some fun in the big city! 

 

 

40 Days of Painting Series

I've been keeping busy the last few weeks painting daily. I've learned a few things in the process.

First off it is really hard on my lower back to sit at my easel, or a table for hours at a time. My husband suggested I stand at our kitchen island & it's working out pretty good. Other than the fact that my art supplies are everywhere & there is not a ton of space for any food prep!

If I create a painting & think in my head that I am done with it, the next day I usually decide to go back in & add more layers & details. I'm also finding that I'm repeating small markings in black paint. Lastly, the wood panels are way more textural than canvases. I like how the pigment appears transparent is some areas & the grain is still evident.

I gathered a few of my favourites & took them in my backyard to photograph them in natural light. They are currently hanging out in my basement studio (it's dark down there!)

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The process is really the most exciting part for me right now as an artist. If I'm unsure of myself I just take a step back & come to the studio with an open mind. There is no room for doubt or a lack of confidence. I will make this body of work & time will tell if it resonates with you.  

 

Highlights of the week

I want you to know how much I appreciate every sale that occurs. When my artwork finds a new home I do a little happy dance & so does my family. You are supporting my dream of being a full time working artist. It honestly makes my day when a collector sends me a photo of the piece installed. If you ever purchase something that is hand made I think that one of the kindest gestures you can make to an artist is showing them the piece in your space. 

This painting has found a home in a beautiful nursery. I couldn't be happier that the parents chose original artwork in their daughters room. I hope she grows to love it & that it stays with her for years to come.

This painting has found a home in a beautiful nursery. I couldn't be happier that the parents chose original artwork in their daughters room. I hope she grows to love it & that it stays with her for years to come.

In a few weeks Watson & Lou is opening up in downtown Peterborough. A few pieces from my latest "40 day project" will be available here. They will offer a wide variety of unique gifts & many are made by local artists/makers. Check it out in person or shop online. The grand opening happens to be on the same Friday as the monthly art crawl. Should be a blast, stop by & say hi!

National Geographic recently announced the winners of the travel photographer of the year contest. I really love this photo taken of a colorful apartment complex in Japan, which received an honorable mention.

Photo by Tetsuya Hashimoto

Photo by Tetsuya Hashimoto

My daughters went camping last weekend so my hubby & I treated ourselves to dinner & a movie. I didn't have high expectations as I'm not usually into action films, but this had a plot & was more than just violence. My favourite element was the music, the following day I painted to this soundtrack & it was fabulous! I'm a child of the 80's & this was a great mix of some classic songs. Also Charlize looks stunning in every outfit, even if she's covered in blood & bruises.

My daughters & I went to see the current exhibit at The Art Gallery of Peterborough. Canadian painter Charles Pachter's work was wonderful in person. His images of the Queen, moose, and maple leaf flag are pop icons of Canadian contemporary art. There was even a painting of butter tarts, it doesn't get more Canadian than that. If you haven't seen his modern gallery in Toronto check it out, I'm so jealous... I want to move in!

My seven year old did her first full week at camp & loved it. There are lots of art themed camps around, but this one was all pottery. They also had someone come in one day & teach the kids how to make paper, which I remember doing way back when.  Kawartha Potters' Guild was recommended by a friend who attended last summer. The girls had a great time & these are just a few of my favourite pieces she brought home. There were eleven in total. She told me that I chose all the ones she made on the wheel! I've still yet to get my hands into clay, one day I'll do it.

I've been painting every day & I feel like I'm on track with my personal challenge to complete 40 paintings before my Birthday. If you want to be the first to know about the release of this collection sign up to my newsletter!