Holly's Dream Home

When I come across a beautiful home I get excited and a little envious. Gemma van der Swaagh is an interior designer out of Boston. Her family home is filled with colourful patterns, bold wallpaper and a mix of eclectic and modern furniture and accessories.

I admire Gemma's style and she has an art collection that makes my heart skip a beat. Check out these photos and see what grabbed my attention. I really don't think I can pick a favourite room, but her master bedroom is high on the list. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.08.23 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.09.38 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.12.05 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.14.17 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.22.30 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.24.57 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.26.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.28.48 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.27.31 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.29.54 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 7.30.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.59.53 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.39.56 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.39.22 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.44.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.46.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.44.04 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.50.04 PM.png

All photos are by Gemma van der Swaagh Interior Design.


This weekend is going to be filled with new experiences for me, I can't wait for Saturday to arrive. The Artist Project is a contemporary art fair in Toronto and is in its 11th year. This is my first time attending. You can see mediums such as painting, sculpture and photography, and take home some original pieces. I can't wait to discover new Canadian artists and have a day date with my husband. I often leave events like this with a fresh mind and enthusiasm to explore new ideas in the studio. I will do a post with some of my favourite artists from the show soon.

 Artwork by Bettina Carating.

Artwork by Bettina Carating.

Sunday I am taking a class that I have wanted to try for years. I have a thing for font, letterpress and printmaking. Local artist Jeff Macklin from Jackson Creek Press does it all and will be instructing a beginners workshop for lino block cutting at Artspace. We are going to make our own piece to bring home, hopefully, I will be happy with how it turns out. If not I know my daughters will want it in one of their rooms!

 A piece of Jeff's that hangs in our home.

A piece of Jeff's that hangs in our home.

I need to try pottery this year. I've been saying this for a few years and I still haven't gotten my hands dirty. I have recently discovered the work of Canadian potter Heather Dahl, and I am crazy about it all. Her abstract vases are so beautiful.

 Photo by Heather Dahl.

Photo by Heather Dahl.





Licensing Artwork

Last week I read a comment on IG that made this post topic come to life. The painting in the image below was styled in a space and someone asked who the artist was. We no longer have Target in Canada but I knew that it was available there as everyone on the internet appears to have purchased it. As I continued to read the comments, one appeared that said "I'm the artist", I was curious to find out more.

After browsing Pamela Munger's Etsy shop and seeing her work I sent her a message. We chatted back and forth and she has been so kind to share a bit of her journey. If you have ever thought about licensing your designs or artwork this post may be helpful for you. 

 Photo from Emily Henderson of Pamela's painting "October" available at Target.

Photo from Emily Henderson of Pamela's painting "October" available at Target.

 I know not everyone enjoys big box art, but this is very beautiful and affordable as well. It comes framed as shown above. 

There are a number of artists out there that may have feelings of self-doubt, believing they need an education in art to be taken seriously. Pamela is self-taught and here is a bit about her. Her Etsy shop has been open since 2006, and she enjoys working with oil and acrylics.

"My career as an artist started when I was teaching English and was looking for something to do creatively. I was given some art supplies one Xmas, painted my first painting and that was it. I was hooked. What started as a keen hobby grew to be a part-time income and now I work full time as an artist. I’m from southern California and currently reside in rural western Colorado where my husband and I have a farm where we grow hops for the Colorado microbreweries. The big open sky and land are a constant inspiration for my art."                                                                          

Pamela has sold work through Anthropology, HomeGoods & other retailers. Her work has also been featured on the television show Mad Men. "I’m all about experimentation with paint, surfaces and subject matter but I like to keep it simple and innocent, avoiding detail and not giving away the whole story. I lean towards the abstract because that’s where I can truly be creative and people can develop their own interpretation based on what they see, but I also do the occasional painterly landscape or still life." 

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.27.02 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.20.40 AM.png

"I was very lucky to be contacted online by the director of a major art manufacturer company called Artissimo Designs based in Los Angeles. She thought some of my art would work in the retail stores they work with so we agreed on a contract and I started submitting my images to them. They create samples of my work to present to the retailers such as Target, HomeGoods, HomeSense, Kirkland, etc. If one of my pieces get chosen, the retailer orders so many units and I get a royalty from that."

"When Target needed art for their new brand called Project 62 my painting 'October' was chosen to be reproduced under that line. It turned out to be popular with their consumers and has been great exposure for me as some design bloggers have featured it on their blog.  I have my name on a tiny sticker on the back of the painting so that helps also."

"Licensing art can be a great way to increase your income and get more exposure as an artist. Some artists don't care to have their work in the mass market industry and I can understand that but for myself, I think that the more people who can enjoy art, the better!"




I know not everyone is into interiors and design as much as I am. But the other day I read this on Apartment Therapy and it got me thinking.

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 8.32.59 PM.png

Invigorate and keep us moving forward, I couldn't agree more. In the article, they were referring to a homeowner that had recently moved into a new space after a divorce. Choosing to start fresh with the items and furniture that filled her new apartment.

As a maker I find these words motivating. I want to create art that changes the way a room feels, and also leaves the viewer with new thoughts. Perhaps you invest in a piece of artwork for yourself, maybe you buy a gift for a family member. I know from experience that every piece of art I have collected tells a story. When I decorated my daughter's first nursery, for example, I based the wall colour on a thrifted paint by number I found. I don't think I could ever part with it as it reminds me of my first trimester and the excitement of our growing family. Memories, I have a lot of them involving art in our home.

 My painting is on the bottom left.

My painting is on the bottom left.

Recently a collector sent me this photo of my painting alongside drawings that her grandfather had made years ago. The gallery wall is so personalized and I can't express how happy this makes me. Putting these sketches in frames will now allow her family to see them on a daily basis and form new memories. This connection is something you may not think of but, I believe it is powerful.

When collecting art, worry less about the value of each piece, and more about whether it makes you happy.


My Creative Process

One morning last week I woke up and had the urge to paint large scale so, I new I had to make it happen. My youngest was home sick from school and she worked on Valentines at the kitchen table while I sprawled out all my art stuff onto the floor. I've been loving this colour palette for the past few months and it was my jumping off point. If you are a new follower, I don't ever make sketches first, the entire process is very spontaneous. Taking breaks to sit back and stare at the composition really helps me decide what my next move should be.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 2.55.22 PM.png

I wasn't staring at a blank canvas, I was choosing to paint over another piece I did over a year ago that was in my studio. This allowed me to create texture quicker as I was adding more layers upon layers. I love listening to music while I paint and we had a great playlist in the background that wasn't my daughters choice. I titled the piece after a Joy Division song that just had the right energy, Assumption. Look it up after you read this and you will hopefully get a feeling for my process during this painting.


During our lunch break I took this photo, the light apparently was the best directly in front of the fridge as you can see here. Before I added the white I really thought it was quite dark and needed some simple shapes to make it pop. After the addition of white I then decided it was too stark of a contrast. The canvas went back onto the drop cloth. I really should have sat and used my easel (for my back's sake) but I feel like I work more loosely and can form more gestural marks when I'm leaning over the painting.


I took a quick detail shot and shared it in my instagram stories. My friend Emeline said she would love to see more of the piece. I took this photo to email to her. As soon as I sent it I decided that the little black lines I had added made it too busy. The upper left corner also made me think of a rainbow, which I did not enjoy. Sometimes photographing my work and looking at it on a computer monitor allows me to see it from a different view point. It may sound strange as the painting was right in front of me however, I want my eyes to flow around the composition and if they are directed to one particular section it may not be good. Before Emeline could respond I felt like I knew what needed to happen. I felt like the addition of lilac would be the right contrast. No colour theory or overthinking, I just mixed the paint and made some lines.


The paint is still wet, but you can see that a cobalt blue has been combined with the lilac, at this point I know the painting is on the right track. The little black lines have now been covered, the rainbow is gone and my abstract vision is coming to life. My daughter was also very happy that I used mauve, she suggested pink but I said not for this piece.

_DSC0769 (1).jpg

A few more adjustments and it was complete! I'm really happy with how it turned out and that is the best feeling as a maker. Here are a few detailed shots. I just added it to my online shop, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


Highlights of the week

A few things have brightened my mood lately which is needed when you still have a few more months of winter left.  This amazing pink sunset made my day last weekend, it couldn't get any more beautiful than this.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 9.59.32 AM.png

My husband and I watched the movie Girls Trip recently and I really didn't go into it with high expectations. I didn't enjoy Bridesmaids, and thought this would end up being similar. I was wrong, I laughed out loud a lot! Comedian Tiffany Haddish, who acts in the movie, came out with a book and it's now on my need to read list. I will admit I don't read a lot of novels, it seems I'm attracted to biographies written by funny ladies, like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I don't think there are any book clubs out there for me to join? 

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 2.20.41 PM.png

I recently discovered the talented photographer Julie Holder and was the lucky winner of one of her fine art prints. This is proof that people actually do win contests they find online, I have won three within the last year! (All art related) It was hard to choose a favourite as I have a thing for walls with texture and old doors. But, this piece titled "Blue" is on its way to me right now and I can't wait to figure out where I'm going to display it.

 Blue by Julie Holder

Blue by Julie Holder

Here are a few other prints of Julie's that I love!

 Pink Wall in Havana by Julie Holder

Pink Wall in Havana by Julie Holder

 Blanca by Julie Holder

Blanca by Julie Holder

 Color Blocking in Cuba by Julie Holder

Color Blocking in Cuba by Julie Holder

I've just started to doodle and create patterns on a tablet, this is very new for me. I am not an artist who uses a sketchbook to jot down ideas, so this has been fun and relaxing to use after the girls go to bed. I have my husband to thank for downloading me this app to use.


I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't watch the tv show This Is Us. I do know that Mandy Moore stars in it. I've been following her home renovation designed by Sarah Sherman and Emily Farnham Architecture. Her Midcentury home is so gorgeous, I had to share this. Below is a photo of one of the washrooms, you can check out to see the design plans and before shots in the link above. It's almost complete and I can't wait to see the space with furniture and accessories.

 Photo by Sarah Sherman

Photo by Sarah Sherman

I'm always looking around while I'm driving or walking, as you never know what may catch your eye and inspire a creative thought. Some friends have said that I find inspiration in the every day quite easily and I'm thankful for that.

 Photo from pinterest

Photo from pinterest

When all the holiday decorations come down I start to de-clutter and change things up. I also feel the desire to purge items that we don't really use.  Amber Lewis has great style and I recently saw this photo of her home and thought, I have that exact teak table in my basement! My mom thrifted it for me maybe nine years ago and I've always used it as a side table. I like how she uses it here as a coffee table in this seating area. I will definitely hold onto it now.

 Photo by Amber Lewis

Photo by Amber Lewis

My girlfriend and I don't talk as much since I moved from Burlington four years ago, but the other day she sent me a text that made me smile. She was catching up and reading my blog and came across this post. She liked the collage I did with my grandmother in it, and it has inspired her to create something similar in honour of her mom who has passed away.

I also received a lovely message from a collector after they opened up the painting I sent them. "AHHH! Your painting just arrived :) I am in love. LOVE. It is so pretty! Thank you very much Holly. I will get it hung shortly and photograph it. I really, really love your work. Don't stop painting :) you have a gift. Thanks for sharing it with me!

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."


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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 8.20.12 AM.jpg

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


"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."


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


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.


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.


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!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 4.17.26 PM.png

"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. 


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!


"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."


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


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.


"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.


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.


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!


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. 


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. 


"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.  

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.39.57 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.39.25 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.40.08 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.41.33 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.41.16 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.40.43 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.41.41 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.42.33 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.42.48 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.43.10 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.42.08 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.42.14 AM.png

Photography by Katrine Rohrberg for Another Ballroom.



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. 

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.43.54 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.44.32 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.43.05 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.32.52 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.49.25 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.34.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.39.47 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 8.42.33 PM.png
 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.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 7.51.20 AM.png
 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.


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.

 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.


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!


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.


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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 7.56.54 PM.png

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.


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.


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. 


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


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


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!


"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."


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. 


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.


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." 


"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.


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.

Photo Oct 23, 1 10 07 PM.jpg

"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."

Photo Oct 23, 12 06 04 PM.jpg

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.

Photo Oct 24, 1 52 02 PM.jpg

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

Photo Oct 23, 11 59 47 AM.jpg

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. 

Photo Oct 23, 12 02 02 PM.jpg

"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." 


Photo Oct 23, 12 03 28 PM.jpg

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!

Photo Oct 24, 1 45 42 PM.jpg

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

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 11.47.27 AM.png

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."

Photo Oct 24, 1 36 51 PM.jpg

"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.

Photo Oct 22, 10 38 29 PM.jpg

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.

Photo Oct 24, 1 40 12 PM.jpg

"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.

Photo Oct 23, 1 12 13 PM.jpg
Photo Oct 22, 10 35 44 PM.jpg

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.

Photo Oct 22, 10 51 05 PM.jpg

"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! 

Photo Oct 23, 11 01 50 AM.jpg

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

Photo Oct 23, 11 06 42 AM.jpg

"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."



Photo Oct 23, 11 10 37 AM.jpg
Photo Oct 23, 10 26 57 AM.jpg

"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.

Photo Oct 23, 11 56 33 AM.jpg
Photo Oct 23, 11 48 34 AM.jpg

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. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 8.29.31 PM.png
 The geometric pattern and colours on this piece really caught my eye.

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

Photo Oct 23, 10 47 19 AM.jpg

"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.

Photo Oct 23, 10 54 12 AM.jpg

"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." 

Photo Oct 22, 10 30 56 PM.jpg

"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


Read More

The Art Scene

The Art Scene


Read More

My Creative Process

My Creative Process


Read More