Art and Inspiration

I recently discovered the work of American artist Kevin Peterson online and was blown away. Wildlife and children in an urban environment, a combination I've never seen before. Make sure to check him out.

 Photo by Kevin Peterson

Photo by Kevin Peterson

In a few days we are headed to the Albright- Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo NY. I hope I leave feeling an urge to create, this often happens to me after viewing other artists work in person. There are quite a few murals I have discovered that are on my must-see list while we are in town. This is one of them entitled "We Are Here" by White Bicylcle Design Studio.

 Photo by Tom Loonan

Photo by Tom Loonan

I've been looking online trying to figure out what kind of moulding I want to do on the main wall in our living/dining area. This space designed by Amber Lewis caught my eye, our wall will be painted white. I like the spacing used and the flat pieces of wood (MDF). I've been wanting to get this project done for years, let's hope this summer it actually happens.

 Photo by Amber Lewis

Photo by Amber Lewis

The new Florence and the Machine album just came out and it's on repeat at our house. I always have music on while I'm creating and she is at the top of my play list.

  Photo- PJP PHOTOS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

 Photo- PJP PHOTOS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

This just arrived in my inbox, and it could not have come at a better time. "If you’re an ambitious, creative person you’re definitely going to have to train yourself to focus & hone in on what your mission is and what your priorities are all.the.time. because it’s easy to get excited about ideas, get distracted, and then feel lost in the noise. Don’t get lost. Stay grounded. And proudly be who you are. Stay boss." xx-Gina Moccio founder of Boss Babe Club

 Artwork by Libby Vander Ploeg

Artwork by Libby Vander Ploeg

Have a great week guys!

 

 

 

Bedroom Makeover

When we first moved into our home my now eight year old daughter Stellan wanted a pink room. Fast forward to today and pink is definitely not her favourite color. Here are a few shots of what her room looked like before.

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 All of these shots were taken by Lauren Kolyn.

All of these shots were taken by Lauren Kolyn.

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To switch things up on a budget all I needed was to change a few elements. I bought a gallon of white paint to cover up the pink that I had very carefully taped out. Two yards of Nate Berkus fabric that was on clearance for $6 to re-upholster the headboard. A new darker duvet cover, white was not the best choice as I would often find pencil crayons or markers on her bed.

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I had a small desk in my basement studio that I had got at an estate auction for $20. It is the perfect size for this space and now she has a spot to sit and draw. Her desk chair is one of two, the other one sits in my studio. I bought this metal occasional chair years ago at a second-hand shop and I have requested that she doesn't pile all of her stuffed animals on it so that she can actually sit here and read if she wants to.

Her gallery wall got a little smaller, she requested that we keep the pieces I hung back up. Thifted wooden butterflies, her first real painting she made when she was 3 and a unicorn that hung in her Aunt's room when she was little.

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Her bedroom has a huge closet so a dresser is not required. She loves creating and last summer took a pottery class, this new shelf we picked up at Winners gives her a spot to display her favourite pieces. A few touches of greenery help to break up all of the various animals.

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Her old nightstand has a shelf where we put baskets for her socks and underwear. This has now been put in the closet as it's on wheels and quite versatile. Since we now have a lamp on her desk she really didn't need anything too large beside her bed.

This vintage rug I scored at an estate sale was previously in our kitchen, but I thought these colours worked great in here. She often complained she would lose her small toys in her shag rug, this one is flat so all the Legos and Shopkins can stand up easily. Her mirror which I found for $10 was hung back on the same wall.

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We had been looking online at wallpaper to put on the wall behind her bed, but it really was out of the budget. I decided to hand paint a fun pattern in a dark blue paint I already had on hand. Hopefully she likes it for years to come as it took me a few days to complete!

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At the fabric store, she fell in love with this round pillow and bought it with her own money. The fun print above her bed by September Wren was previously on the gallery wall in our living room.  I thought it went perfectly in a kids space. That bentwood stool has been painted a lot, I had it in the basement and it fits perfectly for her water at night. I think I will repaint it again, but I haven't decided on a color yet.

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This wooden planter previously hung in my husbands office in our basement. I took out the faux plant and hung it here beside the window. I already had the turquoise pot so it was an inexpensive way to add a pop of color to this corner. 

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If you ever want a room or wall hand painted let me know, I had a lot of fun creating this space.

 

Holly's Dream Home

I know I'm not the only design lover who has been following along with Sarah Sherman Samuel's renovation project with actress Mandy Moore. Mid-century architecture is hands down my favourite style. Her space had me drooling from the start, and the design elements that were chosen are so good!!! In case you haven't checked out the article in Architectural Digest, I thought I would share some of my favourite shots with you.

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All photos by Architectural Digest. Check out the full feature in the magazine here. All those glass windows and that view, I can't even imagine!!

Today we booked tickets for our tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House next month. I can't wait to share our getaway with you.

My authentic self

I recently listened to a podcast by Kate Gremillion and honestly didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I don't listen to a lot of them, but every now and again when I'm doing boring stuff around the house, like folding laundry, it helps time pass quickly.

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Selling yourself and your brand is something that is important in this day and age. Social media allows us to share ourselves and sell our product to people all over the world. Sometimes I wonder what it was that first attracted a new follower on Instagram or someone to my website. After listening to Kate's words I know that discovering my personal brand came quite naturally for me. I'm a visual person I have been since I was a child.

My strength is visual art and creating colourful artwork. I've mixed that with what I've always enjoyed, interior design & styling. "People want to share their experiences and make connections." -Kate says and I couldn't agree more.

"Opportunities come to us if we let those around us know what we are interested in, and what kind of opportunities we are looking for." I need to start doing this more. My friends and family know that I have a passion for writing about interior spaces. I do it because I love to read them and share them with others. I don't get paid to write my blog and currently do not have any companies that advertise on it. Maybe I need to change this? I am putting this out there for all my readers. If you work or own a company that would be a good fit let's chat. If you read about a position online for a contributor to a design based website, send me the link. I have a few artist friends that have been very kind and supportive, sending me job postings they hear of. Keep them coming!

 Photo by Anne- Marie Ezeard

Photo by Anne- Marie Ezeard

If you have been following along since the beginning you may know that I taught evening art classes part-time for several years. That has recently changed and now I have a part-time job during the day, which still allows me time to create and spend time with my daughters.

I remember when I was in college my friend asked me what my dream job was and I told her working for a home decor magazine. I honestly had no qualifications and didn't love writing so I'm not sure why I gave her that answer. My friend went on to study graphic design and work for several in-house publishers. Today I have a blog and discovered that I actually do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and interests with others.

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I have never considered myself a blogger, I do it because I enjoy it. Not because it's a job and I have to. Maybe one day this will change, but it's going on three years now since I started my website. Thanks for following along, encouraging me and giving my artwork a place to call home.

 

 

New collaboration with cardamom

I'm excited to share that select pieces of mine are now available through cardamom based out of Vancouver. "This collection of collages combines line, texture and pattern which is a consistent theme found in Holly’s work. Each piece is carefully thought out and put together using bright swatches of paint, remnants of fabric and hand painted canvas. Each mixed media collage is an original work on heavyweight watercolor paper."

 One of my favourite collages available now!

One of my favourite collages available now!

"We created cardamom to bridge the disconnect between the stuff we buy and where it comes from. For us, these connections form the narratives behind each piece an artist makes and sharing them is central to what we do. Getting distracted by the finished piece is easy, but wouldn’t you like to know a little more about it before it comes home with you? Each story, each artist and each piece is one of a kind." - Emma & Sally

There are so many gorgeous pieces available through cardamom, I decided to share a few of my favourites with you. Make sure to check them out and happy shopping!

 The color & texture of the glazes in Brian Giniewski's ceramics are so dreamy. I want them all!

The color & texture of the glazes in Brian Giniewski's ceramics are so dreamy. I want them all!

 These geometric mountain-inspired studs by Rowa Jewelry make me want to visit Vancouver & see the mountains in person.

These geometric mountain-inspired studs by Rowa Jewelry make me want to visit Vancouver & see the mountains in person.

 Modern textural vessels by MiMIKO are influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design.

Modern textural vessels by MiMIKO are influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design.

 Greetings cards by Perfect Rooster are so fun. Cardinals drinking my go to winter cocktail a White Russian...yes please!

Greetings cards by Perfect Rooster are so fun. Cardinals drinking my go to winter cocktail a White Russian...yes please!

 I love these playful ceramics by Sam Knopp. They have a mid-century vibe that is totally my style.

I love these playful ceramics by Sam Knopp. They have a mid-century vibe that is totally my style.

 The patterns on Kaiko's textiles are so simple and graphic. These would look amazing in any home.

The patterns on Kaiko's textiles are so simple and graphic. These would look amazing in any home.

 These arch earrings remind me of one of my collages. My favourite color blue with some beautiful patina by Sarah Sears.

These arch earrings remind me of one of my collages. My favourite color blue with some beautiful patina by Sarah Sears.

 I can imagine myself using these gorgeous speckled bowls by LUPA ceramics every day. I eat a lot of cereal folks!

I can imagine myself using these gorgeous speckled bowls by LUPA ceramics every day. I eat a lot of cereal folks!

Remember to support local makers. It really does mean the world to me when my art finds a new home.

Shelf Styling Tips

After I graduated with my BA in Visual Arts I then went to college to study something I've always been passionate about; Interior Design. That was 18 years ago, it really doesn't feel like that much time has passed.

When my friend Lesley asked me to share a few shelf styling tips on her blog I was on board. We have built-ins in our living room and they really pull the entire space together. You may require help from a friend or expert, but when you get it right you will just know. I kept ours the same for three years! That is an eternity in the world of design. If you don’t do anything too trendy, they will look great until you decide to change them again.

Check out the entire post here at Swell Made.

 Photo by Swell Made

Photo by Swell Made

Highlights of the week

Two weeks ago I made a lot of new work for an upcoming collaboration I'm excited about. So this week was about trying to get my house in order and doing some much-needed gardening. 

 Last year I discovered The Modern House. Even though I'm not planning on moving to Britain, it's still fun to see all of the beautiful homes & inspiring designs they promote. This one caught my eye...that pop of yellow is so fun. The architecture reminds me of a vintage dollhouse from my childhood. I love me a bungalow!

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Our vintage/new dining table is finally in the kitchen. (Read about it here) Which means changes need to happen soon. I have always hated the backslash in our kitchen & after four and a half years of living with it, I think I may have found an inexpensive solution. Peel & stick tiles, now I have to decide on how much of a pattern I want. Debating if I need to order samples or just go for it. 

 Our kitchen shot by Lauren Kolyn a few years ago. The glass tiles are much more beige in person, and stores please stop selling accent tile! I'm not a fan.

Our kitchen shot by Lauren Kolyn a few years ago. The glass tiles are much more beige in person, and stores please stop selling accent tile! I'm not a fan.

 I kind of like this graphic tone on tone pattern.

I kind of like this graphic tone on tone pattern.

Recently I read Emily Henderson's post about her being on the set of the television show New Girl. I had only watched a few minutes here and there but decided I should give it a go. I've been binge watching it ever since and am now on the third season. I laugh so hard in every episode and my husband even enjoys it as well. 

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Netflix brought back Arrested Development and we're loving it as well... Gob Bluth is my fav! If you want to feel like you've got your shit together, I suggest watching this or Shameless. They are both very strange families.

My husband was out of town which means I sat in bed and watched random celebrity interviews on youtube and caught up on design blogs.  I discovered this show and had another great idea...but realistically I need more hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to do.

I love this hand painted wall treatment and am going to try something similar in my daughter's bedroom. We've been talking about switching things up for a while and I love to decorate so it's a go. She was hoping for wallpaper and I would love to get this from Juju Papers, but it's not in the budget. Wish me luck with this technique.

 Photo by Mr. Kate

Photo by Mr. Kate

Since my house is already a mess I thought why not repaint our master bedroom as well. I'm doing it first as it will hopefully be quick and easy. I just happened to go grocery shopping yesterday and drive by Sherwin Williams to see that they were having a 40% off sale. It was meant to be folks!

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I went with the shade of green on the left, the color was inspired by this room that Mandi Johnson used in her study which she is currently designing.

 This will be on my summer reading list.

This will be on my summer reading list.

It's been a while since I checked in here so I thought I would catch you up on what's happening. This tired lady is off to bed!

 

 

 

 

Art Opening

This week I had the opportunity to hang some of my artwork at a local brewery that is new in town. They gave me permission to do whatever I wanted and I got excited. Over the past few years I have experimented with many techniques and styles. A gallery wall featuring some of my favourites was what I had in mind and I'm thrilled with how it all came together.

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Now I should add that this opportunity came about simply because I made the first move, I inquired if they would be interested in displaying my work. If you are reading this thinking boy she's lucky, let me tell you my secret... JUST ASK.

The first time I came here I noticed the walls were blank, it dawned on me the next day to email them. The response was quick, they said they were open to supporting local artists but unsure how to go about it.

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"Only women truly know what other women go through on a daily basis. Whether it’s work, life, or mental circumstances, no one knows what a women is facing more than another women. It’s so important that we build each other up, no matter what. Be cool to your fellow sister!" - Wise words from Candace Molatore.

 Photo via pinterest

Photo via pinterest

When I was in my twenties I don't think I would have had the courage to put myself out there as much. Today I'm forty and know that the responses I will receive are: no reply at all, no thanks, or a yes. It's really that simple.

Design Sponge's Grace Bonney shared these words about collaborating with others and I thought they were very helpful. There is definitely some good advice here if you are unsure of what to say when reaching out.

Don't take things personal and keep trying. If you feel passionate about it then you will find a way to make it work. If you need support or have a question send me an email.

House Feature - Kristi Lucero

As soon as I discovered Kristi through Instagram I knew her home needed to be shared on the blog. Some people just have a great eye and sense of style, this lady knows how to make a space look good! 

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"Hi I'm Kristi, I'm a Realtor in Montana with a major obsession with Interior Design. My family (husband and two boys, 3 and 5) and I built our home a year ago."

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"We wanted something modern and smallish (it's less than 2300 sqft) but with a large open living area. Basically the opposite of the two ranch style homes we owned before this. It couldn't be too precious.. because, two boys are wild and crazy."

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Kristi knows the importance of curb appeal and your home making a good first impression. How fun is her door bell from Rejuvenation. 

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When you enter Kristi's home you are welcomed by this gorgeous vintage Oushak runner she discovered on Etsy. The bench provides a perfect spot for her sons to sit and tie their shoes. Her favourite light fixture in the home hangs in the foyer. In the evening it gives off a soft checkboard glow.

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"We love our sectional, it’s a custom Jonathan Louis design. Our wonderful, sweet, sweet puppy has chewed a few holes in the cushions.. but let’s not get into that. This is my favorite spot to sit and sip coffee and check my phone every morning."

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The family dog Nova making herself right at home.

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"We live in MT, surrounded by mountains and lakes so I try to make sure our home fits our surroundings and is a true representation of the people who live in it. My style is eclectic with Scandinavian influences and a pinch of boho."

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The palette in the kitchen is neutral and timeless. Kristi has chosen various materials that add texture to the space, including these gorgeous leather stools. The open concept floor plan makes this family home a great spot to entertain.

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"Floating shelves were always a key part of our kitchen design. Our builder wanted a ridiculous price to install them and he didn’t seem to have a clue how it could be done without side supports. My dad installed some pretty sweet floating shelves in their kitchen, so I knew it could be done. Plus, they’re all over Pinterest. So we planned to do it our selves."

"My husband's biggest hesitation was drilling into the tile we just had professionally installed. So it literally took 10 months (and me requesting them as my Birthday gift) before I could talk him into doing this project. Once he started though, he realized it wasn’t all that hard. It only took him an hour from start to finish."

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Kristi had a difficult time deciding on what piece of furniture to put underneath the television as they didn't need storage for electronics. "I came across this simple shelving unit from Ikea and decided I could push two together. It was a perfect solution and the price was right."

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Now Kristi has a great spot to display her vintage pottery collection. My kind of gal!

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"Big (black) windows were a must. I love that our home has an abundance of natural light!" I know I'm not the only person drooling over them.

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"The big tree was an awesome Craigslist score, $55 for a house plant that big, yes please!!!  It’s about 9 ft tall, I re-potted it and viola! It weighs a million pounds and my kids like to dig in it with their toys. But I love it!"

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Kristi got this large Fluorite rock for Christmas from her in-laws. They know her taste so well & began this collection for her from their travels to North Dakota. From the size of them I would assume they were quite pricey, but Kristi tells me they are $20-$40 from a local gem shop. My daughters would lose their minds if I ever bought them one of these beauties...gorgeous!

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"With two young kids, it was a high priority to have a designated play space on our main level.  We chose a floor plan with a Den/4th Bedroom that we can use as a playroom while they’re young. This way we can see what the kids are doing without them completely destroying our main living space. (disclaimer: they still destroy our main living areas, but this helps a tiny bit!)

"It was important to keep it kid friendly yet aesthetically pleasing. The wood cabinets are a stylish and affordable storage solution, they hold soooo many toys and games. The kids and I both really enjoy hanging out in here. It’s bright, cheery, comfortable and has a pop of color that I love."

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"The coffee table is vintage and was such a score. My husband was demoing an old hospital a few years back and found this in their storage– it was covered in mouse poop and ready to go to the dump when he saved it. Smart man." It looks great paired with these junior Panton Chairs from Design Within Reach.

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I love the mix of textiles Kristi has used in her youngest son's room. Nothing too juvenile that he will outgrow, just classic colors and patterns. I have the same vintage rug in our home, it's so beautiful.

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One of my favourite elements in any home is artwork. Kids get so excited when they see something they made up on display, you can't have too much in my opinion.

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"I love mixing in vintage treasures I've saved from the trash with vintage/handmade textiles I've sourced on Etsy with modern store bought things.  If you asked my husband what my hobbies are, he'd say collecting vintage dressers and chairs..only half joking."

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"The boys’ bathroom was by far one of my favorite rooms to design. I love how playful the rope lights are for a kids space, you can knot them up or swag them anyway you want."

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Kristi's art choices throughout her home are inspired by nature. She found this print on Etsy by searching Drone Photography. It looks great hung above these modern wall hooks. 

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The large wood mirror from CB2 makes the space feel larger. A great trick to use if you have no natural light.

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If you want to be that cool mom, then use chalkboard paint in your child's room. My daughters saw this and were very jealous. I honestly don't think I could handle the chalk dust.

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"My husband is an ex-carpenter so he was able to build a nice deck, and floating shelves in our kitchen and laundry room." I love how Kristi has treated this space like any other room in her home styling it with family photographs, artwork and collectibles.

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"Our Master Bedroom is far from finished but I’m pretty happy with it in it’s current state. In fact, it hasn’t changed at all since we moved in. I still need to find a comfy rug, the perfect wood night stands and I would love to do a mural or wallpaper on the wall behind the bed. I have big plans later on, to panel the ceiling in painted white wood and add two wood beams. But since those things take time (and lots of money) I'll just enjoy it as-is."

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Kristi has been a realtor for almost ten years, so it's safe to say she has seen a lot of interiors. She hit the jack pot one day when a renter left this vintage Thonet chair in one of her Listings. "It was on it's way to the dump- I was like Nooooooo!!"

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A perfect spot to sit and relax after a long day.

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I want to thank Kristi for sharing her home with me. If I ever travel to Montana you know I'll be looking you up so we can hit the thrift stores!

Experimenting

 Abstract art is what I am the most comfortable and confident in creating. However, some of my favourite ideas are formed when I am not sitting in front of a blank canvas. The days when I wake up and have the urge to experiment and try something different get my adrenaline pumping.

I posted about a fashion photographer late last year and his work really caught my attention. My friend Roslyn has always been into trends, and the one who sported an animal print blouse into the art studio while we were in University.  I wore a grey cardigan similar to Mr. Rogers that once belonged to my Grandpa. For real guys, I wore it a lot! I did not dress to impress and still wear jeans and a plaid shirt most days I leave the house.

 I think I was 21 in these photos. I was into up-do's & as you can see, capris & platforms were obviously the trend. I even found a photo of Roz in her favourite top! 

I think I was 21 in these photos. I was into up-do's & as you can see, capris & platforms were obviously the trend. I even found a photo of Roz in her favourite top! 

Since that time Roz has started a fashion blog and has some inspiring looks. A few months ago I  asked her if she would like to collaborate with me. She sent me a few images and I played around on my tablet once the kids were in bed. I've always been drawn to pop art and Andy Warhol's mix of colours. These pieces were extremely satisfying to make and I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you. 

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The snow has finally melted here in Ontario & I think warm days are ahead. I'm so ready to give myself a pedicure and start wearing sandals, like every day! 

 

 

New Season, New Space & a Giveaway!

Spring is officially here, even though there is still snow on the ground. I think it's safe to say we are all ready to change up the decor when we look around our homes.

Is there a room in your home that could use some freshening up? I've teamed up with some local companies and we've decided to put together this ultimate giveaway. One lucky winner is going to win this amazing prize! Details on how to enter are at the end of the post.

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This painting I created will inject a pop of colour into any room.

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Sage Living & domino are inspiring coffee table books filled with endless decor inspiration. Check out Watson & Lou in Peterborough & shop their collection of unique handmade products. Also read about the fun & innovative workshops they offer.

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You know I have a weakness for anything mid-century. Dwellissimo in Port Hope has a wide selection of furniture & vintage decor. They are giving the lucky winner this modern chair. 

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Emerence of Stoney Lake Textiles has sewn this pair of gorgeous toss cushions that will instantly transform your sofa from blah to fabulous! The details like those gold zippers, I'm in love.

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Casa Alma out of Cobourg has an amazing collection of vintage rugs. Their collection of curated goods combines vintage finds, clean lines and globally influenced pieces. All of these colours are my favourites, it would look right at home in my entry.

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Aluminum black legs with a salvaged tongue and groove wood top. A touch of vintage charm to add into your space by Project Lola out of Cobourg.

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You know I have a thing for plants, they really do liven up a space & are an inexpensive addition to your home. The Local Bloom in Cobourg connects flower lovers with 100% locally grown blooms.

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Angie of Sticks and Strings Macrame is a busy lady, teaching workshops & creating these whimsical weavings throughout the Kawarthas. This boho wall hanging would look amazing in any setting.

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Thalita Murray Design is offering her design skills to you. Either an In-home consultation or e-package to help you transform your space.

This giveaway would not have happened without the amazing photography skills of Chantelle Watt. Based out of Cobourg Chantelle believes in "Capturing real love and real life. I love the chaos of family sessions and the love and support you can feel at weddings. I find joy in delivering clean, timeless photographs that will fill your walls, your heart (and likely your social media profile) for years to come."  She is giving the winner a $100 Gift Certificate!

You can enter the giveaway here. It runs until Friday, April 13th so tell your friends. It just may be you taking home all of these gorgeous pieces.

 I am blown away by how kind people are when you just reach out. Remember small businesses love other small businesses & want to connect & collaborate. Good things happen when creative minds join forces. I'm so happy to be apart of this & look forward to sharing more fun contests with you over the next year.

 

New Collages

In early January I set out to the thrift shop with one thing on my list. I was looking for some interesting books I could clip inspiration from to create collages. I've wanted to get out the scissors and paper for a while now but never made the time.  

 This was the starting point. I knew I wanted this graphic yet organic element to be the focal point.

This was the starting point. I knew I wanted this graphic yet organic element to be the focal point.

 I made two pieces I thought worked as a set, I was a happy maker sitting at her dining table.

I made two pieces I thought worked as a set, I was a happy maker sitting at her dining table.

I submitted these designs to Jenny's Print Shop & they really liked them, but asked if I could make a third. I was very excited as I admire Jenny's design approach and style. I spent an entire weekend playing around before I was happy with the collection of three. So what is this print shop you are wondering?

"Jenny's Print Shop is a digital print shop where all original, high resolution prints are just $15 each. Immediately after making your purchase you will be emailed a link that allows you to download your images to your computer and then print them however you want! No need to pay for expensive framing with limited sizes and finish options. You have complete flexibility to use the images the way you want to use them! One of the reasons I felt strongly about not offering physical prints or framing at this time is I really like giving you guys flexibility with the prints now and in the future. You will have your digital print files forever! And you can print them multiple times for your own personal use. Maybe you found a great frame at a thrift store for just a few dollars. You can save hundreds of dollars on custom framing by printing your JPS image to fit the great frames you already have!"

 Photo by Jenny Komenda.

Photo by Jenny Komenda.

As of today, you can download these collages through Jenny's Print Shop. I've never made any prints of my work before, so I think this is such a wonderful idea. The print shop allows you to choose from many images that Jenny has photographed herself or you can choose from one of the artist collaborations. All artist collaborations are priced at $20 each, affordable original art is something I am very proud to support. If you do decide to print these out and hang them up at home make sure you send me a photo so I can see how they look in your space. 

If you have never heard of Jenny Komenda before you should go check out her blog Little Green Notebook. I've been reading it for years and was so happy that these prints were featured in one of her recent design projects for the Gentry project.

Just a little tip for you. If you subscribe to their newsletter you get a code for buy two prints get one free! I've also added some new paintings to my online shop if you want to check them out.

Happy Spring, the snow is finally melting around here and I ready to put away my toque.

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. 

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All photos are by Gemma van der Swaagh Interior Design.

Art

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. 

 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." 

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"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!"

 

 

Home

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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? 

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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.

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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."

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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.