February 28, 2011

snow, a cozy fire, and an inspiring design book

 If it must snow yet again, then I suppose I should make the best of it. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon for a glorious 3-hour stretch, I lounged in front of a crackling fire (thank you, husband) and read Pattern by Orla Kiely cover to cover.

The title of the book is apt since it appears Orla considers herself first and foremost a designer of patterns. Over the course of her career she has designed hats, handbags, clothing, furniture, items for the home, notecards, and wallpaper. There are so many applications for fabulous patterns! With chapters titled Life, Inspiration, Colour, Print, Collections, and Home, Orla walks us through her creative journey and her creative process. I love nothing more than being inspired by another creative soul and the book, chock full of lush images and, of course, patterns, was a feast for the eyes.

For the curious, a quick peek at her website will give you a good feel for her style.

February 23, 2011

check out the lovliness of Vera Neumann

Turns out she's not new but her work is new to me. A page of items made with her designs was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's catalog and I was seriously intrigued. A google search later will bring you to an official website where you can shop to your heart's content and this lovely blog post on Design Sponge (with great photos) from someone who visited an exhibit of her work.

I like the bright colors. I like the casualness. I also like the more geometric designs. I like to envision this woman just playing with her art and her materials and discovering what she liked and what worked. Always inspiring to see someone who was able to make a business out of what she loved!

February 22, 2011

before there were designers and computers

You might just stamp your own sale signs for your business!

Check out this wooden case of alphabet stamps I bought once upon a time at an antique store. My 2-year-old and I had fun with them. You may have noticed the stamped labels in yesterday's post. They were the result of this little craft fest.

I am especially fond of the phrase "up-to-now!"

February 21, 2011

modge podge mania

In a sudden burst of energy that I will attribute to nesting, I have been devoting my energy to organization projects that will in no way affect the well-being of anyone else in the family, especially not the awaited baby.

One of those projects is the art room. It recently lost its function as the home office. After it lost its desk to the daughter's big girl room, I was left with a box of office supplies. The box is still waiting for attention, actually. With no computer down there it didn't make sense to leave the printer I haven't used in years down there. With the printer gone, it made little sense to have a dresser full of paper for said printer. And since I am going to be doing more sewing than scrapbooking, it makes sense to shift which supplies are most readily accessible and think harder about how to store and organize fabric. Plus, I have that sewing machine to locate in a new home. And so on.

So I have been quite busy moving and rearranging and re-purposing furniture. And sorting and recycling and Goodwill-ing and trashing and Freecycle-ing. I am finding it quite refreshing to purge and organize.

Part of all of this has been to attend to a project that has been on "the list" since I made it in July. And that was to modge podge some storage boxes and create labels for them. So for the past few weekends I have been working on covering those boxes with leftover posters from the Library. A fun new purpose for my old graphic design projects.

 An introduction to my chaos! In my defense, the contents of the boxes had to be dumped out before I could mod podge them.

In the closet (special thanks to the husband for adding more shelving a while back!)

On the shelf (once part of the office, now for sewing supplies)

February 16, 2011

blizzard beauty

Two weeks ago we had a late in the season blizzard that quite literally shut things down. Both my husband and I got a snow day. It was like Saturday only in the middle of the week. Toward the end of the day, the sun came out and so did the neighbors. I had my camera ready, of course.

This is actually the roof of my garage!

February 15, 2011

spring in my mailbox

I love these colors together. I can't seem to get enough of a nice lime green as a general rule. And of course it looks lovely paired with a warm purple.

 I have allium bulbs (the flower on the invite) planted and enjoy them every year. They're such a fun round shape perched a top a slender stem. Like a happy little pom pom poof!

February 14, 2011

valentine hearts

Instead of making valentine my craft project, this year I collaborated with the resident 2-year-old artist.

 In what became multi-step project, I first cut out hearts and she painted them.

Another weekend I glued them to cards and she added marker drawings. During the first drawing session, she focused on drawing around the hearts. When we returned to the cards to finish them up she went a totally different direction and colored directly on the hearts. I was interested to see her two different approaches.

February 9, 2011

1950s fonts!

I got this in an email update from Veer, a site that sells fonts, stock photography, and interesting vintage style illustrations. They are offering some new fonts straight from the 1950s and put together a slideshow of the advertisements the fonts were used in. I found it very amusing. Take a moment to enjoy it! And, if you're in need of expanding your font collection, these are rather affordable.

February 8, 2011

winter wanderings

It was above freezing today, which in Michigan in January translates to feeling balmy and spring-like, so we went for a walk. Despite the cheerful sunshine (you don't realize how much you've missed it until it magically reappears), it turned out to be finger-numbing cold. So the walk didn't go much further than a few streets. I still managed to be inspired by bright spots of color and patterns in the melting ice though.

February 7, 2011

toddler art on display

I've been looking for places to put my 2-year-old's painting on display. I love how fabulously abstract they are. And she seems to have a thing for orange now, which I welcome in this monochromatic season!

living room


the artist's bedroom

February 2, 2011


I really adored the January cover of On-the-Town magazine. It featured a nest woven from bits of paper upon which children had written statements. The artist is Elaine Tolsma Harlow.

I am rather inspired by nests in general, and all the symbolism they can carry about home and nature and nurturing and safety. It's a visual image I hope to explore further in other art forms some time in the future.

February 1, 2011

artist Maureen Nollette

This artist is going to be at a UICA event soon so I ended up with a link to her website in my email. Her work is very interesting to me – a bit on the strange side for those unfamiliar with art perhaps.

She does large installations, which I always find fascinating. How do you begin to conceptualize doing a piece of work for a particular space, time, and place? I am very curious about what kind of thought process an artist goes through.

At any rate, I was browsing her site and enjoying her work when I found a series that is inspired by the curves and lines created by man-made structures like sidewalks and curbs. Her compositions are beautiful crops of everyday scenes reduced to a lovely geometry. The grass is represented with green tissue paper. These pieces are very simple and clean, and, true to my heart, remind us to see beauty everywhere.