August 31st, 2012
I have an ever-growing list of greeting card ideas on my laptop. Some of them are quite terrible, but there are a few keepers in the mix too. I write all my ideas down, even the bad ones (just in case they spark something better later). This weekly lettering assignment is great motivation for me to make some of the good ideas a reality!
Don’t forget to check out everybody’s new work on the hand lettering practice board!
August 29th, 2012
The creators of Mollie Makes are coming out with a new magazine on September 6 called The Simple Things. This description of the mag is so lovely that I had to share it.
“The Simple Things is a new monthly print magazine celebrating the things that matter most. It’s about knowing the greatest rewards come from the simplest things, that there’s no satisfaction like that at the end of a long muddy walk, no pink so pretty as freshly-cut rhubarb, no perfume to compare with your own home-grown flowers. It’s about making warm inviting homes – big or small – sharing food with friends, growing your own vegetables. It’s about shopping for a coffee table only to find you’re happy with a tea chest. It’s keeping your dad’s old typewriter just because it’s beautiful. It’s an empty beach on a sunday morning. It’s backpedalling.”
Dreamy, no? Life is so much more enjoyable when we take time to appreciate the simple things! Here are a few of my simple things from this morning.
new growth on my lemon tree
practicing my ukulele
brewing brightly colored tea
sipping said tea while writing this blog post
What are some of your simple things?
August 27th, 2012
I’ve been hoping to snap some photos to follow up on my butterfly garden post, but the butterflies are so darn skittish that they flutter away as soon as they see me coming. The other morning when I walked out to the mailbox I noticed that my parsley plant had been completely demolished overnight—no leaves left at all, just stalks sticking up. I immediately blamed the neighborhood rabbits, but then I looked closer and saw this little fellow. I planted parsley specifically to accommodate butterfly babies, and here they are!
Upon closer inspection there were several caterpillars scattered around my garden! I’m going to keep an eye on them to see if they build cocoons. I looked it up, and these seem to be swallowtail caterpillars. I might need to plant some more parsley to fill their bellies.
August 24th, 2012
I can’t tell you how excited I am that so many of you have joined me in my hand lettering practice! If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out the Pinterest board where we are all posting our lettering work. There’s great new stuff popping up there everyday. You guys are seriously talented, and I think it’s awesome that we can encourage each other in our creative endeavors.
Here’s my lettering for this week. It seems that if I sketch everything out in pencil first, things turn out much better than if I just go at it with ink right away. This is going to become a new birthday card for the shop. Wouldn’t it be perfect for an older sibling’s birthday? Too bad I don’t have one!
August 22nd, 2012
Of all the stores we are missing here in the Raleigh/Durham area, a nearby West Elm was first on my wish list. I did a lot of squealing when I found out my wish was coming true. West Elm Durham opens tomorrow!
West Elm invited me to come in before the grand opening for a sneak peek tour. I just got back from browsing the store with my camera, and I felt a little bit like Augustus Gloop in The Chocolate Room. Sometimes I think West Elm caters specifically to my taste. How do they do that!? The store is gorgeous, and I learned a few new things about West Elm—several of their sofas are made right here in North Carolina, college students get 10% off (maybe I should apply for grad school), and they will send a free stylist to your home to help you make all those overwhelming decor decisions.
West Elm’s goal isn’t to encourage their customers to fill their homes with perfectly coordinated products. Instead they intend for you to mix their goods in with your grandmother’s dishes or your mom’s old dining room table. They value personality over perfection in a home, and it’s reflected in their catalog. I just love that.
Most of all I’m impressed with West Elm’s involvement in the community. A portion of their sales through this weekend are being donated to SEEDS, a non-profit in Durham that promotes sustainable agriculture and organic gardening. They are also working with my friend Michelle Smith to furnish Kindred, a store coming soon to downtown Raleigh that will incubate emerging North Carolina artisans through mentorship and a boutique. Oh, and remember the Etsy event West Elm hosted in Charlotte? I’m hoping they will do that again at the Durham store, so I can shop this time instead of sell!
I hope you locals get a chance to stop by. The first 300 customers tomorrow get a free tote bag, ooh la la! Now on to the photos. Do you think anyone would notice if I packed a bag and started living here?
above: A living wall! This beauty is behind the checkout counter and fully irrigated. I’m trying to figure out where and how I can plant one of these in my home…
above: Super cool fabric window installation by Michelle Smith. (I got to help her with some of the braiding!)
(This post isn’t sponsored, I just really love West Elm!)
August 21st, 2012
Someone special is turning 4 today—Mabel! Oliver’s 6th birthday is in a few weeks, so I made them little crowns (from toilet paper tubes, spray paint, and twine) to celebrate the occasion. They seemed to think the crowns were some kind of weird punishment, but since I bribed them with treats they let me snap a few photos.
(Oliver and Mabel are both schnauzer/poodle mixes.)
August 17th, 2012
I’m still honing my hand lettering skills, so I’m going to post a bit of my work each Friday for the next 5 weeks (like I did with gouache a few months back).
Does anybody want to practice with me? :)
If anyone wants to practice along with me and share your progress, I made a Pinterest board (right here) for us to pin our lettering work all in one place. If you send me a message right here and include a link to your Pinterest boards I will send you an invite to join the board. Your lettering doesn’t have to be amazing or anything—no pressure. Just have fun with it!
August 15th, 2012
I know you’re supposed to tie a string around your finger to help yourself remember something, but that doesn’t work for me. Instead I draw (or in this case stamp) a little ant or spider on my hand. Every time I glance at my hand throughout the day and yell, “Ahh!!! Get it off! Get it off!” I remember why I drew it there in the first place. It works like a charm!
August 13th, 2012
Our guest bedroom was one of the first rooms I decorated after we moved in. It has been four years since then, so my taste has changed a bit. Daniel wanted to swap his office with the guest bedroom (since there are more A/C vents in that room), so we made the switch over the weekend. While we were moving things around I took the opportunity to mix things up. Here’s the old guest bedroom, and here’s what it looks like now!
August 9th, 2012
Daniel and I love Indian food, and there are several great restaurants around here that we frequent. (Saffron and Tamarind are our current favorites, so if you’re local give them a try!) Whenever I am feeling brave I’ll ask for my food to be medium spicy instead of mild, but then I have to order a mango lassi to soothe my burning throat (since I’m a wimp). I never realized how easy it would be to make myself a lassi at home until I saw this cantaloupe and fresh mint lassi recipe on Etsy’s blog. It was creamy and delicious, and so filling that I drank it for lunch. I think the whole milk yogurt really makes it.
4-6 oz ripe cantaloupe, seeded, trimmed of rind, and chopped.
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (whole milk yogurt was amazing)
6-8 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 sprig fresh mint (for garnish, optional)
Combine all ingredients except for the optional mint sprig garnish in a blender or food processor. Blend well until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with the mint sprig.
(recipe from Etsy)