inspired by: happier at home

I've been trying to slow down a bit lately, and take time to myself that isn't necessarily business  or house related. It's hard for me not to start a handful of projects during each bit of free time that I find during the day. But I realized that when I don't take a break from my work, I don't have the energy to feel inspired & I fall into a creative rut.  Every so often I start to wonder if I'm heading in the right direction in all aspects of my life. Where should I put more time, energy, money, love? Where can I afford to? What is most important? I came across this great book a few months ago. Initially it was a gift for Michael, but I'll admit that I've sort of claimed it as my own at this point. It's written by Gretchen Rubin, who also wrote "The Happiness Project". Though I haven't read that book, I find that she touches on it a bit in this one, and "Happier at Home" is much more suitable for me right now. It covers a number of areas of her life that she evaluates & redefines, and then creates tasks for herself to help draw more attention to (and enjoyment from) them.  Possessions, marriage, parenthood, body, interior design, neighborhood, family, time, etc. I'm only partway through, but I find that when I read for a while, I'm inspired to walk around our house and create projects for myself.  The difference here is, I don't feel stressed about these projects. I'm not lacking ideas. I'm removing clutter, in every sense of the word, so that I can focus on the things that I want to be present.

One of the tasks that she choose for herself to help sort the precious, meaningful things that she owned from the stuff that she has no real attachment to, was to create miniature 'shrines' throughout her house. Collections that she might have previously had stored away that she wanted to appreciate more. I thought this was so nice. I have a shelf like this in my studio, and while it wasn't arranged after reading that part of the book, it is a favorite space of mine. It's nice to see a shelf full of items that make you smile or relive a certain memory, and I can't wait to revisit all of the shelves and dresser tops in our house.

Have a wonderfully full weekend everyone! And go read this book- you won't be disappointed!




inspired by: coldplay & christmas lights

I just love the grand spectacle that is Coldplay. This video has so much whimsy- it sort of feels like a children's pageant, doesn't it?  When the camera pans out, the stage looks so miniature and magical. Holiday music is so nice. [youtube]

those Christmas lights light up the street down where the sea and city meet may all your troubles soon be gone oh, Christmas lights, keep shinin' on


inspired by: shanna murray

It happened. I finally got to meet Shanna Murray. After admiring her work for several years, we were introduced at the Second Storie show on Saturday. Her illustrated wall decals are just wonderful. I'm thrilled to have my very own decal tucked away in a special spot of wall in our built-in hutch. It's such a nice daily reminder & inspiration. She uses the most simple and honest phrases. Delightful, truly.  Do check out her site & shop.

inspired by: the architecture of happiness

I'm going to recommend a book now that I have yet to make it to the end of.  That might seem a bit ironic, but it's not because this book isn't engaging:  it's almost the opposite.  It provokes thoughts that actually distract me from reading on. Suddenly I find myself reevaluating my belongings and surroundings. My initial interest in reading The Architecture of Happiness (Alain de Botton) was based on a misinterpretation of the title itself.  I'm just going to say it, I didn't read the back cover. I anticipated some delightful reading about the foundations (pun intended) of our general contentment as people. This was a rather broad expectation. The first few pages had me hooked, drawing parallels between the environments we inhabit, the objects we own, the energy we exude, & our overall enjoyment of life.  So anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite passages:

"It seems reasonable to suppose that people will possess some of the qualities of the buildings they are drawn to: to expect that if they are alive to the charm of an ancient farmhouse with walls made of irregular chiseled stones set in light mortar, if they can appreciate the play of candlelight against hand-decorated tiles, can be seduced by libraries with shelves filled from floor to ceiling with books that emit a sweet dusty smell and are content to lie on the floor tracing the knotted border of an intricate Turkoman rug, then they will know something about patience and stability, tenderness and sweetness, intelligence and worldliness, skepticism and trust.  We expect that such enthusiasts will be committed to infusing their whole lives with the values embodied in the objects of their appreciation."

"In essence, what works of design and architecture talk to us about is the kind of life that would most appropriately unfold within and around them. They tell us of certain moods that they seek to encourage and sustain in their inhabitants.  While keeping us warm and helping us in mechanical ways, they simultaneously hold out an invitation for us to be specific sorts of people.  They speak of visions of happiness."

Eloquent, right?! Go read this book!  If you are local, you can borrow it (underlined and all) from me when I'm finished.

inspired by: oliver jeffers

I'm going to make an effort to supplement this blog with things other than personal work and our day to day life happenings.  It may be something I've read, or seen, or heard.  It might be on trend one day, and ridiculously untimely the next; but it will have had some place in that inspiration center in my being, so it deserves a spot here! To start, I thought I'd share a few videos from my favorite illustrator currently, Oliver Jeffers. His beautifully textural children's books initially caught my eye, but he does so many wonderful illustrations for other clients & for himself.  Work like this leaves me completely enforced.  I want to paint, like, now!


How amazing is this picture book for ipad? Is it silly to consider purchasing one for this reason alone? And to top it off, it is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter.  I mean....come on!


And I especially love his maps.