a pretty home for your PRETTY JEWELRY

I am always in the market for a cute jewelry stand because there is a bit of an overflow problem with my jewelry box. This stand from who made it is just what I am looking for. It would be so cute sitting on top of a dresser in your room or closet. 

Or if you are a handy person (*cough* Barb *cough*), I am sure you could come up with a DIY version using thrifted plates, or mismatched plates from your own kitchen. I have a big 'ol list of things to paint, reupholster, and repurpose for our remodel/redecorating project, but I might just have to tack this to the end of it.


NEW YORK, new york

Okay friends, I need your help. Hubby and I sat down with our planners this morning to look at the coming months because, frankly, our late spring/early summer schedule is madness... but that's really beside the point. I need your help because we are going to the East Coast for a wedding at the end of May and we are going to spend a few days in New York. It will be our first trip to New York ever and I need to fill our itinerary with things that cannot be missed. I don't want to do all the cliche' sight-seeing. (Okay, maybe we'll do a smidge of cliche' sight-seeing.) I want to know what we shouldn't pass up: restaurants (I am partial to good sushi and organic food), shops, shows, sections of the city we have to see, and really, anything that you fancy in your New York travels or day-to-day living. If you have advice about what to wear on the streets of New York in May, I'll take it. If you want to take a trip out of town and have us housesit for you, we'll do it. ; ) I just want to make sure we make the most of our 4 days in the big city. I'm starting my planning now and welcome your input.

And so, with New York on the brain, I am going to travel New York through prints...

The Downs

a crow caws in brooklyn

Old fashioned Birthday

New York Love gocco print- Gray

Hello Stranger

District 1 - illustration/print

Heart New York....Original Mixed Media Painting

Off Fifth (Blue) 8x10 Print

P.S. I'm very excited.


actually... when can I move in HERE?

Oops, I spoke too soon. Clifton Vale has competition for my affections.

Yep, sorry Clifton Vale. It just wasn't meant to be.

Afterthought: If you want to know how indecisive I am? Consider this- after posting this, I just went back and looked at Clifton Vale and realized I would probably rather live there. I guess we'll never know for sure...

so, uh... when can I MOVE IN?

With some color added here and there and a few personal accessories, I can see hubby, Yogurt, BooBoo and I living quite a nice life in this townhouse. 


V-DAY GIFT from hubby

I know this is late in posting, but I have to share what hubby got me for Valentine's Day. He went to one of my favorite stores and picked out this necklace, bracelet, and jewelry box for me all by himself. He's pretty much amazing.

Dear hubby, 
Love, wife

BOUQUETS of light

I was over looking at house tours on Design*Sponge, as I often am, and was walking through Tonje Holand's home with her when I spotted her beautiful Cherry Blossom lights from Graham & Green. I initially thought they must be a lamp, but when I headed over to Graham & Green, I found that they are actually branches of flowers you can stick anywhere- and they are quite affordable! I am loving the versatility that a branch of happily-lit flowers could bring. They could warm your living space, welcome a visitor into the guest room, or even surprise people in the bathroom. Or, here's a thought, give them to a friend for a holiday or as a "just because" gift in lieu of a real bouquet that will wilt! I almost have myself convinced...

Luckily for us, cherry blossoms aren't the only flowers lighting up their store.

I must say, it's a good thing Graham & Green isn't in the U.S. because if it was, I'd be in trouble. But don't let me stop you from getting in trouble. If you are looking to empty your pocketbook in a pretty place, go ahead- take a look... or order the mag and window-shop like me. ; )


the week has ENDED

photo by me

This is what my Friday evening looked like. I love living in the countryside. 

Have a relaxing weekend. Talk a walk. Read a book. Get a pedicure. Give your poor, tired body a break. Isn't that what it's asking for?


the brilliant AMY ABSHIER-REYES

Today is an exciting day. Today I have the talented Amy Abshier-Reyes of The Brilliant Magpie with us to answer some questions. Amy has long been one of my favorite artists on Etsy (as mentioned here, here, and here). Her imaginary portraits are things that daydreams are made of- daydreams full of glamour, beauty, and the spice of life. With each beautiful lady she creates, she opens a window into their imaginary life as is the case with her portrait, A Study in Black Green and Gold, where she reveals: "She lived for those moments when her ensemble coordinated perfectly with the hostess's decor. It seemed like a rare art form, one in which she diligently applied herself." You can't help but fall in love with the women behind the mysterious red lips, decadent fashion, and perfectly coifed hair found in Amy's shop. And now to learn a little bit more...

When did you start painting and what first inspired you?
I've been painting since before I can remember. My mom still has a painting (highly abstracted, of course) that she says I painted when I was about two years old. I got in trouble all the time in school as a kid for drawing in class. I drew on EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. I drew mostly animals (especially horses) when I was little (and unicorns, holy mackerel, UNICORNS EVERYWHERE).

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian, definitely. Being an artist never really occurred to me, not as a profession. It was such a part of who I was anyway, that I figured I needed to do something else as a "job" job. You mean I can get paid for this stuff?

What inspired you to start painting imaginary portraits?
I'm lazy! That's the main thing. I hated painting from life--it seemed so tedious and dull. And I never saw anyone that I really wanted to paint. It was so much more fun to make up people and stories.

All of your characters are so feminine in the way they dress. Is your personal style also feminine in the way you dress and decorate?
Hahahaha, I totally dress like an old lady! It's cardigans and knee-length skirts, all the way. And mary-janes on my feet. My house is loosely mid-century modern-ish, lots of stuff on the walls (and the floor, um...) with wacky curtains. I dig wacky curtains.

You are listed as The Brilliant Magpie on Etsy. Where did that name come from?
It was actually part of the title of a painting I did five or six years ago, "She was just a Brilliantly-Colored Magpie". Unfortunately, Etsy won't let me have a name that long, so I had to shorten it! "Brilliant" refers to color and hue, not brains (but if anyone wants to think I'm brilliant, I certainly won't stop them) and "magpie" for my love of sparkle and glitter.

Is there any one character you have painted that you relate with or feel represents you?
Loretta, the rabbit woman! She manifested first in college, 15 years ago or so. She's sort of my alter ego, as shy or bold as she likes, dressed in all sorts of outlandish costume; an adventuress. There's also Anastasia, the kangaroo woman, but she's too shy to make any appearances these days.

When you are lacking inspiration, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
I look at old snapshots, mostly. Or haul out some of my old sketchbooks and thumb though them. There's so much unfinished business there...

You have your B.A. in fine art, how did your art classes/professors shape your natural talent?
I had some amazing professors at the Kansas City Art Institute. They really had a talent for teaching technical skills that I was seriously lacking. I had no formal art education until college, and I was a rough little greenie.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Shop for records, garden, read, bake, sew... Painting comes first, of course--it's never like a job to me.

Is there any particular music you like to listen to as you work?
Uh-oh, Pandora's opened the box! True story: I'm a music fanatic, a record collector, and a total snob about it. I listen to everything from shoegaze and experimental stuff to bossa nova to alt country to murder ballads to indie rock and punk stuff, but I'm super picky about what I listen to. And I have to stop there, or this will be five pages of the bands I like.

You have had a long day and just want to relax and eat a treat- what do you do and what do you eat?
I sit down with whatever book I'm in the middle of and eat something in the bread family: crackers, gingersnaps, toast. Hmmm, carbohydrates...

How has Etsy affected your life?
It's been AMAZING! I've met so many gifted, talented, friendly people--it's a wonderful community. That's what I envision when I think of Etsy--it's like a cool little artsy town that hasn't been run over by McDonalds and Walmart.

What are your 5 greatest loves?
Aside from my husband and daughter, they would be art, music, books, plants, and daydreaming.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
We love road trips. Now that our daughter is old enough to really enjoy it, we plan weekend trips whenever we have enough time off work (and enough scratch) to travel.

Name 3 other Etsy sellers who inspire you.
Emily Martin (Black Apple), naturally! She works so hard and has accomplished so much! Also Christine Alvarado (Dubuhdu Designs)--her dolls are so beautiful and she's incredibly friendly and kind. Louise from Art and Ghosts does lovely work, also, and she works tirelessly. All three of these sellers motivate me to work harder and do good stuff!

available in her shop

Can you recall any bad advice you were given pertaining to being an artist that you don't want others to listen to?
God lord, I always remember being told that artists don't make any money, blah, blah, blah! What I think about it? You work with what you have--I think you can make money with your art if you really put it out there and try. It's a labor of love, and you have to constantly refocus and fine tune your abilities. It's not a casual flirtation--it's a serious relationship.

If you could wake up tomorrow and be living your ideal life, how would that look?
That's a loaded question, wow! Actually, all I can think of is having enough money so that I wouldn't have to worry about money. I think my life as it is now is pretty freaking awesome--I've got all I really need to be happy!

available in her shop

What are your goals for the future? Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Right now I'm thinking of painting (at least a little bit) from life, finding a few models to work from, and really pushing myself to go in new directions and to not be afraid to try. In ten years, I wanna be rich and famous! Heh heh heh. Honestly though, I think I'd be happy just clicking along like I have been, selling paintings and getting excited about new ideas and themes and characters. It's been a fun ride so far.

To see more of Amy's work, visit her on her blog or flickr. Also take a trip to the Blue Gallery to see her larger pieces.


making me RETHINK

via Domino

I am loving this living room lately. I love all of the tiny patterns in subtle colors and the touches of white. It's calming and fresh, but also funky in an understated way. It's making me rethink my design ideas for our living room a bit. 


KITCHEN in rodanthe

My mom and I rented Nights in Rodanthe this week. We were in the mood for a good love story and from the looks of the preview, this was it. I won't spoil the movie for you, but let's just say we didn't get what we were hoping for. Although the movie was a disappointment, the set design most definitely was not. The entire Inn was gorgeous. And the most gorgeous room of all (to my eyes) was the kitchen. The movie ended and all I could think about is how much I want the kitchen for my own. I love the color, the wallpaper, the glass knobs, the cabinetry, the countertops... you get the idea.

a RING for every finger

I'm feeling the need for some luxury today-- luxury in the form of swank metal rings from etsy. I have such a love for raw metal jewelry. Yellow gold is my main love and adornment, but an intricate pairing of yellow, rose, and white golds fall into a fast second on my list. All of these rings make the cut. Let's see... 9 in all... that leaves my ring finger free for my wedding set (my favorite rings ever created)... perfect!

Ancient Bronze Succulent Ring size 7

Diamond in the Rough ring

Gold and Silver Cherry Ring

Weathered Ring
Weathered Ring - Silverwoods

Pure and innocent -  Sterling silver integrated 9K rose gold ring inlaid fresh water pearl.
Pure and Innocent Ring - artisan impact

seed pod large flower . stacking rings

Despite the occasional bumps in the road engagement ring - 14k gold, made to order

Gold and Silver Flip Ring

10K Gold Ragged Oak ring

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