For years I’ve been making these tumbled, hand dyed gift tags and since I was running low on my supply, I thought I’d whip up a new batch and show you just how easy they are - and the surprisingly simple step that gives them their trademark worn textured look.
This season I was inspired to try a unique spin on traditional holiday gift wrapping by using warm muted tones and colors that could easily transition to other gifting needs throughout the year. Let’s get started!
Autumn is officially here! I don’t know about you, but here in southern California, we don’t see a lot of color change in the trees, so I’m making up for my lack of fall foliage with this autumnal inspired roundup. I discovered this image on Pinterest and was immediately drawn to the shades of steely gray and rusty terra cotta combined with all of the cozy textures. I also love that the styling feels casual and a little bit messy or “unfinished.” It feels authentic. I did some internet snooping and found some amazing pieces that recreate the warm seasonal look. Let’s get cozy!
I’ve been having a love affair with handmade ceramics for years now, and the work of one particular artist has captured my heart - that of French potter, Thierry Doublet. He has been crafting beautiful objects since the 1970s in an unassuming workshop situated in the middle of nowhere, France. How I was first introduced to his work was by way of a casual alfresco dinner on the stone terrace of a centuries old chateau. The owner of the chateau, a marvelous chef, and his lovely wife, served glasses of chilled roséand the most delicious piment d'espelette shrimp presented in one of Thierry’s large handmade shallow bowls. Sounds dreamy, I know. And it was. Almost immediately, I became obsessed with learning about the ceramicist that created the gorgeous bowl - and how I could add his pieces to my own collection. The very next morning I found myself driving the backroads of the French countryside, making my way to his studio. In the years since I first discovered his work, I have returned again and again each time I visit France.
I am so excited to announce that new dates for The Academy France 2019 are set, and registration is Now Open! If you missed out on signing up for our early notification Interest List, not to worry. There are still some spots available, but don’t delay - I have a feeling they will fill up quickly! I hope you can join me and my talented team next spring in France for an unforgettable week of learning, creative inspiration, and French culture. Click the button below to read all the details and to register.
Do you love list posts? I do! The biggest selling points are – they’re condense and generally contain a variety of topics, products, and tips. As we transition into fall, I’ve gathered some things currently on my radar and a few of my favorite recent purchases
Year after year, organizing and orchestrating The Academy France is my most fulfilling and beloved project. Not only is the environment so beautifully quaint and authentically French, the people I meet and the experiences we have together are unforgettable. I've been settled back home in California for a few months and have finally gathered my thoughts and images from this years event in order to share with you now. I hope it conveys all the magic that transpired this summer at The Academy.
One of my favorite shops, Elsie Green, just opened up a second location, and it's gorgeous! Their original location has always been a favorite source for inspiration and the design and atmosphere of their new retail space is just as incredible. The bold black and whites mixed with earthy browns are a perfect balance and their selection of wares is unmatched!
Almost everything at Elsie Green is sourced overseas from antique markets and French brocantes, meaning each piece is unique. There's something really special about European antiques - they have character and history that new, manufactured pieces can never replicate. They're one of my favorite home and prop sources when I'm searching for something truly special to add to a space.
This summer, instead of novels about faraway places or unrequited love, my reading has been filled with gardens, interiors, and seasonal cookbooks. The sunlight in the studio seating area (I promise a tour!) makes for perfect reading conditions, and I've been spending a few afternoons lounging on the sofa with an icy cold drink, a whirling fan, and a stack of fresh deliveries from Amazon.
And while we're all here, do any of you belong to a book club? I've been talking about joining/hosting one for years but I'm at a loss as to where to begin. If you attend one - is it in real life or online? Are they fiction/novel/genre based or cookbook clubs? What about groups you can join on services like Meetup, or does GoodReads have local chapters? Sheesh, sorry for all the questions. You can see why I haven't joined or started one! #sendhelp How about we just get to what I've been reading and move on....
I've visited my fair share of local farmstands and independent grocers. Why, there are at least four produce stands within a few miles of my home that I frequent on a weekly basis. But this small, organic French grocery, Les Jardins de Vaissieres, has to be the absolute most charming one I've ever seen. When you step through the door, it feels as if you're taking a journey back in time or walking through a scene from a movie. Their gorgeous displays are overflowing with baskets of vibrant produce, cupboards filled with jars of homemade terrines and pâté, and crates of organic eggs - all under the "watchful" eye of a sleeping shop kitty....
Who says new beginnings only happen on Jan 1st? A mid-year refresh can be just as exhilarating, regardless of what the calendar might suggest. I've been wanting to switch things up over here so that the website better represents my professional services and workshops, while also organizing the blog and shop into a more streamlined experience for all. It feels good to have this massive project completed and I really hope you love the new space as much as I do!
I've just returned from spending the month of May in France. My time there was divided between hosting The Academy, visiting friends, and taking a solo French road trip to see new places and have a little creative down time. What I'm always struck by, no matter where I may be in the country, is how authentic the French live. You won't see homes filled with shiny new items from a big box store or mass produced wares delivered to their doorstep. Homes are collected, well lived in, and speak purely to those who inhabit them. They are unique and imperfect. They are nurturing to the senses and welcoming to all who enter their doors. I had the privilege of photographing one such home belonging to my friend, antique dealer Lou O'Leary. His home encourages me to approach my own decor with a sense of authenticity and meaning. My hope is that it does the same for you.
For the past few years, I've aspired to teach workshops here in the US for those who may be unable to travel to France, but have a strong desire to learn how to style professional visuals that reflect their brand and connect with their following. My objective in creating new workshops was simple; to design one-day intensive sessions that focus solely on styling exceptional images. This first series of workshops in the San Francisco area will kick off my plans of extending them across the nation in the coming year. I hope to see you at one!
Finally, I've begun to tackle a design project that, quite literally, looms over me every single day - finishing my studio space at Grove House. More specifically, the lounge seating area. You know how the saying goes - the cobbler's children have no shoes. That's me, in a nutshell. The "busy" excuse has been used frequently in an effort to ease my slight guilt over not getting my act together with the project. But enough already, the time has come to mark this one off my to-do list. Step One - Share my design plan with the internet.
Today we're continuing with my interview series of inspiring women who do unique and creative work. It seems now more than ever there are endless opportunities as to what a business might look like and how one might go about achieving success. Female trailblazers who are building their businesses off the beaten path, are in a way, sharing their gifts with those of us who aspire to achieve something meaningful in what we do for a living. In my line of work as an editor and stylist I’ve come across dozens of just such women, many of whom I consider friends, and I thought it would be great for you to get to know some of them as well.
Lauren Palmer is the owner and farmer of Bloomsbury Farm located in Smyrna, Tennessee. The farm is set on 400 breathtaking acres where she and her team cultivate and grow beautiful organic produce to sell at Saturday farmers markets around Nashville and to fill orders for their seasonal CSA baskets. But Bloomsbury Farm isn't only a farm - it is also a gorgeous event space; hosting weddings, special events, and farm-to-table gatherings. Lauren truly loves creating a community around farming, nature, and food - let's get to know her better!
The shopping in Amsterdam is just so good. You'll find small independent boutiques dotting nearly every street and I made it my mission to try and pop in as many as I could. It was an easy task, considering their creative window displays and eye catching merchandise were continually luring me inside. Hands down, my favorite shop was de Weldaad. Their selection of antiques, home furnishings, accessories, and textiles were so beautifully curated. I loved the gentle wash of their soft muted color palette and worn wood surfaces displayed throughout the store. It was such a relaxing environment to browse. I seriously wanted to dump everything out of my luggage just so I could pack it up with their wares. Instead, I brought home candles and pillow covers. Sigh.
Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Chicken Soup - quite the tongue twister of a recipe name but trust me...it's oh, so good. If you are feeling under the weather and yearning for spring, this soup is your remedy! It's a modern spin on your grandmother's chicken noodle soup with a vibrant lemon pepper pasta and hefty splash of fresh lemon juice. It's both comforting and refreshing and has been on rotation in our home this winter.
One of my strategies for posting more frequently this year is simply; to share more everyday things. Fortunately, when I started to make another pot of this delicious soup, I remembered my intention and pulled out my camera to document making the recipe. I hope sharing these glimpses of an average day will connect with you. When I read other blogs, they're my favorite type of posts. Plus, it feels good to not stress about creating content and actually just live it. So welcome to my kitchen, let's make Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Chicken Soup...
As a stylist, there are certain props I pull for every single photoshoot. Pillows and throws are two of those items. Even if the home appears to be filled to the brim with choices I still bring options and always include a mix of neutrals. They're sort of a secret weapon in styling. Neutrals add a soft, quiet background layer that enables more colorful pieces to pop on camera. It would work the same in your home as well. I promise.
Having spent years immersed in residential and commercial design (which subsequently transitioned to my current career of editorial styling) I've decided to utilize my expertise and help you learn the styling techniques I employ in my work through a new series of posts - Styling 101. Here's what you can expect and our first lesson!
Generally speaking, January is bleak. Much of our nation is covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice while others (like those of us in California) have been experiencing catastrophic mudslides as a result of massive fires and torrential rainstorms. Winter has been a doozy. But in the midst of dreary weather and gloomy days we're given a welcome relief in the form of our sunniest fruit; citrus!
Last week we began harvesting our front section of trees at Grove House. They were so overloaded many limbs were brushing the ground and branches were splitting right off unable to bear the weight. The record setting orange tipped the scale at 1.9lbs! A portion of this harvest, about 8,000 pounds, was sold to a farmstand just down the road. It makes me supremely happy when I drive by and see them all piled up like jewels.
UPDATE: SOLD OUT The Academy - Dordogne, France - May 19-25, 2018
I'm happy to announce that once again, we will be heading to the Dordogne region of France next spring to host another Styling & Photography Workshop for Creatives. During our week together we will immerse ourselves in the French lifestyle while we wander the local food markets, browse an annual brocante in search of props, and walk the ancient cobblestone streets of medieval villages.
Our workshop sessions will be focused on learning to style with intention and documenting our journey through the art of photography. In essence, all of my favorite things to do while in France!
If there's one thing I've learned through my years of design and styling work it's this: Design your home for the people that actually live there. It doesn't matter what so-and-so may think, or what your friends, family, and neighbors feel would look best, or what your readers and followers like or don't like - none of them live there. You do. What's more important is that when you step inside, it feels like home. For some that may mean a riot of color for others a white box. Modern or mid century, country or contemporary, whatever your drawn to, it should embrace you like a warm hug. Regardless of whether or not it pleases the masses or is on-trend. Because let's face it - they're both fickle.
When we started designing and building Grove House, my husband and I had many long conversations about what type of architecture and design we liked, how we wanted to live in the space, even how we cooked together in the kitchen. From those meetings over dinner and long walks we began working on a home that represented both of us. It would be simple, with clean modern lines and warm rustic touches. In other words, home.
Summer. What's not to love about our most carefree season? Aside from the heat, of course. One the best things about warm weather is being able to take our meals outside. Having an early morning coffee on the patio or firing up the grill for a late night supper is right up my alley. I also love easy meals that don't require much if any, cooking, and picnics combine both - relishing the outdoors and zero obligation to be in front of a hot stove.
Always wanting to be prepared to picnic in style, I spend a lot of time (probably too much) gathering supplies. I unabashedly confess to having a complete and utter obsession with packaging. It's borderline ridiculous. I have been known to buy items I never even open based solely on the packaging. Please tell me I'm not the only one. My current stash is of epic proportions and I have no intentions of paring down my trove. Since we're friends and obviously love the same things, I thought it fit to share my tips and resources to help you up your picnic game with my favorite swoon worthy supplies!
After our successful day gathering props at the brocante, we were ready to begin utilizing those finds in our styling sessions. In addition to what everyone found for their own prop collections, I set up a table with an assortment of small dishes, linens, fresh produce, herbs and spices, and beautiful artisanal bread.
Our first few mornings at The Academy begin with lectures on the proper techniques and aspects of styling. Starting with the fundamentals, the attendees are able to understand the how & why behind creating stunning that resonate meaning and convey the vision they wish to express. They are then able to implement those concepts and skills as they continue to practice throughout the week. But more importantly, upon returning home, they will have an arsenal of techniques to apply in their own body of work and creative pursuits.
Bonjour, mes amies! Currently I'm home and settled back into daily life, after a nearly month long visit to France to prepare for, teach, and host - The Academy. At the moment, I'm finding it somewhat difficult to express how I feel about my experience without using words that make me sound like a simpleton - amazing, memorable, and truly inspiring come to mind. But then, they do accurately describe the time I spent with those who attended, as well as my friends and team that help me pull off such an enormous event. Something remarkable happens when you bring a diverse group of creative women together. Friendships are born, creativity sparked, dreams and goals revealed, and authentic encouragement envelopes the group as a whole.
Recently I was able to hit the flea market with my neighbor. She's new at the treasure hunting game but has certainly caught the bug. It's nice to have someone close by who will also get up at o'dawn hundred to make the trek with the only guarantee being hot coffee. Because as we all know it can be hit or miss at the flea.
One of the items I found was this metal vase with perfect patina for our guest room. Fortunately my neighbor also let me pick flowers since our gardens are pitiful right now. I've actually been buying vases whenever they catch my eye because it's the one prop item I'm constantly having to source or ship from my inventory. So I'm happily stocking up in that department. Here are the other finds that came home with me....