Weekend Reading

@brittdouglas_
I always keep bookmarks or tabs open for posts or things I want to share here, and since it's been a while, the list is a little long today haha but isn't that what weekend reading is for? ;) Here's to crossing things off our to-do lists and having a beautiful weekend!



Think you're good with colours? Try this mildly addicting game that will test that fact.

Just a wee bit obsessed with these repurposed vintage plates from Melissa of The Sweet Escape.

Something you may not know about me? I'm a huge fan of the Fast & Furious franchise - no really! There is a bit of a back story there, but needless to say, I saw & loved the latest instalment - and I wasn't the only one.

Is your to-do list full of should-do's? Then this essay on the crossroads of should & must is for you.

23 photos that sum up trying to get your life together. #accurate

We live in a beautiful world.

I'm already a big believer in the power of quiet, but I loved Grace's post on listening to what really matters.

Thoughts on being selfish on Instagram - some really good thoughts on what we share & the reality behind it.

Creative business owner? Here's some tools to help you work better.

In case you missed it, Anna's blog got a makeover & looks so stinkin' good! I seriously get to work with some of the best people.

"This quiet revolution is unavoidable, really, because we humans have a strange and predictable relationship with innovation." - Kevan Kaiser on being in the internet, but not of it

Ever wondered what your pet does when you leave the house? I'm pretty sure Winnie sleeps all day, but oh man, I got a good laugh at this trailer for 'The Secret Life of Pets".


Social media does have it's uses, and getting hired may be one of them.

Feeling stuck? Here's some thoughts on hitting the reset button and turning June into January.

The only lemon loaf recipe you'll ever need. Promise ;)

xo

The Never Ending Gallery Wall

As I've been working to finish off my

gallery wall

, it hasn't been feeling quite 'right'. It needed something and I just couldn't place my finger on what it was. 

I've shared my original gallery wall on here several times (most recently

here

&

here

) and I'm still totally in love with it. So stumbling with this 'expansion', if you will, left me feeling a bit unsure.

I've worked with

minted

a few times, so when they reached out to help me with my art problem, I realized this was the perfect chance to get out of my rut. You can see a bit of my plan above (to scale! With door, sconce, light switch & baseboards haha) and I love the idea of creating the wall around one or two 'big' pieces. That beauty front & centre is over 30"x30" and will be the perfect focal point. Everything else is a mix of prints I already own, prints I'm planning to buy (I really could do a whole wall of gorgeous

photos from Paris by Anna

:) and a few from minted too. I love the mix of old, new, and personal touches, with a dash of quirky thrown in!

You know I'll be posting on

Instagram

the second I get everything hung up, but until then, you can explore all my gallery wall shenanigans on Instagram with the hashtags

#gallerywallfordays

&

#neverendinggallerywall

Ps, if you love that '

Done is Better Than Perfect

' print I own, make sure you

enter to win

one for yourself! The

giveaway

ends tonight!

xo

Disclaimer: minted is providing me with the art to complete this project, but all thoughts, opinions & ambitious gallery wall ideas are my own ;)

Artist Feature: Kelsey of Pinegate Road (+ Giveaway!)

Good morning!

Six months ago, Kelsey opened her shop and I was instantly smitten. Beautiful calligraphy, unique quality, gorgeous materials - I mean, how could anyone not be? You may even have seen evidence of my love on Instagram - here, here & here - so clearly it's for real ;)

I was so excited when Kelsey agreed to an interview. Her work is gorgeous and the story behind Pinegate Road is beautiful - I know you'll love it!



What inspired you to open your shop?
I've always dreamed of creating my own products. Working with my hands has always come naturally and is something that I love doing. As I started going down the rabbit hole of working on Pinegate Road, there were several mantras that I came back to time and time again that helped me along my personal creative journey. Taking my love for hand-lettering, my need for a hand-made project, and the thought of creating products inspired me to create these prints.


Where did the name 'Pinegate Road' come from?
I really need to get on adding this to my about page ;) Pinegate Road is the road where I had my first 'home.' Growing up, I moved around a lot. By the time I was 9, I had lived in 5 states and 6 cities. Around this same time, my mom found out she had cancer. It was a huge shock to my parents, and this had them evaluate where they were at in life and what dreams they wanted to live out. My mom always wanted to raise her kids back in her hometown on Lake Erie, and my dad had always wanted to run his own business. My parents, my brother, and I moved up to Pennsylvania where my mom successfully beat cancer, and my dad started a thriving business. Pinegate Road is where our start as a family came to be, and my Pinegate Road is where I started coming to be as a designer. Pinegate Road hold such sentiment to me, and I love that it's a symbol of new beginnings and following life-long dreams.

'Be Brazen'
What drew you to your chosen mediums of lettering & stamping for your prints?
I wanted to create something that was unique and that had a hand-made element to it. Both my day job and Pinegate Road have me working very digitally, and reconnecting with physical processes was something that was important to me when starting this side project. At the same time, I needed something that was easy enough to duplicate. I studied block printing a bit in undergrad, and knew that a mix of stamping and block printing would give me a unique result that I could replicate for prints.

'Make A Mess'
Is there a cool back-story behind one of your prints?
I didn't expect these to turn in to a shop! Last summer I was asked to come to the Weapons of Mass Creation fest here in Cleveland as a featured artist. As part of the arrangement, I was to submit three posters to their gallery show to be on display. I could have used old work, but I treated this as a new project and went to work brainstorming. Creative process is always on my mind, so creating helpful ways to work through process in the form of mantras was what I became drawn to. On three of the prints, you'll see that they have 'the ticket project' written on them. My idea here was that these would each serve as a person 'golden ticket' to going for your dreams. I'm not sure how much I love that this is on there now, but hey, it's the creative process and I can always adjust later!

'Done is Better Than Perfect'
What is your favourite item in your store? 
'done is better than perfect' for sure. I love the way it fits on the page for a print, and it is something I constantly have to remind myself.


What's next for you and/or your shop? Where do you see your shop heading? 
For now, I'm taking a little break. I'll still be selling the prints that I have, but I'm focusing on bigger business plans and goals for Pinegate Road as a whole. I'm hoping to fit a month-long free span from side work this summer to brainstorm next steps. One thing I have been thinking about is selling downloads of black and white large format prints that you could then get printed yourself through a drafting printer on the cheap. I love working large scale, and this would be a feasible way for me to provide that to the world without having to manage the shipping. We will see :)

'The First Step'
Any tips for aspiring calligraphers and/or print shop owners?
Practice, practice, practice, and don't be afraid of not being perfect right off the bat! I feel so many people are paralyzed by things not being 'good enough' or perfect enough that they never start. Start with baby steps, and don't be afraid of the journey. You have no idea where you'll end up, and that's part of the fun!

********
So lovely right? And AMEN to just starting and learning and figuring it out as you go - story of my life ;)

I mean, I knew Kelsey was awesome since we've become 'instagram friends', but this interview was one of my favourites. Thankyou so much Kelsey!!

GIVEAWAY time!! Kelsey has offered one of you the chance to win any print in her shop! Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. (or click here if it doesn't show up)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out Kelsey's blog, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more gorgeous peeks into her work & life (she has the cutest puppy!) 

xo

Herb Garden

Over the past three summers, I have grown a little herb garden. What started as a lone mint plant back in 2012 has ended up growing into a whole little collection!


This year there's chive, sweet basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, mint & parsley. The mint & parsley have their own bigger container since they can grow a bit wild ;)



Gloves are a must when dealing with nails like these haha





Isn't this blue container just the sweetest? I picked it up in HomeSense a few weeks ago, knowing my annual herb garden would be starting again soon. Love the blue with the gorgeous green of the herbs!



The gloves & the little trowel both came from the Home Depot. I have to admit I love the measurements on the trowel, and that the gloves have velcro around the wrists to keep the dirt out. Good tools make the job so much easier!

What are your favourite herbs to plant & use? Tarragon is new to me this year and apparently it produces edible flowers?! You know I picked it up for that alone haha

xo

Past herb gardens: 2012, 2013, 2014

Liquid Liner Love

It's no secret that I love a good cat-eye liner. And over the years, I've used lots of different products to achieve the look. Between gifts from friends & Sephora bonuses, I've amassed quite a few and thought I would share my favourites, why I love them, and which ones I think can be skipped.

L'Oréal Paris Lineur Intense Felt Tip - 5/5

I've gone through about 3 tubes of this stuff. It's super black, the felt-tip is great, it lasts all day, and the price point is fantastic. This is the one I reach for when I need a quick, no fuss liner. It glides so beautifully and will always be a staple for me.

Revlon Colorstay™ Liquid Eye Pen - 2/5

I'll call this a 'marker' style tip to differentiate it from the felt tips. (The tip is 'drier', and more like a marker than a true liquid liner.) It worked well, but I found it faded to a more grey shade that I didn't like.

Julep Fluid Eye Glider - 4/5

This has more a 'marker' style tip as well, but it's much smaller and the colour is a deep black. It also lasts all day - even my coconut oil makeup remover sometimes has difficulty with it. I love this one for it's precision; it might take a bit longer to apply because it doesn't 'glide' well - 'stamping' works better with this one - but I know it won't budge at all.

Benefit They're Real! Push-up Eyeliner - 4/5

Unlike any other liner I've tried, Benefit created a gel liner with a built in application system. I do like it, but you have to have enough product on the tip for it to apply well, but not too much or else it clumps and falls off. It takes a bit of practice, but the results are worth it.

Lancôme Artliner - 3/5

Truthfully? This is practically identical to the Lineur Intense from L'Oréal; they are sister companies after all. The gold on the packaging is lovely of course, but I found the colour of this one wasn't quite as black as I would have liked.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner - 5/5

This & the Stila one below were from the Sephora liner favourites kit released around Christmas. (Great kit by the way!) I'd been wanting to try this out after hearing a lot of hype about the 'brush' tip and I'm so pleased to say I was not disappointed! The colour, the tip (it really is a little brush), the ease - SO good. Probably my all-time favourite on this list. 

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner - 4/5

If you're looking for a liner that will not budge one millimetre, then this is for you. I have it in the dark brown shade, which is a nice change some days from the black. The colour is great, the marker tip works really well and there's no fading or patchiness as the day goes on. You definitely will need a great make-up remover to get this off (even coconut oil struggles with it) but that's a small price for a liner that doesn't give up. 

Is there a favourite out there that I've missed? A classic I need to try? Let me know :)

xo

Artist Feature: Melissa of Sweet Water Decor

Spring is finally blooming here and I am so excited! There's buds on the trees, flowers are starting to bloom & the cold days of winter seem to finally be over. Today's artist feature is full of florals & whimsical design - a perfect compliment to this time of year :)

Melissa reached out to me about her shop, Sweet Water Decor, and I knew it was a perfect fit the moment I opened her shop. It is full of my favourite fonts, happy prints & cheeky mugs. She was even sweet enough to offer a discount that you can find at the bottom of the post, so read on!


What inspired you to open your shop?
I got engaged in September and was going through all of my stuff and actually decided to open my shop to sell my acrylic paintings. From there I started adding art prints, save the dates, wedding invitations, mugs + stamps! Searching for my own save-the-dates on Etsy, I started looking around and thought, I could definitely design these myself! I took photoshop classes in high school and have a natural talent for art. When I was younger I wanted to be a designer. I combined that with my merchandising background - being a buyer for a major retailer, and voila! My shop was born. I imagine brides like me shopping at my shop. The girls that love a little bit of glamour mixed with shabby chic with a modern twist. I love getting inspiration and use my fashion background to come up with some of my ideas for the shop. I just opened my second Etsy stop - Stamps Lux - where I sell stamps exclusively.

Mr & Mrs Mugs
What is the process of creation like?
I first get inspiration, either while walking in my beautiful small town, Starbucks coffee in hand... to washing dishes...ideas come to me. I even have these little notebooks that I carry with me or are by my bedside that I jot design ideas as I get them before I go to bed. From my idea I create it in photoshop and bring it to live. I love it when I see my own designs on paper or on my mugs instead of just in a picture. We print all of our mugs, and it's so exciting to see a final product!

Ashleigh Suite - Printable Wedding Invitations
Your work features some gorgeous typefaces, do you have any favourites currently?
I use a lot of Carolyna Pro - it's perfect for weddings! But I've fallen in love with Jacques & Gilles and even used them for my own invitations! Emily Lime creates such beautiful fonts - I'm pretty sure she's my best friend I never met.

Strong Beautiful Brave Mug
also available as a print!
Is there a cool back-story behind one of your prints or other products?
My strong, brave, beautiful, courageous mug and print is one of my absolute favorites. It came to me while washing dishes honestly! I pictured in my mind the woman my mom raised me to be - strong, brave, beautiful & courageous. I added an arrow as well to top it off! Each word has a different font, really bringing out what I hope to inspire other women to be. It was so great to hear from one of my customers, she bought this mug for herself and one for her friend. She wanted to thank me as she was going through fertility treatments and her friend was going through cancer. I hope to touch all of my customers and it really makes me know that God has put me where he wants me - designing & making beautiful works to share with & inspire others.

Hello Sunshine Print
What is your favourite item in your store?
I have so many, but if I had to pick...
My favorite mug is our Mr. & Mrs. mugs. My favorite print is my Hello Sunshine print.

Be Still & Know Print
********

Melissa was sweet enough to offer you all 20% off her mugs with the code 'MUG20'. She has some seriously cute mugs - I was tempted by more than a few haha

You can find Sweet Water Decor on Facebook & Instagram.

xo

Weekend Reading


From Instagram this week...
It's officially the first day of spring!!! Oh to know that winter is coming to an end; it happens every year I know, but every year feels new when you've been buried by snow for far too long. I can't wait to see little buds on the trees, smell fresh cut grass, plant my herb garden & delight in those long summer days. Until then, some reading to keep us distracted while the snow melts :)



"What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable resource that we hold in common? Perhaps, if we could envision an “attentional commons,” then we could figure out how to protect it." - The Cost of Paying Attention

"But where is the line between just the right amount of beauty and inspiration and what we deem as too much or too showy? ... what is “too” much? And who decides what’s “normal”? Here’s what I think: There is no normal and there is no perfect." - Negativity Online

"In art, this is very important. Art is where associations are made. Art is where we form the narratives of our identity." - Lighten Up

"After working through my utter shame over being a totally judgmental zit up in my head, I ran headlong into relationship with them and kept coming back, week after week." - What to Do When Women Seem Scary

"Because no one is providing me with a list of priorities, a number of hours, or a pay rate, I have to embark on that road of trial and error." - Resources for Freelancers

"...time is power. As trite as it sounds, but the way we live our days, what we do at 10 am, at 3 pm, how the evening flows, like habits, it really is the way we live our lives." - The Way We Live Our Days



xo

Nailed It: Lucky Clover


I shared a little sneak peek of these on Instagram last week, and while my clovers looked a little more floral, I still loved the colour combo of these festive nails :)

I used Julep Briana & Kam, Sally Hansen Green with Envy, & Essie Rock at the Top. I also used the Julep Plie Wand & dotting tool to help with the dots!


For the clovers, I created 4 sets of 2 dots around an imaginary 'square' shape on my nails, and then put a little more polish in the middle of the dots to join them together. Hopefully the photo below will help illustrate a bit better!


And my not so clover-like clovers ;) haha

Hope you had a lucky day!

xo

Buying & Curating Art

A few weeks ago, I posted the 'story' of

my gallery wall

. This wall has grown quite a bit since it started, and my philosophy is to always buy art that I love. If something doesn't 'speak' to me, it doesn't make the cut - otherwise I'd have enough art to fill this wall 10 times over ;)

I also love supporting creatives & small businesses, so that's where pretty much all of my art has come from. These shops are full of SO much talent - too much talent to keep hidden - so I'm sharing where all my art has come from over the years. Some pieces are no longer available, but maybe you'll find something you love even more!

hover over the photo to see the corresponding numbers

1. '

31 Rue Chanel

' - Leigh Viner

2. my own photo

Keys -

Michael's

3. '

Be Brave

' - Charm & Gumption

4. 'Dans Mon Reve de Paris' -

Eye Poetry Photography

5. my own photo

6. '

The Royal Mile

' - artquirk

7. '

Twilight Blue

' - Leigh Viner

8. 'Weeping Cherry' -

Sunny Lee Studio

9.

Balzac's Coffee

10. my own painting

11. my own painting

12. '

Silence & Noise

' - Leigh Viner

13. '

Paolo Roversi Series 1

' - Leigh Viner

14. '

Rivoli

' - Leigh Viner

15. 'I left my heart in Paris' -

Eye Poetry Photography

Metal 'B'

- Anthropologie

16. photo from an old calendar

17. my own photo

Mirror - vintage

18. my own painting

19. letter from a friend

20. 'Three Keys' -

Renee Ann

21. 'It's All Messy' -

Top Knot Weddings

22. '

God is Good

' - SS Print Shop

23. my own photo

24. '

Paris Street Shop 1

' - Minted

Most of these stores have really reasonable prices, but if you just don't have much to invest in art yet, I would suggest looking for a bulk discount (like BOGO) or waiting for a sale. Most shops will also offer some sort of first time purchase discount or a code when you sign up for their newsletter.

If you've never purchased on Etsy before, use

this link

to get $5 off your first purchase. I love & recommend all the shops listed above, but if you're in need of more inspiration: 

Pinegate Road

,

ohmydeer

,

The Paris Print Shop

,

Emily McDowell

, & all the

shops I've interviewed

are great places to start your art search.

Minted is currently running a spring promo for 15% off sitewide (including all their artwork!) until the 16th. If you need some ideas: there's a few other 

Paris street scenes

that are so sweet; I have

this guy

hanging on my other wall (see him

here

); waiting to find a frame for

this one

and

this one

too. And I always love a good floral! This

watercolour one

, this

painted one

, and this one of

lily of the valley

are all on my favourites list.

What are your favourite places to buy art? I'm always on the lookout for gorgeous new pieces to add :)

xo