Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Beginnings

I guess I had known for awhile that I had felt dead in the water in Seattle.  What kept me there was a great paying job (although I was bored to death with it), and of course my house, many wonderful friends and familiarity.
I had been in Seattle 33 years - my entire adult life.
The only memories I had of living anywhere else were childhood memories of growing up in rural Wisconsin.

But I decided at one point in the past two years that I needed something new, something challenging.
After my last relationship ended, it became clear I didn't have the heart to continue to do what needed to be done to make ends meet in the expensive housing market Seattle had become.
I had tried hosting students, roommates, working 2 or 3 jobs at the same time - all had benefits but also major drawbacks.

Then I realized it wasn't just the high cost of living in Seattle that was making my eye wander, but the fact that I was actually bored there too.

I know, its still a beautiful landscape nestled between 2 stunning mountain ranges, on the Puget Sound.  And the city, growing in leaps and bounds,  has become way more exciting.
But I never was a coniferous tree person, I rarely took the ferries or hiked the deep wood. The ocean was a long ways away, it rains all the time (the grey drizzle does get to you!) and I rarely got downtown where the excitement was happening.

I seemed to have either outgrown the city or it grew away from me.

My romantic, floral art seemed to be passed over for industrial, retro coldness and lack of soft colors.
I enjoyed participating in art studio tours in my neighborhood and developed friendships within the art community I really cherish.  But my style was more traditional, southern and romantic.

So the day came when I decided to be brave, courageous and adventuress and take that leap - sell my cottage and move on to new experiences.
Leaving behind friends (whom I still text/chat with frequently, as I did when still there), and a job that was not always comfortable or guaranteed, but had become boring an tedious.
And leaving behind familiarity of how the PNW worked, the people interacted and the weather patterns.
But also leaving behind a dull pattern of living my days had fallen into.

Time for a change before I got too old.  Time to sell before the housing market bubble burst!
After considerable looking, reading and exploring online, I decided Richmond, VA was my target.
Its central to so many cool places on the east coast, has a ton of historical sites to explore, and is still a very affordable place to live.  The housing market is just taking off (so perhaps within 5-7 years I can again sell my house for a good profit).
But buying a house outright would give me stability and ease of mind, too.  No longer would I need to entertain foreign students who take 2 hour showers and belch at the dinner table,  or roommates who treat my expensive antique china like paper plates, or work 2 to 3 jobs to make ends meet with a burdensome high mortgage and property taxes.

So, long story short, a 3000 mile road trip, a great experience with PODS, and a tiny cottage all my own in a soon-to-be, up-and-coming neighborhood in Richmond, I have made the change I so needed to make, to try and spark some new enthusiasm in my life and art.

Of course my first thought was to decorate!  LOL

So here are choices I have made thus far, regarding wallpapering my new cottage.
All blue & white, but faded and soft colors that won't overpower the small rooms.
There's a bit of work needed to the house - the yard needs to be fenced and landscaped and the majority of my boxes still need to be unpacked and put away into IKEA furniture I have been busy building. (woe to my right hand's palm, with the hole worn in the skin from using a  screw driver, lol)

I took screenshots of the papers I will use for each room.
They are all available in my LilyOake shop on the Spoonflower website.
(Fabrics, wallpapers and gift wrap!)

As I decorate, I will be posting more images but first the house needs to be unpacked, furniture built and my studio set up - its always the last thing to be completed, for some reason, even though its first on my mind every day when I wake up!
The same lovely print i used in my last bedroom will now grace the walls and windows of my new compact living/dining room 

A fun way to bring some color and brightness to a small kitchen.


My art studio needs to be beautiful and inspiring and I can't think of a better way to do that then wallpaper in Olivia in faded blueberry.  Flowers are the essence of my design and train of thought.

The north facing bathroom needs some life and light so Aylen in faded blueberry is a newer pattern I designed.  I thought it needed showcasing so my own bathroom will be papered in this soft but lively pattern.

Even the hallway is getting wallpapered!  A hallway in a small house can seem like an entire room on its own.  Its an important pass through between 4 rooms and has high ceilings, so I felt it deserved a fun pattern.  I chose Stockholm Gingham in a faded back blueberry and white.

My dining room in the last house I owned was papered in Jane's Rose Bouquet with matching curtains in a stripe.  Being one of my favorite patterns and having already invested in money and time, the making of the fabulous linen curtains to match, I decided to re-use this pattern in my own bedroom.  It will be a soft, lovely, romantic hide away with all white furniture, an electric fireplace, tons of bookcases with decorating and art books and a relaxing corner to read in.






Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Star, A Star - Danish Paper Stars

  What to do when you have grandkids whose little fingers won't leave the glass ornaments alone on your tree?
Well, I don't have kids OR grandkids but my oldest sister does and great auntie PK is coming to her rescue with some hand made paper stars, to fill in her empty Christmas tree this year!

So easy to make - just check out my Pinterest boards under either Creative Pursuits or Scandinavian Christmas for instructions, or google it.  I used someone else's photo tutorial and can't figure out who's it is so I won't post it due to copyright!
I am on Pinterest under LilyOake.
(you'll love my blue and white boards - in every category!!) lol

So here are a few paper stars I made using my own Nordic inspired fabric designs, printed on card stock paper at home.
They are easy to fold and glue.  I added a bit of shimmer with fine white glitter on the top creases.
I love red and white kitchen twine - makes for a fun hanger.

I made them in a few short hours while I watched Rick Steve's European Christmas show on youTube.

I displayed these on two fabrics in my cottage collections.  Jane's Rose Bouquet on blueberry blue and Imma Toile in sorbet pink, both on linen cotton canvases printed by Spoonflower and myfabricdesigns.com!






Monday, November 20, 2017

Cottage Dreaming

As I wind down my 32 years in Seattle, I really look forward to a new beginning and new adventures back on the east coast.
Seattle has been good to me but after all these years, I find myself a little bored, not sure what to do with myself and ready for new challenges and experiences to jumpstart my heart and imagination again.

So I'm turning my attention to the east coast, but faced with a limited budget, I decided perhaps the Commonwealth of Virginia is going to be my new home.
I grew up in rural Wisconsin and always preferred rolling green fields and meadows with old oaks and maples, to deep, dark, cold pine forests and mountains.
I want to be around historical places, to explore and absorb their energies.
I want to meet new people and try my luck at building my cottage decor business in a new territory where the prevailing trend isn't mid-century modern in grey and teals.

And where I can afford to live!
I have no back up income, no husband or partner who helps pay the bills.  Its just me, my instincts,talent and my get-up-and-go!

I realize all the challenges ahead of me but I feel I face the same ones in Seattle where I am bored of being.
I view this as a midlife opportunity and I am embracing it!
The one thing I will miss here are my many wonderful friends.  But they all travel a lot and I am hoping they will swing by to stay with me a few days on their goings and comings from Europe!

Anyhoo - what I really look forward to, once I find a new cottage to purchase, is decorating it!!
hahaha - what artist/designer wouldn't??
Its what's keeping me sane and focused through the emotional highs and lows of selling my current home and arranging for a cross-country move with 4 cats and a young friend I've taken under my wing.
I have a lot on my shoulders but what perks me up on days when my knees feel like they are buckling, is the prospect of hanging pretty wallpapers, filling rooms with white slipcovered sofas, hanging antique chandeliers and laying the prettiest rugs I've ever seen, on the old hardwood floors.

So here is a sampling of what has been inspiring me, which I intend to use once I've landed somewhere in a simple cottage, in my new life.
As usual, its all blue & white!!  
(Although in my new place, I am contemplating wallpapering my art studio in a soft, buttercup yellow damask...)

What really gets me excited right now are the new French Blue rugs by Dash and Albert, in herringbones.  Both cotton or indoor/outdoor rugs, they are beautiful, quality rugs in a simple, fresh. clean Scandinavian style. The two herringbone rugs are must-haves for me. As soon as I buy a house, I will know which sizes to order.  They will be my anchor from which I do all the other decorating around!
Here's a link to the site where you can explore all the gorgeous rugs available:  Annie Selke
And for this who want to see my latest cottage-fresh designs for fabrics and wallpapers, here's a link to my Spoonflower shop, LilyOake.
An indoor/outdoor herringbone rug in French Blue, by Dash and Albert.  This will go on my living room floor.

Another Dash and Albert rug in a French Blue herringbone.  This cotton rug will go on my bedroom floor.

MY own design, Albertine is a strong contender for wallpaper in my future living room!

Jane's Rose Bouquet wallpaper is on my current home's dining room walls.  Its a favorite of mine.

Jane's Rose Bouquet wallpaper in blueberry blue.  This paper will grace the walls in my new bedroom.

Jane's Rose Bouquet wallpaper in blueberry blue.

Cottage Check simplified is a strong contender as wallpaper in my future kitchen.

Jane's Rose Bouquet wallpaper is feminine and soft, but holds it own with gilded frames and furniture!

Additional inspiration - my old garden lilacs and a myriad of blueberry blue and white cotton or linen fabrics in my Swedish cottage collections on Spoonflower

Jane's Rose Bouquet Stripe in blueberry blue - you can make curtains to match the wallpaper!

Blue Rose Wreath in blueberry.  My current chair slipcovers are coming with me so my cottage will coordinate.  Any piece of furniture can go into any other room and fit right in.

I love European gingerbreading on houses and whatever home I buy, I will try to add personality in this style.

More inspiration:  white farmhouse sinks.  Double bowl...?

My current home has beautiful glass and crystal chandeliers so I hope to add this detail to my new home too.

If I stay under my budget, I have promised myself the Albertine gas range by La Cornue.  White?

...or Provence Blue?  I guess I will have to flip a coin, should the good fortune befall me where I get to fit one into my budget!

My own LilyOake designs, all will be present in my new cottage home.

I keep coming back to white cotton canvas slip covered furniture because it really fits my lifestyle.  And with 4 kitties, I can wash them any time!

A new white cotton canvas slip covered sofa is in my near future.  I can fill it with a mix of LilyOake cottage pillows.

A pretty detail - having packed most my house up already, I kept out a few things to keep close to me during the move

farmhouse sinks....single bowl...?

If I get a porch or sunroom, I would love to build a replica Swedish daybed to grace the space

A dream:  A Swedish tiled stove in blue and white.  IfI cant have the real thing, I can add tile to the kitchen backsplash or to a fireplace surround!

I've loved this image for years - an old Swedish desk in a soft white with a surprise bright blue interior!  I will paint all my furniture in this manner.


Christmas Candle

Every year I look forward to the YULEFEST at the Nordic Museum in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.
Its a seasonal tradition around here, in the neighborhood founded by all the Nordic immigrants who settled in the PNW because it reminded them of back home, with the snowcapped mountains, cold blue waters and pines.
Yulefest is a holiday bazaar and craft fair where you can find anything Nordic related, including rosemaling, nordic sweaters, foods, painted Dale horses, straw or painted wood ornaments,woolen yarns and knitted masterpieces, Danish porcelain and even my own Scandinavian tea towels (I was vendor last year!)

I look for one dealer in particular who sells her beeswax tree shaped candles.  I look for them each time, but this year she surprised me with a small inventory of pristine white ones, besides her yellow beeswax trees too.
I think both colors are gorgeous but this year I got a white one.  

I love how beautiful they are on a dark, rainy Seattle night when candlelight really brings a warmth to a room.

Shown in white on my mantle with a backdrop of my Kane's Rose Bouquet wallpaper in blueberry blue!
And in yellow beeswax on a linen cotton canvas tablecloth in my Edwina pattern in blueberry blue.







Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Simple Slipcover

I had found a really nice footstool at a local Goodwill store - nice size and height to sit on for big tushes like mine, plus the casters worked perfectly and even the fabric was in perfect condition.
But unfortunately it was a burnt orange velvet from the 70's palette!  ECH

Luckily, footstools are a snap to recover or sew a quick slip cover for.
Since I have kitty cats who sleep on everything, I always slip cover my furniture for ease of laundering.
A slip cover for this was a no brainer.

I wanted something simple but with some feminine gathering, even though I was using one of my more masculine stripe designs, SIGNE STRIPE in pale blueberry and white.
I had it printed on the linen cotton canvas, which sews well and launders well too!

It turned a nicely made, but very ugly footstool into something I can proudly place in any room in my home for use.
Did I mention my entire house is this shade of blue so anything I slip cover will fit in, in any room, as needed!
Saves money and also allows you to have functional, pretty furniture without cluttering up a small cottage with too many pieces.

Laundered and ready to cut!  Signe Stripe in blueberry, on linen cotton canvas from my Spoonflower shop, LilyOake.

Adding readymade piping.  I know color is a bit off but they also somehow worked well together and it saved me time, which is precious to me nowadays.

Piping in place, all I had to do is hem the gathered skirt.

Simple readymade piping and a gently gathered skirt did the trick.

The complete footstool slip cover, awaiting its first use.