Friday, May 29, 2009

Comfortable Country

Although I like a little glam in my home (glass chandeliers, toile curtains and golf leaf on frames) I love the Swedish look by mixing it all with down to earth fabrics and simple pieces of furniture too. In other words, comfortable things. I'm more country than anything else.

Growing up in the beautiful state of Wisconsin (village of Manchester, Green Lake Co), I spent my childhood running wild through the countryside. Very fond memories.
Climbing trees, making forts in the neighbor's hay barn, hunting for wild asparagus in ditches, fishing under bridges for bullheads, living on kool-aid popsicles and PB&J sandwiches and riding bike "all over kingdom come" - these "wonderfully country things" one could do growing up in the 1970's - with little or no supervision, I might add!

As an adult, I view countryside living more from a lifestyle/decorating angle.
That is what interests me now. I love the idea of opening my cottage up to the open air and having slipcovers on everything. I like the idea of a simple home with old things.
I like white painted furniture and clean fresh fabrics like toiles on white cotton backgrounds, ginghams, checks, faded florals and tickings.

I live in the city now but my country roots run deep. I even keep chickens now! (outside) heehee
How do you keep a comfortable country feel about your own home?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blue & White in Northern Light

A taste of classic blue & white in great northern houses. Classic Rococo and Empire styles with a Scandinavian touch. White painted furniture, blue & white porcelain, sheer window treatments to allow as much light in as possible, stripes, toiles and checks and painted walls with touches of gilt - all classic Gustavian looks.

Pale, clear colors in uncomplicated, fresh patterns such as checks or stripes, on simple fabrics like printed cottons and plain linens.
Clutter and unrestrained use of color and pattern gives me a whopper of a headache. I prefer the simpleness of a 1 or 2 color palette teamed with soft white, with emphasis on a few great collections.

Sometimes, as in this case, less IS more! Especially in this over-complicated world we live in and with the overly busy lives some of us lead.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Beauty Will Save the World"

...a famous quote by author Fyodor Dostoevsky...has become my new motto.
It does not really mean that a person with beautiful features or figure will save the world (although we know physical love has been the cause of many a war!)

But rather, it means that through our beautiful acts of kindness and attention to how we conduct ourselves as we journey through our life, we promote peace, beauty and harmony with our fellow passengers. Living better, as a kinder person, will save the world if we all do it.

Stay tuned for a new series of miniature pop-up books I am designing, coming soon to my Etsy shop at (
Here is a teaser of what you'll soon find there...
(all the designs are of course, copyright LilyOake)

Lilac Time

It's that time of year when my yard turns green and the lilacs open and scent the air.
Growing up in Wisconsin surrounded by lilacs of every shade, it has become my first and foremost most favorite flower.
Did you know lilacs mean "first emotions of love"? For me, it's a very emotional flower, taking me back to my childhood when my Grandma on the farm had huge lilacs around the house and my Mom waited every year for hers to bloom so she could bring in big handfuls to fill the old, pale green vase with them for the dining room table.

It is such a treat to be able to plant, grow and cut my own lilacs now, from my own yard, and bring them into the house. Everything smells so sweet. Even my kitties sit with their tiny noses deep into the bouquets - although I don't kid myself - I think they are more interested in drinking the water.

I have tried to capture my feelings about lilacs in poetry over the years but I have to face the facts - I'm a lousy poet! So I'll let Robert Burns do the talking.

"O were my Love yon lilac fair,
Wi' purple blossoms to the spring.
And I a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.