100 Days of Design Breaks

Creative Stretches : Finding New Lives for Old Designs and Ideas

In so many parts of life, "old" is such a negative descriptor, but does it have to be? In an age of fast everything, technology updating every minute, and instantly published trends – items mature and become outdated within moments of being created. At least it can feel that way... especially to the makers.

As an artist and designer, I have files full of small icons, sketches and lettering that has been scanned or created that no one ever sees. I used to see these as "old," but I'm trying to shift my perspective and view these small pieces of bigger projects as little treasures that have potential to have other lives. Often, on their own, they are just as interesting as in a pattern or design!

To put these out into the world, rather than keep them in folders on my computer, I started posting one a day on my
Instagram and Tumblr using the hashtag #100daysofdesignbreaks. The icons are mixed in with my sketches and other posts, but I'm happy that they are published and hopefully inspiring others now rather than just in my digital archives.

Perhaps you have possessions, ideas or work that could inspire you that you've forgotten about as well? It might be uncomfortable to share these things, but it also might be a path to new ideas!


Bohemian Countryside Styled Shoot

In November a group of pure and simple, amazing creative talent came together for a styled wedding shoot. The outcome was bohemian, rustic, vintage and just beautiful. I designed plates with a blush, watercolor fern design and a geometric patterned paper to coordinate with their rich gold and burgundy palette. I can't get over how perfect of a day and setting they had – that golden sunlight is a rarity most Michigan November days.


The plates I designed are available for purchase on Zazzle! You can find the link to them below or on my Shop page. The patterned paper is available upon request and hopefully coming to my Etsy shop soon!

Here is the amazing talent behind this authentic, sweet shoot: 
Florals: Pots Floral
Calligraphy/Invitation Suite: Paper & Honey
Dress: The Brides Project & JCrew
Jewelry: Dee Ruel
Rentals: A Touch of Whimsy Events
Bohemian Decor: Meadow and Moss
Model: @dani.maltese
Photography: Beth Joy Photography

Wares on Washington

I've teamed up with Yen Azzaro of Chin-Azzaro in Ypsilanti, Michigan to dream up a pop-up holiday shop and fundraiser to benefit a local non-profit, 826Michigan. The event will take place at Chin-Azzaro (9 S. Washington Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan) on December 12th from 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday, December 13th from 11 am - 4 pm. I'll have gift wraps, gift tags, embroidered watercolor original pieces and silky, modal scarves.

When I envisioned the concept for Wares on Washington my intention was bringing community members into a shopping experience where purchasing original art becomes more attainable. I have sold my own artwork since I was 16 years old, but I remember the excitement and palpability of my first purchase of a small 8 x 10 inch painting and realizing the immense value of supporting artists in that way. With Wares on Washington I hope to cultivate that fervor in others. This passion combined with my ever-present desire to use art as a means to fundraise for local organizations was the ultimate catalyst for the Wares on Washington event. 

I hope to introduce some incredibly talented SE Michigan artists and designers that aren’t typically part of the area craft fair scenes, but that are internationally known! I believe the welcoming, holiday shop setting will be the perfect environment to achieve this combined mission of giving and creativity. 

A big thank you to all the contributing artists and designers for jumping on board this concept early on. If you aren't in Southeast Michigan, please take a few minutes to check out some of these amazing artists (many have online shops!): Naomi Ernest, Kelly Ventura, Jocelyn Edin of Garden of Edin, Snow + Ivy, Detroit Card Co., Fineberg Art Studios, Just Curious & Co, and The Home Ground

100 Days of Tiny Stitches

I just finished this personal project that is pretty dissimilar from any I have ever done. This 12-inch embroidery hoop full of stitches has taught me so much. It taught my hands how to keep stitches even. It taught me how an impulsive, limited palette can be so refined and beautiful. And it taught me that learning about a new craft can inspire new ideas, and thus new work.

Seek small, daily creative acts. This is the statement I have come back to over and over again as I work on my sketchbook (though not as often as I would like), as I evaluate whether my daily work is fulfilling, and while I try hard to stay motivated and inspired. 

I think Grace Bonney said it best in her 100th episode of the After the Jump podcast where she talked about how continuing to grow and learn gives you the chance to fail again. 

"I think we learn more when we're not best at something and when we're not the tip top of our game. And when we're uncomfortable we learn a lot about ourselves.

When you introduce something totally new and foreign to your mind and to your hands hands, it lets you rediscover just how much room you have to grow and change. It also lets you learn another valuable lesson, which is there is never only one right way to do something. The best solutions sometimes come when something doesn't go as expected." 

Thanks to all my new readers for following along on my journey. All your comments on my halfway point post were incredibly uplifting. If you're interested in learning more about my embroidery project, you can see a lot of the 100 stitches up close with descriptions under the hashtag #100daysoftinystitches on Instagram.

Original Watercolor to Limited Edition Art Prints: Three Stacked Whales


Over the summer I painted this trio of whales for the new baby of two close friends. The original was so warmly received that I knew it would be a great addition to my Minted shop, and I was right! It came in 18th in a recent art challenge out of thousands of entries - wow... just wow. And the orders just keep rolling in, I'm thrilled. I particularly love it with this distressed charcoal frame, but there are loads of options for frames and colors to fit your decor. Take a look here!

Designer Insights Interview

I recently had the pleasure of contributing some of my latest inspirations and design insight to Terry's Fabric in the UK. In choosing my top trend and inspiration choices for this season, it was so interesting to see how drawn I am to white spaces, nature and stitching lately. Please check out the full interview here and definitely browse their full collection of over 300 artist interviews – it's chock full of inspiration! (Maybe set aside a couple hours to get lost in them...)

The Halfway Point of 2015

Even though I take multiple opportunities each year to "start fresh," I do tend to use January 1 as an indicator of goals and resolutions. So here we are exactly halfway through 2015 and let me tell you, like everything, it's been good and bad. Two thousand fifteen is all about exploring creativity, building a foundation and establishing habits to better my relationships, work and health. Sounds ambitious, right? I've established three new habits that have made a world of difference: journalling, yoga and my sketchbook. Yes, it's been hard, but I stuck with it... kind of. :)

The sketchbook is the toughest one, but it has been the most inspiring thing I've done in quite a while. Here are my self-imposed rules: try your hardest to spend a minimum of 1 hour drawing or painting in my Rendr sketchbook every day and document it on Instagram and my Tumblr. Mondays, holidays, weekends – all of them. I haven't been a drill sergeant about it, but making time for it feels good. It feels right. Some days I fill two pages and sometimes only half, but I've completed 111 pages that have made me stronger, given me new ideas and connected me to new clients and projects that make my heart happy. Mid-way through I upgraded my iPhone to a 6, hallelujah! Photos have gotten clearer and brighter since then. Here are a few of my favorite pages and spreads:

Two if by Sea Studios' Gift Wrap + Fineberg Art Studio's Journals

 Follow  Fineberg Art Studio on Instagram  for a sneak peek into her process & books!

Follow Fineberg Art Studio on Instagram for a sneak peek into her process & books!

One day I spotted some really darling journals on Instagram and found they were handcrafted by local, Ypsilanti maker Emily of Fineberg Art Studio. I quickly thought about how fun it would be to design papers for book artisans to use, so after a little research and a breakfast date with Emily, I provided her with some paper samples to test out. I produced some wrapping paper sheets and it turned out the quality was great for handcrafted journals.

One thing led to another and as she worked with the papers, I decided to finally add some physical products to my Etsy shop. Naturally, the wrapping paper I had created with her was a great start. With it's many uses and large canvas for patterns it seems like a perfect fit for so many of my designs. Here are a few of my favorites:

I've extended my 25% off summer sale (promo code PATTERNLOVE2015) through July and would love to see some photos of things made or gifted with my papers. Tag me on Instagram or send me an email!