Cirque Americana x99

Each year, our marvelous Springfield Art Museum throws a party with a purpose, called “99x.” The purpose is that the museum raises money to restore permanent pieces for the next 99 years. So clever!

Both of us have been fortunate enough to put our creative crazy visions to work for the last two years. They don’t even check in on us! They trust us! Now that’s crazy.

Last year, the theme was “Gilded Glamour,” where we were inspired by John Frederick Kensett’s “Shore Landscape.” Stephanie was invited to create an interactive tableau, using the Newport Beach estate ”

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My project was to paint an interpretation of one of the Newport estates, using ‘illuminated’ qualities. It was then turned into a 10-foot wall hanging that was displayed in the lobby of the museum.

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It was such a magical, glowing night!

This year, though…was even better. The theme was “Cirque Americana,” where we celebrated Ben Messick and his clown paintings. Stephanie’s company Queen City Blooms was asked to help do a floral carousel-inspired centerpiece in the museum’s lobby, while I created an interactive tableau of a fortune teller.

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We had *so* much fun. Already we’re talking about collaborating on a tableau together next year. With so many talented and amazing artists in the area, though, the competition is fierce!

Looking to add a bit of fortune, gold, and circus-inspired bling to your life? Keep reading!

Color Me Bad: Coloring Books for EVERYONE!

One of my current side hustle projects is to make a coloring book of floral art. I’m not talking about the intricate mandala-style books, where one missed paisley is a stress-induced scramble to cover it up. I want nice big patches of petals, or rosy cheeks for someone to puddle watercolors on top of. Here’s a rough draft of a page of mine:

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In researching coloring books for adults, though, I did manage to find some that I’d actually sit down and tinker with:

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

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That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

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Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

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Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

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My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

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Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

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Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

Library Haul: Spring Break Edition

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What’s better than a mid-afternoon affogato? An affogato with new books from the library!

Stephanie’s picks this week:

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Life Unstyled: How to embrace imperfection and create a home you love

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Pretty Pastel Style: Decorating interiors with pastel shades

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Nic’s Pick’s

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Vintage Parties: A Guide to Throwing Themed Events—from Gatsby Galas to Mad Men Martinis and Much More

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The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes

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What are some of your visual treats you enjoy flipping through?

Currently Reading: Leave Me Alone with the Recipes

In an age of endless influencers, it’s so exciting to come across a purely original voice. I’m reading Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, an illustrated semi-biography of the first woman art director for Conde Nast, Cipe Pineles.

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Editors Sarah Rich, Wendy MacNaughton, Maria Popova, and Debbie Millman all write about the influence Cipe had on their own work, as well as her trailblazing efforts in a male-dominated field.

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The true gems are in the gouache illustrations of Cipe’s family recipes. These were found at a book sale, all part of a private journal that Cipe created. Thank goodness Sarah Rich serendipitously came across it and shared it with the world. I’m so in love!

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Image from BrainPickings

We’ve started a Pinterest Page of Original Influencers. Who else should be on that list? And what are you reading this weekend?

Link to book:Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles

 

Anything But Neutral: Home Inspiration from the Movies

Both of us are OBSESSED with charming, cozy, European home design. The quirkier and more colorful, the better. I think we both know our husbands will only allow *so* much whimsy in our house. Therefore, we live vicariously.

PADDINGTON BEAR is making the rounds in our family. I read the first book to my kiddos earlier and thought it was a delight. OF COURSE the movie is, too. The set design and use of color reminds me a lot of my all time favorite movie, Amelie. So it’s no wonder I want to dive in and live in The Brown’s colorful house.

Take a peek:

A charming cherry tree mural, winding with the spiral stair case!

A red bedroom with matching upholstered headboard! Reminds me of another favorite room…

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colourful paddington bear movie interior set design

A carousel horse in the office!

Midcentury lamps mixed with tear-drop chandeliers!

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Candy-striped wallpaper! Painted furniture! Art everywhere! Hanging at crooked angles! (Reminds me of my house, actually…)

Oh, the color, the whimsy, the charm.

Excuse me. I’m going to run to the store to pick up some blue paint…or go shopping using this fun site, Film & Furniture.

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Little doses of Paddington inspiration:

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Read “A Bear Called Paddingtonto your kiddos.

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A cherry blossom umbrella! For those of us who might not be able to wrap our spiral staircase with a mural…

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Market baskets to keep all your books and plants in, and to use while walking down charming British streets. {I actually do have about 1000 of these in my house…}

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

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Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

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This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

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pattern play by Nicole Chilton