Of all the rooms in our apartment, our bedroom is the space that I’ve always been the most unhappy with. With small updates here and there, it has increasingly gotten better over time, but it’s never been my favorite space in the house. Recently, I’ve done a few updates that I’m hoping will spark some others to help shape up this little room.

To start off, here is what the room looked like the last time I showed it to you (nearly a year ago, in my November 2012 House Tour):

So dark, right? This room has four large windows, covered in dark, wooden blinds. The previous tenant of this apartment bought those blinds and then left them for us when we moved in. They are really nice quality and real wood, but they make the room feel so closed in. For the entire first two years we lived here, I left them closed all the time. Mostly for privacy and the fact that lights from the neighboring houses shine into our bedroom windows at night if they are open.

But last week, when I was making the shower curtain for our bathroom, I was in here ironing and it was so dark, I just had to open the blinds up. I fell in love with the bright, airy, open feel of our room with them open!

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So much better, right? It just makes the room feel much more balanced. I love that you can see the beautiful original windows, and I can also finally have plants in this room as well! I can’t believe it took us two years to open the blinds! (Not that we hadn’t ever opened them, we just never left them open) It is so nice outside in New Orleans at this time of the year, we also have several windows open as well. I just love having the breeze blowing through the open windows. My favorite time of the year!

We’ve lived with them open for a few weeks now, and while we might have a slight bit less privacy in there (there are several houses close by), it isn’t really that big of a deal. We do have to close one of them at night, since a light shines right in our faces, but opening and closing one of them daily isn’t so bad.

You might notice that this corner has gotten a little makeover as well. Several months ago, when I was doing updates to my office, I moved that chair and table out of my office and into the bedroom. I love this little reading corner in here! I use it so much more than I did when it was in my office.

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It makes the room so much cozier and a lot more functional. The two landscape paintings are vintage paint-by-numbers that I bought off Etsy for a great price a long time ago and painted the frames white. I really like the paintings, but Drew doesn’t really like them, and I wasn’t in love with the colors in this room (I feel like the colors are too dark/orange/70’s-ish and kind-of clash with the other things going on in here). So I took them down (I’ll use them elsewhere, don’t worry), and put up a Lulie Wallace painting instead.

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Lulie Wallace is one of my absolute favorite artists and I just adore her work (not to mention she shares my maiden name!). I just love the color, pattern, and interest this piece brings to the room. I love waking up to it every morning.

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Aren’t the colors fabulous? Mint, lavender, plum, chartreuse, olive–all colors I’m loving right now. This painting is giving me a whole new perspective on the room and where to go with it. It doesn’t need much, just a little more art and perhaps some colored/patterned pillows! Can’t wait to see where it ends up!

Lately, I’ve been loving Kip Moore’s new country song, “Hey Pretty Girl.” Inspired by it, I created this desktop wallpaper for my computer.

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I figured I’d pass it along to you all as well, as a free download! To get it for yourself, go here (or alternatively, click here).

To listen to the song, click here.

This past weekend I had the honor of standing up with my best friend from high school, Tonya, as she married the love of her life. (sorry for bad iPhone photos! I was too busy decorating and such to drag around my DSLR)

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I love weddings and this one will always be special to me. Tonya helped me implement a lot of the details for my own wedding last summer and I did the same for her this summer. Helping her plan and decorate and everything was kind-of like re-living my own wedding over again! It was so much fun.

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Tonya is super creative and put together lots of super fun details into the decor! Her brother cut all the stumps and tree slices for her and her and her mom painted them with sayings and chalkboard paint for signs. Her mom also grew all the fresh herbs in little pots and also grew sunflowers that were scattered around as well. The tables were all decorated differently with a combination of old books, glass jars (leftover from my wedding!) that instead of filling with sand and then candles, she filled with wheat berries and soybeans (her family farms) and candles, thrifted candelabras (spray painted in her colors) and a collection of other lamps and birdcages. They had several old doors and old windows that they re-purposed into backdrops and message boards.

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This old window turned chalkboard message board was one of my favorites. Tonya has great handwriting.

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I also loved this old frame turned chalkboard wedding program. Such a great idea to let guests know who is meaningful to your special day without spending the extra money to print out programs for every guest.

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Another of my favorite little details was this tree stump (Tonya’s brother cut for her) that she stripped and woodburned her and Peter’s initials into. It was right next to the old ladder turned arbor that she got married under. This picture was taken as we were decorating, but for the wedding, there were also plants surrounding it as well. I love this! I think it would be such a cute side table in her house now!

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This photobooth was the best! The guests loved it! The backdrop Tonya made from old doors, she made the tissue paper pom poms herself, as well as all the cute little props!

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Here you can see the dresses, flowers, arbor and church setting.

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Happy couple! (and more reception decorations)

One of my favorite things that I was able to help with was designing all the wedding stationary:

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Some of my favorite designs to date!

Congratulations to Tonya and Peter!

Much of my time over the last few months of this past semester were spent here:

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This was my studio space in the Advanced Painting room at Tulane. I shared this room with several other pretty cool people (and pretty awesome artists). Our end goal was to produce a body of work for our end-of-the-year, Bachelor of Arts Exhibition. Our exhibition was up in the Carroll Gallery at Tulane from May 9th-May 17th.

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It was a really awesome experience to have my work shown in a gallery. Here is my final exhibition, a quilt series of twenty-four (I actually did more, these were just the ones I ended up showing) abstract landscape paintings, painted on cotton quilting fabric, some fabrics sewn together, and some including machine and hand embroidery.

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My artist statement:

I grew up in rural Southern Illinois on land that has been passed down through my family for generations. Before I started school, I spent every day with my grandmother, who encouraged my love of watercolor painting and being creative and who established the foundation for my personality and moral beliefs. My grandpa wrote stories, fished everyday, and grew a huge garden that I helped him harvest. I loved snapping off the ripe asparagus, helping my grandma cook, and laying in the hammock in their backyard. Just down the road was my own house, where I climbed trees and ran through the creek with my sisters and brother, helped my dad work in the yard and feed our chickens, and helped my mom plant flowers and herbs, cook and bake. Throughout my childhood, my mom imparted to me her creative knowledge – sewing, hand embroidery, cross-stitch, smocking, machine embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and basket weaving.

After moving to New Orleans for college, I started thinking more about my own childhood and the different backgrounds of those around me.  I began to really question the idea around our sense of place—how people live, where they live, why they live there—the spaces people create for themselves. How do these places impact our personalities and our interests? During this time, I also developed a love for interior design—a way to carve out a space for myself that felt comfortable and familiar, a place where I could mix my former and current worlds in a way that was also beautiful and intriguing.

My art aims to capture a sense of personal history, exploring both the past and the present, questioning the differences in the city and the country, and highlighting domestic pursuits and interior spaces and exploring their connection with the natural world. I’m interested in the juxtaposition of interior and exterior spaces—nature and domesticity, home and homestead, city and country—but also interested in how they work together and are innately connected. Because of my upbringing, I’m very interested in the use of sewing, embroidery, quilting, fabric and pattern and how those elements can intertwine with paint to create images. I’m also interested in the elements that make up interiors—paint, fabric and textiles, wood textures, natural elements, metal finishes—and how many of those elements find their roots in the natural—cotton, linen, wood, and minerals. One of my aesthetic and conceptual goals is to somehow marry interior and natural elements into a single image, developing a quilt of sorts, that evokes a feeling of comfort, sentiment, and history that an interior of a home or a familiar natural setting provides.

If you want to check out more of my artwork, you can visit my portfolio website, here.

To check out work from the other artists showing with me, visit our exhibition website, here.

Today we purchased our first original piece of fine artwork — a painting  by my absolute favorite artist in New Orleans, Adam Hall. I shared his work before in this post a long time ago. Every month, we go to the Palmer Park Arts Market and look through his booth of paintings. I’ve wanted one for a long time, so I’m so excited to brighten our home with one of his colorful New Orleans works of art.

My older sister and her husband gave us money as a wedding gift and before it all got spent on wedding expenses, we wanted to put some of it aside to make sure we bought something as a wedding gift from them. I love art and Blair and her husband collect fine art, so we thought a painting would make the perfect wedding gift from them.

We missed the Arts Market last month (they switched the weekend because of Jazz Fest and we didn’t know), so we e-mailed Adam to see if he would be showing his paintings anywhere else in the next few weeks. He e-mailed us back and said he would be more than happy to bring some of his paintings over to our house for us to look at them. (How nice!) We told him the average size and price range that we were looking for and he brought over about 15 paintings that fit in that range. They were all so beautiful!! We spread them throughout the living room and foyer and quickly paired them down to our top favorites. I wish we could have bought more than one!

I forgot to snap a picture of them inside, but here they are about to be loaded back up into his car:

And for the one we chose, here it is:

Isn’t it gorgeous? The colors are amazing and I love the impressionistic quality. The scene is so pretty and cozy, I would love to be swinging on that porch swing! The title is “The Light Behind the Columns.”

I love the pop of colors it brings into our home and I love that it can be enjoyed from both the living room and the foyer. This picture makes it look small, but it is really 24×36 inches (2×3 feet). It will definitely be a family keepsake for us and is an amazing wedding present! (Thanks Bob & Blair!!)

Anyway, if you live in the New Orleans area, check out Adam Hall at the Palmer Park Arts Market, the last Saturday of every month in Palmer Park. If you aren’t from New Orleans, definitely check out his website or contact him about other paintings. He is a really nice guy and does absolutely amazing work.

Last year, I shared my adventures in my beginning painting class, so I thought I would share with you a project I recently completed in my beginning printmaking class.

This project was a 3 color reduction woodcut. This means that we took a block of wood and carved out of the wood what we wanted to stay a certain color when we printed. Then we printed that for the first color, then carved more out, printed again, and carved out our final color then printed once more. Once you carve something out of the wood, there is no putting it back in, so it is a delicate process. Hence the name “reduction” and that fact that you are removing wood from the block and printing each time, you also have to remember that you have to do your white highlights and lighter colors first and then add your darker colors on top. Is any of this making sense? It is one of those “you have to see it to understand projects” so let’s look at some pictures.

These photos were taken with my phone while I was in the printing studio, so sorry for the not-so-great quality and shifts in colors. But you can still see that I did three different color schemes of three colors each for each of my prints. For the first layer, I carved out everything I wanted to remain white, and then I printed my first color on. Then I carved out everything I wanted to stay the first color and then printed on my second color. Then I carved out everything I wanted to remain my second color and then printed my last color.

Since there is no going back once you take part of the wood away and to allow for printing errors, I made a lot of prints to make sure I had enough for an edition of 3 in the end. I ended up with 10 or 12 of each in the end. Better safe than sorry though! That is a lot of pictures of my face!

I did all the printing by hand (no running through the press) by inking up my block, making sure my registration on my paper and my wood matched up and putting pressure on the paper for the ink to kiss off.

After all were printed and dry, I trimmed off the edges and was left with these beauties:

It is kind-of hard to see the true colors in these photos, but my color combinations were chartreuse – teal – navy, coral pink – orange – plum, and grey – hot pink – black. I think they really turned out neat!

I definitely enjoyed the woodcut process, although it definitely was a lot of work carving out the wood and printing all those copies by hand. I would definitely like to try it again though!

I know this might be an ambitious project for any readers out there without a lot of art experience, but you could easily do a similar project to make your own wood stamps for crafting projects. Just take a piece of wood, draw out your lines for your design, then pick up some wood cutting tools at your local art supply store and carve out your design. If you have good tools, it isn’t actually as hard to carve out the wood as you would think. Then you have a homemade stamp that you can use unlimited times without wearing out. This would be great if you needed a certain design for some kind of wedding or event project that you wouldn’t be able to find a pre-made stamp for somewhere else!

After being so inspired by these abstract paintings and our TNASA (Tulane Newcomb Art Student Association) painting workshop, I finally decided it was time I quit telling myself that I didn’t have the time to paint and just get out my paints and get to it. I already had a canvas that I had ready for a painting for my office, so I didn’t have to do any prep work. I just sat down and started painting. I had a good idea of what I wanted to do and the final product went in almost a totally different direction, but I really like the way it turned out. Here is what my office looks like now with the addition of my painting:

I figured this was also a good time to share more updates about my office. I think the last time I shared anything about it was when I shared staining my desk, here. It has definitely changed since then! I love this room and it is such a great place for me to be able to work in. I still love my desk. It is the perfect size to spread out my papers and books on to study, to clear off and be able to work on drawings or art projects for school, and it functions wonderfully as a sewing table as well. I love the way it looks and I haven’t had any problems with it or complaints. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a great (and inexpensive) desk. You can find it at IKEA, here.

I love, love, love my tufted linen office chair. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and knew it would one day be mine. Unfortunately, World Market happened to be out of stock with them all across this half of the country and I had to wait over 3 months for them to get any more in. I stalked them rather frequently just to see if maybe more had arrived. They did finally come in and I brought mine home (with some discounts too for using a coupon that they had e-mailed out). I absolutely love the look of it, the fabric, the tufting, everything. It is also so much more comfortable than my old wooden office chair as well. You can find it online, here. (Although online you can only buy them in sets of two, in the store you can buy them individually)

Last, but not least, I am really pleased with my white shelving unit from IKEA as well. It was inexpensive, easy to put together, and is well made and looks really nice. It is the perfect size for what I needed and it is great for holding all my office supplies and other crafty stuff. I originally wanted some kind of a wooden dresser for storage in here, but I am so happy with this instead. I love that it is lightweight and will be so much more practical to move out of this second story apartment whenever we move. A big wooden dresser would not be so much fun to move. Plus with a wooden desk, I’m happy with the white shelves. You can find it at IKEA, here. The baskets are from Target and I really like that they carry over the wood tones from my desk and I love that they came with linen fabric liners already in them.

We also put up some wall shelves on the other wall for additional storage, although you can’t see them in the pictures above. We also added a longer curtain rod. It bothers me that the curtains I have in here are too short, they were from my dorm room, but they work for now. We added the shelves to the closet in here, and we also put up a towel rod on the back of the door for me to hang my scarves on. We’ve still got a few more things to do, but so far I love this space! 🙂

This weekend, I was in charge of organizing T/NASA’s first painting workshop. (Tulane/Newcomb Art Student Association) It was for abstract acrylic painting and one of Tulane’s grad students taught us many different tips and techniques for achieving different looks and textures in our artwork. It was a great day spent painting with friends.


Everyone seemed to have a really great time and lots of inspiring artwork was produced. It was so nice to be painting again! Especially after being so inspired by abstract art lately!

A big thanks to Tim for bringing his camera and taking pictures and for letting me use it to take a million pictures as well.

Lately I’ve been so inspired by colorful abstract art.

I love the work of Michelle Armas. Aren’t these pieces gorgeous? Look at the amazing use of color and movement!

 

 

I also really like the work of Sally Benedict as well.

I could stare at these paintings all day! I really want one for my office. Maybe sometime soon I’ll have time to break out my paints again and get to work on one. 🙂

Anyone else feeling particularly inspired by art? or nature? the fall weather?

I haven’t mentioned much about decorating the kitchen since we moved in to our apartment. I did mention this post about inspiration for the kitchen, but that is about it. We haven’t done much in the kitchen, because it is pretty functional and looks fine for now pretty much the way it is. We did need a little bit of artwork though. The nook above the sink was a little bare.

Especially with that spotlight right above there, it definitely emphasized the fact that it was empty and bare. Perfect place for artwork! After settling into our apartment and seeing our existing kitchen decor, I noticed that it consisted of neutral beige and whites with pops of greens, blues, and pink-y/coral/oranges. I had been contemplating what kind of artwork to put up there when I realized the kitchen print from this post last May would be perfect!

So of course, I ordered it immediately. It came from Canada, so it took a week or two to get here, but arrived in perfect condition. The only downside is that it is an odd size for framing–10.5 x 14 inches. I took it to Michael’s to see how much it would be to have it custom framed, and they said it would be upwards of $130 for just a simple white frame and matte! How ridiculous! Instead I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a pretty white 16×20 frame with a 40% off coupon and had Michael’s cut me a custom white matte to match the dimensions of the print to the frame. This was much cheaper, but still not free– $22 for the frame and about $22 to get the matte cut as well. Why it costs as much to get a matte cut as it does to buy an entire frame with wood, glass, and backing, is beyond me.

So anyway, this process took a couple weeks. I bought the frame at Hobby Lobby while I was at home visiting a few weeks ago and then ordered the matte as soon as I got back to New Orleans and it took a week and a half for them to cut the matte. (again, kind-of ridiculous) As soon as I got all the pieces, I put it together. I love the way the matte and frame look with the print!

Drew installed the hanging hardware on the back of the frame and we hung her up!

I love the way the frame looks in there! The simple edges of the frame match really well with both the kitchen cabinets and the trim around the windows and the door.

I just love how it fits perfectly with the feel and look of our kitchen. I love the colors, the old-fashioned, home-y feel, and the pretty flowers, cups, tea towels, and rolling pins.

The name of the print is “Hot Chocolate.” How sweet!

The kitchen (and the rest of the house too) is really coming together. I love the feel of our house so far. It is becoming so cozy and home-y and I love being here!

In case you noticed in the pictures above, that is more basil growing in water by the sink. I broke off a few bits of my bigger basil plant in the windowbox and put them in water to grow roots so I could plant them and grow more basil plants. I planted one of them the other day and it is about time for me to plant this one as well.

Oh and if you like my kitchen print and would like to check out more work from the artist or order one for yourself, visit Janet Hill’s Etsy shop, here. She has such pretty paintings! I want them all!