News - In Pursuit of a Hobby

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What is your hobby? Do you make a practice of regularly scheduling time to pursue it?

I read an interesting article recently about the pursuit of hobbies. There are many health benefits to having a hobby including making friends, building confidence and developing creativity. Hobbies bring us joy in ways not possible with our work. In the article, the author makes an argument for having a hobby which is different and separate from your job.

This can be especially difficult for a creative person as the two activities often blend into each other. Making it more challenging is the expectation that everything you "do/make/create" should be monetized. This attitude is perpetuated by today's entrepreneurial culture where anyone can work from home and can profit from their own unique "thing". By monetizing our hobby we change our relationship with it, it is no longer pursued for the simple joy of it thus distorting our reason for doing it in the first place.

I spend my days creating items/art almost always with the intention to sell some form of it. I might sketch a new series of floral elements, place those into a pattern which I then hope to license. OR I carve a new block (from one of the elements mentioned earlier) the resulting design is printed on fabric which I cut/sew into products I sell. And so on....

As a full-time artist, my biggest challenge would be to find the time to actually separate play from what is now my job and being able to make the distinction between the two.

News - You Can Find Me Here....

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Here are a few schedule updates for the summer show season

May 20 SOWA, Boston, MA
June 9 the Profound Vintage Market, Lancaster, MA
June 10 the Profound Vintage Market, Lancaster, MA
July 8  New England Open Market, Central Flea, Cambridge, MA
July 22  SOWA, Boston, MA
August 26 New England Open Market, Central Flea, Cambridge, MA

Thank you so much for supporting my work! Hope to see you at a show - pop on over to my booth to say "Hi!"

News - Wanderlust

 The Alhambra & Generalife Gardens

The Alhambra & Generalife Gardens

It's finally here...Many of you know already that for some time I have been planning a trip abroad which includes stops in Marrakesh (in Morocco) as well as Granada and Seville (in Spain) This trip has been on my "bucket list" - I am so fortunate to be able to see my dream come true!

Our first destination is Marrakesh where we will take in the sights and sounds of the bazaar and souks, shop the spice markets, wander the lush gardens and orange groves of La Mamounia, ride a camel at the base of the Atlas mountains, partake in a traditional tea ceremony and relax at the end of the day in the cool courtyard of our riad.

Once in Spain, we will spend a few nights in grand palatial style as guests at the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens. The Alhambra complex once a monastery, also served as the palace for Moorish kings. Located just off the old Arab neighborhood of El Albaicin the narrow streets wind up hill leading to a network of whitewashed houses and churches. At night we hope to catch a zambra (gypsy dance)held in one of the cave dwellings built into the hills.

Our last stop will be Seville, a city full of history that will take you back in time - Plaza de Espana and La Giralda, are just two of the wonderful architectural gems to visit on our list. I am particularly looking forward to spending time in the Triana district, known for their tile work and pottery. After a long day of shopping, we will retreat to one of the abundant tapas bars for a cold drink and a late night flamenco show.

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Discover - A Little Bazaar & Mill No.5

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I love to discover hidden gems (or it might just be that I'm late to the party)  A Little Bazaar at Mill No.5 in Lowell, MA is one such place.

A Little Bazaar is a marketplace featuring artisan, handmade, and local goods. The building is also home to an independent movie theater, direct trade coffee house, farm to grocery, yoga studio and several other small creative businesses. The other week I was a vendor at one of their Saturday events and had the opportunity to explore and meet many of the shop owners. There is a great energy and welcoming vibe here, I felt very much at home and think you'll enjoy it as well.

SAVE THE DATE - on March 17th I will once again have a table set up along with my partner in crime, Paula DeFranco Inspirations. I hope you'll join us for a great afternoon.

News - Registration Now Open for "Intro to Block Printing"

IntroBlockPrinting

Hey folks - In case you missed my recent newsletter or perhaps you're not a subscriber (you should be!) in either case, I wanted to let you all know that registration is now open for my "Intro to Block Printing" workshop on February 3rd.

Grab a friend (or two) for a fun afternoon 'cause you know - you don't really want to do more laundry or any of those other household chores (those things will always be there)

How often are you able to spend a fun 3 hours learning a new craft....with a glass of wine and a few snacks to boot! Plus each participant leaves with their own newly designed and printed Valentines Day cards.

You can register HERE

Discover - A Moroccan Tea Ceremony

This past New Years Day I was able to relax with my friends and family by celebrating with a Moroccan Tea Ceremony. Although the ceremony was somewhat modified because I was lacking a proper bred (the round-bellied metal or cast iron teapot) we were able to "Make It Work" (in your best Tim Gunn voice) 

In early 2018 (I know-it's a ways off...) I am planning a trip to Spain and Morocco with my friend Bonnie. This is our "bucket-list" trip - something it seems we have been talking about for the past 2 years! It's now getting a bit closer to a reality. We met over tea to discuss the timing of our trip, how long we wish to travel and to which exotic destinations. We decided to work with a travel agent to firm up details and an itinerary, I will share more once things are settled.

The tea ceremony was fun and something anyone can do at home with a bit of planning ahead.

The Ingredients

  • Loose Chinese Gunpowder Green Tea
  • Fresh Bunches of Mint
  • Cane Sugar
  • Tea Pot
  • A Tea Ball Infuser
  • Tea Kettle
  • Tea Glasses

The Snacks

  • Salted Almonds
  • Sugared Pecans
  • Dried Apricots
  • Medjool Dates
  • Almond Flavored Cookies
  • Fresh Peeled Orange Sections

The Ceremony

Boil approx 4 cups of water over stove in tea kettle

Put 2 teaspoons of loose tea into tea ball infuser, set inside tea pot

Pour out 1/4 cup of boiling water into tea pot, just enough to cover the tea ball. Let seep 5 minutes. Discard this water. This step is to "clean" the loose tea leaves.

Pour out 1/4 cup of boiling water into tea pot, again just enough to cover the tea ball. Let seep 5 minutes. Pour this water into one of the tea glasses and set aside.

Pour out 1/4 cup boiling water into tea pot, this will be the 3rd time, cover the tea ball with water and let sit another 5 minutes. Discard this water. Return the tea water from the 2nd pouring (in glass) back into the tea pot. 

Add mint leaves to fill inside of tea pot. Pour in remaining boiling water. Make sure the mint leaves are covered so as not to "burn" and turn black. This will make for a very bitter taste.

Add 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let tea, water, mint and sugar sit

To blend all of the flavors, begin by pouring a full glass of tea, return it to the tea pot. Do this three times. This will make sure all of the ingredients are properly mixed. Remember to start your pour from the rim of the glass and slowly raise the tea pot higher as you pour. 

The pouring the tea high above the glass allows the tea to “breathe” the oxygen and develop its full minty flavor. The ceremony of pouring from a distance in general needs a bit of practice, to make sure not to miss the glass, I suggest using a serving tray underneath your tea glasses.

Enjoy!

Discover - The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

 Waterworks Museum - Building Exterior

Waterworks Museum - Building Exterior

If you are like me, often times you may drive by a place of interest but find you have never actually stopped to investigate more... this is the case for me and the Waterworks Museum in Boston (technically Brookline)  I have for years driven by this beautiful building and remarked to myself how stunning the architecture is and thought "wouldn't it be cool to check it out"  As it so happens, I drove by the building this morning and as I passed decided to turn around and make today the day I learn more.

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WaterworksMuseum

Located directly on the site of the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir, the Waterworks building was conceived to hold a very large water pumping station to serve the Boston area in the late 1880's.  The station was fully operation until 1975. The exterior of the building does not immediately appear to serve an industrial function and although it is remarkable in itself, the engineering surprises hidden inside are even more fascinating. 

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WaterworksMuseum

The Great Engines Hall, which houses three historic, steam-powered pumping engines, is a Steampunk lovers paradise! I found the main hall to be filled with many interesting details, all of which are a great sources of inspiration - the red brick of the building, the huge expanse of windows, the wooden slated ceiling detail, the shinny brass fixtures from the pump valves and fixtures, the curving spiral stairs and the black of the wrought iron - all serve to tell a story and may find their way into some future creative pieces/patterns.

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To learn more about this wonderful building and the mission of the Waterworks Museum, click HERE or follow on Twitter.  A quick shout-out to Alan, thank you for the tour and building history-much appreciated!

Discover - Studio Lilla Form

StudioLillaForm

Studio Lilla Form is run by Cathy Westrell Nordström. Cathy who started out as a graphic designer then decided after many years in the business to instead to pursue her love of surface pattern design.  Hum mm...sounds familiar! I discovered Cathy's pattern designs and illustrations thru her Instagram feed.  Her style is minimalist and very much "Scandinavian" influenced.  I love her use of color and simple forms which she combines into complex and appealing patterns.

You can find more of Studio Lilla Form on their web site and via the following social media channels.  I hope you enjoy and don't forget to share!

Website: Studio Lilla Form

Instagram: Studio Lilla Form

Pinterest: Studio Lilla Form

 

Discover - Lulu & Luca

Lulu&Luca

I love the simple clean designs from Lulu&Luca.  I am still fine tuning my block prints and hope to work my way into learning how to screen print which would be the next step in my print making evolution. Lulu&Luca offers a range of screen printed home decor items which are expertly rendered. The mid century inspired designs are wonderful and would complement any home.

Lulu&Luca can be found online and at the following social media channels.  I hope you enjoy and please don't forget to share!  

Website: Lulu&Luca

Instagram: Lulu&Luca

Facebook: Lulu&Luca

Twitter: Lulu&Luca