No green thumb? No problem! I may or may not struggle a bit with keeping my house plants alive. Some do swimmingly and some crash and burn. So this year I decided to rid myself of some of the stress and go faux! That’s right, I’m jumping on the fake plant bandwagon. But I couldn’t just have any plain ol’ plants, I wanted Painted Faux House Plants! Polka dots, shapes, and stripes (a la this!)! Instead of giving myself a makeover for the new year, I’m giving the plants a makeover! Just find some homely faux plants and jazz them up with paint to give them a new life.
Get the full tutorial for the plants!
Our Interview with Lynne Millar
What did you dream of becoming when you were younger versus what you do now?
When I was little I wanted to be a CIA agent. I really liked the idea of wearing sunglasses all the time and taking on different names. (The one I really hoped I’d get assigned was “Samantha”) Now that I’ve watched several seasons of Homeland I’m realizing that career would have been a terrible fit for me.
What sparked your interest in painting? How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a painter?
When I wasn’t forcing my little sisters to call me Samantha, I spent a lot of time drawing, painting and writing stories. My family lived right outside of Washington DC and my parents were so great about taking us to museums all the time, so art has always felt like an important part of the world to me. In college I was intimidated by the idea of being graded on my art – it felt too personal and scary to me – so I majored in Art History instead. It was a great choice. I loved every one of my classes, and having those years to marinate the stories of artists has given me so much to draw from and mainly, aspire to.
Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? Did you ever feel pressured to pursue a certain profession?
When I graduated from college I really thought I was going to pursue a graduate degree in Art History and hoped to eventually work in a museum. I ended up getting married and while my husband was in medical school I had a variety of random jobs – I worked at the medical school in a couple of different labs, I worked as a Montessori preschool teacher, and I took a lot of night classes at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.
I wanted to paint, more than anything, but lacked the confidence to take my dreams seriously, and also lacked an understanding of how I could build a sustainable career in art. When my husband started his residency we started our family, which kept me very busy. Years later, our youngest started preschool and I finally had reliable blocks of uninterrupted time that I committed to spend painting. I studied and practiced and threw myself into whatever classes I could take, and through instagram I met and became close with a group of artists who are a constant source of inspiration and mentorship.
Social media has really made it an option to be an artist on one’s own terms – you can define if you want to sell directly over instagram, work with print shops, develop gallery relationships, focus on shows… there is so much blessed flexibility in how you can shape and focus a painting career. And it’s been so invaluable to have good friends who are doing all of those things in different ways.
Now that you live in Central California, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work?
Having grown up on the east coast, settling in the Central Valley of California was a big aesthetic change for me. It took me some time to open my eyes to the beauty in the flatter, arid landscape. But now I’m happy to report that I love the big skies, the clusters of trees, and the beautiful gentle roll of the golden hills. Our town happens to have lots of fields where ranchers graze their sheep and cows, which I love seeing as we drive around doing our errands.
What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?
Did you ever read Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery? The heroine Emily is a writer and when she’s hit by inspiration, she experiences something she calls “the flash,” where she is overcome by a wild desire to capture the essence of whatever powerful thing she’s just experienced. I think this is my favorite part of painting and I’ve learned that it’s something that you can cultivate in yourself: developing a sensitivity to the things in the world that you want to consume and express – or even just notice. My “flash” moments are never as dramatic as Emily’s but they make my life richer and happier, and it’s something that I’m actively working on all the time – cultivating a keen sense of notice and delight. This is the first and favorite part of being an artist for me.
What is a typical day like for you?
Since March, like many of you, 3 of my 4 kids have been home with me every day. Every Single Day. ALL THE TIME. I feel really lucky that they are a bit older (10, 13, 17 – my oldest is 19 and he’s flown the coop) so they have been able to be fairly independent in managing their distance learning and I’m theoretically able to work in my studio. (Bless you who are doing distance learning with younger kids!!) That being said, it’s a challenge to get into creative flow with the stopping and starting that’s part of living in a pandemic household – I find that I need to do many a surprise-check on my 10 year old to make sure she’s doing her school and not just playing minecraft. Before the pandemic, I had a pretty consistent routine of sending the kids off to school in the morning then painting from at least 10-2, but now it’s definitely a lot more loosey-goosey. I feel that I should be honest and acknowledge that some days, my studio has been a bit of a refuge. I’m so grateful that I have a space where I can go hide!
What is your workspace like? Has it changed since the pandemic?
We have a loft upstairs that I use for my studio. It has good light and room for me to store my unwieldy collection of art supplies and books and my easels and still life set-ups but to my point in the previous question, there is also a half-wall that divides the studio from the rest of the upstairs hallway. On the other side of the wall (the one inside my studio), we have tucked a sofa and I’ve discovered that if I lie down completely flat on the sofa, NO ONE CAN SEE ME!
What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you?
I think the best art advice I’ve ever gotten was from my friend Vince: he’s a lot older than me and when I first started painting seriously, he told me that you learn way more from your crappy paintings than from the ones that work out. That’s been a lodestone for me for sure, because I make a lot of crappy paintings! And I think the advice has broader application as well – recognizing and fixing mistakes of all kinds is the work of a life.
What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?
My advice is to be flexible and proactive. And to not be shy about reaching out to other creatives to ask questions and create networks. Also, be prepared to work really really hard! When you are your own boss, nothing happens unless you just put your head down and do it/figure it out. Think of setbacks as opportunities to learn new skills and evaluate what skill you might need to learn to avoid that same setback in the future.
I have found that having a career in a creative field requires a very random collection of skills outside the actual skill of creating the art/product: navigating social media, building websites, understanding taxes, learning photo editing software, packaging & shipping, marketing, etc. Try and approach it all with glee, appreciating the many surprising things you find yourself capable of doing!
What artists and creatives do you look up to? Both historical and present.
Oh so many! Helene Schjerfbeck, Kathleen Speranza, Louise Balaam, Brian Kershisnik, Leslie Duke, Julia Hawkins, Maria Oakey Dewing, Cecilia Beaux, John Singer Sargent, Manet. Casically I admire all artists who strive to find their voice.
What has been inspiring you lately?
This summer and early fall was so hot and a bit miserable with the persistent smoke from the terribly tragic wildfires. With the cooler weather, the roses in our valley have begun to take off again. I must say that I find it to be incredibly poignant to see what nature offers up to us even as we are all in the midst of so much turmoil. It’s such a lesson in patience and hope.
How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?
I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit like some tape has been ripped off of my soul in 2020. This year has been a time of profound re-orientation for me. I’ve realized how much suffering there is in the world that I’d had the dubious privilege of generally not paying attention to. I’ve been training to teach art classes at the correctional center in our county. During that training, I’ve plunging into the topic of restorative justice and the positive role that the arts can play in the healing of individuals. Doing that has opened a whole new realm of thinking for me. I have so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to this new experience.
Is there anything more you would like to “become?
I hope to come out of this year having become softer, more empathetic, more perceptive.
Where to find Lynne Millar
Shop her art collection in our Print Shop here.
Follow her on instagram!
I’m not necessarily an “electronics” person. In fact, I didn’t have a TV for all of my twenties. However, you’d never know it now with the level of enthusiasm I have when I speak about my new TV. It’s by Samsung and it’s called The Frame and I’m very openly and unabashedly in love with it. Yes, this is TOTALLY a sponsored post, but really, I can’t even express how passionate I am about this piece of technology. I wish you could just come on over and I’d take you through it (stay tuned! I will on InstaStories!). In fact, we sold our previous TV a few days ago and the guy asked why we are selling it… “Because, take a look at this!” and I proceeded to spend 10 minutes telling him how awesome it is. Somehow he still ended up buying our 4 year old used TV. There are the four reasons I love my TV so much.
Go bold or go home
You know we love statement pieces, like upholstered headboards, graphic art prints, or throw pillows galore. And a great rug is probably the best place to start when planning a new interior makeover. Rugs instantly cozy up a room, make it feel complete, and sets the tone ALL without taking up any extra space! It’s the dream decor piece! But due to their price tag we get how easy it is to put a new rug last on your list of priorities. However, hear us out – A rug can truly make your room, and leaving it out can be a big interior design faux pas. Plus, splurging a little on a rug can allow you to tone down the other purchases without sacrificing your end goal – a thoughtful, specific, and well-curated space. That is truly the power a good rug has! Why? Because a statement rug instantly conveys what look you are going for (vintage, boho, minimal?), sets the main color scheme, and makes everything look more finished. Trust us, don’t skip the rug. And if we still haven’t convinced you, you’ll find even more ways to use a rug to complete the look below!
Of course if you are in a creative mood, we have some DIY rug options for you. Like this Matisse inspired cut out rug above! Or for something even simpler try this DIY “friendship bracelet” inspired rug that will keep your hands busy during your next Netflix binge.
But if you’re more in the mood for some online shopping, we feel you! Explore the links below to find the afforable rug of your dreams.
You all know that, up until recently, my Lars uniform was a puffy, flowy dress in any color or pattern I could find. I lived in dresses! In any weather or circumstance, I would never fail to don a dress. However, since welcoming Felix into the world and moving the Lars office into my home – I must admit, I have found a new uniform of choice. LOUNGEWEAR. Who knew I would ever become a loungewear gal?! NOT ME! Ha!
In fact, this new obsession of mine has taken over my wardrobe so completely that most days I find myself sliding into full-on pajama territory. I basically wear the same thing night to day…and then night again. But honestly, I’m not even mad about it. The latest addition to my PJ drawer is this set from the Sleepy Jones + Purple collaboration. When my favorite sleepwear brand and mattress company put their minds together to create a new pair of PJs, you just know they will be the most comfortable item in your closet.
How to Complete The Ultimate Cozy Look
My favorite part of these new Sleepy Jones + Purple Pajamas? THE STRETCH. I could go on and on about the stretch. Especially when my time is currently spent feeding Felix and working at the same time (somehow?!). I feel stretched thin, so of course I need my loungewear to feel stretchy too. They truly provide the all day comfort I have been longing for.
I do need to tell you now though, ordering your own pair of Purple PJs is a fluffy, soft, and slippery slope that will inevitably lead to a full Purple bedtime set up. And that is where I find myself now, wearing my new pajamas, surrounded by new Purple SoftStretch Sheets, and Harmony Pillow. But can you blame me? “Stretch” and “harmony” are suddenly my two favorite words, especially to describe my sleeping situation.
To complete my night time routine, I decided to add a DIY Sleeping Mask to match my new stretchy goodness made from a quilt (remember our quilted coat tutorial?!)! I am already dreaming of the endless good nights of rest I’ll be getting now and perhaps you might benefit from it as well!
DIY Quilted Sleeping Mask
Items made from quilts (like the now popular quilted coat) is the new black and so I had to try my hand at it. It helped that I had scraps leftover from when Romy made mine. Turns out, it makes the coziest sleeping mask (and you better believe I’ll also be turning it into a face mask!)
- Print and cut out your template. Make sure that your printer settings are set to print actual size.
- Trace your template onto your quilt or top fabric, your satin, and your cotton batting. Cut these out.
- With the front of the satin facing up, place the satin on top of the batting and pin in place. Pin the two strips of elastic to the satin/batting layer with the ends lining up where the triangular markings on the template are. Make sure that the elastic isn’t twisting and that they don’t cross.
- With the front facing down, pin the quilt piece to the satin/batting layer. You now have a sleep mask sandwich with batting on the bottom, then satin facing up, then elastic, then your quilt piece facing down.
- Mark two places at the top of your mask about three inches apart where you will start and stop the stitching. You need to leave this space so that you can flip your mask inside out.
- With a seam allowance of 3/8ths of an inch, sew around the outside of your mask.
- Grade this seam by cutting the batting layer closer to the seam. This makes it so that the outside of your mask doesn’t have such a bulky section around the perimeter.
- Flip your mask inside out from the space you measured out in step 5. Now the end is in sight! You should have satin in the back and your quilt facing forward, with elastic to hold it to your face.
- Gently iron your mask with the satin side down. When you do this, fold the raw edges from the hole under so that they blend in with the rest of the perimeter. Pin in place.
- Topstitch around the outside of the mask. This is where you will close the hole you left to flip it inside out.
- Following the seams in your quilt, stitch in the ditch to quilt together your layers. Trim all your threads, snuggle up in bed, and start snoozing.
Once your DIY sleeping mask is complete, pair it with your own Sleepy Jones + Purple PJs for ultimate coziness.
This post was sponsored by Purple. Thank you for interacting with this content, your support helps us create even more project tutorials and artful resources for you and your family. Thank you!
My new studio space has wonderful wood flooring. Two rooms are a beautiful herringbone pattern and the other is plain vertical planking. I’m ACHING to paint on some black and white diamonds like this party scene on the plain planking and then keep the integrity of the herringbone with a wonderful stain. What do you think? Have you ever done either? Any tips?
Have you ever heard of Day of the Dead Ofrendas? If you’ve seen the movie Coco, you probably get the gist. Ofrenda means ‘offering’ in Spanish and is a display set up to remember and honor your ancestors. The ofrenda consists of several components including photos of past loved ones, candles, fruits and sweets, flowers, papel picado, and more. It serves as a chance to welcome those ancestors who have passed back into your home and heart. Not to mention it creates the most beautiful display overflowing with flowers and foliage! We’re creating a modern-day take on the Ofrenda with foraged greenery, one that you can easily recreate and keep up all month long! This is my ideal kind of holiday decor, not to mention the sentimentality of it is so special!
Recently, Paul and I completed our 23andMe DNA tests, something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and we are now anxiously awaiting our reports. With the Halloween season upon us, what better way to celebrate and learn more about my family history than with my very own ofrenda! This display is the perfect way to decorate for the season, but also a wonderful chance to learn more about yourself and your heritage. Win win!
– See how easy the 23andMe service process is, discover more about your ancestry and get inspired to create your own Ofrenda
Home renovation update
Before we jump into gardening inspo, I wanted to start off with a little house renovation update. There was one wall in the basement that was…how do we say…naked when we closed. It looked like this.
Every contractor who saw it said that they had never seen anything like it. Frankly, it made me a little nervous hearing things like that.
Earthquake proof and everything proof foundation walls
TURNS OUT! The people who built it got in touch with me on Instagram and have provided a lot of insight. It’s so thrilling. They said that it’s called pollysteel–steel framing with styrofoam. It’s earthquake proof, termite proof, fire proof, and provides better insulation. VERY cool, right? I’m hoping to learn more about the house from them. They’ve already shared a few really touching stories.
I had some drywall experts come on over and they finished it up beautifully.
Up, that’s the only update. Kind of boring, but I’m all about the baby steps right now.
Ok, now to garden inspiration…The landscaping is mostly super boring town right now. Only lawn but some beautiful sycamore trees. Sycamores remind me of my grandparents home in Los Angeles so I do feel like it’s coming full circle and I’m super stoked about them.
We’ll probably do some different entrance path at some point, again, low on the priority list.
And here’s the side yard.
And the other side yard. It’s very slopey so I’ll need your input on what to do here to make it more interesting and garden-y.
Here’s a better view of the side yard . Just grass. And I know a lot of people LOVE grass squares, but honestly, they give me a major case of the snoozies. It’s kind of a swear word to me when someone says “oh, and there’s a big open lawn, you’ll love it”. The amount of flowers you could plant! (dear pun intended).
And how weird is this. Two times I’ve come to the house and the same deer has been in this exact spot munching away. I missed a couple of opportunities on Instastories for this pun and I can’t ruin it again so…it was a major case of deer-ja vu. Hardy har har.
Please diagnosis this tree
Bonus points to whoever can tell me what’s wrong with the side tree. Also, I think I have tryphobia because this picture gives me the chills up and down my spine.
The back of the house is long and narrow. There’s a deck coming out from the kitchen with some fir trees. I believe, but need to verify the boundary lines. I was told it’s that telephone post to the right of the shed, which is not ours. I think there’s room to be creative here, but we’ll have to figure out what that is.
Ok, that’s what we have to work with. Now what do we do? This is the fun part…the dreaming! Every phase needs a dream because you need to feel excited about something, right?!
Side yard inspo
Here’s what I’m thinking: put that side green grass square to work by making a more formal symmetrical path with a beautiful gravel and hedges and flowers. These inspiration photos are to illustrate the idea of the paths and types of hedges.
A place for walking and exploring, beautiful flowers, foot paths, a place to sit and relax. A spot for manicured topiaries contrasted with more wild shrubs.
I haven’t flushed out the front yard yet, but I know there’s one thing on the agenda and that’s hydrangeas. There’s ONE type of hyrdangea that grows here in Utah. All the others don’t survive the desert heat. My sister has a neighbor where they are thriving. See?
They only come in that one color and I don’t know the name yet, but they’re so lush. And this house is north facing, as it ours, so I’m feeling like it would be a good plan for the front of the house.
As for the backyard, I don’t have any idea yet…but I’m open to suggestions. Side yard too.
In the mean time, in my mind I’m sitting in the south of France in my side yard and I’m feeling PRETTY good.
Favorite gardeners to follow on Instagram
If you’re needing a big dose of garden inspiration, I ADORE following Danish garden expert, Claus Dalby on Instagram. He’s SO informative and his grounds are out.of.this.world. He gives constant live tours (“livesending” he calls it and he begins every video with “hallo hallo”. I live for it.) We might need to bring a little (a lot!) of Denmark into this project. It’s only right 😉
Also, Monty Don has gotten me through COVID so do yourselves a favor and go watch all of his documentaries ASAP.
Would love your input, especially about sloping side yard and back yard!
Recreate these amazing rooms
Here is how you can recreate these rooms that use rattan furniture perfectly!
Bonus tip: Try painting your rattan a fun color! Like that teal hanging light in the first room, so fun! Below you will find some examples of cane furniture leveled up with some paint, or in it’s natural form!
Our Favorite Rattan Furniture Picks
DIY Rattan Mirror
If you want to try out this trend without a new purchase, try out DIY rattan mirror tutorial!
You can find all moodboard photos saved on our Pinterest, here.