Becoming Tabitha Sewer

Tabitha Sewer

What do you consider yourself?

I consider myself a sewist (sewing artist), fashion designer, and businesswoman.

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I’m a military brat which means I grew up all over the world. As a kid, I had the privilege of growing up around many different cultures which now allows me to be more open-minded about all different kinds of people.

Growing up, I watched my mom make her own clothes as well as mine and many of her friends. I always dreamed of becoming as good as her, and remember telling myself that I wanted to get to the point of being able to look at something and recreate it. I always felt like that was a true talent, and after many, many years of practice, I can now do just that!

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

Don’t laugh. When I was in elementary school I had high hopes of becoming a store cashier. LOL! Little did I know that dream was bigger than I imagined. I accomplished it in a way by becoming an entrepreneur and selling my products all over the world.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path?

My mother for sure! I never liked sewing growing up and she would always try to teach me but I didn’t have the patience necessary for it. After serving 10.5 years in the Air Force, I needed something to do while at home raising my kids so I learned to sew with the help of my mom. Ten years later and I’m still learning but have now turned it into a business.

What inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My passion for fashion. I know that sounds corny, but when I was a kid my friends would always ask me for fashion advice and how to put together looks for school. Now I get to do that on a larger scale with social media and have, of course, added the extra step of actually hand-making my clothes.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

While building my business, I always wanted to think of a way to give back to my community. Everyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love creating costumes and do it every year for my kiddos. As my kids have gotten older I’ve joked that I was going to borrow someone else’s kid to dress up for Halloween and last year, Oct 2022, I did just that. I visited a mom group on Facebook and asked if anyone had a child in a wheelchair because I would love to create a costume for that child.

A mom reached out to me and told me she had two kids but I only had one week to make these costumes! I shared the whole process online and the next thing I knew, when I went to present the costumes to the children, our local news was there on sight to film their reaction. There were lots of tears, smiles, and happiness. It made me feel so good! Most importantly, my kids were a part of the entire process and were there to see the results of doing a good deed in this way. We are looking forward to doing it again and blessing another family.

What is your creative process like?

It’s pretty simple. It goes a little something like this:
I see it, I like it, I want it, I make it.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

Social media.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

My favorite artists at the moment are Christina Martinez and Thee Bouffants.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

Emily in Paris, Bridgerton, and I will forever and always be a Gilmore Girls fan (#TeamDean).

As for music, I love listening to gospel and worship music. It’s so uplifting and puts me in a good mood.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto?

When I was a young adult in the US Air Force, my dad told me to go out there and make both him and my mom proud. In everything I do I think of them, and I work hard to become successful so I may be a product of what he and my mom taught me.

What is a typical day like for you?

It’s funny because as a DIY sewing content creator, people think I sew all day, every day. In reality, I’m at the computer most of the day sitting in on meetings, trying to scout inspiration, write blog posts, and answer emails. There are very few hours in a day that I will spend behind a sewing machine.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Be patient with yourself and don’t mimic what someone else is doing. Create something from your own outlook and creativity. The creative world loves to see everyone’s different perspectives.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

One skill that I don’t really share online is that I sing. I’ve been in plenty of competitions and won when I was younger. I don’t enter competitions anymore but I still love to sing and enjoy doing it at church.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

I would like to continue to become a good mom to both of my kids. They are currently in their transformative years and I want to be able to love them as much and as hard as I can before they get tired of me. LOL!

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

I hope to be able to create several passive incomes. I also have a few ideas that I haven’t accomplished as of yet but hope to in the next year or so.

Becoming: Jessica Peterson

Becoming: Jessica Peterson

Thank you, Jessica, for sharing more about yourself!

What do you consider yourself?

I consider myself an artist, photographer and maker. I am a trained photographer–I earned a BFA in Photography at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I always dreamed of being an artist. I wanted to be a painter or illustrator. I loved to draw and it was always my favorite subject in school.

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I grew up in Provo, Utah.  I had a weird childhood, it wasn’t the norm in the area. I grew in a home with a working mother and three older brothers, I always joke that I was raised by wolves. My mother had a big influence on the way I see nature and life, she is a sweet woman who loves to grow things and immerses herself in nature–a farm girl at heart.

Besides being ultra kind she always taught me that it was okay to be a little different and that it’s okay to embrace your imperfections. All three of my brothers are creatives, I have a film maker brother, a painter and tattooer brother and a small business owner brother. My oldest brother was always giving me art lessons at home, teaching me about composition, perspective and color theory.  I was surrounded by art lovers growing up and that definitely played a part in what I do now.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now?

Not necessarily, but I would say that after having my first child almost 5 years ago there has been a big shift in life. I have always waned to be a mom and now that I have three children 4 and under life is busy and my priorities have shifted. I know this time in my life is so short where I will have my kids home and small, I want to take advantage of that so the time I have to create is limited and sacred. I find myself making and doing personal art projects in the evening after the kids go to bed as well as when I have a job lined up I get childcare. But the days of long hours away for work don’t happen too often.

What sparked your interest in felting? What attracted you to this field?

I loved the endless potential felting offers. I am able to make just about any kind of prop I want for my photography and it opens up a lot of creative avenues to explore. I can also use felting as an art form in itself.  My main medium of art is photography though I am dependent on others to model for me as well as going on location and setting up lighting  for the creation process. With felting I can do it anytime and anywhere.

What are three words to describe your style?

Playful, exotic, weird

What are some stereotypes of your job that you wish to break?

As a photographer I hate the stereotype that my job is simply a mindless hobby and I take “pictures”. I actually don’t like telling people what I do because of the stereotypes of being a female photographer. I would love to explain to people that there can be a lot of depth, meaning, humor, healing, educating is done with photography.

What is a typical day like for you?

Most days I wake up and take care of my kids, because they are 1, 3 and 4 they are my daily priority. After taking care of their needs I usually get about a 2 hour gap of time for myself while naps are happening, this is when I get some time to do research, felt, draw or work on images.  We usually put the kids down around 7 and on the evenings that I have energy I will get back to work.

When I am doing a project I am super excited about it can keep me up quite late.  When I am feeling stretched or on a time crunch for a project I will hire someone to watch the kids during the day. I know I only have another year or two that my kids are this small and it will go by quickly so I try to make sure to balance life and enjoy them.

I waited a long time for my kids and I always planned to put some of my passions on the back burner while they were young. (Back burner to me means that my passions are still stewing, they are kept warm, they are tended to and tasted and consumed and at times they get my full attention).

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year?

I work at home, I used to have an entire room as my office, but after my second child was born we needed the space for him so I moved my work area into our oversized laundry room but now that my husband works from home I have a work space in the corner of our living room.

It actually is really nice because it has great light and sometimes the kids can just do their thing and play while I get things done. My goal for the next year is to either build a studio shed in our yard to work from or find a home with plenty of space for our family and my passions.

Pop culture appears to influence your work. Can you tell us about that? What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

I do love pop culture! I love anything that makes my imagination start to run.  In college I bought a DVD of Michel Gondry music videos and I watched them all the time. I was in love with his work, it made me want to go out and create worlds.  I loved that he uses practical effects to make real life feel like magic. His work is weird, quirky and fun yet emotional.

I have gobs of art books on my shelves, some of my favorite photo books are from artists that plucked phenomenal portraits of strange people and scenes and gifted them to others (Alec Soth, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Martin Parr are some of my favorites).

I have books and books of illustrators and painters and when feel dry I can flip through them and they give lend me their ideas for mine to sprout from.

I also love tv shows that embrace humor–one of my favorites is 30 Rock. I think I enjoy seeing that there are other adults with weird ideas that are successful. I don’t like to take myself too seriously. Life is too short to not live it authentically.

What is the most challenging part of your work? How have you, or how do you, overcome those challenges?

I can think of three things.

1. The first one is time. Time is something I really took for granted before I Had my children, I wish I made things from sunrise to sundown before they came. I have such thin slots of time to make things.

2. Money–a lot of my ideas take some money. I want props and costumes, make-up artists or piles of yarn and I know my passion projects won’t really have any monetary rewards so I have to pick and choose which ideas to explore.

3. And my biggest challenge is one I have battled with from day one and that is FEAR. I hate it. I absolutely despise that fact that I have these inner voices (some have previously existed from actual voices and most are ones I have manifested on my own). There is the fear of failure. Creating something that is stupid.

I will tell you what, I have been wanting to create this specific photo for over 12 years now, I have the costumes/masks in my storage unit I have the idea on loop in my head but I am so afraid that I will execute the thing and it will look juvenile and cheesy (but not in a good way). Maybe I will dust off the boxes this weekend and find some poor soul to squeeze into the morph suits and rubber masks and I will make the image a reality.

Where is one place that you’ve never been to that you’d like to explore?

I would love to go to Tokyo. It seems like such a colorful and eclectic city. I want to go photograph and eat all the things.

How has social media influenced your work?

I love that I can make something fun and see that it has inspired someone or made someone laugh. I also love being able to peek into other creatives lives and see their work spaces and journeys.

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

My goals for the next 5-10 years is to self publish a photobook. I have a few projects I would die to do when the time is right. I dream of the day I can work on one idea from beginning to end and have an entire book dedicated to it that I can put on my coffee table.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Just do it. Don’t be afraid. Don’t compare yourself and just go to work. Also, be inspired and run with that, put “you” into what you make. Also, I love YouTube! There are so many people putting great content out there.

You can see some of Jessica’s work for Lars here:

The original Lars balloon arch
Mommy and Me Halloween costumes
3 Holiday Looks

You can find Jessica here

Her website
On Instagram

My Life in Color: My Unexpected Journey to Being a Muralist

My Life in Color: My Unexpected Journey to Being a Muralist

A bathroom changed my life, and my relationship with color, forever.

Through a combination of leaving my job, breaking my leg, and entering a global pandemic, I had some time on my hands. I was weathering the brunt of the pandemic at my parents’ house when my mother suggested I add some color to the bathroom. With white walls, white counters, white tiles, and white fixtures it had all the ambience of a hospital.

I could definitely slap some paint on a bathroom wall. But it was my mother’s innocent suggestion—“Why don’t you paint some flowers on the wall?”—that set me on a path blooming with color.

The white, drab, and dreary before.

I feel like I should note here that I had technically worked as “an artist” in high school when I ran my own henna business. But it was mostly copying pre-fab designs, and the henna we used only came in one color—no guesswork needed. Also, this cow was our most popular design.  Truly high art.

The bestselling cow.

At this point in my life, I rarely even doodled. And if I did, I only doodled in black because I was afraid. Afraid of color, afraid of not being “artistic” enough, and struggling with the loss of confidence and creativity that many of us face in adulthood.

So, painting the bathroom meant approaching the world of color from scratch. I was terrified. I tried to explain to my mother how this was a grave mistake, but she was having none of it. She dug up pictures of the magical Maison Atelier Suzanne by Nathalie Lété to act as a guide and sent me on my merry way.

 

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A post shared by NathalieLete (@nathalie_lete)

I worked seven days a week for five weeks during that long, hot quarantine summer learning how to choose colors, mix paint, and get literally anything to look good on the walls. By the end, I had to repaint the first wall I’d done because it looked so amateurish next to the others.

The bathroom was completely transformed, and so was I. Did you know you have the permission to just transform spaces with color? It’s WILD.

The behind-the-scenes chaos of learning.  Failed mixed palettes everywhere, endless swatches trying to get the right color, and lots of inspiration pinned to the walls.
From drab to fab, a glimpse of the finished space.  Complete with my favorite part–gold paint!

From there I couldn’t stop dreaming about building a more colorful world. The fear was still there, but it was assuaged by the idea that even my beginner effort had brought joy into the world.  The only permission I needed to work large and make big, colorful mistakes was my own. I took online art classes and spent hours with the Procreate app and painting projects trying to figure out what the heck to do with color.

A year and a half after my first mural, I launched my very own mural business: Anne Meredith Design. A couple months after that, I went full time. Color has helped me take charge of my spaces, my career, and my life. And now my whole life revolves around transforming spaces with the power of color!

Living the dream painting in a ski cabin.
Can you resist this color moment??

With each new project, I get to help others take control of their spaces with color. One client had been slowly trying to make her home feel truly hers. We painted beautiful fat naked ladies in her living room—and now there is absolutely no doubt that the space is hers.  Another client had a windowless “zoom room” at their corporate headquarters that was so depressing, staff would vie with each other to not use the space. After we added a wrap-around flower garden, the staff now fight to be in that space.

Now that’s how you stake a claim on your space!
This workspace went from zero to hero.

Before launching Anne Meredith Design, I worked in the world of history and museums. And that side of myself needs to tell you something. For thousands of years humans have expressed themselves, their culture, their status, their dreams, and everything in-between by adding color to their clothes, walls, pottery, and furniture.

At no time in history have we had this much access to color–whether it’s in paint, dyes, inks, etc. Nor has it ever been this cheap to use it. We’re pretty much obliged to use color these days. It would be rude not to, right?

Why are we letting our spaces be less cool than this Etruscan tomb?

If there is a time to approach color without fear, it is now. I’m not saying you have to paint your whole house pink and wear yellow crossed garters. But maybe paint your room white with a tint of color in it, and let the joy of self-expression in a little (and make your ancestors jealous).

Embracing color, creativity, and pushing past fear changed my life. It’s been just over a year since I launched my business, and I’m in awe every day that this is my life in color now. Come paint the town red with me. Or even just your bathroom.

Caught in the colorful act.
Living the dream painting a bridal boutique and playing dress-up.

You can find Anne:

Follow her journey on Instagram
See more of her work on her website

Read the first essay in the My Life in Color series here

Becoming Danika Herrick

Becoming Danika Herrick

My company is Danika Herrick, Inc., I’m a Surface Pattern Designer located north of Boston, MA and I create and design fabric and wallpaper.

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

Designer seems to be the “umbrella” that covers everything I do.  I’ve worn a lot of hats from Interior Designer, Decorative Artist, to Surface Pattern Designer.  I am always “designing” something!

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I grew up in a little town called Highland Mills, NY.  It was about an hour north of NYC.

My parents always encouraged my sisters and I to be creative. This was during the 70’s and 80’s- so we would use whatever resources we had and put on neighborhood plays, had fashion shows (our entire line was made from Shop-Rite paper bags, staples and tape) and had plenty of entrepreneurial endeavors like selling grapevine wreaths and painted rocks to the neighbors.  I think our neighbors hid when we would come knocking!

Our house was always under construction, and my love of  DIY stemmed from this. My Mom would come up with the design and My Dad would build it. In 1st grade I asked my teacher if I could go home because my Dad was digging a foundation and I would much rather be doing that.

We also took lots of art classes.  To this day I am so grateful my Mom encouraged us to do this because it really helped to build my confidence. It also fostered my love of learning.  When I find myself stuck or not knowing how to do something I will seek out answers on Google or Skillshare.

Oh, one more thing that shaped me was that my parents would drag us to antique stores, flea markets, and the family trips were more Colonial Williamsburg than Disneyland.  While we weren’t thrilled as kids they definitely made an impression.  I find my patterns have a nod to the past and timeless design, and all the years of staring at shelves and shelves of Flo-blue plates and ginger jars can be seen in my work. Thanks Mom and Dad!

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

A Nun! I went through a phase when I was about 3 or 4. I would dress up in rosary beads and shrouds of lace doilies.  My Mom had a bag of big of vintage crocheted table runners she bought at a yard sale and I would wrap myself in them and make my own habit.  She was a great sport, and I went everywhere dressed in my elaborate headdresses and beads for a while.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

So despite having a really creative childhood and always taking art classes, I went to college for Biology.  I loved AP Bio in highschool and thought “I’m good at this.  Maybe this is what I am supposed to do”.  Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year. I had lasted one day as a Biology major. The long 5 hour labs killed it for me. I bounced from Communications to Psychology, and finally took a required elective art class. It felt natural.  I was plugged into my creative side, but also terrified!  How was I going to make a career out of this?  The stereotype of being a starving artist haunted me. I called my Mom in tears one day, afraid of failing and that I had no idea what I was doing.  All my friends seemed to know what they wanted to do.  She was so supportive and calmly told me that I have always been creative and what works for one person isn’t going to work for me. If I was passionate about something, I needed to pursue it.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now?

My career feels like a long road full of forks… I have had several career changes but they felt really fluid and natural. One would lead me to the next.  My first job was working as a Decorative Artist in New York.  I got to work on so many beautiful spaces and I really became bitten by the world of interiors.  I wanted to do more than just paint the walls and floors, and I went back to school in Boston to study Interior Design.

While in school I had a few internships with fabric companies and fell in love with patterns- but it would be a while until that seed would sprout.  I worked as an Interior Designer for two decades and during that time I met so many inspiring people and had lots of little side projects from blogging and starting a fretwork company.  I discovered Spoonflower while I was blogging and was instantly smitten.  I had always wanted to create a fabric collection, and here was this platform that allowed me to design, print and sell my own patterns.

I had to brush up on my Photoshop skills and learn how to put my artwork into seamless repeats, but I would spend all my free time from 2011-2014 doing this.  I began creating collections and designs were selling.  I slowly added more and more designs and it suddenly became my full time business. I retired from interior Design in 2012 and gave it my full attention.

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

I have made so many great friends through Instagram and Zoom.  I am an introverted-extrovert, and very content to be alone and work, but when I find like minded creatives I am so excited! Quite often I will be DM-ing with someone and it will lead to a Zoom chat with drinks.

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year?

I work from home and have slowly taken over several rooms in our house.  I have a main office on the first floor where I do my painting and computer editing, and I took over half of our guest room as a studio space where I store all my art and sewing supplies. Designing patterns requires testing out scale and color, so the surfaces of our home are my constantly changing canvas. 

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump?

Do one thing and do it well.  I have a highly distracted ADD brain, and I love to multitask and do ALL the things, but it’s usually at my own demise. I would always find myself with so many unfinished projects and just feeling overwhelmed as many creatives do.  I looked at my strengths and weaknesses and realized I was great at hyperfocusing on things I enjoyed. I did a little experiment and decided I would just focus on fabric design for a month.  I drew, took classes, expanded my website- and almost immediately I saw so much growth!  I also felt less chaotic.  I realized that while I was good at doing several things at once, I was great at doing just one.  To this day, I really try to map out that one thing I want to accomplish- and if I get in a slump I take a class and learn something new. That almost always triggers new ideas.

What is a typical day like for you?

Monday- Friday are all business and then I try to go off the grid Saturday and Sunday. The weekends are when I am my most creative because there are less distractions- it’s when I paint and create the artwork fo my designs.

My average day starts with a pot of coffee and getting my emails and custom design requests organized and prioritized. I am a paper list maker so I like to plan my day and cross things off as I go.  Once I get through that I will Photoshop and work on digitizing my artwork.  Working from home is great, and I love what I do, but I can easily get lost in it.  Quite often I sit down with my coffee and suddenly I’m like “how is it already dinner time?”

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

Delegating and time management. I am just the worst, but I am trying!

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business?

Grow slowly and organically if you can.  I hate debt and try to avoid taking loans or racking up my credit card if it’s not absolutely necessary.  As I’ve grown and made extra money I reinvest in myself.  Start with what you need, you will always have wants (for me its art supplies and better computers or software)- just don’t put yourself into debt if you don’t need to.  I set yearly financial goals for myself and when I hit them and have the extra money, I treat myself to that “want” as a reward.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

My goals include collaborations with a few of my favorite designers as well as creating a resort wear collection.  Besides feeling like I work 24/7, I also have a husband, 2 teenage sons and a dog.  My goal is to get better with my time management and be able to spend more quality time with them.  Both boys are both really creative. The older one produces music and has had songs on Billboard and the younger one is an amazing artist/ entrepreneur so I am really excited to see what the future holds for them and the paths they take!

You can see read about Danika Herrick

On her website
On Instagram
On Spoonflower

Becoming Pat Stika (Handy Nanny Pat)

Becoming Pat Stika (Handy Nanny)

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

Grandmother, first and foremost. My late husband was a luthier, we owned The Great Salt Lake Guitar Co on Center Street in Provo. From those 33 years of my life, I was around woodworking enough to have some basic woodworking skills. I have been sewing and embroidering since childhood. My crafting skills branch off from there, and I definitely have the gumption to try most any challenge I come across.

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I was born and raised in Pacific Beach, San Diego. I’m the ninth of twelve children, hence my love of family and all things surrounding the home. I was decorating my room and making furniture for my dolls  from the get go.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I wanted to be a mom. For a brief two years, hopes of being an olympic gymnast swam in my head. I competed and did well, back in the days of Cathy Rigby. Nothing like what the athletes do today. I honestly remember staring out the window at school, though, and thinking about my future home and family.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path?

In my late 50’s I went to some workshops held by artists and crafters I’d followed for years. Mary Engelbreit, Charlotte Lyons, Jenn McGlonn, Cathe Holden, Jone Hallmark, Julie Collings, Aimee Ferre. I found my tribe. The women I met at those workshops were soul sisters and we all remain “insta friends”.

What sparked your interest in the arts?

Growing up in my family, we all sewed. My mother had us all in dance lessons, and sewed many of our costumes. By the time I was in sixth grade, I made my first costume by myself. I started making felt clothing for my trolls in kindergarten. I remember going to the fabric store and picking out the colors of felt. Neon was just coming into fashion, and I chose electric blue and neon pink. It was the sixties, and I was into it! I learned macrame and embroidery in girl scouts. I ordered an embroidery kit offered in McCalls magazine developed by Lady Bird Johnson, when I was in 4th grade. This stuff goes way back..  As a mom, I had a moment of pride when my kids chose to go to the Getty instead of Disneyland on a trip to L.A. I always try to include trips to local museums when I travel.

What are three words to describe your style?

Bold, collected, crafted.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

I took some college classes, but not enough for a degree. My interests in school were writing, volleyball, and business. The way that has affected my current work is that I learned you can’t do everything all at once, but it all works out in the end.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now?

For my actual working career, I worked at TD Ameritrade in sales and also as a SME for SAP integration. I learned a lot, and of course helped pay the bills of raising our four children, but the paycheck was the goal. I left there when one of my sisters died. The grief was overwhelming. Little did I know it would actually be paving the way for going through the experience of my husband’s death the next year. After that I spent time working at Ancestry.com, Delta Airlines, and eBay, before deciding that part time work and pursuing my own interests were the way to go, for me. The time had come to focus on things that truly created joy in my life.

If you have had a career switch, describe the moment that was a turning point when you decided to switch careers.

I was at a crafting workshop in New Mexico at Los Poblanos Inn. The beauty of the surroundings may have had something to do with it, but the women I was crafting with were all of my same vibe. We had come from all over the U.S., varied backgrounds, but it reminded me of girl scouts for grown ups. I realized that the instructors had made great effort to create a career of crafting, and felt that I wanted to shift to a more creative space in my work. To bring my hobbies and interests more into focus.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

Whatever I’m working on is usually my most favorite! The bed for Jasper and refrigerator cabinet I built for Brittany last year do stand out, though. I have some embroidery work that I did as a teenager that has managed to survive to this day, and I still display them proudly.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

I’m inspired by nature, by travel, by my family. I follow my favorite makers and designers on social media. I reflect on my life and gravitate towards bringing back elements that make me happy.

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

When my favorite makers hold workshops and events, I attend if I’m able. The people I meet there are usually like minded, and I’ve begun many friendships that way. Nowadays, people are reaching out to me for information on projects they’ve seen that I’ve done for @houselarsbuilt, and I’ve met people that way, too.

How has social media influenced your work?

Social media has the immediacy of spreading the best of current ideas. I trust myself to choose between what works today, and what I love from the past, to curate my style. For me, the pages of instagram are like the magazine pages of yore. I glean ideas every day.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

In my younger years, it was a mix of impressionist and classical artists. Monet, Renoir, Rubens, Degas, Sargent, Cezanne, Cassatt, van Gogh, with a bit of a pop from Georgia O’Keefe, Maxfield Parrish, Peter Max. The first designer I remember sewing a pattern from was Betsy Johnson. Now I’m going to laugh, because they’re still my favorites. In the years we were raising our children, I took solace in Mary Engelbreit’s work. It spoke so close to everything it took, which of course is everything anyone has and a ton more, to get through those years.

I adore the whimsy of Nathalie Lete. In my home, I have local artists’ works that I know and love. Brian Kershishnik, Ashley Glazier, Michelle Christensen, Colby Sanford, Betsy Croft, Tonya and Steve Vistaunet. I’m also very fond of any woodworking, sewing, and pottery crafts, and the Renwick Gallery in D.C. is a must see when I visit there. I absolutely swoon over Sam Maloof furniture.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

I love all kinds of music. I especially love great music videos. Freedom by Jon Batiste, Ain’t Messin’ Round by Gary Clark Jr, most of Cold Play’s work. When I’m down, I binge watch those to give me the strength to get moving again. I don’t go to the movies as often as I used to, but I really enjoyed Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris last year.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto?

Never, ever, ever give up is my dad’s creed, and I hold that dear. Personally, I believe when you help a child, you’re helping their mother, and that’s always worth doing.

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic?

You’re of course referencing my kitchen table..currently pretty clean! Give it a day or two, and that’ll change. I have an attic that I intend on turning into my workshop, but I need to finish some bigger projects first. Two bathrooms, specifically.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

I always feel best when there is a bit of order to things. Maybe it’s the years of local culture of having once a month visits from friends at church, but I need to have my front room tidy in order for my sense of self to be straight. A workbench with tools in place is a dream that drives me. I won’t stop working on my house until I have that. I have, by necessity, become very creative and flexible about what constitutes a work space. I know how to make do. Perhaps too much.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump?

On a daily basis, I try to spend at least one hour doing a task that allows my creative side to flourish. On days where I don’t work, I want at least four hours of creative time. The winters are brutal to my creativity. I do great through Christmas, then I need a good long winter’s nap, like a month, before I’m ready to stir again. In January, I sleep more than usual. In the years where it works out, I vacation in a warm climate to get out of the cold.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up at 6:30, work out or clean house, whichever suits my fancy. Make breakfast and then go to work M-Th. After work I rest, make dinner, and visit with family. I usually spend between 8-10:30pm working on a project or online doing genealogy. I also have a text chain with my eleven brothers and sisters that can be a riot. My three day weekends are filled with family adventures, and projects around my house.

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

I don’t look back that way.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Get started! There’s certainly no shortage of available information these days. If you’re drawn to it, give it a go.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

I can still do cartwheels, backflips off the diving board, that sort of thing. In terms of crafting, I want to learn to knit this year. I’ve never had the patience for it, but I think I’m getting there.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business?

Anytime you’re in business for yourself, you will have ups and downs. Get used to change and run things lean enough, especially in times of abundance, that you can focus on appreciating assets. For my family, that meant buying a business building before we bought our home. It literally became our nest egg. We had the benefit of both of us working, and my income allowed my husband to grow his business. Our kids seem to have it figured out better than we did, though. They prioritize family time much better than we ever were able to, and for that I’m grateful.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

I am always growing and changing, I feel lucky to have this life of mine, and am currently at a spot where giving back is integrated into my work/life balance. More of that in the future will suit me just fine.

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

I’d like to have my house finished in five years. In ten years, I expect I’ll be a great grandmother, and for me, that will be the greatest.

Thank you Pat for sharing with us!

You can find Pat here

You can find more about Pat here 
And see her work on the alcove bed here
And the fridge she turned into a cabinet

How to make an alcove bed

How to make an alcove bed

I wanted this bed to happen so much, but when I encountered person after person backing out due to timelines I was willing to go to plan b or plan c or even plan z. THANKFULLY, Handy Nanny Pat came to the rescue and said her magical words “to every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the job and *snap* the job’s a game”. Wait…that’s not it… “I can figure it out.” There, that’s more like it.

SO, I asked Pat if she’d be willing to share how she did it and she agreed. Before we get to how to make it, I wanted to share more insight into the design process.

Designing an alcove bed

I shared some inspo yesterday about what I was going for. I wanted a look that would feel Scandinavian, but knowing our time contraints I knew we would be able to go all out on it. That said, I didn’t necessarily want to. I wanted it to feel modern too. Here was my initial sketch:

An alcove bed with custom seating under the two windows in the corner.

I went through various details to arrive at the final including some with drawers, fancy decorative edges, some more in the scallop/wave direction, which I think would be so so fun still

I also played around with what the decorative detail would look like based on Northern  European antique beds (kind of like Knosen Antique’s amazing sleigh bed collection). At one point I had even bought a sleigh bed for Jasper from Nee Nee Twig and it was so so gorgeous. Had I not found anyone to create the bed for me, I probably would have kept going in this direction.

Eventually, I settled on this simple shape based on this inspiration on the right:

I figured I could bring in patterns to liven it up. And this shape was totally doable for Pat. Ha! Or maybe I should let her answer that.

Speaking of, let’s have her answer that! Pat, how do we make the bed?!

How we built the alcove bed by Handy Nanny Pat

Brittany had several photos of alcove beds to draw inspiration from as seen above. Once we decided on a basic design, we chose to make it a full (standard double) size. We envisioned snuggle time with the family for now, and more room for Jasper, the soon to be Nordic giant, as he grows. We also wanted to include a bookshelf inside the alcove.

  1. The basic framework of 2×4’s is attached to the studs in the walls, and the rafters in the ceiling, for stability. We also reinforced the interior joints with these brackets from Home Depot.
  2. From the dimensions of a full size mattress (75”x54”), we added twelve inches to the length, for the bookshelf, as we determined the size. The actual platform for the mattress has an extra couple of inches around it to accommodate bedding and make changing sheets easier.
  3. We knew we wanted to add the substantial step to the entrance of the alcove, so that determined the height of the platform. Our step is approx 12” high, and the mattress top is about 20” high. The mattress platform is about three inches lower than the main opening, so that the bedding tucks in out of site. Brittany’s idea to add a playful window to the end of the alcove turned out fantastic. The kids utilize it in so many ways. Daydreaming, climbing, hanging toys out of it, puppet shows, the whole bit. Plus, it added another side to add curtains to, making the interior view looking out quite the showstopper.
  4. We used this  ¾” plywood from Home Depot for the outside of the alcove and the platform for the bed.
  5. For the trim at the bottom of the entrance and top of the window, we used a jigsaw to cut out the shape that Brittany designed on the faceplates, and then glued another two ¾” plywood pieces of the same shape to back them. They’re a substantial 2 1/4” thick. As you can see from the progress photos, there is wood filler in the cracks, and we took care to sand them nice and smooth, and round out the edges. We added a bit of definition trim to the exterior, and crown molding to the top of the frame. Also, beadboard to the interior ceiling and end walls, for added appeal. The supports for the shelf were bought at Lowes. You can find them here.
  6. Building the step was fun. It’s built like a Mack Truck, and is not going anywhere, anytime soon. The frame is built from 2×4’s and covered with the same ¾” plywood. You’d be surprised how much it weighs! The boys are up and down it a dozen times a day, as expected.
  7. A bit about finishing work. It took a full week to do the trim, add the interior beadboard, and sand smooth the whole bed. The end result is a piece of furniture that will not only stand the test of time, but has a great base for whatever future paint options may be coming its way. It’s important to do a base coat of oil based primer when you’re working with raw wood. This keeps the tannins from seeping through and discoloring the paint. We used this one here.
  8. We used foam rollers for the paint, to keep the finish smooth. Our final coat of paint is California Hills by Benjamin Moore.
  9. We used standard curtain rods on the inside as the last part of the construction.
  10. The wallpaper mural inside is truly a magical touch. The whole room became the stuff of childhood dreams once it was installed.
  11. Bedding and curtains from Spoonflower finished the transformation, making this corner of the room an inspirational place of comfort.

It’s worth mentioning, again, that all of this was done on timelines to meet shooting schedules of the production company for In With The Old. I laugh when I think about the late night painting and early morning wallpaper hanging we did, just for the show! Nothing like a deadline to keep the pace moving right along.

Would I do it all over again? One Hundred times yes. Even though my initial guess was about two weeks to make it, and it turned out to be five weeks, a house full of sawdust and some late nights! 

Thank you, Pat, for sharing your wisdom with us. I’m waiting for your own show to come out ;).

Becoming: Jill DeHaan

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Becoming: Jill DeHaan

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.? 

I consider myself an artist, illustrator, maker and lifelong student.

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what  you do now?

I grew up in South Ogden, Utah, on the mountain. I was outside ALL day playing “fairies” by the stream, endlessly looking for geodes and miraculously avoiding getting bitten by rattlesnakes. My love of nature started from my earliest memories and I incorporate it into most of the work I do.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I always dreamed of being an artist like Beatrice Potter, painting cute little critters all day in the tall grass and the soft rain.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path?

My favorite teacher from Salt Lake Community College, Kerry Gonzales, was absolutely influential. It was her gentle discipline that pushed me to always do my very best, to not be afraid to try new things (and fail!) and to take pride in each step of my work from thumbnails to final art.

What sparked your interest in art?  

My older brother Nate is an incredible artist so I grew up admiring his sketchbooks chock full of beautiful drawings he whipped out with ease. But it wasn’t until I won a 4th grade coloring contest that I thought, “hey! I think this could be my thing too!” 

What inspired you to become an illustrator/artist? 

Honestly, just the fact that I had a huge passion for it! After a brief stint in nursing (bless all nurses forever!!) I quickly realized that the medical field and holding people’s lives in my hands was definitely not for me, lol.

Being an illustrator is a skill that stresses me out in a good way. I get to be an artistic scientist, where every project is a new puzzle to solve in my own way. Every day I see things and I think, “how would I interpret that?” It’s baked into who I am and is a natural fit for me.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why? 

I am super proud of the work I got to create for the Utah Natural History Museum. Dream client!! Was incredible to get to research the local flora and fauna and draw them all up into a giant line art mural centered around the massive importance of invertebrates, “the little things that run the world”. Combined my love of nature, learning and illustration.

What is your design process like? Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

My process always begins with research on the topic/subject, then thumbnails (usually in a notebook), then more solid sketches from those thumbnails on my iPad. After the client chooses a sketched direction, I move on to color roughs, then final artwork from there. And there are the obvious inspirations like nature and old packaging but my job has taught me to see the beauty and possibilities in literally everything I encounter.

We would love to hear a little about your beautiful wood carving work on Brittany’s banisters! Can you tell us more about the project?

I had been posting on Instagram about some flower carvings I’d been working on and Brittany called me to see if I’d be comfortable trying out carving some flowery banisters and I nearly fell out of my chair I was so excited about the idea. Every single part of the carving process is an absolute joy and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work on this project for Brittany. Was hard to say goodbye to them when I was done!

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

I super look up to curious creatives. The scientific illustrators of old: Maria Sibylla Merian, Ernst Haeckel, John James Audubon, etc. and modern artists like Teagan White, Katie Scott and Owen Davey who were/are so curious about the natural world and illustrate it so beautifully.

But then there are honestly countless modern illustrators, letterers and makers that I’m inspired by. I love the wacky, modern stuff and the classic, beautiful styles as well as the organic, juvenile types. Simply too many to name!

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto? 

I didn’t get this advice/motto from anyone, it has just been very relevant to my life the past 10 years. “Change is good and should be embraced.” Whatever challenge it presents, whether success or failure, it has the potential to improve your life. Just depends on how you react to it. 

How do your surroundings influence your work?

We are so very lucky to live in the upstate New York woods and inspiration ABOUNDS. I want to draw and paint and carve every little creature and plant we encounter and I am often overwhelmed with the project possibilities. My personal work space has all my beautiful science and nature books and artwork and half-started projects and I find it hard not to be inspired when I’m around those things.

What is a typical day like for you? 

It honestly changes from day to day. Mainly revolves around my two curious and hilarious kids and my desired snack for the day, lol (usually some sort of pastry shop we have to drive to). Any project I think of throughout the day is sketched/written into a little notebook and revisited in the evening, or when I can get a free minute.

We’re lucky to have our sweet nanny every other day so that’s when I get most of my work done. Any passion projects (of which there are MANY) have to wait until I’m done with freelance work or when I’m in need of a creative boost.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

I have a pottery wheel just hanging out in our basement and I have so many ideas that I want to try in the ceramics realm. Just have to wait until I have more alone time in the day to be able to cultivate it. I am also always honing my carving skills and am working up to doing a larger scale piece. I super secretly love to sing and practice guitar as well. Perhaps I’ll start a rad older lady band one day when I feel confident enough in my musical skills?? 

Lars mural with DOVE

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Just jump in! And don’t be afraid to fail because you absolutely will—but that’s how you learn. So just go for it! AND it always helps if you know someone who can show you how to do something in person, at least once. There is something about learning in person, for me, that really helps solidify new concepts in my mind.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your  business? 

I am super fortunate to be in a partnership where my husband has a full-time job and I am able to freelance whenever it comes in, and then do personal work when I don’t have freelance work. I also have artist representation with @wearesnyder and they help me deal with all the crappy financial stuff that my brain hates, like paperwork and how much to charge for projects, etc. etc. Thank goodness for them!The House That Lars Built baby announcement

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

Oh absolutely! I change my future career with almost every science podcast I listen to, lol. I will ALWAYS create art. It’s just in my bones. But I am desperate to go back to school to learn intensely about something involving nature/science. Geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, botany, zoology, entomology, mycology, teach me everything!!!

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

I would LOVE to do a gallery show with some large wood carvings. And I really do want to go to school and learn a ton of new things, perhaps with the end-goal of writing and illustrating nonfiction children’s books. I can really see that in my future. It would be incredibly fulfilling to marry the two worlds I love so much. Illustration and learning.

I feel like a child myself, discovering new things every day with my kids and seeing the wonder in their eyes when we look up new creatures and learn about this miraculous life that we are so lucky to get to experience. I have a whole list of children’s books I’d like to try to create, just need a bit more knowledge and resources (and the next 10 years!) to bring them to fruition.

Thank you, Jill!

Becoming: Jana and Tanner Roach of Beck and Cap

Becoming: Tanner and Jana of Beck and Cap

Currently nestled in the mountains of Northwestern Montana, Tanner and Jana Roach are the heart and soul behind each Beck & Cap piece. Starting as childhood friends, to spouses, and now Creative Designers, in every sense the development of Beck & Cap has been a natural progression of an early dream.

Being inherently artistic people, they knew from the start that any business venture would need to nurture their desire to create. Generating list after list until notebooks were filled, they were constantly dreaming up different pursuits.

In 2016, they were designing a display for Jana’s vintage market when Tanner carved the first wooden mushroom. They knew they were on to something special when dozens of people were asking how they could get one.

Over the next two years, they would carve hundreds of mushrooms, delivering them to California, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and everywhere in between.

Yet those notebooks of ideas grew as Tanner started dreaming up new furniture possibilities. It was undeniable that Beck & Cap as a business was now a reality.

Then in 2020, a whirlwind opportunity came when they were discovered by interior designer Leanne Ford, and then featured on “Home Again with the Fords.” Suddenly, Beck & Cap was no longer just a small business, but internationally recognized and thriving.

Together with a small team, they continue to hand carve organic modern wabi-sabi furniture out of sustainably and ethically sourced wood. Each new design and innovation is inspired by the natural beauty and imperfections of the wood itself. They consistently focus on one of life’s most important treasures – time brings character and beauty to everything.custom furniture

What do you consider yourselves? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

We consider ourselves artists, creatives and serial entrepreneurs!

Where did you both grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

Tanner and I grew up in North Idaho. We were both creative when we were younger, and I think the melding of our minds has only created a more insatiable creative monster haha.custom furniture

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

Tanner thought he was going to build houses and I thought I was going into forensic science! WILDLY different career choice, at least for me. I also knew back then that I couldn’t be corralled into one specific profession. I don’t think either of us could! We have to flex that creative, spontaneous muscle whenever we can.

Are there people who have been influential in your chosen career path?

My mom taught me to appreciate beauty and how to put together a room or vignette, and I know that has carried through to what we do now. Tanner’s entire family is extremely artistic as well. We are very inspired by Axel Vervoordt and his impeccable taste. The way he blends the natural and antique with modern is like none other.

What sparked your interest in design?

We’ve always had that spark for design in there, I think. We both love a good end result and appreciate the work/process/dance it takes to get from the before to the after. It sounds so simple, but beauty is what sparked my interest in design. There’s no better feeling than finishing a project or a piece and seeing it in someone’s space. No better feeling!

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

We are so proud of Brittany’s island. I will forever be a lover of antiques with a story attached to them, so when we were tasked with creating her heirloom island that is infused with family history? I could barely wait to see the progress Tanner had made on it every day. We’re so proud to have created such a meaningful piece.

What is your design process like? Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

We typically brainstorm over Pinterest, design books, nature, and late night chats. We’ve found inspiration in the weirdest places, like an ottoman! The shape of it inspired our design for a side table. I love looking to antique furniture for unique shapes that we can incorporate into our signature organic modern pieces.

We would love to hear more about the amazing kitchen island. What was the process like?

We wanted to create something that looked like it had been around for centuries. I’ve loved larder tables and merchandise tables that you’d find in old general stores, so we wanted to have that look. Tanner drew up options for the legs and Britney gave the overall inspiration for sizing and we went to work! Tanner also drew and carved the design you see on the sides that give it such lovely detail.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

There are so many artists and creatives that we look up to – especially Axel Vervoordt, Leanne Ford, Rose Tarlow, Colin King, Hans Wegner, and even set designers like Grant Montgomery (those sets in Peaky Blinders? Incredible).

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto?

We don’t really have a motto, but we are firm believers (that have to regularly remind themselves) that everything will work out, even if it doesn’t look quite how we planned it to. God knows better than we do, and no matter what happens, we have hope in the goodness of who He is.

beck and cap table made from pineHow do your surroundings influence your work?

We now own the quonset hut and brick building next to it which will be our showroom in the next few months! White brick, old timbers, concrete floors – we are surrounded by beauty which definitely makes us motivated to see each piece finished and set against that backdrop!!

What is a typical day like for you?

Tanner wakes up around 5-5:30, heads to the shop (sometimes plays a little guitar before work), and then carves all day long. I wake up, get the kids to school and then work on emails, posting on social and answering questions! Sometimes I go to the shop to take photos, look at projects and help out there. I pick up our kids after school and then Tanner comes home! We’ve just gotten to that place though. There were many, many months of him working until midnight or later.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

Tanner won’t tell you, but he’s an incredible artist and baker!! I look forward to the treats he makes during the holidays. I don’t know that I’ve got a secret talent, but I could probably beat just about anybody at movie trivia! We’re both working on learning guitar and ukulele right now which is such a relaxing hobby!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Just go for it! Don’t worry about if it flops or it’s hard. Just start! Network with people doing that hobby or skill and see how you can help/shadow/be around them.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your  business?

I would say it is SO worth it to find a financial professional before you start that will help you come up with a business plan and strong sense of how to set your pricing. It can be detrimental to your business if you don’t have those things in place. Creative types often don’t think about this before they start and it creates a lot of stress. Ask us how we know 😉

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

This is a hard question! I think we’d like to become less stressed. It’s so much of a mindset thing for us, so being able to roll with things a little more than we do now would be great!

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

We would love to have a thriving business, be a well-known company and be freed up to travel more! Creating and delivering pieces to people all around the world would be incredible.

Thank you Tanner and Jana! You are the most talented and the best people to work with! Can’t wait to see what else you do! 

You can read more about the custom work table kitchen island they made for us as featured on In With the Old on Magnolia Network now! 

Becoming Tracy Reese

Becoming Tracy Reese

Hi, I’m Tracy Reese! I’ve been designing clothes for more than three decades. My previous brands were Tracy Reese and Plenty by Tracy Reese. In 2019, I launched Hope for Flowers. Hope for Flowers is designed for women who are inspired by beauty and desire to use their power as consumers to be agents for positive change in the world. We believe that by incorporating positive social and ecological practices into our sourcing and operating structures, we can imbue our products with greater substance and offer our customers an opportunity to be a part of doing good while looking good.

I launched Hope for Flowers in Detroit, because I saw an opportunity to learn more about my home town and add value to my community.

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

I consider myself a designer, but I’ve always thought more like a business person. I love illustrating, making art and crafting, but I don’t always prioritize making time to just…play! I need to. It’s where some of the best ideas start!

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I grew up in Detroit and had a wonderful childhood here. My parents were very involved in my and my sisters’ development, especially my Mom who was a modern dance teacher and later had a small business of her own. She was also an avid home sewer and taught me to sew. My sisters and I all had to take piano and dance lessons and we got to choose other activities we wanted to participate in. I always had art classes on Saturdays and I had to take swimming and tennis lessons because I was chubby and my Mom wanted to make sure I exercised. I was a girl scout from Brownies through Cadets and loved summer camp!

I went to a great city-wide high school here in Detroit called Cass Tech and that’s where I was first exposed to the fashion industry and was encouraged to attend Parsons School of Design in New York for College.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I imagined becoming an architect or interior designer. I wanted a profession that allowed to express my creativity.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path?

A head of the Fashion department at my high school actually encouraged me to consider fashion design as a profession.

What sparked your interest in design/making?

It was what I considered the best of two worlds: drawing and sewing! When I learned that fashion was also a huge industry, my decision to pursue fashion design as a career was made!

What is your design process like?

I’ve always loved color, pattern and beautiful textiles. I often begin a season looking at the latest developments at industry textile fairs. I also check out museum exhibitions and art galleries for inspiration. I start building a mood board with images I find inspiring and develop a color story. I love developing prints because we can express almost any thought, or color inspiration. Nature is the ultimate inspiration. I LOVE flowers! Once I have established a direction, I start sketching, trying out new ideas and updating ideas that have already been successful. Editing is the hardest part of the process.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

I’ve always been inspired by the work of other female designers and artists. I think women clothing designers approach design in a much more tangible and respectful way. We want to problem solve for real world situations while still creating beautiful pieces. I love the work of Callot Soeurs, Madame Gres, Claire McCardell and so many others.

We would love to hear about Hope For Flowers. Can you tell us more?

As a world-class, Black-owned and female-run business, Hope for Flowers is demonstrating that Detroit can be the perfect hub for innovative, socially focused, sustainable enterprises.

Hope for Flowers is committed to creating beautiful clothing for socially conscious luxury consumers through an ecosystem of responsible design, production and distribution in Detroit. We support the livelihood and sustainability of Detroit’s children and families by being a local hub for arts enrichment, apprenticeships and community workshops focused on sustainable life tools.

The collection itself is quite feminine and joyful. I tend to stick to classic silhouettes reimagined familiar shapes to be modern and relevant for today.fashion designer Tracy Reese

You can find Tracy Reese

Hope for Flowers website
@HopeForFlowers
@Tracy_Reese
Read more about her in this New York Times article (I relate so much to her switch up in her business model!)

Pantone color of the year

Pantone color of the year: Viva Magenta!

The Pantone Color Institute announced their color of the year at Art Basel in Miami in December. I had the privilege to attend the reveal at Artechouse and it was a beautiful homage to the vibrant color of the year. In fact, if you’d like to see the reveal for yourself, you can view it here.

Everyone awaited the big reveal as we listened to the Leatrice Eisman’s, head of Pantone, thoughts about the importance of color–something you know I’m fully in support of. Once the color was announced we explored the Artechouse galleries, which celebrated the color. viva magenta

Now, how do I factor into all of this?

Spoonflower x Pantone Color of the Year

A couple of weeks prior to the event we were invited to collaborate with Spoonflower, one of our favorite, long-time partners, to create a pattern inspired by Pantone’s Color of the Year. Even though it was our busiest time of the year and the turnaround was CRAZY tight, I had to say yes. I mean, what choice did I have?! When it comes to color, I say YES!

Here’s the thing, they didn’t tell us what the color was!

Pantone Color of the Year

Keeping Pantone’s Color of the Year on the down low

They gave us color codes to work with, I’m guessing so that it wasn’t easy to track down and figure out if it came into the wrong hands. It was all so covert.

We translated all of the codes into colors and here’s what we had to work with:

In fact, our turnaround was so tight that I was trying to deduce all the colors at stoplights on my way home and it was VERY tricky to do it on a phone let me tell you.

Our assignment was to interpret Pantone’s ethos that speaks to the following:

  • Bravery to break boundaries
  • Fearless optimism
  • An endless new ecosystem emerging in the world
  • Pantone’s pillars this year are Art + Design and Science + Tech

So, of course, we created a pattern inspired by beautiful bold blooms and went to town incorporating their colors.

Here’s a screenshot of some of the combos we were playing around with, again, not knowing which was the actual color.

Viva Magenta

We gave Spoonflower a ton of options to work with and didn’t know exactly what they were going to use them for but they requested on that was large in repeat and one that was smaller and more suitable to dinnerware.

When I arrived at the event in Miami, I couldn’t wait to see how they had used the selected patterns. I had somewhat of a hunch of what it might be, just because Magenta was such a knockout out of bunch, but, of course, I didn’t know for sure.

After Viva Magenta was in fact announced (yay!), they led me up to gallery where they had installed our wallpaper in the color, which you can see behind me here. I hadn’t yet seen it so I was getting the big reveal at this precise moment.

And voila! There she is! Ha!

And, of course, we had to have some fun in front of it!

Spoonflower artists

I was one of 6 artists invited to participate and everyone did such an amazing job! Some had very specific themes to work with, like

Jeanetta Gonzalez, who I met years ago at Alt Summit. Hi Jeanetta!
Elishka Jepson of Robyrider who is a legit rocket scientist by day and pattern designer at night. She created a design inspired by STEM. So amazing.
Cecilia Mok, who is based in Sydney, Australia and wasn’t able to come. We missed you!
Virginia Odeon
Judy Quintero of Shop Cabin

You can read more about the artists here on the Spoonflower blog.

Pantone Color of the Year

And here’s the artists with the Spoonflower team, who I love. They’re all just the best. Truly.

Pantone Color of the Year

Here are everyone’s designs in Viva Magenta through Spoonflower.

Viva magenta wallpaper and more

Here’s our pattern into wallpaper, throw pillows, and more! You can find the full collection here.

pantone color of the year

Thank you to Spoonflower and Pantone for the wonderful opportunity! Consider me your biggest fan!

You can shop our Pantone Color of the Year collection on Spoonflower here.

Photo credits: For the pillow stack image: Alex Craig  |  All event images: Katherine Jones  |  iphone photos by Brittany Jepsen

Interns: Where Are They Now? with Lindsey Deschamps

Who is Lindsey Deschamps?

Lindsey Deschamps is an artist & illustrator based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She creates cheeky art, stationery, and accessories for people who like an artful aesthetic, but with a little bit of offbeat humor thrown in there. Inspired by food, flowers, weird vintage tchotchkes, and all the other little things that bring her joy, she loves to create products & illustrations that make people smile.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

When asked as a young kid, I always told people I wanted to work at an ice cream shop so that when people asked me, “Lindsey, how’d you get so buff?” I could say (with a proud, smug face) “Scoopin’ ice cream 😏”(Just my right arm though I guess…? haha) And for the unlimited access to ice cream samples, of course.

When I got a little older, I considered journalism, but once I started taking art classes in high school, I knew I wanted to do something visually creative. It was around that time too that I realized my ultimate goal was running my own business. Now, I sell ice cream art & products in my shop, so I guess you could say I’ve come full circle? 🙂

Lindsey Deschamps flowers

How did you originally hear about The House that Lars Built and the internship you did with us?

While I was studying graphic design at BYU, I kept seeing more and more of my classmates’ cool projects on Instagram that they were doing at their Lars internships. So as soon as I had some free time in my schedule, I knew I wanted to apply!

What was your internship focus/how long did you intern with us?

I did a graphic design internship August – December 2017.

What was your favorite part of the internship?

I loved being around a bunch of creative people all the time who loved color, art, and craft as much as I did! It was also really fun to see how Brittany’s ideas went from idea to execution and everything behind the scenes.

Lindsey Deschamps strawberry

How was the internship influential in your creative journey to where you are now?

At my Lars internship, I got a crash course in creating high quality designs on a tight schedule and receiving real-world feedback, which helped me learn how to design more quickly & efficiently. This has helped me soo much in jobs & gigs I’ve had since, I can’t even tell you! Most importantly, being around Brittany’s artful influence was really foundational for me as a young designer. Watching her & the Lars team style photos, edit things down, curate art, etc. helped me learn how to discern my own tastes and what I like & don’t like for my own art style.

What is one accomplishment in your creative life that you are proud of and why?

Opening my online shop, designing my own products, and selling at my first in-person art market. These three are lumped together for me as a huge milestone that I’ve been working on for years, and finally reached this summer! I’ve known for about ten years now that I want to run my own creative business doing something that makes people happy, and after trying 3-4 different businesses over the years, it feels amazing to have finally found the one that I LOVE doing and feels like the right step moving forward.

What are some goals you have moving forward?

My biggest goal right now is to grow my online shop and product line to a point where I can leave my day job as a motion graphic designer and focus on my business full-time. (Fingers crossed. Don’t tell my boss. Jk he probably already knows cause this is pretty much all I can think about 24/7.) It’ll probably take a few years, but I’m slowly getting there step by step which feels great. Also I’d love to sell at more local in-person markets soon! Talkin’ to all the people is so fun. 

Lindsey Deschamps I have no idea what I'm doing

Any fun things coming up in the near future? 

Yes! Right now, I’m working on a fun new collection of stickers, tees, and Christmas ornaments called Foodie Friends – and everyone’s invited to vote on their favorite designs! Starting on September 19th, I’ll be posting a different ‘foodie friend’ illustration (person wearing a food costume haha) every day for 30 days. Then each week, everyone gets to vote on their favorite ‘contestants,’ and the winners will be available as shirts and Christmas ornaments in my shop in early November. Follow along on Instagram or Tiktok @lindseydaystudio to join in and vote!

What advice would you give to someone trying to decide if a creative internship is for them? 

If you want to get real-world experience in a fun, art-focused, colorful business, you’ll love interning at Lars! Whether you want to work as a creative professional or not, but especially if a creative career is your goal, interning at Lars is a great way to meet people and be inspired.

Where can we find your work?

You can find Lindsey Deschamps’ work at @lindseydaystudio on Instagram and Tiktok, and her website, www.lindseydaystudio.com

More Inspiration

Loved this former intern interview with Lindsey Deschamps? You might also be interested in our Becoming Series, where we interview female creatives about their process of becoming who they are.

Heirloom Ornament Craft Along!

Crafting with a Cause

If you’re new to all of this, let me clue you in. One of the things that makes the holidays so special to me, aside from seeing family and enjoying good food, is that it’s the season of giving. It seems like it’s the one time all year where the world shares the same sentiment of generosity and helping each other. So while we are crafting for the holidays, it seems fitting that we should include that charitable aspect as well.

I recently partnered with Nest (see this blog post, and this one) and I’m now part of their advisory board. Nest supports artisans throughout the global economy — most of which are women. The purpose of our craft alongs, starting with last year’s, was to raise money for Nest and support their cause to build a world of greater gender equity and economic inclusion.

Last Year’s Craft Along

I have to say, last year’s craft along was one of the highlights of the year. There was so much creative energy and excitement surrounding it, it was amazing to see and be a part of. If you missed it, here’s a quick recap:

We made two sets of our popular mid-century heirloom nativity; one we painted here in the studio at Lars. Then we sent once piece of the other set to each of our guests for them to paint. Each week we held live videos where we got to chat with our amazing guests as we painted our respective nativity pieces. Here’s the post where you can read all about last year’s guests. Oh, and here’s a transcript from our interview with Amanda Seyfried! While all the crafting with our guests was happening, we also opened up this link for donations.

At the end of the craft along, we auctioned off both sets and donated the proceeds to Nest, an organization whose mission is to support female makers in the global economy. Thank you thank you to all who donated or contributed in any way! It was a huge success and we are thrilled to be back at it again this year!

Nativity

This Year’s Heirloom Ornament Craft Along

Let’s get to it. Below is everything you need to know about this year’s heirloom ornament craft along!

Heirloom Ornament Craft Along FAQ

What is a “craft along”?

Think of it like a crafty version of a book club. We all get to work on the same project, have a weekly get together to craft, chat, and join a fun community.

Why a craft along?

Our heirloom ornament craft along is a perfect opportunity to get ready for Christmas (because we all know that it sneaks up on us every year) and get to know your Lars community a bit better. Even though summer’s still on its way out, we wanted to jump into our handmade holiday plans early. Get a head start on your handmade holidays and join in the fun with this heirloom ornament craft along!

How does the craft along work?

As mentioned above, we are working with Nest to raise money for makers all over the world. For this year’s craft along, we’ve set the goal to raise $5,000 for Nest. 

Our goal is to raise that money through the following:

  1. Ebook sales (with and without a kit included)
  2. Donations using this link
  3. Auctioning off a custom set of Heirloom Ornaments made by our team here at Lars
  4. Auctioning off a set of Heirloom Ornaments made by our guests

The money earned from the auction will be donated to Nest, and we’ll ship the ornaments to the winners of the auctions!

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

Who are your guest hosts?

We are really excited to chat more about our guest lineup soon!

Stay tuned for more details about our guest hosts. We can hardly believe that so many incredible crafters have joined us for this project! You can click here to see the guests that joined us last year. We were lucky enough to have Amanda Seyfried, Mary Engelbreit and so many other wonderful guests! 

How long will the craft along be happening?

Our first guest will join us on Monday, October 3rd, and we’ll wrap up with our last guest on Monday, November 21st. Our auction will be announced following the last guest.

What if I miss a week?

If you miss a week or two, that’s completely fine! The good thing about this heirloom ornament craft along is that it’s virtual. We will save the Instagram Lives where we craft with our guests hosts, and you can watch them on your own time. We’ll also compile the videos into one blog post after they’re over so you can see them all in one place (see the guest videos from last year here). With the ebook and video, you will have all the information you need to complete a set of ornaments. 

How much does it cost?

There are a few different options:

  1. You can purchase our Ebook & kit – the kit will come with everything you need for 8 ornaments along with the Ebook (which includes step by step video) to guide you.
  2. You can purchase our Ebook only and purchase the supply list on your own. We spent a lot of time beefing it up and it now includes step by step videos!

We have gone through our Heirloom Ornament Ebook with a fine toothed comb to make sure that it is clear, concise, and easy to follow. We’ve also added in a step by step video to ensure that any questions you have are answered!

There you have it! Everything you need to get crafty!

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

Will you hold an auction at the end?

Yes! Last year the auction turned out to be a wonderful way to raise money for Nest, so we want to do it again! As mentioned before, we’ll auction off two separate sets of ornaments. One of those sets will be the set made by our special guest crafters. For the other set, we’ll be auctioning off a “made to order” set. In other words, the winner of that set will send in their photos, we’ll make the set for them, and send it back! If you love these heirloom ornaments but aren’t keen on the idea of making them yourself, this might be the perfect solution. 

How do I start?!

While you wait for our heirloom ornament craft along to officially begin, the first thing you should do is order your supplies! You can get the full Heirloom Ornaments Ebook & Kit here, and the Heirloom Ornaments Ebook without the kit here. Then, mark your calendars for our first guest on October 3rd!

family heirloom ornaments photo transfer

Can’t wait to craft with you! Feel free to spread the word!