Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle now in the Lars Print shop!

Julie Marabelle for Lars Print Shop

The delicate nature of the flowers in each illustration is a perfect addition to our print shop and your own home gallery. Like the rest of our shop, you can choose to buy the download (the cheapest option!) and print it yourself or you can get the print. You can get it matted and framed too! I sprinkled her prints throughout my house and they fit so well! 

Remember my guest room reveal? It was lacking some art and so I framed hers and put it up. I love how it fits in with the rest of the room.

Affordable art prints from Lars Print Shop

Here you can see the Polkadot Potted Flowers and Field of Blue Flowers prints.

Floral Papercut Prints in my living room

To my living room I added the blue potted duos:Affordable floral art prints from Lars Print Shop

The Blue potted flower and the Blue vase

Affordable artwork for the bedroom

And lastly, I have her blue colored flowers in my bedroom. It all works so so well!

affordable art prints

Floral Paper Cut Prints

To create the collection, she painted paper and then used her famous process of paper cutting to create the exquisite cuts. What’s so cool about the prints is that she created them in a way that you can see the shadows so you know that they are paper cuts and not just 2D floral images. They have much depth!

We couldn’t be more excited about the Famille Summerbelle Collection. If you would like to check out more of Famille Summerbelle, stroll on over to their site (good news, they ship worldwide!). Who needs to wait for May flowers when you can put these beauties up in your own home right away! There’s no better time than this period of social distancing to brighten up your walls with pretty new floral prints. You could separate these pieces into different rooms, or create a sweet gallery wall near a sunny window to pull the outside in. Check each bouquet out in the shop!

To welcome Julie to the shop, please take 15% off her collection until next Sunday, the 19th with code WELCOMEJULIE.

Stay tuned for our interview with Julie herself!

In the mean time, you can check out the full collection over at Lars Print Shop.

Free Phone and Desktop Wallpaper Downloads from Craft the Rainbow

free rainbow phone and desktop wallpaper downloads

Free phone wallpaper downloads

We loved creating these free downloadable wallpapers just as much as creating Craft the Rainbow. If you haven’t read it before, you’ll want to! As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s the ultimate stay-at-home companion, which is something we all might need right now. And now, for the first time ever, it is available for your Kindle for super cheap too I might add.

Quarantine boredom is no joke, but what better solution is there than crafting? We created these downloadable wallpapers as we were inspired by Craft the Rainbow, so who knows what you could be inspired to? Let that simmer in your thoughts as you look through each colorful wallpaper, and choose what speaks to you the most. Inspiration can be found in the darndest places, and here at Lars, sometimes it’s a sweet background photo.

These were one of my favorite parts of creating the book with my friend, photographer Chaunte Vaughn. We spent A LOT of time making them. Ha! I wanted each chapter to show the love I have of it through finding all the beautiful craft supplies in that color. Some of the beautiful objects were provided by friends and crafters from around the world including Ruth Ribeaucourt of The French Muse, who sent me a huge supply of beautiful objects from Provence. To me, they made the book!

Chaunte was so patient making these with me. We shot it in January when we had shorter light to work with so we had to RACE to get them done.

free phone wallpaper downloads

Free desktop wallpaper downloads

Check out these new wallpapers as soon as you can, and let us know which one was your fav! Unless all of them were, in which case you’ll want to download them all! Look through the shop today for the free downloads, and let Craft the Rainbow keep inspiring you for the rest of the month (or maybe the rest of your life!)

free rainbow desktop wallpaper downloadsfree rainbow desktop wallpaper downloads

The artist behind these rainbow wallpapers

These beautiful background canvases in each the images were created for Craft the Rainbow by artist Rachel Kiser Smith. She added so much texture and vibrancy that we’ve been using the backgrounds for shoots ever since.

We love her work so much and wanted to introduce her to you! Here amazing use of color and texture fills the pages of Craft the Rainbow and we couldn’t be happier about it. Read through her interview below to get to know Rachel, and to see more of her process while creating for our book!

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

Artist, creative, dabbler

Who helped you “become” who you are?

My Mom always had a creative project going and supplies to share. As an adult, friends who are also making art have been important to me. And can I say authors? I love reading anything on the creative process.

Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do?

Yes and no. Perhaps the heart has secret dreams that will always keep me from feeling like I’ve arrived. But just starting to make work and share it on Instagram (after years of hiding) was an arrival of sorts. I remember the thrilling feeling when I realized that I was working with people I’d admired for a long time.

What more would you like to “become”?

Speaking of secret dreams . . . ha! I want to be a children’s book author and illustrator!

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I took a bit of a meandering path in college and ended up with a double major in Spanish and Visual Arts. Spanish may seem inapplicable, but I think reading, analyzing, and writing about beautiful works of literature has had as much influence of my creativity as the art classes I took.

What’s your work space like?

When we moved into our house, we turned the formal living room into a creative space. It has a wall filled with art supplies and another with books. Usually the whole family shares a big table in the middle, but since having the kids home full time for distance learning, we’ve brought in another table just for me. That’s been a game changer.

Did you always have an ultimate plan?

No, and I still don’t! When I begin on a project or painting, I just have to start making stuff. The ideas come as I begin. I think careers can be like that too.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

Protect your creative time from yourself. Part of you will come up with any excuse to not create. Commit to editing and researching later.

What’s inspiring you lately?

Amy Merrick’s book On Flowers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels, reading The Wind in the Willows to my kids, and watching the caterpillars in our yard.

Where you can find Rachel’s other work

@rachelkisersmith on Instagram

Her work for sale on Minted

Shop the Rainbow

Many of our Craft the Rainbow items, like journals, our guided journal My Life in Color, and more are still on sale! Shop the entire rainbow here and gear up for your quarantine creativity!

My Life in Color guided journal for creatives

2 years of Craft the Rainbow!

Craft the Rainbow

It’s been two years since Craft the Rainbow came out and basically two years since I’ve read it cover to cover, which I did once again tonight. And you know what? It’s the best work I’ve ever produced. Hands down. I poured everything I had into that thing. And I think I’m now far enough away from it that I can say that without trauma in my voice. Maybe…ha! We’ll see.

I get how it might be viewed as another craft book and if you’re not into crafting, how you wouldn’t be interested. I get it! There are plenty of tutorials out there on the Internet that where you can take what you need, make a happy craft, and move on. But, going back to our mission, and it’s taken awhile to be truly conversant in what it is that I believe, when you put soul into something, it means more and your life is enriched. It’s just that simple.Launch Party

Because of that, I made Craft the Rainbow more autobiographical than a standard craft book and thus, meaningful. I spent a lot of energy working on every sentence and anecdote because I wanted it to be an interesting and humorous read as well as provide a deposit for beautiful pictures. I shared images from my wedding, pictures of my grandmother and included stories about how and why I made each project in the book. It was important that each story was deliberately chosen. (Except for one–there’s one story in there where I just didn’t know what to say–I just thought the project was really cool. Ha! I’ll let you guess which one that is.)

I also wanted you to learn something from it. The goal was to encourage you to get more comfortable using color in your own work and life. I shared what I know about successful color usage. Especially how you can develop your own color story and, one of my favorite tips, how to love a color you think you hate. I have challenged myself to do this many times and because of it, I can say that I love every shade of the rainbow–as long as I can pick the shades!

Craft the Rainbow on Amazon

The book has a 5 star review on Amazon, which is, not too shabby *wipes off shoulder (and if you haven’t left a review yet, please do! It helps the book rise in ranks–so important for authors!) and that makes me smile and grateful for everyone who took the time to do so.

The decision to do a book was not treated lightly. I spent months, nay, years, investigating if I should do it or not. I asked friends who had written books to find out if it was worth it. I was hesitant for a few reasons: I was still getting going on my business and time away from building it would interfere with its growth. Sure enough, I was right–we paused on activity on the blog for a few months. Luckily, I had grown Lars so we had a small team to pick things up more or less. I definitely couldn’t have done it without a team!

This genre of book, crafts, is a huge time commitment AND investment of money. Though I received an advance of royalties, we used a big chunk of that on paying people to help, buying supplies, props, rentals, photography, etc. Above all, I wanted it to be EXTRA so we went all out! I hope you can see that as you flip through the pages.

I also knew that writing a craft book wasn’t going to end with me on the New York Times Bestseller List. I had never seen it done so there wasn’t much proof that it even could happen. But, I also knew that if I was going to pause my business for so long, I needed some sort of marker that it was going to be worth the time spent on it, and being on a list of that type leads to more eyeballs and more sales so I thought I may as well shoot for it. Maybe mine would be the exception?! Sure enough, it didn’t end up on that list. And though it was well received and reviewed, it didn’t break any sales records. And that really disappointed me and I’m still sad about it. I think that’s partly why it’s taken so long to really reflect on it publicly.

I’m sure it’s uncomfortable if not cringe-worthy to hear about someone’s disappointment with something they’ve worked hard on. It’s uncomfortable for me to share about it. And it’s disappointing when the publisher was also banking on its success. In fact, the book was used as their show off book–there are so many bells and whistles on it! Gold leaf, gold book binding ribbon, every page was well designed. It’s nice to know, but not if it doesn’t sell books, amiright?!

I share this insight because it’s very easy to see people’s successes online, especially when they’re flailed about like we’ve come to do on social media, but we don’t often talk about the non-successes. I won’t say the word failure here because it wasn’t. It achieved my goal to make the most beautiful craft book that ever existed. I am very proud of it, I’m proud of my team for accomplishing such a huge challenge. I think I’ve probably needed to air it out so that I can heal from the experience.

Lessons Learned

What do I learn about this experience? Lots of things, but the biggest life lesson was that you don’t always have control over an outcome. You can only do your very best work and prepare as much as you can, which is exactly what I did. I can’t feel regrets about that!

With all that said, I still feel strongly that Craft the Rainbow belongs in your library, whether you craft or not, but especially if you do, and now is the best time to take advantage of the time. Dare I say, it’s the ultimate Stay-at-Home companion. They are all projects made from paper, which you may already have at home and if not, we will be making lists of materials from each project in the book so you can place it directly in your cart. Stay tuned!My Life In Color prompted journal

My goal with being so direct and vulnerable is 1) catharsis (and it does feel slightly better 😉 and 2) remind you that it still exists and you will benefit from it. Ha, how’s that for no shame?!

Throughout the month we will be sharing some more insights into Craft the Rainbow and My Life in Color so stay tuned!

You can find Craft the Rainbow here!

Craft the Rainbow (the kindle version is only $2.99!)
My Life In Color
Craft the Rainbow notebook
Craft the Rainbow journal

Why I feel called to craft: Part 2

Why I feel called to craft

The stories my mom would tell me about my grandparents and great grandparents, etc, shaped my narrative and formed my identity. My great-grandmother, Marilla Zatelle, painted porcelain, sewed her own clothes, and was truly a force of nature–it probably helped that she was 6′ tall. I remember visiting her in the hospital before she passed away at age 97 and knowing that I was Danish stock like she was.

From left to right: Dorothy, me, Carl, Zatelle, my mom Kim

Her daughter, Dorothy, my grandmother, even though she has passed on continues to be my artistic muse and great human being icon. She was pretty much an angel on earth with a wicked sewing room in Los Angeles, California. I dedicated my book, Craft the Rainbow, to her and even wrote an entire article about her and Carl, my grandfather, in volume 3 of Kinfolk Magazine about their wellness routine. They are legendary for their subdued natures, gentle kindness, endless generosity, and health regimen (no sugar! though I remember Grape Nuts in all natural apple juice as a real treat).

Dorothy at her piano. This was definitely in the 90s.

This is Dorothy and my sister, Caitlin. 

Going back to the beginning

But let’s get back to that sewing room. Dorothy and Carl built their house in 1951 in Bel-Air. That’s Bel-Air before Fresh Prince, so the houses weren’t Kardashian proportioned or bedazzled. Dorothy was infamous for protecting her newly done hair with a grocery bag when it rained and other such resourceful tricks that come when you’re a product of the Depression. She taught me to sew and whenever we’d come up to visit from Orange County, sometimes for days at a time, I’d churn out all sorts of doll clothes for her Shirley Temple dolls. For one Christmas I sewed her a green drawstring bag with lace tied at the ends and filled it with all sorts of nuts…because that’s what I could get my hands on. She said she loved it, but I still cringe at the thought of nuts from who knows where.

Her sewing room consisted of fabrics that she had collected from all around the world piled in a beautiful yet simple armoire. I remember feeling in awe of her collection. And her ribbons! Gah! And buttons?! They were extraordinary. Thinking about her sewing room now, I can see how it’s MUCH easier to make thing when you have a designated place to create. I’m working on that concept for my own house.

Dorothy sitting on the first platform.

My mother

Now, let’s talk about Dorothy’s daughter, my mom, Kim. She and her two sisters and brother grew up in LA, but the way she describes it seems much more of a quaint village than a major city that happened to make movie magic. For example, Dorothy played the violin for Hollywood music scores, my aunt and uncle were in TV shows and films, and their friends were in this show and that. My mom attended the Academy Awards with a friend. You know, stories like that that I only find out as an adult.

But their real talent was dancing. My mom and her sisters all left home when they were 16 to go dance at the School for American Ballet and the subsequently, in the New York City Ballet. The long story short is that my mom got injured after about a year and moved back to LA where she started a modeling. She says she walked into Seventeen Magazine and walked out on the cover of the January 1969 issue. Again, quaint neighborhood vibe? I don’t know. It’s hard for us to understand that mentality now that everyone and literally their dog aspires for fame.

Fast forward to her career in interior design, calligraphy, music and more to when she becomes a mother of four in five years. I’ve mentioned it before, but this magnet on our fridge growing up really does describe my mom the best: “A creative mess is better than tidy idleness”. And thus, we grew up in constant messes. My mom let us try all the things and would encourage us to think differently. How is everyone else doing something? Then do something else.

My childhood

Our school reports were pretty epic. There wasn’t a three ring binder in sight. We figured out clever ways of binding the books according to what the subject was. For example, for my report on Claude Monet (another artistic hero to this day), I made a cover out of cardboard and cut it out to make it look like a painter’s palette and secured it together with a paintbrush. I mean, it did get to the point where I was jealous of those three ring binders, but I see the magic of it all now.

When I was in kindergarten or first grade, Mom opened a beautiful shop called En Provence on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar and it was one of my first experiences off all encompassing magic. A true wonderland. Like old houses in Provence, she plastered straw into the walls and hand painted everything! It was a gift and furnishings shop and I think it must have been the most well-curated experience. The furniture was made and painted by my uncle, Dean Bradshaw. You can see a glimpse of it in the picture above of my grandmother. That bed was created by him as well as the paintings. But life became a bit much with four kids and so she closed up shop after 4 years.

My first Craft Club

When I was about 10 or 11 and I started a club called Crafts for Holidays. I’m not so much proud of the name, but what can you do. The club was modeled after my mom’s church group where they would get together monthly and make or do something. So, for Halloween we made can tin pumpkins. We sponged on paint in a variety of oranges and painted on faces. Then for Thanksgiving we appliquéd  turkeys onto corduroy pillows. For Christmas we turned a string of pinecones into reindeer complete with a red pom for Rudolph. I don’t know if my friends were into crafting, well I know they weren’t because the club didn’t last too much longer.

ANYWHO, I tell all this because it makes more sense how I arrived at what I do now knowing who I come from. I mean, I wasn’t aching to start a craft-based business at first. In fact, I never would have entered my brain. I was much more involved in music (I played the cello growing up) and tennis (I was on my high school tennis team) than I was in the arts. I wouldn’t even say that I did it as a hobby at that point because I was really into getting good grades. But because my childhood foundation was laid out in making, just like that industrious lot who came before me, I can see NOW how it happened.

This is my grandfather Harvey Sessions, who I didn’t mention at all here, but the photo is so good I had to include it. 

And because of that I’m very interested in continuing my grandmother’s legacy and carrying out the mission that I’ve identified along the way. I’m compelled to do it and I find a great need to do so, especially since we are more addicted to screens than ever. There is power in handmaking. It connects us to our bodies and souls and for me, my family.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week! 

Becoming: Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow

I’ve been a big Justina Blakeney fan for years. I admire her focus and drive in creating the beautiful home furnishings and interiors brand, Jungalow, which brought the re-advent and modernization of the bohemian style. She’s smart, talented, and on a mission to bring good design to the world! I’m constantly learning from her as a person, business person and artist, shop owner, and author.

One of the things I admire most about Justina Blakeney is how she has figured out what she wants and works her rear off to make it happen. For example, she sets time aside every day to work on becoming a better illustrator and artist showing me how you just have to make time to improve. Without further ado, meet Justina!

Becoming: Interview with Justina Blakeney

What did you want to be when you were young versus when it was time to decide what to actually do?

I knew I wanted to work in a creative field. I went through various phases of wanting to be a trapeze artist, a teacher, a newscaster, and a singer.

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

Yes. All of those things. (except maybe maker haha)

How did your childhood influence what you have become?

My parents gave me a ton of creative freedom and did a good job of balancing and creating boundaries for me and letting me feel free. I think this gave me both confidence and a feeling of security which has served me very well in my career.

Did you feel pressured in any way to pursue a certain career path?

Yes, but the pressure was internal. I did not feel it so much from outside sources. For me, the pressure was about trying to make money vs. following my heart. I’ve found a good balance in what I do now.

How did you get started in your field doing what you do?

I’ve had about 25 different types of jobs and all of them (from working retail, to working in restaurants, to owning my own store, to consulting with small business owners, to being a freelance graphic designer and interior designer) all somehow have taught me skills that I use every single day today. I will, however, say that it was my blog (which I started in 2009) that a major catalyst in getting me where I am today.

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I studied World Arts and Cultures and Italian at UCLA and then went to fashion school in Italy where I studied design for one year. So, I guess the answer to the second part of the question is “kind of.”

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life?

EVERYONE. But especially my big sister Faith, who is an interior designer but has always been super chic and stylish and creative. My parents are a really obvious one, but they’ve ALWAYS supported me in everything.

What’s your workspace like?

Messy, fun, colorful, layered, inspiring, always changing, maximal, crowded.

You were one of the first people to produce original content for your blog. What lead you to think that it would be a viable career, especially in the early days when you weren’t getting paid for it?

I didn’t think it was necessarily a viable career, but I loved doing it and so I just did it for fun and because it was helping me to find new clients for my freelance business at the time. Honestly, I never thought in a million years I could make it big off of blogging.

You started out doing craft books. How did that come to be? Did that change your trajectory?

After fashion school in Italy, my sister and I opened a small shop. We were selling vintage T-shirts and so many of them were HUGE (and Italians are often petite) so we started cutting them up and making new styles out of them. People loved the designs and they were hugely popular, so we thought to self-publish a manual to show people how many designs you could make from a simple T-shirt! We thought of the book as more of a conceptual tool than a craft book, but the book was picked up by a craft book publisher in the U.S. and then the publisher commissioned us to create several books after that. I was in my early 20’s at the time and I was STOKED.

Did you always have an ultimate plan?

My plan has always been to figure out how to be my own boss, be creative, get rich, do good in the world. The details have always been a bit fuzzier.
A colorful bohemian room with a pink, cyan, and blue rug, yellow curtains, and warm wooden furniture.

Jungalow has morphed into a full-fledged brand. Did you always have that in mind? Where do you see it going?

Yes and no. I can’t say I’ve always had exactly in mind what Jungalow has now become, but I always allow myself to dream BIG and see where it takes me.

What sets your brand apart from other brands?

Me! I inject as much of myself as I can into my brand so that it can be true to who I am, and stand out in the crowd.

Do you like being the face of your own company? Does it have any drawbacks?

Yes, I’ll admit that I like being the face of my own company. I enjoy public appearances, I’m pretty outgoing and I love people and so I like that aspect of the gig. For me, the benefits outweigh any drawbacks, but I’d say the main drawback is that I sometimes spread myself thin wearing too many hats.
A brightly-lit room with a modern rug by Jungalow. The room has shelves, plants, a wicker rocker, a big window, and a sunbed.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Every day is different and I like it that way! I live one block from my office and after I get my daughter ready for school I walk to our local coffee shop, grab a latte and go on a walk for 30 minutes, listen to the news or a podcast and head into work. I work with my team on all kinds of projects from working on our online shop, to designing new products or creating concepts for new collections, shooting new styles or posts for our blog and social channels, answering press and media inquiries and interviews (like this one 😉 ) and  having meetings with partners or folks we work with.

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

My dad always said “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” and I couldn’t do all that I do if I was always fixated on fixing every tiny thing. I’m very big picture, and every day I knock down a ton of pins. It keeps me productive, and most of all, it keeps my learning. 

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

I would say to keep on creating. Don’t get stuck inside your head. Do do do do. Make make make. Share share share. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Then once you do, make sure you have an awesome accountant and a great lawyer who can help make sure your biz situation is on lock.

What’s coming up for you in 2019? And your company?

We have some fun new product launches happening this year, I can’t say too much about them yet, but one of them rhymes with “Shmall Shmaper” 😛 . A very large focus for us this year is growing our online shop, it grew about 200% in one year so that’s been so exciting to see. I also am hoping to purchase a building for Jungalow soon and open our first in-person location. L.A. is so expensive, so it’s gonna take some time for that to happen, but when I put my mind to something…I make that sh*t happen 😀 .
Blush wallpaper with botanical accents by Justina Blakeney. The space is decorated with a green desk, books, and a sun-shaped wall decoration.
*Edit from 2021: You can find Justina Blakeney’s wallpaper collection here!

What does your dream retirement look like?

Rich and beachy with lots of mojitos, grandkids and pottery classes.

What do you do when someone copies your work?

Depends on the circumstance. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, sometimes I lawyer up 😀 .

A Jungalow hypnotic quilt set on a light wood bed. The space has windows and plants and is airy and funky at the same time.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Hells yes and simultaneously NEVER!! haha.

Anything more/additional you’d like to “become”?

I’d like to become an agent for good in the world. Also maybe a podcaster, but we’ll get to that another time 😉 .

A tiger rug by Justina Blakeney Where you can find Justina:

Justina’s new collection with Target Opal House just came out and we’re all heart eyes for it. Here are some of our favorites. You can see the rest of our favorites over here!
Jungalow for Target Opal House
Thanks for your thoughts about “becoming”, Justina! We’re so pleased to have you. Stay tuned for more interviews soon!

In the Mood For: Alma Thomas

Who Was Alma Thomas?

Alma Thomas didn’t start out as a full-time painter. First, she was a schoolteacher in Washington D.C., where her career spanned 38 years. After her retirement, she began to paint seriously, quickly establishing herself as a member of the Washington Color Field School. This art movement, taking place in the 1950s-1970s, was often compared to the abstract expressionist movement.

Image source here

The Washington Color Field School was marked by monochromatic strokes, colorful stripes, and broad washes of color on canvas. Other unconventional methods artists used at this time included “soak staining,” a technique where the painter would pour thinned-out paint onto canvas and let it sit without using any brushstrokes.

Alma Thomas considered retirement after her years of teaching, mostly due to arthritis. However, when Howard University offered to produce an exhibition of her work, she decided to produce something unlike her previous paintings. She was inspired by the light coming through her window and filtering through the flowers in her yard. If that’s not poetic, I don’t know what is.

Alma Thomas reached acclaim in her 80s with her Earth paintings, characterized by concentric circles painted in bright watercolor strokes. The beautiful colors bursting from a white background produced a dreamy, mosaic-like effect.

Image source here.

Home Decor Inspired by Alma Thomas

Alma employed abstract, geometric shapes in her work, and one of her favorite shapes were circles. And circles are very on-trend right now! You’ll also notice the use of colorful stripes, color-blocked polygons, and gem-like shapes that will add personality to any space. Though Alma Thomas’ color palette leaned towards bright hues, her work isn’t just for children’s spaces. Don’t be afraid to use pops of color (or colors!) to make any room more inviting.

In fact, the Obama family even had one of Alma Thomas’ paintings hanging in the white house during their time there (you can see it here)! I love the cobalt blue painting they chose below. You don’t have to choose decor or art filled with the full rainbow, sometimes one bold shade is the perfect way to anchor the room’s feel and color scheme.

 

Besides bold color, do not forget to consider shape when designing your space. Both the negative space between furniture, and the shape of the pieces themselves. They are nuanced, but round edges versus square ones can be the difference between a country chic couch and a mid-century modern. Train your eye to pay attention to the details. Pair a boxy couch with a round coffee table. An oval mirror above a squared off console. Or for a look with an even bigger Alma-Stamp-of-approval, look for statement pieces with more organic edges.

Fashion Inspired by Alma Thomas

Alma’s love of bold shapes and color didn’t end with her art, she wore them wherever she went! Every artist in our Great Artists! kid’s course comes with paper dolls, and Alma’s outfits are some of the most fun to mix and match.

Neutrals are all the rage right now. However, color is making a much-needed comeback to lift us out of the gloom of 2020! The great thing about Alma Thomas inspired style is that you can still wear your beloved neutrals while taking advantage of the beautiful colors Alma was inspired by. If you’re scared of color, start with accent pieces, like hair clips or masks (who would have thought masks would become an accessory?!)

 

Image source here.

Learn About More Great Artists!

Alma Thomas is a part of our Great Artists! Course, which we are offering now for just $99. It’s a six-week long course, but once you purchase it, it’s yours forever (a big plus for those of us who recently became homeschoolers overnight!) Now is the perfect time to introduce your children to some wonderful artists whose work still influences the world around us today.

And for artists inspiration more on your level, check out our posts about home decor inspired by Monet and Frida Kahlo, who are part of our kid’s course as well!

 

 

This post is a part of our In the mood for series. In this series we show you how to recreate interior design styles and fashion inspired by people we admire! Click any of the links below to check out the past posts in this series!

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle WomenMonet, Frida Kahlo, and Alexander Girard

How are you doing and ways to help

First, the pros. Being with my little 2 year old boo, Jasper hands down. Both Paul and I work full time so in the past he’s had some great babysitters during the day. I can tell that he’s gotten so used to us being with him full time that he cries when one of us leaves the house, which he didn’t really used to do. And if you follow me on my personal Instagram account, you’d know that his sleeping patterns have been going through a switcharoo (we figured it out!

And life has been SO much better since–it’s called a crib tent and it’s changed our lives!). Anywhoo, I know we’ll look back on this and realize what a treasure it’s been to be with him, especially at this adorably active stage. Actually, I’m trying not to have a look back moment and enjoy but live it all now.

That said…Paul and I both work full time and with no childcare it’s been SO TRICKY. (See photo above from a live Instagram I did with founder of Eighteen B. I tried to keep Jasper occupied with treats but then he found a box of chocolate cookies and I just had to go with it.) On Paul’s end, he started a new job a couple weeks into stay at home so he’s been working more and more. On my end, I’m trying to keep Lars alive….

Which brings me to my next point:

I’ve had a lot of people ask what they can do to support Lars. It’s a very thoughtful and supportive question to ask so thank you so much. Like many other small businesses, we’ve certainly been affected by the economic change. Many of our clients have either canceled or postponed our scheduled projects and the influx of new business has dwindled. As you might have noticed, sponsored campaigns is something we’ve been doing for the past many years–it’s how we’ve grown our business and team. We value our clients.

The Lars Shop

THANKFULLY, we started a shop almost two years ago now. Up until the last six months it was a small focus of ours, but we’ve been putting more and more energy into it adding in templates, patterns, printable pages, art prints in our Print Shop, and items from our collaborations. Once the pandemic hit, we realized the need to provide people with items that they could do from home and you guys picked it up pretty quickly. We offered all of our printables and templates at 40% off for the first month, as well as a daily coloring page every day for 30 days.

Then we put out the Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, a printable coloring book for now, knowing that we needed to spread HOPE and contribute to the cause by donating all the profits to charity. And a few of our print shop artists have been donating their profits to charity. It’s nice to feel like we can contribute. We’re also in the process of developing some new resources for you and your children, which will be available soon!

While the shop has done remarkably well considering the circumstances (exceeding our expectations!), it was such a small portion of our revenue that we still have a ways to go before it fills the gap of where we were before all this.

Ways to Support

I feel funny answering the question, “how can we support you right now” because there are so many things and people vying for our deserved attention right now. Health, lives, serious stuff. How many of us feel like we want to help everyone out but are limited by finances and time?! But, I’ll do my best to answer it.

As a reader, supporting our shop in any way you can is the best way to show us your support. There are products at every price point (from $1.50!) and for many purposes. Our mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands because when you do you get in touch with your soul and your quality of life improves. Everything in our shop is intended to fulfill this purpose. You could call it the perfect “stay at home” resources long before we were required to do so. Our print shop is also a wonderful place to spruce up your Work From Home spaces.

Number two, supporting our book, Craft the Rainbow and/or journals, My Life In Color (and notebook, and journal) wherever books are sold.

For those limited by budget right now, we get it. Buying is not a real thing for so many people right now. In that case, if you have bought our book(s) in the past, consider leaving us a review or sharing it with someone who you think might be interested.

Some other, non monetary ways to support right now is to follow us and engage more on social media channels like Instagram (we’re almost to 200k!) Pinterest, and Facebook. Engaging means liking our posts or leaving comments. The more you engage, the more visibility we receive from other people as a whole.

If you’ve found any value in our site, shop or tutorials in the past, please share it with those who you think might be interested. I’m certain that people will benefit from the resources that we share–it’s just knowing about them!

And lastly, if you are a business and have considered working with us, now’s a time to get in touch and figure out a way to work together and partner up.

Ok, NOW, the question is…how can we support YOU! What do you need? What types of resources would you like to see from us? Products, classes, tutorials, tips? Come on, what are they?! We want to serve you in the best way we know how so feel free to speak up!

Becoming Interview: Stacey Fraser from Pink Chicken

Stacey Fraser of Pink Chicken

Stacey Fraser is the founder and creative director of Pink Chicken and worked in the fashion industry for 15 years before taking a break to be with her kids. In the meantime, she started sewing the most adorable clothes for her girls and herself, and before long, people were asking her where she got them. Thus, Pink Chicken was born! 

Psst…we dare you to look at the amazing textiles on their website without wanting to buy them all!

Here’s Stacey:

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, etc.?

I think mostly a designer.  That is how I started Pink Chicken, my love for designing textiles and kids clothes… the business side I have grown along the way.

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

Well, both of my grandmothers were in the fashion business.  Mimmers was a wedding dress designer, but growing up I would go to her sewing cabin in NC and help her with anything she was working on.  And Mimi, had a women’s clothing store in OH.  I would spend a few weeks there every summer.  I loved to be in the store, sit in on buying appointments in the back and see the customers!

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur? Did you go to business school?

I started my career working for big corporations in designRalph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap… it was the best training ground for me. In all of those places, I learned the business side of fashion and how to build a brand.

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

All of the women in my lifemy grandmothers, my mom and my sisters.

What sets Pink Chicken apart from other brands?

We like to think of ourselves as a joyful brand!  Our clothes are no-fuss, always stylish and our dresses put a pep in your step.  We design all of our own fabrics and/or work with artists… so we have original patterns in joyful colors. We care so much about what we do here and I think our community can feel it.  We also pride ourselves in great quality so the dresses can start as a dress, end up as a tunic, and get passed down to little sis.

Was starting your own business always your ultimate plan?

No, not at all. I was taking a year off of work after my second daughter was born and started making dresses for them during their nap times. People used to stop me on the street and ask where they were from. I thought then maybe I was onto something.

What does your daily routine look like?

Well, that has definitely shifted because of Covid. When I open my eyes in the morning, the very first thing I think about is my iced coffee.  Once I’ve downed that, I make breakfast for my daughter and husband.  Not having to rush to the office every day does have it’s silver linings.  We have started going back one day a week to collaborate on our fabrics and designs in person.  It has been so great to get back.  And for dinner lately, we have been going out most nights to support our neighborhood restaurants. In NYC right now all restaurants have outdoor dining permits and it’s been really great. 

What is inspiring you lately?

So much really. My girls, their resiliency during this crazy time.  My oldest daughter was a senior when Covid hit… she missed a lot, including graduation.  Of course, she was disappointed but had a great attitude about it… also my team! Our little Pink Chicken team is like a family. I am so proud at how everyone has transitioned to working from home and still has the dedication and passion to their work every day.  I’m grateful for both.

What is on the horizon for you and Pink Chicken in the remainder of 2020?

We have our Holiday Collection that launches mid October!  We are so excited about it. The Holiday dresses have become a flock favorite!  We LOVE seeing holiday pics of families in our dresses.  Ultimately, the very best part of what we do!  And we are bringing our favorite gifts that we have in store online to our website for a killer Holiday gift guide!

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business?

It has to come from the heart, from your passion.  That will get you through the ups and downs.  I think being your authentic self gives you the ability to connect with people in a meaningful way and that goes for your brand too.  And then also—think about what are you doing that is different from what is already in the market?  What is your point of difference?  It could be your product, your giving back mission, how you run your company and the people you employ.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Yes. I always dreamt of living in NYC, being a clothing designer and having a family. I am a hard worker and hustle every day, but I am living the life I always dreamed of and am so grateful. 

Thank you, Stacey!

You can find Stacey and Pink Chicken here:

Pink Chicken website
Pink Chicken on Instagram

Look out for a giveaway with Pink Chicken later this week on our Instagram!