Guest Bloggers

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

August 20, 2009

A few of my favorite things: Art and Ghosts

Hi there, this is Louise from Art and Ghosts (blog & shop), just popping in to say hello and to share a handful of my favorite things as part of Holly’s series. I currently live in the north of England in a small yet sweet little village located on the outskirts of the town where I grew up. My home is actually 160 years old, although extensively modernized throughout; the only reminder of days gone by being a strangely battered horseshoe tacked above what was once the kitchen door. Having only moved into the house last December, much of the surrounding countryside and even the house itself still feel so very new to me, which is something of a novelty. In this sense, the house itself could be said to be my most favorite thing of all.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

My favorite room has to be the living room. Prior to moving here, I had lived in a fairly modern, third floor apartment for almost ten years, which comprised of four small, featureless rooms with tiny, shuttered windows. In contrast, my new home has a certain lopsided individuality, large windows, and best of all, a mantle piece! Being the central focus of the room, the mantle tends to get a makeover every few weeks or so, so that the objects on and surrounding it are continuously changing. I suppose you could say that it functions a little showcase for my favorite pictures, knick-knacks, etc. Most of all, I adore the serenity of this room, it seems to contain its very own ‘silence’, a sensation of stillness, relaxation.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

My paternal grandmothers writing desk. We have something of a love-hate relationship, myself and the writing desk: love, due to enormous sentimental value, and hate due to the upper lid never failing to bite or nip my fingers whenever I attempt to open the top compartment. A family heirloom which found itself taking up residence here a short time ago, I am actually more attracted to its functionality as opposed to its age or aesthetic appeal, which in my own opinion, doesn’t leave a great deal to be desired. Almost every piece of furniture that I own tends to be white, contemporary, so the desk makes for quite a pleasant distraction.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

My books. I am never quite complete when not engaged in reading. In this sense, I suppose that I consider reading to be a vital aspect of my existence, something which I could not live without. There are far too many of them, and no matter how much I attempt to downsize, the collection will simply keep on growing until it has overtaken my expectations – and space! I am the type of person who can spend hours sitting cross-legged in the corner of a musty old book store, or else browsing them online until dawn breaks.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

Tea, cups, and saucers. I have a somewhat unhinged passion for tea. Isn’t there an old English mindset which considers tea as the cure for all ills? Well, I believe in it! As I have mentioned somewhere before, tea has quite a remarkable place in my life, something which I consider to be more of an ‘experience’ than a mere beverage, in much the same way as chocolate.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

Treasured possessions, mostly gifts or purchases from online friends and artists. Something that I dearly love about being such a tiny part of a greater online community – our ability to share our passions with others of a similar mind, regardless of distance. For some reason, the novelty of this continues to remain so alive and fresh, for me, that sense of there being a personal, unique story behind each and every one of these possessions, whether vintage or handmade.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

The dolls house, which I snapped up for less than £2, then had to carry home on a long distance bus ride in a broken plastic bag. Such is love, and a renewed passion to renovate! Dolls and dolls houses have always fascinated me. They also inspire me creatively, having been such a large and consistent element of my visual art work since as far back as I can remember. I just adore miniature worlds and the stories that we can invest in them, how they have the power to spark imagination, whilst also rekindling feelings and memories of childhood, when play and imagination were so essential to our perception and exploration of the world around us.

Art and Ghosts: Favorite Things

My village in winter time. One of my most favorite things of all. Words could never possibly express my love for the colder months, how it seems that I only ever come fully alive at this time. My senses literally rejoice the coming of autumn (as they are doing now!), the darker evenings, the longer nights. Perhaps this suits me so well because I am a confirmed night-owl, preferring to work through the night time, as late as my commitments will permit. Snow, especially, defines the very concept of magic for me.

What inspires me: Oh, too much! So many things that are intangible, like dreams, memories and sensations. The natural world, the seasons, ideas of places which I have never seen. I am besotted with music, both contemporary and classical, and can barely exist without it, especially when working. Each and every day I am hugely inspired by the passion and integrity of creative people, their own work and the thoughts they share amongst us. I am also quite obsessed with fairy tales, mythology, children’s literature and film.

The most unforgettable advice that I have heard so far is quite possibly one of the most simple, yet carrying it out can take a monumental effort: Have faith in your own feelings, to take notice of your intuition. If only I had done this on so many occasions! We have a tendency to push such things aside as mere irritations, but in my own experience I have often found them to be an invaluable source of truth.

Having said that…one more piece of advice, which I stumbled upon whilst browsing the internet this week: never, just absolutely NEVER make a decision when you are angry. This one really ought to speak for itself! Thanks so much for reading my little offering, and a huge thank-you to Holly for making me so welcome! — Take care, Lou x

(images: art and ghosts)


  • Reply Ashlyn August 20, 2009 at 11:59 am

    What color is the paint on the walls of the living room?
    It really lightens everything up.

    And I love all the touches of whimsy throughout the home.
    .-= Ashlyn´s last blog ..Kids. Love ’em. =-.

  • Reply Melissa Miller August 20, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hello, What a gorgeous blog you have!
    I just found you in my new book and I just adore it here!

    ~Blessings to you, ~Warmly, Melissa ;)
    .-= Melissa Miller´s last blog ..~*~*~Metamorposis Monday~*~*~ ~Garage Floor Paint Treatment~ =-.

  • Reply Claire August 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Such a lovely article! Thank you for sharing your home with us. You’ve made me long for winter just a little bit. ^-^
    .-= Claire´s last blog ..In which I am tired =-.

    • Reply decor8 August 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm

      I totally related to this post, Lou. Especially the Autumn reference (me too! my fave season ever) and the mention about tea and books and how tea is an experience not just a beverage. I’m with you on that. xo-holly

  • Reply Mathyld / encore petite August 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Oh me oh my !
    We do love the same things !
    Tea as a magic experience, teapots, saucers & teacups, flowery patterns, old books & children’s books, snow & cold weather …
    And I have the very same “Mon Petit Fantôme” Ghostie watercolour !

    Thank you for this very unique and poetic feature, Holly ! I loved visiting Louise’s flat !
    x x x

  • Reply Laura Gaskill August 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    You’re a kindred spirit I think, Louise! Tea and books and treasures and dolls houses and Autumn…sigh. I also love the color you’ve painted your living room – it looks so relaxing! Like a biscuit to go with your tea!
    .-= Laura Gaskill´s last blog ..New Creative E-Course From Susannah Conway! =-.

  • Reply Pam August 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    This is a really lovely post. I enjoyed reading it immensely and I am with you about the colder months. I look forward to Autumn and Winter every year. I love the Autumn colors and also the snow. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Reply yasmine August 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    absolutely lovely! i’d love to visit that side of the world one day.

  • Reply Shanon August 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I love those little trees on your mantle! Could you share where you found them? And it’s so interesting that you say you come alive in the winter. That is so wonderful. I have to try really hard not to go stir crazy or get depressed. It’s nice to hear that some people really enjoy those months. After all the steps I took last year to make our house feel more cozy, I’m actually sort of looking forward to winter. But shhhhh, don’t tell! =)
    .-= Shanon´s last blog ..It’s all pink and there were ruffles. =-.

  • Reply Cherry Menlove August 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I love the novelty of moving to a new home and town/village. So much to explore and experience. You have a beautiful home.

    Cherry x
    .-= Cherry Menlove´s last blog ..Entrance Hall Rest Spot =-.

  • Reply Nichole August 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I love the wall color in your living room as well. And what a treat it is to see inside your home! I pop by your blog from time-to-time, mostly to view your beautiful art…and I can’t recall ever really noticing the loveliness of your home. Thank you so much for sharing!
    .-= Nichole´s last blog ..birthday prep =-.

  • Reply a fanciful twist August 20, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Lalala Louisie! Here you are at Holly’s pad! You know, I love your lovely abode. It is perfectly peaceful and mysterious all in one.

    Just like you ;) ( I do love the mantle and the ceiling medallion, your colors and your treasures)

    Your grandmother’s writing desk is wonderful, and I do adore your dollhouse, trekked home in a broken bag and a long bus ride, dear love!

    What a treat today!

    xxx, V

  • Reply Kara August 20, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I love all of your happy colors and especially your pink dollhouse…
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Illustration Friday- "impatient" =-.

  • Reply Jessica August 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    What a great home! Thanks for sharing your inspirations, Louise! I am inspired by many of the same things, and I love how eloquently you talk about how these things move you.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..August Goals =-.

  • Reply Kim August 20, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Ooh I LOVE those teacups and the little gold clock on the mantel!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Carry On =-.

  • Reply Jennifer August 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    All such lovely and inspirational photos! I would love to live in a place like that! Thank you for sharing it with us!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Zooey, a cardigan and cute shoes. What else is needed?! =-.

  • Reply Pollyanna August 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Beautiful home! So bright and simple. Living in sunny California, sometimes I long for my neighborhood to be covered in snow like that. :)
    .-= Pollyanna´s last blog ..Billy Ball Ring! =-.

  • Reply Elle August 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Wow, I think this might be my favourite of the ‘favourite things’ series so far!!

    I have recently moved into a period property myself, in London. I have two fireplaces with mantles. While I love the arrangement I came up with when I moved in, I am so inspired by your regularly changing little exhibitions!! I am definitely going to try this.

    I really love your work as well. Do you have a store on Etsy??


  • Reply Kathi @ allthingswhite August 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I love everything about this post !!! And it is nice to hear from another person who adores winter, it is by far my favorite time of the year- and snow is most certainly magic !
    .-= Kathi @ allthingswhite´s last blog ..Vintage Sewing Caddy =-.

  • Reply fabframes August 20, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Lovely photos, and wonderful writing! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and images with us!
    .-= fabframes´s last blog ..Charley Harper Skateboard Decks =-.

  • Reply Jan August 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    This is a lovely post Lou, providing me with a little more insight into what inspires your work (I am already a fan as you know!)
    Tea and chocolate. I can totally relate to.
    See you over at art&ghosts ? Jan

  • Reply jen August 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    oh lou, i’m utterly charmed by you now more than ever! thank you for sharing this post with us (and thanks to holly too!). i adore your home and your little village – wow! both feel very magical to me.
    .-= jen´s last blog ..The Wedding Photos: They’re Here =-.

  • Reply louise/artandghosts August 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Gosh, Im really moved by these comments, thank you so much for such a warm response!
    So lovely to see more winter hearts here too, I cant wait to prepare myself for ‘cozy’ mode;)

    In response to a few questions, my wall colour is just a standard magnolia with mocha at present, I am trying to resist giving in to bright white again!

    The little plastic trees were purchased from ‘Brooklyn Rehab’ at etsy.

    And i do have an etsy shop, although I am currently taking a little vacation.

    Thanks again!
    lou x
    .-= louise/artandghosts´s last blog ..Morningtides =-.

  • Reply Alison Gibbs August 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Lou what a great post. Love that your mantle continually changes showcasing your latest treasures. Oooh … I think I would be itching to paint your Grandmothers desk!!
    .-= Alison Gibbs´s last blog ..WATERSIDE WEDNESDAY =-.

  • Reply Kara {Must-Have Boutique} August 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I love to read too! And like you, no matter how many books I give away, my collection keeps growing! I may have to get The Houseplant Survival Manual for a friend!

  • Reply Kara {Must-Have Boutique} August 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I love to read too! And like you, no matter how many books I give away, my collection keeps growing! I may have to get The Houseplant Survival Manual for a friend!
    .-= Kara {Must-Have Boutique}´s last blog ..Lovely Leandra Drumm Switchplates =-.

  • Reply Susananh August 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Very well written and quite charming. Your advice near the end peaked my curiousity!

    Thank you for sharing your world~

    Susannah @ Art Nest
    .-= Susananh´s last blog ..Art in Your Cart =-.

  • Reply Shanon August 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for the heads up Louise, I love Brooklyn Rehab. =)
    .-= Shanon´s last blog ..It’s all pink and there were ruffles. =-.

  • Reply Karen August 20, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I love the simple peacefullness of these wonderful rooms.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..24 x 18 ORIGINAL PAINTING – FREE SHIPPING IN CONT. USA =-.

  • Reply gabriellevalentine August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    What a beautiful home!!! Love it!!!
    .-= gabriellevalentine´s last blog ..Of All The Petty Little @#$! ….Dear Blog Readers, I’m Officially Tired Of This. Amen. =-.

  • Reply Cookie Cutter August 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Those little flags over the fireplace really help add extra cheer! I love it that you used mostly white with some colour accents. It’s so inviting! Thanks for sharing :)
    .-= Cookie Cutter´s last blog ..The World as I see it =-.

  • Reply Beach Vintage August 20, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    What a truly fabulous home. I am in love with the little dolly sitting on top the books.
    .-= Beach Vintage´s last blog ..What I Love Most, My 100th Post ! =-.

  • Reply eco-stylista August 21, 2009 at 5:14 am

    What a great post!
    That winter photo is amazing! How strange it seems to be almost magical to have real snow in winter…
    .-= eco-stylista´s last blog ..The ultimate wardrobe mission: week no. 2. =-.

  • Reply The Shutter August 21, 2009 at 6:59 am

    I also heart tea and books. I like your thinking. Well done.
    .-= The Shutter´s last blog ..Merci =-.

  • Reply Lana of Simple Joys Paperie August 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

    This post touched me in so many ways, from the 160 year old house to the love of musty old books to the sentimental family pieces to the love of winter and your beautiful village. I’m so glad I stopped by today!
    .-= Lana of Simple Joys Paperie´s last blog ..1897 Medical Book Paper Wreath Sculpture for doctors / physicians, nurses, medical students / CSSTeam =-.

  • Reply Megan August 21, 2009 at 9:27 am

    What a wonderful “Favorite Things!” I’ve been reading each one the past few weeks and this was by far my favorite. Such a beautiful house and beautiful words to go along with! Thanks Louise and Holly!

  • Reply louise/artandghosts August 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks so much for such sweet comments!
    The dolly sitting atop the books is named Doris. She has a very bad temper when disturbed;)

    Alison Gibbs, How I would LOVE to paint the writing desk! Now that you have planted this idea…….
    .-= louise/artandghosts´s last blog ..Morningtides =-.

  • Reply Lucia August 21, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    What a gorgeous home:) The sofa looks so cozy with all those lovely cushions and quilts! The photo of where you live looks identical to the place where I grew up – you don’t live in Alston in Cumbria by any chance? The view from the churchyard in Alston looks identical to this – and it always snows there at xmas too:)

  • Reply louise/artandghosts August 22, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Lucia, thanks!
    I’m just a little further south, near Parbold in Lancashire:)
    .-= louise/artandghosts´s last blog ..Morningtides =-.

  • Reply Cheryl R August 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I could comment positively on your whole post, but I just wanted to mention the paragraph called “my village in winter” – it could have been written by me! So, hello fellow winter/fall lover, night owl :)

  • Reply jja August 23, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Great home :-). I saw your art work, it is amazing! I love it! You are so talented, I just have to rethink my budget for the month and count what can i buy in your lovely shop!
    .-= jja´s last blog ..Kozmetika petkom =-.

  • Reply Penny Patten August 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Your rooms are very bright and airy! It appeares that we have a couple of the same collections. My love for books shows throught out my home as well. I also have a collection of tea pots a long with tea cups. Thank You for taking the time to share your thoughts, insights and lovely spaces.
    .-= Penny Patten´s last blog ..So our Chicken Coop is complete! =-.

  • Reply fernanda August 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    ohhh, such a lovely, lovely post! i’m truly inspired by most of the same things, and by you, lou! as i said many times before, you are such an inspiration! *sigh* thanks as always for sharing your beautiful world?

  • Reply Bea August 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Long time so speak Lou! Lovely to see you over here on Holly’s site and look around your ‘new’ home. Beautiful words and sentiments; I totally am with you on being a night owl.

    So where are the Blythes? LOL

    B x

  • Reply Katrine K August 26, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Dear Louise, I loove seeing pictures from your wonderful home and reading a little about how you live you life. I wish I could live out that night-owl inside me, I understand your passion for the darker, colder evenings and nights. A splendid time for working “in the cave”.
    .-= Katrine K´s last blog ..Den røde sofaen… =-.

  • Reply monica from hola!design August 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Great post! I really enjoyed it. I really like that advice: “never make decisions when angry”
    I love your work, Louise.
    ps. love that dollhouse!
    .-= monica from hola!design´s last blog ..Polar Bear shaker =-.

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