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Explored & Liked

Hello and happy Monday to you, though it’s hard to wish anyone a happy Monday isn’t it?! It’s not the same as saying Happy Friday, but let’s pretend for a moment that it is. :) How are you doing? I’ve been well, feeling a little better though I’m still a bit groggy and achy from last week. I did something surprisingly inspirational yesterday though – I went to our local zoo on the edge of our forest. It’s such a beautiful space, the kind where you don’t leave depressed worrying about the health of the beautiful animals. It’s a surprisingly lovely place to visit, especially during the winter.

This weekend...

Our zoo is filled with so much to see and do from ice skating and a Christmas market to handmade donuts to munch on, an ice rink for skating, gorgeous snow owls, sledding and tubing slides for the kids, various themed areas (Australia, Yukon Bay, India, Africa, etc.) that aren’t cheesy but rather very natural and sweet. I really liked the area where you could go in and walk around with the kangaroos – nothing between you and them – it felt so nice to do that. I also enjoyed watching the little kids react to the various animals — and how people’s dogs reacted to the animals — one sheepdog was really taken in by the Timber wolf area – he was wagging his tale excitedly and seemed keen on jumping straight in! I think it’s great that you can bring your dog (leashed of course) to the zoo. They even have to pay for their own ticket, ha ha! I must confess that I am not a zoo person, meaning I once hated to go almost as much as the circus since most depress me but our zoo is the first one that makes me happy to see animals being cared for, protected and shared with others for educational purposes without sacrificing the comfort of the animals. From my visit, I fell in love with the many patterns on animals that I saw, the tones of blue from the sky to the water – especially navy paired with worn, bleached wood and I found the ice skating rink and outdoor food carts a lovely touch for winter along with the twinkle lights and general peaceful spirit in the air. Funny to admit that I found so much inspiration at the zoo, but I did.

This weekend...

Another place that I explored locally this weekend was the big weihnachtsmarkt downtown. Germans really do this season right, it’s incredible how many festivals are taking place in this country and the markets are brilliant and packed. There’s nothing like it! It was a color-filled explosion with candied apples, chocolate-covered bananas, nutella crepes and candy canes bursting from carts everywhere along with everything from bratwurst to smoked salmon. We also have a Finnish market and a Medieval market downtown too, so there are lots of yummy things to eat and drink and to see and buy. Between the weihnachtsmarkt, the Asian grocery store that I love to shop in and the flea market along the river… I had plenty to occupy my Saturday.

This weekend...

I also explored my cookbook collection a little and played around a bit with the shelves in the kitchen. I tinkered around a bit — placing all of my washi tape into a single box in my studio drawer instead of having them here and there throughout the house. It’s the little things that make us happy, and for me organization is such a little thing but yet also a very big thing if you know what I mean. Without organization so much suffers, at least in my world. I also popped some berries into a ceramic vase that I found on sale and liked at Impressionen (here) and made some cream and silver puffs to display in my home. It’s a nice time of the year to nest and craft, cook and bake, organize and chill out. I did a lot of chilling out too – I watched several films and ordered some new music (Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Glasperlenspiel). Yes, I still buy CDs. I know, I know…

This weekend...

Finally, I simply watered my plants, changed the water of my many flower arrangements and dusted a bit – sounds boring but I like tending to things in my home with my favorite tunes on. I like my warm and cozy home in the winter, it makes me happy.

What did you explore and like this weekend?

(photos: holly becker, taken with the instagram app for the iPhone.)

 

 

Posted in Inspiration on December 12, 2011

Holiday Edition

Hello friends, it’s me Leslie and I’m here today to bring you a very merry holiday edition of Color Me Pretty. For me, it’s all about apple green, red and aqua at the moment because it feels fresh and joyous. What do you think of this palette?

Color Me Pretty December

Here’s how my inspiration began. First, I got really inspired by an old photo I found of my aunt at the Calgary Stampede circa 1970. The pale minty aqua was in my head for days and then I picked up a notebook set by Rifle Papers (for Chronicle Books) at Anthropologie and figured I had a pretty color combination to work with. Here is what inspired my color selections…

Color Me Pretty December

Color Me Pretty December

I later realized that my chosen palette is very Martha Stewart Living circa December 2009. Oh well! Great colors are meant to be used again and again. Check out that back issue if you can though as it is loaded with inspiration from Martha’s expert team.

Color Me Pretty December

During the holiday season I always enjoy some kind of crafting project. These days I am obsessed with painting driftwood. I promise, living on the dark and rainy Vancouver Island has not made me totally bonkers (yet). I am just really inspired by the work I saw in the summer of Toronto artist Ginette Lapalme. I saw this photo in her flickr and this post on her Tumblr and thought what a great idea! I decided to make a holiday tree out of driftwood I collected off the beach as shown above. I painted some patterns on each piece using acrylic paint from Martha Stewart Crafts. I am thinking of mounting it to a framed board or I could also hang them on a wall. These small pieces of driftwood are very light and thus easy to hang.

Color Me Pretty December

Holiday parties do not have to be elaborate. Little gestures of unexpected color can make regular items seem festive. I plan on using more of these stripey straws from my friend Jessie’s shop Sweet Lulu. She also supplies the petite milk bottles I have been using and some great treat bags that I have stocked up on.

Color Me Pretty December

Stripey straws can also make cute cards! I couldn’t help but cut up a few in apple green to make another tree motif. Simple buttons glued to white cardstock with a hand drawn stitch border can also be cute to pin on your mood board or to use as a pretty gift tag.

Color Me Pretty December

Gift-wrapping is a paper fanatics dream job. I could wrap gifts for days if I get to use interesting papers! I combined ordinary school supply graph papers with fabric tapes and various pieces of patterned prettiness I had around. I also tried drawing some patterns on some kraft boxes to use for some little treasures I will be giving during the holidays. I used a basic white acrylic paint to prime the boxes and then used some Marvy markers to add a few colors. These simple patterns should look nice even after the holidays are over.

Color Me Pretty December

Lastly, never underestimate the power of a single bloom! Pop them into clear bottles and wrap the bottles with your favorite washi tape, masking tap or fabric. If you use several down the center of your table you have a very affordable yet lovely tabletop with little effort.

Well, that’s it from me folks. I hope you all got an idea or two to take with you. I look forward to seeing you back here in the new year. Have a wonderful holiday season, all my very best to you. — Leslie Shewring, A Creative Mint.

(photos/styling: leslie shewring)

Posted in Color Inspiration on December 09, 2011

Stylist Barbara Groen

Dutch stylist Barbara Groen has been on my radar for well over a year now since I first fell in love with her work in VTWonen magazine when she styled a story about diverse work spaces. I’ll quickly show a quick glimpse below — I fell in love with these three magical spaces instantly.

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

After finding her work, I’ve been following her ever since. Here are some more views from the portfolio of this talented stylist. To see many, many more you’ll need to visit her online portfolio here.

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Stylist Barbara Groen

Yeah, that is some SERIOUS inspiration overload. I love how she uses color and generally sticks to three colors in each of her stories – maybe it’s just a coincidence but it seems to be her recipe. I also admire how creative she is – I found so many fun decorating ideas simply from studying the images above. She also loves to use paint and doesn’t have any problem putting very bold colors on cabinets, inside and out – love it! Her use of pattern is minimal, she relies more on objects, color and displays to tell her story. I like many of her wall arrangements and how she uses tear sheets as decorative elements. What an inspiring person Barbara is!

(images: barbara groen)

Posted in uncategorized on December 08, 2011

Heart Home Magazine: Winter Issue

I’m so happy to announce that the second lovely issue of Heart Home magazine goes live in just a few minutes and it’s a lovely feast for the eyes. I love this magazine and look forward to seeing many more in the future because it covers mostly British designers, crafters, artisans, etc. and well, that niche stuff gets me all tingly. I love it when magazines have a very clear focus and aren’t all over the place and totally random, I know what to expect! I know when I look at VTWonen the aesthetic is mainly Dutch, or Inside Out is mainly Australian with lots of Aussie homes… Same for Selvedge magazine, it’s all about textiles. This is the kind of focused content that stands on its own and for me, Heart Home has a good thing going on. Are you ready for a special peek into their next issue? I’ll start by sharing my two favorite images in this magazine — this gorgeous bedroom for one…

Heart Home Magazine
Oh dear this is where I imagine going on a weekend holiday… I love the natural light in this space and that gorgeous duvet or “eiderdown” as the English call them. The white floorboards are lovely and I like the contrast of the flooring against the wooden dresser – truth is, contrasts excite me. The fireplace and its surround is enchanting, in fact I noticed that in all of my favorite spaces in Heart Home I could see a fireplace – my absolutely favorite element in a room. The arrangement of things on the dresser is perfect, this room is fun to examine I think, don’t you? And now for my second favorite room in Heart Home, this amazing living room below… The corner nook is so appealing to me. I dream of finding a yummy leather chair like this and curling up to read on a Sunday morning… The flag is a perfect touch I think. If you put your finger over the Union Jack and try to imagine that corner without it, it’s simply not the same. That statement piece provides energy and fun.
Heart Home Magazine
Lets get a closer look at what’s on that mantle, shall we (see below)? Well isn’t this a nice arrangement of quirky and sweet bits – some look sentimental, others perhaps were collected during a walk and still others could be flea market finds. There is sure to be a story behind each item, wouldn’t it be nice to know?

Heart Home Magazine

When I look at vignettes like this in other people’s homes, I often try to imagine my own stories for each of their objects. Maybe that black No. “3” is their birth month (March) or how many children they have or perhaps their lucky number. I have a ceramic vintage house number on my wall with “22” on it. I bought it in New Hampshire before I moved to Germany because I knew it would be the house number of my first address abroad, when I moved here I lived on a street in house No. 22. I’ve moved since, my new house is No. 46 – but my little No. 22 will always be special to me. Whenever I look at it I think of when I was planning to relocate and the excitement I felt, and my first apartment in Germany. These are the layers of stories behind objects that we decorate with that give a home some heart.

The second issue of Heart Home has around 160 pages and is packed with diverse homes and ideas to suit every taste. I was thrilled when editors Carol, Ari and Daniel gave me exclusive photos from the magazine to use in this blog post – it makes me happy to see how the rooms look without copy laid on them and they are gorgeous and totally pinterestable (new word, I know!) now so pin them, tag them “Heart Home Magazine” on Pinterest, and spread the word!

Heart Home Magazine

This photo above gives me ideas for my vintage Moroccan wedding quilt that is currently folded on my sofa… It really looks beautiful on a floor, doesn’t it?

Heart Home Magazine

Lace and neon is a great way to freshen up something seemingly old-fashioned with a little ‘edge’ appeal. I love the gift wrapping feature in this issue, lots of pretty ideas and color palettes.

Heart Home Magazine

I don’t know if the random purple fringe on the far left of that rug was an accidental soda spill or intentionally dyed to add some personality, but either way the result is great – I love it! This is something I find about British design that always makes me smile – a sense of humor and slight wrongness where you stop and say, “Wait, that shouldn’t be there… or should it?”. Even rooms that appear a bit serious seem to incorporate slight bits of quirk in England, at least from my outsider observations…

Heart Home Magazine

I like this idea because you can also use a found branch if you don’t have a fancy one like this. Aren’t all of these ornaments pretty? I have the reindeer, he is from Anthropologie and I know that because my friend Joanna just gave him to me. :) You can make some of these ornaments yourself – paint some found acorns white and leave the caps natural, then string them to hang or buy vintage door keys at a tag sale and paint them a chalky matte white to make them look almost like ceramic keys.

Heart Home Magazine

I like the wooden cabinet above as well, the knotty wood adds character and warmth. It is also a great contrast to the all-white floors. The quilt is cozy and charming and wow, what a gorgeous fireplace – what is up with English homes anyway, do they all come with amazingly aweseome fireplaces or?!?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into Heart Home’s latest issue – it will be live on their website very soon today so keep clicking by their page until you spot it – there is a patio set on the cover with a huge wreath above it, you can’t miss it!

(photography: Oliver Gordon, Sarah Hogan, Andrew Boyd and Jeska Hearne)

Posted in Books + Magazines on December 08, 2011

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