Jen Renninger is someone that won’t let me forget her because she writes the most expressive and kind emails that really touch my heart. Beyond words, Jen is also a lady that I find impressive based on the talent she exhibits through the graphics she creates — I’d love to explore my own talent in the arts at some point and it’s ladies like Jen who give me a little push in that direction without even realizing it.
Jen said that she visits decor8 because the content reaches far beyond design, “Your blog is really about positive inspiration and creative joy,” she says. I think that she makes a good point because I’m constantly moved by the work I see from so many of the talented men and women that sharing it here comes so natural. I’m obsessed with decorating and all the elements that make a beautiful home, but I don’t blog because I’m obsessed with trends, shopping, and owning the latest finds, I write because the many projects that people work on truly make me happy and help me make sense out of all the bad things in the world that co-exists with the good. When I see beautiful art or fabric made from a person who put so much of themselves into it, I can’t help but be inspired by that level of talent and skill but also the determination that went into bringing the concept to reality.
I can’t imagine living in a world without creativity, without the ability to create things. Lately I’ve been a bit hard on myself because I haven’t been ‘making’ things that much. I’m pretty busy with other things that don’t involve sitting at my sewing machine or working on a fun DIY project, things that fuel me. I haven’t even taken on a new design client because my current schedule does not allow it at the moment. But then as I thought about how little I’ve spent on creating things I realized through Jen’s email that I do make things. I make words that promote the talent out there and that inspire each of you to continue on or to find your path. And after realizing that, I felt a lot better today. I think that a lot of writers suffer these feelings at times, if you are a writer perhaps you understand what I’m saying here. You can sometimes feel like a cheerleader who just wants to get out there and play ball.
Jen, an artist who just so happens to run a lovely etsy store Still Room Studio, has been working on a project this year called 365. It’s a blog showcasing a year of everyday images she posts that is the decor8 blog of the week. Some of her images are collages, others are paintings and drawings, and lately she’s been photographing the drawings with collages under them. The results are beautiful. Her sister, Raydel is another amazing talent that I’ve talked about here before but I wanted to point you to her work again today too. These sisters are fantastic!
Congratulations Jen on your new project and the way you are encouraging us all to be creative everyday whether through art, the way we handle a problem, how we prepare a meal, or the words we write — thank you for encouraging creativity in all its forms.
(images from jen renninger)
I feel like I’m running two blogs lately with my new job over at Real Simple, it’s been a bit hectic because I don’t yet know my audience there and I’m still exploring what topics will interest them and the others that won’t. Since what I write for Real Simple is exclusive meaning I cannot post it here on decor8, I can only provide you with a link to follow as I write new content there on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
I find that so much of what I pull together for Real Simple is on topics that you’d really like to know about, so I hope you don’t mind when I link over to my work elsewhere. I’m working with them to develop a widget for my sidebar where you can see posts I write there as they are published. But since I don’t have the fancy pants stuff now, I’ll have to clue you in through blog posts. My family and close friends read this blog so I also do this so they’ll see what I’m up to. My friends feel better knowing I’m not slacking off and that I’m doing useful things, and my dear mother can be proud of me knowing how well her extremely hyperactive daughter turned out after all that work. :) Kidding. Sorta.
Today I wrote a little best of on the topic of wall decals. It’s crazy long (you know me once I’m on a roll…) and filled with great linkage, so you are invited to read it if you’d like. I’m very pleased with how it turned out and now when I’m sourcing for wall decals quickly, I can easily access this post and scan it for what I’m looking for.
(image from stick meon)
I believe you are the company you keep. Surround yourself with positive people who, despite hard times, keep their eyes fixed firmly ahead and press forward to accomplish their goals and good things will start to happen in your life. I prefer to be around such ones. I had my share of draining relationships when I was in my 20’s so once I hit 30, I decided to change all of that and ‘weed’ my little friendship garden because people are a huge part of our life – they really can make or break us. We can flourish or die inside simply by maintaining regular contact with those who aren’t good for you. Your gut will tell you if you listen. That’s why I’m so excited to share these two friends of mine with all of you today because they encourage me, support my work, and I know for a fact that they are authentic – what you see is what you get. I’m honored to be around so many creative types who are out there shaking the trees and making some good stuff happen!
First up is Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday fame, a friend who came to me via this very blog! We have been friends for exactly one year this month. It’s funny how we came together, it has to do with a person who wasn’t so kind to us and as a result, we started to talk about the experience and became great friends. It’s funny how friendships blossom. Today I noticed that Marisa’s name is up in lights over on Erin’s wonderful Design for Mankind blog so I have to point you over there to check it out. I’m so proud of you Marisa. And she’s in great company. When my grandfather passed away last month, Erin sent me a gift package of chocolate and homemade cookies because well, Erin is that kind of lady.
Marisa is an artist who, like me, had to explore the non-traditional approach to making a living because the common path didn’t work very well for us. Often in life the paths we are told to follow or that we think are the best for us when we’re fresh out of college don’t always pan out. Sometimes the realization that it’s not working doesn’t hit until we’re in our late 20’s or beyond, some don’t see the need to make a life change and explore a new career until they are in their 40’s and beyond. I read about a lady recently who attended law school in her 60’s so there’s no ‘cap’ when it comes to the time in life when you are meant to explore whatever it is that you were put on this planet to do. You’ll just know, so the next step is to act. And that’s what Marisa did. She’s a 35-year-old painter who has not only built up a huge following through the internet, but her art goes beyond the canvas as she explores the business side of being a freelance artist on her blog through her podcasts that have a cult-like following. Her encouragement and advice seems to resonate with a broad range of people, me included. Topics she speaks about openly include Artists are Sensitive, Trust the Process, Dealing with Adversity, and my favorite, You Can?t Give A Sh*t What Anybody Thinks. Now that’s honesty, people!
Click here to read all about the lovely Marisa and how this L.A.-based painter spends her day as a freelance artist.
Next up is another friend of mine who has her name up in some major lights this month, yay! It’s Maryam Montague of the blog My Marrakesh. I found her huge spread in the April issue of Budget Travel starting on page 62 and so I have to share this great article with all of you. If you have access to Budget Living please pick up a copy and read it. She talks all about the best places in Marrakesh to shop, eat, see… It’s an extraordinary treat and will make you want to instantly hop on a place headed toward this gem of a city in North Africa. Beautiful job, Maryam.
(image from marisa haedike and design for mankind)
I talked about Irana Douer and her illustrations on decor8 before, but I just heard from her and viewed her latest work so it’s time to highlight this artist again. This time, Miss Irana is experimenting with fabric (last time it was ceramic), a pillow design for Australian gallery Third Drawer Down available here. Lovely! Living in Buenos Aires, Irana is a freelance illustrator, an art student, and curator of online magazine Ruby Mag.
I rather like the idea of having such an special pillow to lay my head on for creative dreams at night… About her work, which focuses mainly on women, she says, “I am interested in women, their thoughts and feelings, especially sadness. Broken hearted women who just want to hide from the world that surrounds them. Masks, hair, closed eyes, anything goes. But that are still very strong and move on and never lose hope.” Thanks Irana for sharing this!
She also just released a colorful 8 x 10 giclee print ($40) in a limited run of 100 over at Poketo in case you’re interested. Lovin’ these bright hot hues.
(image from irana douer)