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Thoughts On Childhood Pets + Stefan Gevers

Let’s talk about childhood pets for a moment but first, what comes to mind when I say this word. Snoopy. Perhaps you see the beagle who bounces gleefully in the Peanuts series. I see a darling green and gold budgie that was one of my best friends growing up. Snoopy, whom I named after thinking Woodstock was too silly for a bird name, was always there for me – never fail. He loved to soar around my room, rest of my shoulder, crawl up beneath my chin and cuddle. He loved to play with his toys and had a fondness for bells. We had our own “call” – the moment I did it he would fly to me no matter where he was in the house. Once he escaped to the great outdoors and it was my call that got him back inside again.

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My parents had dogs and cats but that little tiny bundle of happy was all mine. I was responsible for feeding, cage clean up and maintaining his water dish and ensuring his toys were in good shape including his cutterbone which I loved because I always thought it looked like the coolest little bird surfboard and I would daydream about taking him to the beach near our house to ride the waves on it. Silly kid but cute still. I still smell his feathers if I think hard and whenever I smell birdseed, even today which feels like a million years later, I think of my little bird with the very big personality.

After he died, which was so unnecessary (my mother decided to put him under the shower to wash him), I wasn’t the same for awhile. I was mad at my mother. Mad at life. My grades suffered, my heart — split in two. He was my first and last pet. After his death, I couldn’t imagine getting attached to another animal. I’ll never forget seeing him as he laid lifeless at the bottom of his cage. I took his limp little body out, placed him on a soft towel and tried my CPR moves – the ones I had learned in health class (of course that was ridiculous but I was a little girl). When nothing happened, I cried for so long that he was dry by the time I had composed myself enough to bury him. I then prepared a shoe box, included all of his favorite toys, wrapped him carefully in one of my favorite blankets I had used for my Barbie doll’s bed, and placed him inside closing the lid and knowing that was the last time I’d see him. I then rode my bike for 20 minutes down to the intercoastal waterway to bury him in my thinking spot, where I went when I needed to have peace and quiet. That is why today, whenever I see a parakeet, a sweet little budgie of any color, I feel warm and happy inside though obviously mixed with sadness. I think of my little feathered friend. And then I think about if I should get a pet again someday.
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Now that you have some history, and thanks for listening to my sad story, perhaps you know why this artists’ work touched my heart this morning. Isn’t art supposed to evoke emotion? Stefan Gevers captures the personality of birds so well I think. And the colors are vibrant and joyful. Born in The Netherlands, Stefan lives in Melbourne, Australia where he creates gorgeous art and hosts workshops. I found out about Stefan from the blog Studio Home here thanks to a reader, Jay, who highlighted this site just today.

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Did you ever have a childhood pet? What kind was it? What did you call it? Did you feel then as though you had the most special relationship in the world? As I begin to think about my baby growing up and eventually wanting a pet of his own I wonder if I should get him something that tends to have a longer life span or a shorter one. Any thoughts?

(photos: stefan gevers)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on July 25, 2014

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

Recently I was burning time posting photos on Instagram when I noticed my friend Leslie has posted this pic below. And under the pic she wrote, “Love these #studiocalico #projectlife cards by @ashleygoldberg these are going to be so fun to use!”. Of course, anything my friends are involved in, I have to know more about. And seeing cards by Ashley Goldberg was a great inspiration to me, so of course I had to google! My fingers happily tapped away trying to find these companies Leslie had hashtagged (is that a word?) and BOOM! there I was on the Studio Calico website looking at Project Life kits and BAM! I found Pandora’s box.  This newfound hobby would be detrimental to my wallet.

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Days later, a box of gorgeous supplies arrived from Studio Calico including Project Life stuff which I learned later, is actually by Becky Higgins. What a small world as I had met Becky in person at The Creative Connection in St. Paul when I gave a keynote (she was also a speaker). Studio Calico sent me a box of loot because they saw I was interested in their products from Instagram and so when they offered to hook me up I accepted with delight. They knew I wasn’t going to do anything for them in return except maybe use the products. But they were clever because after seeing them, and playing around, I knew I had to blog about their prods but more than that, I actually have some questions at the end of the post about this stuff if any of you are users and can help me, I’d appreciate it loads.

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Okay so now I’m sitting in my studio with these nice things from Studio Calico (see my table below) and I’m wondering what I’m going to try out first. I think I’ll use the mini gray album and pages from Project Life to create a small baby album for Aidan first. That would be nice. I’ve been looking at the amazing member pages where Studio Calico fans upload their work and sheezus, these people have some mad skillz. I did some scrapbooking back when I lived in New Hampshire, it was a New Hampshire thing to do after all because everyone was into it, so I gave it a whirl so I could make friends and have something to do on the weekends.

But honestly, scrapping just didn’t work out for me. Too involved at least for a perfectionist like me who took planning scrapbook layouts a little too seriously. I was wondering which elements to use and where in my sleep. I’d finish like 5 pages in a year. Frankly, I don’t have endless amounts of time for scrappin’. Looking at the pockets in my Project Life kit though I keep thinking, “This feels realistic, I can imagine doing a pocket at a time and not obsessing, yeah this may work.” So I’m going to attempt to get into the whole Project Life thing which I admit, when I see their billion fans all over the internet, I’m a bit late to the game on this one.

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To inspire you, why don’t you go look at some of the things that Studio Calico members are making with their Project Life pages? This is Magda from Poland below. Can you get over the prettiness? She made these and slipped each little card into a pocket in her ring binder. These pages look like book spreads or something. This could be a really fun project for a new mother like me especially as Aidan grows so I can do sweet little pages for him and file them into their stylish books. If anything, if gives me something to do with my hands and a way to get all of my photos of him into the real world. Not that the internet isn’t the real world, but c’mon – how long has it been since you printed and framed a photo you’d taken of your kid on your iPhone?

That’s my point.

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At least this hobby may help me to print stuff again. Lots of people who are digital die-hards may object and I understand. Clutter. More crap to store. More supplies to file away. But as a creative woman who needs to do things with my hands other than pinning pretty photos as my hobby, which is kind of meaningless once you have like 200 boards and you haven’t cooked a single recipe you’ve pinned or made one of the DIY projects out of the 11,000 you’ve filed away on Pinterest, real world hands-on work like this could strike a nice balance for me so I can still drift into Pinterest playland by night and a few afternoons a month, slip into page making with Project Life as I listen to Sia’s new CD and trim my son’s adorable little photos, merrily slipping them into pockets and later, showing my pages to friends and family.

So, are ANY of you guys using Project Life or Studio Calico stuff? Do  you like it? And PLEASE can any of you tell me the BEST PHOTO PRINTER out there for this stuff? I want to print IG photos and photos from my Canon so I can just trim ‘em and put them in the pockets that came with my kit. I’ve been looking at mobile printers and a million others but reviews are so mixed so I just want to know, what are you guys using?

(images: leslie shewring, holly becker, studio calico, magda)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on July 24, 2014

Lorna Syson – Put A Bird On It!

I heard about Lorna Syson during the same time last summer but I was too pregnant and too sick with pregnancy illness to pay any attention to her lovely email. Such a shame. Thankflly, she’d not given up on me and was in contact again just recently to announce a few new additions to her homewares collection.

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I think the little birds are so darling and I like the bold color blocking on pillows and lampshades too. With wallpaper, pillows, lampshades, fabrics, cards and prints, there is a little something for everyone. Have a look…

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And do you remember when everyone online was saying, “Put a bird on it”, because of that episode on Portlandia? I think it’s so true, you can put a bird on something and it’s an instant winner and I don’t mean that in a negative way – it’s so true. Just today, my Bramley Tote diaper bag from Pink Lining arrived that I bought online recently, and I squeeeeealed with delight. Why? It has owls ALL OVER IT. See what I mean (here)?

So yeah, these Lorna homegoods make me happy, too. Birds! Weeee!

(Photos: Yeshen Venema)

Posted in shopping on July 24, 2014

Style Me Pretty Living + In The Fun Lane

Have you ever stumbled upon something, discovered that it’s actually been around for quite some time, and wondered how you could have missed such a gem? This happened to me today when I came across Style Me Pretty Living. I knew about SMP for years now as founder, Abby Larson, is also a Boston girl like me. But I didn’t realize they have a “Living” blog that covers DIY, home tours, party planning, DIY projects and more. I will definitely be checking out this site more in the weeks to come for times when I feel a bit stuck in a rut.

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This is a favorite home gallery from Style Me Pretty Living which profiles a blogger that I’d not known about until now either, the lovely Holly and her little girl, from In The Fun Lane blog. Her home was photographed by Jacqueline Elizabeth in Calgary. To pin any of these images below, PLEASE visit THIS page and pin to your little heart’s content from there since I’ve grouped the images in this blog post to discourage pinning from my blog on this particular post since Style Me Pretty Living has their own gorgeous galleries in which you can freely pin, create boards, become a member, etc. I don’t want to steal their thunder. But my goodness, this little home is super inspiring to me and really made me happy – so I had to share a brief glimpse.

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To me, Holly’s home has so much love, style and great decorating ideas. I love the wire lamps hanging in the corner, the Hell Yeah print, the sweet touches of baby photos above that pretty chair (I don’t see a lot of family photos in homes anymore, why is that?), and the branches on the wall are so pretty. If you look at the full gallery for this home, you will see her gorgeous kitchen, daughter’s bedroom with the lovely hearts above the bed, and more. This home really made me smile today and I hope that it does the same for you too. Makes me want to redecorate (again).

I hope you are all having a super duper day! The weather is gorgeous here so the baby and I are going out to hang for awhile, run some errands in his stroller, etc. Viva la Summer!

(images: jacqueline elizabeth/style me pretty living)

Posted in inspiration on July 23, 2014

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