Apr, 13

{studio sunday} with Elizabeth of SquidWhale Designs


Meet Elizabeth of SquidWhale Designs.  I first stumbled across her on Instagram, and instantly fell in love with her textiles and accessories.  She’s incredibly talented and strives to create lasting items for men, women and the home.  One of my favorite qualities about her is that she also tries to be as eco-friendly as possible.  You know this is dear to my heart and so important to me.  Now that you know what she creates, lets take a peek and see where she creates.

1. How long have you been designing textiles and sewing? What is your inspiration to create? And how did you get started?

I went to Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, PA, earning my BFA in Textile Design. I enjoy the methodical, contemplative nature of working with textiles, be it dyeing and printing or weaving. I’ve worked on my sewing since starting SquidWhale a couple of years ago because I have always wanted to see my textiles become objects.


2. How do you juggle the 9-5 with your creative small business?

This is a constant balancing act between my day job, my business and trying to make sure I attend to my health and family. I try to always put in 20+ hours a week into my studio work, and spend time during my lunch hour at the office each day working on the social networking/researching end of business. I will spend time working on my home computer sometimes (I try to make home time non-work time, but there’s always some overlap).  To reach my 20+ hour studio goals, I work on the weekends as well as weekday nights. I’d not be able to do this without the constant support from my husband. He cooks and cleans and even does my laundry, so that I’m not some dirty weirdo eating beans out of a can.


3. Where’s your studio located? and why?

My studio is located in South Philly a couple of miles from my apartment in West Philly. It’s near my gym, which is convenient for when I need to shake off the cobwebs from a day at the office or take a break from being boxed in the studio too long. My studio is in a building full of other artists and I share my space with an artist friend. I enjoy sharing a studio because I’m regularly re-inspired by my studio-mate.  Being a part of the flourishing artistic community in my building is also very inspiring and encouraging. Many of us are working towards similar goals of being full-time artists/designers/makers. We share knowledge and experience and organize a couple of art/craft events each year as a team. I find this kind of community invaluable to staying focused on my larger goals. They’re also a wonderful group of friends whom I value greatly.  I find it’s helpful to keep the studio outside of my home so that when I do spend time at home, it’s focused on my husband and spending quality time with him and our dog in our beautiful neighborhood.


4. Are there any items that you like to keep close while you create, for inspiration?

I have a library in my studio of inspirational books about textiles, textile history, the ocean, ships, whales, life on the high seas and more. I like to take some time to research ideas while drinking some french press coffee, which keeps me going. I have the vintage items from my shop on shelves on display above my computer and the wall next to my desk is a mottled old pegboard that I use as a background in my product photos. I enjoy keeping these things around me to help me focus on the work I want to accomplish. I will also display my fabrics in the studio so that I think about them when I’m working. I’ll often figure out what I want to do with some fabric just by staring at it.


5. What’s your favorite part of your studio space? Why?

I have a few favorite areas of my studio. I love my indigo dye works area and feel very excited and creative when I’m dying fabrics and experimenting with shibori & resist methods or block printing on top of the dyed fabric. I love the window by my work table for the sunlight and fresh air. And lastly, I love the comfortable chair we have in the studio, so when I have to rip out something I sewed incorrectly, I can sit in comfort and relax while watching a TV show
on the computer.


6. Do you have any future plans for your studio?

My studio is very small, which is great for keeping overhead low and keeping me from junking up the space. Sometimes I do feel that I’m outgrowing it, especially if things keep growing at the rate that they are. My hope is that in the next couple of years a larger studio will open up in my building and that I’ll be able to move into it. I’d like to set up a larger dye works, working with other natural dyes beside the indigo. I’d also love to have a proper floor loom to work on woven yardage for accessories and large tapestry art pieces. I’d also like to have some good space for plants.


7. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?

Don’t be afraid to re-work your space, several times. Setting up shop is difficult and requires regular evaluation. Pay attention to how you move and use space and if something isn’t working, find a solution that does work.  Your space has to be a happy, enjoyable place to be or you won’t want to work there. Make things organized, comfortable and stocked with things to keep you going. And always clean up after your day in the studio so that you arrive in a fresh, ready-to-work space. Your future-self will thank you.


Elizabeth, thank you for taking the time to put together the photos, with the help of Chaucee Stillman of Streets and Stripes, as well as sharing details about your space.  I just recently started making a real effort in cleaning up my studio at the end of each day, and I agree, it’s an amazing feeling to walk into a fresh space the next day.  I’m also glad to hear that you have such a supportive, close and creative community.  I love that you all make an effort to get together on a regular basis and network.  I hope a larger space opens up for you to continue to grow and I can’t wait to see what you do next.  Thank you again for sharing your studio and a peek into your creative life.


Visit Elizabeth around the web: Site | Shop | Pinterest
{Photo credits: Streets and Strips}

Apr, 13

{studio sunday} with Lauren Holgate


I’m thrilled to have Lauren featured this week on {studio sunday}!  She’s so many things – a mama, an artist, Etsy Shop owner and a writer.  She has a way with words that will pull you into her world.  And her illustrations can speak for themselves.  After reading her interview, I know that you’ll be inspired to create in your lovely space!

LH-Art-making things

1.How long have you been drawing? What is your inspiration to create? And how did you get started?

I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. In fact, I come from an entire family of artists – painters, musicians, carpenters, chefs, and storytellers in the making (and there’s a good chance none of us will ever have any money, unless someone marries rich). A few of my earliest art lessons came from my grandmother, who painted lighthouses and sailboats. Her tried-and-true advice (and my own creative mantra): you just have to play with it.

My inspiration to create is always changing. I saw a quote somewhere (probably Pinterest) that said: ‘being creative makes you a weird little beast because everything seems so bloody interesting for some strange reason.’ I feel the same. Inspiration may be found anywhere, and being an artist is less dependent on talent than on how you see the world.

Currently, I keep a little Etsy shop where I sell my illustrations, postcards, picture book, and the occasional mixed-media piece.  I also accept a variety of custom orders, generally based on personal photographs. I hope to expand my inventory in the near future, but for the time being I have space and material restrictions and am working on a very small (hobby-esque) scale.

LH-The little bronze turtle
(The little bronze turtle, acting as paperweight on rough sketches, brought all the way over the pond to Dk.)

2. Is this your only job, or do you have a day job, too?

I’ve always been a temp of sorts (temp? dabbler? distracted!) I think it was Maggie Stiefvater who coined it best; something about her ‘inability to be gainfully employed.” That might be me, in a nutshell. I also work for a data management company, and am attempting to homeschool my five-year-old son in between Danish kindergarten and bedtime (so when we move back to the States he isn’t terribly off in his English abilities). My dream job is to open a coffeehouse of my own – a hub for creative individuals, coffee addicts, book lovers, and various artistic pursuits.

LH-These paintbrushes were actually my grandmother's and I will always keep them for her.
(these paintbrushes were Lauren’s grandmother’s brushes – so they are dear to her heart.)

3. Where’s your studio located? and why?

My studio, as it were, is part and parcel of an actual studio apartment in Roskilde, Demark. The boys and I are living in tight quarters for our last few months in Europe (less space, less rent, more travel – seemed like a pretty good tradeoff). This essentially means our kitchenette is in our living room is in our bedroom, with dishes and tea tins on bookshelves, and books on floorboards, and plants on windowsills, and so forth.

That being said, my art space is mostly transportable. It comes out at odd hours, spills over on all surfaces, and has high hopes of a permanent studio in the future. Maybe this will happen by year-end, when we move stateside again (although, truth be told, we have no idea which state, as of yet. It’s going to be an adventure).

LH-My real-life pinboard
LH-A few of my succulents.

4. Are there any items that you like to keep close while you create, for inspiration?

Absolutely! Lately these include paper cranes, driftwood pieces from the fjord, a black-feathered dreamcatcher, and a collection of small potted succulents (which, surprisingly, I have yet to kill). I am also inordinately fond of oddly-shaped thrifted coffee cups. They house my pens and plants and various other things.


5. What’s your favorite part of your studio space? Why?

The most convenient space to work is our multi-faceted six-foot-long table. It is occasionally a dining room in and of itself, a fort for the kiddo, a preschool catchall, an office for two, and, on humbler occasions, a laundry mat. In its spare time (when the boys are out, between meals, after the kiddo’s bedtime) it transforms into my creative space. This happens almost daily.

LH-Sweet Dreams, Sweetheart ... my latest illustration

6. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?

If your workspace is your home (is your shoebox) and you live with boys, then yes.  Organization is best (for setting up and taking down your ‘studio’ in a moment’s notice); a sacrosanct drawer or two is preferable (or a closet! I’d kill for a closet); and coffee is a must (for early mornings and late nights).
Arthur Ashe has the best advice on the subject, I think: Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.


Thank you so much Lauren for sharing your lovely and inspirational space!  I love how you use what you have and make it work in your favor.  You really have a clear view of what’s important and you’re insanely talented.  Your images are stunning and I really enjoyed reading your interview – you’ve motivated me to create today.  I highly recommend that you all go over and read Lauren’s blog and also visit her Etsy Shop.  The illustration above is called Sweet Dreams, Sweetheart and it’s the latest piece in her shop, so go get it!

Thank you again for taking the time to share, Lauren.  You have been a true pleasure to work with and you’re incredibly talented.  I wish you the best in all that you do.

Apr, 13

{studio sunday} with Kathryn Vercillo


When you walk in the front door of my apartment, you walk into my studio space. That is not because my studio is right at the front door but rather because my entire apartment IS my crafty studio. This reflects the fact that I have worked hard throughout my life to seamlessly blend my work, craft and daily living into one completely artful life.


Many people prefer to separate work and play in their lives. While I understand this, it is not the path that works for me. In order to be completely fulfilled, I must work at a creative living. In order to do that, my everyday life must constantly inform and inspire my work. There is a saying by writer Anais Nin that writers “write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”. I think that there is truth in this; everything that we are doing throughout life is a unique experience and one that we re-live again and anew in the writing.


Yes, I am a writer for a living. I write a variety of different things but in recent years have come to focus on the craft of crochet and how it can be used to tell stories, connect people and offer healing to both individuals and communities. I blog at Crochet Concupiscence, writing about all things related to crochet. Last year I published a book called Crochet Saved My Life, which is about the mental and physical health benefits of crafting. And right now I’m at work on Hook to Heal, a book of creative exercises designed to help people use crochet to gain self-understanding, honor their inner artist, improve their relationships and enhance their total quality of life.

I first learned to crochet as a child but didn’t really start to do anything with it until a few years ago. At the time I was dealing with the worst period of a lifelong battle with depression. I figured out that crochet offered me a safe space to relax, stop the ruminations of the mind, practice self-care and otherwise heal myself. There’s a lot more to the story than that, of course, but basically crochet really did play a role in saving my life and I honor that by trying to help others figure out how to utilize their own creativity in healing ways.

I believe that being creative is the best way to live life. For me, it is the only way to live life. Perhaps that’s why it is so important to me to work creativity into all that I do. One way for me to do that is to live in a home where creative tools are always at the ready.  That said, there are four main crafting areas in my home:


•    My cozy corner niche. I have created a comfy crochet-covered corner in my bedroom. There is a pile of crochet blankets on the floor that offers terrific padding for cuddling up. There is a crochet-covered beanbag chair. This is where I usually keep my latest crochet project going. It’s the perfect place to just snuggle up and crochet away. Usually my laptop is on with either a mindless TV show or some Spotify music. There is a window in this corner so on nice days the window is open to let in fresh air. This is also an excellent place to catch up on craft-related reading and research!


•    My bed. This offers the same coziness as the comfy corner. I actually try not to work in bed too much. I work from home and while it’s important to me to seamlessly blend my work and play, I also realize that it’s not healthy to spend large portions of the day in bed. That said, when I’m winding down in the evenings, I’ll often switch to the bed for a more relaxed crochet project.


•    In front of the fireplace. My very favorite part of my studio/ apartment space is the rug in front of the fireplace. The whole area is surrounded by old washbasins and other tub of yarn that are sorted by color which I find very inspiring. The space is large enough that I can spread out all of my different crafting supplies. (In addition to crochet I also do lots of collage work, scrapbooking and sometimes other crafts.) I can also spread out notebooks and calendars when working on planning out blog posts or doing research. I wish everyone could have a crackling fire in the fireplace as they work in their studios; I think it’s perfection!


•    My desk. Of course, my actual writing and blog work typically gets done while sitting at my desk. My desk takes up a small corner of my living room. It’s well-organized and simple. I have a few personal touches there to inspire me, though. One is a favorite photo of me with my siblings. Another is a gorgeous picture of a peacock that I’ve taped to my computer stand. A third is a recent fortune cookie fortune; I change that out when I get a new one that seems more fitting to the time. And finally there’s my computer wallpaper, which changes now and then but is currently an image of a girl with a leafy seadragon, which is my favorite animal. As a random aside, I usually use funky non-serious notebooks for taking notes; think Lisa Frank.


Living alone and working for myself allows me to have a situation where my studio space is my living space. This works for me. It won’t work for everyone, but I do suggest finding small ways to incorporate your crafty/ work life with the rest of your life. For example, inspiring photos from your “everyday” life can be great in a studio space. Likewise, a few crafty tools (such as a yarn and hook) kept on a table in the home or a drawer of your desk can bring creative moments into your non-crafty life.

I love to hear from others so feel free to visit me on Twitter, Facebook or G+. You can also learn more about my random daily thoughts on my personal blog, Diary of a Smart Chick.


Kathryn, thank you so much for taking the time to share your studio and living space!  I love that you actually surround yourself with what you love each and everyday.  I think it’s incredibly important to stay motivated and inspired throughout your day, so why not start at home.  I also love that you write to inspire others.  That’s an art all in itself.  Continue to do what you love and keep your creative space lovely.  Thanks again for sharing!

Dec, 12

{studio sunday} with Chrissy Sparks

Hello!  I’d like for you to meet Chrissy Sparks.  She’s a self-taught painter and a California native who’s settled in beautiful Colorado!  I met Chrissy through another {studio sunday} feature, believe it or not.  See commented on the post and we started chatting and quickly realized that we live in the same state.  The best part is that she recently moved closer, so hopefully after the Holidays, we can meet in person.  Anyhoo, let’s jump in and see where she paints.

1. How long have you been painting?  What got you started?  What’s your inspiration?  Has your style changed at all?
I began painting in 2003. I received my first easel in 2004 as a gift and started learning everything I could about painting techniques. It wasn’t until 2009 that I really became passionate about painting and entertained the idea of selling my work. After much encouragement from friends and family, I decided to put my first painting up for sale and it sold right away! Shortly after, I opened up a shop online and now sell my paintings across the U.S. and internationally. My style has changed a bit since I first started painting; I experiment with a wider range of colors, my paintings are more detailed, and my subjects are more intricate. Most of my inspiration comes from nature, but is heavily influenced by music.

2. I know that you recently had two of you pieces in the Colorado State Fair, how exciting was that?!  Tell us about it.
This was my second year being part of the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit. It was a great experience and such a humbling feeling to know that my work was chosen to be shown with art from across the state! This year I had two Nebula paintings from my Cosmos series on display. My paintings were the only Cosmos themed art at the Fine Arts Exhibit and it was great to see the reaction of people when they realized the paintings were based on actual photos from NASA.

3. On to your studio, where’s it located?
My family and I just  relocated to the Greater Denver Area and we are currently living with family. My studio is located in our house and is the largest space I’ve ever had. I love having such an open and well-lit space to work in from home. 

4. What’s your favorite part of your studio space?
My husband and I love going to coffee shops together, so I really wanted to incorporate the “coffee shop/lounge” feel into my workspace at home. It’s turning out to be a fun space not only to be creative in, but also to relax. I also love my hand-made easel (which my husband gave me while we were dating), my paint pallets with colorful paint all over them, and the glass jars full of paint brushes and other art supplies that are throughout the area.

5. Approximately how many hours per day/week do you spend in your studio?  Is it a full-time job, or do you do something else, too?
I  spend several hours a day in my studio. I’m also a stay at home mom, so I don’t usually have the time to be in my studio all day creating, but bursts of creativity work great for me at this point in life.  Aside from my own artwork,  I also work for my husband’s film business, Sparks Bros Media. He currently makes short films, spot light videos, and does commercial work. I do a bit of admin work and a bit of social media for him (mostly Pinterest and Twitter on occasion).

6. Do you have any future plans for your studio?
I’m still getting settled into my new studio space so mostly I’m trying to add touches here and there that make the space feel comfortable and inspirational. I’d like to add a few books to the area and other small items to help in those times that I might need a creative “boost” or inspiration for color.

7. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?
I think that surrounding yourself with things that inspire you and are meaningful to you is very important. I have all of my paint brushes displayed in glass jars. I also display my colored pencils and markers this way. I not only love the way they look, but it is also very functional . What’s most important to me is the creating part of it all. Do something. Make something. Be creative. Try new things. Surround yourself with encouraging people. I really feel this is just as, if not more, important as having an inspiring & functional workspace.

Chrissy, thank you so much for your time!  I know you’ve just moved and are still getting settled, so thank you for taking the time to share a peek into your creative space.  I love that you’ve found your passion and that you’re supported by loved ones – it makes it that much better!


Please take a moment and visit Chrissy, and say hello! FB | Twitter | Instagram: @ChrissySparks

Dec, 12

{studio sunday} with Alexz of Bird Trouble // pt.2

The Holidays are here in full force and it’s getting to be a little overwhelming in these parts.  How about for you?  Well, if you’re in need of a little mental break like I am, here’s a very special {studio sunday} for you to escape in.  It’s extra special because, this is a studio update feature.  That’s right, we’ve seen this lovely lady on here before, and you can see her old studio here.  She has since moved and updated her studio, so lets dive into our first studio update, shall we?!


Hey everyone! I’m the designer and one-woman-show behind Bird Trouble. My name is Alexz and this is my second time here on the Chickiedee blog – but things have changed a lot since. I currently finished reinventing my studio space and welcomed Bird Trouble to a new websiteAll of this refreshing is keeping me sane during this busy Holiday ordering season. I’m anticipating 2013 because I have a ton planned for Bird Trouble and I’m working on a new Lookbook – this is just the beginning!


1. Alexz, I’m so excited to have you back for a studio update!  Last time we peeked into your space you made all of your bags in your bedroom, what’s changed since?

I’m excited to be back! It’s fun to see how much better my space is haha. So much has changed! About a year ago, I moved into my apartment that I share with two roommates. We are just walking distance from Lake Michigan here in Chicago. It’s great.


2. Is it still located in your home, or elsewhere?

Now a days, I’m still making bags in my bedroom, but I technically have two bedrooms that I keep separated. They’re connected to each other at the front of the apartment – and once served as the sun room. It’s pretty large too! I’m lucky because it is much, much better.


3. What’s your favorite part of your new space?  Is there anything that you miss from your last studio?

I don’t really miss anything from my old space! Honestly – it was too cramped. I would never go back! My favorite part about my new space is the natural light and the cement floor.


4. What have you taken from your last studio and how did you make it better?

I took all of my furniture from the old place to use it here. I was able to spread everything out more while giving me room to add new pieces. I brought in my drafting table from my parents’ house that I’ve had since I was a child. I love it.


5. I know you spend hours in your studio, so what keeps you inspired and motivated?

Motivation to work is easy for me. I’m a workaholic. It’s being inspired that sometimes ends up sucking. I turn off the movies and put on some music – mostly music that can just linger, or recently a lot of Aerosmith. I read my favorite blogs and small business owners. Beca from Tumbleweeds Sunglasses always inspires me. I also like to go for walks right when I wake up. Having a dog helps with this, but anyone can do it. Your mind is still waking up in the morning and it’s the perfect time to surprise yourself with your own thoughts. An easy thing – I follow artists/artisans who inspire me on Instagram or Tumblr  and I go through it, even for just a minute, each day.


6. Do you have any organizational tips to share?

I write down everything! I’m kind of neurotic about it but I know it works with my jumpy thoughts. I carry around a notebook and a very nice pen with me at all times, in case an idea or a thought to remember comes to me. I also like to make lists of goals for the next day, in life or in Bird Trouble. I use a planner more of less religiously and I keep it on my computer desk so that I look at it every time. I don’t use my phone or computer for planning myself because I find paper & pen easier and way better looking.


7. Lastly, how does your boyfriend, Ty and Detective Bacon Cheeseburger like the new space?!

Oh man! This is the best part. My boyfriend now lives in a different part of Chicago. I’m enjoying my own space and my own time but we’ve talked about moving in with each other in a year or more. Ty loves his new home and loves it this close to the lake. Detective actually found a new home with a friend of ours, and I hear through the grape vine that she’s a happy little chubster now! 😉


Alexz, thank you so much for taking the time to share your new and exciting studio!  I’m so happy that you’ve been able to expand your workspace to create bigger and better things.  I can’t wait to see what you make next.  Thank you for being my first ever studio update, it was so fun!  I just love to see other creatives moving forward with what they love.


Be sure to visit Alexz: Blog | Shop | {studio sunday} pt.1

Dec, 12

{studio sunday} with Isabel of IKNOW

It’s that time again where we get to peek into the studio of a very talented creative.  This week we have the honor of chatting with Isabel, of IKNOW Clothing.  You may or may not have been familiar with her beautiful clothing until now, but once you see her work, you’ll never forget it.  She’s super skilled with a needle and thread.  Lets see where her magic happens in her sweet little studio tucked away in Devon, England.

1. Tell me about yourself.
Oh gosh, I am not very good at describing myself, but I’m sure everyone says that. I’d say I’m pretty normal, I enjoy doing all the homely things like sewing, cooking, eating & watching TV, bonfires, junk shopping & doing nothing with friends. At the moment I am lucky enough to be able to concentrate full-time on making things for a living, be it a very small one! I do a few other bits & bobs throughout the week like volunteering at our local CSA & do other freelance sewing jobs that aren’t to do with my own label.

2. How long have you been making clothing? What’s your inspiration?  When did you decide to start selling your clothing?
I’m not quite sure when exactly I started making clothing, but I’d say it has definitely been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was little I wanted to be a ‘fashion designer’ but I never thought I’d really do it, not that that is what I’d call myself now, although I suppose I am? In my own funny way. I feel like I never ‘decided’ to sell my clothing, it just sort of happened, & people started buying stuff, I still don’t quite believe it. I went from wanting to be a dress-maker, to an artist, prop maker, cinematographer, then an architect & I think that physiologist was in there at some point too, probably be in a band as well… I still don’t rule any of those out as future jobs…
Last year I bought some gorgeous fabric from my local fabric shop to make myself into a dress, I went home & looked up the designer & found she sold wholesale organic cotton. I bought a few bolts & it just seemed to start from there. I often find I can be inspired by fabric itself, & I am quite an obsessive fabric buyer/hoarder (I hid a lot in the photos). I’m inspired by the past a lot, I also love costume in TV, theatre & film & one day I would like to work in someway in that area.

3. Where’s your studio located? and why?
My studio is in a back upstairs room of my house. I live with my parents (which I never like admitting) but I am very lucky to have such a beautiful space & it is a neat little room with everything I need in it. Before it was just a room which got piled with old junk that nobody wanted to keep or throw away, so it is so nice to give it back a use. It can be difficult working from home, but I try to get out of the house every day to help my sanity & have a little break.

4. What’s your favorite part of your studio space? Why?
The favourite part of my studio is the step up into the window bay. I don’t know why, probably because it is where the heater is. I often find myself sitting on the step doodling or hand sewing whilst listening to the radio, it can be a nice break from machine sewing & it just feels nice to perch there.

5. Approximately how many hours per day/week do you spend in your studio?
This is such a tricky question as it varies a lot! Some days I will not go in at all but be doing computery work or sketching in the kitchen or something, & other times I will go into my studio for days (& nights) on end only emerging for tea & biscuits. I work a lot in the middle of the night, I am definitely not an early bird so I aim to be in my studio by 10am most days, have a break in the middle of the day & then go back to work until 2/3 in the morning.

6. Do you have any future plans for your studio?
I have a few plans in the near future to make the space more manageable, small things like making some curtains to keep out the cold, & making a rail to hang my dresses as I make them. In the long-term I don’t quite know, I often map out the perfect studio in my head & feel anxious for change, but then I think how lovely it is to have a creative space of my own. I eventually would like to have a big shed with everything in it, because I’m pretty obsessed with sheds & I do think it would be nice to be able to work away from home. Who knows, perhaps a little studio/shop one day!

7. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?
I really don’t know, I would say the main thing is, don’t force yourself to try & be creative, it never works. If you are feeling bored & uninspired take a walk or go & talk to someone, it often makes things so much clearer. It’s tricky if you are working from home, on your own especially, put the radio on so it feels less lonely, & don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything you wanted to finished (I should really try & take my own advice). Also, I find if I have a big list of things that feel like they are looming over me & I really just want to do a creative un-work related job then just do it, it can make you feel so much better & more motivated to work on the real task in hand. But, you know, don’t take my advice, I’m pretty messy & disorganised… 🙂


The lovely dresses photographed below are Isabel’s Poppy dress & the Foxglove dress.  I’m in love with these!


Isabel, thank you so much for taking the time you took to really answer each of my questions with truth and spunk.  I really appreciate your time in taking all of these lovely photos, too!  It’s so exciting that you were able to turn an unused room into a creative wonderland.  Your bay window is to die for.  Your dresses are so lovely and I know that you’ll be able to have your own little shop one day.  You just wait and see!  Skill is learned, but talent and passion have to be in you to create.  You definitely have all three.  Thank you again for your time and for sharing your special space with us.


Be sure to visit Isabel: Shop | Site | Blog | FB

Dec, 12

{studio sunday} with Emma of The Persian Laundry

It’s the first Sunday of  December and what better way to start off the day than with another {studio sunday} feature!  The Persian Laundry is an online shop that specializes in hand produced and custom-fitted envelope liners and other fine stationery.  Classic Stationery and accessories for the modern heart.  Emma Alimi is the 24-year-old owner, producer and curator of The Persian Laundry.  The first time I saw her glitter envelope liners, you know I was hooked.  So, lets meet her and peek into her space, shall we…

I’ve been interested in creating art since I was young, playing around with stencils, markers and glittery stickers. During high school and junior college I concentrated in Photography/Fine Arts.  After school I took some time to travel, try new things and learn outside of my textbooks. Having that gap period provided me with valuable experiences and lots of insight into what I’m passionate about.  The Persian Laundry started as an evening project. I put my first items up for sale in March 2012 and the name is inspired by my Iranian heritage.

During weekends I started mixing and matching different envelope liners and envelopes. I loved creating unexpected combinations of texture, color and glitter. I felt like envelope liners could be more unexpected and interesting than what I found at most stores around me. I decided to set up a shop on Etsy where I could be a part of a larger hand-crafted community.  I don’t think there was a specific moment when I knew that glitter and fine paper could be a job. I think it was an evolving process of delving into the things that excite me the most and taking chances.

How long have you been creating your stationery? What’s your inspiration? 

For The Persian Laundry, just shy of 11 months!  My inspiration comes from so many things. My hometown, Persian Miniature Art, Punk Music, European Poetry and Palladian Architecture to name a few.  I’m drawn to rebelliousness, elegance and surprise. 

On to your studio, where’s it located?

My studio is located in my parent’s house in Santa Rosa, California. I was originally using my bedroom but quickly outgrew that. 


What’s your favorite part of your current studio space? Why?

More space, the natural lighting and a larger work table.


Approximately how many hours per day/week do you spend in your studio? Is this your only job?

I’m in here 5-7 days a week. However when I’m responding to emails and doing computer work I try to head to my local coffee shop instead.

Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?

Great lighting, keeping things organized and fresh flowers are always nice. I find that taking midday walks and changing the pace by heading to a coffee shop can be refreshing.

Do you have any future plans for your studio?

I just moved into this space 72 hours ago! It meets my needs right now as a growing shop and allows for more growth within the next year. In the future I’d love to get a big loft-like space.


Thank you so much, Emma, for taking the time to share your super new and fresh studio!  I know that you worked so hard and quickly to provide all of your lovely photos and details.  I think my personal favorite part of your space is definitely your natural lighting!  It’s hard to come by.  I’m so happy to hear that you’re off to a good start in your small business.  Keep doing what you do and thanks again!


Be sure to visit Emma’s  Shop | Blog | FB


Nov, 12

{studio sunday} with brittni of papernstitch

What a wonderful Sunday.  It’s nearing close to Thanksgiving and I’ve invited Brittni to share a bit of her new studio!  You’ve heard of a little site called papernstitch, right?!  Haha, okay, well, if you have, then you know it’s not so little.  Brittni has created an inviting place to not only exhibit your handmade goodies, but you can also sell them!  She recently moved into a new space and is getting settled, but she’s able to share a peek into where she spends much of her day.

1. How long have you been managing papernstitch?  What was your inspiration to create it?

It’s been a little over four years now since I started papernstitch. I’ve always had a passion for art and handmade, as an artist myself, so the site evolved from that passion. Overtime, the blog has grown to include other topics like biz tips for creatives and DIY projects, while the exhibition site remains focused on art, handmade, and vintage finds.

2. When did you realize that you were onto something?  Did it grow quickly or take time to build?

Much to my surprise, the site grew very quickly at the beginning, thanks to a lot of great press mentions. But over the years, it has been a mixture of slow and fast growth.

3. Where’s your studio located?

I work from home in Jacksonville, Florida. The hours are long, but I love being able to spend time with my dog while I am working or go for a walk around the park when I need to clear my head.


4. What’s your favorite part of your studio space? Why?

I spend a lot of time at my desk and it was a gift from my husband, so it’s probably my favorite part of my workspace. But it’s also kind of the only part of my workspace right now. We’re still settling into our new place and getting everything set up.

5. Approximately how many hours per day/week do you spend in your studio?

I usually work between nine and twelve hours a day. Some days less. Some days more. It really just depends on my list of to-dos for the week. On the weekends, I try to get out of the house and step back from the computer. It doesn’t always happen, but I make the effort.


6. Do you have any future plans for your studio?

We just moved into our apartment about a month and a half ago, so things are still very much in the ‘work in progress’ phase. Lots of plans for the future, for sure.


7. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?

For me, inspiration is all about a clutter-free workspace. If I’m having trouble concentrating, I usually tidy up my desk or move everything off of it completely. When I feel like I have a blank canvas, the ideas flow a lot easier.



Brittni, thank you so much for taking a moment from you hectic schedule to share a peek into your new creative space.  I love how bright and cheery your desk area feels, and your husband has good taste in furniture.  Once you get more settled, please let us know so that we can do a follow-up post!  So fun.  Congrats on your new space and I can’t wait to see what you do next!


Be sure to visit Brittni: Exhibition Site // Blog // Pinterest // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram
— promote your work + shop for handmade www.papernstitch.com get inspired www.papernstitchblog.com


Nov, 12

{studio sunday} with Beth of Deer Little Fawn

The weather is very cold and snowy here in Central Colorado, and to me, that means perfect timing to grab your morning coffee and read about another inspirational studio!  Beth and I met a bit ago on the web, through Twitter I think, and I just love to check in on her once in a while to see what she’s painting.  Today Beth is sharing where she illustrates her adorable works, and I know you’ll love the cozy feel of her space.  So, let’s get to know her and her space, shall we!


1. Tell me about yourself.

Hi! My name is Bethan, but on the internet I appear more often as Deer Little Fawn, which is the name of my lifestyle/craft/illustration blog. I can also be found on my website Forest Lodge Illustration(named after my childhood home). I live by the sea in the South of England, UK. When I’m not drawing or crafting in some capacity I work part-time at a large flea market, selling antiques, vintage items and furniture.


2. How long have you been illustrating?  What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I’ve always kept sketchbooks my whole life and drawn on an almost daily basis, but I’ve had many full-time non creative jobs along the way that I’ve had to work around. It’s taken quite a long time to build my confidence up and start putting things out there and at the moment I’m still finding my feet. I worked in a tattoo studio for a few years and that influenced my work quite a lot – style wise, but after leaving there it definitely took on a more cutesy aesthetic.


3. Where’s your studio located?

I’m lucky enough to currently have a room at home to use as a dedicated craft/studio space, this is a first for me and I’m very appreciative of it.

4. What’s your favorite part of your studio space? Why?
After living in quite small places for much of the last few years it’s just really nice to have enough room to spread my things out and have an actual desk to work from. Also it gets quite a lot of natural light which is lovely!


5. Approximately how many hours per day/week do you spend in your studio?

I tend to duck in and out of there throughout the day, it depends on what I’m doing that week really, the convenience is one of the blessings of having it at home.


6. Do you have any future plans for your studio?

I’m just enjoying the space as it is for now. There is a fair chance I will be moving house again next year, so I’m making the most of it while it lasts!

7. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?

I think however small your work space is, even if you are just working from a bedroom as I have in the past, it’s good to surround yourself with things you find inspiring to look at, even if all you can do is put up a few pictures or postcards around you, I find every little helps when keeping inspired and creating a place where you feel happy. Storage wise, I love suitcases and vintage vanity cases and have collected quite a few over the years and I find them so useful for storing sketchbooks, yarn and craft supplies.




Beth, thank you so much for allowing us to peek into your creative world.  I just love the cozy feel of your studio – the natural light really makes it.  I personally love having my studio in my home, because, just as you said, it’s convenient.  And now that you’ve mentioned it, I can see the influence that the tattoo shop has had on your work.  Your work is beautiful and so is your space.  Thank you again for sharing!




Be sure to visit Beth’s Blog | Site | Twitter | FB


Oct, 12

{studio sunday} with Christa of Willow + Company

Today I’d like for you to meet Christa of Willow + Company.  She is unstoppable and with her attention to detail, it’s no wonder why she’s moving ahead full steam.  Her studio is something to be proud of and I’m sure we can all find some inspiration from it, as well as from her story.  Oh!  And she has a treat for you at the end of this interview, so be sure to take advantage of her offer!

1. How long have you been creating your wool felt cases for your Willow and Company shop? What’s your inspiration? When did you decide to start selling your work?

You never know what life is going to throw at you, one day you are working on a project and the next on something completely different.  Reinvention is the key word in my lifeline.  After many successful years building custom homes, my husband and I suddenly found ourselves needing to reinvent our livelihood.  We also sought out an outlet for our creative juices.  Enter Willow and Company.  It was in the autumn of 2010 that we noticed a need in the market for better design when it came to laptop and tablet cases.  We focused on Apple products, iPads, MacBook Air and Pro and iPhones, but we also make custom cases for all the other types of tablets and laptops out there.  Our design inspiration was drawn from our knowledge of architecture.  Each case mimics design elements from architectural details.  For example, our Colonial cases mimic the symmetrical design of American Colonial style housing.  Our Baroque cases highlight the sexy curves of the Italian Baroque period of design and our London and Rugby sleeves are out interpretation of Modernism.  We love the inspiration architecture offers us. 

In addition, how long have you been creating for your other shop, Case in Pointe?
When it comes to my Case in Pointe shop, that simply boils down to my love of colorful things, as you can see from my studio and my Pinterest board, named “Color Schemes,” I love all things colorful.  And, although making my wool and leather sleeves is enjoyable work, I needed more color in my life.  Case in Pointe offers me the opportunity to create colorful cases and sleeves for the rest of us who must live with colorful items in our lives.  These book covers and sleeves mainly focus on iPads and tablets, but I have also made a few custom pieces for other types of laptops.  I love the mix of the crisp colors with the rustic handmade walnut buttons that secure the devises my sleeves carry.  The combination of these two shops has kept us pretty busy.  Now that my husband is back in the home building game I am holding down the fort on my own and it is a challenge that I enjoy.  I am approaching 1000 sales on my Willow and Company shop and I can’t wait for my other shops to reach that same milestone.

2. On to your studio, where’s it located?

My studio is lovingly named “Studio Duo.”  Together my husband and I are a force to be reckoned with, creatively speaking that is!  He is warm and traditional and I am modern and colorful.  Together we are eclectic to say the least.  Studio Duo is located in the basement in our home in sunny Atlanta, Georgia.  When we started all of this we were working out of our condo in Chicago, which we quickly outgrew.  We decided to move to Georgia to be closer to family (although we miss Chicago terribly—that really is home) and this change has afforded us the opportunity to make use of a much larger space for our studio.  This isn’t your typical basement though.  It has tall 10 foot ceilings and opens up to a beautiful forest.  Although the space would qualify as being unfinished, to me it is sufficiently rustic—reminding me of loft apartments back home in Chicago.  All it needs now is an outdoor patio area so that I can sew outside during the temperate weather so common here in Georgia.

3. What’s your favorite part of your current studio space? Why? 

I actually love my whole space for different reasons.  I love that I can throw open the garage door and let in the sun and fresh air.  I love my built in cutting table with the large drafting drawers underneath for storage.  And I love having my sewing tables set up in a cozy cubby-like area where everything is within reach.  But I must say, most of all I love being surrounded by all the colorful items in the space.  Just walking into Studio Duo makes me smile and puts me at ease.  Being in the basement makes me feel like I am in my own cocoon.  I can blast music or dance around and no one pays me any attention – it’s like my own private secret hideaway.  Feel free to check out more pics of my studio as I post them on my Facebook page.

4. Approximately how many hours per day/week do you spend in your studio?

I spend a lot of time in my studio.  During the busy buying season I easily spend 50-60 hours per week there, and around 30-40 hours otherwise.  It really just depends on what my shops are doing.  I have recently opened up another shop called Pillows by Willow.  This is a collaborative endeavor with my mother-in-law, Dorine.  With this shop she is my expert seamstress and I handle all business and creative decisions.  I am surprised how quickly Pillows by Willow is getting noticed.  So my hours in the studio might just double in the months to come, but I’m not worried.  Apart from my husband and I, my extended family is very talented and creative so I know we will all just come together and keep working at this.

5. Do you have any tips or advice on how to maintain an inspiring and functional workspace?

Inspiration is necessary if you want to accomplish turning your passions into work.  I don’t know anyone who can create AND work in a space they find uninspiring?  My advise to others who would like to turn their hobby or passion into a money maker needs to figure out two things.  You need to decide what makes you smile and what motivates you.  Take these and then put it into your space.  Big or small we can all benefit from our space’s personality.   For me, design and organization are the keys to my inspiration, happiness and motivation.  Take for example, my antique bookcase and mannequin.  All of my fabrics are neatly folded and stacked – this is the neat freak in me, but the designer in me must have the colors arranged in a complimentary fashion.  The items on top are attractively placed but also accessible.  My mannequin is smartly dressed with more shop supplies (spools of ribbon, spools removed of course) and some of my signature jewelry.  For me, the combination of order and style, is necessary.  First order then style!

6. Do you have any future plans for your studio?

Truth be told, my life would be meaningless without future plans.  I am CONSTANTLY making changes!  I move furniture around, I repaint walls, I switch out rugs and floor cloths with the seasons.  Right now I am using antique and handmade quilts as floor cloths and I love the look they give my space.  Moving to a new space?  I would love too, but that is just the organizing maniac inside of me speaking.  The thought of taking apart and setting up a new space is exhilarating—I know, I’m crazy!  As for the moment I do not have plans to move, but you just never know!  A space where friends and clients could shop around would be great, maybe if I………..


I want to thank you, Christa, for not only sharing your amazing studio with us, but also for sharing your story in such great detail.  I appreciate the time and care that you put into this interview, your attention to detail is a treat!  I personally was inspired by the way that you organize everything by color, but in a very neat and clean way.  I have everything organized by color, my clothing closet included, but I can take a lesson on how neat everything is.  Thank you for your order and style advise… consider it noted.  I know you have big things that your working on and I can’t wait to hear more.  Do keep us updated and thank you again for sharing!


Now for the special treat!

Christa would like to offer a discount to all of you for the months of October & November of 30% off your TOTAL purchase!  How sweet is that?!  The Holidays are coming and it’s time to start that shopping.  The coupon code is ChickieWillow.  She also offers discounts to people who “like” her Facebook page and “pin” her items onto their Pinterest boards.  All you need to do is convo her on Etsy and say that you “liked” her Facebook page or with the link to the pin board on Pinterest and she will send you a coupon code for 15% off your next purchase!!!  Woohoo! What a sweet gift!


 Be sure to check out Christa’s site | Willow + Company shop | FB | Pinterest | Pillows by Willow shop | Case in Pointe | Willows Jewelry Box