Monday, May 31, 2010

A Weird Craving: Lisa Romero

I've mentioned often here that I am interested in not just the finished product, but the process. I love seeing the middle and the why's and hows of why people create. I love the messy details and being challenged and inspired by learning about what drives people in doing what they do. So I'm really excited to be starting a series of interviews with artists and other creative types to get a bit of insight into why, how and what it is they do and what motivates them. First up, one of my favourite Twitter pals, fantastic artist Lisa Romero of Paperbullet. I love Lisa's use of colour, her commitment to using all found and reused materials and bright vibrant style. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? The journey you took to be where you are and what you're doing at the moment?
I’ve always loved to draw, and when I was in high school I really wanted to be a fashion illustrator. I went to art school, but I can’t sew and I’m not a very good student (I’m really more comfortable teaching myself things) so I dropped out and kind of forgot about art for a while. About six years ago I needed a hobby and sort of fell back into painting. I picked up clients here and there and after I had my kid two years ago decided not to go back to the nine to five. Now I don’t think I could go back if I tried.

At the moment I am doing things for private clients on the web, blog graphics, print work for an online scrapbooking company and printer, and collaborations with other artists. I’ve done a tee shirt collaboration with Locomotive, that should be out soon, and the new Artful Agendas were just released with one of my cover images.

That and spending time with my lovely crazy two year old and my wonderful husband Isaac.

Why do you create? What is it about being creative (in whatever sense) that makes it something important for you to do?

It’s a weird craving. Almost like something I have to do instead of want to. Something in my head is always thinking of how to make something out of something else. Even when I mess something up I see something else that can be done with it. So I start painting over it and going in a new direction. If I don’t paint or draw for a few days I get really cranky. I’m super lucky I live with someone who understands that. What my daughter is going to think of it when she gets older I don’t know.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Thrift stores! I love finding things that give me ideas that I can pick up for a dollar or two and put in my studio to inspire me. Old things, cracked and peeling. Wood. Glass. Very elemental and primitive things. Happy things, kiddie things, primary colored things. Bright, smiling, friendly faces. People who go to thrift stores are usually there because they have the same mentality- why buy new when there’s so much out there that can be had for half the stash? And it already has that lived-in cushiony feel.

Following you on Twitter I've been lucky to see many of your works in progress and I'm sure to most of us it seems like it always flows easily but I imagine this isn't always the case! Are there ever times when being expected to be creative for work feels overwhelming? How do you work through those feelings?

Yes. I think everyone who has a creative job feels that way at some point. Here, monkey, dance. Dance, I said! But I like to dance, so I dance. Sometimes I try to remind myself not to think so much. Pushing hard is the best way to stop up my creative process. I pause, pour a cup of coffee, out on a good movie and pull out a magazine. I try to let things I enjoy saturate my sponge and then start to let things flow. The more I do something, like working under pressure, the more my brain is able to repeat the process. I try to remember that even though I may not feel I can do it, I CAN. I just have to believe in myself.

What are the most rewarding and most difficult parts of your job and your creative life in general?

Totally easy question. Working from home after so many years of working a 9-5 I see how easy it is to forget about having a life outside of work. Those worlds are so intertwined for me I know that I’ll never be able to pry them apart- what I do is who I am. It is the reason I could never go back to the “straight job” world. It is hard to have time for yourself when you work this way but I’ve realized I’d be doing this regardless. I do feel that being immersed in it has made me grow more as an artist- that really looking at it from this perspective has made me realize what is really important to me and what is totally superfluous.

If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you like to be doing?

I’m really interested in set and production design. Because I’ve been thrifting so avidly for so many years I’ve accumulated a nice conglomeration of things and a real feel for staging. I wish I had a bigger house, I’d play dress up with it all day.

To see more, check out the studio visit and inspiration post with Lisa over at ML4U.
Thanks so much Lisa!

New Things

I was taking some photos for Darling Heart yesterday and I thought I would snap some shots of a few new things around our house I've collected or been given and are brightening up these long grey days we're having. Checking the weather at the moment kind of makes me want to cry a little, rain, rain and more rain! Oh well, I thought I'd perhaps bought my Hunter Boots for nothing with the mild winter we had, so I guess now is my chance to bust those out!

1. I picked up this wee girl for a steal while browsing Ebay recently, and imagine my delight when I found out that not only does she have giant clogs, but she also does a little dance! At least I think she's a girl, not totally convinced though. I mean she is wearing a dress, but it's not as if there would be anything wrong with a young Dutch boy doing the same. Perhaps it's a doll to fight gender binaries? Yes, I like that.

2. This isn't actually something new, but when I was hanging out with Maya yesterday who had gifted it to me, I realised that I hadn't yet shown it off. So nice to have friends that thrift treats for you! I love hankies, (just to look at though, I can't bring myself to actually use them!) and really like the dainty embroidery on this one with the hat tip to my Australian roots.

3. I was so excited to find this pinecone outside our place! I love pine cones, but I never seem to see these large curved ones that I really adore. It's been perched up on a shelf in our entrance way, making the perfect jaunty little ornament.

4. Craving Coral. I grabbed this at Rexall the other day when I was there in search of some sea salt chocolate (obsessed) as it was pretty much the same colour that I'd been drooling over after seeing the inspiration post for the Wikstenmade latest collection photo shoot. I absolutely love that Nars semi-matte orange red lipstick but don't know that I'd ever be brave enough to actually wear it. This nail polish is the next best thing, and the name totally cracks me up. I love how serious/sensual/carefree all at once make-up companies try to make their names seem. I also love how much this colour reminds me of my Mum circa 1990 and that my 10 yr old self would have most likely been horrified to think that this colour would one day be gracing my nails, too.

Hope your Monday is going well friends! I'm sorry to say that I haven't made a Monday Mix as I wanted to make the follow up to my NZ oldies one now that it is the last day of NZ Music Month, but finding newer NZ music online seems to be pretty much impossible. I have been enjoying this mix though, so perhaps you could check that one out for your Monday listening!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Calm before the storm

One of the things I'm really going to miss about this city are the Coast Mountains. It's not as if New Zealand is lacking in the dramatic scenery department, but there is something so beautiful about sitting at the beach and looking across at snow capped and mist enshrouded mountains. It is somehow completely overwhelming and totally peaceful at the same time.

Last night as I was heading to a prenatal meeting near Locarno Beach, I took a quick moment to snap some photos of the mountains. The sky was so moody, just about to rain, and I love the way little pockets of clouds seem to get caught in folds of the mountains. As much as I might complain about how fickle the weather is here, and how much I hate wet feet, I have to admit I love that heavy calm before the storm that we so often get here. It looks like the greys and rain are going to stick around for the weekend, so I imagine we'll be spending most of it inside cozying up. We've got to get ready for upcoming markets, I have some sewing projects I'd like to work on, and I'm going to try and do a bit of a blog redesign. I want space for bigger pictures!

Hope your weekends are lovely. Any plans?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Amish Love: Becca Standtlander

Ever since visiting an Amish community in Wisconsin when I was 5, I have been totally fascinated by their way of life. I'll say perhaps this could be in part due to being able to choose from the largest selection of homemade pies I have ever seen when we visited, but also perhaps because I have a lot of love for whitewashed walls and rolling fields. There is something so perfect to me about to combination of dark muted toned clothing and the green and white of the environment. I'll admit that I once had a secret fantasy that I would somehow be accepted into an Amish community, but would act as some kind of mediator between them and the outside world. All the pie I could eat, yet still internet access. Natch.

Now that I'm older, I feel a little uncomfortable about this slightly othering view, but I think as a kid seeing something so drastically different from your own way of life is pretty thrilling.

I do still love the aesthetic found in Amish communities, and I think this love is what first draw me to the work of Becca Stadtlander (ok, that and a tweet from Jeannette I believe?). The colours and contrast are so beautiful, and I love the ever so slight folk art feel to them. She seems to capture a little insight into a community closed off to us all, yet so intriguing. Now to choose which prints to buy from her store! She also has a great blog that she keeps up to date with what she's working on, and it is all so lovely. I particularly like her English Safari inspired work, amazing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Many, many picks.

Love the little bit of beard peeking in the corner of that bottom one. Time for a trim, perhaps?

What are you working on today?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summertime Blues

I'm so excited to have my dear laptop back and running! I felt kind of terrible how antsy I was without it, addicted much? But really, it was mostly just because I had a bunch of work related stuff on here that I'd planned to work on over the weekend and apparently I don't react well to change? Either way, it's back and nothing is missing and I'm happy about that! And just as I was thinking when people were making fun of people for watching Lost and being very, very excited for the finale (and perhaps just generally talking about the ins and outs of the show), I'm not going to apologise for things that make me happy. Even if those things at the moment only amounted to a show about a magical island, and a more streamlined keyboard.

But also, ice cream! Well, sorbet but still so delicious. We took advantage of the sun making an appearance on Monday to take the first stroll of the season to La Casa Gelato for some sorbet and waffle cone goodness. I got lemon raspberry, and Richard lemon ginger, but I also tried pomegranate and lemon tequila which were both also pretty amazing although I'm not sure if I could handle a whole scoop full. I'm all about the samples, and I think there's over 200 flavours so I'm pretty sure you'd never run out of things to taste!

Oh, one last thing! Now that I have my computer back I was able to do the draw for the bunting giveaway! Thank you all again for entering, as much as I love doing giveaways I'm always a little bummed that I can't give something to everyone! The three winners are Chrissy, Diana and Francesca! I'll send you gals an email over the next day or so to get your info, colour choices, etc and I'll have your bunting and treats off to you quick smart.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A quick note..

Hello Hello! I'm just popping in quickly as our laptop is having issues yet again, and using our old desktop is like pulling teeth it's so slow. And uploading photos? Oh man, kill me now. I got myself a new camera was pretty excited to show you some of the photos I'd taken with it over the weekend, but I think uploading them could be the death of me. So here's the very first two. I love the colours in that top one. We live in pretty much a giant pink apartment complex, and I love the reflection of the sky in all the windows. In the second one you can see Ursula doing her most favourite thing, rolling around and around on the balcony. I swear it is all she does out there, for hours! It was cracking me up as each photo I took she'd twist in to a new pose. Super model cat!

I'm sorry I haven't announced the winners of the bunting giveaway yet, but the mighty desktop isn't really down with the whole more than one window open at once thing so I'll try getting to that tomorrow if I can sneak a moment at work! Fingers crossed our laptop will be back and healthy by then, also!

Hope you're all well. Get up to anything exciting over the weekend? I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WIP Wednesday: MWM

Looks like I'm just going to sneak this WIP Wednesday in before the day is done! I've been out and about all day, ending with being caught in some kind of crazy rain and windstorm and coming home totally saturated! This was remedied with warm slippers and a delicious cauliflower and sweet potato curry though, so all was not lost!

I caught a glimpse of these paintings earlier today via my lovely friend Anna (who will hopefully be joining us here on the blog soon, hooray!) and was totally drawn to the shape and movement of them. And the colour! You would not know it by looking at my wardrobe (I really do try to break free, but I just love black and stripes so), but I have found myself more and more drawn to vibrant colour and pattern lately and this Crystal and Lasers series by Matt W. Moore totally fit the bill. If you click through and read a little more about the series you'll some of the awesome inspiration he found while visiting Paris for the installation. I love that he went there with no previously made art or idea of what he was going to do and then came out with this beautiful and cohesive body of work. I also love/am in awe of the fact that it's all done with spray paint. People using spray paint never cease to amaze me, I just can't imagine how you have enough control to come out with anything looking even halfway decent, but the crispness and precision of these pieces is stunning.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Darling Heart Vintage

Thank you so much for all your well wishes and congratulations on my last post! I have serious love for the handmade and blog community, and knowing that there are people out there who support and love what we do makes this gig all that much more satisfying. So much so that we're going to open another store? Why, yes! I've been thinking on opening up a small vintage store for awhile now, and now that I've started thinking more about moving and what can and can't come with us I realise that not everything I've collected over the years will be able to come with us (this hasn't always been an easy process. I mean, why not take hundreds of mis-matched tea cups half way across the world?). So, I present to you Darling Heart Vintage, a little bit yard sale, a little bit treasure trove.
As tough as it is not being able to take everything we own with us, I'm pretty happy knowing they'll be well loved somewhere else. Also, it makes me feel a little less guilty/justifies my continual thrifting despite knowing we're leaving the country, ha! There's more to list hopefully over the next few days, and I think I'll just keep it up slowly as I thrift for myself. There's also going to be a range of household and clothing items, with a range of sizes in the clothes. As a plus size gal, I know how difficult vintage shopping can be so I'm hoping to dig up some good second hand stuff for us curvier gals, and as that's where I predominantly shop for myself I think you can be sure it won't all be teeny tiny. Not that there won't be teeny tiny, but there will be clothes for everyone. Let's not leave anyone out!

I hope you're all having a fantastic day, might I suggest this Lo-Fi Ladies mix to keep you company? I listened to it last night as I replied to emails and ate chocolate chips straight from the bad. Shh!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Hello! First of all, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for all of your wonderful Portland tips! The train ride down was absolutely beautiful, and I completely fell in love with the city. Unfortunately though, Richard woke up extremely sick on our first morning there and had to spend the rest of our holiday in bed! It was such a bummer as we'd planned so many fun things to do and also because it really is horrible to be sick in a hotel room. I did venture out to see a few things, but mostly played nurse, and while it bummed us out it has made us all the more excited to head back down there sooner rather than later! I'm going to do a little Portland in review style post in a day or so once I get my film back that I took there. Our point and shoot has pretty much given up on us so sadly I have nothing yet to show for our visit.

On a more exciting note, it is our one year Etsy anniversary! Secretly I think it might have actually been a day or so ago, but oh well, I'm going to find myself a cupcake to munch on later on in celebration. It's crazy to think we've been in business for only just a year when it feels like so much has happened. We have been overwhelmed by the support of the handmade and design community, and to think that we're now beginning to wholesale and the like is really exciting. Giving up our day jobs are still a ways off, and I'm not even sure if that is where we'll end up, but having some autonomy over our work like and doing something that we both love is something that we're both extremely grateful for!

So to celebrate and say thank you, we're going to be giving away 3 custom buntings! Each winner will receive the bunting of their choice, either one of the pre-written ones in the store or one with a message/name of their choice. They of course will also be able to choose the colour bias tape they would like, and I have some lovely new colours that will hopefully be available in time. They will also receive a bookmark of their choice, and some little added extras that I will rustle up to fill out the package.

All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on this post! The winners will be drawn Sunday May 23rd at midnight and announced the following day. Please feel free to spread the word, and good luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rose City

Portland has been high on my list of places to visit for quite some time now and I'm excited that we'll finally be heading down there bright and early tomorrow! I have a few places in mind that I'd like to check out, Powell's Books, Voodoo Doughnut, many brew pubs, the Laurelhurst or Hollywood theatre and many other (surprise, surprise) food related places. I'd love to hear your thoughts on places to check out if you've been to or live in Portland, the more tips the better! Keep in mind we won't have a car, so easy-ish places to get to please!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunny days and kiwi tunes

Hello! Thanks so much to everyone for the birthday wishes, I had a lovely weekend! The weather in Vancouver has been amazing for the past couple of days so we made the most of it by spending as much of our time outside as possible. I had my first iced chai of the season, wore a skirt with bare legs (and no doubt blinded some people, hello whiteness!), went to a funny little jumble sale and ate delicious Belgian chocolate cake (for breakfast today, also). It was a pretty low key weekend as I realise now how I am friends with a lot of very busy people and getting them all together is damn near impossible, but it was kind of fun to spread it all out over brunches and cocktail dates (raspberry vodka and lemonade, so delicious). It's funny, I'll admit that I did let myself get a little bummed that I didn't have a big fancy party....until I remembered I don't at all feel comfortable at big fancy parties, especially not if the focus was to be all on me!

I bought myself some new shoes as a bit of a birthday present to myself, the black Toms I'd been thinking of. Definitely not a super glamorous shoe purchase but cute nonetheless and so comfy. Oh man, if you're in search of a comfy shoe for general walking about then look no further. I'm completely smitten. I'm really terrible for buying cheap and easy shoes but with the amount of walking I do with the kids and not being a driver I really needed something that was going to hold up a bit better than a pair of flats from Army & Navy (I did say cheap and easy) and I'm pretty sure these are going to do the trick! I will say that it might pay to try some on before buying these as they do fit a little narrow for those of us blessed with wide feet, but they've worn in so quickly and now fit my feet perfectly. Hooray!

It's New Zealand Music Month at the moment, so I wanted to make a kiwi mixtape for you all. It was much harder than I imagined! I knew NZ music might be a little obscure but I didn't expect things to be so easy to find, and that it would be pretty much lady free. While there are a lot of amazing female musicians from back home it was nearly impossible to find them online, and when I looked at Nature's Best, a compilation of the top NZ songs of all time, there were only 5 female tracks in the top 30! Shocking. I've decided to split it up into two mixes, one being the oldies and the kiwi music I grew up on, and the second being some of the more recent stuff to come out of the New Zealand music scene. I've tried to include as many ladies as I could, but I sadly couldn't find this gem that I enjoyed dancing around to as a young gal, or this one with the extremely questionable lyrics but secretly fantastic video clip (I was obsessed with their outfits), or even this one where none of them look at all like rock stars, but man could Jenny Morris sing.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Five Senses Friday

image via bonjour celine

It's Friday, it's sunny and it's my birthday weekend! I'm hoping to spend the weekend meeting up with friends, drinking a cocktail or two, eating cake and soaking up the sun. I have been totally smitten by this cake up here (made by Nikole of Herriott Grace) ever since I first saw it back in February. One day I hope to have a cake as fanciful and dreamy as that! Like Jeannette, I like to make my own birthday cake so it's exactly how I want it, although Richard did make me a rather delicious one last year. I've got my sights set on the Salty Sweet cake that she mentions, although vegan-ising it looks pretty much impossible, so we shall see! 

I hope you're all gearing up for lovely weekends! Here's my Five Senses Friday...


Fresh, home made salsa on soft tacos for Cinco De Mayo.


This song on repeat on my bus ride home from work.

:Seeing (and swooning over):

 The dreamiest of cats on Anabela's new tumblr


Lilacs. Possibly the best part of Spring.


The sun on my back. Sigh.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping on top of things at the moment, just a general feeling of being overwhelmed, you know? Funny coming right off my last post of excitement, I know. I'm not sure if I need to top up my iron levels, or get some earlier nights or what. Sometimes I fall into the bad habit of letting my thought life get away on itself where I think and plan and think and plan and dream and then all of a sudden I've thought up a million things to work on or worry about or get excited about and it's just too much. Gotta bring back the focus to the now a little bit and remember to be in the moment.

One thing that has captured my attention lately though are these beautiful letters by Anja Mulder. I could stare at them for ages, there's so much hidden in there! Do you see the little cat in the 'B'?

Hope your Thursday is going great!