After seeing a thoughtful customer's placement of one of my hand-painted and cut paper collages in her home, I realized how much fun it is to see how people incorporate art into a living space. It led me to do a little daydreaming, imagining spaces that might be a fun setting for my creations, and before long I'd dreamed up a few interiors with textiles, vintage elements, and even some furniture that might be a fit with my original art. I'm calling these gatherings of interior design goodness "An Artful Home" and hope to share them here on the blog every once in a while. Enjoy, friends!
1. bedroom - Sarah Sherman Samuel2. collage - Elva Fields3. fabric - Schumacher4. wallpaper - Molly Mahon / Schumacher5. fabric - Dorothy Shain6. plates - AERIN/Williams-Sonoma (similar)7. lamp - vintage Murano glass
A long holiday weekend and lots of rainy weather meant some crafting was bound to happen with my little ladies to keep us (me) from going stir-crazy. Thanks to an earlier trip to my new favorite art store in town (Louisville peeps, if you don't know, now you know: Artist & Craftsman Supply!) I had a paper bag full of polymer clay and some packets of paracord that was a sure bet of at least an hour-ish of jewelry-making with my favorites. And as long as they're crafting, they're not whining, so it's a win all around.
Here's what we used to make the magic happen:
- colorful packets of polymer clay (we used a few of these and these)
- wood skewers (actually, we didn't use those, but I wish we had...we made do with the handles of our trusty paintbrushes, which was a little tricky, so something with a point would've been money)
- a small and very dull knife (my kids are old enough to be moderately safe with a little kitchen knife, but if you wanted to get fancy and have the official tools, my guess is this set would be legit)
- our hands
- a cutting board
- an oven
- parchment paper
- cookie sheet
- paracord (make sure the diameter of the cord is smaller than the holes in your beads...I've heard meltdowns can happen when the beads can't actually be strung on the cord you originally purchased because it's too thick and "why didn't you tell us to make the holes bigger???")
Honestly, it was pretty great just letting the girls do their thing and make whatever kinds of beads they wanted, but the style that was easiest for us all (seen above) involved rolling a base color of clay into a ball, then applying little confetti-like pieces to the outside of it, and rolling it a bit more to create a fun dotted design.
Once we made our beads and created a hole through it (or tried to) we placed them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and baked them at 275 for 15 minutes (I think. The packet of clay will walk you through that part...)
After letting the beads cool, (and waiting a week because Mom's eyeball measurements don't always pan out) we strung them on the CORRECTLY SIZED paracord and now have awesome necklaces to remind us of being together for a long weekend and surviving...mostly with smiles on our faces!
The "greatest two minutes in sports" has a much longer lead-up here in Louisville, and I love kicking off Derby season with a favorite treat from a Louisville institution, Plehn's Bakery. Their famous horse cookies helped me through the long hours in the studio prepping jewelry for our many trunk shows, pop-ups, and orders for race-ready fun!
Our Pop-Up Shops at Oxmoor Center were a ton of fun, and I loved our shop neighbor with the most fantastically floral fascinators, Tiffany of Darling Handmades. (I even ended up wearing one for a bit on Thursday of Derby week, affectionately (kinda) known as Thurby these days.)
A sweet friend surprised me and a group of girlfriends with a Derby-week visit to the Backside at Churchill Downs on a beautiful spring morning, which is a super-special opportunity to see the stables and horses and all of the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to make the races happen. We had breakfast, sipped coffee, watched the horses have their baths, and then joined trainers, jockeys, owners, visitors, vets, and press as the Oaks and Derby horses had their early-morning workout on the track. It was truly magical, and I have a much deeper appreciation for the equestrian heritage for which the place I call home is known.
A highlight of the jewelry fun this Derby season was having my gorgeous friend Jackie Zykan, Master Taster for Old Forester, ask me to create some designs for her Derby-week looks as she made her press and event appearances on behalf of the delicious bourbon she helps craft.
Each look was inspired by a specific cocktail, and the first was for Thurby, whose official cocktail would be announced this year: the Old Forester Perfect Old Fashioned.
It was SUCH a fun project to select beads based on the cocktail's ingredients, including ice-cube-like rock crystal, honey-hued crystal and agate, along with tiger's eye that resembles the golden-amber color of bourbon, and then touches of red and orange (in African glass) for a cherry and peel. A touch of equestrian elegance in a vintage horse-head buckle finished her look, and it was so great to see how the necklace came together with her fashions by Gunnar Deatherage.
As Jackie mixed cocktails with wonderfully-talented musician Ben Sollee and interviewed with news media, I was settling into my seat at the track. I happened to glance up at the giant screen to see how much time I had to bet on the next race, and then this happened:
Y'all. I never really thought I'd care that much about a Jumbotron for any reason at all, but I have to say, it was kind of awesome to see Elva larger-than-life in front of thousands of people. And then I won $4 on the next race and bought myself a bottle of water. It was a big day.
Jackie's Derby-Day look was inspired by the Derby's iconic cocktail: the Mint Julep. What a delight to let such a legacy lead the design, including leaf-like minty mountain jade, opal, mint glass, and more of that honey-hued crystal to interpret the beverage's ingredients, and we went with brass accents, as the Old Forester version this year was served in a gold julep cup.
After my last delivery on Friday afternoon, I realized I was exhausted. The Run for the Roses gave me a run for my money, so I took myself to the spa on Derby Day and felt like a winner after an amazing saltwater float. Might just be my new race-day tradition. 'Til next year, Derby friends!