Thursday, April 17, 2014

the backyard project

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we have been hard at work for the last couple on months on a backyard project. Now that we have been in our home for almost two years we are starting to make time to tackle bigger projects. The project that has been topping our list is turning our backyard into a place for all of us to play! We have lots more work but we are happy that stage one is complete! Here is a little peek-

We live on a lot around the corner from the beach and our yard is WET because we back up against acres of wetlands. And while these wetlands are beautiful, they also provide some tricky obstacles for landscaping. The ground is wet and very full of clay and our yard also slopes into the wetlands so we had to figure out what would work best with these challenges. The plan we came up with was to split up the space into different sections- a grassy play area and then a fenced in garden.

The project started with clearing TONS of berry bushes, beach grass and small trees. This was a HUGE job that Andy tackled all by himself!


When everything was cleared, it was time to level things out. It was at this stage that we discovered the back of our lot was MUCH MORE wet than expected which meant we had to rethink a couple of our plans but it was only a minor set back.
Once the ground was leveled (as much as possible) and the soil turned, it was time to start the garden. Last year we built raised bed planters  for our front yard and now that the backyard is clear (and the dirt way too full of clay for planting vegis) we moved our planters to the back yard.


Last, Andy built a picket fence around the garden. We still have some decoration to add to the fence posts, a pathway to the garden and LOTS of planting in and around the garden but we are so thrilled with the results and even more thrilled that our back yard project is moving along. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

bird nest eggs

My favorite projects always include materials that I can collect from the yard and transform into something new. With Easter right around the corner I couldn't resist creating some cute eggs topped with a bird nest and eggs. The best part...I simply had to walk a couple steps the front door for my supplies!

I gathered up a handful of dried flower stems, a little bit of moss and some pea gravel

Using hot glue I built a bird nest on top of my eggs. I always use eggs that have the yolk blown out.

Last, I painted my rocks blue and added them to nest.



Looking for more egg decorating inspiration? 
Have a look at all the tutorials I've shared over the years!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

coil basket DIY

Making coil baskets has been on my do list for a couple of years and recently I finally took some time to have a little fun putting own twist on this process!

You can make a coil basket out any thick rope or twine, you can even use scraps of fabric wrapped around the rope for something really colorful. But I decide to keep it simple and use rope (out of everything I tried I liked using cloth line the best). 

To begin, coil the rope. Using a machine, zig zag stitch the coil together and keep coiling and stitching.

I spend lots of time sewing heavy duty and non-traditional materials on my machine- I typically use a denim needle for these kinds of projects.

Once you have the base of the basket you can create the sides by tilting the coiled rope as up as you sew. 

Continue sewing until the basket is desired size...SO EASY!!

I used colorful thread to add color in my baskets, I also painted my rope. I used both spray ink and acrylic paint to cover sections of the rope (time consuming but totally worth it)!


I also painted the entire basket with acrylic paint (it took two coats) and then used my white paint pen to add pattern over the top.
I create and experiment with all kinds of simple materials and DIY projects but this by far is one of my favorites! The entire process was really addicting and I know I will be making more. 



Thursday, April 10, 2014

finding inspiration

I am really excited to announce my partnership with the Creative Council by UGG Australia. I will be collaborating with UGG over the next few months - interpreting their color focused Spring 2014 line, bringing it to life and putting my own creative spin on their inspiration.




To kick off my partnership with the Creative Council, today I am sharing my top five favorite tips for finding inspiration! Inspiration is the most important part of my creative process. Without excitement, joy and understanding of what it means to look for inspiration, you run the risk of losing motivation to keep up a creative routine. My goal as an artist is to stay offline when looking for ideas. I want my work to be authentic and speak to my daily experiences and the only way for me to do this is by seeking inspiration in everyday moments and in the things around me.




1. CARRY A CAMERA EVERYWHEREOne of the most important things I do is carry a camera everywhere I go. I make sure I always have a way to capture the things that catch my eye. From the farmers market to my neighborhood to my daily walk on the beach, I am always on the look out for things that inspire and can be captured in a photo. The result is a library of thousands of photos that I pull from when I sit down to draw, paint, craft and come up with tutorials and classes. Taking photos has become such an essential part of my creative process that I cannot survive without a camera these days.

2. HUNT AND GATHER: I've always been a treasure hunter- from beach combing to picking flowers to looking for leaves and stones on the ground, I love finding things that catch my eye. And now that I am a mom, this ritual of hunting and gathering has become one of the special ways that I can inspire and connect with my daughter Lucy. All of the things we find are put to use as inspiration or get transformed into art and craft projects.

3. WALK WHEN POSSIBLEThis is an incredibly simple concept - choosing to walk instead of driving - but this concept has changed my life and the way I gather inspiration. While I don't have lots of free time I do make a point to go for walks. We live in a small town and many things are within walking distance so while it would be much quicker to jump in the car to go to the store, I try to walk instead. Often it is during these walks that I find myself feeling most inspired and connected with my life, creativity and ideas. 

4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH BEAUTY: I am a big believer in having things around me that inspire and keep the creative juices flowing. I like to fill my studio with flowers, decorate with color pattern and texture and create inspiration boards when I am working on projects. My hope is that surrounding myself with beauty will influence my work and spark unique ideas.

5. PERMISSION TO PLAY: While I love going out looking for inspiration, I have also discovered that staying in the studio and "playing" is just as valuable. When I need ideas one of the first things I do is pull out my supplies and have fun! I don't get caught up in creating anything specific instead I give myself permission to just mess around- I splatter, I blend, I finger paint, I scribble. Whether I am painting, drawing or sewing, I know that this process helps me explore and discover new ideas.

What about you? Do you have favorite ways to find inspiration?


This post is a collaboration with the Creative Council by UGG Australia

Photos by Alisa Burke and Andy Gunthardt
My shoes- Delizah Stripe,  Lucy's shoes Bailey Bow



Wednesday, April 09, 2014

painted umbrella

With a little creativity and outdoor paint, an umbrella can be transformed into something to brighten those rainy spring days!




Tuesday, April 08, 2014

butterfly easter eggs

Spring is here and Easter is around the corner and for the last few years I've a tradition of coming up with a variety of egg decorating tutorials for my readers! Every year I challenge myself to get as creative as possible with all kinds of supplies. I've got a few fun ideas coming your way in the next couple of weeks. 

The first is a SUPER simple way to create butterfly Easter eggs and a perfect project for the kiddos!

I started by drawing my butterfly wings-yes you could use a stamp or even print off digital wings but I like drawing and painting my own.

Next I painted my eggs.
I like using real eggs that I blow out (remove the yolk by poking a hole in each end and then blow the yolk out).

I added the body of the butterfly to the egg, glued on the wings and added pipe cleaners to for antenna.






The result are cute colorful little butterflies perfect for any Easter celebration!

Looking for more egg decorating inspiration? Have a look at all the tutorials I've shared over the years!


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