Inspired to create by the color Tiffany Blue & my Wedding…

18 Oct

So yesterday was my one year wedding anniversary. I probably should have written about my wedding dress before now but life has been a whirlwind of changes & adjustments.

I met Craig a long time ago. At this point it would be around ten years now. There aren’t many people who know the story of how we met, or how he came into my life much like a knight in shining armor rescuing a damsel in distress…but he really did in a sense & even fought off some dragons for me.

Because this blog centers around my creating, I am not going to tell that story though. What I know is that I we are together for a reason.

When we were dating & talking about getting married there were a lot of things we weren’t sure we could reconcile between work schedules, economic pressures, exes & some family member’s, so that we could have a traditional marriage…at least not without loads of stress & drama we really didn’t need.

We discussed eloping the last few years of our courtship & while this sort of dashed this Romantic Libra’s vision of a beautiful ceremony with everyone together…I realized that it was really going to be the best option for us. It solved more of the issues than it didn’t.

On Valentines Day 2015 (during the time I was dangling on a scaffolding painting the turret in my previous post) he surprised me by taking me ring shopping. Honestly, I didn’t even see it coming. I was busier than I had ever been & super focused on my job & my design work. I was barely getting by & even taking care of myself had gone by the wayside for a time.

The ring is from Ryan’s Diamonds. A local company which was something I had told Craig years ago. I wanted to get my ring there to support a local business & he had remembered.



This engagement was to be a secret though. You can’t elope & tell everyone. I was determined not to ruin our plans…plus I still didn’t know exactly when either. He told me it would happen & it would happen fast.

Although I hadn’t made a wedding dress for a few years I had wanted to make my own all along…then suddenly the knowing he could spring it on me at any time made that seem ridiculous to even try. Here is the link to the last Wedding Dress I designed & created for my friend Nicole a few years back.

So in the back of my mind & without much urgency I started trying to figure out how to get what I wanted with very little effort. What I knew I wanted was a Tiffany Blue Wedding Dress covered with white lace. I had a modified version in my head of one I had sketched years ago.

The color choice was inspired by a Couture Wedding Dress that I saw over six years ago & unfortunately because of a computer crash, I have not been able to find it’s source or the photograph. This was really before pinterest was around but now you can find a lot of examples of this color range thanks to my favorite app.


This Wedding Dress by Aimee Atelier is very close to the first blue dress I saw & loved. Apparently wearing a blue wedding dress is also an Irish Tradition.


I always loved the blue Wedding Dress when I was watching Brigadoon as a child. Maybe that is why it just jumped out at me?

PImage EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND: Actor Keira Knightley poses for a portrait shoot in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Lorenzo Agius/Exclusive by Getty Images)

PImage EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND: Actor Keira Knightley poses for a portrait shoot in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Lorenzo Agius/Exclusive by Getty Images)

When I saw Keira Knightley in this Blue Dress I died. So beautiful. I love this tone against her peaches & cream complexion.  I am aware that this style is quite youthful & works better on a slender body than a more curvaceous one like my own but I was inspired just the same.

The reason I modified my original design. It  was partly because of my age & also my weight at the time. There are some dresses that are just made for a size six (or less) & some just aren’t. I also knew that even if I made it back into a size six before we got married (rather unlikely) I looked like a marshmallow in all white…besides the fact it was a second marriage so no one would question a color, right? Plus I wanted something different & original. Then there is the age factor. While I am not really about rules when it comes to clothing I still have a few…after forty if its line doesn’t flatter you then just don’t go there. That meant no big fluffy skirts for me.

That being said I was willing to buy a dress that was what I wanted. I had even found one that could have the Tiffany Blue color put-under the lace…except I waited to long to act & it was going to take at least six months.

It was April or May by now & I was panicking. He was dropping hints at this point & it hit me that it was probably me he was waiting for? I ordered a dress at Nordstrom that I thought I could embellish with lace…only to have the problem I always have with dresses…it was loose on the top & tight on the bottom.

At that point I resigned myself to make my own Wedding dress & I thought I had a really good plan. I bought the fabric cut it out…begin sewing it in Craig’s basement…only to find out that I was still gaining weight because of stress & in between my first measure & cutting it out I had gained even more weight. I had to really do a lot of troubleshooting at that point to make it work, without starting over completely. Can you believe it. It was also a stretch satin! Which means it wasn’t stretching enough.


You see the truth is, & am I going to be very real here…I am one of those woman who can go between four sizes in as little as a month. That is if I am not diligently working on my health…even when I am on the ball, it can still happen. I struggle with intense anxiety & stress sometimes sky-rocketing my cortisol levels through the roof. I try to use healthy coping methods for this, but sometimes I don’t had time for even that.

I really believe my lacking a good foundation for health when I was young set me up for this & I have a lot of regrets. I was sickly as a child, anorexic as a teen. After my first successful pregnancy I was diagnosed with Hypoglycemia…then in my thirties I began dealing with Autoimmune disorders. I have since found a lot of ways to manage my health but when you work two jobs, are a mom, have a man in your life & are constantly trying to carve out time for creating…sometimes it is a lot to juggle.


So here is what I had. A body that wasn’t cooperating, a dress that was cut out & barely fitting. I was working out nearly everyday for at least 20 minutes because I knew I had to fit in this darn dress. Unfortunately I am one of those people who gain weight for a while before I lose weight, when I first start working out. It seemed like I took more time modifying the dress than designing it. I even bought a girdle. Geez…it was insane. It was an awesome girdle though & I got it at Endless Indulgence Retro Wear in Ogden. Where I also indulged in a really cute vintage sheath dress. It was a great place to shop. I felt pretty good about my curves that day.

What I imagined to be simple, ended up being a near nightmare…I spent a ton of time hand-sewing lace & having my daughter help me try it on in-between adjustments. It was turning out beautiful but I couldn’t sit down in it.

My goal was to get it done before Vegas Summer Market 2015, but it didn’t happen. Craig told me I needed a break & to just go have fun. I bought the hair clip from a street vendor while I was in Vegas. I still had the upcoming wedding on my mind & got right back into the project as soon as I was home.


I went back & forth on the earrings. I work part time as a window covering specialist for JcPenney, so I stalked the jewelry counter for a few weeks till I narrowed it down to the perfect pair in silver & aquamarine, with the help of my manager Jennifer.

After it was done I have to admit it was just as I imagined. I decided that I needed a shrug of sorts to hide some shoulder surgery scars & my less than taunt forty year old arms. Maybe it was insecure on my part, but I didn’t want a ton of skin showing…although in a few of my bridals it shows the dress without it.


I had originally wanted cap sleeves but as soon as I saw my weight fluctuation was going to be an issue & I knew it could keep me out of that dress at the last minute…it was not a risk I wanted to take.


The shoes where  from Dessy Group, still available…I so love their website.  These Satin Peep Toe Shoes were perfect because my honey is my height when I wear heels & with all the lace I needed something simple.

Dessy Group Shoes


After it was done I distracted myself getting my nails done at Wild Orchid Nails & bridals taken. This felt like a gutsy move because we still didn’t have a date.


I used my darling friend & talented photographer Shantel for the photos because she is just so …well awesome at Photography.


We did the first photo shoot at JcPenney’s Portrait Studio where Shantel works full time. I also had my dear friend Melissa was there for support & to help me get into the dress & out of it after. It was a good thing too because I was on the verge of an anxiety attack when I got there. She’s my Doctors wife so she was effective in helping calm my nerves.


The flowers were put together by a local florist Sunshine Creation Floral on 10302 S. 1300 W in South Jordan. It was really important to me to use a local business. I admit there was a small misunderstanding & it wasn’t the color I  had asked for & I was a little emotional about it, but they handled it professionally & in a pinch it was really the best option.


The flowers ended up looking beautiful for the photo-shoot & I had this realization that planning a wedding, even with anticipating an elopement felt quite lonely. I had been doing this all by myself without even a date. It was at that point it hit me for the first time & I admit it was overwhelming.


Melissa my friend had suggested it during the first photo session that we go outside & get some pictures in my cowgirl boots…just for Craig. I apologize that I can’t remember where & when I got the boots. I just know I got them for his Nephews Wedding.


Shantel did the second photo session in one of the Canyons behind Herriman City, with my children assisting me. Herriman is where I lived for a while & where I meet Craig & where we call home.


I am so glad that I got these photos in the Canyons that Craig had introduced me to. We have been on a lot of drives looking for wildlife on this road.


Craig is a total country boy & even this city girl couldn’t deny that it was a really fun idea. It was the end of September around my Birthday just after the Sage had turned yellow.


The flowers for this photo session I just bought at the grocery store. My guess would be Whole Foods. It was a fun shoot, with the exception of having to change outside with my kids holding up a tarp by the side of the road. Yes. Whatever it takes people…plus remember I couldn’t sit down in it.


There were a few roosters that decided to hang out near us while we were shooting. It was a nice touch for some rustic bridals. We tired to get them in a few more photos but they had a mind of their own. Go figure.

april2So now I was ready. I had my dress & everything was ready. He was right. When it happened, it happened fast.  We were married at the Chapel of the Flowers in Vegas on October 17th. It was perfect. Craig couldn’t take much time off so we drove down on a Friday, Got Married Saturday afternoon & drove home Monday. I wish we had stayed longer but it was Fall break for my children & we were basically sneaking away to get married while they were with my ex.


It was funny because by the time we did get married the dress was a little loose on top & the shrug was a little on the big side. I still couldn’t sit down in it, but walking was easier. They wanted to send a Limo for us but my husband wasn’t excited about walking through the Hotel in a “Monkey Suit” & the thought of having to lay across the seat & possibly not be able to get up…well I wasn’t taking any chances. The dress may have not gone smoothly but everything else sure did.


Right before I started the dress, Craig did ask me why I was making it? Why didn’t I do something easy? I answered that I never do anything the easy way…oh, boy! I had no idea what I was getting myself into with that dress. Luckily marriage has been a whole lot smoother but obviously I did have a lot of determination going into it.

What I did find out about eloping, is that it made the experience of getting married emotionally intimate in a way that I don’t think it could have been, if we had gone the traditional route. There was no risk of Drama or anyone trying to take the joy out of it. It was an experience just between us & for us, which isn’t that what being romantic partners is all about?






Inspired to create by a very lovely client…

8 May Dashner Turret Design lit up by the Chandy Design by April Elizabeth of AE Design

I have often wondered if I could break down my processes of creating to help those who say they aren’t creative be able to find their creative power. Maybe it is possible, but sometimes for me it is an elusive process. I rarely approach creating the same way every time. While Inspiration is a huge factor in creating, it is only one part of the process.

I can know in my head exactly what I want to create but if the timing isn’t right or I’m not in the right mindset it is often hard to put on paper & get it out of my head to a presentable medium. I recently had an amazing opportunity to create something bigger than I ever dreamed of creating. Believe me; I have a lot of big ideas & dreams when it comes to creating products designed by my own hands.

This though really pushed the limits of what I ever dreamed I could do. In fact, I probably never would have considered ever putting myself in this position if it weren’t for my very lovely client Lynette. Over a year ago Lynette hired me to help her & her husband create their dream home. I did not know at the time what a blessing this would be. There were many challenges along the way but I did my best to try to capture their vision & stay focused on making it a reality. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to do what I do best for these very deserving clients.

I did a lot of designing & collaborating with other talented folks throughout the process of designing the home. I created everything from custom fireplaces to elegant decorative finish work. I plan to write about some of those designs as well, but anyone who follows me knows my writing can end up on the back-burner somewhat.

If you follow me on instagram you may have already seen this project or the decorative library ceiling I painted. It isn’t typical for me to do work like this for my clients. Because of my background in art I am perfectly capable, but it is time consuming & stressful & as many artists know unless you are compensated for your time it isn’t always worth it. The turret ceiling took this to a whole other level by being so much more time & work than I anticipated. I knew though that I just had to plug through it & make it happen. I am lucky that I had the support I did, so I could get it done. I am so thankful for that.

I really started the process of designing it months before it came about. There was so much to do to move the house forward & there were many changes & additions. Every now & then she would say, “it would be nice to do something with that ceiling up in the turret.” I would agree with her, but we did not yet know what we were working with until the finish carpenter had completed his part of the installation.

I had grown to enjoy my client & her family so much. I was obsessed with making sure her home fit all her expectations. This is their dream home after all. She was a gem through every little problem that would come up in the building process. I also knew that when you start designing a high end home & putting high quality products into it, that nothing can ruin it more than having some element that is unfinished or non-related that somehow randomly sits in the midst of the design. I saw that the entry turret despite all its beautiful finish work was not going to look right without a little something more.

Design concept for Dashner Turret Design owned by April Elizabeth of A E DesignThere was so much to do but in the meantime on my downtime, I would try to sketch out options & ideas, at first I was hitting a designer’s block of sorts. I would continue to doodle knowing that even when I am not feeling it, sometimes I will have one little element that seems to lead somewhere.

I keep all my little sketch books for this reason. Sometimes I am doodling designs without a purpose but they are great & I am thinking how can I apply this to something? When I am struggling I go back thorough all the books & try to find elements that I can work with. It is rare that I sketch out a design perfect right off the bat. Sometimes It takes a lot of attempts to get things going in the right direction. This was probably one of the hardest designs to come up with. It took me a lot of time thinking & sketching it out.

I am extremely sensitive to my environment so sometimes my inability to create is because of surrounding distractions & then sometimes I am even fighting with little nagging subconscious fears that I won’t be capable of getting it right. I hold myself to very high expectations & when I am designing something I have never done before…it can be a small internal battle. I have learned a few tricks to deal with this though. I know the end result shocks everyone who has seen it including myself, but I wouldn’t want anyone to make the mistake of thinking it was a smooth process.

Up on the scaffold for AE Design Dashner Turret DesignGetting up on scaffolding when you are afraid of heights really makes you face your demons. I had experienced it a few months before when I painted the library ceiling. This was much higher & more difficult to reach. I am lucky I had a helper though. Still I have never experienced something that pushed me to the edge quite so much…the closest thing I have ever had to this feeling was when I was getting my interior design degree & pulling all nighters to get my presentations ready. I was a mom back then as well so I wore as many hats as I do now.

Moving Forward with the Dashner Turret Design by April Elizabeth of AE DesignTruth be told I would do it again. Maybe I wouldn’t have so many demons to fight off now. I found that being up high in a precarious situation made me feel vulnerable & like I didn’t have much control. I would run into trouble when I would find out the walls weren’t even or the template that was made for me wasn’t accurate. Things would take longer than I wished, then at night I would have to go home to modify or re-cut my reverse templates.It was an all consuming project that took over 100 hours. After I hit that marker I stopped keeping track.

The reason I would do it again? I have figured out through trial & error what works best but most importantly, It was a labor of love. I put a lot of my heart into it. There is something so powerful about creating something beautiful that always drives me to push through any discomfort that comes up, just so the finished result can come to life.

Honestly it is a good representation of how life can be. Things don’t always go well or the way to you plan. Sometimes you are wondering how this will ever work out. There are bumps in the road but if you keep persevering & keep your eye focused on the end result you can make things beautiful.

Dashner Turret Design lit up by the Chandy Design by April Elizabeth of AE DesignWhen I was up there I thought about their family & how many years of enjoyment they were looking forward to in their new home. I imagined their daughter someday standing on the stairs getting her pictures taken for prom or the boys walking up the stairs to their rooms after a long day of sports & activities. It is beautiful enough they could have a wedding in this home.

Even if they forget their designer down the road after all the work is done, I hope that somehow the love & respect I have for them will radiate from my work for years to come. I don’t know how it couldn’t. I left a little of my heart behind when I was painting.

Dashner Turret from below  Design by April Elizabeth of AE DesignMy daily goal is to fill the world around me with beauty & love…that to me is what it means to be lovely.

Inspired to create by…an antique set of silverware

23 Jan

I am constantly inspired by nearly everything that comes my way whether via the web or my daily surroundings.

The only disadvantage to this is that I only have so much time in a day to act on ideas that will flood my mind. I am constantly leaving myself little scribbled sketches with what I hope will be just enough information about my vision, which I can hopefully discern for processing at a later time.
Yet it doesn’t always work that way. I can tell you looking at such scribbles a year later, even when they have color lists that were a big part of the idea with the intention of triggering the scene back into my recollection…the ideas are often lost.

It is difficult sometimes to resurrect these little creative surges & downloads. It probably doesn’t help that these creative blasts like to come during the most inopportune moments…such of those of deep exhaustion as I am lying in bed helplessly falling asleep.

You may ask what my point is? My point is this…I’m a constant creative magnet taking in more data than I can process into actual tangible results. My list of what I hope to paint, design & creates grows longer everyday even though my time to do it seems more limited. This however does not mean that I am not creating at all…quite the contrary. It means that my focus has become less of the things I want to do & more on what my clients needs are at the moment.

I have created some amazing designs in the past little while…some of which are top secret. Those that are not, rarely get much time in the spotlight as I quickly move on to the next task. Quite frankly I am suited to this sort of variety. There is nothing monotonous about my design business. I am just terrible at taking a moment to write about it & share.

That being said…a cross between apology & justification for not blogging in a while….I am going to share a creation that has been a while in the making.

Many of you who are close to me know I have been dating Craig for a long time… about five years ago his mother gave him some of her older furniture & antiques when she got re-married & moved away for a time.
One of these things was a set of silverware.

Not being a pro in the antique business. I’m not sure how to find the years, dates & values of things. All I know about this silverware is that it looks really old. I think it is stunning though. It fulfills all my beliefs about what old fashioned romantic silverware should be like (it is my Libra mentality to romanticize nearly everything).

Silverware from the Hewitt Family
Unfortunately the picture I have of it is not very flattering. Something about this designed medallion really struck me & I found the design fascinating.

In 2009 I was volunteered to refurbish some props for the Mountain West Ballet, Nutcracker performance. When it came to decorating the large presents that some of the dancers come out of, I decided that the only way to make it look like wrapping paper was to stencil them. It was difficult finding large enough stencils…so I resorted to creating my own using the silverware medallion as my inspiration.
It turned out so well that I never forgot the thought I had, that this pattern might look nice as a fabric pattern….

Vintage Bird Nutcracker Gift Boxes Designed by April Elizabeth for Mountain West Ballet
Back when I was very young, I had this dream. It was a big dream that carried me through my youth & teenage years. That was the desire to be a fashion designer. It may have been my exposure to sewing. I had been sewing since I was five years old…maybe it was the piles of old pattern design books I would track down at all the libraries & spend hours reading. Yes. That has to be it. The library…

I was driven to design clothes. Much of my teenage years I was self educating myself in such things.

It was this time spent, reading, studying, sewing, making my own patterns & clothes (otherwise I was limited to hand me downs) that taught me a great deal about textiles. Years later when I ended up on the path to an Interior Design degree, this knowledge came in handy because I knew them inside & out.

Knowledge is one thing, but I also loved textiles & fabric. I read everything I could on repeats & fabric design but so much of it was vague…almost protected information. It was hard to find much information & the tools to print, silk screen & paint my own fabric would be difficult to justify as a hobby.

Since that time I have wanted to have my own fabric line. Truthfully, every time I see a designer with their own fabric line I will pour over their bio to try to find out how they got started. Each line says so much about the designer’s personality as well as design style & I find it fascinating.

Duralee happens to be my favorite fabric companies to look at such designers, because they really put a lot of emphasis on their talents & lines. To private label with a company like Duralee…that would be the dream.

In researching fabric designers, I know there are people who specifically design fabric & do the artwork to help fulfill many a designers’ vision. For me being an artist before getting my Interior Design degree I decided it was time to challenge myself.

I needed an easy subject to start with so I defaulted to one I already had a myriad of sketches for. The bird medallion inspired by Craig’s antique silverware. Knowing that I could change the colors to any that I wanted later on, I made the decision not to invest in new paint. I painted it with what I already had & considered each color as a separator to each other.

A E Design Original Scanned Design of Vintage Bird Medallion
Then I scanned it into my computer & began using Photoshop to clean it up. This was a long process since I had to work on it in bits & pieces as time allowed. Then I played around with various filters…

A E Design Playing with color for the Vintage Bird Design
Many color samples later & it was beginning to look really decent. Then the craziest thing happened….
After looking for months for the perfect fabric for one of my clients…one with all the colors she wanted to bring into her home, I heard myself throw out the idea that “maybe I could design it?”

Well, she wanted to see what I had right away. She loved the design. It was transitional leaning into a traditional vibe, so the process of getting each fabric right began. It took time & weeks every time I would order a new color sample but finally we got it right.

Then because she was ready to rock & roll…I used my sewing skills (which I had put in cold storage for a few years) & made eight back tab panels of 132” drapes, fully lined with blackout lining.

A E Design Sewing my custom fabric into drapes
I am really happy with the result & what I learned from this experience is invaluable. I may not be designing exquisite textiles for a high end designer fabric company, but I can design fabric. In fact I am planning to design a few things with my antique bird design & see how they sell online.

Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Red & Gray A E Design

Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Teal & Black A E Design The other thing I learned is that I need to have someone else do my sewing sometimes, just so I can keep myself moving forward & creating as well as get in some Z’s.

These particular color combinations were put together for my client. To see more of my colorways in this “Vintage Lovebird” pattern feel free to visit my spoonflower shop. Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Redl & Gray

Inspired to create by a sweet-as-candy-heart-shaped necklace…

26 Feb Azure Elizabeth Design Valentines Moxie

So is it just me or has 2013 been moving at the speed of light so far? Okay. It isn’t really moving that fast…some days feel like they are dragging, but when I look back & realize we are ending the second month of this New Year I am thinking where did all the time go?

Although I haven’t blogged here for a while I can assure you I haven’t taken a break from my creating…I have just been juggling a lot of balls & honestly it is naturally easier to just create…writing about it though…well that isn’t always as easy.

So to give you a bit of perspective on what has had me so distracted besides my design business & the business of being a single mother…I do have to insert here that one of the highlights of the month was my daughter getting her pointe shoes. A big distraction & a moment of motherly pride over took me for a moment there, so I had to mention it…it happens sometimes.

I am still writing for the examiner online as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner. I recently covered a whole lot of information on some of 2013’s color trends & forecasts which you can check out here.

Then a somewhat newish adventure  for me has been working part-time  at Jcp’s (JcPenny’s) in the home & drapery department….which admit I am totally enjoying. I love the store, my managers & the associates there. I think it is a great fit right now for this Interior Designer. If you need blinds, shutters, drapes, bedding & or towels you should check them out. Product is great & pricing is amazing. We also just added a whole bunch of new products & lines in these departments…with even more to come including  Happy Chic by one of my favorite designers Jonathan Adler.

Now one of the reasons I mention this is because I have to give Jcp credit for the inspiration for this recent “Inspired to create by…” project. Just before February Jcp brought in a line of lab created gems & jewelry for Valentines. There were so many gorgeous choices & even though I try so hard to avoid the jewelry department I couldn’t avoid its sirens call when I saw this pretty ruby & white sapphire gem in their ad campaign, plus I have a huge weakness for pavé gem settings.

Lab Created Ruby from Jcp 2013

Admittedly since I was young I’ve had an aversion for heart-shaped anything…especially jewelry…I also couldn’t stand it when little girls would dot their i’s with little hearts…I must have held some kind of negative belief about them for some reason…but that is between me & my therapist…No. I don’t really have a therapist unless you are talking about Dr. Organic Dark Chocolate…

In the last few years symbolism has become very intriguing to me & I am using it quite often in my design work, so maybe that is the reason that despite any of my usual reasoning  & avoidance of things attached to the word cute…I fell head over heels in love with hearts this past Valentines, as well as a newly heightened passion for lace glitter…all of those beautiful romantic symbols of love.

So from this jewel my little Valentines Moxie painting was born. I already had a prepared canvas with layers of red paint glitter, glass gems & acrylic resin. It was originally for something else that didn’t end up happening. When I realized looking into its depth was akin to looking into that tempting heart-shaped ruby in the jewelry case at Jcp, I suddenly knew that I wanted to accent this red canvas with shimmering, glimmering frosted white like that of white sapphires or sparkling snow.

Azure Elizabeth Design Valentines Moxie

Since flowers are often a part of Valentine’s Day I wanted them to be the theme of the piece. I used my stylized Moxie flowers that have adorned a few of my other paintings. I love curving, bold, extreme, yet feminine lines & a bit of whiplash curve every now & again. The moxie paintings reflect that bit of mania.

So here you go…my February creation inspired by a sweet as candy heart-shaped necklace that not only caught my eye but shot its little cupids arrow right into my heart & seduced me into buying it. Yes! I totally caved. Valentines gifts you get for yourself are really the best though. I highly recommend making this day every year a day of spoiling yourself & others instead of always relying on someone else to make it happen.

Inspired to create a little Valentines Moxie by a Lab created ruby by Jcp

Show a little love for yourself today & also have a lovely day!

PS. For more photos of this & other paintings please visit my Etsy shop AzureElizabethDesign


Inspired to create by…the perfect paisley, and the elements fire and water

19 Dec

For those of you who know me well you know that I juggle a lot of balls…though the truth is that because of my juggling act, very few people know me well enough to actually realize that. I confess…I am an extremely private person who only gives small glimpses out to others about my person which are usually based on content, subject matter and need. If there is no need then there is very little divulged leaving others to make assumptions about me, which they often do…I admit this can be quite interesting at times…

Can I get any more confusing? Yes! I guarantee I can.

Astrologically speaking I am dominantly Air and Fire with one sneaky little water sign planet, Scorpio…My Sun sign is in Libra. Yes, that is where my vanity comes from as well as my desire for romance and my love of beauty. On Twitter I refer to myself as A Lovely Designer…to understand why I use Azure as my alter ego go here…I use the word ‘lovely’ symbolically because if represents a combination of the two ideals, love and beauty that I equally value and try to create in life.

Love is emotional and beauty is visual, often stimulated by physical or environmental influences but at times they merge together into one. If I ever tell you to have a ‘lovely’ day I am wishing you actual love and beauty to be manifest in your life.  To me it is as positive an emotion as wishing you much happiness.

If  I tell you something or someone is “lovely” I am saying that to me it/they are of more value to me that just the superficial  appearance and that the worth and value runs much deeper with me.  This word is used in reference to people I value and love and the things they create. If I can see them or their heart in their creations there is nothing more lovely to me.

Now back to my astrological chart…I know you are just dying to know more…alright whatever! Indulge me please, I promise it will make sense shortly. I am more on topic than you think and this is an only round about apology for not posting more often.

So where were we….oh, yes…so my Moon is in Gemini, and this is where the importance for communication comes in. I am a communicator and nothing annoys me more than people thinking I can read their mind…I may be intuitive but I wont give you the pleasure of knowing what I read. It is not my responsibility, so If you don’t tell me something please don’t expect me to know about it. I am so not a busy body either…but we will get sidetracked if we go there…I also don’t take words, commitments and promises lightly so if you can walk your talk there will be probably little trust between us…unless it is something trivial that I don’t depend on to function.

I give the Air signs the credit for my being a bit of a free spirit…one who is attracted more to movement than being stagnant who moves quickly from one idea to the next. The free spirit comes in handy as an artist and designer and it allows me to be open-minded but it can mean I live very much in my head and will often put logic over my own heart and sometimes block myself from my emotions…something I am learning to recognize and be more careful about.

Now to top that all off I have two planets in Leo, one in Venus and one is Saturn. Darn it! I have not yet figured out how to allow my inner Leo’s out of their cage because Saturn is standing on my tail. Saturn, will always repress, suppress or oppress the planet it is in.

So how is this relevant to my Inspired to Create blog? Well, taking what I have learned about my own self from astrology, and seeing my strengths and where I am out of balance…I have used this understanding with the assistance of my Astrologist David Porter to design and create an environment for one of my clients. It is still a work in progress but until we addressed his astrological chart we just weren’t making any progress.


My clients astrological chart is an almost split down the middle with only Earth and Air planets. This means that the emotion that is represented by the Water planets and the passion of the Fire planets was somewhat void in his life…which he admitted too. This process spoke to him and when I suggested that we bring in colors and patterns to symbolize his missing elements it resonated with him. Then I found the perfect paisley fabric to honor all of the elements with reds and oranges to represent the missing fire and blues and greens for his water. Earth is represented by earth tones and air by the color yellow.

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design Side View

I love using symbolism in my designs when I can. It is like turning your environment into a vision board so to speak and what better way to reach your subconscious than that?

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design representing air earth and water

So here are a few glimpses of what we are using in the space as well as some custom art work I created for it. He was very patient with me since my gypsy like spirit means I can sometimes have a lot of irons in the fire.

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design the whole collection

And here is the light that will be going over the kitchen table in a few weeks. I couldn’t help but give you a sneak peek.


Inspired to create by…the Goddess Aphrodite

30 Oct 2012-10-29 19.53.27

Well here we are finally. I have teased you all long enough. At last I unveil my newest project…which if you saw the last blog, ‘Inspired to create by Queen Elizabeth the 1st‘…you knew it was coming though I am fairly sure I didn’t give too much away.

This project was a daughter inspired project, 100%. My twelve-year-old daughter is becoming such a ‘designing woman.’ She recently got hooked on these Goddess Girl books, and came to me with her brilliant idea of being Aphrodite for Halloween. She even tried to get all her girlfriends at school on board and each be a different Goddess…what did I say about ‘designing woman?”


Well her plans are very well thought out and usually seem to involve my sewing skills. I really dropped the ball on teaching her such skills…I have a lot of time to make up for since I’ve been sewing since the age of five.

Well I am sucker for any design plan especially since she was giving me full rein on the design. I would show you my original sketch except that I ended up going into a little bit different direction allowing it to evolve and flow. Since my daughter was the client so to speak I can do this. Usually I confine myself to an agreed upon concept, but here I didn’t have too.

As the mother and the teacher I walked her through the steps of how I come up with any design. She was referencing the cover of the book with the cartoon looking character and I was leaning toward the idea of making it her own (this is really very similar to working with any client who always starts with a concept that is another persons design) so we collaborated. Which mainly meant that after she told me what she wanted, she was part of all decisions that I came up with and threw at her.

Trusting little angel that she is. Honestly she has to be my favorite client.  She gives me such exciting challenges to work on in a medium I rarely get to work,  without trying to control it all.

This is what we ended up with. I wanted the robes to be flowing with layers of interest all around as though they were long yards of fabric tucked, gathered and bound together to make the dress…and she sure does she look amazing in red and gold.

Enjoy and have a happy safe Halloween!

Inspired to create by…Queen Elizabeth the first

2 Oct

October is a somewhat magical month for me. All the beauty and richness and color of September goes bold with intensity and drama. The full moon seems bigger and bolder. Almost overnight I become obsessed with the rich decadent pleasures of life. Baked goods which hardly ever seduce me become constant haunts especially when spicy pumpkin chocolate chips desserts come into season… and with Halloween around the corner I become obsessed with contrast, gaudy pieces and drama in my decorating…

Costumes become the big focus for my children and I, which they seem to find more delightful than their passion for treats. This year is without exception for my little designing daughter who has big plans for her mama’s designing talent. You will want to stay tuned since I wont be letting the cat out of the bag just yet.

Not since her fourth grade year has she felt the desire to make me so ambitious. For years (although not every year) I have made costumes for my children. I try to get around it when I am able, since it can be fairly time-consuming, but just like my memories of my own mother making my costumes they find there is something rather magical about the whole process.

In Autumn’s fourth grade year they were required to do a wax museum report. This was where they do the research on a particular person from history, who they then dress like and they hold very still while the parents walk around the room looking at them and their poster board with its research.


Well she came home one day and said that she had chosen Queen Elizabeth the first. Mainly because her middle name…like my own is Elizabeth. I looked at her in shock. How may I ask am I going to find a Queen Elizabeth Costume. “You will make it” she stated. “I know you can mother.”

ImageShe is a lucky little girl because she was right and I did make it for her, I also made her swear that she would wear it the next Halloween since it wasn’t going to be an inexpensive or simple costume to make. She kept her promise and was a stunner as the Young Elizabeth Tudor.

ImageShe wanted to be as authentic as possible so I used temporary red dye in her hair. Since she has a reddish caramel tone natural she pulled it off brilliantly. After a few hours she did find the ruff a bit itchy so I freed her of it. It is a lovely costume either way and was so much fun. I can’t decided if I enjoy designing wedding dresses or costumes more.


Inspired to create by…seeing the contrasts

21 Sep

Autumn is my favorite time of year and more than just that…there is something in the air that enchants and captures me. It all starts in early September, this feeling of magic in the atmosphere where light and shadows create colors and patterns in the world, that are vibrant and new.

I have always wondered if it is just me. September is my birth month and the month I welcomed my daughter into the world on my twenty-fifth birthday, nearly twelve years ago.

Everyday I watch in fascination as this darling little girl starts pushing out of the box called childhood. She is like me in so many ways. A designing woman in every sense of the word. she has the desire like her mother to design every part of her life, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual…

I have joked often that she is my ‘mini me’, but it really isn’t a joke. Besides having a little red-headed fire hidden in her genes that she got from her father, and more sass-in-her-frass (sassafras is my word for sassy) than I would ever claim. She is so much like me it is uncanny at times.

My focus of late has been helping her to embrace her creative side. I have heard many a human claim they aren’t creative. I am myself pretty convinced that everyone is to some degree. What they may be really feeling is that they aren’t talented in some area or another, compared to someone else. I am prone to believe it isn’t creativity they are longing for, because they already have it. They just may not know how to tap into it yet and where it may lie within them.

What I think they really are saying they want or lack is the talent that follows. The talent is the hard part that requires the work. It doesn’t come without it. Not only do you have to know how to tap into your creativity you have to know how to take it and run with it. You can’t be afraid of the risks of failure yet you don’t even need to be fearless, just committed. You have to face the challenges and there is no instant gratification. There will be a struggle following your initial effort but that is the nature of creating. I don’t know a single artist or designer who doesn’t hit a wall with almost every project…meaning a problem to solve or something to overcome to achieve the result while still working within limitations.

For weeks I have been trying to pour my wisdom into my Autumn as I see the dynamics of her world changing. I see exactly where she is standing and the struggle she faces when it comes to creativity and developing her talents. I have let her know the truth about it all. It isn’t all fluff and it is work. I have encouraged her to expand and keep at it and not give up.

I have taught her that for every great creative achievement there are usually ten rough draft or sketches that didn’t make the cut.

The finished product rarely tells the whole story. Art and design much like life has its contrasts…its ups and downs. The light and dark. We think someone may be talented when we see the finished results but we never see the discomfort or long hours, the uncertainty that were part of the process. There are limitations as well. Your medium only works on the appropriate material and your design has to fit within established boundaries.

Our lives are much the same. They are a process, a journey through contrasts of light and dark times, success and failures, pain and joy. This is what makes life colorful, beautiful, interesting, dynamic and even poignant. If we want the purpose and meaning in our life we have to tap into our ability create it, and keep making an effort to work at even when it seems like we haven’t got it figured out yet.

I personally believe we learn as much from the dark as the light. As an artist I have learned to use as see and appreciate both the light, shadows and the dark. The shadows in life make the light all the brighter and you need both to grow and develop.

As I thought about all of this today, driving back from taking my daughter to school I remembered this drawing I did in High-school of these jelly jars. It is a perfect example how the contrasts of light and dark work together to create depth and color. It was my first large-scale colored pencil drawing and I was scared but I worked hard and challenged myself.


I have to remember that the life I create is much the same, and the beauty is in the contrast.

Inspired to create by…my mother and her indigo eyes

12 Sep A E Design Photos my mother's bathroom after 1

I have to start this post out by saying I love my mother. I love her dearly lest I seem impersonal as I continue to write….I am just going with the flow on this one so who knows how it will come out.

You see when it comes to design I am all business. This, I am afraid has not made working with other woman always easy…this is not in reference to my mother so please don’t misunderstand. After all these years, if there is a woman I can work well with, it would be my mother. I do sometimes have to remind her when she asks for my honest opinion and she didn’t like it, that she did ask.

If I gave out awards for the best female client of the year…which I’ve actually considered doing…for this year 2012, it would be my mother.

A mother daughter relationship can be very complicated at times and I would be lying if I didn’t say that ours been evolving and ever-changing over the years.

I am no longer a five-year old little girl sitting on the floor near my mothers feet as she sews at her sewing machine while I carefully practiced my hand stitching, passing it to her for inspection periodically.  I am also not the young preteen who years later as I was beginning  to sew my own clothing, would scream up the stairs for her in sheer panic when I sewed the wrong side of something together. The thought of un-picking made me hysterical and I did a lot of it back then.

She was my first teacher and the person whom I give credit…or the blame for my initial addiction to creating (maybe this is why she is so supportive where others haven’t been).

The tables have turned a little bit since that time, and with this last project I became the teacher. I forget sometimes is that the  things that have become second nature to me are really quite intimidating to others.

Everything is a domino effect. It all started with my mother’s bathroom cabinet. It was shabby, dark and worn and with it only having one door it was an organizational nightmare. She was tired of opening it and having everything fall out or having it all packed in so tightly she had to dig to find the toilet bowl cleaner. It probably doesn’t help that as a hair dresser she has perm rods, scissors, various razors and such she needs to store.

So she asked me if I thought there was a better option. Truth be told it would be tight, but a raised height vanity with two banks of drawers on each side, and one door in the center was the best we could do. It took some convincing my cabinet guy, who knew the drawers would have to stay pretty small.

It would also have to be custom-made. You cannot buy a box like that in the needed dimensions pre-made. I pointed out to her that if she was going to put a fresh brand spanking new cabinet in she might want to update the floor…which was a worn vinyl that she just happened to adore. Blue is her favorite color so I have to tread lightly when it comes to anything blue.

She was not thrilled but she was respectful and decided to humor me and go look at tile options….the one I recommended from Daltile was lovely enough that she forgot all about her blue vinyl flowers.

She knew that she wanted the cabinet to be lighter and she already had the wall paint…which she had bought three years ago, and no I wasn’t with her. We were suddenly working around this previous selection so we knew any direction we went had to make the blue paint work.

For the countertop I suggested she go with a granite and an undermount sink. As you can see the cultured marble top had seen better days.

She was concerned because she wanted a blue countertop and knew that isn’t so common in natural stone… I suggested the blue pearl with the hopes of grounding the brighter blue in her paint.

I would consider its color to be a deep indigo tone. It is actually the color I think of when I think of my mother, so I was actually dying to show it to her.

You know that old Peter Murphy song ‘Indigo eyes?’ I have no idea what all the lyrics say, but I have always loved the chorus. Well, I used to think it was about my mother because she really does have indigo eyes, which genes she has generously transferred through me to my blue-eyed daughter.

The color potential of this granite was never more apparent though, than when we found the perfect wall tile for her backsplash. I knew it was her when I saw it, even though Daltile had so many other amazing options for us to choose from..when you know, you just know.

This really was a small job, but it was no small thing having the bathroom unusable for two and half weeks. It can make even the most patient of people edgy and irritable but she handled it with grace. Tonight we discussed it and now that all the dust has settled and she has organized it all, she is wondering how she lived in it the way it was before.

She is happy with it, which is music to my ears.

The guys who did the work were so incredible and are always my go to guys when I have the choice. For the tile work we worked with Joe from K J Tile. The granite was done by Gene Prunty of Medusa Granite and Marble. The best place to go “when you turn to stone.” The Cabinet was a collaboration between friend, and fellow designer David Porter and was  built by Bear River Cabinetry.

My thanks goes out to them for always coming through for me. Much gratitude and appreciation to these gentlemen and all the others who were involved in making my mothers indigo eyes sparkle.

Inspired to create a ten foot mural by a mountain lake fishing trip…

7 Aug

Perhaps I am too ambitious. It is one thing to be in a constant creative mode, moving through life at an intense designing pace & quite another to sit down & write about it all…just so I can keep my audience on the edge of their seat…or at least remembering my name.

I recently finished a big project designing a wedding dress…which you can check it out here. It was awesome & I am very proud of how it turned out. Since then I have been on a roll & have sketched out a whole assortment  of designs for a wedding dress collection that I would love to introduce…someday maybe.

I am of course still writing for the online examiner as the Salt Lake City Interior Design Examiner & loving it! So if anything was to blame in my not keeping up with my blog, it would probably be….well, we just won’t be pointing fingers.

The fact is I am not super woman. If I was I would’ve flown by my own power to Vegas last Wednesday, when my flight to meet up with designing friend Brandon Smith at Vegas Market was delayed by four hours.

The truth is more often than not, after a long day of working I often can’t put more than two sentences together.  I am lucky if I am speaking coherently enough that my children hear, “it is time for bed” instead of that Charlie Brown adult gibberish.

I am really starting to think that is why they don’t respond…I must be speaking another language, either that or it is because I am the mother of two very ADHD teens. Life is never dull but it is one ride I do enjoy.

At this point I won’t promise to be more a more consistent writer. I refuse to subject myself to any kind of trivial guilt anymore. I am a “go with the flow” kind of gal who is more creative & productive the less negative pressure there is attached to things.

I am one designing woman who must put priorities first, which for me are my children & bringing home the bacon. After that the rest is just the frosting on the cake or pancakes & maple syrup on the plate…cake doesn’t really go with bacon.

With that being said I have a lot of things in the works & even nearing completion. Paintings, design work…I may even begin another wedding dress…you know, the usual. I do promise to keep you updated… at some point. I do!

In the meantime I am pulling from the archives (deep within my external hard drive) for this inspired to create post, which is based on a ten foot long mural I painted around 2005 for a little boy’s room in Draper Utah.

The family was a group of avid campers. They loved the outdoors & spending time together more than anything. They just said they wanted an outdoor scene for their oldest sons room so I pulled from my own stash of photos from a mountain lake fishing trip when my son was five years old.

It is a good thing I am addicted to taking ridiculous amounts of photos of my surroundings, because I had over ten views to use as my reference for the design.

East wall concept

I measured the room & did elevations to lay it out. The truth is this was my first mural. Art & painting I had done plenty off but mural work…not at all.

South wall concept

As with any design client, it was important to me that they knew what they were getting into before I even put paint to the walls. I believe concepts can help reduce anxiety about any designing or creative process. It puts your client at ease & helps them see that you know what you are doing by giving them a tangible piece of information about the project. Since people don’t read minds nor can they see what is in your head, I believe it is vital especially when someone is investing large amounts of money in something you have essentially dreamed up.

West wall concept

Here is the finished product. I don’t even remember how long it took me to complete (I’ve blocked it out) but it was a really busy time in my life so I was only able to squeeze in a few hours, a few days a week.

East Wall

I don’t typically paint murals & that is probably more my fault than anything. I have very strong opinions about murals which I’m sure has offended people at times but since this is my blog though I will not hold back…

East wall up close

In my opinion…there are very few places a mural is even appropriate.

I think restaurants & children’s spaces are the best places…if it actually adds to the design & doesn’t subtract. I have seen murals work in everything from historical homes, pediatric offices, hospitals & even arcades.

South wall mural

In my opinion…only ten…umm…maybe I will be more generous, twenty percent of murals I have seen, I like. I guess I have this snobby idea that they have to be classy & original. They shouldn’t look rushed, cheap or slapped on. The whole idea of faux painting a bookcases on your wall instead of just having one really baffles me. Although there are times adding an illusion through a mural works, but only in certain circumstances.

West Wall

Really the reason I don’t do more of them, is that people always want Disney characters on their child’s wall or Thomas the train. I myself hate having my copyrighted work stolen so I am not a fan of copying on that level. The other thing is that children grow very fast, so you date & condemn a room that may have been a juvenile haven at age three only to have it become a cartoon nightmare a few years later when the child is too embarrassed to bring their friends over or they don’t like that ‘subject’ anymore.

West wall up close

Being that I appreciate originality & longevity, if you were at ask me to paint Cinderella in your daughter’s room walls I would paint my own version of Cinderella, not Disney’s. One that she could head into her teenage years with. As for Thomas the train, wouldn’t you much rather have a classic old-fashioned Steam Locomotive or a sleek Modern high-speed rail train? Something that’s a  combination of fantasy with  a punch of realism  so you can grow up alongside it for a while?

Yep! That is what I thought.

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