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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

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

26 Feb

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

Xoxo’s

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’t 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.

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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.

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Inspired to create by…the Goddess Aphrodite

30 Oct

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?”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

Inspired to create a wedding dress by a ruffled cake…

13 Jul

I have no doubt if you follow my blog that you have been waiting with bated breath to find out the outcome of the wedding dress project…or if I am being realistic you’ve probably forgotten actually about it.

As many design projects go & what seems to elude most of the public…designing is a long-planned out process, Nothing is created in a half an hour to an hour segment. Despite what the media wants you to think there is rarely any instant gratification in the design world.

The itself dress started out as a conversation in April. Nicole (if I had, had another daughter I would have named her Nicole, love the name) has known me since 2004 when I worked as the Interior Design Director for a large home builder. She was the sassy little receptionist who kept everyone on their toes with her playful sarcasm & quick wit.

Things have long since changed & we are both in different places in our lives…the builder is no longer around…but as facebook friends we have made sure to keep tabs on each other.

According to her I told her way back when that I would be happy to make her wedding dress when she had asked me. Other than the costumes I made on  Halloween’s for my children I am not sure how she knew that I had a thing for needle & thread.

Okay I don’t…not exactly. Needles & thread are really a means to an end. What I love it designing. I have been sewing since I was five. I started out by designing dresses for my Barbie’s. I really never played with them I just sewed & designed clothes for them. I was very common to find my naked doll with her feet stuck in the bottom of a large spool of thread so she would be held upright, acting as a dress form.

The truth is my plan was to be a fashion designer first…others things happened though. I am essentially self-taught & during my teens I would devour every book on clothing construction I could find & back then it wasn’t easy to find such publications. Most of the instructional books were from the 40’s & 50’s.

So there is a little History for you. Nicole & I discussed the dress & she came to visit a couple of times to go over things. I encouraged her to go look around at prices & styles before she made the decision to have me make it. I wanted her to be completely committed to the process because it is a huge commitment on my part as well & because she lives in Vegas & I live in Utah she would have to arrange to come here for fittings.

After a few rather discouraging shopping trips & going over photos with me of what she loved & didn’t she decided to give me a shot. Kudos to her for faith because she hadn’t seen what I could do yet. All she knew is that I can sew.

I pulled together some concepts to help her narrow down the look she wanted based off her preferences & emailed them to her & waited to hear back. It cracks me up now thinking about it but I think it is an important part of the process. This is something I encourage my clients to do in the most appropriate manner, & that is communicate.

No matter what we are designing we don’t read minds & we need your considerate feed back. We also need you to be present in the process. “April” she said, “I love these but I was wondering if you can add a ruffle?” She was so nervous when she said this, uncertain of my response. She had tried on a dress with crumb catchers…huge ruffles on the bodice that drowned her but she got emotional when this happened because it reminded her of a cake she loved…this is the key. The emotion. We designers want results that get to the heart of your dreams & desires…the emotion is a clue to which direction we should take.

I was so happy that we had hit that deeper level. I asked her to please send me a picture of the cake & that became my inspiration for the dress.

Image

This was a 400+ hour process. Between concept drawings, creating the pattern & a mock-up dress out of muslin first to making the actual dress it is a big job. We were able to coordinate everything smoothly with her visits from Vegas for fittings which had me more that a bit nervous. Designing & making a custom dress for someone who lives nearby is one thing, but one who lives in another State is different story.

I am happy to say that she is thrilled & she looks amazing in it. It is perfect for her…made just for her. I also have a new love for ruffles…as long as they are done correctly. I affectionately call them Fruffles now.

If you follow me on Facebook, twitter or Instagram you may be so lucky as to see the bride in the dress since I plan to take pictures tomorrow night at the reception.

Image

Also I ask my  friends & sister Heather in Arizona for forgiveness from with holding photographs until now.

Inspired to create by…Blue Abalone…

17 Jun

Now typically I am not one for feeling guilty about this sort of thing but the fact that I haven’t posted since Easter is really getting under my skin. This I promise you is not due to being in a slump or any kind of designing funk. Quite the opposite really…I have been busy as usual, but just my normal sort of busy.

What this means is that I have great inspired projects in the works that I cannot wait to share with you…they just aren’t ready yet. Here is a hint, there is some art on the easel, so to speak & even some clothing design in production….a ‘Wedding Dress’ actually. I wasn’t planning to give you that much info, but if you are reading this little blog of mine here, you deserve more than just my gratitude. Thank you for reading & please stay tuned for what is coming.

One thing I must also mention is my somewhat recent gig with the online Examiner. Yes, I am writing as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner (my official title) & I love it. I will admit as with anything that implementing this into my life has meant some juggling at times…but it is all worth it.

So in the meantime I am pulling out a little inspiration from the archives. This one has been on my mind of late as I am seeing all the home product catalogs highlighting summer by the sea themes.

Image

These renderings are from a college assignment. We were to design a Cape Cod beach house with very specific spatial requirements. It was probably the most time consuming plan I did in college but the most enjoyable.

ImageRather than use the typical beachy color schemes or even a nautical inspiration, I chose my palette from the beautiful subtle periwinkle or blue tones that can be found in Abalone shells. There is something sort of mysterious about the sea & the pearly undersides of textural seas shells & sea creature are a lovely representation of its hidden treasures to me.

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I love to mix what was then (2004) considered to be more unexpected textures together…it wouldn’t be so unusual now I am sure. My fabrics were combinations of luxurious silks for pillows & drapery, with nubby linens for the bed & upholstery, natural stone counter-tops & flooring in earth tones, while the soft floor coverings & window treatments were woven organic materials. I specified lighter woods, simple contemporary lines in the furniture rather than the more traditional items you might see in a home by the sea.

ImageHere are my concepts for the design, I had to recreate the boards somewhat…I  can see a few things I would go back & change in my renderings but experience always does that. I hope you enjoy!

Inspired to Create by…Scot Meacham Wood

22 Mar

My first introduction to Scot Meacham Wood was through twitter. His profile  said “plotting world domination, one decorative pillow at a time” & I knew he was someone I just had to follow.

Here is a little more about Scot…borrowed from his press kit…

Scot Meacham Wood, owner of his eponymous design firm based in San Fransisco, finds absolute delight seeing his client’s homes and lives transformed over the course of each design project. “People always seem to invite me into their lives right at that particular point of personal evolution. So it is often about so much more than floor plans and custom furniture. Interior Design changes the way people live.” After working with Ralph Lauren for 15 years, Scot opened his own design business in 2001-and has since worked on residential and commercial projects of all sizes, both here in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as homes across the United States. Runner, Musician, Anglophile, Textile junkie, Science fiction nerd, and Interior Designer, Scot Meacham Wood.

As you can see, Scot is very multidimensional. Talented, dashing, debonair & charismatic….I have never even meet him in person but it isn’t hard to get a feel of what he is about by looking at his work & through our online interactions. He is the author of one of my favorite blogs Tartanscot and has an amazing portfolio just brimming with incredible work. You should take  a moment and look through it. His designs are versatile yet all are soaked in comfort and perfect bliss. I can’t think of one room I have seen of his that hasn’t made me wish I could transport myself there with a good book & a dog to lay at my feet.

His rich traditional styling is my favorite of his work, decadent at times, always eclectic & dynamic. His inspires me often in so many ways. But Scot’s love of plaid has inspired me the most. If you follow this blog you know that I believe creation is triggered and inspired by others &  the world around us, but that true creation does not include directly translating the work of another. I also believe that inspiration is part of a grand learning process in which we often have to open our eyes to things we have forgotten or even discarded and see them in a new light.

I am guilty of doing this over the years. It is important as a designer & artist  to be open-minded as well as make a practice of looking at the world through the eyes of another.

Plaid for me, up until the last year was a reminder of the mid 90’s in Utah Valley where everyone was wearing plaid flannel shirts…including myself. There was so much of it & not always in the best color combinations that I was done with it, & fast… although I have two shirts that I think on now that I wish I had saved to make throw pillows out of…

Over a year ago around Christmas Rue magazine published an article showcasing Scot’s home at Christmas time called “Plaid is the new Black.” I was entranced. First of all the showroom in Salt Lake that I frequent does not have plaids such as these…he knows where to find all the good stuff…his taste is impeccable & he marries textures as well as prints together in genius ways that will allow the plaid to be the focal point, but to also fit comfortably in the environment as if it has been there forever. Look on page 238 for the article.

There is nothing I love more than seeing a designers personal taste & style come out in their work. We are all so diverse  so it is hard not to get excited by another designers interpretation of  environment.  Since that day I have been much more comfortable with this traditional pattern as well as embraced its possibility’s…

Oh, he also has these chairs in his home in the most incredible plaid I have ever seen…to die for color story. I literally have dreams about them…

So the question is how did I take this inspiring designers work & translate into a new creation…? Well, I may have been overly ambitious. Once I get an idea in my head, that is it. I have to try it out. Here is my inspired by Scot Meacham Wood’s love of plaid, painting.

This is a technique I have been working on for a few years…I have not seen it done by anyone else, but it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been…I have not shown anyone other than those close to me the collection where I have used this technique but to represent Scot’s rich traditional style, I felt this is the direction I had to go. Everything here is acrylic paint built up in layers. The plaid is built layer by layer then filled with an acrylic resin so you can actually look into the layers of the painting. The floral itself is also layers of paint & gel mediums.

This is very time-consuming process but like I said, once I get an idea to do something…well there you go.

I hope you take the time to get to know my friend Scot a little. A true gentleman & also a very good sport for letting me do this. Thank you so much Scot.

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