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inspiring creative living together

Spring 2012

Feathering Your Nest

Letter from theEditor


Welcome spring!! What a mild winter and early entrance into the joys of springtime weather we have had this year in the US. Although much of my time has been spent indoors the last month, I am excited and inticed by the new blooms outside my window. These signs act as a reminder to the budding new life about to take place in my own home as my husband and I expect our first child in about three weeks.

Due to the generous and beautiful offerings of contributors, this issue is packed to the brim (our longest issue yet) blooming with creativity. In fact, it was through this out-pouring that I began to realize the importance of this inspiring creative community. We partner together to bring you inspiration collected from daily life on a personal and intimate level. Each article speaks of individual experience, whether it be of Easter family traditions or crafting a home nest around family activity. It is my hope that you unfold the following pages and see for yourself how you too become part of this creative living community. 2

iiiii Inspiring Creative Living Together {A special thanks to all who offered their support and encouragement during this difficult time in my pregnancy.} - heather-

cover photo: tracy castro photos these pages: heather spriggs 3

iiiii Lovely Contributors

Trisha Brink Shop Owner, Designer, Stylist

Tracy Castro Shop Owner, Designer, Blogger

Laura Gaskill Writer/Design Blogger

Heather Gill Photographer/Chef/Food Stylist


Lillian Chang Design/Travel Blogger

Iris of Irideeen Design Blogger/Stylist

iiiii Clare Lloyd and Clara Sewell-Knight Shop Owners

Brigitte Lyons PR Whiz, Writer, Blogger

Tracey Fisher Blogger, Crafter

Christina Martin Chef/Food Photographer

Elizabeth Hanley Vintage Shop Owner, Blogger

Maaike van Koert Crafter/Blogger


Page 10-14 Rescuing Roadside Treasure

Page 26-30 Tea Stained Eggs

Page 16-24 Blueprints for Better Blogging

Page 32-39 Selina Lake’s Homespun Style Reviewed Page 40-44 4 Low-Key Ways to Tend Your Dreams Page 44-54 Spring Nesting Pins Tutorial

Page 56-61 Welcoming Springtime

Page 70-82 Shop Around the Corner

Page 62-69 Two Mantles Two Modes

Page 84-91 Easter Brunch


Page 92-102 Composing Bixby’s Nursery Page 104-113 Artist in Residence

Table of

Contents Page 114-124 From Amsterdam to Toronto with Love Page 126-135 The Home that Love Built



services include online design and color consultation


10 questions

to ask yourself when

Rescuing Roadside Treasure


By: Elizabeth Hanley


When I think of Spring, these thoughts come to mind. Flowers

in bloom, sunny skies and roadside finds free for the taking. Recently, I found these children’s chairs thrown to the curb for free. In fair condition but, in need of a good cleaning and some TLC. That was great news for me since, I had a home for them. What if they needed more? Was I willing to take it on just for the glory? Have you ever come across these obstacles? Free isn’t always Free, if you know what I mean. There is always some sort of work involved, that the wondering eye doesn’t see or, a little elbow grease can’t fix. It’s all a labor of Love when scoring at the roadside.

Elizabeth Hanley is curator of LizlovesVintage Stop by and visit her daily muses at

Knowing When to Score or Walk Away 1. Where will I put my find when I get it home? 2. Will it fit?- Take measurements 3. Is it in need of repair? 4. Will it cost me money? 5. Is it too big of a job for me to tackle? 6. Can I fix it? Or, will I? 7. How will I get it home? Do I need to rent a truck? 8. Oh good, my friend is looking for these! What do I do? Unless, you know exactly what she is looking for, leave it! 9. What if I am uncertain? leave it! 10.Do I love it? If the answer is no, leave it!

“Enjoy your travels where they take you. Today or tomorrow you might be surprised by a roadside find�


photo: heather spriggs 15

Lillian Chang of



shares her

Blueprints for Successful Blogging


What inspired you to start your blog, Unstitched? I started Unstitched in January of 2010 when I was living and studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan. I had been reading blogs for several months up until that point, and I felt a desire to contribute my voice to the blogging world as well. So, on a whim, I decided to start writing. I didn’t know it at the time, but it became one of the biggest and best decisions I ever made because it opened up this whole creative world to me, and it made me realize how much I needed to pursue and embrace my own creative endeavors.

How would you describe your mission statement for Unstitched? My mission statement for Unstitched is to inspire others to live a fulfilling and creative life. The blog is about all the things in life that unstitch me, and what I want most for my readers is for them to discover what unstitches them and live it. What I focus on for the blog (what unstitches me) is travel, design, and entertaining...because travel expands horizons, design integrates beauty with function, and simple entertaining makes beautiful memories. 19

You recently attended the Alt Conference, did you learn any new information to help improve your blogging? If so, what are your highlights?

Make sure to always be transparent with your readers. 20

keep it real.

Absolutely! Alt really taught me to think critically about my blog. Some important lessons:

Original content is absolutely king. And good photography is queen. Bri of Design Love Fest put it simply: “Don’t be a blogging DJ.” And we’ve all come across those sorts of blogs - the ones that only repost things from other blogs. Those blogs are hardly ever memorable and eventually, they all start to look the same. The blogs that I personally keep coming back to are the ones that offer a distinct point of view. Don’t spam comments by saying a simple “Cute! Now check out my blog...” That’s the equivalent of going to a cocktail party and saying, “Cute shoes! Here’s my business card, bye!” If you want to be remembered, comment thoughtfully. And please be polite - don’t copy other people’s work. My barometer for this is if it instantly reminds you of the other person’s work, it’s too similar. If you really love the idea, email them and ask if you can adapt it. And when you do adapt it, always credit the original blogger. Credit photographs (even better: ask photographers first!). I feel really strongly about having good etiquette online; we should take care of each other. That’s the only way we can grow collectively as a community. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard...then, maybe we as bloggers can be taken more seriously. And maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned from Alt - get to know the people behind the blogs. Get off the computer and meet those bloggers in real life. The community is full of amazing, vibrant, creative women (and a few men too!). So start making friends with them, for real! As wonderful as the virtual blogging world is, it’s the people, those real life connections, that matter the most.


What advice would you give to those who are new to blogging and want to share more of themselves with the world? (how do you know what to share and what not to share?) This is definitely something to be wary of, and ultimately - to each her own. It really is whatever you’re comfortable with sharing. For me, I abide by the “stranger on the plane” rule: If it’s something I’d tell the guy sitting next to me on a plane, then I go ahead and share it. But being online is such a permanent thing - I heard somewhere that two minutes after you post something online, it’s there forever. Even if you go back and delete it, you could always find it (ie: the image will pop up in searches) if you search hard enough. So whatever you post, you’re going to have to stand by it and defend it, because your readers are your witnesses. That said, I really encourage new bloggers to be honest and share about what you love. The blogging world functions by each individual blogger contributing their own voice and perspective, so share your unique point of view. It’s better to be different than to be the best. Readers always respond to posts that are genuine and personal. So however much or little you choose, share it!

How does your personal style influence your blog?

My blog has everything to do with who I am because I often create my own content. My personal style is always evolving and changing, but I am constantly drawn to beautiful things, whatever that may be. It’s anything from an exotic locale to an intricate textile to beautiful food presentation. The most important thing about blogging is to stay true to who you are. It can be tempting to sway with what’s popular, but then your content will start looking like everyone else’s. It’s always good to step back and reexamine your content every once in awhile and make sure it’s still you. Blogs inevitably change over time, but if it grows with you and changes with your evolving interests, then it is still true to you, and readers will recognize that. 22

“The most important thing about blogging is to stay true to who you are.� 23


All Time Favorite Blog Posts It’s no surprise that my favorite posts are the ones that are uniquely mine. I’ll

share my favorites according to my main 3 categories:

Parties/Entertaining: My boyfriend, Mardy, and I took Danni (Oh, Hello Friend) and her husband down to Mexico, and we set up a lovely outdoor dinner. Danni (Oh, Hello Friend) and Ruby (Cakies) thew a fabulous cake party with a bunch of wonderful bloggers. Last year, Mardy celebrated his 31st birthday, and I threw him a balloon-filled bir thday party with lots of fun details


I explored a cave in Cancun, Mexico. My sister and I reconnected with our long lost godmother in Verona, Italy. I got to swim among jellyfish in Palau. And I met Ketut Liyer in Bali.

Design: I was so happy to be invited to my first design show last year in Los Angeles. And I visited the Shangri La estate in Hawaii and was utterly blown away by the story and the design of the place. 24



A Family Favorite Steeped in Tradition

Tea Stained Eggs by Christina Martin 27


pretty basket of Tea Stained Eggs, are a perfect wel come for Springtime and Easter. These eggs are traditionally sold by street vendors in China. My Grandfather ate them as a young boy, and when he married my Grandmother, he taught her to make them. I am honored to carry on the tradition, by making these tasty eggs, throughout the year, for my family. The eggs are steeped in black tea, spices and soy sauce. And when the eggs are peeled, they have the most glorious, marbled pattern on them. Make them and nestle them into a simple basket, next to your Spring flowers, sweet Petite Fours, antique plates, and treats. They will be the highlight of your Easter brunch. 28

Tea Stained Eggs 6-8 large eggs Water 3 tea bags- 2 bags of black tea, plus 1 bag of vanilla or chai tea. 1/2 cup dark soy sauce 3 star anise 1 cinnamon stick 2 teaspoons of sugar Orange or mandarin peel {optional} Place eggs in medium pot with enough water covering the eggs by about an inch. Bring the water to boil and then simmer 4 more minutes. Remove eggs from heat {leaving water in pan}and run the eggs under cold water. When eggs are cooled off, take the back of a spoon and gently crack eggs all around, making sure to crack shells on top, breaking egg membrane. The more cracks, the more detailed the pattern. Place your eggs back in pot, adding the rest of your ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover pot and simmer 1-2 hours, adding more water, if need be. You may cool eggs and place them in a bowl with the liquid, to steep overnight in refrigerator, for more flavor. Enjoy!





On the Bookshelf

Selina Lake’s

Homespun Style a review by Heather Spriggs


Upon opening the glrorious pages of British stylist, Selina Lake’s new book, Homepsun Style, it came as no surprise that this is fast becoming one of the best interiors publications of 2012. With the renowned photographer, Debi Treloar, contributing stunning images, Lake has once again managed to delight and refresh our understanding of styling interiors. Homespun Style, as the name suggests, is a peek into a continuing design trend for personal, quirky, handmade interior spaces. 34


With chapters on modern craft, color & pattern, textiles, furniture & lighting as well as personal home spaces broken down room by room, this easy read features colorful interiors of home owners across Northern Europe. Selina shares some of her own intimate home spaces as well as those of famed blogger, Jeanette Lunde of Fryd + Design, Fifi Mandirac, and Fiona Douglas of BluebellGray. At each page turn, colorful, tactile, multi-layered interiors offer a feast for the eyes, heart and soul. The relaxed styling provides an intimacy that allows the reader to ponder their own space and collections. These pages ignite a desire to dig through drawers of linens, cupboards of vintage china and craft boxes to discover the hidden treasures at home that might become potential decor. With Lake’s style inspiration I find what once was considered castoffs or scraps now have new use as an instant art collection with a strip of colorful tape or piece of twine. 36


With Homespun Style on your reading list this Spring, you are sure to find creative style inspiration to carry you through home projects the rest of the year. Thank you, Selina! 39

Break-Through Strategies with Brigitte Lyons


Low-Key Ways to

This spring, I’m settling in to a new life in Sacramento, California. My husband and I moved from Chicago, lured by an exciting job promotion for him and the promise of new adventure.


Tend Your Dreams As my grandmother jokes, we’ve embraced the California lifestyle. I am pursuing a new interest in cycling -- researching and test-riding bicycles on the weekends -- and training for my first triathlon. The prospect of going from a casual yogi and sometimes runner to a triathlete is terrifying. It’s also something I never would have found the confidence to attempt just a few years ago. Do you feel the pull of a new challenge? Perhaps you want to leave your job to pursue a dream of selling upcycled vintage goods? Or re-dedicate yourself to a daily artistic practice? Most of us are drawn to experiences outside of the ordinary. And yet, only a few transition past the dream state.

On top of this, we are biologically wired to avoid the unknown. Back when we literally fought for survival, this made a lot of sense. Fear and the accompanying fight-or-flight reflex kept us alive in a tiger-eat-human world. That world doesn’t exist any longer, at least not for anyone reading an online magazine. Yet the instinct is still hardwired in us.

This is understandable. At the root of the issue is a frightening conundrum: If you choose to pursue one dream, you abandon your present way of life or yet another dream. This prospect is so paralyzing that some people remain in a dream state for their entire lifetime.

No. There is another, gentler way. Develop the habit of nurturing your dreams.

Try these four small, simple steps to painlessly transition from dreamer to do-er.

It’s nearly impossible to tackle these psychological and biological factors head-on. If you’ve ever thrown yourself into a new endeavor only to abandon it with tears of frustration, then you know what I mean. So do we just give up?

Try these four small, simple steps to painlessly transition from dreamer to do-er. 41

1. Pursue a no-stakes

As you’ve probably guessed, the class wasn’t the humiliating failure I imagined it would be. Leaving work earlier than usual didn’t kill me. Four hours after I made my Six years ago, I was dissatisfied with my way down the narrow staircase, I lugged path. I worked long hours at a PR agency, the machine back up with a pillow in my with little time left over to spend time with other hand and a smile on my face. my husband or friends. In spare moments, I drooled over design blogs and dreamed The effect of this one small step cannot of opening my own shop. be overstated. It gave me the confidence to enroll in ever-more frightening courses But I’m not creative -- or so I told myself. and take risks with my life and work. I indulged in a limiting belief: Since I am not a visual artist, I couldn’t really be a creative person.

creative challenge.

I no longer believe this, and I can attribute the change to one simple sewing class. I’d read about classes at a local fabric shop and begged friends for months to go with me. As you might imagine, finding a companion in my circle of hard-drinking 25 year-old friends didn’t pan out. After a few months of vacillating, I finally signed up. I walked into Sewing 101 with a 50-yearold sewing machine that weighed a corresponding 50 pounds. I barely got it down the narrow staircase to the classroom. I was such a novice that I didn’t know how to thread the machine.



Change up your environment. Around the same time I was taking sewing classes, I read the book Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure. The central premise of the book is your home is a manifestation of the quality of your life. In the simplest terms, when items in your home are broken or in disarray, it could indicate that you are stuck somewhere else in your life.

The tendency against asking for help is nearly impossible to confront head-on. That’s why I advise you to first offer your help to another. You’ll feel great; I promise. In fact, that’s exactly how someone else will feel when lending you a helping Try it. At the very least, you’ll have a cre- hand, leading us to… ative project to focus on -- and you might just get unstuck in other, unexpected ways as well. Maxwell Ginningham-Ryan makes a strong case for changing up your environment. If you set your house in order, you create a momentum that carries through the rest of your life.


Get involved in something that doesn’t provide you with any personal gain. This is a warm-up for the next idea -- asking someone for help. A lot of us, women especially, are burdened with the idea that we should not ask others for their help with our projects. The negative effect of this belief is immeasurable. If you study successful entrepreneurs and artists, you find that all of them benefitted from the help of friends, families, peers and mentors.

4.personal Ask for help with a project.

Chances are that you can’t achieve your dreams alone. Let me give you an extreme personal example. A year ago, I transitioned from worker-bee to self-employed PR whiz. In doing so, I relied heavily on the support of my husband. I knew it was important to build a support network of peers as well as a potential client base before I left my job. I did this by starting my blog, Unfettered Ink, and offering a newsletter filled with actionable PR tips. As you might imagine, this took up all my time. I was still working, so creating the website and newsletter meant that I no longer cooked dinners or pitched in with evening chores.


Before I went down this path, I had a long talk with my husband. He supported my dream, understood that I was making a short-term proposal that would benefit us both in the end and happily picked up the slack.

I hope I’ve convinced you to take at least one of these small steps. Over time, you may find that your priorities evolve (mine certainly did) or that you are dreaming bigger than you ever imagined. By establishing the habit of nurturing your dreams in a low-stakes environment, you’ll be better Now, I’m not saying you need to ask prepared to act when you inevitably step for that level of support for your project. onto a bigger stage. k However, no matter what you need to realize a dream, ask for it. You might be surprised by what you receive.

Brigitte Lyons is a PR whiz, who works with creative people seeking to bring their message to a larger audience. She blogs at Unfettered Ink and offers free tips through PR Ideas for Busy People. 44

Do you have an inspiring story or creative project to share?

Gatherings Magazine Now accepting contributions for upcoming issues!

email heather at subject: contributing


Feathering Your Nest During this season of renewal, fresh starts and new life uncover the hidden treasures in your nest. Whether your nest is home or heart you are sure to find inspiration in these pages. Each story reveals creative women who embrace their passions and nourish their craft.




Make a Crafty Statement piece

Spring Nesting Pins by Tracey Fisher 49

Nesting Pin Templates


• Wool felt scraps (I used wool felt that has been washed. I like it because it gives the felt a rougher texture but you could use any felt and any color) or thick linen scraps • Templates for the nest • Felt balls (three for each nest) • Needle and thread • Fabric glue • Brooch backing • Small branches (optional)



Step 1. Cut two strips of felt – one 1 X 6 inches and one ž X 6 inches and use the template to cut the waves into the felt strip.

Step 3.

Step 2. Steam iron the edges of the waves.

Begin with the larger strip and sew your eggs (three felt balls) into the centre of the strip. Then wrap the felt eggs anchoring with stitches as you go. You can experiment by folding and twisting the felt and, when you like the shape, stitch together. Keep your stitches near the base of the nest so you can easily cover them up.

Step 4.

Step 5.

With the fabric glue, use the smaller strip to cover the stitches you made by wrapping around the base of the nest and holding together with a pin until it dries.

Sit your nest on top of the 2 inch fabric square, and cut around the base to cover the bottom of the nest. Add a brooch pin (backing) to the circle you have cut and glue to the bottom of the nest. (Wrong sides together) * Optional - stitch on a small branch if you like to complete your spring pin.


1.& 2. 3.



Felt Nest Pin DIY

Add a brooch pin to the circle you have cut and glue to the bottom of the nest. (Wrong sides together) * Optional - stitch on a small branch if you like to complete your spring pin.


Welcoming Springtime

by Tracy Castro



stormy afternoon last month, I was standing in line at the market – and feeling impatient. I was running late to pick up my daughters from school, so I was eager for my turn to check out. I was also quite restless about the dreary weather. I yearned for spring to arrive in Texas – bringing warm sunshine and picnic weather. Just then, I noticed a display of locally grown anemones. And it hit me: here I was longing for a change in seasons, but all I had to do was slow down long enough to see that spring was already unfolding around me, even in the check out line. With my new little bouquet and my umbrella, I gathered my girls from school and hurried home to my little studio. Inspired by the anemones’ delicate shades of pink and white, I spray painted some old glass jars from the recycle bin, stenciled on a few ornaments, and gathered some of my favorite treasures from around the house. My daughters helped dye eggs. What a lovely time we had arranging little vignettes and snapping photos consumed with spring fever while the rain pounded down outside.


Tracy Locke Castro a designer, blogger, mom and wife, lives in the lush hills of South Austin. Her inspiration comes from all over – 19th century typefaces, the crepe myrtle in her back yard, stories her daughters tell, and the sunlight in her dining room.
Fair Morning Blue is her new design venture, featuring seasonal cards, hand-stamped textiles, and whatever other whimsies come into her head and heart.


One Mantle.....

.. Two Modes

by Iris of Irideen



For Easter, we traditionally see a lot of pastels. They match the sweetness of Spring, the softness of new leaves. On this mantle, all sorts of china is combined with three sorts of tulips and flowering branches. The large vase is wrapped in lace window foil, while on the mantle plastic lace placemats serve as a romantic background. Little quail eggs with a light lilac coating seem to float in pink netting.

Soft Pastels

Mod Black and White

Why not try something different this Easter and go for black and white? Dive into your cabinet and gather items in these two colors. You can’t go wrong combining! Spray paint branches and decorations in calming white and add a little laugh by transforming a drawing model into a happy bunny. Pompoms are great for easter as well, and a black one really makes a statement. An oversized ostrich egg with black dots serves as a perfect finishing touch.



Iris (The Netherlands), blogger and interior enthusiast at Her style can be described as Modern Romance; a mix and match of design and brocante, neutrals and pastels, city life and nature. She shares her ideas and inspirations at her design blog IrideeĂŤn.

A creative duo realized a life long dream of opening up an interiors...


Shop Around the Corner Clara and Clare....... share their story! 71

“Our style is essentially English country, pretty and practical with influences from Scandinavia, France and beyond.�


Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you conceived the idea of opening a shop? We met 10 years ago when two of our children attended nursery together. At that time, we were both knee deep in home renovating and used to share ideas and plans at the school gate! Our mutual passion for interiors soon developed in to the idea of opening a shop together - even more so when we realised that this had been a long-held dream for both of us. With no retail or business experience, but with with plenty of enthusiasm and support from both our families, we forged ahead and opened our first shop together in the spring of 2006.


From the soft grey exterior to the cool neutral shades inside, our shop is an oasis of calm. Lining the walls are vintage dressers, cupboards and tables lovingly restored and painted in soft and chalky shades. The furniture is used to display an eclectic mix of merchandise. Spilling out of baskets and cupboards are a wide range of cushions, blankets and throws in stripes, checks and florals. Each piece of furniture is for sale, so when one piece sells the look of the shop immediately changes - we love this; it ensures things keep moving and the look is always fresh. It has always been our aim to create a welcoming and relaxing environment.. in fact many of our customers tell us they would like to move in!


“Our shop is an oasis of calm.”


If we took a tour of your homes, would we find an overflow of The Corner House ‘look’ in them? Yes! It is virtually impossible to buy stock that you love without some of it finding its way home! We both have a slightly different aesthetic within our homes.. Clara loves floral prints and is a bit of a collector, whereas Clare’s style is a bit more pared back and rustic. Essentially though, they are both family homes full of children and dogs, so you won’t necessarily find the same calming atmosphere!” What are the majority of your clients looking for when they come to the shop? “The majority of our customers come to our shop looking for something a bit different, a bit quirky or original. Whether it is a gift for a friend, a piece of furniture of the finishing touch for a room. Some customers just like to browse for a bit of inspiration.

Having launched our website and our Facebook page last year, we have been able to interact with customers from much further afield which has been great.�



What advice would you give to other women looking to start a shop? We would be the first to admit that we were very naive when we started out! We hugely underestimated the amount of time and work involved in running your own business, and to this end it has been a steep, though ultimately enjoyable, learning curve. It is so important to do your research, and we would have benefited greatly from doing more of this at the start. Another really important piece of advice specifically related to opening a shop, would be Location Location Location! We would say get the best location you can afford, as it makes all the difference to your success. We moved from our first little shop 18 months after we opened as there simply wasn’t enough passing trade to sustain the business. Finally, something that has proved indispensable to us is a good sense of humour! We have experienced many highs and lows, both personally and professionally, over the years, but we have remained firm friends throughout. Having each other to bounce ideas off, have a laugh with or simply to have a good moan with, has been vital to our success!

-Clare and Clara of The Corner House Shop 82


Easter Brunch For me, Easter is about family time. When I was growing up, we would have egg hunts at my aunts house. She had a couple acres, and would hide eggs everywhere. I remember the new white gloves, hats and purses my mom would get for us with matching dresses for my sister and me. These recipes are perfect for sharing with family and friends but won’t take you forever in the kitchen to make. These recipes make use of what is in season right now, so as you eat you can celebrate the spring and the bounty that is available right now. Wishing a wonderful and happy springtime! By Heather Gill


Roasted Radishes and Brussel Sprouts with Sage Browned Butter 2 bunches of radishes – cut off all but 1/4 inch of radish tops and slice in half 20 medium size brussel sprouts – cut off bottoms and cut in half 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Preheat oven to 450 degrees Serves 4-6 people Toss together and roast in a 450 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

For the Sage Browned Butter Sauce 2 tablespoons butter (1/4 stick) unsalted 5 sage leaves – leave whole Over medium-high heat, add butter and whole sage leaves. Keep swirling skillet, so butter solids don’t burn – about three minutes. Remove sage leaves – they just need to scent and flavor the butter. Pour over roasted radishes and brussel sprouts and serve.



Potato and Asparagus Frittata


Potato and Asparagus Frittata 1 bunch of fresh asparagus cut into bite sized pieces -reserve a few stems for decoration 8 large eggs 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 small yellow onion – fine dice 3 small potatoes – sliced very thinly (I used yellow fingerings but any waxy potato would work nicely) 1/4 cup of fresh grated manchego cheese – you can substitute parmesan or asiago but use fresh grated for the best taste. Pinch of sea salt


Potato and Asparagus Frittata -cont’d Preheat oven to 450 degrees Serves 4-6 people Steam asparagus for 1.5-2 minutes. I use a microwave bag since they make life so much easier. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with a pinch of salt – set aside. In a small (8inch) nonstick, oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat, add olive oil, diced onion and a pinch of salt. You want to soften and slightly brown the onion about 5-7 minutes. Add sliced potatoes and steamed asparagus and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan. Turn heat down to medium low. Using the same pan add eggs and cook for about 5 minutes or until eggs are almost set – you want a little liquid on top. To move the cooking along, use your spatula to slide under egg and tilt the pan until there is just a little liquid left on top. Now add back the potatoes and asparagus to the top of the almost-cooked eggs and add grated cheese to the top of that. I saved a few whole asparagus for decoration on top, but this is totally up to you. If you did, place them on top of the cheese and place skillet in the oven for about 8 minutes or until set and eggs are puffy. Be careful when removing pan from oven the handle will be very hot! Cut frittata into wedges and serve.

Heather Gill is a culinary trained chef, food stylist and photographer living and working in Arizona. You can find out more about her at



With a lighter than air approach, blogger, Laura Gaskill, shares her story of

Composing Bixby’s Nursery



should begin by admitting that when I was pregnant, I decided it would be a wonderful idea to paint every room in our house. Every. Single. Room. We had moved into our 1920’s cottage only a month before learning I was pregnant, and the combination of hormones and my usual new-home nesting instincts were a powerful force. It would have been dangerous to get between me and my paint roller. My sweet husband was a trooper, putting up with hours of impassioned talk of paint colors, followed by many weekends spent painting our new home from top to bottom. For the nursery I chose a pale, watery blue called “pool” from Serena & Lily. My vision for the room was to create a serene oasis in white, cool blues, and natural fibers, with a few fun accents like art prints from some of my favorite Etsy shops and a Moroccan wedding pillow I had my eye on. Our budget was extremely limited, so although we were lucky to receive our crib as a generous gift from Ben’s folks, for the rest we really needed to pinch pennies.



of the first decisions I made was to move the giant Ikea Expedit bookcase from our living room and use it as an allpurpose baby storage system. Outfitted with woven baskets, it now holds Bixby’s clothes, extra sheets and blankets, toys, books, and art supplies. Open shelving paired with baskets is perfect for tired new parents - no worries about hanging tiny clothes, just toss it in the general direction of a basket, and you’re good to go! For the same reason, baskets are wonderful for toddlers and preschoolers just learning to clean up their own toys. Being able to see what goes where without opening any drawers makes it much more likely that things make it back to their intended location, I’ve found.



changing table was an inexpensive junk shop cabinet we had been using in our entryway. When I realized it was just the right height to use in the nursery, I immediately put it onto the “to paint� list. With a fresh lick of white paint and pad on top, it has worked beautifully as a changing station. We keep diapers and wipes in the top drawer, and use the cabinet below to store extras. Refurbishing a vintage cabinet is such an easy project, I highly recommend giving it a try even if you are usually DIY-shy. Plus, since it is really just a cabinet, we can once again move it into another room when Bix is out of diapers. I am thinking a bar tray would be lovely on top.



never did find the perfect rocker or glider that also fit our budget, so I simply didn’t get one. My pregnant mind thought this was the end of the world, but of course it worked out fine. I found comfy spots to nurse and ended up feeling relieved that I hadn’t purchased anything I didn’t love. Today, our favorite place to curl up and read stories is in the big white armchair, which has lived in several different spots over the years. As he has gotten older, I made a few small changes to the room. A floating shelf was replaced with reusable frame decals housing a rotating display of Bixby’s budding artwork and favorite prints. The handmade cloud mobile, which once hung over the crib, is now suspended in a corner, providing a bit of decoration and a reminder of those new baby days. The lower shelves are filling up with simple toys that will last for years - wooden blocks, puzzles, musical instruments and special objects collected on our nature walks. Heather Candycot, the bear my own mother made for me by hand when I was a little girl, is now part of Bixby’s daily life. I love the idea of her being loved again, scruffy fur, one eye and all. 101


back to the days when my rambunctious toddler was a newborn babe is like peering through a looking glass into another life. All parents can be heard to remark, “they grow up so fast,” and in a way, of course, it’s true. Time does fly. And yet, as I am learning more and more, if you savor the moment, there is so much to treasure in every messy little bit of this life with kids. This past year and a half with Bixby has felt longer and more full than any other time in my life. “I will listen to every note that sings forth from our piano tonight, will let my heart overflow with music, knowing that next year, we will keep the piano closed. I will proofread an English essay on Thoreau, make biscuits from scratch, watch a few innings of the year’s last baseball game, just because. I will run my palm across a bristly cheek, give a back rub, put ice-cream bowls in the dishwasher, remember to say good night. It would be so easy to forget to love this life, to just go through the motions, doing what needs to be done, as if it’s all going to last forever.” - Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day Laura Gaskill is a freelance writer and blogger at Lolalina. Feather Photograph: DS Brennan Photography


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Artist in Residence Nasville artist, Lesley Patterson-Marx, shares snapshots of her home studio space

words and photos: heather spriggs

With a busy life as a mom to a 7 year old boy and bookmaking teacher at a private school, Lesley Patterson-Marx struggled to find the perfect studio space for her own artmaking. Until she decided to convert her upstairs bedroom into a working printmaking studio, Lesley was making do in smaller, less adequate spaces. Now, she creates a variety of mixed media paper based works including bookmaking, solarplate printmaking and drawing in the comfort of her own home. The lines between home and creative space are blurred with the Marx’s personal art collection and Lesley’s gallery style walls filled with her own creations, offering her instant storage for gallery ready works.

Every room of the Marx home that Lesley shares with her husband and son, speaks of the familiy’s mutual love for collecting art and artifacts.

Lesley Patterson-Marx shares her creative process: My work often combines printmaking, book arts and a variety of mixed media and drawing techniques. My creative process often begins with collecting. I collect objects found in nature, photographs of unknown people and other items acquired at flea markets and antique stores. I then bring these items together with synchronicity and intuition, informed by my interest in symbols, myth, archetypes and narrative, both personal and universal. Many of my recent works began with the Solarplate printmaking process, wherein I have been able to create multiples of the same images, textures and objects, inked and printed in a variety of ways. Through these printmaking collages, which combine thread, pastel and acrylic ink, I am able to explore the many possibilities of arranging the same elements in different combinations. Through the magic of photo printmaking, I am able to render ephemeral things more permanent.

opposite page: a shelf of handmade books from Patterson-Marx’s home studio; Lesley works on her newest book art pieces above: a collection of recent hand made books

Lesley Patterson-Marx was born and raised in Louisville, KY and has lived in Nashville, TN since 2001. She received a BA degree in Fine Art from Murray State University in 1997 and an MFA from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2001. Her favorite mediums are artist’s books, printmaking, and mixed media. She has exhibited her work locally in such venues as The Frist Center for Visual Arts, Tag Gallery, and Zeitgeist Gallery. She has shown her work in many galleries, art centers, colleges, and universities across the nation, including Cynthia Broan Gallery in Chelsea ,NYC, The Kohler Center in Kohler, WI, Gainsville College in Gainsville, GA, and The Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley, CA. Her work has been featured in local publications such as The Nashville Scene, and national publications such as Craft Magazine, and Readymade Magazine. She also works as a teacher and illustrator, having taught at Watkins College of Art and Design and University School of Nashville.



Amsterdam to Toronto with


by Maaike van Koert




Maaike (30) and Jeroen (31) from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, both fell in love with Canada ten years ago, during her studies in Calgary and his studies in Waterloo. Ever since, they dreamed of moving to Canada again one day..

In 2011, Jeroen got the opportunity to go on a second term in Toronto for a few years. Four months before they left Amsterdam he proposed to Maaike; she happily said yes. They married in Amsterdam on July 1st, which they later found out is Canada Day,-what a coincidence. One month after the wedding, they were on their one way flight to Toronto, ready for their new adventure as a married couple.


Maaike: The first month we lived in a hotel suite just outside of Toronto. The personal goods we shipped were still on a boat and we had five weeks to ground in Canada, start up our new life and find ourselves a home. We ended up renting our first Canadian home in one of the Toronto suburbs, west of the city. Welcomed by our new neighbors with casual drinks on the street in the warm fall sun, kids playing hockey and running around, we felt right at home. Because we rented out our Amsterdam apartment fully furnished, we moved without furniture. As you can imagine, the first months we were on a constant mission: finding furniture that we liked, that fit our budget and would eventually match the items we left in Amsterdam. 119

Right now, half a year later, we settled in our home with a mix of items from local thrift stores, IKEA and design shops. We are not allowed to drastically paint all walls and floors, although we secretly would love to. We bought a white kitchen table, white leather couch and we painted some chairs and a side table white to reflect the light as much as possible. This goes really well together with the rose walls in our kitchen. The green antique kitchen table in front of the rose wall is a lucky thrift find, as is the old sewing bench standing next to it. Maaike started knitting, crocheting and sewing only two years ago, but she loves to have a few projects on the go and finishes a few every now and then too. Her blankets make for perfect personal styling touches in their home. The crème wool triangle blanket on the green chair for example, is her first finished item ever,. an heirloom already,, and Jeroen’s favorite because it warms him up after a long day at work.

Maaike: On the other side of the house there is a large table in the middle of our dining room that happens to be the perfect place for dinner with friends, my crafts and work throughout the week, as well as drinking coffees and chatting on a sunny Sunday morning. The table is dressed with vintage table cloths found in thrift stores. I pick mainly white ones, again to reflect the light, although I cannot resist a nice flowery pattern every now and then. The latest additions to this room are a vintage sixties side board we found in a thrift store, and a piano. The side board is a perfect place to decorate with vintage China, together with crocheted doilies by my grandma and her sisters and a Delft blue tin that my mom gave me. Next to it, we put up the driftwood that we found on a Friday afternoon after work, when Jeroen surprised me with a spontaneous walk down lake Ontario. Because I see it every day, it is the perfect way for me to remember a special moment we shared together.. The piano is a gift from a dear Canadian friend who has been looking for a good home for the instrument, where it would be played and tuned regularly. I have played since I was a little girl and left my piano in the Netherlands with my parents when we moved, so this was a unique opportunity. Dressed up with my hexagon blanket and an old Puccini record box, the piano is patiently waiting for its first tune before I can play it. I grew up in a family where opera is highly appreciated, and we used to go to the theatre to see one every now and then. Having this old picture in my room gives a feeling of closeness to my family..



To decorate the walls, we put up two lines of wallpaper with masking tape behind the side board. Also, I used Farrow and Ball sample sheets to make up little touches of color throughout the house, without needing to put nails in the walls. These sample sheets, lace and some tape are easy to put together and perfect to add a touch of the season. The same accounts for the cushions that I made for our couch. They are two-sided, to have the possibility for a little variation every day. Due to our move, I had to quit my job as a strategy consultant. This gave me the ultimate opportunity for a career change. I am now working as an interior stylist and as a designer of crochet baby blankets and fabric cushions. I work from home, so it feels great to have this beautiful house as my playground. I am looking forward to experiencing and enjoying more of our new life in Canada, and all it’s beautiful seasons!� Maaike van Koert is a photographer and craft blogger at Crejjition.




The Home that Love Built For designer/stylist Trisha Brink, home is just another extension of her creative, joyful, passion-filled life.

Each person is given a you believe that? I do. I even believe we are given more than one; finding them is often the hard part for some. But, for me? Not a fat chance. I knew....I’ve always known. In fact, I’ve often gotten myself into some pretty hot water bulldozing forward with said gifts...leaving co-workers behind in the dust wondering what in the world I was doing! Oh it’s a difficult lesson to learn I can tell you. Eagerness is great, but time and a bit of age has taught me to do a bit of thinking first before I plunge in and do something rash. Now, mind you...I am still often breaking boundaries, mystifying my employees, and generally causing hilarity every chance I get! 128

I guess I should introduce myself (see, bolting ahead again!). I’m Trisha (Stremler) Brink; Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Interior Designer, Stylist, Crafter, Thrifter, Photographer, Blogger, Shop Owner & General Manager of my Roller Coaster life ( I like rides, don’t you?). You’ll find me sitting at a computer one moment, hanging vintage wallpaper the next, making popcorn for after school snacks, reading web analytics, cutting out vintage fat quarters, singing my heart out at Church, or helping a customer find just the right piece of wall decor. Whew! Yes, all that...and a whole lot more!


I’ve come to realize through a few tough experiences, that there is nothing permanent about the life we live here on earth. At first that could sort of freak a person out, but the more I ponder on this through my faith... the more comfort it gives me. I love change, and get bored fairly easily. So, I’ve learned to embrace the continual ebb and flow my life is always dishing out. I don’t take decorating too seriously. If I like it? It works! I enjoy staying up with the trends, but don’t define myself by them. Some days I invest in new pieces, and other days it’s vintage and thrifty. There are so many horrible things in this life...why would anyone spend time worrying about their decor? It should relax you, reflect your life and passions and for heaven’s fun!

I also believe that you can’t have a future without your past. History has always been a huge part of my life ( I grew up in a Victorian Bed & Breakfast with my antique loving parents!). We were always taught responsible stewardship through our Dutch heritage, you don’t throw something out when it’s try to fix it first. Wear and tear on an item is charming, and one should appreciate it’s rustic beauty. However, we shouldn’t live in the past either. Using what you have inherited, fixing it up with elbow grease, and adding something new and fresh to perk it up is always your best bet.

I own an award-winning store called Grandiflora Home and Garden (also online as Grandiflora HOME) with my mother and sister that personifies exactly that; the simple pleasure of mixing old and new. Many years have been spent working and reworking our displays with fresh treasures both old and new....our customers are continually being challenged by our hairbrained ideas...but they often admit to loving new surprises with every visit! We love what we do there together with our awesome employees. We are a tight group that love to please our customers with all things charming for the home.



Our house is not a home because of our decor, rather it is a home because of WHO we are. I’ve tried very hard to reflect that in our decor. Many rooms you’re not even seeing here are testament to my husband, our boys and even Having a love of photography and ty- a craft room which is inherently “me”! pography propels Trisha Brink Design. The tom boy in me enjoys the more rus- I hope you can unplug from the “keeping tic simplicity of Wesley Asher (named up with the Jones” mentality to decoratfor my loving hubby Chad Wesley & our ing and redefine who you are through little boys Tristan Wesley & Elliot Asher). your decor. It’s SO freeing, albeit a little And Ollie Bollen waxes girly nostalgic scary at first. When folks come over for with perky retro goodies that remind me a visit they will be even more at home that I’m still a little girl on the inside of this knowing you are “real” and not a cookie nearing forty body! Compartmentalizing cutter person who just wants to fit in. Be these styles for me has been most helpful. yourself. Decorate with joy, and rememI am a many faceted woman with various ber the things of this world are never gifts and talents who’s still tying to figure permanent.. Don’t take this too seriously. out what I want to do when I grow up! Have fun, and enjoy your space. After all, you’re the one who has to live there! :) I also enjoy listing items in my three shops on Etsy. Trisha Brink Design, Wesley Asher and Ollie Bollen are extentions of the scattered (yet organized) way my style revolves.

Be yourself. Decorate with joy, and remember the things of this world are never permanent.. 135

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Gatherings-Spring 2012  

Welcome spring and find inspiration from a creative community who share stories of making their nests whether at home in the heart. You will...

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