Friday, November 21, 2014

Live the Life You Love by Hooked Productions

Hello readers! Today I'd like to introduce you to our newest sponsor, Cari from Hooked Productions. She and her partner, Brenden, run a sustainable clothing company from Upstate New York. They created Live the Life you Love as a means of inspiring everyone to live deeply and enjoy all life’s moments. They hope their work serves as a gentle reminder to live happier, active, and healthier lives, to chase your dreams, blaze the path, and joyfully explore the glorious world at your feet or across the ocean.

I'm thrilled to have Live the Life You Love as a sponsor this month - and just in time for the Christmas gift giving season. Visit their website for beautiful skirts, leggings, tee-shirts, hoodies, jewelry and more.

An interview with Cari of Hooked Productions:

1) What does your perfect day look like? Sleeping late, drinking great coffee, eating organic whole food meals, going on an outdoor adventure, and seeing some great live music.

 2) What is your go-to garment from your line of clothing - that piece that you just cannot live without? My go-to is the Folded Leaf skirt in Black/Charcoal. I can wear it year round. In the summer I wear it a lot with the Vibrating Lotus Scoop and flip flops, and in the Fall/Winter I pair it with our new Shining Star Leggings, any of our bamboo long sleeves and boots. However, I am currently obsessed with our Shadow of the Moon Organic Cotton Hoody, which we just put out, and which I could live in.

 3) What do you love about being a small business owner? Creating our own reality. We are a husband and wife team (with 2 amazing, very active kids) so it is great to be able to run our own ship, have flexibility, be involved in every aspect of our business and our kids lives and be able to create things on a constant basis. It has its challenges, self employment is not for the weak at heart, but it works well for us. I wouldn't do it any other way, I don't think I could.

 4) Talk to me a bit more about your company's green efforts in terms of materials, sustainability and social integrity. We have always tried to use the best practices we can. We use a lot of bamboo and organic cotton. Our bamboo is sustainable and uses the most eco friendly process available. We are starting to use recycled polyester (mostly in blends) which is made from recycled water and soda bottles. I think this so cool and great at so many different levels. Our printing process is environmentally friendly, using non phlalate inks and using soy based washouts. We are a small business so we have limits as to what we can do but we are constantly searching/striving for better. We are currently manufacturing as much as we can in the US and always looking to be able to do more here, as importing from elsewhere leaves a large mark on our environment and economy.

Vibrating Lotus Tee

Folded Leaf Skirt

Lotus Circle Tee

Here is a photo of Cari and Brenden living the life they love!
You can learn more about them and their clothing company HERE.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bath Remodel | Day 1

Hello dear readers! I have some exciting news today. After much planning and saving, we're embarking on a handicapped accessible bathroom remodel for my son, Charlie! As many of you know, Charlie has Cerebral Palsy due to stroke and is therefore in a wheelchair. Our two full baths are so tiny and so difficult to get to that we have been unable to begin potty training with Charlie (now four-years-old). We're also only able to bathe him once every couple of weeks. Stupid, right?

The answer? A new bathroom with a wide door, a walk in shower, an unobstructed toilet and room enough to turn around in a wheelchair. We've been planning for this remodel for a while now, but a mold issue in the existing half bath has created a situation whereby we must act now. So we've moved up our time line and there are currently two men in my laundry room stripping everything down to the studs. I've included the "before" photos below.

If you're interested in helping us create this bathroom for Charlie, please visit his website or you can contribute directly to his assistance fund via Paypal using the button below. As always, thank you so much for your support!

This bathroom remodel is going to create a much higher level of normalcy for Charlie 
and we couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Today, a poem...

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Home Tour | Axel Vervoordt Tribeca Penthouse

This apartment is off the hook. It looks like it should be tucked away in rural France or somewhere in Prague. But no. This home, designed by the ridiculously talented Axel Vervoordt, is in Tribeca, NYC atop the Greenwich Hotel. The hotel as well as the Penthouse are owned by Robert DiNiro. Everything about this place makes me very happy. According to the Greenwich Hotel website, it's rentable for 15,000 dollars a night! So... yeah... a girl can dream.

See all of the photos HERE.

Photos above by David Prince for Vanity Fair.

Definitely go to the Greenwich Hotel website and check out this incredible space. There are beautiful photos of all three penthouses as well as images of rooms, lobbies and other accommodations. All in all, it's a spectacular place.  Here are more photos of the apartment, all found on the Greenwich Hotel site. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicken Coop | Near the Finish Line

It's Monday! Time for our weekly installment of Radical Homemaking. Want to learn more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 

This week was a cold one here in Dallas with temperatures dipping into the mid-20's - highly unusual for this time of year. And for a newly minted chicken keeper, navigating a new coop and eight-week old pullets, the cold was worrisome. Luckily the coop did it's job and the chickens, while a little on the chilly side, were just fine.

I still have a little work to do on the coop. My friend and coop builder, James Curvan, is in the process of fashioning a cupola to go on the top of the coop. Hopefully we'll get that in place in the coming week. On my to-do list? I need to secure the coop perimeter with a little more hardware cloth (just for peace of mind against predators), patch some holes in my tin roof with a little roof tar, and caulk around a drafty window. But in the meantime, let's show you the new coop!

The base of the coop has hardware cloth running under ground about a foot to deter digging from predators. I also installed a large stone border for extra security. We had a little snowfall last night, but it's burning off pretty quickly today.

I was in need of a coop maintenance area, so I created one just to the right of the coop against the fence. The Ikea hooks were unused in a hall closet, so I relocated them out here. I backed the hooks with a length of reclaimed wood. The flagstones on the ground were salvaged from a neighbors patio remodel. This little spot keeps all the chicken bedding, scratch and cleaning tools tidy and easily accessible.

My other project this week was to harvest the rest of my tomatoes and basil before the freeze hit. We'll be eating lots of Italian food in the coming weeks! The arugula, swiss chard and dill took a little hit, but they're still hanging on.

Since this year's garden was so successful, I'm getting greedy. This week, I built a second raised bed. It's a little smaller than the other, but will give me a bit more space in the spring!

Friday, November 14, 2014

In The Studio

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been reshuffling my home. This included moving my studio from our converted garage to my sons' old bedroom. I love the new space because it's the largest room in the house and it's also the only bedroom with wood floors. (Photos coming soon!)

So after a long hiatus, I'm back in the studio this week working on a few commissions. It feels so good to be putting paint to canvas again. I know it's only been a little over a month, but it seems like an eternity to me.

I also had a chance to finish the paintings I started during my Flora Bowley workshop at The Squam Art Workshops in September. They're now complete and listed in the shop. I also still have the popular 5 x 5 inch mini prints available in the shop. Take a look and get yours before they're gone.

Yesterday, I put the first layer on a 36 x 48 inch canvas.
Ah, it's good to be back!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Artist Jay Bailey

I used to love painting figures and faces. For some reason, however, I let that part of my work fall away in lieu of more abstract and impressionistic work. But lately, I feel a change coming on. I'm at a point in my work where I'm ready to reinvestigate the human figure. I have a few portrait commissions on my plate, which I'm really enthused about, so I've been looking at the work of Lucian Freud, Gwenn Seemel, Valentin Serov and Modigliani for inspiration.

I've also recently begun following the work of Dallas figure artist, Jay Bailey. His work couldn't be more different than mine. He works on paper with watercolors. His restraint and specificity is phenomenal. I love his use of line and gesture to suggest something beyond the painting. He leaves the viewer to fill in the rest of the story. His haunting portraits highlight the subject's humanness and possible disenchantment with their circumstances. His work has a lilting, dark quality that I find truly interesting.

I'm so excited because Jay is teaching a figure drawing class in Dallas at Oil & Cotton in the new year. I haven't taken a technical art class in a million years, so I signed up!

All photos via Instagram - JayBaileyArt