Zachary Smith and Sevenly

zachary smith on instagram

Although I don't get to wander around the internet as much as I used to, I still manage to come across some cool, shareable stuff every now and then.  Today's share is via, and features the art of Zachary Smith.  Zachary does hand lettering and typographic art.  I do love the swoops and swirls of hand lettering, and that it makes the words as beautiful as the thoughts they express. Zachary builds one more layer on this by merging his lettering and inspiring phrases with his photographs to make some beautiful images, many of which he features on his Instagram account.

zachary smith on instagram
zachary smith on instagram
zachary smith on instagram
zachary smith on instagram

Zachary also contributes to Sevenly, an online store that sells t-shirts and prints of artist-made designs and gives $7 of each purchase to charity.  The designs are more than pretty; they seek to help raise awareness for the different organizations that Sevenly supports.  Each week Sevenly introduces a new charity partner and a new design. To date they have raised over $4 Million for various charities.

I love this business model!  Support artists - check.  Create beautiful, quality merchandise - check. Make a meaningful contribution to change - check.  Raise awareness of deserving charities - check. Make money and build a successful business - check!

Why not build a business around making a difference?  Why not shop and give to charity at the same time? I bristle at the idea that somehow these things should be kept separate, that giving to charity is simply a marketing gimmick to sell more merchandise.  I instead see a business with a soul, but that's not to say the former isn't out there as well.

How do you feel about "capitalist philanthropy"?

Sevenly print

Sevenly t shirt
Sevenly tshirtSevenly print

Sevenly tshirt

Sevenly tshirt
Sevenly tshirt

Art I Like - Emily Jeffords

Emily Jeffers Oil Painting Landscape "Sunshine Valley No. 2"
Emily Jeffords Sunshine Meadow #2
Technically, I am not allowed to be looking at art.  My mom made me swear I wouldn't after we spent the better part of a week wrapping up all my frames, prints, paintings, etc. for the Big Move.  But this is purely for blogging purposes, 'K Mom? And maybe a little inspiration...

Just look at that happy sunny landscape above by Emily Jeffords.  It makes me so happy! She does it using so few brushstrokes, it amazes me as well.  I love the soft airy way Emily's landscapes feel, and the bright colour palette she uses in her works.

Emily Jeffords Mid-Summertime
Emily_Jeffers_Oil_Painting_Landscape_Rise & Shine
Emily Jeffords Rise & Shine
I have always had a fascination with clouds and must have a few hundred in my iPhoto albums from various trips and sunsets.  Emily's landscapes almost always have a really low horizon line and lots and lots of sky.  I think that is part of what attracts me to her work.

Emily Jeffords After the Dew #3
Emily Jeffords (Commission Painting)
If you feel like her works might be familiar, it is probably because of the enormous amount of press she has received lately.  She is currently working with Minted, West Elm, Etsy, Shoppe, and and has been featured in Domino Magazine, on Design*Sponge, Babble, Decor8 BlogHuffington Post and many more.  Based out of South Carolina, Emily has two young daughters that spend a lot of time painting in the studio with her (which makes for some super-cute photos).

Photo by Paige French, who needs a whole other blog post!
I have been dabbling a bit in painting lately, and this past weekend I had a chance to go up to a camp near Edmonton and spend all day just playing with paint.  It was marvelous.  While I tried to do some paintings based off of photographs, and a pure abstract, most of the time I tried to copy Emily's Paintings in an effort to understand her style a bit more.  It is definitely easier said than done.

Learning copy (reproduction) of an Emily Jeffers painting
My copy, based on Emily's Driving to Greenville
Learning copy (reproduction) of an Emily Jeffers painting
My attempt at Emily's Sundown
This one was more of an attempt at copying Michelle Armas, but is nowhere near!

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to painting subjects and style that I would like to try here, if you want to take a peak.

You may wonder why I don't just paint my own thing, why I am trying to reproduce someone else's style - which is a fair question!  I feel that by trying to recreate an artist's work, I can get an idea of how it was made, how it was built from the darks to the lights, what values are where and how it all comes together.  I only wish I had a photo of the original landscape to see how they read it into the painting!  I love watching YouTube videos posted by artists that show them doing a painting in real time, or sped up, so you can see how it actually works.

As I was saying to my husband, who was seeing dollar signs floating in the air when I came home with these paintings, there is no way I would ever try to pass these off as 'mine'.  Some super-nice Facebook friends who were very supportive when I posted the fruits of my weekend away may get an early Christmas gift... as long as they don't claim it as an Emily Jeffers OR Lisa Mackay original!  It's all in the spirit of learning, and I am very inspired by Emily's paintings.  After enjoying myself so much this weekend, I have signed up for a painting course starting in January, so hopefully I will be moving on to my own originals soon enough!

Abandoning perfectionism

Setting up this house has been a bit of a process for me.  As I wrote a few months ago, I found the modern design and aesthetic of the house intimidating, and I have been struggling to "make it mine." Many of my things have been easy to place, and I am happy with how they go with the house.

Others just don't match up in my mind's eye - usually older pieces that I have moved from house to house and never really looked at, if that makes any sense.  The bed, for example.  I have always loved wrought iron beds, something about the deep black colour with soft curves and curlicues.  I even did a post about them in 2009 (before I knew anything about referencing images, obviously).  When I bought my bed way back in I-don't-even-remember, my only real sources for furniture were my parents' house and Ikea.  Since my parents didn't have any extra queen beds kicking around, it was off to the that big blue and yellow store, and I came home with this:

(I went to find it on the Ikea site, but apparently it is no longer available - which means I must have bought it a while ago!)

It isn't too bad, but there are a few things that bug me about it:
- it is so obviously from Ikea
- the curved line on the top of the headboard - I wish it was straight like the footboard
- those round curly flower things - not sure what it is about them that bugs me, but I think they just seem too cutesy and busy.

The poor bed bothered me in the old house as well, but when we put it in the master bedroom in the new house, it just didn't work for me at all.  I feel like this room is begging for a big upholstered bed.

Now it would be lovely to put all the stuff that bugs me up on Kijiji and go out and buy exactly what I want, but sadly, they forgot to plant that money tree in our new back yard.  So instead I used some West Elm gift cards I had for the Steven Alan euro shams and long grey pillow, and splurged on an Ikea linen duvet cover and wool pillow from Winners.

Aaaand I still don't like it.  And there still is nothing over the bed.  And I am debating about curtains. And I still don't love the colour. I feel like this room will never be finished. (Cue the violins!)

However, it finally hit me this weekend that if I wait to share photos until the rooms are "DONE", I will never blog again! So instead of beautifully-styled rooms that I am proud to share, you are going to be getting a lot of photos of not-quite-there-yet rooms that I am not yet happy with. Maybe just posting the photos will spark a moment of genius and I will figure out what the heck to do. Or maybe you guys can give me some suggestions.

Either way, I am just going to have to decide to be OK with the bed, the sofa, the colours, and the bookcases in the basement. I am going to have to be OK with living in a partly-finished house. Which means, I am going to have to be OK with having a blog that is a chronicle of making this house my own, warts and all, instead of a fancy portfolio of my impeccable style. While I would love to post about putting a room together from scratch, that just isn't realistic.

Insert deep comment about embracing the imperfections in life, then post inspirational tee photo.
T-shirt $30 at Tees in the Trap

Thanks for sticking with me folks! :)

For the Love of BLOGGING

I have just had one of those weeks where Mr Murphy (of the insidious Murphy's Law) set himself up in my life, made himself comfortable, and refused to leave.  What could go wrong went wrong.  It was a bumpy Back to School, a lot of which was probably me missing my old network of moms, and the rest being the Calgary bussing system!  I also dug into switching my blog over to wordpress, which I have been putting off doing.  However, this Saturday is BlogPodium, Canada's only design and lifestyle blogger conference, so I wanted to be able to have my new site all ready.


Well, as you can imagine, this has not been a simple process.  Those of you that follow me on Twitter were bombarded with every post I have ever posted as I imported them from Blogger not once, but twice (so sorry about that!).  I had everything in a place I was feeling pretty good about, until I made a coding snafu that essentially deleted the URL from the internet altogether.


With some help from the nice folks at BlueHost, I got it back, but minus all the changes I had spent the week doing.  Sigh.  At least doing them the second time is a bit faster, but I don't think I'll be doing much else this week.

That and trying to organize my itinerary for the week I am in Toronto to see all my friends is driving me nuts and making me feel blue.  There just isn't time to see everyone I love in such a short time!

Toronto Skyline by Aeryn Lynne

My impending visit back to where I didn't want to leave has me feeling pretty conflicted too - I am nervous about my reaction, how I'll feel to be wandering around a city that isn't mine anymore.  But I am so excited to see the friends I thought I wouldn't get to see for long while - it is going to be a fun, fabulous whirlwind of a week.  I am sure I will come back inspired with all kinds of ideas for my blog and for making this new place my own.  After all, I have everything I need: my boys (all three of them).  Everything else is just icing on the cake. :)

Return of the Blogger

Hi all!  I hope you had a wonderful summer - not that it is completely over.  I had an amazing time in New Brunswick as usual and took a break from everything - including blogging.  But I am back re-energized and pumped and ready to get started on this place.

And oh, the projects we'll do!

To be honest, it is a little overwhelming.  Every room I am in, I look around thinking about how much there is to do.  Everything is unpacked and furniture is mostly set, but now I have to make the big decisions, ugh.  I don't really want to paint anything because they did such an incredible job, but some of the colours are just not me.

And I can't decide where to put which art.

And I want new art.

And new furniture.

And new rugs, lights, linens, shelves - you name it.

And my husband thinks everything is perfect just the way it is. Sigh.

The one decision I finally made was on the counter stools for the kitchen.  At first, we weren't going to get stools, and got some low bookcases to put under the overhang.  But they just didn't work for me, so I brought them up to the playroom (where they fit perfectly - hooray!) and started on the long road of deliberations.  Money being a definite hindrance (getting the stool of my dreams would have an easy decision!) I brought home several options before deciding on these bad boys from Bouclair.

 Holy awful colour - usually my iPhone is great but these are terrible... oh well.

These were the previous contenders (more bad pics):

Cheapies from Target - I think they were $20.  You could tell.
They would work maybe for a kids' playroom, but they didn't match the calibre of the kitchen.

Another contender from Bouclair - who knew they had so many stools?
These were just ok, and they had a bigger footprint.  And they were too white.

Anyway, big thanks to my Instagram friends for helping me out with that decision!

The glass cabinet kind of crowds them on the side... I would like to put some walnut floating shelves there instead... I think... there is really nowhere for display in this place.

All that being said, I love, love, love this house.  I think all these projects are more difficult for me to act on cause I don't want to mess it up!  The paint is perfect, I don't want to ruin it, but I don't love the colour.  There is nowhere to display my pottery and tchotchkes, but I don't want to work against the minimalism of the house.  I know that we bought it, I have to live here, etc. but it feels like a complete self-contained work of art, and anything I do to it will be something that future owners will be wailing about as they try to restore the aesthetic of the house, like people who live in Craftsman houses, or something.

Gosh, I really depend too much on external approval, don't I?  Why am I worrying about future owners of the house?  Or design snobs who will shudder at my every post?  Where do I get these wacky ideas??  Sometimes you just need to write something down to see how stupid it is.  And then post it for the everyone to read. :)