Wednesday, December 26, 2007


A commission I just finished painting last week

I hope you all had a nice Christmas! It was a gorgeous day here in Florida - sunny and in the mid 70's. For Christmas dinner, seafood replaced the traditional turkey (or worse still - ham! hate that stuff!) Instead of feeling groggy and slug-like post-meal, I felt energized and decided to take a turn around the neighborhood and get some exercise. For someone that used to have to wear socks to bed in the Winter, I am not about to take for granted the sheer luxury of wearing flip-flops in December. The ducks were out on the pond and the breeze was gently rustling the palms. Perfect! As much as I love my work, it is nice to have a couple of days that I don't have to pick up a paintbrush.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


A special thank-you to Brandie of the new Glassford Hill Girl for her post on my work! Brandie is another young 20-ish interior designer who has started blogging. Welcome, Brandie!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A somewhat belated thank-you to the style-savvy Courtney Barnes over at StyleCourt for her post earlier this week. Things have been so busy here that I haven't had a chance until now to mention it. Courtney and I will be collaborating once again in the New Year when I paint one of her favorite new acquistions. Her famous chair (above) has already sort of taken on a life of it's own and is my most popular piece in my Etsy shop.


My alternative Christmas in the tropics. Yes, my tree IS made of PINK tinsel and surrounded at the base by coral and sea shells. Hey, cut me a little slack, I am an artist, after all.

Here in Florida, all the traditional Christmas trimmings are present, but fake snow and hot cocoa seem a bit seasonally anti-climactic when it's still in the 80's. The funny and beautiful thing about celebrating for the first time in a tropical climate, is that you begin to realize that much of what Christmas is made out to be is not at all important. Living here and celebrating Christmas just serves to accentuate and deepen the real reason for Christmas. Don't get me wrong - I am all for Christmas and even the more kitschy and traditional trappings that go with it - they're fun. However, for me personally, there is something so much more precious and sacred about this day I celebrate. If you take away all the gifts, the decorations, the traditions, the music and the food, there is really nothing left TO "celebrate". Unless, of course, you are celebrating because the essence of Christmas to you is a very real person and not things. I am celebrating the day my Saviour set aside all that He had in heaven with God and humbled Himself to come to this earth as a tiny, dependent baby and live a very difficult life that had at it's end a most torturous and humiliating death, followed by a glorious resurrection. All because He loved and valued all of us enough to want to give us this gift of being restored to a relationship with our Father and Creator and have a real purpose in life greater than just living our lives for ourselves. So, here in Florida, even amongst all the non-traditional Christmas beauty, I am reminded that there is a greater gift I possess. If you take everything else away, the fact that Jesus has come to be not only my Saviour, but my best friend, comfort, purpose and joy, everyday of the year AND throughout my entire life is the real reason I celebrate Christmas. Regardless of whatever reasons you have for celebrating or not celebrating Christmas, I wish you ALL love, joy and enduring peace this Christmas and in the New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

100th POST AND.........

Nothing spectacular to feature! I am, regretfully, bringing shame on my fellow bloggers! They have all managed to dazzle us with outstanding 100th posts of their own and I will now receive the prize for the under-achiever! LOL. I have never kept silence this long since I started this blog and I apologize. I just haven't had the time the last couple of weeks to do much of anything other than work. Santa is indeed a slave-driver. In the near future, I will be able to share with you some of the fruits of my labors, but for now I have to keep these works under wraps until the people they were intended for get to see them first. And so, I leave you with a photo of me with my current "dazed from deadlines" expression in my best Christmas dress (yes, the Florida sun is bringing out my freckles and aging me prematurely! Yay!) I am heading back to the grindstone (er, drawing-board, in my case). For now, I leave you all with the very best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and/or any and all Holidays you might celebrate!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Anne's beautiful farm in the snow

A hutch holding some samples of her handiwork

Some Firefly Hill backpack tags

Firefly Hill Designs canvas bags

A close-up of one of her bag designs

A few of Anne's patchwork belts

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Anne when she bought one of my prints and left a comment on my blog. Although not technically what many would consider an artist, she certainly qualifies in my book! Her medium just happens to be fabric! She has a great gift for making beautiful accessories and bags from brightly colored fabrics. After emailing back and forth a bit, we discovered that we had some bizarre connections, besides having the same first name, in common! It turns out that not only did she grow up in the same town and graduate from the same high school as my dad, but her son has the same name as my dad!! (an unusual name at that!) Then it was discovered that her parents bought the home that my grandparents used to live in! How's that for some uncanny conicidences? She is a very warm person with a strong commitment to her family and a kind and generous disposition. She generously agreed to fill us in on her story below.

Where were you born?
I was born in Michigan and grew up in Grosse Pointe. I went to college there and then moved to Boston, where I met my husband.

When did you start your business?My business, Firefly Hill Designs, became official about a year ago. However, I have been designing things and selling them casually for several years.

What are your earliest memories of being involved with art?
My sister Kerry and I were always making things. We had a playhouse in the backyard that looked just like our house. It had shutters and window boxes and a screen door. My dad built it for us. That was our playland where we created, painted, did paper mache and all kinds of creative projects. My parents also are both very creative and provided lots of inspiration. My mom was always sewing curtains and clothes for us when we were little, so I had an early exposure to creating things with fabric. Mom has a very wonderful eye for design and beautiful things. She always filled our homes with special objects, furniture, and fabrics. My dad is an artist and his paintings, drawings and sculpture were always was displayed in our homes. From a very early age, I always wanted to create things.

What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
At our house, putting up the tree is always a very big deal. My children, Hannah and Grayson, look forward to it for weeks. We go together as a family to try to find the perfect tree. We then make an evening of decorating it, having hot chocolate and enjoying a fire in the fireplace. It is very nice “family time” that we all enjoy!

What are some of the things that are essential to your success as an artist?
I find living in a beautiful place to be very inspiring and really help me with the creative process. Our little farm, Firefly Hill, is in the beautiful rolling horse country of New Jersey. It is very picturesque here and to me a little slice of heaven! My studio looks out onto our paddocks where I can see our ponies grazing. I also need to know that my family is secure and happy and that all of their needs are met. If I know they are OK, then I can go into my workroom and create. I try to work while the children are in school so that I can give them my attention when they are home.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
I really love where we live right now. My husband and I have lived in several different places and have moved across the country twice with children, animals, etc. It feels really good to be settled in a place that we love. Having said that, there are also many other places that I love and would think about spending time in someday: Martha’s Vineyard, the South of France, England, Tuscany, and the Bahamas.

What is the most challenging aspect of being a business owner/craftsperson?
The most challenging aspect for me is just having enough hours in the day! I am constantly juggling lots of different things between my children and their school/social activities, Firefly Hill Designs, our horses, the upkeep of our property and on and on! There is never a dull moment and I never sit still for long, but I would not want it any other way!

Are there any projects you are currently working on that you are excited about?I recently acquired some vintage French fabric that is truly beautiful. I am really excited to see what I can create with that.

Who are some of your favorite artists?I am really inspired by Jennifer Paganelli who designs fabric that I work with a lot. I also really love the work of Deborah Cavanaugh, Beth Rundquist, Hadley Pollet, Heather Bailey, Katherine Megrue Smith, Julie Goetz, the impressionists, Mark Rothko.

What other hobbies/interests do you enjoy?
My other big interest is horses. We keep horses (ponies) on our property and they are a big part of our lives. I grew up riding horses, and the passion has stayed with me throughout my life. Although we only ride recreationally, I am a big follower of equestrian sports and love to attend competitions when I can.

Here's where you can view her online store and see her beautiful work:
AND keep up with her latest happenings on her blog:

If you are looking for a beautiful and unique gift be sure and stop by her site! Thank you, Anne!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Special thanks to Sophia of Chic and Charming who included me in a group of Etsy artists featured on her blog. Sophia asked Victoria Smith of SF Girl By Bay to choose a few favorite Etsy artists to submit for this post. Thank you very much, Victoria and Sophia!

Friday, December 7, 2007


I want to thank Anne Bolles Galeone of Firefly Hill Designs for posting on my work a couple of days ago. Anne not only creates charming and colorful accessories, but writes a blog as well. She is based in the beautiful horse country of New Jersey and runs her online business from there. I will be featuring an interview with her soon!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I just wanted to thank Ronda Carman, a native Texan living in the UK, who featured me on her blog today. Ronda is a terrific writer who features daily posts on some fascinating people, places and things. I consider her the "Barbara Walters" of the blog world! She just started her blog in January of this year and has already managed to garner a large and faithful following worldwide. She is intelligent, witty and warm. She has been so supportive, as I know she is to many others as well. Thanks, Ronda! You can read her post HERE.


Patricia's superior version of a thank-you note

Patricia van Essche - President of the "Artists' Support Network"!!

A gift package, van Essche style! What a gift for presentation!

One of the guys in my "break room"

The view at my recharge spot - not bad, eh?

My break lounge

You know, things have been really crazy here lately. I love my work, but it's also beyond amazing to get away for a couple of hours for a break and recharge. Nothing kills creativity like fatigue, and all it takes sometimes is just a short 2 hour break. When I do need a break, I head to one place in particular, a quiet local beach. Sitting there listening to the surf and soaking up a few rays is my way to relax and I feel so blessed to have such an incredible"breakroom"! Some of the guys there are a little pesky, especially when they come over to beg for food, but I just ignore them and they eventually fly off.

One of the drawbacks of being an artist is that you generally work alone, although that's also how I work best. It's imperative that you make time for social interaction and have a support base to keep you balanced and inspired. That is why it's been so wonderful, since I've been blogging, to meet some incredible people who share many of the same interests and challenges. One person in particular is Patricia van Essche. I am sure many of you have seen her work before and read about her on my blog, as well as many others. She is an amazing artist and one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met. I am excited that she is going to start her own blog very soon. Although we've never met yet in person, she has already been such a great friend to me. She has offered me some wonderful advice, sources, support and feedback. The other day, I got a wonderful package in the mail from her. The best part was that she took the time to send me the best thank-you card I've ever received, a hand rendered illustration that's not only adorable, but incredibly clever as well. There was also a charming little painting on wood of a crab. Very apropos for my location! Knowing I love anchovies, she was also thoughtful enough to include some Dutch fish spread her husband loves (she recently returned from a trip to Europe with her family, her in-laws live in Monaco). Her instructions made me laugh - "Eat this on toast with parsley, LOTS of parsley". I am guessing the parsley is to counteract the deathly toxic breath the fish spread probably gives you! LOL. It definitely put a big smile on my face. Thank you, Patricia! I will let you know how it goes when I open the can.....

My point is that, as the year begins to draw to a close, I am so thankful for all the friends I have met here. There's an endless list of people I could thank that includes many fellow bloggers, readers, and clients. Especially, Patricia van Essche, Courtney Barnes, Joni Webb, Ronda Carman and Holly Becker. Thanks for serving as such an inspiration and support network. There is a real "sisterhood" (and brotherhood, too) that's very real, despite the fact that there are many miles between all of us.

Monday, December 3, 2007


The brilliant design writer, Courtney Barnes and her chair that I painted - the centerpiece of her blog banner I designed.

LA decorator and Style Queen Ruthie Sommers

A pair of delightful chairs Ruthie re-habbed with a delightful Palm Beach look to them

Thanks to Courtney Barnes of StyleCourt for the mention as guest blogger this week on Design*Sponge. DesignSponge* is a top design blog with pioneer design blogger Grace Bonney at the helm. A daily must-read for me, chock-full of everything a design buff like me thrives on! Stylecourt is also, as you may already know, one of my faves. As usual, the ever-knowledgeable Courtney is going above and beyond with her contributions this week. Today's post featured the great LA decorator Ruthie Sommers and her penchant for rehabbing furniture in her trademark amazing way. Remember that cheesy makeover show, "The Swan" from a couple of years ago? Ruthie's work is to furniture what those plastic surgeons' work was to patients. Similarly jaw-dropping. You will be amazed at what can be done with these "diamond in the rough" pieces she picks up and transforms. She should be dubbed "The Princess of Potential"! Ok, it's obvious I'm a big fan. So, I was doubly pleased to be mentioned on the same page with one of my style heroes. Thank you Courtney and Grace! Be sure to check out both Design*Sponge and Design*Sponge Guest Blog if you haven't already!

All images courtesy of Design*Sponge

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I just wanted to thank Courtney Barnes of StyleCourt for her post today on my work appearing on Domino online. The actual chair in the painting is Courtney's own. She commissioned me to paint it last Summer and it also serves as the icon on her blog banner that I designed. It's been one of my most popular paintings and is now featured on note cards and greeting cards as well as a print. Thank you, Courtney, for all your support.


My work has been chosen by Decor8 blogger Holly Becker for the Domino Magazine online gift print gallery. Thanks Holly and Domino! You can view it HERE.