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Follow Your Bliss Friday

Follow Your Bliss Friday

In the fullness of our daily lives, it can be so difficult to make room for big picture, following-your-dreams type of stuff — don’t you agree? Starting today, I have decided to make a little room right here to devote to topics related to following your bliss and living the life you are meant to lead. I encourage you to give yourself the gift of a bit of time, every Friday, to focus on you and where you want to go. If you choose to pop by here each Friday, I hope to surprise you a little and keep things fresh — there may be a creative ‘homework’ assignment that you can choose to do if you like, a podcast, a guest Q&A, or simply a heart-to-heart chat. Sound good? Good. Let’s get on with it!

Today I would like to discuss the importance of daydreaming and downtime for the creative soul.

You know how creative-types tend to have a reputation for being ‘dreamy’ or absent-minded? Well, I actually think there is a purpose to that! Daydreaming fuels the creative process. Slowing down and even doing nothing once in a while has some amazing benefits.

Daydreaming and downtime can…

  • Free up your creativity
  • Lead to new and unexpected solutions to problems
  • Let a grand plan for your future come into focus
  • Get in touch with what your heart really desires
  • Relax and recharge your body and spirit
  • Get your priorities straight

And those are just a few of the benefits I personally have noticed. What about you? Do you make time in your life for doing nothing? When and where do you come up with your best ideas? Your homework this weekend, if you choose to accept it, is to carve out a half hour to simply relax and stare into space. Really! Put on some music, if you want (I’ve been loving this lately) but otherwise simply let your mind wander. See what happens.

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Modern Quilters

modern quilters: Denyse SchmidtToday, following up on my summer homestead inspiration board, we are going to take a closer look at one key piece: the quilt. Specifically, we will be looking at three top quilters who are working their own fresh, modern twists on this time-honored practical art. First up is Denyse Schmidt, seen here. I have been a huge fan of Denyse Schmidt for many years, and I actually own one of her quilts — a pattern that was sold through Anthropologie at one time. Denyse has an amazing sense of color and rhythm, which makes her quilts fresh and exciting, like modern art for your bed!

modern quilters: Denyse SchmidtDenyse grew up in Massachusetts in an area near many old textile mills, so her fascination with fiber arts started early. She studied graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and eventually found her way to quilting. She is really at the top of her game now, with a long and impressive career already under her belt — including two books, many lines of quilts, fabric, stationary, and in-person workshops. I especially love her newest book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration, which I flipped through recently in the bookstore and was aching to buy it (too many books, too little cash!) If you are at all curious about the rich history of the craft of quilting, I urge you to pick it up. It’s gorgeous. Modern Quilters: Meg CallahanNext we have Meg Callahan, based right here in Providence, Rhode Island, where she stayed after graduating from RISD. Meg’s work, while it does look very modern with crisp lines and white space, also pulls inspiration from Native American designs and the landscape of her home state of Oklahoma. I, for one, am totally smitten.modern quilters: Folk FibersAnd last, but certainly not least, we have Folk Fibers, a small scale handmade quilting biz that is the heart and soul of Maura Grace Ambrose, pictured below. Maura has an incredible commitment to seeing the entire process of creating a quilt through from start to finish — beginning with the cultivating and foraging of organic dyes, and finishing with hand-piecing quilts in her Austin, Texas studio.

modern quilters: Folk Fibersmodern quilters: Folk FibersMaura studied textile design and fiber arts at Savannah College of Art & Design, and after graduating spent time teaching, working on organic farms, and traveling around America. Her quilts are stunning, and very much her own, but at the same time they are deeply rooted in the long tradition of quilting in America.

modern quilters: Folk Fibers

Each Folk Fibers quilt comes packed up in a beautiful wooden box — now that’s what I call a perfect wedding gift!

modern quilters: Folk Fibers

So, that brings us to the end of our little survey of modern quilting. I hope if you hadn’t given quilting much thought before that this has whet your appetite! I for one love that what was once purely a practical art (how much more practical can you get than gathering up old scraps of unusable garments and stitching them into a blanket to keep warm on cold winter nights?) is once again being honored and explored by a new generation.

xo Laura

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Inspiration Board: Summer Homestead

summer homestead

Images, clockwise from top left: ; Folk Magazine; Amy Butler; Raw Vegan Blonde; The Pioneer Woman; Amy Butler; Yvestown.

Loving, craving, inspired by… Green grass and blue skies, quilts, county fairs, and cows. Lazy afternoons on the porch, picking fresh veg right from the garden. Weekend flea markets and ice cream cones. The simple pleasures and charms of an American summer.

Heather Bullard

Image: Heather Bullard

Glass blue, bottle green, milk white. Chippy furniture, old books, and old friends. Birdsong drifting through an open window. The thrill of the hunt. Tracking down that just-right find to complete a collection.

summer homestead1a

Images, clockwise from top left: Heather Bullard; Joanne Kaser; Heather Bullard; Loverly; Heather Bullard; Dottie Angel.

Ripe peaches, fresh eggs, barn parties, and knitting. Old traditions dusted off and revived for modern life. A week built around farmer’s markets, gardening, and beach days. Early morning walks while the day is fresh and the sun streams through thick green leaves.

summer homestead

Images, clockwise from top left: Amy Merrick; Dottie Angel; Dottie Angel; Folk Magazine; Heather Bullard; Amy Butler Design.

Home cooked meals, backyard chickens, a wild ruckus of patterns and color. Knitted buntings on the chicken coop, lace-trimmed skirts and patched up jeans, straw hats and wellies.


Image: Yvestown

Whitewashed floors, old wood tables, and modern wire chairs; the best of yesterday and today. Bud vases of garden flowers all around the house. Vintage tin trays, jewel-like jars of jam in the cupboards, and twinkle lights in the garden at night. The blessed summer.

Well, my lovelies, it has been awhile! I am so happy to be back blogging — I’ve missed this so much! Without giving away all of my editorial secrets (wink wink) I will say that I’ve been hard at work dreaming up some really fun posts, and I think (hope!) you will enjoy what I have in store for you. I will meet you back here on Wednesday, sound good? Happy Monday, let’s make this week awesome!  xo Laura

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Use-What-You-Have Summer Desk Makeover


It’s officially summer this Saturday, and I have been dying for a change of scene as far as my office goes. While I wish “change of scene” meant taking a laptop to some tropical isle for the next three months to work from a seaside cottage, in real life it means “let’s at least get the @#*! desk out of the kitchen!”

desk with shell

I ended up dragging an old wooden table we’ve had forever up from the basement, plunked it in a blank corner of the living room, and draped our linen dining table cloth over it (folded in half). I took the process of moving desks as an opportunity to completely clear off my workspace. Only my computer, a white table lamp, and blank notepad made the cut. Once the desk was in place I added a few shells and the last peony from our garden in a teapot. :)

And let me tell you — it feels so good to have a desk that is empty of papers and general crap. Not tropical vacation-good, but good. And the cost? Zero dollars.

xo Laura


The Surf Photography of Max Wanger

Max Wanger Photography

I have been on the hunt for something new to spice up the walls in my living room, and I’m thinking surf photos. Or maybe even just one really big surf photo. Some of my current favorites are by photographer Max Wanger — come take a peek!

Max Wanger Photography Max Wanger Photography Max Wanger Photography Max Wanger Photography

All of Max’s photos are taken in Los Angeles, which is like manna for this California girl’s soul right now. And some of his prints are available in really large sizes — up to 30×45! Visit the print shop by Max Wanger to see all of his current work.

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