art+learning+beauty: gryphon design collective

 i know i promised some big news, so here it is! i’m very excited to announce my newest venture- gryphon design collective. i’ve been working with michele slobin apprille for a number of months now with the development of the collective.

gryphon recruits world-wide talent in the field of graphic design, fine art, and creative writing. all of our products are printed in the usa and made with recycled materials.

one of gryphon’s proudest accomplishments thus far is the introduction of our customized children’s books. we’re one of the only companies out there to offer image capture technology, which allows the child to be painted right into the story. these books are beautifully written and illustrated by designers from our collective.

gryphon also produces learning language games that inspire kids to learn while they play. pretty cute, right?

in addition to making reading and learning more fun and creative for the kiddos, we also strive to promote our wonderful collection of designers. we’ve got fine art cards and notebooks for every aesthetic taste.

designers from left to right: jenikah joy, usa / juan milewski, argentina / gregery miller, usa / david faust, usa  / yuriy ratush, ukraine 

this has been such a fun and creative adventure for me- i’m proud to be a part of something so beautiful. if you think these products are as lovely as i do, please support us by making a purchase! you can even use promo code rhx10 to save 20%!


what’s more fun than doing? planning. ipad style.

my ipad just became more than a kindle! i got an ipad for christmas determined to use it for all my creative endeavors. but, to date, i’ve read books on it…checked facebook..and doodled a little using a few painting and sketch apps. all that will change now that i’ve found my new favorite app- moodboard. it allows me to easily brainstorm ideas for various projects. i can clip photos from the web, pull in my saved photos, create custom color palettes, and add text. additionally, it’s just super fun to use! the app is so intuitive and easy to use. it kind of reminds me of those futuristic movies where they just flick everything around with their fingers on the computer screens (know what i’m talking about? am i the only one that wanted to play on one?). the moodboard above shows my current ideas about a painting i’m working on (ok, thinking about working on) for my bedroom. i’ve got these three giant canvases to cover and i’m nervous! the moodboard has already substantially increased my progress on this project!…go test out the free version, but i promise you’ll be back for the full version within ten minutes! who knew brainstorming could be so lovely?

project art.craft space + new blog design


photo credit: everythingetsy

I LOVE my new condo. It’s really small though and lacks sufficient closet space (it was built in 1930. no modern walk-in for me), so everything has to have a place or the whole apartment quickly becomes a disaster. In recent weeks I’ve decided that I need a workspace to house all my currently disorganized painting (which I will get back to) and craft supplies. All my supplies are currently thrown in giant Michaels bags and are stowed wherever I can find a spot. I don’t have a lot of extra room to work with, but I’m thinking that I can turn a wall in my tiny dining room into a craft corner. Here’s the space as it is now. I never use this desk. It stores some files and random desk-y things, but I don’t ever sit here. So, how can I transform the 2×5 space?

Here are some of my favorite craft corner inspirations, mostly from everythingetsy. I could probably create something like this using the desk I have now. Paint the desk a fun color and find a cute old hutch with doors.

photo credit: everythingetsy

I’m in love with this one. The bright colors. The closeable doors. If I could find a similar computer armoire that’s small enough, something like this could be a definite possibility.

photo credit: everythingetsy

Like I said, I lack closet space as it is, so I don’t have the necessary extra closet laying around to create this beauty. This office space is decorated completely in a double-doored closet. So charming! I want to work here every day!

photo credit: everythingetsy

Finally, check out this one from It’s two books cases latched together to make a completely hideable workspace. The website has DIY instructions, and it doesn’t appear to be TOO difficult. Something like this is on my short list.

photo credit: marthastewart

photo credit: marthastewart











What’s your dream work space? Want to help me create mine?!

Oh, I’m finally taking some time to redesign my blog a little. I still haven’t taken that Illustrator class, so it’s slow going {{google search: how to create a circle in Illustrator. ha}}. Still soliciting help. I’ll bring wine if you bring knowledge. How do you like the changes so far?

diy: embroidery hoop wall art

Now that I’m pretty settled into my new home, I’m ready for creative projects. I’ve been seeing this fabric-filled embroidery hoop wall art on blogs for a while now, like this adorable one on etsy (which, by the way, inspired my current needs-some-work-but-i’m-learning blog header):

Isn’t she lovely? Anyway, when I recently received my beautifully restored vanity, I just knew that these hoops would complement it perfectly. So, I set out to make my own. Here’s how I did it.

First, I picked up some wooden embroidery hoops. These are super cheap, so you can make tons of wall art for every boring wall!

Then I found some cool vintage handkerchiefs from an antique store,

and added some fun non-vintage fabric. This would be a perfect use for any excess fabric you have lying around.

Note: You might also want to back the fabric with batting or felt. This was especially necessary for the vintage hankies- they were delicate and almost transparent.

Putting it all together is simple. Take the hoop apart and place a square of fabric and felt on top of the inside part of the hoop.

Replace the top hoop

and voila!

Now just turn the hoop over and adhere the fabric to the inside of the hoop, either using fabric glue or thumb tacks (the glue wouldn’t adhere to the hankies in my case).

Then, ask your dogs to help cut the excess fabric from the back after the glue has dried. I’m sure they’d be very helpful and wouldn’t be in the way at all.

So easy, quick, and fun! They’d also make great little bulletin boards- just add a cork backing and some thumb tacks.

I adore these hoops with my lovely vanity. Such an inspiring place to get ready every morning!

Miles 25 & 26: Emphasis. Change. We Are Nashville

Well, I know this looks an awful lot like Mile 24, but I just couldn’t bring myself to paint over it. Maybe there was a reason I haven’t painted the last two miles in the past few weeks (I thought I was just being lazy. or was scared to finish). It hit me today that I should combine miles 24, 25, and 26 as a tribute to my flooded Nashville.

The design principle for Mile 25 was EMPHASIS. The assignment was to paint a word or phrase that reflected something that needed more emphasis in my life. Since the floods of the past weekend, I think we are all realizing we need to emphasize each other right now. We need to provide money and time to those who lost everything to the waters. We need to stand up together to rebuild this great city of ours. We are Nashville. So that’s my phrase for the emphasis mile. The letters were cut out of cardboard that was soaked from the floodwaters in my basement. What was wet and ruined is now dry and beautiful. We can do the same for our city.

In Mile 26, the finish line mile, we were to paint the change we wish to create. I want to change this city into what it was last week, but with stronger, more unified citizens. I want Nashville to be like the one in my painting. So I couldn’t paint over it. My mile 24 IS my mile 26. Some tragic things happened in between the two, but we’ll come back strong. We Are Nashville.

Mile 6: Meditation Circles

The goal of this mile was meditation. We’re five paintings in and I imagine everyone is getting a little tired, feeling behind, wondering how we’ll have make time to create 20 more paintings. This project allowed us to get caught up easily and provided a time to simply paint and reflect without worrying about so many little details. It also allowed me to use a bunch of random excess paint that was collecting on my palette- I hate wasting it!

So, the assignment was to create concentric circles, much like Wassily Kandinsky’s Squares With Concentric Circles. I love this  piece by Kandinsky- I actually have the print hanging in my bedroom. The idea is so simple, but the circles are so inviting and mesmerizing.

It was so nice to really let go and just let the brush travel in haphazard circles.  I was trying to multi-task while painting (as in, I was trying to watch the premiere of LOST), but I kept finding myself immersed in the colors and movement of the brush. When I was done I had no idea what had happened on LOST (nothing unusual about that though), but I did have a finished product that would hang nicely by the Kandinsky print in my bedroom- if, of course, it weren’t going to be painted over in a few days!

Mile 1: Ready? Set. Go!

Mile One is complete! The first email came on Friday when I was in New Orleans, and I had all my tools with me, but of course I didn’t take the time to start a marathon while I was on vacation. I’m proud of all those runners who work out no matter what day it is, but I’m just not there yet! I was excited all day to get started though. I was inspired by something pink and grey today, so I decided to step out of my box and use colors that I honestly never use (call me Mother Earth-Tone). It’s a bit Heffalumps and Woozles, isn’t it? The outline of the painting was provided to us, so it made it a bit easier to take that first step.

I had actually done this particular painting when I purchased Whitney’s paint kit last year —->   —->   —->   —->    —->   —-> and I really like how it turned out, so I hated to paint over it. Plus wouldn’t it be cheating if I used a months-old work as my very first of 26 paintings? So, I dug out my pencil box, sketched the outlines, and started all over! I’ve found that I gravitate toward painting trees, so this was a perfectly comfortable start.

This will get painted over in the next day or two, an act that will definitely take some getting used to, but it gives me the freedom to take some risks that I wouldn’t normally take if the painting would potentially be hanging on my (or someone else’s) wall. I’m hoping to be able to move quicker and with more confidence as the paintings progress and as I become more “creatively fit!”