Archive for the ‘interview’ Category

tell the story: part two

In interview, other on 02/05/2010 at 1:05 pm

I can not begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading all of the stories you’ve submitted. The time has come to choose a collective favorite, and let me tell you, it will not be easy. You have spun the most colorful tales. You may cast only two votes. If you are one of the storytellers, you may vote for yourself but you MUST also vote for one other person. Voting will end at noon, EST, this Monday. The winner will be interviewed here in the coming weeks. Now grab a cup of something yummy, sit back, and enjoy!

Story 1: Char: The Tuscan Sun has just kissed the top of the Hill. I have to be quick if I want to make morning Mass. Do you think Mamma noticed I didn’t come home last night. The stars were just perfect. And so was she.

 Story 2: Erin D.: She lived alone, in a little house on the hill. The steep hillside discouraged visitors, and that was ok. The birds, the mountain goats and her little garden of orange poppies kept her good company, without demanding her constant attention. Far from the smog and clanking of the tumultuous cities, she had found Her Place, her Peace, her center. Balanced at last, she worked her craft in quiet harmony with her surroundings, which in turn, worked in harmony with her.

 Story 3: Anne Kelley: The little house drank in the morning sun, reveling in the warm light caressing its whitewashed walls. It had stood quietly on its hill now for many, many years. The house never tired of watching the colors dance along the hills; their gentle capers were always unique, yet always the same. The wheat waved merrily from the far field, and the house stood a little straighter, enjoying the breezes. Within the little house, the family was sleeping; the glorious hilltop morning belonged to the house itself.

Story 4: AG Ambroult: Blissful on their isolated hilltop, they spent their days following their whim. Gardening and exploring a nearby forest were daily pastimes. As was rolling down the hill with abandon, in the exact same manner she had done when she was six.

Story 5: JLI: My Sanctuary sits on a hill, seeming so far away. Some days, the valley is deep and the gap in between, wide. Yet, Light pours out of my Sanctuary, illuminating the darkness that surrounds me. By that Light, I find my way. My Sanctuary sits on a hill, closer than before, because the veil has been torn.

Story 6: kim klassen: she had been through so much. so many years of caring for others, had taken it’s toll. she had been pushing her dreams down deep, for way too long, telling them no, asking them to just go away…. years of being way too busy, running from here to there, wishing for peace, but never finding it. and then, one day…she realized… it was her turn…. she would move to the hill-top and find the peacefulness she had longed for. she would write, and read and even paint… listening to soft music while she let her dreams come true.

Story 7: meredith: They built the church on the highest hill, and they cleared it of all the trees and wild green growing things, save two trees that they left standing like sentinels on either side of the church’s door. It was as if they were trying to say, we are above nature, we are leaving it behind, God has nothing to do with it. But nature knew better, and maybe God too. And so the wild green growing things stretched their viney arms out across the distance and made a bridge between the two hills. And the two trees of the church welcomed them in, like beckoning angels.

Story 8:  jessica: She walked the path many times before never noticing the sky, the trees, the sounds of the ocean near by. Time is fleeting, she learned today. This time she walked slower, with great intention. Knowing that change abruptly arrives unrequested she noted the salty breeze. In and out, her deep breath filled with reverence.

Story 9: Catherine:  Overwhelmed and tired, a mom daydreamed of a quiet, sunny life. In the middle of the day’s tenth tantrum, she mumbled “I’ll just run away and live in a house on an empty hill and be alone”. As she turned to walk away, her son said “We can go there together, Mom, and live together forever. I’ll paint your grass orange and you will love it”.And she did.

Story 10: Melody Shorey:  It’s a beautiful morning to visit my Sanctuary, a place of peace and rest. I find solace there and commune with the Light and Life that sustains me. I try to visit every day. The clear sky and beautiful view from here remind me that I have a Hope for the future. This place is a part of who I am, where my heart and soul are at home.

Story 11: sarah: Father built his house on a hill. He put it up high so he could watch his children, his grandchildren and their children too. He sat from his porch to watch his family tree grow into an orchard, and spread across the land. He sang to them and clapped for them and reached down to lift them up when they fell. He sent water for their gardens, wind for their linens that hung out on the laundry line, and sunshine for their cheeks.

Story 12: nourished mama : My white little house on the hill,
so near to the heavens above.
I wonder at the unknown sky above,
Contemplating the busy animals bustling in the fields below,
My life of solitude, nature my dear friend

Story 13: mellie: The Earth bursts forth, her canary-yellow hills kissing the grass-green leaves of the trees. The sky echoes the parade of colors as the clouds part, the turquoise sky playing peek-a-boo with the valley basins. Atop a hill in our little house, he takes it all in with wonder and inspiration. “Mommy,” his little voice asks, bright eyes peering out the window and little hands slipping into mine. “Can I go out and play?”

 Story 14: Peggy: Oh, build my little house on a high, high hill, where I can view all beauty below. Cause the solitude to open up in birdsong that I love so well. Allow me to be content in the quiet and stillness when the roar of others are as loud as the sea. Count my days in bright colors and allow me to be free.

Story 15: cathleen: Staring out the window at the very top of the little house on the hill, the sad little girl longingly looked over into the beautiful grove of trees on the next hill wishing and dreaming of living in a treehouse at the very top of the highest tree. The flower-filled valley in-between spoke of such beauty and tenderness, that if she could only reach across it, perhaps that same beauty could somehow touch her. Perhaps a mother and father lived over in the trees and they would be the kind of parents she had always dreamed of having. A place where she could finally experience a little love and kindness. And, perhaps, if she stretched her arm out just a little bit further from the window she could almost, almost, almost touch that waiting love.

Story 16: tif: her knees were bent as the ants build away
the wee little house for the mist to spray.
the wind blows swift, the ants refuge welcome…
building a bridge, to place called home.

Story 17: Annie: This spring morning, in our little house on the hill, the sun greets us with it’s warm glow. The beauty of the fields below remind us that our day will be filled with planting, tending, and nurturing . Life can be hard on the farm, but the allure of nature keeps us going. We are truly one with her and she is one with us.

Story 18: Laura: As her brush rasped against the canvas, she was surprised by a sob from her own chest. Soon this painting would be all she would have to remember the home she was to leave behind. How would she ever find peace again, without being able to look out over this valley and feel her soul be stilled? Perhaps, across the ocean in her new home, she would find another valley, another place of peace. In any case, she would have her painting, her own memory brought to vibrant life; she would carry her home with her.

Story 19: 6512 and growing: She lived on top of the hill in a tall, white house. Everyday, the robins came, and the chickadees, the finches and that one magpie with the feathers plucked from its left wing. She tossed cracked corn into the meadow and watched the birds gobble it up. At dusk she made potato leek soup and read by candlelight. And every night her dreams shook with the sounds of children.

Story 20: Jennifer White: As Chloe’ walked away from the house, she wondered if it would be the last time she’d see him. It had been a perfect week together filled with hours upon hours spent learning about what made them love one another even more then they did the day before. Chloe’ could still smell his cologne on her sweater, reminding her how close they’d become. Would this be only a week full of memories or could it be something that would be remembered as their first vacation together? The walk down the hill to the waiting boat for her trip back to the mainland was one that she’ll never forget.

Story 21: kate: From here, I could see what my grandmother meant about the earth being our mother. The hills rolled like the body of a woman. The grass, the trees, the sky seemed to swirl together in a way that was sensual, beautiful, true. I knew, before I could have ever really known, that the house on top of it all would be mine. And from its perch, I would come to understand all a woman can ask for in this life: to feel the ground beneath her feet, to watch blades of grass grow and spiders spin webs, to stand in the middle of a moon as it rises.

Story 22: Gypsy Forest: Over the yellow mountains, the color of the sun, to visit friends for tea. Picnics and cakes with strawberries in the warm summer sun dancing on our heads. Playing amongst the trees with dear friends, while the mamas laugh away. As we leave, the sun sets on the yellow hills, a beautiful end to our day.

Remember, if you vote for your own story, you must also cast another vote for someone else!


Today at Solstice Letters:

solstice letters


tell the story…in five

In interview, other on 01/28/2010 at 12:13 pm

the painting

It was hanging on the wall at our local antique mart. It was ten dollars. It was calling me. I’m quite certain it’s not actually an antique, but oh, how I love it. As soon as I saw it, my imagination took over and it seemed the perfect setting for a good story. And that was my plan…to post the picture, and spin a tale for you. But yesterday I got to thinking that it might actually be more fun to post the picture and let you do the storytelling. So here’s how it’s going to work:

 Comment to this post and tell “the story” in five sentences or less. Study the picture and use your imagination. Next week, in one of my posts, I’ll repost each of your stories with a link to your blog (if you have one) and you’ll get the chance to vote for your favorite tale. The winning storyteller will be interviewed here within the next couple of weeks and will get the chance to tell us about her family, her home, her craftiness, her blog, her handmade goods, and the like. Sound good? Remember…no more than five sentences, (and I don’t mean run-on sentences) so make every word count! I’ll close this post for comments on Monday evening.

I’ll be busy updating “the regulars” and working on the second edition of Silhouette for Monday (which some of you will be appearing in) so I’ll only be posting over here tomorrow.  Then I’ll be back here on Monday. Now let the storytelling begin!

today at solstice lettersjournal: week 1

portrait: j. nisbet-hoyle

In handmade, interview on 01/22/2010 at 1:21 pm

This morning, I am honored to sit down for a chat with the very talented J. Nisbet-Hoyle.  If you enjoyed last week’s visit with Emma, you’re certainly in for a treat.

J, let’s begin with your home. Tell us a bit about your family and where you live.
My husband Will, and I, along with our two boys, Luke and Liam, live in Laramie, Wyoming. I am originally from Redondo Beach, California and he  is from Charleston, South Carolina. A year ago we sold our house in Charleston and moved to the simple and quiet town of Laramie where my Will is finishing his education at the University. Our second son, Liam, just turned a year old.

As a mother of two, you must be incredibly busy. How do you juggle motherhood and your creative pursuits?
My first career is motherhood. At one time, as a single mom, amidst the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, I had to put so much time and focus into my career as a make-up artist that I lost out on some of the important growing up moments with my first son, Luke. It really hurt that I had to skip out on doing a birthday party for him some of those years. Now I treasure being able to work from home, watching the boys grow and participating in their lives. I am so blessed to do something that I love to generate a little income while at home with my family. It can get difficult to create around the schedule of a one-year-old but my husband is always there to help and so full of love for our family life.

Have you been painting for a long time or is this a new venture? 
My parents were the ones to discover my artistic ability at a very young age. I would color on everything from paper to tabletops and walls. It must have driven them crazy. I can remember my dad washing walls with Clorox and water before the invention of magic erasers. They were very understanding about it though, and encouraged my art (as long as it was on paper). I have always felt my best when I have something in my hands with which to paint, draw, or write. Now that my hands are full with the baby, I have paintbrushes sticking out from behind my ears.

There are  a lot of hand painted goods on Etsy but yours truly stand out. Your designs are unmistakably your own. Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many places. I love the jumble of colors and flourished designs seen on old Gypsy wagons scattered around Europe. Jeanne Bayol has a great book called Reve de Roulottes that features her restorations of these old wagons and her interior design work. I love turn of the twentieth century design like Edwardian ephemera. It’s full of romanticism that one can rarely find today. 1920’s boudoir style and fashion is another inspiration, believe it or not. Also, French antiques and decor. Most recently the ornamental and flourishing designs on the bindings of vintage children’s books, and of course all the pretty things nature has to offer.

How long have you been selling on Etsy? Has that been a positive experience so far?
I simply adore Etsy! It has been so much fun. I opened my Etsy shop in August of last year and it was slow going at first. I am still slowly gaining a solid following. I have been so appreciative of Etsy as a company for providing such a wonderful place for a stay-at-home mom like myself to use for her small business.

If you asked me to choose a favorite item in your shop, I don’t think I could pick just one, but I’m curious. What is your favorite item at the moment?
You know, I love the Large Pitcher with Monarchs and Blackberries. It took a week to paint such a large piece of bisque and I enjoyed painting each and every blackberry with the variations of pink, deep violet, and green. I remember the joy I feel while I paint a piece, and that is what makes it a favorite. My next favorite is the Dogwood Blossom and Bird with Ribbon Plate. Something about painting those dogwood blossoms made me very happy.

Do you enjoy any other crafts or hobbies?
I have always been a painter. That’s my penchant. I painted faces as a make-up artist to bring in the bacon for many years. I enjoy painting on canvas as well. Working with paper is great fun for me. I can waste days away scrapbooking and ATC making. Crochet is another craft I enjoy and I find so much relaxation in it.  I am very interested in sewing and I’m working on that skill when I find the time. I want to incorporate other decor items into the Amongst Lovely Things brand, so soon you may see place mats, table runners and pillows. If the craft involves working with my hands, I want to do it!

You also have a beautiful blog that’s brimming with eye candy. How has blogging influenced your creative process?
Ah, sensitive subject. I love to blog but I am so lazy with it. Every time I start a post I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I get such an artistic release by blogging. I started my blog, Oh Look Thats Lovely, during my pregnancy last year when I wasn’t allowed to do much, simply sharing photos of interior design and fashion…pretty and lovely things that appealed to me. The blog is about things that inspire me every day. It is the release I seek when I want to express what makes me warm and fuzzy inside. I have a link to Amongst Lovely Things in the corner of the blog that Etsy has provided so followers of my blog can view my work. It isn’t a diary, per se, so I don’t post too many articles about my ceramic work. Just the things that make me want to work!

Oh Look That's Lovely

Just for fun, tell us what are you’re watching, reading, and listening to these days.
I am an avid movie watcher. I love historical films with lavish costumes and quick-witted dialogue. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette ranks very high, and I adored two recent films, Cheri and Easy Virtue.

I read a lot as well. The last book I read, The Thirteenth Tale , by Diane Setterfield, was recommended by one of my best friends and I had a great time escaping with it. I’m a huge Anne Rice fan so her latest, Angel Time , is next.

I’ve been told that I have unique musical tastes. The shuffle is always on and there are times when I must have music in the background when I create. I enjoy Jeff Buckley, New Order, Yann Tiersen, and The Bird and The Bee.

As a blogger, I’m sure you have some favorite online reads as well. If you had only fifteen minutes to blog hop today, what would you read?
I’d squeeze in a few minutes on Etsy’s blog, The Storque. Then I’d do some quick hopping to the blogs of my best friends, some of whom I have known since highschool. If I had time after that I’d look at A Gift Wrapped Life, Boudoir Queen’s Poor Little Rich Girl and Paris Hotel Boutique Journal.

J, thank you so much for allowing us this inspiring glimpse into your creative life. It’s been such a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to seeing where this adventure takes you!

Visit J:

Thank you for all of the support on Facebook. Unfortunately, this morning it came to my attention that I’ve got a bit of a privacy issue there so until I get that worked out, the page is hiding. With a little one to think about, I try to be very careful about that sort of thing. I’ll let you know when it’s back up and running. I’m terribly sorry! I’ll be publishing a new craft tutorial here next week and I have a special announcement lined up for Monday. If you’re a shutterbug, get your cameras ready. I need you!

portrait: emma lamb

In handmade, interview on 01/14/2010 at 12:00 pm

This morning, I am delighted to welcome the lovely and talented Emma Lamb. As soon as I spied her beautiful handmade goods I was completely smitten and she has been kind enough to grant us a peek into her life and work in beautiful Scotland. So grab a cup of something warm, get comfortable, and prepare to be inspired!

Emma, tell us a bit about your family and your home.
I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a wee tenement flat that is over 110 years old. I share it with my man and my wee man Spanner, a five-year-old cheeky Cocker Spaniel. I’m originally from the Northeast of England but moved to Edinburgh to join the art college nearly fourteen years ago. I love it here. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city and there is so much history and character in the surrounding towns and villages. I really should photograph more of it!

How did you learn to crochet, embroider, and knit?
I’ve been knitting and crocheting for as long as I can remember. My mam taught me the basics when I was about six years old, and I have clear memories of us sitting together crocheting wee squares for traditional, multi-colored granny blankets. Embroidery was something I taught myself when I started my career as a textile designer. I just picked up the needle and thread and made the stitches I wanted. I don’t recall consulting any books for techniques.

Your shop is filled with so many unique designs. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Oh, inspiration can come from anywhere. I’m mostly inspired by beautiful color combinations and I spend hours on Flickr searching out gorgeous images to make up color themed mosaics for inspiration. It’s almost an addiction! I also love to browse the local charity (thrift) shops for interesting color combinations in vintage pieces. The vintage stores on Etsy are great for this too. Quite often when I’m working on a new cushion I start with an idea of the colors I want to use, but as it grows and develops it takes on a life of its own. I love this organic and spontaneous approach to crafting. It’s very satisfying for me.

How long have you been selling on Etsy? Has that been a positive experience?
My wee Etsy shop has been open for over a year now and I’m really pleased with its success, and with all the wonderful feedback from the online community. It has given me confidence in my creative skills and it’s been quite liberating too. I feel like I have full creative control (unlike my day job) and I love it!

Judging by the beautiful images of your studio, I imagine you’ve always got a project or two waiting in the wings. Anything special right now?
I have a pile of things on the go just now: some new garlands and dish cloths, a couple of cushions and a few of my own knitting projects that are still waiting to be finished properly. There’s also a ripple blanket waiting for all the loose ends to be finished before I can use it. I love having lots of stuff on the go at once, so depending on my mood and level of motivation I will have a project that will suit.

emma lamb on etsy

Do you have another job, apart from selling on Etsy?
Crafting is a huge part of my life. For the last ten years I have been designing commercially for the textile industry, particularly women’s and children’s wear. All of my designs are fabric-based with lots of embroidery and appliqué, but at the moment I’m taking a wee break from that to explore those sewing skills in a less commercial and more personal way. I suppose this is my main New Year’s resolution. Once I get a few of those crochet projects finished I’ll be able to start experimenting. Kind of exciting!

You also have a beautiful blog. How has blogging influenced your creative process?
I’ve been blogging for just over a year. In fact, the blog came before the Etsy shop. Some very lovely blogging friends encouraged me to set up my wee shop, particularly the lovely Tif Fussel (dottie angel), who gave me my first commission and sale. I owe her an awful lot! Blogging has really helped my creative process. It’s great motivation. If I say I have a new idea or I’m thinking of making something, I really have to get on and do it. I can’t disapoint my readers. But it works the other way too. When I’ve made something I’m really excited about, it makes for a great blog post. Blogging about my work is also great for generating fresh ideas, either through lovely comments and feedback from my readers, or by the simple fact that I don’t want to repeat myself too often. I want to have new things to talk about to keep both my readers, and me,  interested.Emma's garland tutorial

[Emma’s paper garland tutorial ]


My own knitting skills are pretty limited and I’m about to try crochet for the first time. What advice would you give to someone who would like to learn to knit or crochet, but finds it a bit intimidating?
Really, there is no reason to be intimidated. I highly recommend diving in and having a go! The best advice I can give is to start by finding fabrics or yarns that you really love and enjoy working with. Make something you will want to use, such as a beautiful scarf that you’ll love to wear, or a handy pincushion that you’ll use again and again. The first thing that will turn you off to any craft is making something you have absolutely no use for.  There are great resources in the form of tutorials on blogs and YouTube. A great place to start for knitting and crochet would be Ravelry. It’s a huge supportive community with lots of free patterns and advice.

 Just for fun, what are you reading, watching, and singing along to these days?
I’m not really a big reader to be honest. I much prefer TV, film and cinema. Lately we’ve spent a lot of cozy nights working through our DVD collection. The last film we watched was Belleville Rendezvous, a gorgeous French animation. In my studio, I permanently have my iPod on shuffle so there is always a good mix of Josh Ritter, Josh Rouse, The Kinks, The Killers, Queen, and Adele amongst others. The last two albums I’ve added were Alexi Mudoch’s Time Without Consequence and T.Rex’s Greatest.

Emma, it’s been such a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for taking time to introduce yourself and for sharing your creative process with us. Your work is certainly inspiring. I wish you all the best!

Emma’s favorite reads:
dottie angel
The Constant Gatherer

Visit Emma:
Take a moment to introduce yourself to Emma and let her know how much you enjoyed her visit. There are also some new additions to “the regulars” this morning (some wonderful new reads!) so stop by and say hello. Don’t forget to enter the drawing for the vintage mini quilt!