Try Before You Buy, Original Art


Welcome to "try before you buy" art. Artsicle is still in beta mode but it promised to be truly revolutionary to the way you purchase art for your home. All you have to do is pick your favorite painting from their website. You rent the piece for $50 a month and they'll ship it to you; you don't have to pick it up anywhere. If you decide you don't like it, just ship it back. They'll send you a new one if you like.

You can pick artwork based on medium (painting, photography, sculpture, other 2D pieces), size, or artist. With the artist's profile right at your fingertips, you can learn all about the person behind your piece and even pick an artist from your neck of the woods. A description of the piece accompanies each item page so you can learn more about what went into the work. Special touches include a value estimate and an image showing size in comparison to a person. You can also contact customer service if you decide you want to purchase the piece you tried.

Here's one of my current favorites available: Territories 3 by Ramon Urenia.



Creative Concept

This is a great concept from designer Jinsun Park of South Korea. It's currently just an idea (with quite a few stumbling blocks) but it could become the future of the multicolored pens we used to use as kids. Remember pushing the knobs down to pick one of six or eight colors you could write with? Well, this definitely steps it up to the next level. Just scan the color you want to use and it's instantly available as ink inside your pen. It's perfect matching at its finest!

Via Popsci, via Tuvie. Actual product that's similar: I/O Brush from MIT Media Lab, though not yet a consumer product.


Budget Beauties: Kilim Pillow

BIG SALE / Hand Woven - Turkish Kilim Pillow Cover - 16x16

Kilim pillows are trending, big time. This Hand Woven Turkish Kilim Pillow Cover ($30) by Sukan looks like it stepped out of an Anthropologie store. But this one is a budget beauty! It looks luxe and expensive, but you'll spend a lot less. Plus, it's handmade. Now that's a deal!


Artist Obsession: Cate Parr

Watercolor Fashion Illustration - Amber

This gorgeous watercolor fashion illustration is called Amber ($125) and is created by artist Cate Parr of Silver Ridge Studio. And below is The News From Paris ($125). Both are originals and there's plenty more beauty where that came from! Click through to check out all the stunning pieces, including prints for much less.

Watercolour Fashion Illustration - The News from Paris (feathers)



Well, I've learned now that I can't update the title of an old post or it will publish at the top as if I wrote it today. That's annoying. No more edits for me I suppose.

To make up for my error, here's an awesome collection of beautiful Etsy items, curated into a pretty Wild West themed treasury, Pointing Westward.

'Pointing Westward' by 604Jewelry

This collection of items seeks to point us toward the old wild west. Let's drift westward on a cowboy wind, past the rusty rivers and dewy cattle yards to that wistful wooden shanty town of the old west.

Petite Bridget Cowl - O...

Porcelain Artist Brush ...

Minimalist Ethnic Ster...

Cami Dress. Knee Length...

Las Canteras Purple Por...

Elephant Art - Big Mama...

Dove Empire Dress

Vintage Rhinestone Neck...

Free Spirit

Paper plane Brooch

Vintage Medium Skeleton...

Black Gladiator Leather...

Heart Leaf Ikebana Vase...

Dragon Ribbing Wristwar...

Vintage Chrome Magnet T...

nail butter and cuticle...

Artist Obsession: Synthesite

I recently discovered a very talented artist via DeviantArt. Jessie of Synthesite. Her work, like Portrait of a Clown XXIII above, is deeply personal and tells a strong story. They are colorful but emotional. They are bright but deep. Every piece is another window into the artist's soul and another chance for us to look into our own souls.

These oil paintings take on a life and breath of their own. Above, Portrait of a Clown XVII. And below, Portrait of a Clown X. You can purchase her work by contacting her on the website. She doesn't sell on any public online forum, but welcomes inquiries.

Adorable Custom Pillows

Personalized Pillow - Girl or Boy - Pillow Cover PLUS Insert

These cute pillows are fully customizable and great gifts for kids and adults alike! I'd love one in grey with my light skin tone and super-dark hair. I think it would look really chic! Get your own Personalized Pillow ($59) by Olliegraphic or get just the pillow cover for $10 less.


Sophisticated Swim

Kia cutout swimsuit by Diane von Furstenberg

I'm in love with this Diane von Furstenburg Kia Cutout Swimsuit (on sale for $88) at The Outnet. It's so fantastic with that berry color, the shirring around the deep neckline, and all those straps. And it's on sale for more than half off! I want this one so much!


Mood Booster

World Map Urban Watercolor

Nothing brightens my mood more than colorful watercolors! This World Map Urban Watercolor (as low as $14) by Michael Tompsett is available over at Imagekind. You can get it in a variety of sizes, papers, framed or not, and even on canvas! I think this would be spectacular as the focal point of a living room or study.

*Found on Pinterest via Jamie Leigh. Originally pinned by Hil.


Decorating in the Details

Gilded Mahogany Bowl

When it comes to decorating, I'm convinced that once you've got your one or two big things for the room (ie couch and coffee table in the living room), everything else is in the details. Sure, you could grab a couple random coffee table books and a vase of flowers and that table would be done. Or, you could meticulously pick out the perfect books to go with you and your family's interests. And you could comb through hundreds of vases until you find that one that vaguely mimics the lines of the side of your couch. And that's what makes your place special instead of just decorated.

This Gilded Mahogany Bowl ($100) by Handcrafted Humidors is decorating in the details at its finest. That carefully attained patina is made by placing layers and layers of copper leaf and acid over and over the fine mahogany wood. Even after that amazing patina is created, it must be finished with several sealing layers and then buffed gently until it reveals an immaculate shine. Let us not forget that the shape is stunning and rather unique, and the bowl looks great on its own or filled with short, bushy blooms.

Go forth, my darlings! Decorate your home in the details!


And Where Will I Go Next?

The Art of Nonconformity (a truly inspiring movement that you should look into if you've ever felt like you "don't fit the mold") posted this fantastic quote on Facebook this morning from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

So, armed with the Cheshire cat's advice, I think I'll just continue moving - anywhere but backward. If I don't know where I want to go, then I'll just keep going.


Scrub A Dub Dub

Cotton Washcloth Pink Green Bright Soft  Set (2)

I like these Hand-Crocheted Cotton Washcloths ($10) by Melissa G Hollis. They come in a pack of two and are bright and soft and the perfect size. You can buy them in a rainbow of colors to make bath time more fun for the kids. You can use them to brighten up your own morning shower. You can tie a couple together with a pretty ribbon and add them to a gift basket or give them alone as great little hostess gifts. They even work well for washing dishes!


Care for a Spot of Tea?

Yusuke Aida - Neriage mug and saucer - Click Image to Close

I adore this Neriage Mug and Saucer Set ($165) hand sculpted by Yusuke Aida in Japan and currently available at Far 4. It's such a beautiful design - modern design, subtle colors, and a truly unique shape. And the whole collection of Aida pieces is really great, like this Neriage Bowl in Blue ($255). Also, Aida's own website, though you'll have to hit the translate button.

Yusuke Aida - Neriage bowl in blue - Click Image to Close


Handmade Mustard Yellow Shoes

Sunny handmade leather flats, MADE to your MEASUREMENTS

It's so much fun to find handmade shoes that are actually attractive! These Sunny Handmade Leather Flats ($195) by Chebran are so happy and beautiful. I want a pair for myself! There are also a variety of other handmade shoe styles in the shop, so do check them out.


Kitchen Space Saver

Space Saving Oval Cutting Board

I'm loving this cutting board that fits on the corner of your countertop, utilizing that useless space cluttered with appliances. You can get the John Boos Corner Counter Saving Cutting Board ($139) at Kitchen Source.


Technical Difficulties

We are experiencing a variety of teensy technical difficulties at the hand of our normally delightful host, Blogger. If you see something funky (posts at weird times, dated incorrectly, missing information, etc) please bear with us. Also, if nothing is posted.... well that's probably these issues too. Sorry!

Image Credit: Rabbi Bob.

More On The Meaning of Handmade

I'm still searching for the right words to tell you all why I feature so many handmade items on my blog and why I so often purchase handmade over anything else. Maybe this is the reason why:

The Number One Reason Why We Buy Handmade by papernstitch. Spoiler Alert: it's not just one reason. But it's definitely worth a read. How many of these do you identify with?


The Closet Checklist

The other day I ran across this article about the classics you should have in your closet. See, we're moving in a month because the Boy is headed to graduate school. Money is going to be a lot tighter for me, so no more online purchases at all those sample sales!

I've decided that every other month I will splurge on a really nice piece for my wardrobe that fits really well and is going to last. We're not talking $1000 purchases, but definitely above my normal price range. See my exciting Closet Checklist (above) that is going to take my closet to "timeless wardrobe" standards? Just right click to save the picture if you want to print it for your own use. And let me know if you want the Adobe Illustrator file to adjust the list to your own preferences. I would love to oblige.

Are there any other pieces you think I need to own? Anything on the list I should forgo? I need your help honing the checklist before I start in June!



This is exactly how I felt when the Boy woke me up this morning.

Credit: Chris Craymer. Found via Kyra Wahlquist. Originally pinned by Samantha Wittwer via Apartment 34 via Dress Design Decor.

Baby Flowers

Pink Floral Ballet Slipper Baby Booties

These baby shoes are adorable! If I had a wee little girl to dress up..... well these Pink Floral Ballet Slipper Baby Booties ($20) by Tilly Whistle would be the first thing I went for.

Pretty Cake

Sunprint Cake

This cake is so pretty! I love it. Found over at Once Wed.


Canvas and Leather Shoes

I really love the canvas and leather craze going on lately. The pairing is so lovely. These Marlee Flat Sneakers in Charcoal ($59) at Moxsie are just fantastic. I want a pair!

UPDATE: These are on sale this weekend for $23.60 with code BLOWOUT60.


Perfect for a Party

This jug is making me swoon! You can get the Bubbled Beverage Dispenser ($298) at Anthropologie.

I found this great party piece on Pinterest! Follow me on Pinterest if you want more great finds and inspiration that I don't post here.


The Crux of Buying Handmade

I'm not sure how many of you make a habit of buying handmade. But I want to tell you how important it is to me. As I search for the words, I realize how difficult it is to voice the weight of this choice I've made in my life. Because I value what's put into my art, I value what is put into the art of others. And with that understanding of value comes the decision to support those that put their heart and soul, their blood, sweat, and tears into their work.

While I may still be searching for the perfect ways to explain it to you, I've run across this brilliant article by Brittni over at Papernstitch that really explains one side to the decision to support handmade and offers up some great comments from her readers as well. I hope you'll pop on over and see a little of her experience with handmade.


I Love My Mom

Origami Paper Flower Bouquet - pink purple and yellow

Found a gift for your darling mom yet? Mother's Day is Sunday! Hurry up! Most moms are fine with a phone call or a card, but don't you want to treat her to something a little more personal. For all those times she stood by you and every time you ever let her down, these handmade Origami Paper Flower Bouquets ($45 each) by Anya Shop are the perfect present. Get them in a variety of colors in the shop. And don't forget to ask for rush shipping!


The Best Thank You Notes

 classic thanks, navy

These Classic Thanks, Navy ($26) by Sugar Paper are some of the chicest thank you notes I've seen in a while. The gorgeous navy color pairs perfectly with the embossed gold and the simple "thanks" in that clean font brings it down to a casual, chic level. Love.


Protecting Your Camera

If I ever save up enough for a DSLR camera, I'm getting this ONA Any Bag Camera Bag Insert ($59) at Photojojo. It's super-cute on it's own, but you can also stuff it into any of your favorite bags. And it has great outer pockets for accessories or anything else you want to carry around. I love that it will keep my camera safe and stylish all at once, no matter what my outfit.... just got to get that camera first!


A Print A Year

I ran across the most wonderful website for buying illustrations: Thumbtack Press. It's curated, but offers a great variety of amazing artists from around the world. Most everything is illustration, with the occasional odd medium thrown in. Most artists have six or seven pieces available on the site, so there's plenty to choose from if you'd like a duet or trio of similar pieces on your wall.

Anyway, it's a lovely site with all sorts of colorful (and not colorful) pieces to choose from. Very exciting to look through! After perusing, I thought I'd really like to get this one for my niece (she'll be four at the end of July). I've been thinking for a while about collecting a print for my darling Emma for each year of her life and giving her the collection perhaps on her 18th birthday if she's ready for it or maybe when she strikes out on her own with her first apartment. I heard about this from a blogger (I can't for the life of me remember which one) and haven't been able to get the idea out of my head for months since. I might be a couple years behind, but I think I would like to start collecting art for her. It could be a special thing we do together as she gets older and I can help her learn about art along the way.

This Suitcase print by Lilly Piri ($30) is available at Thumbtack Press along with a trillion other amazing pieces you should definitely check out as soon as you can!


Building an Outfit Around This Marc Jacobs Bag

Marc by Marc Jacobs 

This Marc by Marc Jacobs Natasha Leather Cross-Body Bag ($350) caught my eye at Net-A-Porter. Let's design an outfit around this pretty mint purse! First, we'll add a cute skirt. Below, the Staring at Stars Pleated Skirt ($49) from Urban Outfitters has a really great complimentary color.

Above, you can easily match both the green of the bag and the peach of the skirt with a muted grey. Just tuck this Casual Knit Dolman ($10) at Love Culture into the skirt. Continue that beautiful grey tone to bring it together with these Dolce Vita Pela Wedge Heels ($165) at Sole Struck, below.

The Silk Package - 5 Elastic Solid Color Hair Ties that Double as Bracelets by Mane Message on Etsy

Whip your hair into a messy braid and secure it with this set of Silk Package Elastic Hair Ties ($7) by Mane Message, above. The colors in this set match perfectly with this outfit. And finally, finish off the whole look with this Michaelene Silver Bracelet ($22) by Dear Belle, below, which doubles as a necklace if you'd rather and adds that perfect sparkly touch.

Michaelene Silver

And that's it! It's so easy to build an outfit around your favorite piece. Do you have any great pieces you'd like me to build an outfit around? What about wonderful finds that fit with this outfit we built today? Let me know in the comments!