Category Archives: Stories

Dear Me…

Hi friends! Oooh baby it’s cold outside! At least for us Portlanders. I am actually loving the crystal clear sunshine and frost laden mornings. It’s like the very air shimmers with ice. So magical. I am praying for some snow!

Thank you all for your beautiful, kind and thought provoking comments you left on my last post. I deeply appreciate you sharing.

Yesterday and today, I have chosen to put my household chores aside and focus on my art. Every time I do this, I am amazed at the incredibly comforting and joyous feelings it brings. I light my favorite candle, put on Pandora and just let myself escape into my creativity.

Today, was very introspective. I am still completing my Brené Brown homework – one exercise was to find photos of ourselves at different times in our lives and then write a message to “that” girl with the knowledge you have now. I chose my wedding day.

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What would you write to yourself now, looking back on those times when you were about to embark on a new journey? So young. So naive. Clueless. Unaware of all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. Blind to the outcomes.

I found this quite emotional and also very healing. It made my appreciate the trials I have been through. It made me glad for the hard days. The pain. The failures. The wrong thinking. It made me have gratitude for the wisdom I’ve gained and for the baggage that was sloughed off as I tumbled through my twenties, like a pebble in the tide. It was powerful to stand solidly on the shore and look back on those turbulent waters of my past.

Try this with a picture of yourself. It doesn’t have to be an art project – just go for it. See what comes up. Be gentle with yourself. This exercise is meant to promote self-compassion so don’t go yelling at yourself in a picture at some frat party, drunk or scold yourself for wearing that God awful outfit from the 80′s or for not losing the baby fat. :) Write to yourself with love, with empathy, with kindness. Give yourself a mental hug. “That” girl in your picture probably really needed it.

xo,

Ivy

P.S. For those of you who wanted to take the Brené Brown class but thought they had missed it – they are repeating the first part so you can still sign up! I just signed up for Part 2! ;)

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Filed under Art, creativity, Learning, Love, Stories, Thoughts

Wandering…

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Hello there. I hope all is well in your world. Right now, mine is a little messy. Literally and figuratively. I just finished the Brené Brown course and absolutely loved it. It has truly been life changing and has been stirring up all sorts of emotions. Old energy is shedding but self-doubt has been trying to rain on my parade…as usual.

With all the flux, I’ve been cleaning out areas of my home that no longer serve me. One of those neglected areas was my laundry room cabinets. They were stocked with all my supplies for creating skin care products… (my obsession 3 years ago). As I gathered up the countless little vials of essential oils, dried herbs and tubs of concoctions, I found myself crying. I stopped for a minute to check in with my mind and see what all the fuss was about.

Ahh…I was berating myself. For failing. For being flaky. For investing all this money and time into something I gave up on. For being stupid. Unfocused. Confused. Wasteful. ugh. Brené referres to these moments as “shame storms”. This was a category 3.

Then I remembered the last week of the Brené lessons – letting go of certainty. I was reminded that it’s okay to wander, get lost and not know which way to turn. Even in those moments we are whole. I had not failed. I had just wandered. I had needed to do that, at that time and it has led me to where I am today. So what if Grace & Ivy began as a skin care hobby!? It ended up launching my blog, helping me rediscover my love of writing, leading me to a new passion for vintage and ultimately, reunited me with my first, true love – ART.

Was it a linear, logical journey? Nope…but that’s not really how I roll anyway. Is it over? Have I got it all figured out? Hell no! But that’s okay.

So, please, let me remind you dear friends, that if you are feeling a bit lost or are wandering. Fear not. Know that it is part of your own journey. We are not supposed to have all the answers. Life doesn’t come with a compass or a map. Use your heart as your guide and believe that even in your most vulnerable place – you are right where you need to be. Trust yourself and never compare your path to someone else’s. Like a snowflake, each one is unique.

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Sending you all love.

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Learning, Stories, Thoughts, Words

Art Night

Hello! How’s it going? Hope all is well in your world. My family enjoyed Halloween and now we are on the fast track to Christmas. This time of year always seems to zip by doesn’t it?

Many months ago, I imagined myself hosting an art night. A small gathering. Maybe 6-8 women, around my dining table, all creating. The idea both thrilled and terrified me. I talked about it with several friends and received gentle encouragement to do it. So finally, it happened. A couple of weeks ago, I sent out invites and began the planning of what this night would look like. I wanted to provide lots of fun art supplies, an inspiring atmosphere, delicious snacks and wine, of course!

My formal dining room is rarely used so it was a delight to move right in and create a playful, creative space! Stringing up bits of colorful ribbon in my crystal chandelier gave the room a whimsical feel!

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I covered up the table in brown craft paper and draped the dining chairs in vintage bed sheets that I found at Goodwill.

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To provide a little more structure for those that wanted it, I set up a still life in the center of the table.

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and spread out inspiring art books

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Each lovely lady got a journal with their initial on it and a pencil as a little gift from me. I love having lots of pretty journals around to jot down thoughts and ideas.

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A colorful, vintage tray and a bouquet of vibrant flowers in the corner created a sweet little wine bar. The guests each brought a bottle of something to share.

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Once the table was set, it was time for me to pull out all my art supplies and display them for my guests! The ART BAR was born!

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Then came the food! My dear friend Katie is an amazing cook and she volunteered to do all the food for the evening! LOVE HER! She did an incredible job…creating a 98% gluten-free spread of delectable dishes! (I apologize for the dark quality of the pictures…my low-light photography skills need work!)

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This creamy brie, drizzled with a warm brown sugar, butter and walnut sauce was a huge hit!

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These gluten-free cookies and pumpkin cake were completely addictive too!

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As the night began and my guests mingled and delighted in all the gorgeous food, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach begin to settle.

Once everyone had a plate of food and a glass of wine, the ladies took their seats and I spoke (rambled) about the intention of the night and why I had wanted to do this. My heart-felt desire was to bring women together, to connect, share, grow, create and maybe even try something new. Art can really freak grown-ups out and I want to start breaking that down. I believe art is for everyone and that it is NOT about the product but the process. I believe Art can be healing, transformative and teach us a lot about ourselves. I believe that creating is something we are hard-wired to do.

After I briefly explained the different art supplies, the ladies bravely got straight to it. I was so worried that someone would become overwhelmed and shut down but nope, these girls boldly experimented and began creating! I was honored to look up from my place and be surrounded by these women who were all willing to be vulnerable with me and get outside their box.

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There were several moments that night when the room fell silent. At a dinner party…that could be a disaster but at an art night…it was magical. Everyone was in their zone; concentrating, relaxing and centered in their creation. Loved that!

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All in all, it was a wonderful night! I can’t wait to do it again! Next time, I would like to guide everyone through a specific collage/mixed media project! I truly learned a lot about myself by doing this. I was scared but sharing my passion with others was so worth all the nerves. Thank you to my incredibly gracious guests for being so open and supportive of me. And of course a HUGE thank you to Katie for all the outstanding treats!

I highly recommend trying this out with your friends, family and neighbors. Gather up all those art supplies, share and explore your creativity!

xo,

Ivy

15 Comments

Filed under Art, Art lessons, creativity, entertaining, Food, Home, Learning, News, photography, Stories

A Creative Weekend away…

Hello there! How is life treating you this week? Besides a pesky summer cold, I’m doing quite well and I’m so thankful that last weekend I got to get away with a dear friend for a creative retreat! We stayed at the sweetest cottage in the quaint Oregon beach town of Manzanita. Here are some shots via my Instagram

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This cottage doesn’t get any cuter right? It is the perfect place for a beach getaway.

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The vintage kitchen is adorable with layered personal touches and unique collections.

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Mornings (sans kids) were blissfully quiet and peaceful – sipping coffee, reading magazines and writing in my journal. Here is Katie enjoying a fav cooking mag.

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After we had substantial amounts of coffee we would move outside into the “garage” which is really an amazing outbuilding that my friend Candace converted into a charming dining hall. Strung with lights and adorned with artwork, old wine bottles and other beautiful objects it feels like a beachy treasure trove. The energy in this space is fantastic and you can tell many wonderful evenings have been spent at the long farmhouse table. We were immediately inspired.

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It didn’t take long for us to spread out and get right into a creative zone…

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After a little bit of art journaling and playing with my watercolors…

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I began a small mixed media piece…

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Almost done…Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 10.43.35 AM

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It was an amazing weekend and I was sad to leave. As much as I missed my family, having some precious time to focus on art was such a gift. Katie and I agreed to do it again soon! Thank you, Candace for letting us stay at your magical home!

Do you have a favorite place to get away and create?

xo,

Ivy

16 Comments

Filed under Art, collage, Crafting, creativity, holiday, photography, Stories, Travel, vintage

Grin & Bear it.

Hi there! How is your week going so far? We are getting so much sun here in Portland that I’m a bit giddy! It’s a little bizarre but I’ll take it!

Maybe it’s the extra Vitamin D but even my dreams have been stranger than usual. You see, I have recurring dreams with a bear in it. Yup. A big ole’ grizzly bear that I always see on the outskirts of a forest. He is always tromping through the trees on two feet appearing rather ferocious. He never actually gets me or even gets very close but the dream is alarming and always stays with me all day. This last time, I woke up from the dream and this thought entered my mind – “The bear represents change.”  It hit me like a bolt and thinking back I realized that I have my “bear dream” when lots of change is entering my life. All of a sudden both the changes and the bear seemed less frightening.  I decided to look up what a bear stands for in dreams and found that actually the bear can symbolize being brave, facing the world alone and encourages independence and strength in motherhood. Be the Mama Bear. Okay. I can do that.

To remind me of this, I just bought this print from Corella Designs on Etsy. The wonderful artist is Donna McKenizie. I love this big bear and I love that what at first seemed scary is now making me stronger.

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Here are some more of her gorgeous illustrations.

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Do you connect with a special animal or see one in your dreams? Maybe it’s trying to tell you something…

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, Etsy, Shopping, Stories

Home again

Hi dear readers! Yes, I am home from beautiful Sydney and I’m still trying to take it all in. It is always a bit surreal when one day you are in another country and the next you are in your own bed. Always trips me out a bit. We actually got home a week ago but my family stayed on to celebrate Grace’s 7th birthday…so…this is my first chance to sit down and post.

I have dozens of photos and I promise not to unload them all at once but I thought today I would just share some of my favorite Instagram shots from the first day of our adventure.

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We landed at 6:07 am. Bright and early!  After enduring all the fuss of customs and luggage wrangling, we jumped into a cab and headed to the Four Seasons Hotel. Even though I was exhausted, my heart was beating fast with excitement! I was actually here. The view from our room brought me to tears. Of joy.

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Like good little travelers, we resisted the urge to stay in our room and sleep and instead went for a brisk walk in The Rocks district, discovered a sweet cafe, downed a few coffees and a tasty breakfast.

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The feeling of being back in Sydney was rather indescribable. Surreal, bizarre, overwhelming, exhilarating. I was overcome with gratitude that somehow, in a matter of a few days, my dream of returning to my birth city had been actualized. I was in Sydney, with my beloved husband, staying at a beautiful hotel and only hours away from seeing my childhood friends. To quote my dear Aussie friend Jo – “I was completely spun out!

After a very short nap, we got up showered and felt somewhat human again. We had to seriously rally because we were off to the Opera Bar for sunset drinks with my mates!

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The Opera bar was swarming with people, all taking in the gorgeous view, the warm sun and of course the lovely drinks. I scanned the hundreds of people looking for familiar faces. The butterflies in my stomach raged and my trembling hands were doing their best to steady a glass of white wine. I was nervous and excited at the same time. What would it be like to see these girls after 19 years!?

Just when I thought that perhaps we arrived before them, two hands fell on my shoulders and spun me around. In front of me was two of my girls. Claire and Natalie. We screeched, laughed and embraced in one hysterical mess. I’m sure we looked crazy but we didn’t care. Before I knew it, another two friends arrived with bottles of bubbles, warm hugs and endless giggles. While the champagne flowed, we caught up with one another like no time had passed at all.

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The night unfolded beautifully! We ended up at a sushi place where we were joined by another friend. Chris celebrated his birthday there – the actual day had been lost in time when we crossed the date line!

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After that we meandered the Rocks, linking arms, sharing stories old and new and laughing about high school memories. My heart was flooded with happiness.  It felt good to be home.

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Okay more to come – I will break it up a bit so I don’t bore you to tears – I promise.

What have you been up to while I was away? Anyone else travel or start a new Spring project? Do tell.

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under News, photography, Stories, Travel