Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Before and After - Artwork Update

When I first started this this blog (my second) I wrote a post called Remember your Roots where I told you about blowing up some old letterhead from my hometown, printing it in a large format and hanging it on my wall.  (Hubs build the really simple frame, too)  I have loved this piece so much even I used it in two different rooms (both my bedroom and most recently in my living room).  But recently, I felt compelled to change it up and I had been itching to get my acrylic paints out.  I had to paint and draw in college as a part of my degree in Interior Design, and I love the look of acrylic paints.  I was never an artist by any stretch, but truly love to paint - I love color and I love the textural, imperfect, layered look of acrylics.  Anyway, I drug out my art boxes, pulled the Callahan County print down off the wall and went for it.  I love and miss my home so much, and always always say that my roots, my family, and our heritage in West Texas makes me who I am.  This was a way to illustrate the light and love of my upbringing, family and place, and how that moves me still today.  I like it - the mix of the old illustration against new bright graphics - I'd definitely say it totally "pops" and of course, the colors alone make me so happy.  And the graphic burst is so simple to do.  Here's to doing a bit of what you love whenever you can, creative decor, and of course remembering your roots. 

the paints
the palette on a plate
my hometown 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smmidge Style: Winter Color and Funky Silhouettes

Winter time doesn't have to mean gray and black sweaters and heavy coats.  No, Siree.  Bring on the color and. . . uh, short sleeves?  Well, yes, atleast in this case. Now, to be fair, living in Dallas makes this easier as we are fortunate to have mild winters, and though it does get cold and even (horrors!) snows on occasion, many days we can keep warm with layers - cardigans, capes, scarves.  What does this mean?  Year round tops, that's what.

I found this little number at Anthro this weekend. . . and in all honesty, aside from color, I am currently obsessed with silhouettes whether in home decor or fashion.  From babies to dogs to well. . . penguins on a silk shirt, I wantitneeditmusthaveit.  This uh-freakin'-dorable top is by Charlotte Taylor.  There is a full group of creature covered, colorful silk-silhouetted garments at Anthro right now, and all are bound to spice up your tights, scarves and sweaters.  In fact, each piece (dresses, skirts, shirts) would look fabulous layered with simple winter grays and blacks.  But here in Big D, I'll be able to wear this just as it is right here with my purple jeans (coincidentally, also from Anthropologie. . .I know I know) and boots.  It is Big D after all.

Blouse info here

More on Charlotte Taylor here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Watch, Listen and be Moved: WLT & Young the Giant

I came across an amazing grouping of music videos on It's Invigorating today.  First off, that's one rad blog with ideas on lots of things. . .why is it so, well, invigorating to find others (even if only online) with similar interests and taste. . . so I say, check it out today.  And of course I got to I-I through one of my fave Dallas blogs, Hello Splendor.  Ahhh, our online connections. . . But back to biz - I was inspired to share one video in particular - Young the Giant's I Got.  I cannot get over this guy's voice.  I'm hooked and completely obsessed at this point.  They are totes on my must-see list.  I'll be getting this to Hubs immediately for our next night on the town.  I was at once transported to a Mexican-like town in the, well, the 50s... but like filled with New Yorkers, surfers and Texans. . . does that make ANY sense?  Whatever it was and wherever it took me, I want more.  And beyond loving the music I absolutely, positively love the videography.  WLT or Watch Listen Tell is the production house behind these amazing videos. . . and just as it was designed, they make you want to eat them up and bring all your frinds to the table.  So, because they work so well, I couldn't leave you without sharing another of my very favorite artists also captured by WLT, Lissie, whom I've blogged about several times here on Smmidge.  I couldn't share her enough.  She makes me happy/sad/hopeful/inspired everytime.  Hope you like these and are inspired to share just the same.  Happy Thanksgiving week! xx - m.m.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Key It Up

vintage keys tied with ribbon and chains.  image & source
There is something magical about keys, right?  They lead to something. . . somewhere.  They symbolize love, hope, even mystery and power. . . And what a great shape, too.  Whether new or vintage, the shape can add just the right interest to a wall, a corner, a room or even an outfit.  Aren't these painted vintage keys adorable?  I can see them as necklaces or hanging from a chandelier. 
vintage keys simply adorn a wall.  image from source
An array of vintage keys hung directly on a wall.  Simple and even elegant.  Would definitely make me want to take a minute in that corner. 
key lampshade.  genius!  image & source (
Resourceful style is my favorite thing.  How about this key lampshade for creatively using what you have to make something unique and beautiful.  Love it!
key cards as place cards.  image
Add a vintage touch to your next event by tying a key to the place cards.  It's unexpected and will be something your guests remember forever. 
key motif.  image & source
Love this fabric with keys as a motif.  I would love to have a stamp or two in these shapes.  
keys en masse.  image & source
Sometimes a statement is all about having something in large quantities, and that principle applies to all these keys hanging together. . . would make an amazing canopy or garland! 
key art.  image & source (wit and delight)
This artist was inspired by the key shape, too!  We agree.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wreaths All Around - Holiday Inspiration

image & source
I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. . . and I'm on to Christmastime dreams.   Thanksgiving is a tough one for us, we most often aren't home for that holiday and in the weeks leading up to it are sometimes the most busy of the year for us. . . I'm lucky to plop a pumpkin on the porch for Halloween which often remains until the Sunday after Thanksgiving when we return home from visiting family, road weary and stuffed full of pumpkin pie.  I remove it from the porch then and bust out a wreath.  This year I want something new to adorn my door and found these awesome options for inspiration.  From the unexpected and funky, to DIY, to classic, a wreath can add just the right amount of cheer to an entryway or a mirror or a banister.  Hope these inspire you to change it up and and add just the right new wreath to your Holiday mix.  
image & source
image & source
image & source
image & source

Smmidge Style: Color Blocking & One Last Costume Shot

 I happily pulled out my orange-ish winter JCrew pants from last year, excited to use to color block. . . I  definitely gravitate to colorful clothing in general. . . but often it's patterned.  It's been awhile since I've had only solids on, and I have to say I enjoyed the simplicity. . . perhaps it is a part of becoming a mature woman? (uh, please see Mid 30s Crisis) Or perhaps it is purely heart for this trend. . . not hard because I do love cobalt, orange togeth, and the only pattern. . . a bit of zig-zag on a stray pair of Missoni for Target shoes I came across weeks after the stampede.   In the background - Bugger's balance bike, the Early Rider.  Such a cool bike and he is totally zooming on that thing these days.  Speaking of Bugs, I had to include one last look of the 1920s Weightlifter from Halloween . . . what a fun night we had with pounds and pounds of sweets!

who needs treats when you can fiddle with the phone?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inspired by AIGA's Design for Good

It's true.  Designers solve problems.  Sometimes in the most beautiful way, yes. . . but also, functional ways.  Always functional. . . otherwise where is the design?  I'm so inspired by AIGA's Design for Good movement where they are mobilizing designers of all disciplines to come together with other functional experts to solve community based problems. Or as they say, "design driven social change". Take a look at this beautifully produced video that explains the approach.  It's about utilizing talent in an efficient way to make a positive impact on communities of all sorts. Cities, towns, and organizations of all kinds are coming to see that designer's approach to problem solving can be a huge asset from implementing the creative process (even on problems outside of typical design) to understanding the collaborative process.  Designers can often anchor a group and harness the creativity to produce a functional (and likely beautiful) answer (for profit, or not).  I don't know about you, but facing what we face in this day and age, I'm on board for a new and better way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

smmidge Style: Bits of my Fave Prints, Shoes & Accessories

Fall has come to Texas (finally!) and that means more fun with layers, textures and accessories - who can wear an arm full of bangles in 110 degree heat?!  Ahhh, but now in the cool 60s, we can load up an arm with some bling, add some funky socks or layer on a jacket and some extra patterns.  Yay!  Here are a few of my fave bits these days. . . only bits because isn't that where the real fun is? The difference is always in the little flourishes. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rethinking Visual Ads - Documenatary This Space Available

On the surface, a person (such as myself) who earns a living by understanding and leveraging branding (all types - marketing, publicity, advertising) who posts a documentary trailer speaking out against visual advertising might seem. . . well, wrong.  Or intellectually dishonest (as my brother often says).  I would say it is not wrong, and in fact it (an evaluation of visual clutter, urban culture and environment, and responsibility) should be at the top of all of our branding-machine minds.  This Space Available (screening tonight at the New York Documentary Film Fest) evaluates how commercial messages are overpowering public spaces, and the grassroots movement to take back our skylines and public spaces.  It begs the questions, are we all consumers all the time?  I hope not, though frankly, in the era we live in, I'm unsure. . . From a branding perspective, less more valuable space would potentially increase creativity and make each brand experience more meaningful . . . from a collective human experience perspective, I think less clutter is essential to giving my child (and all kids) room to breath and learn. . . and ultimately make their own decisions.  Marketing blaspheme, you say?  Well, brands that matter (or that move the fastest with cash) will make the most of it, and others will get scrappy and find new channels. . . but perhaps our urban experience can and should be about just that. . . a walk to work, and cab ride to the airport, and an uncluttered skyline of possibilities that we have to imagine, not the marketers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Two Weeks of Tidbits: Style, Projects, Travel

It's been a jam packed couple of weeks around here!  Super excited for the experiences I've had - from events in NYC (and great coffee, too), to a simple project with my acrylics which make me so happy, to a magical sunset in rural West Texas that will inspire your socks off - the range of people, ideas and place are ever present in projects (thanks Halloween!) and style (of course) and all is enough to get and keep my juices flowing. I'll complete a super fun nursery this week, and we'll dive into that one soon. . .  What more could I really ask for?  Well, there is always something we can improve on (more on that later), but mostly, it's all good stuff.  Have fantastic week!  -m.m.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bring Fall to Life with Simple Acorn Designs

image and source
Nothing says fall like acorns, right?  I love them, as we have an oak tree in our back yard that always yields wonderful acorns each fall. . . last year I gathered some up and spray painted them (of course) which made for an easy way to spruce up a bowl or a tabletop during the season.  I'm just about ready to gather up another batch, but in case you don't have your own oak tree, here are a few lovely acorn designs, from felt DIY acorns, to a sweet acorn drop, to an acorn screen printed pillow - all are simple ways to bring a little fall to your next gathering, look, or project.  Hope you have fabulous fall weekend!  -mm
image and source

image and source
image and source
image and source

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sofa Love: Guest Post from Design Shuffle

I've been SO crazy busy that I'm thrilled to have Jenn from Design Shuffle guest post today for smmidge.  Show a little "Sofa Love" for everyone's favorite seat in the house.  Enjoy! And thanks again to Design Shuffle. -mm

Hi all! My name is Jenn and I write for Design Shuffle, a popular social media and networking website that follows the work of top interior designers and interior design trends from around the world. I recently moved into my first house and I spent weeks choosing the perfect sofa - and I turned to inspiring blogs like Smmidge to help me figure out what was trendy in colours and styles. So you can imagine my delight when I found out I'd be guest posting here about sofa love! Thanks for having me at Smmidge! The centrepiece of any great living room design is often the sofa. In daring colours or shapely forms, traditionally elegant or dramatically modern, sofas can infuse a living space with style and character. These eight rooms will demonstrate how sofa love can inspire the entire interior design of a room.
Tan Sofa Design
 A square tan sofa is simple and dignified, and looks stylish paired with a bold patterned throw rug and starburst wall decor.
 Yellow Couch Design 
 While it would seem that a bright yellow couch would be the loudest thing in the space, it's actually the opposite - the primary hue adds some dimension to the blue papered walls and rug with fuchsia accents. Striped Couch Design 
 A blue, yellow, or striped couch may evoke some sofa love, but when joined together, they are even more whimsical. It looks less busy and more streamlined with the matching striped wall art. Hot Pink Sofa Design 
 A dash of hot pink works well because of the starkness of this casual guest bedroom design - it keeps the space from feeling too bare and drab. Shabby Chic Sofa Design 
 The charming thing about this casual living room is that the pink couches and sheer white curtains are a tad shabby chic, yet the light fixtures and clear acrylic table are oh-so-contemporary. Eclectic Textured Sofa  
 White-on-white can be very "in" and also overwhelming in starkness, but not here - the living room design incorporates an eclectic textured couch and armchair. Zigzag Design 
 This brown and tan living room looks fashionable with an armless sofa, while the zigzag motif is repeated in the throw cushions and armless chair. Bold Sofa Design 
Show some sofa love for this blue beauty. One of the best living room design ideas is using an element that helps to not only balance the space but also give it some character. [ Images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 ] The possibilities are endless! If you'd like to see more living room inspiration, check out Design Shuffle where you'll find the work of talented San Francisco interior designers, Boston interior designers and more!
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