Friday, January 30, 2015

Bubbles, Buzz and Blooms

Happy Friday, all. Any plans to watch the big game this weekend? Not sure who will deserve it and who will need it, but you can bet there will be champagne at our house on Superbowl Sunday in hopes that it will keep things sparkly and bubbly no matter who wins. (Mr. H and I are on opposite sides of the couch on this one - he's from Boston, I'm a Seattle girl - so this could get interesting.)

If you're more Legion of Bloom than Legion of Boom, something else to watch for this weekend is a giveaway over on The Buzz Blog. Earlier this month a gorgeous bouquet from the Diane James Home Spring/Summer 2015 collection popped up on my Instgram and inspired a sketch for day five of my Sketch-a-Day project (more about that here). The Buzz girls, Cynthia and Carolyn, requested a painting... 

I painted them a second sketch, which they plan to give away to their one of their readers.

So please pop over to The Buzz and say hi to Carolyn and Cynthia.

Here's hoping that you win the painting... and that the Seahawks win the Superbowl!

Cheers! XOXO

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Pop of Color in the Heart of Paris

Happy Wednesday, all. How about a little splash of color to boost us through the middle of the week? It's been so lovely to see the bright lanterns currently hanging in the Place de Furstemberg for Paris Deco Off pop into my Instagram feed this week. It reminded me that I never shared photos from last year when they danced over my head as I walked through the loveliest little square in Paris. 

Right around the corner from Ladurée Royal, the Place de Furstemberg measures just 20 by 22 meters, but the world's greatest fabric houses grace the tiny square. Pierre Frey, Rubelli, Manuel Canovas, Osborne & Little all share the place with the four flowering paulownia trees and 19th century lantern described by Henry Miller in Tropic of Cancer.  Delacroix lived and painted here the last years of his life and the Musée National Eugène Delacroix occupies his apartment and studio.

Even without the lovely, cheerful lanterns swaying in the tree branches, it's one of those spots in Paris where one can't help but be charmed. Grab a box of macarons from Ladurée or a choux or two from La Masion de la Chou, window shop, wander and soak up all the color.

Where do you wish you were wandering this week? XO

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Art of Travel: Going Solo

Happy Monday, all. Did you enjoy the weekend? I spent some time doing French garden chair studies in prep for a larger painting that's been on my mind. This guy above, spotted on a solitary walk through the Tuileries reminded me of how much I enjoyed being alone in Paris last year. Do you do much solo travel? Would you try a trip on your own?

Being alone in Paris surprised me - the expected loneliness never crept in. To be able to wander, to take photos until fingers turned blue, to set my own schedule, revealed a city never before seen. 
Of course, traveling in pairs brings different rewards. Another Paris altogether will be found the next time I visit with Mr. H. And it's always nice to be part of a pair. But there's something about solitude that paints an unexpectedly happy picture.

How about you? Do you enjoy traveling by yourself, or would you always prefer to have company?


Friday, January 23, 2015

Seeing Rouge

Ever since I spotted these brilliant Red Dior Shoes on The Cut, they've been dancing in my head. I'm a little obsessed. Perfect for pairing with a little black dress - or a favorite pair of jeans and a white T-shirt.

Wearing them might feel like zipping around Paris on a bright Red Vespa... 

Of course a new Red Lipstick may give you all the zoom you need - and would be a bit more practical than a pair of red suede heels... or a Parisian Vespa ride.

Which is your more your speed?

Happy Weekend, everyone. Whether you're putting on your dancing shoes or cozy-ing up in your favorite slippers, hope it's a lovely one! XO

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dreaming Of... A Paris Project

This time last year, I was on a flight to Paris... have to say there is some regret that a repeat of that adventure is not on deck this week. Alone in the city, I got hooked on Instagram... started playing with a new fancy camera. Inspiration was everywhere.

Looking through the photos, I'm thinking of a starting a Paris series... I'd love to spend a few days... a week... a month... sketching there en plein air, but the next best thing would some time in the studio painting from the photos. There are a few ideas budding, let's see how they bloom!

Where in the world are you most inspired? XO

Monday, January 19, 2015

Table Inspiration: A Chinese New Year Celebration

Happy Monday, all! How was the weekend? Even with the excitement of a Seahawks victory (and the Patriots for Mr. H - things are going to be interesting at our house come Super Bowl Sunday), the true highlight was an early Chinese New Year's party at the home of my amazing friend Dana. We've been celebrating New Years - either the January 1 variety or Chinese New Year - with the same crew for a decade now. Two of them are about to move to London, so we had our bash a month early. As always, Dana set the most gorgeous table - please note the gilded fortune cookies

Willow Ware plates in a midnight shade, Grace Glassybabys, oranges and brightly hued roses, paper lanterns and her lovely collection of blue and white all added up to something extraordinarily beautiful.

Talk about good fortune. How lucky am I to have a friend with such great style? You can follow her on Instagram: @danamerrillstyle 

And isn't there something about a party in the middle of January when everyone has been hibernating for a few weeks? So wonderful to celebrate the company of dear friends.

What's your favorite reason to celebrate this time of year? XO

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Survival Guide Part 2: Cozy Up and Bloom

Don't you think that one of the best things about winter is cuddling up in cozy sweaters? Equipment makes the softest, chicest cashmere (never itchy!), and their Sloane sweater in a pretty floral print is just the right dose of happy for gray winter days. It's my new favorite! And when warmer weather comes along, pair it with white jeans and sandals and say hello to spring.

Hope your weekend is warm and cozy... XOXO

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Painting the Promise of Spring

Couldn't resist painting that ginger jar full of pink tulips... Truth be told, if I could paint only one thing, it might be flowers. Of course from time to time they'd have to be in a gorgeous piece of blue and white! Colbalt blue and bright pink have to be my favorite color combo of the moment... they whisper of warm skies and spring blooms.

At 9x13, this piece is bigger than I've been working of late - it wouldn't even fit into our scanner, so all the images you're seeing here are photos.

BTW, this one's for sale and would love to live in a beautiful home. Please contact me if you are interested. Update: It's been sold. Thanks so much for your kind words and inquiries!

What creative projects have you been up to lately? XOXO

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Survival Guide Part 1

How are you weathering winter? Life is too short to wish any months away - but this time of year when the holiday trimmings have been packed up, and days run cold and gray, we could all use a little help brightening things up, don't you think? 

The first line of defense against the dark and dreary: To paraphrase Mr. Monet, I must have flowers, always... but especially in January.

Grocery store tulips do the trick. Pink in the bath, on my nightstand, and desk. 

Always red in the kitchen.

And this time of year almost every container in the house gets pressed into service to hold the promise of spring. Jonquils and hyacinths take the spots recently vacated by garlands and Christmas-y greens. 

These were planted this morning and will fill the house with the scent of sunnier days. I feel warmer already!

What's your favorite way to brighten winter days?

Happy Monday, everyone! XOXO

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year, New Project: A Sketch a Day

Happy Friday, everyone! We made it through the first full week of 2015! How was it? How are those resolutions? New practices? Goals?

One new thing I'm super excited to do this year is a "Painting a Day" project. I'll be attempting a 30-minute sketch each day, and decided to find inspiration for the paintings on Instagram.

 DAY 1 - @pvedesign

Patricia van Essche of PVE Design has been an incredible inspiration for so long - a true champion since back in the days spent dreaming of quitting my job and becoming a full-time artist. When she wrote about her goal of tackling a 30 minute painting a each day in 2015, it hit just the right note.

 DAY 2 - @zhush

Patricia was inspired by the amazingly talented Jennifer from August Wren, who painted 365 days last year. Jennifer said that keeping a sketchbook for the year was one of the most rewarding things she's ever done. (You can read about it here). I love her work, it has such a fun energy.

 DAY 3 - @vickiarcher

Starting out last Monday morning, I couldn't decide what to sketch. Fidgeting a bit, picked up my iPhone and scrolled through Instagram - favorite form of procrastination - and there it was.... photo after photo of inspiration in my hand. My very own twist on the project - sketch a favorite Instagram image each day. It seemed only fitting to begin with PVE's gorgeous amaryllis post from that morning - a blooming start.

Five days in now and loving it. Of course, there are still 355 days left. I'm a little unsure how this will unfold, we travel a lot, so it could get complicated. So far, so good, though. There are few a specific goals in mind... be spontaneous, be fast (have to be with 30 minutes), don't be afraid to make mistakes... and let them be when they happen, let the paint flow. I'm hoping to find a freshness and lightness that carries over to my other work. 

Thanks so much to everyone who already chimed in with support and kind comments on Instagram - you can follow along there, I'll post daily at @idreamofjeanne and will keep you updated here on the blog, too, from time to time.

So here's to a new year, to fresh starts and fresh paint! Happy weekend, friends! XOXO

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Meet me in Sun Valley

Friends on the east coast may be over the snow at this point, but a few asked to hear more about our Sun Valley escape. Sad to say, my camera didn't like the cold, so we'll have to take a quick trip via the trusty iPhone.

Mr. H. and I married here seven years ago, so I may be a little biased, but I think Sun Valley is a magical place. Bald Mountain watches over all the goings on in the valley, the sky seems to always be blue, and whether you're hardcore (like Mr. H.) or petrified (like me) there's a hill or a trail for you to ski. It was home to the world's first chair lift and some of the first classic alpine races in the U.S. (and still holds a place in the hearts of champion skiers). There's a reason why Hemingway called it home, why Clark Gable and Gary Cooper used to frequent the slopes and why now it's no surprise to bump shopping carts with Drew Barrymore at Atkinsons' Market on New Year's Eve or stand in line at Starbucks with Rob Reiner.

The best day this trip? We started the year by snowshoeing out to the spot we were married and marveled at all that's happened since we stood there and said our vows. On the trail back to the Nordic Center we ran into all kinds of friends. Then we settled in by the big stone fireplace at the Sun Valley Club, ordered Bloody Marys and talked until a table was ready for a late lunch.

Just another day in Sun Valley, but some how it felt like magic.

If you go:

Classic choice the Sun Valley Lodge is getting a facelift right now, but re-opens next summer. Knob Hill Inn is small and boutique-y and they make a mean popover in their grill. And there are plenty of homes and condos available to rent.

Michel's Christiania, The Ketchum Grill and Cristina's are all old favorites. Enoteca has the latest buzz. Whether you earn the fondue by skiing all day, or just take a ride up on the Gondola, don't miss lunch at The Roundhouse, where they've been serving up spectacular views since 1939. And for burgers and beers, Grumpy's is a must.

Downhill or Nordic? Skating, sledding or sleigh ride? Shopping or snow shoeing? You won't be bored! (And that's just the winter months - the fun doesn't stop in the summer.) For a list of activities, click here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fresh Tracks!

Hello, all! Are you ready to make fresh tracks into a brand new year? We spent our last days of 2014 and first of 2015 on a ski break in Sun Valley, which was full of snow-ventures, champagne and lovely friends. And now here we are, racing back to work, ready to make our mark and accomplish all sorts of things!

What are you chasing after in the coming weeks? Any goals? New mountains to conquer? I'd love to hear!

Hope your 2015 is snow much fun! XOXO


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