One week ago was a sunny Saturday, full of the life of spring, the hot heat of a day that felt like July and a lively collection of some of the people in my life that inspire me the most. Now that a week has passed, a busy one at that, I can gather more consciousness of just what was outstanding for me last weekend, my most favourite special moments and tastes, the sounds, the words spoken, the cards and thoughtful gifts...for, yes, it was my Birthday! I wanted to have a gathering of my clan: a sit-down-and-chow-together-around-a-giant-table-with-wine-flowing-and-rock-and-roll-pumping kind of affair! There was so much that made the weekend everything I wanted; from picking up my city-gal, arms waving from the bus, to shopping for wood trim at the construction store, to our Mason Bee family hatching like popcorn bursting from tiny 'kernels', then spiralling off toward their destiny. It all was magical. I will share with you an important part of my new year, my life-change to being Vegan. Somehow this has made food so sacred to me; every taste delicious, infused and carefully prepared and shared. My reasons are moral and I find that I have eased in to my 'comfy chair' of eating and fuelling my body - meaning that I couldn't feel more at ease, satisfied and safe in the ways that I attain my energy. I'm bringing all of this up since I began wondering to myself just why this felt like such a special Birthday - one with much more awareness, contentedness and exhilaration in looking to the future - not the usual half-dred at aging, the daunting year ahead at a job that maybe I only half enjoyed putting my energy towards (sounds dismal right? NAH! It wasn't THAT bad before, just the usual questionings of age and purpose). This year had so much fan-fair (which, duh, I love!), so much party, so much sun, so much amazing and beautifully prepared food AND all of those faces that I love! We listened to the The Who, we shouted, we talked (like civilized people), we roasted some veggies and baked some focaccia. We ate up (sigh) a thick slice each of fluffy and coconut-rum-soaked cake, obliterated by a sweet but tangy "butter cream" frosting, and covered with toasted shavings of coconut (Yes, VEGAN! Recipe soon.....). When my Mum sets her mind to something in the kitchen, is becomes a work of art, and in this case.... A LEGEND. Hubby and I capped off the weekend with a Sunday full of fun with our overnight guests from the city, more hot sunshine and tanning on the deck, a breaky of beans and fresh tortillas with all the fixins, more Mason Bee nursery observation, and the creation of a headboard! With my dear friend Steph being one of our guests (if two people ever DID find so much in the other one to admire and inspire, it's us!), we decided to use Sunday for the transformation of a dear old door in to a sweet-as-pie headboard. What a gorgeous beauty of patina from the layers of years and layers of paint finishes.... Our masterpiece complete, we sat back (for a couple of seconds) before throwing on our wellies and heading for the forest to scavenge for stinging nettles....a gift from the mossy floor of our island's wooded areas. Another fresh and iron-rich dinner in our bellies, we read a little, drank a little tea and threw a nice ol' lid over the most rich and rewarding Birthday weekend I can remember. 'Life is for living', and this will be a good motto for my year. Gather your clan and live!
I had the good fortune to, once again, collaborate with my gal pal Erika of Element Photography! I know, I know, we are inseparable! Erika's clients, Kim and Harley, having fallen HARD for each other, had decided to entwine their lives for GOOD (this summer!) and to have an oh-so-sweet engagement photo shoot on VALENTINE'S DAY! Erika asked me along as prop stylist to the stars! hee hee These two ARE stars! Kim is sweet as pie in her down-to-earth love of life and Harley couldn't be more of a cowboy and a gentleman! With a little western twist, the props for this shoot were geared toward these two love birds and their love of the good ol' ranch life! Once on location, I set up my 'scenes' in one corner of the farm while Erika took shots of K+H in a far field. Erika's bursts of laughter drifted over on the breeze and I chuckled to myself - having experienced the 'big fun" that is had when being shot by Erika! It's just all a PARTY! ... and that left me pinching myself "am I 'working' right now!?!?!" With each new day that breaks and with each client that finds me, I am truly touched by the amazing people I get to work along side!
All photos by Element Photography Styling: Highberry Dew (you're here!) 'Arrow Tapestry': Highberry Dew designed and produced
Happy Happy Valentine's Month! I have been bustling at the art table with hearts on my mind (when are they not!?). It's always animals that draw me in and, as I look out over a view of fields, ponds, water-fowl, happy-tailed dogs and the occasional deer, it's hard to not feel inspired by these beings. This Valentine's series features (surprise!) a couple of delighted Cardigan Corgis, a wee Wood Wren (Troglodytes Troglodytes), and some lovely antlers flying through the air with their banner of love! The natural world, at this time of year, seems so calm and sleepy and hibernating, but there really is a surge of activity out there! 'More love, more love, more love', say the animals! And even though I say "less Barry White" to those raccoons that woke me up two nights ago with their 'gettin' it on' - I would never trade in these surroundings and these friends! They are here to teach us and I think we should listen! Snuggle up to your loved ones and lets be thankful all over again, as each day brings us another opportunity to love and be loved! Aiden says 'Hi and Happy Valentines to all my Cardi friends all over the world" - There. I told him I would pass that on! XO
It's always a thrill to find something hidden away in the mailbox that doesn't reek of a bill or junky fliers! I'm a huge fan of snail mail and I truly hope it never dies! No one does better at surprising and showering her clients with snail-mail-love than Erika of Element Photography. Simply for booking Element's exceptional wedding photography packages, lucky brides and grooms receive a complimentary box of fine teas. Post-shoot, Element sends out a DVD of enthusiastic and memorable images! When the excitement of finding this in one's mailbox would seem ample, Erika took extra care in seeking out unique approached to creative packaging options that would be personal and meaningful. What a message of thanks to send out to your beloved clients, fans and supporters! The packaging assistance that Erika happened to seek out, was a little Highberry Dew twist! I had SUCH fun creating these fun boxes to hold Element's DVDs - each one personalized for a specific couple, with hand painted paper charms in the colours, flowers or icons of their special day! I love the textures of the collage-topped box, the warm grey baker's twine and all the frilly little papery tid-bits! Here are two of the five custom boxes, made with love, to honour the dedication and partnership of those who received them! Long live snail mail!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from the Home of Highberry Dew! We are all cozied in with snow on the ground! It's rare that we truly get a 'white Christmas' here on the Island - so we are feeling lucky! Have a little peak through our home to see what's happening on this eve of Christmas! Santa came early with the delivery of ice-blue boughs, books and bundles - Uhm...the Dwell birdy Chinoiserie duvet set I have wanted FOREVER (I just want to sing it to the world!)! We have special souls in our lives to share this adventure with and we are so thankful! Bless all of you out there - may close family and friends share with you the merriment and wonder that is a rich life! XO
Well my friends, it's been utter chaos around here (CHRISTMAS CHAOS!!!!), and I have to force myself to not stand too far back to look in at the studio. What a fright! Small Corgis are having trouble wading through the "artistic debris" at this point, and it's time to sweep it all under the rug and put up a tree! I wanted to share with you one of my projects from the week. I was graced with a bursting case FULL with Stella and Dot jewels to style and arrange to my heart's content. Now, there are a few wee things that I love as much as I love paper; jewellery and clothes are among them. Anyone who knows me in person, can attest to my M.O; "Why wear one necklace when you can wear 9?!" - literally, sometimes! Layering is so much fun, with long beaded strands and gold bits and bobbles! Enjoy this eye candy with me - I'm sure some of you are picking out Christmas party gowns, mini black numbers; an array of garments begging to be adorned with jewels! Tis the season! Have a safe and fun weekend of PARTAY! Cheers!
Need I point out the exciting fact that it's December!? What busyness ensues as soon as that calendar page does it's little dance to the front of the line! Highberry Dew Studio has been going a little wild and crazy lately and we have mixed up a flurry of a collection of cottages! Yes cottages! Introducing the 'Cardi-Town Christmas Village'! Last year, for Aiden's first Christmas, I pledged to create one cottage per year to add to his Cardi-Town ('Cardi', standing for the fact that he is a 'Cardigan' Welsh Corgi - of course!). Let's be honest, AA Bug doesn't give two toots about his Cardi-Town (in fact, he can't even see it he is so short!), but he knows we love him, and I get THE biggest thrill out of setting it up each year! Now you can WIN one of the Cardi-Town Cottages! My good friend Tam, busy lady and event planner extraordinaire, is doing her annual Advent Calendar via her blog. From today until December 25th, each new day will unfold with a give-away over at Blue Lily! This is just thrilling! That many chances to win a special gift item, a discount on a service, a free downloadable tid-bit of clip art, etc... Watch Blue Lily' Blog for the mini 'Cardi-Town Christmas Cottage' give-away from Highberry Dew (moi!) within the next week! I poured love in to this little home, and it's waiting to be claimed by it's owner (perhaps given a spot on the mantle!?). Accompanying your Cottage, the winner will also receive a 12-pack of my 'Winter Love' gift tags with jute twine attached. Tam will gracefully walk you through the process of entering each give-away - easy breezy! Enjoy this week of 'gifting' and best of luck to you all! XO
Living in a winter wonderland....well, INDOORS at least! Here on the west coast, we don't see much snow and are rarely graced with a true, 'White Christmas' - so sometimes it needs to be created indoors! I LOVE all shades of white and have painted our living area in three different whites, Farrow and Ball's 'Off White' on the wall that receives the most light, 'Clunch' on the shadowed wall, and 'Pointing' for the fireplace and trim. This collage of whites creates a harmony and a balance that you wouldn't necessarily be able to put a finger on at first glance, but, as with many paint colours, that feeling is just THERE to be a subtle yet important backdrop to life. This life is wild and full enough, that in our home we like a mild and soothing backdrop of white! This week is no exception as we celebrate hubby's Birthday, my Highberry Dew feature on Wedding Chicks (WOOOOOOT), an epic night with a live piping band in the confines of a cozy Irish Pub and now a house full of precious friends. It's amid the inspiring presence of 5 other creative souls that I write, photograph and catch up with all of you fine friends on line.....while around me there is a bustle of latte' making, novel writing, philosophizing, hair cutting (!), contest-entering, and food preparation - each person with their skill and the art of fine tuning it! Happy Weekend all!
Remember this odd, plastic garage sale find? Kinda ugly, right!? Below you will find that this young Buck has received a new lease on life. Isn't he dreamy?
Who doesn't love a pop of colour!?! I just love the sporty, vibrant new collection from my talented friend, Eliza Faulkner!
Let me share with you a little fun I got up to this summer! Here is a dwelling with a LOT of love in it - a home that was hand built by it's owners on a hillside overlooking one of this Island's prized bays! When this beautiful family came to me with questions about updating their interior, we got right down to the fun of it and began sourcing what was needed to turn this space upside down - in the best possible way! What was desired was a look that was a tad rustic Southwest, with touches of European poise and grandeur. We wanted to convey an organic, hand-made feeling to compliment the reclaimed materials and hands-on approach to the home's construction... and we REALLY wanted to make that giant orange thing fade away! With transformations that included the refinishing of the 'orange thing' (enter the Black Beauty of an entertainment unit that is now both a statement and a stunning focal point to the room), we overlooked no corner! A custom Highberry Dew console table was designed and built especially for the space using reclaimed timbers (ok, it was a chicken barn!), and a set of antlers from a friend of the family, became an on-trend ornament for a bright corner. The lamp, repurposed from an existing lamp in the room, had an HD re-fit, using an antique bed post for a chunky and proportional new lighting experience - with an over-sized 'finial' atop it! The most fun was had in selecting the collections of accessories; from mirrored bird trays, to vintage books, bone-handled magnifying glasses and the stunning chandelier from Pottery Barn. On one shopping excursion, my client and collaborator, came out of a 'used' store, having just bought two GIANT dressers... not for the room we were working on (and not in the 'plan') - but a GRAND choice in the end...for the BEDROOM!. I couldn't deny that they were in need of a serious refinish job, and I promised to tackle them with everything I had - sandpaper, stripper, a hoe and a rake, white paint, dark wax, and finally, a coat of clear wax. As my client knew, when you see sturdy older furniture pieces (especially with such great hardware) it's wise to not pass them up! With many items being re-incorporated in to the room by means of re-design, this was truly a 'green' project! What now overlooks that Bay, is a cozy and welcoming family area, where patinad wood, dark accents and gilded mirrors are the friendly reminders of days spent brainstorming and designing together! Pura Vida!
A 'before' and 'after' of the 'Bed Post' lamp! To meet my friend and fellow junker Mike, from whom I acquired this bed post (and many other treasures)....have a look here! When I finished viewing this episode, I felt pretty privilaged to have pried ANYTHING from his personal collection!
The Details: Products by Highberry Dew Home: Antler Tray, Console Table, Ground Cherry Garland, Oil Painting/Art, Mounted Antlers, Tag, Bed Post Lamp, Twig Bundle, 'The Little Men' Ottoman. PAINT: Entertainment Unit: "Off Black" by Farrow and Ball Dressers: "Acadian White" by Benjamin Moore Wax: Annie Sloan As you know by now, Erika, of Element Photography, and I work very closely together on an array of collaborations! Thanks to this multi-talented lady for her images of this home!
Recently, a friend posted to Facebook; "Finish this sentence: 'The best feeling in the worlds is...'" Of course I said, " Preparing for Christmas; decor, cards, baking, designing" and amid the other enthusiastic responses were; "nostalgia", "crisp, clean sheets", "knowing you're needed" and "hugging my mother"! I love this type of joint, thought-stirring activity....the gift of sharing our true and real lives! I think it says to one another, "hey, we're all real people, all figuring life out together!" I think I'm addicted to Christmas Spirit because of all these 'best feelings' - that's what Christmas is about; from nostalgia to clean sheets! Yesterday was certainly a day of 'best feelings' as I adventured through the kitschy and wonderful world of Antique and Retro Christmas Fair Vendors with my dear friend and side-kick, missed one ferry and managed to almost miss another (we were talking, ok!), and lunched by the seaside. Then, just to throw that perfect topper on an already trimmed tree, we managed to end it all with a scrounge in the ditch for some freshly fallen White Pine boughs (thank you to the kind man who let us load up the Station Wagon!). Now, with wee vintage trinkets in hand for gifts, boughs for dressing the house and a warmed heart, I bid you all goodnight... BUT...I'm dying to hear of your 'Best Feelings'! Do leave me a comment, for I love the feeling of finding feed-back. It's almost as addictive as alliteration!