Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wonderful One Hundred - and a Giveaway!!

boxed set of custom stationery designed by Nesting Instincts
As promised in yesterday's post - Number One Hundred - I'm having a giveaway! Yay! Here are the details: Some of you super-observant folks may have noticed I recently mentioned working on my own custom stationery line for Etsy. It is still in the works, although losing my hard drive was a blow; I lost over 30 original designs that I haven't had time to recreate yet. But I'm shakin' it off, and I thought it would be fun to give away a set of 12 custom-designed notecards to one lucky winner. The winner will be able to choose one of the three designs shown below, or a combination of all three. Each card is hand-embellished with a brilliant Swarovski crystal, and will be customized in the wording of your choice...your first name, last name, or both, or monogram will be placed on each card. You can also choose the ink & envelope color!

Design #1: "Estate" - embellished with Swarovski crystal
These are pictures of personalized stationery I recently designed as part of a wedding gift. The couple's last name is on each card, in the colors of their wedding (blue, obviously!), and each is embellished with a Swarovski crystal. (Please forgive the blurry photos - we are in the market for a new camera that will - among other things - take great close-ups of stationery. I promise this stuff's not blurry in real life!) I'll be giving away notecards with these designs, but with the color and wording of your choice.

Design #2: "Line-up"


Design #3: "Vintage"
Here's how you can enter to win: help me name my custom stationery & invitation line! Here are my top three ideas for names:

1. Nest Paperie
2. Ink & Feathers
3. Nest Couture

I already have a favorite, but do you? Leave a comment telling me which name you like best, and you'll be entered into the drawing. And if you have your own suggestion for a name, I'd love to hear it! (You can see I'm playing off the whole "nest" idea because it will remain a division of Nesting Instincts.). The last day to comment on this post and be entered for the drawing will be Saturday, June 7.

I'm excited to design this stationery for one lucky winner! So please leave a comment!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday's Fab Finds - Happy 100th Post to Me!

Facebook Cuppies watercolor painting by jessieoleson
Yay! Today marks 100 posts on the Nesting Instincts blog. I've got a few things up my sleeve to celebrate - but to kick things off, I think we should all help ourselves to a cupcake. In fact, let's have a Cupcake Extravaganza! I promise you won't even gain weight with these. I browsed Etsy and found some of the cutest and most creative cupcakes for you today. Grab a cup of coffee and feast on least with your eyes!
Cuppie sees a Broadway Show original watercolor painting by jessieoleson
Cupcake in Rome watercolor painting by jessieoleson
Cupcake original oil painting by RozArt

smaller and smaller and smaller print by beeskneesindustries


mini cupcake bath soap party favors (set of 10) by whitelyesoapco

cupcake - acrylic and block painting on paper by sheridesthelion

I love nothing more than a good party and an excuse to celebrate, so...I'll be back this weekend with a special weekend post announcing the details of a giveaway in honor of 100 posts. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for putting up with my all my silliness...and I'll be back this weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let...the season...BEGIN!

I generally refer to the weekend after Memorial Day as "Opening Day". For what, you might ask? Baseball? No. Fishing? No. Garage sales, of course! My friends in warmer climates are probably pitying me right now - as well you should - since you are blessed with garage sales practically year-round, I'm sure. But for Oregonians, we have a very short and focused season. I look forward to it all winter and when it gets here, I have so much fun. The thrill of the hunt...the rush of adrenaline...the eagle eyes as you slowly cruise that a Duncan Fife table? What color could I paint that bench? Would that chair fit in my daughter's room? Can I talk them down from $10 to $5? I never have much cash to spend - but that's the beauty of it. You can get so much for so little at garage sales.

my youngest checking out one of my latest found treasures

The last couple of weekends I've lucked out with a few early garage sales here and there. Weekend before last I was at an estate sale in its last couple of hours. I was wishing I had known about it a day earlier, because even towards the end they had some serious treasures left. I picked up a pair of fabulous - and I mean fabulous - mid-century drapes for $20. Steep for me, but when you see them you'll understand. (That's only if you appreciate mid-century design, I should add.) I'll show you a picture of them later - they're at the drycleaners. (That's where the real investment came in...quiet sob.)

I picked up this child's picture book from 1914, which had part of another picture book inside it, for $9. Again, a bit steep for me, but every single page is perfect for framing. I'm thinking they'd be awesome in a playroom or nursery.

...and this plate for $2. I collect this china pattern. Or rather, I have about six pieces which I got all at the same sale a few years ago. I'm just going to say that means I "collect" it.

Then, this last weekend, I went to a few garage sales in my favorite rich neighborhood - the Irvington/Alameda area, for you Portlanders. (I love garage sales in wealthy neighborhoods, because their junk is most certainly my treasure!) Gorgeous old houses, immaculate yards...I could go on...but instead I'll show you some treasures I found:

...this large basket for $ first I thought I'd paint it, but then realized it sorta goes with my new very pale aqua living/dining rooms...

...this vintage overnight bag, again for $1 (love that!) which I plan to use for storage in my home office (which I am VERY slowly putting to come, one day)...

and last, but not least, this outrageous mirror for $8 (that's all I could get them to go down from $10). I thought I'd paint it white...but...I hate to admit this...but the gold is actually starting to grow on me. There! I said it! Have I been reading too much Elle Decor or something? Seriously, I'm starting to love it's outrageousness as is. But, I may still paint it shabby white. Or red. Ha! Who knows?

All I can say is, three cheers for Opening Day - and Mom, get your van ready!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shopping With a Purpose

wouldn't this be a lovely space to sit at your desk with your laptop and do some online shopping?

So I have to admit...I love shopping. Really. What woman doesn't? Okay, I know there are a few out there...but don't tell me if you don' will blow my theory out of the water. Just let me live in ignorance and assume everyone out there enjoys the shallow pursuit of things - particuarly bargain things - like I do. So when I found out there was a way to make my shallow pursuit of things seem only slightly less shallow, I said...sign me up!

or what about this beautiful space?

Okay, in all seriousness...I love the idea of this website, . I read about it in my latest issue of Home magazine. The idea is, you can shop online via at major participating retailers like Target, Nordstrom, Home Depot, Old Navy, Smith & Hawken and many others, and a portion of the total will be donated to one of their participating non-profit organizations of your choice. There are many worthy organizations participating in this program - enough that the chances are good that you'll find one close to your heart. (I do hope they start including some smaller, faith-based organizations soon, though - there are so many great - but little - organizations out there that are doing very great things with very little help.)

or this one? (can you tell I'm into blue right now?)

Shopping AND giving - now there are two of my favorite things, put together like peanut butter & jelly. If you're like me, you're going to spend money at some of these places anyway. How about we make our dollars work extra hard, and for a good cause?

Image 1: garden offices UK; images 2 & 3: Belle Vivir blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Living Room Makeover - a warm & cozy cottage

I hope you all had a wondeful holiday weekend! And, in case you were wondering - I've got a few more posts to go in my Party-Time Tuesday series...but I'm just not feelin' it today. (I did have all the party posts created ahead of time - until my hard drive crashed a few weeks ago.) So it'll be back next Tuesday. (Or possibly tomorrow? I haven't decided yet. That's the beauty of being my own boss. I can change the rules on a whim! Thanks for sticking with me here, people.) What I am feeling like today is showing you another interior redesign!

close-up of fireplace mantel after redesign

This was a really fun redesign for me because the client had such fun things to work with. (Plus, she let me do whatever I wanted! Gotta love that.) As a former "Southern Living at Home" consultant, she had a variety of decorative accessories of great quality, style and colors. It was simply a matter of re-arranging everything in a way that highlighted the decor and visually made sense. Since light was limited in this living room, with only one large window, my goal was to brighten the space in every way possible. I did this by removing several black throw pillows, which were really sucking the light out of the room; adding more lamps; and placing spots of color evenly around the room with accessories.


The TV and fireplace were vying for attention as the focal point. The mantel was a bit cluttered and didn't show to its full potential.


I simplified the mantel arrangement with just one large framed piece and a few accessories. We moved the TV to the wall perpendicular to the fireplace - it's still convenient for viewing, but no longer visually crowds the fireplace, which is a really great focal point.


AFTER.... Now these two chairs face the sofa and and the fireplace and round out a cozy conversation circle. The TV stands alone on this wall and no longer crowds the fireplace.

We took these wonderful jars out of storage and placed them together on the hearth. This really shows them off as a collection and helps distribute valuable color.

Sometimes placing two smaller pieces together as if they are one, like this, can really help bring character to a space and help you fill a large wall.

This large (and gorgeous!) mirror was already mounted on the wall just inside their front door. (I forgot to take a "before" photo of it...but just picture it without the table there!) By placing a console table in front of it, and accessorizing, it gave the mirror an anchor and created the feel of a "foyer". Now, it's one of the first things you see when you open the front door.

Ah...what a cozy cottage now! This client has such good taste, wonderful photography of the family, and beautiful accessories. It just required some careful editing to really showcase it all.

If you'd like to see more redesigns like this, read here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Finds - paper crafts

detail shot of "butterflies"
In my recent browsing on Etsy, I've come across several artists that create uncommonly beautiful items out of a very common material: paper. I love the seemingly endless creativity on Etsy, and this week's artists are no exception. They've taken paper and used it for more than just correspondence or grocery lists; it's no longer just for book pages or bank statements. Paper has always been a medium on which to place art, like watercolor or ink, but this week it has, itself, been elevated to Art (with a capital "A"). I love it. I've chosen just five to highlight here this week. Definitely browse their shops, as some fantastic things await you!


"white daffodils"

Aren't these framed cut-paper works just stunning? Artist Molly Jey creates fabulous three-dimensional works of art. They're close to the top of my price range for art...but they're just so gorgeous I can excuse it...just this once. :-)

I fell in love with this dogwood garland immediately. The flowers are paper mache! In fact, so is the standing poppy. I can picture this garland above my daughter's bed...or strung in front of my fireplace mantel to celebrate spring...or at a wedding shower...or...or...I could go on and on. By Middleburg Folk Art Studio. (They offer many different flower garlands as name it.)

large latte bag

What a fun bag! Celebrate your favorite coffee shop in a funky way - or give as a gift to a coffee-loving friend. A few years back I was at a garage sale and the gal was selling bags like this. Now, I see that this Etsy seller, Sweet Purses, is from my own town. I bet I met her back then! Small world!

Sakura cut paper lamp

peacock feather cut paper notecard

This lamp caught my eye several weeks ago and I was just waiting for the right time to post about it. Artist Intertwingle has several different designs of this beautiful cut-paper lamp. I included their peacock feather card too because it's just yummy.

3 Flowers collage box

Bohemian star

"Fabulous Fonts - coasters"

My husband calls me a "font geek" because I get ridiculously excited about cool fonts. Put them on decorative objects for the home...and you can imagine how I can cause a scene in my excitement. :-) I love this font and coaster set covered in "fabulous fonts"...I also love the box and Bohemian star decoupaged with decorative papers. Fun decor! By Carolina Cottage.

a little holiday weekend reading...

Read here if you'd like to catch up on past Fabulous Finds. If you'd like to catch up on some of my before-and-after pics of room redesigns, read here.

a few fun blogs...

hooked on houses - witty real estate junkie Julia is really entertaining with lots of eye candy in the form of house tours and decorating chatter

shore chic - Laura recently purchased a home by the Jersey shore...they're renovating and decorating it little by little

please sir...Diana has a great eye for edgy design and funky vintage finds

watch the wind blow by - follow military wife and mom Marie as she conquers thrift stores, furniture makeovers, decorating, and "window mistreatments"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fireplace Screen: making something out of...something else

I was inspired by a post over at Kari & Kijsa's about old cabinet doors, and I thought I'd post a picture of this great fireplace screen my mom built and gave to me. She found old cupboard doors at The Rebuilding Center and simply added hinges. She didn't even repaint the doors - this just adds to the charm - and voila! A cute and functional fireplace screen - it effectively keeps my kids out of the fireplace! I was thinking you could do this with old shutters or kitchen cupboards...really anything flat and rectangular could be made into a screen like this. For a larger version, try actual doors. Wouldn't a screen made of old doors be cute in a corner of your living room or on your porch?

Someday I'm thinking I'll paint something cute on this screen - like a simple monogram on the middle panel or something - still leaving the original paint finish, because I like it. But for's always kind of fun to see what you can do when you recycle something old into something new! For more great inspiration on how to makeover old furniture, visit Tracey at A Cottage Industry and Jen at Sanctuary Arts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Artist of the Month - an interview with Hadley Hutton

As promised in this month's issue of Feather Your Nest (that's my free monthly e-zine - go to the right sidebar if you'd like to subscribe), here's my fun interview with the extremely talented artist, Hadley Hutton. I first fell in love with her work back in February and decided I wanted to feature her as my Artist of the Month in May. The month's not over yet - so here she is! I loved reading her Etsy profile too - not only is Hadley an extremely talented artist, but she's got a great sense of humor. That always gets me!

doe a deer

Hadley, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today! I loved reading your profile…it shows, among other things, that you have a great sense of humor. It also showed a few other things I could relate to – a mom who “changed paint colors like others change the sheets” and perhaps some perfectionistic tendencies (the bunny incident). How do these things influence you as you create? Are the two (artistry and perfectionism) ever at odds with each other?

I have learned a thing or two since the bunny incident. Most importantly, I have learned to be kind to myself. I do challenge myself to do my best, but I do not berate myself if a piece of art isn't working out. Occasionally I'm disappointed by something I've done. Oh well, I'm not perfect. I just try again, again, or even again. I think this quality— the ability to keep forging ahead helps foster creativity for an artist. Or, to be more precise, the ability to put negative results out of mind keeps the creative process unblocked. If I were to dwell on my gaffes, I'd never get anything done. I like to wallow in my my successes and keep on truckin'.

bird in the magnolia nest

I’m fascinated with the variety of methods and materials you use in your work. How long might one “typical” piece take you to complete? What are the methods you use most often?

I use ink and watercolor pencil, and gouache to make the monotypes. I then mount the monotypes on wood and layer with pastels and wax. I really don't pay much attention to time when I work. It takes however long it takes, which may be less than an hour or more than a few days. It's difficult for me to give an accurate time estimate for one piece. I never really work on one piece from start to finish. First, I work on the monoprints for several pieces. Then I gesso the boards and mount the art on the boards for several pieces, and finally I wax several pieces. I have a more accurate estimate of how long it takes to make 15 small pieces — 40 hours.

red mum

Since I’m a Portland native too, I’m always curious to know what it’s like being an artist in this community. Do you feel camaraderie with other artists? Do you feel Portland is supportive to creative people like yourself? Or has selling on Etsy really been the catalyst for your success?

I am kind of a solitary artist. I tried to get involved with an artist group, but I found I prefer making art to talking about art. Recently, I joined PDX etsy, a community of Portland etsy, and so far it's been a very helpful, resourceful, supportive group. Portland is an artist-friendly community, with an abundance of venues to show work and see great work. Yet, for these same reasons, it's also an extremely competitive market for selling work.Etsy has been a wonderful way for me to reach a new audience. Prior to etsy, I primarily sold originals through my online website and local venues. Now my sales originate in equal measure from etsy, my web site ( ), other online sites, galleries, and boutiques.

bird in the cherry blossoms


As an interior redesigner who loves all things décor, I’m also curious about your home. Can you give us a little glimpse into how you decorate? What is your house like? Do you ever hang your own paintings as décor, or do you prefer other people’s artwork in your home?

Hadley's dining room

If I were to give my decorating style a name, I would call it relaxed elegance. Relaxed because it's so rarely clean! I don't spend a lote of time decorating. My house will probably look the same in twenty years. My taste stays pretty constant.If you can believe it, my walls are pretty bare. I have collected a few small pieces, not nearly enough to cover my house. I'm quiet picky about what I choose to put in my home. I imagine it will be a long while before my walls are filled. Though I recently made some inroads into adorning my walls. I purchased a book full of lovely Charley Harper prints which I plan to mount on my walls.Friends are always astounded that I don't put my own work around my house. I do put my work up on a shelf in my dining room - it's artwork that's heading out the door. This suits me because I always have something fresh to look at, so I don't tire of one piece.

Hadley's living room

You are clearly a talented artist. I would think you would be able to create full-time and make a living from it…is that the case, or do you also have another “day job”?

Yes, I am a full time artist and illustrator. I really don't know what else I would do. I can't type. (My husband actually typed all of this for me. Thank you, Jack). Way back when, I worked in a gallery—which is torture for an artist who just wants to make art, not sell it. While working at the gallery, I became pregnant with my first child, and then I became a full time mom. Now, I divide my time between my art career and my children.

I know about your Etsy shop and your website, Is there anywhere else that people can view your work?

My work can be purchased online at,,, artstream, indieflix, and petaline. My work can be found at Velocity, Art Stream, Cheeky B, Pistils Nursery, Fawn, Presents of Mind, Bennette Gallery, and I consistently have month-long shows at various venues around the nation. So it's good to check out the news section of my website to see what I'm up to.