Milkweed and your 11 year old Self.

I took Rosie out for a long walk this morning. As I reached into my pocket, I found an old milkweed pod. It was soft and made me smile instantly. I squeezed it for a few extra seconds and then smelled my hands.

Milkweed is sticky and produces a thick white glue when you break off the stem. If you happen to be 11 years old, you often pick the pods and try to fly the inner fleece, but the stickiness of your hands makes it impossible. But tomorrow you try again. You never know, maybe things change overnight.

The same thing happened this morning, except I’m no longer 11. And my collection of fluorescent zinc tubes melted in my snow suit a long time ago.

I don’t hide in my closet to read anymore, and I don’t roll up fake paper cigarettes and pretend to smoke like Marilyn. I don’t write letters to save the belugas either. I watch my kids do that now. And luckily, they’ve taken over certain parts of my 11 year old self. They like finding treasures in the forest, when they’re not complaining about how far we’re walking.

I hear your same stories. You and me. Resentful, angry, sad. We manage to pull ourselves together when it matters, we can smile if we have to. But is it me, or is there something missing?

(My index finger really does look like that)

I have been painting with my eyes closed, and sometimes I cry while I feel the paintbrush glide over the paper. I can’t tell you why. Nothing is different, everything is the same outside, but the tears keep coming. I cried through the Sunday School meeting this weekend,  overwhelmed by the kindness of the teachers and the baskets of home baked muffins. All the while I had complained all morning about having to go at all. Sometimes we can be jerks.

All the while I type, I cry and then worry about being sad, and how that’s hard for those people around me.That everyone else has more reason to be sadder than  me. But then that makes me cry even harder and so I go on Instagram and pretend not to be sad for a few minutes. Usually it ties me over for a bit. But if I dare let my mind wander, it finds the forest and it closes in on itself. Sometimes Often, there is uncontrollable bread eating.

When I’m with people, I am not sad. I am interested and curious, present and connected.

These are the ebbs and flows though, right?

Maybe I just miss Nancy Drew. A lot. And maybe I miss the smell of the horses and the tickle that happens right before you uncover a treasure.

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed at 5am, sleeping in the bunk room because of crazy insomnia and the desperate desire to be alone, I get to wake up and see the moon at its final appearance of the day. I’m stretching a lot. Burning sage and candles. I lost another chicken… she went away. She comes back every now and again, but it makes me wonder why she would chose to live in the wild and not the in the barn that we made for her.

Why do we need to mow lawn?

We need to get ourselves ready for winter, but really, I want to sleep in the car and have someone carry me inside and put me to bed. Wrapped up in a wool tartan blanket. I carry the kids when they fall asleep, but when you’re an adult, there’s no one to carry you anymore.

I’m trying to not lose myself in the sadness. I really am, don’t worry. I know the other side of just on the other end of the publish button. It’s green and pretty and there are little miracles to be discovered in the strangest of places. There’s wonderful moments of awe and inspiration. There’s wild laughter, there’s the warmth of knowing you’ve helped someone, there’s the smell of a wood fire and the sound of chatter around the table.

I’m ok.

This sadness is temporary. And every time it visits, I recognize it as an old friend that drops in unexpectedly. The one that reminds you of who you were when you were 11.

Labours of Days 

  
This past week has been full of planning, lists and task check boxes. Sure, there’s been late nights playing Risk, but we’re trying to stay focused on our renovation. And so far, so good. 

In moving forward though, we’ve had to make some tough calls about what we choose to do, and what we say no to. And it’s been really hard to say no to so many fun things.

But as our Mysticore leaders have taught us.. it’s in saying No that we learn how to say Yes? Right? 

Right. 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄

All the while, I’ve been plodding along in the studio, stunned and so grateful by the sales that followed the launch of the online shop

Reallt, it was an overnight transformation for me. Going from “in the cracks” doodler to selling pieces, well it just gives you a little boost in morale, and it helps pay for groceries!  

What’s been strange is how to keep painting after seeing what was popular versus what was unpopular. Creatively, how do you follow up on a project like this? 

Since I don’t see myself as having a specific medium (I’m going with  artistic explorer) it’s sometimes a bit frightening to ask “what’s next”. 

Moments after the hurdles have been cleared- an achievement, or loss, or goal accomplishments- can sometimes be weird.  There’s  a gap in that aftermath when you ask and answer “what now”. 

Maybe I’m far too reflective for my own good, but selling my pieces made me ask myself the questions

What do I make now? What do I want to make, what do others want me to make?

Which were really surprising, since I hadn’t given one ounce of thought to that leading up to launching the paintings in the first place! 

So I threw a lot of brain power on to these questions. I worked on a few different scenarios and for whatever reason, I came to some conclusions.  

In an effort to not overthink things, I decided to “retire” some older pieces (ladies included) in order to make space for the new florals/water worlds I’ve been playing around with.  

I LOOOOOOOOOOVE my ladies and I know I’ll come back to them in one capacity or another. But to keep painting new ones simply because they sold well? That made me feel icky inside. 

So they are up until Tuesday and then I get to keep them for myself as source material for other work, and for the daily smiles I get when I look at each of them. Not that I want to stop you from buying them (by all means! Shop Now!), but they are probably just extra special for me. 

In other news…

You can expect about 8 new floral pieces , 2 abstract landscapes and 4 new watercolour abstracts to hit the “shelves” next week. 

If anything, this project has been the incarnating of the adage “start where you are”. It confronted me with my preconceived notions about needing things to be a certain way before starting. It has also made me realize that sometimes things don’t look exactly like you want them/expect them to look, but that when you start down these paths, you never really know how it’s all going to unfold. Best to check your expectations at the door. 

In recap: 

  • Shop Update goes live on Tuesday September 6th! 
  • I’ll be retiring my Ladies and other pieces 
  • I’ll be adding about 10 new pieces!!!

Oh and … 

  • Creating is hard work 
  • Expectations always lead to disappointment 
  • Start Now 
  • Yes you can
  • You can figure out how as you go
  • It’s ok to be scared 
  • It’s terrifying 
  • Yes, you will cry
  • Don’t wait to do it properly

August and Everything After

For so long, I have  ruminated on what I would write when I finally sat down here with you. Every day almost, a thousand words would fill my brain, but they escaped my fingers as my hands were always tied to the kids, the phone, the dog, the wounded duck and the paintbrushes. All choices.

But Dear Summer,

I am not sad to see you go!!!!

You were beautiful and sunny, but that humidity…. oh my. My thigh chaff will never recover.

You showed me magical things and yet you were kinda mean.

Your heat and lack of water almost decimated my garden, but that’s ok. I guess part of the natural cycle is knowing that there are things you can’t control. You also killed my ducks. But that story is for another day…

There are things that happen that you can’t take on as your own failures or successes.

July had the Devil May Care attitude of campfires and roadtrips, new ducks and Canada Day.  Good friends in chunky sweaters. Pottery happened and I got to scratch it off my bucket list, but of course, it wasn’t good enough, the pieces weren’t perfect enough for my own towering expectations, but that’s ok, someone just asked me if I bought them at Anthropology. So I guess, I win in the end.

August cast a gloomy spell here, as siding came down and time slipped away. The Olympics captured my eyes and gave me a shrine to visit every night, beer and chips à volonté  Oh August, how you made me second guess my ability to handle the land, the house, the kids, the work, all of it. You pushed back hard when I tried to wash all the stress off, you waited in the corner until the moment was right and you rained down. And I’m still a little wet.

I spent a lot of time in my cage of expectations, looking at it, recognizing it, trying to break some off some of the bars. I switched meditations, I painted more, I drank beer and ate chips alone at the campfire.

But that’s ok.

September is here, and with it the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new shoe boxes.  My head is swimming with task lists, budgets, salsa recipes and batch cooking dreams. Along, of course, comes all the work projects that didn’t get finished during the peak of July’s fun haze.The promise of roasting tomatoes and freezing corn. Maybe even wearing a blazer? I get to switch my wardrobe out and say farewell to the long gauzy skirts, and hello to pants, crewneck sweaters,  sunflowers, and apples.

If you’ll indulge me just a little longer, I did have one great breakthrough this summer…

I started thinking that maybe we have cycles of productivity, just like hormonal cycles or moon cycles, we’re all spending  a ridiculous amount  of energy trying to stay on top of everything at the same time. I felt like I was  always trying to push hard, all the time. And when I needed rest, I chastised myself for not being strong enough to take it all on.

I couldn’t figure out why some days I felt like I was floating on clouds, while some days I felt like I was drowning in  quicksand.

None of my circumstances were changing all that much (ok, finding dead ducks in the morning is kinda extra-ordinary, but still!) while the effort to get through my days varied insanely.

I had listened to Ezzie Spencer   (lawyer & ph D in social work btw) on an entrepreneurship podcast discuss her theories on Lunar Cycles and before I knew it, I had drank ALL THE KOOL AID, and asked for more.

DON’T SMASH YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN, I may sound like an insane person, I know. Shhh.. it’s ok.

I think we’re all looking for something, you might juice or do pilates… I am into the moon.  Judge away, but suspect your cynicism at least for the 1000 words here.

To continue, I decided to plan my monthly intentions: maybe I would  feel a little more focused if I concentrated on one aspect of my insane life instead of doing it all?  Anything would be better than just pushing all the time and finding yourself on the floor, crying, amiright?

And so…

July was for Creativity: I launched my online store, I pursued a daily sketching practice and committed to sharing my work, obtaining a solo show at the local library (in January!) and selling 5 pieces in 10 days of opening.  I took a whole bunch of classes on Creativebug too. I was careful to respect the yin and yang phases and was really pleased with how easy the month went.

August was for Harmony: ok, disclaimer, this one was really tough and I lost track by mid month, the gloom of the reno got the better of me. But it was my goal to tie up loose ends in the house, (we did a lot!)  increase harmony among us (that was actually really good for us) and focus on love & kindness meditations.

September is for Care: Focusing on care in the house (finishing up projects, organizing our budget, setting ourselves up for winter), care in our food (processing fresh produce, batch cooking for the week), care in my own health (blood work, check up etc), care in my relationships (making sure I reach out and stay in touch) and essentially seeing what are the small steps I can take to ensure that I’m taking care of what’s important.

There’s a new moon tomorrow morning, AND an eclipse AND mercury in retrograde… so if you’re leaning towards the Mysticore side of  things, it would be the perfect time for you to set your monthly intention too.  And I think we both know who our Mysticore leader is…

jim morrison2

 

 

 

Taking a Leap: Launching an Online Store

GUYS…. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE?

One month. I haven’t written in about one month, something completely unprecedented.

Summer days are not structured and between the studio, the dead ducks and the laundry line, it’s been hard to dedicate inside computer time to this space.  No two days are alike, and balancing the kids and their less than stellar enthousiasm for day camp, well it means that I’ve got like about 10 minutes to myself a day!

But, I promise that what I have to share today is exciting….

Salmon Sky Fields

{Salmon Sky Fields}

After a year of painting and accumulation, it’s time to make some space in the studio and let these pieces take on their true roles, in the homes of others. The ladies will be released from their protective sketchbook, and who knows where they’ll end up.

I still get butterflies before each new piece. I never know what to expect and my gut fills with dread and anxiety, but I’ve recognized that as a good motivator for the things I need to explore. And this past set of butterflies told me it was time.

Today marks the opening of a new space for me. It’s not on Monkland, and it doesn’t have fun windows that we get to decorate, but it’s free and I can update it on my phone while the kids eat breakfast. Today, I launch my online store:

Emeline Villedary Studio

original art and products for the inspired home.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???

There will be kinks to iron out, I’m sure, but I’m really happy to have taken the leap and pushed this thing forward, even if the sales tally to zero!

So while I have about 65 other posts I want to write, I thought maybe I should get this one published and then strike it off of bullet list!

Also, I wanted to say that you all have supported me tremendously throughout a lot of my projects and without your comments, your texts and your open ears to all my babbling, I really wouldn’t have the balls (let’s be honest) to do any of this.

So, am I ready?

Absolutely not. But today is as good a day as any.

You can shop https://emeline-villedary-studios.myshopify.com/, and email me at artvilleinteriors@gmail.com if you have any questions about shipping or delivery or anything at all.

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Blast Off…

Modern Ceramics and Prints

Hey ladies!

A few weeks ago, I joined a pottery class over at BeardBangs Ceramics, a pottery cooperative in Saint-Henri.

Happy Cat Face Mug in Turquoise with Black Polka Dots on interior - cute, handmade pottery, made in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

{Happy Cat Face Mug 44$)

The studio is lovely and just made to make a mess and if you haven’t done pottery on the wheel before, let me tell you, it’s messy. And hard, and amazing and tactile and just a wonderful way to change your headspace on a weekday evening or weekend.  As all other creative ventures, it gives you the opportunity to connect to something outside of yourself and totally let go.

The process is not easy, and is super intimidating, but the mission of the coop is to make it accessible, by offering memberships and affordable workshops. It’s really exciting to have a space like this… now if only they had a sewing machine…😉

Most daunting for me is the vastness of the possibilities. I admire people like Emily Jeffords or Alicia of Beardbangs who have a clear aesthetic direction and have a distinct style that can immediately be recognized.

So since my mission for the pottery class is to a) learn and b) make shit, I need to come up with ideas for the glazing of the pieces (mainly bowls and cups) and I’m toying between two directions

Image of Hand Painted Ceramic Platter 6 Summer 2016 Series

martinich and carran plates

 

plates.:

sydney collective plates

{marimekko for Target}

My idea is to make breakfast sets ( a mug and a shallow bowl/plate) and bowls for here and maybe a few extra to gift. I’ve decided that in order to try and stay focused, my art stuff needs to be painterly, feminine and bold.

Ideally, for all of my stuff to work togehter, each item needs to comply to each adjective:

https://cochonetrouge.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/9d899-13397499_822176117914119_749220748_n.jpg?w=739

{Vicky: she hits all three- feminine, bold and painterly}

https://cochonetrouge.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/947a7-13423463_1747966662127672_421544316_n.jpg?w=482&h=602

{Landscape: same.. painterly, bold and I will argue it’s feminine attributes… although it’s a bit of a stretch!

So there you have it, my mini adventure in pottery begins. In terms of difficulty, it takes some finesse of the hands, which I’m a bit rusty at, but is similar to that of the handling of fabric on the sewing machine. Obviously it’s MUCH harder, but I think with practice I could do something not half terrible.

xo

I expensive DIY teacher gift : floral bath salts 

  
I have been the lucky recipient of wonderful teacher gifts during my time at Curzon Cooperative Preschool and now I have a newfound appreciation for gifting on my end. 
At Christmas time we made candles that were kind of a hot mess, but the kids were really excited about them. Now that it’s 30+ degrees and my children have been abducted by mollusk zombies who lie around and read comic books at every waking hour, I knew I couldn’t really count on them. 

  
Booze? Coffee? What to give these people who work REALLY hard? I thought long and hard about what I didn’t want to give  and then I found a great Epsom salt recipe on pop*sugar and realized I had almost all the ingredients and my inner lazy person surfaced and I decided. 

Whether or not they are bath people, I’ve sat on and decided it was not a consideration I was willing to make right now. 

Bath Salts it is!
(I tripled the recipe for 4 teachers) 

1 cup epsom salts 1 cup baking soda 

1/2 cup powdered milk 

Cookie sheet of dried rose/peony petals (I left me out for 3 days) 

Essential oils: grapefruit, geranium, lavender (you can play around with this to get the blend you want!) 

I mixed all the dry ingredients and then sprinkled the petals with the oils and then crumpled them up and mixed them in with the salts.  

I scooped them into mason jars and ta-da! 
  

    

 The end of school is my implosion moment, so anything that can make my life simpler AND I enjoy doing? Done. 

 I think because I do so much running around for work that when it comes to these things, I will do and or make anything to avoid another trip to the store. I did but the powdered milk (who has that??). 

I’ve done gift cards in the past, and loved receiving them, but there just aren’t that many businesses here in Rigaud that you can use them in, apart from Tim’s… Which I’m avoiding due to my addiction to their breakfast sandwiches. 

  
(Documenting implosion)

Camp starts next week and it will be the race to find the sunscreens, bug sprays and towels! Seeing as my 10 year old lost his new Crocs for 4 days, I’m cringing at how this is all going to go down. 

Breathe into it, right? 

Right. 

Minimalism, Intentional Design and a Guest Post over on the Cozy Sweater Cafe!

  
Emily Katz 

Hi hi!

I just wanted to share with you guys that I’ve answered some design related questions about minimalism, trends and how to curate intentional spaces over at the Cozy Sweater Cafe

It’s a subject that is super important to me, as I think a lot has gone awry both online and in the concrete  design world.  Where people pin $100 000 bathrooms and expect them delivered in a DIY fashion for $4000.                                                             Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge wrote a great essay about it, pointing fingers at people breeding fear with alarmist headlines and pumping us full of unrealistic ideals to live up to. 

Anyways, check out my input about trying to incorporate a more minimalist approach to your home on the CSC! Let me know what you think, are you a budding minimalist stuck under boxes of things, or are you a closet adornet trying to feel ok about your collection of antique measuring bowls amidst a sea of pure white walls and nothing more than a chair and a blanket! 

Xo

Working Smarter, Taking A Chill Pill and Remember What Matters:

 

Ok, so if I’m going to be honest… My last post made me want to barf a little. How to stay organized in transition times? I wish I was that person. Truth be told, we don’t know where we’re going to be when that life bomb hits. Yes, let’s be prepared, but let’s not freak out, k? K.

I realize that this place reads like a crazy, confused contradiction… One post saying DO MORE and the next saying DO LESS, but bear with me. Somewhere, someday, I will straddle the in between space between LESS and MORE with a little more ease, and will be able to report back with a bit more clarity.

In the meantime….

This past bit has been a period of overdrive for me.

Look at THIS-listen to THAT-ooooooooh PRETTY-SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT IM LAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE AGAIN GOTTA DO THIS, OOOOOH THAT WOULD BE GREAT, WHAT IF I DID THIS, I SHOULD DO THAT, YEAH I SHOULD REALLY DO THAT. OK TODAY I SHOULD…..

That’s essentially been the tape on repeat in my brain.

The good news is that the poisonous inner monologues have simmered down. The screaming hissy fits seem like a bad dream, and now I can write it out to make sense of it all.

There are a few things that helped me snap the elastic back.  Before I get to those,  I hit the wall on Monday.   I started to think about how, no matter how hard I try,  I come back to this place of frustration, cyclically. Every few months, I feel like nothing is working, all my efforts are for nothing and I’m out of breath for how hard I’m pushing up against the wall.

When you have an over active drive and a crazed ambition, you can manage to get a lot of stuff done. You try out new things,  say yes all the time and the world can seem like an oyster, just waiting to reveal its glory to you. It’s like I’m the kid from the 6th Sense, except instead of seeing dead people, I see potential opportunities and good ideas everywhere.

It can be awesome.

And then it can be exhausting.

The cycle goes from being excited to bringing me back to a place of  inadequacy, burnout and mental anguish over all the things I’m not doing or don’t have. That with each podscast I listen to, I add a checklist of new tasks and things I should be doing. It seems that in the last little while, I’ve been awake to the idea that the next big thing lies just outside my reach, and if I work just a little bit harder, it will reveal itself to me.

Yet, for weeks now, I’ve been solo parenting.  Working my actually pretty great design job, all the while,  I’ve been training the dog, forcing the chickens to love me again (WHY DON’T YOU SLEEP IN YOUR HEN HOUSE?!?!?!!?) and make sure the kittens stay alive. HELL, I’ve even started running again- I’m 8/8 days in a row Cara.. you would be proud!

Needless to say, that even in idle, I know I’m always in 6th gear. But it’s the only gear I know.

And it’s never enough.

Some of you may know that I’m hatching a new creative pursuit, that combines the design aspect of my current practice with my passion for retail and love of patterns, colors and art. The checklist is huge, and sometimes feels insurmountable and useless to try and attack, that failure awaits on the other side and that I shouldn’t even try. But then again, the nagging voice inside tells me to keep trying. This will be my third attempt at building something, that in my eyes, always leads to the same destination: a lifestyle brand.

I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but this idea is stuck in my heart and I refuse (for better or worst) to let it go.

And I, of course, have become obsessed with that plan.

It’s all I can think about all I can list about and most of my waking time is spent hatching out different product lines, marketing campaigns and thinking of music tracks for the vlog that I don’t have.

All the while, I’m busting myself in 5 trying to get the right client, paint the right flowers, get noticed, find that brilliant idea. I’m pushing too hard and ignoring the fact that whatever is around the corner, will be around the corner no matter how hard I work.

My output doesn’t necessarily have a direct correlation to my achievements.

That sometimes it’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart, chilling out just a bit and remember what matters most to me, in that moment. Advice and comfort that I can easily give to my beloved friends, but that is so hard for me to follow.

I’ve had big ambition my whole life, and I often wonder why, and ask myself if it’s worth the hustle.  If finding myself in the place of inadequacy will pay off in the long run. And I honestly don’t know the answer.  I still find myself in between two worlds- never really knowing which one I belong to.   All the time I spend fretting over my ambitious ideas and lists, ironically, the beauty and simplicity of the life I’ve hustled  to make happen disappears.

And I know I am not alone.

So where did I go wrong?

What am I doing  wrong?

Nothing, it’s the doing that’s the problem.

Then what?? If we can’t solve the problem by doing MORE, then our whole system of values implodes, doesn’t it?

Sounds like we need to let things happen, sit with the discomfort of being wrong, having made that mistake Stop trying to fix everything.  We need to value ease and not only TALK ABOUT IT, but implement it. We need to recognize that overdrive is inevitably followed by crash and that just because we CAN volunteer at school, go to thing after work, host the party between a meeting and take the dog/cat/child to the vet, doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

And so I share with you the newsletter that I read that made me really stop in my tracks. YES, it’s lame that the moment came in my email, but still. It comes from Yoga With Adriene who is schooling every other online business on how to use email marketing effectively:

 

Hello my friends!

How are you?

I hope this message reaches you in a moment where you are feeling good – but if not – might I remind you not to fret, my dear.

Try not to fret.

You know, that getting anxious about being anxious cycle?

I know you know.

Well, just say no.

Nothing is permanent and everything is constantly changing!

So, lean in and be patient. Soon you will find yourself singing to your dog and twerking alone as you brush your teeth.

Or, soon you will find the house you have been looking for.

Or, soon you will put on your bathing suit and for once in your precious life smile back and think – fuck, I’m awesome.

Hey, anything is possible.

But, for real, anything is possible!

Lately I have been trying to spawn conversations that really do inspire us to take in the full picture.

Work hard without being so hard on ourselves.

When we pay attention to the full spectrum of wellness we are able to live a happy and healthy life with less struggle. One that is both sustainable and reeks of joy. Dare I even say – purpose.

Mind and Body – and yes, you gotta have heart too.

Because, even though it can be a challenge to really see yourself for who you really are, it’s got to be the whole enchilada.

Otherwise, what is the point?

The good news is – it’s a practice. And regular practice brings you right to where you are supposed to be each day.

The catch – everything is constantly changing, nothing is permanent. (Literally, stay present and let that catch you each day.)

We work for strong bodies, healthy minds and mindful, compassionate hearts.

We work to stay in the moment, present with breath and take notice of sensation.

This is how we get “beach body ready” y’all.

Hard work does pay off.

Check yo’ mind, cultivate balance.

We must tend to it all, the whole enchilada, so you don’t get burnt out and more importantly, so that you can love and accept your true awesome unique self and rock who you really are.

This is also how problems get solved – but I’ll have to get into that later.

For now, just thinking about us walking around comfortable and confident in our own skin gives me goosebumps.

As our Yoga Camp teaches us, there is no point in a flat tummy if you are miserable and still looking in the mirror each day perplexed at who you see.

Find What Feels Good.

And eat enchiladas too. Recipe here from this weekend – as promised. http://yogawithadriene.com/spinach-zucchini-enchiladas/
Love,
Adriene