Taking a Leap: Launching an Online Store


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.


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.




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



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:


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


{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.


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? 


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! 


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.


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/

Lilac Abundance 

 My sister is here for the week. She brings a sense of peace and consistency while Bruno is away. The kind of laughter that only happens with sisters. 

Since we no longer have my parents’ house to play in, Garbarino Acres has become our default home base, where we can hopefully maintain some of our domestic rituals. Jam making, pastry baking, more elaborate meals.. Those were all par for the course at my parents’ house. And while this kitchen doesn’t yet offer all the comforts of my mother’s kitchen… It’s the one that we’ve got and when my sister is here, I often want to experiment in the kitchen. 

I’ve mentioned the 3 Fois Par Jour Magazine before, but yesterday, in the middle of a crappity crap crap week, I remembered that it was the day of the summer issue release. And so I ran to the pharmacy and there it was.


This is a quarterly, independently published (read ad-free) lifestyle magazine. You can find recipes, articles, how-to pieces and spectacular styling. It’s got a slow-living angle that is a nice change of pace from a lot of the lifestyle/design stuff out there. 

I had seen a sneak peak for a lilac lemonade recipe on their IG stream and since my lilacs are in full bloom and are surprisingly resisting looking fantastic as cut flowers, my sister and I decided to try our hand at making both lilac syrup and elderberry syrup for fancy lemonades. 

  First… Anything on a marble top  looks good. 
Second…. Anything with 3 cups of sugar will be good? Anything with vodka will be delicious tonight, and I’m not even a vodka drinker. 

Third… Lilac is probably the prettiest little flower ever. 

Lilac Syrup (any flower or herb can work) 

3cups sugar

3cups water 

1 L mason jar filled with lilac blooms 

1/2 lemon, squeezed 

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan.

Melt over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let stand until you can easily put your finger in it without scalding yourself. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon.

Fill your mason jar (or any other large vessel with lid) with the lilac blooms and then pour the syrup over top. Stir it with a wooden spoon and then refrigerate for 48 hours. 

Strain well and serve one part syrup to 4 parts sparkling water for a deliciously refreshing drink.


One part syrup, one part vodka, juice of another lemon and top with sparkling water for a nice “let’s forget all the crap that the week brought on and enjoy this moment” drink. 


Have a lovely weekend! 


Garbarino Acres Update 


My my my! What a springtime it had been! The weather explosion forced to rush rush rush to get things in place and the burst of leaves made it impossible to tackle some of the projects on our list! Like sorting out Raspberry Jungle! 

I got the vegetable garden sorted out, but the lack of rain has been really hard for all the seedlings. So we have to water every night, feels like a waste, but leaving my seedlings to die would be even worst! 



As you can see- lots of mulch to try and keep the humidity in the soil. It’s the first principle of permaculture, the approach that I’m trying to implement in whatever things we put in place. I brush cutted the front of the property this past weekend and that, is most certainly not a permaculture principle, so we’ve got work to do! 
New addition this year to the garden plot will be sweet potatoes, because I eat 6 a day. Enough said. 

Guys- it’s ALMOST PEONY TIME! And I’m excited. It’s also poppy time, and I’m also very excited about that. Excitement all around, really.

The kids have been hard at work on their playhouse and have been building swings and see saws with castaway materials, which is what you do on Garbarino Acres. We’ve had to clear out SO MUCH garbage, scrap metal and old fencing that trying to find alternate uses is much easier than properly disposing of them. 

   The most dangerous tree fort ever. 
And what about Rosie? The mischievous yet good hearted dog? 


First off- impossible to get a picture of her without her licking the camera, so that’s one thing. But the other Rosie related news is that she no longer needs to be tied up outside. We’ve devised a friendly ball and chain sort of thingy that she drags around in case she gets too much speed and launches after something.

 She’s not a Westminster Blue Ribbon, that’s just a plain fact,  but at least I don’t have to chase her down the river anymore.  

It’s The little things. 

  What’s that? Is the kitchen finished?

Um… Not exactly… Let’s  talk about that next time, shall we?   

So there you have it, Garbarino Acres is almost ready for summer. I’ve even started doing the garden tour every morning.

I’ve  just finished laundering the last of the winter things and am struggling to find summer shoes for the boys. Mateo has been in Billy’s boots since March. 

Oh transition times, how you plague me!! 

End of school year, the kids are both going to bed too late and waking up too late… I’ve lost duo tangs and have stopped following homework along.

 When is the art show at school?  Dunno… Pia lost the paper. 

Have we ordered the uniforms for next September? Most likely not. 

But at least the sunsets are spectacular and my heron glides over the property every morning, free from sunscreen and labelled water bottles. 


On Painting

Let’s get some business stuff out of the way!

As I’ve alluded to in the past, there are going to be some changes and some news coming your way, that I’ll be really excited to share, and really hopeful that you’ll want to receive.

So to facilitate my little black book, if you want to keep up to date and never miss a little drop in visit from me, fill in the form below and you’ll be in the know. I pledge never to clutter your inbox, and give you permission to yell at me if you hate it.



And now that we have that out of the way… on with the show!


{these are some abstract pieces I painted last week, mixed media and about 7″x9″}

My first memory, like my first memory ever, is of me painting a heart in preschool. I must have been 3. My second memory was of me, peeing on the red storytime carpet. Same era.

The difference is that I remember how proud I felt of nailing the heart (red and blue, on newsprint, standing at an easel and you can be sure that I put up quite the fight to let them dress me with the apron or smock that they tortured me with. My second memory flooded me with shame and regret.

But newsflash, this is not a downer post! So I’ll  skip the sob stories and promise to tell them another day.

I bought about 40 canvases and other painting related materials today.

Kind of insane, and kind of awesome and also completely terrifying. If I’ve ever had to push, it’s now. I’ve been testing the waters and buying one canvas at a time, one color as I need it. I’ve been cautious, but I’ve also been studying.

For the past few years after closing the shop down, I’ve been scanning the horizon, trying to make things happen, I’ve been knocking on doors- some of them opening, some of them closing, some of them swinging all in and then all out, like in an old saloon.

Always, looking and searching.

Like scanning the crowd to see that face that will make your heart skip.

I think I’ve been transparent here about my design work and it not making my heart skip all the time (maybe even skipping with horrible doom and anxiety?). But since I’ve been diligent about painting on a regular basis, I can say that the design work is awesome.  Is it super easy and free of problems? Most certainly not… does it entail hours upon hours of driving and a variety of shit sandwiches? Well yes it does! Most Definitely!

But you know what?

It’s ok.

Because I get to paint. And I chose to paint.

The only other painting that I did outside of school, was a terrible fuschia mess with a collaged imaged on Louise Brooks and a piece of black lace.

It found the curb right away. And with that, I threw away any desire or belief that I could paint. I could draw, hatch, charcoal, but not paint. Not me.

I scanned back through my IG feed yesterday and looked at last year’s photos.. the ones after July and was genuinely embarrassed at how bad most of it was, and still is. But the amazing thing is to see how far you’ve come? When at first, you were paralized and doodled patterns after patterns because you didn’t think you were allowed to paint figuratively? And then this comes out:


So yeah, I’ll take the shitty design work day, because it gives me something in return: the ability to revisit that well of creativity, that doesn’t belong to me but that I get to access, every time I sit at that table and fill my pots with water. Sometimes she’s shitty. Sometimes she’s magical, but the best thing about her, is that she’s always there.

The reminder that beyond the messed up counter installations and miss matched guest room hand towels, it’s all good.

It’s maybe even fantastic, who knows?

It’s hard to know what these posts are about, I’ve floated through the last year of blogging and the same themes come up, over and over. It’s like they are on repeat. Except, I think these canvases and these art supplies are the beginning of a new story. One that involves paintings, an online shop, some caftans and maybe even that famous planner of mine.

They say nothing happens if you keep your dreams to yourself.

Well I guess writing them out for the interwebz is the opposite of that.


Thanks for reading along!


Pens & Ink: a birthday present to myself

As you may remember, my Artist’s Way journey has come to an end, to your probably relief, I will abstain from referring back to it 10x per post. But allow me one more.

Julia Cameron argues in the basic principles of the approach that our Inner Artist is like a 4-6 year old. Unpredictable, emotionally volatile, a creature of routine and habit that both thrives in structure and delights in free play. It needs discipline,  positive reinforcement and occasionally, bribery/pampering in order to avert the emotional crises that can often lead to creative blocks.

If you haven’t slammed your iphone down in annoyance, I thank you. Many of you are probably wondering what kind of acid we have here on Garbarino Acres, and I will fully admit it… I’ve drank all the Kool Aid there is.

The idea is that we need to include pleasure (constructive, inspirational  pleasure) back into our adult lives and carve out time for it to nurture our Inner Artist.

Treat Yo Self has maybe gone a bit overboard, and sometimes I wonder if there is any limit to TYS and how as an All or Nothing person, I could swing to the over indulgent side quite easily. Bread anyone… oops, I already ate it all.

Meandering to the point, I swear.

Enter the Pen.

You may know that I love paper goods and pens, and pencils and all things stationery oriented.  Some of you may also know me to be um, on the particular side about these things (and many other things as well), and you may also know that I can demonstrate scattered tendencies when it comes to my personal possessions (read: keys, bank card number 81).

I am happy to announce that I can add Fancy Fountain Pen to to the list of things I will be likely to lose (lost it twice since buying it).

The LAMY pen is a German pen, purchased at Nota Bene on Parc.  My neighbour turned me onto the whole LAMY thing last winter, citing of all the things she had lost, she had never lost the LAMY. So fueled by the idea that my investment would surely stay by my side, I took the dive.

Little did I know that upon my visit, there would be a 25% sale! Bonus, so I chatted with the owner about what I needed to do with my pen (morning pages require fast glide over the paper, while sketching needs a certain type of nib and the ink needed to be indelible for my watercolor layerings). We settled on the body and the extra fine point and we were off to the races. The pen itself was under 50$, I bought the ink for 18$ and then I splurged and bought a mechanical pencil (already lost) and some watercolor paper and fun manila envelopes. Totaly Inner Artist Damage: 98$.

Do I love my LAMY pen?

I do. I feel now that it’s part of my routine and I need to know where it is at ALL TIMES.

I left it at Annabelle’s house within one week of ownership. And have subsequently left it at a supplier’s office in the east end.

Clearly, I would need a pen management system. Indeed, you read correctly. A system to manage my pens.

I sorted through some old art supplies and found my ACME pen, a generous gift from my then employer for my Design Vernissage. Amazing, yes, that I haven’t lost it since getting it in 2005 , but I blame the dried out cartridge that rendered the pen useless after 2 weeks. The body is a beautiful, limited edition,  De Stijl Van Doesburg signed roller ball and weighs at least more than my iphone.


I hoofed it back to Nota Bene with my travel pen to get new cartridges, after losing myself in the vortex of Amazon reviews (really, nothing can waste your time more than readin other people’s dissatisfaction, other than maybe taking the time to air out your own dissatisfaction- amiright?). It would take less time, and it would give me an excuse to peruse through a shop, which is essentially my favorite thing, unless I’m with my mother, and then it’s my least favorite.

ANYWAYS, I finally got there, only to ironically realize that my wallet was missing (unbeknownst to me, it was merely hiding under my seat). Gratefully, the shop keeps suggested I make a humbling call to beg for money (which I did, with surprising ease) and Maria saved the day. With a punch of a few numbers, I jetted out to meet my supplier at the other end of the city, new cartridge and BOTH pens in hand. I was close to my ideal system.

Four hours of driving later, I excitedly came home to try my new travel pen, only to realize that my LAMY had been left on the outskirts of Anjou, in a granit office.

The irony was not lost.

The system needs refinement, apparently.