Thursday, August 21, 2014

Darlyblog Revamp!

We are getting ready for an awesome season here at Darlybird, including a brand, store, and blog revamp! So it seemed like a pretty good time to get your thoughts on what you in particular would like to see from the Darlyblog. Let us know in the poll below! Thanks so much!

What would you like to see on the Darlyblog this autumn?
Fashion and Styling
Interior Design
DIY Projects
Darlybird Product Features
Darlybird Giveaways / Coupon Codes
Guest Posts
Please Specify:
Poll Maker

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Pause!

We have loved featuring our first four Our Creative Home interviews here on the Darlyblog. Thank you Alma, Allison, Erika, and Alicia for sharing how you each work to encourage creativity in your families and homes. Come back soon for more of the Our Creative Home series!

graphic designer

crafter, crocheter, knitter, instructor

community relations coordinator

writer, homemaker

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Fishes

Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! Today's guest post comes from Alicia Fish, homemaker extraordinaire and one of my dearest friends. (She writes about motherhood and more on her blog, and offers beautiful glimpses of her daily life on Instagram).

Tell us about your family!

We are not a family of what most would call as creatives. Billy is a manufacturing engineer and I am a homemaker. We have a three year old daughter Millie who talks from the moment she wakes up to the second she falls asleep and a one year old, Lottie, who uses her teeth for everything (to pull herself up, to pick up her toys, to be funny and to show us how annoyed she is). We are not painters or musicians or graphic designers. And frankly, I am not even a crafter. But we try to fill our home and lives with creativity. Sometimes creativity gets put in a little box of what it should look like and who it belongs to but it is so much more than any one group can claim as their own. As an engineer, my husband tries to view situations and challenges in different ways to find solutions that are new and innovative. That is creativity. At home, I have to find new ways to manage our time and productivity, honoring each person’s individuality while making a beautiful whole. That is creativity.

How have you encouraged creativity in your home?

We want our children to be surrounded by stories and imagination so our bookshelves are overflowing with books of every kind, most of which are thrift store purchases. Each room in our home contains art from artists, some from classic artists and some from local artists. When we have time my husband and I enjoy taking classes online or through the local university continuing education program (I just signed up for a calligraphy class online that I am really excited about).
More specifically for our children, we have designated spaces with art supplies like crayons and color pencils and paper that our daughters can access (the paint and play dough are on the fridge because we still don’t trust them that much yet). Millie has loved coloring and drawing and has recently begun creating stories that go along with her pictures. Stories of monsters that eat houses and love flowers. She is so excited to tell us all about her characters and we try to remember to talk to her about what she is drawing, to give her the opportunity to express them more.
We also have noticed that Millie expresses a lot of her creativity through her clothing, so we let her choose her clothes (most of the time). This means for the past two months she has only worn dresses. But that is ok because they are an expression of what is happening in her imagination.

How do you get your kids involved?

Millie wants to be involved in what we do in our home. She wants to cook and bake and work in the garden and be a part of all the creating, even if it is mundane creating to me (like making lunch). Too often I find myself rushing quickly through my to do list and telling her she can help me another time. Recently I have been trying to change this. There will always be times when I need to push through something and just get it done. But if I can look at the activity and the day and realize that we are in a hurry heading nowhere, then I take a deep breath and let Millie measure out the flour for our cookies or stop to collect rocks on our walk home. This requires a lot of patience from me. I have to make a thoughtful choice to slow down and let things be, to stop all the rushing around.

This goes for so many situations in which I find myself. Instead of turning on a movie, to set up the paints and let her entertain herself. Instead of working in the garden when she is taking a nap, to let her help me, which means answering a million questions about the flowers and letting her pick some flowers and eat all the raspberries. But every time I do, I get to see her running around, pretending to be fairy talking to the flowers and bumble bees and fighting the evil lawn mower that threatens her precious garden. We are both more fulfilled when there is imagination and wonder.

Do you have any creative traditions in your home? If so, what are they? How did they begin, and how do you keep the momentum going?

For us the traditions are slowly forming, as our children grow and as we find the things that we love most.

A couple of years ago we started hosting a garden concert at the end of summer. It is not really like the parties you see on Pinterest. We keep it simple, letting the garden take care of the decorations. We hang lights and eat good food and our lovely musician friends come and play the things they have created while we enjoy being outside together.

This is the third year we will be doing it and I think the biggest reason we have been able to keep going is having friends who are willing to help: sharing their own creative talents in music and letting us borrow sound systems and lighting, and just general encouragement. Involving other people makes a world of difference, especially when a year comes up that you just can’t do it all on your own.

I have wanted to have a winter house concert and to host an Alfred Hitchcock murder mystery party and organize a neighborhood art walk but have yet to make them happen. I have to realize that we are still figuring things out, as individuals and a family. Someday I hope to do more but for now, I try to be happy with the little pieces of creativity that we have together.

What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?

Live deliberately. Life gets absurdly busy, it seems impossible to slow it down. And there are times when it just has to be that way. Bathrooms need to be cleaned and children need to be rushed. But I don’t think it always has to be that way. There are moments of creativity, big and small, that naturally grow in the cracks of our busy lives. Clearing away some of the rocks and giving it a chance to bloom is sometimes all that is needed to become fulfilling and beautiful. But for me, it has to be a deliberate choice, to remove some of the non-essentials (which are different for everyone) and to let those moments of imagination and creation thrive. 

Any final thoughts?
Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing. I just know that I have to keep trying to figure it out. Sometimes it all works out perfectly and the garden is magical and my children are painting and other times we all go to bed at 7 o’clock because I have nothing more to give. But I keep trying to be better, to create better moments, and to let the naturally magnificent moments happen.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on maintaining creativity in your home, Alicia! Readers, what are some ways you encourage creativity in your everyday home life? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Hills

Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! Today we'll be hearing from Erika Hill, Community Relations Coordinator at the Provo City Library (which essentially covers everything from event and exhibit planning to marketing and more) and wife to illustrator Brent Hill

Tell us about your family!

We’re two people (soon to be three!), two dogs, and a whole lot of comic books! Brent and I met at school (we lived in the same apartment complex), and were attracted to each other by the wall murals we painted outside our apartments: he painted Jesus walking on water, and I painted the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming out of a manhole. After some obligatory bowling double dates we settled into a relationship where we did dramatic readings of Calvin and Hobbes comics and wrote each other silly cards.

That paragraph maybe makes us sound more creative and quirky than we are—we’re mostly just like you. We watch a lot of Netflix, we eat more French fries than are good for us, sometimes we take our dogs for walks they desperately need, and mostly we just try to have fun while doing the enjoyable and boring things that make up life.

How have you encouraged creativity in your home? 

There are so many ways I could answer this question that I’m not quite sure where to begin! I think that one of the biggest things we’ve done to encourage creativity in our home is to be enthusiastic listeners; so often people allow their creative projects to lose steam before they’ve even taken the time to share them with others for fear that they might look stupid. Once you take off the “I can’t do this” filter and find someone who can be enthusiastic about your ideas (be they a graphic novel about the lengths and means you’ve gone to in order to build your family or a comic book about child zombies looking for friends), you’ll find that your creativity has real room to grow and develop.

Also, sometimes our house is really messy, because creativity is messy. You kind of get in a rhythm and routine of figuring out what is important and what isn’t in terms of housework (tip: dishes are always important, because if you ignore them too long then things get stinky. Piles of books of reference materials can be left to themselves, but dishes must be dealt with).

Do you and Brent ever work on creative projects together? Tell us about that!

We work on projects together all the time! Brent has always been a kind of communal artist—when he was young, the thing he most loved to do with his friends was draw (well, there may have been some Transformers toys and video games too…). He still has notebooks and notebooks full of characters and landscapes that he and his friends collaborated on, making up their own monsters and worlds for those monsters to live in (as an adult, his favorite things to doodle are still monsters, which is sometimes distressing to the children who come over to see what he’s drawing during church…)

We started working together on projects very early on in our relationship; I studied film as an undergraduate, and I often worked as a production designer on student films. I knew he was the man to marry when the prospect of helping me construct a life-sized skeletal puppet horse excited him. We’ve worked on films together, painted a mural in my parents’ house, and for about a year we wrote a one-panel a day soap opera about a family with a soap company. We’re always thinking of new projects to do together; not all of them get past the planning stages, and some have gotten a bit stalled, but it’s always rewarding to create together.

by Brent Hill
What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?

Again, I could answer this question a million (or maybe seven) ways, but I think my biggest advice is this: if you want to live a creative lifestyle, you need to find ways to establish small creative habits daily.

Obviously there are things about our lives that aren’t necessarily typical, but I think that one of the reasons that Brent and I have confidence in tackling bigger creative projects is that we’ve established small creative routines every day. For example, when Brent was teaching school, I made his lunch every day. Since we were still pretty recently married at that point, I thought it would be adorable to write a love note on his napkin. Then I thought for about two more minutes and decided that if a love note was adorable, a daily comic would be awesome! So (nearly) every day for five years I drew a napkin for Brent. Sometimes they were silly, sometimes they were sweet, and sometimes they were straight up crazy. The other day we were de-junking as we’re preparing for our new baby, and I found a bag of at least 150 of those napkins, and it was hilarious to look through them and see what a goofball I could be while making a sandwich at 6:30 in the morning. Now that I work full time and Brent makes my lunch, he’s taken to doing the same for me, and it’s great.

You don’t have to write elaborate napkin sagas in your life, but finding small ways to be creative every day helps condition your brain to see and think creatively, which builds confidence for some of those larger projects you might be inclined to tackle.

Any final thoughts?

Don’t be afraid to be creative! A few years ago I was doing some kinetic typography research and came across this video that features a quote by Ira Glass that really made an impact on me. You should probably just watch the video, but the gist is this: your first forays into creative work probably aren’t going to be that good. You might be disappointed, because your taste is good enough that you can tell they aren’t that good. DON’T GIVE UP!

I think that so often we use the word “talented” when we ought to say “practiced”; I think that Brent is an incredible artist, but he didn’t just wake up one day knowing how to draw. Brent is 31, and he’s been drawing nearly every day of his life for at least 26 years. He’s a talented artist, but he’s more than that: he’s a practiced artist.

You can be creative. You can do great work. Don’t give up, keep at it, and when all else fails, have cookies handy. When all is said and done, it’s a pretty rewarding life.

Even if the house is messy.

Thanks so much, Erika! Be sure to check out past Our Creative Home posts and check back next Tuesday for the next!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Bakers

teaching {k} to crochet
Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! Today we're hearing from Allison Baker (or as you may know her, alipyper).

Tell us about your family!

We're a family of five! The Mr. and I met while we were both attending Brigham Young University and we've been married for 19 years. We have three children - {G} is sixteen, {I} is almost fifteen, and {K} is almost twelve. We're like most every family - busy with school, music lessons, sports, church responsibilities and a large extended family. The Mr. is an IT professional and for the better part of the last 19 years, I've been a stay at home mom. I graduated with a degree in Humanities from BYU and loved every single second I was in class learning about art, history, music, culture, language, and literature. 

I share a birthday with Martha Stewart (It's true! August 3rd). Like so many others, I was mesmerized when she burst onto the public scene in the late 80's and early 90's by her almost single-handed resurrection of all things domestic. Time honored traditions that were falling by the way side were meticulously researched, photographed and reinvented. I can't tell you how many cookies, cakes, and craft projects I tried to reproduce - all with varying degrees of success - from the pages of her early magazines. Whatever one might think of her as a person, I'm very grateful for the climate of respect she has cultivated for hand-crafters of every persuasion. I'm embarrassed to admit that she gave me permission to value the traditions I was surrounded with and I looked with new eyes on the incredible domestic heritage I had received from my mother and my grandmothers. Thank you for that, Martha.

Because I come from a large family, growing up if I wanted something I usually had to earn the money or make it myself. Often, this will get me into trouble because my first response to seeing something fantastic is to think, "Surely, I can make that myself for less!" The hours and hours spent figuring something out and the cost of wasted materials are often far more "expensive" than the original item. But, I am grateful for this attitude of self reliance and for the skills I have acquired along the way. The greatest gift I think my parents ever gave me was an old refurbished Bernina sewing machine when I was sixteen - which at the time I thought was the lamest gift in the world - with the injunction that if I wanted new clothes I would have to make them myself. They would provide the patterns and the fabric, but I would have to do the sewing. I still use that old Bernina today and I can not adequately express how deeply grateful I am to my parents for that gift.

{g} machine quilting
How have you encouraged creativity in your home?

My education and my natural inclination to want to create myself has meant that I really value the arts and the hand crafts. But that does not mean that I am always a patient teacher to my own kids nor am I ever excited about the mess that my kids creative endeavors often leave behind. I can hardly keep up with my own creative mess. So I am very happy to find them great teachers and fun classes to attend that are not in my own house. For many years my kids have gone to the same amazing art teacher - Andrea Jackman Rosborough. Recently {G} completed her first quilt after taking a class at Harmony with the talented Holly LeSuĂ©. We attend art exhibits at the local museums and the kids are encouraged to take classes at school that help them express themselves creatively. And sometimes I'm in the mood to teach my kids myself.   

How do you get your kids involved?

Sometimes my children are insistent and insert themselves into whatever craft or baking project I'm involved in - refusing to take no for an answer - and sometimes they could care less (or they know by the look on my face that they better not bug me until I'm done with what I'm doing :). Sometimes a craft activity happens organically around the house, but more often than not I have to consciously get them started on something. Often, craft activities are started because the kids and their cousins are driving us adults crazy. Perler beads, painting rocks, water coloring, modeling clay, or nature scavenger hunts are great craft activities with a large group of kids. 

art camp with andrea jackman rosborough
What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?

If kids see creativity happening, they will naturally want to participate. If you value creativity, but don't have the patience for the aftermath - find great teachers and great classes for your kids! Talk about the arts around the dinner table. Attend museum exhibits and cultural events. Set aside time and space for the creative mess. 

Thanks Allison! Readers, do you (or a beloved friend who you'd like to push into the spotlight) have a creative home? Shoot us an email and we may feature you/them/everyone! (allisonabarnes[at]gmail[dot]com)!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Lovelands

Justin Hackworth Photography
Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! First up, Alma Loveland of Ollibird and Caravan Shoppe. Tell us about your family! Mike and I are a pair of artists who are happy to be doing what we love. We are both artists, but focus on different areas, so teaming up has actually expanded what either of us was ever able to do alone. Before kids came along, we would make really creative gifts for one another, but SURPRISE, when kids came along, we suddenly had no more time or energy for extra creativity. We have our creative outlet at work, and once work is done, well, we're lucky if we have the dishes or laundry done on a somewhat regular basis (a 3-week laundry cycle is regular, right?). We have 2.5 kids: Oliver (5), Joan (3), and a baby boy due later this year. Parenting a 3 and 5 year old has its challenges, but the rewards far outweigh any of the frustrations.  How have you encouraged creativity in your home? I don't know if there is anything that we do to consciously encourage creativity. Our children are 3 and 5, and to be totally honest, activities like coloring, drawing, cutting, or crafting don't hold their attention for long at all. Without exaggeration, I think it's fair to say that we get about 3 minutes of activity, and 20 minutes of setup/cleanup. Although we are artists, our lives don't look like what is seen on Pinterest or parenting blogs. We're just pretty normal, trying our best to balance work and family. Creative activities can be as simple as hauling out the play dough, or letting the kids help make cookies.  That said, this summer I have a goal to make sure that we are regularly engaging in fun, interesting activities. One thing that I would like to do is have a simple science experiment every week. I think I can manage that (but ask me again at the end of the summer). So like we can start with Mentos and Diet Coke. Just a few minutes to put together, but something that is exciting to the kids, and makes them laugh and wonder about the world we live in!  How do you get your kids involved? My kids love to be outside and to explore. This also echoes the childhood that I had. When I think of my childhood, most of my memories revolve around the great outdoors! The times that I feel most creative with my children and most fulfilled are when we are outside and appreciating the world around us. This could be little hikes, collecting bugs or flowers, campfires, or kayaking (I even bought a kayak for my kids). I think that activity, curiosity, and exploration all help to foster creativity so while I'm not sitting down for craft time with my kids, they are still learning to look, and to see.  What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle? I have a pretty laid back approach to life. I think my best advice for others looking to live a more creative lifestyle is to eliminate the comparison to those around you, or to what you see on blogs, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. The most important thing that you can do is to spend time with your kids, and it doesn't matter if your activities look picture-perfect. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Alma! Readers, how do you foster creativity in your homes? We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coming Soon: Our Creative Home

We are so excited to announce our new series, Our Creative Home, where we will interview some of our favorite creative friends about how they foster creativity in their homes! Check back next Tuesday morning for the first in the series, an interview with one of our favorite designers, Alma Loveland.