Every Thursday my BFF, Sommer, is going to pop in and share some behind the scenes of our print shop The 45 Collective, her creative process, and her artistic brilliance. I'm thrilled for y'all to get to meet someone who I love so much and get to know her. You can read more here about how we met and how The 45 Collective came to be.


Don't force it.

Remove the pressure to create something new and unique and just do what you want to do. If you’re supposed to be making Christmas prints and all you feel like painting is feathers, then paint feathers. Paint them in every size and color! If I try to make myself create something I’m not into, I never like the finished product. Don’t be too stubborn to quit. If I’m painting and nothing is turning into something I like, then I quit.  If I’m forcing myself to produce new material for the shop and I’m not having fun anymore than I’ve lost the freedom of letting inspiration be my guide.



I like water colors. I like the way they blend and run together and change and forgive mistakes. I’m comfortable with them so most of our shop prints are created with water colors.  I don’t know what to do with oil paints, or acrylics or fancy art products. I didn’t go to art school, but I love exploring new mediums and materials. Don’t ever hold back when experimenting with new ways to create.  Be messy! Try calligraphy. Buy one of those cool palette knives for working with oil paints and see what happens.  Sometimes when I’m feeling uninspired, I forget about what I’m trying to do and just have some fun with colors and scrap paper. Accident art can be the most enjoyable.


Find your spot.

Last week I talked about my art desk. Thats my spot. Figure out if you need to be alone when you create art. I cannot paint with someone looking over my shoulder. If you like noise and people around you when you draw, then find a cozy coffee shop. If you need hot tea, chill music, and the sound of rain in the background to feel inspired, then surround yourself with those things. When I paint, I usually tidy my room first. Though my messy desk is inspiring to me, dirty laundry on the floor is not. I like to watch TV while I paint. I’m currently trying to finish How I Met Your Mother. I like to light a candle,  turn on my lamp, and paint whatever comes out. That is what you’ll see in the shop. Whatever we feel like creating!

Tell me what inspires you!

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Every Thursday my BFF, Sommer, is going to pop in and share some behind the scenes of our print shop The 45 Collective, her creative process, and her artistic brilliance. I'm thrilled for y'all to get to meet someone who I love so much and get to know her. You can read more here about how we met and how The 45 Collective came to be.


Inspiration is so magical to me. Sometimes you have to chase it, or coddle it and fan the flame of it, and sometimes it hits you suddenly and powerfully. I once bought a book about where writers feel inspired to write. I was disappointed it didn’t have very many pictures so i’m going to show you a lot of pictures of where I feel inspired to paint.


Inspiration for me has a lot to do with how my surroundings look and feel. My art desk is crowded and cluttered and messy and paint splattered and beautiful. My desk is full of things I use to create, of things I’ve painted, and of things that inspire me. I’m inspired by glass bottles and mason jars full of old stamps. I’m inspired by candles and thrift store lamps. I’m inspired by old books and little green plants.


I found my desk at a resale shop for fifty bucks. My art desk has space to be messy, space to keep my art materials close at hand, and space to leave a mess. Nothing turns me away from being artsy more than knowing I have to clean everything up when I’m done. I don’t worry about the mess I am making and that is very freeing. My desk can handle the mess.


My desk is where I do ninety percent of my painting and art journaling. Do you have a space that inspires you? If you do, tell us about it. If not, what would that space look like?


Come back next Thursday! I'm going to share some tips on chasing down inspiration.

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This is the Holmes' first Christmas tree, y'all. Well, technically it's our second.

I've always wanted a white Christmas tree, and I've been collecting vintage ornaments for a few years now to adorn this dream tree. Last year, Corey's mom told me that her mom had one in storage that we could have. For free. Y'all, Christmas trees are expensive, so this was so exciting!

Corey's dad brought over the tree, and we pulled it out of the box and 1, It was GIANT. It would've taken up almost 1/4 of our living room. And 2, it had turned yellow in storage. I have never heard of a yellow Christmas tree, have you?

So, to the dump it went, after shaking it's branches all over the carpet.

This year, we got yet another white tree from Grandma. This is the tree she had when she was in the nursing home last Christmas. It even had some of her little ornaments left on it, and some of them stayed.

One night last week, we got our tiny box of Christmas decorations, turned on the latest episode of Serial, and decked the halls...the wall/corner.

I added the stockings, a few Christmas prints for our shop, and the little hand knit garland from last year. And VOILA! It's Christmas at the Holmes'  

Growing up, we would always put up the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving. After the hard work was done, we would sit as a family and watch It's a Wonderful Life together.

I wonder how our Christmas traditions will evolve when we have kids. I'm sure we will make more of a deal out of it than we did this year.

But for now I'm pretty crazy about our tiny tree in the corner.

Do you have any special tree decorating traditions?

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About a year ago, I asked for book recommendations, and someone recommended this to me. I immediately put it on hold and went to pick it up from the library. Well, 3 weeks later I hadn't even opened it. I had been judging it by it's, not so cute cover. We were on the way back to the library and I told Corey I would read it all the way to the library, and if it hooked me I would renew it, if not, back it would go.

Well, it did not hook me, so back it went. Several months later I saw that there was a show based on this book, so I watched the first episode. I. WAS. HOOKED.

About 4 episodes in, I decided, I have to read this book before I watch more of this show. Because of it's new popularity there were SO MANY holds on the book, so I went ahead and bought it. And devoured it. 

Here's a (not so) little synopsis: Claire Randall and her husband have been separated by the 2nd world war for 7 years. When the war is over they decide to take a second honeymoon to reconnect. They head to Scotland, so her husband Frank can study up on his Scottish heritage and ancestry. Claire is out wandering and collecting flowers and herbs, when she is taken back in time through a mystical rock-formation. Merely seconds after waking, she is disoriented, hears gunshots, and comes face to face with a man she thinks is her husband in costume. After he attacks her, and is rescued/captured by Scottish men in traditional dress she realizes that she is not quite where she thinks she is. She has been taken 200 years into the past!

Yes, it starts off a bit slow, but I have never read a book with more twists and turns. Had the ride to the library been about 12 pages longer, I would have chosen to renew the book. Outlander has everything you could want in a book: drama, love, conflict, action, complex characters, time-travel (but not in a sci-fi way...), etc.

The Likeness

This is the second book in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. This is a unique series, because each book is narrated by a different detective. I randomly picked up the first one (In the Woods) on audio-book, and was drawn in by the interesting. flawed characters and the setting. Each book deals with a different character + a murder + something from their past. 

A synopsis: Cassie Maddox worked undercover for several years, then moved to murder, and now works in the domestic violence unit in Dublin, Ireland. She is still recovering from the last case she worked in murder (the one from the previous book), when she gets a call from her boyfriend. He is freaked out and tells her to get there immediately. When she arrives on the scene and sees the dead girl, she realizes why her boyfriend was so upset. The dead girl and Cassie could be twins. The dead girl, was carrying identification that Cassie had created for an undercover investigation years before.

In order to solve the murder, Cassie goes back undercover by moving in with a group of quirky PhD students the dead girl had been friends with. (It definitely sounds absurd, but Tana makes it happen) Will they realize that she is not who she says she is, did one of them do it, will the killer come back to finish the job?

Yes Please

Amy Poehler is obviously a genius, so this book couldn't be less than that. It blew me away. it was funny + smart + full of wisdom. Girl knows her stuff. She is so open and honest about the painful parts of her life, and shares so much about what she learned from them in such a funny, lighthearted way. I could go on and on about this book, but really, just read it.

I'll leave you with some quotes:

“That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.” 

“Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.” 

“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.” <<my favorite

“I believe great people do things before they are ready.” 

What have you been reading recently?

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This is the second part of the "Where I've Been" posts.

If you follow me on Twitter, you have likely seen me use the hashtag #FIREWORKPEOPLE. Before I took that loooong break, I posted a few times about them, here + here. Here's the story:

Goodness, it has been a whirlwind! Two months ago TODAY, (that doesn't feel real. I promise it's been at least 5) Ashley Beaudin tweeted me the most encouraging thing ever. Has a tweet ever made you cry a little? Anyways... Ashley has created this beautiful community of women.

Have you ever thought, "Goodness, women can be so catty! All they do is tear each other down, and bicker, and compare, blah blah blah..."

Well, not this group.

I'm really not sure how it all works... I think if you give people a space to be open and vulnerable with all the parts of their lives, everyone takes responsibility. It's a beautiful thing.

Here's a bit of history. #FIREWORKPEOPLE started as a Twitter Party, then grew to a Facebook Group, and now we have a website and blog, and in January we are launching a Masterclass.

Ashley invited me to be a part of the group and to be honest, I thought it was all a little strange and a little too good to be true. Everyone was so encouraging and positive.

One of the first things you are supposed to do when you join the group is introduce yourself. So after a couple of days I posted. I told everyone that I didn't quite know what to think of all this. I didn't know how to just jump into this community. And the feedback I received was so wonderful. I decided to dive headfirst.

I began commenting on all the posts. I noticed that a lot of the girls were asking for help with their blog + site design. I posted that I would love to help anyone find direction and fix things they were having issues with. Then, Ashley messaged me and asked if I would help design the site. At this point the group had maybe 400 people in it. I was shocked and excited and all of those good things. And of course I said yes! From there, I slowly took on more and more responsibility, and eventually moved into the role of site + blog manager. And I am LOVING it.

We are posting fresh content at least 6 days a week. We have monthly themes that the content revolves around. The first month was "WE ARE #FIREWORKPEOPLE". It went through all of the things we stand for. You can catch those posts here. This month's theme is "A SEASON OF JOY." Along with the contributor posts, we have weekly pep-talks + challenges. We also are launching a snail-mail swap this month. In January we are launching our Masterclass. You can read everything about it here. There are a million other things I could say about this group, but you really need to see it for yourself!

#FIREWORKPEOPLE has really changed my life in the BEST ways. I have met the most wonderful, talented, positive, creative, inspiring women. I mean really. These gals are gold. I have been able to bring together my talent and passion in ways that I didn't know was possible. I have realized new dreams and goals I want to achieve not just in this next year, but in life. And most of all they have taught me that we are better together.

Not just this group, but all of us humans. Every single person has something to offer. You do. And we can't do it alone. We need each other.

I want to encourage you to join #FIREWORKPEOPLE if you are woman with passion, who wants to accomplish something big, who wants to change the world. The women in this group are already in your corner. They will fight for you, encourage you, help you, in any way that you need. 

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