A Little Time Away.

I love my country. And this recycled and handprinted banner from Flags and Tags represents our national flag very well.

We were fortunate enough to be able to visit the North of Scotland this past week – in fact it is the furthest point of mainland UK.

The air feels a little easier on my lungs, I am greeted with the almost Welsh-sounding accent when I enter into a store and there is enough beautiful scenery you’d never tire of looking out at; even the sky is a work of art.

During the day it is blue skies and fluffy clouds, with faint rain that never seems to last too long. At night you can see stars aplenty twinlking away in the sky; very much like the famed nursery rhyme promised.

Another beauty from this part of the World is the Aurora jewellery shop that can be found in town up here.

Aurora are an Orkney based jewellers who specialise in making signature pieces, dazzling collections and they insist that modern machinery can’t create the jewelery they make – so every piece is handmade.

Their jewelery also comes in a very luxurious and plush presentation box – so no skimping on the little details.

I love to visit the Aurora shop whenever I am here – they always have something new and different in their collection, or they expand upon a much loved collection.

This break has been a welcome one for me and my little family. We’re doing things we don’t normally do at home; watching TV for hours at a time, forgetting to brush our teeth at night (read: I have been forgetting) and spending time with three of our favourite furry friends (two cats and a dog, just if you’re curious.)

I’ve always been wary of flying; it remains one of my least favourite things to do. So I’m a firm believer in taking holidays/vacations within the UK. I’ve been outside of Scotland and the UK many times; I’ve travelled to America, France, Spain, Germany and even lived in London in my early twenties. I’m not exactly a seasoned traveller but I have a passport and I am not ignorant of other cultures, customs and socieities.

In the UK there has been a growing trend (mostly due to low cost airlines offering cheap flight deals) of families jetting off to Spain or Greece. I often worry and wonder about the impact that has on our environment and at what cost, other than the price people pay for their holidays, these trips come in at.

I’ve read conflicting studies about the envrionmental impact that jet fuels have on the environment; with obvious biases going this way and that when it comes to certain studies and for me the jury is still out on it.

With my overwhelming-must-take-Valium-and-lots-of-it fear of flying and my love for this part of the World (plus it helps if you have ‘connections’ aka parents who live in these parts) I think we will be having a lot of British holidays in our near future.

Easter all Grown Up

[hKristin]

Easter is fast approaching, and while I am sure many of you are thinking about filling baskets for the kiddos, have you thought about what you are getting yourself for Easter? No? I’d like to encourage you to think about Easter as an invitation to bring spring into your home this year! Here are some great, grown-up options to help make your home Easter inspired and fresh as spring.

What would Easter be without the traditional bunny? Bunnies aren’t just for the kids though, you can easily incorporate a bunny or two into your home without it turning too childish. For example, try this graphic and fun bunny dish from Vessels and Wares. A clever nod to Easter, this dish will bring a smile to your face year round.

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Celebrating spring has never been easier than with this gorgeous print from Ice Kubi. The spring-time colors and fluttering butterflies are sure to remind you of warm days and spring renewal even once we move into fall.

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Spring often brings with it new outdoor activities and a resurgence of lunches, playdates, lessons and meetings. Keep track of all of your assorted activities using these adorable push pins from Paper Pumpkin. You will be organized in style!

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At our house, spring was ushered in by the sound of birds tweeting outside our window. Bring these harbingers of breezy, sun-filled days indoors with this chickadee cup by Kristen K Swanson. Like the bunny dish, this cup takes an Easter emblem, sweet little birdies, and elevates them to adult sophistication.

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Grown-ups may not get Easter baskets, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need a way to hold our stuff! These wonderful mini baskets from Cornerstone Designs would be useful and stylish on your desk, your dresser or anywhere in your home that you need to collect little odds and ends.

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Another great storage option for spring is this wonderful trinket box by Fun Wall Art. This trinket box feels like a child’s box of treasures, but with a new sophistication! I love the combination of colors, flowers, and a little dash of sparkle.

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Wall decals are hot, hot, hot this spring and I can’t think of any better way to bring nature into your home than with this cherry blossom decal by Off the Wall Expressions. Available in a myriad of color combos, this decal will suit any room and blows an instant breath of fresh air into your space.

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Occasionally I come across something so fabulous, so fun, and so unique that I almost don’t want to share it with y’all for fear someone will buy it before I get the chance. This upcycled lamp from Bird Wing Productions is one of those items. I love the concept of creating something new out of something old and the colors and patterns feel fresh and perfect for spring. Plus, if you are a music lover, the whimsical nod to horns feels clever indeed.

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This last item, a lovely bedside dresser from Semper Nova is another recycled item, and a bit of a tease since you would need to be local in order to pick it up. But I think the daring yellow color and the cool redesign is well worth showcasing, even if you don’t live close enough to buy it. Semper Nova is full of other fun redesigns and maybe this dresser will inspire you to do a little spring-time redesign of your own!

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I hope that this week’s items have given you some ideas about ways to fill your own Easter basket, and your home, with spring inspired items! Next week we will be looking at special selections for Earth Day!

Amber Alexander

Amber Alexander, whose work reminds me of a modern day Beatrix Potter, is an artist to watch. This Vermont based artist creates interesting characters with her paints and brushes. Her watercolor and acrylic work is stunning!

It’s rare to find art that can find a home on any wall. That is another great aspect of Amber’s work. You could hang any of her paintings in any room of your home and it would simply ‘fit it’.

You will find affordable prints, originals and even some cards featuring Amber’s artwork in her shop. There is a lot to choose from that will make your collection all the more special. Enjoy!