Remember my pom pom post from a couple of weeks ago? Last weekend my wool-loving client CeCe and I visited Kristin Nicholas' Celebrating Creativity Open House. Kristin is a knitwear, stitchery, and textile designer and the author of several stitchery and knitting books. She was also the inspiration for my pom poms.
Sunday CeCe and I hit the road bound for Kristin's farm in Western Massachusetts. It seems fitting that we drove out of the gray-white Capital District and up over the Berkshire Mountains to find dazzling blue skies.
In a similar vein, Kristin's modest white farmhouse hides some amazing interiors. From painted finishes to exuberant textiles and eclectic artwork—every wall, floor and surface is covered with color, pattern and texture. And I loved every inch of it.
Kristin's latest book Crafting a Colorful Home pulls examples from her own home. And Kristin regularly shares photos on both her blog and instagram. Despite seeing these images for years I was totally unprepared for how familiar it would all feel as I stepped inside.
As I walked through her living room I also walked back in my memories to a small apartment in Yonkers, NY, the home of my beloved Aunt Virginia (1905-1990). That apartment was full of love, ingenuity and creativity. Aunt Virginia lived in a veritable curiosity cabinet full of Victorian bits and bobs, rummage sale finds and re-purposed items. In her few rooms she had a fish tank, antique dolls, Steiff animals, models, a dollhouse, ship building blueprint-covered walls, primitive portraits, eclectic brown transfer ware china, textiles of every sort and lounging cats.
I spent a lot of time with Virginia as a child. I have vivid memories of traipsing across damp fields gathering greens and berries to make Advent wreaths. And each month brought a small cherished gift—hand embroidered pouches with silver dollars tucked inside, felt pins, red wool mittens, yummy oatmeal cookies and at Christmas, a box of new crayons.
Virginia was creative and she encouraged creativity. Always game for a project, we painted, modeled, baked and practiced embroidery, knitting and sewing. We gathered rocks and shells and other small natural treasures that became the raw materials of future projects.
Virginia showed me how to create my own joy.
One step into Kristin's house brought this all back in an instant. Clearly Kristin has created a unique home. She gloriously demonstrates a passion for life and creativity. And visiting her farm, home and studio made me immensely happy.
I hope that we can all find a spark of that same joy within ourselves this winter. I encourage you to go forward boldly. Take risks. Make our world more colorful and exuberant. Take joy.