Thursday, May 12, 2016

Colorful Creativity, The Farmer + Lucky Me

A few days ago I received a lovely email from a reader who discovered me through my latest book. Here's what she said.....

Hi Kristin - just to let you know you are inspiring me! a few years back we purchased a house to DIY on a lake up in northern michigan - long story short the house was hit by a car and had to be demolished and we started over. we had a blank slate -  i knew i wanted to decorate it in brighter colors than i had my home - i wanted Happy!  and eclectic - relaxing. i bravely painted the main floor mostly a lemon/lime green with a bright orange kitchen. it has been the beginning of a new journey for me :)

i found the video of your home randomly online and went to your website - purchased 1 of your books, recently ordered 2 more. i need to be pushed out of my box and i love that you are constantly encouraging people to do their own thing - not simply do what YOU do - although, i must confess to almost following the circles pillow verbatim... however, not again! LOL!! all that to say  - THANK YOU!

i read this today, written by an author speaking to another author, a teenager just beginning to believe she can write - "Thank you, thank you for writing, for taking the time and spirit and soul to write, because i love to read. And keep going, even when people make you feel like it's not that important. It might be the most important thing you do. Keep going."

Thank you Kristin for encouraging me - keep doing what you were created to do.   Ruth

I am putting this here not to toot my own horn today (as my Mom would say). I thought it would be a great way to start a new dialog here on the blog. Creativity and making is something I think about all the time and I'm happy that I am helping Ruth explore more of her own in her home. 

First off, I want to give a shout-out to my husband Mark (aka The Farmer) who is having a birthday today. Last year just around this time, the orchard in front of our farmhouse started to bloom. We barely had time to notice because the film crew from Houzz was here and we were all knee deep in that new experience of drones flying over our house and sheep and dogs and all that comes with a film crew. 

Mark is a busy guy running from one place to another checking on his sheep, keeping food in front of them and all there is to do with raising sheep and lambs. The last thing he wanted to do was be interviewed and filmed but he knew that the video would create new opportunities for us. Rick, the producer, wanted the sheep and dogs in the video. They had to fly the drone twice over two days over the sheep to get the perfect shot of Farmer, dogs and sheep. 

Then Rick wanted to ask Mark questions. I stayed out of the way and really didn't know what was being filmed. It wasn't until I saw the finished 7 minute video a couple of months later that I heard what he said. 

Go to minute 3:03 and you will see what I am getting at. The first time I listened I cried. I am a very lucky woman. 

Why am I writing all this. The thing is, I go to quite a few different events and farmers markets where I pimp my book Crafting A Colorful Home (my book on creativity, interior decorating, craft and color). I talk to a lot of people about the book and color and making. I have been astounded by the number of women who tell me that their husbands would never let them decorate their homes the way that I have done. 

I guess I married right for me. I cannot imagine making my home without expressing my creativity. I cannot imagine painting my home a color I don't like -- to be safe and worry about re-sale. I cannot imagine living in a relationship where I was being told that my creative ideas didn't matter or that I was stupid or that my creativity wasn't important or appreciated.  

Our marriage has always been a pretty equal thing. We each have our places where we are "in charge." Over the years, mine has been the kitchen and the home. When we were first married, I thought everything should be equal. I was and am a feminist as Mark and Julia are. I felt we should start out the house chores equally - you know - take turns cooking, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, taking out the trash. That worked for a short while until I realized that he wasn't a very good cook - I got a bit sick of hot dogs, eggs, and spaghetti the 3 meals Mark specializes in. Shrunken cashmere sweaters coming out of the drier gave me the realization that I had better take charge of that department too. We worked it out over the years and it seems to work - although by no means is everything perfect around here. 

In the beginning of our marriage as we were building our home together, I tried to get Mark's opinion on colors and decor. The guy has incredibly good taste and I have been the recipient over the years of many gorgeous antiques, porcelain, copper pots, and more. But he never told me what I should do in our home and I guess I can say that I am so grateful for that. He always told me to do what I wanted. I have been able to express my own style and opinions in the world of home decor. And he loves it when it gets done. Even if we all go through a bit of chaos and mess along the way. 

You might be wondering why I am writing this all here. It's something I have been thinking about for a long time. The letter I got from Ruth above and the letter I got from Ria in the Netherlands the other day made me think that I should start a dialog here on the blog - more about creativity and where I get my ideas and how I design and make and do things. Here is Ria's letter.....

Hi Kristin - To begin with, I want to tell you how happy I am with your book " Crafting a colorful Home".
I ordered it a week ago (here in the Netherlands) and it arrived on Saturday.
To see all these colors, in the book, at your blog and in the video make me feel so happy.
When I was younger, I loved only natural colors, say: beige, grey, brown.
But, by growing older,  I'm 71 now, I learned to appreciate bright colors.
And my hope is, the years that the Dear Lord grants me, to craft my home as colorful as possible.
So, thank you very much for sharing your talents with people all over the word.
Have a wonderful day,
Ria (living in Valkenburg, an old town in de very southern part of the Netherlands)

This morning, I went out early to take photos of the orchard that is just beginning to bloom. 

It is doing it again, just like it did last year and the year before. Spring is a wonderful time of year to be outside noticing, walking, breathing it all in. I've heard older people say they wonder how many springs they have left. I never really thought about that until a couple years ago when I started thinking about getting older. I hope I have a lot of springs left because it is just beyond incredible. 

The ewes were grazing and it was just the prettiest morning. The sky was blue and it wasn't hot yet. As I traipsed around the field, switching lenses, making funny noises so the sheep would look at me, noticing things that had changed in the past couple days as the sun is shining longer each day and the heat is making things grow and bloom, I couldn't help but feel thankful for the man I have been fortunate enough to have met back in 1979 and shared my life with and to have as the father of our daughter Julia. And the sheep - he brought the sheep into my life and cares so well for them. 

There are so many fantastic creative things going on in this world right now. I hope that I can remain a part of your creative corner of your soul and life as I continue to write and blog and photograph here on this blog. I hope I can continue to be a sunny part of your day and maybe help you to add more color and spice and pattern to your life and interior space.  

Tomorrow I am on my way to Brimfield to the first flea market of the year (there are 2 more - in July and September). I can't wait to see what I see and find. I hope I will find things that I can use in my next book and in our home -- things that will become patterns or things that are patterned. Or things that I take photos of and remember and then incorporate into an idea for a pattern that I make and do. The thrill of the hunt is really quite fun. 

On Saturday, I will be at Webs at their Annual Tent Sale. Stop by and say hi if you are going. I'm going to be next to The Bistro Bus, close to the front door.  I'll have our lamb meat with us - it will be frozen if you want to take some home. I'll have my books and some other things. I would love to meet you. 

And if you have a husband or partner who doesn't let you paint and use color in your home, show them the video at 3:03 and tell them that they need to start loosening up their mind and let a little creativity into their space and life. Or maybe it is you who is too fearful of choosing the right color and mucking it up. Picking colors and designing a space is a scary proposition. It is much easier to go with all white or just how they are showing it in catalogs and magazines. Putting yourself into a project personally means that you might fail and it might be a mess and it might have to be redone. But doing it yourself, adding color and your personality and choices will make you feel much better than just following the crowd. You will be so proud of yourself and feel better and start to look at the world in a different way. 

Lastly, if you want to learn about how to be more creative and colorful in your life and craft, you can come to a retreat here at our farm. I have early bird pricing until May 15th. Three different weekends of classes - check it out here. As Richard Branson says "Screw it, just do it."


Auntie Shan said...

He's definitely a "keeper"!

Lynn said...

Such a wonderful post! Happy birthday to Mark and thank you for bringing color into my life, too!

Anonymous said...

I've never bought the idea of the beige/blah living rooms. And to do it so it will sell? The buyer is probably going to paint it under anyway. My brother says, "Paint is cheap. You don't like it, buy some more." While it is not cost-free and does involve labor (yours or someones) it is easily 'corrected' if you don't like it! Went on a house walk last fall and a couple of the houses had 'artsy' people, each room a brighter color than the last, but you know I remember those houses even if the choices for color might not have been mine.!
Our office has orange walls (sherbet colored) and a purple ceiling. It works!
Love your work, love your color choices.
Love to your family, Helen

Anonymous said...

~ Happy * Happy * Birthday Farmer Mark !! ~
A wonderful celebration to you. I politely tip my sunhat to you in Kudos for being such a * stellar * man.

I have enjoyed Kristin's COLOR creativity for years, in knit designs & LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the CACH Book. Your home and life is about warmth, comfort & inspiration. BEAUTIFUL. In so many delightful ways my life has been enriched because of Kristin's terrific artistry.
Especially when I had multiple cancer surgeries, and was in a lot of pain, I willed myself to get moving... just into the next room so I could see a post of Kristin's on the blog. xo
* Always, always, my soul felt a lot better for seeing Kristin's images. *
I appreciate so much the Artist, the Farmer, and the sweet Girl, Cat Farmer, for all the wonderful goodness you gift us all.

p.s. Cat Farmer, ... I like to call myself a Cat Midwife. I've rescued many porch kitties. mew. xo !! ~

>> absolutely Kristin, ... I look forward to your new book !! <<
Shell ~

... one day I'll get to a Summer Workshop !!

Anonymous said...

~ also, LOVE the video. ~

And, I'd like to hear from other readers of what they've done in their homes with colors, remodeling & patterning !
Shell ~

Kathy said...

It just makes me happy to view that little video!! Everything about it is wonderful, and heartening and fun. I can hardly wait to show it to my grown daughter when she visits this weekend. She LOVES color and is artistic and I know she'll be inspired by it, as am I. Thanks for your blog, your books, and for being YOU.

Kaydeerouge said...

Lovely, lovely post, Kristin. I'm a long(ish) time follower of your blog, but I've never watched the Houzz video before and it is a delight. Your colours, mixed with the love and warmth in your home with your family, are so very special. Thank you for sharing - and Happy Birthday to Mark!

Claire said...

You and your family are so amazing and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your creativity and love of colour with us.

Reneelynn said...

LOVE the video!!!!!!!!!!

Robin said...

What a beautiful post. You know that I am a big fan of your work and so enjoy your blog and seeing a tiny window in your world. You have helped me find my creativity both through your knitting patterns before I met you and since I've had the opportunity to come to two farm classes!


Dee said...

Your comments on the blog and Mark's in the video are beautiful. Such a great example of marriage - each being supportive of the other and valuing one another and your differences.

I've been reading your blog for years. I really like your style and you have a great eye for color. Your house is fantastic. My house has light grey walls and lots of white because that's the way I like it, not because I'm afraid of color or concerned about resale. I find white soothing and calming and peaceful and relaxing. My brain and psyche need that. Lack of color isn't always a bad thing.

Jean said...

I don't have to watch the video again - I remember clearly what Mark said because what he said was so very sweet and loving. The words stood out and stopped me cold! I can understand your tears, what a wonderful moment for you.

Michele in Maine said...

Kristin, you have just the best attitude! I have one bright coral wall in my kitchen and it makes me smile every day. I'd like to add more color, but my house is on the market and I'm supposed to just keep it clean at this point. I do have a yellow front door, though, and again, that's thanks to your inspiration! Thank you!

Frances said...

Dear Kristin, this is a lovely post full of positive energy, memories and a great view of the possibilities the future offers. Like you, I am also a champion of color and to giving a good free range to creative impulses.

Please do let your husband know his fan club includes me.

Happy Weekend! xo

Monica said...

Happy birthday Mark!
Kristin, you are so awesome I can't even put it into words. My dream is to attend one of your retreats. Thank you for being such an inspiration. I've been following your blog almost from the start!
Keep on creating and inspiring.

Julie said...

I remember seeing that video when it came out and thinking how sweet that was of your husband to say that. It actually cross my mind from time to time when I read your blog. I am also fortunate to have a supportive husband. We are blessed. :)

Mahboubeh, Persian Tulips, and Lamb and Rhubarb Stew

I am re-posting this story here today. It was originally published on May 14, 2011. It is rhubarb season here at the farm and at this time o...