Find the Perfect DIY Gift Idea


"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift"

This sentiment might be interpreted to mean that it is the thought that counts. And so every year on mother’s day children present little handmade presents to show their appreciation for mom. These little keepsakes are lovingly stored away as a token of their children’s gratitude, because let’s be honest - that pasta necklace or picture frame made out of popsicle sticks is mostly going to be appreciated as a memento. 

For the rest of us, gift giving has to rise to a higher level to convey what mom means to us. But herein lies the challenge; the DIY gift, while heartfelt often looks just that - DIY. The store bought gift sometimes seems too impersonal and not creative.
 
These family luminaries at bestbites.com make the perfect gift for Mom

I have collected a few ideas that might inspire you to make some gifts that are both personal and convey what the recipient means to you. These ideas work for many other occasions as well - especially the holidays, but also Father's Day and Birthdays. Never too early to start collecting ideas and planning some fun diy projects that will make amazing gifts all year long!

And if all else fails, remember a huge bouquet of flowers will never fail to send the right message to a woman, mother and wife. Mother's Day is May 11th in the US and many other countries.

Earth Day is Tuesday 22 April

Earth Day is this Tuesday April 22.  To show our support of this global initiative I have created a card inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote and we are making this card free for everyone to send along with our other Earth Day ecards all year long.

The card is part of our new series of Notes, for quick and easy sending, with full mobile support.  And best of all it features two of my favorite flowers, roses and peonies, all hand painted with loving detail!


Earth Day inspired ecard for Ojolie of Roses and Peonies

Launching All New Line of Notes

Spring brings hope, inspiration and the promise of new beginnings.  So of course I have been inspired to launch a new line of Notes and here are the first ones for spring.  Perfect for sending a quick and easy message anytime with our classic modern look and design, as always hand painted for that unique Ojolie touch.
Tulips, Hyacinths & Ranunculus handpainted flower ecard for Ojolie


Pansies, snowdrops and shamrocks bring  message of spring
Spring ecard for Ojolie

Easter Floppy - new release

A few weeks ago I posted a sneak peek of our work on our newest card for Easter, Easter Floppy.  I am delighted to say it is finally available for you to send.  Not just great for Easter, but also for sending all your other springtime messages.

Easter Floppy


























I thought I would share a detail of the final flower arrangement in the card - enjoy!


Easy and Fabulous Easter Surprises

Easter is just a few days away and while we were busy working on Easter cards, I collected an inspiration board of neat and unique ways to stay in touch, send a message or an Easter surprise.  My favorite has to be this ingenious idea from poppytalk, which combines a custom fortune cookie style message with a hand painted Easter egg.

Photo from poppytalk

Just remember to include some cushioning if you plan to really mail it, or your surprise might be ruined.  Check out my pinterest board for other ideas for how you could paint this egg or any of your easter eggs this year!


Make Your Own Very Unusual Spring Surprise

In my native Scandinavia we still practice the tradition of sending a surprise papercutting called a ‘gaekkebrev’, literally “guessing letter”, in April.  Usually the papercutting will include a pressed snowdrop, but more importantly a short rhyme will be written on the papercutting.  The greeting is left as a surprise and only a dot for each letter of your name will serve as a hint for the recipient.


Photo credit Rikke Storm



If you are not quite in the mood for writing your own rhyme, here is one in English you could include:


Snowdrop, snowdrop, snowdrop fine,
Omen true of hope divine,
From the heart of winter bring
Thy delightful hope of spring.
Guess my name I humbly beg.
Your reward: An Easter-Egg.
Let these puzzling dots proclaim
Every letter in my name


If the recipient guesses who left it, it used to be you had to kiss them, but now they are rewarded with a chocolate egg.  If not, tradition dictated that they would have to give you a chocolate egg.  But tradition or not, with or without a rhyme, a papercutting is by far my favorite way to send a special greeting and including any spring flowers will make it extra special.

Here is a short video about the tradition and in a way I agree that this could be considered the first poke long before the digital version. Click on the image below to view video.

 how to make a gaekkebrev

Working On New Birthday Card Designs

 Today I started work on a new series of notes, the first will be available soon for spring, Earth Day and birthdays.  I will be sharing a little bit here and there of what I am tinkering with in the studio ...

painting new birthday card designs in the studio
And while I had the camera out I couldn't resist including a photo of the lovely light that filtered in ... sending a little light from me to you!
inspiring light 
Oh, and before I forget, as always let me know what you think and if you have any special requests

Carve Out a Place for Creativity


Ever feel like there just are not enough hours in a day?  I sure do.  No matter how much I want to make finding half an hour - not to mention a weekend - to paint, write to friends or even just do one of the million little projects I love to plan (sometimes even start, but hardly ever finish), somehow by the time I finally carve out that free half hour, I would rather just take a nap.  


So how to get out of the rut, if one can call it that?!  After all, I know it is not a lack of motivation.  Here are a few handy things I am going to try that just might work for you as well:


you don't need an art studio to get started painting or writing, just a little corner in the house with great natural light and a spot where you can immerse yourself for a few stolen moments or days :)
find your own sacred little space
photo credit www.philippastanton.com

  • set the bar lower - maybe instead of starting a big project, just commit to doodling for ten minutes and see where it takes you.  Find a set time each day and commit to a very short time that is yours to use as you want.  For some the morning is best, others prefer night time.  You can use this time to write a short letter, sketch an idea in your journal or even just play with colors without a set goal in time.  Or meditate.  
  • make it a pleasant ritual - light a candle or an essential oil diffuser, make a cup of tea or pour a glass of port, put on a great peace of music if that helps you - this is your special time, so live it up.  
  • if you have the space, create a little nook in your home where you can leave things until the next day.  Ideally a favorite spot with great light or a nice view, few distractions and that won’t be used for other things.  It doesn’t need to be a studio - even a little section of a table will do.  I have created a pinterest board with some ideas to get you inspired to create your own sacred little corner for creative immersion. Remember not to make this a project in itself! :)

  • this one may in fact be the most important of all; slow down, become aware of stress and practice presence in your daily life.  I often get stressed when I realize how much I have to do and how overwhelming it can seem to get it all done.  One of my favorite sites that has helped me in so many different areas is zenhabits.net.  


A Little Easter Peek

Work is progressing nicely on our Easter cards, here a little preview of what is in the works, without giving too much away.

Here you can see how the layering technique we use for watercolor works

I can reveal that this card will make you feel like spring and summer cannot get here fast enough - if you don't already feel that way!

A background taking shape with the help of a latex mask to preserve areas that will be painted in later