New Column: Color Me Pretty

I'm so excited to tell you about my big news -- I'm taking on a guest writer to join me for the next 6 months here on decor8. I'm so excited! I thought that I'd introduce her to you via a short interview along with what she'll be sharing with us and when. Are you ready? Meet Leslie Shewring from the new blog Creative Mint launched just a few months ago in April. I was instantly impressed by her blog and vision and thought that she would be perfect to come on board here at decor8 to share her color boards and inspirations with all of us twice monthly. Her column will run on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month until the end of January 2010 and it will be called "Color Me Pretty".

Color Me Pretty

Leslie, a designer, wife and mother from Los Angeles, will share her color inspirations by laying out found items collected in her home to inspire the decorator in us all. It will also be fun for designers, artists, even those who scrapbook to see her layouts because the colors can inspire so many and will be particularly helpful for those of you who feel like you're in a bit of a color rut. Leslie, like me, loves flowers so no doubt you'll always spot some of her lovely arrangements in her photos too. With that, here's a little chat I recently had with her along with some beautiful pics that she shot for this post to demonstrate to you exactly what she plans to do in the weeks to come. The color theme she has selected for us today is Pink Lemonade. Her first column will debut on Monday, August 3rd so stay tuned! And P.S. don't miss the advice her professor gave her - priceless - see below for that!

Color Me Pretty

As a new blogger, what are you trying to accomplish via A Creative Mint? Leslie: To be honest I set up my blog as a way to force me to be more creative instead of just passively watching other people create. I wanted to be held accountable in some way even if it was just to a handful of friends. When I have a few people witnessing what I do its harder to slack off!

What made you come up with the name A Creative Mint? Leslie:There were a bunch of names I was trying to pick from over a weekend and this one was the favorite.

What is your favorite color palette from your Flickr folders and why? Leslie: I really do not have one. I sort of explore a palette idea and then move on. The colors provide the design problem for me for the week. The joy is in the process of finding the flowers and items in the color family that work well together and then styling and photographing them. Sometimes this means tearing apart my little house or madly driving to the LA flower district but that’s ok.

What inspires your layouts? Leslie: There is not any one thing that inspires me. With that said, I am inspired constantly. Everywhere I look I am thinking that is interesting, that could be good for this or that.

Where do you go online for inspiration? Leslie: I love blogs and retail sites. I just started on Flickr this spring and it is very inspiring and addictive. I love Martha Stewart too – I have been a loyal reader since 1991!

What do you like most about the blogging community? Leslie: I love how you can find creative peers easily. I am inspired and humbled daily by the incredible talent I am now aware of due to blogging. As well, being a stay at home mom can feel a little isolating at times and the blogging community is an easy way to connect and learn.

Least? Leslie: I am not very tech savvy so I find my new computer life a little challenging at times. I am also still trying to figure out my digital camera, this causes me some minor frustration.

Color Me Pretty

Color Me Pretty

Color Me Pretty

What do you do offline for refreshment/inspiration? Leslie: I am a design magazine junkie. There is nothing like the luxury of a few quiet moments with a new magazine and a cup of coffee or tea! Some of my favorites are Livingetc, Donna Hay, Maisons Cote Sud and Selvedge. I also love to check out little shops in the different towns around LA with my family in tow. Of course traveling is always an inspiration boost. I did a lot of it for work before I had children. I think there was a period when I was flying almost every week for nearly a year! These days I am around the house but I always feel refreshed after a trip home to where I grew up on Vancouver Island and Whistler.

What are some of your favorite online shops? Leslie: I am new to Etsy but could get lost in there. Like a lot of people, I love what Jenna Lyons has done with J.Crew! I often go to Michaels for crafts and Dick Blick for art supplies. The French General has wonderful crafting items too. There are unique fabrics at Purl Soho. I love anything from Japan! I cannot imagine my life before Amazon!

What is your favorite color and what feelings does it evoke? Leslie: White. It is clean, fresh and simple. I love how it makes other colors pop. I like how art looks on a clean white wall. I like how people look wearing white. I like how different light sources reflect off white paint. I like how food looks on white dishes. I could go on and on. I really love all colors and it is just too hard to choose one so I always come back to white.

Do you dream of living someplace else? If so, where and why? Leslie: I often catch myself dreaming of living in the country somewhere and having a barn behind the house to work out of. I love barn architecture with its big lofty ceilings and old wooden floors. I would probably have to add windows but that would be easy and then of course paint it white! There is something idyllic and sort of nostalgic for me about growing my own food. Skipping out to my garden to pick fruit, vegetables and flowers. I am giggling at myself as I type this because I have been addicted to the energy of cities for the last fifteen years. It is the constant fun of craving for what I do not have.

What is your dream profession? Leslie: I love the design field so it would have to be something within it. A fabric designer comes to mind. I have not tried this and think it would be pretty dreamy to see my own line of fabrics.

Tell us about your hobbies... Leslie: I love watercolors. I just got into screen-printing. I love gardening. I love cooking. Of course photography, which I just got back into. I would love to dust off my little sewing machine too. There really is not enough time in the day to do all the hobby things that I love!

It's important to be authentic and live as you are, and to do things in life that make you happy. How do you define authenticity and personal happiness? Leslie: Being authentic and happy comes from being consistent with who I am at all times. Not trying to be something or someone else for other people. I struggled with this when I was younger. Nowadays, I am who I am and my family and close friends know that I do not sugar coat things. I try to speak my mind. I try to do things I love. I try not to struggle with things that don’t really matter. I am a work in progress and some days are better than others!

What do you think defines success? Leslie: Being creative. Inspiring people. Giving back to people. Being able to provide for my family.

Color Me Pretty

Color Me Pretty

Color Me Pretty

What is the best advice anyone has given you and have you followed it? Leslie: A professor in architecture school said your life is your biggest design project. Get off the couch and start designing your life exactly how you want it. This may take time and may be done in small steps but eventually your life will start to look like something you can be proud of. There have been times when I thought this to be utterly impossible but it is not. I know you have probably heard this kind of advice before but it stuck with me. Sometimes advice is more about timing, someone telling you something at the right time so that you are actually able to hear it.

Thank you Leslie for joining us today and on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month going forward here on decor8! We all look forward to your Color Me Pretty column!

(images: leslie shewring)