Category Archives: Art

Susan Branch, Author + Watercolor Artist


My recent search for a botanical print led to my discovery

of a favorite new watercolor artist . . .

. . . Lucile Prache, about whom I blogged yesterday:

botanical lucileskitchen food

. . .  + whose work reminded me

of another favorite watercolor artist + author,

Susan Branch . . .

susan branch photo better

. . . whose books I used to sell in my old shop, Heart-in-Hand.

susan branch heart of the home

I just love her sweet illustrations

+ charming, hand-painted fonts:

susan branch sea illustration

How adorable is the plaid border she’s painted on this page!

susan branch gift baskets

susan branch summer days

She’s written all sorts of books + publishes an annual calendar,

available on her blog.

susan branch calendar

She’s also written a series of 3 memoirs,

2 of which I’ve read + highly recommend.

The middle book, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle Of Dreams,

which I read first,

is about her moving from California to Nantucket island:

susan branch nantucket try 2

Since I’ve always wished to visit Nantucket,

it was wonderful to read her description of her life there

+ her renovation of a charming cottage for herself.

Look at her darling diagram of said cottage:

susan branch book page with house diagram

As you can see, each page is just a visual treat:

susan branch book page with font

As this book comes to an end,

Susan had met, fallen in love with + married Joe Hall:

susan branch and husband in book page

Okay, everybody: awwwww!

Isn’t that sweet?  Relationship goals!

 Joe is the proprietor of Nantucket’s famous Black Dog Tavern,

from which one can purchase all sorts of home goods + apparel

with the Black Dog logo:

susan branch dog mat

Her third book,

A Fine Romance / Falling In Love With The English Countryside,

is a diary of the couple’s car trip in England:

susan branch english book

Once again, she’s in a place I’ve longed to visit,

+ her vivid descriptions allowed me

to travel vicariously with her.

They toured many beautiful English gardens,

including the one surrounding Beatrix Potter’s** cottage.

peter rabbit

** Yes, that Beatrix Potter,

of Peter Rabbit fame,

yet another author/illustrator whose watercolors

I’ve always admired.

Soon enough I found myself watching

the Renee Zellweger biopic,

Miss Potter,

which was just as charming as all get-out

+ for which I give an enthusiastic THUMBS UP!

susan branch miss potter movie

Here’s Renee now, on location:

beatrix potter movie location with renee

I don’t know if that’s the actual Beatrix Potter cottage,

but isn’t it swoon-worthy?

beatrix potter renee painting

Anyway, in conclusion,

while there are 3 volumes in Susan Branch’s memoirs,

+ I have read only the 2nd + 3rd books.

In fact, I just discovered the existence of her first

while I was writing this blog post

 it’s called The Fairy Tale Girl —

+ is about her early life in California.

susan branch fairy tale girl

The above photo is from Jama’s Alphabet Soup (cute name!)

 blog post —

which is a very interesting read (trust me — check it out!)

In conclusion, I shall request The Fairy Tale Girl

from our inter-library loan system, TODAY.

You can buy signed copies of all 3 books on her blog,

so if anyone’s wishing to send me an early birthday gift . . .

. . . hint!


Botanical Watercolors From Paris


In yesterday’s blog post, I shared my hopes + dreams

of finding a botanical poster for my kitchen.

botanical chart sunflower

Seems everybody was fond of this vintage sunflower chart,

but not so much its steep price tag of $272.45.

But wait.

Look at what I spied

amongst** my search for the vintage botanicals!

(**I know amongst is not a word, but I like it.)

botanical farmers market

Beautiful watercolor posters painted by Parisian artist,

Lucile Prache, available on Etsy in Lucile’s Kitchen shop.

botanical watercolor artist lucile in frenchie stripe shirt


How perfect is it that an artist in Paris should wear

the highly Frenchie blue + white striped top that I love*!

(* + have owned + worn many times!)


botanical lucileskitchen food


botanical carrot cake recipe

Carrot Cake Recipe 13 x 17 – $110

botanical medicinal plant print - lucile

Medicinal Plants 8×10 – $30.50

botanical lucile 4 season prints

Wouldn’t this poster be terrific in a coffee shop?

botanical coffee

Coffee Watercolor 11 x 14 – $80


 I think owning a print of an original piece of art

would be great,

+ I’m such a fan of hers!

I’m still shopping, though, so stay tuned!

Vintage Botanical Artwork Love

I spend a lot of quality time on the couch,

as one does in winter.

When (+ if) I look away from my TV, phone or bozoputer,

I see this:

kitchen art 2


G.O. is preparing his signature Calico Beans dish to pass

for a Super Bowl party later today,

which explains the slight mess

+ the reason my utensils are askew.

kitchen utensils

Omigosh!  Those plastic ones don’t go there!  BAD Kay!

This explains why I’ll never be one of the popular kids

on Instagram (@redbirdkay52 – please follow me),

but I digress.

He is also throwing away all our non-stick pots + pans

after watching this documentary

on the horrors of DuPont + Teflon,

The Devil We Know.

the devil we know

Yikes!  Sorry I missed it.

Back to the pressing issue at hand,

which is the artwork in our kitchen.

kitchen art 1

We recently hung those bowl prints,

which I ordered from a forgotten catalog, years ago.

They’re great, but me being me,

I already wish to hang them elsewhere**

+ to replace them with my dream artwork,

the botanical print.

**Which, need I say it, drives G.O. crazy.


  Since that’s not as important as my happiness is,

off I dashed to shop for said botanical prints on etsy,

where I was immediately attracted to these vintage pull-down charts

from the shop, Mighty Vintage in Berlin.

Violets – $414.59

botanical chart -- violet

How much do we love the way the vibrant colors

POP against the black backgrounds?

Sunflowers – $272.45

botanical chart sunflower

Cherries – $355.37

botanical cherries

Since we live in Illinois,

something corn-related might be kind of fun,

like this chart from the shop Wild Strawberry Retro from the UK.

Maize – $162.27

botanical chart -- maize

Okay.  Ouch.

Hundreds of dollars is a tad more than I wished to spend,

so I continued to shop – this time for reproductions.

I think I found it!

What’s not to love!? – via OlgaBegakArt from Austria.

Tomatoes – 13″ x 19″ $56.86

botanical print tomato

The illustration style is deliciously vintage,

+ the colors are fantastic!

What do you think?

Stay tuned!

Looking Eastward From Our Couch

I recently blogged about a moody gray farmhouse,

+ broke down all the reasons why I loved this floor-to-ceiling vignette:

gray house table with books

Here’s why.

I am finally going to create my own floor-to-ceiling vignette,

looking eastward from our couch.

Here ’tis, in its during stage:


Toward the west we have art ledges:

art ledges alphabet

I made the pillow + the alphabet artwork. The mug is from Ralph Lauren.

But back to the opposite side of our couch:


My enamel top sawhorse table was formerly a sofa table.


Its red + white colors form the scheme of my arrangement.

did say floor-to-ceiling, so let’s see what’s on the floor.

First, a large red+ white target artwork anchors the space:


Large target artwork, glove mold, stack of books + basket


Look — October 29th is my birthday


Enter a caption


Measuring artwork that I made, using chippy white salvaged wood


That hardware means this board started out in a cabinet or window

Of course, this is all subject to change,

because it’s a project in progress.


But for now, that’s it for the floor portion of my floor-to-ceiling vignette.

My plans include having a gallery wall above the sawhorse table.

I can’t decide which of my dozens of artworks to include

which is why the in progress stage of my project is taking so long.

In the meantime, I did lean this old red level against the wall:




Please.  It had me at chippy red original paint.

This level will draw the eye upward

+ will eventually link the floor items to those higher up, on the wall.


I shall blog about both the art gallery + the table top vignette, soon.


Today I shall work on pillows for my etsy shop

+/or plant batch #2 of spring bulbs out front.

Here’s a post about our first batch of spring bulbs.

Here’s a recent pillow, with which I have a love/hate relationship:


It seemed to take forever to make, so I was almost hating it.

As often occurs, though, the following morning I super loved it.

Thanks for viewing; it means a lot!

At Last, Art Ledges!

Jeopardy! was just on, + I didn’t get Final.  The humanity!


But let’s not dwell on today’s heartbreak;

 let’s discuss my new art ledges from IKEA, instead:


We have 4 of them on each side of that huge sorter.

I’m such a fan of art ledges — we had them at our old brick bungalow, too:

art ledges bungalow dining room

Art ledges are right up my decorating alley,

as they make it super easy for me to endlessly arrange + rearrange all my stuff!

They’re perfect for G.O., too,

as we don’t end up with Swiss cheese nail holes in our plaster walls.


But why, you ask, did it take us 10+ months

to hang art ledges here at the Dutch colonial?

  Well, here’s why  — I suffer from CDI.

Chronic Decorating Indecision

dunce cap cat

Let’s go back in time, when all this indecision was taking place.

I sit here, on our new-ish couch, while simultaneously watching Jeopardy

+ pondering where to display all my groovies.


Here’s my view while doing all that watching + pondering:

Disclaimer: I plopped that tall black ladder there just this morning,

so imagine this as an empty, blank space.

I just knew that it would be perfect for an epic gallery wall!

Here’s proof, all from Pottery Barn:

Yumm-O, am I right?

Yes I am right, but for some reason I just couldn’t commit.

Then, 0ne day, out of the blue,

I was struck with the idea of flanking our sorter with art ledges.

Perfect!  I love symmetry!


View from the front door. Our poor Eames-style recliner needs some TLC!

Let’s have a closer look-see at just a few of my groovies, shall we?

On the lower left side, I’ve incorporated some ‘leaners’.


Beatles Revolver LP . vintage map of St. Louis . folk art measuring stick, made from an old window sash (by me)

Now let’s view the lower right side, with its own leaner + a vintage child’s chair.

I’m sewing a cushion for it, for my biz — but I kinda like it here.

Perhaps I’ll keep it.


Cubist painting of Susie, our late great Dachshud by David Holsted of Harrison, AR . photo of our grandson with Susie . President Kennedy window cling


A framed map . Blackhawk statue in Oregon IL . Hogue Hall (now demolished) at my alma mater, Greenville College . vintage metal weather vane arrow.


Vintage letter cards . corresponding dictionary pages for ‘Oh’ (for G.O.) + ‘Kay’ (for me) . another vintage metal weather vane arrow


Close up of a print of my beloved Busch Stadium, from an etsy seller

Oh, how fun!

So many groovies, so little room left in this blog post, though!

Perhaps I will share more on another day — stay tuned!

Oh, + happy Labor Day weekend!

I Love Botanical Stuff!

Show of hands!

Who, like me, subscribes to Elle Decor magazine?

I’m not always a yooge fan, but each issue always contains 1 or 2 good houses,

like this one owned by this adorable family:

redbird -- guy's glasses frames elle decor

Check out those cool glasses frames on the guy!

Coincidentally, we went frames shopping for G.O. yesterday!

That was conflict free.  Not.

cat fight

But stay tuned — I really like the frames I insisted that he get.

Meanwhile, I digress.

Let’s go back to inside this house in Elle Decor:

redbird -- wallpaper elle decor

Can I get a yay or nay for that espalier wallpaper?


Espalier is a Frenchie word for training a tree to grow horizontally,

usually on a wall or a fence.

My plans include our having an espaliered tree in our yard.


Back to the Elle Decor house.

Check out yet more botanical happiness:

redbird -- allium artwork

Our Elle Decor family has this very print of alium flowers!

Theirs is hanging on the wall above their freestanding tub.

This photo above, however, is from the Shabby Creek Cottage blog.


In closing, we went to IKEA the other day,

+ they had artificial alium blooms for sale, @ $8-ish.

Did you get some, Kay? — I hear you asking?


Sadly, no.  I feared G.O. would get a little cranky.

He doesn’t understand!

.No worries, though — look what I found on etsy!

redbird -- allium from heavenlyhomeflowers shop on etsy

These silkies look a lot better than the plastic ones from IKEA.

Go here:

I think it’s high time I make a morale boosting purchase.

Designer Karin Blake

One of  my favorite interior designers is Karin Blake.

Architectural Digest magazine feels the same way,

as they recently named her one of their Top 100 Designers.

Here’s one reason why:

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #1

People.  This magnificence is the kitchen of her Malibu, CA cottage,

which is listed for sale for $3,795,000!

I just spied this photo yesterday in one of my favorite blogs,

Content In A Cottage.

Go there to see more gorgeous photos of Karin Blake’s folk art-filled cottage.

* * * *

Meanwhile, let’s talk about the obvious why I love her kitchen!

Here’s another look-see:

karin blake's malibu kitchen from dining room

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!

1. all that fantastic FOLK ART! — 2. plain Jane white cabs

3. industrial stools — 4. butcher block countertops

5. farmhouse table with its red metal box

6. the highly-coveted vintage barber pole

and most of all

(yelled like Oprah)


karin blake's red sashes

I found a photo of her kitchen, PRE-red window sashes:

karin blake's malibu kitchen -- before red sashes!

Architectural Digest

This kitchen still puts the OUT in outstanding,

(+ I really, really want that bulls eye),

but check out the difference the red sashes make:

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #1

I think we’re all on board, here,

with how scrumptious RED can be.

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #2

All that bright, bright white makes the colors pop,

+ I’m re-thinking my gray walls for the next house.

Stay tuned!


In my most recent post,, I mused about hanging an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup poster in my hacienda. I’m torn between 2 choices:

While the colorful one has all the ‘Kay colors’, I fear it would be too matchy matchy!  The plain Jane one is more graphic + iconic, methinks.

Meanwhile, as I was obsessively searching for Campbell Soup images online, I happily discovered that I’m not the only fan! Check it out!

I think the red cans in the white kitchen looks particularly fab. Coincidentally, I’ve been fretting over my kitchen’s glass-front upper cabs. They’re kind of empty right now, which won’t DO. How crazy would it be to stack red + white tomato soup cans inside?>>

My kitchen cabs would look smashing with tomato soup cans!

Maybe just the upper shelf? What say ye?


Andy Warhol, photographed by Carl Fischer for Esquire magazine.

Andy Warhol, photographed by Carl Fischer for Esquire magazine.

Target +

Target +

There is a blank wall next to our postal sorter that holds our TV, + it needs an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup poster. Warhol was the artist most associated with the Pop Art movement of the 60’s. His iconic images include the soup cans, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis + other notables.

Those awesome small cans from Target were a limited edition, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Warhol’s soup can artwork. I missed it! The humanity! I can still buy my poster, though! First I must chose between the plain Jane can or something more colorful. Stay tuned for more musings about that AND another project involving real Campbell Soup cans!



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