Friday, December 21, 2012

4th Advent Giveaway: A Tiny Bit Early...

Christmas comes early... at least it does when Monday is Christmas Eve! This last giveaway is up and ready for downloading a few days early in light of all the last minute preparations being made for the big day. Christmas, we do love you for all the joy you bring us and the reminder that we haven't been left alone in this world. Emmanuel is with us and we rejoice! Noel, Je t'aime!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tennessee Christmas

Painting featured: "Tango Maureen"





 Growing up listening to Amy Grant's "Tender Tennessee Christmas" kind of had an adverse effect on me- it really made me wish we had those snow covered roofs in Colorado. I couldn't understand Amy's love for a state that held so few signs that winter happened. I wanted my snow men- my snow cream- snow boots! What I  didn't know was that kids still had to go to school on snow days. What???? People emerged out of their homes-turned-snow forts with all their stock piles of milk and bread and went on with life as usual?   They weren't scared out of their minds to drive on an inch of snow and potential black ice? Eventually I learned that only in the South are snow machines a rare phenomenon and the rest of the US laughs at us TN bumpkins... Well, unless a Christmas miracle occurs this year, there probably won't be any snow on Christmas day or any other day this winter (thank you, climate change) but I'll take you, Tennessee. You're a pretty great place to be. You've made a true Southern woman out of me and I kinda like you. A lot. Merry Tennessee Christmas to you!!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Third Advent Giveaway!

This printout is free and downloadable here.


One more week until Christmas and I'm buzzing. I'm buzzing with some new found freedom amidst the craziness of this season. The last few weeks have been so rich with a few new epiphanies for me as I've been struggling through all the highs and low that Christmas can bring:

 1. It's just stuff.
I'm so embarrassed to admit that I am the first one to be absorbed with the consumerism that surrounds Christmas. The minute I start my Christmas shopping, I start wanting things. Pretty, shiny, sparkly things. Things for myself. New things that shout at me when I'm supposed to be focused on giving to others. I get so consumed with myself and orchestrating the perfect Christmas list for myself to ensure that all my wants are fulfilled and I end the Christmas season with a gaping hole in myself that focus on stuff brings. I was walking through Target the other day and was coveting a thousand shiny new things and this overwhelming thought came over me- "It's just stuff. It shouldn't have this power over you." And I felt a burden lift from me. A freedom started to form - it's just stuff and I really don't need any of it. What a gift! Now to pray that I can maintain this posture throughout the year.

2. Time to reflect.
Every December I set out to create quiet time- time to meditate on the miracle and wonder of Christ coming to earth to set us free from ourselves. Every year December 25th comes and I have filled every possible minute with myself: parties, cookie baking, Christmas carding, list making, shopping. I've made an idol of my entertainment and haven't given Christ the prominence that worshiping Him demands. This year, I stumbled across two of the best centering items I could have found. An advent devotional: Dale and Jonalyn Fincher's Opening the Stable Door  and Sufjan Stephen's Christmas album from long ago, "Songs for Christmas." The more I read and listen, the more I want of Christ and the less I feel the need to be so busy.

3. It's not over yet.
 This is probably my favorite epiphany this season. I get the January blues BIG TIME. Christmas is over. The parties, the festivities, the cheer, the loving, the giving- it's all over and all we have left is a cold, dark, bleak month, full of dreariness because our wallets are empty and our bodies are sluggish from too much indulging. But if Christmas really is as powerful as it claims to be- if a tiny little baby was born and His birth pierced the dark, dark world and a shard of hope entered the world, then Christmas is not over after the 25th. In fact, it just begins in the new year. Christmas gives me new life for the year. As our pastor put it, the gospel reminds me that this life is not as good as it gets. Life is not "just the way it is," Christ gives me hope that this is not the way it's always going to be. One day my King will sit on His throne and right all that is wrong. He will forever pierce all darkness and rule over a city and a people who know no darkness, pain, or tears. If I really believe the gospel, December 26th can become a day of joy and peace. Emmanuel has come! God is with us! I can keep celebrating because I have a reason beyond gifting and feasting to be joyful.

**** The above printout is free and downloadable here. My prayer is that it will be an encouragement and a reminder of the hope that awaits us this season!!   *****



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Inspiration for Custom Work



I am often asked where I find inspiration for artwork and I'm happy to share a great example of the inspiration process today.  The above piece was one that I recently collaborated on with a friend. She and her husband wanted an abstract piece with a field of flowers that also brought back memories from their travels in Europe. Holly sent me the picture below as the inspiration for our project and they also decided that they wanted a French barn in the composition to add a bit more of a European flair to the piece. I used the photo for the basic composition, adding a few of my own touches. 
I then snooped around for some good images of stone French country barns and found one that fit well in the scene. This was such a great painting to work on and such an easy process working with Holly and Allen.  I hope it brings you two as much joy as it brought me! 
 


Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Gift Tag Download!

It's week 2 of Christmas downloads! Hopefully you're breezing through your Christmas gift purchases and are ready to wrap happy!   Available on Etsy after today. Happy Monday- and enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Citrus Christmas

Every year the ladies in my family gather together for cookie day- a most exciting day of the year where we will cover my aunt's kitchen with dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies and fill up take home boxes to spread among friends. It's always fun to see what everyone makes each year and it's always a hard decision to pick one cookie out of so many delicious options! This year, I've narrowed my selection down to citrus- gleaning inspiration from a Stella McCartney citrus cake I discovered a while back. So, what'll it be? Orange Pistacio (unfortunately, the recipe for these lovely cookies was in german, so I might try this one) , lemon rosemary, lemon lavendar shortbread, or citrus cranberry ? Hmmmmmmmm.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

'Tis Giving Season!!!




 A very Merry December to you!! I'm doing a little Advent giveaway each week and have worked up four Christmas printables that will be available for download every Monday this month!  Just download and print away!! Today's giveaway is "Joy to the World." Happy Monday!!  


Friday, November 30, 2012

New Digs!



 My office has been looking a bit drab and in need of some freshening. After the show, I had a bit of time to devote to some office sprucing! Winter blues hit me pretty bad this time of year and with limited hours of sunlight, I wanted to bring in as much natural light as possible and fupdate the look of the space.  First, the dark suede walls had to go- it was a great color, but terrible for reflection of light.  Instant transformation occurred when the walls got a fresh coat of light grey. No more shadowy corners!  I replaced an over-sized captain's lamp on my desk with two smaller Hollywood Regency-styled beauties (found at Lowes!), and found a bold chevron pillow from T J Maxx to liven up my  green velvet chair.  I had previously stashed away a director's chair (also from the Maxx) that I decided to pull out for the makeover. The transformation was astounding! David poked his head in after all was in order and announced that the room was "hot." Success!  I'm flyin' high with all this new light and maybe a little from the leftover paint fumes... 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: Oversized Artwork

My office got a makeover this weekend and while I'm in the decorating mood, I've been browsing around looking for dramatic touches to wall space. I get overly excited when I see a room with an over-sized piece of art expanding the walls because, well, it's just fun. Anything from an enlarged photo to a sneaker print can liven up any space and add a flair of whimsy even to the simplest of spaces. One of my very favorite pieces from above is the Puma sneaker print in Ellen Degeneres' dining room. I love the contrast between the rustic traditional furniture with the modern piece on the wall. Anyone putting up over-sized art work on your walls?  Share!

Image credits: Architectural Digest  | Martha Stewart Kevin Sharkey Home Tour  |  Bob Dylan over-sized print in Elle Decor | Ellen Degeneres Home Tour Architectural Digest | Liza Minelli Print via Aparment Therapy

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: Heart for Tart!

It's Thanksgiving week and I couldn't be more excited!! I get really excited about going to the grocery store this time of year. It's just such a great excuse to throw indulgent items into my cart and get ready to turn the Butler kitchen into a holiday bakery and send David into a diabetic coma...  I also get really excited about tarts this time of year. OK, this is my first year to get excited about tarts because I finally learned how to make them, but that's beside the point...
 Yesterday evening was spent baking some of my fall favorites for a little gathering tonight and my new favorite Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart from Food and Wine was one of the featured baked goods.
Y'all. You have to try this. It's pretty much a life changer and needs to be on your Thanksgiving table. Seriously. There may have been a mini tart made for my breakfast today...
Can't wait to dig into this tonight!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

'Tis the Season for ... ART!

Drum roll, please! Below are all of the paintings that are featured in my show, "Near and Far." These paintings here just in time for Christmas and are priced for every budget!  The pieces are for sale at Gallery 1091 at WKNO until November 30th and then will be available for purchase in my shop.

Contact me for purchasing info (butler.hillary(at)gmail.com)















Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Show Time! WKNO Art Show


I was out sick last week and finally got around to sorting these yesterday. I had a great time reliving some show memories and all the sweet folks who came out to take part. I woke up the morning of the show terribly ill- sicker than I've been in a while. I managed to pull it together (make up is a beautiful thing...), have a great time at the show, and then pass out on the couch afterwards with pizza and hot tea. Here are some highlights from the show. See a painting you like in the background? I'm posting all available paintings tomorrow- stay tuned! 





David shakin' hands and kissin' babies...

One of my favorite babies


The dot: SOLD!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: Favorite Fall Wardrobe Pieces

Is it just me or do the Mondays come quicker and quicker around holiday season? This past week absolutely flew by. I took off last week to recover from art festival season and the art show and it was such a wonderful reprieve from the hectic schedule we had been keeping. Today I'm back to share with you my favorite new indulgence: a new outfit for the show (show pics coming soon!). I found both of these pieces at the one and only Ann Taylor Loft.  I may have had this hanging on my closet door all week just because it's so dad-gum cute. I'm looking forward to mixing and matching these pieces as the weather gets crisper!! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Provence-Inspired Fall Table for Show Reception


The show is only four days away and I am now in the reception planning frenzy! I'm gleaning my inspiration from Provence as many of the churches that will be in the show are from France. I've been feasting my eyes on this idea board and getting ready to feast on some provincial eats on Sunday!

Happy Halloween, Y'all!



Happy Halloween!! Hope this is a fun-filled day full of more treats than tricks! I'm wearing my very favorite studded skull shirt today in honor of today's festivities and am off to grab some candy for the little peeps who come knocking tonight. I leave you with a few of my favorite recent skull finds for the perfect spooky accruments for a little Hallowed get together. Happy Halloween-ing!   


DIY Halloween Party via Lovely Indeed  | Vintage Skull Poster | His-n-Hers Skull Shot Glasses | Damien Hirst Diamond Studded Skull |

Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting Ready for the Show!

 Art Show time is around the corner!! Next weekend is the big debut at WKNO- Sunday, November 4th 2-4 pm (address here). I'm finishing up some last minute touches and getting ready to hang my artwork! Priced in different ranges, the show is also just in time for early Christmas shopping if you're looking for a piece for that special someone... Come on down and take a peek next weekend!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: Brownies for Breakfast


It was a doozy of a week last Friday and we had a busy weekend ahead showing art at the Broad Street Art Walk, so I did what I must- I made brownies. It was probably the best decision I made all week and an even better decision was to eat these bad boys for breakfast (stop reading, mom. you did raise me better than this). I froze them to discourage myself from eating the entire pan in one sitting, and I made an amazing discovery. They are so soft and chewy that they won't even freeze all the way, making these a perfect cold treat for this dadgum warm spell we're experiencing. We snacked on these this weekend and I am convinced that this new breakfast trick was the secret to a successful weekend, that or it's my new kryptonite. Either way, they're amazing. They take 10 minutes to make and may turn a nasty Monday into a fabby Monday. Happy Monday and enjoy! 

Image Credit

Friday, October 19, 2012

Behind the Art of the Music: featuring Myla Smith


Soooo, I am really excited to finally get to share the inner workings of a project that started this summer. A very good friend and musician extraordinaire of mine, Myla Smith, asked me to do the artwork for her newly released album, "Drugs." She wanted to release it this fall, so we got to working immediately, and came up with such a great album design.
We went through two different concepts before we arrived at the final version and there was so much fun art that didn't make the final cut, that I just had to share some sneak peeks.
These are the initial concepts that I sketched out after a huge pow wow session on the direction of her album art. The "Drugs" album focuses on the many coping mechanisms we are drawn towards to hide our emptiness instead of dealing with our issues- the drugs we all abuse from time to time: money, sex, business, alcohol, you name it. In keeping with this deep concept, she wanted the artwork to have a light and airy feel to and stay away from dark imagery. Here's where the fun began. In the brainstorm process, I came up with three different scenarios for the cover to quickly picture addiction- a subway with passengers reading about their drugs of choice, an old fashioned drug store with customers drinking their drugs, and our modern day drug store, a coffee shop, in which customers wait in line and at tables showing us their addictive habits. We ended up going the direction of the coffee shop to illustrate best the different drugs represented in her album. And here is the final illustrated version of the coffee shop drug store album artwork.
 
 Ahhhhh! It was so fun to create each personality! I sat in a coffee shop one afternoon and studied  people coming and going for some ideas. Some of these characters are based on real people I saw in the shop (no one brought a flask in to my knowledge...).  We were ready to hit the print button, when, enter phenomenal PR gal, Elizabeth Cawein of Signal Flow PR. She became Myla's publicist this summer and made a few changes to the direction of the cd. She loved the illustrated look,, but the inside panels had to be changed to add images of the lovely Mylas Smith. After a whirlwind photo shoot weekend for Myla, she sent me her images and they were added to the inside panels. We also changed the credits to an illustrated RX pad to keep in theme with the drugstore imagery. Below is our final version, which is available for purchase now!! Head to Myla's site to listen to a preview of her hit debut, "Slow Down" and if you love it as much as I do, you can purchase her new album on Amazon or Itunes.   


Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Post: Flea Market Finds in Brooklyn


Image Credits: (left to right) Fall Table | Wingback Chairs & Fabric Finds | Lamps



Today's post comes to you from New York blogger Alexandra Jacobs. She offers her advice for perusing Brooklyn flea market finds for the perfect autumn touches for your home.
Follow her New Yorker lead into flea markets near you for some creative touches to your fall decor!


 Having an abundance of home decorating resources at your fingertips gives you a wealth
of ideas for creating interior decor that is tailored to your lifestyle and personality. When
decorating your home, you want to take some of the ideas you see and reinvent them to
complement your personality and design style. There's a good possibility that during the
process of reinventing ideas, you will come up with some magnificently awesome, totally unique
decor ideas of your own.

Autumn decor doesn't have to revolve around muted colors. An interior idea can be built around
bold, bright colors, such as orange- the ever popular autumn color. Pair an energizing orange with a dramatically deep purple and you have an excellent color palette around which to build your autumn design. Turquoise has gained popularity as an autumn color and choosing one or two amazing shades of green (like the sea foam green pictured below) is also a great beginning.



Image Credit

 Fortunately for design enthusiasts, autumn is the time of year when festivals abound. Stroll through some of the New York street fairs (or flea markets in your area) to find inspiration for decorating a home for fall. You will quickly see that brilliant colors are quite appropriate for fall decor. The art displayed at street festivals can ignite your own creativity. Don't be afraid to expound on design ideas displayed by artists at events such as the Dumbo Arts Festival.

Spend some time seeking treasures at Brooklyn flea markets and stoop sales to find items that
are just waiting for you to come and unleash your creativity. In Brooklyn, residents stroll several flea
markets weekly. To name a couple popular ones, Fort Greene Flea along Lafayette Ave is held
every Saturday through November. In addition the Williamsburg Flea Market, along the East
River front, is held each Sunday allowing residents to make a weekend out of collecting. Be
sure to check out the Brooklyn Flea Market site for more inspiring places to stroll in the
burrow.

Decor in New York features trend-setting designs, which offers an abundance of inspiration for original design seekers at these flea markets. You may see a DIY project involving the restoration of vintage items to use as home decor and immediately think of yet another way to re-purpose that same item. Vintage mirrors and picture frames can
easily be painted to complement your decor. Autumn themed pictures can be displayed in
them. And as a bonus, when seasons change, you can change the pictures to coordinate with your frames.

Paint can transform almost any second hand find. If you fall in love with a unique accent table that has seen some use and abuse, buy it, paint it and proudly include it in your decor. Stay in high alert mode at a flea market. You never know what you will find. Vases are generally a good investment.
You can add arrangements to theme to coincide with each season. Feathers, seed pods, dried
grass and fall flowers make a wonderful table display.

These goodies are just waiting for a good eye and chic touch of some new paint and upholstery. Image credit 

When so many great ideas abound, the one thing I like to keep in mind when decorating an apartment or home for any season is to keep the decor simple. Choose a few new autumn touches and
tuck them in to your decor to avoid clutter.
It's the perfect weather and time of year to get a move on autumn inspiration and you might be surprised at how much there is to be found at your local flea market! 
Alexandra is a travel enthusiast who loves to write about fashion, beaches, food, and the
wonderful things in the world. She provides her own insights on vacationing to the blogosphere. Learn more about her and follow her on Twitter @alexsjourneys or visit her blog, www.alexsjourneys.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ultimate Standard for the Cheese Platter

So I missed posting a Monday Morning Inspiration this week, so to make up for it, here is a little inspiration for your Tuesday morning. May I present the ultimate standard for the cheese platter.  I have no idea how this could be topped. I was enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon sipping on a glass of wine and found flipping through my latest Food and Wine issue and came across this and I stopped breathing. Kind of. This was featured in a ranch-style Thanksgiving spread set on a vineyard in California wine country (envy, hold back!) abounding with produce and wine from the ranch and now I've got harvest season on the brain big time.  I actually just want to sit on the ranch at eat all of this, but will have to settle for my white cheddar and apples this morning. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

November 4th Show -Sneak Peeks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I would like to extend an invitation to all to come and see my new collection that will be on display and for sale on Sunday, November 4th from 2-4 pm at WKNO in Cordova, TN.
Come one, come all- hope to see you there!

I'm also excited to present a few sneak peeks of some the show pieces on this lovely Wednesday morning!! I'm pretty pumped about this show- as an Art History minor, I finally get to paint some of my favorite lovely ladies that have been swimming in my head for years now, namely Chartres Cathedral (tip top ptg).  I've wanted to commit Chartres to canvas for around 10 years now, and it was a beautiful day when that painting came together. 

As I was brainstorming on this series, I realized that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to paint some of the gorgeous beauties here in our own city, being that an old nick-name of Memphis is the "City of 1,000 Churches."
(Any Memphians recognize the Church on the very bottom?) 

Stay tuned for a few more sneak peeks as the show draws near!