Probably Polka Dots Probably Polka Dots
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21 June 2017

Heirloom baby gifts + unique wrapping ideas

In October, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are welcoming their first baby, a sweet little girl. To say our family is over the moon would be an understatement. We already have two nephews and one niece, but this is the first baby girl in the family that I get to spoil (my oldest niece was born a few years before I was a part of the fam, so I missed her baby phase). 

Of course, Aunt Nicole has been buying all sorts of little things for baby C. She's gotten a book (of course), a sweet onesie, a bib...the list goes on. However, I've been on the lookout for something that I could pass onto baby C that her mom could cherish as much as she could, and something that could be a keepsake of sorts for years to come. An heirloom.

When Strasburg Children reached out to me, I knew I had found the keepsake I had been looking for. Strasburg Children's clothes are exquisite. They are always handmade and smocked from 100% Duponi silk or 100% cotton, and they generally feature embroidery, lace, and bows. These outfits are treasures. I knew my SIL would love to have one of these in baby C's collection for special occasions, church on Sundays, or even family dinner at home just because. I chose a lavender camisole and bloomer set that baby C could wear next spring and summer - maybe even on our annual beach trip. 

Of course, I had to wrap it up in a unique way. I started by picking up a tiny paper fan garland from Target's dollar spot. I knew I could use the fans as an accent, and since it came with gilded yarn, I could use that as ribbon. Done. Next, I grabbed a neutral box and stumbled upon wooden initials to finish the package. I love the idea of personalizing gifts, especially for babies. 

Between the sweet exterior and the stunning dress and bloomers waiting inside, I know my SIL is going to be thrilled with the gift. Granted, she might see all the details here first, but something tells me she'll look forward to receiving the gift next week just the same. 

Thank you to Strasburg Children for gifting me the set in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 


19 June 2017

Erica Beck Original Art

If you've followed along with PPD over the years, you know that I am completely enamored by artists, especially those living in the South. We have such a wonderful art scene south of the Mason Dixon, and new to me artists are popping up almost weekly; there's truly something out there for everyone and for every budget. 

A few weeks ago, I met Erica Beck of Erica Beck Original Art. Okay, so we didn't actually "meet" in person, but after a few emails, it was clear that Erica and I would basically be BFFs if we lived closer to each other. Frequent 30A visitors? Check. Both working on building a home? Check. Southerners? Check. Lovers of the same artists? Check. We just clicked. 

Erica's art is energetic yet balanced, punchy yet serene, and joyous yet thoughtful. She says she's inspired by the beach, and her colors most definitely reflect just that. Acrylics are her medium of choice, but perusing her available works, you'll notice she dabbles in everything from pastels to charcoal. Erica's work is quintessentially Erica while managing to surprise you, too. 

Erica began her artist journey at a young age. Inspired by her dad, an architect, she always had a drafting table at her disposal which she referred to as her "art desk." Fast forward just a few years later, and Erica was graduating from Maryville College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After a stint in graphic design, Erica was ready to tackle art in a different way. Learn more about Erica's journey and her day-to-day as an artist below, and see my own Erica Beck Original Art painting, Gulf Place, featured in my guest room gallery wall photos sprinkled throughout this post. 

If you're interested in collaborating with Erica for a custom painting, I highly recommend it! Erica and I worked together to create an original piece that would fit seamlessly into my gallery wall and would play with the fabrics I had chosen for our guest room. The result was a beautiful painting that I am over the moon about. Without further delay, meet Erica Beck:

Tell me what a day in the life of an artist looks like.
My day almost always starts with a morning jog, followed by taking our Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon, Cash, out for bumper retrieves. If he doesn’t get exercise, it’s chaos all day! Coffee and devotion time is next. I’ll read/answer emails, send gallery submissions, and review upcoming art show/festival opportunities. Then, I get started on whatever projects I have going on. I have a few design clients that I work with, but it’s 80% painting most of the time - which I LOVE.

When did you realize that you were ready to start your own business? What gave you that final push?
I never felt 100% ready. My career as a graphic designer was getting stagnant, and I wanted a creative outlet. I heard a quote one day, “Just start,” and that became my mantra.

What is your vision for your brand?
In the beginning, I had no intention of painting on canvas - much less abstract painting. I just went back to what I knew which was sketching and painting with watercolor. That naturally led to a business centered around the wholesale greeting card industry which led me to the National Stationery Show in New York. I had this grand vision of seeing my cards in boutiques all across the country and attending more trade shows similar to NSS. After attending the show, however, it became clear that I was trying to get noticed in an incredibly saturated market. In the middle of all of this, I also started painting abstracts on large canvas. The freedom to be expressive with color and shapes (and not having to worry about commercial printer deadlines) was addicting. To my complete surprise, the paintings started selling so well that I shifted my focus to that.

What's the next big thing art enthusiasts can expect from you?
I hope to continue building an audience and eventually translate my paintings into lifestyle products such as pillows or scarves.

Who/what would be your ultimate collaboration?
Herm├Ęs! Or a long-term collaboration with an interior design firm.

Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
I have so much respect and admiration for Sally King Benedict and Miles Purvis.

What is your definition of "southern hospitality"?
Always being prepared to entertain unexpected company. I’ve learned that you make the best friends over nibbles in the kitchen and drinks on the porch!

Where can readers go to find your work/learn more about you?
Instagram and my website are the best places to find my work. I also have work available online at South Haus and locally at Bradley’s Chocolates and Nest - both in Knoxville, TN.

Thank you so much, Erica, for giving us a glimpse into yourself and your work!

Erica kindly gifted me a piece of art in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

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