Clean Slate

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Things That Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of


Orange Rhubarb Butter by Food in Jars : My garden is going strong and I had some rhubarb that I needed to do something with before we went on vacation tomorrow, so I made just a tiny little batch to spread on toast this morning. It sure did hit the spot. Even as it was cooking the rhubarb smell in our kitchen was so nostalgic. It sent me right back to chewing on stalks of it as a kid.

Kale Salads: Toasted Bread & Parmesan and one that a friend told me about:
  • Kale 
  • Pine Nuts
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
I make this at least twice a week! I chop the kale really finely, think tiny paper shreds. Then, in a bowl, I drizzle it with olive oil and toss with sea salt. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet until they are aromatic and golden. Top the kale with an abundance of cranberries and pine nuts. Some days I add a little parmesan or feta depending on what I've got. 

Mountains: We're headed to the Andes this week and I'm just about packed. If you live near mountains, I really, really envy you. Growing up in the midwest makes Dylan and I those people picking their jaws up off the ground each time we visit a place with elevation and peaks. 

My new love of embroidery has led me to Sashiko style stitching from Japan.

Reversible Placemat Tutorial. Image source: Pearl Bee




















































Beautiful examples of multicolor stitches. Image source: Jurgen Lehl Etc.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Things That Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of

Etiquette for the Childless Friend as mentioned on The Longest Shortest Time podcast.

Have you used Apple Cider Vinegar on your hair?

Intrigued by this Unstainable White Shirt on Kickstarter. I really want the tee, but trying so hard not to buy new.

I listened to an interview with Zelda Williams on The JV Club podcast and she seems like the smartest and coolest girl ever.

This Mexican Grilled Avocado Toast has my mouth watering!

My Instagram is going to be full of things photographed on my new white marble table top. We gave our hand-me-down coffee table an upgrade with this $35 piece that I found on Craigslist last weekend. I can't believe it just happened to fit it perfectly – it was meant to be.

Have a great weekend! The temps here in southeast Michigan are going to be in the mid-70s and I can't wait to lay in the hammock and read for hours.




Friday, April 24, 2015

Things that Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of
I'm always sending out links to various people as I read, hear or stumble upon interesting things. If you've ever worked with me or are a close friend, you've probably received an email from me that said something like, "I saw this today and thought it was amazing. Check it out." The more I think about my habit of doing this I realize that if I compiled these images, links and ideas into a blog post each week it might be a way of reaching people who appreciate similar things. So, this is the start of something. I'm not sure if it will last long, or become something bigger, but it's a small meaningful list of things that I hope will move you like they did me.

Iceland is Gloomy by Carol Devine (The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is calling me back...)






















I discovered PureGreenMag.com and have fallen completely into the immense amount of information and podcast interviews...

My hometown hockey rink, Pullar Stadium, has made it to the finals of the Kraft Hockeyville  contest!

I'm learning how to embroider for The 100 Day Project. I use this website a lot to explore different types of stitches. I post a new image of my progress on Instagram daily.

If you want another weekly list of links to click through, check out Herban Girl's Sunday Stuff posts. They lead me so many awesome places and I learn so much.

This AirBNB island farm retreat is at the top of my list for a west coast trip.

image from AirBNB

On a whim I purchased a Botanical Interests seed sprouter from my local nursery while picking up some top soil. I'm getting ready to enjoy my first pita topped with them! If you want a more inexpensive, DIY method with a mason jar and cheese cloth take a look at this post on Food 52 and this one. If anyone has any recommendations for online sprouting seed sources I'd love to hear!



Friday, April 17, 2015

Terrarium Instructions 2.0 (In 1 Hour or Less!)


Chances are you've stumbled upon this blog because of my first iteration of these terrariums from 2011! It was such a surreal experience seeing them gain momentum as Pinterest transitioned from a beta site to a full blown worldwide influencer. The post has brought over a million people to this site, so I thought it only fair that I give a bit of an update on my terrariums nearly three and a half years and three moves later. So here it is, Terrariums 2.0.

These are my 3.5 year old dirty, half-alive terrariums...
I hadn't repotted the terrariums at all until this point, so it's amazing anything was still alive, but there was! The first time I hadn't used horticulture charcoal because I couldn't find it. This time I ordered some from Amazon, along with small black rocks to replace the light rocks on top and really make the green plants be the focal point along with the stone collection from our travels. I've propagated quite a lot of little succulents over the years, so I didn't have to buy any new ones.


Here's a list of supplies you'll need and links to purchase some of the items on Amazon:

  • Glass Containers (my bookend fishbowls were originally from Wrapables, but I can't find them online anywhere, please comment if you track them down!)
  • Potting Soil: I used a cactus mix this time around because it's what I had handy!
  • Horticulture Charcoal
  • Succulents: I try to keep mine around 2" tall at max to start to make sure they have a little room to grow. I also only put 2-3 small ones on each side.
  • A handful of stones/pebbles for the bottom of each bowl. Mine were re-used from the last time around. I just cleaned them up before putting them back in. I also used purchased black pebbles on top to add interest and mix in with the stones from our travels.
  • Spoon: Once again I found myself using this to do most of the scooping and digging for the plants. 
The order you'll want to put the layers in is shown in the photos below: rocks, charcoal, soil, plants then decorative rocks or sculptures.

A handful of small stones or pebbles in the bottom for drainage.

2 inches of charcoal is added on top of the stones.

The amount of soil for your terrariums depends on the height of your container. I used about 4 inches.
Then in went my plants!
This is a photo of our rock collection from all of our travels: Iceland, Lake Superior, Italy, Montana, Argentina, Mongolia and more. 
The finished terrariums have found a nice sunny spot on my desk for the time being and our holding up some of my favorite books.


Monday, March 16, 2015

VIDA Scarves!

Two posts in one month! I guess that means I've either been procrastinating other things on my to-do list or I'm just feeling really ambitious.

I wanted to let you know about a recent collaboration of mine in the fashion world. I launched a collection of scarves with VIDA Voices with my surface pattern designs on them. I can't wait to receive my samples and model them myself to show you detailed shots of the beautiful quality. But until then, popover to their site and take a look at my designs. Maybe you're looking for that perfect spring accessory to liven up your wardrobe? I am definitely in need of a pick-me-up in that department. Make sure to poke around their site to hear more of their story and see more examples of their amazing products.

Check back for a giveaway as we get further into spring, but until then there are 4 days left to use the coupon code "VOICES" for 25% off your purchase. Thanks so much for all your support and kindness! 

About VIDA: VIDA Voices is a company that I'm especially proud to partner with because they are socially responsible and are incredibly mindful in their business practices. Specifically, they provide all their textile mill workers in Pakistan and India with literacy courses.


scarf pattern by two if by sea studios


Friday, March 13, 2015

Bookshelf + Chasing Paper Wallpaper DIY

It's been a while since I posted a furniture or "before & after" DIY project, but spring has sprung here in Michigan and there is nothing like a growing to-do list to get me outside. As I posted on my Instagram, 50º means throw your socks by the wayside and spray paint outside.

I bought this little bookcase for extra storage on Craigslist a couple of years ago with the intention of doing something fun with it someday like painting the inside a bold color or using some kind of material to cover it, etc. (It's little sister, Ms. Record Cabinet, got a new life a while back and you can see her enjoying the sunshine in the original post here.)


 Finally, this past fall the perfect pattern came along to spruce it up. Yep, that is kind of a pun, as you'll see further down. In case you weren't aware, I design surface patterns for various products and one of the most exciting partnerships of this past year was with the wallpaper company Chasing Paper! I designed four patterns for them and they were kind enough to send me extra samples of my favorite, Ever-so-Green, for this special project. Now, this isn't just any ol' wallpaper. It's self-adhesive, removable and reposition-able! The quality is so nice, I can't say enough good things about it and would not hesitate to cover an entire room in it.

This bookcase has become our landing strip and lives directly next to our front door so it's definitely front and center. This little refresh makes that sunny spot just a little more appealing and I just love the bright interior now. Back up... yes, we're in a new home now. In January Dylan, Nellie and I moved into a very cabin-like little house in a community between Ann Arbor and Detroit called Plymouth. We're settling into this space, which is so cozily off the beaten path and surrounded by trees and wood paneling! See the theme?

Below are some photos of the steps I took to complete this project. I decided to spray the interior of the bookcase white with Rust-oleum Paint &  Primer, first to cover the shelves and make them all clean looking and second, to create a nice smooth surface for the wallpaper to stick to. I decided to leave the exterior that retro light wood color and gave the legs a fresh coat of paint.

Then after measuring the interior spaces I wanted to cover I determined the sizes of the pieces I would need and also where the seam would be on the back piece and used a ruler and X-Acto knife to cut them. Then, one at a time, I stuck them in place. The beauty with the Chasing Paper product is that I could stick it down, peel it up, stick it down again, etc. It never lost it's stickiness!



Sidenote: no, this isn't a perfectly styled bookcase because we use all of our spaces to store things. We've only got 800 sq ft here, people, and no garage – so yes the boxes of hats and mittens need to go there. Don't judge me! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Things for 2015

As one year transitions to the next I find myself aspiring to make some changes in my life to better it. As this blog title infers we (Dylan and I) like fresh starts. We are fickle and we know it. We get restless, unsatisfied and an itch to try a new location for our home, switch our career focuses and travel frequently. And why not? Below are 10 of the things, links and ramblings included, that are part of my current clean slate.

1. Painting and Sketching : I've started a sketchbook and am documenting a painting, drawing or pattern in it every day for 365 days. You can follow along on the new Two if by Sea Studios Tumblr page or via my Instagram or Pinterest. (Hopefully the photos will be getting better once I get a new phone in a few weeks. P.S. The RENDR sketchbook's paper has amazed me so far. I can paint and draw on both sides of the paper and it doesn't bleed through.

2. Facial Massage : There's a bit of internet buzz about this right now and I've been trying to do it several times a week using a little coconut oil and a drop of tea tree oil. It feels so nice and Dylan mocks me by telling me how youthful I look while we're sitting on the sofa reading, which makes for a laugh.

3. 5 Minute Journal : The Mr. and I are both on our 5th day of this new journaling practice. So far, we're enjoying the simple addition of an extra few minutes of mindfulness each day.

4. "Ambivalence is Key to Success" (via Amy Poehler & David Simon) : Reading Yes Please right now and can't put it down... I don't want it to end. Here's my favorite part so far:

Either way, we both agreed that ambivalence is key to success. I will say it again. Ambivalence is key. You have to care about your work but not about the result. you have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look. 

Thank you, Amy. I needed that.

5. Podcasts : I've been listening to a lot of them lately while I work and while we're driving. Some of my favorites include The Unmistakeable Creative, After the Jump, The Jess Lively Show, Serial, The Splendid Table, 99% Invisible and Stuff You Should Know. Pretty much in order of enjoyment.

6. Friendships : We're planning a trip with a few of our best friends. Stay tuned.

7. Minimalism : This past year has seen a lot of purging, but we've got a ways to go. Donating and selling the nonessential has simplified choices and spaces. Downsizing to an even smaller home this week is going to take some more editing and I'm looking forward to it. Additionally, at the end of September I vowed to try my hardest to not buy any new clothes for an entire year. I can make my own, buy vintage or second-hand, or rent, but nothing new. I'm trying. Really. Hard. (I don't think underwear counts and I did have a moment of weakness after Thanksgiving when I determined I desperately needed a new pair of yoga pants without holes in them.

Unsubscribing from lots of retail email lists has helped. Pinterest doesn't help, but it does encourage me to get creative.

8. Hammocks : Seeking more opportunities to use ours and to sleep in it over night.

9. Moving to a Dirt Road : More on this later, once I unpack my camera.

10. A Slight Blog Refresh : If you're reading this on a reader, perhaps click through to MyCleanSlateBlog.com to see the updates. I cleaned stuff up, but it's still in progress. It feels like a good time to start blogging more, because the ever insightful and inspiring illustrator and letterer, Jessica Hische says,
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
And blogging is one of the things I do when I procrastinate... yes, I should be working on several brand identities, my sketchbook and a couple wedding invitations right now.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ornament Swap 2014: DIY Hand Painted Concrete Gems

One of my favorite December & holiday traditions has come and gone already; the annual ornament swap! I think what makes it so fun is coming up with new ideas and trying out new materials that might not be traditionally thought of for holiday ornament crafts. Quick setting concrete, or Quikcrete, was my experiment this year and I love how these little gems turned out. 

To see some of the ornaments I received in the swap check out my Instagram feed and if you're curious about my projects from previous years, you can click here to look back. Sorry if any past post images are appearing a bit fuzzy, I've been changing around the design of the blog over the years and smaller images are being scaled up and becoming a bit pixelated as a result.

Below are a few of the in-progress photos and tips for making your own.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Travel Survival Guide Personalized Journal, Planner or Address Book

A design for all my fellow travel lovers! (Please excuse all the exclamation points, but I'm really excited about this product launch...)

I think this design so perfect as a journal, but you can also order it as a planner (monthly or weekly) and an address book! Now that I think about it, I guess "Survival Guide" is pretty appropriate for a planner, as sometimes I feel like a week or month full of events and to-dos is all about surviving!

Chose either spiral or grommet bound! Three colors to chose from. Add front and interior personalization or a message to the recipient if you'd like. What?!? So many options, try not to be overwhelmed. Click here to take a closer look on Minted.com, see the options or place an order.

Thanks for taking a look and supporting my designs. Two if by Sea Studios has a lot of exciting products in the works so check back every so often! Like my page on Facebook and follow me on Instagram for all the updates!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Montana & Glacier National Park

In late September, Dylan and I determined we could spare a week off in October and get away because we knew travel around the holidays wasn't going to be possible this year. We promptly booked tickets into Spokane, Washington with plans to visit Glacier National Park and explore Montana a bit.

After reading several articles like this one in the New York Times and other publications, warning of the possibility that Glacier National Park will be significantly affected by climate change in the coming decades, we felt an even greater sense of urgency to see the wonders of this northern U.S. region.

I think we picked the absolute best time to visit this park! It was quiet, yet still accessible and the majesty of it no less than in the warmer months. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but I should note that we had planned to do some intense day hiking and due to a hockey injury just a couple weeks prior to taking off we had to stay mainly on the roads. We thought this may put a real damper on what we were able to see and experience, but it didn't. I look forward to a return trip in the future to dive deeper into this amazing place and perhaps do some camping.

most memorable meal : pescado blanco in whitefish, mt... so, so, so good!

where we stayed: columbia falls, montana in the most awesome airbnb with a great host, brian

the thing that got our blood flowing: a full day fly fishing with rob of lakestream outfitters

my overall favorite moment: waking up our last day to see everything blanketed with a layer of glittering frost as the sun came up and the fog lowering and lifting, but in a close second was setting up our hammock on the shore of kintla lake

unique sounds: the neighbors donkey braying in the morning when being fed, the glacier-fed rivers running steadily and the fly fishing line snapping above our heads

our airbnb for the week - wood stove heated and perfectly located







For more photos, check out my Instagram feed!


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