The Magic Of A Creative Retreat

I first heard about Squam Art Workshops way back in 2009. I had recently started my (old) blog and Holly wrote about this magical retreat where women were gathering — there were photos of cabins huddled around a New Hampshire lake, and founder Elizabeth Duvivier described the accommodations as being like "champagne in a tin cup." Perfect.

Squam Art Workshops — Elizabeth Duvivier

Flash forward a few years, and I happened to meet Elizabeth at a party at our mutual friend Christine's house, and I found out she lived in the same neighborhood! Small world indeed. But still, I didn't get it together to go to Squam.

Squam Art Workshops

I always keep an eye out for the workshop lineup — many of my favorite makers (like Ann Wood) and creatives have taught there over the years — and I gulp down recap posts after the events like manna. Yet I've never made it to the retreat.

Squam Art Workshops — Women on the porch

It's a big commitment, both of time away from family (not always easy to justify when children are small) and money (same). But perhaps even more than that, it's a declaration of creative freedom. It's this thing that you get to go and do, just because you want to. And doesn't that seem like the ultimate luxury — doing something with the sole purpose of nourishing your creative soul?

Squam Art Workshops — Squam Lake

The gatherings are now being coordinated by Meg Fussell, and they look as lovely as ever. In fact, the fall retreat is happening soon, and the combination of a New England fall and that much creative energy focused in one spot has me pining for this singular experience more than ever.

Squam Art Workshops — Participants in the woods

I know that other creative retreats exist, some in far-flung and exotic places, but my heart seems to live in the woods, so Squam feels like the place for me. Maybe one of these days I'll make it there ... maybe you'll be there, too. 

Learn more about Squam Art Workshops →

photos: Amy Gretchen for Squam Art Workshops, used with permission

Ideas for Warm and Cozy Gatherings with Friends

I'm an introvert, yet I also love nothing more than having a few good friends over to my house for a cozy gathering: to me, this feels so much more comfortable and fun than going out. So I was delighted to find Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring's new book out, Decorate for a Party, which recently hit the shelves.

Fall Workshop Series :: Mindful Style Now Enrolling!

The Fall Workshop Series is officially open for enrollment! The first in the series is Mindful Style: a 3-week journey into the heart and soul of style, which will beginning in just a few short weeks on September 19! Mindful Style is about getting beyond the surface of style, down to the really good stuff: rich, soul-deep, meaningful style. 

Happy Weekend!

I'd like to wish all of you an inspiring and restorative weekend. Weekends can pass by in a blink of the eye if you let them, but it doesn't have to be that way! Set a few intentions before your weekend begins to steal some time to yourself; do something creative, hit a local flea market or new restaurant, or meet up with a friend for tea. Around the corner from my house is a lovely tea cafe with a hidden back garden that is just perfect for catching up with a friend over a pot of loose leaf and a tray of scones and clotted cream. And on weekends they have instituted a "no wifi, no laptops" policy, which is so refreshing in this day and age! Having some dedicated time + space to simply be, to look at your friend and listen to her words is good for the soul.

photo: Laura Gaskill

photo: Laura Gaskill

If you are searching for something creative to do over the weekend, why not try your hand at making a flower mandala? You certainly don't need to go out and buy flowers just for this, but can use the remnants of an old bouquet, pick flowers and leaves from your garden, or use other items collected from nature, like stones, shells, and feathers. Arranging the objects is a lovely, quiet, meditative practice, and they can result in beautiful photos to save + share as well.

I will be doing a little work over the weekend, but only work I want to be doing ... to prepare for the upcoming Spring session of Mindful Clutter Clearing. And of course I will also be making time for plenty of rest and relaxation with my family, puttering in the garden, stopping by the local farmer's market for spring goodies, and (my son would never let us skip it) making our traditional weekend pancake brekkie with buckwheat pancakes, mm! I also have a few fun posts to share with you here next week, so I may get a start on those if I feel inspired to over the weekend. And in case you missed it, I've included links to some of my most recent Houzz articles below.

Enjoy, and have a delightful weekend, friends!

xo Laura

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A Fresh Start, A Blank Page

First let me just say, welcome! I’m beckoning you with arms wide open (yes, I’m a hugger), inviting you into my little corner of the world. I started blogging seven years ago on Lolalina, and decided it was high time for a change. The biggest difference you may notice on the new site is the name ... oh hello there, it’s my name! Along with the eponymous site, I have been planning a shift in what, why, and how I blog. For all of you who know me through Houzz and Lolalina, fear not: I am still just as much of a design loving homebody as ever, and my love of all things hearth and home will (hopefully) only shine through more than ever. There will be tea and cake (and sometimes cocktails), and talk with creative folks.


What to expect

I will be posting a few times each week (quality over quantity!), sharing some of my own photographs and writing on all things house and home. Each month you can also expect a guest or two for a chat and home or studio tour. I hope you will take a moment to poke around the new site (thanks to the lovely Tracy Castro of Fair Morning Blue for the redesign!) and get cozy. I am so looking forward to posting here.