Zen and the Art of Reinvention

Karen Schwartz  |  Business Coach and Consultant  | Advocate for reinventing ourselves 

Karen Schwartz  |  Business Coach and Consultant  | Advocate for reinventing ourselves 

This month I would like to introduce you to Karen Schwartz-Clover. Karen is a business coach and consultant who asks her clients to feel their way through decision making processes instead of thinking...and thinking...and stalling on decisions. Her philosophy is simple and straightforward and has helped ...............

In an age where everyone is trying to “manifest” his/her reality, I think I have learned some key points that are worth sharing. Creating a life and business that are nourishing, congruent, and sustainable has everything to do with physically feeling your feelings and using them to clarify what feels good and then taking strategic action. Wishing for something is ineffective.

Many years ago I began an apparel brand and garment manufacturing business. It was successful and grueling for a time. I longed for a mountain house, a cabin on a lake in the woods, and a little country cottage. All of the homes I daydreamed about were peaceful and quite the contrast to the urban flat I chose to live in to afford transition time to figure out what was next for me.

Once the inspiration hit, I set up a little office in a corner of my small space and started getting clear about my new business. I worked diligently and executed each step.  When things became too hectic, I would venture out to a nearby bookstore and look through design and decor books about rustic modern homes just so my mind could breathe. There were many sleepless nights back then --worrying about deadlines, design details, cash flow, and dysfunctional relationships. Thankfully, I was able to move into a perfect little house on stilts on the water on the San Francisco Bay.

The view from Karen's living room window overlooking Mount Timpanogos in Utah. | Photo credit: Milano Liberi

The view from Karen's living room window overlooking Mount Timpanogos in Utah. | Photo credit: Milano Liberi

On my very impassioned journey following my business vision, I met a man who had been busy building his dream houses.  I remember the first time I saw this house that I now call home.  I was in awe standing on the porch looking out at the mountains. I thought how great is the Universe --bringing my heart to the builder of a house with a view of our business logo, a mountain that looked like a woman. And, there right in front of me, was a mountain that looked like a woman, Mt. Timpanogos.

Breathe and Purge
After two and a half years of dating we decided to merge our lives. My dear friend Nicole, whom I met when she helped me get our first business loan, accompanied me in a U haul packed with furniture, art, and lots of high-heels to the mountaintop in Utah.  When we arrived, we looked around and wondered what I had done! The vestiges of bachelorhood overwhelmed me. My future husband had built a bar on wheels that he had positioned right in front of the big picture window obscuring the view. Nicole and I quickly named it, “The Monstrosity.” There were four lumberous outdoor bar stools ponied up to it. Then, there was a whole other series of bar stools alongside the concrete countertops. The rest of the décor amounted to a couple of stained and ripped couches, tropical plants, deer antlers, and fish nets draped “decoratively”.  Goodbye eight ugly, enormous barstools and ripped couches!

Get rid of clutter. The energy must flow. Out with the unnecessary! Often times, in life and business this pruning can take the form of a partnership or friendship. When you are growing a beautiful garden, you weed!

The Monstrosity Theory:
We decided to move the “The Monstrosity” into a corner and ended up using it at our wedding. It seems less ominous now with smaller bar stools around it and is often the place we gravitate to at the end of a dinner party.

You don’t have to get rid of the big, ugly thing obstructing the view. Move it to its new purpose. The Monstrosity Theory may relate to the talent you hire, a marketing or a design idea.


Clutch your Teacup
Keep in mind that this co-creation business happens at its own pace! If it is done right, it takes time and most importantly, it takes lots of cups of tea or bike rides or hikes or yoga classes while tuning into your thoughts and feelings.   In a culture that says “Do! Do! Do!”-- I find that the most productive way to make business and life decisions is by Being. This lesson was hard earned!!! If I had grasped the calm, centered and emotionally aligned feeling that is necessary before making good business decisions, I would not have spent many years with sleepless nights and a crazy-making life running myself ragged in the rag biz..  

Do yourself a biggie---Feel into your decisions and don’t rush knowing what you want. And, while you’re at it, make sure it’s not just your head that wants it. Your feelings know what is healthy for you!  Let your emotions be your compass.  Take the time to explore your motives behind your ambitions. Ask yourself if it is ego gratification or success-seeking that is hiding behind the curtain. Figure-out if what you want is something that will actually nourish you.

Pondering Couches:
I pondered couches. Should they be chocolate brown? No, they should be black. Should they be leather? Yes, leather. Modern lines, black leather with big grommets. Then, one day while I was running errands in town, Norm (my husband) found the perfect couches, exactly as I had imagined, at a consignment store.

Pondering Couches is how I recommend pondering business decisions and life choices. Should I go this way or that way? Remember, when you have a big vision of where you are going, your job is to figure-out your next step. Next-step analysis is your key to success. It is your best tool to keep from getting overwhelmed and giving-up.  In this small and focused place, The Universe can co-create with you because you are tuned-in and not scattered.

The very day I decided I needed a cow hide rug for our living room, my rep called and said, “I have a black and white cow hide rug in my garage that my husband really wants me to get rid of; I’ll send it to you.”

Time and again, I follow the process of taking the time to feel-into what is next, and the perfect item, person, or situation appears. I stopped being amazed years ago and am now just grateful each time it happens.

Take a chance on a scary dog.
One night during a blizzard four years ago, I was home alone and was startled by a black wolf-like dog staring at me intently through the glass door. She was wet and cold and nearly starved. I took a chance and let her in and named her Maggie.  She has been a wonderful addition to our lives. Maggie had spent years sitting in a hole in the ice, envisioning her perfect family and a comfy bed by a roaring fire.

Calculated risks can pay-off. Your job is to DISCERN a calculated risk versus a careless risk. Careless risks reek of wishful thinking. 

At this point, the lesson seems to be about knowing when the cycle is complete and understanding it’s not about perfection.  If we focus all our energy on pondering couches or the perfect rug so to speak, we will miss out on all the new adventures waiting for us.

The process of starting my new business and dreaming of a life in the mountains has come full circle.  I am grateful that we live in a place where we grow our green drinks and curious moose stop-by.

Lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1.  Feel into your decisions.

2.  Don’t rush knowing what you want.

3.  Get rid of clutter. The energy must flow. Out with the unnecessary!

4.  Clutch your teacup and ponder.

5.  Take a chance on a scary dog.

6.  You don’t have to get rid of the big, ugly thing obstructing the view. Move it to its new purpose.

7.  Know when the cycle is complete.

8.  Understand it’s not about perfection.

Karen Schwartz-Clover

Karen Schwartz-Clover is a business consultant and coach. She specializes in business strategy, crossroads decision making and next move analysis. 
For more information she can be reached at: karensc111@yahoo.com 


Simply Elegant | Meet Cashmere Lover Catherine Robinson

Catherine Robinson |  Founder & Designer of Catherine Robinson Cashmere  |  One of Catherine’s favourite photographs taken by her daughter Victoria on a wonderful ‘mother and daughter’ holiday in Croatia

Catherine Robinson |  Founder & Designer of Catherine Robinson Cashmere  |  One of Catherine’s favourite photographs taken by her daughter Victoria on a wonderful ‘mother and daughter’ holiday in Croatia

Catherine Robinson is the designer & founder of a line of beautifully made cashmere knitwear and accessories of the same name. I was so pleased to happen upon her shopping site last spring and ended up following her blog: Cashmere Lover . Not only does she have an eye for design, I love what she shares on her blog about style, meditation and yoga. I asked Catherine to share with us how she how she started her business and where she finds inspiration—our conversation naturally led to her other passions, meditation and yoga. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. 

Q: Catherine, It seems that we all cannot get enough cashmere these days! Can you tell us what led you to start your business?

A: On a London shopping trip in the Summer of 2010 I purchased two lovely linen ponchos they were my favourite pieces that Summer…which got me thinking how wonderful this design would be in cashmere, I couldn’t find any that I loved and I thought, okay, I’ll design them myself!

My daughter had left home, things were changing…I was approaching 50 and thought it was the perfect time to start something new. I’ve always been interested in fashion, I did a little modeling in my younger days before entering the fast and exciting world of public relations but ‘style’ and the 'art of dressing well’ has always been something I’ve enjoyed…I devour magazines, exhibitions, photography anything related to the art of style!  

My next step was to find a manufacturer; a company I could work closely with.  Mongolia was my first choice as in my opinion it is simply the best cashmere. It was important that they were able to work with my ideas and designs and I’m happy to say I have a wonderful relationship with them and I’m thrilled with their attention to detail and the beautiful pieces they make for me.

I feel, I’m exactly where I should be and it’s such a privilege to be involved in the ‘world of cashmere’.  I’m enjoying creating a brand and extending my product lines. I like to listen to my customers and what they would like…this year it was…”please, please design a cashmere robe” and it’s just arrived and it’s simply gorgeous…the perfect luxurious, loungewear!

I think some of us feel we’re restricted by boundaries—many of them of our own making…I feel if you have an idea, a passion, explore it and see where it takes you. I have learnt so much since I began, the ups and downs of a small, growing business, the highs and lows and the constant energy and creativity needed and I can honestly say, I’ve loved every minute of it…

'if you are thinking about starting something new but are not sure whether to
‘bite the bullet’ I would encourage you to do just that, don’t be afraid
just listen to your voice and slowly begin.'

Q: I love what you write about simplicity and elegance. Can you tell us how you view style vs. fashion?

A:  I think there is a huge difference between fashion and style…everybody can follow a fashion but style is very individual…it’s all about ‘you’ it’s creating your own style, what works for you, what compliments your character, your personality, how you live your life…being identified by a signature piece, a scent they all contribute to your sense of style; for me, it’s definitely wraps and scarves, I can’t leave home without them! Friends can’t quite believe what I can do with a scarf!

I don’t think my style has changed that much over the years…I still adore my wide pants and v neck sweaters (cashmere, of course!) jeans and jackets, knitted dresses and boots and elegantly long dresses.  I’m definitely an Autumn/Winter person…
I like to wrap myself in cashmere, a cashmere wrap and ponchos are my favourites…
a tailored coat and trouser suit too.

Personal style is something that grows with you through the years, for me, I do believe ‘less is more’, a simple elegance…when you see an elegant lady she is timeless; that is why Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are still very much revered today…one of my favourite quotes from Audrey Hepburn is ‘elegance is the only beauty that never fades.

Q: While you and I were writing emails back and forth our conversation moved almost seamlessly from cashmere to style to yoga. What can you tell us about your experience with yoga? 

A: I have been practicing yoga for over 13 years now and it is an absolute joy and passion of mine it has simply changed my attitude to life, this hasn’t happened overnight it has been a process, a journey.  

In recent months my meditation practice has become simply, a way of life, I began to believe I really could make a difference in my life if I meditated daily, learning mindfulness and simplicity. I am constantly learning and will continue to be a ‘lifelong learner’ both yoga and meditation focus your mind, they quiet the inner noise and you begin to live mindfully and to simply ‘be’ and from this you begin to live a much happier life, a life of simplicity.  Yoga, for me, has always been a spiritual discipline, a life practice.

Q: Your blog Cashmere Lover features some of the most beautiful and iconic women in the world. Who do you find the most inspiring?

A: Victoria Beckham inspires me, she has her critics, unfairly, I think…she works unbelievably hard, she has created a phenomenal brand, her designs are elegant and new…she always looks beautifully groomed and stylish and is a wonderful Mother too. I admire her because she re-created herself and endured and continues to endure all the criticism and personal attacks with such grace.

Photo provided by Catherine Robinson

Photo provided by Catherine Robinson

Audrey Hepburn inspires me greatly…her beauty, her grace, her humility…the list goes on and on…her way of being and kindness inspires me to be the best person I can be. Her life was far too short but still today so many people think ‘what would Audrey do?’ She is incomparable.   

My husband inspires me, he has taught me so much over the years, he has always been so encouraging and has taught me to believe in myself, he has such an enthusiasm for life, which I admire greatly...we’ve been together forever and in all that foreverness, I’m sure that’s not a word, he’s always made me laugh, we laugh more now than ever and that is a wonderful gift to have…he is my soul mate. And my daughter,Victoria is an inspiration to me, she makes me want to be a better person…she is the joy of my life.

Q: What is the single most powerful lesson you have learned along the way? 

A: ... to have faith and be honest with myself, not to be afraid to ask for help, it’s taken a long while to recognize and believe that ‘I can do it’ ...it may take awhile, there maybe setbacks but with faith and a belief in yourself you can see that it will all be okay…I take this into my daily life not only in business…and to be kinder to myself, I use to be very good at ‘beating myself up’ I’ve erased the negatives!

My Life Philosophy…Be in love with your life every minute of it…
live simply with grace and humility, be gentle and kind and always mindful to others
Catherine Robinson in her office in the UK

Catherine Robinson in her office in the UK

To read more about Catherine, please click on the links below: Cashmere Lover  |  Catherine Robinson Cashmere Site  |  Facebook  

Catherine, Thank you for sharing your insights and story with us! 

Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program | Move Forward. Give Back.​®

As many of you know I am a big supporter of Growing Bolder as I see the organization as one that encourages and inspires. Move Forward. Give Back.® is a celebration of individuals who see what is needed around them and contribute in their own way to making the world a better place. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the story below about a woman I know who has shown that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. 

As a member of the Team GB Elite blogging group, I've been given the opportunity to share an exciting discount with my readers, to celebrate Growing Bolder Magazine's 2016 expansion! This post is sponsored by Growing Bolder, but all opinions are my own. 

To receive 25% off your 2016 subscription to Growing Bolder Magazine, head to this link and use the code eliteblog at checkout. You'll also get free shipping for all six issues! Learn more at GrowingBolderMagazine.com.

Linda Myers & the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Last year I was invited to design fundraising and promotional materials for the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and the Annual Navajo Rug Show in Deer Valley, Utah. It was my honor and privilege to contribute in a small way to such a meaningful and important organization. I knew from local fundraising efforts that truck loads of food and wood were collected and delivered to the Traditional Elders on the Navajo Reservation a couple of times each year. What I didn’t know at that time, and would soon find out, is that this internationally known organization, with volunteers coming from all over the world, was initially conceived by one woman who wanted to make a difference. Her name is Linda Myers of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and she is one of the most inspirational people I know.

We have all heard the story of the “Butterfly Effect." A butterfly flaps its wings and the conditions change to lead to a larger effect somewhere else. Linda is that butterfly. Decades ago she began gathering items from friends and family to donate to the Native Elders at the Navajo Reservation and grew her one woman campaign to help others into a broad reaching non-profit that serves over 500 elders each year.

Most of the elders do not speak english and have chosen to live in the "cultural and spiritual traditions of the Dine' People." They live in remote locations on the reservation choosing to live traditionally while raising sheep, with no plumbing, no electricity and often far away from medical help and water supply. The elders range in age from 75 to 105 years of age. They have spent their lives on the land and for that reason they prefer to "age in place." So Linda developed a much needed program that brings supplies to them so they may live their lives in the way they choose.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale
One of the primary fundraising efforts on behalf of the Elders is the Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale in Deer Valley, Utah. This year is the 26th annual show and it runs from November 6-8, 2015. The rugs range in sizes and you will also see jewelry and crafts. Each year there is a theme to the event and this year the theme is Weaving Ceremonial Blankets inspired by Pendleton designs. To read more click here.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about the work ANE is doing. I recently had a conversation with my kids about the importance of giving to others and they conveyed to me that one person cannot do all that much to bring about change. In that moment I was able to call upon what I know about Linda and her drive and determination to honor and help others. How she has been able to meet people where they are at and give. I find it completely inspiring and feel there is a lesson in there for all of us. Click on this link to watch this short video on ANE as Linda describes how meaningful this volunteer work is to everyone involved.

"While I was probably not a likely candidate to make a difference....I was a single mom.."
"I don't know if we ever know what we are doing in life but I think the real gift
in life is when spirit calls you to something and you answer the call."
~Linda Myers

Thank you to Linda and everyone at ANE for sharing their story with us. There are a number of ways to get involved with ANE from sponsoring an elder to donating time in the warehouse or donating food, wood and other necessities. To donate food, yarn, medical supplies, firewood and more to a Native Elder Please Click Here. For more information on ANE please click here.

Thank you for reading

The well designed garden this fall

Designers and architects will tell you that it can take up to 5 years to make a house feel like home—to reflect your taste and sensibility. I've always liked that idea because it gives us permission to let things evolve over time to fit our needs and lifestyle. 

It seems that with most homes design challenges pop up unexpectedly and require a change of direction or a new way of thinking. This happened last year when I learned that we needed to remove one of the most beautiful trees on our property. It was a tall aspen and had been planted too close to the house nearly 20 years ago. In the mornings the birds just outside our windows would wake us with their chirping and the branches were large which allowed for privacy in the front windows. But, the tree grew in height and girth to the point that it constantly hit the roof during winter storms, removing shingles and damaging the roof line. I was determined to save the tree (joking that we should move the house back one foot!) as I had grown attached to this giant quaking aspen that shimmered at the front of our house. It also covered the front in a way that I appreciated, softening the look of the wood exterior. After calling in several experts for a 2nd, 3rd and even 4th opinion I had to concede and the tree was taken down, the stump removed. After mourning the loss of the tree for weeks and feeling like the house was all too bare in the front I began my search to figure out how to solve this new and unwelcome design dilemma.

I researched fountains, bubblers, sculptural garden elements, and kinetic sculptures. My research took me from summer into fall and I quickly realized that the autumn months are indeed the best time of year to purchase water features, plants and trees as everything is on sale. So if it seems like gardening season is winding down, it is, but the deals to be had in the fall make it an enticing and cost effective time of year to add to your garden wish list. Before purchasing I looked around for a fountain that had a hint of the warm terracotta colors found in the stone on the house and patio. I ended up finding just the right thing at a nearby nursery although I was also considering some great options online. I also wanted something on the tall side to have some substance in the space vertically without being too big or overpowering. In the above photo you can see my final fountain choice.

Steps for installation were easy:
1. Smooth the dirt and compact it with a shovel so it is very firm. If there are any roots remaining you will want to pull those out as they can cause the dirt to settle as they decompose. 
2. Purchase a large slab of stone from a quarry that will hold your fountain. I chose a wide cut stone that spread the weight over a larger section for greater stability over time. I saved the stone shown below from our back patio renovation but you can go to a quarry and hand select one.
3. Have the fountain delivered and placed on the stone so you don't have to hoist it on your own. I needed help with this as each piece of dyed concrete was very heavy. It took 4 delivery guys to put this in position. 
4. Your pump will fit inside the center with a tube that will run down to the bottom. An electrical cord will come out of the groove at the base. 
5. You will need nearby electricity to plug in the fountain and you may want to consider a timer that will turn the feature on and off, otherwise you will plug and unplug as needed.
6. Fill the fountain with water and you are ready to enjoy the birds that will be coming to visit as well as the sound of the water at your entry or on your back patio.

Planting around your fountain:
Choosing your plants and laying them around the garden is the fun part. In this particular case I was working with north facing exposure with little sun in the morning for a short summer season and cooler temps in the spring and fall months. There are very few trees that would survive in this spot so I opted for shade loving plants keeping in mind that I wanted to layer my plants from short to tall, have some flowering options mixed with lots of foliage and mix the blues and greens. 
When searching for your plants keep in mind that the same way we talk about color, texture, layering, pattern and solids for designing in the home can also apply to designing our gardens and planting beds. The plants you choose for your garden will depend upon where you live and the sun/shade exposure of your particular garden. It always helps to look up your zone in local gardening books and speak with an expert for your climate at your local nursery.

This is one of my favorite gardening books:

Or this one below for more waterwise gardening:

Design decisions for planting:
Layer your plants!
• In the Front of the garden I chose to plant a border of a small gray-blue ground cover that grows a few inches tall and looks great near boulders and rocks. It has small blooms that come out early summer. 
• Second layer: I chose a taller growing ground cover that fills in quickly called Bishops Weed. I didn't have to add much as it is an aggressive grower requiring that I thin it out through the summer so it doesn't take over the other plants. It has a lovely green/white variegated leaf. 

Third layer around the stone: Look for taller growing plants with some blue-toned leaves to compliment the greens in front. I put in 3 Hosta plants, all with different color leaves that have a lovely purple floral shoot in the summer. 
• Lastly, I sprinkled bleeding hearts and a few ferns between all of the green to add color. Next I will be adding small stones behind the fountain and around the stepping stones that lead to the water faucet. 

Mixing it up:
• If possible purchase your larger plants in odd numbers— 1, 3, 5, etc. unless you are creating a border.
• Look for plants with red, blue, blue-grey leaves to arrange around your green leaf plantings—this will add a nice visual relief for the eye. 
• Scale: look for variation in size of leaves and size of plants to create depth in your garden. 

Happy fall planting and fountain hunting!

Here are links to a few of my favorite fountains:

Wayfair: Gorgeous and In different finishes

Hayneedle: Love this one

Restoration Hardware: On Sale Now


Color Trend for Fall: Dramatic Reds

Cultivating Personal Style
Like many of my friends I enjoy flipping through fashion magazines and wandering through beautiful boutiques and high end retailers to see what is new. It is exciting to see what designers are coming up with and add a few pieces each season. Before shopping for anything new it is a good idea to know what you have in your closet that can work as a staple as you add in new pieces to build upon what you already have. Style unlike fashion, is an extension of who we are and once we have a sense of our own style it becomes easier to cultivate our look.

Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess
~ Edna Woolman Chase

Style starts by embracing all the funny, funky, unique parts of ourselves instead of seeing clothing and accessories as a means to an end or a way to cover up an unaccepted part of our bodies that might reveal some "imperfection".  For me style is not serious at all, it is a form of self expression and helps me create order in the chaos of style options that surround us at retail.

In the vast ocean of brands, styles, fabrics, price points and virtually endless options how does one create their own personal style? I recently had a great conversation with Growing Bolder Radio where we began a discussion of how to go about this. I love the idea that we all can cultivate our own style by embracing what is unique and beautiful within ourselves. The first step is to recognize ( and then clear out) the old mental clutter of negative self-talk, that for many of us is decades old. Then we can get on with the the adventure of uncovering what our personal style is all about. When asked about style, one of my favorite contemporary designers, Rachel Zoe stated that: "Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." Brilliant!

Recently, I have been having fun putting together several trend boards for Fall 2015. This first one, above, Dramatic Red is a collection of gorgeous looks with classic lines. Although they are on-trend for this coming season they are also timeless looks. You can click on the image block above and it will take you to a shopping site to see those specific pieces or you can just look for similar items and colors when you are out shopping. 

Dramatic Reds 
Last January Pantone© announced that Marsala was their pick for the color of the year. It seems it is also the color this fall season with a variety of reds to choose from. Click here to see the Patina & Hue article about Marsala from last January. I have long adored red for its fun, upbeat vibe but deeper shades within the red family (burgandy, wine, marsala) are timeless and elegant. Some of these darker reds veer toward  purple so you will want to make sure to try on a few hues to see how they look against your skin color. These dramatic reds would look amazing paired with camel, tobacco, navy, denim, gray, warm whites and black. Have fun looking for a dramatic red piece to add to your wardrobe and tell us in the comments section below if you find something amazing!

Happy Fall and thanks for reading.


P & H Pick | Introducing Jewelry Designer Melissa Skarsten

At Patina & Hue we love to have conversations with amazing women who have great style and inspire us all. For this reason I am excited to feature our latest artist–designer— Melissa Skarsten—a longtime friend and talented jewelry designer who mixes metals and infuses expressions of natural elements into her work. A couple of months ago I stopped by Melissa's studio to see her latest jewelry and discovered she was making 100 new one-of-a-kind pieces for the upcoming Park City Arts Festival. Melissa is both prolific in her work and dedicated to uninterrupted time in her studio so I was delighted to see what she was planning for the arts festival to share with all of you. Scroll down to see some of her fabulous pieces and to read more:

Tree of Life Series  |  Tree & Tahitian Pearl  |   Sterling silver with 18K gold leaves and a black Tahitian pearl drop.

Tree of Life Series  |  Tree & Tahitian Pearl  |  Sterling silver with 18K gold leaves and a black Tahitian pearl drop.

Images above clockwise from top right: His-Hers River Rings (River Series) Sterling silver, Her ring is set with a yellow Citrine gemstone  | Fall Acorn Earrings & Leaves (Acorn series) Earrings are torched enameled copper with green jasper bead. Leaf Pendant is torched enameled copper on a oxidized sterling silver chain.  |  Ring Box (Twig series) Hand turned wooden box with a sterling silver twig pull.  |  Twigs Rooted Necklace (Tree of life series) Sterling silver with a Chrysoprase gemstone.

Twig Hair Comb  (Twig series) Sterling silver

Twig Hair Comb (Twig series) Sterling silver

Top left: River Cuff links & Box(River series) Oxidized sterling silver with 14K gold cufflinks in a wooden box with a sterling silver twig pull.
Top right: River Bracelet (River series) Oxidized sterling silver with 14K gold bracelet slide on leather.

Melissa's Signature Style  |   Golden Citrine Flower |  Black and Gold series | Oxidized sterling silver and 14K gold pendant set with a yellow Citrine gemstone

Melissa's Signature Style  |  Golden Citrine Flower | Black and Gold series | Oxidized sterling silver and 14K gold pendant set with a yellow Citrine gemstone

Peruvian Opal Ring  (Twig series) Sterling silver with a Peruvian opal set in 22K Gold.

Peruvian Opal Ring (Twig series) Sterling silver with a Peruvian opal set in 22K Gold.

Men's River cufflinks in a handmade wooden box with silver twig  |  Available at the Gala Auction Event Thursday, July 30th.  Click here  to learn more about the Opening night gala Fundraiser / Fashion Show at the Montage, Deer Valley.  

Men's River cufflinks in a handmade wooden box with silver twig  |  Available at the Gala Auction Event Thursday, July 30th. Click here to learn more about the Opening night gala Fundraiser / Fashion Show at the Montage, Deer Valley.  

Q: Melissa, I know from our conversations that you derive a great deal of creative inspiration from being outdoors. How does that directly inform your work?
A; "The natural world is always pulling at me…. to slow down, to step outside and experience the “mystery within nature”—my work celebrates what I experience in those moments. To be more specific, old-growth forests fascinate me. As I was developing my distinct visual voice, memories from an extraordinary visit to a coastal redwood forest kept appearing, inspiring the textures and color palettes I began using. More important, it was the emotions I felt when standing in that primeval forest I started to capture in different pieces, and an organic elegance and sense of antiquity showed up in my work."

"...it was the emotions I felt when standing in that primeval forest I started to capture in different pieces, and an organic elegance and sense of antiquity showed up in my work."

Q: It must take a great deal of time to create one-of-a-kind pieces. What can you tell us about that process:
A: "Pieces can take days or even weeks. My work is done in a spontaneous manner, an idea may be scribbled out as a starting point, but materials and techniques guide the work into a finished piece. This evolutionary process keeps my creative thoughts flowing."

"To propagate this evolution of a design, I make one-of-kind pieces, each piece inspiring the next. Serial imagery or what I like to call the “kaleidoscope effect” is where I take a piece and redesign it…. and like the turn of the kaleidoscope, the variations are endless. By making one-of-a-kind pieces, I emulate nature and promote our individuality as humans, which I find a breath of fresh air in a world of mass produced, identical products."

"The ancient technique of granulation is perfect for creating organic texture.  For my river series, I use a torch to fuse tiny grains of gold and raised lines of silver onto the metal surface of the piece. I then expand the technique by flowing melted gold in and around the applied textures. To achieve the rich color palette, I oxidize the piece a deep black to illuminate the gold. For my botanical pieces, the gemstones and the metal finishes I choose, allow me to express the dance of movement that light, mist and breeze create in the forest."

Q: When did you start making jewelry?
A: "I was drawn to artistic mediums that were very hands-on and fell in love, almost immediately, with metal-smithing while in high school. I later went to on study at The Revere Academy in San Francisco where I became a traditionally trained goldsmith and for a brief time I worked as a bench jeweler. The lure of creating a life in which I was a working artist led me out of the commercial marketplace to open my own studio in 2007. The arts and crafts marketplace is a perfect fit for the type of creative work I do and fits with my lifestyle."

Q: I've noticed that some women feel if they are wearing one color of gold, or other metal such as silver that they are hesitant to mix it up with their jewelry or metallic accents on their shoes and handbags. Your work has a lovely intermingling of different types and colors of metals. What would you say to someone who might be concerned about wearing their rose gold along side of their silver or white gold? 
A: "Yes, I love combining different colors of metals into my work and I do know that years ago it was considered chic to keep your metals all the same color. But time has changed that concept—now women, and men alike can layer on different metals into one look and feel confident about doing so....I would say have fun with your jewelry, toss the old rules out as anything goes these days!"


Melissa was raised in Pasadena California, moved to Santa Barbara, then San Francisco, before landing in the mountain town of Park City, Utah with her husband and daughter. You can see more of her work on her website by clicking here or at the upcoming Park City Arts Festival, July 31-August 2, 2015. 

Thank you Melissa for taking the time to share your beautiful work with us. Click here to learn more about the Park City Arts Festival. email: mskarsten@comcast.net website: Jewelrybym.com

Patina & Hue: Favorite Books for summer reading

Between design projects and blogging this summer I've been trying to make more time to read for enjoyment, not my typical mode as I often default to books that can teach me something. This habit of needing to learn something when I read started in college and I've had a hard time shaking it! But it is summer and I love the idea of sitting quietly with a cup of tea and reading for fun. Over the last couple of months there have been a few books that have really stood out for me and I wanted to mention them in this post.

When I first heard about the WWII novel All the Light We Cannot See I was concerned I would have a difficult time getting into a book set in Europe during WWII. There seems to have been quite a few books centered around wartime lately and I was looking for lighter reading. But several people mentioned how good it was so I decided to give it a chance. It turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long while. The way the author—Anthony Doerr—reveals the story line is non-linear and unexpected. All the Light is charming and magical while simultaneously bringing the reader into the lives of those experiencing the atrocities surrounding war. He writes in such a way that the reader grows to care about the lives of the characters—making it impossible to put the book down once you begin. This is without a doubt a new favorite.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron first came out in the early 90s and has been reprinted repeatedly. I attempted to go through the exercises many years ago but at that time I was working three jobs and didn't give it the attention it deserved. So when my good friend Gincy facilitated a 12 week workshop last spring that took the class through the process I was happy to sign up. I wasn't sure at first what to expect as I needed to make time to meet once a week, complete one to two small exercises and write "morning pages" each and every morning before my day began. During the 12 week process I did feel there were highs and lows. Or at least weeks that seemed less significant in what I had accomplished than others.

To my own surprise I got a great deal out of this book and process! Although I would have to admit that this book fits into my habit of reading to learn something I did find that the process works. Some of my fellow class mates who had not explored art or did not they consider themselves artists also commented that they benefitted from the process. 

A few things that really stand out about this book: 

1. One of the exercises involved writing a letter to your future self— at age 80—from the vantage point of the age you are right now. This was a great exercise for me. I have a very good imagination and easily imagined myself living in a tropical climate with a light filled studio, I was happy and healthy and I imagined everyone in my life was also thriving. I told myself —the current me— to relax and worry less. That it was all going to work out. Apparently the future me is quite optimistic. ;-) There are quick exercises like this one each week that help you to think differently or explore ideas you may have never explored. 

2. Artist dates: every week you are asked to take yourself out on a date by yourself. I found myself in Sam Weller's Used and Rare Bookstore, in junk stores, in consignment shops, art supply stores and taking "down-time" that I don't normally give myself permission to take. Part of this process is to go out and do something with no agenda and allow yourself to play. 

3. Morning Pages: I love getting up early in the morning when everyone is still asleep. Waking up about an hour before everyone else I got in the habit of making myself an almond milk latte, sitting down with pen and paper— enjoying the light and stillness of early morning. Starting a practice of writing for 30 minutes to an hour each day has been an interesting exercise. At first I found myself not knowing what to write. But the book guides you to keep going and eventually I saw that my writing moved toward my creative interests. I recommend this book to everyone—no matter what you do for a living. You need not be a painter or sculptor to find your artistic self. 

** In the spirit of art making please jump onto Patina & Hue/Growing Bolder to read about inspirational artist, poet and speaker Kristen Jongen of Soul Soup. We will be giving away two books and one of her prints so don't forget to enter the drawing. Read more about the giveaway at the bottom of my interview with Kristen. 


I just finished The Girl on the Train and I am really curious what other people think of this book? It was a quick read and everyone I know seems to be reading it right now. I don't want to say too much about it and give anything away. It is a fast-paced murder mystery that takes you inside the heads of the characters....until you realize you want out! If you are reading this book I would love to hear what your thoughts are on it. 

I just started Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini and will let you know what I think of it next month. 
If you are reading a great book or have a favorite book you would like to tell us about please do so in the comments section below! We would love to hear from you.

Jump on to Patina & Hue Facebook and tell us what you think of the books you are reading and any books you recommend! Hope you are finding time to relax and enjoy a good book this summer!





1970s Denim Revival + Metallic Accents

I love that designers are finding merit in bringing back trends from the 70s. As a baby boomer I look back fondly at music, cars, furniture, and clothing from that era as it feels nostalgic and familiar. From a style perspective it seems newly relevant. I remember sporting jean shirts with denim bell bottoms (back in the day) and feeling good about it! That was decades ago and over the last number of months I’ve seen this long forgotten trend reappear. Not everything that is back in style is on my must have list however. I  am saying “NO!” to EVER wearing culottes again and “Never!” to several other trends like see-through dresses and enormous polka dots! There are so many amazing style trends this spring and summer like blue & white, white-on-white, safari, color blocking and gingham to name a few that will outlast the more trendy alternatives.

One staple that I’ve loved for years and highly recommend is the shirtdress—it is casual yet sophisticated. You can belt it to highlight your waist or wear it without a belt and let it hang more like a shift. I appreciate the structured shoulders and like the idea of a shirt sleeve that can be rolled up. There are many designs and styles to choose from and if you find one you love but feel like it is too short, wear it as a tunic with a slim pant or leggings. Accessorizing with metallics like longer necklaces dresses it up a little and this look is lovely with a casual straw handbag or espadrille wedge.

Last year we wrote about ways to wear boyfriend jeans (see the article: Fear No Denim: Boyfriend Jeans) and received texts and emails from women stating that they thought this was a trend for 20 somethings and they were excited to give it a try. Although the fashion world is indeed youth-centric I don’t let that stop me from finding what works for me and then having fun. Boyfriend jeans are comfortable, casual and completely appropriate for women of all ages.

Above you will see a Denim Revival + Metallics trend board that I put together. It includes a couple of shirt dresses and some fun jewelry and shoes. All of this is inspiration for a look that is easy to wear and with these pieces in mind you can get this look by “shopping your closet” first and then shop for any remaining items you still need.  Additionally, you can click on the images above and they will link you to the shopping site.

If you love the 70s as much as I do send me a note and tell me your favorite item from that time period. I’d love to hear from you on one of my favorite topics!

 If you have a  moment jump over to the Patina & Hue 1970s Pinterest board!

Thank you for reading,



Scarf Obsession + Ideas to help you incorporate Scarves into your wardrobe

Calling all Accessories Addicts!
As trends come and go scarves remain a classic wardrobe staple that can be worn for years. We are both obsessed with scarves of all hues and sizes, vintage and new, low end and high end. It's not just the yummy, oversized cashmere or modal versions that keep our necks warm in the winter months that we love but also the smaller sizes that can be worn year round, are light weight and dress up an outfit as a sophisticated and playful accessory. 

How to implement scarves into your wardrobe: 
For a simple wrap on the crown of a hat: align the middle edge of the scarf with the crown in the front and lay the scarf over the hat, holding on to each end. Fold the edge under about an inch and wrap the crown, centering the scarf so that the fabric falls evenly on both sides of the hat. Next, pull the two ends toward the back base of the hat, overlap the extra material that is now covering the hat and tie the two ends at the base, allowing the ends to fall down your neck/back. 
Butterfly Wrap: Take a larger scarf and fold it in half lengthwise—then take the ends that are together and tie them in a small, simple knot. This can work with a 36" scarf or one that is much larger. You will have one knot on the left and one on the right. Then lift the scarf and place your arms through the two holes you just created with the knots....and you have a "butterfly" sleeve wrap
Loose Neck Wrap: Wrap a thin scarf around your neck and tie it so the ends drape down your back, ideally you have a little skin showing between the scarf and whatever you are wearing. 
Halter Top/ Blouse: Take a scarf that is roughly 36" square and tie it as a halter top. There are accessories you can purchase that make this easy or you can just tie two ends together at your neck and behind your back. This looks great with a blazer.
Purse Wrap: Wrap a purse handle for a punch of color. Fold your scarf so that it is about 1 1/2" to 2" wide and line it up with the edge of one side of the handle. Holding the end in place, overlap the scarf as you begin to wrap the handle. Make sure to run the wrap over the start of the scarf to hold it in place—leaving about an inch or two of the end sticking out. Keep wrapping toward the opposite end of the handle and leave room to tie it off and allow a bit of the scarf to stick out. Ideally the two ends match in length. This may take a couple of tries but looks great when you get it!
Scarf with Pearls: Grab a strand of pearls and a smaller scarf, intertwine the two and tie at the back of the neck. Twist the scarf tight enough so that the pearls are held in place by the scarf. A trick to making this work is to keep twisting the scarf around the pearls so the scarf "catches" and holds the end of the necklace within the twists. You can also use a long strand of pearls with a longer scarf and once they are intertwined you can wrap the scarf around your neck twice and tie in the back. 
• Camera Strap: Remove a beat up camera strap and replace with a scarf instead. In this case we used a vintage scarf to go along with an old camera. 
• Choker: Roll or fold a lightweight scarf to the desired width. This is simple, just tie to the back or side. What makes this a chic look is to dress up a sun dress or sleeveless blouse by leaving a little skin showing!

Keeping it all organized: If you have a collection of scarves that are folded on your shelves or placed in a drawer, it is easy to forget about them. We recommend hanging them along side your clothing so you can easily reach for one when needed. We found these great hanging systems (below) at Bed Bath and Beyond. 

What scarves can do for you:
If you haven't been one to accessorize with scarves this post is for you! This often overlooked accessory can add personality to your outfit, or dress up a your basics:

1. Scarves add a pop of color to your neutrals.
2. They can be worn as a necklace, a choker, a hair accessory, a belt, a blouse, a cape...and more.
3. The artwork on scarves can be unique and beautiful in addition to being seasonal and fun.
4. You can spend a little or a lot depending on your needs and tastes. But you do not have to break the bank to collect a few great pieces. 
5. You can find new or gently used, designer scarves on the REAL REAL, EBay, Tradsey and other like sites. If you want to add a vintage or retro designer scarf to your collection we recommend reading about how to spot an authentic Chanel, Hermes, or other designer scarf. There is a great article titled: A beginner's guide to collecting Hermes scarves that gives you a little history and information on this designer label so you can make the best decision when shopping on a consignment or resale site. Do your research to make sure you are not purchasing a knock-off. 
6. Add an updated design or color trend: Jump over to Growing Bolder to see our newest article on Spring Styles as we have a few vibrant choices that we love—all under $100. 

There are endless resources to learn new ways to wear scarves. If you have not collected them in the past or they have gone overlooked in your wardrobe, we want to apologize ahead of time for introducing you to this little addiction! 

Below are a several books we recommend that feature design as well as ways to tie scarves.  
Have fun and thanks for reading! 

P & M





Add color to your home—Interior Design maven Stephanie Hunt tells us how!

Entry way  // Painting at center by Hyunmi Lee 

Entry way  // Painting at center by Hyunmi Lee 

Dining Room // Painting by Jayne Sweet

Dining Room // Painting by Jayne Sweet

Master bedroom // paintings over the bed by Unni Wood 

Master bedroom // paintings over the bed by Unni Wood 

Stephanie Hunt of @flairhunter is one of my favorite people for many reasons but mostly because she loves to laugh, thinks about her style choices in a similar way to her interior decorating decisions and most importantly she can rock a pair of marigold colored jeans! Not only is Stephanie fearless with color she also has a great sense of humor that she brings to her well designed spaces and has a refreshing lightness of being that comes across the very first time you meet her. Truly, I was content to visit with her all day!

Stephanie is a highly sought after interior designer with an eye for the unique. I asked her recently to tell us about how she thinks about color when designing spaces so that we can all channel a little of that happy into our own homes. 

Q: Stephanie, Clearly, you are very comfortable working with bright colors. Where does your color sensibility come from?
A: One could argue that I was powerless over this as my mother was a slightly zany, abstract expressionist painter in the 1960s-80s; an era of MORE IS MORE. My earliest memories are of homes and studios with enormous canvases [sometimes greater than 6 feet tall] filled with splattered palette knives, brightly smudged easels and tubes of oil paints in turquoises, fuscias, happy yellows, moody blues, and so on. The texture of sand and the gleam of gold leaf were occasionally mixed in with the explosion of vibrant colors. A friend once said ‘A blender with the top off’ which describes my mother’s art studio. My most vivid memories are of the oils, watercolors, tapestries that filled my parents home and their friends homes—even more so than the events that took place in those homes all over the world. [Directly below: Paintings by Unni Wood, Stephanie's Mother]

Q: Is it challenging to move your clients toward bright color in their homes if it is something they have not done before?
A: The homes I live in and design for others have a way of celebrating my tendency to embrace strong color. I also fully understand that achieving it for others, or nudging them to do it for themselves, can sometimes be a tall order.  Color can feel scary, some say or an expense that feels risky. Too much, too loud; a potential hot mess! A home that makes me want to know more about the person/people living there is so much more interesting than wanting to know the name of their designer. My clients hire me to help them achieve this in their own personal spaces. I see my clients more so as my partners, collaborators, co-conspirators. We have a LOT of fun, coloring and collecting the things for their world.

Q: Stephanie, your house is playful and colorful while still being sophisticated and elegant. Could you give us a few ideas of how we could enliven our own living spaces through the use of color?
A: Yes, I have quite a few ideas on the subject! Grab a cup of tea and read on!

1. Think of color as confidence, character and energy. Color is your personal flair.  We all have certain colors that resonate with us. What are yours? If you love that deep aqua color in your favorite blouse what if you found a similar color for throw pillows on your sofa? 

2. Don’t be afraid. You don’t need the entire rainbow of color. A room that is well done in neutrals or even blacks and whites can suddenly be made more interesting and lively with the simple addition of ONE color. Upholstering a pair of chairs in a vibrant color like marigold linen, grass green chenille or Chinese red velvet is sophisticated, lively and unexpected. Hang a small painting or framed print that includes the smallest suggestion of that same color and you’ve suddenly made the room more interesting.  Start with small steps of adding color and I bet you keep going.

3. Plants. Never underestimate the power of green. It is magic in my book. Mother Nature [or God’s, work with me here] perfect, clean, happy, magical color. Green goes with everything. I cannot put red next to everything but I can put it with green. By adding pops of green in the form of plants [ or succulents], green pillows, or even majolica plates you enliven the space.

4. Choose something you love and start with that as your inspiration. My favorite thing to start with is a painting [shocker]; pulling colors from within the painting for the room I am working on.  The colors in that painting might inform the tulips I buy from Trader Joe’s or the pillows I’m buying or making for the sofa, even an enormous bowl of a single fruit—think lemons, apples, grapefruit on the kitchen island all add pops of color. I once found the most perfect little oil painting of a piece of toast with a pat of butter. Odd, maybe, but so interesting that I ended up pulling the yellow from the butter, the silver from the frame and the chocolate velvet color from the toast itself. That painting informed the palette of the space. 

5. Another great way to get rolling with color is to begin with a great solid or patterned rug. Instead of the painting on the wall informing the direction of the room let the color underfoot be the project driver. Adding solid color pieces around the room and allowing the colorful rug to be the hero in the space.

6. Color does not mean pattern. Some people think that they do not like color but they are confusing it with pattern. Or they don’t like multiple colors within a pattern because they think it is too loud or too busy. Not to generalize but I have found more men feel this way. My husband, case in point! God love him. In fact, I fell in love with him because he had framed Diebenkorn prints in the bedroom of his beat-up surfer apartment when he was just out of college. [Diebenkorn prints! Seriously! We were destined to be together!] He loves color but the second I introduce a multi-color pillow or fabric or wallpaper for our home he looks at me like I’m a swarm of bees. Taking one color and using it in a pattern with just black or with just grey, taupe or white, is easier to achieve and to live with for many people. **Do not confuse all of that with the idea that I shrink from pattern, I love it!

7. Color from books and book spines. I am a sucker for a whole library of books. Shelved top to bottom, floor to ceiling when possible. The assortment of color on the spines of the books create their own art form and add character to the space. Like a tapestry of sorts or a giant mural of colors and text. Throw a sunshine yellow sofa in the room with a celadon desk lamp and a glass jar of coral tulips. Or any one of those and the space is happy, energetic and interesting with so much flair.

8. Color is youthful. I don’t mean unsophisticated, I mean that in the sense of freshness, openness, willingness to embrace the new. We all knew this when we were young(er), and perhaps we had a more youthful willingness to take on the world. We didn’t overthink it. Sadly, life gets in our head. It has a tendency to make us more fearful, less willing to take risks. And that can make us a little rusty and dusty. Way less interesting, in my mind. Who wants to be around rusty and dusty!? Why not fill our spaces with a big bunch of sunflowers or an overstuffed, white slipcovered sofa with a royal blue or green cashmere throw?

9. Adding color won’t change the world. But perhaps it can be a catalyst for change in other areas. Color can uplift the feeling in a space, it can create an openness to other more youthful ways of living and thinking. Make your home feel more like a colorful, happy accident— full of energy and flair! I’m pretty sure this is my credo, or my way of going through and responding to life.

10. Most importantly, have fun with your living space and surround yourself with colors that speak to you.     

Stephanie with her sons   //   Photo credit:   Sarah Knight Photography

Stephanie with her sons   //  Photo credit: Sarah Knight Photography

Thank you Stephanie, I am looking forward to your blog coming later this year and am also ready for bright yellow pillows in my house!

You can find Stephanie @flairhunter on Instagram or by email