500 Flowers by Lucy Auge

Last winter while doing a farm stay in the Somerset countryside, I had the pleasure of meeting Lucy Auge in person. She was so sweet to drive down to Wells and meet my friend Amber and I in person. We had a great afternoon talking, art, Instagram, British royalty, and gardening. Young, but oh so bright, Lucy Auge is one of my favorite new artists. Her work is imaginative and though much of her subject is floral (she has a personal passion for gardening), it lacks the preciousness and tweeness often associated with floral paintings. I am thrilled to announce her new show: 500 Flowers! Lucy drew 500 flowers on papers from the 1920’s which will be displayed on the walls of a Georgian buiding in Bath. I hope if you are in the area you can make it, or check out her Etsy shop for these gorgeous works! Read the excerpt below for more details:
It will be the first major show from the artist Lucy Auge.  Her simplicity for lines and composition as if she took the essence of what she is drawing. It’s no longer a flower it becomes her vision and herself feeling nature.

500 flowers will be a floor to ceiling exhibition covering the entire ground floor of a Georgian building in Bath. This will create an intense atmosphere of beautiful asian like botanical studies.

The work will all be for sale, and are all originals painted on hand made paper dating from the 1920s.

Lucy Auge has been creating and selling work from her studio in the middle of the somerset countryside, to a number of international clients.

You may recognise her work from the clients she works with Bamford, Daylesford Organics, Hallmark, Chiltern Firehouse, Vivienne Westwood, Letraset, Alexis Barrell ….

The show runs for one week only 24th-30th November, private view on the 23rd November.
Scroll to the bottom of the post for all the details!
lucy auge 500 flowers
All artwork and poster courtesy of Lucy Auge. Buy online here.

New Class + A Few Other Things!

online wedding flower class
We are putting the finishing touches on the new online Wedding Flowers class! Above is a screenshot. I am so excited! It was filmed in a natural light studio in Portland this summer by Lisa Warninger. Students of Flower Arranging 101 have been asking for the sequel for years so I am happy to report you can now sign up for our first session, starting October 5th! I’ll share a preview of the class soon and more details.

I’ve been trying to get settled into my new life in Lisbon, though it will take a bit to get all the pieces together but I am happy to be here and have had such a warm welcome.

A few things:

I love what the Warsaw based This is Paper is doing, watch their story here, donate if you feel to.

Aspiring photographers! This is an amazing opportunity to learn from one of today’s best commercial photographers in a hands-on way!

A big thank you to our sponsors:

Little Bright Studio
Scout’s Honor Co.
Pixie Blossoms

Have a wonderful weekend! Stay tuned next week for more Lisbon studio tours, a peek into the work process of Anna Joyce, and news about an amazing show from one of my favorite English artists!


On Finding the Perfect City

citroen lisbon
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who could live anywhere. I like to try on different lives and see things from different perspectives. As I get older though, I guess I become less adaptable. After a year on the road, I’ve been ready to settle some place for a while. Before I left on my farming adventure, oddly enough, I was actually in search of the perfect city. I love the city and the country equally but feel like the city is the right thing for me at this time of my life (as long as I can get enough time away). I’d always wanted to be based in Europe and thought Stockholm was my dream location and tried to move several times but it never worked out. I came to Portugal on a whim, and as it turned out Lisbon had many of the things I was looking for and I hope to make it my home for as long as possible. I guess it comes down to thinking about what’s really important to you in the same vein of what I talked about here.
What does your perfect city look like? I ended up finding my dream city in Lisbon! Of course no place is perfect and you sometimes you really do have to make the best of where you are and I do know you can find beauty and great things everywhere. That said, it’s great to live someplace that makes you feel good and is in line with what you value. Here’s what I look for in a city:

As a freelancer, it’s really important to me to live someplace I can afford. It’s why I lived in Portland, OR for so long. I don’t see the point of living someplace cool if I can only afford an apartment with rats and I have to work all the time. That said, I think a lot about priorities and perhaps you spend more on housing but you go without a car. You have too look at it from different angles.

Art + Culture:

I love going to the ballet and spending rainy afternoons in museums. This is something I missed in Portland. While there are a fair amount of cultural events and a great symphony and if you look you will find things, Portland has more of a crafting culture than an art culture, though perhaps that is changing a bit now. This is something I really love about Europe. I’ve found amazing theater in small English towns and incredible museums in off the way farming communities in Germany.

Close to the Sea

Growing up in New England and Washington state, being near the sea is a necessity for me. Lisbon is located right on the River Tagus which feeds into the Atlantic so watery views abound and the sea is just a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Small Cities

While I love the thrill of a big city, I feel more at home in the small or mid-size ones like Portland, Stockholm, Lisbon! It feels more digestible to me. I don’t need a million options for everything. There’s a beautiful simplicity about doing with what you have and making the most of where you live.


Maybe that’s why I like small cities, it’s perhaps easier to find your community. I loved the people in Lisbon from the very start. It was the biggest selling point for me. Most I met were super real, down to earth, and warm. I felt I’d be able to make friends here.


I hate driving! Public transportation is great but I prefer to move my legs everyday! Lisbon is one of the most walkable cities I’ve been in. I love scheduling in a little more time for walking to appointments. It’s a great way to engage in slow living. Instead of scheduling in time at the gym, I prefer movement to be a part of my day.
project 226
Not too Hip

I love that Lisbon has an old world feel. There’s a fantastic mix of offbeat, young artists and old mom and pop stores that have been around forever! Everything feels rather West Coast USA to me, slow, laid back.. not too pretentious!

Access to Gardens

I fell in love with the gardens of Lisbon! I have a post about them coming up soon! If I can have green spaces to wander and at least a balcony garden, I am a happy farmer in the city!

Now of course, I will have to deal with the challenge of learning Portuguese, being away from my family and my urban family, and will continue to go through paperwork challenges with visas, being away from my Northern “soul landcapes” (but in turn I get sunshine!). Everything is a trade off but it’s a good one for now!

P.S. Here’s an interesting article about the wave of artists moving to Lisbon right now.

What does your perfect home city or town look like? Where is your dream place to live? What do you value in a city?
Photos from my Instagram. Backpack shown is from a favorite Lisbon studio, Project 226.

New Work From Flower Arranging 101 Students!

online flower class
It’s always so much fun to see what my flower arranging students come up with over in my Flower Arranging 101 course! We have two sessions a month if you’d like to join. You will learn the basics of flower arranging, secret tips from my years of working as a florist, and you will have the chance to make four different flower arrangements and receive feedback from myself and other students. Our students come from around the world! It’s low key, and learn at your own pace. More info here!
handtied bouquet
It’s all about learning the basics, some of my methods, and then taking that info and creating your own style. Lots of my students have gone on to design weddings and even open their own businesses! It’s so fun to watch everyone’s journey.
Continue reading

Introducing: Stamp, Stencil, Paint!

painted apron anna joyce
I am so pleased to introduce Anna Joyce’s new book today! I had the pleasure of styling this book from STC Craft and it was a blast working with Anna who is an amazing artist and art director for her projects. Lisa Warninger photographed and Amber Johnstun offered styling assistance. Order the book here! The projects are fresh, modern, fun, and not too difficult or serious. Learn how to create handmade patterns for pillows, aprons, bags, ceramics, even wallpaper. Crafting never looked so good! Congrats, Anna! Later this week, we’ll peek into Anna’s studio and find out about her working process.
stamp stencil paint salt bowl
stamp stencil paint bag
stamp stencil paint pillows
Images by Lisa Warninger for STC Craft. All projects by Anna Joyce.

Lisbon Studios Tours: Mesh Baby Rompers

handmade baby romper
One of my favorite handmade items I discovered in Lisbon was this wonderful company, Mesh. I met the owner, Rita, at a market and then spent a lovely afternoon visiting her home and meeting her adorable baby son. These handmade rompers are now my go-to baby gift! Aren’t they wonderful?! Rita makes baby shoes as well and I wore one of her incredible scarves all winter. Visit her shop to see more!

handmade baby romper

handmade baby shoes
mesh fofos
Photos by Chelsea Fuss.

Cooking for One: Lentils + Eggs

lentils and eggs
Fall is in the air here in Washington State and it feels amazing! After such a hot summer it’s incredible to have cold air, and cool breezes! During the cooler months, I love having a big pot of lentils cooking on the stove. It’s so cozy and comforting. I like to mix them with sautéed onions and herbs and keep in the fridge to warm up for lunches. Sometimes I add a fried egg. I’ve been harvesting arugula everyday here at my parents farm and I love adding that too!
eggs and lentils
You might also like:

Baked Eggs in France

How to Make the Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg

Chickpeas for Lunch in Beja, Portugal

Favorite Ways to Cook for One

Behind the Scenes with My Life in Sourdough

How to Make Flavoured Creme Fraiche

Photos: Chelsea Fuss.

Lisbon Studio Tours: Teresa Pavao Ceramics

ceramic lisbon
While in Lisbon, I was able to visit a lot of artist studios and shops (I can’t wait to discover more, as I make Lisbon my home, this fall). I photographed several for an upcoming travel story and am excited to share these special finds here on the blog as well. This jewel of a shop belongs to ceramicist Teresa Pavao, a multi-media artist. The shop showcases her ceramics and handmade clothing pieces. Her cups, bowls and plates have a beautiful simplicity and I love the dripping effect of the glazes. Enjoy this visual tour of her little shop near Lisbon’s Alfama neighborhood.
lisbon ceramics alfama
teresa pavao
teresa pavao
ceramic lisbon teresa pavao
ceramic lisbon portugal

ceramic teresa pavao lisbon
You might also enjoy:
A Gotland Ceramic Studio

Live Like an Artist in Lisbon’s Oldest Neighborhood

A Reprieve in Beja, Portugal

The Tema Sisters Clothing Studio in Lisbon
Photos by Chelsea Fuss. The shop is located at: R. de São João da Praça 12, 1100-603 Lisboa, Portugal.

What I Learned from Being a Nomad

what it's like to be a nomad
Next week, I will move to a new city and settle into a home for a while. It will mark the end of living on the road for a little over a year. In case you are just tuning in, in June of 2014, I sold everything I owned, quit my work as a freelance prop stylist, and packed up a small backpack with three outfits, a laptop, and a camera, to begin a year long journey as a digital nomad/farm volunteer for a year. I have had a few realizations from this time that I wanted to share. I included part of this essay in a talk I gave at The Hive last spring but I am publishing it here now for those who weren’t there. For the actual logistics of how my trip worked, you can read this post.

Sometimes I find it tough to talk about travel. In fact, I had hoped not to share that much about the trip publicly, but in the end I found it more therapeutic, overall to do so. Writing about travel can have a self-righteous tone at times. It seems to induce envy. But the thing is, not everyone wants to travel and some people want to but life circumstances prevent it (you can say, “Just do it!” But obviously there really are circumstances that prevent such a lifestyle). People have an idea that travel is expensive when in reality, if done in a certain way, is actually cheaper than living in one place. But because of these perceptions, I sometimes feel the need to justify or explain the realities of of my trip. I’ve had a lot of times in my life where I wasn’t able to travel for various reasons. But I reached a point where I could, though it was challenging to take the leap. As a sort of disclaimer, I want to say that I know this sort of life isn’t for everyone. I am one who grew up in a somewhat nomadic family so I know there is fullfillment in settling in one place. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live someplace for a lifetime. I am sure there’s a super interesting perspective in that lifestyle as well. The point is, there is more than one way to live life, more than one way to work, more than one way to do just about anything. This is the way that works for me and I understand the privilege I have to even make this decision.

As I slowly, but surely, approach 40, I find myself less ambitious, wanting to just enjoy the simple experiences of life and focus on what fulfills me. An Internet friend, Christine, recently called it the Anti-Hustle. A couple of years ago, my friend, Kelly, interviewed me for her magazine, Liner, and asked what my dream life looked like, I said something like “I want to live by the sea with special people, cook my own food, dance, garden, and hopefully contribute something good to the world” Sounds cheesy, but it’s honestly all I want. I don’t care about dream projects and making a lot of money because in a few years time a photo I styled that I thought was so great will now look dated. I want something more fulfilling.

My trip was the result of a desire for a lifestyle change. After an eight year career in prop styling. I reached a point where I longed for more work/life balance. At the end of the day, instead of being a stylist who set up fantasies, I wanted to live life. Instead of styling a pretty picnic in the forest, I wanted to be there with friends, eating sandwiches and drinking cider. My work didn’t satisfy me any longer, I wanted more real life, and less of a life online. I was ready for a change. A change that wasn’t yet defined. I knew I wanted to go far away from home- the travel bug had been eating at me for years, I knew I wanted to be closer to the earth, and live at a simpler, slower pace. But it was all really blury. There was no concrete plan. And it took making this jump and getting out my busy life to see things clearly.
That said, my trip wasn’t always profound, or always perfectly fulfilling. The thing about travel is that it never enables you to run away from real problems or issues in your life, in fact those issues usually become more magnified. There were times that felt empty, boring, extremely lonely, but in those moments that felt a little happier, a little fuller, I realized what I needed. After traveling alone through France, England, Sweden, Portugal, and Montenegro for ten months with a backpack, working on farms, I’ve been able to step back. Everything was stripped away from me. My career. My family. My community. My possessions. And after months of living like this, I was finally able to see what was important from the view of this pared back life. Seven things became clear- here’s what I needed in addition to the very basic human needs of food and shelter. I can’t live without:


This is all I need. I don’t need 15 pairs of shoes (I’ve been wearing the same pair everyday since December, and for me that’s all I need for now, though I am sure I’ll buy another pair soon). These are the things that bring me happiness (maybe for you, it is the 15 pairs of shoes!). Maybe the specifics will change at some point and maybe most people don’t need to go on a trip to realize it, but for me, this was the biggest learning experience of my time on the road and getting away from the intensity of a settled in life.
The other thing that became very clear, especially as a woman traveling alone (which seems to scare people, and oddly scares me, whenever another woman tells me she’s taking a similar journey), was that most people in this world are good, nice, and kind. So many people showed kindness to me. There were times that perhaps I should have been frightened to get in a car with a stranger, but I went with my gut, and it always brought me an amazing connection, a beautiful story, or a new perspective on life. The only time I felt scared was stuck in Paris during a terrorist attack. But every other moment I followed my gut, used common sense, and ended up meeting so many incredible souls which really was the most joyous element of this journey and something I’ve realized is essential for me.
What does your life look like when you strip everything away?

If you’d like to hear more about my trip, you can listen to a podcast about it here, with my childhood friend, Sean.

You might also enjoy:

How I Travel: Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring

Slow Travel

10 Ways to Trim Your European Travel Budget

6 Months a Nomad: My Life on the Road

How to do a Farm Stay

Photos by Chelsea Fuss. Top photo- Brixton, London. 2: Grand Fougeray, France, 3: Eating in Alentejo, Portugal. 4: My friend Sara, about to hitchhike with some French grannies in the Brittany countryside.