Love & Joy

IMG_6106.JPG

Just like our holiday card mailing list, the blog is getting our holiday wishes a little late, too. The holidays were really great this year, but I have to admit the amount of House Love work I had to get done did cast a tiny shadow on some of the festivities. I hope that next year I'm able to manage my workflow a bit better! I am finally catching my breath and hoping to take a week or two off after finishing up some orders this weekend.

This year, we continued many of the family traditions we've established over the years, including little gifts of homemade peppermint bark for teachers, friends and family. This year, we included a bar of Sweet Mint Soap made locally by Biggs & Featherbelle, too. And for the very first time since having Fiona, we have an official family holiday card! So sweet, right?

IMG_6065.JPG
IMG_6081.JPG
IMG_6193.JPG

I printed out Phoebe's illustrated gift tags from the Taproot Blog and used Whole foods bags as wrapping paper for many of our gifts. They turned out so cute! The kids had a lot of fun distributing our cards and little gifts to friends and neighbors.

IMG_6099.JPG
IMG_6127.JPG

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays! Here's to 2014.

I Love You, Baltimore (Bride!)

HouseLoveBaltimoreBride.JPG

The past several months have been an exciting time for House Love in Baltimore. First, my house portraits were included in Baltimore City Paper's Gift Guide, then they appeared in Baltimore Magazine's Holiday Card and Ad, then the season culminated with a full page in Baltimore Bride's Aisle Style section.

When Bride's Editor, Janelle Diamond, asked me to send over some examples of Baltimore rowhouses to be included in the next issue, I was so excited. I pictured one of my house portraits alongside other gift ideas and couldn't wait to see the final layout. When I finally did see the magazine months later, I couldn't believe it. A whole page?! Are you kidding me?! I am still amazed by how positively House Love has been received. It is incredibly special to see my name and illustrations recognized in my local magazines and papers.

Thanks so much to Janelle and everyone over at Baltimore Bride. Being included in your beautiful magazine is truly an honor.

P.S. I know the blog has been House Love heavy lately, but that has been such a big part of what's been happening around here the last several months. I hope I'm not driving everyone crazy. Now that the holidays are over, I expect to be back to regular posting. I have lots of family Christmas pictures to share!

A House Love Holiday at Baltimore Magazine!

BaltMagHouseLove.JPG

I am so excited to share this recent project I did with Baltimore Magazine. I worked with the lovely ladies there to create illustrations of local houses from three different Baltimore neighborhoods–Federal Hill, Towson, and Roland Park–for their holiday card and greeting page in the December issue. I love the concept and the final product turned out beautifully.

BaltMagHouseLove3.JPG

House Love was born out of a love for my own city's architecture, so a project like this couldn't be more perfect for me. It was also pretty cool to see my illustrations on a full page in my hometown magazine! Thanks so much to the folks over there!

BaltMagHouseLove2.JPG

And now I better get back to the gazillion houses I have to finish before the 15th... December around here is, um, interesting.

Two, I Love You So

ElsaTwo3.JPG

Sweet Elsa, my baby, turned two last weekend. I love two. There is nothing like the experience of watching a human being unfold before your eyes. At two, that unfolding seems to ramp up. Every moment reveals something new. Oh, so this is what you're like! I find myself thinking daily, hourly even.

What are you like, Elsa? Well, you are very silly. You make the craziest, most exaggerated expressions, sending your family into hysterical laughter many times every day. You know how funny you are. When you smile, your mouth takes up your entire face. It is the best. We have long and complex conversations. You can be very serious when you are explaining something, furrowing your brow and responding with a clipped, "yup" when I show that I understand. You love to help. You are the first to jump up and sweep or put toys away, singing our clean up song while you work. Tick tock goes the clock, what does it have to say? 

I often watch while you play quietly and am so comforted by what I see: Your dollhouse Mama is so tender with her dollhouse baby, you love to carry your baby dolls around (up, up) and make them their favorite meal of cookies and grapes, you even take your stuffed animals for long walks around the house. To see this beautiful world expressed through your play fills up my heart and reminds me that this life we share is deeply good, and full of so much love.

Happy birthday, Elsa. You make us all so happy. We love you.

ElsaTwo5.JPG
ElsaTwo2.JPG
ElsaTwo.JPG
ElsaTwo6.JPG
ElsaTwo7.JPG

Well, look at that.

MMCityPaper.JPG

I glanced over at Facebook yesterday to find a nice little surprise waiting for me on my newsfeed: A picture of my house portraits on a spread from City Paper. My illustrations were featured in their 2013 Holiday Gift Guide in the Arty Holidays section! (One of the few full color spreads, no less!)

MMCityPaper5.JPG

I've been planning a post on my House Portrait Gift Certificate Packages and I'm thinking now would be a good time. To those of you new to my work, I create custom illustrated house portraits (among other things!). If you'd like to see plenty of examples of my portraits, click through my portfolio. The portraits are quite popular and have been on a wait list for a while now. If you are interested in a house portrait, there are two ways to go about getting one...

The first option is to purchase a gift certificate package. The house portrait wait list is full through the end of 2013, but if you are hoping to have a gift in hand this holiday season, you may want to consider a gift certificate package. I have made a limited number available, so be sure to order before they run out. These lovely packages make really thoughtful gifts and can be redeemed by the recipient any time after January 1st, 2014. They are beautifully printed at the same quality, on the same paper as final portraits, and come with three examples to give the recipient an idea of the final product. They are quite nice, I think. :)

MMCityPaper2.JPG

Another option is to add your name to the wait list, which runs into 2014. Here's how it works: To add your name, email me at miranda@houseloveshop.com. Include your name, contact email and what size print or package you would like to order. I currently offer 8”x10” ($125) and 11”x14” ($150) house portraits. I also offer greeting card packages. These packages include a printable pdf of your illustration to fit your specifications as well as an 8”x10” or 11”x14” print of your illustration. The 8”x10” greeting card package costs $145 and the 11”x14” package is $175. I will contact you when you are next on the list with a link to your reserved listing. Once you purchase that listing, we will move forward to complete your house portrait!

Please feel free to get in touch with me at miranda@houseloveshop.com if you have any questions. Thanks again for all your support! Now, I better get back to work. :)

Birthday Boy

BirthdayBoy5.JPG

I'm a little late posting this, but what's new? Elijah turned nine on Halloween. We had a small gathering of friends at our house for pizza, cake, and trick or treating. Each year on his birthday, Elijah brings together both sets of parents, three little sisters and friends from school with such grace; One moment joking with a boy his age, the next picking up his baby sister.

BirthdayBoy3.jpg
BirthdayBoy2.jpg
BirthdayBoy4.JPG
BirthdayBoy7.jpg
BirthdayBoy8.jpg

Loving, funny, smart, and gloriously silly. We love you, Eli. Next year, double digits. Oh my.

At Home

PeaceatHome5.JPG

The weather has been beautiful, but our bodies are nonetheless feeling the seasonal pull to spend more time indoors. It's a welcome change for me this time of year and I feel the excited energy of shifting focus to quieter work and play (which are the same thing for the little ones and even the big ones in our best moments). I am looking forward to organizing and sprucing up this old house during the colder months to come. You may have noticed I've already done some sprucing up of this old blog? 

PeaceatHome.JPG
PeaceatHome2.jpg
PeaceatHome4.jpg
PeaceatHome3.JPG

I am thankful, as always, for the beautiful, simple toys we've accumulated over time. The wooden kitchen and sturdy dollhouse seem to never lose their luster in the eyes of my children, or myself for that matter. I am grateful for some new additions, as well. Elijah got a much anticipated rainbow loom for his birthday and has been glued to the instructional videos since. He is already running out of space on his arms for all the bracelets he's created in the last few days.

PeaceatHome6.JPG

After the freewheeling months of Summer (Or as freewheeling as you can be with three children and two jobs), the slower pace of Autumn on it's way to Winter always spurs me to take a close look at the shape our life is taking. I am deeply happy with what I see. While our plate is full, it is full of very good things. For that, I am grateful.