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September 2nd, 2014

The New Bohemians: Outtakes

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Believe it or not we shot 40,000 photos for #TheNewBohoBook. I know it’s actually insane. Of those 40,000 pictures, only about 200 will actually be published in the book–so every now and again I thought it would be fun to share some of th0se 38,800 shots that didn’t make the cut. Blog fodder for years. haha.

Now, we’re almost done with the book design process, which means that the book will be headed to press pretty soon! (we just got an approved version of the cover last week–can’t wait to show it to you guys!!) It feels like the whole process is taking forever–but somehow it also feel like a whirlwind. I know I’ll be holding those printed pages in no time. Eeek. Such an exciting time…

August 29th, 2014

Take Your Bed Outside!


DIY 3-021 copy

I was getting a little envious of your summertime in the Northern Hemisphere and thought to create a daybed one day in the great outdoors.  Honestly, winter in Sydney is never *that* bad…we get beautiful sunshiny days most of the season, it’s just a bit crisp outside.  I thought with this being a long weekend in North America that often signals the dawning of the chillier months, it was the perfect time to share this bed project.

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This started out as a little DIY bedhead project and then kind of grew into something more conceptual.  I had this beautiful birch bedhead by Greg Hatton on loan from a friend and I decided to personalise it.  I embellished it by wrapping wool around two of the branches in a graduated colour scheme; blue for the sky and green for the grass.  I also added pom-poms, because why wouldn’t I??!

Then, we set up shop in a wide open park (where lots of people walk their dogs during the day actually) under a lovely archy tree, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You would not believe the amount of awed-onlookers…asking about ‘free naps’, kind of like the ‘free hugs’ thing.  I loved it.  Could be a cool social project?!

I draped the bed in beautiful Moroccan wedding blankets and kantha quilts made from vintage saris and silk.

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Camelias were in full bloom; the outdoor atmosphere could not have been more serene.  I fully encourage you all to step out of your everyday and spend some extra time in nature this weekend.  You don’t have to go as far as bringing your bed outside, but maybe a picnic or find a shady spot to read a book?

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To set the scene to be as dreamy as possible, I added cotton clouds and a bright yellow lantern from Hong Kong as a pseudo sun.  Sometimes isn’t it fun to do something just for the sake of it, or for a little fun…like when was the last time you built a fort in your living room like Justina?! Do it!

{Project by Nicole Valentine Don for Justina Blakeney est. 1979.}
For more Nicole,  visit her blog and follow her on instagram.
Photos by: Fiona Galbraith



Face The Foliage Diana Vreeland wearing Sylva & Cie jewelry


Face The Foliage Grace Jones in Stephen Webster jewelry


Face The Foliage Grace Coddington in Wendy Yue jewelry


Face The Foliage Elizabeth Taylor in Bochic jewelry

If, a couple of years ago, someone would have said to me that some of my collages made of twigs, leaves and flowers would make it from my backyard all the way to Vogue I would have laughed. I mean, it sounds pretty ridiculous. And yet here I am, my friends, and here they are–foliage portraits all blinged out in pieces from Moda Operandi, on the front page of Vogue.com –

P I N C H  M E!

So here’s how it happened–one day I get an email from the folks at Moda inquiring about my #FaceTheFoliage project and next thing you know, they are commissioning me to create faces to pair with some of their jewelry collections. They sent me a PDF with the photographs that I was to work off of for the portraits and I broke into a serious sweat for several reasons 1.) A lot of the faces were profiles or 3/4 angels, and I hadn’t messed around with those angles before. 2.) I find it difficult to make a drawing look like the subject–I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able make these iconic faces recognizable and 3.) I had only one week to pull this off.

This job was either going to SUPER rad…or it was going to be a nightmare.  Part of me wanted to decline the job (the part that was scared shitless needing to redo the faces 10000 times)–but then another part (the gutsier part) told me to just throw myself into the project and that’s what I did.

So I took a deep breath, charged it to the flower market and did one face per day, for one week, until they were all done. The folks at Moda were great to work with, I was pushed outside my comfort zone (in a good way) to try different poses and new things with these faces–so I learned a little something along the way too.

I’m really happy with how they came out–Diana Vreeland is my favorite, and Liz Taylor, while I think my version looks more like Liz Taylor’s sister or cousin or something…I love the way she looks…and her hair–yes, I’m proud of her calla lily curls. You can go to Vogue.com to see the others (damn I like the sound of that :P)

And, you can actually win one too!  Moda Operandi is offering one lucky duck the chance to win the  #JewelsInBloom print of your choice. Go here for details and to enter!

August 27th, 2014

Drop Cloth Curtains



While shooting The New Boho Book, a few of the houses we shot used simple hardware store canvas drop cloths as curtains. I always liked the look of them. They let light shine through while maintaining privacy, and something about the weight of the fabric was perfect. So I picked up a drop cloth and decided that it would be worth it to try and tie-dye it and see what happened. While the dye (after washing) didn’t hold SUPER well (the canvas is not 100% cotton) I still love the look of my $10 curtain! (and yes, it’s the very same panel that we used as a table cloth for Ida’s birthday!) So it’s an idea that can work for table cloths, curtains, and even picnic blankets. Next time I might try indigo or even a turquoise. Thoughts?


When Dabito and I first came up with the idea to start The Creative Residency, we did so because we felt like there was a need for ‘serious’ (read: challenging) creative seminars that put a premium on building relationships with other creative folks (collaboration is key). We also felt it was important the  seminars cover a wide spectrum of subjects–because nowadays, doesn’t it feel like you need to know a little bit of everything to have a successful creative business (social media, photography, writing, styling, graphic design…)?!

We had our first seminar, The Social Media Practicum a few weeks ago and it was pretty amazing. Hosted by RoomForty, the eight-hour long seminar took place in an intimate room with 14 hyper creative fellows. The above kokedamas we handmade by Kelly Cuadra and were our gifts to all fellows– a symbol for growth and ‘keeping you shit together.’ ;) JenniferYoungStudio-33JenniferYoungStudio-67Whilst chowing down on RoomForty’s delectable eats (including the most incredible stuffed jalapeno poppers) we shared constructive criticism, and discussed and divulged everything we know about finding and developing ones voice and building and growing an audience online.  JenniferYoungStudio-11 JenniferYoungStudio-13
I was humbled and thrilled with what some of the fellows of the seminar had to say about the day on their own blogs:  Katja Ollendorff, pattern designer, says: “Oh my!  What an amazing day full of invaluable information, collaboration and sublime company.”

Interior and botanical consultant, Debra Szidon says :“ Over the weekend I flew to LA to work on my Social Media skills with Justina Blakeney and Dabito of the The Creative Residency…I left feeling totally inspired!…(it) was an invigorating experience and one that I highly recommend.” 
JenniferYoungStudio-18JenniferYoungStudio-76 JenniferYoungStudio-58 JenniferYoungStudio-56 JenniferYoungStudio-21   JenniferYoungStudio-38
Kelly Cuadra also made these flower arrangements. She’s amazing. The whole day was artfully captured by Jennifer Young.

You can learn about all the  fellows from the Social Media Practicum right here. JenniferYoungStudio-44   
AND now YOU can join us in the next one as we have just announced the Social Media Colloquium which I will be co-teaching again with Dabito here in Los Angeles. The Colloquium is designed to quickly inspire, motivate and propel you and your creative brand to achieve your goals. And until Friday, JB est. 79 blog readers will get 15% off enrollment fees with the code: ITSNEVERTOOLATE because it’s never too late to get your shit together. :D I really hope I get a chance to meet you there!

Photography: Jennifer Young
Location: Room Forty at The Fig House
Food: Room Forty
Flowers & Kokedamas: Kelly Cuadra

I LOVE the look of modern-style dolls on shelves. My grandmother started my love affair, as she picked up dolls from all her worldly travels and had them on display in her home-office, like an international chorus.  And then designers like Alexander Girard picked up the inspiration baton when I first learned about these dolls:

And then Jonathan Adler came out with his Utopia Collection.

And then last year while on that 6-week stay in Denmark, I fell in love with the work of Danish designer, painter and ceramic artist Bjorn Wiinblad and his kooky ceramic ‘doll’ vessels.

Trouble was, that I can fall in love with all these things as much as I want–but they’re all HIGHLY collectable and, while easy on the eyes, are not at all easy on the wallet. Then one day as I was wandering through the isles at Lowe’s I saw these simple curtain finials, and they didn’t look to me like curtain finials at all, instead, to me they looked like my next DIY project :) My very  own kooky heads to adorn the book shelves. So I also picked a a little floating shelf, because I loved the idea of the heads not just being decorative but being functional, too–I was going to turn them into book-ends.


So what I did when I got home was very, very simple. I took a black Sharpie to the finials and drew some faces onto the finials.


Then I measured and drilled small holes into the shelf where I wanted the heads to go and screwed the heads right into the shelves. And about $20 and 20 minutes later I finally had some dolls on my shelves!


I hung the shelf in Ida’s room and she loves it.  She points to it all the time and says “Mama make dat!” “Lady sleeping, man awake!” It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever, a very quick and easy DIY that would also be fun to do with kids. I may also do another round making one head for each person in our family.

*Project and photography by J. Blakeney.
*This project was created in partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement. For more ideas, check out our board “Justina’s Creative Home” on Pinterest.