The Moth Wing Diaries by Lori Vrba

Let me begin by saying that

Lori Vrba

 has been my best good friend for 35 years. We've grown up together. Lived together. Had babies together.  I think some of our best growing has been over the last decade and we're not exactly spring chickens. And we're proud of that. 

It's an amazing thing to watch someone you're close to find their passion and then watch their star rise. 

Lori is a fine art photographer and mixed media artist living in Chapel Hill, NC.  She shoots with an old Hasselblad camera and makes pictures in her darkroom down in the basement of her home. It's as cool as it sounds. 

I'm beyond proud to share that her first book, The Moth Wing Diaries, has been published by Daylight Books and is

now available

Winged Victory by Lori Vrba

Rebecca's Palm by Lori Vrba

You can read one of the best interviews Lori's given on


to get a deeper understanding of where the work springs from and her process. I know you'll be inspired.

If you live in or near Chapel Hill, NC., you have two opportunities to see Lori's work. Daylight Project Space in Hillsborough will exhibit her work through May 22nd.

And the historic Horace Willliams House in Chapel Hill will open with an exhibition on April 12-26. Artists reception will be April 12, 2-4 pm. 

If you're in the Houston area, plan ahead as Lori will be exhibiting work beginning June 6 at

Catherine Courturier Gallery


Also, follow Lori on


for all the up to the minute details about shows and signings.

Congratulations dear friend! Can you believe I just blogged about your book?!

Drunken Poet's Dream : Lori Vrba

It's a big weekend for art in Houston and I'm so thrilled for my lifelong friend,

Lori Vrba

, who's in town for the opening of her show, Drunken Poet's Dream at

Catherine Couturier


The exhibition opens this Saturday, March 29 and runs through April 26.


The Gallery is exhibiting two new bodies of Lori's work,

Drunken Poet's Dream and Assemblage

Following is an excerpt from Lori's artist statement:

“My recent foray into the assemblage work feels like an organic extension and progression of my photography.  My imagery has a strong narrative component as does each assemblage piece.  I am a lifelong collector of curious oddities and I love transforming space, whether it be for an exhibition or my home.  The photographs are finished in encaustic for both the aesthetic and archival properties.  Bringing these elements together is just another way for me to tell a story.  My own.”

Lori's show runs in conjunction with


which is offering portfolio viewings of the artists work in attendance. This is a great opportunity to view current work from artists that are in town attending FotoFest and is open to the public. If you're a collector, or someone who's always wanted to collect art this is an excellent way to get acquainted with artists and their work. 

Congratulations and much love to my dear friend. I am so proud.

Summer Style

I had the pleasure of sharing the home of my best friend, Lori Vrba, in the recent summer issue of Souvenir. Lori, a film photographer and mixed media artist, lives in a beautiful home filled with kids, dogs and rooms that reflect her enthusiasm for collecting, as well as making, beautiful art.

"Virtue" by Lori Vrba

To read Lori's interview and see more of her recent kitchen remodel, visit Souvenir Magazine to purchase the recent issue which also includes wonderful features on travel, entertaining and delicious summer recipes.

Souvenir Summer 2013

I'm especially excited to have contributed a story in this issue of Souvenir that features the work space and home of my dear lifelong friend and fine art photographer, Lori Vrba, who lives in Chapel Hill, NC.  
Lori recently completed a major remodel of her kitchen and laundry room. I know you'll want to see  more of this beautiful project that Lori collaborated on with local designer Nata Bozymsky and custom furniture and cabinet maker Mike Dulude, along with her unique and creative approach to her own personal style.  

Click here to purchase a digital copy which you can enjoy on your computer or ipad all ad free! For now, Souvenir is not available in stores, but you can order a print copy which you will treasure as they are of beautiful quality.

Souvenir Magazine Summer Issue 2013

The summer issue of Souvenir Magazine is now available.  Here's the beautiful cover:

I'm especially excited to have contributed a story in this issue featuring the work space and home of my dear lifelong friend and fine art photographer, Lori Vrba, who lives in Chapel Hill, NC.  
Lori recently completed a major remodel of her kitchen and laundry room. I know you'll want to see  more of this beautiful project that Lori collaborated on with local designer Nata Bozymsky and custom furniture and cabinet maker Mike Dulude, along with her unique and creative approach to her own personal style.  

Click here to purchase a digital copy which you can enjoy on your computer or ipad all ad free! For now, Souvenir is not available in stores, but you can order a print copy which you will treasure as they are of beautiful quality.

Souvenir Summer Issue

The new summer issue of Souvenir will be available Monday July 15.  I love seeing the sneak peeks. It's going to be another beautiful issue!

Photo:  Amanda Marshall

Photo:  Sylvia Fountaine

Souvenir is an online magazine available in digital format or you may order a print copy (for now, it's not available in stores). Visit the website and sign up to be notified when the current issue is available and follow Souvenir on Facebook to see all the latest news and photos.
This issue is really exciting for me because I contributed a story that features my dear lifelong friend, Lori Vrba's beautiful home. I know you'll love it and be inspired by her gorgeous artful life and personal style. Now go sign up!

The Art of Being

This week, I spent some time with some women who are so inspirational to me. Lori Vrba, Holly Mathis, Susan Koozin and Cheryl Schulke. An artist, a decorator, an actress and a bag designer. Each one wildly successful in their creative field. The common thread is that they are pursuing their passion. And it's not always easy.
Their excitement for the work they do is palpable and contagious. They have kids, families, overhead and the same real life problems everyone else has. And they do it anyway. And it's not always easy.
I meet women all the time that say they want to quit their jobs and do something creative  like paint furniture, be a decorator, a designer,  have a shop, open an etsy store, write a blog, be a photographer. And they get stuck. Because it's not always easy. And they're right!
It's not easy to sit in front of a computer for hours editing pictures, sourcing products, or to face unreasonable client demands, or rejection, or feel like all the work you put out there just doesn't matter because who can compete with the talent or over saturation of online media or Joe Schmoe who might be better? 

How does one start?

Lori says "begin anywhere".
I say start "being". 

To begin is the most important step in pursuing your passion. Make your move. Know that you will make adjustments as you go. But you must begin. Make/do/write/paint/anything and everything that inspires you until you get specific. Give yourself creative freedom.  BE a painter. BE a decorator. BE a writer. Take action. Ideas will build on themselves and you'll start to hear and see your own unique voice. You'll never stop learning. You'll screw up. Big time. You'll fail. It's a guarantee. You'll want to quit. You might actually quit. You'll feel insecure, you'll doubt yourself ALL THE TIME (except sometimes when you know you NAILED IT. trust me, it's how this whole thing works), you'll hate what you made, or wrote or painted or photographed. But since it's your passion, you'll come back stronger and more determined. Say "yes" to yourself and to every opportunity that presents itself for you to BE the thing you want to be. 

True Story: A year and a half ago I was working my butt off on a blog post. Editing pictures, slowly uploading to Blogger with my boys in the house on the last day of Christmas break..driving me out of my mind. No was bad. They were running circles around the very table I had just photographed, throwing balls in the house, being boys. Very loud, rough boys. Every negative thought running through my mind..."why am i doing this? who CARES? it's too HARD to keep up with this and take care of my family". But I managed to hit "publish" on a post that was a game changer for me.
A few days later an unexpected e-mail came through my inbox that said "Hello from Heather Bullard", asking me if I would like to have my home featured in Souvenir Magazine. I had followed Heather and admired her work for years. 
I thought I was being punk'd.
A feature of my home turned into my becoming a contributor to Souvenir. The cherry on top was Heather asking me to assist her on a recent Country Living photo shoot. That was a first for me and I loved it.  All because I didn't give up on a day that wasn't easy. I was BEING a designer, BEING a blogger and sharing my work.  And it wasn't easy. 
But that's how passion works.
Are you stuck? Where will you begin? Leave me a comment if you're around this weekend. I would love to hear what big dreams you're dreaming! 

one of my favorite singer/songwriters

Failure to Launch

My best friend, Lori Vrba, is a fine art photographer.  She's incredibly talented, successful, fearless, driven and oh yeah, a person just like the rest of us that thinks rejection sucks.
If you're an artist or creative in a field that requires acceptance or approval to further your career and open doors for you, then you will relate to this film Lori made just this week on the heels of disappointment.: 

Have Phone Will Travel

Sometimes ya just gotta get out of town. My best friend came for business and pleasure last week. When given the choice of hitting the hot spots in town (Houston) for some Christmas shopping of the urban kind or spending the day in the country, she picked the country. 
I'm so glad she did.
We headed off to Round Top, Texas to enjoy the little town, famous for it's antique shows, in the off season. It was wonderful to have the roads to ourselves and enjoy the laid back pace and charm of the shops and farms. We definitely did our share of shopping but were also taken aback by the beautiful countryside. Armed with only our iphones, we stopped along country roads to take it all in.
image lori vrba

image lori vrba

Best friends for 30 years. What a treasure!

We did stop in to see what was going on at Leftovers in Brenham. Their displays are always pretty at Christmas.

Lori had never been to Rachel Ashwell's B & B, The Prairie, so after a delicious lunch at Royer's we headed over.

The Shabby Chic store was scheduled to be closed the day we went, but we called ahead and they opened just for us!

What a treat to have the store to ourselves to linger over all the pretty things.

As we were touring the property, we spied this beautiful bride in the Pearl Barn  during her photo shoot. Are you dying over the chandelier?  in the barn!

And some sweet simple Christmas decorations in the lounge. 

This old store is back in town. Wouldn't this be a great place to take the kids to shoot your Christmas card photograph?  If you can squeeze it in before the holidays, take a ride to Round Top and enjoy lunch and a walk around the town square. It's a good time.

Southern Comfort at Home

If you love beautiful art and beautiful homes...this post is for you!
I've been blessed to call Lori Vrba my best friend for over 30 years. Our friendship is one of the most profound relationships of my life.  Our love affair began waaaay back in high school, cruising through our small town in our cruddy cars, singing loud with the windows down.  Not much has changed...we just both drive better cars.  In fact, we both drive the exact same car. My husband likes to say we're two people that share the same brain.
If I were to write the story of my life, Lori would be in almost every chapter, sharing my joy, my secrets, my pain, cheering me on, supporting me, laughing with me, teaching me, inspiring me. We also share a passion for creating homes that feel  unique and very personal by living with things that do more than fill a space in our homes...they inspire us and remind us who we are and what we love. 

Lori is a fine art film photographer with her very own  dark room in her basement. She lives in  Chapel Hill, NC, where she and her husband have created a beautiful home filled with warmth, friends, art, music, kids and dogs. On my most recent trip to Chapel Hill,  I took a few pictures of some of my favorite spaces in her house to show how this artist friend of mine lives with what she loves.

Above is Lori's former dining room, now called The Girl Room.  This is where we land to knit, talk, scheme, relax. It's a beautiful and serene space with a collection of black and white photography, vintage camera's and art books.

Below is the family room with beautiful slip-covered furniture by Quatrine.

Stella, who can usually be found perched on the back pillow of the sofa. 

Lori's home has three levels. She recently remodeled the basement area which is where her kids and their friends hang out. Her darkroom  and guest room are also on the lower level.  I call this space my vacation home. These stairs lead down to the basement.
Part of the remodeling included ripping the carpet off the stairs. The original builder wood stairs were sanded, caulked and painted white. Heavenly!

The basement is set up perfectly to accommodate three busy kids and gives them their own space to relax, play and do homework.  More Quatrine furniture, soft comfy pillows, art and beautiful lighting.

One of the best take away lessons from Lori's approach to decorating is seeing how almost any piece of furniture, accessory or art could easily be moved to use in another room of the house for an easy change to freshen things up.  Smart girl.

Below is Lori's office.  Part workshop, part mad scientist's lab, command central and art gallery. This is where it all comes together.  Here's how it looks most days:

Here's how it looks a couple of weeks before the opening of her latest solo show:

These stainless tables from Ikea hold some of the tools of the trade for creating new mixed media pieces.

 True story:   Lori says to me that she's tired of the linen chairs in her office.  They had been around for years and were starting to show their age and wear. This was during the last few days of preparing for her show and she didn't have time to stop and have chairs reupholstered.   I say "You could write on them with a big fat Sharpie."   So she did.  She used one of her favorite quotes, a passage from Martha Graham:

 "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"

Lori's most recent solo show, Southern Comfort reflects her unique expression and speaks from the truest places of her heart through silver gelatlin prints, mixed media  and installation pieces .

Lori with her oldest son, Aaron, opening night.

For a real treat, I want to share Lori's artist talk from opening night.  Her ability to express herself and talk about the beautiful art she makes is so inspiring and gives you a glimpse into her life and her heart.
Click here to watch it in it's entirety.

Here's a short video I made on my ipad at the gallery opening night:

After taking some time off from blogging, she's back on the world wide web writing in her unique and honest voice on her current blog The Year of Magical Thinking.

Finally, thank you dear friend for sharing your home and your art with all of us. Much love........