Author: castlefoundations1

Feature Friday: Aviate Press

Happy Feature Friday!

This week we are featuring Ava Puckett of Aviate Press, a shop of handmade greeting cards and other goods! You’ll be able to find a card for your sassy, funny or sentimental friend from Aviate Press’ amazing greeting card line. We love how Ava has developed her business and how open she is to trying new designs and different strategies to take Avaite Press to the next level. She’s always pushing the limits of where she can go and others have recognized this as her work has been featured on sites like Buzzfeed! Read on to learn more about Ava’s story.

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Well, I am an illustrator, small business owner, full time job haver and dog lover. I’m originally from Oklahoma City, but came to Nashville to pursue music at Belmont University. I fell back in love with art and illustration after I graduated. During the day I work at MerchCave managing day to day operations.

: We absolutely love your designs and the products you create for Aviate Press! How did you come up with the brand’s name and decide to create such awesome greeting cards?

: Thank you! I was originally going to name it after myself because I had already established brand awareness as Ava Marie Doodles via Instagram and a blog I used to have, but then I read something by one of my greeting card idols, Emily McDowell – she talked about how she wouldn’t recommend naming your business after yourself for several reasons. After that, it took a few weeks of brainstorming and figuring out what voice I wanted to have in the greeting card world. I landed on Aviate Press because ‘aviate’ has my name ‘ava’ in it (cool) and because I liked the idea of incorporating paper airplanes into the logo, to go with the fact that it is all handmade. Once I came up with the tag line, I knew it was a winner: ‘handmade goods to lift your spirits.’

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The best views of Fall at the Harwood Hill Motel

Fall is in full swing and if you’re looking for a place with an excellent view to see the leaves change, you need to stay at the Harwood Hill Motel in Bennington, VT! From their property you can see an amazing view of the Bennington Battle Monument among the hills. We visited in September before the leaves changed and the view was beautiful, so we can only imagine how great it is this fall. Not to mention, they have a bunch of really cool seating areas in which you can enjoy the view on swinging chairs and hammocks!

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Flouncy Skirts & Wrap Tops

BY TARA BURKE

Who doesn’t love a skirt that you can twirl around in?! This skirt is so fun and representative of its designer, Betsey Johnson. Betsey Johnson was one of my favorite designers when I was younger because everything she makes is so crazy fun and unique, and I was in my wear anything but the ordinary stage – haha! I still love how bold her pieces are, so when I found this gem while thrifting I definitely scored. To finish the look I paired it with a simple black wrap top and some strappy heels.

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Maker Monday: Mary Beale Art

Happy Maker Monday! 

This week we are featuring Mary Clark or Mary Beale Art! Mary Clark, a Rochester, NY native, received her BFA in studio art from Skidmore College in 2012. Her work is easily recognizable by her playful style and complex palette. Mary’s artworks are an abstract representation of shapes, contours and vibrant colors found in nature. She begins her paintings with a loose hand and expressive marks. By deliberately layering color and shapes, Mary creates complex pieces bursting with excitement and rhythm. Read on to learn more about Mary and her work!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Hello! My name is Mary and I currently live and work in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY. I split my time between painting and working at a local boutique – taking any day off or free night to work on my art. I have always been artistic, and always had the mentality that art would be my “side gig”. I even went into college thinking I’d pursue a degree in Chemistry and minor in Studio Art. I ended my freshman year and knew I wasn’t following my heart. So I changed my major to Studio Art, with a concentration in both painting and textile design and never looked back. Even though I graduated not having a clue what I would do with this degree, I always managed to keep up with painting. Since graduating, I’ve lived and worked in Rochester, Boston, NYC and now Saratoga Springs. I spent 3 of those years at an incredible company, where I worked hard to learn as much as possible, eventually becoming the executive assistant to both of the CEO’s. I owe so much to my time at that company, where I learned so much about myself.  I realized, ultimately, that I truly wanted to dedicate myself to art, so this past October, I left NYC and my full time job (EEK!).  It’s been the best decision I could have made. I am moving slowly and cautiously, really taking the time to think about how I can best create a future based around my art. I spend any free time I have painting and working on commissions. I am happier than ever and am excited for the future of Mary Beale Art!

: We love your paintings! How would you personally describe your own work/aesthetic?

: My work can 100% be described as “happy art” – it’s very whimsical, bright and floral. I try to limit my palette but always end up throwing more color onto the canvas – and I think that is totally ok! I never sketch out or plan my paintings, I just start painting. Ultimately, I want my art to make you smile – I want it to brighten your day and bring joy to whatever room it’s in.

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Our Favorite Place to Stay in Hudson: Wm. Farmer and Sons

We love a good day trip to Hudson, NY and although we normally go for just the day — we finally stayed over for the night and were so excited to check out Wm. Farmer and Sons. It’s not only a hotel, but they also have a restaurant and cocktail bar! After arriving to town, we checked into the James Louis suite and were blown away by how adorable and well decorated it was. Not to mention – this room just screams cozy. From the fluffy pillows, music playing, and comfy chairs — to the gas fireplace, clawfoot tub, and books everywhere, this suite is the ideal place to just hideaway for a weekend!

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Catskills Camp Style

BY CAILIN BURKE

We always love dressing for the occasion, so when we had a weekend trip planned to The Catskills we each put together a look for the mountain vibes! I personally love western inspired style, but wanted to be comfortable at the same time, so I threw on this waaay oversized shirt and tied it into a knot at the corner to get somewhat of a more fitted look! I paired it with one of those button down denim skirts, but I love how it’s lined with brown suede to make it a little different than the norm. And of course — My favorite gladiators to top it off! Plus, I had to throw on my go-to flat brim hat when we went exploring the nearby town!

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Maker Monday: NVillustration

Happy Maker Monday!

This Monday we are featuring Vaishali and Nayan of NVillustration! We love their incredible paper cut products. Each piece is so unique and crazy detailed! It’s so cool that Vaishali and Nayan work together to allow their artwork to be carried on with their customers through jewelry. Each piece tells a little story into their personal interests or a concept they wished to portray. We think you’ll love their Feature, so read on to learn more about NVillustration! You can also check out their Etsy to snag one of their amazing pieces for yourself.

: Tell us a little about yourself!

: Hey we are a team of two, Myself Vaishali and my partner Nayan.
We started our venture in 2015. Our professions are quiet different but our interests or you call it passion is what made us start this venture of ours.

Let us introduce ourselves. Hey I am Vaishali, a visual effects artist and an animator. I love exploring and illustrating nature. My art always try to express the beauty of nature in any form. Here at our studio I use my skills of art to create different type of products and artworks by combining different processes and technology with different materials.

Hey I am Nayan a Furniture designer; my interest includes exploring new techniques and materials for representing my work and art. As a furniture designer I got good amount of knowledge about material, technology and design. I use this knowledge to get art come alive in a form of different products.

: Your products are beautiful! How did you learn to Paper cut and decide to pursue a business with Paper cut products?

: Oh thanks for the complement, our journey of making Paper cut artworks started a year ago. We were working on a project with an Institute for making Miniature Architectural models that was a time where we use to do work with a lot of materials and processes for making different parts for models. While doing that we stumble upon the thought of getting our artworks cut in paper. From that day we started exploring the technique of Paper cutting and started making different products. We wanted our art to be with people forever and jewelry was the apt choice. So we started making hand painted Paper cut jewelry and never looked back, we love it more than anything we do.

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Feature Friday: Des Sottises

Happy Feature Friday!
Today we have the fun, bright work of Margot Tissot who designs just about everything for her brand Des Sottises. You can find her illustrations on cards, posters and prints, tote bags, and even as pins — one of her favorite products to create! Her shop is based in Switzerland and we love getting to showcase amazing creatives and shops from all over the world! The images she illustrates are largely based off of things that inspire her, or are part of her daily life, which creates such a personal product! And we can’t help but just love that she illustrates veggies and makes stuff like broccoli and lettuce look pretty cool. Des Sottises has such an amazing diversity of illustrations and products, so keep reading to see more and learn about the maker behind the brand!

: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

: I’m Margot, I’m a 28 year old graphic/web designer based in Lausanne (Switzerland). Over the years while I practiced graphic design, I developed a passion for illustration and I’m trying to develop my little brand “des sottises” since nearly a year now. Beside this passion for illustration I am fascinated by the whole magical universe (I’m a Harry Potter fan) and I would like to think I’m a sorceress 😀

: How did your shop Des Sottises get its start?

: Des Sottises started in between two jobs. Last year, I lost my dream job for economical issues and I had a few weeks of unemployment. So I took advantage of this time to create my Etsy shop and created a lot of illustrations. I started with the animal alphabet, I made one illustration for each letters and searched for various supports to put them on. The animal alphabet poster, bookmark and pennant were my first items to sale.

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A Luxurious Stay at Diamond Mills

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in Upstate New York, look no further than the Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern located in Saugerties, NY. Besides the fluffy robes, comfy beds and room service (all which Diamond Mills has) a hotel stay with a view always adds to the luxury experience. Diamond Mills also has this as it sits right next to the Esopus Falls! Each room has a furnished balcony so you can take in the view under the stars or in the morning while you sip your coffee.

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Feature Friday: Emily Keating Snyder

Happy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring artist, Emily Keating Snyder! We love her playful approach to her artwork and how she lets her pieces reflect the imperfections of the human hand. Katie was kind enough to tell us a little more about herself, her artistic journey and her pieces. She also made an awesome video to teach you some of the techniques she uses in her watercolor paintings! You have to check it out, especially if you’ve been wanting to get into watercolors, but haven’t been sure how to approach them. Emily will give you the confidence to give it a try and experiment – what artists do best!


“I’m a colorful artist, designer, and art party hostess in Los Angeles. Playfulness and a good sense of humor are huge in my life. My favorite materials to work with are paper, paint, watercolor, collage, and embroidery. I believe strongly in the importance of working with our hands and not being too precious with art. After studying art and art history as part of my custom concentration at NYU, I had a few different art world jobs then made the leap to independent creative (and doggie caregiver) a few years ago. I’ve been grateful to show my work in New York, LA, and other major cities and to be featured by Saatchi Art and The Etsy Blog… and here on Castle Foundations!

I’ve been making art my entire life and to this day the best creative advice I’ve ever gotten was from my kindergarten art teacher. Whenever we were working on a project and wanted to rip it up and start all over after one misplaced tempera paint mark, she would say, “Turn your mistakes into something else.” I don’t think it was purely out of encouragement or necessarily kindness. It probably had more to do with needing to ration an entire school’s paper supply, but it has always stayed in my head and helped curb perfectionism in my art for 25 years.

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