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Crystals for Beginners

Inspiration, Collaborations, How ToLesley Pocklington1 Comment
  Crystals for Beginners by Swell Made Co. x Breathing Inspiration.

Crystals for Beginners by Swell Made Co. x Breathing Inspiration.

For many, fall brings a sense of routine and ritual that we happily let go of (even if just a little) during the summer months. As seasons change, I am embracing a new ritual that I have always been curious about. Crystals. I'll be honest, I have been mystified by crystals, gems and stones since childhood; but was equally confused and dubious. Until I discovered the magic of stones and their innate abilities to heal through Breathing Inspiration. I'm still navigating this simple, but complex world so I've paired up with friend and collaborator, Abby Rozen of Breathing Inspiration to break it down for us beginners. Whether you believe crystals are powerful, or not; you can't deny their beauty. And they're fun. So, come on a mystical journey with Abby and I. 

Abby Rozen is the creator behind Breathing Inspiration. Her line of meditation bracelets are made with healing crystals. Abby is an certified crystal master, potter, and psychotherapist. She worked with stones for many years, finding herself drawn to their energy. After discovering and learning about the significance behind each stone, and seeing the value that intention setting through stones brought to her life, Abby started Breathing Inspiration. You can see our collaborative bracelet here


  Healing crystal bracelets by Swell Made Co. x Breathing Inspiration. With black tourmaline and howlite stones.

Healing crystal bracelets by Swell Made Co. x Breathing Inspiration. With black tourmaline and howlite stones.

How Healing Crystals Work

Similar to other forms of holistic healing, crystals manifest their energy, through subtle, but deep and long term magic. Just like other healthy habits (meditation, exercise, eating well and taking vitamins), you might not notice and instant transformation; but over time you will notice a shift. When working with crystals it's important to keep your heart and mind open, set intentions and observe what manifests within (and around) you.

Through their unique vibration, colour and talisman (the magic) each stone brings its own beautiful energy and physical appearance. Each stone holds and transmits energy differently by vibration, which is determined by symmetrical crystal latices. While, our bodies respond deeply on a metaphysical level to colours. Our chakra is activated by specific colours. 

How to Use Stones in Your Life

Bringing crystals into your daily life can be as simple as having them as decor in your home, to more complex rituals. You can where them as jewelry, sleep with them under your pillow, soak with them in your bath or carry them in your pocket. It's really up to you. Working with crystals (like other forms of self-help) is meant to support you in becoming the clearest, inspired and grounded version of yourself. Your crystals will guide you and determine what's right for you.

When choosing stones, many let their intuition and hearts guide them to those that feel right for them in that moment. Often, there will be a connection between the power held in the stones and energy one is seeking or in need of. The power of the stones, combined with your intentions will bring the right energy into your life.  

If you're just starting a collection of crystals, these are a great start and you can add new stones that you are drawn to as you continue your practice. 

Rose Quartz - The Lover

Rosy pink in colour, this crystal is all about love, love, love. One of the most nurturing crystals, it opens our hearts to compassion, forgiveness, attracts new love, heals heartbreak and most importantly, encourages self love. We could all use more love, and this heavyweight crystal strengthens love in all its forms. 

Clear Quartz - The Healer

Clear quartz can be found all over the world and, as a matter of fact, in many of the modern things you own like clocks and electronics. This crystal is a master healer and connector making it "easy" to put it to work for you. It's a tireless, flexible and and powerful guide. Plus, it works so hard it will amplify the other crystals in your collection. 

Citrine - The opitmist

If sunshine were a crystal, it would be citrine. Did you know citrine is actually amethyst that was treated at a high temperature to give it its sunny colour? Natural citrine exists, but is very rare. If you have a dream, goal or even a to-do list, this stone will help you bring them to life and follow through. Perfect for workspaces or wherever you create, citrine will help keep creative ideas flow brightly and abundantly. 

Amethyst - The Protector

One of the most revered crystals in history and today, amethyst is the protector crystal. A stone of transformation and enlightenment, it's talisman reminds us to treat our bodies well and disconnect from unhealthy attachments (and even negative or addictive patterns). It protects people and spaces, making it a perfect choice for home with its ability to promote connection and communication. 

Black Tourmaline - The Grounder

Black tourmaline is an energy heavyweight and powerful in its ability to keep you grounded. You could say it likes to keep it real. Physical reality that is. An essential part of any crystal collection, black tourmaline works to protect your personal boundaries and ward off negative energy.

We hope you beginners loved learning about crystals! Are you excited to start your collection and see where your crystals guide you? A great guide for beginners can be found by Yulia Van Doren in her book 'Crystals - The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing' and anything written by Judy Hall. 

If you're a seasoned crystal collector, what are your favourite stones. We'd love to hear about your journey. Thanks for reading!

Abby and Lesley,
Breathing Inspiration and Swell Made Co.

  Essential crystals for the beginner collection. Citrine, clear quartz, amethyst and rose quartz. And don't forget black tourmaline.

Essential crystals for the beginner collection. Citrine, clear quartz, amethyst and rose quartz. And don't forget black tourmaline.


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5 Ways to Live a Simpler Life

Inspiration, Tips, How ToLesley Pocklington2 Comments
  5 way to live a simpler life by Swell Made Co. Photo by Sarah Dorweiler.

5 way to live a simpler life by Swell Made Co. Photo by Sarah Dorweiler.

Life is complicated. It just is. But it can be less so with small, but significant changes. Living a simpler life (or minimal) is not about deprivation, it's actually the contrary. It's about being intentional and making room for the important things in life. Here are some ways you can embrace simplicity too. If you're like me, it may be a slow and steady process with the challenges of family, careers and relationships. Even an ongoing one, but once it becomes habit you'll see a huge changes in your life. Because it's the little things that have a big impact.


“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris

1. Declutter

The first way (and one of the hardest ways) to embrace simplicity is to declutter. In all aspects of your life. Physically (stuff, stuff, stuff) and emotionally (yup, that baggage). For the last 15 years, I have been practicing minimalism in a way that works for me. It's truly different for everyone. No, I don't have stark white home. Yes, I still struggle with having "stuff" because I have a family of 4; but I am intentional and thoughtful about what comes into my home and have mastered lettings go of things that serve no purpose or bring no joy. I haven't read any best-selling books about it (although, I'm sure they're great). I just put it into practice whenever I can. Moving many times and living in efficient spaces (small) will force you to really consider what's worth having around. Take it one step at a time until it becomes second nature.

Start with one room and work toward the whole house. When buying things, ask yourself if you really need something. Think about how your choices influence your own peace of mind, but also the greater world around you (ethically and environmentally). Less is more. Quality over quantity. All of those things are true. Having less stuff makes space for gratitude and focus.

Once you practice decluttering in a physical capacity, you can apply that same mindset to your emotional space. This one is much harder for me. Letting go of old habits and relationships that are toxic to your well-being requires a lot more strength than letting go of physical things. Often because this type of clutter has been taking up space for far too long. So long, that it clouds judgement and the respect you have for yourself. It's okay. The same concept applies. If anything (including things) evokes negative emotions or makes you cringe, let that shit go. You'll thank yourself. Good vibes only, right?

2. Get Outside + Move

Get outside! It's one of the simplest way to disconnect from the complications of life and reconnect with nature. Being in nature has been proven to provide benefits for our physical and mental health. From the physical activity involved to the clarity and focus it provides for your mind. Trees and fresh air have the power to bring a sense of comfort and calm and restore our energy in the simplest way.

Once it becomes habit, you'll crave being outside to just be. To breath and to listen to nature (and yourself). There is so much beauty in our own backyards, we just need to seize the opportunities to enjoy it. You can walk, run, meditate or do yoga. Do nothing or anything, but try it outside. Find the things that move your body and heart and stay with them. It might be a struggle at first, but pushing through to see the benefits is well worth it. 


"Simplicity makes room for the important things in life. It's up to you to determine what's truly important. Then, let the rest go."
- Lesley Pocklington

3. Eat Well

Another simple way to be kind to yourself is to fuel your body by eating well. It doesn't have to be complicated. Some of the most delicious meals have only 5 ingredients. There are tons of cookbooks and blogs out there that tackle this fresh and simple approach. Keep it simple when it comes to nutrition and eat what truly makes you feel incredible. French fries make me feel incredible for about 5 minutes, it's true; but filling my body with nourishing food most of the time is a habit I just can't give up. 

4. invest in real life

This is another one that's hard for me. When I moved from a big city to a smaller one, I had a bit of an identity crisis and loads of FOMO (fear of missing out). Once I realized that simple human connections were far more important to me than visiting the next Instagram worthy restaurant (spoiler alert - the food is never as delicious as the cool wallpaper), all was well in the world. As much as I like to visit new places, I'd rather keep it simple and have an honest and real conversation with a pal over coffee or wine. It's that simple! Trust me, your heart and mind will be far more grateful for genuine experiences. 

It's so easy to get caught up in the world of social media when you view life from an unrealistic lens. Step back and see what's real and truly important to you and invest your energy there instead.


"Out of clutter find simplicity."
- Albert Einstein

5. Slow down

Being busy all the time is overrated. We all know that, but somehow (like social media) it's easy to get caught up and pack your days full of appointments and activities. Even multitasking (which I used to be the "queen" of) has been proven to be ineffective and bad for your mental health. It's not an intentional or enjoyable way to live. So, slooow down and give yourself and your mind some space. Savour the moments and simple things that make life good.

That's why I love stationery so much. The slow, intentional act of writing a note is so rare and special these days. If you feel good about sending a note, just think about how the person on the other end feels. Just as good, I bet! 

Whatever brings you joy, you should do more of that instead. If you're feeling over committed, it's okay to simply say "no". In short, practicing simplicity is to not do anything, own anything or be around anyone that you don’t love. If it makes you feel bad (or not good) it has no place in your mind or life. Once you practice this kind of kindness towards yourself, it will flow into everything else. It's a process and a journey, but so worth it. Thanks for reading!

Swell Made Co. was created out a desire to simplify, but enhance my own life back in 2014. Since then, I have made a commitment to slowing down and making sure intentional choices flow into my business and personal life. Have you found ways to simplify your life? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to share in the comments or get in touch!


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How To | Style Your Shelves

How To, DecorLesley Pocklington1 Comment
  How To | Style Your Shelves by Holly Young and Swell Made Co.

How To | Style Your Shelves by Holly Young and Swell Made Co.

Styling shelves can be a daunting task to get just right. I know. In my living room I have some beautiful, classic built-ins (I live in a century home); but styling them has always been a challenge. Thankfully, my friend Holly was up to the challenge! Holly Young is an Ontario based artist with a love for home décor and anything mid-century modern. Trained in fine art and interior design, Holly's home has been featured on Apartment Therapy and her work was recently featured on Little Green Notebook. We have a lot in common when it comes to home style, but Holly has a way of making it come together effortlessly. She's going to take it from here with her tips on how to style your shelves. Enjoy!


5 Tips for Styling Your Shelves by Holly Young

When Lesley asked me to share a few shelf styling tips with you I was on board. We have built-ins in our living room and they really pull the entire space together. You may require help from a friend or expert, but when you get it right you will just know. I kept ours the same for three years! That is an eternity in the world of design. If you don’t do anything too trendy, they will look great until you decide to change them again.

1. Declutter

One of the simplest ways to freshen up your shelves is to declutter. Go through your items and edit, keeping only things that are meaningful and complementary to your style. Switching things up from room to room is an inexpensive way to get a new look without breaking the bank. I was able to see the potential from all of Lesley’s accessories and collectibles as soon as I entered her home.

2. Group Things

Re-arranging items and grouping similar pieces together will make all the difference. The hardest part is finding the time to take everything off of the shelves and dusting it. Lesley’s aesthetic is modern and classic. Lots of neutrals mixed her favourite graphic combo of black and white. Most of the colourful accents used here are sentimental souvenirs and travel photos. A few family portraits are mixed in and add just the right amount of personality. 

Grouping items in threes is so simple and effective. I did this with Lesley's vases and other items. Varying the height of pottery, plants and photos helps your eye travel around and not focus on one element. Movement gives a sense of flow and balance. 

3. ADD GREENERY

My favourite décor item is a plant. Thankfully, Lesley had so many beautiful pots and plants to choose from. The more variety you have in your pots and plants, the better. Variation of size, shape, colour and height of plants will add visual interest. Plus, plants are a healthy choice for your home. They help you feel at peace and they purify the air in your space. 

   Style tip  - Add a variety of greenery and fun pots to your shelves. 

Style tip - Add a variety of greenery and fun pots to your shelves. 

4. LOOK WELL READ

Before I started styling Lesley's shelves I asked her if she had more books. The bottom cupboards were filled with them. They just needed a place to shine. I chose a few that had a similar colour palette and took off the book jackets to reveal the typography and colours.

When you are placing your books, mix it up. Stack three on one shelf and stand a few on another. This will add height so everything is not linear. Mix it up with horizontal and vertical groupings. Use things in different ways. Instead of having the woven bowl Lesley bought in Panama stand up, I simply put it on a low shelf (on top of books) so the pattern could be seen at eye level. I also moved a little black chair and made it a book end. 

5. GIVE IT TIME

If you have just moved into your home it may take you a few months to collect and curate items to use when styling your shelves. I am a big fan of mixing vintage finds with store bought accessories. Some of my favourite things in my home cost only a few dollars at a secondhand shop. As you are drawn to and collect items, you'll see what your true style is.

I used almost everything Lesley had in her shelves. I added more greenery, books and switched up some white pottery with darker tones so they would pop against the white back drop. They were simple, but impactful changes that complemented Lesley's style and highlighted meaningful pieces in her home. Happy styling!

Holly Young

   Style tip  - Add groupings of books. Mix it up with vertical and horizontal groupings. 

Style tip - Add groupings of books. Mix it up with vertical and horizontal groupings. 

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How To | Freshen Up Your Home for Spring

How To, Giveaway, Decor, TipsLesley Pocklington2 Comments
  Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh | Freshen up Your Home for Spring GIVEAWAY.

Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh | Freshen up Your Home for Spring GIVEAWAY.

Spring has sprung! Or, has it where you are? Here in Ontario, Canada, it's still a bit too cold to feel like spring, but warmer temperatures are on the way. It's never too early to freshen up your home for the spring after a long winter. Say so long to flu season and winter mittens, and hello to more time in the sun and the breeze from open windows. 

We've partnered up with our friends, Lovefresh, to give you 5 easy tips on how to do just that. Freshening up your home for spring just feels so good. Plus, we have a fun giveaway to help one lucky person get ready for spring. Keep reading for tips and giveaway details below. 

  Spring cleaning the green way with Lovefresh.

Spring cleaning the green way with Lovefresh.

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home for Spring

  1. Lighten Up
    The first way to get ready for spring is to lighten up! Truly. Put away wintery decor items and heavier linens and swap with bright and lighter items. Just like you would with your wardrobe (buh-bye winter gear), opt for things that will feel fresh and keep you cool in the warmer months ahead including bed linens, throws and even towels (like lightweight Turkish towels). Feels better already, right?
     
  2. Add Greenery
    Whenever I see bunches of tulips outside neighbourhood shops, I know it's spring and can't resist taking a bunch home. Springtime is all about new growth and greenery. Bring the outdoors in and add plants and flowers to your spaces. They help clear the air and your mind. A little greenery does wonders to make your home feel springy. Plus, with longer daylight hours, more humidity and warmer temperatures; your plants will thrive. You don't need to be a green thumb to care for simple house plants such as succulents, cacti and low light plants like monstera, ferns and snake plants. 
     
  3. Declutter
    Feel lighter by simply decluttering your home. It will bring peace of mind too. Get rid of (or put away) any items that are taking up space and aren't serving a purpose. As mentioned in our past post about Wabi Sabi, clear the clutter and curate items in your home. Get rid of the items that impede you from enjoying your spaces. Less is more. 
     
  4. Add New Throws Pillows or Paint
    The quickest and most cost effective way to overhaul your home decor is to add new (or swap out) throw pillows. New colours, patterns, textures and fabrics will instantly change the look of your space. It's a fun way to try something new in your space without a big commitment. For tips on how to style throw pillows, read more about that here. Swell Made Co. has some sweet options for your spaces. 

    If you want to go a step further and are feeling ambitious, give your space a new coat of paint. Whether it's the whole room, or a feature wall. Nothing changes a space so dramatically (and quickly) as a new paint colour.
     
  5. Clean Green
    The urge to do some spring cleaning is real. After all those winter months spent indoors, give your house a good clean the green way. Using products like Lovefresh's line of green cleaners helps maintain a healthy home and do good for the planet too. Lovefresh's line cleaning products is all natural, non-toxic and scented with the loveliest essential oils.  And they're made in Canada. 
  Throw pillow covers by Swell Made Co.

Throw pillow covers by Swell Made Co.

Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh Giveaway - NOW CLOSED!

Now that you're inspired to freshen up your space for spring, we're delighted to offer this giveaway with our friends from Lovefresh, a fellow Canadian brand that brings you natural and sustainable goods for the home and body. 

What You'll WIN:

  • An art print of your choice from Swell Made Co. - Value $24-32
  • A throw pillow cover of your choice from Swell Made Co. - Value $48-52
  • Marble and Granite Cleaner by Lovefresh - Value $15
  • All Purpose Cleaner by Lovefresh - Value $15
  • Glass/Mirror/Stainless Steel Cleaner by Lovefresh - Value $15

How To Enter
One entry per person. Open to Canadian and USA participants only. Giveaway closes at midnight EST on April 17, 2018. A winner will be drawn at random on April 18, 2018. Good luck and happy spring from Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh!

  Cleaning products for a healthy home from Lovefresh.

Cleaning products for a healthy home from Lovefresh.


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How To | Make Your Candles Last

Decor, How To, Gifts, TipsLesley PocklingtonComment
  How to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co. 5 Ways.

How to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co. 5 Ways.

I love burning candles all year round, but when the temperatures drop it's a necessity. Snuggle up and create a cozy (hygge) vibe with your candles this fall and winter; but not without reading these simple tips. Here are 5 ways to make your candles last so you can get lit and prolong the burn.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CANDLES LAST


  1. Take the First Time Slow
    Take things slow the first time. To maintain a clean burn with your candles, the first burn is the most important. For your inaugural burn, DO NOT blow the candle out until the wax pool covers the entire surface of your candle, or reaches the outer edge of the candle. This will ensure your candle will melt layer after layer and prevent tunneling. As a guide, a candle should burn an hour for every inch in diameter. Let the candle wax set after it is extinguished.

  2. Keep it Trimmed
    For a slow and even burn, keep your candle clean and trim the wick at about 1/4 inch before each use. Long wicks will cause the candle to burn too quickly. Plus, they can create smoking and soot which will inevitably kill the calm mood. Use a clever little wick trimmer like this one. Scissors will do as well.

  3. Avoid Drafts
    When burning your candle, avoid drafts. Drafts will cause your candle to flicker and cause erratic or uneven wax burning. It's best to keep things minimally breezy to make your candle last, but also to maintain a zen vibe. Not to mention, drafts can be a hazard as well. Always burn candles safely.

  4. Store Candles Properly
    Store candles away from heat and light when not in use. This helps prevent warping and discoloration (if tinted). Particularly if they're long tapered candles. Lay those flat when not in use.

  5. Keep a Lid On It
    If your candle has a lid, like this one, keep it on while your candle is not in use (after it's set). This will keep dust and other stuff (yuck) out of the wax to ensure a clean burn the next round. If you don't have a lid, gently wipe your candle with a with damp cloth if dust has collected between use.

Finally, when your candle has a 1/2 inch of wax left, it's time to say goodbye. It's sad, but with all these tips, your candles will indeed last longer.

That's it! I bet you didn't know there was so much to making a candle last. Neither did I, until I made the tunneling mistake a few times too many. Enjoy your candles and thanks for reading!

If you want to grab the candles shown here, view our collection of signature scents. Dreamed by Swell Made Co. and hand poured by our friends, Wax & Fire Co.

  Keeping your candle wicks trimmed will help them last longer. Grapefruit, Bergamot and Rose Candle.

Keeping your candle wicks trimmed will help them last longer. Grapefruit, Bergamot and Rose Candle.

  Lavender Mint and Winter Spruce Eco Soy Wax Candle. Dreamed by Swell Made Co. and poured by Wax and Fire Co.

Lavender Mint and Winter Spruce Eco Soy Wax Candle. Dreamed by Swell Made Co. and poured by Wax and Fire Co.

  5 Ways to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co.

5 Ways to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co.

How To | Style Throw Pillows

How To, Decor, TipsLesley PocklingtonComment
  How Sweet It Is Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. |  $48

How Sweet It Is Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. | $48

I'll admit, I have a bit of a throw pillow problem. I love, love throw (or accent) pillows for any room. In an instant you can change the feel of a space with a quick change of accent pillows. They add texture, colour, pattern and comfort with minimal effort. Here are some tips on how to arrange your throw pillows with ease. From bedrooms to living rooms and outdoor spaces, follow these 5 simple steps and you'll be a pro.

5 Tips for Styling Throw Pillows


  1. AVOID BEING TOO MATCHY
    When choosing throw pillows for your spaces, the first thing to keep in mind is DON'T match the sofa or bedding. YES, to complementing your pieces and fabrics (see below), but NO need to be too matchy. Do you have a grey sofa? That's a great neutral to work with, but avoid using grey pillows. Grey + grey = yawn. That takes us to the next tip.
     
  2. CHOOSE PILLOWS THAT COMPLEMENT
    Whether your pieces are neutral or vibrant, choose accent pillows that complement your space. Use them as a way to pull a room's look together. In a neutral room, throw pillows are a great way to add a pop of colour or pattern. In a vibrant or very modern room, throw pillows can soften the look with neutral colours and textures.

    Do you have a piece of artwork with a hint or yellow? Don't be afraid to complement it with a yellow accent pillow in your "pillowscape". If you have a colour scheme in mind, choose pillows that complement that palette without going overboard.
     
  3. USE ODD NUMBERS
    A go-to design "rule" is to use odd numbers. The same goes for throw pillows. Use odd numbers in your spaces. Depending on your pieces, 3 pillows are better than 2 on a couch. 1 accent pillow is better than 2 on a bed. And, so on. Remember, less is more. If you have too many pieces, edit and take away to achieve a more natural, lived-in and effortless look with odd numbers. 
     
  4. MIX THINGS UP
    This is the most important and FUN tip. Don't be afraid to mix the colour, texture and patterns of your throw pillows. Create interest, depth and delight with a variety of accent pillows in your "pillowscape". Solid colours paired with different patterns and textures are a great way to show your style and personality in a space. Don't forget the simplicity and beauty of pillows with type like our new How Sweet It Is throw pillow (seen above), or the collection of accent pillows from Dayna Lee.

    This also applies to pillow size and shape. Throw pillows can have complementary shapes and sizes and still work well together. Fun accent pillows shaped as animals and letters are perfect for nurseries/kids rooms. My favourites are from Sun + Stars with sweet moons, trees and dinosaurs. I also love the nordic style knotted pillows from Juju & Jake. They're versatile and make a statement on their own. See both below.
     
  5. LEAVE ROOM FOR REAL LIFE
    Going back to the principle that less is more, be sure to leave room for real living. Your spaces should be inviting and ready to enjoy. Avoid filling your sofa, beds and seating areas with so many throw pillows you can't sit down. If it looks like too much, it probably is. Feel free to edit and avoid having your pillows literally "thrown" on the floor! Gasp. I'm guilty of this.

    Use bolsters for arm chairs which allow people to sit in comfort. Use one accent pillow on a bed as a focal point with complementary pillow shams (instead of more throw pillows). If you have multiple pillows on a couch, layer them to save space.

  How Sweet It Is Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. |  $48

How Sweet It Is Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. | $48

You really don't need as many throw pillows as you'd like to have. I know, I know. Buy quality over quantity just like you would with clothing or shoes. You can always have a collection of classic and timeless accent pillows, and accent those with new patterns and textures to change things up if you like!

Here are a few more quick tips to keep in mind:

SIZE UP
When buying inserts for your throw pillow covers, size up to achieve a full look (no sagging). For example, if your pillow is 18" x 18", get an insert that is 20" x 20". Don't worry, it will fit.

RE-PURPOSE OLD PILLOWS
New inserts are easy to find at home decor stores and big box stores like IKEA. Better yet, if you have an old throw pillow or one of those matchy pillows that came with the couch that's the right size, re-use it and stuff it in your new pillow cover. It will save you time and money, plus it's wise to re-use.

That’s it! Five easy steps to styling pillows. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

  Bonne Nuit Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. |  $48

Bonne Nuit Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. | $48

How To | Create a Gallery Wall

Decor, How To, TipsLesley PocklingtonComment
swellmadeco-gallerywall-howto.jpg

Nothing is more welcoming than walking into a space with a great gallery wall. It pulls a room together by nodding to the design elements of the space by pulling a theme or colour scheme together. Plus, a gallery wall undeniably makes a statement. A personal statement of style. 

We've partnered up with Julie Taylor, Interior Decorator & Style Maker, to guide you through the elusive (but oh-so simple) task of creating a winning gallery wall. Julie creates welcoming, thoughtful and stylish residential spaces. She combines her love of interior design, with a background in fine art to bring an innate sense of balance and harmony into her work.

Let's get that gallery on the wall!


Trust us, it's not as difficult as you might think. Just follow these tips. First, here's what you'll need.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • Your collection of framed artwork and objects.
  • A roll of kraft paper
  • Scissors
  • Washi or painter's tape
  • Hammer
  • Hardware for hanging artwork. May vary depending on the size and weight of your pieces.
  • Level 
swellmadeco-gallerywall-howto-2.jpg
swellmadeco-gallerywall-howto-4.jpg
swellmadeco-gallerywall-howto-3.jpg
  Gallery wall styling by Julie Taylor Interiors. Photography by Swell Made Co.

Gallery wall styling by Julie Taylor Interiors. Photography by Swell Made Co.

HOW TO CREATE A GALLERY WALL

  1. MIX IT UP OR STAY THE SAME
    The first step is probably the hardest step. Choosing what you want to display on your gallery wall. In a previous post, Becky Freeman and I talked about How To Curate Art with Heart which helps you choose meaningful pieces for your space. There are still some things to consider before creating a gallery wall. 

    When choosing your pieces consider size (various or the same), the style of frame (various for more eclectic, or the same for a more cohesive look) and the number of pieces. It's nice to have an odd number of pieces, but if an even number happens to flow, that's okay.

    Vary the style of works for a more dynamic look. Realism and abstract. Geometric and soft organic shapes. There should be a common element tying them together (colour is easiest, as mentioned below). Too many similar pieces will create competition. Variation allows each piece to shine.

    One final thing to consider is the theme or colour scheme of the pieces. Try to tie in one element for consistency. Is there a consistent colour throughout? Maybe a consistent theme of beaches you love. Colours and themes will easily help create a cohesive gallery wall, but it's not necessary. When in doubt - keep it simple. It's a balancing act, but it will work in the end.
     
  2. ARRANGE ARTWORK ON THE FLOOR
    Once you've curated and framed your artwork, it's time to develop a composition for your gallery wall. Clear a space on the floor that equals the space on the wall (not too big, not too small) and start piecing together a layout.

    Again, you have a choice to mix it up and create a more random look. Or, you can space things out equally to create a grid which works well when the frames are the same size/style. 

    Anchor your favourite or largest piece in the centre, and gradually work in other pieces around it/them. Keep a few inches between the pieces as you hang them, and try to keep that consistent throughout.

    Play with it until it feels right. It's all about creating a sense of balance. Don't stress! Just follow some simple guidelines, your intuition and some inspiration. There are no real guidelines or rules when creating a gallery wall.

    Handy Tip: Photograph the arrangement while it's on the floor to give a different perspective during the process. Plus, you'll remember where everything goes!
     
  3. MOCK IT UP ON THE WALL
    It's time to start working on the wall. Consider the gallery's proximity to the ceiling, furniture, other walls and objects (not too close!). Also consider where the focal point will be. 

    Once your layout/composition feels right, cut out pieces of kraft paper to match the size of your pieces. A roll of kraft paper is perfect since you'll likely need a lot. Now, you can use washi or painter's tape to adhere them to the wall. Mimic the composition you created on the floor and feel free to move things around until it looks right. Don't forget to step back every now and then.
     
  4. HAMMER AND HANG
    Finally, it's time to commit your pieces to the wall with hammer and hardware. Using your pieces of artwork as a guide for where to hang is the most accurate way. Place the artwork over it's matching piece of kraft paper to see where the hardware will sit. Use your hand or a pen to mark on the paper. Hammer your hardware in place of your mark and simply remove the kraft paper and tape from the wall. Hang your piece! Keep doing this until the gallery wall in complete. If you need to adjust slightly during this process, it's okay.
     
  5. ENJOY!
    Take a final step back, breathe, and enjoy your gallery wall. Feel free to add or take away pieces as time goes on, keeping the artwork relevant to your life. Have fun and enjoy!

For some inspiration, here is a round-up of our favourite gallery walls on Pinterest. Click on the images for links.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your gallery wall.
Lesley, Swell Made Co. + Julie, Julie Taylor Interiors

How To | Curate Art with Heart

DIY, Decor, How To, Inspiration, TipsLesley PocklingtonComment
curate.jpg

A gallery wall is the perfect way to proudly display your story, and your style. Don't just hang anything though. Curate a collection of art with heart. Collect things that are meaningful, and you'll never grow tired of your gallery wall. It will be a conversation piece and a comforting mantle in your home

Swell Made Co. has partnered up with Becky Freeman, Interior Designer & Stylist, to guide you through curating an art collection. Becky knows how and where to find the perfect elements for any project. With a decade of professional interior design experience (including Gluckstein Design), Becky has refined the process of creating a successful space.

The first of our collaborative posts, we're excited to share these tips. Next, we'll share How To Create a Gallery Wall. Read on for simple, but thoughtful things to keep in mind while curating your own personal gallery wall or art collection.


   Days in Paris  by Jessica Cardelucci

Days in Paris by Jessica Cardelucci

1 - PERSONAL PHOTOS

An easy choice to make things personal is to crop and enlarge your favourite photos. They can be photos of your family (old or new) or from your travels and favourite places. Perhaps, you've dabbled with photography and you have some abstract pieces to showcase.

Art photography is available for purchase as well. Just check out minted.com for pieces like the one above. Paris anyone?

Creating a grid based gallery wall with simple Instagram photos is an easy way to create a meaningful collection. You can print a batch of photos quickly and reasonably using an app like Parabo Press.


   OUI OUI  by Swell Made Co.

OUI OUI by Swell Made Co.

2 - THE PRINTED WORD

Do you have a favourite song, book, quote, or poem? Frame the printed word. Letters are beautiful in the form of actual pages from a book, or typographical artwork featuring your lyrics or quotes.

Swell Made Co. is a great example of typographic artwork that elevates meaningful (and witty) words. Choose what "speaks" to you. Keeping with a subtle French theme for this example, we chose OUI OUI by Swell Made Co.


3 - UNEXPECTED THINGS

Your collection can have some unexpected dimensional elements as well. Perhaps a hat, a souvenir or something sculptural like the ones seen above by Umbra.

Depending on what it is, you can either hang it directly on the wall or frame it. Make the mundane extraordinary, simply by framing it. Do you have a sentimental plate or record? Frame it! Do you have a collection of shells from your family beach vacation? Mount a few in a simple grid layout and frame them. 

Unexpected things can also introduce colour or texture. Does your decor call for a pop of neon, sleek gold or natural wood? Go for it.


   Jon I Lit  by Almar Alfredsson

Jon I Lit by Almar Alfredsson

4 - FROM YOUR TRAVELS

Memories transport us back to places we have travelled. Keep those moments close with photos and unexpected things as mentioned in tips 1 and 3. This can also come in the form of original artwork from exotic or local places.

Been too many place to count? Frame a beautiful map to remind you of places you've been or lived over the years.

It's fun to pick up small pieces of artwork when visiting a new country. Large pieces are great too, but small pieces pack easily. More importantly, they are easier to integrate into an existing gallery wall or collection. Just like the medallion above, Jon I Lit from Iceland. 


   Rhythm  by Kelly Ventura

Rhythm by Kelly Ventura

5 - ORIGINAL ARTWORK

Original artwork by artists you admire, talented friends, or your own children is lovely to work into a space. Maybe you have some of your own. 

Keep it simple and basic. It doesn't have to be a renaissance masterpiece. Simple line drawings and abstract colour studies are perfect. Framing will only elevate these pieces. The beautiful artwork seen above can be purchased and framed at minted.com.


6 - FILL IN THE GAPS

Finally, fill in the gaps. If you're incorporating a theme (Feminine French) or colour scheme (Pink Hues), this is the perfect opportunity to round out the collection. Don't go overboard with themes and colours though - keep it simple.

Perhaps you have a lot of dark pieces. Lighten it up with something with a softer tone, or an object with a delicate structure. If you're seeing a consistent hue in your collection, add something subtle in that same or complementary hue. 

Now that you've collected your artwork the next step is to choose frames. I have a great guide on how to frame artwork, right here! Next, we'll be posting How To Create a Gallery Wall. Watch soon for great tips so you can get your collection on the wall. 

Enjoy and good luck curating your collection!
Lesley, Swell Made Co. + Becky, Interior Designer & Stylist