Farm Animals, Tween Decor & Our Organic Journey

caramel the cow

caramel the cow                  photo credit: Hayley Hamblin

Here’s my latest cute animal illustration 🙂

If you recall, the last one was chickens. Lately I have been obsessed with farm animals. My retirement dream (and lucky for me, hubby likes the idea too) is to buy some property out in the middle of nowhere…a small, sustainable farm with a big vegetable and herb garden, some free range chickens and goats too, of course. That means homegrown, organic food for us, daily exercise and staying active into our senior years, AND I can get my animal fix. I have a friend with some backyard fancy chickens who are great egg producers (and guaranteed organic!), and I am insanely jealous of her. This same friend took this picture of an adorable cow named Caramel on one of their family day trips. It was such a cute photo, I had to illustrate it.

Disclaimer: if you are my Facebook friend and you post a cute animal photo that you have personally taken, it is fair game for me to paint.  Bonus: I will send you a free print!

handmade felt pink & black bird mobile

handmade felt pink & black bird mobile


Recently I have been focusing my attention on decor for childrens’ and tweens’ rooms, and who would be better to try my designs out on but my own 11 year old daughter? I recently made this mobile to match her room, which is decorated with a very graphic black, white and pink floral pattern with bird accents.



curtain wall designed to hide and block interior windows

curtain wall designed to block interior windows

The bedspread is from Target, and the curtains are actually the coordinating cotton shower curtain. This product line was on deep discount, and the curtains were sold out already. So I bought two shower curtains instead, cut them in half and hung them with bright white curtains from a previous room on a double curtain rod from IKEA (also on sale!). They block out a strange interior window that looks out to the hallway. We think our river house used to be a business, possibly an attorneys’ office, hence these very office-like windows in the middle of the house. The white chair, a birthday gift for my daughter, is also from IKEA (can you tell I like IKEA?), and it is actually an outdoor patio chair. I figure that means it is practically indestructible.

bedroom corner view with mobile

bedroom corner view with mobile

We painted the walls a charcoal gray and the trim and molding are bright white. To make the mobile, I used white, black and pink felt for the birds, some white yarn, black spray paint and a tree branch that I found in the yard. The hanging hardware is a simple S hook at the end of long pieces of yarn attached to the branch in three places, enabling it to hang level. Easy peasy. And she loves it.


focus wall in little girls' room

focus wall

Here is a photo of the bedspread and accent wall the mobile was designed to match. There is a large cork board where she displays photos of her family and friends, report cards, rehearsal schedules or anything she wants. In the middle is a canvas that I painted with the letter A, her first initial. And on the right are some special matted and framed photos. She is making monthly calendars to post on the cork board so she can record her daily homework next year. She’s organized like her mommy!

handmade felt decorative pillow

handmade felt decorative pillow

Here’s another little creation of mine I like to call a “soft sculpture” that would look great in a kids’ room, maybe displayed on a floating wall shelf or as a throw pillow. He is a quirky, colorful, happy little Picasso triggerfish. I see a matching mobile with lots of tiny little triggerfishies floating in a corner of the room. I can create something to match any decor.


Update on our organic journey…

organic yumminess!

After weeks of research, I have discovered that the organic produce deliveries we get each week are the least expensive way to get organic food, so I increased our account to a large box weekly. This also gives us a bigger variety of fruits and veggies, yum! Then I can avoid having to supplement with the organic produce at Publix, which is often very expensive. I must say that Publix is stepping up the game on the organic food! Each week I go, I find more and more organic options. A few weeks ago they started carrying organic chocolate ice cream, and my family is super excited about that! They went through an ice cream withdrawal for a while there.

And besides our food, I rid the house of all things toxic…no more plastics, no Tupperware, Ziploc bags, water bottles, cups, plates, bowls, no more bad cosmetics, soap, hair products, deodorant, shampoo, nail polish, bug spray, sunscreen or household cleaning products. It has all been replaced with organic options. Success!! But I am not a complete nazi. We still eat the occasional McDonald’s on the road or order a pizza on a Friday night (Pizza Fusion in downtown Tampa needs to start delivering!), but I feel better knowing that I am greatly limiting our exposure to toxins. (Update: After the recent revelations of Chef Jamie Oliver and what McDonald’s does to their meat with “pink slime“, no more fast food! Ugh, it just gets worse!). Pediatricians have measured extremely high levels of toxic substances in the tissues of Tampa children, and that scares me to death.

Also, maybe one day the major food producers who pollute our environment and harm the people and creatures of earth with their pesticides, hormones and GMOs will be driven out of business or forced to change their ways. And small family farms and access to fresh, organic food for everyone will come back. I hold out hope for that.

5 thoughts on “Farm Animals, Tween Decor & Our Organic Journey

  1. Margaret Eldridge

    I’ve had that dream too! Off the grid with solar power and a well, composting toilets, giant organic garden, dogs, goats, chickens, cows. Oh and a diesel truck that runs on fry oil in case I need to get into town. Ultimate hippie dream.

    1. Lisa Post author

      EXACTLY!! Although I never really considered myself a hippie, just extremely fond of the environment 🙂 You should buy a plot next to us. We are thinking Florida or Costa Rica!

  2. Heather

    Hey all things organic woman! Need some advice. I have tried to stay organic with the kids hair. Not going so well. Went w a product called mixed chicks for Aubrey that claims to be natural and does not have some of the more harmful stuff in it. It helps manage the curl but is no miracle. My problem now is Emma. Her hair gets so ratty so quickly during the day. It also holds chlorine so much after swimming. It is like sea weed! I have been using vitamin c powder mixed w shampoo to help get it out. It does help, but she still needs something more. What do u use for Adelaide? I want something that keeps her hair soft between washings. I use shampoo and conditioner on her. If u don’t have a product you really like, do u know the name of the chemicals/ingredients u should absolutely avoid? Thanks for your help!!

    1. Lisa Post author

      Hey, you! Oh, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant are hard!! My hair is oily, and Adelaide has an oily scalp but dry-ish hair. She needs more conditioner than I do. The problem for me with organic shampoo is that it doesn’t seem to get your hair squeaky clean. We have tried Nature’s Gate, which may work for dry hair, but it leaves me feeling like I have greasy hair by the next morning. So I switched to Alba Botanica Hawaiian shampoo and conditioner and love it. There is no animal testing, artificial colors, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate or sodium methyl sulfate. Those are the bad guys. And it has natural gardenia scent which is awesome. Certified organic. If it just says “natural”, it might not be organic, which is very misleading.

      FYI, Adelaide has never had a problem with either of these shampoos, just me. So maybe it is just my oily hair! I found this shampoo in the green personal products section of my Publix.

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