Posts tagged collaboration
Cricut Design Space Star and Fan Girl Fridays

Two fun, fun, fun announcements to share with you today, friends! First off, I'm one of the lucky bloggers chosen to compete in the Cricut Design Space Star competition!!! Secondly, Fridays just got a whole lot cooler with a fresh new collaboration with my best buds: Ellen of Minnow & Co., Emily Jeffords, and Paige of Approaching Joy Creative. Welcome to Fan Girl Fridays.

The lovely people of Cricut reached out to me a few weeks ago and wanted to know if I'd like to join in the Cricut Design Space Star challenge. I'd receive a Cricut Explore machine and have a team of fellow bloggers to work alongside. A free design tool and collaboration??? I was all over that.

So, I'll be asking for your help with some clicks and votes for me and Lucky #13 team. Our first category is fashion and gear, and I'm kind of over the moon excited to show off some new projects that you can create, too! Check in next week to see what came from our theme involving... G O L D.

In the Also Awesome category, I'll be posting every Friday now! Catch projects and posts Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday (gulp!). It's been a while since I've gone four days, but there are no other people in the world I'd rather spend my blog time with than Ellen, Emily, and Paige.

Beginning as a texting convo, we were all sharing our favorite bloggers and makers and artists - the sites that got us into blogging and the projects that moved us to begin. There are some really amazing artists out there, friends, and we are going to be doing a whole lot of appreciating around here. The four of us will be posting Fan Girl on Fridays (with links to one another) to show our love for the people that inspire, that have inspired us for so long. It's time they know they have a Fan Girl or two on their hands! Join in and share your favorites.

This was a tough week in the news, but a beautiful week personally. My hubs has made our anniversary (12 years) into a wonderfully thoughtful week of celebration, and I have some REALLY exciting developments for Pars Caeli that I cannot wait to share with you!!

Until next week, have a bright weekend, friends. And know that I appreciate you.

xoxo, MJ

Raincoast Creative Salon and Sandra: 12 Blogger Christmas

Happy Saturday to you!! I have a great read for you to enjoy over a cup of coffee or tea (maybe even a great glass of wine). Today's blogger is Sandra of Raincoast Creative Salon. I first fell in love with her work when she interviewed artists in their work spaces and talked about what inspired them. She is a masterful photographer, and she's always coming up with creative collaborations and approaching new topics for her audiences. Enjoy!!

I started Raincoast Creative Salon in January 2012 because I had recently moved to Vancouver and wanted to make some friends who shared similar creative interests. It also was a commitment to making my own creative work a priority. I had spent far too many years putting my creative life on the backburner.


Two weeks later I zoomed off to the Altitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City where I knew no one! I spent a lot of time leaning against walls getting the guts up to talk to people and made some great friends. 


What keeps me blogging is those same two things. I've built a wonderful creative community (can I tell you even MORE how I love that we are no longer limited by geography for finding our kindreds???). I've spent two years learning photography, photoshop, lightroom, and illustrator. I've learned all sorts of social media and upped my writing game. It's creative - I can do whatever I want. And last month I won second place in the juried Canadian Weblog Awards in the category of arts & culture. 


I'm a food and still life photographer. Raincoast Creative Salon is the online home for what I love: creativity, creative process, art, photography and travel. I also share stories about my own creative projects.
You'll find me on Instagram where I host #foliophoto Instragram projects with Christie of Bedsidesign. In real life I host an evening Salon series in Vancouver, Canada for arty types. And last month Melanie Biehle and I launched We Are the Contributors, a community and publication for creatives.

It's hard to narrow it down to three. And looking at the three I picked, they ALL are collaborative posts in some way - I love working with others.


I'm a big fan of series and columns as you get to explore a topic in more depth and from different angles. The first "fave" is my Creative Couples series. I'm fascinated by the creative process of artists. Add in a relationship and you have interviews with couples who are creative AND making it work. It's real and there are useful insights for all of us.


My second fave is the first post in another series that the supremely talented Erin Cassidy did for me called Art One Oh One. The series is a fresh, hip take on the history of modern art and this first post is about Abstract Expressionism.


And my third fave post is the first one in ANOTHER series that I did with Jen Cooper called Talking About Creativity. In this post we bantered about jealousy and got a HUGE response. We're all dealing with it, right?


My biggest wish for my blog is that it's inspiring. First, that it'll inspire people to make creating a regular part of their lives. 


Second, that it'll inspire people to build an online and real life creative community. Even though many of us are extroverted introverts, I believe that we need a creative community to support and share and inspire.



Now that it'll be down in writing, I'd better make these things happen, eh? Seriously, though, my first wish for my blog in 2014 is that it'll be a springboard for more food and still life photography work. My second wish is that is that I'll continue to meet and get to know more creatives. And my third wish is that my blog continues to be a starting point for creative collaborations.
Be sure to add Raincoast Creative Salon to your blog reader and join in some of the new projects that Sandra has on her plate! Undoubtedly she'll be showing off some really yummy bites that she's just created as well.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Raincoast Creative Salon.


On the ninth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Frock Files.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design Improvised.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Bring Joy.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Minnow + Co.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design + Life + Kids.

On the third day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design Stitch Go.

On the second day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Trouvé Magazine.

And Lulu the Baker !



P.S. Tomorrow's Day 11 Blogger can whip up an amazing celebration! Stop back tomorrow to par-tay!

P.P.S. Today's sketch for the #30sketch project is inspired by the true words of Beth Ables, a featured artist and blogger on Trouve Magazine. If you're a creative of any type, take a quick read. You will nod in agreement with every line.


Celebrate the Normal: From afar

Happy Tuesday, dear ones. I'm coming to you from our mini-vacation, AKA: trips to both sets of grandparents. We are living the dream this week and doing nothing but celebrating a whole bunch of normal in impromptu wiffle ball games, time at the pool, family meals, and board games together.

So I couldn't leave you hanging in this of all weeks!

Huge thanks to the artists joining us! I get a big grin on my face every time I sneak over to #celebratethenormal during the week to see all the beauty you've captured. What amazing childhood moments you've framed in time!


Pure. Bath time. Awesomeness. {Creation & photo by Matt Church.} ~ Meagan

Four years ago today you were almost born at Disneyland! Ever since that day, you've made me rethink the impossible and grow in the best possible ways. Love you, Eamesy! ~ Theresa

Brookline in the summertime is one of my favorite things ever. ~ Joy

On top of the world. ~ Lidy

Caught in action ~ jenmygatt

Them: enjoying a rare treat. Us: enjoying the silence. ~ Karen


Ice cream time ~ roglows

Life is delicious ~ erin_lily

Artist at work. Medium: playdoh ~ Brittani

Weeds or flowers? Who cares! ~ Melanie

Cradled carefully to work. nothing will stop me from biting into it and having the juices roll down my face. ~ Becky

Refresh ~ M.J.

Loving all of these!! If you haven't yet joined in to Celebrate the Normal all around you, please tag your images (and if you have been a part of this community come on back next week!). I post artwork on Tuesdays every week. And please, check out the awesome blogs and Etsy shops of these generous individuals.

Let's have a bright week, friends.

Joining you tomorrow with our final Endless Summer Project! Ack, it's almost the middle of August!!

xoxo, MJ

A Key to Success

I've been at this blogging thing for 426 days or so, and I want to share with you a little something I've learned in these days.

Here it is:


Yes, there it is. The public conception of a blog might include ideas of narcissism, self-centeredness, vanity, and well, you can name the rest.

From my piece on the interweb, I can tell you that when I moved from a focus of oh-my-gosh-I-have-so-many-important-things-to-share to how-can-I-connect-with-that-amazing-person, a whole range of possibilities opened up.

I actually heard this phrase from a seminarian at my Church a number of weeks ago. As he sits, studying for exams and sometimes feeling frustrated with his workload, he looks up to see these words. I've been stewing over them for a number of days now.

Really it applies to our lives as mothers and fathers, sisters, daughters. Pretty much as human beings.

As I've read reader comments, listened through words shared on Twitter, and taken classes to hone my skills, I've become more and more passionate about getting the best information, people, ideas to share with my readers. You all have become an important group for me to consider.

So my recommendation for success? Go out there and read blogs, and make positive, meaningful comments. Retweet great ideas (that are not yours) or even better - craft your own 140 characters that reveals your insights into posts - and create your own message to promote someone else. Invite guest bloggers and be a guest blogger when asked. Pin good material and spread great work.

I think we're only going to get to the top if we push each other up.

And, in the end, if Pars Caeli gets page views, well, I'll treat myself to a Hershey's bar. (wait...

And if I don't, great individuals know a little bit more how talented they really are and great ideas are communicated a bit more broadly.

I can live happily with that.

As an aside, these connections, collaborations, and good old-fashioned promotions of awesome people have enhanced my cool factor quite substantially. At least in my head.

In that spirit, I'm DElighted to share with you two wonderful bright spots:

Endless Summer Projects began just last week with an entire 12-week experience of kid-loving crafts. Kicking it all off was organizer extraordinaire Melissa (AKA: Lulu the Baker) and her adorable Mosaic Stepping Stones project.

Endless Summer Projects continues this week over at Alexandra's blog. Please, please give yourself the treat of watching her vlog about how to host the most charming weeknight barbeque. Memorable moments include a great reinvention of the game horseshoes and recipes you do not want to overlook. Warning: you might be humming her happy soundtrack for a while after viewing. So good.


I'm hosting next week's project so be sure to come back here (or to any of my sistas pages) to join in the amusement.

Second bright spot:

My uber talented pal, Joy, from Frock Files has started something I kinda always hoped she would... Frock Photography.

You owe it to yourself to read her homepage/mission statement. So well done.

And since my friendship with Joy enables you to win, too, she's offering you all a discount!! Send her a message (or use that crisp, clean contact form) this week, and you'll save on her incredible styling and photography skills.

Thanks so much for coming back here to add to the growth of Pars Caeli. Your presence is so appreciated!

xoxo, MJ

PS. One last goodie for all y'all bloggers - We're changing our names from bloggers to publishers. Walk on over to this post to read why.


Last night was so full of blogging greatness including two wonderful meet-ups and an informative class. I love how this blog keeps me creative, and I adore all the amazing connections I've been able to make. I guess Thomas Merton summed it up pretty well for me.

Great project coming at you next week. And lots of great connections, too.

Have a bright weekend.

xoxo, MJ

Happy Fourth of July, friends! Today we celebrate the great US of A and all of the men and women who have made all this celebrating possible.

In real life, we're headed over to a friend's house for a cookout/bouncy water slide kind of afternoon, and we'll finish it off with fireflies and fireworks in the backyard. On the blog here, I've decided to throw a pool party!!

I had an in-ground pool for two years when my family lived in a wonderful, warm climate, and I have such great memories of hot afternoons under cool water. These days I don't have the luxury of a pool in my backyard but I can still throw a great party, and I have one cooking for you!!

Louise, Mo (one of my favorite Canadians), and Jess have fired up some great recipes and fashions for you to kick back and enjoy on this beautiful day. Thank you, wonderful women, for coming over and setting the place on fire with your creativity. So, have a seat on the chaise, grab a glass of Southern Belle, check out what Mo's wearing, and be sure to grab a heaping helping of that orzo salad Jess put together.

Louise is a rockstar, and she runs the hot spot blog of Laid Off Mom. She finds greatness, creates beauty, and spins around town with her little ones with ease. She's also, "out to prove to everyone that being laid off is not the end of your life…but the beginning of a better world!!"  And she has made this delectable for us...
Catch more from Louise by following her on Twitter.

Mo is hilarious. And she also makes some great jewelry. And blogs. And teaches. Full-time. Check out her goods over at Mo' Funk Designs. She's also got some lovely pool apparel for us to look cool and collected for the fourth. Thanks for bringing your stylin' to the US, Mo (and I totally want that cover-up)!
Pool Party

Catch more from Mo by following her on Twitter!

Jess is a science educator by day, and a runner, reader, dog lover, and chef on the nights and weekends. She pretty much knows everything about everything, and she's cooked up an easy, scrumptious summer salad that I'm really looking forward to making for me. Here's Jess...

It seems the dog days of summer have arrived early this year. If you’re like me, your interest in cooking has hit a yearly low. Fortunately, all the wonderful fresh produce makes it easy to create simple, flavorful dishes, like this summer orzo salad.

I particularly love anything that allows me to incorporate farmer’s market finds and fresh herbs from my garden. This week, I was lucky enough to find some beautiful grape tomatoes, and decided to feature them as the star of a simple salad. I also decided that I would use my new favorite herb – boxwood basil.
I found this guy while shopping for herbs and veggies this spring and was immediately smitten. It tastes and smells just like a sweet basil, but the cute little leaves mean that no chopping is required! Less prep time = more time enjoying summer.

I love this salad because the light dressing really allows the flavors of the tomatoes, basil, and feta to shine through. It’s wonderful both hot and cold. It’s also very versatile. Substitute fresh mozzarella, cubed, for the feta, or add chicken or tofu to make this a more substantial main dish.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.

  • 1 1/3 cup orzo
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz feta cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Juice from one lemon (not pictured)
  • ½ - 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain well. Wash and halve grape tomatoes. Wash and finely chop basil.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, combine orzo, feta, tomatoes, and basil. Add olive oil mixture and toss to combine.
Serve immediately if desired, or store, tightly covered, in refrigerator. Best enjoyed on a deck or patio with good friends and a glass of wine.

Yum. Yum. Yum! Thanks so much, Jess. To hear more about what Jess is cooking up follow her on Twitter.

And last but not least (there's always room for dessert), I wanted to bring the blueberry cobbler recipe featured yesterday on Grown-up Goodness for you all to enjoy with a jumbo portion of vanilla ice cream.
Loveliness!! I adore these kind of collaborations, and I just wish I could have these great ladies over for a real cookout (you would all get along so fabulously!!).

What's up for your Fourth? I'd love to hear.

Have an amazing Independence Day, friends. God bless America.


P.S. If you're interested in collaborating on something really fun, send me an email at'd be awesome to team up!!

I'm over here!

Happy Monday, friends! Was it a good one for you? We enjoyed a laid back Spring weekend with some friends and our backyard.

I couldn't help but celebrate just a little in my first guest blogger spot over at Approaching Joy. The post went up on Saturday, and Paige sent along a sweet gift donation to Heifer International in thanks for filling in for her (seriously? I get a gift for this, too?), and she sent along these lovely words:

You are someone who I've never met in person yet you were willing to help me out this week at a moments notice. This has proven to me that there are still amazingly cool people all around this world and, hopefully, through this "gift" others can have a bit more hope as well.

Collaboration is wonderful. Stay tuned for more! And thanks again to Paige.

I've been thinking about gifts, particularly for friends moving or transitioning to new places. I'll repost my gifting ideas here today and take you through my DIY tote tomorrow. 

What do you think? Do any of these seem just right for a friend you know on the move? Or maybe you'll be gifting one right back to yourself.

1. BE GLAD FOR THIS MOMENT TINY TEXT BOWL -  I love being surrounded (and reminded) with powerful words, and I find this thought particularly poignant for our besties transitioning and handling so many tasks and emotions. It's a super cute 3" size, perfect for jewelry or love notes, and it's $22.
2. WRAP IT AND MAP IT - This one's from Martha herself. She's so good. When you've found just the right present, why not wrap it in a map from your home city? Or the new city with a little tag noting the distance from you to her/him? No distance too far for friendship.
3. CAN'T WAIT TO PLANT MY FEET AT YOUR DOOR - Great design is everywhere, even in rubber doormats. How about a super stylish new welcome mat for your friend to put right outside? Crate and Barrel offers this one for $16.95.

4. MOBILE LOVE - If you have a little more money to invest, this metallic IPad leather sleeve is really beautiful. Dewdrop Designs sells this one for $55, and I adore the translucent leaf image!
5. THIS IS WHEN I'LL SEE YOU NEXT - Circle the date of your next girl getaway on this awesome calendar set from Monkeymindesign. In true quirky Etsy Shop style, the artists say that it is "inspired by modern fabric prints and design, this calendar is full of patterns, geometric shapes and color. Displayed all together, it will really jazz up a space." It's also automatic, stunning wall art for your pal's new pad. A total steal at $12.
6. YOU'VE LEFT YOUR MARK ON ME - I know, I know snail mail is so rare these days, but don't you love fine stationery? I'm a sucker for embossed stamps like this one. Tiny Prints offers this one with a great modern edge. This one tops the list at $69.99.

Thanks for stopping by! See you for a some pattern play in a bit...