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I’d like you to meet my new inspiration, Jill Gardiner. Jill is an 19 year old artist with a passion and flare for pattern and design. She walked into my studio one day to exchange a necklace I had created for her as a gift from her family.  We had set aside a time to redesign the necklace to be more to her liking.  During our visit, she asked if I could give her some advice on the wall design for her bedroom. She had already been experimenting with Wallovers stencils.

Then she pulled out a paper cutting design from her folder that made my jaw drop! She had cut and created this tiny, intricate pattern in a repeat islamic tile design… BY HAND!



I soon forgot about the jewelry project… as we spoke about Islamic art and architecture, pattern, color and textiles. What fun!  (Above are her designs soon to be Wallovers’ Stencils)

Jill found a love for art after taking a multi-media art class in high school at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut.

“I used newspaper to build a replica of a mosque and I realized I loved working with paper!”


But her real inspiration came after a civilization class with a fascinating  unit on Islamic art and architecture. Kudos to that teacher!  But all the real credit goes to Jill, who took this love into her independent senior study on the Ottoman Empire architecture. Her project focused on Turkey and the works of Sinan, one of the head architects under Suleyman I.

Jill traveled to Turkey to see the architecture which increased her passion for the style.

“I love to incorporate graphic design in my work and, because I and a perfectionist and love math,  I find repeat designs fascinating!  I used to carry around a ruler in school because I loves lines, but now I can see my work developing as I create more complex curves and repeats.” she says


If you have read  blogs about my daughter, Stephanie Davis, you will see why I think these two girls would get along!  Stephanie, also a huge lover of pattern and design, will be soon exhibiting her colorful, ethereal paintings at The Skinny Pancake  restaurant in Burlington, Vermont.


I can only imagine if I had both of them here to collaborate!

Jill is now an intern in the studio, working on new designs for Cynthia designs and Wallovers, marketing and efforts for the Canvas Peace Project.

Her paper cutting above will be translated into our newest design to be released in March….And….she did an excellent job as my assistant faux painting this very large wall for Spinning Lotus Studios using Wallovers Serenity stencil.


Unfortunately for us, Jill does need to go back to school, but we hope to share our passions for pattern as long as we possibly can. So, if you call Wallovers or Cynthia Designs and hear a new, energetic voice…say “hello” to Jill.

I cannot imagine where this passionate and talented young woman’s talents will take her, but I definitely will be watching and staying a part of it!

Oh, and I think she was happy with how her necklace came out.  Maybe we will design some jewelry together too!



In this next decorating post I want to focus on things you might not think are worthy of saving…like parts to an old piece of furniture or an old picture frame that’s a color that no longer matches your room.

Don’t get rid of it!  Architectural pieces, even if broken or uneven, can make  for an interesting decorating accessory.

This carved wood piece, once the top to a walnut sideboard, hangs over a door creating a dramatic entry.

Once the top to a dresser with a mirror in the center, this piece (with a little revamping) now acts as a beautiful frame with custom painted artwork.

Not sure what this hand carved wood was originally but I flipped for it and just hung it over the door as art. Imagine all the work that went into carving it? Most likely its original home was on a headboard or large armoire.

I probably get the most compliments over these old shutters used for cornice boards that I found in someone’s pile of trash on the street. Oh, street trash is always the best. Don’t ever drive by a pile of furniture or pieces of a house on the side of the road.  But try not to cause an accident!

I caught my builder in “mid hammer” with this piece. He did a great job building it into the door frame. I’m really not even sure what it was in its former life!

Top to an old Mirror… repainted and hung as an ornament.

Lastly, this could be its own blog post. Take an old frame, get rid of the glass, replace with cork. Paint the frame copper or gold.  Then you’ll need a creative teen or the scrapbooker in the family to make it look like this!!!

My daughter has 5 of these on her walls. Buy the squares of cork at Staples and apply to a piece of pressboard cut to the size of your frame.