The Psychedelic Desert, According to April Seelbach

One of the countless reasons I’m happy to be back home in Southern California is because of its proximity to one of my favorite natural landscapes–the desert!

I grew up exploring various deserts throughout the West with my parents. As I’ve mentioned in another post, my dad spent his youth in Saudi Arabia, dirt biking amongst the dunes and native bedouins surrounding the American oil towns there. So naturally, I spent a lot of time there as a kid. It was easiest to travel to Anza Borrego within San Diego county…and after all, SoCal is a desert. It feels like my natural habitat. So coming home to warm nights and unbearably hot days here in San Diego (that I actually can bear…I love hot weather) has been wonderful!

It’s interesting to see how the desert has become so romanticized over the years. Full disclosure, I’ve never been to Joshua Tree, but areas pretty close–but the idea of just going there has blown up (and honestly I’m pretty interested), and I’ve witnessed Instagram account after Instagram account filled with JT images or houses that people have taken up residence in. And to my friends who actually rock climb there, who scoff at the “glampers” and folks just in it for the trend, there’s a sense of ownership. The desert, whether it’s Joshua Tree or not, is a special place. It will always feel like that for me too.

So when I found April Seelbach’s account as I wandered down another rabbit hole (Instagram is a trip), it brought back that feeling. April layers digital patterns over her own photos of the desert from road trips she’s taken, and her work is decidedly retro. Her artwork reminds me of how the desert and nostalgia are somehow inherently connected (or maybe that’s just the romantic in me):

A psychedelic saguaro.

A self portrait.

Dusk? With some digital sun flare.

April also has a separate Instagram account filled with her beautiful, totally retro road trip photos here!

Thoughts on the desert?

Mary Finlayson’s Painterly Still Life Artwork

This morning–a fortuitously sunny, 60-ish degree San Francisco-kind-of-warm morning–I made my way down to Fort Mason Center for one of my favorite events in the city: West Coast Craft! I’ve probably attended each event (there are a few every year here and in other cities) since I first caught a glimpse through the warehouse windows on a late night first date with my now boyfriend (hah!). As a forever crafter and lover of art, I’m always in awe of what people are creating, and today blew my mind! A handwoven rattan furniture company run out of a garage in Oakland/studio in Indonesia, hanging macrame lighting, Memphis inspired squiggled shirts and bags, and a slew of artists with funky, illustrative style were just a few of my personal highlights. And of all of these talented folks, I think I’ve found one of my new favorite artists.

The style of Painted Mary, aka Mary Finlayson, seems so clearly inspired by painterly, Fauvist paintings, and very closely resembles Hunt Slonem’s work. Seriously, you couldn’t tell the two apart! I love his work, and I’m so smitten with Mary’s paintings that I almost bought a print, but opted to wait until she stocked her store with new prints. I hope to fill my walls with a few of her deeply saturated still life depictions of potted flora and nudes. They are simply gorgeous!





Interior Art: Paintings I’d Love to Live In

Not long ago I posted about my fascination with Hunt Slonem’s electric paintings of textiles and interiors. Looking through my art Pinboards, I realized I have a general love of interior renderings, especially of the painterly variety.

I’ve always had a thing for still life paintings and depictions of food and flowers (and particularly flowers), and lately my eye has been drawn to art most closely related to Fauvism–pieces with bold color and expression–and that depict spaces. I’ve been delighted to find that there’s a world of artists who paint interiors. Some are known for their lush floral paintings and drawings, while others just seem to be fascinated by super bright spaces. Not only are these pieces beautiful to look at, but they provide so much interior design inspiration, and I’m seriously diggin’ the homes and spaces of whatever imaginary individuals live there. Here are a few:

The bright, boho, and layered paintings of Anna Valdez:

I probably couldn’t keep a collection of plants like this alive, but I’d be in heaven if my place were covered, carpet-to-wall, in colorful patterned textiles! That macbook and rug are totally my aesthetic (hah).

The feminine florals and pastel paintings of Lulie Wallace:

I’ve followed Lulie Wallace for a while on Instagram now, and I know one day I’ll purchase one of her paintings. But it didn’t occur to me until I did my research that she has a delightful collection of interior artwork, and some where she’s incorporated the mixed media bouquets that make her work so special! This kitchen is a patterned, pastel dream and such an “artsy” little space.

The boho, flora filled renderings of Elizabeth Barnett:

Definitely one of my favorites, this gal paints the most incredible bohemian spaces, most filled with vines, fiddle leaf trees, furniture I would absolutely thrift, and textiles. Can I live in this room, please?

The quaint and colorful paintings of Becca Stadtlander:

Becca Stadtlander’s artwork is full of “everyday objects” as she mentions in her bio, including plates, fruits, detailed vases full of bouquets, and teacups. At first glance, I got a “European country cottage” vibe from her work, but it also spans landscape and animal illustration. I loved this particular rendering for the wallpapers and detailed plates.

The saturated, collage-like artwork of Jenny Wheatley:

Jenny Wheatley’s aesthetic reminded me of Becca’s, but with a collage-like twist. The objects in her work seem to be playfully thrown together, furniture, animals, view, and all–just how I like my spaces!

Which of these rooms would you love to live in?

Angela Rizza’s Whimsical and Intricate Illustrations

I found Angela Rizza’s work on Society6 after I searched “cactus” to find any photos or artwork I could add to my growing collection. This is what popped up:

I adore cactuses and love birds (as you know if you’ve read other posts here) and this print was just so beautiful and detailed I had to check out more of her stuff! And to my delight, I found this:

A HOOPOE! This is one of my favorite species, (I’ve even considered getting a hoopoe tattoo), and a bird I’ve actually felted for a small project in college. Apparently Angela is a fellow avian enthusiast, and her work is filled with bright illustrations of different species.

I love how festive her style is–it almost reminds me of Mexican folk art with its many layers and bright colors. I’m so glad I found her work and will eventually be ordering one of her prints!

An Eclectic and Artful Home in the Haight

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted BlogI met Jamai at the Storeenvy “pop-up” shop in downtown during my search for jobs and creative folks when I first moved to San Francisco. If you’ve ever wandered through the city and noticed a green T-Rex terrorizing the Golden Gate Bridge (on a t-shirt), it’s Jamai’s artwork, sold through his clothing brand Animal Instincts.

Jamai recently finished a series of gorgeous wine and coffee painted Victorian homes (seen above resting in the hallway), which I saw in person when I photographed he and his wife Meredith’s place in the Haight. The two (and pooch, Bandit!) live in their own apartment, with all of the eclecticism and Victorian style you’d expect a San Francisco home to have. Their collection of artwork (much of it his own work), mis-matched furniture, and various knick-knacks adorn every nook and cranny of this fantastic home and truly make it a cozy, personalized space.
An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

The sofa in the living room is was what I remembered most about the apartment, and its contrasting color explosion that includes a bevy of patterned and retro needlepoint cushions, a serape, and a crochet zig-zag blanket.

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted BlogJamai works out of two areas of the house: a small closet-like room in the hallway (where he keeps his merchandise for shows ) and the living room. And as home goods seem to be my obsession, I was delighted to find a few Victorian house pillows from his new series, like the one above looking quite appropriate and lovely on his vintage tufted chair

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

The eclecticism of the apartment flows into each room, including the kitchen where intricate illustrations and bright, ethereal paintings pop against its yellow walls, and a string of dainty craspedia and dried flower filled bulbs hang above the table. I didn’t realize until later, but a series of enlarged Loteria cards–a popular Mexican bingo game–hang above one doorway, no doubt belonging to Meredith, who spent time teaching English in Mexico years ago.

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

The hallway of the house is its own miniature gallery, with books and framed prints in a corner and canvases hanging along the walls. Jamai’s “office” can be found there as well, with piles of his Animal Instincts t-shirts and unfinished Victorian pillows.

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted BlogThe lavender walls of the bedroom and its subtle gray duvet and disheveled pillows make it a peaceful space. I love how its gallery wall mixes various framed pieces, including a beautiful silver mirror, handmade jewelry display (assuming it’s handmade!), and an expressionistic watercolor.

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

An Eclectic Abode in the Haight on The Tufted Blog

I’m currently redoing my own backyard, so I loved seeing Meredith and Jamai’s well kept patio and the bulb string lights hung across. The space is well kept and looks like the perfect spot for small gatherings and nice weather. It definitely tops off their apartment.

Thank you Meredith and Jamai for letting me photograph your home!

Companies That Sell Global Goods & Help Artisans

I love the push for sustainability and fair trade that’s been happening in recent years. With everyone concerned about the dangerous changes in our environment, designers and businesses are seeking to use recycled materials and locally sourced items for their creations. Similarly, society has become more conscious of poorer communities of the world, and many organizations have worked to create better and more sustainable economies for them. I wanted to share with you some companies who sell home goods from global artisans, promote their crafts, and dedicate themselves to making sure these amazing makers receive fair wages for their work:

Artisan Connect:

Artisan Connect ensures that the artists behind its products are compensated properly for their unique and handmade creations by sourcing from organizations that assist these communities. Their mission is to create a market for these talented people to sell their goods, and you’ll find all sorts of stories about different artists on their blog. Their amazing shop is filled with colorful handmade textiles, kitchenware, and home decor.

Project Bly:

Project Bly is a website dedicated to traveling and searching for the beautiful handmade work of artisans around the world. The project “curates” and sells collections from different cities like Oaxaca, Mexico and Marrakech, Morocco, donating 5% of the revenue to their respective communities. The photography and styling on this website are impeccable (I’ve feature a few images here on The Tufted), and its blog is filled with vibrant photos of food, artisans, and markets and stories written by traveling bloggers. Definitely a must-see shop and blog!


Similar to Artisan Connect, Discovered seeks to source their products through organizations that make sure their artisans are getting paid what they deserve. It sells several handcrafted items such as home goods, jewelry, and bags from different countries and encourages the use of sustainable materials. A unique feature of the site is the ability to create an account and curate your own Discovered “wishlist” of items…definitely worth looking at if you’re a Pinterest junkie!

The Embroidered Cacti of Sarah K. Benning

Cacti and succulents always stay chic. They come in endless textures and shades, are easy to care for, and instantly add life to a room. And seeing as they hail from the romanticized desert, these prickly plants have become a symbol of bohemian living and a free-spirited lifestyle.

DIYs, crochet patterns, and gorgeous cacti folk art have adorned the pages of design blogs and Etsy shops for a while now, including the work of Sarah K. Benning, whose artwork I found while digging through textile artists on Instagram. I’m not sure about you all, but if you’ve ever taken up serious embroidering, it takes FOREVER and will leave a few fingers numb.

Sarah’s adorable cacti creations are simple and sweet, but extremely detailed and show true craftsmanship. Each piece is framed by the hoop she used to create it, and her designs also include  geometric images and typography. I would love to have one of these in my bedroom or kitchen and will absolutely look into buying one as soon as her shop reopens: