Weed Love & What I'm Doing About it

{Queen Anne's Lace from my Dad's House}

We're headed out to Illinois to visit my dad this week.  The Midwestern summer flowers bloom just a little bit after the East Coast ones so every year I feel like I get them all summer long.  As I've mentioned before, some of my favorite flowers are wildflowers or "weeds." 

There's an empty lot accross from my Dad's house that we own and my dad has left it uncut because it's filled with wildflowers:  black-eyed susans, tiger lilies, queen anne's lace, wild chicory and lots of others whose names I do't know.  One of my favorite things to do as soon as I arrive in Antioch is to pick a ton of the flowers and put them around the house.  The cottage my dad now lives in (and has renovated from the ground up) belonged to my grandparents and I remember summer afternoons as a little girl picking flowers with my Grandma Maestranzi , who always had fresh flowers around the house. 

{I even love the grapevine that have taken over the old chain link fence...  I know how ugly "chain link fence" sounds but this thing is so old (over 60 years?) and covered in vines that you can't even see the fence itself.  It really is pretty.}   

Below is a photo of my dad from last summer picking a bunch of widlflowers for me:

Our trip to Illinois last summer was pretty rough.  My dad's dog attacked Christian (below you can see his little raw nose) and it was terrifying.   After a bunch of stitches and an emergency room trip, we just attempted to keep things low-key and tried to shake it off:

{Christian last year, age 2 helping to pick flowers}

Here's the arrangement my dad & Christian made filled with dandylions, wild clover, Queen Anne's lace, chicory, hosta & lillies:

{We used a hosta leaf to hide all of the uneven stems}

My dad thought it was very "Eddie" and I didn't want to burst his bubble.  ;)  
But I really loved it and nothing beats seeing my little guy & my dad picking flowers together. 
(This happened right before they caught the frog...)

...So... all of this brings me to a new venture I'm working on.  The idea behind the whole thing is finding beauty in the everyday...  in the uncultivated...  things from my memories that affected me...  As a child you find beauty in things like this all of the time.  It's the reason I chose a wild white clover for the Pure Style Home logo: seeing them pop up in the Spring reminds me of being little and seeing beauty in the clover.  Making little posies and bracelets and drinking in the sweet smell.  I didn't find clover in a garden and they might not have been considered to be "beautiful" but they were mine for the taking and they were beautiful to me.  ...  My memories of these everyday wildflowers/ weeds/ etc. have stayed with me and I still feel the same way about them when I come across them.  I want to celebrate them somehow...

The first one I'm working with is one of my favorites "wild chicory:"

Seeing it along roadsides makes me so happy and I their jagged petals are so interesting:

So I've decided to create a line of textiles that incorporates my love of things from my past & from my travels that still to this day touch me...  the "weeds" are just the beginning and are simply the springboards for where the designs will go.  I'm not an artist and am finding it seriously difficult but very rewarding.  For the designs I draw myself, I envision simple almost rustic woodcuts because I'm not skilled enough to do anything else and of course because I'm crazy over these types of designs.  For the more complicated designs, I'm working with a graphic artist.  Here's the first design/ drawing I did, "wild chicory:"

It'll be on a linen groundcloth repeated of course over & over and will be available in 4-5 colorways.  I'm at the very early stages of the process but wanted to share.  This all came about when I was working with Jessica over at Front Porch Studios who did my new blog layout and is also doing my business cards, letterhead, etc.  I thought it would be fun if I drew the logo for my business card that she was working on.  After I drew the logo I realized it would be perfect for my Victorian Wing Chair:  (below, think approx 12" high for each little chicory) and sent it onto another friend Dagny, who was really encouraging.  (Thanks Dagny if you're reading!!)

So my original idea was that I would just make the fabrics and wallcoverings for myself and for my clients... but then I thought maybe others would like the textiles too, so we'll see how it goes.  (I'll also partly blame Dagny who is super-sweet and encouraged me to create more designs ;)   There will be lots of different styles encompassed in the line and there won't necessarily be something for everybody, but again, my goal is for me to be personally in love with each & every one.  If I love them, then I'm comfortable attempting to sell them.  I'll keep you posted and am only at the very beginning stages, so keep your fingers crossed!!  Who knows what will come of this but I'm giving it a shot.  I'll fill you in on some more details next week.  Hope you're having a beautiful weekend!!

xoxo, Lauren

ps-  On Sunday, July 18th, Susan Fox of Love Where You Live is showing off what I consider to be the "chill zone" in my house.  Can you guess what spot that is? 

Also, thanks so those who listened to the Skirted Roundtable Interview...  If you haven't gotten the chance to listen and want to, you can check it out here.


Jacci said...

Lauren - that is SO fantastic!!! What a wonderful new way to exercise the creative mind God has blessed you with! It's fun for me, too, because your childhood memories sound very like the ones my girls are forming right now. When I scrolled down to your "chicory" block, I turned my laptop around and showed my 9 yo daughter. I asked her what she first thought of when she saw it (without telling her anything about your post). She looked at it for about 3 seconds and then matter-of-factly said, "chicory" :)

I would totally use this print in our home and it would definately strike up memories for us! I'm sure there are many other families in the states that have their own personal connection to these pretty weeds, too! :) LOVE it!


Laura Trevey said...

I love Queen Anne's Lace... it reminds me of my childhood and going to our farm in the Summer!

Happy weekend ~~
xoxo Laura

Loretta Fontaine said...


I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now. It's so lovely and you have a great writing style. I found your blog when I google-imaged "beautiful window seat" and found an old post of yours from 2009. I was riveted and had to keep reading your posts from 2009 to today!

I too, love the "weeds". My parents lawn growing up was full of white clover. (I hear that before chemical fertilizers they added white clover seed to grass seed mixes because the clover fixed nitrogen into the soil.) My own lawn today is blooming with white clover and our numerous hungry wild bunnies prefer eating the clover over the lettuce and veggies in our garden! Another reason to love it! We also have a "lucky" patch near the driveway where it's easy to find a four-leafed one!

The chicory textile design is absolutely fabulous! It's bold yet has such an elegant touch. Congrats on this new and exciting venture - I can't wait to see more designs!

Love Where You LIve, a blog celebrating design, individual style & decorating. said...

i want that chair!!!

Annie Wilcox Designs said...

Having a masters in art, and focusing so much of my attention on four growing children, I am always amazed and inspired by risk takers. Taking your art to the next level and opening your heart to the process. You will reep the rewards. Great job taking chances.

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

oh my, poor Christian! That must have been terrifying. (For him and you!)

I LOVE the wildflowers! Gorgeous!

Aimee@ the Functional Space said...

Lauren that is so exciting!! I love that you are so willing to take the leap and make things happen. I'm in awe!

Acquired Objects said...

What a wonderful post and a fabulous bunch of flowers your little guy and Dad picked. Sorry about the mishap with the dog but it still seems like you had a wonderful time out in the Midwest. Isn’t it fun revisiting our past and look what happened, something good came out of it, your own line of fabrics! I can’t wait to see, thank you for such a wonderful post, nice going back.

Stephanie Sabbe said...

that's so great Lauren! I know when reps show me fabrics, I love to hear the designer's concept behind the design. It makes it mean so much more. I know you will be successful! Good luck!

Deb said...

Love, love, love the chicory and so happy to have found your site. Beautiful design!

The Green Pea said...

Christian is a little star. Soooo
cute. sandi

Debra Phillips said...

great idea lauren with the fabric, it is fresh and new, who knew our wildflowers could be so lovely.

the sky is the limit, go soar!

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Debby said...

I have never seen Queen
Anne's Lace look so beautiful. Good luck with your new adventure.
Por Little Christian. I am sure that your Dad is devastated. I didn't see his picture but I am sure it was scary.
A little boy I used to watch was severly attacked by a dog, his dog. It was so bad,. He healed very well.
Now at 14 he only has a small scar. I hope Christian heals fast and well.

Concrete Jungle said...

Sounds like fab ideas all the best with the textiles I do think it will work for sure especially after listening to such positive results re: your drop cloth project in the baby's room!

In the Tweeds said...

Congrats Lauren! This is SO exciting! Can't wait to see all of your creations!!

Vanessa@decor happy said...

And I thought from the title, this post was just about how to manage weeds! Then you mention your new fabric line - how exciting! I know it will be a hit and look forward to hearing more about it. (I think it's time to hire an assistant Lauren!!)

Maria Killam said...

I can't wait to have some Lauren Liess Pure Style Home fabric in my house!!
You are so talented!

Dagny @ Scandinavian Chic said...

Yay, Lauren, I'm SO excited about your designs!!! And thank you so much for thanking me, but it really is all you :) :)

And you know how much I love that drawing, can't wait to see what it looks like on fabric!!! Not to mention all the other designs!!


Ness Lockyer said...

I am so happy for you Lauren. Your fabrics will be amazing!
As for the wildflowers, I am with you and have very fond memories of clover chains and wild flower posies as a child. I have been on the hunt for some Lawn Chamomille for our grass to go with the clover. It just looks so beautiful, especially in drifts.

That is so scary for Christian to be bitten. I hope that doesnt scare him away from all dogs...poor little cherub!
Happy Designing =0)
Ness xx

listsinmypocket said...

How exciting Lauren! Good for you for using your creativity to make something so meaningful. I look forward to seeing the finished product!

Barb said...

I love Queen Anne's lace. I grew up in the Grayslake area, so I'm very familiar with the "weeds" you see in Antioch. Have fun!

diane@onlinefabricstore said...

I bought my house because the "meadow" in front was full of wildflowers. If only it had stayed that way. Good luck on this venture. How nice that it brings back so many pleasant memories.
Please visit my blog for other design inspiration as well.http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/blog/

Gail Kramer said...

Hi Lauren,

I just found your blog through the Skirted Roundtable and I'm so happy I did! Like you I also love wild flowers and have fond memories of the Lilly of the Valley that grew alongside my childhood home. (My mom still lives there!)

For your design business if you haven't been to Chartreuse and Co., in Buckeystown yet, you should definitely check us out. We're a monthly barn sale full of antiques, salvage, industrial, cottage, mid-century - you name it and we probably have it!

I'll definitely add your blog to my list of favorites!


Hello Lover... said...

Love the weeds!

I'm sure your fabric will be a massive success - best of luck!

traci zeller designs said...

How fantastic, Lauren! I love wild chickory; your fabric line will be a huge hit, I'm certain!

Lindsey said...

This is such exciting news!!! You're a great inspiration for all of us young, aspiring designers out there. Congrats on all that you are doing! :)

Leah Moss said...

rockstar! i'd snap a bolt in a heartbeat you talented trailblazer. inspiring, as always :)

Gretchen said...

I have a special place in my heart for Morning Glorys.

Lauren, I am amazed that you are following thru with your dreams. I tend to get to the precipice and stop...you are inspiring me to go for it. THANK YOU! And that chair will look AWESOME with your fabric... how satisfying will that be????:) Still trying to listen to your interview (with little rugrats running around it has been hard.)

Good luck on your new venture and can't wait to see the results.


mrsben said...

Wishing you success in your new business venture. Love the pattern!
Sincerely, -Brenda-

Laura Mattal said...

So exciting to hear that you'll be designing textiles! I love the concept and can't wait to see the finished products!


Lauren, I'm so excited for you and your new project! I know it's going to be amazing, just like everything you do, and that this is just the beginning! xoxo, Ally

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pretty pink tulips said...

Lauren, how creative! Sometimes the tiniest thins can spark an idea. I love that you're running with it!!!! I know it will be a success. xo Elizabeth

kayce hughes said...

It looks like you got your fabulous lips from your father. I love the drawings for fabric. You are a natural and I can totally see some big line picking you up. I am so excited for you.

Cristin said...

First, heard your interview today on TSR... you were adorable. So down to earth. I just loved it.

Your site looks great. Jess is helping me with mine too.

Also, I think a fabric line with that pattern would be beautiful. Not sure if it makes sense, but Spoonflower does on-demand fabrics:


Liza Graves said...

LOVE your sketch for your first fabric. I'm amazed by your energy:-)

gentrifyrichmond said...

Now I definitely have to come and tour your house: you love weed and have a "chill zone." HA HA! (hope you don't mind my joke or my maturity level)

My Notting Hill said...

Love that you are going to be using your design talent for fabric design. You've identified great guiding principles for yourself too. So excited to see the results - love the first one.

Charlotta Ward said...

Lauren this is all fantastic! And may I also say that your dad is ADORABLE! How sweet to pick you those flowers, to arrange them and then show you how connected he is to you & your world by referring to Eddie! What a gorgeous person!

Poor little nose. Must have been terrifying. How is he now - did it heal ok? Whose dog was it? Is he scared of dogs now? You must have been so scared too!

I am so excited for you re your new ventures. It looks great so far and I can tell you are enjoying yourself.
Wild flowers and picking them are amongst my favourite things. The types of flowers we get in Sweden in Summer is very similar to the ones you posted here. Brought back so many memories.

xx C

Haven and Home said...

How cool is this? That is living the dream!!! I LOVE this print!

Windlost said...

Lauren, sorry I missed this post with the info about your textiles. I am seriously excited for you and think this is a perfect fit with the treehouse natural life philosophy continued into this new venture...you are really developing a brand here. You are going to be rich! Always remember the little people (I would like getting shares in your company for Christmas). Wishing you every success with this endeavour - you will ROCK it sister old man.
Loved those photos of Christian and Dad and the Eddie flowers. Too funny. I picked a lot of weeds for my Mom over the years...
: )

xo Terri

Carol said...

Hi Lauren. I check your blog daily and am never disappointed. I love your down to earth style. I am always inspired. Thanks!