Crafty DIY Projects, Breezy Summer Dresses & Encouragement to Soothe

Crafty DIY Projects, Breezy Summer Dresses & Encouragement to Soothe is ripe with potential to be on the random side, but doesn’t that authentically mirror modern life?

French courtyard with bench, pea gravel, and pink flowers - Hello Lovely Studio.

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Crafty DIY Projects, Breezy Summer Dresses & Encouragement to Soothe

No matter what cares may be distracting you at this moment, Mary Oliver has a prescription.

Mary Oliver quote on Hello Lovely Studio to encourage and uplift. #maryoliver #encouragementquote #naturequotes #poetry

Is it Time to Get Crafting?

Life this summer has been busy as we spruce up a 1950 tiny house we bought in the spring (can’t wait to get those shutters on this week!), and I welcome a four-legged personal trainer into my formerly sedentary daily life (grand-doggie Eve takes me for walks every afternoon now). My broom sweeps up lots of pet hair now which for me equals more meditative communion, contemplation and prayer.

Zen quote for mindfulness, peace, and greater awareness on Hello Lovely Studio. #zenquotes #mindfulnessquotes

While my hands have been busy schlepping and playing piano, it’s time to get them crafting too! I want to try some natural dye projects so I have saved avocado pits to do something like this:

I am thinking blush pink cotton napkins…

tie dyed tank tops…

and maybe some cozy PJs:

Lovely Dresses to Consider

Enjoying the Little Things

Are you seeking beauty in the little things?

LIVING FULLY: a list of peaceful goals and strategies for simpler, slower, Zen - Hello Lovely Studio. #livingfully #lifehacks #peacefulliving

And are they little things, or are they EVERYTHING? Here’s a delicious little thing I shared last spring:

Ideas for Summer Meals

Does your cooking change quite a bit in summer? Ours does. My favorite dinner these days is a quick and easy one. I like doctoring those per-washed, pre-assembled salad kits and find I can get creative with ease. I’ll quickly grill a thin chicken breast or stir fry steak and add to a Southwest Style or Broccoli Slaw type salad mix along with a liberal amount of baby spinach leaves and a sprinkle of garbanzo beans, nuts, and dried berries.

To be honest, we don’t get invited to pool parties or BBQs (when I look at social media it seems everyone else on the planet is raising a glass at a neighborhood BBQ!), but if you need ideas for a salad to bring…

If I have more time to cook dinner? I am big time going through a shrimp scampi phase. I don’t get to add all the butter to mine (low-fat is about survival for this hungry soul, doncha know), but I love all of Alison Roman’s dishes:

Virtual Globetrotting

Lots of folks are traveling this summer, but plenty cannot for a myriad of reasons. That’s where the internet can offer a bit of comfort. Say you feel like strolling in Paris and dropping by a cute shop or fresh market? You can almost smell the smells through the screen so go right ahead:

Get Inspired by Modern French Decor

Why not just begin with the best there is?

Pamela Pierce designed moment of French elegance with antique olive pots flanking an arched stone entrance with lanterns. #pamelapierce #frenchcountry #olivejars #stonesurround #frontdoor #archeddoor
Pamela Pierce

Study designs from Pam Pierce and issues of Milieu to train your eye for simplicity and pleasing juxtaposition.

Modern French and minimal white living room with rustic shutters and all white interior design by Pamela Pierce. #pamelapierce #livingroom #modernfrench #allwhitedecor #frenchcountry
Design: Pamela Pierce; Photo: Miguel Flores Vianna for Milieu
Elegant exterior Christmas decor with a French country feel by Pamela Pierce of Milieu.
Milieu

Paper Flowers

Whether you add fresh or paper flowers, branches, or nothing at all to a white pot like this (below), its pleasing silhouette is bound to charm you this summer.

Spring is in the air! French country courtyard with beautiful bench, blue blooms, and stone wall - Hello Lovely Studio.
Spring DIY Decor Projects as well as Shelter at Home Ideas

Make a Humble Bird House

I commissioned my husband to make this humble bird house, inspired by a dear friend’s passing. She was a nature lover, and when last we were together, the tumor in her brain had stolen most of her vision and hearing. Yet she remained mobile and energetic as she fed birds and chubby squirrels gathered on the temple of her wood deck. The beauty of my longtime friend, stripped of her senses, hair, and time will remain with me always (and I don’t mean, bless her heart, what a pitiful sight, I mean pure Beauty with a capital infinitely lovely B).

A DIY bird house we made - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

As she tossed handfuls of seed-like colorful confetti through the sky, I kept thinking about that conversation with Peter and Christ. “Do you love me?” Yes, Lord. “Feed my sheep.”

It wasn’t just the birds and squirrels fed that day. What a blessing to pray, reminisce, laugh, and hold hands.

French courtyard with pink potted flowers, pea gravel, boxwood, and light grey bench - Hello Lovely Studio.

We planned our next ‘party’ (there would be foot massages and wearing of a spectacular new wig made from a daughter’s tresses), but my pal flew home before we could gather again.

I don’t know what you and yours will face in the coming months and years, but since we just don’t know, may I be bold?

Say the loving things now.

Don’t wait for a moment to materialize where it feels more appropriate or less awkward. If only you knew the number of awkward moments I have created singlehandedly! It’s a gift!

Feed each other love. Let your voice shake and quiver. It’s okay if it’s messy. Let tenderness flow with tears from your eyes.

Back to bird house making. We used reclaimed wood from a vintage dresser I salvaged so it feels even more special.

Here are the instructions:

Encouragement quote and faith on Hello Lovely Studio about rest and prayer. #restquotes #prayerquotes #faithquotes

DIY Plaster Dipped Flower Art

Here’s a super easy craft I have done for years.

My plaster dipped white roses were created simply and now sit atop the piano with a framed vintage print - Hello Lovely Studio. #diy #plasterflowers #vintagestyle #hellolovelystudio
Hello Lovely Studio’s plaster dipped white roses and a framed vintage print.

You may be familiar with the beautiful blog So Much Better With Age, and here is Jamie’s awesome tutorial for an adaptation of those dipped flowers.

So Much Better With Age

Discover even more easy elegant French DIY projects in Jamie’s book:

Voltaire quote on Hello Lovely about health and happiness. #healthquotes #happinessquotes

Summer Exercise Idea

Need a nudge to get moving?

For those of you who have little doggies and one of these with the back wheel rack…

Blush pink Retrospec Ladies Commuter Bike.
Retrospec Ladies Commuter Bike

Oh my!

Summer Learning Idea: The Science of Happiness

No, you are not too ancient for summer school. Did you know you can take a course at YALE on happiness for FREE? Yep. Here’s a great book I own on the subject:

Flourish book cover
Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

My clinical research on the subject often leads me here:

My fat-restricted diet allows me to indulge in a serving of 8 of these happy pills once in a while.

For a healthier dose of happy, these chewies (below) hit the spot (I could eat the whole bag since each serving is 1.5g of fat!):

Bake Someone Happy

How timeless and gorgeous is this pale pink beauty? Whether you have a Ph.D. in fondant or have no clue what fondant is, maybe this is a sweet time to learn a new skill like cake decorating.

Gorgeous pale blush pink decorated layer cake with roses - @sweetinkbynatasa #rosecakes #cakedecorating #blushpink
@sweetinkbynatasa

Greet a Groovy Green Accessory

Luxurious classic coastal style bedroom design in a magnificent bespoke traditional home from architectural design firm Geoff Chick & Associates. #coastalstyle #coastaldecor #bedroomdesign #interiordesign
Geoff Chick & Associates
Schumacher Citrus Garden pillow cover in Lime
Schumacher Citrus Garden Pillow Cover, DesignerModHome on Etsy
Thibaut Giselle Linen Pillow In Lime Green
Thibaut Giselle Linen Pillow, PillowFever on Etsy

Lovely Summer Wreath DIY

I’m so impressed by folks who make these handmade wreaths, and I’m even more impressed with folks who take the time to teach us! It is so much work creating even the simplest DIY video so my hat is off to creatives who teach! (Who cares if it says spring!?! Works for summer!)

Instant Wreath Beauty

I also found these readymade beauties:

Peony basket wreath  spring wreath  front door wreath
Peony Wreath, TheWhimsicalDoor on Etsy
Rumi quote about your heart knowing the way on Hello Lovely Studio. #heartquotes #rumiquotes

Spruce Up a Summery or Beachy Vignette With Glass Beads

Add Gentleness to Summer Road Trips

Honeydew Scrumptious travel pillow comes with a custom case, carrying bag and genius engineering! #luxurypillow #travelpillows
Honeydew Travel Pillow – super smart trio for traveling!

Relaxing music and flowers are always a winning combo.

Summer Shifts for Self-Care

Did you visit my Zen lovely post HERE?

Here’s an oil I use regularly that works on body, scalp, split ends, cuticles, etc. No messy dropper or pump, just hold it upside down for a little drop to instantly drop.

Be your own kind of beautiful - uplifting quote on Hello Lovely Studio.

We began with words from Mary Oliver…let’s part with them too in this poetry excerpt which paints a portrait of how I aspire to somehow draw strength from the “velvet darkness” which sometimes appears:

Mary Oliver poetry to uplift and encourage on Hello Lovely Studio.

Thinking of each of you, thankful for your presence here.

My French country courtyard with stone walls, pink flowers, and French farmhouse decor - Hello Lovely Studio.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Kubu Basket Set
Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
French Country Settee
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black or Bronze Accent Table
30″ French Storage Basket
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile (My Backsplash)
French Wire Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
French Country Wall Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Distressed White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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18 Comments

  1. April 2, 2020 / 11:58 am

    I like using mirrors outdoors. I see you have one with your bench. I think they are a great idea.
    Porches screened or open are great places to place one. I do worry about birds slamming into them but that happens with my windows as well.
    I use a mirror frame that can take rain or that I don’t mind ruining the frame in the weather.

    • Michele
      Author
      April 2, 2020 / 2:35 pm

      They are so enchanting outside, aren’t they? We haven’t noticed mirrors slamming into ours (I have a couple outdoors!); but the birds do linger at them, and I’m always hoping to catch a squirrel or chipmunk in the act. 🙂 Wishing you peace, friend.

  2. Lisa D.
    April 2, 2020 / 12:07 pm

    I love the sweet kitten clinging to the branch, and the bicycles, are wonderful Michelle, but what I really crave is a Vespa. That would truly make my heart sing! Thank you for the wonderful post. Take care and stay healthy.

    • Michele
      Author
      April 2, 2020 / 2:33 pm

      Thank you for reading, Lisa. I have never taken a Vespa for a spin, but I can see why you’re dreaming of one! Wishing you days of gentle comfort and meaning. xox

  3. April 2, 2020 / 1:15 pm

    So many fun ideas here! I really enjoy the birds that congregate at my fountain. Now I feel compelled to make them a bird house. Thanks for the helpful video. And, thanks for the kind shout-out and link to my Pandemic Penny Pinching Pointers! So appreciate that! Stay well.

    • Michele
      Author
      April 2, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      Oh how I wish we lived closer, Celia. I have so much to learn from you, and your creative ventures always engage my senses. Thank you for inspiring us and turning our attention to practical matters at home. You’re a gem.

  4. Kathie Johnson
    April 3, 2020 / 4:13 am

    Is that your “House Beautiful?” I have never seen another like the one I found antiquing one day! It was long ago, but it is a special treasure. It makes my heart smile that you might have one too! Peace be with you as well. ☺️

    • Michele
      Author
      April 3, 2020 / 4:57 pm

      It sure is! I bought it at an antique shop years ago and treasure it. How fun that you have one as well. Thank goodness there are those of us who see these treasures as worth saving! 🙂

  5. April 16, 2020 / 9:52 am

    That’s so special you made a birdhouse in honor of your dear friend. Every time a blue jay visits our bird feeders I think of my Grandmother.

    • Michele
      Author
      April 16, 2020 / 5:51 pm

      What a wonderful way our loved ones remain with us. I never tire of watching the birds out there, and they are my only pets right now with the squirrels and deer. 🙂

  6. Carol
    July 20, 2021 / 6:50 am

    I love the window bird feeder, except when the squirrels discover it.

    • Michele
      Author
      July 20, 2021 / 6:19 pm

      Right! Hahahaha. We have so many squirrels here – they are the entertainment year round!

  7. Elizabeth
    July 20, 2021 / 7:36 am

    Oh Michele, what a beautiful post. When I read about your Beautiful friend it made me cry. Thank you for your insights and kindness.

    • Michele
      Author
      July 20, 2021 / 6:18 pm

      Thank you so much for reading with tenderness – memories of my friend are fresh and clear, and what a gift it was to reminisce with her at the end. xox

  8. July 20, 2021 / 9:11 am

    Michelle thank you for the lovely trip to Paris. It was a wonderful way to start my day on the deck with a cup of coffee. And, as always thank you for the poignant thoughts.

    • Michele
      Author
      July 20, 2021 / 6:17 pm

      I’m so glad that little stroll pleased you as it did me. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping here and commenting, friend.

  9. Amy
    July 20, 2021 / 3:22 pm

    So much goodness in this post! I look forward to watching the videos later when I have more time…especially the stroll in Paris. Loved your story about your dear friend’s love of feeding wildlife and enjoying that till the end…nature can be so calming/comforting. You are such a good friend & love the birdhouse made in her memory & especially love your encouragement to be willing to create awkward moments by saying the loving things now! I agree wholeheartedly, my friend❤️

    • Michele
      Author
      July 20, 2021 / 6:14 pm

      I know you get it, Amy. The second half of life we glean all these important secrets so it’s a blessing to have lived long enough to learn them. Thanks for taking time out of your day for the journey here, and I hope you like the videos!

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Kubu Basket Set
Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
French Country Settee
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black or Bronze Accent Table
30″ French Storage Basket
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile (My Backsplash)
French Wire Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
French Country Wall Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Distressed White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing