Monday, November 8, 2010

Being carefree...

CIMG1725_2, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

Fall arrived a few weeks ago in Georgia and the azalea blooms of spring and summer have long since slipped away and prepared for their upcoming winter’s nap. Perhaps that’s why this photo of Sophia and azaleas taken in the spring was so refreshing. I captured Sophia, one of our three granddaughters, twirling in our back yard ….carefree, arms outstretched, filled with overflowing joy … and giggling contagiously.

I love to look at this photo of her in total abandonment to any worries or cares … completely immersed in this moment of enjoyment, playing with “LaLa” (that’s me).

It’s how God wants us to live…. carefree, lighthearted and with joy. No worries, no cares, immersed in His love.

Go twirl in the yard today.

~ Laura

Thursday, October 7, 2010

my soul waits in silence.

Have you ever waited for...wished for...prayed for...something? That’s where we are at right now. Waiting, wishing, praying for the right opportunities to come along. We’re being faithful -- one foot in front of the other. We KNOW this is what we're supposed to do..what we're called to do. We're listening to our hearts. Our hope is from Him.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Windows of Heaven

Some images speak loudly from the first glance. When I saw this simple window nestled in a tiny garden on Roanoke Island I heard the phrase “I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing”. My husband James captured the moment on camera and Marybeth, our art director/graphic designer transformed it into a beautiful art image. Her creative use of wispy flourishes to convey the “blessings pouring through the window” is a glimpse into her creative treasury. I believe there are windows around us each day … with blessings waiting to come through. Look with expectant hope for yours today.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blessed are those whose lives you touch...

How does one pay tribute to the woman who raised a great son that grew up to became my husband? Beautiful pictures and eloquent words all seem to fall short, but, Marybeth somehow captured the essence of a tribute worthy of my mother-in-love and placed it in our most recent image. We presented to my dear mother-in-love, Anne Rhodes, on the occasion of her 80th birthday celebration last week.

I will be forever grateful to my mother-in-love and the gift she has given me in my husband. Many of the character traits that caused me to fall in love with him over 36 years ago are the very traits that she instilled into him at a young age. She planted great seeds as a young mother and she has continued to plant good seeds into all of our lives. So, the words on this image that say “Blessed are those whose lives you touch” simply become more true each day.

Here’s a photo of the new image and a photo of the woman who inspired this new image, my mother-in-love, Anne Rhodes ... accompanied by Rebecca and Alexa.

– Laura

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The crown series is finished...

Wanted to share with you our final “piece of the puzzle” in our crown series. We’ve recently designed “Lord of Lords.” We really love the crowns and hope you will, too. We’ll have these on our website soon and then prints will be available on our Etsy site. We’ll keep you posted...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Running Through The Trees

I started seriously running again thanks to a reunited friendship. It was about half way though our run, as my legs felt like they were on fire, that I had the realization that some friendships are so valuable that we have to make the effort to cultivate them.
We live in a culture of keeping friendships easy. Checking on facebook and commenting on status updates. For many relationships this is great. We get to keep in touch and reconnect with old friends. But then there are those friendships that uplift and challenge us to be better in life. This takes time and effort and in the end it is worth it.
It is with this type of friend you share your true dreams and passions. They challenge you to pursue all dreams and can normally make you laugh harder than anyone else. As we ran last Saturday on the path winding though the trees, my friend challenged me to push myself to run one more mile to get closer to my next larger goal. It may not be a marathon it may just be adding a little adventure to your life!

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Silliness...just for the creativeness of it!

So here's a peek at what we do when we're supposed to be doing WORK....or just when someone needs an inspirational lift! James came in with a handful of burr oak acorns – complete with their “hairy” caps, knowing that I would completely embrace them. And well, here you have it! Our acorn people. I made each of these on challenging days for Laura.

The one on the left with red lips was for her birthday (OK, that wasn't a challenging day). The second one is a knight in armor (painted silver, mind you)....he’s holding a flag that says “I will put on His armor today.” The third one is an angel (complete with wings and halo) that says “He shall give His angels charge over you.”

And the last one, I think, was for a budget day. It was really how The Acorn People started. I am, by nature, a people pleaser. When I saw Laura on this particular day, I decided to create an art project to make her smile. So I “dressed up” the acorn in a Hawaiian shirt and waving a flag that said ““Don't worry. Be Happy.” Usually, I make it and leave it when she’s not at her desk or not looking. Then I go back and sit at my desk and wait for the laughter.

Simple distractions every now and major art talent needed. Just seriously fun stuff.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Heaven on Earth...

Wisteria, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

Lying underneath the wisteria growing near our stone wall last spring I heard the phrase “days of heaven on earth” on each inhale of the magnificent aroma. The broad spectrum of lavender showcased in each bloom is beautiful enough even without the fragrance, but the addition of that permeating infusion of natural aromatherapy brings it to a new level of “divine.” It is a glimpse of heaven … a peek into the eternal realm … a little bit of heaven on earth with every exhale from its drooping bloom clusters.

We’re working on capturing some of this aroma in a new image and hope that its fragrance fills the heart of each viewer as they pause to notice the little glimpses of heaven on earth each day.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

He is my rock.

He is my rock., originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

We are working on some new ideas that involve rocks and, more specifically, ballast rocks. Laura has taken some photos of ballast rocks from the coast of North Carolina (Roanoke Island) that were retrieved from underwater by Laura’s dad (there’s that strong man again!). We’d like to develop this idea a little bit more... adding ballast/balance to your life. We’ll see where it takes us. Looking forward to showing you more artwork soon.

A symphony of praise

Laura & her dad, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.
Many of the flowers used in our images have their beginnings in my father’s garden. My parents, Clarence & Rose Skinner, live on Roanoke Island in the quaint town of Manteo, North Carolina … a “Mayberry” type of setting and a perfect environment for flowers as well as family memories to grow. This photo came at the end of a full day of planting flowers & vegetables in his garden. As we placed the last tender seed into the fertile soil, Dad said “You know Laura, when I plant seeds I hear music … and when I plant an entire bed like this, I hear a symphony … a beautiful, full symphony. It’s as if each one of those seeds is a musical instrument and together they make a wonderful song.” He paused, smiled, and “listened” to the symphony that surrounded us. A symphony of praise.

Perhaps this is where the beginning of hearing flowers “speak” to me came from … my father. The turned up, outstretched heads of poppies talk of “hope and faith,” the fragrance of wisteria whispers “days of heaven on earth” and the morning drops of dew on caladium leaves speak of the “thirsting of my soul.” How rewarding it is to see these expressions take form as Marybeth gives them life beyond the garden.

We hope you hear the symphony in the images we’ve created and are inspired to listen to the songs around you each day.

– Laura

P.S. The rusted steam engine flywheel in the photo was physically moved by my father to add to his collection of interesting “objets d’art”…( that mother has yet to appreciate.) At 78, he’s still as strong as an old steam engine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Poppies for inspiration...

We love poppies! Just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz running through the field of poppies...except they don't make us sleepy! :-) This was inspired by one of the beautiful photos Laura took in her backyard.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Singing with grace...

As promised, the full version of our “sneak peek” is the bottom image. Seems like birds have been the theme lately...Finally getting a chance to post “Sing with Grace” and “Sing My Love Song”....a lot of elements here by painted/drawn by hand and the scanned in and digitally collaged. We will have prints available on Etsy soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just when you're on a roll...

Photo0227, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs. all comes to a grinding halt. Had almost finished this mixed media piece when I decided to go to the doctor. I wrecked on my bike a month ago and my hands were really sore then. Thought I had just sprained them. So I go about my busy mom life, but wondering why my hands are still hurting a month later...why I can't pick up a watermelon in the grocery store, why I can't twist the new cap off the Gatorade yesterday I went to the doctor. Turns out I have been walking around with a broken bone in my left wrist and a broken bone at the base of my right thumb...and I now have a splint on both hands and will probably end up with a cast on each. I am left-handed. One of my biggest fears has been doing something bad to my hands...the way I make a living. Apparently that bone in the wrist is "critical" and it needs to heal correctly. So, instead of doing some exploring at the drawing desk where I can get my hands really messy, I am back to digital collage for a few weeks. At least I can still do something!! This sort of thing certainly makes you appreciate those who can't use their hands.

On another note, almost done with that "sneak peek" I showed on the last blog entry. Some of that was by hand and then digitally collaged...I can keep working on that at least!!!


Friday, July 2, 2010

A sneak peek at some new artwork...

QuickPeek, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs. just a quick note today. I've been working on some artwork for the past week. Not quite done yet so we don't want to give the whole piece away. Hopefully I can get back to this over the weekend and finish it up... Summer is GREAT but sometimes I feel so much busier -- between swim practice, swim meets and being the all-around general taxi for my kids, finding the time to work on my passion seems hard! But I manage to sqeak in some look for the finished artwork within the next week! Happy 4th of July everybody!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just Breathe...

Alexa playing, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

Just Breathe…

Three steps behind. That is how I have felt since becoming a new mom. There is always something to get done and tasks that I fail to complete. I have been so focused on what I wasn’t accomplishing that I missed the small things that renew me.

We get so caught up in changing diapers, running errands and trying to make everything perfect that we fail to notice the wonderful blessings that we all have. I am learning to stop in my hectic day and just watch my daughter play. There is such a joy and peace that washes over me.

We all lead extremely busy lives…that is the nature of being a mom, wife, sister and friend. I know God uses the little things… our babies, an afternoon rain or just one minute of absolute silence to refresh and remind us just to breathe.

I may not get to the laundry, but I know I have accomplished so much just seeing my daughter’s feet kick with excitement!

"I'll refresh tired bodies; I'll restore tired souls." Jeremiah 31:25


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On being thankful...

BiscuitForBlog, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

So, my “then” 8-year-old wrote a persuasive essay in school a few months back on how she REALLY wanted a guinea pig. And she gave REALLY great reasons and I believed she would take care of it. But I put my foot down..."NO rodents in my house!!" Besides, we already have an 80 lb yellow Lab who would probably not take so kindly to small animals. My daughter never bugged me about it...she'd mentioned it a time or two. Her birthday was coming up and her friends asked what she wanted. I guess she resigned herself to the fact that she would not be getting a “real“ guinea pig so she asked for a Webkinz guinea pig (that's an expensive stuffed animal for your newbies). A few days before her birthday, my husband found a gift card on my desk that we hadn't used yet. God knows we could have used that on other things right now but he wanted to get her a guinea pig.

On her 9th birthday (yesterday), we surprised my daughter! We blindfolded her and told her we were taking her somewhere special to celebrate her birthday. We took her to the front doors of Petco and took the blindfold off. The look on her face was absolutely priceless and she had big tears in her eyes (which in turn made me tear up!). She couldn't believe it! She got to choose the guinea pig she wanted...and after throwing some names around, she settled on Biscuit.

Of course, she and her sister spent the rest of the day playing with Biscuit. She came downstairs THREE times that afternoon to tell me how HAPPY she was...“Mommy, I am SO happy!” with the biggest grin on her face. And each time, she'd give us a big hug to go with it. It made me happy to see that she got something her heart really desired. And it's just this little ol' can see how happy she is by that grin!

She's got that “old soul” in a kid's body. She wrote us a note earlier this year saying she was grateful for food on the table and a roof over our heads. And as challenging as the last year has been, I am grateful for that, too. I think we could all benefit from standing back and thinking about the little things that most people overlook....the stuff that most people take for granted...And realize how lucky and blessed we are for what we have because there's a lot of people who aren't so lucky.

So, my big 9-year-old girl, you are MOST WELCOME for your guinea pig. Thank you for putting it all into perspective...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Letting The Light Shine Through ...

WhatIsASaint, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

A little child on a summer morning stood in a great cathedral church. The sunlight streamed through the beautiful stained glass windows and the figures on them were bright with brilliant color. A little later the question was asked, "What is a saint?" and the child replied, "a saint is a person who lets the light shine through."

Letting the light shine through is what we aspire to do each day ... in our lives and in our work. We're nurturing this thought and plan to bring it into a new design image.

Here's a view of the original source of the above quote ... an inscription in a book from my husband during our engagement. The pencil lines are courtesy of Rebecca at the age of 3.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our Wall of Promises©

WallOfPromises, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

One more post today...we just recently had a photoshoot at Laura's house. We’re calling our collection a “Wall of Promises©”...after all, if you read all of them, they really are promises to you. "He will send His angels...", "Having hope gives us courage“, “the smallest seed of faith...” There's more coming. We have notebooks full of ideas and our brains are brimming with even more. We’d love to have feedback on our artwork. What are some of your favorite PROMISES????

The girls of summer

GirlsOfSummer, originally uploaded by Velvet Lime Designs.

My two daughters and a friend, Olivia, yesterday in the backyard...on a beautiful, sunny day. They love running barefoot (who doesn't??) in the backyard on the zoysia grass that my husband so loves to take care of (seriously!). I made them gather around so I could take a quick photo. They make me laugh. They are like those comedians on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?“ They can play with or make a game out of anything. No jump rope? No problem...we'll use the garden hose. Doing a TV interview? Let's move around the deck furniture to create the studio and we'll have Oprah show up to do the interview. Seriously creative kids here and they can do this for hours (thankfully). I wish it were as easy for adults to get that lost in creativity and no worries for a while. Some good lessons to be learned by watching them...

Monday, June 7, 2010

When you’re at the beach...

....take photos of your bike ride instead! Well, I did take photos on the beach, too. But I decided to take some early morning bike rides when the sun was coming up. The sun was shining through these GORGEOUS trees along the bike path! I felt like God was shining His light right on me that morning so I stopped and snapped a few photos... This is the kind of continued inspiration for our artwork that I don't even go out looking for. It's right there in front of you when you slow down to take it all in. I went a little farther down the bike path after this and fed the horses at the stable some carrots. I wish I had gotten some photos of them, too.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A bird’s nest...

Love this bird's nest we found in the backyard. Not sure what kind it is...Laura says maybe from a wren?? It's made out of mud and twigs. This is just the kind of inspiration I sometimes need. Somehow my husband knows that and called me out into the backyard when he found it. I ran and got my camera! You never know where this will end up in our artwork.

“For a long time

it had seemed to me

that life was about to begin --

real life.

But there was always some obstacle in the way,

something to be got through first,

some unfinished business,

time still to be served,

a debt to be paid.

Then life would begin.

At last it dawned on me that these obstacles

were my life.”

– Fr. Alfred D’Souza

I posted that quote on our Facebook page yesterday but I think it's worth repeating here. It does make you pause and think. Everybody’s day is busy...there's always going to be “one more thing to finish” before you can get on with life. Then you realize this is the life God planned out for you and you must roll with the punches. You keep moving forward doing the best you can and making the most out of good times and bad times. This hit me today when I talked to a friend of mine who has brain cancer. I call her every now and then to see how she's doing. She always sounds so upbeat in spite of the fact that the brain tumor has affected her speech, writing and balance. She mentioned to me that she and her husband were going on a trip to Switzerland the first part of June...she'd always wanted to see it and they'd already bought the tickets. I thought that was really cool...moving aside those obstacles and getting on with life. I am excited to hear how the trip goes for her! No regrets for her, that's for sure.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Look at our ad in Gwinnett Magazine this month!

We are happy to have an ad this month in Gwinnett Magazine! We thought it was especially appropriate since it was their issue dedicated to Relay for Life. They are doing great things at the magazine -- especially with The Heroes Project.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A company with social responsibility at the core

Just checking my Facebook account this afternoon and got an interesting link from an article in Advertising Age. We hope to be included and recognized among these companies some day since our goal (as mentioned in previous blogs) has always been sustainability. We are proud of the fact that we produce our artwork locally – within 13 miles of our office. We searched for a long time to find someone who could help us meet this goal...and they literally fell right into our laps! It has saved not only on our carbon footprint, but helps our local economy as well. We're also putting our artwork on bamboo plywood... a highly sustainable, eco-friendly product. See our previous posts on that also.

Cheers to these companies!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Everyone needs a little....INSPIRATION!

Was just listening to Kari Jobe's song “Everyone Needs a Little” in the car on the way to the office this morning. This happens to be one of our favorite songs and we've listened to it a lot lately! We find a lot of inspiration not only in what is around us but in music, too. Close your eyes and listen!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A quote and a sponsorship...

Marybeth was recently quoted on April 2 by Six Sigma and Quality Improvement blogger Nadine Owens Burton at under “Small Business Shoulda Coulda Woulda’s.” Here's what Marybeth said:

“You’ve got your vision...your ‘pie in the sky’, but getting in front of retail people and getting yourself into a showroom is literally a dog-eat-dog world. You're fighting trying to make yourself completely different and stand out from the crowd so that people notice you. I think a lot of it is about networking and getting the most opinions -- good and bad -- from anybody you can. Once you go through the whole process for a while, what you originally envisioned might be completely different from what you end up with and that can be a very good thing sometimes!“

We're out to show potential wholesalers and retail buyers that Velvet Lime Designs is committed to quality, creative artwork and inspirational products. We’ve got a lot of new products in development and hope to release those within a few weeks. As always, we welcome any comments...good or bad!

Velvet Lime Designs is also a proud sponsor of the 1st Annual LUNAFEST® presented by Faith's House ( in Cumming, GA. We are happy to share some inspiration with single moms!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inspirational décor for baby or child’s room

Have you seen our inspirational series created specifically with kids in mind? We believe the choices made for artwork in a child’s room are as important as anywhere else in your house...what your kids see every day guides their thoughts and actions. It brings inspiration to their OWN living space! We currently have these in a baby nursery and they look GREAT! We'll try to post some photos later this week of those.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Having hope gives your courage...

A new image we’re releasing today...and we LOVE it on the bamboo...It's not on the website yet, so if you are interested, e-mail us!

Velvet Lime Designs gets first press!

We’re really excited today! Just received the layouts for our first nationwide press in a magazine.... Materials Handling Illustrated picked up our press release. It's at the printer right now and will be mailed out to over 18,000 subscribers by April 1. They were intrigued by the fact that we are using a local manufacturer – thus the headline and subhead: “Oriental Rub: Georgia peaches opt for local manufacturing over fine China”...
In case you might be interested, here is the full text:

Velvet Lime Designs, based in Suwanee, Georgia, has taken 

the proverbial lemons of the Great Recession and made 

lemonade. A collaboration of three women, Laura Rhodes, 

Rebecca Rhodes Ladikos and Marybeth Wydock, who once 

kicked around the “idea” of creating artwork from photos 

they took as a hobby, Velvet Lime Designs introduced their 

line at the America’s Mart in Atlanta this past January and 

recently opened up their store online.

  • With all three working for Rhodes Design Group, a design/build firm specializing in entrance and amenities packages for new communities, the homebuilding industry they catered to was devastated by the recent economic downturn. Needing inspiration themselves, the trio decided to take a leap of faith and put more energy into creating uplifting artwork for others. “This company has been a dream in our hearts for many years. It took hard economic times for us to combine our talents and plant the seed for Velvet Lime Designs,” said Laura Rhodes, one of the partners.

  • The team spent a year making prototypes, researching products and seeking feedback from prospective buyers and gift shops before finally creating some finished products. One important goal (mostly because of the economic crisis) for Velvet Lime Designs was to keep the manufacturing process in the United States. They succeeded in this endeavor for the table art using a local cabinet maker for the wood pieces and then adding the finishing touches on their own in the office – literally turning their studio space into a production line.

  • The gallery prints proved a little more challenging. It was quite cost-prohibitive to use a local printer and print on canvas paper unless the company could print a quantity in the hundreds. With three weeks before the America’s Mart show and a small budget, the team decided to have prototypes made by a company in California who first had the canvases printed in China and then shipped back to California for stretching. Rebecca Rhodes, the partner who worked on product price commented, “After a lot of research, this particular company came within the range of what we knew our price point should be and we had a deadline to meet.”

  • With gallery prints in hand from California for display at America’s Mart, the company was introduced to Art Effects Framing, a local company in Norcross, Georgia, just a few days before the show. Dave Nanney, Vice President of Operations, was more than willing to meet the price constraints as well as offer a novel idea for stretching the gallery prints. After Art Effects provided some prototypes, the partners felt confident taking orders at the show. The product has since proven far superior in quality to what the company in California offered.

  • The inaugural showing at the Mart for Velvet Lime Designs was a success! The team received initial orders and great feedback from store owners, especially on the children’s line. They are currently shipping the orders, as well as taking orders online. And, most importantly, Velvet Lime Designs is supporting the local economy with that tiny seed of faith.

  • Velvet Lime Designs is a company dedicated to planting seeds of inspiration in others through images and words. For more information, visit

Friday, March 19, 2010

Velvet Lime Designs adds artwork to bamboo

Getting ready to roll out our images on FSC-certified – meaning eco-friendly – bamboo! The option will be added to our website next week. And we have more plans for bigger pieces on bamboo, too! Watch for more details on this coming soon. Using a “green” option for our artwork has always been a big goal for us. We LOVE the way it looks and hope you do, too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Arise my love...

Just added this image to our repertoire! It’s the same tree/same angle as the “all the trees of the field shall clap their hands”...only this time there’s SNOW! We get snow about twice a year in Georgia so we took full advantage of taking photographs after getting 3"! We can’t wait to take this same photograph again when the leaves are coming out...

Friday, February 12, 2010

New series for the kids gallery prints!

We had such a positive response to our “pink” series for girls that we decided to do something for little boys...something rough and tumble! We are selling these in our 1-1/2" gallery wrapped format...printed on 11" x 14" canvases. And we’re not limited to red! Ask us about different colors... See this link on our website to purchase!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shopping Cart is now active!!

Great news! We’ve worked hard on it and our shopping cart is now active on the website! We’re adding new stuff all the time...check it out!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Great Feedback at The Mart!

We've had a FABULOUS, fun weekend at The Mart here in Atlanta! We've talked with lots of great store owners and taken some orders! Looks like the "original" Velvet Lime Designs artwork "The smallest seed of faith sprouts the impossible" has been a best-seller (pictured at left with the watermark)... but we all knew that! James and Laura are "manning" the booth today and finishing up tomorrow. Rebecca and Marybeth are back working hard at the office to finish up getting online ordering up and running and to start fulfilling orders. Thanks to all the store owners and buyers who have stopped by so far to listen to our story, look at our artwork and buy our products! We have even more ideas coming so stay tuned!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Framed Pieces!!

Getting GREAT feedback today at The Mart! Here's our newest arrivals (on the top shelf). They are actual framed prints of any of the designs. We are working on getting those added to the website.

We're at The Atlanta Mart!

Finally!!! After about 2 years of thinking.. planning... praying... creating, we have launched Velvet Lime Designs! We're at the Mart downtown today...cross your fingers for lots of sales! We are VERY excited!

Come by our booth and check us out... Building 3, Floor 2, Booth 610. This is Laura in our booth yesterday after she and James were done hanging the giclees! Isn't it COOL???