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January’s “Humble & Deep” Desktop Download

January's "Humble & Deep" Desktop Download

Happy new decade, everyone!! For the past few years, I decided to make January’s desktop download my personal word of the year. Lettering it out has been really helpful for me to set an intention for many aspects of my life and actions in the year ahead. I’ve found a word of the year to be less intimidating than a huge list of goals and I love looking back to see how that word has shaped my year. I also like to have this visual reminder on my screens and thought it might resonate with you, too.

This year, I couldn’t choose just one word, it’s more of a phrase. Humble & deep. It’s based on one of my favorite Mister Rogers’ quotes.

Here’s the backstory:

“A high school student wrote to ask, “What was the greatest event in American history?” I can’t say. However, I suspect that like so many “great” events, it was something very simple and very quiet with little or no fanfare (such as someone forgiving someone else for a deep hurt that eventually changed the course of history). The really important “great” things are never center stage of life’s dramas; they’re always “in the wings”. That’s why it’s so essential for us to be mindful of the humble and the deep rather than the flashy and the superficial.”

Goodness, this cuts me to the core. Ever since I read this quote a few months back, I haven’t been able to shake it. This is what I want my life to represent in 2020 – the notion of substance over shallowness. I truly believe the simple things become the big, important things. Not only that, I’ve come to realize just how caught up I’ve been in the flashy and superficial. Here are a few of the ways that has manifest for me: an over obsession with portraying the right image, making it seem like I have everything together, spending my time in search of praise and acceptance (which will never feel like it’s enough), choosing unimportant ways to spend my time instead of taking small steps to invest in what truly matters. Social media can play a big role in perpetuating this….get more likes, grab attention, etc. These struggles are hard to admit, but I want to share in case there is someone feeling this pressure too.

Here’s what I want instead:

  • My offscreen life to be tended to way more than my online life.
  • My artwork to be an expression of what’s in my heart without the over concern for how it will be received.
  • Depth in relationships.
  • Trust in God’s plan and timing for my life.
  • Release the pressure of thinking I should be farther along in various aspects of my life and instead, just be where I am, finding joy in that.
  • Embrace the reality that seemingly insignificant things might have huge implications and impact.

…A humble and deep 2020. 

So here are this month’s downloads! I thought a soft, loose floral with humble pencil writing struck the feel of simplicity I was trying to convey. I hope you enjoy!

Lily & Val January 2020 hand-drawn Desktop Download January iPhone background hand-lettered by Valerie McKeehan

To download for free during the month of January 2020 use coupon code: DDJAN20

Download Wallpaper >>

2019 Year In Review

Each year since 2014, I’ve been writing these yearly recaps. It’s been interesting for me to look back on all that has happened with Lily & Val throughout the years and I’m so glad I have this record to look back on. The 2019 recap, though, feels very different to me.  I debated not writing one this year because on the surface it doesn’t seem like there’s much to say, but on the contrary, 2019 was a transformative year on many levels, many of them personal. I experienced a lot of change, the greatest joy of my life, but also struggle and questioning. I’m still working through a lot in my mind and that makes it difficult to write a review from “the middle” but here it goes anyway.

I have to pause to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been following the journey of Lily & Val and supporting me. Each year when I look back on the last I’m filled with such gratitude and honestly disbelief at where this little company has taken me. You all are such an encouragement.

The most important milestone of 2019: it was the year I became a mom.

Welcoming sweet baby Vienna to my life has changed me and I want to say so many cliches right now, but I will hold back (even though they are all true).

I spent almost half of my year pregnant, while the other half was spent navigating a new journey and my greatest role, motherhood. It’s been challenging and certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. At the same time, she brings a light to my life and I didn’t think my heart could love the way it does. I love this little girl so much it hurts.

Her arrival was also a pivotal moment in my concepts of slowing down and productivity. There was fear in taking a break, but I am so happy I did. I’m still creating new definitons of productivity and finding my footing as a mama + business owner. I know I will get there.

Let me back up to another major change that happened this year:

In February, Mak accepted a new role as the Creative Director at our church Northway Christian Community. This was another major life change because for the past ten years, Mak and I have been in business together. I’m going to be honest, this transition was hard. When you’re so used to working together every day and then suddenly that changes, it was a struggle. This is what I wrote back then when I made the announcement: “Now, we enter a new journey and it feels strange, yet exciting! I know he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be although neither one of us could have EVER predicted it (isn’t it funny how God works?! Especially in the midst of all our planning.).”

Although it has been difficult in many ways, I know this is exactly where Mak is supposed to be. For the past several years he felt that there was something more for him, that his talents and gifts weren’t being fully utilized. But he patiently waited. We had many heart conversations along these lines, but we had no inkling of what this would look like and he wasn’t actively searching for a new career. After an incredible set of circumstances transpired that we know can only be God’s hand at work, this opportunity presented itself.

Watching Mak blossom over this past year in his position has been another joy to me! He feels called to do what he’s doing and it’s a pleasure to witness and support him. I am so incredibly proud of him for his willingness to step into this calling despite the fear and stepping into the unknown.

It’s impossible for me to separate the business from the personal this year and I don’t want to. Everything that happened was through the lens of these major changes and my art is so closely tied to my state of mind. The pressure of running my business did take a toll. And when there’s pressure, creativity can become stunted. I definitely felt this and as a result, I made some bad decisions. Then, somewhere along the way I stopped trusting myself. I’ve been incredibly proud of the work I’ve put out this year, but it came with periods of mental angst. Sometimes creativity goes through a valley and I’ve learned that it’s okay! I beat myself up for a lot of 2019 because I felt like I was falling short, but I’ve been making efforts to change my mindset and build in new creative outlets for myself to release some of that pressure. I’m still a work in progress, but I know I’m on the right path.

Here are a few other highlights that happened in 2019:

Releasing the L&V Wedding Collection and seeing it for the first time in Barnes & Noble!

Teaching a brush lettering class at Anthropologie in Georgetown. I loved exploring D.C. after, too!

It was such a joy to draw the Nursery Art Collection as I was expecting my own little one!

This was my probably my favorite design of 2019.  I drew it especially for Vienna’s room.

My love of Mister Rogers continued strong in 2019. I was so excited for the movie!

My favorite chalkboard drawings to date were for my baby shower.

We visited the Farmers Market almost every week during the summer when V was born and it will forever be imprinted on my mind as a major part of 2019. It’s the little things.

I expanded my line with Mixbook with new holiday photo cards. I love collaborating with them.

We launched a line of L&V scrapbooking supplies (washi tapes, stickers, stamps) to go with the Keepsake Kitchen Diary.

And also released a brand new Kitchen Diary –the Baking Edition. These books are still my favorite product and passion! To see them continue to be so popular just makes my heart full.

As 2019 comes to a close, I feel ready for a new year and can’t wait to see where this journey continues to take me and my family.

Again, I can’t say thank you enough for your continued support and encouragement. It means the world to me.

Happy New Year and new DECADE, my friends!

 

 

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

A few months ago we introduced the latest in the Keepsake Kitchen Diary series – a Baking Edition! I just love this version to hold all of your sweet, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies and, of course, the memories and stories that go with them. You can read all about the Baking Edition here.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

With all the Baking diaries going out as holiday gifts, I thought I would share some fun gifting ideas. These pairings would make a super sweet gift plus a lovely presentation! Who doesn’t love to receive a gift with extra special packaging?

Tie on a Baking Themed Ornament:

I just love ornaments as package toppers & tie-ons. It’s a simple way to really spruce up your wrapping and such a nice extra keepsake for the recipient. I rounded up some of my favorite ornaments that would be perfect pairings to go with the Baking Keepsake Kitchen Diary (or any of the Kitchen Diaries, really!)

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

Pink Kitchenaid Mixer. I’ve had this ornament for years and it’s one of my favorites. Although I couldn’t find the original, this one is similar and just as cute!

Croissant. This is the first ornament I put on the tree this year! Originally from Anthropologie, but it appears to be sold out. Find a similar one here.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

French Baguette – so realistic looking!

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

This Retro Fridge – how cute and I love the mint color.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking EditionGifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

Chocolate chip cookies! Such pretty details and there’s chocolate chip illustrations featured in the baking diary.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

Pumpkin Pie! That glitter whip is darling.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

These two ornaments in the cake domes are adorable!! Gah! I love them both and they work so well with the illustrations on the diary.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

A sweet rolling pin and festive with the red handles for holiday packages.Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

Pair it with a Meal Planner Pad:

Each Kitchen Diary has a meal planner pad that has been specifically designed to coordinate. This is the pad that coordinates with the Baking Diary!

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

Baking-Themed Wrapping Paper:

You guys! This paper is STUNNING! Truly I just want to frame it and hang in my kitchen. It has a French Bakery theme and the prettiest colors. It would also be cute for wrapping this Boulangerie print…or this one! 

The wrapping is sold as individual sheets available at Paper Source here.

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition

I hope you enjoyed these ideas and found a little inspiration for your Kitchen Diary gift-giving!

Shop All Lily & Val Keepsake Kitchen Diaries

Gifting Ideas for the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking Edition
 THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THAT MEANS A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR PURCHASE THROUGH THESE POSTS HELPS US JUST A LITTLE TOO! THIS CHANGES NOTHING ABOUT YOUR PURCHASE PRICE, AND WE ARE NOT ASKED TO FEATURE THESE ITEMS. THESE ARE JUST THINGS WE CAREFULLY PIC BECAUSE WE LOVE THEM AND THINK YOU WILL TOO! THANKS FOR HELPING SPREAD THE LOVE! XO
Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

I just LOVE the fact that nostalgic ceramic Christmas trees are coming back! I was feeling sentimental for the one my Grandma had one, so I decided to draw it! Her tree was my favorite Christmas decoration growing up. I loved taking the tiny bulbs in and out and rearranging them. Looking at this tree just makes me so happy and brings back all those warm and fuzzies.

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

I appropriately named the drawing “Grandma’s Tree” and after hearing from many of you on Instagram, I decided to draw a white version too! I never had a real white version, but I have to admit, I love it too! It’s a bit more playful and whimsical.

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

I think these trees bring back happy memories for so many and that makes me love them even more.

You can find both version of Grandma’s Tree as prints in the shop now!

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

I’m SO excited because I think I may be receiving my Grandma’s actual tree!! Ahhh! Fingers crossed, but I reached out to my cousin and it could be happening! I think I will cry to see it again.

I know many big box stores are carrying the ceramic trees this year, but I found these on Amazon that I thought were so beautiful. I think these are my favorite reproductions. Of course, if you can find vintage ones at an antique store that would be amazing.

White Ceramic Tree

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

Green Ceramic Tree

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

This green one is cute with a more decorative base.

Nostalgic Ceramic Christmas Tree Decorations & Prints

Do you own a vintage ceramic tree? Do they make you nostalgic too? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Lily & Val and Dearest Mine Hand-Drawn Keepsake Lockets

Guys! They’re here! I’m so pleased to show you the Lily & Val and Dearest Mine hand-drawn keepsake lockets collaboration!

I am so excited about these pieces of wearable art!

About The Lockets

Each design has been hand drawn by yours truly then Lori of Dearest Mine takes the artwork and prints it on the most gorgeous metallic paper. The colors are exceptionally vivid and the image has a unique three-dimensional quality. The paper has a lovely pearlescent sheen and it’s simply stunning in it’s antique finish brass locket.

The art image is sealed with a glass-like coating for protection and shine and the locket hangs on a brass rolo chain which is finished with a lobster clasp.

Each one is handmade with lots of love.

Inside the locket, there are 2 empty recessed oval or circle areas (depending on the locket) for you to mount your favorite pictures of your own choosing.

These would make such lovely gifts for the holidays – and extra special when you fill them with sentimental photos.

Lockets have a secret message inside… Once opened up, there’s a treasure inside. Ultimately it’s a truly human expression. We show on the outside what we want people to see, but keep on the inside only what we know. Lockets represent the deepest part of the human self…the outside and inside together. – Lori of Dearest Mine

I just love how these turned out! Let me know which one is your favorite. I think the bee and large floral are mine, but I really love them all.

I love how the “Let Them Eat Cake” locket pairs beautifully with the Keepsake Kitchen Diary Baking edition. A lovely gift for the lady who loves to bake!

Shop the entire Lily & Val Locket Collection from Dearest Mine here.

December’s “Snowy Day” Desktop Download

December’s “Snowy Day” Desktop Download by Lily & Val

There’s no place like home for the holidays! I hope this cute snowscape for your tech reminds you of the coziness of this season! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Winter Snow scene desktop background hand-drawn by Valerie McKeehanSnowy Day scene for iPhone background

To download for free during the month of December 2019 use coupon code: DDDEC19

Download Wallpaper >>

Thoughts After Seeing “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”

Ever since I found out a movie was being made about Mister Rogers (and played by Tom Hanks! Ahh!) I have been looking forward to it. If you’ve been around for a little while, you probably know how my love of Mister Rogers runs deep. Maybe it was the nostalgia at first, but the more I’ve come to learn about his work and re-discover him as an adult, it goes much farther than that. The truths he shared about each person’s intrinsic value, the importance of kindness, and his displays of humbleness are things we all need, despite age.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Mak McKeehan and Valerie Henderson McKeehan, people smiling, eyeglasses and beard

Mak and I, of course, decided to get tickets to see the movie on opening night. It was deep, moving and thought-provoking.

Here are my biggest takeaways from “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood.”

  1. I teared up within the first 10 minutes. (He might not admit it, but Mak did too.)
  2. Tom Hanks should win best actor! I really forgot it was Tom Hanks playing a role. I felt like I was wathcing Mister Rogers. The performance was spot on.
  3. The movie focuses on the character of the journalist. It was a movie about Mister Rogers that was somehow not about Mister Rogers at all. I almost think that is how he would have wanted it.
  4. The movie was a lot darker and heavier than I anticipated. It is not a fluffy movie. I think that’s what so brilliant though. Some may view Mister Rogers and think because he hosted a children’s TV show, it was fluffy or trivial. But on the contrary, it was humble and deep. The simplicity of his show made the message all the more important. There was no flash, nothing superficial or phony to hide behind. His vulnerabilty and message was on display plainly, without pretense. The movie followed in a similar fashion – it was somewhat slow, but not in a bad way. Instead it was in a way that made me pay attention because it was deep. It was so simple it was poignant.There are many things competing for our attention via social media and media in general. We have become a world that thrives on flashy and superficial – portray the right image, get the most likes, etc. But Mister Rogers was the opposite. One of my absolute favorite stories and quotes of his is this:“A high school student wrote to ask, “What was the greatest event in American history?” I can’t say. However, I suspect that like so many “great” events, it was something very simple and very quiet with little or no fanfare (such as someone forgiving someone else for a deep hurt that eventually changed the course of history). The really important “great” things are never center stage of life’s dramas; they’re always “in the wings”. That’s why it’s so essential for us to be mindful of the humble and the deep rather than the flashy and the superficial.”
  5. At one point the journalist asked Mister Rogers a question that suggested there was Mister Rogers the TV show host vs. Fred Rogers the person. But what you proceed to see is a man so beautifully living out what he believed. It was inspiring and made me think deeply about authenticity and how we can learn from his example to just be who we are. He was who he was when the cameras were rolling, but especially when they were not.
  6. The movie is a reminder that investing in just one person’s life has a ripple effect. Every person is significant. I hate to keep bringing up social media, but it seems we are in a culture of viewing people as numbers. How many followers, how many likes. Mister Rogers could have easily thought “I reach millions of people every day. That is enough.” But no, he invested in people’s lives in real and direct ways. This reminds me of another favorite quote of his:“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

So, I guess that wasn’t quite a review, but more so my thoughts on Mister Rogers in general after seeing the movie! Ha! But all in all, the movie made me love Mister Rogers more. He was an incredible man and I’m grateful his message is being spread in this way. We all need it.

On the day of the movie release, I posted this illustration to instagram. After hearing from many of you, I decided to release it as a special edition print for those who would like one! The print is sized to 8″ x 8″ and orders will ship the week of December 2nd. Thank you, everyone, who purchased a print already! You’re all the best.

FREE SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY GRAPHICS TO SHARE THE SHOP SMALL LOVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Happy almost Thanksgiving, friends!

In honor of Small Business Saturday 2019, I put together these hand-drawn graphics for you! I hope you will join me in spreading the Small Business love this year.

Small Business Saturday means a ton to me because I believe supporting small businesses changes lives in a direct way.

My life is a testament to this. First, by growing up witnessing my father run his small business with all its ups and downs. Then, when I met my husband, he had a lot of experience in business (both success and failures). Shortly after we started dating we decided to open a business together, which I still can’t believe! I think I always had an entreprenuerual spirit within me, but my husband really encouraged me in this area. In 2012 when I started Lily & Val, Mak and I decided to close our former business and dedicate our time to L&V.

Throughout my time as a small business owner, I have failed miserably, lost a lot of money, made a TON of mistakes, many of which were devasting mistakes. I’ve had sleepless nights, made tough decisions, and shed many tears. This has given me such a heart for the small business owner and the entreprenuer. It’s not for the faint of heart.

On the flip side, I’ve been able to do what I love, dream big, and create a life that I look forward to living! This is huge. Is it hard? YES. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Your support of small business offers encouragement to a real person working hard to do what they love. When you shop small you are making dreams come true.

THE GRAPHICS:

With that said, I would love it if you would spread the shop small love! Please feel free to share and tag @lilyandval! Click on the images and it will open a new window with a higher resolution file perfect for sharing on social media. This year I’ve included both square images and graphics sized for Instagram stories. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

And from my family to yours, I just wanted to say THANK YOU again for shopping small. Your support of our small business means the world. Be sure to sign up to become an L&V insider – we’ll be sharing our Small Business Saturday deals there first!

Lily & Val For Mixbook Custom Holiday Photo Cards

I always love collaborating with my friends at Mixbook and today I’m thrilled to show you the seven brand new custom holiday photo card designs for this season! As always, these designs were hand-drawn with love.

I haven’t yet decided which one I’m going to choose for my own cards. Last year, I used this one and absolutely love how it turned out!

Keep reading to see all of the new designs plus I have a special coupon code for you this year! 

Merry Berries: The soft blush with the pop of red is just so lovely for Christmas!

Pen & Ink Botanical: This black and white card is minimalist yet detailed. Any photo would work beautifully in this card!

P.S. Don’t forget about the matching labels! Every card has a label option to go with it.

Jingle Bell Rock: A fun and playful card! Also, the theme of this year’s Lily & Val Holiday Collection. 

Tis the Season: I think this card is so unique with the hand-drawn greenery pattern. The tiny oranges are my favorite part.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree. This one is a real contender for my own card this year! I love how whimsical it feels and the oval shape for the photo.

JOY: Bold lettering + a pretty hand-drawn magnolia. I think magnolias are unexpected for Christmas and I love that!

And last but not least, Traditional Greenery: If you’re looking for a bright pop of color to send in the mail, this red card is eye catching and elegant!

I hope you like all of the new cards!

Take a peek at all the Lily & Val For Mixbook Photo Card Options here, including previous year’s cards that are still available!

You may recognize a lot of these designs as prints in the Lily & Val shop! Also, if photo cards aren’t your thing, most of the designs are also available as cards without the photo on lilyandval.com.

And as promised, a coupon code for you! 

Use code: DESIGNER19 on Mixbook.com ​for 50% off cards for new customers! (expires 12/20/19)

The Mixbook editor is so easy to use and makes ordering your Christmas cards I breeze!  I hope you enjoy customizing your Christmas cards! I can’t wait to see which one you choose!!

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide: For the Little Ones

This is Vienna’s first Christmas and there are so many things I want to buy for her! So, I thought I’d put together a list of some beautiful, handmade items I found on Etsy for the little ones this year.

I’m really loving these name puzzles! There are many options for just first name or first and middle.

How cute is this Christmas Eve bag? What a sweet tradition to start with a little one.

This shop has the cutest play mats! I love that they would work well for tummy time now and a cute rug in Vienna’s room later.

Rug for baby Linen round rug Linen rug Children's rug image 0

I am in love with Bannor Toys’ products. I purchased their alphabet block set already and also have a bunny teether. This classic teether and rattle set is just adorbale.

This felt pomegranate toy is so sweet and realistic! There are lots of fruits and veggies to pick from in their shop.  I want to collect them all!

Toy fruits Pomegranate Baby gift kids felt toy image 0

Ok, maybe this gift is cheating because it’s SORT-OF for Vienna, but mostly for me. 🙂 This teething necklace would go with so many different outfits. I love it!

This box is such a beautiful keepsake! I know I already have so many little things I want to keep like her hospital hat – this would be perfect to store those things. It comes personalized with your baby’s initails and is also available in ivory or blue!

For even more gift ideas for the kiddos, check out this Etsy Gift Guide!

I hope you enjoyed these ideas! I love that all of these shops are small businesses to support this season too. Happy shopping!