On Saturday, June 6th, Lily & Val celebrated 3 years! It was exactly 3 years ago on that day that I pressed publish on my Etsy store. Little did I know that small act would end up changing my life. I am constantly amazed at where this journey has taken me and how it continues to grow. To every person who supported me and my small business along the way, I am grateful for you. I think about the wonderful people I’ve met through L&V- people I am now fortunate to call dear friends- and I feel blessed.

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This photo was taken at my first photo shoot with my friend, Amanda Kraft Photograpy.

As I sit here to write this post, nostalgic feelings come flooding in. Knowing that I wanted to explore my crafty/artsy side, my husband constructed a desk for me and we painted it with a chalkboard top (a sign of things to come no doubt!) We put my new desk in a corner of our living room and I started making chalkboards in my garage. Soon, both areas had been overtaken with my new hobby.

2In those early days, I began by creating hand painted, custom chalkboards for homes and weddings. Pictured to the left is one of the custom pieces I sold when I opened the shop. It’s amazing the difference a few years of practices makes! For everyone that asks me about getting started in lettering or chalkboard lettering, that is my number one piece of advice- practice!

By Christmas of 2012, I was ready to make Lily & Val my full time job and I left a career in advertising to pursue this new passion for drawing. I also realized I needed to make some big changes in order to make the business sustainable (and get my house back!) Hence, I began offering printed items and stationery produced with photographs of my chalk art. I haven’t looked back since!

Many of my early designs, which became the first chalk art print offerings, still remain as best sellers in the shop. I call these the L&V classics and here are some of my favorites. To check out even more classics plus early hand-painted pieces, visit our Pinterest board dedicated to Lily & Val beginnings.

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Love You To The Moon & Back. This print remains our best seller. I had an epiphany that the moon looked a lot like chalk and used that as inspiration to create this simple and sweet design.

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This was my first coffee design and I still love it today! Chalkboards and coffee go together so well, making this one a classic. I have this design displayed in my own kitchen as part of my coffee station.

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I drew this “Friends become our chosen family” design for a dear friend who was giving it as a gift. I am happy I turned it into a print because I’m often told how the phrase continues to mean so much shared between friends. That is, for sure, one of my favorite things about what I do: providing artwork that gives my customers a way to express their love.

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The original drawing of this Irish Blessing was hand painted and shipped to a sweet woman who was commemorating her Ireland-born mother who passed from breast cancer. It was an honor to create it for her.

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I released my “May your days be merry & bright” design for Lily & Val’s first Christmas season in 2012. It was the most popular print that season and continued to be among the best sellers each Christmas season that followed.

All of these classic designs have a realness to them. Since I was just getting started in lettering, the drawing is by no means polished or perfect, but I think the imperfections are what gives it character. Although most of my current designs now have colored elements, I have a special fondness for black and white since that’s where it all began. My heart is in each one of these drawings.

As Lily & Val continues to expand our offerings into new art mediums and products, I cannot wait to see where the next 3 years take us. At the same time, looking back to where it all began is humbling. I can’t thank you all enough for every purchase and sweet word.

Do you have a classic L&V print in your home? I would love to see it! Please email hello@lilyandval.com or share with us on social media using the hashtag #lilyandval.