In the Studio with Julia Kostreva

September 03, 2014

Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Earlier this year I asked my friend Julia Kostreva for a little peak into her studio and creative process. I'm a huge fan of her work and admire everything she is doing. Here is a little glimpse into our day!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work!
I'm a creative director and designer in San Francisco. I help creative businesses with branding direction and development to build their vision, visual design like logo and branding design, styling, campaign art direction, graphic design, web design, and print. I love tactile work as well - I have a background in printmaking, screen printing, and letterpress. I also design products for my shop. My shop is my playground. I like to paint for patterned products and also paint just to paint, and design products that I’d like to have. My newest products are a mix of joyful painting and pattern, and lighthearted photography and a couple daily mantras to keep us going. Also, over the last few months I have begun to collaborate with boutiques and makers to create collaborations and exclusive products - this has been my favorite thing yet and I hope to be able to do it more!

Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Can you describe your creative process?
I use japanese sumi ink to get started with my patterns and designs, then finish coloring them digitally on the computer. For example - there are the two new paint stroke patterned iPhone cases in my shop. They are different designs in the end, but they are both created from the same original black ink painting, if you can believe it! I use the computer to design from pieces of scanned artwork, transform shape and scale and bring in color. These are both inspired by the Henri Matisse quote, "There are always flowers for those who want to see them." The original painting is called Garden, and is sold as an artist print in my shop.

Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
What inspires you?
Everything in my daily life - I'll see something out the window, or pick something up on a walk, or bring in new plants or move furniture around and create different spaces. I like to get away from the computer and see things in a different light. When I'm looking to spark an idea.... Giving myself space and time always (albeit slowly) brings me the best ideas. Inspiration is sudden, and you can look to find inspiration, but the best inspiration simply finds you. I also love trying new things - trying different mediums, learning new processes, dabbling and learning about things that other people do. When I try something new it changes the way I think about things, gives me new methods of approach, and most of all, trying new things gives me so much respect for the people who have mastered it.

Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
If you could only choose one, what is your favorite item in your shop?
I love artwork... I'd choose one of the ink paintings. I can't stop looking at "Women" or "The Row".

What is the most important thing you've learned since starting your business?
Keep going. Definitely one of my biggest daily mantras of my life. Things go up and down all the time. That’s the nature of freelance. I like a challenge, and I like that every day is completely different. I encourage you, find things that light up your heart! Work relentlessly. Make that thing because you want to see it... Be on fire about it! Make it happen. Then do something else.

Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /
Inside the Studio with Julia Kostreva /

What has been your favorite moment so far?
I feel very grateful that I’m able to continue to grow as a freelancer, able to work with creative people, help people start or grow their business, and able to create my own projects …and all the while earn a living. I wouldn’t trade it for any other life.

Where would you like to see your studio in 5 years?
Right now it's been about a year and half since I started freelance - so I'm now getting my feet planted and feeling sturdy. Feels like a good start. I'm really hoping to get back to my art roots and make more things with my hands. Create freely and design for different handmade processes. I'd love to continue to collaborate with boutiques and other makers - that is the most inspiring and amazing and humbling experience as an artist, to be able to see how others work, and work alongside them on something collaborative.

Vist Julia's shop at


We are Frends! + {Giveaway – 1 pair Frends Headphones to 3 lucky winners!}

November 05, 2013

i've got a lot of traveling ahead of me in the next few months – headed home to atlanta for a wedding and then back again for the holidays and i'll be spending my birthday in brazil and argentina! thanks for everyone's recommendations, my sister and i were able to squeeze in some extra days for our trip so we didn't have to decide between the two after all.

when i'm on the go – i always carry my apple headphones for conference calls, movie watching on the plane and music. frankly those headphones are getting really old and beat up so when frends asked if i was interested in checking out their headphones i was on board. i brought along the taylor headphones to palm springs and received so many compliments on the look.

i use the layla headphones at my desk and the ella when i'm running. i love all of them, initially i wasn't used to having anything on my head but they are really comfortable. the sound is great and one of my favorite things about the headphones is that they work with my iphone so i can take my conference calls in style! the headphones are designed with women in mind – it's genuine leather, with handcrafted metal and the cord has a soft fabric touch!

frends has offered to giveaway a pair of frends headphones for 3 lucky winners! you get your choice on which style you like the most. once you log in with your facebook or email below, you will be prompted with a few different ways to enter! to gain additional entries and increase your chances of winning the prize, you can do one or all of them – and if you already follow just enter your info and you'll get automatic entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

for more @frends headphones fun - follow them on instagram @frends


Upper Metal Class

October 17, 2013

Upper Metal Class / photo by Jennifer Chong
today i going inside the studio of upper metal class! i first learned about upper metal class when i was browsing the brika site. i am completely in love with all of t's creations, they are simple yet so uniquely designed. i love the triangle necklace and sunset earrings among many other items in her collection. i was so excited when jen and kena of brika helped connect us together. i got a chance to spend some time with t hearing about her creative journey and watching her make an exclusive item for brika. keep reading below to see and hear more.

Upper Metal Class / photo by Jennifer Chong
Upper Metal Class / photo by Jennifer Chong
Upper Metal Class / photo by Jennifer Chong

tell us a little bit about upper metal class, and what you were doing before you got started.
before upper metal class i worked in the clothing and footwear industry for a good amount of years till eventually the high stress and intense pressure got to me. i ended up taking time away from it all to re-evaluate my priorities in my life and while i was trying to figure that all out i took on various jobs from working in a department store selling high end handbags, to assisting wardrobe stylists on feature films to working in an office that produces commercials. i was in a hard search for what that special thing was that i was most passionate about and it wasn’t till i stopped looking is when my hobby of making jewelry turned into something much more then what i had ever imagined it to be. it’s just something that i fell madly in love with to the point where i am excited about everyday of my life.

Upper Metal Class / photo by Jennifer Chong
Upper Metal Class / photo by Jennifer Chong

Herb Lester Travel Guides

April 15, 2013

i haven't been traveling as much lately, and while i do love traveling – being home for an entire month feels really great. i've seen some of the herb lester travel guides floating around the internet and i am totally smitten. beautifully designed, modern travel guides, filled with things to see and places to eat. these guides look like they are worth picking up for travel and for a keepsake!


Inside Target HQ

February 18, 2013

a few weeks ago i had the pleasure of visiting the target headquarters in minneapolis with a few of my fellow target inner circle members. *pinch me* it was two days of fun filled activities including meeting the design and product development team, going inside the target test kitchen to makeup by sonia kashuk and a photo shoot styled by sam spector! i've always been really curious about target hq and being behind the scene so i thought i'd share pictures from my time there.

heres a snapshot of some of the inner circle members – yes, everything we are wearing is target!
TOP ROW - gina homolka (skinny taste) . jo-lynne shane (musings of a housewife) . jennifer pebbles (studio pebbles) . jennie lyon (sweet greens) . jenni radosevich (i spy diy) . allyson seligman (average girls guide) . patrice yursik (afrobella) . samantha hutchinson (could i have that?)BOTTOM ROW - amy mascott (teach mama) . anne sage (city sage) . me :)

Joel Penkman

July 10, 2012

Joel Penkman via Jennifer Chong
Joel Penkman via Jennifer Chong
loving the work of joel penkman at a quick glance i thought these were all photographs! you can purchase joel's prints on his etsy page here.



February 27, 2012

have you guys seen wayfare magazine? i am completely in love with the design and photography in every page of the magazine. anne ditmeyer and lauren o'neil did an amazing job on the design, it isn't just a magazine put online, it is interactive an engaging.



Carl Kleiner for IKEA

January 26, 2012

i love the work of carl kleiner, loving this new series for ikea where kitchenware turns to art. you may have seen some photos from his other series homemade is best where he worked with stylist evelina bratell and arranged baking supplies. more beautiful art and photography can be found on his website.


Kindergarten Kekec

January 16, 2012

love love love this kindergarten school in ljubljana, slovenia, designed by architect jure kotnik. love the colorful wooden against the natural wood. the design doesn't block all the light either, fabulous design.


I Love Doodle

January 10, 2012

Ilovedoodlei can't get enough of lim heng swee / i love doodle's work!



November 15, 2011

do you wear contact lenses? check out this awesome case design by beverly moon. i've always been annoyed at the screw on, pop on cases for at home use. i never even screw them on most of the time, so im thankful for beverly's design. help her fund her project on kickstarter for $40 you can back her up and receive 1 MOON lens case (retail value of $60). yes $60 might be a little steep for a contact case but lets think about it really... when have you ever bought a contact case in your life - you know they are always free from the doctor!


Yellow Pages Art

September 14, 2011

i don't remember the last time i touched a yellow page book. since we have the internet so easily available im not sure why many people would use the actually printed thing! but i do have to say if our yellow page cover looked like this i would be more enticed to take a peak!


Christopher Bettig

August 25, 2011

jcrew_tmblr_2011_RM_rockcenteroh my, can't stop staring a this installation in jcrew [rockafeller center] by artist christopher bettig. check out more of christophers work at the moutain label


They Draw and Cook!

August 16, 2011

theydrawandcookso cool! - a site dedicated to illustrated recipes! i could spend a few hours browsing they draw and cook they also have a sister site called they draw and travel.


Art of the Menu

August 12, 2011

Art-of-the-Menubesides loving to dine out, i love it when i go to a great restaurant with a well designed space and menu. check out this new site from under considereation that documents the art of the menu.

one. la condessa designed by mucca two. schillerys designed by mucca three. the kickin chicken designed by fuzzco


Carl Kleiner

August 04, 2011

CarlKleinerlovely work by carl kleiner, love the shapes and colors.


A for August

August 01, 2011

a for august!? seriously... where did july go, or the summer.. or the year for that matter. hope you all had a good weekend, my sister is still visiting so i will post the weekend highlights later this week. happy monday!


Happy Friday!

July 29, 2011

happy friday! my sister is visiting this weekend – you know what that means?! FOOD! we will be heading down to san diego for a day and then checking out unique la on sunday. hope your weekend is lovely!


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