Spotlight On: Melissa O'Boyle of Bow to the East

Webster's Dictionary defines macrame as "a coarse lace or fringe made by knotting threads or cords in a geometrical pattern; also  :  the art of tying knots in patterns". See also, pretty, stylish, relaxing, and useful

I kid. I'm not about to make this spotlight into an 8th grade running for class president speech. What I AM going to make this post about is Melissa O'Boyle, her beautiful face, and her lovely macrame stylings. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa with our new and improved set of "Spotlight" questions, did the ole' snappity snap with the camera, and came away totally inspired. Her work is gorgeous and we couldn't wait to find out more about what makes her tick--I bet you can't either. OK, on to the interview!

Gimme! Photo by Christina Wedge

Gimme! Photo by Christina Wedge

Who is your design or art crush?

The artists and designers that I crush on the most are my peers and emerging artists I find on Instagram and at local shops, festivals and galleries.  They inspire me to showcase my work and to think outside any limits I have created.  It is amazing how much amazing talent is out there all around us.

Again, gimme. Photo by Christina Wedge

Again, gimme. Photo by Christina Wedge

What three words would describe your aesthetic?

Organic, Rhythmical, and Tranquil

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Which of your career milestones makes you most proud?

I was very proud when I was asked to put my work up in the Downtown Seattle West Elm in 2014 as well in the West Elm Ponce City Market in Atlanta in 2016.

In 2015, I was commissioned to make 8 large window hangings for a restaurant in Austin, TexasIt is an excellent Latin Coastal Kitchen in Austin’s SoCo neighborhood with great exposure. Everything on the menu is amazing including fresh squeezed fruit margaritas.

In 2015 I was also asked to host my first workshop.  Teaching workshops opened a whole other door for me. I absolutely love sharing my passion for macrame. I have two workshops coming up in Atlanta.
March 8th -
April 12th -

How did you take the leap towards a creative career?

The way that my macrame work came into fruition is an interesting and serendipitous story.  One day I found an old book at a used bookstore that gave instructions on macrame.  This refreshed my memory of what I had been taught by a high school art teacher.  At the time I was living in a lovely little cabin-like cottage on the Puget Sound in Seattle.  All the walls were wood paneling which was pretty outdated although it has some charm.  I made my first large scale macrame wall hanging for myself to soften the space. I had a friend from Atlanta see a picture of it on social media and she asked me to make her a wall hanging.  Once I was finished I had it all wrapped up and I went to a custom shipping spot, The Sip and Ship, to get a custom box made.  The owner asked what was in my wrapped up fabric.  I showed her a picture. She loved it and directed me to go to West Elm and show them my work because they feature local artists. West Elm asked me to make a wall hanging to put up in the store as well as have a pop up shop.  That prompted me to make a number of plant hangers and smaller wall hangings.  The ones I did not sell I put on Etsy. About 6 months later a marketing manager for a restaurant group in Austin Texas found me on Etsy and commissioned me to make eight 6’ x6’ wall hangings that are permanently on display in the hip restaurant. I’ve gotten a number of jobs from people that see my work in that restaurant and ask me to commission work for their homes.    The beauty of the unfolding of these events has me feeling very blessed.  It’s amazing how things happen so much easier when there is no pressure to make things work.
When things started happening for me and my macrame without much effort and mostly through word of mouth, I eventually started to put more and more energy into marketing my work. It’s very gratifying to be able to work for myself being creative.

How do you balance work and play?

 I have learned in my travels and soul searching that anything that feels like you are a fish going up stream is a waste of energy.  Of course, we have to put a certain amount of effort into our lives, but things are for the most part supposed to feel good. One of my favorite ways of balancing working and playing is to have a free day and have a little local adventure. To me, that means picking a neighborhood in the city I haven’t been to in a while and just walking around with no plan or expectation. I might walk in the boutiques to get inspiration and design ideas, browse through a used bookstore, and sit at coffee shop reading and people watching. Almost anytime I have a day like this I meet the most interesting people and find the most amazing little treasures.

If you could live in any place or era, what would it be?

 I would love to live in the seventies. I’m admittedly a little bit of a hippie at heart. Music was revolutionized at this time as were so many other parts of American culture.  The style was characterized by *playful embellishment and radical experimentation with form*. The women’s rights movement made significant strides in the 1970’s and took a prominent role within society.   All in all, it just sounds like a lot of fun!

Chocolate or wine?

Why can’t I have both? haha. If I had to choose I’d go with wine.  It could be red, rose, or a bubbly.  I like them all!

How did you come up with the name Bow to the East?

On one of my little day adventures I came across an amazing book called the Woodstock Craftsman’s Manual. This book is straight out of the seventies and gives instructions, with great hand-drawn pictures teaching Weaving, Pottery, Macrame, Beads, Leather, Tie-Dye & batik, Embroidery, Silkscreen, Home Recording, Candles, and Crochet.  On the cover is a drawing of hands making macrame and it looks just like something I made in high school when I first learned the technique.

In the section on macrame it starts out with this great tidbit:

“It’s emphasis on rhythmic control has a stabilizing effect that has led some of the world’s foremost statesman like Churchill and De Gaulle to find soothing relaxation in both knitting and knotting. It can be satisfying therapy for those who see their larger problems in terms of confused strands and loose, fraying ends." ~excerpt from Paul Schwartz in Woodstock Craftsman’s Manual

The chapter goes on to list everything you will need to start the process of macrame such as tools, materials, accouterments.  On the section on Planning and Preparing it states simply: Bow to the East. I just loved that. The East represents new beginnings and to me it represents home. So when I am starting a new project I seek out my old compass among my raw gemstones, I find East and do a ceremonial bow.

Thank you so much, Melissa, for your beautiful work and for your time! We are so excited to have turned the spotlight on you today and can't wait to get one of your wall hangings in our own homes!

Xoxo, Susie & Christina

Traditional or Transitional?

Knowing what your style is goes a long way when it comes to making your house feel like your very own home. What about if you don't know what the names of different styles mean?

For today's post, we're reblogging from Laurel & Wolf about learning the difference between Traditional and Transitional. Enjoy!

Laurel & Wolf Explains: Traditional vs Transitional

Ever wonder what makes a traditional or transitional design? We’ve got the 411 on a few tricks for detecting the differences between the two!


Traditional design has its roots in 18th century England and French countryside. The style is known for its warm, inviting interiors that scream comfort.

Bronze accents, a rich chandelier and luxe drapes gathered loosely are common in traditional interiors.

A wall sconce with an ivory shade and detailed millwork create a warm, inviting feeling in the bathroom.

Traditional color schemes typically include neutral tones with warm, rich woods.

This traditional office features a Persian rug, dark wood tones and coffered ceilings.

Symmetry is important to traditional design. The furnishings are balanced to create a room that invites conversation. Accents include plump cushions, plentiful pillows and silk flowers in a gorgeous vase.

Traditional designs feature soft, curved edges and natural stone, such as granite countertops.

Walnut railings are a common feature in a traditional space, and detailed millwork can be found on the staircase and the wood molding.


Transitional design combines the best of traditional and contemporary styles to create a timeless interior that everyone will love! Together, the perfect balance of masculine and feminine results in an elegant, classic design.

Transitional designs are known for their subtle, clean color palettes, which create a relaxing and uncomplicated room.

Accents of rich wood range in shades from white to chocolate are typically added to create a sense of warmth.

With transitional design, soft-colored carpets (or warm wood floors) and a textured rug are generally used.

Clean lines and rounded profiles keep the room feeling fresh and comfortable. The result is a room that is not too manly and not too frilly.

 A signature light fixture, minimal accents and solid-colored drapes exude a sense of simplicity and sophistication.

A neutral backdrop allows the exquisite traditional millwork to have a powerful impact in the space.

Geometric tile patterns in natural tones on the floor provide a subtle contrast to the traditional settee.

Check out our Pinterest page for more examples of traditional and transitional designs!

xoxo, Laurel & Wolf

Halloween Entertaining: Not-So-Predictable Tabletop Decor

Halloween usually conjures up images of cotton spiderwebs, orange and black decor, and anything bloody, gory, or just plain scary.  Well we don't think that your Halloween Entertaining Experience needs to be so literal this year.  Why not inject a little style into your decor?    

A beautiful tablescape is achieved through layering.  By maintaining a fairly neutral palette and varying the textures, finishes and contrasts on the tabletop, we created a dramatic, spooky effect without being so literal about the theme.  Now we will show you how to do this yourself!

Getting ready for a party doesn't have to feel like work, get your friends and kids involved, not only will they enjoy creating this beautiful piece of art, it will speed up the process and allow you to work on other things!

B helped us layout the greenery and twist this awesome floral accent (don't go looking in the Halloween aisle, its in the floral section) from Hobby Lobby to look like spooky twigs, or long spindly witch fingers!  By not going straight to the Halloween section when you walk in the store, you force yourself to think more creatively on how to evoke the theme rather than spelling it out.  Only a few items on our table are from the Halloween section which means that not only will you deliver classier, more original decor, but you can reuse most of these pieces throughout the year! 

Once you lay down the greenery and "witch fingers" its smooth sailing.  We sprinkled in some  Metal Tapered Candle Holders and some Lanterns from World Market with their Tapered LED Candles.  I had never used LED candles until now because I have always been a fan of the aura and smell of a burning candle, but let me tell you they are awesome!  Not only do you not have to worry about messing up your beautiful table decor with melted wax or kids playing with the flames, but they last forever and emit an extremely bright and authentic glow.  Can you tell I am sold?

When shopping for tabletop decorations, or anything really, it is important to keep an open mind and stay calm, cool and creative.  You will have a hiccup, so its best to go in prepared to think on your feet.  Notice the taupe napkin at the heads of the table, and the coppery colored ones on the sides?  This was not planned, it was because Hobby Lobby only had 4 of each color, and see how beautiful it turned out?  I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!  

You probably also noticed the vampire teeth at the heads of the table and the skulls on the sides, another happy accident.  Stores like Homegoods can be awesome, but also discouraging because you'll often find something amazing, but to no avail, will another one be found in the store.  True to form, we found these amazing Skull Place Holders, but there were only 4 in the pack.  Luckily we didn't get discouraged and remembered the vampire teeth garnishes we had planned for our drinks (post coming up Monday) and we got extra to use at the heads of the table.  A little lipstick on the teeth and what an awesome placeholder!

As darkness approached, the table atmosphere took on a whole new life.  Its important to remember what time of day you will be entertaining and decorate accordingly.  If you are entertaining at night, try to incorporate as many candles into your table top decor as possible, it really creates an entirely different feel than overhead lighting.

See what I mean?  The night became magical, and a full moon really topped it off.  We hope we have inspired you to go out and create your own magical Halloween table setting outside the predictable parameters of the holiday's decor!

Below is a list of the items with links to where you can purchase them.  We already had the table cloth, but if you don't have a nice neutral tablecloth, or want a more casual look, I think a roll of masking paper would be a really nice runner and add to the organic textures.  Home Depot also has some great canvas drop cloths, which would make really awesome floor length table cloths for a great price!

Skull, Happy Halloween Banner, Tapered LED Candles, Twig Flatware, Black Square Dinner Plates, Metal Tapered Candle Holders, Owl Candle Holders, Lanterns, Cloches,  White Square Dinner Plate,  Skull Place Holders, Vintage Tabouret Guest Chairs, Head Chairs, Faux Sheepskin