About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

An Interview with Cathy Van Hoang

Jellyfish Air Plants by Cathy Van Hoang of Petit Beast

Prepare yourselves to be wowed. To say that I’m excited about this week’s interview with Cathy Van Hoang of Petit Beast would be the understatement of the year! I have the biggest love affair with sea urchins, which dates back to my early teenage years and all began during a trip to the tide pools along the coast of Corona Del Mar. I spent a day during the summer collecting the

shells and quite literally stumbled across the abandoned homes of sea urchins. While many of the sea urchins I found were worse for wear, broken homes if you will, I did find a few that were in pristine condition.

When I happened upon Cathy’s shop, my heart nearly leapt out of my chest with amazement.I felt like

I’d caught a glimpse of sea urchin heaven — where every time a bell rings a sea urchins gets its tentacles and becomes a jellyfish … or something. Cathy’s photographs are so ethereal and pleasing to the eye, I could see myself visiting her shop time and time again just to gaze at her brilliant photography and post-processing.

Without further delay, enjoy this wonderful interview with Cathy.

Share a little bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Cathy Van Hoang. I grew up in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. I have a BFA in Graphic Design and I was lucky enough to go to art school in Florence for a year. My true passion is photography. I come from a long a line of photographers. My dad was really hardcore when it came to photography. With him, there was no such thing as taking a quick and simple photo. Everything had to be a perfect. He would spend a considerable amount of time making these elaborate setups with various props and then making everybody pose for what seemed like hours. That was no fun and nearly killed my interest in photography. But despite all of this, I somehow managed to pick up the camera myself and I’m glad I did!

voyage jellyfish air plant by Petit Beast

Share a little bit about your shop.
Ok, I’ve got a confession to make that may surprise you. Like many people reading this, I’ve got a black thumb. In the past, I’ve caused the demise of many plants and flowers. When I discovered air plants and how hardy they were, I simply fell in love. I became an overly-enthusiastic air plant collector (hoarder), and our place was quickly becoming too densely populated. My boyfriend suggested that I start selling some of the plants in order to keep my collection from taking over our home and our lives. A couple photo sessions later, my Petit Beast shop was born!

The idea of turning air plants into jellyfish was an accidental one. I had the right ingredients to make them from the start. Sales really started to pick up and I was running out of space, so I started to hang them from the ceiling and voila. All of the positive responses I’ve been getting from people makes me very happy. I’m really glad that people are able to relate to them.

Stripey and green jellyfish air plants by Petit Beast


What’s the story behind the name of your shop?
Air plants are incredibly fascinating to me. Each plant is really unique. It’s almost as if they have their own identity and personality. It may sound kind of crazy but, I like to think of them as pets. They’re little beasts that I adopt, care for, raise, and then send out into the world! So, the name Petit Beast was a natural fit for the shop.

Share a little bit about your workspace. 
Like most online sellers, I’m doing all this from home. My boyfriend and I live together and rent a beautiful green Craftsman home in Long Beach, CA. Our space is small, but incredibly cozy. We have an eclectic mix of antique wooden furniture procured over several years of hunting at flea markets, swapmeets, and on Craigslist. My workspace consists of any flat surface that is available to me.

the workspace of Cathy Van Hoang

Lately I’ve been hogging up an old desk we’ve affectionately named Lion Desk. It has those cool lion head brass drawer pulls and the desk’s feet are lion paws.

What does a typical day look like for you?
By day, I am a freelance Art Director/Designer. For the most part, that involves working for various design studios in LA. I recently started my own design and photography business called Studio CvH, so I work from home between agency gigs. In my downtime from the day jobs, I run Petit Beast. I do everything for the shop myself: caring for the plants, photography, graphic design, advertising, listing, supply purchasing, packaging and sending out orders, answering emails, and customer service. All of this while daydreaming about food. I’m a total foodie!

Branding for Petit Beast by Cathy Van Hoang


What’s your most-prized nature-inspired possession in your home?

It would have to be an antique wooden console table that we purchased from our awesome neighbors for $50. The piece is amazing! It’s over 100 years. It has an extremely intricate floral motif that was all hand-carved.

What are a few things you enjoy about nature? 
I think that nature has a real calming effect on all of us. Whether we are in a natural environment or just simply having some plants around the house, nature really makes us all feel good.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Outdoors In: Irideeën

My cup of tea by Iris of Irideeën

I’ve never been a fan of stark, unpainted white walls because I’ve always thought they were drab and lacked life. But lately I’ve been keeping an open mind about them. Iris of Irideeën (which translates to “Iridieas”) makes white walls look fabulous. Her entire home is a testament to the fact that white walls are not boring. Graceful and airy, Iris’s house has wonderful accents of vibrant color that really pop off the bright and clean white walls.

I’m quite taken with her workspace and her inspiration board — it’s rendered me speechless. So much beauty to behold in her home. Be sure to check out Iris’s blog for even more photos of her interior spaces.

Iris' daughter's room

[image above]: This is my daughter’s room (she is almost 4). I wanted to add a bit of quirkiness to her room, hence the small antler, the mushroom (which is actually a lamp) and the plastic rabbit (which is very kitsch, but I like it!). I painted the base of the antler in the same color as the cabinet (Charleston gray by Farrow & Ball) to let it blend in with the rest of the room.

mimosa flowers

[image above]: These are mimosa flowers, I bought them at our local flower store. I am fortunate to live in a country where flowers are available throughout the year for reasonable prices. I really need to have fresh flowers in our home (nomen est omen when you are named Iris), so buy a few bunches every week.

Bookshelf from Irideen

[image above]: I bought the rabbit for Easter last year. It is a candle and I liked it so much I kept it on display for the rest of the year. The two little bronze birds were a gift from a sweet friend. I bought the deer in Vienna last year. The white bird has a little led-light in it, I bought it at the very Dutch store Hema. The upside down cup is by one of my favorite Dutch designers Lenneke Wispelwey. 

animal and flowers from Irideeen

[image above]: I like to place little animals throughout the house. This one has a temporary spot at the base of the lamp, but it can have a different home next week. On this cabinet I placed some hyacinths, a small white spray painted branch and some blossoming branches. I like a single variety of flowers in a vase or pot, I find they are often more powerful together than if they are used in a bouquet with many other flowers. I am not a big fan of traditional bouquets and I always remove the green leaves many florists put in to add volume. Let the flowers speak for themselves!

butterfly and feather from Irideeen

[image above]: I bought the ceramic feather in Vienna, it is actually a Christmas ornament. I like the softness and delicate structure of it. The butterfly is made of feathers too, it is so light and ready to air.

Iris's workspace

[image above]: I change my inspiration board once in a while, to have a different view while I am behind my computer. This time, I used the bird poster by Chacha as a base, and added some cards, magazine clippings and small items in the same color scheme. There is also a picture of my bridal bouquet, some cards by Het Bos and many bird items; I use them a lot in my styling.

Living room mantle from Irideeen

[image above]: This is the mantle in our living room. I created this display last Christmas. I taped and spray painted different jars and also painted some dried branches in the same gold. I added a vintage bird poster, some ceramic animals and mushrooms and a birch log. And voila; a gilded forest!

Wall graphics in Iris' son's bedroom

[image above]: This is my son’s bedroom. We added two wallpaper animals by Inke. They are available many animal shapes and in all kinds of different vintage patterns. The rocking moose is by Ikea and a big hit with the children. 

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Photography by Mister Onüff

Macro shot of a butterfly wing by Mister Onüff

Artist Info

  • Name: Mister Onüff
  • Based in: Madrid, Spain
  • Visit his work on Behance or portfolio

Nature through the eyes of Madrid, Spain-based José María Parra Sánchez, or Mister Onüff, is enrapturing. José is a creative director and founder of a design company based in Madrid, Spain, though he’s from a small village on the island of Ölandin in Sweden. He captures the finest of details in nature that elicit many an ooh and ahh.

details by mr. onuff

Mister Onüff’s macro photography is quite exceptional, too. It sparks an ache in me to take up macro photography, something that I dabbled in a little bit of in high school and college. My camera at the time had incredible macro capabilities that I would go out on a limb and say could rival some of the most expensive macro lenses. The only problem, however, was that I couldn’t fine-tune any settings because there really weren’t any settings on my point and shoot.

macro photography by Mr. Onuff

I’m captivated by the dream-like qualities of many of Mister Onüff’s photos. Each photo from his Botanic Garden set look like a still from a dream sequence, so soothing and the sort of thing you’d want to look at before you nod off at night.

Botanic Garden by Mister Onüff

To learn more about the fantastic Mister Onüff, read his bio on his portfolio.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

The Angry Weather

Thunderbolt and lightning! Very very frightning, me!

One of my favorite songs since childhood is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” … so much so that throughout high school and college, my screen name on aol instant messenger (does anyone even use that anymore?) was Venetian Rhapsody — sadly, the name Bohemian Rhapsody was already taken. But Venetian Rhapsody was a nice alternative.

I loved the range of Freddy Mercury’s voice and how theatrical Queen’s musical style was. I think the only band that comes close to Queen as far as theatrics in vocals are concerned is Muse, though feel free to enlighten me as my musical tastes have been limited to Yo Gabba Gabba songs or the theme song to Dora the Explorer as of late.

I started humming “Bohemian Rhapsody” in my head, and probably out loud with a little bit of really awful air guitar, while perusing Iveth Morales’ shop, The Angry Weather. Set against a backdrop of geodes, these jewels are so rock and roll. Quite magnifico, oh oh oh. Oh Mama Mia! Some of her product photos transport me to the land before time … or at least the land before my time, in the early ’80s.

jewelry by The Angry Weather

Pretty rad, right? For more angry weather jewelry, hop over to Iveth’s shop.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Wassupbrothers

Jen, a little rose pig by Wassupbrothers

I’m always on the prowl for unique toys for my little dearests, toys that I secretly want as my own as well. I especially like vintage toys because I feel like they have a lot of character that have a story behind them.

When I stumbled across Wassupbrothers, a shop by Olga Wassupbrothers of Moscow, Russia, whose items look like they could be whimsical storybook characters, it was love at first sight. All of the animals in the shop are uniquely handmade and crafted with repurposed fabrics, all of which Olga finds that it’s a “magic to see, how small pieces of fabric, vintage buttons, sweaters or old dresses turn to a soulful creations.”

animals by Olga Wassupbrothers

Those were a few that tickled my fancy. Have a look around Olga’s shop to discover your favorite.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.