Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



art is a gift

This is Olya with a very special painting. I’ll come back to her in a moment.

My husband David and I started a tradition many years ago that whenever we would travel internationally, we would buy an original piece of art from a local artist. I’ve always had a vision of what we would do with these gems, but in full disclosure… I have yet to execute the vision. I’ve been patient for good reason and know that this collection of “travel art” will soon make it on a large wall in our home.

When our family traveled to Europe this summer, we were successful in finding street artists in London and Paris, we were gifted a beautiful photograph (art) in Sweden… but we never did find a piece of art in Norway.

Enter Olya.

A year ago, we were strangers. Olya was a Project Lifer who followed everything I shared on Instagram, and somehow I took notice of her and started following her as well. We were “instafriends.” And then she came to CHA, a trade show that our team attends each January in Anaheim, California. She nervously came into our booth and was quickly embraced with hugs and love and I think the nerves went away.

The day Olya and I met was the day we became “real” friends. She gave me one of the most generous and thoughtful gifts I have ever received: a watercolor portrait of our dog Oreo. Check out his hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see it there if you missed it earlier (#OreoHiggins).

I was blown away by Olya’s generosity and talent. Fast forward. Olya and another Project Life® customer-turned-friend Jen Lake met up in Arizona and together they came to our office to hang out for a bit in October this year. SO fun! While she was there, I commissioned Olya to paint our Norway picture! We couldn’t get one there, but this was the next best thing for sure. I gave her a picture of our little red house outside of Oslo that we called home for a week and she sat in our conference room for hours, whipping up her magic.

I popped in to see Olya’s progress once in a while, taking pictures along the way, and thought it would be fun to share this with you guys.








So neat, right? I think it was a fun experience for Olya, but I’m the one who is immensely blessed. David and I instantly fell in love with the finished piece and it means so much to me to have Norway represented in our travel wall (when that goes up). The fact that our friend was the one who painted it just makes it all the more special.

Art is a gift. There’s no question. I’m so thankful for artists who share their talents with others.


6 Responses

  1. Jenny B. says:

    It’s beautiful! I loved seeing her progress, too. :)

  2. Kris says:

    What a talent she is!

  3. rhonda says:

    We do the art from our travels too and i loooooove this!!! How cool!

  4. Sara says:

    Seriously, I do not understand the hype over her. Her work looks like something my child could draw in his kindergarten class.

    • Jolene says:

      Really?? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. There is no need to be mean. A little kindness goes a long way.

  5. Katie says:

    I have this same tradition! I started it years ago on my own and continued it when I was married. Now that I’m divorced I will keep it going again. I LOVE finding street artists in places and buying their art, but a stop in a local shop is just as great! So glad to have found someone else with the same tradition as me!