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A CURATED LIFE                      

A Lifestyle Blog

Joanne's updates about what's happening behind the scenes and inspirations for living the curated life.


Updated: 9 hours ago

What possible pattern can emerge from seemingly random events and unexpected circumstances?

As I look back over this last year I see unrelated scraps of unexpected victories combined with disappointing setbacks. It is a jumble of experiences, both victories and defeats, piled up in my mind like the fabric scraps on my studio floor.

What do we do with all of these scraps of emotions? What possible pattern can emerge from seemingly random events and unexpected circumstances?

I am finding that with a bit of distance and perspective, a new picture is emerging. What seemed random and meaningless at the time is beginning to make sense. What I perceived as a series of setbacks has instead been a process of expansion and growth, helping me see where it all has led me.

After all, taking something random and problematic and transforming it into something useful and beautiful is what I do every day. Our scarf collection is a perfect example: I collect the scraps of fabrics that are too small to use for my kimonos and rather than discarding them, I combine coordinating prints and piece together a beautiful one-of-a-kind scarf. The scraps on the floor are transformed into something beautiful and wearable. The fabrics just seem to find each other, and the results are stunning.

This weekend I got to see the new Monet exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The exhibit included a variety of Monet's works along with the works of several other artists who were inspired by Monet's abstract and controversial techniques. For me, it was a lesson in how one person's vision and expression can inspire and open new perspectives in others.

I was impressed by Monet's unique style of brush strokes that when up close appeared to be random blobs of blurred colors. But, when I backed away and observed the work as a whole, the picture came into focus. As the seemingly random brush strokes receded, they melded into an image with a story to tell. Standing too close, you just can't see the big picture.

The events of 2023 resemble the scraps of mismatched fabrics on my studio floor like random blobs of paint on an artist's palette. Through all of the ups and downs I've been reminded that what happens to us is really for us. All is in the hands of God, the Master Artist of the Universe, who sustains us and makes something beautiful out of it all.

My motto, "Using what we have to reinvent our lives" has never been more personally relevant. I am learning to cherish each joy and minimize each disappointment because I know that I'm too close to the picture to see what will eventually be revealed. My bag of random scraps is a beautiful scarf in the making. It's all about trusting the process.

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Welcoming a new season, embracing change, and wanting more of what we love.

We know it’s coming. That first change of light and hint of a cool breeze. The most beautiful time of the year is just around the corner. The clean, fresh air and the angled light in the sky on a crisp fall morning always feels invigorating and renewing to me. It is a very welcome change. I love this season.

It’s time to exhale. Time for embracing a new version of ourselves; time to clear out the clutter and focus on what we truly want in our lives. It’s time to get rid of what doesn’t work for us anymore and bring more of what we love into our lives..

Speaking of fall -- What’s in your closet that you look forward to wearing again? It's been so long since we could comfortably wear any sort of layers. I'm looking at my sweaters like they were old friends. I've always loved fall fashions and feeling like it's okay to dress up a little more when the weather gets more comfortable.

Are you seeing all of the new fall fashions in the stores? It might be fun to set aside an hour or two to focus on making room in your closet for a new season. Put on your favorite music and pull out some of your go-to pieces. Which pieces do you keep going back to? What could you pair them with that will add a little panache? What doesn’t work for you anymore? And why is it still in your closet? What SHOULD be there instead? What are your "must haves" for this fall?

Moving to a new house a few weeks ago has given me the opportunity to really evaluate what I want to keep

and what I can let go of. Furniture, accessories, clutter, and, yes, clothes. Especially clothes. Shoes, purses, jewelry…so much of what I had was just weighing me down.

I keep going back to the look I’ve always tried to create, both in my home and in my wardrobe. And that is a relaxed yet sophisticated look that has a simple elegance with a touch of whimsy. Decorators call the look “quiet luxury.” I call it unpretentious classics. Relaxed yet refined. I love textures and contrasts, but not too much clutter. That’s just what I love.

What do you love? What do you want more of? I'd love to hear what you are thinking about these days. You can e-mail me at:

So, yes, I want more of what I love: time with my family and friends; more time with our first grandchild, Max, who was born less than month ago to our oldest son, Matt and his beautiful wife, Addy. I want more time sitting around the fire pit sharing stories; more time with the people I love in the places I love. I want to cook! Entertain! Go on some day trips! Go see some live music and maybe event paint something. And, of course, get my fall line ready for an upcoming trunk show. (More about that soon.)

This week I’m finalizing the fabric combinations for our new line of kimonos for fall, which will be ready by early October. This year we are doing solid colors in raw silk. Each garment will feature a one-of-a-kind combination of fabulous prints including repurposed and vintage kimono fabric. I have been collecting gorgeous fabrics just for this purpose, and I think you are going to love these new pieces. Here are the four main body colors:

They will have colorful satin linings to give them even more distinctive style. I am excited about the new look, as well as a Holiday Collection that will be featuring more elegant fabrics including some brocades, silks and even leather. They are going to be AMAZING.

And yes, there will be more scarves and more Obi belts that will dress up any outfit for any occasion.

As soon as we have some of the new pieces ready to photograph, we’ll be posting some previews for you to see. In the meantime, I will have a cup of coffee on my deck overlooking the woods and look at some cook books. I’ve got some menus to plan!

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Updated: Aug 15

Everything happens all at once. Sometimes you just have to just jump in and paddle as fast as you can. How does one heart hold all of these emotions?

A new home, being featured in a local luxury magazine, a successful trunk show and new retail representation, creating a new fall collection and becoming a grandma all in one month!

Today is the day I become Grandma JoJo. It is the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake cupcake of my life. I cannot wait to see its little face and hold its warm weight in my arms. It is a new chapter for Bill and me as we move from parenting into the magical world of being grandparents. We are moving into that role with much joy and anticipation. This new role and responsibility has lifted us up into the whirlwind of moving in a new direction — figuratively and quite literally.

Right now I am sitting in our new house. We just moved to a beautiful newer home that’s the perfect layout and size for Bill and me, and it’s only three minutes from our son and daughter-in-law’s house. We’re still unpacking boxes and getting settled in, but are starting to feel at home. It will be months before we will be able to get into our garage, but the good news is that we actually have a garage, a luxury we did not have at our previous home near the Plaza. Now we are north of the city in a lovely wooded, hilly neighborhood called Briarcliff. Our house looks out at the woods, and we love the serene setting.

My studio is full of light with windows on two sides. Right now the floor is covered with piles of fabrics I’ve been collecting for my new fall line of kimonos and scarves. It is another new beginning. Now that it’s time to get the new line into production, I am ready. The vision is clear in my mind for how this line is going to look, and I’m so excited about this new direction.

Based on new raw silk in muted solid colors, the lovely textures and prints from the fabrics I’ve been collecting will be crafted into one-of-a-kind accents and trim on each garment. Sleek linings will flash a surprise glimpse of color or print as the garment moves with its wearer.

Each piece will be handmade by sewing professionals here in Kansas City. And, for the first time since I started making kimono-inspired garments about four years ago, the line is now being carried at a local retail boutique, Trapp and Company. Plans are being made for a Fall Fashion event in early October.

As the new day begins, a ray of sunshine spreads across the cover of the new TODAY Kansas City magazine, a luxury lifestyle quarterly publication by Soave Automotive Group. The cover features a model wearing a stunning colorful dress against a sparkling blue water background. I am proud to be included in this issue with a feature article that begins on page 66: Mullin at Heart. Writer Matt Lancaster wrote the article based on an interview with me a few weeks ago. He asked me about the journey that led to me making kimonos: why I started making them and what it all means to me.

(Just click on the image to see the entire article and more photos.)

I encourage you to take a look at it because it explains my motivation and mission for creating garments that women love to wear, and how my business has evolved into a ministry. It is an honor to be featured in this luxury lifestyle publication. I hope my story inspires you to find your own way to celebrate what you love and lift others up in the process.

As the story explains, our family has had its share of struggles and difficult times. Like every family, ours is a story of ups and downs and surviving losses and disappointments as well as feeling overwhelmingly blessed. As our younger son is trying to find his way in life, our older son is becoming a father, and Bill and I have an electrician working at our new house this morning and we are wondering where we left the box cutter. It might seem like just another day, but for us, it's a time to stop and count our blessings.