Loving Mary Engelbreit

Pamela Chan, Editorial/BCFamily.ca

Updated: July, 2022

What’s not to love about Mary Engelbreit’s vibrant, sweet illustrations? In recent years you might have come across copies of her “Nursery Tales” and “Mother Goose: 100 Best Loved Verses” publications.  Either book makes for a perfect gift for a young child.  You just might want to purchase a second copy for yourself.

Mary’s work first started garnering attention in the 1990s. Back in the day – when people still sent cards just to say “hello” – you might have received one of Mary’s cards in the mail. She produces thoughtful cards with memorable expressions, eye popping illustrations and matching envelopes. Much of her work is influenced by illustrations from the 1920s, 30s and 40s that featured quotes in borders. Englebreit also credits the inspiration she gets from her “idyllic and wonderful childhood”.

From the late 1990s to 2009, her funky, eclectic interior designs could be seen in the Home Companion magazine. You’ll have to buy back issues on Ebay these days as the magazine is no longer in print. The magazine reflected Mary’s philosophy that “it’s your house and it should be filled with the things and the colors that make you feel good.”  Sadly, the magazine was closed in the summer of 2009 due to a lack of advertising caused by the recession.  At the time Mary wrote about her dream of resurrecting the publication.  “We WILL find a way – this miserable economy can’t last forever. Anyway, even if times are tough, we still need to see magical things, right? We still need to know there are people out there producing fantastic things, creating warm and cozy places to live and providing us with the inspiration we need to keep going, for crying out loud! I mean, I love House Beautiful, but I can’t make one magazine last all month – we need more! We need variety! We need Home Companion!”
In the following video, Mary’s work progress is captured in a time lapse video. She uses as a combination of Sakura Micron Pigma pens and Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Her website still features the many projects related to her work. If you want to bring Mary’s work onto your bookshelves or into your homes, there’s an almost endless array of possibilities.

Mary’s work is a folksy contrast to Martha Stewart and has a healthy dash of sugar and spice that is oh so nice.


Home Sweet Home:  A Journey Through Mary’s Dream Home

When a Child is Born So is a Grandmother

Mary Englebreit free colouring page downloads

2 thoughts on “Loving Mary Engelbreit

  1. I love Mary’s work and would like to visit her store in St Louis I live in Iowa.I wish I could work in her store she is fabulous.

  2. I’ve never been in one of her stores but have enjoyed buying her products over the years. In particular, I like the books and cards that she has made. I’ve enjoyed buying and receiving them since the 1990s. Pamela, BCFamily.ca

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