Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tasty Treat: Easter Cake

In honor of Easter weekend, I decided to bake a bright gradient cake. Although I love a perfectly balanced neat and tidy cake as much as anyone else, I can't help but love cakes that are a bit wonky and oozing with deliciousness. This cake was made with one batch of vanilla cake split it into five equal parts and dying each a different graduated shades. It was quite delicious!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Egg Surprise

This week, I decided to some fun projects for Easter this coming weekend. I've always wanted to try blowing out eggs. It's something my grandmother did for me when I was little and I thought it was time I learned to do it myself. It was much easier than I thought it would be! When it came to decorating the eggs, I decided to keep it simple, a sharpie and some simple repeat patterns. Since the egg was so conveniently empty, I decided it would be fun to turn the eggs into little message carriers! I designed the package and labels to make it into a fun experience for the recipient!

To blow out the egg, I poked a hole in each end with a needle, and then made the bottom hole bigger with some drill bits. Then it all came down to blowing in one end and having all the egg guts pop out the other. Lovely. Then I microwaved the empty shells to "cook" the remaining egg inside, which also makes the shells a bit stronger. After drawing the patterns on the outside, I wrote out a little message, rolled it up and inserted it into the bigger hole in the bottom. To make it even more fun when the egg was cracked, I added some glitter into the mix. To seal up the bottom, I used a bit of tissue and liquid bandaid.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Virtues of Vintage

I thought today I would write about the virtues of vintage and antiques. When it comes to design, my eyes are often much larger than my wallet. I want unique and well crafted furniture, but my budget doesn't allow for crazy spending. Shopping for antiques is always a crap shoot, whenever I am planning to drop some dough, there is nothing to be found, it's when I'm least expecting it that I tend to stumble upon something amazing. That being said, antiquing is fun, the prices are never really fixed, I'm not a great haggler, but as long as I'm friendly and smile I always seem to get a good amount off of their "listed price". Below are some pieces of furniture I have scored at antique markets. I've put them next to an image of the comparable mass produced item so you can see what you would pay for them if you bought them "new" or "reproduced" from a regular store.

Furniture cart coffee table. New from Restoration Hardware, mine from a vendor at the Brimfield Antique Fair who salvages them from old factories in North Carolina and refinishes them.  I actually think mine is better quality and quite a bit sturdier, I also think the color variation is amazing on the vintage one.

Eames lounge chair. New from Design Within Reach, SUPER pricy. Mine, from the Brimfield Antique Fair, I had to reupholster it, you can see the before and after here. This is a classic piece with knock offs up the wazoo, but it always looks good and it very comfortable.

This dresser was a huge score for me, I actually got an the entire bedroom set (this dresser, a tall dresser, and two nightstands) for $500, also at the Brimfield Antique Fair. It just needed a new coat of polyurethane and it was good to go. After I bought it, I was browsing online and stumbled upon this credenza which is EXACTLY the same, but about 10 times more expensive, it made me feel like the savviest shopper ever. 

The new lamp above is something I've been drooling over for the past couple months, but $500 for a lamp is just silly and not even in the realm of possibility for me. This weekend, I was browsing around a big warehouse full of antiques which I discovered a couple months ago, and I found this lamp and almost died. One of the good things about living in the burbs, is that there is not a big demand for mid-century modern design, which means whenever I find it, I tend to get it for a deal! When you're looking at vintage lamps, always imagine them with a new drum lampshade which can take it from grandma to glorious! I bought the lampshade pictured at Target to give it a little oomph.

SO, morale of the story, find your local antique dealers, visit them often, smile and shoot the shit, and more often than not, you'll be taking home something better, more unique, and cheeper than you could ever find in a box box store.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Small Change, Big Impact: Drawer Pulls

Everyone has a piece of furniture that's been around forever, something old, boring, but perfect for holding your socks or some other necessity. This dresser has been floating around my family's home, and my various apartments for a long time, its old and worn, but it's a perfect compact little dresser. It's current home is in our guest room, and with the polka dot walls and fun color pops around the room, I thought it was time for it to get a little love. You see these brass drawer pulls on old furniture everywhere, but by popping them off, cleaning them in vinegar and salt, and painting them with a fresh coat of vibrant spray paint, they feel really fun and new. With just a pop of color, this dresser feels fun and new, even the shape of the pull feels fun now.

Friday, March 22, 2013

$50 DIY Nail Headboard

Please excused the un-styled bed, this headboard was the second step in the completion of the guest room, but there is still quite a bit to do. For this headboard, I wanted to do something simple and a bit rustic to keep the room from feeling too modern when it's all done. We are on a tight budget as of late, so I had to come up with something creative and different for under $50. 

  1. Pine board from Home Depot 
  2. Sand Paper
  3. Stain 
  4. Cotton rags for applying stain
  5. Hammer
  6. Nails (no longer than 3/4in)

  1. Cut board to size: mine is the width of the bed and about 2.5ft high. If you're not comfortable with power tools, bring your measurements with you to Home Depot and they will cut it to size for free.
  2. Sand:  you don't have to go crazy sanding, just get the edges and the top so it's smooth to the touch.
  3. Stain: I went for a darker stain to bring out all the beautiful grain detail in the wood. I prefer rags to brushes when it comes to stain because its easier to spread the stain evenly and avoid pooling and drips.
  4. Once the stain dried, I looked at the board and chose a line in the grain that I wanted to follow with the nails
  5. Hammer Time! I went down the nail aisle at Home Depot and picked a variety of nails in different metals, head sizes and shapes, I just made sure they weren't any longer than the thickness of my board. I basically filled in the lighter grain line in the wood with the nails, varying types and spacing to make it feel organic. 
  6. Attach it to your wall! I put in wall anchors and screwed the board into the wall in six places, better safe than sorry. If you're in an apartment or don't want to put holes in your walls, you can buy two 2x4s and screw them into the board and your bed frame. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Watercolor Wedding Invitation Suite

Hot off the press! This is a wedding invitation suite that I designed for a lovely couple getting married at Lake Pearl this summer. I did a handful of custom watercolors of their reception site (which I displayed in an earlier post). We chose from those paintings to create this suite. All the different paintings displayed together on the Invite card, Reception card, and RSVP postcard, give a lovely idea of what the guests can expect at the wedding. They calm navy and grey color pallet is classic and understated with hits of aubergine keep it modern and fun. We added a little credit card sized card, perfect for guests to slip in their wallets, which has that little extra bit of info, directions to the church and accommodation information. Coming soon to join the Invitation Suite in this collection are Programs, Escort Cards, and Favors. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adorn Your Walls: Object Art

Last week I posted about how you should love your walls by covering them with art. One of the ways to keep your rooms interesting and keep the eye moving is to hang objects and sculptures on your walls mixed in with your 2D art. What you hang doesn't necessarily have to be something you'd find in an art gallery, hanging a well crafted pick-axe over your door can be a fun conversation piece! Below are some great 3D objects for your walls.

Decorative arrows, I'm totally getting these for our guest room, she can make them in any color to match your decor!

Woven bowls are so pretty and a couple put together to make a beautifully graphic wall. I love this idea for a kitchen or dining room. High end stores sell these at a steep prices, but there are some stores which support African businesses and sell them for a more reasonable price.

I have a thing for faux taxidermy, and this knitted deer head is just amazing. 

Why not have knitted sausage hanging on your wall? Hilarious.

In our "Man Cave" I used vintage pennants of the hubbies favorite sport teams in lieu of the tackier "fathead" that he wanted. but the pennants have a much more legit and "true sportsman" feel. I'm thinking of getting him one of these "stay home" pennants as he is always using the dogs as an excuse for us to stay home.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Half Hour DIY Mouse Pad

Today I thought I would share a super simple project that doesn't take more than an hour, and it'll only take that long if you're being a crazy perfectionist. Often times, when working on a "crafty DIY" project, your end product feels like a kid made it at camp. The easy way to avoid that is to keep it simple. This project was made with some leather, puff paint and a toothpick. The leather could easily be substituted with fabric if you're going for a different look. I cut the square of leather with softly rounded endues and then made a simple repeat design around the edges. By using the toothpick as the applicator for the puff paint, the design stayed delicate and neat. It's taken me a long time to learn to keep things simple, it is something I still struggle with as a designer, but when I stick to my guns, I'm almost always happier with the results. Also, quick and simple projects are great because they give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment with very little sweat!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Working for the Weekend

This weekend has been full of work. Luckily, it's been mostly fun. I am building a headboard, designing a "Will You Be My Bridesmaid" card, and working on printing and assembling a new wedding invitation suite all while working on adding a store to the website. None of the projects are quite done, so I thought I would share a little sneak peek of how the headboard is coming along. All the hammering has proved to be more time consuming and harder on the ears than I thought it would be!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wedding Logos and Edible Favor Jars

After last weeks favor jar post with the gingersnaps, I decided to do another with cake, because really, what's a wedding without cake?! I designed the labels for these favors to go with the save the date I posted yesterday, carrying the design cues through to these little wedding logos. For weddings, having a custom logo designed is priceless because it can be used in so many places. For weddings that I work on, I always make sure to design a logo early on that can be used on the invites, program, favors, and more to tie everything together.

Products with Personality

I'm not sure if it was too many Disney movies as a child (and carrying through adulthood if we're honest) but I can't resist an everyday product designed with personality. Something about a sugar bowl with human feet is just impossible to resist. Day to day, there is so much serious shiznit to deal with, that I like being surrounded by things that bring a smile to my face. Who doesn't like the idea that ordinary objects come to life with personality when we leave the room?

Animal body containers, Tray with two legs, Standing dog lamp, Sugar bowl, Bunny Ears,  Wild side shot glasses.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kitchen Design

 When designing for a room, I always like to start somewhere, sometimes it's a piece of furniture I've found and MUST HAVE, sometimes it's a beautiful rug, but usually, it's a piece of art. Here is a eat in kitchen I'd love to have, based around this lovely painting by Paul Ferney. Amazing branch Light to draw in the eye over the table. Plates and gold dipped flat-wear from Anthropology. I love these classic wishbone chairs, and I love even more that DWR has them in multiple colors, they are super pricy, but overstock has knockoffs in basic colors too. Classic tulip table from overstock. This amazing cross stitch rug is from Anthro as well, but I think this could probably be a DIY project for a low traffic area. Curtains also from Anthro, but could also be an easy DIY by adding trim to a standard white curtain.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Huge Dog Bed

Time to meet two of the men in my life:

Lincoln is my first, a 6 year old ridiculous creature, technically a puggle, but in truth, an indescribable animal with a huge personality.

 Truman is our "new puppy" an american mastiff, currently weighing in at 170 lbs and still growing! He's a big wimp who wants nothing more than to be by your side night and day.
When we bought Truman, we knew he would need to be trained differently than Lincoln, because a massive dog in your bed and on your furniture doesn't sound terrible appealing. When shopping for dog beds suitable for a "giant breed dog" the options are few and mostly ugly. Below is how I built Truman's bed that currently sits in out living room. The only problem, he loves it so much that now I need to build one for the basement! 

 Here is Truman, happy as a clam on his new bed.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Graphic Font Save the Date

 This is a save the date that I recently finished. This couple is no frills, no fuss, so I decided to design their save the date with that in mind. Using heavy recycled paper and a variety of fonts, it came together with the outline of Maine with a heart calling out their wedding location. This was such a different and fun invite to design, that I can't wait to get started on their wedding invitation suite!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rustic Wedding Inspiration

I've been working on a wedding for a lovely couple, who also happen to be very good friends of mine. The bride and groom, to put it nicely, aren't terribly into the planning process. Luckily for them, I am, and designing for a couple who isn't looking for the traditional is extra fun. Here is an inspiration board I've put together with them in mind, pulling together a low-key rustic look that I think will make them both happy.

Hugging bear cake topper, because the bride has always loved polar bears. Moss tray escort display to tie into that woodsy look. Simple rustic centerpiece, this made me think of the groom as he is always dragging logs into their NY city apartment for woodworking projects. Lovely bouquet with a great color pallet and mix of blooms. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, why not mini bunt cakes or a donut bar?

Adorn Your Walls!

I mentioned this in yesterdays post, but I truly believe a house does not feel like a home unless you have art on your walls! I feel like most people are intimidated to buy art and commit to it enough to put a hole in their wall to hang it. Art doesn't need to be intimidating, don't worry about if it has a deeper meaning or if someone told you it's worthless, if you like it and it says something to you than it's awesome and worth it. I have pieces of art that cost $300 from a gallery hung next to one that cost me $5 at salvation army. There is no need to worry about everything going together, chances are if you bought 10 things that struck your fancy, they'll all look right together for one reason or another. So adorn your walls! Here are some of my current favorites.
"baby don't let our love deflate" 11.5x11.5 $25 (I have a 3ft by 3ft of this in my living room)
 "Food" 30"x72" $75. I love how the shadows of the animals have a little secret message.
 "Beach" 17"x17" $30. I love the colors and how in the winter it makes me feel warm.
"No Whining" 13.75" x 22" $35. I just bought this to hang in our entry way. It makes me laugh and forget about whatever might have made me grumpy during the day.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Love by Numbers : Personalized Wedding Gift

If you want to give a gift that is a bit more personal, how about some art for the newlyweds to hang in their new home together. Whenever I walk into someones house with artless walls it always looks empty. I buy and make art somewhat compulsively, so to me, a lived house has to have art to make it feel like a home. "Love by Numbers" chronicles all of the big moments in the couples life thus far. First, their birthrates, then their first date or when they became an official couple, their engagement date, and last but not least, their wedding date. For this couple we personalized it further by adding a map of NYC as the background. Cities, colors and wording can all her personalized to fit the couple.