Shoestring Blissful

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of designing the logo for Shoestring Blissful, my friend Leeland’s new business venture.  Through Shoestring Blissful, Leeland offers affordable, stylish wedding inspiration for New York weddings.

I love to spend smart, save always, and splurge when necessary. Shoestring Blissful is blog and website devoted to beautiful, budget-happy weddings in New York City.

-Leeland Allen, Shoestring Blissful

This lady knows what she’s talking about.  Her wedding a year ago was the best wedding I’ve ever been to (mine included).  I pitched in a bit with her programs and menus, and it was a gorgeous, casually elegant, thumping great time.  Listen to Leeland.  Even if you’re not getting married in NYC, she will inspire you to create a wedding that is absolutely Shoestring Blissful.

Visit the website: http://shoestringblissful.tumblr.com

Swoon over photos on Instagram. @shoestringblissful

Follow on Twitter. @shoestringbliss

Get inspired on Pinterest. @shoestringbliss

Paper Chandelier

I managed to get the bulk of my Christmas shopping finished in October and November, leaving me some free time this month to finally tackle some projects that have been on my Make board for quite a while. One of them was an idea I had for a chandelier-type, mobile-like paper thing to hang over the dining room table.  I loved these colorful versions, but I wanted translucent white and I wanted it to be round.  Kind of like this one.

I had a giant stack of translucent vellum left from my days as a paper hoarder, so I got to work cutting out many, many circles.  I used two different sizes of circles, one I traced from a 1-ounce plastic container and the other I traced the lid to a sugar bowl. Fancy!  Then, with opalescent white thread, I ran the circles through the sewing machine in random patterns of five large and three small (to keep the length of the strings consistent).  I tied all of the finished those strings onto a brass hoop from Jo-Ann’s that I painted silver, and…voila!

I love it, and I can’t believe I finally made it after thinking about it for so long. Next up, I’m brainstorming ways to hang a solar light inside it so I can get it to glow without stringing lights in it.

Shop Update

It’s been a million years since I had a shop update. You know what took me so long? I couldn’t find the right thing to model the necklaces on when I took the pictures.  I tried bottles and glass hands and everything else I could think of and nothing looked right to me.  I heaved a big sigh and finally broke down and bought one of those generic, black velvet neck forms.

There was another problem, though: it was a generic, black velvet neck form and I hated it. So, what did I do with it?  I made a paper maiche facade for it and painted it white. Of course, duh!  Seriously, a little tissue paper, a little wheat paste, and a little white acrylic paint and now I love it.  Luke thinks it looks like a creepy, old lady neck, but I think it’s neutral and lovely with an interesting texture.

So finally, FINALLY, there are some new products in the shop.  I hope you love them.  There are a few extra long, Mandi necklaces, some fun summer-colored three-strand Andrea necklaces, and more necklaces and earrings to come over the next few days. Go check it out!

Corners of My Room

office/studio

I’ve been spending a lot of time in here lately, which has been a wonderful way to pull my mind away from work and stop making mental to-do lists.

The unfortunate thing is that I’m in here at night, usually after dark, and it’s in the morning, with the sun shining in, that I most want to sit here and make things.

I have so much to do and so much I want to do. I have to finish taking photos of my jewelry so I can put it in my Etsy shop.

Plus there’s this basket of things needing mending.

And this little project I’ve been trying out (and I have to remember to bring those shears to be sharpened).

I promise to have pictures soon of what I’ve been making, including a very cool yoga mat bag from One Yard Wonders.  Thanks for visiting!

And…?

This blog hasn’t been living up to its name lately, has it?  It’s been lacking a whole lotta everything, particularly in the the artsy department, and I can’t change the name to “Fartsy” because then it becomes a whole different blog altogether.  So let’s bring back the art, shall we?

I’d like to share with you a project I started last November.  It involved a salvaged piece of Gator board (fancy foam core), a little leftover paint, and about 5 jillion clear push pins.  (Actually, it was just under 4,000, but it felt like 5 jillion.)

I watched a documentary called Art & Copy about the world of advertising (it was fascinating!) and during the film, I saw this amazing wall at the agency Wieden + Kennedy, covered in clear pushpins, spelling out “Fail Harder” in fancy script.  It was awesome and I wanted one of my own.

I found this great, big piece of Gator in the trash at work so I took it home and gave it a coat of flat blue paint.  Then I decided on a fancy ampersand as my symbol and sketched it lightly on the board with chalk.  Then I went to every dollar store in the greater Manchester area and bought them out of clear push pins.  I started with 1,000 because I was in denial and didn’t really think I’d need THAT many.  I was trying to complete the project on the cheap so I resisted going to Staples which was almost twice as much as the local Dollar Tree stores, which means that I spent most of November and half of December hunting down cheap, clear pushpins.  I could write a guidebook of all the local Dollar Tree stores (Vernon is good, but the Manchester Parkade store is better) but I finally bought enough and managed to finish my project by Christmas.

Here it is nearly finished.  I thought I had a shot of the final, hanging on the wall but I can’t seem to locate it.  And speaking of hanging on the wall, you know what I didn’t think about?  4,000 pushpins are HEAVY.  Also pointy and sharp where they stick out the back.  Luke is a saint for hanging it up for me.  So anyhow, for a total investment of about $40, several many hours of obsessive pinning, a few bruised fingernails and a touch of carpal tunnel later, I have this awesome, sparkly, one of a kind piece of artwork hanging on my wall.  And…I love it.

What’s New?

Seventeen days from now–exactly to the minute–I will be sitting in the Jet Blue terminal at JFK, waiting to board a plane to St. Martin.  I am over-the-moon excited about this trip and it’s getting annoying for those around me who aren’t also going on this trip.  I’m sorry.  So other than talking about the trip or buying more bikinis (I’m up to six now) and sun dresses (I have, oh, about fourteen) what have I been up to?  Frankly, not much.  But I do have something exciting that I can finally share with you.

Ta-da!  My awesome friend Leeland and her business partner Jen have a brilliant New York city-based business called Northward Hound.  As their website describes,

“Northward Hound offers exclusive weekend excursions to New Hampshire for your four-legged friend.”

Basically, Leeland and Jen will pick up your city dog and bring him/her to the country to frolic on a farm or run on the beach for the weekend.  You pup will come home tired and clean (after a complimentary bath and blow-dry) and delivered right to your door.  How brilliant is that?

So anyhow, Leeland and Jen recently launched a full line of Northward Hound products, many designed and created in New Hampshire (Leeland and Jen’s home state). One of the new items features screenprinted illustrations designed by yours truly.  Leeland approached me over the summer and asked if I would create a logo for their new “Hound Meets World” line (pictured above) as well as a series of activities that would be typical of a Northward Hound adventure.  There is a mountain vista:

A seascape:

A dock jump:

And a ball to chase:

These designs were printed on the front of a new line of hooded sweatshirts so the dog would appear to be leaping after the activity.  It was a fun experience, designing for these wonderful ladies, and I was so excited to see the line complete.  The official launch was the last week in September and unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to New York to celebrate with Leeland and Jen, but I did get to see the pictures.  A peek at the full line of goods can be seen on the Northward Hound Facebook page, right here, and everything will be available for purchase in their online store very soon.  Go check it out.  And once again, congratulations Leeland and Jen!

Now back to daydreaming…seventeen days…

Rex and Steggy

RAWR!

Valentine’s Day seems to be about a hundred years ago, but since I’ve been MIA for so long, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I’d like to introduce you to Rex and Steggie, (or Kissasaurus and Huggasaurus Rex, as I called them when I delivered them), two felt dinos I made for Cameron and Alex for Valentine’s Day.  Back around Christmastime, Cameron saw me knitting and asked me to knit him a dinosaur.  I said “maybe” which he took to mean “absolutely, right this minute!” and from that day on, each time I saw him he asked if I’d gotten a chance to make him that dinosaur “like I promised”.

Valentine’s day seemed like a good excuse to fulfill my promise, but I decided that I had no hope of knitting them so I’d make the dinos out of felt.  I played around with some paper pattens and came up with Rex first.  He came out perfectly and I nearly sprained my arm from patting myself on the back.  I just sewed a toy!  Very exciting.  After Rex, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make two of the same dinos to avoid the “I wanted that one” fights, but that seemed boring so I challenged myself to make a pattern for Steggie.  He was supposed to come out smaller than Rex but, sadly, things didn’t work out that way.  That left me with a dilemma.

Big brother, Cameron is on a kick now where he has to be the biggest, best, fastest, the one with the most guns, the most powers, etc. etc.  So… would he want the biggest felt dino, or the smaller T-Rex dino, since T-Rex was the king of the dinosaurs?  I couldn’t decide so I consulted my sister who said he’d want the biggest one.  I think I would have lost either way, but unfortunately when I delivered them on V-Day, Cameron complained that he didn’t get Rex until I told him that he was hurting my feelings.  The next night I watched the boys so my sister and her husband could go on their belated anniversary/Valentine’s Day date and both boys tucked their dinos into bed with them when they climbed under the covers so I think that everyone was happy in the end.