Last week was my first week in the new studio! There’s still a lot to do, and a lot of mess to sort out, but it just feels right — I have a great space-mate and the location is amazing. The better location meant some downsizing (read: gigantic tupperwares of random paper and envelopes now filling up my basement). It feels good to have less stuff in the studio and better organization is a good thing. Because I’m sharing the space, I’m more conscious of keeping things tidy, so I’ve been stocking up on decorative boxes and baskets (thank goodness for TJ Maxx) to keep the visual clutter to a minimum. Another thing kept to the minimum? Our budget. That’s meant making do with the furniture I already owned, recessed shelving made in the cheapest way possible, and (for my half) a large, inexpensive jute rug purchased on sale to cover the unfinished concrete floors. (Above, the space before the store front windows were installed; below, the space before we moved our furniture in.)
My studio-mate Jessie found the coolest online floor plan tool so that we could play with and share possible to-scale plans. It’s helped Jessie plan what type of storage to buy for her half of the space, helped us choose rug sizes, and helped me get a realistic idea of how many cabinets I could cram into my 175 square feet of space.
You can choose UrbanBarn products, or use generic “symbols” (as shown in our plan above) to add pictures of your own furniture, rugs, and even equipment like computers, printers, etc. As you can see from our plan, we used the exterior space to drop possible furniture options and leave notes for each other.
The plan below is a sample one from their website, which shows that you can even get into color schemes and materials:
I highly recommend UrbanBarn if you’re trying to space plan — especially if you need to share those plans with someone else!
Livia Cetti is a modern guru of flower arranging and paper flower design, and her new book the exquisite book of paper flowers is a fabulous manual for trying your hand at homemade blooms. My first thought when looking through the gorgeous examples of japanese anemones, begonias and poppies, was how incredible they would be for a wedding. I desperately wanted peonies in my bridal bouquet, but I didn’t get married in the right month. If you had the time, a January wedding could be studded with white dahlia and sweet pea centerpieces!
Cetti also includes project ideas such as a mobile and a wreath, both of which would add over the top charm to a nursery. I’m sure my handiwork wouldn’t have the tidy perfection of Cetti’s, but I’m still inspired to go buy some crepe paper and get wrapping.
For a demo, check out Livia on Martha Stewart.
Thanks to Abrams for the review copy.
When I’m working on my wedding invitation collection for letterpress company Bella Figura, I tend to do two formal designs with one slightly less formal design. Annadel is my playful invitation this year. I wanted it to be classy, elegant, but very joyful. Something that could be dressed up or dressed down.
I was picturing a late afternoon wedding, outdoors in a vineyard, with a focus on the food and wine. It wouldn’t be complete without a firework send-off!
The green is a fun complement to the gold foil (a little different from the gold/blush combination that’s so popular).
My friend Emily and her husband Michael are both really into shoes, so “baby shoes” was a natural theme for their baby shower this week. You’ve never seen so many cute pairs of shoes!!
I offered to make the favors (not to be out-done by the oreo baby rattles Emily made for our baby shower, obviously). I learned how to make the baby shoes from this video, but was inspired by Ashley Goldberg’s patterns for the look.
They were easy to make! The hardest part was cutting the cups down to size, which says a lot. Painting was the fun part, and lacing the shoes took some time but was easy.
• paper cups (I used white paper cups & painted them, but you could also buy patterned or solid color cups and forgo the decorating)
• paint (I used acrylic)
• paint brushes
• regular scissors
• scallop edge scissors
• hole punch (I used a 1/8″ size)
• candy, etc to fill the cups (you can buy single-colored chocolate candies from a party supply store or online)
1. Using your regular scissors, cut a few inches straight down the side of the cup to get to the shoe height
2. Using your scallop scissors, cut the cup to make it about 1/3 of the height it was originally. (If you’re right-handed, it’s easier to keep the base of the cup to your right as you’re cutting.)
3. Using your regular scissors, cut the tongue of the shoe. You’ll make two angled cuts from the top down to the base of the cup (a v shape with a flat bottom), so that the tongue of the shoe is about 1.25″ wide at the top and maybe 1/2″ wide at the base.
4. Use a hole punch to put two holes on either side of the tongue.
5. Decorate, if you like!
6. Run ribbon through the holes to lace up the shoe. When you pull the ribbon taught, the cup shape will turn into a shoe shape. Tie a bow!
7. Fill with candy, etc.
I found a couple of spare hours last week to try nail polish paper marbling! I was thrilled to break out the, uh, paints and get my hands dirty — a much welcomed break from the computer screen. It took a little bit of practice, and I didn’t end up with what I had in mind, exactly, but maybe that’s the charm of the whole thing. I’m looking forward to trying it again soon, and incorporating these patterns into some stationery!
I went to a beauty supply store and bought tons of very cheap nail polish. I found that the Sally Hansen polish gave me trouble (maybe it dries too quickly?) but all the other brands I used seemed to work fine. The most important things are to use room temperature water and work really quickly. My best prints came from water that was cold from the tap, let to sit for about 30 minutes before starting.
In the end, I wondered if it would be worth investing in some actual marbling paints, if you want more control over the whole process. But, for a quick and fun activity, nail polish will certainly do.
pans of water big enough to fit your paper (you’ll want an inch or two of water)
paper (or objects!) small enough to fit in your pan
toothpicks or skewers (my preference), or a homemade comb (straightened paper clips taped to cardboard will work)
nail polish (cheap brands are fine, but I had trouble with Sally Hansen polish)
paper towels (to lay skewers etc on top of to protect your table)
nail polish remover for clean-up
disposable gloves, if you like… it gets messy
a plastic fork, or something to skim the excess polish off the water
a well ventilated room to work in
1. Fill your pan with an inch or two of cold water from the tap, and let sit until it gets to room temperature (maybe 30 minutes or so)
2. Choose your color scheme for your first print. Go ahead and unscrew the caps from the nail polish jars that you want to use. Get your paper handy.
3. You’ll need to work quickly, because once you pour in your polish, you have seconds to make your pattern and put in your paper before the polish starts to make a gloppy film. So, go ahead and pour in your polish. You can play with different techniques, but you might try starting with your lightest color. You don’t need a lot. You can vary the amounts of each color so that some are more prominent in your design, and some are more accent colors.
4. Quickly use the skewers (comb, toothpicks, what-have-you) to swirl around the paints — you’ve just got a few seconds.
5. Lay your paper face down in the water. You might need to press down just a bit so that all of the paper touches the water. No need to leave it in very long! Pick it up and see what you came up with.
6. Lay your paper aside to dry and use a plastic fork (or something) to swipe the excess polish from the surface of the water.
7. Repeat, til you feel funny from the fumes!
For more marbled inspiration, check out these posts:
marbling with Design Mom / marbling with Elise Blaha — paper & objects / nail polish marbling with Etsy / “real” marbling with Etsy