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Saturday
Mar202010

One of those days

Today was one of those days in Southern California.  One of those days where the weather is perfect.  One of those days where it is sunny and warm.  One of those days where the sky is blue and clear and I can see the mountains.  Basically, today was one of those days that gives us bragging rights.  We make the rest of the country jealous while they are still layering sweaters and coats and we are breaking out the shorts.  It has been so beautiful here and I am trying to take advantage of the outdoors by just relaxing and taking it all in, even if it's only for a few minutes each day.  Today I sat out on the porch and enjoyed my surroundings during a quick lunch break.  Other than the great view of the snow-capped San Bernardino mountains, I watched the clouds and the millions of lizards that occupy my backyard.  I ate a sweet, local orange and I felt oh so Californian.  Moments like this are the ones that I want to remember.  A few months from now, when the temperature reaches 110 degrees, I will not remember this moment and I will loathe Southern California.  I will complain about it and dream about moving somewhere cooler.  Hopefully when that time comes, I can recall this day.  Yes, my poor paleness will fry for a few months and it will be pretty miserable but the good times will come again and as before, we will have all the bragging rights because of our awesome weather.

 

Friday
Mar192010

I Heart Handmade

I mentioned in yesterday's post about opening up my shop on Etsy finally.  It is a work in progress and I hope that within the next few weeks I'll be adding some more fun stuff.  I'm very excited about being able to call myself an Etsy seller and not just an Etsy buyer.  I've been meaning to sell some of my creations for awhile now and I don't know what has been holding me back.  I cannot praise Etsy enough, I think so highly of the site and the artists selling on it.  Etsy is creating a revolution and I couldn't be happier with how this one site is transforming how and what we buy.  So much of what we purchase comes from big brand, chain stores who have trained us to mindlessly buy all the things that we want.  Although I love Target dearly, most of the items inside Target, and similar stores, feel very impersonal.  By impersonal I mean that there is no connection with what you're buying because you have no idea where it came from, how it was made, and who the artist is.  And yes, most of the things we buy were "designed" by someone at some point, something we frequently overlook.  When you have no connection with an item you don't appreciate it as much and the item becomes something that you just throw away two years later because it is clogging up your closet.  I am not pointing fingers because I do this too and I'm also not saying that people should boycott Target.  I just think that there is a happy balance where you can buy from Target sometimes but also support local and independent artists, crafters, cooks, farmers, and business people.  

 

Two personal things that I cherish dearly are a print I got in Florence, Italy and a ring I bought in Berkeley, California.  Both items were sold to me by the artists.  While in Florence I was searching for a print of the city skyline.  It wasn't hard to find prints but I ended up buying one from an artist at the San Lorenzo market.  My Mom and I were strolling through the streets and this particular artist's work caught my eye.  We stopped to get a closer look and ended up staying and chatting with him for awhile.  He had immigrated to Italy and he openly told us his story about coming to Florence to paint.  As we talked he sketched, working on his latest project.  I was happy to buy that print and still think fondly of it today because I made a connection with that artist, however small.  What his name was or how he looked have faded from my mind but his kindness, his beautiful artwork, and the image of him sitting and sketching in the Florence streets will remain in my mind forever.  That print reminds me of that great memory.  The ring I bought in Berkeley has a similar story.  I was visiting a friend who went to Cal and we were stopping at each of the street vendors on Telegraph Ave. to look at the jewelry.  We came across this older gentleman who took antique spoons and repurposed them into rings and bracelets.  This type of jewelry is not unique, I know, but what made this man different was that he knew the history behind each of the pieces of silverware he sold.  I picked out a ring and he quickly informed me of the style and pattern name and that it was produced in 1910.  He wrote it all down for me so that I would not forget.  I still have the information on that ring and I always enjoy wearing it.  Like the print, I know the story behind the ring and that is what makes me cherish it.  

 

Etsy is mimicking this type of experience except it is all online and you do not have to travel to Florence or Berkeley to get unique pieces.  Of course it is not the same but hopefully you can create some kind of connection with the Etsy artists and feel good about buying unique handmade and vintage pieces.  I love receiving Etsy packages in the mail because they usually include things like handwritten notes, fun and funky packaging, and sometimes little surprises left by the sellers.  This type of personal connection is what is missing from chain stores.  There are no handwritten thank-yous on a painting you bought at Pier 1.  And I think people are starting to come around and realize that they miss purchasing things with meaning, that they want to know where their things come from and how they are made.  Hence the popularity of places like Etsy.  I, for one, am so excited with this direction.  It makes me want to go buy something on Etsy now.  

 

I heart handmade!

Black frame image credit: here        

Thursday
Mar182010

Just something I'm working on...

Today has been a bombardment of creative ideas.  I kept getting sidetracked.  I would be working on one thing but then I would have to stop and write down an idea, sketch something quickly, or image search online (my favorite activity and probably my biggest time waster, although I like to consider it research).  Basically, days like today get me thinking deeply about the project ideas in my head and force me to formulate how I'm going to bring them to reality.  Everything always seems much easier to do in your head.  "Oh yeah, I can make that in 30 minutes!"  But when three hours have passed and you still aren't done making something well, that means you didn't plan right.  Things are always cheaper in your head too.  Materials just seem to appear out of nowhere, free of charge.  In reality I end up spending double what I thought I would spend.  Because of these ideas that are constantly flying at me, I feel like I have had ADD the last few days.  I sit down to start typing something but then two seconds later I'm up to look at something in a magazine.  So far in this single paragraph I have stopped two times to take care of other things.  I guess I'm working on my multitasking skills.  Yes, I feel a little frazzled but I guess I'm getting pretty good at it.  

 

I came up with some exciting new ideas for things I would like to sell in my new Etsy shop.  I'm super excited about finally selling on Etsy (I've been a buyer for awhile now) but I'll write another post on that soon.  For me, one of the first steps to bringing intangible ideas to life is to create a mood board that expresses the overall feel that I would like to create.  Since I am a visual person, it helps me to look at actual images and not just have things stored in memory.  I created some mood boards today of projects I plan to start working on soon.  I will post more about the actual projects at a later date but for now, we can enjoy this visual inspiration.  

Image credit: {1} Anthropologie catalog, {2} Joann's Fabrics swatches, {3} Country Living magazine, {4} & {5} Spool Sewing blog     

Image credit: {1} & {4}  Anthropologie catalog, {2} Dolci Odille via OnceWed, {3} Joann's Fabrics burlap swatch,  {5} my own image!

Image credit: {1} Anthropologie catalog, {2} Joann's Fabrics swatches

Image credit: {1} Anthropologie catalog, {2} Craftzine blog, {3} Chanel Spring 2009 Couture show via The Loveliest Day blog, {4} morningk Flickr, {5} Ruche blog

Image Credit; {1} Ruche blog, {2} & {3} & {4} Anthropologie catalog, {5} embem30 Flickr, {6} Martha Stewart Weddings, {7} Erin Heart's Court via Style Me Pretty blog

Wednesday
Mar172010

Flowers: Real and Fake

I don't know much about flowers.  I'm more of a visual person so I remember how different flowers look but when it comes to names, roses and tulips may be the only ones I can place.  Oh, and baby's breath.  Everyone knows baby's breath, the international bouquet filler.  But I think baby's breath is so beautiful, on its own even.  The small white flowers are so simple but when you put a bunch of them together, their effect is whimsical and dreamy.  I've been seeing baby's breath holding its own more and more in weddings and I'm excited by this trend.  I think it is a great alternative for brides who need something cheap but don't want to forgo real, beautiful flowers.  It also has a long life so it can sit in your house as decor for much longer than typical flowers.  Here are some examples: 

 

This is a great DIY bouquet that was done with baby's breath.  Isn't it beautiful?

Image found on the Wedding Chicks blog.

Photo credit: Duston Todd Photography

 

This project used baby's breath as decor.  This would be cute for a wedding but also for other events, like a bridal shower or baby shower. 

Image found on the OnceWed blog.

Project credit: Laurie Cinotto. (her blog is awesome by the way...I just discovered it and it has great ideas)

 

I used baby's breath in a project I completed the other day and now I have a small bouquet brightening up my desk space.  It is so cheerful.  I may have to keep it stocked full time.

The fabric flowers, on the left, are something I quickly made yesterday after finding this tutorial on OnceWed by designers Dolci Odille.  They also have a great blog with some fun, crafty projects.  These little fabric, pom pom flowers are too cute and I'm thinking up some ideas as to how to display them.  I'd like to make some out of fabric with different prints.  I didn't have any fabric scraps so I used an old t-shirt of my brothers.  I never imagined his old clothes turning into something so cute!       

Tuesday
Mar162010

Engaged!

No, I'm not engaged but my best friend of 19 years is.  She just got back from a trip to London which is where her boyfriend, now fiance, surprised her.  I am very happy for them but I must say it is so weird knowing that my best friend is engaged.  Even though we are of an acceptable age for marriage, I still don't feel old enough.  I remember playing with Barbies, Beanie Babies, and American Girl dolls and honestly, it wasn't that long ago.  It is scary to think that ten years ago we were children and ten years from now, some of us will have children (yikes!).  I feel like such an old person saying these things.  I am young, I'm supposed to love the new freedoms and responsibilities of being an adult.  And I do, but I can't help realizing how fast this is all happening and being a little frightened at that realization.  It is definitely scary growing up, no matter how much you long for it when you're a kid and a teenager.  

 

Not to sound corny but Ferris Bueller was right when he said, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."  So yes, life is moving pretty fast for my best friend (which is making my life feel like it's speeding up too) but I vow to look around and not miss things.  I am excited for her engagement and I know the whole "wedding planning madness" will be an interesting and fun adventure for her and me both.  My goal is to support my best friend and not always focus on the fact that things like marriage, children, and adulthood are making me feel OLD!  

 

So congratulations Ashley and Scott.  I am so excited for you guys.  Ash, you're like my sister and you mean the world to me!

 

My love for vintage, of course, applies to weddings.  I've started working on a few vintage wedding collages with some old photographs.  In the meantime here's some preliminary work I put together. 

Images used to help create this collage were found on Flickr: here, here, here, here, and here.