Friday, December 26, 2008

happy holidays...

Happy Holidays! Here a pictures of the four letterpress Christmas cards I sent this year. Hope you had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

christmas countdown

I saw this idea a few weeks ago from my little mochi. It's an advent calendar made from two packs of gum. Each day you get to pop out one piece. Obviously, December is already well on it's way so it's too late for a traditional advent calendar, but I think it could even be fun to do for the 12 days of Christmas. This is definitely on my holiday project list for next year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

letterpress placecards

I also letterpressed these placecards when I was in Washington to use for Thanksgiving dinner. We ended up writing the name of each dessert on an individual card and placing it next to the dessert on the dessert table (I think we had at least 9 or 10 options including pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, apple pie, rasberry pie, pear crumble pie...)

To create:
- Create artwork in Illustrator and have a photopolymer plate made.
- I letterpressed the cards with a Vandercook SP-20 using Crane's Lettra Superwhite and dark brown ink.

thanksgiving table

I also got to help with the table for Thanksgiving dinner. We filled the length of the table with candles, gourds, pumpkins, leaves and berries and featured an arrangement of orange roses set in cranberries in the middle of the table.

thanksgiving menus

The cooking part of Thanksgiving doesn't interest me that much. I'd much prefer to focus on the presentation of the meal. Luckily, I have a mother-in-law who is a fantastic cook and a sister-in-law who asked me to help her with the table. We eat our meal in courses so she had envisioned a menu that could be sitting at each guest's place. I had exactly 18 dark brown Envelopments envelope pockets that turned out to be perfect. The front of the pockets have a flap that folds over to close the envelope. On this flap we wrote the name of each guest and used a QuicKutz leaf die cut to keep the flap closed.
The envelope opened up to the menu which was printed on white cardstock with dark orange ink and embellished with a bronze turkey die cut.

In the bottom pocket, a card was enclosed which asked each guest what they were thankful for. In addition, each card contained a piece of Thanksgiving trivia. In between courses, everyone had a turn to answer the question and also read their trivia aloud to the table.
Overall, they turned out nice and definitely added to the experience of the meal. Now we'll have to see what we can come up with for next year!

homemade halloween costumes

I know this post should have happened a few months ago, but right now it's better late than never for me.....My mom always made our Halloween costumes growing up. She is a great seamstress. I think my favorite costume was our "Daddy's Little Girls" cheerleader outfits. I wanted to follow in that tradition and make my kids' costumes, but unfortunately my sewing knowledge and ability is limited. Last year, I made my little girl a flapper dress. She was a lucky 6-month-old with enough dark hair to create a finger wave hair do to go with the dress. I made the pattern up so the workmanship was especially weak, but I was still happy with how it turned out.

Because of my schedule this year, I figured I would just have to buy her a costume while I was in China. Luckily, my mom volunteered to make her a costume that would match my little sister. They were both gyspys. This is the skirt my mom sewed. We paired it with a black leotard and a lot of plastic beaded jewelry and rings. She looked so cute!

go team

Before my trip to China, I flew to Washington D.C. and Auburn, Alabama to see my younger brother and sister play football and volleyball. My brother plays football for Southern Virginia University and my sister plays volleyball for Auburn University. For the games, I made my little girl personalized shirts to cheer on her aunt and uncle.

SVU shirt:

To create:
- I cut out the letters SVU in vinyl on the Silhouette and then adhered the vinyl to the shirt. I ironed on a piece of freezer paper to the inside of the shirt to prevent ink from seeping through to the back side of the shirt and then used fabric paint to paint in the letters. After drying, I removed the vinyl and freezer paper.
- I cut the numbers 55 out of a glitter material with the Silhouette and glued them to the middle of the shirt.
- I die cut a football on the Revolution tool out of felt in white, black and dark brown and glued to the bottom of the shirt.
Auburn shirt:
To create:
- Since it was October, I thought finding an orange shirt would be easy. However, there were no orange shirts to be found. The night before we left I found this shirt as part of a terrible tan corduroy overall set for boys. I decided to try and make it work, but the shirt definitely was not the cutest. It turned out okay, but I wish I would have had time to go get a different shirt.
- I cut out the letters in vinyl on the Silhouette and then adhered the vinyl to the shirt. I ironed on a piece of freezer paper to the inside of the shirt to prevent ink from seeping through to the back side of the shirt and then used fabric paint to paint in the letters. After drying, I removed the vinyl and freezer paper.
- I die cut a volleyball on the Revolution tool out of orange felt and a blue glitter material and glued it to the center of the shirt.

two kids, inc.

This is the business card I letterpressed on the Vandercook SP-20 for my little girl to hand out announcing the upcoming addition to our family (arriving May 2009). I'm really happy with how they turned out. Overall it was a fairly easy project. I found the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of the project was making sure the artwork was aligned correctly for printing.

To create:
- I designed the artwork in Illustrator and sent it to Boxcar Press in NY to turn the artwork into photopolymer plates for printing.
- I hand mixed the ink based on Pantone formulas to get dark brown and pink. The pink ink was difficult. I wanted a lighter color but the transparent white ink which I added to tone the pink down was not very tacky which made the ink spread easily and not print as well.
- I printed the image on Crane's Lettra Superwhite and then cut the business cards down to size.

finally...a post

17 days of travel (SLC to Washington DC to Alabama to Atlanta to Hong Kong to China back to Hong Kong to Washington then back to Utah), a cold, the flu and a new addition to our family (arriving May 2009) resulted in a unanticipated abscence from this blog. Fortunately, creativity was not completely lost during this time. The next several posts are catch up for the past month and may be a little outdated for this year, but I wanted to make sure I documented some of my recent projects including the great time I had letterpressing in Washington with my family and friend Rachel (see a sample in the next post).

The week in China was also a great time for creativity. In addition to getting to go to the Canton fair and see products for crafts, stationery, home decor, toys, furniture and tableware, I found myself being especially creative when it came to the food. Being pregnant and sensitive to smells, made meals like this especially interesting. Here are just a few pics of some of the dished I tried to creatively pretend to eat...
chicken: cold, rubbery, fatty and slimy with decorative head and feet

dessert: a sweet grean bean soup. one of three options served including warm chunky milk and warm chunky ginger milk.

Monday, October 20, 2008

business card holders

Tomorrow I leave on a business trip to China.  Next time I want to carry my business cards in of these leather holders.

From Blueprint
1. Print out the template. The pattern is already sized to fit standard business cards. If you want something bigger (say, 3-by-5 photos), feel free to enlarge the template on a photocopier.
2. Cut out pattern and trace it onto leather. Using a mini hole-punch (the kind scrapbookers like), make small holes at three of the tips, as shown on the pattern. The top hole will be slightly larger to accommodate the button stud front closure.
2. Fold the leather into an envelope shape: Bring the left and right flaps inward and line up the holes. Hold them together with a great little piece of hardware called a button-stud.
3. Insert the back piece of the button-stud up through the holes in the flaps. Finally, screw on the front piece of the button-stud, and push it through the hole on the top flap.
Published: November/December 2007

Saturday, October 18, 2008

smocking tutorial

My mom used to make smocked dresses for us when we were little girls.  I think there's even a funny story about her writing a note to my aunt and my cousin reading it shocked that her aunt had taken up smoking (smoking/smocking - looks and seems to sound the same when your a kid.)

I remember her having some type of machine to create the smocked material, but I think this handmade version looks fun to try especially for something like pillows or a bag.

Friday, October 17, 2008

create your own notepads

One of my favorite projects to do growing up was create notepads so I was excited when this jar of padding compound arrived in the mail this week.  It's the "glue" you use to bind all the sheets of paper together into a notepad.  Unfortunately, it'll have to sit for a few weeks untouched while I'm out of town.  When I get back though...notepads, notepads and more notepads.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I have a friend who can make amazing things with paper likes books and journals and boxes. While I'd definitely like to learn how to make a book myself from scratch, I think these premade text blocks from Paper Source are the perfect way to at least get me started.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

crochet dress

I'd love to crochet this dress for my little girl.  Find the how-to here.

the purl bee

I love to visit the purl bee for sewing, knitting, crocheting ideas.  It's full of project ideas and basic tutorials that are easy to follow.  And now you don't have to go to NYC to shop at Purl and Purl Patchwork, visit them online!

Monday, October 13, 2008

custom fabric

If you've always wanted to design your own fabric, check out Spoonflower.  Unfortunately, it's still in beta mode so for now you have to be invited.  I've seen some great fabrics and projects created with custom Spoonflower fabric. I'd love to try it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

diamond glaze magnets

Once again, I love diamond glaze.  I can't wait to try these magnets from Amy Karol who also wrote one of my favorite sewing books.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

wall calendar

I love calendars, and I love to make them. I could spend hours just drawing out days and months and years and planning to my heart's content. A few months ago, I made a "reusable" wall calendar to capture our family's day-to-day schedule. I used a glass whiteboard from Ikea and made a calendar template with white vinyl. At the beginning of each month, I just erase the contents and rewrite the next month with a dry-erase marker. I placed another glass whiteboard below which I use for To Do lists. There are several clips down the side which I can use to clip upcoming wedding/party invitations, coupons, etc. I also try and take a picture of the calendar at the end of the month before I erase it so I can use it to help document or record what was going on in our lives during that month.

Glass Whiteboard
White Vinyl - I used my Silhouette to create the white vinyl strips.
Dry Erase Marker

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

chandelier cards

The grunge chandelier look is so popular right now so I decided to try a sophisticated, clean chandelier look on these notecards. I layered individual die cuts to create the chandelier shape, then added Glossy Accents. I'm showing the version I created in white, but I also created the same monochromatic design in black, a bright coral pink, teal, lime and a pale yellow.

Die cut shapes (I used my Revolution - shape REV-0039)
Glue Pen
Glossy Accents

fashion book

I have a sister studying fashion design at college. I think her classes sound so fun and creative - like the fabric she is designing right now for a class assignment.

I bought this book on a trip to China earlier this year. It is so fun and inspiring to look at. I love resources that help get you started with creativity. Sometimes it's all you need to get started on the next best creative project. Without this book, I would have no idea how to even think about drawing clothes. I'm using the book to help make the best dressed paper dolls for my little girl. And, if she likes to draw or be creative, I think it'll be a fun book for her to look at and practice with someday.

Friday, October 3, 2008

alphabet hunting

I've seen more and more of these alphabet art companies popping up during the past year. I first saw the idea featured on Martha Stewart with the company Sticks and Stones. I'd love to start looking for letters in everyday life - especially with my little girl.

canvas rug

This project from Martha Stewart looks fun. I'm wondering how easy it is to clean?? I'd love to try it under where my little girl eats in the kitchen.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

trick or treat jar

Now that it's October, maybe I can feel a little less guilty about the hundred of candy corns I consume every day. I just can't stop. I'm hoping this candy jar I made will encourage me to just leave them in the jar. It looks so much prettier filled with candy. Sadly, the reality is I'll probably restock it several times in the next 30 days. Oh well, Halloween only comes once a year.

Glass Jar
Black Vinyl
Transfer Tape
Silhouette Cutting Machine
Spiderweb Shape (Mine is available to download for Silhouette from QuicKutz)
Font (I used Old English)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

removable wallpaper

Speaking of decorating a wall, I first heard about removable wallpaper several months ago. It seemed to be the perfect solution. You could decorate a wall or room in a fun texture or pattern but not feel overwhelmed that it would be nearly impossible to ever take it down. I spent some time going through books online but didn't find any patterns I absolutely loved. A product development discussion for work brought the topic up again (thanks, Laura!) and I was inspired to search again through available patterns online. There are a definitely a few I'd like to try. It's not cheap, but I think a little would go a long way.

decorative panel

I want to try this home decor technique. I think it's a great way to add pattern, color and/or texture without too much commitment. While I love some of the trendy designs and patterns available right now, I'm not ready for it to be permanently plastered to my wall.

I think there are several materials you could use to accomplish this technique - wallpaper, fabric, patterned paper....I'm not sure what I'll try first, but I'll let you know how it turns out. (I've heard Trupan Ultralight is the perfect backer for these panels - has anyone used it or know where to buy it?)

*Image from Country Home Magazine

Monday, September 29, 2008

a kid's workspace

With my work, I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk. I created this workspace for my little girl so she could sit next to me and have a space of her own. She looks so cute "working" - sometimes only in a diaper! The board is a wood frame with a sheet of metal in the center that I purchased at the craft store. I cut strips of patterned paper and modge podged them to the frame. The board works great for hanging pictures or letting her play with magnetic shapes and letters.

monogram vase

This monogram vase was easy and inexpensive. Simply use a cut out design from vinyl (I used my Silhouette) and adhere to the glass vase. Brush on glass etching cream and then wash off with water. Finally, remove the vinyl. You can create any design or style for the monogram. Perfect to decorate your home or give as a gift!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

elum design

I've been in love with elum designs and their letterpress stationery ever since I began my fascination with letterpress. I think these desk sets are gorgeous. I'd love to have one sitting on my desk.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

font envy

Fonts consume a substantial part of my work life (luckily, I have a great co-worker, Heather, who does most of the hard work and I, for the most part, just get to participate in the fun part of selecting styles I think will work well for our products). Several months ago I was doing some research on a particular font style and discovered these newsletters. I love the editions that showcase the fonts used in popular products and magazines. It's such great creative inspiration for any project that requires using or designing with text.

so cute

I saw these felt baby shoes featured in Craft magazine. I absolutely love the sophisticated and clever design. I think they would be so fun to make.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I love to look through Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine.  Noteworthy is one of my favorite sections where stationery and cards are highlighted.  Every issue highlights a specific theme (like these address labels above) and lists the companies/designers of each featured product so you can find more of the ones you like.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

nie nie benefit - jonathan canlas photography

While I don't personally know Stephanie Nielsen, I knew of her even before this tragedy consumed our thoughts (and blogs!). I stumbled upon Blissful Living Studio a while ago and have checked out the website on a regular basis. I love the design and the concept. Stephanie happened to be an instructor there. When Jonathan Canlas announced his goal to raise $10,000 for the Nielsen through family portrait sessions, I knew it was a perfect way to help. Check out our photos here and book Jonathan for your next family portrait or big event. He has an amazing photojournalistic style and is great to work with. You won't regret it!