Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cute Wedding Idea

Getting married soon? Consider this modern alternative to a guest book!

Guests sign their thumbprint on the tree with archival ink! What a sweet memento to bring home from your wedding. I can tell ya I only looked at my guest book to see how to spell names for thank you cards!

We found the idea Here!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gnocchi Night! quickest, easiest, yummiest dinner.

I saw gnocchi on sale at the store, so I impulsively put it in my cart (the normal not the tri-color but I bet it is yummy too) and didn't think about it for a week or so. I figured Brian would cook it one night, we've always wanted to try it, and he is a great cook.

But last night it was talking to me! I have these little food visions, like on Sesame Street when the apples and cheese cake, and what not start talking. So the gnocchi kept telling me I needed to cook Brian a nice dinner.
After an hour or so, I found a recipe I liked and had the ingredients for. A few hours later Brian came home, and when I told him about my plans he said, oh yea that is a classic preparation of gnocchi, yum! grr, how did he know that butter and sage are the classic preparation!! It took me forever to figure that out!

Anyways. I took my fave parts from two recipes and combined them.
It is very simple:

1 package gnocchi (or you could make it, but I don't have that time with a toddler)
1/4 Cup Butter
1 tsp Chopped Garlic
2 tbs Fresh Sage (chiffonade or cut into skinny strips)
Salt & Pepper to taste - but I actually didn't need it

1. Prepare Gnocchi according to package - boil for 2-3 minutes or until it floats! Drain.
2. Melt butter over medium, add garlic and let cook for a min or so till it starts to liiiiiightly brown.
3. Add sage and cook for another minute. Somehow during this process I browned the butter and did not burn it. I do not claim to know how to do this or how to instruct anyone how to, but that is what happened. Yum!
4. Pour over gnocchi, mix it around till coated, and serve hot with some Parmesan on top!!

EASY DINNER! It took me longer to make the salad and heat up the corn than it did to make the gnocchi and sauce. However I cannot cook like Rachel Ray yet, multi tasking is really hard for me. So it still took me 40 minutes to prepare each individual item before I was ready to sit down and eat.

I fully suggest you all try it out. If butter and sage aren't your cup of tea, pop open a jar of Prego and pour that over this potato pasta! Just as yummy, but don't forget the parmesan!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spunky Funky Animals - New Designs!!

Okay, thanks for listing to me complain last post. I feel better, and spent the last few naps coming up with new ideas rather than complaining.

I wanted to share my latest idea with you! Heidi tells me we need to have some cute modern pendants in our collection, so I'm slowly trying to get new ideas in where ever I can. THese aren't alll of them, but the first pendant was inspired by heidi - big eyes and all- so I thought it would be perfect to share it!

Here's my Spunky Funky Animal Series!!

The orginals!
en blu!
 crazy whatzit colors!

Ever since my sophmore year of college, I've had a mental block on colors. Clearly I like to design monotone, and then go from there.  So I'm always curious to hear which versions you like the best! (and/or if my designs really aren't as cute as I think. I get in this "my stuff rocks" mode, and it takes a few knocks to make me look at it unbiased... However, unlike most designers, I can take criticism.) Let's hear it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Downer Design Day

I'm having a downer design day. I still struggle with the transition from full time graphic designer to full time mom / nap-time crafter. I was technically only employed as a graphic designer at iii Design for a year or two, but I miss it. Plus I had six years of wearing the graphic designer title while I was in school. So really, I have been a designer way longer than I've been a mom.

Last night I had a dream, we moved back to CA and Missy, my iii boss, gave me my job back, and then I was cool again. Then today, I started looking at other blogs and I found all these neat ones!! The Graphics Fairy, Polly's Paper Studio, 100% Hand Made, Whimsical Musings.

But this one got to me:
This chick is a mom of 3, was an Art Director for two different agencies, and now does logo design on the side. What! Who is capable of all that???! PLUS- some of her designs are so cool.

I think most designers think they are hot stuff, and when it comes down to it- I'm no different. So I really hate finding designers who are similar to met, be but waaaaay better. This chick counts. Plus, I another "better tha me" designer on etsy this week- her stuff is similar to mine and is so cute. Too bad for all you I'm too selfish to share who that one is!

What I really want to know, is how did all these (I assume women) blogs become well followed and so cute. And how on earth do they have the energy to have a very active blog and do all their wonderful crafts, projects, sell online or elsewhere, and in many cases have a family.

I'm trying I'm trying! But mostly I'm trying to be a good mom, and then trying a little to have good design in any design endeavor I have, and trying less to have a super spiffy blog.
Good thing I have the most adorable boy to remind me that my priorities are defiantly in the right order!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Green Smoothies!

Ok, I know! Green smoothies? 

I said the same thing. "Eww." I have several friends that swear by them, and I always thought they sounded crazy. Then a friend out here in PA said she tried it and liked it!. So I thought, why not give it a try?

First thing you need to know about green smoothies. They aren't green! At least mine aren't. They have the potential to be green or greenish depending on what fruits you put in it. So my recommendation, put in dark berries! (Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.)

Here is all the stuff I used:
Apple juice
Fresh Strawberries
Frozen Mixed Berries

Do you want to know the secret of a good smoothie? There is no secret!
They are a piece of cake to make, you just throw a bunch of fruits in, its super healthy with several servings of fruits, and now even better with spinach, WHICH YOU CAN'T TASTE! You can't go wrong!

First toss in a couple of hand fulls of spinach. JUST TRY IT! Its not that scary. Then poor some juice in at the bottom. Maybe a 2 cups worth. (I don't measure anything.) Then dice, chop, and pulverize, that spinach into teeny tiny bits. If there are chunks, then your green smoothie will be gross. Green leafy chunks? EWW.

Next throw in whatever fruit/berries you want! I chopped up some fresh strawberries and ended up using a whole banana.

(Ok, here is my secret to amazing tasting smoothies. BANANAS! It really makes a difference!)

I also threw in some frozen mixed berries!

Then you mix it all up and you get a yummy healthy, NON GREEN smoothie! Do you see any green bits? I don't!

My husband was skeptical, but we both ended up really liking them! It is our new Saturday morning breakfast!

So I know it might be scary, but give it a try, I promise its really good!

Scrapbook Page!! Blessing Brad!

I swear that frilly edge scallop paper punch makes everything more cheerful!
This may be my last "baby Bradley" page I have to scrapbook! And since it is about an event not him, I could choose a more girly background page. Brian, my hubby, gives me a hard time if the stamps or background is too girly or in girly colors for the Bradley pages. But this is about our family, so I think it fits!

Materials Used:
12x12 patterned paper
Scallop Punch
Chip Board Letters
Brass Brads
more paper and pen and ribbon for the tag.

Happy scraping!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Chain!!

Oh! We have been waiting and waiting for our new chains to get here. I cannot believe how fast we sold out of our first batch, so here are the new ones!! And we have a TON of them this time!

Super cute! Sterling silver plated, adjustable length, 1.2 mm wide, and they look so cute with our pendants.
AND the best part! We got them for a great price so we are giving that great price to our customers! Check out our Etsy Listing for more info.

psssst- watch for my new designs, I've been working super hard on them!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Art" Show

 My husband is getting his MFA in pottery. Since he is at school all the time, he often gets to go to his colleague's art shows. I get to go every once in a while, which is nice because it gives me a chance to step outside of my every day norm.

It is often discussed in my house "what is art" because it is often discussed at school in my husband's critiques. He likes to get my opinion and I enjoy hearing his. But I don't think you can pin point a definition down to what "Art" is. Someone who might not be trained at all can slap something together, or paint a picture, or make some kind of sculpture and call it "Art". While someone who is trained and knows what they are doing would disagree with that person. I always feel like the debate of "what is art" is never ending. I think you just have to chalk to up to what your opinion is of things you do and don't like.

For instance:

This is a Jackson Pollock piece. I saw this piece or one similar to it in a Art museum in Buffalo, NY. My husband asked me what I thought of this painting when we came to it. (He likes taking me to Art shows and openings because I have an "unbiased" opinion, a "normal" person's view that isn't in the academic debating art world.) I had no idea who Jackson Pollock was, and I honestly thought the painting was kind of cool. Don't you think it would be fun to shut yourself in a room with a big canvas (or just blank walls!) and go to town flinging paint everywhere? YEAH! That would be cool! So since I like this piece, I guess I would call it "Art". But my husband disagrees intensely. He thinks Pollock doesn't have any talent and shouldn't be considered "Art." Interesting eh?

Anyway- Back to the current art show I went to this weekend. There were three graduating grad students whose work was in this show. I didn't get pictures of everything because I already felt like I was breaking rules taking pictures.

The difference between Art museums and student Art shows, is that the student shows all the work they have from that year or semester. They have an idea/concept/theme that they are showcasing through their "Art."
 I think the concept got lost here. This is the same person's work. Yes, you are looking at a ton of butterflies and yes, those are octopus legs coming out of a frame. What is the connection you ask? Your guess is as good as mine... Is it "Art"? Well...

 Here is another piece from the same person. This actually took up the whole wall and was HUGE. See the tiny butterflies around it still? I thought just the sheer size of this was interesting. There was a lot to look at. But I still don't get the connection of butterflies to sea stuff, and then there were also a couple of crows in there. ???

Another grad student made charcole drawings of very strong burly men, putting on drag makeup. Only the makeup was in color, and it was BRIGHT colors. As far as the skill goes, this person could draw very well. It wasn't exactly my preference as far as "Art" goes, but it was fun to look at. He also had a giant male drag mannequin. WHOA.

Sometimes you see some really interesting things at Art Shows.

If I stood next to this dude, I would come up to his lower shoulders. He/she (ha!) was tall! And those boots were very large and very sparkley. It would be very entertaining to see someone in real life wearing them.

And the last student had paintings that I enjoyed. You can kind of see a couple in the photo bellow. They are the sort of pictures that are neat to look at far away, but when you get closer you can't really see what it is supposed to be. Lots of emotion, it was cool.

Our little family enjoyed our Friday night full of Octopus legs, butterflies and drag queens. 
Its fun to be cultured!

What do you think "Art" is?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ye Old Wood Frame to Wall Wonders!

Two of my good friends have adorable black and white photo montages in their houses. In my frugality and artistic endeavors, this is my DIY solution...

1. Find wood frames at a thrift shop. I spent around $20 on six frames of varying sizes.

It is importent to gather a variety of frames that have similarities. You can pair frames in WEIGHT, TEXTURE, and SIZE. Two of the sixe are identical, two more are the same wiggly outside frame but in two sizes, and the other two are different all around- one is very heavy and has lots of wood and the other is a huge size frame, for some reason this balences out. Look for frames with cool curvy edges instead of the traditional "frame" swoop.

2. Find location. (maybe step 1 and 2 should be switched, but this worked for me because I couldn't convince my husband of any of the locations I chose, so i jut bought the frames and we chose later.)
This is the computer area of our craft/toy/computer room. Isn't this wall so boring!!

3. Select your photos!! This takes forever I know. Here are my tips.
Have a varity of close up, medium range, and zoomed out.
A variety of, everything in focus and just a few things in focus.
Biggest one- family shot (mostly zoomed out)
The photos left, right, and on top (those closest) should be the opposite, close up and only one thing in focus or one thing to foucs on. I hope that helps! It is actually complicated to get a nice arrangement of photos that don't distract from each other. Go, busy, simple, simple, busy, simple simple.
4. Supplies -
250 grit sand paper
Clean Cloth
Drop Cloth or Plastic Tablecloth
Black Paint
Fine Paintbrush

5. After disassembling your frames, set aside the glass and cardboard backings in a safe place. Then clear out a work area, outside or inside and begin sanding!!
If it is nice, sand outside... my mistake. Even this little bit of wood dust will finely coat everything in the room. Since I hadn't cleaned my craft room in a while, it didn't really matter, it just made me sneeze.
You want to sand off the old finish on the frames. If there is gold painted on the frame, you definatly want to try and sand this down too. This way the paint will adhere properly and you will be able to put on fewer coats of pain. I probably took 45 min to sand my frames and an hour to paint them.

 Left frame has been sanded, right frame is original finish.

6. Lay down a drop cloth, set out all your frames, and find a cheap paint and a good paintbrush.
I used Glidden Black with an Eggshell finish that I purchased from HomeDepot, and a paintbrush with fine bristles (not like the kind you use on your walls, like the kind you use on a canvas or toll painting!) and the brush was probably an inch wide.
 (See I didn't sand my gold paint very well, and the first coat didn't cover it very well.)

 After two coates they are perfect! And if you use a fine bristle brush, you don't even see brush strokes!

You are eventually going to do two coats, and you will coat allll the little edges. Start with the inside corners and the edges closest to the center of the frame. That way you make sure the hard parts are well coated first.
 7. Prepare to make holes in your wall!
Stop putting it off. You ARE going to have to put a hole or two in your walls at some point! DO IT NOW instead of waiting for year and years.

I'm simple, nails and these weird weight bearing nails is all I use.

 8. Hammer hammer hammer!
Start with the main pic, then do the top two. Then the sides. Don't be paranoid about lining everything up, get one or two thing close. For everything else worry about the space between the frames not linning up the tops and bottoms. If all the spaces between the frames are close to equal, all the frames will looke lined up!

Ta DA!!!