Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Sponsored: Penelopes Studio Revisited

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This post is sponsored by Sprout furniture for kids. This flat-pack, eco-friendly furniture is easy to assemble and transport.

The friction fit makes for a sturdy piece that will last for hours and hours of imagination and creativity. Connect with Sprout on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

For Penelope’s birthday in 2013, we converted a utility closet into a studio just for her. Her own little space. Needless to say that it’s been a huge hit. Neighbor friends of all ages (and genders!) have flocked to this space to make many a creative masterpiece. It’s heavenly to hear the quiet whispers of creative plans among friends. However, the space hasn’t been perfect. We’ve found a few issues with the space that we’ve had to remedy.

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  1. The narrow space was really only inviting for 1 person. Maybe a friend, but not more than one.
  2. The closed off, one directional seating made Penelope feel separated from everything so she would often spend time crafting on the floor in the hallway. Tiny shreds of paper in the carpet drives me nuts.
  3. While the little pink boxes were cute, Penelope rarely put things in their own boxes to keep them organized.
  4. The pink boxes would roam the house (as would the loose supplies).
  5. Her completed artwork would typically pile up until I would recycle it or put it in a storage box. Rarely on display.

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Thanks to Sprout Kids, we replaced the two tables and chairs with one table and three stools. We got rid of the filing cabinet so it opened up room on the sides for friends to come sit. The sturdy stools make it easier for older kids (and adults) to join in the fun, too.

Tangent: Assembly was a breeze. Even Felix and Penelope helped. I had to bust out our trusty rubber mallet to get the pieces to squeeze together, but they’re fabulously sturdy. Especially the stools. I want grown-up sized stools like this for having company over!

I was nervous about the exposed MDF with Penelope’s watercolors, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. I plan to seal the exposed edges with beeswax, but I haven’t had the time yet. 

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Now that the filing cabinet is gone (it’s now in Chris’s office closet), Penelope can sit with her back facing the wall so she feels less secluded and more involved in family happenings.

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Those tip-prone pink boxes had to go. I cleared out her unused supplies as well and fit all her good supplies in a little plastic caddy she can take with her anywhere. All of her supplies go and everything has a place. Since the compartments are clear, it’s easier for her to keep track of where things are supposed to go.

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No more stray supplies. They stay contained!

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I found some cork drawer liner with an adhesive backing. I plastered that onto the wall so now Penelope instantly has a place to display her gorgeous drawings and sculptures. She’s really gotten into sculptures lately. And the tooth fairy (that’s a whole different blog post, though).

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The updates are very subtle, but have made such a huge difference to keep the hallway clear of debris. It’s so great to walk to my room without stepping on scissors and shards of paper!

It’s been a thrill to see Penelope’s artistic side flourish, particularly in these last few months. She has such a wild imagination, I hope she keeps going in this awesome direction!

This post is sponsored by Sprout Kids, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

 

 

Sponsored: 6+ Ways to Address an Envelope

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This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They provide excellent quality printing and amazing printing options to make your holiday cards stand out this year.

I’ve got 6+ easy ways to embellish your envelopes this year. Don’t get stuck with boring print labels or chicken scratch! Make your snail mail pop with a few tips that require little to no technique. :)

If you want to get some technique under your belt, check out 5 Easy Steps for Improving Your Handwriting, or take my calligraphy class!

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Getting fun snail mail is possibly one of my favorite aspects of this time of year. I love getting something other than business offers and bills! Colored envelopes will certainly help make those invites pop.

I went through Tiny Prints for my Christmas cards this year and got one of their laser-cut designs (See all of their offerings here). It’s unique, well designed and I didn’t have to spend a million hours getting it squared away. Major win! I’m dedicated to having enough time to enjoy the holidays this year. No chicken with her head cut off over here, please!

I’m incredibly partial to Kraft envelopes (greengrocer kraft is fabulous). They work well with both light and dark pens and they stand out in a pile of mail. The envelopes featured in this tutorial are from Tiny Prints. I’ve been incredibly impressed how well they handle ink and how easily I can write on them with my super sharp calligraphy nibs.

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Next up, gather all random scrapbook supplies you own. Heck, head over to Walmart and browse their crafty section. You’ll find some great stuff for next to nothing.

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To do the techniques seen above, you’ll want to collect a few things:

You’ll want a few different patterns of washi tape, and perhaps a few different widths, too. When in doubt, collect all the black, white, gold and silver washi tape you can get your hands on. It goes with practically everything and every season.

You can use any kind of pen for these techniques. I used dip pen and ink for many of these samples, but just use any kind of pen you have. Ballpoint pens, however? NO. Throw all of those out of your house right now. They’re terrible. Shame on you for having them around. :)

Learn how to use a pointed pen with my online calligraphy class: IStillLoveCalligraphy.com. I’m happy to teach you! Side note: our kit makes for the perfect gift. 

So let’s get going, shall we?

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When doing your addresses on a straight line, use the chalk pencil and the clear ruler to mark out those lines. Otherwise:

DECORATIVE GUIDELINES

Use washi tape as a decorative way to keep your lines straight.

Tape a vertical and horizontal strip and write in the bottom right section OR use it to slant your baseline. Layer multiple strips of tape for more depth.

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RANSOME NOTE

Use alphabet stickers to draw attention to different letters.

For a cursive style, use block letter stickers for the first letter of each name. For block style writing, replace a random letter with a sticker.

I found these stickers at Walmart for about $1-2 each. I’m sure you can find them at just about any craft supply store as well.

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AROUND AND AROUND

Use circular sticker labels (I used Avery 2 1/2″ labels) to structure your envelope’s layout.

Print or letter just the address within the label (this is great if you want a hand-lettered touch, but you have LOADS of addresses to do) and write the name outside the sticker.

In the top version, I used the border of the label as a baseline and wrote the name around the diameter. It looked a little empty so I drew a little holly berry illustration on there. You could draw something there, or keep it simple and stick the circle in the center of the envelope.

Wrap the label around the back and write the name on a large scale all the way across the envelope.

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GLITTER GLUE DETAILS

Glitter glue is my best friend. It’s all the sparkle of glitter without the mess of loose glitter everywhere (I swear that stuff multiplies). My favorite brand is Stickles. Sparkliest of them all.

Pipe out a wavy line in glitter glue. Use that line as your guide for the baseline of the recipient’s name.

Or Letter out your address and use glitter glue to add accents on hairlines and at the terminals of each line.

 

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LARGE-SCALE NAME

Grab a marker and go to town! Write out the first name as large as the envelope will allow. Cursive styles work best. I used a Tombow dual brush marker here. You can use a casual, grungy style nicely. Then letter the rest of the address in a normal style, save for the ZIP. Make the ZIP huge.

ADD SOME BLING

Letter the address as you would prefer then stick some rhinestones on it. Yup. Simple. But it’s so fun go get in the mail! I like to use PVA glue to fasten them on. It’s a strong glue that dries clear.

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I hope you have some fun sending out mail this year!

*This DIY is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Printable: 2014 Thank You Cards

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2013 Thank You Printable2012 Thank You PrintableFloral Thank You Printable2011 Thank You PrintableDino Party SuiteStyled. Party Suite2010 Thank You Printable • 2009 Thank You Printable

It’s that time of year again! Here’s another ‘Thank You’ card printable. I had a lot of fun with this one. I love the idea of making a wheat-inspired bouquet. Kind of reminds me of the fall harvest. Very indicative of the time of year around here.

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I’ve been making lots of ‘Thank You’ cards for family and friends lately (so many things to thank them for!), so I thought I would make a printable that was in-line with the off-hand flourishes that I’ve been making lately.

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The printable is a simple double-sided post card design that could be sent as a post card, or printed single-sided and used with an envelope for more formal sentiments.

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I kept the design simple with just black and white line work. Embellish with sparkly pens, colored pencil, markers and more! Print out a bunch and let kids color and decorate at the Thanksgiving table! A great Thanksgiving-themed activity, if you ask me.

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Click the button below to download.

 

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Handmade: Letterpress Business Cards + Motivators

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I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s summer Alt Summit, and boy did it sneak up on me! I barely had the chance to recover from January’s conference.

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I wanted to do something completely different for this session’s business cards, but I ended up doing everything last-minute. And by last-minute, literally making business cards the night before the conference.

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The cards have the same general vibe as they did previously, with a little motivator and acrylic stand, but I approached the printing and calligraphy differently.

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Instead of doing one kind of motivator (“You are awesomesauce”), I decided to switch things up and write out different adjectives. The monoline style is quite different from last time, too. I used watercolor paper and a sumi ink to create moody washes on the backs of all the papers to create a moody texture. Then lettered with white ink overtop. The texture of the black wash gives the card more depth, in my opinion.

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The printing was a little different as I was using a watercolor paper and not a thick letterpress paper. There’s still a deboss from the printing process, but it’s not as stark. I went with the watercolor so that the lettering on the back would be easier to create. Last time I had a heck of a time lettering on that soft letterpress paper.

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I also had a problem with the ink in the letterpress printing bleeding, making the hairlines a tad garbled. Above, you can see different experimentations on printing. The top right is using regular letterpress ink, you can’t tell a whole lot from the image, but it’s feathering a little bit on the paper. Then I tried various blind-deboss printing techniques, then applying ink afterward. That didn’t work quite like I had envisioned. Then the top left is when I discovered inking up my letterpress plates with a stamp pad. The stamp pad from Silhouette’s stamp kit is quite tacky and worked perfectly for inking up the plates. The printing was more crisp and the clean-up was a million times easier with the water-soluble ink. Major win! I’ll be using this method for printing with the L-Letterpress in the future.

Calligraphy: Eric & Margaret’s Invitations

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Our family just expanded! My brother-in-law Eric got hitched last month to a really awesome gal. We’re so thrilled to add her to the family.

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Since Eric and Margaret live pretty close to us (for about a year Eric lived with us), we’ve been able to get to know Margaret really well. But for some reason, I was coming up blank when it came to the design of the invitation. I think I started 3 different designs. None of them felt quite right. Too masculine, too formal, too boring.

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The other limitation was the size. We went with an A2 envelope, which left us with basically a quarter sheet. With only that much space, I had to be creative to get information for both receptions on there without looking cramped or tiny. With relying on the personality of the type and going for a simple layout, I was able to make this happen.

In this case, bride and groom had varying amount of letters in their first and middle names. This made balancing out left to right a little complicated, but the extra flourishes to the right of ‘Eric’ did the job.

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The colors were greens and bright yellows, which are perfect summer colors, but can get a little overwhelming if you have large fields of those colors. We opted for a bright white stock and green print with little details of yellow in the printing and with washi tape.

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The design and assembly of the invitation was simple, but special. I’m thrilled how it all turned out. I’m also thrilled that they got hitched, too. :)

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