Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finding Inspiration In Architecture

The husband and I have been traveling A LOT.  I'm starting to get used to living out of a suitcase.  While it means that getting projects done takes a little bit longer I have certainly been enjoying myself and yes, even finding inspiration all around me.

One such trip found us in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It's not much to look upon at first sight, at least the whole ride over.  However there are some really unique elements.  After going to an art museum we decided we wanted to walk around Old Town Downtown.  There were so many colors and I loved all the texture.  There is something about history and architecture no matter where it is that just fascinates me.

Let's start with the doors.  I was having a hard time not stopping at every single door to take a photo.  In the photo above I loved the contrast of the bricks and the teal doors.  I loved the rustic look of the peeling paint and the variations of the wrought iron.  Do you notice the different patterns?

Texture.  By now you might be realizing that I am a total tactile person.  When we came up to this fountain I was intrigued.  I love how some of the grout is deeper than others.

Does this remind anyone of our Color of the Year?  Ya me too.  I think one of the elements of Southwestern design that gets me excited is there use of bold colors.

Finally I love the attention to detail.  To think that this door was made way before all of our technological advances just baffles me.  So much love and work went into this one door.  Love it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DIY Cupcake Stand

This DIY Cupcake Stand is seriously so easy but it's one of my favorite projects.  I had another design friend who made something similar out of all white dishes to replicate a cupcake stand she had seen in a Pottery Barn magazine.  I love the simplicity of all white, I really do.  I also have my kitchen decor themed around dishes and wanted to make a stand I could leave out year round.  My kitchen/dining/living room has some shabby chicish elements and I wanted my diy cupcake stand to be one of those elements.

2 Large Plates
1 Medium Plate
1 Small Saucer Plate
2 Mugs
1 Sm Bowl
Ceramic Glue (or something strong like the E-6000 glue)

I went to Pier 1 and found all of the pieces in their clearance section.  Score!  I will admit that I sat on the ground and stacked the dishes until I had the exact look I was going for.  I can't remember exactly how much I spent but I know it was under $20.  Then I came home, washed the dishes and glued them all together.


Obviously I have to wash it by hand but I use it for more than just cupcakes.  Fresh Fruit.  Assorted Candy.  Nuts.  Anything that looks pretty and needs to be on the counter for one reason or another.  It's true that I probably couldn't put blue cupcakes on there and make it look masculine for a boy themed party but that is why I have a set of white cake stands.  It really was meant to not only be functional but be a pretty piece of art.    

To be honest I'm so tempted to do another diy cupcake stand just for the fun of it.  Maybe someone will want one for their birthday.  Any takers?

Monday, February 20, 2012

All That is Tangerine Tango

I know I'm a little late getting on the subject of Pantone's color of the year... Tangerine Tango.  I've known what I have wanted to do with new 2012 Spring Colors and my blog for some time but I was out of town for all of January with limited Photoshop access.  My goal is to spend one week on each of the colors.  I will introduce the color and how I think it will trend.  Then I will introduce new products, such as wedding announcement packages, graduation announcements, birth announcements, etc. that are inspired by these colors.

So how about some Tangerine Tango?  Yes Please!  Orange is one of those colors you either hate it or love it.  I have loved it for many, many years and think that it is a fabulous color.  So how will Tangerine Tango be used?


For the most part I expect that we will see this color mostly in accessories.  Right now I think we will continue to see clean white interiors spiced up with pops of color.  It can be retro, modern, whimsical, etc.  Myself, I wouldn't just go painting any Tangerine Tango walls but that's not to say it can't be done and done tastefully.  I just don't predict that it will trend that way.  An orange chevron rug would be fabulous in a living or dining area and in preparing for this post I found so many great accent pieces like the lamp shown above from IKEA.  Some will still be shy of using this color in their interiors but as more products come out I see it becoming more popular.  With that being said, I don't think Tangerine Tango will be a timeless color.  It will continue to go in and out of style as the years go on.      


1. Solid Shirt 2. Lace Shirt 3. Earrings 4. Scarf 5. Skirt 6. Necklace 7. Shoes 8. Handbag 
9. Clutch 10. Nail Polish 11. Glasses 12. Bracelet

This is where I think we will really see Tangerine Tango take off.  I got onto Anthropologie's website to look for some photos to show and didn't have to look far.  Orange is showing up everywhere.  It's prefect for a fun spring and summer look and transitions right into fall... thus the reason it makes for a great color of the year.  It will look great in family photos as it contrasts so well with many backdrops found in the great outdoors.  Some people don't feel comfortable in an orange shirt or dress.  No problem you can still ride the Tangerine Tango train through your accessories.  Grey is still HUGE right now.  Pair a grey top with an orange handbag and shoes and you have the perfect outfit to feel comfortable and trendy in.  With that being said, I think we are going to see many fashionistas making bold choices in how they will incorporate this color.  We will see more orange make-up looks, orange nails, and many many statement pieces.  Tangerine Tango is a very fiery color.

What do you think.  Love it?  Hate it?  How would/will you use this color throughout the year?

Be looking later this week for a Tangerine Tango Wedding Package which will include coordinating announcements, save the dates, and thank-you cards.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tips and Ideas For Naming Artwork

I am really excited for today's guest post from Markus Orlyus.  One of the things as a designer of cards and announcements that I struggle with most is naming each piece of "art," because essentially that's what they are to me.  I have also made a lot of friends who themselves are artists in one way or another.  Put the two together and you have a great topic for guest blog post.  How does one go about naming a piece of art?  Markus, has some great ideas below:

The science of naming

De Profundis by LMars

I am a Professional Namer, the only one in the world as far as I know. It is quite like being a Consulting Detective, without all the running about and corpses. I sympathize now with a simple Adam, sitting beneath the burden of hundreds of expectant eyes belonging to his unnamed fauna.

My job is to assist artists in naming their works – partly for aesthetic resonance, partly for crass commercialism. The two overlap more than you would hope them to. Has it ever been otherwise?

I was drawn into this singular avocation because I am a writer and my sisters are artists in varied media – acrylic, watercolor, wood, clay, and felt. A genetic defect, perhaps. My mother was an artist and my grandfather was a forger, which is a sort of urban art. He was actually a Robin Hood like figure, saving peasants from uxorious tributes to the Swedish Crown. Now that I mention that, I really ought to have researched the statute of limitations on offences against the King of Sweden. Pity.

So in a moment of calm, I am sitting down to attempt to construct an elegant scientific edifice to guide artists in their typically intuitive bursts of naming frenzies.

The Voyages of Telemachus by LMars

1.)  Separate the eidetic from the linguistic. A work may look like something or it may not, but the artist’s visual inspiration should never be the starting point of a name. Would you buy the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo or the Mona Lisa. Actually, that’s not a bad name, but I would create a more evocative one if it weren’t already sold. Often great works survive despite poor names, but a living artist depending on sales rather than patrons does not enjoy the luxury of waiting.

2.)  Eliminate mythology before proceeding. This actually means, name it something mythological if at all relevant. It sounds rather childish when I put it this way, but mythologies are the solidified memories of the world. Culture is a digestion process that has been working for at least 30,000 years. That date refers to the time when symbolic totems first appeared nearly everywhere all at once, like humanity woke up and remembered its dreams for the first time. Don’t spit out barely chewed ideas until you learn to trust the digestion of millennia.

3.)  Speak directly and forcefully to one person. Mimmio Paldino is one of my inspirations with his titles like I am trying my best to paint a picture. http://www.artbrokerage.com/artist/Mimmo-Paladino  Each piece you make is individual, even if it is identical. It is going to one person. Speak to that person with your naming.

These woods are lovely dark and deep (no quotes, fair use) but I had better get back to work. I just realized that three rules is a good place to stop because three is the eternal number of perfection. I would love to hear from you about how you name your art or stories of how changing the name made your work more popular.


p.s. both works above are accidental art by my 3 year old son. Without names they are floccinaucinihilipilificates.

Markus Orlyus blogs on history and travel at micropilot (micropilot.wordpress.com). He is the owner of Cre8tiveIT (cre8tiveit.webs.com), a copywriting agency for artists and new technologists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine's Day Wish

It's true... my Valentines Day wish is for more snow.  I don't just want any kind of snow, I want the kind that sticks around for more than a day.  I want at least another one or two snowstorms that produces the amount you see above.  

 I do not particularly LOVE the snow itself.  I don't ski or snowboard.  In fact snow storms make my anxiety levels go all sorts of crazy and I hate driving in it.  It can mess up plans and cancel trips.  However, it is important for some of the things I love.  Have you ever seen a Montana summer?  They are simply beautiful.  Like all things, that beauty comes at a price, at least six  months of hard, cold winters to be exact.

I married into a Lake loving family as well and guess what... Lake Powell is dependent on the snow fall that the Rocky Mountains get.  Low snowfall makes for low water at the lake.

It's not all about the looks or the activities though.  My grandpa is a farmer.  Warm, dry winters often make for warmer and drier summers.  The rivers and lakes are low.  Plants get scorched and crops struggle.  When the farmers have a hard growing season you can bet that gas and food prices will sky rocket.

I also live in a desert state that already is in a drought.  If we don't get enough snow in the mountains that sticks we can bet that the drought will become that much worse.  Plants will dry out.  Mix that with the large amount of wind we get in the spring and you have all the makings for a great fire season... because last year wasn't enough.

I may not love the snow but it is important thus I will keep on wishing and hoping that not only Northern Arizona but a lot of the other states will get at least a couple more decent snow storms before Spring truly shows her face.

What's your Valentine's Day wish?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts

I know I posted about this printable a few months back but it would make a great last minute Valentine's Day gift and is fairly inexpensive.  All you need is to print out this printable from my website, find a frame, and a white board marker to write on top of the glass.

In my marriage I find its the little things that keep the love going strong.  I gave this particular gift to my husband for our anniversary and it has been a bigger hit than I imagined.  He loves to come home from work and see if I have written anything new.  We can never tell the people we care for "I love you," too much, which is why I don't mind celebrating Valentine's Day even if it is a "commercialized" holiday.  I try to do things or get gifts that will remind my husband year round how much he means to me.  For example, this year my gift will be my 14 days of Love Letters.  He can read those whenever he wishes just like I can continue using the above printable for more than just one or two days.  

This last minute Valentine's day gift come in two sizes:

11 x 17 (to fit an 11 x 14 Frame)
8 1/2 x 11 (to fit an 8 x 10 frame)

For this and other FREE printables check out my website.

What do you do for your loved ones on Valentine's Day?  Do you have any great last minute Valentine's Day gifts?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Texture Ball Challenge

Remember the texture ball I showed you a few weeks ago?  That was one of my first college projects for Interior Design.  We were learning about visual and tactile texture.  It happens to be one my favorite projects, so much so that I got together with some of my school friends to recreate it.

I have named this baby "Flight."

Originally I was going to use feathers, sequins, and split peas for the varying textures but found that the split peas where the wrong color of green and just wasn't going to fit the bill.  I already had everything else attached yesterday and started going through the supplies I had in my home with Tim Gunn's voice in my head saying, "Make It Work."  While I looked at several different options the hemp was the one that kept coming to mind.

It really wasn't too hard to make.

Here are the supplies I used:

- 6" Styrofoam ball
- glue gun and glue sticks
- straight pins
- feathers
- sequins of various colors and sizes
- hemp rope

1.)  I glued the feathers on first and they in no way need to be in a circle but placed thoughtfully around the ball.

2.)  Next came the sequins.  This part is probably the most time consuming.  I pinned the sequins around my feathers in various thicknesses.  The green and teal were on one side and the silver on the other.  I used different sizes to keep the visual texture interesting and varying.

3.)  Finally I glued the hemp in the remaining areas starting on the outside and working my way in.

I think the reason I liked this project so much is because there are endless possibilities and they can be interesting art pieces for the home at minimal cost.  See the solutions my friends came up with and make sure and check out their tutorials.

(I highly recommend following their blogs, they have some great ideas for home decor, home design, party planning, and other great design tips)

Caley at Design By Caley

Andrea at Strawberry Chic