Snarky New Hoop Art

I’ve been friend with Nicole, who I recently visited in Houston, since she moved to Wisconsin in fifth grade. She’s one of the funniest, weirdest (in a good way!) people I know, and also happens to love the embroidery hoops I can’t seem to stop making. So when she started shouting out funny and often inappropriate phrases followed by “Put that in a hoop!” I started taking notes.

get_your_shit_together_1394The first hoop I worked on was actually my idea—one of my favorite sayings actually! A lot of these hoops will be set in my favorite gorgeous calligraphy typeface, I just love the contrast of the cheeky message with the elegant typography—especially in such a traditional medium. It’s been super popular on Instagram, so get it here while you can!

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These little orange numbers are all Nicole. I even sent the “lolz” design her way as a birthday present last week (hopefully it has arrived and I didn’t just ruin the surprise!), but if you want your own (in custom colors!), just get in touch.

dreamcatcher_1402I’ve also made a few non-vulgar hoops, but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, this dreamcatcher one is my favorite. Get it here.

Well folks, now I have some sad news. I’m out of hoops. I went to the local fabric store to pick up some more, and oddly enough, all sizes were about the same price. But that means the smaller sizes cost about 5 times what they cost in the states, so I just can’t swing it. I’m exploring other ways to frame these up (which may end up being cheaper to ship too! YAY!), but in the mean time, I’ll still be stitching away! Here’s a design that doesn’t have a home yet:

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Now go away ;)

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Still Alice

I mentioned my upcoming Alice in Wonderland styled photo shoot in my last post, but I realized I didn’t give you very many sneak peeks! So this post is where I spill all the beans.big_rose_5R0A4029

The first rose I tackled was actually the giant number above. The planner for the shoot envisioned the bridesmaids with two huge individual white roses instead of a bouquet. They were time consuming and between two of them used up an entire roll of crepe paper, but super fun to make and turned out beautifully! I’m so excited to see them worked into the shoot. (Photo by Adrian Cunningham)

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The bride’s peony and rose bouquet is a little more my style, but I also put quite a few Alice-esque twists on it. Lots of red and white roses—of course—and I also worked in a few “leaves” made from playing cards, with the Queen of Hearts featuring prominently. This photo is just a quick phone snap—can’t wait to see what the professional photographer does with these!

Want to inquire about wedding services or your own everlasting bouquet? Get in touch!

Roses Reign

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I’ve figured out how to make lots of crepe paper flowers—peonies, poppies, daisies, tulips, crocuses and lots more—but I’ve put off classic roses. They’ve never been one of my favorite flowers because they seem to be a sort of default buy (When in doubt, go with a dozen red roses, right?), they seem almost ordinary in my mind. That was, until, last weekend.

I was recently asked to contribute to an Alice in Wonderland themed styled shoot, so it was time to finally tackle the rose! It took me a few tries, but once I got it, I REALLY got it. And now I’m in love with roses!

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The spiraling center, radiating delicate curled petals… I just love everything about them. Of course my favorites are the unexpected colors though! These yellow beauties are my favorites, but orange is next on the docket, so that may change. You can order yours here!rose_yellow_5R0A4067

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rose_yellow_gradient_1656Once I had the basics mastered, I started experimenting with mixing petal colors, and even made one very special hand-painted rosebud for the Alice shoot (remember that about a hundred rose photos ago?). rose_dipdyed_1596

When I was finished with my rose production extravaganza, I asked my photographer friend Adi to come over and snap a few pics. He took the shot of the white bouquet at the very top of my post as well as this one below! Check out more of his work on his newly launched website!roses_red_5R0A4052

Houston’s History of Printing Museum

One of my oldest and dearest friends moved to Houston last year, and I finally got down to visit a few weeks ago. We did a bunch of fun stuff, but I though you’d all like to see photos from The Printing Museum! Here’s just a small selection of the photos I took—I highly recommend stopping in for yourself!

Happy Spring!

I know officially the first day of spring isn’t until next weekend, but for me the day we get to push sunset back an hour is one of the best days of the year. Having sunlight into the evening makes me more productive and more positive!

I’m celebrating by creating paper versions of spring flowers we don’t get here in Bermuda. Is there anything better than seeing the first crocus pushing through the snow? These aren’t available online yet, but if you want some, you know where to find me!

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Home Improvement

If you’ve been with me on this blog for many years, you might remember that I used to love home projects. I love ripping out carpet, painting walls, upholstering furniture,  I’ve even stripped and refinished original baseboards (although I can’t say I particularly loved that one). Even my three rentals that followed were lovingly decorated with lots of unique furniture and artwork. Having a home filled with pieces that bring me joy has always been important to me.

However, when I moved to Bermuda, minimalism became my new mantra. I was loading a crate onto a cargo ship headed for a tropical island, remember? Plus, we’ll probably only be here for a few years. So anything that couldn’t stand the humidity, that might break during the journey, or that added too much weight to my crate had to go. I sold all of my well-curated furniture, gave away a few special decor items, and put the rest in storage in my parents’ basement. Unfortunately, this made for starker surroundings than I would like. So I did a little soul searching a few months back, and investing my energy into a few small decor projects was one of the things I decided could be easily accomplished and make a big impact on how I feel about living here.

I’ve got a few bigger projects in the works, but right away I’ve added a few small decor pieces. I’ve brought a few things from home and bought a few things when I’ve been back in the states, but the things that make me the happiest are the pieces I’ve made!

12717958_1123524741020732_1256405991863931753_nFirst up, I got my ever-growing collection of embroidery hoops arranged and hung up in our guest bedroom. I love how they look grouped together and I’m sure will be adding to them consistently!

I also hung this pomegranate stunner solo in our kitchen. This hoop took hours and hours, so I wanted to give her a special spot—at least until she sells! Want her in your own home? Available here.

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The other project is one I’ve been thinking about for a little while now. At any given time, I have a fairly good stock of paper flowers in my studio, but I’ve never really made a bouquet just for me. One of the areas in our home I’ve really wanted to do something with is our upstairs landing. There’s a funny little nook that’s not really big enough to do anything with, but looks a bit odd when it’s empty.

I recently moved a side table there, and now I’m working on creating the perfect collection to top it, so of course this was the perfect place to create a bouquet just for me! I wanted a loose, free-form arrangement that looked natural, so I created these poppies with extra long stems and just a few small leaves.

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I’ve also been wanting to experiment with some new techniques for more botanically accurate flowers for a while now, so this was a great opportunity.

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I mastered the curly stamen effect, and on this bloom above experimented with a bit of hand-coloring in the center. wild_poppies_1364

I’ve also added the criss-crossing strips of contrasting colored paper, to give the pleated effect of the poppy center. In this bloom above, I also tried bleaching the centers of the petals, to varying success. It’s a technique I’ll try again with a more saturated paper!wild_poppies_1360

I’ve also seen other paper artists add a bit of confetti to the ends of their stamens to give the effect of pollen. I like how this turned out, although I really need to find a bright yellow paper for it to look real. wild_poppies_1365

After a few tries, I also created a poppy bud I like! Although now after looking at the arrangement again, I’m feeling like I should go upstairs and bend the bud down, as that’s more typical than facing up. Either way, I’m loving how these turned out and super excited about my latest addition to my home!

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2016: All Pink Everything

Officially, Pantone named two colors of the year for 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity (which is a sort of pastel blue), but so far from where I stand it’s been all about lovely shades of blush pink.

First, bride-to-be Krista got in touch. I had designed and printed her save the date coasters last year and they were some of my favorites, so I was thrilled to hear from her! I’ll do a bigger reveal after their wedding day, but here’s a sneak peek of their dusty rose wrap that holds all the invitation elements together.

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Another bride from last year got in touch just after Krista. The future Mrs. O’Brien went for a more formal design for her wedding stationery, which features the same pink filigree pattern, gold family crest and formal script as her save the dates. Her invitations are hot off the press (and drying all over my house) as I type, so I don’t even have a sneak peek for you yet, but stay tuned!

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I’ve also been working on non-letterpress wedding invitations lately. I’ve been thinking about offering less expensive options for a while now, since not every bride can or wants to spend several hundred (or more) dollars on their invitations. And, as smaller celebrations become more popular, the price-per-invite goes up, since the initial supply costs for letterpress work are so high. Although personally I still think it’s totally worth it!

I recently connected with a photographer via The Rising Tide Society that offered to shoot some of my new invites! Nicole over at Simply Charming Pictures did a great job, I can’t wait to share the rest of her work! Watercolor invitations aren’t yet available online, but get in touch if you’re interested!

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As I was finishing up those big wedding projects, a new mom got in touch via Etsy about invitations for her baby girl’s first birthday party. She loved my Watercolor Ombre Fill-in Invitations, but wondered if I could make them in pink and gold instead… to which I said of course! I knew I would love the results, so I made an extra set to list in the shop—find them here!

pink_ombre_watercolor_1169And finally, I’ve finally started ordering a few new printing plates for my own projects. You may have noticed I didn’t launch as many new cards last year. When I first moved, I was so excited to have so much time for letterpress work that I may have gone a little crazy and printed all the cards I’d had bouncing around my head for years but never had the time to print, and my stock got a little out of hand. Not only do I have limited space to store everything, but it’s difficult to keep track of nearly 200 different designs!

Someday when I have my own shop, I’ll be able to maintain that kind of inventory, but for the time being, I needed to pare things down. I’m finally at a place now where enough designs have sold out so I’m ready to create some new work!

Mr_and_Mrs_1193Far and away my favorite of the new fonts I bought a few months back is this beautiful modern calligraphy typeface. It’s perfect for wedding season! My “Mr & Mrs” cards have always been popular, but I’ve been feeling like the design needed an upgrade, so I designed these! Pick up a set here. I also wanted to created a new design that would not only work for weddings (and not even same-sex unions at that), but any joyous occasion—birthdays, adoption, engagement, graduation… you name it, this card works. Available in blush here, but I’m thinking of printing them in lots of colors… feel free to comment with what you’d like to see next!ohhappyday_1199