Thursday, May 2, 2013

Snail Mail

Here’s a look at some of the snail mail I’ve been sending out and receiving lately.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Crafting

I’m so glad it’s almost Easter, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally starting to feel like Spring outside.  For a minute there I was worried we might have snow on Easter.  Today I spent some time working on a few decorations for Sunday.

I made these little treat bags using paper shopping bags, old envelopes and washi tape.  They were really simple to make.  I created the pattern by taking apart a paper trinket bag and tracing it onto some cardstock.  Later this week they will get stuffed with tissue paper, plastic grass and candy.  I can’t wait to hand them out to my family.

In addition to those, I made some pom poms that I plan to string together for garland.  This was my first time making them.  I always see them on my Pinterest feed and being incorporated into all sorts of projects, but I never took the time to figure out how to make them.  It was super easy!

Another project I worked on today was a small centerpiece for one of our tables.  It’s a work in progress.  Usually I’m not of fan of artificial d├ęcor like fake fruit and flowers, but I actually work with these foam eggs quite a bit.  There’s something about them that appeals to me and blends in with the colors I like to use.  As for the flower, I’m still unsure of how I feel about it, but for now it’s helping me brainstorm.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Inspiration Tip // Change Your Search Tags

Pinterest, Tumblr, and related sites are great sources of visual inspiration.  You can cater the boards and blogs you follow to reflect your personal styles, aesthetics, and interests.  For me, it’s very soothing to scroll through pages of colors and subject matter that I’m drawn to, but too much of the same can cause a creative block.

Once a week try switching things up and searching some new tags.  Get outside of your creative comfort zones.  What are the opposites of what you are usually inspired by?  I love pastels, but it can be refreshing to check out some neons.  Do you lean towards contemporary design?  Check out something vintage.

What we take in has a huge impact on what we produce.  Recharge your creative library and challenge yourself to incorporate something new today.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Artist Love // Midori Yamada's Cats

Are you familiar with Midori Yamada?  She’s a Japanese illustrator.  I first saw one of her cat watercolors last year and absolutely fell in love with her work.  Even after seeing her diverse portfolio, they still remain my favorite.  

I’m very interested in the way she uses plants and flowers as an element of pattern for the cat’s to become submerged in.  Even when used as a design element, she takes such great care with each leaf and petal, making sure they retain their individual integrity and delicacy. 

The eyes of all her cats hold a certain edge, a little bit of mystery and darkness, which mesh with the hazy tone of her palette.  Their gazes draw you in and hold you.

Aside from cats, Yamada has a range of enchanting subject matter including fish, girls, plants, and comics.  You can check out all of her work and other projects on her website, 

(images: Midori Yamada) 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beauty Review // Dear My Essence in Lips-Talk

Korean company Etude House is on of my favorite cosmetic brands, but it can be a little intimidating to select the right beauty product when you’re buying out of the country.  I first got into their products last fall because I was in love with their package design and catalogues.  By December I was ordering product, but it wasn’t easy to make the perfect choice.  I had to rely heavily on beauty review blogs to find the right product and shade.  That’s why I’ve decided to review some of their products I’ve ordered since then.

Today I’m going to talk about my current favorite; Dear My Essence in Lips-Talk in the shade EPK002.  It’s become my go-to lip product, even if I’m only running to the grocery store. 

First off, what is Dear My?  That’s Etude House’s line of lip sticks and tints.  The best thing about the lip Essence is the smooth, light consistency.  I can’t stand having anything heavy or sticky on my lips, but this product is neither.  Its signature silky texture can be contributed to the Meadowfoam seed oil it contains.  Because of the seed oil, it also does not have that chemical lip stick smell. 

Another great thing about this product is that it conditions your lips.  If you have chapped or dry lips you don’t have to worry about the pigment clinging to the skin.  It goes on very smooth and is quickly absorbed into the lips, leaving only the lovely matte shade.  I don’t recommend applying a chap stick or anything to your lips first, because it will cause the color to sit on the surface of your lips instead of fully absorbing.  Over time the shade will lighten and continue to absorb, so I typically reapply after four hours.

Now, can I take a moment to gush about the packaging?  It’s absolutely adorable.  I saved my box!  I really enjoy the brush-like illustration of the lip stick on the front and the adorable pencil scribble style hearts all over it.  The tube itself is a sweet shade of pink with a hint of silver.  
 To wind the product, you gently rotate the base to the right.  You will hear a gentle click.  Do this about 2-4 times.  It winds very gradually so that you get a nice smooth line when you apply it.  Because the product is very soft, they have designed the tube to only wind just the right amount.  The cap has enough room that it does not come in direct contact with the pigment. 

One thing to know about the tube is that you can not wind it back down.  Therefore, do not aggressively over wind it.

You can find lots of places to order Etude products online, but I find that the cheapest and most reliable route is to order through a seller on Amazon.  This way you have a third party involved in the transaction with international sellers in case your shipment is lost or you need to do a return.

Dear My Essence comes in seven other shades.  For the most part the colors are pretty accurate; perhaps they are a bit darker in person.  I suggest finding a review where the shade is being modeled on someone’s skin so that you can make the right selection for yourself.

What about you?  Are you familiar with Etude House?  Which products have you tried from them or what would you like to try in the future? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Calming Pink and Grey Pastels

This year I find myself very drawn to shades of pink and grey.  I’ve always loved pastels, but this particular combination has really been resonating with me.  (I even bought a light pink pencil skirt last month!)  I think the soft winter overcast these first few months of the year bring has a lot to do with it.  

While cleaning up my ‘studio’ (I use that word sparingly) I noticed how much I’ve been working with these colors by how many pink and grey scraps I had laying around.  I had fun putting them together into a small collage.  There is something very soothing about these colors together, in just the right shades.  It was a relaxing little project to work on, and I may create another one soon to escape all the stress I am under at the moment.

 While searching for museum jobs over the weekend I found a wonderful artist fellowship and decided to apply for it.  Of course, the deadline is only days away and I was completely unprepared to apply for anything like this, but this would be a great opportunity and I’m not going to let it slip by. 

This year I promised myself I would start making bigger steps into regaining control over my life instead of letting life happen to me.  I had some major setbacks with school but I’m learning that when things don’t go as planned, at some point you have to step back and reshape your future.  So, I am throwing myself into putting together my portfolio and this application.

It feels great to finally be applying for something I believe in and not being afraid to put myself and my work out there.  I wrote a new artist statement yesterday and am feeling really good about it.  Selecting which works to include in my portfolio is another story, but I am definitely including a pink and grey mixed media piece I made last year.  That makes one down and nine more to go!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Four Favorite Blogs

When I read that decor8 was hosting a hashtag party to celebrate those we appreciate in the blog world, I knew right away which bloggers I wanted to 'hug.'  These four blogs are all ones I started reading last year, and they quickly became my favorite to visit.  Reading them has become a part of my daily routine, and I can always look forward to the insight, inspiration, and cheer they provide.  So here is a big #bloghug, high-five, and hooray to the four of you!

Hello Sandwich
Being the washi tape addict that I am, it didn't take but one glance for me to fall in love with this blog.  Some of my favorite posts are of the amazing mt factory and school.  If you're ever feeling at a loss for craft inspiration, this is the place to visit.  With all the pages of vibrant paper projects, it's no wonder Hello Sandwich has authored several craft books.  She also shares many beautiful photos of Tokyo. 

b for bonnie
 I found my way to Bonnie Tsang's blog after seeing her lovely photography portfolio.  Aside from sharing beautiful photos with readers, you will also find plenty of posts on fashion and design.  One of my guilty pleasures is food photography, and I always look forward to new photos from restaurants.

This past December I was deeply moved by the post 9 years on the ever of her birthday.  It was so inspirational and heartwarming, and just what I needed to read at the time.  There was so much that resonated with me and I'm very thankful to her for sharing her experiences with us.

send more mail
If you're a fan of ephemera and snail mail, you will be in heaven on this blog, scrolling through endless pictures of written correspondence.  I'm an avid collector of stamps and postcards and love looking at through this blog as much as I love sorting through my own albums.  Have you sent any snail mail lately?

Love zakka and textiles?  You need this  blog in your life.  It's completely dedicated to sewing housewares and sweet soft objects.  I really admire the non-stop freedom to created this blog promotes.  Besides seeing completed projects, you get a step by step look at the creative process, from the uncut vintage fabric to the potholders waiting to be sewn shut.  You will definitely be moved to want to make something.

[images are from their corresponding blogs: hello sandwich, b for bonnie, send more mail, and fabrickaz+idees]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DIY // Elementary Kid Inspired Valentines

Today it finally snowed!  I was beginning to worry that we wouldn’t get any snow here at all this winter, but I woke up this morning to a cold room filled with soft light from the window.  My inner-kid immediately recognized the signs of snow and I pulled back the curtain for a quick glance at the white covered back yard before going back to sleep.

It’s funny how that child-like wonder of snow has stuck with me, even as an adult.  Winter was always an exciting time of year filled with holiday parties in class and hopes of school cancellations.  The feeling stayed with me throughout the day and got me thinking about another favorite thing about winter that’s coming up: Valentine’s Day.

Do you remember the little valentines you have to fold in half that come in the cardboard boxes?  I loved those things when I was little.  They always come in designs of cute cartoons.  In school we would make little ‘mail boxes’ from paper bags to tape to our desks.  Did anyone else do that?  On Valentine’s Day we would have a small party where everyone would deliver cards into the mail boxes.  At the end of the day they would be filled with lots of little cardboard valentines.

 Feeling nostalgic, I decided to make some of my own.  All you need are index cards and whatever supplies you would like for decorating.  Fold the index cards in half, then have fun decorating them inside and out.  This is a great project to do with kids, or you can make them for your friends and family to smile back on those childhood days.

Recommended Supplies:

3” x 5” assorted color index cards
deco and washi tapes
die cut hearts
glue stick
bone folder (for scoring the folded card)
rubber stamps
scrap papers and magazines
kid safe scissors
assorted stickers

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mini Calendars for the New Year

I kicked 2013 off with sending out some snail mail.  After recuperating from some post holiday sickness I made these little mini January calendars to send to friends.  It was fun to do a little collage work, and I got to use the new slim pastel washi tapes I got for Christmas.  The little floral bits were cut out from the inside of a shopping bag pattern.  I had been hanging on to them all last year, but I never got around to using them.  Still, each time I went to de-stash some of my materials I was never able to throw them away.  You know how it is when you’re waiting for the perfect project to come around?  Most of the time I end up holding on to things forever, but in this case I found the perfect use for them.

This year I will need to let go of lot of little bits like those flowers since my sister and I are re-designing our room.  I was hoping to be able to move my workspace into the basement, but that project may have to hold off for a while.  Now I’m left with the task of trying to balance having my room double as my studio.  I really hope I can be more organized this year and get better at separating work things from the rest of my things.  If anyone has any design tips for having a workspace in your bedroom, please share!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year