Sunday, October 30, 2011

Package Envy

The designer in me has a weakness for
beautiful packaging. I admire innovative,
creative, compelling design, but who doesn't?
It's human nature to be drawn to things in pretty packages. I will admit to desiring a product (or a man, lol) solely on the merits of the package design, knowing full well I had no use for the object(s) inside. Anyway, I love to incorporate special touches in packaging my own handmade things. In my humble opinion, it's part of the fun of a unique handmade item for me, and I hope, for the customer or recipient, too. It definitely sets the tone, telling the end user, "this is something special". Here's my latest prototype, packaging for a magnifying glass and letter opener set embellished with my handmade recycled paper beads:

simple, designed to showcase the product inside
a descriptive label I designed and printed from my laserjet onto cardstock
a larger label on the back, with more details about the product
This project was something I had been meaning to get around to but didn't until a customer ordered it for an anniversary gift (possibly for their "paper" anniversary??) and requested gift wrapping. I will make some tweaks (because I'm just anal like that) to the design and use it to package more sets. Here's how the gift wrap came out:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things I Make for Me

This is a "two-fer" today, because I'm sharing two things I made just for moi. I continue to stay happily busy creating things for my online shops and other outlets day in and day out, but, thankfully find time to make things for me. It is definitely part of the joy of creating. So, have a look. The first item is a sort of cork tile o' inspiration that I mounted in my bathroom. It's a fun thing that sorta took shape around something I was gifted. A friend gave me some of her late mother's collection of vintage buttons, which I knew I could find a use for, easy. They sat around for a while until I got the idea to glue my favorites onto brass tacks. From there I decided they were just too pretty for my regular bulletin boards. I also had these pretty, dark cork tiles doing nothing.

Then, finally I determined it was time to do something with these scraps of magazines I had lying around. I had torn out pieces with different makeup looks to try because I love to experiment with color, outside my studio, too, lol.

So this thing came from all that. Interestingly, that is how many projects come together for me, especially when I acquire something I love, or have a stray idea. I don't always know what things will become, but when I love them enough... and if I set them aside long enough, they find a purpose.

The other item is a fun tank top that was ridiculously cheap and easy.

The tank was under $5, and the shimmery peacock feather applique was, like, 50 cents. It took all of 10 minutes (if you don't count me moving it around to different spots on the top to decide where I wanted it) to iron it on. And it's adorable on. There you have it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Days, Numbers, and Times

As I inch up on my 37th (sheesh) birthday, I've been doing some reminiscing on and remembering my life so far. I have plenty to be thankful for, especially good memories. One of my favorite memories of my childhood was when I figured out how to make myself a cup of coffee, lol. I know that sounds strange, but I was a strange kid (and that has not changed much, lolol). Sometimes I think I started out a little old lady, and as I grew up, I went backwards, something like Benjamin Button. These days people seem to mistake me for someone in her twenties, not late thirties (which is totally okay with me).

Anyway, I remember my mother's old coffee percolator, with its little glass bubble on top, where I could watch the coffee gurgling up as it brewed a pot of coffee for she and my dad. And I remember having my own little Raggedy Ann cup and saucer, and a tiny folding table and chair. My mother would set up the table and chair in front of the big old television set in the living room in the mornings and I would have my hot cereal and a little bit of coffee in my cup while I watched the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

On Saturday mornings, like most kids that age, I was usually up and ready to go long before my parents felt like being disturbed. So I would get up and quietly watch my Saturday morning cartoons. By the time I was 6, I could reach the counter in the kitchen, and one Saturday morning in particular remains in my memory. I guess I must have seen my mother and grandmother do it enough that I decided to go in and help myself. I remember putting a spoonful each of instant coffee, sugar, and creamer into my Raggedy Ann cup (I still have a fuzzy picture in my mind of the little brown and white mountains of crystals overlapping in the bottom of the cup), and I guess I added hot water from the kitchen tap. And voila! I remember how excited and grown up I felt, as I drank my coffee and watched my cartoons, lol, and how I couldn't wait for my mom to get up so I could tell her.

Anyway, savoring memories from the various stages of my life definitely causes me to look forward to those I have yet to create. We often talk about how good things "used to be", and "the good old days", missing them, wishing we could somehow recapture them, because we might appreciate them so much more. But every single day has the potential to stick out in our minds as a great time in our lives. Reminiscing this way could serve as a reminder of how important it is to live and take advantage of every single second, savor every moment, stop and notice how many good things, big and small we are blessed to experience, whatever part of our personal journey we are on. And to make now the good new days.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trial and Error

I like trial and error. I do. It is a necessary process that elevates my understanding of various media as I learn the quirks and oddities that make up the properties of a material. Yeah, whatever. As valuable as I know trial and error to be in creating, sometimes it just iirrrrrks me so bad!

Yesterday, when I discovered a drying process gone awry on a piece I had eagerly and excitedly painted the day before, I wanted to kick something, hard. Luckily no one else was around.
Some fluke crackle effect where I didn't intend it to be.
really? GRRRRR!!!
Yeah, it's a pretty big buzz-kill on that whole fulfilling creative process thing when green dries blue, stuff warps to look stangely like crap, or a tool fails just minutes away from the completion of a major piece, all but totally destroying
weeks of work.

Seems like it happens the most on stuff I am really looking forward to finishing. I'll be cruising along, moving closer and closer to the finished product I picture, when, wham, a lil ol' monkey wrench in my plan. Most times whatever has gone wrong is fixable, and teaches me something I can use to my benefit on other projects. In fact, the errors sometimes equal happy accidents. Sometimes it will change the vision for what the finished product will be. Bring out my inner scientist when something doesn't work and I'm forced to rig- er, formulate a new method.
how many times do I have to mix paint
to get the right pink? we are not going for
pepto bismol here...
But often, it is a setback, adding additional
step(s) and an additional day or more to a project. And, who are we kidding, when you are creating for a living, the "time is money" thing definitely applies to you. In the end, I try to make myself feel better about extra time I have to spend fixing or re-doing by thinking about how much faster and more efficient I'll be able to get that same thing done the next 5 or 10 times, knowing what I know. It's awesome in the same way as getting your taxes done.
Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Feature

I've been featured! Cassandra Tomlinson of Tomlinson Photography was so kind to do a feature on her blog about me. Here's the link: Please check it out and share her blog, if you're so moved. ;o)

And please be sure to check out her studio on Artfire while you're at it- she creates some beautiful things herself!

Thanks again Cassandra!