Friday, November 30, 2012

That's a Wrap

that's a wrap

Bet you thought this was going to be a post about wrapping paper and packaging, didn't you? I am going to do a post on that soon, but today's post is a different sort of wrap-up.

It's the last day of NaBloPoMo! I can't believe I made it all the way through the month without missing a single day. I now have a new respect for bloggers who blog every day, especially if it isn't one's main source of income (or in my case, any source of income). It can really take over your life if you let it. But, I'm happy to say I also had a lot of fun blogging this month! I got to know some new bloggers and new readers. It also sparked a lot of creative ideas, far too many to actually make an appearance here yet.

I thought about taking a few days to get caught up on other things, but I already have a few draft posts in the works, so who knows? Maybe I'll keep it up a little longer. We'll see.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

(Click on image to go directly to source.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I won this beautiful little turquoise pendant necklace by Edor a couple of weeks ago through Diana's blog, exPress-o. I've been a fan of Cindy's shop for years, and I'm so excited to finally have a piece of her jewelry! Her delicate necklaces are just my style.

I've been wearing it almost nonstop since I got it! Now I'm thinking I may have to buy some of Cindy's necklaces to give as Christmas this one or this one. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

(Clockwise from top left: "Kitten" watercolor illustration by Barbara Szepesi Szűcs; "The Longest Train Ride to Zermatt ll" by Josie Portillo; English Village in Winter by ursastudio - Ursula Andrejczuk; and "Parrot Girl" by Irena Sophia.)

All of these illustrations seem plucked from the pages of a fairy tale, perhaps the story of a little village in winter where even the most ordinary objects are magical. This collection would be fantastic in a child's room but could fit just as easily in the living room too, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Making Lately

Here's the ornament and card I made for Dawn's swap. Nicole mentioned that she loves camping and had shared photos from a recent camping trip on her blog, so I went with an outdoorsy woodland theme for her ornament. I embroidered it freehand and just let the design take shape.

A couple of thank you cards I made to go with orders from my shop.

I made this brooch for the daughter of one of Peter's coworkers. She's only 2 or 3 years old, and she had a bad fall and lost a front tooth. She was sad about it, so I made her a new one.

I've got several things for the shop in progress...just need to find time to finish them amid all my "extracurricular" crafting. ;)

What have you made lately?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Antique Shop

I took my parents to the antique center when they were visiting and snapped a few photos to share:

I didn't buy anything even though the prices were really reasonable. But my mom did pick up a few presents for friends who collect various antique things.

Do you collect vintage or antiques?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday

There are so many great sales going on right now on Etsy! I had a hard time picking just a few shops for this post.

(Clockwise from top left: Amber Alexander - 15% off; Street Bauble - 25% off; SparrowNestScript - save 15% when you spend $25 or more; and EyePoetryPhotography - save 25% off prints, 20% off iphone cases and calendars.)

I'll definitely be shopping online today to try to get as many Christmas gifts as I can. I'm still hoping to make a few things for family members, but seeing how this month has flown by, I'm not too confident that I can finish them in time. Anyway, I will be supporting my fellow Etsy sellers regardless of what I make (or don't make) myself.

Happy shopping! :)

P.S. Enter code BRILLIANT to save 15% in my shop too!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Message of the Day

How sweet is this print from The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy? Though I guess it's really bittersweet; if I remember correctly, it comes from a poem about the death of one of Milton's school friends in a shipwreck. Though to be honest, I recognized the quote but remember very little about the poem; it's been so long since I read it. I guess that illustrates the power of a well-turned phrase: it extends beyond it's passage or stanza, takes on new contexts and offers new insights to fresh eyes.

With such cheerful hand lettering, bright colors, and whimsical plants and trees, I'd love to look at this print every night before I go to bed. It seems to hold all the possibility of a new day in each brushstroke, does it not?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Scenes from Life

The weather has been beautiful this week, not too cold and sunny. When we wake tomorrow, it will be 20 degrees colder and blustery.  I'm predicting a weekend forecast of me sitting under a pile of blankets and working on projects. Maybe we'll watch a movie or two. Seen anything good lately? I'd love recommendations. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope all my American friends have an awesome day of laughter, loved ones, and full bellies. Should we all go around and say what we're thankful for? ;)

I'm thankful that my parents are visiting right now, that they are healthy enough to make the trip. And even though these first few months of home ownership have been a bit more than we bargained for, I'm incredibly grateful to have a place to call home when so many others don't. I'm thankful for really great friends who offered up the keys to their house so that my parents could stay there (even though my friends are out of town). Seriously, who does that? (If you're wondering why my parents aren't staying with us, there's the problem of us still not having any furniture.) And I'm thankful that even though we might be eating random food in someone else's kitchen, it will still be will still be spending time with loved ones and watching parades and being full of gratitude, or pie. One or the other.

xo, Mary

(Click on image to go directly to source.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

(Top to bottom: Food Chain by Retro Whale - Kelly Puissegur; "Black Sun Stegosaurus Print" by Amy Sullivan; Donuts by RozArt; and "Twilight" by Laura George - Laura Berger.)

This week's collection is about color and fun and texture and awesomeness. What more do you need?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cuteness is my Kryptonite

Apparently, if you put a cute animal or pattern on something, I will buy it. At least that's what's been happening lately...and all the days of my life before that too. ;)

These little guys were staring at me from the shelves of the same store where I bought this pitcher. I had to take them home, right?

Everyone knows I love Orla Kiely, probably because I've posted about it approximately 5,000 times, give or take a few thousand. Unfortunately, I can't afford most of the lovely things she and her company create. So I get really excited whenever they do collaborations with other companies and brands. I got these method soaps at Target; I'm not sure if they are available wherever method is sold or only there.

And last, I got these storage boxes for my studio from IKEA. I think they may have been in the children's section, which incidentally, is where I find most things I like!

Have you found any cute things lately?

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY Thanksgiving Place Cards

I've never decorated for Thanksgiving before, perhaps because I've never hosted a traditional dinner before. But this year, my parents will be visiting, and that motivated me to start thinking about decorations I could easily make with materials I already had. I definitely won't be cooking an elaborate turkey dinner, but we can still be festive! So here's an option for easy DIY place cards. It's all well and good to print them off your computer, but I prefer a handmade touch. And I'm certainly no calligrapher, but I think handwriting makes them nicer too.

What you'll need:
- scraps of colored paper (any paper will do as long as it's not tissue-thin)
- drafting tape, washi tape, or some other removeable tape that won't tear paper
- pen and pencil
- glue stick
- cardstock (you can make several place cards from one sheet)
- not pictured here: scissors, ruler

Draw Thanksgiving or autumn-themed shapes to use as templates. I quickly drew a couple of leaf shapes and a pumpkin. If you'd like to use my shapes, you can view and print the pdf here. Also, cut your cardstock to desired place card size (I cut 4" x 4" squares, so when folded the place cards are 2"h x 4"w).

Cut out your templates, and cut your paper into strips. The size will depend on how many colors/stripes you want in your shape. In the example shown here, I ended up using strips that were about 1/4"h, give or take a little, to make four stripes in my pumpkin.

Stack your paper up and temporarily hold in place with drafting or washi tape. Place your template on top and carefully cut out your shape from all layers of paper stacked up.

You can add a bit more tape to hold the template in position while cutting if necessary, but I found the less tape used the better and preferred to just hold my shape in place.

This is what the back should look like (the tape is still securing the front). If you can't see all of your colors, trim as necessary on the back while the tape is still holding the front together. Use a glue stick on the back and position on your place card.

Once your shape is glued down, carefully peel off any tape on the front. Then you can draw a bit more to embellish or just leave the simple shape as is. Use a ruler to draw a line and write your guest's name.

I only managed to get a decent shot of one finished card (see first photo) as I'm still not used to these early sunsets. I frequently forget to take photos until the light is completely gone. But nevertheless, I was able to make several cards with different shapes in a fairly short amount of time.

If I failed to explain any steps clearly or if you have any questions, leave me a comment! I always respond via email. :)
xo, Mary

Sunday, November 18, 2012

And now...

I'm back
Thought some of you might need this today. I know I did. :)

(Click on image to go directly to source.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Baby Love

I've probably mentioned before that Peter and I have nine nieces and nephews under the age of seven, plus several other close friends with babies, so I'm always on the lookout for cute baby/kid things. With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I'd share a few shops. :)

(Clockwise from top left: crib mobile from Patricija's Garden; knitted girl's dress from Sasa's Handcraftscolored dots fabric wall decals from petitcollage; and hand-knit baby hat from domatoma.)

Some other awesome shops you might want to check out: tenderblue (for knitted baby clothes), ColetteBream for organic toddler bedding plus cute knit pillows and playthings, Little Chill for warmer fleece baby clothes, Smiling Tree Toys for handmade wooden rattles and teethers; Potato Cake Vintage for the cutest vintage baby and children's clothing; and Oopsie Daisies! for lots of vintage children's books (I think there are over 200 titles listed right now).

There are many more incredible kid's shops on Etsy, of course. I wish I could afford to shop at more of them! What's your favorite place to buy gifts for children?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Scenes from Life

For new readers, "scenes from life" is usually a collection of random photos I've taken over the last week or so. Sometimes I try to take artistic shots, and sometimes I just try to document what's going on. Usually, it's a bit of both. :)

Photos from walking around...some from my neighborhood, some from DC, and most importantly, birthday cupcakes. :)

Hope everyone has a fun weekend. xo, Mary