Monday, August 24, 2015

My Creativity

Creativity has become a big part of my life. It pays for my house, my car and my food. I make a living off being creative, but within a brand there are always rules. It's easy to spot an Apple store because it looks like an Apple store. They've followed the rules of the brand.

What I've learned about myself is that I need to be creative in my own way outside of work so I can stay fresh. It may sound strange, but pushing myself in another direction is really invigorating.

Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things to do and the craft room is bursting with supplies, so I looked for inspiration in what I already own. 

A few simple supplies, 5 minutes, two songs and the gift wrap was done. 

It was fun and fast. I enjoyed the process and I like the result.

But when posting here, I began to doubt it. Is this nice? Is this new? 

The more I wrote the post, the less I liked it. It's cute, but is it boring? Is anyone going to care? After thinking it over for a day, I came to this conclusion -

It doesn't matter.

Sometimes I corner myself into thinking that every post here has to be an original thought or idea. But not every project has to be new or groundbreaking or pin-worthy. That's just not what I'm about. 

I started this blog again to help drive my creativity - to push myself to create outside of work even if it is something small. If I only posted new ideas, I'd rarely be posting and therefore I would rarely be creating.

A beautiful Saturday was spent enjoying the sunlight streaming into my craft room (the best light in the house). I listened to great music. I spent time with my camera and my favorite lenses. Though I've been shooting in manual for a few years now, I learn something new every time I shoot - another reason I've started blogging again.

No, this is not an original thought or idea. It's not groundbreaking, but I liked doing it. It's something I've seen done on Pinterest many times. I made it my own and I like the result.

And sometimes it's just about having fun and enjoying the moment. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Laser Cut Silhouettes

When it comes to birthdays, my dad and I have been teaming up on gifts a lot lately. I work on the design and he makes it all happen. 

Our current favorite gift idea is laser-cut metal. We are constantly brainstorming new ways to use it.

The first time we made something together with laser-cut metal was this silhouette of Zack. We also used it for a quilt ladder that my dad made for my mom. My dad has also used it on a few other projects. 

This time around, we used it for silhouettes of my two favorite kiddos. We came up with the idea as a birthday gift for my mom. So, of course, I had to get a set for myself because I just love these little faces so much.

The original designs were actually made for Charlotte. I made a silhouette of Cam when he was 2, so I made one for Hannah's 2nd birthday. A few adjustments were needed to make them work in this layout, but they are mostly the same design.

When I hang art that means a lot to me, I tend to hang it where it will be seen often. The wall space in this little casa is pretty packed, so these adorable little faces ended up in the bathroom.

It might seem a little strange to hang them there, but the contrast between the blue & white is just perfect. Plus, I will definitely see them often. There are days when I'm never in the dining room or craft room, but not a day goes by that I'm not in the bathroom.

The detail on these things is pretty incredible. If you look closely, you can see all the little spikes in Cam's hair. We are all very happy with how they turned out.

Is it weird that I want a set for every room in my house? Don't answer that. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


One year ago, I started a little venture called Yello Paper Co. It's been a fun ride and every sale is a learning process. It's not crazy busy which has been nice for me - just a few extra bucks here and there.

My favorite part of the process was taking photos. It took me awhile to figure out how to get it right and (I think) I'm finally there. Photos of banners don't make much sense unless you can see the scale.

After a few failed attempts at my own house, I bombarded Charlotte's house for a day and took photos in her living room. I love her art and all of the living things in this photo. Speaking of living things - if you look closely, you can see my pup in the reflection on the fireplace. She's very sneaky.

The white brick made a nice backdrop for the close up shots. They are much more interesting than a boring, flat, white piece of foam.

I've noticed an increase in sales and clicks since I updated the photos, too. That certainly isn't a bad thing. It's always nice to bring in a few extra bucks to offset the cost of my Target addiction. Not to mention that a West Elm outlet just opened about 45 minutes from where I live. That is dangerous territory, folks. Very dangerous territory.

The light in Charlotte's living room is really nice. I love being able to see the time of day in a photo - the temperature of the light and the angle of the shadow. Sometimes you can even see the time of year in the light. Ok, I'll admit I'm a little obsessed with light, but I can't help it!

I was recently in China on business (a statement that I'm sure raises questions, but I wont be answering them here. Sorry!). Anyway, china-business-yada-yada... I could see the difference in the light over there. It was brighter and more intense. It was beautiful. And as much as I don't love flying, it made me want to travel the world to see how the light hits the Earth differently.

I'm a nerd for light and I'm totally fine with that.

Of course, Charlie managed to wiggle her way onto Etsy. I couldn't very well crop her out when her big, cute butt is so visible in the fireplace. And let's be honest, I'm happy to have her in every photo I take.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Cross Stitch Charlie and Me

Back in May, the fam and I went on a short vacation. We took a long weekend to go to a cabin and just relax. I love taking little projects with me when I go on vacation.

After browsing Pinterest, I came across this Stitch People book.

It was a really fun project to do. The book comes with so many options. All you have to do is pick a hair style, face, shirt, pants and shoes. You wouldn't believe how many options there are!

There are quite a few options for pets, but there aren't any Border Terriers in the book so I had to improvise on Charlie a little bit. I think she turned out pretty cute.

Simple cross stitch patterns are the most fun to me - I love that it's detailed, but also a little mindless. I don't have to put all of my attention into it. That's always a plus because I like to watch TV while I work. It's hard to focus on Booth and Brennan when I'm focusing all of my attention on one thing.

My mom taught me how to cross stitch when I was little so she's my go to expert when I have questions. She taught me to always keep the stitches going the same direction. And now that I'm taking these close up photos I'm really glad I followed her advise.

The whole design is about 3 inches tall. I love how small and understated it is. It looks great hanging in the stairway with the art I've collect over the past few years.

I hung it next to this masterpieces that my favorite boy and I made together.

When it's all said and done, I'm always thankful that no one can see the back. From the back, you would think I worked on this while riding a mechanical bull. We'll stick with the front where it looks like I know exactly what I'm doing and never make mistakes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Handmade Quilts

You may not know this, but my mom has become an expert quilter. She can pump out a quilt faster than you can say "jelly roll" (it's a quilter thing, I promise). My mom helped me create a beautiful quilt for a friend when she had her first baby and we've kept that tradition going.

Two of my best friends got pregnant at the same time and my mom sprung into action to help me make quilts for each of them.  

Let's start with Teen's quilt:

If you haven't heard of Birch fabrics, make sure you check them out.  I used their Accorn Trail collection for this quilt. Their fabrics are all organic, which is pretty awesome - but the biggest reason I love this organic fabric? The colors. They are rich and earthy and beautiful.

For each of the quilts, I embroidered a tag. For Teen's quilt, I used the bird from the pattern and added a little message so my new and teeny BFF will remember who made her this little quilt.

Quilting is a fun, but complicated process. Math. So much math. Thankfully, my expert quilter did the math for me. Also, ironing. So much ironing. Who knew? It's all so much harder than it looks.

Even when stitches are crooked or blocks are uneven or corners don't meet up, I'm still incredibly proud of these quilts and the work that went into them.

I like quilting with my mom because I get to see what it takes to make all the beautiful quilts that she makes. She made a quilt that had over 1,000 pieces. She hand-cut each piece. That is incredible to me.

The hand embroidery is one of my favorite parts of the quilt making process. I love hand work and the detail that is put into it.

Ok, onto Mel's quilt:

Teen found out that she was having as soon as she could (though she tortured us by keeping the name a secret), but Mel hasn't found out and Baby isn't due for another few weeks, so I tried to keep this quilt more gender neutral.

You might be thinking that all of the flowers make this the opposite of gender neutral and you're probably right, but quilts are more for the mamas than the babies. So instead of choosing patterns/colors that would work for a boy or a girl, I chose what I thought Mel would love.

This large gingham pattern seemed perfect for my farm girl, Mel. My mom helped me "stitch in the ditch" on this quilt - which means you quilt in the seams. We also put cotton batting in this quilt. When washed, cotton batting makes the quilt wrinkly. I love the wrinkles because it looks worn in and well loved - and even better, it hides all of my mistakes (all of those times that I didn't stitch directly in the ditch).

After years of friendship, Mel and I discovered that we are both obsessed with You've Got Mail. We've been friends since 2004 and we just discovered this last year. And our friendship has only grown stronger. Now we watch it together as often as we can. That's why I used a daisy on this tag. "Don't you think daises are the friendliest flowers?"

There's a lot of love stitched into these quilts and I hope the little babies that use them will feel the love. And to the mama's I love - at some point these will be messed on, so wash on delicate and dry on low.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer Macro

Hello! I know it's been awhile since I posted last. I took a nice, long break. Well, I guess technically I had quit. At least, in my mind I had quit.

I've been in my house for 2 years now and things have finally started to settle down. There was a period of time when I couldn't get a break from this house falling apart. It got so bad that I started lovingly (ha, right) calling this house my lemon. I just couldn't catch a break. My time & energy was spent on keeping this place together. That sort of thing saps the creative energy right out of me.

The past few months I've been feeling myself getting lazy and boring in the evening. Instead of working on photos or projects, I worked on watching as much Netflix as I could. When you're bored with yourself, it's time to make a change.

I started brainstorming how I could get my creative energy back.  I kept coming back to this blog.

There won't be new posts here every day, but I am going to challenge myself to post at least once a week with a small project. Then maybe a few posts here and there with just photos. I was taking a few photos over the weekend for an upcoming post and it made me remember how much I love doing this.

For a fresh start, we needed a fresh look - so this little blog got a lighter, fresher look.

So here goes nothing. We're diving back in.

Oh! I started an Instagram account for this little blog. I'll make sure to post to Instagram when there's a new post here, but I'm also going to post sneak peeks and behind the scenes. And, of course, there will be a lot of Charlie showing up there. This blog doesn't exist without that little pup. And as always, you can follow along on Facebook.