Saturday, June 26, 2010

Art Waiting to Happen


Oh, the (almost) blank canvas - sooooo much potential! It's an exciting part of the artistic process, I think. I like to let my ideas simmer, so sometimes I prep my canvas & then wait a bit before starting the main subject matter, as I've done with this garage sale frame here. I've painted it my fave shade of peacock blue & added a two-tone fabric background & some cute trim on the inner edge. Now it's just waiting for my next fabric collage to take shape! I'm thinking about creating a Charley Harper-esque bird, inspired by the recent Shout-out to Charley Harper on Craft.

Oh, and what's that dear little deer, you ask? Take a closer look.


It's a crazy-cute, lacquered deer plaque I found at a thrift store. Isn't it cool? I thought it was so cute, but just in need of a pop of color & some texture. I'm going to add some fabric collage on top of it, without covering up the deer. I'm imagining a kind of fabric flower & tree forest, with a tiny little bird or two. What do you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homegrown Bouquets for Giving


Taking fresh flowers when visiting friends & family is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone appreciates the gesture, & flowers are perfect for every occasion. Plus, when you've grown them yourself, they are extra special & impressive! : )

Since March, when our garden began bursting into bloom, I've been gifting flowers left & right. It all started when I took my mom & dad a bouquet of pink heirloom roses & rosemary for their wedding anniversary, arranged in one of the canning jars I was returning to Mom. The simple beauty of that arrangement & the joy I got from giving it to them really inspired me. Since then, I've tried to take a homegrown floral gift whenever I'm invited to someone's home.


The bouquet pictured here is one that I took to my mother-in-law as a housewarming gift when Patrick & I first visited their new home in late April. It contains Verbena, Spanish Lavender, Gaura, Rosemary & California Poppies. Granted, none of these flowers are very hardy, so not usually recommended for cut flowers. They are delicate & droop & wither after a day or so, but I don't mind. Their beauty is fleeting, which to me, just makes them more amazing & worthy of our adoration.

 my ribbon stash; saved from gifts & packaging & project scraps

Tips for creating your own homegrown bouquets:
- Save empty food jars & bottles of interesting shapes to use as vases; you'll want to have them on hand when the need for a host/hostess gift arises! Plus, it's a great way to reduce/reuse/recycle. I used an olive oil bottle for the arrangement pictured here.
- Tie a ribbon around the mouth of your vase to give it that finishing touch - tres shabby chic!
- Put a few inches of water in the vase before adding the flowers.
- Check for bugs on each stalk; you don't want to gift those tiny stow-aways!
- When arranging the flowers, start with the tallest ones in the middle, then add shorter ones around them.
- Keep turning the vase around as you add the flowers, to ensure that it looks pretty from all angles.
- I aim for an interesting mix of flowers that are tall & short, large & small, bold & delicate (in form & color), and upright & billowy. However, a gorgeous arrangement can also be made from only 1 or 2 kinds of flowers. Just trust your own eye - flowers are so pretty that it's hard to go wrong!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Outdoor Oasis: Patio Room Ready for Summer


Ahhhhhh, our outdoor living room is nearly complete and we're lovin' it. Over Memorial Day weekend we added some homey touches like tiki torches, new container plantings & cafe-style string lights.


We went with Martha's Pacifica Collection for Home Depot & couldn't be happier with it. It's an amazing bargain (even more so now than when we bought ours; they've recently lowered the price)! The set is well-made, extremely comfortable to sit in, light & easy to move. Plus, the pieces are slightly smaller than most patio sets, which was important for our small space.


My favorite new container is our old mailbox! Cute, huh?


We love relaxing out here at night, listening to the toads at our little pond croaking (very loudly - kinda embarrassing!). Simple joys!

Check out my Flickr set for all the pics of our outdoor room renovation. What are your simple joys of summer? I'd love to hear about them!

{update 6/14/10: our patio is featured on Apartment Therapy! so exciting! Big thanks to Adrienne for the feature.}

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scenes from a Bike Ride: GINORMOUS agave blossom!

Patrick & I have been toolin' around our neighborhood quite a bit lately on our fun new bikes! I snapped these pics on one of our rides over Memorial Day weekend. Look at the flower on that thing - it's sooo tall!

This is an Agave Americana, more commonly called a Century Plant. They're very common in these parts. We have several at our house, but none of them are anywhere near this big!

Fun fact: Agave is in the same family as asparagus, Asparagaceae. I can totally see the family resemblance!

Gorgeous sunflowers are blooming all over the place right now, too! They're so summery & cheerful.

So where were we heading on that particularly lovely morning?

To our neighborhood coffee shop, Corona Cafe! It's love at first sip.

Our bikes are Raleigh Specials, if you're curious. They are great bikes if you want something simple with a retro flair - we love 'em! If you're an Austinite, check out The Peddler; that's where we bought them. It's a great bike shop where everyone is super-helpful & friendly.

Do you bike? Know of any great trails or destinations in Austin we should check out?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Craftrepreneurs: Rosalie Gale, Tara Gentile & Megan Auman

 I've come across some very cool, helpful resources for indie craft biz owners recently & wanted to share. I am simply in awe of the brilliant ladies behind these organizations. Hope you find them as interesting & inspiring as I have! ~Beth H   {re-posted from Get Crafty, Austin}

First up is Rosalie Gale, founder of Unanimous Craft, a tagable, sortable index of resources for crafters, artists and indie business owners. Rosalie says,
"I was inspired to build Unanimous Craft after seeing a huge list of links to different resources that The House of Mouse posted in the Etsy forums. I wanted to make a tool that our community could use to get organized and share information.

It's sort of like Yelp for the crafty community. People can submit resources (great articles on Twitter, awesome magazines, online tools, accounting spreadsheets, inspirational blogs - whatever) and the community votes on the usefulness of each listing. Then, people can curate lists of resources that fall into a common theme like: 10 things you should do when you start your indie business, 500 ways to deal with Twitter, etc."

Pretty awesome, no? Rosalie recently added The WonderCraft to the index - check it out! We are honored! And we'd totally love it if you visited our listing & rated us, so that we might place high in the Popularity Contest. : )

Next up is Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl fame. Tara has long been an involved & highly respected member of the crafting community through her work as the editor & head writer behind Scoutie Girl, "the blog with a penchant for the passionately handmade."

Now she's taking it up a notch with the launch of her awesome new Big Thinking for Small Businesses blog & a "big thinking" consulting biz. The gist of it:
"We specialize in web strategy, branding, product development, community building, and marketing to help build your small biz empire. Specifically, I work with creative entrepreneurs: those interested in building their businesses by breaking down convention and finding customers who think outside-the-box too.

To help you reach your goals, I have a wide range of products & services. Here you will find self-paced products, a la carte services, and full-fledged invasion packages to suit your needs no matter what stage your empire is in. I only ask that if you decide to work with me or buy my product, you are committed to your own success – regardless of fear, opposition, and self-doubt – as I am."

Sounds amazing; Tara really knows how to cut right to the heart of the matter for small biz owners. I've been very inspired by her writing on her blogs & just bought her "52 Weeks of Blogging Your Passion" e-book! I'm looking forward to getting re-energized about my creative work & revamping my own blog with Tara's wonderful advice.

And last, but certainly not least, Megan Auman, the genius behind Crafting an MBA. Her blog is filled with tons of great information & business advice for designers & makers. It runs the gamut from practical posts on making & manufacturing to extremely thought-provoking discussions on product development & growing your business. The blog covers everything in between & above & beyond these topics, too - it is a wealth of great information! 

You can even take part in the Crafting an MBA book club! Megan says, 
"One of my goals when starting this website was to create a community where designers and makers could come together and discuss business related books and concepts. Its partly selfish – I always find myself wanting to discuss what I’m reading with others. But I also want to help others read business books and figure out [how] to apply those principals to their own craft-based businesses."

I hope you'll check out these ladies' websites - they're all very engaging reads that inspire deep thinking about our field & offer many amazing resources for growing a small business.

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