Monday, June 30, 2008

Make mine a Minima 3-column bartender!

Alright, so I hacked me a lovely little 3-column blog layout. I know this is probably simple stuff. But for me it was not easy as I am an HTML novice. Needless to say, I feel proud. Still, you might need to deal with the blog looking a little wonky for a day or two dear readers until I figure out the ideal place for all of my links and crap. Is there designing I could be doing? Posts I could be writing? Contracts I could be drawing up? Emails I could be answering. Oh yes. But do they offer the same nail-biting suspense that messing around with your blog layout template does? Of course not! You know the feeling...Will that column show up when I hit "preview" or will it look like some HTML gremlins got hold of my site and decided to have their way with it? The internet is such a time-suck! Last call...I'm done for the night.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drizzle Day

It's been a gray day here and of course I've got actual work to do. Not fun work, like making invitations or working on designs. But quickbooks work, paper work, the day-to-day office/contracts/email sort of work we all love. To perk myself up, I thought I'd post one of my more recent cheery designs. These were truly inspired by the orange and pink color scheme, my love for stardream quartz paper, the need to justify purchasing envelope liner templates, and my never-ending desire to use my crop-a-dile (hello eyelets!). The flowers are cute too.

Now I just need to find an outlet to sell these puppies. I toyed with the idea of an Etsy shop, but I don't think that's for me. I'd love an online shop of my own, but the programming, expense, and decision making that goes into that seems overwhelming at the moment. Obviously, I'm leaning towards the latter and exploring the many other delicious, but frightening options available for selling my work. I'm sort of stalled at the moment, but looking at this vibrant shot makes me think I need to take a leap of some sort. A leap that radiates the same amount of energy, juiciness, and shine as these cards. But until's back to paying bills.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Kick the CROP out of those other Hole Punchers!!!

Everyone piped up when I wrote about my love for the Scotch ATG, I figured it was time to give props to the other love of my (art, design, and crafting) life— The Crop-A-Dile!™ from We R Memory Keepers. Honestly, I was living in hole-punching misery before this baby walked into my life! My hands hurt, I was using terrible foul language whenever I had to punch holes, and every once in a while I'd end up punching 1/8 of an inch off from where I was aiming. Grrrr. One of the designers who recommended this tool to me (and I must say that MANY designers recommended this tool) said "it cuts through eight pieces of card stock like butta'!" That's no joke.

The Crop-A-Dile!™ is very quiet. It wasn't like I was waking my kids from their nap with previous punchers, but at least now I can hear Lil' Mama's questionable critiques (I mean can't we do better than "Next time ya'll need to GO HARD!" after every single performance?!) when I am watching my latest obsession America's Best Dance Crew and happily punching paper at the same time. No need to mock my TV taste (my husband has that covered), but I danced all my life and through college so that's my excuse for being ridiculously into this show.

And if easing the horror of hole-punching was not enough (you can choose between 1/8 and 3/16 inch diameters), it also sets snaps and eyelets of both sizes! What more could a paper-loving girl ask for? OK, well maybe an Accucut, but that's super expensive so I'll just have to be satisfied with the thrill I get from my $25 Crop-A-Dile!™. Even more thrilling? "It's PINK! FOR GIRLS!" as my 3 and half year old would say, much to her delight. Warning: the Crop-A-Dile!™ is pretty heavy, so don't leave it around the kids or on the edge of a table where it could fall onto scantily sock-covered toes (can you tell I speak from experience?).

I think the only thing the Crop-A-Dile!™ can't do is plant an eyelet or a hole smack in the middle of a large piece of paper. I've needed to do that in the past, but not often and you can always get a universal eyelet setter for under $10 for that task. My favorite Crop-A-Dile!™ feature? Far and away, the depth gauge! Punching two holes in the same places every time on 300+ invites? Priceless. Oh yeah, and did I mention We R Memory Keepers touts the Crop-A-Dile!™ as cutting through wood, poly, metal, leather, fabric (ever tried to hole punch fabric? More Grrrr...), chipboard and more? I love my Crop-A-Dile!™ and I need to keep her in fighting form for my paper projects, so I haven't tried her on other media. But if someone else has a "My Crop-A-Dile!™ cut through this!" tell. Thanks We R Memory Keepers for taking the pain out of punching!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Feeling a little aristocratic? Get your own peculiar title!

I thought this was if only I could figure out where Helions Bumpstead is...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Royal Highness Erin the Incontrovertible of Helions Bumpstead
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How do I love thee Scotch ATG 700? Let me count the ways!

There are a few pieces of equipment in my paper crafting arsenal that I truly love, and the Scotch ATG (Adhesive Tape Gun) is one of them. Over the years I've created thousands of custom invitations, and believe the beginning I did many things the hard way (and the not-so-economical way as well). I've tried many adhesives and adhering methods since I started the business and the tape gun is nothing short of a God-send for certain jobs. I get a lot of invitations out of one roll of tape, the adhesive is powerful sticky, and it's a time saver. I can work pretty fast with this sucker. Unlike other methods I've tried, there is very little adhesive residue left on or near the edges of paper, so that's another plus. Currently I'm working on a really big job and this tool has been a huge help (as has my well-loved studio desk). I'm not finished yet, so it's back to the grind but trust me I'll be whistling while I work with my ATG.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Break me off a piece of that ART!: GIGART

I'm headed off to Brooklyn this week to get a much needed date night with the husband and to see one of our all time favorite bands, Swervedriver. For those not familiar with The Shoegazer scene, these guys took that swirly shoegaze sound and merged it with more traditional rock aesthetic (driving guitars, songs about cars etc.). The husband and I met in college in the early 90's and even though we didn't get married until about 10 years after that (I'll save that for another blog post) this band's music became a big part of the soundtrack to our romance.

Being that my husband used to buy cds like they were nickel fireball candies at the local Woolworth's (aaahhh to have a bachelor's budget!), there are a lot of bands that were part of that soundtrack. With toddlers in the house we're often stuck listening to Dan Zanes or Ralph's World. We're working on introducing them to kid-friendly pop from our own collection like The Beatles and They Might Be Giants...but it's not like I can just go around listening to Joy Division or Rage Against The Machine when the mood strikes me anymore. As a result, we've started investing in some amazing concert posters to decorate the walls of our home. One of my favorite's is this 2003 Jets to Brazil poster from artist Gregg Gordon of GIGART.

Besides it's unique design and incredible colors, this poster has a story that I love. Before I was a fan of the band Jets to Brazil, I was an even bigger fan of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. The Band takes their name from a Brazilian tourism poster that hangs in the background of Holly Golightly's perfect New York apartment (perfect to me at least!). This sweet silkscreen is created to look just like that poster and the added addition of the concert info, from one of my favorite Chicago haunts, makes it even cooler to me. I have it framed and hanging in my home office and I love that I get to "live" with this piece everyday. From Blur to Interpol, Jenny Lewis to Cypress Hill, many beloved artists are represented in the GIGART portfolio. I love that each design is as unique as the music and band it's created for, yet still stays true to that GIGART style.

If your interests go beyond concert posters, GIGART has done a ton of packaging design, album art, editorial illustrations, logo design, and more. GIGART also has a sweet line of apparel called Tough Chick. My 20 month old most certainly fits that description, so I think I need to grab a toddler shirt for her real soon.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good Design with Kids in Mind

Because who doesn't want to be their own superhero or the girl with the fluffiest (reversible!) tutu in the neighborhood? ellie bellie kids truly does deliver just what their tagline says: "Classic Play For The Modern Child." I love the clean but playful look of their site, the highly targeted nature of their product offerings, and the fact that these are toys free from licensed cartoon characters. Isn't that what imaginative play is all about?! Finding your own inner prima ballerina, or branding yourself as the next "lightning man" or "super happy heart girl?" Now if only this mocha/gold tutu came in grown-up size....