it's golden from where i sit

Lately I've been feeling just so blessed to be able to work from home, even if it only amounts to 15 minutes of real productive time until the boys are in bed. When I look at Liam's little play area on the other side of the studio baby-gate barrier, I can't help but laugh at how both spaces are full of so much love and chaos.  There is no such thing as order in this shared room when it's time to play with paper & ink or cars & trucks.

I just finished a seriously fun bunch of wedding envelopes this month.  I found a new favorite gold ink & was thrilled with how it turned out on some very beautiful luxe blush envelopes. This was the second wedding suite that I did calligraphy for with Ilana of Sugar and Type, the first of which was just featured on the Oh So Beautiful Paper blog today! I am obviously thrilled and flattered! 

 my golden haired boy. i love him so much. when I look at this photo I like to pretend he was interested in watching me work, but he was just waiting for me to play the lion king soundtrack. 

my golden haired boy. i love him so much. when I look at this photo I like to pretend he was interested in watching me work, but he was just waiting for me to play the lion king soundtrack. 

inspired by: happier at home

I've been trying to slow down a bit lately, and take time to myself that isn't necessarily business  or house related. It's hard for me not to start a handful of projects during each bit of free time that I find during the day. But I realized that when I don't take a break from my work, I don't have the energy to feel inspired & I fall into a creative rut.  Every so often I start to wonder if I'm heading in the right direction in all aspects of my life. Where should I put more time, energy, money, love? Where can I afford to? What is most important? I came across this great book a few months ago. Initially it was a gift for Michael, but I'll admit that I've sort of claimed it as my own at this point. It's written by Gretchen Rubin, who also wrote "The Happiness Project". Though I haven't read that book, I find that she touches on it a bit in this one, and "Happier at Home" is much more suitable for me right now. It covers a number of areas of her life that she evaluates & redefines, and then creates tasks for herself to help draw more attention to (and enjoyment from) them.  Possessions, marriage, parenthood, body, interior design, neighborhood, family, time, etc. I'm only partway through, but I find that when I read for a while, I'm inspired to walk around our house and create projects for myself.  The difference here is, I don't feel stressed about these projects. I'm not lacking ideas. I'm removing clutter, in every sense of the word, so that I can focus on the things that I want to be present.

One of the tasks that she choose for herself to help sort the precious, meaningful things that she owned from the stuff that she has no real attachment to, was to create miniature 'shrines' throughout her house. Collections that she might have previously had stored away that she wanted to appreciate more. I thought this was so nice. I have a shelf like this in my studio, and while it wasn't arranged after reading that part of the book, it is a favorite space of mine. It's nice to see a shelf full of items that make you smile or relive a certain memory, and I can't wait to revisit all of the shelves and dresser tops in our house.

Have a wonderfully full weekend everyone! And go read this book- you won't be disappointed!

happierathome

shrine1

shrine2

lori & erin photography

A few months ago at the RYP Entrepreneur Expo, I shared a cozy corner with fellow RIT alumnus and friend from student government, Lori Coleman.  It's a funny thing that after nearly 5 years, we both found ourselves married, immersed in the whirlwind of creative energy that is the wedding industry, & greatly influenced by wonderful families and children. Lori had recently joined forces with another local photographer, Erin Perotta, and they were looking to brainstorm a new identity for themselves.  I will say this, those two have their act together!  We really only went back and forth conceptually a few times before the logo was, well, pretty darn perfect for them.  What we ended up with wasn't that far from the initial sketch, which was intended to capture a bit of each of their personalities ( if you've seen Lori's hair, you know what I'm talking about- this girl's got curls!).

lori-sketch

lori+erin3

Lori spent a nice afternoon with me in my studio a few weeks back to snap some photos for a spotlight she did on their new identity & of my work.  Gosh, I'm blushing just looking at it again! I love that she came to our home for the shoot. Being in my own environment made it feel more casual, and probably helped avoid a lot of those 'deer in headlights' moments (ok, Liam needed a little warming up). And they are darn good at capturing the perfect moments too! Go check out their completely adorable portfolio at lorianderin.com.

liam-studio

My studio buddy.  Love him!

brides & babies

Well look at me. Getting all fancy with my matching coffee, twine, & binder; and my table, specifically cleaned off for my first bridal consultation of the year! wooo weee!  I'm excited because my calendar for January and February is quickly filling up with new weddings, and it's a nice mix of different colors, themes, and responsibilities.  I like to alternate between envelope calligraphy jobs and custom invitations to give my hand a break or test out some new design ideas. consult-table

This calligraphy piece is heading to the nursery of a cute little girl, of this super awesome bride, and is meant to coordinate with a most beautiful rug from Anthropologie. It's one of my more colorful pieces to date, and I'm thinking it will look pretty darn magnificent to a child's eyes!

neveralone-nursery

 

And finally, the thank you notes that we sent out for Liam's 1st birthday. That boy makes me melt!

liamthanks

treasuring old & new

This last weekend was our church flea market, where we always seem to be able to find great treasures.  This year we really made out well though.  I left with a few nice planters, linens, baby things, and a nice buffet that will be perfect for our new dining room.  My favorite find though was an old framed Jesse Wilcox Smith print from the Mercy HS Library.  I am in LOVE with this picture, and Jesse Wilcox Smith is one of my favorite children's book illustrators to date. Did I mention that this was only $2?  Talk about a steal!

Last year I picked up this old frame. It's 2x3 feet, and I intended to use it for a painting that I have here, but I found a new purpose for it for last weekend's Hearts & Crafts show.  My dad had some old insulation panels in the garage, which worked out perfectly for a homemade cork board.  I went on a hunt that evening for some fabric and (after some fancy stapling) I was done!  Easy breezy.  It sure beats rummaging through a pile of prints on a table - you can't beat the convenience of visibility!

I've been trying to work on my branding a bit.  My blog makeover from a few weeks back has inspired me to focus on other aspects of my brand too.  I had this stamp made with my new logo, which I hope to use on some packaging or maybe even the envelopes in my cards.

Some new things for our nursery.  I'm sure (like me) that you're all wondering when this closing will be so I can finally stop talking about the mystery house.  We are still hoping for one week from today (cross your fingers!).  Will the anxiousness never end!

many things; an overdue update

I haven't posted in a while, so I have many little bits of things. Some are finished pieces, some are in progress, and most are just parts that I still need to find a home for.  With wedding season coming up, I won't be showing everything that I'm working on either. I got two really wonderful books out of the library last week; "Folk Art of Rural Pennsylvania" and "The Decorative Arts of Sweden". They were very fun to look through. Lots of ceramic painting, carved furniture pieces, and birds. I spent all afternoon sketching my favorites. They remind me a lot of the save the date that I was working on a few posts back.

Next Wednesday I am going to be one of the featured artists at the WAM event at the Stillwater. It starts at 7pm, it's free, and there is live, local music! I am very excited to be a part of this month's 'creative mixer'. Thanks Erica!

To update on the children's wardrobe that I'm refinishing, the hardware I bought came in! I found these beautiful knobs on the anthropologie site, and I love them! They are made in India out of carved resin, but I like to pretend they are jade.

Last week we had great weather, and I was able to spend a good amount of time outside stripping and sanding the drawers. I finished a lot of the top and sides of the wardrobe too, but didn't take any photos.  I got a little ahead of myself thinking about painting already, and went to Home Depot to check out swatches. I decided on "kiwi squeeze" (a light green), for the outside, and "pooh bear yellow", which is actually a light orange, for inside the drawers and cabinet area. Bad timing with the week of rain we are seeing, but now I'm prepared!

To satisfy my need for crochet in the evening, I have been using up some leftover yarn on this small lap size afghan. I've never done this ripple pattern before, and I think I like it.

Also, the start of a large scale doily that I've been working on from one of many pattern books of my Great Aunt Mae's, from 1980. I have a lot of fun working on doilies.

Lastly, things that don't belong. Yet.

I plan to use those flowers on small paintings and on frames for finished calligraphy pieces. I finished one last night, and really love the idea of the artwork spilling onto the frame. Each flower is hand cut and stitched together with beaded center.

glitter; (noun) shimmery enhancement

I know what you're going to say. Glitter doesn't make everything better. But in the case of greeting cards, I think everyone loves pulling something sparkly out of that envelope. I hope that's true for most people anyway. These hearts are hand cut, individually watercolored, and very precisely glittered. glitterhearts1

glitterhearts2

I was thinking today about trying to unearth my desktop again, but it seems that every time I go to put supplies away, I decide to make something with them instead. I think I'll just keep all of my materials within an arm's length from my chair.

office-buf

photo safe point

At this point in the painting process, I like to consider myself more than halfway towards completion. In other words, I'm past the painting's "ugly stage", as it is affectionately referred to. I don't have my technique down to the point where I'm willing to show a step by step just yet. This is close enough. That being said, here is today's progress thus far. lauren3

As for yesterday's cleaning initiative, I got distracted by my unkempt embroidery floss case. Pathetic I know, but I'm a compulsive organizer like that.

floss

daytime thunderstorms...

... and the resulting unproductivity. Cincinnati is calling for thunderstorms for the next few days. This means paint won't dry to my liking in an appropriate amount of time. Hence, I will dedicate today to cleaning my office/studio space. I have a habit of losing my desktop space. Throw on some tunes and here we go!

office