Over the past year I have become more and more obsessed with tea drinking, specifically DAVIDsTEA drinking. I love love love popping into their store and picking out new flavors to try. Some favorites include Birthday Cake, Read My Lips, Brazillionaire , Secret Weapon and Glitter & Gold. It's become a trend in my office and now I'm trying to limit myself to just 2 flavors a day, but the limiting isn't going so well to be honest! Oh well, everyone needs a hobby.
Anyway, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring Quirky Thursday BACK and share some quirky tea goods I've recently spotted.
Society 6 is a really awesome site that allows artists from around the world to upload their work and sell it on a variety of products. I'm uploading some of my work there, which will be available as stationery cards, iphone cases, pillows and prints. You can visit my shop HERE!
Along the way I've been browsing the site, and had to bring attention to some of my favorites. I put together this little guide. Enjoy!
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I thought it would be a nice opportunity to share a dream I am currently chasing. I've gone back and forth on wanting to share this until it's all wrapped up, but realized it might be nice to get feedback and maybe be able to offer some help to the blog-o-sphere while I'm going through the process. My dream is to be a children's book author and illustrator.
I went to Syracuse University for a degree in illustration, and post college took a few continuing education classes at the School of Visual Arts. I am a full-time, working children's accessory designer, and on my free time I have been working (and working and working and working and working) on a children's book dummy. I will not share the entire story or the art from it here, because it is in the hands of a few publishing houses as I type (fingers crossed) but I will share one of my favorite images (click to enlarge) from the story:
I have been rejected 7 times so far, which in the world of publishing is actually not a lot! I can't honestly tell you that it doesn't sting to open up a rejection letter, but I can tell you it makes me want to succeed even more! It's like adrenaline fuel because I know that I have the drive to make this dream a reality. I have also been lucky to get some constructive criticism along with the rejections and very few have been just form letters. I also am extremely lucky to have an amazing mentor guiding me through this process and the most supportive husband, parents, sister and friends in the world.
I've been meaning to share this photo of the centerpiece I made for my niece's christening party a few months ago. Time flies in the land of babies. One minute you're waving through the glass nursery hospital window at a teeny tiny newborn and the next thing you know they're sitting in a high chair giggling and trying sweet potatoes for the first time. The christening was a few weeks after my wedding, and I constructed this the same way I made the "Something Blue" candy bar signage.
The glittery "Q" (that stands for Quinn) was purchased at Tinsel Trading, one of my favorite trim stores. The rest of the items are from my ever-growing collection of knobs, jewelry parts, and paper flowers.
If you're looking to construct something similar, check out my tutorial!
My mom went to the wedding of the lovely Nicole-The-Poet a few years ago, and saved her seat placer she loved it so much! Nicole had used sand dollars and I loved the idea since Tristan & I were married on the beach. Also, very early in our relationship Tristan took a family trip to North Carolina and came back with a sand dollar for me. I loved including wedding details that were little nods to our lives. At the Christmas Tree Shop (heaven in a store) I was able to find T-O-N-S of sand dollars and starfish and so decided to mix them with tags and charms. Everything was attached with a natural color twine, and you can see the result below:
I've always been a big fan of beads and charms and had the time of my life scrolling through Etsy to find the perfect ones for this. Montage Supply was an amazing Etsy shop I worked with to get charms for these seat placers and the bouquets I made myself and my bridesmaids. This shop is particularly good for specialty wedding themed charms. The seller was even able to find me charms that said "flower girl" for the flower baskets! Tristan's Groom heart charm is pictured on the seat placer above. My bride charm was on my bouquet. Other shops I ordered charms from were Bohemian Findings and Charm Emporium.
Overall I am really happy with how these turned out. They were quick and easy! My big regret is not setting Tristan's and mine aside at the wedding so we could keep them. Oh well! At least we have the picture! All photos in the post are by Off Beat Productions.
Wanna know a secret?
One of my bestest pals in the entire world happens to be the most talented human on earth. Yep, it's true. Liz Lomax, sculpture extraordinare, recreated Tristan and me for our cake topper. Tristan doesn't like cake, and I'm lactose intolerant, so Liz's amazing sculpture sat on top of tiered cupcakes. She captured every single detail in what Tristan and I were wearing completely, down to my complicated and ornate knob bouquet. She even nailed my engagement ring! Liz worked for ages, with her fiance (thank you Chris!!!), on it everywhere from England to Spain to NYC and I am eternally grateful. Her piece is so amazing and the likeness of us is insanely accurate!!! Everyone that said hello to us at the wedding (which was everyone...because it was our wedding haha) mentioned how jaw-droppingly gorgeous our cake topper was. Now it sits proudly on our shelf at home, safely protected by a glass dome. We will have it for the rest of our lives and it seriously makes me smile daily.
Liz sculpted Tristan and me in a taxi cab that plays homage to the style of cabs during the era my grandfather was a cab driver. For those who don't know, Tristan tracked down my grandfather's cab and proposed to me in it! Liz sculpting us in that cab makes it just that more special.
Below are some photos of it in progress, including one from the wedding day where Liz put on some finishing touches in between hair & makeup!
The sugar taxis that are on each of our cupcakes are from Lena's Gum Paste Creations on Etsy. Working with her for this custom order was a pleasure! Thank you Lena!
So many people say they don't really remember their wedding. They say it all becomes one beautiful blur. I do have to say I remember mine really well. I think that is because of the handmade and personal touches, and this unbelievable gift from my BFF is no exception. I have a clear vision of standing there to cut the cupcakes, next to my brand new husband, staring out towards the gorgeous topper with everyone close to me cheering and watching. It was incredible and this topper will always remind me of that perfect moment! Thank you Liz!!!!!!
Here's a little visual of lately around these parts. There's been a bit of crafting, some actual relaxing (a rarity for me) and a lot, I mean A LOT, of tea drinking. There's also been some movie going. I highly recommend Silver Linings Playbook. I loved everything about it. There's been some reading. I'm halway through The Lacuna and I'm really enjoying it. It was recommended by THIS lovely blog reader- THANK YOU!! There's been photo sorting since we now have all of our wedding proofs and some travel planning, too. Tristan and I are spending a weekend in New Orleans in early March and a few weeks later I'm heading to England where one of my favorite people in the universe will be a new mom!
What's lately looking like by you?
Pretty much as soon as Tristan & I got engaged, I started thinking about
the candy bar I wanted at our wedding. I have been reading the Amy Atlas blog for years and completely adore her work. I
think her displays are original and eye-catching. Amy was
definitely my inspiration throughout the whole process. I also love pinterest for this sorta thing and spent hours and hours looking for creative ideas and interpretations.
Pretty early on, we decided having it "something blue" themed would be
fun and I thought it would look great against our beach backdrop. After ordering the candy and cookies for it, I got to work on signage
for the candy bar itself. I wanted it to match back to the bouquets I
made for myself and my bridesmaids, and I wanted it to be unique.
came up with wasssssss…drum roll please….this:
I am really happy with how it came out, and photographed the process if you'd like to try to make your own or something similar.
*Glass base (something that won't melt in an oven!)
*Styrofoam ball to fit into the top
*Sculpy Ultra Light oven bake clay
*Assorted knobs, buttons, gems, papers, and ribbons (stay away from plastic items that might melt when heated in an oven)
*Florist pins with pretty pearls at the ends
Step 1: Gather your supplies. Make sure to have a large assortment of items and that all your supplies are not too heavy.
Step 2: Place the styrofoam ball (or oval) into your glass base.
Step 3: Cover the styrofoam area that's not in the glass with the Sculpy Ultra Light oven bake clay. Make sure the layer of clay is not too thin, but no thicker than a quarter of an inch.
Step 4: Start with your large and heavy items and push them into the styrofoam base. When using knobs, make sure to spread them out so all aren't in one area. Otherwise, your piece will topple over when complete.
Step 5: For items that need adhesive, coat them with Krazy Glue and use florist pins to secure down.
Step 6: I inserted paper straws into the base that would later hold the sign that I printed, saying "Something Blue." Do not not not use plastic straws. They're thin and flimsy and will melt in the oven.
Step 7: Finish covering all clay areas and make sure all loose parts are secured with Krazy Glue and florist pins.
Step 8: Bake for 11 minutes at 275 degrees F. Yes, bake. In your oven. Stay close-by and if something smells like it's burning, remove it.
Trust me on this, I burnt an entire bouquet once.
Step 9: YOU DID IT! Now share some photos with me, I'd love to see!
Now all you need to do is supply the actual candy bar with candy and you're ready to go!
A few months ago I signed up for a Blog Design e-course taught by Elsie & Elsie. I've taken many of Elsie's e-courses before, and always love them, so I figured this was a good opportunity to take my blog design up a notch. The class is great, and if you're looking to do the same I recommend it! Also, it doesn't hurt that I have a husband who can code!
Below is my mood board for the new look of my blog. I have a website for my illustration work, and it was important to me that my blog and homepage relate. In the past they haven't. I'm looking forward to building this over time and connecting with more and more bloggers!
Date 12 was something I don't think Tristan & I ever ever ever thought we would do in our lives….be in Times Square for New Years Eve! The catch here is that we were at a private party so we were inside and had a bathroom. There was a roped-off section where we could watch the ball drop from outside and then go back inside where there was a concert. It was incredible. I don't think I'll ever forget the confetti falling down and covering the street and it was definitely an awesome way to end the 12 Dates of Christmas and celebrate our first New Year's Eve as a married couple!
Soooo, our 12 Dates of Christmas went past Christmas but that's how live goes! Either way, they were fantastic.
Tristan and I met for drinks at a midtown bar after work, called Faces & Names. I met one of his friends from college there and her fiance and then Tristan and I ventured on to dinner at our favorite local Turkish Restaurant. Was a really nice Friday night and the perfect way to start a long weekend!
Les Misérables was an incredible movie and it's how we spent Date 10 of our 12 Dates of Christmas. I've actually never seen the musical on Broadway, and now can't wait for it to return. I thought the movie was filmed beautifully and the music was amazing. I'll be downloading that soundtrack shortly and highly recommend seeing this in the theater!
Until this past week, I had no idea that seeing the New Year's Ball up close and personal, but it turns out IT IS! Tristan was able to get passes and we ventured to Times Square on December 30 to see the ball. It is HUGE and so so pretty! That was definitely a once in a life time thing to do, and I'm so glad we were able to do it together.
Any year I start off by reading a book by Jennifer Hudson is bound to be a good reading year for me! I'm not kidding, I love Jhud.
In 2012 I read the below list of books…my 3 favorites being Arcadia, The Art of Fielding and Heartburn. The prettiest cover award definitely goes to The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo. The most likely to be a good movie award goes to Gone Girl.
1. I Got This By Jennifer Hudson 2. The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz 3. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
4. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
5. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
6. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
7. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
8. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
9. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
10. The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad
11. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
12. I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me by Joan Rivers
13. Arcadia by Lauren Groff
14. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
15. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
16. The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
17. The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach
18. Gold by Chris Cleave
19. Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil
20. The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F.G. Haghenbeck
21. The Chocolate Money by Ashley Prentice Norton
22. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
23. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
24. Most Talkative by Andy Cohen
It feels a bit anti-climatic to have read 24 not 25, but whatcha gonna do? I'm starting off 2013 with Divergent by Veronica Roth. I hope to read 25 this year! Any recommendations?