Monday, October 28, 2013

Scary Times Call for Scary Measures....

My very favorite holiday is quickly approaching....HALLOWEEN!

We are hosting a little Halloween Shindig this weekend and I'm totally excited to see what everyone's costumes turn out to be.  Is anyone else having a little get-together for the fun holiday?

I've been browsing around to see if I can find some quick and easy decorations that we can throw up before guests start to arrive.  Its a good thing my sister is flying in on Thursday because I'm totally going to put her to work on these!

Love these simple bat cutouts - it really brings a festive look to the room.  I also thought about tearing up an old sheet in our linen closet with scissors and putting burn marks into it for a festive table clothe.  There is blank wall space right in our kitchen that the below decorative fans sit as well.  So many ideas!

I haven't even thought about the menu yet.  I'm giving that some time until mid week before I really nail down something solid.  Did I mention that I LOVE dinner parties?!  Ah!  So much to think putting green food dye into mashed potatoes...genius.  I'm totally going to have to write that one down for sure.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Etsy Shop Update!

Guys, I've got exciting news!  With much discussion [with the hubbs] and waffling and a lot of over-thinking, I think I've finally decided on the type of product to sell in my store.  Yeeks!!  It's so exciting, and terrifying....but mostly exciting - I think.  

Anyway, Mike has convinced me that I could have a shot at selling some black and white Pen and Ink's on canvas.  This conclusion really started out as my vacillation over unoriginal guest book ideas for our wedding.   There was just nothing out there that really stuck out to me as something worth keeping or displaying that really reflected us.  I like to try and think outside of the box on most things with the help of Mike to keep me contained (ha!), and this one I was mulling over for weeks!  I happened to be in JoAnn's one day and randomly bought this giant square canvas that came up to my waist because it was on sale.  Total impulse buy, but I couldn't resist because normally they are so expensive and I got it for dirt cheap.

Incidentally, the Canvas sat against a wall for a little while, until I started playing around with an Engagement photo of Mike and I.  I ended up manipulating the image enough to really give it a more modern,  minimalist appearance and basically drew that image onto the canvas in Pen and Ink.

Original Image
Once the image was transferred, I knew that I found our guest book - though it really isn't a guest book at all is it?  Hmm.. guest painting, maybe?

Since the borders were so large around the drawing, I had guests use silver sharpies and place their messages there.  It's now proudly displayed in our living room and is certainly a conversation piece.  The end result perfectly represents us - My artistic outside the box side, and Mike's love for Modern simplistic art work. I say its a total WIN-WIN!

Now, I'm taking this process and using it for the pieces I will end up selling in my store.  The fruit of my labor is below!

What do you think?  The idea definitely has potential and I think I might have 3 different degrees of sizing and a customization option if the customer wishes to have one done for them personally.  Still mulling over that bit though.  Now on to make the next one!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My DIY Weekend

I was feeling crafty over the weekend so a friend came over on Saturday, and we tried screen printing for the first time.  Though we did not anticipate how long the process actually took, it was fun nonetheless.
The Starting materials to work on my stencil
When I went shopping for the materials, it was astonishing to find a whole side of DIY craftiness I never knew about.  JoAnn's had a wealth of supplies for etching, drawing on glasses and/or plates, even some really cool metallic crackle paint for ceramics!  My mind was spinning with the possibilities for another time.  Seriously, I could totally spend hours in that section of the store just exploring the stuff on the shelves.

Forcing myself to focus on the task at hand, I purchased the all purpose acrylics I wanted needed, along with the embroidery hoop and markers.  When Tiffany arrived later that evening we set out to make our stencils!

We started stretching the pantyhose over the hoop and securing the rings together to keep the nylon from slipping.  Then we took our design and traced it on the nylon using a permanent marker.  Next, we covered all of the negative space (places where we didn't want the ink to come through the nylon) with our trusty Modge Podge.  As we did this step, both Tiffany and I reminisced on the days of our youth because the smell of it brought us back to elementary school.  After the Modge Podge was applied, we had to let the entire thing dry completely.  This is where we didn't realized that it takes time for this stuff to dry.  Incidentally we are picking up our screen printing craft later this week, but I went ahead and tested my stencil on a shirt to see how it turned out.

The final result is below!

I can definitely see where I didn't cover up my negative space very well because the acrylic came through, but overall I like how it turned out.  It has that almost grungy graphic T-shirt feel where the prints are never absolutely perfect.  I dub this one a success on all accounts, and since the acrylic is water based, I just rinsed my stencil off and let it dry and Its good as new for another printing session!

Friday, October 18, 2013

I've Gone and Done it Again...

Alright.  I told myself that I wouldn't do it; that I would be good, but I just couldn't help myself! Ahh!  The thing was HUGE!  I've never seen one that large before, so I just had to have it!!

I purchased another sketch book....I couldn't help it.  I'm a total freak for hard bound sketch books, and this one takes the cake people.  Its 11" x 12" and its got over 350 pages of clean, blank paper.  A total coffee table book full of possibilities that my little fingers are itching to caress.  Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!

Its just one of those many things that I love - ordering/buying fresh art supplies.  And of course, I received it so quickly and let me tell you its just as large as the product page made it out to be.  It was a little treat to myself for surviving another deadline at work - I made it out alive...barely.

Now that the stress has dissipated, I feel like this weekend is a DIY type of weekend.  I've got some interesting things planned and I will definitely update you on the results when I finish.  Here's hoping that things turn out awesome!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Caffeine Ho!...

Its a new day and I'm infused with lots of caffeine!  Isn't it funny how your outlook on the day becomes different when you feel it sliding through your veins, waking you up?  I think its incredible.  This morning I was dragging, not looking forward to my large "shit to do list" for work.  1 cup of black tea and BOOM!  My task list doesn't seem so long anymore.  What an awesome feeling - it sort of reminds me of Popeye with his cans of spinach. 

Yes.  My office swoons at my awesome super powers when it comes to tackling my task list after a cup of tea.

Really they don't but they definitely should - it's quite a sight.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had big plans to start another crochet project.  I was eagerly awaiting 5:00 pm, so I could dash to Walmart and pick up some new threads to weave together.  There were so many color choices it was difficult to decide on what I wanted to do this time around, but I ended up picking a couple of colors that complemented one another as well as a color I already have at home.  For this project, I decided that I would try my hand at making a striped throw blanket.  Since my first project turned out so well, I thought I would track my time and materials for this one so I can log the information as a potential product for the store.  I can't wait to see how this one turns out!
The start of my Striped Black and Grey Blanket

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dreary Day...

A day like today makes me want to curl up with a spot of tea.  How much is a "spot" by the way?  Is that like a cup in English terms?  I've always liked that saying - for some reason it makes me think of Mary Poppins or Bed knobs and Broom Sticks (LOVED that movie growing up).  

Either way I'm currently enjoying a cup of Lavender Earl Grey Tea, which is quite lovely thanks to my Mother-in-law, and thinking about a new project.  Yes, I said new.  I realize that you're probably thinking, "But Nichole, you already have projects that you're in the middle of", and you are absolutely correct.  However, I just completed a crochet project of mine, and I'm already planning the next one. 

Let me explain, I've come to rely on the crochet projects as an "in-between", as in a filler for when I'm not working on the other various projects that I have started.  It's something that I can do while sitting on the couch with Mike, or listening to Music or on travel.  Its something to pass the time and I end up with an awesome end-result.  Its literally a WIN-WIN for me.  The repetitiveness of crocheting also allows for my mind to wander and "reset".  Much like my doodle drawing I mentioned here.  I loved how my first project turned out so much, that I'm hoping I can crank out a bunch in the near future and use the results as product for my upcoming Etsy shop. so really that's more like a WIN-WIN-WIN.  I'm not even sure I can make that sound any more awesome ....

A great source of information that I stumbled upon through Pinterest was the blog Maybe Matilda by Rachel.  She has great craft tutorials, including a bunch on crochet!  Definitely check it out - I give her a billion thumbs up for her walk-through's - she took the time to photograph each step which is so helpful!

Anyhoo, a trip to walmart's yarn department is in my near future - is it weird that I'm so excited for this??  This time, I'm thinking stripes...

Friday, October 4, 2013

2014 Around the Corner...

Does anyone else feel like the year has just flown by?  No?

Well I definitely do.  It could have something to do with getting married in March, then a honeymoon adventure later in the year, but I feel like I was just thinking that I was glad it was summer.  Now, sadly, its come to an end.  Goodbye warm weather, flip flops, and shorts - hello knee high boots, Starbucks lattes, and penguin onesies (story for another time!).

My boss was walking around passing out 2014 wall calendars and date books to us when I realized that I don't use wall calendars, like, ever.  Sure I will put it up on my wall, but inevitably I will forget to turn the page to the next month.  It will be June and I will still be displaying the beautiful image of January.  Then I looked at the date book that I was given.  After much debating in my head, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't really use that one either.  Question is, why?

I guess it could be the fact that we are so electronically driven today that the sense of taking time to right down your schedule in your book has become undesirable.  Its not efficient.  I completely understand the appeal - I use my Microsoft outlook calendar for setting up reminders for myself for different things for work.  Microsoft will remind me to download a report - my date book won't.  

Still though, I find myself missing the "feel" of having a datebook or organizer.  It made me feel organized and productive when I used those things in the past - paper junkie at heart here.  I guess that feeling is part of my inspiration for the latest project I started.  I've mixed the ideas of a wall calendar and those giant desktop calendars (with the big squares that you can write on) to create something unique.  I've taken some pictures of my progress below:

So far, I like the way its turning out, even though its only the first month.  Definitely more to follow on this one.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


For some reason I ended up at the Michael's website.  I think I Googled scrapbook paper, to see what the standard dimensions were (12"x 12" by the way, in case you were curious) and ended up on their site. 

Am I the only one that realized you can't buy crafty supplies online from them??  What kind of business doesn't have an online presence? Especially one as largely popular as Michael's?!  Needless to say, I was a little astounded.  I don't shop there often as it is because their store is a small trek away from our home, but I have found myself occasionally in need of certain supplies that I would be more than happy to order online from them.  In the end, Amazon gets most of my business.  I freakin love Amazon! and of course Plaza Artist Materials, if I can't find it on Amazon....

Still, its sort of crazy to think that some businesses today don't keep an online presence.  Wouldn't it expand your revenue base and help you reach certain demographics that you thought were otherwise untouchable?  I suppose that could dovetail into marketing as well.  Maybe managing a website and brick and mortar stores together is time consuming as well as resource draining.  Definitely food for thought, right?  I sort of have this fantasy/dream where one day I actually own and manage my very own little boutique artsy store that couples as a studio.  Ahh, it would be the cutest thing, ever.  I'm so in love with that idea/dream.  

Baby steps, Nichole.  Baby steps.  

That was actually Mike's voice in my head.  He's always the one to bring me back to reality from Nichole Land.  Its a great place, Nichole Land.  Full of candy (which I'm addicted to, by the way), fantasy me where I kick butt first, take names later, wear leather and drive a motorcycle, and many other fantastical things.  In fact, I'm going to go dream up some other things for a bit before getting back to work....

I'm a hopeless case, I know.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Being Cosmically Awesome....

I took a little weekend jaunt down to my old stomping grounds to participate in the Cosmic 5k Run in Virginia Beach, VA with my best friend Heather Barnes.  It was a hilarious weekend full of glow sticks, crazy wigs, lights, and most importantly laughter.

I was sifting through the photos I took over the weekend again today, and I couldn't help smiling.  And because I believe that sharing is caring, here are some for you:

The "After Party" once we crossed the finish line
Our "before" picture prior to the race all decked out in our gear

The pigment Powder they launch at you throughout the race glows under the black-lighting

Target had these awesome foam wigs!

Winter is coming, so I bought a new hat to ward off the chill 

So much fun was had.  Now we are planning our next 5k, though I'm not quite sure anything could top the craziness of the Cosmic Run.