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Aug 13, 2016 0

Trend Watch: Ombre

We all know that trends come and go. Some are fleeting while others stick around long after they’ve worn out their welcome. Some we get, and some… well, some just entertain us. One thing is for sure. Trendy notions and ideas keep our wardrobe interesting, keep our home decor fresh, and keep us on our toes.

We love the current trend called ombre! Its origin is French meaning “to shade.” This gradual fading of light tones into darker ones can be beautiful, and we are now seeing this technique on everything from fabric to home decor to even hair and nails!



Celebrities like Ashlee Simspon, Jessica Biel and Drew Barrymore are making ombre hair popular. L’oreal even jumped on the bandwagon with an at-home ombre hair painting kit.


Of course, our favorite items are the adorable laundry bags we make ourselves out of ombre polka dot fabric paired with mondern vintage prints.

Aug 13, 2016 0

Adding Homemade Touches to Your New Home

Any time I move into a new apartment, I always think of the bare walls and functional furniture as a blank canvas. While it never really starts to feel like home until I’ve livened things up a bit, I love the process of doing so – whether that’s with lovely art pieces, colorful table decorations, or even just some strategically placed knick-knacks. All of this can be great for instantly humanizing a space. Of course, I also really look forward to a good excuse to buy some new art, or to while away a few hours making crafts.

I have a few favorite art prints that have been with me through several moves, but my first priority is usually to find new ones to accompany them and decorate my walls. It’s a nice way to introduce a lot of color and visual texture to my home. Simple, plain cardboard or plastic frames are a cost effective way to show off some detailed prints that won’t distract from the art itself, which is the real star of the show. They’re also lightweight, so won’t require you to make holes in the walls; this is especially useful for rentals, where that’s generally frowned upon.

Choosing a wide variety of different art styles is helpful, but careful placement is the key to avoiding clumsy looking displays. Personally, I have a collection of vintage posters that I find look good together in an even display with different sizes of frame. Their art styles are nicely complementary, and really brighten up even the darkest of rooms. Of course, every print is different, so you should use your best judgement. Usually, though, placing like with like is a good strategy.

Older apartments are usually a little bit more charming than newer ones. They may lack that top rated tankless water heater or fancy recessed lighting, but they have so much personality. If you want a little bit of that in your modern apartment, the right kinds of rustic furniture and decorations can go a long way. I love to browse flea markets and the like for old pieces that most people would ignore. I’ve found a few real treasures – decorations like wall mirrors or antique chairs that need just a little love and care. If you don’t have the time or inclination for that, however, even a simple thing can bring a touch of class. Rather than throwing away old wine bottles, I like to use them as candle holders for dining room or coffee tables. Of course, there’s not much to them at first, but if I let a few candles of different colors melt over the necks of the bottles, that changes. The colorful wax drips down, hardens, and builds up over the bottle in layers to give it a rustic, European charm. This is particularly nice for mood lighting, when the flame of the candle will light up the rivulets of wax in a variety of lovely ways.

Aug 13, 2016 0

Counting Smiles

In the midst of a depressing economic recession, I discovered a delightful escape – if only for a day. Take your puppy on a family outing. Okay, so it wasn’t really a family outing, just my husband and me, and Boxcar isn’t really a puppy – she’s a 15 year old pug (in dog years, that’s 105). But yesterday we took the Jet Express across Lake Erie to Put-in-Bay. For those of you who haven’t been, Put-in-Bay has been coined the “Key West of the Midwest.” It was cool weather for a lazy summer day, and we weren’t about to spend it indoors. So we grabbed our sunglasses, our wallets, and a little cart made for hauling boating supplies… only we transformed it into Boxcar’s chariot for the day.

Boxy can no longer walk or hear, and she has more cataracts than teeth, but nonetheless she was excited to be included in the excursion. Here’s the real kicker. People could not stay away from her! At one point, my husband said he felt we were in a zoo because of all the pointing, stares and smiles. But hey, it was all good.

From collegiate boys in Budweiser hats and no shirts to small children wanting just to pet her, Boxy’s following grew. And as the day went on, the intoxication level of the Put-in-Bay crowd grew as well. One girl wanted to share with us how her little dog just passed away last week. She needed a sympathetic ear. A young man talked to us endlessly how he was planning to adopt a dog because he and his wife could not have children. He wanted confirmation. And one dude with a red, white and blue bandana tied around his forehead and dressed in Daisy Duke cut-offs came to pet her, too. He, apparently, just wanted to live in the eighties again.

My friend Carolyn joined us once on a similar excursion with Boxcar and commented that she wished she had a device to “click” the number of times people smiled when they saw our dog. She believed it was a therapeutic service we were performing.

So yesterday, having a few drinks in a few bars and toting around a paraplegic pug was our contribution to people looking for a reason to smile.

Aug 13, 2016 0


I just returned from my annual family vacation. Fun, as always. Too much food. Too much chaos. But fun. And except for losing the annual family talent show (my first loss ever), I can’t complain about anything. In case you are wondering, I have ALWAYS won the talent show. But there was dissension in the ranks this year, as family members demanded a more democratic judging process. What was wrong with my being judge, I’ll never know. Nonetheless, it was quite a humbling experience to lose to an elementary school trio posing as Sonny, Cher, and Chaz.

Family vacations are always bittersweet, and this one was no exception. My brother’s fiancee joined us, as she greatly yearned a respite from her daily routine. Her father passed away 2 weeks ago. He was elderly and ill. But losing a loved one is always difficult, so she welcomed a chance to relax in the sun, cookout in the evenings, and watch Sonny, Cher and Chaz take down a legend.

Where am I going with this? My week with my family reminded me how important these connections are, and even more so if we don’t always have our loved ones by our side. Recently, our company debuted a novel little cuff bracelet lined with men’s vintage ties. What makes this item even more endearing is the fact that you can send in your own ties to be made into bracelets. What a unique way to keep the memory of someone special alive. Convert Grandpa’s ties into sentimental gifts for all his granddaughters… use up Dad’s old ties for his daughters to wear on their wrists, an ever-present reminder of their father’s adoration.

If I owned a tie, I would definitely have it made into bracelets for Sonny, Cher and Chaz as reminders that next summer… they’re going down.

still waiting on the video of the winning performance, but here’s a look at “Cher” out of costume…

and “Sonny”…

and don’t be fooled by innocent looking “Chaz” …

Aug 12, 2016 0

3 Wood Craft Ideas For This Summer

Like paper crafts, wooden projects are so beautiful to me. I’ve built a lot of stuff with wood in my life, but I never consider myself as a woodworker because I don’t want to limit the uniqueness and imagination. From headboards to console tables, here are many things fit just about any decor and are oh-so-festive. It’s always feel the achievability when you’ve finished a wood project you spent time and effort on, especially on special occasions. If you want to save money and add a personal touch to your gift, see 10 more projects after the jump.

DIY Rustic Pallet Coffee Table
There’s no lack of coffee tables to buy in the modern era. But you can build your own heavy, rustic and substantial wood coffee table at home. Furniture with beautiful wood grain that makes your house looks like it’s been in an old farmhouse somewhere for ages. You will need to find a decent pallet, clear wood stain, a handful of wood screws and a best miter saw for the project. Don’t forget look around Youtube to find some good tutorials before starting your project.

DIY Pallet Plaques
This cute little picture frame is so simple but makes a great photo prop or sign for your wedding or special event. Creating your own one, do it yourself sign is so much easier than you think. Of course, you can sell this kind of frame too. Innovation is endless. One of the smart ideas is painting colors of your choice too. Another option is to choose different type of texture with a different wood.

Washi Tape Mini Wood Pallet Coasters
It’s fun and easy to make a set of four coasters for yourself. You can show off your personal design style with this washi tape craft idea. You will need wood craft sticks, a craft knife, a pliers with wire cutting blade, sand paper etc. All the tools and materials can be bought at joann fabrics but hobby lobby is also an option. While you can find some coupons online to save many cash.

Map pins, separated by region
May 21, 2016 0

A Love Requited

The new craftgasm booth banner
Luckily for me, Crafty Bastards has loved me back. Here are a couple of press mentions that craftgasm has gotten from the show!

Nole of Oh So Beautiful Paper was kind enough to post pictures of my booth on her gorgeous blog (and was nice enough to let me reproduce them here).

Map pins, separated by region
The Foggy Bottom Blog wrote a super-nice little paragraph about my stuff in their round-up of the event:
Their upcycled cards and pins are unique and hip, and make you feel totally awesome about buying them. Plus, everything has a perfectly sharp sense of humor.
Scroll down past all the pretty pictures to see their assessment of some other awesome vendors; I missed the text part my first time through because I was so busy flipping through their images.

Pearls of Wisdom from Marion Barry.
And last but not least, I was absolutely floored to be selected as one of the Washingtonian’s favorite vendors in their Crafty Bastards post. Getting that email was pretty much amazing and made my week.

It’s been so fantastic to hear from people who I met at the show and to get orders these past couple of weeks from those who said they read about my shop somewhere. Thank you so much for supporting handmade and making it possible for me and my crafting colleagues to do what we do!

Vintage Valentines
May 21, 2016 0

Vintage Valentines

I picked these up a few months ago, intending to send them out for Valentine’s Day. Instead I forgot about them until this week, meaning only one (a duplicate) found its way to anyone. To make up for it, I’m going to share them here with you.

You can find all seven designs here, available for you to download and use in any medium you like. There’s a dragon one that came with these that I don’t think is quite as vintage as the rest, but otherwise, they’re all a similar style to this little lady. Fit four on a sheet of cardstock and they’d be perfect as last minute Valentines for a classroom — or anyone you’ll be seeing on Monday.

If you use them in your own design, please share a picture of it – I’d love to see how it turns out!

(Of course, I’d appreciate if you continued to keep them free and available and didn’t sell them. That would be kind of crappy of you.)