Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
If you are a regular visitor to Naughty Secretary Club, you know that I have been teetering on the Digital Scrapbooking edge for quite some time. I always loved all the papers and accessories involved in paper scrapbooking, but my messy studio (yes it is back to messy) could not hold another hobby. I could focus my energy on something like say getting my jewelry website fixed, but ever the procrastinator I decided to pick up another hobby instead.
When I first started to learn about Digital Scrapbooking it seemed so daunting because I don't know how to use Photoshop. After a recent interview with one of my favorite digi scrap designers Danielle Thompson I decided to take the plunge. Last week I downloaded a free trial copy of Photoshop Elements and started buying some Digital Scrapbooking bling. Luckily the new baby Baxter (formal introduction coming soon) is super chill and Chris took a month off to help with Tallulah so I have been spending a lot of time on the couch nursing with a free laptop hand just waiting to digi craft with.
My goal is to learn a new Photoshop trick each day for the trial month and if I decide I really like my new passion I will pay for Elements and grow my hobby. I also like the idea of hybrid scrapping where you can use paper and digital goodies.
So far I have been learning about how to remove the backgrounds from photos, round the edges of photos, how to move layers around. On this week's agenda is learning about Photoshop Actions (I am having a Dickens of a time getting the infamous set from The Pioneer Woman working). I have also been downloading lots of elements from places like MaybemeJ, Kitschy Digitals and MiniTokoVille. I have also been scouring places like Flickr and drooling over layouts from some of my favorite designers like Itty Bitty Birdie.
I've included a few examples of the pages I have made so far. I have a ways to go, but each attempt seems to be getting better. In the meantime I am taking all suggestions, tips, hits, tricks, favorite elements and actions - you name it. If you do Digital Scrapbooking and have a pearl of wisdom I want to hear it.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Recently when I was invited to my friend's house warming party, I knew I could not show up empty handed. The couple already had a fully functioning house with all the staples, but I followed my instincts that they were without a set of personalized place mats. Good thing I did because they were smitten on the place mats and it was a gift that no one else brought them.
Ready Made Place Mats
Computer Program (such as Picnic) to covert photos into line drawings
Tulip Fabric Markers
Aleene's Tack It Over and Over
Iron On Interfacing
Because I can never say no to the random kitschy junk I find at the thrift store I already had some groovy vintage quilted place mats in my stash. I had been saving them for a special day and a house warming for one of my oldest and dearest friends qualified. You can find place mats at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, World Market - or sew your own.
Next I needed to get portraits of the new home owners. I snagged pictures from their Facebook pages and ran them through a Picnic program to make them into line drawings.
Once I had line drawings to follow I traced the basic outline of their faces onto a piece of cotton cloth using carbon paper and a pen.
After my drawing was complete I went back in with Tulip and Crafty Chica Fabric Markers and did a little augmenting.
I needed to attach my fabric to my place mats so I started by using some iron on interface to stiffen my drawing and also set my fabric markers. Then using Aleene's Tack It Over and Over I glued the portraits to the place mats.
I also added a little banner that read "Home is Where Cory is" and "Home is Where Tom is". I used a Sublime Stitching iron on embroidery pattern for the banner.
Once everything was tacked to the placemat I went through and did a bit of embroidery to add a touch of fancy to the place mats and give them a more of a mixed media feel.
The new home owners seemed pleased as punch with their new place mats, hooray!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
This is not my first post on patchwork and crazy quilts and frankly I'm kind of obsessed with it so this probably won't be my last. Today I have a round up of some of my favorite posts on the topic and few gems I found on other blogs. Learn how to make patchwork Scottie dog toys and ping pong ball necklaces. Ever thought about recovering your chair in patchwork or doing a patchwork wallpaper treatment?
Fabric scraps and spent rolls of tape make for lovely bracelets.
Treehugger asks the question: can patchwork actually look cool? I could have told em the answer to that a long time ago (hells to the yes).
I j'dore patchwork home decor and once did a round-up of a few of my favorite things. I'd do very bad things for those couches.
Thanks Craft Zine for pointing out these adorable Patchwork Scottie Dogs by Denyse Schmidt.
Prize ribbons and crazy quilts, it seems like a match made in heaven to me.
Craft Zine to the rescue yet again for pointing out this amazing patchwork rug showcasing an embroidery collection by Ester Mokka.
Patchwork looks just as good on a couch as it does on your body. Just read my post about patchwork from couture to crafty.
Ping Pong Balls are one of my favorite crafty mediums. Sometimes you just can't find beads big enough and you have to improvise. They look great given the crazy quilt treatment.
This wonderful patchwork ironing board cover over at 33 Stitches is enough to make me actually want to iron.
Wanna make your own Patchwork Vegas Show Pony Necklace? I know, I know that is kind of like asking if a wild bear poops in the woods.
Ever considered patchwork doilies? Sure they mostly come in white, but that is nothing some fabric dye and a little creativity can't fix.
Ya, ya I know these Nike shoes designed by Liberty are from 2009, but that does not make me love them any less. I already have two pairs of high tops I rarely wear because I am too lazy to do all the lacing, but if I thought for one minute I'd wear these shoes they would be mine!
Pint Sized Patchwork is here! Take the quilting craze to the kiddos with this fun jacket (easy to make for adults too).
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Did you know March is National Craft Month? To celebrate I did a fun little Embroidery Hoop Photo Collage for the nice folks over at Jo Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.
You can follow the instructions above or hop on over to the Jo Ann's page.
If you pop into a Jo Ann's store this month be sure to look for the pillar at the front of the store with not only my Embroidery Hoop Photo Collage, but fun projects by lot's of my crafty friends like Vickie Howell, Kathy Cano Murillo, Jenny Hart, Margot Potter and more!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
This week I am chatting with one of the hardest working bloggers, artists, vintage lovers in the business - Elsie Flannigan. You might know her as Elsiecake or perhaps you are familiar with her shop Red Velvet. If you don't know Elise and love blogs with gorgeous photos, fun how-to articles and even a few makeover stories - brace yourself you have just found your new favorite blog - A Beautiful Mess.
You are a full package deal – there is your art, photography, A Beautiful Mess blog, Red Velvet store, dress line, e-courses, Project Restyle on Flickr. Lord I’m tired for you just typing it all out and I’m probably forgetting something. Can you give us a brief timeline of what came in what order and maybe even a how or why each came about? Did you learn photography to take pictures of your art and clothing? Did you start the blog as a marketing tool for your store and it took off from there?
Thanks so much! All of my projects have collected over time. Definitely not an overnight story, but here's how it all came about... I started my blog around six years ago, just for fun. Three years ago I quit my full time job for a scrapbooking company to pursue Red Velvet full time. We opened a website and a shop. We're now on our second local shop location! This year I'm focused on promoting the idea of wearing vintage in a modern way through 'Makeover Story' and weekly styling tips on my blog. Project ReStyle is a project that Rachel and I started to encourage the concept of reusing and green living! Currently I am developing a collection of my own clothing designs for the Red Velvet brand and, in my spare time, planning a wedding.
Deep breath... I think that's it! ;)
Speaking of the million and one things that you do, how did I miss the scrapbook line and books? Do you still dabble in scrapbooking? I am teetering on the edge with Digital Scrapbooking. People like Danielle Thompson and her Kitschy Digitals keep almost pushing me over the edge. Do you still scrapbook? I think scrap booking has gotten a bit of a bad rap, there are some cute things out there to play with.
Thanks so much! I authored two books and designed a scrapbooking line called Love, Elsie for KI Memories in my early twenties. I left that job to pursue my dreams with Red Velvet. I don't really miss it, but it was a very happy time in my life!
E-courses are something that has always intrigued me. What made you decide to start offering them? What has been your most popular class to date? How do the classes work – are they live, a private blog, video?
I love teaching online! My e-courses are hosted on private blogs. My most popular class has been Blog Love a course filled with personal advise about blogging. It was so much fun to develop! I'm currently working on a business one that will come out in May.
You have a super duper popular blog that covers topics ranging from DIY how-to’s, home décor, vintage shopping and even pictures of your daily outfits. What types of posts seem to be the most popular with your readers? What do you think makes those posts so popular?
Thanks so much! My most commented posts are tips and advise, such as my 5 Tips' series. My readers also love Makeover Story, which is a before and after editorial style feature where I give someone a vintage makeover. You can see a few examples here and here. I think readers can tell when I've spent a lot of time on a post and these posts take hours, and even days.
You own a store called Red Velvet with your sister and best friend. There are physical stores in Springfield, MO as well as an online presence. The store has so many cute things. Can you give a new mom who has gotten behind on the trends a few tips about what is popular for spring and summer 2011?
For Spring of 2011 my personal favorite trends are 70s style fringe, Ombre textiles and jewelry and lots of gold.
You have recently launched a new dress line. Tell us a little bit about the line. What inspired you? Are the items one of a kind? If you had to wear one piece from the new line day after day what would it be?
Yes! My favorite piece is the black and white chevron jumper. It's super versatile and fun to wear. The whole collection was a huge dream to design!
What types of things can you guys barely keep in stock at the store? For me there always seems to be a big difference in what sells online versus at say a bricks and mortar store or show like the Renegade Craft Fair. Do you guys notice that?
Yes. We sell more clothing locally, probably because people can try it on. Online we sell tons of accessories and e-courses too.
We are kindred spirits with our love of all things vintage. If you had to pick one flea market in all the country as your favorite what would it be? I scheduled my wedding around the Round Top Flea Market here in Texas.
Sometimes Jeremy and I take trips to buy vintage. My favorite place to 'shop' is old inventories and estate sales (by-appointment-only type stuff). They're harder to come by, but SO worth it since they aren't picked through. I also love buying directly from the original owners of clothing from the 50s and 60s because then the clothing comes with stories!
I noticed you have a very handy dandy article on your blog called How to shop Vintage + Understanding vintage sizing. Any other tips for shopping for vintage? When shopping for vintage I always think of what my dad says about going car shopping, drive the worst looking car you own to the dealership and don't look all fancy pants. Even though I love to wear cute vintage duds, show off my Bakelite jewelry and carry cute old bags I never do to a flea market so I don't get sized up by a dealer. Any hot tips like this from a gal who makes part of their living buying and selling vintage?
Fun! My best tip (for thrifting) is to go often and be PICKY. It's easy to grab tons of B-list stuff, but these days I focus on only collecting amazing pieces in amazing condition. Focusing on quality when buying automatically ups the quality of your personal wardrobe or shop.
What is on the horizon for a busy girl like you? More book deals, TV shows, more E-courses – seems like for you the sky is the limit.
You're so kind! In 2011 I am focusing all my attention on developing Red Velvet as an independent fashion label. We're building a tight knit team and creating our lines from scratch! It's a dream come true!