Archive for ‘Cardstock’

August 27, 2015

Arden’s Mom

Owl bag puppet copyYesterday began the 1st day of the new school year.

I was nervous.

And excited.

And it wasn’t even me starting school.

Last year, shortly after Arden started first grade. Picking her up after school one day, she told me that her Art teacher was going to a different school and that she was sad. Upon clarification from her teacher, the students weren’t required to have art all the semesters. The Art teacher would be back at their school mid-January. So in the meantime, the kids would have nothing. Arden looked at me so sad.  Honestly, the thought of school without it devastated me. I realize that sounds dramatic, but as a kid, that was my life. I LIVED for Art class. Each of my teachers were amazing and I loved them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their guidance and encouragement. At that moment, I knew I was going to have to do something.

I approached Arden’s teacher with the idea, which she was all for. Lo and behold, I would also be able to bring Cam. I’d like to mention that her teacher had the patience of a saint. With 3 kids of her own and being in her thirteenth year of teaching, she was so laidback, but firm, we couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I walked into the classroom the first day and Arden’s eyes just shown. She could barely contain her excitement. I, on the other hand, was hugely apprehensive. I’m used to just making things with one kid, not 20. I nervously waited for the students to finish their assignment before I launched into what we were going to do. The room was just buzzing!  So many wound up little people, wondering what was happening next. At some point, introductions were made, but the kids paid no mind and simply referred to me as “Arden’s Mom.” A title I’d never thought I’d be so proud of, but has come to completely thrill me to the being of my soul. Mama with feather art head dress copyNative american head dress with feathers and paint tree art copy art turkeys copy

And so, for the next 3 months I came in once a week to do projects with the kids in Arden’s class. I had tons of scrap cardstock that I was finally going to put to good use. Most of the other materials I had on hand and the kids already had glue, scissors and markers. While Arden was a whiz at cutting since she was 3, a lot of them still needed practice. I’d make up templates and have some things made ahead of time, while still leaving them to work on the skills they needed.

Some kids were more than happy to follow my basic instruction, but most often than not, their minds and creativity took over. Everytime, they’d swarm around me like baby ducks, asking for assistance or proudly showing off their work. One boy’s paper bag owl puppet, became a Minecraft-type owl complete with a sword for an arm. One kid, instead of making the porcupine out of toothpicks, asked to make Sonic the Hedgehog out of toothpicks. One girl, no matter what the project, always managed to turn it into something with a dragon. I wasn’t an Art teacher and we weren’t technically in Art class, so why not? We had that freedom.

Then there was Cam. In his carseat, he’d either nap or rock himself. He never cried. Maybe because, at all times, at least 1/3 of the class would be out of their seats to play with the baby. Doing silly stuff to get him to smile or try to feed him a bottle. As time went on and he grew, they delighted in seeing the new things he was able to do. The teacher would remind them to get back in their seats and finish. They would, only to be replaced by new kids eager to make the baby laugh.

My time there went swiftly. Once the actual Art teacher was back, I cried. When I would drop off Arden to her classroom in the morning, I’d still have kids asking when I would be back to teach them Art. I was able to come in a few more times after that, for holiday parties or for science experiments, just so we could have an excuse to make things together and play with a baby.

I think of all this as I drop off Arden yesterday and feel a bit sad. I hope I will have some opportunity to come in and work with this new class. To get to know the kids and see some of the returning ones from last year. Just then, I see Arden’s teacher from last year and ask for a hug, which of course, makes everything better. porcupine from art class mrs uncaphers copy

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July 31, 2014

MISSION: Dresser make-over for nursery

Just because we weren’t working on Hallie, didn’t mean we had idle hands. As a matter of fact, it might be a condition. I’m not sure we really know how to relax. However, this sort of motivation does help us get a lot accomplished. Originally, we planned on buying a different house. A larger house. One that had more room for activities. Because we were having trouble figuring out where we were going to put this baby. The problem was, we weren’t really finding what we were looking for AND we needed to at least get Dresden sold. The upstairs here at Walmar is by far the largest room in our 1100 sq.ft. house. It has served as my work studio for the past almost 11 years. Joel has a desk that doesn’t get utilized very often and the space also provides a play area (much to my detriment) for Arden’s toys. Mostly though, upstairs is my domain with rows of printers, massive shelves of cardstock and envelope boxes stacked to the ceiling.

I like to be organized, but when it comes to my studio somehow that eludes me. Over the years, I have acquired a lot of crap. Cardstock isn’t a recyclable material, so I hold on to the bigger scraps in hopes that one day I will find a use. That also goes for misprints, ribbon remnants and handmade paper left over from orders. It adds up and it takes up space. Space that unfortunately, I had to come to terms with clearing out a bit, otherwise this kid was going to end up living out of a basket in our room.

One of the more enjoyable tasks for getting ready for this baby was redoing a crazy-looking dresser. I have had this thing for over 5 years, sitting in the garage after a neighbor put it out by the curb. It was an eyesore, but rather unique. Even though it was missing drawers, it was well-built and I saw potential.

Cam's dresser before copy

The front is a little unusual, as it curves in. The remaining drawers fit well, but had the odd blocks of wood screwed on the front of them. I was left to assume these were used as the drawer pulls. Joel made the executive decision to keep them on and as you’ll see, it paid off.
So I started with the priming. Then I painted the interiors without drawers pale blue.

Cam's dresser primed copy

In a shocking twist, I refrained from (mostly) pushing my aqua/teal fetish onto this child. His whale bedding we chose does have a hint of it, but I decided to go with a dark grey with pale blue accents for this piece. The weird looking fronts soon appeared to be waves, though were still lacking something to really set them off. Enter these super cool anchor knobs from Anthropologie! anthro anchor knobs copy

At $8 a piece, it caused me to pause. However the more I searched, the more I liked them and really feel like they tie it all together! After much searching, we found great felted storage bins at Lowe’s that fit perfect.

Cam's room dresser after copy

Here it is, all put together. Granted the walls don’t coordinate very well, because it’s a cozy corner of my workspace, but it’s what we are working with for now. 🙂

February 12, 2014

The things we do for LOVE.

heart punches copy

Four years ago, when life was less than serendipitous, a high school friend messaged me to see how I was holding up. It was right before Valentine’s Day and I inquired what festivities he had planned for his wife. He stated plainly that they didn’t really celebrate the holiday. I was in disbelief (and disgust.) The holiday of LOVE, how could you not, I thought? Sensing my disapproval, he typed back that they didn’t wait for a holiday to show each other love, that it should be everyday. WHATEVER, I thought. That’s stupid.

And it made me glad I wasn’t married to him.

It turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. I still feel the sense of anticipation I did when I was in elementary school and my class had a party. We got to decorate our shoe boxes with glitter and hearts for all the love notes (aka valentines cards, we’d receive.) We’d run around the room giggling, passing out the goods. Then hurry back to our desks, eat cupcakes and survey our stash. It was simple. It was full of fun and excitement! And maybe somebody would profess their undying love!

Arden kindergarten valentines copy

Over the years, though, I had gotten jaded. Valentine’s came to mean that I had BETTER get flowers or Godiva and a fancy dinner. I had BETTER be made to feel special. AND it must be celebrated on THE. EXACT. DAY. or else hellfire would rain down. You think I’m being dramatic. I’m not. Then I married Joel. He didn’t bring me flowers, because I’m allergic. But everytime he runs out for a movie at Redbox or to grab something from the store, he picks me out candy. (I LOVE CANDY!!!) If he goes to UDF for gas, he always brings me back the SERIOUSLY Chocolate Milk (it’s really called that.) And it’s AWESOME.

Turns out, to know I was being thought of consistently, mattered more.

I get up every day when he gets ready for work and make him breakfast and pack his lunch. He genuinely thanks me every.single.time. It is wonderful and heartfelt and it’s what had been missing all along. Feeling appreciated. Without the forced grand gestures.

My friend was right. It is the little things.

Please share what little things (or the person you are with) do for love. 🙂

ardens finished kindergarten valentines copy

January 28, 2014

What’s in a Name?

Joel and I are struggling to come up with names. I suppose when we go in for the gender determining ultrasound in a month, it may make things easier. Until then, we are all like “How about this?” and “What do you think?”

Back when I was pregnant with Arden, I had made a list. I wanted something unique, but not too weird that people couldn’t spell it. There is an ‘Arden Road’ in Clintonville that I used to pass by and fell in love with the name. It still confused my Grandma until my Aunt pointed out that it was like ‘Garden’ without the ‘G’, which sort-of seemed to help her remember, but mostly she would just end up calling her Great-Grandchild ‘Erin’. (LOL)

When I researched the meaning behind Arden’s name, I discovered it was from a Shakespearean comedy ‘As you like it.’ The main setting was a magical forest named ‘Arden’. The forest was named after Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden. Kinda cool, right? It ended up beating out another favorite of mine ‘Veruca’. As in the mouthy little girl from the Willy Wonka movie, (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) who fell down the egg sorting chute. While I had some supporters, I felt like if I went that route, I end up with my hands full. (If you know my daughter, you know the joke is on me.)

In a cool twist of fate, about 6 months after Arden was born, I received a request from a Historical Society out in California to put a bid on an invitation project that were working on for a celebration they would be hosting. It was to honor the late Helena Modjeska, a Shakespearean actress and her estate named (what else, but) ‘Arden’. They accepted my bid and I was euphoric. I ended up designing and making 300 sets of invitations and reply postcards for their event.

Helena Modjeska Foundation invitation

Helena Modjeska Foundation reply

If you notice, in super super small at the bottom of the logo on the reply card, it reads ‘Arden – Modjeska’s Home in Santiago Canyon’.
How awesome was that?! Definitely a highlight of my invitation-making career. I was only sad I couldn’t attend. One day, I’d love to see it for myself.

But back to names. For boys, my go-to was always ‘Xander’. As in one of Buffy’s loyal vampire-slaying-sidekicks on the show, Buffy. It derives from ‘Alexander’, with a meaning of ‘Defender of all mankind’. I really felt I couldn’t go wrong with it. EXCEPT, it’s dramatically increased in popularity over the past 5 years, losing appeal for me. As a kicker, I just don’t feel like it goes with the ‘Stead’ last name. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to top a name with such an awesome meaning, everything seems to pale in comparison.

Then there is the girl name that Arden, who is longing for a sister, came up with like 6 months ago. Begging for a sister for at least a year, one day she sat me down and solemnly proclaimed that WHEN she had one, we should name her ‘Astley’. I have no idea where she came up with it, but oddly enough, Joel and I were both into it. If this name sounds remotely familiar, it’s because of 80’s crooner, Rick Astley. So far, from several of the people we have told, we’ve received the collective response of “Ass-what?”

Pronounced ‘a-st- ley’ it is an actual place in Warwickshire, from Old English east ‘east’ + leah ‘woodland clearing’. Or as some baby name sites list it, ‘A starry field’, or ‘A field of stars’ which honestly isn’t so shabby next to a magical forest. Whatever we end up choosing, I hope it fits the baby well.

Please post and tell us how you ended up choosing your name(s).

August 29, 2013

I never thought I would be a stay-at-home parent.

Once upon a time, I scoffed at the idea of staying home with a child. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the thought of caring for a little person ALL.THE.TIME. It ended up happening by circumstance. I no longer worked in an office. I became self-employed and I worked out of my home studio. My entire upstairs became devoted to my work space. I have giant shelves of card stock. Boxes upon boxes of envelopes in a rainbow of colors. The extremely sturdy, wooden built-in bookcases meant for displaying actual books and knickknacks, I immediately claimed for my own. The largest room in the house isn’t my bedroom. It’s my studio/jail were I spend most of my day designing, cutting, assembling, printing, making things. (I say jail because often times it’s quit difficult to get away from work when it’s always right here.)

Then I had a kid.

It started out innocently enough. I’d have her up in the office with me in her little blue tent. It was purchased at a yard sale for an awesome steal of five bucks. She’d lounge around and I got orders done and it was all good.

But that didn’t last long.
Because she grew.

The little tent was great for newborn-not-doing-much-of-anything-Arden, but not 7 month-old-Arden. No worries. I had a new plan! I’d keep her in a play pen AKA a pack-n-play. (These were apparently renamed from the 70’s because the new and improved devices for keeping your kid corralled in one spot, no longer collapsed on them or pinched the crap out of their arms and legs.) This would be great! I could work and she could play and everything would be jolly.

But it wasn’t.
Because she didn’t want to be exiled in a padded mesh and metal box.
She wanted to be getting into all my supplies and exploring. So she would howl at me and hold up her arms until I took her out.

She learned to pull herself up on the wooden knobs of a squat dresser that houses my ribbon stash. It sits without legs beneath the table where all my printers are lined up. Eventually becoming strong enough to stand and pull the drawers open herself, only so she could get at my supplies with her chubby little hands and dump them everywhere. There is nothing more fun than watching things fly up in the air and scatter. Nothing except maybe the reaction of my Japanime eyes getting ginormous like they might pop out of my head at any moment. She’d laugh at me as I would try not to lose my shit.

This is what I’m reminded of today as I clean up my work sArden in her baby newborn tent copyArden eating in a mess on teh floor copypace. It is currently in complete disarray and in reality has been for quite a while. She’s not so good at organization and quite frankly, neither am I. Creativity at it’s finest, right? There are scraps of card stock all over my work table. Invitation samples, print layouts and hole-punch dots from making banners. Along with pictures she’s colored, her play kitchen, a mass of dolls, puzzles, books, horses and My Little Ponies. Odds and ends of trinkets she likes to collect.

And I’m sobbing.
Because I miss her.

October 24, 2012

Welcome Home!

The things I enjoyed as a child are oddly enough the same stuff that I find that I still enjoy doing as an adult. Somewhere along the way, I stopped, because I guess I thought I was supposed to. To grow up, be an adult, be serious, make money, pay bills. I have found though, that a lot of that last sentence sucks and eventually it actually sucks the joy out of your life, if you let it. There is no point of depriving yourself of the things you love doing because it may be frowned upon. As long as you aren’t harming yourself or others, ultimately, allowing yourself to be who you are is going to make you happier to be around. It will make your partner happier and your kids and basically everyone else you come in contact with.

For years I wanted to make banners. All I could ever find at the store is gaudy, shiny-looking cut out letters or hearts, not very fitting for what I wanted to decorate a party with. But it wasn’t just that. You know the feeling of excitement that you get when you walk into a decorated room for a party? Whether it be Halloween, or a birthday, whatever. Someone made the effort to make it special and take it to a whole other level. The room is no longer a living room or a basement or a VW Hall. It’s now alive with balloons and steamers or spooky with cobwebs and hanging skeletons.

I wanted that feeling all.the.time. I wanted a banner hanging in my house year-round.
Yet I held back. What if people thought I was stupid? I’m rebellious, but this might be a bit much even for me. At the time, I didn’t even have kids. I told myself it was silly and pushed it deep down. For like 6 years I held back. Just like anything you push down deep, it resurfaces again and again until you deal with it. Damn those craft-making urges I have! For wanting to feel mini child-like wonder every time I walk around my house. I want warm and welcoming, fun and colorful. I want every person that steps through the door of my home, to feel happiness surround them.

So now, I make banners. Personalized ones with peoples names for birthdays or for anniversaries or because they got a promotion or because it’s Fall. Life is hard a lot times, but it’s all the little victories that get us through, that deserve recognition and to be celebrated! The banners sell well and they make me super happy, while making others feel special. My clients love them! And that sassy little girl inside of me says “It’s about time you started listening to me.”

October 1, 2012

From trash to treasure

Yes, I know, I have been totally MIA. I won’t go into a huge tirade about how the Summer has flown by and I was way too busy with work to enjoy it. Thankfully, I’m starting to be able to breath again and dig out from under my office of card stock and clutter to enjoy the beginning of Fall. One thing we love doing that is semi-cheap, fun and relaxing, is just driving around the city. Checking out new renovations, building murals & billboards, admiring architecture, people watching, listening to music and enjoying the crisp air. {I will provide some photos of these in the weeks to come, just to show you what I mean.}

On our adventure yesterday, through German Village, there was a pile outside of trash by the curb and of course, me the always-ready-to-spot-a-diamond-in-the-rough was on the look out and my husband, always-ready-to-stop-the-car-at-a-moments-notice was on the ball as usual.

I have been recently trying to cut back {a little} on dragging things home, because our garage is PACKED with furniture I can barely find time to redo, despite my best intentions. Fortunately, this time, it was just a little item. I spied a leather messenger bag/satchel on top of the pile. *Pull over please, honey!* It was scratched and roughed up, but clean, without spills! {which is way more than I can say for the insides of purses and totes that I use!} So I hopped out of the trusty Outlander and ran down the street to claim my prize. Later that evening, after an hour spent rubbing on polish, buffing, more polish, a sprinkle of water and a good rubdown, it is a true find for sure!

November 29, 2010

roller coaster cont: the ups

I know, I know. I started a blog, make a couple posts, then disappear for weeks. Now I write 2 entries in one day. Random. But after that last post, who couldn’t use a little pick-me-up? I know I sure needed one.

For the last couple months, I have been putting together packets of my cards and mailing them out to carefully researched stores. I want them to be a perfect fit. OR what I think is a perfect fit anyway, obviously the store owners/ managers do not. Most places say that they aren’t looking for new inventory until Spring, which is a bit disheartening, as wedding season is slow now and the point of this, is well to make money when it’s slow.
Plus, I wouldn’t mind building a card empire. Okay, maybe not an empire, but enough accounts to keep things steady and growing. Now that would be cool! (As thankful as I am for all my wonderful clients, wedding invitations are not exactly rich with repeat business.) 🙂

I have been able to sell at Emperor’s Newest Clothes in the Short North for the last couple years and most recently at Voda Emporium in Olde Town East. I know both of the owners and am thankful for the opportunity they provide.

On a particularly fateful day last week, I took Arden to the mad house that is the children’s play area at Polaris. After about an hour there, we were leaving and I noticed a store over to the left. They had giant cardboard letters to buy. I cannot resist the lure of letters, so I had to check it out.

The inside was lovely and I don’t know what possessed me, but I asked the sales woman if the store was family owned. She said it was. Then before I knew it, I asked if I could bring my cards in for them to consider. She said that would be great.

The next day I drop off my packet of samples. With my holiday cards, there is a total of 22 designs. I was SO NERVOUS! And by the time I had walked across the mall, out to the end of the parking lot and just starting to drive away, the store manager, Israel Jones, of Shine called me and asked me to come back. The entire Jones Family (who own both Shine and Nest at Easton) were there and Laura (mom) and Addison (daughter) placed an order for 24 of each card. (Some for each store) OMG!!!! Not to mention, these people are so nice, you wish you could be a member of their family. Each one of them is a creative genius onto themselves. Combined they are UNSTOPPABLE.

Ok. Enough with the dramatics! This is super exciting though!
Needless to say, I feel extremely fortunate to be working with them. Going back in the first evening the cards where there, on display, was total awesome-ness. They look amazing. (From what I heard, are selling well, so we are all very excited.)

HOORAY! (Also much jumping up and down)
Be sure to check out their stores the next time you are at Polaris (Shine) or Easton (Nest).

November 11, 2010

hooray! holiday card give-away!

So as a lot of you know, every year I make holiday cards. Some years they have been witty, some have been just plain awful (cause I tried too hard.) A couple have been rather pretty, if I do say-so-myself. This year I have been forced (well, given a little nudge) to get a jump on the designing, since they will be sold in stores. At least a couple (fingers crossed there will be more soon!)

Here’s what’s new so far for this year. Ta-da!

These little beauties are printed on iridescent (shimmery) card stock and come in 2 colors. Green with the holly or periwinkle with the palm design.

Now for the best part!

I will be giving away a set of 30 of these cards (winner chooses color). To enter harass your friends to join dfmi designs FB group, “Like” this post and/or follow my fledgling blog. Be sure to post to me on FB to let me know how you entered. Winner will be picked at random on Monday, Nov. 15th.

Good luck!

November 10, 2010

my newest endeavors

As a lot of you know, in addition to the magic that is my job of designing wedding invitations and baby announcements. I make cards. They started as a side project years ago when I started doing Craftin’ Outlaws and have expanded from there. First, there was just plain designed note cards and thank you’s. Then the next year produced the wildly popular “Seriously Fun” cards with the cute face graphics and snarky comment boxes to check off inside the card. Last year produced a two-fold: the “Random Thoughts” line and the “Psst!” line. Finally, this year yielded the “Growing Pains“, cards reminiscent of everything you wanted to forget about your parents and childhood. Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING. There will probably be more of those to come. Speaking of which, I started the a follow-up line to the “Seriously Fun” cards which may be slightly edgier (Is that possible?) Just the first one is completed, but it’s been well received so far! These will be referred to as “Seriously Fun~ The Cousins“.

They of course, ALL make great gifts! So be sure to keep them in mind for the holidays! 🙂 4 different designs for each line @ $7.50  a set or $2.00 per card for all except the Psst! cards, they are $5.50 and $1.50 each.

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