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Monday, February 28, 2011

Inspiration From Your Boyfriend

Is there a man in your life celebrating a birthday? These mustache cupcake toppers from TheBlissfulBaker are the perfect funny for your honey (or dad or grandpa or uncle...)

Winter weather always makes me think of leather and plaid and snuggling up with a warm boyfriend. I always say mine is my own personal space heater. I'm not sure if he likes that or not, but I like that he's always warm! Fall and winter are the perfect times to embrace the menswear look with worn cognac colored leather and deep grey.
While winter weather is finally giving over to more pleasant temperatures, we still have a few short days of gloomy color palettes (I mean this in a good way) that evoke comfort and evenings inside by the fire.
I picked a few classic menswear items that will take you with the trend from winter to spring.

I love the rustic yet modern feel of this Fossil Max Duffel

Living in Nashville, it's a must to have a pair of good cowboy or equestrian style boots. Some of the good ole boys can pull it off and be sexy if they are a real cowboy. For spring, these Tan Riding Boots from Lulu's would be fresh and fun with a flouncy floral dress.

The rose gold of Fossil's Boyfriend Watch makes this just girly enough so that your boyfriend won't mistake it for his. If he tries to wear it though, you might want to reevaluate your relationship...

So outdoorsy and cute, this iPhone/iPod dock from woodtec on Etsy is perfect for any man but would also be beautiful for a woman who wants a little bit of earthiness in her home.

I'm always asking my dad or boyfriend to borrow his knife to open something. It's probably about time I just bought a stylish one for myself. I'm really loving that Swiss Army took into consideration that women need to use knives on occasion too by creating cute designs on their classic utensil.

Every woman needs to take matters into her own hands when it comes to building things in order to be a well-rounded individual. I myself am still trying to master the skill of fixing things. I'm sure I would be much better at it if I had this pink tool set from Girly Gadgets!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sweet (Lolli)Pop of Color

I have been working on a line of stationary to begin selling. The line is vibrant, springy and super-sweet because it involves cupcakes and ice cream! Apparently I'm not the only designer having a massive sweet tooth right now. I found some very candy-striped spring duds (not Milk Duds unfortunately) at Anthropologie, Kate Spade and Betsey Johson. The days of deep warm colors are brightening up to springy vibrants and proving that this spring will be oh so sweet.
The amazing dress above graces the homepage of Kate Spade and is perfect to bring us into spring, especially after all the cold and snow.

I found this adorable blueberry colored dress by Betsey Johnson here. It sparked this post because it reminded me so much of the old-fashioned candy sticks!

Anthropologie is always putting interesting color palettes together and this one is so springy and refreshing, just like this adorable box of mints.

Sometimes there is a bit of leftover chill from winter during those in-between days. This beautiful Sari Throw will keep you warm while staying bright and cheery. The deep hues of these stripes are reminiscent of netted bags filled with these foiled chocolate coins.

A good pair of socks will always keep your feet warm. With these Kate Spade Candy Stripe Knee-Highs, every time you look down you will smile. The pop of the dark stripe boldens the rest of the candy-coated colors for a little something more. Much like biting into a colorful tiny chocolate candy.

*A tip for themed parties (hint to brides who want a fun candy bar), all the candy images were from Candy Warehouse, where you can shop by color. They have an array of candies in many different colors for your guests to indulge in.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Organize like a birdie

Since the temperature has been almost spring-like here in Middle Tennessee, the birds have been a lot more chirpy lately. Yesterday, my cat was on the deck mesmerized by the bird activity in a nearby tree. I have to admit I like watching them with her sometimes, as long as it is not a mockingbird. I love all birds, but after being tortured every morning at dawn during my freshman year of college by a particularly evil mockingbird (I felt very much like Zooey Deschanel's character in Failure to Launch), I loathe them. However, I am fascinated by how organized and crafted bird nests are. Being a Chi Omega, I especially love owls and their popularity right now!
As I was looking around my very blah desk at work the other day, I thought my little space needed some oomph. With spring only 26 days away, what would be a better desk organizing theme than birds? Etsy, as usual, always has a treasure trove of great finds.
Clockwise from top left: this adorable decorative clipboard is perfect for organizing bills, to-do lists, inspirations, etc. in a stylish way. The linen owl box can hold all the little odds and ends that congregate on desktops. If you're going to have junk, at least keep it together in a cute little owl! I LOVE this 2011 Vintage Bird Calendar and the way it is displayed on this birdcage board. The best part is, you can print it from your own computer so you don't even have to pay shipping or wait for it to get to you. If you have a magnetic note board, these Little Hooties magnets can hold up your most urgent of notes and be cute doing it. I think little white trinket boxes in just about any shape looks so clean atop a stack of books or next to a vase of fresh flowers. This little Owl Trinket Box was made from a 1970s mold so he's a mix of old and new! He would be a great rubber band holder because those things can get unruly, especially if you have curious kitties around who would want to play with them. For other pesky small items like paperclips, this Magnetic Birdie does the trick of keeping them all together while making the birdie look pretty and feathery at the same time. Last but not least, Laura Trevey has a new gorgeous watercolor of Love Birds on a Wire. This is a cool color palette but she also has a warm color palette and can customize to your specific colors if you so desire. While this is not an organizer of any sort, it's beautiful and would be the perfect finishing touch to your desk space, completing the bird theme and adding a pop of bold color.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mark Your Calendar!

I am a bit biased about this little design because it's for some of my favorite people and I'm honored to be a part of their wedding as both designer and bridesmaid. My dear roommate and friend, Holly Beecher and her fiance, Jamie Cochrane are getting hitched in an adorable little venue in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. While you can most definitely expect many more posts along the way about what will be a beautifully crafted wedding, this is the start!
These Save the Dates are clean and simple, with a flourish of text and a beautiful photo of the couple along with a June calendar marking the day of the 25th. The photo was taken at another bridesmaid's family farm against this beautiful old truck by Jande Jackson. I love the offset of the stripes in Holly's dress. Her yellow belt was black up until a few hours before the photo shoot! A secret DIY project spruced it up and added a punch of yellow. In keeping with the color scheme of the wedding, I carried the navy, grey and yellow in the photo throughout the rest of the design. The Save the Date card was mailed out in a simple grey envelope with Holly's perfect penmanship!

Moroccan Nights

Last night my boyfriend was rearranging the bookshelves in his spare room. I picked up Arabian Nights and flipped through it briefly. I've always loved the beauty of Arabic culture. It is so exotic and every detail is crafted beautifully. It's a designer's dream to visit a heavily tiled expanse of a mosque with the vibrant jewel toned colors and curved architecture. When I was in Morocco, I marveled at the beauty of the countryside, the simplicity of the homes in mountains that were spiced up with colorful caftans, throw pillows, lights and tea glasses. I carefully carried back a Moroccan lantern that now sits beautifully on my coffee table. Another prized possession of mine is the little silver teapot that I brought back. I regret not buying any adorable tea glasses like the ones above, which can be found at The Moroccan Bazaar. I reserve my special little teapot for Moroccan mint tea only. So every time I open it, I can smell the mint that has been inside countless times. I was taught this recipe at a little "henna party" we hosted at a home in Meknes. Even though it is warming up outside, try this hot tea for a sweet treat. Close your eyes and imagine a colorful souk in Fez!

Fresh Mint Leaves
Sugar (I like Sugar in the Raw granules or for a healthier option, Truvia)
Loose Green or Black Tea (I personally like black tea better but green works well too; if I don't have loose tea, I just cut open the tea bag)

In a teapot, bring desired amount of water to a boil*. Add in a large handful of washed whole mint leaves, 4-6 tablespoons sugar and 2 teabags-worth of loose tea (don't keep the tea in the bag). Let it steep for 8-10 minutes. Pour into a glass and enjoy! Serves 2-4.
*I boil my water in a separate teapot and put all the ingredients in my Moroccan teapot then add the water on top of it and let it steep. Or if you just have one teapot, let the water boil, add the ingredients and wait ten minutes to enjoy your beverage. Moroccan teapots have a little strainer in the spout that holds back some of the tea leaves. It is typical to have the tea leaves floating in the tea in Morocco and most countries. Just drink them down, it's a little extra flavor!

If you really want to be Moroccan, serve the tea in a tea ceremony by pouring high above the glass, which aerates the tea, then pouring it back into the teapot for a little longer to really set in the flavor and continue aerating the tea. Pour out again from high up and lowering as the glass fills up.
For more Moroccan beauty, check out this post from Luster

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Behold BHLDN

Dadadadum! It's here! Valentine's Day was good to me this year-I had three flowers from the men in my life (grandfather, father, boyfriend!) and enjoyed salivating over the goodness that is Anthropologie's new bridal line, BHLDN. I took the 'What Kind Of Bride Are You' test just for fun since I am not a bride...I was just curious what Anthropologie thought I was. I think they were pretty spot-on with the 'Nostalgic Romantic'. While I love Anthropologie, I am personally not crazy about the gowns since my nostalgic romantic self tends to be more traditional (and since I'm short a poofy dress would make me look like a crazy inverted cupcake) but I do love the array of dresses for bridesmaids or parties. Many of those, if not all, are to die for. So many delicious delicacies are on this site and has lent inspiration to me as I brainstorm about putting together new stationary to sell on my website...just one more step to molding Fanciful Ink!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fashionable Valentine

Valentine's Day has crept up on me! I had every intention of creating Valentines for friends and family and mailing them out before now but alas, it is three days prior and I don't have faith in the postal service to get my cards out. If I had been more prepared, I would have had a lovely post about some lovely Valentines I had made, however I had to let Kate Spade do the job. I must say though, she probably has done so much better than me! Follow the link to send your loveys some amazing Valentines!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Small attempt at being somewhat French

Once 2011 rolled around, I was determined to be more mindful about what I eat and more regimented about working out and staying fit. I know I know, it's pretty much everyone's resolution. So far, I've stuck with it and have found that I like more vegetables that I realized, which is a good thing if you are on the track to eating healthier.
So, in my attempt to get fit, I joined Livestrong and have tracked my calories and fitness daily. The major benefit though? Recipes posted by other users that are tasty and low-calorie!
I found a recipe for ratatouille (found here) and I thought, hey, I like zucchini, squash, eggplant and that adorable movie...if the rat can make it so can I!
I cannot take credit for the recipe, but I can take credit of the beautiful design that the deep purple, yellow and green with a hint of vibrant tomato red made. I love the colors of this recipe (I've always heard the more colorful your plate is, the healthier it is!), so it has sparked a new color palette for me!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter Goodies

I love to browse through Etsy frequently and see the wonderful things that are being made in the world. There is such an art and sweet sentimental note to handmade things. Inspired by the cold and gloom here in the Nashville area, I put together an Etsy treasury all about a stylishly cozy winter. Even though the groundhog told us we would have an early spring, I don't believe him one bit. There is more snow expected tonight. I definitely wish I had those caramel marshmallows by whimsyandspice to put in some cocoa tonight while I work on some Save the Date cards (post to come soon about those!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flipping Online

I love magazines. I used to work as the art director for one and apparently have become the collector of them as well. I have 2 baskets full in my living room (and have kept every issue I had of the much-loved, long lost Domino mag), have a stack in my bathroom and bedroom. Sadly though, I rarely take time to sit down and actually flip through them. However, I do have an ever-growing list of wonderful online magazines that I do sit down and flip through. Each and every one of them make me want to get out of my apartment and decorate my own house...or maybe just constantly redo my apartment! High Gloss Magazine recently debuted this week and is now added to my list of design magazines to salivate over.
Happy Friday, take time to flip through a few of these online gems today:
Adore Home Magazine
Ivy & Piper
Sweet Paul Digital
Covet Garden
Lonny Magazine

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Creating a tiny photo studio

I took photo classes, I really did. But now, only four years later, I think I have forgotten everything about taking a good photo manually. I can use the automatic setting like nobody's business on my new Nikon D3100...but the manual part I'm just scared to do. So I plan on sitting down one day and reading up on LGP EDU on former fellow art student Lily Glass's website (Check out her amazing photos on the rest of her site as well). I also plan on enlisting the knowledge of my dear friend and photographer Alison Ball (check out her site too!).
However, despite my overwhelming new and fabulous camera and my underwhelming ability to shoot a stellar photo...I was faced with the challenge of creating somewhat of a photo studio for some catalogue photos of instruments at work.
I absolutely love eHow and tend to go to this site for many different things. It's a very helpful DIY resource tool. After researching different ways to go about this, I set to work with the following tools:

CARDBOARD BOX (You want it to be about 4 times bigger than your photo subject)
WHITE PAPER (I bought a roll for continuous use)
DOUBLE STICK TAPE (Scotch brand works really well)

1) Assemble the box if it is not already assembled. Pick one of the sides to be the top and cut out a square, leaving about a 2" border of cardboard for support. Cut out the front of the box so that there is an opening, otherwise it's just going to be a box you can put some stray cats in or bunnies in.
2) Measure each side of the inside of the box and cut the white paper to fit each side, making sure to not have any cracks showing that will expose the awful brown cardboard color. The Xacto knife works wonders in this area, just be sure the blade is nice and sharp!
3) Lay down the double stick tape around the edges of each side in strips and carefully press the paper down being mindful not to wrinkle it. Do not cover the top opening.
4) After all sides are covered with the white paper, attach a final strip of paper to the very back of the box and pull it over the top cutout and fold under in the front. I would suggest using regular tape to attach this flap because you may need to take it off at some point in the picture-taking process. The purpose of the cutout in the top and the paper over it is to act as a diffuser of light.
5) Using a construction light or a similar light fixture, attach it overhead of the box and adjust accordingly to get the right amount of light streaming in.

This makes for a nice white space for objects to be photographed. If you have time to wait for multiple coats of spray paint to dry, using a very flat white spray paint would also create a seamless space and eliminate the pesky paper fitting. This little project is good for photographing objects that you are selling and need more of a professional look for the product pictures.

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