Monday, January 31, 2011

Love and Affection: DIY Valentine's Day Ideas

OK! It's Valentine's month, and although for years and years I went around all self-righteously and pledged non-allegiance to the fact that North Americans had set aside only one day to spread the love, I am now a convert. Well, I still believe that we should spend much more time telling people how much we like each other, how much we appreciate the things others do for us, and do things for others as well... but MOST OF ALL... I am a huge fan of leaving little tokens of affection randomly for the people in our lives to find, if only so that it brightens their day.

I also love a good excuse to pull out all the crafting supplies in the house and set to work. Having kids gave me call to raise the bar for valentines givers everywhere. I spend days waiting for inspiration to hit right about the beginning of February and usually by the time the big day rolls around we have an army of crazy creations to hand out to all our friends. This year's batch includes individualized patches off the embroidery machine...

One year I bought a bunch of black heavy paper and a silver pen, expropriated a baggie of little rubber lizards from a previous birthday party, and glue-gunned a lizard to the top of each card with my son who put lizard tracks across the front and spelled IGUANA Be Your Valentine inside with a piece of candy taped to it. I don't know how many kids at his school even got it, but we had so much fun making them that I kept going and made one for all my friends as well. The very first black valentines I have come across :)

Does this not say LOVE to you?

Last year, the valentines we gave out were red felt hearts that Rowan sewed pockets into on the sewing machine (supervised) with a simple zig zag stitch, and we put a lollipop or chocolate in each. We used sparkle glue to write the person's name across the front. Not my favourite aesthetically, but he absolutely LOVED making them, and they were adorable when he was done. I have let go of a lot of my Martha tendencies for perfection having two young boys in my life :) It has been very good for my stress level. Sort of balances out the stress that comes from, say, stepping on LEGO pieces, or cleaning toothpaste off every bathroom surface possible.

This is very similar to the idea we used last year... the tutorial for this bag can be found on Momtastic here.

I have found a few really nifty ideas from around webville with Valentine's in mind and thought I'd share...

Of course my first visit for a project is always to How About Orange...

This is an awesome idea from Bloesem Kids, which I admittedly have not tried yet, but if perfected could become a household staple for invites etc. I LOVE this!

Design*Sponge has some pretty darn sweet ideas!

And of course there was a visit to Martha, but I was quite surprised that it was hard to find a new idea. I think Martha's crew must be the best recyclers (of ideas) in the craft world... and there is a place there for you to upload your own cards so they are probably fishing... :)
HOWEVER, I adore quilling, and this reminds me that it has been awhile... and the seed packets are always one of my favourites, as it is a nice reminder that spring is just around the corner AND the more flowers growing in this world, the better. Look for locally grown organic seeds for best results. And switch up the packaging, I don't know why seed packets have become so darn ugly, but it is worth making up some pretty little envelopes and transferring the seeds. Also, if you visit a nursery, you can get a sweet discount on buying the seeds in a bulk size package and dividing them up yourself!

Whichever you choose, be sure you love sending the love!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Charmed, I'm Sure

I adore this new version of a charm bracelet from etsy seller Tiny Tokens Designs. Charm bracelets are one of my favourite jewelry "categories" and I have a few vintage ones. I always love to find a new version of an oldie but goodie that somebody has revamped and this is suitably lovely. I have a necklace like this that I bought off of etsy last year with tags of my sons names on it and their birthstones and I love that it is a bit sentimental but also modern and brilliant. I think this would be a great gift for somebody. You can apply it to pretty much any relationship... and it's pretty to boot! So sweet :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best New Designer

Many many (many) years ago my horrid stepsister introduced me to one of the most delightful girls I have had the pleasure of knowing. She and I instantly hit it off regardless of the fact that she is nearly ten years younger than I am (we both hated pink). I was in my twenties and it probably seemed to my sister's friends that I was all fabulous and exciting (and I had a car that drove them around, a lot...) but Jenn was one of the few that I actually found... well, not annoying. So not annoying in fact, that I tried really hard to take her to what I think was her first real concert (Coolio I believe, LOL) and I immediately became the hot topic at the next parents meeting with many of them insisting that I had to be a bad influence simply because I was not fifteen. If only they knew...

Anyhow, now that Jenn is all grown up she is showing me a thing or two about how to live life, and I am duly impressed. After finishing up at Ryerson and doing grand things in Toronto, she moved back to Vancouver, married one of the only men I would have approved of for her (possibly my brother being the only other) and had the most gorgeous wee baby girl you could imagine. She also has mastered the fine art of launching herself full force into the interior design industry. I understand that she has a great deal of experience with PR as that was her last gig on the other side of the country, but to be able to back it with the talent she is showing is pretty phenomenal. I imagine she gets tired of hearing how proud I am of her, she is the type that would roll her eyes, (also, it makes me sound old somehow... go figure) but she is like the little sister that I liked, and I am so happy that she turned out so wonderfully. I am going to take some credit for that.

I should also note (no, I don't forget) that she is not the only talent in this design duo. She has teamed up with her adorable friend Rachel to become A Good Chick To Know Design Consulting, and you can consult with them on everything from what dress to wear to a party to how to sell your house faster and for way above the asking price. Not too shabby, and I guarantee a lot of fun as well!

Jenn recently entered the BC's Best Young Designer Competition and while I had a post in the works on one of her recent home transformations, I had to scrap it for this suite, I am so blown away! I know from her other work that she has an intensely good eye for sourcing on Craigslist and thrift shops, as well as access to the amazing world of design that Vancouver has to offer. If you ever visit the city, be sure to budget for some of the best shopping you have seen for interiors! Apparently this entire space started with the orange lamp (can you spot it?) and it makes me think of how much fun we will have if I ever get my butt back to Vancouver and spend some time treasure hunting with this fine lass! I may have a few disgruntled people in my life who will tell you that I don't simply go on and on about somebody's talents just because they are a friend, but I will let you decide for yourself. Here is the entry for the Best Young Designer Challenge...

Unfortunately you cannot vote for this suite online (although you can visit the site for more pics and info,) you have to actually visit it at Morgan Crossing in South Surrey. There are six talented finalists who have contributed a suite. Each had a $10,000 budget to work the space so they had to be inspired, resourceful and creative. I imagine it is worth the trip if you can get out that way! Why not do something different this weekend?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Small Town Frocks

I have a new project. You know, to fill all that free time that I have... stop rolling your eyes. OK, so this isn't totally new. My good friend and I have been tossing this one back and forth for quite some time now, we just needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get started. Mostly because neither one of us are computer gurus and we REALLY were hoping those elves that exist in our heads would materialize to do the WWW stuff for us. Not going to happen. In true Kootenay style, we jumped all over the fun parts (the parts we know and understand) and like the nutbars that we are we decided to do a photo shoot before we had an outlet for the photos... but it turned out so brilliantly that we knew we had to do more.

Me doing technical type stuff...

You see, this lovely lady Lara, (that I refer to regularly,) and I met working in the bridal industry designing gowns over a decade ago. We share a deep understanding and respect for the lifestyle that we live which we see as being the core premise of couture. A wealthy life has nothing to do with "the House of" or a price tag that you need to sell a kidney to achieve, hours clocked on the red carpet or fame beyond the Kardashians. Rather the understanding that style is intimate and personal, authentic quality does not compromise and comfort is not the opposite of luxury, but rather the ultimate example of the same. Coco would tell you the same thing. I do not lie. We also firmly believe that a lighter footprint is entrenched in this way of being and is definitive of the culture we inhabit.

Lara Blackman, designer for Jayne.

Cut to Lara's ridiculously brilliant skill as a dressmaker. Whilst mulling the supreme languidness of her summer on the beach and working out a plan for where to position her future floating home on the lake, she realized that while she found enjoyment in the handwork she was doing, where her heart truly resided was with couture gowns. Having been immersed in the wilderness for the better part of ten years, her take on fashion has evolved into something exquisitely organic and she knew that what she really wanted was to be exploring the idea of gowns created from reloved and natural textiles and constructing them entirely by hand (and foot) using her antique treadle sewing machine. Her goal: to create one fabulous gown every month (12 in all) using only locally available supplies, that are to challenge her both creatively and technically.

In the workroom making
ridiculously fabulous wool wigs.

She also decided to use this opportunity to search out and liberate the massive talent that resides in the Kootenays. Creative people tend to flock together and it was inevitable perhaps that such a stellar group would end up working together. While I have known Lara for nearly fifteen years, it has been a long time since we have collaborated. I am thoroughly enjoying the co-conspirator slash stylist slash PR position. We have enlisted the help of the immensely talented Avrell Fox for make-up, hair and general fabulousness, and amazingly we have found the sweetest raw talent in a budding photographer, Louis Bockner, who has surprised us all with his insane photographic abilities. Of course, Nelson is chock full of stunningly healthy and beautiful people to model and since we don't know anyone adept with Photoshop (not that we are the type to airbrush raw beauty to begin with) we will be showcasing how gorgeous actual beauty is.

I styled the November photo shoot using some of my antique pieces. Some of the silver is c1800s.

And so Small Town Frocks has been born. The idea is to not only create the garment, but to also showcase the evolution, from inspiration to technical information to behind the scenes of photo shoots and window displays. Other talent in and around the area will be spotlighted and we may even find and/or inspire a few new gems along the way, who knows? This project is all about discovery and process (and the attainment of said floating home) and the sheer passion that is what couture is truly about. And so we begin...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pop art LEGO

Santa brought the boys a bin of vintage LEGO for Christmas. Apparently my father kept my little brother's collection from, ohhhh, twenty years ago? The ridiculously cool thing, is that Rowan got a set of Prince of Persia LEGO as well as an Atlantis set, but so far, I have only seen him play with the funky green, yellow, red and blue blocks. It's funny how the more complicated toys get, the more children are apt to prefer the simple ones. I am so proud :)

He is definitely my son. He started by building his Star Wars clone troopers a fifties rancher to live in, with lattice windows, a Christmas tree adorned with string, a refrigerator, sofa and beds. There is a dining table where they eat with their housekeeper (where on earth did that come from?) and their adopted son (ditto), the one in the Jester's hat.

We will have to psychoanalyze that bit another time... in the meanwhile, I have asked him to build me one of these...

via brickworkz

...because, sadly, I think we don't have enough blocks for one of these...

via waylou

Monday, January 3, 2011

Owl Love

I had to steal this button and link from my friend at Three Owls! I haven't set up my printer yet, but I CAN"T WAIT to get one of these up on my wall... and the wall in my boys' room, and do up one for their grandma... They are just WAY too gorgeous! So behold! The new button up there on the right, just waiting to help you make your very own customized owl calendar. Everyone needs more owls in their day...