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Flashlight Valentine Card: Making it your own

I’ve gotten several lovely comments on the Flashlight Valentine Card printable, including one from Melissa. She wrote:

These are so cute! I was sitting here trying to design my own cards for flashlights. Nothing was working so off to Google I went for new ideas and bam I found your post. Thanks for the download. You saved my afternoon.

Isn’t that so nice? So then, on a whim, I replied with my thanks and mentioned how I’d love to see her end result, if she felt like sharing. To my delight, she followed up soon after with these two photos and a reply:

Hi Emily.  Attached is a couple pictures of what we did.  I had found the flashlights in town.  Loved how cute your finger ones were.  The kids were so excited to give them to their friends – I have 3.  I had been struggling all week trying to find just the right font.  So I was very excited to find your printable.  I didn’t have white card stock since I had planned on printing the ones I created on a kraft colored paper.  The colors would have been more vibrant had I used white card stock.  But I still like how they turned out. Thanks again for sharing your work.

Well, those words made my day! And also, I found it very interesting to see how Melissa chose to use a hole punch and secure her mini-flashlights with curling ribbon. I think they turned out great! Neat!

Thanks again, Melissa, for taking the time to share your project and for allowing me to share it too! 🙂

 

 


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Anniversary

David and I reached out 8th anniversary yesterday. This is the card I gave him. The simple letterpress design with the sweet little heart over Portland sums up a lot of how I feel. While pieces of my heart may be elsewhere, it’s this spot on the map where my true love lies… along with our home, our kids, our lives. I think we both hope to stay here for a long time. Together.

So thankful that we have found each other.


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Birth Announcement Entries

(I wrote this before Leo was born, but didn’t get a chance to post it.)

One of the things I regret not doing for Chloe was sending out a birth announcement. There were several factors involved in that decision – like the pressure (as a professional designer) to design my own, the cost of printing and postage, and the time it takes to stuff, address, and stamp each envelope. As a first time mom, I was just too exhausted and overwhelmed to tackle that project, and so I let it go. By the time I felt like I had a handle on things, it seemed a little too late to send a newborn announcement.

Wanting to do things differently this time, David and I talked about looking into an online service. I was perusing Minted and noticed they were holding a “Summer is Born” Birth Announcement Design Challenge (they provided the photos). So I thought, what the heck? Maybe I’ll submit a few.

Here are the three I submitted – all minimalist, mostly letting the photo speak for itself. Maybe one of these will be the birth announcement style we use for Leo…


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A Visual Guide to Stylishly Modern Camera Bags

Just a round-up of some pretty snazzy camera bags available. I own the Crumpler, a gift from my husband, which is a good fit for my lifestyle right now (aka camera/diaper bag). However, in a perfect world, I’d love to be able to design my own. If you feel the same, check out KATA’s Dream Bag Challenge. You can submit your own original idea for the chance to have your bag hand-built, and to win a professional photo kit worth $5000 (including a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR body, 2 Canon lenses, Gitzo tripod kit and Litepanels Camera Light).

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Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home


Jill-e Medium Chocolate Brown Suede

 

Epiphanie Lola Shoulder Bag

Emera quilted bag


The Kelly Moore Bag

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KaTa 123-GO-10

Tenba Messenger: Small Photo/Laptop Bag

 

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Clik Traveler


ORKIO Cafe SLR Bagz

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Acme Made Montgomery Street Backpack

Oliday Dark Brown Canvas Camera Bag

 


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Child Care

I did it. I dropped Chloe off at day care this morning. For and hour. For the First Time. I’ve never left her anywhere before, except for brief periods with her grandparents. It feels really weird. Exciting and a bit wrong. Sort of like leaving the house with only one shoe on. You know it is missing and it doesn’t feel right. But you can still run errands with only one shoe. And know that the other one is doing just fine without you, right where you left it.

A friend of mine started up a child-care co-op that I have yet to try. She printed coupon cards (that I got to design!) for AM and PM (see above), that you give to the sitter, so she can then use one when she needs child care. I want to take my husband with me to go see AVATAR again, and use one of my coupons, but it hasn’t worked out for us yet. Three+ hours seems like an awful long time. I’m hoping this will help me work up to it. You know, baby steps, and all that.


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Organic deodorant for men


David finally ran out of his old deodorants. I say “finally” because he bought one of those multi-packs from Costco ages ago and it has taken him forever to use them up. The problem was that I couldn’t stand the way they smelled! We are not going to make that mistake again.

Although it is controversial,  I believe that aluminum in anti-perspirants/deodorants is unhealthy, and I try to avoid parabens as well. I’ll admit I’ve tried many natural and organic brands in search of the perfect deodorant, but I have yet to find one that I am loyal to. Unfortunately, those just don’t work as well. Under normal circumstances, I’ll use a natural version (or none at all – another perk of being a stay-at-home and work-from-home mom), but to be perfectly honest, for those times I want to be extra sure, I do own a container of Degree. I’d like David to have a natural alternative on a day-to-day basis as well, if just to humor me.

At the store, we read labels and sniffed a bunch of options and scents, but frankly they all smelled and looked kinda girlie. The “Dusk” scent was the best of the bunch. David balked at the price, but I was adamant. I’d like him to have a good smelling deodorant for a change. The brand, Herban Cowboy, gave me pause though, but I’m a sucker for packaging. Here’s hoping it actually works. 🙂


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2009 Solar Decathlon, Washington DC

This is the second time I’ve had the opportunity to check out the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a competition between 20 colleges and universities to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Honestly, while it is interesting to learn about new and energy-efficient technology, mostly I go to admire the modern architecture.

This year, there were a lot more people turning out to tour the homes, so we only had time to tour three: Rice University’s , Penn State’s, and the University of Minnesota’s. Personally, I liked the design and layout of Penn State’s the best, except for the amount of plants inside (a little too messy). Our guide said that it was originally designed for “DINKS” which apparently stands for “double income no kids,” so I guess I won’t be living in one any time soon.

Event goes through October 18th, and I would highly recommend visiting it if you get a chance.


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Make Your Own Last-Minute Father's Day Card

As usual, I put off making David a Father’s Day card until the very last minute. Being his very first Father’s Day as a father, I didn’t want to just let it go, either, so I whipped up this card with a few minutes to spare. As you can probably see from the photo, I took a blank card and cut the word “Dad” out with an exacto knife. Then I glued some colored paper behind it to make it pop. Normally, pink wouldn’t have been my first choice, but being a last minute project didn’t make for many options. I figured David was man enough to handle it anyhow. Want to make your own? You can download and print this pdf template (originally sized for a 5×7 card).


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Fast food cupcakes by Bakerella

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Aren’t these hamburger shaped cupcakes fantastic? And check out those sugar cookie french fries! Bakerella has an awesome tutorial complete with download and print packaging templates. If I thought they’d get eaten around here I would definitely give it a try for Father’s Day. Which makes me wonder… does anyone know of a tutorial for fly fishing themed cupcakes?
Via Twig & Thistle


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A sad state of affairs…

A couple years ago I wrote a post that included Portuguese artist Rosa Pomar’s gorgeous handmade dolls. Then today I read about how Dutch clothing brand Oilily has ripped off her design and is selling what looks to be obvious copies. How disappointing.

I think it is natural to be inspired by other people’s creativity. Recycled ideas are commonplace to a certain extent, but they are usually recycled with a twist. Sort of how bell-bottoms or flared jeans have come and gone since the 60’s. And I admit there have been times where I have used someone else’s work to make something for myself, or as a gift, but never on anything I would sell, especially so high profile as Oilily has done.

Here are some other mind blowing copies from a link that David recently sent me -  You thought we wouldn’t notice…


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Modern Birth Announcements

Recently Patti left a comment asking what we did for birth announcements. I was embarrassed to admit that although we took the time to design our own, we never took the time to got them printed. Sad. Instead, we copped out and included a photo of our new family in our Christmas cards.

Etiquette experts generally say that sending a birth announcement up to 3 months afterward is fine, but I feel kind of weird doing it now. But if I did, and didn’t go with my own design, I’d love to use one of these online birth announcement sites:

Tiny Prints
They’ve gotten a lot of press lately, but they sure have some cute designs. I’ve seen several printed examples, including a holiday card, this birth announcement and my own baby shower invite (thanks Greta!), which all looked really nice. The branches with pink blossoms design below was the inspiration for the painting that Grandma Sandy painted on the wall in Chloe’s nursery.

Minted
I first learned about Minted via the Project Nursery Blog. Back when Chloe was born they were running a 10% off special, except there weren’t any designs that David and I could agree on. They have gorgeous letterpressed wedding invites and even offer professional calligraphy.

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Metro Baby Cards
I would say their tagline “Modern. Funky. Unique.” is pretty apt. I love that they offer coordinating return address labels. Their personalized baby Thank You cards are worth a look, and they also have birthday, baptism, holiday and shower cards.

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Updated 12/05/2009 to add: Paperculture


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Isak Posters for the Nursery

I finally decided to buy a set of posters I’ve been eyeing for months. If we’d had a boy, I would have totally done his room up using these colors as inspiration. However, they’ll still look great in Chloe’s room.

I first saw one of Sandra Isaksson’s 123 posters in an issue of LMNOP (a fun quarterly kids pdf magazine) and was drawn to it instantly. Then I looked up her other work and now she is one of my favorite designers. And check out this sweet “All About Baby” book! Is it silly to have two baby books?


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Baby Craft Tutorial Roundup

A while back I started a page devoted completely to cool baby craft tutorials. There is a tab below the blog header that links to it. It contains a mix of my own tutorials and other people’s projects. So far there are tutorials for baby hair clips, appliqued onesies, felt baby shoes, burp cloths, kimono wrap, diaper and wipes pouch (poopy clutch), knit hat with earflaps, LED baby booties, diaper cake and embellishing baby tees. I hope to add more as I come across them on the net, so check back if you’re interested, or let me know what some of your favorite ones are and I’ll add them to the list.


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Cool Online Game

gettheglass.com

If you haven’t already, check out this creative online game. I can’t believe how well it was designed, with gorgeous graphics and advanced interactive details. It sort of reminds me of Myst. Very impressive for a milk campaign. We came in at about 9400 out of 41,000. How well can you do?


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Handmade Valentine Cards (a personal swap)

This year for Valentine’s Day I asked David for just one thing, a handmade (by him) Valentine’s card. No chocolates, or flowers, or store-bought card. Just a little of his personal time and effort. And I promised not to judge him. That whatever he chose to make would be just fine. I really meant that. And in return, I would make him a handmade card, too.

Look at this beauty. I would never have expected this in a million years. It looks like a rolled up piece of paper in the photo, but it is actually a little cylindrical box made of heavy paper, secured by a red thread around two eyelets. About 4 inches across.

This is what it looks like inside – surprise! Filled with little strips of pink paper, each with a word on one side and the matching design from the container on the other. Words like love, forever, we, you, mine, desire, romantic, emily, david, always. I could re-arrange the little strips into many different combinations. Pretty and clever. I’m clearly blown away.

This is the card that I made for David. He really loves to flyfish. On our drive back from the coast on my birthday, we stopped at a tiny scrapbooking shop in the seaside town of Gearhart, where I picked up my first collection of brads. That’s right. Before making this card I was a Brad Virgin. I don’t know why I waited – they’re so fun! Such a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. I purchased these little fish, the dragonfly, and the heart paperclips, chosen individually out of tiny drawers. They worked perfectly for this card. The writing on top says “Fishin’ for your love.” The little fish hooks are made of staples I bent with needle-nosed pliers. The inside reads “…and now I’m hooked on you! Happy Valentine’s Day!” embellished with two red heart eyelets.

I’m so proud of us.


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Crafty Giveaway

I’ve been having fun designing and making plastic pendants lately. I love combining colors and shapes and patterns into these little (mostly) 1″x 1″ works. You can kind of see what’s been on my mind lately – birds, patchwork, snowflakes, leaves and flowers. I don’t tend to wear much jewelry myself, but I like how necklaces can provide just the right amount of polish and character every now and then. Anyway, I hope you guys like them. To celebrate recently reaching my 250th post and to thank everyone who stops by my little blog, I’m holding my first crafty giveaway!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. That’s it! On Friday I’ll announce a winner by having David draw a name. The winner will get to chose a pendant from the selection shown above, and I’ll attach it to a leather cord for wearing. Be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact the winner for a shipping address. Thanks for visiting and good luck!


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Zhena's Gypsy Tea

Yesterday when we were at the grocery store I asked David to pick me up another box of green tea. I stayed in the car talking on the phone to my Dad. And just look at the pretty tin he came back with. I’ve never heard of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, but the artwork and packaging is adorable. Fair trade and organic. My honey, he knows how I’m such a sucker for pretty packaging. And the tea is good, too!

So, I did a little online research and found Zhena’s story on greenmoneyjournal.com, which I found very interesting, real, and inspiring. Read her story here.

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