29 April 2011

8 Sassy Gift Tags Anyone Can Easily Make

*This giveaway is closed but enjoy the tags.

A beautifully wrapped gift is really two presents in one. Yes it's the content of the gift, but it's also a visual and tactile gift to the receiver. I've always loved wrapping a pretty gift, although I've become much more relaxed about it over the years. One of the things that makes a gift most unique and special is a handmade gift tag.

I like to punch a hole in my tags and tie them in the bow on a boxed gift or to the handle of a gift bag. In smaller sizes these are also very cute on treat bags and can be personalized with theme colors for a wedding guest welcome bag too. I think the final, beautiful touch on all these is a quick, handwritten greeting scrawled in a high-quality pen. Sometimes I use silver, gold or white pens, other times a good quality black or blue gel pen will do. I often write in all lower case cursive as it has a festive, unified look.

Here are 8 ideas for simple gift tags that will set a gift apart and exude creativity with very little trouble or time.

1. Watercolor & Stamped (seen above) - All you have to do is watercolor a sheet of paper and let it dry. Then cut it up in whatever shape you like and quickly stamp a little greeting on it. Easy to do ahead of time and have on hand. Easy to coordinate colors with wrapping paper.

2. Layered Cutouts. This is all about layering pretty papers. All you need to do is cut two rectangles and then one tiny square or circle. Glue the large rectangles together then adhere the tiny square or circle with a foam adhesive square for dimension.

3. Simple Initialed Tags. It's hard to see in this photo but the initial K is done in pink, green and blue. I actually used a sealing wax stamp K for this project. Simple, charming with a little note written in bright white or silver ink.

4. Random Scraps. These gift tags are a great way to use up your small scraps of paper. You can layer leftover bits, make a quilt-like pattern, there are lots of options.

5. Pretty Labels. So easy. Just buy some beautiful adhesive labels and stick them on pretty scraps of paper. These are Martha Stewart and her line has a gorgeous variety. These are also printable so you could print a message on them. These would make cute name tags too.

6. Stamped Greeting. Again just a pretty little strip of paper with a pretty message stamped in a lovely aqua blue shade. This stamp had a real retro feel to it and came out so beautifully on the paper. I can just see a really bright red ribbon used with these. Wouldn't these be cute tied around a pineapple you brought back for family from Hawaii?

7. Sticker Embellished. Simple pieces of paper glued together with a cute foam backed sticker added. So easy, so super cute! All the stickers here came from one sheet.

8. Three Rectangle Strips. These are my favorite, my go to for gift tags. They look so cute with a pretty message written in lower case cursive across them. I made a bunch of these one Christmas for my mom that said "from the kitchen of " and her name on them for all the delicious delights she so frequently delivers to friends and neighbors.

You will probably notice that on none of these are all the edges straight and everything in perfect alignment. I seek the imperfection on purpose, I think it's more interesting to the eye. So there are eight gift cards you can quickly put together to spice up your gift giving routine. 

So Here's The Giveaway -- 
Now here's the fun part for me. When I made these for this post I decided to make 100 and give away 10 packs of 10 gift cards to readers. The first 10 people who comment on this post will win a set of 10 gift cards. Which is your favorite or the one you can most easily see yourself trying? Please leave your comment then email your mailing address to me at kalanicut at hotmail.com. Happy winning. Happy Friday!

This is linked to:

28 April 2011

Latest Trends in Wedding Invitation Design

So happy to welcome Margot Madison of Margot Madison Creative to kalanicut today! She's a great talent, her blog is lovely and I love looking at her portfolio (I think I may have mentioned that a few times by now, haa-haa). I'll let her introduce herself (she's humble so definitely check out her About Me for more scoop) and I know you'll enjoy her insights!

Hello there! I’m Margot Madison and I’m so happy to be sharing some of my passions over here at Kalanicut! I “met” Kalani during our blog course Blogging Your Way by Holly Becker and Leslie Shrewring and have enjoyed reading all the delightful bits she posts on her blog. I am a lover of the creative and beautiful details in life as well.

I am a graphic designer--turned custom invitation designer--turned retail stationery store owner -- turned creative studio designer in Cincinnati, Ohio. My passion for design and specifically invitation design led me to start blogging about not only my invitation creations, but all the amazing artists and crafters putting out Good Stuff in the Universe. I love all the details that go into an event, and hope to inspire others to dive into (and enjoy!) the event planning process.

It’s really exciting to be both a designer and a consumer/event planner because there is an invitation renaissance going on right now! Digital printing has made full color affordable, computers have made typesetting and illustration so much more accessible, paper companies are producing an endless variation of color, texture and patterns to the retail market and the web has allowed designers to share their creations with the world. Ultimately, it is all bridging the gap of “what has always been done” (because it wasn’t available to us or we hadn’t seen it yet) to “what could be done and what’s being done now”.  It’s an invitation designer’s dream!

With so much great design going on, I thought I would share with you some of the design trends I’ve enjoyed seeing. Truth be told, my ulterior motive is to convince you to love it too.

The French/Apothecary/Vintage Style

This requires some mad typesetting skills to accomplish, but when it’s done well, it’s spectacular. This style is noted for mixing old engraving fonts, placing text on a curve, adding linear “drop-shadows” and calligraphic flourishes. Colors are usually black or gray text, paired with either a dynamic pop of color (canary yellow, coral red) or a softer vintage-y color like aqua or peach. The fine detail and old-school fonts look fabulous with letterpress printing.

Hand Drawn/Illustrated Style

I love this! It tends to be more informal because it’s usually so personal but don’t believe for a minute that the event is considered less important because it’s got pictures on it! The touch of personality is truly appreciated by guests, who will undoubtedly enjoy celebrating the “you” in your event! This style can include ink pen drawings, computer generated silhouettes, handwritten fonts or calligraphy. Use your own art or have an “indie” artist create something special for you!

Pushing the Traditional Text Borders

Bold patterns with lots of color, creative shapes and off-balance typesetting is a style that might take a minute to get used to, but is brilliant from a designer’s perspective. Who says the text has to be centered down the middle? who says?? I love the curvy shaped borders, the Moroccan-inspired patterns and colors and I am always one who thrills when tradition is pushed past it’s social limits.

Thanks for letting me share the design love today. I hope I’ve inspired you to see your next invitations a little bit differently, and to feel good about stepping off that beaten path... All the best! xom

27 April 2011

Feeling Like A Quiet Bird

I'm feeling a bit like a quiet little bird this week. Please tell me you feel that way sometimes too. (gentle smile). Trying to stay on top of dishes, correspondence, tending the little garden, mailings, marketing, pieces of paper that accumulate like flies to honey. Constantly asking myself what to do next. What more can I be doing? Am I taking care of myself? Am I reading and doing enough things that feed me? Am I doing enough for others? What can I do to help my business pursuits grow? So many questions and things to consider.

I rededicated myself to some hard core workouts this week and I can tell you I am tired. Well, my body is tired. But I've been sleeping like a baby at night, no problems falling asleep when my head hits the pillow. It's only midmorning and I am tired with a second workout still to go today. But my physical health is important to me and now that I am mostly back in sound physical health, minus some residual problems still with my ear & hearing it's time to tackle that area of my life. It's a critical part of being the well-rounded woman I am meant to be and want to be.

At night this week I have been trying to take some time to do something I enjoy - thumbing through favorite home design books, watching a movie with The Man or doing a little art project. That surely makes the evening more enjoyable and it helps me be ready to go to bed without feeling I've had no time for myself.

I am also on the prowl for my next online class. I love having that regular inspiration and have loved the opportunity to make new friends in each class I've taken. Looking forward to the next opportunity. And each day I am enjoying Simple Abundance, the genius of which I continue to be amazed by. For instance, who knew baths were such a historically vital part of rejuvenating and caring for the soul. I knew baths were nice and relaxing but I never thought about it in the terms that Sarah ban Breathnach taught. So many good teachings in that book.

I think maybe what I'm feeling is that sensation you have riding a bike when you look up and see a big hill coming and know you must put your head down and peddle for a while with total concentration. So while I figure out this phase I am in, I continue to just peddle ahead, with steady cadence, hopefully wisely, progressing forward. I hope you are enjoying dreaming, moving and unfolding too. It's quite an amazing experience to be mindful of all you do and what it means, where it's taking you and find all there is to taste and enjoy in the journey. Wishing you, dear friends, a joyous day. Thank you for coming by for a visit.

26 April 2011

More Torn Paper Art Projects

As you know I'm guest blogging at Margot Madison Creative today a How To about Torn Paper Art. I thought I would share a few more shots here of torn paper art projects I've done to give you an idea of all the possibilities.

Spring Flower Garden

My Tribe

Spring Scene

Friend's Family

Torn paper art is a great way to express your creativity. It’s great for artists of all ages. Try it at your next family party or the next time you need a simple piece of art for your home, a note card or a little gift tag. All you need is colored paper and a glue stick.

Thanks again Margot for having me as your guest today.  Check out Margot's fabulous portfolio at her site and again, I'm really looking forward to her guest post here later this week. You can see my Torn Paper Art post here. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

This post linked here:
Hope Studios Tutorial Tuesdays
Get Your Craft On
Type A: Anything Goes

First Experiment With Indian Print Block

How is it Tuesday already? So crazy. Hope you're having a great morning. So happy you stopped by.

A fun quick note. I have the chance to guest at the blog of Margot Madison Creative today. Margot, a BYW classmate, is a very successful and creative graphic designer and her custom invitations have appeared in several Collin Cowie wedding books and even on Oprah. What a lucky girl I am to share my Torn Paper Art on her blog today. The post includes a cool giveaway that Margot put together. Please stop by her site and enter the giveaway for some great prizes. I would also definitely recommend a nice wander through her portfolio. I saw things there that I really loved. I am thrilled that later this week Margot will guest blog here in kalanicut. Hooray!

Since I started doing more artwork with stamps and stencil again a few months ago I've also become very interested in fabric printing. A few weeks ago I purchased an Indian Print Block that I blogged about here.

I started thinking about what projects I could attempt with my new prize and what fabrics I had on hand to play with. I remembered I have quite a bit of linen that would be quite fun to work with. I also began doing a little research about the art of Indian block printing. I learned all about how to care for my print block and found that there are quite a large, wonderful selection of wood block prints that can be purchased. Even more exciting is to realize how many different projects you can do with print blocks. Here's a great link with lots of information and resources.

So, you can see what I made today. I chose a large piece of chocolate brown linen and used white paint. It took up nearly an entire small bottle of fabric paint, so I'll definitely be looking for sources that sell larger bottles of fabric paint. I thought I would try a tight pattern this time and on my next try I want to try something with more space between each print. I thought this tight pattern would make a nice pillow. The Man, who has a fantastic creative eye, suggested adding a touch of gold or red dots to the pattern. I am definitely going to consider that tomorrow. Once the fabric has dried and I have a chance to press it with a warm iron I will sew something up and share it with you soon.

I'm definitely interested in purchasing a couple more blocks and trying a variety of projects. I like the botanical prints and the Polynesian inspired blocks especially. I'd love to make some curtains with a large ink print for a couple spaces in my home. Have you tried Indian block printing? What are your favorite patterns?

Have a grand day! Blessings await.

Also linked to:
A Beach Cottage
All Things Related

25 April 2011

Finding Your Way In A Day

After a somewhat chaotic, challenging but joyful weekend (joyful thanks to beloved "Californicus Familias" - you have a new nickname dear ones) I stayed up until the sun came up this morning working on a challenging and frustrating research project. It was all I could think about last night and I just had the passion to keep working at it until I emptied out my brain of all the thoughts, the possible options I needed to investigate. Whew.

After a few short hours sleep, I woke up mid-morning feeling as if I was made of glass and would shatter if anyone attempted to move my limbs or touch me. Have you ever felt like that? It's a particularly vulnerable, strange state. But after laying in bed a few minutes I shook it off and was soon up and going for the day.

But I have felt strange all day -- disjointed -- as one is apt to feel after staying up the entire night. Still a little haunted by all of last night's deep thinking. So the only thing I could really do it just find my way through the day, to ease it forward. So I did a quick photo shoot for my toiletries bags. Made up these cute cards above that I can attach to shipments. Prepped some shipments.

Then I went out to the patio garden. Therapy, relaxing, progress is how I'll describe it. I split and repotted a few plants that needed room for expansion and took a few former seedlings and planted them together in a bigger container. I cleaned all the leaves and debris out from between the plants, swept the floor, then washed it all down. Tossed a big metal pot that had rotted out, gave the gardenia I split a "haircut" -- we'll see what happens with that, I also attempted to root several cuttings. Lastly, I swept and washed down the balcony. I have several other projects & a workout still to get in today, but I have high hopes for the rest of the day. It's a beautiful day, not to be missed.

Some days are just going to be a little bit weird. It's good to just allow them. Allow a little pretty to color your world.  You still get done more than you'd imagine. Might at well do all you can and be kind to yourself. I hope you are feeling kind to yourself today. You deserve it. Happy dream living.

Marco Polo Imports & City Adventuring

Happy Monday! I have driven past Marco Polo Imports so many times and thought, one of these days I am going to stop in there. One of the things that most hinders me from stopping at new places in the big city is parking. Hesitating for one second on the road gets you blaring horns behind you from the ever so cheerful city folk, so trying to find your way somewhere new can be discouraging. Not to mention parking is not easy, especially on weekdays.

Saturday night, we had the great fortune to enjoy a date night but had no plans. So we decided to just get into the car and start driving and make it up as we went along. The Man, who had been wanting to take me to Marco Polo, suggested it and went straight there.

We had a fantastic time wandering the store filled with treasures from around the world. There were beautiful wood carvings, a fantastic selection of unique lighting, beautiful reclaimed wood furniture, upholstered goods and much more. It was a feast for the eyes and creative mind. We fell in love with many things, had fun discussing what we liked, how we'd implement it, etc. I particularly loved the chandelier above that was placed above a beautiful casual, rustic wood dining table. It made such a beautiful impression with a table setting and other furnishing all in earth tones.

The staff was friendly and welcoming and we had a great experience. Design services are available and they work with the trade. If you're in the area, stop in for some great inspiration, lovely decorating pieces that can give your home it's own unique stamp and get to know the team there. We'll definitely be back soon. Marco Polo Imports also has a great web site you can enjoy from anywhere with contact information for purchases. It's also a great site for inspiration.

Wertz Brothers Antique Mart is right around the corner, so there is another fun place to stop and wander and pick up something unique for your home. It's where I picked up items for the trade and this indian print block. It was closed on Saturday night but I'm looking forward to introducing it to The Man soon. I think this is going to be a new path of adventuring, just heading towards areas of town we don't stop in often. There is so much to uncover and enjoy!

all images from Marco Polo

22 April 2011

How Anthropologie Charmed My Socks Off

Glasswing Bedding
image via Anthropologie

While we were out last night The Bug quite charmed the ladies at Anthropologie on 3rd Street Promenade by dancing all about in her orange corduroy skirt, this sweater, knee high socks and bright blue clogs and helping straighten the sales area that had taken a beating during the day. She spent quite a long while organizing sheet sets on a lower shelf, gathering hangers and picking things up off the floor. She also did a very funny routine where she did different impressions using a hanger that had lost it's hook. Hanger turned down - dog with droopy ears, hanger turned inward & up - an ant (looked exactly like the ants in the movie Ant Bully) and on it went. 

We had to wait for her while she finished up her "work", she refused to come until the sheet shelf looked right. She was several times offered a job by the charming Anthro ladies. They were so sweet with her. I was really impressed at the friendliness and fun-loving nature of the staff -- the perfect kind of folks you want to cross paths with while shopping and any retail shop should be thrilled to have. They quite charmed me.

I told The Bug that a job there might be a good idea and she said that would be great and maybe me and Daddy could come and meet her for lunch while she was at work. We all laughed hard. At least she would not be so likely to spend all her earnings as I would surely do if I worked in such a lovely place all day long. 

As if the clothing, jewelry, bedding, linens, dishes, lighting, books, decor, window displays, Keith Johnson & Man Shops Globe were not enough, well shoot, I have a new reason to appreciate and adore Anthropologie.

CB2 Bright Yellow Canaries

image from CB2

Happy Friday darling friends. So love meeting up with you like this! Our Thursday night started out headed to the Westwood Farmer's Market. When we got there it had closed down many hours early because they had no customers due to the President's visit. So we decided to go to Century City. Got almost there via good back roads and realized that is where the President was and the area was all shut down. So before we got mired in traffic, we made a run for it and headed for Santa Monica.

We enjoyed a lovely evening with a delicious dinner and saunter around the downtown area. There were many tourists in town, particularly Europeans. It warmed my heart a bit to think they had traveled so far to come and enjoy our beautiful California. 

It's always inspiring to stop into some of the home decor stores. Tonight we had a great wander around CB2. The Bug and I were not 10 feet in the door when we saw these charming little canaries. She could not help herself but ask immediately if it would be possible to have one for her room. I was thinking the same thing for my room! Then The Man suggested one would look great in the living room. So we bought three, one for each room - although they may meet up together for special occasions too. 

The Bug had a great time carrying them to the register and talking with the sales clerk about us purchasing them. We were all so charmed by these little creatures. When I got home and looked them up on the web site I found we were not the only ones, these pretty babies are getting rave reviews in the customer comments section too and everyone seems to be in agreement that they are the perfect little pop of color to brighten any room.

When we arrived home we immediately took one canary out, found a candle for it and The Bug placed it right next to her bed. We also came home with the lovely Geisha Grellow Table Lamp (no that is not a typo -- it's Grellow). It's high time to refresh and replace a few old furnishings in the living room. This pretty lamp will be a nice perky addition. Anticipate that some lamps and furniture will end up on Craigslist soon. 

We will quite enjoy burning our sparkly little tea lights in our sweet little bright yellow canaries for a long time to come. They are such a perfect, cheery addition to table tops and bookcases for spring. Well done CB2. We found several other things that really caught our eye there which I'll have to share with you soon. Live your dreams today! Love ya! -- Later this morning I'll share with you a very cute, funny story from our visit to Anthropologie. I'm more in love with the place than ever and it has nothing to do with their product line this time.

21 April 2011

Graciously Welcoming VS. Desperately Needy

image from clubs.psu.edu

Tomorrow is the last day of the Mondo Beyondo online course I've been taking. It has been an awesome experience. I have finally made peace with the whole idea of living my dreams, the laws of attraction and abundance, The Secret and most importantly Mondo Beyondo dreaming. I feel like I can breathe better now, a tightness in my chest about all this is G-O-N-E.

Here is the comment I made in class today:

Goodness. I could not have loved this lesson more! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders once and for all. The greatest realization I have made in this class is that I don’t have to battle, work myself into the ground or suffer to make my dreams come true. I can just allow the flow to happen, peacefully, joyfully and easily. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally, finally get that. I am so excited to just let go and let things happen and I love how that is making me feel about me and my life.

I have fixed in my mind now the idea of opening a door and welcoming in all the beauty I want in my life rather than marching after it, desperately chasing it down, trying to club it into submission and drag it home to have it. It’s just so obvious to me that gracious welcoming is the way to go, not feeling so needy or desperate or freaked out that it won’t happen.
If I was to be befriended by a person that acted graciously welcoming vs. desperately needy which would I naturally gravitate to – there is absolutely no question. And don’t you think dreams feel the same way about who they gravitate to?
--That's my thought for you today. Make a list of your dreams, put them out there. Then just hold onto it and let it come. Keep being you, keep doing what makes your heart sing and let it come.
Lastly, if you're wondering about your dreams and what you can do to make them happen no matter how young or old you are, no matter where you are in life, I would really encourage you to take the Mondo Beyondo class. You can register right here. What an amazing investment to gently, subtly, joyfully change your entire life perspective.
Everyone has some little glitch somewhere in their thinking that can be changed to open up greater joy and allow their dreams to happen freely in their life. Only you can find it, identify it and change it. Imagine what could be possible if you did! Sending you fond wishes, dear readers. Thank you for being here and dreaming with me. Much love.

Quick Tip - Spices & Seasonings

image via SpicesnHerb.net

Here's a little grocery shopping quick tip I learned last week. I go through a lot of Italian Seasoning. I use it in a lot of recipes and on hot chicken and turkey sandwiches. In the regular spice aisle at the grocery store you will find small bottles (about half an ounce) of Italian Seasonings for four to seven dollars. I picked up a bottle there last week for $5, then happened upon the international food aisle minutes later. Here I found a large 2.5 ounce container of Italian Season for the same price.

I was suspicious. Surely the quality could not be good. I checked the ingredients and they were all there with no unnecessary additives or preservatives. I wondered how fresh it would be and how pungent the scent would be compared to the smaller bottle brands. I was impressed when I got home and opened the jar.

So here's the tip -- Check out all areas of your grocery store for spices and other products. It's amazing how many similar products can be found in completely different sections of the grocery store. Particularly tricky are the international/ethnic and health/nutrition/diet foods sections. If your grocery has a bulk items section that's another place to keep an eye on.

I'm saving some big bucks now. But here's the catch -- It's not a great idea to buy giant bottles of spices if you don't use them often. Most sites I looked at said a year is about the shelf life for spices. I know I will use this in the next 2-3 months.

I also don't love that this product came in a plastic container. I can transfer it in a glass jar with a tight lid and label it. (Surely I could make up something fun with my Xyron sticker maker, right? Can you imagine how long I could waste making a really pretty sticker for Italian Seasoning -- I wouldn't but I could.)

For five bottles of .5 ounce Italian Seasoning at $5 a bottle, I would've spent about $25. Instead I got the same amount of seasoning for $5. It's a money -saving quick tip!

20 April 2011

Perfect Summer Skirts From J.Jill

Hope you're having a peaceful, relaxing day! Looking at many popular clothing sites for summer skirts the past couple of weeks I've been a little horrified to see that many of my favorite shops are not featuring any skirts that are more than 10 inches long. Zoinks! So I was happy to stop by J.Jill and see that they had a great selection of longer skirts for gals on the go. 

These three skirts seem perfect for walking in city parks, family adventures, kids climbing on your lap, travel days, not to mention every day running around. Feminine, fresh, easy to pair up with lots in the closet and so perfect with pretty leather sandals.

I am also looking for good just below the knee skirts for bike rides, beach days and every day casual comfort. Have yet to see much that I liked. Seems like a few years ago there were cute colorful, appliqued or stretch cotton a-line skirts everywhere. Not they are either big ruffly broom skirts, schlumpy knit foldover waist skirts, or two washclothes sewn together.

Are you frustrated too? Where are you finding favorite skirts this Spring? I know I'm not the only one out there looking. Have heard several women complaining about the lack of great skirts. Tell us what you're loving for the upcoming summer months.

images by J.Jill

19 April 2011

Glasses Cases Are Here

Glasses cases are now in stock! Love these colors and love how these turned out. Had so much fun brainstorming with our friend at the fabric store about what color I should do for the tags this time. Love the gray with pink combo and how it works with each of these colors. And all these materials have a felt lining so they're extra gentle on the lenses.

Green Olive


Robin's Egg

Glasses cases are $12. As a special promotion for kalanicut readers for the next week (ends April 25 at midnight PDT) you can enjoy FREE shipping & handling on any purchase of two or more bags or cases. So if you buy two or more glasses cases or a glasses case and a toiletries bag or two or more toiletries bags -- I will pay the shipping/handling fees

Here are all the details on the new toiletries bags.

To order, just email me at kalanicut at hotmail dot com and let me know what you'd like to purchase. You can pay via paypal or check - or cash if we meet in person. Thanks again for your support and interest in my designs. Hope you enjoy the new glasses cases!

A Package from Donna Heart Australia

It was such a joy to receive my I Heart Collection package in the mail from Donna of DonnaHeart.com last Friday. When I shook the package I could hear shards of glass rattling around. I hoped this was not a sign of damaged postal goods. I was beyond pleased to find a bag of gorgeous shells and sea glass had opened up inside the package which explained the moving shards sounds.

After a beautiful time in Newport, R.I. last summer I have the most lovely collection of sea glass and shells and was thrilled to get these new additions from the Indian Ocean just yards from Donna's home. They were collected by her daughter which is also terribly charming. So gorgeous.

Loved receiving several prints of her original artwork, including this beautiful notecard. You can see more of Donna's art at donnaheart.com. This was the next thing I found in my package.

Lastly I have to share with you the beautiful paper the bowl was wrapped in. Such a beautiful pattern.

I put the sea glass and shells into the bowl and added it to my new shrine area. It's something I've created from assignments in Simple Abundance and the Mondo Beyondo class. It's basically a small spot in your home where you can go to meditate and recenter yourself. They are reminders of thoughtfulness in the world, the sea and a reminder to slow down and breathe -- many things I love all rolled into one.

So that was the fun and delightful package from Australia. There is something so grand about doing an exchange like this with someone else. It just directs your mind completely towards doing something special for someone else that will really please them. I know a lot of thought and effort was put in by each of the participants to create something lovely for their trade partner. It's such a nice thing to do in a world that can be so very unkind so much of the time. Maybe if we all think of others and act in their regard in this generous way every day we can bring an increase of kindness and thoughtfulness to the world. That would be joyful! 

You can see a bit of what I sent to Donna here. Thank you, Donna for the wonderful package from so far away! And thank you Danni, of Oh Hello Friend for putting this exchange together.

Speaking of joy, I'm guest posting at re:Find Joy today. Pop over for a bit of inspiration on finding joy in every day life. It's an inspiring site and helps me remember that lesson every day --  that joy surrounds us if we will just look for it. Have a fantastic Tuesday.

images by kalanicut

18 April 2011

Indian Print Block Inspiration

Happy Monday! Hope this morning finds you well and cheerful! Don't forget that today is the last day to enter the Spring Giveaway - a collection of handmade goodies I created just for the beautiful readers of kalanicut. Enter here. I have something fun to share today.

A few weeks ago I went to Wertz Brother Antique Mart in Santa Monica to look for collectibles for the Australia project. I had not been in an antique mart for a long time and it was such an adventure to walk from booth to booth and see what's trending right now in the antique world and what classics have remained. I bought the most beautiful little blue glass bottle for Donna, my trade partner. I still adore that bottle.

Another thing I saw that day was a collection of Indian print blocks. This one stood out at me and immediately a long list of projects came to my mind: stamped curtains, stamped duvet covers, art pieces, notecards, pillows and on and on my brain went. I didn't buy it that day, but I went back last Thursday and hoped it was still there. It was. It's mine.

So look forward to some fun projects with this print block in the coming months. I can't decide what to do first but it will come to me. Can't wait to share what unfolds with my new friend.

Tomorrow I'll be the guest author over at re:Find Joy talking about finding joy in every day life. Such a fun topic and constant inspiration. And I will be back here tomorrow with a fun update on the package I received from Australia and a winner for the Spring Giveaway - you can still enter right here. Have a great Monday! We're celebrating The Man's birthday today. Happy Birthday, Babe! <3

15 April 2011

Spring has Sprung at the Thrift Store

Had a great wander through the thrift store around the corner yesterday. I didn't buy any of these things but someone should if they need these items.

1. Great galoshes. I was bummed they weren't my size. They disappeared quickly.
2. Amazing needlework piece. It was big and intricute. Would be so beautiful in just the right space.
3. Great Asian inspired jar lamp
4. How cute and simple is this desk. Loved the color.
5. Great little chairs. Cheery and bright.
6. Another great Asian inspired lamp - they both just needed pretty new shades.
7. Score! If you collect the old blue binding Nancy Drew books it was your lucky day!!!
8. Fantastic mirror. Well made, beautiful, traditional frame.

You never know what you might find at the thrifts. It's always worth a patient, watchful wander. Go regularly, look quickly but thoroughly -- that is how you find the good stuff. Here's a link to a post I wrote about helpful thrift shopping tips. You can also read about the success I've had furnishing my home with thrift store furniture and decor finds here, here and here. Happy thrifting friends. Hope you find some fun stuff soon.

Australia Bound Package

Happy, happy Friday! I thought I would share with you a little package I sent off to Australia two weeks ago. It should've arrived by now, so hopefully I'm not ruining any big secrets. -- Donna if you're reading this and haven't gotten the package leave this post immediately. Ha-ha. This was all part of a blogger's I Heart Collection trade put together in early March by the lovely Danni, of Oh, Hello Friend.

The basic gist was you could list little things you like to collect and then trade lists with someone in the US or anywhere in the world. You would each spend $10-15 purchasing a few things on the list for your trade partner to add to their collection. Then came the tricky part -- the biggest part of the challenge was that creative wrapping was highly encouraged - expected.

My trade partner was Donna from DonnaHeart. Donna is a lovely artist from Australia and here is her collection list: vintage bottles, vintage children's story books, ribbon, tea towels, and miniature art work (4 x 4"). I found a beautiful little blue vintage bottle and a vintage Golden Books story book at the antique store. Then I added a spool of colored ribbons and one of my small toiletries bags. I wanted to do a little piece of art, but budget and time ran out. If  Donna shares a photo of the items on her blog and I'll link to it.

I thought it would be a nice touch to include something I'd made (toiletries bag) and something that was particular to my neck of the woods. So at the antique store I looked for vintage post cards from my local area. Found this beautiful card of the beach near here.

Then to take it all up a notch I wrapped all the little gifts in cellophane, added a pretty bow and tied the beautiful post card to the front. Here is my gift all wrapped up and read to send off to Australia. I must apologize for the photos. I did all this at night and did the best I could in a bad lighting situation. Hopefully you still get a feel for the project.

I am also awaiting a package in return from Donna - I had a slip in the mailbox yesterday. Once the package arrives, I'll share what was on my list and what delights Donna has sent from the land down under. This was a fun adventure. It was a treat to head out to places I don't normally go to find particular things for Donna's list. I'll definitely do it again if I get the chance.

You can check out Donna's artwork and her fabulous blog here. She posted a very entertaining and inspiring piece last week about an art retreat she attended on a few weeks ago. You'll enjoy it, especially the part about the attacking Kookaburras. Not a problem we have here in the States.

You'll also enjoy a wander through Oh, Hello Friend. Danni's layout is so beautiful and there are so many delights to enjoy. You can check out all the details of her recent wedding here.

 Have a great weekend! Enjoy the adventure!

images by kalanicut

14 April 2011

Here and Theres

Just wanted to share with you a few nice updates.

First, my blog friend Kelly wrote up a lovely piece about our visit last week. I have to tell you that the results of my conversation with her have had an astounding affect on my efforts this past week. I am so grateful for the ideas she inspired. Here's her take on our lovely visit. Kelly has a great blog full of fun ideas (I still think of her birch tree bulletin board often). She also has this very sneaky, self effacing sense of humor that cracks me up at the most unexpected moments and is so charming. She's got some amazing projects in the works and is definitely a woman to follow in the blog world. Check out everkelly today.

Second, just heard today that I will be featured at re:find Joy next Tuesday. I wrote a piece all about my dream life, how I found it and how it's evolved. Janelle has a fantastic, amazingly inspiration blog. She's a woman in the trenches, believing and dreaming and making the most of every day. If you need daily inspiration for the soul you can find it at re:find Joy. Can't wait for Tuesday. So happy to have a chance to take part in Janelle's project of joy.

Third, I'm going out to buy fabric today to make sunglass cases. Apparently people are quite desperate for them. Will hope to have some available soon. If you are interested in toiletries bags you can get all the details here. I still have some available. You can pay via check or paypal and I'll ship them right out to you.

Fourth, don't forget to enter the giveaway I posted yesterday for a nice little stash of handmade goodies. Everything in the giveaway was embellished or handmade by me. Just a little heartfelt thank you to my lovely readers. You are so kind to mention reading the blog, making comments and sharing this adventure with me. It's been almost 18 months now since I started this journey and it has been nothing but a joy. There is nothing I haven't loved about it. I have learned so much, met so many lovely people and rekindled some great connections from the past too. A joy all around. Thank you so much for being a part of it and for your support.

Lastly, it's Westwood Farmer's Market day and they now have summer hours, open from noon to 6pm. So it's much easier to pop by on the way home from work or stop for dinner at one of their delicious great food vendors. I'm thinking about Hawaiian Barbecue now, my mouth is starting to water. Enjoy the rest of your day!

image by kalanicut

Ocean Wood Sign Details

Here's the quick scoop on this Ocean Wood project.

1) I decided what I wanted it to say, found a font I liked. I thought the address of the beach would be a fun way to go, as if it might've been a sign that was posted there once. Then I had to size the letters to fit the board. I experimented with font sizes in Word until I got it right. Then cut them all out and played with the layout for a while.

2) Went on a search for Carbon Paper -- a tool so old I couldn't remember what it was even called.  Had to go to two big office supply stores to find it -- and of course they only sell it in 100 packs. I needed two sheets. Carbon paper, anyone? I am sure I will use it again, but certainly have enough to share.

3) Cut the carbon paper to fit each strip of my word papers and I used tape to attach them to my word strips so I could move them around more easily. I would use double stick, but I couldn't find mine when I needed it. Of course when I need one sided tape, I can only find double sided tape.

 I should note, okay confess, here that I did an experiment strip on plain white paper  just to make sure the words would transfer with the carbon paper. Unfortunately I did not have the carbon paper face down, so it copied to the back of my word strip. Not very smart. But once I started working on the wood, it worked like a charm.

4) I did about 30 days worth of measuring (not really but it felt like it) to get all the strips centered from top-to-bottom and side-to-side. This was a very frustrating process because of the number of strips. It seemed like as soon as I got 3 rows perfect one would be totally off. I reworked this I don't know how many times.

5) Traced the letters onto the wood.

6. Removed all the paper strips, carbon paper and tape.

7. Then painted. I mixed my own blue paint using a dark blue and adding some gray (which I made out of white and black - amazingly enough). I used a very tiny, square edged brush. Then went over it again with a very, very tiny pointed edge brush to touch up corners, etc. I was tired and it was very late at this point - so there will be no photos of the painting..Haa-haa.

8. Then I added the eye hooks on the top. I was planning to use the hinge holes but they are so tiny and are actually sealed up with compacted sand picked up somewhere in the Pacific. I decided I wanted to keep the sand and it would probably hang better this way.

9. Then I cut the ribbon to size. I glued the ends together, but we'll have to see if it holds. If it doesn't I may switch to a metal chain or just sew the ribbon to the eye hooks on the sewing machine or by hand. We'll see. -- Nope didn't work, will have to sew it.

So that's the project. Very detailed but not that difficult. It's fun to have something totally unique, meaningful to us and using found material. You can also see this post linked to A Beach Cottage: Good Life Wednesdays Linky Party. A Beach Cottage is quite a lovely blog with lots of fun content. DIYs, beach house makeover, beautiful photos of Australia and much more. You will definitely enjoy a visit!

This post is also linked to Chic and Crafty Thursdays link up at TheFrugalgirls.com. There are quite a few fun DIY projects, especially for Easter, linked there you might enjoy checking out. You can also find it at I {Heart} My Crafty Cutter party at Serenity Now. This is a fun link up of projects using Cricut, Silhouette, stencils or transfer paper. Great ideas, love the concept!

Before & After: The Ocean Yields An Art Project

I shared with you, a few weeks ago, our day at our favorite beach in San Diego. You might remember we spent some time doing a little clean up after the tsunami waves that came to the West Coast following the earthquake in Japan. We found a lot of very unusual debris on the beach that day including a lot of broken bits of bamboo, wood, parts of boats and rope.

I found this piece of wood, obviously once a door to something. It probably belonged to a boat at one point. I immediately saw a piece of art in it and my thoughts were supported by The Bug who completely agreed when I mentioned it. 

So the big question next was, what would the project be....and on which side would I create it? Which would you have chosen? I'd love to hear your opinion!

I was definitely leaning towards the blue-gray side, but the back side is amazingly, perfectly weathered too. I think it's prettier in person than it photographed. I thought I would use the hinge holes to hang the piece -- whatever that piece was going to be. I've been feeling inspired by the paint brush lately. We've been doing some watercoloring. I've been toying with paints and mixed media pieces.

I waited to see what inspirations came to me. I felt in a way that my creative thoughts had been leading me to this piece of wood. I hoped, hoped, hoped I could make something of it that I would like. It's always a little hit and miss. I've had good luck lately so I had to just hope for the best. Then an idea came to me.

A postcard from our very favorite little beach --

 I'll show you how I did it - all the details later this morning. You can link to the details here.  Have an awesome day. It's all about how you think and what you say about it. It's a great day! Everything is possible.
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