Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One year later...

Last year, I posted a sneak peek of some of the artwork that I purchased at the Surtex Show for the company I work for.

After each show, I like to hang the artwork up in my office, and then we gradually decide what art will go on which products. We never know at this point which piece of art will be a "winner", and which things will fall by the wayside. Everyone in the office likes to come in, and tell me their favorites, and make predictions about which will become the next big seller. Here are a few closer up views of that shot:

The following three pieces were purchased with a customer in mind who had a theme, "Everything is Coming Up Roses". At the time, we didn't have much direction from them, so we took a bit of a gamble:

It turns out the "rose" they had in mind, was actually an orchid. They wanted it big, and pink. So, with this art, by talented artist Lauren Wan:

We focused on this area:

So, that became all this:

It has turned out to be a great collection to our line, and the original customer was very pleased with it.
But, the true winner of that season, was a last minute purchase, that I had to convince a few peeps about. Turns out, customers love this bird art:

We started doing a few products, but got such favorable reviews, that it's turned into all this!

Looking for holiday images is always a challenge, it's hard to come up with something NEW! DIFFERENT! EXCITING! each year, because the holidays are seeped in traditions, and it seems that people don't necessarily want NEW! EXCITING! But, we try!

The following is an example of how we sometimes buy art as inspiration, and change it dramatically. We really liked the idea of this art, but no way would our customers go for the pink background. We also prefer horizontal images. And, no type on the front of the card. So...this...

Became this:

It's printed with gold ink, and the branches are highlighted with silver foil.
We embellish a lot of the designs with foil, gloss highlights, glitter, and debossing. This can really bring a flat piece of art to life. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pretty in Paper

At the Stationery Show at the Javits Center last week, they cleverly put up a "Paper Runway" connecting the two sides of the show that were separated due to construction. To highlight the relationship between paper and fashion design, exquisite paper dresses were created by such fashion designers as Lela Rose, Susan Woo, and Donald Deal. Visual merchandising and design students at NYC's LIM College participated in the competition sponsored by Kate's Paperie. The winners will be displayed in the windows of Kate's Paperie during Fashion Week.

I was amazed at the intricate detail in these dresses...if you look closely at the construction of some of these dresses, you will notice that the dresses feature a variety of trends that are popular among paper design right now... notably, butterflies:

Lasercut designs:

Gold accents:

And bold flowers:

It's hard to believe these are all made of paper! I'm curious how long it took to construct these fabulous creations! Which is your favorite? (Mine is the short dress with the butterflies...)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Single Motherhood

It's been a rough week around here. Rich (my husband) has been in the hospital (for FIVE nights) with pneumonia since last Tuesday. (we finally picked him up yesterday afternoon). Eesh! Where did THAT come from? What seemed like a (just get over it) common cold, turned into a full-fledged "I can't get off the couch or I'll die" pneumonia. So, I've been working, playing with Jake (who was also sick, and has now started snoring he's so stuffy), going back and forth to the hospital, and have managed to drive 500 miles in a week schlepping back and forth.

This is, of course, after Rich broke his thumb about a month and a half ago, and had to have surgery (ouch). We seem to have kept the emergency room quite busy since we've been married.

When confronted with doctors, and stressful situations...I tend to ask a lot of questions. I don't think I'm (shall we say "witchy") about it, I just like to know what I'm in for. I also don't like late night emergencies with a 3-year-old. And, of course, I like to feel reassured that we're getting good care, and that everything is going to be all right. Right? Well, not really. My husband doesn't ask a lot of questions, and thinks I'm nuts (I'm not). And rolls his eyes. So, there was tension. Great.

So, how did the week go? Frankly, I think I was fairly calm with a few tired, freak-out moments (Jake really didn't go to bed until 10 pm for the duration). I coped. I used bribery. I went through the drive-through at McDonalds a few too many times. As fate would have it, McDonalds gives out Batman toys. I taped a new Batman cartoon. It's TERRIBLE. So, I taped a few of the 1960's Batmans. Great tv and graphics (if you ask me!).

And, I confess, I set up a little table with a towel under it so Jake could eat breakfast in front of the tv (I mean babysitter), so I could get ready in the mornings (that comes down to exactly 24 minutes). Jake unfortunately prefers the newer, terrible version. ("Mom! I like the one where they push each other and shoot guns"). 

I also tried to make things fun to get the job done. "Jake, it's backwards night! We're going to take a bath, THEN eat dinner, THEN go see dad in the hospital AND we get to wear our pajamas there!" Great! He thought that was fun, and added his own twist, "I know Mom, we can have breakfast for dinner!"

I made a pan of brownies, and ate half of them.
As if my weak stomach was going to digest that!

And, I shopped.

I ordered this dress from Anthropologie:

But, it wasn't great on me...but this one from Tommy Hilfiger (at 40% off) is a keeper:

OK, I actually bought a FEW more things, but we don't need to go into all that right now, do we? (I'll just say those Cafe Capris at JCrew are also keepers. In two colors.)

Needless to say, all my projects for a creative, colorful, fun backyard, and lovely guest bedroom have been put on hold until I have time to breathe. Or maybe until after I shower for more than 3 minutes. But, I'm happy to say, that Rich is now home, and is feeling much, much better. And, miraculously, Jake went to bed at 7:15 last night. Maybe he just had to know that Dad was home. Yay! We're all ok!

I'm in love with all these prints by Nan Lawson that I came across on Etsy. Aren't they quirky and fun? She seems to have summed up my week!

P.S. Jake won't be watching the new Batman anymore. It's just the oldies, but goodies for us from now on! Or, at least until the next trip to the emergency room...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Bedroom

I recently stumbled upon this image of a guest bedroom while looking through past issues of Lonny Magazine. The room is in the house of Marlien Rentmeester and was designed by Hilary Thomas. It sparked my interest because it seems so simple, and put together...and achievable.

Although the individual elements in this room are not what I would personally choose, I was inspired to get a similar look and feel for our guest room. I think the room that Hilary Thomas designed looks very inviting, sophisticated, yet fun and relaxing. I've been a little all over the map recently in the number of projects I want to do, and have very limited time. So, having the inspiration photo is keeping me on track and motivated to add a little sparkle to our currently very boring room! Here's how our guest bedroom looks now (very dull I'm afraid!):

I made a trip to Calico Corners the other night, and came across some similar fabric to my inspiration photo in a different colorway:

I also found these nice fabrics by Thom Felicia (also from Calico Corners) that would coordinate well...yet not be too "matchy matchy"...pillows perhaps?

I love the look of the bedspread in the photo, but don't want to spend a gajillion dollars for it. Pottery Barn has a simpler, yet similar look. Or, I could add ribbon trim to a white bedspread to jazz it up, but occasionally, my husband is right...I don't have to make everything myself (and thus make it more complicated and unfinished). Simple is good (and done!). So, Pottery Barn is looking good! (Blue of course, not brown):

I like the light colored walls in the photo, but we have beadboard trim which goes halfway up the wall. I played around in photoshop w/ a paint color idea, and it's not bad. But, I'm still debating...it will be best to wait until I finish the roman shades to see what will work best. Also, my husband suggested switching the painting that's above the bed to something more modern looking...I just stuck a recent photo from our trip to Mexico in my Photoshop rendering.

Once I borrowed the fabric, I tacked it over the windows, and took some photos. I find when I do this, and look at the images on the computer, it gives me a new/different/helpful perspective. In this case, it was the added boost I needed to place my order!

The fabric should be coming this week, and I hope I get a little spare time soon to start! Now, who's coming to visit?