Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Helpful, Design-oriented, iPhone Apps

Although I'm not sure how it happened, I have become one of those people attached to their phones. It doesn't help that there are a number of free applications you can download now to make your life easier. I can nearly work directly from my phone if I really wanted to.

Anyways, I want to share some of my favorite aplications on my phone. Here is a screen shot of my "work utilities" folder on my phone. I have eight that use more often than others and of those eight, I use three on a daily basis. Check out more about them below.

The iHandy level is so convenient. I use it to hang art and balance shelves and tables I put together. You can reset the balance point to adjust to walls and floors.

This mini ruler has been extremely helpful for those projects I seem to think doesn't require a tape measure. I typically always carry a tape measure but when i just carry in a clutch or wristlet to a project site, I always have my phone with me. Even though it's only 3" long, sometimes it really helps.

Our firm uses Sherwin Williams for basically every project. Their paint selection is wide enough that a contractor can take it anywhere and have paint match. When documenting a space, it's nice to know what paint is already on the walls. I find that I use this app mostly to see what already exists. occasionally, I will photograph something in life to match it to a paint sample.

This is by far my most used downloaded app. I will typically edit every photo that I take whether it's adding a border, adjusting the contrast, or cropping. I love the capabilities of this app.

Like the image says, typography makes me happy. I mostly use this app to send people cute messages but I also use it for blogging.

Ikea is one of my favorite places to shop. Their 2011 catalog app is a great way to see new products and get inspired by spaces. The index is easy to use and I love flipping through the pages. is a site that I use constantly for work. I recently discovered the app and I've been on it everyday since. I am able to view the files I upload, see who else has viewed the documents, and upload images of progress for my client.

I was pretty aprehensive about downloading the AutoCAD app to my phone. I thought for certain it would be a pain to update drawings and that I would never use it. Of course, it is slightly a pain since it's easier to work on drawings when they are larger; not on a 3" screen. But the app is perfect for meeting on-site with contractors because I don't have to carry around a large set of construction plans. I can also easily add notes of things to be changed when I get back to my desk. This app has ended up being pretty perfect.
What is the best thing about these apps? THEY. ARE. FREE. Yep, that's right. Each of these downloadable apps are free of charge. So go get them people!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DIY - Book Covers

After seeing some amazing looking books, I because self-conscious of my own bookshelf. Don't get me wrong, I have a number of books with gorgeous covers. However, seeing these made me crave gorgeous, unique, themed books.

I used this site to get me started on my book covers. The site shows you how to cover a composition book with strips of fabric. I simply used it for it's pattern. Choose whatever fabric you love and follow the directions.

Here is mine.
Or you can choose a plain fabric and make your own pattern with stamps. I also used stamps along the spine to spell out the title and the author's name. I love this stamp I found on Etsy. It would look gorgeous printed in a jewel-toned ink on tan canvas.

I love these printable bookplates I found on Love.Obsese.Inspire. Download them here. I printed them onto cardstock and used rubber cement to glue them to the inside cover.


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Monday, December 27, 2010

DIY - Photo backdrop for New Years Eve

New Years Eve is one of my favorite days simply because I have a great excuse to dress up and have fun with my friends. For my group of friends, that means a lot of photo taking. If you are staying in or headed to someone elses house, create a backdrop for your pictures. How can you do this? There are several different options and I will share with you some of my tips.

Option 1: Print one large image.

This is the easiest option for me. I have several different programs that allows me to create digital images. An easy way for someone with just Microsoft Office, change your paper size in your page setup menu to the backdrop size you want. I made mine 36” x 72” so that it could fit right on a door. Keep in mind, you will want to make sure the image can be printed to the size you make. I printed mine on my own plotter which holds a 36” roll of paper. If you print at Staples or Fed Ex/Kinko’s, check their website for size options. Now you can print your design on your paper.

This is an actual image of the backdrop I made last year. I layered three images: a starry night, a skyline silhouette, and yellow blocks for windows.

Option 2: Print smaller images.

Another option is for those of you who want a solid back drop with small details. If you want a large backdrop, use a tablecloth or sheet in a neutral color. Place your images and/or text into your Word document. Play with fonts and colors until you find a combination you really like. Print out your document on iron transfer paper and iron them onto the sheet where you want them.

Option 3: Streamer.

It may sound cheep but an overload of streamer can really be pretty cool. Just take it from Smilebooth, who has some amazing backdrops that you can rent. But if you have the time, use theirs to inspire your own.

Option 4: Frame it.

It is so fun to use frames in photos. Pick up an old one from a flea market or dismantle your own art for the night. Hold the frame around your face, hold it around someone else face, or hang it from you neck. I promise it will be cute!

Option 5: Shower.

This may sound strange but perhaps one of the easiest things you could do is hang a shower curtain. There are some gorgeous ones out there including these from Urban Outfitters.

Lastly, visit this link to learn the best way to apply your makeup for a night of flash photography. Elessa is one of my favorite beauty guru’s and she knows her stuff!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

play day

all products from Kate Spade.
I don't know about where you are but it's snowy and wintery where I live. Today, I plan to don my gay apparel and plan outside.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Wedding

happy wedding day to all the winter brides. may your wedding day be a smashing combination of rustic glitter.

{1,2,3,own image,5,6,7,8}

Thursday, December 23, 2010

DIY- Holiday Treat: Hot Chocolate on a Stick

I tweeted about it a couple days ago and today I want to share one of my favorite holiday treat recipes, hot chocolate on a stick. I originally got this fudge recipe from King Arthur Flour's website but I have altered it slightly.

1/2 cup heavy cream
One 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chips
One 4-oz bar unsweetened chocolate (broken or chopped into smaller pieces) *I actually used 1 4oz. cacao bar, 2 cups semi-sweet chips, and 1 cup milk chocolate chips
Wooden craft sticks
8″x8″ pan, lined with parchment paper

Constantly stirring, heat the cream and sweetened condensed milk over medium heat until it steams. Remove from heat and add all the chocolate. Stir it in and let sit for 5-8 minutes, then put back on medium-low heat and stir with a whisk until chocolate is completely melted and shiny. I added a bit of vanilla but you could add hazelnut or peppermint, or just leave it as is.

Pour the chocolate into the lined pan and spread chocolate out evenly. Now I seem to have miss placed my 8"x8" pan so I created a 6"x11" pan by adding a bread loaf pan to an 11"x11". While mine came out just fine, it is definitely better to have a square pan. Let the chocolate sit and harden for 12 hours.

Turn out your pan and cut the chocolate with a long knife. I had no problems because my chocolate was still a little soft. If you have difficulty, heat your knife under hot water, dry and then cut. You knife should cut smoother. I cut my pieces into 1-1/2"  squares.

I used this recipe to make marshmallows. I had used it before and they are heavenly. To save time though, you could purchase campfire size marshmallows and cut the edges off. I rolled the edges of the marshmallows in crushed peppermint and left the rest plain. For the campfire marshmellow, I would cut them in half so that they are more proportionate to the chocolate.

 Lastly, I threaded the stick through the marshmallow and chocolate, put them in a baggie, and tied them with ribbon. I wrote directions on a piece of cardstock, loaded the sticks into paper bags and added the directions to the outside.

For individual ones that I am putting in stockings, I added a little tag to the top of the stick with directions.
My batch made 24 pieces. Had I used a square pan, I would have had more but I ended up with some strange corners.
These are so cute and so easy to make; they just require a little time. It will be worth it in the end to see such fun packages. And it will definitely be worth it when you try one out for yourself!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Art by Nick Gentry

Recently a friend shared with me a link that led me to Nick Gentry's web page. Gentry has exhibited in the US, Europe and the UK. His art is original and creative; he uses a combination of various media formats as canvas's for his portraits. The portraits are enchanting and curious and the use of material really evokes examination of detail.

View all of Gentry's work here as well as look for exhibit listings, donate material and search for related articles.

images via the Gentry website.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pottery by Richard Tuck

These lovely pottery pieces are made by Richard Tuck, an artist in LaOtto, Indiana. His pieces are well crafted and loved, which is obvious in his work. These are just some of my favorite pieces of his but he also has more whimsical designs with faces and sunburst inspired patterns. His website is just being developed but you can visit it through this link.

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dear BABY deer

Anthology shared this image. Instead of making me want the bowls {which are gorgeous, by the way} it makes me want that little Bambi on my bookcase.

Cut Paper

Look at this gorgeous, amazing, detailed cut paper. YES, it's paper. I'm completely stunned at the intricacy of this. Look at more on Anthology Magazine's site.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stocking Stuffers from Pier1

Last week I shared some of my favorites from CB2 in a holiday gift guide. Today I want to show some of my favorite stocking stuffers from Pier1. Images are below with the prices.

An elephant at a wedding is a symbol of good energy. Share this Elephant teapot with a bride-to-be. $15.95

I love presents that encourage me to relax. Pair up a Safari Spa Brush for $4 with some soothing bath salts and bubble bars.

These Mini Satin Boxes are darling. Stash a pair of earrings or some spending money inside and slip them into a stocking. You get all three for $7.95.

This Bauble necklace is so fun for New Years Eve or even Christmas dinner. $25.

These little guys are so fun. Add this to the stocking belonging to a little one for $8.

These Assorted Bracelets are only $1! Pick up a couple to add to a stocking and a couple for yourself.
This has got to be one of my all time favorite quotes. Such a simple reminder quickly calms me. The stationary runs $5-$12.

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