Monday, November 30, 2009

house present

I know 't is the season to buy presents for all your family and friends but I recently bought a present for my house. Okay, so it was really a present for myself but definitely in honor of our house: a set of bowls that together make up our house number, 1848!

Gleena Ceramics can customize numbers up to 49 - what a great gift idea for a birthday (or a house warming gift). Check out more of her great creations at her website. (photos below from Gleena's site)

Another house gift was the table runner you saw in my photos. It came all the way from Japan via Kalla's etsy shop. Love all her graphic printed fabrics, pillows, tea towels and more. (photos below from Kalla's site)

Monday, November 23, 2009

day planner goes to press

Last month I shared a few sneak peeks at some illustrations I've been doing for my 2009 client gift for Defteling Design. Well, today the project actually went on press – and I'm thrilled with the results!

After checking (and re-checking) the mocked-up proof, the full-color images are printed on a huge 6-color press at Brown Printing, one of the collaborators on this fun project.

The cover was up first. I incorporated one of my favorite illustrations (July) for the cover, which will then be printed with a solid blue on the back and folded in half, so that the yearly calendar to the right becomes the inside left front cover.

When it was time to press check the monthly divider pages, I was ecstatic: so much goodness, so much richness and texture! I know, I designed it so why am I all freaked out, but it was just so shocking (in a good way!) to see them all lined up like this. I brought back an extra press sheet so I can hang it in my office.

Next are the two-color weekly planner pages and then it's off to the bindery for black wire-o binding. I can't wait to hold the finished planner in my hands! And yes, I haven't forgotten about the giveaway. Stay tuned, I'll post the giveaway as soon as the planner is all done!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

etsy roundup » plushies

As a kid I collected stuffed animals like there was no tomorrow! I felt this strong urge to give every critter that crossed my path a home. The result was a bed overflowing with soft plushies of all varieties – at times there was barely room for me to go to sleep!

Although I've given up my collection long ago, I haven't lost my soft spot for stuffed bears, rag dolls, and other cozy creatures. Here is a collection of little darlings that are looking for a new home – maybe yours? (click on the image to link to their Etsy store)

Monday, November 16, 2009

trash to treasure

This weekend I made the rounds at my favorite antique malls: Stars in Sellwood and Monticello in NE Portland. I hadn't picked up anything and was almost done going through the mall when this little guy winked at me from behind the locked glass display case:

He totally reminded me of the little elephant that I found last spring, which I promptly turned into an assemblage piece:

Once I got home, I checked and yes, they're both made by Rempel, a toy maker from the '50s! I already have a few ideas for this little piggy so stay tuned to see how his new home turns out.

In the meantime, I turned an old little, wooden drawer into a new woodland home for Bambi:

Check out this along with a few other assemblage pieces in my Etsy shop, AtticAntics.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

etsy roundup » typography

As a graphic designer, I deal with type every day. I love exploring the different feelings that different typefaces can evoke but I must admit, in the midst of working on a 40-page newsletter, fonts can become a bit mundane so I try to step back and look with fresh eyes at the beauty of typography.

Inspiration can be found all around us, from magazines to TV commercials, magazines and leaflets, even the credit cards in your wallet. But for a quick fix, I head to my true blue:

Here's just a sampling of type-inspired designs (hint: they'd all make great gifts for everyone from type fanatics to the type challenged!):

Love this line of jewelry by Plastique. Simple, modern and mysterious at the same time – at least to those who don't speak type. "FPO" means "for placement only," something we designers put on top of images that are not the final image, and "kern" is the act of adjusting the space between letters to make the type appear even (so clever, these two rings worn on two fingers!)

Great visual texture on this block-printed, 100% linen pillow from 1Girl1Boy.

I'm a total night-light girl, I'll admit it: I do get a bit freaked out in the dark! This silk-screened version from Bloomin Lumen is the perfect blend of illumination and style.

This wonderful quilted-cover notebook by Daily Threads is perfect for journaling. The hand-stenciled letters stand in strong contrast to the fabric pattern, yet the overall result is soft and comfy – perfect to curl up with on the couch or in your favorite outdoor hangout.

This fun screen-print by Slide Sideways pretty much says it all: yes, maybe, no way! On a sidenote (no pun intended), I like this actual photo of the print as well; nice colored wall and interesting composition!

This just might be the coolest tie ever: filled with layers of Lorem Ipsum ("greeked" placeholder type, although it actually resembles Latin more than anything), this tone-on-tone tie by Toybreaker is so classy!

Punky Jane makes a variety of customized jewelry, including necklaces with monthly calendars (great way to commemorate an anniversary or birthday!) but this simple "dream" necklace remains one of my faves.

Overlapping layers of letterpressed type and graphics create a colorful collage in this mini poster by Lot 9 Press.

This series of alphabet cards would be perfect to send out this holiday season (letterpressed by Hijirik.)

Another alphabet series, this one by Jenn Ski, that would be perfect in a nursery (although I would totally hang this in any room of my child-less home – maybe in the B for Bedroom?).

And while this last one doesn't involve letters per se, these graphic symbols and iconography by Michelle Christina are very cool. Fun to display as a grouping like this but also great to use individually throughout the house.

Monday, November 9, 2009

favorite things

The weather is changing, days are getting shorter, and I've caught myself feeling rather sad that summer is indeed over – it's time to settle in for the long, wet and cold winter ahead, ugh!

The nice thing is that I get to spend cozy weekends lounging on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket and purring kitty on my lap. Those are the times when I look around in contentment – things are as they should be: hubby in his chair, dogs at my feet, candles lit... I'm home!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things around the house that make me feel at home, and at peace.

Todd spotted these love birds at last year's Super Colossal Holiday Sale. I love the gestural quality and simple design (sorry, can't remember the artist...)

This antique wall clock has been in my mother's family for generations. It belonged to her grandmother – she even remembers it hanging on the wall when she would go visit her oma! My great-aunts gave it to me and Todd as a wedding present, and I absolutely cherish this family heirloom. Because we emigrated from the Netherlands when I was 16, I only have a few things that were handed down to me, which makes this clock with its worn patina and pretty sound extra special.

This darling mug was given to me by a very dear family friend when I was little and living in Denmark. It reads "Alexandra" and, quite frankly, I had forgotten all about it until a few years ago my mom pulled it out of a cupboard during a visit home. She had saved it for me all these years – thanks, Mom!

The first year we were married, Todd and I expanded our fur family to include a Dutch mini lopear bunnie we named Knuffeltje ("little huggeable one" in Dutch). We discovered an artist at a local gallery who made these wonderful rabbits, so for Christmas that year, we had her make one that looked like our little Knuffel!

I've loved transferware for a long time, particularly red, brown and black pieces. I have a little collection of mismatched pieces that I display in a small hutch. I should really start using them more – they make me happy every time I look at them!

I bought this piece in San Francisco while shopping with a friend. I'm sure I overpaid but I loved the crackly, creamy finish.

This orchid has been alive longer than any of its predecessors – that, in and of itself, deserves a spot among my list of favorite things, given how I manage to kill most plants within mere weeks of bringing them home!

We found these apothecary jars at Sesame & Lilies in Cannon Beach. They had one that said "cannabis," too, but I liked how these two are at different heights, creating more visual interest.

More containers, this time in the kitchen. I bought this set at the Portland Antique Expo almost 7 years ago, to reward myself for launching Defteling Design (quite a scary thing, to leave a steady paycheck and jump into the world of freelance – so I figured I deserved a little sumthin' sumthin').

The vendor who sold me this vintage slide tried to tell me it was taken in France but I know better: there's nothing more Dutch than this, an old cobblestone street with the typically Dutch stair-stepped gables!

This little metal lunch pail sits on a shelf right inside my office downstairs. Currently, it's empty but I'm enjoying the thought of what I might stash in it someday...

A few years ago, I came across a box full of old letterpress letters. Love at first sight! Sadly, the letters were quite spendy so I picked up only a few – enough to spell out "design" and my initials.

So while the skies turn dark and grey around me, and wet leaves fall from the trees, I remind myself of how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much love and visual inspiration – I guess 't is the season to be thankful!