Thursday, January 22, 2015

January…aka: the fastest month of the year.

How on earth is it Jan 22?! No seriously, how? Somehow Christmas came and went, and I'm nearly convinced that New Year's lasted for about three seconds. For a couple months we have been in this cruise control mode…and not the slow kind of cruise, just the constant kind. We've been almost exclusively working on orders. So many orders came in right up until Christmas and truth be told we are still getting some out. We are really lucky to have super awesome customers and collectors that are willing to wait for handmade items. Also, this was our first year offering gift certificates, and they seemed to be a hit. So we are filling lots of those orders right now as well.
 One thing that we love is that we had a bunch of post-holiday custom orders for more ornaments! A lot of folks subscribe to the "celebrate everyday" lifestyle, and will be displaying their ornies all year round! We've been seeing pics on instagram of donut, cupcake, and ice cream ornies being used in Valentine's Day vignettes and we love it! 

We have some really fun new designs coming very soon! But to be honest, there are only so many hours in the day, and we just can't take time away from orders to finish up new paintings just yet. But very very soon! We'll be sure to share some sneak peeks as soon as we can! 

We haven't seen much or done much outside of the studio, except for a few quick trips to Target, which happens to have some great stuff in the dollar bins right now! Lots of minty, sea foam green, office-y stuff! Like this adorable file folder seen above! For $1!! Oh, and that sweet pink lidded vintage style jar for only $3!

I couldn't pass up these little plastic bins either! Perfect for holding invoices! (picture a New Yorker cartoon with an overworked guy at a desk…the "out" basket is empty, while the "in" basket teeters like an advanced game of Jenga.) And also from the dollar bins are these cute jars, pencil holder, and that to-do list pad has a magnet on back. It's on our fridge and quickly getting filled with lots of ink. I really don't think I've ever gotten through the dollar section without putting at least one thing in my cart. 

We definitely are getting a bit of cabin fever due to this studio lock-in, but seriously it's been so cold that I don't feel like I'm missing anything out there. We had a frozen pipe a week or so ago, and we're lucky it didn't burst when it thawed. For the coldest of days we put together a mini makeshift studio upstairs where it is way more warm. 
Our days are spent working, listening to music, cooking yummy meals, and burning candles. Party right? When I put the above pic on Facebook and Instagram I got a lot of questions about that candle. It's called Sweet Tobacco and is from Candelles. It's definitely more masculine than most of the scents we go for. Definitely earthy, woodsy…and to quote straight from the description on Candelles: "it begins with top notes of mandarin orange and tarragon; middle notes include rose, honey, and osmanthus; base notes are caramel, amber, musk, and hints of patchouli."
And I'd say that's fairly accurate.

Well, I wish I had more new stuff to share. We will very soon. I really just wanted to pop in and say hi! And let you know that we are still here! Hope 2015 is treating you all well!

Love from the Jersey Shore!
xo Jenny… and Aaron says hi!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Faux Cake Mixed Media Shadowbox tutorial (CJS 2015)

Hey guys! Just popping in today to remind you about Creative JumpStart 2015! We blogged about it a few weeks ago, but we wanted to share it again today for any of you guys who haven't signed up yet. It is certainly not too late to join in on the creative fun. Throughout January a new artist's video will be added each day. Just this morning ours went live, and we're so excited to see the viewer response!

 We are teaching you how to make this super fun, ready to hang, mixed media cake slice shadow box from start to finish!

This is a screen shot of our incredibly derpy intro, featuring an overly excited Jenny, and a robotic Aaron.
Truth be told, we are both mega camera shy, and this was like our 10th take. We were about to just throw in the towel, but then we just said "whatevs!" and settled on this awesomely awkward one. HA! 

This year's CJS has a stellar lineup of artists and so far we are blown away by the videos we have seen…and we're only 4 days in! It's sponsored by Liquitex, so you'll be seeing lots of awesome products in action. So far we've seen a mixed media canvas being painted and collaged, tons of great art journaling techniques, a video showing you how to make your own stencils from a photograph, and for ours we decided to make a project-driven video. We made a step by step video showing you exactly how to make your very own mixed media cake slice shadow box. But we also made sure to do a project that uses mediums and techniques that can be used in lots of other types of projects.

And again, for the super low cost of admission, you not only get our video, you get videos all month long from 23 of the best mixed media instructors from around the world! And you'll have access to the videos for an entire year! 
And Creative Jumpstart is a community event. You'll find a wealth of info just from reading through the comment sections below each video. And you can join in the artsy conversations, ask questions, share info about your own work...

We hope you'll join us! It's only Day 4 and we are already having so much fun!!

Sign up here!

xo Jenny & Aaron

Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Favorites

I am not a quilter…and sadly, I can't even use a sewing machine. 
Oh jeez, I just said that first sentence out loud and it sounds like I'm confessing to some horrible sin. But in a way, I guess I am. Being able to sew is a dream of mine. I would absolutely love to sew my own clothes, and it's a shame that I cannot. 
Now here's part two of my confession, and I kinda feel crappy admitting this: 
I own a sewing machine. It was a fabulous gift from fabulous friends of mine, given to me over a decade ago. And this is the bad part…I took that sewing machine out of it's box a total of two times. Ugh.
 I'm not exactly sure what my hangup is. I'd probably be at least semi-adequate. When I took Home Ec in high school, part of the curriculum was sewing, and I actually did really well. I sewed a hat, a tote bag, and started a skirt…key word "started". But still, at least I gave it a whirl back then. I think having a teacher hovering, and being there to answer questions helped. And now that I'm a teacher of art…at least a few times per year at art events…I can definitely relate to what the students are feeling. Most of them possess the abilities, but they just want to have a helping hand there in the room "just in case". 
So yeah…silly me. Here I am at these fantastic mixed media art events a few times a year…and often there are classrooms buzzing with sewing machines. When me and Aaron walk around an event, and pop in to visit other classes, I'm always enthralled by the classes that are all abuzz with the magical sound of sewing machines, fun conversations, and laughter. I would love to be one of those students. Maybe I'll do it the next time I get the chance.  

So yes…the reason why all this talk of sewing came up is simply because I laid eyes on this amazing quilt up above. It is such a work of art. It's pretty much the fabric version of an abstract painting. Just so incredibly beautiful! It is by Amelia Bennett, and it's title is Blocks and Strips, from c. 1965, Cotton, measuring 84 x 79 inches.

So, I did a little research, and the maker of that quilt was part of a southern group of women called the Gee's Bend Quiltmakers. Above and below are a few more examples of their work. Make sure to click the link and read the story of the Gee's Bend quilters. There are so many fascinating details about each featured quilt.  

This one caught my eye. Check out the zoomed in shot of those strips of fabric. From a distance it looked like floral fabric…but when you see it up close…those are actually candy colored puppies! Is that a white chihuahua in the center of the right strip? 

Aren't they all so fantastic?! 

This is such a beautiful dress. And yes, I would indeed pair it with black. Lots of black. And possibly some leopard print. It's sorta on the purply pink side, but every once in a while I go a bit more lavender when mixing my pink hair dye.  

I think it would go great with this hair color that I had a little while ago…purply pink fading down into a rose pink. 

I love these pieces by artist Do-Ho Suh. They're lightweight sculptures of everyday fixtures found in his Manhattan apartment. Out of translucent polyester fabric he constructed his oven, toilet, bathtub doorknobs, etc... 

I love the colors, and I love how they sorta look like digital 3D renderings.  

This sweatshirt seriously says it all! 

When our friend Heidi Swapp posted pics of her new Marquee Love collection on Instagram a few weeks ago I just about died. I've been a longtime fan of Marquee signage, and I'm always posting pics of fave vintage pieces, and I've also blogged a handful of tutorials as to how to make your own.    Marquee signage is super trendy right now but at the same time so old timey and classic. 

 We have a Marquee style heart that hangs in our studio, which was a gift from our sweet friend Becky. And to remind us of our sweet friend we hung it near our Christmas tree this year!

So, like I said…Heidi's new stuff looks amazing! I am so incredibly excited about this collection and the endless possibilities! 

It's as easy as tracing, cutting, and taping! 

There are fabulous washi tapes and glitters too!

I seriously cannot wait to get over to Michaels to see this collection in person! Now I just have to narrow it down to one idea to get started. 

Thanks bunches for popping in on this first Friday Favorites of the new year! Me and Aaron are still very hard at work on orders that were coming in right up until Christmas day. We've got lots of new artwork on the drawing board that we'll be finishing just as soon as we can. Plus, we plan on blogging more…namely, tutorials…art projects…fave supplies…stuff like that. 2015 will be a very creative year...I promise.

Have a great weekend!
xo Jenny... Aaron says hi!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A little Holiday recap…and Happy New Year!!

Oh geez! Where has the time gone?! We had no intention of taking a nearly month long break from blogging, but as soon as we listed our handmade ornaments in the shop and posted a few pics of them on Facebook and Instagram, it was off to the races! The orders poured in, and literally overnight we found ourselves working 17 hour days. Next thing we knew, weeks had passed, Christmas showed up out of the blue, and in that blur of weeks this poor little blog sat here all alone…not a post in sight. 

 Hundreds of ornies took over our lives. 

Cutting and cutting and cutting. You'd be surprised at how physically demanding it is. Oh man were our necks sore! And our hands had blisters and cramps. I'm sure many of you fellow makers know all about it. We're all guilty of "hand abuse" for sure. 
 The ornies you see above are in the "rough cut" stage. We use scissors for this stage, and then use an x-acto for the final fine cuts. Then each is hand sanded like crazy, and some even get hand painted details to finish them off. 

We are so happy when we get to this stage…all wrapped up in their cellophane sleeves, with pink shred and shimmery stars. 

All set and ready to be shipped off to all corners of the globe. 

Our tiny studio quickly overflowed, so we set up a big folding table right in the middle of our living room. 

And it wasn't just ornaments. There were lots and lots of diecuts too. 

The end of each day looked like this.
And this.

And this.

So we were surrounded with all this Christmas cheer, but by the end of each day it was packed and shipped off to other homes. We honestly thought we wouldn't have the time to decorate our home for the holidays. But little by little we started to pull it together…starting with our fave wreath vignette.

And we simply couldn't imagine not putting up the tree. We pulled out our vintage ornaments, and stole as many decorating minutes as we could each night.

We woke our sweet pink haired angel girl from her year long nap…and she took her place of honor atop our tree.

We didn't hang as many ornaments as last year...but I think we still managed to achieve our ideal balance of magical and sweet.

Honestly, our studio, kitchen, dining room, and half of our living room was absolutely overcome with work stuff. So we made sure to reserve this one corner of our home as our own personal magical holiday refuge.  

We love the addition of our falalalala banner.

Our fave decorations of all…first up, our little peanut, Lt. Dan.

And our little old man Carlos, the copycat…I mean, dog.

So we worked hard right through December 23rd, and then spent Christmas Eve cooking and baking. Our families depend on me to provide the Red Velvet cupcakes. And I love baking them. 
We spent Christmas day over at Aar's parent's house, and as always, we had a super great time. And on the day after Christmas we went to my brother's house. My parents drove all the way down from upstate NY, but my brother Jason had to stay up there because he had to work. It was a bummer not seeing him for Christmas. : ( But we will make sure to make it happen next year. We had a great time. Our niece Olivia has grown so much. Like all girls her age, she's Frozen obsessed…and oh boy, do you see that frosting up above? Well, lets just say Olivia had her fair share of it…and she was absolutely zooming on sugar…hilarious! 

A video posted by Jenny Holiday (@jennyeveryday) on

This is a Flipagram summing up our year. 
2014 was definitely a year we will remember. We launched our first paper collection, got to see our book in stores everywhere, we made a whole lot of new artwork and shipped it all over the world, worked on some important home projects, traveled to some awesome teaching events, and made lots of new friends! We also will remember the year with both sadness and joy...we lost our beloved little Jack, but then we turned utter heartbreak into pure happiness when we adopted Lt. Dan. And our old man Carlos is thrilled to have his new baby brother. 

We like to keep our holiday decorations up until New Year's day. But we'll make little changes here and there…like changing our falalalala for this Happy New Year banner.
I guess we'll bring this blog post and this year to a close. It really was a pretty special year, but we look forward to making 2015 as awesome as possible. 
Thanks so much to all of you for sticking with us, and reading this blog, and keeping up with everything we've been up to. We hope to see you lots more in 2015!

Happy New Year!

xoxo, Jenny, Aaron, Carlos, and Lieutenant Dan!