Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweet Shop Ornament tutorial

Is it weird that I'm such a HUGE fan of our new full-color sticker sheets? And I swear, this isn't one of those tootin' my own horn moments...I honestly love these sticker sheets! They are exactly what I'd hope to find in the fantasy scrapbooking/art journal shop of my dreams. I cannot wait to make more! We have endless ideas and mock-ups for future sheets...the only issue is finding the time! One thing that I promise to do is always compliment any forthcoming creative elements of ours with tutorials here on the blog...just some simple examples of how to put this good stuff to good use.
We're still at work on our very own hand painted patterned paper for now this little project will make use of some of your own favorite patterned papers for the backgrounds. These are simple ornaments mounted on wooden discs that we purchased at Michaels...but you can probably find similar ones at A.C. Moore, Jo Ann Fabrics, or any store like these. Look for wood, mdf, chipboard, whatever you like really. Ours measure approximately 4 inches across...and ours were CHEAP! They came in a multi-pack with all different shapes and sizes and the whole pack was like 5 bucks!

What you will need:

- Everyday is a Holiday full-color sticker sheets!!
-scissors, pencil, artist paint brush
-wood, mdf, or chipboard discs in shape of your choice,
approx. 4" across.
- patterned papers for your backgrounds
-Decou-page by DecoArt. You can also use matte finish Mod Podge or clear gel medium
- heavy duty glue like E6000 or a hot glue gun if you prefer.
-colored glitters of your choice. (We used Martha's tinsel glitter in florentine gold, feldspar, and kunzite.)
-ultra fine clear glitter
-bakery twine or pretty string or ribbon of your choice
-ric rac or ribbon to hang them with

LinkStep 1. Trace the shapes of your ornaments onto your background papers and cut out paper backgrounds. Also, cut out the stickers of your choice, eye-up your designs and match the stickers with their respective backgrounds.

Step 2. Adhere your backgrounds. We used Decou-page by DecoArt...but again, you can use matte finish Mod Podge or gel medium. With a paint brush apply a thin even coat to the disc, lay corresponding paper on it and gently press down...then gently smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles with a clean, dry paper towel. Let dry. You do not need to apply a top coat of the Decou-page or Mod Podge. We will be doing this later on. ( hint: most people have a tendency to brush a coat of Mod Podge over top of the paper they just glued down...doing this will always result in lots of wrinkles and bubbles. When applying a topcoat it is essential to let the paper that you've just glued down to fully set-up and dry. You'll know it is dry when it is no longer cool to the touch.)

Step 3. Once the backgrounds that you've glued down are fully set-up and dried, peel backs off of your stickers and apply them to their corresponding ornaments. Then, apply a thin even coat of Decou-page medium (or Mod Podge, or gel medium) over the entire front of the ornament...then dust the entire front with a coat of ultra fine clear glitter...let dry and shake off excess glitter. Next, apply a thin even coat of Decou-page medium (or Mod Podge, or gel medium) to the outside edge of the ornament and dust with an even coat of colored glitter (tip: using a glitter tray or paper plate, roll/press edges in colored glitter.)...let dry, shake off excess.

Step 4. Tie bows...we used classic bakery twine because we just love the can find small rolls of it in all sorts of colorways at Michaels, A.C. Moore, or the crafty shop of your choice. Also, you can use ribbon or whatever you like instead. Just tie simple bows and using your more heavy duty adhesive or glue gun, attach the bows to the top-center of each ornament.
Next, make a loop of ric rac or ribbon to hang your ornament...attach to the back using your heavy duty adhesive or glue gun. To finish it off and make the backs prettier, we often used a 2" paper punch to punch out a circle of patterned or colored paper, and then we decoupage the paper circle right over the cut ends of the ribbon loop thats on looks good and reinforces the loop hanger at the same time.

Taa Daaah! You've got a gorgeous, glittery set of Cupcake & Cake ornaments!...And you only used a few of your Everyday is a Holiday stickers!...You can make a mixer ornament...or find a long thin base and make an ornie using one of the Retro Baking Gals! The format is no big deal...that's the easy part. But now you've got a simple idea of how to use your stickers in a really fun way...just follow the same steps, use the same methods, and you can't go wrong. We'd love for you to share what you've done with us! We can't wait to see your projects! Email us photos!
xoxo, Jenny

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sugarloaf Craft Festival recap & Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween kids!!! :)

I've been seeing some incredible costumes popping up on facebook! Bravo!! No big spooky kooky plans for us this year. Just home painting, but once again the NJ weather ghouls have blessed the kiddies with fantastic Trick or Treating weather!

This weekend me and Aaron took the opportunity to re-visit some old habits and haunts. We attended the famous Sugarloaf Craft Festival, right here in beautiful New Jersey. At one point in our lives we were regulars at any given Autumn Arts & Crafts festival. Well, we actually got our start being vendors at tons of Fall craft parks right along side scarecrow making contests, or right on the main street of some pretty town, side by side with vintage car shows...or at indoor markets in schools, gymansiums, armories. Those were the days...the weeks of prep...making tons of what we hoped would be popular sellers. Some fairs were surprisingly lucrative...others, we'd just about break even...and some, the day would end, our pockets empty, and we'd strike up conspiratorial conversations with fellow broke vendors about how the event promoter must've decided to not promote the event at all...just took our booth fees and skipped town, as we artists languished in our tents out on main street, watching tumble weeds blow by while silently tabulating all that we spent on supplies and hoping that we have enough dough in our pockets to buy gas for the drive home. It's a good thing that gas was cheap way back was a bad thing that we didn't even yet have the option of bringing our inventory home and maybe selling it online..."what are these things you call 'websites'?, and are there spiders in these so called 'webs'? cause I'm scared of spiders, and I think most of our customers would be too." Yeah, like I was a while and Aar have been in this game for a loooong time.

But anyway...good, bad, or retrospect, we wouldn't trade those times for anything. Fall Craft Shows...we weren't just vendors at them. We also attended a ton of them as customers...strolling the isles, sipping hot cider, buying cookies, dip mixes, handmade dog treats, super cool handmade jewelry, and just checking out the work of fellow arts & crafters...striking up friendships, trading business cards, all that good stuff.

But like I said, somewhere along this twisty road of life we got out of the Craft Show Habit. Our work changed shape...the market for our work changed shape...and propping up tents and backdrops in parks around Jersey, taking a gamble on the October weather, praying that the promoter actually promoted...these things just didn't make sense anymore. And we also got too busy or too lazy to go out to craft shows just as shoppers. So this weekend it was a bit of a blast from the past...and a welcome one.

The Sugarloaf Craft Festival is a BIG one. It's in a huge convention center and there are hundreds of vendors, well selected, diverse, all handmade stuff. And they hold this same show in the Spring...and they do it in other states as well. A lot of the artists are regulars and their customers come to see them on a regular basis...we overheard conversations between customers and artists like " ok, I'll see you again in the Spring, and I'll send you passes again." We love hearing stuff like that. We remember those awesome customers...Aaron was in a band forever and it felt having fans that came out to see you whenever you played in their neck of the woods, and they knew all the words to your songs. Those regular customers make the world go round...those "supporters of the arts". We're thrilled to have a few of our own...and honestly, their names and faces are etched into your artistic some degree, you are creating specifically for them.

This was our first time going to the Sugarloaf Craft Festival and the opportunity came about in a fun way. The promoter contacted me and asked me if I'd like to do a giveaway here on my blog...two tickets for the giveaway winner to attend the festival, and two complimentary tickets for me and Aaron. Of course I was down for it. We went with Aaron's parents and made a day of it. The weather was nice, we went out to dinner afterwards...we all had a good time. The perfect thing to do on a Sunday in late October. Below, I've got some pics of Festival highlights and some info about my Festival Faves...I totally recommend either checking out some of these peeps online or finding out if they'll be doing a craft show near you. All the folks we talked to were super sweet and totally cool with me snapping pics of their great work to share with you guys.

Ok, handmade dog treats are an absolute must-buy for us when we attend a show. Our pups are our world...and it's great when you meet a dog treat baker who shares this feeling. When you see how much care is put into the work, you just know that they're not in it just to make a buck. You know they LOVE dogs. These adorable doggy delectables are made by Tail Bangers. We bought a selection of sweet treats because our little guy Jack prefers sweets to salts...and our bigger guy Carlos will eat it's wise to pick what Jack likes and let Carlos follow suit. Here's how deeelish these treats are...Jack ate so many of these cookies last night while we were watching The Walking Dead, that he ended up whimpering because he was too full (oh, and by the way..."so many of these cookies" actually means one half of one cookie...yeah, apparently little Jack has a little belly)'s so cute how he acts like a tiny baby...he honestly wants me and Aar just to comfort him and tell him that everything is gonna be ok...he cries with the saddest face, leads you to his bed in the corner of the bedroom and makes you pet his tummy til he falls asleep.

Now, these folks with the red gingham check are Brumbaugh's Old Fashioned Delites. We bought some salty dog treats from these guys, little sausage & cheese flavored cookies...but human goodies are their specialty. From carrot cakes to peanut butter whoopie pies...pumpkin cream cheese rolls, you name it...and they sell tubs of their cream cheese filling all on it's own...all sorts of jams, spreads, cookies...even pickles and peppers...all homemade by these folks. They're from Williamsburg, PA and in their booth they have a photo hanging of their home/'s cool that they give us a glimpse of where the magic happens. People were lining up for samples of their carrot cake...and jeez, you shoulda saw the cinnamon buns...oooey-gooey!

Before even seeing what this sweet gal made, we were stopped in our tracks by her adorable display. Everything you see is just the embodiment of HANDMADE...and the booth display couldn't have illustrated it better. The little faux fireplace, the garlands of pinecones, the felt Mittens sign drying over the mantle. And there in the back corner of the booth was Valerie Luke, of Lancaster PA ( hard at work at he sewing machine...making more mittens! All of her materials are recycled. The mittens are made from old sweaters, in tons of cute patterns that dare you to try to fail at finding a pair that suits your wardrobe...and the comfy fleece lining is even recycled. Valerie is so so nice...I mean it. I know that I am the queen of superlatives...but I can't overstate it enough that she is a super sweet gal. We both gushed about our shared love of Pinterest.

When I posted the giveaway for the tickets to this show I made up a little mosaic of pics to represent some of the art that you'd be likely to see at the show. And because I only like showing good stuff on my blog I edited this mosaic to contain only my favorite images. So, when we were at the show Aaron stops at this booth and goes "wow, look at this stuff!"...and sure enough, "this stuff" was stuff that I had selected to be in the mosaic...actually the first and fave image of mine. It was the felt bunny gloves that grabbed my attention. Well, those are just a drop in the bucket. Miss Fitt is the brand, and Wendy is the extremely prolific gal behind all these hand felted wares. What grabs you first is the quality of the work...the attention to detail...the beautiful colors and craftsmanship...and then you are overly impressed with her style...everything isn't just well's also so darn cute, stylish, hip...all that stuff. And finally, at last, you are absolutely bowled over by the QUANTITY...the depth of her collection...the amount of stuff...all of it wrought by her hands. Super impressive...and again, what a sweet girl!

As you know, me and Aaron as painters, do extremely representational artwork. Our work is decidedly specific...not wide open for interpretation. Now, my personal artwork, the paintings that I paint just for hang on my walls only...these are not representational at all. These dwell way closer to the "abstract" neighborhood. I may have posted a couple a while back...and some may be over on Flickr...but mostly, I keep these painting to myself. And I'd say, as a fan, it's this style of painting that I am most drawn to...artists like: Flora Bowley, and Jennifer Mercede absolutely floor me. Their work, more than most literal painter's work, makes my heart melt and my soul swoon. And Aaron's got his own that are nearer to this genre, guys like Cy Twombly, and the pen & ink drawings of waves by Raymond Pettibon.
So, when we saw Shaun J. Rabah's paintings we just had to stop and chat with him. We talked for a while and told him how much we liked his work...we barely even said anything about our own work...but we bet Shaun would be a bit surprised if he saw our, people who paint stuff like us, probably aren't usually fans of stuff like his :) ...but we are. I don't think Shaun's been at it for very long but he's already formed an impressive personal style. His attitude was pretension. He does what he does because he likes it...and he wants to know if you like it and if so...what? and why?...He actually cares about the viewer...which is rare. He stood out at the festival...his work being gallery level. There were other artists there who you could say were suited for a gallery but not to the extent of Shaun. He wasn't selling prints...just large originals...which is a gamble for a show like this...but he did well...had a big sale the day before. He's from DC and he's got a couple more shows on the coming up at the Javits Center in NYC.
Me and Aaron always think of Decor how well will a certain painting fit into a living room. And it was nice to hear that he thinks along the same lines. His sale the day before was to a girl just moving into a new apartment and she was excited to have a big statement piece to define the look of the apartment. Shaun was excited about this and in that respect we had a lot in common.

These super sweet handmade itty bitty dresses and things were another one of my pre-pics of the festival. Lavender & Old Lace, this is one of the first booths we stopped at and I immediately recognized the little girl dresses from the pics that I previewed. More amazing vintage fabrics than you can imagine. Really, endless pretty prints...for you, your little girl, or your little girl's little girl...meaning American Girl doll dresses. Donna is the gal who crafts these cuties and she was so very nice...New Heirlooms Made from Vintage Linens is her tagline. I loved seeing her stuff because it transported me to one of my great friend Jennifer Paganelli's holiday sales at her amazing home in Connecticut. She'd have racks and baskets full of cute stuff like this. Me and Aar were so busy the past couple of years that we missed Jen's time she has an open house we just have to get back up to see her! Anyway, I think Jen and Donna from Lavender & Old Lace would get along famously.

Bob's Boards! It's funny that I'm ending my Sugarloaf Craft Fest blog tour here... in real life this was the absolute first booth that I stopped at. When you go to a really big Arts & Crafts Festival I think the people who have booths right by the entrance are at a disadvantage...because you walk in and you can see that the event is huge...and then you see the first few booths and you're sorta not yet ready to soak everything in and as you're warming up from the chill outside and discussing your shopping strategy you end up just walking past the first few vendors. Poor guys...and then, you'd think...well, you missed 'em on the way in, but you have to pass them on the way out, and then you'll stop to see them...but, then it turns out that you're all shopped out and you just wanna you walk past them again! Like I said, poor guys. So, if you're working an event, word to the wise, try to avoid getting a booth right at the entrance.
Anyway, Bob's Boards WAS NOT right by the entrance. In fact, he was in a perfect spot...right in the first row of the big showroom...right when you're really ready to start soaking it all in.
And we were immediately taken aback by Bob's work. You could tell right away that there was something special about this wood. The cutting board above that looks like black & white stripe grabbed us first...we love black & white stripe...but we knew it was only an illusion...that the woods were neither black or white...but the darkest brown and palest blonde wood grains. He uses absolutely no stains or lacquers! What you see is the true beauty of the wood and nothing else. You can see in the pic above, in the upper right, a board with bright red in the wood grain. Before we found out about Bob's stuff being all natural Aaron asked if the bright red was a naturally occurring phenomenon in the wood...and Bob informed him that- yes, in fact the bright red was put into the trunk of the tree by an insect. Bob offers cutting boards, serving trays, cool oval boards that fit over the neck of a wine bottle that hold two wine glasses and provide a perfect spot for cheese, bread boards shaped like slices of bread, awesome clipboards.
At home, and for years now, Aaron and I have lived with almost exclusively-painted furniture. And for years we've been hired to put layers of paint over natural wood grain. Granted, we never paint over good stuff. When we paint something it's usually for good reason. But Bob Boards will make you absolutely fall in love with wood all over again! You'll think twice about painting. Bob's got a website offering a lot of what he makes, and cans of the beeswax finish to maintain your wood. Trust me that the stuff is amazing...and Bob is a super nice guy!

Ok, our epic journey through the Sugarloaf Craft Festival has come to an end. Sorry for the length, but I wanted to give my featured artists their due. I hope you enjoyed seeing their work and it would be so awesome if I guided anyone to be a future customer of theirs. I myself am a supporter of the arts...I spend whatever I can...and when I don't have much to spend I always do what I can to spread the word about artists who do great work. I'm so glad we got out to a show. We'll make sure to find the time in the future to go to more...and who knows, we might even get out there and do one! Alright, thanks again for post will feature a great little tutorial using our full color sticker sheets! xoxo, Jenny

Saturday, October 29, 2011

They're here!! Hot off the presses Full Color sticker sheets! And Our Cuttlebug Winner!!

We hope to fill this stormy Saturday with brightness & cheer! I mean, when you're walking downtown for a coffee and some cake...don't curse the winds that flip your giant umbrella inside out...thank them for helping out in your game of Mary Poppins charades! Yeah right, imagine being that ecstatically happy?! I praise those who can.

Earlier today Aaron had the inside out umbrella trick played on him...and though he may not have pretended to be Mary Poppins...he also didn't get scornful. He just got an extra chocolate chip muffin and hurried home to play with these brand new full color stickers of ours. I know I claim to be super psyched by a million things per day but these really are exciting. And for a ton of reasons...mostly because they mark just the start of great things to come. A change of direction for us. We're thrilled to now put our artwork in your creative hands. Sticker sheets are just the beginning. Paper packs are on the way...pre-made scrapbooks and Art Journals...kits galore...and plenty of tutorials to go hand in hand with our elements.

Teaching classes at art retreats changed our perspective big time. Being an artist can be a very lonely existence. I know you guys that punch in at an office are rolling your eyes at the gal that gets to work in her PJ's. But the grass really is always greener. Sometimes...most's essential to get out there and see people. It recharges your soul and certainly kick starts creativity. That's why we're taking back home with us the experience of teaching. We love the idea of the art going further...taking elements and putting them in your hands...continuing the story...passing the baton.

Of course we just had to start with sweets...our classic cupcakes, baking gals and kitchen implements...and a pink & cream scallop awning thrown in as a lil bonus. Check back very soon for some projects we made using these stickers. We can't wait to see what you guys do. These are in the shop now and lots more are on the way! for the big announcement! The winner of our Cuttlebug giveaway!! I've been receiving entries for two weeks now and as I've been reading the comments coming in I so so wish that I had a ton of these to give away. But alas, there is only one...and therefore only one winner...drumroll please:

Lori Comeau!!

Please contact me with your mailing address and we'll get your prize shipped out! Congrats!!

Ok, back real soon with some sticker artwork fun! xoxo, Jenny

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Birthday recap, Zombies, and a Giveaway!

This year, as luck would have it, my birthday fell on a Saturday! If you've been a follower of my blog or know know that our "crew"...meaning my siblings and Aaron...have made it a tradition to spend each other's FULL birthdays do whatever the birthday boy or girl desires. We started this tradition many years ago and it really has enriched our relationships with one another and it has shone a special light on each of our big days. Because lets face it, when you're a girl getting on in years, you have to invent all sorts of stuff to make your b-day a day that you look forward to...ya know?!

So, we make it an all day affair...and my b-day happens to be during my favorite time of year (but that could be a "chicken or the egg" type thing)...and I usually pick a daytime destination like Lambertville / New Hope...these are fantastically old antiquing towns and you stroll the leaf strewn streets...maybe sip some cocoa...maybe find a cornfield maze. Or maybe if the weather isn't agreeable we'll hit a gigantic mall like Palisades Center, and just shop all day and eat all night. But this year my brother Jay was working and we wanted to stick kinda close to home so that he could join us for dinner when he got off work in the evening. Sticking close to home turned out to be an amazing idea.

Don't ask me how I have managed to overlook this wonderland of a place for so long! It is so so fitting that this was my chosen birthday destination...for the trip there, and the discovery of this treasure that was right under my nose, truly was a GIFT! If you're not already familiar...please allow me to introduce you to Scrappers Cove! It's located in a small New Jersey town named Milltown and even though you could say it's in the middle of nowhere, it's really like a half hour away from my home and it's super easy to get to...very close to Rutgers University. The pictures I've posted here are just the itty bitty tip of the iceberg. They have everything the scrapper/art journalist could ever want! The full line of Smash...GORGEOUS ribbons...Copics galore...and all the boutique lines that we drool over online are right there for you to see and touch. Papers that you have never before laid eyes on...unlike your visits to AC Moore and Michaels...those two places have had the same exact papers for about five years now!

On our maiden voyage to Scrappers Cove this past Saturday, we had the pleasure of meeting Pat...she was running the place that day...and she's the mom of the gals that are behind the shop's perfection. Those two...the daughters...were off vending at some fab scrappy event. I would say it was a shame that we didn't get a chance to meet them...but we're gonna go back there so often that it doesn't really matter! ;) We'll be old friends before we know it!
And like any excellent scrappy shop...they host in-shop classes. Yup, classes taught by the likes of Tim Holtz, Claudine Hellmuth, and more! A class had just wrapped up when we arrived on Saturday...and wouldn't you know it...the class was taught by a friend that we met at Art Opera last year...Peggy! Super Sweet! We were immediately reminiscing and talking shop...favorite bloggers, scrappers, companies, art retreats. We got to talking about the possibility of us teaching some classes would be great! So close to home...and teaching in a place that has that much amazing product would be so inspiring. I've always loved PRODUCTS...and lots of them. The more I have around me, the better my creative brain works. It's just the possibility of possibilities that opens my artistic floodgates up. Aaron was never this way. He's always been the kind of artist who just resigns himself to work with what's on hand...even if his supply pantry is nearly bare. Well, I've managed to infect him with the PRODUCT bug. Now he LOVES "stuff" and understands the importance of surrounding himself with as much "stuff" as possible when it's time to create. It's all about open doors and endless possibilities...having lots of products on hand will do this for you.

So my Birthday also happened to be on the same day as Asbury Park's annual Zombie Walk... another little birthday gift from the universe to me (I'm a HUGE zombie fan!) Check out that pic below!! Those are all ZOMBIES! Staggering in the warm October sunshine, out celebrating my birthday! And oh yeah, the pics above are from our annual trip to the Cheesecake Factory...yup, we somehow always end up at Cheesecake Factory on my birthday. I got the pumpkin cheesecake...deeeeelish!

We popped in at see our brother Jason, that's where he works...and being that it's located in Asbury, the place was filled with zombies! If you look close...the couple just to the right of center are zombies...and so are their cute little daughters! :)

These two zombies waiting for a table...It's nice of Porta to allow them to bring in outside food...I mean BRAINS!

Ok, so sorry for the length of this post...but I had a few things I just needed to include! These two new listings in the shop I'm very excited about...our Ornament Kits! We've made ornaments like this for years...and now we've really gotten into teaching instead of doing. We want to put our raw materials in the hands of the collector/student. Our Ornies are a perfect Holiday project...first, because they are easy enough for anyone to make...and second, because your finished projects are classic Holiday decorations that you'll want to display year after year. Check them out in the shop now...and look forward to lots more kits, paper packs, and sticker sheets in FULL COLOR. If things go the way we hope they guys are gonna be super super busy creating with Everyday is a Holiday exclusive imagery!

One last thing...something I'm really psyched about...A Giveaway! Yes, we have a GIVEAWAY here!! This one is for LOCAL peeps! Or anyone that will be in the Somerset NJ area October 28, 29, 30.
So leave a comment...and if you are the winner, I will get you your two tickets asap!

2 Tickets to the Sugarloaf Craft Festival! :)

It's a very big event which we'll be attending...and so will you...if you win the giveaway!...I can't wait to see these artists in person!

Event Details
For over 30 years, the nation’s most talented artisans have personally sold their contemporary crafts and fine art at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. Rated as one of the top craft experiences in the country, last year more than 175,000 visitors attended Sugarloaf Craft Festivals and enjoyed the work of thousands of juried artisans.

You can read all about the festival here! Get directions here. Print a coupon to save 1.00 on entry here. Become a fan on facebook too!

We will be attending as shoppers and blogging the event! We'd LOVE to run into you there! If you'd like to go just leave a comment here! I know so many of you are spread out all over the country and in other countries and wish you could be there, but I'll promise next best thing...a great recap of the show...with photos...and links to my hand picked fave artists! :)
thanks again! xoxo, Jenny