If you know us, you know we're always busy. Regardless of the time of year it's the same non stop hustle to get orders shipped and new pieces designed. We heard somewhere that staring at a far horizon is a great stress reducing tool. Well this is as far as it gets. Seriously, just 15 or 20 minutes at the beach works for us. And it's only a five minute walk. We are suuuuuper cheap dates.
We're also right by the boardwalk where we can see stuff like this whenever we want. How could all this stuff not make it's way into our artwork??
Way back when the two of us got together we started collecting Jersey Shore stuff. We still have some seashells and souvenirs that we bought after our prom down in Wildwood, NJ. We love those crazy tacky boardwalk discount shops that sell beach towels, suntan lotion, hermit crabs, and pretty much anything and everything really. But you can always find like one or two things that actually have a classic vintagey seashore vibe. Like those vibes up above.
Of all of our pieces I think we completed our Cotton Candy plaque in the shortest amount of time. We were at the boardwalk earlier in the day, saw some cotton candy, and we couldn't believe that we had not done a painting of it yet. We literally rushed home, did the painting, cut out the wood plaque, finished it, and photographed it all in that same day. And it's been one of our best sellers for a few years now.
But it really wasn't all the way finished. Right after we took the photos we had the idea to get some real deal Cotton Candy bags to wrap our plaques in. (we can't say for sure if it was a Jenny Idea or an Aaron Idea since our brains have melded by now...but we're leaning heavily toward Jenny Idea.)
They were a perfect fit too! A couple people we know sent us pics of their plaques hung on the wall still wrapped in the bag.
Here's a pic from one of our customers, Sara. This is the type of thing we picture when we make our pieces...maybe a little boardwalk themed corner in a home and our piece hanging on an awesome wall color like this.
We love love love getting customer pics. We have shipped our artwork pretty much everywhere and sometimes we think about how crazy it is to have all this stuff out in the world that we made with just our two pairs of hands.
And we LOVE this pic of our Bomb Pop plaque from a super sweet collector of our work, Karoline.
Making our pieces takes long hours of hard work but there is something super satisfying about seeing a table full of a single item. That's why we love to do seasonal pieces. We make them all at once in one or two batches. And if we can we do them production line style. Like with these, we painted all of the red on each plaque, then the white, then the blue. It works well because we stay in a good rhythm and our paint never dries on our palette since we're using only one color family at a time.
For the fourth of July we were supposed to go to a big family gathering at my brother Richard's house, which we also did last year and we blogged a little recap. But this year at the last minute he got a call from work that he was needed, and so he took the overtime. So we scrapped those plans and everyone just did their own thing.
Which was easy for us. As I said, the boardwalk is right down the street. This year there were more people than ever. You can see a little video of highlights from our night out below.
We even took a couple of our two new pieces with us to get some photos of them in...their natural habitat I guess you could say.
Waffles & Ice Cream sandwiches are available at every single boardwalk along the Jersey Shore. We kinda assumed that this was a standard amusement park/carnival/state fair treat across the country. But lots of people from different states said they never heard of this. Maybe it's just around here?
Anyway, it's gotta be one of the most unmanageable street foods. You've got a block of cold ice cream sandwiched between hot off the press waffles. The drips begin immediately!
But yes, we're steadily adding to our boardwalk inspired collection and it just wouldn't be complete without a Waffles & Ice Cream plaque.
And you might have heard of this treat, it's called a P-R-E-T-Z-E-L. No seriously, is there any place where they don't know about these?
Another boardwalk/carnival staple, and we just really wanted to paint one. You'd think it wouldn't be an exciting thing to paint since it's all pretty much one color, but I think that's exactly why we wanted to paint it. To give it dimension and shape with the highlights and darks alone, and also Aaron actually likes making tricky cuts on the saw. All of our mini plaques are different levels of difficulty to make but we kept them all the same price just to make it simple.
So yes, this one is in the shop too!
The salt. The shiny warm glow. We totally want to eat this thing!
We honestly have some work days that are nothing but color. Just paint paint paint all day. And then we've got our cutting days. I feel like these days work the same as the distant horizon thing. It's a change of pace, all of the cutting and sanding is more physical, we're outside, and it really is calming to look at these when they're still just blonde naked babies.
ain't it tho?
A little over a year ago we moved our studio from downstairs to upstairs. Mainly because the first floor is super cold in the winter and painting with semi-numb fingers kinda doesn't work. One more advantage to the move upstairs is the western facing window. The downstairs studio faced east and the morning sun was bright and we liked it, but I think we prefer the afternoon sun. Mentally it extends the day and keeps you energized.
I'm being totally honest right here when I say - We have never gotten bored of painting our plaques.
Despite there being lots of orders for the same pieces all at once, despite how many times in a year we've done each one, we really aren't bored of it. And the biggest reason is because we know that each single piece is a brand new thing for the person who's receiving it, and so we treat each piece like it's the only piece that matters at that time. I know that sounds pretty Hallmark-y, but it's true!
We've slowly been adding more mini plaques to our shop. And each time we do we try to make a big batch of the latest piece. As soon as we cut out the first couple of Mini Donuts they became our new favorites. I'm not positive, but I think our jumbo Pink Donut might be our most popular piece so far. It's neck and neck with Sprinkles.
They're pretty much life size!
And apparently we had a lot of people waiting on us to finally make mini donuts, because on day one we sold out of our back up stock!
This summer a farmers market came to our little town. We have been dying for one! It's every Tuesday right at the beach for the rest of the summer. And of course we will be there every single week. Last trip we got there earlier so we were able to get more of the stuff we were looking for before it sold out. The Jersey Tomatoes were amazing! And even though the plums, peaches, and nectarines were small, they were absolutely perfect.
Years ago if you would have told me and Aaron that in the future we'd ingest beets every single day, we certainly wouldn't have believed you. But the future is now and not a day passes without some fresh beets. We mostly put them in our smoothies but we also cut them up and put them in our veggie bowls. Beets are sooo good for you...high in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium (a great anti-inflammatory), fiber, and more. A lot of the deep red, or purple, or blue vegetables and fruits are high in phytonutrients...aka cancer fighters. And the greens have even more iron than spinach. So at the farmers market we try to find the bunch with the bushiest greens. We cut them off about an inch from the root, wash them, and put the greens in a bag in the freezer. Then we just grab a handful every day to throw into our smoothies along with the beets.
We were really excited to get some fresh basil. It was getting near to the time when we had to make another trip to the grocery store, but this bundle of basil and a handful of other veggies stretched our meals about three days further. We love pesto! And we've blogged a few recipes in the past. Check out this Incredibly Easy, Delicious & Healthy Penne Pasta and also our review of the Green Powerhouse Pesto Plate from a favorite food blogger of ours: Oh She Glows.
Well here's what we made from our farmers market haul. Pesto pasta (it's chickpea pasta..double the protein, double the fiber, and half the carbs of regular pasta...and tastes great!), a side of zucchini sautéed in a little olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper, and other spices, and our Jersey Tomatoes sautéed with onions, spinach and garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes and some other spices. And the pesto is made with basil, pepitas, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, garlic, a couple sun dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil. It was sooooo good. We will definitely post some more in depth recipes in the future. Also, besides our main Instagram account, we also have a food account: @jennyandaaroneat
You'll find some of our everyday meals, food outings (well every time we leave the house it's essentially a "food outing"), smoothies, etc.
Jeez, July is lasting longer than we expected, well it's not as long as this blog post! but it's close :)
We really will try to blog more often so that we're not summing up weeks in one post. We definitely gotta fill you in on our trip to New Jersey Veg Fest this past weekend! wow! But that's for another post.
Thanks so much for reading!
hope to see you soon.
Love from the Jersey Shore,
xoxo Jenny & Aaron