Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer At Last!! And More New Creations!

Did I mention, summer has *FINALLY* arrived in the northwest?! I was beginning to think it never would! Get this: I actually SWEATED today! Yes, I am easily amazed! It is so nice not to have to wear jackets and/or water-repellant clothing! My herbs are blossoming, and I took these pictures of them today:



Cilantro, which bolted before I could even use any :(

But enough of that. I have some new stuff that I worked on this weekend that I am totally excited about! I think I am nearly ready to start offering personalized and custom photo bookmarks in my Etsy shop, now that I have had some more practice. First, I have to share this:

This is some handmade paper that I acquired today. I have used handmade paper before- you saw it in my last post, in the blue photo bookmark. I got that paper at Michael's several months ago- I saw it there and was so taken with the vibrant color that I had to buy it! Of course, that was the last time I've seen it there. I remembered seeing some at another local store here called Paper Zone, so decided to go take a closer look today. I wasn't sure what it cost there, but was pleasantly surprised- the most I paid was $2.99 for one of these large sheets (about 25"x36"). I got several colors this time, and am sure I will be back for more later! I haven't been this excited since I got my new laminator! I think that handmade papers bring so much to a bookmark...they are unique and interesting and have so much dimension to them. They do present their challenges, though. Some of the ones I got are nearly as thin as tissue, and my paper trimmer doesn't cut through them very well. The ones that are very fibrous look so lovely with the distressed edges, but it's hard to create that- it takes a lot of manual work to achieve that effect. I really think it is worth it though. These papers make each bookmark truly a one of a kind!

So, let me show you what I did today. Most of these I used the handmade paper, and I also took this opportunity to do some final experiments with photo and personalized bookmarks before I go live with the concept on my Etsy shop. Here we go:

I made this one for my husband's neice, who has a birthday coming up. This is my first shot at putting a whole name on a bookmark. These letters were a bit bigger than I would have liked- I would have preferred to have the name spelled vertically down the bookmark, but there wasn't room in this case. I hope she likes it! This one uses a deep purple handmade paper and dark pink larkspur.

This is my try at making a masculine bookmark, incorporating the handmade paper and personalizing it with initials. This is for the eldest son of some very dear friends of ours, who turns 15 in July.

This one was interesting to put together- this is my first attempt at a double-sided photo bookmark. This was made with pictures that my BFF Kendra sent me of her kids and her husband's neice and nephew. Her family is going to Iowa in a few weeks to visit her in-laws, so I made this for her to give to her mother-in-law.
Side 1

Side 2

Using the same pictures, I made a bookmark for Kendra with just her kids:

I love how that one turned out! The contrast of the color of the flowers (those are blue butterfly delphinium) against the teal handmade paper is just gorgeous! This one is my favorite of the day.

And a couple more that I did for fun:

Loved this designer paper when I saw it in Michael's! It reminded me of French toille, and I thought it would be fun to work with. I love the contrast of the strong black and white design with the soft, shimmery pale pink.

Hard to see in the pics, but these dragonflies are all punched from iridescent papers. To make them more interesting, I cut the wings off and switched them up with different colored bodies. You can see that I used a soft mossy green handmade paper with this one. I have always loved green and purple together, so this one was fun to put together!

Hope that wasn't too many pictures to digest! I hope to do some more work this week, since the rest of my family is out of town and I will have uninterrupted time to work. I really want to get something up on my Etsy shop soon. I think I will start with the personalized bookmarks, as those are relatively simple. The photo ones are a bit more complex, and I need to work on writing out my policies and procedures for those.

Until next time, happy summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cookin' Up New Stuff

Happy Fathers Day! Hope it is a nice one for all the dads out there. My husband is working today, but I have his favorite dinner cooking in the slow cooker for when he gets home- spagetti! The sauce is his favorite. It's my cousin Trina's recipe, and although I can never quite get mine as good as hers, I know he's going to love it!

I've been plugging away on bookmarks, and have a couple of new ones listed. Well, one is new, one is one that I have done before but haven't had listed since I first opened my shop. The new one is my first go at a new flower that I got from one of my suppliers- fuschias! Such pretty colors in this one!

Here is the other one- gold butterflies:

This is one of my oldest designs. These butterflies are Martha Stewart 3D stickers, which I fell in love with at first sight several months ago when I first started designing my bookmarks. In fact, this was my first non-pressed flower bookmark design. I saw them at Michaels but didn't buy them at first because they were spendy, but then I went home and couldn't stop thinking about them and ended up going back the next day to buy them! I don't do these often because they are so expensive, but they remain a favorite.

In fact, I love them so much, that I made my first personalized book mark for myself with this design!

I want to start offering personalized bookmarks in my Etsy shop soon, and who wouldn't love a beautiful bookmark with their name or initials on it? I did one for my BFF Kendra too- she requested the azaleas for hers:

I have gold letter stickers for now, but there are other colors available, so I should be able to do some really pretty personalized bookmarks! These will be completely customized- the customer can choose the colors, flowers, and whatever name or initials they want.

I am also still working on the photo bookmarks. Here are a couple I did this weekend, which incorporate pressed flowers as well as photos.

At this rate, I am going to have more bookmarks than I can ever use myself! Kendra, my marketing guinea pig, is supposed to send me pictures of her two beautiful children so that I can continue my product development and can hopefully offer custom photo bookmarks in my shop soon. I have a couple of other local friends who I might hit up to experiment on too, so I am hoping that this time next month I can put up some custom listings in my shop. I can't wait- I love trying something new!

One of these days, I WILL get back to the gift bags and tags. I have so little time to work on my creations, and since I've had this custom bookmark idea that I wanted to flesh out, I want to see that through before getting to the bags and tags. Look for those soon though!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Busy, busy!

It's the end of the school year, so things have been really busy and hectic! Tomorrow is 8th grade graduation for my son, and Tuesday is the last day for both kids. Our schedule has been full with lots of end-of-the-year activities- lots of concerts for my son, a dance recital and field trip for my daughter. As a result, I haven't been spending much time on my bookmarks lately. Hopefully once we get into the summer groove, I can get back into it.

I did just do a special bookmark for my husband for Father's Day that I wanted to share. I've had this idea rolling around in my head for awhile of making custom photo bookmarks, so decided I'd experiment using my own family. My kids and dog were very patient to pose for the pictures that went into this- especially the dog! Here is the finished product:

Not bad for a first attempt! I put it together kind of quickly, and I like how it came out. I think next time I would make the pictures a little bit smaller and maybe offset them from one another, kind of stagger them down the bookmark. I have also thought about leaving room to put in some text, so will have to play with that a bit. Now that I have the basic process down, I can't wait to do some more!

More to come later when things settle down a bit. Until then, Happy End of the School Year!