create

Etsy Anyone?

We've been working on another side of StudioVB for a little while.. and that side is our Etsy shop! Maybe you've seen some of our recent posts on our Facebook page! We come across so many neat vintage home decor finds along our travels (while we are hunting for items for our design projects) that we began to snatch up any little thing we liked, thought was really cool, or couldn't leave behind.. even if we didn't have a home or a client for it just yet. So, after collecting quite a bit of these items, we decided that someone ought to have them, so we set up our Etsy shop to offer our designer selected vintage goods for the home.

If you don't know about Etsy.. shame on you!

Etsy Logo You really have to check it out. It's a online marketplace to buy and sell all things handmade and vintage (and also craft supplies). You can find so many unique items on Etsy and it's so simple to buy. I have been a buyer on Etsy for many years now, purchasing everything from wedding party gifts to unique home decor items to handmade accessories for myself! It can be addicting, so be careful! =)

I mean, take this for example, the image below is a snapshot of items for autumn/fall found on the Etsy Treasury (which is a member-curated shopping gallery). See all the amazing items you can find with just one search. Imagine the possibilities! Hehe.

Treasury List

Speaking of the Etsy Treasury, it's just one of the many cool features of Etsy! Etsy really is a community of creative people and it is yet another place to express your creativity, share ideas with others and get really amazing inspiration, not too mention make a living doing what you love!

Anyway, we have now made the transition from just an Etsy buyer to an Etsy seller as well. Here's a quick glimpse of our new online shop front, as of today.

Screen shot of our Etsy Shop.

We opened our StudioVB Etsy Shop just a few short weeks ago, with only a few small items. Since Etsy has been a side project that we tackle in the evening hours, it has been sort of a slow start (cataloging, photographing, uploading, listing, etc.) But, with only a few items listed on our shop, we had two sales in the first week, and another sale in the second week. Yay! So, we are excited about this new side of our design studio, and are encouraged to get more of our items listed! So, go ahead and visit our shop today, but check back often as more items will be added daily!

Shown below are our sold items. Woohoo!

Our sold items!

Oh and you'll notice our Etsy shop banner shown below states "Vintage and Handmade Items for the Home". Well, I thought I should clarify. For the time being, all the items listed on our shop are vintage finds; however, we will in the near future begin to add some handmade items as well.

Our Etsy shop banner.

Along our design journey, we also come across many items that have potential but just need a little "tweaking", a little love or a little creativity and can be turned into something new and unique. These items (along with some custom artwork or crafted items) will make up the handmade portion of our Etsy shop. We'll use our creativity (and our hands, of course) to create unique items from found objects, fabrics, materials and even everyday art or craft supplies. But, I am guessing those items will get listed in what I am calling phase 2 of the Etsy shop launch. Until then, we will continue to post the vintage items that are stacking up!

Items like this featured item from our shop.

Our Etsy featured item.

Well, friends, let this be our first official introduction to our StudioVB Etsy Shop! Come check us out.

Paint the Plugs

So, if you follow us on twitter, you saw our latest tweet about picking up supplies for our Paint the Plugs entry. If you don't follow us, what are you waiting for? We tweet helpful design tips, inspirational design ideas and insights into the daily happenings of our studio. So, stop everything you are doing and go click the "follow" button now. We'll be here when you get back! Anyway, today we wanted to let you in on the details of the Paint the Plugs project and the design we came up with for our plug, aka. fire hydrant. I'm sure you've seen these community projects around here, or around your town, where artists from the community are called to submit designs for painting public objects like, well, fire hydrants - to bring some fun, personality and creative arts to the city streets.

Here are a few examples to clarify what I'm talking about.

Photo of me with a painted mario hydrant.

Zebra and pink hydrant

Photo of painted dalmation hydrant

Well, Friends of Midtown, our local community group (which we are, of course, members of) is hosting one of these events called Paint the Plugs and, as these events often are, it's a contest. We heard about the Paint the Plugs event a few months ago, but with our busy schedule we didn't consider submitting a design to participate as an artist. Instead we wanted to support the project as a sponsor. So we did! Then several weeks later, we ran into the Friends of Midtown leaders at the Pride Fest of Central PA, and they mentioned that they had very few artist submissions, so they kind of talked me into designing a submission!

Our design is entitled "Illusion".. we call it this because we plan to paint the plug to look as if it is constructed of something other than metal.. specifically wood, fabric and rope. Hopefully fooling your eye into actually believing it is.

So, check out our design concept images below!

Design concept for our hydrant.

Design concept for our hydrant.

Happily our submission was selected to be one of the contestants, so wish us luck on the execution of prep work and painting, and even more luck on hopefully winning the contest! When the time comes, voting will be online at the Friends of Midtown website, but not until September 16th!

As of now, here is what the plug looks like.. or as we're used to saying.. here's the before photos!

Before photo of our hydrant.

Second before photo of our hydrant.

Stay tuned for progress updates and the finished product!

Brochures, Pamphlets?

Brochure is kinda an ugly word! If you know me at all, you probably know that words (and names) are a big thing for me. Some are nice, pretty words, while others are, well, not so much. Some sound good rolling off the tongue and look nice when written, and some even taste good (if you can understand that), but then there are others that are really quite ugly. These words don't sound good, don't look good, and don't taste good and, therefore, make it really hard to say. Therefore, I try to find alternatives. Of course, this is all subjective, and most people have no problems with words! Unfortunately I 'suffer' from this problem, hehe! The funny part is that apparently it's contagious, because Logan has only developed this in the past few years - oops! Anyway, to me, brochure is one of those words. So, in thinking of an alternative word to use, I came up with pamphlet - which I can only say is a smidge better. It still has its issues, with the somewhat awkward spelling and the short cut pronunciation in speaking (ie. pan-flet), ugggh! So, I'm looking for an even better word. Anyone have suggestions?

Well, I admit I'm a bit quirky, but nonetheless, I'm only talking about these words because we've got good news! StudioVB has designed and printed new brochures, pamphlets, or whatever you want to call them, for our home staging services! It's spring time and it's that time of year when lots of people put their homes on the market, and lots more go house hunting. So, we are reaching out to realtors and homeowners both to offer our services. If you, or anyone you know, is thinking of putting their home on the market, call us first!

Anyway, thought we'd share a few pics of the new tri-fold informational advertisement (aka brochure).

Close-up of front of brochure

The front side of the brochure - unfolded.

Front of brochure

Inside back of the brochure.

View of the benefits of home staging

Imgae of me folding the brochures by hand

The final product.

Spring Has Sprung!

With spring in the air, Valerie and I decided it was time to spruce up the front of our house with our annual re-planting of our window box and planter and re-mulching around the tree. This year, we decided to plant some perennials instead of all annuals so that we can enjoy watching the new growth (or regrowth) of the plants and flowers next spring.

Side note – while the names can be misleading, if you want plants and flowers that return year after year, make sure you pick up perennials. Annuals, on the other hand, only bloom and last for one season/year. One of our very good friends just made the mistake of thinking that annual meant year after year and purchased a whole carload of annuals for the flowerbeds she and her husband are creating. Once realizing the misunderstanding, she ended up back at the store returning the annuals and picking up the perennials she meant to get. Oops!

Our planting process started with a trip to Lowe’s to pick out this year’s flowers and to grab a few bags of mulch. We made sure to purchase enough flowers to fill our planters as well as show variety in size, height, type and color. Once we had what we needed, we used our CR-V, equipped with the handy-dandy shelf, to haul our finds home.

Flowers in trunk of car.

I actually did most of the planting while Valerie was off at another job, so I failed at taking some in-process photos. So, check out some pictures of our finished products!

Flowers and plants laid out before planting.

Upclose shot of colorful planter.

Flowers in wooden flower box.

Close up of flower box showing the planter in the background.

Close up of purple flowers in flower box.

Planter and flower box at the entrance of our house.

Any of you green thumbs out there have any pictures of your plant or flower creations that you’d like to share? E-mail them to info@studiovbdesign.com and maybe you’ll see them in a future post! Happy Spring!

New Blog Features!

I guess we need to work on our readership.. which we are - it just takes time! Anyway, we played a little game.. sorta like where's waldo? or what's different about this picture? We asked if you had noticed what updates we made to our blog design and layout? Well, if you hadn't figured it out, here's a list of what's new:

  1. We added a new title and header design to our blog. If you remember from this previous post, we love to use the be.love.create mantra.. and it sorta became the essence of our blog! So, check it out above, it looks like this!

Screen shot of the new header.

  1. We moved the business logo into the shaded upper right quadrant of our blog layout - essentially we swapped the mantra with the logo, to shift the focus of the blog!

Screen shot of the new logo location

  1. We added a link to our facebook and twitter accounts! Sometimes when we get busy and haven't blogged for a number of days, we may have posted a status update on facebook or tweeted a quick design tip, so now our readers can get a little dose of us elsewhere. Yay!

Screen shot of the social networking buttons.

  1. And, probably the biggest change, although maybe least noticeable to our readers, was the complete overhaul of our categories! Like I mentioned in our last post. We realized our content was more varied than we thought it might be. So, we created new categories to fit the topics we blog about most.

Screen shot of the list of new catrgories.

And, I'm hoping to make a 5th change - and updated photo of me - so I'll let you know when I do so.

Well, feel free to let us know your thoughts on the changes!

DIY Window Cornice

Our last post showed the beginnings of a window cornice DIY project, but we hadn’t showed you the how-to or the result. So, that’s what we are blogging about today. If you’ve got a window that needs a little love, a quick and easy project, that will add some dynamic interest to your space, is just what the design doctor ordered. Okay, that was cheesy, I know!

Anyway, to get started on the project, first you need supplies, right? So, here is a list of what you need (what we used), most of which you probably have lying around the house somewhere.

Supplies:

  • a lovely fabric (we only used a yard and a half, bonus!)
  • batting (same length)
  • a few pieces of wood (you can even use scrap wood, we did!)
  • a tape measure
  • pencil
  • saw (we used a jig saw)
  • drill
  • screws
  • scissors
  • spray adhesive
  • staple gun and staples (light duty works fine)
  • and L-brackets

Once you have all the supplies, follow the simple steps below to cornice creation!

Upholstered Window Cornice How-to

  1. Determine the dimensions. This is a personal design choice and is totally up to you. But, here are a few tips! The cornice should be slightly wider than the window casing, as it will need to fit around it. It can be as tall as you’d like it to be, but just remember to conceal the unsightly window treatment mechanisms (after all, that’s the true purpose of a window cornice). And I would make the depth of the cornice at least 4 inches; again, it will need to allow room for the window casing and any window treatment mechanisms such as the brackets, blinds, rod, etc.

Diagram showing the size of the cornice.

  1. Construct the cornice frame. This is where you'll use the wood, tape measure, pencil, saw, drill and screws. Measure out the dimensions you’ve determined onto the wood and use an accurate saw to cut into four pieces – the face of the cornice (the biggest piece), two side pieces, and a top piece.

The constructed frame for the cornice.

Image showing that the constructed cornice fits into place.

  1. Cut and wrap the batting. Once you have the cornice constructed, lay out the batting and cut the appropriate amount to cover all three visible sides of the cornice.

Image showing cut batting.

Then, wrap it pretty snug the whole way around. The batting really only needs spray adhesive to attach it to the wood, but you can always use the staple gun just to be sure.

Image showing cornice frame wrapped in batting.

Image showing batting step finished.

  1. Upholster the cornice. Now that the frame and batting are ready, you can start the upholstery part. Yay! Measure twice and cut once the appropriate amount of fabric to cover all three visible sides of the cornice, just like you did with the batting. Quick tip – if your fabric has a pattern (like ours did), make sure you line up the fabric on the cornice to ensure that the finished product will show the portion of pattern you really want. And if it’s striped, you really need to pay attention to aligning it so that the stripes are straight!

Image showing the fabric being cut for the cornice.

Now, it's time for the best, and hardest, part. Start in the center of the cornice. Wrap the fabric and staple one staple on each side, pulling the fabric pretty tight. Work your way outward from there, alternating sides to ensure the face of the cornice is evenly smooth. Do this for the entire cornice. As you come to the sides of the cornice, you may want to cut some of the excess fabric as needed.

Image showing the upholstering of the cornice.

Detail shot of the rolled under edges and the staples.

Here's how it should look when you complete this step!

The finished cornice.

The face of the finished cornice.

  1. Attach L-brackets to the wall. While you are marveling at the beauty of the cornice you’ve just created, prepare the wall for it to be hung. About ¼ of the way in from the outsides of the window casing, screw in two L-brackets that your cornice will rest on.

Logan screwing in the L-brackets.

Image showing the L-bracket placement.

  1. Attach the top frame piece. The top board of the cornice does not need to be upholstered since it will not be visible when hung. Slide the top piece in about ¾ inch down from the top. Make sure you know which is top and bottom, you don’t want to end up hanging the cornice upside-down. Once the top piece is in place, attach it to the upholstered cornice with very small screws (that won’t reach through to the pretty face of the cornice) with small L-brackets (we actually used the same size ones we attached to the wall to hang the cornice).

Logan screwing in the L-brackets on the top piece of the cornice.

Image showing the attached top piece of the cornice.

The finished cornice, before it is hung on the wall.

  1. Hang the cornice, and voila! Slide the cornice into place above the window and reach up under the cornice (it will probably be a tight squeeze) to screw in small screws through the L-brackets that are on the wall, into the top piece of the cornice. That's it!

The finished product hung on the wall.

Image showing the cornice in the space.

So, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this project. Does it seem easy enough? Did it improve the look and style of the window?

Well, what really matters is that we love it. And we do! It added that extra layer that was missing. Now, we only have to add a few (or more.. haha) layers - we're thinking backsplash, lighting, etc. We'll be bringing you more DIY projects soon!

Fabric Find

So, I mentioned in a recent post that I had picked up a great fabric that I just happened to find (while not looking for it.. bonus!). But I hadn’t told you much more than that. So, this post will fill you in! First, here are few pics of the lovely fabric!

Image of fabric.

Close-up of fabric.

Even closer close-up of fabric.

While I would probably say my style is more modern than traditional, I would rather say I’m eclectic! To me, it doesn’t necessarily matter the style of something, but more so if you like it and/or if it works within your space. And, that’s where this fabric comes in. It’s sort of a modern take on a traditional pattern – so it’s very crisp and clean but has a bit of whimsy. Also, the color palette is quite current/modern and, while it has many colors, it reads very subtle, and that’s just what I love about it.

Anyway, as soon as I saw the fabric hanging from the store rack, I envisioned it in our kitchen. Every color in this fabric feels like it belongs in our muted blue-green and light ivory kitchen. And although I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring this fabric into the space at that moment, I knew I’d find a purpose. Fabrics can be used in endless ways to layer a room!

Here are a few pics of the fabric in the space. See how seamlessly it works with the kitchen color scheme and how it starts to pull the space together. Love it!

Fabric shown laying on the counter.

Fabric shown next to wall color and counter top.

Close-up photo of the fabric and wall color.

Fabric shown next to vintage tins.

Anyway, after tossing around a few ideas for this fabric in this space (ie. upholstered cork board, upholstered window cornice, café-style window treatments, table runner, etc.), we decided that while we already have the white wooden blinds for privacy on the window above our kitchen sink, it definitely needed another layer!

Here’s a few shots of the window with just the blinds!

Window over the sink with white wooden blinds.

Close-up of white wooden blinds.

Needs some interest right? So, we decided to go with the cornice idea! It’s an easy DIY project, yet it will add a ton of sophistication and style!

Check back soon for our handy how-to and the final result!

Versatile Veggies

Like many of you, I’m sure, Valerie and I attended a Super Bowl get together on Sunday. We went to my mom and stepdad’s house where we enjoyed good food and good company, emphasis on the food, of course.. haha : ) As with most of our family shindigs we all pitch in and bring something to share. This time, Valerie and I were assigned veggies. So, instead of just bringing your normal veggie tray (which we did for those who don’t like change), we also stole a delicious idea from one of our friends and made this:

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.


You might recall seeing something similar from our previous post about our potluck just before the holidays. We used the same recipe (available at pillsbury.com) as our friends did, however, we just changed the shape of the rolls to look like a football. It was as delicious as I remember it and quite a crowd pleaser!

See our process below:

Chopped vegetables on cutting board.

Baked dinner rolls in the shape of a football.

Mixing bowl of spreadable vegetable dip.

Dinner rolls with vegetable dip on top.

Vegetables placed on dinner rolls to look like a football.

Football shaped dinner rolls with vegetables on top.

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.

Close up of veggies.

So, as you can see, this is an easy and fun way to mix things up, and can be created for any event by simply changing the shape. For example, with Valentine’s Day coming up, you lovebirds who want to show your sweetie how you really feel, try making this in the shape of a heart!

Let’s hear about some of the tasty foods you shared at your Super Bowl parties!

And, for those Packers fans out there, congrats! For the Steelers fans, good try and good game! And, for the fans of any other teams, well, better luck next year : )

Our Blank Canvas

First, and totally off topic from this post, I have to say… Yay, Logan finally had some time to publish his first blog post! I’m looking forward to being able to post more often with two authors and give our readers (the few that may be out there) more updates, inspirations and ideas. Of course, it will be nice to hear all of this from two, often different, perspectives as well. So, yay for that! Anyway, back to the topic of this post. In a couple posts back, we introduced you to our home as it looked when we purchased it – nothing but the bare bones. But, I think it might be nice to show you how it looked right before we moved in (with the renovation complete), with freshly painted walls, newly refinished 100 year old floors, and all the standard conveniences of a modern home. Since we had made an offer on the house early in the renovation process, we were able to choose some of the finishes, but unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to customize that much. That would be up to us! We look at it like this - we just lucked out on not having to do any of the fun, but often difficult, renovations like wallpaper removal, floor refinishing, relocating plumbing, ripping up old tile, etc. ourselves – maybe we’ll tackle that in our next home, haha.

Anyway, I dug (virtually) through photos to find some to share, and while we documented the renovation progress with hundreds of photos, it seems we failed to take good photos of the finished empty rooms, before we moved all our stuff in... bummer. Anyway, feel free to check out these pics from move-in day, but please forgive the cardboard boxes and random dropped placement of furnishings.

Empty living room.

Empty dining room area

Empty kitchen.

Empty bedroom

Empty hall.

Empty bathroom.

Bedroom with boxes and furniture.

Empty office.

So, our newly purchased house was pretty much a blank canvas for us to design and create into our own home. How exciting! I do remember being really excited, ha! Yet now, a little over a year later, I’d say we are still in the sketching stages of completing our work of art. But give us some time, after moving from a tiny studio apartment in New York City, we had very little furnishings to fill our home, and many of which we’d like to replace with “grown-up” pieces. We’ll get there slowly but surely. And if you know me, you’d know that I can make quick, innovative design decisions for anyone but myself – so imagine the analysis paralysis! If you’re not quite sure what I mean by that, I feel certain I’ll explore that in later posts! Stay tuned.

For now, we’ll hope to finish at least a few bits of our work of art (our home) and show you the progress as we go.

Happy 2011!

Sending out Happy New Year wishes to all! Logan and I at the New Year's Eve strawberry drop

Happy New Year sign all lit up at 12:01 am

So, it’s that time of year again, to reflect on the last year of your life, to look forward to the coming year and to make resolutions about how this year will be different – and better! Well, neither Logan or I have made specific New Year’s resolutions. I think there is some part of me that knows if I claim a specific resolution, that will inevitably set me up for failure. Haha. But, that’s the pessimist in me. So instead, we are simply aiming to take on this coming year with our always trusty motto in mind – be.love.create. We mentioned these three words in an earlier post, but today (New Year’s Day) seemed like a great time to post more about it and hopefully inspire a more positive year for you too!

Each of these words provide (at least for us) inspiration, motivation and basically all the guidance needed to shape a happy healthy life. Each word is the start of an axiom that can end any way you choose; therefore, it can change with whatever is happening in your life at the time, yet always remain consistent. For example, the first word, be, might inspire you to “be yourself”, “be happy”, “be in the moment”, “be confident”, etc. Then, the second word, love, might direct you to “love one another”, “love life”, “love what you do”, “love a challenge”, etc. And finally, given our artsy crafty nature, we throw in the last word, create, which may not only inspire you to “create art” or “create beauty”, but can always encourage you to “create goals”, “create your dreams”, “create relationships”, “create memories”, etc.

So, as you can see, these three words have a huge story to tell and as this year goes by, we’ll be sure to post any be.love.create phrases that inspire us – both in our personal lives and, of course, with our design studio! Feel free to share any of your mottos with us as well – we’d love to hear ‘em.

Sending Handmade (and eco-friendly)

It’s been several days since Christmas, but here on our blog, we’re still catching you up on all the pre-holiday fun we had. Another staple of the holidays are the Christmas wishes sent to family and friends; whether it be an email, a mailed card, a family update letter, or what have you, many people dig out their address book (or iPhone in our case) and gather a list of all those they hope to wish season’s greetings to. I must admit, I do love the idea of shooting someone a little note to say hello or simply that you’re thinking of them, but sending Christmas cards can often be overwhelming, and for us, this year was no different! Logan and I were feeling crafty one night in December and he says to me, “Why don’t we make our Christmas cards?” which, I should mention, is not unusual as we have done this several times before, and so, I happily agree. But, I’m not sure we knew what we were getting into this time.

As an artist, I had recently been interested in mosaics, having been inspired by my aunt who has been creating beautiful credit card mosaics for the past several years. Anyway, I had been saving all cardboard packaging from products we buy at the grocery store (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.) in hopes of cutting them into tiny squares and reusing them as my medium to create recycled mosaic artwork. So, with the huge stack of these broken down boxes staring us in the face, Logan suggests this method for creating our Christmas cards. So, off we began and let the holiday spirit inspire us! Check out some of the results and our easy instructions below.

How-to: Recycled Mosaic Cards

  1. Gather supplies - card stock, scissors, craft glue and post-consumer cardboard packaging.

Post-consumer recycled cardboard packaging

  1. Cut and fold card stock to desired size and orientation to create the actual card.
  2. Cut lots of small shapes (squares, triangles, etc.) from the cardboard packages - these are the mosaic pieces.

Handmade recycled mosaic present card in progress

  1. Organize the mosaic pieces into colors and patterns for ease of creative flow. =)
  2. Layout mosaic pieces to form simple seasonal imagery (presents, snowmen, Christmas trees, wreaths, etc.)

Handmade recycled mosaic snowman card in progress

  1. After you're happy with your design - glue the mosaic pieces down. We use scrapbooking tweezers, which help this go smoothly!
  2. Write your message inside the card and sign, seal and send! That's it!

Handmade recycled mosaic Christmas tree card

Now, as I write this, I must be clear – this DIY project is really super simple, inexpensive and a lot of fun, and for many great reasons (recycling materials, being crafty, and giving handmade gifts – just to name a few), I hugely encourage you to create your own greeting cards. But, on the other hand (the logical one), at the volume of nearly 50 cards, you can imagine the huge undertaking this became and the smidge of regret we had for taking on such a project. =) But on the bright side, Logan and I got to spend a good deal of quality “craft time” together and when all was said and done, they turned out very sweet and the best part is the lovely and very complimentary feedback we’ve received from our recipients; making it all well worth it! And before you say, “well, thanks for the idea, but Christmas is over.” This handmade recycled mosaic card project works for any occasion… so get crafty!

First Official Post!

Well hello there, welcome to our blog! This is the first post of our long-time-coming blog. Unfortunately, like lots of things in life, blogging got pushed aside as other things took priority. Nonetheless, it was our goal to get this thing launched before (or more realistically, at) the start of the New Year. With only a few days left of 2010, I thought I’d post a short introduction to get things rolling. So, who are we and what is this blog all about? Well, I’m Valerie and my husband and business partner, Logan, and I both plan to be authors of this blog (though I have a sneaky little feeling that I’ll be the one writing most often). Nonetheless, we are both creative, down-to-earth, driven and hopefully intriguing =). Discover more about us in the sidebar or in the ‘about’ section of the website!

Now, to answer the second part of the question, this blog is sprung from StudioVB (our interior design studio), so of course we’ll post often about topics related to interior design, our client projects, interesting finds, and quite frankly, anything artsy and creative. However, let’s face it, while we love what we do for a living, life is about a lot more than work. So, we’ll also write about the interesting, fun, strange and perhaps sometimes mundane happenings of our everyday life. This will, for sure, include our design and do-it-yourself adventures in our own home, which after purchasing last year, is still a work in progress.

You’ll see that we’ve given our blog the title be . love . create, not only summarizing the content of the blog, but named for the simple three word motto that directs our lives. Each word holds so much meaning, inspiration and possibility that we hope as we continue blogging might also inspire others. Stay tuned…