Artsy Craftsy

Celebrating a New Addition!

I've got some exciting news with today's post (perhaps only exciting to me and my immediate family, but I thought I'd share anyway). My sister-in-law welcomed a new bundle of joy to the family last week - a beautiful baby girl, Sophia. She's super cute, happy and healthy! But, before I show you a photo of the beautiful newborn, let's go back a week or so. Today's blog topic was actually planned to be posted last week, before the baby arrived, but, as you can see, it didn't! So, even though the baby is already here, I wanted to share some of the fun that occurred before she arrived!

Logan and I had decided to throw his sister (and her husband and daughter) a little surprise baby party. Ok, so it was pretty much a baby shower, but since it is their second child (and showers aren't customary for a second child) we had been calling it a baby party! And, since they already have a lot of what they need for the newborn, we didn't intend to shower them with gifts, but instead just celebrate the new life that we would all be welcoming into the family very soon. And, because they had been trying for a second child for quite sometime, this new baby is such a blessing and worth celebrating!

So, a couple Saturdays ago, we hosted the little get together, and I thought I'd share some of the details from the event. As usual, we planned out everything from the menu, to the DIY decorations, to the games that we would play. Nonetheless, we kept it simple and inexpensive. Luckily, we have connections with the Country Club of Harrisburg, so we got to use the venue and furnishings for free - good deal! And no, the slip-covered chairs are not necessarily my style, but the atmosphere in person was quite nice - light and airy with a sense of formality! But, to bring in a little fun, we decided to DIY some cute tissue paper pom pom flowers for the centerpieces in gender neutral colors (since they didn't want to know the gender of the baby)!

Centerpieces

Other than the centerpieces, we didn't do too much in the way of decorations. The only other decoration was the sweet little DIY bunting flags hung on the fireplace.

Bunting on the fireplace.

A close-up on the bunting.

What's a baby party without games? Boring, haha. So, we, of course, planned a few fun little games for the guests to enjoy! Here's a peak at some of them.

What's your Prediction game.

Guess the Gerber game.

Measure of Love game.

Guess Who game.

An even more important part of any party is the food, right? We decided on a theme of small, or baby-sized, sweets and eats with cute baby names, of course. So, here are just a few of the goodies we had!

Baby sandwiches.

Deviled Eggs

She's ready to pop-corn.

Baby Muffins.

Sugar Cookies

Mini Whoopie Pies.

And, a party isn't a party without the guests! So, here are few snapshots of guests enjoying their time.

Guests playing games.

Guests mingling.

In lieu of gifts, we asked each guest to provide an anecdote, story, memory, advice, etc. regarding parenting or siblings. Then, we compiled each sentiment into a scrapbook for the parents-to-be.

[caption id="attachment_3698" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Here's a guest perusing the scrapbook.. and you can also see that, despite our request, lots of guests also brought gifts. How sweet!"]

Overall shot of the party.

And, here's a pic of the glowing mom-to-be with her mom, Grammy.

Mom-to-be and her mom, Grammy.

Maternity Photo.

It seemed that everyone had a great time! Congrats again to the family of little Sophia! And, here's the cute newborn photo I promised you.

Baby Sophia

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 - Part 2

A few posts ago, Valerie wrote about the Paint the Plugs contest that we, StudioVB, are sponsoring and that Valerie is participating in. Well, the period in which the artists had to paint their plugs has come to an end. Despite the rain that lasted for what seems like all of last week, Valerie was able to take advantage of a few sunny days and get out there to clean, scrape, prime and paint her assigned plug on Verbeke and Third.. and it turned out awesome!

Although her original design plan was to paint the hydrant to make it look like it was constructed of materials other than metal (specifically wood, fabric and rope), with her limited time due to the weather, she decided to focus simply on the wood aspect. I think it's brilliant and so did a few passers-by who stopped to talk to Valerie while she was out painting.

Here are a few shots of the progress as well as the finished product.

Valerie applying stripper.

Close up of the stripper gel on the cap

Hydrant with stripper corroding paint.

Scraping the paint off of hydrant.

Valerie sanding the hydrant.

The primed fire hydrant.

Fire hydrant painted brown and white.

Valerie painting fire hydrant.

Fire hydrant painted to look like wood.

A close-up of the painted fire hydrant.

Painted fire hydrant from an angle.

If you are local to the Harrisburg area or ever find yourself here, be sure to check out the various painted plugs. They can be found on Third Street between Forster Street and Maclay Street.

Don't forget to visit the Friends of Midtown website to see all of the artists' creations and vote for your favorite one. Hopefully, it's ours!

Voting lasts from today, September 16th to next Friday, September 23rd. We'll let you know how we make 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!

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!