Merry and Bright...Round 2

Last year I had the opportunity to create a holiday greeting card for an electrical company and this year they invited me back for a second round. I used the same "Merry and Bright" slogan that I used on last years greeting but unlike last years card, there was a bit more emphasis on the "Merry" rather than the "Bright."

The card pulls out to reveal three strands of holiday lights with the text "Peace and Light..." At closer inspection the receiver will see the light bulbs are actually just holes in the paper which revel the color from the page below.

Opening the card entirely, reveals the classic merry message.

I couldn't figure out why my right arm was so sore the day after completing these cards then Jon suggested that it might have something to do with die cutting over 1,000 little circles by hand...oh yeah, that might have something to do with it.


Marshy Mallows

December, day 8, we made homemade marshmallows as part of our 2009 activity advent. We haven't really stopped making them since.

For activity advent day 13, we gifted some of these goodies to our neighbors.

We've made vanilla, peppermint and almond flavors...i diggin' on the almond. If your holiday agenda simply won't tolerate another to-do, consider this project your new year's resolution.


winter wonderland

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to create a Christmas dinner table center piece. I decided to do winter terrariums because I do love terrariums so!

I made some season appropriate woodsy scenes using dirt, rocks, moss and a couple different woodland creatures like bears and moose and of course a bit of authentic fake snow!

Sometimes, when it comes to crafty projects, I get these, (what I think are) really fantastic ideas but then when it comes to executing those ideas I end up with something that looks like my 3 year old son created. This time I got lucky and ended up with something I actually like the look of.

Now these winter wonderlands adorn my home and will be here all season long!


In your brain did it stay, that it's Boston's birthday?!

I recently had the opportunity to design some invitations for a soon-to-be 4 year old's Dr. Seuss themed birthday bash.
After a little brainstorming session I decided to hit up the local thrift store to swipe their Dr. Seuss selection. I went for the oldest and most authentic books I could find, meaning, books that were written by Dr. Seuss himself and with the pages actually sewn into the spine (none of that glued in stuff).
Once home, I quickly went to work coming up with some Dr. Seuss inspired copy for the invitation itself (click on pic above to zoom in). Then I promptly went to work disassembling the books I had purchases earlier.

I would be using the pages as a backing to the vertical invitation as well as for handmade envelopes which would later be mailed out to guests.

I really felt adding the backing to the freshly printed invitations really finished them off but I think the envelopes were my favorite part of the whole package. Looking closely you can see little holes where the threading use to be which indicated the envelope was just a portion of a real and classic book.

I think the hardest thing about designing themed birthday invitations is that there are almost too many possibilities. I love designing my own kids party invitations although, I don't recall ever posting any samples here...sad. Maybe I'll have to play a little catch up before their next celebration of birth.

UPDATE: I now have this package for purchase in digital form. The package includes files of invitation, envelope template and step-by-step instructions on how to create your own handmade Dr. Seuss birthday invitations as shown above. To purchase check out the shop HERE. Please email me if you have any questions (gnat[dot]anderson[at]gmail.com).


Just call me grandpa

What is it about all things mini? When I was little I had a decent collection of matchbook cars and my favorite one was the ambulance because the back doors opened up to reveal permanently installed plastic benches on both sides of the vehicle. The front door also opened to reveal a drivers seat and a baby-blue colored dashboard. I loved looking at all the tiny details, like the odometer and radio buttons. I wished so much that I could shrink down to fit right inside and take a spin. It wasn't because I wanted to drive the car—I knew that day would come—it was because I wanted to temporarily be a part of a miniature world (this is probably why the book The Mouse and the Motorcycle was so appealing to me as a kid).
A few months ago I was in a train hobby shop where I found myself surrounded in a world of minis (aka heaven); tiny people riding bicycles, a little boy in an inter tube prepping for some outdoor water adventure, tiny cars, even tiny pets. The other costumers also seemed to be lost in this very literal "small world." The difference between them and me however was most apparent in appearances. I was sporting bleach blond and they were sporting grey and balding. I had on a thrifted leather belt adorned with debosed mushrooms and butterflies, they had on thrifted suspenders. I was enjoying a break from the kids and they were enjoying their retirement. Alas, they accepted me with friendly nods, smiles and how-do-you-do's, and therefore allowed me to fit right in.
Unfortunately, also unlike the lovely men around me, I don't have a basement full of train paraphernalia, just my love for small. Sure I had a handful of plastic treasures but how could i really justify buying them? That's when I remembered some very special dioramas I had seen by photographer Lori Nix (see samples throughout post). So I allowed myself to pick out a few things to support my newly proposed hobby. After all, my kids really don't keep me very busy and I think I really do have too much money and am in need of something to spend it on.
About 3 months later I haven't made any miniature scenes to photograph or even purchased more material for that matter. At least we live not too far from a town with all things tiny...

(mini letterpress)
(mini greenhouse)
I have discovered that minis make great gift toppers if nothing else...
and so, the obsession continues.

*pic jon took of a scale model he helped create at school with his group; Eric, Rachael and Kathryn.


What in the Slap Chop Rap?

Last night I was minding my own business working on a wedding invitation when this little ditty came blaring from the TV speakers. At first I thought it was a hoax or that I was experiencing lack-of-sleep induced hallucination. Then I realized it was all too real, my friends, which qualifies the ‘slap chopper’ as the best infomercial-intro I have ever seen. The clip I originally saw had dancers that were not quite as cool as these ones but you will get the idea. You have to watch the whole 3:16 minutes; it’s SO worth your time and it just get's better and better.


Today I Love Mary

I’ve been watching clips of Mary Travers from Peter, Paul and Mary. I think this, If I had a Hammer, clip is my favorite. I love watching her emotions become increasingly intense as the song nears its end and how this is displayed physically as she lets her hair flip though the air…so inspiring!

This makes me SO happy! Song is such a beautiful thing to touch people’s lives with. Rest in Peace Mary.


Lovely Package Exchange

Is it me or is getting some sort of personalized correspondence in your mailbox one of the best things in the world? The other day one of my sisters sent me a homemade card with words I actually read on paper. It was so sweet and pen pal-ish. I have also gotten two wedding invitations in the mail recently—which I was probably way too giddy over. Then my mom sent me a package of goodies from Ikea, with the cutest platter ever I might add and just when I thought I couldn’t love the post person any more, I received a parcel from a new blogging buddy I was introduced and assigned to as part of a “lovely package exchange” I participated via the Oh, Hello Friend blog.

My partner and I not only had the opportunity to send objects we thought the other would enjoy, we were also able to take part in something we both love; creating lovely packaging—which was sort of the idea of the exchange.
So today when I pulled the lid off the box that the lovely Catherine Hart from Austin Texas sent me, I was overwhelmed by the charm and vintage goodness that was cushioned inside. Although we only met a few short weeks ago in the blogsphere, I felt as though each little object said something about my character in some way and yet, at the same time, each item told me something about Catherine’s character as well. It was actually quite inspiring to connect with an almost stranger that way.
There were so many things to love like vintage "twist sticks" (aka mini pipecleaners), bingo sheets and yo-yo...
an awesome game of "endless landscape"...
tiny gift bag art...
and so much more. But one item I will particularly treasure is the best piece of handmade jewelery (made by Catherine of course).
Thank you so much Catherine. I love.
As stated above, this was a package swap so below is a sampling of some of the goodies I sent off to Catherine.
All wrapped and ready to go. The gift bow doubled as a hair accessory...
Inside the main package were smaller packages. Postcards packed in a homemade alligator envelope, little tug balls that revealed some prizes when the string was pulled and a few other delights…
When I found this mini kissing couple at a train collector shop, I knew it had to be used to accessorize the gift box full of miniatures.To see it from Catherins perspective you can check out here blog HERE.

Gifting is the greatest invention ever!


A Very Merry UN-Birthday to You!

Summer has been good to me this year and to say thank you to the sunny season I thought an official goodbye was in order. What better way to say so-long than to throw a party?

Lucky for me my friend Melanie is a born party planner and is always up for sharing her merrymaking skills when it comes to festivity coordinating. So we teamed up to have an end of summer UN-Birthday Party Bash.

Due to limited space I knew we would have to have a limited guest list which is the hardest part, who do we invite—or worse—who do we not invite? Jon had a great solution to this problem which was to perform a “pass-it-on” invitation-giving system. Melanie and I each choose a couple at random to invite. Both of those couples were given two invites to pass along to a friend of theirs and that friend was to pass the last invite to a friend of theirs. Make sense? I was super stoked about this plan but I have to admit, as the party date drew near I was feeling a little apprehensive as the adolescence in me began to take over, ‘What if the guests hate the theme? What if they don’t like me?’ were among the juvenile thoughts that entered my mind. Perhaps I am not as social as I’d like to think I am? Thankfully we ended up having an awesome guest list and they didn’t even seem to mind when the pouring rain threw us out of our own outdoor party forcing us to finish the celebrating in a somewhat squishy, not perfectly clean, basement.

Fortunately we had gotten in a good game of musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey in a more spacious outdoor space. Once inside we had a couple more games, a white elephant gift exchange being one of them, (you can’t have an Un-Birthday party without gifts)! And of course we had UN-birthday cake made from rice kipsie treats.

As usual, one of my favorite parts of the party was designing and prepping the invitations beforehand. When it comes to birthdays, I couldn’t think of something more iconic than the pin-the-tail game so I rolled with that.

Each invite was hand assembled into a gift card tin which contained 3 pieces; the invitation, a felt donkey tail and a blindfold. (thanks for your help Melanie!)

The donkey tail had a magnetic back which enabled it to stick the tailless donkey image on the front of lid tin.

The blindfold was also made from felt with an elastic attached for wearing.

Once all the parts were in place we tied it off with a simple ribbon bow to make it look like a present (UN-birthday party, remember?)

The same donkey image was used to create party gift bags which the guest filled with candy on their way out at the end of the party.

All-in-all I was quite pleased with the way things turned out. Even though the before and after shots of what the rain did to the outdoor photo op secction was pretty sad looking, the spontaneity kept things silly and carefree.

Well, I guess it’s on to fall season party preparations…my favorite!


Happy Birthday Pearly

(photo above by Charissa Spendlove)

Last week a friend of ours—a much younger friend of ours—turned one year old! This made me realize that for a whole year I have had the intention of posting a little project that I had created for her parents to announce her arrival. I think I was waiting to take some better photos before posting but again, it’s been a year so I think I’ll go ahead and stick with the original shots for a much over-due show-and-tell.

Pearls parents and I brainstormed the possibility of incorporating the alphabet and/or Pearls name as a subtle theme for the announcement so I came up with the “P is for Pearl” concept, integrating strands of “alphabet peals” in the background.

The announcment opened vertically to reveal Pearl's birth stats and the photo you see above which was taken by another friend of mine; Charissa Spendlove. The folding was designed so this card could either be sent in a small invitation size envelope or sent as a postcard if sealed at the opening (mimicked after the Avi Jude announcement).

So there you go, only one year late. Happy birthday pearly and congrats on your first year of life!