Friday, January 30, 2009

winter diorama

I actually made this diorama to go with my Christmas decor, but I don't think I ever blogged it. I made it more wintery than Christmasy so I could display it until spring. This is likely the only snow I'll get in Georgia this year. It's housed in one of those great Ikea Ribba shadowbox frames I love and keep going on and on about.

The frame's actually pretty big, about 20 inches x 20 inches. I love how having the shadowbox depth allows me to build up the paper shapes with those 3D sticky dots to get some light/shadow play. I'm not happy with the birdie's feet or the berries, but I was too manic and time-poor to have a redo at Christmas, and now I'm just too lazy to unframe it in order to make them smaller.

I found I really love making these paper dioramas, and I plan to do a new one for spring with lots of branchy trees.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

new buttons!

You remember this delightful little jacket given to me by my bosom friend, Robyn? Well, we both love the jacket (she also has one herself), but neither of us were in love with the gold tone/pearl buttons it came with. She replaced hers with great fabric covered ones, and a couple weeks ago I finally replaced mine.

I had looked all over for some vintage looking buttons, but it was very hard to find the right color and also the right number of available buttons. I finally went the same route as Robyn and covered a few buttons with Tula Pink's Nest fabric, and I love the result.

I was actually sewing them on in the car as I was being driven to a date by my husband. Some things never change.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ariadne at home

images via Ariadne At Home

Thank you thank you thank you, Christy!

Have you ever seen something super cool online that really wowed you, then forgotten to bookmark it and then no matter how you rack your tormented brain or search in vain on Google you cannot find it again? Well, I have. And now that Christy just posted about the very thing I lost, she's made my A List.

It was this dutch home mag, Ariadne at Home, similar to MS Living in that it has scads of project ideas online, from the current issue all the way back to January 2006. Don't let the language barrier scare you away, click around and you'll find some inspiration at the very least, and projects if you are willing to decipher. If you get really confused, Babel Fish translation might help.

The projects above are 1) Paper board houses, April 2008, 2) Bed decorated with hearts, Feb 2008 3) Airplane toybox, Autumn 2007, 4) Cutout table, Feb 2006

Friday, January 23, 2009

well, wood you?

Here's a freebie card for you. PDF format for easy valentine-ing. Get the download here! And happy early Smoochy Day.

This is also my entry in the Craft Valentines Day Project Contest, entries due by Feb 9th. Enter your own craft!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I'll have to forgo the post for today. So snowed under right now (not literally)! Hopefully Friday will look better, and I will try to post a free Valentine card for yas.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Incroyable! To say the very least.

If you love death-wish acrobatics, beautiful live music, breathtaking (and bizarre) costumes, clown humor, feats of bone-bending flexibility, all packaged with that indefinable French Canadian uber cool factor, you must go see Kooza. I hope it comes to your city.

Man. We went to see it Friday. I had to remind myself several times to close my mouth. It was that good. There were some tense moments in the second half when an acrobat was injured on the head by a flip that went awry, but he walked off after several minutes of evaluation from medics. If you see it, how stupid straight crazy is that Wheel of Death? That's all I'm sayin.

What an awesome birthday present for me from my Schmoopie. After which I was plied further with ahi tuna, stuffed lobster, steak, and a heart-breaking vanilla bean creme brulee topped with fresh fruit at McCormick & Schmicks.

Ok, I love you already! :-) Thank you, Cuppy Cake.

Friday, January 16, 2009

free fonts

image via My Fonts

I recently discovered Dutch font designer, Jos Buivenga. He is the genius behind the recent free font Fertigo Pro which I found via Jessica, and I just found out he's offered two more freebies I love, Museo Sans and Museo. There are multiple weights of both fonts, but some are free and some are for purchase. Museo Sans free fonts are the 500 and 500 italic, and Museo free fonts are the 300, 500, and 700.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Remember how much you loved Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup as a kid? Well, this is kinda like that only it actually looks and tastes delicious to an adult.

image via REAL SIMPLE

It's from Real Simple, and here is the actual, readable, printable recipe on their site. I followed it with one exception, I used chicken stock instead of water, but cut the salt if you do that.

I tried it out on some friends the other day, and we all loved it. Licked the pot clean. I served it with a tried and true salad practically all the women friends in my life adore and make all the time. Girl food rules. All variations on the following:

bag o' baby spinach or field greens
sliced fresh strawberries
some kind of crumbly stinky cheese (feta, Gorgonzola, etc...)
walnuts or pecans
all the above tossed with poppy seed or strawberry vinaigrette dressing
It's slap yo mama good.


Monday, January 12, 2009

iPhoto rocks

I was reading up on my favorite blogs and was reminded by a timely Wee Wonderfuls post just how great iPhoto books are. I have created several as gifts, but have never gotten one to keep for myself.

Above are a couple spreads from one I put together for my niece Erin, in honor of her wedding. There are so many great themes and layout options in iPhoto (even though I have the comparatively lame-O old version), that a perfectionist (read obsessive compulsive) like myself can get kinda bogged down in details, but that is just me.

These are samples from one I did as a gift for Robyn, because they so graciously invited me to crash for a week in their hotel room while they were in the Netherlands. I decided to order one for myself, so I switched a few of the photos around to be more Larissa-centric and hit the 'buy this book' button! yay!

Since I was on a roll, and also had unsuccessfully searched for an available 2009 Charley Harper calendar, I decided to put one together from our own goofy baby photos. I'll be smiling all year. I can't wait til they get printed up and mailed to me, can't happen fast enough!

Ah the wonder of affordable, remotely uploaded, custom made, one-off, professionally printed books. We live in magical times.

(Thanks, Bess!) If you don't have a Mac, you can still publish photo books with a number of online vendors, including Kodak and Snapfish, although I've no experience with either.

Friday, January 9, 2009

um. wow.


The bomb-diggety illustrations of Yulia Brodskaya. I've never been particularly interested in learning quilling until I was flat wowed by her work the other day via Folding Trees. Man. Genius typography combined with curled paper just sent me over the edge.

If you are interested (like me) in finding out more about quilling you can check out this handy guide on Craft Expert. (via CRAFT)

Also, of course Martha has a few projects if you'd like to try out your new found knowledge.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


(Sorry, this post is a bit later than I wanted. Blogger was acting mad wack*.)

While I was spending my free time in December crafting gifts for people I love, my bosom friend Robyn was busy crafting lovely and thoughtful things for me! Unbeknownst to me until now, she has taken up a new craft that I have yet to venture into, jewelry making. This is the beautiful bracelet she made for lucky moi. I'd love to learn more about it and maybe try some for myself, if I can get these kind of results. Look at the tiny shrinky charms! sigh...Charley Harper!

She sewed this notebook/notecard wrap for me, which was inspired by a similar project on Soulemama. Lovely!

Included inside were a great little Molskine, stamps, and room for a few of the note cards below, which she found just for me because she knows it's from my favorite fabric line ever. It's so nice to be loved.

As if that were not off the hook enough, these are the sweetest little pillows she made for my two girls from Wee Wonderful's elf pattern. As I'm sure you will agree, Robyn's embroidery is mad crunk, and I wish I had her sick sewing skillz*.

*This pack of helpful slang reference cards was their gift for my husband, and it is the funniest thing we've seen in a long time. We are thoroughly enjoying being ever more hip (er...dope?), in spite of also being hopelessly suburban and over thirty.

Monday, January 5, 2009

make kid silhouettes

These are the Christmas gifts I made for my friend Robyn this year. Since gifting has been accomplished, it is finally safe to blog about them. I thought I'd try to do some old fashioned silhouette portraits because I've been absolutely charmed by articles about them in past MS Livings and also recent displays like Emily's bedroom in OR. My constant thought being, 'Hey, I bet I could do that.'

The key to a successful silhouette portrait is, of course, a really good profile shot of the tot in question, hopefully with a passable hairdo. This presented me with several problems, as I was trying to keep the gift a surprise, Robyn lives two states away from me, and of course, time was of the essence. So in my case, many minutes were spent crawling through all available photos of these cuties trying to find the perfect existing profile shots. This will be way easier for you if you can produce your own.

Also helpful is a high contrast setting for the photo, like a white wall or a sheet behind the subject if you happen to be able to set up a shot specifically for the portrait. Backlighting would also be a great idea, but not strictly necessary.

Here is my process, with a side note that there are probably easier ways to accomplish the same thing. If I wasn't such a Photoshop doofus, I may have done it differently. Anyhoo, here's what I did.

1) After finding the digital shots to use, I cropped to the needed area, increased the contrast to make the profiles stand out more, then printed them on my laser printer at approx. three times the finished size.

2) Using a thin black marker, I carefully traced the shape of the profile and hair by hand to make it really stand out sharply from the background. I can do a much better job at this by hand.

3) I scanned in the enhanced profiles at a large resolution, then zoomed in and carefully erased everything but the profiles in photoshop. Then I filled in the outlined head with black.

4) Then I took the images into Illustrator and drew in details missing from the photos, like their necks and shoulders, and little details I could do more easily and cleanly with vector drawing tools, like wisps of hair.

5) I broke away from strict silhouette method by adding a little white line to show the outline of their cheeks. I felt like it really added life to the portraits by making their expressions clearer.

6) I output the completed portraits at actual size, which was about three times smaller then the scans. The great thing about that is when you reduce the size, it also makes all the little imperfections invisible. I output them to photo paper in order to get a really rich, uniform black, and mounted them inside two IKEA Ribba shadowbox frames that I had already lined with patterned paper. Done!

Friday, January 2, 2009

it {is} easy bein' green

image by SPRANQ

Have you been laying awake nights, wondering how you can save printer ink and therefore have less of an impact on the environment? Well, wonder no more.

A dutch design company called SPRANQ has developed a free downloadable font with little holes punched in it that they claim can cut ink usage by up to 20%. The font is meant to be used at a 9 or 10 pt size, not as a headline font. Unless you just like the swiss cheese look.

Says SPRANQ, "Appealing ideas are often simple: how much of a letter can be removed while maintaining readability? After extensive testing with all kinds of shapes, the best results were achieved using small circles. After lots of late hours (and coffee) this resulted in a font that uses up to 20% less ink. Free to download, free to use."

SPRANQ, I hear ya about the coffee. And thanks for bein' green.

Get the font here. Learn more here.