Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites

As I type this, me and Aaron are doing a little baking here at home. Trust me, what we're making is not even in the realm of the wonderment you're seeing above and below. Tonight's baking sesh is simple and basic…nothing fancy…but it's a fave recipe of ours….muffins for two. Yes, the recipe only makes two muffins…baked up adorably in two pink ramekins. 
But oh jeeez, forget about our common everyday muffins…let's feast our eyes on the work of  the incredibly talented Katherine Sabbath.

I found her on Instagram, and fell hard for her fantastic whimsical cake designs. And isn't she so cute?

 I'm so into the signature shape of her cakes. I love when someone has a specific vision…a particular way of designing their art. I know I've got my own signature shapes when it comes to painting or art journaling. And Aaron, he's got a certain size canvas that he feels very comfortable painting on. 

It's very apparent that Kat Sabbath's chosen cake shape is a tight, tall cylinder. And her style marries so well to this shape. Just look at how perfectly those drips cascade all the way down to the plate.

Can we rewind the summer just so I can do 4th of July all over again??…only this time I want to have a party with this cake as the honored guest.

I came across these photos of a 4th Birthday party and swooned. As far as themes for Birthdays go, I think Vintage Puppy Party belongs way at the top of the list. This sweets table seriously made my heart flutter! Based simply on these pics, I could totally be friends with these awesome parents. Just look at that backdrop of vintage wallpapers and wrapping papers, hung with framed vintage puppy prints! And having all of those pastel candy colored sweets atop a super rustic table is right up my alley. They even put little part hats on all of the puppy figurines! And seriously…besides having so much style…can you even handle the sheer amount of sweets?!?! That is cake heaven right there.

And then the party table itself…wow! All set and ready for the little party guests. I can't even handle the cuteness! Make sure you click the link above…you have to see the rest of the pics and these pics blown up larger.

For a little while now I'd venture to say that Pinterest and Piñata have become synonymous. Go on and take a short stroll through Pinterest and you will encounter piñata galore…taco piñatas, mini piñatas, donut piñatas…I love that piñatas have made a big come back as a party game and as decor. They are just so much fun and so festive. 
I came across some of my current faves in the piñata universe. For instance…how adorable is this cotton candy piñata?! Ahh! the eyelashes! 

...and this carousel horse! I don't know if I'd be able to whack this gorgeous girl…that's another reason  why the blindfold is required. What little girl could look this beautiful creature in the face and swing a stick at it?!

...and c'mon, this is cute overload…French toast!

Me and Aaron are so grateful and honored to be included among these 9 Great Books on BlogHer! I'm such a big fan of BlogHer, and Jennifer Perkins is an endless source of fabulous blog posts…so many awesome projects, DIY's, makeovers, and how-go's. I love her style, and I'm thrilled that she found inspiration in our book! 

I'm always excited to try new paints and mediums. Aaron and I have some history with milk paint…when we started our career together we were first furniture painters and antique furniture restorers, so we were using milk paint over 20 years ago. When I saw this new collection, Milk paint from Imaginisce, I got super excited! 
There aren't a ton of colors, but they've got the classics. I'd really love to get my hands on some of these! And I love that I found them on

And while we are talking paint…I'd love to work with this set of patterned brayers! They're a perfect tool for art journaling, and mixed media canvases. So much of the artwork that me and Aaron make is rendered in a fairly traditional style. But when we create for ourselves and our only focus is to have fun, we work much more freely with the paint. Sometimes with paint you have to think outside the brush. You almost have to think of paint in an entirely different way…imagine that you're sculpting with it. And brayers like these are awesome for that type of thing.

Ok, thanks so much again for checking out my Friday Faves! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 
xo, Jenny…and Aaron says hi!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Being Busy and Loving Every Minute

Well today brought some much needed sunshine. Some artists are into rainy days in the studio. They love being holed up in their cozy space, working away to the calming soundtrack of rain. And I totally get that…I've been there. But at this stage of the game, me and Aaron want nothing but sunshine. We aren't fans of artificial lighting. We need natural sunlight for mixing paint colors, making sure they're the exact tone we're looking for. And most importantly, we need natural light for taking photos, which we do on a daily basis. We're always taking new product photos for our shop, or snapping pics of what we're working on for the blog or Instagram. Artificial light is just the pits. 99% of my photos are shot using natural light and only natural light. I never ever use flash, and make sure to shut off any interior lights when taking a photo. The colors are just truer. So on this very sunny day, prior to wrapping & shipping our blue cupcake die cut, I had to snap a pic of it displayed with our vintage ice cream cartons. It just looked so fun...all of the blues popped!

The past few weeks have been super busy for us. We've been working on lots of die cuts, and plaques, and custom orders, as well "home stuff". We were pretty pleased with the amount of orders we managed to complete over these past few days. 

Here's a a small portion of the die cuts that just shipped. It's so hard to say what our best seller is. We really sell lots of cupcakes, and the macarons do great, and lately we've been shipping lots of doughnuts. But our Pancakes have really really become a collector favorite! Every batch of orders includes Pancakes. Maybe because they really could work in any style home. They're probably our least "girly" piece…we notice that lots of guys order the Pancakes. And they can fit into retro or modern decor. Plus…who doesn't like pancakes?

Speaking of cupcake diecuts…here's another that shipped off to a new home. Our jumbo chocolate frosted with rainbow sprinkles is such a classic! I'd love to see it hanging in a kid's room!

We love wrapping orders up in our signature pink tissue and tying them with baker's twine. And before each package is sealed we throw in a tiny taste of the Jersey Shore...our favorite salt water taffy.  

This part of the job never gets old to us…the wrapping and packing, and writing Thank You notes, and tossing in candy and some shimmery gold confetti. And finally, wrapping all of the boxes in kraft paper and stacking them by the front door, all ready to be whisked off to the post office. On big shipping days both of us are in a super bright and cheery mood. We've got music blasting and we're very high energy…running around, jumping from task to task. We look like two people who's ultimate dream in life would be to work in a high volume mailroom. :)
But at the heart of it, it isn't the nature of the actual work that excites us. It's what the work signifies that raises our spirits. These stacks of boxes mean that our artwork is headed to new homes all over the world. We're thrilled at the idea of our work becoming a happy addition to the lives of all of these wonderful people. Seriously…we truly are that corny an emotional about what we do. 

Me and Aaron were just talking about last holiday season. It was one of our most busy to date! It made us so so happy filling those orders last year. We made hundreds of ornaments, and our days and nights melted into one another. There weren't any breaks in our production, not a minute to catch our breath…I can't even recall how we found the time to do our Christmas shopping. We were at the post office with dozens of boxes on a daily basis all season long. And before we knew it, it was all over. Late October through late December was one big pastel, glittery, festive blur.
 And then, we got the best gift of all…happy customer photos started popping up on Instagram. And there were also tons of pics from others who had received our pieces as gifts. So so fun!

We are so ready for that experience again. Just today a big box of holiday supplies arrived on our doorstep. We are gearing up for hopefully a repeat of last holiday season. That would be amazing!! 

So, remember how I mentioned above that 99% percent of my photos are in natural light? Well, here's an example of the leftover 1%.  
Dearest little Lieutenant Dan, his ears perked up, listening to the enchanting sounds of the pantry door, measuring cups and spoons, whisking in mixing bowls…yes, Daddy was baking up some banana nut muffins. 
The glow of the lights on the mantel make me even more excited for the holiday season. In case you missed it, we blogged a tutorial for those very lights the other day.

Well, it's Wednesday, I hope your week has been treating you well, and if not…I hope it turns around for you. There's still time right? :) 

Thanks so much for popping in!
xo Jenny… and Aaron says hi!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Super cute and easy light shades made with baking cups, ribbons, lace, and trims

I Love vintage trims. It's pretty hard for me to pass them up at flea markets or yard sales or on ebay if the color or price is right. I've been collecting trims for years, without any real plans for them. I love having them in jars and boxes in the studio, keeping them on hand for when I may need a tiny bit for a project. I use them in collages, art journal pages, mixed media assemblages like our Fauxbulus Keepsake Cakes. Vintage trims just make the perfect finishing touch!

Back in 2010, I was asked by Romantic Homes Magazine to contribute a cute and easy holiday craft for their "Make it" column.  I was then, and remain to this day an absolute sucker for twinkle lights around our home. And not just for holidays, but year round. And as I said above, I am also a collector (or hoarder) of vintage trims and ribbons...which I'm sure you are too.
This is an easy, fast, and lets just say afternoon craft. We've always got a strand of these decorative lights hanging in our home and I smile very time I see them. I've made them for Christmas, Autumn, and my favorite just might be the set I did for Valentine's Day. 

 We had them hanging here in our home in our kitchen, but when we started to paint and work on things here in the house I had put them away and forgot about them. Then just the other day while organizing I pulled them out. I decided to make a few more "shades" for the strand, and why not take some pics and share the simple little tutorial with you guys, being that we have a bunch of new readers since 2010.

These lights couldn't be more simple. And it's a way of having your prettiest trims on display. Plus, there is no sewing. I can't sew yet I still love trims for different mixed media projects. So this project is perfect! 

Here is what you will need: 
Small strand of Christmas lights (you can find these in the wedding aisle at Michael's)
Large size plain white baking/treat cups (found in the baking aisle at Michael's)
Bits of ribbons, lace, and trims
Glue Gun or All-purpose glue (like Aleene's)
X-Acto knife

It's so easy. Just cut desired ribbon and trim to match the circumference of the treat cup. Then apply them to the cup, gluing about every inch or so and pressing down to adhere, securing well at the seam. You may want to use the end of a pencil to press down, hot glue is…hot! 

Be creative...for instance, first apply a lace layer, and maybe some pom pom or some rick rack on top of the lace...making sure that you line up all of your seams so that you can later twist the shade so that the seam line is in back. 

Once the shades are decorated use an X-Acto knife to cut a small X in the center of each cup bottom for the light bulb to fit through. 

Then pop shades over the bulbs, pushing through until the plastic base emerges through the X.

These are a great way to bring not only light, but also some fab color and texture to a vignette in your home. These short strands of lights are perfect for draping over a single window or doorway. All you need are some of your favorite trims, ribbons, bits of vintage lace and rick rack. And with a little glue you can make ordinary treat cups into fabulous little light shades!

I hope you give these a try...and if you do...I'd love to see yours!

xo, Jenny 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

This Weekend

Hey friends! We've got some cooler weather here on the Jersey Shore and I couldn't be more thrilled. Being that we have a pretty heavy workload right now, we couldn't take the time to enjoy a day outdoors, so the best we could do is have windows open while we work. Though we vow to start getting out more. I'm not big into hot weather so now that my favorite season is upon us I can't wait to get outside some more. I'm an October baby…I love Fall fashion, hats, layers, scarves. I can't wait to get the bus or train into NYC a day soon. Oh, before I go on…the above pic actually isn't just a selfie… there was a certain chihuahua in the pillow cave behind me doing a little excavating. If you're familiar with tiny dogs at all, you'll know how much they're into digging out the perfect spot to curl up in.

We have been working like mad over here so forgive me for not popping in on Friday for my Favorites. I'll be back this week. I'm not one of those bloggers that schedules posts, so if I run out of time on a given Friday I have to put off posting until another time.

This week happens to be my blogiversary. I've been blogging since 2006. For me, the blog has always been a place to kinda pop in and say hi, show you some behind the scenes things, our collections, vintage finds, recap day trips, some family get togethers, home improvements, favorite recipes, Art Journaling…

 It's definitely more of a personal blog that also ends up being a peek into the artful life as well. Way less of a profesh blog. The professional stuff stuff kinda fries my brain and I really don't think I'd ever be able to get into it. I don't want it to feel like work. I like it how things are. 
Things have certainly changed over the years in blogging. When I started blogging in 06', it was a time I like to call the golden age of personal blogs and craft blogs. There were so many swaps, and it was common to get 50 comments on a post. We were all coming together in blog land. Now we are on Facebook , Instagram, etc. So now even though we have way more blog readers than we did back then, the comments are often spread out throughout social media. 

I found so many awesome friendships over the years. I actually just made a list the other day while sitting in the studio after cleaning and organizing and coming across a little scrapbook I had made after Silver Bella back in 07'. Those girls really hold such a special place in my heart. I'm feeling nostalgic and think that I may just have to host an old school swap soon…you know, in my "spare time".

Speaking of friendships, my friend Krista (Saturated Canary) did this insanely cute illustration of me and one of our macaron die cuts! Her style is so much fun!! Love it!

Late last night and early this morning I took a little bit of personal time to make these sweet and simple tags. I used my favorite girls stamps from our friend Ashley G. Just simple manila tags, painted polka dots, stamped girls, a light antique wash, gold glitter accents, and some white and gold twine. Perfect to keep on hand to tie to a gift or package, or to add to art journal pages. 

You may remember a little tutorial I did using Ashley G's stamps.

It was back in the Spring and I figured the egg shape was fitting for the season. I call them Mixed Media Cute Girl Ornaments, and I blogged the tutorial here.

After making the tags I really wanted to plan another quick little project for this week. So I pulled out my vintage printers tray full of favorite tiny bits and ephemera. I just adore tiny little cut out people from vintage photos. I promised myself I'd make something using them this week. And I promise you that I will share whatever that may be.

Well, I really just wanted to pop in and say hi! Our only night of TV is Sunday. The rest of the week we do podcasts while painting, a whole lot of Marc Maron. So tonight we are looking forward to The Strain and Boardwalk Empire…and chips and salsa of course. Hope you guys had a great weekend!

Love from the Jersey Shore!
xo Jenny…and Aaron says hi!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life Lately...

It's hard to believe that this week is almost over…it totally flew by. We have so many projects going at once, that our heads are kinda spinning. We're simultaneously working on orders, doing some custom designs, finishing up house "stuff", and getting ready for Art Is You in Connecticut…which is in a month! We're so excited for that! We love everything about Art Is You

Earlier today we finished the above cake. It is for a very special super exciting and fun event. I'm going to have to be a little vague here just in case the recipients wants to keep the detail of the event under wraps until the unveiling. But we promise to share more pics and details very soon. We feel like this is the ultimate CAKE. It's design just says "Celebration". It could easily be a wedding cake, or a super duper sweet 16 cake, or a Quinceañera cake. Think of the three tiers and those piped buttercream roses as the starting point…beyond that the customization possibilities are endless.  
It's BIG, just in case you can't tell from the above pic. I hope to snap a better pic tomorrow. Today it was gloomy and grey here, so the photo above isn't very crisp...but you get the idea.

The group of cakes we're working on have lots of piping. Very much in the style of vintage Wilton cake decorating books. We will be shipping these special pieces off tomorrow, but I promise to take more pics! And we plan on adding a few of them to our regular shop offerings! 

Working on so many different projects all at once is totally putting us in the mindspace we'll need to be in for the upcoming holiday season. Do you remember our Starlet ornaments? Well they were so incredibly popular last year that we could barely keep up with the orders. So many of you had asked if they'd be back this year…and the answer is Yes!…they'll be in stock, along with a handful of new designs! Lots more ornaments…definitely some macarons, more cupcakes, kitty cats, doughnuts, etc.

I'm not sure if I shared this pic a while back. These are vintage Stanley Home cookie cutters. It must have been another very gloomy day when I snapped this pic. When I shared this pic on Instagram it started the best conversation.  All of us were trying to solve the mystery of the guy in the bottom left-hand corner. Is he a Dutch boy? And what's with the cowboy-at-high-noon stance?
Some were saying that he must be "Mr. Stanley". And some figured that he's a gingerbread man. And a few people said that they owned this set, but in place of the "Dutch-gingerbread-Stanley-showdown-cowboy" their sets included an Astronaut. Which is equally strange!

So, if you look at this pic that I shared the other day of an aqua set that I just found…you can see the Astronaut. And if this pic were part of a grade school IQ quiz that asked "which cookie cutter doesn't belong?"…the answer would be: the Astronaut! 
All of the others are holiday themed! That bunny is my fave…and jeeez, I love the Valentine…and the Jack-o-Lantern! I also own a birthday cake cutter in this same color. Do any of you own these? I know there is also a red set. I love these!

Ok, gotta go back to work. We are really cramming to get a bunch done tonight so that we can ship a big batch of boxes tomorrow. Wish us luck! 

Thanks for popping in!
xo Jenny…and Aaron says hi!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around here… (and a Giveaway)

The weather this Monday is perfect! But over the weekend it was super hot and rainy in Jersey…yes, that's always a gross combination. Saturday was the Ocean Grove Flea Market. There are two each year, and we'd love to be able to attend both, but this year we only went to the one in June. To read about that adventure, you can check out this post detailing our fun time at The Flea by the Sea. 
This time around we skipped the flea market, knowing that the forecast called for hot steaming rain, and we also had a bunch of projects that we had to finish up.
Afterwards we heard that Ocean Grove dodged the rainstorm that hit us a mere 30 minutes away. I was definitely happy for all the vendors and shoppers. Here at home we stayed in and kept the AC cranked. 

So, one of the projects we worked on last week was this piece. Some of you long time readers and collectors of our art may recognize it. We actually designed it years ago and it was one of our best sellers. While organizing, and going through our paintings we came across the elements for it, and decided to repaint some of the details and enhance the colors a bit. It's titled "For the Love of Baking"  , and it's a mixed media piece that combines prints of our paintings and actual hand painting. It's a larger piece, measuring 12 x 22, and we love how it instantly sets a mood in a kitchen. We've also made plenty of these for bakeries. I can't decide which wall it looks better on. It's so vintagey and warm on the creamy white wall, and on the black wall in the photo up top the pretty pastels just pop.

While it was grey and raining and super hot outside, we were in our cool studio, working by twinkle lights, surrounded by favorite things, burning a favorite candle, while playing our favorite Pandora stations. When you work straight through the weekend, it's important to enhance your environment as much as you possibly can.

I finished up this little project the other day. Just a makeover on one of my vintage toy pianos. Before the makeover it was a cute little piano, but the color just didn't work for me…it was way too blue. So I fixed it up with some pale aqua paint, some light distressing, an antique wash, and collaged paper stars. Toy pianos are another one of our favorite collectibles. We have a bunch of them around the house, and I blogged about them a year or so ago, which you can see here.

I had some happy mail this week! This is the newest member of our bunny family. I absolutely love this fella's one floppy ear. Like the rest of his bunny family he's perfectly aged, he's a great color, and has an overall sweet demeanor. 

And would you look at this! It's a vintage paper "cake" made up of individual gift boxes. Yes, those are holes for candles! I just love the way the piping and cake texture are illustrated. Can you imagine this for a kids birthday party…having each individual slice/box filled with party favors!

Also in my mailbox was this incredibly adorable tiny macaron bracelet! I put it on as soon as I opened it! It was a gift from one of the cutest gals around. Jenny aka @shelovesdresses on Instagram. She makes the cutest things…case in point being the above bracelet! I adore it!

And here's Jenny herself modeling one of her adorable dresses! She's a living doll, and her Instagram feed is so fun! I love seeing her #dressoftheday. She creates adorable stuff and captures magical images on a daily basis. Every time I see one of her pics on Instagram it brightens my day.

And speaking of brightening my day...would you just look at this lil guy! This little peanut was all curled up and cuddly, and could barely keep his eyes open. I was sitting there and he kept peeking at me like this, as if he was worried that he might miss something if he closed his eyes.

Today while diecut and sign orders were drying, I pulled out some of my older home inspiration scrapbooks. Over the weekend we picked up the paint for the living room, so I'm really trying to make some decisions. 

We are doing away with the pink and cream striped wall in the living room. I'll miss it, but I'm also very excited for change. We're overhauling everything, but in the end I know we'll end up adding some pink stripes all over again. Not in the exact same way…but they've been ever-present in our home for many years…so, some way and somewhere, there will be pink stripes….ha! 

Ohhh before I sign off for the evening, there's one last thing. If you are on Instagram, I just posted a Giveaway today! Two lucky Donut loving friends will win a donut die cut each! Pop over to my feed to enter!

We are hard at work on a bunch of orders and some very exciting projects that we'll share with you soon. If only there were a few more hours in the day. I think I might make that my new go-to wish when I blow out my birthday candles each year. ha! 

Hope your week is off to a great start! Thanks bunches for popping in!
xo Jenny…and Aaron says hi!

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