Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Springtime crafting with some of my favorite things

I still cannot believe that this coming Sunday is Easter. Just wow! I kinda feel like Easter always pops up out of the blue, but this year feels even more sudden. Like, where did the month of March even go?! We had plans for bringing back our chocolate rabbit diecuts, and paper mache rabbit prints as plaques and possibly even an Easter cake diecut…but as it will sometimes, LIFE happened! 
And apparently the calendar got the last laugh. So this year there are no chocolate bunny diecuts, no Easter cake diecuts, etc, etc…and at first the idea of this really got me down, but I know we are doing our best and working as hard as we can right now. So I'm not gonna come down too hard on myself for not getting things done. 
And even though we didn't get to launch a new Easter collection, in the past couple weeks we still shipped off a handful of bunny pieces that we offer year round! Like our fave Bunny Baby diecut, and our Vintage Stuffed Bunny plaque. 

We worked all weekend…as always, and I think Aaron's hands are still vibrating from the amount of time he spent on the scroll saw. So many donuts are off to new homes, and a bunch more will be shipping tomorrow and Thursday. This makes us very very happy. A whole lot of time and care goes into these. Just cutting out those holes in the donuts takes an entire afternoon. 
By now we've developed a pretty good system. Aaron will close himself off in what we call "the cutting room", (which is a room we gutted after Hurricane Sandy and never had a chance to finish) so yeah,  the cutting room is super tiny and at present it's sole purpose is for cutting and sanding our diecuts and signs. Aaron will emerge (covered head to toe in a fine powder of sawdust) from the cutting room with a stack of freshly cut and sanded donut shapes, hand them off to me, and I'll do the gluing up while he cuts and sands another stack. Then, by the time he's through with the dirty work, he'll join me in the studio and together we'll do all of the finer finishing touches. It's repetitive work, but it never bores us because we love the items and we love the people who ordered them. It sounds corny, I know, but that is truly how we feel. Our ultimate motivation is just knowing where these pieces are headed once they leave our studio.

So while we were doing all that stuff I had a window of time where a bunch of things were drying and I had an idea for a fun little springtime project. And yes, the project features one of my favorite collections…my vintage stuffed bunnies!

We were lucky to have some great photo shoot worthy sunshine that day. So in the brightest part of the studio I set up my bunnies one by one and was able to get some clear and vibrant photos of each. Then I printed them out, adhered them to some cardstock with modpodge, brushed on a top coat, and cut them out. 
I just love seeing them as they are right here lying on my worktable. They would make really fun ornaments. 

But my plan was for this garland! I cut a length of this super cute pom pom trim and just taped the bunnies to it with washi tape.

I hung it on a cupboard in the studio. I really love how it turned out! So simple to do! And this could be done using photos of any favorite collection! Imagine pretty little vintage dolls, or even just the doll faces! I was talking to my mom about how easy this was…from concept to completion it took like an hour. I think I'll be making her one adorned with her favorite cabin themed things to hang in their log cabin. 

Here are some of my favorite things on display in the studio. I have been collecting paper mache rabbits for over 16 years, maybe longer! But man have the prices soared in recent years! I'm glad I got the bulk of my collection way back when they were affordable. Nowadays I literally cringe when I see the current prices. 

It's vital to surround yourself with the things you love…especially in the space where you create.

I don't know if I ever shared this here, but you can see it mixed in with all my paper mache rabbits and other candy colored bits in the photo above. It's a vintage Good & Plenty box that I found in a great antique shop here on the Jersey Shore a couple of years ago. Isn't it so much fun?

And lastly, I just needed to share this one again. If you are looking for a fun Easter/ Spring craft to do this week, check out this little how-to for these vintage inspired spun cotton bunny and chick toppers that we had shared last year! 
We loved making them…and seriously, they are so easy and you'll have them to brighten up your cupcakes or other sweet treats for many Easters to come.

Ok, thanks again for reading. We're still cold here in Jersey, but we're hoping hoping hoping for at least semi-tolerable weather for Easter Sunday so we can go out for a stroll and get some festive eats. That would be fantastic. What are your plans for Easter?!

xo, Jenny…and Aaron says hi!

Monday, March 30, 2015

For the love of vintage ice cream ads

Recently I was asked if I was old fashioned. And on the surface I thought, "no way, I use an iPad and iPhone all day. I stream Netflix like every night" (but maybe Netflix is old fashioned, I'm not sure). And I don't really dress in a vintage way. I'm more of an all black/daily uniform kinda gal. 
But…when it comes to artistic/aesthetic inspiration for my home or my artwork…well then I'm definitely old fashioned. So much of what me and Aaron do creatively is rooted in the old, the vintage. Especially advertisements…usually from the 40s and 50s…like these ice cream ads. And we don't necessarily emulate what we see in the ads…we just connect with it. We naturally paint sorta in this fashion. Our color choices are time faded and a lot of times our imagery will look half photographic and half illustration. It's just our thing. I could go on for days with all the reasons. The nostalgia…the world when it was more simple…(not better…just simpler). And it's our age too. I feel like we connect with these images because our parents and grandparents once had.

So, about these posters…would you believe they were a gift?! Our friend Connie, who also refers to herself as our Aunt Connie, sent them to us!

To me, they're utter magic. This girl above sorta reminds me of an old-timey version of Kendall Jenner a bit. 

She seriously sent us a totally massive group to add to our collection!

I doubt they were ever hung, since the colors are still so vibrant. Something about that basic red block lettering gets me. 

We love them to bits! Connie is too sweet for words. When we opened the package we gasped. They're perfect. We're really so grateful to Connie for thinking of us, and for sending us these. We are inspired on so many levels! Anyone else collect vintage advertisements?

Thanks for reading. 
xo, Jenny…and Aaron says hi! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Around here…

This photo is part wishful thinking, part incantation. Maybe if I put enough pastel Easter stuff around those lingering piles of snow will finally melt away and bring the daffodils into bloom. We're currently still cranking the heat, and still wearing heavy winter coats and hats for our daily walks to the post office. But at least the days are longer now and there is more sunlight. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've got bunnies and feather trees out all year round, but when push comes to shove I'll pull out even more to create some weather defying table top parties.

Some of my favorites have to be our faux chocolate rabbits. We love faux sweets...faux cakes, faux donuts. We found these years ago in a cute shop here on the Jersey shore. I wish I could find more. 

This race car fella kills me! Totally looks good enough to eat! Usually I'd start with a bite to the ear, but in this case I'd likely nibble a tire. 

Here is a tiny peek at my prized vintage paper mach rabbit collection which is on display in the studio all year round. 

We've been chipping away an hour a night on "home stuff". We're currently painting trim and walls. The darker walls and dark trim really balance things and make our pastels pop. I can't wait to finish and share some pics with you guys. We've been moving things around and creating some happy vignettes.

Here's a little peek of a shelf in the kitchen. That's a Cake decorating tip used as a holder for a vintage inspired flash card. 

We've been cooking some yummy meals and Aaron has been baking. These are some of our favorite banana nut muffins. 

Mostly we've been working on lots of orders, but we did manage to finish up this piece! It has been on the back burner for far too long. We chipped away at it for the longest time and finally finalized the details. We love how it turned out. It may be my favorite diecut to date! It's in the shop now and we've got it on sale for a special introductory price, which lots of peeps have taken advantage of already. If you're interested it will be on sale until very very late tonight.

We had our first flash sale last week over on Instagram, and as a result lots of donuts will be off to happy new homes this week!! So fun!

Popped into Target the other day and hit up the dollar spot! Although I only walked away with one thing this time…this adorable little file folder thingie. It opens accordion style and has tabbed sections. Perfect for holding all my little bits of ephemera and cute papers that I've got waiting to be added to art journal pages or other mixed media and crafty projects. 

Oh and on the weekend I shared this on Insta and Facebook. My sweet friend Court featured me on her blog for her #GirlCrushFRYday . I was so flattered and had fun answering her great questions. You gotta check out her blog. It is sooooo great. 

Last thing I'll mention...We're presently finalizing some details, but if you are in the NYC area…stay tuned. We will be teaching an Art Journaling class very very soon! 

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Super Easy Vegan Falafel Pie

Geez Louise has it been an insanely long time since we posted a recipe! Yikes! We've been cooking and eating yummy, healthy, meals all winter. But with the shorter days and lack of sunshine by the time the dinner hours rolled around, it prevented us from taking photos in the natural lighting that we prefer. So now that the days are longer we hope to share lots more recipes here. In Jersey the month of March is never predictable. We'll get a day that feels like Spring, and then wake up to super freezing temps. Which reminds me…tomorrow we are expecting 3-6 inches of snow!! ughhhh. 

Ok, back to the food…we just had to share this super tasty, super easy, recipe with you guys. Even though we really enjoy meals with lots of totally homemade sauces, batters, and dressings…this one just seemed so simple, quick, and perfect that we had to give it a try on one of our busier days. This Vegan Falafel Pie  comes from an adorable food blog called The Vegan Stoner. 
And the other day was suuuuper busy. We were working on so many projects at once...cutting out our diecuts, sanding, painting, walking to the post office, cleaning, yep...one of those days. The perfect day to make a dinner that takes barely any time and almost zero effort. 
This recipe starts with a package of falafel mix, which you can find in the International aisle of your grocery store. Sure, it's super easy to make your own...and we have…but again, we loved this recipe for it's shortcuts. 

This recipe couldn't be easier…

You'll need:

Falafel Mix
Your favorite hummus (we went with Sabra roasted red pepper)
plain soy yogurt 
1 cucumber
And any other topping you would like! We added diced red onion. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a pie dish (we misted ours with olive oil).

Mix a cup of falafel mix with a half cup of water. You can add a bit more water if necessary. Spoon the mixture into your prepared baking dish, and bake for 15 mins. 

While your falafel bakes, slice your tomatoes and cucumber, and dice your onions and any other toppings you will be adding. 

In a blender, or cusinart, combine 1 cup of yogurt, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and half of a cucumber.  We also added some fresh minced garlic. Blend until you have a smooth dressing.

Once your falafel is baked, top with a layer of hummus (as much as you'd like), followed by a layer of sliced cucumbers, and tomatoes, and diced onions. 

It was ready in under 20 mins! And it was SO SO tasty!  We actually killed the entire pie in a sitting. Don't judge us! wink. 

And even though we cheated a bit with the store-bought falafel mix...we still made a bright fresh super tasty dressing from scratch. It was a great meal! We will be making it again soon! It's so simple that the recipe is already committed to memory. You really just have to grab very few things at the grocery store, and then throw it together in a pinch. 

Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or a meat eater…this is a super tasty dish! 

Hope you'll give it a shot! And if easy meals like this are up your alley… Definitely check out The Vegan Stoner.  You'll love their hand painted illustrations!

Thanks so much again for reading! Happy cooking and eating!
xo, Jenny & Aaron

Friday, March 13, 2015

What We're Watching: Rich Hill

Rather than do a Friday Favorites today we wanted to share about a film that we watched last night and again today while we were working. To say we were highly affected by Rich Hill is an understatement. I mean, we're both easily moved to tears, but these were tears that the filmmakers fully earned. 

Though I don't want to scare you off with a mention of tears this early in the review. Sure, Rich Hill is about serious stuff, but there is definitely a genuine uplift in the overall message if you allow yourself to pull back a bit and look at your own life and history, and the lives and histories of your friends, family, and neighbors. 

Rich Hill follows the lives of three young men from a very small impoverished town, Rich Hill, MO. Over the period of about a year we get to see them face their daily challenges growing up without solid father figures, and with mothers who are fairly young themselves, and spread way too thin.

When I say there is an uplifting spirit to the film, it mostly has to do with the attitude of the three boys. All three seem to be incapable of saying "poor me". Sure, they have some problems adjusting in school and in life in general. But wouldn't we all have these same problems if dealt a similar hand?

 The film has a magical way of pulling in close to the subjects and their stories, and then quickly moving back to reveal the "more normal/less stressful/everyday" world that is still out there beyond the margins of these struggles. And for that we give major credit to the musical score and the cinematography, which are fused together perfectly. Within the same few seconds we're shown the stark contrasts in life, but the director isn't heavy handed. Andrew (the character that truly stole my heart) is dealing with yet another financial hardship and another jarring move to a new home, new town, and new school. And right on cue the film cuts to the 4th of July fireworks at the center of town, where hardworking folks are able to unwind, and where some can even bid upwards of $3000 in a cream pie auction. But we're not meant to feel bad or guilty about this. The auction and the fireworks almost serve as "local color". We even see the boys sitting among this same crowd of fireworks spectators.

The message of the film isn't that these poor boys need help. It's simply that you should love and respect your neighbor because you have no idea of the hardships that they might be currently facing. Sure, most of us have that response built-in to our DNA already. But maybe we still need a little reminder. Be kinder, be gentler, and know that most people are trying their hardest, even if it doesn't exactly look like it on the surface.

Aside from the F-bombs that come out of the youngest boy's (a sixth grader named Appachey) mouth, this film is fairly clean. We don't see drug use, but it's spoken of. We don't see violence, but it's spoken of. In a way, we do see lots of abuse, but it's almost passive abuse. It's the type of abuse that happens when boys are left to raise themselves. 

We seriously can't recommend this film more. It was great. Right after watching we checked out the official website to read updates on the boys…which by the way…at the very end of the film, right before the credits, there are a few sentences telling us approximately where these boys ended up after filming came to a close. Don't miss those updates!

Rich Hill is available to stream on Netflix now.

Ok, that's all for now. Me and Aaron watch a lot of movies and a lot of shows, and often have a lot to say about them. So hopefully we'll get to share a lot more reviews like this in posts to come. Thanks so much again for reading.

xoxo, Jenny and Aaron

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear Boardwalk Snow, you're pretty to look at, but we'll be happy to see you go. Love, The Jersey Shore

I know, I know…for a girl that says she HATES the cold, and a guy who dreams of living in San Diego, we sure seem to play in the snow a whole lot. Over the past few weeks it seems like we have spent a lot of time up to our knees in snow, on the coldest days, and in foolhardy locations such as the icy beach. There we are trudging through snow drifts and slipping on ice, always with a camera in hand. And as I said before…it's not as if we actually like being outdoors in these conditions…we just figure if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We have been locked away in the house with the heat pumping (to insufficient result) for months, and our daily walks to the post office to ship out packages act as a sort of short term cure for our cabin fever. These small doses of the season at hand are good for the soul. 

Today happened to be sunny and almost all of the snow has melted. During this period what happens here on the shore is flooding. Lots of clogged catch basins and interminably soggy lawns. But heralding signs of Spring are upon us. We're waking up to birds we haven't heard in months. 
So I want to share these pics from a few days ago as a sort of farewell to the Winter. Hopefully these will be the last snowy pics you will see this season! 

Again, this little excursion occurred after we had shipped a bunch of boxes at the post office. It was super sunny and bright, but still very cold. As per usual, we had our camera and figured we'd walk up to the beach and boardwalk to capture a uniquely Jersey Shore experience on film. I love that the above pic of Scooters, which is the bumper cars, can appear to be white sand or snow, depending on how you look at it. 

The "Haunted Manor" is even more creepy all covered in snow. We were hoping for more icicles though.

To be honest, as I was taking this shot I was thinking about how I'm a grown woman sneaking up onto the closed boardwalk for pics. I mean, it's not like anyone would truly care that we were up there. But let's say there was some wayward overzealous security guard that I had to run from in my Napoleon Dynamite moon boots…I could only picture myself falling face first in Aaron's tracks. 

A typical Jersey Shore boardwalk mural, in that the sandcastle looks like its constructed of graffiti style letters that either spell out "Jersey" or "Sexy"…words that are somehow interchangeable in Jersey. It's hard to explain, but if you know what I mean…then you know what I mean. 

It was so clear up on the beach. Such a great view of New York from here…which never shows in photographs. This was further down the beach than our usual spot. I believe the fencing was put in to help protect the newly formed dunes that were installed after Hurricane Sandy. 

We had to stop to take a pic of these candy colored chippy pillars. So perfect!

Most boardwalks up and down the Jersey Shore open up for the year on Easter Sunday. We are hoping for some great weather this Easter (which rarely happens). I can almost smell the cotton candy and boardwalk fries! 

Hope you are seeing some signs of Spring wherever you are! 
Thanks bunches for popping in!

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Around here...

Today when taking the pups out for their morning walk we were teased with a glimpse of Spring. Well, at least temperature-wise it felt like Spring. But if you look around the neighborhood there is still plenty of snow lying around, and every inch of ground is a soggy mess. Just like the rest of you, we are so so done with winter. 
But we're not looking for much…we're not asking for absolutely perfect weather. We just want lower heating bills and maybe the ability to go on some sunny afternoon walks. Because it's not like we've got the time to go galavanting through the meadows anyway. We've got about fifteen projects going at all times. All we're asking for is the possibility of opening a window in the studio. ha!

So, speaking of projects…remember those itty bitty cakes I painted last week? Well, I found a place for them inside this tiny tin toy fridge. Pretty perfect.

What is it with tiny things? I love 'em! 
Prior to the cakes I used to keep this tiny vintage box of Lido Cream Biscuits in the fridge.
Now I think I'm gonna start a new collection of these! I want ALL of the mini cookie packages. 
Side note: I had posted a pic of this box on Instagram, and my friend Jessica aka @dearestdeer, said that her brain instantly registered the name Lido as the baby-talk version of Little. That's pretty funny.

And while we are talking cute packaging…I was digging through boxes looking for things for our upcoming Instagram sale, and found this Bon Bon box I had forgotten all about. Geez, even this motif on the inside of the box is darling! 

We've been painting lots of signs over here. The orders came all at once. Most likely our customers are just like us and have big decorating plans for this new year. And how awesome is it that we're part of their new decor?! 
Above is a pic of Aaron applying some antique wash to a custom color EAT sign. That's another awesome thing...we love to customize signs to fit a specific color scheme. 

Seriously, there is so much wood in our house right now. A big batch of signs and diecuts just shipped, and a bunch more will go tomorrow and Friday. It feel so so good sending these pieces off to new homes! 

Our Cookies sign is one of our favorites. We've been on a cookie kick lately.

This pic is from a couple days ago. Right outside the window there was nearly 8 inches of fresh snow, and inside we were wrapping up ice cream cone diecuts! 

This is one of the many projects we've got going. Over the weekend we put the first coat of our new dark dark grey paint on one area of the living room. As much as we adore our aqua, we are so ready for a change and we're really excited to decorate around the new dark backdrop. Our vintagey pastels are going to pop against the dramatic, almost black walls.

We really only had time to paint one little area. So I've been using this freshly painted corner as my little test spot for all of our bits of decor. Right away I slid this table into the new dark corner, and seeing our tarnished silver, glass, and aqua mercury glass, against the antique black (yes, that's technically what the wall color is…antique black) just felt so right! We are hoping to have time to do some more painting soon. 

First we'll have to blast those big pink wall stripes with the electric sander so that they don't show through. It's not a fun job...but a necessary one. We have a long list of things we plan on tackling here at home...including refinishing our floors in the kitchen and dining area. Once we strip the floors we're going to coat them with a nearly black stain. I've been doing some late night pinning over on pinterest, trying to keep my ideas all in one place. 

Ok, I just wanted to pop in and share a little bit of our early-onset-Spring-fever. I bet many of you have got similar aspirations, and to-do lists a mile long. As the season progresses I hope to share some more projects in detail along the way. 
Thanks for reading!
xo, Jenny…and Aaron says hi!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Arctic adventures and sweet rewards at the Jersey Shore.

 We walk to the post office pretty much every day. It's a great way to break up the day, and it's also necessary being that we're packing and shipping orders all the time. Luckily, since it's fairly close we can endure the walk despite the frigid temps we've had all winter. And it feels like we get some kind of snow or slush falling from the sky every three days or so. You maybe wouldn't think so, but this is one of our favorite times to take a walk up onto our nearby beach. Actually, for both of us, our least favorite time of year to hit the beach would be during the red hot summer. We're burners, not tanners…I prefer long skirts to bikinis…Aaron likes jeans, not shorts. A snow covered beach is a treat for us. So right after our trip to the post office we took the short walk up to the beach to check it out and get some air. You might remember we did this another time not too long ago, and blogged about it here. 

The last time we were up on the beach it was way more cold and windy…like in the negative digits. Sure, this time was still cold and windy, but it was much more pleasant. It's peacefully desolate. We're always the only two living souls up there. The last time we went it was super windblown, and the wave were so cold that they were forming into slush balls when they hit the sand. This time we barely even got a glimpse of the sand. The snow covers the entire beach, from the dunes right down to the surf. And the snow is all encased in a thin layer of ice, making the entire surface just one giant glazed sculpture.

But being that the water temp was slightly warmer this time, the tide was coming in and grabbing huge chunks of the ice, pulling them off shore one by one. Aaron played up here as a little kid, and said he and his brothers and friends would try to hop rides on the ice chunks. My gosh I would kill my little boy for trying that!

Just to let you know…these are the true colors we saw up there. I didn't apply any post production tricks to the photos. Everything had a magical blue glow, unlike the eery grey tint from our previous visit.

It was just a little while before sunset, so there were lots of great shadows and highlights.

Greetings from three blocks from home! Do you think I can pass this off as a pic from an adventure in the great white north?

This was the extent of exposed sand, which is now probably getting covered again in the current snow/sleet storm that's passing through Jersey.

Here you can see that the snow isn't powdery at all. It's glazed with ice. And if you step very lightly you won't even break the surface.

Ok, so this is how Everyday is a Holiday finishes off an Arctic expedition. You'd think that the photos above of the icy tundra couldn't possibly have occurred within minutes of these bakery pics…but that's exactly how we roll. For us, these eclairs, and cream puffs, and strawberry shortcakes fit right in with a trip to the frozen seashore. You NEED a sweet reward!

These are just a few shots from our local bakery…just blocks from us and the beach. We marvel at classic bakeries like this. It's the whole reason why we paint cakes and cupcakes and other bakery inspired things. A real deal bakery embodies the whole spirit of Everyday is a Holiday. Because every single day these sweets are offered up. Countless varieties…amazing selection. And it isn't a holiday…it's simply Tuesday. But a bakery treats every day like a holiday…putting out displays of fantastical sweets and treats to brighten your day. 

We love St. Joseph Pastries! If you live in the NY/NJ area you grow up with Italian pastries. We actually never even considered that these pastries weren't available everywhere. You just grow up thinking that this is the way everyone does sweets. But if you travel the country you'll soon learn that this is not the case. And New York and Jersey are the homes of the Italian street festival…where you'll find even better stuff than this!

And yeah…there are Cookies. And cookies, and cookies, and cookies! Again, these are here every single day for you. You walk in there and you feel like it's almost sacrilege not to get an assorted dozen or two.

Can you guess what we chose? It was actually really really hard to decide. I'm never any good with food decisions. I'd almost rather you just surprise me. I take way way too long to decide. Aaron will keep turning to me saying "pick whatever."…and I just say it right back to him. But in the end we chose...

A couple of these mini strawberry tarts, which are amazing!

And these mini chocolate frosted eclairs! They're soooo cute!

We mainly eat healthy…but every once in a while we like to reboot the system. ha!

Ok, just wanted to give a little insight into our daily life over here. Hope you enjoyed!
xo, Jenny…and Aaron says hi!