Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't you (forget about me)

I'm back from my trip!  I have soooo much to share.  It will take some time to put up a post, but I didn't want my loyal fan fans to forget about me!  I will try to post something in the next couple of days!!!  I am glad to be back to the chill of winter in the south....when I got back it was all of about 75 degrees outside.  But, I'll take it.  ;) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Tisket, A Tasket. Another Chai Pani Gift Basket.

Edit:  I've added the photographer's pics of the baskets at the end of this post.  Love. :)  Photo credits go to Rachel Kabukala Photography.  

One of my closest friends is getting married. And I couldn't be happier.  Ever since I met her in 2003, I've been dreaming of her wedding.  It was pretty much a given when she found The One that I'd be helping her plan her wedding.  And so far, I've enjoyed every minute of it.

For her chai pani (engagement), she asked me to decorate the gifts and basket she would be giving her fiance.  The color scheme for the event was lime green, royal blue, and cream.  She wanted me to keep everything masculine (i.e. no ribbon). She loved the basket I chose for her (future) sister-in-law at her brother's chai pani.  And she loves peacock feathers so she wanted me to include peacock feathers like the basket I made for her (future) sister-in-law at her brother's chandlo. So, the big decision was what to do next.

Hobby Lobby came to my rescue.  As usual.  When I went to look for ideas on what to do, I purposely avoided the ribbon aisle so I could think outside of the box, but the Christmas ribbon aisle called me.  And when the Christmas ribbon aisle calls you, my friends, you must answer.  Because it always means something good.  And guess what?  I found some ribbon that matched her sari perfectly.  So even though I was instructed not to use ribbon, I bought 4 rolls.  I secretly wanted to hoard this ribbon, but it matched her sari so perfectly, it seemed rude of me not to share it's awesomeness with the world Jackson, Mississippi.  It was my duty to use it and let it be seen. So I made a decision to use it.

I also bought some gold rope that I thought seemed masculine.  Then, I pre-cut what I could and packed up my carry-on - oh yes, my friends, I am a traveling craft room - and hoped that I had everything I needed.  You wouldn't believe how much attention I attracted at the airport with my peacock feathers sticking out of my bag.  Too funny. 

I never like to put anyone out with my craziness, so usually when people offer to help, I almost always decline.  Especially because I never really know what I want to do until I sit down and stare at it for 4 hours.  This time I knew I was in over my head so I accepted some help.  Ashley, Asmini, and Swati pretty much saved my life.  They were very patient with me as I decided what I wanted to do and made me feel confident in my choices.  They actually put everything together for me while I worked on the basket, so I cannot take credit for how lovely they all looked.  All I had to do was snip ribbon.  You don't know how grateful I am for their help. 

Here are the baskets on the day of the ceremony just before their debut.  The photographer took lots of good pics of them.  I did not.  Ha. 

Here is my friend holding one of the gifts.  Look how perfectly everything coordinated!!  I'm telling you, when the Christmas ribbon aisle calls you, you must answer! Oh, and she loved the ribbon. :) 

Here is the basket.  I kept it very simple.  I couldn't resist the blinged out peacock feather I found on the same aisle as the Christmas ribbon.  And, as I was walking to check out, I saw some 4" gold letters and snatched up a "D" - the groom's first initial.  If you've ever been to my house, you know I'm a big fan of initials.  And even though I wasn't sure if my friend would go for it, I bought it anyway.  I love those last minute things you pick up.  No matter how well thought out my creative plan is, the last minute purchases always seem to be the best.  Love when that happens. 

Here are all the gifts in action - including her gift basket from the groom's side of the family.  It is always a cool feeling to see the things I create in action.  :")  Well, in this case, it was the things Ashley, Asmini and Swati created.  Ha.  Thanks, Ladies!  You don't know how relieved I felt when everything was done. 

My friend Anita jokingly calls me the Basket Whisperer now that I've had my fair share of decorated baskets under my belt.  This is just one more set to add to my repertoire.  :)

I have a couple of things I am working on but I am not sure I will have time to post it before I head out on my trip.  But, you never know.  When my craft room calls, I always answer.... (I'm think going to just keep recycling that phrase....)

{Me adjusting the bows :)}

November Obsessions

It's November!!  And I'm less than three weeks away from my crazy shopping trip to India. I.Can't.Wait. I am freaking out just a little bit because it is starting to hit me that this will be the longest I've ever been away from Mr. Bean and Freddie.  I haven't ever left him for more than a weekend.  But, I am pretty sure that the three weeks will fly by quicker than I'd want.....we have a lot to get done there! Anyway, here are my obsessions for November!!

{image via the Purl Bee}
Echo! Lotta Jansdotter's new fabric line.  I became obsessed with Lotta Jansdotter last year when I happened upon a book of her stencils.  A friend bought me that book of stencils for Christmas without knowing how much I loved it and I've been coveting it ever since.  I love her clean, simple designs.  I kind of want to stencil my entire house with those.  And she just seems like she's cool.  Like she was probably always the cool kid at school.  Like myself. Hehe. When the Purl Bee announced the launch of LJ's new fabric line, my jaw literally dropped.  So.In.Love.  

{image via iTunes}
Fuzzle.  Best game ever.  I am known to get obsessed with games here and there.  Lately, this game has been occupying all my free time lately.  I wake up and play a game. I play just before I go to sleep. I play during lunch. While I am microwaving my lunch.  While I am cooking.  I play anytime I have at least one hand free.  It is so addicting.

{image via Bravo}
Mad Fashion with Chris March.   Yep, another Bravo TV show that I can't get enough of.  I was a fan of Chris March when he was a contestant on Project Runway season 4.  Not just because of his crazy designs, but because he was so funny.  His show is just a fun show to watch.  As expected.

{image via Amazon}
Modern Minimal: 20 Bold and Graphic Quilts by Alissa Haight Carlton.   I happened upon Alissa's blog a little while ago. Lately, I've been wanting to sew a quilt, but not a traditional one.  Her book Modern Minimal is not out yet, but it gets me so excited.  Now I just need to figure out when I can get started.  :)

That's it for November!  I've got a post to share with you that I hope to put up soon!  Until then, I've got to get packing!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pretty Packages

The weather is playing tricks with my mind because the calendar clearly says it's almost November but the temperatures still feel like it's....well, not November.  But, I think we have a cold cool front coming this weekend and I hope it's here to stay for a few weeks so I can be all "Hello, Fall.  Why don't you stay a while?"  But, first things first..... 

Since I haven't made anything in the last couple of weeks, I figure I'd post some pretty packages since gift giving is a year around thing.  Some of these are old school, but I figured I'd post them anyway.  Because I'm WILD!!!!  Inside joke.  Sorry.   

I love cardboard boxes.  Actually, I hoard them. True story.  This one was really cute, but had lots of writing on it.  Instead of covering it with wrapping paper, I used some scraps to hide the writing.  Slapped on a tulle bow. Added a tag. And called it a day.  

My nephew Alex is 16 and not a fan of pretty packages.  He has an awesome, clever sense of humor, a taste in music that'd make an aunt like myself proud, and a style all his own.  He is quite the artist and appreciates design, but doesn't really care for bows and pretty tags.  So, for Christmas last year, I decided to make his Christmas present stand out from the others I've wrapped for him.  I basically wrapped his present and then beat it up and patched it up with duct tape.  It was honestly the first time he'd ever said anything about the wrapping on his Christmas presents.  He smiled and said in his low, raspy voice, "Sweeeeeet."

For any party I am attending, I like to wrap gifts according to the theme instead of sticking with traditional wrapping paper.  It just kind of starts the party early for me.

I am a big believer that the wrapping of a gift is as exciting as the gift itself.  So I treat my gifts almost like the cards I make and add and take away and add and take away until I feel like it's just as fun as what's in the box.

If you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with four things:  1. doilies, 2. ribbon, 3. washi tape, and 4. anything that clips.....clothes pins, binder clips, paper name it.  This is what it looks like when I combine all of my obsessions on one gift.  Love.

I used to be really concerned with how difficult a gift I wrapped would be to open. But that's what scissors are for, isn't it?  At the end of the day, if it is going to look pretty, I just go with it.  And sometimes I spend too long figuring out how I want to wrap a gift and don't have time to make a card. But then I am left with a gift receipt.  My solution? Stick it inside a baby envelope.  It's the right thing to do.

Well, I think that's all for tonight!  I'm doing the unthinkable and busting out the Christmas decorations this weekend so I can start putting everything out.  I don't usually like to skip holidays, but I can't wait to get Christmas going at the Bean's since I will be missing 3 solid weeks out of my most favorite time of year.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But  it's going to be  Maybe I'll throw a Christmas party.  In November. :) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Engaged in the details

I have some fun stuff to show you today.  I was trusted to design and create almost everything for my friend Julie's brother's chai pani (engagement).  He's become sort of a little brother to me so I was happy to do it. I love weddings and all that they entail, but mostly I love the details. I'm sure you've noticed that by now. 

Bhavik is one of the most fashionable guys I know.  He's the kind of guy you want to dress, only he can probably dress himself better than you could.  So, as far as design, I wanted things to look clean, modern, I aging myself here?....hip.

Since it was an engagement and not an actual wedding, I could take some liberties and veer away from the traditional Indian aesthetic.  Julie and her sister wanted to use fall colors for the event, but since I wanted to keep it fresh, I came up with a color palette that was sort of a modern take on fall colors.  I chose a modern font, and, since I've been obsessed with stripes lately, I incorporated it into the look and designed a striped pattern that would pretty much go on everything.  Overall, the combo really fit the vibe I was after and showed a bit of Bhavik's personality. 

I started with the itineraries.  I wanted something that didn't waste a lot of paper, was unique looking, and was, of course, functional.  Each itinerary was 1/3 of an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.

I made the itineraries into a fold down card using the striped pattern I designed and took that as an opportunity to put some color on the front.  The front side was folded shorter to reveal 1" of the inside of the card.  On this reveal, I included a message from the family saying 'thank you'. 

They were all attached to the white welcome boxes (I love gable boxes and loved that Julie let me buy them for this event) using a clothespin (I love clothespins and use them whenever and wherever I can.  It's sort of my thing now). 

When choosing favors, I like to go with the edible variety unless there is something you can find that really fits the couples personality.  Most people toss the favors at some point anyway.  For this event, the bride loves yogurt covered pretzels and Bhavik loves the color orange, so Julie and I packaged the pretzels with orange gummy bears.  While we were packaging everything, my house smelled like a dreamsicle.  :) 

The tags I made were simple.  I think it goes without saying, I used up a printer cartridge or two, but totally worth it.

We used small cellophane bags and attached each tag with a mini stapler.  Above is a close up of the favors when we finished. 

And here they are all ready to go.

And here they are in action.   They looked sooooo cute on the tables. In hindsight I probably should have take a snap of the entire table so you can see how cute they were. But, oh well. 

One other detail that Julie requested was signs to put at each event.  On Saturday, there was a cocktail hour and dinner.  Sunday was a breakfast and then lunch following the chai pani ceremony.

This was the one thing I was a little afraid of making because of the size of it - something about the size intimidated me - but Staples came to my rescue and printed the signs I designed and had them ready within 24 hours. Very simple.  And it was a nice touch to each event.  I felt like it personalized it a bit more.

I am pretty angry with myself that I did not get a picture of the guest book I made.  It was pretty cute, but you'll have to take my word for it.  I just might email the bride to see if she'll send me a pic of it at the risk of sounding crazy.

My next duties were centerpieces.  We hired a florist for Sunday's lunch following the ceremony, but we wanted something simple and cost effective for Saturday.  Something I've realized about myself is that flowers make me happy.  So, I almost see it as a must at these types of events.  Luckily, Central Market carries an awesome variety, so I bought a few stems and placed them around the bar tables at the cocktail hour and the other round tables.  
This is one of my favorite flowers ever.  I am not big on sunflowers unless they are the giant ones, but these colored ones just make me smile every time I look at them.  It fit our color scheme and make such a statement as just one bloom since the bar tables had black linens on them. 

Since the sunflowers were a bit pricier than other flowers, I also bought these spider mums to put at the other round tables that were there that were going to have white linens.  The cocktail hour was supposed to be outside by the pool area, but unfortunately we got rained out - hence the wet centerpieces - so we had to move everything inside into the hotel restaurant.  My centerpieces were too small and simple to make an impact in such a dark, large area, so they were basically non existent. :(  That was upsetting, but I guess that's what I get for not thinking of a plan B.  At least I got some snaps of them before they were moved, though.  These centerpieces were reused for the breakfast.  Nice call, Julie. 

The next centerpiece I put together was for the welcome dinner on Saturday night. 

Again, we wanted something simple and cost effective, so I stuck to just one bloom per table.  I scored some orchids from the florist, so I included those as well.  For more color, I used some sashes that my mom and grandmother made for my wedding as a table runner.   And don't be fooled by the rocks that I got.....I'm still Pintobean from the block.  Yeah.....Mr. Bean got sick of me saying that over and over again.

Moving on....I miscounted the number of tables I had to put blooms on - I am still confused as to how I did that - but the orchids came out to play and pretty much made it look like they always meant to be included.
I was also able to work with a florist for the lunch on Sunday.  I was able to do what I wanted here as well.  My friend's family really trusts me!!  Ha!   I tossed out my ideas for the centerpieces and, man, did the florist deliver.  I've worked with her before, so when I got the preview she said in her South African accent, "I know what you like.  You like 'different'."  Yes, I do.  In fact, I love 'different'.  :)

The first centerpiece was small.  I wanted to incorporate moss, unique flowers, and lots of color. 

The second centerpiece threw me for a loop.  I wanted just small, short vases with moss, rocks and a floating flower.  The florist surprised me with this.  Love. 

The third centerpiece I wanted square moss boxes and orchids.  Since the florist was working within our budget, she gave me this.  And I couldn't be more pleased.  This centerpiece was my favorite one.  Love. Love. Love.  

No, my friends, my duties didn't end there.  I also needed to decorate the basket that was going to be given to the bride.  Much like the basket I made for Bhavik's chandlo.  Only this time, the family wanted the basket to be open, so my options were limited.  I decided to keep the basket simple so it wouldn't clash or compete with the items inside.

I added a layer of glitter onto the basket using mod podge for some subtle bling.  Over the glitter layer, I rubbed on antique gold acrylic paint.  It really added a sheen to the basket that I did not expect.  The pics don't do it justice.  Finally, I added some trim from India. Thanks, Sharmee.  It was hard to let go of the trim because I intended on keeping it in my archives, but it pretty much made the basket and the items inside it come together.  Definitely worth the sacrifice.
Here is the finished product.  I think it looks pretty amazing.  The antique gold paint really highlighted the antique gold in the outfits. And the trim highlighted the border on the sari, the shoes, and the purse.  It really came together nicely. 

Julie's sister Alpa and I worked on the linens together, but Alpa really put her a lot of work into the backdrop. My only input was to add the orange to it instead of it being all that mulberry color.  Alpa had the decorator add some crystals for some bling and it looked really amazing.  Awesome job, Alpa. 

You'll see the bags I made at the front of the stage here.  I was really, really disappointed that they chose to turn the hand painted fronts away and show off the plain, unpainted backs.  But, what to do? 

Here is their close up.  Disappointing.  But it was cool to see them being passed out to the 11 people they were intended for.  Hopefully the photographer got a couple of snaps of them facing forward.  :(

Overall, the entire weekend went really well.  I was pleased with how everything looked and grateful that everyone seemed to enjoy it all.  I cannot tell you how cute this couple is together.  I swear they could be the stars of a Bollywood movie.  They are pretty awesome people so I can't wait for the wedding and to see their future babies.  They will be so beautiful.  :) Congrats, Bhavik and Asmini!! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Obsessions

It's beginning to look a lot like fall!  The weather is cooling and I'm already itching to get my Christmas decorations out.  This year I'm starting Christmas early because I'll be gone for 3 weeks starting November 23rd.  Since I won't have time to put everything out after I get back, I told Mr. Bean I want to have the house decorated by November 1st. That way at least he'll enjoy it while I am gone. I'll be missing 3 weeks of my most favorite time of year, so I think I will be motivated enough to start early, but we'll see how that goes....

This month's obsessions is dominated by TV shows.  I know it seems like Mr. Bean and I watch a lot of TV, but we really don't.  We do, however, make time for watching things we like.  Here's some shows that are on the top of the list of my far.  

{image via Beyond Hollywood}
Pan Am.  I've been counting the days for this show to begin.  Mostly to see the clothes.  I have a soft spot for '60s glam.  Everyone always looked so chic back then.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show has some weight to it when the pilot aired last Sunday.  Can't wait to see more of the clothes.

{image via Hulu}
The Sing Off.   Mr. Bean and I got addicted to this show when it was first aired as a four night special.  We were ecstatic when it came back for a second "season".  And when we heard it was coming back a third time as an actual show?  We jumped up and gave each other a hi-five.  Because that's what all the cool kids do.  My favorite performance yet?  The Beezlebubs' "Magical Mystery Tour".  So.Much.Fun.   But, you can't deny the talent of the season one winners, Nota.  

{image via Kube57}
Anderson.  Need I say more?  I have had a crush on Anderson for probably a decade now.  I love watching him on AC 360.  Love his RidicuLists.  I joined twitter just to follow him.  For real.  But I really love watching him when he fills in for Regis on Live with Regis and Kelly simply because I love to hear him giggle. The first time I saw Giggle Gate, I watched it about 25 times in a row. Now every time I watch it, I have to watch it at least two times.  My absolute favorite part of the show?  The very end of the credits where they show the production company.....there is about 2 seconds of AC giggling.  Love. 

Violent Femmes.  It's been a Violent Femmes kind of month for me.  I've been listening to my old school faves lately and I've kept Violent Femmes as my Pandora station for a few weeks now.  Kiss Off is one of those songs that I always like to listen to when I am pissed off. And lately I've been listening to it a lot.  

That's it for this month.  The last couple of weeks have been an insane roller coaster ride for me.  After this weekend, I aim to do something for myself.  And that just might mean some late spring cleaning.  I feel the need to purge.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Reminder

From one of my favorite songs

{painted with acrylic paint and a makeup brush}
Sometimes I need to have this on repeat in my head.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Everyday I'm Stenciling

Hello!  I thought I'd put up a quick post to show what I just recently made.  Remember the basket I made for this chandlo?  Well, my friend's brother is now having his chai pani (engagement) next month.  My friend's family has somewhat adpoted Mr. Bean and I, so I do what I can and in turn reap the benefits of awesome homemade Gujarati food.  It's a win for the Beans for sure.

My friend's mom shares my same affection for jute bags.  She received a small gift sized jute bag as part of a favor at a wedding and loves it.  It had a pretty red jacquard ribbon on it and an ohm painted on it.  Really, really cute.  She asked me to find some like it for her for the chai pani but with a Ganesh on them.  I just knew it'd be easy to find, but after about 4 days of many internet searches and a million different combinations of keywords, the only thing I came up with were vendors that sold with a minimum of 1000 pieces.  We couldn't really justify buying 1000 since we only needed 11 of them.  I did find some mini jute bags that were blank, so I made a promise I wasn't sure I could keep.  I told her I'd put the Ganesh on them myself. When I hung up the phone, I asked myself out loud, "Now, why'd you go and say a thing like that??" 

My friend sent me an image of the Ganesh she wanted and I pretended I knew what I was doing.  Since the image was so small and somewhat intricate (for it's size), I didn't want to hand cut it.  Instead, I used the Silhouette's trace feature to trace the outline of the image.  I say this very nonchalantly, but the trace feature was a discovery I made at about 1:00 am when I was desperate for a solution to the problem I volunteered myself for.  It is probably the most awesome discovery known to man.  Or at least to me.  I should go down in some crafty wall of fame somewhere.  Seriously.  It's that awesome.  I even woke up Mr. Bean to tell him. He didn't find it quite as awesome at the time, but once I finished everything, he was sure to pat himself on the back for getting me the Silhouette. 

I stole borrowed some transparencies from work, closed my eyes, and hit "cut" on the Silhouette.  And it worked.

I placed cardboard inside the bags and placed my stencil on top.  I taped the stencil down with painter's tape and just used a cheap sponge brush to dab the paint over the stencil.

We wanted to keep the bags simple, but you know my obsession with rhinestones by now, so it won't surprise you that I decided the bags needed some bling.

So, I added a rhinestone as the bindi.  Just stayin' classy, my friends.  

And here they are!  My friend's mom will see them tomorrow.  I hope she likes them.  I'm kind of hoping she doesn't because I kind of want to keep them.... A girl can never have enough small jute bags with a Ganesh painted on them, can she? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Old School

This one is old school, but I figured since everyone was back to school this month, I could legitimately post it.  That and I am procrastinating.  I have an audit at work on Thursday and I don't quite feel the pressure yet. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?  That's my motto.

A cousin got married a little while ago - back in 2009!  OMG, time flies! - and I co-hosted the bridal shower along with her two sisters. She answered her calling to be a teacher.  And she loves it.  So, we figured we'd throw her a school themed shower.  So fun. 

The color scheme was chalkboard black, chalk white, and Granny Smith Apple green - aka chartreuse. Humor me here.  I wanted to do a modern take on the teacher-apple concept so instead of a red apple we went with green. 

The envelopes were black to resemble a chalkboard. I addressed them in my best old school penmanship using a white pen.  I remember when I was in elementary, penmanship was actually my worst subject.  I would get marks against me because I wouldn't slant enough.  Or I slanted too much. Annoying.  The ironic thing?  Now, I get soooooo many comments about my handwriting.  Ha.  Take that, Mrs. Denniston!!!! 

The invitations were file folders much like a teacher might assign a student to take home. I couldn't resist adding a black label on the front to write A + P, her and her (now) husband's first initials. 

The invitation was inside the mini file folder.   I designed it so that it looked like a loose sheet of paper filed away.  For the RSVP, I added "remember to do your homework by the due date" at the bottom of the invitation.   

I've seen my nephews' take home folders from school many times, so I knew there was always some sort of spreadsheet that teachers include to show the students - and parents - what their homework assignment was.  Usually it is handwritten by the student.  So, I included "homework" for each guest to RSVP and gave all the information they would need to RSVP as well as the registry information.  I then paper clipped it to the file folder to prevent anyone from losing their homework.  :) 

Here is a full shot of the invitation.  I started out writing each guests name on the file folder tab to personalize it a bit more, but I didn't like how I wrote some names so I left it off for the majority of the invites. 

Andrea's sister's took pics, so you'll have to trust me when I say the shower was really cute.  We made a ton of decorations.  I had to throw in a penant banner, of course.  We played charades - an aunty favorite in our family - with wedding words.  Then, we surprised the guests with a true or false "pop quiz" about weddings. 

Andrea has her students do an "All About Me" posterboard so they can all get to know each other, so her sister created an "All About Me" for Andrea with pictures of Andrea growing up.  She can now use it in her classroom for her students to get to know more about her!

You know I couldn't leave out the classic old school lunch bags. These held the favors, which were personalized for each guest.

Inside the bags we included goodies like erasures and pencil sharpeners as well as these pencils which I had custom made to say A + P = 12.19.09, their wedding date. 

The shower was a big hit and so much fun.  It was a good mix of friends and family so we partied for a good 6 hours.  It was probably the most fun I've ever had putting a shower together.  My girl cousins are pretty awesome, so the planning process was just about as much fun as the shower itself.  I can't wait for the next one....