Sunday, November 30, 2014

fifi's new book: prairie-style weddings

This beautiful image tells you almost everything you need to know about the upcoming release of stylist-author-editor-rockstar Fifi O'Neill's latest swoonfest Prairie-Style Weddings (Chronicle Books). Currently available for pre-order wherever books are sold, it will be released on December 2, 2014.

What the cover doesn't tell you is that in addition to over 150 GORGEOUS images with perfectly crafted text, the book is peppered with homespun do-it-yourself projects. Beyond being a beautiful resource for brides and grooms to be, the ideas presented easily translate to any type of event or even space.

I am truly honored and thrilled that my tinkered clothespins have a cameo in the book!

As you may already know, by some stroke of magic Fifi has become a dear friend and trusted mentor to me; I call her my Fairygodmother and she truly is. While visiting her on a photo shoot over the summer, I was treated to a sneak peek of Prairie-Style Weddings when she received a review-proof by email.

To witness Fifi style a location and work with her longtime photographer (and fellow fan of The Jam) Mark Lohman, is to really understand the painstaking and lengthy process that goes into making a work of art. Buckets of flowers, props, lighting equipment, honed talents and time all combine into creating images that are not only meticulous but simply breathtaking.

Plan on being in NYC on December 4? Go to Times Square and look-up and you will not only see this on a billboard, you just might see Fifi gazing up at her work amidst the bright lights of the Big Apple.

Warmest congrats to dear Fifi on Prairie-Style Weddings!

Okay, I'm off to pre-order my copy and then write for Fifi's prairie style magazine. Have a favorite cover? Visit Chez Fifi to comment your preference. (Vote for the center! It's one of the features I'm writing!)


added 12/6/14

Prairie-Style Weddings Billboard, Times Square, NYC, 12/4/14

Fifi O'Neill celebrating her Prairie-Style Wedding billboard in NYC!

Monday, November 24, 2014

supplies within reach: ideas for clothespin dolls

Lately I haven't had long stretches of time to make things but on the upside, this sort of urgency to create on the fly definitely leads to using whatever is within reach. Some materials to try:

Good ol' construction paper
My Pilgrim doll's dress is made from black and white pieces of construction paper (from Ikea, my fave) over a white cupcake liner

Paper lunch bag and low-tack tape
The zig-zag edging of the sack adds a fun detail to the Native American doll's dress. This very weathered clothespin is bound at the slats to fit into the wooden doll stand; I like to think it makes the doll look like she's wearing fancy boots. A narrow slice of tape makes a headband that's easy to position (and can hold a feather); its bright turquoise color is perfect!

Construction paper and paper punch
Backtracking to Halloween, having this circular paper punch made assembling a witch's hat much easier. A scrap of black tulle adds mystery!

Intricately laced doilies make flirty little skirts, collars and aprons.

Cupcake liners
Of course, here's a lovely trio from my first book Tinkered Treasures

Foil cupcake liner or aluminum foil
Yet another variation on the clothespin or peg doll is the dreamy Merpeg from Seaside Tinkered Treasures

Endless possibilities for limited tinkering time!

I am thankful for your visit! Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, happy and yummy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

interview with my "page buddy" linda peterson, author of upcycled jewelry, bags, belts and more!

Ooh la la! Isn't this so cool? It's from a new book called Upcycled Jewelry, Bags, Belts, and More by Linda Peterson. I'm so happy to be part of this blog tour especially since Linda and I both like making wonderful somethings out of everyday nothings.

Pretty Linda the YouTube Star!
I almost feel like Linda and I are co-workers because we share the same publisher, CICO Books. Linda calls us Page Buddies since our books are neighbors in the CICO Books catalog. I love that! As a stop on Linda's online book tour I thought it would be fun to interview her. In between I'll share some of my favorite projects from her latest effort. The entire book is really cool and very inventive.

Hi Linda! How fun to be acquainted with another CICO Books author. As soon as your cool book arrived in the mail, I thought, yep 35 projects! Which is of course, the standard CICO format. I think your book is brilliant and our MO's of making beauty from the everyday is quite similar!

Hi Elyse! I'm so glad to be able to talk to a fellow CICO author! Congratulations on being on the Amazon Best Seller List for Craft and Hobbies! That's AWESOME!! 

I can't help but check my rankings constantly. Thank you! 

Thanks for the sweet compliments on my book. We do have the same MO of making beauty from the ordinary! I absolutely love and adore your style. It speaks to my heart. I was raised in a family who loved pretty, dainty little things and knick knacks everywhere. It reminds me of my great childhood. But, I don't think my husband, who is an avid outdoorsman appreciates the dainty quite as much as me so in order to reach a compromise in our decor, I tend to create with a little more upcycle, rustic, kind of industrial style and every once in a while when he isn't looking, I throw in some dainty stuff. I think he's okay with that.  

That's awesome, Linda. I love how in your introduction you describe your "rat-packing" ways because it's so true that when recyclable items is a main supply source, you begin to walk a fine line with hoarding. I actually have baskets of jars and cans and even colorful plastic bags, so I'm right there with you. As you know, I call what I like to do "tinkering" and was wondering if you had a stock term that you use for yourself?

We have this great little farm in Iowa where there are tons of what I call "treasure ditches". Full of thrown away things like old metal pans, real tin cans, bed springs and the like. It's where my upcycling addiction kinda took off.

As for what I call my addiction? I'm not sure I have a specific name for it, dare I call it hoarding? Hmmm... It is hard to keep a balance. I keep a tub of cans, a tub for rusty metal etc. I try to keep the rule that when the tub fills up, sometime has to get thrown out before a new item is placed in there. Ordinary things, I don't tend to keep as much like soda cans, etc. unless they're from another country or have great artwork on them. However, just dumpster diving, you do pick up those things out of the ordinary that have potential for something in the future - that's kinda a problem if you don't have a lot of storage space. 
lone star earrings

That's why upcycling jewelry is a perfect balance. Find objects, keep them small, make really fun and trendy jewelry! 

When I created my books for CICO, I took step by step pictures which I emailed to be illustrated for the instructions but all of the projects were shipped from RI to the UK for shooting and styling on-location. Lots of trust on both ends. Tell me about your process.

After working out the concept of the book with the publisher, I create the first 10 projects which are sent to the UK to begin work on the blad (a little booklet that gives an overview of the book). From those projects they create the front and back cover. It takes me a good solid 8 to 10 weeks to create all the projects in the book. I actually like to create a little more, then I exchange projects based on complexity, or maybe I think another one will fit the theme better, etc. 

When all the projects are done, I hop a plane to the London where I meet up with my editorial team and photography team. We outline the book, shoot all the photographs and write all the draft copy in about a week. The projects all stay in the UK and are sent to a stylist and a styling photographer, however I come home then with the step-out photos, the draft copy and I fill in the gaps, write my intros and romance copy. This generally takes a good 2 weeks at the computer to get everything down right so that it's logical and explained well. I like to leave the book rest a few days and before I send the copy over to the publisher, I read it over and double check what I wrote. 

loop de loop ring from a BICYCLE INNER TUBE!
Next, the copy, photos, tips and styled photographs are sent to a book designer who lays out the book. After a few weeks, I get a PDF preview copy where I can make any changes or give additional input. The publishers are so kind to take my input. Sometimes, they adjust things with my suggestions and other times they don't. But, I always get a good reason as to why not and I learn from them about what works and what doesn't. In all honesty though, I leave a lot of that up to them as they are the book publishing professionals.  

The books go through a series of proofreaders to make sure that everything is clear and understandable and follows a consistent format. Finally it goes to press! This whole process takes less than a year - which is incredible in the book publishing industry. 

cell phone pouch
I have always been impressed with CICO books. I am proud to have my name on them. They are truly the best at what they do! And I have to give a shout out to Marie Clayton - OUR editor! I have worked with Marie on all my books and she is so great at what she does. She really puts a lot of time in to making the books successful as well - See that's another thing we have in common! :) 

I agree. CICO assembles an extraordinary team of people. I couldn't be happier with how lovely my books are.

I think I enjoy the making just as much as the writing of the books. How about you?

I LOVE ...THRIVE on this whole process! I love the making process, and really I don't even mind the writing process. I thrive on the challenge and when the books are finished, there is a big sense of accomplishment and I'm ready to do it all over again!

Like I always say, creating a craft book isn't like brick-laying but it sure is a lot of work but quite a labor of love.

Warmest congrats to Linda on her new book Upcycled Jewelry, Bags, Belts and More. I am so making the cell phone case first!


Monday, October 13, 2014

bewitching switches

As I always say, with simple substitutions all of my projects can be made to look very different. So to prepare for an upcoming book signing and Halloween tinkering event at a Barnes & Noble I thought, why re-invent the wheel? Let's make projects from my first book Tinkered Treasures but use a different palette.

I began by gathering favorite materials such as bakers twine, millinery forget-me-nots and paint chips, along with pretty papers of course, but in shades of orange, gray and black over my usual yellow, pink and aqua.

I decided to revisit a few projects that seemed especially suited to Halloween, like these pretty favor boxes tinkered from paint chips.

See! Not scary at all and ready to hold all kinds of small tricks or treats!

Use printed text to alter the pretty clothespins project...

into handy holders with holiday messages. Try a fun font at about 14 point, print-out and see how it lines up on the clothespin. You might need to do a few tests. Once you have the sizing you like, just affix with glue stick and trim to fit! Finish with a light coat of decoupage medium (or not) and let dry.

And add a little pumpkin spice to your October 31st with the cupcake flags and bunting project in the colors of Halloween.

Leave it to Lecien to have a pretty floral fabric with an orange background!

If you're in the area, stop on by to make the favor boxes with me. I may use this event as an excuse to buy that tutu I've always wanted!

{If your Barnes & Noble doesn't have my books on the shelf, just ask at the Information Desk and they can easily order them from the warehouse, or order online here or from your favorite bookseller.}

Happy October wishes!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

the couch stays

Thanks for all the lovely ideas for the Girlie Office! I came to the following conclusions:
- I want to keep the couch
- I need storage
- I like working at a table
That's me... pondering... Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
This morning I headed to Ikea to get ideas and walked away with this thought after seeing two KALLAX shelving units back-to-back on display:

Buy two white (or pink?) shelving units and position as shown above to create not only ample storage for books, magazines and craft items, but a sturdy work area. Unify the pieces by covering the top or entire exterior with oilcloth fabric. Perhaps add this pink SNILLE swivel chair to skooch around in.

I'm not always big on bird and butterfly motifs but keep coming back to the just-above pattern from Dotty Brown. It's the roses! They are so lovely and I'm a big fan of tone-on-tone and like the varying shades of pinks.

Keeping it real, peeps!
So what's not making the cut? I think the coffee table is going to take up residence in the basement. My plan is to (1) remove all furnishings; (2) position the couch and the shelving-as-tables and see whatever else fits in comfortably. The painted chair will stay. The wall color will stay. The curtains and chandelier will stay.

More pretty oilcloth considerations all from Dotty Brown. {Please ship to the U.S.!}

Which oilcloth pattern do you like best? I'm already changing my mind from A to E. Stay tuned!

Thank you for visiting!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

girlie office: 2.0?

I love my "Girlie Office."

It's the first room I tackled, decorated, wrote about.

It once looked like this

and then like this...

but soon I switched-out paisley for posies and it's pretty much looked like this for a while.

It's light and breezy and filled with tinkered treasures

When I'm working on projects, it looks like this

but when I'm writing, I try to keep it looking like this.

Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
It's a sunny, small first-floor bedroom with one closet with a curtain instead of a door. It has a supercomfy yellow couch, an aqua crackle-painted coffee table, a striped and decoupaged vanity, a small yellow chest of three drawers (one of which is being used as a desk hutch), a desk, a small cabinet and a tall bookcase.

Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
As much as I adore it, I am feeling the need to streamline and turn it into a better creative workspace.

I've been thinking about making some changes for a while but I love the comfy couch (have I said that already?) and am sentimental about the furniture that I've painted.

Imaging something like this holding a desk top? Source
So, I'm leafing through magazines and poking around Pinterest for ideas. My sister-in-law Meridith suggests removing the couch and building a work table over short shelving units. Sounds great but I'm like, "But I love napping on the couch!"

Love a picnic table indoors! Source
Then I wonder, should there be a large table in the center of the room

or along the wall like a counter? If I were asked to advise on someone else's space, I feel like I would have so many ideas but am finding it difficult to be objective and insightful on the re-thinking of my own studio.

So I'm putting this out there for all of your brilliant minds. Any suggestions for GirlieOffice 2.0?

Thank you and I'm looking forward to reading your comments!