Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{etsy find: treasuries}

Now that I'm an Etsy seller, I'm finding all kinds of little nuances about Etsy itself... not to mention that I visit the site 19485726385 times per day, which, considering how much I visited it before I opened my shop, is quite impressive.

One of the fun nuances about Etsy is the ability to create your own treasuries. I have been doing that on my blog for some time (see the other "Etsy Find" posts) but now I have a formal place to create them. I'm always inspired by the treasuries that show up on the homepage every hour -- the color, texture, and photographic symmetry of all the curated products is so harmonious.

I created my first "official" treasury this week and was tickled pink by the results. I think the color and texture really pops. I called it "Feathers and Fur"... check it out here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

{wayfare magazine}

Are you a wanderluster like me? I could spend my life traveling, or dreaming about traveling when I'm not traveling.

If you're like me, you'll probably enjoy the new online travel magazine {Wayfare}. I stumbled upon it the other day via design*sponge. It's a delightful read with gorgeous travel photos, inspiring stories, and a delightfully design-y layout.


I meant to skim most of it, but ended up reading every page and loving it. My favorite story was the one from Kristy Carlson about her spontaneous move to Burundi, to raise her family and to see that coffee farmers get fair trade for their wares. The pictures are other-worldly, and her own {blog} is very inspiring, too. I can't tell you how much I'd love to pick up and move somewhere like Africa, too!

I also enjoyed the truffle-hunting story, mostly because now that I live in Portland, I'm surrounded by foodies who love to go mushroom picking on their days off. They have a wealth of knowledge about truffles that I could never hope to keep in my head, but I do love snacking on the freshly picked fungi when they bring them to work for me!

Keep an eye out, too, for my newest favorite blogger Oh Happy Day, who has a small one-page write up about her new life living in Paris with her American family. Her blog very often becomes a travel blog as she writes about family adventures to Amsterdam, Sweden, Lisbon, Madrid, etc...

Check out Wayfare and enjoy the read, my fellow wanderlusters!



Friday, February 24, 2012

{fresh tracks in 14 inches}

Even when work and errands and taxes and Etsy shops (tehehe) seem to be taking up most of my time lately, one still needs a moment to get out and enjoy the day. (Especially in rainy Portland, where a nice day is worth celebrating!)

This week Elizabeth and I went on our favorite day-trip getaway up to Mt Hood. The weather was gorgeous and since it just snowed 14 inches the night before, the powder was pure bliss. It was like magic under my skis. Seriously. Is there anything better?

We ventured off our favorite runs and took a new lift to the top-ish of the mountain (7,000 feet, anyway) where the clouds were softly hovering, looking like a misty cowl draped over the mountain top. It was completely lovely until we got caught in the middle of it and couldn't see two feet in front of our noses. Skiing in a whiteout? Yeah, we did that.

Here's the day's photo recap. Some of these shots look better bigger, so click on them for the full effect. My favorite is the very last one: the dark shapes of skiers silhouetted against the rolling clouds. I almost fell off my skis and dropped my camera trying to stop and grab that shot. Totally worth it. :)













Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{the shop is OPEN!}

How was your President's Day weekend? Mine was just swell!

As you've probably noticed from the blog subject, I have big news: my Etsy shop is open for business!! After months of researching, planning, drawing, ordering supplies, and taking photos.... I finally have my own little card shop up and running. Hooray!

Of course, I still have a lot to learn (I don't even want to talk about self-employed taxes...) but I hope you'll join my journey as I stumble along trying to figure this thing out! I only have a dozen or so items up right now, and the shipping is currently limited to within the US (I haven't tested filling out customs forms, yet... any of my overseas friends want to guinea pig for me??) but hopefully that will change in the future. Eventually I'll have some 5x7 prints listed, too, but my initial runs of them ran into a couple snafus, so that's on hold for now.

You may have also noticed some design changes on this blog to feature my shop. So check out the shop at www.darkroomanddearly.etsy.com and send me some feedback, good or bad!

Now back to drawing... what kind of cards do YOU want to see?

Friday, February 17, 2012

{lullatone and illustrations}

Oh my goodness, guys. It's been the craziest couple of weeks ever. I've been working non-stop and then coming home and drawing non-stop. Too many ideas spilling out all over the place. I'm getting pretty pumped about opening my shop, though. I don't think I ever posted my New Years resolutions this year, but getting my own Etsy space up and running is #1, and applying for a booth at one of Portland's local craft shows is #2. Both goals are in sight and it's SO exciting!

More on that later, but I figured I'd give you a sneak peak of what's coming up... some of these designs you've seen before, but I've got some new goodies that make me giggle, too! More to come!


Tanner has been amazing through all this. He's my biggest fan and my best resource. He never thinks that this is a goal too ambitious, but instead supports me whole-heartedly, and even gives me awesome ideas, like: "what about a penguin with a jet pack?!" When I show him my latest designs, he squeals and laughs and hugs me and says it's awesome. I hope you guys think so, too. :)

Our new iPad has been keeping me company during my evening scribbles, singing my playlist while the hours slip by.
I've lately become addicted to a new favorite soundtrack: Lullatone. It's the perfect creative music. I sing along even though there aren't lyrics. It makes me feel like I have my own personal soundtrack; I could be skipping down an adorable city road where everyone is smiling and dancing, like a Coca-cola commercial, or a 1950s TV show. Then I realize that I am skipping around the house with a goofy grin on my face, and Tanner tells me that I'm acting like Zooey Dechanel's character in New Girl. Again. (What? Doesn't everyone make up their own theme song during everyday conversation?). Then Tanner laughs and kisses me on the cheek and I go back to skipping around the house.

My favorite songs are Growing Up and The Best Paper Airplane Ever. Aren't the titles just perfect? They paint a perfect picture. I could write a whimsical Juno-like movie to this soundtrack.

(*Note to Mom: Lullatone would be the best classroom reading music ever!) Listen and see for yourself!

Speaking of whimsical and Zooey Dechanel, this latest clip from Saturday Night Live cracks. Me. Up. I freaking love Zooey. Her as Mary Kate Olsen is just hilarious. Enjoy! :)

I'm taking a long weekend for President's Day for some R&R and probably some more drawing, while I'm at it. Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{red velvet crinkle cookies}

How was your Valentine's Day? Tanner and I went out to a fancy restaurant for dinner, whereupon we realized that we are not fancy restaurant people. The waiter kept recommending different kinds of wines, expensive dishes, and sweet desserts, but we stuck with our glasses of water and pasta dishes and decided that next year we're going to find a quaint country diner, order a big apple pie, and call it even.

When we got home I decided to make a batch of our own dessert in the spirit of the holiday: red velvet crinkle cookies. Tanner admitted that he doesn't like red velvet, but I was set on making red heart cookies, so I went for it, anyway.

{red velvet crinkle cookies}


Ingredients:
1 box red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for rolling the cookies
Heart shaped cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. I was out of parchment paper and simply sprayed the pan with oil, which I later learned was not a good life choice.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.



Scoop a spoonful of cookie dough and form into a ball. Roll the ball in powdered sugar until fully coated. Place cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are set and cookies begin to crack.



Or so the recipe says. It was at this point that I realized that only 6 minutes had passed and the house started to smell like burnt cookie. I yanked the pan out of the oven at the same time the fire alarm went off. Unfortunately, my poor cookies were still gooey on top and almost black on the bottom. I scraped them off the pan and put them on a cutting board to cool, rather dejected.

I let them sit for a minute and then decided to cut them into hearts, anyway. I didn't have a heart cookie cutter, so I used a knife to chop off the edges into rough heart-like shapes. (Poor little burnt lop-sided heart cookies...)


As it turns out, Tanner tasted one of them and decided that his new favorite flavor is gooey-burnt red velvet.  So we shared our plate of Charlie Brown heart cookies and decided that next year I'll buy some parchment paper.


Monday, February 13, 2012

{etsy finds: valentine's day}

Valentine's Day is here already! Lately I've been whipping up some cute little cards in my studio (aka, the guest room), but I will show those to you later. For now, here are some of my favorite Etsy catches for the holidays... isn't it just addicting to browse all the homemade wonderfulness this time of year?? :)

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 10, 2012

{child's own studio}

I wish this website existed when I was a kid. {Child's Own Studio} is a site run by one woman who does something entirely unique: she makes stuffed animal softies based on children's drawings.

I have to say I was skeptical at first about how this would work -- I mean, I remember what my drawings were like as a kid, and there's no way my goofy stick people could be turned into stuffed toys... right?

But the proof is in the pudding. Check out these pictures and the amazing creations she turns out for each child... I want a whole menagerie of my own!

Lately it appears as though Child's Own Studio is getting a lot of press, and Ms. Wendy is getting overwhelmed with orders for her beautiful work. So you may want to hold off on rounding up your child's artwork (at least until her work load dies down) but I'm definitely going to bookmark it for the future.

Hopefully by the time I have a kid she'll be ready for another batch of orders. :)

Check out her Flickr page for more photos!






She even makes dolls that look like people! I want a mini-me, too! :)

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