Creative Envy

Sunday, November 29, 2009, 9:58 pm
Filed under: craft envy, design envy, Etsy | Tags: , ,

My parents and I popped in to Rochester’s Second Storie indie market last Saturday to check it out. It was pretty great and very similar to Columbus’ Tiny Canary event. It’s always so inspiring to see people making their living (or just some extra money) through handmade goods and art.

These were some of my favorite vendors at Second Storie.

Based in Portland, Oregon self-taught photographer Abby takes pictures of her everyday using old film cameras she’s picked up in thrift shops. I was completely drawn to the subject matter of her prints as well as the color tones in her work. They are vivid yet still have that vintage softness that I am so drawn to. I picked up a pack of her winter card prints.

Foundling’s owner Betsy creates jewelry using pages from old books, vintage patterned fabrics, timeworn beads, and recycled silver. I am in love with her product photography style and have my eye on this necklace and these pins. (Great site too).

Dani and CharLee are the design team behind Pearl & Marmalade’s charming cards and stationery. Their designs and sentiments really stand out to me in the ever-growing world of letterpress. I love their little manifesto too:

We love shadowy grey inks, lively greens, Jane Austen, thoughtful typesetting, Cy Twombly, fresh cut peonies, clean lines, whiskey & gingerale, quirky graphics, vintage trophies & Vera textiles, NYC bagels, salt water taffy, square knots, and a rich cup of Intelligentsia coffee on Sunday mornings in mighty Chicago.

Overall, it was a great show and I gathered up lots of business cards so I don’t forget to keep up with the vendors. I’ll definitely go back next year.

Friday, November 20, 2009, 4:24 pm
Filed under: design envy | Tags: , , ,

P henomenal is the only word that comes to mind over and over as I browse the work of artist Jessica Hische. Did you like that initial cap P I put right there? Cuz Jessica designed it. It is part of her current project called Daily Drop Cap, in which she is offering a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap everyday for our enjoyment or for “the beautification of blog posts everywhere”. Amazing idea.

I proceeded to get on Jessica’s website that showcases her work and my jaw hit the desktop when I got to the home page. Just the home page! Jessica’s style is right up my alley. It’s decorative and sweet and sophisticated and smart and simple and fancy and organized and vintage and classic. That’s a lot of adjectives, sorry. I was just gushing as I went through it. This girl is beyond talented! I’m not joking when I say her work literally raised my heart rate and kinda got me choked up because it’s so great to know that there are people out there creating such beautiful things.

Jessica’s passion is typography which is something I truly admire because type is tricky and she makes it look effortless. She reminds me a lot of one of my favorites, Marian Bantjes. Not only does she appear to know how to use type, the girl actually creates her own from scratch! Beyond that, she’s just obviously a kick-ass designer and illustrator.

Artists like Jessica inspire me like crazy. I love discovering people like her because they remind me of the quality of work for which I will continue to strive. Jessica also has a blog (that I will now be subscribing to).

An enormous “THANK YOU” is due to Christina over at Christina Likes for posting about the Daily Drop Cap project, introducing me to Jessica’s work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 9:11 pm
Filed under: craft envy, design envy, random | Tags: , , ,

I just received the Crate & Barrel 2009 Gift Guide in the mail yesterday and fell in love with these ornaments.

But here’s the thing. I feel kinda guilty about it. I mean, don’t I lose some considerable street cred if I were to purchase these and people asked where I got them, anticipating that I’d naturally say “Etsy” or that “I made them” instead of sheepishly saying “Crate & Barrel”? Nothing against this big, lovely store (my couch is from there), but when something looks handmade, don’t you want it to come from an individual who made it with love and care and sweat and tears?

I’m torn on this issue. While I truly appreciate how mainstream the craft movement has become (and hence, stores like C&B and CB2 are offering products in this aesthetic), it still bums me out. Because I feel like the big guys can mass produce these items for significantly less and make a killing on them in comparison to someone, say from Etsy, that has labored over their product and it is one of a kind (and, therefore, more expensive). Plus I prefer to support independent, self-employed artists but sometimes I just can’t afford it.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 25, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: design envy | Tags: , ,

I realize that I always post something when I receive the latest CB2 catalog, but I can’t help it. There’s usually at least one thing in there that I’m craving after the initial flip through.


CB2 Holiday Catalog (love this cover shot)

I know that everything in the catalog is mass produced, but CB2 does an awesome job at offering products that don’t LOOK manufactured. Here are two items that I think could pass as found objects you’d see at an antique shop.

spoke mirror

spoke mirror

print block panel

print block panel

The bicycle spoke mirror is a bit more reasonably priced at $59.95. The print block panels are kinda crazy at $249 a piece and it seems like you need at least a couple to make a visual impact. And, CB2, I am STILL waiting for my coveted track brass wall strips to go on sale. Consider yourselves on notice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009, 3:02 pm
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Every time I’m in Anthropologie with someone I say that I’d like to move in. That place just makes me so happy regardless if I buy something or not. It has this effect on me where I always walk out of there feeling inspired. I realize this might sound really silly to some people; I mean, it’s just a store. And I don’t get the same feeling when exiting Target. That is more of a “Hey, I came in here for toothpaste but left with $50 worth of stuff” kind of experience.

I was at the Easton store yesterday and I had to snap a few incognito shots with my phone of their current installation. They have these two giant ostriches made out of paper standing guard around a quaint table setting on a platform. Who thinks of this stuff and can you please become my best friend?



Anthropologie is always posting a sign for current positions and it usually says “visual intern”. I have inquired about this position to see what the requirements are and if it would be something I could do on the weekends. Unfortunately it is for college students only, for school credit. So unfair. To be a fly on the wall when that genius person comes up with these crazy ideas would be amazing. Sigh….

Thursday, June 11, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: craft envy, design envy | Tags:

It was a beautiful day at McCarren Park in Brooklyn, if a little hot at times; but the trees provided lots of shade relief when needed.


I love the NYC pick up after your dog/$1,000 fine signs on all the park fences. The design is great. And yes, that would be  beagle wearing a necktie. OF COURSE it is!

I was really impressed (and completely overwhelmed)  by the creativity in merchandising by all the vendors at Renegade. The ones that stole the show for me though are below.


1. Mean Cards had a super smart-looking booth. It was aesthetically beautiful yet environmentally friendly, efficient for finding what you wanted to buy, and just overall clean and simple. I wish I had taken more photos of the entire booth but I didn’t want to look like a stalker (you’ll notice that most of my pictures are from a safe distance). Mean Cards had all their merchandise displayed inside gorgeous handmade cardboard frames (yes, cardboard CAN be gorgeous and they pulled it off) hung with fish line from the tops of the tent. The owner explained it was to keep the foul language cards out of reach from youngsters’ gazes. Smart because they were also at the perfect eye-level for grown-ups and looked like framed art hanging on invisible walls. Each card was numbered so when you were ready to check out you just listed off what you wanted. It was so fast. I wish I had a picture of the great dane that was there taking up most of the booth’s real estate while we were browsing. He was so sweet and, well, just huge.

2. I didn’t get any other pictures than this one of the Greenpoint Craftworks booth but I loved their display too. They had the whole found objects theme going including airplanes made out of old dress shoes and this sign incorporating an old bicycle wheel. They have way better pictures posted on their blog here.

3. Up in the Air Somewhere was another eco-friendly, smart display. The walls of the booth were covered from top to bottom with uniform-sized, white sheets of paper with their logo floating in the center. It was a simple idea but when it all came together, the overall look was so elegant and clean. You can see a better picture of it here.

4. Nervous System’s jewelry was already baffling enough to me but then I saw this intricate wooden display for their merchandise and it completely floored me. Wow. This is some major talent. They talk about how they did it on their blog. I didn’t pick up anything at the time, but I think I’m going to have to visit their online store and make a purchase. Soon.

5. And finally, one of the booths that I was dying to see in person because I have seen it a bunch online, was that of Something’s Hiding in Here. This picture does not do their merchandising talents justice. Again, I didn’t want to be too paparazzi-ish so you can view more photos here from a past show. And if you have a few hours to waste, you should check out their Flickr photostream. I have total abode-envy for their Philly loft. Sigh….

You can see all these photos bigger on my Flickr Renegade set along with some others.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 8:59 pm
Filed under: design envy | Tags: ,

I’ve been meaning to do some searches for a free cross-stitch style font for awhile now. Thanks to Jessica at How About Orange, I don’t have to look any further.


I am now having grandiose visions of invitations using said fonts for a knitting extravaganza party. Who would have such a thing? Yeah, I would.

Fonts: Knitfont and Home Sweet Home