Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Happy Accidents

So, my "manufacturing" process is unpredictable. I am often at the mercy of color copy attendants, messy tabletops and availability of my favorite materials.

When I refer to my products as "handmade", they are indeed just that: made by me, with my hands, and usually glue and scissors.

I have a customer who requests journals for her children's teachers at the beginning of each school year. She usually wants something a bit different, and I try to accommodate. This year, she wanted lace and burlap, and some shabby chic images. I get set in my ways with what I like, so I look forward to being pushed in other design directions. 

I was so pleased with my designs for her, and decided to add them to my shop, BabyBlackDog.etsy.com

Different papers require different techniques, and assembling is always a bit of a challenge...

But today, the glue was the issue. It was everywhere. 

When the glue turned ugly on a final product, I decided to get creative...

and cut an embellishment to cover a spot...
And sprinkled glitter where hot glue was excessive...

Accidents make my creativity brave.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Joys of Wrapping...

I have a need to create. Every day.

But when creativity alludes me for one reason or another, I can always jump-start the flow by wrapping a gift.
Gift-wrapping is my original purpose, my passion and one of my favorite activities.

It begins with the present, of course, but I'm a firm believer that the packaging is a huge part of the perfect gift.

I prefer boxes to bags. Maybe because I'm such a fan of wrapping paper. I can't get enough of a beautiful paper. There's a room in my house dedicated to rolls of it. Technically it's a closet...
...and also contains poorly-folded linens, but I digress.

Once the paper has been chosen, next comes the ribbon. I love beautiful ribbon in casual fabrics, but the organization of said-ribbon?
...not so important.

But, the perfect ribbon?
...most important!


My favorite part of wrapping, however, is found in the embellishing. Shiny objects, pretty buttons, old Scrabble letters, found florals, bits and pieces of this and thats...

I find that too much is often just right, but should be tastefully done. Obviously. And hot glue is used for attaching the baubles, carefully avoiding finger contact...

And never underestimate the power of a well-placed chenille chick. With a flora added, when possible...

And before I realize, creativity has returned and a loved one has been thought of satisfactorily...


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Old School

I spent some time this week with some ideas and new listings for my shop, BabyBlackDog.Etsy.com, and, as always, I get tickled by how low-tech my creative process is. I love letterpress and modern or clean designs.

I, however, am of a cluttered-taste and very old-fashioned in my creations. I am a literal cut-and-paste artist...


A cutting board is my favorite tool and black card stock & glue sticks are my trade secrets. 


I try to create on the computer, I do! I try to think different, but my ideas always come back to vintage and black borders. 

So, I'm going with it! I'm sticking to it! I'm dancing with the one who brung me, or sumpin like that...


Cause, I sure do like to follow my dreams...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Christmas Thank-You!

I recently ordered some Thanksgiving catering from someone I admire, and I wanted to send a little thank-you (along with my payment!).

I have a stash of Weck jars because they make great gift containers-they're inexpensive and respected and come in unusual shapes. I put one of my mini Santa journals in a cello bag tied with black bakers twine...
added a package of gingham cupcake papers, a spool of twine from the dollar bin at Target, wrote a note on my You're a Little Deer notecard (cause she is!)...
and added a tiny plastic deer to emphasize the point...
I packaged the set in the jar with some shreds and tied a happy Christmas pipe cleaner to embellish...
Cute. To the point. Special. 

Merry Christmas Giving!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dabbles

I'm a dabbler.

I have a lot of ideas. Some of those ideas stick, some don't.

My mom, The Finder, will show me something and OF COURSE I'll remark, "how cute is that" or sumpin, to which she will reply, "you gave it to me!".

I lose interest or maybe my attention gets divided, but over the years, my tastes have changed and refined as a result of my dabbling.

In packaging a Baby Black Dog sale today, none reminds me of my Transforming Taste more than my logo. I originally created it with an image from a 1940s textbook that looked like Emma, my Baby Black Dog. Along with found text, I cut and glued together my "logo". I took it to Staples and had a stash of copies made, then I glued them to the backs of my journals. 

Years later, I had a graphic designer friend create an updated logo using the same images. It looked cleaner and made me happy. I still take my originals to copy centers, but instead of handing them over in a file folder, I email a pdf and walk out with an organized stack of logos for my business cards and journals.

As I packaged today, the difference made me stop...
originally wanted an Etsy shop so I'd have a destination for my dabbles...a place where I could say, "yes, you can buy that here"...a spot where I would prove to myself that I could do a "new thing". I just turned 55 and I'm certainly no "old dog", but if I were, I'd say that today I just wanted to encourage us old dogs that it really is never too late to learn new tricks...

BabyBlackDog.Etsy.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Valentine Thought...

My oldest GrandBoy's preschool Valentine's party is this month. His first as a preschooler, my first as a Munny. Of all the holidays, Valentine's Day isn't my favorite, but, oh, the hearts! The pinks! The reds! The "give one to everyone"! 

Not that anyone asked, but I searched and found such cute ideas for classroom pass-outs, and showed several to him, to see what he thought, as I am always itching for a party-project. He was uninterested till he saw a photo of little cereal boxes, and said "Okay, that one!" 

In the next couple of weeks, my eye was drawn to printed cards, those with gold foil to be exact. But he would have nothing to do with them. I thought this was a general "no" to classroom treats, but then he said "just the cereal, Munny". I had forgotten all about those! It had been days! But he remembered and the plan was forged.

I found packages of little cereal boxes, bought plastic silver spoons, alphabet beads and striped ribbon...
His classmates' names I spelled out on the spoon handle, and lightly-glued them to the boxes. He helped me assemble them somewhat (cause, hot glue), I printed up tags for them, matted and strung them on the ribbon...
And attached them to the boxes of cereal...
Cutest valentines ever!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Moments of Little Discoveries and Light-Bulbs

My oldest GrandBoy is 5 and he lights up our world. He's funny, confident, almost too-independent and, he's uber-creative. You can almost see the gears in his brain moving, designing and thinking. All the time. It's one of my favorite things about him.

Yesterday we went to enjoy the sunshine by doing some painting on a (washable!) blanket in the backyard, as his favorite subject to paint are sticks and he and his Papa had just collected a few of them.

We usually have a stack of freshly-painted sticks hanging around...

But yesterday, I watched him break up a small, thin one, try to paint it and then discover that he could dip the ends in the paint without the brush. It was such a gift to watch this discovery, that light-bulb moment...

We picked them up and placed them in an Angry Bird paper cup...
...because I thought they were spectacular, and wanted to "save" them cause I've got big plans for those sticks...