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Bristol RI Engagement, Amy and John

I had the privilege this past weekend to photograph my friends Amy and John for their engagement portraits. We had a wonderful day walking around Bristol, RI, and we able to get some good shots despite the pouring rain! I can’t wait to attend their beautiful wedding in June! Congratulations Amy and John!

Bridesmaid “Ask” Bags

It’s official – I now have a wonderful set of ladies to help me celebrate our big day! I’m so excited and happy that they all said yes! The special group consists as my cousin as my maid-of-honor (I was hers two years ago for her gorgeous winter wedding), my future sister-in-law, and three of my closest friends.

Because they all mean so much to me, I wanted to find a special way to ask them if they would do me the honor of being by my side next September. I thought that a nautical themed bag would be the perfect touch!

I bought 5 canvas tote bags at my local craft supply store, as well as some navy fabric paint. I’ve always loved Sea Bags, particularly the ones with large numbers, and thought it would be a cute way to easily remember our wedding date! Typography and numbers will be a very important part of the aesthetic for our wedding, so the large numbers start to help enforce this theme.

I printed templates using the same typeface used on our Save the Dates, and cut out stencils. I then traced and hand painted each of the bags. A tiny “2014″ demonstrates the date, but I think that the bags have a more abstract numerical look – unless you knew they were meant to represent a wedding date, perhaps you’d never guess!

I attached the little note above to the top of each bag with a poof of turquoise and swiss dot tulle.

Inside each bag I included a bridal “cheat sheet” which had all of the information each lady would need, as well as a few simple rules. I also put together a set of swatches of preferred dress colors to choose from. I thought it would be an easy reference to bring out shopping!

The soft grey-green, white, and navy are our core wedding colors, with a punch of bright coral every so often. I love the coral envelopes I was able to find at the Paper Source, and am moderately obsessed with the little turquoise brads used to create the book and swatch package.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the bags turned out, and thrilled that everyone said yes!!

DIY Sketch Dinnerware

To continue the creative Christmas posts…DIY sketch dinnerware! I made a few mugs, and the appetizer plates below, and it was so fun to tailor the designs to each recipient.

The little sketches are all done with regular or super fine Sharpie, and drawn onto plain glazed ceramic that I picked up at various home good stores. After drawing on the plates or mugs, I baked them at 350 degress for one hour, and then let them cool completely in the oven.

I found that going over the design twice to three times prior to baking really helped them stand out, and also enhanced longevity through wash and wear.

I’ll definitely keep these in my arsenal of gift ideas. I’d love to try some with colored Sharpie too. So cute!

Watercolorist in Training

All of the holiday gifts have been distributed, which means it is time for the creative Christmas recap!! I was almost 100% successful in making all of my gifts this year (I’d say 5% were store-bought), so I figured I’d share some of my ups and downs (this is the first in a 5 part series which I will lovingly call “Creative Christmas.” Get excited!). I had a great time working on projects for friends and relatives; I wish I could have made even more! Guess I’ll have to start earlier next year!

I’ve never used watercolors before, but decided that now is as good a time as any to start. And I love them! The variety of tones and depth of color they produce is completely different than acrylic or oil paint, and I am moderately obsessed with the way they elevate representations of everyday objects. The little vignettes I painted are specific to the interests of the recipient…

…an avocado for a guac lover…

…a set of little wine bottles for a vino-loving friend…

…the Fire Island lighthouse…

…and a very glamorous artichoke (which I finished in a gilded frame).

The largest painting (the lighthouse) is 9×12 inches and framed to 11×17 (I forgot to photograph this), with all of the others fitting in 5×7 frames.

I loved working with a small brush and building layers of color and detail. I will certainly be continuing to refine my style and I can’t wait to make more gifts!!

Check back soon for part two of the Creative Christmas recap…(*hint* – it has to do with DIY patterned china!)


Succulent Garden

I’ve jumped on the succulent bandwagon. Like everyone else, I have become moderately obsessed with these little guys. They are so cute, and seem difficult to kill, which is great for someone with my history of massive plant failure.

I got these particular plants at Home Depot (which has a surprisingly diverse selection). I’m not sure what they are called, but the two smaller ones were under $3 a piece, and the larger one came in at $8. Initially I put it back after hearing the price, but couldn’t leave it. With the fun little leaves, it is the clear favorite and the splurge (a whole $8!) seemed worth it.

While the appeal of planting them in a beautiful glass container was strong, everything I read about ensuring succulent success said it all had to do with drainage. Drilling holes in a pretty glass container quickly made this option far less desirable. I ended up using what I think was at one point a dish for a bonsai tree. It was a strange dusty black, so I spray painted it grey, which I think works really well with the grey-blue tone of the plants. It also has excellent drainage in the bottom which I covered with coffee filters to prevent soil leakage.

Overall I’m very pleased with the results. And I’ve managed to keep all three plants alive for over a week, even through the transplant process. A win all around!