February 27, 2013

Amazing illustrations and a magical story…

Are you sure this is an annual report?

Cover spread from GRPL 2012 Annual Report; illustration by Kate Wheeler

The Grand Rapids Public Library's 2012 annual report is ready for online viewing.

Thanks to the amazing illustrations by Kate Wheeler of Rat Girl Studios (she also happens to be on staff at the library!), we've published an annual report that really doesn't look much like an annual report at all. And I mean that as the very highest compliment!

Taking the barest of outlines as her starting point, Kate ran with it and developed rich concepts and lovely, magical illustrations that sweep the reader right into the drama.

"Branches" illustration by Kate Wheeler

I only give myself the barest of credit for laying out the type nicely. Kudos really belong to Kate for this one!

February 25, 2013

Cheery little bird art on my wall

Winter cardinal by Strawberry Luna

Remember when I bought these adorable cardinal prints from Strawberry Luna? I finally got them framed and hung on the wall in my living room. I decided to hang them together so they act as one large piece of art.

I feel happy every time I look at them. I love birds and birch trees and seasons and nature and beautiful colors!

February 20, 2013

B is for birds & butterflies: a wall collage

A recent visit to a friend's house inspired me to get going with my vision for hanging a grouping of items together on a dining room wall.

First step was to take the stack of dusty picture frames that had been sitting around since my discovery of spray paint back in the fall and decide what art to put in them. I framed a page from a paper brochure, a page from an old Picasso calendar, ordered an old photo off of Snapfish, and designed a piece with a few favorite Bible verses. Then I gathered together bits and pieces from other rooms of the house.

Next was the arranging. I laid everything out on the dining room table, parallel to the wall it would hang on so I could easily envision the space I had available and how things would look next to the butterfly print I already had hanging. After a week and four or five arrangements I was ready to go at it with a hammer and nails. Actually, to be honest, I have my husband do that part for me! I just art direct!

Once everything was up a few days passed and I had the inspiration to tuck in my favorite bird nest (sideways so you can see the different layers within) and a few feathers. It was just the textural and sculptural touch it needed. Voila!

February 18, 2013

sweet treats in a simple stitched bag

A friend treated me to this lovely little grown-up goody bag made of waxed paper, a zig-zag stitch, and a bit of love attached with a safety pin. So sweet!

February 15, 2013

A taste of poster design

The library's biggest event of the year is happening in just a few days! Taste of Soul Sunday celebrates African American history and culture and is wildly popular year after year.

This is the poster design we used, which is very similar to years past:

As a creative experiment, I tried refreshing the design. The "8" represents the fact that this is the eighth annual event. I used some images from past events mixed with images of this year's performers and presenters. I think it gives you a sense of the flavor of the event more quickly than the tried and true design. However, because it is not as thorough and doesn't list every single presenter, the committee decided against using it.

I suppose in a perfect world I would have had enough time to attempt a blending of the best elements from each of the two designs. Part of me thinks that probably wouldn't have worked anyway. I think the strength of the experimental poster was the fact that there was less to digest.

February 13, 2013

happy hearts at home

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are some photos of how we decorate using our homemade heart hangers, valentine cards, and a few simple red cardboard hearts. Plus, I left my old window up on the mantel from Christmas time and re-purposed that for a change.

February 11, 2013

A fantastic felt tree trio!

I snagged these lovelies on clearance at Art of the Table, one of my favorite little shops in here Grand Rapids. I had a gift certificate from my birthday burning a hole in my pocket and so I picked out a new tablecloth and this tree trio.

They were each topped with the cutest white star. I even traded one at the last minute when the clerk helpfully pointed out that the star was loose on one I had chosen. And then one day I saw the stars laying upon the shelf next to the trees. Neatly plucked off courtesy of a busy and ambitious 20-month-old. Oh well!

I am imagining a whole forest of course. Topping the before-mentioned table. Or clustering in various corners of the house. And I want to try so many color combinations. You know me and color. Perhaps a craft for next Thanksgiving? I haven't looked for any online tutorials but they seem fairly simple in construction.

February 8, 2013

What I am baking…

No, this isn't going to become a food blog. But I have to tell you about this recipe because I love it so. For the longest time I thought I could not bake with yeast. Just like for the longest time I thought I could not sew.

Then one day I saw this recipe in the newspaper and saved it. Six months later I bought supplies. Another year later (I am not kidding!) I actually give it a whirl. And it works! And it tastes good! And there is much happy toast-making in my home!

February 6, 2013

What I am scheming…

This table runner pattern with this fabric. My favorite red and teal combination for a little post-holiday cheer. Some snowflakes, some almost-heart swirls, some ice crystals, and a bit of floral for dreaming of spring!

February 4, 2013

What I'm reading…

Hello there, dear readers. Sorry about the lapse last week. I have been in the mood for scrapbooking (scissors and paper and tape) and photobooking (Snapfish) and neither of those activities make good posts. And I am getting ready for – or awkwardly in the middle of – some other projects. So this week I will just give you a peek into what's been going on. More details to come in the future!

All off the new shelf at the library (of course!):

We Love Color: 16 Iconic Quilt Designers Create with Kona Solids 
And you all know I very much love color! Although I am not about to start a new quilt (yet) I was very impressed with these made just from solid colors. They were striking and some of the quilting was very impressive.

Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds 
Totally was not seeking out this book. But there it was! Truly magical and definitely on my future to-do list. Awesome use of fascinating objects in these these masterpieces – shells, rocks, sands, even pretties like beads and vintage jewelry.

This Is Not My Hat 
This isn't a crafty book but it is inspiring all the same. I really love this illustrator (Jon Klassen). This latest title shares the same hint of dark humor as his previous book I Want My Hat Back. For a craft-related read I would recommend the magical knitting story, Extra Yarn, that he also illustrated.