Monday, March 31, 2014

Winning Minted Art Prints!

I entered my first Minted Challenge back in the fall and to my surprise all three of my entries won! My two encaustics titled A Study of Home I and A Study of Home II, were honored with a "jury's pick," and my oil painting of the stacked espresso cups was placed in the top 20 – there were 2,000 entries, holy cow!

Through the various contest and social media accounts I've been managing for my business, Two if by Sea Studios, I've met so many other designers that are attending Surtex and pursuing careers in surface pattern design. One nice designer from Southeast Michigan, Kelly Ventura, has been so inspiring with her Minted art print submissions. Painterly and beautiful, I've added her print, Abstract No. 1 to my wishlist.

My other current favorite is this print, Birch Woods in Winter by Four Wet Feet Design, for obvious reasons. I'm picturing it in a cabin bedroom someday with grey walls and all white bedding.

See both on the art board I created below:

All three of my winning art prints are now available online for purchase in various sizes:

A Study of Home I by Two if by Sea Studios

A Study of Home II by Two if by Sea Studios

Stacked Coffee Still Life in Oil by Two if by Sea Studios

Monday, February 24, 2014

Be Positive and Patient

I'll admit it, this winter has been long. Especially when you're living in an urban setting with a dog. Those 6:00 AM walks around the block with Nellie can really test my love for the cold seasons some days. When the wind is whipping from the west, the trash can around the corner seems like summiting Mount Everest.

Eyes watering under my glasses, hat pulled down to the top of the rims and my unlaced L.L. Bean boots clomping across the icy sidewalks – it can be miserable, but....

Dylan and I both LOVE winter activities! Everyone gets on my case because I wish for snow and more snow.  Another mantra this winter for both work and life has been "Be Positive and Patient" as the title of this post states. From prepping for Surtex to surviving the polar votex, it has got me through some challenging days of doubting my abilities, patience and priorities.

Cross country skiing, ice skating, hikes in the woods, pond hockey and most recently ice climbing all provide escapes from just enduring the winter – instead be positive and enjoy what it has to offer. Maybe some of these photos can convince you of the beauty and pastimes that lure us outside even on the chilliest of days.

So put on some long underwear, grab some hand warmers and enjoy the winter months. They are magical and fleeting.

The ice storm that through some major wrenches in our holiday plans was breathtaking.
A weekend in the Upper Peninsula cross country skiing at Tahquamenon Falls.

Cross country skiing on Belle Isle in Detroit and hiking with Haley at one of the Ann Arbor area metro parks.
Michigan Pond Hockey tournament on Whitmore Lake and ice skating at Clark Park in Detroit.

Ice climbing at Peabody Ice Climbing Club in Fenton.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Minted + West Elm Art Challenge

I LOVE West Elm and have since the instant I put down the security deposit on my first apartment! I love the natural elements paired with modern lines and simple color palettes. They know how to use color and pattern like no one else in the industry. I could go on and on about my first time stepping into the West Elm in Philadelphia and then the romantic evening December evening years ago when Dylan and I bought our silver Christmas tree there and carried it home on the train. 

It's because of this that when I saw Minted's challenge and the opportunity to have prints I designed go into the West Elm catalog I immediately moved "Create a Minted Profile" to the top of my to-do list!

I created three series of prints: Kinsella, Garden Prints and Vessels. My current favorite is definitely Garden Prints and I'm sure it has to do with not seeing a garden in so many months and really starting to long for the little signs of spring that are still at least 6 weeks away under our current icy blanket. Below is an inspiration board I created pairing the prints with West Elm's gorgeous furnishings and textiles.... oh my, I want them all. That wood lamp, sigh....

Voting is currently taking place and I would so appreciate it if you checked them out and rated my designs. Thank you so much!

An Organic + Natural Home by Two if by Sea Studios, see more unique stationery

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Website Photoshoot

In preparation for the re-launch of my surface design portfolio website I had some photographs taken of my workspace and portraits for all my various online profiles, marketing promotions, etc. 

Dani, of Dani Samantha, is one of those ladies from my childhood in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (we played basketball together in elementary + middle school!) that embarked on a creative career and has been so successful. Lucky for me we now live within 15 miles of each other... let the collaborations begin – starting with this photo session!

I don't think I could have predicted how great the light, color and snow would come together that Sunday in Detroit, but I'm so thrilled with how they turned out. Nellie even made an appearance in the studio. Cute pooch!

Be sure to check out my new site as well: Two if by Sea Studios

Friday, January 03, 2014

Wallpaper Freebie Friday

If you are like me, today you might be cleaning up your desktop after ignoring the chaos that occurred during the pre-holiday panic to get things out to clients...

In the midst of this list-making, clutter-clearing extravaganza I've decided that my mantra for 2014 is "positivity & hard work" and incorporated that into my first Wallpaper Freebie Friday post!

I couldn't decide which of the two versions of a pattern from my new surface design collection, Fringe, to share with you, so you can chose. Just click the appropriate size for your screen below the images, save to your computer and load as your fresh new desktop wallpaper for 2014.

The entirety of Fringe will be debuting at my Surtex booth (#251) in May. Between now and then you'll be hearing a lot about patterns, patterns and more patterns. (Some merch featuring these patterns is also available in my Society6 shop!)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Detroit : Destination 2014

Beyond the typical resolutions of personal and professional goals, I begin each new year thinking about destinations for upcoming adventures. Peru, Scandinavia, Russia and Thailand are topping our list currently. 

This year I encourage you to do the same and consider adding Detroit to your list!

On July 18, my 29th birthday, Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. With this came a slew of international press, filled with both positive and negative predictions. After spending 18 months here walking and biking the city and witnessing the opening of countless restaurants, new shops and a Whole Foods, the transition of Belle Isle to a State Park, the purchase of the Packard Plant, the Winter Classic festivities at Comerica park, and the expansion of the RiverWalk, just to name a few highlights – I'm not only hopeful as to what 2014 will bring, but excited!

If you are coming to Detroit in 2014 I have a few starting suggestions for neighborhoods to explore and landmarks to visit. 

Featured in the image above from top to bottom:
E: Pallister Park (Park near here and stroll down the pedestrian-only street on your way to the Fisher Building.)
I: West Village and Detroit Vegan Soul (My current pick for lunch!)
T: The Fisher Building - Another awe-inspiring piece of architecture filled with art deco mosaics and frescoes.

Feel free to contact me if you are looking for more suggestions, these are just A FEW of my favorites!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Modern Clay and Gold Ornaments

After sharing all the fun ornaments from other crafters yesterday, here is the big reveal of my own festive DIY project. 

Inspiration : Houses by Creature Comforts, Copper Mountains by A Living Space, Mini Baubles by Joheckett, and Gold-Topped Mushrooms from Pinterest credited to Frédéric Lucano

Supplies Note: I decided to use suede cording instead of the gold twine and also nixed the spray paint and paint pens in lieu of the gold foil liquid paint in the little jar. It is by far the best gold hue and coverage.

Pre-baking : I found the bird cookie cutter on Amazon

To ensure my ornaments arrived intact I attached them to a sheet of corrugated cardboard and then put a layer of bubble wrap on top of it as well. The survival rate was 90%, we lost one to the Chicago mail system, but I think it can be revived with a little super glue.

The finished product:

Monday, December 16, 2013

An Abundance of Creative Ornament Crafters

These are just a smattering of ornaments I have received over the past couple of years from my tight-knit group of designer friends in Southeast Michigan that I swap with annually. I haven't actually gotten out my full holiday arsenal of decorations, but let me tell you... I have boxes of this cuteness!!!

Felted wool donkey by Alisa Bobzien (Dylan's all-time favorite!)

Stitched Monogram by Janet Dunn : A new feature on my inspiration boards!

Ceramic Token by Betty Kennedy

Clay Feather by Maria Filar

Map Pendant Featuring my Current Hometown by Jody Kirklin

And Another Stunning Found Object Ornament by Betty Kennedy

Monday, November 18, 2013

Campaigning for Contests

As part of my exploration into designing new patterns I've been entering various Spoonflower design challenges as a way to mix up my weeks and perhaps spark a new idea. Here's this week's Fall Leaves Design Contest entry with a focus on a nontraditional fall palette with some hand-drawn components:

Click here to vote for your favorite fall-inspired fabrics.

Then I discovered that invitation-go-to site, Minted, was having a contest for art prints. As I was brainstorming on if I had any previously created art that would make good prints I decided to take a look at my encaustics from 30x30 two years ago. These two pieces seemed to compliment each other, but also hold their own as separate prints. If they are selected they will become available for purchase on the site!

If you like this one, you can "rate it" here.

Or maybe you like this better? Take a closer look here.

Thanks so much for reading!!!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Retro Record Cabinet Re-Do

It's been almost a year since I found this little record cabinet on craiglist for a steal, but finally, with my new-found freedom as my own boss I have been able to make time to transform it into the cutest piece of furniture I own.

Originally inspired buy all these cool examples around the web:

Doesn't it look amazing next to my Milo Baughman green chair??