June 27, 2012 § 19 Comments
Hours and hours flew by as I made our wedding favor boxes: paper luggage.
At first I thought: it’s just a t-shirt box and I only need to repeat the process a dozen times, it’ll be a cinch. I didn’t consider the hours alone on painting each side of the t-shirt box into our wedding colors. Nor the time to contemplate and execute the paper details like the corners, straps, handles, and Velcro enclosures.
What was most important is these need to be compact. These suitcases will be traveling from Toronto to New York to Las Vegas afterall and, well, they have to fit in our big suitcase before they are given away to our guests and vendors the morning of the wedding. So I made sure to maintain the ability to fold and unfold these in the same way they came when they were t-shirt boxes, but also have the ability to attach and detach items that easily convert them into luggage.
We’ve called them our “Keep Cool” kits, as they will contain relief from the Vegas and Grand Canyon heat.
Tutorial to follow after the wedding! Keep posted!
June 4, 2012 § 5 Comments
I didn’t think this would be so hard! Especially after designing handmade stationery for over 150 weddings in my designer days. I discovered, amidst the arduous task of making my own invitations, that it is a million times easier to design for someone else!
The problem was I wanted to design in every style possible. In one brainstorm, I’d want classic and sophisticated. The next, I’d want graphic and whimsical. Then after more thought, I’d want minimal. It was a harrowing process to narrow down to one decision only. I’m not used to this! Clients did all this decision-making for me! But for our own invitations, I felt like I could’ve made a hundred different versions to satisfy my fickle fancies.
It was a challenge to clear my mind of all the invitations I’ve made in the past. One thing is for sure: wedding invitations are about tactility. The product is entirely about texture and touch. So how could I make something classic, sophisticated, graphic, whimsical, and minimalist at the same time? Well, I tried. Really tried. And it hit me: all of my fickle fancies could be relevant and cohesive.
For a classic style: a square shape with concave corners. The invites are printed on my favorite stock of all time — leather-textured paper, which reminds me of old books.
For an air of sophistication, the inserts are carried in a handmade micro-suede box (color blocked in apricot and camel), with personalized dust sleeve made of the same leather-textured paper used for the inserts.
For something bold and graphic, I knew ebru, the Turkish art of paper marbling, would be relevant by today’s trends and significant by O.T.’s culture (apart from conveniently resembling the Grand Canyon walls). He was really impressed that I went so far as to learn how to make my own marbled papers. He would like to take credit as supervisor of this process.
For a bit of whimsy, I sculpted succulents out of terracotta clay to complement our earthy desert venue. I mentioned in a previous post that terracotta will have a significant part at our wedding and the invites provide this sneak peek.
For the minimalist architect grad in me: a monogram of our future family initial with a simplified and very architectural hatched illustration of the Grand Canyon. O.T. and I heavily considered helicopter silhouettes, but later decided the oversize “T” emulated helicopter rotors reaching to the bottom of the canyon, in a very implicit way.
This whole project was an ordeal, more time consuming than I expected.
The boxes took the longest time to make. I cut and glued millboard before covering the surface with the micro-suede material I showed in my previous post, and affixed a monogrammed transparency as a window.
The terracotta succulents took a long time to dry (3 weeks) and they still don’t look entirely dry, but I am quite liking the darkened tips. I will post a tutorial on how I made the terracotta succulents next.
The ebru marbled papers were the quickest to make (without considering the hours upon hours of researching how ebru is done). I was at odds about the marbled papers for two reasons. They can be bought online, but it was really important for me to make our own in the colors and patterns that unify the project. The materials to make ebru are pricey, so there was a point where making ebru was difficult to justify.
I found sites recommending shaving cream. I tried. What an awfully imprecise way to make marbled paper! Then there are sites which recommend methyl cellulose (very pricey considering I could only find it online and shipping fees to Canada are enormous). But I wasn’t going to give up.
I happened upon this amazing blog, Knit One Quilt Too, on easy paper marbling using liquid starch. It was decided. I will embark on the adventures of my own hand-marbled papers. And for super cheap! Sta Flo Liquid Starch sells for $2.97 at Walmart!
It was a painless process. I placed half a jug of liquid starch in a shallow tray. Then I gently drizzled watered-down acrylics on the surface of the starch. And marbled away using a bamboo skewer. I carefully dipped my paper on the surface of the marbled starch and immersed it in a water bath for a few seconds to rinse the starch, then laid the paper flat to dry. I was impressed with the level of control the liquid starch provided and couldn’t be happier with my first paper marbling experience.
Insane, these invitations made me. And I only had to make four! I have never put so much thought and time into invitations for anyone else, nor will I ever. I am pretty happy with the results!
June 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
Ok, my April issue unveiling may have been a little late. But the Canadian Living May issue just came out last week with my latest contribution:
There is still time to head out to the newsstands to pick up a copy so you can make this daisy topiary from egg cartons for Mother’s Day or simply for spring! I will update with the link when the article is available online.
January 9, 2012 § 8 Comments
On Friday, as my co-workers and I spent our lunch hour wandering the aisles of a nearby Walmart, I spotted the February issue of Canadian Living Magazine already out on newsstands!
I did my rounds of grocery shopping on Saturday and, indeed, the issue is available everywhere magazines are sold in Canada. So if you’re in Canada, please head over to your closest newsstands to pick up a copy and turn to pages 66-67. For those of you beyond our Canadian borders, you can find the article at canadianliving.com. (I will update once the craft is available for viewing online).
Here it is! Treat boxes in the likeness of candy hearts for you to make for your sweetheart this Valentine’s!
Am I giddy! My first print publication. Well, my “first”, unless considered are my monthly column for our local Parish newspaper at the age of 13 and my dreadful illustrations in the high school newspaper, but they simply won’t (shan’t) count. So yes, this is my first print publication. Ever. And of the year. I am so blessed. I didn’t imagine when I started this blog not so long ago that my first print publication would be a two-page spread in a national magazine.
I cannot wait to share with you other publications to follow in 2012 (and, praying for a bit of luck, beyond). I could not have more gratitude for the opportunities being given. Thank you!
December 19, 2011 § 4 Comments
Despite all the fancy packaging choices at stores, giving away your holiday home-baked goods in plastic containers isn’t necessarily such a tacky thing (given the right accessory!).
With your favorite heavy stock cut and folded into a sleeve, your ordinary disposable plastic container is easily dressed as a pretty little package for giving away anytime, not just Christmas. Punch out a monogram and make it more personal!
I first designed sleeves like these for Christmas favors way back in 2003. That was the time I realized store-bought holiday tins and boxes (though printed and pretty) are three things: 1) lacking in personal touch; 2) pricey (if considering volume gift-giving); and 3) not exactly what I want. Since then, and every year, I looked forward to making treats packaged in my own custom (most importantly: cost-effective!) designs which I gave away to family and friends in lieu of a Christmas card. This style is most personal to me, out of all annual packages I’ve designed in the last 8 years because this is the project that inspired my need for custom Christmas packaging going forward. It also happens to be the simplest. Overtime on this blog, I would love to share with you each and every one of my past annual custom packages given to my family and friends and co-workers, however, I will start from the very beginning with this simple piece from 2003.
My “Kuya” (“Big Brother” in Filipino) thoughtfully kept and preserved the original package I gave him (down to the bits of brownie stuck on the inside lid of the container — eeew!). Seeing it after eight years is what inspired me to post this project on this blog. But for the blog, I wanted to change it up to show some patterns I currently love: plaid, cane, and herringbone.
Of course, it would be a long search to find the exact blue shades of plaid, cane, and herringbone cardstock to match the containers, so I opted out of that challenge. Instead, I quickly designed my own plaid, cane, and herringbone paper using none other than Microsoft Word (a hack job I often do…which leads me to the thought that perhaps one day in the coming year, I will have a little blog instruction on how to easily utilize MS Word as a design tool, if you do not want to spend the big bucks on Adobe’s sophisticated offerings).
You will need to measure your plastic container and cut and fold your stock accordingly. I suggest a container no larger than 4″ in diameter, such as the ones I used, otherwise you will encounter the impossibility of fitting 12″ cardstock around it.
To remedy any gaps (due to lack of length of paper), overlap a tiny strip with a greeting for an added touch.
December 15, 2011 § 18 Comments
So I thought (we all thought) my paper clip Christmas crafts were done with. But I realized I hadn’t crafted a single Christmas card for the blog this season. Gasp! Is Christmas ten days away?
Given my recent posts, paper clips were right here within reach and this was just too easy. I happen to have a huge tub of colored paper clips with perfect shades for Christmas shapes.
These cards can be easily crafted by little hands. Just dab the paper clips on some glue and design away.