Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still Here!

Unfortunately, we had a round of stomach flu at our house the last week or so, so I'm a bit behind. But I have several cute new orders I've been working on. I'm hoping to take photos tomorrow to post. I took an order yesterday, but wanted to let you all know that Jaborandi Grove will be taking a short vacation starting on Christmas Eve. I'll be back to the grindstone after the first of the year, though, with some fun new designs. Wishing you all a blessed holiday season and prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gift Tags

Check out the super cute gift tags that arrived! Dana at Cereus Art did an amazing job. Love them!


Monday, December 12, 2011

New Camera! Or, Why My Husband Rocks

I really should mention it more often, because he is so cool. And thoughtful. But seriously? My husband totally rocks.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and he has had a gift under the tree for me for about a week. It's killing him that I can just let it be. I have yet to shake it. Last night, he asked if I wanted to open it. I asked him if he wanted me to open it. I was fine waiting until tomorrow. Then he asked the girls if they wanted me to open it. I finally told him I'd do it.

He had mentioned last week that he wasn't sure if he should take it back since it wasn't on my list. I told him I'm not a big list person. It means much more to me if you find something you think I would like than if you just go buy what I asked for.

So I opened my present with no expectations, and got this:

Canon PowerShot ELPH 310 HS (AKA IXUS 230 HS)



I was shocked. And thrilled. You all know how much trouble I've been having getting good photos. I realize it's probably operator-error, but I'd like to think that newer equipment will help. So I took a couple of shots of my latest completed order this morning. I didn't retouch or crop them at all yet. The lighting was far from great, but I still think they turned out pretty well, don't you?



So to sum up, my incredible husband heard my frustration with my camera, made a note of it, and bought me an awesome new one. Seriously, how great is he? Thanks, honey!! Love you!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crunch Time!

Ok, people, I know some of you are sitting out there thinking, there's plenty of time to finish Christmas shopping. I'm right there with you. I look at the Advent calendar and see that we still have 18 days left.

Until I think about how I would much prefer to shop online than in the crowds. And that means I have to allot time for shipping. And if I have a custom order, time for it to be made. Which is why most shops have a deadline around December 15th (if not sooner). Which basically means, at best, I have one week left.

EEK!

This isn't quite panic mode, but it's definitely time to step it up and stop imagining there are some extra hours floating around in the time-space continuum. To help you out, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things from some of my favorite shops on Etsy.

First up, Cereus Art.

Dana has some great beachy decor for those of you who are sand and sun people. What catches my eye in her shop right now is this set of 4 gift tags made of capiz shells.




Next is Lemon Lime Llama.

Mindy has fun stuff like superhero bottle cap magnets and tie-dye shirts and onesies. But the coolest thing is this set of garden stones:






How perfect would those be along a garden path? Although the "Let's Go Crazy" ones appeal to the Prince fan in me.



Then there's Sugar and Spice Studios.

They have lots of cute stuff but I think this owl and bird mobile is adorable, don't you?




And then there's Kiddie Kove.

The hair clips are really cute. I had a hard time choosing one to showcase, but I think the ladybug would be the one my girls would like best:





And let's not forget {NOTES} by redletter studio.

You all know how much I love Stephanie's stationery, so it came down to a random selection to decide which product to highlight.





And, of course, for the do-it-yourself-ers out there who want something unique, there's three little monkeys studio.

Gretchen designs the look and you get to print them yourself. She even has some mustache designs that are so chic now, but I'm a fan of this look myself:




Another fun collection is appyDESIGN.

Jesse has some really nice wedding invitations including this one:




And how about this hilarious hand-knit hat by From the Sticks?








Finally, with hilarious sayings like "Death Before Comic Sans," "Gingers Eat Souls," and "I'm Much Cooler Online," these buttons from geek details are entertaining. The grammar nut in me likes this one the best:


Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

As I typed that I thought to myself I should have incorporated a rainbow into this pattern. Maybe I'll adjust it! Anyway, I'm working on a Wizard of Oz item for someone. It's still in progress, but here's what I have so far.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Photo Drama

I know that I need to add more photos to my Etsy shop. So I've been trying to work on my skillz. I found a tutorial on Pinterest that helped that I wrote about here, but my table/window combo only works in the early afternoon. And when I have an 8am-9am block of time when the munchkins are gone, I need to take advantage of it. So I have spent the last hour getting more and more frustrated. I've looked over the Etsy suggested readings for photo tips, I've adjusted my propping, set the camera to macro, fixed my white balance, etc. When I look at the screen, the image is perfect. Then as soon as I click the button, it refocuses, and I end up with this:









There's not enough Photoshop techniques in the world to fix these. I called my good friend at NOTES {by redletter design studio} and she suggested maybe I was too close and to back up and zoom in. So I did. And got this:



Sigh. She said it's probably a setting somewhere. I'm sure it must be. Earlier this week I took this photo of Baby R's birthday cake that S decorated:


Far from a beautiful product, and terrible lighting, but in focus.

Out of desperation, I tried doing a video:
video



It's better, but I couldn't figure out how to extract a photo.

I can't find my manual, so I will be hunting for it online today. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Discount Codes!!


Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I did a double take when a Twitter friend mentioned that Monday. So it's time to start revving the engines and gearing up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Because I'm so generous, I'm letting you all in on my secret discount codes today. They won't work yet - each only works for the 24 hour period of that day - but now you will have them handy for your order!



Black Friday Code
KFRIDAY2011
Valid Friday, November 25, 2011 from 12:00am - 11:59pm


Small Business Saturday Code
SMBUSSAT2011
Valid Saturday, November 26, 2011 from 12:00am - 11:59pm


Cyber Monday Code
CYMONDAY2011
Valid Monday, November 27, 2011 from 12:00am - 11:59pm




Write them down, pass them on. Hope you all have fun shopping while keeping the spirit of the season close to heart.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Elegant Inspiration from Pinterest

Pin from Pinterest



When I saw this, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it, but I knew it was going to be fabulous.

And I was right. Don't you agree?

Bejeweled Letter, available on Etsy via this link!


Pinterest had a double dose of inspiration for me on this one as I used a second pin for advice on the photo shoot. I think with a little tweaking, this will be my new go-to approach.

For those of you new to my blog, I have an Etsy shop where I sell decorative wall letters (see the sidebar.) I've found lots of great ideas from #Pinterest, so I'm excited to show how I've converted them from their original use into a letter.

I apologize that I don't have the ability to show the pin - I keep copying the html, but it's not working. Don't know if it's a Blogger thing or a Jenn thing. :)

There are a couple of fun places to link up your Pinterest activities. Join in!
Simple Organic's From Pinterest to Real Life
Dutch Being Me's 52 Weeks of Pinterest

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just In Time For NaNoWriMo : #amwriting Set


I've been wanting to put this together pretty much since I started Jaborandi Grove. I think it would look awesome hanging in my home office above my computer. Someday. When I have an office. That doesn't split it's space with the kids playroom...

Regardless, I'm going to put a set together for that someday. And hopefully get photos of it up before November starts. In the meantime, I've split the image up so you can see it  a little better. My pixel width is limited here.







For those of you who aren't bloggers/writers, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 1 month. I started to participate last year and was off to a banner start. Until November 2. When I totalled my car. That pretty much derailed my writing. Which was a bummer because I was SO well prepped!

This year I've got too much going on with my job situation and Jaborandi Grove, but I hope to jump back in next year. For those of you planning to attempt it, I wish you all the best! And if you need a little extra inspiration, consider opting for one of these sets. Customizable, of course!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Inspiration Source: Pinterest

I'm inspired by so many things every day, I can't keep up with all the thoughts and ideas I have. I try to write things down when I can, like I did with the "Chiefs" example I showed on my creative process post. But my favorite new way to keep track of things is Pinterest.

When I first heard about it, all I could think was, "Another social media time suck like Facebook and Twitter - I can't join, I can't - be strong!" But everyone kept telling me how much it would help with my blogs and with my design ideas and this and that. I finally caved to the pressure. And it was just as amazing as I knew it would be. Happy sighs...

It was also a horrific time suck in the beginning. But just like FB and Twitter, once I got over my initial obsession (ok, fine, I'm not over it yet, but I'm getting there), I was able to use it effectively. Then I hit that wall where the amount of time I spent thinking was in great disproportion to the amount that I spent generating actual productivity.

In one of those perfect timing moments, I saw a tweet from @Pinterest recommending the monthly linkup on Simple Organic for everyone's Pinterest projects. Basically people take those fabulous Pinterest boards where we post things we want to do "someday" and actually do them. And then show it. It was just the kick start I needed.

So here's my post that I'll link up at the end of the month. I saw this:

Pinterest


Which I pinned because I liked the idea of using a license plate theme for letters. So here's what I came up with for a design:


I think it turned out really cute. I set this one up as a newborn one with the birthdate on the expiration tag. What about you? Have you fallen in love with Pinterest yet? Join the project challenge and link up! Simple Organic's From Pinterest to Real Life

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flexibility In Product Is Essential

Our neighbor asked if I could use larger plaques and include entire words. That wasn't my initial intention, and I considered sticking to just the individual letters, but decided, why not? The client is always right, right?

And I really am enjoying this new option. It opens up some new possibilities with things I had wanted to do but knew would be too long.

So here is the first piece in the set. It measures 11.25" x 8.5". More to come!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christmas?

I know, I know, this goes against the very fiber of my being - no Christmas talk until after Thanksgiving! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas - it's my favorite holiday, but I like to wait to sing carols, set up the tree, and roast chestnuts over an open fire around the first of December.

That said, I like to get my gifts for loved ones throughout the year. And who doesn't love shopping for Christmas decor regardless of the season? Plus now that I'm, you know, a vendor, I get that you gotta get your stuff in gear early.

So without further ado, here are two items that are now available in my shop, the second in the series of seasonal sets, "WINTER":




and the first Christmas set, "NOEL":


I hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"HUGS"

This is the most recent design I printed and will paint tonight:
The letters are for a daycare's playroom and match the Sherwin Williams "Adorable Animals" palette, part of their Fisher-Price line of colors. The room is so cute with the walls alternating in these three colors. They look a little flat onscreen, so I'm attaching a screen capture of the link to the Sherwin Williams site so you can better see how they look.
Can't wait to see the final product hanging on those walls!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rave Review and a Giveaway!


This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff is an amazing blog that reviews products. Not in a paid-advertising kind of way, but real, honest, true opinions. I love it. The women who run it are amazing! When I opened my Etsy shop, Alex immediately offered to have Makes Fun do a review for me. I was thrilled! And a little nervous - they are tough critics. What if they didn't like them?

Well, the results are in! Jaborandi Grove received a rave review. In addition to that, Makes Fun is hosting a giveaway for a letter, including shipping! And since I'm the kinda gal who enters contests where the odds are in my favor and I STILL don't win, I included a little something extra for everyone. If you don't win the giveaway, you can get a special discount for ordering with the coupon code they listed on the review. So stop by and enter today!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Creative Process

So how does this whole letter thing work? In a perfect world, I would have photos of this same idea all the way through to the finished product, but I'm going to mix it up a bit and show you different items at each of the stages.

To start, usually I think of something I want to do and just start designing. But sometimes I think of things when I'm not at my computer, so they end up on random scraps of paper, like this:


And then I work on it in Illustrator til it looks like this:


Then I print them out on high-quality paper.

I mix the paint colors to match:


And then handpaint the edges of the wooden plaques.


Finally, I adhere the printouts to the plaques, trim them, add the hangers and any extra bling, and voila!