Saturday, April 12, 2014

change is in the air

March was super busy in the studio, full of custom orders and new papercut designs. Some are already listed in the shop but I failed to update the blog at all throughout the month so I look forward to sharing them with you here. The support and encouragement of all of you has been amazing and pushed me forward when I felt completely overtaxed, I'm so honored by your requests and proud of all the commissions I've done! My gratitude is unending, THANK YOU!

After being so immersed in my work last month I might as well been chained to my desk (I haven't seen sunlight, you guys!) this month I decided to consciously invest more time outside of the studio. Sit on the balcony for 10 minutes in the morning, leave the apartment for dinner, go back to regular training sessions at the gym... anything, really. The hope is that I'll get more energized and focused at work, and so far it's been working. I rearranged the studio (it feels so much bigger now!), surprised my parents with plane tickets to Europe for their 30th wedding anniversary, and actually took 2 days off to spend with my family without having to follow it with a 96 hours work day in order to catch up.

April and May are already packed, especially since I scheduled a small hiatus at the end of May. This will be my first break since I opened the studio. The hiatus will hopefully coincide with my sister's estimated delivery date. Yep, she's pregnant! First kid, it's going to be so weird to have another living entity added to my world. Scary really, what changes - good and bad - are inevitably rolling our way with the arrival of the baby. I have no idea how our familial dynamics will change. Will I grow closer to my twin? Or will the gap in our lifestyles widen? Ooh, deep thoughts for a business blog, sorry.


The shop will be on hiatus from May 20-June 7. 
My first available reservation date for new orders is JUNE 8, but I'll be accepting some rush orders. 
You're welcome to contact me to inquire about ketubot at the email address listed to the right. You can always check my availability to the right as well, I keep it current.

H A V E  A  G R E A T  H O L I D A Y  G U Y S!

Friday, February 14, 2014

shopping | faber castell pens

Maybe it's because my mom used to work at a collectors' pen shop when she was young, but I always felt an affinity to beautiful writing instruments. It was something I could have in common with my mother and see her passionate about. I doubt I'll ever truly be tempted to spend thousands on a collector's pen (though I'll definitely ogle them), but those priced for hundreds are a different matter!

My favorite pens are by Faber Castell, which is funny since they're also my favorite pencil company. I own two fountain pens from their design collection:

My first was the E-MOTION RHOMBUS FOUNTAIN PEN in white for my 26th birthday. I really, really wanted a white lady's pen! This is a beginner collector's pen, meaning it's an affordable first purchase.
The barrel is resin with chrome grip, and it came with an F size nib. After using the pen for two years I have to say I'm a bit disappointed with it. The nib turned out to be too thick for me, and the cap makes the pen too heavy for me to write with. My biggest problem however is the chrome grip - my fingers slip right off! I honestly think the pen was designed for those who grip their pens high on the body like a brush, if they're out there. The white textured resin barrel became a bit discolored with use and some time ago turned a bit loose too, which doesn't affect the integrity of the pen but it does make it feel cheap. Still a beautiful pen, but not one I'd buy again.

I bought my second pen in November of last year. I've been thinking about buying a wood writing set for years and with the end of year sales I couldn't resist! I wanted a mechanical pencil but I got the ONDORO FOUNTAIN PEN IN BURNED OAK instead. It is perrrfect!
The barrel is wood with a chrome grip and it came with an EF size nib. I love the hexagonal barrel and the shape of the chrome grip - it's such a throwback to school pencils and early quill pens, I couldn't resist! The texture of the wood is great, and the shape of the nib makes sure my fingers won't slip off. This is really my dream pen. The thickness of the nib is great for me as well, though I noticed it's a lot stiffer than the F nib (that could be since this one's newer).

Maybe next time I'll try one of the slimmer pens from the AMBITION collection...

Do you have a favorite pen?

Monday, February 10, 2014

client photos | Lauri & Isaac's wedding

Lauri & Isaac tied the knot last summer in a beautiful outdoor location, under an oak tree. They contacted me in January of 2013 to make an invitation set for them that will hint at their wedding's elegant nature theme, and later for a matching ketubah. 

As you can summarize from the above photo, their wedding was something the like of which is only seen in magazine spreads, really spectacular. No surprise, it's also been featured on the wedding blog JUNEBUG WEDDINGS

I went through several drafts for the invitations. I cringe at some of the drawings, but Lauri was patient and clear about what she wanted. The brief was to include an oak tree, lavender, and their wedding colors where possible (organic green, pacific blue, and champagne). The cards ended up being nature white with green, with personalized envelopes in blue and green. Below are some of the cards I drew. Can you guess which she picked? 

Lauri & Isaac chose the OAK TREE heirloom ketubah for their wedding. They customized it by adding an Olive Green background, and having the text printed on the same layer as the papercut. You, too, can purchase the ketubah from my shop

OF THE KETUBAH CEREMONY, THEY SAID: The Ketubah ceremony, where just our immediate family gathered before the ceremony to share advice and offer their blessings was the most special part of the day. In that moment it was clear that we were now one family.

Lauri & Isaac got married on June 29. 2013 in the coastal Carmel-by-the-sea and officially became 



 Photos | courtesy of Lisa Lefringhouse Photography

Saturday, February 8, 2014

DIY | Valentine decor

This year I decided to attempt at least one holiday-themed project for every holiday. It started with my holiday wreath, but I have to admit even though this is the first post-New Year's holiday I already don't think I'll make it. 

But I made myself a challenge so here it is: I decided to again decorate my apartment door with something to make whoever comes to my door smile. The fact that the door is steel makes it so easy. I just go to my dollar store drawer for supplies and pull something out.

For this quick hobby break I pulled out flocked and glitter hearts on sticks that I got from the local dollar store, magnets from the hobby shop, scissors and a glue gun. The whole thing took 5 minutes and 2 steps, easy-peasy weekend break for crafty kids:

1. I used the scissors to cut and pull away the hearts from the sticks. Tugging them out worked too, but you got to be careful because the hearts are cheap and can disintegrate pretty quickly.

2. I then put a glue dot with the glue gun on the magnets, and stuck each one to a heart.

Presto, super cute and velvety heart magnets! Great Valentine decor, seasonal-gifts (you can send a heart in a box to your friend!), and year-round fridge magnets! 

Friday, January 31, 2014

in the studio + free | the evolving calendar

11X17" big | print at your local print shop & cut away using a craft knife | level: intermediate

The wonderful and terrible thing about running my own business is that I am learning as I go. One thing I'm still improving on is my orders calendar. If you know me than you know I have absolutely no concept of time. I don't know whether an event happened last week or 3 months ago without help and I definitely don't know how long a task will take me. Being constantly up for more days straight is proof-enough of that. I like to think of it as one of my endearing quirks, I'm an artist! A free spirit! I don't need clocks and time frames and deadlines! ...My assistant despairs of me.

I have made attempts to try and keep track of how long it takes me to complete certain tasks so I can better allot my time, and so far it's been ... difficult. I sort of did it for a few days, and then lost that note, and was again left guessing. I'd like to say I care, but I don't. I don't remember what my assistant calculated really, but in the end she said I might as well have been working a minimum job for how much I earned for the hours I worked. But I love my job, so it's not bad at all, is it?

I think that whole venture was to try and better organize my orders calendar so that I don't work 14-18 hour days anymore and don't overbook myself, but again that sort of went over my head.

Once January rolled in and I started taking orders again I overcompensated and padded my calendar with so many orders that my off-season calendar became full up to April 1st with custom designs, completely pushing out requests for pre-designed ketubot. Not good. Custom designs are challenging and fun and exciting, but I don't want them to take over my business. 

So I took another long hard look at my orders calendar and decided to limit the number of custom designs I take on every month, and to restructure my work day. For now, I'm aiming for 2 custom design orders per month, which will leave me plenty of time each month for all other orders!

You'll now find my AVAILABILITY DATE to the right is split into two: one for my custom-design orders; the other for for pre-designed papercut orders listed in my shop. Also, I have a notice set up stating if I'm open for rush orders and when. Rush orders entail additional fees. You can read more about my policies in my FAQ.

1 slot open for APRIL 21