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Amble Through Bramble Crepe Flowers

Morgan Levine grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and moved to Brooklyn to study industrial design at Pratt Institute where she graduated in ‘04. It was during her first freelance job at Martha Stewart when she was assigned to create bunches of crepe paper daffodils that a love for crepe paper was born. She started to experiment with turning it brooches and barrettes. Today, she is making paper goodies for her company Amble Through Bramble. My mother and I made a ton of crepe flowers for my wedding in ‘01 so I have a very special spot for paper flowers which is why I think I love knowing about Morgan and her beautiful work.

Morgan makes her own double sided crepe paper, hand cuts each petal, assembles each blossom, and then preserves it in a durable resin. The overgrown roses are made using double sided German crepe paper. In addition to Amble Through Bramble her day job is an enviable one — she’s an editorial assistant at Martha Stewart Living and writes on their new crafting blog. Morgan was once a design assistant to design rock star Jonathan Adler so she has been around some of the best which has no doubt had a positive influence on her crafting skills.

Custom orders are available upon request. Wouldn’t these be amazing for a bridal party or as favors?

Learn how to make your own crepe flowers right here with a step-by-step tutorial.

(images from morgan levine)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy on March 13, 2009

Domestic Candy

My good friend Anne, who I hang out with when I’m based in Germany, just told me about her creative friend Kerstin who is a product and interior designer based in Hannover too. I’m really looking forward to meeting Kerstin in person when I’m back in Germany this year. She owns a new DaWanda shop called Domestic Candy that I really like, her things are so sweet that I have to share them with you today. I’m also including a peek inside of her craft room because I just love the space and the light in there.

Aren’t these things just delightful? Don’t you love the windows in her apartment? This is so common in Hannover to have big, huge windows — I just love it!

(images from domestic candy)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Home Tours on March 13, 2009

How Much For This Room?

You’re going to love this week’s How Much For This Room? because it’s so budget friendly that you won’t believe your eyes. This living room belongs to Ashley Vaughn and her husband who own a record store, Vertical House, in Huntsville, Alabama. She is also a wedding photographer and a Realtor, and her husband is a graphic designer. When they have time to spare, they can usually be found restoring their 106-year-old house.

Deets on the house: The 2,100 square foot home was built in 1903 and sits in a historic neighborhood in Huntsville, Alabama. Both upstairs and downstairs boasts 11′ tall ceilings, original heart pine floors, transom windows, huge front porch, and six fireplaces. You can see the restoration process we’ve undergone so far in this flickr set which also include the before photos.

The bricks of the fireplace, mantle, and hardwoods are original to the house, so they are not including in the total, but here is the breakdown.

Living room: blue chairs (best thrift store find): $20 for the pair, couch (you can see the tip of it): $75, trunk (holds all of our records): originally from Panama and handed down to me from my parents (free), sewing table and chair (thrifted): $35, picture above the sewing machine (thrifted): $3, lamp on sewing table: wedding gift from target, but I believe it was $20, rubber man (the plant) was a gift, peace lily: found outside a house that was for sale in the garbage (free), green “seedling” tray: $10, Kitty (Sadie): free, “kinda! she found us, but I guess we pay to feed her hah!”. Everything on the mantle was either made by her husband (the hands, the 4 panel piece against the bricks, and the ‘birdhouse’ to the right of the books) or were found at thrift stores or yard sales and combined we maybe spent $10. On the other side of the room there is another identical blue chair, the cabinet that holds the TV (cabinet: $20 and the TV was a gift to my husband many birthdays ago…it’s nothing special). In fact, we only have it hooked up to play Wii), our record player and receiver ($100), and the Wii.

Grand Total: $293 (not including the Wii)!

Kitchen/Bedroom: These few photos were added just because I thought the space was cute and wanted to show you! No dollar amount to relate. I am also a transom window obsessed nut so when I saw one in her bathroom I had to post the pic. I also love her clawfoot tub, wallpaper, red chandelier, and her brown dresser – the lines are great.

If you have any questions for Ashley please just ask below!

Thanks Ashley for sharing your home today with us. :)

(images from ashley vaughn)

Posted in Decorating Tips on March 13, 2009

Creativity Series – Just Do It! {9}

Writing today’s topic for the Creativity Series was a bit of a struggle because I am sensitive to how the economy is affecting others and despite how badly I want to radiate hope and positivity I don’t want to come across as happy-go-lucky, annoying, or perhaps naive to the problems that many are facing. But you know what, I’m not going to over cook this because who knows, maybe some of you need this reminder so this week we’re going to talk about developing a sense of humor to not only help you be more creative but to keep you sane in a pretty messed up world.

print by paperfunkpress.

How does developing a sense of humor inspire creativity? How can it help you get though hard times?

It can really push down walls when you decide to lighten up and just be yourself without becoming overly concerned about the opinions of others. It can also protect you from your worst enemy which so often yourself. I can’t stress how important this is. When others are overly judgmental, negative, or when you find yourself being overly critical of yourself, it’s time to tap into your sense of humor.

This beautiful little ring says, “Let laughter save the day” by lucky life.

I believe that laughter stimulates great thinking. When you are under less stress your thoughts flow more freely and your mind can wander a bit outside of the box.

A sense of humor helps us during the journey. Drama seems to up ratings on television but in real life, it only brings our ratings down. Friends may start to dodge us, clients could begin to call us into question, family members will avoid “stepping on eggshells” simply by withholding information that you really should be hearing. It’s a lot easier to communicate with someone who doesn’t fly off the handle over every little thing. This is the sign of someone who may need to tap into their sense of humor. The world does not revolve around any of us, we’re all going to hit problems and deal with annoyances often on a daily basis. There is no problem-free life, no perfect government, no ideal marriage partner. We’re all broken in one way or another with our own fears, dysfunctions, inabilities, dark sides, etc. It’s important to accept that fact and realize early on that nothing we take on is easy, whether that’s a new child, a career, or something that should be fun like starting a new hobby. Developing your creative side takes effort, failure often rides alongside success, so it’s unavoidable that the path you thought would be perfect may not be the same path you find yourself on in a few years. That’s where a sense of humor helps. Trust that the journey is often as rewarding, if not more, than reaching the actual goal. Allow your sense of humor to take the wheel when you feel like giving up or flipping out. During the hard times you may need to step outside of the ‘bubble’ you’re in and laugh at the situation a little. Remind yourself that you’re human.

While sense of humor is important, going through life laughing things off and ignoring potential issues is dangerous. I’m certainly not encouraging laughing at funerals or telling your depressed friend to stop feeling sorry for herself. You have to take things seriously but there does come a point where you’ve taken something seriously so what’s next? You then have to start dealing with it, mending the problem, repairing or rebuilding, etc. It’s at that point when you can decide to put a positive spin on the situation or not. You can find some relief as you deal with your issue if you remember the good during the bad times.

Happy people are more creative, creative people are more productive, and productive people are well, happier. I once read somewhere that developing a more optimistic world view can help you become more resilient and that it’s good for your emotional and even physical health to lighten up and laugh. That’s good stuff there.

I could go on and on but you get the point of what I’m trying to say. Look at the good side. Keep your goals in front of you. Laughter really can be the best medicine. Before I sign off I want to leave you with a few tips on how I keep a positive outlook. First, I don’t take myself too seriously. If I screw up, I admit and move on. I even laugh out loud at myself in public — I once fell down the stairs at a party and laughed so hard I cried – and I was wearing a dress and high heels and clearly made an idiot of myself but I got up and started dancing again and just shook it off. Sometimes when I’m moody and crabby I don’t feel like laughing. At all. That’s when I immediately notice something is wrong so I’ll call a friend who I know will make me laugh, I look for my online friends, I put on some good music, or I watch something really random and stupid on YouTube. :)

Now I want to hear from you… How has your sense of humor helped you during the dark times? What tips can YOU share with others on how to develop a sense of humor? How has your ability to laugh at things, from your failures to your stumbles, helped you as a person?

(images linked above)

Posted in real talk on March 12, 2009

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