Monday, February 28, 2011

Custom Bamboo iPhone cases from Grove

I love it when I find super cool stuff--then double that love when I can do my own super cool designs for that super cool stuff. Check it out...

Bamboo iPhone cases! I discovered this product from Grove (in Portland, Oregon) today after I saw one in real life. I love the contrast of high tech and earthy elements represented in this case. AND I saw that you can also upload your own design to be laser engraved into the case. My stomach is doing creative twirls like crazy!
Choose from existing designs or

Upload your own designs!

An example of a custom design with brand promotion

Why you would want to buy these:
You can upload your company logo for really sleek and environmentally friendly branding

Or, this would make a highly sophisticated gift option for your corporate clients

What a great birthday or father's day gift! My dad is super into woodworking AND his iPhone--perfect!

And for my wedding blog readers; how about this as a great groomsmen gift?

Friday, February 25, 2011

DIY: What to say on a Wedding Program

Clients are always overwhelmed with their programs. What do they say? How do they say it? It is a lot of text and organization for sure! I thought it would be helpful to post a sample so that you could take what you need, fill in your details and be a lot less stressed about it.

Here is a program I created for my lovely client Katherine. The format is useful because it uses both sides of a standard 8.5 x 11" piece of cardstock. The program is printed on both sides and folded down the middle. No ribbons, bows or assembly hassles which is a bonus when you're so close to your wedding date. You need to be primping your beautiful self, not tying bows on 100 programs!

A tip on program quantities: You don't need a program for every guest. Most couples will only take one and share it. If you expect 150 guests, you may only need 100-125 programs. Tragic true story: I put a lot of effort into my programs (bows, special assembly etc) and made enough for one per guest, only to see the huge basket still filled with programs after the wedding was over. All the late nights of laborious assembly gone to waste...don't let that happen to you. ;o)

Inside the program

Front and Back side of the program

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Sewn" in Oakley unites sewers and non-sewers in colorful harmony!

Those of you who are lucky enough to be in Cincinnati have an exciting new place to visit in Oakley (near Hyde Park on Madison Rd.). I discovered the new shop called Sewn last week and have been so excited to tell you about it! The website is mainly a placeholder at the moment, but the Sewn Facebook page is more interactive and will tell you what is going on every day, so add it to your fan page.

1. Sewn has the modern fabrics that I love (think Amy Butler, bright colors, bold designs etc). Trust me, it's tough finding this locally. There is a great shop about an hour away called The Fabric Shack that I've blogged about but that's about it.

2. Sewn clearly was conceptualized and actualized by a sophisticated woman. The interior is clean and fresh with maple wood fixtures, ample lighting, good organization (and if you've been in Jo-Ann Fabric lately, you'll appreciate this too), and smartly placed product smaples that inspire you to just start sewing. They made me feel like that and I actually don't even know how to make a bobbin on my daughter's sewing machine. Which brings me to number 3...

3. She has a large portion of the store filled with sewing machines on work tables. Yes, if you don't like to sew in silence (or chaos if you're kids are younger like mine) you can come in and sew in good company. Sewn offers Sewing 101 classes for adults and teens, using simple projects to teach basic sewing concepts like putting in a zipper or button hole, adding piping to a pillow and more. And I JUST BET Stephanie will be able to show me how to make that blasted bobbin happen!

Here is my suggestion for a nice morning out in Oakley. Go to The Red Tree Cafe and have some coffee, then walk over to Sewn and get started on a colorful tote bag or purse for your spring wardrobe. Doesn't that sound dreamy? See you there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love your iPhone and Spring with free wallpapers

I was thinking that my iPhone needed a little spring color, so I've created these cheerful backgrounds. They are free, so you can just copy the image and load it into your phone. They are copyrighted to me, Margot Madison so please don't use them or alter them for any other commercial or personal use. :o) Think warm thoughts! Spring will be here soon enough. I just linked this site to Whipperberry's Friday Linky Party. Join in the fun!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Designing invitations with the dresses in mind--Brilliant!

Here is the news I have to start the creative work week:

1. Anthropologie is putting out a wedding line of clothing called BHLDN (And if you can't remember all those letters in a row, think "Beholden". It seems to work for me.)

2. An incredibly creative way to design wedding invitations is by being inspired by the dress! *Margot hits palm on forehead and says "Doh!"*

I really, really enjoyed this post from Kate at Magnolia Rouge (an excellent Aussie wedding blog/designer) where she used the BHLDN dresses to influence her wedding invitation designs. Brilliant. And beautiful designs, of course! Look at these text savvy beauties...

I might give this a try this week. If I'm any good, I'll show ya...

Friday, February 18, 2011

DIY Friday: Uploading your designs to Spoonflower Tutorial

I DID IT! I felt like playing hookie today so instead of leaving the house and going to the Cincinnati Art Museum like I wanted to do, I played design hookie instead. That means that when I should have been making some revised invitation proofs, I decided to make my first stab at fabric designing through Spoonflower. For those of you who haven't read my other post on Spoonflower, it is an on-line company that allows you to upload your own designs to be printed on fabric. Amazing.

I will say with absolute honesty that it was WAY easier than I thought. I expected to spend the entire morning playing around with the design so that it repeated correctly. And I also thought the repeat process would be much more complicated than it was. I had to tweak the design just a bit because there was an awkward blank spot on my design, but that was it!

Background story: I'm working on invitations for my 40th birthday party and was inspired by this invitation style that uses fabric as an integral part of the design. As I was pondering all of my favorite fabric designers like Amy Butler, I received a comment from Vanessa of Nessy Designs, about how great it would look with fabric you designed yourself. My stomach actually dropped with anxiety and creative excitement...way to raise the bar Vanessa! I let the idea brew for a few days, and worked on my invitation some more.

Today the muse was with me and I started a fabric design...
Here is my design I created in Illustrator 5, using some hand drawn art converted to tiffs and vector art created with Live Trace/Live Paint so I could separate the flower shapes and change their color. I kept all the images within a square bounding box. That pink flower on the upper right was the one I added after the first upload. It's nearly touching the edge of the bounding box, and without it there was a design "hole". The file was exported in a png format at 300 dpi resolution. I haven't received my sample yet, so I hope that will not show any pixelation. They do have some file recommendations on the site, but I usually ignore those and do it my own way, being the impulsive renegade I am. :o)
I signed in at the Spoonflower website, clicked on "Start Designing" button and uploaded my file.

The greatest and most delightful surprise was the visual assistance offered by the Spoonflower program. I could click on the different tiling options to see how the design played out on the repeat, plus I could really see how the fabric would look in larger quantities. It makes a difference seeing a swatch versus the whole yard!

Here is my pattern with the various tiling options so you can see what I mean. First I was worried that I would have a half flower  repeating itself on my fabric. Then I clicked the 1 yard and saw that everything would look just great.

This is the "Fat Quarter" swatch

Pattern shown at 1 yard with the "Basic Repeat"

Using the "Half Drop" repeat option

Using the "Half Brick" repeat option

Shown with the "Mirror Repeat" option. Very cool, but not for this design!
I was so excited, I just clicked for a 1 yard of quilting cotton and bought it the darn thing, giving a little shout of excitement in my little office. It took a great deal of control not to pay the extra $25 for rushed shipping. I'm going to be a desperate puppy waiting by the door for the next few weeks until I get my swatch. I'll show it to you when it arrives! Let's cross our fingers, shall we? Let me know if you decide to try this as well...I'd love to hear your experiences.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Instant Cupcake Cuteness-Edible toppers

I should really say, edible cupcake toppers that don't taste like cardboard dust and break your teeth when you bit into them. Here are some clever cupcake toppers that will upgrade your standard classroom birthday treat. (I'm heading into birthday season in my family, so these seemed especially helpful.) Of course, they're not just for cupcakes...

Available from these great etsy shops: Owl Party pack from KidsCakes, Butterflies from SugarRobot, Mini flowers from SweetBouquet, Hydrangeas from SweetPetalBakery.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Using Fabric on Invitations-A great tutorial

Aw man! I've been trying to figure out how I could get fabric on an invitation for a while now. I love fabric so much, and I knew in my heart it could be done, but I just hadn't had the motivation to give it a try. And I was feeling strange about what to do with the raw edges.

Today I saw this and must share. It is an amazing tutorial from Merriment Design which includes a free printable, plus a video for those of you visual learners (like me). Imagine this concept with other fabrics! I just bought some vintage tablecloths impulsively and I think I might be able to work this into my birthday invitations...we'll see. But how cute would it be for a baby shower or birth announcement?? Darling. Thanks to Kathy for sharing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pantone Color Forecast for Fall 2011

Pantone has selected an array of colors that are the trend for fall. Does Pantone influence the designers, or do the designers influence Pantone? Classic chicken and egg issue, and I'm too sick with a head cold at the moment to worry about those deeper design issues.... I do like that coffee liqueur color. It's the color of my yoga pants I'm sporting this morning ;o)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Make Valentines Crayon Hearts

Is anyone freaking out yet that Valentines Day is on Monday? If you're like my kids, they are celebrating this Friday, which makes the panic even worse. I'm on my own personal creative high, so I thought this valentine craft from The Long Thread was really cute. We've made these crayons at our house before using a heart shaped flexible cupcake pan but I like the idea of using the smaller hearts for the Valentines. And let's be straight, you know you have a big ol' box of crayon stubs somewhere just waiting to be repurposed! The bonus is that you can download the free valentine card file and print them on your own computer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Background Patterns for blogs and web pages

A friend and fellow creative addict Chrissie Blatt just sent me this link to a site called Pattern Cooler that offers great digital background patterns. You can choose from existing designs and colors, or change to your own color scheme. If you're thinking about blogging, you could use these as backgrounds on your blog template. For those of you who are creating your event blog or website, I suspect they might add some personality to that as well.

I found these great patterns just in the first 2 pages. A word to the wise, though: It's better  to use a low contrast pattern when doing this kind of thing. Often, even though lots of color is so beautiful (and I know because I love color too) it is too dynamic in a background setting. The viewer's eye is confused because it wants to see the beautiful background, when it really should be looking at your web info. I'm just sayin'...Take a look and see what you can do! I know a couple of brides who could use these colors and classy damask patterns.

Meanwhile, I'm going to be working my patootie off today. Lots of great stuff to work on, and I'm struggling not to spend the day working on a new idea I have for my birthday invitations. Send me strength!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A charming illustrated wedding invitation by Marie Letourneau

I saw this the other day and was completely enamored! It's beautifully illustrated with such charm. I just want to be those people in the illustration to live in their magical world! The illustrator is Marie Letourneau who is an (no surprise here) award winning children's book author and illustrator. She has appeared on The Nate Berkus Show and her children's book "The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres" was featured on Ace Of Cakes (Duff and the gang made her a cake!). Here is the link to her etsy shop called Le French Circus.

If you are interested in having a custom illustration created for you (and at $500, I really think it's a steal!) you better get your name in. She's currently booked through April. UPDATE! Marie is now able to print the invitations for you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

DIY Friday: Print your own fabric designs with Spoonflower

Do you love fabric? Do you think of the design you want but can never find it at the local fabric store? I do! And as I was doing my morning walk with my sister, she was bemoaning about the same issue. She has an idea of what she wants, but can't seem to find it anywhere!

I posted about this amazing printing resource over a year ago and thought today that it was worth another mention in case you missed it. Spoonflower is a fabric printing company that will print your digitally created design on the premium fabric of your choice with --sit down for this--no minimum order! Yes, so if you want a yard, you can get a single yard. Prices range from $18-$32/yard. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect of creating your own patterns, they also sell fabric from the many other designers who have participated.

Here are some of my favorites:

Are you inspired? I noticed that they had a book on how to create patterns in Photoshop. I'm almost ready to commit...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My list of excellent entertaining blog and web gems now available!

I had a lovely time sharing my passion for event design details and resources with the women in the Wyoming Newcomers Club today. In my presentation, I shared visuals of many of my favorite sources of inspiration. Now I'm sharing them with you as well! Look at the top of my blogsite for the tab named "Vendors and Web Favorites" for an updated list of links and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Color Inspiration-White with Pinks and Reds

This weekend I was visiting my cousin and her husband (and 2 dogs) in Ann Arbor, MI and so enjoyed the town, shops, food and music concert we saw. It must have opened up my creative vents because Sunday morning, I woke up with the color scheme for my 40th birthday party decided. This has been something I've been struggling with because since I do "colors" for a living, I wanted it to be really exciting and fresh. I also wanted to still like the colors when the party arrives--I may love one combination now, but will I have "moved on" by the time the party comes around and feel stuck? I knew I had to include powerful and bright colors because I always like those. I had to be able to have some flexibility within the scheme since I like so many colors and would want to include them. AND I had to come up with something that wasn't "an all over the place" visual mess. It's tough when you like so many things because you want to have them all in one place! I'm using the 80%/20% rule of color success with this scheme. I consider the tones of pinks and reds to be one color.  Here is the final result:

I'll elaborate on the inspiration story further and tell you about the "seed" that started it all. Several months ago, I mentioned an etsy store called All The Luck In The World. I couldn't get this photo out of my mind's eye! I love the fresh white background for simplicity accented with bright clusters of color. Since my venue "Gather" (pics here) is mostly white with touches of turquoise, orange and green in the art installations I thought this would be the perfect time to use this image for my inspiration. Here it is again, enlarged to show detail:
The funny thing is that in my mind's memory, there was a lot more of the bright pink and tomato red in the vases. The Margot Version of this photo is what spurred on my color inspiration for the event. I was hoping to be "efficient" and find just the right proportions of color in a beautiful photo on line, but of course I didn't. Unaffected by the huge work load on my plate today, I set about creating my own color inspiration photo (the Universe was not going to let me be lazy today!) and gathered anything in my studio that had the colors I needed. Since the weather is a dreary freezing rain, I had not enough natural light coming into my house where I originally set up the shoot. A more stable person would just pack everything into a box and work on it another day since there was light but not me! Freezing rain be damned, I packed everything up and arranged my shoot outside. Personal sacrifice aside, I'm pleased with how I captured the colors and the tone of the event. Note that I added some papers with patterns, a little bit of sparkle in the bird and the textures of white. This will give me some fun elements to use when creating my festive atmosphere at the party. I didn't bring in the soft aquas and turquoise that you see in the vases above since the art installations will do that already. I'll leave those as my touch of odd color to shake things up at the event.

Here are a few more detail shots to flesh out the details of the palette.

There was another sacrifice made for the art today though, and it wasn't just a good night's sleep since I'll have to stay up late completing my neglected work. My puppy Baxter got a little too interested in the orange on my styling table and pulled the entire display over! Most sad for me was that my favorite white bowl with gold filagree trim broke in half. Boo! :o( Serves me right. There's Baxter absconding the roll of paper that fell out...

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