Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Silver Starfish Necklaces

Silver Starfish Necklace, $18
I'm so pleased with the popularity of these silver starfish pendants during the holiday season. Everyone loves starfish, and with a simple and elegant piece like this, MEGA MONDAY customers can't seem to get enough!

There are two versions of this necklace that I am featuring both in my Ash Tree Designs Shop, and in the retail store location 6 In the Shipyard. The version I introduced first, pictured above, took off immediately. It featured an antiqued pewter silver starfish pendant with long, skinny arms: it's hidden bail makes it seem to "float" on the necklace (okay...maybe nautical pun intended...) I have these starfish pendants on white, black, and even pink rolled leather necklaces, which are strong cords with a beautiful finished look.

Puffed Out Silver Starfish Necklaces, $15 each

I also created a slightly smaller and less expensive version of this pendant, pictured above. This antiqued pewter starfish is slightly puffed out, and very cute available on pink, black, and white necklaces.They've made great stocking stuffers for our 6 In the Shipyard clients, and because they are limited edition I've sold nearly half my stock already. They also make a great compliment to the brilliant Swarovski Crystal Starfish Necklaces ($18 in Bermuda Blue and Clear) that I also have available.

Check out my Etsy shop to get your own nautical necklace today!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hand Crafted Cheese Boards

Handcrafted Cheese Boards, $32
I'm so excited to be featuring these! Made from skilled carpenter craftsman Mr. Richard McManus of RAM Construction located in Topsfield, MA, these gorgeous handmade cheese boards are carefully crafted out of local Massachusetts wood. The boards have been treated with natural mineral oil to preserve the board, and each one is food safe, guaranteed not to split for life.
I found your next housewarming gift for hostess!
The detail in the contrasting maple and oak wood panels is stunning, and perfect for serving cheese and crackers at parties.

Makes an excellent, unique and thoughtful gift for your next hostess, housewarming, or wedding shower - and the quality is outstanding.

These are so fun to pick up and feel how smooth they are, (if you're weird like that - like I am...) so if you're local I recommend stopping by 6 In the Shipyard to check them out.

And if you're looking to round this unique gift out with a little something extra, I recommend checking out these cheese knives available from Williams Sonoma. The beautiful wooden handles of each cheese knife are a perfect match with these local woods featured in these handmade cheese boards. You can purchase the whole set for $49.95, either online at the Williams Sonoma website, or at a W-S retail store location.

Williams Sonoma Cheese Knives, Set of 5 $49.95
 Help Support Local Artisans: Purchase Your Handmade Cheese Board Online Now!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silver and Gold Leaf Charm Bracelet

Look no further for the perfect accessory to holiday parties this year!

Gold and Silver Leaf Bracelet, $50
This bracelet was painstakingly handcrafted from delicate silver and gold leaf small metal charms on silver plate chain, which makes it an extremely elegant charm bracelet. Each leaf charm measure 6.5mm x 4mm each, and the volume of these brilliant, understated leaves make this a delicate but beautiful piece of fine handmade jewelry.

The bracelet size pictured here is approximately 7"-8" long and secured with a small toggle clasp. I also made a beautiful pair of delicate matching gold and silver leaf earrings, pictured left.

Makes a great gift, for yourself or for someone special :) Listing valid while supplies last, and I've limited it to only 3 editions this season, so hurry and order your Silver and Gold Leaf Charm Bracelet today! Special commission requests may be made post-2011.

Visit the Ash Tree Designs handmade jewelry shop on Etsy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beaded Charm Wine Stoppers

Handmade Wine Stoppers, $25 each

Looking for a personal, unique hostess gift this holiday season? Announcing the newest line to the Ash Tree Designs handmade gifts now available at the 6 In the Shipyard store location, Handmade Wine Stoppers

Set of 3 Nautical Charm Wine Stoppers
This set of 3 has tones of blue and white with matching antiqued pewter nautical charms: perfect for holiday parties for ocean lovers, or boat accessories to throw in that bottle of wine during the warm summer months. As of yesterday, also available at 6 In the Shipyard are beautiful red and green beads with Christmas tree charms, perfect gifts for hostesses this holiday season!

You can purchase this set or individually, and also available for special orders and customization, including 3 beads of virtually any color and charms of your choice. Please allow 10 days for ordering, processing and shipment, as each piece is 100% unique and handmade: direct shipping orders (shipping to the gift recipient) are also available - and a great idea for the holidays! Contact me to get started.

Customize your own wine stopper with beads and charms

Monday, November 28, 2011

Silver Rune Necklaces

Prosperity Rune Necklace, Othila $12
Announcing the newest line of jewelry from The Ash Tree, Rune Necklaces. I was going through some of my old posts and found inspiration from a particularly popular one on my old embroidered necklace line, which featured the popular rune symbol pendants. Now that the embroidered necklaces have been discontinued, I wanted to find a way to bring back the runes and the meanings they carry. 


I started with a real set of beautiful amethyst runes, which I was inspired by the color and organic, smooth shapes of the stones.  Each stone had a carved rune that represents some element that I wanted the wearer to carry, as you can see from the following card insert. I created silicone molds from the stones using iridescent pearl clay, which actually produced swirls of color and pigment that actually looked like rocks. I painted on the etched-in runes with black ink, inserted an eye hook for the pendant, then baked them. 

Once removed from the oven and cooled, I sprayed the batch with a gloss finishing coat, to make them shine like real stones would, without the weight of them around the neck. The results were amazing: I love the look of these silver pendants on a simple black cord - and at the right price, so will you!

Simple Rune Meanings by Symbol
Right now, there are several different rune necklaces listed on my website: Hope, Success, Safety, Enlightenment, Journey, and Prosperity. I thought these runes represented what I wanted to convey the most with this jewelry: that is, protection, and going through your journey safely. I imagine these would be a great gift to give a traveler to keep them safe on their journey, or to wish someone success in their daily lives.

Hope Rune Necklace, Dagaz $12
I also got started on another batch, which was a gorgeous deep black color with either silver or gold painted runes. All necklaces are now available in the 6 In the Shipyard store location, just in time for all of your holiday shopping. In the meantime, you can order online while supplies last. Don't see the rune you want? Convo me to order it in whatever color you want!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rhinestone Cupcake Necklaces

Rhinestone Cupcake Necklaces, $20
Introducing the newest line in Ash Tree Designs handmade jewelry, the Rhinestone Cupcake Necklace. These adorable little treats have been in process for several weeks now - from original conception inspiration from the She's The First cupcakes for education nonprofit that I read about on the train in the Metro to sketching out and ordering (and waiting impatiently) for supplies.

When I first started, I really wanted a bright statement piece of jewelry in cupcake form. I did some research online and did sketches and took notes, but nothing I found really had the "look" I was going for, and I was excited to create my own.

Once I had a sketch in mind, I searched my favorite Etsy sellers for some supplies, as I figured a mold would be the only way to go when crafting something this small and delicate: I was lucky enough to stumble across WhysperFairy, an adorable shop that features molds spanning from anything you could ever imagine. I found a cupcake top and bottom, convo'd her to see if they'd fit, and anxiously awaited them to arrive.

 Meanwhile, I made a trip to Dick Blick art stores to pick up the polymer clay that I needed and a sealing agent that I could use to coat the finished cupcakes and give them a glossy finish and shine. I also ordered my Swarovski crystals in various sizes and colors to embellish the white "frosting" with.

Pink Rhinestone Cupcake Necklace, $20

When my molds came from WhysperFairy ahead of schedule (thanks again to Julie for such great customer service!) I got to work molding and experimenting with how to go about doing the cupcakes and getting them to fit together. Using about a quarter of each color, I made up to 5 cupcake molds, inserted an eye hook, designed and placed in the Swarovski crystals in the appropriate places, and set them in the oven. Once baked, each cupcake got a few coats of a glossy finish to both seal the whole piece together and to give it a glossy shine.

Right now, I have about 20 finished cupcakes and awaiting the arrival of more Swarovski crystals so I can get more out to place on my online store and at my retail location in Hingham, 6 In the Shipyard. But the interest has really taken off, and I'm so pleased to see the results of my time and efforts to come across so beautifully in these statement pieces.

Buy these necklaces at Ash Tree Designs online store

The colors available now (pictured) are red, yellow, green, blue, purple and magenta. I may experiment with some lighter pastel colors, but really like the vibrancy of these for now. You can purchase them online at my Ash Tree Designs handmade jewelry shop, or contact me if you'd like a special order or your color is not in stock. Happy holiday shopping!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Key To My Heart Necklaces

Truly In Love Key to My Heart Necklace, $28
A personal favorite of mine, the "Key to My Heart" necklace jewelry line is a beautiful statement for someone you care about in your life: a daughter, girlfriend, or even fiance. I wanted to avoid the cutesy look associated with this idea, so I chose a modern-looking heart crystal pendant shape, and attached a simple small key to it. No weird "lock" involved - just a simple statement that you have, that you are, the "Key to My Heart".

This concept design comes in a variety of color schemes, pictured here are the clear crystal and red crystal hearts: the heart pendants are made from real Swarovski crystal.

Pictured here is a Swarovski crystal heart is strung with an antiqued pewter key charm on a black rolled leather necklace, and the same with the white necklace. Simple and beautiful.

Key To My Heart Necklace, $18
Actual heart pendant size is 15mm, and the necklace is an adjustable necklace measuring approx. 17". I've also sold this piece on delicate silver chains, which are just as beautiful, for the same price. Chain sizes can be customized to fit whatever length you'd like.

If you'd like to purchase either of these pieces, please visit my Ash Tree Designs Etsy Shop. Also be sure to contact me if you'd like to discuss additional color or chain options - I'm happy to help. And don't forget...Christmas is only a few short weeks away!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wedding Calligraphy: White Ink on Chocolate Brown Envelopes

Calligraphy for Wedding Envelopes, $2 each

I have recently completed another white ink calligraphy addressing job, which never gets old against a deep, rich-colored envelope like chocolate brown.

This client came to me with deep brown and green hues as their wedding colors, and really wanted the addressing to jump off the envelope. They fell in love with the idea of white ink, as well as the whimsical dots between the zip code - which always add an extra personal touch to an address.

Calligraphy for Return Address, $1
This job also involved both outer envelope addressing with a return address needed on the back. This is the perfect option if you want your envelopes to precisely match the address they are being delivered to.

If you are looking to have calligraphy on wedding invitations, email me to get started! I'll show you a full portfolio of my work, schedule a consult on what style and colors are right for you, and answer any questions you may have on etiquette. Contact Ash Tree Designs today!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Jewelry

Enameled Breast Cancer Ribbon Earrings, $18

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month - what have you done to support the cause? Maybe you've signed up for a walk, made a donation, or set aside time to volunteer. With the newest breast cancer awareness handmade jewelry collection now available from Ash Tree Designs, you can promote awareness every day. Pictured above are adorable pink enameled earrings on silver, measuring 15x9mm in size: the perfect size for subtle stud earrings!

Breast Cancer Charm Bracelet with Mussel Shell Charms
I created a series of awareness pieces that do their part, while looking fabulous. Above is one of my famous cluster charm bracelets, featuring silver ribbon charms in a sea of pink mussel shell links secured with a toggle clasp. Below, you can also see these same ribbon charms on a pair of matching earring studs, which are suspended in front of the same pink mussel shells. 

Antiqued Pewter Ribbon Charm Earrings with Pink Mussel Shells

All of these designs and more products that have been made to promote awareness to find a cure are available at 6 In the Shipyard retail store in Hingham, MA. You can also find a small selection available at the Ash Tree Design online shop.

Antiqued Pewter Awareness Ribbon Charm Earrings

Whether you are embarking on a breast cancer awareness walk and looking for a fun way to coordinate your group, or wish to give a gift to a brave survivor, purchase these beautiful pieces. Bulk orders accepted and encouraged - so email me, or stop by 6 In the Shipyard to get started!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Embroidery: Counted Cross Stich

Buy counted cross stitch kits at 123stitch.com
I've always done embroidery, from the time my grandmother taught me when I was little until now. Sometimes my little embroidery projects tend to become neglected, thread lost, or I completely messed up the count and I get frustrated and stop.

One of the great habits I've picked up from art school was discipline: sticking with something and seeing it through. I was lucky enough to have completed last year a large embroidery project two years in the making, and my grandmother offered to frame it for me.

The counted cross stitch embroidery is a gorgeous underwater scene, because I love the ocean and find working with many vibrant colors keeps me interested in the project. There are fish, coral, and even dolphins all entangled together in a large scene that is hand-embroidered on a light blue embroidery cloth. I used a large hoop, almost 12" in diameter, which kept a large portion of the embroidery exposed and workable. This piece actually travelled with me to Italy, where I would work on it at night when I didn't have TV or internet to keep me occupied.

The finished product needed a custom black frame, and was matted with a deep blue matte. My initials, in red, are exposed in a thin light blue strip at the bottom of the image. I'm so proud of it, and couldn't wait to have it hung in my apartment: right now, it's hung right above my framed whiteboard in my studio above my drafting table. It's such a personal, stunning accent to the room - and so nice to see that all the hard work paid off.

The most recent piece that I've been working on has been an embroidered Italian bistro scene, which has been an ongoing for about a year now. In the true "me" spirit, I've already picked out my next embroidery, from 123stitch.com, and can't wait to get finished and started again!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review: Girls in White Dresses

I just finished this great book by Jennifer Close, "Girls In White Dresses", read on my very own Kindle-like Nook from Barnes and Noble. It's dangerous, because I've gone through 2 books in less than two weeks.

Anyway, I read about this book in the Metro a while back, and finally bought it this month. As I was reading about girls my age going through the same things I'm going through, I found myself bookmarking like crazy and saying "YES!" at every page.

"One year after graduating, they were finally on their own. It was almost like college, except they had to get up and go to work every morning. They tried (for the sake of being grown-ups) not to go out every night. 

The weather made them restless and irritable while they waited for something to start. They all knew they ought to feel different in their new lives, but they felt the same and it put them on edge...they fidgeted, asking each other 'what next?'" - Girls In White Dresses, page 26

Girls in White Dresses, Jennifer Close
This book, Ms. Close's first novel, takes you on a tour of what it's like to be a girl in her 20's, fresh out of college. She's not quite sure where to go or what to do with this next phase of her life, so she's anxiously taking a job "just for now" and dating to find "The One" so she can get married. And I'll be honest, reading about these intelligent women dating these idiots looking for the right guy for them actually stirred up a lot for me personally.

One guy, obsessed with politics, goes on the road for weeks then months at a time and eventually leaves his girlfiend. Between another self-absorbed stoner who works 4 hours a day, the lawyer who hooks up with the fresh law school graduate then tells her he's engaged when she can't stop thinking of him, and the ladies' man bartender who dates one of the women he works with as a waitress then dumps her after a few days, I kept remembering the tools of boyfrields past: knowing that the reason that women put up with this unacceptable male behavior in their 20's is that they are lonely and always believe that if they just wait it out, it will pay off.

Positively, I found myself to relating to experiences of many of the girls, and especially loved the bridezilla chapter, where their friend Kristi had 6 bridal showers that all the girls had to schlep to. I started losing interest in the last few chapters where the married girls started with the baby-making, because I'm just not in an I-want-baby-place right now. If you are looking for something fresh and relateable, especially when you're drowning in family-centered novels (i.e., Jodi Picoult), this is a great read for you.

Bottom Line: Awesome, go read it and feel better about your LIFE in this WORLD.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jessica Rabbit Halloween Costume

Now that I'm starting to think Halloween again, it occurred to me that I never came back with the finished product after last year's vicious Jessica Rabbit costume hunt. Here's an image of my final costume: it was a big hit! I only encountered 1 other Jessica Rabbit in Boston, but my costume was obviously way better.

The Gabriella Dancy shoes in red were perfect for the costume, and surprisingly didn't hurt my feet that bad. Unfortunately, the fabric tore on both shoes during my bar crawling, and I had to return them. I tried to find another pair on Zappos, but they are not carrying that fire-red that they did last year: the closest is a deeper red in patent leather.

Full Jessica Rabbit Costume,
custom design by MsMars.
Photo Credit: Focal Impulse
The thing that really made this costume was the wig. I got mine at Dorothy's Boutique near Berklee, and the second I saw the obnoxious orange hair color, I knew it was perfect. It even had the side-swept bang that I could hide one of my eyes, much like Jessica herself. I also bought obnoxiously huge fake eyelashes.

Lastly, after searching the city I broke down and bought long purple gloves online cheap. I don't remember where, but they were like $12: which is good, because I spilled beer all over them. (And no, not me - I don't drink beer. So ha!)

Pictured in this post is the full Jessica Rabbit costume as photographed during a Boudoir Quickie Slam Shoot by Focal Impulse Studios. As I've posted before in my experience with them, I cannot recommend them enough to clients looking for (or even thinking about) participating in a boudoir photo shoot. They were great with direction, have an impressive portfolio, and I was thrilled with the resulting re-touched photos. So don't wear you're *hot* Halloween costume only once: get some great photos, too!

Of course, after this epic costume, I am having problems coming up with one for this year. How do you follow up a bombshell like Jessica Rabbit? Any suggestions welcome - I was thinking Marilyn Monroe...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Place Card Calligraphy on Vintage Tags

Calligraphy for Place Card Tags, $1 each

Here are images from my latest calligraphy job, which were commissioned in conjunction with the custom ink color job a few months earlier. The couple had decided to do a vintage theme for their wedding, so their invites and place cards reflected that.

Handmade Stained Tags from mayasmomma, $17.50 for 100

I started work this week on beautiful handmade tags that the bride ordered from mayasmomma on Etsy. Mayasmomma has a great shop featuring vintage-inspired tags, recycled notebooks, and treasure maps - so definitely check out their shop!
I originally tested out the same custom charcoal grey that I had used on the same brides invitation envelopes months before, but on the brown stained tags, the color didn't quite pop. After a consultation with her, she agreed with my recommendation to make the tag ink color black instead - and you can definitely see the difference!
Calligraphy for Place Cards, $1 each
Looking for a little something different for your wedding reception table settings? Contact me today to get started on your project - we can take your ideas to the next level, and definitely play up your theme (as you can see). I've worked with brides across the country, and haven't met a request I couldn't accommodate. Let's get started today!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Italian Bistro Embroidery: Counted Cross Stitch

Finished Product as Advertised
My latest embroidery project - after the large underwater scene (pics soon!), I am so amped up to get this newest counted cross stitch embroidery project finished and hanging in my home. Here's a few shots that I wanted to post to keep track of my progress over the last few months.

I love the meticulousness of counted cross stitch, probably for the same reason that I love doing pen and ink pointilisms. There's just something so real about it that you need to walk up close to see the stitching that makes up an image.

August, 2011 Shot of Embroidery In-Progress

I also love working on scenes like this that unfold before your eyes - in every case, I know what the outcome looks like because of the package cover, and I'm staring at the instructional chart and coloring in my progress. But to really see the image come out of the cloth because of the colors I'm stitching and how I'm stitching them, it's the coolest thing. It definitely takes a lot of patience to realize the final product, but it's a great project that produces such an amazing result.

September, 2011 Shot of Embroidery In-Progress

I like to work on projects that reflect my life that I can work on in my "spare time". This bistro scene reflects my love for my time living in Italy, and an ongoing reminder that I need to go back. My next piece is going to be a woman artfully holding a basket of flowers - I've never done a portrait embroidery before, and I'm excited to get to it. For my next progress post, I'll be sure to include an image of that!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HUGS 2011: Hubspot User Conference

Before this becomes obsolete, I wanted to write a quick post on my attendance to the Hubspot 2011 Conference this past Friday. The company I am currently employed utilizes Hubspot software for its online marketing initiatives, and I have since become an obsessed user since being introduced to the system about 6 months ago. Hubspot hosted a conference at the Boston Sheraton this past Friday, called HUGS 2011, and it was, for the most part, good.

{Powerful Closing Here} Such delicious Geekiness...
The day had a full agenda of seminars that were broken up into three tracks based on experience of Hubspot users. I felt torn between the Intermediate and Advanced sessions, so I attended a few of both. Some of the presentations were a bit better then others, but for the most part I felt as though I knew most of the material already, or was in a real-life Hubspot webinar. Which has its great moments, but wasn't what I'd expected.

The event itself was okay, you could tell that they still need to tweak things a bit to make flawless. For example, there was a  Q&A lunch session with the CEO and Founder that I really wanted to catch, but I had gotten a late seat at a table waaay in the back with lots of chattering marketers, so I had no prayer of hearing what was going on. One of their big speakers also didn't show up due to illness, which was disappointing

However, I do not regret attending. I got a great spreadsheet that I'm still wrapping my mind around to measure ROI of online marketing efforts. I got further inspired and was yelling "YES! YES!" in my head during a content seminar about blogging and have a slew of new ideas to get my company involved with our blog. Lastly, my favorite presentation was by Jeanne Hopkins, Director of Marketing at Hubspot. The seminar not only gave me great pointers on marketing collaborations, but I was able to snag her for a quick conversation on how to be a strong female leader in the male workplace.

You're on your way, Hubspot, and I like what you're doing. I believe next year will be even better!

If you went to the conference, let me know what you think ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Custom Calligraphy Ink Color for Wedding Envelopes

Wedding Calligraphy for Outer Envelope Only, $2

This bride came to me with the coolest vintage-inspired invites that I've ever seen. Using different fonts and styles to create an antiqued feel, the invitations came in a charcoal-grey color scheme that she requested for a custom color mix for her calligraphy for outer envelopes.

You can see from the images that she chose the spread out zip code with no dot accents between the numbers. The envelopes were great quality, looking almost woven, and thus great to write on. I used a C-5 calligraphy nib, and custom-mixed a grey using a mostly white ink bottle with limited drops of black. The result was a "not too harsh" ink color that really popped, and looked great against her invitations!

Custom calligraphy ink for wedding envelopes

Looking for a custom color, or just don't want to even THINK about addressing all those envelopes yourself? Contact me today to get started on your calligraphy project: I've worked with brides all over the country, and will help you to make your wedding a day to remember.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Calligraphy for Vintage Wedding Photo Shoot: Part 1

In a recent request on Etsy, I was asked at the 11th hour to help out with some select calligraphy pieces for a vintage photo shoot at a bridal show in the Boston area. The event planner sent me this "inspiration board", of which the pallette was made up of robin's egg blue, cream, and pink.

Inspiration Board for Vintage Bridal Theme
It turns out their calligrapher fell through, and they were desperate for some finishing-touch pieces to help complete their concept. Though one week was a bit short notice to turn around everything that they had wanted, I was able to produce for them a pink tea menu card and 8 place cards in an assortment of cream, pink, and light blue: all with chocolate brown ink to help correspond with the "vintage" look of their wedding shoot.

The theme of the photo shoot was a vintage garden tea party - very whimsical but elegant, English, etc. Colors they used include pinks, robin's egg blue, creams and other pastels. In addition to the calligraphy that they needed, the tablescape incorporated mis-matched china, lace table cloths, silver tea pots, and other antiqued items of the color group. The location was also beautiful, with the scene being set in this garden bridal photo shoot video that you can click to view.

Though the professional images have not yet been released by the photographer, I took some shots of my own of my work before handing it over. You can take a look at the Tea Menu, as well as the 8 calligraphy place cards each portraying a different name with the theme's colors in chocolate brown ink.

If you are in need of a specific calligraphy vision for your wedding or special event, this is a perfect example of how Ash Tree Calligraphy can help you! Contact me today to get started.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Calligraphy for Place Cards

Calligraphy for Place Cards, $1 each

Instead of place cards, this bride chose to do have calligraphy reception names on embossed "labels" that she would attach to lobster lollipop for her July, Maine wedding. The labels had a hole punched in the top and were vertical with a variety of 6 embossed nautical images. These adorable graphics included a starfish, sand dollar, ship's wheel, anchor, crab, and square knot.

Bride and Groom Reception Calligraphy, $1 each

Just another great example of how customizing your wedding around a "theme" can really pay off. This idea was something a little different, but still got the point across...and she also combined wedding favors and place cards into one with the lobster lollipop. It's my guess that the red of the lobsters and navy in the tags will really pop!

Similar Concept - tags would be on red lobster lollipops
as place cards and favors for guests. Picture credit: C & A Event Planning

I wrote out each name in a dark blue ink - that actually resembled a navy - and used a C-5 calligraphy nib dipped in ink. I wrote out the Tables right on top of each embossed image to create consistency. I also made sure to have each table "mixed up" with a balanced amount of images: but maybe that's just me being anally-detailed once again!

Place Card Calligraphy, $1 each

Genius, and original in my book!

Need calligraphy on place cards for your wedding reception or special event? Contact me to get started today on your project!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fashion Outfit of the Week: Going Wild

Shanghai Exotic Peep Toe Pump: Christian Siriano for Payless

Sandra Darren Snake Print Dress, $29 ideeli
Croc and snakeskin prints and textures are in for fall. So this week's fashion outfit reflects this - my latest purchase from my favorite fashion site, ideeli.com, an impulse Payless shoe purchase, and tying it all up with an accessory.

Shoes: I've been on the hunt for the perfect neutral pumps. Tan or skin tone heels are not only a great option for work, but wearing them with a skirt can blend with your skin tone and make your legs appear longer. For all these reasons, I needed them. Like, really.

So, when I walked into my usual Size 11 aisle at Payless (THE ONLY reasonably priced shoe store that carries my size, shoe-store jerks!) I saw these on sale and tried them on immediately. Being a Libra, I pace and think over and over, but these shoes were 100% sold. They were comfortable, and sexy: and even with the lizard print, they are still neutral enough to wear.

Dress: Next, I was browsing a great "Fun Frocks" sale that ideeli.com occasionally has, and I was immediately drawn to a Sandra Darren Snake Print Dress. Talk about perfect in the workplace: long enough, fairly modest coverage, and perfect olive green tones for fall (which also happen to be one of my favorite shades to work!). Sold!
Minicci Womens Cut Out Cuff, Payless

Accessories: To tie this all together, I noticed a significant lack of gold jewelry - and bracelets - in my wardrobe. I hate gold, I think it's very "old lady", so all of my jewelry is silver. I think silver goes with more, because of it's white tone instead of yellow. But, knowing that fall brings gold hues, I searched online and found this great gold cuff that also matches my personality. The cutout Minicci bracelet was a steal at $5.99 BOGO price from Payless!

One last recommendation - for your next manicure, go for a skin-tone matching nude or tan color polish. Not only will this match this outfit, (and many others!) but going for this nail color can make your fingers look longer and more elegant.

To conclude, I must re-confirm my love for both Payless Shoesource and ideeli.com, both great places that serve up fashion for those on a budget, and refuse to spend $1,700 on a handbag when that could buy you, like, 56 pairs of shoes from Payless. And for a shoe-aholic like me with big steamboat feet that just want some pretty-shoe love, that's the perfect price!

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