Clean Slate

Monday, March 16, 2015

VIDA Scarves!

Two posts in one month! I guess that means I've either been procrastinating other things on my to-do list or I'm just feeling really ambitious.

I wanted to let you know about a recent collaboration of mine in the fashion world. I launched a collection of scarves with VIDA Voices with my surface pattern designs on them. I can't wait to receive my samples and model them myself to show you detailed shots of the beautiful quality. But until then, popover to their site and take a look at my designs. Maybe you're looking for that perfect spring accessory to liven up your wardrobe? I am definitely in need of a pick-me-up in that department. Make sure to poke around their site to hear more of their story and see more examples of their amazing products.

Check back for a giveaway as we get further into spring, but until then there are 4 days left to use the coupon code "VOICES" for 25% off your purchase. Thanks so much for all your support and kindness! 

About VIDA: VIDA Voices is a company that I'm especially proud to partner with because they are socially responsible and are incredibly mindful in their business practices. Specifically, they provide all their textile mill workers in Pakistan and India with literacy courses.

scarf pattern by two if by sea studios

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bookshelf + Chasing Paper Wallpaper DIY

It's been a while since I posted a furniture or "before & after" DIY project, but spring has sprung here in Michigan and there is nothing like a growing to-do list to get me outside. As I posted on my Instagram, 50º means throw your socks by the wayside and spray paint outside.

I bought this little bookcase for extra storage on Craigslist a couple of years ago with the intention of doing something fun with it someday like painting the inside a bold color or using some kind of material to cover it, etc. (It's little sister, Ms. Record Cabinet, got a new life a while back and you can see her enjoying the sunshine in the original post here.)

 Finally, this past fall the perfect pattern came along to spruce it up. Yep, that is kind of a pun, as you'll see further down. In case you weren't aware, I design surface patterns for various products and one of the most exciting partnerships of this past year was with the wallpaper company Chasing Paper! I designed four patterns for them and they were kind enough to send me extra samples of my favorite, Ever-so-Green, for this special project. Now, this isn't just any ol' wallpaper. It's self-adhesive, removable and reposition-able! The quality is so nice, I can't say enough good things about it and would not hesitate to cover an entire room in it.

This bookcase has become our landing strip and lives directly next to our front door so it's definitely front and center. This little refresh makes that sunny spot just a little more appealing and I just love the bright interior now. Back up... yes, we're in a new home now. In January Dylan, Nellie and I moved into a very cabin-like little house in a community between Ann Arbor and Detroit called Plymouth. We're settling into this space, which is so cozily off the beaten path and surrounded by trees and wood paneling! See the theme?

Below are some photos of the steps I took to complete this project. I decided to spray the interior of the bookcase white with Rust-oleum Paint &  Primer, first to cover the shelves and make them all clean looking and second, to create a nice smooth surface for the wallpaper to stick to. I decided to leave the exterior that retro light wood color and gave the legs a fresh coat of paint.

Then after measuring the interior spaces I wanted to cover I determined the sizes of the pieces I would need and also where the seam would be on the back piece and used a ruler and X-Acto knife to cut them. Then, one at a time, I stuck them in place. The beauty with the Chasing Paper product is that I could stick it down, peel it up, stick it down again, etc. It never lost it's stickiness!

Sidenote: no, this isn't a perfectly styled bookcase because we use all of our spaces to store things. We've only got 800 sq ft here, people, and no garage – so yes the boxes of hats and mittens need to go there. Don't judge me! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Things for 2015

As one year transitions to the next I find myself aspiring to make some changes in my life to better it. As this blog title infers we (Dylan and I) like fresh starts. We are fickle and we know it. We get restless, unsatisfied and an itch to try a new location for our home, switch our career focuses and travel frequently. And why not? Below are 10 of the things, links and ramblings included, that are part of my current clean slate.

1. Painting and Sketching : I've started a sketchbook and am documenting a painting, drawing or pattern in it every day for 365 days. You can follow along on the new Two if by Sea Studios Tumblr page or via my Instagram or Pinterest. (Hopefully the photos will be getting better once I get a new phone in a few weeks. P.S. The RENDR sketchbook's paper has amazed me so far. I can paint and draw on both sides of the paper and it doesn't bleed through.

2. Facial Massage : There's a bit of internet buzz about this right now and I've been trying to do it several times a week using a little coconut oil and a drop of tea tree oil. It feels so nice and Dylan mocks me by telling me how youthful I look while we're sitting on the sofa reading, which makes for a laugh.

3. 5 Minute Journal : The Mr. and I are both on our 5th day of this new journaling practice. So far, we're enjoying the simple addition of an extra few minutes of mindfulness each day.

4. "Ambivalence is Key to Success" (via Amy Poehler & David Simon) : Reading Yes Please right now and can't put it down... I don't want it to end. Here's my favorite part so far:

Either way, we both agreed that ambivalence is key to success. I will say it again. Ambivalence is key. You have to care about your work but not about the result. you have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look. 

Thank you, Amy. I needed that.

5. Podcasts : I've been listening to a lot of them lately while I work and while we're driving. Some of my favorites include The Unmistakeable Creative, After the Jump, The Jess Lively Show, Serial, The Splendid Table, 99% Invisible and Stuff You Should Know. Pretty much in order of enjoyment.

6. Friendships : We're planning a trip with a few of our best friends. Stay tuned.

7. Minimalism : This past year has seen a lot of purging, but we've got a ways to go. Donating and selling the nonessential has simplified choices and spaces. Downsizing to an even smaller home this week is going to take some more editing and I'm looking forward to it. Additionally, at the end of September I vowed to try my hardest to not buy any new clothes for an entire year. I can make my own, buy vintage or second-hand, or rent, but nothing new. I'm trying. Really. Hard. (I don't think underwear counts and I did have a moment of weakness after Thanksgiving when I determined I desperately needed a new pair of yoga pants without holes in them.

Unsubscribing from lots of retail email lists has helped. Pinterest doesn't help, but it does encourage me to get creative.

8. Hammocks : Seeking more opportunities to use ours and to sleep in it over night.

9. Moving to a Dirt Road : More on this later, once I unpack my camera.

10. A Slight Blog Refresh : If you're reading this on a reader, perhaps click through to to see the updates. I cleaned stuff up, but it's still in progress. It feels like a good time to start blogging more, because the ever insightful and inspiring illustrator and letterer, Jessica Hische says,
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
And blogging is one of the things I do when I procrastinate... yes, I should be working on several brand identities, my sketchbook and a couple wedding invitations right now.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ornament Swap 2014: DIY Hand Painted Concrete Gems

One of my favorite December & holiday traditions has come and gone already; the annual ornament swap! I think what makes it so fun is coming up with new ideas and trying out new materials that might not be traditionally thought of for holiday ornament crafts. Quick setting concrete, or Quikcrete, was my experiment this year and I love how these little gems turned out. 

To see some of the ornaments I received in the swap check out my Instagram feed and if you're curious about my projects from previous years, you can click here to look back. Sorry if any past post images are appearing a bit fuzzy, I've been changing around the design of the blog over the years and smaller images are being scaled up and becoming a bit pixelated as a result.

Below are a few of the in-progress photos and tips for making your own.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Travel Survival Guide Personalized Journal, Planner or Address Book

A design for all my fellow travel lovers! (Please excuse all the exclamation points, but I'm really excited about this product launch...)

I think this design so perfect as a journal, but you can also order it as a planner (monthly or weekly) and an address book! Now that I think about it, I guess "Survival Guide" is pretty appropriate for a planner, as sometimes I feel like a week or month full of events and to-dos is all about surviving!

Chose either spiral or grommet bound! Three colors to chose from. Add front and interior personalization or a message to the recipient if you'd like. What?!? So many options, try not to be overwhelmed. Click here to take a closer look on, see the options or place an order.

Thanks for taking a look and supporting my designs. Two if by Sea Studios has a lot of exciting products in the works so check back every so often! Like my page on Facebook and follow me on Instagram for all the updates!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Montana & Glacier National Park

In late September, Dylan and I determined we could spare a week off in October and get away because we knew travel around the holidays wasn't going to be possible this year. We promptly booked tickets into Spokane, Washington with plans to visit Glacier National Park and explore Montana a bit.

After reading several articles like this one in the New York Times and other publications, warning of the possibility that Glacier National Park will be significantly affected by climate change in the coming decades, we felt an even greater sense of urgency to see the wonders of this northern U.S. region.

I think we picked the absolute best time to visit this park! It was quiet, yet still accessible and the majesty of it no less than in the warmer months. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but I should note that we had planned to do some intense day hiking and due to a hockey injury just a couple weeks prior to taking off we had to stay mainly on the roads. We thought this may put a real damper on what we were able to see and experience, but it didn't. I look forward to a return trip in the future to dive deeper into this amazing place and perhaps do some camping.

most memorable meal : pescado blanco in whitefish, mt... so, so, so good!

where we stayed: columbia falls, montana in the most awesome airbnb with a great host, brian

the thing that got our blood flowing: a full day fly fishing with rob of lakestream outfitters

my overall favorite moment: waking up our last day to see everything blanketed with a layer of glittering frost as the sun came up and the fog lowering and lifting, but in a close second was setting up our hammock on the shore of kintla lake

unique sounds: the neighbors donkey braying in the morning when being fed, the glacier-fed rivers running steadily and the fly fishing line snapping above our heads

our airbnb for the week - wood stove heated and perfectly located

For more photos, check out my Instagram feed!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Two if by Sea Studios – Printable Wall Art on Etsy ($5!)


When I discovered that you could buy printable art on Etsy and have the ease of just downloading the file instantly I was pretty enamored. A good home printer + instant gratification = happy wall-fillers! Let me just reiterate how easy this is. 

  1. Add to Cart 
  2. Checkout 
  3. Etsy Emails you a Receipt that Contains a Link to Download
  4. Download
  5. Print

From a designer standpoint, I've been toying with the idea of opening an Etsy shop for awhile and instant downloads & printables seemed like a great place to start. (This morning I received my first sale notification! Yay!!)

Now that the store is stocked I thought I'd share my first few available instant downloads and give you a heads up that archival, physical prints will be available for purchase very, very soon.

I'm curious – what other instant download products would you use? Thank you cards, lunch bag notes for kiddos, wrapping paper, scrapbooking patterns, personalized stationery.... I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

CSA Summer : Week 12

Well, those past few weeks just slid on by without much recognition. We passed the halfway point in our City Commons CSA subscription and I'm still thrilled every week. A few things that I had trouble using: fresh sage leaves, parsley, jalapeños (see solution below) and shelly beans. Oh, and I threw away some basil that I didn't get a chance to use... I know... I'll be cursing myself in the winter.

Week 12: Arugula, Hot Peppers, Sage, Winter Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, Slicing Tomatoes,  Green Beans, Onions and Broccoli Rabe 

Recently baked / cooked with past weeks boxes:

Pickled jalapenos, which I used this set of directions by Della Rose Living for and opted for no water bath. Took me about 1 hour start to finish. 

Lots of veggie fajitas & burritos.

Cole Slaw! (I could eat this every day): Bobby Flay knows what he's talking about.

Zucchini bread

Swiss chard quesadillas with homemade salsa.

Roasted potatoes and carrots

Week 9 was pretty stellar as well, I snapped this quick photo but never posted!

P.S. Camping two weekends in a row was awesome! Need proof? Check out my Instagram. The Michigan motto sums it up, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Now Open: Two if by Sea Studios Provisions!

Well, besides running an eco-resort or cabin style bed & breakfast, my next dream solo business idea could definitely be opening a small store centered around the art of gift giving. I love curating, ahem... "pinning" for hours on end.

ENTER GREAT.LY: There's something really addicting about gathering groups of beautiful products and supporting artists. Lucky for me, has included me as a tastemaker so I can share the unique goods of independent makers! With my shop, Two if by Sea Studios : Provisions I'm focused on gift-able items. It can be really challenging finding unique items for all the array of people in your life, but I think this website is the solution to this problem. A one stop shop for curated unique, handcrafted items for anyone from baby to grandparent. (Special note: this week only FREE SHIPPING!)

Here are some of my favorite gifts to give from two of my four shop categories:

bag, purse, notebook, field notes, body oil, keychain, clip, paper, stationery, accessories
One / Two / Three / Four

pillows, cork, planter, succulent, cactus, bunting, clay, tablecloth, linen
One / Two / Three / Four
Happy Shopping!

Friday, August 8, 2014

CSA Summer : Week 8

Week 8: Cherry Tomatoes, Potatoes, Garlic, Mixed Herbs, Hot Peppers, Carrots, Cucumbers and Kale (Photo shows what's left of it... ) As you can see the Cherry Tomatoes didn't make it past this Instagram post.

Showing off my new camping & picnic addition! This eco-friendly rug made of recycled plastic may elevate us to "glamping" status this summer. Here's the link if you're interested: Fab Habitat 3-Feet by 5-Feet Lhasa Indoor/Outdoor Rug

A full post about our camping supplies and set-up to come!

Recently baked / cooked with past weeks boxes:
I fried up those squash blossoms on Monday night and Dylan and I were fighting over the last one. The were so. good. No special recipe, I just made a quick, light batter out of flour, salt and milk. Then I swirled them around and dropped them into some hot olive oil. 3-4 minutes per side and the crispiest treats emerged.

Lots of veggie sandwiches and salads this week.

A batch of swiss chard, garlic and parmesan pasta.

Why have I never sautéed green beans in garlic and Sriracha before?!? Delicious!

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