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hey all! july is generally a pretty quiet month on the studio/show front as much of my time is consumed with vacation and birthday celebrations. two weeks ago, i enjoyed some time in ocean city, maryland with my best friend and her family. this is us celebrating her birthday at seacrets during the day in the bay:

i left them early in the week to go home and prep for another birthday party- my boyfriend’s surprise 30th birthday celebration! his mom and i had literally been planning it for months. i can’t believe the day finally arrived- i feel like i’ve spent so much time building a party planning pinboard, making lists, making more lists, sending out emails, etc. here’s some photos from the party, complete with links to my recipes & inspiration.

the party was held at the family’s beach house in LBI- it’s affectionately titled the happy clam. you may remember me mentioning it in a previous post when i helped his mother work on some interior redecorating, with much inspiration coming from pinterest. the outdoor deck space was a little bit tight for everyone that showed up, so we expanded to the driveway, as seen above. i crafted a homemade “happy birthday” strand by using sea colored cardstock, printing each letter out, then using the martha stewart circle cutter to cut out each letter and numeral.

my present to Nick was a specially crafted home brew. my friend and brewer Nate Panek crafted a double IPA with hints of summer fruit flavors, like pineapple, mango, lemon, and passion fruit. as promised, it was dangerously easy to drink, even at 8.4% abv. i designed custom labels for the bottles with labels from onlinelabels.com. it was an economical way to make them on my home printer and they were waterproof with inkjet ink. however, with the particular product i ordered, i wasn’t very happy with the quality. i also ordered matching customs from Grant at Product 80– he was such an easy vendor to work with. his coasters are also very economical for both large and small amounts as he uses a vinyl sticker process rather than a press. some other things on the menu included:

these were refreshing and delicious- inspired by this rainbow creation from pinterest.

one of Nick’s favorite summer eats is the blackberry, so i used it as an ingredient in a couple of items at the party. i modified this recipe for fruit infused vodka to make a blackberry vodka lemonade punch.

in keeping with the flavor themes, i enlisted my friend and (nearly) pro baker Karina to use blackberry in a cupcake- she came up with a delicious blackberry & champagne concoction. it’s the pink cupcake featured in the middle. she also crafted the vanilla/vanilla mini cupcakes that match the blue/green color scheme that are on the back cake stand. another flavor theme was whiskey, Nick’s liquor of choice. not pictured here are the decadent chocolate whiskey bonbons she created. many yums and thanks to her!

whiskey also made an appearance in these individual cakes i baked in Ball jars. i found this buttery recipe on Heather Baird’s sprinklebakes blog (where i also discovered that she has a book out! i may have to pick it up). i doubled the recipe to make enough jars for each guest to take home as a thank you. it got some positive reviews which made pouring the batter into each individual jar worth it 🙂 i decorated each jar with cupcake liners.

using the same cupcake liners, i made these mini chocolate cookie cheesecakes. the recipe was modified from one that a friend gave me- check it out on my rarely updated food blog.

for decor, i used an abundance of tealights, handmade sea colored garland, balloons, and more handmade paper flowers. check out this tutorial to make your own paper flowers.

 . . . after all of the baking, gluing, coordinating, taping, and collecting, Nick was truly surprised- here’s the birthday boy upon his arrival:

happy 30th birthday, Nick!

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as some of you may know, i’m a pinterest addict; i have an ever-expanding collection of board categories that appeal to my anal retentive organization side. recently, i was tasked with the project of freshening up my boyfriend’s family’s shore house. it’s a quaint rental on LBI that needed some colorful updates to bring it out of it’s former beach-junk-clutter decor. we purged the house of sun-bleached prints depicting 80s fish and faux-oil paintings of lighthouses, and began the update with colorful, cool striped bed spreads, which served as my color inspiration. here are some photos (admittedly not the best quality) of the pieces I put together on a shoestring budget- some of them were DIY idea appropriated from pinterest:

i am really proud of these two paper flower bouquets. i scoured the interwebs to find an easy and refined way to make a bouquet from paper and this method was the winner! i picked up some cheap and elegant containers from ikea- check out the VASEN & my favorite, the SKURAR.

this was another pinterest-inspired idea- it actually turned out nothing like the tutorial i found, but i like it even more. ingredients: leaves, canvas, spray paint, and a little patience.

this is a photo of one of the bedrooms- you can sort of make out the blue & green bed spreads. above the beds used to hang old faux-oil paintings of lighthouses. to add a little bit of modern beach look, along with some function, we installed these fun ikea shelves. i hunted out some colorful glass and ceramics to decorate. it’s a little extreme, but this image i found on pinterest is what inspired me:

pictured above is a closeup of one of the shelves. below, is a view of the dining and living area:

i’m really happy with the layout of the canvases (the closest one on the left is fabric i stretched like a painting), but the couch cover needs a facelift. all in due time- it’s definitely still a work in progress!

ps- let’s connect on pinterest! i love to follow back 🙂

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hey all! lots of new things coming down the pipeline for the spring- i’m still applying to shows, but i do have a few coming up very soon- and you can always check out what’s new on the right hand side of the page. first up- 

this will be my first time participating at the Go West! Craft Fest, put on by VIX Emporium (where I also have some of my wares in stock). this year they’ve shifted the venue to The Woodlands at 4000 Woodland Ave. in West Philadelphia. apparently, it’s a home to a historic mansion and cemetery as well- so come out for mix of art and history. the show is a one day thing on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 11-5pm.

. . . then, directly following the craft fest, my friend and fellow printmaker Bryan Schulthorpe of Yardsale Press and I will be having an opening for our joint show at Nice Things . . . Handmade  on East Passyunk! it will feature a selection of new silkscreen prints from both of us, as well as some of our older work. so please join us on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 6-10pm at 1731 East Passyunk, Philadelphia, PA 19148. (we’ll have snacks and drinks, too!) thanks so much to Elissa for this wonderful opportunity 🙂

the following weekend, i’ll be heading south to participate for the first time in Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Chatty Crafty! i met organizer Lynda Buckels when i vended at the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta last year and she was very persuasive 🙂 the show is at The Chattanooga Green at Ross’ Landing on both Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 from 10-6pm daily. i’m headed down a little early to check out the area, so if anyone has any tips or recommendations for the area, let me know!

in may, i’ll be a returning vendor to the Philadelphia institution known as the Art Star Craft Bazaar! this is one of my favorite events each year- so many talented artists in one place 🙂 this year’s show is still at The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on both Saturday, May 12th and Sunday, May 13th from 11-6pm. here’s hoping for sunshine and blue skies!

since this spring will be a busy one, i’ve been plugging away at some new work. here’s a preview of some new prints/product i have- even if you don’t make it to a show, they’re always for sale in my exit343design etsy store🙂

last weekend was my birthday (goodbye 25, helloooo 26) and my boyfriend took me up to vermont for the weekend to escape the st. patty’s madness (did i mention my bday is the 17th?) and attempt to snowboard in the unseasonably warm weather.

well, we did manage to hit the slopes on saturday, although it was a struggle, what with everything melting in the sun . . . it was fun though, and the views were beautiful. thus far, mount snow is the largest mountain i’ve boarded.

it was a great weekend of sun, snow, and delicious food 🙂 before we headed home on sunday, we took a slight detour to check out the Brattleboro area. on the way, we hit up some clearance sales at snow sports stores in Dover, like Invasion Board Shop. we also happened upon some awesome antiques stores- i picked up a mini picnic basket for show displays at Tallulahs Antiques and we found a fun gift for his friend at Twice Upon a Time. we also picked up some delicious food to cook with . . . which leads me to my last few updates. i’ve added more links to my social networking repertoire. you can now:

follow my boards on pinterest: http://pinterest.com/stephaleph/

follow my random photos/reblogs on tumblr: http://thehappysqueegee.tumblr.com

follow my new food blog on tumblr: http://iamfatnotpregnant.tumblr.com

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