Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween in a Box

My husband and I just made the big move from Boston to San Diego! After living our entire lives in the  Northeast, we decided we were overdue for a few more months of sunshine a year. We settled into our new North Park bungalow just in time for Halloween, which, as our new neighbors felt inclined to warn us, is a BIG DEAL.

Every house was decked out in cobwebs, black cats, and orange string lights. We were told to expect over 1000 kids. You read that right - one thousand trick-or-treaters would be knocking on our door.

We really wanted to show our Halloween spirit and make a good first impression. Unfortunately, after putting down first month's rent plus security and calculating the cost of 1000 pieces of candy, we decided it would be impractical to run out and drop $50 on decorations that we'd be taking down in a week.

Thankfully, having just moved, we were rich in cardboard boxes! Here's what we whipped up for the trick-or-treaters. I think we did our neighbors proud.

Nesting bowl packaging turned spooky spiders:
Eight legs - it was a no brainer.
Throw a little cardboard down - instant workshop.
The washer was to weigh the spiders down in the wind.

Moving boxes turned tombstones:
A couple of historical figures.
"RIP Waffles"is a not-so-funny inside joke of my husband's. "Waffles" is his old nickname/party persona from his college (glory) days. 8-20-11 is the day we got married...
Our Halloween dinner menu... I'm pretty sure the dishes tasted as horrible as their names.

Happy Halloween!  

(I can't take credit for this last image - our photographer friend John Fischer of John Fischer Photography was kind enough to immortalize our new home on Halloween. Thanks John!

Monday, January 31, 2011

DIY Postcard Save the Dates

This is what we came up with for our Save the Dates. The end result is a combination of the designs in the previous post. We used the postcard as our layout and the Rifle art as the inspiration for our pencil illustration. We plan on using the grocery paper envelopes in our actual invitations, but in the Save the Dates we did incorporate the earthy tone as the background color for our postcards. We really liked the idea of personalizing them, so we plopped ourselves onto the dock on the pond at my family's Cape Cod house. We stretched the truth a little by showing us gazing across the pond toward the inn where we will be getting married, but it's just the next town over from the house so I think it still works!

Front (left), back pre-mail (top), back post-mail (bottom)

I drew a few different pictures before we decided on a design. Josh took bits and pieces from a couple, worked some Photoshop magic and turned them into one unified image. We used a vintage template for the back of the card. Below are some reject illustrations from our Save the Date brainstorming session:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Invitation mayhem

I've been having a really hard time deciding on the style of our wedding invitations. If you've hung around me at all I am probably the most indecisive person you've ever met. I might even be the most indecisive person on Earth. I take a half hour to pick an entrée and after ordering, instantly regret my decision. It's a wonder I'm getting married at all, really.

And it certainly doesn't help my situation that there are 10 billion fun, amazing, out-of-the-box invitation ideas out there. 20 years ago there were about 5 options. It would have been so much easier if I had gotten married in kindergarten... It is going to be impossible for me to choose just one, but here are a few of the most inspiring examples I've come across so far:

Simple screen printed card -

Stamped vintage postcard save the dates -

Personalized, hand-painted whimsy -

The wedding is at an old inn on Cape Cod and any of these would work. I think we'll end up doing a combination of all three...somehow. Help!

- Jaimee

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saving Summer - Canned cherry tomatoes!

Last weekend Josh and I traveled to Duxbury, MA to visit his great aunt Helen and help her with some seasonal yard-work. Now, Helen is no spring chicken but she is still an avid gardener in the summer months. One of our chores was to clean out her sizable vegetable beds in preparation for winter. Among the spent pepper, onion and carrot plants were these GIANT tangled cherry tomato plants with stems as thick as my wrist. They still had dozens of green cherry tomatoes attached, but it was too late in the season for them to turn and Helen didn't want them. So I took them!

I had been planning on pickling my own home-grown tomatoes, but my one tomato plant produced four measly fruits and it really wasn't worth the effort. I returned home with a bag-full of green tomatoes ready for canning. Unfortunately, I have zero pickling/canning experience. What did I do? Googled "how to pickle tomatoes," of course!

After scanning half a dozen recipes I came across one from Plate to Plate that recommended using your finished pickled cherry tomatoes as a garnish in MARTINIS! Well, needless to say, this is the recipe I decided to use (slightly modified) for my own tomatoes :)

I made two batches. One I cold pickled, which means they go directly into the refrigerator and keep for about two weeks. The other I canned and stored and should be ready in six weeks.

image from

I see quite a few "summertinis" gracing my glass this fall...

Bottoms up!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Project: Garden Makeover

Josh and I have had this decrepit garden space in the corner of our back yard since we moved in last September. It has remained untouched for nearly a year. FINALLY we found ourselves with some free time and started digging. One Sunday, two trips to Home Depot, ten bags of dirt, a dozen or so plants, two 'abandoned' pallets, and one giant blister later, we now have a new garden and a few homemade window boxes!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Swooning

Been busy getting engaged!

The ring is a 1920's estate piece we found on Cape Cod.

Go Love!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Swan Chair: before & after

[click image to enlarge]

Springs are no joke, this chair took FOREVER to finish. What is frustrating about the upholstery process (for beginners anyway) is that when you start the chair you work slowly and meticulously - so much so that once you reach the finishing stages, which are the most important ones aesthetically speaking, you are so ready to be done with project that you end up rushing through the rest and making tons of mistakes...

It's fine though. I finished a project, a very difficult project, so I have to give myself a pat on the back for that. And I must say, on that last day of work it was a relief to finally sit in the chair and find it to be pretty darn comfortable.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bound for Brewbound

Brewbound is a new beer tourism company created by microbrewery supporters Joshua Pratt and Matt Kennedy. They load up a bus-full of people and travel from brewery to brewery experiencing the greatness that is craft beer. Matt, a graphic designer, came up with the logo you see on the left.

For Brewbound's maiden voyage, which took place on March 13, 2010, Josh and Matt wanted to do something special for attendees. I have access to a laser engraver (yes an actual laser!) and suggested making customized cork coasters with the BB logo and trip info. This BB trip was to Portland, ME and Jeff Rowe, a Boston-based artist came along to play a few songs at each brewery. The coasters were a hit! The image on the right is an example of what the final coaster looked like. Pretty neat eh? And because the image is burned on, the coasters smell like campfire!

Check out pictures and footage from the first ever Brewbound adventure at or on facebook. If you'd like to order some custom cork coasters, email me at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great Etsy Store: Love ♥ Nostalgic ♥ Whimsy

A friend of mine showed me this neat Etsy store. The creator of lovenostalgicwhimsy gives ordinary objects entirely new and unexpected uses. From chicken wire display frames to suitcase medicine cabinets, she has a gift for seeing the potential in otherwise overlooked items. Very inspiring stuff! She also has some great vintage items for sale. Check out her store here.

As it turns out, creativity runs in the family, because her Mom, sister, and daughter all have Etsy stores too!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Faking It: 10 Tips on Making New Homes Look Old

Originally from found by me via

I found this post very helpful. My current residence is a recently (within the last 10 years) updated duplex rental. I have trimless doors and windows, odd wall cutouts and builder grade cabinets. Major changes are usually strictly prohibited in rentals, but this Apartment Therapy post offers some great tips, such as changing out hardware and lighting fixtures, on creative (removable) workarounds.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Swan Chair: 8-Way Tie

springs before ties

springs after ties

This process is nicely explained by

"To refurbish springs, the upholsterer re-attaches loose springs, replaces any if necessary, and re-ties the entire set, one by one. Each coil is sewn to the webbing... then tied to the coil next to it. Each row of coils is then tied front to back, side to side, and diagonally two ways, 8 in all. And all are tied on exactly the same level to make a symmetrical, even suspension for the most comfortable seating."

What doesn't tell you is how painful it is! My advice to anyone tying springs for the fist time: Wear gloves. The hand discomfort is similar to tightly lacing up skates or boots...48 times. By the end of my 8-way tie I had gashes on both of my pinkies and blisters on every other finger. My battle scars. On the bright side, all of the hard stuff is behind me. All that's left is padding and fabric!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recycled Pillow

You might recognize this fabric from my latest chair project (see New Project: Swan Chair!). I think it's a great vintage pattern and was really hoping I could fix the chair springs without having to strip it off. But the material was just too old and worn to stay. It pained me to remove it, which I did tack by tack. I think it took me a whole class.

I've been carrying the scraps around for a few weeks now, unable to to think of something to use them for so I wouldn't have to throw them away. Finally, I decided to make the previous chair owner a little memento. I picked up a little pillow at Building 19 for $1.35 to recover. With no sewing machine available I had to hand stitch. It is a little rough around the edges but I think it came out great!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cats in Trees

Doubles as a decorative house plant. I want one! You can browse these unique, unnecessary, totally desirable pet homes at Via ArchitectsSchoolsBlog.