Wednesday, January 25, 2012


In preparation for my beading extravaganza in Miami, I popped by my local bead store to hunt for some pretties. I came across the 60% off section and my eye landed and kept going back to some rose quartz beads. 

I'm normally not traditionally girly.  I don't think I own rose colored anything (except for my glasses - sorry, had to do it!).  I decided to go against type and buy them along with some rose, pink really, silk thread for the knotting.  After all, the whole kit and caboodle was 60% off so if it turned out ugly, I wouldn't be too upset.  Stay tuned to see if I can pull something off...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I travel, some may say, a lot. I travel for both work and pleasure.  Last week I found myself in snowy, icy Connecticut for work and this week I’m off to Miami as a tag along for a conference that Mr. Squareview is attending.  In Connecticut, and I’m sure the same will be true in Miami, I found myself alone with some time on my hands.  I try to fill that time in fun ways.  I try to explore as much as possible and I’ve definitely found some wonderful gems along the way. However, this exploration doesn’t really appeal to me when I find myself trapped in the Hilton Garden Inn in Glastonbury, CT without a car.  Hmmm, what to explore? The lobby - 45 seconds, check!  Well that just leaves the TV. 

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m definitely not one of those gals that put down TV watching.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that my DVR show list would put others to shame.  That said, sometimes I just want to watch a show without commercials!
Read a book you say, I do. A lot.  Magazines too.  Those are typically crossed off my list on the plane on the way to my destination. 
So this upcoming Miami trip got me thinking.  How will I while away the hours while Mr. Squarview is stuck in breakout sessions?  Obviously, weather permitting, I’ll hit the pool.  But what if the weather isn't the best? That got me thinking even more...Wouldn’t it be cool if I could somehow do a project on the trip?  Obviously, the letterpress option was crossed of the list pretty quickly (can’t imagine all the L’s accessories are FAA approved J). 
In a previous post, I mentioned that Santa was good to me in a few different crafty departments, my L Letterpress Machine just being one of them.  Others were in the form of some jewelry making tools.  I’ve made some (bad) jewelry in the past and I wanted to take another stab at it.  So what’s a girl to do when there is a Christmas list to write??
Do you think American Airlines allows the Beadsmith KnottingTool on board??

Monday, January 23, 2012


I had 2 thank you notes and 2 birthday cards to send so I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to put the L Letterpress into action.  My experience in one word, encouraged.

I tried out all the suggestions that Harold from Boxcar Press made in his post.  Very helpful.  I had only his advice and my high school art class printing unit under my belt and I have to say the results weren't that bad (I can't believe I didn't take pictures!).  

So without the benefit of pics, I'll run through my afternoon as best I can.
I spread everything out on my kitchen island.  I bought a cheap vinyl table cloth to avoid messing up my granite (I highly suggest doing the same).

To keep it simple, I chose the silver paint for my project.  I chose to use the happy birthday, thank you, and petal shape plates that came with the combo kit for my cards (shown below).

Decisions made, I got down to business.  I cut out the plates, added the sticky background and positioned it on the press plate.  As Harold suggested, I tossed the brayer that came with the kit and used a softer one to roll out the ink.  I heard my HS art teacher's voice in my head telling me to look, listen and feel for the correct amount of tacky while rolling.  When I thought I was good, I began rolling.  I'll be honest, free handing this part was tough.  I kept getting the ink on the tiny plastic surround of the plate.  I tried using baby wipes to clean off the excess ink from the plates before running it through the press but I couldn't prevent it on every run.  We'll see if practice makes perfect or if this is a flaw of the machine.

I made 8 single color runs and didn't experience the cracking of the plates that others did.  That said, my impression on the actual paper wasn't that deep. 
I used my trusty paper guillotine and corner rounder to cut and shape to size and then used double sided tape to affix my creations to a blank decorative card.  I was disappointed to realize that they only included blank sheets of paper in the kit.  From the description, I thought they were flat cards that came with envelopes.  Oh well. 

All in all, the result wasn't anywhere close to professional, but the cards were going to family who knew about my brand new toy so I figured it would be fine for the first run.

Clean up in one word, disaster.  I got the plates clean enough with the baby wipes but the brayer and the ink plate where I did my rolling have yet to recover.  Neither the baby wipes or goo gone have done the trick.  I'm going to try another color next time to see if there is transfer.  If there is, not sure where I'll go from here.  Next time, I'll also take pictures!

Hope this was helpful!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I alluded to it briefly in an previous post, but I wanted to share the origins of my studio's name.  First, let me tell you that I don't officially have a studio.  I was working towards a goal and decided that to make it more tangible, I should name it.  That goal was to fill a crafty void in my life.  I didn't know what one thing (or several things) I would land on so I wanted to keep the naming generic enough so it didn't paint me into a corner.  I landed on 'studio' and loved it. 

Now for the Squareview part.  Mr. Squareview and I have a love of all things beer.  The passion only grew after a wonderful trip to Europe a few years ago.  We toured Brussels and Brugge in Belgium and threw in a side trip to Amsterdam.  The Belgians are world renowned for their beer making talent and Mr. Squareview and I spent a lot of time soaking up that talent on our trip.  

While we were on one of our many tours we learned that, for luck, the old brewmasters always included a star (primarily a red one) on the signage of their brewery.  Trust me, you won't be able to help yourself now... these previously unnoticed stars will now be popping up everywhere!  They did after we learned that little tidbit.  From internationally know (Heineken) to our neighborhood microbrew (Half Acre), you can't dodge those stars...

It was soon after that trip that Mr. Squareview and I dreamt of a life brewing beer ourselves.  Maybe, if we were lucky, we could actually hang up this 9 to 5 gig and make delicious homemade beer for a living.  Over, what else, a beer Mr. Squareview and I started to brainstorm on what we should call this little venture.  We decided that the name of the brewery should be unique, be personal to both of us, and have a little story.  We came up with Square View Brewery.  Why you might ask?  Location, location, location.  We weren't married yet and we were living different neighborhoods of Chicago.  Me, in Lincoln Square and Mr. Squareview was living in the Lake View.  Figure it out yet?  :) 

Unfortunately, this project never got off the ground, but I still loved the name. So much so, that I decided that I should use it here. Who knows, if my studio actually becomes a producing studio AND we finally get into brewing we could have our own little Squareview conglomerate...What do you think?

Monday, January 16, 2012


Well, Santa was kind to me this year and along with tons of other crafty goodies, I was gifted with a L Letterpress Machine made by Quickutz. I did a lot of research before I put this particular item on my list, but I still decided to take a chance and it was primarily due to a review I read on the Paper Crave blog via Boxcar Press It was so incredibly helpful and informative. If you're at all interested in at home letter pressing, I would highly suggest you take a look. All my tools are in hand and I'm finally ready to go. Alas, my day job is getting in the way of my creative experiments as I find myself in snowy & icy Connecticut for several days. Soon my letterpress friend, soon...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Stationary, specifically letterpress, was the first on my love list so I started to explore. I spent a lot of time during my wedding planning exploring different stationary shops trying to find the perfect wedding invitations. I loved the simple elegance that the letterpress designs I saw conveyed. Unfortunately, Mr. Squareview couldn't be convinced to boost the budget to accommodate the cost. Pity. I ended up going with a beautiful design I found on, where else? Esty. Check out some of the gorgeous designs made by the studio I choose Foglio Press. I was still on crafty cloud 9 from the wedding so thought, why not? I will try my hand at letterpress! I started a full search via the trusty interwebs looking for a beginners class or a starter kit for the home letterpress enthusiast. I came up with very little. I kept coming across the QuickKutz Lifestyle Crafts Letterpress Machine. I dismissed it outright as the reviews were seldom good and it was a bit cost prohibitive. Then, two things happened. Amazon had a sale and I had a Christmas list to write...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


After returning from the honeymoon I got back into my daily groove.  After about a month of being back in the "real world" I realized that something was missing.  I quickly realized I missed the joy I received from combing the interwebs for the daily yummies and the planning associated with incorporating said yummies into our big day. 
I started subscribing to every magazine I could for my fix.  Martha of course, but it got so bad that I was subscribing to Coastal Living and I live in Chicago!  What's a girl to do?  I went back to my good friend etsy to try and find ideas of something I could do to slake my creative lust.

Here is what I came up with, in order of love -
1. letterpress/stationary design
2. jewelry design
3. party design & planning

Short list, huh?

So the research begins...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


When planning my wedding, I spent a ton of time on  I spent countless hours perusing page after page of handmade goodies.  I can tell you - a nice chunk of the budget went to the wonderful artisans that have their goods listed on that fabulous online bazaar.
It really opened my eyes to all the possibilities out there. It got my creative juices flowing and I ended up styling my entire wedding with both etsy artisan's work and my own DIY creations.  It was a blast, and I got hooked.

From top left, clockwise
1. DIY  - my own creation but I searched the web and found these instructions very helpful
2. DIY - I can't take the all the credit, the escort card holder made by my father - in - law
3. DIY - The venue offered to print the menu but I wanted the branding to flow throughout
4. After several failed DIY attempts trying to make my own Pomanders, I purchased these on etsy from MyKreations4U
6. Flowers by Sunburst Flowers in Chicago, Table identifications are photos my hubby and I took of the "el" stops in Chicago

Monday, January 9, 2012


I got married last summer.  It was wonderful!  Best day of my life so far.

One of the best parts (besides marrying my lovely hubby) was all the time I spent putting together the details of the day.  I don't know if you are like me but I spent hours upon hours DIY'ing the heck out of every detail and found myself loving every minute of it.  Friends and Family thought I was nuts, but I really DID enjoy making 100 confetti cones from scratch.

Now that the wedding is behind me, I find myself at a creative loss. What can I do next???

I love all things design.  Interior, Fashion, Jewelry, Graphic.  You name it, I love it.  I decided that in 2012 I'm going to cast my net wide and see where the inspiration takes me!

I figured I'd start off naming my effort.  I came up with Squareview Studios (I'll explain the origins at a later date).  Now for a plan....