fresh from the Makery: early holiday shenanigans

Wow, a Makery post! And on a Monday! But, alas, no (brand new) products to sell here (that said, read to the end for a recap of items added to the shop before and after the Patchwork show). Just a little - holiday edition - crafty show 'n' tell. We hosted my in-laws for Thanksgiving this year and my one decorative effort was this banner I purchased from Paper Source:

The kit comes with almost everything you need - ribbon, scallop circle cards, printed labels - but you have to put it all together, including cutting out the leaves, so it may not look like it but this actually took me about an hour to throw together. There was no way I was taking it down after just one week. In an effort to squeeze two holidays out of one holiday banner, I used some materials on hand to transform this Thanksgiving message into one somewhat more appropriate for Christmas.

The poor lighting on this rainy day makes the new labels look even more yellow than they really are, but yes, they're yellow. Not exactly Christmas-y but that's all I had on hand as far as 4 inch circle labels go. And Paper Source's "curry" yellow does go fairly well with the gold and brown; it's coordinating with red and green that becomes a problem. I also, obviously, only had 10 letters total to work with. But if you're a Christian kind of person and are taken aback by my "Xmas", you need not take offense.

I removed the burlap ribbon and leaves and replaced those with a simple set of mitten die cut cards tied together with red and white baker's twine, and a moss green satin ribbon to top it all off. Other than the curry yellow labels, not bad for a quick Thanksgiving banner makeover, don't you think? Frugal decorating FTW!

In terms of other early holiday shenanigans, I went a little crazy with my son's advent calendar this year. I couldn't find the $1 (give or take) chocolate calendars that we typically buy at Trader Joe's and when I was talking to my son about it, I believe he was the one who suggested we use leftover yogurt cups for each day. Ever since he learned the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra at preschool, he wants to "reduce, reuse, recycle" everything, which basically means he wants to throw away nothing. I personally would be happy to recycle them, but reuse them I did.

We just happened to have exactly 24 plastic yogurt cups at the time - true story - so I decided to add a little toy and/or treat to each one, wrapped with tissue paper I had leftover from various craft fairs, a simple number tag I printed on two sheets of white card stock, and then punched out with a 1 3/4 inch circle punch (plus a 1/8 inch circle punch for the twine), and tied off with some green baker's twine.

The only thing I have mixed feelings about, other than the fact that this advent calendar is about 30 times more expensive than the one we bought last year, is that I bought most of the tchotchkes at The Dollar Tree and from Target's dollar bins (then went to Cost Plus to finish the job and balked at their prices - $3, $4, $5 for essentially the same stuff). I'm definitely going to handmade hell for this one.

Also, one thing I didn't think about before is that while this project does reuse the yogurt cups, it only does so temporarily. We still have 24 plastic yogurt cups that my son will want to hang onto for a future project. Sigh. So perhaps our commitment to the environment and crafty use of materials already on-hand makes up for our support of cheap Chinese exports?

I was also happy to use the "calendar" as decoration on a side table where the remnants of Halloween and Thanksgiving shenanigans previously resided. Unfortunately, however, at least one of my two cats has been knocking off individual cups and nibbling at the tissue paper. Is it because it's green? Do they think it's grass? Or are they crazier than ever (do cats go senile?)? At any rate, days 3 through 24 will probably need to find a new home pretty soon - I don't want to know what happens if a cat ingests too much tissue paper.

In other Makery news, I added a few new products to the shop - items that I'd made for the Patchwork show but didn't have time before the show to add to the shop (and obviously, items that didn't sell at the craft fair). A new ready-to-send case, above, as well as a variation on the Mother's Cookies inspired holiday ornaments I typically carry this time of year.

The white, red, and green "cookies" are stitched onto sparkly red and green felt holiday ornaments that measure about three inches in diameter.

These slightly smaller ornaments (about two inches in diameter) were made from repurposing felt I'd cut two years ago for a few coffee sleeves to display at my first couple of craft fairs. My specs when cutting the patterns were off and the only thing these itty-bitty coffee sleeves would keep warm was a shot glass. So I decided to reuse the "cookies" and pink and tan felt for some non-holiday ornaments, which proved to be more popular than the red and green version above - the two ornaments pictured are all I have left of this batch.

Finally, I added a set of seven original 4-color separation CMYK 5 x 7 inch screenprints as well as a set of folded notes made from some of the more pattern-y prints (4 out of 11 total images) to the shop right before the craft show.

Now I just need people to buy this stuff to fund my "maternity leave" beginning in January! I have one more set of original screenprints to add to the shop as well as a list of about a dozen projects I didn't get around to before the craft show. I'm hoping to use the latter to resume weekly Makery posts. Maybe the Makery will be fresh on Mondays again, after all! Oh, and one final note. If you're wondering how the most recent craft fair went, I'll just say for now that craft fairs are a little bit like that vegetable you don't like but feel you should try once every year or two just to make sure you still don't like it. Yep, still tastes odd to me.


fresh from the Makery: patchwork

The Makery sure has been awfully quiet over the past year or so, but things are ramping up this fall as I prepare for the Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival on November 18th and try to bulk up my shop with ready-to-send items so that, perhaps, I'll continue to make a wee bit of an income after offspring #2 arrives in late January (aw, yes, did I mention I'm pregnant? 'bout 6 months, to be exact).

In addition to working on over a dozen new "limited edition" Android phone cozies, I've been going through art projects between college and grad school, but mostly stuff I worked on during grad school, to see what I can put - either directly or in digital print form - in my shop. It's tough to market abstract work (though to me these are pretty figurative - do you feel like someone's looking back at you when you look at these? well, that's because they're based on faces from earlier paintings, actually!), but here are a few highlights of the first batch of digital prints (5 x 7 for this round) to go in the shop:

There's more where those came from! A lot more. If grad school was good for anything, it was great for cranking out a ton of (mostly incomplete) projects at an artificially accelerated pace. So I have a lot of stuff - digital prints, original screenprints, hand-printed wallpaper, snow globes, and miniature Adirondack chairs, to name just a few material results of all those "crit pieces".

My goal is to have something, theoretically at least, to easily package and send while caring for a newborn/infant, especially since I don't really have a return-to-work "plan" yet. The best part of being a self-employed parent is that I can take off as much time as I want; the bad part, of course, is that the less I work, the less money I make. And in all honesty, I'm not sure what I want the next stage of my "career" to look like (sheesh, there sure are a lot of quotation marks in this blog post - I guess that's what happens when I write about art and parenting). So I think taking some time off from one shop and shifting what little time I'll have left after caring for a baby and soon-to-be Kindergartener all day to focus on the other might actually be a good thing for me. And I kinda like the idea of creating this sense of closure around past projects - documenting them and, with any luck, releasing them into the world to make room for future ideas. We'll see how it goes.

In the short-term, I'm preparing for a craft fair in less than four weeks. Two years ago, after I participated in my first two craft fairs within weeks of each other, I unofficially decided that craft fairs weren't for me. But this one appealed to me for a few reasons: a) press of past shows put on by this group; b) it's in Oakland; and c) it was pretty reasonable, with the smallest booth size option I've seen yet at just 4 by 6 feet. That, I can handle. And it's been good motivation to get my act together for my unique brand of maternity leave in a few months. Stay tuned for more updates to the shop in the next few weeks and wish me luck!


one-stop stationery shopping for your destination wedding!

I've added several additional day-of items to the destination wedding stationery suite listing in my Etsy shop, including table numbers and escort cards:

Paddle fan style wedding programs and menus:

And reception thank you cards (flat cards used at your reception site):

Phew! I'm working on several other new designs so stay tuned for more updates this month. I love October - my birthday's this month, it's the beginning of Fall, time for pumpkin patch field trips and Halloween...and, usually, a little bit of time to work on all the new design ideas floating around in my head over the past year!


Steampunk gears in red, black, and silver

Earlier this year I customized the gear motif Steampunk-inspired wedding invitation ensemble to coordinate with a client's palette of red, black, and silver.  Here are the results:

Along with the invite and response card I designed an additional piece inviting guests to a pre-wedding barbeque and a post-wedding farewell brunch.  I was worried the gingham pattern wouldn't coordinate with the Steampunk-inspired theme but a quick Google image search erased any doubts I had!

A few weeks later the same client contacted me to make some thank you notes, table numbers, and escort cards for her using the same theme and colors.

These items are now available in my shop, coordinating with the Steampunk-inspired gear motif wedding invites mentioned above.

This post ought to catch up the blog on older and custom orders. Hopefully my next blog post will include a new design or product as I have, easily, a dozen or so up my sleeve!  Stay tuned...


strictly contemporary

Now that So You Think You Can Dance has officially wrapped up its ninth season, I find myself wondering, has the show finally peaked?  Re-reading what I wrote when the show first kicked off at the beginning of summer, I'd have to say, in a word, that I was disappointed this season.  I had such high hopes for the show this summer precisely because the dancers were so good and seemed to have interesting personalities.  And that was true. Other than a couple of things possibly out of their control, I point a finger at the show's producers and here's why:

1. 50% less SYTYCD

While the results show always tended to be a bit drawn out, I really disliked grouping the competition element for voting purposes with the results from the week before tacked on to the end.  Did you really like dancer X this week? Well, then, be sure to jot down dancers X's number, but - oops, sorry, he or she just got cut based on last week's results.  And let's face it: there's nothing to watch all summer.  I missed my Thursday night SYTYCD fix.

2. The Olympics

Okay, I know this one's not totally fair, but Craft Wars continued to air during the two weeks that the Olympic games took over just about every other channel; why not SYTYCD?  I watched a bit of the Olympics, almost exclusively recorded. I definitely would have watched SYTYCD live had it been on and I think the essentially three week hiatus, just when the show was getting going, didn't do the show any favors. And I know this is only an issue every four years but, refresh my memory: did they do this in 2008?

3. Guest Judges

I think, other than a strong interest or some sort of background in dance, the one requirement of guest judging should be that those invited have at some point watched at least one episode of the eight years of the show, preferably from the current season.  Other than Jesse Tyler Ferguson (my all-time fave guest judge, hands down) and Christina Applegate, each week I said, "Meh," to that week's guest judge, with the lowest blow coming in the form of Ballet Boyz.  I mean, honestly, guys, I don't care how amazing your act is, do a little homework before you come on the show.  And then the other judges tried to spin the fact that they'd obviously never watched a single episode, saying something to the effect of, you know, how great it was to have fresh eyes critiquing the dancers.  Yeah, yeah, whatever.

Next year, the judges ought to invite Emma Stone to guest-judge. I read this little tidbit recently in Vogue:

"Stone, who spent much of her Arizona childhood studying dance, described it to me as 'the most ultimately revelatory form of expression' besides movies."
I couldn't agree more.

4. Primadonnas

But maybe I'm being overly harsh.  This was also the episode that immediately followed their break for the Olympics and included only routines choreographed (and in some cases slightly updated) by Mia Michaels. This is unfair to the contestants but who could help comparing the current dancers with the vets who originally performed the routines?  And why single out one choreographer, especially one who's been absent from the show for an entire season?

5. Choreography & Production Transparency

So, from the 4th point you might guess that not only am I not a huge Mia Michaels fan, contemporary is not my favorite style.  And yet there was so much of it this season!  When you have a lot of strong contemporary dancers in one season and combine that with a lot of contemporary choreography, it's a little boring. There have been seasons where the diversity of styles and the extent to which the dancers were pushed out of their comfort zones each week was almost overbearing.  Well, they've pulled way back from that model this season.  I don't necessarily need to watch the contestants pick names and styles out of a hat, but a little more transparency would be nice since it really seemed like they were grooming certain dancers to make it to the final four or so.  I never thought I'd say this, but a little more ballroom, please.  And just mix it up - Cyrus in particular got crazy lucky a few times (see below - one of my favorite routines of the season, but c'mon) and when he didn't I felt the judges were way too easy on him. Where's the constructive criticism? Other than a couple of dancers, they didn't have much to hand out this season.  The dancers were that good.  But push them out of their comfort zone a bit more and then we can talk.

So what did I like?  Well, despite being a bit critical of how far Cyrus made it (while I did single him out as one of my early favorites I made it clear I didn't think he'd last too long because of technical limitations), I was shocked he didn't win the top guy spot. I could obviously see his appeal as one of the "favorite" dancers and figured Nigel's comments about voting for Chehon instead would send America into a voting tizzy (Nigel pulled that sort of thing a couple of times - what I like to call passive-aggressive judging). And between the two, I voted for Chehon as well so I was happy he won, but in previous weeks felt a little sad to see dancers like Will and Cole leave the competition, I felt, prematurely.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well Lindsay did each week (in the end I thought she was much more memorable than Whitney, for example, or Tiffany, for that matter) and would have liked to see her in the final four. But Eliana was one of my favorite girls from auditions so needless to say I was happy with her win and in general pleased with the end results of the show.  It just wasn't as exciting to watch along the way.


for your little ninja

Wow, what a busy summer!  Things have quieted down a bit as they typically do this time of year, before the holiday rush and the start of another wedding season, so I'm hoping to update the blog a bit more regularly with new products and designs over the next few weeks.  I've got a lot up my sleeve, streamlining my shop and increasing my ready-to-send inventory in preparation for a possible craft fair in November and at least six weeks or so of "maternity leave" in January and February after the arrival of baby #2 (a girl! more on that later...).  In the meantime, here's a new design I created for a friend's son's 6th birthday party, held at a martial arts studio.

The invite is printed on 110 lb. cover weight card stock, with a "full bleed" on all four sides. I stuck with the classic red and black color scheme and a dragon and throwing star motifs.

After the party I created thank you notes to match! You can find both in my shop and stay tuned for more designs and new ready-to-send products in the coming weeks!


so you think you can craft

Before another week of summer reality television passes me by, I wanted to briefly write a few thoughts about the two shows I'm currently watching: Craft Wars and, of course, So You Think You Can Dance (which will henceforth be referred to as SYTYCD...if you don't know that abbreviation by now, we probably shouldn't be Internet friends).

But first, Craft Wars.  As you all know, I dabble in crafts.  I'm not sure if I'm as "avid" a crafter as Tori Spelling (who knew, right?), but since graduating from art school a few years ago, I've spent more time on the craft side of the age old art/craft debate.  So when I heard about the show, what with my love of crafting and reality competition-based TV shows, I applied.  I even got a response back.  Additional information they requested at that time included pictures of art I'd made that used unique materials, examples of any building or construction me or my "assistant" had done, a description of the most "out of the box" piece I'd ever created, plus my age and a picture of me and my "assistant." Again with this "assistant" business - I'm a one-gal show, y'all!  I can't afford an assistant!  Well, after the first few minutes of the first episode of the show, it was clear that my "assistant" could have been my husband or a friend.  Do I have to share the whopping $10,000 prize?

This brings me to my first criticism of the show.  I don't consider myself a greedy person and admit I felt better about the measly $10K prize when I saw that it was just for one show's worth of work, but seriously TLC?  What is that, about $6K after taxes?  Even Bravo's Work of Art rewards the winning artist with $100,000, and that's in addition to a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum, which is, as they say, priceless.  Oh, but wait - now I remember. Crafters craft out of pure love for what they do. Perhaps. Clearly, I was not quite right for the show. In a way I'm sort of the opposite of what they seem to be looking for. Rather than make functional products out of unconventional items, I tend to use fairly conventional materials to, I hope, somewhat unusual ends (classical columns out of paper, etc.). And rarely is what I make, as an artist at least, at all functional. As a crafter I do indeed hope my products serve a function but in the end, I'm a pretty conventional crafter. Also, I haven't used my sewing machine since I was 14. And that was a little while ago.

Anyway, enough about me. My second, and really only other criticism of the show is with the judging.  I like the format of the show, beginning with a Top Chef quickfire-esque "pop challenge," giving contestants one hour to make a common crafty product (birdhouse I get, duffle bag not so much) out of the items at their disposal.  Two of the three contestants then go on to the master challenge which, up to this point, has basically consisted of a very similar structure built out of wood, but accessorized in different ways with a different theme each week.  Even Tori-as-hostess is growing on me.  She's very mom-like when talking to contestants about the projects they're furiously working on (and I don't mean that in a comforting way, I mean that in a slightly sort of scolding way, which is, of course, delightful to watch). And that's about as critical as it gets.  When the judges aren't saying thought-provoking things like, "overall, I think it's great," they're mostly complaining with one another about where they stand on the glitter spectrum.  This, my friends, is what I see to be the main difference between art and craft - a good ol' fashioned ass whooping.  I mean, constructive criticism.  I love, love, love the community of crafters and how incredibly supportive they are (I basically cannot look at my Twitter feed on Tuesday nights until after I've watched the show).  But God forbid anyone say anything even remotely critical - and constructive - about something someone has made.  Or perhaps art school has damaged me forever.

With SYTYCD, on the other hand, the judging is one of my favorite parts of the show (in addition to the dancers and the choreography and sometimes the music and the format and the fact that I can call in, and, and, and...).  And I know everyone connected to the show says it every season (to which I actually disagree the last couple of years) but I really think this season, season 9, is going to be really, really fantastic.  The dancers keep getting technically better, but this season it seems like the dancers are good and have really captivating personalities, not to mention a great range of dancing styles, including a few that can't really even be categorized.  Early faves include Alexa (I'm truly smitten with her very 80s look and think Mandy Moore will have a lot of fun with her), Cole (I love watching highly choreographed martial arts-type films - wishing Steven Soderbergh would turn Haywire into a TV series, for example - so it's not surprising that I dig his unique style...he's also pretty easy on the eyes, wouldn't you say?), Cyrus (what's not to love about this guy, although, to be fair, I do think he has some serious limitations as far as the competition goes and would be surprised to see him make it too much further), Eliana (I think she's my official girl-crush this season), Janelle (two words: belly dancing!), and Whitney (a ballroom hot tamale, indeed). And for the record, Matthew has got nothin' on Ryan Gosling. Amirite? (I link to his Wikipedia page, as if you don't know who he is! LOL)

On a slightly negative point, I'm not as excited as everyone else seems to be about the return of a certain someone, but I'll try to refrain from hatin'. I'm also a little concerned about this one-night-only format.  Partly because that means I only get 50% SYTYCD this season as compared to past seasons, and partly of course because I'm just confused as to how exactly that will work, what with the calling in and all.  But I guess the mystery won't be a mystery much longer. Needless to say, after a two-week hiatus, I'm eager for the first real show of the season. Bring it!


wild 'n' crafty fun for the four year old

My son turned 4 a couple of weeks ago and we celebrated with a birthday party at the Oakland Zoo.  I blogged about the zoo/safari/jungle themed invites I created using a few of Neal's illustrations well over a year go, but took this opportunity to tweak a design I was never fully satisfied with.

I guess the end result isn't all that different, just a little simpler, and printed on the very eco "paper bag" card stock from Paper Source.  Coordinating paper products included little favor tags and thank you cards:

The favor tags were attached to my, in the end, somewhat pathetic attempt at a pinata alternative, not because I have anything against a good ol' fashioned pinata (though I am a fan of the pull-string variety), but because, for some reason, the Oakland Zoo does not allow them.

I had already bought a big bag of candy from Costco when I read the fine print. I had to do something with all that candy!  So I stuffed three or four pieces each in a dozen large, plastic Easter eggs, wrapped that in tissue paper and attached the favor tag with brown baker's twine.

Favor bags this year included not a single, handmade-by-an-Etsian item! I know, right?!  I didn't even take a picture of the mass-produced items included within but in the goody bags kids found binoculars, sunglasses, a little mug with a zoo animal on it, and limited edition "jungle animal" green and white Mothers Cookies (you know I'm a fan), topped off with animal print bandanas.

Party decor was pretty simple, consisting of orange table cloths, and plates, etc., in blue and brown.  I had ordered these little animal finger puppets as possible cupcake toppers/favors but didn't care for them so ordered an alternate set and had these on the tables instead.  Most of them came home with us, unfortunately (what, you don't like chintzy finger puppets?!).

Instead of balloons, which I always find to be problematic (does one parent spend half the morning schlepping professionally helium-filled balloons from party store to party site, do you spend twenty bucks on one of those DIY kits, or do you blow them up yourself, pass out, then hang them from a tree?), I ordered these animal print "lanterns" instead.  Unfortunately I didn't really brainstorm how I'd quickly install them so after trying a few things, in the end used the orange crepe paper I had to hang a few grouped together in three or four spots.  These would be really cute for an outdoor, evening party, assuming you have the space and time to string some outdoor lights through them.

The only other DIY project I tackled for this party was the cake. This was our biggest birthday party yet (with about a dozen kids and even more adults) so while I was seriously tempted by a Costco cake, in the end I went ahead and baked up a double-layer nine inch vanilla and chocolate marble cake and a dozen vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. And it's a good thing I did because we only went home with about two pieces of leftover cake. The kids all wanted cupcakes, of course, then asked for servings of cake, too!  I don't know why I was shocked by this (they are kids, after all) but I have to admit I was a little taken aback.  Perhaps more by the parents' willingness to allow me to totally jack their kids up on sugar? At any rate, I was pretty pleased with how the cake turned out. I dabbled in Pinterest for this party, saving ideas here and using some of my favorites, including pirouette cookies for the outer edge of the cake (kind of like a bamboo fence, I guess), this circus train topper (I also ordered animal print cupcake liners from her), pieces of Hershey bars for the train tracks and a much nicer set of zoo animals for the cupcake toppers.  I frosted the cupcakes and the birthday boy helped me sprinkle the tops with crushed chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joe's, to look like dirt and grass. For the cake itself I used Trader Joe's box mixes (they are really so good) and for the frosting I used my go-to recipe for white chocolate buttercream and a mixture of Trader Joe's chocolate frosting mix and caramel for the filling. Yum.

For activities, we "led" a scavenger hunt through the zoo for the first hour or so. Somewhat disastrous, not surprisingly, what with trying to keep a dozen kids more or less together to answer eight or so questions that they can't actually read while you walk through hilly terrain, all in an hour's time. Then the kids came back, enjoyed some pizza, a few rides (the party was in the rides area of the zoo), and the two other activities I'd come up with - photos with this safari Jeep photo prop (what can I say, it was six bucks) and temporary tattoos I'd printed using the same illustrations used on the invites and paper goods.  The temporary tattoos were a huge hit. Initially I thought about face painting but I knew I wouldn't have the time to do it nor did I want to spend $150 or more to hire someone.  We went to one of several Easter egg hunts this spring at this place called Pump It Up and one of the activities they offered was a temporary tattoo station.  Brilliant!  This is the paper I used to print the tattoos (you do not need a Silhouette machine - just an inkjet printer). It's a little pricey considering you only get two sheets but I could fit 8 or 9 pretty large tattoos on there so if you size them a bit smaller you actually get a pretty decent amount, assuming you don't make any printing errors.  The birthday boy is above, sporting one of the snake tattoos. Clearly, this birthday stuff is very serious business.


Sorry, I couldn't resist the Rainforest Cafe reference. Clearly someone's got dessert on the brain. As usual. Anywho...I recently customized the destination wedding save the date with a tropical volcano theme in lieu of the palm tree and sand dollar.

This couple is planning a destination wedding in Arenal, Costa Rica, known for its active volcano.  I added the palm trees back in just to the bottom tree line to give it that tropical feel. The volcano is echoed on the wrap-around address label as well.

Are you ready for a vacation now?  I know I am!  Congrats, Jendayi and Vince!

In other shop news, I tweaked these zoo birthday party invites recently and added them back to the shop earlier this week. This is a design I originally added to my shop last winter but only blogged about on my other blog. Never fully satisfied with the original design, I took my son's recent 4th birthday party at the Oakland Zoo as an opportunity to edit the design, which I'm much happier with now.  As I mention on my other blog, the drawings are original illustrations by my husband.  in the year plus since I originally put this design together, we haven't had time to collaborate again but I hope to sometime in the future!


winter wedding invites inspired by The Mitten

Sometime last winter (2011) I became enamored with one of the books my son checked out from the library - The Mitten and specifically the illustrations by Yaroslava.  As a fan of bold colors, I was drawn to the palette and loved the idea of using the book as inspiration for a winter wedding invitation, complete with mitten and scarf motif.  I put this design in my shop last fall but completely forgot to blog about it until recently.  So without further delay (and in time for winter 2012-13 weddings, I might add!), a new(ish) design:

I used a palette of white, pool blue, persimmon, poppy, and chocolate brown.

Unlike most of my designs that layer white or ivory paper over a colored card stock backing, I thought this design would work well if the white layered between the pool and chocolate layers showed through the snowflake cut-outs.

The scarf element is suggested by the persimmon belly band and poppy-colored baker's twine around the middle of the invite.

Actual illustrations are used on the response card - snowflakes and a pair of mittens.

The scarf motif is carried through on the outer envelope, where the return address is printed.

I customized this design soon after introducing it into my shop and the couple I worked with told me they planned to give pairs of mittens as favors and have copies of the book incorporated into their table centerpieces. What a great idea!  I don't think The Mitten was the focal point of their winter wedding necessarily but I love that they really ran with the theme of the invites once they decided on my design!