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Friday, April 29, 2011


I feel like the only girl on the planet who was not interested in watching the Royal Wedding. I was however, interested in Kate Middleton's dress. I love love love the lace sleeves. Lace is so pretty, intricate, feminine. Just gorgeous. Here's some lace pretties for you!

All photo credit.

This weekend we are heading up to L.A. to check out a store that might be selling my cards! I'll be back on Monday with a giveaway post...giveaway hint: robots! Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Artist Feature: Sassandperil

I'm a huge fan of Sassandperil! I can't wait to stop by her table at the local art show Patchwork. Her work is so adorable and inspiring, I'm so glad I got to interview her!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Shannon Kennedy and I run a handmade product line and design business called sass&peril. I specialize in screenprinted art prints, stationery, journals, pillows, totes, and more. My style is clean and modern with a playful twist and I like that both kids and kids at heart can enjoy my work. I am also a freelance Graphic Designer who provides design services such as identity/branding, illustration, print/packaging design, surface design, and more.

Do you ever get designers block? If so, what do you do to find inspiration?
Surely! What I usually do when I find myself in a creative rut is I literally step away from it for a while. I’ll look at magazines, books, blogs, websites, visit vintage stores, boutiques, museums, or even do some traveling. You just never know what color combinations, patterns, typography and themes you will be exposed to when you step away from what you know.

What has been your most successful means of promoting your business?
Personally, the best promotion has been maintaining an online presence and inventory, taking great photos (and constantly improving those photos), and getting involved in social media. Staying on top of these outlets is a lot of work but it is essential to keep up with them in order to engage your audience and have them coming back for more. I would also have to credit some larger art & craft fairs that I have done for allowing me more exposure as well as the retail shops who carry, and also help to promote, my brand.

Not only do you sell online, but also in retail stores. How do you take that next step?
Well you certainly have to be prepared inventory-wise and also be organized in your business and record keeping. It can be a lot of work to establish new accounts and maintain them, but it can be such a great relationship and learning experience and I highly encourage getting involved with your local (and non-local shops). Many of the retailers I work with actually contacted me because I do sell online and they saw my work. A few of them I have personally reached out to because I felt like my products would fit well with their shop and aesthetic. Growing the business is my number one goal so having representation in many different parts of the country and world is key.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
When I have downtime or need a break I love being active. At my gym I take a Kickboxing class and do Yoga. I love taking long bike rides and playing basketball or going skateboarding with my boyfriend. I also love tending to my garden, playing with my kitties, and cooking up delicious veggie meals!

I hope you guys love her work as much as I do! Be sure to pay her links a visit!

Giveaway post this weekend! xo

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fox Love

I recently fell in LOVE with these screen printed Fox pillows from fellow Orange County artist, Sassandperil. They inspired me to do an entire Fox Love blog post!

I love the work of berkleyillustration. I have pinback buttons from this shop!

I have a bath mat from this shop with this Fox on a Bike design!

Adorable cupcake toppers!

How sweet is this embroidered fox?

Hope that brings some cuteness to your Tuesday! I'm working on a new giveaway (or two) for you guys! So stay tuned, and don't forget to vote for my 60% off deal to be featured here!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Style: Patterned Tights

Happy Easter! Today I got to get dressed up and enjoy a fancy little brunch with my California family. Lately my favorite dress up outfit includes a patterned dress with patterned tights.

(Tights: Target. Dress: Spotted Moth.)

I'm not sure if I'm breaking fashion rules, or "clashing," by combining two patterns in one outfit. But in my opinion, adding a bit of texture to your tights makes for a much more interesting, stylish outfit.

(Tights: Nordstrom Rack. Dress: Target.)

I've gotten my tights at Target, Nordstrom, Forever 21....etc. You can find a cute pair just about anywhere. ModCloth has an amazing tights collection. Including these, although I have no clue what I could wear them with. Ideas?

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and got to dress up a bit! :] This weekend I've also been working on a new product I'm hoping to introduce to you guys soon! It has been a fun challenge and I'm excited to share! Talk soon, JA

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jewelry Holder Tutorial

I'm so excited about this tutorial! I've gotten into the habit of collecting old picture frames from thrift stores and estate sales and I never know what to do with them. On top of that, my current jewelry storage situation is, simply put, a hot mess. So I'm SO ready for this picture frame jewelry holder tutorial!

What you'll need:

Picture Frame
Screen or Hardware "Mesh"
Wire Cutters
Staple Gun
S-Hooks (if you want to hang necklaces)

Using the wire cutters, trim the hardware mesh to the size of the inside of the frame. Even though I knew the size of the frame, I measured the backside just to be sure!

Starting in a corner of the frame, use a staple gun to secure the mesh to the frame. Slowly work your way around the entire frame.

And it's really as simple as that! This is a perfect way for jewelry makers to display their work at a craft show! You can also use a piece of fabric covered foam core board instead of the mesh, if you want to add a splash of color. Personally, I LOVE the grid look against the pretty frame.

I also just wanted to mention that I'm being considered to have my 60% off deal featured on Heartsy! If you haven't heard of Heartsy yet, it's the Groupon of handmade (so AWESOME!). It offers you huge deals on handmade stores and I'm hoping that mine will become one of them! Please vote "Yes, definitely!" for me here!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dream Job E-Course: A Review

When I found out about Elsie and Emma's Dream Job E-Course I knew I wanted to participate. Not only have I followed Elsie's blog for years now, but it was just the perfect timing for me to take this course. Lately I've been so inspired to branch out, push harder, and try to get my business to its fullest potential.

In case you don't know of Elsie and Emma, they are the creative entrepreneurs behind the successful handmade and vintage shop, Red Velvet. As an avid reader of Elsie's blog, she has always given me inspiration that with hard work, creative ideas, and passion, a dream job is possible.

In the Dream Job E-Course, Elsie and Emma both graceously bring you into their personal experiences on getting to this point in their careers. They go further than social marketing, product making, audience targeting, and touch the really gritty difficulties that independent business owners face. The course is jam-packed with information! Literally every possible aspect you can think of. (And a lot you won't! Which is why you should join the course!) And what's great is there are no deadlines, you can go at your own pace, whenever you have some time to sit down and get motivated!

I've left this course with my wheels spinning, my journal full of ideas, and my inspiration in high gear. Not only do I plan to refer back to this course to refresh my memory, but also to refresh my motivation if it ever (regretably) starts to waiver. Special thanks to Elsie and Emma for so selflessly pouring your hearts into this course, and continuing to inspire.

I have some fun posts planned for this weekend, including a DIY I'm really excited about! I'm just waiting for a free day to take lots of photos!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mason Jar Love

This weekend I went to a cute little restaurant in Laguna Beach called The Cottage. I got an amazing Bloody Mary, and I loved it even more because it was served in a mason jar. It gave me the idea to have a mason jar themed Etsy love post because I think they are so cute, and so versatile. Plus, I always feel lucky when I find a turquoise one at the thrift store. :]

How gorgeous is this light fixture?!

These screen printed cloth bags are so cute!

I have quite a few mason jar candles from Etsy!

Adorable wedding invitations! Love the color scheme!

I love this idea! Really need to get one of these for our bathroom!

I'm some one who loves organization, so this would be perfect to hang next to our door!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things To Do

I love making lists. I make one almost every day. It is the best way to keep my things to do in order and provides such a sense of productivity and accomplishment to cross things off my list. (Am I a nerd?) I make To-Do lists almost every day. I tend to use my art journal for drawing my card designs, but lately it is filling up with goals, aspirations, and ideas of how to reach a dream.

As the list grows and grows it makes me thankful to feel so motivated but also overwhelms me. I am learning what business owners face everyday. But it is exciting to feel the stress of constantly pushing for something. It makes me realize that one thing I need out of a career, is to feel challenged.

Although all the ideas in my head are starting to unnerve me, the fact that everything on my list are things that I enjoy, and want to do, is the best feeling.

An ongoing thing on my To-Do list is to make more inventory for my shop. I've recently drawn out a couple cards and am working on listing them. Here's a sneak peak at my newest birthday card!

It was great having my friend from home visit for the past week. I've been feeling a bit of homesickness lately and it really helped to spend time with her. She is leaving tomorrow and I'm sad to see her go, but at least now I can tackle my huge To-Do list right? :]

Talk soon! xo, JA

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fisheye + Friends

I've recently been playing at experimental fish-eye photography. Ok, that is making it sound way more serious than it is. Mostly it's just goofing around with a cheap fish-eye camera from Urban Outfitters. But it's FUN!

Readers may not know this, but I went to school for photography. Now that it is my full-time job it has been regretably too easy to not pick up a camera when I'm out of work. One of my New Year's resolutions this year has been to take more pictures of my everyday life. Having this blog has helped me with this goal!

I plan to take a lot of pictures this coming weekend because one of my best friends from home is coming to visit! I'm SO excited! One of the hardest things I've dealt with sincing making the move to California has been having my best friends so far away. I miss them terribly, all the time. I'm so glad I get to share my life here with some one so close to me, finally! The weather is supposed to be beautiful so we are going to beach it up! What are your weekend plans?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend + Winner

It was a beautiful weekend here in California. We enjoyed some homemade pina colada's, while sitting in the yard, soaking up the sun.

We also did the finishing touches on our garage. We knew we wanted to utilize the space for more than just storage. After multiple trips to Home Depot we were able to mount all of our various boards (snow, wake, skate, long, skim..) to the wall to make some space for what we really wanted, a painting studio!

I think it's so important to have an inspiring area to create things. I've never had this sort of space. I've always just painted, drawn, designed, in my bedroom. I finally have the opportunity to go to a designated place where I can feel inspired, artistic (and I can make a mess!). I'm so excited to get started on my next project in my new space!

I also need to announce the lucky winner of my special giveaway!

Congratulations Heather! Please e-mail me at julie.astra@yahoo.com so we can get your five prizes to you! Special thanks to all of the other entries!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Black and White Stripe Love

Basically every time I go shopping for clothes, half the items hanging on my arm as I walk into the fitting room are black and white striped. I don't know what causes my attraction to this bold pattern, but I don't see this love going anywhere anytime soon.

I pretty much need this.

If only our dog didn't love pillow stuffing..

Adorable striped detailing on this mug.

Such a fun necklace!

This dress looks comfy, yet styling.

Such a bold fashion accessory!

Stripes are so fun! Although I'm going to try my best to stay away from them, my wardrobe is starting to look a bit too repetitive!

Lately I've been extra busy with the Ultimate Blog Party, plus the Special Giveaway I have going on in the post below (Don't forget to enter! Winner announced on Monday!). Can't wait to get back to blogging more regularly. Look out for a post about our garage turned paint studio soon!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Very Special Group Giveaway

It's finally here! I'm so happy to share this very special giveaway with you guys! Five amazing Etsy sellers have come together to offer one lucky winner the following items from their shops!

1.) Share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.
2.) Comment here telling me you've done so!


The winner will get to choose any four of their favorite greeting cards from my shop! With Birthday cards, I Miss You cards, New Baby cards, and more, you're sure to find something you need!


Next up, we have a Stamped Penny Necklace from Christy of Wired Whimsy! My favorite is this heart stamped one but Christy is offering you the choice of any Stamped Penny Necklace from her shop! You can find all the different varieties here.


You also have a chance to win this adorable soft satin stretch headband by Kristan of AdelynStone! I love the flower, so girly! Kristan is giving you the opportunity to choose your favorite color out of a wide variety that can be seen here.


Belle, of down the alley [dta], is giving you a choice between two lovely pieces of jewelry! The winner's first option is adorable Turquoise Rose Flower Earrings with sturdy sterling silver posts and earnuts. The other option is this beautiful adjustable Bouquet Ring. I love the silver-plated ornate band, it gives it a gorgeous vintage look!


And then we have this Sassy Leather Cuff, compliments of Terah, of Lovefeast. Leather cuffs are so stylish! This is the perfect accessory to kick your outfit up a notch!

One winner will be chosen at random, and announced here next week! Good luck!

Special thanks to Wired Whimsy, AdelynStone, down the alley [dta], and Lovefeast! They all have amazing work and I'm so glad I got to partner with them. Be sure to check out their shops!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Bit About Me

I am very happy to be participating in a the Ultimate Blog Party 2011, a FUN way of networking your blog and business with 1,000s of people! In order to participate, I need to tell you guys a bit about myself! This is actually perfect timing because I've gotten a lot of new followers recently and it's important to me that you guys get an idea of who I am as a person.

Well, I'm Julie. I was born and raised in southeast Michigan. When I was 24, I found myself at a stand still with the desire for a change. That's when I decided to move to California. I mean, the palm trees, the beaches, why not? (Plus I knew this cute boy there so maybe we could go on a date or something?) I knew that if I didn't move somewhere at that point in my life then I probably never would. I packed everything I could in my car and made the drive across the country.

I've been living in California for two years now. I am a product photographer by day, but my real passion has become my work on the side. Designing greeting cards, promoting my Etsy shop, making my blog an inpirational place, they are all things I really take great pride in.

That being said, blogging, promoting, and researching have become a huge part of my life, and we all know it can be super time consuming! Fortunately, the cute boy turned out to be a very supportive boyfriend who shares my creative passion. He is my photographer when I need pictures for a DIY tutorial, and my assistant when I get extra busy at Valentine's Day.

We live in a little house with our little Terrier, Penny. My favorite times are on sunny weekends when we bike ride to the beach, or around our neighborhood hunting for garage sale treasures.

I've recently renovated my entire blog on my own (it's been a challenge, I'm not exactly html savvy) and have really started to put my heart into it. I blog about things I love, enjoy, and find inspiring. I have a weekly "Etsy love" post every Tuesday. I also try to throw in a DIY tutorial once a week. The in-between ranges from vintage home decor to favorite fashion trends.

So, welcome to my blog! I hope you'll stick around. :]
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