Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I know, this is one of those love it or hate it holidays. Personally, I don’t care for the mushiness, stuffed teddybears, Hallmark cards, and heart-shaped everything. I do celebrate the February 14th because it’s my husband and my original anniversary of when we started dating 16 years ago!!

I think it’s a good day to celebrate someone you care about, and I don’t think that someone has to be a significant other per say. Why not a sister, brother, friend, co-worker, Mom or Dad? Remember back in grade school when you gave a Valentine to all your classmates? Let’s bring that back!!

This is one of those holidays when handmade or just really thoughtful gifts go a long way too. This year I decided to make a bunch of cute, valentine’s-inspired items for my Etsy shop. I came up with some really fun wooden spool photo holders. While the concept is not new, I gave them my own special flair by adding extra “bling” to the tops!

Valentine's Decor
Wooden Spool Photo Holder

 

And of course I had to make my own Valentine’s. As a creative and lover of the environment, I always try to make my own cards from recycled materials. I had so much fun making these first three cards. They are made from the tops of those small, square Kleenex boxes, recycled greeting cards, Starbucks corrugated cup sleeves, scrap fabric, trim and assorted embellishments.

Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Victorian Romance
Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Bohemian Lace
Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Carnival Love

      

 

 

 

 

 

One thing that drives me crazy about cards is that they typically aren’t something you want to keep out for very long. So, the best part about these Valentine’s is they can be hung as a keepsake!

Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Victorian Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

For our special day, my husband and I will likely go to dinner somewhere close to home. Not too fancy, but more upscale than usual. I’d most likely be able to wear a cute dress with leggings and boots, which are more my style than a little black dress with heels (I don’t do heels). Perhaps I’ll splurge on a new outfit!

Modcloth has so many cute dresses and more and they’ve made shopping for Valentine’s Day super easy by creating their Sweetheart Shop. I checked it out and here’s three items I’d like to buy for V-Day:

This is the “About the Artist” dress, which I have been obsessed with for quite some time, but have not allowed myself to purchase yet. It is so simple, but still pretty and romantic.

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About the Artist dress – Modcloth

I’d pair it with these adorable little pink ballet flats because they add just a touch more girly without being sickeningly sweet.

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Tasteful Touch flat in blush – Modcloth

Finally, this bag, omg, this bag is the icing on the cake. How amazing is this? It looks like it came right out of an antique store and the colors go with the gray dress perfectly! If I end up buying these I’ll be sure to share a pic of me in the outfit!

forget me not bag
Forget me not bag – Modcloth

See what cute things you might want for 2/14/15 at www.modcloth.com/shop/valentine-clothing-decor!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Here’s a peek at some of the things I’ve made this Spring…

I wanted a beachy but rustic welcome sign for our front door so I painted the word on a piece of old driftwood, attached it to an old, weathered basket and embellished it with scallop shells and vintage mother-of-pearl buttons.

Welcome Sign ~ Handmade by me out of a worn shallow basket, driftwood, shells, buttons and paint.

For Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted to make gifts for my mom and my mother-in-law. I had acquired a huge bag of vintage fabrics, including tablecloths, dish towels and doilies, many, many doilies! So, when a doily bag post from Sew Mama Sew came up in my blog feed, I was beyond excited. I came up with this bag for my mom. I altered the pattern a little by using the trimmed outer edge of my green doily as an accent for the top edge of the bag.

Vintage doily flower bag ~ handmade by me following pattern from Sew Mama Sew.

I was able to use a combination of some fun fat quarters that I had in this adorable little tote, pattern courtesy Oliver + S blog. I gave this to my husband’s Mom along with the Family wall hanging inside.

Multi-fabric tote ~ handmade by me following tutorial from Oliver + S blog.
Family wall hanging ~ collaged book pages, acrylic paint and metal leaves on canvas.

I decided to make something for my Mom to hang as well. She now works from home, using my sister’s old bedroom as an office, so I thought an office sign would be neat. I attempted to make it look old-fashioned, and even painted a vintage rotary telephone on it.

Office door sign ~ collaged book pages, printed text, acrylic paint on canvas ~ a Tara White Studio original.

The wall hangings / signs were relatively easy and fun to make, so you may see some in my Etsy shop in the near future!

… straight into my arms, straight into my arms. ~Laura Marling

The ocean is almost everywhere you look on Cape Ann, so it is no wonder that it provides inspiration for so much creativity.

Here are some photos of Cape Ann from this weekend, along with some crafts that were inspired by it.

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Magnolia shore. Photo by Tara White 2014.
Whale statement necklace by Tara White Studio. Click to purchase on Etsy.
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Wingaersheek Beach. Photo by Tara White 2014.
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Nautilus Earrings by Tara White Studio. Click to purchase on Etsy.
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Horseshoe Crab on Wingaersheek Beach. Photo by Tara White 2014.
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Handpainted shell plates by Tara White Studio.
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Magnolia Shore. Photo by Tara White 2014.

Tree of Life Painting

My friend requested a painting of a tree of life. The only specifics were bright colors, swirly branches and a tiny owl (which was based on a crocheted owl that she gave to me)!

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Update: Romantic Jacket Makeover

Hola!

Yesterday I posted about a jacket makeover that I began. I finished it this morning and thought I’d update you.

As I mentioned yesterday, I followed a tutorial for adding pockets to a garment without them. The elbow patches were hand-stitched.

I also added the same floral fabric to the lapel for some color. This fabric was from some old curtains, so there were some finished edges which came in handy. I just lined the fabric up to the existing lapels, pinned it and trimmed accordingly. I then used a zig-zag stitch to attach them.

I scrapped the large white doily I had in yesterday’s image and decided instead to go with two square pink ones, lined up vertically on the back. Since these are crocheted and pretty loose, I decided to treat them more as appliques. Using the overcasting foot, I sewed an overcasting stitch carefully around much of the doily, leaving spaces for the belt to loop under.

Of course I never know when enough is enough, so I added some bling to the front in the form of some vintage jewelry. I also added an antique metal eagle to the back to contrast the slightly girly pink doilies!

I most likely won’t be wearing this until the Spring, but I think it will be great to wear antiquing!

~*`Tara`*~

Upcycled vintage doilies, curtains and jewelry as embellishments on a plain jacket.
Upcycled vintage doilies, curtains and jewelry as embellishments on a plain jacket.

 

Adding sewing to the repertoire

This Christmas, my husband gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten, a computerized Brother sewing machine! I’ve wanted a sewing machine for years, so I was thrilled when he surprised me with it.

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This model has so much to offer in the way of ease and versatility. It has 59 pre-programmed stitch patterns and10 different feet, so the possibilities for creating are endless! My first project was the sewing caddy that’s in the photo of the sewing machine above. It’s not perfect, but I think it came out pretty good for my first attempt!

I’ve spent quite some time trying to get comfortable with the machine and have gotten used to the foot pedal, sewing straight stitches, adjusting tension and troubleshooting if something goes wrong! The poor machine has errored quite a few times I have to admit!

I also had to reconfigure my craft area to better accommodate my sewing efforts. I broke out my folding craft fair table and made an L-shaped work surface.

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My two main goals for sewing are to create special and functional items to give to my friends and family as gifts and to be able to create clothing that I can wear without people knowing that I made them. I am a huge Project Runway fan so I’ve been rewatching all the past seasons for inspiration and techniques!

Last weekend I attempted a pair of shorts using fabric from some old curtains and blanket edging for the trim. I wanted them to be a little loose, with a drawstring waist. Well they’re loose all right! They are probably about 3 sizes too big and even though I can get them to “fit” by cinching the drawstring, it is not exactly the look I was going for! I am proud of the fact that I was able to do all of the seaming, especially the crotch and have it all line up and remain symmetrical. I think that it was at least good practice, plus I didn’t follow a pattern, I just measured a pair of shorts I already had and went from there. I’d like to try to take in the waist a bit, and put in elastic for a better fit.

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While I did purchase some small amounts of fabric, I have been relying on old clothes for the majority of my materials. Not only does it save money but I am a big proponent of repurposing things that you already have in order to reduce the amount of new things that are manufactured. So I’ve been deconstructing my old clothes. When I was about to cut apart a tank top I realized that it resembled a bag. Of course this was not a novel idea, which I came to find out when I googled it, but I did think of it on my own, I swear! It was very simple to make and I even added a little fabric flower made from the scrap material. It will be the perfect little on the go bag for the summer!

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I am so excited for all the future projects that are in store! I created a new board on Pinterest that I’ve filled with tutorials, patterns and ideas for some really fun things!

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Social Media Compilation

I feel really guilty about not being able to focus on my blog lately ~ I have a big work trip next weekend that I’ve been preparing for, it’s in D.C. though so I am sure I’ll have plenty to share when I get back. My next post may not be for a couple of weeks, so I felt the need to post something, anything, today!

I thought a fun way to share would be to do a social media update with the goings on of Etsy, FB, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. So here goes…

~,.’`Etsy`’.,~

Faved items…

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Recent treasury I made…

‘Fresh fashion for Spring’ by Claytastic77

Inspired by Project Runway!

8x8 Thread Canvas. 2 Prints. - BlueGiraffeImages
Mini chevron pattern stud earrings bright bubblegum pink acrylic plastic wood - HelloPlasticSun
PETIT JARDIN - SAGE Mint green dress with white lace neckline // retro // vintage inspired // pleated skirt // bridesmaid dress // garden - FleetCollection
5 yards measuring tape cotton ribbon - trim - party favor - scrapbooking - gift wrap - cardmaking - emmyandsoph
Cottage Decor, Sewing Machine Art Print, Shabby French Country, Teal and Grey, 12 x 12 inch print - loriamckee
Plastic Canvas Clear "Tribal Triangle" Necklace - OmareBanksInc
Vintage J.R. Bauman Mannequin Dress Form Collaps-A-Form 1965 - size 10 - US Shipping - PlumandSage
20% OFF The Sewing Box - Sewing room decor, craft room art, gift for her, pastel colours, neutral decor, 8x8 still life print - LolasRoom
Shoes Ballet Flats Spectator Deadstock Leather Taupe and White Skimmer 80s Vintage Size 9 Euro 40 - thriftage
Tim Gunn Makes It Work  - Cheeky Hand Embroidery Kit - laceandsparrow
Double Triangle Earrings Statement rustic tribal aztec Gold with antiqued dark brass chain and earwire - wildandarrow
Vintage Sewing Machine Ear Studs in Peach Green , Small Ear Posts Earrings, Retro - Jugosa
Adult Headband - Sage Green Double Flower Headband for Women and Girls - RufflesAndFringe
Very cute and tiny button and scissor stud earrings for arts and craft lovers and sewing - AprilLilies
Pan Am (high fashion haute couture photography 12x18 art print color fashion photography fashion magazine editorial - StarForeman

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

Recent Treasury I was featured in…

‘Weekend In The Country’ by sarahwilsonking

treasurychallengenonteam.blogspot.com/

cappuccino cup latte mugs in grape purple and mint - set of two - claylicious Romantic floral print- lavender, purple, mint, shabby chic, valentines day, carnations, for her, fine art photo, 8x10 print - dullbluelight Flowered Artisan Lampwork Bracelet - vee41dmb Knitted Bikini Top - Purple Sparkle Mint, Size Medium - WendysKiss
Green and Pink Succulent - Nature Photography -  San Francisco - Fine Art Photography - WorldPhotosByPaola round ear studs . berry geometric earring jewellery . dipped . rustic cottage chic . mini small . magenta fuchsia purple red maroon - FreshfromtheKiln Breathable, Understated Nursing Canopy in Violet Purple & Mint Green. Private, Comfortable, Unique Breastfeeding Cover - MamaWraps Vintage Purple Grapes - TheGlassLily
Black Kitty Rolling Over: Original Pastel Painting - ArtByJulene Handmade ceramic soup mugs Set of 2 stoneware pottery Over-sized Coffee Mugs Mint Green Brown Purple - Rustic Earthy Pottery - CropCircleClay Feather necklace - lavender purple and mint green - handmade clay - tribal unique - TaraWhiteStudio Delicate Handcrafted Dangle Earrings - Amazonite, Glass, Brass, & Wood - Purple Mint - NataDulce
Adjustable antiqued ring with natural pressed real deep purple and mint pink flowers over beige leather - MissMayoShop Bridesmaid Earrings Set of 2 in Purple and Mint Enamel - marmarModern luella / pink, purple and mint antlers earrings - krislington still life photography, mother's day, flower photography, purple, mint green, vintage bottle, office art - 8x8 photograph - SeptemberWren

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

~*FaCeBooK*~

My sister posted this awesome DIY project from Repurposed Recycled Reused Reclaimed Restored  on their wall. It’s a bunch of wood pallets put together to form a bench, stained and covered with outdoor cushions. An awesome, environmentally-friendly and inexpensive alternative to high end patio furniture.

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I just thought this was all to true to how I feel most of the time. Normal is so overrated.

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<<–Twitter–>>

I’ll admit I was a little behind on the Twitter front this week. One thing I discovered was the beautiful patchwork chairs by Kelly Swallow @patchworkchairs.

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PiNtErEsT

I came across a wonderful, home remedy hand treatment on A Thrifty Mrs., which consists of only sugar, lemon juice and some water. I made up a bunch nearly a week ago and put it in a jar and it still works!

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In an effort to stay healthy, I’ve been trying to make smoothies more often and I recently found a recipe for a banana-avocado smoothie on Martha’s site.

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Hope you found some inspiration from some of these posts, I know I did! See you when I get back from D.C.!

~Tara 🙂

My Little Corner – fitting a studio into a small space

My husband and I love the beach cottage we call home, but living in such a small place has its drawbacks. I find it difficult to keep clutter to a minimum while still being able to express myself creatively. I know I briefly described my studio space in my first post, but I think I made some real progress with it this weekend, so here’s more!

Our downstairs is open concept – the kitchen, living and dining rooms have no walls between them. Upstairs is one big bedroom, no separate office or anything. My first thought was to take over part of the bedroom – there’s a perfect corner for it. Unfortunately, I do a lot of my creating at night and my husband works the early shift. I couldn’t be up there with lights on and potentially making noise while he’s asleep.

I ended up taking over the dining table, which was awesome while I was in the middle of a project because I could have all my supplies out at once on the table and had a huge workspace. But it was a major eyesore if it wasn’t all cleaned up. About a month ago, we realized that we really didn’t need a dining table. We hadn’t hosted anyone for dinner, that is, inside… we have a beautiful deck and it is great for summer entertaining which is when this place is really awesome! And, I hate to admit it, we always end up eating in the living room while watching tv, a product of how we were both raised, I guess! So we sold our dining table to my sister, who didn’t have one and has a ton more space for it.

I ended up buying a walnut-colored trestle desk and matching bookcase on Amazon. I also ordered a matching stool, that was recommended to go with it, but it was way too high for the desk. Having already assembled the stool, it would have been more of a hassle to try to return it. Instead I am selling it to a coworker. For the past few weeks I’ve been using the desk chair from our desk upstairs. While it functioned well enough for the time being, I found the rolling feature to be very annoying. I end up sitting cross legged and would roll away all of a sudden! I also hated looking at the giant, black, high back monstrosity of a chair, it was definitely designed for men! Finally, yesterday I found a gorgeous yet very comfortable occasional chair at Marshalls of all places. It looks great with the rest of the decor and fits the desk and my sitting styles perfectly!

So here’s what my new space looks like!

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  • I mentioned the desk and bookcase ($125, $93, Amazon.com), the beautiful chair ($99, Marshalls) and the cabinet on the right was inherited from my Nana.
  • I found the task lamp at a local thrift shop for $4 and painted it neutral beige.
  • The rustic magnetic organizer ($15), was made by Frick and Frack Scraps, a fellow Etsy seller (http://www.etsy.com/shop/FrickandFrackScraps).
  • If you couldn’t tell from the photos, I love using decorative baskets and boxes to stay organized. Michaels Craft store has an awesome collection of home decor paper storage boxes ($8 – $14). I picked up a few on my last visit there and they make a huge difference in minimizing clutter. They are shown above on the bookcase and the one on the bottom shelf looks like an old fashioned suitcase, so adorable!
  • Finally, the desktop carousel and storage cube provide a ton of storage space for many of my tools and supplies. I got them a while ago from Michaels and sadly they have to live on the floor for now!

So that’s my OCD craft studio resolution – I am very happy with it, finally, and wanted to share some of my ideas with others struggling with space issues!

Before I go, I want to tell you about an awesome Etsy seller promotion I took advantage of. It was an offer from Moo, a printing company who I hadn’t heard of before. The offer was for 100 free mini business cards, I only had to pay $5 shipping. Well, they came this week and I absolutely love them! They are worth so much more than that! I chose to have images of my items printed on the front, so there are all different ones, almost like trading cards! I will definitely look to Moo for future printing needs!

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