Calligraphy and Design based in NYC

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Six Month Review

I began this journey a little over six months ago with both trepidation and high expectations. It was something I visualized creating while going about my everyday designer-licious life... Needless to say, in these past short months there have been many take aways - some more positive than others. Below I share with you a few of my behind the scenes pitfalls and pats-on-the-backs...

{seen in NYC - one of my favorite instagram photos}

{seen in NYC - one of my favorite instagram photos}


- I thought I could easily post once a week if not twice a week. // Creating quality content takes more time than I expected. If I plan on giving DIY directions for a project I'm whipping up, then I have to take extra time out to make sure I'm capturing images that can explain the steps for a post. 

- Real time posts that coordinate with real time social media. // I'm always working on something creative that gives me an "aha!" moment of wanting to share, the hard part is documenting, drafting, editing and organizing it into a story. I've found that I tend to have a two to three week real time delay. Professional bloggers have production schedules so they can put forth a seamless narration. I'd like to get better at coordinating these, for example when I post a video of sewing on instagram then the associated tutorial on my blog should be posted soon after (they're especially difficult to explain...)

 - Selfies in Mermaid Costumes are hard. // I may or may not have fallen off the posting wagon soon after a failed attempt at a post I had my heart set on - my mermaid halloween costume. It was impossible to capture myself in costume in any (dare I say) natural way that may have been tempting to the neediest of pinterest users. We'll see about next year... 


- I can now begin to see my posting patterns. // Although I don't have a large quantity of posts and my topics have varied (widely) since I started, I can now see what I'm better at, what I should exercise more of, and how to mix it up.

- Styling and finding creative places to photograph still-lives in my tiny apartment. // This has been what I've enjoyed the most - although it may be my biggest challenge. As with any photography, lighting is key, so I have to use my weekends carefully.

- Creative outlet that pushes my writing skills. // Finding a voice through writing is not something I have had much experience with, in fact writing has never been my strong suit. My content may not be world changing, but it's been a great exercise to practice writing to a great unknown audience. If you haven't tried writing anything in awhile, I highly recommend it - a funny story, a recipe, a diary entry, it can be very satisfying!

Since this is a work in progress, I'm especially grateful for everyone that has encouraged, given feedback or simply put up with my shameless self promoting of images and posts - thank you! And please, feel free to weigh in on my review - let me know what you think I may be doing right or wrong, I'd love to see comments! xoR

package design: 3 loves *soap

 "Love" is a strong word but... my eyes have a hard time steering away from all the graphic design eye candy that comes with interesting packaging. Sometimes I even have to make purchases purely based on "needing" the wrapper. That's right "needing" the wrapper. I like to think of my habit as an R&D (research & development) investment, but perhaps maybe my wrapper collecting is more of a fetish? Whatever the enigma, here are three packages that have me swooning. 

 {this first one was meant to be a gift... oops...}

Rainbow colored boxes perfect for a guest bath. Lucia soap sets can be found here

These handsome Gilchrist & Soames Jet Set Travel soaps just happen to be on sale here. I like the proportions of the heavy black cap on such a small bottle.

 {from Mr. RaeChild's many travels}

{I like anything le petit}

This last one I stocked up on (read: hoarded) at a market in Paris, they made the perfect travel gift for my friends and family back home, at a very reasonable price. I was particularly interested in this Apricot & Basil scented one, but also adored the periwinkle blue "Pin & Criste Marine" or "Pine & Sea Fennel" scent/bottle. They have a "Red Currant & Cherry Tomato" (?!) scent featured on their website, along with a commercial in french if you would like to feel frenchy for 18 seconds. 

project: DIY renew outdoor teak set

 {before and after}

Ok, here we go: you have a piece of teak furniture and you have a hunch it could look a little nicer... you could:

1) leave it alone, let it turn grey, believe that it will be better "sun washed"

2) leave it alone, let it turn grey, wish that you had spent a little time restoring it

3) restore it before it totally turns grey and be gleeful that you did. 

I picked 3... 

 {my dingy teak set - BEFORE}

5 Things To Note: 

1) don't attempt to do this without a power sander

2) buy more sandpaper than you think you will need (ex - 4 sanding pads per chair)

3) the luster and depth of your teak furniture will astound you once you've spent a hard earned day renewing it

4) ... if only it was the teak on my boat I was working on... but then it would be my deck hand doing all the labor while I sun bathed...

5treat yourself to a manicure after this is done <3

 {all you need to restore the luster of your furniture - plus a little elbow grease}

You're going to need a few things:

1) Teak Furniture - scored my 2 chair + cafe table set for $100 on Craigslist

2) A Power Sander - I borrowed my sister's Black and Decker Mouse Sander - she might not get it back.

3) 120 Grit Sanding Pads - see #2 above: you need more than you think + you will not want to have to stop sanding in between to run to the hardware store for more once you get started - the Diablo brand doesn't fit the Mouse perfectly and that doesn't matter either - just get lots of them

If your furniture has been really neglected you may want to get some lower grit sand pads to start with (the lower the "grit" the more coarse the sandpaper is) - 80 Grit Sanding Pads would be good to start with, then finish with the 120 before oiling.

4) Teak oil  - self explanatory

5) Old T-shirt Rags - to wipe furniture off after sanding as well as to apply the oil 

Other things you need but may not have to purchase:  

1) An iPod loaded with your favorite Justin Timberlake tunes (I forgot this critical step) 

2) Determination to continue sanding even after your fingers feel like tuning instruments

 {sanding complete on the bottom chair shown}

Here is what you need to do in alpha numerical order:

a) Load your electrical sander up with one of the many 80 or 120 Grit mouse sanding pads you purchased. 

b) Start sanding (about an hour per chair, the table top took much longer as it had been exposed more to rain and sun) Remember to get all of the previous product off.

Each piece of wood that constructs a chair is called a "member" - each member has 4 sides, you do the math. It's a lot of sides + crevices you would not think of - sand them ALL - underside too.

You'll notice when you start to get under the outer oxidized layer of wood that a lighter pinkish wood will start to show through. This is what you should look for. Try and remove as much of the grey as possible. I would typically see the pink show through near the edges first then work towards the center of each slat.

 {this shows the dry grey wood being sanded away to reveal the pink wood beneath}

c) Wipe down all sides with a cutoff t-shirt rag.

 {be sure to wipe all the dust off before applying the oil}

d) Shake the can of oil up and apply the first coat of oil to ALL surfaces of the chair using a cutoff t-shirt rag, you can't really mess up, just don't forget anywhere + you're fine. The fiery, inconsistent color of the wood will brighten and immediately look better.

 {don't be shy with the oil}

e) Wait 30 minutes, let it "cure" (i.e. sink into the grain and begin to harden). 

f) Re-apply another coat (don't forget this, it's like the top coat on your nails that prevents chipping).

g) Let cure for 7-10 hours for complete absorption + hardening.

h) No topcoat is needed - just some TLC in the form of an oil massage every once in awhile. 

You will be so happy you took the time out to do this, your outdoor area will thank you.  <3 

 {lastly, you'll feel like a megaboss by the 2nd day when you're covered in sawdust drinking a giant iced coffee to keep you going}