Friday, April 26, 2013

Inspiration Boards How-to (Guest Post)

This month, I am excited to partner up with Michelle Pino to bring you this guest blog post. Let's learn how to make and use Inspiration Boards to complete any type of project!

These boards are used in many industries, including event planning, design, photography, and more. But you do not need to be in a creative industry to make use of Inspiration Boards. Cleaning out your closet or planning outfits? Organizing your backyard or redecorating a room? Planning a vacation? Inspiration boards will help you to collect your ideas in one place and stay organized. Read on to see how easy it is to create your own Inspiration Board for your projects!

How to create an inspiration board for your do-it-yourself projects

by Michelle Pino

An inspiration board is a collage of photos that serves as an inspiration for a project. They are most often used by interior decorators and those planning a wedding, but they can be created by anyone for any reason. The goal of creating an inspiration board is to help you focus and organize your ideas as you tackle a new project. Once you have an idea in mind, making an inspiration board to help you along is quite easy. The directions below are tailored to those who are redecorating a room, but they can be helpful for any project.

  • Decide if your board will be digital or physical.
    Digital boards can be created using programs such as Paint or Photoshop. Physical boards can be made using poster board or a bulletin board.
  • Begin searching for images.
    If you are making a digital board, begin visiting your favorite websites and blogs and look for images that stir something in you. You want your images to project a positive feeling on you. Some of our favorite sites include: Apartment Therapy, Desire to Inspire, Decor8, Design Milk, Oh Joy! and Design for Mankind. If you are making your inspiration board the old fashioned way, simply cut photos from magazines, newspapers, catalogs, etc. Be sure to take photos of the items you already have on hand that you may incorporate into your project. Don't over-think your board -- save images that you like and it will all come together in the following steps.
  • Make a list and check it twice.
    Collect all of your images and place them somewhere safe. Dedicate a folder to them on your computer or add them to an actual folder. Create a list of the things you already have for your project and another for the things you will need. Now, break open your folder and look specifically for the things you need for your project. Don't make your scope too narrow; inspiration boards work best when you give yourself plenty of options to choose from.
  • Find your anchor.
    Now that you have a collection of images that truly speak to you, look for that one thing they have in common. It may be a color, pattern, unique detail or shape. That one thing will serve as your anchor-that one thing that will become your focal point.
  • Start connecting the dots.
    Once you have your focal point figured out, look at the rest of your photos. Place them around your focal point. You will begin to see how your ideas play off of each other and fit together. You can choose to stick with your original idea or let your imagination wander and see what new direction it takes you in.
  • Look but don't touch.
    Put your board someplace where you can look at it often, but take a hands-off approach. Sneak a peek whenever the mood strikes -- morning, noon and night. Let yourself get lost in your board. Do this for a week. Does it say anything to you? Listen to what it is telling you and pay extra special attention to the details. At this point in the planning, the devil is in the details.
  • Welcome change.
    After a couple days or even a week of letting yourself get lost in your inspiration board, you will know if you need to make changes or not. If those yellow walls you loved a week ago suddenly make you nauseated, don't feel that you have to stick with them. Try again with a different color. Does Picasso's Starry Night suddenly give you nightmares? Try a Monet in its place and see if you have sweet dreams. Once you have taken out what you don't like, live with your new choices for a few days or a week and see how you feel about them. Lather, rinse, repeat -- as often as necessary until you are ready to begin designing and buying for your new room. Don't pressure yourself into something you are less than happy with. There are no hard and fast rules for creating an inspiration board. Let your voice be your guide!

Inspiration boards are a great way to help you visualize your next do-it-yourself project. Whether you are renovating that boring bathroom into the garden getaway you have always wanted, you are transforming your cluttered kitchen into a cook's nook or your contemporary bedroom is taking on a more romantic feel, creating a board filled with your ideas and inspirations will help set you on the path to bringing your ideas to life.


Check out this example board for a Spring DIY cleanup project:

Spring is finally here and I couldn't be more excited! It’s time to get started on those spring cleaning projects.

Outdoor patios; they are our center of relaxation during the nice weather. They usually need the most work since they are exposed directly to the winter elements. After a good clean up, you can move on to the fun part: decorating!

Personally, I think spring is all about flowers and budding of new “life”. Every spring near where I work, a beautiful landscape of brightly colored flowers, emerge. The property is a popular Central New York wedding venue, so the groundskeepers take very good care of the landscape. They hold several outdoor wedding ceremonies, so their landscape always looks impressive. I think all colors are very inspiring for spring: greens, pinks, yellows and purples. The bright colors of the flowers are the anchor of my inspiration board. Nothing adds “life” to an outdoor space like flowers. Be unique and look for creative ways to display your plants. Try using an unconventional object as your planter or recycle unused items into planters for a great Earth Day DIY. Take the coffee can planters pictured below from Green Your D├ęcor. You can hang them on a wall or fence or line a walkway with the cans. Easy and inexpensive, not to mention green-friendly!

Accent your furniture with some brightly colored pillows and throw blankets. These turquoise pillows I found on Etsy, are a great example. I’m very into geometric patterns this spring, and I’d like to incorporate this theme as much as I can. Don’t forget a cozy throw blanket for those cool nights in early fall. I love the orange chevron pattern, from High Street Market. This blanket adds a touch of modern feel to the space. Lighting and seating for you and your guests is important too. Everyone wants to be comfortable when they relax, so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on some good outdoor lights and furniture.

Michelle Pino has provided these tips in hopes to educate others on how to lead a more organized and less stressful life. Michelle believes a more organized approach to tasks will result in more completed goals. Her hobbies include crafting, reading and learning about healthy lifestyles.

How do you plan to use (or have used) Inspiration Boards in your projects? Leave a comment for Michelle below, to ask your questions or offer your own tips!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Booth Evolution

This month I thought I would do a post about how my display table/booth evolved over the past year or so. Presentation is so important in everything, not only a crafts business. And, like anything else, it takes time to learn what works and what doesn't. So my goal with this post is to look back on all the lessons learned in 2012!

The first show I ever did was a student art market. Here is a photo of me sitting behind my very first table. Knowing what I know now, it's somewhat surreal thinking that I thought I had done a good job with my table! But had to start somewhere...

The second show wasn't much better. It took some time for me to find good sources to get information about handmade festivals and craft shows, so in the meantime I decided to go to Trader's Village, a large flea market. Needless to say, it didn't go over too well. But I did learn how to use different types of displays (instead of just laying everything down flat on the table!), and the value of longer tablecloths!!

I decided to go fancy at this next show, which was the Mommy Swagger Expo in November of 2012. I bought some fabric and hemmed it up to make a nicer tablecloth. I believe this one did actually go all the way to the floor, which was a big improvement! Now I could hide all the boxes and random stuff under the table without them being an eyesore. I also thought that I should dress up a bit nicer when I go to shows, so here I am in a spiffy-looking blouse.

Azumapalooza was the celebration of Azuma Restaurant Group's 10th year in business in Houston. They had food and drinks, as well as live entertainment and a small market. The spaces were free, so a lot of people jumped at the opportunity. The market was fun, albeit very slow, and I got the chance to meet all the other vendors there!

I started off 2013 at a market hosted by MECA/CWU. This was the first show that I debuted the steel wire/pearls jewelry and linoleum prints, so it was very exciting! I used shutters (found at an estate sale) as an earring display, because I saw this idea many times online. It worked really well! The venue was indoors, so I didn't have to worry about them being blown away. I made earring cards to match my packaging and hung them on the shutters. I also used risers for some of my displays to make them eye-level, since I recently read that that was important. Finally, this was the first time I used my new banner! All in all, I was pretty happy with this display!

My Current Booth

All of the prep-work led me to my current booth, which was photographed below at the Houston Re-Market about a week ago.

This was my first time setting up the tent, and putting up the banner above the tables. It looked much better than putting it on the table. I used the shutters again, securing them with some wire to the frame of the tent. This made it very sturdy. It wasn't very windy, but I think even if it would have been, the shutters would have stayed put.

I sewed two new table cloths, with the green polka-dot overlays, for this event. I was pleased with how it all came out. And I used some old wooden boxes to prop up my lino prints! I didn't have as many risers as I wanted to for this show, so that is still something that can be improved upon for next time!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe if you go to craft shows as well, you found some helpful tips and learned from my experiences! I am having a lot of fun doing shows and learning how I can further improve!

What other tips do you have about doing craft shows? Leave us a comment!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tips on Working with Thick Wire

I love thick wire, and I cannot lie.

Here's why you should consider thicker gauge wires (18-16 gauge) in your designs:

  • Your pieces look pretty.
    Because it's thick, you can show off the color or patina of the wire much easier simply because it takes up more surface area!

  • Your design is very sturdy.
    Because the wire is so thick, you need less structural support factored in your design. This means less clutter = simpler, cleaner design!

  • Up the drama!
    Big, chunky jewelry is in style right now. Using a thicker wire gives your pieces a presence that simply cannot be ignored.

Make sure to consider the following tools and techniques when working with thick wire:

  • Use the proper tools!
    Thicker wire requires different tools. In particular, make sure you use heavy-duty wire cutters and pliers (you can find them in home improvement stores!)

  • Account for its limitations.
    Thicker wire = harder to bend, necessitating smaller loops. Also consider your design: do you have small shapes or components? Thick wire might not be suitable to create delicate or intricate wirework.

  • Hammering is your friend!
    Thick wire is excellent for hammering. Not only will you strengthen your wire for a rock-solid piece, the thicker gauge will allow any texturing to be clearly visible, lending interest and beauty to your piece.

  • Mix and match!
    Don't limit yourself to just one thickness of wire. Try combining thick, 16-gauge wire, with thinner 24 or even 28 gauges for dramatic contrast. Thinner gauge wire is also great for wire wrapping (for design, embellishment, or even structure!)

I hope that I've convinced you to give thicker wire a try in crafting your own jewelry pieces.

Leave us a comment - let us know what you thought of this tutorial, and what topics interest you for the future!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thick Wire Love

This week, I am all about thicker gauge wire! This thickness of wire is not often used for most designs, because it is heavier and less pliable, making it harder to work into specific shapes.

The items featured this week are all made with 16-gauge wire as the focus. I really wanted to create some simple designs that would benefit from the thickness for strength, stability, and beauty.

First, I came up with this simple wire ring design:

I enjoyed working with the thicker wire because it makes the ring so much sturdier without a lot of hammering or wrapping. In fact, it is almost impossible to wrap 16-gauge wire!

My next design was for a pair of these funky earrings:

This is a new take on the classic hoop earring design. I love the use of the thicker wire contrasting with the thin wire used to wrap to hold the smaller loop in place. It creates a neat contrast while updating the hoop earring style a bit.

Of course, both these pieces are 100% handmade using recycled steel wire!

Check out more photos and info on both of these new items, as well as my other items, in our online store!

Visit my store on Storenvy

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Year, New Things!!

Here at Studio Greenbean, we have been quite busy with some exciting new things. This year, we are launching a new, eco-friendly line of jewelry!

These new pieces are made from steel wire. The fact that steel is the most recycled material on the planet makes steel wire a very environmentally-responsible material to work with, and we are so excited about it!

This month, we have debuted a few pieces of what we hope will continue to be an expanding collection:

Check out these, and other new items at our online store:

We are also working on putting together our schedule of in-person shows and markets! Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bangles, Bracelets, and Charms! Oh My!

This week we are making our own bracelets and bangles! I am not really sure what the difference is - for me, a bangle doesn't have a clasp and is rigid in its construction. Anything else is a bracelet! At least, this is how I always thought about it.

In this video tutorial, we are showing you three techniques that you can use to make your own bracelets and bangles. Keep in mind that you don't have to stick to just one technique - you can mix and match them! We hope that this tutorial will inspire you to experiment and be creative to show off your unique style.

First, we will show you how to create a rigid bangle by wrapping several lengths of wire together. This is a very versatile design -- you can decorate this bangle with crystals, pearls, or other accents by adding these things to your wrappings.

Next, we'll show you the basics of hanging charms onto a chain using loops and jump rings. This is by far the easiest way to make a charm bracelet! You can use anything as a charm to make it uniquely yours.

Finally, the last tutorial is slightly more advanced. This design incorporates beads into the structure of a wire bangle. We will show you how to string the pattern of beads and how to use them while wrapping your bangle. This design also features a hook clasp!

Note: you can always skip around to different projects in the video by clicking on the time markers in the description of the video (they look like "0:55" and will take you to that time point in the video. This useful feature is available on all our videos that feature more than a single project!

Let us know what you thought of the tutorial by leaving us a comment! Thank you for watching, and enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Upcoming Tutorial Fun!

Just in time for Christmas, we've been rolling out video tutorials on how to make simple jewelry pieces that would make excellent gifts for your friends and family.

There are still two more weekends to go until December 25th, and we have two more tutorials coming your way -- three styles of bracelets and bangles, and wire rings!

Stay tuned to our website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page to be the first to know when tutorials are released!