My Desk Illustrated

While I’m sorting through and editing hundreds of photos from my Maine road trip I thought I would share this with you guys. My desk was illustrated by the very talented Ned Harrison for the Spring Issue of the Graphic Artists Guild newsletter! When I received the proof I couldn’t stop smiling ear to ear, I was giddy and speechless and couldn’t believe what a wonderful job Ned did!

Graphic Artists Guild Members Desk 1

Welcome to my workspace, a desk in the attic. For me, a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. So I try to keep my workspace a neat and inspirational place to be. Everyday it starts out neat but ends in a mess. Before heading downstairs for the night, I straighten it up to have a fresh space for the morning!

Graphic Artists Guild Members Desk 2

Say Hello [June]

I’m back from Maine and my parent leave today, boo. I had a great trip and I hope you all enjoyed the wonderful guest posts last week. Today I get to introduce you to even more awesome people, my June sponsors! Take a minute to click around and pay their blogs and shops a visit.

 

Blog // Web Shop // Etsy Shop // Facebook // Dedra is offering Ciera Design readers a coupon code (junefun20) for 20% off at Prettiful Designs during June!

I’m Dedra and I live with my hubby and 3 little girls in Utah. I love cooking, sewing, gardening, online shopping, organizing, crafting, the outdoors, and I’m a graphic designer in my “free time.” I love to blog about recipes, organizing tips and tricks, marriage/child rearing helps and I do frequent giveaways. I would love it if you stopped by to say hi!

Blog // Web Site // Facebook

Tara O. is a classy and clever portrait photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona who started around age ten setting up photo sessions of her younger sister in their bedroom. Her primary style is retro and vintage pinups; though she’s had experience shooting everything from weddings, bands, family photos and fine art. Tara is open to literally almost any project and loves to get a little bit of an idea from a client and run with it to make it bigger and better than they thought it could be.

Blog // Twitter // Facebook

Hi hi, I’m designer Kelsey Cronkhite and Pinegate Road is my lifestyle blog. I have a love affair with design, typography, art, food, and many things in-between. I believe in exploration and creative endeavors; Pinegate Road is my little corner where I can run wild.

Blog // Twitter // Bloglovin

After living in California for 8 years, my husband and I finally moved back to the east coast. It feels good to be home! I blog mainly about life, books, my attempts at gardening, and my dogs. I also like to browse Etsy and Pinterest on a regular, time-sucking basis. 

Blog // Facebook // Bloglovin

Hi, I’m Jasmine. My blog, Sequin Crush, is a blog about my personal style and my fashion crush’s of the moment. I never think less is more when it comes to fashion, especially accessories! I hope to inspire others to explore their inner sequin crush and find as much love in fashion as I do.

Blog // Bloglovin // Twitter

I’m Naomi. I started my blog Of Anselm one year ago to encourage myself to learn to use my DSLR and to keep my family on the East Coast updated on our new Midwest life. I never dreamed I’d make so many new friends and learn so much more about myself through it.

Blog // Twitter // Instagram: @bekuhdoo

Hi there, I’m Bekuh and I blog over at Secondhand Sundays. Secondhand Sundays is my online home where I like to share pretty vintage wares, delicious home cooked meals, crafty handmade goods, and much much more. I hope you’ll come stop by and stay awhile, I just know we’ll be friends.

Blog // Twitter // Pinterest

Hi! I’m Natasha. I’m a Canadian, married to an American, who I met while living in South Korea. I’m a graphic designer (currently focusing on blog design), a lover of all things pretty and an admirer of anyone who lives to create. I blog about things I love, things that inspire me and snippets of my daily life. I’d love if you stopped by!

Want to take part in this post next month? Click HERE for details! And don’t forget that you can become a sponsor at any time, you don’t have to wait til a new month!

Summer Essentials

I don’t know if I have told y’all before, but I am obsessed with summer sun and being near the water! I can’t get enough of it! One of my favorite things about living in Boston is the close proximity to some amazing summer destinations! This summer, Zander and I plan to visit friends and family who live near beaches and lakes as much as possible. We want to be in the water, on a boat, playing beach volleyball, laying in the sand and jumping through waves! If we can’t get away for a weekend, you can bet we will be out in the sun on our back deck!  

My parents just came up from New Orleans and we spent a week exploring the coast of Maine, but the rest of my summer travels will most likely be shorter, weekend only trips. When jumping around for weekend trips and crashing at friend’s apartments, it is important to pack light. My travels last week gave me a good idea of what I will be packing for the rest of the summer. On the coast it was pretty warm during the days but in the evenings I definitely needed to change into jeans and a sweater or comfy sweatshirt. Another must for summer travel is a big beach bag that can fit a towel, sweater, sunscreen, camera and normal ‘purse’ stuff. Cute sunglasses and a hat are great to protect your face from the sun and I like simple accessories to finish off the look!

I put together this round up of what I consider to be summer essentials. As you can see from my collection, I think that ranges of bright colored items are best for summer! What essentials do you pack for the beach or a summer vacation?

SUMMER ESSENTIALS

CUTE SUIT // STRAW HAT // COMFY SANDALS // FUN SUNNIES // SIMPLE ACCESSORIES // BRIGHT SHORTS // STRIPED BAG

This post is underwritten by Old Navy. Whether you’re looking for a tankini, bikini or a one piece, Old Navy has you confidently covered at a great price. Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Sizzling, Shiny & Studded: 3 ‘Must Try’ Looks for Summer

Hey, I’m Jasmine, from Sequin Crush, where I share my personal fashion adventures, inspiration, and fashion crushes of the moment. I am currently crushing on three major looks for Summer, and hope at least one of them makes you all warm and sparkly on the inside and are inspired to try it out!

Most of you have probably tried some of the main trends for Spring/Summer already like pastels, florals, and neon. My three must try looks for Summer though, are not your average sundress and sandals ensemble!

The sizzling, tropical paradise look actually combines all of my favorite trends right now – floral print, animal print, mixing prints and fringe! If this look is too bold for you, simply try just a tropical print paired with neutrals or solid colors. A cat eye (weather it be your sunnies or eyeliner) is a great addition to this look. Top it off with some fun jewelry that ties into the theme, like a coral branch necklace, or a lion’s head bracelet and ring.

WARNING: When wearing this look, you will be ready to make whatever you do that day, or night out, your own relaxing/wild/care-free/fun tropical paradise, so don’t plan anything too serious!

Look 1 : Top :: Necklace :: Earrings :: Sunglasses :: Bangle :: Image :: Bracelets :: Heels :: Skirt :: Ring

I’m so excited about this next look, which shows that shiny metallics are not just for holiday time or special occasions! It’s Summer time! The sun is shining bright, and you should be too! Also, that unfortunate misconception some have, that you can’t mix metallics…paaaalease! Get over it! Try one statement metallic piece and some mixed metal accessories if you don’t want to go head-to-toe. If you are weary about mixing separate pieces on your own, try ones that have the work done for you, like this Tri-Tone Bangle Set or Tri-Tone Sticks Necklace.

WARNING: This look will will turn some heads, and may slightly blind those not wearing protective eye wear when the sun is shining. Don’t be shy though, keep shining on!

Look2: Top :: Fanned Necklace :: Bangle Set :: Sticks Necklace :: Clutch :: Ring :: Bracelet :: Skirt :: Wedges

What better time to try this last look, than for the 4th of July? This look is usually portrayed a bit more on the edgy side, involving cut-off jean shorts (often inappropriately short, showing some cheek), midriffs, side-boob, and lots of stars, stripes, studs and spikes. “Flag Fashion” is really big right now, and can be modified to your comfort level in many ways, so don’t be scared to try this look out other than on a patriotic holiday.

WARNING: You may get mistaken for a hipster, redneck, or rockstar, while wearing this look. Who cares? Make it your own, and rock the American Girl Grunge style with pride! ‘Merica!

Look 3: Star Earrings :: Necklace :: Black Bracelet :: Red Bracelet :: Ring :: Bikini Top :: Peace Earrings :: Boots :: Shorts : Top :: Sunglasses  


Thank for sharing these three awesome summer styles Jasmine! And that’s it for my June guest bloggers, hope you all have enjoyed! I’ll be back from vacation on Monday. -Ciera


Freezer Paper Stencil by Julie Ann Art

Hi guys! My name is Julie and I blog over at Julie Ann Art. I’m so happy to be guest posting today! I’m going to show you how I transferred a design onto a pillow using a freezer paper stencil!

Since we moved we haven’t had any pillows for our couch. The main reason we don’t have pillows? My dog’s favorite thing is pillow stuffing. She will have the stuffing out of that pillow in a matter of minutes (seconds?). So no way am I buying a fancy schmancy $$$ pillow set. I bought one pillow from Ikea, sort of as a test. Maybe she grew out of her pillow chewing habits (yeah right). But this one white, boring pillow needed some help. I was throwing around different embellishment  ideas when I remembered I had been wanting to try to make a stencil out of freezer paper. So here we go!

What you’ll need:Freezer Paper Fabric (pillow case, t-shirt, placemats, etc.) Fabric Paint Iron Exacto Knife Pencil or Pen Paintbrush Cardboard

The first thing you need to do is transfer your design to the matte (not shiny!) side of your freezer paper. This can be done in multiple ways. I drew my design directly onto the paper. If you don’t feeling comfortable doing this, you can either a.) print the design on normal paper and then trace it on the freezer paper, or b.) print the design directly onto the freezer paper. Just make sure you only use an ink-jet printer if you’re going to print on it. Your call!

Next up, using your exacto knife, cut your design out of the freezer paper. Make sure to put some cardboard underneath the paper to make this process easier. This was surprisingly easy, the freezer paper didn’t give me any problems with tearing.

Once your stencil is ready, place it shiny side down where you want it on your fabric. Heat up your iron (I put mine on medium heat) and carefully start ironing, working your way from the middle of the design to the outside of the design. I went over my design multiple times. Make sure to pay attention to any intricate areas.

When the freezer paper is secured to the fabric it’s time to paint! Once again, make sure to cover all the intricate areas and edges completely. I got nervous at this part because I wasn’t sure if I had ironed it on well enough.

I let the paint dry for about an hour (although the paint bottle said it takes four hours to dry) and started pulling off my stencil. Whether you decide to wait the full four hours or not is up to your discretion. The stencil pulled off easily and now I have a cute little pillow.

The possibilities for use of a freezer paper stencil are endless! I definitely want to try it on a shirt next. The looks it gives is very similar to that of screen printing. And don’t forget you can use freezer paper for what it was originally intended for…to store meat in the freezer. Have fun!


Thank you so much Julie! Who knew freezer paper had another use? I definitely want to try this one out soon! Only one more guest post, I hope you have been enjoying them! -Ciera


Beginners Guide To Jewelry Making by Show & Tell

I’m so excited to be guest posting on Ciera’s blog today! I am a huge fan of everything that she posts here and hope you enjoy my jewelry tutorial! Before we begin, you must know that I’ve never made jewelry before I created the necklace I document below. I literally went to Hobby Lobby and thought, “What supplies make sense?” I had already ordered some amazing vintage Japanese beads on Etsy beforehand so I just needed to make sure I could thread them. Here are the supplies that I used:

I picked up a basic jewelry tool kit and a few options when it came to chains. I ended up using a really thin (and cheap) gold chain so I’m excited to experiment with more quality supplies later. Here is a visual and brief tutorial below. I’ll go into more details on each step below the image!


Okay here’s more of an explanation for each step:

1. I am using a 2″ eye pin here. If I were to re-create this necklace again (which I probably will), I might consider adding a drop of super glue to keep the two beads together. If you aren’t extremely precise, it’s hard to keep them close together while closing the eye pin in the next step.

2. I used the round nose pliers to hold the eye pin steady while I literally bent the other end perpendicular.

3. I didn’t get a photo but I did clip the end of the eye pin so that it was shorter. I didn’t want to bend it into a loop and then have extra wire. Here is a great tutorial on creating loops with your eye pins.

4. As you can see, I have created the loop and now the beads are secured. My loop is definitely not perfect but it works!

5. I wanted to make sure I knew how to create a loop before I strung the chain through (so this is technically a little backwards) but by the time you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take a lot to pull the loop apart and add the chain.

6. Now you have a completed and seamless necklace! After this, I snipped the chain (where it would fall on your neck) and added the clasp! Ta da! Necklace completed.


So there’s my beginners guide to jewelry making. I learned a lot and didn’t even really study any techniques. It was almost more fun going into it neutral and not having an preconceived ideas of what my necklace should look like. Let me know if you have any advice or tips – I’m all ears. >> written by Allison at Show & Tell


I think this came out so great considering it was her first jewelry making experience! A big thanks to Allison for sharing this with us while I’m away on vacation! – Ciera


Hand Stamped Polka Dot Tie by Secondhand Sundays

 

Hi Ciera Design readers, my name is Bekuh and I blog over at Secondhand Sundays. I’m happy to be guest posting on Ciera’s blog while she’s out of town and have a super easy DIY ready for you today. With Father’s Day just around the corner I thought a project designed just for Dad would be perfect. Stick around and learn how to hand stamp a polka dot tie for that special man in your life.

The supplies needed for this project are minimal; you’ll need multi-surface craft paint, a pencil with an eraser, a paper towel or rag, and a solid color tie (mine was thrifted).

I chose to use two colors for my tie – mint green, and coral. In combination with the black tie it created a nice contrast, and a mid-century americana feel. I couldn’t help but imagine a Dad in the 1950s rocking a style similar to this. You can choose any color combination you want, or go classic with one color like white.

The steps for making this polka dot tie are pretty simple. Start by dipping the eraser end of the pencil in one of your colors and imprint on tie. Be careful not to push down too hard, just lightly dab it into the tie. Continue dipping, and imprinting polka dots on the tie in an irregular pattern starting with the bulk of the tie and moving into the neck. Remember to leave space for your second color of paint (if you so choose).

Don’t worry if your first polka dots seem a little splotchy. You’ll want to do a second coat of paint just to ensure all of the polka dots are fully filled in and a good shape. Once you’ve filled in the tie with one color use your paper towel or rag to clean off the eraser.

Next fill in the gaps with your second color of paint, again doing two-three coats. Let each coat dry completely before starting the second to avoid smearing. I suggest letting the whole tie dry overnight before wrapping.

I think your Dad or significant other will love your creation, it combines two things Dads love, crafts from their kids and ties. Or at least that’s what I’ve always been told (wink wink). Enjoy! Bekuh


Thank you so much Bekuh! This is a great Father’s Day DIY idea, and in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with polka dots ! -Ciera


Father’s Day Gift Ideas by Pinegate Road

Hello there! I’m Kelsey from Pinegate Road, and I was thrilled when Ciera asked me to guest post for her while she was away on her vacation in Maine! I remember going to Maine as a kid with my family…oh man, the lobster shacks you can find when driving down small roads off the coast. I have fond memories of those places. At one, my family and I went to eat fresh boiled lobsters caught out of the ocean, and we were all sitting in the plastic chairs, see. Suddenly, my Dad starts slowly sinking in his chair, and then *plop* all of the chairs legs had collapsed inwards towards the ground and he was just sitting there on the ground at this lobster shack with his entire family in hysterics around him. I still laugh out loud when I think of this story. Anways, I regress.

Speaking of Dads, here is a little gift round-up for things that I’d love to give my Dad for Father’s Day! It’s coming up so quickly, wow. While these items are specific to my Dad, hopefully they can generate some ideas for your very own daddy-o. Mine is huge into hunting, loves getting a little preppy for the workplace (Mom’s influence as of late), and enjoys a good round of golf. On a trip to Italy a couple of years ago I found my Dad a simple leather wallet that he has since fallen in love with. After years of use and abuse, it’s seeing its last days. Much the like the wallet, his Sperry’s are in need of a little refresher. Like father, like daughter, I started donning a men’s pair of Sperry’s to go with my high school uniform. Love them, and the man who influenced me.

TIE // STATIONERY // WALLET // PEN // iPHONE CASE // SOCKS // SHOES

Thank you Ciera for having me, and hope that you have a great vacation in that beautiful place of the country! If you’ve never been out to Maine, it’s a definitely must-visit location for sometime in your life. Summers there….oh my gosh.

xoxo
Kelsey


A huge thanks to Kelsey for this awesome Father’s Day gift round-up! I just love the story of her dad on the ground at a lobster shack, too funny! -Ciera


Meet My Guest Bloggers

Hey everyone! My parents arrive to Boston today from New Orleans and we are heading off on a Maine road trip! Since I’m disconnecting for the week I have some great guest bloggers lined up while I’m away! They are all amazing, creative, ladies whose blogs I really admire. I’d like to give them each a little introduction before their posts start rolling out next week, so here they are!

GuestBloggers


Bekuh owns The Button Factory, an online vintage boutique and blogs at Secondhand Sundays, a lifestyle blog that focuses on creating a homemade life filled with vintage wares, DIY projects, and home cooked meals.

Allison is a graphic designer and photographer. She blogs about travel, favorite products, tips on blogging and hosts fun photo challenges on her blog, Show & Tell.

Kelsey is also a graphic designer and uses her blog Pinegate Road to document her self-curation as a designer. She shares color studies, outfits, inspiring art and work spaces from other creatives!

Jasmine of Sequin Crush blogs about her personal style, fashion crush’s and DIY projects. She hopes to inspire others to find as much love in fashion as she does. She is also my little sister!

Julie is creator of a greeting card line on Etsy, and blogs at Julie Ann Art as a creative outlet, where she documents all of her ideas, inspirations, handmade projects, Etsy finds and DIY Tutorials.


I’m sure I’ll be updating Instagram and Twitter (can’t help myself) while I’m away so check-in with me there and I will see y’all back here when I return! Thanks so much ladies for helping me out while I’m on vacation!


Homemade French Fries

Okay, this was SO much easier than I thought it would be! And SO much more delicious than I expected too, I couldn’t stop eating them! Check out the simple instructions and photos from my first fry cooking experience!

homemade french fries 1

Ingredients

– Potatoes (1 or 2 potatoes per serving depending on the size of your potatoes)
– Vegetable Oil (2 to 4 cups of oil depending on how many servings you are making) Overcrowding your fries will cause breakage and uneven cooking. To use less oil, prepare in several batches.
– Salt

Directions

– Wash and peel potatoes
– Slice potatoes into strips
– Drop potato strips into 375 degree oil
– Fry until golden brown (about 5 to 10 minutes)
– Remove from pot and drain on paper towels or paper bag
– Sprinkle with salt
– Put fries in the oven to keep warm while the next batch is frying
– Serve immediately

homemade french fries 2

homemade french fries 3

homemade french fries 4

homemade french fries 5

homemade french fries 6

homemade french fries 7

homemade french fries 8

homemade french fries 9

homemade french fries 10

(as you can see a lot of ours broke into little pieces… but they still tasted amazing!)