Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 Calendar Roundup

I am VERY picky when it comes to certain things. Shoes for sure. Jewelry definitely. And most assuredly calendars. It's a little ridiculous. I didn't even realize how particular I was about calendars until I started looking for a suitable version for 2014.

Here is my list of criteria:

1. It must fit the space I have pre-designated for a calendar in my home. I always hang it in the same spot on a small wall between my entryway and kitchen, beside a mirror. It is a vertical space and the calendar can be no more than 10" wide. That drastically narrows the field (pun intended).

2. It must be pre-printed for me. In perusing Etsy for calendar selections this year, I noticed a lot marked as "printable download." I'll be the first to admit that my printer sucks. And even if it were a fantastic printer, by the time I got around to purchasing high-quality paper worthy of a calendar the year would be half over.

3. I'm picky about quality (see criteria #2), so it has to be either letterpress printed or screenprinted, or at the very least printed on heavy cardstock. I want crisp lines and vibrant colors.

4. I need a fresh image or graphic each month. I relish in the ritual of turning to a fresh, new page on the first of the month, so no at-a-glance, all-in-one calendars will do.

5. I have to love it. Every single month doesn't have to blow me away, but I have to be able to live with the theme for a full year.

Following this list, I have narrowed down my selections to the following calendars:

Bold, bright, modern patterns printed on matte cardstock from christine marie b.

I love BOTH of these calendars from Dozi. The top one features adorable illustrations representative of each month, while the second focuses on geometric shapes. Both are printed on matte cover weight paper. 

This amazing animal illustration calendar is made by Spoon&Sailor in Rhode Island. They letterpress on 100% cotton (tree-free!) paper on a Chandler & Price antique press.

Stationery Boutique out of Colorado has designed a gorgeous pattern calendar this year, and this one is currently at the top of my list because each page doubles as a mailable postcard when the month is through. If you know me at all, you know how much I love sending postcards.

I had a Little Low adventure-of-the-month calendar in 2013 and absolutely LOVED it! Every month was darling. I'm strongly considering their great American roadtrip calendar this year.

Red Cruiser came out with this fantastic food/beer pairings calendar and I absolutely love the colors and whimsical style. My only issue is that some months feature meat. Sure, I can easily pretend it's fake meat...fake bacon in March, piles of Tofurky® slices on that June sandwich, veggie dog in July, etc. But should I? I'm not sure. Needless to say, August (pictured above) would be my favorite month by far.

Each month of the 2014 Freckle Paper flea market finds calendar features a hand painted watercolor illustration of an antique object found at a flea market. Charming. Subdued. It comes on a clipboard for hanging.

Help me decide!! Before it's too late and they all sell out. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Open House This Sunday - Dec. 22nd

Since Mother Nature doesn't seem to be cooperating with my craft show plans this year (snowstorms have thwarted two events), I'm taking matters into my own hands and setting up shop in my living room this Sunday from noon until 3pm

I have lots of handmade jewelry ready for gift giving and stocking stuffing, so I hope you can stop by to do a little last-minute shopping. I'll even gift wrap for you!

It'll be a laid back afternoon with light refreshments and a beautiful view on Bullfrog Lane. Please feel free to bring a friend or two! You can preview a sampling of my work on Etsy. Much more will be available in person.

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013
Noon - 3pm
4 Bullfrog Lane (just off Scituate Road)
York, Maine

Cash, checks and credit cards are all welcome. Please RSVP on Facebook if you think you can make it and help spread the word. Thanks and hope to see you! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gifts for Social Media Mavens, Graphic Designers and Web Developers

When I'm not making jewelry, I'm usually at my day job as an account manager at Vital, a creative digital agency in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They specialize in kick-ass graphic design, web development and content marketing, and this means I work with some amazingly talented people.

As I've been doing some last minute online shopping, I keep coming across great gift ideas that made me think of my co-workers. I thought I'd share the wealth in case you also have some creative types on your list who still need holiday gifts.

Here they top gift picks for social media mavens, graphic designers and web developers:

1. For the social media aficionado
These necklaces from Photojojo are the perfect gift for your friend who can't help but post every single meal he or she has ever eaten since they started an Instagram account. Available in "Like" style pictured here, and also in hashtags: #nofilter and #selfie – $25 each.

2. For the photo app obsessed
These pins will help your photo app obsessed pal show the world how much they love Photoshop, Pinterest or Instagram. Laser cut acrylic, exclusively available from Photojojo and made in San Francisco by Plastique – $12 each.

3. For the graphic designer
If you know someone who truly appreciates great graphic design, turn to Society6 for unique framed prints, canvas prints, iPhone and iPad cases, mugs, tote bags and more. Some of my favorite designs are by fellow Maine artists Morris & Essex and Jennifer Judd-McGee.

Thousands of artists from around the world contribute designs, so you can literally search for ANY topic and come up with gift ideas for anyone. Beagle pillows anyone? Prices vary by item.

Morris & Essex iPhone case
Jennifer Judd-McGee Throw Pillow
4. For the typography obsessed
Available as a t-shirt or hoodie, this kerning reference cracks me up. Kerning Hoodie – $35.

5. For the coffee connoisseur
Finally! Pantone makes their signature mugs with spill-proof lids. Remove spill risk and avoid coffee/computer disasters while drinking in style. Available in a variety of colors from Pantone Universe – $17 each.

6. For that guy who plays his music way too loud
There's at least one in every office. You know who he is. The Unrefinery makes the perfect shirt. Simple, affordable – $18 each.

7. For that awesome developer chick
Custom binary cuff bracelet by Karla Wheeler Design on Etsy. Have your own message etched in copper for $70.

8. For your nerdy other half
Shameless Lofted Designs plug. These sterling silver rings written in binary code are the perfect gift for your geeky sweetheart. They spell 'I love you" in a 1s and 0s. Great for guys and ladies.
Binary Code Rings by Lofted Designs – $35 each.

9. For the Apple obsessed
Delight your Apple-obsessed friends with this fantastic print. One of my favorite small companies Pop Chart Lab has created a comprehensive visual map of the history of Apple products. Unframed print – $36.

If you act fast, you can still order most of these and have them arrive before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lofted Designs Marks 600th Etsy Sale

I kind of want to throw a party and do a happy dance, but it's really busy right now up in the loft so I'm just going to write this quick blog post and have my own private party while I make more jewelry.


In case you're wondering, the 600th sale was a customer in Canada purchasing a personalized birthstone necklace. Thank you to ALL of my wonderful customers for helping me reach this milestone!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pop-Up Holiday Fair in York, Maine

Remember that amazing 3S Artspace event a couple of years ago at the Nevada Motel in York Beach, Maine, when artists took over individual motel rooms and created incredibly innovative installation pieces? This is not that. But it's a pretty great idea in its own right. 

This Tuesday night in York, Maine, local artists will host a pop-up holiday show in the guest rooms at the Inn at Ridge Road in York, Maine.

December 3rd, 2013
6:30 pm - 9ish
The Inn at Ridge Road
281 Ridge Road
York, ME 03909

Light refreshments and wine will be available, as well as lots of beautiful locally-made gifts. Some of the vendors include:

Twig Candles

Katlyns Handmade Crafts

Treehugger Designs

Just Bee Skinfood & Soap

...and of course me! Lofted Designs

Spread the word and come on by! Hope to see you there.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

BDN Maine Food and Gift Fair - A Recap

The BDN Maine Holiday Food and Gift Fair was held in Portland, Maine, yesterday – Saturday, November 30th – and I was very excited to take part. I do love food, and was sandwiched between Dean's Sweets and the Super Stick Food Flipper booth for the day.

Here's a look at my very official looking booth – it's the first show I've ever done where they put up pipe and drape! And my very own sign! This made it feel much more legit than the fairs I typically do.

The foot traffic was a bit light, and I'm not exactly sure why. Most people I talked to thought the event was well-advertised in local papers and online, but for whatever reason – possibly location – there just weren't too many people making their way out the Portland Company Complex. It does take a little extra effort to get there and parking can be an issue in Portland.

But no matter. I can ALWAYS find the silver lining. I had a great day getting to know my neighbors and admiring their work. I also made some excellent trades...

I traded with Eliza of Morris & Essex for a gorgeous box of letterpress holiday cards.
I satisfied my sweet tooth by bartering with Kristen and Dean of Dean's Sweets
Lucy from Lucy's Granola proposed a very tasty trade.
This one wasn't a trade, but was totally worth it! Peanut butter chocolate chip from Stone Fox Farm Creamery. The creamiest ice cream I have ever tasted.
The biggest highlight of the day for me was when a couple of gentlemen purchased a pair of my rubber chicken earrings for none other than Sally Struthers! They are friends of hers and when they saw these earrings they instantly thought of her. Hope she loves them!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shop Small with Gus & Ruby Letterpress - Portsmouth, NH

If you're shopping in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this holiday season, be sure to stop by my favorite store Gus & Ruby Letterpress at 29 Congress Street. They have amazing gifts for anyone on your list who has excellent taste, but best of all they are fully stocked with a fresh batch of Lofted Designs pet tags (see pic above)!

Also, they're running some great promotions this weekend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Be sure to stop in for discounts, a goodie box giveaway, good holiday cheer, and coffee and treats for early shoppers. If you happen to be shopping for a pet-lover or a stocking stuffer for a furry friend, my pet tags are usually right by the register. :)

Happy shopping and many thanks for supporting small businesses!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Food and Gift Fair - Portland, Maine 11/30

When and Where:
November 30th, 2013
11am - 6pm
FREE admission!
58 Fore Street, Portland, ME

I'll be bringing along a new assortment of Lofted Designs necklaces and earrings (seaglass, beach stones, sterling silver, vintage buttons and more!), plus new bracelet designs, new ring designs, and a great assortment of pet tags. If you haven't seen me in person in awhile, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I actually plan to get most of my holiday shopping done at this shouldn't be difficult. I'll be in great company with these incredible Maine-based food and gift vendors (this is just a small sampling of the booths I'm looking forward to checking out – there will be many more):

Casco Bay Butter Co. – All-natural artisan butters made from local dairy farm cream.
'Cue Culture – Small batched barbecue sauces
Dean's Sweets – Amazing hand-dipped truffles. Enough said.
Flowfold – Durable wallets & bags handmade from sailcloth
Jared DiSimio Maker – Bags & accessories made from vintage, antique and salvaged materials, each with a story to tell. 
Vena's Fizz House - Mixology Shop and Natural Soda Bar
Morris & Essex – The most stunningly designed & silkscreened, letterpressed and block-printed goods I have ever laid eyes on. Shirts, cards, scarves, bags and more. I want everything Eliza makes. All of the things.
Maine Blanket – 100% grass-fed sheep's wool blankets, solar hand-dyed in seawater and woven on antique looms. How cool is that? 
Baobab Organics – Sustainable, organic cotton clothing for kids

Fiber and Water – Natural burlap wall art featuring hand-pressed designs.

You can find more info and RSVP on their Facebook event page. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Down East Magazine's Maine-Made Gift Guide

Exciting news from Lofted Designs headquarters!!! Our pet tags are being featured as part of Down East Magazine's 2013 Maine-Made Holiday Gift Guide!

(I created this sweet little badge to commemorate the occasion!)
Down East is known as the magazine of Maine, evoking and illuminating the spirit and culture of my great state and available at newsstands and stores nationwide.

The publication approached me in the early fall about the possibility of featuring Lofted Designs pet tags and I mailed off five ID tags to their editorial team for review.

Thanks to the USPS for helping me make the submission deadline!
Ultimately, they selected three of the pet tags ("squirrel chaser," "i ❤ maine," and "stinky breath") to feature on their Furry Friend gift page.

There's a lot going on in this collage of creativity, but Lofted Designs is #1 in the upper left corner!
Here's a snapshot with our tags highlighted to help you find them.
And a close-up!
If you can't quite read the tags in print, luckily they were kind enough to also feature them online with a link to my Etsy shop! Here's a link to all 133 of their Maine-made gift selections online.

Down East has been in print for nearly 60 years! I am so honored and thrilled to be part of this time-honored publication with a readership of more than 400,000 people. Be sure to pick up a copy, available on newsstands this week!