Jewelry Making Shenanigans

September 30th, 2014

I was digging through my closet, and I found the jewelry I made a long while back. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but when I first decided to start a business my initial plan was to create jewelry. I collected a stash of tools and beads, took a ring making class, and then a silver smithing class (in which I nearly blew myself up with a blow torch, but that’s a story for another day). In the end, the process of making jewelry was too repetitive for me, so I moved on to paper products. I thought it would be fun to share a few sketches and finished pieces from my jewelry phase way back in 2007.

jewelry making sketchbook

jewelry making sketchbook

jewelry making sketchbook

jewelry making sketchbook

jewelry making sketchbook

jewelry making sketchbook

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Sketchbook 9.24.14

September 24th, 2014

Lately I’ve been busy working on a bunch of new paper confections. I finally sent this year’s new holiday cards off to the print shop, and I think they might be my best yet. I’m planning to introduce a collection of notepads before the end of October, and I’ve got some new rubber stamp ideas I want to realize too. So much to do and so little time! What have you been working on?

Wit & Whistle Sketchbook

Wit & Whistle Sketchbook

Wit & Whistle Sketchbook

Wit & Whistle Sketchbook

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Halloween Cards 2014

September 19th, 2014

Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little on the whole fall thing, but after all it is my favorite time of the year. I added two new Halloween cards to the shop today, and I’ve already polished off a bag of candy corn. Bring on the cider and pumpkins!

Wit & Whistle Halloween Cards

Wit & Whistle Halloween Cards

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Taking a Break

September 16th, 2014

I worked on a some new card designs yesterday, but by late last night I felt like I still hadn’t made much progress. None of the new designs were coming together as well as I hoped. Forcing myself to create when I feel discouraged never yields good results, so today I stepped away from work for a bit and took Oliver for a hike (Mabel is spending the day at the vet for a checkup).

Oliver is the perfect hiking buddy. He prances along next to me heeling like a champ. If I trip on a root or scuff my toe on a rock, he’ll nudge my leg with his nose and check on me with a questioning look. If I want to wander off the trail to look at a weird mushroom on a rotten log, he will happily accompany me and pee on all the trees in the vicinity to ward off danger. He constantly looks up at me with this adoring face as we walk along. I don’t know how he keeps from running into stuff, since he doesn’t watch the path most of the time. It’s a nice feeling, to be a dog’s favorite person.

What do you do when a project isn’t working out, and you’re feeling uninspired and drained? Taking a break and doing something else for a while usually helps me get back on track. Does that work for you too?

take a break

take a break

(Please excuse the iPhone photos… I forgot to bring my real camera!)

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Homemade Blackberry Wine

September 11th, 2014

homemade blackberry wine

I made blackberry wine! It took two months to get it ready to bottle. Two months of sanitizing things, smashing berries, measuring sugar levels with a hydrometer, watching yeast bubble, stirring, adding mysterious ingredients, siphoning, and wondering if I was doing everything right. It was all very science-y.

homemade blackberry wine

I bottled my wine earlier this week, and it took every ounce of my strength to get the corks into the bottles. After corking I realized I hadn’t even tasted it, so I poured some of the overflow into a glass and sniffed it like a fancy wine tasting person. It smelled like… farts.

As you can imagine, I was bummed that my 2 months of work had yielded fart wine. I figured I’d never drink it, although it did taste better than it smelled. I’d been dreaming up my wine bottle packaging all summer, so I went ahead and designed labels just to cheer myself up.

homemade blackberry wine

After stepping away for a day and letting my frustration fade, I did some more sniffing and googling. I realized the smell was actually sulfur. Hydrogen sulfide is produced during the fermenting process naturally, but if something is a little off you can end up with sulfur scented wine. I read that decanting the wine could cause the sulfur smell to fade and make it taste better. I figured it was worth a try, so I set a glass of wine out on the counter and kept sniffing it every hour or so. Roughly 5 hours later it smelled like wine and tasted decent too. Even Daniel approved. Whew!

homemade blackberry wine

As I made my wine I jotted down the process, but I’m not going to share the instructions since it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. I mean, when have you ever bought a bottle of wine that needed to air out for 5 hours so the fart smell could dissipate? I’m guessing never.

homemade blackberry wine

I will say that I started with this kit to make 1 gallon of wine. The kit came with booklet of recipes to make a bunch of different fruit wines, but the instructions are incredibly vague. I had to piece together the process from YouTube videos, blogs, and winemaking forums. So, maybe I should just be happy my wine turned out as well as it did!

homemade blackberry wine

Have you ever made wine or beer… or moonshine? ;) I don’t know if I’ll try it again, but I like having a better understanding of the process and an appreciation for how much work goes into a bottle of wine. Now that it’s all said and done, designing the label was absolutely my favorite part!

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