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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sketching our life

Here at Swirly Designs we feel that there is nothing more important than a good sketch book. Years ago, when Lianne and I were in art school, we each had to get a sketch book and we were expected to sketch in it every day for at least 15 minutes. At the time I felt like it was a big waste of time. Fast forward 16 years later and we can't image our creative lives without them. That initial recommendation in art school stuck with us during our careers. We realized early on that our sketches were helpful in our creative endeavors. We would end up referring to a sketch or an idea in our book and use that in a project. Through the years we tried all sorts of styles of sketch books, from really large books to small ones, to ones that were very expensive and we were afraid to mess up the pages with our doodles. We found ones that we could use markers and not have it bleed through.

We finally came across a brand of sketch books called Cachet Studio. They're available in wonderful colors and sizes. We've been using these for a while and really enjoy them. I use the 5 x 8 size because I prefer to sketch smaller, and Lianne enjoys a bigger size to sketch in.

What type of sketch books do you use? Let us know, we'd love to hear!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

We took a short break from the studio today to have a little fun with bubbles. How fun is that! Gryffin had a blast with his battery operated bubble machine. It makes tons of bubbles at once. There are a lot more options when it comes to bubble making these days. We saw many different kinds at the toy store but decided on this small one that was easy for small hands to use as well.

Bubbles are fun for the young and old!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sand Sculpting Festival

We thought we would share some photos we took over the weekend. We visited Revere beach to check out some amazing sand sculptures at the New England Sand Sculpting Festival. There was 8-10 sculptures that we viewed. All very impressive. It's crazy that they put all that effort and time into something that doesn't last long at all.

Working in the 93ยบ humid weather didn't look like fun. Yikes!!

Our Halloween Ad for MEHC Magazine

Here is our new ad for the Artists' Gallery section of the Oct/Nov issue Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine. It's always challenging to stay on top of these magazine deadlines.

We always seem to be rushing in order to get the final ad to them on time. But we got it done and now we can move on to the next thing. Be sure to pick up your copy when it comes out!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Halloween in July?

Okay, we admit it. We may very well be the only people on the planet who actually like it when stores start putting their Halloween stuff out. We were filled with joy when on a recent trip to HomeGoods we saw their collection of Halloween trinkets and decorations adorning the shelves. Our little eyes spied a most haunting black feather tree that we just had to get. We could see visions of witches and devils and ghosts hanging goulishly from the feather branches. The tree stands about 2 feet tall, base to top. We're going to embellish the stand to dress it up and make it more appealing and add a creepy looking eyeball for the top. HomeGoods is a great place to find really interesting seasonal trees from large red metacllic trees to a beautiful white feather tree; perfect for displaying baby items, so it was just a matter of time when a black feather tree would land in our possession.

It's been all about halloween these last few weeks. We are finishing up our sketches for our 2008 Halloween collection. Here is a sneak peek inside our sketch book and some of our ideas.

This brings us to our last bit of info...we're working on an ad for Oct/Nov issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. We'll post it once it's ready.

So while everyone is at the beach and shucking corn....we're eating CANDY CORN!

See you next week!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fireworks beauty

Here at Swirly Designs we took a little break to enjoy all the July 4th festivities in our local area. Even though the weather here in New England didn't exactly cooperate, we got to see Fireworks 2 nights in a row. It was fun seeing our 3-year old experience the fireworks through his eyes.

But it was also fun looking at the beauty of the fireworks themselves. When I came home and downloaded the pictures from the digital camera I couldn't help but be in awe of the simple beauty of the fireworks. By no means am I an expert at taking night shots/fireworks. Even with the setting on the camera to "fireworks" I still don't think I was taking them correctly.

As you can see from a few of the shots, I got some pretty neat imagery. The colors and the way they danced through the black sky is inspiring. Now if I can just think of a way to translate them into a Swirly ornament I'd be golden!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy 4th of JULY!!!

We want to wish you all a happy and safe 4th of July.

There's nothing better then a good BBQ and nice weather for a 4th celebration with family and friends. This year we are hoping to have our 3 year old experience fireworks for the first time. If anything, he will enjoy the staying up late part for sure.

Here is our Patriotic Topiary ornament we created back in 2003. It was a very popular design for us and we still get requests for a Patriotic line. These ornaments look wonderful on a front door surround by a beautiful 4th of july wreath or hang them on a decorative knob on a cabinet.

This is one of our favorite ways to display our little pieces of art. A shadow box display. This frame is wide enough to stand on its on so you don't even need to hang it on the wall. You can just stand it on a book case or mantle. See our baby ornament shadow box idea here.

Even if you can't paint, this whole frame was easily created with tissue paper and glue, using a technique called decoupage. Which is really just gluing paper to a surface by layering and then top coating it with varnish or lacquer. If you've never tried decoupage, we recommend trying it, you'll love the results.
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