Artist Spotlight: Rep your Hood

In a hallway at the office, an artist exhibit is displayed produced by our incredibly creative employees. I always choose the longer route to my desk just to see these beautiful pieces of work. One morning as I walked down the hall, two prints on the wall literally stopped me in my tracks. I stood there amazed at the beauty of the black ink on the stark white paper.  Somehow something that seemed so ordinary had been transformed into a beautiful piece of art. The concept was brilliant. 
My favorite hallway/ art gallery

In a world full of mass production and copyright infringements, I am always amazed and inspired by individuals who are able to create new concepts. Creating something that has never been done before is nothing short of miraculous.

My favs by Jordan Shorthouse and Jesse Vogel
The guys behind my most favorite pieces are Jordan Shorthouse and Jesse Vogel. They both graciously allowed me to spend the lunch hour with them asking questions and learning about their process.  Turns out the they have a whole line of t-shirts featuring the local Atlanta artwork.

Ally & Callie featuring new hoods for Fall 2012
What started as a screen printing gift from a girlfriend turned into a great business concept and Rep your Hood Apparel was born.  I believe the best creations are made when driving revenue is not your end goal but learning and having fun is. These two guys definitely have their priorities in order. You can find rep your hood t’s and meet these incredibly talented artists at the East Atlanta Strut Sep 15th. Not only is Jesse an artist but a D.J. too, so be prepared to close down the festival with these two.

Thank you Jordan and Jesse for sharing what you do. I am excited to see where you go next.

Week 4 - Get Me to the Festival, New Product Intro

With only one month left to prepare for the Crabapple Festival, I am starting to feel the pressure. With most of the major things out of the way, like my displays [read week 1], I really need to focus my attention on THE most important.. the jewelry. While I've been busy trying to keep up with current orders from my etsy shop, I've completely neglected the fact that I still need to make more items for the event.

This festival will be a great opportunity to introduce some new products! Bringing new items will give me an idea on how sales could possibly perform if I decide to bring them into my etsy shop later on. I don't want to get too ambitious, so I decided I'll bring some chunky beaded stretch bracelets, and wine charms.

I love the idea of eclectic arm candy, and customers can mix and match to get completely different looks. I'm also going to create personalized wine charms for my table. A while ago, I made Callie's mother a set of wine charms for every member of the family as a thank you gift [DIY tutorial], and she loved them. Plus, I can easily diplay wine glasses on my tables.. maybe Callie and I will toast to success at the end of our long day!

Other posts in this series:

New Workout Tunes

As you're switching up your workout routine, you need to change up your playlist. These are tunes that are keeping me fueled during my morning workouts. Click here to listen to all of them on Spotify!        

Cottage Redo Series: Build a Mantel

Decorating a new home can quickly become overwhelming. To mange my stress excitement I decided to tackle one room at a time before planning or buying for another. Since the living room is the most common place to gather, we decided to start here. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing all of the fun affordable ways I am making the living room our own.

Our finished mantle with built-in shelving

Ooohhh dental molding :)
Project 1: Build a mantel - what I am guessing is the original mantel, appears to have been put together with left over scrapes when the house was built in 1976.  A nail gun happy hubby probably whipped it together in no time. Since the original mantel was mounted a solid foot above the fireplace, the television had to be mounted even higher. Talk about a pain in the neck! On a whim one Sunday night, demolition began!

The "before"
The old mantle is gone!
The living room is fairly small. Since the fireplace takes up one wall and the sofa the other, we thought a large mantel with shelving would create the perfect balance and give us a place to display our favorite books and treasures.

In the end we went with smaller, symmetrical shelves
Here we are in my dad's shop a.k.a. my happy place. Something about creating something with my own hands is powerful to me. I love the feeling of forgetting everything around me. I am truly living in the moment when I am here. As my dad says measure once and cut twice...hehe

I give full credit to my dad for encouraging us to use molding on the mantel and shelves. Had I set out to build this alone, my shelving would have resembled the original mantel. The dental molding was the perfect accent for our cottage home. My husband skillfully added the baseboards to the mantel to match the original and caulked everything into place to give it that built in look. You would never know it was not the original.

Almost done! The board across the bottom kept the mantel square during transport
I can't wait to enter a mantel decorating contest over at The Lettered Cottage - pumpkins at Halloween and stockings at Christmas. This project could not have turned out better.

Project 2: Paint the walls & fireplace - Since we destroyed the walls during the process, we went ahead and picked out new paint color. The walls in the halls, living and dining room were dark gray. I love the color but with little natural light in the room, we decided a lighter color would warm up the space and go better with our salt and pepper sofa. Since I wasn't quit ready to let go of the dark grey, we painted the fireplace brick, inspired by the photo below from Houzz. It really makes the mantel stand out and gives the fireplace a clean new look.

Here is a sneak peak at what's to come:
  • Find two neutral colored comfy chairs for additional seating
  • Create a framed photo/art wall
  • Add roman shades to the front door for privacy
  • Screen-print artwork for the walls
  • Sew custom pillows for the sofa and chairs
I am blessed with both an incredibly talented husband and creative and skillful father. I could not have done this without them. Thank you both for your long hours and hard work.

Week 3 - Get Me to the Festival, Information Sheets

In case you missed any of the previous posts in this series, I'm prepping for an antique/arts festival, where I will be selling jewelry from my etsy store. I want to bring some informational print-outs to the Crabapple Festival with me. This way, if I'm busy helping someone, they can still be in-the-know, and not feel completely abandoned. I made sure to include all of my social information, and ways to get in contact. I've been making a lot of personalized, custom pieces lately, so I included the different font styles I have available to choose from, as well as some specials.

I purchased four frames from IKEA, for only $5/each, and plan to hang them from the tent with hemp.

Other posts in this series:

Finding Inspirations at Atlanta Botanical Gardens

A trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens has been on the to-do list for quite some time now. I've been wanting to explore the wonderful world of photography, and Callie's been eager to design stencils to start screen printing fabric. We were able to shimmy away from our desks early today, so with two motives, and one Scoutmob deal later, here we are!

It started with a digital photography book my extremely talented wedding photographer, Doug Levy, mailed me. I've always been an art savvy person, but always chose a paintbrush over a camera, and unfortunately was never able to take a photography class. I enjoy snapping away during photo ops with my little Sony Cybershot, and love to find interesting compositions, so I want to see if I have a knack for it.

WELL, today I found out that I really need to learn how to use a camera! I borrowed an old camera from my soon to be mother-in-law, and I'm not sure if I can blame the poor quality of my photos entirely on the camera. Today, I wanted to be able to teach myself how to take pictures with a sharp focal point, and blurry background. After reading the manual, I thought it was going to be a piece of pie, but a lot of them also came out SUPER grainy.. I also felt like the brightness and contrast levels were unsalvageable in Photoshop. Obviously, I have some technicalities to work through.

We did have a really great afternoon at the gardens despite the infamous Georgia heat! Thank goodness Caribou Coffee was a hop, skip, and jump away so we could cap off the day with some refreshing caffeine!

I know this will take a lot of practice, and I'm not going to give up just yet... I think I need a hands on overview on some basics. Anyone willing to help a determined girl out???

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood: Outfit Inspiration

My-Oh-My has it been a hectic few weeks! I am busy working on several new blog posts including a great DIY project and an upcoming series on my living room makeover. So be on the lookout!

Until then, I put together this quick and simple outfit inspired by Carrie Underwood’s new music video Blown Away. Carrie’s mix of blue checked flannel and brown riding boots has me giddy for festivals, hay rides and pumpkin carving.  I think only Carrie can pull off the gray sweater cape, so I replaced the cape with a gray scarf and switched the necklace for a simple bracelet.
Carrie Underwood Blown Away

Old Navy long sleeve shirt

7 for all mankind jeans

Lanvin boots

Bing Bang pearl jewelry
$135 -

Week 2 - Get Me to the Festival, Biz Cards

Countdown: 8 weeks to go!

After a hands on week with constructing some displays [read week 1], I'm parking my butt at my desk. I can't show up to the Crabapple Festival without business cards, so I dedicated my time to designing. Business cards are beneficial to hand out with purchases so people can revisit to your shop, or refer you to their friends after they are complimented on their new swag. They are also valuable to hand out to potential future buyers who are just window shopping for the day and enjoying the festivities.

I created my business card design using Adobe Photoshop. I made a plaid pattern overlay as my background, and just included my logo, etsy store URL, and email address for my contact information.

Vistaprint is great for printing business cards, and I even found an online coupon to lower my costs. I ordered 1000 cards, received an additional 25% off, and free shipping, bringing my bill to only $21.00. For those of you that have read my other posts, you know that I am a sucker for a good bargain!

Other posts in this series:

Good Eats - Local Three Kitchen

Tucked away in the Piazza at Paces off Northside Parkway is a brunch spot gem, Local Three Kitchen. Last weekend, some good friends came into town, and we ended up at this quaint restaurant for a Sunday brunch.

I had made an appearance for brunch before, but we were able to order off of a menu. This time, there was a "walk through the kitchen" buffet. At first, I was caught off guard because no other options were offered, but as I walked into the kitchen and an employee handed me a large, empty plate, I got giddy. It was a neat experience to actually walk through their kitchen. The chef's stood behind their stations, meeting faces that will soon be devouring their food.

My first round started with a shot of a pineapple-lime smoothie, topped with cilantro cream. I also scooped up a fig salad, scrambled eggs, perfectly crisped bacon, polenta, and their house potatoes.      Also up for grabs was some broccoli cheese soup and seafood risotto. Dessert was also available if you needed to satisfy an afternoon sweet tooth!

Their philosophy... "you can't argue with delicious." Don't worry, I will not argue.. it truly was delicious!

Little Slugger's Baby Shower

Looks like baby showers are a regular theme here at The Other 128 Hours. I helped put together a shower for my beautiful sister-in-law this past weekend. She is expecting her second child in September- a baby boy! I am a proud aunt of an adorable niece and am thrilled to have another little one to spoil.  

Little did I know how much fun it would be to plan a shower for mama and baby boy.
My husband and his brother have played baseball their entire lives, so when I spotted these Little Slugger invites to the “game”, I couldn’t resist throwing a baseball shower. Here are a few ideas for throw a winning party:

Baseball invites
Larkspur Street:
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks...
A little thank you for coming:
Homemade cupcakes by Ally & Callie:

Week 1 - Get Me to the Festival, Jewelry Displays in 5 Steps

Countdown: 9 weeks to go!

This week, I focused on some jewelry displays. I'm a big fan of the rustic, natural look, so I want the way my jewelry is displayed to take on that theme. Here are the displays I have in mind:
  • A-board display
  • Simple angled horizontal necklace board
  • Tiered plate display - post to come
  • Chalkboard wine bottles - post to come
  • TV tray filled w/ coffee beans - post to come 

A-board with hooks

  • Two 32.5" x 19" pieces of plywood
  • Stain of your choice
  • 2" Sponge brush
  • Two 3" brackets
  • Four screw eyes - medium size
  • hemp, or string
  • One 40-pack 7/8" cup hooks
Step 1: Cut two pieces of plywood for your boards. Mine were 32.5" x 19"
Step 2: Stain plywood with a sponge brush. I placed a leftover scrap piece of plywood underneath so it was easy for me to easily stain all sides.
Step 3: After your stain has completely dried, attach the brackets to the top ends of the plywood. After brackets are in place, you should be able to stand and fold down your a-board.
Step 4: To keep the boards from sliding, screw an eye hook on each side of the board [4 total]. Then, secure each side with a piece of hemp, or any other stringing material.
Step 5: Pre-drill holes for hooks. For these dimensions, I was able to fit 6 across [3" apart from each other] and 7 down [4.25" apart from each other].   

I also purchased some earring tags from another Etsy seller, Tia Zoey. Her tags are tea stained and I just love how they look.. perfect to go with my earring display!

Angled horizontal necklace board

  • 30" x 11" pieces plywood
  • 30" x 5" pieces of plywood [determines the angle your board will stand]
  • Stain of your choice 
  • 2" sponge brush
  • Two 1.5" brackets
  • Batting
  • 1/2 yard of fabric
  • ballet elastic to clasp necklace chains in place
Step 1: Cut two pieces of plywood: One 30" x 11" and one 30" x 5".
Step 2: Stain plywood with a sponge brush. I place a leftover scrap piece of plywood underneath so it was easy for me to stain the sides as well.
Step 3: After your stain has completely dried, staple gun the ends of the elastic across the backside of your board. This will hold the end of your necklaces in place when your board is standing.
Step 4: Measure and cut your batting to your board dimensions. Measure and cut your fabric, adding extra length to each side for upholstering. Make sure to pull tightly on each side [excuse my amateur upholstering job].
Step 5:  Attach two brackets 2-3 inches inward from the edge of plywood. Your display should now collapse and stand on its own.

Step 2: Stain wood
Step 4: Upholster
Step 5: Attach brackets
*All construction would not have been possible without my project carpenter/fiance, Brian.

Other posts in this series:

Bike, Run, Walk: Top Atlanta Trails

Happy Friday! What are your weekend plans? After some serious cube dwelling this week, mine include getting outside to enjoy some fresh air and summer sunshine.
Julie rocking the downhills in North Carolina
If I had to choose only one exercise to do for the rest of my life, mountain biking would win- hands down. Second to mountain biking is trail running - I think it's a primal instinct thing.

The good news: there are plenty of trail options super close to the city. You don't have to plan an overnight trip to get the benefits of the mountains. Since Atlanta is slow to embrace the share the road concept, the trails below are much safer and cleaner options for riding. Here are a few of my favorite trails you are bound to find me on any given weekend:

Single Tracks
  • Chattahoochee/ Sope Creek, Sandy Springs: my regular after work spot - the closest trail to the city and the best option if you’re short on time.  This trail is an out and back, including challenging climbs and a fun loop-d-loop at the end. It starts on a flat gravel path with a single-track cut-off into the woods.  The gravel path is great for a more laid bike run or ride.
  • Blankets Creek, Woodstock:  choose from easy, intermediate or advanced trail systems. Well maintained. Get there early if you want a spot to park.
  • Chicopee Woods, Gainesville:  this location includes multiple trails to choose from and is never overcrowded. I also enjoy trail running here because of the beautiful creek crossings and up and down terrain.
  • Gainesville College, Oakwood:  my hometown cross-country training course. Ally and I ran a 5-mile Dirty Spokes trail run here in the spring. For running, its a great 3-4 mile loop course. A few hills and lots of turns. For mountain biking, it's a great place to bring first timers and a nice workout for the more experienced.
  •  Silver Comet Trail, Smyrna: out and back paved path that goes forever so bring a picnic and make it a day.
  • Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain: great loop, super hilly. Run to the top of the mountain as a warm-up if you’re looking for intensity. There are also a few mountain bike trails here.
  • Big Creek Greenway, Alpharetta: super wide paved path winding along a creek bed. Very family friendly. Easy way to get in those extra miles. Bonus: there is a fantastic mexican restaurant up the street, Rio Nuevo Mexican Cantina . Perfect for a post-workout reward. Hold the cheese, corn tortillas please!
Of course there are a million more so check them all out and let me know your favorites!