The Merriweather Council in The Knot Magazine

September 2, 2014

EEEEE!!

Super super exciting times right here. My own personal wedding was featured in The Knot New York! Obviously, since it was MY wedding, there were Merriweather Council hand embroidered goodies there and they are also featured! I’m very honored, humbled and excited about this.

As you may know, weddings are the sort of thing that you don’t fully know what you are doing and by the time you figure it out, you don’t really need to know it any more. So I’m kinda surprised in some ways that our wedding was ‘cool’ <i guess?> enough to be featured anywhere.

This is the fall issue of The Knot New York and it has been out for a few weeks but I only just got my own copy as it wasn’t really available here in VA.

Check it out:

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There is also a bit on their website about it you can read it here.

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The Evolution and Varied Locations of Merriweather HQ

August 27, 2014

The past few days I have been trying to go through photos and sift through things on my computer in an effort to “spring clean” and purge some stuff that is taking up room. I’ve had this computer for 3 years so this is around the time I start to worry about my gadgets haha.

In my efforts, I stumbled upon lots of photos from yesteryear – of the various iterations of Merriweather Studios! I thought it would be fun to take a look back and reflect on how far, or in some cases not-so-far, I’ve come!

My very first “studio” space was in the bay window area of my living room in my one bedroom apartment in Boston! I was a wee lassie then, so fresh and young! So innocent and bushy tailed…. etc…

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This “studio” was two desks, a sewing machine, and a cabinet full of fabric. Of course it overflowed and took over the entire living room but, that’s the beautiful thing about solo-living. If it didn’t bother me, it didn’t bother anybody!

Iron on the floor, bad lighting, barely any space to lay things out, no storage. Oh it was a humble start!!

This is where I really grew into myself. If that makes any sense. It took me a year to even get this rolling chair, and I got it from some dude on craigslist for $10. Because I was a frugal little thing. Still am. But It was a very awkward space and eventually I gained the clarity. This is also when I was covered in threads 100% of the time. And STARVING 80% of the time… because all I did, LITERALLY, was work. And I forgot to eat… many many times. Those days are over.

Once this got to be impossibly annoying, I had what Oprah might call an “aha moment” – I only am in my bedroom at night, and I am in my studio all day! Why not make my bedroom a studio and move my bed into the living room!? It’s not like anyone is coming over here – because if they did they’d be sitting on something work related. Can’t have that.

So that’s what I did. And my studio room was born. It was probably the best set up I’ve had since, honestly. And I’ll explain more about why in a bit. And it’s sad because I couldn’t find any photos of this room in it’s entirety actually. Only sweet memories…

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Oh but things can’t stay great forever, can they? Nope, I just had to go an like a boy and he just had to go to RISD and so I moved to Rhode Island.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to RI but it’s a strange little place and I basically hated it there very much!

There was one wonderful thing about living in Providence, and that was my friend Amanda. I swear I would’ve shriveled up and died a lonely, miserable blob if not for her.

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I did have a nice studio space there that was contained to one well lit room, and it even had a small closet! I was moving up in the world in that way! I also had a rainbow-organized hoop display. It was a lovely addition to an otherwise miserable experience. haha… you think I’m joking.

Photo on 10-4-12 at 4.21 PM

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This is the studio I was in when Merriweather Council was featured shop on Etsy, so we have some fond memories. But after RISD graduation, we hightailed it right on back to Boston and back to my one bedroom apartment in the sky.

Which was great, obviously. But now it was not just me and Merriweather, it was me, FIANCE, and merriweather. So, Merriweather Moved back to the living room, but this time it was a bit different.

My dad installed a bigger desk and some cabinets for me and we scrunched our living space into a tiny little nugget and mostly our apartment was Merriweather over here and Bedroom over there and that’s about it. It was tight, but it was temporary and we made it work for about 8 months before we moved down to Virginia!

I wasn’t able to dig up any decent photos of this Third Generation Boston Apartment Studio – which was on the OTHER side of the living room of the bay windows – and thus, darker – because the lighting was absolutely horrible. My computer was in a closet for real. It worked, but it was not the greatest set up.

Now, everyone knows I have been greatly enjoying my time in VA! I really like it here and we have a very nice apartment and I have a very nice room for my studio! My only issue with this space is that it’s lacking the space for a HUGE worktable which is my ultimate life goal. One gigantic work table that can be accessed from all four sides. And then a computer nook. That would be ideal. But this works too!

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And of course I love my gallery / collage wall and my couch! I love my couch so much. It’s the cutest darn thing there is. Except for my dog.

You can see, presently, I’ve gotten a bit more organized. Kind of. Oh and I always remember to eat now! It’s great.

The set up I had in my studio room in Boston was ideal. and I had great lighting there. The good old days, that’s what I call it.

However, Virginia HQ is great because since we have a spare bathroom, I can do all my washing and drying in there which is a lovely, heavenly thing! Husband thinks so too.

I still iron on the floor sometimes, by the way. And my stuff still overflows into the other rooms now and then.

Someday I’ll have a whole separate out building just for my draftings… someday. Maybe even a house to live in!

I look forward to another iteration of merriweather HQ, but I like this one for now!

 

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Personalized Phrenology Embroidered Hoops

August 26, 2014

I’ve added a new product to my shop that I am very excited about!

Personalized Phrenologies for those of us with slight obsessions and one track minds!

You can see by the samples I made that I have a bit of a food brain…

personalized phrenologies IMG_4055 These are customizable and made to order and I can’t wait to see what kinds of things people are obsessed with! Check them out here.

 

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Empowered Crafting – 8 Tips to Overcoming Blank Sketchbook Page Paralysis

August 15, 2014

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When I was in high school, my AP art teachers were always up our butts about carrying a sketchbook – they were so into the idea of each of us having a sketchbook at all times – and making use of it in a meaningful way … constantly.

They even provided us with a brand new sketchbook at the start of the year.

I hated it. I hated the actual book, and I hated the idea of sketchbooks. I hated the stress associated with living up to this whole using it “constantly in a meaningful way” bit the most.

I did, however, admired the way my classmates used their sketchbooks. And it became the sort of thing where if you had a great, full sketchbook <you know the kind that is so full of awesomeness it can barely close?> then you were a great artist. A person’s sketchbook was a reflection of a person’s creative prowess. And everyone wanted to have a ton of creative prowess, obviously. That was the thought we all operated under.

I struggled with sketchbooking. And my teachers were never shy to point out that I was not doing enough in this area.

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Eventually, I caught on.

I realized you didn’t have to ‘sketch’ or ‘draw’ or ‘paint’ in your sketchbook – certainly you could – but that was not the only means to the end. And honestly, the biggest hurdle wasn’t medium, or consistency. It was just using the damn thing at all.

After a period of about 4 years, I realized that the sketchbook selection process is highly personal, and that is why the sketchbook I was issued did not work for me. That was the first problem.

The second problem was using the thing. A blank page can be very intimidating.

Here are my 8 tips for overcoming sketchbook blank page paralysis – in no particular order

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1 – Unblank the page

Half the problem with a blank page, is the blankness of it: the stark white, unblemished surface. Here are a few ways to unblank the page: watercolor wash it to create a colorful ground for working on, use an old text page from a book – or us an old book AS the sketchbook, and my favorite: gridded paper. Gridded paper sketchbooks are readily available and the presence of the grid immediately removes the blank factor. The surface is already marked, so to say. By using gridded paper we can feel free to limit ourselves to a smaller boxed off space, or use the lines for note making – and note making can be a great starting place.

2 – Start in the middle

I know all your OCD freaks are like, eft no, I’ll start at the beginning, that is how it is intended. But hear me out – when you start in the middle, the intimidation of the whole book of blank pages to go is no longer there. Think about it… Jump around! Middle, front, Back, move your self through the book – eventually you will begin to refine things and they will reinspire you.

3 – Break the spine

Speaking of intimidation, we are often intimidated by the newness, and the preciousness, of a brand new sketchbook. We don’t want to mess it up. If your sketchbook is brand new, take it home, open it to the middle spread, and crack that baby! Crack that spine. Make it snap. Hear that sound? That’s the sound a sketchbook makes on it’s way to No Longer Brand New town. This should help break it in and eliminate the intimidation imposed upon us by the brand-newness!

4 – no sketchbook at all.

Maybe you are better with a ‘journal’ or a ‘notebook’ or a ‘diary’ – whatever you feel comfortable calling it – call it that. Sometimes we get caught up in the associations of words. If you think a “sketchbook” is more for drawing, but you’d prefer to do some collage work or writing, you might prefer “scrapbook” or “journal”. Do what you want.

5 – Smaller size

Seems reasonable enough right? If you feel overwhelmed by a full page of whiteness, try a pocket sized sketchbook! Moleskins are great for tucking into bags or purses and simply having it with you more often might bring about more usage! For me, portability and accessibility are the most important factors in art making!

5 – Block it out

Similar to the way that using a gridded or colored page can help knock down the intimidation factor, so too can creating a drawn border on your page. By marking off a border, you give yourself a more defined area to work within – while the edges of the page might make you feel like the whiteness goes on indefinitely, the marked border will help your focus! This can be incredibly helpful. Let’s try it out. Go ahead and grab you sketchbook and your favorite drawing tool. From the edge of the page, place your pen/ marker/ pencil about an inch into the page. Pull a straight line down to about an inch up from the next page edge, continue around all four edges. Oh look, you just drew something – page no longer blank! Woohoo!

7 – Multiple uses

Sometimes it is easier to approach a sketchbook as an all purpose/ day planner sort of a deal. If you are reporting in for other reasons – to make lists, notes or collect inspiration – then you might find yourself doodling, drawing, painting or drawing more often!

8 – Add pages!

This might sound counteractive, but if you create a piece, sketch or drawing outside the confines of your sketchbook, go ahead an stick it in there! Sketchbooking doesn’t only exist within a sketchbook. The point of a sketchbook is to collect ideas and to promote art making. So as long as you are making art, be sure to collect it in one place so you can access your ideas easily later on!

I have collected some sketchbook inspiration for you here on Pinteret. Take a look and see how other artists have use their sketchbooks, varied their materials and started with different surfaces!

I hope you feel inspired to get back into sketchbooking – if you have any other tips, please share them!

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