[uhp-steyt fan-see] - adjective

1. not exorbitant or extravagent by city standards, however in a rural setting (like upstate new york) it is in fact, quite fancy.

2. a wonderful blog dedicated to art, design and other things that are indeed upstate fancy.




Lasercutting, The Handmade Movement & Etsy

On tuesday Etsy released new guidelines, one of which now openly allows artists and designers to use Manufacturing partners to help create an item. Some outside help has always been allowed on the marketplace, like an illustrator having their art work professionally printed on paper at a print shop, or in my case, laser cutting.

With the new guidelines some third party help does not need to be disclosed in your shop, while other help has to be applied and reviewed by etsy, and then disclosed on the item page and the new about us pages. Digital prints and posters, music, books you’ve authored, and 3D printed items do not have to be reviewed if you use a third party for help, but lasercutting now does.

I have already applied for review with my amazing partner, who has helped me grow my business and been my biggest fan as well, Ponoko. Of course, some people don’t see lasercutting as belonging in the “handmade category”, and I think that is just a shame. So I wanted to show you some process photos of one of my new products and show how something is made from start to finish with the help of my amazing partner here in the states, who is just another small business that my small business gets to support! So here we go…


All of my designs start out as just a simple pencil sketch (my design professors would be proud . I then take a photo (who needs scanners anymore) and flush out the idea in illustrator. With this fox brooch I used two colors of brown to envision what would be engraved and what would be natural wood. Once I am happy with the final illustration, I work the illustration into lines that the laser cutter can read, here the Blue lines mean it will be cut – and the black solid areas are places for engraving.


I place the final line art along with other line art, kind of like a really cool jigsaw puzzle, and upload it to Ponoko, where I choose the materials I want to have it made from. Ponoko cuts my art work with their magical lasers and send me exactly what I set to them, except it’s tangible now! They cut exactly what I send them, so if I made a mistake, made a line too short – forgot to close a loop – or made a spelling error – I have to fix my mistakes and make it over again.


The next step is kind of magical. I pop all of my little creations from the board (i try and arrange things as close together as possible so there is little wasted material. Then I peel the protective paper that helps keep the pieces free from burn marks during the laser cutting.


Then I start the finishing process. For my coasters, the wood is sanded slightly and stained and finished, with this new fox brooch, I hand paint him and then paint on a protective seal. Glue on a little pin back and them get him all ready for his new home! I design all of my own packaging (which has become one of my favorite parts of my business).

I love being part of the handmade community! Even though I don’t painstakingly hand carve my work, and I don’t own my own laser cutter a lot of myself goes into everything I make, and I love being able to share my illustrations and creations with people all over the world. I look forward to sharing some new amazing goodies over the next few weeks!

Bless the USPS

The holiday season is just around the corner. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping already and while occasionally I get to choose having the “men in brown” deliver goodies to my door, often my mail carrier will leave a little yellow slip in the mailbox for me to trade in at the post office the next day. As the USPS starts getting busier with holiday cards, care packages and handmade goodness from your favorite artists, crafters and designers. Heck, maybe you even have a package from me heading your way soon! I thought I would share a few of my favorite mail-inspired pieces from some amazing artists who have adorable shops on etsy.com.

From the top: Postcard Pack from Egg-a-go-go • Air-Mail Studs from Rare Indeed
Queen Postage Stamp Brooch from and Smile • Sketchbook from Happy Dappy Bits


Peppersprouts packaging evolution

When I started peppersprouts back in 2009 I had no idea what I was doing. I really liked making things and loved that people were interested in buying what I was making. But of course, you need to have some sort of packaging for your work to be displayed in. I couldn’t use a belly band or tie my coasters up with string because the most important aspect of my very first coaster design was right in the center of the coaster. So I decided the best (and least expensive) way to package my coasters sets would be in a clear cello bag with an informational tag stapled to the top, as seen below.

I knew this was pretty bare bones packaging. It was functional but not even a little bit appropriate for a store shelf. I decided they needed to be in some sort of box. While I no longer have the original kraft paper boxes I chose to use, this photo pretty much sums up the look and feel of the next iteration of packaging—super boring. Unlike the cello bag, you can no longer see the items inside the box, plus I had to stuff the box with tissue paper to make sure the coasters didn’t rattle inside the boxes. Not really ideal.

I thought for a while, did a little research and decided I really needed a clear box. A box where you could see the beautiful designs held within. I lucked into finding a box that worked perfectly for my coasters. It was intended to be for wedding favors and was available in bulk. Perfect! The first label I used was a wrap around sticker, so tere was a bit of information  about the coasters whichever way you looked at them. I thought this new packaging idea was awesome. But after using it for about 6 months I decided it needed a little facelift as well.

So I changed it up a bit. I kept the box. Color coded an exciting triangle label for each kind of coaster design (house, sillo, chairs) and added an information sheet inside the package so you could see  the coasters in action; a sort of beauty shot to add some pizzaz to the overall presentation. I have been very happy with this packaging for the two years. You can see what you are buying, you get all the important information about the coasters and it stands up on its own. What more I could I really ask for? Then I started thinking: What if you could touch the coasters? What if you could take them out of the box and look at them without ruining the packaging? After all, these clear boxes were closed up with little circle stickers on the sides.

I dug out my copy of the packaging Designers Handbook, and designed a box layout to hold my creations.I reached out to a number of printing companies who sent me personalized quotes and samples of packages they have printed in the past. I wanted to make sure I was going to be able to afford to print my own packaging before I started to fully design them. I fell in love with the branding, samples and awesome personalized attention I recived from Oliver Printing Co. This crazy idea was a go!

I started designing this new little box. I added a cut out window on the front so you can touch the wood. The side panels show the silhouettes that are inside since each coaster is different. I decided on unique colors for each different coaster design, so they stand out from eachother  at shows and on store shelves. And I kept the beauty shot of them on the back along with care information.

I am so excited to finally share with you the brand new packaging that now accompanies Peppersprouts wood coasters. It was so much fun making this project come to life, and I really couldn’t be happier!

Help pick our new 2012 animal snowflake

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Since I just can’t decide what animal to turn into a snowflake for this holiday season, I thought we could put it to a vote! Click and vote for your favorite animal on the list or write in a new contender! There is also a little discount code once you Vote just a little way of saying thanks! Who knows you just might see your pick in our holiday lineup!

frames and albums for instax photos

I received a fuji instax mini camera a few years ago for christmas and I just love it. It reminds me of the polaroids I grew up with, just in a much smaller version, they are a little bigger than a business card. I love taking photos with it because you can’t really frame a shot very well so the final photo is a bit of a surprise which is so much fun, however I have not been able to find a place, other than the fridge to display these little slices of life. That is of course until today.

Mochithings is a company based in seattle that has a huge variety of display ideas for your instax photos. They have a wide variety of frames and albums that are made just for these tiny photos. My favorites are the small desk frames that easily allow you to swap out a shot and these pastel albums that store up to 64 photos! I just ordered some more film, and a storage box and can’t wait to bring out the camera more often! Say cheese!

Trivia time in the kitchen. New Tea Towels.

When I first designed the 50 State Creatures Tea Towel I knew I had to make a companion piece featuring 50 state trees and flowers. I assigned each state either their state Tree or Flower and then got drawing. After a few rounds of design, making sure each silhouette fit in with the others on the page, I found a couple flowers that I decided to redraw. I absouletly love how the final design came out, and I hope you do too!

Enter “TEATIME” in the checkout. Exp: 4/30/12

This 50 State Perennials Tea Towel is available in 2 color ways; Wisteria Purple and Bold Peach. They are now available in the Peppersprouts shop and look great with our State ANimal Tea Towel too!

I do have a charger for that

It seems like every device I have now takes a different kind of charger, between the iphone, kindle, and 3 cameras I feel like I am always digging to find the right charger. Then today I found this mini USB charger kit from incase. Color coded cables in a little travel case make the perfect way to stay organized. And for only $25 it won’t break the bank.

Amanda and John got married!

My last post was a little sad, and a lot long, so this time we will go for short and sweet! When I moved to Maine last year, I was so lucky to find a gig doing some design at emilie inc. This awesome photography studio, run by Emilie Sommer (who really is as sweet as she looks) offered design services to other creatives, as well as brides.

I was so excited when the request for an entire wedding suite came in from Amanda, one of emilie’s brides for 2011, her wedding theme was woodsy and elegant and when we got to talking, I knew exactly the look she was after. I wasn’t sure at first about the color palette, but once I got going, everything just clicked!

I was so excited when the photos of the wedding, which you can check out on emilie inc., were posted! All of the elements came together so amazingly, and of course Amanda and John looked amazing! I got to design their save the date, Invitation, reply card, reception card, envelopes, custom map, menu, programs and favor tag for this happy couple! Now I’m super excited to start designing my own wedding invites!

Of course all of these beautiful photos were taken by Denise and Emilie at emilie inc.

Olive and Cocoa

Olive and Cocoa is kind of like the sleeker, hipper, more modern version of Red Envelope. This place is the prefect place to pick up a gift for that really hard to please friend, or just someone who you really want to impress. Their selection is amazing, from baby gifts, gourmet gift boxes, and extraordinary fresh floral arrangements. And best of all everything comes packaged in these rustic wood boxes, so unwrapping is extra special. We just purchased a little new baby gift and can not wait to see the smile on their face!

Think snow

Even though it’s still August I am getting geared up for the holidays! This year I am adding a new snowflake design to the peppersprouts line—and saying goodbye to an old favorite. Here is a little sneak peek of the final shape before we put this guy into production! Look out for him in the shop Mid-September!

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