[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.




life stories
Upstate Fancy Is Back!


You may have noticed that the blog has been pretty sporadic over the last year or so. It really started to fall apart when Pinterest became a household name. So many people (myself included) started adding tutorials, cool products and recipes to these Pinterest boards, and in truth I felt that my voice was pointless, and that without a huge following, no one would pin my posts to a board, and my blog would just fizzle out and die. Turns out that was more of a self fulfilling  prophecy than anything else. I also felt like I just didn’t have hours and hours to create cool DIY projects, or design freebies or other cool amazing awesomeness that everyone likes to pin to their “Home is where the Heart Is” or “Things to make or Do” boards. I felt lost in the sea of online bulletin boards and due to this feeling the blog just felt like a waste.

This blog has never been about recipes, because I don’t like to cook! In truth my husband does most of the cooking, and he really enjoys it! This blog doesn’t offer a range of cool DIY projects that you can do at home. Occasionally I might do a fun designed freebie or a quick and easy tutorial, but there are so many amazing bloggers that focus on that, so think of those posts as a little nifty gift.

Instead this blog is going back to its roots! Spotlighting well designed, amazingly crafted awesomeness. From small etsy shops, to household names. If it looks good and even makes me drool a little, you can find it right here! And of course I will still write the occasional life story, and updates about my brands too!

So if you have something just lovely, and would love to see it right here! Shoot me an email ( jen [at] upstatefancy.com )

Help support my crowd funding campaign…


I’ve been working hard over the las few months to set up a crowd funding campaign with etsy’s new crowd funding platform, Fund on etsy. It’s been a lot of hard work ( I had to talk on camera AHHH!) but I am really excited about expanding the peppersprouts universe into T-shirts and bags. Now I just need you to help me turn this project into a reality!

Each design started as a pencil sketch, then I spiffied them up with ink before scanning them into the computer for some real nit-picky finalization of the design. I had so much fun during the process, I even made a process video you can watch over on etsy to see how a sketch becomes a final design. For this campaign I have also discounted everything, so not only do you get to help me turn my sketches into wearable art, you get to save a couple bucks off the retail price they will be once the campaign ends!

I would love if you could help spread the word on your social media too! If you don’t know what to say…. feel free to copy and paste “Help @peppersprouts kick start her new apparel line at etsy.me/1GyTn9E  #fundonetsy” I’m sure you can come up with something better, but It would mean the world to me if you could help spread the word! There are just 2.5 weeks left in my campaign.






Knit fast! Die Warm!


I love knitting! A few years ago my Mother-in_law taught me how to knit, and I just freaking love it! Which of course means, a lot of friends and family are probably tired of knitted gifts! But tough luck! Socks for everyone! I recently picked up a set of watercolors, to get back into some illustration, so for my fist little project I hand lettered this little knitting inspired piece. If you love knitting, or know someone who does.. You can download an 8×10 to print out and frame for your little knitting corner! (personal use only of course, I would fall on the floor and shrivel away if you tried to sell my illustration without my permission!)

life stories
Surviving House Hunting

Matt and I have been house hunting since Mid-March, which is one of the big reasons why the blog has been pretty neglected this year. When I mention we have been looking for a home, people exclaim that they love house shopping! It’s so easy for them to say when they have a home they love. Maybe they just didn’t remember what it was like to see a home that had un-identifiable stains on the carpets, or perhaps they forgot what their calendar looked like when every Sunday from here to eternity, was blocked off for open house visits? One thing is for sure, it didn’t feel as fun as people seemed to remember it being for them.

When we first started hunting, we had no idea what we were in for. We found an agent that we loved, and she advised us to visit some open houses to get a feel for the market and the area. The first Sunday we saw 5 houses in the span of about 2 hours. We didn’t see anything we liked, and were pretty exhausted on the drive home. But, I was pretty excited to see what would come on the market next week.

The rest of the week I found myself obsessively checking the real estate listings on MLS and Zillow. I soon found it was slowly taking up every moment of spare time I had. I am a planner, and this is one of life’s moments that you really can’t plan. I didn’t have any control over what would come on the market, or how much it will be listed for or even how well the owners have maintained the home. I was out of my element and found myself in a panic.

It just becomes discouraging when you have been looking at homes for weeks,  you see something that sounds great on paper and you finally step in the front door and are super underwhelmed. In some cases I even felt angry. Angry at myself for thinking this houses was going to be amazing. Angry at the home owner for the state of disrepair and the hefty price tag. And, just angry at the universe because I felt as though we were never going to find a home, and would have to sign on another year lease at our current apartment.

Matt and I now find ourselves laughing over some of the unfortunate moments, even though they were not so funny at the time. You’ll see what I mean…

The first of the “what-were-they-thinking” moments was at the “double your pleasure house”. We knew from the moment we walked in, it wasn’t for us, but we had to look around anyway. This house had two sinks in the small kitchen and a total of three separate decks off the back of the house. One of which had, at one time, surrounded an above ground pool. It even had the no-diving sign to prove it. It was odd to say the least. The second home we visited during the great hunt of 2014 was in a super cute part of town.  It was adorable, with a cute little eat -in kitchen, manageable yard, walk to town. I even loved the paint colors the owner choose. Let’s just say I was smitten. Then we walked up stairs and I realized it only had two bedrooms, while we were searching for a three bedroom home. It was my own fault for not reading the listing correctly, but at that moment my heart just sank.


We have had some issues with doors in houses as well. Now, I know you can’t let one little thing ruin a home for you, but trust me when I say, these little snafus were just one of many issues a particular house had. These little snippets are just the most memorable to me. In a beautiful 3 bedroom home which contained only one bathroom, I could barely fit through the door to the bathroom without turning sideways. That was indeed humorous at the very moment it happened. Oh! It also had a birds nest in the attic! Bonus! We only encountered one home (out of 26) where we were asked to take our shoes off. This home was also one of the dirtiest. There were  balls or cat hair all around and everything was dusty. It also housed my favorite door, which had been hacked with a hand saw in order to fit better into the door frame. It made us wary of any other home improvements they had tried to accomplish.

house_hunting_doorsWhich brings us to my house hunting kryptonite. Built-ins. I love them! Well, I love them when they are well constructed. In one very oversized home with a gorgeous back yard, the built-in shelving in the living room looked great from a distance, but upon closer inspection I became very worried. One cabinet fell off its hinges when I peered inside. And then our agent read the listing and noticed the big screen projection TV was staying with the house. It had to! They built the built-ins around it. We would have to tear down most of the shelving in order to remove it from its cubby! In another home, we hadn’t really noticed until half way through the tour, that it did not have any closets. None. Instead the owners had purchased large wardrobes and wall mounted units from Ikea and were going to leave those in the home for the new buyer. While the apartment I had in my early 20’s was filled to the brim with Ikea. We didn’t feel that theses “built-ins” were really going to stand up to the test of time.

builtinsFor those of you who are house hunting and feel like it will never end, I promise you it will. Eventually you will find a home that is right for you. There will be compromises. There may be tears. You may even have a home inspection that fails and you decide to walk away from it (It happened to us!). But there is a house out there for you. In the meantime pour a glass of wine or crack open a beer and laugh your way through it!




Kickstart Jared DeSimio’s Bags and Accessories


I know it’s been quiet on the blog for the last couple months, But more on that later this week. The amazing Jared DeSimio has just about a week left for his first ever KickStarter. I met Jared and a small craft show when Matt and I first moved to Maine. He is just the sweetest guy, and so is his family, and his creations are truly one of a kind! Using mainly found materials, like vintage military duffel bags or reclaimed denim, he designs and sews the most amazing bags for men and women. I can’t even begin to describe how freaking amazing each one is. Anytime I see him at a show I just want one of everything! So check out his kick starter and support an amazing maker from New England! My personal favorite reward is the Heirloom Tote or Messenger! Collaborate with Jared and breathe new life into a meaningful  piece of clothing or old military uniform into a functional bag!


Music to create by


Unless I have to spend the day entering receipts and invoice into quickbooks, my studio space is rarely quiet. In, fact I currently have three sources of audible entertainment in my tiny studio space (aka, spare room on the apartment), One Livio NPR radio, one portable turntable, and my computer. I tend to start my mornings Listening to the BBC News broadcast through WNYC, and then depending on what my tasks are for the morning, I will stay tuned into WNYC, or open iTunes or Pandora for a mid-morning pick-me-up.

I have a very wide range of music tastes, depending on what I am working on, and if I need to be a little loud and active, or calm and focused. The Decemberists are my current go to sing-a-long sea-shanty fun-time go-to favorite. But I also love the classics, like a little Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash or Buddy Holly. I also have my guilty little pleasures, like the Howie Day version of Don’t Dream it’s Over, or my pandora station of just Disney songs, which can make any afternoon fly by. I really love having so much music at my fingertips and am constantly changing my playlists to suit the day.



Inspired by The Pixel Painter

The Pixel Painter from The Pixel Painter on Vimeo.

I came across this video today and my heart was filled with joy. This 98 years young graphic designer, Hal Lasko, lwas introduced to Microsoft Paint and his imagination and artistic talent filled the screen with wondrous art. I love being able to create new works with the aid of a computer, but I also love so much stepping back and picking up my pencils and paint to create something the old-fashioned way ( like  Grandpa Hal during his first career). This video is just truly inspiring! And of course you can buy prints of his work on his website too!

My stamp embossing tutorial


I just finished my first true DIY tutorial. Embossing with rubber stamps is a really fun and inexpensive way to make your notecards and envelopes look like a million bucks! Check out the full tutorial on the Chatty Press Shop blog!

life stories


I know January is almost over  and I haven’t said a peep here. This month has been off to a rocky start. I think the winter blues have gotten to me, along with a very irritating noise in the apartment which has made it hard to even enjoy the little things in my daily routine. It’s amazing how sensitive I am to sound. Hopefully 2014 will bring something amazing as it blossoms into spring. Matt and I plan to start shopping around for a home of our own this year, which is exciting and terrifying as well. I have been getting into more lettering projects and have been really been enjoying it. I’m even taking an encaustic class to learn a new medium this year! I hope the year is going well for you and yours! Cheers to 2014!

What was your most memorable christmas gift?

Christmas is a time for family and togetherness. Of course it is also a time for gift giving and celebrating with the ones you love. Matt and i were talking about our favorite gifts from being kids. So I want to know what you most memorable gift was from your childhood! Download this printable PDF, print it out and share your christmas gift memory.  Leave a link in the comments or tag it #GiftMemory on twitter or instagram!

jen_most_memorable_giftHands down, mine was the year I got my “big kid” sleeping bag. I had one that I didn’t quite fit in anymore ( and I am pretty sure it had care bears on it). But this new awesome, black with red plaid sleeping bag  was amazing, and got so much use, some nights I would just sleep in it on top of my own bed.

I can’t wait to see yours!! Download your own printable sheet and share it with family and friends!

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