Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why hello blog!

Gosh, I've been terrible...but also terribly busy, which isn't a bad thing;)  But I just had to share with you my first licensing gig!  It was with the World Wildlife Fund for their fall/holiday fundraising efforts.  I think the cards turned out great.  For a $25 donation, you will receive a set of 20 animal-themed cards including mine! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The mister and I spent two weeks in Canada last month.  We started in Toronto and made our way east to Halifax, all by train.  Toronto was much larger than I had remembered, then again I was there 20 years ago.  It's quite a bustling city with a ton of construction.  We did a lot of walking and lucked out with fabulous weather!  As big hockey fans, one highlight for us was visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame.  It was very well done and we actually got to see the original Stanley Cup as well as the current one. 

Part of the city skyline with the CN Tower
Ontario Provincial Legislature
City Hall
Another view of the City Hall
St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market
Original Stanley Cup - Hockey Hall of Fame
2008 - 2009 Stanley Cup champs - The Penguins!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


After two weeks of traveling in Canada, we are finally home.  We had a fabulous journey from Toronto to Halifax.  We lucked out with beautiful weather for most of the trip.  I will be sharing each leg of our adventure, but thought I would pop in and say hello!  I'm still going through the 900ish photographs I took.  Phew. 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

In the home studio with Jennifer Bishop of Architette Studios

As someone who runs a full-time, creative-based business from home, I'm always interested in hearing about others who are doing the same. There are many positive aspects to being at home, but there can also be drawbacks. On one hand it's so great to work in your pj's and on the other hand it's not so great to work in your pj's!

My next interview takes us to San Antonio, Texas, to the home studio of Jennifer Bishop of Architette Studios.  I was first introduced to Jennifer's work last year through a blog that featured both of our work.  I was immediately drawn to her intricate city skylines and super cool construction diagrams.  Jennifer is a trained architect who decided to take the plunge into the world of stationery, cards, fine art prints and custom invitations.  Graciously, she let us take a peek into her world...

1.  First, please introduce yourself.  What keeps you busy during the day?
Hello there! My name is Jennifer Bishop and I am from San Antonio, Texas. I have a Bachelors of Architecture from my studies in New York City at Pratt Institute. Being trained as an architect, I have always appreciated precision, accuracy, fine detail and craft. I always strive to attain that perfection (or near to it) through anything I create!

I now work full time with my Etsy shop Architette Studios, and I feel that I have the best clients and have maintained great relationships throughout our on-going processes, projects and collaborations. I enjoy waking up everyday knowing that something new and outstanding is about to be created!

 2.  Please describe your art, what is your creative process and what inspires you.
Inspirations come from traveling, going to galleries, visiting local wine vineyards, talking in coffee shops, exploring for new and healthy recipes to cook, having lunches with my mom and/or just standing in the paper aisle of any store. I just dream of all the things all those sheets could become!

3.  What is a typical day for you?  Do you keep to a strict routine or is your day fairly fluid?
My days are pretty loose and free but on most days, it definitely starts with an iced coffee (even in the winter!), a bowl of oatmeal and a 40 minute speed walk through the neighborhood. I check emails, my Architette Studios Facebook page, and Twitter. I also try to keep my online portfolio as up-to-date as possible as well!

I have found that I work best by alternating between two types of days during the week: design days and production days. On design days, I will create proofs, answer messages, relist items in my Etsy shop, and then sketch and design for the rest of the afternoon. On production days I will process, produce and ship orders.

I end the day with some kind of new healthy and organic dinner recipe that I found, and another 40 minute walk, typically with my boyfriend this time!

4.  How do you avoid distraction (ie laundry, house keeping, errands, non work related phone calls, etc)?  Or do you tend to give in?
I tend to give in. I am the kind of person that once I know something needs to get done, it pokes and prods at me until it does!

5.  Does working from home affect your art in any way? 
It actually helps my work a great deal. Everything is around me that I could possibly need or want! I am most happy here, and it gives me such a great freedom to create! My boyfriend James runs a successful company from his home office as well, and we enjoy being able to have coffee and lunch runs together during the day.

6.  How do you transition from "work" to "home"?  Are you able to close your studio door and walk away for the evening?  Is it easy for you to do? 
It is hard to separate myself from creating because it is such a part of me… but all pens aside, my boyfriend James has taught me a great deal about how to run a business, and one of the best pieces of advice was to “work” just Mondays through Fridays. Of course, it’s very hard to just turn the creativity flow off and on, and it ends up creeping into the weekends in the form of sketching or drawing, but you will not find me in the office answering messages, or shipping! (Unless it’s an emergency!)

7.  Working from home can sometimes be lonely, do you miss working with other people such as in an office environment?  Or do you usually interact with people (in person) during your day?  Is this even an issue for you?
This is not an issue in the slightest. I’ve always been able to create in solitude and can find plenty to do when I am alone. I do try to make it a point to go to lunch with friends or family once every week, as I am also a social butterfly as well!

8.  Please describe your studio space (is it a spare room in your home, in your garage, etc.)?  Is it an inspiring space?  What would you change? 
At the moment, I work from a spare room in the house which has super tall ceilings and tall windows which look out onto almost 3 acres of grass and trees. There is a large storage closet which contains most of my shipping materials and is also my makeshift painting studio. I have two large cabinets which house all my paper stock, envelopes, samples, etc.  and of course, my desk is right up against the bright windows! It was a two week renovation which included painting walls, framing art, buying new furniture and rearranging to make this home office an inspirational, happy, fun and bright place to work.

9.  In a nutshell, do you enjoy working from home?  What has been your overall experience?
It has been a great experience! I could not be happier with the direction Architette Studios has gone in during the past nine months of working at it full time. I am able to create, be myself and meet amazing clients who I can help their ideas and dreams become a reality. It has all been a priceless experience and am not sure that I could go back to an “office” environment again and be happy!

10.  And the million dollar question...do you work in your pj's, shower and get dressed or something in between? 
Haha! I knew you would ask! I get dressed every day, it doesn’t feel like the day has begun until I do! 

Thanks a million Jennifer!  Please do visit her Etsy shop, I'm sure your city is represented!

Friday, September 02, 2011

A labor of love.

Every summer we purchase an overflowing bushel of roma tomatoes from our local farmer's market.  It's a daunting task, but almost each and every one of these babies will become sauce or a tasty roasted treat.  We stuff the freezer with these gems and will enjoy them all through the winter when all you can get are pink, mealy tomatoes from the grocery store.  We pack about a dozen or so of the roasteds into freezer bags then use them in soups, stews or pasta.  They are such a treat! 

Roasted Tomatoes - Rachael Ray recipe


  • 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes (about 15)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped


  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°. Stem the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Gently squeeze out the seeds or scoop them out with a spoon.
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme and garlic. Roast for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400° and roast the tomatoes until caramelized, about 20 minutes more.
  3. Turn off the oven and leave the tomatoes inside for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely. Peel if desired. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally inspired.

It figures.  Just as orders start rolling in, I get inspired to create new designs.  This doesn't happen when I have down time.  Nope.  Just when I get busy.  Well, I guess you just have to roll with it.  And that I did.  New, bamboo cards!

$15/box of 6. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

New addition to our furniture family.

The last coffee table we bought was in 1995.  We were furnishing our "new" apartment on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC.  It was part of a futon set, which remarkably we still have and has held up great over the years.  It currently lives in our basement turned family room.  The only other coffee table we've owned was a hand-me-down from my grandmother.  It was very traditional with a leather top and gold detailing.  Really not our style.  We got rid of it about a year ago and have not replaced it.  Until yesterday. 

We had been looking online on and off for a while, found a few things we liked, but nothing really jumped out at us.  We weren't even sure what style or shape we wanted.  Then Saturday we decided that we really needed to find a table, it was time to get our living room into shape!  My husband suggested the cool antique shop, not far from us, where we had purchased an old church pew.  Most of their pieces are made from reclaimed barn wood. So, after a quick trip to Antiques on Washington, we have a new addition...

Indeed it is made from reclaimed barn wood which came from central PA.  The man who runs the store also builds the furniture, so not only is it recycled, but it's also made locally!  It fits perfectly in the space and is just the right scale. We couldn't be happier with our purchase.  Now for a new dining room set...

Note to self:  Please get some new pillows for the sofa.  Thanks.

Friday, August 12, 2011


There's nothing better than a homemade turkey club.  Traditionally, the sandwich is made with a third piece of bread, but I find that to be a bit excessive and somewhat challenging to eat.  To me, the perfect club will have just the right ratio of turkey, crispy bacon, cheese (I like American), ripe red tomato, crunchy iceberg lettuce and a healthy (read: unhealthy) dose of mayo all between two slices of lightly  toasted wheat bread.

One word:  Yum!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Travel Blues.

Summer.  For most, this means vacation.  Traveling to fun-filled destinations, warm beaches, exotic locales or home to see the family.  For us, it means staying put.  We put so much time and energy into our vast vegetable garden that we can't bear to leave it as we might (literally) miss the fruits of our labor.  Nor do we want to burden others with the arduous task of watering.  So, we wait patiently until the Fall.  Meanwhile, what not a better time to reminisce...

Caribbean Sunset
Bet you can't guess where I am.

Napa Valley
Quebec City
St. Croix


Monday, August 08, 2011

Black Eyed Susan

One not yet eaten by the groundhogs, which have devastated our Shasta daisies and other Black Eyed Susans. They are quite a menace!  It got so bad a couple years ago that we had to put electric fencing all around our vegetable garden.