Happy Spring!

“The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.”

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Zipper8Lighting Painted Rose Centerpiece 1

Well, spring hasn’t exactly burst upon the world here in NYC, it is 35 and windy today, but there are a few flowers beginning to poke their heads out in the park which gives me hope.  Since today is the official first day of spring I thought it was the perfect occasion to post a few photos of the new centerpieces I’ve been working on for Zipper 8 Lighting.  My most recent post was about the centerpieces Elizabeth and I did for the Sing for Hope Gala last October, and since then we’ve been really excited to design new centerpieces, with summer weddings in mind.

Zipper8Lighting Painted Rose Centerpiece 2

This first new design features two full roses and a rose bud, all of varying sizes and colors.  Each petal is cut out of heavy weight paper and then hand painted individually with watercolors.  The colors could obviously be designed to custom match someone’s color scheme, and there could be a bit of flexibility in rose sizing but only a bit because each rose is built around some sort of hollow shape allowing us to light them up from inside.

Zipper8Lighting Painted Rose Centerpiece 3

Our second design features three larger flowers constructed from hand dyed coffee filters.  Again there would be some flexibility when it came to color scheme and flower size, especially if someone was more interested in a different number of smaller or larger flowers.  I think a line of big poofs down the center of a long table would be pretty spectacular.  Or you could even hang them above the table for extra drama.

Zipper8Lighting Coffee Filter Flower Centerpiece 1Zipper8Lighting Coffee Filter Flower Centerpiece 2

The next planned photo shoot will involve mixing and matching different types of flowers, and showing them in place on a table as they would look for an actual event.  I think we are going to try a long runner as well, with the various different flowers intermixed down the length of the table.

Zipper8Lighting Coffee Filter Flower Centerpiece 4Zipper8Lighting Coffee Filter Flower Centerpiece 3

I’m super exited to see these on an actual table with votive candles and everything.  It will also be interesting to see the different amounts of light each flower gives off.  Hopefully I will have some of those photos to show you very soon!

Happy first day of Spring everyone, Allison

Update:  These are lit up by battery powered LED lights, so not only do you not need a power source, but the lights stay completely cool to the touch so there is no risk of fire (just don’t put them too close to any real candles!)

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Paper Flower Centerpieces – Sing for Hope Benefit Gala 2012

As I was strolling through Pinterest just now it occurred to me that I never posted photos from one of my latest projects, the glowing paper flower centerpieces that I designed, with my new business partner Elizabeth, for the 2012 Sing for Hope Benefit Gala at Guastavinos here in New York City.

the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012

Sing for Hope is a non-profit located here in New York which makes the arts accessible to all, and they have started a tradition of having an artist make a special custom centerpiece, instead of using traditional flowers.  The director of Sing for Hope spotted our work during our second Fab.com sale, and immediately got in touch to see if we could somehow transform our Sheet Music Artichoke Pendant into a centerpiece.  I was instantly inspired, and had the idea to tweak the standard artichoke design by changing the size of the circles I used, and creating shapes that were more reminiscent of lotus flowers than artichokes.

the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012

Elizabeth and I worked together on the designs, and decided that each table should feature a trio of flowers, created using three sizes of lanterns and featuring repurposed old sheet music as the paper medium.  Each large 8 inch flower was essentially the same, though we added different types of leaves at the end which made them each unique.  The medium 6 inch flowers were pretty similar to the 8 inch ones, but had a few small tweaks to make them a bit more unique, we had maybe 4 different styles for those.  Then for the small 4 inch flowers we really played around with the concept and created as many different designs as we could.  Personally I found the 4 inch flowers the most fun to create because we were always trying new designs and there were no mistakes, just sometimes there were versions that ended up being unique one of a kind pieces.

the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012

We found a small string of LED lights powered by a battery pack so each centerpiece was connected to one strand of lights and glowed warmly on the tables.  With the purple table clothes they really stood out beautifully, especially after dinner when they changed the lights in the room to blue and purple hues.

the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012

Although we were commissioned to create centerpieces just for the upstairs dining tables, we ended up having extras so we set them up downstairs in the cocktail hour area that was later used for the after party.  It was this really fun and unexpected space where we were able to create different unforeseen clusters on small hightop tables or long coffee tables.  And the black tablecloths really offset the lanterns nicely.

the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012

This event also inspired us to really think about how we could use our designs in less traditional ways, and we are now totally excited to try and create centerpieces for other events, and possibly even weddings!  It has just been such a great chance to explore something neither of us ever thought about before.

the3Rsblog - Zipper 8 Lighting Paper Flower Centerpieces from Sing for Hope Gala 2012

I hope you like these centerpieces as much as we do!  All photos from the Gala (except the one with the very blue lighting which I snapped with my iPhone) were taken by Allan Zepeda an amazing wedding and event photographer.

Ciao!  Allison

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New Pinterest!

I’ve been working on developing a Pinterest account for Zipper8Lighting, and its been fun!  I’m focusing on slightly different projects than I might have for my original Pinterest, and I wanted to share it with everyone here.  Come check it out and if you’re interested in what I’m pinning, come follow me!  (For now it is a lot of beautiful paper flowers, and wedding decoration ideas.)

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Ciao for now, Allison

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Getting Organized: A New-Old Cork Board

Happy New Year’s Everyone!

Since January is the season of New Year’s resolutions, and I wanted to post about one of mine; “Get Organized.”  While this may be easier said than done, I have taken a few drastic steps towards a more organized life.  Most recently I was finally able to hang up a wonderful large bulletin board that I made many months ago out of recycled wine corks.

the3Rsblog Recycled Cork Board Collage

I used two large pieces of particle board that I had been saving, and simply made the board in two square pieces which fitted together into one large rectangle.  Using hot glue I attached the corks one by one, doing my best to keep each row as even as possible.  I was actually quite surprised at the difference in heights of the different varieties of corks, as well as the different widths, but by fitting shorter corks on top of longer ones, I was able to keep each row roughly even.  While completely unnecessary, aesthetically it was something I felt was important.  I could have glued the corks on in either direction, but I chose to glue them on vertically next to each other, so that I added each row horizontally as it is now hanging on the wall.

the3Rsblog Recycled Cork Board

I can’t wait to fill it up with inspirations for both this blog and my business.  Right now I’m using a few fabric covered pushpins that I made a while back, but I will probably augment those with a bunch of simple T-pins once I remember where I stashed my supply…

What organizational projects have you undertaken recently?  Or what other New Year’s resolutions are you tackling instead?

Happy 2013!  Allison

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Sparkly Holiday Ornaments

Happy Holidays Everyone!  I absolutely love this time of year, especially in New York City.  There are lights and decorations everywhere, plus I love when the Christmas tree vendors fill the streets with evergreens.  In honor of the season I wanted to share a few ornaments I’ve been working on with you guys.  (And while I’ve been using them for my Christmas tree, they would also make perfect New Year’s Eve decorations!)

the3Rsblog Ornaments 01

I absolutely love making ornaments, in fact I will often work on them year round!  But I usually get more excited by them at Christmas time, and this year was no exception.  A few weeks ago my good friend Ann (from All Things Paper) sent me a link to these gorgeous sequin ornaments.  All you need is a styrofoam ball, some sequins, and a lot of straight pins.  Oh, and thumbs of steel… I’m seriously thinking about investing in an old-fashioned thimble for future ornaments.

the3Rsblog Ornaments 02

Basically you just push a straight pin through the center of each sequin, and into the styrofoam ball, it couldn’t be easier.  It is, however, a bit time consuming.  These random balls probably took me 2-3 hours each, though I was making them while watching movies so I wasn’t always concentrating 100% on each ornament.  The original tutorial I found was making balls out of just one color of sequin, and that is something I want to try too, but for now the only sequins I could find locally were in a big jumbled box of mixed colors and sizes, so I started with these multicolored ornaments and ordered a larger selection of single color sequins online (which should be arriving today!)  Each sequin is a 10mm cup sequin, and the styrofoam balls are 3 inches in diameter.  You could use any size sequin for this project but the smaller they are, the more sequins (and work) you’ll need to cover the whole surface.  For the hook at the top I cut an extra ornament hook in half, dabbed a bit of hot glue on the ends and pushed it down into the styrofoam until I had the perfect bit of U-shaped hook sticking out the top, to attach to a second ornament hook for hanging.

You can also make fun patterns and shapes with the sequins, to create more unique ornaments.  Once I get my bulk order of single color sequins I want to try other patterns like maybe stripes, as well as solid balls, but for now I decided to try using the mixture of colors I had to make flowers.  Each sequin flower is 6 of one color, with a second color sequin in the center.  And while each flower is a different color, all of the in between areas are filled in with pale blue sequins.the3Rsblog Ornaments 03

Honestly, I’m proud at how this one came out, but it was a HUGE amount of work, hours and hours and hours of plotting out how to fit the flowers in perfectly, and cover a spherical surface, plus a lot of removing of pins and sequins to re-position them.  I even drew guidelines on the styrofoam before I started and it was still a bit of a nightmare figuring it out.  And honestly, it looks cool but at the same time because of the different colors it doesn’t quite pack the punch I was hoping for…  I think I might try this again with just one color flower, using the knowledge I have from this first attempt, but then again I may decide its not really worth it.  We’ll see.

And finally, an ornament I actually made a few months ago, which really embraces the 3 R’s perfectly!  Recycled soda can tabs, glued to a clear plastic ornament.

the3Rsblog Ornaments 04

I absolutely love how this came out, including the sort of spiky shape it made!  I’ve had it hanging over my desk at school and everyone in my department wanted to buy one, so maybe one day I’ll start making and selling them on Etsy.  For now it is happily decorating my Christmas tree, along with its sparklier sequin cousins.  Basically I just hot glued the tabs onto a pre-existing clear plastic ornament, the kind you can buy to decorate yourself.  Starting at the bottom and working my way up to the top I just overlapped the tabs like shingles, keeping approximately half of each tab sticking out under the overlapping layer.  I have also purchased a small selection of red tabs, so maybe one day I’ll try a candy cane sort of striped ornament, we’ll see.

For now I hope you are all having a happy and sparkly holiday season, and I wish you all the best in the new year!  Happy 2013!!  Allison

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Folding, folding, folding…

Early Turkey Day Greetings All!

I wanted to post a few photos to show everyone my newest lighting creation.

As usual, this project started with a different concept in mind, and blossomed unexpectedly into something completely different and yet, totally awesome.

I have debated long and hard, but decided not to post instructions for how I made it.  Now that I am beginning to realize that my lighting business could actually be a real business, and having been a bit burned with what seem like copycats on Etsy, I’ve decided that sometimes I’m going to make projects that I want to share with all of you, without necessarily giving away all my secrets.  I hope everyone understands why I’ve come to this decision, because I do believe in sharing the wealth and making tutorials and teaching you how I created my lights so you can make your own, but I guess I just feel the need to draw the line somewhere.

However, I will share more details on something else I’ve been working on, which is taking newer staged photos of some of my lights.  I will always want photos of my lights completely on their own, against a white or gray background, to show them in the simplest and clearest fashion.  But, I am also making an effort to show them in context a bit more, to give a bigger picture to my products.  So, on a recent trip to Ikea for a new bookshelf, I spotted some interesting new props for my photographs.  My favorite ones so far are the set of white glass vases featured in these photographs, but I also bought a set of simple glass cylinder vases for flower arrangements, or bunches of branches and berries.  In fact my mom has this gorgeous bunch of hydrangeas in her front hall right now that she has promised to me after Thanksgiving for my photos.  I think they will look so beautiful not only with my white lights, but also with my Artichoke Book Page lights, with the subtle pinks and greens in the flowers, and the browns and tans of the books.  Can you tell my mind is already whirling?

For now I’ve only done one photo shoot with this newest light, and the actual lighting in my apartment is beginning to wane now that it is winter so I may be a bit limited going forward, but I’m always hopeful and worse comes to worse I’ll set up shop at someone else’s apartment who has more light!  So I hope everyone in America has a lovely Thanksgiving, and for any international readers, have a lovely rest of your week!

Ciao, Allison

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Celebratory Piñata

Happy Sunday Greetings All!

I’m finally back with a new post and a new project!  This is a project that I actually completed last April, but it has taken me this long to get the photos edited and posted.  Last Spring was my 10 year high school reunion, and I was talking with my friend Elizabeth about the party we were going to have, and the topic of piñatas came up.  She has her own awesome blog called The Occasionist and a while back she had done a post about amazing piñatas.  We had both been really inspired, and realized that neither of us had ever made a piñata before, so we decided we had to try making one for our party.  Now don’t laugh, but the mascot for our high school was a Beaver, so for our reunion party we made a Beaver piñata, who we nicknamed Pickle.  (Why Pickle?  Well apparently in the 80′s Pickle was the nickname for a typical student at our school, because someone had joked that they were always ‘getting into a pickle.’  And we thought it was funny.)  Before I include a tutorial, here are a few photos of the finished Pickle!

Ok, now a “how to” for our piñata.  We googled a few instructions from various places online, but basically just made our own instructions from there.  (Photos at the end.)

1. Balloons.  Build a form out of balloons, we chose to use two to make Pickle, one for her body and one for her head.  We also filled in some additional shape with both newspaper and tape, for instance we filled in the neck with tape, and we also built a squarer beaver nose for the front of the ‘head’ balloon with some extra newspaper.

2. Papier Mache.  Tear newspaper into long strips, and make a glue out of flour and water. We chose a no-cook recipe from somewhere online, 1 part flour to 2 parts water.  Just mix the two parts together until the consistency seems right.

3. Cover your piñata with papier mache.  There’s no right or wrong way to do this, just remember to leave an opening where you can add the candy later.  We chose to leave a hole near the rear area of the beaver because it would be covered with the tail eventually.  Overall we probably added 2 or 3 layers of newspaper on most of the shape, but we didn’t bother letting it dry in between layers because we wanted to get all of the papier mache finished on one day.

4. Adding Fur!  After letting our papier mache dry for a few days it was time to add the tissue paper fur.  We decided to just stick with a simple brown for the body, because we weren’t able to find other colors of brown to mix in.  Each layer was two pieces of tissue, folded in half so that the strip was 2 inches wide, and four layers thick, with the folded edge at the top and the 4 open edges on the bottom which we cut into fringe.  Then starting around the opening we had left for adding candy, we started wrapping our beaver with fur from tail to head.  We also made hind legs and front paws out of newspaper wrapped in tissue, and added those as we went.  Finally I made a big beaver tail out of cardboard which we covered with alternating black and brown tissue paper.

We had a real ball making our piñata, but it was also so much work!  I can’t believe how cheaply you can buy them, even on Etsy where they’ve been handmade by someone.  I now have a lot more respect for those handmade piñatas.  So don’t look for me to start making and selling piñatas in the future!

Most importantly, don’t forget to take the time to make the little details like eyes and a nose (or big front teeth!)  We had a lot of fun adding personality to Pickle, from her cute little front paws to her pretty red bow.  

 

Pickle was a big hit at our party, though she was so heavy once we stuffed her with candy that we had a hard time figuring out where to hang her (inside an apartment in NYC.)  So maybe our future piñata endeavors will involve a backyard and a tree…

Has anyone else made a piñata before?  What shape or animal did you make?  I always love hearing everyone else’s crafting stories.  Ciao!  Allison

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