Back to Blog

Get Out.

No really, get out.  I have had my kids at home all summer and for the first time, they were barely in any summer camps.  We had very few arguments, but that last week, whew nelly.  My husband has been working from home the last few months and can I just say say... EVERYBODY NEEDS TO GO AWAY.

Love ya!  Now go to school!

Needless to say, I haven't blogged because I haven't been creating very much.  But I have been doing some back end boring business stuff!  You will hear all about it in detail soon.  But in a nutshell:

  • I'm now a part of the Buzzybee Mobile Market
  • will be participating in the Round Rock Chalk Walk Festival
  • have been in contact with a local retailer and hope to have my work available for sale there soon
  • testing prototypes for my art on silk scarves.  Nothing is quite perfect yet, unfortunately.
  • created prototypes of trinket/decorative boxes.  These are gorgeous so far!

So despite the non stop requests for chocolate milk and snacks, I have managed to accomplish a few things during the summer.  And I even managed to get a tan!

Affordable Teacher Gifts That Look Expensive And Impressive

Awesome you're here!

We are two days out from the end of the school year, and the order forms for supplies for NEXT year have just been sent off.  Are you ready to start thinking about the next school year yet?  One thing is for sure... we all want to make a good impression on the teachers!  And how can we do that?  Well, bribe them with gifts of course!

affordable teachers gifts from chantalclaire.png

What Gift To Buy For A Teacher That's Affordable?

It can be hard purchasing a gift for a person you don't know very well.  As a parent, there are certain gifts you find are your go-tos.  They are:

  • candles
  • boxed candies or chocolates
  • hand sanitizer, whether you made it a pinterest craft project or left it as it
  • coffee mug or picture frame with "#1 teacher" emblazoned on it

Do these sound familiar to you?  I know I've been guilty of buying the chocolates once or twice early on!

But not you.  Oh no, you want to stand out.  You want to start your year off right and make that teacher realize that you and your kid are aces above everybody else.  You wanna impress with a gift that looks like a million bucks.

I got you covered.

*boom*

What Teachers Really Want

I have had the joy to have quite a few educators within my social circle.  Over and over again, they have told me that for a gift they would like something a little different.  

Well hey.  I am the queen of being "a little different."

I personally am a huge fan of anything homemade, and always encourage my children to make their teachers a present.  But since every family is different and not everyone has the time, patience or resources (or can stand to have glitter and paint covering every surface of their kitchen *ahem* studio), please allow me to offer some alternatives.

Art Prints

Who doesn't love a unique piece of art?  It is an unexpected gift and you can usually find prints on etsy for a really great price.  Artwork made with alcohol ink, shown above, is especially on trend right now.  I offer prints starting at $14.99 for an 8x10, which is less than a fancy coffee mug!

Since art can be so subjective, if you don't know the person well I suggest going with something smaller than larger.  An 8x10 is a good size because it is easy to display, especially in a classroom, in a tabletop frame.  I would also suggest sticking to a more neutral color palette.  My original pieces Chocolate Dream, Sandstorm I and Sandstorm II fall into this category and have been very popular as gifts.

Other places to check out, if you are looking for something more generic, are Walmart, Target or Home Goods.  Although remember your goal.

STAND OUT AND IMPRESS.

Generic may not be the way to go here.

Notecards

Oh man, is it a rule that every teacher needs to go through 1200 notecards a year?

Do your kids bring home a lot of handwritten notes from their teachers?  For every gift their teacher receives, my kids bring home a handwritten note on a card and I swear I should have bought stock in Hallmark years ago.  A great teacher gift would be to replenish her stock.  You can find unique notecards at any craft fair, artisan market, etsy or of course here.  And the best part is that by purchasing in these places, you are supporting a small creative business.

 

purple dream notecard.jpg

If you choose my notecards, you can build your own package during the checkout process.  If you have a favorite design, get six of just that design!  Or if you need twelve cards and want a variety, choose that option.  It's up to you!  My card packs are made to order, starting at $9.99.

Teacher Gift With Flair

I can't say "flair" without thinking of Jennifer Anniston in Office Space, sticking her middle finger up and saying, "Here's your flair!"

Ahem.

Is your teacher a fashionista?  Do you know her well enough to buy her something a touch more personal?  Then maybe some artisan earrings are the way to go.

 

pink fusion bright.jpg

Unique earrings

make a unique gift!

These earrings were created using a macro of my art prints, but there are lots of unique pieces of jewelry on etsy.  If you like this idea, check it out!  I charge $14.99 per pair, I know the price varies on etsy depending on the materials used.

I have hesitated to write this part, and to be honest am writing this two days after I initially posted.  I hesitate because I don't want to devalue other artisan's hard work, but a friend encouraged me to point this out... some of the earrings you might find on etsy are created using the paint drippings from fluid art.  Without going into details, I know how these paintings are created and wouldn't put those chemicals that close to my face where I might breathe them in.  My earrings are created using paper prints cut to size and glued under a glass cauchabon.  I'm sure there is nothing to be concerned about with the other earrings, and I feel like a bit of a jerk saying something, but at the behest of my friend I am pointing this out so you can make your own call.

#PuttingAwayTheSoapbox

I hope you have some new ideas for your teachers!  They work really hard.  And y'know, after having the kiddles home this summer, maybe you should treat yourself to some pretty things too.  If your kids are anything like mine, you will have earned it!

Pretty Painted Invitations and Ways To Personalize Them

An invitation to paint

I love painting, I think it's a great way to destress and decompress.  I've also found it's when my daughter, who is pretty quiet, will tell me things about her day that she otherwise would keep to herself.  Give her a paintbrush and a canvas and suddenly her mouth opens and she'll tell me all kinds of things that have been bothering her, or her dreams for the future that she's been hiding away.  Is there someone in your life that you are trying to get to know better?  Try having an art session with them and see if they open up to you!

personalize wedding invitations.jpg
I see your red door, I want it painted black
No colors any more, I want them to turn black
— Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

Why Painted Invites?

I'm a creative person, and as such I consider everything to be a "first draft".  These $6 turquoise shoes from Walmart?  First draft - they look so much more interesting when I used my craft stencil and white acrylic paint to embellish them while my son was in toddler soccer.  Good will t-shirt?  First draft - iron on ribbon from Michaels totally hid that tiny mark and updated the overall look.  And yet, it took me forever to put two and two together.  Coming up with a line of event stationery based on my original fine art was more of a sixth draft idea.

raspberry swirl flatlay.jpg

Draft six.

Better late than never.

Sometimes good things take time.  I'm happier with this line of invitations than anything I've done before.  Each one feels like an actual piece of art that I'm creating, because that's how it starts - just me, some yupo paper, and some of my favorite alcohol inks, getting messy and watching things flow and take on a life of their own, under my direction.

While I create the art, there are ways my clients personalize the invitation to suit their event, and I love that.  No two invitations ever really end up looking the same.  Here are some ways we have changed the an invitation to personalize it for a client:

  • change the font.  This is probably the easiest change to make and creates the biggest impact.  You can go from old school romantic to trendy hipster in one move.
  • put in your own text.  I don't mean, just switch out the names... I mean, write your invitation so that it sounds like you.  If your catch phrase is, "see you on the flippity", then play with your RSVP text so your reply choices reflect that phrase.  (And maybe consider updating your vocabulary, lol!)
  • include your language(s).  I'm from Toronto, and am used to working with couples from a variety of backgrounds.  Sometimes an invitation needs to be in English and French, sometimes in English and Portugese, sometimes a few need to be in English, Serbian and Dutch (ok, that was me).  I think it's cool to see a couple's unique heritage reflected in an invitation.
 My Grey Frost invitation was created using the acrylic fluid pour method.  Seriously fun and seriously messy.  My kitchen table - ahem, my art studio, excuse me - has never been quite the same.  

My Grey Frost invitation was created using the acrylic fluid pour method.  Seriously fun and seriously messy.  My kitchen table - ahem, my art studio, excuse me - has never been quite the same.  

I hope this gives you some ideas when it comes to invitations and ways to make them a little bit more your own.  Every event - wedding, anniversary, birthday - deserves to be recognized as the unique experience it is, and that starts with the invitation!

high drama MAIN 5x7.jpg

How to add color to a room without breaking your budget.

Do you find that your home needs a pop of color, but the thought of repainting your walls makes you want to stick forks in your eyes?  I hear you.  Luckily, there's a relatively easy way to jazz up your space without killing yourself physically, or breaking yourself financially.

Pick your accent color

Take a look at your space, and choose a color that you would like to play up with your accessories.  Different color choices will provide a different feel in your space.

 The color wheel is a great reference point if you feel color choices don't come to you instinctually.  Neutral beige toned walls would be somewhere on the left where the oranges start to move into the yellows, if that helps.

The color wheel is a great reference point if you feel color choices don't come to you instinctually.  Neutral beige toned walls would be somewhere on the left where the oranges start to move into the yellows, if that helps.

To make colors "pop" against your wall, choose something on the opposite side of the color wheel.  For accessories that blend in a bit more rather than stand out against the wall, choose something closer in range on the wheel.

What to buy?

You don't need to buy lots of items, or expensive items, to make a big impact.  Once you've chosen a color (or two) to play up, look for sales and see what you can find.  Here are some ideas for a living room:

  • throw pillows
  • art prints
  • vase/flowers
  • picture frames
  • ceramic decorative items

This is what I did with my fireplace, as an example.  I decided to keep it pretty simple and used blue and white as my accent colors.

fireplace.jpg

I painted the artwork and used the blue from the piece as the color inspiration for the pillows, and to balance the "weight" of the art piece by bringing your eye down with color and pattern in the pillows below.  The white in the ceramic owls, candles and vase tie everything together (including the pillows).

The most expensive piece (besides the cost of framing the canvas - which I think is unique to artists, lol!) was the pillows at $24.99 each.  By purchasing during sales and knowing ahead of time what color palette I was looking for, I was able to zone in on the items I wanted.

For unique art prints at affordable prices, please check out our store.  Our prints are available in different sizes to accommodate a variety of spaces.

 easy afforable home decor
 home decor