Type Tuesdays: Cross-Stitch Samplers

There’s something about vintage cross-stitch samplers that I find extraordinarily intriguing. Putting aside how beautiful some of them are, I think it has to do with their representation of alphabets. Each letter stitched is there for its own sake…without any intent whatsoever to form a word, sentence or paragraph.

Instead, they were made to practice and/or demonstrate one’s skill in needlework. They weren’t meant to be anything other than artistic, and beautiful to look at.

Which makes me feel a lot less crazy for being so enamored and in love with typefaces…because they are beautiful, and they can exist just for their own sake, and not only for the sake of some graphic layout.

The above beauty was actually stitched by a child named Catherine Archer in eighteen-something-or-other while at the Muller orphanage in Bristol, England…the photo comes courtesy of The Cross-Stitch Guild.

If you’re like me and doubt your cross-stitch skills, you can still get the look on your computer with Home Sweet Home – a Larabie typeface available in OpenType and as a WebFont at MyFonts (you have to register and go through their checkout, but it’s all free of charge).

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Friday I’m in Love: Sackboy

This week brought very good tidings in the mail: Little Big Planet 2…For those of you who don’t know about Little Big Planet, it’s one of the reasons why I love love love to play video games (which will surely be detailed ad nauseum in an upcoming “why I play video games” post)…it’s the cutest ever cooperative game I’ve yet to come across, with the cutest ever concept (Little Big Planet is effectively the result of all of our dream worlds), and it features the cutest ever character:

Its name is Sackboy. And YOU get to dress him or her however you want…as you play the game, you collect more accessories and costumes that you can mix and match (though every outfit I create is accompanied by vampire teeth, and a zebra tail…I’ll try to get a video capture from the game). In addition to playing dress up with Sackboy, you can also give him/her expressions that range from maniacally happy to ferociously angry to completely terrified to overwhelmingly sad….and make him/her dance.

It’s just altogether too cute. And I love it.

Did I mention we got the “deluxe” edition that included my very own Sackboy doll?! …Hmmm…maybe I’ll have to learn to sew doll clothes so I can dress her (because obviously? my Sackboy is a girl).

So I know what I’m doing this weekend…how about you?

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Type Tuesdays: Carnival-Inspired

When I think of the carnival or circus, I think of big top tents, carousels, clowns, lion tamers, elephants, face painting, and balloons (okay, I also think about popcorn, cotton candy, and trying to win silly stuffed animals). They’re filled with a sense of wonderment and excitement that is special and unique…which is why I think a lot of the typefaces used in relation to these events are equally whimsical and special…

(So special, that if put in the right context, many of them easily double as western typefaces…I wonder how both the wild west and the circus got associated with many of the same shapes and letter forms?)

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites:

1. Carevalee Freakshow; 2. Hoedown; 3. JF Ringmaster; 4. IFC Wild Rodeo; 5. Zebrawood; 6. Big Top; 7. IFC Rail Road; 8. Cast Iron; 9. Helldorado; 10. Chipperfield and Bailey; 11. WM-Circus Dingbats

[ photo credit: Guomunda; texture credits: Pugly Pixel ]

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Picture Frame Alternatives

A little while ago, while I was dreaming about my future home which I am just itching to decorate, I shared a DIY from Design*Sponge for super cute paper picture frames. I just love the idea of finding alternatives to real picture frames, because the real things can be so expensive, or it can be really hard to find exactly what you’re looking for.

So since then, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for more interesting alternatives to the traditional picture frame that I can use as I continue to decorate my make-believe home in my head (and that I can hopefully use in real life sometime soon). Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Lindsay from LDC Designs has a very economical twist on the DIY picture frame – using contact paper…not only is it easy to find, but it’s affordable and comes in a variety of colours and patterns. Add to that, there’s no hardware required…just cut out the shapes you like, stick it up, and pull it down when you’re in the mood for a change. See the tutorial here.

If you’ve got a slightly larger budget, you could find high resolution photos of picture frames you like, and then get them printed directly onto vinyl to make your very own vinyl wall decals. This is what Danielle from Thompson Family-Life did for her son’s nursery, and it looks just spectacular. Visit her site to get the full low-down on how she did it.

If you’re lucky enough to own your home, and don’t have to worry about removing anything you put up on your walls, then picture frame wallpaper is another option…this awesome black and white frames wallpaper by Graham & Brown is actually meant to be embellished – with your photos, drawings, illustrations, whatever…what a great idea (and what a fantastic way to foster creativity):

Or…if you’re super duper creative, you can forget the wallpaper and just draw or paint the frames (and whatever you decide to put in them) yourself. That’s what Timothy Goodman did for his artistic contribution to New York City’s Ace Hotel:

Holy moly! He drew 99 picture frames to create a “wall of discovery” about New York, highlighting interesting facts, things or places he loves about the city….I think this is super cool.

I also think, however, that the permanence of it might freak me out (I’d be soo worried that I’d mess it up). A little more error-friendly, would be an erasable wall of hand drawn frames on a chalkboard wall…something like what Anthropologie had in their July catalogue. Chalkboard walls are still super trendy at the moment, and I’ve been just salivating to paint something (anything) in black chalkboard paint:

So that’s what I’ve been able to dig up, so far…I’m particularly partial to the whole idea of chalkboards, but I’m also pretty in love with the wallpaper…though the paper, contact paper, or vinyl frames would be much more practical (and easy….you can have just one, rather than a whole wall of it!).

Have you come across, or made, something else instead of using a traditional picture frame? Please share!

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Friday I’m in Love: Pretty Nails

I love pretty nails. When I was younger, I used to pride myself on how well I maintained mine…always long, always well shaped, and always polished. Unfortunately, I rarely find the time to paint them anymore. What’s more, I tend to keep them short because I can’t stand the way they clickity-clack against my laptop’s keyboard if they’re too long (which is always a threat…my nails grow like weeds).

Last night, however, I actually made an effort to make my (short) nails a pretty lavender:

…which happens to match my watch face perfectly (sweet!):

(Source: I found the rainbow nails photo, above, on Pinterest, which had attributed it to weheartit, which in turn had attributed it to Tumblr…honestly, I have no idea where it’s from)

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