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Posts Tagged ‘Melonie Higashi’

The Big Day: front & centre, and behind the scenes

December 9th, 2009

We be hitched! Thanks for all the ‘woohoo’s and kind words from y’all!

Here are a few of my favourite shots, taken by Mélanie Rebane and Jon Rennie

Mélanie also put together this wonderful slide show of some of the day’s highlights, coincidentally choosing one of our favourite artists — Jenn Grant (whom I’ve mentioned here before):

The ceremony, dinner, reception and all photos were at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Québec (just across the river from Ottawa). You can see that it was darn impossible to take a bad shot at this venue. Lucky for us, the weather was gorgeous (albeit quite chilly) — this time last year, there was already plenty of snow on the ground!

And besides this, everything else exceeded all expectations. I can’t emphasize enough just how much help we got from terrific friends and family — all of whom said “It’s nothing!” but whose cumulative effort came together to make everything happen like clockwork.

For anyone who’s interested in the DIY details, keep on reading… there are lots!

All the beaded pins and clips and leaves that I put in my hair were put together by jewelry-maker Melonie Higashi (featured here before). The main elements were made from skeleton leaves that my sister had picked up for me from The Paper Place in Toronto. Melonie also made the clip-on earrings to match my necklace (which was a gift from my grandmother); since I’ve never had my ears pierced, they were clip-ons.

I made my and my sister’s bouquets and all the boutonnieres out of coffee filters, floral wire and tape, and more of those skeleton leaves; I also painted the petals an off-white so that they weren’t quite so stark bright. I learned how to make these from youtube videos!

Above is one of the three signs I made for the event (left: in full, right: close-up) — to point people to the ceremony. I found the ornate frame and vintage wedding photo by tooling around on flickr, making sure to get photos that were very high-res so that I could print at this size (20″ x 30″). Then I photoshopped John’s and my faces into the picture… how ridiculous is that hair!? I was half-flattered, half-shocked when someone asked if we’d staged that photo — I guess it looks convincing, but hey, I’m only 5 foot 3!

I bought the handbound guestbook from an etsy shop called bookwright. It’s beautifully made and coptic-bound, meaning that it lays flat when opened to any page.

Hanging from the ceiling at both the ceremony and reception were gorgeous paper ornaments, which I got from another etsy shop called PomLove. [Special thanks to Bridgett of Perideau Designs who introduced me to these by featuring them on her blog!]

We had a dessert buffet, which included jars of sweets, plus loot bags so people could pack a snack:

Homemade cookies by my Aunt Mei and Dad:

And cupcakes baked by my dear friend Pascale:
(fixed the polymer clay cupcake topper FAIL posted last week — phew for bunny ears!

For each of the guests’ tables, we put a vase of twigs — some of which we’d gathered ourselves. There were also glass beads and tealights with paper covers:

I made the tealight covers out of a thick natural hemp paper. There are two main panels that I cut the leaf shapes out of, and then a third thin panel I used to hold the sides together with two-sided tape. Here’s how they look from above:

You have to make sure that the tealight you use has glass that is taller than the flame, or else this would obviously be a fire hazard. This was my first time using one of those precision exacto knives, and it was very easy to do. What’s nice is that when you take the covers off the tealight, they fold flat.

Also on the tables were the guests’ namecards — when I wrote people’s names, I put leaves to indicate vegetarian meals:

The cards were made out of plantable seed paper that I got online from Botanical Paperworks; they blew me away with their terrific customer service and gorgeous product. The paper is slightly tough to write on because of the seeds, but after some practice (and a few screw-ups), I got the hang of it.

Some of the most fun photos from the evening came from our Photobooth, which we asked everyone to partake in — as our photographic guestbook:

The chalkboard, which is magnetic and was made with a recycled frame, was purchase from a lovely etsy seller by the name of PoshPilfer.

Other shout-outs and mentions:

  • Alpha Media (Ottawa) provided all the AV equipment and were just stellar in helping set up and get us exactly what we wanted.
  • Pritchard Packaging (Ottawa) was a terrific place to pick up all sorts of handy things — from ribbons to gift boxes, from the candy loot bags to paper.
  • … and I frequented these places a lot during our planning: Wallack’s, Michael’s and The Bulk Barn.

And hugely grateful thanks to the folks who made it all happen. Steve & Eva were the pom-pom crew, Mags was the table decorator, Amanda was AV/MC/DJ specialist, Pascale was the dessert guru, and Dalaila handled details. How lucky we are to be surrounded by such helpful supportive peeps. It all went

If there’s anything here that you’d like to know more about, let me know. I’ve already blabbed a ton and feel self-indulgent enough that I won’t bore you with the details of how to make paper flowers or tealight cut-outs… unless you ask, ha ha!

etsy.com, general rambling, good peeps , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My first go at The Capital Clothing Show: only so-so

September 22nd, 2009

This past weekend at The Capital Clothing Show had its pros and cons but, overall, I’m glad I did it. I shared a booth with the lovely Melonie Higashi:

Here’s what my half of the 10′ x 16′ space looked like:

Mel and I agreed that by going into this show together, we were both motivated to be a little more on-the-ball than if we’d gone solo. We got vinyl signs made up, organized a draw for a giveaway, provided little bags of m+m’s (a play on our names — get it? get it?) to give out…

and personally, I got the most pre-show sleep that I’ve ever gotten.

For me, the pros were:

  • I met a lot of new customers and designers whom I might not get to meet on the arts & crafts circuit;
  • I had time to do some birthday and Christmas shopping, and also treated myself to a couple of things (this point might be a con as well…);
  • catching up with friends who either dropped by or came to help out, as well as hanging out with Mel; and
  • this was probably the most well-organized show I’ve taken part in. Huge kudos to the organizers!

The cons/learning points were:

  • I think people going to a “Clothing Show” are more apt to want to get designer togs, rather than casual-wear;
  • definitely less community-feeling than an art & craft event, more of a trade show ambiance… also much less understanding of the process and design end of what I do from passersby;
  • I had no idea how schnazzy the displays were going to be… people had huge printed roll-it-ups and posters, lots of grids and things hanging. My display paled in comparison; and
  • (this was the biggie) low attendance — I’ll blame the nice weather for this one. Over this 2.5-day event, I sold as much as I usually would during one typical ‘ok’ day at a craft event.

So I’m not sure this is the venue for me as a vendor, but I’ll be back as a shopper for sure.
Designers I bought from and hope to run into again are:

Terre Plein — funky prints and scarves

Lousje & Bean — simple yet gorgeous handsewn designs

Embody — clever recycled/repurposed clothing

There was no shortage of talent in this room, that’s for sure… hopefully, they had a better weekend than I did and will return in the Spring for the next rendition of the Show!

good peeps, m chen wears , , , , , ,

Lightning Round with Melonie from Higashi Design

September 16th, 2009

Melonie and I will be at the Capital Clothing Show THIS WEEKEND at the Carleton University Fieldhouse.
We are sharing Booth #303. Drop by, say hello and enter our joint giveaway!
Friday the 18th from 5 – 9 / Saturday the 19th from 10 – 5 / Sunday the 20th from 10 – 4

————-

The backstory
In general, I don’t wear jewelry. But last year, while vending
at a holiday show across the aisle from a certain Melonie Higashi, I couldn’t peel my eyes off a necklace she’d designed and that can be worn in over a dozen different ways (see Question #14). By the end of the weekend, I bought the necklace; for a girl who doesn’t do bling (never even had my ears pierced), this was a big deal. Since then, Melonie and I have become buddies — in fact, we are vending in a shared spot this weekend at the Capital Clothing Show. And so, isn’t it fitting that I introduce you now to my sweet and talented booth-mate?

1. You’ve done a lot of different things… can you list a sampling of what you’ve studied and/or done as jobs?
Hmmm… I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia Uni. I also have a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Carleton Uni with a minor in business. I have worked retail, worked on flight simulators for major airlines, supported movie special effects software, worked as a marketing services rep, modelled and did commercials, taught piano, was a concert and wedding piano player, did web design, data entry, some construction work, worked at a publishing company, and was a trampoline coach… oh, and I must not forget my gig as a door-to-door sales person.



2. How did you land on jewelry-making as a full-time gig?
It found me. I bought a piece of jewelry at Heathrow airport and I received many compliments. It was an intricate piece and I wanted to figure out how to make it. So I went to a bead store found a few supplies and reproduced it. I gave those first pieces away as gifts. Then I started experimenting and exploring with different materials until the hobby grew into the business. After having previously worked in large companies, I decided to veer away from the corporate life and learn how to run my own business. It is definitely not an easy life but it is fulfilling.

3. Ideal lazy Sunday?
Sleeping in, cooking up a nice brunch, then going for a long run on the beach and watching the sunset.

4. Your Dad was a national Karate grand champion in the 60’s… how (if at all) did this influence or affect you?
In high school, I was known as the girl who had a ninja father who crawled on the ceilings (not true) and had samurai swords (unfortunately true)… so basically my social life was affected.


5. Early riser or night owl?
A night owl. So much so, I sometimes end up running into the early risers.

6. You’re a fellow Ottawan… what’s your favourite thing about living here?
The great people I have met.

7. Who would you thank if you won an Oscar?
I would thank the Academy for having a sense of humour.

8. Can you explain how you might come up with a new idea for a jewelry piece?
Colour and texture usually drive my jewelry ideas.

9. What is your kryptonite?
Pizza from Naples, Italy.


10. Dream job and dream location?
Travel photographer exploring the world.

11. You like to trampoline; why?
I love the sensation and I have been bouncing since I was young; plus, it is a great way to get exercise without feeling like you are exercising.

12. Got any party tricks?
It is quite possible but none of which I am aware.

13. How do you motivate yourself when you aren’t in the mood to work on jewelry?
Looming bills are a great motivator. Another good motivator is learning new techniques, which opens up new design possibilities.

14. What’s your best selling item?
The multifunctional leaf necklace is my best selling item.  It is sterling silver and can be worn in as many as 16 different ways including a bracelet.  The leaves are real leaves which have been dipped in sterling silver. It’s a great piece for travelling because it has so many different looks and is so versatile. [pictured below: two necklace options, and bracelet variation]



15. What was the first concert you ever went to?
Depeche Mode

16. What are you most proud of right now?
I designed a flash card system for blind and sighted children so that they could play and learn together. It was for an international design competition and somehow I managed to win.

17. If you had the time, what’s something you’d work at improving or learning?
Time management

18. Wallflower or first-to-the-dance-floor?
It depends entirely on the music.

19. What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from being your own boss?
You can’t do everything on your own.

20. Finish this sentence: “I am…”
…happy.

You can understand why I find Mel so fascinating; the fact that she makes jewelry I want to wear is just icing on the cake.

Ottawa-folk, if you want to come to the show, feel free to download this voucher to get $2 off admission (good for the whole weekend); just print out the JPG once it’s downloaded and present it at the door.

Keep your eyes peeled for Mel’s new-fangled sign:

That’s right — we actually both got organized enough to get vinyl signs done up, complete with grommets. Just one of many reasons I’m so stoked for a terrific weekend.

Hope to see you there!

good peeps , , , ,

© 2010 Emily Chen Design & Illustration. All Rights Reserved.