Feb 28, 2013

Featured Artist + Shop Owner | Studio 336

I don't remember the moment or the details of how one of us stumbled upon each other's blog, but I thank my lucky stars it happened. I have so much respect and admiration for Erin and her blog/shop, Studio 336. Her work is fresh, professional, creative and versatile. After this interview, I respect her even more for sounding so realistic and grounded about owning your own handmade shop, but somehow finding a way to always stay inspired. Read along to discover her story behind Studio 336 and how it all began.

Blog | Shop | Twitter


1. Introduce yourself! What are some interesting hobbies or quirks you have?
Hey, I'm Erin. I'm a maker of things, dreamer of dreams, and thinker of thoughts. I love to work, but when I'm not working I'm hanging out with the boyfriend, friends or family or wrangling up our three dogs. I'm also an avid reader of books and blogs. If I don't read at night, I struggle to fall asleep, and when the book's good, I still struggle.

2. I am so curious - what's the story behind your shop name?
Do you remember filling out worksheets in school when you were a kid? You know, the "what's your favorite color?" or "what did you do with your summer vacation?" questions.. well whenever I think about what I'm doing now, what I'm making of myself, I think back to a worksheet that used to hang on my dad's fridge. The question at the top of the sheet asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I wrote, in the chicken scratch of a 1st grader, that I wanted to be an artist. So, when I think back about about where all of this began, it always reminds me of that worksheet, in that house, and that's where 336 was derived, the house number.

3. How did you discover you loved creating decals?
Out of college I struggled to find a job, I mean what on earth was I supposed to do with a degree in art. Well, one day I stumbled upon an old sign shop where the owner was looking to sell and retire. I walked in and asked the man if he'd let me work with him for a few days to see how everything worked. He said yes, and three months later I owned my business. As much as I liked working for myself, making commercial decals that required no design work of my own wasn't doing it for me. So I started making things for myself. And then for family and friends. And the next thing I knew I was selling them on Etsy, too.

4. You run such a successful Etsy shop. What are some tips or secrets to staying on top of inventory, networking and creating?
Honestly, I'm still working on this one, but a schedule can make all the difference. Etsy orders come in at all hours, every day of the week. Setting aside certain times of the day to do certain tasks makes things much less stressful. I'm still learning how to put myself out there since it's easy to hide behind your shop when it's based on the internet. Learning who and how and where for networking is a matter of trial and error. Creative energy comes when it does and I've learned not to take advantage of it because you don't know when the next idea will strike.

5. What is your most popular item in your shop? Do you have a favorite to make?
I'd say the State Love decals are probably the most popular right now, but my favorite are the new magnet sets I've been making!

6. Do you just do online orders? Or have you worked with other vendors?
I primarily do online orders, but you can also find them in a few local shops (Hampton Roads, VA) and an assortment of others around the US, I have plans for expanding though so if you know of a shop where you'd love to see Studio 336 goods, let me know!

7. Do you listen to anything in particular while in the studio? Any music that puts you in the creative mood?
This might sound a little funny, but I tend to have Netflix on more than music when I'm in the studio. I can tune out the boring television easier than I can the music, and it still helps me to focus. Working from home, by yourself all day, it's nice to hear a little chatter in the background. But when I do go for music, when I'm up and moving around I listen to a lot of the Avett Brothers, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, Ingrid Michaelson. I really need to update my music collection.

8. What other crafts/diy are you interested in?

I've done a little bit of everything. I've dabbled in sewing, and felting, stamp making, block printing, screen printing, painting, wood working, jewelry making, book making, and darkroom printing. I've basically done it all, and I like doing it all. I have enough art/craft supplies to open up a store for that too.

9. What is in the future for you and Studio 336?
As far as my future, I just want to keep doing what I'm doing, and more. I like progress and change, so I like adding new things. I'd like to get back into jewelry making, so you might see a side of that soon. I really enjoy promoting other artists/makers and want to find a way to make that a bigger part of what I do. Ultimately, I'd love a brick and mortar shop of curated goods. But we'll just see what happens, a girl can always dream.

Here is a little glimpse of my favorite items!
(As soon as I move into my own home, I am definitely buying some of these!)

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Thank you Erin for letting us peek a little into your Studio!

Feb 26, 2013

Tuesday Tunes | Office Party

Dearest nine to fivers, or those who just crave another mix, this one's for you.

I have been blessed (and cursed) with working full-time in an office and I must say, I just couldn't survive with my music platforms. Here is a little mix to add to your work day, whether that's groovin' in your cubicle or trying to find an escape. This little mix ranges from the feel-good vibes to the "get me out of here" phase of working. A little Alt-J, Purity Ring, Florence and a handful more.

Playlist below //

01 | Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Arcade Fire
02 | Breezeblocks - Alt-J
03 | Obedear - Purity Ring
04 | Little Numbers - BOY
05 | Hat Tricks - Soulive
06 | Shake It Out - Florence + The Machine
07 | Stereo Love - Edward Maya feat. Vika Jigulina
08 | Keep Your Head Up - Andy Grammer
09 | Live Like a Warrior - Matisyahu
10 | Dance, Dance, Dance - Lykke Li
11 | Helena Beat - Foster The People
12 | Cupid's Chokehold / Breakfast in the Am - Gym Class Heroes
13 | Gotta Get Through This - Daniel Bedingfield
14 | How You Like Me Now - The Heavy
15 | Oh, Goddamnit - Hot Hot Heat
16 | I Hate Everyone - Get Set Go
17 | Vacation - Guttermouth
18 | Where Is My Mind? - The Pixies

I just had to end the playlist with this song by The Pixies... naturally.

Listen on: 8tracks | Spotify

For more playlists/music, check out past Tuesday Tune posts here.

Happy Listening!

*Original artwork on cover is by (c) Marc Johns.
Visit his site for more: http://www.marcjohns.com

Feb 22, 2013

My First Time | Snow Tubing

Last weekend I took a short trip to the mountains to celebrate a friends birthday! Christina and I have been friends since high school so I think this marks year number nine since we became friends! Time flies. I remember hanging out directly after school to take naps at each others house, playing monkeys in our theater department's rendition of "Tarzan", and various trips to Myrtle Beach. Oh the memories!

She had this grand idea to go snow tubing up at Hawksnest in Seven Devils, NC (about 30 minutes from Boone) and how grand the idea was! I had an absolute blast zipping down the snowy/icy hills which took limited physical activity (yet I was sore afterward?). Aside from the long lines, it was a little adventure. Plus, the best apple cider I have ever had didn't hurt either.

Here are some snapshots from our mini snow excursion :)
All photos were taken + edited from my iPhone.
I will actually be back in Boone this weekend to work with YGHP! We have some great plans ahead in the design world and I can't wait to share :)

Have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Feb 10, 2013

A Book A Month | Eat Pray Love

 Woo-hoo! The first book for my A Book A Month Challenge is under my belt, and no better way to welcome this new challenge than with Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Before Julia Roberts was part of the picture, my friends have been urging me to read this book. Four years, a trip to goodwill and $.50 later, I have finally arrived. As soon as I fell upon this book in the local goodwill, I just knew it was about dang time I made an effort to finally make reading this book a priority.

In my review of Eat Pray Love, there are no spoilers so you're safe if you have not read it!

Eat Pray Love was a great book to start off the year because it talks about some of my favorite things such as travel, self-discovery, love, spirituality, food, meeting new people and learning to be alone. I have surprisingly seen a lot of negative book reviews... mostly about Liz being self-absorbed, privileged, neurotic and whiny. Although she is not my favorite book character, there were a lot of things that I respected about her. I didn't find her decisions to divorce her husband, quit her job and travel to three countries as delusional, unorthodox and crazy. Instead I found them to be imperfect, indecisive, lost (like most of our own decisions) but most importantly courageous. Regardless of the whys behind her decisions, she made an executive one to change her life by traveling the world and I just can't help but respect someone for doing that.

It took me some time to get used to her writing style. It seemed all over the place, jumping from ex-lovers to post divorce scenarios to eating pizza in Italy to childhood memories with her sister. Of course I found her constant impatience as unnerving and annoying, but thing is, we all have those moments. She just wrote about it...in full detail. This book isn't per se, my favorite, but I did learn a lot through her struggles of loneliness, spiritual brick walls, getting over a lover and letting go. Through her journey, I found some peace and tranquility in my own personal chaos. Instead of falling in love with her character or even the storyline, I fell in love with her concepts of searching for pleasure, devotion and balance. Even though she complains about men the most in her book, the male characters in the book were my favorite part! (Hey Richard, Yudhi and Felipe).

Before I delve too much into detail, here are my favorite excerpts: (sorry it's lengthy)

"Il bel far niente" - Italian for the beauty of doing nothing

"l'arte d'arrangiarsi" - Italian for the art of making something out of nothing

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection." (95)

"We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme Self who is eternally at peace." (122)

"Just keep throwing six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time." (148)

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you and then they leave." (149)
 "But I love him. So love him.
But I miss him. So miss him.
Send him love and light every time you think of him and then drop it." (150)

"Devotion is diligence without assurance." (175)

"If faith were rational, it wouldn't be - by definition - faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark." (175)

"Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship - a play between divine grace and willful self-effort. Half of it you have no control over; half of it is absolutely in your hands, and your actions will show measurable consequence. Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he's a little of both." (177)

"Devo farmi le ossa" - I need to make my bones.

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it and sometimes even travel the world looking for it." (260)

"I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the main to ascend to his own greatness. Many times In romance I have been a victim of my own optimism." (285)

"Sometimes you count the days, sometimes you weigh them." (306)

In theory, I give this book:

Feb 8, 2013

Featured Artist | Emmanual José

I am happy to introduce to you Emmanual José, a creative soul with a knack for paper-cutting, photography and all things art. We actually met for the first time this past Halloween through mutual family friends and from then I just knew I had to share his unique talent! If you live in Raleigh, you have probably seen his artwork displayed at Jubala in Lafayette Village or Busy Bee in downtown. If you want to see his art, check out Cafe Helios! What I love most about this work is his dedication to create a new card each week and took something standard like playing cards and turned them into his own canvas. I'll stop boring you with my praise and let you get to know him yourself :)

Be sure to follow him and watch his progress!

1. Introduce yourself. Hobbies, interests, quirks, favorite quotes? Anything!
Hi, I'm Emmanuel, and I'm a whole lot of P's: Pinoy, Painter, Photographer, Papercutter. I love art, I can eat anything, and capuchin monkeys scare me a little, haha.

My favorite quote is: 

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. What sparked the interest to create one playing card a week?
In college, I started a series of playing card paintings, but my professor disliked them and I ended up painting other subject matter. After college, I ended up in a job that wasn't conducive to my creativity, and I was hungry to have art in my life again. I still wanted to do a playing card series and so as a personal challenge, I decided to make one card a week.

3. Recently your art has become your full-time commitment. How is your transition so far? Challenges?
The transition has been liberating but also admittedly scary since this is all new to me. I finally have the time to pursue art as a passion and as a career, and while I don't know yet how the future will unfold, I know that I owe it to myself to do what makes me happy. 

4. Where do you find your inspiration for creating each card for each deck?
More often than not, I have found inspiration when I'm away from home. I could be anywhere, but I get more ideas when I'm simply walking around, taking in all the sights around me. My mind has to wander figuratively and literally away from my normal surroundings for inspiration to arrive.

5. Can you walk us through a little bit of the process from brainstorming an idea of a card to actually creating it?
Sure. I usually begin by taking out a normal deck of cards and my sketchbook. I take a look at the card that I'm going to create and I mentally "fill in" the negative space around the pips (the suit symbols) to create a context. If I already have an idea for that specific card, the sketching and drawing process happens pretty quickly. If I don't know what I'm doing (which happens a lot), I make up stories or situations that occur within the world of that card, so to speak. 

I draw everything on a newsprint-like draft paper, and when I'm happy with the drawing, I overlay the draft paper over the black, white, or red paper that I want to cut. Sometimes I draw directly on the black, white, or red paper, but I prefer drawing on the draft paper since I do a lot of erasing and editing.

For the card itself, I make what I call the "base" first. The base is the white component of the card, and I trim the white paper and round the corners. I've made paper stock templates for all the index characters (the numerals and letters), and once I make the indices I affix them to the base. I create the "face" of the card last, and the face of the card is comprised of the larger pips and the idea for the card. I use a brand of double-sided tape to affix everything since wet adhesives will warp the paper.

Examples of his work. Rest of the interview below.

6. Besides paper-cutting and design, do you have any other art-related hobbies/interests?
Yes, painting is a longtime love of mine, and I'm excited to be able to do more of it. I only started photography in my last year of college, but I find it incredibly fascinating. There's still so much about the technical side of photography that I know nothing about, but it's a world I'm eager to explore.

7. What are some of your goals for your art?
I want to create art that is accessible. I wouldn't call my playing card art esoteric at all, because it's not meant to be. The original cards may be framed and hanging on walls, but the decks they become end up being held, shared, and played with. The meaning they take on in other people's hands go far beyond any meaning or idea I've presented on the cards. 

8. Do you listen to certain music while you're in the studio?
I listen to all genres of music, but I usually listen to slow to mid-tempo songs while I'm making art. I tend to create art slowly, so I like music that matches my pace. An example of a go-to musician for me is Oliver Tank.

Thank you for stopping by the blog and letting us peek into your creative process! I am absolutely blown away by each card and the concepts behind each one. I feel as though people can take something that they are used to (because we've all played with a deck of cards at least once in our lives right?) and get a chance to look at it in a different light. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors!

For more examples, please visit his website and follow him!

Feb 7, 2013


Natalie over at 23Seveteen hosts "Coffee Talk" every Thursday and it's about dang time I join in the fun! During Coffee Talk, Natalie asks us bloggers a handful of questions and we all link-up and get to know each other better. I absolutely love this idea and am excited to finally participate. Well, here goes nothing!

1. What's for dinner tonight?
Honestly, probably leftovers! I am such an avid leftover-eater though. I absolutely dislike wasting food and sometimes things just taste better the second time around, i.e. pizza. I have the wonderful advantage of going home to my mom's wonderful cooking so there's that, too! I am saving my "going out to eat fund" for this weekend (Hey, Boone!) and next weekend (Hey, Boston!).

2. Top three TV shows you never miss.
THIS IS SUCH A HARD ONE. Unfortunately I do not really watch television shows when they first air, but with things like Netflix, friends with DVR, re-runs on tv websites, I try to stay caught up. Right now some shows that are on air that I hate to miss include Once Upon A Time, How I Met Your Mother and Girls! (I am currently finishing up Brothers and Sisters on Netflix as well).
3. What type of body wash are currently using?
Satsuma from The Body Shop! I have been indulging in this scent since high school! I love it so much my mom used to buy me the gift sets every Valentine's Day. I wonder if she will this Valentine's Day! I can always depend on her to make me feel loved on this "commercially couple's holiday". Anyway, this scent is fantastic. I have always been a fan of the fruity/citrus/sweet scents without it being overbearing. Definitely a great body wash to use in the morning, afternoon or evening. The body butter is even better!

4. Take a photo of what's in front of you.

Part of my living room.

5. What's your favorite fruit?
Hmm....... I am going to have to go with mangoes. Oh wait! Oranges. Wait... PINEAPPLE, but only if I eat it in Costa Rica :) Those three are probably my favorites... they just can't compete with one another!

6. Spring is almost here (well, it's already here for us Floridians haha) show me your go-to outfit
Skinny jeans, Hanes Men White V neck, cardigan, wedges (or flats) and a fun light scarf. I'm a simple girl.

Well, you got to know a little bit more about me :)
Can't wait to read everybody's answers! If you would like, share with me your own answers in the comments below or link up with Natalie!

*top photo was taken a couple years ago at my old apartment in Boone while I was in college.

Feb 5, 2013


Hi friends, bloggers and businesses!

I caved and made the switch to Passionfruit Ads, seriously the easiest way to organize and stay on top of sponsorships. If you visit my sponsorship page, you can register for a slot alongside my sidebar. I love meeting new people, discovering new businesses, supporting them and most of all sharing them. I would love to work with you. There are options for purchasing ad space or button swapping!

In order to button swap, I am requesting you to email me and I will give you the "special code" to make your button free. Thank you for my current sponsors for being awesome. I look forward to continue working with you. If you're new around here, check out the blog and if it's your fancy, let's work together.

Read more about me here and read more about my blog here.

*Photo above was taken using my Holga camera in the summer of 2011 (c) Melissa Vega.


Photograph + Design (c) Melissa

The mountains have a special place in my heart. So far, they have been the place where I experienced the most changes in my life - the good, the bad, the ugly, but mostly the learning. The photo above is one of my favorite views off of 421 on the drive up to Boone. This weekend I am taking a short trip up there for business, and of course for pleasure. It will forever be one of those places that means the world to me. It's my little haven. Remember that letter I wrote to Boone? It's amazing how much one place can change you.

Here are a collection of songs that remind me of Appalachian + Boone.
I can't wait to be reunited this weekend! Even if only for a weekend.

1 | 1904 - The Tallest Man on Earth
2 | The Avalanche - Sufjan Stevens
3 | Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men
4 | The Cave - Mumford & Sons
5 | Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show
6 | Die Die Die - The Avett Brothers
7 | Learning To Fly - Tom Petty
8 | Sodom, South Georgia - Iron & Wine
9 | Meet Me In The Morning - Bob Dylan
10 | Crossroads - Tracy Chapman
11 | Rooster - Toubab Krewe
12 | Rivers And Roads - The Head And The Heart
13 | Take Me Home, Country Road - John Denver
14 | Tin Man - The Avett Brothers
15 | Falling Away - Benjamin Pacheco
16 | Stubborn Love - The Lumineers
17 | Towers - Bon Iver
18 | When I Go - Brett Dennen
19 | Four Winds - Bright Eyes
20 | Pink Moon - Nick Drake
21 | All The Trees Of The Fields Will Clap Their Hands - Sufjan Stevens
22 | Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
23 | Mixtape - Tift Merritt
24 | Sing - Travis
25 | Suzanna - The Wildbirds
26 | Dance, Dance, Dance - Steven Miller Band
27 | Home - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
28 | Down In The Valley - The Head And The Heart
29 | Winter - Joshua Radin
30 | Mountain And The Sea - Ingrid Michaelson
31 | Flowers In Your Hair - The Lumineers

Happy Listening!

Listen on 8tracks | Spotify*

*Click on the link and choose Spotify as the application. It will automatically take you to the playlist! Be sure to subscribe to keep the playlist on your queue :)

Feb 3, 2013



Last Sunday, my friend Melissa and I took a day trip to Carrboro + Chapel Hill to visit her sister Molly. Our afternoon consisted of walks downtown for burgers, records, book stores, coffee and just all out good company. I tried Buns for the first time and loved it. They have great options to customize your burger. My burger and I were a match made in heaven. An angus beef patty with brie cheese (yes, brie), lettuce, grilled onion, tomato, mayo and a side of regular and sweet potato fries! Can't think of a better combination.

To walk off the burgers, we first visited CD Alley, where I literally could not make stop picking up vinyl. I ended up buying Ray LaMontagne, Florence + The Machine and Iron & Wine... even though there were about 10 more I wanted. No trip downtown is complete without a book store and coffee. I had been searching for a new book to read for my A Book A Month Challenge, and we found the one I was looking for at a used book store. I introduce, My Boyfriend Wrote A Book Me: And Other Stories I Shouldn't Share with Acquaintances, Coworkers, Taxi drivers, Assistants, Job Interviewers, ... and Ex/Current/Future Boyfriends but Have. I mean, do I really even need to share our excited I am about this? In Beyoncé mode: All the single ladies put yo' hands up!

All in all, it was a great day for a day trip. I know I am supposed to be where I am right now to save money, be logical about my post-graduate decisions and be realistic, but I definitely have the travel bug pestering me. For now, I have my weekends! World, I promise you, I have some plans to explore you soon enough. Let me explore my backyard first :)

All photos were taken using my iPhone. Bottom two were taken by Melissa.

Feb 1, 2013


Well hello! I'm Erin and I blog over at Studio 336. Melissa invited me to pop over and share a few things with you today, and I couldn't be more happy to do so.

I've been reading The 25th Hour for some time now. Every time I stop by I'm encouraged to find that 25th hour, the hour of taking it easy, going out for coffee, reading that book you've been wanting to read, or tackling that project you've been meaning to get to, for.. say.. about 2 years now. I know I'm not the only one who could use more hours in a day which is why we all need to find that 25th hour. Find the time to do things that are good for the soul.


1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6.

Handmade. Printed, screened, painted, built, or drawn. It's all made by hand. There's something about know that someone put time and effort into make these goods that makes them even more special than they already are. And then, to know that you can directly effect that same person, by purchasing their item. It's fulfilling.. not to mention that awesome knew thing you have to wear, or use, or have remind you of something good. That's how I see these things. This is almost always how I spend my 25th hour. Now, to find a 26th hour to get that coffee and start working on that project.

Melissa, It's been a pleasure, and to your readers, I'd love if you'd stop by Studio 336, and feel free to stay a while. You'll find an assortment of handmade finds, small production goodness, the occasional DIY idea, and giveaways. I love to share what I love, and if you end up loving those things too, well I won't complain. You can also find me on facebook, and twitter, and instagram, and pinterest, or in my shop. But really, it'd make my day if you stopped by to say hi!


Isn't Erin wonderful? I just simply love her taste so much! Be sure to check out her blog and follow her as well. She posts the most amazing handmade items, some even her own! She's such a talented and inspiring individual. I assure you, you will be seeing more of her soon :) Thanks Erin for stopping by!