Monday, January 23, 2012

Dollar store rustic wrapping with book pages

Happy Monday, y'all!

I just wanted to share a pretty little present I wrapped up at a creative wrapping presentation here in town.

So, I have been slightly obsessed with old book pages since I found a few old German books at a flea market a couple years ago. I cut up some of the pages and used them in a giant mural my one semester as an art student. I'm always looking for ideas to use book pages in decorating, so I hit the jackpot when I ran across this post by The Nester on Pinterest.

She threw a "book party" and for under $30, turned their home into an Anthropolie-esque wonderland. It was absolutely gorgeous. This one is my favorite.

Isn't that lovely! Anyhow, I decided to follow suite in the thrifty department and did my entire presentation using everything Dollar Store. I got giant books and ripped out the pages ( I mean, if they're at the Dollar Store, they can't possibly be worth reading, so I didn't feel so bad.) I also bought dictionaries and a thesaurus, doilies, jute and kraft paper, and feathers, and this is what I came up with:

I just love the layers of texture.  I chose the page for "love" but you could chose any word that describes your recipient.

Why shouldn't the wrapping be as special as the gift? If you have any wrapping ideas, feel free to share!

xoxo- Kayli

Currently listening to "The Stable Song" by Gregory Alan Isakov

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012:In One Little Word

As I start my journey as a blogging newbie, my eyes have been opened to the virtual community that the blog world holds and the inspirational people along the way. I really started this as a way to write for myself, instead of as an assignment (my 9-to-5 is as a public relations writer). What I didn't expect was this underground energy of creative types like me, trying to find their purpose...trying to craft their passion into a plan for their lives.

So this is my first "link party"...I'm not even sure what I'm doing, but I saw a subtly inspiring post over at The Lettered Cottage, one of my blogger icons. It simply asked readers to post one word to think about and work toward in 2012. So simple, yet I was almost brought to tears by the other's word choices: courage, now, possible.

After reading a little blog post over at Design*Sponge by Mariah Danielson of Oh What Love,  I was so inspired by their Create + Connect Project, which encourages creative entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, and that a blissful and successful life as an artist is rewarding. That a leap of faith will change your life, and that a stumble does not equal failure.

I thought long and hard about MY word. It was a tie. My first thought was journey....the change, the unknown, the excitement that word entails. But when I really got down to it, my word was:

Purpose. Such a powerful conviction. I've always considered myself a "Jack of all Trades, but a Master of None." I'm so interested and inspired by so many things, but I lack focus to feel fulfilled in even one of my interests. Don't get me wrong...I really love my job. I have the creative freedom (for the most part) to do what I want, when I want to. But I feel there's this desire deep within that's dying to get create, to have purpose! To me, that word means crafting your life to follow God's plan, and being in tune with what makes you tick.

So I'm glad you're here... on my "purposeful journey" of sorts. :) I encourage you to visit the other posters on the link party. It's a unique look at the human side of people who may just be just like you..with .insecurities and vulnerabilities, but more importantly,  a desire to follow their hearts and find their purpose in this crazy beautiful life.

Friday Feature: Houston Artist Kristi Rae Wilson

I recently stumbled upon an article in the Houston Chronicle about a Houston artist who "upcycles" vintage textiles and creates them into beautiful wearable artwork. Kristi Rae Wilson is a girl after my own heart...I was instantly intrigued by the way she transformed these remnants into interesting pieces while telling the story of the women behind the heirlooms in the process.

I recently interviewed Kristi for the Winter 2011 issue of Sawdust magazine. She was such a pleasure to talk to, and her story inspired me to keep creating. You can see the magazine spread here, page 10, or read the full story below. Enjoy!

{ Photos by Hardy Meredith}

Great and Grand

by Kayli Steger Head

Professional artist and jeweler Kristi Rae Wilson ’06 has made a career of breathing new life into simple objects, transforming them into wearable works of art and telling a story in the process.
Interesting textiles, family heirlooms and vintage collectibles are among the vehicles Wilson uses to create a unique narrative about familial roles of women, among other subjects. She recently completed a yearlong stint as an Artist in Residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, where she had the opportunity to experiment with and exhibit unconventional wearable art. A recent feature story in the Houston Chronicle celebrated her craftsmanship and timeliness, saying that her pieces are “right on trend.” Her work is now housed in the hip Winter Street Studios, home to one of the largest group of fine artists in the Houston area.
The Houston native changed her major from psychology and began to analyze a new medium in art metals/jewelry after seeing a unique necklace on a fellow student. In addition to her artwork, Wilson now teaches 3D Design at the Houston Community College.
From a young age, Wilson was interested in making things. Her grandmother, Viola, was influential in her sewing craft, and days in the crafting room at an aunt’s farm cultivated her creativity. Her first job as a sign-making assistant led her to a love of machinery, discovering how things work, and the tactile components that would inspire future work. She later inherited a sewing machine while working as a caretaker for a grandmother in Nacogdoches, and always felt a connection to her legacy as she created new works of art.
Wilson has been known to call herself a storyteller, materialsmith, jeweler and most recently, a hospice for things. Wilson’s inspiration stems from a wide range of sources: from her grandmother’s quilting blocks, to watching her father fix cars. This later led to her deconstruction of a car—screw by screw—an art piece that she successfully completed in graduate school.  
“I was very much invested in understanding why people are attached to things and it fascinated me that the things we own require maintenance, just like a body.”
Wilson said her part-time job at Buffalo Exchange, a secondhand retail store, not only provided a treasure trove of vintage materials, but also connected her to the people and stories associated with the castoff clothing.
Her latest collection, “Homage to the Greats and Grands,” showcases homespun crafts from Houston-area grandmothers who introduced the art forms of quilting, embroidering and tatting to their families. She transformed the heirlooms into large-scale jewelry, and guests can listen to interviews of family members who describe the woman behind the craft. The work is part of the exhibit Beyond Beautiful: Rethinking Domestic Craft, which is on view at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft until January.
“For me, the fabric is a way to tap into a time where women lived to work rather than today where we work to live,” Wilson explained.
“To use these fabrics in jewelry only makes sense. It is such an intimate experience to get to wear these materials on the body—to be a part of the hands that worked so labor intensively on a hand-crafted object.”
xoxo Kayli

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pretty Spring Wedding Flowers and Backyard Newlyweds

Happy Tuesday!

Just a few shots from a sweet backyard wedding I had the pleasure of shooting last Saturday and the wedding flowers I made for the lovely bride and groom! They were the cutest!

Erik <3 Heather

Perhaps these pretty flowers made up for the fact that right before the wedding, I tried to move a three-tier flower display and ended up dumping a dozen pansies and soil RIGHT where they were about to say the vows...where everyone was watching. The evidence:

NICE move! The bride thanked me for the comic relief and for giving her a big belly laugh to calm her nerves. What can I say? Anything for a happy bride :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rustic Ranch Wedding Details and Decor

Hello, friends! 

I've been asked by several lovely friends to share some of the details of my experience planning our Oct. 15 wedding in La Grange. It was worth every ounce of hard work, and the details truly made it our own unique soiree.

My lovely bridemaids wore the multi-way dress from Victoria's Secret for under $80 a piece. I'm pretty sure they loved me for that! The dresses were a bit hard to figure out, but check out these tutorials on YouTube by Michelle New York. Once we got everyone safety pinned in, they looked gorgeous and were totally danceable. They all wore their own cowgirl boots. I found the flower girl dress at Ross for $18, removed the cheesy fake flower, and trimmed it with pretty ribbon and a feather flower. My dress is a Maggie Sottero that I found at Anonymously Yours, a hole-in-the-wall consignment shop in Dallas. It was brand new (the bridal shop had gone out of business) and I paid $500 for it. Love a good bargain!! Found my flower girl's pail at a garage sale. Flowers are by me :)

 The fellas wore tan-colored suits from Al's Formal Wear. FYI: It is perfectly acceptable to have fewer groomsmen than bridemaids. The last two guys got to walk down with two girls instead of complaints! :)

The "Guestbook Table" was an antique dresser filled with linens and our programs, which I designed and printed on kraft paper cardstock and tied with antique lace. The guests signed picture books from Shutterstock with photos of our engagement. 

When you're in the middle of a pasture, the dilemma of where and how the girls would arrived was solved by riding in on a biggo tractor! The girls rode in on a hayride covered in vintage quilts. The groomsmen were waiting at the end of the aisle to help them down and walk down the aisle with them.

 This is a big picture of the site. The guys built our arbor of cedar trees from the land. We draped it with chiffon and hung colored mason jars from the back. We made the aisle our of white rocks lined with loose hay and shepherds hooks. A rustic tree stump hold our engagement portrait at the end of the aisle.

 This is one of my favorite shots. We left this fallen tree in the pasture for this purpose.
 I rode in on my stepdad's 1930 Model A coupe. It doubled for adorable photo ops afterward! The bunting is made of burlap, jute and chipboard from the scrapbook aisle.
 I designed these koozies, which I got from Discount Koozies. They were less than 75 cents each and doubled as favors.
 These awesome beer steins were from Derek's grandparents' restaurant in La Grange, which was open in the 70s. Patrons would have custom mugs made and kept at the bar. We had around 70 laying around in the barn, so we cleaned them up and let guests take them home afterward. HUGE hit!
 Our families scoured flea markets and yard sales for months finding more than 180 pieces of mismatched china for our table settings. The tags were found at Staples and we stamped them with several similar stamps. This stamp was from Hobby Lobby.
 I dreamed up this cupcake display and it turned out just like I wanted it to. we collected wood stumps from the land and made all sizes and levels. We covered the table and wood pieces with vintage linens and doilies and threaded lights between the logs. We also incorporated vintage cake stands. We had three flavors of cupcakes from Eat Cake! in La Grange--spice cake, red velvet and butter cream. We topped them with cute "I do" flags made by me.
 Derek's grandma Shirley is an award-winning pie maker and a county fair favorite, so naturally we asked her to bake about a dozen pumpkin pies (Derek's fave). We framed her story on the table to the rights and sprinkled in a few of my bridals. Levels were key here!

 We strung cafe lights across our homemade dance floor and inside the tent, too. It was much easier than renting one, and we used the frames and plywood later. It was really rustic but was a big hit. We spent hours dancing the night away.
{All images by Nathan Addison Photography}

Sometime soon, I'll share the do's and don'ts of planning a ranch wedding!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

To the dreamers, creators, free spirits

I read a book recently that annoyed me about 75 percent of the time but I read it anyway, hoping for a redeeming quality and refusing to put another half-read book back on the shelf and remind myself that I never finish anything. The book probably got under my skin because the writer was so much like me, struggling to find her place in the world, her true calling and taking the leap of faith that makes a rewarding life possible.

Anyway, I’m glad I finished it because the last few chapters were what I was hoping for–an inspiring call to action that reaffirmed faith in my work. She talked about artists and the beauty that art brings to the world. Writers write to calm the turning wheels in their heads, but I rarely think about the avid readers who crave something to quench their thirst for knowledge. She talked about musicians, and how the lyrics and melody to a single song can stir your soul, desperate for the artist to continue with their craft, to hope to feel that magic over and over for a long time to come. She says it better than I remember, so here:

I know that life is busy and hard, and that there’s crushing pressure to just settle down and get a real job and khaki pants and a haircut. But don’t. Please don’t. Please keep believing that life can be better, brighter, broader, because of the art that you make. Please keep demonstrating the courage that it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry, that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul. Please keep making art for people like me, people who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable.” -Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, “Needle and Thread”

That's what I needed to hear! I recently saw a sign on Pinterest that read "I just want to make beautiful things even if no one cares."  I'm here to say that...people care!!! The people that appreciate a creative outlet and what it can do for your spirit. I love that sites like Pinterest and Etsy have spurred a craft revolution of sorts. Handmade is once again appreciated. The love put into artwork is once again valued, and the story behind a piece is endearing and celebrated.

What makes your story unique? Follow that creative desire, even if its just for the pure enjoyment of tinkering around for an afternoon... just play! Who knows what you'll come up with.  Just keep on working to make beautiful things. Someone appreciates them, and the person that might benefit the most is yourself.

xoxo- Kayli

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rustic wedding accessories, made with love

Better late than never, I had a chance to work on a new collection of rustic wedding accessories this weekend! I love taking a Sunday afternoon to just make pretty things. Such a stress reliever! My Etsy store is now respectably "stocked." :)

I ran across an awesome branch of cotton bolls (not cotton balls...that is the proper name I just found out) at a local antique market in town and got to work creating these little cuties:

Wouldn't they look fabulous for a rustic wedding? They were so fun to make that I made another dozen of these babies: 

I'm kicking myself because I bought these balsa wood flowers for my wedding from (a great resource for DIY brides, by the way) and never used them! What a simple, affordable and reusable bout.

My last project was a replica of my hair fascinator at the wedding. I wanted to rock the bird cage veil SO bad, but in the elements of a ranch wedding, it wasn't happening. Not to mention, I don't think I could pull it off! But, I adore the look of classic. SO, I bought a yard on Etsy and incorporated just a touch, along with a deconstructed silk rose and ostrich feathers. The result was pure cuteness!

Stylish, but without the commitment and fussiness. Very similar to my own:

{Photo by Nathan Addison}


If you know of any rustic brides, send them my way! I know it's hard to find the wedding details you want, and I'm here to help!

P. S. My big day will soon be featured on the fabulous Rustic Wedding Chic blog! Woohoo! I'll link back when it's published. :)

Thanks for stopping by! xoxo Kayli

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nacogdoches: A Love Story

One of the most fun parts of my job at a university is writing for our magazine and sharing the story of interesting alumni and programs. It gives me pride in my Alma Mater and inspires me to follow my dreams.

My latest assignment allows me to be a tourist in my own town, a travel writer of sorts, exploring all the fun and fare in The Oldest Town in Texas. If you would have asked me in 2004 {when I started at SFA as an undergrad} to write a story about all the wonderful things about Nacogdoches, I would have balked and said never, ever. Ever. Back then, I was a bonafide city girl, and the tiny town was nothing but torture with a lack of decent shopping and non-existent nightlife.

But after two moves back and forth to the big city, I realized how much I really do love this quirky small town. Everyone knows everyone, and they would do anything for you. The connections I've made here have been priceless. You're always greeted with a smile, and despite what some college kids may say, I rarely have a night with nothing to do. In fact, I'm always turning down offers to stop by Flashback Cafe (my favorite version of "Cheers") or bar up for happy hour at Auntie Pastas.

Now that I let go and decided that Nacogdoches will never be a big city like that, I've discovered all the priceless and endearing things that make it lovely. I found myself here. Fell in love, fell out of love. Dabbled as an art student. Made mistakes. Had conversations that touched my soul. Grew up. Lived on my own, but was never alone. Made friends that will last a lifetime. Got my first post-grad job in the field I wanted {my husband got his, too}. Had strangers congratulate me on our wedding announcement in the paper. Little things that you often take for granted. No doubt, Nacogdoches has been good to us. It's the reason people stay here and grow old. It's the reason people leave and wished they wouldn't have. Just something about it.

Now that we've bought our first home here, it really puts into perspective what kind of town you want your kids to grow up in. Being in my hometown, you were anonymous, without a sense of community or connection to your neighbor. Now, I can't step foot in a store without stopping for a 10 minute chat and catching up with so-and-so. And its crazy refreshing! Of course I miss some of the amenities of the city, but the trade off is worth it. I can always go visit. And I usually leave with highway driving anxiety and a lot less money in my pocket.

Yesterday we had a day of photo shoots for my Nacogdoches story, and it reaffirmed my belief that I'm right where I need to be.
This is me and Gracie at Heart of Texas, a quintessential quaint gift shop on the downtown square. I just wanted to take her home with me! We just played in the floor while we laughed and chatted about business with owner Geri Larabee. It just felt like home, the way it feels at most of my favorite places in Nacogdoches. It was also a great opportunity to appreciate all the blessings I have in my own backyard.

So it may not be the big city life I had planned for myself so many years ago, but what it lacks in size, Nacogdoches makes up for in heart. And in a time when everyone seems so busy, hurried and stressed out, it's nice to know that small town America is still alive and well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bunting + Cafe Lights= Love

Hey y'all!

I'm currently obsessed with all the cute bunting and cafe lights floating around the design-osphere these days. Bunting is so easy to make, and adds a festive touch to parties of any kind--from birthdays to bridal showers. Cafe lights add a relaxed patio feel to an otherwise boring space. I used both at my wedding:

{Bottom two images by Nathan Addison Photography}

My crafty mama made the bunting with cut burlap, jute, scrapbook paper and chipboard letters. Craftiness runs in the family. :) 

Not only do bunting and cafe lights make a subtle statement at events, the graphics adds a simple little something to design pieces. I stumbled upon a few FREE Photoshop bunting and light brushes by Mels Brushes at iDIY. Download them here! Then get to creating! I used them in one of my new ads:

Cute, huh? Oh yes, and my pretty model Emma, too. These would look so cute on DIY invitations or save the dates. Ask me about creating some for you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A sweet country wedding

Howdy y'all!

I had the honor of capturing a few images at the vow renewal of Matt and Season Ammons last week at Festival Hill in Round Top, Texas. The pretty lady happens to my sister-in-law. She also happens to be a rock star. Really. And she is honestly one of the most amazing and soulful live singer songwriters I've had the pleasure of hearing. This is her website. Do yourself a favor and visit it. Listen to her songs. Buy her new album {with cover images by me!} You'll love her, I promise!

Matt and Season renewed their vows after 10 years of marriage. He is in the Navy and they were just stationed in Destin, Florida. {I can't wait to visit! Destin is one of my favorite places in the U.S.} They have two cutie kids named Cadis and Nash. It was such a sweet and touching ceremony. They said "I do" again in the same chapel her parents were married in. It is an absolutely picturesque location! Here are a few of my favorites.

Myrna, Jackie and I decorated the cake from Eat Cake Bakery in La Grange {who did my delish wedding cupcakes!} The "I do...again" flag was inspired by mine:

Yum! {Photo by the awesome Nathan Addison, my wedding photog}

So sweet! Through the ups and downs that all marriages face, you can tell they are still sooo in love! We could feel it!

All you need is love. :) xoxo Kayli

Monday, January 2, 2012

New year, new beginnings

Happy 2012! Back in the office after a blissful week of family, friends and festivities. We had Christmas at the Ranch, celebrated Derek's sister's wedding vow renewal, my 26th birthday, new years all in one week. On top of that, our offer was accepted on our first home!!! YAY!!! It's so very cute...surrounded by beautiful East Texas pine trees and brimming with potential. I can't wait to share some home improvement projects soon. Here it is:
Yes, I know, it's not a charming cottage, but I can't wait to transform it into the closest thing to it! Bring on the before and after pictures!

I believe this year will be full of new and exciting beginnings in my life.  I have been reading a book called The Happiness Project  by Grethen Rubin, and it's all about making small changes to make a profound difference in your everyday turn making you happier! Like the author, I'm not unhappy. Far from it actually. But we tend to get so bogged down and waste energy stressing, worrying and over-analyzing that we forget to savor the little things in life that make it so sweet.

SO...resolution time. You can hold me accountable for the following things this year (and more things if you think I'm just plain off-track or should definitely not eat that piece of cheesecake):

1.) Be a more thoughtful friend
We all have them in our lives...that person who does a simple thing to change your day around, gives you the perfect gift or calls you just because they know you might be having a tough day. I want that to be me! After being showered with love during our wedding, I realized how much a simple gesture can mean to people. So whether it be homemade gifts, a birthday card or a shoulder to cry on, I will make a conscious effort to be more thoughtful.

2.) Do something creative every day
I don't think it's a secret that being creative makes me tick and that creativity is just plain good for the soul. Writing this blog is a big step in this process. It doesn't matter the, artwork, design, writing....every single day, I will create or seek inspiration.

3.) Take better care of myself
I'm an incredibly self-indulgent person. A sucker for sweets, wine and good times. Of course, all of this is part of living a good and happy life, but your body can hate you for it. I'll sacrifice a night out here and there for an early next morning walk and coffee. I'll eat more organically from local farms and responsible food sources. My wallet and my body will thank me. :)

4.) Finish what I start
I'm SO terrible about not finishing what I start. My studio with orphaned half-done projects reflects that perfectly, along with a dozen half-read books on my shelf. This very blog almost suffered the same fate. But, no more! That's not to say that everything will be a masterpiece, or that some things won't be abandoned. If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't growing. It's learning from the mistakes and making them better next go round that is important.

5.) Live my dreams
This year, I want to not only contribute to other blogs, but also get into the art and antique show circuit. I've always loved seeking out handmade treasures, and I want to get in on all the fun! After talking with my talented sister-in-laws, we are making plans to be at the Fall 2012 Warrenton/Round Top Antique Days {The big daddy antique festival in Central Texas....If you haven't been, you're missing out!!} It will happen! Gathering up our wares and making a solid game plan to get out there!

There are plenty more things that I need to work on, I'm sure, but this is a good start. Thanks for hanging out on this journey of mine! Can't wait to share a year of inspiration with you! Wishing you good fortune and lots of love in 2012. xoxo Kayli