Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Advent Calendar DIY

I love Valentine's Day. And not only because I love any excuse to eat a wide variety of things covered in chocolate, but because I love to make handmade cards, gifts, etc. and give them to the people I love! I'm lucky enough to have an awesome dude in my life who I can shower with cheesy things on heart day, but if I didn't, I'd be Galentine-ing it, Leslie Knope style.

This V-day DIY is based on a tradition I've forced upon Josh for the past three years: the Valentine's advent calendar!

Starting on February first, you get to open one envelope a day leading up to Valentine's Day, to reveal a love note, tiny piece of origami, small gifts like movie tickets/love-y coupons, etc. Here is the advent calendar I created this year, along with instructions for you to make your own!

  • number stencils
  • red acrylic paint & small paint brush 
  • scissors 
  • double-sided tape or glue stick 
  • small kraft envelopes (I used 3.25" square ones from Michael's) 
  • scrapbook paper OR up-cycled book pages (dictionary pages would work perfectly!) 
  • mini clothespins & baker's twine (optional)
  • notes, candy, and other small gifts

  • Cut 14 small hearts, about 2.75" wide, out of the scrapbook paper or book pages. I used the super-handy Silhouette Cameo, but you can easily cut them by hand.
  • Using the stencils, paint numbers 1-14 on the patterned side of the hearts. Allow the paint to dry about 10 minutes.
  • With double-sided tape or a glue stick, adhere hearts to the outside of the envelopes.
  • Stick some love-y notes, small candy or other little trinkets inside the envelopes and seal (with a kiss). Display using twine and mini clothespins to string them on the wall, or simply stick them to the wall with double-sided tape in the shape of a heart.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Empty Desk, Empty Mind?

In the words of Dwight Schrute, an empty desk...means an empty mind. And that's exactly what I needed to start my day today! (That, and some seriously strongly brewed Intelligentsia.)

MUCH BETTER! I have a lot on my plate right now: planning my boyfriend's birthday next weekend, freelance jobs and Etsy orders, and making LOTS of product for Unique LA (yay!). Often my Type A tendencies take over, and organizing and cleaning and (over-)planning can actually become distractions from being productive, so I'm trying to learn to properly balance these two different forms of chaos.

Today I knew I wouldn't be able to plant myself at my desk like I needed to until some papers were filed, old lists were thrown away, and, most importantly, some new & old inspiring pieces were displayed afresh. (Note the beautiful mini-painting above by the insanely talented Whitney Arrington!)

Unfortunately many of the bits and pieces from the desk-jungle ended up pinned to the corkboard above my desk...oh well. We'll call it contained chaos.

What are some ways you tune out the distractions and focus on the good stuff?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Announcement + A NEW Design!

Last week I got some really awesome news. Yellow House Handmade has been chosen as a vendor for the Unique LA 2012 Holiday Show! I've shopped this show (and the Spring show, and the Summer show...) for the past two years, and it's so well curated and fun and inspiring and I am absolutely THRILLED to officially be part of this community!

I'll be working on lots of new designs for the show that I'll share as I go. Here is the latest, a California die-cut note card set:

The show is on December 1 & 2, in the penthouse of the California Market Center in Downtown LA. It's going to be a great market for holiday gifts and cards and trinkets...all made locally in LA by artists and crafty-folk like yours truly.

Here are some of my favorite vendors from past shows...

Paper Pastries. Holy cute paper goodies, Batman!
Kyyote. Super beautiful & colorful jewelry.

Can't wait for the show! See you there!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chilly Night + Friends + Spiked Cider =

A perfect fall evening!

Last night I had a great night in with friends - we ordered take-out, watched Young Frankenstein (Gene Wilder's hair is the best hair in the history of hair.) and sipped hot spiked cider.

Now I'm not a phenomenal cook (hence the take-out), but I do consider myself to be a pretty competent mixologist (excuse the douchery of that statement). This cider was really easy to make, and I'm looking forward to trying it with different variations in the coming chillier months!

Hot Spiked Cider

2 quarts apple cider (I used Knudsen)
6-8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish)
4 shots apple brandy* (I used Calvados)

Optional garnishes: apple slice, orange twist, nutmeg, whipped cream...

*You could easily substitute rum, bourbon or even schnapps for brandy.

Directions (CRAZY EASY!):
Heat cider in a large pot with cloves and cinnamon. Pour a shot of apple brandy into each glass, garnish  as desired, and fill with hot cider.



Monday, October 22, 2012

I Love Mondays. Really!

Monday may actually be my favorite day of the week. Unlike the rest of the working universe, Monday is one of the days I have off from my day job, and it is the day of the week I most dedicate to creating, promoting and dreaming up new ideas for YHH (and also a healthy serving of errand-running). The best part is that Monday always does feel like a fresh start, and I usually wake up early, make a cup of coffee, and plop myself down at the good ol' desk for some cathartic fighting with the Adobe Creative Suite, Etsy jealousy and Pinterest lurking.

Step one: GTFO of bed. The. hardest. part.

Step two: Hello, desk!

Step three: Make that list. (Cute zebra notepad by Rifle Paper Co.) Without this list I am weak and prone to succumb to time-sucks like TLC daytime programming. FOCUS, Erin! There is Etsy and laundry to contend with.

Step four: PROJECT TIME!

Happy (productive, overcast, lovely October) Monday!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paper Nerdery

Last night I was lucky enough to meet the exceedingly lovely and talented Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. It's obvious that the girl's got enviable style and business skills, but she is also possibly the nicest person of all time. Really! She was totally down to talk to this goofy lady about the paper biz, living in Florida, Harry Potter, the National Stationery Show, etc. If I sound like a crazy fan-girl, it's because I am.
photo via Kelsi Roberts

I got to preview some new Rifle holiday designs and also get my hands on an exclusive (and gorgeous) LA print (check the upper left!). Thanks to Urbanic for hosting this awesome event and making some of my paper dreams come true.

Ready for a drool-fest? Here are some of my favorites from Rifle's holiday line.

Feliz Navidad Card

Winter Foliage Set

Happy Hanukkah Silver Glitter Foil Card

North Pole Map Postcards

all images via Rifle Paper Co.



Thursday, October 18, 2012


Welcome to Yellow House Handmade! I'm Erin, and I love paper and ink and glue and twine and the things that happen when all of those come together. I'm a creator, a business owner, and a writer. I love making things with my hands, particularly paper things, but also food, jewelry, shadow puppets, etc. I hope to show you some of those handmade things on here, and I truly hope you'll enjoy them.

This fall started a season of major transitions for me. About two months ago I left my full-time job to pursue a path of independence and self-discovery (and moderate impoverished-ness), kinda like an artsy crafty version of my man Henry David Thoreau. So far it's been amazing; September marked the re-birth of my design gene, in the form of an Etsy shop:, a couple freelance graphic design gigs and my first craft fair(!!!). Sometimes I go outside, too!

I think "write a blog post" has lingered on my to-do list since the beginning of fall, though, as it's seriously one of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around. Does anyone give a shit about paper-y things like me? Do I care? Some things we may never know. This I do know: my last serious attempt at blogging is an unfortunately still-existent LiveJournal last updated in 2004 - my username was "miss misery" and my last blog post was called "Gollum for president". That'll make you want to stay away from the internet for a little while.

ANYWAY, I'm really excited to be back at it! I'll leave you with a taste of some newer projects, which I'll hopefully be debuting at a couple holiday craft markets in LA. They double as greeting cards and wearable charm necklaces.