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Monday, April 12, 2010

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pool Trade Show Booth Display

I posted a video that Duncan put together after we returned from the POOL Trade Show back in February, but I just realized I never shared anything else. I put a lot of thought and sweat equity into my booth display this year so I'll start by filling you in on that.
I had a vision to turn the cork covered table that is supplied for all Cash and Carry exhibitors into an upholstered masterpiece that resembled a booth at a swanky bar or a headboard in a well designed bedroom. I was a bit nervous about executing this big idea since I would have to ship the supplies straight to Las Vegas and roll with the punches once I was there with no practice run. I ordered some black vinyl that I was really happy with as it was mistaken for leather a few times and it held up well to the abuse I ended up putting it through. I also ordered a huge rectangle of upholstery foam, a heavy duty staple gun and a bunch of upholstery nails. I tried to think through the process as much as possible beforehand, but knew it was just going to take throwing myself into the project and that's exactly what I did.
Set up day was Monday. Duncan didn't arrive until the first day of the show on Tuesday so I headed out to the Las Vegas Convention Center from my sister's house on my own. Here's how the cork table looked before the project began. I started by attaching the massive piece of foam to the cork board with my trusty staple gun. The foam was much thicker than I anticipated so this step was much more difficult than I imagined it would be, but it was eventually secured. I shaped the the edges with scissors so there would be a a nice smooth edge where the table top attached to the front of the display. Next up I marked up the foam to plan where the buttons would be. I stapled these areas in hoping that the indentation in the foam would take some of the pressure off of the upholstery nails. Again, this was not very easy with the thick foam so by this time I was breaking a sweat and giving myself a staple gun blister. I was making progress though so I was still very hopeful at this point. I laid the black vinyl over the table and weighted it down from above to see how this was all going to pan out. I knew pretty quickly that the upholstery nails that I had attached Vivi Dot buttons to weren't going to come close to cutting it so I headed to Ace Hardware. I grabbed an electric screw driver, screws and washers and headed back for round two. I decided to put a washer between the foam and the vinyl and another in front of the vinyl to do the job the button covered nails would have done. I quickly realized that my dinky electric screwdriver was not going to cut it and borrowed a hand held to put my muscles and blistered hand to use instead.
It was impossible to get the screw through the foam because it would just wind up and unwind after I took the screw driver away. I ended up having to pull out all of my staples and cut holes in the foam where the screws needed to go. Lining this up wasn't easy, but it all ended up working out with just a few unwanted tears that were covered by the washers. Each screw took at least three tries before I could get it to catch and remain secure. I didn't think it was going to come together at this point, but people started to walk by and compliment my progress so that gave me a little bit of hope. I was never able to get the very middle screw in as far as the others. It just wouldn't catch, but it wasn't that noticeable and not worth risking ripping the vinyl to try it again and again. At this point I was more than happy to live with it as is. I glued a black ribbon to the edge of the vinyl that would cover the top and my hours of labor finally felt worth it. The silver washers weren't as polished as my pretty Vivi Dot Button Nails would have been, but overall I think it turned out really well. Here's how it looked with the products present.I really wish I could have salvaged the whole thing and transformed it into a headboard, but that just wasn't in the cards. I do plan to use this experience to do it again for a more permanent piece for my house some day.I had to rearrange the contents of my luggage on the way home because one was over the weight limit and one was way under. I needed two pounds out of the heavy bag and Duncan instantly suggested the staple gun. I found it and sure enough, it was just over two pounds. I said to the lovely Virgina America employee that a staple gun really is a must have for all travelers. She said she wasn't there to judge, but I'm sure she thought we were crazy.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Unexpected Inspiration

On a dog walk from Ocean Beach up to Sutro Park I happened upon some unexpected inspiration. There's a lot of graffiti along the pathway that's constantly changing and these two images really stuck out.
I love them both!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Summer Time!

This Saturday was all about Summer! My good friend Summer that is. It was her birthday and Ms. Mother Nature decided to treat us with the prettiest day 2010! I got up and whipped up my new favorite treat- chocolate cupcakes with espresso butter cream frosting. Yum! Here they are right before I pulled them outta the oven:
And here are some pretty close ups Duncan took:

Then we headed down to Crissy Field where Summer and her husband Ryan had been since 9:45 in order to grab a prime spot. Indy, the cool guy was there:
And here are Allie (on the left) and Summer the birthday girl(on the right). You may recognize these two from previous posts as they are regular Vivi Dot helpers.
We also made a new friend!
And now in typical San Francisco fashion the pretty days have come to an abrupt end and we were all greeted with rain this morning. Luckily I've got the new Deadly Syndrome album Nolens Volens to keep me going on this dreary Monday. If you haven't checked out their music yet I strongly suggest you do! You can get their debut single "Wingwalker" for free on their website www.thedeadlysyndrome.com, but I suggest going for the full album on iTunes or eMusic! Duncan went to school with two of the band members, but I'd love them and spread the word even if he hadn't!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

New Product Highlight - Necklaces

My new Vivi Dot necklaces have arrived!Vivi Dot NecklacesIt's been a long time coming so I'm so happy to finally have these babies in my online shop. I've envisioned these guys for quite some time, but had a problem finding something to connect the two button pieces together in a sturdy and appealing way. I was introduced to Ponoko a while back and voila, my problem was solved. Duncan instantly became the head of my product development team and started engineering a piece to fit the buttons together perfectly and have a way to connect the chain. We did one test run to make sure they'd fit just right then ordered the winner in various acrylic colors. The pieces arrive like this:
ponoko deliveryWe also made a new backing for my flower brooches which you can see in this photo as well (the bamboo circle with 'Vivi Dot' engraved).
ponoko piecesEverything is a little stinky when it arrives so we let all of the pieces air out:
ponoko dryingWithout the buttons I think they look like little bikini tops!
ponoko piecesDuncan and I have plans for lot of other new stuff utilizing the massive potential Ponoko provides. There's really no limit to what we can create now. Can't find what your looking for? Just make it yourself!

I should also note that all of the fabrics used for these necklaces were designed by Duncan and me. I think this makes them that much more special and unique so you won't find these suckers anywhere else!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Outta the House

Spring has arrived in San Francisco! Since we tend to have quite varied weather from one day to the next we tried to take advantage of spring sunshine over the weekend knowing it likely won't last long.
Duncan and I took Indy for lots of long walks. One in Golden Gate Park where the cherry blossoms were blooming:cherry blossomsWe flew a kite:fly a kiteWe also took a trip to Fort Funston with our friend Randy where Indy was able to run around with the dozens of other doggies. He also tried to rock climb, but didn't get too far. Fort FunstonFort Funston
I also finished up two more wholesale orders so Say Say Boutique in Portland will have more hair accessories later this week and Therapy (with six stores in California) will have a big delivery of Vivi Dot rings and money clips. I also sent off my first international set of save the date magnets to a lovely bride to be in England! Hope you all had a great, sunshine filled weekend too!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Art Journal

I participated in Vivianna's Quiet Nights Art Journal Class that just happens to be ending today. I wasn't the greatest student because I wasn't able to make much time for my journal. Last weekend I finally took a little break from the Vivi Dot grind and hauled out my art supplies. It had been such a long time since I did something creative that wasn't related to Vivi Dot and it was wonderful. I am going to make a point of doing things like this a lot more often! I must step away from the fabric, the buttons, the gluing, etc and take some me time. It gets my creative juices flowing after all which only benefits my business in the end.
I have a good number of empty journals made with old book covers that I picked up at the Renegade Craft Fair (they were giving them away at the end of the show). This Norman Rockwell book was a great size and the cover was pretty beat up so I didn't feel as badly covering it up. There are a good number of the original pages from the book inserted in between the blank pages as well so there's still a nod to the book throughout my journal.

I pulled out my Xyron Sticker Maker which made this project so easy! No gluing at all, I just passed all of my papers through the sticker maker and slapped them into place. Here's a photo of what it looks like right after I've pushed it through the handy machine.
Next I started layering on my big paper pieces with sticker backing.
I covered the seams of the brown and blue paper with my newly purchased washi masking tape from Happy Tape. After that I used a Martha Stewart craft punch with tiny little scalloped edges and punched out a bunch of neutral patterns from a Paper Source catalog. I ran those through the sticker maker as well and made a collage at the top of the cover. Here's the finished product: Next up was the inside cover. I ripped up some large pieces of pretty salvaged wrapping paper and layered that over the striped paper.For the next page I layered a bunch of ripped Happy Tape pieces to create a tree trunk, branches, leaves and little pink blooms. I also cut out one of the birds from the same paper to tie this page in with the inside cover. He sits perched at the bottom of the tree. This last page is still a work in progress, but I wanted to share it anyway. I fell in love with this chair from Crate and Barrel so I decided to build a room around it. Home is a place and a concept I love so I plan to add some text to this one to articulate that.I received an amazing delivery of prints from Diana of Our City Lights this week that have me itching to journal some more. Make sure to check her Etsy shop so you can see why I'm so inspired by them. That's all for now.
Oh! One more thing... The little birdie on my first journal page told me that Vivianna will be having another class soon so make sure to check her site often for more info!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mega ViviDot Store Update!

I was finally able to publish over 75 new items to my online shop today! It's been a long time coming with many late nights after work photo editing, uploading, describing and coding. It feels so good to finally have these items from my Spring/Summer 2010 line up and ready to sell! I'll have some product highlights and discount opportunities in the next few days, but check out these two posts to tide you over in the meantime...
Vivianna posted some of her favorite items from my shop today. She also shares a coupon code for 15% off your entire order so make sure to hop over to the Polka Dot Robot Blog and check it out.
Kami is a good friend and the lovely lady behind the feather illustration on one of the new Vivi Dot fabric prints. She did a post about the items featuring her illustration over at her blog Kamma Claire as well.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Happy Birthday Duncan!

I was under the weather earlier this week on Duncan's actual birthday (the 8th) so we're celebrating tonight. We have a hot date at a fancy restaurant and I can't wait. Duncan, so sorry this birthday shout out comes a bit late, but here's an overdue blog post just for you!
From Molly...
Happy Birthday My Love!
Each day you grow older you can count on me loving you more. I love you with my all my heart and soul and can't imagine my life without you.
Whenever I try to write you a love note I end up writing a thank you note instead because I'm so very thankful for the person you are. Your generosity, devotion and love for others inspires me every day.
I love you! Happy Birthday! Thanks for being exactly who you are.

From Olive....
Hello Father. Thank you for holding me up to look out the window when it's rainy and I can't go outside. Thanks for buying me my favorite catnip banana. And finally thank you for realizing that no matter what you're trying to work on, me sitting on your lap is the most important thing. You are an excellent coworker and for that I wish you a very happy birthday. Now go clean my litter!
From Indy...
Hey Daddy! Happy birthday! It's my birthday too! You're the best Dad ever cause you feed me fish pills every day to make my hips better. You walk me to see the buffalo in the park even when it's raining out and take me skateboarding with the boys. I love you even more than pizza!

And now a Duncan montage:

Post Script (from bad tv)...
You complete me: Insert the tool academy guy's dopey sad face... oh yes, this one:

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't be Late for Tea!

I am so excited to see Alice and Wonderland in 3D tomorrow! I haven't seen any of the new 3D movies that have come out over the last few years so it's bound to be especially special. The 2D billboards around the city seem to pop out at me as I drive by so I can only imagine how incredible it will be with the additional dimension.

Alice in Wonderland items are popping up everywhere you look. It's nearly impossible to read a blog or visit a shop without something inspired by this new movie or its many other versions. From the 'Tea Party' to the 'Mad for Polka Dots' prints and right along to the playing cards that many of my items come attached to, the movie seems to have even (unintentionally) taken over my very own store!

If you need something to tide you over until you can see the movie I suggest checking out the Disney Website which is where I pulled the character images for the first collage in this post. I can already tell that little mouse is gonna be my favorite!
See a Vivi Dot item above that you can't find in my online shop? Watch out for a big springtime shop update on Monday!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vivi Dot in Your Town

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been really busy filling wholesale orders. I sent off two more today and plan to send out another two tomorrow. I'm excited that slowly but surely Vivi Dot is reaching many parts of the US and beyond! You can always check out my Stores and Events page for an up to date list, but I've also included all of the current information below.

Vivi Dot Online Store  |  Shipping anywhere in the world!  
Alice and Isa  |  An online boutique showcasing independent designers from San Francisco
Etsy  |  Your place to buy and sell all things handmade.

Jack's Alley  |  Ketchikan, AK
Say Say  |  Portland, OR
Three French Hens  |  Bellingham, WA


Goldmine Vintage  |  Boulder, CO
Here on the Corner
  |  Tempe, AZ
Needles & Pens  |  San Francisco, CA
Pandora Jewelry  |  Denver, CO
RAG Co-OP  |  San Francisco, CA
Therapy (coming soon)  |  California- Burlingame, Campbell, Mountain View, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo
The Fool on the Hill  |  Jerome, AZ

Mad Eagle  |  East Lansing, MI
R.S.V.P  |  Iowa City, IA
Vintique  |  Neenah, WI

Salt and Pepper  |  West Montro, LA

Citrine  |  West Tisbury, MA
Hazel  |  Chicago, IL
On Center (coming soon)  |  Jamaica Plain, MA
The Artisan Gallery  |  Northampton, MA


Cyroline (coming soon)  |  Germany - Berlin (three stores), Lubeck, Cologne, Hamburg, Kiel, Flensburg and Bielefeld
Original  |  Canada - Toronto
Ruta Urbana  |  Costa Rica - San Pedro and Escazu

Want to be added to this list? Vivi Dot now offers wholesale accounts to stores all across the world. Please click here to submit your store information and learn more.


Monday, March 1, 2010

NEET Shop Update

I was a busy bee this past weekend. I worked on filling wholesale orders on Saturday and Sunday and also completed a big photo shoot for my springtime shop update. I'll be rolling that out over the next week, but decided to do a mini shop update today to coincide with my items in the March issue of N.E.E.T. magazine. If you aren't a N.E.E.T. reader you should be! They do an excellent job highlighting independent designers, vintage shops, and unique DIY projects. The fashion spreads they include seem to impress me more and more each issue too. Oh and did I mention it's free online? Doesn't get much better than that! The new items included in the update today are a Delicate Lace Watch Necklace, Purple Bike Lane Hair Clips, an Aztec Flower Brooch, Tea Party Hair Pins, a Springtime Stripes Flower Brooch, and Candy Pink Hair Bows!

Duncan and I also attended a going away party for our good friend Ciccio who's moving down to Ventura for a more surf friendly environment. We'll miss you Ciccio! See you soon.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

POOL Trade Show - February 2010

I'm back! Duncan and I made it through another round of wholesale madness in Las Vegas at the POOL trade show. I'm happy to report that it was an even bigger success than our first round back in August. Vivi Dot will be in more stores across the world very soon. More on that later, but for now please check out the awesome video Duncan put together highlighting the the new Spring/Summer line, the Vivi Dot booth and some of the fun we were able to have after the show was complete. Watch out for appearances by Neil Patrick Harris, Perez Hilton, Christina Hendricks, the Cirque du Soleil Elvis performers and more.

Vivi Dot at POOL from Vivi Dot on Vimeo.

You can check out more of Duncan Hooper's editing skills at his website DuncanHooper.com

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Crush Shop Update from Polka Dot Robot

I'm a sucker for both robots and polka dots so it's no surprise to me that I was instantly drawn to Polka Dot Robot! PDR is a San Francisco collective of sorts with four contributing members who make their amazing knit and crocheted accessories, monster hoodies, and other crafty items. I had the pleasure of meeting Vivianna who runs their blog and twitter account and Erin who keeps all their business affairs in order over coffee last week. It was a ton of fun to take our online friendship off line to talk about what's next for Polka Dot Robot and Vivi Dot and help each other out with the many questions that come up while running your own small business. I came out of our coffee date inspired to make this here blog a more integral part of my business. I'm excited to really dive in and make a blog schedule to keep me on track. I also plan to get in the habit of getting my posts ready over the weekend to avoid being too busy to post mid week. I am still thinking through what my initial blog schedule will look like, but it's in the works as is a total blog makeover this spring. So enough about me, me, me! On to the robots! PDR had a big Winter Crush shop update today with a lot of fun new items you really must check out. I adore this Key to My Heart Key Chain. For only $12 it's a great way to spread the handmade love to your friends and loved ones (or yourself).This Smitten Mittens Knitting Pattern makes me wish I had the time and skills to crank these bad boys out. They are so cute and a steal at only $5 for the pattern! So don't delay! Hop on over to PolkaDotRobot.com to see all the cute items they have in stock and don't forget to bookmark their blog too!

Both PDR product photos are courtesy of the Polka Dot Robot shop.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

It's all happening!

The nervous excitement is building as I rapidly near another round of wholesale madness at the Pool Trade Show! I leave in 13 days for Las Vegas and just typing that out made my heart race a little bit faster. I do feel much better about my sophomore trip as I know, in general, what to expect. I'm always trying to prepare myself for the unexpected though so my mind is still racing with all the what ifs.

Duncan and I have been working on the Spring/Summer 2010 fabric prints for what feels like forever, but is actually a lot of hours within a little over a month's time span. I finally got the images of the fabrics all rounded up this weekend so it's very exciting to finally see them all together on my updated pattern swatches document!

You'll notice there are some solid prints which are mainly for my Mad Men inspired earrings. I'm also very excited to have the lace overlay finally figured out. I've been trying to make lace work on my buttons since I started making earring waaaay back when. Now I've finally figured out how to execute them without little threads poking out of the sides on every other one. My friend Kami drew the amazing feather image for me which is another favorite. I'm also Mad for Polka Dots so that print is also at the top of my list.

I still have some color correcting to do to get them to look as close to the in person prints as possible, but I'm too excited to wait and want to share now. I'd love to hear what you think so please don't hesitate to leave a comment and let me know your favorite prints! You can click the image below to see it larger. Thanks for looking!