Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I love wrapping Christmas presents - it's my favourite part of Christmas-time. This year I honestly loved shopping for gifts, and that's not something I say often. And you know why? Because I didn't set foot in the mall. Once. BAM!

And after looking (aka, drooling for hours) at all of the DIY gorgeous ways to wrap gifts this year, I knew I had to do something special. Because I really believe gift-giving is about more than what's inside the paper. Maybe that's because I grew up in a home that was careful with money (my mom was a single mom for a long time), and we always saved the wrapping paper (and now get made fun of for it as an adult - c'est la vie!)

So this year, I decided to make my gifts really very lovely. 
I used brown packaging paper because I liked how simple and nostalgic it felt. I also am a bit of a craft supply hoarder. So I went upstairs to my secret stash under my bed (shh, don't tell) and found some bright red cheery cardboard buttons, white ribbon with a golden paisley design, and lots and lots of stick-on rhinestones.

Seriously, all these things were dug out of a $1 craft bin at Michaels. You really never know when you'll need/want things like this, so when I see a good deal, I grab first and ask questions later.

I'm an illustrator by trade, so of course I had to bust out my fine-point sharpie and hand-draw the tags directly onto the paper.
I varied some of the tags; some just with initials, some in fancy cursive (because I was taught calligraphy in undergrad), and wrote some names almost as big as the package. I put on some Christmas music, and had a lot of fun! I really don't like commercialized Christmas (Frosty the Snowman and all that nonsense), but the beautiful religious songs about Jesus really hit a chord. My favourite is O Come Emmanuel.

Even though Christ was not born on December 25th, I still believe that Christmas-time really is about celebrating His coming into this world; and is the reason we give gifts... to commemorate the gift we received in Him. Emmanuel means "God With Us", and I believe He truly is.

My sister Sarah is coming home tonight, and she, Mom, Grace (who is 11), and I are going to decorate the gingerbread house, watch the Ravens game, and then go to the midnight candlelit service at Church on Christmas Eve. I am so excited. Christmas is my favourite holiday of all, and I find myself always getting teary-eyed at the service. God has always been faithful to me, and somehow even when things seem dire, He always provides for me. And I feel it most of all at this time of year.

Blessings to you and your families, lovely birds ~ Merry Christmas!

{ all photos in this post (c) erin mcmanness 2011 }

Monday, December 19, 2011

ImagineFX Feature!

I was so happy to discover that Issue 78 of ImagineFX arrived in my mailbox today! 

I was super excited for this issue to get to me because my work has been published in it :) Ever since I started pursuing art as a career, I have looked up to the artists in this publication. And what a great issue - the Art Nouveau Edition! My favourite art period :) Mucha's one of my all-time favs.

They included 3 of my pieces in the mag - and gave me some really nice critique on the largest piece. I am so honoured to be included, especially because I am alongside some artists I really, really admire.

Yay, I'm seriously all smiles right now!

And since I was talking about wanting to vlog again, without further ado... I give you my silly self: 
(Extremely attractive screenshot FTW)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Week before Christmas & SALE!

I can't believe Christmas is already here... I am officially moving from my hometown of Baltimore down to Atlanta for grad school in just 2 weeks. Surreal.

However, in honour of the last week of Christmas, I am offering a sale in my { Etsy Shop } ! 
Use coupon code "LASTWEEKOFXMAS" and save 15% on your order!
(Shipping at this point cannot be guaranteed by Christmas Day, but that's all the more reason for the sale!)

And lastly... thank you guys all so much for your support of my blog :) It was such a warm reception and I'm glad my honesty was met with friends and encouragement! Thank you, you made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Risky Business

I was totally gonna write a completely different post, but I was inspired at the last minute.

To be completely honest, 
this blog isn't going in the direction I want it to go in.

I feel a lot of pressure. And you know what? At the risk of "losing" followers, I'm gonna just put it out there: I want to give you original content. I don't want to reblog DIYs off of Pinterest, and repost pictures everyone's seen. Seriously. I feel a lot of pressure to do this, because frankly, everyone's doing it. And it's "the way to get followers". But seriously? I don't care about how many followers I have (GASP!).

Step 1: Post lots of pictures from Pinterest. Because Pinterest is like crack to blog followers.
Step 2: Reblog DIYs someone else did that you have no intention of doing, they just look pretty.
Step 3: Host a ton of giveaways solely because giveaways = followers.
Am I right?

I mean, that stuff is totally fine. I'll admit my healthy (or not) addiction to Pinterest and that there's a ton of inspiring stuff on there. But it gets tedious when I see the same stuff reblogged 4 different times on different sources. I want to give you original content. I want to show you stuff I did/made/wore/created. I want to support my friends who are incredible artists.

I want to be frank and weird. I'm a bit of a sassy person. I want this to be okay on my blog; but I feel a lot of pressure to blog about how I wake up at 7am everyday (I don't), make the perfect cup of coffee (I do), walk my dog (that's later), and have a sugar-coated, super-amazing day filled with rainbows. That shit simply doesn't happen to me. My day usually consists of tripping over things and way too much coffee.

I want to take this blog in a different direction.

I want to talk about how I'm super white but secretly love really ghetto dance music. And how much road rage I get as a result of living in Los Angeles. And how I love edgy fashion. And all the hilariously awkward things I do at bars. And how I fail at relationships. And my adventures from my upcoming move to Atlanta (3 weeks! Holy cow) And I'm gonna start making videos again. And showing you my "weird" art that usually stays hidden in my sketchbook. Like this (self portrait):

Thank you for reading. And if you still intend to read on, thank you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aqua & Red Christmas

This Etsy Treasury was too gorgeous not to post about...
and it's my favourite colour scheme like, ever. At least one room in every apartment I've lived in has been themed aqua and coral red. The lovely Briana from MementoDesigns was kind enough to feature my Personalized SnowLady Ornament!

I've been doing all of my holiday shopping on Etsy and at some small local businesses - it's been wonderful. Honestly. No going to the mall, no dealing with pushy people, no feeling like I "bought something just to buy something". I really don't like giving gifts like that. I'm also trying to make a bunch of my gifts this year. Here's some lovely holiday Aqua + Red Inspiration to ease your [potential] holiday headache :)

I've almost got all of my Christmas Shopping done! How is yours coming?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Art Post & Awkward Life

Just finished a commission a little bit ago and wanted to share it with you guys. 

{Commissioned Headshot - Larger Version}
About 5 hours // 2 layers

The last couple days have been crazy... 
but I've learned to expect nothing less of my life lately. Sometimes I wish I could have an anonymous blog where I could share my daily WTF moments (I assure you, there are many), and not have to be held accountable to the people who know me ;)

This would include (but would not be limited to):
falling down/off of things like an idiot, being tragically and hilariously awkward when getting hit on, that face I make when no one gets my art-nerd moments, Zooey Deschanel impersonations, and running commentary about the ironic ridiculousness that occurs in the world of "Erin's Awkward Life". And it would probably most definitely include stories about the stupid things I do when I drink, like wearing crazy glasses out to a bar and ordering all the drinks and dancing the whole night with them on.

Who does that? Oh wait. know, I may just do this. It would be hilarious. 
But don't tell anybody.

Do something crazy today! And then come back and tell me about it so we can laugh together. Happy Thursday, lovely birds ~

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Darling Ornaments & Inspiration

Well, lovely birds - big news! My portfolio went through the board, and I got a bigger scholarship for graduate school! Hoorayyyyyy! Thank you guys for all of your wonderful comments and support! All the hard work has paid off! What a feelin' :)

This weekend we started decorating for Christmas.
This is seriously my favourite time of year! My sister Sarah comes home to visit next weekend, so we decided to wait for her to put up the tree, but my other sister Grace (11) and I just couldn't wait to do our favourite part - arranging my mom's vintage carolers on the mantle. I don't know why I love those little guys so much - nostalgia perhaps. I'll post pictures when we're completely decorated!

For now, I have been working hard on some new ornaments, just in time for the holidays!
These ornaments have been cut using vintage cookie cutters, and then are fired and hand-painted individually - they all have so much unique character! My colour palette was lovely gold, white, pink, and blues. I started with a whole batch and just painted as my heart desired; then the fun part: mix and match until I get the right combinations ;)

I also wanted to share a little of my holiday inspiration with you -- enjoy!

These all come in sets of three - 
check them out in my Etsy Shop, 
These would make great gifts for newly-married couples who need to decorate their tree, a housewarming gift, a special present for mom or grandma, or just some lovely swag to make your holiday a little more glamourous! More varieties in the shop.

Photos 1, 2, 3, & 5 (c) Erin McManness 2011 // Photo collage from around the web:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

happy december

{ image from pinterest, but originally from here - bothers me that the source on pinterest is a blog with no original source, and not the actual owner of the photo - good thing I have the original work hearted on Etsy! Type added by me. }

I can't believe it's December already,
especially after our week of 70 degree, balmy weather here on the East Coast (not that I'm complaining!). I just submitted my Graduate School Portfolio... so we're already off to a great start for the month! I've been working on my portfolio since August, so it's nice to breathe such a huge sigh of relief! I feel like I should celebrate, but all I want to do is take a nap! Hahah, I must be getting old!

I think I will celebrate by making another pot of coffee and sitting on the couch to watch Tangled.
Call me a DisneyDork, but honestly... that movie is what made me decide to go back to school. If you haven't seen it, it's just an incredibly beautiful movie, and I knew my life wouldn't be complete if I wasn't a part of things that touched others like they touched me. Whenever I lost steam or motivation over the past couple of months, I would just listen to "I See the Light", and I'd remember why I was doing what I was doing. I'm usually not a corny person (and get very prickly when things turn mushy), but when it comes to my art I can get very sentimental.

In honour of the Month of Gift-giving,
I wanted to share a gorgeous treasury curated by SwanMountainSoaps: she graciously included my personalized green gem star ornament!

Happy December, lovely birds ~
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