Thursday, September 30, 2010

Montalcino Sneak Peak

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Early Morning by Jasna Hodzic

The smell of rosemary thick in the morning air, rich and nutty coffee, and the crunch of red rocks are some of the sensory images that come to mind when I think of Tuscany. As most of you know, my husband Robert is in the wine industry, and at one point we took a trip to Montalcino, a sleepy Italian town known mostly for it's wine, brunello. We stayed in a country farmhouse at the base of the hill of the city, walked the rolling landscape, and had a private dinner at Castello Banfi; we pretty much ate, drank wine, and otherwise lounged about. Quite a different experience to life at this moment, with a clamoring to-do list and children currently rattling off a list of comments and conjectures as I type.

Montalcino is know for it's rich colors of olive, terra cotta, gold and plum, a perfect fit for fall season. So I thought it would be fun to design some pieces inspired by those travels using fabrics like coppery velvet, plum satin, and cognac leather. I have been working on several different items on and off, most of which will be one-of-a-kind pieces. However, this is more like a creative indulgence than a business necessity. Plus, I am, as you know, quite a busy girl these days, so I'm not sure when I'll get everything together. As it is, Mia is showing me the spider she caught, and Aidan just dumped out Robert's box of a thousand business cards. So, here is a sneak peak at this project with more designs to come. The boots are called Lucky Penny; they are made from the silkiest copper velvet and each boot features a dozen hand stitched mother of pearl buttons. Happy Thursday!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fabric Shopping in the City

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We live in a web of ideas, a fabric of our own making.
~Joseph Chilton Pearce

Last week I went fabric shopping in downtown Houston. If you have been following this blog, then you know that there are quite a few items I have been assuring you are coming that have yet to manifest: shoes with firm soles and items for women and new little girl clothing for fall. Building a business has been an interesting journey for me with a lot of unexpectedness thrown into the mix, some sick-to-my-stomach bad and others over-the-moon good. Not all of which I have been able to share with you, yet. In fact, paradoxically, the most steady constant of a business has been its inconsistency. Having Joyfolie, I wake up to surprises every day. It's exciting and fatiguing all at the same time.

So, let me clear up and recenter a few promises I've made to you. First, that thousands of firm soled shoes are coming. This is still very true. It's just taking a great deal longer than I thought, and, in all fairness, what I was quoted. I am not ready to demystify the manufacturing process just yet, but let's just say we have had to make some big changes to go forward with the measure of quality and attention to detail that is essential for the Joyfolie brand. For a long time I was saying, ETA 3-4 months, but the truth is, I don't know. Quality is more important than speed. When I have an update, I will forward it to you. Just know, a full range of firm-soled Joyfolie toddler shoes is in process.

As the shoe production has dragged on longer and longer, I have been working on other ways to build up my inventory on both a small and a large scale. So, you are going to see more clothing from Joyfolie over the next 6 months, which will include items for women. We will also be introducing a few decorative items on our website. It's all beautiful and very exciting! However, working on these projects has spread me very, very thin. As I build Joyfolie inventory, I will also build my staff. {I can't really build one without the other.} Right now, though, it's a struggle to manage it all. It's a very long way of saying, if you are frustrated {"Why can't I purchase any shoes?? Why is everything sold out? Why do I keep getting this stupid "Either product is out of stock or choose a smaller quantity" message??} just know that I am aware of these problems and working morning, noon, and night to grow our inventory.

That said, back to fabric shopping....
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I went into the city to source some unusual and beautiful textiles for some apparel pieces I am working on. Plus, my inspiration process is sparked by touching beautiful fabrics and seeing pretty things. The fabric store I went to is an enormous warehouse, split into two buildings. Half of one is a store with interesting decorative items. Here's a bird's eye view. {Ahem... try not to marvel at my awesome, slightly blurry photography skills....}
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Isn't this decorative mobile a great idea? It would be so easy to make one out of a wire wreath ring, silver floral wire, and clips. It would look great with pictures of kiddos over the table in the playroom or with inspirational pictures and fabric clippings in a studio/office.
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Some little twig/bird display I thought was interesting...
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So, thank you for your patience with Joyfolie as we go through growing pains. Please put our blog into Google reader/FB or however you keep up to date, and you'll be the first to know as we grow and expand our line.

Blessings!
Jessica
Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo Editing: Adding Drama

It's been so long since I have posted something on photo editing! So, I have a short step by step on how I edited a photo of my adorable niece Ella that I took at Mia's dance class. I used a combination of Pioneer Woman's free actions and layer masks. Because most of my readers are not photoshop savvy, I don't go too in depth in the step by step. So, if you have questions about finding something in photoshop, feel free to ask!

So, here is the photo, SOOC:
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As I mentioned in the ballerina post, not too many little ones were dancing, and little Ella preferred to cling to her mama's shoulder. The first thing I did was use the patch tool to smooth out the minor ruddiness on her cheek.
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I like the composition, but the white balance was off which makes her skin too yellow. It probably would have been better to fix this on the camera while taking the picture. But when shooting little kiddos, I don't always have the time or I'm thinking about a million other things, like composition and exposure. White balance is easy to fix, though. Simply run a "Photo Filter" layer mask. Layer masks are the half white and half black circle in the bottom right hand corner. I used "cooling filter 82" at 25%.
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Next I ran Pioneer Woman's Seventies Action and adjusted the opacity to 65%.
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This action does wonderful things to smooth and soften the skin in a natural way. Next, I ran a "Brightness/Contrast" layer mask and boosted the contrast.
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Next, I ran Pioneer Woman's "Sharpen This" action, sharpening the entire photo by 25% and then adding a bit extra sharpening to Ella's face.
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Finally, I added one more layer mask, "Brightness/Contrast" again, lightening the photo by 25%, then using the black brush to paint away the adjustment on the bottom right.
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And there you have it! The photo is a bit more dramatic, with stronger colors and more pronounced shadows. I have to add, that Florabella has some AMAZING actions that will achieve a similar look in one simple click. Also, someone asked how to take better pictures indoors in poor lighting. To be honest, I could work on that myself. So, I'll do some research and let you know. Back to the photo we were working on, here is the Before/After.....
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Have a lovely weekend! Miss Ella is a beauty!
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Tenth Avenue North

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"You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the ones who lose control
You say You will be, everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go...."

This morning I am attempting to jump start my day with an extra large cup of coffee because Robert and I didn't go to bed until almost 1 am after a late night at the Tenth Avenue North Concert. Mia woke up this morning giving me big hugs, then following it up with a string of questions: "Where were you? I missed you. Why couldn't I come?"

Robert's favorite band is Tenth Avenue North. Their songs have been particularly healing for him in his journey of faith. I wrote an email to the lead vocalists Mike's wife, Kelly, explaining that Robert had been really blessed by their songs, and I wanted to send a pair of shoes to their daughter, Eisley. Kelly and I ended up exchanging a few emails, and although the intention was to bless them with shoes for their daughter, it ended up being a blessing to me! Similar to my own vocational path, Mike never really aspired to be a musician. He was in a horrible car accident, broke his back, and his parents bought him a guitar for something to do while he was recovering. Gradually, God opened one door and then another for Mike, Kelly, and the band. She said there were many times, in the band's life of twelve years, that they considered quitting, but then God would lavish them with encouragement and they would carry on. This has been so similar to my own journey: never aspiring to have a business--certainly not one in shoes. Likewise, the journey of Joyfolie has been hard and there were numerous times I have wanted to quit. I'll pray and announce to God: "tomorrow is the last day!" Then tomorrow comes and something amazing happens, and I feel God speaking to my heart: carry on, let Me lead you, this is My will for you. And I'm dazzled and perplexed and overwhelmed and encouraged all at the same time.

Kelly was so sweet to give us tickets to Tenth Avenue North's Houston concert, and I got to meet her and their adorable little Eisley. Kelly is super cute, stylish and petite, and their baby is a doll! {Eisley looks just like Mike; right now they even have the same hair!} The concert venue was gorgeous and the brick archways and vine covered walls were spilling over with golden light when we arrived. I was wishing I would have asked Kelly if I could have photographed her and Eisley. (Maybe she would have thought that was weird?)
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The concert was a flood of light and heart-pumping sound. Mike runs around the stage with a kind of energy that would have taken me at least three Red Bulls to achieve. Addison Road opened, and Jenny shared a story about how they were going to a Holiday Inn after a concert. When they walked through the door, her 17-month old daughter said, "We're home!!!" Jenny described the mommy guilt that ensued, and how the lifestyle of her family didn't match what she pictured. So, too, I envisioned a cozy home that is thoughtfully decorated, baking my children their favorite cookies, and having lots of crafty, creative projects for them. Mike spoke about how God desires our companionship more than our comfort. So, I am learning that life won't always be how I pictured it, and that's okay... I'm trying to be open to God's leading, let go of my expectations, and reconcile myself to the fact that my children probably aren't suffering for eating Eggo waffles instead of homemade muffins.
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After the concert, we were supposed to meet up with Mike and Kelly. As it turned out, it was later than we thought, and I didn't prep my parents for a 2 am night of baby sitting. I'm a little bummed that we didn't get to meet up with them, but I'm thankful for the experience... the blessing of Robert and I worshiping side by side.

As for Photo Friday, I don't have anything prepped or picked out. So, it will be coming a little later than usual. Wishing you a happy Friday, and sending a special thanks to Kelly and Mike for a great night out!! Kelly, I appreciate the faithfulness and ministry of your family! I hope we keep in touch :)
Monday, September 20, 2010

Cakes and Tea

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Cranberry Cake from here

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." ~ Ernestine Ulmer

This morning Mia and I were reading the fairytale classic Little Red Riding Hood. At the end of the story {after the poor big bad wolf's timely decimation} the woodcutter, little Red, and Gran all sit down for cakes and tea. In the illustration, there are beautiful little pink cakes and little floral tea cups. Mia's comment every time is, "Hey, we could do that."

So this afternoon, Mia and I went to a local French cafe and had "cakes and tea." It was more like fruit tarts and coffee, but that's no reason for complaint! After that, we went to a boutique next door that had sparkly necklaces, costume jewelry, and other "princess things."
"I am an Illusion" ~ Rob Thomas
It's a small but special memory that I hope Mia remembers. Is there a special activity you have recently shared with your child {or younger sibling}? Hope your Monday is off to a good start!

The lovely mask was photographed by the talented Haley Johnson.
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lexi Boots

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The Lexi boots worn. You can see more detail if you view the photo bigger here. Mia is wearing the Blithe ruffled jacket in brown (we only have a few left) and a new blue brooch.
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Here is a sneak peak of the Amelie shoes but in leather, coming soon...
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo Folie - Pale Blue and Red

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photo by Simply Hue

Happy Friday! Today has been a long day. There are some days when working from home feels like the very best of both worlds. Then there are other days where it feels like madness. Today was one of such days!

On with the photo... I love the combination of pale blue and dark red, whether it's a dusty blue linen table cloth with a vase of red poppies or a powder blue sweater with red lipstick. The combination has a retro sensibility about it.

Today's shoes are little short boots in a lovely shade of steely, silvery blue. They have an over-sized satin bow of a beautiful and super thin and silky vanilla satin with a finished edge. The bow is what makes these shoes exceptional because the fabric is not thick and heavy like a typical polyester satin ribbon because it ties tight and drapes perfectly. The overall look is sweet but still modern. I stayed up too late last night making several of these , size 6, 7, and 8. I'll sell them over the weekend, but I want to take a photo of them worn first. Special thanks to Simply Hue for the beautiful inspiration!
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Here are a few more red and pale blue photos. Hope you have a lovely Friday evening!
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Photos above taken from Polyvore


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mia Ballerina

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"Sometimes a single shoe can change your life."
~Cinderella

My sweet little ballerina! My mother was so kind to sign up my Mia for a 6 week dance class. Of course, there wasn't exactly much dancing. In fact, apparently due to my visit, Mia refused to participate at all. Mostly her expression was something like this...
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Or she would cling to me for dear life. At least it's a room full of mirrors, so I could grab a photo..
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I was ill prepared, scurrying after her in wedge heels and tight boot leg jeans. Nonetheless, it made for a sweet memory and darling photos.... {which were torture to edit}
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Mia and my mom....
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Doily Dress

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photo by Gina Canali


Isn't this dress absolutely stunning?! You can read in the link above how the bride created it herself hand-stitching doilies together. I love the green; such a unique choice for a wedding dress. My dress was not that unique nor did I make it. I found it at a bridal shop in Barrington, Illinois, not too far from Chicago. It's a charming little boutique set in a old 1930's house that was actually ordered from a Sears catalog. (Having a house arrive via the mail--who knew!) This boutique buys sample wedding dresses from couture bridal shops in the city. My dress was actually a five thousand dollar gown that I purchased for five hundred that a wizard of a seamstress transformed from a size 8 to a size 2.

Moving on from reminiscing, thanks to those of you who made this morning a success, and my apologies to those of you who tried and came up empty handed. It won't be this way forever! After today's sale, I splurged on some luxurious fabric: think plush 100% silk velvet boots in a antique gold for Christmas. Now I am sipping an energy drink from a princess cup, trying to muster up enough gumption to clean up my studio. I'd love to tell you I create in an immaculate space, but the truth is that while I am making something new, the better the ideas, the bigger the mess. I'm also thinking it should be time for another blog post on photo editing; if you have any suggestions, feel free to offer them. Wishing you a restful, relaxing weekend!
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo Folie - Pink and Caramel

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"Sweet" art print by Jackierueda

Happy Friday to you! This image is pleasant to me because it conjures the thoughts of a solo trip to a coffee house, enjoying a latte and perhaps a pastry along side a magazine. It also reminds me of those memories {which seem so long ago now} of the pre-kiddo era when I could go to the local Barnes & Nobles and page through some of the current periodicals. Now when I pass through that store on the way into the mall, I watch the people reading and think you don't know how lucky you are! I love my children, I wouldn't trade them for anything! But I had no idea it would mean that {what feels like every second of every day} I live first for someone else and then for myself. It's a beautiful thing, it really is, to grow the soul that way {even if I have a few tantrums of my own along the way.} Perhaps I'm just a little cranky today because I have been up and down no less than a dozen times trying to get these few lines out. Also, just yesterday, I was on the phone with my manufacturer, when Mia interrupted the conversation to demand her princess undies. {So embarrassing.} Then, I finished the phone call and came downstairs to find both children covered head to toe with cold cream, the shower going, and all the towels wet in the bathroom. Aidan, true to form, in his big boy voice says, "Hey there, Mom. We were just washing our bodies." Yes, hmmm. I see that. Oh, and I forgot to add that Mia had her new shoes on in the shower. What a day!

So, back to the shoes. The image above has tones of caramel and pale pink. Similarly, today's boots feature a lovely caramel tweed. They come all the way to the knee, have a pink ruffle on the toe, and tie in a lovely mess of a bow in the back. Special thanks to Jackie for the inspiration from her photo. Two pairs of these boots, which are a size 6, along with a long list of other random styles and sizes will be available for purchase Saturday 9 am CST.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Can You Stand It?

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I just had to share some photos my friend, Jen, took of her adorable little miss Lillie. Jen runs her own shop, and we traded goodies a few months ago. I love the photos she got of her daughter with the vintage carriage, her Dear Lillie ensemble, and Joyfolie shoes.

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Lillie is wearing a custom version of the Frankie shoes. After seeing them worn, I think I need to bring that style back, but in a tweed or leather.


I'm smitten with this picture. Ooooo, those cheeks! *smooch* She's a doll, Jen!
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You can view more photos and read about the hat she is selling here.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Little Green Tapestry Boots

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These are so much cuter than the photo.... little wood buttons, olive tapestry fabric, and modern damask print. If you haven't already, please be sure to join Joyfolie on facebook. I have 20 pairs of shoes in inventory including these boots and a long list of random styles/sizes and I will post dtails there.
Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day: Farewell Summer

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"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face."
~John Donne
Friday, September 3, 2010

Vivian Boots

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Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.
Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas,
the way we live, what is happening.

-CoCo Chanel


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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Photo Folie - Snow, Black and Ruffles

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photo from here

TGIF and another Photo Friday! In case you are just visiting Joyfolie, every Friday I design a new pair of shoes {or in this case, boots} inspired by a photograph. I love today's image--the snow, the color, everything! When I look at this photo, I can feel the crispness of the air, the warmth of the tights and the weight and sway of all those ruffles. Today's boots are drawn from the same concept of chiffon paired with black and are made from a reclaimed faux snakeskin fabric. They are lined in organic cotton, and feature nude-colored ruffles and black satin bow. If mom wants to coordinate, I suggest this pearl collar black trim dress. The boots are called Vivian. I will be offering more.
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If you're like me and your inner girlie girl is swooning, I have a few more images for you...
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This photo is from a thoughtfully designed online shop called Lovely Clusters that groups handmade and vintage wares in artfully curated concepts. You even click on a color wheel and shop by color.
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Another beautifully feminine image from here.
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Here are a few random thoughts and quotes I've been thinking about:

"The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely."
~ Louisa May Alcott

"My life, my personality, my habits, even my speech are a combination of the books I choose to read, the people I choose to listen to, and the thoughts I choose to tolerate in my mind."
~ Andy Andrews

Miss Ainslie gathered a bit of rosemary, crushing it between her white fingers. "See," she said, "some of us are like that it takes a blow to find the sweetness in our souls.
~M. Reed taken from Lavender and Old Lace

"God's purpose in us is not to simply make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He can squeeze the sweetness out of us." ~ Oswald Chambers

Have a lovely holiday weekend!

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