Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chalkboard Art

We're always trying to think of new ways to improve our product pictures, whether it's with better lighting, editing, or backgrounds. Compared to our very first photos, I think we're already doing better. But there's always room to grow.



   

















Those two pictures are from November when we opened our shop. They're OK... but that's about it. We wanted to make a powerful first impression. That's where the homemade chalkboard came into play. If you don't remember, we made our own chalkboard out of a hunk of wood from Home Depot (http://ziggyspiggies.blogspot.com/2013/01/handmade-chalkboard_24.html).  This board is currently serving as the backdrop for a majority of our items; but not for long.

You see, although we put a lot of work into making the chalk displays, and we loved the way they turned out, we realized this probably wasn't the best idea. It took us about one full hour to make the more intricate of scenes. If we ever needed to recreate a picture it would be a pretty daunting task. Plus, it's really hard adding details with stubby pieces of chalk. Then there's the fact that the actual items are dwarfed by the size of the board, and that makes it hard to see our clips in detail in the Etsy listings.

All of this lead us to develop a better display system: paintings. Playing off the idea of the chalkboard scenes (which we loved), we took smaller pieces of wood and painted specific scenes for each item. The artwork is still being finished but it won't be long now before the chalkboard pictures get put to rest. That is why I wanted to write this post; to have a place to show off all the hard work we put into those displays.

First, here's a sneak peak of what the new items will look like:
       



noelle


Chalkboard art is after the jump

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tournament of Stars

Noelle is a member of a drum & bugle corps called the Bayonne Bridgemen. Over the course of our best friendship, I've become a pretty big Bridgemen supporter, going to events and dinners, but mostly their famous Tournament of Stars Exhibition in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ask anyone from Bayonne and they'll tell you--it's a pretty big deal.

ToS 2008

Each year drum corps from all over come to good old Bayonne to show off their impressive field shows and take in some excellent music. This year, Noelle & I decided to incorporate some Ziggy's Piggies into the festivities. We decided to make custom Bridgemen hair clips & pins to show our support of the Bananas. Let me tell you, making these clips/pins was no easy task.



Since the tournament easily attracts 300+ people, we decided that we would have to make a pretty large amount of product to match the volume. This mass-stitching project of ours couldn't have come at a busier time: Noelle was working as a medical intern from 9-5 everyday for the month of June & I was taking a summer class in learning & behavior modification over the month of June. So obviously, we were setting ourselves up for a challenging month. Originally, we had set out to make 100 clips and pins total, which turned out to be a very ambitious goal. Realistically, we made 49, and let me tell you, mass production is a difficult feat. I'm IMPRESSED with what we produced for ToS.

Proud Shop Owners








Now, I myself am a veteran of high school marching band. I did it all four years and was even the drum major my senior year--it's suffice to say that I know the sport of marching and playing an instrument. When I tell you that the performance that the corps put on last night was stellar, I am not exaggerating one bit. Every musician and guard member did a FANTASTIC job, and it was a blast to hear them play! The Bridgemen did a great job, and I was so happy to get to support a group of very talented individuals.

 2013 Bayonne Bridgemen
Noelle Ready to Go!*

Noelle & I were extremely proud to see our hard work on display, and even made some sales. We were very grateful to the Bridgemen organization to allow us to share some of their table space, and as thanks we have donated $1 from every purchase back to the corp. Great job everyone, I can't wait for next year!

Not much has changed in 5 years



This is the video of the Bridgemen's complete performance that is circling around facebook. Thank you to whoever recorded it. 


*Photo credit of Noelle's close up goes to: John Nadrowski, http://bridgemen.smugmug.com/
LAUREN

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Down by the schoolyard

Those of you who know Lauren and I personally may be familiar with the ridiculous videos that we make in our free time. Looking back at all of these videos, I realized that they really only encompass our time spent in college. Now that we're "adults", (and I use that term very loosely), we don't have all that extra time and creative energy to commit to these projects.
However! There is one video that no one outside of our little circle has seen. You see, for the past 3 years on Christmas Eve eve we have our own special Christmas party. One of our holiday traditions we made was to debut a new video. I really wanted to keep this tradition up but we hadn't filmed anything recently; and then I remembered. 
During our last few weeks living at Montclair we started filming ourselves dancing to Paul Simon's Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard. Like all of our videos we had huge, huge, huge, huge plans for this one. Unfortunately, our creative genius is always pulled back because of our limited resources in the execution process. We wanted this video to be almost like a tribute to our time spent in college by dancing in all of the buildings we frequented, including the bus. This never happened. We filmed four different locations; and then we had finals, and then we moved out, and then our chance was over. That was May 2011.
It wasn't until this past October (2012), that we decided to re-attack this project. The weather was beautiful and there was a new park that had opened that week near Lauren's house. With all this new footage I was able to piece together a fun little video. This is what I showed everyone at the Christmas party.




In the end, I love the way it turned out. I think it's cool how these clips are almost 18 months apart, and to see how much we've changed. But I think the best part is, the genius of filming in the park didn't dawn on us until we were dancing on the jungle gym.



noelle

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Fair Baby

I have a friend named Jillian. She and I used to work together as camp counselors at our local YMCA.


                                                            We'd take pictures like this...



We'd do things like this...

That was almost five years ago. Since then, we both left the Y and went to separate colleges; naturally, we lost touch with one another. But a few months ago we both attended a retirement party for our old supervisor and got to talking again. I was immediately transported back in time five years. It felt like nothing had changed between us. Yet Jillian's life had changed drastically. 

Meet Charlotte, Jillian's beautiful baby girl.


Jillian's been documenting her experience as a new mommy (and wife!) on her blog, aptly named "My Fair Baby". Her last name is Fair... the blog is about her baby... get it? I think it's genius. I also think she's a brilliant writer. She must be brilliant since I'm constantly reading her blog even though I am currently baby-less and plan to stay that way for quite some time. Plus, she's recently been expanding the focus of blog to include her life stories and relationship advice.

So give her a chance!
Read her blog.
Like her facebook page.
If you're really not interested, then spread the word to someone who would be.





For your viewing pleasure, he is a small sampling of what we did after work one day.


noelle

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ziggy's Piggies on Bloglovin!

Hey everyone!

One more quick post: Bloglovin seems to be the new "it" place for blogging, so if you have a Bloglovin account you can now follow Ziggy's Piggies on a new site! Bloglovin is a pretty cool site so I definitely suggest checking them out, especially if you use Google Reader to manage your blogs (it's being shut down July 1st)!

Have a great night!

Lauren


DIY thank you notes

I like receiving personalized thank you notes when I purchase items from other Etsy sellers; it actually makes me want to buy something from them in the future. It makes the whole transaction feel, well, personal. Adding the thank you to our products was always something Lauren and I wanted to do, we just couldn't figure out how. 

Recently we've been seeing a lot of DIY art work involving those free paint cards anyone can pick up at Home Depot, so we thought we'd give that a try. Once you get over the awkwardness of walking out of Home Depot with nothing but 30 of these cards, the process is extremely simple. 


1. Pick out your colors.
It's best to go with the lighter shades, this way you
can easily read what you write. 




2. The colored side is ready to go as is, but as you 
can see, the back side needs some help. I'm all for 
cheap crafts, but I don't want it to be obvious. 
After some trial and error, we found that covering the
 back with 2-3 coats of spray paint does the trick. 


3. Once the paint is dry, we trim off the side 
that has the paint's name with one of those
fancy craft scissors. Then we write our 
message on the colored side.
Et viola! A super simple craft at a 
super low cost.


noelle