Friday, May 8, 2015

DIY Washi Tape Tray

This DIY project first appeared on Martha Stewart Living where I am a West Coast Expert and Contributor. If you are looking for the perfect last minute gift from the heart for Mom, this is it!

Available in every size imaginable and willing and able to solve numerous design and organization challenges, trays are one of my favorite go-to pieces for keeping my home in tip-top shape. To pay a small tribute to this hardworking household problem solver, I created a fun and easy DIY to turn a plain old serving tray into a home-decor stunner. All you need is a little bit of time, some basic supplies, and a few rolls of washi tape! If you are new to washi tape, welcome aboard! We use it for just about everything in our home, from hanging kids' artwork to prettying up packages and creating indoor hopscotch boards on a rainy day. Washi tape is fun, easy to use and remove, and simply beautiful.


- serving tray (I purchased a very basic plastic tray from a local home-goods store)

- two rolls of different patterned or colored washi tape (I used two different width tapes with different patterns).

- scissors

- ruler

- sharp pencil

- household cleaner and cloth wipe

Step 1:

Prepare your tray. Washi tape will stick well to most surfaces, but you will want to make sure your tray is clean before beginning this project. Spray your tray with a little household cleaner to remove any oils and wipe dry with a cloth towel.

Step 2:

Measure your tray. To create the geometric shapes in this project I made several measurements across my tray. You can use pieces of washi tape like I did to mark your measurements. The spacing is what's important. We are going to be measuring in half, then half again. First find the middle of your tray and mark the middle with a piece of tape. Next find the middle of each half of your tray and mark with tape again. 

Step 3:

Make your first triangle! Cut a piece of tape that runs the entire length of your tray. Place the bottom of the tape along the leftmost marker on your tray. Angle the tape and bring it toward the center point at the top of the tray. Repeat on the other side, starting with the right-most marker.

Step 4:

Repeat step 3 with your other roll of washi tape, but this time make a smaller triangle inside the large. Don't worry about the excess tape. I'll show you how to get nice clean cuts in step 5!

Step 5:

It's time to tidy up your tape. To get clean-cut and neat angles, take a sharp pencil and run it along the top of your tape to mark where you need to cut. Lift the edge of your tape off the tray and cut the tape along your pencil line.

Step 6:

To place your final two triangles, turn your tray around and make fresh measurements, following step 2. Once you have your last two triangles taped and in place follow step 5 to tidy up your tape.

Your new tray is ready to rock breakfast in bed, your coffee table, and turn your junk mail from drab to fab!

Monday, March 30, 2015

DIY Pastel Paint Dipped Napkin Rings

This DIY project first appeared on Martha Stewart Living where I am a West Coast Expert and Contributor. I wanted to create a fun and easy project that would celebrate my favorite colors of the spring season and give Easter dinner guests a little something sweet to take home besides the classic chocolate bunny.

These are super easy to make and your guests will have a little keepsake at the end of the meal. Clothespins have never looked so chic.


- Martha Stewart Craft Paints

- paint palette

- 10 old-fashioned wooden clothespins

- baker's twine

- 1 spice jar per paint color (for filling with paint and dipping)

- 2 mason jars (for using as support to hang dipped pins)

- 1 drinking straw

- Washi tape or masking tape

- 10 cloth napkins

- scissors

- 9 yards of cotton ribbon

- 10 place-setting cards

Step 1:

Prepare your paint. Decide on at least 5 different colors for your paint-dipped clothespins. I used a mixing palette to add a little white to each of my chosen colors to make the paint thicker and more opaque.

Step 2:

Tie a piece of baker's twine around the top of your clothespin -- make sure you tie a bow (and not a knot) so that it's easy to untie later. Pour your first paint color into a clean spice jar. Pour enough paint so that when you dip your clothespin in the paint covers about half of it.

Step 3:

Prep your drying area. I made a makeshift drying rack from a set of mason jars, a drinking straw and some washi tape. Set two mason jars on a flat surface. Tape a drinking straw across the top of the jars so you have a place to hang the wet clothespins.

Step 4:

Dip! Once your drying area and paint jar are ready, it's time to dip. With a steady hand, lower a clothespin into the paint until it touches the bottom of the jar. Let the clothespin sit in the paint for a few seconds, then lift up. Wrap the baker's twine around the straw on your drying rack and tape down with some washi tape. 

Step 5:

Let dry. Allow your dipped clothespins to dry for at least 2 hours before taking them off the drying rack. Allow them to dry overnight before creating the napkin rings and place settings.

Step 6:

Fold your napkins. For this project, I folded my dinner napkins in thirds and then in half. You can get creative with the folding if you'd like.

Step 7:

Cut and tie your ribbon. For my napkins I needed about 20 inches of ribbon per napkin to create a side bow. Place the ribbon underneath the napkin and tie a bow in the front. I placed mine to the side, but you can mix it up by tying the bow in the middle. A middle bow is perfect if you are not using place cards. 

Step 8:

Write the names on your place cards. I used a chalk pencil, but pen or maker, even paint would be a nice touch.

Step 9:

Once you have created your place cards, gently slide a clothespin over the tied ribbon. On the underside of the ribbon, slide your place card, so it is centered underneath the clothespin. Repeat for each place setting.

Now your table is ready to welcome spring in style! Don't forget to invite your Easter dinner guests to take their pretty pastel clothespins home with them! 

Enjoy!  Share your results in the comments or tag me on Instagram @zelmarose!



Original photography, art direction + styling for Zelma Rose by Lisa Anderson Shaffer.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Local Love: Lisa Congdon | How I Became a Self-Employed Artist

This post first appeared on Martha Stewart Living, where I am a West Coast Expert and Contributor. This past January I attended Alt Summit, a bi-annual conference for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs. I caught up with keynote speaker Artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon to learn more about her process and how she got started. You can read my full recap of the conference here

Lisa Congdon | Photography by Sarah Deragon

With a captive audience of 600-plus at this past January's Alt Summit, keynote speaker Lisa Congdon reminded the group of eager bloggers and entrepreneurs that when it comes to being busy, she "chose this." As a renowned fine artist and illustrator, Lisa Congdon has an impressive collection of work including books, paintings, prints, wallpaper, and tea towels. Let's just say she is well-versed in the life of a self-employed artist. One of her most recent books, "Art Inc., The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist," is an illuminating instructional on how to get started and thrive as a business-minded fine artist. I interviewed Lisa after her keynote speech to learn a little bit more about how she got started and what has inspired her journey.

Lisa Congdon Stillness 2014


Build and steer your own boat. In the beginning of my own career I was so convinced that in order to be successful, I needed to be a new version of the artists I admired or regurgitate a trend report. I thought that's how it worked for everyone, especially in the world of illustration. But that only made me miserable. It took me a few years to realize I just needed to make my own work and to be myself. It was developing my own voice that made me successful and to feel gratified in my career.

Lisa Congdon Hand Lettered Book of Quotes, Chronicle Books 2014


For many years, I didn't feel legitimate as an artist -- because I both was self-taught and didn't start drawing or painting until I was 31. I felt like I walked into a party I wasn't invited to and that I'd get kicked out eventually. So in the beginning I was really apologetic about my success. I felt I didn't deserve it. Eventually I just got tired of feeling anxious about my legitimacy -- it was exhausting me! I began to own my journey and feel good about who I was and the work I was making.

Lisa Congdon Sami Woman 2011


I made art as a hobby when I first started out, and it was the kind words of other people that changed everything for me. I also became inspired by the idea of being my own boss. I'd worked in an office for many years and had come to a point where I felt like an automaton -- someone whose life included getting up, going to work and sitting in front of a computer all day. I wanted out of that. I wanted to get up and draw and paint all day, so eventually I figured out how to get paid for it.

A special thank-you to Lisa for sharing her insights and inspiration. Her next book, "Fortune Favors the Brave," is due out in the Fall of 2015. You can learn more about Lisa and her work at For more information about Altitude Summit, visit here.

Friday, February 6, 2015

4 the Record | Pearl Jam Ten

Brian + Stacey were my two high school friends who knew way more about music than I ever would. I remember sitting on the bleachers in gym class when they both showed me the cover of this new CD they were listening to. It was pink, with big bold letters on the front and a bunch of guys reaching toward the sky for some strange reason. "Forget the cover, and listen to this, " they said.

Scarf | Shirt | Necklace | Sweater | Pearl Jam Ten | Denim | Sunnies | Boots | Backpack

That album of course was Pearl Jam Ten. I loved it immediately, and then of course once this teenage girl saw a photo of Eddie Vedder, well, the whole Seattle sound was a pretty easy sell. The meaning of this album has changed a lot for me over the years. Starting out as an angst driven teenage anthem, now it remains in rotation as just a really solid rock album. All the songs are great, with Evenflow coming in as an all time favorite track. While I was running around in the oversized flannel and doc martens back in the day, I'd like to think now I'd choose a slightly more mature take on the look. Here's what I would wear now, when calling up my days as a 90's flannel wearing free spirit. 

What's your favorite track from Ten? 



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

From the Studio | 52 Silhouettes Week 5

Last week, as my silhouette I shared my grandmother's scissor collection with you. Her set sits on my desk and after spending so much time with them last week, I was inspired to create a silhouette from one of my grandfather's tools that also sits on my desk. Much like Zelma's scissors, I use Kingston's wooden ruler every day.

After playing around with folding and unfolding Fa's (that's Kingston's grandpa name) ruler, I decided to create this shape from paper for the silhouette. 

I really enjoyed the unexpected small detail of this silhouette. I just might continue this tool rend for a while.



Original photography, art direction + styling for Zelma Rose by Lisa Anderson Shaffer.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Good Measure: Must Haves for Her

Shortly after the New Year, I posted my personal 2015 Style Guide Checklist. If you missed that post, you can check it out here to download your very own. With the year well on it's way, I wanted to share some of my wardrobe staples with you. These are the ones I simply cannot live without. The items I purchase year after year, and the gems that are part of my own wardrobe checklist at the beginning of every season. These are the must haves I buy in bulk!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Okay, let me break it down for you...

1. Let's talk denim. Once, a long time ago, before I was a mom and worked in a fancy office downtown, I used to own a single pair of jeans. Why bother with more when I spent 5 days a week wearing impossibly gorgeous dresses and wiggle skirts? Life is different now, thank goodness, and denim has become a uniform. I have tried a lot of different brands and hands down my favorite is Madewell. They don't sag, are easy to bend and move in and wash really well. Plus, the sizes run true across styles. My personal favorite cut is the Alley Straight, but I also own the Skinny Skinny in a few different rinses as well. 

2. The best tank ever. This will probably blow your mind, but the best tank top you've never tried is maternity. No joke. Liz Lange for Target makes the best tank top around. It's long, really long. Super soft, and has incredible stretch. Seriously this thing is like a rubber band. The key to the perfect fit? Buy it really small. I wear xs, or xxs. 

3. About face. Finding Egyptian Magic was kind of an accident. I has received a sample in a BirchBox subscritpion a friend had given me for Christmas last year. I had put it in my purse figuring if I ever forgot my lip gloss, or I needed some balm or lotion for my daughter, I would have a back up. Well one day I needed it, and surprisingly it ended up changing my skin for the better. The best skin cream I have ever used by far, Egyptian Magic is an all natural moisturizer that melts into your skin. We use it for everything in our house, face, body, cuts, dry skin, everything. It works like a charm and is available at Costco. It doesn't really get any better. 

4. Smashbox BB cream. I'm a huge fan of Smashbox. It's the only makeup I use. This BB cream is a quick and effective way to give your skin a little bit of coverage while fitting in a quality spectrum SPF. This cream goes on smooth, with a light dusting of power will last most of the day, and gives the skin that dewy glow.

5. Oh baby! I am not a lipstick person. I don't really like it. I save lipstick for special occasions and date night. All I really want on my lips is a nice fresh pop of subtle color that feels soft and keeps my lips moisturized. I've tried a number of different glosses, but I keep coming back to Smashbox O - Gloss. This magical little tube intuitively flushes your lips with the perfect shade of pink to compliment your skin tone. It's the perfect amount of color for me day or night, and I keep one in about every bag I own. 

6. Best foot forward. I bought my first pair of Danskos when I worked on a locked psychiatric unit. I was on my feet a lot, and needed to be able to move quickly and easily. A lot of the nurses on the unit wore Danskos and I figure they had to know thing or two about comfort. Since then I'm only on my second pair. They last forever, can go the distance in terms of comfort, and now a days are pretty darn cute. I love these Maria boots and will be wearing them as long as Dansko keeps making them. 

7. Sun kissed. If you are wondering how to get amazing cheekbones, the key is a good bronzer. Bronzer is the secret to making you look like you got 8 hours sleep instead of 4. Yeah, it's that good. I love this Smashbox pressed bronzer to give my skin a little boost. A quick brush along the cheekbones, at the top of the hairline and bottom of the chin leaves you looking like you had all afternoon to get a facial. I also apply it to my lids for a light sparkle above my eye. 

8. Oh my god I love this underwear. Aerie has managed to make the perfect thong hipster hybrid. The lace Mini Cheeky offers more coverage than a thong but provides the same discreet coverage in tight fitting clothes. Best part? It actually stays put. I don't know how they did it. 

Any of these must haves make your can't live without list? 

What has you buying in bulk these days?



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

From the Studio | 52 Silhouettes Week 4

I was feeling rather nostalgic this week for my grandmother Zelma. A friend is currently working on a book project and asked to borrow some of Zelma's swimming medals, which had me digging through a box of old jewelry and knick knacks. Zelma among other things was an incredible athlete and has a host of Lifeguard pins and Public School Athletic League awards from Jamaica High School in Queens, New York. While I don't often look at my grandmother's medals, I do use her scissors every single day. I inherited a beautiful set that sits on my desk, and when not in use, sit along side her husband, Kingston's wooden ruler.

For my silhouette this week, I chose a single pair of scissors, the one's I use the most. 

What heirlooms do you use everyday? 

Until next week!



Original photography, art direction + styling for Zelma Rose by Lisa Anderson Shaffer.

Monday, January 26, 2015

An Open Letter to Alt Summit

Photography by Baxter Miller

Dear Alt Summit,

Thank you. This seems small in retrospect, as I am unsure how to put words to the incredible feeling of being in a room full of brilliant, successful, and endlessly brave women. Maybe it is simply to be in awe. Whatever the case, I always return home floating on air. 

We are mothers, daughters, and partners and creative powerhouses dancing through this hustle, that as keynote speaker Lisa Congdon so wisely pointed out, we have chosen. Yes, chosen. So what exactly have we chosen?

I think everyone at Alt would have a different answer. For some it is to provide for our family, to be at home with our kids, to follow our passion, to not be held back promotionally or monetarily in a still male dominated and unequal workforce, to run the show, or to simply, as Freshly Picked CEO Susan Petersen put, "to be able to go to Target and buy anything I want." 

We choose to be brave. 

After my 4th Alt, and my second as a speaker, I think it is this choice that binds us. The commonality that connects the freelance photographer to the mommy blogger, the DIY crafter to the fashion stylist. We all at some point decided that no matter the circumstances, WE had a choice and were going to make one. 

Sounds simple, but choice is a leap, a risk, a run full speed to the edge of a steep cliff and a deep trust that once you leap, you will start to fly. I don't think any of us knew for certain when we took that leap that we would spread our wings, but we did it anyway, and we have soared. 

For me, the initial choice came from a feeling that I had nothing left to lose. When Zelma Rose came to be, I was reeling from a number of grief stricken years. Family deaths, a sick pet, and a yearning so deep in my heart to become a mother, it practically paralyzed me. But grief is a great teacher. It hurts and it's awful, but it brings your life, your breath, front and center. I know now that grief is the tension of the arrow being pulled back taut across the bow, waiting for flight. It strains and is exhausting but if you can be with it and in it with all of yourself you can not only move forward, but soar with great strength and direction. 

At Alt last week I saw all parts of the arrow. For some it was being pulled back tight across the bow, others were taking aim, and many had just released the arrow, watching it speed through the air with great determination. Being around this energy and hope is what drives us to make the choice to pick up the bow and arrow over and over again until we hit our target. 

When I look now at my daughter, my husband, and my business, I know it was this moment of choice and the bravery to step to the edge and leap that has given me the life I always dreamed. 

To you, the women of Alt, I thank you for making it look easy, hard, exciting, exhausting, joyful, and sorrowful to make that choice. It is a gift that we can all continue to do it together. 

Until next year,



Friday, January 23, 2015

4 the Record: The Grateful Dead American Beauty

For those of you who don't know, yes I wore Birkenstocks before they were vogue, and yeah I ate my weight in parking lot burritos. I was, and remain a Dead Head. While I am a purist and believe that the only way to really listen to the Dead is live, albums were the way I discovered the Dead as a kid. American Beauty was my first Dead experience and to be honest I didn't know what to think. The music didn't make much sense to me. It sounded like a bunch of lullabies and when I saw what they looked like, well then I was totally confused. Still, I knew there was something there and as I got older and went to my first Dead show, well the rest is history.

Sage | Hat | Bag | Tshirt | American Beauty | Denim | Poncho | Necklace | Clogs

With 50 years coming around the bend, it's safe to say that the Dead changed the face of music. I'm all for celebrating the authentic and few do it better than our very own NorCal grown. Congrats boys, and thanks for the memories. Wish all of you could here to say, "Fare thee well," one last time.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

From the Studio | 52 Silhouettes Week 3

As the weeks pass while working on this project, I realize how interested I am in the flora and fauna that surround my house. With so much to look at, I'm enjoying taking a closer and more isolated look at each leaf and bloom.

This week I decided to focus on a leaf from one of the Bird of Paradise plants that grow beneath a set of our kitchen windows. With a few of the flowers in bloom, it seems a bit odd that a leave is what drew my attention, but I was interested in the different textures and how this would translate into a flat silhouette.

I was surprised by the results, as the curve of the leaf, which I was so drawn to seems to get a bit lost in translation. I like the way the drastic change in texture and color from green to brown is seen as only holes in the leaf in this form.

Until next week!



Monday, January 19, 2015

From the Studio: I'm Headed to Alt Summit!!

I am so excited to be returning to Alt Summit this week! This year marks my fourth time attending this super fun, and not to mention sold out conference for bloggers. It marks my second time as a presenter and I couldn't be more thrilled to have been asked back to share my skills to pay the bills using Instagram.

Photography by Sarah Deragon

My gal pal Sarah Deragon, of Portraits to the People will be taking the stage with me as we share our favorite apps to get your Instagram gallery looking like the professional portfolio of your dreams.

Photography by Sarah Deragon

The class is part of the Alt Summit Design Camp and will be held on Thursday from 4:00 - 5:30. We can't wait to see you there!

Photography by Sarah Deragon

I'm also excited to announce that I will be covering the conference for the one and only MARTHA! That's right, you are looking at the newest West Coast Expert Contributor to Martha Stewart Living! I'll be sharing the best moments, interviews with keynote speakers and lots of tips to get your business in top form for 2015! 

Photography by Sarah Deragon
You can follow along on my adventures at Alt Summit:

Instagram | @zelmarose
Twitter | @ZelmaRoseCurios

Salt Lake City Bound!



Friday, January 16, 2015

4 the Record: Ed Sheeran X

Ed Sheeran is adorable. But then again, I am a fan of us gingers. Still he's got a great voice, a humble presence and for a young guy, he can really write a song. His album X, or pronounced "multiply," for reasons I'm assuming I'm not cool enough to understand, is not the kind of music I usually have playing in the studio. I'm more of a sex, drugs, and rock n' roll kind of listener when it comes to my choice of office music. This week for whatever reason I was thinking ahead to spring and just wanted something pleasant that I could sing along to and let my mind just go. This album does the trick for me. The songs are well written, not over produced, even the single Sing, which is kind of fancy, does not reek of studio execs cramming strange manufactured noises into our ears.

Basket | Flowers | Kicks | Tee | Ed Sheeran X  | Beats | Shorts | Necklace | Blanket

X has all the qualities of spring for me right now. And listening to it this week brought me back to those carefree days and nights spent at the beach, running the waves and just being glad to be in someones arms. So if you are wishing for a little sun, have a listen to some Ed Sheeran and get yourself somewhere that denim shorts and tees are all you need.

Happy Weekend!



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

From the Studio | 52 Silhouettes Week 2

If you missed the introduction of #52silhouettes, my new project for 2015, you can check out week one here. This week I chose another subject that I spend a great deal looking at, one of my studio plants. I am far from a gardener and for the most part have a black thumb as opposed to a green one, but succulents and cacti seem to do pretty well under my care.

This lovely little gem sits in my window and reminds me of the top of a pineapple. I adore the shape and really wanted to see what it would look like in silhouette.

This silhouette differed from week one in that I was able to cut it all in one piece.

I'm excited to see what next week brings!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Your 2015 Style Guide Checklist | For Him

As I mentioned in my Style Guide Checklist for Her post, I recommend starting the year off right by taking an inventory of your wardrobe. This is a great way to make sure every piece in your closet is in tip top shape, clean, and fits properly. We are all busy, and as conferences and celebratory events come into play, it's great knowing that your suit fits and is ready to be packed and hop on a plane. I pulled together some of my favorite basics for below to give you fellas a rough idea of what should be in your closet.

Shirt | Bow Tie | Undershirts | Denim | Suit | Thermal | Socks | Glasses | Boots

Also of importance each year is keeping your health in check. Annual medical appointments like physicals, skin cancer screenings, and eye exams should be repeated each year or every few years depending upon your doctors recommendations. To keep all of this info in check, I am sharing with you my own personal set of checklists to keep you organized and looking good throughout the year. You can download your own Zelma Rose 2015 Style Guide Checklist for Him, here.

When it comes to being sized for clothing, I suggest being fitted for suits, dress shirts, and shoes each year. You would be surprised how often our sizes change. Whether it is due to exercise, weight loss or weight gain, or the brand we like changing their size. Keeping up to date on your sizing makes last minute and online shopping a breeze. I like Nordstrom for fittings for both men and women. The Men's department at Nordstrom is a great place to get your shirt and jacket measurements. The shoe department also has a wonderfully professional staff that can measure your foot and help you get into a properly fitting pair of shoes.

Over the next weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite Men's basics and I would love to hear yours!



Original photography, art direction + styling for Zelma Rose by Lisa Anderson Shaffer.