Megan O'Dea Jenkins

Wishing you smiles and laughter every day.

Why I Buy Handmade – For The Experience February 27, 2011

Filed under: Gifts,Handmade Artists,Inspiration — meganodea @ 9:08 pm
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I’ve recently followed a bunch of new blogs and immediately fell in love with their oh-so-cute handmade products.  I like buying handmade not only to support the artists and crafters but because it’s often a more creative and personal experience than buying from some big box retailer.


Like this little beauty from The Pleated Poppy.

The packaging is just as cute and imperfect as her blog suggests, just what I was expecting.





Sealing the package with a round sticker, mimicking the rounded corners from the biz card, how cute!





And of course I had to share the gorgeousness that was inside. I love wearing yellow as it is a good contrast color and goes with any neutral – well, I guess any color goes well with any neutral, right?  But I just love yellow.  This is the mustard Petal Pusher.

And I love that she didn’t stop there, like any smart marketer, she added a tag to the back that has her website clearly identified so in those red carpet moments I experience I’ll remember “who I’m wearing”. HA!




Funky Vintage Kitchen is another blog I’ve recently started to follow.  It’s fresh and vintage and a little whimsical, just like the birdcage stamp on the envelope.  I’m in awe of the cute details like how she signs her name with a little heart like you see there on the mailing label, or the font uses on her blog or the design of her Facebook, Twitter and RSS feed buttons.  I aspire to have a blog this clean and whimsical with a little funkiness!






My package came in this tiny jewelry box wrapped with red and white string and a label using elements from her blog.  Such great branding.







And here’s what I saw inside!  She took more string and tied the ring to a little FVK card and added a personal thank you note, which again uses a detail from her blog.  Isn’t the way she signs her name so cute?  It’s at the end of all of her blog posts too. . . . someday, I’m going to be as chic as this!  Don’t forget to check out that super cute ring! I’ve worn it almost everyday, it’s the perfect little addition to my wardrobe, and again. . . it’s YELLOW!!!!






And oh, Allora Handmade, WOW!  She had me at all the gorgeous COLORS!!! As soon as I started following her blog I just KNEW I had to have one of her gorgeous Pearl Rosette Necklaces.  So I sent Brian the link and said instead of spending a fortune on real flowers for V-Day, buy me these instead. And he did!!!  They are put together so well, I’m not worried that I’m going to break or unravel or ruin the necklace if I wear it everyday.  And as everyone else has done, the elements of her packaging are exactly what I would have expected from her blog.



I was so excited to get each of these packages in the mail because I just knew these creative women wouldn’t disappoint with their swift delivery and gorgeous, funky, whimsical packaging.  Thank you to you three for a wonderful and inspiring experience!  Who else should I be checking out? Share your favorite handmade artists with me, please!


So go treat yourself to something handmade, the creativity and craftsmanship of these artists will inspire and delight you with a buying experience you will want to repeat over and over again!




Trendy Elephants For Baby June 2, 2010

I just knew my friend Cindi would come up with something so adorable for her new baby’s nursery, she has an amazing eye for design and color, must come from her mad graphic design skills at a local ad agency.  When little Aaron came into her and her husband Warren’s life it was a wonderful miracle and I knew they would have so many memories they just had to have somewhere to keep them!

Seriously SO CUTE!!  Note the elephant on the changing table, elephant mobile, elephant quilt and what are those circles on the walls?  I HAVE to find out.

Her creative pals at the ad agency threw a very cute shower complete with the elephant theme!

I fell in love with the elephants and wanted to incorporate them into the memory box so I used white Prisma Color to draw them all over the box.

And continued with the green, brown and white color theme.  What a beautiful photo Cindi took of little Aaron all wrapped up.  And I was able to use a lot of fun buttons found in various antique/junk stores.

Here are a few shots of the inside cover and inside of the box.  You will probably notice a few themes – rick rack, fuzzy white poofy ball things and the fun little letters.

With inspiration from my friends Karla and Lynn, I’m starting to have a little fun with the wrapping by incorporating elements from the memory box into the entire gift package. Karla actually made the striped clip I used to clip the card to the bag.

She took a mini paper clip and glued an old poker chip to it then covered the poker chip with fun paper!  How creative!

I hope to visit little Aaron again soon and spend some time with the new Mom and Dad!  And I hope that between all the golfing, concert going, gardening and traveling I’ve been doing I can spend some more time blogging. Speaking of traveling, have you ever heard of a rose rock?  It is the state rock of Oklahoma where I just spent a great weekend with Brian and his family.

I’m so grateful for this precious and intricate little souvenir from my trip to Oklahoma.  Thanks Di-Ann!




Many Memories to Celebrate May 8, 2010

Last weekend I had a chance to head home to Kearney to do some celebrating with my family.  It’s a big year for our family, both of my parents turned 60 this year AND they both retired and are looking forward to new adventures.  My Dad retired in November from a career in school administration and my Mom completes a 36 year career teaching 4th grade for most of that time in two different school districts. AMAZING, I can’t imagine working somewhere for more than 5 years let alone spending 19 years at the same school!

Here’s my Mom (hopefully she doesn’t scold me for posting this.) starting her career as a student teacher in 1972.

Here is my Dad receiving at graduation from Kearney State College in 1972.

I’m so incredibly proud of both of them and wanted to do something special for them.  So my sister Kate (this is a picture of her below with Ted from the car dealership in Kearney, she bought her first car this weekend too!  Congrats Kate), put our creative minds together and decided to work on a little something special for our folks.

My sister is a wonderful writer, in fact, she blogs for the store she works for, Material Girl, check it out here. And as you all know, I am a little obsessed with creating memory boxes. But lucky for us, neither of our parents have one yet!  So we decided I would create the memory box and Kate would write a special tear-jerker note to include in the memory box design. Here’s what we developed for my Mom.

A colorful, teacher and classroom inspired memory box!  My Mom and I have similar handwriting and being that the little kiddos have called her Mrs. O’Dea for the last 36 or so years I wanted to make sure to include that detail.

My Mom always had the best bulletin boards and it was something she prided herself on so I wanted to incorporate that in to this design.  I went on a hunt around Omaha (thanks for taking me Brian!) to find old rulers.  I cut them up to frame a little piece of cork board and decorated with colorful buttons and a great photo!

When I was little I always remember my Mom writing notes or decorating her bulletin boards with lettering that had little dots on the corners like above.  So I knew I wanted to incorporate that and here you can see it on the front of the envelope that holds the note my sister wrote for Mom.  The envelope fits into photo corners so it is easy to remove.

This memory box for my Dad was a little more difficult to create being that a career in school administration doesn’t translate quite as colorful and light-hearted as a career in teaching! So I thought to myself, what do I remember about my Dad going to work everyday? He wore a lot of ties and was very business like so I spent a lot of time at our local thrift stores scavenging for ties (actually, they aren’t that hard to come by!).

I felt like a bow just wouldn’t look good with the design of this box so I decided to create a sort of clasp using 2 buttons and some black elastic.  Turned out good!

I purchased the letters used on the inside cover at the market at Silver Bella (yes, I’ve been saving them since November to use just for this memory box!).  The Irish Blessing is pasted on the front of the envelope that holds the note from my sister and again is secured with photo corners so it can be easily removed.

He already had a pile of notes, cards and memories ready to put in his memory box! So cute.

I loved working on this project with my sister and creating these for our parents but most of all I loved seeing their faces as they opened their gift. So special.  What other special gift ideas do you have to celebrate retirements? I would love to hear from you!




Who Would Have Thought – a Memory Box For First Communion April 18, 2010

A few months ago my Aunt Jody came to me with a great idea, her little nephew J.T. was about to participate in his First Communion and she wanted to get him something meaningful, fun and something he would keep forever. Now, you may remember me mentioning my Aunt Jody here, she is an artist herself creating beautiful cookies, cakes and other amazing desserts!  She even surprised me with these beautiful cupcakes for my birthday!

And as you can see I was so surprised and appreciative, she is always doing these special things for my sister and myself.

So I wasn’t surprised when she had the excellent idea to give J.T. a memory box to celebrate his first communion and keep those memories for life.  I scoured the internet for ideas – she gave me free range on what it would look like, did I mention Aunt Jody is not only an amazing aunt but the best customer too, FREE RANGE to do WHATEVER I WANT to do!  I knew I wanted something with color even though when you think of first communion you think fluffy white dresses, well, I do anyway!  And I wanted to make it light-hearted with a touch of “kid”.

I created a really simple water color illustration of the chalice and host for the cover of the memory box – I wanted the process to go quick so I dried the paper with a hair dryer allowing me to create the entire piece in one night!  Here’s a little sample of the “kid” part of the box – blue rick rack. I love using rick rack and buttons on these memory boxes.

The one request Aunt Jody did make was that she didn’t want the event information to be the focal point of the piece.  So I had a little fun with it and put it on the inside of the box along with a space for a 4×6 photo.  The photo corners stick to the paper real easy and are a nice detail on the piece.  I found the fun letters at Hobby Lobby and have been using them a lot lately.

The gold paper is such a beautifully rich color, my camera doesn’t do it justice, but I fell in love with it as soon as I opened that paper drawer at Dick Blick!

And another touch of rick rack to cover the seam where the paper joined.

And here it is tied with a beautiful black bow.

The best part of this project was the excitement and delight on Aunt Jody’s face when she saw it for the first time. I’m so happy she was so happy with the end result, I can’t wait to hear what J.T. thinks about it.  What types of gifts did you receive for your First Communion and do you still have them tucked away somewhere special?




Keeping Memories for Baby Girl April 6, 2010

In a previous post I shared the start of a project – a memory box for a baby girl.  This was so fun because my friend Jami is giving this as a gift to a good friend of hers who recently welcomed baby Emri into the world.  Because Emri has such an adorable nursery, Jami thought it would be fun to match the memory box design to the nursery so Mom can display it. Of course I was all for this as well, what artist doesn’t want their creation to be center of attention!

On the left is a photo of the wall mural in baby Emri’s nursery, a whimsical tree with sage green leaves and highlights of pink flowers. On the right is all the components I planned to use in the box, pink buttons, ribbon with a pattern similar to that of the wall mural and various colors and textures of paper.

I’m really pleased with how the different textures, tones, colors and styles came together in this whimsical yet trendy memory box for baby Emri.  The papers, ribbon and letters were found at some of my favorite art supply stores including Hollanders, Hobby Lobby and Dick Blick.  Of course the buttons come from all of my various junk store or antique store adventures in either Omaha, Overton or Weston, MO.

I really like using these letters because they add a child like playfulness  to the memory box.  The photo corners are another new item I’ve been using recently as opposed to building an actual frame out of chipboard and slipping a photo in it.  This is a much more user friendly solution and leaves more room for for fun details like layering different papers and more buttons!

I have a really great HP Desk Jet printer that came with my Mac that I purchased back in 2002!  I can run so many different thickness and textures of paper through this printer, it is an awesome resource and I hope it never ever dies on me!

This is kind of an awkward angle but you can see how I incorporated all of the elements from the front of the memory box on the inside of the box.

As all artists experience, sometimes mistakes can be happy ones!  This strip of green paper with the letters spelling out Emri was a last minute addition because the paper crinkled really awkward when the glue dried and I didn’t like how it looked.  This was a creative solution to fixing that issue as it really enhanced the design of the interior of the memory box, making it more personal and interesting to look at.

I’m so happy that baby Emri will have something so fun and whimsical as a keepsake full of many memories to visit over and over again the rest of her life!  I’m curious, how do you keep the many memories made by your babies?




Love Is In The Air March 28, 2010

Ah, springtime, sunshine, green plants starting to sprout and love is in the air. Literally! My grandparents courtship back in the early 40’s was via air mail as my Grandfather lived here in Nebraska and my Grandmother lived on the East Coast.  All that time they kept these beautiful letters, sent weekly by Air Mail to each other, planning their wedding and the start of their life together.  This was the very first Memory Box that I ever created and will probably always be my favorite. (unfortunately the photos probably do not do this justice)

I wanted to highlight the air mail stamp and play off of that theme for the cover. This is water color on Arches hot press watercolor paper.

The inside of the memory box holds the letters in two bundles secured with ribbon.  This was actually a project for a calligraphy class so I read all of the letters and wrote a little story about their courtship.  Because both of my Grandparents are Greek, they would write in both English and Greek to each other so sometimes I couldn’t quite tell what was being said!  The story is kept in the blue envelope on the inside of the lid along with other items like jewelry and special photos.

The letters themselves are just so beautiful with the old air mail stamps, gorgeous  handwriting and the Royal Chocolate Shop logo on all the envelopes.  Each letter was obviously opened very carefully at the top with what I’m sure was a letter opener. Probably the one I remember my Grandfather opening his mail with when I was a little kid!

With email and text messaging and cell phones right at our finger tips these days, our loves stories and courtships are much different so maybe that’s why I have such an appreciation for this little piece of my past, something we can keep forever.

Enjoy this beautiful spring weather, I hope love is in the air for all of you!