Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NOW OPEN! - GunslingerStudios

Gunslinger Studios is now open for business on! Congratulations to Roger for getting his product online!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Domino!

Today Domino is 3 years old! Domino is our Catalhoula, and might I add, pretty much the cutest dog ever (okay I'm a little biased).  

Rappy Ruffray Romino!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

6 Months & Counting!

Today was our 6 month anniversary! Wow, that came fast! Roger had a romantic dinner and evening planned, complete with a glass of Carmel Road chardonnay (the white we've enjoyed for years and served at our wedding), and re-reading our vows to each other.  It's funny how things work out perfectly.  I accidentally left my rings on the bathroom sink this morning.  Roger re-proposed with my engagement ring when I walked in the front door!  And he tied up our wedding bands in the little nest we used as a ring pillow....awwww, so sweet :)  I might argue that I have the best husband ever...swoon.

We also watched our wedding video, which was provided thanks to our friend Craig's mad videography skills ;)  AND....I have the wedding photographs (by Lisa Myers-Gonzales)!!! yay!! I can't wait to look at them!

My Best Friend's Wedding

November 7th 2009

My best friend, Jen, got married to Kris!!!  I'm so happy for therm. I couldn't believe how fast their big day came.  Jen was glowing and beautiful in her dress and Kris, her new husband, was all smiles.

Their wedding was flawless, thanks to some quick work behind the scenes (good job, Kristen!).  It was so much fun that I almost forgot I had to give a speech....and I got almost as emotional as Jen did when she gave one at my wedding. 

Weddings are such wonderful events.  How much better does it get than celebrating love with all of your close friends?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Engagement Celebration for Karla & Chris October 24th, 2009

Our friends Chris and Karla wanted to throw a fun little engagement party get-together with their friends.  It was a casual party that was pulled together quickly with the help of Chris and Karla, and the bridesmaids, including moi :)  We had hosted the event at the Avalon at Cahill Park Apartments Clubhouse.  Relaxed atmosphere, simple dinner & appetizers; a well suited celebration of our friends' happiness.

Invitations by Bloem

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Volunteering for Thanksgiving

Rogér and I thought we'd have fun this Thanksgiving holiday and volunteer our time to help provide others with a wholesome Thanksgiving meal.  We didn't expect it to be so hard to find someplace to welcome our free services!  We found a few websites that match you with the volunteer service that you'd like to provide. Some of these sites seemed like a great idea, but they didn't have as much as we hoped for.  The Salvation Army website points to  Here we found one of the places that we are trying to work with the week before Thanksgiving, the Mayfair Community Center Thanksgiving Dinner, for head injury victims and their families. We also checked with our friend's mom who works for the Chamber of Commerce.  She hears about a lot of goings on and turned out to be a great resource!  We are really looking forward to some of these events!! I'll keep ya posted on how it goes :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hip Buckles from Gunslinger Studio

Just had to share a couple of Rogér's really cool belt buckles! He etches the copper to get all kinds of intricate designs.  Similar buckles made an awesome personalized gift for our groomsmen :)  More buckles will be available soon at  You can also order custom!

This tiger was one of three wildlife designs.

Custom buckles for the founder of The Clarity Project

Rogér made these belt buckles for Shane Rogers, founder of The Clarity Project.  The Clarity Project designs and fabricates jewelry using only fair trade diamonds and reclaimed precious metals.  Profits from The Clarity Project are invested back into mining communities,  providing education, mentoring and nutritional support to African mining schools.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Almost a Year Since we Adopted Ronin

I was helping move my best friend's sister into her dorm room last winter when I got the call about a horse that had been abandoned and was in desperate need of a home.  I'd been thinking about getting a horse.  It was more like wishful thinking, really.  I rent a house in a little suburban neighborhood in San Jose.  I have a yard the size of four office cubes, and we were already the proud parents of a 3 year old myers parrot and a 2 year old catahoula (a large, athletic dog that is meant to live on a rural farm and have a real job).  We had our hands full.  "Well, he probably won't live more than a month if he doesn't find a home." my friend was telling me over the phone, "If you want him, he's yours for free, but we'll have to go up tonight to take a look at him."  Tonight?!  I rushed home to grab Rogér and my friend who had called about the horse.  We drove to Sunol that night and hiked a big hill to find the tall, bedraggled mess of a bay thorouhgbred horse.  He was skin and bones, but he was sweet natured. 

Rogér with Ronin a couple weeks after we got him

He was supposedly 8 years old.  There were no papers. The rules I know about horse trading are: 1) The horse is never as young as the seller says it is, 2) Don't buy a horse before you try riding it, 3) Make sure the seller gets on the horse before you do, 4) Have the horse checked out by a vet before you purchase, and finally 5) there's no such thing as a free horse.  Of course, I disregarded pretty much all of these!  I made the call the next day that I would take him.  Turns out, he was only about 41/2 years old (What?!), which I found out thanks to the helpful people who keep their horses at Indian Hills Ranch in Milpitas.

It took Ronin a long time to put on weight.  We did a lot of slow exercise to build up his muscles.  For the first few months I didn't even put a saddle on him because I didn't want him to have to carry the extra lbs.  Here we are almost a year later and I can't even believe the difference!  He looks great and he's doing great!  We've also been taking lessons which is really helping me to become a better rider and helping Ronin learn what's expected of him.  He's turning out to be an amazingly good horse and he seems to be pretty happy in his new environment :)  A very gratifying success!

Rogér with Ronin about a month ago

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's New with Bloem

Well, I'm working on getting my own business up and running.  I'm not the most savvy business woman so I'm basically plowing forward one step at a time.  Here's where I'm at with that;  Got most of what I need as far as the name, next step...applying for a business and resale license.  I'm giving myself until the end of November for all of this.  Maybe it's the engineer (my real job) in me that makes me way overthink the entire process, but I get a little confused by what steps come first.  That's why I've tried to make use of the Chamber of Commerce (Campbell, CA) nand the County Clerk's Office. Also been to a couple SCORE seminars.  All of this is very helpful.  I also forget sometimes how helpul a phone call can be, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed by all the information on the internet.

On a more fun note, I took some time the other day to update my invitation portfolio.  It was fun to display the invitations that I've worked on :)

I'm in Love

Last year I discovered what is now my favorite resource for creative materials.  It's called the East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use and it has all kinds of scrap/used/salvaged paper and craft stuff!  You can buy paper by the inch (stacked) and find book bindings, fabric, beads & vintage jewelry.  It's fantastic and (I'm sorry to say) I don't know of any other place like it.  If you do know of other places that are devoted to reuse of craft materials, please post!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Custom Handmade Bachelorette Party Invitation - Jennifer

This invitation was on my workbench for quite some time and I couldn't wait to post it!  (I had to wait until all the invites went out)  It's one of my favorites so far. Sophisticated, yet fun.  Purple sparkle vinyl paper. Hand-cut girl silhouette with rhinestone and embossing detail.  I think it's the perfect "Glamourous Girls' Night Out" design. I never make the same custom invitation design twice, which ensures each of my clients gets something unique and special to them....but....If you like this one, I can always come up with something equally as fabulous for your special event.  Convo me through my Etsy store, bloemdesigns.

Bachelorette Party Invitation - Style# Jennifer

Style# Jennifer - Detail

Yay! New Camera!

I'm so glad we finally got a new small camera!  We tried to take our broken Cannon Elph to a repair shop here in San Jose, Kamera Korner. They seemed nice enough and knowledgeable, but the thing is, there's a $30 minimum to start, then you sign a waiver saying you will pay up to $125 in repairs, before you know if it can even be fixed!  Sucky.  Anyway, we decided the risk was too high and we went a bought this camera at Best Buy for $119!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wedding Photographs (A Sneak Peak)

Friends are awesome!  And it's so convenient when their talented too!  Rogér and I were so happy to have our friend, Lisa Myers, photograph our wedding and from the looks of this sneak peak, she did a phenomenal job.  Can't wait to see the rest! Thanks so much, Lisa! ( and Craig, for doing the videography... and capturing our vows on video so that we can relive them forever and ever ;)

Rings in their Nest - Courtesy of Lisa Myers Photography

Homemade Blackberry Jam Favors - Courtesy of Lisa Myers Photography

Groom & Bridesmaids - Courtesy of Lisa Myers Photography

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Missed Photo Opportunities

Why do things break at the most inopportune times?  On the first leg of our honeymoon, in Dublin, Ireland, we lost the use of our little Canon camera. Boo.  Sure, we have the giant SLR Nikon D60, (which is fantastic!) but you just can't take that everywhere. It's way harder to take a self shot with one of these things and handing it to someone else to take a photo, well, I would say it's probably comparable to leaving your child in the hands of a babysitter for the first time.  Trying to explain how to use it to the poor passerby is a nightmare.  I serioulsy need to call around to find a camera repair shop that can fix my camera so that we can continue to capture the smaller moments of life. 


Mini cupcake charms inspired by my affinity for cake decorating! 

As much as I LOVE to decorate cakes and cupcakes, I decided that the baking part is too much work...hehe.  So I'm finding other ways to decorate pastries.  The charms above are made from polymer clay and are available at my Etsy store, bloempot.  I'm also making paper cards with cupcakes and cakes....I'll post those pictures as soon as I find a memory card for our camera! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gift Tags - The minimalist in me

I've been playing around with one sided gift tags.  They're a great way to add a little personal note to your gift.  They're also a perfect way to sample my work.  This way, I get my fix of creating something new on a small scale that's still useful.  I make all gift tags out of scrap from previous projects and reused/salvaged materials sooooo...they're earth friendly too!   

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Trip Home

Before the wedding, I wanted to take my girls home to Petrolia with me.  Yes, it's true, not even my bestest best friend had ever been to Petrolia.  Why? 'Cuz it's just not a convenient place to get to.  It is, however, a charming little valley and a very different experience from the city life they're used to.

Up, past the Avenue of the Giants, and through the foggy town of Ferndale, we learned to make butterballs with wooden paddles, and sewed lavender satchels with my grandmothers Singer.  We made sliced local apples for applesauce, and tasted yummy homemade jams (my favors) from the Lorensen Farm.

What's in my Etsy store right now

A little peek at my recently posted, handmade items for sale at 

"Love-Cherish-Joy" Greeting Card

Pink Blossom Thank You Cards - Set of 5

Our Wedding Invitations Continued....

I was so happy with the look I created for our wedding invitations!  However, with all the other to-do's of wedding planning, I put the actual manufacturing of them off until it was much too late for me to make them on my own.  That's when I called for reinforcement! There's nothing like a sweatshop of best girlfriends when it comes to getting projects done!  Okay, maybe it's not the most efficient way...we did gab a lot, but it made the process 10X more fun and the end result fabulous!

Evelyn & Jen hard at work :)

Making my own wedding invitations

My favorite part of wedding planning was making our invitations.  I started making the paper almost a year in advance!  I blended newspapers, dried veggie greens, flower petals, and whatever I could scrounge up into paper pulp slush and dipped my homemade paper screen in one by one.  I laid each piece carefully on a sheet of cotton fabric and let them dry in the sun.  How relaxing ... just me and my vat of paper pulp, out in the driveway on the warm days of summer.  It was pretty time consuming though, and I never got a lot of paper.  Oh well.

Since I couldn't make enough paper for the full invitation, I used store bought cardstock for the envelopes and the maps.  I was also a little uneasy about printing on my rugged handmade paper, so I chose to print on vellum and fasten it to my paper with a ribbon, and...voilà! 

Friday, September 4, 2009

The proposal - a little piece of this past year

I got the warnings in my email inbox a couple weeks ago; our wedding website, has expired!  We'll miss you wedding website!  Luckily I've salvaged our proposal story (as told by Rogér), here in my blog.  To hear all about how he popped the question, read on....

Sarah, I may be able to cover this subject best. Hi everyone, after lots of preparation the day (June 19th, 2008) went really well!

I knew that the weekend after moving into our new place we might both use a break after all the hard work and stress. My plans were to convince Sarah that we could get a great workout in a great environment in Garland Park. I love Garland park and suggest that everyone takes some time to enjoy it if on your next trip to Carmel. The park has a fantastic view of the entire valley and is super dog friendly. Oh yeah, let me get back to the proposal story.
I planned a great little hike to the top of Garland park for Sarah, Domino, and myself (Buddy wanted some alone time and stayed home). For some reason I remember it being an easier hike. Well I didn't expect to sweat as much as I did, but I think that I can chalk some of that up to nerves and carrying a full backpack. I knew that there was a fantastic view at the top, so I wanted a great setup to really set the mood and to make sure that I wouldn't chicken out. I had Dave Perryman, a longtime friend and groomsman, double check the location and, on the day, haul a roll-up wooden table, plus a whole backpack of extras. I really appreciate everything Dave. A stealth text message set Dave on his way. With a ten minute head start he was able to set up without ever being seen.
Typically there are very little people who make the 10 mile hike, especially on days as hot as this day was, so imagine my surprise when on the last few bends I heard voices. I knew I was near the top and practically dragged Sarah speedily past the group of six hoping that I had made enough ground to not have an audience, and not have them ruin the surprise.
At the top there was a fantastic view: a table with flowing white tablecloth, red rose petals, champagne, and my shaking hand holding an amazingly sparkly, HUGE, diamond ring.
I got down on one knee shakely and with a nervous and stuttering voice asked Sarah if she would marry me. She said "Yes!!!" (if she hadn't, it would have been a very long, uncomfortable hike back).
We enjoyed a light lunch of fresh fruit & berries, which in retrospect I probably should have made sure was at the top of the backpack and not at the bottom where I found them, and a wonderfully refreshing glass of bubbly.While cleaning up, Domino and I got stung by some bees; me on my arm and poor Dom on his nose :( Other that that little sidenote the hike and view was fantastic.

The day was not over and neither were my plans...

I had a pretty tight schedule and some great plans ahead. The next stop was the wonderfully relaxing hour and fifteen minute massage at the Esalen Lodge near Big Sur. Wait, I want to note that we did go back to my Dad's house and shower before that. The massage was amazing. We were together in a great little shack right on the edge of the sea cliff. The technique supposedly mimicked the motion of the ocean as if you were being massaged by the whitewash itself. We both really enjoyed ourselves. Did I mention that this place is totally clothing optional? It definitely added to the adventure. Esalen also has great and super relaxing natural hotsprings. The whole experience was very relaxing and rejuvenating.
To end this perfect day I had made a reservation at our most favorite restaurant in Monterey, aptly named Monterey's Fish House. Wow I can't say enough great stuff about this place. Everything they serve there is the best. Every dish is my favorite!

We ordered the crabcake for appetizer. Sarah ordered it to my surprise because she had a bad experience with crab when she was young. She told me that she would absolutely eat anything created at this restaurant. For dinner, Sarah had the Salmon grilled on an oak plank and I had a tomato pesto pasta with shrimp both dishes were complemented with a bottle of Carmel Road chardonnay and we finished the night with a tiramisu with spumoni ice cream.

What a great day!!!

But for all the planning my favorite parts where when I would catch Sarah looking down at her ring, break out in a big smile, and blush.

P.S. Sarah was watching me type the last bit and got a big smile on her face, blushed, and teared up a bit. She is a total sweetheart and I love her.
Awwww....What an amazing day.  I have such a great hubby :)

If you are ever in  the Carmel Valley area, Garland Park IS a great little hike. Esalen is not for the faint of heart, but a phenominal place of serenty if you are comfortable in your birthday suit. And last, but not least, the Monterey Fish House is de-lish!


At some point, we find ourselves knee deep in materials, tools, little pieces we’ve made here and baubles we’ve made there. There are only so many friends available to give handmade earrings and bracelets to so we shove our slaved over creations into containers and stack them away in closets until the next craft fair. As for me, my crafts end up spread out all over the living room and spare bedroom. What to do with this array? My first attempt at displaying my work to the masses was an Ebay store. I found the user interface cumbersome. Too many options, links, and whatnot, I often struggled to find the information I was looking for and if I found it, I could never recall how to get to it again. Not to mention, I wasn’t reaching the right market. One day, I was searching for comparable products to help price my miniature polymer clay figurines, which led me to Red Fenyx’s Etsy shop. Aha! Etsy, a perfect marketplace for all things handcrafted and wonderfully organized & simple. LOVE IT!

I opened an Etsy shop for my mini figurines and charms, bloempot. My new Etsy shop for invitations, announcements, and stationary will be up soon, bloem designs.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Starting from Scratch

I usually do things the hard way.  Like every craft junkie, I ogle the latest cutting, printing, pre-fabricated gadgets which make "homemade" so easy. But something stops me from jumping on board.  Okay the price for sure!  I mean who has extra cash in their back pocket to throw at template cartridges? That's not the only reason though.  

I had a humble upbringing in a small valley town of Northern California.  No department stores (barely a store at all), but what I did have was the beauty of nature all around me and a mother who could make anything from nothing.  We got our eggs from the chickens in the yard, our apples from the trees, our milk from the goats in the pen.  My mom taught me how to ride horses, play the violin, draw & paint, spin wool, crochet, stamp leather, weld, and make paper.  This lifestyle instilled in me a sense of responsibility for preservation of the crudely and truely handmade. 

I grew up and flew the coup as fast as possible, with my sights set on a faster paced world. In this world, bombarded by gazillions of mass produced designs, cool tools, and Martha Stewart, I couldn't help but dip my toes in a little. So here it is, my somewhere-in-the-middle....bloem. My creations. My inspiration. My journey.

enjoy :)