Tag Archives: DIY

A Peek Inside Gus & Ruby Windows: Colorful Wisteria

Summer is here, the gardens are growing and our windows are lush! This window was inspired by the beautiful booms I’m seeing everywhere and the buzzing bees, our little city is feeling so alive. Below I’ll explain how to make these hanging paper wisteria and watercolor honeycombs.

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For the blooms you will need:

  • Tissue paper (3+ colors per color palette)
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Watercolors, paint palette (or a plate) and a big fluffy paint brush

Below you can see the shapes I cut out to begin the process of creating the paper petals. You want them all to be a little different so there’s no need to get a template going for these. Just imagine you’re stretching out the shape of the number 8. I stacked about 5 pieces of tissue before cutting them to make the job go a little more quickly.

Cut out different sizes, you’ll end up forming them from the center, so again, it’s no biggie if they aren’t perfect. You could even just cut out a long oval shape if that’s easier for you! As you cut out the 3+ colors of your tissue paper, remember the lightest tissue should be the largest size and the darkest should be the smallest.

You’ll watercolor wash the lightest color tissue paper you’re using. I used the same light color for both color palettes, a color called French Vanilla. You could use white or any other light color that will pick up the watercolor pigment.

Grab a glass of water and your painting supplies. Decide which colors you’ll be using, I recommend sticking to either warm colors or cool colors. Pool some water on your paint palette and add color to create a wash to blot on the ends of the petal shapes. It will sort of flow towards the center as the tissue absorbs the water. Let these dry before you disassemble the stack of tissue, this is important! The tissue is super fragile when it’s wet, ya know? The other thing is that this part of the process is simply put, just not that pretty. Don’t fret, we’ll get to the beautiful blooms soon!

Just look at those scraps! -insert heart eyes emoji-

Once the water colored tissue has dried, gather it all up with the other colors. Sort everything out by size. Start with your littlest petal, take three pieces and stack them and rotate them form the center so you end up with a flower-esque shape. Pinch the center and twist to create your three-dimensional bloom. You can see what this looks like below.

Repeat this step with all of your petals, keeping them separated by size. Once you have a big ol’ pile of flowers in each size you can stop twistin’ and start stringing! String your needle and thread and make knot at the bottom of the thread so that the bottom bloom stays put. You might need to tie it a few times over.

Start by stringing the smallest and darkest blooms through the bottom (think of going in where you’d see a bumble bee buzzing). Add more of that color until you have a couple of inches. Begin adding the next color until you’ve strung about a foot and then finish it off with your water colored petals. Each long bloom should be different and unique! Add more of a darker color sometimes if you want, or make them all one color!

Below Samson-cat (my always-helper) is showing the blooms before they’re hung up. You can see some of the fun color fluctuation!

For the honeycomb you will need:

  • A sheet of foamcore
  • Watercolor paint and a brush
  • A pencil and ruler
  • Exacto blade and cutting mat
  • Needle a thread

First things first: go to town watercolor painting your foam core. I used lots of yellows and some orange. Let it dry, it might curl up on the sides when in dries. No biggie, you’re gonna cut it up.

Use your ruler and pencil to make a hexagon shape the size that you want each honeycomb to be. A hexagon is a 6 sided shape, a shortcut for sketching your own is to draw a quick circle and draw lines to create 6 even slices, then connect the outer lines: a hexagon is formed! …Or print this out.

Trace hexagons all over the backside of your foam core. Follow those lines with your Exacto blade until you’ve cut out all of your tracings. Make sure to protect your surface with your cutting mat.

Grab your needle and thread and stitch the honeycombs together. Hang then up each individually or from a dowel. Hello honeycomb wall, what a fun photo backdrop or party decoration for a summer event!

As always, it’s so fun to how you make these projects your own. If you instagram, hashtag #gusandrubyDIY so we can see your beautiful creations!

A Peek Inside Gus & Ruby Windows

At Gus & Ruby we adore all things beautiful. We love to focus on the tactile nature of the details, whether it’s the impression an inked plate makes into 100% cotton paper, or it’s a handmade bag where you can see the stitches that hold the fabric together. We fill the windows with our favorite products and custom work and we see the window displays as another creative venue, to make a beautiful space.

Lucky for me, it’s my job to execute the projects we daydream about installing in the windows. I wanted to start sharing this process in a new blog post that I’ll write after each new window has debuted. It’s so fun to connect with others who enjoy relishing in color palettes, textures, light, and beauty the way that I do. I can’t wait to hear from you about your own projects, tip, tricks, and things that you would love to see from us at Gus & Ruby!

One of my favorite things about dreaming up new projects for the windows is re-inventing things we use everyday, this time I used waxed paper and crayons. Below I’ll describe how to do it yourself!

You will need:
  • Crayons
  • Wax paper
  • Kraft paper
  • Iron
  • Scissors or a circle punch
  • Needle and thread
  • You will need a lot of crayons. I used 3 boxes of 100 crayons to fill our windows (keep in mind that you may only use part of the box of crayons). 
  • Pick out your color palette and take out all of those crayons. I chose greens and blues, but whatever palette you choose will end up looking lovely. Roughly separate all of your colors so that when you begin melting you don’t get a pool of brown.  
  • You will need to peel the paper off of the crayons and then break them down. There are a few ways to go about this. You could go for the tried and true pencil sharpener method, the chop on the cutting board tactic, or the easy way: the blender! Use your best judgement, not all blenders are created equal and I don’t want you risking your morning smoothie routine. 
  • I did use my blender (it worked like a dream) and pulsed the crayons for about 15 seconds and got a great powdery result.  I dumped all of my powdered crayons into the compartments of an egg carton for easy access later, but several bowls would do the trick!

Here’s when you start seeing what you’ll end up with!
  • Tear sheets of waxed paper into 6-by-16 inch sheets. Fold the sheet in half to make a 3-by-16 inch rectangle. 
  • Open your rectangle back up and sprinkle your crayon bits evenly across the wax paper. A little bit goes a long way, I used about 1/2 a tablespoon per wax paper rectangle. 
  • Fold your wax paper back to make a sandwich over the crayons, cover with kraft paper to protect your iron. Press the iron to melt the crayons. Let them cool and cut them into circles. 
  • String them together with a needle and thread and repeat!

And that’s it! The installed ‘curtains’ look so lovely with the light shining through. Stay tuned for the next window post. I’m so excited to continue sharing these oh-so-fun projects!

Winter Wedding Escort Card Ideas

When it comes to weddings, one of the fun details to design is the escort card display. We love seeing creative ways to incorporate the couple’s personality or wedding details into the escort cards and a winter wedding provides so many opportunities to infuse a little interest into the display!

 (photo courtesy of 100 Layer Cake)
A simple sprig of rosemary or evergreen is just the perfect touch to add to beautifully calligraphed tags.

 (photo courtesy of Wedding Chicks)

You can never go wrong with a little gold spray paint (or any other metallic color)! Choose pine cones, succulents, or anything else your heart desires and spray away! Tuck simple cards into these beauts and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous display!

 (photo courtesy of Something Turquoise)

Why not do double duty by having the escort card also act as a favor for your guests? You can find inexpensive containers at any craft store and then add salt and rosemary to seal the deal. Quick and easy and oh so beautiful!

 (photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty)

If your wedding is around the holidays, create a festive display with tags attached to gorgeous ornaments. Not only is it a wonderful wedding favor for your guests but any ornaments leftover can serve as a nice wedding keepsake for you and your beloved.

 (photo courtesy of Green Wedding Shoes)

If you’re having a small intimate wedding with just your closest friends and family, bundle up cozy blankets with twine and name tags for your guests. The warm blanket will be just the ticket for those chilly winter nights and will last for years to come!

Festive Mini Wreaths

Is it just us or is anyone else in the DIY craft mode this time of year? Are your floors covered in glitter and paper scraps, too? We completely understand. Our hearts go pitter patter at the sight of any handmade details that are easy to make and don’t end up breaking the bank. One particular crafty detail we’re coveting right now is the mini wreath idea, perfect for your holiday decor or even a winter wedding!

You can find a tutorial for these sweet wreaths right here. We love the idea of gathering several different sprigs to use for your wreaths and then adding little embellishments like berries and simple twine.

 (photo above courtesy of The Sweetest Occasion)
Imagine creating a festive escort card display with the mini wreaths for a wedding! You could tuck the names in amongst the needles as shown below or create a little tag and tie it around the top of the wreath. Super easy and super darling!
(photo above courtesy of Spoon Fork Bacon)
Extra points if you have the mini wreaths double as wedding favors. Not only are they a nice handmade gift but they’re also adorable to hang in your window or on your mantle to display all winter long! A win win in our book.
(photo above courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Dylan & Kristy’s super rad, type-driven invitations

Here at Gus & Ruby Letterpress we LOVE designing and printing custom wedding invitations for our super awesome clients, but we also enjoy letterpress printing for many of the super talented designers that reside in the greater metro Portsmouth area. It is so much fun collaborating with artists as they dream up designs for their very own wedding invitations knowing that we get to make the finished pieces come to life for them! 

The first couple we ever collaborated with was the fantastically rad duo of Dylan Haigh & Kristy Martino, known now simply as HAM (Haigh and Martino), who moved to Portsmouth in 2009 on a bit of a whim after leaving their design agency down south. I was obsessed with these two immediately, mostly because they seemed so cool in their skinny jeans and retro glasses, but also because the colors they had chosen for their wedding invites were warm red and yellow with pops of black and teal. Nobody E V E R picks colors like that for wedding invites. They even brought Pantone chips with them. Enough said. The two were working on designs for their save the dates “together”, which hilariously consisted of them each arguing their case as to why their design was better than the other’s. Yet there was no arguing. It was kind of mind blowing. 

Anyways, I could go on and on about these two, but I’ll get right to their awesome designs. We printed on 220# duplex in fluorescent white to make their bright colors pop as much as possible. I honestly can’t remember who’s design “won” and/or if the final designs were truly a collaboration of both of their talents, but it doesn’t really matter because they were super duper awesome and pretty cool to print.

Here is a detailed shot of the save the date (how flippin’ cute is that?):
Full shot of the No. 10 (approx. 4×9″) save the date:
Here is a pic of the whole suite:

Custom gatefold printed in black ink on kraft paper that housed the invite and reply card: 


Outer envelope:

 Love the reply postcard:

Super bright envelopes! Wouldn’t you love receiving this in the mail?

Not quite sure what this is, but I like it:

Whole suite:

Pretty cute right? Dylan & Kristy saved money by printing each piece in 1-color, printing their own gatefolds and stickers and using a reply postcard rather than a reply card and envelope. Since joining their lives together in holy matrimony, the two have founded their own design agency, appropriately named, HAM. Check out their work and musings:

Haigh & Martino Website
HAM Blog

All photos by HAM
Design by HAM, Letterpress printing by Gus & Ruby Letterpress