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Land of Nod: Boston

Ampersand Design Studio

When The Land of Nod approached us about doing our biggest piece of art for them yet, OF COURSE we said yes!!!! And when we say big, we mean like a 70ft long ceiling mural in the new Boston boutique store at Natick Mall!!!! How fun is that? Our minds started going crazy with possibilities! We painted and sketched several ideas and mocked them all up onto the the architectural drawings of the store layout. Some ideas were very organic and painterly, some were very graphic. We sent them all to the talented Nod team to vote and got a winner!
It's graphic...and rainbow...and bright...and fun...and bold...and we couldn't be more excited to share the final installation with you!!

Drumroll please....

So there you go! The full ceiling with a portion of the design climbing down the wall behind the checkout counter!! We worked closely with Danielle from Nod, and that was Danielle's idea which we think is just brilliant! In fact, this entire store concept was all her brainchild! We were just lucky to join in for the ride! As far as that portion of the design behind the cash register, let us just say though, not an easy task to make these very mathematical stripes line up at just the right point to come down the wall!

Just to give you a feel for the store, we have to share this gorgeous front entrance plus signage with you! Isn't that HELLO mosaic EVERYTHING?

So, here is the final digital design that we overlaid onto the architectural drawings where the can lights and chandelier were all had to be taken into account.

It's always fun to see a little work in progress, right? Originally, we were planning on painting the mural ourselves, but Carrie would've been 8 months pregnant at this point and this was a large ceiling for Morgan to take on by herself...and this mathematical design with very perfect ages and angles was a bit over our heads. Thankfully, Danielle found Studio Fresh Boston who turned out to be the most incredible dream team to bring our mural to life! Seriously, we have no words that can thank these experts enough for executing this crazy complicated piece!

a few close ups...

And her is the final design complete just days before store opening, and clearly before any product had been placed! Oh and we know you are wondering about that chandelier! The Land of Nod commissioned another artist, Sage Reed, to create this magical, rainbow-filled piece! Isn't is gorgeous?

And then here it is...the store, filled with all the Nod goodies and ready for opening day!

And of course we have a few more glory shots, not to mention the corner where Danielle let us add our signatures to the ceiling. Seriously, this was a DREAM COME TRUE! Sometimes, when these projects come along, we have to just take a minute and realize how lucky we are to get to do this for a living!

St. Patty's DIY: POM POM EARRINGS!

Ampersand Design Studio

Guys! St. Patrick's Day is THIS Friday! 

We're so excited to deck ourselves out in green and celebrate! We've already got the perfect tee for you to rock and if you want to take your look to the next level we've got a great DIY for you- POM POM EARRINGS!

Don't be intimidated, these earrings are super easy. You can easily whip these out the night before!

Supplies:

  • Yarn (we used two shades of green for St. Patrick's day, but you could use whatever colors if you wanted these to be for everyday use)
  • Pom Pom Maker
  • 37mm Kidney Shaped Earwire (we used gold, but we've seen these available in silver and copper)
  • 2in (50mm) Eyepin (we used gold as well)
  • Scissors
  • Fine Nose Micro Jewelry Pliers

Step 1: If you've never used a pom pom maker before, it might be easiest to read the directions on the box. You're going to start by assembling your pom pom maker and then start wrapping your selected color of yarn around it. Wrap one side of the pom pom maker with yarn – but not too tight. Repeat on the other side.

Step 2: After you've fully wrapped yarn, trim the excess yarn on each side.

Step 3: Close the two halves together and secure the pom pom maker fully.

Step 4: After your pom pom is closed, cut open the pom pom along the outside gap.

Step 5: Take a length of yarn and tie it in a secure knot around the inside of the bundle.

Step 6: Remove pom pom maker.

Step 7: Trim your pom pom to your desired size. We wanted our two poms to be different sizes, so we trimmed our first one down significantly. 

Step 8: Take the Kidney Shaped Earwire and push it through the smaller pom (or whichever pom you want to be closest to your ear).

Step 9: Take the hairpin and push it through the other pom. Once the other side of the pin is visible, take the pliers and bend the end in so that the pom will not slip off.

Step 10: Hook the curved end of the kidney shaped earwire to the hook of the hairpin and BAM you've got an earring!

Have fun and Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! 🍀 

Strawberry White Hot Chocolate

Ampersand Design Studio

You guys, it's officially WINTER! 

Bikinis and beaches and great, but there's a lot to love about wintertime- snowball fights, cozy sweaters, and hello, HOT CHOCOLATE! 

We wanted to have some fun and put an Ampersand spin on the traditional hot chocolate including a sprinkle rim and making it PINK with a delicious strawberry puree. 

This would be great for the kids, but if the adults are feelin' boozy, we love the idea of omitting the strawberry and spiking the white hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps! 

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 12 oz strawberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 6 oz pure white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Whipped Cream for Topping

I N S T R U C T I O N S

Place fresh or frozen strawberries (with the stems cut off) in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the strawberries, and toss to combine. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until they begin to release their juices.

Blend or puree the strawberries until smooth. Pour through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove all seed. You should have about 3/4 cup puree.

Over low heat, bring the milk to a simmer, whisking constantly. As soon as bubbles begin to appear on the outside edge of the milk, remove the pan from heat. Stir in chopped white chocolate and mix until smooth.

Add in the berry puree, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt and stir until combined.

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

HOLIDAY HOURS UPDATE

Ampersand Design Studio

UPDATE: hey KC, we have an update to our previously posted hours! Schedules have changed and we're closing up shop early! We will still be shipping out existing orders but will no longer have the studio open for shopping except for by appointment! Please shoot us an email or give us a call if you want to pop in!

Cheers! – MORGAN & CARRIE

Thoughtfully Wrapped Gifts

Ampersand Design Studio

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There's nothing quite like giving a thoughtfully wrapped gift -- but that doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of extra money to make it special. This holiday season, we partnered with Scotch to come up with three great ways to resourcefully personalize your gift wrap with things you might already have at home.

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Giving the kids a quick and fun little activity to do while they wait to open the present is a really fun way to prolong the suspense! Whether they love the challenge of a word search or would prefer to color in a motif, this idea is easy to personalize. For one kid we might do trucks, for another some stars, but these evergreen trees are always a sure sign of the winter holidays. The only supplies needed are solid color paper, a permanent marker, crayons and tape. We used Scotch® GiftWrap Tape for the semi-gloss white gift wrap, and Scotch® Expressions Washi Tape to secure the crayons.

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For that special girlfriend, why not try making your very own tissue paper pom bow with her favorite colors? This easy personal touch can feel really special, and only takes a couple of minutes. We used Scotch® GiftWrap Tape for the semi gloss chartreuse gift wrap, Scotch® Magic™ Tape for the metallic blue and the tissue pom bow, and Scotch® Double Sided Tape to secure the bow to the package.

For the kids, transforming a simple, solid color package into their favorite friendly creature is a surefire way to make their eyes light up! The polar bear and bunny are so easy to create with just some extra paper, markers and tape. We used Scotch® Magic™ Tape for wrapping the uncoated kraft paper, and Scotch® GiftWrap Tape for the semi-gloss solid white gift wrap. We also used Scotch™ Expressions Washi Tape in pink glitter for the bunny's ears and nose, and Scotch™ Double Sided Tape to attach the paper animal parts.