Despite what I try to do- it's hard to keep this updated. The past month and a half I have been doing a consulting job in Lansing as well as finishing an office design there. It's been hard balancing it all- but in a few weeks it should all be done! We have run into some snaffus in the rebuild project including a 5 foot tall concrete wall behind some gypsum- and a leaking door. We're in the home stretch of all of it so there is some more time to update the site.

I have taken some time to start doing some of the updates in time for the upcoming holidays and rush. There are new items in the grocery totes section as well as gift bows. I will be hopefully updating more products tomorrow! Look for jewelry and more show updates in the very near future!

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It seems I have disappeared for a bit. Which doesn't mean I have abandoned blogging about design, it doesn't mean I haven't got anything to say- what it does mean is- I've been super busy. In the past month I have been working on my business plans, meetings regarding development, event planning and attending shows. I have just updated the site with the pictures from the last 2 shows. In the past 7 days, 4 have been at shows, and 2 have been at meetings. Needless to say I am still exhausted and I am working on catching up.

There are a lot of exciting things happening- and with any luck, I should have studio space to work in and meet clients within a few months. But there is a lot to look forward to in the coming months- shows, a 2 month long consulting job, website designs, spa designs, and potentially even more new products. I will however, be updating this more often!

Next show is in 3 weeks. I will be representing Michigan Artisans at the Beaver Island Music Festival. For more information go to www.bimf.net
-Hope to see you there!

If you have a few- check out the images on here from the last shows! I will be updating the shop with more products and new products this week. Hope ever
Summer is just around the corner- and so is one of the biggest Interior Design shows of the year- Neocon.If I'm lucky enough to be able to afford it I might drive the 4 hours to Chicago to partake in the networking, new product premiers and chotchkies. I enjoy seeing the new products and materials rolled out by industry vendors and partners. It gives me a small taste of what my industry was before the bubble burst, and a feel for what it will be when the market recovers some.
One of the most exciting things is to see a lot of new products. Especially in an era where everything is "green" and re-used, re-purposed or up-cycled. But trends have a tendency to cycle back around.

Take for example Shagreen. For the non-industry readers- Shagreen is a leather type material created from the skin of Sharks. While this may seem disgusting to some- take a moment to consider regular leather, or even tiles make from crocodile skin. On an odd sidebar: I think that sentence explains the weird dreams I had last night- BUT back to the story! Shagreen use to be made from the hide on the back of horses or donkeys. Somewhere in the 1600's shagreen started to be made from shark skin or from the skin of sea rays.

Shagreen provides an interesting visual and tactile texture to products, as you can see from the cabinet above. The use of shagreen doesn't have to be for furniture, although that is one of my favorite ways to see it. Over the years it has been used for dagger hilts, jewelry and even shoes.

Although it is not something you normally think of using for jewelry- it is still something that is done. This bracelet, a beetle decked out in diamonds and sapphires sitting on grey shagreen can be purchased online for a an affordable $1450!  The texture of the cuff alone shows the beauty of the material.

So why haven't you heard of Shagreen? And what does this have to do with Neocon? Well the answer to the first question is pretty simple- unless you're in the industry, deal with furniture, spent at least a year in furniture history classes, or just LOVE exotic materials- it's not something that is as common any more. And to answer the second question- trends. They cycle around and around. You may soon see a resurgence of shagreen, or a similar product.

Let me introduce you to: Fish Leather. A fellow designer recently posted about this company on her company blog- FurFin. Both the picture above and the bracelet are both made of Salmon Leather and offered by a company in Iceland Atlantic Leather. The textures, colors and options are amazing and make a designer excited about the possibilities!

Although I have my fingers crossed about being able to make it to the Mart this year for Neocon- I'm not going to count on it. I will however be searching for new products to use in all of my future projects. Just think of salmon leather, or a wolf-fish ottoman..

Ever wonder what to do with those left over products? There is a great new trend in the design industry to go green. But in the artist world they are finding great new ways to reuse products and refer to it as Up-Cycled or Up-Cycling. We're not recycling products, which actually breaks down the chemical composition and makes the product weaker each time. Instead we're making new items out of previously used items in their current state (possible minor alterations)- but these items are given a new life- they are brought back UP to a new purpose. The majority of the products I make are up-cycled. I can't imagine some of these items being tossed. Shopping totes sprang out of fun graphic T-shirts. Gift Bows that can be used over and over again- and of course Pillows out of discarded fabric. Why get rid of good products?

I recently found an article about a Buddhist temple created out of beer bottles. This is up-cycling to the extreme. Not only does it provide a secure and sturdy structure for the Monks to practice in- but it also creates a visually stunning space that would shock most designers and photographers.

Check out the full article and more pictures here: Buddhist Temple Built from Beer Bottles

It may seem like after he Youtique show I took some time off. Oh... if only it were that easy! I haven't run away, I haven't taken a break- but I am happy to report I did take one day off. I twas something I needed to do for me- especially since this month is apparently just as busy as last month.

Last week was mostly focused on business stuff- getting some ducks in a row. All these small side projects are baby steps for hopefully a bigger step later for the business. So far this week has been devoted to a brochure, a newsletter, more business paperwork, website updates, logo creation... Which is seriously a lot of stuff done already.

I've stared offering SEO services (Search Engine Optimization) and have already got my first contract for it.

Still to come- another newsletter, another brochure, more business documents- and oh a 50 guest vow renewal.. that's not including attending weddings and parties for family and friends this month as well. It's a lot to do- but I honestly enjoy it.

With everything I'm doing- I still often feel like I'm not doing enough. I know that's a bit silly- but until I start seeing the results, I probably wont be able to shake that feeling.
I am happy to announce- Youtique was a great success! We had a great group of vendors, and there were only a couple minor issues. We are still waiting on some feedback through the Michigan Artisans. Hopefully the reviews are as good from our vendors and the Design Center. With any luck we will be holding another Youtique there in the Fall!

I arrived back at Youtique around 2:30 after the presentation at Google. It was very neat to see inside the offices- it would definitely be a place I would want to work. We all had to sign non-disclosures and were not allowed to take pictures inside. We did get a group shot of our team and the NLMSF President in front of the Google sign, and have a video of the presentation. I am currently working on editing these for their website and newsletter.

This week Rusao Designs is making a few changes. We have updated the website with a couple more features, and great photos from Youtique. More will be coming, and Tuesday a brain storming meeting will be happening over some changes coming in the near future.
Well Today was the first day of Youtique at Michigan Design Center. The turnout was great, the energy was great and the vendors are awesome! I think we lucked out with how great these vendors are. Tonight was the first part of the silent auction raffle. I won this little gem below! It is by ClayLab Detroit. I've wanted one of their pieces for years now- and I won this! I was so excited I took this picture in my car at a stop light, but how awesome is this coffee mug?
The Youtique Show continues tomorrow from 10-5 and you can still win some silent auction items.

I have that meeting at Google tomorrow- it's very exciting. If it wasn't general intrigue alone- the design is sealing the need to go! I'll be joining Youtique again in the afternoon.

Hope to see you all there!
It has almost been a year since Rusao Designs was started. Well we're still 3 months shy of that date! But how we've grown! In the past year our focus has gone from just doing interior design, to websites, web-mastering, graphics and event planning..And let's not forget our products! All of this began as a way to keep my hands busy and myself "sane" in this current economy and industry crash.

Several times over the last few months I've thought- "I should start a blog"- but haven't gotten around to it. Today, when I have last minute details on a show I'm helping produce is coming up- I'm starting the blog :).  I have signage to make, decoration to finish- and to get ready for meetings. So in a way this is probably a way for me to avoid doing those thing. I just know they wont take as long as I've slated them to on today's schedule.

If anyone has time this week come on out to Michigan Design Center from 4:30-8:00pm Thursday April 29th and 10:00 am - 5:00pm on Friday April 30th. Showroom 73 is the location for the Spring Youtique 2010. There are 26 vendors all from the Metro Detroit Area with handmade products. The show is being organized by the Michigan Artisans
and is raising funds for the IDCFC and their project with Ferncare. It's a $5.00 suggested donation at the door- but it's a great way to network and also get that last minute Mother's Day gift (it's May 9th before you panic!) There is also a silent auction raffle- you can win items valued from $20-150 for a few dollars!

Rusao Designs is sharing a booth with Partini Golf Jewelry. I will me manning the booth Thursday night if you want to come out and visit! I have a meeting at Google on Friday, so I will be back at the show in the afternoon. I really hope you all can come out! It's raising money for a great cause :)

After this show is all said and done I have a couple more projects kicking off, as well as a personal goal. I have decided 2010 is the year for Rusao Designs- but more details on that later!

Hope everyone enjoys this lovely spring day! I'm off to play with the X-actos and marbles..