Ringo's Girl, Sarah Alexander | Maker Spotlight & Dinner Inspiration

"I am very much a “go big or go home” kind of person when it comes to these types of things, and I totally believe that ambiance doesn’t have to be sacrificed because of budget."

Today we are very excited to feature another amazing maker: Ringo's Girl, aka Sarah Alexander! We are absolutely obsessed with Sarah after reading more about her! Okay, that's a lie, we were pretty crazy about her before as well.

She has such an amazing way of creating and we completely agree with everything she writes about, especially when she mentions being over the top and it getting expensive! It's one of the reasons we DIY so much of our styled shoots. Also the fact that we get a ton of joy from seeing something work, which is something Sarah also touches on!

Sarah speaks so much truth and we just know everyone who reads today's Maker Spotlight will be shouting "YESSS" the whole time! We hope you enjoy learning more Ringo's Girl

About Your Work

Favorite Recent Project: “ Annual Back-to-School Dinner”

Oh gosh, I don’t know that I could choose just one! LOL, every project is my favorite! In the past year alone, I have had so many unique and vastly different freelance projects that it is so hard to compare.

Baltimore has been so good to me, and I have been blessed with some amazing clients who have allowed me to create some really cool pieces for them.

Truth be told, I love creating in ANY way, shape, or form, for any reason. If the project sounds fun, I am always in (which makes for a whole lot of favorites)! However, creating magical moments in the ordinary for my family, really is my most favorite. Life is short, and when all is said and done, this is what I want to remember of my work: ridiculously over-the-top candle-lit dinners on our front porch, on a Monday night.

Every year we celebrate back-to-school (and I use the word “celebrate” very loosely...no one in our house ever wants summer to end) with an over-the-top semi-themed dinner. We have candles, and twinkle lights, typically s’mores, and always handmade crowns. I always try to create some type of art for these dinners, and beautiful tablescapes...I want my kids to feel that I put as much effort into celebrating them, as I do my work for clients.

What inspired you to make this? Our family has moved a lot...like, a lot a lot. Our oldest has attended nine different schools in her short life, and her younger brother is only a few schools behind her. A handful of years ago, when my kids were both starting at a new elementary school, I really wanted to encourage them. I decided that I wanted to celebrate (I am an enneagram seven...celebrations are my love language) rather than approach this change with fear, and this is where our back to school dinners were born. Our first back to school dinner was a very last minute idea, and not nearly as elaborate as the back to school dinners of today, but it was sweet and such a fun memory, that it became a tradition in our home.

What was challenging?  There is always the obvious challenge: cost

As a rule, I try to create everything for my tablescapes, using things that I already have on hand.

I find this challenge to be SUPER fun- it’s amazing what limitations like this can do for a person’ s creativity. Also, it’s so much easier on my wallet when I challenge myself to create what I see in my head (rather than purchasing it, because I can be over the top and that gets expensive). I am very much a “go big or go home” kind of person when it comes to these types of things, and I totally believe that ambiance doesn’t have to be sacrificed because of budget.

**Now, to be fair, I do realize that not everyone reading this has an art studio filled with supplies, like I do...but I want to stress that I use things like old Anthropologie bags for our crowns, and greens cut from trees/bushes around my yard for these types of dinners**

This year, I created a chandelier to hang from our porch ceiling just above our table. I suppose it was the most challenging part to this project simply because I had an idea in my head and I wasn’t quite sure how to create it using things that I had on hand. After creating the base with items from our garage, I DID end up spending money on the wooden beads that hang from it. But I’m not going to lie...I am SO glad I did! I just love the beads!

Were there any surprises during this project? Honestly, every time I create, I am SO surprised when it turns out! Haha - I don’t know if anyone else is this way...but there is this crazy joy that comes from a wild idea in your head coming to fruition, and the absolute shock that your idea actually worked!! Haha!!!

In this particular project, I was so surprised that we were able to create a chandelier for our dinner out of salvaged lath from our walls (these are the skinny pieces of wood behind plaster). I normally don’t allow my kids to see anything I am creating for our BTS dinner, however, this summer I hired both of them as interns, so I had my daughter help me create our crazy cool chandelier. We were both so surprised at how well it turned out.

What makes you happiest about it? How magical it felt.

Tell Us A Little About You!

What got you into creating/crafting? Oh gosh, I don’t quite know. I have always created. I always feel like I need be make art in order to breathe...it’s just a part of who I am.

We joke that poverty is what forced our creativity (Ringo and I married at the age of 20...so, we were young-dumb-broke-high-school, I mean, College-kids ;o))...but truthfully, having limited resources early on in our marriage just fed my creativity. When I envisioned something that I wanted, rather than buying it, I tried to create it...and I typically involved Ringo in all of my schemes (he is still incredibly involved in all of my work...he literally brings the magic to all of my installations).

I can also look back at my childhood and see that I definitely had a lot of influence from creative parents, weekends spent at our cabin in Wyoming, and an elementary and middle school on the campus of the University of Wyoming with art teachers who allowed a lot of freedom at a very young age. (Ps My brother also grew up to be an artist, you can check out his work on Instagram: @ziggaziggah)

Outside of creating, what is something you love to do? Hmm...that’s a good question. I asked around my house and everything that we could come up with involved some form of creating! My family unanimously said that I love to make s’ mores with my huge hardware torch in the kitchen (I really do) - they also reminded me of my love of cotton candy (but, I talk more about that in the next question).

I love going to museums, and I love going out to breakfast (Ms. Shirley’s in bmore and founding farmers in DC). I like going to the movies, and drinking coke-icees and pouring junior mints in my popcorn while I am there. I think that drinking Ringo’s coffee on my front porch is the absolute best...And, I really love walking through nurseries and planning my future flower garden.

Reading British home magazines has been a favorite of mine for at least ten years, but probably longer, because I used to have to search high and low to find them before the internet wasn’t dial-up (my British friend even had her father bring me a bag full of them for my birthday back in 2008).

I really love the beach, and I especially love just being with my little family. A good day involves things like pop rocks, good music, a little coffee, and especially my cute little tribe.

Speed date round: What’s your favorite color, food, and animal?

Color: Pink. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved pink.

Food: Am I allowed to call cotton candy a food? Because, it’s my favorite (I own not one, but two cotton candy machines...and one day, I hope to have a commercial sized cotton candy maker on wheels that I can push around and hand out cotton candy to everyone from).

Animal: I think my favorite animal is an elephant...but I am really obsessed with all animals (and allergic to them too!). We had pet ducks, Duncan and Vera (you can see pics of them here) who we all adored - and because of them, ducks are definitely a fave in my book.

How can people follow you? The best way to follow along is on Instagram...I don’ t create very memorable content for Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. In fact I don’ t think I can even remember my name on twitter!!

Instagram: @ringosgirl

Meet the Authors

Besides photography, I have a few different hobbies. I really enjoy listening to audiobooks and occasionally lending my voice to some. My husband, Shawn, and I love playing D&D and discovering new interesting food spots! Oh and I'm obsessed with our dog, Pony.
When Marlayna isn't diving into BaM projects, she's also a wedding photographer, and the photographer at UMBC! When she's not photographing, she loves to kick back and relax with her husband Adam and their two cats Zoe and Annie! And when they're not at home, they love to travel and try new beers, cocktails, and of course, delicious food!
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