Monday, December 22, 2008

Anatomy of a Family Holiday Card

I think most greeting card and stationery designers would agree, that designing a card for yourself is more difficult than designing a card for the masses. Strange but true. So where to begin? This year I knew a few things right off the bat. I knew I wanted to depart from (gasp!) my favorite color red. I wanted to steer clear of holiday colors in general. I knew that I did indeed want to use photography. Specifically pictures of my daughters. The picture of my oldest dancing in her EllieBellie Kids Tutu is what ultimately served as inspiration. I love it that she's dancing on our unfashionable little basketball court/tricycle track. Aahhh...the magic of photography! Especially that of photographer Genevieve Fridley.

What does a holiday with atypical colors and tutus bring to mind? Well for this former ballerina, it instantly conjured up sugarplums! And thus the card was created. I went reverse with the color this year, keeping the card itself black and white and letting the punch-colored plum envelope, lined with a deep, shimmering aubergine, do most of the "talking." Inside is a picture of my littliest sugarplum fairy (also in a tutu and looking rather herself with an impish look on her face), the famous "while visions of sugarplums..." quote from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and a holiday greeting from my family. This year, I actually had a fun time creating my cards. I like to design by setting up some limitations for myself, and the challenge of creating something to fit within those boundaries. It's almost as thrilling as getting cards from around the country delivered to my mailbox! Well, another design challenge complete. Time to put this job to bed for a long winter's nap...

Happy holidays from my studio to your studio, home, iphone, or wherever it is people do their blog reading nowadays. Oh and p.s., Santa, if your listening...I'd love an iphone of my own someday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Everything old is new again!

The holidays are a busy time and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the "stuff" in your life. If you've been good, gifts will be making their way into your home, adding more "stuff" to the "stuff" you've already accumulated. One way I de-stress and hopefully prepare for an influx of stylish gifts, is to go through my makeup bag and start tossin'!

Even though there's rarely an expiration date on makeup, it does go bad. So it's important to periodically check products and throw them out accordingly. Chuck mascara every 3-6 months (I'll admit I lean closer to 6) and eyeliner every 6 months. No one needs nasty bacteria hanging around on stuff that goes near those precious peepers. You can keep eyeshadow and blush for a year or so, after that it generally becomes hard and kind of chalky. If it's still in great shape, use your best judgement. I can usually finish a lip color within 2 years, but if you've got one that's been around longer than that, I'd give it the heave-ho. These days, I use powdered mineral makeup for the most part. Since I love it so much, this makeup cycles in and out of my makeup bag at a reasonable rate, limiting what I need to chuck due to old age. We'll save the talk on taking care of your brushes for another post. Overall, I keep a relatively pared down makeup collection these days, which keeps the clutter to a minimum.

Wondering what to fill that empty cabinet up with, now that you've completed your clean sweep? Have no fear. I've got a couple of lists going over at Wishpot for just this reason! If you're a bride-to-be definitely check out my Bridal Beauty Blitz list. You can even email a favorite item to your groom for easy shopping, or start a few lists of your own. Or, if you're like me and love to share the gift of beauty with the already-beautiful mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends in your life, then take a peek at Holiday Hot: The Best Beauty Gifts Ever. Who knows, you might even end up buying something for yourself. Go on, you deserve it! After all, you did just do all that cleaning and organizing. Happy gift hunting!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Crazy about: Cameos

Cameo Necklaces from around Flickr1. Vintage Cameo Necklace, 2. Kelly - Cameo Necklace, 3. Ghost Cameo Necklace, 4. Alabaster kitty cameo necklace, 5. Bakelite cameo necklace, 6. Very Romantic Vintage Cameo and Pearls Necklace, 7. bow n vintage cameo necklace, 8. Bronze Cameo Charm Necklace, 9. Vintage Cameo Necklace Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I opened my most recent issue of Victoria Magazine (yes, it's back!), and immediately came across a huge ad for this Italian cameo maker. I know! Isn't their stuff gorgeous? I have always been taken with the beauty of cameos and the history behind them. Both the history of how they are designed and created, as well as the history of ownership. Gotta love the mystery and nostalgia of antiques! Unfortunately, I can't afford an Amedeo cameo at the moment. Still, I have hope that someday I might! In the meantime, I decided to scout around flickr and etsy, and there is much to be had. Just take a look at the diverse group of cameos above!

How about that stunning black bakelite cameo? Or the sweet one with the kitty and the delegate gold bows? The traditional cameo paired with the modern green stone necklace is a total knockout. And that indigo blue one with the subtle, shimmery orange accents. What can I say, I love 'em all! In the meantime, I'm off to check out these designer's shops! Happy Monday everyone...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Girls Night Anyone?

Things here at Bride Design are about as busy as they are at Santa's workshop. Holiday time is always buzzing with activity, but I've also been swimming in card proofs and table numbers, ceremony programs and Sweet Talk Boutique cookie designs. I love being busy, but this morning I found myself thinking that when the opportunity for a break comes up it might be nice to unwind with friends for a Girls Night Out! And what better way to get those sweet girlfriends together than with a cookie invite, right?

Feel like hitting the clubs and dancing? An invite with our fab martini illustration just might do the trick. Want to meet-up for dinner and that new "chick-flick?" Then let Sweet Talk's own little chickadee, shown here, do the inviting. Feel like dishing while eating some delicious desserts? Try personalizing your invite with our box of chocolates illustration. Your friends will be sure to feel the love. And in the meantime, while they think about what outfit to wear, they can curl up with their cookie ( don't forget a paper invite is always included!), a cup of tea, and a good book. Which is just what I'd love to do right now...

Design jobs await, but I'll be back soon with another post. Until then keep busy (that shouldn't be hard, if I know most of you readers out there!) and of course, be good to yourselves!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ellie Bellie Kids' Classic Play = Classic Design

Just got an email from one of my favorite, favorite, companies...EllieBellie Kids. I've blogged about the EBK tutu before but I couldn't resist giving them another shout out. I recently ordered...Ahem, I mean put a PO in to Santa's elves for...two ADORABLE EllieBellie super hero capes for my daughters. In fact, I went on and on about them so much to my sister, that somehow I infiltrated my 3 year old niece's consciousness and now she's obsessed with being a super hero too. So, I just had to order two more. This time I was smart though and paid with the husband's account (*wink*).

The email was alerting me to the latest issue of EBK's online Magazine Classic Play. I love how the clean, modern, and classic design of the ezine highlights and further brands EBK's totally sweet product line. Of course the photography (by Dave K Cooper) and art direction are brilliant as well. My first EBK purchase was for two delicious orange and yellow tutus (with pink and yellow reversible ribbon), and I so loved the Dave's shots on the site, that I knew I had to use them in my own photoshoot with a local photographer Genevieve Fridley. The pictures of my own little sugar-plum fairies in their EBK tutus came out so great I'm using them as part of my personal Christmas card this year. Keep an eye out for a future post. I'll be sure to share them with you just as soon as they get back from the printer!

In the meantime, check out EllieBellie Kids to find gifts for any super heros or fairy princesses you might happen to know!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dear Santa...

Recently, I helped my 3 and 2 year old daughters write letters to Santa (using this adorable freebie from stationery pal Three Wheels Design). I was charmed by my 3 year old who asked me to write "I was mostly good this year." And chuckled at the fact that my 2 year old is way more into reindeer than Old Saint Nick himself. This little endeavor, combined with some encouragement from Melissa of Operation Nice, has me drawing up my own little letter to that right jolly old elf. So here's what I want this Christmas.

Dear Santa,
I've grown up a bit since we last talked (which was oh, I don't know...when I was 25 or 26 and desperately wanted a husband for Christmas?!). You've always been generous with me. I'll never forget my cabbage patch kid from Christmas '84. I was 11, but still loved (and played with) Patrice Suzanne, for a good while (*blush*).

What I'd really love this year Santa is TIME. I know that's not exactly something you and the elves manufacture up at the North Pole, but maybe you can still help me out just a bit. I would love more time to lavish my children with kisses, and listen to their thoughts and feelings. I'd love more time to design and dedicate to work, building up my business and helping it to grow. Of course I'd love some date-time with that husband I finally ended up securing not long after I placed my request with you (go figure). Of course, I knew him all-along, but isn't that always the way?! I would love more time to volunteer for causes I care about and give of myself to those in need. I'd love time to help my parents and mother-in-law adjust to their eventual retirements, and the life changes that come with getting older (and wiser and better). I'd love some quality girl-time with my sisters and best friends. And last but not least, I'd love a smidgen of time to myself...to listen to the music I like (rather than Dora The Explorer), draw a picture, or for goodness' sake—take a well-deserved nap.

The impossible gift of more time is what I'd like, but here's where you come in. Santa, please help me remember how precious time is. I'm all about Christmas spirit (as you well know), but admittedly there are times throughout the rest of the year when my spirit lacks. Right around June my tidings of comfort and joy, can turn more towards cranky and jaded. I get stressed, and the little bit of time I am blessed with ends up getting wasted on worry, frustration, and disappointment. So, if you could just leave a bit of extra holiday cheer and spirit in my stocking this year, I'd be oh, so thankful. Help me remember that time is a gift to give myself and those around me, all year long.

Thanks Santa!
Love your friend,
Erin

PS plenty of cookies and hot cocoa will be waiting for you at our house!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Holiday Deals and Donations


I was saddened to hear of some of the events surrounding one of America's largest shopping days, Black Friday. A store employee getting trampled on Long Island, a shooting in a toy store in California. This year Black Friday really was black, and not because retailers are moving out of the red.

I'm a lover of deals, but the older I get the more inclined I am to stay home and out of the stores on Black Friday. This year I ventured out but shunned the throngs of shoppers for a visit to the gorgeous new Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY. It is amazing. As for the deals...there is always today, Cyber Monday. I haven't found anything good yet, but it's fun to window shop. Even if that window is one of the internet browser variety.

In an effort to focus less on getting and teach my little girls about giving more during the holidays, I'm trying to think up ways to share what I already do have. I think I'm going to gather my book club for a no-stress evening of chatting and fun sometime this month and suggest that we all bring one of our favorite books to donate to a women's shelter or another worthy cause. Do any of you have a way that you love to give during the holidays? Do tell. You just might inspire someone else!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Bride Design Studio Tour

My Studio DeskAs an avid MTV Cribs watcher back in the day, I'd always eagerly wait for the part in the program where the rock star or NBA player who's showing off his or her mansion (or guest house, luxury apartment etc.) arrives at the bedroom. Nine times out of ten, said celebrity would quip "...so this is where the magic happens." I'd roll my eyes and think..."typical," then go back to munching my Doritos. For most artists, including me, the studio is "where the magic happens" (at least the work-related magic). I thought I'd offer you guys a little tour through my world via a Flickr set. But today I wanted to focus on my favorite part of this office, my studio desk.

I think I probably spend more time at the computer these days, but in my view this desk is still the birthplace of much magic. It's where ribbons get tied, papers get chosen and cut, drawings are created and embellishments attached. It may look like just a desk, but it is a friend to my creativity. It's also where a lot of the affection I feel for the projects I do, gets added in to the mix.

My favorite thing about this desk is the large self-healing cutting mat. I almost don't remember what it was like to live without it. Other faves include, the space saving stacking canisters (perfect for eyelets and brads) I got from Jen for my birthday, and prismacolor colored pencils with a great box that doubles as a "stand." Forget the ribbon dispenser box that's off to the side there, it doesn't work a lick! I think a ribbon storage/dispensing area is going to be my next project. Right after I get around to making those curtains...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chenille Stems: A Fancy Word for Pipe Cleaner?

Pipe Cleaner Creations from Around Flickr1. Pipe cleaner star ornament, 2. Pipe Cleaner Christmas Ornament, 3. pipe cleaner, 4. Pipe-Cleaner Flowers, With Panda, 5. Pipe Cleaner Tiara, 6. pipe cleaner wreath by stephanie, 7. Bunny butts, 8. DSC_0001.JPG, 9. Pipe cleaner star

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I was recently flipping through Parents magazine, when I came across a piece on some cute Christmas crafts. Over and over the article kept saying "using brightly colored, cut-to-length, chenille stems" and "take your chenille stem..." I found myself thinking, "am I crazy or are these just plain, old, pipe cleaners?" I'm probably just late to the party, but I've always called them pipe cleaners. I'd never heard the phrase "chenille stem" before. I suppose the term "pipe cleaner" might be considered politically incorrect these days. And truthfully, "chenille stem" does sound a lot prettier. Anyway, my linguistic conundrum got me thinking about some of my fave pipe cleaner projects, and I got curious to see what other creatives are doing with their chenille stems. Here's what I found. I must say, that oviraptor sculpture impressed me! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

and furthermore...

Have you ever seen a doily clock? Neither had I, until I stumbled across and furthermore's delightful etsy shop. There's something really striking about simple clock hands on an intricately patterned background. I like the textures and the contrast. What's even cooler is that these clocks are made from reclaimed materials. Great design in a green format. Now I just need to figure out which one to add to my wish list!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Social Networking Overload?

I'll admit it. Life has been hectic lately. I love social networking (maybe a little too much?). I give talks to other entrepreneurs about how to use the internet as an effective PR tool. In these times, blogging, forum participation, email press release blasts, and social networking are near requirements for staying current or creating buzz. For the most part, I feel my activity on the internet greatly benefits my business, especially blogging and forums. But does it benefit me personally? Well, in some ways, yes. In other ways? Not so much.

In 7th grade I had perfect attendance because the social butterfly in me was convinced that if I missed a day at school, I would miss something HUGE. Silly, right? Looking back, I can't even imagine what sort of HUGE social event, shift , or explosion, the 7th grade me could actually envision taking place at her school. Sillier still, is that I sometimes feel this way about social networking now, as an adult. Am I twittering enough? Should I post about my new blog post on facebook and twitter? Do I need to be on Linked In and Plaxo as well?

The answer to that last one, for me, is no. I went with LinkedIn if it matters, and said "no thanks" to the couple of Plaxo invites I got, as well as to some additional invites I got from a few other "business" social networks. Social networking is great for business, when utilized with a bit of a internet marketing plan in mind. My internet marketing plan, may be on sticky notes (thanks Vicki for turning me on to this idea from The Start Up Princess!), but it is something I try to consider when joining a social network. I have finally realized that I just can't be a part of EVERYTHING out there.

I think we all know what a "time-suck" social networking can be so, I'm monitoring my use these days. In an effort to keep myself sane and my "friends" list manageable, I've kept my personal facebook page just that, personal. I have some awesome industry colleagues as my "friends", mostly people I've really gotten to know over the past 5 years. But in an effort to keep the "social" in at least one of the social networks I'm using, I created a business facebook page for my business and try to direct more of my industry activity on the site to that page. I know a true entrepreneur can't completely separate themselves from their business, but social networking works best personally, when it's fun, connects you with others, and most importantly when it doesn't feel like work. I suppose one could say the same for business social net working as well...

Of course in doing my research for this post, I stumbled across this interesting list of the 10 Most Beautiful Social Networking Sites. I'll try to resist, but I'm a sucker for usability and a cool design aesthetic. I promise, I'll try not to wast too much valuable work time checking those out. But before I go, what makes social networking work for you? How do you use it to your benefit? And how do you not let it consume your time (this twitter lover is always looking for tips!)? I'll look for your comments here...but if I don't see them, I'm sure I'll catch most of you on twitter, or facebook, or friendster (remember that one?), or Linked In...and the list goes on!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Operation Nice Love List: I like me...I really like me!

The oh-so-nice Melissa at Operation Nice, recently assigned another love list. You may remember my last attempt here. A visit to Molly's Artful Sentiments Blog reminded me to get crackin' on this one. Her list was so inspiring. I knew it was time to make my own. This one seems a bit tougher as it needs to be all about me. I even tried to challenge myself further and include a self-portrait I took not too long ago (still feeling the cringe-factor on this one, but I'm powering through!). So here it goes. Here's what I LOVE about myself.

I love my freckles. And my choice in red highlights (so much so I included them in the last list too!). I love the color of my eyes (green with gold flecks) and that their color changes depending on what I'm wearing. I love that I've become a good cook over the years. I love that I've grown to be more accepting of me as I've gotten older. It really takes a load off! I love it that I was raised in a loving family with great parents, two sisters and a brother. I love it that I shared a room with my sister Kathleen my entire life. That made adjusting to a college roommate easy. I love it that until I was 16 my family lived in a small apartment. It seems unique, as I don't run into many people that grew up that way. It also made me respect others' privacy even when it's hard to come by, and allowed me to experience the joy of a busy, fun, brimming with love home. I love that my youngest siblings are 9 and 11 years younger than me. I cherish my memories of them as babies and toddlers. I love that I was a late-bloomer and didn't really date much in high-school. Conversely I love that I was a boy-crazed maniac who always had a crush on some cute boy. I love that I eventually became confident enough with guys to get one of those crushes to ask me to marry him (10 years later, but who's counting?). I love doing my hair and makeup (when given the opportunity). I love that I have to sing at least 3 lullabies to my two year old EVERY night. And I love it that I probably enjoy it more than she does. I love that I grew up singing and know the gift of song and music. I love that I can not have looked at a clock for an entire day and still guess the time correctly within a few minutes give or take. I love being a mom. I love that I am spiritual and have faith. I love that I can draw and paint and that I can use these mediums to express things I might never be able to express otherwise. I love that I spent the majority of my life dancing. I love it that I have made mistakes and learned from them. I love it that I lived alone in a big city where I essentially knew no one and made a life (complete with friends!) for myself. I love that I get stronger every day. I love that I have the power to love.

But enough about me! What about YOU? What's one wacky thing you love about yourself? Whether you've done this assignment or not, I'd love to hear what you guys have to say. So get your comment on kids. Making that list was difficult but encouraging. I've gotta say, being nice to yourself is a pretty nice feeling. Thanks Operation Nice!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Champagne Wishes: A Kir Royale Tasting

Kir Royales around Flickr
1. Just playing..., 2. kir royale toast, 3. the kiss, 4. Kir royale, 5. Alexia & Nils #16, 6. Kir Royale!, 7. Kir Royale, 8. Strawberry Kir Royale, 9. Kir Royale and Pantheon
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Before our fabulous anniversary dinner in New York, Pete and I decided to stop for a cocktail at a Flûte, a cozy spot in Gramercy. Everything on the menu looked delightful, but our best choice was the Kir Royale tasting flight. A Kir is made with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liquor) and white wine. The Kir Royale, substitutes champagne for the white wine. Yum.

First a little history (from Wikipedia of course). The Kir is named after Félix Kir, mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who after World War II popularized the drink by offering it at receptions to visiting delegations. Besides being a wonderful host to his international guests, Felix was also brilliantly promoting two key economic products of the region, white wine and crème de cassis.

There are many varieties offered for the flight at Flûte, but we decided to go unconventional with Violet, Ginger, and Blackberry versions. They were all delicious. The violet perfectly perfumed the cocktail, but didn't overpower the champagne taste. The ginger was a refreshing palate cleanser, and the blackberry was smooth and sweet.

The colors of the drinks were lovely. A Violet Kir Royale would be a great signature cocktail for a wedding where lavender or sage green were the colors of choice. A Lemon Kir Royale would add some hip and colorful sparkle for an event using everyone's favorite neutral these days...gray. We had so much fun tasting and talking, that it got me thinking. A Kir Royale tasting would be a fun offering a New Year's Eve party. After all, there's always bubbly conversation and high spirits, when champagne is around! Clink! Clink!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lather Up!—Sweet Soapylove® Bars

As most of you know, Jen and I love a good collaboration. Which is why I was thrilled when Jen told me she was "cooking" up an idea with the delightful Deb from Soapylove®. The result? Super cool hand made soaps exclusive to Sweet Talk Boutique! Sweet smelling, with loads of lather, these non-edible soap bars are available in round with cupcakes in vanilla frosting scent, or square with our tiara and bubblegum princess scent. Mmmmm...

Just in time for the holidays, our Sweet Soapylove® bars make perfect gifts! Paired with our Signature Stationery or one of our fabulous and functional new purse hooks (how cool are those?!), these soaps are an even bigger hit. Of course you could send 'em along with some of our famous cookies too. This way, when you're done washin' up...you can throw on your cozy bathrobe, kick up those fuzzy slippers (you know you've got 'em), and enjoy a yummy snack. Now that's sweet!

Edit: Hey, Jen just commented that we're offering fab little poufs (you know...those sudsy, scrubby shower thingies!) free with each order while supplies last! Hooray for freebies!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A voice for the voiceless: speaking a language all children can understand

Bloggers Unite is an opportunity for bloggers to use their space to make the world a better place. Today, Bloggers Unite has urged participants to raise our voices on behalf of more than 40 million voiceless refugees. In researching this crisis, one particular statistic spoke to me deeply: "An estimated 80% of refugees are women and children." Easy prey when it comes to abduction and violence, defenseless and frightened refugee children seem to be the most voiceless victims of war and global crisis.

As I dug further in my research, I came across a UN site featuring the artwork of refugee children. Visual and performing art have been two vital forms of expression and recreation for me since childhood. I quickly realized that one inroad to giving refugees a voice, is to speak to them in languages that are universal, cross-cultural and understood by all. And to provide them with resources and education that will allow them to do the same. Kicking a soccer ball is fun, thrilling, and empowering whether you are in Des Moines or Darfur. Dancing, singing and athletics can all help young refugees regain bits of their childhoods which in many cases are lost to terror, uncertainty, and persecution. Here are three (of many!) organizations that aim to do just that:

ninemillion.org campaign: A partnership between the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in partnership with Nike and Microsoft, that aims to give more than nine million refugee children better access to education, sport and technology by 2010. Runners around the world have already raised over a million dollars and heightenedawareness of the plight and the potential of refugee children.

A.R.T. (Art for Refugees in Transition): This organization provides curriculum and training programs to engage both children and adults in refugee communities in visual, performing and creative arts drawn from their own cultures, aiding in recovery from the trauma, terror and dislocation of war.

The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children: This group has an extensive gallery of photo essays, some of which include moving and informative artwork from refugee children.

How can we help these organizations and others support the plight of refugees? Contributions and donations are always needed. Activism is essential and costs little except your time. Ask Congress to support the International Violence Against Women Act, legislation that would make ending violence against women and girls a a key priority in U.S. foreign assistance programs. The International Rescue Committee has a great website thejourneystartswithyou.org, that gives lots of ideas and motivation for how to volunteer and assist the IRC's 24 resettlement offices, and their efforts on the ground in 42 countries.

Most of all we need to educate ourselves, and those around us. By teaching the children in our world to have a global perspective, a love for the environment and respect for themselves and others, we are producing a future where understanding is the basis for action and reaction. Ignorance is a contributing factor to war and crisis. It is my hope that increased understanding will prevent or lessen such atrocities, or at the very least provide us with caring individuals to meet the needs of those least fortunate. On the ball field or court, voices raised in song, dancing together...these are life's moments when it seems little "work" is needed for us to all gather together in true understanding and peace.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

For the Love of Marriage!

Tomorrow, my husband Pete and I will celebrate 5 incredible years of marriage. I can't wait. If the rest of our years are anything like these first five, then they'll be fun, thrilling, full of surprises, and just plain joyful. I think my expression in the picture above from my wedding day, says it all...giddy, totally in love, and blessed to have found the right partner. All things I still feel today. Side note, I also feel pretty blessed to have found the perfect wedding photographer for my day Maggie Heinzel-Neel. She captured our love, friendship, and the completely amazing celebration we had in a way that no one else could.

As a corporate graphic designer for many years, I had a revelation while creating my own invitations. I love weddings. Combine that with my love of all things paper, typography, art, and communication, and you get Bride Design. In March my business will celebrate it's 5th anniversary as well, and it too has enriched my life in many ways I never imagined. These were the invites, and programs, that started it all and I am so thankful for the many wonderful opportunities they've brought me. I've met wonderful couples, business associates (including photographer Crystal Herry, who took the still of my work above) and friends, and have created designs I never would have created, if I had not found exciting and adventurous path I now walk on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An Uber Amazing Honor

I'm tickled pink that the FABULOUS Gift Girl at The Wishpot Wedding Blog chose Design is Everywhere (along with a bunch of other KILLER wedding related blogs) to receive The Uber Amazing Blog Award! If Design Is Everywhere meets even one of the requirements below with each post, then I'm a happy blogger. Thanks so much Gift Girl and if you haven't checked out wishpot.com yet, I'd highly recommend it. I love keeping lists of my favorite beauty and bridal recommendations, as well as a wish list of gifts I want (or neeeeeeed!). If you'd like to see what I'm loving lately, check out my wishpot lists here. Maybe you'll even end up starting a few lists of your own!

In the meantime, let's celebrate! The Uber Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to a site that:
~ inspires you
~ makes you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ is a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

Here are 5 blogs that keep me feeling creative! I could have listed every single one in my links list (as they are all awesome) but I decided to keep it short and sweet. I even took it a step further and stated why I chose them. Here goes...
- suffixabuse (for unparalleled commitment to blogging and amazing design sense!)
- threewheelsturning (gorgeous photography and witty writing that captures the perfect blend of "mom meets designer.")
- feterie blog (modern design musings, great giveaways, and a touch of French-American chic!)
- cafecartolina(beautiful vintage finds and insightful writing which never cease to inspire me.)
- She Take's The Cake's blog (Hilarious posts about the world of weddings and caking. Uumm hello? The woman went as a cupcake for Halloween. Now that's loving what you do!)

Check these ladies out, as well as the rest of the peeps in my link list. Like I said, each blog listed there offers a unique perspective on design, style, parenting, weddings, crafting, or all of the above. I'll just be here trying to think up posts that live up to the title "Uber Amazing." Thanks Gift Girl!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fan us on Facebook!

I've got to hit the road for the day and I'll be back tomorrow (ready to vote at my local polling place!). You should see a new post on Wednesday, filled with lots of holiday cheer. All those Christmas trees that have been up at stores for the past week are putting me in the mood. In the meantime, check out Design is Everywhere on facebook! I know most of you do not need yet another addictive social network in your life, but if you are already sucked in, please become a fan of this little blog. We hope to use facebook to keep you posted on giveaways, guest bloggers, special features, Bride Design and Sweet Talk Boutique news and so much more! Have a stylish day everyone and maybe I'll see you on facebook!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween...

Día De Los Muertos from around flickr
1. Ofrenda, 2. The Killing Fields, 3. El Dia de los Muertos, 4. Untitled, 5. busy altar, 6. Calavera Cupcakes, 7. The Death of Marilyn Monroe, 8. flores y mariposas, 9. Dia de los muertos 2007 Jes
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

or Día de los muertos as the case may be! Looking for a little colorful, Halloween-inspired, creativity today I jumped on flickr to browse through some Day of the Dead shots. And boy...what inspiration I found! How cool is that shadow box? Enjoy and have a terrifyingly spooky day everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Picture this: Fin + Roe Photo Correspondence


There is a HUGE demand for photo correspondence these days. How do I know? I send out a lot of personal holiday cards (around 100) each year, and I always seem to get around 80 or so delivered to my mailbox. Most of those are photo cards, featuring the smiling faces of new babies born over the past year, groups of unruly children in soccer uniforms, or perfectly preened young ladies in their holiday best. I LOVE the shots of cute children. The big bummer? The photo retail giants out there offer a limited selection of designs. Worse, those designs often fall short when it comes to enhancing and highlighting the best part of photo cards: the picture.

Which is why I wanted to tell you about Fin + Roe. Besides the fresh colors, modern patterns and the ability to mix and match, I love the way this company's designs let the photography SHINE! So if you're thinking about a holiday photo card this year for your family, check these guys out. As a stationery designer myself, I feel compelled to create my own cards from scratch each year. It's become a holiday tradition. But for those who prefer to have a little elf create your cards for you...do take a look at Fin + Roe's adorable collection. The grandparents and your friends will thank you. And If you're one of those people who send me a card each year, I'll have something a little more unique to deck my halls with. Alright kids...smile for the camera!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Entertaining Etsy


Just in time for the holidays, Bride Design is now offering an etsy shop! Currently we've got a small selection of social stationery items up, but we will be adding new designs (and a few old favorites from our bridal and baby collections) every day for the next week or so. One of my favorite items is this elegant set of thank you notes embellished with fine Japanese yuzen paper. Traditional yuzen paper features stunning and intricate designs in colorful and sometimes metallic patterns. This set shows off the crane, a familiar and auspicious symbol to the Japanese. We also offer these A2 notecards with an incredible autumn leaf pattern, as well as a regal design featuring frothy ocean waves on a black background (I'll be uploading those to the shop soon). Thanks for checking out our wares and keep us in mind for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. If you are an etsy shopper and like what you see, please "heart" our shop as well! We'll love you for it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Yippee-Ki-Yay Christmas!


Recently, our friend Sheena from Totally Tabletops gave the Tip Junkie blog "the low down on a hoedown!" Sheena shared every idea under the sun for hosting a unique holiday themed "Ho, Ho, Hoedown" and included this custom made cookie invite we whipped up over at Sweet Talk Boutique. As Sheena mentioned, a western theme for a holiday party is quite unexpected, but it's also a theme that is fun to use year round for birthdays and other celebrations. The colors of this card/cookie and its packaging can be customized to match the color palette of any event.

Full custom designs like this one with extras like bandanna and raffia start at $18 and one time art charges apply for design. Matching stationery and thank you cards, as well as place cards and favors are of course available as well. And you'll notice in the photo, there's a paper invite included as well. So go ahead...EAT THE COOKIE. You'll still have the sentiment and all the info you need. Yeee-Haaaa!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fashion and Fortune, Crisis and Creativity

Photo by Marcio Madeira and from style.com

Recently I've been hosting a lot of fashion shows. My 3 year old's bedroom which houses the dress-up toy chest serves as "backstage", while my 2 year old's room functions as the runway. My daughters are the models/princesses and I am the DJ, master of ceremonies, and audience rolled into one. I love to see what crazy concoctions they'll walk through the door wearing. One thing is for sure...every outfit MUST include wings! But amidst the clunking heels, enthusiastic wand waving, and billows of tulle and organza, I got to thinking. What does our current economic crisis mean for the world of fashion design?

High-end clothes are NOT a necessity and I don't own any couture designs (*wistful sigh*). I teach my daughters that it's the princess' kind heart and leadership skills that matter, not the poofiness of her skirt or the sparkly shine of her crown. Still I follow shows because innovation, style, and artistry, deeply inspire me. Enter Style.com with their list of the ten 2009 Collections that "will count come spring." They make some pretty good points such as "In uncertain times, a name like Chanel is something you can believe in." Amen.

D&G honored their signature style, but changed it up just enough to keep us interested. Marc Jacobs, ever the over-achiever, did his 2 collections (his own and Louis Vuitton) with such unique flair and relentless design precision that it boggles my mind. Lanvin's Alber Elbaz, slam-dunked it with perfectly draped designs that I can only assume, feel as good as they look. Sometimes when I'm feeling down, just the process of attempting to look good can go a long way towards cheering me up.

The economic forecast for 2009 might seem shaky, but I've often found the best response to crisis is creativity. Hard times frequently force us to rise to the occasion and test some of our weirder and wackier ideas. Will haute couture become irrelevant some day? I'm not sure. For now, I'll continue to examine and learn from the market and style trends that make the fashion industry so artistically cutting edge. Yesterday my eldest said "Mommy, today let's pretend that our fashion show is in a tent in New York City." So apparently I'm rubbing off on my kids. As long as they continue to use and care for their precious imaginations as they grow...I think they'll be alright.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More Halloween Treats!

Pumpkins around Flickr
1. Heirloom Pumpkins, 2. Pumpkins, 3. the pumpkin patch by pinhole, 4. patch o' pumpkins, 5. smiley pumpkin, 6. multiformed pumpkins, 7. Sea of Pumpkins, 8. Good Morning Pumpkins!!!, 9. the storm-clouded, infrared pumpkin patch
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Last week, Jen and I were invited to a Halloween Blog Party! Actually, it was more like our cookie was invited, but we didn't mind. As evidenced by the Sweet Talk Boutique line of products, Jen and I are all for non-traditional invitation fare. Many thanks to Lyns of Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery for bringing us along for the ride and for introducing me to artist Vanessa Valencia's blog A Fanciful Twist. Very cool. To keep you all in the Halloween spirit, here are some super cool pumpkin shots from around Flickr. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spooooky Cooookie!


A few weeks ago I blogged about my haunted house illustration. Now Jen and I have finally got it on a yummy cookie, and ready to ship to your favorite haunted houses around the country!

You can find our super cute and slightly spooky greeting available right now in the holiday section of the shop. This design is exclusive to Sweet Talk...right down to the creepy, slime covered font! Design note: The "liquify" filter in Photoshop is my new favorite toy! My little girl Leah asked if I could draw her into the illustration as a trick-or-treater. I told her I'd make a haunted house picture just for her, but as Jen said "I can totally imagine our little ghosts and goblins walking up those steps to find a broken door bell. Would they be too afraid to knock? What would be waiting for them behind the door? Yummy cookies I bet." Yummy cookies indeed!

This cookie is available with coordinating ribbons and we've opted to send them with only the Happy Halloween message so we can expedite your order. Get over there and pick one up today! Orders placed by the 24th of October will get to your favorite 'trick or treaters' in plenty of time! Once received I'll bet they'll be gobbled up before you can say "BOO!"

Stay tuned for more Holiday Treats! We're on a roll and will be releasing our Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's designs very soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Winning is FUN (especially when paper products are involved)!


I LOVE stationery. And one of my favorite things about being a stationery designer is the countless number of talented and bright stationers I've gotten to meet (be it in person or just via the internet). When I started Bride Design in 2004, I had no idea that I'd eventually be reading 20 or so different blogs each day on the subjects of design, weddings, stationery, home decor, style and more. I also had no idea I'd pursue my own design and style blog with such excitement and fervor. My experience as a blog reader has brought me so many delightful treats....the chance to participate in amazing craft swaps, a trip to The Martha Stewart Show, unexpected PR for my business, the chance to help others, exposure to new products and lots of knowledge that could never have been obtained from traditional news sources. Now I can add to that list, my personal favorite: PRIZES!

To celebrate the fact that several Cartolina Cards designs will be featured in the December/January issue of the always hip Domino Magazine, designer Fiona Richards held a Holiday Giveaway on her fabulous blog. All one had to do to enter was pony up with your favorite magazine. While I am a big fan of both InStyle and Real Simple, when it comes to old-school eye candy there is nothing like Victoria. Thankfully, I am blessed with an elegant and tasteful mother in-law who gifts me with a subscription. With the click of a button, my comment was entered and the fates were left up to Mimi, Cartolina's studio assistant. Luckily, she pawed my name as well as two others and I will soon be the lucky recipient of some sweet holiday cards. I can't wait! Want these lovely cards for yourself? Check out Cartolina's retailer page to find a shop that carries them near you!

Test Your Hue IQ


Many thanks to Jen of She Takes The Cake for directing me to x-rite's Color IQ Test. The ever resourceful Mary of Supafly Designs, also posted this test a month or so ago on her always inspiring blog suffix abuse. I didn't quite get Mary's perfect score, but I did get myself a decent 8 (the lower the score the better, on a scale of 0 to 100). Apparently, I'm slightly hue deficient in the blues going into violets. In my defense, that 3rd bar down was the one I did last and I was a little too eager to see my score. I also found it interesting that that bar was the most difficult for me. Perhaps I'll need to try it again to try and get my score up and my eyes in fighting condition! Want to know your Color IQ? Check it out and arrange the color blocks in order according to their hue. Oh and have fun!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Feet Up Take A Break Friday

FUTAB around Flickr
1. Scientific FUTAB, 2. almost-finished sock FUTAB!, 3. This is 14 of my co-workers that were willing to help me out for FUTAB, 4. FUTAB #1, 5. Incognito FUTAB, 6. 14 | 365 ... futab, 7. FUTAB- Keep on Rollin', 8. FUTAB a la Daisy, 9. Day 267/365......sunrise FUTAB
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Ever hear of FUTAB? It stands for "feet up take a break." If you're a Flickr member I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. There are over 300 Flickr groups just for FUTAB pictures! They run the gamut, from creative and tasteful to the well...not so tasteful. But overall I think the FUTAB idea is a great one and as you can see here, it often results in some artistic photography.

Between the daily stress we all face at times, concerns about the economy, and our societal need to move fast and get as much as we can, I began to think that those who practice the FUTAB philosophy are on to something. For you FUTAB might mean an hour getting lost in a favorite novel. For others FUTAB could be having fun with some co-workers (how cool is that shot from the cube farm?!). Or perhaps all FUTAB requires is just enough time to set up your shot and take it. But however one chooses to enjoy their FUTAB time, I can pretty much guarantee it will re-set or refresh you. Maybe not for the rest of the day, but for a little while at least. So enjoy some FUTAB time today. And if you do, feel free to chime in and share how you spent it. I might end up with a good book to add to my reading list or a new tea to try as a reult! If you are really ambitious snap a shot. Feet up, take a break...C'mon, you know you deserve it!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Crazy (wedding) Train!


As I mentioned before I love the color red and it was the color my bridesmaids wore. I was recently doing some searching around Flickr for other weddings that incorporated scarlet and crimson. Instead what I found was this story of a 999-meter-long scarlet wedding dress displayed in a shopping mall in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province. The hand-knitted dress features 2,008 pieces of jade, 29 golden phoenixes and 880 peonies that took dressmakers three months to finish. Not sure why one would want a dress this long, but WOW. That is some dress!

It got me thinking about gowns and trains. From sweeping trains, to chapel and cathedral lengths, there are so many choices! Going into my wedding I wasn't sure if I wanted a train or not. Once I started trying gowns on I knew a train was a must for me. That trail of beautiful fabric just made me feel like a bride. And besides, when would I have another train-appropriate occasion, right? Still I had no idea what length to choose. When considering a train, think about the dress and veil styles you like, how you want to incorporate your dress into pictures, and bustle style (Ballroom? American? French?). Moms, planners, seamstresses, shop owners, sisters and friends will all be glad to give you their opinions as well. You'll know which ones to take to heart and which to take with a grain of salt.

I ended up with a semi-cathedral length train and loved it. I always thought a train made for dramatic ceremony pictures and fashion-forward formal portrait shots, and they do. But the photojournalistic style pics of my mother and sisters giggling and fussing over my bustle as they did it up, are the real favorites of mine. A true bonding moment captured forever on film. Thank goodness we didn't have to bustle up 999 meters. I would have been stuck in the bridal suite bathroom and missed most of my reception!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Honeymoon Destination Daydreams


I'm exhausted, so I figured I'd pep myself up (or chill myself out) by sharing one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I've ever been, Peter Island. Peter Island is a gorgeous tropical paradise in the British Virgin Islands. In 2003 it won out over a short list of several other Caribbean hideaways, including Petite St. Vincent in the Grenadines, Hotel Guanahani in St. Barths, Cap Jaluca in Anguilla, to become the honeymoon destination for myself and my husband. As you can tell, we were going for remote and restful with our choices.

Since we're from the Northeast we chose the Caribbean because we only had a week and didn't want to spend too much of it traveling. That removed places from Fiji and Hawaii from the list. My husband had never been to a tropical location, and we knew if we went to Europe it would be "go! go! go!"...a never ending tour of museums, eateries, concerts and more. A Caribbean resort would give Pete a new experience (I swear the name had nothing to do with our final pick!) and we'd actually be able to re-charge after a year of wedding planning. The whole experience was just that! The food was incredible, the scenery breathtaking, and the service was second to none (I wish I could have taken Jean, the breakfast hostess home with me so that I could see her smiling face every day!). I discovered the best drink ever, The BBC (Bailey's Banana and Coconut) and got to lounge on the beach contemplating the days of pirates and shipwrecks as I gazed over at the island "Dead Man's Chest." The weather didn't really cooperate, but otherwise it was perfect. A very sweet way to start a wonderful marriage.

It's chilly as I write this now, but all it takes is a quick glance at some pictures for me to feel transported back to this amazing island. We're about to hit our five year anniversary and I have to laugh when I think about us sitting over a delicious lunch making plans to return in 5 years. Those years have gone by in a flash it seems, with two little adventurers of our own to show for it. So, a trip is not in the cards this year. Maybe at 10 years or twenty? Until then, all I need to do is look at a photo, throw on some Coppertone (it helps with the mood), and I can almost feel that sugary sand between my toes.

What honeymoon destinations do you love? Or what locales make you feel supremely rested? This traveler's imagination needs some more fodder for additional daydreaming, so do share!

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Own Illustration Friday

Erin's  Haunted House Illustration
I love to illustrate as well as design. So I was excited, when Jen asked me to whip up a little Halloween illustration/inspiration for some Sweet Talk Boutique stuff we've been working on. I know it's only the start of October, but I'm already getting into a festive and spooky mood. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the wonderful site illustrationfriday.com. I myself am a huge fan, even if I never get to create illustrations for the site's wonderful weekly challenges. If you are ever looking for inspiration, this is a great site to check out.
These days when it comes to Halloween, I need little inspiration. I've got two little ghouls of my own who have no problem getting in to the spooky spirit and they love to share that scary enthusiasm with me every chance they get (the 3 year olds new favorite word is "terrified.") Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Color My World: Dark Teal

Dark Teal from around Flickr1. thick & thin zip - dark teal, 2. Puffed Heart Dark Teal, 3. Cheapy Blue, 4. Cable detail, 5. Sheila D Zippered Corduroy Pouch: Dark Teal/Burgundy Tosca Lines, 6. poison ivy, 7. Maelstrom Handspun Merino Yarn - 85 Yds, 8. Dark Teal Chairs, 9. Azure~
One of my greatest design inspirations is COLOR. So I thought I'd start a regular blog feature about just that. I love watching wedding and fashion trends to see what colors are going to inspire the latest events and designs. I've also got a few great resources for you on this topic. One is the COLOURlovers Community, a site that bills themselves as a resource that monitors and influences color trends. Pretty cool. The other is something I'm sure many of you have heard of or have even used, Pantone's Color Trends Reports. Like this one for spring 2008 fashion and home. There is so much that influences my color choices as an artist, designer, and individual: my clients, my moods, industry trends and plain old personal preference. I thought I'd start this feature out with a new personal favorite, dark teal.

My favorite thing about this color? Its versatility. It goes great with black AND with brown. I love it paired with other darks, like burgundy, plum, or rust. I also think it looks great with peach, pale pinks, and a variety of light greens...colors I would not normally wear or choose to work with, but which gain some depth when paired with a strong partner like dark teal. For an unexpected punch of brightness, this color looks great with magenta or a lemon yellow. My favorite pairing...dark teal and crimson. 'Cause I just LOVE red. Enjoy these gorgeous photos from around flickr, and be sure to chime in if there's a color you love or one that I've missed that you'd love to see with this delicious, deep sea, dark teal!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Light My Fire!

My fabulous friend and neighbor Sue gave me an awesome, scented Votivo Candle a few years ago. It happened to be the Joie de Noël fragrance from their seasonal collection and smelled heavenly. With that, a tradition was begun. Now we both love to search (or should I say sniff) out delicious smelling candles and surprise each other with them for birthdays and holidays. I discovered Jimmy Soy Candles, when searching for a gift for Sue a few years ago. I'm thinking I either got her Tuscan Sun or Thai Ginger Citrus. Both sound yummy.

One of the biggest fans of our candle exchange is my husband. I mean, who doesn't enjoy living in a nice smelling home? His enthusiasm encouraged me to find some candles that were a bit more manly than the usual floral and fruity fragrances out there. That's how I came across Books Candles from French Publisher Assouline, and offered in limited edition wood, leather and bibliothque scents. I was so excited about these that I wrote about them as Style Mama, for mommyscompany.com last year. There's a new Style Mama there now, but I still love Assouline's idea of a candle designed to evoke the warm and earthy smells of a library. The leather scented candle I chose is a hit with my husband and guests alike. If paging through a first edition volume fireside in a cozy leather armchair appeals to you, then these candles are perfection. I found a few still available over the internet and at a fairly reduced price, which is nice.

My wonderful friend Sue got me a candle last week from Chesapeake Bay Candle Company. It's part of a travel-themed line that showcases the fragrances of exotic locations. This one is Casablanca and features a blend of nutmeg and cinnamon rolled in crushed cloves...mmmm. I'd say it's yet another addition to my candle collection, but I love lighting good candles so much, that they never are around for too, too long. I'm a one-candle woman I guess. My delightful friend Sue? Well I hope to keep her around for quite some time and with many more candle exchanges as well!

Monday, September 29, 2008

You are cordially invited to CRUNCH!


I wish I could say I came up with that title all by myself, but the credit goes to the lovely staff of Westchester Weddings Magazine, who recently featured Sweet Talk Boutique's Invitastions in a piece on festive foods and drinks for their Fall/Winter 2008 issue. Having spent the first 16 years of my life growing up in Westchester, this bit of press was especially sweet. In the mean time, Jen has been busy baking and (as usual) is a never ending idea-machine. There's lots in store over at Sweet Talk, and we'll be sure to keep you posted!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthday Mosaic I've been hit with some creative inspiration this week, but have had no time to get anything on paper. As a result, I'll make this brief and my birthday present to myself will be some time to design! I thought I'd celebrate today by sharing with you the delicious birthday treats from one of my favorite parties! My eldest daughter's First Birthday. All of the delightful creations you see above were made by my friend Jen of She Takes The Cake, and were inspired by the two fairy illustrations I created especially for my daughter. One is a heart fairy and the other a star fairy. Guests were treated to heart and star cookie wands! There was cake for the grown ups, cupcakes for the kids, and the adorable pink fairy-dusted smash cake for my daughter.

A few years have passed since this occasion, but my love of parties, celebration, and fun never seems to go away. I think that's why I love creating invitations so much. It's a joy to share in the events and milestones of others and to help them make their own visions come to life. I was a little freaked out about turning 30, but I'm actually kind of excited about 35. There is something special about every year, aspect, and phase of life. And I hope my life continues to include lots of art and design and happy celebrations. Thanks for reading guys! And as Alice in Wonderland might say, "a very merry un-birthday" to all of you who aren't enjoying a birthday today. Alice is so right too...there is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate (even if you have to make one up!). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Playing with Pinecones

Pinecones from Around Flickr
1. Cluster of Pinecones, 2. Origami Pinecone, 3. pinecone on the piled ginkgo-leaves, 4. Pinecone 2, 5. Pinecone, 6. pinecone bokeh, 7. pinecones, 8. Pinecones, 9. Pinecone rose

I love seasonal decorating. Rich colors, luxurious textures, and holidays on the horizon, are just a few of the things that make Autumn my favorite season. Easily found (where I live at least) and free (always a plus!), I love to decorate with pine cones. Their simple presence makes my mantle just a little bit warmer. You can also string them into a funky, rustic garland. That always makes my relatively uninteresting staircase a tad more fun. I've made Christmas ornaments from pine cones or coated them with peanut butter and birdseed and hung them outside as a tasty birdtreat (Kids love to make them and watch the birds flock!). I've also filled big baskets with them and put them near my fireplace, they look great and make excellent kindling.

Recently my friend Jennifer over at She Takes The Cake posted a lovely shot of a cake she did that featured pine cones. I think pine cones would be a lovely accent to any Fall or Winter themed wedding and it seems brides are increasingly using this motif as part of their day. Pine cones can be used to create the florets that adorn these cute Place Cards from Martha Stewart, or they can be used as simple but beautiful place card holders themselves. I think I need to get going on some pine cone themed invitations.

Looking around my yard and at some of the decorating I've already started should provide some inspiration, as well as the fabulous resource that is Flickr.com. I so enjoyed scouting around for these shots! How cool is that orgami pinecone? And don't those sparkly ones look charming on that gift? Alright, time to design. But before I go let me ask...are there any other natural objects you like to decorate with? Do tell! When I'm not on the hunt for images, I'm always looking out for great ideas!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Love List

If you haven't heard about Operation Nice yet, I guarantee you'll find out about it soon! Back in early September Nice Blogger Melissa gave her many readers an assignment to make a Love List (I know some of you have already made yours!). The only caveat? You can name anyone who you know personally (this is tougher than it sounds). I'm a little late but I've been giving some thought to mine. Here are the things I love:

I love getting out of my car to fill it with gas and hearing an awesome song playing over the station's speakers. I also love when I manage to hit a round number on the pump (YES!! 30.00 EXACTLY!!! WOOHOOO). I love wet, sloppy, kisses from babies. Oh and their chubby wrists too. The red highlights in my air that make me feel like me. A beautifully composed photograph. A brand spanking new set of Windsor-Newton watercolors and a block of cold-pressed Arches paper. A cozy sweater on a chilly autumn day. Creamsicle twist soft-serve in the middle of summer. Picking fresh strawberries or blueberries. Anything with goat cheese! The power of prayer. A couple's first dance at their wedding. Actually, just weddings in general. Restaurants with open kitchens. Dancing like a crazy woman. The ballet. Dress-up clothes. When you get a hug from someone who really means it and isn't just phoning it in. Walking on a trail in the Shawangunk Mountains. Chicago. The alphabet. Typography. Words. Stunning graphic design. Sitting by my fireplace and drinking a cup of tea. My parents' Christmas tree. My bedroom, when it is all clean and straightened. Handwritten letters. Japanese paper. Stationery. Love notes written on graph paper. VIntage tea cups. Postcards (stamped and sent ones!). Finding a chore already done for you. A well-written blog post.

I'm sure I'll tie this post up and think of a million more, but those are a few things that make my world a nicer place. Actually, I'm glad I did this assignment, even if I was a bit tardy. I'm now going to make an effort to ensure I do (or eat, or find...etc.) more often. I've been finding that when we brighten up our own world, we often brighten up the worlds of others as well!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summer's Flowers Fade

Glads from around Flickr
1. gladiola with no phubbles..., 2. Gladiola, 3. pink gladiola, 4. Stunning "Volunteer" Gladiola on Historic Hamer Hills Farm, 1837, 5. gladiola la la, 6. gladiola, 7. Gladiola, 8. Gladiolas, 9. gladiolas may 2008 006

It's rare for me to get misty about the passing of summer. I love autumn that much more. But with the Farmer's Market looking just a bit bleaker as the weeks creep on, I do find myself missing the armful of flowers I come home with each week between June and August. My favorite Farmer's Market bouquet? Gladiolas!! I love them! Perhaps it's because I'm a Morrissey fan, or maybe it's because they are colorful, big, and abundant.

When I lived in Chicago I'd go to the Farmer's Market with one of my most beautiful (inside and out) friends. The one thing we could never agree on, was gladiolas (or is it gladioli?). I couldn't get enough of them and she wouldn't be caught dead with them in her apartment. "They're FUNERAL flowers!!!" she would always emphasize during our little debates.

That made me wonder...are there any other flower varieties out there with an undeserved bad rap? What flowers do you think add extra oomph to your home interior? We all know to try and stay with flowers that are in season, but what else should brides think about when choosing flowers for their wedding? I had lots of autumn colored callas at my own wedding. Funeral flowers or not, I still love glads as well as my wonderful friend who had such a distaste for them. Summer may be over, but its blooms live on over at flickr. Alright, I've gotten that out of my system. Time to go find a pile of leaves to jump in!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Beauty of Bento

You don't need silly old words from me to help you appreciate the beauty of these INCREDIBLE Bento Boxes created by Flickr Member, photographer, mom, and artist, Hippo Mum. When my daughters are old enough to start bringing their lunches to school, I can only hope that I too will provide them with a treat so caring, healthy and creative. Thanks for showing me that Design Is Everywhere Hippo Mum...even in a kindergarten lunch box!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Me...on The Set of The Martha Stewart Show!!

Perez Hilton as the celebrity guest (Jen and I TOTALLY called that one!), a segment taped for a later date with Martha sampling 27 different hot dogs (surprisingly entertaining), AND a parting gift of an HP all-in-one printer? Who could ask for more? My day at The Martha Stewart Show was filled with tons of fun and a bit of the unexpected. Jen and I arrived right on time and had the pleasure of meeting fellow Posh Mamas, the Partybluprints Girls! They blogged live from the show, and even included a picture of Jen and I in their post! If you're a Posh Mama, check it out HERE (along with the MANY comments they got!). After getting our tickets, heading through security and a pre-show briefing, we were led into the studio.

Jen was packin' a laptop (which unfortunately lost juice) and was seated in the main blogger section. Some of our favorite bloggers were in attendance. The Wedding Bee and The Cupcakes Take The Cake Girls, to name a few. Jen was lucky enough to get a mention from the she CTTC Girls as well! As a designer of wedding stationery, and fan of Martha Stewart Weddings it was also fun to see Darcy Miller in action!

I was slightly bummed that Jen and I wouldn't be sitting together, until I landed my own awesome seat in the FRONT row...up close and personal. And right in front of the GORGEOUS set they use for the crafting segment (I thought that was meant to be), as well as the "potting shed" set. The entire studio is really beautiful and very impressive. I also had the pleasure of being seated next to some of Martha's team from Sirius Radio Channel 112. You can see their post about the show HERE. That's me in the second picture down, turned around and seated next to radio host Mario Bosquez of "Living Today." They also gave a shout out to our site sweettalkboutique.com! Thanks guys!

The guests were terrific. I learned about a few blogs I had never heard of, such as A Year of Evenings (everyone in the audience was lucky enough to get a copy of the book inspired by their last blog A Year of Mornings) and A Way To Garden. I'm not much of a gardener (yet!), but this blog is really beautiful. I also came away with a ton of ideas for this blog (read: changes). It was inspiring to be around so many people, including Martha, who really do seem to enjoy the blog medium as much as I do.

There's more to tell, and I'm well known for the run-on post, so I'll save some more for tomorrow. Thanks so much for your encouraging and supportive comments, and if you have any questions about the Martha experience, I'm happy to share...ask away!

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're off to see the Martha!

Recently, The Martha Stewart Show announced they'd be doing a special show about blogging! I saw a tweet about it over on twitter and couldn't resist requesting tickets to the taping, which is slated to feature an entire audience filled with bloggers! Happily, I was granted two tickets and will be heading down to NYC this Wednesday along with Jen from She Takes The Cake.

I'm thrilled to be attending a show on this topic as I truly love to blog. Writing and conceptualizing Design is Everywhere has been so helpful to me as a designer and business owner. But even more important to me is the personal blog I've kept since early 2005, a chronicle of my experience mothering my two daughters. Initially started to update long-distance friends and family on our daily life, that blog has been a touchstone, a joy, validation, a blessing and so much more. While I've kept it relatively "unlisted" over these years, for myself and more importantly for my daughters privacy, I was amazed with the following it developed. I nearly fell over the day I got a comment from as far away as Australia.

While there's a lot of hot air blowing around in some corners of the blogosphere, I find that the blogs I read are authentic and offer information that I'd never get from traditional media sources. I especially enjoy the unique voices found on the wedding and event planning, style, design, and business blogs I frequent. And I have found a great deal of comfort on some of the hilarious parenting blogs I subscribe to. While I may not blog forever, it has been a great source of PR and networking for me as a business owner. At the moment, I find blogging provides a satisfying outlet and some genuine enjoyment.

While I may not be the ultimate domestic diva (let's just say hardcore housecleaning is not my forté), I love to cook and get crafty. Over the years Martha and her publications have definitely helped me in the decor department, and when it comes to wedding ideas she's had some gems. I'll be interested to catch a glimpse of Martha in person and I'll definitely keep you all posted (pun-intended). Thanks for all your comments. You guys are what makes blogging so FUN!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"The CHANGE"

No I'm not talking about menopause. I'm talking about the change a designer makes when they switch from using one layout program to another. It can be painful, frustrating, and perhaps a bit enlightening...as I am finding out now that I've FINALLY chosen to start all new projects in InDesign CS3. I guess that means I'm breaking up with my former love and best friend, QuarkXPress. And yes Quark, "It was you, not me." I shouldn't say breaking up, that seems a little too final (commitment phobic much Erin?). I'll admit it, I still have feelings for Quark. But based on the reaction of my friends (read: printers and fellow designers), this really seems necessary. The straw that broke the designer's back? Not being able to add a simple .25 pt stroke on some text in Quark...grrrr. And the fact that more and more professional printers aren't even equipping themselves with Quark anymore. It's the Adobe family or bust apparently.

I know what you are thinking, "How could she have stayed in this relationship for SO LONG?" It's true, I should have changed when I was still on Quark v.4. Then I would at least be able to open up my files directly in InDesign. But you get comfortable and you're used to the control panels. You think, I'll get out and try something new...explore my options. We'll take a Ross & Rachel type break. Does Quark really even need to know I'm looking? But then that tight deadline rolls around, you're stressed out and next thing you know your back with your old boyfriend Quark again. Frustrated with your lack of communication with each other, you think...."can't you even TRY to get along with my friends Photoshop and Dreamweaver?", "You won't open up a PDF for me EVER?", or "I love that you added enhanced typography features. That glyphs palette is great. But It's just not something I can build an entire relationship on!"

The idea of opening up files in a new program and having them look terrible is scary, but scary isn't always terrible. I'm guessing part of my reticence about this switch is based in the fact that Quark and I were together for so long. Through good jobs and bad, great clients and the not-so-great ones, Quark was there for me. Sure there was my on-again, off-again hookup in college: Aldus Freehand. But I had no problem getting rid of that one. The more mature, and attractive Adobe Illustrator was waiting right around the corner. And when I got my first job, believe me...I was delighted to get rid of that stalker PageMaker. I honestly can't think of a more annoying piece of software. There was Quark, the hunky 1995 standard, ready to make my desktop publishing dreams a reality. Looks like those days are over and there's a new hunk in town, but as St. Augustine once said it is "better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all."