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 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 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

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 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 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!