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 " 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' 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: 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, 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 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!