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 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,

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!