Sunday, March 29, 2009

Whooo says design isn't everywhere?

Indeed it is. In fact, I love the intricate design that is life, and how it enables us the chance to collide and interweave with other people, cultures, ideas and more. Sometimes life's designs cross in unexpected places, like malls, athletic fields, hospitals, or in the case of me and artist Lucy Mink...a preschool.

I was thrilled to meet Lucy, because our kids are the same age. While facilitating an art project at the school our kids attend, Lucy met my daughters and thought our older girls would make excellent playmates. In true "mother knows best" fashion she was right. But what's even cooler is that Lucy is an artist, designer, and all-around creative, which means we grown-ups have lots to chat about while the kids play.

Besides being an amazing painter, Lucy makes these adorable stuffed owls and sells them at My favorite is the sleepy-eyed guy above. I love his velvety-looking red wings and if I were a little kid I could envision myself sleeping cheek to cheek with my owl and wrapping those wings around my face for some nap-time peace and quiet. As I've mentioned before, I love all the benefits that come with buying handmade and I have a special fondness for handcrafted toys. But it's even more thrilling when I can find such treasures local to me. It's better for the environment, good for the community and local economy, and it warms my heart. So check Lucy and her owls out. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Twice as Nice!

I sort of stumbled upon the other day, when one of my wedding invitations had the fortune of being featured in a wishlist by Nicole of the etsy shop Nicole's Homemade Treats, on the front page of the site. I was excited to see a site that encourages brides, couples with new homes, expectant moms, hostesses, or anyone who loves handcrafted items, to buy handmade. Needless to say, I joined up. Much to my surprise I was promptly notified that I am the lucky 400th member of this delightful group, and as such Bride Design is happily featured on the front page again. Too cool. Thanks to Dorana, and all at I know there is nothing more I love, than to give and receive gifts that have been designed and crafted with care. I wish you success as you continue to foster that attitude among the masses!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Éirinn Go Brách: My Favorite Irish Exports

With a name like Erin Patricia McKenna (I added my husband's Polish surname after we got married), it's safe to say I'm Irish. My maternal great-grandfather was once the Grand Marshall for New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade! Luckily, I had the chance to go to Ireland back in 2001 when my husband interviewed for a job there. We stayed living in the states, but that visit only increased my love for "Dear Old Erin's Isle." Yummy pints of Guinness, the freshest oysters to be had from Galway Bay...what's not to love? In fact, I love so many Irish things I thought I'd share some faves (not the least of which is my own Irish lassies dressed up and wearin' the green, see above). From beauty to culture, weddings to handmade finds, there just might be something on this list that you'll love too!

BEAUTY: I'm a lover of perfume, and one of my favorite fragrances is from Ireland. I've never smelled another scent like Inis, ever since I was introduced to it years ago in Boston by a friend. One thing I love about it, is that it is not at all "girly." You can find it online and at many stores that import Irish goods.

BRIDAL: If you are an Irish or Irish-American bride and are looking to incorporate your heritage into your wedding attire, check out the beautiful creations from Colleen Collections of Ireland. They create gorgeous tiara's out of Co. Galway. Each on is stunning and unique.

We all know about "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." But the Irish take it a bit further and add "and an Irish 5 pence for her shoe." I wanted to cary the luck of the Irish with me on my day, so I taped one into my wedding heels. 5p are no longer minted, as Ireland now accepts the euro, but you can found them online. I also love using Irish blessings for the "Take a Wish" portion of the Make-a-Wish/Take-a-Wish bowls I create for weddings.

MUSIC (and one very cool etsy find!): I grew up loving and listening to Irish music. My favorite album to jig to as a kid was Paddy Noonan and His Grand Old Band's, Live Irish Party at the Barleycorn. Too bad it's sold out, otherwise, I'd have totally scooped up this awesome recycled journal on etsy made from the albums cover. Too cool. On a more modern music note, had you been at my wedding, you would have seen an awful lot of crazy dancing to The Saw Doctors. I've seen this band many times, mostly in Chicago, and they never fail to get the crowd singing and dancing with some serious spirit.

DESIGN/HOME DECOR: Now, even Irish design is everywhere, including your local Target. Check out Irish designer Orla Kiely's Target Collection and get ready to swoon at her mix of bolds and brights. Just lovely.

I'll leave you with one of those Irish blessings I mentioned. Something I truly wish for each and every one of you!

"Wishing you always...
Walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!"

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

Back when I started Bride Design, I was so excited to create anything having to do with weddings. I even made a few ring pillows that matched some of the invitation suites I was designing. I was also pregnant with my first child, so I credit this graphic designer's desperate need to sew with a bit of "nesting" syndrome too. That's how these sweet little 6" handmade ring pillows were born. I loved making them because they were miles from the big ol' white satin whoppers you see everywhere.

Designing invitations and stationery now takes up so much of my time, I reserve what little sewing I do for fun home projects (up next a sink skirt for my new bathroom!). As I make room in my studio for new papers and products, or just try to reclaim a bit of "white space" on my desk and shelves, I thought I'd find a new home for these lovelies. If you know a bride or are a bride using a brown palette then this pillow might just be for you. Or if a dreamy mix of cream, white, and champagne beige are your colors check out this sweet white pillow. Both are embellished on the underside of the pillow with antique buttons from my personal collection.

Help clean my studio! When these are gone they're gone. Oh and rings are not included of course! They belong to photographer Crystal Herry, who took the shot, and her husband. We'll be listing more old favorites in the shop soon as well!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Do Something Good for Goodness' Sake

What's better than online shopping? Doing something good for others while online shopping! Maybe it sounds too good to be true, but it's not thanks to the Grand Opening of the Goods for Goodness' Sake boutique. Think of it as a new way of shopping —where your purchases do make a difference! 

I'm so thrilled to have partnered with this fabulous new endeavor, whose list of amazing stationery designers also includes: Artful Sentiments, Feterie, Hen & Barley Press, Loop, Marzipan, Paper Stories, PaperLuxe Studio, Rock Scissor Paper, Shimmer Studio, Three Wheels Design + Paper, and Tiny Tales! Bride Design is offering three different styles of In Lieu of Favor Cards, exclusively through this fabulous site. So if you're a bride or event hostess who plans to forgo favors and make a donation in your guests' names, do some additional good by supporting the GFGS charity of your choice with your purchase. Stop on by, get to know the GFGS charities and designers, and shop shop shop! 100% of the site's profits are donated to customer selected charities. A very GOOD thing!