Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Jewelry + Print Design = One Fantastic Giveaway

One of the many things I love about the stationery world, is the opportunity I've had to meet incredible fellow designers. Enter Cathe from Feterie, master of pattern and typography and all around cool girl. One thing I love about the broader indie design and handmade community are the collaborations I've seen grow and prosper between artists who work in different mediums. Enter the husband and wife design team over at Blend Creations who've partnered with Cathe to create a limited-edition, two-of-a-kind product featuring two designs from Feterie's fab gift wrap line.

Giveaway starts on 11/2/09 and ends 11/16/09. Be sure to enter HERE and while you're at it check out the many other ways to achieve additional entries. The designers will be selecting 4 winners total (each necklace has a retail value of $108) to win either the Grape Just Dots Round Necklace or the Lemon Vendome Round Necklace. Mmmm....gorgeous design and modern jewelry. My kind of contest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's in the bag!

I love my peeps over at Wishpot and just had to share their latest giveaway. The Wishpot team has joined forces with Avelle, the new Bag Borrow Steal, (think the Sex in the City movie) to give readers the chance at winning this fabulous fun red kate spade designer handbag! Just in time for my birthday. Holla! Retail value $429.

Here’s how to enter:

Tell, Show or Share what you want to carry in your Avelle Designer Bag!
(Your fave accessories, your pets, your dreams, the kitchen sink and more….)

Tell: for each response on the Wishpot Blog, on Avelle FB Fan Page, or on Twitter RT #Avelle, you'll get 1 entry.

Show: post a pic of what you want to carry on Avelle FB Fan Page, or on Twitter and get 2 entries

Share: sign up at Avelle, follow Avelle on Twitter or blog about this giveaway like I did, and get 3 entries. Woo-hoo!

Be sure to leave a comment on the Wishpot Blog with what you did. Giveaway lasts one week and a winner will be drawn by Wishpot on Monday Oct 5th. Good Luck and leave a comment here as well. I'm nosy like that. As for me, I'll be carrying my ipod touch, my phone, pictures of my kiddos, lots of pens, a journal and sketchbook, a load of bare escentuals and kiss my face products, and more in this bag when I win!

About the bag: kate spade ‘Quinn’ Knightsbridge Croco Tote
The clean lines and elegant croc-embossed patent leather of this kate spade tote transition effortlessly from daytime to evening. Designed to fit snugly under your arm, it’s finished with an open top, goldtone hardware, metal feet, three center compartments, signature lining and interior zip and cell pockets. Dimensions: 12"L x 3"W x 9"H. 7" handle drop.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Inspired by...

These days, I'm deeply inspired by my garden and all the delightful things I've managed (surprisingly!) to grow along with my co-gardeners. Those would be my preschool-aged daughters, who love to water (or over-water!) our crops and who get ridiculously excited about harvesting. You should have seen the excitement over the ceremonial picking of our first cucumber this morning at 7:30 AM. I've also been really inspired by the contents of our organically grown crop-share box that we get from a local farm each week. I've discovered veggies I never even knew about, like these heirloom "dragon tongue beans." Sautée with garlic and oil for an absolutely heavenly experience! And I've been forced to be more creative with my cooking. The creativity doesn't stop there though. In these veggies, I've found new color combos, shapes, and textures that I've been recording for artistic purposes. I can't wait to begin experimenting with them this fall and I've already been thinking of ways to incorporate some of these new ideas into my designs.

It might seem odd, wedding invitations inspired by summer's vegetable bounty, but it's these types of connections that I find spur the most interesting and fresh ideas for me. I love looking at bridal mags and trends, and while I never discourage a bride from doing the same, I strongly encourage couples to explore a wide range of resources. Why settle for a wedding invitation inspired by another wedding invitation, when you can have something truly unique and inspired by YOU, the connections you've made, the things you love? Look beyond the "typical" and allow yourself to be inspired by more than just "wedding ideas."

For those brides or planners out there, what decidedly non-wedding thing, place, or theme has inspired you? Fellow creatives, what randomness has been inspiring you these days? I'm dying to know! I on the other hand, need to get down to work, creating some dragon tongue-esque invites!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home is where the (artist's) heart is...

I've lived in a lot of places that are packed with creativity: Manhattan...Chicago...Providence, RI. Each one has a vibrant art and indie craft life of its own, brimming with coolness. When I first moved to Syracuse, NY I wondered if I'd find that same type of creative scene. At first, I thought hope was lost. And then? I found the most welcoming, interesting, and hungry art community I've come across yet.

I was thrilled when I landed, by complete chance, in the Strathmore section of the city. A neighborhood with it's own art show, Art on The Porches, designed to celebrate the area's historical homes, as well as the many local artists who live here. Check out this year's poster I created for the event, inspired by the great Government WPA posters of the 1930's.
Syracuse has indeed struggled with it's artistic identity over the years, but as a city resident I've been impressed by how many artists and non-artists alike, deeply value what Syracuse has to offer in the way of locally produced art and handmade goods.

Now, even my wildest expectations are being surpassed with the start of The Salt City Urban Art & Craft Market! More delightful indie goodness, right here on my home turf? It's almost too good to be true. My application is in and I hope to be part of what sounds like it will be an incredible display of local and regional NY talent. Thanks to the event organizers Briana and Vanessa for believing in Syracuse and beyond...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Times They Are a Changin'

Soon the leaves will be turning autumn hues and school will be back in swing. Honestly, I can't wait! It's my favorite time of year. Lucky for me, I get to experience autumn early every year as I create fall invitations on these hot summer days. Here's a sneak peek of one I truly enjoyed creating for a very fun couple. These invitations featured a natural pressed maple leaves and as highlighted in the photo, an original illustration I created with watercolors. Almost every bride I've worked with this year has come back for programs, or place cards, or some other paper-related delight, so I'll keep you posted with pictures of the items I'm working on to match this lovely suite.

In the meantime, I've got something of my own in the works and am hoping it will be ready for September release—the all new, revamped Bride Design website! The new website will include an online shop, a fully redesigned and self-hosted blog, new additions to our couture portfolio and more. I'm really excited to expand Bride Design's offerings and make shopping our products and services easier for our clients. Perhaps I'll even have a sneak peek into the site's redesign soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More etsy treasury goodness!

One of the things I like about etsy is that having a shop has led me to see and find more cool art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, supplies (the list goes on...) than I could ever find roaming the internet on my own. Treasuries are a fun way to do just that. As a shop owner, I love treasuries for the exposure they provide the featured artisans and products. But as a shopper, it's the chance treasuries give to sneak a peak into the mind of my fellow creative consumers and crafts-people that thrills me.

I was thrilled to have my Modern Circles Wedding Invitation included in a very cool treasury entitled Grey Charcoal Red Pink. I think I faved about 4 items, and found a bunch of shops I probably wouldn't have found on my own. How delicious is that yarn? I totally want to renovate my bathroom with a parisian theme around that little toothbrush holder. And I wish I had $450 hanging around for that painting.

I also love that the patchwork sweater blanket included accents the grey and red colors, with an ochre-type yellow. Just like my invitation. Oh yeah, and it gets cold here in central New York...so I'll be needing that too! Thanks to Lesha's Workshop for creating this treasury and including me, and I promise not to send you the bill for all my subsequent etsy purchases {*wink*}.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Living, Loving, Laughing...Working!

Sorry I've been away so long, but the end of the school year, start of summer, and the wild activity of "wedding season" has had me up to my ears in a whole lot of all of the above. I'm really excited about the pochette invitations shown here (and the programs, donation cards, and possibly a few other reception elements that will go along with them!). I had a blast creating them for a lovely bride and groom, who also share tattoos that include the words used in the "logo" I designed for them.

The bride's vision included lots of bright white and the invitation reflects that, but I also enjoyed using her unique accent colors: coral and olive. They provided the perfect pop for the envelope lining and underscored key elements of the interior design. The inside also boasts swirl elements used to evoke the same aesthetic as her gorgeous wedding gown. I'm so thrilled that my friend Jen from She Takes The Cake is creating the wedding cake for this couple's event and I can't wait to see where she takes these ideas on what I know will be a sugar masterpiece!

Between this and my last post, I bet you are thinking what I'm thinking..."it's the year of the rings!" I've moved on to new looks, but I have certainly found wedding rings to be a big inspiration this year, especially in regards to typography. More to come, very soon. We're moving out of summer weddings and into fall and winter now, so I'll get some pictures up soon of more of our summer creations and give some sneak peaks of what you'll be seeing in September and October too!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Design is everywhere...even on fruit.

I have no need for a fruit cozy, and yet I want this one from Unravel Me Designs something fierce. I'm a green apple girl myself, and doesn't this crisp, juicy apple look so...well, cozy in its little sweater?! And don't get me started on the Cheshire Cat closure!

I don't work in an office anymore and so my apple-toting is limited these days, but this just might be the ticket to more fruit eating for me. A little cozy sure would protect my apple from getting banged up in a diaper bag and I think my little girls would love an entire family of apples all dressed in different colors and stashed happily in a ceramic bowl. I can see it now a pile of discarded Barbies and clothing, abandoned in the name of dressing up fruit. I like it.

Be sure to check out Unravel Me Designs. I don't ever think I've been more inspired to write a blog post about an etsy find, as when I saw this picture. Keep up the decidedly creative design work UnravelMe!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sunshine (on this rainy, rainy day...)

If you're not reading (or should I say, reading and commenting on) The Bright Side Project blog, well...then you're missing out. Bloggers Miss K and Miss B "deliver sunshine daily" by offering up giveaways for readers that at the same time support emerging and established artists and designers. That's a cause I can certainly get behind!

Not only are the offerings from these artists, gorgeous and unique, but the questions The Bright Side Project asks contest entrants to answer are thought-provoking. I did a workshop for some fellow entrepreneurs, on Unleashing Your Creativity a few weeks ago, and in talking with a few of the women in attendance I mentioned how much visiting and commenting on The Bright Side Project encourages my own creative thinking. Not only do I gain inspiration by getting a peak at what other members of the artistic community are working on, but through answering questions I would normally never think to ask, I'm led to explore new creative territory and discover new inspiration inside myself. Pretty cool, eh? You've gotta try it!

If you do, you just might find yourself a winner. I did, and from quite and unexpected answer I might add! I didn't have to think long when answering "What scent reminds you of your childhood, and why?"
Here's what I said:
As a result, I was lucky enough to win an incredibly awesome hand-poured soy candle from Linnea's Lights! Choosing from their delicious list of scents was difficult. They ALL sound captivating. But in the end I went with Sweet Grass, in honor of my 4 year old's own springtime "kid-sweat" scent. Honestly, I am so loving this candle that I'm going to save my rave reviews of Linnea's Lights for another post...

I'll admit, winning is very fun, but as they say...it is not everything. Trust me when I say, The Bright Side Project has a lot to offer. Now get yourself over there right now and start answering some questions! Enjoy...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sending Smiles...one card (or several!) at a time

If you haven't heard of Spirit Jump...check it out. As it says on the website "Spirit Jump is a program that directly connects the gift giver with a person battling cancer. It was founded in November, 2008 by two young women who have both battled cancer." Handmade gifts are especially encouraged, and I've been so fortunate to have found this organization so that I can share my craft and (hopefully!) boost some spirits in the process.

Today I sent out the two cards above, which are designs I created for Sweet Talk Boutique. I hope it lightens the load a bit for the two people who receive them, or at least helps them crack a smile. I for one, always underestimate the joy I feel when sending a little gift, or encouragement and good wishes to someone who needs it. I never fail to be moved and blessed by the experience. Thanks to The Sprit Jump ladies Meaghan and Stacy, for all the effort they put into Spirit Jump. They are true inspirations. And I love being a "Jumper!"

Friday, May 08, 2009

DIY Delight!: Bride Supplies

At Bride Design we're forever creating new stationery designs for weddings, events, and life's most meaningful milestones. But that often leaves us with an overstock of cards, paper, ribbon, embellishments, art supplies and more. In an effort to keep our studio tidy and your DIY crafting needs met, we thought we'd offer our high-quality extras to you at extremely affordable prices through Bride Supplies! If you're planning on making your own invites or are thinking about another stationery project, check out what we've got. The shop contents will be updated whenever possible. Please let us know if you've got any questions and don't hesitate to visit our studio's official shop as well!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Weddings: Logo Love

Earlier this week, I delivered an order of custom blush pink and ivory invites to a lovely couple. My favorite part of their design? The very simple monogram I created using the lowercase version of their first initials "p" and "d." The second I started playing around with the letters I knew what font I wanted to use for this part of the design: Century Gothic. Besides the "m_______________" on the response card, the monogram is the only part of the design that uses this face and I chose it for it's pure geometry and consistent stroke. It's "o" character is a perfect circle and the "p" and "d" match perfectly. Creating couture invitations that capture a couple's unique qualities is always a thrill for me. And when I can work with typography? That's even better. The best part of all, the bride and groom love their "logo" and we'll be using it on some additional ceremony and reception items for their upcoming July wedding as well. I can't wait!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Thom Felicia Style: Design Meets Generosity

Last week I had the fortune to attend a book-signing event featuring interior design powerhouse Thom Filicia. You might remember him from TV's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Held at the lovely Fingerlakes winery Anyela's Vineyeard, this event benefited local charity Positively Pink Packages—a great organization that provides vital resources to breast cancer patients. The amazingly designed cake for the event was created by my friend, sugar artist Jennifer Comfort of She Takes The Cake. It was stunning, complete with 3-tiers and a full-size, hand-painted cookie replica of Thom's book "Thom Filicia Style!"

Since meeting Thom (so fun!) and getting my book signed, I've had some time to flip through the pages and it's great. As a designer myself, but not one of the home decor ilk, I've found Thom's approach to interiors strangely similar to the way I design for print. Design maxims like "less is more" or "lose the matchy-matchiness" are things I subscribe to when working with paper, but often fail to apply to my own home. Thom's philosophy includes incorporating texture, unique surprise elements, and balance into the rooms he creates. Again, those are techniques I use when creating invitations, logos, and stationery, but they somehow manage to slip my mind when I'm trying to redecorate my living room. Well, no longer. I'm ready to unleash my personal design sense on my home (which is probably why I started ripping down wall-paper in my foyer), and do it with style, smarts, and OK...a little help from Thom Filicia's book (*wink*).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Design Fun : Lying Eyes

If you, like me, fancy yourself a color theory or design buff, I think you'll enjoy this quick little puzzle over at Wired Magazine. Can your "lying eyes" find the two shades of gray that are the same? Thanks to @willfrancis for sharing this over on twitter.

While you are over at Wired, you might want to check out this fun design tidbit on ambigrams (a phrase written so that you can read it right side up and upside down). Very cool. I can't wait to share the one that reads "Reverse Engineering," with my engineer husband. Hope everyone has a beautiful and design-filled day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sometimes it's OK to play with your food...

Especially when it's part of a valiant effort to make mealtime more appealing, or fun for some preschoolers. Spring has officially sprung here and I've been sure (even when it's pouring outside) to serve up a little sunshine on my daughters' plates as a reflection of the season. I'm definitely no Hippo Mum, but I do give it my best shot making healthy and pretty meals for my little girls. And with increasingly picky taste-buds, a little design aesthetic applied to their foodstuffs seems to make everything go down a little smoother, and lunchtime a lot less tiring on this Mommy. How do you spice up your kids meals? With new and interesting tastes? Sneaking in some stealthy and healthy staples? Or do you just fall back on making pretty pictures like me?! Whatever works, right?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Earth Laughs in Chocolate: John&Kira's

Ever since my sister attended her sister-in-law's chocolate- and wine-tasting bridal shower, I've been meaning to tell you about John&Kira's gourmet, artisan, chocolates. I was especially delighted when said sister gave a box of chocolates to my husband for Christmas and I got to try their delicious, melt-in-your-mouth flavor combos. As if producing incredible tasting, and gorgeous looking chocolate wasn't enough, I also appreciate this Philidelphia business' community involvement and earth-friendly stance. They use local and family farms for their fresh ingredients, and support an urban school garden program in West Philadelphia where the mint for their Garden Mint chocolates is grown. I never thought I'd say this but mmmm....Earth Day.

With other flavors like Lingering Lemongrass, Popohaku Farm Ginger, and Lavender Honey...you know you're in for a unique, and often organic experience when trying these chocolates. Carefully embellished squares of chocolate and beautifully packaged product speak to John&Kira's design sense as well and make their sweets even more of a joy to eat. I was delighted to discover they also offer wedding favor versions of their fine product. I think the lovebugs pictured above would be perfect, and a welcome treat for guests, such an event. So happy earth day (a day late) and why not celebrate with some chocolate!?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"You mean when you were a kid, you didn't have music uploaded directly to your brain?"

If you are my friend on Facebook, you're probably already aware that my 2 year old threw my iPod touch in the (albeit clean, but very wet) toilet a couple of weeks ago. My amazingly awesome engineer husband actually got it to work again for about a week and it functioned almost perfectly (except for a little sound glitch here and there). That was until I let the charge run out completely and then...nothin'. This song pretty much sums up the experience. Except for the 18 months to two years part. I only had mine for (gulp) 3 months...but then again the Apple Care Warranty plan does not protect against water damage or 2 year olds. Needless to say, I am lucky enough to have a shiny new iPod and my tinkering husband is still working on making the old one work so he can use it for himself. We shall see. I also now store it at locations that are shoulder height or higher. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bride Design's First Etsy Treasury

I was thrilled to wake up and find my Ring Pillow in Dreamy Cream and Beige was selected to be in a lovely and subdued Etsy Treasury titled "What Dreams May Come" by shop owner diaspora. I love the pale and stirring colors, contrasted with some lovely darks. Also included is some great photography, a gorgeous wedding gown, jewelry and more. I love the hanging art that looks almost like falling ginko leaves as well. A nice way to start a cloudy, rainy Wednesday!

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 minkstuff.com. 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 myhandmaderegistry.com 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 myhandmaderegistry.com. 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!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sneak Peek: Bear and Bunny

So, as I mentioned earlier in the week, there is lots in the works here. Weddings are of course my main gig and never fear there is certainly more to come this year for Bride Design, but over the years I've noticed that as life changes your needs change as well. Not the least of which are my personal stationery needs. In recent years, I've ended up designing a lot of social stationery on the fly...invitations for kid's birthdays, note cards to give to a friend, play date calling cards so I would no longer have to rummage through my diaper bag for a pen or a slip of paper.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and my latest project, Bear and Bunny, is proof of that. I figured I'd finally take all the cute and cool designs I've been creating over the years for kids and grown ups and share them. A web shop is coming soon. In the meantime, take a gander at our new logo! It's still a bit of a work in progress, but the main idea is here. The logo and the majority of the designs included in this new line were inspired by my own little bear and bunny (which are my husband's nicknames for our daughters). I'll be back to share some pictures of new designs in the next week or two and I'll let you know when we're up and running officially.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coming Soon: Brand Spankin' New, Self-Hosted, Blogging Goodness!

I know I've been quiet here for the past month or so, but that's about to change! March will see Bride Design celebrating it's 5th Anniversary in business and there will be links, launches, events and more to celebrate. Perhaps the biggest change for you guys will be the upcoming switch to our fabulous new self-hosted wordpress blog. I'm a little nervous about making the switch, but I hear only amazing things about the wordpress platform, so I'm actually getting pretty pumped! I'm in the process of working out the kinks and getting the new blog together, but I did want to share this little tidbit of excitement in advance so that when transition day does take place, I won't be over there all by my lonesome. I'll let you know when we've got a date. Thanks for being the heart and soul of this little blog! I look forward to many more years of design discussion, fun finds, and occasional rambling. I love me a good makeover!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bride Design's Interview with Genevieve Fridley Photography

For those of you who saw my personal Christmas card, you'll probably remember the shots of my dancing daughters in their tutus by incredible local talent Genevieve Fridley. Today, I have the distinct pleasure of being Genevieve's first victim (ahem, I mean guest) over on her blog. Her interview questions were fun, challenging and even taught me a little bit about myself. I was reminded of how much I deeply love weddings and creating invitations. Weddings are in my blood I think! As well as how much I love working from home in my slippers. Genevieve's keen photographic eye and easy-going way with her subjects are only a few of the things that make her an amazing photographer. In fact, I wish I could see my life through Genevieve's lens on some days, because I think it possesses the useful super-power of making ordinary (or even somewhat messy) things, look just plain, beautiful. So head on over and check out her photos, or more of my ramblings. I borrowed the picture above since it includes one of my favorite shots from our session, the one of me and my Pantone books.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Love List: Places I Love

After my last post on motivation (thanks for all the sage advice by the way, some of which I've already put into practice!) I was delighted to see the most recent post from Melissa of Operation Nice. Her challenge today? Make a list of places you love. I'm eager to do this since I find writing these lists really inspiring and motivational. Try it yourself, I think you'll find you love it! Here's mine:

I love Chicago. I loved sitting by Lake Michigan right near where I lived on Pine Grove and Diversey. I also loved riding through the city in a taxi with the windows open on a summer night. Most of all, I loved to lay on my bed in my Chicago apartment and look out of my window...just sky and thousands of little lights from all the other apartment buildings. I Love Alfred where I went to college. One stop light, two colleges, and not much else. Unless you count hundreds of college kids. A strange place with lots of quirks (and snow) and that you just might not "get" unless you lived there. I love the art building especially. It was like being in an amazing museum everyday, except everything was changing and growing. I loved to watch other artists' pieces evolve and felt inspired at every turn. I LOVE New Paltz, NY. It is the most beautiful place on earth to me. The craggy, ridge of the Shawangunk Mountains stirs me every time I see it, which is crazy since I lived there for years. It is a symbol of home to me. I love Awosting Falls in Minnewaska State Park. It's where my husband proposed to me. And what's not awesome about a cool waterfall? I love Providence, RI for all the amazing restaurants and fun memories. I'm planning a trip there solely to eat at all my favorite places sometime soon. I love the apartment where I grew up. The crazy closet doors that never worked, the parquet floors, the stereo with huge headphones where I would lay for hours listening to records and 8-tracks, the flowered couch, my blue bedroom and all my "stuff" which mostly consisted of "stuffed animals." I love Ireland. And promise myself I will go back and drink tea and eat brown bread in Galway while looking out at the ocean. I love Peter Island, in the BVI, where I went on my Honeymoon. Tropical. Beautiful. Amazing. Enough said. I love Strathmore, my neighborhood where I live now. I love that this is a place my children will remember and hopefully love. Our park, the close-knit community of people who truly care for each other, the events, our first home, and the warm homes of all our friends. I love my parents' house. It is where my family comes together to celebrate or mourn. It's always VERY full with children and grandchildren, but I like it sort of crowded...it means there's more love.

"Where" do you love? I hope you make your list. And if you do, share the link here. I love to read these. And in fact I find reading others just as inspirational (if not more!) than I do writing my own. Thanks Melissa, for another challenge. IT's back to work for me now!

Friday, February 13, 2009

How do you stay motivated?

I don't often struggle with motivation, but lately I've noticed myself getting off track here and there and failing to manage my time as well as I should. I've got lots of creativity flowing and I'm definitely pretty busy these day, but I need to get some momentum, maintain it, and stay focused. Not always an easy task when you've got work and technology, clients you love, colleagues, and a husband and two kids vying for your attention. For goodness sakes, even this little blog here has been a bit neglected!

So my wise readers, I ask you, how do you stay on task? What are your tips and tricks for staying motivated? Do you have a special method for triaging your projects? Do you use a reward system? I'd love to know. Comment now and my burgeoning schedule thanks you in advance! Happy Friday!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Fab Find: Etsy's Amalia Versaci Design

As we all know, there's a recession going on. As a result I've curbed my buying habits, which were never all that crazy to begin with. Still, every once in a while I see something so perfect, so different, and so cool that I have to have it. That doesn't always mean I buy it. But when that perfect, different, cool item also speaks to me in a very meaningful way, I do make that purchase. Such was the case when I stumbled upon Amalia Versaci Design's shop via the etsy front page the other day.

With a love for all things zipper, Amalia's shop offers bright, colorful, fun jewelry and more, created from vintage and custom painted recycled zippers. I haven't even received my order yet, but I am so thoroughly excited about the vintage Talon brand zipper earrings (for me!) and the zipper pendant from the 1930s (pictured above) that I couldn't wait to blog about them.

So what's so meaningful about this jewelry? When I was a kid, in the suburbs of New York City, my aunt worked at Talon as a receptionist. The company produced (awesome) scissors, sewing notions, and probably a whole lot of other stuff, but we're working from my 5-7 year old memory here. I probably only went to visit her once or twice at the company's Manhattan offices, but that was enough to etch in my mind exactly what I was going to do when I grew up. I was going to be just like my aunt and work in the city. Although, I swore I would never wear sneakers with my skirt suit, no matter how uncomfortable that made my commute.

Eventually, I took off for another city (Chicago), but I always felt proud to have honored my childhood dream by working in Manhattan for several years. I solved the sneaker/commute problem by living there as well. Every once in a great while I'll buy myself a little something to celebrate a milestone. When I saw these earrings I instantly felt they'd perfectly commemorate the times "grown up me," has made "little girl me," proud. I bought the pendant as a gift for my aunt, for always being a mentor and source of unwavering encouragement, whether she knew it or not. How serendipitous that I should come across Amalia's delightful shop. But I wonder, what do you do to celebrate yourself? And what do you give to others to thank them for impacting the complicated but beautiful design that is your life?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You Twitter, but do you Qwitter?

A while back, I was chatting with my Sweet Talk Boutique buddy Jen about Twitter and mentioned I stopped following someone. I wondered, does someone know when I stop following them? That's when Jen filled me in on Qwitter. With one quick sign-up, you'll be sent an email every time one of your contacts chooses for stop following you. Things lay pretty dormant for a while. But fast forward to the past few days, when I've had a bunch of "qwitters" stop following me. Do I take it personally? No. Especially because my main reason for using Twitter is as a social media marketing tool and a way to stay connected to the online community of design professionals I've come to know and love.

In this respect, Qwitter is actually really helpful. The emails you receive let you know the last post you made before your follower decided to "qwit" you. As a result, I learn more about what my current and former followers are interested in hearing and learning about from me. When I recently joined a wedding related twitter chat, I lost several people who may have followed me for "tweets" on design, mac software, or family life. All topics I enjoy posting on, but that differ greatly from the wedding-themed posts I made during the chat session. The upside? I gained some great, new, targeted followers from the wedding industry.

Is the last post you made before someone qwit you always a good indicator of why they quit? Certainly not. I have people qwit me after benign posts about the weather. I do give a second glance when someone qwits, and much of the time, it's a twitter spammer anyway. I wouldn't give qwitter too much thought though. I know I need to go in and do some un-following myself, just to keep my stream more manageable. Still, I've learned it is a tool business owners can use to better observe their twitter audience and to help them make more informed posts for better marketing impact.

What has using Twitter or Qwitter taught you?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bride Design Valentines

When I was in college I had an incredible crush on my friend. He gave me a collection of ten poems by W.H. Auden for my 21st birthday entitled "Tell Me The Truth About Love" and I wrote his name in the back of the little chapbook and cherished it. Years went by and we lived in many different places. He in California, South Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island, and me in New York and Chicago. Sometimes we'd do a decent job of keeping in touch by phone, or we'd even manage a visit. Other times we'd fall out of touch, dating other people, and busy with our individual lives and careers. Still, I always kept that little book in my night stand and read it periodically.

When I was 21 (or even 25 or 26 for that matter) I never imagined that the boy who gave me that book would end up being my husband when I turned 30! And a wonderful husband and friend he is. As a result I decided to make Bride Design's first release of Valentine's Day Cards a tribute to him. Here are the first two designs, inspired by my favorite poem from that treasured book, "O Tell Me The Truth About Love.". Throughout the poem, the poet speculates on and questions what love is, often with humor and a simple beauty that I've come to appreciate in much of Auden's work.

These designs are based on the line "Some say that love's a little boy" and further into the poem, the line "Does it look like a pair of pajamas?" I hope you like my interpretation. I had such fun creating these designs, inspired by a great poet and my own love story as well. You can find these designs, with more to come, at my etsy shop bridedesign.etsy.com. Of course if there's something you'd like to see in our shop, let me know! I love to hear feedback from customers and friends.

We Have a Winner!

Happy Friday Everyone! It's time to give away some movie tickets!! We have a winner. It's #6, Kristy!!

Six, while not my favorite number (that honor goes to the number 2), is a number I've always liked and I'll tell you why. As a kid, I figured 6 was the perfect number of people to go to the amusement park with. You could get on a ride in two groups of three, or three groups of two. No one gets left out! Hey, how many people fit on those giant water rafting rides? Either six or eight, so you could probably score one of those all to yourselves if you are in a group of six.

It was a pretty exciting day when my parents let me know they were having a 4th child. I would now be part of a perfect amusement park family of 6 (not that we went to amusement parks very often!). Too bad little brother is 11 years my junior. He was still ringing the bell on the kiddie fire truck ride as I went off to college. So that's my story on the number 6. And now you've all had a glimpse into my lifelong strange (or is that estranged?) relationship with numbers and math.

Kristy, shoot me an email at: admin [at] bridedesign.com. When I get your email address I'll transfer $20 in Fandango bucks to you and you can head to the movies!! Thanks to everyone who entered and here's to a few more giveaways in the future at Design is Everywhere.

Have something you want to share with the world? Or OK, maybe just with the Design is Everywhere audience? Let me know and a giveaway might just be in order! If it seems like a good fit with this blog's content and mission (to find design in unexpected, and not so unexpected, places and share it), I'd love to give away more treats to my readers!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Baby It's C-C-COLD outside!!!

That's why I want to introduce you to the yarn-a-riffic stylings of Le Meow Le Mew! With a high of 8° slated for tomorrow, I live in a place that I believe entitles me to say I know a lot about layering and cold-weather fashion. As I've mentioned in the past, it also means that I love me some knits. That's why I was delighted when fellow shivering local and fashion-forward knitter, Beth, opened her shop.

Beth's work for Le Meow Le Mew, focus on quality and originality. I like how her shop announcement says that she wants customers to "feel good wearing your accessory, knowing that it is of top craftsmanship and that no one else will have a piece quite like yours." It's always the unique pieces from my wardrobe, usually made by an indie artisan, that get the most compliments when I'm out and about. My favorite from Beth's current offerings? I almost don't want to tell you in case you manage to buy it before I can run up to her house and grab it from her, but I'll be kind and share. It's the Broody Tuileries Cowl. That's right. You may not know this about me, but I'm a pretty broody girl. And I learned early on the importance of keeping your neck warm. Many, many years in a children's choir will do that to you.

So do yourself, and your body temperature a favor and check out Le Meow Le Mew. For more on Beth's work, take a gander at her blog Knitted Mews. I'm looking forward to seeing more from this knitter extraordinaire!

PS If you haven't entered our ticket giveaway below, check it out and tell me your favorite wedding movie or scene. What better way to stay warm, than by wearing a lovely knitted accessory and eating popcorn at the movies!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bride Wars Ticket Giveaway!

I'll admit, it's been a while since I've been to the movies. But then again, having kids will do that to you. Happily, fellow Central New York Wedding Vendor, Jennifer Comfort of She Takes The Cake convinced me to indulge in a girls night out so that we could see the new Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway flick Bride Wars.

Sure there are a lot of clichés about weddings and today's brides throughout the plot. Then again society's steady diet of Bridezillas will do that to a film. But I am a sucker for a comedy, as well as a wedding and ALL that emotional, insane, and thrilling planning that goes along with it of course! This movie had all three. Do we chicks deserve a better flick? Perhaps, but Anne Hathaway's Mystic Tan mishap did crack me up. I also loved her doing the "Sprockets" Dance. While I don't believe real-life best friends would ever go to the extremes these brides do, there were a few moments where I realized how much ridiculous pressure I put on myself to have "the perfect wedding" when I got married 5 years ago. Thankfully, I was also reminded of just how much I loved weddings as a little girl and how blessed I am today to be able to be part of so many couples' special days through creating their invitations and stationery wardrobes.

So while it might not be for everyone, I think a trip to the movies for Bride Wars would be perfect for that bride who's hit her planning wall for the moment and needs a laugh. It also might be right for the bride who wants a fun evening out with her maid of honor, to thank her for not being Anne Hathaway or Kate Hudson, but rather an amazing best friend and support system. Hey, these two wedding vendors even found a few things to chuckle about and discuss. That's why Jen and I are both both giving a pair of tickets on our blogs!

Just leave a comment telling me what your favorite wedding movie (or wedding scene from a movie) is, and you can win $20 in Fandango bucks, accepted at most theaters around the country. If you're not sure if your theater works through Fandango.com, just type your zip code in on their home page and find out. After I sift through all the entries and come up with a very scientific way to choose the winner, I'll let you know who has won Friday morning and send out those fandango bucks post-haste via email! You can even double your chances to win by entering on Jen's blog too!

Looking forward to hearing all about your favorite wedding scenes and movies!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

An Artist's Toy—Painter's Palette Constructibles Building Set

My 4 year old and I don't always agree on toys, but my Mother-in-law just hooked up my little girl with a plaything we both love! We've been having a blast with Mudpuppy's Painter's Palette Constructibles Building Set. My little one is quite proud of her creations. Creations which naturally need to wait in a safe place, away from 2 year old sister, until Daddy arrives home and can view said masterpiece. I've enjoyed discussing the set's "not-your-everyday preschool colors," like chartreuse, olive, or coral with her.

Besides being very well conceived and designed, this toy also encourages hand-eye coordination and creativity, as well as an understanding of balance, shape, structure. I also like the Bold Patterns version. I'll admit, I found the set so entertaining I've considered busting it out and playing with it on my own time. Of course it's purely for doing research on color combinations for future wedding invitation suites. Of course (*wink*)...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back to Bedtime Basics

You know the good advice you get, that you know you should take...but you just can't seem to make it happen? Lately, I've come across a lot of that, especially when it comes to sleeping and getting enough rest. That's why I was thrilled to spot this gem of an article on Best Bedroom Habits To Start In The New Year at apartmenttherapy.com. The article makes some excellent points and offers a few ideas which I could stand to try (ahem, making "putting stuff away" part of a pre-bedtime ritual). As I often find to be the case with blogs, there are additional good points and ideas throughout the comment section as well. Plus some humor which is always nice. Much of it was stuff I already knew of course, but had just "tuned out" over the last few months. With two little ones, it's just a lot easier to get work done late night sometimes...like, um, now...

Somehow, for me, good advice is just easier to take when it comes from of a stylish, design blog. So check it out and maybe you'll fine some quality zzzs soon too. Now I'm off to go fluff my pillows and hit the sack!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A New Year, A New Perspective on Success...

A few weeks ago, I was assisting in my daughter's preschool class when this quote that was taped up on a wall, caught my eye:

"The Creative Arts are an important part of learning, discovering, developing coordination skills, and expressing feelings. To engage in creativity is to build self-confidence and gain self-image, because everything a child does in art is successful. There is no right or wrong." -Fran Batchko

I don't know who Fran Batchko is, but I like the way he/she thinks! I know that not everything we entrepreneurs do in business can be successful, but as an artist this quote gives me a new outlook for 2009. By believing that everything one (be it a child or adult) does is art is successful, we allow ourselves to create more art! If there is no chance of failure, we take more risks and try things we've never tried. Boundaries are removed and many times we create something we had no idea we could create in the first place!

So this year I resolve to build my self-confidence as a designer, and to gain an increased positive self-image for myself and my business, by using art to learn, discover, develop and express. How will you be creative in 2009? Whether you are a bride, a fellow stationer or entrepreneur, a blogger or writer, a visual or performing artist, an accountant or an engineer, I look forward to seeing what you'll create in the coming year!