Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Because you'll need that hair for the wedding photos

Sometimes you find the perfect image and in your rapture quick "save as" you don't quite remember to label it as something other than "wedding-idea.jpg" and then when you want to find where you got it from later-- CRAP. Was it Snippet and Ink? Or Martha Stewart? Brooklyn Bride?

Or maybe you're reading a blog and just found the most perfect photo ever and you want to know if it's part of a series but alas, your lovely blogger has forgotten where he or she got it from.
So you spend hours online searching for it and getting more and more frantic and clumps of hair get ripped out BUT NO LONGER!!!
This just saved my sanity. I had saved some images for general "later business use" but the place where I had listed them as being from isn't selling the photos 2 years later. Fast forward two hours later of me scouring sites until -- LIGHTBULB-- TinEye. Found where the photos are being sold now in roughly 3 seconds.

So now that you are keeping that pretty hair, I've been meaning to ask if anyone has any shoulder length hairstyles they want to pass onto me? [Awesome segue, I know.] I'm offering up chin length (and one shorter) looks in return.

The last one the face is blurred out because it's someone I went to high school with who's picture I stumbled across on myspace or something a long time ago. We didn't really know each other but I really liked her hair in the picture so I saved it. The first Katie Holmes image has been my go-to for awhile but I'm thinking about growing my hair out a bit for the summer.

Have a good hump day and hope TinEye helps!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Stickin' it.

My latest design love is definitely packaging and branding. I've started reading a slew of blogs (err... um 2, Dieline and Brand New... but it SEEMS like a slew) and one of them mentioned something that really stuck with me: packaging is the advertising. Sure if you're a big company you still dole out the big bucks for advertising but when the consumer faced with 39 packages of new health conscious potato chips-- that bag better look good. And think about, how many of your favorite brands has re-designed lately. Or seems to re-design every other time you go to the store. (I feel like Green Giant frozen veggies that are targeted for some kind of health [antioxidant, healthy weight, etc] and Wheat Thins are always changing).

As a result a good portion of the packaging design coming out these days rocks my socks AAAAND has got me thinking.
(left: Student work by Shon Tanner: right: Azul Reál Cachaça by Adam&Co.)

(left: Student work from Melissa Adams (this is actually a lot like some custom work I've been doing but you'll have to wait to see that later); right: Student work from Eyal Baumert)

(left Est natural cosmetics by Satelite, right: Lovejoy Vodka produced by Integrity Spirits and designed by ID Branding)

How lovely, right? So this got me to thinking- does a wedding invitation really need to be paper? I've been writing this post for a couple days and thinking what could be accomplished by just using stickers. Looking at these packages you can definitely have beautifully designed stickers and I've been trying to think of cool ways to base wedding invitations around it. I have some ideas but I'm not 100% there yet.

The more I think of weddings the more it seems everyone has these grand ideas of what it HAS TO be and less about what COULD work. Less thinking outside of the box- more building something better entirely, if that makes any sense*. :)

*It's hot today. My brain may be melting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm ridiculous

I'm planning my escape into the sunshine and the Phish Gin and Juice cover just came on iTunes as I found this:
I think I made this like 5 years ago. I can't really remember why but I still think it's funny.

Have a great weekend!

Suzy Homewrecker

My friend brought me a cute little apron (the Minerva) for my birthday* when she visited last weekend and I wore it the other day and my husband said "Ooh I like it, you look just like a little Suzy Homewrecker" I think he meant "Suzy Homemaker" but I think it's funnier this way.

Yesterday was full of general craftiness. First there was the sewing craftiness. I have a simple sewing machine from Sears that I got a couple of years ago and get inspired every once in awhile. I am BY NO MEANS a good "sew-er". But I have fun- and that's what counts in my book.

It all started with me smelling like beef. We're still training our puppy so I've gotten in the habit of carrying a handful of the soft puppy dog treats in my pocket. Now all my pants smell like beef, chicken, salmon or liver. Then Fiona on Burn Notice (on USA Networks) was occasionally wear a magical NON-FUGLY fanny pack and I remembered a cute wallet in Denyse Schmidt's Quilts and it kind of went down like this:
And then I realized that although I kind of like the idea of this hip hugging design that smaller would be better so I started making another smaller one and then something happened with the bobbin or rather the thread from the needle ends up wrapping around whatever encases the bobbin and yeah- no idea how to fix it so the other one is half done.

Second bit of craftiness was that I made Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers) that I saw a couple days ago on Smitten Kitchen and... well... Hi, my name is Kristen and I'm an addict.
(image from Smitten Kitchen- I didn't do as nice a job cutting mine)

Honestly, if you think your job/friendships/etc. are in peril: make some of these, don't tell them where you got the recipe from and believe me, they're going to have to hold on to you. Deb says you can add nuts (I used walnuts on half) BUT as I was considering sprinkling some on my grapefruit this morning I thought "coarsely chopped pretzels would be out of sight on this".

Hopefully it will be as nice for you (where ever you are) as it's forecasted for the Northeast this weekend-- we may see 80 DEGREES! AHHHHSOEXCITED! Go play!

*My birthday is Nov. 1st. I think she's adopted an annual birthday present concept where you get it when you get it and you'll get about one a year. I think it's a fabulous idea present-wise. Cake should always be there to acknowledge the actual day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Minted Contest!

As promised here is the graduation party invite I've been working on for the latest Minted contest:
I think it's a little more Urban Outfitters than the rest so I'm excited......buuuuut since it IS going off in a little more of a different direction I'm thinking I'll wait to post it until the submission date gets closer. Or I'll say "screw it" and post it later on today so I can forget about it for awhile since I'm already throwing it out in the world now. It's about 50/50 shot.

Also in the news- I bought a new hat. This is not the most flattering photo but I was mid-thought whether I should choose the LEAST expensive wine or the SECOND least expensive wine to not seem so cheap (I bought both instead! Choosing is overrated.)
(image by Modern Toile photography [link to come!])

And new Earth Day inspired news is that we've joined Boston Organics. I'm not sure if places like this are everywhere yet but I'm sure they will be soon. We've signed up for the cheapest 1/2 fruit 1/2 veggies every other week plans so every other Friday a box of delicious goodies show up at our door. It's like a cross between being in a cooking show and being rich (I pretend a magical butler picks the food and leaves it for us)
(image from

We ate kale the other night. KALE, people! I had a kiwi for desert the previous night instead of a Reese's peanut butter cup egg leftover from Easter. I think the plan tonight is to roast up the zucchini and potatoes on the grill since it's getting nicer. Hm, come to think of it, if anyone knows if you CAN grill zucchini and/or potatoes with good results-let me know that as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Yesterday was more like a "grueling landscaping day" as opposed to an "any wedding or paper-related day" so bear with me.

And hopefully the waaaay "after" pictures will be something like these:
(image from How Stuff Works Deck Ideas)

(image from

So that was yesterday. Today I've been working on some designs for the latest Minted contest for party invitations. I'm working on designs for the Graduation party because I want to do something that a 17/18 year old might actually like as opposed to just something that their Mom deems is okay.

But more on that tomorrow. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just call me LiLo.

The paparazzi is coming to town. My good friend and rampant photographer is rollin' into town tomorrow and will be here for the weekend which means a host of wonderful things: a) I'll have quality photos of the invitations instead of my wobbly hand photos (I need a tripod but haven't bought one yet), b) we'll get to go have swanky drinks, c) you may find yourself a wedding photographer if you live in the DC/VA/MD and d) maybe, just maybe, I'll get a new facebook picture. Totally lame, I know, but I'm pumped.

EXCEPT for the fact I'm now realizing that I'll have a photographer with me for 3 days. Weddings are a day of looking good- I need to look good for 3 whole days. Thankfully Mother Nature has accepted my "step up" for some nice weather from a couple of days ago and it's been gorgeous here so I'll have some natural light on my side but- my hair?! Disaster. Skin? Well, that's doing fine except for the fact I'm not pretty sure I just jinxed myself. Clothes?! The fear is rising. I may need to go hide under my desk for a bit.

But in honor of my neurosis I'm going to bust out the Oprah move for you all. My bridesmaids are way cool and therefore have been asked to be in other weddings. At my shower, Jenn pulled us all aside and said "Listen- when we take pictures at the wedding- this is how you have to stand. I heard about it on Oprah." We all leaned in eagerly the hear the Gospel of the Mighty Oprah. "You need to rotate your body about 15 degrees so the photo isn't taken of you straight on or you'll appear wide. You'll have your bouquet but you NEED to carry it with your arm away from your body otherwise you'll have a big fat smooshy looking arm. And plant the bouquet at your hip so it doesn't block your entire middle."

Check it out:
Look at those toned arms! We're not completely swallowed by bouquets! Just rocking it.

Boys kind of look they're worried about getting punched downtown but I'm not sure if there's a boy "Oprah Move". Eh, boys don't have to wear strapless dresses though so they're on their own.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes suck- have something for free!

Yes--- FREE! In my trolling the internet for any free thing I could find after the IRS took everything short of a kidney from us, I thought, "Hey self, you have a business. YOU could give something away."

Self, that is a lovely idea! But what to give away? A quick ponder up to the heavens:
Oh right! Those fois bois* table numbers I've been meaning to make because I love the Martha Stewart Macy*s brochure with the fois bois cover I got while I was planning my wedding 3 years ago and finally decided that would be a good idea for table numbers and wrote it on my chalkboard ceilings to remind myself over three months ago but hadn't done anything with until my new custom bride mentioned her wedding was going to take place under an oak tree and found some lovely fois bois making it so much easier for me to make actual table numbers today!


I made 7 different colors all with table numbers 1-12 (and named them increasingly silly names): [row 1] gray, marigold, red, [row 2] moss, sky blue, stained and [row 3] raw.

Click each of the color names above to download your very own copy. The files are all about 14MB so they may take a couple of minutes to download.

(sample page of "Raw" pdf)

If you still need more:
  • Subway is giving out free cookies,
  • PF Chang's is offering a 15% discount on your meal tonight,
  • buy a coffee at Dunkin Donuts today and get a free donut,
  • Walgreens is offering 15 free 4x6 prints (enter coupon code TAXDAY at W Photo check out on April 15, 2008 only),
  • board games are 10% off today at Troll and Toad,
  • McCormick & Schmick's is offering diners a $10.40 certificate for future use and there'll be $15 to $20 entrees discounted to $10.40,
  • MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery will give away single-scoop servings to customers at 200 stores,
  • Cinnabon will give out Tax Day Bites, free bite-size cinnamon rolls usually known as Classic Bites (from 5 to 8 p.m.),
  • T.G.I. Friday's will give Wednesday customers $5 Bonus Bites gift cards for food and beverage purchases of $15 to $25 and $10 cards for those who spend more than $25 as well as members of the 1,000-outlet chain's frequent-customer program also will get double points,
  • (for those West Coast readers) Taco Del Mar will run a promotion: "Taxes Suck. Tacos Don't." People can register at the Taco Del Mar website for an e-mailed coupon for a free tax day taco,
  • and I BET that California Tortilla is giving away SOMETHING but, alas, I'm no longer in DC so I don't know.
ENJOY! And it would be so very lovely if you send pictures of the table numbers if you use them. :)

*Edited at a much later date to add: I took french for 7 years and now am having a panic attack that "fois bois" is incorrect and it should be "faux bois" which seems to make more sense but google is showing both as viable. If anyone knows for sure, please let me know. Merci!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gonna Make You Happy

Hey all I'm writing this with a trim brush in my mouth since I've decided to re-paint my office without moving any furniture or drop cloths or anywhere to put this brush down but for fun I'll leave you with this video in honor of my husband getting Red Alert 3 and a new video card:

Monday, April 13, 2009


Hope everyone had a good weekend filled with whichever religiousness you subscribe to and lots of candy-- because candy is universal and, by golly, you're worth it.

So as you see it appears my "crankypants" is mixed with a little "crazy shut-in" but that's how I'm rolling this monday. I'm all put out because I'm half tied to the house today waiting for edits which means I can PRETEND that I'm missing out on awesome things which I probably wouldn't do as opposed to sitting in front of my computer and cursing Windows Media Player plug-in from keeping me from watching the Lamb Cam. AND it's past Easter, Mother Nature, I'm no longer impressed with your low-50s weather. Time to step up your game!

But since I had a good food weekend I thought I do a happy little book review.
I believe I received this at my bridal shower. I wasn't quite sold by the cover and the fact it was a "Bride and Groom" cookbook but I love cookbooks so I was like "I'll check this out later". My bridal shower was in May in upstate New York and I was living in DC at the time knowing full well that after the wedding in September I'd be moving to Boston so it probably was also along the lines of, "I'm leaving everything in NY so I don't have to move it twice."

But fast forward to after the wedding living in Boston and let me tell you- this cookbook rocks my socks. The book jacket has pretty scallopped edges and the pictures are all lovely and, oh yeah, the food is great. I have made more recipes from this book than any other cookbook. I've made the:
  • Pizza dough from scratch
  • Flaky piecrust to go with the...
  • Personalized chicken pot pies
  • Guacamole
  • Pesto-- which went with...
  • Goat cheese, sun-dried tomato and pesto torta (which I brought to Easter yesterday and was sooo good)
  • Brie and champagne fondue
  • Chicken "divine"
  • Frittata with sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese and basil
  • French toast with hot buttered run-maple syrup
  • Mom's "flyaway" Pancakes with Melted Berries (my favorite of the book)
  • Quick-and-Easy Drop Biscuits (the cheddar version which was so good that I opted for the left over biscuit today instead of a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg)
  • Harvest Apple Crisp
  • Great Robert's Whiskey Sour Slush
  • Mary's Bloody Mary's (although I never have Clamato around so I just used V8)
And yes, the last two are correct, there are drink recipes in the back! Also I've made 15 recipes, although that's out of many many more in the book, but FIFTEEN?!? That's amazing. That's got to be some sort of cookbook record. At least for me. But anyway--great cookbook-- and totally an impulse buy for your aunts, friends, cousins while getting other registry gifts at Bed, Bath and Beyond or Crate and Barrel so HINT AWAY!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

And the winner is...

(Ariel and Eric photo by Azetylen found on deviantart)

And by Ariel and Eric, I am referring, of course, to the Little Mermaid and what Hans Christian Anderson probably wanted them named. Nothing at all to do with a very powerful mouse. All Hans Christian Anderson, indeed.

Thank you to everyone who voted!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rut-ro George!

I just took a look at the poll (on the right hand navigation) for the Ariel/Eric or Jackie/John invitations and we have a 3 way tie!! So in keeping up with recent elections-- every vote counts. I don't know who I'll call in for recounting votes and special election panels so let's just have a definite winner, okay?

I'm running off to yoga now but I wanted to share something else I found on my old CDs the other day:

This was a banner ad from Target's Club Wed that I saw the very first time I logged onto the Knot. I loved it. I thought, "Dress-- check-- just need to track it down." So I posted it to forums and scoured designer sites and email Target's main office and stalked their stylists' blogs and-- SQUAT! In the end I found another dress that was nothing like the one above and loved it and we've been living happily ever after since then. Moral of the story-- everything will be okay. Maybe not how you first envisioned it-- but it will be okay.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TFMD and the terrible horrible no good very bad day.

Today my puppy is getting spayed, we got a flat tire on the way to the vet (necessitating me going to a tire store where I'll undoubtedly try and get upsold and then have to wait around forever and a day), a possible freelance design job that was ABOUT to go to me ended up going in-house, and my abs and arms are so sore from yoga yesterday every time I sneeze I feel like someone punched me in the stomach.


But in the vein of my body being in pain, I thought I'd share a trick for killer arms from my old yoga instructor that DOESN'T include push-ups or weights. Now let me get out that I am not a doctor, although I do watch a lot of House (btw-- OH MY GOD. That is all I will say for those who haven't watched it yet), so I'm not qualified to even tell you that your arm bone is connected to your shoulder bone so don't blame me if you do this and your arms fall off or something.

Step 1. Press your elbows and palms together and make your upper arms parallel with the ground (you'll probably be staring at your wrists).

Step 2. Keeping elbows and palms tightly together send your palms forward in a chopping motion.

Repeat until you think you can't do it anymore then do 20 more because that's what my yoga teacher would have done.

I've created a ridiculous little animation of myself doing it for clarification:
Animated Gif
(sorry if this didn't work for you at first, apparently you can't use animated gifs using blogger's image upload)

You're supposed to keep everything but your forearms still but it's hard to do that and stop and take 2 pictures so that's why this isn't the most perfect demo.

Also, yes, everything is backwards because I live in a parallel universe (and was using Photo Booth).

After you're sick of the forward chopping motion you can also start with the same position and chop upwards so, in that case, your forearms would remain still and upper arms would be moving up and down.

For both the more you squeeze your elbows and palms together the better a work out you'll receive.

If you need more tricep punishment and have a little yoga knowledge see what got my arms in the state their in: dolphin.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From the vault

I'm not a terribly organized person (despite my awesome shelving and box system in both my office and basement) but for some reason I end up being pretty militant about files on my computer. So in my "documents" folder I have a folder called "personal projects" which is basically a catch-all for all design work that is probably not going to be paid. Within that folder is another called "friends" and then it's broken down by friend name from there. Friend-work is kind of sporadic but I found myself rooting through old files yesterday and I found:

To back up the story a bit, I met several of my good friends at a very "The Office"/"Office Space" like work environment where we were forced to take online ethics quizzes (which, I believe we used each others answers to save time), sexual harassment training, and file TPS reports (ok, well, the last one is a lie) and when we were good little worker drones and completed our tasked we'd be given crappy certificates that we were supposed to hang on our cubicle (or officle*) walls as acceptable flair.

It wasn't long before I started creating our own fake certificates like "Most Improved Touching" for our friend who preferred extra personal space. I would cite more examples but I also had a habit of cleverly hiding files at work and, well, 4 years later, I can't remember where they are or what they're called. ANYWAY- I created the above for my Jen when she quit smoking for her wedding. See, I warped it back around to weddings.

So, if you are quitting for your wedding or any other reason and you need a happy little reminder or some encouragement you can download the file, add your own name and how long here:

*Oh, officle, I almost forgot to explain. At this job some people had what we called "officles" which were 4 slightly taller cubicle walls with one door so you could have a freestanding office but made of (basically) cubicle parts.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Come one, come all-- get your ephemera!

I love the idea of vintage tin cans or old cigar boxes used to carry flower, favors, or just as decoration. In the description of the Martha Stewart photo above she (or rather, her people) say "New or vintage, the containers are inexpensive and easy to find at specialty-food stores, tag sales, and online auctions." Riiiight. I mean it sounds feasible but I bet somewhere in the world right now there's a bride gearing up to go on ANOTHER search through thrift stores this weekend hoping to find cans like in the picture, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and wondering why the 5 cans in her recycling bins can't just look more interesting.

So, when I came across papier valise provisions this morning I needed to share. Feast your eyes on these:

I think the question you should be asking yourself is what CAN'T you attach those to?! All for under $5 and in most cases you get several in a package. And did I mention that it's $5 Canadian?!! Which is, as of 10:31 am on Friday April 3rd, $4.04 American dollars.

OH... planning a garden wedding... how about these for table numbers?
For the low low price of $4.50 (CAD) for 7.

Or are you having a photo booth, you lucky duck, and need some tickets?
Take your pick because the above is one of many tickets they sell.

And I'm sure you can find uses for these gems as well:

And those are only the highlights so go take a look for yourself: papier valise provisions

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The REAL Special Preview!!

Note to self: there is a deep love of grammar in those who read this blog. :)

I thought my funny joke from yesterday's ghastly "invitation" would be that it was printed on an index card trying to be letterpress that had "BYOB" on it and was generally hit by every branch of crappy wedding invitation foof on as it fell out of the ugly tree. The grammar error of "you're"/"your" was something I thought would be my own little "tee hee" in addition but you all are quick on the uptake!

Anyway, thank you for putting up with my attempt at humor. :) Here's the real deal.

Errr...but it's not that simple. The bride came up with two fabulous ideas for a famous couple names and now I can't decide which I like better. On top of that we originally tried out both light text on dark background and dark text on light background and the two friends I polled on it, of course, each picked one. Let's throw it all on the wall and see what sticks!

I've added a poll to the right hand side of the blog so vote for your favorite!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Special Preview!!*

Yay! So today I have a very special preview of a wedding invitation! I have been working with a custom order and the bride requested I wait until after she sent hers out for me to unveil it!

The bride had a lot of great ideas for me to work with and a pretty tight budget but I think we worked through to get something we could both really like.

She had really fallen in love with a lot of elements she'd seen in other weddings like ornaments, flower graphics, and stripe patterns but nothing had everything she needed. Also, like most brides out there, she really wanted to go letterpress but it just wasn't in her budget so we needed to brainstorm some out of the box ideas.

The solution we came up with was to print the invitations out on an accessible card stock-- INDEX CARDS-- and she was going to use a bone folders to go over the printed material to blind emboss (which simply means- make an indentation) and give the appearance of letterpress. Now THAT is attention to detail!

So I know you're probably dying to take a look (click for larger image):

And here is a sample of how the final turned out! (click for larger image)

Now for the great part-- I've giving this design away FOR FREE!!! Just click the link below and you'll download a word template where all you have to do is add your wedding invitation and hit print on your office print and BOOM-- wedding invitations done!

Click here for your copy!


*Yes, this is an April Fools Day joke. Don't worry I have an actual custom sample to preview tomorrow. But the word doc really does have all the info so go play a trick on your bridesmaids or something! Have fun!