I had so much fun designing these invitations alongside the sweetest, most enthusiastic bride! The watercolors and mix of letterpress and flat printing are such a great nod to their springtime, Southern wedding!
I loved capping off the year with this fun project alongside West Elm! I created this free, printable banner for you to ring in the new year with, along with a few color variations! Here are the instructions, but you can see the full feature over on West Elm's blog Front + Main.
-paper (A thicker card stock works best. I used a 110# weight card stock from Staples.)
-printer (Or, have them printed at a copy center like Staples, FedEx, etc.)
-scissors, paper cutter or X-ACTO knife
-ribbon or twine
-hot glue gun and glue sticks
1) Print off or have the free printables printed at a local copy center. I had mine printed at Staples for under $10. This might be the route you want to go if you’re printing one of the black background options, but for those of you not wanting to drain your ink cartridges, there’s a white background with black lettering version available, too.
2) Using the guidelines, cut the paper in half. Then stack the two pieces back to back and trim the top off and then the sides, still using the guide lines. This is easiest with a paper cutter, but if you don’t have one handy, good ol’ scissors, pencil and a ruler will work, too. There’s a triangle template you can print off as well if you’d like to use that to trace instead of relying on the guide lines for cutting.
3) I used a hot glue gun to glue the banner along the twine because it dries quickly and the bond holds well. Just place a thin strip of glue along the top of the triangle and press it into the ribbon. You’ll want to do this pretty quickly as the hot glue dries fast.
4) There it is! Simple as that. I’ve hung mine with gold washi tape (purchased from Paper Source) but a longer lasting hold would be to use pushpins. (I found all black pushpins at Wal-Mart!)
*The gold tassels were made with gift packing fringe. I gathered a handful of it, folded it in half and tied a piece of twine around the top. I then trimmed the loose ends so that they were a little less straggly. Easy!
The new church year begins and a new note is struck: It is a time of preparation and waiting, because even though, as autumn grinds to a dark and murky halt, everything is dying and falling asleep and falling off, something brand new is coming. Hope is coming.
This may be a day or two late, but this DIY Advent garland is easy and versatile enough to whip up in just a few minutes. Here's a link to the Dropbox folder that holds the scripture and the corresponding numbers, starting December first through the twenty fifth. I printed mine out front and back and then splattered the numbers with gold paint to add a little something sparkly.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
To waiting, to reflection, to sloughing off coats of haircloth.
If you're like me and Thanksgiving has snuck up on you again this year, then this DIY is right up your alley because a) Thanksgiving is only one week away and we need a game plan and b) all of this is really easy and will make a pretty little addition to your table. Sounds like a win for all of us procrastinators!
The original DIY for printing and tracing the placemat is still up on my blog, so here's a link to my post from 2012. I've updated the lettering to be more in line with my current aesthetic, but if you'd like the original lettering, the link to that printable is still active and you can find it here.
To find all the lettering from this shoot, as well as the updated lettering for the placemat, here's a link to the Dropbox file where you can find all the printable goodies. I've included additional lettering that's not shown here for all of you that have a Friendsgiving coming up, a brunch you'd like some lettering for and a I am thankful for card if you'd like to go that route instead of the placemat!
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.
New print in the shop, available in three other variations of gold, white and black. Half of all proceeds from now through the end of November will go to benefit Ebola relief efforts in west Africa through the hands and feet of Africare. Africare has received an A+ rating on Charity Watch. Click here to read about their analysis of charities and their grading system.
The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.
-Oscar de la Renta
In honor of a creative, inspiring life lived by Oscar de la Renta, I've lettered an iPhone background as well as a desktop background to download. These are also available in a gold and rose gold foil look.
Vintage stamps, addresses in white paint, pineapples and parrots made me fall head-over-heels in love with these birthday party invites! Don't you want to be a guest at this Little Miss Magic's first birthday party?!
Back in January, Tec, my father-in-law and a handful of skilled laborers began tackling our previously empty attic space with the goal of converting it into a master bedroom and bathroom. (And when I say "empty attic," I mean that I'd never even ventured up there because the only way to peek above our ceilings was to climb a support beam in one of our closets that had a few 2x4 slats nailed to it, all tree-house-style.) A mere seven months later, I'm so pumped to share how the room has turned out! Below is a little bit about the process, but be sure to visit West Elm's blog Front + Main for more images as well as some of my tips for tackling a renovation of your own.
What did the space look like before?
The space that is now our master bed and bath was originally an unused and inaccessible attic. It was filled with 100+ years of insulation and coal. So the bright side to that craziness is that it was a blank canvas, right?
Why did you decide to renovate?
We'd gotten to the point where we either needed to find a bigger house, renovate or cope with what we were living in. The house was originally a 2 bed, 1 bath home and I was working out of the spare bedroom. Also, the bedrooms were set up with the one bathroom in the house between them, so anyone needing to use the restroom had to either go through our bedroom or my studio, which for the life of me I can't keep tidy. The tipping point for renovations came when my father-in-law (who is a Project Manager for a building firm out of Northern Michigan) was sent to Louisville to work on a home for about a year and a half. The stars aligned for us in Nashville; he brought his vision, knowledge and tools to our home and worked tirelessly as our foreman, counselor and (not so) hired help.
What was your renovation goal?
The goal of the renovation was to end up with a master bedroom and bathroom upstairs. Because we weren't entirely sure what we'd find when we got up to the attic, my father-in-law kept saying "We'll see when we get up there." Though this made me super nervous, we ended up having more space than we expected, allowing us to put in a tiny sitting space, a 4th bedroom and storage, storage, storage!
How do you feel about the outcome?
I could't be happier with how everything came together. I was already in love with our little home and the thought of leaving it always made me sad, so I'm forever grateful to my father-in-law and all the other skilled laborers that gave this ol' house a new life. Plus, now there's room for all my out-of-town loves to sleep together under one roof and that makes me the happiest gal in the world.
I guess in every career there are cool moments and then there are really, really cool moments. One of those really, really cool moments has been recently, when I've had the opportunity to work alongside Elizabeth Spiridakis Olson, the Creative Director of Afar, to dream up some oh-so-fun collaborations for their last two issues!
The top image is of their May issue, which is on stands now. (And by the way, doesn't that hot pink color she chose for the lettering just bowl you over? I'm in love.)
And my fear of failure has been lifelong and deep. If you are what you do...and you do poorly, what then? It's over; you're wiped out. All those prophecies you heard in the dark have come true, and people can see the real you, see what a schmendrick you are, what a fraud.
-Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
One of the classic kid-stories about my childhood is me, at about 5-years-old, sobbing, "I hate being wrong!" So no, there have never been any perfectionist tendencies in my oldest-child, type-A personality. Why do you ask?
Anyway, I totally failed at a project that I thought would be foolproof and flawless. Here's how the story goes:
My sweet, talented and creative friend, Caroline Brewer, and I were asked to decorate for Bri Emery'sBlogshop workshop that was coming to Nashville. We were so pumped and so ready to tackle the project. We were stepping outside of our creative safe-zone and working with colors we only admire from afar--hot pinks and neon yellows and glitter. But you know what? Bring it on, because we were ready and this is what we're good at.
Our plan was to hand paint popsicle sticks and glue them together in a herringbone pattern to create the 8'x10' photobooth backdrop that would be at the event.How many popsicle sticks? Oh, just a cool thirty-five-hundred. Three-comma-five-zero-zero popsicle sticks. We split up the painting and reconvened to lay this beautiful idea down on paper. So we started hot gluing and chatting and gluing and chatting and about three hours into laying down the pattern, we decided to take a look at our work--our wonky, totally skewed work. I'm not sure how it happened, but we'd somehow gotten off track and our pattern was about a foot wider at the top than it was at the bottom, and we were only about 1/4 of the way done. *Cue panic mode.*
The details are boring, but the gist is that I failed. I failed at something that was so beautiful in my head, but I couldn't execute in real life. I failed creatively, and isn't that what I'm supposed to be good at?
So we started from scratch, brought the aesthetics back to something more us and in the end, we created something we were really proud of and that felt beautiful to us. I doubt we would have been as proud of the end result if we hadn't wasted so much time and energy on our initial idea, but that's one of the gifts of failure, I think.
...by then I'd figured out the gift of failure, which is that it breaks through all that held breath and isometric tension about needing to look good: it's the gift of feeling floppier.
-Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
So, if that's the case, and I think it is, I felt totally floppy. I was tired and discouraged. But it didn't mean that I was the worst and completely inept. It meant that I'd tried something that stretched me and that failure is part of the process. It meant that I got to take another swing at my facade of perfectionism, and AMEN to that. It meant I was able to be a little more real and vulnerable.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life... I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.
-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life
Here's to screwing up, feeling floppy, trying again and having fun while doing it.
. . . . .
And as a side note, if you can't tell, Ms. Lamott is my favorite author and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith is my favorite book. Her writing is so full of honesty and grace. Pick up a copy and have your pen or highlighter ready.
I'm not sure if a location, souls and talent get better than this day. Tec and I traveled to Ireland last fall to work alongside the beauties of Pearl & Godiva. They were gracious enough to ask me to create the lettering for the day and asked Tec to photograph it all.
In another lifetime, I taught art at a Montessori school to 3-year-olds through 15-year-olds. Aside from sweet friends and the best stories ever, I left with a new found love for oil pastels. Here's a simple Valentine's DIY using trusty oil pastels and cheap paint. Let's get to it!
W H A T Y O U ' L L N E E D
-5x7 watercolor paper or heavy stock paper
-cheap acrylic paint
-mechanical pencil or any sharp utensil to scrape away black paint
S T E P S
1. Fill you paper with whatever design you'd like using your oil pastels. If you'd like an ombre look like I've done, alternate similar colors in a pattern.
2. Using your finger or a your finger wrapped in a paper towel, smear the oil pastels so that the white of the paper doesn't show through.
3. Take your brush and barely wet the bristles; then dip the damp brush into the black paint and cover the oil pastels. (I've always mixed a little bit of water into the black paint to help it scrape off better, but I'm not sure it's necessary. You be the judge!)
4. Once the black paint is dry, you're ready to scratch in your design! If you're using the printable I've included, just place it atop the painted surface and trace over it using something pointed to press down into the lettering. You'll be left with an impression that you can then follow when scratching it into the card.
5. If you'd like the lettering to appear to be created with a brush or a nib, remember that the thicker portions of the lettering are the parts where your brush would pull down; the thinner portions are where your brush would swipe up.
and it's you are whatever a moon has alwyas meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
To celebrate and say thank you, take 25% off everything in my shop today (January 23rd)! Apply coupon code HANDWRITING at checkout. I'm feeling especially sappy and grateful today for all the support throughout this journey. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.