April 15, 2014

cover lettering for 'afar' magazine

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.)

Feeling so grateful. Happy Spring, you dearlings.


April 1, 2014

the gift of feeling floppier

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's Blogshop 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.

March 26, 2014

lettering | irish cloud shadows

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.

For more images, visit Tec's blog or Once Wed.

February 7, 2014

DIY : valentine's day scratch art

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
-oil pastels
-cheap acrylic paint
-mechanical pencil or any sharp utensil to scrape away black paint
-optional: this te amo printout to trace

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
E.E. Cummings

January 23, 2014

national handwriting day

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.
-Gilbert K. Chesterton

January 13, 2014

new prints | william saroyan

Try to learn to breathe deeply,
really to taste food when you eat,
and when you sleep really to sleep.
Try as much as possible
to be wholly alive
with all your might,
and when you laugh,
laugh like hell.
And when you get angry,
get good and angry.
Try to be alive.
-William Saroyan

This new poster (also available as an 8x10) is brand new in the shop.

To the new year, to a tangible new beginning, to being intentional.

December 9, 2013

we put a christmas tree in a basket

(Now I just need all white everything and a bedroom with french doors.)

December 4, 2013

illustration: rue magazine's 'holiday gift guide'

I had so much fun working on the illustrations and lettering for Rue Magazine's holiday gift guide! The sweet ladies that run the joint gave me free reign to have fun with the spread and I'm so appreciative of the freedom!

Have your wallets handy because this gift guide is perfectly curated for everyone on your list.
xo xo

December 2, 2013


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.
-Anne Lamott

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.

Isaiah 9:2
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.

November 26, 2013


I posted this oh-so-easy Thanksgiving placemat DIY last year.  Here's a link to the post and the template in case you're interested again this year!

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
-G.K. Chesterton

November 7, 2013

sharing desktop wallpapers for 'design love fest'

I loved lettering a few of my favorite quotes with the gang over at Design Love Fest for their weekly Dress Your Tech series!  Head on over to see some quotes I lettered that you can slap up as your computer's wallpaper.

|   C H E L S E A   P E T A J A ,   D R E S S   Y O U R   T E C H   |
More like 'Dress your Tec.'  Am I right?!

The gal above didn't make the cut, but here's a link for this Anne Lamott desktop wallpaper that I thought I'd toss your way if it suits ya!

November 6, 2013

reissue of albert camus + 'pennyweight' poster

I am so happy to share that Elise and I have decided to reissue this Albert Camus poster one last time. (We really mean it this time.)  The poster will be available now through December 31st.

We've both been so touched by numerous emails, asking for a reprint, that we wanted to give everyone one last opportunity to pick up a poster. It has been incredibly moving to hear that this quote means so much to so many of you.

Thank you all for your kindness and support surrounding this work. Here's to you and your invincible summers.

*Please note the three shipping dates listed before purchasing. For expected (but not guaranteed) delivery by December 25th, posters must be purchased by December 13th.

October 11, 2013

birth announcements | van oaks

Creating these birth announcements for my sweet friend Jill Thomas and her family was an honor. Their family is one of the most gracious, kind and faithful ones I know. This new baby is a reminder of just how much we're loved and cared for.

July 26, 2013

real wedding | nicole + hiton

Working alongside so many talented people made this wedding a dream!  I love how beautifully the Rumi poem came together (with huge help from Amber Moon of Pitbulls & Posies) and how the indigo and red combine to make this one of the more colorful jobs I've ever worked on.

All these beautiful images were captured by the ever talented, ever kind Lacie Hansen.  For more from this crazy beautiful celebration and for a full list of vendors, head on over to her blog post!

Happy weekend!

July 23, 2013

foil stamped wedding invitation

 I adored working alongside the bride to create these wedding invitations for her June wedding.  Flowers, wreaths, banners and gold foil!  What more could a girl ask for?

June 3, 2013

foil stamped baby announcements

I am in love with how these baby announcements turned out for baby Della!  Thanks to Lora and Eric Kelley for entrusting me to create something so sweet and beautiful to announce your daughter to the world.

May 1, 2013

new prints, cards and posters in the shop

Click on the image to be directed to its listing, or go directly to the whole shop!

Happy Spring and happy May!

April 26, 2013

rebranding | feather + stone

In terms of a dream client, the souls behind Feather and Stone take the cake.  The job was a fairly straightforward reworking of their existing brand, but with the handmade feel of watercolor.

Working on their portraits stretched me out of my comfort zone, but it feels good to feel uncomfortable every now and then.  The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity. -Dan Stevens

Here's to the weekend!  X O