Posts Tagged ‘custom card designs’

I can never overlook an opportunity to send mail and Valentine’s day is such a wonderful one.  I usually design a quick card with the boys’ picture on it and send it out to family and friends.  This year the idea of a field guide was snowballing in my brain and gathered enough momentum to manifest itself into a very special Valentine’s Day greeting.

Our Field Guide to Loveable Things.

It’s kind of a cross between an Audubon field guide to insects that Eli has kicking around and a little nightly ritual we have called “happy things”.  Eli likes his head to be filled with happy things right before he drifts off into slumber.  So we talk about things.  We often talk about things that have delighted us in the past.  The time that we visited the goat farm and about 50 baby goats came running up to us all maaaaaing enthusiastically.  Or the June night in Maine when a firefly crawled across Eli’s finger.  The rattly, comforting sound of a purring kitty.  The sweet goodness of a summer ice cream cone at the farm.  Steaming hot chocolate after sledding.  The satisfaction of a good skipping stone.  Happy things.  People and animals and moments that are easy to love.

And so I arrived at a very condensed version of a long list of lovably happy things. These particular loves are a little snapshot of the things that have been delighting us in our mid-winter days.  Each item got a “Latin name”  (Chocolate = Nomore leftus, Maple syrup = Sapophytum delicium,… you get the idea) and a pseudo-scientific little description of its habitat, feeding habits, etc.  It’s silly and sweet (Soren = Soso cutus) and a fun way to celebrate our very, loveable life.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Wishing you all so many loveable things.

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So I agreed to showcase my work at a local fundraising event.  This meant, in theory, that I had the opportunity to reach out to some new customers and make a healthy amount of sales.  It meant, in practice, that I needed to generate some serious volume in a short window of time (a short window for a busy mama, anyway).  What’s nice about generating a lot of a particular something, I have rediscovered, is getting into a groove where it all flows nicely.  It’s a kind of bliss to busy myself with cutting and scoring while the printer drones on with the next round of cards.  A nice, well-timed chain of operations for this one-woman show.  Like it.

Anyway, here’s the result of my busy weeks.  I did a mock-up table display at home and then my folks took the show on the road.   I spent the night at home doing the mama-thing (the whole baby-who-drinks-from-his-mama-but-won’t-touch-a-bottle thing) while my good parents manned my booth for me at the event.  Love them.

It is so hugely satisfying to put a month’s worth of effort out onto display.  It makes me feel, I dare say, pretty darn productive.  And oh how I love that the result of my production is beautiful little bits of paper for people to write on.  For people to reach out to one another through the timeless and hearty thing called correspondence.  Love it.  Love it.  Love it.

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My little niece just had a big birthday.  One of those fancy ones where the numbers line up.  Her 7th birthday on the 7th of March.  Having fully experienced the rambunctious joy of a 7th on the 7th back in August with my Eli, I knew it was time to pull out all the stops.   This little girl was going to get 7 presents!

I knew I wanted to get her a book on sewing and Emma Hardy’s Sewing for Children looked like just the thing.  It’s full of plenty of projects at various levels of difficulty for her to sink her little needle and thread into.  I decided to pick a few different projects from the book and supply her with all the materials needed for her to dive right in.  In addition, I provided the budding seamstress with a set of needles, pins, homemade pin cushion and a handful of colorful embroidery floss.

The fun part was wrapping it all up.  I ordered her 7 gifts so that needles would be opened first and the book would be opened last.  Everything in between added to the unfolding puzzle of what to do with all this weird stuff from Aunt Heather.  Inspired by the Alexander Henry fabric, Farmdale Crossing Chickens, used in her pin cushion (and also provided for her tote bag project) and equally infatuated with my happy new chicken notecards, chickens became a sort of packaging theme.   She got tags, a birthday card and a mailing label to boot.  All plucky and clucky for the birthday girl’s big 7.  She also has, Eli and I had to note, SEVEN letters in her name.  Wow.  Fancy birthay times 7.

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A lot of little valentines have tumbled through this studio of mine the past few weeks.  It’s always a joy for me to make cards and maybe it’s even a bit of an extra thrill to make tiny ones and package them up all sweet.  A lot of paper hearts were punched.  This pretty paper confetti was designed to sprinkle throughout each small glassine envelope that houses a valentine.  It makes me giddy to think of all the little ones out there exchanging fishy and octopus valentines today with little paper hearts sprinkling all around.  Aside from shop orders, family valentines were also made and mailed.  I really cherish any opportunity to send mail.  It’s a bonus if I get to put my babe’s photos on it too.

And I can’t think about mail without thinking about my little penpal.  Every letter starts off with a pet name.  Our pet names for each other have run the gamut in our 14 years of weekly (more or less…) letters.  I really like whiskerlicious.  Muffin-top is good too.  Over the years we’ve come up with some delightfully silly equations to arrive at suitable pet names.  Becca’s equation is to take a household object and add something soft:  bucket + fluff = bucket fluff.  The equation that I often use is:  something sweet +  a body part.   This results in the wonderfully ridiculous cupcake-head and honey-bum.  My favorite is pie face.  Use your discretion, of course.  Not everyone thinks it is darling to be called candy-butt, though Becca, I suspect, would quite like it.  And obviously, despite it’s being a household object, never use the word toilet with anything.

Valentine’s Day is such a perfect opportunity to exercise a pet name equation, but really any day will do.  If you’re so inspired today, pick up a pen and write a little note to a special spoon-pillow or sugar-foot.  It will make you feel good, it will make a friend feel good, and it’s easy as pie.  Or pie face.

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Last spring, I worked on my friend Lisa’s save the date postcards for her destination wedding in Mexico this coming December.  Over the summer, her sister asked me to design the invitations for a wine-tasting shower in Lisa’s honor.  We wanted to continue on with the color palette and theme that had already been established, but to net something fresh and unique and appropriate for the occasion.   Lisa’s sister wanted guests to fill out recipe cards (one a food recipe and another a “recipe for a happy marriage”) and return them with the RSVP card.  I designed it so that the cards easily tear off  (gotta love that perforating blade attachment on my rotary cutter) from the invitation.  I love the little bits that tear off.  It’s obviously a very practical, utilitarian feature but it’s also fun.  Isn’t it always so satisfying to tear something at the dotted line?

For the images, inspiration took over and Lisa’s love of wine and travel merged  pretty effortlessly.  Wine glasses became full of the sea at sunset.  Mmm.  Wine and sea.  Now that’s a combination that’s hard to beat.

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I finally got Soren’s announcements out in the mail!  I had so much fun designing these… when a designer designs for herself is when the fun really begins.  The freedom to do whatever I want is so exhilarating!

To announce the arrival of our sweet Soren, I wanted to emphasize his colorful nature.  I was drawn to wearing so much color during my pregnancy.  It was such a bright and cheery change from my usual white, brown and black kind of palette that I was sure it was the little baby that I was growing influencing me.  I particularly loved wearing aqua and turquoise (colors that I had not worn in at least 15 years!).  So the idea of color evolved into the paint swatch announcement you see here.  Jeff, Eli and I all picked our colors (the paint ID numbers are our initials and birth years) based on colors and things we love… Jeff became Sunset Shiraz, Eli picked Hot Rod Flame and I chose Flaxen Summer.  Soren’s color, Turquoise Thunder, honors the roots of his name related to Thor, the God of Thunder.

I love how all our colors are so different, yet the palette works really well together.  The contrast is really refreshing, just like my evolving life with a house full of boys…

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There are occasions when a lot of custom cards are called for all at once.  Father’s Day is one of these.  I’ve discovered that it’s easiest to pick a theme and then mess around with it to arrive at a bunch of unique variations without spending hours entrenched in the designing process.  With Father’s Day cards for my own dad, the dad of my little guy and my guy’s grandfathers all on my plate, this was certainly the occasion to employ such a technique.  I picked an oceany theme (shocking for me, I know) and kept within the same color palette for each card (that way I could work from one bunch of envelopes, see?).  It was easy and fun and yet the end products all remain special unto themselves.  The best of all worlds.  For the best of all dads.

Wishing a wonderful weekend and a very happy Father’s Day to all those amazing dads out there!

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It’s the end of the school year already!  Eli’s had a fabulous year of kindergarten and naturally, his wonderful teacher will be the recipient of many thank-you gifts.  I didn’t want to overlook his hard-working bus drivers, though.  Especially since riding the bus is such a cool part of his first-year-of-school experience.  The bus is a big deal, really.

So Eli’s bus drivers will each get their own little set of special Deep Blue Sea Designs note cards.  It must be totally obvious how much fun these were to make.  And it’s very likely they’ll become part of our annual end-of-school gift repertoire.

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thank you notes 001This was the celebratory sign at Eli’s birthday party.  Eli’s sweet silhouette from a favorite photo of mine seems to work so well within the design; like he’s gazing up into the adventures of his sixth year.  This was no photoshop silhouette.  This was the old-fashioned scissors, brown paper and snip-snip-snip silhouette.  thank you notes 002I’ve been drawn to any project lately that gets me seated in my favorite spot on the porch with my little paper scissors in hand.  Cutting is so meditative.  I like the combination of gentle production within a calm mind.  So, I snipped my peaceful way into a stack of after-party thank you notes.thank you notes 003Now I’m not really one for perfect etiquette in most regards.  My elbows are often on the dinner table and I’m still not clear on which side of the napkin I’m supposed to wipe my mouth.  But thank you notes I’ve always held in high esteem.thank you notes 004

The thank you note encourages graciousness in the receiving.  It’s a way of briefly showing appreciation for the person and the thought behind the gift.  I think it feels really good on both ends.  Besides, it’s just another fabulous excuse to make someone’s day with a pretty piece of mail.  And obvioulsy I’m all about pretty mail…

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