Showing posts from August, 2010

An Etsy shop for stylish moms

Love my new purchase from modmomMe! I bought this super cute changing pad clutch for one of my new mommy friends. I know she is going to love it! My favorite part is the the inside flap where you can store baby wipes and diapers. Kristen Hall is the designer behind modmomME. Click here to visit her store.

Crafts for your weekend: DIY Chunky Crayons

This craft project comes from my sister Sarah. Whether you have kids or not, I think we can all relate to the problem with old, broken crayons. As a child, I never enjoyed a coloring experience past the first attempt to sharpen a crayon with the flimsy crayon sharpener in the back of the box. As an adult, I can't bring myself to throw 'em out but I have had them in the same zip lock back for years, not touched since that first break. Finally, now I know what to do with them - make chunky crayons!

The "unwanted" crayons (old, broken, cracked, etc)
Silicon, oven-safe muffin mold (You can also use regular muffin pans as long as you line them with aluminum foil)
1.  Remove paper wrapping from a bunch of old, broken crayons

2.  Break up the crayons and place into a mold
3.  Melt in oven for about 10 minutes at 275 degrees F (Keep a close eye on the crayons so they don't burn)

4.  Place mold in freezer for about 15 minutes for the new crayons to harden
5.  …

Packaging Design by Philadelphia Distilling

Ever wonder what goes in to the packaging design of some of the wine and liquor bottles you see on the shelves of your local spirits store? I know I do! One of my favorite bottle designs is that of Bluecoat Gin made by Philadelphia Distilling. I love it so much that I've been known to turn empty bottles into flower vases. Philadelphia Distilling is the first craft distillery in the state of Pennsylvania since prohibition and makers of a very delicious trio of spirits: Bluecoat American Dry Gin, Penn 1681 Vodka, and Vieux CarrĂ© Absinthe SupĂ©rieure. Last week I had the chance to catch up with friend and account executive, Meredith Maciolek, to learn more about the inspiration behind the design of their bottles. I had assumed that they used a high-powered design firm considering their quality and was amazed to hear that the staff, including Master Distiller Robert Cassell, plans all of the designs in-house. Read on for the details behind all three bottle designs. Visit their websit…

"The Elysian" Wedding Invitations

I recently created these pretty "pocket-style" wedding invitations for Leslie and Max from Chicago. I call these "The Elysian" invitations because I designed them to match the colors and elegant style of the hotel in which the wedding will take place. I painted a simple chrysanthemum illustration that I used as a design motif on the inside invitation and on the outer seal of the enclosure. This invitation includes a main invitation card, which is adhered to the top inside flap of the invitation, and 3 separate cards with a tiered trim size to fit nicely in the front pocket. To compliment the charcoal coloring of the pocket enclosure I chose light gray outer and reply envelopes. I completed these with a matching pink "blossom" satin ribbon wrapped all the way around the outside of the enclosure.

The Lettered Set has a new look!

I decided it was time for a little design update on the blog. I wanted a cleaner, wider blog that really highlighted the post images. My husband said the old layout was "fiiiine!" but I was ready for a change plus a few fun hand-drawn buttons. You'll find links to my Flickr sets of illustrations and invitations & announcements. I also added top tabs for easy navigation to my Etsy shop, graphic design portfolio, and contact information. You can also now share a single post with email, Blogger, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. I have a couple more top tabs to add but otherwise the update is complete and I am totally psyched!

Cool Collateral

I love getting free promotional pieces from printers and paper vendors. They are always trying to showcase the things that make them most unique and so their collateral is usually pretty interesting. Check out this custom gum packaging from curious collection. This is a really good idea for wedding or other party favors.
Below is a postcard packet I received from Finch Paper. I like the vintage design of the postcards and Photoshop word references.

Love Tree Wedding Invitations

2011 Update: These are now for sale in my Etsy shop! Click here.

I've had so much fun creating custom wedding invitations this summer. Here is an example of one of my favorites. It's a 2-piece invitation set with a postcard for the RSVP card. The oak tree in the couple’s backyard and wedding location inspired the illustration. I added a personal touch to my drawing with the couple's first initials carved into the trunk of the tree. A detail version of the heart and initials is repeated on the reply postcard. Printed digitally on linen paper, this is an elegant but cost-conscious invitation style.

Metalsmith Artwork: Spotlight on Jay Holeman

Today I am showcasing the fabulous metalsmith artwork of Ran's Uncle Jay. We're so lucky to have such a talented (and generous!) craftsman in the family. He's really spoiled us with wonderful gifts over the years.

Now that we have our new fence, we will finally be able to put up the large sun and moon wheel as well as the individual sun and moon pieces. The sconces are above our fireplace, the clock is in our dining room and the mirror is in our upstairs living room. Thanks, Uncle Jay! Oh and when he's not creating beautiful art, he's doing this:
(working on the chassis for Richard Childress Racing!)

Favorite Book Covers of the Week - Art by Ryan McKowen

My favorite book covers of the week actually come from an artist named Ryan McKowen. His bold and colorful drawing technique has a vibrant, gritty, city feel to it. His mark-making is very organic and alive. I really love the colors of the Don Quixote piece — the orange sky is on fire! His website opens with a pretty sweet promo video too. I learned that he loves skateboarding, something that definitely comes through in his illustration style.

Mighty Wallets for back-to-school shopping

I love this composition book wallet (appropriately named the “101”) from It even comes with conversion and multiplication tables and an 8 inch ruler along the inside top. This stitch less material is durable, flexible, and recyclable. Check out more Mighty Wallets, including a DIY blank wallet, at

Wake up and smell the coffee

Our coffee maker is on the fritz. This blog post is a tribute to that lovely machine. I love all of the prints at the Keep Calm Gallery. This one struck my fancy on this particularly decaffeinated day. The rich colors screen-printed on this buttery thick paper make me feel like I can taste the freshly brewed deliciousness. On my way to the corner deli for my cuppa joe . . . have a great weekend!

Favorite book cover of the week: Jane Eyre

This is the 2009 Vintage edition of Jane Eyre. I really love the simple but naturally beautiful silhouette.

DIY Journal with Handmade Paper

Last week I shared my tutorial on how to make paper. This week I decided to make something with my new handmade paper – a journal! Because of the texture of my handmade paper, it's not really the best writing surface so I used it as the journal cover. I used my paper trimmer to cut off the jagged edges on the sides. When folded, the cover size is about 5.5" x 7.5"
I used rice paper for the interior sheets. Measure the spreads to be slightly smaller than the flat size of the cover. To keep the rough edges of the rice paper, use a straight edge to rip the paper to size. Tear at least 3 sheets (= 6 pages).
Place the unfolded sheets of rice paper on top of the unfolded cover. With an embroidery needle and thread, begin to bind the pages together with a running stitch down the center of the journal. Start with a knot at the inside top and work your way down to the bottom. I finished with a knot on the inside. There are other cool ways you can stitch journals together. This is…

Free "Summer" Twitter Backgrounds

It's hard to believe that we've already entered the month of August. Just in time, I found these free seamless "summer" Twitter backgrounds from Ollibird. Just changed mine this morning!

Dover Clip Art books

I have mentioned my love for Dover Publications before but here we are again with a new purchase! Three new clip art books filled with images just waiting to be placed on a note, label, bookmark, greeting card…anything!

It was tough to decide but I narrowed my choices down to three books this time: Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s, Classic Children's Book Illustrations, and Kate Greenway Illustrations.

Another cool thing about these books is that they come with a CD of the images. No scanning required! If you're not already signed up for the Dover weekly free clip art email, I highly recommend it. They aren't even paying me to say any of this (I am not opposed to getting free clip art books though… ahem.).