Showing posts from November, 2010

Magnetic Holiday Advent Calendar from Twig & Thistle

Last week, Kathleen from Twig & Thistle posted instructions and a free template download for her advent calendar DIY project. I realize that Advent technically started yesterday but being behind during the holidays is kind of my thing! Tree and decorations happening this weekend . . .

Free Thanksgiving Illustration

Busy busy busy - I have not had time to post! I do have a fun little treat for all of my readers though - a free Thanksgiving illustration that I created last week. Click here to download the high resolution JPG. Print it on notecards, labels, or your holiday menu! This image is not for resale but please feel free to share this link and encourage others to sign up to follow The Lettered Set. Thanks!

Global blogging

My blog is just a little over a year old and it's been an exciting adventure with some successful moments along the way. The greatest surprise is how many readers I have reached globally. I never thought I would make so many international connections. Some recent countries include Russia, China, Argentina, Portugal, Australia, Spain, and Italy. It's certainly an inspiring experience!

A lovely souvenir from Laos

Our friends Lee and Courtney recently returned from a year-long backpacking trip to New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, Greece, South Africa, and parts of Europe. They wrote about their journey on their blog, I was so touched by this beautiful painting that they brought back for us as a souvenir. They purchased it from a monk in a small town called Luang Prabang in North Central Laos along the Mekong River. Luang Prabang is a beautiful town filled with French architecture and charm. Much of the population living there are monks in training. Monks of all ages from 5 to the elders are roaming the streets in their orange robes, holding umbrellas to shade themselves from the hot sun. As Courtney said, "it is a magical place." Thanks, guys!

John & Kira's: gourmet, artisan chocolates

This weekend provided the perfect fall weather for a trip to the Saturday farmers' market in West Philadelphia's Clark Park. My friends Kathy and Jim were visiting and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through all of the different vendors with their lush produce and homemade goods. John & Kira's, a local artisan chocolate company, was one of our favorite stops and we have the empty chocolate boxes to prove it! Not only are their handmade chocolates delicious, but also the packaging is exquisite. Primarily a gift company, John & Kira's takes great pride in the design of each chocolate box. My favorite part is the letterpress label. The packaging is a perfect match for the gorgeous hand-crafted chocolates. After tasting a few free samples, we decided on the salted caramel bumblebees for our purchase. John & Kira's uses the freshest ingredients, all locally sourced from Philadelphia area growers. Visit to read more. I took a few more photo…

My bulletin board

Every  now and then I like to update my bulletin board. It's next to my desk so I use it to provide design inspiration as well has house ideas that I want to try before I forget. In the above photo, you are looking at:

1. The original stencil for my "El Toro" watercolor painting. I still use this when I create original watercolor versions to sell on Etsy.
2. Typography poster that I got for free at a workshop at Moore College of Art
3. My linoleum block print of bright pink hearts.
4. A cool music postcard.
5. A clipping from our local newspaper when I submitted our photo from South Africa.
6. A fun little thank you tag that came with my purchase from ArtE {Handmade}.
7. Interesting beer label designs (I am working on a new one for my brother-in-law)
8. A very pretty origami card that I wrote about here.
9. A nicely designed postcard for a Brooklyn craft fair.
10. A mini calendar of Tuscany from the Hotel Casci.
11. Place card from a recent wedding.
12. A print of the f…

On the Tudor Trail - blog design and illustration

I am very excited to share my latest illustration and blog design project. I hinted at it when I wrote this post but I wanted to wait until Natalie, the author of On the Tudor Trail, announced her new look. Natalie came to me in need of a new background image and header for her site. As soon as she told me of her vision to incorporate Anne Boleyn's Book of Hours into the design I was hooked. Some (my husband) might call me obsessed with Tudor England.

After drawing the flowers to match the original book, I transferred my sketch to watercolor paper where I used watercolor and gouache to achieve the bright colors. Lastly, I scanned my painting into Photoshop and turned it into a background image for the blog. Before and after screen captures of the site are below.
The quote on the right of the blog header is a beautiful couplet that Anne wrote to Henry in a response to one of his many love letters:

By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind.
If you are interest…

Snowflakes and Daisies - Katy and Kevin's wedding invitations

My friends, Katy and Kevin, are getting married in December and I had the honor of designing their invitations. Katy wanted to see daisies and a bit of sunshine so we brainstormed ideas about "summer in winter." I took on the fun challenge of creating an elegant but simple daisy-snowflake pattern. One of their main wedding colors is royal blue so I used white and yellow as accent colors. To add to the light feel of the design, I used Caslon, a simple and classic serif font. I also designed and printed custom maps of the Baltimore area to help guests navigate to and from the wedding and reception location. More photos are below!

Vintage Christmas postcards in my shop!

December 24, 1923
Dear Jennie,
I hope this card finds you all well – and hope you will have a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.
Lovingly, Millie

I love reading the messages on old postcards, especially those with holiday cheer and warm wishes for a happy new year. This year I've decided to step back in time and write my Christmas cards on these beautifully refurbished vintage postcards. I found the original postcards while vacationing in the Finger Lakes region last summer. I scanned them and, in Photoshop, lovingly cleared them of dust, scratches, and ink stains. I chose Millie's postcard for the back because it was such a special note and I loved the type treatment of the "postcard" text at the top.

My wonderful local printer, Fireball Printing, helped me to choose the perfect cover stock: Neenah Classic Crest in a natural color to match the vintage vibe. I've delicately wrapped these postcards with a natural brown Kraft paper band. For a little extra holiday chee…