Saturday, March 31, 2012

Custom Recap: Country Chic Moving Announcements

Over the past year I've been doing lots of moving announcements and this is definitely one of my favorites. My customer was moving from the city to the country and wanted a design that incorporated the theme of leaving the city behind. It was definitely a challenge to combine two totally different aesthetics into one design, but in the end, it came out beautifully!

The design features fun typography paired with a graphic showing a distant city behind corn husks. I love how the theme is so well shown without being too in-your-face.

If you like these, go ahead and check out some other Custom Recaps:

Emily's Wedding Thank You Cards
Feminine Silhouette Note Cards
Charming Moving Announcements
Citron Save the Dates


Monday, March 26, 2012

Custom Recap - Citron Save the Dates

Who doesn't love a simple, full bleed Save the Date? When Lisa, who started as my husbands co-worker and has now become a friend, asked me to create her Save the Dates, we knew we wanted something super simple and super pretty. And when you have a beautiful photo (which was taken professionally at my wedding!) how can the design not be full bleed??

The entire design was created around the photo and the color yellow, which is one of Lisa's wedding colors. The cards were printed on 100% Recycled paper - which I personally love for photo cards. It adds just enough sheen while still being soft and luxurious. 

When the time came to create their wedding invitations, we made sure they coordinated with these Save the Dates. Nothing makes a stationery designer's heart flutter quite like a perfectly coordinating wedding suite!!! I cannot wait to share her beautiful wedding invitations sometime soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

DIY Kitchen Update

Sorry for leaving you all hanging with our kitchen renovation! I was really hoping that the next time I shared photo's would be when the kitchen was 100% finished. Well, it's 99% finished right now, so I thought I would share some progress.

Here's a post with the before & during construction pictures.

And here are a few iPhone pics of the assembly process, as well as a few behind the scene shots. Amazingly, the kitchen went in incredibly quickly (like, in ONE day) with no hiccups at all - everything fit perfectly! It took a few weeks for our quartz counters to be measured and installed before we could put in the tile backsplash. Now all we have left to do is a few paint touch ups and the toe kick.

Eventually I'll take some real photos (sans iPhone) and post them full size. But for now, I thought I'd share these little tid bits. I am madly in love with my new kitchen - it's so amazing how such a tiny tiny space can be so darn functional and spacious feeling. Nothing beats a brand spankin' new kitchen. Nothing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Custom Recap - Charming Moving Announcements

This custom recap isn't particularly old - actually, it's pretty darn new. My cousin Christine just bought her first house with her fiancé, Joe, and asked that I make their moving announcements. These two have become just as much friends to my husband and I as they are family, so it's been really exciting for us to watch them buy their first home and get engaged (YAY!! Another wedding!!).

They closed on their home in early November, but to say the home needed work would be an understatement. It was a total gut job. After nearly 5 months worth of almost totally DIY renovations, Christine and Joe finally got to move into their first home.

Since they did all of their home renovations themselves, with their own two hands, it only seemed appropriate that I hand draw their moving announcements. Christine loves all things purple, so I drew up a super charming rendition of their new home, using her favorite color as my inspiration.

I had these cards flat printed on 100% recycled stock, and they came out beautifully! I think my favorite part is the little heart coming out of the chimney - there's just a ton of love for Christine and Joe and their new home!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Setting Goals 101 - Keeping Your Business and Personal Life on Track

For this post, I'm going to open up and share some of what happens behind the scenes for me. I've shared before that I have a lot going on in my life; full time non-design job, graduate school at night, running a stationery business, and being a wife/friend/human. Whoa.

Often, when I check my emails I see subject lines that read "Jackie - How do you do it all?" or "Any tips for staying afloat?". They always make me think, hmm.

In one aspect it's flattering that people think I'm a master juggler, but on the other hand I feel like you all give me way too much credit. I'm really not wonder-woman, and I really don't think I do a fantastic job with balancing full time work/school/business/personal life. At the moment I'm not mastering any one aspect of my life, however I'm not failing at anything either, so I guess that's a sign that I'm doing something right.

One thing that I do for all aspects of my life is set goals. I believe in goal setting so much that, at my 9-5 gig, I developed, wrote and now teach an entire class on creating personal development plans and setting attainable goals.

To me, having written goals is like going to the grocery store with a shopping list. If you have everything you want (your goals) written down, you are more likely to leave the store having accomplished everything you set out to accomplish. On the other hand, if you go to the store without a shopping list (no specific goals) you may end up blowing your budget on junk food, while still forgetting to buy the basics you needed to make a dinner.

The same goes for professional, personal and business goals as well. If you write down everything you want to accomplish, and check in to see how you're doing, you are more likely to end up where you want to be.

So, how do you write a good goal? First and foremost, be S..M.A.R.T. about the goals. If you haven't heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals yet, let me explain a little for you:

Keep in mind that not every goal needs to follow the above to a tee, however, I make sure ALL of my own goals are specific, specific, specific and time-bound. If nothing else, having a specific goal with a deadline is enough to at least help you feel like you're working towards something.

So, what does a goal actually look like? Well, here's a break down of one of mine:

You may remember when I talked about my fear of taxes in another post, so here's the goal actually written out. As you can see, I found ways to make the goal work for me, along with a way to track my success on reaching that goal.

I hope this post is helpful for you, and I'd love to hear some of your S.M.A.R.T. personal or business goals!

Custom Recap - Feminine Silhouette Cards for a Lovely Little One-Year-Old

Up next on my Custom Recap series are these beautiful cards I created for a little girl that was turning one. I was contacted by her interior decorator, who was charged with trying to find the perfect note cards that were super girly and had the perfect amount of bling.

I was provided with the silhouette and created the rest of the card from there. How adorably sweet are these cards?!

Not only were these cards a dream to design, but they also served as a huge learning experience. I had used crystal embellishments plenty of times in the past, but this was the first time I had to ship so many embellished cards cross country. For whatever reason (eventually I figured out it might have been a humidity issue) the crystals on the cards just didn't stay on. I reprinted & re-glued the crystals, and after mailing them cross country (fingers crossed) three different times, my poor customer kept getting cards where the crystals were all over the place. Harumph. Eventually I reprinted all of the cards (for like, the third or fourth time, I think!) and sent them crystal-free so that they could put the crystals on themselves. 

As a designer, it's always heartbreaking when you work so hard on something and it doesn't end up the way you expected, but bless my patient client, she stuck with me and at the end of the day the cards were amazing. 

Oh, and I spent almost a month after these cards working out all of the kinks with crystals on invitations. After quite a few phone calls, and test trials later, I've found a glue that, I kid you not, would be able to hold my big old butt to the ceiling if it had to! Haven't had a problem since :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Custom Recap - Emily's Wedding Thank You Cards

It may only be the middle of March, but it seems that here in NYC Spring is in the air. Which means, to me at least, that it's time for Spring cleaning. I've been trying to clean up all of the folders on my computer, as well as all my pictures, designs, fonts etc. It's amazing how unruly things can become over time!

One good part of all this cleaning and organizing, is that I'm finding a lot of pictures of projects I did in the past and, for whatever reason, never ended up posting. So, as I clean up, I've decided to start a mini-series on my blog for "Custom Recaps" where I show off the custom projects I've created. I wish I could call the series "Recent Projects" but the truth is, some of these things are several years old now! 

Which brings me to my very first Custom Recap that I want to share. These thank you cards were designed for my husbands cousin, Emily and her husband Sal. You may remember them from the blog post where I shared the creative wedding gift I got them. Their wedding was amazing, and Emily was in my bridal party this past year, so I was honored and flattered when she asked me to create her wedding thank you cards. She asked for something simple, elegant and using hints of deep purple. We ended up with a simple photo card and accenting it with a lovely metallic envelope in a gorgeous eggplant color. 

I can't believe the wedding was nearly a year and a half ago! Time flies, but with Emily's amazing taste and this simple design, these thank you cards will still be amazing for years to come.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Moment With Believe Notes : Rocky Pea Soup

Do any of you other bloggers sometimes just feel the need to blog about something that may, or may not, have anything to do with the ultimate purpose of your blog? Well, I'm having one of those moments right now. Remember when I promised that all of my posts would have an underlying learning or benefit to them? Well, luckily for me, I've been able to find a way to blog about the particular topic that's on my mind and still make it a learning lesson for anybody reading. 

I make pea soup - and I make a damn good pea soup. When I used to work at the dog grooming shop people would pay me to make it for them. It's that good. Every winter I look forward to making a giant batch of my pea soup and eating every day for lunch for weeks and weeks. I don't get sick of my pea soup. 

But this year, my pea soup betrayed me. 

Everything was fine in the beginning - I decided that instead of putting the peas in a bowl of water to clean them, I would put them in a colander and rinse them. No big deal, right? Wrong! Apparently, which it even says on the bag of peas, when cooking with dry peas you must put them in a bowl of water and go through them to remove any "products of the earth" that you wouldn't want to get cooked with your peas. 

I skipped that step. I never knew why I did it in the first place, so I figured I could skip it. 

Bad idea. There was a rock in my bag of peas. And since I didn't check the peas beforehand, there was a rock in my pea soup. 

I chipped a tooth on the rock in the pea soup. 

Now I never want pea soup again. 

See, I'm one of those people where once I have a bad experience with a food, I never want it again. Does that ever happen to you? What food did it happen to you with? 

Anyway, my lesson for all of you is to make sure you ALWAYS check your dry peas before you cook with them. I wouldn't want anybody else to chip their tooth on some rocky pea soup.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Believe Notes Branding :: Business Cards

Since starting this business a few years ago, I've probably gone through 4 different business card designs. And don't even ask me to count how many times I've changed my blog design! I think I speak for all designers in saying that the most difficult thing is self branding & designing for your self. I've posted about it before - when I made Believe Notes grammatically correct, when I asked for help picking a new logo, when I finally shared my love for orange, and when I just needed to vent about the difficulty of branding.

After finally picking a logo, I moved on to use the design elements of it in my Etsy shop, on my Facebook page, and on the Believe Notes Website - but one thing I never did was create business cards for myself. It's totally embarrassing to be meeting new people and have them ask for a card and not be able to give them one. It wasn't that I didn't want one, trust me, I desperately wanted that little 3.5 x 2" paper that perfectly represented myself and my business - but I just had a difficult time designing that itty bitty piece of perfection.

I would sit down every day after work and try to create a business card. A few months ago I even reached out to my twitter followers to ask for advice on some sample designs. Then, after taking in all the generous feedback, I sat on the designs for a long time before finally picking and editing the one I loved the most.

And now I finally have business cards.

They are classic and simple on the front, with just enough contact information that people will know where to find me, but without so much information that the text is cluttered. It's total business on the front, and party on the back. I updated the colors on a pattern I created a long time ago, and I love the punches of orange and light blue. The cards are printed on 100% Cotton paper, which makes them soft and luxurious.

If I could describe these cards in one word it would be: Me. They are totally, completely representative of who I am and where I am at this very moment in life & business. Let me also add that I am damn proud to hand these suckers out now!

Can't wait to use the design elements from my new business cards to pull together all of the packaging ideas that I have! My goal is to have one cohesive look for all of my branding, and while it won't happen over night, it will indeed happy over time.
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