Monday, November 30, 2009

The holidays are like one really long coffee break.

Therefore, French Press is coming out with a holiday blend; of course it needs a label....

 Which one did they choose? You'll just have to wait until they're done; they're on press as I type! (A whole line of coffee labels are on press, in fact. See the sneak peek post here.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pssst! Serious Sneak Peek Alert!

Eeeeee! I can't even begin to explain my excitement for this project...and this long-time-coming post about it. Many of you have heard whispers of a pet project I've been working with my dear friend and work partner, Jennifer Mele. It's all very true. We have certainly been scheming and dreaming. Oh gosh....for the last ten months, at least. And before that, it was a little idea rolling around in my all-too-crazy head. One day I finally called Jen and said, "I have an idea; I need you to help me." You see, Jennifer is the best when it comes to organization, motivation, inspiration and the wrangling of moving pieces and people. That's only one of the reasons I love her, but it's the one reason I knew that it was only with her I could pull this thing off.

As it turns out, I was right.
We've (almost) pulled it off.
It's just around the corner.

'It' is this:

It's an online retail space.
It's where you'll get customized stationary.
It's where you'll find semi-custom wedding print pieces.
It's where you'll browse lovely gift items.
All-in-all, you'll see many twee things that we hope will make your little hearts twitter.

We're not launched yet, but are planning to debut the site this holiday season. Visit the hi, friend. website and be sure to bookmark it so you can come back to shop soon. If you'd like to be added to our mailing list, email us at and we'll be sure to add you. If you're anything like me, I know you hate a secret (if it's not yours) so I'm going to post a few peeks.

Looking forward to the launch!


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Monday, November 23, 2009

Superfood for the brain

A wise man once said, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."* I think he's right. Good books are like superfood for the brain. I've got a fresh new library card and have been putting it to use.

Most recently I devoured Seth Godin's The Dip and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. There were so many things that made me say, "No way!". Here are just a few:

From "Outliers":
  • The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.
  • The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play
  • The 10,000 hour rule: “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.“ (Quoting neurologist Daniel Levitin)

From "The Dip":
  • In a competitive world, adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition.
  • The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, realize that you have only two good choices: Quit or be exceptional.
  • ... the real success goes to those who obsess. The focus that leads you through the Dip to the other side is rewarded by a marketplace in search of the best in the world. A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.
  • And this one, from a previous post: "Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other."
An unexpected similarity and underlying theme in both books is that being good at something takes work. Lots of work. There is just no way around it. That said, I better do a little less blogging and a little more working...Eek! Off to add to my 10,000 hour work log and continued design obsession!

*Quote from Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Egg Press Sample Sale! Success!

Success is relative, I guess. Some might say I got into more trouble than anything (ahem - my husband).

This is the second Egg Press Sample Sale I've been to, so I knew what to prepare for, but was still totally shocked at all the fantastic letterpress and offset options at such fabulous prices. I stood there wishing I had three sets of eyes and 6 arms instead of a measly two of each. Nevertheless, I now have more holiday cards than any one person should probably ever possess. Maybe I got carried away, but in this case I'd have to classify it a triumph.

Egg Press is awesome. As always!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Indian Shirt.

This is my indian shirt. I bought it at Shanty. It's my new favorite. In elementary school I was an 'Auburn Indian' (at Auburn Elementary in Auburn, MI) so wearing it makes me feel like I'm 8 again. And I like that. It was made by Bandit Brand.

It really has nothing to do with my work, but I had to share just because I love it. And graphically, it's very nice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I heart stamps.

When I think of stamps I visualize several crafty stay-at-home moms who make their own birthday, holiday, anniversary and thank you cards around a card table in one of their living rooms. Hot glue, rhinestones, puffy paint....and stamps. I don't say this with disdain. I fully intend on and look forward to being a part of a club like this later in life. Heck, I'll probably be the one to start it. Just call me the stamping queen. And ladies - you know who you are - I know you can't wait to join me.

I'm not ashamed to say I love stamps. Especially when they turn out to be a good business move. Really. Not only are they easy and fun, but they're cost effective. They allow a company to keep up with consistent branding on pieces that they otherwise couldn't afford to have custom designed and printed. I recommend a logo and/or return address stamp to many of my clients so they can use it on shipping boxes, envelopes, gift tags, billing, etc.

Shanty just got one with their classic buds + return address, Green Goose (who I have yet to tell you about!) had one made to use on their packaging, Shake Up Your World needed theirs for mailing purposes, and you might recall way back when we had some made for Mark Terry who needed to brand his art show and himself as a 21st Century Alchemist. Recently my good friend asked me to help with some stamps for his start-up online retail business, Man Cards (soon to be launched). I jumped on the bandwagon and finally ordered one for StudioM, too. I can't even explain how happy I am when I slam that inked rubber onto a sheet of paper and instantly see my logo imprinted. So satisfying!

Stamps also make fabulous gifts. Soon I'll be able to explain exactly how to go about that, don't worry. Until then...

"...You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life,
See that girl, watch that scene...stamping queen...."

Song lyrics derived from Dancing Queen by Abba.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote | Seth Godin

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bold, friendly and fun logo work I did this week:

These logos were created for a large medical diagnostic company's 2010 sales meeting. Their goal is to be all about the team this year. The two themes I was asked to execute were 'One' and 'Together Forward'. Some of the adjectives to be portrayed (besides bold, friendly and fun) were upbeat, optimistic, unified, simplistic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For all brides and their maids...

My dear client Terri Spaeth-Merrick is offering a fantastic opportunity for all of you planning a wedding. Her online semi-custom dress design company, Olivia Luca, is having a sale! Read below for more information. Then, make haste and get yourself in that virtual design studio!

Brides and Bridesmaids,
We are offering a 15% discount on dresses ordered from November 11th to December 21st, 2009 through our on-line Design Studio at Olivia Luca.

We want to give you a head start on your 2010 wedding planning by ordering your dress early and getting a 15% discount for being ahead of the crowd! It makes our work easier by getting orders in early before the rush starts so we are passing our savings on to you.


How it works:
When you order you will pay full price through the website, but put the code words "Email Pre-season Sale" in the "Comments" section on the order form and as soon as we receive your order we will credit your card for 15% off the total purchase price (including shipping!).
Keep in mind that we recommend ordering your dress at least 16 weeks before your event to allow time for alterations. (We normally ship 12 weeks from the date of order.) 

Olivia Luca™, LLC
Dress for the Occasion

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who Let The Girls Out!? Fall 2009

Lovely little Newport, WA hosted another fabulous Who Let The Girls Out!? event this past weekend. It's the third event in the last two years. The Seven Shoppes banded together yet again to throw a fun and festive progressive 'it's-still-autumn-but-we're-getting-ready-for-the-holidays' shopping party. I parked myself at Shanty for a majority of the day and happily re-entered the world of working retail. (My very first job was at Pier 1 Imports when I was 16. I loved it.)

My girlfriend Tiffany and I drove in from Spokane early Saturday morning and helped the Shanty staff tie ribbon, restock and rearrange. Meanwhile, I popped around documenting the event preparations and, admittedly, shopping along the way.

Maggie Christie, the marvelous owner and Shanty visionary, coordinated so many oh-so-perfect details for the day. Fresh fruit with mint and lemon juice, locally-baked pumpkin fudge and pumpkin maple cookies, pomegranate-speckled mimosas, hand-made cheese balls and that's not even touching on her mad merchandising skills. Of course, the first excited shopper showed up at 9 o'clock. On the dot. Let the day-long party begin!

When I did finally pull myself away from the wine-pouring and gift-wrapping at Shanty, I found more bustling foot traffic, laughing ladies, sales and shopping bags galore*. My Sister's Cottage was a classy Christmas wonderland. Just Because was any woman's dream: skin products, jewelry, handbags, champagne and chocolate. Floral Expressions was all a flutter with birdie decor and holiday trimmings. The Kitchen Shoppe was packed with people looking for the perfect wine to serve with all the holiday meals and utensils to make the meal preparation just a little easier. Oh, and we can't forget the cooking demonstrations...Mmmm...

After making the rounds I bounded back to Shanty where the ladies were still buzzing. With no end to the energy in sight, I might add. But who could blame them!? There were so many things I wanted to snatch up and bring home with me, too. I resisted many of the urges, but did end up with the below bag by Big Buddah called Tiny Dancer. It's anything but tiny and therefore a big hit in my book. I also picked up many holiday gift items, but of course I can't feature those here or I'd spoil the surprises.

Maggie, thanks for letting Tiffany and me be an honorary employees for the day! We really were honored. And thanks to all the Seven Shoppe ladies for having StudioM work with you on all of the event marketing. Cheers to another successful shopping affair. Now, bring on the holidays!

*Sadly, there were not enough hours in the day and I didn't get a chance to pop into two of the seven shops: Rivers' Edge Treasures and Into the Garden Up to the Lake. Next time! To read more about the previous Who Let The Girls Out!? event, visit this past post. If you want to be kept in the loop about upcoming events in Newport, follow the Shop Newport blog. A few of the shops have their own blogs, too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

University of Bridgetown | Paper 101

Paper is amazing. Look at a tree and think about how you would go about turning it into a super thin, smooth sheet of print that really possible!? Yes, it is. Yesterday I attended a University of Bridgetown class on paper and I learned how the experts have perfected this process. Bridgetown Printing brought in a Mohawk paper rep to teach the class. He talked about the history of paper, the paper-making process (see diagram below) and what separates the good paper from the bad paper. I learned about formation, opacity, brightness, finish, side-to-side consistency, printability, environmental qualities and permanence. All in an hour and a half! Super interesting. I love paper more than ever.

University of Bridgetown at Bridgetown Printers hosts two classes a month. They're free and lunch is included. Register here. I'll planning on going to the Prepress Class in February. Join me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gigapan Epic 100 | Illustrations

The Gigapan System was developed by Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, with support from Google. Yeah, they can do some serious name-dropping.

That's only because what they've created is seriously cool. It's a little robot that uses technology derived from the NASA Rovers*. You mount your camera on and it proceeds to capture monster-sized panoramic images. The images are up to 200 times larger than a standard shot. What makes this so amazing is that you can actually explore the panoramas and see things you'd never had seen otherwise. Most likely you have already encountered a Gigapan image since they've appeared in an AXE advertising campaign, on, in several write-ups and reviews on Wired**, Popular Science and They've also been integrated into Google Earth and even captured the Presidential Inauguration. If you haven't seen a Gigapan image yet, jump over to and explore. If you're really gung-ho (like me!), you can join the community, have conversations around the images and take, upload and geo-code your own. You won't be disappointed. You don't even have to have a fancy camera to use it. Haven't you always wanted a robot?

**This 'Gaget Lab' article was one of my favorite since it showed the process step-by-step.
*Speaking of NASA, you have to see this glamorous galaxy image

Gigapan is located in beautiful NW Portland, Ore. In their offices there, lots of good stuff is coming to fruition and the team needed some design and production support. StudioM prepared their User Guide to be published online; these illustrations are from that project.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Birthday turned Sickday.

Because I'm my own boss, I decided to give myself my birthday off. So Friday, October 30, I enabled my 'out of office' auto-reply email and took the day to read and relax....and be sick. Of course the very first day I determine to officially take off in over a year would end up being more of a sick day than a holiday. Regardless, I'm glad I did it. Even if it included more Kleenex than cake and more resting than partying.