Friday, August 26, 2011

Where Next for the Airmail Thank You Notes?

It's been really fun to watch my free printable airmail thank you notes travel around the internet! From here in Vancouver, to Chicago on How About Orange, and beyond. I created them to celebrate the launch of my Summer Brights Collection, a cheerful range of thank you cards and thank you notes devoted to airmail, summer travel, and festive celebrations. 

Today I'd like to do a blog tour to introduce you to some of the great blogs I found who wrote about the airmail thank you notes. I think you'll find some new favorites! 

First stop - San Francisco! Enter Good Mail Day, the Tumblr blog belonging to Carolee Gilligan Wheeler and Jennie Hinchcliff. I found their post about my thank you notes and was happy to discover that both Jennie and Carolee are passionate about the art of mail. They've even penned a book on this very subject which you can find in the Powell's bookstore here. And when I say the art of mail, I mean this literally, as explained in their own words: "The term mail art refers to pieces of art sent through the mail rather than displayed or sold in traditional venues." How cool is that? A good mail day refers to a day when instead of just receiving bills, you find an illustrated envelope and letter lovingly created for you by a friend or family member. Personally, if you're into diy - I think this is also a great idea for thank you notes. For your wedding thank you notes for example, you could create a digital collage of your own wedding pictures and use this personalized art to express gratitude to your guests in a really unique way. 

Stop #2 - Chicago. The Letter Writers Alliance wrote about my thank you notes here. What's the Letter Writers Alliance all about you ask? Kathy Zadrozny and Donovan Beeson began this fun society to promote the art of writing letters, using (gasp) real paper. I know I'm not alone in my feeling that these days it can be easy to get too caught up in digital communication and our "busy lives" and easily lose sight of some of the more important things in life. I think the simple act of slowing down to write a letter helps remind us of just how special our relationships truly are, and gives us an opportunity to share those feelings with the people in our lives. So props to Kathy and Donovan for starting the Letter Writers Alliance! 

Stop #3 - Suffolk, England. It was fun to watch the thank you notes printable cross the pond and show up on Mrs. Peabod's blog. This is the virtual home of graphic designer Vicky Kingsnorth. Vicky is currently working for a publisher as a greeting card designer and uses her blog to catalog her inspirations from the world of graphic, interior and furniture design as well as home crafting projects. I'm definitely very inspired by all the great finds on this fun blog, and I think you will be too! 

Stop #4 - Rhode Island. By day, Danielle is a television producer - and by night she blogs about all of her favorite finds for babies and kids on My Baby Faves. This includes lots of great free printables (she posted about my notes here), giveaways, craft projects, and more. It's blogs like Danielle's that make motherhood look like a lot of fun - I know when I look through it I can't wait to bake up a storm for my future children and plan fun craft filled afternoons. 

Stop #5 - Back to San Francisco. Our last stop for now brings us to Host It Notes where Erin blogs about entertaining, decorating and more - she shared my printable notes here. I love how Erin describes her blog, and what entertaining means to her: "For me, it's the little details of a dinner or party that show my affection for my friends. Host-It Notes is a compilation of ways to say "I love you" to your guests without saying a word." You'll find inspiration galore as you go through the pages of her blog, that'll make you want to have company over soon so you can try one of her fun entertaining ideas. 

Thanks again to everyone who shared the airmail thank you notes - I hope you've all found a new blog or two to bookmark as an every day read! If you're reading this and have shared my airmail notes on your blog too - let me know so I can update this post. 


Monday, August 22, 2011

New Kids Thank You Cards!

How about we start another week with some new kids thank you cards! I've been designing a lot lately - while the sunshine is a bit of a distraction, it also puts me in the perfect frame of mind. These new kids thank you cards have a decidedly woodland/nature type theme, to reflect the season I suppose! I think they're just the kind of cards that will make your children smile a little bit as they're writing out their thank you's. Designed with bright colors and featuring fun details like patterned leaves, I think this stationery is also fun to receive.

I hope you've had a chance to enjoy the great outdoors a bit this last week. My cousin's wedding was this weekend, which meant lots of great family time, and a truly enjoyable celebration! Now I'm back to work for a couple days before heading to Whistler for a few more days of fun in the sun with my parents and husband.

And now, the newest cards! These owl kids thank you cards are a really great personalized choice. I love the simplicity of these ones, and the sort of "who me" expression on the owl's face.

Whenever I see a picture of a fox I automatically think of that great kids movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Have you seen it? I loved it. These fox kids thank you cards feature a sweet little fox sitting peacefully in the forest amongst a few flowers and mushrooms. Like all of our stationery, these cards are printed on a beautiful white heavy weight matte paper.

Every once in a while as I'm working during the day, a sweet little bird or two will be hopping around on our balcony. Because we live right downtown I almost always get up to have a closer look - as it's not an every day occurrence. These birdhouse thank you cards feature several sweetly painted birdhouses that look like they're ready for a few inhabitants to move in. I think these would be great cards for either kids or adults too. They're great for writing a note to express your thanks after any number of occasions and I think they have a very summery feel.

My husband, parents and I went for a nice walk after dinner yesterday at a local beach called Ambleside. Walking out on the pier we were surprised (well at least I was surprised) to see families fishing and crabbing, and actually making some pretty good catches too! These gone fishing thank you cards are a fun memory of that. Though I will say that the fish we saw were not nearly as colorful. For children who love to fish with mom and dad these thank you cards will bring back fond memories of time spent out on the water. Using stationery that has a personal meaning for kids can make writing thank you cards feel more like a fun activity and less of a chore!

And those are the new cards, thanks for checking them out :) Around here - we've got about a month left of sunshine, I hope we'll all find lots of ways to enjoy everything the rest of the summer has to offer.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Vintage Thank You Notes

I added a few vintage inspired thank you notes to the shop today! I think they'd work really well as every day thank you notes, and there are also a few that would be great as wedding thank you notes too. As is often the case with me, these notes were definitely inspired by nature, country living and the past. Having said that, one of my favorite things about stationery design is that there is a lot of freedom for me to explore different styles. I've got 2-3 new collections already designed in my mind that I'll be releasing over the next couple months - at least 2 of them are very different than anything I've done so far, so I'm super excited to get work going on those and I'll for sure share them here on the blog.

Before I intro the new thank you notes - I wanted to find out how things are out your way. How was your weekend? I had (possibly) too much fun last night at my cousin's bachelorette party... With a little Fireball in my system I found my way up on stage at the Improv show we attended (*in my defense, they asked for volunteers*), and we had a great time out dancing afterwards. I'll see if I can get some pictures from the day to share here, the party started at noon and we did everything from perfume making to creating with clay before heading out for the evening... Can't wait for the wedding next weekend!

I'd say these camera thank you notes are my favorites of all the new notes - I love mustard yellow and I can see some of my friends who love photography having a great time writing on these. They're available in both pink and yellow and both versions feature a vintage camera on the front.

I don't know about you, but whenever I'm lucky enough to see a pretty deer wandering around outside (not uncommon at my parents home in Iowa and in other parts of our province) I'm pretty thrilled and am quickly reaching for my camera. They're such graceful animals, and I really enjoyed creating these floral deer thank you notes. These thank you notes, as well as all the other ones in the collection, are printed on a nice thick cardstock with a lovely texture that compliments this image really well.

These honey bee thank you notes make me wish we had a home with a porch out front so we could sit out on warm sunny evenings and just watch the world go by. This stationery could be used for every day thank you notes, and it'd also be perfect after fun special events too. I think it's great when we can slow down and let people in our lives know how much we appreciate them and sending a thank you is an excellent way to do that.

I'd love to live in a neighborhood where I could ride my bike everywhere - and I'm hoping to get a cruiser with a basket on the front like the one on these bicycle thank you notes. I've seen lots of bicycle themed weddings recently and if your colors were pink or blue then I think these notes would be a great option. It's fun to share a bit of your personality with your guests as you're writing to let them know how much you appreciate them and all their contributions to your wedding.

How many times have you watched Alice in Wonderland? I can't count personally - it's definitely one of my favorite classics, and I love the book too. These stacked teacups have just a touch of the Alice in Wonderland aesthete (though now I'm wondering if I should have made all the teacups a different color - next time)! These teacup thank you notes would be a great way to say thanks after a baby shower and would also be great for every day use too.

These rose thank you notes say wedding to me! We had lots and lots of deep red roses at our wedding and I can still picture it now. I really enjoyed writing out the thank you notes after our wedding. It was such a great opportunity to connect with everyone who had made the day so special and to relive great memories from that day.

Thanks for checking out all the new thank you notes. As always, if you see a design you like, but would like it in a different color let me know as that's really easy to change. Hope your week is great!


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Saltspring Getaway

For our 6th wedding anniversary, Steve and I took a trip to Saltspring Island on the BC Coast this weekend. I wrote a bit about our trip yesterday...

In search of laid back days spent exploring sunny uncrowded beaches, we booked a long weekend on Saltspring Island. After our first day on the island we chatted with the other guests at the B & B over breakfast and found that almost unanimously we'd looked at real estates prices and considered what we'd need to do to make the island home.

For me, I've never gotten over the beauty of my childhood home in Oregon, and whenever I visit another town that makes me feel the same way, the planning begins. I felt it most strongly as we drove at dusk past farms and homesteads on one side, and dense forests on the other. Saltspring Island is home year round to 10,000 lucky individuals, and boasts BC's largest artisan community.

I decided that this trip wouldn't be another picture-less one, and began snapping anything and everything of interest from the ferry as we sailed over from Vancouver. Beacons and fishing trawlers, pretty tree lined coasts and boats out for a day on the water.

Once we arrived, photos from our hikes and adventures: Steve inspecting grapes at the winery, a pretty deer at the side of the road, sheep grazing in a field.

On Friday we walked around Ganges, stopping in every bookstore and art gallery we found. Wandering through Gallery 8 I stopped in front of one particular image - a stunning watercolor landscape of the Salt Spring Coast, painted in a photo-realistic style by Carol Evans. The sunlight played on the water with that particular happiness you feel when hiking in a new spot with someone you love. As I looked at piece after piece it reminded me just how attached I am to the beauty of the coast, and how much a part of my story it's become.

(The above painting is by Carol Evans - you can visit her site here to see more of her work.)

Just steps away, a very different painting, oil on canvas by David Goatley. Immediately I was struck by the tender look of this piece. A couple from decades past enjoy an afternoon drinking wine nestled in front of a pretty red roadster on a sunny day, with fall just starting to show itself in the orange leaves on the trees overhead.

Back at our room I look through the book of Carol Evans work I got from the gallery, and can't help but compare the rocky outcrop and beacon in one of her paintings to a photo I took from the ferry just the day before. Definitely the same beacon, at a slightly different angle.

As we settle into the heady rhythm of the island - a pleasant routine punctuated by hikes, delicious locally grown food, and viewing artisan wares I find myself wanting to know more about this town and it's history.

Back at the B&B Steve's looking through a selection of works from David Goatley's portfolio and notices that he painted Robert Bateman's portrait, an artist who lives on the island and whose work is famous worldwide. On the next page we spot a portrait of Canadian folk singer Valdy, who also calls Saltspring home. At that point I begin to wonder just how small this island is.

(The above painting is by Julia Lucich, you can see more of her work here.)

If I went to the right bar on any given night would I see all of these wonderful artists enjoying a pint together? Would Robert Bateman be dispensing helpful critiques as Julia Lucich discusses her latest work, with Goatley and Evans looking on?

I'm sure the locals know.

We return home tomorrow, skin golden brown, with bright memories of a weekend away from the city, and plans to return to Saltspring next summer.