Friday, February 29, 2008

New calendar wallpaper

I can't believe it's March already! That means it's time to update your computer desktop pattern with the March calendar wallpaper!

In case you haven't checked out the "goodies" page on my website, let me explain: every month, I upload a new computer desktop wallpaper pattern that complements that particular month's design in my 2008 desktop calendar. Now your computer desktop can be just as stylish as you!

Here's a peek at the past two month's designs. And don't forget to check back on April 1st for the new pattern!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shop Talk – Ecru Modern Stationer

When you live in Portland, your choice in shopping destinations is endless. One of my favorite places to hang out, though, is the Pearl, a downtown neighborhood that has seen a huge transformation from dilapidated and abandoned warehouses to hip and ultra-cool condos. Now the area has an upscale vibrancy about it that you won't find anywhere else in town – along with unique stores and restaurants that are hard to beat!

One of these places is Ecru Modern Stationer. A little off the beaten path, it's well worth walking the extra two blocks North of Lovejoy for a stunning selection of paperie. The owner LeAnn has exquisite taste and is constantly stocking her store with exciting new finds.

I love Ecru's distinctive wall graphic that greets you right as you walk in. What started out as a temporary design that LeAnn planned to paint over every season has now become a visual that's part of her store's overall brand.

Everything about Ecru is tastefully put together, from the actual product displays to the wall fixtures that hold the single greeting cards (cleverly designed by her architect hubby!). Modern display tables mix with a gorgeous vintage metal and glass cabinet that houses an amazing selection of writing implements.

I especially love the two floating ledges behind the counter. LeAnn always has a gorgeous array of products displayed there that represent some of her newest or seasonal finds, like this selection of ribbons, note cards and gift wrap from Paper Source and Waste Not Paper (my personal source for Cecily Ink's envelopes).

Even the display of custom invitation samples (above left) is simple yet unique (getting married, anyone? Ecru carries a fabulous selection of wedding invites).

Every table is stocked with paper goodies arranged in pleasing little vignettes that make shopping a feast for the eyes.

If you love Russell + Hazel products, Ecru is the place to go. LeAnn stocks a huge variety of their gorgeous yet functional line, including these fun rubber bands! And if you need boxed thank-yous or blank note cards, there's a huge table full to choose from.

And of course, Ecru has plenty of choices for gift wrap (yes, including Cecily Ink patterns!) So the next time you want to surround yourself with the ultimate in luxury paperie, head for Ecru!

1215 NW 11th Avenue • Portland OR 97209 • 503.227.2611

Monday, February 25, 2008

Goosey Press

As I'm approaching my one-year anniversary with Cecily Ink, I find myself thinking back over last year with much gratitude and satisfaction. Launching my line of paper goods has been an amazing roller coaster ride of emotions and excitement – and my good friend Amy has been there to share it with me every step of the way.

Part of what made this journey fun was knowing someone who was going through all the same discoveries as I was because Amy launched her paper company called Goosey Press right around the same time! After helping Amy come up with a logo and stationery package, she was off to the races designing her line of Mother Goose-inspired papers.

All her products use vintage-style silhouettes that are just too cute! She keeps her color palette very clean – rick black on luxuriously textured cream paper – while bringing in accents of aquamarine, pink and chartreuse with the envelopes.

And she's made it very easy to put a perfect package together: just look at the darling gift wrap, tags and ribbon combinations. Last fall, I wrapped a baby shower gift for my husband's cousin and you should have heard the oohs and aahs that presentation received!

Plus, there's an educational element to her line: all the greeting cards have a historical reference on the back explaining exactly how a particular rhyme came into being. For example, did you know that the old woman in the shoe came about because of an old tradition of casting a shoe after the bride as she leaves on her honeymoon? Supposedly this was to symbolize fertility.

And I'm not the only one enthralled with Amy's line. This month, Romantic Homes magazine featured Goosey Press gift wrap, tags and ribbon in a multi-page Valentine's special. Way to go, Amy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shop Talk – Pacific Crest Cottage

During my downtime (limited as that may be), I love being transported into a different time and place – whether it's while reading a book, watching a movie, or best of all, going shopping! And during a recent visit to gorgeous Gearhart on the Oregon Coast, I had just such an other-world experience.

From the moment you enter Pacific Crest Cottage, you're swept away to Paris with stop-overs in the Netherlands, Great Brittain and a few other choice European locales. All the visuals, scents and even music help transform the quaint coastal cottage into a vintage European treasure trove!

There is so much to see! Everywhere you turn, there are gorgeous vignettes, arrangements and collections. Owner Joy had just finished putting out her Easter goodies (left) and this whimsical statue immediately caught my eye. And what a great idea to use collection of blue bottles (right) to hold necklaces and other baubles.

Traditional themes are bountiful, from Christmas angels, crosses and candlesticks, to easter bunnies, chicks and plenty of eggs and bird's nests. But you never feel overwhelmed by any particular holiday – these wonderful items are simply mixed in with other unique finds and functional items, such as an extensive selection of Caldrea cleaning products (my current fave is their dish soap liquid in Fragrance No. 1, lavender pine!)

And of course, there are plenty of nautical and ocean-inspired items, but they are tastefully sprinkled throughout the store so they don't detract from Joy's wonderful old-world feel. I spotted some starfish on a cement table outside and loved the mossy finish Mother Nature had added.

Joy's displays are usually color-coordinated and beg a look closer to find all the little treasures hidden within, like this darling little doll statue displayed under a glass cloche (top right) and a collection soft pink sea urchins and green moss in a hurricane glass (above).

Next time you find yourself at the northern Oregon Coast, plan to spend an hour or so at Joy's amazing cottage!

726 Pacific Way • Gearhart OR 97138 • 503.738.6560

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Last week my grandmother fell and broke her hip. Not to worry, she'll be okay, but she gave us all quite a scare! Not being able to go visit her (she lives in the Netherlands) made me want to do the next best thing: going through old family photos.

Not to worry – I won't subject you to boring family pictures. But I did come across a series of images that I thought were worth sharing.

A few days before heading back to the States the summer of 2004, I grabbed my camera and started wandering through my grandma's neighborhood (she lives in the heart of a small city called Zwolle).

The following are a collection of impressions I gathered while winding my way through the cobblestone streets. Enjoy! (Oma, een spoedige beterschap gewenst!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Business card vavoom

I'm currently working on some business card designs for several clients through Defteling Design. While each client is quite different, they all have one thing in common: they want a business card with a strong visual impact. As they should!

Often your business card is the first impression a potential new customer has of your company or organization. You may not even have a chance to talk to a person beyond giving him or her your 30-second elevator pitch so having a memorable business card will increase the likelihood of this person remembering who you are.

So I thought I'd pull some examples of effective business cards that I've designed over the last year or two. I won't show you the cards for Neighborhood Notes again (check my earlier post here) but needless to say, their unusual shape, double-sided printing, and single rounded corner definitely leave a positive impression.

This card that I designed for Scott Lochard has served him extremely well. I used the back of the card as a little billboard to reinforce his logo and tagline. The flood of black makes the viewer really take note of his logo. On the content-side of the card, I decided to go vertical to make Scott's card stand out from many of his competitors' cards. And again, I reinforced his image by using the icon (illustration) portion of his logo and printing it very faintly in the background, covering the entire card.

Here are two more examples that use a flood of black on one side of the card. In both cases, I've screened back a portion of their logo for visual interest and brand continuity while adding a tagline to give the reader a better sense of what the company is about. The other side holds all the contact information as well as the official version of their logo. Each card also has an additional element to make it stand out: the left card is skinnier than standard size while the right card has four rounded corners, softening the sharp effect of the logo.

These two cards are both standard size but make use of both sides of the card very differently. The left card uses one side with a photographic image and large logo to convey a sense of the owner's services (interior decorating). The right card leaves the back mostly blank with just a lightly tinted logo; they discovered that their clients like to write notes on the back regarding certain spa products they've tried.

Lastly, my own cards for Cecily Ink reflect my color palette and a range of patterns. When I meet someone, I may not always have greeting card samples with me, so having an array of different business cards gives that person a sense of my design style.

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the logo on the front and the contact info on the back are actually on a narrow sticker that I wrap around both sides of the card. Yes, it's more work for me to hand-apply the stickers to my business cards, but it does give me a sense of connectedness while I'm doing it – plus, I saved on printing costs since I was able to print the business cards on the same sheet with my greeting cards and the stickers with my packaging labels. Hey, who doesn't like saving a few pennies?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day is over...

...and I'm left with lots of goodies! As far as this holiday goes, I think we showed a respectable amount of restraint by celebrating it with a simple card, a few of Fran's Chocolates heavenly salted caramels (my favorites!), and a nice dinner at a new Italian restaurant called Lucca (our pizza was delicious).

But I had saved the best for last: desert! And not just any desert, but the best Danish kringle this side of the big pond, flown in especially from Andersens Bakery in Santa Barbara!

We had last enjoyed this small piece of heaven on earth on my mother's birthday in December, when we were visiting my parents in Southern California. Imagine my delight when I found out Andersens Bakery is now offering online sales and second-day shipping!

I placed my order on Tuesday and sure enough, Thursday around 2pm this gigantic box showed up on my doorstep! Not only did my kringle arrive safe and sound, they included freezing and heating instructions as well as a little box of cookies! (like we needed more sweets at this point, but still, a very nice touch.)

I pulled out my biggest platter and after a bit of struggling to unwrap all the plastic wrap and parchment paper, I managed to slide the kringle onto my platter in one piece. After making an tasty pot of tea, we were ready to enjoy a little slice of heaven.

The flaky pastry dough combined with the rich almond paste (slightly crusty where it leaked out from the dough) and the big sugar crystals on top are simply divine – something that makes me think back fondly to my childhood years in Denmark, where wienerbrød had a weekly presence at our breakfast table. Best of all, we can have seconds anytime we want, now that we popped the left-overs in the freezer!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Will you be my Valentine?

I can't believe Valentine's Day is just a few days away! I still have to make my hubby a card and find a little something that shows him just how much he means to me. I must admit, it'd be quite a bit easier if he were a girl - just look at all the cute things I found on Etsy:

I simply adore all the creations at the Felt Gallery! Yes, in case you're wondering, I do own one of her gorgeous flower pins - it's an orange poppy you may have seen me wear in several photos shown in previous posts. I can't tell you how many comments I receive every time I wear it!

Staying with the felt theme, check out these darling lady bugs at Fine Art Toys. All her little critters are simply too cute for words - like the grey kitty or Russian dolls! And what better way to package your little gift than in a paper pillow box by Field & Sea. If you love paper as much as I do, you just HAVE to stop by her Etsy shop for some of the most amazing paper patterns and prints.

How cool is this "anatomically incorrect" heart at PearsonMaron? Yes, it's got the arteries in the right place, but thankfully artists Quincy and Adam cleaned up the rest to be visually much more pleasing than the real thing! And I think I need to find a scarf just like the one in this watercolor by Emily at The Black Apple - how romantic to literally be tied to your Valentine in a PG-13 way! I've admired Emily's style for a while now and will soon have to purchase one of her amazing paintings myself.

What's Valentine's Day without flowers?! This rose print by Teha would look stunning in a simple white mat and black frame (okay, so I'm a purist). And check out this necklace by Spin Designs - I met her at the Portland Gift Show in January and was speechless when I saw her amazing designs. The style is so clean yet elegant - and while you're visiting her shop, take a look at the amazing mobiles.

Oh, and if your sweetie happens to need a little shopping inspiration, send him/her a link to this blog post - who knows, you may end up the happy recipient of one of these sweet treasures!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Neighborhood Notes

A few days ago I picked up my print samples from the printer on this stationery package I recently designed through Defteling Design and I was just tickled when I saw how nicely it all came together!

Lynnette and Ken have worked very hard to create Neighborhood Notes, a wonderful community tool for the Pearl District here in Portland. Now they're ready to expand into other neighborhoods within our city and even beyond! So they approached me about designing their logo and letterhead package (with newsletter and website overhaul to follow very soon!).

The logo design process went super smoothly and I'm so pleased with how nicely it turned out. It totally fits what they do – connecting people within a community and providing them an online place to interact.

Because the logo had to look good on their newsletter and website masthead , it took a distinctly horizontal form. To take advantage of that, I designed their business card to be longer and narrower than a standard card. Plus the double-sided design meant that I could allow the logo to breathe on one side of the card while all the contact information fit neatly on the other.

I'm a big proponent of maximizing your sheet size on press, so I recommended they print note cards along with their business cards. A little hard to discern in the photo, but the front of the note card is cut short to reveal the orange bar that's actually printed on the inside of the card.

I also often suggest, especially to smaller organizations, that clients consider printing mailing labels instead of envelopes. This way, they have more flexibility at less cost - the same label can be applied to a plain white #10 envelope, a colorful A2 envelope to match the note card, or even a large 9x12 to hold presentations.

And if the color palette looks familiar, it should! When it came time to assign colors, Lynnette and Ken asked if they could just use my Cecily Ink color palette since they loved it so much!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Blatant nepotism

Okay, so I know this is blatant nepotism but I just have to show off my sister Marie's creative side! For Christmas, she and her boyfriend Marcel gave me this awesome sockmonster they created out of a funky pair of argyle socks (totally Cecily Ink colors!) and I absolutely fell in love with him!

Recently they decided to start a little Etsy store and they've come up with the cutest brothers and sisters to my little monster! They'll even do custom orders if you send them a pair of your favorite (clean!) socks.

I'd like to introduce you to Margie, in Marie's own words: "Margie is white as snow with light turquoise and orange accents. Gerber just cast her in their new pumpkin monstermeals national ad and Monsters-R-Us wants Margie to be their new spokesmonster. But Margie's not letting all this monstermedia attention get to her. Margie is the real thing, down-to-earth, and sincere. She wants to use her fame to raise awareness to make a difference for young monsters in other parts of the world who aren't as fortunate as she is. She hopes one day to be the first monster president. We have faith in her, and we hope you will too."

And how cute is Harry! Marie says: "Harry's well, isn't it obvious? A Henderson! No, just kidding. He is our furriest monster though, and loves being pet and cuddled. A bit mischevious, he likes to play tricks, or try to anyways. But his large size (23 1/2")hinders him. He's kind of a clutz and always stumbling into or over something. He never wins at hide 'n seek because the other monsters always spot him right away! Where is a two foot monster supposed to hide anyways? The other monsters tease him and call him Shrek. When he gets upset about this we just tell him that his large size simply means there's more of him to love!"

So if you need a little someone to love – or a fun, handmade gift for someone you love – check out Sockmonsters, Inc.