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May Day

I love May Day. This celebration of spring has it’s roots in Roman times, and many European countries celebrate the first day of spring with May Pole dances, music, and my favorite, the May Day Basket. Left anonymously on your neighbors’ front door, this sweet gesture is a thoughtful, simple way to spread good cheer. That’s pretty much why I embrace it, along with being to share a fun tradition with my boys. A May day basket can be put together very easily, with a few sprigs of flowers to fill it out.

All you need is
–a few sheets of 8.5×11 cardstock
Tip: Use construction paper, or download our new marble design (below), and print out at home.
–ribbon
–stapler
–flowers

Roll the cardstock into a cone and staple the bottom to prevent the flowers from slipping through.
staple the sides in a couple places to hold.

Then, cut a length of ribbon and staple to each side. (outside with a long tail would be pretty too!)

Fill with your favorite bloom…

..and spread the love!

And… if you want to use our new marble design (like we did!) download it right here. Sized to print out on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper:

Marble-Paper

Posted on April 30th, 2015 | Comment »

Sarah Drake at Madewell

Excited to announce that I will be at Madewell in Chicago, Sunday May 3rd, from 11am-1pm, to introduce new paper products and designs! So, come out, shop, sip, snack, enjoy 20% off orders over $125, and pick up a Mother’s Day gift. (Mother’s day is May 10th!) Hope to see you there!

Posted on April 13th, 2015 | Comment »

5 tips to beat winter (hint – it involves margaritas)

I don’t need to tell you about winter fatigue. If you live in pretty much ALL of the US, you’re feeling it right about now. (please- no comments from my home state of California- rain doesn’t count)

Hopeful is the best way to describe going in to March. There is a very slight chance that temperatures could get up into the 40s, and I know we would all be shedding our down coats if that miracle were to happen. But until then, there are a few things I like to do to awaken my senses without leaving the country. (although leaving the country is also a fantastic idea)

SEE
For only $25 a week, my friends over at FLEUR (check out their new shop in Logan Square!) will arrange spring blooms to freshen up the inside of your home or office. I can’t think of a better way to beat the winter blues than by bringing in an abundance of color and scent inside. Check out their instagram feed for a (free) visual feast.

Photo Courtesy of Fleur

SMELL
There’s nothing like your sense of smell to take you on a journey- either back in time to an outdoor garden you once strolled with your grandmother, the scent of roses surrounding you while her papery skin held your hand tight, or that yoga retreat with the ginger garden and fresh hemp smoothies that formed a connection with the loveliest ladies you ever met. Take that trip with a gorgeously packaged and small batch Brooklyn-made Perfume, Oil, or Candle with MCMC Fragrances. Anne and Katie formulate and bottle each carefully crafted natural perfume and oil in their Brooklyn studio.

Photo Courtesy of MCMC Fragrances

TASTE
What about winter citrus doesn’t make your taste buds pop a bit? I love to squeeze lemon in my water in winter, for that dose of vitamin c and a tangy jolt. But my favorite winter citrus, the grapefruit, is not only super juicy and in season right now, adding this to a salad can be the lovely wake up your taste buds are looking for. Check out this citrus salad recipe from JOY THE BAKER. Her site (and podcast) are super fun and EVERYTHNG I’ve made has been so good! Spicy pumpkin seeds shown here from her site too.

TOUCH
Scrub off the old and get ready to show your skin. I love the scrubs over at Bliss, and have also had my eye on one of the packages at the Langham, Chicago’s Chuan Spa. I can’t think of a better way to spend a dreary Chicago afternoon.

SOUND
What about the sound of a shaker mixing natural garden fresh ingredients together for a perfectly crafted cocktail? (is that a stretch? I think not) If you want to know what I’m talking about, go visit my second favorite bartender, KYLE at Blackbird. He’s the head bartender/amazing cocktail crafter over there. I adapted his Romeo and Juliet when he headed up the cocktails at the Violet Hour, and this summery rose water margarita is my favorite cocktail ever.

Photo by Julia Franzosa

I never promised you a Rose Garnish

Makes 2:
4 oz. Silver Tequila ( I like Milagro)
2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz. of Agave or simple syrup
6 drops of rose water
couple dashes of bitters
mint and rose petals for garnish
shake with ice and serve
top with one more drop of rose water and bitters

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 | Comment »

What to write on Blank Response Cards

Have you ever received one of these blank response cards in a wedding invitation, and wondered, What am I supposed to write on this RSVP card? I found the answer for you in the sweetest children’s book published in 1962.

I’ve talked about Ex Libris before, a company from Oregon that takes old books and repurposes them as journals, leaving some of the original pages in with the blank journal pages…. but I was going through my old work journals (which is always interesting, finding to do lists, past challenges, etc) and never noticed that one of the journals I wrote in was a charming children’s book instructing young scribes the art of formal letter writing. How could I have never noticed this? (Probably working) The book, published in 1962, Dear Dragon, is so sweet, and helpful.

Of course, it’s pretty tongue and cheek now… A great 2015 response could be:

We are so excited to attend your wedding this summer! Can’t wait to celebrate, Marisa and Peter.

or

Thank you for thinking of us. Unfortunately, we are unable to attend your wedding in September, and wish you so much happiness. Congratulations, Marisa and Peter.

What do you think – do you prefer writing a personal note, or checking a box saying you will attend?

Tags:
Posted on February 20th, 2015 | Comment »

A Love Note for you…

…To send, gram, email, or print and cut and slip under the door of that cute guy or gal down the hall. (printable version in the link below!)

If you’re looking for a small token of affection for that special someone (your mom, children, best friend, teacher, co-workers totally count!) in your life, download this card, print and cut out along the crop marks and send over a hand painted Valentine! Or just email it like I’m doing :)

Hope you have a great weekend. If you’re in Chicago, you should totally get a Heart shaped deep dish pizza.

Here’s the link to download a high resolution file for printing! (They will fit in an A2 envelope)

ThinkingofYou-Sarah-Drake

Posted on February 13th, 2015 | Comment »

G+J in the Press in 2014

There was all sorts of wonderful surrounding Ghienhel and Jonanthan’s rooftop wedding at the Peninsula this May, which was planned by my friends at Estera Events, (which was just named in the top 63 planners in the US by Martha Stewart!) The vendors involved with this wedding were all so committed to executing their vision for a glamorous, classic wedding.

In 2014, their wedding was posted on my absolute favorite wedding blog, Snippet and Ink:

Gorgeous Pink Coupe Champagne Tower by Nimble Well.

Their Wedding Backdrop, designed by another fantastic vendor, Kehoe Designs, was named in the top 15 of 2014 by Snippet and Ink.

Images above shot by Husar Photography.

Then, just this month, their wedding was featured in print over on CS Brides!

This was a true creative collaboration with G and J – which is my favorite way to work with a couple. We both contributed to the process by communicating, being open to trying out ideas, and then they trusted me to bring it all together in the end. You can see the process of creating their invitations in an earlier post- truly one of my favorites of the year!

Invitation Photo by Julia Franzosa:

Posted on December 24th, 2014 | Comment »

Reminder

I posted this photo last year at this time on Instagram from Cate Blanchett. It’s from the January 2014 issue of the American Vogue, and I feel it needs repeating. It must be this time of the year that prompts these feelings in me, the self doubt comes creeping in, that comes with the territory of creating things for hire. Where am I going? What’s the next step? Is my point of view clear? How do I grow my business in a smart way? This sort of helps me remember how normal it is to feel this way. It’s also a gentle reminder to reach out. To embrace those around me who are also tackling solo entrepreneurship. What a wonderful reminder last week at the Forth holiday party. Being part of a larger group of creative people is SO good. So, maybe the holidays are that time, things slow down and speed up at the same time, we over-indulge, all sorts of things crop up from spending time with or apart from family, but just remembering we are not alone just helps. And if you are truly alone, I hope that you have the courage to reach out this time of year. Just getting out of the house, and attending a holiday service, or a book reading (I was shocked and excited for the women owners of women and children first- their store was packed last night!), or smiling at the person next to you, can be a great start to connecting with someone this holiday season.

Posted on December 14th, 2014 | Comment »

Classic Wisconsin Wedding by Emily Steffen

UPDATE: Sara and Nick’s wedding was featured on Martha Stewart Weddings!

I love it when my clients come to me for what we are known for – classic, timeless wedding invitations, which also fit the description of Sara and Nick perfectly. Sara and Nick wanted a custom crest created for their summer wedding in Wisconsin. They felt their crest should be a logo that branded their entire wedding, from save the date’s that we helped them with in 2013, to the thank you notes they are probably still getting out! However, as we went through the design process, we uncovered an even more significant representation of their wedding, the compass. It signified their journey as a couple and the destination of their guests. Of course, their initials, N and S, made the choice even more fateful.

Photos here by Emily Steffen, unless otherwise noted.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Drake Design

Photo courtesy of Sarah Drake Design

photo courtesy of Sarah Drake Design

We created a stamp for their Field Notes save the dates. The rustic looking prints helped set the tone of the destination.

Posted on November 12th, 2014 | Comment »

watercolor save the dates, the process

It’s save the date time, and this fall we’ve been creating a few for our custom wedding invitation clients to help set the tone for their 2015 weddings. I loved the process of creating these sweet watercolors for our clients who are getting married in Charleston this spring. Each panel of the accordion fold is dedicated to an event of the wedding weekend. The watercolors didn’t all start out like this though. Thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the paintings that weren’t so cute at first! Maybe I should call them watercolor warmups? Here’s the process!

The first few rose attempts. I ended up using the rose on the bottom left, paired with two leaves:

Teacups were a bit challenging to get the shape and proportion right:

I could paint leaves all day, but I couldn’t get the cross right at first. Then the color had to be adjusted on screen so they all worked together:

The printed result:

Posted on October 29th, 2014 | Comment »

How a letter opened a door…

I thought about titling this post, “How a letter changed my life” but that sounded a little overstated. Maybe it changed the course of my business, though, and helped plant the seed of creating heirlooms that hold memories. One of those occasions involved a letter from my grandfather.

A huge part of creating our monogram collection came from a very important person in my life, and the fine china we’re offering wouldn’t have come to fruition if not for my grandfather, more affectionately known as Pop. Pop was a an amazing painter and sculptor, creating detailed, realistic carvings out of stone and wood, lovely landscape barn paintings (one of his specialties) and for many years, beautiful florals on fine china. Pop taught china painting for over 20 years, to dedicated students in northern California. As a child I received special pieces from Pop; more memorably a plate only brought out at christmas, and a delicate mug, covered with pink roses and rimmed with gold. I thought it was pretty special to receive such pieces. But it wasn’t until I was married in 2000 that he started sending me plates; you had to be married to receive such beauties. They are exquisite, and I have a variety of dessert plates mostly: a set of four autumn-themed in browns, golds and reds, a sweet set of purple toned flowers with more gold rims, a teapot.

Knowing how special his talents were, I wanted to learn, and as he got older, I realized I had better ask soon. So I wrote to him and asked and received this letter back, telling me where to buy china, and how he would be ready to teach me the following summer I was in California. This undoubtedly has played a huge part in our offering, in the inkling to create it and we actually have our china manufactured at the very place he recommended and used for his own china.

What about you? Has a letter ever brought you a new opportunity?

Posted on September 25th, 2014 | 1 Comment »