Thursday, April 30, 2009

Made In Vermont Giveaway #1

Head on over to All About Cats to check out the first Mother's Day giveaway from the Made In Vermont Etsy Team!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

California Dreaming

I finally landed back in Vermont late last night - where it was a chilly 45 degrees! In all actuality the weather in California while we were there was not all that hot and we heard there was a heat wave back on the East Coast. The hottest it got on our vacation was when we had our layover at the Dulles airport where it was 80+ degrees out and the air conditioning appeared to be broken inside the terminal we were in. Oh well, I guess that is how things go sometimes! Despite the cooler temps, though, we had an awesome time!

Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

My husband and I have been obsessed with trying Sonic since we are bombarded with commercials for it at home and we had hoped to finally try it on our trip to Cali (since an ill-fated attempt a few years ago ended with a disastrous experience at In N' Out Burger). But, it seems as though Sonic does not dot the landscape in the West as we had dreamed. So our good friends Patti and Jamie took us to Fosters Freeze. I immediately fell in love with the old fashioned logo and packaging and simple straight-forward menu. Around since the 1940's, Fosters Freeze is like the West Coast version of Dairy Queen, but better!

Our first full day in Cali we went to check out a Spanish Mission that was right up the road from where our friends live on Vandenburg Airforce Base. I had never been to a Mission before and I was amazed at the vast size of it and the intricate details of the architecture. There was a peaceful feeling throughout the grounds of a simpler way of life.

I could definitely see myself spending lazy Summer evenings sitting on this long, wide porch overlooking the gardens.

The Air Force base our friends live on covers 98,000 acres which includes several beaches. We took a long, windy drive through the rolling hills that encompass some of the missile silohs and launch facilities there and then went down to the ocean. We were the only people there (it was a bit breezy) so we kicked off our shoes and went for a stroll in the soft sand. It was the first time either of us had been to the Pacific Ocean.

My favorite day of the trip was when we went to Solvang a cute little dutch town with flower lined streets dotted with bakeries and shops. We had a hearty brunch at The Little Mermaid and browsed through some of the cute shops before heading out to do some wine tours. We went to two different vineyards before stumbling accross the town of Los Olivos. It was wine tasting heaven with one tasting room after another through the center of town. We ended up buying a few bottles from Wild Heart Winery and I also got some Organic Walnut Oil from Global Gardens which had some of the best tasting olive oil I have ever tried. It was hard to pick, but once I tasted the walnut oil I was in love!

The only part of my trip I don't have any pictures of is our excursion to Santa Barbara. It was a gorgeous day and we had lunch at the Santa Barbara Brewing Co. I also got to go an Anthropologie store for the first time ever! I finally got some of my own latte bowls and I managed to limit myself to two shirts. It was hard, but I managed to be good (relatively speaking).

Now I am home and trying not to feel overwhelmed by my very long to-do list. Coming up: lots of invitations! new designs on my Etsy store! AND a very special Mother's Day giveaway (my first giveaway too!) hopefully going up in the next day or so!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Heart Thursday

Today I love airplanes. Particularly airplanes that take me to far away destinations and sunny skies and warm weather! Planes that take me to California to visit my friends Patti & Jamie for six glorious days!

So, yeah, that is where I will be until next Tuesday. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Never Bored of Boards

All in all I was pretty happy with how well I achieved the vision of my dream wedding. I just wish I had known about inspiration boards! They are so fun to look at and what an easy way to see all of your ideas in one place (and also be able to tell what looks good with what and what things are not-so-much). I guess I could always make an inspiration board based on my wedding, but I keep getting caught up in new ideas.

There is a great post over on Twig & Thistle today about Kathleen's Sister's wedding in 2006 (only a couple of months before mine!). It is the perfect combination of rustic and charm- similar to what my vision was for mine. I particularly love the pinwheels and the fans that doubled as programs for the ceremony.

There is even a Flickr group for wedding inspiration boards! I love this ocean themed one- it is so airy and light feeling.

Another great site for inspiration boards is Wedding Bee. They also have great forums and a blog all dedicated to planning your wedding. There are actual two pages that I found with inspiration boards on them.

As I become ever more obsessed with blogs and social websites, I have found a multitude of amazing inspiration all over the web. The wedding resources in particular are constantly making my jaw drop and sounds like 'ooooh' and 'ah!' escape my lips. It is so unfair that I have just found all of these resources now- three years too late! Oh- to go back and be able to do it again with all this new-found knowledge! Would I really change that much? Probably not. Maybe a few things. Minor things. A little.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My New Toy

When I first decided to start a business making invitations I knew I would have to get a high-quality printer. Print quality was going to make or break me- no matter how great the graphic is, if it doesn't print well, it won't look good. After talking to one sales guy at Small Dog (I still love them though) I hastily plunked down $600 for a Brother Color Laser All-In-One.

It wasn't until well past the 30 day Return period that I actually started printing on it regularly and I immediately started to notice some flaws. Mainly, it curls the paper (a lot) and the quality wasn't what I was really expected. I mean, it was nice, just not the professional quality I was going for.

Then a couple of days ago it started to leave little specs all over my prints. After spending an hour plus cleaning the drums and something called the corona wire (and, no, it has nothing to do with crisp, refreshing beer best served with a slice of lemon) I threw in the towel. I went to Staples and bought a new INK JET printer.

This time around I did a lot of research before I decided on what I wanted which ended up being an Epson Stylus Photo 1400 with Claria HD Ink. It seemed the best quality without going over $500) I won't lie- it hurt plunking down another few hundred dollars on a printer, but it will ultimately be worth it. I will chalk it up as one of those 'rookie' mistakes with a lesson well learned. Do your research before you buy large equipment!

I have alredy printed an entire invitation order on it and I am giddy with how stress-free it was. And no need to flatten everything under a stack of phone books!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Heart Thursday

I have to admit that I almost forgot about my promise last week, until I came across this hunk of fabulousness. How cool are these stone shaped cushions! Or couches, or benches or whatever you want to call them. They don't necessarily fit into a category, which is what is so great about them. I could see them in a rustic post-and-beam as much as a modern eco-home. For a girl that loves nature, such as myself, they make for perfect casual seating. Made by Smarin Design, in France, they are only available in a handful of stores in the US and mostly in California at that. Which means they are probably pretty pricy- but a girl can dream right?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Want That Font

I have previously spoken of the monthly e-newsletter I receive from MyFonts with their up and coming stars. It is always inspiring and my list of fonts to purchase is always growing longer! Here are my favorites from this month:

Biscotti was originally designed by Cyrus Highsmith for Brides Magazine which explains why it would be perfect for an elegant invitation.

Alpine Script is a little more casual and daring brush script. As MyFonts accurately notes, "It’s got dash and confidence...". And it also features 30 alternate characters so you can customize headlines to make them just right.

Jeanne Moderno gets it's influence from 1950's advertising and Bauhaus stencil faces. I think it would be perfect for a ritzy, old-fashioned style party or a modern wedding invite.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best. Giveaway. Ever.

I know I am not the only one in love with LeCreuset cookware- you know the super nice, ridiculously expensive French pots and pans that grace the pages of Williams and Sonoma catalogs? I have been slowly (and I mean slooooowly) collecting some pieces for a few years now and one of the things I have yet to aquire is a nice stock pot.

Well, I just read on Rookie Cookie about her newest giveaway which so happens to be a LeCreuset 6 qt. stockpot! In any color you want! (I will be getting the green shown above, you know, if I win) I can't believe that I am telling you about it since it will hurt my chances of winning- but hey, what are friends for if not to spread around the good news?

To enter all you have to do is leave one comment on this post. And browse around while you are there if you have yet to discover Rookie Cookie- the site is full of amazing recipes like this one, and this one, and this one.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Heart Thursday

So I have decided to start a regular weekly post called 'I Heart Thursday' where I feature one thing that got my pulse up during the week. I will try my hardest to post it every week and I hope others will leave comments/links to things they heart too!

For my first ever 'Heart Thursday' is this dress, appropriately named the Fab Occasion Dress, by Boden. I just recently discovered Boden, a UK clothing company, after a post be Design Mom about their awesome jackets, and then, miraculously enough, I received a catalog from them in the mail! One of those totally random workings of the universe, I guess.

Now I am full-on in love with all their stuff! I just got their Summer catalog in the mail this week and immediately flipped through and circled everything I wanted (I am not the only one that does that, right?). This dress was one of the first things to get circled. Of course I want it in the teal color (I am so predictable) and I think it would be PERFECT for my brother-in-law's wedding at the end of June. The removable flower corsage is just the right amount of accent without being gawdy and the fabric looks so satiny and lovely. I already have the perfect teal shoes to go with it too! I think it was meant to be <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Garden Wedding Inspiration Board

click image to enlarge

Here is another wedding inspiration board that I have been working on for a garden themed wedding. I am trying to stick with regional themes for my inspiration boards that incorporate the best that Vermont has to offer, but that's not to say you can't take these ideas and use them if you happen to live in another part of the country.

Garden weddings are something the Vermont landscape lends itself to, especially in late Spring, early Summer. There are tons of venues with gardens and there are so many nature inspired goodies here that make it a breeze to pull off a romantic, elegant, floral infused event. My Karrie & Matthew invitation suite would be a perfect match for such an affair.

Top Row (left to right): Bouquet by In Full Bloom, English Tea Favors, as seen on Martha Stewart Weddings, Ribbon Tiered Cake as seen on VT Vows, Peggy Lee Bridesmaid dress by Siri, available at Sewly Yours

Middle Row (left to right): Victoria Earrings and Necklace by luxedeluxe, Wedding Gown by The Cotton Bride, available at Fiori Bridal, Flowers adorn a rustic arbor by A Schoolhouse Garden (top), Flower headband by (bottom), String instruments would be the perfect accompaniment- photo from Monique Citro, professional cellist

Bottom Row (left to right): The beautiful gardens at the Inn at the Round Barn in Waitsfield, VT, Charming tablescape with lanterns as seen on VT Vows, Topiary Place Card as seen on Martha Stewart Weddings, Cute yellow floral embroidered bridesmaid dress and ensemble as seen on Martha Stewart Weddings

Friday, April 3, 2009

Creative Park

What do all of the things above have in common? They are all made out of paper and can be downloaded for free (with instructions) on the Creative Park website!

There are a ton of awesome and amazing crafts on this innovative Japanese website- anything from triangular calendars to pop-up notecards. I haven't tried anything yet, but I am thinking of starting with this. Isn't it amazing you can make that with paper?

All of the projects are separated in six categories: Gift & Card, Paper Craft, Scrapbook, Art, Calendars, and Photo Gallery. And the best part is everything is free!

::found via Creature Comforts::

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Weddings the Creative Process Event

On May 3rd a whole host of fabulous vendors and experts will be gathering for what sounds like the ultimate lesson on creating an amazing wedding to delight all of the senses! It is being hosted at Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, CT. The location might be a bit of a drive for Vermont brides, but considering there isn't anything quite like this anywhere closer it would be worth the drive.

They describe the event as "...the opportunity to learn about the creative process behind selecting and working with vendors in planning your wedding." So it's not just another wedding show where tons of vendors are just vying for your attention and checkbook. The vendors and experts are going to be there to give you helpful tips on the vendor selection process as well as how to make your wedding day as special as you want it to be. Think of it as a conference for wedding planning.

The featured vendors are broken down into the five senses covering everything from your menu to mixing colors and smell with flowers to create a truly unique experience for your guests. And the special guest speaker is Abby Larson from Style Me Pretty, one of my favorite wedding sites, talking about inspiration and eye candy.

Tickets are $20 and you can get them here. And all proceeds go to the Life is Good Foundation so you will be supporting a good cause to boot!

Hot Pink Inspiration Board

Click image to view larger

What little girl didn't always dream of a wedding filled with the girliest color of the rainbow? Even if pink isn't your favorite color you can't deny that it adds passion and pizazz to anything it adorns. To pull off a really show-stopping wedding this Summer, consider spicing it up with hot pink touches.

Top Row (left to right): Wedding cake adorned with hot-pink flowers as seen on VT Vows, Silk Taffeta bridesmaid dress in Light Flamingo from J. Crew, Azalea Satin Sash adorned Wedding Gown from David's Bridal, Pink Rose Petals line the aisle

Middle Row (left to right): Hot Pink and Orange table dressings from Belinda Norris Events, Pink and Brown favors as seen on VT Vows, Hot Pink accented Bouquet from Flowers in Season

Bottom Row (left to right): Cors & Cosmo Mint Shoes in Magenta on Zappos, Bridesmaid Tote Bag Favors/bouquet holders as seen on VT Vows, Pink, Orange and Brown Invitation Suite by Envelopments