Sneak peek at a few things that have recently left the studio! Lots more to come next week and the launch of the mini portraits is coming soon so stay tuned!
So I love when I can reveal illustrations that clients are gifting after they've been a secret for awhile! With that in mind I'm starting a new feature called the Weekly Roundup! You can also catch a lot of my recent work on Instagram @ckvthesaylum to stay current with what I'm working on and what new offers are coming to the shop!
Have a great weekend!
I literally couldn't be more excited to announce The Art Shop is officially open on the website.
After years of doing custom illustrations and watercolors for invitation suites I've gotten more and more requests to sell prints online. And when I started showing my painting process and some behind the scenes on my Instagram story I couldn't ignore the idea of opening an online shop any longer!
So The Art Shop a shopable gallery of some of my favorite watercolor illustrations all printed on cotton paper and shipped to you in perfectly appointed gift packaging. Each print is available in three sizes, order one or order multiple prints to create a gallery wall.
I will be adding more prints each month and older prints will sell out and may not be renewed so if like something be sure to snatch it up now! Happy shopping girls! Here are a few highlights below for you to check out, let me know what you think in the comments below or pop onto my Instagram...let me know what you'd like to see in the shop.
Summer always seems to end so bitter sweetly and this year is no different. I was lucky enough to travel with my family but also took some short trips with friends. I always like to recap at the end of each summer to remind myself to be grateful of all the great things I get to experience and the people I get to experience them with.
We kicked the whole thing off with a lot of lacrosse for The Dude followed by some more lacrosse for The Dude. Me and The Big Guy may or may not have gotten a little (or a lot) sunburned for Father's Day while sitting on the sidelines. But on a positive note we finally were able to tell The Big Guy that we were taking him to Colorado and Utah to celebrate his 40th birthday, that was a secret we'd been holding for months.
This will be remembered as the summer we finally completed the patio and pizza oven...this was taken the first day we really got experiment with it. These two ate more pizza that night than I've ever thought possible.
I finally got to have dinner with my girls when all of our kids' activities and schedules finally calmed down in the warmer months. We have been friends for 25 years and it doesn't matter how much time passes, it's like we are 15 years old all over again. There's no one I laugh more with.
Just a few days later The Big Guy, Avy Gravy and The Dude and I all hopped on a plane to Denver, Colorado where we began one of the coolest road trips I've ever taken. Driving through the Rockies, stopping for lunch in an awesome town called Salida and then making one more step at Blue Mesa Reservoir for a quick pic.
We finally made it to our destination, Telluride, CO. which would be home for a few days. My husband has been here several times in the winter to go snowboarding but never in the summer...and it was a first trip for the rest of us. It was such an awesome town and I've never seen such friendly people in my life. And I've literally never done so much physical activity on a vacation ever.
Day One we hiked...a lot. And breathing at 9,000 plus feet is not easy. The Big Guy and Avy Gravy seemed to fair much better than me and The Dude. Then we took the scariest ride I've ever been in the back of pick up truck, 7 miles up the side of the San Juan Mountains to Imogene Pass, 13,000 feet above sea level. Don't worry, I only actually thought we would die like 3 times. I'm slightly smiling in the pic below because I was out of the truck and on solid ground....and was apparently in denial that I had to get back in and good all the way down.
We white water rafted in the rain but spent evenings by the fire at the hotel or in Mountain Village...literally haven't been that relaxed in years.
And on our last day in Telluride we hiked to Bridal Veil Falls which was on this guys bucket list. The following day we left for Utah and that was another unreal drive. I've never been able to see that far at one time and there was literally nothing for miles upon miles.
Now I need to get serious for a minute. Utah is really hot in the desert in the middle of July. Like 108 degrees hot. And The Big Guy was like "let's hike in Arches National Park" and I was like "yeah I don't think so, I want to live" But we did see Delicate Arch from a far and were able to the short hike to see the "Windows."
And then that night we took an insane sunset Hummer tour on the petrified sand dunes in Moab. Not as scary as the ride in Telluride but close. Really freaking close. The next morning we drove all the back to Denver and spent some time with my oldest friend and her little family. We took a short trip to Boulder for lunch...that is a town I could live in! It was definitely and awesome trip and I would highly recommend making a road trip out of it and I'd even recommend the death defying tours.
Avy Gravy turned 13 just 2 days after we got home so we celebrated her and The Big Guy's birthdays with some tacos at our favorite Mexican spot.
And a few days later I got back in the car and take for the Hamptons with one of my girls and got to visit two of my favorite boys for a few days. Lotta laughs, lotta wine, lotta good food...don't hate me because it was fabulous.
A trip to the shore house with the kids was in order following the Hamptons trip. We celebrated my mom's birthday with a lobster dinner cooked by my brother in law and it was unreal. We spent some much needed time with our toes in the sand and the kids rode the waves and played paddle ball. That is my happy place.
Finally we celebrated a family wedding where The Big Guy and I danced all night...he needs no egging on to get on the dance floor, it's his thing, but I do. But once we were out there together it didn't matter that there was literally no one else for a long time, we could have fun in a paper bag as long as we are together.
Thanks for the memories 2017....you did NOT disappoint!
Wax seals are such a great nod to vintage letter writing and allows for complete personalization with custom stamp designs. I have done everything from skulls to crows to flowers and monograms and everything in between. They can seal an envelope closed or they can be used as accents directly on invitations, menus and paper bands wrapping around suites and beyond.
I wanted to take time this week to show you a short Timelapse video I filmed while creating the seals for this watercolor wedding suite. Sometimes the stamps are created directly on the finished piece and other times I'll create all of the seals on a metal sheet and add them to the piece later, it just all depends on the particular scenario.
So it's been awhile right? I'm going to be totally honest....I was burned out from blogging and Instagram was so much easier to get new work in front of my audience with a lot less pressure. My mom texted me a month ago and asked why she wasn't getting any emails from The Asylum anymore, I think she was taking it personally. I had to admit to her and myself that I had let it fall by the way side despite the fact that I know it's important for my business and for me too.
But a break combined with a blog design refresh was literally exactly what I needed to get excited to sit down at my laptop and tell you all about what's on my mind, what's happening behind the scenes and what I'm working on.
And there's a lot of fresh content coming your way! I've got awesome wedding and event inspiration coming your way coupled with a larger focus on what is happening in my studio including videos and how to instructions on stuff I get asked all the time, like literally all the time. And of course this is where you will see all new wedding suites and work before they land on the website. Needless to say I've got a lot to catch you up on before I we move on to new happenings so stay tuned over the next few weeks to see what's happened since I've been gone.
I hope you're as happy I'm back as I am. If there's anything you'd like to see featured on the blog feel free to comment below! And let me know what you think of the new blog design.
In case anyone wants to buy me something...theses are the top items on my list. I'm kidding of course (not really, wink wink) but if you are stumped for a gift for your creative friend, wife or Secret Santa these may spark some seriously good ideas. Happy Shopping!
3. Long Weekend in Key West, no link needed....someone just make sure my husband does this, I need a vacation, STAT.
It's Fall and I always feel the need for some type of reinvention at this time of year...maybe for fall is the new spring. But I digress. Here's a sneak peak at some new custom invites coming to the website sporting updated styling.
You are probably sitting somewhere sweating. I mean seriously, it's September and the heat and humidity here is RIDICULOUS, plain ridiculous. And you probably are getting used to the idea of your kids being back in school and asking yourself why it's this hot in September. And then you go to certain stores and see Halloween and fall decorations and think "Are you kidding me?" while you sip your 1000th iced coffee of the summer. And some stores have Christmas and holiday decorations up and you call your friend and say things like "Can you believe this? How can anyone think about Rudolph and hot chocolate while I'm melting faster than a snowman in hell?"
Brace yourself. I'm going to tell you something that will make you want to throw stuff at me. My holiday cards are already in their envelopes and stamped. Seriously. And you know why? Because we all think we have soooo much time between now and the holidays and then magically it sneaks up on us and we're like "What happened to the last 3 months? And you scramble to find those pics on your iPhone you like or the email from the photographer with photos of your kids sporting toothless grins and hop online in the middle of the night only to fight with a website to get it all done so you can get them in the mail before New Year's Eve.
I'll bet some of you already got your photos taken, so are you waiting for the leaves to change to feel like it's appropriate to get those cards done? You don't have to wait to order your holiday cards (with me or anyone else for the matter.) Do it now and you won't have to think about it then. And because I love getting it done early for you I'm going to offer you free return address labels to match your custom design if you order before September 30th. How awesome am I? That's right...super awesome.
So email me today and let's get the snowball rolling on those cards.
So you're engaged! Congratulations! And you've picked your wedding's date and location and now you're thinking...do I need to send a Save the Date? The answer isn't always yes and spending money on something you don't need is probably not the best idea for your wedding budget so let's explore why you might need a Save the Date.
YOUR HAVING A DESTINATION WEDDING!
Now that sounds like a ton of fun. So if you are boarding a plan or expect a large number of your guests will need to travel and book accommodations you should definitely send a Save the Date. Make sure to include information regarding where to stay and how long people should plan on being there...meaning if you are having a welcome dinner or party, a sending off brunch make sure you indicate that this will be a weekend of events! This will allow all of your friends and family to make plans that suit them. And really the best thing you can do is get a website and put all of that pertinent information there so your guests can refer to it when booking.
IT'S A HOLIDAY OR HOLIDAY WEEKEND
Even if it's not Christmas or New Year's Eve you'd be surprised at how many plans people have regularly planned for Memorial Day Weekend, July 4th and Labor Day, giving your guests an early heads up will allow for decisions to be made about those traditional plans!
SO WHAT DO YOU NEED TO INCLUDE?
It's a great spot to include your engagement photos if you've taken them, if not you don't need to forgo a photo...the Save the Date below was designed for a destination wedding in Ireland and my friend and favorite photographer had taken this one on a trip to Ireland and it was the perfect color palette and not a literal interpretation of an Irish wedding so we used that as the focal point.
Beyond the design you should include your names, the date and the city and state of your wedding, you don't need the actual location. And of course you want your guests to know they will receive an actual invitation in the future so include a line like "invitation to follow." If you've set a website put on there too!
Sending Save the Dates at the right time is also important, you can send them up to 6 months in advance and earlier but anything after that will come so close to your wedding invitation that it may be an unnecessary expense.
So if you need it, send it and make sure you have a little fun here, give people an idea of what to expect. Is your wedding going to be the party of the year? Then make it fun. Are you planning a romantic and elegant wedding? Then you should nod to that feeling with your Save the Date too. Consider something different than a card in an envelope...postcards can be cool and cost effective, a letter is also a beautiful way to fill everyone in, magnets are always popular choices too.
We all need a little time to regroup and relax so we will be closed Friday March 25 thru April 3! All emails will be answered upon our return and should you have any emergencies while we we are out of the studio we will be checking our email periodically. (You're thinking what kind of emergencies does a stationery designer have...you'd be surprised at how many "oops I forgot to order wedding invitations and I'm getting married in 6 weeks" emails we get!)
I'M SO EXCITED!!! AHHH!!!
OK, I'm calm enough to discuss this...my second goal for the New Year was to finally launch a a collection of ready to order logos and business cards that I've been working on! Ahhh! (still excited, sorry)
Very often I receive inquiries from small business owners and bloggers asking for business card and logo design but every now and then it doesn't work out because of the budget that can be required to design a completely custom logo or branding package. So I decided to create a small collection of logos and business cards for budget conscious entrepreneurs and bloggers for purchase on Etsy; all designs can be customized with your business or blog name, tag line etc. I'll be adding more elements and logos throughout 2016 so keep your eyes peeled for those.
There's a little sneak peak below but check them out on Etsy and let me know what you think! And because I'm so excited, I'm going to offer them 20% off thru February! Just use coupon code LOGO20 when you check out!
So with the beginning of the new year I always have plans to organize my house, eat better, exercise more, blah blah blah....but this year I'm focusing my energy on the studio. My first goal is making the website function a little better in general but most importantly on mobile devices. When checking our analytics most people are reaching us on mobile platforms especially first time visitors. So with that you'll see an new format for navigating the WEDDING and BASHES invitations and it will work more efficiently on your phone or tablet. The home page reflects some minor changes and additions as well and more tweaks will come. So if you haven't checked out the site in awhile, give it a go and let me know what you think!
I'm supposed to be relaxing on this last day of vacation but I couldn't help resist photographing this New Year's Eve wedding invitation suite! More to come on this ULTRA thick letterpress suite coming soon.
Everyone was using 2015BestNine.com to find their top nine posts on Instagram and you know I couldn't resist! This is like the best of everything the studio is about....couture wedding invitation suites, special details, custom illustrations, girly fashionable influences and chic but fun branding.
And if you aren't already following us on Instagram, you should be! @CKVStationer
Everyone likes a discount and this year we're giving you TWO chances to win 20% off your holiday cards and free shipping! It's super easy to enter!
1. Follow us on Facebook and look for the Holiday Contest post, then LIKE IT, COMMENT ON IT AND SHARE IT! Done!
2. Or on Instagram @ckvstationer follow us and find the Holiday Contest Photo LIKE IT and TAG a friend or friends in the comments!
Feel free to enter on both Apps to double your chances of winning! One winner will be chosen from each. CONTEST STARTS NOW!
Yesterday was my mom's birthday! So we had a very quiet and fun lobster dinner at the shore...which included sparklers (and a small burn, everyone's ok) an awesome Potatoe Salad from my brother in law and a Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad and my version of a Grilled Caponata and Arugula Salad (click each one for the recipe.) We followed all that up with a strawberry shortcake and as soon as we finished singing "Happy Birthday" fireworks went off, no joke! (The golf club across the street was hosting a wedding and it was literally just perfect timing) But my mom deserves nothing less than lobster and fireworks for her day!
Happy Birthday Mom! I love you VERY much.
This post is a little delayed...ok a lot delayed but I finally had time to put it together so here goes! I took Avy Gravy strawberry picking (The Dude was way too busy playing basketball in the driveway with his new hoop to come with) and despite the fact that it was SUPER HOT and Avy was ready to leave after 5 minutes, we filled two boxes with some small super sweet berries. I picked up a few stalks of rhubarb when we were paying but had no specific plan for any of our goodies. But at the very least I could rely on my fave Strawberry Almond Gelato or Strawbery Rhubarb Crumble which you guys seemed to love.
Then I posted a photo of our harvest on Instagram and my fabulous Martha Stewart loving friend Kate said "Make jam!" My brain was all "Yeah, no way that's too complicated." The science and boiling jars is not my bag and let's get real, how country am I? Not THAT country! But I like a challenge so I decided to approach this from a place of yes and instead of place of fear. (You like that huh? Sounds all brave and stuff but we are still just talking about making jam, don't worry.)
So I asked my dear friend Karen who had given me some seriously delicious homemade pepper jelly for Christmas for canning tips. She wrote it all down and I felt pretty good about where I was going. I collected my canning supplies at my grocery store, which I wanted to be minimal in case this all went to hell. Yes, I said that. I searched Pinterest and found a bunch of recipes for Strawberry Jam but I'm not gonna lie...I didn't have enough strawberries for any of them, so I decided to add some other berries and use a recipe for reference but I winged it. Oh dear god.
STRAWBERRY BERRY JAM
What you need
3 1/2 pounds of strawberries
1 pint blueberries
2 pints blackberries
3 cups sugar
4 tablespoons pectin
Juice of half a lemon
discs and rings (new ones, you can not reuse these)
Disclaimer: there are not pictures of the actual canning process because I was hyper focused on the process, it went faster than I thought so there was NO time for photography and let's face it, I wasn't completely convinced this was going to pan out.
I prepared by putting all of the jars in a big pot and filled it with water, turned it on to boil. I put the discs in a small pot with water covered it and turned it on to medium low so they are hot and ready but not boiling. I squeezed the lemon juice into a bowl and measured the sugar and pectin so I was ready when it was time.
Next I chopped all of the strawberries (this took the most time and was when I thought about giving up and how I'd never eat it because I'll hate strawberries by the time I'm done but I digress, as usual.) I placed one third in pot over medium high heat with the blackberries and blueberries and added a couple tablespoons of water. As the fruit started to break down I smashed it with a wooden spoon then added another third of the strawberries. I continued stirring and smashing and after a few minutes added the last batch. Adding the strawberries in various stages allowed for some of them to break down completely and others to stay chunkier creating a really nice texture so I recommend it. I added the lemon juice, sugar and pectin and stirred for a minute. I removed it from the heat and scrapped the foam off the top for a clearer jam. If you don't care how it looks skip this step, it tastes the same.
Now the scary part...screaming hot jars and jam, I was convinced I'd end up with third degree burns. Place of yes..Like Bethenney says "Come from a place of yes." Do you think she's ever canned anything? (If you don't know...Bethenney Frankle, RHofNY, Skinny Girl, now you know.)
So I carefully removed all the jars from the boiling water and lined them up on a folded bath towel on my counter. I immediately began to ladle the jam into each jar leaving a quarter inch of room from the top of the jam to the top of the jar for expansion. I wiped the rims clean with a hot wet dishcloth, if there's anything on the rim the jar won't seal properly....one thing I wish I had but didn't wasn't a funnel so if you don't have one get one it makes this part easier.
Then I placed the disks on each jar and followed that with the rings which I was told to just twist until a felt a little resistance as they would tighten later. I placed all the jars back in the boiling water for 10 minutes then removed them with tongs and placed them back on the towel on the counter. I listened for the symphony of tops popping and started to get excited thinking this whole charade might actually be working. Karen says popping noise is good! I tested each jar after they had cooled hours later by pushing the top, if you can't flex the center up and down, it's sealed. Then I tested further by holding the jar from the edge of the rim with the ring off and lifting it a few inches from the counter. If the disc held it was sealed! If they aren't sealed properly pop them in the fridge and eat those first. All sealed.
I tested some one a piece of a baguette...a-mazing. I'm like a professional canner, what else can I can now?
So the bottom line is simple: it's a lot of steps but if you prepare everything in advance you'll be all set since it goes fast and it's not hard at all. I honestly can't wait until a cold winter morning and I can wake up to a little jar of sunshine to spread on my bagel. I'm going to try raspberry jam soon and I'm determined to make a serious bacon jam too.
(Side not of praise: The Big Guy took one to work to use on his morning bagel and then stole another when I wasn't paying attention...that's some serious applause since you know cooking for him is like cooking for a NY Times food critic)
So happy canning and let me know if you make anything!