Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DIY Baby Shower Invitations

Paper turns me on. I think it all started when I was about 10 years old and my parents sent my brother and me to Colonial Camp at the Peter Wentz Farmstead. The farmstead was built and established in the mid- to late- eighteenth century outside of Philadelphia. It served as headquarters to George Washington in the fall of 1777 and now the site (farmstead and 90 surrounding acres) has been restored and furnished to reflect its appearance at the time of the Revolutionary War. Every summer they have a camp where campers learn trades and activities of the Colonial Period. During camp my brother and I made 3 legged milking stools, dipped candle sticks, pressed flowers, weaved ticking tape, painted theorems (that are now framed and hanging in my kitchen!) AND made paper from cotton pulp among other activities.

In my childhood diary I still have pieces of the paper that I made at camp. It's highly texturized and blended with lavender from the Peter Wentz kitchen garden. I'm pretty sure I was hooked right away.

I spend stupid amounts of money on paper, unique letterpress cards (especially anything from Saturn Press in Swan's Island, Maine), and nice pens. My own stationary is navy blue with a white monogram and the envelopes are lined in kelly green. It makes me happy to think of people receiving my thank you blue envelopes must be eye catching amongst the bills and catalogs, right?

So when it came time to create baby shower invitations for my dear friend Ruth...I couldn't just go out and buy pre-made or printable invitations. Here's the catch...I'm temporarily unemployed...and not exactly flush with cash at the moment. So, I needed a DIY invitation on the cheap.

First, the theme: We don't know if Ruth is having a boy or a girl so I needed a color/theme that was gender neutral. Ruth's favorite color is green and before she was even pregnant, had a fascination with peapods. Perfect...that was easy!

Second, card stock: I went down to my favorite store in Northampton, essentials, and found bundles of 4" x 6" white card stock. The paper is texturized, which makes it feel more expensive than it was. I got 4 bundles of 10 cards for $12.00, because I needed to make 36 invitations. I figured I would need at least one test invitation and a few mess-ups in my printer.

Third, design: Recently, I watched "The September Issue," in which Vogue-chief Anna Wintour says, "Less is more." I agree! I wanted a simple, straight-forward design that wasn't too cutesy. Ruth has fabulous taste...and doesn't buy into consumerism one bit, so I figured she would appreciate a simple design as well. Here's what I came up with (personal info has been deleted/altered). All 36 invitations were printed on my cheapo HP printer that came free with my MacBook 4 years ago:

Fourth, envelopes: I like to make my own envelopes. I figure it's eco-friendly and unique. Several years ago Santa brought me these awesome envelope templates from Paper Source and ever since I've been making envelopes out of old maps, old Patagonia catalogs, used wrapping paper, old New Yorkers, and anything else flat that I can find. I wanted an envelope that would grab attention, reflect Ruth's eco-friendly interests, and be beautiful. I stopped in at an art supply store and found some gorgeous paper (you'll notice it from my header) that matched the green I used on her invitations. I also used the same peapod design for my address labels. Here's the end result (with personal info altered):

And that, my friends, is one of the ways I have kept busy during funemployment. I love projects.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Find: Anthology Magazine

I'm a fairly faithful reader of Anh Minh's blog and just yesterday, when I decided to dive back into this blogging life, I found her new project: Anthology Magazine. The tag is "Living with substance and style." Now why didn't I think of that? I clicked through the preview and fell in love. For possibly the first time in my life, I am ahead of the curve (or at least I think I am). This magazine is brand new and if you order soon, you'll get the first issue (Fall 2010). For just $38, you'll receive 4 issues per year and from the looks of their will be $38 well spent.

I used to say that I had one foot in a hiking boot and the other in a stiletto. These days (could it have been 2 years in Maine?) I appear to be drifting away from the stilettos, but I still crave style and art in my every day life. Mostly, I want to live with purpose and yet be effortlessly surrounded by beautiful things. It seems Anthology Magazine is bridging the gap. The idea of a quarterly magazine is also enticing - with the New Yorker, Martha Stewart, Real Simple, Lonny, House Beautiful, and a plethora of short stories and novels...I don't think I can fit another monthly magazine into my reading life. I just ordered my subscription and I'm eager for Fall 2010 to arrive in our mailbox...I expect great things!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears

This is long overdue. After living in our house for 1 year and 2 months and putting countless hours of work (and dollars) into the big, lovely Greek Revival, we decided to move. My husband received a job offer, nearly out of the blue, that we couldn't refuse. We both loved our home, our town, and the state of Maine, but I'm of the opinion that one must go where the opportunity presents itself (especially when young). We've been married for 4 years and have lived in 4 different houses, two of which we've owned. That's some math.

In a strange stroke of premonition, I actually folded up and saved all of our moving boxes and packing materials in our attic. So back in July and August, Jon and I set to the task of finishing our major renovation projects, packing most of our belongings, finding a new place to live in the Amherst area, and putting our house on the market.

The months of July and August were stressful and challenging, but September and October have been close to perfection. Our house is still on the look for future posts of updates on the windows and finished front hall. Between moving, finishing projects, and finishing my job at Colby...I had zero time or energy to post anything.

Through the blood, sweat and tears of renovating and then quickly leaving our beautiful home, we've learned some valuable lessons. I want to record these case I need reminders in the future:

1. In a home purchase, buy what you need now (or maybe what you need now with logical space for an addition if necessary). Don't over-obsess about planning for the future. Case in point: two people who each work 60+ hours/week do not need a 4 bedroom home. This was all part of planning for our sometime-in-the-future children, but we decided to move before we even thought about having children!

2. Small is better. So, I learned an expensive lesson by buying a big house. I learned that I like small cozy houses (with plenty of storage space for hiding the mess) furnishing budget is on a smaller scale.

3. For us, a twenty minute commute is max. A long commute on the way to work is okay, but at the end of a long day...I JUST WANT TO GET HOME.

There may be other lessons that I've learned, but those are the most glaring at the moment. And perhaps you're wondering what I'm going to do with this little, unread blog? Well...I've thought a lot about just giving it up, but I think I'll keep it going for a little while. I like that I can look back on our little crazy life and feel grateful for how far we've come. And as soon as our big, lovely Greek Revival sells...I'm sure we'll be anxious to buy another home that needs a little reviving. But in the meantime, I'll focus on fun projects and fun escapes. No promises for any regularity...but I'll do my best. Thanks for reading. Oh...and if you have a friend who wants to buy a beautiful house in Gardiner, Maine that has been loved and loved and loved, here's our listing.