Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things I'm thankful for...

I can't believe that we are already in the midst of Thanksgiving week. It doesn't help that it's 70 degrees outside and the mild weather does anything but make me feel that Turkey day is here and Christmas shopping is right around the corner. I have been reminded several times in the last couple of weeks how much I have to be thankful for. My mental list is long, but it seems like it all boils down to a few things:

1. Being able to do what I love, and love what I do, and do it all from home.

2. My supportive husband, our two smiling, happy children and the sweetest golden retriever puppy we could find. While they make my time at home certainly more chaotic, it's considerably more enjoyable with them around!

3. Unlimited long distance and email. Even though I'm far away from family and some of my best friends, it doesn't feel like so much time has passed between visits when you can communicate daily, hourly, even to quickly call back for the last thing you forgot tell, which then turns into another 30 minutes...

4. That we all have our health. After watching some friends and family as they battle cancer, some with small children at home, and others who have a sick or disabled child, I can't be more thankful for those in my life, and that we have our health. 

5. A Thanksgiving at home. This will be our first Thanksgiving with just the 4 of us, and I'm looking forward to it. We are still planning on cooking a traditional dinner, but I've decided that we'll save the china for next year and Grady and I will decorate the table. We are doing pinecone turkey place card holders, crepe paper flowers for the centerpiece and may even attempt this Mayflower replica. Grady really wants to "do the boat!" I'm looking forward to working on it with him tomorrow. We'll see how it all turns out. Until then–

Happy Thanksgiving!

pinecone turkey place-card holder from Martha Stewart

paper Mayflower replica centerpiece

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Monster Mash, Birthday Bash!

October is here and that means a whole month of pumpkins, cooler weather (hopefully) and spooky Halloween fever! Last year my nephew requested a spooky party to celebrate his late October birthday. Here is the invitation I did—

There are lots of suggestions out there for Halloween food, but honestly, alot of them are pretty unappealing looking. Leave it to Disney to balance gruesome with clever just enough to keep it cute. Here are a few ideas for what to serve to your hungry little goblins:

Witches cauldron with severed fingers
You can find little cauldrons here.

If you really want to go all out, how about this cake from PinkCakeBox.com?

And now if you are wondering how to entertain the cute little boys and ghouls, here are some classic Halloween games you can't go wrong with. Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's in the cards—

I must say that while I have a pretty good memory, I am horrible about remembering people's names after the first meeting. It used to be that I would hone in on one detail like, "you know, the girl with the really pretty gold chandelier earrings?" or "the one with the cute leopard flats?" Details like that were always lost on my not-so-observant husband and really didn't do me much good when the next sighting their outfit had changed completely and I had no way of recognizing them. Now I find myself noticing their children instead rather than accessories, but I still can never remember the mother's name, leading to exchanges of "Hi, Jack's mom..." being commonplace in the nursery school parking lot.

If you have found yourself in the same boat, have no fear, there is a solution— the mommy card. One of my genius mom-friends, Emilie, asked me nearly five years ago to design one for her. She was new to town at the time and wanted a card with her contact information so she could arrange playdates, etc., with the other mom's she met at preschool, the park, etc. I thought it was a cute idea and happily obliged, but just didn't realize exactly how valuable it could be.

Here are a couple of examples:
These are cute, handy, and so much faster than digging around in your huge bag to find a scrap of paper and a pen to exchange email addresses in the school parking lot!

And for those of you whose "kids" happen to be the four-legged furry kind— How about these for the dog park? Puppies need playdates, too, right?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sign me up!

I just was looking over Whitney English's blog and saw her post on Boatman Geller's new product Carrie and Tuck. It's a perfect little stationery case with pockets for notecards and envelopes, a pen, and a clipboard to keep your list of who needs to be written. Sign. Me. Up. Between Grady's birthday and Frannie's arrival I have a list of at least 45 thank you notes to write, and I haven't even sent birth announcements out yet. And I try to stay on top of these things! People have been so kind with bringing us dinners, baby gifts and birthday gifts, and somehow, my list is not getting any shorter. I believe if this is not the solution to my problem, it certainly will be a nice way to accessorize it! I will most definitely order the kelly green and fill it with my own Anne Hitchins stationery, of course!

Boatman Geller Carrie and Tuck

My monogrammed foldover notecards in kelly green & black.
One last thought: I am always trying to simplify my life and come up with a perfect go-to gift. I think I'll take Whitney English's lead and this would be a great shower gift for new moms and brides-to-be alike. A cute case stocked with personalized stationery—how could you go wrong? Now if I could only figure out how to order the Carrie & Tuck monogram online...


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School

It's September 1st and time to get back to school! I love all that September brings: fresh routines, cooler temperatures, and new school supplies. Why not up the cute factor and make it personal with a new bag tag for your backpack, lunch bag or even ballet or sports bag? They're perfect for gifts, too!

backpack tag

lunch bag tag

My super-cute 3 year-old model, Grady, on his first day of school.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Excuses, excuses...

I'm not sure if I even have any readers out there, but if I do, I apologize, again, for my lack of posts. I had a classic case of the over-achiever thinking that I should start a blog while I was pregnant, working, being a full-time mom, undergoing a renovation, decorating a nursery all while enduring the annoying trait of being a perfectionist (read: I make every thing and every decision 1,000 x more complicated and drawn out than a normal person would have it or than it really needs to be). And then of course I crossed "pregnant" off my list and replaced it with "newborn" and "sleepless nights". I'm still managing to work a little bit every day but somehow the blog keeps sliding to the bottom of my list and I haven't seemed to fit it in in the last 2 months. But I haven't given up! I have ideas and new things to post! I just need to find the time to do it. hmmm.... Bear with me and I will get this posting thing down to a science if it kills me!

Our little girl is precious, however. She is 7 weeks today. We've named her Frances Lynn Hitchins and are calling her Frannie. She's perfect and has red hair like me and looks just like her daddy. Grady has been an adorable big brother, so helpful and cute with her. It's been a fun summer. We leave at the end of the week for our family vacation, come home to Grady's 3rd birthday party and the first day of school. I have a feeling it's going to be Christmas before we know it!

Keep checking back. In the midst of my crazy life, I've managed to work on some great invitations and announcements this summer, and I hope to post it all in the next couple of months.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Inspiring Spaces

I absolutely love to look at home studio photos, or really any creative office space. I love to see how they organized their materials and samples, what color palette people choose to go with— I could go on and on. I will preface the rest of this post by saying that about 6 months before we moved to Atlanta, we finished a basement renovation and I moved my office there to make room for our first child's nursery. The space was everything I wanted—organized, different from the rest of the house, there was a spot for everything.

Fast forward 3 years and we've just finished another renovation in our new house to make room for Baby Girl who is scheduled to make her debut in 3 weeks. I loved my Richmond studio so much that I just wanted to recreate the same space here, and luckily, it turned out even better! It's a little bit bigger and I've got some new additions to the room, but it turned out just how I wanted it and I love coming down here. I still have a little bit more of organizing to do, and the blank space on the white pegboard wall is where I plan to have a swivel mounted flat screen so it can be seen from the desk, the assembly area, or the kids can watch a show if they are at work with me.

Enjoy the pictures, and for those of you have been asking to see them, I apologize for the delay in this post. Somehow I misplaced the download cord to my camera in the process of moving all of my stuff and the replacement cord just came yesterday.

P.S. Excuse the poor quality of the photos— I'm still trying to figure our new camera out!

1. My desk and the pegboard wall for storage
2. Ribbon and hanging paper storage
3. The assembly area, view from the desk
4. Chair & bookshelf that separates the desk area and assembly area
5. Cutting table
6. These cheery binders sitting on the desk just make me happy. I guess I'm not that hard to please!
7. Hanging file storage and pens and pencils in pegboard racks
8. My co-worker. I think he might be shredding some paper in this pic, a favorite pastime of his. Not the best trait when you have an office full of paper products!

And after looking at these photos I realize I am not showing the black chalkboard-painted column in the middle of the room and my checkerboard Flor rug in front of the desk. I'll try to add another photo of that soon— Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A little something for the mommy-to-be...

For those of us that are expecting, it's so much fun to get little gifts for the impending arrival. But it's also so fun to get a little treat for yourself, too! I recently did some stationery for my friend Courtney who is expecting her first child. The inspiration was her need for thank you notes for shower gifts, baby gifts, etc. We looked at a few options but ultimately she decided to go with the first one with the pram, seeing as she can use them after her little one is here, too. They are so fun I think I'm going to make some for myself to tide me over until I can use our little one's monogramed notecards (that are yet to be made) after she arrives safe and sound.

I think these would make a great shower gift or just a little "thinking of you" something for a pregnant friend or for yourself if you are expecting. And practical, too!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fajitas + Margaritas

As you can tell from my last few posts, summer is the perfect time to host a gathering in my book. The colors are bright, attitudes are relaxed, the sun goes down later and most everyone's up for a good time.

One of my favorite invitations that I've done in the last couple of years is for a Fajita + Margarita  couples shower. The invitation would translate perfectly in a few instances: for a couple honeymooning in Mexico, a neighborhood party, even a laid-back rehearsal dinner. And for a girls night out you could rename it to Senoritas + Margaritas. The possibilities are endless, and it sets the stage for an easy meal with appetizers of chips, salsa and guacamole, there's no guessing on the drinks, maybe just add some Corona or Dos Equis, and you can grill the meat and vegetables keeping everyone outside and you out of the kitchen and mingling with your guests.

Here are some images and links for inspiration:

mexican paper flags 
guava margaritas 
strawberry margaritas 
bright and cheery centerpieces
utensils & napkins (this is shown for a Fall party, but switch up the colors and add a few bright flowers and it would be so cute)
seared spicy fajitas
grilled corn with chili powder and lime
tequila soaked fruit
Mexican ice cream sundaes with cinnamon chocolate sauce

And if you really want to get carried away with the theme:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dinner Alfresco

This week I also finished up invitations for a dinner alfresco, alfresco being Italian for "in the open air." The theme behind this affair is a casual pizza dinner where my client is having a chef come in and cook gourmet pizzas on a woodfire grill. She was hesitant to title the event a pizza dinner as she didn't want her guests to think they were ordering Papa John's for the group! So I was charged with coming up with phrasing and a design that conveyed both an Italian feel and the casual elegance of the evening. Enter the phrase "alfresco". It says, Italian, outdoors, and sounds a little sophisticated, right? I thought so, too.

To match the mood, I decided to go with a Tuscan look meant to mimic the pattern of a stone woodfire grill. Here's what they went with—

Here are the other options:

I'm assuming most don't have a gourmet kitchen or woodfire stove on their patio, so why not keep the theme and take the menu in another direction. For a complete menu meant to be served alfresco, take a look at this one courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, of Food Network fame.

For decor, think rustic like terracotta pots that can be used to hold utensils if you are going buffet-style, or maybe breadsticks in the center of the table for an intimate seated dinner. I also like the idea of cork placecard holders for a seated dinner. You can buy them here, or make your own.

Here's an ideal setting for an outdoor Italian dinner, in my book.

And don't forget the wine! Buon appetito!