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April 2017

Mother’s Deserve More Than a Day

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The retail calendar is always a few steps ahead of the everyday, regular calendar. Which I have to say is an adjustment for me. I literally have to start thinking about Christmas in a couple of months. So strange. So about 4 weeks ago, I was already in Mother’s Day mode, thinking of card designs and gift ideas for this holiday. I’m going to share a bit of my process here for coming up with new card designs.

Since I like to illustrate a sweet and playful image for a lot of my cards to tell a sort of visual story, step 1 is to do a lot of reflecting and thinking. Especially for Mother’s Day. Now that I’m practically all grown up (most would say I’m totally grown up but I’m trying to be in slight denial about that, so shut up and thank you), I like to look back to my childhood memories. I feel very lucky when I think back because I was raised by a mother who encouraged play time and using your imagination. Mom was always down to set up a craft of some sort and from a very young age I was always excited to make something. Whether it be coloring books and crayons or playing barbies and using stickers to put “art” on the walls of barbie’s house (and apartment which doubled as my closet), bored wasn’t a word I knew. I actually very rarely am bored even now when I’m alone because I learned how to have fun on my own and all I needed was my imagination. And a mom who let me turn my closet into actual living quarters for my inanimate toys. This is a valuable lesson she taught me without even realizing, that I will surely carry through to my children one day.

As I grew older, playtime lessened, naturally and other activities came into the picture. Such as dance. I had danced from age 3-8 as most little girls did and maybe still do. And then we moved and I was afraid to join dance again because I didn’t know anyone. But my mom made me do it and at the time I was SO MAD. Like livid. I definitely didn’t know that word at age 10 but if I did I would have for sure used it. Note to self, don’t teach kids big words too young or they’ll outsmart you and that’s scary as hell. Keep them silly for as long as possible. Within a few short months I was happy to be a part of the dance classes. A wisdom my mom had that I now look back on gratefully.

I could go on and on with positive, healthy memories because growing up my mom made very intuitive choices for her kids. There was a balance between work and play. She was always there to answer a question, assist with homework, help us with the easy bake oven, feed us a well balanced meal, show us how to do laundry, etc etc. I learned it all from my mom, with gentle encouragement and great support. She delicately and without my knowing, taught me to fly right out of the nest, confidently. I am eternally grateful for my childhood. That’s where it all begins after all and when we become adults, those years are the building blocks to how we will proceed on our own, as we should.

I’m sure you all have inspiring and warm memories of your childhoods and can say the same about your moms. Every mom has a style and to each their own. Is there a right or wrong way? I don’t think so. What matters most is that they pass down their knowledge and allow us to build upon what we learn from them. And that’s what I’ve had and have and I’m thankful. 

A few photoshoot shots…

Here is your May Calendar!

Desktop / iPhone

Let’s Brunch

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Spring has sprung. According to the calendar. Mother Nature hasn’t arrived to the party just yet. But I have faith she’ll be here soon with fresh spring blooms and a warm sun. As soon as mid march approaches I start to get really excited for outdoor activities, weekend adventures and summer planning.

The last couple of years I have talked about hiking. Growing up and living in the Hudson valley area you would think I was born with hiking boots on and a great sense of direction but unfortunately, I was blessed with neither of those things. However, I see so many people posting pictures from their hike-scapades (made up word, yes) and I feel envious and inspired. Being in a creative field in the modern day means we designers spend most of our time on a computer. And I love my computer and doing work on it but sometimes I forget what air smells like. Like real air. The outside, straight from a tree, unfiltered air. I live probably fifteen minutes from Hook mountain in the beautiful town of Nyack. I’ve been told it’s a nice beginners hiking ground. I also live 40 minutes from the bear mountain bridge, which brings you across to the even prettier towns of Cold Spring and Beacon where endless hiking trails exist. So really there’s no excuse for me to not have hiked yet. I’m adding it to my page of “goals” in my notes right now.

The outdoor activities I do partake in consist of exploring and eating my way through new towns and cities. I of course and obviously enjoy these adventures accompanied normally by my husband but I also feel refreshed and inspired by them. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of my artwork is inspired by lifestyle and events. Therefore I need to really take advantage this spring, summer and the warm part of fall, to see as much as I can and take lots of pictures to keep me company in my loft while I hermit out aka work for hours on end.

Now one of my all time fave activities when the weather gets nice is to brunch. I think “brunch” should be a verb. Because it is a literal activity. You first go to the place where you will have said brunch. Then you sit down with significant other, friends, mom, sister, whoever. All the while in your mind thinking “I’m brunching.” Even though so far all you did was what one might describe as, meeting someone for a meal, it’s different. You’re mentally preparing to have a brunch cocktail. You’re also gearing up for a brunch meal. And a brunch meal is unlike any other meal. Because there are no rules. You can have standard breakfast items such as eggs and bacon or you can have some really creative concoctions that only a true chef can create like Chocolate Babka French Toast (from Hudson Hills in Cold Spring) with a side of Bellini. Brunch excitement is endless and no one will judge you if you sit at that table for hours. And I mean hours. If you go out to dinner, you’re expected to sit for anywhere between 1-2 hours. And then maybe you move to the bar to extend your evening. But for brunch you can glue your tush to that chair for 3 even 4 hours if you please. Brunch is just a time let me tell you.

So in honor of warm weather being right around the corner, I encourage you to grab your calendars and call your people to plan a brunch. Better yet, if you want to be really cute about it, send them a card and make it a real old school gathering. Make it feel fancy like a private event for just you, your favorite people and lots of food.

Also, incase you didn’t catch on, the above passion I have clearly displayed for brunch is what inspired one of my latest card designs. Like I said, lifestyle and events. And brunch is both a way of life AND an event. Gorgeous.

My FAVORITE Hudson Valley brunch spots:

1. 14 & Hudson : http://www.14andhudson.com * THE SWEET CHILI & BLACK PEPPER WINGS, KALE & QUINOA SALAD

2. Jane’s Cafe : http://www.jane.cafe * THE COFFEE, TEA AND WAFFLES

3. Hudson Hils Cafe & Market : http://www.hudsonhils.com * THE BEEF HASH & EGGS, CHOCOLATE BABKA FRENCH TOAST

4. The Cookery : https://www.thecookeryrestaurant.com *ALWAYS CHANGING, ALWAYS EXCITING

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The Process

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THE STEPHANIE TARA PROCESS

First things first, hey there. Hi, I’m Stephanie, it’s nice to meet you. I think you should get a feel for who I am and how I work. Because let’s be honest, the more we like someone the more we want to work with them, right? To start, I try to convey my most important personality traits via email and over phone calls. Those traits are: organized, knowledgeable, friendly and honest. Just for starters. Once you get a taste of what I’m like, I want you to feel taken care of. My goal is to provide you with all the confidence that I can and will execute your dream wedding suite. This is the part where it’s like trust falls. You just have to fall backwards into my creative hands and trust that I gotchu girl. I will interpret your words, images, flowers and overall story and transfer them to paper. The end product will be one you want to look back on in years to come. Or even the day after your wedding. Whenever you want, really.

Second, I create the proposal. At this point you have seen my work and you know my style. Essentially, you’ve done the window shopping and now you’re ready to come in and buy but you just need to make sure I carry the right size and color. Let’s be frank. If you don’t see anything on my website or etsy shop that catches your eye, you probably don’t want to work with me and that’s okay! It has to be the right fit for both of us. If it’s a match, we have a chat about your wedding theme, colors, etc. I build a proposal based on the items you request, the quantity you desire and I put together an inspiration board with images that you both sent me and I found that tell a story for us to both see the path we’ll be going down before the sketching begins. If all looks good, you sign the contract and send the deposit and vous a la ! We are in business together.

Third, the sketching. Almost immediately I begin sketching your invitation design, rsvp etc. based on all the little details we have discussed thus far and the inspiration board I created that you approved. This phase is only completed once you say, I do. To the sketch.

Fourth, the paint. The sketches are approved and we are moving to the color and painting phase. There are different painting styles we can play with here. Colors are probably already determined based on the inspiration board but there is always room for additions and changes. Same theory here as with the sketches. We keep going until you are happy. Hopefully very happy and so excited. At no additional charge. Ever. The cost is determined up front and there are no surprises.

Fifth, all the components are complete. We love them and everyone’s ecstatic (I hope and pray but also I make sure of it!). Now we print and talk about packaging. This includes ribbon, stamps (vintage or other), envelope color, calligraphy style and ink color, wax seals, etc. I’m always open to new ideas that you may have and I’m here to help find the perfect packaging items. This is something that can and will be discussed from the beginning so that you know it’s part of the deal along the way. And also, so you can be doing some research on your own if you please. It allows time to order any necessary items that may take time to ship.

Sixth, we package and send. For the most part, my brides prefer that I take care of all packaging and sending. It’s less stressful for them and a complete story for me. I do love seeing the project through from beginning to end but of course, the option is there if you’d like to package and/or send yourself. A labor fee is discussed and tacked on but I always say (as do many), time is money. So for you ladies who already have enough to do, as long as your budget allows, it is definitely worth it to have me finish this baby for you. And that’s it, then you get married! I know, it went fast. If there was going to be a seventh step it would be to have fun and enjoy all of this planning. That is half of the excitement.

Below I’ve compiled a few “process” photos to give you a real feel for the experience. Thanks for reading!

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And in the end we have a completed collection! Below is our Spring Blooms 2017 suite 🙂

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Greenery 2017:

007-VERT

Inside The Studio

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Well I spent a decent amount of time getting my studio “picture ready” because as organized as I may be, things still looked sort of disarrayed. And I can’t have that. We’re having company (whoever is reading this and looking at the photos, you are the company).

Welcome to my studio, located in the loft of the town house I share with my lovely husband and two cats in the Hudson Valley. There is a wall of mostly windows that lets in some nice light, especially in the late afternoon since it’s a western facing window (I think; pretending to know solstice stuff, is that even a word? god help me). I’ve basically lined the walls with tables to work at and storage underneath because over the years I have accumulated quite a few supplies/decor. I have two printers and one scanner. One Mac desktop and one laptop (Apple always for me). Four tables, one closet with lots of shelves that we bad built for, you guessed it, more storage. And a cubby system along the wall under the windows. That is the most recent addition and I love what it allows. I can now stack all my nonsense in these cubbies and no matter what is in there, everything still looks neat. Neatness = sanity in this house. I have a million mugs and jars where I organize all the things. Paintbrushes, thumb tacks, paper clips, pencils, pens, scissors, sharpies, chalk markers, the list goes on. Three tiered paper organizers, crates of paint and of course endless places to put all my drawings and paintings.

Last summer we had a handy friend build the shelves over my main work space where the desktop is (see photos below). We used piping from home depot and cut and stained wood for the shelves. I always have ideas like this but I’m not equipped to actually do the building myself yet. Goals for the future. Very happy with how it turned out and actually used the same idea to build shelves in my laundry closet over the machines and in the bathroom.

Right now I have three plants in my office, soon to be four when my husband hangs my latest in front of the window. Hanging plants from the ceiling is as handy as either of us gets. We can paint walls too but I mean, who can’t do that. In total there are like 70 plants in my house and still not enough. With summer approaching I cannot wait to get my herb plants going again. Being an adult is all about getting excited in the home depot plant section and feeling proud when you turn down a cupcake, one day out of the week.

I feel very lucky that this well lit space is available to me so that I have the flexibility to work from home. Sometimes I feel envious reading about other creatives who get up super early and work a normal 8-6 day and then have evenings with their families. But I know myself and I’m a night owl. Working from home allows me to spend my mornings getting the house together, running errands and on good mornings having breakfast with my husband. Then I can start my work day around 12 and go well into the evening. I’m definitely a bit of a workaholic but I think you have to be when you’re building something. And that’s what is happening up in this little loft. I’m trying to build a great stationery business. I hope soon I can look back on this blog post and say to myself “you did it.” For now though, I feel lucky and inspired.

I hope you enjoy this mini tour through my studio. I added in a few photos from other spots in my house where I recently set up pretty decor. Mostly consisting of plants. Obviously. And on most days, I am accompanied by two cuties named Jade, the oreo and Luna, the gray.

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I like designing my spaces with unexpected items. A mix of modern and vintage. And always small details like the vintage food cans that I sometimes use as vases, the antique seltzer bottles that I bounce around rooms of the house depending on the season and the little wooden mushrooms from terrain. Those are my favorite and I have 5 of them. Above is a little taste of that but it’s always changing. Especially my dining room table. That’s the spot where I can constantly play with new table-scapes. And if you’ve made it this far congratulations! Below is your April desktop calendar!

Desktop / iPone

AprilDesktop2017

Blush Anemone

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BLUSH ANEMONE PACKAGING

April 2, 2017

BLUSH ANEMONE ENVELOPE

April 2, 2017

BLUSH ANEMONE TABLE NUMBER CARD

April 2, 2017

BLUSH ANEMONE SAVE THE DATE

April 2, 2017

BLUSH ANEMONE RSVP

April 2, 2017

BLUSH ANEMONE INVITATION

April 2, 2017


Calligraphy by: Nancy Favorito

BlushAnemoneDigitalLayout

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Greenery

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GREENERY ENVELOPE

April 1, 2017

GREENERY PACKAGING

April 1, 2017

GREENERY TABLE NUMBER CARD

April 1, 2017

GREENERY MENU CARD

April 1, 2017

GREENERY RSVP

April 1, 2017

GREENERY INVITATION

April 1, 2017


Calligraphy by: Nancy Favorito

GreeneryDigitalLayout

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Spring Blooms

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SPRING BLOOMS PACKAGING

April 1, 2017

SPRING BLOOMS VERTICAL

April 1, 2017

SPRING BLOOMS TABLE NUMBER CARD

April 1, 2017

SPRING BLOOMS MENU

April 1, 2017

SPRING BLOOMS RSVP

April 1, 2017

SPRING BLOOMS INVITATION

April 1, 2017


Calligraphy by: Nancy Favorito

SpringBloomsDigitalLayout

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