Friday, May 28, 2010

From the Desk (Chair) Fridays: My Office Buddy

I thought I'd change up the Friday posts this week with a parting shot of a little someone from my desk chair. Sometimes, she paws at my leg or jumps in my lap, ignoring her 60 extra pounds that exceed the lapdog category, and sometimes we even share the chair:)

Have a great (and hopefully long) weekend, everyone.

And stay tuned for next week when we launch our very first monthly project: the Birthday Calendar!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Angela Liguori of Carta Inc.

I have gotten to know Angela Liguori of Carta Inc. through exhibiting at the National Stationery Show over the years. Angela sells the most beautiful cotton ribbon, imported from Italy. When Angela saw the ribbon I had chosen for our 2011 Calendar, she said simply, "No." We hopped over to her booth to compare. There was no denying it. She was right. My synthetic ribbon looked & felt like shoelaces in comparison to her Italian woven gorgeousness. I ordered my red ribbon right then & there. I am thrilled for the upgrade - which I'll share with you next week.

Many thanks, Angela!

See more of Angela's work here & check out the goodies in her shop here.

[photo courtesy of Angela Liguori]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

L&H for Sunday Suppers in Martha Stewart Living

Have you seen the gorg Sunday Suppers photo shoot in this month's Martha Stewart Living? Karen Mordechai, the photographer/creator behind Sunday Suppers, put together a beautiful "rustic Italian" spread for the mag and asked me to contribute the paper elements. (John & I were supposed to attend, but I couldn't make the snow date! So bummed. When will that ever happen again??) I used kraft paper for the larger recipe booklets and tea stained and hand stamped the beverage tags. Check out more images on the Sunday Suppers blog here. They are stunning.

[photo courtesy of Karen Mordechai]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Campbell Raw Press

I've said it before, but one of my favorite things about exhibiting at the NSS is meeting people. This year, one of those people was fellow Brooklyn dweller, Maggie Campbell from Campbell Raw Press (along with her husband Matt Raw & cute baby girl Charlotte). When she said she made handbound books, I knew I had to look her up after the show since I had been keeping an eye out for pregnancy journals. And sure enough, her books are beautiful & perfect for the journal I wasn't finding in bookstores. No fill in the blank answer to "How are you feeling today?" No cheesy graphics. Just a clean open space of heavy stock where I can write, draw & insert photos. I also love how it flops completely open - no prying down the pages.

Check out Maggie's collection of handbound books here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend in Photos: Vegetable Garden

While I was in Boston this weekend, John was busy planting these seedlings (left) & building this large garden bed (right) in our backyard. If it were not for his brother's help (and a few friends who stopped by to say hi, only to be put to work), I'm not sure if this would have happened. Or happened so quickly. Our little garden will now be home to many varieties of tomatoes and squash, cucumbers, eggplants, basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, and strawberries. (I might have even missed a few in there.) I'm so impressed & even more excited for bbq season!

Friday, May 21, 2010

From the DeskTOP Fridays: Amex Ad

Tackling a full inbox this morning, but wanted to share this well-shot, well-put American Express ad featuring Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard - which reminds me that I need to finally finish his book Let My People Go Surfing.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NSS 2010: Recap

This was my fourth year exhibiting at the NSS, and each year I'm completely exhausted and totally tapped out by the end. And thanks to this little nugget inside me, this year was by far the most tiring. When I got home at night, I went from partially horizontal (couch) to fully horizontal (bed) pretty quickly. So I apologize for not posting til now.

Here are a few shots of the booth. A little run down on the set up:
I drew a bike wheel pattern on the sign in pale gray and then screen-printed 'Linda & Harriett' in hot pink. I was going to use gray, but decided to spice it up at the last minute. On one wall, we had the 2011 Calendar, framed by vintage post cards - a nod to the post card element of the calendar. On the other wall, we had our Birthday Calendar, framed by overlapping strips of streamers. Running down the middle of the booth was our door table with potted succulents and some post card giveaways up front. We bring everything in our booth from home, including the foam core boards that I've had for four years. So since our expenses are relatively low, I justified splurging on a big spot light this year. I thought it was going to be too bright at first, but instead, I thought the booth felt vibrant & happy. And in a trade show setting with Kermit-colored carpeting and dim fluorescent lights that make a migraine-sufferer like me want to wear a bag over my head, the lighting in your booth is pretty key in showcasing not only the quality, but the mood of your work.

All in all, it was a good show. I wasn't sure how my new direction would be received, but retailers & press were really excited about both calendars, so I was a happy kid.

The most obvious difference this year compared to the last few (besides the new direction for L&H) was in writing this blog & my presence on Twitter. I had more people than ever coming in & saying they read the blog. I was so flattered! Plus, it made me feel like 1) I'm not writing this to just Tommy and Kristi and 2) that I don't work alone. Both great things. But it was the Twitter piece that really made the NSS experience feel different for me. I started tweeting shortly after last year's show when Vané told me I should. It's funny how 140 characters a couple times a day really enables you know to know someone - or at least a glimpse of them. When Chandra from GREER walked into the booth, we hugged. I feel like I've gotten to know this completely chill, wickedly funny mom over the last year that I otherwise would not have known. Same goes for Jen at the haystack needle, Jane at simple + pretty, Peggy at blue pool road, and Nole from Oh So Beautiful Paper. Not having been on Twitter last year, I found that it really amped up the NSS buzz for me, too. People were planning days & times to visit, sharing booth numbers and posting photos of booth displays from the booths. It was a flurry of NSS action that I hadn't experienced before - and that felt really exciting.

So in my usual post-show-Thursday tradition, I'm taking the day off. I've promised my buddy & number one fan some good long walks & maybe a stop in her favorite store. I've booked my tired bod a massage (thanks, F&L!). And I hope to spend most of the day outside. Work can start on Friday:)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the L&H booth! It's meeting up with & meeting new fellow paper people that really make the show worth it & exciting for me.

And finally, a huuuuuge thank you to my get-it-done, out-of-my-way, I-can-do-anything sister Katie for being with me every day at the show, bringing me my favorite gummy snacks & making me peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (my favorite!) for lunch. A big thanks and kiss:) to John for helping me move in & set up - missing his nieces & nephews play because it took so long:( (Sorry, guys!) And to Mat & Lizzy for helping me take down the booth, slapping my hands if I lifted anything too heavy:) You guys are the best. I love you!

Friday, May 14, 2010

From the Desk Fridays: Pin the Tail...

Tomorrow is move in day for the show! I've got lots of packing up to do today, but I'm hoping to at least post a few pics on Twitter and here next week.

A little peek at my favorite month on the birthday calendar, above. I just love this little donkey guy. Do you like the binding at the top? I decided that it needed a durable flipping mechanism if it's going to last over the years, and I really like how neatly it hangs.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Three Days til NSS 2010!

A leak onto my desk yesterday put a nice little pause on my NSS prep. Not cool, old house! So today is a little busier than I thought. Off to pick up some screens and hit up Pearl Paint for supplies. Later this afternoon, I'm heading up to the flower district to pick up some plants for the show. Lots of subway time today. Hoping to knock out the last 30 pages of my awesome book.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cabin 7 & Gilded Baby Blocks

I promise not to post all-things-baby all the time, but I've been holding in this secret for almost five months! So this week is a little lop-sided. Sorry:)

But this post isn't so much about babies as it is about Jen's new online shop, Cabin 7, featuring gilded wood goodies. I love the combo of subtle sparkly gold and aged blocks & birch. Aaaaand, enter the baby part, I love love love the gilded baby blocks & can't wait to get some in September. Or October:)

[photos courtesy of Cabin 7]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


On Sunday night, John & I went to see Babies - a film that simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco.

While I couldn't get over the fact that some people in the audience thought it was okay to bring their babies to see Babies, I did like the film overall & thought it was very sweet. The biggest takeaway for me was seeing the similar behaviors in all four babies - the natural instinct to laugh and smile, the curiosity, the problem-solving - regardless of their very different circumstances & situations. Don't expect a any major revelations, but worth seeing.

Click here to see the trailer.

[photo courtesy of Focus Features]

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers Day at the Beach

I've said it before, I might be carrying my first born, but Kingsley is my first baby:) Judge all you want - it's just the way it is. We took our #1 baby to the beach this weekend, where she got to play in the bay with her other dog cousins. This photo above makes me laugh because both "retrievers" have ignored the ball and are retreating back to the dock:) Way to go, girls.

And for Mother's Day (or soon-to-be Mother's Day) John got me these:

My very first thought was, "Aww, so sweet!" quickly followed by, "That's an interesting color combination he chose." It took me a few minutes to realize he was going for the boy & girl colors:) since we're not finding out the sex. Very cute, huh?

In biz news, it's the week leading up the Stationery Show and I've got some prepping to do! Order forms, press packets, one sheets, samples, new L&H sign, supplies, van rental, picking out plants, ironing and proving more difficult than ever - deciding what to wear! My growing belly is making this last one a little tricky. Baggy jeans & loose shirt? too sloppy? or maternity belly-hugging dress? Might need to do a trial run.

And lastly, a big big thank you to you all for your sweet baby congrats comments. Makes it so much more fun & exciting to share this and to have your encouragement!

Off to prep!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mom & Dad to Be

With Mother's Day on Sunday, I thought it was an appropriate time to share the exciting news that I am pregnant! :) I'm just about five months along, and I have been busting at the seams (and recently, that's in the literal sense) to share this with you - especially when it's all that I think about. Lucky for you guys, we just skipped over the whole feeling-like-doggie-do-do part, and we're into the high times of pregnancy! Hooray, appetite for things other than bread!

John and I are excited beyond belief. And I'm so happy to finally share this news & look forward to continuing to share a little bit of the experience here with you guys.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Mother's Day, moms!

(Above: me & my mom, 1981)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

L&H: A New Direction

As I've mentioned, there are changes going on over here at L&H - changes I've been thinking about for a while & am excited to finally announce them.

When I started L&H, it was with imported papers, rubber stamps and ink pads - most of which I still have:) I worked with clients one-on-one and made invitations by hand, stamping each piece. The result was beautiful and completely unique. But it wasn't easy. I didn't have many clients who were willing to pay for the work involved and the stamping took its toll. Wedding invitations had to be pretty close to perfect, and there is nothing perfect about a rubber stamp - except for its imperfectness:) So I decided I wanted to try out a line of note cards. With a small line of letterpressed note cards, I signed up for the National Stationery Show last minute. I had the sale of a lifetime that first year - to Paper Source. The then-owner walked in my booth and said she had to have them after seeing our moose note cards. I was beyond thrilled. I was giddy. And hooked.

We continued to release new note cards & products. We launched a custom album in 2008, which we sold that year to about 30 stores nationwide and one in Australia. What I thought would be an easy, streamlined process turned out to be more of a headache. Most of our retailers who ordered custom work were great. One in particular gave me heart palpitations – yelling, accusing, even threatening at one point. Can you imagine? I’m in client service, and I get it. But I wasn't happy about it. People think working with brides is a nightmare. In my experience, it was exactly the opposite. And I wished I had just kept working with them directly & exclusively.

On top of wholesaling our custom work, we were still working with clients one-on-one and offering a full retail line, which included new product lines too, and selling to over 100 stores nationwide. And I was the only designer. Three years later, I’ve got my two little hands in too many places without asking myself where I really want to be - for me and for L&H.

So, my friends, I’m pulling back on the reins. I took our albums out of stores at the beginning of the year and have pulled back on almost all custom work. And just this week, I took down our stationery line from our website and have stopped our formal pr efforts. It’s all a little sad, I must admit. But while I'm sad about ending some things, I'm even happier to be starting others. This is a transition. A big transition. And I’m excited about where this is going and most importantly, I'm excited about what it means for me – more control and more flexibility & freedom.

So what’s next for L&H, you ask? The only item we plan on wholesaling from now on is our annual calendar. It’s been my favorite project every year – and a favorite of yours, too, as it sold out last year by Thanksgiving! And then moving forward, I’m going to work on limited-edition projects - projects on paper and other materials - to be released on our website about every month (via newsletter and of course here on the blog). And I’m thrilled to announce here that our very first project is a letterpressed birthday calendar! (A peek at the cover, above.) I have been wanting to do one of these for years. John and I have 18 nieces and nephews, so it will personally make things a lot easier for us! We’ll debut the birthday calendar at the NSS next weekend and offer it to retailers exclusively at the show and then launch it on our website at the end of the month. I can't wait to show it to you.

Thank you so much for all your support over the years. I am really excited about this transition and am looking forward to sharing my progress & process with all of you here.

And as if this wasn't enough to digest, I have something else to announce tomorrow! So do stay tuned. I promise it's good!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Color, Texture & Pom Poms, Oh My!

Sidetracked this morning by the gorgeous colors of these embroidered bags with pom poms. We really need to bring back the pom pom. It's like an everlasting balloon. They're just so happy.

[images courtesy of PilLove]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Look, New Beginnings

I'm changing things around a bit here at L&H and started freshening up the site a bit to reflect that. The blog header got a little update, too. I love both and am excited to be moving in a new direction.

I've got a few things on my plate this morning, so unfortunately, I'll have to wait to fill you in on the details of these changes later this week. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weekend in Photos: New Hampshire

We were up in New Hampshire this weekend (way up there) for a unique class I got John as a gift. Not wood working or screen printing, although he'd enjoy those too, but a one day rally racing experience at the Team O'Neil Rally School. (If you have a rally racing aficianado in your life, I'd highly recommend it. John was a pig in you-know-what.) So while he was driving with two feet and learning about the physics of spinning a car around a turn at 60mph, I took Kingsley on a nice little hike. It started out warm & dry, but by the end, we were trudging through snow! I was kicking myself for thinking my running shoes would cut it. Such a city girl! Kings had a blast & it was more than refreshing to get out & explore the woods a bit.

Hope you all had a great weekend. We've got some changes going on at L&H, but I'll wait to fill you in later this week.

[photos of the Bridal Veil Falls trail in NH]