Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back at It: A Sneak Peak into Carla & Rich's Wedding Weekend

Reid and I bought wood and painted the direction signs by hand.

After taking a little bit longer than expected break from the blog, I am back at it today. As I mentioned, I needed to take some time to dive head first into freelancing full-time. The past couple of weeks have been a complete whirlwind, but I am absolutely loving every minute of it. Even after the short period of time, I know I made the right decision.

Last week, was filled with last minute design details for Carla and Rich's wedding. I have previously shown their Save the Dates and Invitation Suite, but I also did all the paper for both the Welcome Dinner and the Wedding Ceremony and Reception. On Sunday evening, after torrential downpour all weekend, the skies finally cleared to allow for an absolutely stunning wedding on the lake.

Carla will always go down in history as my first "official" client. She came to me right after my wedding to see if I would design hers. It was a HUGE undertaking (I actually think I designed more for her big day than I did for my own), but it was totally worth it. It also showed me all the different things I can design for future brides. Being a wedding stationery designer is so rewarding! I was able to work with Carla through every step and, hopefully, I made her day exactly what she expected. Carla was a blast to work with and I am so happy for Rich and her.

I will be posted a lot more about their wedding in the near future (I want to get professional photos also), but I wanted to give you a sneak peak into the weekend...

Above is the invitation for Carla & Rich's Welcome Dinner. I made a custom pattern based off of a fabric Carla had sent me. She wanted the party to have an subtle American theme since it was Memorial Day weekend. In the end, the softball game had to be canceled due to weather, but it was still a fun event with delicious BBQ and great people. I designed the water bottle labels below as well!

I designed all the signs for the wedding also. The above sign is for her favors. More pictures are coming soon and I am so excited to share them with you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A New Chapter

Yesterday was officially my last day of teaching (at least for the foreseeable future). I resigned a few months ago to focus on my steadily grown freelance design, illustration and stationery company Chena Design. And so today, I began the new chapter in my life as a full-time designer.

I woke up this morning with very mixed emotions. Don't get me wrong, I am very excited about my transition into full-time freelance. The past couple of months have been a whirlwind trying to balance teaching and design. But I am also going to miss the classroom, my fellow instructors and, mostly, my wonderful students. Over the past two and a half years I have been so inspired by the creativity and passion of my students. I cannot wait to see what each of them does in the future. Above are a couple of pictures from one of my favorite teaching memories, our field trip last summer to Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Wisconsin.

I may take a small break (no more than a week) from the blog to fully transition into my new lifestyle.  I cannot believe I am actually freelancing full-time!!! It has been a dream for quite some time. Stay tuned for lots of new and exciting things.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Help Me Pick the Perfect Dress!

This is a very different post for me as it doesn't have much to do with design or my inspiration. It is actually more about my total lack of decision making skills. Basically, I have been dying to try Rent the Runway for some time now, and in the next couple of months I have numerous weddings to attend. All of which need a cute, festive, and unique dress. So, weddings + dresses = rent a designer dress, FINALLY!!! The only problem, I will procrastinate my decision (as I do with all online shopping) until the last minute and then none of the dresses I like will be available. This is where you come in. Below are four of my favorites designer gowns and I am going to let you, my readers, pick one for me. I PROMISE to wear whichever one you choose (as long as it fits) and will post pics of the event.  

In order to cast your vote, please leave a comment with the dress you like and why. I will be taking votes over the weekend, and will order the dress on Monday at noon central time. I am very excited about this little experiment and cannot wait for the outcome. Happy weekend and happy voting!!!

 Dress 1 by Shoshanna: Crazy Pattern

 Dress 2 by ADAM: Delicate Frills

 Dress 3 by Thread Social: Short Sophistication

 Dress 4 by Nicole Miller: Long and Colorful

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inspiration Overload: Fred Eerdekens

Oh my goodness...
I am in inspiration heaven. I am not really sure how it is that I have never heard of Fred Eerdekens before, but I am really glad I found him today. The Belgian artist creates breathtaking installations that use light and very purposely placed objects to create typographic spaces. I might have an immediate obsession. If only I could find one of his pieces in a nearby gallery or musuem. They are just cool beyond words. Can you imagine walking around a gallery space looking soley at the beautiful objects when all of a sudden you reach the position where the lights and objects collide to form a shadow of words??? I can barely contain myself I am so excited.

*All images from Eerdekens website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicago Family Fun & Going Back Soda Shop Style

The Fam in front of Lincoln Park Zoo
This past weekend was a whirlwind of incredible sight-seeing, showing off Chicago and quality family time with my brothers. There were six of us, plus the two cats, staying in our 1.5 bedroom apartment so we were quite cozy for the full three days. Thank goodness the weather was beautiful for the most part and we were able to enjoy the outdoors. My youngest brother and his girlfriend had never been to the Windy City so we crammed in about as much as you can in 3 days of Chicago. We saw the Cubs play, walked by the Bean and Millennium Park, went to Second City, walked Michigan Ave, visited the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo and ate a LOT (Chicago Dog, Deep Dish Pizza, Tapas, Molly's Cupcakes, etc). It was a seriously fun weekend and I can't wait to do it again next year.

David and me at Wrigley. David has always wanted to see the Cubs play at home.

Everyone left yesterday morning, but the fun continued. Some of ouur friends are moving back to Atlanta next week so we met them for a final Chicago dinner last night. Dinner was great, but dessert was inspirational. We went to Margie's Candy, a Chicago legend that I hadn't heard of. As soon as you walk in the door you step back in time about 40-50 years to the time when soda shops were the thing to do. The wood paneling, mirrored chandeliers, and gold foil made it a kitchy heaven. Plus the food was yummy! My ice cream sundae was the largest two scoops of ice cream I have ever seen, and I got my own hot fudge on the side. AMAZING!!! This has almost instantly become a favorite place of mine in Chicago.

Amazing, right?

The personal jukebox was so fun, but I couldn't get it to work.

The beautiful neon sign may be my favorite part of the whole place. The script font is too perfect for words.

Supposedly the Beatles loved Margie's. This is a case with historic memorabilia.
 It is really hard to get back to work, not to mention a healthy diet, after such a fun few days.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Little Girls and Horses

Both of my brothers and their significant others are heading into Chicago as I write. I am giddy with excitement especially since David, my youngest brother, has never been to the Windy City. So, for the weekend, we are living it up tourist style. It makes this beautiful May weekend, which is one of my favorite weekends of all year, even better. Why is it normally on my list of top weekends? The Kentucky Derby!!!

For as long as I can remember, I have adored horses. At around age 8 I remember watching my first Kentucky Derby and thinking it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Since then, I have watched almost every derby. I make a day of it. I sit for an embarrassingly long period of time in front of the tv, normally with computer and design near by, and watch the beautiful horses run like the wind. I eat it all up to the point that I have decided that I can't go to or host derby parties because I can't pay enough attention to the races. Since the my brothers are in town, I will not be able to watch hours of coverage, but I am going to be sure to watch the race. I have some favorites, but I am kinda superstitious and can't tell you yet. 

In honor of the derby, I am posting pics of my favorite thoroughbreds of all time. 


I feel like Barbaro is kind of a cliche favorite considering his sad and well publicised story, but he is on my list. I was borderline obsessed with him before the Derby, and he was my clear choice to win. I am still saddened that his life was cut short.

Man O' War was a super horse in 1919 and 1920. He was also one of my first Beyer model horses (of which I had too many to count). A girl always remembers her first favorite toy, right?

Rags to Riches is my favorite girl of the group. I thought she was going to be the next Barbaro, but then her trainer didn't enter her in the Derby. She is a beauty and a true athlete that proved she could run with the boys.
Secretariat tops my list! I fell in love with him as a very little girl - way before the movie.


Unbridled is another one of my favorites. I remember watching him win in 1990 as a 9 year old. I thought he was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. 

I wish all the horses and their jockeys the best tomorrow! I can't wait to see who wins.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wallpaper, Wallpaper, Wallpaper...

Wallpaper is all over my favorite blogs recently and I am loving it! It can add such a nice splash of color, pattern and decoration to any wall. I have dreams of doing a half bath in a crazy wallpaper someday.

This one by Kimberley Lewis Home and spotted on Design*Sponge this morning may be my absolute favorite. I love the soft graphic quality and the yellow and gray. It feels classic and refreshingly modern at the same time.

This is my other favorite from Kimberly Lewis. Not to mention I LOVE the yellow bag.

This dresser refinishing project was done by my college friend, Ashley, over on the Homemade Home. I love the small touch of patterned wallpaper in the back of the bookshelf.

This one from AphroChic (and originally seen on Elements of Style) is striking! Yellow has always been my favorite color, and this wallpaper reminds me why.

This one, on Apartment Therapy today, is probably a bit much for me, but I love the vintage style wallpaper and the pale yellow tiles.

Last, this crazy bird pattern is from the new Anthropologie wallpaper line. Thanks Sarah for posting about these because I am now obsessed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Busy Day Indeed & Molly's Monogram Process

I have been so swamped in the studio lately that Agador has adopted my printer as his new nap pad during the day. I guess it is the only way he feels like he can spend quality time with me. I must admit, it is really nice to have company, even of the feline variety, as I tediously design-away on my computer.

In other exciting news, I have been spending a lot of my time working on a bunch of new monograms. I finished one yesterday for my good friend Molly. She was looking for something whimsical and feminine with a bit of attitude. She is so excited about the end result, and I am equally as thrilled. Below are the pencil sketches to show the full process. I am going to keep the final version a secret for now because Molly is planning to use the monogram in beautiful stationery.

This monogram was a bit too formal for Molly. Although she like it, she wanted her monogram to express her sweet, professional and spunky personality. 

This one was a bit too elegant, but on the right track. In our conversations, Molly kept mentioning the curls on the end. So, we ended up keeping those :)

Maybe this sketch was too informal and too playful??? We both nixed this one pretty quickly, but liked the bubbly attitude it had.   

In the end we merged a little bit of 2 and a little bit of 3 to create the above final pencil sketch. I love the outcome, but what makes me really ecstatic is how much Molly seems to like it. The digital version is just a cleaned up version of this. 

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Design: Savanna's Wedding Program

 A few weeks ago, the soon-to-be bride of one of my brother's best friends contacted me to do a VERY quick program for her wedding, which was three weeks away. Savanna wanted something simple that required absolutely no fuss, but that was also beautiful and went with her plum colored elegant wedding. We used the template from my wedding program and I created a simple scroll pattern to add a little flare. Because of time constraints we printed them on my large scale Epson printer at home. The turned out beautifully and "I hope" they made Savanna's day even a bit more special. My sister-in-law, Sarah, was at the wedding and provided me with the attached photos. Hope you enjoy!