Monday
Feb042013

Custom Letterpress Wedding Invitations

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Wedding invitation requests have started to trickle in which means wedding season is upon us. Brides! You gotta love 'em! (but in all seriousness I actually really do enjoy a feisty bride!) I mean I was a bride once, I know how it feels to want to have everything be so perfect and special for that once in a life time day. Just before graduating in graphic design Conor and I were engaged and I remember spending hours flipping through bridal magazines searching for all of the latest and greatest in wedding stationary suites to inspire my own invitation. I remember sitting at my computer at school and thinking to myself, "if someday someone that I don't even know asks me to do their wedding invitation and they pay me for it, I will know I have made it!" Haha! Design sure has taken me in a different direction, but I do still love taking on the occasional wedding invitation. There is something refreshing about hearing a couple's story, how they met, what their hopes are for the future and how they plan to celebrate the beginning of the rest of their lives with the people who matter most to them.

Since Chelsey and I teamed up for Fox and Anchor I have started to take on more wedding invitation requests. I used to send brides digital files of their design and refer them to printers but now I get to be involved in the whole process. It has been so fun and we are excited to take on more projects like this. Once we team up with a bride and groom we help them create a visual mood board for their day (if they haven't already done so). I'm not entirely sure you can actually call yourself a "bride-to-be" if you haven't created a Pinterest board solely dedicated to your big day. Anyway, we usually pull images from their Pinterest board and try to help couples really focus on the design elements that they love the most. We have been working with some pretty rad couples - the board for Melissa and John's recent Portland wedding (above) is proof enough right? After we establish a design direction we get to work making a mock up of their invitation, allowing them the chance to make revisions and changes to the design if they need to. Then Chelsey prints! I love that letterpress is such a hands on process. It really shows in the final product and makes each piece unique and beautiful. Once she is done we package up the paper with love and send it off to our couples with all of our best wishes!

P.S. Check out our feature on Paper Crave today. Thanks Kristen!

Tuesday
Jan292013

Let's Shower Together!

A few years ago I bought a nail polish color called "shower together." I thought it was the sexiest two words and wore the polish a lot! ....aaaaaahhhh....hot steamy showers!.... So, anyway, when Chelsey and I started working on Valentine goodies for our Fox and Anchor shop I knew I wanted to make a card with this invititation on it! Give it to your lover and then, well, you know... hop in the shower and go cuh-razy! Click over to the shop to see our other offerings. 

Also, what are y'all doing to celebrate Valentine's day? I've been trying to think of something unique, not over the top, but meaninful for the husband and for the man child. Got any good ideas for me out there?

Monday
Jan282013

Home Office

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So you all know we recently moved, across the Pacific ocean and then halfway across the country, leaving us with very little furniture (or much of anything besides clothing). We have been hanging out on our bed or at the kitchen table for months and months now because we haven't had a couch. But this week we are so excited because we will finally have a couch! Not only are we going to get the couch we ordered back in November for our living room but we are also getting that little sofa from Urban Outfitters (No. 3) that we ordered for our office. We debated about that sofa for a long time because the reviews weren't that great but when the charcoal version went on sale for $249 we jumped on it! It is going to be perfect in our office - right next to the mid-century record console Conor just happened to run in to at the thrift store and purchase for $30! He cleaned and repaired all of the broken peices and put a new finish on it and I swear it looks like it's worth a thousand bucks now! I also found a chair similar to #1 up there for $5, recovered the seat in black leather and it also looks great! Who knew Dallas was so abuntantly full of unwanted treasure?!?

Saturday
Jan262013

GEOMETRIC EARRING DIY

Are you ready for the easiest Saturday craft project ever?! I have seen so many "geometric" DIYs out there lately and they are all sooooo easy! I love projects I can do while Henry is sleeping (you know, for like 15 minuetes) so I thought I would share these earrings I made for friends for Christmas. These earrings really are so easy to make and are pretty inexpensive. Invite a friend over on a Saturday afternoon and make everyone you know a pair of earrings for their birthday or Valentines day! Enjoy!

Wednesday
Jan232013

Need Read Greed

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This week's Need Read Greed is by Kathleen Shannon of Braid Creative and the blog Jeremy & Kathleen. I met Kathleen at Design Life 2012 this last summer in Palm Springs and was instantly drawn to her. She smelled like patchouli (which is a scent I love so much I want to name a little girl after it and call her Patch for short) and talked about working as a graphic designer in a really empowering, energetic, inspiring way! Plus she's funny as hell! So, she smells good, she's smart, and she's funny...yep that's someone I want to be friends with! Since Design Life we've had a chance to catch up and talk about collaborating on some exciting ventures and I am so excited that Dallas is not far from her home town of Oklahoma City. Oh, and if you are an entreprenuer or getting ready to launch your own little business sign up for some of Kathleen and Tara's (Tara is Kathleen's beautiful sister) E-Courses. I just finished one and LOVED it! Here is a little bit about each of her picks for the week:

Bodum Tea Press - I recently made the switch from a French pressed coffee every morning to a cup of tea. It would be nice to have a little tea press.

Be Here Now - One of my yogi friends insisted I read her copy of Be Here Now. The first half is this bizarre documentation of Ram Dass and his life - from a Harvard professor taking LSD with Timothy Leary to his adventures in India. Then it goes into this collection of radically designed metaphysical free form spreads on kraft paper. The whole book is so fascinating.

Block Shop Textiles Scarf - I actually purchased on of Lily and Hopie Stockman's scarves for myself at Christmas time. But I can't help but want another! They're so light, airy, comfy and beautiful.  

PS - I just want to say thank you for all of the encouraging words about Henry not sleeping. All of those mothers out there going through this same thing I really feel for you!  I guess I always feel like I have to follow all of my "my baby doesn't sleep" complaints with, "but I seriously love him so much! and I am so thankful that I have him!" Because I am. I am so so so thankful! and I know you other moms fighting this battle are so thankful too! I recently had a friend point out to me that challenges are always easier when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and this is just one of those things that doesn't have a delivery date. When Henry will finally get the hang of sleeping is unknown and that's probably one of the hardest aspects of this challenge. But again I just want to say I count my blessings every single night and he is always at the top of that list. 

Tuesday
Jan222013

Freelance Mama III

First of all I need to preface this post with the fact that I am coming from a very dark place. A place not a lot of mothers feel comfortable or sane - the no-sleep-battlefield. It is a war zone in my house and I feel like I'm always losing. OK OK, enough of the drama! Here is how it goes down (and how it has been going down for the last 13 months, 3 weeks and 2 days) - Henry is not a sleeper. Never has been. Poeple tell me he will be someday, but I don't beleive them. I am writing this post for all of those other moms out there, and I know you exist, that have sweet angel babies who hate sleeping. For those moms who feel like the walls are caving in because they can't function on this little of sleep let alone calmly and peacefully train their baby to sleep. 

Up until recently I was under the false pretense that I could get most of my work done during naps and after bedtime. It has been stressful to say the least. I have since hired a baby sitter to come 1 to 2 afternoons a week and worked out a schedule with Conor to take him Wednesday afternoons. Hiring a babysitter is another Freelance Mama post in and of itself which I can't wait to talk about later. But back to the subject at hand: my anti-sleep baby. I have been so jealous of other mothers who tell me that their babies take 2 and 3 hours naps since Henry was born. It would sure make my life so much easier! For the first few months of his life I just kept waiting for him to turn in to that kind of baby. He never did. So, I got creative and read a lot of books. On a good day I could get Henry to take two thirty minute naps. And then his nights were wonky- waking up 2 to 3 times. My whole life has been consumed with his sleep habits for over a year now.

It is common knowledge that sleep deprivation makes a person crazy. Grumpy. Not themselves. Well what you may not know is that when a mother hears her baby crying it makes her even crazier. At least it did me. I physically can not stand to hear Henry cry. I would do anything to make it stop, comfort him, make his life happy again. My blood starts to boil when he cries in the car. Not becuase I am mad at him, No! I am mad at the car, the traffic, the traffic lights, the clock. Anything that exists in that moment is against me and my son and I want to destroy it all in the name of making my son happy again. Is this normal? Probably. 

Cry it out? Now there's another sore subject. I vowed to never let my baby cry it out before Henry was born. I used Babywise as a door stop and threw it out the second I didn't need a door stop anymore. But after months of waiting for Henry to turn in to the kind of baby that slept in my arms, or even fell asleep nursing, or would be rocked for an hour and then fall asleep I finally tried just letting him sleep on his own. He went to sleep just fine at night. If he could talk I think he would have said, "Oh bless you mother for placing me in this sweet little crib filled with fluffy friends and this beautiful quilt you made for me! I love you so much! I am going to roll over and go to sleep now! Thanks for everything!" But for naps I think he would have said something a little more like, "$#%$ $#%*!! You little $%%*!! I never $@$%*# want to see your *%#@% face again!" It hurt. Imagine a grown women literally tearing at her hair and crying her eyes out at the foot of her baby's door. That was me. 

Some weeks have been better than others. Sometimes Henry goes to sleep after nursing or being rocked for an hour or being walked in his stroller for an hour... and sometimes I am just more patient and can deal with the tantrums. Other weeks (like this one in particular) are so much harder. I feel like cursing the heavens! and I am convinced I am the worst mother in the world. We haven't really found a great method. 

You are probably wondering what the whole point of this post is. Yeah me too! I just know that when I find other moms who have similar experiences and can relate I feel so much better about myself and Henry. I love when other moms tell me about their similar experiences and then tell me how smart and brilliant and entertaining their now 2 year old is. I want to say YES!!! I know he is so smart! I know he is just going to be the funniest, most determined little guy ever! But it really is nice to hear that I am not alone and I'm not crazy and I'm not failing! So if you are fighting this no-sleep battle too just know you're not alone! Your little one is still just as awesome as those little ones that do sleep. This wont last forever. And when you think of how fast it really flies by you kinda start to think you can handle it. 

PS I feel really Benjamin Button about that photo up there. Wheeling Henry around in his "wheel chair" is a favorite past time on those sleepless days. 

Thursday
Jan172013

Fox & Anchor Paper

Oh hey! Here I am again! Second blog post in two days! Way to go Jane! So, I feel like I have been mentioning this letterpress collaboration between me and friend Chelsey of Type A Press for a while now but haven't really formally introduced you to our line. Well if you were here in person I would wave my hand in front of my monitor and in a loud voice shout, "Fox and Anchor everyone!!" Then I would proceed to show you some of our photos and designs. The above pictures were taken by the lovely Carissa Gallo of Sea Chant (and the blog Andrew and Carissa) over Christmas break at our little "team meeting."

Fox and Anchor is a collaboration between me (Jane Reaction being the Fox and the designer/art director) and Chelsey (Type A Press being the Anchor and the printer/producer and all around awesome person). I met Chelsey online a few years ago when I did her branding for her - nautical ropes, anchors, sea flags and the like. It was a fun project and we meshed really well. She recently had her anchor logo tattooed on her wrist which you know, I thought was pretty cool! 

Anyway, growing this little side business together has been fun, a lot of work and a bit of a challenge for me as I have never really thought of myself as a stationer. We scrambled to get some things together for Christmas and New Years. We some how managed to get some coasters we made featured on the home page of Etsy and on a few different paper loving blogs. It was so fun and exciting to see how receptive people were to our designs right away! We almost couldn't believe it! Now we are scrambling to get some cute little tags and cards together for Valentines day. Is it just me or does everyone else feel like January just slapped you in the face as it passed you by?!

Along with the cards, coasters and tags that we have been mass producing we have also been working with small businesses, creative professionals and anyone else needing design work done (like, oh, I don't know...brides? hehe!). We have been making business cards, greeting cards, invites, menus... you name it, we've been working on it! Next up! Custom stamps! Gotta love some rubber stamps! Below are some shots I took of our Christmas line up. Can't wait to share more on the Valentine goodies soon!

Wednesday
Jan162013

The Brand Life Pt. 2

I'm excited to announce that I have a new contributor to the blog. Remember this post about Imogene + Willie called The Brand Life? Well Loren from the blog Little Gems is going to help me curate posts for this series. The idea is to find a brand and a product and match it with a well thought out lifestyle that represents that brand and the culture behind it. Fun, right? Also, check out Lo's blog Little Gems for more eye candy and fun design - you won't be dissapointed! 
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Dusen Dusen is an independent clothing line by the designer Ellen Van Dusen. Ellen works with unique patterns on basic, timeless cuts. Her spring/summer 13' line is inspired by the Italian design collective, Memphis. Its refreshing to see neutral colors paired with such bold patterns. The lifestyle, like the brand, is similarly a fusion of a modern and artful minimalism. I'd say these pieces are innovative staples, no? -Lo

Saturday
Jan122013

Need Read Greed

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Today's Need Read Greed is by my lovely sister, Annie Johnson. I like my sister so much! She is pretty and funny and smart and good at all of the things I am not. The funny thing is: me and my sister can fight! Boy, can we fight! But it never stops us from talking on the phone every single day. About everything. I am not very good at forgiving and forgetting. It is a challenge for me to get over things and I often need my space in order to process and let things go. My sister on the other hand is so wonderful at letting things go. She really does forget too! She completely lets things fly away from her and only holds on to the beautiful and nice things. She is also above average smart. Some of you who have been reading my blog for a while have probably caught on that I am terrible at spelling and not always the most eloquent. My sister is the master of languages and actually speaks German fluently. I could go on and on but I guess my point isn't to compare myself to my sister in all of the ways that I fall short but more to point out all of the ways that she is perfect for being my other half. (Conor - you are my other other half haha!!) It is just me and my sister in our family so she is my oldest best friend, the person I tell everything to. The only person who can bring out my worst and then go ahead and still love me after. She's seen me through a lot and I love her for it. I wish everyone had an Annie! The world would be a better place. 

Also, I just realized that this Need Read Greed series is actually very similar to other series going on on other blogs. Why is it that when we see other people doing what we are doing we automatically want to say, "Well, I'm not going to do that ANYMORE!"? Or we want to yell at everyone "I thought of it FIRST!!" I guess it's because we so desperately want to be original and therefore special. We also don't want people to think we are copying and have not original thoughts. Well I must admit when I realized others where doing this series too I definitely said to myself, "No more NEED READ GREED! even though I totally thought of this first!" but I like this series too much to just stop because other people also think it's a good idea! Plus, it is sort of an age old saying... like; something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. I don't own it. So, the series will continue!! How do you react when you see someone else doing "your thing"? 

Monday
Jan072013

Short bread with Ganache and sea salt

SHORT BREAD: 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In one bowl whisk together flour and salt. In another bowl beat together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold flour mixture in gently. Roll dough out to about 1/4 an inch thick. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cut out shapes. Place on cookie sheet and bake in oven for about 7 minutes or until golden. 

GANACHE: In large sauce pan melt half bag of semi sweet chocolate chip cookies. Add 2 tbs butter and 3/4 tsp corn syrup. Stirg until smooth. Drizzle or dip your cookies and then sprinkle with sea salt. 

I had a lot of fun making these cookies with Henry before the holidays and giving them to our neighbors. He loved it, way more than I thought he could or would. He now loves making cookies with me. It is one of our new favorite things to do. This weekend we had the flu so we are still taking it easy today. Hope everyone has a great week planned!