Guest Post – Freelance Mommyhood with Wild Ink Press

It’s with great excitement that I welcome the immensely talented Rebakah Tennis of Wild Ink Press to The Sweetest Occasion. Rebekah is a graphic designer, letterpress printer and devoted mom I personally admire – today she’s here to share a little bit of insight into life as a wonder woman juggling all of those titles and more. Without further ado, I’ll allow Rebekah to share her wisdom…

Hello, to all of Cyd’s fabulous readers on The Sweetest Occasion! Rebekah Tennis here. My husband and I have a small but growing letterpress studio in Chico, CaliforniaWild Ink Press. I was thrilled when Cyd asked me if I could write a guest post in honor of the National Stationery Show in New York City this week. Could there be a more fantastic place to be? Wish I was there this year! Sigh…

So, I work from home as a freelance designer. Before wading into letterpress about two years ago, I was a regular freelance graphic designer. That’s what I got my degree in, and I love it. I worked for a small firm in Sacramento for a year or so, before realizing that freelance was the life for me. So for the past seven years I’ve been blessed to work for myself. Those of you who do the same know the great ups and downs -  pick your own (long) hours, find inspiration everywhere as you work, flexible schedule, etc. It’s tough, but enjoyable and reasonable.

Then, I became a mommy. In 2007, a small adorable baby, Cameron, entered our lives. He is now a precocious two-year-old bundle of energy. This is him:

rebekah-wild-ink-press-cameron

He is our first, and honestly, we have a couple more planned (we’ll see…) so kids are likely to have a greater impact on our letterpress business in the future. So does it work to be a freelance, work-at-home mommy? I say yes! While never easy, it’s very rewarding and I wouldn’t change my life for the world.

Here are a few things that have helped me along the way:

Keep reading…

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Milk + Cookie Favor Printables

I am so excited to welcome my next guest blogger, the lovely Kristen of Paper Crave. Paper Crave is one of my favorite blogs, a treasure trove of inspiration dedicated to all things paper and stationery. (Appropriate for National Stationery Show week, no?) Kristen is here with an amazing DIY project and, lucky for you, she’s offering up her amazing designs as free downloads for The Sweetest Occasion readers! Thanks, Kristen!

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A little milk and cookies, anyone? Printable milk carton favor boxes and “report card” recipe cards and envelopes help create an air of whimsy in everything from school-themed children’s birthday parties to nostalgia-laced adult birthday parties and baby showers. Place baked goodies in the favor boxes for guests to take home, and include the recipe for the goodies and other favorites in the report card envelopes so they can make their own yummies long after they’ve finished yours.

[Tip: Wrap baked goods in oven parchment or waxed paper before placing in the favor boxes so any butter or oil in the treats won't leak onto the box.]

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milk-cookie-shooters-wedding-favor-ideasAdditional decorating ideas:

Use the recipe report card envelopes as place cards for each guest by adding labels with their names to the front.

Use bowls of apples or bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils (for adult parties, where pointy things aren’t an issue) to create table centerpieces.

Set up a coloring station with boxes of crayons and coloring pages for a fun activity for both children and adults.

Write the party menu on a chalkboard, and hang it on the wall or place it in some other prominent area where everyone can see.

favor-ideas-milk-cookies-download-recipe-cards
Feeling inspired? Download your free milk carton favor box | recipe cards | and report card envelope templates, created especially for The Sweetest Occasion readers. Thanks, Kristen!

{Photos by Paper Crave.}

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Guest Post – Au Courant Trend Alert: Cute Russian Matroyshka Dolls

Erika from Delphine is back this afternoon with one of her favorite current trends in the world of stationery and design. I have to say, this is one trend I absolutely love!

One of the perks of being in the stationery industry is getting to walk around the major trade shows in New York each season – the New York International Gift Fair and, of course, the National Stationery Show. One of the trends I noticed on the trade show floors last year is now starting to show up in stores – adorable Russian Matroyshka dolls. Think Olga meets Hello Kitty…it’s a super cute modern take on the traditional Russian icon and Russian folk art style. I expect to see even more of this darling trend this week at the National Stationery Show.

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Shown above -

1. and 4. Nesting doll wrapping paper by The Good Life, available at Paper Source.

2. Set of six white plastic Matryoshka doll measuring cups, from Urban Outfitters.

3. Set of three stoneware Matroyshka doll measuring cups, at Anthropologie.

5 and 8. International “Russian” doll greeting cards by Boda.

6. Russian doll melamine plates by Thomas Paul.

7. Sweet doll notepad from Paper Source.

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Guest Post – A National Stationery Show How-To with Delphine

In honor of the 2010 National Stationery Show opening today, I’m making a rare weekend appearance to welcome my first guest blogger of the week, my good friend Erika Firm. Erika is owner/designer of Delphine, a California-based stationery line specializing in gorgeous wedding invitations, greeting cards, gifts, social stationery and so much more. Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Erika with her how-to crash course for tackling the National Stationery Show for those of you who will be attending as buyers, designers, or press. Thanks, E!

My eye is twitching, my jaw is aching…the National Stationery Show must be right around the corner! It’s the highlight of every stationer’s year – including mine. I’m always super excited to catch up with old friends, check in with favorite shop owners and buyers, make new friends with fellow designers and, most importantly, meet new clients! An incredible amount of work goes into setting up for the show, but it’s all worth it once all of us are gathered under one roof. This year I’ve heard from a number of brand new shop owners (congrats, ladies!) who are preparing for their very first visit to the National Stationery Show, so I thought I’d prepare a little primer, based on their questions and my experience as a vendor/exhibitor…

national-stationery-show-behind-the-scenes-delphineLeft: Two giant crates of Delphine stuff in our booth when we arrive at the Jacob Javits Center.
Right: The blank slate (no flooring, no walls, no good lighting, etc.) – this is what we start with before installation.

Bring lots of business cards.

Whatever number you had in mind, double it. Seriously. You really can’t have too many business cards. Bring more than 100, especially if it’s your first visit to the show. On that note – update your business cards! Business cards should have your full name, the name of your business, a physical address, phone, fax, email and website, as applicable. Please have them professionally printed. If you print them off your home inkjet printer you lose authenticity points. Remember, you will be handing them out to people who design on paper for a living. Whether we like to admit it or not, if you have a crappy business card red flags will raise and we will not take you seriously. (Sorry!)

Visit a booth, talk to a vendor…leave a business card.
One of the main reasons vendors exhibit aside from making sales is to make contact with prospective buyers. If you like us enough to visit our booth, please leave a card so that we can follow up. If you prefer not to be added to an email newsletter list, please indicate that on your business card by writing a note.

Wear your badge.
This one is important show etiquette – I know it’s not attractive, I know it itches, but we all have to do it. And please, don’t flip your badge over so we can’t read your name either. This is considered poor etiquette and disrespectful to exhibitors. If a vendor cannot read your badge she will be thinking, “Oh dear, I hope this person in my booth isn’t trying to steal my designs/rip me off/copy me,” and will be hesitant to answer questions. Nothing makes us more nervous than an unidentified person scoping out our wares. Be upfront about why you have visited our booth. Introduce yourself or remind a vendor of your name. (Confession: I totally remember faces but am horrible with names, and really appreciate it when you remind me!)

Keep reading…

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And I’m Off!

Well, friends, its time! I am officially bidding you adieu until late next week after the National Stationery Show has come and gone. Not to worry though, in honor of show week, we’ll be celebrating all things paper and all things beautiful thanks to a handful of immensely talented guest bloggers. They are designers, stationers, bloggers and some of the most talented ladies I know. I can’t wait for them to visit with you next week! There will be DIY projects, inspiration boards, free downloads, and even an amazing giveaway so don’t miss it! For those of you attending the show, you can find me in booth 2241 with Smock – I would love to have you swing by and say hi! Thank you to everyone who has emailed me to pass along your booth number, too. I have a long list of friends I can’t wait to visit so I hope to be meeting some of you very soon.

Because I’ve been way too busy this week to even really think about reading many blogs, I don’t have my usual round up of links for the weekend. I did, however, find time to fall in love with this gorgeous green, white and gingham tablescape design the ever-talented Chelsea Fuss put together over at Project Wedding. You should probably check it out, too, if you haven’t already – it’s absolutely beautiful. So fresh and so summery, it’s really just perfect.

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And with that, I’m off! Have a lovely weekend, an ever better week and I’ll be back before you know it. Happy Friday!

{Photos by Chelsea Fuss for Project Wedding.}

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