Planner perfection, at least I hope so

2016 calendar / planner season is nearly here and The Annual will only go into production with your support.

The Annual Lifebook

I was designing early editions of The Annual years ago. At first, I was simply trying to find a better structured, more beautiful solution than I could in stores. As a designer working at Better Homes and Gardens magazine, it was my job to source products for photo shoots and what I wanted simply wasn’t for sale, so I made my own. I spent many a night printing pages and cutting them to size with an Exacto knife and then assembling them into a 3-ring-binder. Not long after, everything went digital.

As I left the magazine to help found a global design firm, my new role required I embrace digital calendar management and I packed my planner away.

It wasn’t long before I realized I’d lost track of my center. I was working long hours, constantly reactive to the needs of my colleagues, and by all accounts doing well—but I could no longer hear the intuitive sense that helped me get that far. I had to get back to basics.

This need for clarity, to pause each morning and set my own direction for the day, encouraged me to pull my early versions of The Annual back out. After a few weeks of putting my pen to paper I was reclaiming my creative energy and focus, and my colleagues were happier with me as well.

I thought to myself, “I can’t be the only one feeling like this”
So I refreshed The Annual’s typography and layouts, ensured as much unlabeled clear space as possible, and then called my friends in a Portland, Oregon print shop to produce the prototype you see here.

If you’re struggling to find your center amidst the din of distractions—there is another way. We can reclaim our calm, together.

Cute Tues // Get those pics off your phone

I love photos
I love thick paper
I love small things

Enter, the Print Studio app.
(& their website version)

This was one of those “must download” apps that lingered in my phone for months before I got around to ever opening it. I can’t believe I waited so long! I ordered 40-some photos, literally, from my bed one morning and three days later FedEx dropped off a sweet little package and the fun of all the things to do with these little prints multiplied from there.

I tried the tiny pics:
– in sets within a larger frame
– as gift tags
– as a fun surprise in my husband’s wallet
– as KOLO box labels

What will I try next? A 2014 pic-a-day calendar

After all, they are small.

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Pantone Perfect

In NYC this week I was lucky enough to have spare time to poke my head into Purl Soho, you know, those brilliant knitters who share their ideas and gorgeous yarn on

I picked up some of their Super Soft Merino in Ballet Pink (ahem, Pantone 9241) which should make the prettiest cable knit scarf.

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This Friday I’m Into…

Chandelier rehab!

Everyone knows you can buy a dated brass chandelier and spray it fabulous, but have you ever considered covering one in fabrics and ribbon?! This girl did, not me (I wish!), a woman in Iowa who’s home my mother was in this week.

This idea has my head spinning. What if we did this with colored floss, thread, knit?!! The possibilities are endless. Heading out to thrift a more mod-shaped fixture myself.

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Lions & Tigers & Babies, Oh My!

When I was a little girl my dad woke me up before dawn one day for one of my most memorable childhood experiences. I had no idea what he was up to, but I could tell he was excited to share something special. After a short drive, we were surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a real life circus train unloading before my eyes.

We huddled on steel bleachers in the fog of this cool morning, and watched as elephants lumbered down ramps, where they gathered in a large dirt parking lot. They made their way across the street, trunks holding tails, where they helped to raise the large circus tent I’d find myself inside two nights later, beaming with excitement while munching on popcorn.

For my cousin’s baby shower, her first boy, I wanted to recreate those childlike feelings of anticipation that rise within me whenever I think about my first circus.

A nudge from a friend and her offer to co-host the shower was just the spark needed to start the fire of preparation. Enjoy the look around the event!

What feelings do you like to conjure for your gatherings?

Photos: upper) assorted cupcakes & gold giraffe; lower: 1) wax paper cups with cupcake liners, flavored popcorn; 2) homespun fabric pennants on jute twine, washi tape flags on sticks; 3) mini succulents wrapped by paper tickets, washi tape “thank you” flags on toothpicks, chevron paper gift bags to-go; 4) momma & party straws for mimosas and juice; 5) guests paint blocks for baby instead of games.

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