Thursday, July 11, 2013

Greetings from Asheville!

Hello dear readers - it has been way too long indeed. I have so much to share! I'm now living in one of my favorite cities, nestled in my beloved Appalachian Mountains - Asheville, North Carolina.

I grew up visiting the area with my parents and attending summer camps. When I was 19, I spent the summer working as the hiking counselor at Keystone Camp and officially fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachia. Two summers ago I attended the Ladies of Letterpress Conference in Asheville and became aware of the vibrant artisan and craft community, in the sense that it really resonated with me. For the first time I thought, "I really could live here." After completing the entire Appalachian Trail last summer, I knew in my heart that I belonged in Appalachia.

Through a college friend, I was grandfathered into an amazing converted carriage house on 44 acres of land, but still close to downtown and Historic West Asheville.  I have a nook upstairs that I've made into a small design studio and a nook downstairs that is slowly becoming a functioning letterpress studio. My dad and boyfriend built me a sturdy table for my Chandler & Price tabletop press. I finally printed on it for the first time two weeks ago, which was wonderful. Nothing like cranking the radio, drinking a beer, and printing at home. 
I love the life I've created here, slowing down immensely from my fast-paced life in New York City and my wonderful year of adventures. I sit on my porch in the evenings reading or just watching the wildlife. My neighbor sightings so far include hawks, fox, deer, millions of bunnies, a turkey - who now has a family(!), opossoms, and countless birds. I see all kinds of wildflowers, of whose names I'm eager to learn. Wild blackberry brambles are everywhere, thick with small red berries - I can't wait until they are ripe. Mountain Laurel, Sassafras, Tulip Poplar, and Oak are some of my favorite trees, all within a stone's throw. 
Evening hike on the land

Blackberry flowers

Wild Sweet Pea

Y'all, I LOVE bunnies! These guys make me so happy!

Turkey family (a rafter of turkeys)
My design and letterpress business is going well. I've done several wedding invitations suites - I will share some photos soon. Last weekend, I participated in Asheville's favorite summer craft fair - the Big Crafty. So many great vendors were there, it was so inspiring to walk around and see all the beautiful, creative products.
I was so excited to debut some new summer greeting cards. These, as well as the old favorites, are for sale on my Etsy site. Two new local shops carry my cards - Baggie Goose in Biltmore Village, and The Shop at Kanuga at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville. The Coffee Fox in Savannah and Sewn to the Sky in Chattanooga also continue to carry my cards in the southeast. 
Well gentle readers, I hope you have enjoyed this long-over due update. I leave you with a photo that was taken this evening. This afternoon I bought some plants on clearance at Lowes as well as some new terra cotta pots to add to my growing (pun intended!) back porch container garden. My thumb slowly is turning green, as my grass gets bluer here in these hills :)
Back row, left to right: Sweet Potato vine, Basil, Tomato,
Next row: Friendship Plant, Mint, Marigolds,
Next: remedial Thyme (it froze in an unexpected snowstorm in late March), Zinnia,
Last: remedial Mint in the olive oil tin
My heart was right - I do belong here in Appalachia. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Indiana!

I consider myself fairly well traveled. I've spent time in every state on the East coast (with the sole exception of Rhode Island) and have even walked from Georgia to Maine. I've taken short visits to the West: Wyoming, Montana, Texas, and California. Traveling abroad, I've been to Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Kenya & Peru. In all my 28 years, however, I have never set foot in the Great American Midwest - until last week. During my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, I developed a great friendship with someone from Indiana ("Gribley" for those who followed my AT blog) and he invited me to come visit. In the cold dregs of February, I made my way out there. 



Though I'm familiar with the flat lands of coastal Georgia, it was so cool to see this flat farmland, extending for miles. We drove out to Hovey Lake - he works there and knew of lots of great short hikes around the water. Thousands of ducks migrated there for the winter and as we quietly walked, huge flocks would burst toward the sky, flapping and moving in a harmonious rhythm - it was magical to see. We sat and observed the landscape, and enjoyed Nashville brewed Yazoo Porters, happy to be outside together again. After all, last summer on the AT, this sort of thing was a regular activity.







The next morning, after breakfast (I brought along my French Press & Velo Coffee, brewed in Chattanooga) we drove up to New Harmony, a twice failed German Utopian community, now full of great antique shops. My favorite though, was a visit to the old Workingman's Institute, which housed a wonderful cabinet of curiosities, an amazing library full of first edition informational books and novels, and beautifully commissioned replicas of European paintings. 




  



The other highlight was a visit to Tin Man Brewing - a local brewery that uses advanced technology to make incredibly tasty beer. After crafting the beer, they remove the carbonation and store it in bladders (like wine bags). The carbonation is re-added when it is served, just like cola. While I had my doubts at first, our guide Sean explained that this is a more environmentally-friendly process. Taking kegs out of the process cuts down tremendously on shipping & storage. If I remember correctly, Tin Man the is only the third brewery in the world and the first in the US to use this technology. All that said, the beer was delicious - which is the most important thing!






The whole trip was wonderful and I left with a new affection for the great state of Indiana.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Thank You Cards

I'm so excited to introduce some new thank you cards to my stationery line. My greeting cards began out of my love for vintage woodblock type, as I would set each letter one at a time and delight in the imperfections of working with such old type. As much as I enjoy that process & aesthetic, my style is much broader. I love vintage floral etchings and simple elegant typography, and have long included these styles in my custom design and print work. I am thrilled to finally bring these styles to my own line of cards. Please visit my Etsy shop for more information and shopping. Cheers!  














Monday, January 21, 2013

New Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Day is less than a month away, and I'm excited to introduce two new letterpress cards in my shop. I've started to add my own designs to my collection, in addition to the woodblock type cards. This year, I wanted to include some cards that were fitting to send to friends. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be just for couples - these cards are perfect to send to your best buds to remind them how much you love them! 









Saturday, January 19, 2013

Southern Wedding Expo in Ringgold, GA

Today I participated in my first Bridal Fair, The Southern Wedding Expo in Ringgold, Georgia. (Fun fact: Ringgold is where Dolly Parton got married!) Brides, mothers, girlfriends, and a handful of fianc├ęs attended, eager to meet vendors for their big day. I met some great potential clients and enjoyed some yummy sample cupcakes. 

This event reminded how much I love doing wedding invitations and working with brides. If you know anyone getting married & needing invites, please send them my way. I am available for custom design & letterpress printing for all the elements of a wedding invitation suite: save the date cards, invitations, reply cards, menus, programs, thank you cards, return address envelope printing, and more!

I had a custom sign made from my favorite local printer, DPI Color Graphics.
I didn't quite realize how big it was until I picked it up! 

Going through my portfolio in the dining room at home. 

My table & sign, all set up. I used a white linen family heirloom tablecloth that came from
my maternal grandmother's estate, Two Magnolias, in Macon, Georgia. 




New haircut, new pants, new sign, and a dozen roses.. all ready to go! 

The stage was set up for a bridal fashion show to model dresses from a local bridal shop. 

I met lots of other great vendors: caterers, photographers, planners, and more.

My favorite couple! I loved their air-brushed, "Just Engaged" matching tee shirts :)