Blogged: Dear Handmade Life

dear handmade life | http://www.dearhandmadelife.com

Just a quick post today to share an interview I did with Dear Handmade Life a little ways back! Head over to their blog for lots of maker interviews, DIY projects and more, and of course check out my feature here!

Advertisements

Readymade Wedding Invitations

final_bee final_big names

As I’ve mentioned in a few past blog posts, I’ve been working on wedding invitation designs that couple can just pluck off the digital shelf, send me their event information, and—presto!—their invites arrive within a few weeks. Last year I had several couple get in touch with too little time before their nuptials, so I thought these would be the perfect solution for last minute brides.

final_floral coaster final_floral framefinal_floral thanks

I’ve also recently realized that for non-designers, starting to brainstorm a design from scratch is totally overwhelming. I’ve had a few designs bopping around my head for a while that haven’t quite suited any of my clients thus far—so my hope is that by having a design in front of them, couples will find the process easier.

final_peony

Find all current designs here—I’ll be adding more all the time! Get in touch if you’re getting hitched!

final_fireworks final_firework thanks

2014 in Review

The title of this post isn’t exactly accurate… it’s really just a review of blogging in 2014… well really just the infographics WordPress generates to sum up your blogging for the year, and I assume motivate you to post more.

Since this blog was idle for much of this year, my stats are not all that impressive, but the infographic IS rather impressive nonetheless! Check it out here.

A Christmas Letter from 622 press

I know this should be a travel post, but instead this week I did some actual traveling, in the form of heading home to Wisconsin for the holidays. I’m taking a mini break from business and blogging through the new year, but if you’re looking for some holiday reading material, check out decor ideas here, here, and here, plus awesome handmade gift guides from years past here, here, here and here, plus wrapping ideas here.

Dear Friend,

2014 has been a big year for 622 press. It started off normally enough: living in Madison and continuing to work as art director of BRAVA Magazine—all while driving down to Mom and Dad’s on the weekends to print on my antique letterpress. Spring was particularly busy, as the business added Middleton’s The Regal Find to its group of wholesalers—in addition to Driftless Studio on State Street in Madison; the now-defunct east-side Absolutely Art; and When Pigs Fly in Whitewater.

I was also printing my largest wedding stationery suite to date—150 three-piece invitations with lined, printed envelopes, 2 different thank you cards, menu cards, recipe card favors and more, plus designing a wrap for the invites, table numbers and seating chart—along with two other weddings, and the usual business cards, stationery and such. There were quite a few nights that I got back to my Madison apartment entirely too close to midnight, rushing down after work and printing the entire evening—but it was worth it to grow 622 press.

Amy_Lanser_3085By summer I had finally accepted Andrew’s invitation to move to Bermuda—job or not (I had been hunting from the U.S. since last year). I told BRAVA my plans months before the planned move—and after a few tense weeks of indecision, they committed to my current contract position as main freelancer for design work. However, we still had to find a replacement for me as Art Director. It’s sort of a funny thing—searching for someone to do the job you’ve poured everything into for 5+ years… plus she would be my boss! I’m so glad we ended up with the candidate we did though.

The process to apply for Bermuda residency was incredibly long and costly—and inefficient. Every time I thought I had submitted everything the government/health insurer/customs official needed, I was handed another list of medical exams, notarized documents and letters to acquire. I had planned to move in late July/early August, but the BRAVA logistics pushed my move until the end of August—exactly when my lease expired, so I was working right up until the week before I flew out, along with selling all my furniture and car, packing a shipping container, giving away the remainder of my clothes and household items and trying to take care of last-minute logistics like bank accounts and cell phone plans. It was chaos, but the knowledge that a slower-pace awaited me on the island sustained me.

That slower pace wouldn’t come for a while though—the shipping container had arrived, but Bess remained on the dock for weeks while I filled out more and more paperwork and proved over and over again that I had permission to live on the island. I also got a Bermuda driving license (written and driving exams, just like in the U.S.!) and bought a bike.

Finally Bess and everything else was delivered—I finally had a decent set of dishes (goodbye, Andrew’s bachelor kitchen), some artwork and most importantly, my studio. It took quite some time to get everything set up, but now it’s the perfect creative space—with an ocean view to boot.

10374486_837145149658694_1885042334076427652_n

Since the big move, I’ve been freelancing for clients old and new, as well as trying to grow 622 press. I post of-the-moment updates on facebook nearly every day, and of course blog as often as I can!

Several of the invitations we printed this year were featured on Wedding Lovely, a blog and wedding resource site that has been incredibly supportive of 622 press over the years. Our shadow monogram stationery was featured in Cool Mom Picks’ annual gift guide, which was far and away the biggest editorial feature I’ve had to date, and prompted quite a few orders this winter.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 5.27.36 PM

While I used the end of 2014 to get the business in order—making sure inventory is correct, analyzing pricing, timing and shipping, and redesigning our branding—2015 will be all about new work. I’ve been designing a new spring collection of cards and prints, plus brainstorming and prototyping new products, and searching for new stores to begin wholesale relationships with. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to!

Until then, stay warm, enjoy time with your family and be grateful for such a blessed life—I know I will. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, see you in the new year!

Kristin

circles_ornaments_4832

My travel advice: You should totally do it

Last week boyfriend and I spent a long weekend in Toronto. He was there for work, I was there because… I could be. (Ah, the joys of working remotely!) We had a great, albeit relatively uneventful weekend, filled with new (for me) friends, fantastic meals and plenty of relaxation.

In the last two years, I left North America for the first time (London, Paris); visited countless domestic cities (New York, Baltimore, Philly, Virginia Beach, Charleston, Savannah, and a hundred small towns in between); went on the most spontaneous trip of my life (Costa Rica with four days notice); oh, and moved to Bermuda.

Of all places, it took Toronto to make me realize it’s kind of all the same. Not in a the-world-is-boring-nothing-is-worth-anything kind of way, but in a way that throws fear out the window, imbues you with the self-confidence of self-reliance and mitigates pre-existing notions of “the other” and the us-versus-them attitude that seems so pervasive in our culture right now.

Travel makes the world feel smaller in the best possible way. No matter where you go, you will meet someone kind and fun and wonderful, you will see something so beautiful it takes your breath away, you will eat something delicious that you will never have again. The experience of a place gets lodged in your heart and you will never be able to be hateful or uncaring toward its inhabitants again.

One second while I step down from my soap box…

To that end, I’m starting a new travel feature here on the blog. As I can’t quite afford to populate the section by myself (anyone want to send me on a free trip somewhere?? Anyone?), and I happen to have quite a few good friends who are very good writers, you’ll even get to read something besides my drivel. Look for Toronto tomorrow!

Namaste

So you may remember this post from the beginning of the year in which I tout my new yoga habit. Confession: I haven’t been to yoga since there was snow on the ground.

While part of it was the “not enough time” trap all women seem to stumble into, most of the reason for my faulty attendance was that I just couldn’t find a class or instructor that gave me what I was looking for from yoga.

Some yogis love to sweat, some love to stretch, but what I was really looking for was the mental clarity that comes from moving slowly and concentrating on your breath. My intro class was fantastic, I left feeling light and clear, but once I started attending various beginner-level classes, the pace picked up and I missed holding poses for several minutes while I let my tension ease. I read this post from The Mollie Shambeau Show a few days ago, and it hit me hard.

Shavasana is known as “Corpse Pose” because it’s here, in these final few moments that we die. Not just as an idea, but actually. Understanding that one has collected so much during their lives. Not only books, houses, bank accounts—but inwardly… the memories of insults, the memories of flattery, the memories of your own particular experiences—neurotic achievements which give you position. To die to all that without argument, without discussion, without any fear—just to give it up—will create freedom.

Die to everything that you know psychologically so that your mind is clear, not tortured… so that it sees things as they are, both outwardly and inwardly.

You came to your mat as one person. You came to your mat as the thinker. You came to your mat being that of your thoughts. As you leave your mat today, you’re brand new. You’re no longer your thoughts or your doubts or your fears. And each and every day you come to your mat, this is what you do. You shed your old, and you become new. Innocent, fresh… and through this innocence, this is where you live in compassion… when you bring your yoga off of your mat and into your world. 

Namaste.

I have a bad habit of thinking about the stupid things I’ve said or done over and over and over… and over. I let these moments that I’m sure no one else remembers wiggle in and keep me up at night, shaking my confidence and reminding me that I’m not as great as I sometimes let myself think. Toxic thoughts are tough to shake on your own, and sometimes we just need someone else to tell us to knock it off. Truth be told, part of the reason I’m writing this post is so I have this quote available anytime I need to read it. Oh, and anyone know a good yoga class?

One month

It’s officially been a month since I’ve blogged. One. Whole. Month. I’m finding it difficult to get back into the swing of things tonight, so I thought I’d start things back up with a post about what’s been going on with Bess—and me!

6.9 Finished a brand new print (detail above, more to come!)

6.20 Delivered more cards to Absolutely Art. Word is they’re selling like hotcakes, but she’s still got a pretty good stock so stop in!

6.22 Happy Birthday, 622 press! Also, finish July issue of BRAVA, oh, and move out of apartment. Whew!

6.23 Leave for vacation! Poolside lounging, here I come!

6.24 Start Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series

6.28 Finish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series… so good!

7.4 Happy Birthday, America! Total confusion about which day of the week it is ensues.

7.5 Interview with Wedding Lovely! Check it out!

7.7 Favorite Day of the Year: Dave Matthews comes to Wisconsin!