Gift Guide: It’s Wedding Season!

Despite the snow on the ground, wedding season must be nearly upon us—I just received my first pearlized envelope in the mail. So what’s a gracious guest to do? Start planning the gift now instead of grabbing whatever’s left on the registry on the way to the reception.

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: Many modern couple just want cash. It’s easy for you, it leaves them free to spend it on whatever they need. Rare is the bride and groom who don’t already live together and really need to stock a new home. I’m not saying don’t go out and get something to wrap up, but if you don’t? Hey, that’s ok. Get a nice card (ahem, we have a few suggestions), throw in some cash and call it a day.

Now on to the more three-dimensional presents! (This is a gift guide after all.) First up: Registries are there for a reason! Believe it or not, nobody wants the $5 set of fish-shaped serving bowls you found at TJ Maxx (true story). Choose something from the couple’s registry, then find a way to make it more fun. Do they want a wok? Fill it with hoisin, soy sauce, rice noodles and a cookbook. Did they register for always-exciting new flatware? Package them up with a napkin and funky napkin ring for each place setting. A box of plates can come wrapped in a tablecloth. You get the idea.

If—and this is a big if—you know the couple really, really well, you may [pause for dramatic effect]… go off registry.

Make sure you’re gift is something they couldn’t register for—maybe something completely custom like the “Story of Us” wall hanging above, or a product handmade by a local artisan, like any of the cast iron pans shaped like Midwestern states below.

Another great option? Find something the couple can do together. Fund a date night (a gift card to their favorite restaurant or wine bar and concert tickets ought to do the trick), give vouchers for a cooking class or start a new hobby (beer or wine-making kit anyone?).

Best friends with the bride?  Give her something truly special: a custom fashion illustration of her dress. Local artist Jen Thompson of Illustrate the Dress created this beauty below (modeled by Miss Mollie Busby on her wedding day).

Whatever you give, do so with love and know that your presence on the dance floor well past 11pm means just as much—if not more—than whatever you set on the gift table 5 hours prior. Happy wedding season!

Back to Business

When I first started my company, I did everything I could to drum up custom business. Business cards, stationery, wedding invites—you name it I was up for it. And my prices were low (seriously, if you were a custom client of mine a year or two ago, you got a GREAT deal!), so low that I think I was losing money once I figured in how much time I was spending on each project—not to mention the ones that never came to fruition! I would kill myself trying to make an impossibly short timeline, include tons of freebies…. It was a completely unsustainable business. A handful of jobs came and went and finally I wised up: it simply wasn’t worth the time and stress.

Over the past year or two, I’ve done a piece here or there, but generally I turned down more work than I took on. However, I recently had the pleasure of designing and printing business cards for a local tutor and to my surprise when I finished the project I felt really good about the whole experience. The finished product is beautiful of course, but I think the best part was that after all was said and done, I didn’t feel burnt out or defeated, but inspired and ready for more! Not to mention, my skills have improved over the last couple years, so the process of creating the cards went much smoother from beginning to end.

Business cards by 622 pressI finally learned to value my own work. I know I am good at what I do and my time and talent are worth charging a fair price for. The stress and inconvenience were all internal, and once I let that go, I was able to enjoy the work again. I’m excited to revive and revamp this aspect of my business, you can check out the details for business cards here and watch for more to come! I hope this post reminds you to let go of the internal pressure you put on yourself and take pleasure in whatever you’re working on.

Christmas 101: A twist on a classic

Well kids, we’re getting down to the wire. Relatives are bound to start showing up any minute now, and—oh what’s that? You’re still not ready? Here are a few last minute ideas to get your home in the holiday spirit! The best part? You already have a materials and can pull them off in 10 minutes or less. Enjoy!

This first one is pretty darn brilliant, even if it does come from Rachel Ray Magazine. Take any piece of clear stemware—wine or martini glass, even a champagne flute—and invert it over some festive foliage: Holly branches, a poinsettia, even a bough from your Christmas tree, whatever you’ve got around. Place a small votive on the base (which is now the top) or each one and voila! A perfectly modern centerpiece.

You’ve got an extra strand of lights or two, right? Why not bring them inside, wrap them around… anything really (seriously: A spray-painted hula hoop, an old frame, a large embroidery hoop… the list goes on) and you’ve got a fancy festive chandelier that easily comes down when your guests go home—or you could definitely leave it up year round!

Pinteresting

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. On one hand, browsing through it can generate all kinds of creative ideas and break you out of a rut. On the other, it can also create a Facebook-esque time warp and suddenly hours have been wasted clicking through information you don’t really care about. Either way, I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite ideas here!

Beautiful decor ideas (is there any better way to make sure your guests don't see your messy bedroom?)
Crafty ideas and DIY tutorials (these are old t-shirts!)
Event Inspiration
Can be a great way to keep track of products you want
A little snark to make me smile (I'm thinking of hanging this in my office)

Are you on Pinterest? What do you think? Leave your screen name here to be followed! Follow me at pinterest.com/622press.