Inslee + Winifred + Christmas = Merry Marriage

November 13, 2015 4 Comments

Hello! Are you a bride? And are you wondering how it works if you want to work with me?

Well, here is the whole process spelled out for you through the story of this lovely couple...

Meet Kelly of Winifred Paper's and my imaginary friends Caroline and Andrew! They got engaged last year on a sustainable organic Christmas Tree farm on Christmas Eve, which happens to also be both their birthdays. So naturally, they wanted to have a Christmas Eve wedding. And because they devoted a year to volunteer in disaster relief areas in the third world they just now got around to setting their date for 2016 and asked Kelly and me to come to their aid for all things paper. 

We began with the above commissioned illustration. Caroline wrote into my site to inquire about working together approximately 4 to 6 weeks before she needed to send the artwork into production. We talked about how Andrew proposed. She told me all the beautiful little sentimental details and together we arrived at this concept for the composition. 

Because Andrew is super supportive and understanding, he agreed to pose with Caroline for a picture posed like the sketch above, recreating the moment for me to work from. Caroline then emailed me this shot with directions to "dress them" in something bridal instead of the outerwear they were actually wearing on the tree farm to add to the romance of the moment, as imagined through the magic of illustration. 

Within our four week agreed upon window of time I worked on Caroline's piece and then sent it back over for approval. She loved it so I popped this original painting in the mail to her to frame for Andrew as a surprise on their engagement anniversary. 

Next step - we looped in talented designer and paper magician Kelly to begin the design process. Kelly took the high resolution file of my art and worked her magic on a beautiful digital suite of Save The Date proof options for Caroline and Andrew to choose from.

They elected to go with a soft gray for their text and cranberry red painted edges on cotton stock - a theme they then carried throughout all the paper for their wedding.

And for the Save The Date, they added that little extra touch of brilliance with some gold foiled "snowflakes" floating down around the artwork and a custom envelope liner done in some of my seasonally appropriate botanical watercolors - the amaryllis. 


Kelly got to work producing the Save The Date's while Caroline and Andrew compiled their list/argued with their parents about whether or not Mrs. Caldwell could invite her ENTIRE tennis team to the rehearsal dinner and wedding.

Nine months before the wedding date, Caroline and Andrew sent out these beautiful cards to give their guests plenty of time to plan to travel to the big event.

Next step, they met with Kelly for a second planning session to design the formal wedding suite. For those of you who do not know yet about the nuances and complexities of the Wedding Suite, let me just say this - it is a concept that is as complicated and open ended as any printed correspondence can possibly be.

If you're wondering why you've met with several different printers or wedding planners or designers and they've all sighed and given you vague explanations about the wedding suite, it is because there is no one right answer to how you should proceed. 

The Wedding Suite is riddled with a minefield of opportunities for faux pas as you make decisions like double thick flat card with a beveled painted edge vs. a soft cotton with a fold and deckled edge or to emboss or to engrave, or to emboss AND engrave

Like I said, it essentially IS rocket science. So, here's what I recommend. Take a cue from Caroline and Andrew and schedule a meeting with us and we'll set you on the path to Wedding Suite Winning.

 For this particular suite, Kelly used a single card of heavy stock with the painted edge, which carried over from the Save The Date design, and brought in the same text and ink color. She did a gold foil press of the calligraphed names of the couple, created by the same calligrapher who will ultimately hand-address each guest's envelope. 

The main envelope which will contain all the suite components has the sweetest little tiding of joy letter pressed on the exterior "From wedding bells to jingle bells" above their return address. This is the kind of creative genius that you need Kelly for. I mean, come on. How good is that?! 

Inside this envelope the guests will find all the components of the suite*

*Some brides elect to have a second Inner Envelope that follows this exterior envelope and contains the remainder of the elements, this adds a level of formality and tradition. But Caroline and Andrew feel strongly about sustainable Tree use and did not want to compromise any more leafy friends in the act of creating their suite. 

The interior elements include: 

The formal invitation which we just discussed above, the reply card, and the invitation to the wedding reception. 

Notice how adorable their reply card is, requesting a reply by Thanksgiving. This couple is all about holidays! 

And how beautiful is the petite reception invitation in it's own botanical illustrated envelope. 

True to form, this super organized couple popped these bad boys in the mail eight weeks before the big day, giving their guests plenty of time to receive and respond to these elegant invitations.

They walked down the aisle after saying their vows in St. John's Episcopal Church into the soft newly fallen snow as the December dusk settled over a quiet city and embraced one another, their hearts filled with great joy and lived happily ever after, always with a stack of perfectly designed correspondence paper nearby to write notes to their family and friends. 

Want to embark upon your wedding journey with the same grace and ease that Caroline and Andrew enjoyed? Here is a list of things you can do to emulate their amazingness by employing Kelly and me:

  1. Use the custom illustration I create for you on your wedding website
  2. Consider having Kelly create stationery for you to use after the wedding with your new name on it for all those thank you notes
  3. Use custom illustration botanicals on your ceremony program, which Kelly can create for you
  4. Use custom illustration botanicals on your menus, which... you guessed it... Kelly can create for you
  5. Consider the need for "wedding swag" - matchbooks, water bottles, welcome packets, custom gift bags. All of these things are legitimate things you might very well need for your big day. And yes, you're right again, Kelly and I can adorn all of these most necessary elements with our art and design.
  6. Think about bridesmaid gifts. Giving each girl a custom fashion illustration of their likeness is a unique and jaw-dropingly-impressive gift for the girls.
  7. Think about the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom. They're going to be sobbing the entire weekend. Come to their aid by enlisting our partner in crime Cece DuPraz for custom embroidered handkerchiefs 
  8. Prints! Prints are easy and affordable gifts for these sweet, weeping MOB and MOGs also. Inquire with me about turning your custom illustration into prints for the parents as a perfect gift to frame.
  9. And final call to action, and most important of all, plan ahead. Plan way ahead. All of these beautiful, custom elements take tender love and care, and most importantly TIME to grow into full readiness.

Well, there you have it you fancy engaged little thing! Now you should be very well educated in the process of our impending collaboration on the most magnificent day of your life. We can't wait to work with you! 

PS. Buy the new issue of BRIDES and you can see this project featured! 



Posted in BRIDES magazine, cece dupraz, christmas, custom illustration, inslee by design, wedding, winifred paper

it's the most wonderful time of the year - #73SPRINGSHOP is back

November 12, 2015 2 Comments

Who: Inslee By Design, Society Social, Persifor, Ashley Brooke Designs, Loren Hope*
What: Are hosting the most glorious Pop Up Shopping Event of 2015**
When: December 3 - 20th***
Where: In my studio: 73 Spring Street****




Inslee By Design: You made it this far, you know who I am. 

Society Social: My studio mate, Roxy is the founder of Society Social - a whimsical line of home goods and furniture. Roxy enjoys drinking wine with me while we complain about how hard our lives are. She's just one of those people who is always there for you (or in this case, for me). So if you have some emotional baggage you've been carrying around, I invite you to stop by #73SPRINGSHOP and take a load off while road testing one of her beautiful pieces of furniture and tell Roxy all about that job you're thinking of going out for, or that date that didn't go as planned, or those five pounds you just cannot lose. 

Persifor: Alex, designer behind the perky and fresh clothing & accessories line, Persifor, will be joining us for the Pop Up shop again this year. Alex enjoys running the world with one hand tied behind her back. If there's anything I learned from #73SPRINGSHOP last year, it's that Alex is one cool, calm, collected cucumber that you totally want to emulate and grow up to become. But you can't, because you're a mess. It's ok, I'm a mess too. We can just lurk near Alex and try to absorb some of her powers together while telling Roxy all our problems. 

Loren Hope: Omg yes, that Loren! Yes, her stuff is EVERYWHERE. AND IT IS SO CUTE. Loren is taking the world by storm, one piece of hand-crafted-in-Rhode-Island beautiful jewelry at a time. Loren is also a second time vendor at #73SPRINGSHOP and if you weren't her biggest shopper last year, I think i might have been. You know the classic story: Girl gets job at retail shop, girl gets pay check, girl spends pay check in same retail shop...? Yes. That was me and Loren's inventory last year. 

Ashley Brooke Designs: Now THIS is a wild card. I have to admit, I don't know ABD and her sassy hand lettered accessories all that well yet. She's a first time vendor, new to the shop this year! Hurray for a newbie! My initial read is this: Ashely is essentially Buddy the Elf dressed in heels and a cardigan. Or in other words, we're going to get along very well. I anticipate we'll fall in love and maybe choreograph several synchronized dances together about the meaning of Christmas. 


If you missed it last year, let me fill you in: #73SPRINGSHOP is a hashtag, but it is also so much more. It is a call-to-action to be said loud, and fast, and all as one word: SEVENTYTHREESPRINGSHOP!!! and to be emphasized by doing jazz hands while you say it. Try it and see if you don't feel suddenly energized by the need to buy adorable gifts. 

#73SPRINGSHOP is a curated shopping experience featuring a selection of each of our products in a boutique-like atmosphere. We've worked together to design a beautiful space that amplifies each of our unique businesses and makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you step through the door. 

There will be Christmas music. There will be puppies. There may also be face painting (TBD... have not asked the others about this yet, but who doesn't want to have their face painted like a sexy reindeer?)


Last year, #73SPRINGSHOP was a raging success. We opened the doors of our merry little studio for a week to the general public and met so many wonderful new friends and clients and sold lots and lots of beautiful gifts. 

So this year, we decided to take it a step further and invite you in not just for one week but for the whole darn MONTH. Why not? The longer the merrier! 

Yes, that is right. Starting December 3rd, we'll be open daily during the week from 4-8pm and on Saturdays from 12-6pm and on Sundays from 1-5pm. We'll ring the closing bell on December 20th. And really, if you haven't finished shopping by then, then shame on you GRINCH.


Now this is the tricky part...

The studio is in an office building, it's not exactly a traditional retail storefront experience. So put on your adventure pants, and get ready to do some hunting to find us up on the fourth floor of 73 Spring Street. It will be worth it.

If you arrive in the evening or on the weekend, you'll need to buzz #16 to be granted access to the magical party that is raging upstairs in our lair.

Once you're in the door, you'll be faced with a big decision: to opt for the ease and speed of the elevator to floor 4 or taking the stairs, because we know that Fitbit is always watching. Always judging. 

Once you make it to floor 4, just follow the sounds of the cacophony of joy that will undoubtedly be spilling forth from Room 401, potentially getting us in trouble with our neighbors. And the rest will be pretty self explanatory... HAVE FUN! 

We cannot wait to see you! 


Posted in 73springshop, christmas, holiday, nyc, pop up, shopping

home for the holidays

December 19, 2013 3 Comments

Here's a merry doorway I painted for a Christmas Card design.

This is for a lovely couple who happen to be good friends of mine. Every time we ran into each other at weddings this fall, we would brainstorm about what I should paint for their card. Partridges in a pear tree? Pheasants in a snowy wood? There was a lot of discussion of birds...

Ultimately though, when it was time to sit down and paint, I thought of their charming, beautifully decorated Charlottesville home and how festive it could look decked out for a rustic, snowy Christmas.

Of course, my artwork couldn't hold a candle to the adorable picture of their puppy inside. I can't wait to send a Christmas card next year after the wedding when it is finally socially acceptable to send a card from the royal us. Sending a Christmas card is one of my main motivating factors for getting married. I have had our first Christmas card illustration in my head for about three years...

Posted in Christmas, christmas card, commission, Inslee By Design, The Sketch Book

Tree Trimming

December 04, 2013 5 Comments

Meet Carissa and Stefan! They're trimming their tree in style, as sketched by moi for their Christmas card design. Stefan planned the whole thing out and surprised Carissa with this illustration and their holiday cards. He thought of everything - right down to the little details in their outfit. How thoughtful is that? Seriously good husband move.

Speaking of tree trimming - last night I got our Christmas tree. Getting a tree in NYC is as easy and unromantic as getting a bagel at the bodega. It was a far cry from the idillic family outing of my childhood with my parents and the dachshunds and me all piled into the car to go to the local landscaping company to visit the tall, majestic pines standing tall on a giant lot, each a few feet a part like a real forrest, their dense dark magic punctuated by market lights strung above. I would walk through and among them until I found one that I would project all of my love of christmas onto until I had decided that this tree had spoken to me from the great beyond of the spirit of Christmas and that this was THE one.

We'd take it home and string it with thousands of soft white lights, nestled artfully within the bountiful branches, all the while marveling at how "this was the best tree we've ever gotten"

Well... My tree shopping last night could not have been more different. I ran down to Rite Aid on the corner to where about 100 trees are leaned against the wall, tightly bound by netting, looking like prisoners of war and gave the tree guy $40 and asked him to give me one "that would not be too heavy to carry up 4 flights of stairs by myself"

Seven minutes later I was home with my slightly traumatized little city tree, freeing it from its plastic netting to discover all the places where branches were missing. Sure it was scraggly and a little lopsided and you could see straight through to the other side through its branches, but it made me almost as happy as those elegant giants on the tree lot in my memory. I guess in the end, the act of getting the tree, any tree, is still a powerful tradition.

Posted in Christmas, christmas tree, holiday card, Inslee, Inslee By Design, The Sketch Book, tree trimming

Santa Baby...

December 01, 2013 3 Comments

Don't you just think Santa baby is playing on repeat in her head all the time? I can't believe this little minx is the last girl of 2013. Time to change the calendar and ring in the holidays!

Posted in 2013 calendar, Christmas, december calendar, fashion illustration, Inslee By Design, Inslee Haynes, The Sketch Book


January 18, 2013 11 Comments


I am in love with this blog Lily Says Go

Apparently everyone else already knew about it? Ahh where have I been? And I took one look at her and said to myself, "this girl is a dancer". Lily, am I right? I just know it when I see it. That awareness of how a dancer holds herself.

I realized this sketch would have been way more fun a month ago. But you know what, why don't we just get started getting excited about next Christmas now. This outfit has me fast forwarding to the merriment already.

And the best part about it? She made that amazing tulle skirt out of an old prom dress.


Posted in Blogger, Christmas, dancer, fashion illustration, Inslee, Inslee Haynes, lily says go, The Sketch Book

merry merry

December 25, 2012 7 Comments

Christmas is here! Time to pop the champagne!

Here's my holiday sketch for the Layla Grayce Blog. Hope you and yours are merry and bright this week.

Posted in bar cart, Christmas, Inslee By Design, Inslee Haynes, layla grayce, News and Events

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