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

inslee sketches at nautica

March 30, 2015 1 Comment

Posted in inslee by design, live illustration, nautica, NYC


March 25, 2015 2 Comments


Can we talk about Sweetgreen? And the stylish lettuce mafia that bursts forth each day to wait in the chicest line in town for an order of Guacamole Greens? 

I can mark the phases of my life like rings on a tree, or in this case, like fork marks on the bottom of a plastic-made-from-corn salad bowl, by my visits to Sweetgreen. 

It has been a landmark in my existence since it's arrival in '07, arguably the year the world (or at least my friends) came back from studying abroad and discovered lettuce.

I call this the years of salad-awakening.

I remember the first shop opening one dusty summer day on Georgetown's M street. It looked like something straight out of The Shire, a tiny little white and green house nestled between towering nouveau minimalist architecture of Georgetown flagship stores. My roommates and I were lured into this little hobbit house by the fro-yo and before we knew it, we underwent a magical transformation through countless return visits of becoming adults who eat beets. Sweetgreen taught us to worship at the altar of lettuce.

I was hooked. We had a blissful love affair during which I learned how to eat all sorts of colored foods. (I was strictly a beige food kid growing up)

And then, in an act of self deprivation, I chose to leave the promise land and move to New York. I found myself miles from Georgetown, on the mean streets of NYC's East Village. A place where salads do not exist. In the east village people eat Pho. They eat Falafel. They eat steamed pork buns. They eat Bahn mi. Soba noodles. Porchetta sandwiches bursting with slow roasted burnt crispy pork skin and mustard so powerful you cant stop crying. Ramen noodles with quail egg and seaweed reduction and pork belly and chicken liver glistening in a secret recipe for a broth so thick and enchanting you almost pass out halfway through the dish. 

It's a tourists' heaven. A weekenders' paradise. Every new, adventurous eating phenomenon you could want all jam packed into one tiny neighborhood. However, as a long-term, week-day resident, I couldn't just pop out for a 2 hour wait and a 1700 calorie lunch every day at the local noodle joint. 

My friends who still lived in DC bragged about the ease of visiting the new Glover Park sweetgreen (which opened mere MONTHS after I departed for the big apple, or as it should be known, the big pork bun) and I saw more and more Sweetgreens popping up on Capitol Hill and in Bethesda. My ex-city was taunting me. 

I believe at one point I wrote a letter to Sweetgreen, while sadly making my own salads in my crumbling hovel of a 4th floor east village walk up, and urged them to open a franchise in NYC. In retrospect, that was probably a pretty lonely day for me. Can you imagine a scenario in which you would write to a salad-themed restaurant in another city? ....exactly.

I was going through a bit of culture shock. I call this time the dissatisfied-spinster-working-from-home years. 

And a few short years later, my grassroots campaigning clearly paid off and those nice salad makers in DC read my tear soaked letters and said "ok ok ok, we give in, we'll open a Sweetgreen in another city" 

The Nomad Hotel was opening a Sweetgreen!!!!! And my newly minted studio mate, Roxy, introduced me to my eyeslash weave specialist whose office was just around the corner from this new Sweetgreen garden of earthly delights. Everything happens for a reason.

Spinster-work-from-home no more. I now had a studio to work in and studio mate to work with, a set of freshly super-sized eyelashes and an excuse to go to Sweetgreen at least once every three weeks after lash weaves. I call this the power-montage-era. Because whenever I look back on it, I see myself running at full speed through life, grinning ear to ear, planning my wedding with arugula coming out of my ears. 


Life has come full circle. Sweetgreen has come to me. It is literally on my block. If I had doubted my faith before, it is restored to that of impassioned zealot. There is a lettuce god. And he hears my prayers. I can visit Sweetgreen morning, noon and night if I so choose. They let me bring my puppy in with me and all the salad magicians in the assembly line comment on how cute she is. 

And best of all...

The fashion. Standing in a 45 minute long line to get lunch should be devastatingly annoying. But in Sweetgreen it is valuable time for market research. Everyone at the Sweetgreen on Kenmare and Mulberry looks like they just stormed straight out of a shoot for Net-a-porter. From dramatic wide legged trouser pants to platform shoes and ironic beards and/or glasses, this hip crew does not mess around with their workday attire. 

I always knew Sweetgreen and I shared a special connection on a culinary level, but I had no idea we had such perfectly aligned taste in ready to wear too. Where else can you get an ethically sourced lunch of locally grown ingredients prepared right before your eyes while also watching a runway show?! 

So, thank you, dear SG lettuce gods. Thank you for satisfying my hunger for arugula and oversized wool cape coats alike. I shall call this new era, the time-of-salad-synergy. Care to join me for lunch? By all means, meet me at the corner of Mulberry and Kenmare wearing your best military-insprired cape vest and we'll laugh together over a spicy sazbi. And who knows. You might just turn up illustrated on my instagram feed. 


Posted in inslee by design, NYC, sweetgreen

march calendar girls - worlds collide

March 01, 2015 7 Comments


Ok, it's time to set the record straight.

Because I know you're all tied up in knots trying to figure out what I'm doing with the whole Daphne thing. Is she real? Is she not real? Do I have multiple personality disorder? Should you be worried?

Relax, I'll explain everything. 

You could say Daphne, or The Other Girl, has always been a part of my imagination. Starting when I was a very little girl I often blamed "The Other Girl" for my wrong doings to get out of trouble. My supportive mother did not get me screened for Schizophrenia but instead played along with it tactfully helping me to agree with her that what Daphne had done was definitely wrong and we both knew she was sorry. 

Daphne left me as I grew up. The world so often steals our sense of carefree adventure from us as we grow. The struggles of being a tightly wound, deeply pensive, cautious little girl led me on a path away from Daphne's free spirit. I truly never thought we'd meet again.

Until I created the 2015 calendar and lo and behold, there she was, in the illustrated flesh, in the March composition. Walking her Doxie with her dear friend Brigitte through the 6th arrondissement.

Yes, I'll admit that she is inspired by a romanticized idea of myself, she looks like me in that she is a brunette, but everything else about her is perfected by the magic of fashion illustration. She's a version of myself, a taller, better dressed figment of my imagination that never has to think about things like taxes or laundry or changing the Brita water filter.

She is my creative spirit unburdened by the shortcomings of reality, she is adventure. I knew when I found her I had to explore where she'd been and where she was going and share her with you. 

So, without further ado, I give you An Interview With Daphne, The Other Girl... 

Name: Daphne Dietrich

Dog's name: Much like Cat, the cat in Breakfast at Tiffanies, my doxie goes by Doxie. 

Occupation: Style influencer, world traveler, writer of poetry on cafe napkins, sampler of gelato, impromptu dancer in rainstorms barefoot in summer, lover of the Doxie

Ok, stop. if you had to have are occupation what would it be? Art thief. 

City: New York City. But today I'm in Paris to see the fall collections debut and to meet with my hat maker. I'll be here for quite a while, until my next birthday. I like to celebrate my birthday each year in Paris because Parisian women age so gracefully. 

Tea or Coffee: Espresso, unless, of course, I'm invited to tea with Wills and Kate, in which case I love tea. Kate is always pregnant, so she can never have coffee. It's so boring. 

Favorite Season: Summer, really is there any other answer? When else can you sunbathe naked on a catamaran?

Favorite scent: My personal perfume maker, Wes Anderson, creates a blend of lavender and sea salt that is perfect in it's simplicity. It doesn't have a name. He ships it to me bottled in small crystal flasks on the first day of spring each year. 

Style Icon: Oh please. Next question.

Favorite beauty essential: I apply Rodin olio lusso nightly to my entire body. I also apply it to the Doxie's coat. She loves it. 

Last meal: Do you mean like on death row? Or the last thing I ate? Oh well, either way, it's a bottle of rosé and one perfect truffle. 

Most prized possession: the Victory at Samothrace's head. It's been in my family for years. 

Favorite flower: peach colored dahlias and white amaryllis. Ernest used to send these to my grandmother. He was in love with her for years but she was married to a prince. 

Favorite weekend activity:  I can be found at my private standing reservation at Dirty French where I pose for famous artists to capture my cheekbone structure while drinking juniper martinis. 

What do you collect: Lamp finials, original Cezanne works on paper, ball skirts

Small pleasure: throwing on a classic burberry trench, some Pigalles and nothing else to run out to grab fresh croissants. What? You don't do that? Sorry, I've got to run. Brigitte and i are meeting Karlie and Taylor for drinks. 

xo Daphne






Posted in 2015 calendar, daphne, inslee by design, march calendar girl

Huffington Post Style Blog + Inslee

February 26, 2015 1 Comment

Visit Huffington Post Style today to see my illustrations take you from the boardroom to the ballroom in one simple Little Black Dress! 

Posted in huffington post, inslee by design, little black dress


December 31, 2014 3 Comments

As evening descends on Nolita on this final night of 2014, I sit on my sofa and sip a lemony mescal cocktail. Oh sweet sofa. What a year we’ve had.

Where to begin?

Usually on new years eve I feel bursting with reasons, reasons for life, reasons for the past year, explanations and theories about the future. I’d be the same way tonight, but as anyone who has ever been a mother knows that life with a child becomes simultaneously sweeter, more full, more beautiful, but also much more frazzled, hurried, imperfect.

Disclaimer: I did not have a child since my last blog post. And I have no idea what I'm talking about. But...

I did adopt a puppy. And as a new furbaby mother, I am just as frazzled as the best of them.

 Right now, my husband, still soaking wet from his shower is on his hands and knees,with his head in the crate, asking “why are you sad?” to the puppy because she hasn’t squeaked her toy in five minutes.

We are the picture of new parents.

And so, with all the new puppy joy has also come a lack of time to dwell and analyze the year in my traditional way. I’ve had to begin “thinking about someone other than myself”… a concept I’ve dreaded and fretted over since birth practically.

Or at least since early childhood when I became aware that my mother thought about me, not her self, on almost every occasion and at every opportunity. I would watch her selfless love in awe and think to myself, “I may not be cut out for this…” Turns out, everyone's cut out for it, once they find something furry enough to think about. Ophelia is just the thing.

Anyway, this will be a flash-pickled new years prophecy to accommodate impending chasing the “mr taggles” toy session we have scheduled next.

Today I spent the afternoon baking a lemon ricotta cake. It contains an insane amount of lemon zest. The zested lemons later became my husband's cocktail ingredient as he prepared this evenings drinks. It made me so happy to see that we each could find a way to delight in and create with these simple, bright, clean, promising fruits.

And then it hit me. The year of the fruit. 

I don’t care what the pantone color is. I don’t care what the runways say. I’m declaring this year the year of the citrus. I pretty much nailed it last year when I declared it the year of the botanical, so if I were you I’d invest heavily in organic clementine farming, because I’m most likely right.

And, when it is the year of the lemon, what do you do? You grasp at the most readily available phrase in your phrase cabinet and run with it. Because, it’s almost “mr. Taggles time” as I mentioned…

This year we will realize that life is short. Life isn't plural. That we only get one life. It’s imperfect, it’s handed us PLENTY of lemons. It’s asking us what we’re going to do with them.

And what will we do with them? Well, we’ll realize that pining for something else, for another reality, for a better reality will not work.

This is it. This is the show. These are our lemons. 

And so my friends, we will take these lemons we have, no matter how many, or how fancy these lemons may be, no matter if these lemons have a doorman or five flights of stairs to walk up and a suspicious mouse problem, and by god, we will make lemonade. 

We will make the best lemonade money can buy and then we’ll harness the power of collaborative entrepreneurialism, social media, and most expecially love, and we’ll run the best damn lemonade stand you’ve ever seen.

Happy new year my friends. It is full of sweet promise for us all. 

Posted in inslee by design, mulberry street, nolita, NYC

The Queen of Spring Street

December 09, 2014 5 Comments

Meet Tay. She's a four part composition painted in sumi and watercolor, floated on white mat to expose deckled edged paper, framed in burnished gold shadowbox frames and hung for all to see at our studio at 73 Spring Street. 

Will Taylor Swift be named person of the year tomorrow? Who am I to say? But she certainly is the person of 73 Spring Street this week at our Pop Up Shop. 

Speaking of the Pop Up Shop... thank you to everyone who has joined us so far. It has been one of the most fun experiences I've ever had. My heart is full to bursting with gratitude for how much support and enthusiasm has come our way. 

If you're in the city this week please do come by 73 Spring Street, suite 401! 



Posted in 73springshop, inslee by design, nolita, NYC

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