July 15, 2016

Designer Spotlight: The Spotted Olive

This week we bring you an insider's look at the design process behind best-seller The Spotted Olive. We asked her to describe her typical day and how the inspiration she finds incorporates into her outstanding designs. Remember that now until July, 31st you can save 15% off of all of The Spotted Olive's products by shopping her collection here and entering the code SpottedOlive15 at checkout! Scroll to find the whole interview, filled with inspiration and a dose of summer celebration fun.


Q : Take us through a typical day designing.

A : As my business has grown, there are fewer opportunities for full days of designing. Every day can be so different with some days where I am exclusively working on customer orders, product photography, administration tasks or a mix of projects. 

A typical day starts at about 7:30 am —thanks to my three dog alarm clock. Once I am up, I feed the dogs, grab a glass of lemon water and then head out with the dogs for a short half mile to mile walk (I usually take the opportunity to listen to a podcast or audio book while walking). After that I get cleaned up, grab some breakfast and an iced coffee and get ready to start my workday. My first course of business is checking and responding to customer emails and social media messages. Next, I work on getting out proofs, submitting files for printing and packaging orders for shipping. 

During the Summer months, I like to take little breaks throughout the day and sit outside on our deck… sometimes I’ll get out the watercolors and paint for a few minutes, practice hand lettering or just sit and enjoy the beautiful weather. Between 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm, my husband (he’s a solopreneur too) and I will often have lunch together, usually outside on our deck or if we need to get out of the house for a bit, we’ll head over to one of the local cafes to grab a bite. Once back in the office, depending on where I’m at with customer orders or administrative tasks, I’ll either continue working on those items or catch up on some of my favorite blogs. Between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm, it’s time to feed the dogs again and take them on another walk. 

If there is time in the day with an opportunity to design, I’ll check my Pinterest boards, my notes in Evernote, or one of my notebooks for ideas and inspirations that I’ve jotted down and start designing. I usually try to end my workday between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm but if I am on a roll and inspired to design, I could work much later into the night!

Q : How did you get interested in the stationery industry?

A : The majority of my career was spent as a corporate graphic designer. I was able to work on some great projects, even winning some awards for my work, but ultimately there wasn’t much variety in the projects. I started designing invitations and stationery as a creative outlet. Eventually, my creative outlet grew into a full-time business. I really love the diversity and fun of designing pretty paper for happy events. It’s really exciting and humbling to know that a customer has chosen one of my designs to be a part of their special celebration or milestone event. And of course, I absolutely adore stationery and paper goods, but who doesn’t!

Q : Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

A : Inspiration is everywhere! I find inspiration for my designs in nature, in the city, in music, in fashion, in color, in people, even in my own backyard. I’ve recently started participating in some 30 day creative challenges which have been a great exercise for creativity and design inspiration.

This design was inspired by the new beginnings of Spring, nature and the harmony of the soft pale pinks and peaches found in many flowers. Living in the mountains, we always have deer and their new fawns resting in our yard, so I thought it would be a cute element to incorporate into the design. 



This design was inspired by the richness of the dramatic violet color paired with the subtle accent of a vibrant gold.



This design was inspired by the bold typography and weathered look of vintage boxing & circus posters.



Q : What trends are you loving right now?

A : The trends I’m currently crushing on are bold, dramatic colors, hand lettering & calligraphy, watercolor, metallics, wild urbanism and retro pastels. I also love the classics so fresh, colorful patterns of dots, stripes and florals will always be on trend with me.

Q : What are your favorite Independence Day traditions?

A : I really love the celebration that the 4th of July brings. My favorite traditions are having a cookout with family and friends, playing with sparklers and of course, watching the fireworks!

Q : What's your favorite dish to bring to a summer BBQ?

A : As a vegetarian, I find that there often aren’t many main course options at a Summer BBQ so my favorite dish to bring is grilled halloumi. It’s so good and always a big hit with everyone.

July 1, 2016

July Wallpaper Download from The Spotted Olive!

Dress up your desktop with fresh summer wallpapers from The Spotted Olive! We have two free downloads for a unique pop of summer color. The first download is festively patriotic while the second is adorably refreshing with gingham and Popsicles. Whichever you choose, these will be sure to bring the summer atmosphere to your desk. 



For an extra summer treat, save 15% off The Spotted Olive products all month long. No matter what celebration you're planning The Spotted Olive collection has an invitation to match. Use code SpottedOlive15 at checkout to receive the discount.

June 29, 2016

Sips & Spirits: The American Spirit


Can you believe it's Fourth of July already?! Celebrate the summer holiday with this refreshing and sparkling cocktail. With a tropical taste of coconut this is the perfect beverage to help you embrace the warm summer months and a night of patriotic pride.



For a pro tip, use fresh, in season fruit for a delicious and natural flavor that will go down smooth and have you refilling your glass. 



This sweet and fruity drink has some fizz for a sparkling touch. Add some coconut flakes to the rim to complete the taste and for an adorable garnish. Frozen blueberries also make a great alternative to ice cubes! Not only to they save the taste of your drink but they also help complete the red, white and blue theme. Below is the recipe for this simple but festive drink that will be sure to impress your guests. 


Ingredients: 

3 cups Fresh Blueberries
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 1/2 cups Ginger Ale
1/2 cup of Coconut Rum
Ice (or Frozen Blueberries)
Coconut Flakes (for an optional garnish)

Instructions: 

1. Muddle the blueberries. Strain mixture and remove excess blueberry skins. 
2. Add lemon juice and coconut rum to blueberries and stir until combined. 
3. Add ginger ale and stir until combined. 
4. Pour over ice and garnish with coconut flakes if desired. 

Voilà! Now you have a refreshing drink to help you celebrate Independence Day!


This post was inspired by Spiced.

June 27, 2016

Party Envy: Fourth of July

Throw a patriotic bash to celebrate America's independence! Celebrate the birth of a nation with a festive and fun party that will entertain your friends and family until the fireworks go off.


Food for a Crowd

Keep your guests full all night with fun appetizers and finger foods. Easy to make and even easier to serve, your party guests will be asking for these delicious recipes before the night is over.


Decorate the Space

Get your guests in a mood to celebrate with festive and fun decorations! Using flags to dress up your centerpieces or your bicycle is an easy upgrade. Make DIY Pinwheels a craft for the little ones to keep them entertained throughout the party. Anything red, white and blue is sure to get the crowd in the patriotic spirit.




Play the Day Away

No party is complete without friendly games of competition. We have featured our favorite options below and the best part is they are so simple to make! Round up some household items and some red, white and blue paint and you are all set for a night of laughter and fun.



June 1, 2016

June Wallpaper Download from Kramer Drive!

Welcome to June! Time to break out the sunblock and Popsicles, summer is coming our way. Get your desktop in the summer spirit with this vibrant and colorful wallpaper from Kramer Drive.



If you like this wallpaper then you'll be sure to love Kramer Drive's selection of summer party invitations. Shop the collection on FineStationery.com to get your summer celebration going.