August 28, 2009

Hope is in the Cards

The great people at just informed me that two of my cards have been selected to be included in the Hope Is In The Cards TM campaign!

What's that, you ask? Small business owner Russ Haan began the grassroots Hope Is In The Cards campaign to lift the nation’s spirit in a concrete and compassionate way: by sending greeting cards. His goal is to send 300 million messages of encouragement by mail during the Week of Hope, from September 1st to 7th, 2009. Visit the official website to learn more:

From September 1st-7th, is offering customers one free personalized card from our Hope Collection mailed directly to a friend, loved one, or anyone who needs a little hope. We gathered 50 of our most uplifting card designs for our Hope Collection, ranging from thank yous and congratulations to friendship and encouragement cards.

How can you participate?

Check out this video from and get inspired to send a little hope. It’s easy! Visit between Sept 1-7 and

  • 1. Choose a card from the Hope Collection
  • 2. Add a photo and personal message
  • 3. Enter code SENDHOPE at check out and we’ll print and mail it directly to anyone you’d like, at no charge to you.

Enter to win a set of personalized stationery by posting a message on's Facebook Fanpage about how you sent your message of hope.

Terms and Conditions

Free card offer is valid for one card per customer from the designated Hope Collection. The shipping option must be direct mail to your recipient. SENDHOPE coupon code is valid from 9/1/09 at 12:01 ET to 9/7/09 at midnight PST.

August 18, 2009

Flower Power

Could zinnias be any cuter? This little planter sits outside our kitchen door where we pass it by each day. It has been blooming constantly for almost two months, and each time a flower opens, it's quite a surprise! In the early early spring, I went to our local garden center and picked out a variety of zinnia seed packets with colors that I thought would look nice together. I brought them home, emptied all the packets into a bowl and stirred them together...making a surprise blend!

At Surtex this year, I gave out small envelopes of this same surprise blend. So if you happened to have picked one up at the show, and planted it, I hope you've also been treated to this cheerful, summery bouquet of vibrant and inspiring colors!

If you decide to make your own blend, one pointer is to be sure the seeds you buy require the same type of sun exposure (full sun, part sun, part shade, full shade). Water regularly and enjoy!

August 14, 2009

Visual Connections

If you took a walk with me on the shore, you might think I was in my favorite store excitedly picking things up off the shelves, turning them in my hands, and either putting them back or plunking them in my basket. I can't help it. My eye tends to bounce from shell to rock to driftwood to coiled metal thingamajig — making visual connections of shape, size and color that are irresistible to me!

When I was in college, my Dad gave me the job case in those photos above. In you're not sure what that is, it's a drawer that typesetters use to store and sort various fonts of movable metal type used in letterpress printing. Each of those compartments would hold different letters of the alphabet. When I was a graphic design student, I found that a job case was more functional than beautiful, but when I hung this one on the wall and started to fill it with the tidal treasures I'd gathered, it took on a life of its own.

It hangs in my living room today and also serves as a memoir, of sorts. Each item connects me to a particular place and time and to all the shores I've combed.

August 13, 2009

Despite the Blight

For all of us backyard gardeners, this year has been a particularly challenging growing season (to say the least!). Our hopes for overflowing bowls of gazpacho and salsa have been diminished to BLTs (not that that's so bad) and maybe, if we're really lucky, a few oven roasted tomatoes. We picked our first three tomatoes a whole month later than we did last year!
You may already know about the fungal blight that has devastated tomato and potato crops in the Northeast. It was a strain of this same fungus that caused the Potato Famine in Ireland (yikes!). And wouldn't you know, as luck would have it, our "experimental veggies" this year were...potatoes!

Since we were not sure that our crops had been infected,
we thought it best to dig up one plant (reluctantly) to see. Fortunately for us, we found a beautiful handful of fingerlings that we ate for breakfast!

August 11, 2009

Label (and product) to Love

As much as possible, we try to buy cleaners for our home that are chemical free, perfume free and biodegradable. But then, we discovered this one at Target that is free of a bunch of other ingredients too (I highly recommend reading the fine print on the stylish apothecary label)! J.R. Watkins brand has been around since 1868 and has a steadfast commitment to conservation, to the environment and to a wide variety of community programs. It's a refreshing lift to my conscience (and my counter tops) to support such a worthwhile company.

August 3, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

Bill, my Fedex delivery person, has come bearing more gifts! The great people at The Gift Wrap Company sent me an approval swatch of the wrapping paper they're making for spring 2010. As soon as I got it, I wrapped a box to see what it will look like on a present. So cheery and fun! I love the way it turned out and can't wait to see the accompanying products — they're also making some gift bags and cute little chinese takeout containers!

In case you can't wait until spring, Gina B. Designs is now offering these stationery items for sale on their website and you'll be able to find them in stores soon. I keep the list pad on my fridge so it's at-the-ready for grocery lists and "to do" stuff.