Tag Archive for 'design'

New Stationery Sets

As promised, I am back with my prairie project!

After returning from Nachusa I was inspired to watercolor some prairie grass. Using this picture of mine as a reference…

This might be a bunch of invasive, non native plants, but I thought it was pretty. Just got back from #nachusa #tallgrassprairie

I came up with this…

I'm about to ruin this (probably) in my next step, so I thought I better take a picture first. #watercolor #painting #workinprogress

Which is a fairly loose (read: not botanically correct) interpretation in watercolors, but I really liked it. Originally I was going to go back in and try to paint a really dark green in all of the negative space, but I ended up liking it so much that I was afraid to ruin it. If you know me, I’m not done painting grass, not for a long shot, so something like that might happen again later.

New stationery set in my shop. Link in the profile

In the meantime, I let the watercolor sit around and I enjoyed it until I came up with the idea of using it for a stationery set. I continued to paint more, added some details and voila!

I created a stationery set which has two designs, one with the grass at the footer, and one with green watercolor stripes as a header. In the past I had customers inquire about double sided stationery and so both sheets are lined on the back as well. The stationery set comes with an assortment of green envelopes and the stationery paper is printed on a lovely Neenah Classic Linen paper (same as my recycled envelope and stationery sets). Find out more details about the stationery set in the etsy listing.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve recently started exploring into digital downloads, so I’m offering the same stationery set as a printable download as well. With the printable PDF you can print the prairie stationery on whatever paper your heart desires, AND if you’d like it to double sided or not.

I’ve also started offering this geometric pattern stationery set as a printable download as well!

I’m getting really excited about my etsy shop again. For a long while I wasn’t keeping up with all the changes on etsy, and apparently etsy was making a LOT OF CHANGES. Keep an eye on the shop for new listings that I hope to be adding regularly.

I have been saying this for a long while, but there’s this HUGE trend in greeting and note cards, but to me stationery is and will always be letter writing paper. To me, cards are for a quick thanks or hello, but letter writing paper is for real correspondence. I remember years ago being so sad while searching etsy and seeing the results for stationery was 99% cards. Where were all the letter writing paper sets? Then I read a feature in Stationery Trends about a particular designer (who I can’t find the name of right now) that said her best selling products were letter writing papers and I was all “YESSSSS!” and it really gave me the confidence to keep doing what I love to do, and not feel like I have to bow to trends and start offering only greeting cards. This is not to say that I don’t LOVE cards as well, I do, but I just also love paper and it also has a nostalgia factor for me, of writing long letters and being a dedicated penpal as a kid. I also know that excitement of getting real mail and how much I LOVE pouring over a long letter and rereading it over again. Even when I send postcards I try to fill up ALLLLL the space hoping that the recipient will enjoy it that much more.

Do you write a lot of letters? Or mostly use cards? And when you do write cards, do you find you just jot a few words down or fill it up like a letter?

Illustrated Invitation

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

I’m back with the illustrated invitation I promised to share. The invitation was for the baby shower of my friend Ann (of A Beautiful Party). Ann and her husband are expecting a little girl and her name will be Maybellene, nicknamed Maybe, thus the “Baby Maybe” in the bunting above. The shower had a Magical Woodland theme.

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

I was given the task to design the invitations, and I think that it was probably thought that I would just whip something up on the computer, but when you’re at a computer doing stuff for other people all day at work, the idea of getting to design something how you want is kind of thrilling. I decided I’d rather illustrate it using watercolors, but then I worried that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew. Would the idea in my head translate or would I wish that I had just kept it simple and put something together entirely on the computer?

I started out by sketching out a rough design in my sketchbook.

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

All along the way, from sketchbook to end result, I was sending proofs to my friends that were hosting the party with me, to see what their take on it was and to make sure no mistakes were made. They were the best type of client, and I wish all customers (at my day job) were so easy to please.

Once I had a layout, I scanned my sketch in and printed it out several times. I used Prismacolor markers to create 3 different color schemes. I did a neutral/natural color theme, a purple and mint (the baby’s bedroom colors… only I didn’t really have the right purple and mint in markers, so keep in mind it was just to get a rough idea on the colors), and then a full color theme which was a more robayre.

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

After we selected a color, I proceeded with the watercolored layout. After that was done I scanned it and added the text on the computer.

Invitation envelope

The invitations were sent out with the envelopes pictured at the top of the post because I was in such a rush to get them out, but ideally I would have had some red or blue envelopes like these. Even though I had my moments of fear that the invitations would end up a flop, I was happy with the end result and proud to send them out.

Geometric Stationery Notepaper

robayre stationery

I have finally listed this fun stationery paper in the shop. Each sheet is 5.5×8.5″, or a half sheet of letter sized paper. The top is a pattern I painted in watercolor (I’ve used it for a number of things) and the lines are scanned lines I drew out freehand with pencil and lots of scribbly character.

The stationery is BEAUTIFUL, I’m so pleased with it! While I normally print most of my paper products at home or at print/copy shop, I had the opportunity to print these at my work on a huge four color offset press. I dream of the day that I would be able to design full lines and have them all printed professionally like that.

I created this listing for 20 sheets of paper, but what do you think? Is that enough, too much?

When doing research for the product I found many people are now offering stationery papers as immediate printable downloads. This way a person could print it for themselves at home, for much cheaper. For someone who makes her livelihood in the print industry you wouldn’t suspect I’d be so excited. I definitely want to design products specifically for this purpose in the future. I have been toying with offering this design as immediate download as well. I even created a listing that is draft mode. I just haven’t quite been able to pull the trigger.

I know that if I designed certain things specifically for printable download I would be fine with it. I’ll have my logo on it and disclaimers in the listing. I will have designed it knowing it has wings to fly on its own. But, for some reason on this stationery, although it was a spontaneous design, I don’t think I’m quite ready to just put it out there for people to do whatever they want with it. This design is too close to my heart, if that makes sense. I’d be crushed if I found out someone altered the design or used parts for their own gain. It kind of makes me think of the music industry and how once you have digital files, what keeps people from sharing, and sampling uncredited, etc. ? I may make my livelihood working at a printing company, designing work for other people, but my own heart goes into my personal work offered online and in my etsy shop.

I don’t know, I’m just so torn. What do you think?

Stationery come to life


I am so excited to share this little video (below) with you. I shot it on my ipod and put it together in instagram. It just gives you a 15 second glimpse into offset printing of some stationery I whipped together.

I am the in-house designer for an offset printing company. We print everything from newspapers and magazines, down to brochures, letterhead and business cards (and everything in between). Sometimes on the rare occasion, and if I’m lucky, we print a job that only requires so much space printed on a big sheet of paper, leaving an open hole. This week I scrambled to put together a quick little note paper for writing letters. You may remember this pattern that I made below.

I’ve used the pattern to make little notebooks and note cards before. But, earlier this week I scrambled to use that pattern as a masthead on some stationery. I already had the image scanned and saved on a jump drive, and then I drew out some loose pencil lines, scanned them and put them together to make the above stationery that I am IN LOVE WITH! It’s a good thing too because I have enough to write letters for the rest of my life.

I was on cloud nine when I pulled it together because often an available hole shows up very last minute and there isn’t time to design something and get it ready for the press in time. The print world moves FAST! You’d think that I’d learn by now and have a whole folder of projects to pull from for last minute, but the holes are never predictable in size or nature. One time it might be a job that is being printed in an odd spot color only, or it might be a business card sized hole and another time it might be something printed on label paper. But this time, I had an idea and pounced quickly. I was so excited all day and told Matt that it would be my DREAM job to get to design things like this all the time and get to see them go from my original handwork to a final printed product. I love designing for print, but it’s almost always other people’s design ideas and I’m just executing it. It’s not very often that my personal creative side and professional side get to cross paths and it felt amazing.

Maybe I’ll share some in my etsy shop?

Magazines and Print

Inspiration Junkie (at a previous location) used to have a sidebar called Magazine Whore, and under it I linked to all the magazines I subscribed. I used to read A LOT of magazines. But then blogs became my obsession. I realized at some point I wasn’t really actually reading the magazines that would arrive in the mail anymore, and just let my subscriptions lapse. Sadly, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in this and many of those same magazines have since folded.

11.19.09 mac

At the time, what I wanted to read was personal features about creative development in art, design and craft, specifically spotlights on creative everyday people and how they worked and the cool things they were doing. I wanted to be introduced to people that I could relate to, but that also were doing things that I was dreaming about doing myself. Print articles that would fall under that category might happen (maybe) once in a magazine (if I was lucky), but on the internet it was happening on blogs everywhere, all the time. I was getting to read about people’s personal explorations, learning techniques and tutorials, etc.

Heidelberg Press
Here’s the thing. I have worked in the print industry since I was 16 years old. Actually, if you count my paper route in middle school you could say I’ve been working with print for almost my entire life. I’ll never stop loving print. It is a passion of mine. I’d be hard pressed to think of many things that beat working on something by hand or computer and getting to see it through all stages until a finished professional print product is in my hands.

5.4.10 polaroid
My light table, back in the day

It’s funny to me, thinking about how when the internet came around and blogs sprang from that, that we all but abandoned magazines and print altogether. Blogs were a place for more personal connections. I think after so many years of people sharing the intimate parts of their everyday that many bloggers are wanting to reign back and instead put out more and more highly edited and curated posts and information. Even though there is this backlash at projecting the perfect happy life, bloggers are still wanting to share less about their personal lives and “publish” more polished content. Many bloggers are making money (not this blogger), sidebars are filled with paying ads rather than linkbacks, posts are sponsored, content is based on free merchandise given for reviews or given up as giveaways, everything is promotion, promotion, promotion. I feel like the blogs that used to share about their relationships or day to day lives, are now sharing running features that more resemble magazine articles. Even the look of sites are geared more towards magazine style. I listen to the podcast After the Jump hosted by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge and on a number of occasions she has mentioned how blogging and advertising on the internet has changed so dramatically since she began in the mid 2000s. In an early episode, it really struck a cord, she mentioned how it used to be that bloggers were just regular people who created their own place on the internet to share the things they were interested in, but now everyone’s bio declares they are the expert of something or other. Whether these people are self declared experts, or if “more experienced or qualified” people have pushed out the regular folks is to be determined, but one thing is for sure and that is blogging has become much more competitive.

Maybe it is this commercial switch that is happening on the internet, but I really sense that print magazines are making a comeback. Maybe people are looking for fresh material and everything on the internet is done over and over, getting reposted, reblogged and redone and getting stale? Everyone’s been talking about the return of Domino Magazine for the last few weeks. The last several times I’ve found myself in magazine isles at the book store I’ve been shocked at the wide variety and selection of magazines. Print does not look like it’s dead, but maybe making a comeback. Design Sponge has even released a couple of print newspapers. I think there is an excitement returning for the tangible.

10.15 Magazines

That being said, it’s been years since I’ve held any magazine subscriptions but just recently I’ve found 3 magazines that I was excited about enough to subscribe. I pour over each issue and savor each page. They are Stationery Trends, Anthology and Uppercase magazines. They all appeal to my aesthetic, but Stationery Trends and Uppercase really appeal to my interests in print and design especially.

I also love magazines like Cloth, Paper Scissors (which I have subscribed to before) and the Somerset series of magazines. Have you picked up or subscribed to any good creative magazines lately? I’d love to hear about what else is out there. I always think it would be a dream come true to work for a magazine or even start my own someday.

Little Patterned Journals

Robayre Patterned Books

I feel like it’s been forever that I’ve had this idea in my head, but I finally have something to show for it. I’ve been making these patterns and sharing sneak peeks on instagram for a while with a larger project in mind. I would make a line of little journals, similar to the journals already in my shop, but these would have covers from the original patterns that I created from paintings, drawings, mixed media, etc.

scallop / scales

Painting a pattern for a project I have in mind

An idea I had in my head

Another pattern.

#wip #pattern for more book covers. I'm going to add more detail with colored pencil to the #flowers #leaves

I finally put together some prototypes of what I’d like the finished journals to look like. They are only prototypes because I still need to do some editing on the computer, but I also need to find a place to get the covers printed.

Robayre Patterned Books
They’re approximately 4.25×5.5″, have rounded corners and lined paper inside. I’ve been toying with the idea of offering some books with inside plain white pages and others lined, but I guess I think they would generally sell better for people that want to write in them, as opposed to sketch or create art inside.

I really love how they came out, but as a cohesive line of journals, I’m not so sure yet. Should they have a name? I’ve really had so much fun creating patterns, knowing that they would become little books. A dream for me would be getting to paint and create original patterns to make into little books like these all day, every day. Maybe as the patterns grow in quantity the cohesiveness will pull together? It’s like I was talking about with Rosa a while ago, it’s that perfect intersection of your passions, where I get to create original artwork and design printed work from it. The artist AND the designer in me is giddy.

I also had the idea of selling them in a two pack and that is how they are photographed above, but I’m not married to that yet. Once I have worked out the printing kinks expect these to be added to my shop robayre.

So, whaddaya think?

The Sale

5.21 booth 5.21 booth inside
This past weekend was the Na-Da Farm Barn Sale, my first official solo booth. Going into it, I was getting more and more nervous and stressed. Last minute, my sister-in-law was sick and couldn’t make it, but fortunately Matt was able to come in her place. During set up, I started getting so overwhelmed that if my sister and Matt hadn’t been there I might have just laid down in the grass and started crying. Emotional much? Instead I had to keep chugging along. The tent I was supposed to borrow didn’t work out, so I bought a new one. The buckets of sand we brought to anchor the tent down were worthless and the high winds across the farm fields caused, not only my tent to try and take flight, but also all my products inside. Fortunately Anne Marie’s son brought by two large cinder blocks to keep me anchored. My weather fears going into the sale were mostly rain related. The plan for my framed pieces had to be altered, and instead of each piece standing up on display they had to lay flat on the shelves. Believe it or not, by the end of the first day we all had wind burn and chapped lips.

But it was only a rough start, I promise. The rest of the sale was great. This sale was unlike any sale I’ve done before. Get this: both days before the show began there was a long line of people waiting to get in and get first dibs on everything as soon as the gates opened. I know… what?! What a difference a well promoted show makes!
Nada farm
This show was so refreshing. A beautiful property, elegant booths, and kind customers. The back of my booth was facing the entrance and the back wall of my booth had my yoyo quilt hanging from it. There was a pretty steady stream of people approaching from behind marveling at the quilt and a few people explained to us that it was the first thing people see when they were coming in. Lots of people had questions about it, what is it, did you make it, how did you make it, etc., etc. It’s a yoyo quilt. Yes, I made it, starting when I was 15 years old, and my mother is a quilter and provided lots of the scrap fabric for me. And finally, you sew a seam around a circle of fabric, pull the thread tight, then squash the fabric flat, then sew the individual pieces together, much like my framed pieces inside the booth.

Dacia at the na-da farm barn sale

It was a great show! Not only did I recover the cost of the booth, but the cost of the new vendor tent AND MORE! Last year when we went to the sale, I felt like there were a lot more handmade items. This year, I think I was one of only a couple of booths that were entirely handmade and not vintage or repurposed/revamped vintage. Still, I did really well. The jewelry, art reproduction/prints, and paper products were very popular.

Lots of baby birds being saved this weekend. First Matt freed one from our window well and then there was this one at Na-Da Farm.

I was able to snap a few instagram pictures, but because I was manning my booth, I didn’t have many opportunities to take pictures of the rest of the event. Fortunately, there is a lovely slideshow here at the Na-Da Farm blog. It was a great show and I’ll hopefully start listing the remaining product on etsy soon.

Alphabet Poster with Moss

This poster idea has been in my brain for years and I am sooo glad to have finally executed it and now offer it in my etsy shop.


The idea began back in 2009 when I started my ongoing series of polaroid pogo prints, which you can read about here.

Do you know how hard it is to find good moss, let alone a large enough area that is consistent? Well, it took me since 2009 to find it. I’m glad that I kept hunting though. I think this poster would be a great piece for a nature themed child’s bedroom, or even the classroom. That being said, I also think it would go great in a living room, as that is where mine has been, not that I’m prejudiced or anything.

alphabet thumbnail 2
This poster is 16″x20″ which is a standard poster size, so frames this size are readily available. I bought the wooden frame in the photo above for only $12. The poster itself is professionally printed on matte photo paper. Please check out the listing on Etsy for more information.

I hope you like it. I’ve had poster design on the brain for a couple of years now and this is my very first, with hopefully more to come.

new blog banner

Inspiration struck last week.

Earlier this year Etsy had a glitch where certain shop’s banner reverted to old ones. My shop was one of those. The problem was fixed but it got me questioning if my latest banner wasn’t enticing or inviting enough. A week or two ago I actually switched my shop banner back to the old one to see if I’d notice any difference in views.

I liked the old one because it was very colorful and the current one was pretty monotone. The old, colorful one felt more cheerful and more “robayre” to me. I was trying to think of a new look that would be colorful, cheerful and robayre when the idea of confetti hit me.

I couldn’t wait until this weekend to actually do it. I cut up all the confetti myself. I like it and I’m going to try and start adding some of the confetti to the background of product pictures as well, for an entirely cohesive look.

Check out the confetti theme on my blog, etsy and twitter.

And then, here are all my old banners in chronological order (completely forgot about the rabbit one, and I had it on my etsy shop for about two years)
v2 etsy banner2

2.26 banner color adjust
new banner
new banner

The Craft Begins

A bit ago Bri (The Craft Begins) offered a great opportunity on her blog: an open call to designers. She is working for a silk screening company and they are looking for original designs that they will print and produce for you. Read more about it here. How great is this? While I have several handmade silk screens at home, what’s better than letting someone else take care of producing, marketing and selling my designs on shirts. I’ve actually sent in some designs already, and although there are no guarantees, I’m still excited to get feedback and follow her company and see where they go and what things they produce.

I met Bri back in 2007 when we were both part of a group blog called Create A Day. She has always been a great friend and inspiration. Her birthday was on Sunday, so stop over at her blog and wish her a happy-happy birthday and then send her some t-shirt designs at [email protected]

My creation

And lastly, but still on a Bri theme, she recently posted a music video for Liftoff by Sigur Ros, and while I have that album, I have never seen the video for it before. We’ve both decided that we will dress like these kids from now on. The video inspired me to make the above mosaic and below mosaics using flickr photos by other artists.

My creation