We are so excited to announce that we have partnered with an amazing new mobile app to make sending our cards one step easier!!
Ink Cards is an incredibly easy-to-use mobile app that allows you to physically send a greeting card directly from your smart phone. Their app was originally developed with personalization in mind. You choose one of their beautifully designed templates, add your own photo, and send it to your friends, all with the touch of a touch-screen! It’s a great concept.
Jenna, an Ink Card representative, reached out to us because she loved our cards and thought we would be a perfect fit for a new direction the company was exploring. They had found that some of their customers loved the simplicity and convenience of their app, but didn’t necessarily want to personalize their card with a photo. That’s where we come in. The photography featured in our cards fits seamlessly with the look of Ink Cards and appeals to their customers. Our clever sayings and bright colors provide the alternative they are looking for. We can’t wait for their customers to send our cards with the ease of their smart phones.
We can’t tell you how many people have been encouraging us to incorporate a similar system to make it easier for them to send a card. And I will be honest here, the thought of this originally made my paper-loving, hand-writing self cringe. We whole-heartily believe in the handwritten message. That is the reason our cards are blank inside. We want you to tell your friend how you feel…put a piece of your heart on paper…get personal. Originally we wanted to inspire everyone to write letters. After this internal battle between my handmade card-making side and my technology-loving side, I finally realized we are not going to change those people who really don’t have the time to write in a card, but now we can help them. This is 2015 and it’s time we jumped onboard.
Ink Cards is the perfect partner. Their goal is the same as ours. They too want you to stay connected with your friends – and they’ve figured out a way to make it even easier for you to do so. They provide you with the space to write your personal message on the back of the card and then they do all the hard work for you. By not having to do anything else, it not only makes it logistically easier, but also mentally easier. No more excuses like “I never have a stamp” or “I wrote it, but it’s been in my purse for a week now.”
So let’s all together send more cards!! Ink Cards has chosen six designs for our initial collaboration.
Happy Birthday! (with sprinkles on top)
Congrats. You're one lucky duck.
The laundry is about to get super cute. (girl)
The laundry is about to get super cute. (boy)
I hope your recovery is filled with ice cream & popsicles.
The sun rises & the sun sets but know that it is always there.
We have received samples in the mail and are beyond satisfied with the quality. Head over to InkCards.com to text the download to your phone or search for it in the App store. We want to hear from you, so please let us know if you’ve sent or received a Love Jac card with the ease of Ink Cards!
This week I had an “aha moment!" and I'd like to share it with you...
Love Jac had been a dream of mine for years before I turned it into a reality. The summer after our daughter was born I wrote our mission statement. It had two parts. I believed whole-heartedly in both.
Part One: “We create unique, handmade cards that say exactly what you’re thinking...” The cards being sold in stores never said what I wanted them to say. They were either super cheesy or too cutesy. I wanted to give people a better option…cards that were clever, funny, and encouraging. I started by making the cards I needed and the cards I wanted to receive. I was over the moon when other people loved them as much as I did. To exaggerate slightly (but not really), I truly thought that the stationery industry needed me. I had to make these cards because no one else was making them and it was important they were available to the masses.
Left: Placing 2nd in Brooklyn's PowerUp Competition in 2011.
Right: Posing with my cards in one of our first brick & mortar stores: Print Icon!
Bottom: At The Brooklyn Flea with my best friend Lindsay and our babies when they were itty bitty.
But here’s the thing…there are so many cool, unique cards out there. Take one look around The Javits Center during The National Stationery Show and you will be overwhelmed with how many amazing card designers there are. My biggest takeaway from our debut at the show last year was that we are one of thousands. I couldn’t help but wonder how we were supposed to compete with all of these talented people. Anyone who is anyone in the greeting card business exhibits at the show. You’ve got the big guys – Hallmark & American Greetings! You’ve got the well-established companies like Borealis Press, which has been one of my personal favorites for years. Then you have the “newbies” that hit it big like Emily McDowell & Anna Rifle Bond whose success stories are just incredible. And then there are the rest of us – hundreds of us. We all love designing cards and believe in making them accessible to the masses. Last year we were in the #fresh section so most of our neighbors were debuting as well. And they all have great cards! If I thought about it too much the whole thing would become completely overwhelming.
With one of my fellow Brooklyn makers - the extremely talent Ursula Jaroszewicz of Pepper Press.
Luckily, this is the stationery industry and there’s one thing I can tell you for sure about the people who make greeting cards their business. EVERYONE IS NICE!! I experienced this in 2007 when I first walked the show as a guest and met Mollie Green of La Familia Green. At that point I hadn’t even started my line and she was so kind and generous with her knowledge. Now, having 3 years under my belt, I can easily say that everyone I have come in contact with has been friendly. No one is out to get you. No one wants to see you fail. We are all here because we want to spread a little love in this world. We want to make someone’s day better – and paper is our medium!!
Getting to meet Emily Blistein, the owner of Clementine a shop in Vermont, just re-confirmed how nice "paper people" are...oh and added another reason I love Instgram! (that's how we connected)
This year’s National Stationery show is less than 75 days away! When I saw the image on NSS’s Instagram feed my heart stopped for a moment and the panic started to fill my body. Then something just clicked. Chalk it up to just getting over a cold in this freezing New York City weather or all the business podcasts I’ve been listening to lately, but suddenly the second part of my mission statement came into focus and my nerves subsided.
Part Two: “…helping you stay connected with your friends the old fashioned way.” This part is and will always be my heart and soul. I love hearing why people connect with our cards…the stories customers have shared with us at craft fairs, the emails we’ve received from people who were sent a Love Jac card from a friend, and the wonderful comments on Instagram. We don’t have to compete with anyone to accomplish this. We don’t have to be in 100 stores. We just need to find the customers who connect with our cards.
And right now we are doing just that. The first part of our mission statement is still true. We make unique cards by hand. Yes, we make them during Conroy's nap times, late at night, and on weekends. Yes, we hire a sitter when we get a big order so that we can deliver on time. We do craft shows, sell online, and are in over 10 brick-and-mortar stores. We are small, but we love it.
If you follow us on Instagram you know that the majority of my time is spent with my kids and that’s exactly how I prefer it. We explore New York City, cherish our friendships and play dates, and laugh often. We are busy, but that’s how we like it. We get as much out of life as we possibly can. And the entire time somewhere in the back of my head, I’m creating cards and coming up with new ideas.
We are excited to see how Love Jac grows! Soon Georgia and Conroy will both be in school and we’ll take this company to a new level. But for now - for this year's show - we are doing our research. We know who our customer is. We know what cards are their favorites. Now we are singling out the stores where they shop. If you receive a pre-show mailer from us, know it’s for a reason. Instead of a mass mailing, we are keeping it specific and personal.
So as the time ticks down to this year’s National Stationery Show, we are going to enjoy this whole process. Nerves and anxiety are feelings of the past. We are enrolled in Katie Hunt’s Tradeshow Bootcamp Webinar Series and can’t wait to meet even more wonderful people. We have an incredible amount of support from friends, family, and a great group of fellow Brooklynite makers. We are adding several new designs that have been in the back of my mind for a while now and even a line of ink-able stamps.
It’s a really exciting time for Love Jac! We want to thank everyone in our life that has helped to make it so! And, of course, our customers who have ordered and reordered. Your support means the world to us and we are so happy that we are able to help you stay connected to your friends the old fashioned way! We look forward to continuing to do so! Let the countdown to the National Stationery Show continue.
As a child I loved playing with little figurines. I could spend hours playing with my Fisher Price Little People toys, Barbie Dolls, or even small found objects. I have one vivid memory of myself pretending the tiny jars from a paint set were people and moving them around my desk in a land made up entirely by my imagination.
Georgia has entered that world and I am loving every moment. Seeing her across the room will her Daniel Tiger characters all lined up. Listening to the scenarios she comes up with for her tiny Elsa & Olaf. Watching as her Sophia the first miniatures, playing the part of the Wizard of Oz characters, have a pool party in the bathtub. I feel like I’m getting a peek into that brain of hers.
Several months ago while reading one of Dear Lizzy’s blog posts, I noticed this adorable figurine display in her daughter’s bedroom. I loved how it looked like it was passed down. It wasn’t brand new, it had character, but most of all it was filled with her daughter’s current treasures. I thought, I would have loved to have something like that as a child…a place to showcase my favorite figurines.
above 2 photos courtesy of elizabethkartchner.com
One weekend while in South Jersey visiting my parents we decided to build a display for Georgia. It was so much fun looking for something charming to showcase her toys. We didn’t want to buy something custom; we wanted to make something custom!
We found the perfect wooden serving tray at our favorite thrift store. It had a couple nicks and scrapes, but I immediately knew it was perfect. Plus, it was two dollars. We couldn’t go wrong. We bought three packages of craft wood at Michaels, as well as a pad of beautiful patterned paper.
When I showed Georgia the serving tray and described our plan, she ran and got her figurines right away. Before we even began to customize it she loved it. Kids have the best imaginations!!
We built this in stages. While at my parents, in their basement, Chad cut the craft wood to size to act as dividers.
Back in Brooklyn, Georgia and I decided what patterns we wanted where and cut the paper accordingly. While Conroy napped and she played with her princess castle I hot glued the paper and wood dividers into place. It couldn’t have been easier.
Watching her play makes me smile from ear to ear. Seeing her pride because we made this together just melts my heart. When Conroy woke up from his nap, he wanted in on the action as well.
Sometimes, as a parent, the idea of a “weekend project” seems impossible. Before kids we were always painting, building, or creating something for our home on the weekends. We hope this post inspires you to make your own weekend project. If you have children, it might not be as simple as it once was, but it is possible. A little planning and a little extra time and you can make it happen!! We need to thank my parents for playing with the kids so we could go thrift-ing. And a big thank you to Conroy for taking a solid nap! With their help we completed our “weekend project.” It may have been more like an “entire week project” by the time we finished it, but the joy it brings us now is still the same!!
This year I am participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word class. I am completely loving it. Here’s how it works: basically, you choose one word you would like to focus on throughout the year. Ali then guides you monthly with different activities to help you stay connected to your word. In January we started our binder. If you know me, you know I love a binder, so immediately I was excited! We filled out a couple worksheets - defining our word and reflecting on it. This month we made a vision board. I LOVE A VISION BOARD!! And as an adult, when do you get a chance to make one? Ali, you’re giving me an excuse to cut up magazines and glue the images on canvas – I am in!!
My word is PUSH! You can read more about why I chose it – here! I am so happy with this word. Already it has helped with my business (you can now also buy our cards at Paper Presentation in NYC). I feel more organized than ever before in terms of running our house and being a mom. And who are we kidding? It’s not like I got much sleep before but now, with PUSH in the back of my mind, my kid-free time is even more productive. I like to compare it to when you are working out or training for something. When you think you can’t lift more weight or run any further, you reach inside yourself and do it!! Thank you, Ali Edwards, for being my motivational coach!!
To make my vision board I bought two new magazines. I went with Cosmopolitan & Shop Smart. Cosmo was very fun, plus, I love Gwen Stefani so that was an easy choice. I went with Shop Smart because I love organizing and I actually own those translucent, rainbow-colored, nesting boxes on the cover. I spent two separate “sessions” cutting. The first was at my parents’ kitchen table while Grammy played with my kids in the back yard. Listening to Taylor Swift and drinking my WaWa coffee, it was 15 minutes of pure bliss. Then life got busy again. The entire month almost went by, but I was determined to finish this before February came to an end. This past weekend I stayed up late Saturday night as my husband nodded off on the couch. I finished flipping through the pages and clipping sayings that spoke to me. I also had two envelopes of magazine clippings I had saved over the years. Yes, I tend to hoard paper. This was the perfect excuse to go through them and throw away the scraps I didn’t want to use on this project. It was very interesting to see what I cut out in my early twenties. Many of the clippings still applied and, ironically, I also had a couple pictures of Gwen Stefani.
I ended up using two canvases. They were sold as a set of two and I couldn’t figure out how to include everything on just one. On the left, I made my own pyramid of words. It was almost like writing a poem. “Start, Before-You-Begin-Checklist -> Discover the power of just one shower // notes to self // do good // LOVE // shop smarter // LIVE IT UP! // Get your money in order // purse smart // Let’s elevate the moment. // Declutter your desktop!” I cut out the letters to spell “push” and some other inspirational quotes. I really believe in the mantra, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I found the first part of that saying in the current Cosmo and I love it juxtaposed next to the photo of Wonder Woman, which was in my envelope from my twenties. I also love the photo of Rosie The Riveter! I like the word bubble saying “We Can Do It.” It’s very supportive of other women!! For the background of this canvas, I wallpapered an old Love Jac Catalog from the National Stationery Show. I finished it off with the year in sparkly gold numbers at the top. I don’t even mind that it covers up some of the words, because I know they are there and connect with what they say.
The second canvas features my word PUSH in the same gold sparkly letters. The majority of the background of this canvas is filled with a beautiful cutout of a cherry blossom tree. I covered the model in the advertisement with a photo of Gwen. I did a lot of smaller words that make me happy on this canvas. Many organization nouns, some straight forward directions – such as “Toss your contact lens case” - and rows of business adjectives from a Bloomberg magazine I borrowed from a friend. I love the big clipping, “50 Things To Do This Month,” because that’s pretty much the story of my life. A quote about being grateful sets the tone and “3 Year Plan” helps me breathe and not get overwhelmed.
I used both spray adhesive and a glue stick to keep my collage together. I finished it off with some washi tape to give it a border. Afterwards, because the washi tape wasn’t sticking as well as I had hoped, I covered with clear packing tape.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my crazy colorful brain. I highly recommend getting out some magazines and making your own vision board. It’s therapeutic during the process and extremely inspirational hanging on the wall. I definitely think there’s something to be said in putting things on paper and getting them out into the universe. So I say, try it!! You might just love it, and the things you want in life might start happening!!
How is my baby four years old? (cue the tears) Today Georgia turned four! It’s pretty incredible. I will save you the paragraph about how becoming a mom has been the best thing that has happened to me because, honestly, my tears might short circuit my computer. So, let’s get right to the details..
This year Georgia’s birthday party theme was The Wizard Of Oz! We can thank JetBlue for that. On our way to North Carolina for Christmas the movie was playing on the plane and Georgia was immediately hooked. After that there was a lot of talk about Dorothy and Toto – as well as some bad dreams about the “bad witch” – and lots of family sing-a-longs at dinner!
When I suggested we have a Wizard of Oz Party, Georgia was completely on board! The first thing she asked was if she could dress as Dorothy. Of course!!! There is no doubt this kid is my daughter. I credit my mom for my love of throwing a party and now it is clear I am passing that passion down to my daughter. And let me tell you – four is fun!! Georgia truly helped plan this party. We picked out plates on Oriental Trading, went to the year-round Halloween store to get a costume (thank you, New York City), and DIYed our own ruby red slippers!!
For a month and half leading up to the party our days were filled with added activities and Wizard of Oz pretend play!! I have decided that Georgia’s Birthday might have just replaced Halloween as my favorite holiday!!
We love living in the city, but when it comes to mass shopping convenience it falls short. There aren’t many craft stores and getting from one party store to the next takes hours – add two kids to that and there goes your entire day. So, at the last minute we decided to drive to visit my parents in South Jersey the weekend before the party to get everything we still needed.
As we’re sure you know, if you’ve been reading our blog, we love a theme!! And as far as themes go, The Wizard Of Oz couldn’t be more fun, especially when it comes to crafting!! We hit up Pintrest and Google Images for inspiration!! Below are some of the highlights of the party!!
Invitations have always been important to us, but now that Love Jac is in full swing, they are even more crucial. We knew we needed to get the theme across and we wanted to include a photo of Georgia. Since these are custom, they might as well be completely personalized. I painted a yellow brick road, Emerald City, and poppy field with watercolors, scanned them into my computer, and positioned them in Photoshop.
After we bought the Dorothy dress from Halloween Adventure (but before we DIYed her shoes – no worries, that’s what Photoshop is for), we took a picture of Georgia all dressed up posing with her basket and Toto. Finally, we drove home the theme with the wordage, “Join Us Over The Rainbow…”, “Follow the yellow brick road to OZ”, and “RSVP to Jackie, The Good Witch.” We hope our guests could feel the fun when they opened their envelope.
Speaking of envelopes, we decided to use up the rainbow of envelopes we had been hoarding. To tie it all together, we printed the address label paper first with a rainbow pattern, then put that same piece back in the printer and printed out the addresses! Since people only get one colored envelope, the rainbow brought it together! Of course, we topped off the theme with heart postage stamps in honor of the Tin Man!
The Yellow Brick Road (with house, wicked witch legs, and ruby red slippers – all under the rainbow)
“Hi, My name is Jackie and I’m addicted to tape!!” I can’t help it, I just love it and if it’s colorful or different I need to buy it!! Washi, Scotch, Duct, you name it I own it!! My husband sometimes enables me by bringing extra tape home from a prop sale or craft segment. For the record, I want to state – it finally paid off.
If you are going to have a Wizard of Oz party you MUST have a yellow brick road!! There were many ideas on the internet – a runner, a rug, side walk chalk, a fake brick panel from Lowe’s painted yellow! We had the party in the community room of our apartment complex, so we couldn’t do anything permanent. We knew the kids would be running around, so it couldn’t be anything that they could trip on. The answer – tape!! And thanks to Genevieve Gorder– we had rolls of it. She demonstrated a product from Frog Tape that is intended to help you paint design patterns on your wall. It just so happens to come in yellow!! We simply stuck it to the floor in a brick pattern and pulled it up when the party was over. (yes, if you are wondering…this took a while – but it was worth every minute!) When guests arrived they were greeted by the yellow brick road!
While in South Jersey we bought a play cardboard house from the craft store, black and white striped knee-highs from the party store, ruby red slippers from the thrift store, and a colorful pinwheel from a discount store. We were able to recreate an interactive version of Dorothy’s house in Munchkinland for under $30. The kids loved it!
To create the rainbows above we simply hung crepe paper in a ROY G BIV pattern!! We made two rainbows on the ceiling and one on the wall. If I had more time I would have hung rainbows until we ran out of crepe paper, but my husband got me to pump the breaks! (Did I mention I love a theme?)
A photo wall is a must for any party we throw!! We love taking photos of all the guests. Having a photo wall by the entrance helps ensure you get a photo of everyone. Plus, these kids are only going to be this small once – we need to capture all this cuteness. Our inspiration was Emerald City and a rainbow. We will admit that what we envisioned was slightly more grand than what we produced, but we refuse to consider this a “Pintrest Fail.” It’s fun, colorful, and the kids LOVED it! This year we even put two chairs in front of the wall to help get the kids to stay in one place. Worked like a charm.
What did we do before the internet? Or should we ask, “What did we do before Pintrest?” Scrolling through hundreds of Wizard of Oz Party photos, a photo of these hats stood out to us!! They were simple, modern, and completely adorable. Thanks to patterned craft paper, dollar store party hats, and our glue gun – we crafted these hats in no time!
Scary Tree Apple Toss
Let’s put it out there – four year olds have A LOT of energy!! From our past party attending experiences, it can be a little chaotic. Since we weren’t doing another Miss Nina Party this year where the kids would sit and be entertained, we decided to create stations for our guests to corral their children in an attempt to not turn our community room into a high school running track!! I’d say we were 50% successful. What’s with kids and wanting to chase each other all around a room?
Our most successful station was the Scary Tree Apple Toss we created the night before. We simply taped together old cardboard boxes we had been collecting. We cut large holes into each box, added arms, extra branches, two scary eyes, and finished it off with a Sharpie-drawn bark pattern. The children took turns throwing balls at the tree trying to get them into the different holes.
We also had a Tattly Tattoo station, Pin The Heart on The Tin Man, and Make A Glinda-The-Good-Witch Wand. When the kids got tired of one thing, they moved to the next.
The Georgia Quiz and Coloring Page
The Georgia Quiz is a tradition we started on Georgia’s first birthday and it’s become my favorite. I love sitting with Chad and coming up with memorable questions to include from the year. It’s the perfect way to save these memories and share them with our guests. After everyone has turned in their quiz, we read the questions aloud and have everyone shout out the answer. It’s fun to see what people guessed and then to see who knows Georgia the best!! This year Grandpa was the big winner!! Since he felt like he had some insider knowledge (I mean, he is Grandpa), he gave his prize to second place. Miriam, along with her mom and sister, got 9 out of 10 questions correct!!!
A Coloring Page is always an easy addition to any party. It’s something that doesn’t need instruction and can be done at any time. To make this one extra special, we replaced Dorothy with a coloring book version of the photo of Georgia. If you want to do this to a photo of your child and you have Photoshop – here’s an easy tutorial. We added the words “Happy 4th Birthday Georgia!” and our hashtag to the bottom. This will also be a keepsake!
Growing up either my mom or grandma made my birthday cake! This is something I absolutely love doing and would never consider not doing. When we were on our party shopping spree in South Jersey we found single cake mixes in different colors. Our friend Lauren had baked a cake like this for her daughter’s first birthday and it had briefly crossed our minds, but it also seemed like a lot of work. When we found these mixes on the grocery store shelf, we took it as a sign! Done and done!
Two things to note:
- Make sure you use EGG WHITES only or the yoke might hypothetically turn your purple more of a gray! Whoopsies! No biggie, it’s still delicious.
- The more colors you make the taller the cake will be, so factor that in and buy extra frosting!
After a couple weeks of Google searching for something that could be used as a cake topper, we came up empty-handed. For some reason The Wizard of Oz isn’t as popular as Frozen these days. This turned out to be a blessing. The morning of the party after I decorated the top of Georgia’s cake with a yellow brick road and poppy field, I quickly Photoshopped the picture of Georgia as Dorothy over a photo of the cast (including Toto), printed it on card stock, cut it out, taped it to a cute straw, and stuck it in the cake. When Georgia noticed it was her on the cake her eyes lit up and she beamed with happiness. I don’t want to ever forget that moment!
On that note, I need to just let you know that during our singing of Happy Birthday, Georgia leaned over and hugged one of her best friends, Hazel. I swear tears almost shot directly out of my face! Those girls!! They melt my heart!! I hope their friendship lasts forever. I am so thankful Hazel’s mom 1) is raising her daughter to be such a sweet and loving little lady, and 2) snapped a photo of our girls hugging!! (ok I’m crying again)
Gift Baskets – literally
While searching Oriental Trading we came across some small Easter baskets on sale. We thought they would be perfect for our Goodies Bags. When they arrived they were slightly smaller than we had thought. We added a small swatch of blue gingham fabric, an apple (from the forest scene) and a bag of Teddy Grahams with a “Lions & Tigers & Bears OH MY!” label attached. To keep everything together, we put it all in clear cellophane bags and tied them with a ribbon and name tag for each child.
Rachael Ray’s 9 Million Meals Campaign
This year instead of gifts we asked our guests to bring canned goods or non-perishable food that Georgia would donate to Rachael Ray’s 9 Million Meals Campaign. This season of The Rachael Ray Show – season 9 – Rachael has pledged to provide 9 million meals to hungry Americans. In full disclosure, I used to work for Rachael’s show and my husband still works there. That being said, we can personally tell you what this woman has done for changing the hunger epidemic in this country is remarkable. Her passion for this cause and everything she does with her Yum-o! organization is incredible. We were happy to contribute in a small way. We want Georgia to grow up to be selfless and generous. As a child, birthday parties are typically centered around getting gifts – and while we are trying not to completely take that away from her – we want her to learn to think about how she can help others. If you would like to help Rachael meet her goal, you can visit her site and donate. $1 dollar = 10 meals!! How incredible is that!!
As I hashtagged on Instagram – #BirthdayPartySuccess!! Georgia had a fantastic time with her friends. We all enjoyed crafting, decorating, and creating our land of Oz. We hope everyone who came had a wonderful time. At the end of the day – the friends you invite are really what makes the party fun. We loved catching up with our “Original Mommy Group” friends, parents from school, and of course our besties we see almost every day!! We know celebrating Georgia would be fun no matter what we decided to do. This party was absolutely perfect for us because, in our eyes, so is she!
We utilized Pintrest and the internet more than we ever have before to help inspire us while planning this party. We hope by sharing our party details it helps to inspire you as well. If you have any questions please leave a comment below or email us directly!! Have a wonderful day!
We would like to invite you and your little one to join us in Artists & Crafts ™
Your favorite art class, formerly known as Brooklyn Arts & Crafts, is getting a new look and a new home! We are staying true to what has proven to be a great concept and wonderful class experience over the past two years. Each class will continue to focus on a famous artist and encourage your child to make his or her own masterpieces.
Each week we focus on a famous artist, create an age-appropriate craft highlighting that artist, and expose your little one to a new art technique. We keep things moving with songs, books, play-doh time, and a color of the day each week. Plus, at the end of each class your child will make a greeting card that you can mail to a loved one. (Grandparents love this!)
If you would like to join our weekly class in Brooklyn, you can sign up here!
Inspired Art Projects
Imaginative Play-doh Time
Keepsake Works of Art
Homemade Heartwarming Cards
We can't wait to make art with you!
We wanted to do a little retrospective on 2014 since it was a pretty big year for us. If you know us, you know we’re all about ways to be happy in our daily life and making the most of the little moments. That’s why, instead of talking about The National Stationery Show, Georgia’s 3rd Birthday Party, or Conroy’s 1st Birthday Party, we wanted to focus on the top 3 things that have made our daily life better both professionally and personally.
Our holiday card is a combination of photos & story update!
#1: Elise Joy’s Podcast and Blog
I’ve been following Elise on Instagram for a while now, but it wasn’t until I discovered her podcast that I decided we’d be best friends if she lived in Brooklyn. I say that in the least creepy way possible. As she describes herself, “She makes stuff like it’s her job!” She runs her own business and puts it all out there. This past year she documented her business story, which was very inspiring. She is also a mom to Ellerie who is just a couple months older than Conroy. Her podcast is a nice 30-minute interview with another small business owners. It’s obvious she does her research and plans out her questions ahead of time. She is genuinely excited about the person she’s interviewing and that makes listening to her so enjoyable! Hands down my favorite episode was EPISODE 028: Pricing Your Products featuring Tara Gentile. I literally stopped making cards and started taking notes! If you are interested in the small business creative world, Elise’s podcast is for you!
We love love love Freshbooks! It’s a cloud based accounting program. Before we started doing our books this way, we were using Excel. What were we thinking?!? Freshbooks is perfect because it makes filling out new invoices lightning fast, records all our expenses, and has allowed us to see what is working the best for our company. They have amazing customer support. We’ve called a couple times and every time our experience has made us love them even more.
Being self-employed definitely has its perks, but it can also be a little lonely. This year we’ve made many friends through craft markets, the National Stationery Show, and even Instagram. I am so grateful for our coffee meet-ups, supper clubs, and play dates!!
#1: Home Organization
Looking back, we’re a little shocked we did so much home organizing this past year – or we guess we should say – we can’t believe it’s only been a year of living this organized. Last year we did one big project – our living room shelves and a couple smaller projects – my art closet and Chad’s “garage”.
Living Room Shelves:
If you’ve been following along since the beginning, you may remember when we built Love Jac Headquarters. We were so happy with the shelving that we decided to build something similar in our living room. I joked before we built them that they would be life changing but, seriously – they changed our life! We subscribe to the philosophy, “A place for everything and everything in its place”, but when you literally don’t have a place for anything it’s pretty difficult to follow. We chose to paint the shelves the same color as the walls and bought these beautiful bins from Target. Now we have a ball bin, Play Doh bin, train bin, Lego bin, and doll bin. We also built a mini fridge and oven into the shelving. The kids love it and we love how it looks. Our life won’t be pretend kitchen playing forever and we are really enjoying it now!
My favorite way to reorganize things is to take EVERYTHING out, sort, purge, and put back. This is a messy way of organizing but that’s pretty fitting for me. Over the last twelve months, I was able to do this twice.
My art closet was completely nonfunctional before and now it’s one of my favorite things to think about. Just knowing exactly where my pipe cleaners and glue gun are makes me so happy.
The same goes for Chad’s garage – which is essentially the other closet in Love Jac Headquarters. Over our anniversary weekend I took everything out and sorted it into piles. Chad helped purge and determine what was essential. We then added pegboard and I organized it all. Being able to open the door and grab the measuring tape right away is so satisfying!
A Place For My Favorite Necklace:
The smallest addition to our home organization was a simple nail. Chad bought me the most beautiful necklace that he gave to me the day before our wedding. It’s shaped like a wagon wheel and matches my wedding band. (Our song from when we fell in love is “Wagon Wheel” by The Old Crow Medicine Show. We actually heard it live covered by a talent woman at a music festival in Beaufort, NC! ) I wear it almost every day. I also take it off in random places. A couple times I thought I lost it for good. After one long period of it missing – I finally found it on the floor of Chad’s closet – I decided to take action! I went to the garage and dug around for a hammer and nail – this was before I reorganized. I hammered that simple nail into the wall right next to my vanity. Now – no matter where I take it off – I make myself get up and return it to it’s proper place. “A place for everything and everything in its place!”
#2: Our Village
They aren’t joking when they say “It Takes a Village.” This became so apparent to me this year that I made a card to thank the people in “our village”. We also expanded our village! When someone helps take care of your children, the love you have for them is on a new level. We need to thank the grandparents, teachers, occasional babysitters, friends, and of course our evening helper Mira for everything they have brought to our life - and Georgia and Conroy’s lives this year!
#3: Family Time
This is on the agenda for 2015 for sure, but I’d like to point out how much we loved our “Family Time” this year. From Sesame Place to Fancy Nancy The Musical and all the Sunday morning brunches in between, hanging out with our immediate family is so precious and hands down some of my favorite memories of 2014!!
Dress up day at Georgia's School.
Coney Island Beach Day
Governor's Island Bike Day
We can’t believe January is almost over!! Here’s to all the wonderful ways we can improve our daily lives!! One of my ways to “push” myself this year is to be more active on blog comments, so please leave a comment and let me know about your blog! We love being inspired and thanks to this incredible blogosphere, it couldn’t be easier!!
My December Daily album is complete and I couldn’t be happier! This is my first year doing Ali Edward’s project, December Daily, a scrapbook album documenting every day in December to help you remember the little moments in what quickly becomes a hectic holiday blur.
We started with a December Daily party to get everyone excited about making an album. We set up our layouts so it would be more do-able once the month got going. I essentially did the first part of the album over the weekend of the 13th & 14th. I was pretty happy with my progress, but the next thing I knew it was time to leave for my in-laws in North Carolina and I had hardly even written down a memory for one day in the second half of the month. I was definitely behind. In hindsight this turned out to be a good thing.
I packed a quick “December Daily On-The-Go” bag. I filled it with some stickers, extra paper, a couple stamps, and a few ink pads. I knew I’d have some downtime in North Carolina knowing there were two grandparents that couldn’t wait to watch our kids. It turns out all I had time to do was chose the photos and get them printed at CVS. Since I had done this for the first half of the month once already, I knew this process would take a while so I was happy to have the time to do it there.
I hit my stride during Christmas Part II of our vacation while we were at my parents’ home the weekend of January 1st. With the photos printed, I had everything I needed to complete the album. I set up a mini craft station on their dining room table and got to work.
I did have to make one more run to CVS for photos of Christmas day and since we were in the suburbs I hit up a couple of my favorite craft stores. At Michaels I found two packs of stickers I had to buy. The first pack included these glittery stickers that say “Merry & Bright.” I immediately knew they would be the perfect start to my album…title page done! The second set of stickers are made by Mambi. They are clear with white writing and they are made to stick on top of your photos. When I got home, I flipped through the album and used them as much as possible. I truly believe these stickers pull the whole album together.
Inspired by Amy Tan, I decided to record a quick video to show you my album. You can watch her video here. When I started this album I wasn’t sure what my style would be. When I sat down with all of my supplies and was able to put my story on paper, my style emerged. It’s vivid and festive. By using one set of bright holiday cardstock, gold and glittery stickers, an ultra-fine sharpie, and the Mambi stickers my album is cohesive. Doing this album on January 1st and 2nd made it easier for me to chose the highlights of the month and not get caught up in recording every single thing. I enjoyed remembering the days and writing down the stories.
Below are a couple of my favorite pages that feature different techniques and ideas that I hope inspire you on your next album.
I used the “Merry & Bright” stickers, plus a “December” Mambi sticker that looks great on regular card stock instead of just a photo, plus red glitter number stickers to write “2014.” There were a couple photos I wasn’t able to use in the album that I wanted to include on this page. The photo on the bottom left was taken at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I love it so much.
Billy The Elf Carter Update
After I completed the album, I went back and upgraded this page. I didn’t love the original journaling, so I used some red glitter stickers and letter stamps to make the “fun facts” section more interesting.
This was the day my babysitter canceled on me and I had to scramble to find someone to watch Conroy so I could teach my art class. Without hesitation, two of my friends changed their plans to help me. I used a “thank you” stamp to wallpaper white card stock as a background. I took a screenshot of our text messages, printed them out on regular computer paper, and then cut out the bubbles so I could glue them in the album. I printed the photos they texted me of Conroy while I was teaching class. Seeing your baby happy while you are away is the best thing to calm a mother’s nerves.
Trader Joe’s Bag
I love the texture this gives the page. I also gave it a border with washi tape and added some stickers from the day. Finally, I printed out a photo of the outside of the store and a photo of Conroy eating a banana in his stroller.
Writing On A Photo
I’ve been wanting to do this since I started doing Project Life albums, but I never liked how it looked. I chose this photo because of all the negative space on the wall of The Little Gym. I used an ultra-fine point sharpie to write on the photo and made sure I let it dry before slipping it into the pocket page.
Red Sharpie Border
I chose to have some of the photos printed with a white border at CVS. For the page of Georgia’s Holiday Show, I drew simple diagonal lines with a red sharpie to make it reminiscent of a candy cane and therefore more festive.
I finished most of the travel page before I remembered I wanted to incorporate our airline tickets. I cut out both kids’ names and glued them over the photos of them making silly faces. I added their seat numbers next to the photos. I think it makes them look like comic book characters.
On the 23rd we stopped by our friends’ home just before they were having dinner. They invited us to stay. They had cooked food Mary & Joseph would have eaten in biblical times: lentil soup, goat cheese, figs, and pita bread. It was delicious! The teenagers read the story of Jesus’ birth and we all sang a couple songs. I saved the lyric sheets they handed out at dinner and used it as a background for the page. It tells the story perfectly.
This day ended up being a two-and-a-half page spread. Since it was Christmas, I was ok with it. I wanted to highlight some of the gifts the kids got from Santa, MaMa & PaPa’s favorite gift, and photos of all the family members who came to dinner that night. Thanks to MaMa’s photography persistence, that was easy. I printed these out as 4x2s using the same Collage>MiniPrints option at CVS. To fit them all on the page I cut them down even more.
I am so thankful I made this album. I will say it again…Ali Edwards is a genius for coming up with this concept. December always ends up being such a blur of holiday fun and now we have a beautiful album to look back at and remember all the little details. I can’t wait to do it every year!! If you made an album too, let us know. We love getting inspired and seeing what other are creating!
We discovered Ali Edwards this past year through Instagram, most likely through either Becky Higgins or Elise Blaha Cripe. Ali is an innovator in the scrapbooking world. Her approach is to “Craft Your Story” and we love everything she does. This past December, inspired by her, we created our first December Daily Album.
Another one of her genius ideas is the One Little Word Project. It’s where you choose one word to guide you through the year. The word you chose should speak to you and be something you want to focus on for the next year. She now leads a yearlong class helping others stay connected to their word. I am excited to be part of that group this year.
My word is PUSH! It was the first word that came to me, but I wasn’t 100% sure about it initially. I thought it might have too much of a negative meaning connected to it. Then I realized that so often in life I try to look at the positive side of things and it often aggravates me when people point out the negative side of things. That’s when I realized PUSH was the perfect word for me. I will look at it positively and it will help me better myself this next year.
There are three ways in which I intend to PUSH myself through 2015.
I started Love Jac right after Georgia was born. After entering PowerUp, a small business competition, I wrote a thorough business plan. Since then I have followed that plan and my company has grown. With two kids it seems at times to grow beyond this present point would be incredibly difficult. However, I have so many ideas, dreams, and goals. I am at the point now where I am ready to write a second mini-business plan in order to execute these ideas. I know it will mean less sleep, help from a babysitter, and extreme focus but I am ready to push this company to the next level. Plus, it’s time to make myself a better card sender in the process.
I know this photo is slightly cheesy, but that's why I love it. We took a bunch of silly photos while at The National Stationery Show this year and I've been looking for an excuse to use one of them!! Besides, I am PUSHing the typewriter keys.
Before I had Conroy, people used to tell me having two kids was like having ten kids. I thought that was so mean to say to someone. Now being on the other side, I still think it’s not nice, however I now know they were right. Just taking care of two little ones is a fulltime job. It almost seems impossible to have dinner made, the shopping done, keep the house clean, and be there for your husband. There are certainly some days that I don’t do any of the latter. In 2015 I am going to PUSH myself to figure out how to do more. I want to plan out the week’s meals ahead of time, develop a better cleaning routine, and schedule in more date nights. I think by creating mini-challenges I will be able to accomplish this. By no means do I think I can do it all, but I do think with some pre-production I can get better at many of the life responsibilities I have. Now that I know what this job actually entails, I can figure out a way to improve.
This could be my favorite photo from 2014. Georgia's favorite thing to do is push the elevator button. On this day, Conroy wanted to do it. Without hesitation she said "Don't worry Conroy, I'll help you" and picked him up!
It took me just about a year to accept the fact that this double stroller would be my life. My mom bought it for us when I was pregnant with Conroy and I used it maybe twice in his first year. Now I spend what feels like 50% of my day pushing this thing all around Brooklyn. I have a love/hate relationship with this mode of transportation, but deep down I know it’s our best option. Both kids can sit. When I only have Conroy I can also use it to carry all of our Trader Joe’s groceries. With the rain guard on, I know both my kids are warm, cozy, and safe. Yes, I often feel like this is training for my next life as the musher of an Alaskan dog sled team, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Just another day of pushing my two favorite kids!
If you’d like to join Ali’s One Little Word workshop, there’s still time. You can sign up here. If you do, leave a comment below! Also, if you have any tips for improving anything I have mentioned above, please share. Here’s to 2015!! Happy New Year!
Leading up to Georgia’s first birthday, I was so excited. I had so much time and I wanted to celebrate both her first year and all of our new friends who were also celebrating one year of being parents. I love planning a party!! At that time I was also in the thick of starting my card company so it was a no brainer to design her invitation and have them printed at a print shop. Our theme was plaid in honor of the little ones being Brooklynites. I couldn’t wait!
For Conroy’s first birthday I was drawing a blank. We didn’t want to do the same thing, but we wanted it to reflect who he was. His favorite thing was easily Elmo, but we didn’t want to have a typical Elmo birthday party. Free time was few and far between and I just wasn’t feeling creative. I really wanted to just buy invitations, but how could the owner of a greeting card company just BUY the invitations to her son’s birthday party! Sacrilegious!
Then while strolling the aisles of Target, we saw a fun line of party supplies (including invitations). I loved them! They were brightly colored sports-themed party decorations…bright greens and blues that made them far from the ordinary “boy” birthday party themes. I still wasn’t completely sure I should buy them, but as we continued our Target run loading up on all the essentials--paper towels and toothpaste, I couldn’t stop thinking about the invites. I started daydreaming and soon enough I could envision the whole room decorated. I’d buy the predesigned invites, fill them out by hand, and add a little fun with extra details and a photo of our little man!! I could see everyone wearing neon sweatbands instead of party hats and playing with inflatable soccer balls. Done! Inspiration had struck and I was off and running!!
In this world of Evites and iPhones, we strongly believe an actual paper invitation is still very important. Getting mail is fun whether you are a child or an adult. An invitation is what sets the mood for your party. It lets your guests know what to expect. It is your opportunity to get the party started before the party has even started.
Our objective for Conroy’s first birthday invitations was to let people know three things: (1) it was sports themed; (2) they should get ready to celebrate; and (3) to kindly not bring gifts. The predesigned invitations that we purchased at Target took care of number one. They were shaped like an event ticket and had blank lines for us to fill out containing all the pertinent information.
To add to this, we used two rubber stamps (baseball and soccer ball) to decorate the envelope. Decorating the envelope is also a must for us. Let’s get people excited as soon as they open their mailbox!! We also chose a coordinating orange polka-dot patterned paper and some green gridded washi-tape for extra touches. We used American Flag postage stamps to complete the look. We do love those Vintage Flower Seed postage stamps, but they would have thrown off our theme.
To say “Let’s Celebrate” we did a quick photo shoot with Conroy and a couple sports balls. Photographing children isn’t easy. Photographing an almost one-year-old who just started walking is almost impossible. I hope to never become that mom who yells at their child so they can capture the perfect moment (although, I may have come close a couple times) so I grabbed a couple balls, took the kids to the playground, strapped the “big camera” around my neck and took roughly sixty-two pictures! Out of all them, there were two that we loved! Two!! Luckily, we only needed one so we were in good shape. We had it printed at CVS using our favorite “Collage – Mini Prints” option and had them printed as 3x4 photos. (That’s two photos on one 4x6 photo that we then cut in half.) Conroy is the whole reason we were celebrating…this smiley, cuddly, hilarious little man. The photo we chose captured him perfectly.
To drive home our “Let’s Celebrate” message, we took the invitation one step further and included just a little bit of confetti. This was super simple to do. I used red tissue paper and our Martha Stewart fringe scissors! We made a long row of fringe and then went back, cutting the other direction – which resulted in little squares. Fun!!
Finally, we wanted to nicely ask people not to bring gifts. We live in a small apartment in Brooklyn and we barely have room for the toys we currently have. We’ve tried asking three times previously (each of Georgia’s birthdays) and pretty much failed every time. Bringing a gift to a party is just what you do. I think people feel rude if they don’t. This time we made our request into a short rhyming poem. We printed it on the back of the orange polka-dot card stock and slipped it into the envelope. We didn’t want to come off ungrateful or rude, but we honestly didn’t want people to spend money just to give us things we didn’t need or have room for. Our poem worked like a champ!! Everyone listened and didn’t bring a thing! We were pleased and grateful.
We mailed the invitations roughly a month ahead of time. About two weeks before the party we sent out friendly individual emails to those people who hadn’t responded.
The party was a complete success! Ever since the day Conroy was born I have been so much calmer. I used to be a very anxious person. I am still far from laid back, but having two kids is so much more work that my new life motto quickly became “We will do the best we can and it will be ok.” I think it also helped that this is the fourth birthday party we have thrown for our kids and we kind of have it down. My mom is one of the best party planners I know. She could seriously start her own business. With her in our corner, we had all the details worked out.
We decided to make the food ballpark-themed: hoagies, popcorn, and hot dogs.
We ordered neon sweatbands to replace the traditional party hats.
We did want to include Elmo in the celebration somewhere, so I made an Elmo birthday cake. Conroy loved it!
We set up a step-and-repeat area to take photos of the guests as they arrived. I fell in love with this faux astro-turf tablecloth, so we hung it as a backdrop and framed it with balloons.
Yes, I had our whole family dress in coordinating Piccoliny t-shirts and tattoos!! If you are in New York City, this store is a great place to visit. Practically on the border of Little Italy and Chinatown, we made a morning of our trip by simply walking through the streets and checking out people and everything for sale.
In true Love Jac tradition, we had a “Conroy Quiz” to highlight moments from the past year. Aunt Trina and Uncle Tom won with a perfect score!
As activities for the kids, we set up several sports stations, such as a soccer net and a basketball hoop.
We also printed out a handful of personalized coloring pages to keep the kids busy.
You know it's a party when the birthday boy is shirtless!!
Thank You Cards
Target also sold coordinating thank you cards, so we took full advantage of them. We printed out a photo of each guest and included it with our note.
Some Fun Things To Remember (some I may have forgotten myself)
This is a short list of things we think are important to remember to do during the party. A one-year-old’s birthday can often be much like a wedding – there’s so much happening and next thing you know it’s over!
- Take a group photo
- Take photos as people enter
- Give out hats or necklaces as the guests enter – a great way to make sure you say hi to everyone.
- Get everyone’s attention and say Thank You
Better-than-a-gift gifts you can give as a guest
- Take a picture during “Happy Birthday” and blowing out the candles
- Take a video during “Happy Birthday”
- Take a photo with the birthday boy or girl
After Conroy’s party a couple people emailed us photos they took at the party. We were so grateful. As a parent your focus is on your little one, so often you don’t have time to take photos during the big moments of the party. Getting them after the fact was so exciting!
We were very happy with Conroy’s first birthday party and we think he was as well! It was low stress and lots of fun! We’d love to hear some of your favorite birthday party ideas.