Wednesday, April 30, 2008

delphine online

Phase One of our new website is up! Whoo hoo. Many thanks to the talented guys at Saxony for their insane programming skills! We're working out a few "issues" with the boutique shopping cart, so if you want to order something it's best to shoot us an email to confirm that we have received the order. But we've added tons of new photos and galleries ... more coming soon, too!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

work table

A work table similar to this polished nickel Dering Console table would look great with the Ghost Chair in B's jewelry studio. Doesn't look like we could fit a chair under here, so we're still searching, but we both love this table from Martha Stewart's Lily Pond collection at Bernhardt.

plastic bags

LA Public Works removing debris caught by booms from the LA River after a storm event. photo by Algalita

I think we all know on some level that the plastic shopping bag is harmful to the environment. Algalita is a marine research foundation that is studying the effects of plastic junk in the oceans: the results are frightening. Take a look at their photo gallery here. My dad recently came back from a vacation in the California desert and he said that the plastic bags were blowing around like crazy, making drifts. He said that at first he and his friends could not figure out what the white stuff was: some thought they were lost birds, others, forgetting they were in the desert, said snow. Turns out they were plastic bags. My dad (who does all the grocery shopping) hasn't used a plastic bag since.

Here are a few questions we could ask ourselves whenever we are handed a plastic bag:
• Do I need to take as many plastic bags in supemarket?
• Do I need a plastic bag for an item purchased that is already well packaged by the manufacturer?
• Could I bring my own shopping bag when making purchases?

I recently had a conversation with our pressman, Larry, and he and I agree that the number one way to make a difference is to simply USE LESS. He was telling me about someone who was looking all over the internet to buy glass straws for his kitchen, to replace plastic ones. We both wondered why he doesn't simply drink out of a glass??? The same guy was urging Larry to use a less toxic varnish on the printing job he was printing ... why not specify a paper that does not require varnish at all? The most effective way of reducing the amount of litter is to reduce our consumption.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

ghostly décor

B has this fun Louis Ghost Chair in her jewelry studio. I've been eyeing this Bourgie Lamp to go along with it. Both are available at Hive Modern. The designs are thoroughly modern, with a nod to the amazing French baroque style. I find this combination of old & new trés inspiring!

Friday, April 25, 2008

tote bags

I think we're getting the hang of taking studio photos... as promised, here are better photographs of our brand new recycled cotton tote bags.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

JOY by Mel Lim

My sweet, dear, and incredibly talented friend Mel, of JOY by Mel Lim, designed these adorable geese. I fell in love with the wrapping paper she designed, traded her two strong cocktails for a pack of paper, and wallpapered our powder room with it. We finished off the room with the amazing wall decals she designed (distributed by BLIK). I wish I had thought to take before shots ... the bathroom was a horrific dark brick red color. THANK YOU MEL for inspiring us.

9th anniversary

Nine years ago John & I were married at The Circular Congregational Church in my "hometown" and favorite city of all time: Charleston, South Carolina. We had a wonderful wedding reception at The Mills House before we jetted off to my other favorite city, Paris, for our honeymoon. When we got married John was a First Lieutenant in the U.S.M.C., and I worked as an advertising editor at a small town newspaper. John looked so handsome in his dress blues! I never guessed that we'd end up in California and start our own design business ... but here we are. So lucky! I love working together.

I wish I could say that we are taking a day off to celebrate, but, with the National Stationery Show coming up in less than a month, the best we can do is a day out of the studio running errands together. So, we're off to Ikea to pick out some furniture for the show.

margaritas in studio

These sculptural drink dispensers from Pottery Barn are on the studio wish list ... they'll be perfect for our overseas trade shows (we'll be allowed to serve drinks in booths) as they are pretty, functional, and light/easy shipping (made of acrylic). They come in colors, but I prefer the clear ones so you can see the color of the beverage you're about to drink. I fantasize about having one filled with never-ending supply of margaritas here in the studio all summer. Is that so wrong???

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

posh travel jewelry cases

I've always been a sucker for fancy jewelry cases: they feed both sides of my brain as they are beautiful & lovely AND inspire organization and order. I love the green one, of course. These McKenna Travel Folios are from Pottery Barn and come in lots of larger jewelry box sizes as well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

spring skirt

Saw this skirt from J. Jill in the South Coast Plaza promo catalog. Love it. I wish I spent more time in public so I could justify a new skirt, but since I spend most of the day in the studio, where nobody except the UPS guy and my family see me, I don't see the point :(

Monday, April 21, 2008

rose quartz necklace

We're slowly but surely taking photos of all our jewelry so we can add to our new delphine website. This rough cut rose quartz necklace is one of my favorites.

studio makeover

Someday I would love to makeover our studio and add these fantastic lights from Restoration Hardware. I have been coveting them for years, but when I saw them "in action" at the lovely Cotton Idea Studio I fell in love! Also on my wish list: glass garage doors. Our studio is in a ginormous converted 3 car garage ... complete with garage door. Although the garage door does serve as a wonderful magnet board, I'd love to replace it with a glass door to let in more precious light.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

crazy restaurant

While driving around Los Angeles I saw this. I took the photo from a moving car... it says "Mexican-Italian Kosher The Pizza Station Ice Cream Yogurt."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


True or False?
In order to gain respect you must demand it.

business books

There are lots of business books out there ... here are three that I recommend:

Craft, Inc., by Meg Mateo Ilasco. This is a great resource for anyone who is thinking about starting a creative business. It has helpful info about how to price your goods, when to exhibit at trade shows, and how to market your business. I wish this book had been around 10 years ago when I started working as a designer!

Mommy Millionaire, by Kim Lavine. For anyone who wants to mass produce a product... learn from Lavine's mistakes and her successes. Her insight into the trade show world is about as true and honest as it gets. And her behind the scenes peek into QVC/HSN is eye-opening. A couple of things she wrote I did NOT agree with: for instance she said that hiring a professional graphic designer can be a waste of time, and that her little home-spun logo has served her well. I don't agree at all...I think she needs an updated logo! If your logo is amateurish then buyers' first impressions of you and your product will likely follow suit. Overall, though, this is one of my favorite books.

Meatball Sundae, by Seth Godin. Godin, who, I think, is the master of common sense & telling it like it is, says that to be successful with "New Marketing" (i.e. social networking, websites, blogs) you must integrate them into a marketing strategy, not just slap them on top! His book "explores the 14 trends that are changing our world and how organizations can either embrace them or be punished by them."

more biz

I saw this Nelson Swag Desk at the Design*Sponge/DWR event last night. I love this grown-up's school desk!

Also at the Design*Sponge Biz Ladies Meetup:
Billie and Tootie of Reform School were adorable. They have been friends since High School and seem to really be enjoying their relatively new life as Reform Schoolers (the biz is about 2 years old). Someone asked why they continue having a storefront, if their webshop pulls in more money. It was refreshing to hear them say that it's "not about the money, it's about doing something we love and being fulfilled." I admit that sometimes the business part of running delphine can get me down, and I have to remind myself how fortunate I am to be running a CREATIVE business.

Tanya Aguiniga also spoke, although I had a tough time hearing her because my friend Torri kept cracking jokes in my ear! Tanya just finished working on an installation in the new children's museum in San Diego, which I cannot wait to visit! She has one of the best logos I've seen in a long time.

I also ate lots of cupcakes (thanks Sara!) and truly enjoyed a night off with Torri, who kept me laughing all night long. This morning we're off to show the new Marine Life line of letterpress cards to a few stationery buyers in LA, then we have to head back to San Diego because I am press checking one of my new designs.

the biz

Last night I headed up to LA to the Design*Sponge Biz Ladies Meetup at DWR in Beverly Hills. It was inspiring to see so many design lovers and creative people in one space! Grace was a wonderful and, well, gracious, hostess and speaker.

Grace encouraged everyone to submit their work to magazine editors and bloggers via email. A lot of people ask me how I get press, and the simple truth is that I submit photos and/or samples of my work to magazines. When I was working as a writer and editor, there was nothing I liked more than a beautiful story idea to drop in my lap! Editors are very busy people, and they truly rely on press releases and story ideas and product submissions. I agree with Grace that when mailing a physical press kit they don't have to be super fancy (she said samples often end up in the 'goody room'). I think they should always be a professional, clean, true reflection of your brand. And never send something that you expect to get back!

Monday, April 14, 2008

poor little puffy

This cute little puffer did not make the final cut for the new letterpress journals we are printing in time for the National Stationery Show. It broke my heart but puffy is on hold.

recycled cotton tote bags

photo: delphine
I am thrilled...our new recycled cotton tote bags have arrived! Excuse the crappy photo ... better ones on the way soon. These bags are amazing: made of 80% recycled cotton and 20% recycled plastic soda bottles. Besides being our favorite color, green is a commitment that we at delphine take seriously. We believe eco-consciousness is fundamental to good design. And who doesn't need a new tote bag, especially now that so many cities are cutting back on plastic bag usage. The bags will be available to pre-order on our new website--check back in about a week. They will ship first week of July, in time for a beach vacay.

Friday, April 11, 2008

jessica davis photography

I caught up with my friend Jessica Davis yesterday at her fabulous new studio in Solana Beach, California. Her specialty is kids photography, but I think she could have a second career as a pet photographer. Check out that cute doggie!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


photo: delphine
I have been diligently cropping, adjusting and cataloging photographs of our entire collection of letterpress notecards, journals, greeting cards and custom invitations all day. So far, my favorite photograph is this one of our adorable kitten, Titus. He's such a ham. Every time we set up the photo 'studio' he jumps right into the set.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

inspiration: marie antoinette & ladurée

macaroon photo from laduree
other photos: delphine

I'm usually not one for watching movies again and again (I leave that to my four-year-old). However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sofia Coppola's amazing film, Marie Antoinette, and have watched it dozens of times. Besides being visually stunning, the story is fascinating and heartbreaking. The underlying social commentary about the dangers of a life of excess, and the absurdity of it all, resonated with me. I live in an alternate universe called Southern California, and I could see a lot of my neighbors fitting in quite swimmingly at Versailles. Crazy but true, when J and I saw the movie at the theater, three "Orange County" cougars were seated behind us. Upon leaving the theater they were discussing how "relieved" they are that poor Marie escaped. Um...really? J and I could not believe what we were hearing, so we basically stalked them to their Range Rovers to make sure our ears had not deceived us. None of the three of them had any idea what really happened to Marie Antoinette. They went on to discuss how "scary those peasants were" and how glad they are that Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis were spared the violence. They also mentioned how they are so happy that "society has evolved" and, of course, how beautiful all the shoes in the movie were. (Though I can't really fault them for noticing how spectacular the costumes are in this film). Wow. Welcome to So. Cal, huh?

The candy color palette of the film is so FUN! The letterpress world seems stuck in a blah pastel nightmare, doesn't it? I tried to bring some of the upbeat colors into our current Marine Life collection (see the pink & turquoise jellyfish!). I heard somewhere that Sofia Coppola was inspired by one of my very favorite things: Ladurée's pretty macarons. My mom used to take me there for tea and macarons when I was a little girl and I have always been fascinated by the Parisian patisserie. When I was in Paris last October I snuck a few shots of the fabled teahouse display window between bites of pistachio macarons.

Friday, April 4, 2008

sweet floral wall mural

photos: delphine
When J and I were in LA last week we came upon this sweet & simple floral wall mural. It's so lovely to see public art like this, and refreshing that it was left alone (no graffiti in sight!). The illustrations inspired me to pick up my dusty sketchbook. I love that the painting is inspired by real flowers, but doesn't look like a horticultural specimen.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

inspired by mother nature

photo: delphine

photo: salvatore ardillo

I'm in the midst of finalizing the new spring line of letterpress note cards. The designs were influenced by the beautiful wildflowers that are in bloom here in Southern California. Also inspired by Mother Nature, our newest products will be printed on recycled 100 percent post consumer waste paper. We have always used recycled paper and soy-based inks: our cards are printed either on paper that has at least 30 percent post consumer waste content or on 100 percent cotton (tree-free!) paper. But now that it is becoming more popular to go green there are many more options for us to choose from as far as papers go. It's exciting (and a bit daunting) to have so many choices.

As I'm planning my paper buys I feel like I'm spinning around in the middle of one of those convoluted word problems from eighth grade math class: If you have a press sheet that measures 7 x 10 inches, and parent sheets that measure 26 x 40 inches, and if the pink parent sheets come in cartons of 400 sheets and a carton costs $350, and the blue parent sheets come in cartons of 500 sheets and costs $625, and the blue parent sheets have a delivery charge of $45 and the pink parent sheets have a shipping fee of two percent, and you want to yield 10,000 press sheets of one color, what is the most cost-effective paper color to buy, keeping in mind that printing will waste approximately 15 percent of the press sheets and you many not break cartons?
NOW I understand why we had to take math!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

trade show shoes


The weeks before every trade show are filled with important to-do list items, such as: reserve plane tickets, order new line sheets, mail booth number announcements, press check new products, and design a fabulous booth display. But one of the tasks on the list that I actually look forward to is to shop for trade show shoes. I stand for 10 hours a day in the booth, so they have to be cute, chic and very very (very) comfortable. I haven't tried them on yet, but I suspect you'll be seeing these cool green moccasins from Aerosoles on my feet at the National Stationery Show!