Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Typefaces...Soldiers..

Fire in the Hole By Oliver Mundy found via FFFFOUND

A MUST see Movie for today is Taking Chance on HBO.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Holiday Weekend Friday Wine Tasting... St. Germain Cocktails and Ripe Ritas

I thought it might be fun for the holiday weekend to share two of my favorite new cocktails that I just cant get enough of. These are the perfect drinks to kick off summer with! Enjoy the sunshine!


St. Germain-
Mojito Parisien

  • 10 fresh mint leaves

  • 2 shots white light rum/or Vodka

  • 2 shots St. Germain liqueur

  • Spritz of lime


  1. Lightly muddle mint in a collins glass. Add other ingredients.
  2. Half fill the glass with crushed ice; stir. Fill to the brim with more crushed ice and stir again.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Ripe Margarita (available at Whole Foods)


No sugar. No corn syrup. And absolutely no highly-processed juice from concentrate. We squeeze every drop of juice we use for a taste that is pure freshness. We've done the work, all you do is add Tequila.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The open road....

Image via Flickr

It's time....This weekend, thousands upon thousands of American families will be hitting the open road in search for the perfect getaway. Cars will be packed to the gills with clothing, toys, and children. There will be coolers filled with sandwiches, potato chips, water, chocolate chip cookies and fruit. There will be song singing, I spy games and finding license plates from every state. There will be laughter and there will be tears....The Art of War has been passed down by generations and perfected. The seat armrest has become the imaginary line between the two countries and if crossed there will be death...(or a huge bruise in the arm). So, I have found a couple of items that just might make peace between the two countries and have parents avoiding to go to a massage therapist for the classic back arm swat.

The first of my finds are these fabulous travel games that come in their own metal tin (brilliant packaging) and are completely magnetic. The small pieces are made of foam so no worries about sharp metal pieces being flung into someone's eye.

They can be found at Target, Michaels or AC Moore or even right here
It was the best $8.00 that I have ever spent!

Now my all time favorite has to be these box sets from Scholastic...Genius!! They are great for any age! They have taken classic stories new and old such as How do Dinosaurs say Goodnight, Corduroy, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Millions of Cats and turned them into animated shorts. Weston Woods Studios has done this brilliantly for Scholastic and I seriously have to tip my hat to them!

They can be found on Amazon but I just purchased the above library at TJ Maxx for $12.99...
They had tons of them there!!

So travel safe this weekend everyone...
We may never have peace in the Middle East but hopefully with a few tricks up your sleeve you may have it in your car...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let your imagination grow...Burlap...Ooo la la!!!

I try to keep all of my posts free of controversial topics such as religion and politics but I think just this once I might have to impose on all of you a few of my beliefs...The countless hours and years of wearing itchy tights, sitting still and having "school" on Sundays unfortunately did not turn me into an good Episcopalian (sorry mom) but rather it turned me into a more spiritual person. As the years have passed, I have realized that things happen for a reason. And when they do, whether good or bad, it is so that we can learn and move on the next stage of our lives. People come and go, we form relationships, we end relationships but each one is very important to the growth of our psyche. I know I sounds very touchy feely ( maybe it's the countless hours of Kung Fu Panda) but for me it is something that I have become very aware of and it keeps me sane while living on this wildly spinning globe. I guess.. to each her own...So that being said, I will try and get to the point.
What I am learning, is that all the relationships we form with others stems from a particular need in that moment in our lives. It is always when we least it expect it but it is there subconsciously waving an invisible flag inside each of us.
As in an earlier post, I spoke about someone very dear to me who allowed my imagination to grow...It was 7 years ago that the fabulous Ms. Crawford entered my life and changed it forever.
These amazing sparkly, creative, shiny people don't come around every day as there seems to be very few of them out there in the world. I guess they can be considered as soulmates for the creative soul. So imagine meeting two of them in your didn't seem at all possible...
So when the phone call came for an impromptu creative meeting with a bride for her invitations..I never would have guessed, while wiping sleep from my eyes, hair thrown haphazardly into a ponytail and a ginormous cup of coffee in hand, that it would honestly be another one...
Her name was Erin St.Thomas. And as I listened to her speak with grand enthusiasm about herself, her family, her fiance Dan and her home, it honestly gave me chills up my spine. It was like looking through a magical looking glass at my life 11 years ago. Meeting the love of your life, purchasing an antiquated farmhouse, adopting a stray cat (ours was a pit bull mix but I think Mr. Boots could seriously take him), getting engaged and now planning a wedding. Let's not forget that we completely share the same design esthetic...So there were many more emails and many more phone calls so that I could delve into her life. She too had just started a blog called Sparkle and Hay (if you know her then you know the title is perfect!) which blew me away and I insist that everyone check it out! So the time came to finally meet in person (this after months of cancelled visits due to the brutal New England winter). Now,most creative visits should only take at least 1-2 hours.....this..well this was an entire day...I thought it only fair after delving into her life she delve into mine...Before we knew it..the monster had arrived via he hopped..a little shy but before long he had dragged every sport equipment we own out of the basement to share with his newly acquired friend. Never missing a beat,and in flip-flops nonetheless, she continued to play football with him for hours..She had captured his heart and now whenever I am working on "Erin's stuff" he proudly says (with a gleam of love in his eye) "Ok Mommy, that's VERY important".
So without further adieu....this is the story of Erin & Dan's Save the Date:
From the wonderful meetings and emails..This is what I found out: They were engaged in Paris, Her Family is of French descent, They purchased a beautiful old Federal Home in Connecticut. She loves to be creative and loves DIY projects. She loves Anthropologie (who doesn't). They love vintage pieces because they tell a story. Farm textures such as burlap, galvanized metals, raw woods and hay make her scream with delight. They are to be married at St. Mary's Church in Stonington and their reception will be at Saltwater Farm Vineyard. She really loves him and He REALLY loves her.

So,with that in mind and a complete 50/50 collaboration filled with joy, tears and we go..

What I loved most about the process with Erin was that we are equally as crazy. We allowed each other to think outside the box and because she was willing to do alot of the work herself...the dream became possible.
So what transpired between two creative and crazy ladies? Check it out!:
A simple burlap pouch (much like vintage seed bags), was hand screen printed and filled with clues to their upcoming wedding. They were : A bunch of lavender, a used cork from the Vineyard's own wine, a piece of hay and mini paper airplanes made from vintage french books (as the Vineyard was once an airport and the building is a vintage hangar).

The mood board
This is what Miss True (who is designing and coordinating the wedding) and I created for Erin & Dan

The bag design:
Plenty of fleur de lis's, the crane logo from Saltwater Farm Vineyard and a new custom stamp for them to use throughout the wedding.

Image by Anna Sawin Photography
The secret contents...Dan did a great job folding all those airplanes!!

Image by Anna Sawin Photography
The bag itself...printed with my new Yudu...quite the process but worth the effort!

Image by Anna Sawin Photography
Handmade tea stained tags. One describing the event and the other directing guests to their wedding website.

Image by Anna Sawin Photography

Front of the tag

Image by Anna Sawin Photography

Back of the tag

So, I am sure people are wondering about how the heck it was sent..
We created a custom label with the other design elements, popped them into a white mailing bag and to the guests they went..

Image by Anna Sawin Photography

The back

Image by Anna Sawin Photography

Others were hand delivered by Erin & Dan.
She took clear plastic bags, filled them with paper and hundreds of hand-cut paper fleur de lis and wrapped it all up with twine...See... she is just as crazy as me!!

So one of my favorite parts....
I love creating designs that can serve 2 purposes....Well she beat me to it. On their wedding website, she posts creative ideas for their guests to try with their newly acquired burlap bags!!

So to sum up a VERY long post..
I would just like to thank Erin and Dan for their trust in allowing me to be as crazy creative as possible.
Thank you Erin for helping and watering my imagination so that it can grow again.

I honestly can't wait for the rest but most importantly to watch the two of you grow as a couple and eventually as a family..I know we will have many more creative projects throughout the years but most importantly an amazing lifelong friendship.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Persistence of Yellow...

Today I walked into the Red House, to my studio to find a pretty little present sitting on my desk, that instantly brought a smile to my face. I have to admit my birthday is one of my most favorite days of the year. And for everyone that knows me you know that I love to celebrate not just one day but an entire month. So when I walked in after having a completely crazy morning, to this fabulous shiny package sitting there it made me so happy. Inside the silvery wrapping paper and pink bow was a bright yellow book, that was oh so fabulous! The Persistence of Yellow, a book of recipes for life! It really is the perfect gift, and from one of my most treasured friends, Miss Jennie!

You will find the book sitting beside me at my desk perched on a pedestal for all to pick up when you visit me in my studio. Inside on every page are tidbits of wisdom that are surrounded by bright, sunny, happy, energetic yellow!

Two of my favorite pages:

On Tuesday she woke up and realized she had forgotten the definition of the word Impossible. She decided it must not have been important. #230

" And what does it feel like?" we asked. "Well" she said, leaning over to us like a secret "it feels like a gust of wind blowing inside your heart. It feels like bright yellow paint." #81

TRUE & WESSON Philosophy #70

Available at Coulson Macleod.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesdays are for Mood Boards.....St. Moritz & The Baroness Von Schrader..

image found via at vintage art posters uk

Ok ok...I am completely obsessed with vintage posters...I just can't help it, the colors seem to evoke great joy in me.
So you may have to bear with me on a few more boards as I slowly get it out of my system.
When I first saw this poster, it was love at first sight. The colors, the movement of the graphics and let's face it..the chicness of St. Moritz. Yet, as I started putting images together for the board, I realized that it was becoming something other than where I had originally started. There were no fabulous place settings, no men's attire, and certainly no food. It became completely feminine with bows, ruffles, shoes and fabulous hats..It was then that I realized what or whom I was channeling...
The minute she came on screen, she scared the bejesus out of me. With her perfectly coiffed hair, dramatically lined eyebrows and a wardrobe that emphasized every part of her womanly figure. Let's not forget her smoke infused voice...She was the Baroness Von Schrader.
Before Ginger and Mary Ann, there was the Baroness and Maria. Two entirely different characters, in both mind and physique. As girls growing up, we were forced to choose to be one or the other. But what about those of us who are both? Maria with her sensible haircut (I bet if it was long, it would have been in a ponytail), her magical effect on children and let's not forget those chintz drapes turned into frocks..perfect for wiping off frog goo, dirt and pinecone debris. And then there's the Baroness, hair that was so beautiful and shiny it was like silkworms had spun it into a tower of perfection, high and impractical heels that would never ever make it onto the grass, a wit and charm that would make anyone fall to their knees, and let's not forget the bold confidence when she walked into the room with an awe inspiring gown that was so tight you had to wonder how she walked in it.
So like many of us, I had chosen Maria. However, there will always be a Baroness that lives inside of me. Her death defying heels and clothing(and a drawer full of Spanx) line my closet just waiting for the perfect moment.
So I dedicate this board to all of the inner Baronesses and Gingers out there. I will meet you on terrace at the Palace Hotel overlooking the Alps, sipping champagne, wearing sparkly high heels, a vintage fur stole and a Jessica Rabbitesque gown.
A girl can dream, can't she???.......

The Fabulous Baroness Von Schrader...It's like Grace Kelly with an edge...

Drape turned frock or glittery decide..
Bow image: weheartit, Flower image:FFFFOUND, Legs image:inspireme, Vintage Vogue cover:Flickr, Girl in car image: Corrie Bond
Bouquet image:FFFFOUND, Envelope: Chocolate Creative Design & Neither Snow, Vintage Poster:vintage art posters uk, Shoe image:
Girl image:laceandtea, Dress image:FFFFOUND, Skirt image:thefrenchmouse, Dress image:FFFFOUND
Lingerie image:Polly Wreford, Woman with hat image;weheartit, Wallpaper: anthropologie
Shoe image:imgfave, Record player image:weheartit, Dress: Pronovias Fresa Gown, Cupcake image:FFFFOUND

Board created and designed by Chocolate Creative Design


Monday, May 24, 2010

New digs and a waggily tail....

The past couple of months have been super duper wonderfully crazy busy at Chocolate Creative Design. With a collection of custom designed Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations, Moving Announcements, New Branding, New Studio , New Websites and a fabulous photoshoot on the way, I have deemed the next 2-3 weeks as showcasing all the new work and amazing clients that I have had the priviledge to work with. Recently, we added Adobe CS4 to the mix (how did I ever wait so long???) and now have the rock star capability to start working with my old friends, pen and ink, pencil and paper. So let's start with one of my favorites...
The oh so talented Miss Jennie Fresa has not only been a friend for years but a client as well. Last year, she gave me opportunity to create a logo for her new makeup line. Honestly, how cool is that?! I absolutely love working with her because it is always a collaboration as well as a very trusting relationship. I trust her to color my face and she trusts me to be as creative as possible. So, when I heard that she and her sweet as pie hubbie Doug, had finally purchased their first house after years and years of searching, I simply had to impose myself on designing a moving announcement card for them.
What I love about designing custom pieces is the story telling. My world has always consisted of (thanks to my mother) training my eyes to search for the unusual and now with my monster being obssessed with Where's Waldo and I Spy books, it finally made me realize what my true creative style is. I love for people to have to search out the elements. I never want it to be right there. By allowing them to think and use their eyes makes me the happiest artist of all.
So my friends pen and paper finally came out to play....By knowing both Jennie and Doug, it made it very very easy. They both love to create with their hands. Doug loves gardening, Jennie loves makeup and Ellie, well Ellie loves her pink collar, sitting in the sun and bones...
So here is the fruit of our labor and hopefully you can SEE their story....

A HUGE thanks to the Fresa/Jackson family for allowing me to have SO SO much fun!
May your new home be filled with laughter, love, song, friends, good food & wine and a waggily tail!


Monday Typefaces...Paper..

Paper alphabet created by Sonya Dyakova


Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Thirtyish Birthday Miss True!

Image found via weheartit

Since Miss True will be far away from home working in Nashville, Tn on her birthday,
I thought I'd send her some birthday wishes.
I hope you day is filled with warm creative people, a cloudless sky and a bottle of Frizz-ez.
May your thirtyish year be shiny, sparkly and bright like the sun.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesdays are for Mood Boards... Modern Summer Wedding

Row 2: Taylor Creative, Jonathan Adler via Porch Light Interiors, Taylor CreativeRow 3: Dandelion Ranch, Ikea white Lak coffee table, Sperry Tents
Row 4: Taylor Creative, Ruffled Blog

I designed this board for a bride and groom I recently started working with that are getting married at a private residence in Connecticut. Sondra (bride) described the mood as sophisticated and elegant but vibrant and fun. Modern Elegance, with black and white as a base and bold colors as accents throughout. Inspired by the incredibly talented Jonathan Adler we are going to bring in modern patterns and textures to create different layers of design, from the cocktail hour to the main reception tent. I am just in LOVE with this design and the colors, perfect for a summer wedding!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Typefaces...Yellow..

Letterform alphabet created by Amandine Alessandra.

A little yellow & black for Ms. True's upcoming birthday.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Save the Date... Wedding Row Pressents Simple Stunning Bride

We are super excited to announce the next Wedding Row event June 9th from 6-9pm. Going to be a fabulous night with some of the best in the industry!

Other sponsors to include:
Ana Parzych
Bee & Thistle Inn
Bruce Plotkin Photography
Elan Artists
Foe Bistro
Hana Floral Design
Rentals Unlimited

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Barbecue in the Pool House...

This past weekend I was asked to collaborate with Josh Friedman of Elan Artists and Jeremy Wachalter of Cobblestone Catering for an afternoon barbecue in Greenwich. The day started with rain and gusty winds but quickly changed as the sun came out just before guests began to arrive. The pool house was the perfect setting for the long farmhouse table we designed, lined down the center with gorgeous arrangements from the super talented Yumiko of Hana Floral Design. While guests enjoyed the incredible feast that Jeremy and his team created two guitarists, La Vida Con Fuego of Elan Artists entertained them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let your imagination grow..dressing rooms...

Just a few years back they used to come via mail. A small envelope with familiar bubble handwriting which contained a very neatly clipped piece of newspaper of either an article, a comic or just plain words of wisdom. Now with email they come in droves. Always an elaborate attachment, always forwarded and almost always some sort of chain mail requiring me to send to 50 people. I usually don't even open them for fear that I have opened a porthole into computer hell. However this time was different....this was not forwarded, it was just to me. So, I opened it with eyes tightly closed and to my amazement, up popped one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
Welcome to the virtual dressing room created by Cisco. Can you even imagine not having to drag 500 pieces of clothes and a child into a teeny tiny dressing room? It's beyond amazing! Apparently, they have them already in Japan...
So thank you Mom for those millions and trillions of letters and never know what you may find...


Destination Wedding Venue... Buttermilk Farm Inn & Spa

Lawn for ceremony, and stone pad in the distance for tented reception (overlooking the Hudson).

Pony's Pad and Spa (pool runs the length of the building at the spa)Pony's Pad, Perfect spot for a welcome dinner, or cocktail party on the deck
View from third floor deck at Pony's Pad, with a hot tub and incredible views of the property
The Riverknoll, One of the homes on the property, next to the tennis courts and event site. Great for large families, the bridal party, or for a rehearsal dinner. I immediately fell in love with this house!

** All images by Elan Documentary: Carlos Andres Varela**

On my recent getaway to Buttermilk Inn and Spa we had the opportunity to tour the property to see what it would be like to host an event/wedding there. The grounds are just incredible! I was blown away by the natural beauty. It is the perfect destination venue (just under 2 hours outside of NYC) for someone looking for an outdoor, farm like setting, where you can enjoy the privacy of renting out the entire inn for a weekend of events. The guest rooms are stretched between several buildings on the property all with their own unique charm and architectural style. And for brides looking to relax prior to the wedding the spa is pure bliss.