2017 Gift Guide for Creatives

Every year, I try to share a few favorite gift ideas for artists and designers, and this year I thought I’d broaden things a bit to include some gift ideas for all creatives – from aspiring artists to hobbyists to weekend DIYers. There are definitely a few things in this gift guide that I use on a regular basis, along with a few other things that are on my own personal holiday wishlist. So whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who loves dabbling in creative pursuits or maybe just want to forward this on to your significant other to help them in their holiday gift purchases, hopefully there’s a little something for everyone below!

2017 Gift Guide for Creatives

1. Creatives of all types and backgrounds need to photograph their work, and ideally showcase it in the best possible light. Styling boards can seriously elevate the quality of those photos, but they’re definitely an investment. I’m a big fan of the double-sided styling surfaces from Erickson Woodworks and the plaster surfaces of One Stone West

2. I’ve been wanting to try weaving, and the colors in these weaving and roving packs from fiber artist Maryanne Moodie are just gorgeous. Just don’t forget the loom!

3. + 4. If someone is just starting out in a creative field, they might not have the resources to invest in beautiful styling props. I love these silk table runners from Tono & Co – they look absolutely stunning in styled shoots and can even double as a background for product photos. Ribbons also make the most beautiful styling props in photos, and I love these new ribbons with black edges from Angela Liguori!

5. Small dishes, like these gorgeous ring dishes from Suite One Studio, are great for holding ephemera on a desk – or even as props for styled photos!

6. Zojirushi mugs are the perfect way to keep beverages hot or cold throughout the day. Give one for hot beverages, and another to have ice cold water available throughout the day – it’s important to stay hydrated!

7. This adorable zipper pouch from Ban.do is the perfect way to organize pens, pencils, and paint brushes. 

8. + 9. Watercolor supplies make a lovely gift for an aspiring artist. I’m a big fan of this Koi travel watercolor palette for beginner artists, and Jenna from Mon Voir sells kits with professional level supplies that are great for intermediate artists and hobbyists. Don’t forget a pad of high quality watercolor paper. My favorite is Stonehenge by Legion Paper

10. These zippered pouches are a great way to stay organized! They’re basically modern trapper keepers, with tons of pockets both inside and outside, and can even fit up to a 13″ Macbook Pro! Plus, they come in some seriously fantastic colors. 

11. Houseplants are a great gift for someone who works from home. Check your local hardware store, or even Home Depot and Lowe’s for great deals on low-maintenance plants. These googly eye planters totally crack me up – I’d love to have a set for my home office!

12. It took me the longest time to invest in a quality paper trimmer – and it always drove me nuts when I needed to cut something in a straight line for a project! I have this hefty bypass paper trimmer and love it. Of course, this wouldn’t cut it for a professional stationer, but for DIY projects at home it’s absolutely fantastic. 

13. I have this Silhouette CAMEO and use it all the time for DIY projects (like these DIY Matisse-inspired pumpkins!). You can use it to cut out vinyl decals, create custom fabric transfers, and even create custom cut paper pieces!

*Also, creative classes and workshops make a wonderful gift for creatives! You can do some research to find local workshops in your area, or check out online workshops if that isn’t an option. I highly recommend the Modern Calligraphy Summit for aspiring calligraphers, and these online floral workshops from Nicole of Soil + Stem look amazing! If you’re in the DC area, my friend Michele teaches calligraphy and brush lettering workshops – and we’ve got lots of fun workshops planned at Common Room Studio in December and 2018!

Thanksgiving Cocktail Ideas

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent countless hours researching Thanksgiving recipes (it’s my first time being in charge of the turkey!), planning your ingredient list, and even thinking about how to set your holiday table. But what about the cocktails?? If you’re still looking for ideas for delicious Thanksgiving cocktail recipes to enjoy while gathered with family, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few Thanksgiving cocktail ideas from our favorite seasonal cocktail recipes, including a cozy Scandinavian Glögg (basically a fortified mulled wine), some favorite fall smashes, and even a traditional hot rum punch!

Thanksgiving Cocktail Ideas: Swedish Glögg Cocktail Recipe Thanksgiving Cocktail Idea: Orange Vanilla Bean Scotch Smash Cocktail Recipe

Traditional Swedish Glögg Cocktail Recipe // Orange-Vanilla Bean Scotch Smash Cocktail Recipe

 Thanksgiving Cocktail Idea: Mulled Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe

Mulled Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe

Thanksgiving Cocktail Idea: Apple-Cinnamon Calvados Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Cocktail Idea: Traditional Hot Rum Punch

Apple Cinnamon Calvados Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe // Traditional Hot Rum Punch

Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipe: Rosemary Pear French 75 Thanksgiving Cocktail Idea: Bourbon Pear Vanilla Bean Smash Cocktail Recipe 

Rosemary Pear French 75 Cocktail Recipe // Bourbon Pear-Vanilla Bean Smash Cocktail Recipe

Okay, first of all – if you haven’t tried either of the smashes above – Orange-Vanilla Bean Scotch Smash or Bourbon Pear-Vanilla Bean Smash – you’ve GOT to try them this weekend. They’re easily two of my favorite cocktail recipes we’ve ever done and are just so delicious.

The Traditional Swedish Glögg and Hot Rum Punch can both be made in large batches, making them the perfect drink for large gatherings. They’re especially good if you’re celebrating the holiday in a colder climate! My in-laws are already reporting snow in Upstate New York, so we’re leaning towards warm cocktail recipes for our own holiday menu.

The Mulled DaiquiriApple Cinnamon Calvados Old Fashioned, and Rosemary Pear French 75 are all a bit more adventurous with some custom syrups, but well worth the effort! The Rosemary-Pear French 75 involves champagne or sparkling wine (always a crowd pleaser), while the mulled daiquiri is a fun seasonal spin on a classic tropical cocktail recipe.

So many great ideas! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

How to Find the Perfect Vintage Rug

This post is sponsored by eBay.

I’ve been working really hard to get everything all finished up over at Common Room Studio – I can’t wait to share the full reveal with you soon! Vintage rugs are one of my favorite ways to add color and texture to a room, and I always planned to bring a bunch of them into the studio. Of course, I went straight to eBay to find the perfect vintage Persian lilihan rug. So today I thought I’d share my tips for how to find the perfect vintage rug so you can bring your own gorgeous rug into your space!

How to Find the Perfect Vintage Rug from eBay

You guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore this rug. It has hot pink details (!!!), and the intricate pattern isn’t too busy and will only grow more beautiful with age. If you aren’t familiar with the Persian lilihan rug style, it’s 100% wool and is seriously the perfect low pile, but still soft underfoot, accent rug. I’m completely obsessed with this 1930s beauty, and everyone who visits the studio falls in love with it. I can guarantee there will be many more Persian lilihan rugs in my future!

How to Find the Perfect Vintage Rug from eBay

How to Find the Perfect Vintage Rug from eBay

If you’re looking for a gorgeous accent rug, you’re bound to find the perfect fit on eBay. There are approximately 1.1 billion listings on eBay at any given time, which means plenty of gorgeous rugs to go around. Vintage rug sizes are often quite different from our standard modern sizes, but you can usually find everything from small-ish accent rugs to long runners to larger rugs that would look amazing in a bedroom or living room. Just look at this 16 foot stunner!

How to Find the Perfect Vintage Rug from eBay

This little plant-filled corner of the studio makes me so happy! Many rugs can be purchased instantly with the “Buy it Now” feature – so you don’t even have to worry about getting into a bidding war! I have absolutely no patience once I’ve found my perfect rug, so I absolutely love the no hassle instant purchasing option and super fast shipping. I’m currently loving this navy and red 15 foot runner, this gorgeous 3×5 accent rug, and this unique rug with teal blue and peach accents. I may just have to scoop that last rug up for the studio!

How to Find the Perfect Vintage Rug from eBay

When searching for vintage rugs, I like to look for unexpected details like non-traditional color palettes (hello hot pink!), unique patterns, or even visible wear on the rug like worn spots and fading. Each of these little elements will help a vintage rug work in a modern home, along with helping add interest and character to a room. There are new vintage rugs added to eBay every day, so start shopping now to find the perfect rug for your space!

This post is sponsored by eBay. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Oh So Beautiful Paper possible!

Behind the Stationery: Fox and Fallow

Today we’re taking you all the way to Australia to meet Janet from Fox and Fallow! Her bright designs and style reflect her surroundings in Brisbane. Janet shares her schedule for creating new product collections, how she brings each new product to life from design through production, and how her team helps to get it all done and shipped out each day. Take it away, Janet! —Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

From Janet: My background is in graphic design and art direction but after spending 10 years in design studios and advertising I felt like I needed a bit of a change. I really wanted to build my own brand after so many years of building other people’s brands. I fell in love with weddings after designing our own wedding stationery and signs and in 2013 we began creating wedding stationery and signs for couples as a side project. After about a year and a half I really wanted to reach a wider audience and create products of my own. So in 2015 we jumped right into the deep end and we launched our brand at the National Stationery Show in New York in 2015 and haven’t looked back!

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

We’re located in sunny Brisbane, Australia. It’s a fabulous city, the people are laid back, the food and bars are great and we’ve got more sunshine than we can handle! Our style is bright, fun, intricate and we love foil, so most of our paper goods are offset printed and foil stamped. I like to design in collections, releasing 3-4 collections per year, each with a totally different theme and style. This keeps things fresh and interesting and allows us to keep evolving our style each year.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Our studio is part office, part warehouse. All the design work, invoicing etc. gets done in the office and orders and products are checked, assembled, packaged and shipped out of the warehouse.We make a wide range of paper goods including greeting cards, gift wrap, flat notes, gift tags, prints, journals, notebooks, notepads and calendars.

We also make clipboard packs which are a really fun gift item and we make the clipboards in house, which involves sourcing the wood from a local supplier, laser cutting and engraving them, sanding, riveting and shrink wrapping the whole pack together.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

We take care of the design, quality checking, packaging and assembly but leave the printing to our local and offshore printers. We make most of our products locally in Brisbane or Sydney, but a few products we had to get manufactured offshore to make sure the price points work for our customers.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I usually start with a double espresso and an attempt to clean out my inbox (which rarely happens)! We’ll get any orders from the previous day and ones that have come in overnight to the team to pick and pack so they’re shipped out ASAP. We try to wrap this up by 2pm so they’re ready to be collected by our couriers. After the orders are done for the day the team often keeps working on quality checking, assembling and packaging products and anything else that needs doing before finishing up around 5pm. If we’ve got a big order to get out, it’s all hands on deck and we’ll do some pretty big hours to get it out in time, but it’s great we can be flexible and have our team take product home to package – which works great! No one wants to be working late in the office right?

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I’ll usually grab another coffee and get started on artwork, product sourcing, bill-paying and general day-to-day business things. Darrell and I are both night owls, so we usually work pretty late. I wish my days were filled with painting and making new products, but as I’m sure all creative business owners know, the creative part is a tiny sliver of the running-a-small-biz pie.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I start each collection with a bunch of random thoughts in a notepad file on the computer and on my phone, then I’ll scour Pinterest, Google or books for snippets to create a mood board. I like having the inspiration and colours for each collection all nutted out on a mood board so I can show Darrell and get his thoughts. Once we’re happy with the direction it’s a matter of more research, sketching, scanning, detailed ink sketches, painting, scanning, colouring and refining and deep-etching each element in Photoshop.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I like painting all artwork as separate components so I can change the colours easily in Photoshop and change the size if needed. If I’m working on custom typography I’ll usually start with sketches and then use a brush pen and ink before I scan each word and vectorize them in Illustrator. I composite all artwork in InDesign and send it off to print for the proofing stage. Once we’ve checked and approved the proofs we wait for the finished goods to arrive.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

This is the most fun part of what we do and it’s so rewarding when we see our retailers and customers loving our products. We love doing trade shows and pop up events as you really get to see people’s reactions to your products – it’s super valuable having that face-to-face contact. We love it when we meet people who are discovering us for the first time – it makes all the hard work so worthwhile!

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

All photos by Fox & Fallow.

Want to be featured in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for more details.

Fill Your Cart with Color

This post is sponsored by eBay.

I’ve been an eBay shopper since college, back in the days when I used to spend hours and hours hunting for original vinyl copies of my favorite albums. These days, my shopping habits and tastes are a bit different, but I still turn to eBay when I need to find something really special and unique. I’d been wanting a cute wicker purse to add a bit of whimsy and texture to my wardrobe, so I headed straight to eBay to start my hunt!

Vintage Mint Green Wicker Purse from eBay

I love adding a vintage element to every outfit, whether it’s jewelry, a purse, or even shoes. It’s a fun way to add a layer of individuality and your unique style to an outfit, the same way that vintage pieces add character to home décor. And for me, half the fun is in the search itself! There are approximately 1.1 BILLION listings on eBay at any given time, so you know you’ll always find what you’re looking for. I knew that I wanted something wicker, but I was flexible in the color and shape, so I just searched “vintage wicker purse” and let all the pretty options roll in!

Vintage Mint Green Wicker Purse from eBay

I found the CUTEST mint green wicker purse that I absolutely love. The minute it popped up in my search results, I knew it was the one for me. Everything is perfect, from the rounded shape to the circular handles fit that perfectly over my wrist. The mint green color is the perfect way to add a pop of color to a casual outfit, and this particular shade of mint green happens to be one of my all time favorites. Even the barista at my local coffee shop complimented my bag, which was definitely a first for me. I’ve been carrying this beauty everywhere, from weekday lunch dates with girlfriends to date nights with my husband.

Vintage Mint Green Wicker Purse from eBay

If you’re looking for your own vintage wicker purse, there are plenty of options in this search. I particularly love this white versionthis 1950s purse with gorgeous lucite handlesthis bohemian floral wicker purse, and this black wicker purse with gold handles. Wouldn’t they be so cute for holiday parties??

Vintage Mint Green Wicker Purse from eBay

Vintage Mint Green Wicker Purse from eBay

If you’re not feeling the vintage but still want a cute wicker purse for weekend brunch or special events, you can find plenty of new options on eBay, from Kate Spade to JCrew. I bought my purse instantly with the “Buy it Now” feature and it arrived at my doorstep in less than three days! Plus, 67% of items on eBay ship for free, which is a nice additional bonus. Be sure to shop now to find the perfect purse for your next night on the town!

Photos by Anna Meyer Photography

This post is sponsored by eBay. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Oh So Beautiful Paper possible!