Lavender Note Card Winner

That little "vote for your favorite" lavender stationery contest was super fun! I may have to do it again sometime because it was neat to see what you like...and to see if it matched what I like.

And guess what?!?! We matched!

Design #5 was the run away favorite.

Design #1 was your second favorite.

I like to have options for different occasions and moods (since you can never predict what those moods will be, right?!?!), so I've actually printed a set of both for myself. And envelopes to match (funny how I usually skip this step for myself and hand-write the return address).

When creating something new, I don't follow trends or design rules (whatever those are!); I don't even know what else is out there most of the time. I just follow my heart and create what satisfies my own personal taste. How great it is when our taste is the same!

And the winner of the lavender notecard giveaway is:

How fun! I stumbled upon her blog a few weeks ago and was instantly smitten. You'll know why when you see her style. And the "small world moment of the day" is that she lives in my same neighborhood! Wild! Drop me a line, T: llh(at)llhdesigns(dot)com.

PS. To purchase YOUR favorite lavender note card design, visit my online stationery shop. Four lavender designs (each with a different font) are listed right here.


Feather Nest Photography

I'm loving your votes on the lavender note card, but I just have to interrupt our "National Card and Letter Writing Month" theme to tell you about Feather Nest Photography. Surely a good photograph ranks right up there with a hand written note!

I'll start with this funny email from the photographer herself, sent late last night:
SUBJECT: You! Blogged!
MESSAGE: Run! Don't hurt yourself getting to the computer! ;)
My heart was laughing and fluttering as I dashed over to the Feather Nest Blog and waited for the images to download (they are much larger and more glorious on her site).

OH. MY. GOODNESS. My precious girls!!!

The four of us...

...the two of us...

...and a few sweet
mommy moments.

Click HERE to view more images and read the nicest words anyone could ever blog about my little family. (Thank you, Allison. I'm feeling ten feet tall right about now!). Take your time on her blog, Dear Reader. I'll still be here.


One hour in Allison's presence makes it obvious that her talent flows from a genuine, passionate, fun-loving heart! She'll make you laugh, make you forget your awkwardness in front of camera, make you feel like a million bucks...all that while skillfully using her camera, the light, her surroundings and sometimes a creative prop (like the antique bed and Anthrolologie couch) to capture the moment. Allison Parker, you have definitely "found your lampshade" in life (click here and here if I lost you on the lampshade thing; it's worth reading). I'm just thankful to have found you!


Despite my passion for photography, this was our first-ever family photo session. I know...that's some major pressure to put on Allison, but she nailed it! I've taken some priceless photographs of my girls over the years, but when it came to stepping out from behind the camera and sitting in front of it, I had all of the usual excuses: too expensive (we were broke when they were babies), too hard to choose (I admire several photographers in town), too hard to coordinate outfits (don't even get me started), too many missing teeth or half-grown-in funny teeth....

But friends, don't wait. Please give yourself the biggest gift EVER and schedule a photo shoot for the whole family. With Allison...or Cindy...or Ali...or Jenny...or whoever it is in your neck of the woods that is passionate about capturing the unique spirit of your family. And once you've got it scheduled, stick to it (unless someone is visibly ill). Don't worry about the real-life flaws that will inevitably pop up just before the big moment - scrapes, bruises, stained white jeans (thanks to my inability to use a steam iron, I actually created stains on my otherwise clean jeans just moments before leaving the house!).

Here's one thing I know for sure: you'll never get these years back. Capture the moment....BE in the moment. It's worth every penny.

Updated 4.21.10 - I just had to come back and add this one. It's my favorite today...because it's so genuine...and because it's what I so often see in real life (minus the lovely wildflowers!). 


Vote For Your Favorite + Another Giveaway!

Long live the handwritten note...but I'm out of personalized stationery! Here I am surrounded by designs I love and paper that feels fabulous in my hands as I print for others, but I don't have a single note card with my own name on it. "Cobbler's Wife Syndrome" strikes again! Time to fix that!

But which design shall I choose? More than one for sure, because you never know what your mood will be when you sit down to write (or what occasion will inspire you to write), but choosing favorites for a designer who creates only what she loves is like trying to pick your favorite child. No can do.

So I decide to start from scratch. Where to turn for inspiration? To my love of all things French, of course! And suddenly I remember something my aunt pointed out: I don't have any lavender in my French Motif collection. Mais oui! What was I thinking? There's nothing that takes me back to Provence like a bundle of lavender flowers!

I was envisioning a few dainty sprigs tied together with a simple string, but I couldn't make the picture in my mind look right on paper, so I turned to the most talented artist I know: my sister! Dainty watercolors aren't her passion, but stick a pencil and a paintbrush in that girl's hand and she can work wonders! She's what I call CRAZY talented! (To see more of her art, follow her new blog...totally inspiring!)

Back to the new stationery design. My sister's rendering is spot on, and I'm completely smitten, but now to pair it with the perfect font. This is where I get a little carried away (like here and here). I need your help!

I like the way a light sage/moss/olive-y green coordinates with the stems and lets the flowers pop, but which font do you like best? (Also notice how I play around with the direction and location of the lavender).






LET THE VOTING BEGIN! Leave a comment at the end of this post to vote for your favorite. Feel free to tell me what you like about it. The top one or two designs will be added to the online shop, and to sweeten the deal, one of you will win a set of lavender note cards of your very own! The winner will be announced on Monday, April 26th.

And the winner of last week's giveaway:

I won't make a habit of telling you about the winners (I may not always know them), but you have to know this: Kara is a TEENAGER who loves hand written notes! Not only am I honored that a teenage girl would spend her time reading my blog, but I'm encouraged by her comments. There's hope! Note writing may survive the electronic age after all! I may have to throw in an extra set of cards for Kara! Keep writing, girl! I love it!

Don't forget to vote/leave a comment! You may be the next winner!


Finding Reasons To Write a Note

Here we are half way through "National Card and Letter Writing Month" and I'm completely addicted. I've always enjoyed sending notes for no reason at all, but I think I may break a record this month! I'm having such fun listening to my heart and trying to take the time to share bits and pieces of it with those the Lord puts in my path or brings to my mind.

Last week, I ran into a girl I've known for quite a while, but I don't think I've ever spent a full hour talking to her...and in a chilly parking garage of all places! What a GIFT she was to me that day, and I wanted to tell her so.


Usually, I'd fire off a quick "Loved seeing you! Made my day!" email, and I'm sure that would have been fine, but taking the time to put a few heart-felt sentences down on paper (I'm a paper snob...must be heavy-weight and cottony feeling) added such substance to my sentiments. And each time I seal an envelope (the old fashioned lick-and-stick way), it feels like I'm sealing a little gift...a gift that says, "you're worth it!"

And then there are the simple pleasures of peeling and sticking a stamp (not the liberty bell kind...so not cute) and slipping that little gift into the mail slot! Such a satisfying feeling!

So how about you, Dear Reader...what inspires you to send a handwritten note? I'd love to know! Leave a comment at the end of this post by Sunday, April 18, and you might win two sets of my favorite watercolor cards. Want two chances to win? Leave a comment below and on my last post!

NOTE: Today, April 15, is the LAST DAY to SAVE 15% on personalized stationery (my only stationery discount all year). Just click below and enter SPRING15 during checkout!


"National Card and Letter Writing Month" Part Deux

"National Card and Letter Writing Month" has struck a chord, so a "part deux" post is certainly in order! I'm inspired to write more already, especially after reading the comments at the end of my last post. Did you get a chance to read them? If you read nothing else today, read these comments. So inspiring!  Thank you for sharing your stories!

Click to enlarge.

That hardly counts as a real note because it's not sealed, stamped and hand-delivered, but there's something about the handwritten part that instantly conveys more warmth, don't you think?

Charles Swindoll says this about handwritten notes:
There is nothing quite like the charm and personal touch conveyed by a handwritten note. Since our penmanship, like our fingerprint, is altogether unique, each curve of the letter or stroke of the pen bears its own originality. There is personality and warmth and, yes, special effort too; for, after all, it's much more efficient to click on the PC, bang out a few lines on the keyboard....But, occasionally, it's nice to think some still care enough to throw efficiency to the winds and look you right in the eye with the harmonious movement of their thoughts and fingers.
If illegible, unattractive or uneven handwriting is your excuse for avoiding handwritten notes, consider this:
The meaning and expression your fingers add to your words is worth all the effort, regardless of how poor your penmanship may be.(Excerpts from Charles Swindoll's Day by Day devotional.)
Time for the fun stuff...GIVEAWAYS! In honor of handwritten over electronic, I handwrote all of your names, put them in a pot and drew one lucky winner the old-school way:

Brooke! I'm so glad you won because I've been wondering which Brooke you are! I loved your comment (and the vision of a suitcase full of love letters). Send me an email so we can discuss which design you'd like: llh(at)llhdesigns(dot)com.

SECOND GIVEAWAY: Two sets of my favorite "just because" cards printed on watercolor paper.

A friend who I recently surprised with some bird nest cards called to say, "I love how pretty and fun to use they are! It makes me want to write a note to friends for no reason at all when I'd usually just send an email!" That's EXACTLY why I design things like this...to make you want to write!

TO ENTER: Just leave a comment at the end of this post by Sunday, April 18th. Long, short...anything will do! If it's handwritten note related, that's all the more fun, but not required. Have fun! (Note: you have to be reading online instead of in your email to leave a comment.)

A FEW MORE DAYS TO SAVE 15% on personalized stationery! Enter the code SPRING15 during checkout.


National Card and Letter Writing Month

All of the sudden, I love April! I just discovered it's "National Card and Letter Writing Month" (thanks to a quick flip hrough Country Living Magazine). I don't know who invented the idea (a fledgling US Post Office or a savvy stationery designer?), but I'm going to celebrate all month long (keep reading for my first giveaway of the month)!

Don't you just love real mail? Remember when checking the mail was the highlight of your day? Especially when a love letter arrived! Do boys even write those anymore?

I've saved every single word my husband has ever written me. We met over Thanksgiving my senior year in college, were engaged two and half months later (can you believe it?) and with email in its infancy and long-distance phone bills costly, we relied on cards and letters to make it through the long-distance part of our engagement. What a treasure those words are to me!

And then there are the notes from friends. They say, "I care" and "you matter" in a way that modern communication just can't do.

With letter-writing becoming a lost art, it's worth keeping the really good ones. They tell a story of a time and place in your life that you may have forgotten. Simply the sight of familiar handwriting evokes powerful emotions.

I didn't even have to read the words to feel loved when I opened these two cards. The handwriting is unmistakably my Granny's. Oh, how I miss her. These cards were for my birthday...sent to me my freshman and senior year in college. I wish I had kept everything she ever wrote me, but at least I have these (and in them the memory of a remarkable woman).

And then there are the cards your children make for you...

If these were all I had in my letter-saving box, I'd feel full. How about you? Do you save cards and letters? Have you looked at them lately? If it's been awhile, this is the perfect month to sit down, hold real paper in your hands and remember how good it feels, even years later, to read hand-written notes.

In honor of "Card and Letter Writing Month," I'll be giving away cards and stationery all month long! FIRST GIVEAWAY: a set of personalized notecards (with a design of your choice)!

To enter, simply leave a comment by Sunday, April 11 telling me about your card and letter-saving habits. Do you have a favorite? How long have you kept it? Who wrote it? What do you love about it? Any little thing you want to say about saving hand-written notes will do!

P.S. Don't forget: save 15% in my online shop until April 15th. Just enter SPRING15 during checkout!


Easter Thoughts

It happens every year without fail. No matter where my eyes wander the rest of the year -- French style, antique markets, beautiful homes, good food and wine, new card ideas, stationery designs -- my gaze is always refocused on the cross at Easter. It's cleansing, refreshing and deeply satisfying. My other passions and interests don't disappear, but they pale in comparison. They find their right place...and my soul sings.

This song gets me every time. Surveying the cross is what Good Friday and Easter are all about. Even if you didn't grow up going to church (I didn't)...or if you're all grown up with different beliefs...or if you're  a follower of Christ in need of a refresher (yes, please!)...the cross is worth a look. When I look...really look...it changes me.

I'll leave you with a few good quotes to ponder as you approach the cross.

From No Wonder They Call Him the Savior by Max Lucado (one of the first "Chrisitian" books I ever read):
History has done everything to [the cross] but ignore it. That's the one option the cross does not offer....You can't ignore a piece of lumber that suspends the greatest claim in history. A crucified carpenter claiming that he is God on earth? Divine? Eternal? The death-slayer?
No wonder Paul called it "the core of the gospel." Its bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, it is history's hinge. Period. If not, it is history's hoax.
Reminds me of a thought-provoking passage in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity (everyone should read this at least once). The full passage is intellectually sound and quite provocative. Here's a snippet:
Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. 
And from one of my favorite children's books, The Tale of Three Trees:
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. 
Happy Easter, friends. I hope you enjoy the view!

P.S. I'll catch my glimpses here on Friday evening and Sunday morning. The doors are wide open. I'll even save you a seat!
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