Hello hello! Can you believe it's mid-October already? The fall season always flies by too quickly, but with it comes something new in the shop. And this something new is COLORS! I'm so excited about this year's additions to the Silhouette Blue color family. Introducing:
I'm particularly excited for Emerald (is anyone else super into Emerald lately?!) and the metallic envelopes (so fancy!),
I hope you're enjoying the start of crisp and cozy weather, and that your days ahead are full of beautiful leaves, apple cider, and spooky pumpkins.
As a stationery designer, I tend to spend my days creating and printing gifts for my customers' most meaningful occasions - birthdays, weddings, new babies, new jobs. Last week I shipped out a stationery set for a couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Traditionally the first anniversary is commemorated with the gift of paper, and this customer asked after placing her order - where did this tradition start? I've always thought paper was such a great material to start celebrating anniversaries with because it can be interpreted in so many ways. But I do have to admit, it's a little weird and I had absolutely no idea where it came from. Off to Google!
It's thought that the silver and gold anniversaries originated in medieval Germany, where wives were presented with a silver wreath on their 25th wedding anniversary and a gold wreath on their 50th anniversary. The rest of the gifts were most likely added in England during the Victorian Era, and in 1922 etiquette expert Emily Post published the "eight anniversaries known to all" in her Blue Book of Social Usage. (Emily included anniversaries 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75.) The list has been expanded on over the years, and now there is a traditional and modern gift for the first fifteen years, and then every fifth year after that. The modern gifts absolutely crack me up. I can't wait for my fourth anniversary when my husband gives me an appliance. So romantic!
I read many different explanations for why the first anniversary is paper. Some say it's because paper is a blank slate, ready to record your story. Others say the woven paper fibers symbolize the strength of a marriage, but I also read the opposite - that the fragility of paper represents the newness of your relationship. The anniversary gifts get rarer and more expensive as the years go on, and it's also possible that the first year is celebrated with paper because it's such a common and humble material.
As far as gifts go, I personally think that stationery is an excellent way to celebrate your paper anniversary. Maaaaaybe I'm biased, but probably not. Here are my favorite one year paper anniversary gifts, straight from the shop:
Couples stationery. Even after a whole year of marriage I still got a kick out of my new last name, and the novelty of being Mr. and Mrs. hadn't worn off yet. I love the Established Stationery Set in particular for first anniversaries because it includes the year. (Put a bottle of wine with it, because wine.)
His and hers stationery. You can go so many directions with this! The same design in the same color. Similar designs in coordinated colors. Or completely different designs if you and your significant other have really different styles. (And you get credit for an awesome gift plus your own stationery too! Double-win!)
How did you celebrate your first anniversary? Did you exchange paper gifts? Go out to dinner? Revisit your honeymoon destination?
Mint has been taking over the design world for the past few years, and I've seen it used so beautifully with coral, navy and gold to name a few. But I think fuchsia deserves some more attention! It's definitely a bold choice, however when done well I think it can be so lovely and - dare I say - sophisticated.
This is a brand new product! The Darling design is a little simpler and more delicate than many of my other stationery designs. Featuring a dainty little bow, this design can run sweet or graceful depending on the color choice. Nicole ordered her stationery set in Fuchsia and her notepad with extra envelopes in Mint, which I think is a wonderful way to showcase her bright personality. Her choice of cream paper then adds a touch of elegance.
I designed this custom baby shower invitation last fall for mom-to-be Melanie. The pink and green are feminine without being super girly - a perfect way to welcome baby Amelia!
Wouldn't it be so fun to decorate for this fuchsia and mint baby shower? I would arrange small vases filled with pink peonies along the center of the table, with oh so pretty mint plates and napkins at each seat. Then I would bring in a touch of gold with the flatware and place card holder. Can I be invited to this party please?
The mint trend is definitely something I've gotten behind, and I'm thrilled that it doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon. Whether it's paper goods or place settings - bring on the mint and fuchsia! So what's your favorite hue to pair with mint? What other color combinations have you been into lately?
As promised in my first ever blog post, here's the story of Silhouette Blue Stationery!
While stationery has always been a love of mine, I hadn't planned on it being a career. I majored in graphic design in college, but the focus was never on starting a business. That all changed as I entered my senior year at Loyola University Chicago, and had to start brainstorming for Senior Show - an art major graduation requirement that was basically a huge semester-long project that ended with an exhibit at Loyola's art gallery.
I decided to create a line of greeting cards and Silhouette Blue was born! Well, not really. At this point I still didn't have any intention of using these cards to launch a business. I created several mock-ups of potential cards, and my advisor and I kept going back to this design, which would end up being the inspiration for the entire line:
Embrace Greeting Card - the very first official Silhouette Blue card!
After months of designing I had a beautiful collection of 30 greeting cards, each featuring a colorful silhouette. I agonized over color schemes, paper finishes, card sizes and envelopes, but I needed a name. I sat around my childhood kitchen table with my mom, dad, and grandma tossing around ideas, taking notes on a napkin. I'm not sure who, but one of them suggested combining "silhouette" (a nod to the silhouette designs) and a color (a nod to the bright ink colors). And Silhouette Blue was born! I would say, half-born. Can you be half born? I still wasn't thinking that Silhouette Blue would turn out to be a legit business - if I was I would have picked something easier to spell!
Four designs from the original 2006 Silhouette Blue collection.
And finally, at the gallery opening a week before graduation, Silhouette Blue was truly-really-actually born. During the cocktail party so many people came up to me wanting to BUY MY GREETING CARDS. I had printed and packaged a few cards with the hope that this would happen, but that was mostly wishful thinking. When stranger named Charles (I remember him so clearly - thank you Charles!) handed over his hard earned money in exchange for Silhouette Blue greeting cards, my perspective changed. This could be a business.
As fate would have it, soon after my first sale my newly engaged cousin asked me to make her wedding invitations. I was terrified but exhilarated by the opportunity, and immersed myself in the world of paper goods. I researched and designed and printed and cut and glued all 250 pocketfold invitations in my parent's basement, my desk tucked between the big freezer and the water heater. Humble beginnings indeed, but I felt my soul come alive. I felt at home, and knew that this would be my future.
In the months and years after my cousin's wedding, so many things fell into place. I knew more people getting married who needed invitations, I opened an Etsy shop, I created my own website, I moved into an apartment with an office. Four years after my cards debuted at Senior Show, I quit my job to run Silhouette Blue full time.
And now it's been ten years, and this wonderful job still makes my soul come alive.
A few weeks ago Silhouette Blue Stationery turned 10 years old, and it feels like the perfect time to write my first blog post! The story of my business is coming soon (update: click here to read about how Silhouette Blue started), but before I get into that I wanted to send a big hug and a kiss to my family, friends and loyal customers (aka: my favorite people ever!) . . .Wow, TEN YEARS! We did it! It somehow feels like both five minutes and an eternity ago that I started Silhouette Blue Stationery. Over the past decade (what? a decade?!), my college senior design project has transformed into an incredible career that I never thought possible. Celebrating you and the people you love has become my greatest achievement, and I thank you for letting me into your lives to commemorate your weddings and babies and friends and moms and dads and birthdays and everything! I couldn't do this without you, and my heart is just bursting with joy and gratitude.