Friday, August 31, 2012


My friend and I were discussing a Labor Day party she was throwing and of course the topic of invitations came up.  It was kind of last minute so a custom design wasn't an option.  I still wanted to help so I went to the trusty interwebs for ideas.  Leave it to Martha to have something queued up (from 2009 no less!) that would work perfectly.

Source: via SquareView on Pinterest

While the invite is cute and it definitely solved my friend's last minute party dilemma, there was a second reason this stood out to me.  It was the perforated paper.  I've been creating more and more custom invitations for myself, friends, & family and if the print job is done at home, without the right tools, the paper cutting could be a challenge.  Most choose to just go get it done at a print shop { not me though as I've got the  DIY bug gene and love to pull out my paper guillotine and get to choppin'!}

However, I know that for many the idea of cutting their own paper doesn't sound as appealing as it does to me.  For those folks , how awesome would it be to get quality paper AND to cut it in a snap?  Now I was curious.
Unfortunately, the company that Martha lists in the post doesn't seem to carry that line any longer.  I did some more digging on this website and Viola! Found imprintable deckle edged foldable 4.5 x 6.75in cards.  Few! That's a mouthful!

If deckle edges isn't your thing, I also found another site that offered postcard size flat cards that you may be interested in checking out.  The end result comes out slightly smaller than your standard A6 flat card, but if you really hate cutting - it may be an option to consider!  Neither of the two would support this printable design from Martha, but I figured you're likely not mailing out invites for weekend BBQ today - or are you? J

All in all, even with the high cool factor,  I'll stick with my guillotine and continue to send my friends to their local print shop.  

I hope everyone has a safe and happy (long - for my fellow Americans) weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


FAIR WARNING: There are a LOT of ducks in this post.  

As I mentioned before, we celebrated Mr. Squareview's birthday in Memphis over the weekend.  The BBQ was fantastic, the music was wonderful, and the National Civil Rights Museum was a must see.  Our only regret is that our schedule didn't mesh with the restaurant hours of operation of the BBQ legend, Rendezvous (note to self: figure out that a place you are dying to go to is closed both Sundays and Mondays and adjust accordingly).  We were so bummed.

The lobby of The Peabody (where we stayed) has been know as "The Living Room of Memphis" for over century and I can see why.  The elegance of the hotel and the wonderfully courteous and attentive staff make it a go to destination to enjoy a cocktail or several while watching Memphis go by.

Here is where the duck discussion begins....

As the story goes, sometime in the 1930's the Manager of The Peabody (one Frank Schutt) went duck hunting with some pals in the country outside of the city.  Apparently, the hunt wasn't very great on that chilly day and to kill some time, the fellas started sipping some good Tennessee whiskey.  By the end of that long day, they had killed the bottle, but no ducks.  On the way back to the hotel, they got the wonderful idea that it would be HILARIOUS to release their duck decoys (during that time they used live decoys instead of the fake ones you see today) loose in the hotel's lobby fountain.  They proceeded to do just that and then went to sleep it off.

When day broke, ol' Frank woke up, remembered what he had done and raced down to the fountain to see what kind of mess his prank had made.  Instead of the chaos he expected, he found the ducks still in the fountain to the delight of the many hotel guests gathered to watch.  A few years after this happened, a young bellman by the name of Edward Pembroke approached the management team and convinced them that he, as a former Ringling Bros animal trainer, could get the ducks to march from their home on the roof (lovingly call the Duck Palace) to the lobby fountain in the morning and back again in the evening. They agreed and so the legend of march of the ducks begins....


As the ducks are so beloved, you'll find their likeness everywhere.  In the room alone, we lost count - duck soaps, ducks on the towels, pillows, sheets, bathrobes... you get the picture.

My favorite was the duck atop the swizzle stick in each of our drinks.
Besides the cocktail consumption, we we took in a lot of great music.  Between Saturday & Sunday I think we had the pleasure of listening to no less than 7 bands - and they were all great.

The musicians on Beale Street are world class and the music plays... 

Our last day was spent at the National Civil Rights Museum which is located at the site of the former Lorraine Motel.  It was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.  They have converted the entire building into the museum which follows the fight for civil rights from the 1600's to the present day.  They left two of the motel rooms (one occupied by Dr. King) preserved to look as they did on the day of the assassination.  It was very moving to stand there and have that experience.  I would recommend everyone go if they are in Memphis. 

It was a fun weekend away for Mr. SV and I.  Maybe next time we'll make it to Graceland.  I'm already missing the BBQ.  Yum.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I must admit, I've been dreading the upcoming fall season.  I simply do not want summer to end.  There hasn't been anything particularly wonderful about the summer of 2012, I've just been enjoying it for the simple things (that even includes the crazy weather!)

In another attempt to get me in the mood for autumn, I figured I'd go on over to my trusty Polyvore and see what I could throw together.

SVS Fall Fashion 2012 

I stepped away after I created both these outfits and when I returned, it was pretty darn clear that neither fit in a fall fashion category.  Change those tangerine heels to some boat shoes and I might as well be sailing off the coast.  Sigh.

With the same gameplan (focusing on pops of color), I took another shot.  This time around I included a pretty dreary view of my corporate offices just to keep me in check!

I'm sure I'll find some joy in these coming months, but I'll tell you what, I'm really looking forward to the 90 degree temperatures we Chicago folks have coming this weekend!

Are you looking forward to the cooler temps?  Is having the kids back in school putting you in the mood for autumn?  I'd love to hear your suggestions for cooping mechanisms to help me get through these trying times! J  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Just returned from a wonderful trip to Memphis {more on that later} to find that my homework was featured again on Nicole's Classes Blog!  

As promised, my first piece was my own personal ode to Shark Week.  I think Mr. Squareview and I will be putting this invite to good use next year when we throw a party to honor my favorite week's 26th anniversary!  I love how creepy the shark looks - like it is emerging from the deep.  Tell me you're not hearing the Jaws theme song right now! 

The next invitation may seem a bit premature, but I say you can never be too early with your Halloween planning!  I had an idea to use a black background and wanted to see how that would turn out.  I like it but I think I may try to use a chalkboard effect to soften it up a bit. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I can't rave enough about this class.  I've learned so much in the past few weeks and I'm sad that it is coming to an end.  So sad, that I decided that I can't live without them for long - I just signed up for the 102 class last week!  Not sure I can wait until October though - good thing I have my Typography design class to hold me over until then J

Monday, August 27, 2012

MUSIC MONDAY from Memphis

Mr. Squareview and I are still in Memphis so today's music Monday will not feature a particular artist, but an entire genre. The Blues. We've heard some incredible musicians during our short stay and while, as Chicagoans, we feel we know a little bit about the Blues, hearing it on the famous Beale Street was pretty cool.

So here's to the great Blues legends from near and far. Cheers to you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Today is Mr. Squareview's birthday. To celebrate, we're off to Memphis for a quick trip this weekend.  It is the first visit to Memphis for both of us and we're looking forward to exploring all the city has to offer.  And by explore, I mean eat our way from one end to the other!  If anyone has any must see spots, let me know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


For those of you not familiar, each year, the Discovery Channel dedicates a whole week to sharks.  And it is the Best. Week. Ever.  I love Shark Week.  I've been watching it since college (a looooong time ago) and look forward to it every summer.  This year marked it's 25th anniversary and to celebrate that milestone, I wanted to design a little party invitation.  Lucky for me, that was my homework for week 2 of Nicole's Classes!

More on the invitation later, for now I just wanted to share this gem I ran across.  A Shark Week drinking game!  For fans, this should prove to be quite humorous.  Obviously designed to keep players pretty tipsy especially since about 92% of the people interviewed/featured are from Australia.  The rest seem to be from South Africa and after a few cocktails, those two accents can be a bit hard for us Americans to differentiate between.J  

Oh how I wish I had this back in my college days!  Next year - it's game time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


You may remember that I recently started a class through Nicole's Classes.  I just finished the second week and I can't tell you how much I've learned already.  I've been a big fan of them for awhile and now I'm super excited to say, they are a fan of me too!

Nicole's Classes does a regular post where they feature student work on their blog and I was so honored when they asked to feature my homework assignment from week one!  The assignment was to create a poster using just (or mainly just) type to highlight the tools covered in that week's lesson. Mr. Squareview's cousin had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl so I used that for inspiration for my assignment.

Check out my and my classmate's work on Nicole's Classes Blog found { here }

It just occurred to me that I've set the bar pretty high right out of the gate... Better get to work on my homework to make sure I keep it up. J

Monday, August 20, 2012


Admittedly, I've been on a bit of a kick with The National lately but this video cracks me up so I had to share.  I figure you can't go wrong if someone so humorously posted on YouTube that this video is  " a better love story than Twilight!"

That, and it took me almost half of the video to place the president as Kenneth the Page's nemesis on 30Rock. J

I give you - Conversation 16 by The National.  Happy Monday, Everyone!

Friday, August 17, 2012


I wasn't going to post this because I just don't want to admit that summer is coming to a close.   Even with all the back to school ads, falling temperatures, and a severe decline of Chicago street fests in the coming weeks, I was clinging to the illusion that summer would continue on indefinitely. 

That said, if anything was going to bring me back to reality it would be the 2012 Pantone Fashion Color Report! Look at all these wonderful colors!  Aren't they all gorgeous?  

Personally,  I cannot wait to combine that Pink Flame' with the 2012 color of the year - Tangerine Tango.
To do so, not only am I'm thinking of taking advantage of said back to school ads and going shopping {STAT!}, I also have some fun paper designs in mind.

Don't forget to check out the men's colors too { here } to make sure the fellas in your life look as spiffy as you.  Happy weekend everyone!

From the folks at Pantone - 

From love potions and the magical hour of sunset to witches and warlocks, fantasy and illusion are inspiring designers this fall season. With an unexpected mix of darks, brights and neutrals, they cleverly manipulate reality to transport consumers to an enchanting place, free from the stresses of everyday life.
“By playing to consumers’ practical side with versatile neutrals, and boosting their confidence with bold, spirited hues, this skillfully balanced palette has something for everyone,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®.
As the season transitions from the heat of summer, Bright Chartreuse, a vital yellow-green, pays homage to a typical spring shade and creates a bridge into the cooling days of fall. Reminiscent of bright green foliage, it provides a perfect accent to every color in the palette.
Like the name implies, Pink FlambĂ© is a delicious, vibrant pink with a bit of heat to it. Pair it with vivacious and enticing Tangerine Tango for an ongoing retro feeling. Or, to bring a calming element to the mix, combine these vibrant warm tones with Ultramarine Green, a deep, cooling blue-green. Ethereal Rhapsody is a grayed-down purple that also encourages comfort and serenity with its quiet, muted tone.
Honey Gold, a mellow, burnished yellow, suggests the soft-muted tones of sunlight to brighten a fall day. Pair it with sensible and strong Olympian Blue, a patriotic blue that will surely make its way into fall and winter athletic apparel.
Rich and robust, French Roast is a tasty, sophisticated hue that is a great alternative to the black and charcoal basics typically worn in the fall. Other staple neutrals include elegant and versatile Titanium, the quintessential cool gray, and Rose Smoke, a veiled rose tone that pairs well with Rhapsody and Titanium.
For nearly 20 years, Pantone, the global authority on color, has surveyed the designers of New York Fashion Week and beyond to bring you the season’s most important color trends. This report previews the most prominent hues for fall 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012


found on Tina Magee Sews Etsy shop

I'm a big fan of bunting and banners of all kinds.  I have yet to use them for a party, but I have some grand ideas of how the right design could add that special touch to any and all of my future soirees.

In fact, I decided a few weeks ago that I'd challenged myself to create some templates (in where else, but Adobe Illustrator!) so I could easily create paper banners for every occasion.  I'm not very great with templates yet, so this was DEFINITELY a challenge...

I guess my timing was pretty serendipitous because the folks at Minted did the heavy lifting for me as they just announced a "Party Decor" challenge!  Minted is expanding their offering to party decor and in this challenge they are asking for banner designs.  If they like what they see, they will ask the winners to also create other party accessories (cupcake toppers, food signs, etc.).

To keep it interesting, they have created a handful of different shapes and I've submitted designs for the scalloped circle and flag so far.  The design deadline is Monday so you can bet I'll be trying out some other shapes between now and then!  J

I wanted to share with you what I've submitted so far.  In each case, I used the dreaded pen tool to draw the duck, grill, & reindeer.  I have to tell you, thanks to the class I'm taking through Nicole's Classes, I'm no longer thinking of it as the "dreaded pen tool".  I'm beginning to think we can be friends.  Maybe.

I'd love to hear what you think of the designs!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


A while ago I noticed that one of my favorite wedding blogs, Elizabeth Ann Designs { check out EAD here } , created a button on their facebook page that linked to EAD's Pinterest boards.  Even though I'm guilty of being an infrequent SVS facebook poster, I decided that I still needed that IMMEDIATELY and began my research to figure out how she did it.  

After countless failed Google searches and a lot of hair pulling, I figured that it was some sort of state secret and mere mortals like myself (with only 4 likes on Squareview's FB page) were not meant to learn such things.

Fast forward about 4 months and a casual stroll through the interwebs this weekend resulted with me stumbling upon Could this be it?  Is this what I've been waiting for?  It is - WOO HOO!

I was so pleased that it couldn't have been simpler to create and customize the links (which don't stop at Pinterest - you'll see that I also linked to Twitter as well) to your FB page.   The longest part in the process (for me) was creating the custom images you see above that say Pinterest and Twitter.  If you don't want to customize them, the standard Pinterest "P" logo and Twitter bird with show instead.  How awesome is that?

Now with my new found knowledge, I'm resolving to be better at both posting on FB and tweeting on Twitter.  Like me or Follow me (or both!) to see all the great stuff ahead.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I wanted to share the newest release from M83.  If you like this (naughty aliens kids and all), you'll love the entire album.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012


I'm so excited!  I started my first week of a 4 week class from Nicole's Classes.  What I'm a studying you may ask?  Why, Adobe Illustrator of course! 

The class started Monday and I'm totally behind because I was on the road all week.  I hope Mr. Squareview doesn't have any special plans for the weekend as I'll be knee deep in the courses because my homework is due Sunday night - oh boy, time to get to work!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


It seems like there has been a flurry of Minted activity over here at Squareview Studios lately.  I'm not sure if that is just because I've been posting about them in a cluster or if the challenges themselves are being announced closer together.  Regardless, I've been enjoying my Minted time!

The newest challenge {which I don't believe is yet up for voting} is for New Year cards.  The procrastinator in me loves this challenge because I can definitely relate to folks who don't get their holiday cards out in time! New Year's wishes can be sent well into January and it doesn't make you look like a slacker.  Love it!

I'd love to hear what you think about these submissions!  {BTW - how cute is that kid??!?}

new year's cards - New Bear

new year's cards - new year line up

new year's cards - winter wonderland

Monday, August 6, 2012


I ran across this local Chicago band called Fort Frances with the best cover I've heard for a long time.
Sorry no YouTube video, but you can listen to it here.  

And for old times sake, here's the original from 1991 (can you believe it's been that long?).  Still a great one.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Mr. Squareview and I are going to camp this weekend.  This camp is a tiny bit different than the sleep-away camps of my youth { mainly, because there is alcohol involved }.  What kind of camp is this, you ask?  Why it is Brew Camp!  

Mr. Squareview and I are going to learn how to brew our own beer at home.  You may recall from this post that we've always had a hankering for making our own beer.  I'm so excited to get started.  Stay tuned for postcards from camp!

Happy weekend everyone!

Awesome Info Graphic found here

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Pretty exciting news!  I finally figured out how to create a chevron pattern in illustrator.  I know.  Life. Changing. Stuff.

But seriously, it couldn't have been simpler.  I don't know why I struggled so much originally.  This pen tool thingy is amazing!  Ok, enough about my current obsession {adobe illustrator and all of its wonder} and back to chevron patterns.

My friend asked me to help her put together an invite for her husband's birthday party and I was playing around with some concepts.  He's right up there with Dos Equis - The Most Interesting Man in the World so I had to keep it pretty masculine.

I thought blue chevron would look awesome so I put a pattern together.  We decided to go in a different direction instead {more on that soon} but I couldn't let my efforts go to waste.

I took my pattern and kicked it up a notch and ombre'd it up.  Oh, how I love me some ombre.  So much so that I took a little walk through the interwebs to pull some of my fav blue ombre images.  Lovely.

Photo Credits: Top - cake from prudent baby,  dress,  flowers from Martha   chair from design sponge
Bottom - tub via Living Etc, stairs from Martha, mug from Christine & Co, hair - couldn't get past tumblr to find source.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My day job has been a bit of challenge lately so only a quick post today to share two last minute entries to the latest Minted challenge.  

I tend to avoid using the photos for my entries but decided to switch it up when I saw this cutie in the line-up of photos offered.  I had just been experimenting with a technique that removed the lettering from the background to create a deboss effect.  I love how "hello!" lets the photo show through.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice until after the submission deadline that the color I used for the name Garrett Turner wasn't dark enough { I've been trying to be a little more subtle in my color choices and I guess I went a little too far! } 

   personal stationery - Hello Lollipop

For the second entry, I wanted to experiment with two different fonts that intertwined.  Historically, for names and headings I've always used the same font.  Keeping with my theme of switching it up, I thought it would be fun to use two different fonts.  Again, I wished I would have had a little more time to adjust the color of the boarder as it is just a little too light.  Oh, well. Live and learn.   I'd love to hear your thoughts!  

personal stationery - Trellis Blue