watercolor lovelies by satsuki shibuya

watercolors by satsuki shibuya

Watercolor is such a lovely medium. I remember back in elementary school, I had a friend who’s father was a painter. I still remember his words as he taught us how to embrace the strengths of the paint by using it as it was intended, with lots of water. My first thought when I discovered the work of Satsuki Shibuya was that she’d done exactly that. I love how the shapes and colors flow together with such ease. So simple, but just so perfect.

I wanted to say thank you for your love and excitement about my big announcement on Wednesday. My family and I received SO many warm wishes, and it really means the world to me. I had such a good day on Wednesday, mostly thanks to all of your virtual love. This little babe in my belly is just the luckiest bean around. Have a beautiful weekend, and check out more of Satsuki’s watercolors after the jump!

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the biggest tiny news!

This has been the toughest news to keep secret! I  had planned to wait a few more weeks to spill the beans, but I just can’t contain my excitement any longer! The Stone family will be welcoming a 4th team member at the end of August! I’ve been pretty sick over the past two months, which explains the inconsistent amount of posting. Now that I’m beginning to feel okay, I’m trying to get back into a regular blogging routine.

This photo was taken at 12 weeks, but I’m relieved to say my belly hasn’t grown too much in the past few weeks (although overall, I am MUCH bigger than I was with Eva already, which is terrifying). I’m eating an ungodly amount of probiotics and fermented foods…pickled things, beet kvass, and kombucha have become my best friends with this pregnancy. Eva is SO excited to be a big sister, and Sean and I are pretty delighted about the thought of having a tiny babe once again. Sharing this news with you guys has been something I’ve been looking forward to since even before I was pregnant. Announcing it so publicly definitely adds an extra layer of fo realness to this new life growing in my belly, and I’m so happy to let my amazingly supportive blog community in on the secret! XOXO!

Photo by Inna of Peach Plum Pear

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color me monday: creamsicle, mint and coral red


Hey Guys! I hope you are doing well and had a nice weekend. The snowy Saturday afternoon weather put a damper on all of our plans for the weekend, although I did make it to my pottery class without a hitch. Sunday I woke up feeling grumpy and disappointed about missing out on fun times with friends, but then I went outside! It’s amazing how heavenly 40 degree weather feels after a week of single digits. The sunshine cheered me right up, and out little family spend the rest of the day eating delicious Paesano’s sandwiches and running errands (certain little girls were even coatless).

As you probably know by now, mint is among my most very favorite colors, so any palette with mint in it is just magic to me. I like how this has a really soft springtime feel to it, and then that coral red just gives it some pow! Hope you have a nice week, and be sure to check back on Wednesday for a HUGE announcement!

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ceramic art inspiration

ceramic art inspiration by laura letinsky

Hey Guys. It’s been a seriously weird week with a holiday, snow day and surprise teacher inservice, so this is my first chance to pop in and say hello! At the Saturday calligraphy workshop a few weeks ago, I got talking with one of the students about flexing creative muscles away from the confines of my laptop. I think it’s a really important thing to do, and time being creative away from one’s computer screen actually does make you a better artist, designer or creative whatever at the end of the day. That conversation was the last little push I needed to sign of for a ceramics class I’ve had my eye on for about a month. Last Saturday was my first session and I’ve been waiting all week to sink my paws into some clay! I’ve been pinning inspiration like a mad woman, and it’s just too lovely not to share with you!

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Photos from Philly Calligraphy Brunch: Valentines Edition!

Philly Calligraphy Brunch: Valentines Edition!

Yay, I’m so excited to share those lovely photos from the second edition of #phillycalligraphybrunch that took place last weekend. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to make this second series of classes possible. I hope you learned a lot, and are just bursting with calligraphy enthusiasm! I love to see your progress, so please feel free to use our hashtag on instagram as you practice!

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lessons learned: credit where credit is due

properly crediting images

This series has in the past been more about lessons I have personally learned as a creative entrepreneur/small business owner, but I think I’m going to expand it a bit to include lessons that I have learned as a blogger too! There are a lot of little things in the blogging world that aren’t set in stone. It’s an ever-growing and changing community, and not everyone does things the same way or even agrees about what the right way is. So, please realize that this is just one bloggers opinions and take it for what it’s worth!

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color me monday: emerald and peach

color me monday: emerald and peach

Buddies, hi! I hope your Monday is off to a nice start. I’m allowing myself to take a bit of a break today after the calligraphy workshops this weekend. Everything went really well, and I am officially tired. Like most things, this second time around was far less stressful. Don’t get me wrong, it was still plenty of work, but I had faith that it would all come together…and it did. I’m already getting emails from people who couldn’t make it to this series, so perhaps they’ll be another series in the future. Eva spent the weekend with her Nana so that Sean could help out. I was so glad to see her yesterday afternoon, and eat heart-shaped cookie leftovers with my little family.

I think this week’s palette is cool, and not just for weddings! I like how the bold emerald looks against the softer peachy tone. That stokholm street style chick top left is seriously rockin’ it in this color combo.

A few other quick notes: Don’ forget to enter the wax seal giveaway! It ends this Wednesday! It’s open to readers anywhere in the world, and we’ll be giving away not one but THREE sets of wax seal and sealing wax! You can choose any color wax you like, and either your own custom seal design, or from the dozens of adorable options in the backtozero shop! Today I’m also featured over on Melanie’s Craft’s blog. She asked me a series of interview questions about life and owning a small business. Be sure to check it out, and have a nice week!

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that time I lost my iPhone (and didn’t really miss it)

that time I lost my iPhone (and didn't really miss it)

Some of you may have heard me whining about this on social media last week. I was frantically brushing Eva’s hair for school on Tuesday morning, precious iPhone in hand (somehow?), when it went sailing through the air, straight into the toilet. I grabbed it right away, wailed a little, and then relinquished it to a bag of silica beads for the next 48 hours. After two days time, I said a little prayer, plugged it in, and the result was not so good. It took me a few more days of deciding on the best option before I had a new phone in hand…a grand total of 6 days to be exact. And you know what I realized? I actually DID NOT miss it!

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few critical business apps that I do rely on that were hard to give up (I’ll post about those later), but the feeling of constantly being connected was not missed in the slightest. I realized how often my hands are busy half consciously messing with my phone. I’ll check email and social media way too often, just out of habit. I didn’t even realize how much I was doing it, until suddenly I wasn’t. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to keep my phone put away unless I need it for a specific purpose.

I also noticed while phoneless just how quickly I’ve conditioned myself to read and respond to emails. If a client emails me about design work or there’s an inquiry on my blog, I’ll probably read your email within minutes. I will get back to you immediately if it’s something I can answer right away, within the day if I need to do further research. I always do this, I’m a bit of a slave to my own email. As a result I have very little patience when my emails aren’t answered right away. To be completely honest, I’m a pretty impatient person, but I think my email expectation of others and myself have gotten unreasonable. When my phone was busted, I’d go many hours without checking my email. I didn’t lose any business, and nobody died. I’m going to try work on checking my email every few hours rather than reading and responding to each new email immediately. I just need to chill out, and not let my iPhone control my life.

So, I’m curious…does anybody else feel tethered to their technology? Please, tell me I’m not alone! How do you regulate your use? Do you ever take a break and unplug completely? Please share, and have a nice weekend!

Image borrowed from anthropologie

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wax seal giveaway: 3 winners!

wax seal giveaway: 3 winners! from www.blog.cleanlinestudio.com
Gah! I’m SO excited! Today I’m doing a repeat of one of afl’s most popular giveaways EVER! The occasion? Lingke, the owner of backtozero recently moved her shop away from etsy, and is now selling products on her very own website! The new site looks great, and I’m personally really inspired by how successful this business has become, practically overnight.

For those of you who weren’t around when we did the last giveaway, backtozero creates a huge variety of wax seal stamps to be used for just about anything you can dream up. Their wax seals make such a lovely addition to product packaging, valentines and wedding invitations. They’re even been featured in Southern Weddings and on the Real Simple website! One of my favorite back to zero offerings has to be the custom wax seal. If you’ve met me in person lately and I handed you a business card…yes, this is where I purchased my custom seal! Click through to enter!

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color me monday: white out

color me monday: white out

Hey guys, happy monday! I woke up this morning feeling kind of annoyed that the much anticipated snow in Pennsylvania was going to slow down my productivity this week. The school district of Philadelphia has an early dismissal today and almost certain snow day tomorrow, which means Eva’s preschool is closed too. But, then my little girl woke up this morning radiating snow day excitement. We made oatmeal together in our bathrobes while Eva spoke with great anticipation of the snowman we’ll make later today. As I sit here (still in my bathrobe to be perfectly honest), her enthusiasm makes it difficult to feel anything but excited about the looming storm. For the next 2 days we’ll be home sipping hot cocoa, reading books, watching movies, building snowmen, and enjoying every moment of it. If you are somewhere snowy, I hope you’re staying safe and warm, and have a moment to enjoy the world coated in white stuff.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a super fantastic awesome giveaway. See you then!

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