A Special Birthday

I'm so lucky that my work affords me opportunities to meet and work with all sorts of people.  No two clients are ever alike and some days I meet people on opposite ends of the spectrum.  A client in the morning has taken a day off work and has just come from a "practice hair" appointment and trying on her gown.  She might have her mother in tow and they are interested in anything - no real budget.  An appointment later in the day might be scheduled for 4:30 (when the oldest gets off the bus) and the harried bride arrives (a few minutes late) with said school child in hand as well as bouncing a baby on her hip.  This bride might be frank and say, "Honestly, I need something simple and cheap.  And FAST - I should have mailed these last week already."

Other times I get to meet generations of families.  When Chelsea arrived for her appointment (a couple of years ago) she had her mother Pat and grandmother Etheldean in tow.  And they were quite a crew!  A handful of strong, close knit, fun women, enjoying themselves as they planned the special day.  Sometime after the wedding Pat contacted me and said, "Guess what, Chelsea is expecting!"  And baby shower invitations and then Miss Lexi arrived.

Recently we did invitations for Lexi's first birthday but the extra special birthday I want to showcase today is Ms. Etheldean who celebrated her 89th birthday.  God's blessings to you Etheldrean and your beautiful crew of ladies!!

Wedding Highlight - Liz & Chris

Simple, elegant, unique.  This is how I'd describe my bride Liz.  I hope you enjoy her photos and advice as much as I did. Credits for the beautiful photography below.  And OMG - those FURS!!  Everyone looked so beautiful!

THE BRIDE: Elizabeth Cicchetti, College Credit Plus Coordinator at Sinclair Community College
THE GROOM: Christopher Gologanoff, sale specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds


HOW THEY MET: Chris and I met through a mutual friend. Chris had moved to Chicago and starting working at CDW with a good college friend of mine. After a few dates Chris broke the news that he was in the process of moving back home to Dayton. Not ready to call it quits after only one month of dating we continue to date long distance. After two and half years of dating long distance I moved to Dayton. Two years later we were engaged! Our friend Pat Bowe who introduced us became ordained and performed our ceremony!

THE BIG QUESTION: Chris had an engagement planned the weekend before we took a trip with some friends. The weekend he planned to propose, I changed our plans multiple times. After not being able to keep up with my plans Chris popped the  question in kitchen while I was doing what I love best. I was in my kitchen cooking and when I turned around Chris was on one knee with a ring! It was perfect, I could not imagine it any other way. We are very private, being able to share the moment alone in our home where we are most comfortable just seemed right. 

THE TIME AND PLACE: March 28, 2015, Chicago, Illinois
Our wedding and reception was held at Ignite Glass Studios in Chicago.  Having many travelers for our wedding we knew we wanted to have our wedding in the city. I did not want a traditional banquet hall/hotel wedding. We began looking for locations and Ignite just seemed right. It was new, unique and was large enough for our guest lists. (The view from the rooftop didn't hurt either.)

THE HONEYMOON: We took a two week honeymoon, we started in Paris the flew to Venice. From Venice we spent Easter in Rome and ended our honeymoon the most beautiful way possible, in the Amalfi Coast. 

Below are my photos of a few of the elements.  (not nearly as good as the professional photographers so I wanted to note that these are mine.)


Our venue was a blank canvas, we had to bring in our tables, chairs, decor, caterer,etc. The thought of doing this turns many brides away. Wedding planning can be stressful. Staying in budget while planning the perfect night can be overwhelming. My biggest piece of advice would be talk to other couples. I used my sister's photographer, my friends dj and another friends caterer. Even if you weddings you attend aren't your style, it doesn't mean that the vendor can't adjust. Spend time talking to your vendors, knowing your personality helps them match your wedding style. My husband was not interested in the details. I found out what was important to him and kept him in the loop. I would take my list of 10 vendors and do the research before talking to my husband. I would weed out the ones with bad reviews or that were out of our budget and then we would pick from the finalist. This helped us because my husband rarely felt overwhelmed. He enjoyed knowing our vendors but had no idea how much time it really took to find them :)  

To avoid your wedding planning consuming your life, we would set aside date nights or days. We made them fun, I would pack up all my folders and binders and we would go out to eat and talk there. That way we can control the start and end of our wedding planning conversations. Also, as a bride know when to ask for help. Planning a wedding out of state could have been stressful, but it wasn't. I knew when to pull other people in, but when doing so because clear and direct. When you are vague they interpret what you want, which can cause for conflict. After you are married there is still work to be done, gift returns, thank you cards, decorating your house.

A coworker gave me the best piece of advice that I must pass on. She told me if your husband thinks it is normal he won't question your process. When working on thank you cards, don't let him think other husbands do not help. My husband wrote all the cards for his guests and not once did he question doing so. He actually turned it into a little competition and finished before me. Of course he loved to brag about it! 

Lastly, have fun! This is your wedding day! At the end of the day people won't remember the centerpieces, name cards, etc. They will remember the atmosphere and love in the room. You can truly tell when a wedding reflects the couple you are. Chris and I gave up all control on our wedding day, if something went wrong we just changed the plan. We wanted to eat, dance and drink with our guests! 


Photographer- http://www.laurawitherowphotography.com
Caterer - http://www.thecaterist.com
DJ - http://www.spinnindiscs.com
Fur Coats - Purchased at Nordstrom
Brooch Bouquet - Hand Made by the Brides talented sister
Decorater/Planner- My sister's friend Nicole


The summer flew by and now we're almost in the middle of October!!  Here's a sampling of some of the jobs that went out over the past couple of months.

Check out the Look Tab for more!


I'm taking a bit of time off to relax and gear up for the remainder of the year.  (How many days until Christmas? - don't answer that)

I'll be closed until July 22nd but I'll be in and out of the office, fulfilling prior print and design commitments.  I'll also be checking my emails so if you have a questions - just drop me a line.

Thanks so much!!  Looking forward to catching up after the 22nd!

What do these have in common?

- Glue Sticks after a table of children have completed their Easter Craft (oh, say, about ages 12 and under)

- A great tasting rack of BBQ Ribs (full rack, if you please)

- The floor at the corner of High and Patterson after an epic Tiki-Fest (ahhhh, you know who you are)

- The blob of pink bubble gum, baking on the pavement of a Target parking lot, RIGHT OUTSIDE your car door

- Fly strips at the beginning of the summer (not so much towards the end)

Answer - they are all STICKY.  And so are my custom labels.  Prices range from $0.75 - $1.75 per sheet.  Labels are great for party favors, wine bottles, gift bags.  

You can also give labels as a gift.  Bookplates for their personal library, personalized labels for people who can lots of fruits and veggies or puts out a killer salsa.  I gave my mom, an avid baker, labels that she could apply to the baked goods she gives away.  She loved it.  


Meet Amber and Sean

I met lovely Amber and hilarious Sean through a referral.  This fun-loving couple live in a charming home in Grandview Heights, Ohio.  I was honored that they were willing to make the lengthy trip to my place in MY little charming neck of the woods.  What a visit!  Amber and Sean were so much fun and open to so many ideas (still, Sean made me promise that the invites would NOT look like a prom dress - lol).  Since a busy couple planning a wedding couldn't be expected to hit the road and visit my office often, we made the most out of our time together and discussed all items needed for the big day.

First on the list was Save the Dates.  Since Amber and Sean were passionate readers we started with a kernel of an idea - a pin Amber spotted on pinterest.  They liked the idea of a library card and we took that idea one step further and designed a book "cover" by wrapping a textured paper (printed with an elegant book cover pattern) around chipboard and matted with a shade of green they were planning to use in decor.  I sourced out real book pockets from a  library supplies website, and ordered a custom stamp so we could stamp their info on the front of that pocket.  My favorite part was the lined envelopes, lined with old book pages.  Finally, inserted in to the pocket, was their card, letting their guests know of their big day. 

With the save the dates done we switched gears and dived into the invite design.  Amber and Sean choose a very floral and elegant invitation suite.  A perfect mix of muted colors to coordinate with the original green.  Rounded corners on the linen card stock and matching graphics on the envelope flap really give the invites a boost.  That style carried over to the ceremony program as well as the reception place cards and signage.  Next on the list will be Thank You cards.

Congrats Amber and Sean!  I loved working with you and wish you all the best for a beautiful life together!

Creativity - Just Because

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. -emily dickinson

The year 2015 started off FAST.  Every year seems to move faster than the one before.  I had no sooner put away the Christmas decorations and it seemed I was already searching for the Easter Baskets.  With New Years resolutions neatly tossed out the window, we're moving on - already planning the garden and scheduling our summer!

Last year I had a craft night and we had so much fun.  I promised myself I'd do more fun things like that in the new year - and I haven't.  Lately a small group of girls have been visiting me.  They LOVE the display of self-inking stamps and enjoy stamping piles of scrap paper.  They aren't shy and will try on all the old hats I have lying around.  The aqua blue typewriter I recently purchased is a huge hit.  Once of the girls said, "I'd love it if I could do my homework with this typewriter!"  Ummm, okay? Sure?

Anyway, one day they spotted a decorated heart hanging in the store and asked if I could show them how to make one.  I told them to come back on Wednesday - and to my surprise they did!  Of course I had  big project and some deadlines and couldn't stop what I was doing to sit around with them, cutting up an old dictionary.  But I pulled out all my scrap papers, fancy scissors, punches and new glitter pens and let them do whatever they liked.  That was a fun afternoon with the three girls chattering in the background.  I miss the creativity of doing something just for fun.  I am planning to do more crafting events so if anyone has a suggestion just let me know!

Below are photo highlights of the last few months.

Merry Christmas!

I decided I needed to end the year with a better blog post than "Shut Down Mode".  I'm taking some time off between Christmas and New Years in order to relax a bit and gear up for 2015!!  In the meantime, here's some photos of the HOLIDAY CHEER at the store.

Shut Down Mode

Hey all!  

Just a heads up that I'm going to be closed November 10th - 14th.  I have a training session in Columbus one day and a luncheon I wish to attend on another.  More importantly I've got some work to get caught up on before the holiday season starts (not to mention the NEW stuff that will be wheeled out after my "vacation".  

So anyway, I decided a week of being closed would be best.  I'll still be checking email and messages so stay in touch!!  

Thanks Bunches!!

More Book Issues

Lately it seems like I'm doing everything with books, except reading them.  A recent blog post was about crafting with books.  Today's post is about SMELLING books.

I introduce a new company called Pages Candle Company.  Pages is the brainchild of my good client and friend Rashaun James.  I've been blessed to know Rashaun for a number of years.  So long I can't even remember what I first designed for her.  But over the years I've helped her with invitations for showers, birthday parties, football parties.  And these were FUN events.  A "Charlotte's Web" baby shower, a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" birthday party.  I've also worked with Rashaun on printing for her various business ventures (all fabulous).  And how can I forget the awesome pregnancy announcement letting friends and family know that Rashaun and her husband were to be expecting TWINS.  Oh and she's a teacher.  In short Rashaun is just "one of those" sort of individual that always has room for more in her life.

I admire Rashaun, so I was happy to be included when she needed note cards to go along with her fabulous candles.  I was excited to design dictionary lined envelopes (so awesome) with a note card that mimics a book.  

As a lover of the written word myself, I was excited to try out this candle.  I'm happy to say, it did NOT disappoint.

Haunting.  That is a word that wouldn't usually be used to positively describe something.  But it's the word that comes to my mind and I mean it in the best way possible.  When this candle burns it gives me a feeling I can't quite place.  Memories I can't exactly capture.  It's that feeling that tells me, "I KNOW that smell. But how?"   

I practically lived in the library as a kid and I read everything.  In a way this candle reminds me of childhood and of all the adventures on the thousands of printed pages that ran through my fingers.  It reminds me of riding my bike on a hot summer day and walking into the air conditioned crispness of the library and smelling THAT SMELL!  It reminds me of late nights of reading in my old room, in a house that my parents no longer own.

It's a beautiful candle with beautiful packaging.  Perfect for gift-giving.  It's a novelty scent which makes it way more special than simply picking out a good scent from a big box store. It burns best in a cosy room where you can really enjoy the delicate scent.  Also, I recently checked out a book (a newly released book) at the library.  You bet - I smelled the book and then compared it to the candle.  Yup, Rashaun, you nailed it.  New Book smell is a hit!

I hope you take a moment to check out Rashauns website http://www.pagescandles.com

In all the book candle excitement I decided to finally dive into the latest Diane Gabaldon novel  ("Shelly, I'm going in")  I guess that's another 825 pages to add to my reading pedometer - lol http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/written_in_my_own_hearts_blood/

Also, since hunting season is here (and with my husband an avid hunter who heads to the forest every other weekend) I've also decided to join a reading group for the latest Fannie Flagg book.  http://fannieflaggbooks.com

What are YOU reading?  I love to discover new authors.

Oktoberfest Memories and looking towards (gulp) Xmas!

Two weeks ago our little town of Minster hosted 80,000ish guests.  Yes, our little town of 3,000ish swells in honor of our German Oktoberfest Celebration.  The weather was less than perfect so maybe not as many attended this year.  But it was a great time for those who were there to eat drink and be merry.

This year I was honored to provide fun notepads to the little girls competing for Little Miss Oktoberfest.  I know my nieces and nephews love getting things with their name on them so I hoped the girls would like these.  I'm told the notepads were a hit.  CHRISTMAS IS COMING FOLKS!!!  Consider similar notepads for gifts for the various special people on your lists.  I will have some new designs for shoppers this holiday season so stay tuned!!

Since the parade marches right past my store Adam and I have a Parade Party.  This year we were joined by a great collection of family and friends, both old and new.  Felt very blessed on Sunday!  It was a good time to remember how far we've come.  (Be sure to click through the photos below to see the transition of the same wall over the years.)

And now some recent designs!

Friday Night Pinterest Night

It all started with an early fall garage sale down the street.    

No actually it started earlier than that.  I saw this cute journal in a store made with the cover of an old book.  It was embellished and decorated and a bunch of ideas started churning.   THIS is why I save scraps of pretty ribbons, pretty papers, a single gold foil sticker, or random keys and coins.  So the idea of embellished journals was in the back of my head for about 3-4 months.  

Fast forward to the garage sale with an abundance of old books.  I was being picky and choosy and selecting only the ones with the best "looks" so I could finally create some journals.  The owner chatted me up and talked me into 3 large boxes of books for $4.00.  I said sold!


Okay, now I had a TON of books with only maybe 10 that I could really use for the original journal idea.  So I run to pinterest and find all kinds of projects that requires destroying old books.  I think this was on a Thursday and since Adam was leaving for a hunting trip the next day I decided to throw an informal craft night.  Friday night football lights is not for me.  But Friday night Pinterest Night is something I can get on board with.

First a word about the destruction of old books.  I find that many people harbor guilt over tearing, cutting, and mutilating books.  The school demerit system and scary librarians have done a great job in that regard.  So I feel it necessary to point out that I don't advocate the practice of ruining perfectly good books that can (and should) be passed on to other people.  I LOVE reading the old fashioned way.  But I'm not hitting up Barnes and Noble, spending big money on a top seller and then shredding it.  These are old, crappy books.  Books that have seen countless eyes.  Books whose spines are stretched like a 100 year old woman doing yoga.  Books that are outdated.  Someone explain to me how a book published in 1952, which teaches the reader how to set up an efficient office filing system, could possibly be relevant today.  

These are books that have swam in the depths of a moldy basement and are begging for a clean coat of Mod Podge.  These are books that have crayon scribbles from countless children with bad penmanship.  These books don't have feelings.  They don't care if I use my 2-inch scalloped hole punch to remove a 2-inch section of page 8 for artistic purposes.  

As fellow crafter, Sparrow lamented before running the scissors through a chunk of pages, "You guys, I used to work at a library.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to hell."

Well, she lived to see another day and these photos are proof that even old broken down, outdated books serve a final purpose - to provide a night of fun to a bunch of gals.

In addition to these fine ladies we had a few other people pop in to say hi.  *None of these women knew each other but with pizza, chocolate and a few bottles of wine a good time was had by all.  Now that the colder weather upon us I know I'll be doing this again.  

***Anyone is welcome so if this seems like fun to you just let me know and I'll be happy to add you to my list for the next time.


New Designs.  Lots of fun things with graphics and fonts I've never used.  Ohhh, and glitter liners!  Fun wilderness themes!

New Decor.  I moved my furniture around AGAIN.  I think I love it now.  Also, have rolled out some new products and made a little bargain corner with odds and ends.  In order to work more efficiently I've changed my hours.  I'm closed on Monday and Tuesday for my printing and production schedule (though people can still schedule pick ups if desired).  Wednesday - Friday I'm open 10-5:30 but people can schedule appointments after hours.  Saturday 10-12 with availability until 3:00ish on most days.  Sundays I'm closed and not available.

Feeling Inspired

I love to thrift shop, create, cook, design, garage sale, craft, buy junk, shop.  And I love to blog about it all, which I haven't had time to do lately.  I've been doing some of the things I love and I'm finding I need to do more of them in order to stay happy and creative and in love with my work.  Here and there I'm catching bits of inspiration and I certainly visited a place this weekend that is jump starting my desire to get more creative.

I introduce Minster's latest shop, Lucy's.  I don't have the full scoop on the who, what, where and when of Lucys and I don't know owner Holly Bertke's whole life story.  I don't know who the heck Lucy is (daughter, gal pal, dog, imaginary friend?) But I do know that Holly is super nice, super talented and has created a beautiful new place to shop. 

Holly refinishes furniture, will do light upholstery, and repurposes items.  Also for sale are some great smelling candles, paintings by various artists, really cool-looking rustic (but chic) wood tables hand crafted by her uncle.  

It's a bright, pretty fun place.  The first thing I spotted was the pink couch (LOVE).  Then there is an upstairs loft which has less frilly and bit more masculine offerings.

Visit Holly yourself or check out her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HomeofLucy

In other news, I haven't exactly been withering away in the office.  Had some fun, eaten at some new places and have some designs going that I really love.  Not a bad summer.

A horse walks into a bar and says . . .

"Hey! "

Yeah it's been awhile.  I haven't been updating because I've just been too busy to find the time.  With the beginning of Summer I thought it a good time to update what is happening at the store.

Happy Mothers Day!

I'm blessed with two fabulous mothers.  This first photo is In honor of Mothers Day weekend, which is also First Communion Weekend for a niece and a nephew.  

As many in my life know, my mom is an avid baker.  Her lenten promise to not bake was laughable.  She sure tried.  I enjoy this photo because it's my mom.  Carrying baked goods.  Something I've seen my whole life.  Sugar cookies, jelly roll cake, angel food.  She never forgets my faves.  Or anyone else for that matter.  If I'm talking about a friend mom will say, "ohh, isn't she the one that likes my butter cookies?"  or "you remember so and so.  He's the one I bake apple danish for."  Her secret ingredient is love.

Aside from feeding me, she feeds strangers at soup kitchens.  She also helps me at the store at moments notice even if she has far better options for the afternoon.  She claims to enjoy cutting 500 pieces of ribbon and squirting glue for hours at a time.  The only payment she accepts is a hug.  She fetches me cake at bridal shows and keeps me entertained with her chatter.  She talks me into moving furniture and can whip up a set of curtains in an hour.  She prays novenas for everyone, even strangers.  She's funny.  She's wonderful.

Now let's shift gears and discuss my other mother.  Her secret ingredient is wine.

I joke about the wine.  She enjoys her drink but her secret ingredient in life is also love.  She will do anything for anyone and she does it with ease.  She can handle a roomful of children and not break a sweat.  She doesn't bake but her pot roast is amazing.  And if you want to know the name of anyone, ANYONE in town you only have to tell her where they sit at church or where their fathers, neighbor's kid works and she'll say, "OOOH, that's probably so and so."  She just remembers everyone.  She's got a quick wit, a mean croquet swing and her faith in God gives her piles of patience.  

It's such a blessing to have two mothers and two "homes" to visit on holidays.  Hope you enjoy the weekend with the mother figures in your lives!!

Happy Easter!


Thanks to all my clients (newly recent, recurring, imaginary and real).  I feel so blessed this Easter for so many reason.  Though I have to say that my focus hasn't been on God or the beauty of the Easter Holiday.  I've been busy and overwhelmed with the new store.  

I want to thank all my lovely clients for being so patient as I've settled into the new place.  The blessing of having an open storefront is getting to meet and help more people than I did when I ran things out of my little house.  The downside is that it's been a struggle to keep on schedule.  I know there are a few gals itching for me to get them their proofs and I appreciate their kindness and patience while we've been working hard.  We (meaning my "saint of a mother" and my "not so much a saint but still pretty great" husband) finished several extra large jobs this week.  So my schedule is going to be less hectic and I will be able to connect with these excited brides again.

I'm looking forward to celebrating Easter with family, especially Saturday night as my sister-in-law and friend will be baptized into the Catholic faith.

Next week I'll be back on track.  Plus I want to share my 2014 New Bremen Garage Sale finds with you.  It was a lack luster year, unfortunately.  I scored some cheap tension rods, boring lighting and other practical items (boo).  But that was good since I saved a bunch of money on things I wanted to buy anyway.  GIven the choice between spending $3.00 on a tension rod at walmart or getting them for $0.25 - I'll happily lug those from your garage to my car.  And, I'll spend the $2.75 on a piece of pie from the Pie Shell.  

It wasn't a total bummer though.  I now own a rustic birdcage and have a few new things to spray paint.  A lamp shade for $0.25 will be good for a fun low-cost project.  The weather was beautiful and I got to enjoy my friends for a few hours.  So that was great.

Happy Easter to everyone.  Enjoy your cadbury eggs and what the heck, bite the whole head off of that chocolate bunny - you deserve it!

Closed Saturday

Sara Paper will be closed on Saturday, April 5th so I can attend the funeral mass of my husband's Uncle Gene.  

I apologize for the inconvenience but of course these things can't be helped.  You are welcome to contact me during my regular hours of:

Sunday & Monday - Closed
Tuesday & Wednesday - 11-7
Thursday 10-6 & Friday 10-5
Saturday 10-12 or by appointment

A Fleeting Moment of Spring!

"It's a moment that I'm after, a fleeting moment, but not a frozen moment."
                                                                                              Andrew Wyeth

This morning I proudly showed off my outfit to Cindy at the post office.  I'm wearing my capri pants from last year.  They fit and with this spurt of warm weather, they feel awesome.  Sure, I have my winter coat hanging on the hook because when I go home tonight it won't be capri weather anymore.  And tomorrow I'll probably have to use the snow shovel before I flip the open sign.  But for today - I'm wearing capris.  As an added bonus - I could button the pants - which means I'm roughly the same weight as I was last year.  So this is a great day!  Enjoy yours!!

Wait, it's almost March?

My new years resolution, to blog more consistently, was a lovely thought.  The blogging calendar I had drafted was paved with good intentions.  Just not realistic.  Between bridal shows, snow, a ribbon cutting (unfortunately I didn't think to take any photos of that fun night) snow and lots of new brides - life has been busy.  Cheer up - Spring is almost here.