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Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Wedding Invitation

I wanted to share my very own wedding invitations with you. I did several invitation suites last year that I'm currently gathering together again to reorder for samples so that I can share them with you. I love working with brides to create something uniquely them and exquisitely their big day. Sometimes I like to do emblems with the couple's initials in some way, other times I like to incorporate a pattern. Usually upon initially looking at things that have influenced their wedding and a conversation about that, I can pinpoint the look at feel they want and translate that into an artful invitation. There are so many colors to choose from from my paper source and it's hard to even choose the right cream or ivory because each one has a slightly different color to it. So many decisions!
Apparently, I am my own worst critic when it comes to designing for myself. I knew the look and feel of my wedding of course-elegant, all ivory with touches of gold and classy. For the longest I could not find inspiration for my invitations though. My reception was at Union Station and it is such a beautiful setting. The perfection, however, was in that stained glass ceiling. Read about how I found my own inspiration here. I chose to do a pattern for myself, inspired completely by the design of that intricate and amazing ceiling. I have a background in stained glass too, so the fact that I found that inspiration in a huge, 60 foot stained glass ceiling was even more fitting. 
Above is the entire suite-a shimmery gold pocket fold invitation that opened out vertically to reveal the invitation and 3 corresponding cards in the pockets. One was directions for guests coming from West TN, Texas and Louisiana (sounds so southern, no?), the second was a post-card sized RSVP card that guests could fill out and easily send back to us. The third was information on accommodations and our website that recommended some of our favorite spots in Nashville for our guests to check out. You can't tell in the photo but the gold fold had a shimmer to it as did the white  paper-it was called Ice Gold, so when the light hit it, it had a beautiful gold glisten. I highly recommend that paper!
I incorporated the Montgomery crest into the design by colorizing it to match and this also went with the rehearsal dinner invitations and the wedding programs I of that to come soon!
Enjoy the design detail shots below...I'm very pleased with how it turned out. -Laurie
The photos are from my extremely talented photographer, Lily Glass.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Natural Gold

Ok. Yes, gold is natural. Maybe this is a bad title.

The natural gold I am talking about is Vitamin E Oil. I may be slow on this beauty secret but slow is better than ignorant right?

A number of years back I worked alongside a lovely woman who not only lived (and still lives) a beautiful life among those less fortunate at a non-profit but also a woman of the most flawless skin I have ever seen. This is all not to mention she was a number of years my senior. For the longest time I wondered what her secret was later I found out. VITAMIN E OIL!!!

I am sharing her secret today. I did some brief research and was sold. Vitamin E oil is where its at. Ever get annoyed with split ends or dry hair? Vitamin E oil. Ever had a burn mark you wanted to rub away? Vitamin E oil. Ever experienced dry skin or acne scars on your face? Vitamin E oil.

Of course Vitamin E supplements are great for your insides as well. Today, I am just going to talk about our outsides. The oil is a type of antioxidant which helps keep free radicals from wreaking havoc on our skin.

What is a free Radical? (Find more information here. Thank you Carolyn's Facial Fitness! )
       All cells produce free radicals. A free radical is any atom or molecule  that is missing an electron in its outer shell. This free radical will attack and destroy other necessarily healthy atoms to get the electron it's missing.  These free radicals can accumulate and cause oxidative damage. This oxidative damage causes biological organisms to age. In other words, free radicals turn the oils of our skin rancid which in turn damages the collagen in the skin. Collagen is the protein in fibers that serve as the building blocks of our skin.  
So applying Vitamin E oil to your skin, hair and face on a regular basis helps protect us from the free radicals and can also aid in UV protection which also can help prevent types of skin cancer (UV rays are also damaging to your hair and hair follicles) . The oil can restore and help retain moisture in your skin and hair. I have always heard of putting the oil on burns or stretch marks but not just on my face to help rid my skin of acne scars or to retain moisture. I also read that continual use can help reduce the appearance of birth marks! This would have been really helpful at about the age of 12 when I wanted to avoid questions of the red leg I have. Now that birthmark is a part of me and I could care less. It is kind of fun to startle massage therapists every once in a while now. (wink wink) Birthmark is never the first assumption when they come across that red skin of mine.

If you start using Vitamin E oil today do not expect to see immediate results. It may take some months before you notice any change but know it is working. When you decide to pick some up you should be able to find it easily in the pharmacy department of any local store.

I learned a lot of this helpful information here (photo credit also to this site).  


Sunday, February 24, 2013

First Changes

I've been working my Sunday away relabeling every post on this site! This is a first step toward some changes that I will announce and explain hopefully next weekend. You will see that the Navigation bar looks a little bit different now! We have created categories for easier reading. Everything is organized now, so if you come to the site wanting a recipe, go to Savory! Everything is in chronological order of course on the Home page as well as on the side bar, organized by month. 
You've known Alison McQuain to be a part of the blog now, so we have an added section called Visualize full of her photography, my designs, and the images and inspirations we draw from.
So, to help you navigate better, here are the tab categories:

Home: Everything is collected here, in chronological order.

Visualize: Fanciful Ink products, Alison McQuain Photography portfolio, graphic design and photo inspirations.

Create: A Do-It-Yourself database.

Adorn: Fashion and Home decor all in one spot...adorn yourself and your home!

Savor: Recipes & Food

Live: Health, Beauty, Lifestyle

Escape: Travel

Us: About us, our work and our friendship. 

I hope you enjoy the new changes. There will be more to come soon. I will be bringing Alison's posts from her blog over so that we can display her work and incorporate her into the site completely. So these next few weeks will be "Alison McQuain Photography Extravaganza" mixed in with some other awesome things!
As always, if you would like to see something specific on the site, please let me know. Email fanciful !

Slider Night

Fanciful ladies, this menu item is a hit with the other gender. It is one of the quickest dinners you can ever make and you would have thought I spent hours with the rave reviews I received. I’ll take it!
Turkey sliders are so easy and healthy. Not to mention, they are a palate for kitchen creativity. I did learn that the meat will end up a bit thicker than you anticipate so if your rolls are rather plump (ours were and thank you FlourHead Bakery! so yummy) you may need to pat your patty pretty thin. Pat that patty!
Anyway, feel free to load your sliders up with anything from olives (we did), to mixing in a dry ranch dressing mix if you would like. I was going to mix sundried tomatoes into mine as well but, alas, we were out. Toppings are just as your mix ins. You can use anything from mozzarella to pepperjack, pickles to avocado or pesto to BBQ sauce. The slider is your oyster. Yep.

Depending on the thickness of your slider, you might cook them 5-8 minutes on each side. My resident cast-iron specialist cooked our sliders in our cast-iron grill pan on the stove. Of course, these little bad boys can go outside on the grill when it isn’t below thirty-five degrees outside. -Alison

A few side options might be: roasted potatoes, a little steamed broccoli or mixed veggies, kale chips, hummus with veggie dippers, blue corn chips and guacamole (recipe below).

Simple guacamole for 1-2 people
1 ripe avocado (soft to the touch but not smooshy)
½-1 small tomato (chopped)
¼ of a small white or purple onion (your choice, chopped finely, I don’t like big chunks)
Minced garlic to taste
Juice of ½ lemon or lime (If you use lime you have another half to go along with your margarita, yeah!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro is always a fantastic addition as well as pureed tomatillo
Start by removing the pit from the avocado and scooping it out of the skin. Mash in a bowl with a fork, add the citric juice then add the remaining ingredients.

Products, Pricing & Reviews

Jamie & Holly Cochrane
Invitation Suite

Mr. & Mrs. McQuain Stationary

Matt & Morgan Baker
Invitation Suite

Matt & Morgan Baker
Wedding Program

Winter Wonderland
Christmas Card

May All Your Christmases Be White
Christmas Card

Wishing You Joy This Holiday Season
Christmas Card

May Your Days Be Merry & Bright 
Christmas Card

Merry Christmas
Christmas Card

Calling Cards  (starting at $25)
cards with your personal information to give out or place inside gifts

Holiday Cards  (starting at $40)
tidings of joy from your family or company during the holiday season

Stationary  (starting at $45)
folded cards reflecting your personal design tastes

Event Invitations  (starting at $50)
birthdays, anniversaries, parties that will wow your crowd

Birth Announcements  (starting at $40)
announce your baby to the world in style

Wedding Invitation Packages  (starting at $75)
your big day should be reflected in the first piece of decor your guests receive, the invitation. Create a custom package of what you need, anywhere from RSVP cards, directions, programs, bridesmaid cards, rehearsal dinner cards, showers, or whatever you desire!
A cosultation will determine design details and further pricing, depending on what is needed.

Estimated Prices* for Wedding Pieces
Invitation $75
RSVP $25
Rehearsal Dinner $45
Wedding Programs $50
Directions $25
Bridesmaid $40
Any other customized pieces will be priced accordingly

*Prices listed are the design fee only, which includes your custom design, printing and shipping. Further pricing will be based on amount needed and cost of materials less than a quantity of 300. Add an additional $25 will be charged per 100 if it is more than 300.

Dear Laurie:
Please accept my compliments for the invitations you designed for my fall 2012 wedding. I can honestly say that my invitations were exactly what I envisioned. Once we met at the Her Bridal Event and I saw your work on display, I knew your design was the touch of elegance I was looking for. You really took the time to work with me 1 on 1 to create an invitation that proved to be the talk of my guests. It generated a lot of excitement and was a beautiful introduction to the theme of the wedding, Simple Elegance.
After our initial meeting, I felt comfortable and confident in your abilities to capture the exact color scheme I wanted with a look that would be complimentary to my taste and you delivered! I received countless calls and pleasant remarks about how ‘beautiful’ the invitations were. Your style and technique exceeded my expectations. I was really impressed with your patience as you listened to my ideas and presented samples for my review. As a bride, you really want to work with someone who can accommodate the changes that may occur, even those you cannot control. I want to acknowledge how flexible you were in meeting my schedule and preferences for the printing and delivery of the invitations. You are very pleasant to work with and I would recommend Fanciful Ink for any event, not just weddings!
Thank you for sharing your talent and creativity. Your skills made a world of difference for my wedding! If it appears this letter is giving you a lot of praise for your work, than I met my goal! I definitely want others to know about Fanciful Ink and experience having a personal vision come to life. I will definitely be recommending you and contacting you for your services in the future.
Best Regards,

Laurie at Fanciful Ink did an amazing job with my invitations and programs! I didn't just want a cookie cutter invitation straight out of book. Laurie sat down with me and let me tell her exactly what I wanted - from color to style. She even designed a monogram that I used on wedding favors! Everything came out perfect and I still have people who tell me how much they loved my invitations. I highly recommend using Fanciful Ink to make your wedding invitations unique and gorgeous!
Morgan Baker

When it comes to Fanciful Ink, I got everything I wanted and more! Everything was custom made, and all of my graphic needs were made to fit my wedding theme as well as my personality. There was such a personal touch in everything that was done. Without a doubt, you will not be disappointed in Fanciful Ink!
Julie Nicol

Laurie at Fanciful Ink is creative, helpful and efficient. With all the stresses of a wedding I knew the printed materials I had designed customly were not a worry because I had Fanciful Ink. I have continued to get custom sationery after our wedding from Fanciful Ink.
Alison McQuain

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mood Inspiration

I have some news.
This little blog is about to go through a big change...more specific details on that coming in March for you...but one thing I can tell you is that one of those changes will be a new design. It's all about the mood.
One of my favorite steps in designing a wedding suite or invitation is the mood board. I love seeing the end result of ideas-all the colors, the beautiful font choices, patterns, designs. It all comes together visually into its own piece of artwork. I'm starting to compile some of my favorite mood boards, but I'm still exploring so that I can explore my mind for this redesign. Explore with me. -Laurie

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Break from reality

If possible, a break from reality is always necessary. It isn’t always possible though. The break my husband and I just took was more fancy than we would ever normally take. With a little Christmas money and saving we afforded a weekend getaway of our dreams. (Yep. Cheesy but true. Just let me have my moment while you gag a little. It doesn’t happen often ok?)

It all started with a little surfing on for properties near the Smokies (aka near us for less travel time). We found a location that looked great online and booked it. Sure places always look pretty great online...and usually you get there and are disappointed or find a hidden fee. Not this time fanciful peeps. Not this time.

The only surprise with this location is that there was no oven in the cabin. But who needs an oven when you have a complimentary gas grill? And you save calories because you can’t bake all weekend! Unfortunately, or fortunately for her, we found a Girl Scout during our trip that fixed that sugar deficiency real quick. (Speaking of, they have a Mango Creme cookie I discovered that was pretty good. FYI)

Watershed rentals in Bryson City, NC has the coolest set up with their Woodland Lofts. The style and attention to detail with these one bedroom cabins is unbeatable. The rustic cabin feel is not lost with the chic urban touches. I have always wondered what it might be like to live in a small, more efficient home. I got a taste this weekend and really loved it. I have never caught the bug for IKEA but this little cabin had most, if not all, furnishings from the new-age mecca. And I was ok with it. Totally ok.

So aside from the amazing accommodations, Bryson City is the cutest little town. We went straight for the mountains when we were there but I spotted some really cute shops downtown and, if you are up for it, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad that leaves from the heart of the downtown. Also nearby is Cherokee, NC with lots of opportunities to learn history of the Cherokee people. Within minutes of our sweet little cabin were trails upon trails to traverse in the Smokies. Absolutely beautiful. Here, you take a look.

Here are a couple of our hiking discoveries in the Smokies...

Thank you Watershed Cabin Rentals!

Multiples of one room is the result of me not having a wider lens that could allow you to see all the glory.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Breakfast of Champions!

Being underwhelmed lately by our breakfast options and not having enough coffee at that point in the day, I needed a change in a healthy and tasty breakfast. I found a breakfast cookie recipe on Pinterest but really wanted to stop using recipes as a crutch for not baking my own things. So, I played around with some ingredients and came up with a delicious, husband-approved breakfast cookie!

2 bananas mashed in a food processor
2/3 PB2 chocolate (you can use peanut butter and cocoa powder if you want or just peanut butter)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Perfect Fit Protein-15g of protein!)
1/8 cup or so of coconut milk ( I say "or so" because I splashed some in to moisten it a little and I'm not sure how much it was...sorry!)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine mashed bananas, PB2, protein powder, vanilla and coconut milk together until blended. When it's a creamy, doughy consistency add in the rolled oats until evenly blended. Drop cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

The banana really makes it a great breakfast cookie because the flavor is very apparent but the PB2 adds the perfect blend of peanut butter and chocolate without being too bold. The powder is awesome to bake with and I am looking forward to doing that more! It's not exactly low calorie, but it's high protein and will fuel your morning so that you can burn off those calories throughout the day-just don't eat 4-5 cookies for breakfast!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Stationary!

I have a lot of new stationary designs for you! Think bright and fun. I've had these little nesting dolls nesting in my files and now improved upon them. I love the colors of the top design-it can be customized with a name, a "hello" or "thank you" or your monogram for your personal stationary. Or you can pick the doll that most resembles you below with the right hair color and customize it with a single or triple letter monogram. 
I also have some new birthday cards as well as one thank you card and two blank stationary cards. Read and see below!

Brunette nesting doll

Blonde nesting doll

Raven/black haired nesting doll

Ginger/red haired nesting doll

I love the sweet poem by E. E. Cummings so decided to make it into a fun piece of stationary in a classy punchy yellow and black.

Love the yellow!

This is the Lotus & Bird stationary in peaceful colors with a pretty red bird. I can easily add a monogram, thank you or whatever other correspondence you may want on it. 

The Hello Rose stationary is perfect for sending some snail mail to a friend as a surprise. This can also be customized with your name, monogram or any other correspondence you would like it to say.

I love the colors of this Lotus & Love Bird Thank You card. It too can be customized with anything you would like on it. 

Birthday cards in beautiful colors are perfect to keep on hand for those special days. The design above is fresh, the designs below are great for males and females. 

All of these are 5x7 folded and come with corresponding envelopes. They can be customized to your liking and even sized down to 4x6 if needed. Email or visit the Etsy store to purchase or contact me for customization. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Saturday Soon

It's true. Saturdays are fun. I guess Kate Spade thought so too because a new, bold, cheaper line is coming out in March! I'm so excited. The buzz is that the bags have hidden compartments for stowing a pair of flats, an umbrella, a bottle...etc. It appears that the colors are bright and punchy (yellow!) and price is better-around $90ish for clothing, $130ish for bags, $85ish for shoes. I have spied some adorable things. Sign up at their Saturday site to be in the know on the March launch in the US!

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fresh Mint

Mint Fresh

Mint is everywhere. I've been using it in some designs (coming soon!) and get inspired by awesome stuff by two favorite's of mine-Kate Spade and Lululemon. The pairing of black with a stripe really gets me. This is one of my favorite colors-not just for fashion but in graphics right now. I'm having a lot of fun designing something new for you...hopefully debuting next week! Mint usually plays well with just about anything.


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