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Musings

Anatomy of a Thank You Note

Thank You Notes are probably the type of notes we write the most. They're not only nice notes to write but sometimes, they're socially required.

Anatomy of a Thank You Note

Find out the Anatomy of a Thank You Note and how to quickly compose well written thank you notes of your own.

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National Notebook Day + A Giveaway

Today is National Notebook Day!

So naturally, a giveaway is in order, but first, a couple of interesting facts about notebooks and how they have shaped our world.

When you stop to think about it, everything around us, computers, cars, refrigerators, airplanes, bridges they all started as a concept in someone’s notebook. Geniuses fill pages with ideas that eventually change our world and oftentimes make our life better.

The notebook is a powerful tool for a creative mind. It is a place where the only limit is our imagination and we can explore anything we want without fear of being judged.

So here are a few interesting facts about notebooks and the people that love them, sprinkled with a few images of my own notebooks and the doodles in them.

1. Notebooks are more than good enough

Who would have thought that writers, the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, prefer pen and paper over writing on a computer? But they do! Tarantino has been known to say: “It’s a ceremony. I go to a stationery store and buy a notebook — and I don’t buy like ten. I just buy one and then fill it up.”

2. Notebooks can help spawn one of the best book series of our time

Although Rowling has mentioned countless times that her first ideas of Harry Potter were scribbled on napkins in a cafe, she later on planned the novels using regular pen and paper. She plotted out key events and developed important themes all in the pages of notebooks.

3. Notebooks can help you survive parenthood

It is well known that there are notebooks for every phase of your baby’s life nowadays. First words, steps, foods, etc. are all recorded in special notebooks to keep forever. Less well known is the growth in parent journals that help moms and dads record all the crazy moments, challenges and beautiful memories that come along with raising children. They become a prized record of years that fly by all too quickly.

4. Notebooks can help you look into the future, even from the past

When you think of the time when Leonardo da Vinci roamed the earth you don’t ever think of robots, parachutes, tanks or helicopters but they were there, in his notebooks! He had ideas on how to build these amazing, futuristic gadgets all the way back in the 1500s.

 

5. Notebooks can make you immortal

No one thinks of a diary as a notebook that anyone will ever read. It is a private memoir of a life that one might reflect on later on. This was not the case for Anne Frank. When she began writing her diary in 1942, she had no idea that the events that led them into hiding to escape Nazi persecution would make her journal a timeless record of the positive spirit of a young girl in the midst of adversity.

So next time you have a look at a little notebook you have laying around, think of it as possibility! Notebooks are a window into our mind and filling them with everything in it can be very interesting to look back on, if nothing else.

On to the GIVEAWAY! I’m particularly fond of small jotters and I designed a few abstract designs that turned into beautiful little notebooks. It is one of these that I’m giving away today.

All you have to do is join my list. If you’re already on my list, you will be automatically entered but you’re welcome to follow me on Instagram or like my Facebook Page as extra entries.

If you’re not on my list, you can sign up here:

You’ll not only be entered into the giveaway, but you’ll get a FREE downloadable print and a 10% off coupon to boot!

Remember, if you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, come back and comment below to let me know so your extra entries count. I'll announce a winner by the end of tomorrow.

Have a happy National Notebook day!

Behind a Mother's Day Card

There isn't a person on earth that doesn't flock to buy the perfect Mother's Day card this time of year and it is precisely for that reason that I've been printing diligently this week.

Mother's Day cards tend to fly off shelves and staying ahead of the orders can get quite tricky. As I was printing the cards I decided to shoot a little video and snap some shots of the printing in action so you can see how much care and attention goes into each and every one of these cards.

Letterpressing Mother's Day Cards 

The card I decided to follow is an old favorite. No matter how many years go by, this is always a popular design and for good reason. When I designed it, I wasn't that far along into learning letterpress and I wasn't aware how incredibly ridiculous I was for designing a four color card.

This card takes a LONG TIME TO PRINT!

Four colors on the press means each time I switch a color I have to clean up the entire press. Clean plates, the base, rollers and the inking plate. 

Still, letterpress on its own is beautiful and a four color card is even more amazing because they are rare. So, even though it is ridiculous, I love printing cards with a lot of colors, specially for Mother's Day, because let's face it, our moms totally deserve it!

Here's a short video of me printing the third color on a few of these cards. I hope you find it interesting.

So that's a small glimpse at what this process is like and below is a close up of the third color on the card where you get a good look at the impression on the paper!

Third color on a letterpress Mother's Day card

I will be printing the fourth color today and finishing the cards up along with a few other reprints that are waiting to go out to beautiful mother's all over.

If you'd like to get your mom one of these special Mother's Day Cards or any other greeting card just follow this link and use this coupon code when you check out to get 15% OFF: MOMCARD16

This code is good on all greeting cards until this Friday, April 29th.

Don't forget to follow along on Instagram if you want to see the final color on this card and of course, don't forget to have a look at some of the other colorful cards in the shop like the ones below.

How to write a heartfelt Valentine

It's that time of year and if you're anything like my husband, you'll find it difficult to write a Valentine for your sweetheart. He always tells me how much pressure he feels when he's writing any card but especially Valentine cards. Truthfully, it's probably because I love stationery and everything from picking out a card to writing in it just makes him nervous. Will I like it? Is it a good enough card?

Still, every year he worries and every year he writes the most heartfelt messages in those wonderful cards he so lovingly picks out.

The key to writing a good Valentine, is to write from your heart.

Sounds pretty simple right? It's absolutely true. But how DO you write from the heart? It's not always easy to do, but it can be done and here are my 3 tips for writing a heartfelt Valentine:

1. Make sure you have of plenty of time.

One of the biggest problems with writing out a card is that most of us usually rush it. You're wrapping a gift in a hurry, you quickly grab a card and then of course, you can't figure out what to say. You're rushed, you're stressed and you need to get it done. That's a perfect recipe for drawing a blank. Instead, set some time aside for this very special task. Try sitting down with a cup of tea and a little bit of patience. Grab that beautiful card you spent weeks picking out and, of course, your favorite pen and start thinking about your loved one.

What comes to mind when you think of him?

What feelings does she evoke when you're sitting there contemplating how lucky you are to have her? When you start to think about your loved one, all your memories, the things you've been through together, the plans you have for the future, you'll be overcome with lots of beautiful things to put into your message.

2. Write a quick draft.

I don't know about you, but I rarely know exactly how I want to say something even when I know what I want to say. That's where jotting your thoughts down really helps. On the rare occasion that the words flow, I might write directly on the card, but often, I write down a few of the things I want to say on a separate sheet of paper and piece them together. It doesn't ever take more than simply writing these thoughts out and then stringing them together in my head. Then, once I sit down to write the card, I know exactly what I want to write and I'm not anxious about it.

3. Allow yourself to feel what you're writing.

Once you've conjured up all the emotions and memories that will help you with that draft, allow yourself to feel them. Remember that time you ditched class with your sweetheart and spent the day together. Allow yourself to feel that excitement you felt when you got the keys to your first home. Think about the wonder you both felt when you held your firstborn in your arms.

It is when you think about these moments that your words become heartfelt and genuine, because you're reliving those beautiful memories and reminding, not only your sweetheart but yourself how much you really love each other.

Don't just do this for a partner either, it's just as effective with a good friend and specially your children. The key is to really think about this amazing person that you're taking the time to send your love to. Think about all the wonderful ways this person enriches your life. Let your relationship with them fill your mind and heart and it will most certainly come out on paper. 

So those are some of the things I do when I write out the few Valentines I send out each year. Do you do something special to get you in the mood for writing out a Valentine? Let us know in the comments below.

In the meantime, good luck with those Valentines, have fun with them!

Hello there, 2016

I hope any of you still out there reading, have had a wonderful start to the New Year!

I did something out of the ordinary for me this holiday season. I closed up shop for about 2 weeks and completely stayed off of social media as well. At times, I will confess, I got very nervous and wondered if I was crazy. Closing up the shop during such a busy time of year?

Other times, when I settled in with my boys or hung out with my husband, I felt, "I should be able to do this and not feel guilty, isn't that what all of this is for?"

The truth is, I enjoyed my time off and I had lots of time to think about what I'd like to do for 2016. I'm not one for resolutions, I actually don't like them at all. Could be my secret fear of failure or the fact that it seems once you make a resolution you're more likely not to follow through, but I prefer to set goals, and plan for them.

My husband makes fun of me for my rather thick Traveler's Notebook, but secretly loves that it's "lived in" and that's where I write down all these goals. I don't like to be generic in my goal setting, which is what I feel a resolution is. I like to be very specific and if we're getting specific, I love lists! Lists make me happy, they give me a sense of purpose and accomplishment all at the same time.

The only thing that's better than writing a long list that organizes and breaks down all the mess you have ahead of you for the day, is the act of checking those list items off one by one!

Speaking of goals, accomplishments and failure, one of my "un-resolutions" for this year is more focus on my blog. I have a weird relationship with my blog. I don't feel like many people read it but I seem to keep wanting to put myself out there. Obviously not often enough if you see how often I post.

The truth is, sometimes I feel like I don't have anything interesting to say, so many people seem to lead these wonderful lives full of direction, organization and beauty. Mine is full of chaotic little boys, anxiety over dinners I hate planning for and long nights printing and playing with paper.

That doesn't sound very glamorous or post-inspiring to me so I often get stuck when I think of topics to write about. What can you learn from me? What am I going to tell you? Are you going to care?

Perhaps this is why I've taken to Instagram more often, because it's easy for me to post a quick update. Nothing fancy, just a snapshot of what I'm currently doing. It's always easier this way because I never really have time to sit and do anything for an extended period of time while the boys are awake.

The other reason my relationship with my blog is weird is because I've been blogging longer than it seems. I've switched my blog twice now and both times, I didn't really bother to transfer my content. This last time was very scary because I had nicer posts with helpful content that people actually engaged with. To most, I think it would seem like a bad move to leave that behind, all that SEO (gasp) and engagement, but I just wanted a fresh start. So far, I haven't been posting all that often and no matter how much I want to commit, it's hard to find the time to write and I find myself still trying to find a way that works for me so I can post more regularly. 

For those of you out there that blog, how do you do it?

Do you write your post on the spot like I'm doing now? Do you plan months worth of content and then schedule it? That actually seems like such a great idea except for the fact that you have to take one day and spend all of it writing. I don't know if I have the attention span for that. Same reason why I don't plan out meals and cook them all in one day as I've seen so many advise.

So yes, I'm trying to figure out how to work it all out. I love Instagram, it's my favorite platform, but there's something nice about having a place to go when you want to say a little more and there's something nice about having someone who wants to listen. I love reading about people, what their lives are like and what inspires them.

Although my life isn't that glamorous, I assure you, it's full of inspiration. Maybe this year, I'll have to just share more of it, even if it isn't Pinterest worthy.

So here's to 2016, being less afraid to share and being more comfortable in my own skin so that I can tell you more about my adventures, if you like that sort of thing. :)

A Peek + A Download

I’ve finally come out of my hole!

It’s been a long couple of months of sketching and designing and I finally sent everything off to print! What am I even talking about? The 2016 Calendar, of course!

This past year has been a rather turbulent one for me. Lots of things in my personal life have been out of my control and I’ve found it rather hard to cope with at times. Couple that with the decision to move back home after not even being in this house for a year and you’ve got a pretty decent recipe for a large batch of stress.

So without really thinking about it, I started sketching flowers a lot. I do this often but these were rather quirky and for some reason, brought me lots of peace. Then I thought to make these into patterns that I could use around the house. And then, I finally thought that a calendar, full of beautiful blooms coupled with short, inspirational quotes about growth and overall positivity, was something that I wanted very much for 2016 and I had a hunch a few others might appreciate it as well.

Here’s a sneak peak at one of the months, this one is inspired by my mother who used to draw flowers for me when I was a little girl.

Her birthday and Mother’s Day are both in May and this being one of my favorite patterns, fit perfectly.

The idea behind this calendar is that once you’re done with the month, you can cut the left side and have the quote to frame or keep or to send as a postcard to a friend. It will be digitally printed to enjoy all the beautiful colors and letterpress printed for that extra special touch.

In the meantime, I couldn’t help myself and I made a couple of wallpapers because I actually love the December pattern as well and wanted it on my phone. So here are May and December for you to download and I've included the iPad versions as well. So you get 4 FREE Wallpapers!


Hope you enjoy those downloads and stay tuned as I will be converting the rest of the patterns into lots of different things. If you'd like to see them as something in particular, let me know in the comments or comment on my instagram feed as I've been posting a lot of my behind the scenes work there too like the video below.

A video posted by Kimberly Costa (@honizukle) on

 

For now, have a happy Wednesday, a particularly happy one too because it happens to be my eighth wedding anniversary today! :)

Being Thankful with a Giveaway

My youngest brother got married recently and I packed up the boys and took them to Florida to attend the wedding, visit a while and have my grandparents finally meet Liam, my youngest. I planned to go offline for a little while and have some family time but I didn't mean to disappear this long as I did plan on working while I was down there.

Being a bit OCD and knowing that Mother's Day was around the corner, I carefully planned it so that I was able to ship Mother's Day cards out while I was on vacation and still take other orders to fill upon my return. What a masterful plan and how proud was I for being so organized!

Everything was perfectly planned right? WRONG!

Of course, when you think you've got your stuff together and you've thought about it all carefully, some little element that you never gave a thought to and that technically shouldn't have gone wrong, does. My computer, being the 5 year old lady that she was, decided she was going to crap out on me toward the end of my trip. Luckily, I had already filled the orders I had received while I was down there but it totally zapped me of the time I was so looking forward to having for working on a few top secret projects I have going on.

Not to mention, like the idiot that I am, I hadn't backed up in like, forever!

You can probably imagine the cow I was having. I'm savvy enough with computers and I was able to get it back up a couple more times to save a few important files/folders but seriously, how could I live without ALL of my folders and files and all the work I've been doing for so long. I mean, I could, but I just didn't want to. There had to be a way and luckily, Geek Squad ended up saving me because once I took the computer to Apple they told me the logic board had to be swapped out... again! 

Good news is, I was able to get my drive backed up and then run the computer back to Apple and shipped off to be repaired again. However, while I saved my info (thank goodness!), I was still facing a computer that would most likely die on me again. So with a heavy heart, I had to buy another one. Ha ha! Did I say heavy heart? I meant crazy ecstatic!

Seriously, it was a nightmarish few weeks wondering if I was going to lose all my info and all, but now I'm writing to you from a brand new Mac Book Pro and that's pretty awesome! You know what else is awesome? This photo of Liam who stole the show the entire trip!

It's great to be back, looking at silly photos of these two boys that I was lucky enough not to lose. Moral of the story: BACK UP! I actually set up a back up day in my calendar so it can alert me every week. Don't want that to happen again.

So, since I had such good fortune after disappearing on you, I thought I'd make a smashing comeback with a giveaway!

I believe that when you give you get back and when you get, you should definitely give!

So here's my Thankful Giveaway. I'm giving away this "Thanks" Letterpress Set so you can be thankful too, in a very stylish way of course. All you have to do is Instagram, Tweet, Post on your Facebook or Share about it somehow then come back here and let me know where you shared in the comments below. That's it! You have till Thursday night to get it done and I'll announce a winner by the end of the day! The more sharing, the more entries.

READY, SET, SHARE!

Cultivated Mind: A Wonderful Font Gem!

These past few weeks have been a blur of lots of work, new projects and just plain INSPIRATION!

I've been working on new projects and with new projects come new tools.

I recently discovered Creative Market and if you don't know about it (I'm sure you do, I'm always behind with these things) you should definitely check them out. I bought a font family there a while back and have been IN LOVE with it. I've been using it on a lot of my marketing materials lately and some of my new projects, like these Owl Greeting Cards and Owl Notebooks.

 

These Owl Notebooks happened to be featured on Paper Crave last week and Cindy Kinash of Cultivated Mind happened to see them. Cindy is the AMAZING lady behind Cultivated Minda Type & Design Foundry that focuses on creating beautiful handwritten & calligraphy fonts and handmade artwork. She designed the font I used for these two designs and reached out and thanked me on twitter for using her fonts in my projects.

She was genuinely excited about the way I had been using her Local Market font and decided to tweet and share my notebooks on her social media as well. As a result I got some great exposure and a couple of people had to have my Owl Notebooks too. Isn't social media amazing that way?

As if that wasn't enough, Cindy then reached out to me via email and sent me a FONT CARE PACKAGE!

Now, if you didn't know it, I'm a serious font nerd and this was RIGHT up my alley, specially since I had been trying to decide which one of her fonts I wanted to purchase next just the night before. I mean, take a look at some of the screen shots for these...



 

They are chock full of EXTRAS! That's right, you don't only get a font, you get illustrations and banners and labels and all sorts of stuff!

This is the stuff font heaven is made of.

I will be going out of town for my brother's wedding on Friday and since my grandparents are coming up from Costa Rica, I'll have plenty of people who want to watch my boys so I'll get some ME time to play around with new things! I've already been planning the things I'd like to work on: a top secret project, new card designs and now, definitely playing around with some of these fantastic fonts. 

Stop by Cindy's page on Creative Market and take a look at all the other font packs she's got in her shop. I'd be surprised if you don't find something you just HAVE to have.

Have a wonderful week!