moodboard: black, white & lavendar.

Moodboard_IceCream | dotted design

I’m happy to share a cheerful moodboard today {those East Coasters might be needing something bright!}. The shop that this is for is focused around the idea of purple, and I’m striving to create a look that feels modern but with a hint of a vintage vibe mixed in. The black and white is clean and bold, but the purple brings a little softness.

It’s always hard for me to push beyond black and white when I love the palette so much. How do you push yourself to go beyond what feels comfortable?


clever valentine cards.

Valentine Cards Round Up

February is upon us, which means I’m getting excited for an excuse to buy cards! I’m of the tribe that goes for the silly or clever cards rather than the sappy, so here is my round up of a few of my favorite Valentine options.

Get them here:

1. Let’s Be Frank, Hello Lucky

2. On the Couch, Farewell Paperie

3. Glad I Found You, Ladyfingers Letterpress

4. Heart Boom, The Social Type

5. Okay I Guess, Emily McDowell

6. In Spite of Your Flaws, Rifle Paper Co.

7. I Love Us, Sugar Paper

8. Dino-mite, Dotted Design

deck your desktop

Do Good Work | Free Download on Design Dotted

Today’s free desktop wallpaper download is a phrase that it all comes back to: do good work. I love a background with lots of free space so I have room for any icons that happen to be living on my desktop at a given time, so I crafted up this version. Hopefully it gets you a bit of inspiration and a prettier computer, tablet, or phone. Download away!

Have any suggestions for future phrases or patterns you’d like to see on your desktop? Let me know!

get it:  1920×1200  |  iPad  |  iPhone


7 little ways to be a brighter person.

We made it through the first full week of the year! In the Midwest, we’re dealing with sub-zero temperatures and wind chill advisories – making it pretty hard to get motivated in the morning.

Let me guess: you haven’t made it to the gym every day this week. You didn’t give up sugar because you found some leftover chocolate from your stocking. You haven’t even started reading a new book to meet your 10-a-month goal. Making these specific resolutions can make it easy to feel discouraged about your New Year progress, so instead I’m offering you some small goals that you can achieve any time this year and on any schedule. You’ll feel brighter {and brighten others}. Just try these simple ways:


1)      Wear one clothing item or accessory outside your comfort zone.

We all have that friend who rocks bold lipstick or oozes style with her over-the-knee boots. If you admire a look on someone else, why are you worried you’ll look ridiculous? Give that top knot a try or swing a circle skirt. Try it in a setting where you know you’ll be comfortable and just go for it. Not only will it be fun, but you’ll feel accomplished for taking a chance.

2)      Send a thank you note.

This one is easy after the holidays – let someone know how much you appreciated her card or gift! Gratitude is still great via an emoji-filled text, but it is extra special when delivered to your real life mailbox. Even better: send a note to a friend or relative just to thank them for playing a role in their life. Who doesn’t love a little snail mail? Plus, it’s a great excuse to get some new stationery.

3)      Call your grandma.

Or your mom. Or your college roommate that lives in Boston. Here again, the emoji text is nice, but how much better is it to hear someone’s voice once in awhile? Even 10 minutes will truly brighten a day. Plus, now your grandma will have some new material when bragging about her grandchild to the bridge group.

4)      Don’t take a picture.

I admit: I’m a total Instagram addict. I love seeing the beautiful snaps in my feed and binging on all the imagery. But, it hurts my soul when I see a group out to dinner and everyone is on their phones or spending 20 minutes getting photos of every combination of people at the table. Now, I totally get wanting to document moments or capture the most beautiful sushi presentation you’ve seen. I simply challenge you to have one outing where you have such great conversation that you forget you even have a phone.

5)      Write down one thing you’re thankful for every day for a week.

Nightly gratitude journal for 365 days? Way too daunting. Knowing you have to do it for just a week seems much more doable. If that’s all you do, you’ll have a list of seven things you can look back at and feel gratitude all over again. Or, maybe, you’ll be inspired to write something down more often without the pressure of missing a day.

6)      Find 5 items in your house to donate.

Every once in awhile, I reach a boiling point and want to get rid of crap in my house or my closet. I sort through long-ignored clothes, overflowing closets, and sometimes even the mystery piles under the bed. Filling up a bag of things that are cluttering my life but could be part of someone else’s is a lovely feeling. Give that vase that’s tired of hibernating a chance to see daylight, and let that sweater that never really fit well hug someone else. It’s a great cleanse without all that questionable green juice.

7)      Forgive yourself for something.

We all have things, both big and small, that we feel badly about. It could be something you always come back to and get mad at yourself about, or something small that happened recently that you can’t shake. Let that sh*t go. Maybe you didn’t speak up about your accomplishments at work, were passed over for a promotion, and now are mad at yourself. Maybe you forgot to give your hair stylist a Christmas gift and are feeling guilty. Big or small, dwelling on the past will get you nowhere.  Learn, forgive yourself, and move forward.

You don’t have to do something monumental or measurable to be a better human. It’s all the little things that make us brighter.

2014 highlights.


As the year comes to a close, the huge crop of end-of-year recap posts start to emerge. While I don’t want to get too nostalgic or focus too much on what has passed, I do think it’s great to look back on all you accomplish in a year. Instead of a December recap, I want to reflect on some of the fantastic things that have happened this year as well as highlight some of my favorite posts.

Here are just a few of this year’s highlights:

  1. I had a blast doing a new series, a Handlettered Holiday Happy Hour (say that three times fast!). See them all here.
  2. B and I had an awesome trip to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Traveling is so good for the soul. {Photo above is of Prague}
  3. I really honed in on my design process, with my favorite step likely being the moodboard. This one was my favorite!
  4. I designed some really fun brands and websites for some wonderful people, including Media Bombshell and Lauren Wald. Lady power!
  5. One of my favorite blog series to compile has been Style It / Send It – gives me an excuse to look for stationery and shoes at the same time.
  6. I added some fun cards to my Etsy shop, and will be adding some new projects soon!

Back to December now: this month’s favorite…
Font: Feast from Great Lakes Lettering
Snack: All the Christmas cookies.
TV show: Peaky Blinders on Netflix.
Book: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

What was the best part about your year? While I’m not one for big New Year goal setting or resolution keeping (I think it’s something one should do year round!), I can’t wait to share more with you as we head into 2015. Thanks for reading this year, and may great design fill your new year!


free printable gift tags!

merry gift tag

Are you doing some last minute gift wrapping today (or tomorrow)? I’ve got a pretty little gift tag that you can download and print! It took all my strength not to make it black and white; the holiday season is about the only time I’ll make something red.

All you have to do is download, save, print, and trim:

Download Merry gift tags

I’ll be taking a little hiatus from the blog while I enjoy some time with my family over the next week, and I wish you a most peaceful and joyful holiday!