That poor cat’s finally out of the bag …

January 25, 2012 § 3 Comments

Hey there! Hey look, it's Gretchen! Hi!

So Jot’s new roomie? It’s Gretchen O! And she finally wrote a post officially announcing her office space so now I can talk about it and talk about her. And talk about how exciting this is.

Gretchen and I met through a mutual friend about the time I opened Jot. We immediately realized that we had a TON in common and also immediately became creative cheerleaders for one another. And we almost immediately started talking about partnering in some way, shape or form. It’s just taken this long for stars and planets to align!

So let’s dish about G … there are endless reasons to love her, but here are my top three:*

1. She’s an immensely talented designer whether it’s graphic or interior – totally double-threat, like one of those people who sing and dance equally well.  Actually, she might be a singer and dancer, too … I’ll ask.

2. She’s one of the most creative people I know

3. No fear. For instance, she wants to have a certain print on a certain fabric? Oh and it doesn’t already exist? No problem-o, because this gal won’t stop until she has created a design, sourced the printing of the fabric, and has pillows, drapes and a jaunty bag to show for it.

So needless to say, we have some grand plans from video tutorials to in-house letterpressing to fixing up our studio space. I think I mentioned that in my previous post so forgive me; I’m just so excited!

Anyhow, I can’t wait for you guys to see the new space and meet Gretchen in person! And if you’re interested in reading her blog, which you should be, visit http://gretchenopgenorthdesigns.blogspot.com

* Despite our similarities, we have one difference: I’m a habitual list maker, as we all know, and it has to be written down or it didn’t/won’t happen.  And item #4 that I love about Gretchen is that she is able to multi-task without a physical list. It’s like a superpower. Seriously amazing. But yesterday, to attest to what a great roommate she will be, G co-created an actual, written down to-do list just to humor me. So now I’m making a list about her. It’s an illness, don’t judge.

That which doesn’t kill you …

January 10, 2012 § 10 Comments

… makes you stronger and more awesome!

Jot friends: it’s been such a long time and lots of things have happened in the past couple months. I’ve been sitting on a secret, which cannot wait any longer. I haven’t been able to share until things were official but …

We have a NEW LOCATION!

I know, I know … it’s the third time that Jot has moved in the past four years trying to find the perfect spot. But we’ve found it, and barring fires, floods or general natural disasters, it will be our home for a very, very long time.

The space — which is 3140 Carlisle Street — is really fantastic, but to get it fit for human occupation, we’ve put in a ton of elbow grease. It was tough and there was a lot of heavy sighing, some yelling at inanimate objects, and paint debacles. Here’s where I say a huge thank you to the family and friends who have helped transform our little nook from this …

the green monster

To this …

prime time

And, finally, to this …

almost there ... almost

It’s going to be amazing! There’s enough room for a couple meeting areas, plus, a generous work space for me to make the magic happen, which if any of you visited us at 2900 Devine, you know what an improvement that will be over my former cubby/cave/office.

To go hand-in-hand with the new space, Jot’s website is getting an overhaul by a local web guru. We meet tomorrow for the second official time and there’s even talk of e-commerce! I’ll keep you posted on that one for sure.

Perhaps the best part of the new locale is that I’m sharing a space with an incredibly talented interior designer. We have many grand plans involving designing fabrics/wallpaper, posting video tutorials on marbling paper and reupholstering chairs, and I cannot wait to see what cool stuff comes out of our little studio on Carlisle for you.

And hopefully we didn’t inhale enough dust, asbestos or paint fumes to cause permanent lung damage.

Here’s to 2012.

Autumnal A.D.D.

October 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

How is it already Thursday?! Do you ever have weeks like that? I feel like my head is spinning, in a good way, but spinning nonetheless. I came home yesterday, couldn’t find one of my favorite pens, only to realize that I had five of them in my hair. Oy.

Every year, about this time, I get super antsy for multiple reasons: The weather is gorgeous, I get to wear boots, new fall TV, it’s finally cool enough to cook, there’s college football, porch sitting, butternut squash, banjo lessons, leaves … I can go on and on. In the fall, I always get this crush of creativity, which has been dormant, stifled by South Carolina’s months of 100+ temperatures and 1,000 percent humidity. Normally, all these fall distractions coincide with holiday designing and spring/summer wedding designs, which I can handle due to the increased creativity, but additionally, this year all these things also coincide with business restructuring! That entails figuring out an appointment and pick-up schedule, launching an online store (stay tuned), trying to get in the blog/FB/tweeting groove, researching search engine optimization … all less exciting than creating things but equally as important.

MWAHCK! I have so many ideas and time flies. I literally have to keep a notebook beside my bed so when an idea strikes, I can immediately write it down. And now … enter Pinterest.

Literally, in the past few days, I feel like twenty people have asked if I am on Pinterest. One of them was in line behind me at the grocery store; I know I’m late to the party. I love the idea of it. I think it’s a great tool. I think it’s genius, and I’m not-so-secretly irritated that I didn’t think of it because I am a lifelong magazine-article, printed-matter clipper/hoarder. I assemble these elaborate binders and have probably created a fire hazard in my house. But y’all, I was trying to ignore Pinterest because I think it could turn into a black hole time suck that prevents me from showering and brushing my teeth on a regular basis. And as aforementioned in another post, I like my husband and going out in public.

Anyhow, after the fifty bazillionth person needed me to have an active Pinterest account, I’ve given in and thrown it onto the heap of this fall’s distractions. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I hope it turns into a great way to share ideas and is a fantastic design tool for me. Any thoughts or recommendations on how to maximize the usefulness and minimize the crazy are much appreciated …

Eat your heart out, Old MacDonald

September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I know I’ve blogged about wedding invitations, and in truth, that’s a huge part of Jot. But we love doing all kinds of invitations! Kids’ birthdays are among my favorite events to design for. They’re usually super creative ideas with lots of color or fun rhymes, there’s usually a cute theme, and because the moms start with a great idea, I just have to help execute it.

One of my moms (who I first met as a bride) always has a great idea for her daughter’s birthday. Last year, the party was a bubble-themed party, and her idea was to mail the invite in bubble bottles. Did you know that you can totally mail oddly shaped things, not necessarily in a box or envelope as long as you check the postage? I’ve even heard about people mailing beach balls!!! Anyhow, for the bubble party, she drained and dried the bottles and we made labels for the outside of the bottle — this is where she wrote addresses — and the actual invite rolled up inside. Here’s the design; I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo of an assembled bottle.

This year, she was doing a farm theme and wanted an interactive invite so we made a pink barn with a door that opened to reveal the invite info. I had the BEST time drawing animals and making a cute barnyard scene. And of course, the barn is pink. And it had these big, square, pink envelopes … so fun! And of course, the mom had the rhyme picked out and I love the “yay or neigh” in lieu of saying “please R.s.v.p.” … My photography skills are lacking, and yowza, my window sill desperately needs painting … but ta-da!

If I had to do it over again, I’d double print the top layer so that the inside of the doors had the same cross beams as the front of the door, but alas. Oh and for the record, when we post actual invites online, we smudge out as much personal information as we can — residential street addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Hence the slight blurriness and weird spacing.

For the love …

September 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

This is a work blog, but I couldn’t be Jot without the cheerleading and encouragement of the mister. He’s painted displays, picked up things from printers, delivered stuff to customers, helped me punch holes, assemble invitations and round corners on programs. He’s even pretty good at critiquing designs.

While Jot celebrates four years in October — and I can hardly believe this — as of this Friday, I’ve been married to DF for five. I mean, I’m partial, but he *is* pretty awesome. As I write this, he’s downstairs trying to nurture our water heater’s pilot light after a basement flood. Although I think it’s mostly motivated by the insanely high repair estimate, part of his determination is because I’m tired of cold showers. Our basement — and that term is used loosely — is a creepy, dirty place (a good friend appropriately likened it to that garbage compactor scene in “Star Wars” with that weird monster? Yup, it’s that creepy). Anyhow, DF’s kneeling on the wet concrete trying to coax life out of a tiny flame. Did I mention that he doesn’t really know anything about hot water heaters? That’s love. And that’s just one isolated incident: he’s overcome allergies because I owned a cat and St. Bernard. He’s also dealt with banjo lessons, pottery classes, countless home-improvement projects, disastrous cooking experiments, a newspaper work schedule, self-employment, etc, etc. Patience of Job, that one …

But I digress … I’m amazed on a daily basis at how love finds people. I think I wrote previously about all the different stories I hear in my job, but I can barely believe my own story. I met DF at a college football game and had no idea that the nice Clemson fan beside me during a Carolina/Kentucky game, the same nice fellow whose first conversation with me literally involved him whistling “Rocky Top,” (I bleed Tennessee orange)  would later become *my* one-and-only. That feeling of hope, happiness and excitement is what makes me want to help people with their major life events, and it stems from the love of my man.

So, with all that said, here’s to many, many more …

Vive la France!

September 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The coolest part of my job is meeting brides and hearing their stories. Every bride and every wedding is unique. I love hearing the “how we met” stories and “how he proposed” — it’s my favorite thing to ask! So my job is to bring that one-of-a-kind quality through to their paper products.

One of my favorite all-time invite suites was Ashley’s. Her mom contacted me through Cricket Newman about the availability of eco-friendly save-the-dates and invites. But the catch was that Ashley and her fiance lived in France. So we had to do a lot of work via email. She sent idea boards; they all kept coming back to eco-friendly, and she wanted to do something that reflected their life in France.

Her save-the-date was on a beautiful washed-out robin’s-egg-blue flecked paper that is produced in Michigan at one of the country’s last independent paper mills. Oh, and double-bonus, the mill also produces its own energy using hydroelectric generators so it’s gorgeous paper that you can feel good about! But I digress …

Next, we planned out Ashley’s invite. She really wanted to incorporate something French into the invite, while keeping it simple and fresh. At some point, the idea came about to do a dual-language invite, which evolved into doing two languages on a flat card so everyone could see the translation but it seemed repetitive to use Ashley and Jerome’s names twice. We had our calligrapher write the names larger than normal so they could span both translations. We also chose eco-friendly letterpress and beautiful cotton paper for the pieces, and we lined the single envelope with the same blue of the save-the-date. But the best part? It will likely be the only time we can use the words “répondez s’il vous plaît” (what R.s.v.p. actually stands for) and have it be totally, completely spot on!!!

Without further ado, here’s the whole suite … not pictured are the post-wedding single-monogrammed notecards. Anyhow, happy Saturday!

Ode to a list …

September 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am so OCD that I love marking things off a list. With a red pen. I write in black, mark off in red. Super anal. I actually have weekly running to-do lists for Jot that I use to gauge whether the week was a success, and by proxy, whether I have been a success. I also have daily lists, grocery lists, book lists, movie lists, lists in my knitting bag, long-term life goal lists … it can get exhausting, but it’s what I do. On a non-productive week, I’ve even been known to write down something I’ve already accomplished (i.e. making the bed, emptying the dishwasher) just to mark it off the daily list and feel better about myself. Sad, really …

But the most fantastic thing about Jot’s new studio hours is that I have way more control over my time, which ultimately means more things checked off the list and that results in better customer service. It’s been a little rocky the past couple weeks as everyone gets used to the new setup, but guess what? The weekly Jot list is almost TOTALLY checked off!!! I cannot even begin to describe the delight in seeing an entire list on a legal sheet marked through in red. Delightful, firm, final red ink. When I had retail hours, lots of things had to carry over to the next week, which drove me crazy.

Sadly though, a casualty of efficiency has been the blog. But now that I’m caught up, I’m back at it. And yes, today’s list will include blogging, tweeting and facebooking — all marked off. I am drawing a red heart around my list. Or framing it.

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