Saturday, December 31, 2011

one more goodbye...

2011 ends with yet another parting in our family. aunt pearl, my husband's great aunt and one of the most amazing ladies i've ever had the honor and pleasure of knowing, passed away this morning at 96.5 years old. pearl was so strong that she managed to fight off pancreatic cancer for months -- an amazing feat at any age, especially at 96. until the end she was insightful, loving, cunning... a woman with many stories that could still give me directions in a car and never managed to think of herself alone. our daughter lost another close person in her life, my husband lost what was essentially his grandmother, and i lost a lady that i had become incredibly close to in my 13 years of knowing her. i'm so grateful that we had all that time at all.

i leave you with the portrait i did of her as her 95th birthday present. this is just how we'll remember her.

seriously, is it 2012 yet?

Friday, December 30, 2011

wow, it's almost 2012! farewell 2011...

and i haven't updated this blog in a month. can you tell i've been busy?

i'd like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to 2011. it was a rough, roller-coaster of a year. we had our ups (my business, dave's new job, finding a new apartment), and we had our downs -- all involving, very sadly, the health of loved ones. the biggest downer, of course, being the passing of my dad. and this set the tone for the entire year.

while i fully believe in being optimistic at all times, there are just some things that you can't fully push past. nor should you. some things are life-altering, never corrected moments that take a while to get around. notice i didn't say "get over", because i don't think you ever really get over the loss of someone important to you. but you do get around it, you live a life after it, you do continue to grow and change and love and laugh. or, at least you should. my dad would have wanted it that way.

and we are pushing. i spent the month and a half after my dad's death prepping completely for my first National Stationery Show, which completely changed my business (for the better). my cards are now in 23 stores across the country and i am beyond happy with the connections and friends that i've made this year. my daughter is going to be 3 in january (i KNOW!!), and is flourishing at school. we are moving in 2012 to a new, bigger apartment in our current neighborhood, which makes us happy on so many levels. and i know that life has more good in store, and hopefully less bad.

we tried our absolute best to have a good christmas, not only for our daughter's sake, but also for our mental and emotional well-being. heck, we all need a little happiness at the holidays, right?
as a closing to 2011, and a very fond farewell, i leave you with the portrait i did of my father for my family, as a christmas gift. yes, we'll move forward, but we'll never forget him. here's hoping he's watching out for us in 2012.

** portrait done using 2 photos taken at my wedding rehearsal dinner in 2006 by mo daoud.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

happy december!

hi all!! life is crazier here than usual, so i just wanted to check in while i had a moment. happy december! are you all getting ready for the holidays? i know i am! check out the holiday cards that the nic studio is sending out as we speak!

pay attention to the design... this illustrated print style is something that's coming in the spring to my card collection! it's inspired by the illustrated patterning i did for the bride-to-be book. let me know what you think. =)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

that's right, i designed and illustrated a BOOK! and it's a bridal book!

check it out!  amy krause rosenthal's newest book, published by random house's potter style division, is the first full book that i've illustrated and designed. and, lo and behold, it's a bridal book! 

it's the bride-to-be book, a scrapbook of sorts for planning and remembering your wedding. i designed the interior pages and did the little illustrations, as well as the illustrated prints on the pockets (which hold things like cards, photos, fabric samples, clippings).  i'm excited to say that the book will be available for purchase soon (actual dates vary -- but the site says December of 2011)! 

a huge thank you to danielle deschenes, my good friend since our time at syracuse university, for inviting me to do this. it was so great to see both our names together on the inside cover! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

illustration in question: chevy chase in funny farm

does anyone know who did the original illustration for the funny farm poster? i dig it! but i can't find the artist's info.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

my letter to apple: the loss of steve jobs

this is the email i just sent to apple:

i just wanted to extend my sincerest condolences to the apple team, the pixar team, and whomever steve knew and touched in his very short lifetime.

we've all been sharing our first mac stories on twitter this evening. mine was a G4 tower, a graduation gift from my mom & dad in 2000. everything i own for my work is mac based. i am in constant awe of the innovation, the design, the attention to detail, the LOVE that goes into apple products. only steve jobs could have done that.

i'm incredibly distraught tonight over this loss. cancer has taken my dad from me this year (lung cancer), and is about to take an aunt (also pancreatic). while i hate this disease more than anything right now, i am reminded of something i heard on the radio some weeks back. a story from a nurse, who said that though cancer is horrifying, it's also kind. in most cases, it gives the patient the ability to choose how he/she dies, gives them a chance to get their affairs in order, gives them a chance to say goodbye. my father wasn't afforded this luxury, but we know that steve jobs was. he fought for a long time, as long as he could. then he got his affairs in order, and said goodbye. for this small wonder, i am grateful.

i know that apple will continue to make great products in steve's legacy. i will continue to honor him as well.

thank you for everything steve.

you can also share your thoughts on steve jobs at

Monday, September 19, 2011

5+ years -- an anniversary for Nic. AKA "how did i get here?"

i just realized, admittedly a few weeks late, that i've hit my 5 year anniversary of being a stationery designer, of being on my own. happy anniversary to me!

my story is pretty familiar to many. it's the same story a lot of solopreneurs tell. i used to be a publication designer -- senior designer at the student-centered magazine CollegeBound Teen. the company was small and family-run, we all loved working with each other, it was a good place to get my start. i got to explore my talents, art direct projects, work photo shoots, and really put my own stamp on something under a great art director and with some really great coworkers in the art and editorial departments. i redesigned the magazine and put all my energies into the pub, and was not interested in doing anything else (like web design). well, like so many other publications but unbeknownst to us, it just wasn't doing very well. and in august of 2006, our CEO laid off 1/3 of the company (people that were primarily associated with the mag) and closed the magazine. i was all of a sudden out of a job.

one of my last cover designs at CB Teen, for Spring 2006.

one of the story spread layouts done for CB Teen.

i was sad, i was in shock, but i sort of knew it had to happen. i quite literally bought the domain for the next day and started to put together my freelance stationery design. i had had some clients on the side since i had done the design for my own wedding in april of 2006, and i just went full-steam ahead with that. said goodbye to my former coworkers (some of whom stayed for the new incarnation of the company), took some awesome office supplies with me, and set up shop at home with my very supportive husband. and so began this adventure.

one of my earlier wedding designs for jaime and anthony.

from one of my current 11 sets in my wedding invitation line, graffiti union.

things have grown and changed quite a bit over time -- the biggest change having come after the economic crisis of 2009, when i had to refocus the business or fold altogether. and now i'm really doing what i always wanted to do -- using my illustration skills and essentially drawing for a living! i get to be home with my daughter all day (as much as she may drive me crazy sometimes and as hard as it may be to work normal hours), i get to choose my work and my clients, i get to develop my own line with my own point of view and determine my own future. all of this adds up to quite a wonderful change in these 5 years, as hard as it may have been at times.

just wanted to say thank you to all my former coworkers who are still some of my closest friends, everyone that believes in my new work, the press that has given me a presence over the years, and the biggest thank you to my husband for supporting me both emotionally and financially. not many men would take such a big economic hit willingly and so happily over such a long period of time. it feels great to know that he believes in me that much.

raise a cup of coffee and toast to your own successes, as i toast to mine. now, off to do more work!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

inspired by: norman rockwell (and my kid)

anna jae started school last week. big, HUGE deal. moments like this always lead me to think of norman rockwell paintings. one day i expect anna jae's day to look like this (wouldn't that be lovely?).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

the anniversary we've all been dreading

we are on the cusp of the anniversary we've all been dreading. the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

as a new yorker, i'm too sad and in too much grief to write much. all the talk around here this week, in the media and in the air, has caused a sort of general melancholy. i don't really want to rehash where i was, what i saw, how i felt. i've told the story for the previous 9+ years. i just feel incapable of telling it tonight.

what i will say is that i'm happy to see the lights, the ghosts of the towers that used to be, on the horizon. they went on already, this evening. sad to be reminded of what's coming, but glad to be comforted by them yet again. my husband and i have always loved those lights. we're glad they are still here. sort of like a giant guardian angel for NYC.

milton glaser, 2001.

i'm am, as always, a proud new yorker that loves her city. i love that i live in a highly mixed neighborhood in brooklyn, with a large muslim contingent, that greets me with smiles every day. i love that i was born here, grew up here, and i can only see living here until i'm old and gray. and i love that no one has taken that from me.

i wish you and your loved ones solace and comfort tomorrow. remember in whatever way works best for you, just make sure you remember. and please, all of us, be safe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

real client wedding: piper & carl are hitched!

just wanted to do a quick shoutout to a great couple, piper & carl, who were just married this past sunday in brooklyn. these two were great clients, lovely friends, and i'm so happy to know that i had a small part in their wedding. thanks you two! congrats!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

website and email down

hey everyone. just wanted to let you know that my website and email are DOWN. down down. nothing to be done. waiting for my host to get their act together. in the meantime, you can catch me on twitter or my facebook page.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i'm an expert!! i'm an expert!! how weird...

yes folks, after years of doing stationery design for a living, i'm officially an expert. how official, you ask? oh, THIS official: i'm an "expert" for 17 videos about wedding invitations on howcast! it's pretty weird, watching myself talk to viewers about this subject -- but i'm happy with the way it came out! and i hope others are happy with them too.

one of the videos is embedded here, but you can watch the rest on howcast. collect all 17!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

inspired by... toulouse lautrec

this evening i am feeling the emotion behind toulouse lautrec's paintings. love this passionate kiss...

image via daily artist.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

inspired by... edward hopper

i'm feeling the hopper today. this one makes me think of summer in NYC. windows open, trying to beat the heat, seeing into someone's life a little bit when peering through. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

what i think of when i think of the hamptons...

yep! finally, a weekend away! dave and i are going to the hamptons this weekend on a much-belated 5th anniversary mini-vaca. damn, do we need it! and i need lots of adult-only relaxation and fun. adios, anna, see ya when we get back!! (oh, and i'll miss you, i promise).

mind you, we're not rich, so it's not like we're doing a summer rental or anything. no no, just a hotel for a couple of days to recharge our batteries. wine, food, ahhhh.. so what do i think of when i think of the hamptons? check it out:

beautiful, relaxed, shingled homes like this one. via the hamptons real estate blog.

wine tasting!! we're staying at the end of long island before the forks, so we're going to be able to visit all our favorite vineyards this time. high on the list is always shinn estate on the north fork and wolffer estate on the south fork. photo courtesy of wolffer estate.

farm stands! we usually stop off at farm stands when going out with our friends for a day... there's nothing like fresh strawberries. mmmm... this year, we'll have to just bring back some goodies for anna jae. photo courtesy of sag harbor days.

not to mention great restaurants, relaxing strolls/drives (once you're past the traffic!), and quiet. ahhh... i'll be sure to take some nic-type photos when i'm there to really explain what i see when i see the hamptons.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

change, it is a-happenin'!

hey all. i know, i know, i keep going pretty long between updates. life just has a way of taking over. ah well... i'm still here! and i wanted to let you know what's going on in my little nic world.

first of all, there have been some website changes. so check it out! i have more to come (updating my custom invitations with new work, updating some pics in my ready-to-order section), but it's on its way. complete with a new splash page, new header, new press page, and new ready-to-order info.

nic•notes cards are finally officially available in stores across the country, as well as in my dear•nic etsy shop. so check 'em out! for a store near you, please visit my site.

the nic studio was recently featured four times in the timeout ny weddings guide, local stationery section. one of my sets for PS Brooklyn was also included. i'm in some great company, and i'm honored to start the slideshow. thanks to timeout ny for including me.

NY FINALLY LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE!!! i'm so so so SO happy about this. i celebrated with my husband last night, after being glued to the live senate feed for an hour. in celebration, i'm offering my same-sex wedding cards with free shipping for a limited time. there are two cards -- one for male couples and one for female couples. also, as an LGBT friendly vendor, i'm looking forward to an influx of same-sex marriages! i'm pretty damn excited about this. if you're interested, please contact me.

i've been pretty busy since the stationery show, filling out orders, completing a gift book design/illustration for random house, and doing some press. anna jae is back to being my constant companion, and couldn't be happier about being such a bother. =) we're enjoying summer so far, and have a full schedule for the season, but i'm looking to move onto new work.

hope you're all well! drop me a line and let me know what is going on in your little world, and thanks for visiting mine. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

NSS recap - my first show!

it came. it went. it's over, and i'm here with my feet up. it was my first stationery show, and this is my story...

as you probably already know, the lead-up to the show for me was pretty rough. my dad passed away march 25, after an intense but short illness, and i did all my show prep after his funeral. and i mean ALL. all paper goods, all booth designs, all purchases for booth styling, everything. which pretty much guaranteed a stressful show setup. any time something went wrong, i lost it a little bit... my husband wasn't too thrilled with that! but in the end, it all came together.

the main plan for the booth was to make it comfy and homey. my work relates back to real life, and i wanted the booth to be personal as well, instead of feeling like a store display. we made walls out of masonite with a wood frame, got bookshelves and a table/chairs from ikea, curtains, and i made a custom pendant lamp with fabric i designed and had printed with fabric on demand.

 dave putting together the bookshelves.

 bookshelf up, and the wire hung for the lampshade.

the masonite walls weren't the best -- the masonite warped a bit, and we had quite a bit of trouble putting them up (a big shout-out to my friend where for helping with the walls on friday). next year we're going to do something different, but with all the window dressing, it worked out.

the final booth, all put together. the logos and booth numbers were vinyl decals. the shelves held my notecards and my invitation binders, and the walls had 3 frames each with my new invitation sets in them.

 we lost a little bit of wall space in the end, so we had to eliminate the frames from the walls that held my prints. i put two of them on my desk instead, with all of my promo materials and the recipe card giveaway.

 bike for two set.

 winter woods set.

 graffiti union set.

 destination wedding set.

 rainy day wedding set.

 closeup of my pendant lamp. couldn't have made it without the help of my friends danielle and aileen -- it took a whole afternoon!

moving onto the show itself... it went really well! the notecards were surprisingly popular -- and i only say surprisingly because they are a new venture for me and i didn't know how they would fare. but it seemed as though buyers and visitors alike truly related to the cards, which is exactly what i hoped for.

 i got seriously lucky with my aisle -- as a first timer, i didn't know who would be with me, and having a good row is helpful. well, was i a happy girl. in our little section, we had fugu fugu press, banquet atelier and workshop, and just eleanor. not only did we get along really well, but we also truly enjoyed each other's work. what a great feeling to be appreciated and helped by your fellow stationers, rather than to dislike, disapprove, or feel in competition with them.

there were so many great exhibitors nearby as well. mr. boddington's studio, a forever favorite of mine, were just down our aisle...
 loved their booth!

 get a load of this bike! made out of foamcore i think. insane!

claudia of fig. 2 design studio also premiered at this show, around the corner from me. her booth was yummy.

rachael of pistachio press did a great job with her booth, helped a great deal by her husband jake.

paisley tree press, right across the aisle from pistachio, had the best wine tags. i want one. (i almost stole one, no joke).

amber at flywheel press had a fun chalkboard-themed booth, also manned by her husband rich. amber also organized the recipe card promo with legion paper, which i will blog about this weekend.

lisa of sapling press has awesome notecards, and was the genius behind last year's sensation, the stationery/stationary totes. awe-some!

katie of kelp designs had her always-eco-friendly display, with the most awesome wood signs. loved the twitter/recycle/tradeshow bootcamp icons (katie headed up the tradeshow bootcamp, a HUGE help for us first-timers).

 and then it was all over! tear down was amazingly fast, but loading up the car sucked because of all the rain. still, it was a great show, and i'm already planning my changes for next year. thank you to my husband for all the support and for building the booth; my mom for watching our daughter so much while i was working trying to finish everything, and for helping in the booth; my mother-in-law for coming in to hang out with anna while i was being all professional; and to loren and carrie for keeping me company and manning the booth with me on sunday (extra-special thanks to loren for also helping in the design of the booth itself).

and of course, a huge thanks to all my fellow stationers, my lovely booth visitors, my buyers, and the press. you made it a great show for me, and i hope that i can see you all again next year.