Posts tagged Seattle
Our First SideTour: Reveal the Art of Antique Letterpress Printing
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Last weekend we hosted our first official tour/workshop through SideTour! SideTour is an online marketplace for experiences that help you explore your city.

Although SideTour has been active in other cities for some time, they just launched in Seattle last month. We are excited and honored to be one of the first tours offered in our fine city! Our tour/workshop is titled: Reveal the Art of Antique Letterpress Printing. Our very first (and sold out!) tour started with a brief history of printing, from the invention of movable type through the manufacture of our early 1900's iron handpress. After the history lesson, our impressionable students (how punny of me!) rolled up their sleeves and jumped into the world of letterpress to design their own poster with vintage wood type and printer's blocks.

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It was super fun to see what they came up with! The photo above shows one of my favorites: "If it's not awesome, we're not doing it!' Once they'd put the finishing touches on their idea, each participant got the chance to print their design on the iron handpress. I really enjoyed seeing the look of joy on each person's face as they saw their image printed for the first time. That feeling never gets old!

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If you're here in Seattle, we'd love to print with you at a future tour! You can find more details and sign up on our SideTour page.

Interview: Emily, Spring 2013 Intern
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Today is an interview with someone who I consider a "kindred spirit." She was so much fun to have in the studio!

By the way, I swear i'm not bribing these people to say nice things. It's been unexpected and wonderful to hear how much our interns have enjoyed their experiences! This is by far our longest and most thorough interview yet, and I love it because it perfectly encapsulates Emily's personality. I know you'll love her! Here she is, Spring 2013 intern Emily Scott!

Q: What was interning for Constellation like? How did working with letterpress change how you work now?
I absolutely loved interning for Constellation. I not only got to be a part of all sorts of cool projects, but I also learned a ton about the letterpress process: how to mix color, how to set and put away type, how to foil stamp, how to clean the press, the list goes on and on. In addition to getting a chance to work both Josephine and Wendy (don't worry those aren't people) I got to be a part of the design process. I loved getting to work on wedding projects, especially creating mood boards, because then I got to look at cute wedding things on Pinterest to find inspiration. Plus designing things for someone's wedding is just the best thing ever.

My favorite project that I got to be a part of was definitely We Make Seattle. I'm really proud of how everything came out. Sara, Dorothy (the other spring intern), and I got to work together to create some "swag" including a really awesome poster and set of coasters. This fall I went back into the studio a couple of times to help Sara print the posters on the iron handpress, and that was a lot of fun. FUN. That's what interning at Constellation was like...Absolute fun. Design/letterpress things aside, I got to sit in on a client meeting for We Make Seattle to talk about visual direction, and that was a really good experience.

I also got a first-hand look at how a small business like Constellation works - everything from bookkeeping, to working with clients, to understanding the importance of organization. There are so many things that go into running a small business that had never crossed my mind. It was nice to experience them rather than reading about it online or in a book. Designing specifically for letterpress has taught me the importance of simplicity. Successful typography and creative but simple illustrations can definitely take you a long way. Working with letterpress also taught me the importance of patience. There is quite a bit of adjusting that goes into the actual act of printing; you can't just click a button and expect it to come out perfectly. There will be flaws, the ink won't necessarily be even across the page, and there might be a smudge or line here and there, but all of those things add character to each printed piece. The further I move along in my career as a designer, the more I settle into my own style, and working at Constellation definitely helped push me forward in that direction.

Q: Tell us about your favorite part of the studio - the recycling bin.
Words cannot express how much I love that recycling bin. Let me lay it down for you. Ok. So. Sara creates really awesome things, right? (Everybody knows that so we'll just move on.) Well what do you think happens to all of the "oopsies!" the "just a little to the left's," or the "too much impression's" ? Since they are no longer sellable or client-worthy, they get put in the recycling bin, which is basically a danger zone for people like me. I walk into a paper store and can easily drop $30 on a couple pieces of paper (it sounds ridiculous, but if you saw the array of beautiful sheets at some of these places you would understand what I'm talking about). Anyways, I come in to the studio and casually glance at the bin a few times. I feel like Sara always knows I'm eyeing her trash, so sometimes I don't even have to ask to sift through it. Then the real fun begins. I have quite the collection of cards, partially-printed wedding invites, posters, the whole shabang - most of which are now decorating the walls of my room. Some of the scraps were just blank pieces of paper (small, but such great quality) that I use for things like writing encouraging notes to people or making little mini paintings. I'm such a romantic so anything with "The journey is sweeter with you by my side" or "I'm over the moon for you" or basically just any of the You/Me stuff automatically catches my eye. Also, anything with trees. Sara has done a few projects with tree illustrations, so finding one of those in the bin is always a treat. Probably one of my most favorite things from the bin is a map with "You are home to me" printed on it. I also picked up a couple sweet constellation journals. Neither of them were my star sign, but they were just too cool to pass up. I love to write and I've already filled one of them and am currently halfway through the other. In a nutshell. The recycling bin is the best.

Q: You're graduating soon from SPU, what is your next step?
A college Senior's least favorite question. Apart from hopefully finding a design job upon graduating I am currently hoping to go to grad school to get my Masters in Art Therapy. I'm currently working on applying to a handful of schools and hopefully at least one of them will work out. I studied Art Therapy for my Senior project in High School and spent ample time volunteering with kids during that time, so its kind of funny that after almost four years God has brought me back to Art Therapy and filled my heart with new vision and interest. I am passionate about both design and helping people to use art to communicate what words cannot, and to me it makes the most sense to pursue both. While I am both excited and expectant about what lies ahead, for now I'm just trying to live one day at a time.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
This one is easy. Marrakesh. Its a Moroccan restaurant in Belltown and they have THE best food. There also happens to be one in Portland, which is close to where I grew up. Before college, I celebrated most of my birthdays and other special occasions there. Its been my favorite restaurant for years, so naturally I was pretty stoked when I found out there was one in Seattle too. Eating at Marrakesh is about more than just the food too. Walk inside and you enter into a completely different world. You get to sit on pillows on the ground, listen to Moroccan music, eat with your hands, use a towel as a napkin, and help yourself to as much bread as you like. There's even a belly dancer! (sometimes scary; if you don't make eye contact she'll leave you alone). I'm not exactly sure who all is reading this, but if you ever feel like having the best food that you'll ever have in your entire life, here's what you should order: lentil soup, Salads Marrakesh (not your traditional salad... eat it with the bread they give you and your life will never be the same), B'Stilla Royale (its like a giant pastry filled with meat and other goodies), and then any of the Tangines. The Chicken with Apricots one is really good. And then get dessert. Because you get Moroccan mint tea poured from an incredible height and they also sprinkle rose water on your hands. On a side note, Toulouse Petit in Queen Anne has really good eggs benedict. I also just love food so if you ever want suggestions I'd be more than happy to provide guidance.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
This is a difficult question. Shop for what? If its groceries: Trader Joes. Paper: De Medici Ming Fine Paper (so dangerous) or Paper Source. Bath/body stuff: Lush. Clothes: if I'm feeling thrifty, Value Village or Buffalo Exchange. Most everything else, Urban OutfittersREI. That's a really good one. I die every time I go in there. (Not really I just love everything in there). And basically anywhere that sells combat boots and pattern pants. I also really like Target because they have everything and its relatively inexpensive.

Thanks Emily!

Interview: Samantha, Summer 2013 Intern
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It's interview time once again! Today's Q&A is with Samantha Grim, Summer 2013 intern and student at Cornish College of the Arts.

Sam has a great aptitude for sketching & drawing things out on paper. It was my absolute pleasure to show her a few tricks of the trade and see the personality of her drawings come through when brought into a digital format. She knocked it out of the park with the above illustration for a client wedding invite. To see all of the projects Samantha collaborated on while working with us, check out her internship blog.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a graphic designer?
I love incorporating art into everyday life, which is how I view a lot of design. I think that design is an opportunity to encourage creativity in the public, and I really enjoy seeing non designers respond to good design.

Q: What was interning for Constellation like?
My experience at Constellation was really inspiring. I had the opportunity to work with Sara, who owns her own business and gets to do what she loves all day. She really encouraged my illustration work and has helped inspire me to continue to work with more traditional media. I am now confident in exploring handwork in my designs, and had some great inspiration for my upcoming BFA show.

Q: How did working with letterpress change how you work now?
Letterpress taught me to get off my computer, and that working with my hands can really offer some great inspiration. It also taught me creative problem solving skills, sometimes you get some really unique problems in the printing process! I also have really come to love letterpress work, and am eager to use presses whenever possible!

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Q: What are your plans after school?
Ideally I would like to work in an environment where I can utilize my illustration and traditional media interests. If that opportunity doesn't present itself in time, I have really considered starting my own small freelance business or studio.

Q: What is your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
Downtown I love Delicatus. It's a sandwich place that I actually discovered through Sara! It's in pioneer square and has a great interior as well as delicious lunch/dinner items. I also frequent Hi-Life in Ballard. It's a refurbished fire house that has really good seasonal food, and a super fun atmosphere!

Q: What is your favorite place to shop in Seattle?
I love the Fremont area! It has a great Sunday market, if you've got time I recommend that. Within walking distance are some really extensive thrift shops, as well as some really unique bike shops. It's an easy area to just wander around and discover some great shops.

Thanks Sam!

Interview: E. Smith Mercantile
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I know I say this every time, but I'm really excited about this interview! I sent the lovely ladies of E. Smith Mercantile some questions, and Jessie Poole kindly responded. E. Smith really is my happy place.

(You may remember our trunk show in August.) Everything inside is perfectly curated, and they serve coffee in the daytime and cocktails at night in their back bar. I can't overstate how much I love this store and these ladies!

Q: What inspired you to open a retail shop in today's economy?
As a family business, we were very excited about the opportunity to create a space that allowed each of us an outlet for our many interests. We're also so lucky to be participating in a resurgence, if you will, of Pioneer Square business. It's important for us to create a community space and offer services for this great, historic piece of Seattle.

Q: You're a family business through and through. What is it like, working so closely with family?
We've always been very close. The vast majority of the time it's a truly spectacular experience. We've found it helps people feel like they're in our home, they can be comfortable and feel taken care of because they truly are our guests.

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Q: What have been your biggest challenges at the shop?
I think like any small business finding the right balance of obsessing over what you do and maintaining your outside interests can often be a challenge. Luckily there's more than one of us so we can all take turns picking up the slack.

Q: What have been your biggest joys?
In the beginning it was watching people's faces the first time they came in. Now people tell us that they want to live there. It's heartwarming and continues to be inspiring to have other people inspired by the space.

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Q: Where do you go for inspiration? (Your decor, products, and food/drinks are very obviously inspired!)
Personally, I love my nature time. There's nothing like a weekend in the woods with a fire place and friends. For a quick afternoon pick me up the Pacific Antique Galleries is a wonderful place for inspiration.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle? (Other than E. Smith, of course!)
I love to wander through Elliott Bay Books, and while I'm up there, might as well stop into Totokaelo and touch the pretty things, right?

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
We're big fans of the Walrus & the Carpenter. Also wouldn't say no to a dinner at Lark, a brunch at Toulouse Petit, or the entire menu at La Carta de Oaxaca.

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Interview: Carl, Wood Engraver & Letterpress Printer
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I am SO excited to share this interview with you today! I've known Carl since I moved to Seattle in 2009. He has been hugely supportive of my journey in letterpress printing from early on.

(Check out my story on Go Mighty for more about how Carl has so graciously helped us.) This past year, i've had the absolute pleasure of spending my Friday mornings with Carl (and his sweetie, Babs) at their home in West Seattle. I've loved every minute of my education in wood engraving and our chats about art and life. Today i'm pleased to share my friend with you! He's a master wood engraver, an incredibly resourceful printer and an all around good man. So here it is, my interview with Carl Montford!

Q: What attracted you to wood engraving and letterpress printing after your career at Boeing?
I didn’t start wood engraving and letterpress printing until just after I retired from 39 years at Boeing. I started my first ‘Montford Press’ in my garage in Wichita Kansas about 1970 or so. I wanted to further my ‘after hours’ endeavor in something creative, I have often said, I used this activity to maintain my sanity after dealing with supervisors and engineers all day…I like to think it worked.

I was all self taught, both in letterpress printing and wood engraving. However, I fell in with a group of ‘old timers’ there in Wichita that were primarily collectors of letterpress equipment, save for one gentleman by the name of Bill Jackson, he taught graphics at the university and had his own private press in his garage also, except his space was insulated, (temps in that part of the country range from below zero to above 100 degrees). Bill didn’t teach me how to do things, but he inspired me no end. He created lovely books, all hand set type, lino cut illustrated and hand bound his own books, and all printed on an old style 8x12 Chandler and Price platen press.

That inspired me to follow in his footsteps as much as possible. With the help of the local library, (way before the internet), I pursued wood engraving interests, both in examples and ‘how to’ books. I was a ‘closet wood engraver’ for many years, not knowing a single other active wood engraver for many years. After transferring to Seattle in the early 80’s and setting up my ‘Montford Press’ in my own home, (not in an uninsulated garage this time) I started amassing more type, presses and all the associated equipment. I joined the local BAG (Book Arts Guild) and found people of my own likes and interests, probably the main turning point of my artistic career. Shortly after that the internet started becoming popular, and I discovered an international  group of wood engravers, the WEN (Wood Engravers Network), this linked me into a group of artists, both beginners and master engravers, and have been a member ever since. After retiring in July 1995, my interests in all this just exploded, having an additional 8 to 10 hours a day to devote to my passion of engraving and printing. After retiring, my connections with the BAG, WEN and in about 2000 getting linked up with SVC (School of Visual Concepts). I also teach out of my own studio, both in letterpress and engraving.

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Q: You've seen many aspiring printers come and go. What is your #1 piece of advice for someone who wants to learn about letterpress?
I meet lots of people interested in letterpress printing via teaching and networking. I have helped many people find presses and type, taught them how to use it all, and watched it fizzle into unused rusting and corroded equipment. This is very disappointing to me after expended that much energy helping them. So, what I now look for in aspiring printers is REALLY being serious about it. Taking lessons first, actually producing something of worth THEN start looking for equipment.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration, is an internal desire to achieve whatever creates a passion in the heart of an artist. I am lucky, I love nature, animals, birds and people for my inspiration in wood engraving subjects, but for my larger products of broadsides, I have several poets I’m in collaboration with, along with a couple of sister-in-laws that are all great poets, and keep me well supplied in inspiring words and images.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle?
Where is my favorite shopping spot?...Dusty Strings in Fremont.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle?
Chinooks Restaurant in Ballard

Thanks Carl!

Etsy/West Elm Pop-Up Shop Recap
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Last weekend was the Etsy and West Elm pop-up shop! We (and 12 other Seattle area Etsy sellers) packed up our products and set up shop at the Seattle West Elm store for the day.

Local decorating blog The Inspired Room curated the event, and were honored to be chosen. Thanks to everyone involved! It was a great day.

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I'd been sick in bed with a cold all week before the event, but I rallied my energy just enough to park myself in a comfy West Elm dining chair with an unending supply of London Fog from Wheelhouse Coffee. So if you met me at the event, that's why I was half dead. (I hate being sick!!)

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It was really fun to see our cards and prints in the beautiful store. We set up at a dining table, under this amazing chandelier. I "window" shopped from my chair all day, and Brad added about a dozen new things to his Christmas list. West Elm is definitely one of our favorites.

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We're not doing a ton of events this year (focusing our energy on preparing for NSS), but we have one more pre-Christmas event coming up! We'll have the studio open on December 5th & 7th for our annual 57 Biscayne holiday open house. Put it on your calendar and come see us!

More info about the West Elm event: West Elm’s Blog The Inspired Room’s Post

Interview: Dorothy, Spring 2013 Intern
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Now that I've finished interviewing our current staff, I'm excited to move outward into our wonderful Constellation community! Today's interview is with Dorothy Hunyh, Spring 2013 intern and our amazing product photographer!

Dorothy has interned with more companies than anyone I've ever met (including We Are The Rhoads, among others!) and has an inspiring amount of motivation. To see all of the projects Dorothy collaborated on while working with us, check out her internship blog.

Q: What was interning for Constellation like? How did working with letterpress change how you work now?
While in college, I had the opportunity to intern at a lot of great businesses, but I have to say that interning at Constellation was the best experience. I really felt valued and working for Sara was a complete blast. It is one thing to be working for a great company and it is definitely another to be working alongside people who truly care for your well- being and growth. I learned so much about valuing your clients as well as nurturing your relationships with them.

Working with letterpress really made me appreciate all the minuscule details that go into the process. It also really makes me think thoroughly through the design choices I make as far as how the production will be affected.

Q: Tell us about the photo shoots you've done for the new wholesale catalog. What was your favorite thing about them, and what was a challenge?
When Sara first approached me to be the photographer for Constellation’s new wholesale catalog, I was ecstatic! One of my favorite things about being a creative is seeing the outcome and I knew that this project would be something that we’d all be proud of. I loved how personal the catalog shoots were, especially to Sara and Brad and was honored that they’d include me in it. I think a challenge was planning and producing images that were of high caliber, but also were true to our vision. We really wanted the photos to be relatable to your typical Seattle-ite.

Q: You're a photographer with a graphic design degree who interned for a letterpress company. What are your plans for the future?
This is funny, because at this point in my life I really don’t know. I’ve had my own photography business for the past four years and it has been incredible, but I am really looking to expand my horizons and maybe try some new things. I would love to get design to be a part of my daily life, whether it is personal or client work. Ultimately though, I want to be helping people and I’m excited to see how my passions will play into that. Also I can't wait to be a mom.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
Gosh, this is a hard question to answer because Seattle has so many great places- sorry this answer might be long. We’re lucky to live in a city that offers so much. I’m always trying new places when time and budget allows. It really depends on what type of food, but some of my go-tos would probably be Bustle on QA (for coffee and getting work done), Café Presse (croque madames are to die for), Bar Sajor (the bread), King’s Hardware (the fries) and Black Bottle (everything).

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
Another extremely hard question to answer, thanks Sara. Well, this isn’t really an amazing answer, but in general Nordstrom’s is always on point. However, I do love checking out all the little boutiques Seattle has. If I’m looking for gifts, I always head to Annie’s Art and Frame or Sip and Ship in Ballard, or Queen Anne Dispatch. They have the best little knick-knacks. My favorite bookstore is The Elliot Bay Book Company- I somehow always leave with a new book (even if I have a pile of unread ones at home.)

Thanks Dorothy!

Interview: Brad
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Next up in our ongoing interview series is my favorite person on the face of the Earth! He's quiet, bearded, and married to me. It's Brad McNally, our co-founder!

Q: What is your role at Constellation?
I am co founder of Constellation & Co. I am not as involved with the day to day, but I am diligently working on the new website and constantly thinking of new products. I am also the secret Art Director.

Q: Tell us about your day job. How are the two companies & roles similar or different?
I am the Lead Designer at BELIEF, a creative agency in Seattle Washington. I work on branding, packaging, web, and mobile projects. At BELIEF, I work with my art director & creative director to create story-centered work for clients and am responsible for design solutions from concept to completion. At Constellation, Sara handles all client work and almost all of the product design (I jump in for some secret art direction.) Currently, this allows me to focus on the site redesign and brainstorming new products with her. I'll occasionally design some of those products!

Q: You're a digital & web guy - how has Constellation & letterpress changed how you work?
I think any modern designer's mind explodes once they start physically setting type and leading and kerning go from concept to practice. In some ways it has reinforced my obsession with clean and simple type. I think the web is always trying to achieve the level of design and control that the print medium provides, so it's great to have an outlet to explore that kind of stuff. I'm excited about the new Constellation & Co. about page, it's going to be rad.

Q: What's it like, working with your wife & mother in law?
It's a trap! Just kidding. It is really great working with family. Sara's parents ran a successful business in Florida, so it's great to be able to pick their brains and learn from them. While Sara manages the day to day of Constellation, I'm still able to come and submit my 2¢. Initial critiques are always scary when two people come at the problem with different ideas or solutions, but we battle it out, and in the end the ideas are always stronger.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
I love everything from Bitterroot in Ballard. They have amazing BBQ and drink.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
I'd spend all of my money at E. Smith Mercantile in Pioneer Square if given the chance. I dig anything vintage/craft, and their selection is on point.

Q: What are a few of your favorite apps right now?
I have a few apps that I use daily. 

VSCO Cam: The best photo editing/film emulation app, you can check out my grid → brad.vsco.co. I post alot of things to instagram as well → instagram.com/bradmcnally

Rdio: A music subscription service similar to Spotify. In my opinion, Rdio's mobile app is the best designed app out there. They nailed the details where iOS7 falls short.

Fog of World: This app shows you how much of the world you have explored by using your GPS. As you travel around, the map slowly reveals where you've explored. I've currently explored 0.000000430500924% of the world!

I could write a whole blogpost about iOS games. 

(And maybe we'll talk him into doing that!)

Etsy Pop Up Shop at West Elm!
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Etsy and West Elm are teaming up to showcase Etsy sellers in Seattle, and we'll be there!

Working with decorating blog, The Inspired Room, the folks at both companies chose 12 Seattle-based Etsy artists for a one day pop-up shop. We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen, and can't wait for the event!

The pop-up shop will take place on Saturday, November 9th at the Seattle West Elm store. Each of the featured Etsy sellers will set up within the store to share and sell their homegoods, accessories, stationery and more. There will also be a Smilebooth, DJs and snacks, a.k.a. FUN!

Join us! Date: Saturday, November 9th Time: 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. Location: West Elm, 2201 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, Washington

More info: Facebook EventWest Elm's Blog The Inspired Room's Post

These are the featured Seattle area Etsy Shops you'll get to shop!

Constellation Co.
Love, Daniella
Wallingford Co.
Herbivore Botanicals
Lily Emme Jewelry
Dahlia Press Shop
Fremont Candle Co
Garden BonBons
On Your Case Store
Tutta Lou Press
Three Bad Seeds
Rouge and Whimsy

Interview: Holly
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Our awesome photographer Dorothy stopped by the studio a few weeks ago to take our first official staff photos!

We've been through some transition this year (and lots of learning), so I thought this would be a great time to ask our lovely staff some questions for the blog - and let you get to know them! Our first interview is with Holly Power, my administrative assistant. Enjoy!

Q: What is your role at Constellation?
I get to field all incoming estimate requests, put together quotes, and set up client meetings. Essentially I'm the first "face" that new clients see. I also get to do some fun odd jobs that need doing! Sometimes I write snippets of copy, help upkeep the Etsy store, look for new shops that might be interested in carrying our products, etc...!

Q: What's the most common question you receive? Most people are looking for a quote for wedding invitations. Recently, I've had a lot of folks asking about the awesome book invitations from David and Micaline's wedding. Storybook weddings are a fun trend right now and a lot of people are really responding to that particular piece.

Q: You were a Literature major in college - how do you feel those skills help with your job now?
I wrote and read a TON in college, so I'm pretty good at coming up with words! For the most part, I enjoy the process of client communication, because I love using the right words to connect with people. A lot of my classroom time in college just looked like an open ended discussion about whatever material we were covering at the time. I learned a lot about choosing my words carefully to convey my point of view and I feel like I get to use that skill when answering client questions.

Q: Tell me about working remotely, being at home with your son. How's that transition been for you? What things do you love and what things are hard?
The transition was hard at first, but I am learning to really enjoy and cherish it. I love being able to work while Levi naps and then play with him while he's awake. A big challenge for me is in planning my day. If I don't use the time that he is napping wisely, my day quickly gets away from me without having met a lot of my goals. Or there are days where I am counting on getting certain things done and Levi decides not to sleep much at all that day. I'm learning a lot about planning my life in pencil! It's important to me that there is a plan in place, but just as important (for my sanity and my son's joy) that I can be flexible when my plans don't work out.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
That's a hard one because there are so many tasty places to eat here and it changes depending on my mood! Josh (my husband) and I have really been enjoying Billy Beach recently, which is a super delish sushi place in Ballard. They have an awesome happy hour so we can stuff ourselves on a budget. We don't get a ton of date nights with a new little one, so we're trying to make each one count by finding and trying new places more often!

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
I really like going to University Village in the U District. Parking is free and it's perfect for aimless wandering and window shopping and I love the open air. It's also really lovely at Christmas when all the trees are full of lights. Wrestling my baby boy in and out of my two-door rabbit wherever I go makes a no-hassle free parking garage a win in my book!

Visit Seattle Constellation Style
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We LOVE Seattle, and have spent the last 4 years getting to know our amazing city.

I stumbled upon our friend Luz's See/Eat/Do Seattle blog post recently, and I loved it. Luz and her husband Cole also sent us an amazing list for San Francisco last summer, which we followed closely. While planning our upcoming New York trip, I've been pretty obsessively looking for guides to NYC as well. Since everyone has such different tastes and desires for sight seeing, I think there's room for a Shop/Eat/Drink list from our point of view! I'll focus in on neighborhoods I have "expertise" on, only include my MOST favorite places, and include the stores that carry our products. Cool? Cool.

PIONEER SQUARE
Seattle's oldest neighborhood, and where our studio is located. I spend most of my time here. It's quirky and has a bit of a reputation, but it's very lovable and growing cooler by the minute.

Shop:

E. Smith Mercantile
On the lovely treelined street 1st Ave South. Super cool western themed mercantile. Vintage boots, curated clothing, craft cooking & cocktail ingredients, and stationery from yours truly.

Cuttysark Nautical Antiques & Flags
Also on 1st Ave. South. Nautical gifts, supplies, etc. Pleasantly un-hipster. Think old guys in boats.

Magic Mouse Toys
Closest thing to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium that i've found. Fun to just look around.

Rivet & Sway
Super gorgeous eye glasses for women. Open by appointment only.

Linda Hodges Gallery
My favorite art gallery in Pioneer Square. I walk by it several times a week to go to the post office, and I always linger in the window.

Eat/Drink:

Delicatus
THE best sandwiches. I dream about the Mudd Honey. You guys. Sliced roast beef, turkey, Zoë’s slab bacon, white cheddar, horseradish aioli, house BBQ on a toasted Italian roll.

Cocoa Banana
Good gosh darn smoothies. Right next door to our building. The William is my favorite.

INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT
Walkable from Pioneer Square, lots and lots of cultures coming together.

Shop:

Kinokuniya Bookstore (Located in Uwajimaya)
I love this place. Washi tape, sketchbooks, rubber stamps, unique pens, and everything Japanese and cute that exists.

Eat/Drink:

Thai Curry Simple
Inexpensive, large portions, and deeeeelicious. I didn't know I liked curry until we started eating here.

WEST SEATTLE

Shop: I'm not going to lie, the only place I go frequently to shop in West Seattle is Target.

Eat/Drink:

Beer Junction
Best selection of local & imported hard ciders in the city. (I love hard cider.)

Bakery Nouveau
Twice baked almond croissants. They're huge and perfect.

Husky Deli
They carry Canadian candy bars. For me, that's enough of a draw.

DOWNTOWN
When you're alone and life is making you lonely, You can always go downtown When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry, Seems to help, I know, downtown

Shop:

Paper Hammer
Great stationery store, founded by the owner of publisher Marquand Books. I find something I can't live without everytime I walk in there. They also carry our cards.

Watson Kennedy
Beautifully curated, full of fun gifts. Their window displays are always impressive and engaging.

BELLTOWN

Shop:

Peter Miller Books
Every design book you could ever want to flip through. Almost too many for my brain to handle.

Endless Knot
Great independent clothing boutique. Love browsing this place.

Eat/Drink:

Top Pot Doughnuts
Best doughnuts anywhere. I eat the chocolate glazed old fashioned almost exclusively. There are lots of other locations as well, but this one is the coolest building.

Lucky Diner
Greasy spoon kind of place - good food, but the main draw for me is that you can order a bowl of Lucky Charms as a side. So cool.

Yellow Leaf Cupcakes
My favorite cupcakes ever. They're all good, I can't pick a favorite.

LaVita E'Bella
Had one of the best meals of my life here. (It was Osso Buco.)

Spur
Western themed decor but fancy-shmancy craft cocktails and desserts.

QUEEN ANNE

Shop:

Stuhlberg’s
Great high end gift & stationery store. Carries our cards from time to time.

Blue Highway Games
Nerdy board game store. Has an area to try out games, which is fun.

Eat/Drink:

Macrina
My favorite Seattle bakery to spend time in. I love their buttermilk biscuit with preserves.

Homegrown
Awesome sandwich place with several locations. But this is one I went to last.

FREMONT

Shop: There are a ton of cute boutiques in Fremont, but I haven't spent a ton of time shopping there.

Eat/Drink:

Paseos
Messy Caribbean sandwiches. Long line, but worth it. Grab your food and take it to Gasworks Park.

Brouwer’s Cafe
More beer on tap than anyone could ever try. But also a lot of unique cider choices!

Uneeda Burger
There is some argument about burgers in our family (Brad's favorite is Red Mill), but this is my favorite burger in the city. Must have the over easy fried egg on top. Perfection.

CAPITOL HILL

Shop:

Elliott Bay Book Co.
The first time I visited Seattle, Elliott Bay Books was in Pioneer Square. While i'm sad not to be able to browse their crazy selection in our own neighborhood, i'm happy that they carry our cards! They have an amazing kids section as well.

Marigold & Mint
Super cute boutique in Melrose Market (close to a Homegrown location as well!) with a unique selection of plants, gifts, and books. I like it lots. They have a selection of our Constellation Sketchbooks right now.

Nube Green
Very hip gift store, featuring U.S. made and sustainably sourced items. They have a broad selection of our cards, and several of our limited edition prints.

Eat/Drink: We lived on Capitol Hill for 6 months, but we were super broke at the time. We kind of only ate burgers and black beans and rice.

Lil Woody's
Yummy burger joint. Plus, you can order french fries with a side of milk shake to dip them in.

BALLARD
We spend a lot of time here.

Shop:

Card Kingdom
Nerdy to the core, with designer board games that would take you a month of Sundays to figure out how to play. (Just how we like 'em.)

Eat/Drink:

The Sexton
Three words: fried brussels sprouts.

Bitterroot
My favorite barbecue in the city.  They also have an amazing happy hour.

Moshi Moshi Sushi
Fun place to go and sit at the sushi bar. Everything is delicious. Love the giant sparkly cherry tree inside.

Hot Cakes
Dessert at its finest. Molten chocolate cakes in mason jars. My favorite? The sundae: homemade nutella, brown butter caramel, candied hazelnuts and vanilla caramel. (You can also add bacon.)

MAGNOLIA
Highly underrated by our fellow Seattleites. Small town feel in a "big" city.

Shop:

Magnolia's Bookstore
I really like this place. Great selection of cookbooks and magazines. The perfect small town bookstore experience.

Magnolia Ace Hardware
The only hardware store in the world that doesn't stress me out. Plus, they have a ton of random non-hardware items that are fun to browse. And free popcorn!

Eat/Drink:

Nook
Cute little bar with a great atmosphere. I had 2 consecutive birthday gatherings here.

Finn's Bakery
Great spot for a pastry and an Americano.

Glasses, Now 100% More Awesome.
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I want to sit down and have a talk about glasses. (I'm feeling silly today, so this may be more dramatic than usual - but seriously, read the whole thing. There's a COUPON at the end!)

I went to the eye doctor for the first time in third grade. I'd been getting a lot of headaches, and it turned out that I had astigmatism in one eye. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it meant that I needed to wear glasses. I was really excited about getting glasses. But I quickly realized that being a bossy, know-it-all kid with huge glasses (and later braces) gave me the distinct pleasure of being a NERD.

I wore some pretty horrible glasses for five years, and then in 8th grade I got contacts. Oh, contacts! The quick solution in every bad makeover movie for turning a nerdy girl into a hot chick. My contacts were uncomfortable at times and not always great for my vision. But it was clear in popular culture (and in my own personal experience) that pretty girls don't wear glasses. I'd rush home at the end of the day and take them out, replacing them with some ugly glasses that I only wore at home. In my glasses' defense, they were the best ones the eye doctor's office had in my price range. (Getting glasses from the eye doctor is EXPENSIVE!)

I went through high school, college, and a few years of my career wearing only contacts. I just didn't feel like I had any options. But then, the internet! (Huzzah!) I did my first online try-on, bought a new pair of glasses, and get this... I WORE them. All the time! And I got compliments! It didn't break the bank, I could actually see well, I was comfortable, and I felt good about myself. This first positive glasses experience really got me thinking. Why do I only have one pair of glasses?

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I'd seen Rivet & Sway's name floating around the blogosphere and their frames were very cute, so I ordered a few pairs to try on. Later that day, I heard a knock at my studio door. It was two of Rivet & Sway's team members, dropping off my order! I had NO idea that not only is Rivet & Sway located in Seattle, their office is less than 3 blocks away. We're neighbors! My jaw hit the floor. It meant so much to me that they saw my address and took the time to walk over and introduce themselves.

AND THEN I opened the package. I have never seen a company put this much thought an energy into every part of their packaging and customer experience. It felt really special to open the box, see the kick-arse artwork, and try on 3 super gorgeous frames. (I ended up buying two of them!) Rivet & Sway has created a line of glasses that are beautifully designed and function like accessories. They're way more like jewelry than corrective eyewear! I get up every morning and pick out my outfit, jewelry and which pair of glasses I want to wear. I work a really messy job, so I don't get to dress up very often. But with my sassy new glasses, I feel 100% more put together when leaving the house. Why shouldn't my glasses be as colorful as my personality? There's really no reason.

I have had a wonderful experience with Rivet & Sway, and i've blabbed about them so darn much to my friends & clients that they've asked me to be an official brand ambassador! It's not something I ever considered before, but I am more than happy to continue to support and talk about this amazing company - especially since they are our neighbors here in Pioneer Square!

Do yourself a favor and head over to Rivet & Sway's site, and order your own try-on package. It's easy, it's FREE, and it will feel like Christmas. Their frames (with lens included) are really reasonably priced, and they're all SO fun. I want a pair for every day of the week! And when you go to purchase your gorgeous new glasses, use the coupon code SARA-RIVETS for $25 off your order! (The coupon will expire, so don't wait too long!)

Trunk Show at E. Smith Mercantile!
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Last night the lovely ladies behind E. Smith Mercantile hosted our sneak preview trunk show!

We packed up what we have of the new card & gift line and carried it on our backs (not really) the three blocks to our favorite Pioneer Square shop. We set up in the (soon to be) E. Smith Back Bar and welcomed the neighborhood to come see what we've been working on. (It was a low light scenario that was lovely for shopping but tough for photos, so please pardon these instagram-esque photos that I actually snapped on our real camera.)

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It was a lovely summer evening, with lots going on in the neighborhood! Our friend Meggie came to help me carry things and set up.

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We were lousy with cards for sale!

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Lots of friends came to shop and hang out!

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Our baby presses were in attendance to remind folks that everything is letterpress.

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Wine was served, conversations were had.

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There was a special guest performance from Eric Freeman, who played everything from Jimmy Buffet to Johnny Cash, and had us dancing in the aisles.

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Can we talk about how cool E. Smith is? Really cool.

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Bad mirror selfie with my baby sis - the wall & display look great! ;)

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Hello friends!

Thanks to E. Smith for being very gracious hosts, and thanks to everyone who stopped by! We had a great night, and we hope you did too.

Go Mighty & Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes

Hi friends. I'm stuck at home with a jacked up back this week, so let's talk about some fun things and get my mind off it. Sound good?

While I've been staying very still in my chair, I've been working on documenting some major life goals over at Go Mighty. Go Mighty is an awesome new site that i'm kind of obsessed with right now. Here's how they describe themselves: "Go Mighty is a place to do something good for yourself and for others. It allows you to focus on what you really want to accomplish in life, in steps, with people who want to help you." How cool is that!? I've been really enjoying setting goals and daydreaming about travel & life.

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Speaking of goals, Constellation is working towards a huge goal this next year: to exhibit at the 2014 National Stationery Show! You can read more about how we're pursuing that goal over on my "story" at Go Mighty. As part of that big goal, we blocked off a whole work week this month to do photo shoots around the city for our new wholesale catalog. The wonderful Dorothy Huynh is our catalog photographer, and we couldn't be happier. We love her work - she has such a rich and heartfelt visual style.  (Dorothy was also one of our Spring interns, because we are intern blessed!)

It was so much fun to visit our friends across the city, shooting in their homes (and on their docks) and hanging out! I can't show you the actual product shots yet (spoilers!), but here are some behind the scenes shots to keep you busy in the meantime.

Jenny & Mike

Jenny & Mike

Brad & I, taking a snuggle break

Brad & I, taking a snuggle break

Brad enjoying one of our "props" from  Woodinville Whiskey Co.

Brad enjoying one of our "props" from Woodinville Whiskey Co.

Lyndsey  saying hello to Molly

Lyndsey saying hello to Molly

Writing on a chalkboard next to a tiny chair

Writing on a chalkboard next to a tiny chair