near and far...

Someone asked me the other day if we can work with clients who are overseas........................OF COURSE!!! We have a great process down for working with clients from afar. We'd love to do so with YOU! Anyway, just thought I'd mention it.


Wedding Favors with a Cause

We do a lot of wedding favor packaging and tagging, as well as the donation cards (in lieu of favors, bride & groom have made donations to etc., etc.). Wedding favors are nice, and those donation cards are a nice way to honor loved ones, but what if you could do something for others WHILE giving a cool favor to your guests?

We've spoken about the Fair Trade bookmarks for which we created cool packaging so they looked great at the reception. Today I was helping one of my other clients with the same kind of endeavor. She liked the idea of the fair trade bookmarks but doesn't live local to where I am (so I could send her to the same place my other client purchased those great bookmarks). Well, I found the neatest site while looking for more Fair Trade bookmarks. Take a look at these:

Aren't they beautiful? But here's the BEST part...for each bookmark purchased (for $3.95 each), The Hunger Site funds 25 cups of food for people who don't have enough food to eat. So in other words, you're doing a GREAT thing (think of how much food that is for a simple 150 person wedding!) AND your guests get a beautiful bookmark. You can attach a lovely logo tag with an explanation on the back and put one at each place setting. They'd be gorgeous and you'd be doing such a good thing. Here's the site: http://shop.thehungersite.com/store/item.do?itemId=32643&siteId=220&sourceId=220&sourceClass=StoreSearch&index=4

There are many other options on The Hunger Site, too...take a look! Additionally, there are sister sites that give money to fund breast cancer research, child health, literacy, etc. Just use the link above and you'll see the other options in the tabs at the top of the page.


Trends for spring 2009

Hey Everybody!

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am an ardent follower of fashion. I've always tried to maintain an aura of "stylishness" and after living in NYC for a number of years, I can talk the talk. I get all the magazines, try to keep up with the shows, and though no longer living in a hotbed of fashion, I do my best to look COOL while walking to work and making the lovely things I do here at Bella Carta Studio.

I am prompted to blog about fashion and more specifically trends by Lisa's suggestion that I discuss what we see going out of our workroom as we start on spring 2009 SAVE THE DATES.

One trend that I have noticed being brought up again and again is one of geometric simplicity. I actually saw it first in a Save the Date we did early LAST spring for a VERY modern bride. She specified cool and elegant, loving the look of light aqua and steel rules running sleekly along one long edge of the announcement.

This idea of simple design in the form of stripes was suggested by another one of our brides who came in wanting Save the Dates that reflected something "preppy." She loved those great colors: rich navy blue, chartruse green and brilliant magenta - they all contrast but somehow play together so nicely. Lisa was inspired to show her those colors in a fun nautical stripe pattern that wraps around the panel and is tied on with double faced satin magenta ribbon. And a few of those color rules horizontally frame the announcement.

Color trends are constantly changing and evolving. From the jewel tones that we used so frequently this fall, we are seeing a shift to brights and primaries, particularly that navy. Another Save the Date for a June wedding had both a vibrant green backing card and was mailed in a navy side flap envelope, white labeling band ready for green addressing and featuring a brilliant blue flower from the card

All these bright colors and a simple approach to design are sure to affect what we do as we ramp up for our holiday season of announcements, invitations and of course, greetings - both family and corporate. Lisa was walking around with something TOTALLY CYAN the other day...

More on holiday soon,


Party at Bella Carta!

Hi Everyone!

Lisa is on vacation for a couple of days and I am whooping it up here at the studio.

Actually, I'm not. I've been pretty busy and I wanted to share a couple of things I've done.

First, we did these gorgeous letterpressed invitations for one of our brides with a fall theme, as she is getting married the first weekend of October. They are VERY subtle, but totally luxurious, with this yummy thick white cotton paper that just begs to be touched.

As the date is fast approaching, I put together 115 programs for her ceremony. They simply feature their names, the date and the fall icons that were used throughout the set. They are painstakingly tied together with a elegant satin ribbon, the shine of which contrasts nicely with nubbly cotton cardstock. (Yes, pain! TINY holes, TINY ribbon, TINY knots! I have BIG fingers. Not that I'm complaining...) And I have to include a picture of the finished lot, carefully tucked into a box for now. I love the look of all the pretty ribbons.

Then, I lined envelopes for another client who has very refined taste. He wants social stationary that was functional, yet simple and masculine. Lisa is having the substantial cardstock printed with thermography as I line the matching envelopes with a subtle pinstripe, done in black and white. The lining gives the envelope an obvious heft and makes an immediate impression on any recipient. Just spectacular, but not "in your face."

Just now, I layed down a cozy oriental rug that I brought in for the workroom. The floors in here are a marble chip and are cool, literally. With the arrival of fall, cold weather is inevitable here in Rochester, NY. The rug is an attempt to keep myself warmer as I stand and assemble our beautiful items. The rubber pad that is on the rug is supposed to cushion my spine and does indeed work as I can happily stand for hours, gluing or folding (or holepunching or tying...)

It is again friday afternoon and I want to get a jump on some of the stuff that we are doing for a BIG job next week. As usual, I'll keep you posted.

The trusty assistant,

PS: Don't think it's ALL work for me while Lisa is away - I did manage to take a break from tying knots yesterday (a neccessity, finger fatigue!) and buy some new fuzzy lined Minnetonka slippers, again for the cool tile floors of my apartment. Lisa, they will probably get here monday.

PSS: Lisa did check in with this great picture from her vacation in Monteray, CA. Her message: "I took this pic from my phone today. He landed on one of those viewing binocular thingys on the observation deck about a foot away from me. I was talking on the phone at the time and had to stop to take this picture. Doesn’t he have a cute look on his face?"


The Zen of creation

Hello all!

I just wanted to update a couple of on-going projects that I've been working on here at Bella Carta Studio.

First, I finished painting the aforementioned ribbon cabinet last week and it has been moved back into place in the brown showroom and filled again with all sorts of gorgeous ribbon. It looks great, as you can see.

Lisa also wanted me to mention the custom, personalized ribbon as featured in the book perched on top of our cabinet. We order this from Midori, a manufacturer of VERY luxurious ribbon. This ribbon can come in almost any color, a variety of widths and can be personalized with the bride and groom's names, monogram or any specific message for your guests. Please feel free to contact us for more information on this service.

The other thing I JUST NOW finished were the 170 kimonos that I was about to start when I blogged about painting the cabinet. One of the great things about my job here is the joy I derive from the act of CREATION - actually hand making: cutting, folding, taping, tying 170 beautiful little items. As I often say when I describe my job, it's all VERY ZEN. You really get into a groove doing this. It's extremely peaceful and terrifically rewarding. Especially when you see the whole lot DONE!

I had the finished kimonos out on the workroom table to count them and thought they looked particularly cool, as you can see.

Well, another week of creation and fun here at Bella Carta Studio. Stay tuned, more to come....


Westchester, here we come...

This weekend Carrie and I road-tripped down to Westchester, New York to participate in the Unveiled Bridal Event by the Westchester Weddings magazine. It was at the CV Rich Mansion in White Plains and gosh, it was beautiful! What a gorgeous setting for a lovely variety of vendors. We were so pleased to be included in it.

We haven't previously participated in bridal shows for a number of reasons so there was quite a bit of preparation that we had to put into it. The results, however, were well worth it. Here area few pictures of our booth at the mansion.

And this is the gorgeous letterpress set with a subtle fall concept that we recently did. They're SO luxurious!
Also, we're now advertising in Westchester Weddings Magazine so if you're in that area, check out our ad in the Fall/Winter 2008 issue on page 103. I'm so pleased with the way the ad turned out! If you want a copy of the magazine, feel free to email me and I'll send one to you. We have a bunch at the studio and would love to share!


Wedding Stationery...it's more than the invitation!

Who knew there were so many stationery items to be had when planning a wedding? If you've spent any time on The Knot you're probably overwhelmed by all of those details. I thought it might be helpful to provide a list of the myriad items we've made or could make to help you put on the perfect day...

Oh, and if you don't see what you're looking for, just ask! WE CAN DO ANYTHING :-)

At the very beginning...
  • Save-the-Date Cards with Travel Information
  • Engagement Announcements & Party Invitations
  • Shower Invitations
  • Bachelorette and Bachelor Party Invitations
  • Bridal Party Luncheon Invitations
  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Wedding Invitations and Inserts...
  • Invitation Panel
  • Reception Enclosure [can go on the invitation panel if desired]
  • Response Card with Envelope or Response Postcard
  • Map
  • Accommodations Information
  • Weekend Events
  • Custom Postage
  • Enclosure that holds it all together...perhaps a Box or an Envelopments Pocketfold
Thoughtful touches for your guests...
  • Hotel Guest Gift Bags or Boxes with Logo Tag
  • Information Inserts or Booklets
  • Water Bottles with Custom Labels
  • Delectibles (like nuts, dried fruit, etc.) with a Custom Seal
Ceremony Details...
Reception Details...
  • Escort Cards [these get the guests to their tables]...look here: http://www.bellacartastudio.com/portfolios/44?page=3
  • Place Cards [these tell guests which seat at which to sit at the table]
  • Seating Chart [in lieu of escort cards]
  • Bar Selection Menus
  • Dinner Menus
  • Buffet Dish Labels
  • Table Numbers [or Names]
  • Custom Matches for the Cigar Bar
  • Custom Napkins and Coasters
  • Custom signage
Wedding Favors & Guest Delights...
  • Favor Tags or Labels [if you're giving cookies, perhaps give Grandma's cookie recipe attached to the favor]
  • Favor Boxes or Containers
  • Candy, Cookie or Chocolate bar labeling
  • Donation in Lieu of Favor Cards
  • Candy Bar Wrappers
  • CD Packaging, Inserts, and Labels
  • Plantable Paper [oooo, ask us about this!]
After the big day...
  • Thank You Cards
  • Wedding Announcements
  • New Address Announcements


Oh, the luxury of it...

Sometimes I design something that makes me stop every time I look at it just to enjoy it. That happened last week when we produced this luxurious boxed invitation. The combinations of pattern and texture created such a wonderfully tactile experience.

This bride sent us a swatch from her burgundy bridesmaids' dresses and wanted an invitation that was elegant yet different from the norm. Based on those descriptions (and her detailed questionnaire) we sent her 6 or 7 different color combinations, and then followed it up with some custom pattern swatches once we knew what general cardstock choices she liked. The end result was this richly textured and patterned invitation box.

The burgundy stock is Envelopment's Contessa which has a fabric-like texture similar to linen but with a deeper woven pattern. Then we used our own custom pattern in burgundy printed on Envelopment's Ecru Micah stock. Finally the box was created from Waste Not Paper's Luxe Cream stock, a beautiful Italian paper that has a very high cotton content and a natural texture to it as well.

The bride was thrilled. We got several happy emails from her, but one of them is specifically noteworthy: "People think they invitations are fabulous and they love them! I love them, too! I think they are totally making a statement and setting the tone for the event." We sure loved receiving that email!

So all that description but no pictures? No way. Enjoy!


The invitation EXPERIENCE

Yesterday, I had the experience, for the FIRST TIME, of actually receiving a Bella Carta Studio invitation in the mail.

Yes, I've worked there for a year and a half-ish, but funny, none of the brides that I have crafted invitations for has ever felt compelled to actually invite me to their event. Huh....

This week we made the invitations for my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary celebration that will be held in October. (It's a surprise - shhhhhh!) The card that was designed is simple, yet elegant; it has rich gold and black linen borders backing a white mica card. And was mailed in a matching white mica envelope and addressed using the script from the card.

And yes, what an impact they make when you get one in the mail! I know my neighbors were jealous when it was sitting, tantalizingly, on our ledge. I love the experience of opening the envelope, holding the hefty, gorgeous card - thinking the event I am invited to will be as rich and as elegant!

My mom, dad and grandmother all commented on how beautiful the invite was. As I'm sure the other guests will also.

I wanted to share this personal experience of what exactly we produce here. It certainly isn't just invites - it's the FEELING of the upcoming event...



Ah, love those escort cards!

A few years ago we, along with Kelli Berg of Simply Beautiful Events, designed an escort card template that has since become our very favorite! It's similar to a tent card, but it has a lower back slope so it's easier to view from the front. How many times have you stood there trying to find your name looking down at this sea of tent cards? Not with ours!

Angela Hall of Out of the Ordinary Events just sent us this great picture of our escort cards at the last wedding in which we worked together. They were made from a rich copper backing with a creamy creme brulee printed card. They were luscious!
(This great pic was taken by Brandon Vick)

Here's another from a wedding a couple of months ago. Similar concept, but here we used a moss green backing that was printed with one of our custom paisley designs and then had a lovely metallic ecru printed piece on top.
(This lovely pic is by Rachel Gracie)

Oh, and what's the difference between an escort card and a place card you ask? An escort card gets your guest to their table whereas a placecard tells them where to sit AT the table. Most people need escort cards or something similar so their guests know what table at which to sit. Only some people have place cards telling their guests where to sit at the table.

Those are my thoughts for the evening. Good night!


Carrie signs in

I am the trusty assistant and self described "arbiter of all things good taste."

I truly believe it was fate that lead me here to Lisa and Bella Carta Studio. I am originally from here, in Rochester, New York. But I've spent almost 25 years away, chasing the dream of big time graphic design all over the northeast. I returned here in March of 2007, to be with my family again. And I had walked away from design.

Until I got bored and needed something to distract me from the family. Scanning the local Craigslist, I found Lisa's post for help. Upon meeting her and seeing the wonderful work she was doing in invitation design, I was lured back to help make these beautiful creations.

I am the person that makes the invitations by hand. Cutting, taping, folding, tying. Sometimes hundreds a week. And I love it.

Also, I do lots of other things here in the studio. For example, today I am painting our ribbon cabinet a clean eggshell. We take great pride in the appearance of our showroom and want to create a lovely environment for our local clients and to display the invitations and other items we create.

After this introductory post, I will be making paper "kimonos" as we are calling them for a bride who chose cute fair-trade bookmarks as her wedding favors. Her mom brought one in and wondered how they could be presented to their guests. This was after searching all over for an appropriate container that worked with both the item and the color scheme of the reception. After folding some "french roast" paper that is being used in her other wedding day stationary, we came up with a wrap that does indeed look like a kimono! These will be finished with a organza green ribbon tied around them.

I will be making 170 of these to start, all by hand. There is my afternoon.

Again, I love it.

Got to go do some work...
- Carrie


We're here! Thanks for having us!!!

Yes, thank you…we’re finally joining the blogosphere! So now you get to listen to not only my ramblings about the fabulous (if I do say so myself) invitations and whatnot we create every day, but my trusty sidekick Carrie’s ramblings, too! So a little about us and who we are, blah, blah, blah…

I’m Lisa. I own this whole shindig and am the principal designer. A long and winding road brought me to this incredible job…everything from an advertising degree with a graphic design concentration, to graduate degrees in interior design and education (yup, even a Ph.D…you can call me Dr. Frey if you want). I taught interior design at a major university for several years, and then was drawn back across this great country to Rochester, NY when I met and married my husband. Then what was I going to do? Well, after being talked into designing our own invitations and all the wedding day stationery for our wedding (yes, he seriously had to talk me into it…I was dubious), and after receiving such support and praise for it, Bella Carta Studio was born.

So we started small, out of my house. My husband evicted the business after 6 months and we’ve moved twice since then. Now we’re in a gorgeous mansion-turned-professional building in The Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester. We’ve got two big museums within a block from us, art galleries all around us and a great shopping and dining district within walking distance. We love our new space and plan to stay a while! We have a great showroom…oh, here are some pictures so you can all see our space...

What do we do here at Bella Carta Studio (or BCS for short, I suppose)? Well, mostly invitations and announcements, but also all the wedding day items you can imagine…menus, programs, escort cards, water bottle labels…you name it, we can design it. We work mostly in the wedding industry, but we’ve also done birth announcements and shower invitations, corporate work, invitations for some NBA folks (Dwyane Wade!!) and hope soon to get further into party invitations…we’d be GREAT for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs!!

So you’re asking, ‘what are we going to talk about in this blog?’ We’re going to showcase our work and talk about the thought process behind it. The website is great (and will be even better with the redesign coming soon!), but it’s sort of static. The blog will be a place where we speak regularly to what we do every day and where you can see how we think and more importantly DO!

I’ll let Carrie introduce herself in the next couple of posts, but let me say that I couldn’t run this studio without her. She is an integral part of my staff and really gets the job done…any job that needs to be done! She’s awesome!