Lovely in the Country {My Design Space}

As a follow-up to Laura’s Pretty in the City post yesterday, today I bring to you a visual tour of “My Design Space” in my country cottage. Nestled in a spare bedroom on the second floor, my studio is light and airy, with windows on three walls, and several angles to keep things interesting. I spend plenty of time here on a daily basis… designing, photographing, writing, corresponding, and creating. It is in this room that I sit now, typing up this very post.


(1) Pictured here is my main work area. My little white desk is tucked into a corner, and all of the items I use on a daily basis (rulers, pencils, adhesives, etc) are housed in its drawers. Just above the desk hangs my DIY chalkboard (click here for instructions on making your own). Currently it features this lovely quote by Neltje Blanchan, “Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?”.
(2) I keep my rubber bands, paper clips, and binder clips in old canning jars…a method that has both form and function!
(3) & (4) Just to the right of my desk is a shelf that is home to my printer, and a large collection of boxes. These boxes assure that I never have a shortage of storage! I keep everything from note cards, to CDs, to camera cords hidden away in these labeled containers (which hail from IKEA, if you were wondering).
(5) Admittedly, I have a love affair with books. Thus, I am ever grateful to have these built-in bookshelves to supplement to an already-full bookcase in our den.  All of my design reference guides, paper swatchbooks, and inspiration resources are within easy reach. Also, the third shelf down holds several books that I designed while working for a company that specialized in book design.
(6) On the far end of my studio, I have dedicated the unused dormer to holding a table and several lights, set up for taking photos. On numerous occasions, I need to take pictures of items for the blog (or for a design client) on a white background. This area gives me great lighting, and a perfect white backdrop for photographing.
(7) I have two addictions when it come to office supplies. #1 is Post-It notes, and #2 is Sharpie markers. The top drawer in my desk is dedicated to all my Post-Its, Sharpies, pens, pencils, and highlighters. One drawer down, you’ll find everything that has to do with “sticking” and “cutting” (all glues, tapes, scissors and x-acto knives).
(8) On either side of my bookshelves, I have one linen pinboard, where I tack up everything from inspiring magazing clippings, to to-do lists. The pinboards were an easy afternoon project a couple months back, and I use them daily to keep order to a host of paper scraps. (Click here for instructions on making for own pinboard).
(9) One of the most recent additions to my studio is this set of drawers (which I purchased at IKEA). All of my various papers are separated according to type, and stored within this little unit. Atop the drawers, I keep a catch-up basket to hold mail, magazines and paperwork.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of My Design Space. I would love to hear more about the space in your home that you use for creating!

Simplicity {Warm Weather Trip}


Simplicity Tip #1 {Arrive Prepared}
No matter where your destination is, a guidebook can help you save money, eat well, and see the sights without the stress. Use your specific travel companion to find the best restaurants, beaches, or activities in the area.

Simplicity Tip #2 {Gather Treasures}
If you’re beach combing during your tropical getaway, consider purchasing one of these handy mesh tote bags. They clip right onto your belt loop and provide an excellent way to shift away any loose sand.

Simplicity Tip #3 {Lather Up!}
Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a bad sunburn. Make sure that your skin is well protected with a high SPF, waterproof sunscreen. There are many varieties available these days, from oil-free creams, to spray-on “sport” lotions.

Simplicity Tip #4 {Piece Together a Memory}

If you enjoy puzzles, consider having your own personalized photo puzzle made! Take a picture on your trip, upload it at the Jigsaw2Order website, and presto! You’re on your way to a fun memory, and a great activity for your next vacation.

Thrifty Thursday {Buy Refurbished}

These days, everyone is looking to save a few bucks. One way to keep up on the cutting edge of technology, while keeping some change in your pockets, is to consider purchasing an iPod (touch, nano, or shuffle), iMac, or MacBook from Apple’s full line of refurbished products. You’ll score big on quality, style, and function, for some really small prices!


I’ve always been hesitant about buying anything that has the label “refurbished” attached to it. However, it turns out that the quality is all there, and the prices can’t be beat! I recently helped a friend with her decision to buy a refurbished MacBook, and the experience was stellar. Not only was the computer in excellent condition, it actually carried a top-notch warranty.Find your own refurbished iPod here, or Mac computer here!

Without Further Ado {Website Launch}

The “Coming Soon” page has been taken down, we’re throwing open the doors, and welcoming you to visit our brand new website!!!

Emmy Lu – Simplicity & Tradition is the custom invitation and stationary line that we established together in August of 2008. Today, we invite you to peruse our Signature Collection, learn more about our Uniquely Yours option, and take a peek at the custom Styleboards that we can whip up for you!


Getting married soon? We’d love to design the perfect invitation to set the stage for your big day! For inquiries, please email us at, or visit our website for more information!

Crafty Girl {Chalkboard Frame}

It’s time for another quick and easy craft tutorial from the cottage! This is a project that I actually completed just after we moved last summer. I was in need of a chalkboard to write to-do lists on in my office. Realizing that I had leftover chalkboard paint from the fridge project (that’s a story for a future post!) and extra spray paint from the repainting a metal headboard, I decided to make my own chalkboard using a garage sale picture frame that was lying around. Sounds crazy right? [I blame my insanity on the stress of moving and starting a new job simultaneously] I had my doubts too, but I figured I didn’t have much to lose! Turns out that the results were outstanding!! Here are four simple steps to make your own chalkboard.

B_3-6-09_1(1) Find a Frame | Any frame will work for this project. Choose a size that will fit the space you have to hang your chalkboard, and make sure that if the frame is missing the glass, you have a piece cut at your local hardware store. I picked up this relic at a garage sale for only a buck, because I was in love with the ornate details.

(2) Add Some Color | If you aren’t in love with the color of your frame (I just wasn’t digging that rusty yellowish gold hue), coat it with an even layer of spray paint. I chose to use flat paint because a) it was what I had sitting around the house, and b) it went well with the flat texture of the chalkboard paint.

(3) Chalk it Up | Use a small foam roller to paint the piece of glass with several thick coats of chalkboard paint. I did 4 or 5 coats, and allowed plenty of drying time. It is recommended that you wait 3 – 4 days before writing on your new chalkboard surface. Patience isn’t a strong point for me, but I survived the wait! Once your chalked up glass is fully dry, place it in the frame, and use a piece of chalk to “charge it”. You will use the long flat side of the chalk to cover the entire surface, and then use a wet sponge to clean it off. Once it’s dry, your chalkboard is ready for use!

(4) Hang and Admire | Find a spot for your new chalkboard, and hang it as you would any picture frame. Scribble notes, to-do lists, or doodles, then stand back to admire your handiwork!


Total Cost = $15 | Frame ($1), Chalkboard Paint ($10), Spray Paint ($4).

As I mentioned, this project could not be any easier! Perfect for a kid’s bedroom, office, or entryway. Also, consider making a chalkboard as a gift for a friend. Include a few sticks of chalk tied with a pretty ribbon for a lovely, handmade present. Happy crafting!

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