Moodboard: Modern Nautical

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waters have been a little rough around here lately--literally and figuratively. Storms have been rolling in over the lake and I'm currently in the process of re-branding my portfolio site, a tedious task no creative looks forward to. I tend to find that designers are perfectionists by nature and I'm certainly no exception. Thankfully, when matters get too heavy on the personal project, I always have client work to take my mind off it.

Today I'm sharing a moodboard for a recent project I've been working on. This one is for the premiere seafood seller in Cleveland, located in the historical West Side Market. There's something sentimental about the fishing trade, full of nostalgia and character. The practice dates back nearly 40,000 years and hasn't drastically changed much since. We wanted to highlight this history with a somewhat modern twist on the classic nautical aesthetic--integrating tools of the craft and iconography one may see in old marinas or small harbors. More to come on this project soon!

A Storybook Baby Shower

Thursday, September 4, 2014

This morning I'm sharing a few fanciful invitations I created for a baby shower that was "one for the books!" The event was themed around popular children stories so I thought a page right out of a book would be the perfect invite to celebrate the couple's exciting new chapter. 

Given the baby's gender will be a surprise, the event strayed away from the ever-popular yellow and leaned more toward a perrywinkle blue. A hand-crafted pattern of classic storybook illustrations was printed on the reverse side of the invitations and envelope liners. It was my first time hand-lining envelopes but I found a few tricks that made the process quick and easy (I'll try to share my method in a DIY post soon)! Vintage stamps on craft paper added a bit of character, making each invitation unique and one-of-a-kind.


Elephants will also be making a stomp in the nursery.




What's a baby shower without goofy games? Supplementing the classic staples (above I believe Lindsay and Emily are tag-team attempting to determine the mommy-to-be's belly size), I created a little quiz covering everyone's favorite books growing up…or so I thought. Surrounded by elementary teachers, most aced the questionnaire while others (including my boyfriend whom I made participate before the event) found it near impossible. Come on, everybody knows Amelia Bedelia is a housekeeper! With that answer in hand, download the quiz here and see how you do! Verify your answers here.

Look familar? See closer images of the hand-lettered book rack right here.


It was a fairytale afternoon for one of my best friends since childhood. I can't wait to see where their story takes them!

Books of Our Youth

Thursday, August 28, 2014



Sorry for the recent silence around here but many project deadlines came colliding in the chaos that has been the month of August. It's odd, blogging has been a huge part of weekly routine over the past year, and I love that. Writing gives me a chance to slow down and reflect. It keeps me inspired and motivated to continue to create. But as more opportunities arise for creation, the less time I have to write. It's a bittersweet give-and-take relationship I'm still trying to balance.

On that note, I'm back with a little insight into a project I recently finished for one of my best friends. She's an elementary school teacher and expecting her very first baby in October. Keeping with the classroom subject matter, her shower is storybook theme, so I thought it would be sweet to create a simple little book rack in the nursery colors, dark blue and white.



I spotted the antique in a vintage thrift store, Sweet Lorain, in Ohio City. It was dusty, very 60's, and neon orange. The back panel was almost completely gone. Seeing the potential after a little love and care, I scooped it up and went to work. Another perk of being surrounded by creatives is the resources and assistance…because let's be real, wood working is not my forte and I don't think a bandsaw and I would make for an ideal partnership. Thankfully my father has a workshop and was able to help out. After the additional pieces had been carved, the whole thing was sanded and seamlessly assembled. A good coat of white…or six…or seven (orange stain is not the easiest to cover) and the rack was ready to rock the reads.

I lettered the front panel with a quote from the recipient's favorite author and stocked it with the classics (The Giving Tree, Dr. Seuss, Little Critters, and of course, Everybody Poops). The mommy and daddy-to-be have decided to leave the gender a surprise so I added a little personalization with the baby's last name on the handle.

Books were an enormous part of my childhood. I would choose a book from my parents large library and my mother or father would read to me every single night before I went to bed. The stories still ring in my head and have inspired me to both write and illustrate just about every day. I hope this piece is a keep sake the Capotosta's can stock and restock with their own little one's favorite bedtime stories for years to come. What are some of your favorite books from when you were a child? I was obsessed with anything David Weisner or Chris Van Allsburg. I still dream about flying frogs and dancing broomsticks.


More to come on the rest of the storybook shower next week!

Guest Post on Cardstore

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hey guys, today I'm an honored guest on the Cardstore blog. Stop by for free hand lettered, downloadable lunchbox notes just in time for a new school year. Be sure to take a look around for more sweet DIY's, party ideas, and tons of little ways to make every moment worth celebrating!

A Bridal Shower Toast

Friday, August 1, 2014

Got to love summer. Tis' the season of celebrations--baby showers, block parties, reunions, weddings, weddings, weddings. Hold tight because I will probably be bombarding you with printed pieces I've been working on this season within the next month or so (sorry I'm not sorry).

This afternoon I'm sharing a sweet and simple invite for a rustic Tuscan bridal shower. I actually coordinated with an incredibly well-organized and thoughtful groom in the development of this piece. He did a great job painting the picture of the venue, filled with oak barrels, burn-etched wine crates, ivy accents, and flickering string lights.

Their whimsical hand crafted lettering was carried through in the bride-to-be's name and a twisting, curling grapevine pattern that carried through to the back. Hope it was a super special day filled with friends, family and of course, red, white, and bubbly!


Happy 1 Year Anniversary of the Blog + a Giveaway! (closed)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Holy Moley. Hard to believe it's been an entire year since I began this blog and even harder to believe I just used the phrase "holy moley." What started as a way to share side projects and random thoughts has turned into so much more throughout the course of a year. While it seems I wrote my first post only yesterday, a blog certainly demonstrates just how quickly we change as individuals both personally and professionally. Topics deviate, style shifts, it's been a journal, a portfolio, and a social network. It evolves everyday and I can't wait to see where it goes for years to come. You have all been so incredibly supportive whether you may be active participants in the blogging community or my silent yet regular readers. I'm so thankful for each and every one of you and the opportunities and relationships this blog has made possible.

So as a small token of my gratitude, I'm giving away a hand painted lettering design to one of my amazing readers with the message of their choice. To enter, simply comment below with how you would like your note to read and I will create a one-of-a-kind piece just for you. Please keep messages 10 words or less (the chalkboard is only 17"x14") and will I will make sure the work is properly preserved and ready for shipping! The drawing will close Friday, August 8th at 11:59 pm and the winner will be announced at the bottom of this post. Open to all international readers!

You're all incredible and inspire me in all I do. I wish I could create something for each of you personally but I'm not to sure my hands and eyes would cooperate much past 50 or so. Thank you for being supportive and patient with me. It's been a wild ride but I can't wait to see what's around the next turn...

(Congratulations Kelsey Herideen on being our lucky winner this round!)

Noto Fashion Show

Friday, July 18, 2014


I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time (among many others) but wedding season has really pumped the breaks on my blogging schedule as of late through both my attendance and hand lettering work. *Currently typing with sore puffy fingers, riddled with late night X-Acto nicks and misfortunes.*


Moving on, last month I had the pleasure of attending Akron's 6th annual summer fashion show (remember this post?). The event is hosted by Akron's own NOTO boutique, a hidden gem located deep in the Orangerie mall. Downtown's rustic Trolley Barn was an all too appropriate choice for this summer's show theme, "Vintage Americana."




Women were adorned in bold shades of crimson and cobalt while local vendors sold bites, booze, and goods around the outskirts of the stage. Attendees were greeted with a complimentary signature "Notini," pictured to the right. My mother was my date and it was a perfect evening of big laughs, great food, and lovely lines all in support of beautiful Akron.


While my camera was on hand, my memory card managed to miss the trip. Aside from a few photos above I managed to snap with my iphone, all images are compliments of local Studio KMR Photography.

Kate Hardy Design All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger