Simon + Kabuki – Featured Artists

simon and kabuki

Simon + Kabuki creates their signature line of “sassy and modern” designs with the mission of helping people live inspired lives. The founders, Erin Sarpa and Ilene Guy, are firm believers that you do not have to be a designer to be stylish at home, work and play. Their hip, fun, fashion-forward collections reflect their “love your style, design your life” philosophy.

Based in Silicon Valley, Erin and Ilene each bring more than 20 years of proven design experience including time spent working with fast-paced technology clients including Google and Apple Computer. They know good design and—better yet— they understand what happens during the design implementation stage of product manufacturing and how design impacts consumer purchasing decisions. This expertise allows Erin and Ilene to help their manufacturing and retail partners create products that consumers crave. This powerhouse team has generated more than $10 million in sales and their licensed designs are featured on a wide mix of products. Their sassy and modern designs can be found on stationery, school supplies, notebooks, party supplies, home decor and fabric at retailers across the U.S., Canada and Europe including Target, Staples and KodakGallery.com, to name a few.

Simon + Kabuki offers a full range of on-trend, posh designs for lifestyle categories including: bedding and home décor accessories; stationery (note cards, calendars, journals); crafts (scrapbooking); apparel and accessories; home décor (rugs, artwork, photo frames); office supplies; tabletop; kitchen textiles; fabric; partyware (napkins, plates, cups); and gift wrap and gift bags.

Erin and Ilene originally met in design school and discovered that they share a mutual appreciation for chic design, a modern color palette and fresh typography. This launched a friendship and shortly after graduation, they launched a design firm. Since then, they have been working to make the world a more stylish place one fabulous design at a time.

They are also “mom-preneurs” who find inspiration from their children who know everything about what’s cool in the world. This playful, charming point of view shines through in their designs and even helped them to select a name for their firm. “Simon + Kabuki” pays homage to the artists’ first childhood pets, Erin’s cat (“Simon”) and Ilene’s rat (“Kabuki”)

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Our safari animal baby shower

Corina's safari animal baby shower

Corina's safari animal baby shower

If you haven’t noticed from our other parties, we Expressionery.com girls love celebrating! We recently threw a baby shower for our own Corina Murray, and we wanted to share the fun with you.

Corina is expecting a baby girl this month, but she’s not a big fan of pink. Instead of sticking with the traditional pastel pink color palette, we thought it would be fun to spice things up with bright, bold colors. You can’t get much brighter than the animal suite:

Animal baby shower

Animal suite

The four designs are available as invitations, plates and more – plus printables we created for Corina’s shower. (Okay, so we snuck in a little pink here and there, but just as an accent color!)

For our safari animal baby shower, we made sure to include Corina’s favorite animal – giraffes – along with some other cute characters. Giraffe, elephant and crocodile cutouts were designed especially for her, along with a bold “Congrats” banner, and we’re sharing them with you as free printables!

Baby safari animal cutouts

Baby safari animal cutouts & "Congrats" banner

For the banner, just print out the PDF on card stock, then punch holes and tie the triangles together with ribbon.

To make the safari animals, grab some card stock or craft foam in the colors of your choice, print out the PDFs on everyday paper, cut them out and use them as stencils to trace the designs onto your card stock or foam.

Next, cut and glue on embellishments. (Hint: all the animals’ eyes, and the elephant’s toenails, can be created by using a hole punch, so don’t worry about trimming a perfect circle by hand!)

Finally, glue craft sticks onto the back and use your baby safari animals around the refreshment table, or tape them up to the wall.

We couldn’t resist throwing in these two “pregnant” animals we found at a local craft store:

"Pregnant" lion & elephant

"Pregnant" lion & elephant

Once we had enough animals, we tied the colorful shower theme together with tablecloths, place settings and ribbon. You might have noticed how we used green as the base color for the dessert table, then highlighted the animals with contrasting banners made by trimming vinyl tablecloths into strips.

We also found some zebra print ribbon at the craft store and tied it around the napkin holders and cake pop box. How simple and affordable is that?

Finally, we added to the safari theme by creating wild tissue-paper flowers. The blog craft team had a blast with these –

Elegant tissue paper flowers

Elegant tissue paper flowers

For your own party, you can use a single color of tissue paper for a natural look, or go wild by pairing several colors in one flower for a bright, bold safari theme like ours. You can find step-by-step instructions for these elegant flowers on Martha Stewart’s website.

Cake pops & gifts

Cake pops & gifts

Here are a few tips we learned along the way:

  • Pick 3 or 4 colors for your baby shower theme. Repeating several colors instead of just one makes the shower more fun and less frilly.
  • Not all your baby safari animals have to match. Throw in a set of these printables, then mix and match with ones you find at the store – like the adorable baby book Suzanne found (above).
  • Letting everyone in on the theme will help them select gifts that match too! Corina was thrilled that we followed her suggestion to have a giraffe and non-pink theme, since that’s how the nursery is being decorated. Now she has lots of safari themed décor – even a giraffe print diaper bag – which she’ll enjoy for months to come.
Gifts, cookies and the guest of honor

Gifts, cookies and the guest of honor - the stamp on the gift tag is available at Expressionery.com

Free safari animal shower printables

And now, for the best part – free printables for you! The “Congrats” banner, adorable baby animal cutouts, water bottle labels, place cards and hors d’oeuvre flags are yours to print and use at your own special occasion.

Pair them with the matching animal suite from Expressionery.com or mix and match with your own unique style – then don’t forget to share your creativity by posting a link in the comments!

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Unique gift ideas for Mom

Unique Mother's Day gifts

̶Unique Mother's Day gifts - photos by Corina Murray, Online Media Specialist for Expressionery.com

It’s hard to choose the perfect gift for the person to whom you owe your existence, much less try to find a gift that will make her appreciate the 12 hours of labor it took to get you here. It may surprise you, though, how easy it is to give Mom something she’ll cherish for years to come. She’s dropped subtle hints over the years – if you think back hard enough, you’re sure to come up with a great gift idea.

For example: at Christmas, two years ago, my friend’s Uncle Mark brought his record player. Her mom requested the same song three times and danced with Dad and the grandkids every time. I’m not sure if your mom is as old young at heart as my friend’s, but a great gift for her mom would be that old 45 mounted in a frame with a caption, “Dance like nobody’s watchin’.”

The result: Mom would:

  1. Love you for thinking of such a unique gift
  2. Be honored that you remembered her favorite song
  3. Be proud of herself for bringing such a thoughtful person into the world.

What about the time your mom got flowers from a dear friend? She said the roses were beautiful, but her favorite flower is a white gladiola. If you show up with those favorite flowers on Mother’s Day, prepare for tears and/or really long hugs – not just because you gave her flowers, but that you took the time to remember her favorite (and that you delivered them in person).

Have you ever asked your mom where she’s always wanted to travel? Think back. You know she mentioned it. Was it Egypt? Australia? London? Personally, I’d love to go back to Paris. Alas, my daughter’s college education has put a damper on such things, but (hint, hint!) I would love it if my daughter surprised me with lunch at a local French bistro.

Or if my hubby presented me with a très élégante dinner such as coq au vin, ratatouille, red wine and fromage. Oh, là là! Of course, the entrée may need to arrive via delivery boy – but it’s the thought that counts. You don’t want a frustrated, defeated cook sitting down to dine.

Personalized gifts for Mom from Expressionery.com

Personalized gifts for Mom from Expressionery.com

If your budget is strapped or you’re short on time, a handmade Mother’s Day card can never go wrong. When you were little, don’t you remember how your mom teared up when she saw the ragged but heartfelt card you made with your own two hands? Create that response again with something extraordinary!

With the same $5 you would have spent on an impersonal, mass-produced card, pick up some nice paper and pinking shears from the craft store, grab some glue and go to town. It doesn’t have to be a Jackson Pollock (after all, your mom isn’t Jackson Pollock’s mom, right?)… just something that says you spent a little time carefully crafting something special just for her.

Handmade Mother's Day card

Handmade Mother's Day card (photo: <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clara%27s_Card.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>)

Take it from a mom – we’re not that complicated. My own mom’s taste in gifts is super simple. It just took me 42 years to figure it out. She is someone who cares deeply for her family, and she only wants love in return. If she sees that you spent time trying to think of something that would really make her happy, the gift of your time will make her happier than any expensive last-minute gift ever could.

Here are some other unique gift ideas for Mom:

  • If she loves to read, take her to a bookstore and let her pick out some books. (This is better than a gift card because she also gets the pleasure of your company.)
  • If she loves to travel, take her on a day-long road trip.
  • Make her a family scrapbook – almost any mom loves to reminisce.
  • If she’s religious, you could make her a prayer shawl.
  • If she loves giving gifts, buy her a set of personalized notecards.
Gifts Mom can take to work

Gifts Mom can take to work - or leave at the home office

Whatever gift you choose, show your mom that you love and appreciate her by letting her know you see her, hear her and “get” her. After all, she’s spent her whole life trying to “get” you.

Moms, what is the favorite gift your kids have given you over the years?

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Happy Mother’s Day: up to 40% off Stamps & Stationery

Save 30% off Custom Stamps, PSA Peel & Sticks & Three Designing Women Changeables, plus 40% off all stationery and accessories, at Expressionery.com with offer code “MOM2012″. Sale ends April 17, 2012 at 11:55 PM CST.

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Happy Mother’s Day: up to 40% off Stamps & Stationery

Save 30% off Custom Stamps, PSA Peel & Sticks & Three Designing Women Changeables, plus 40% off all stationery and accessories, at Expressionery.com with offer code “MOM2012″. Sale ends April 17, 2012 at 11:55 PM CST.

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