Fall 2012 Trends

Top Trends for Fall 2012

Top Trends for Fall 2012

The thermometer reads over 100 degrees here in beautiful New Braunfels, Texas, and you’d better believe that the gals on the Expressionery team are dreaming of cool, crisp Autumn weather these days. We’ve gathered a handful of hot (ha!) fall trends and ideas about incorporating them into your personal style!

Sophisticated textures are replacing summery linen, cotton and seersucker in the form of leather, fur and velvet. Designers are also adding a little sparkle to the darker colors winter brings with ornate gold brocade embroidery this season.

2012 Fall Fashion Textures

Adding these same rich textures into your wardrobe is easy and you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it! Wrap a new leather belt around your favorite sweater or add a pair of velvet flats to your shoe collection. Modernize your winter coat from last season with a fur (faux or real) collar or add some of the designer-inspired golden glow to your basic black suit or dress with a statement necklace or beaded evening bag.

2012 Fall Fashion Accessories

Whether its suit pieces for work or playful prints for every day wear, pairing black and white is a classic combination and a popular fall trend this year.

2012 Fall Black and White Combinations

Adding the black and white trend into your personal style is simple. Mix the basics you already own and create this look without spending a dime. Dress up your little black dress with a white jacket for work or add a white cardi over your favorite black maxi dress from this summer! Layer a white statement necklace over your black basics and consider yourself a fall trend fashionista!

2012 Fall Fashion Black and White Accessories

Cooler temps mean bundling up and the trend for this season’s coat comes in many forms. From capes to military-inspired jackets to oversized silhouettes, you can find your favorite way to stay warm this winter.

2012 Fall Fashion Jackets

Typically, coats and outwear can be pricey, but incorporating a trendy style can be more affordable than you think. Look to your favorite clothing brands or even take a peek at the clothing aisles at your big box retail stores to find a signature coat that suits your personal style without spending a fortune.

Affordable Fall Jackets

The styles this fall are all about textured textiles, black and white contrasts and new inspiration and silhouettes for outerwear. Take notes from the runway and make them work for your personal style and budget. By simply pairing your basics in a new way or incorporating new textures to your ensemble with accessories, you can infuse the latest fall trends to your existing wardrobe. Try a trendy coat this season and shop a discount retailer to find designer-inspired styles without the high price tags. The dog days of summer are sure to cool off soon, and we can’t wait to showcase our favorite fall fashions. What fall trends inspire you?

10 ways to use your PSA Essentials personalized stamp

PSA personalized stamps

A guest post by our friend Libby O from PSA Stamp Camp

Like an old friend, my PSA Essentials personalized stamp has been with me for a long time. With patent-pending Peel & Stick technology and thousands of designs, one personalized stamp and a few Peel & Stick packs go a long way. From getting married to buying a house, getting domestic and celebrating holidays and milestones, there are so many uses for a personalized stamp and Peel & Stick designs. Here are 10 of my favorite ways to use PSA Essentials stamps!

10. If you’re getting married, use your personalized PSA Essentials stamp for your entire wedding stationery suite. From sending out save the dates, to showers, to your wedding invitations – use one personalized outer ring and switch up your inner rings to suit the occasion. There’s a stamp for every occasion to dress up your envelopes.

PSA stamp use 10
  • Save the date stamp from the “Bouquet Toss” collection
  • Umbrella shower stamp from the “Bouquet Toss” collection
  • Cake stamp from the “Mr. & Mrs.” collection

9. Create your own stationery and notes. Use jotter paper on your desk or purchase any of PSA Essentials’ stampable stationery. It’s an inexpensive way to have personalized stationery in a few seconds!

PSA stamp use 9

8. Get crafty and make your own holiday cards. Remove the outer ring of your personalized stamp and use the “Happy Holidays” stamp from the North Pole Peel & Stick pack on your stamper. For your envelopes, put your outer address ring back on, change up the middle to the trees from Tree-O Peel & Stick stamps. Your holiday card is sure to stand out!

PSA stamp use 8
  • Handmade holiday cards

7. Make your own gift wrap. Remove your personalized stamp and switch it up. Add a cupcake stamp from PSA Cupcake, then a flower from PSA Rosettas to your stamper loaded with different color ink cartridges. Stamp randomly and you’ll have beautiful gift wrap in no time!

  • Handmade gift wrap
PSA stamp use 7

6. Get domestic! Switch up your stamp die (no need to purchase a whole new stamp because of the Peel & Stick technology) with a “From the kitchen of” stamp.

PSA stamp use 6
  • Gift tags on homemade goods

5. Host a beautiful baby shower with this DIY project. Have guests write wishes for baby on a card that can be placed in a book for the mom to take home. Use the PSA Little Bunny and PSA Carriage Peel & Stick stamp sets on your PSA Stamper and follow this tutorial to make them.

PSA stamp use 5
  • Wishes for baby

4. Serve dessert up in style. Dress up cupcakes with these easy toppers. Using your PSA Topiary Peel & Stick stamps, use the Easter Egg and “Happy Easter” sentiment to make these quick and easy toppers during Easter. Change it up for any occasion like birthdays, graduation, 4th of July, Halloween or Thanksgiving.

PSA product use 4
  • Cupcake toppers

3. Create great party favors like these CDs for guests take home. Switch things up on your personalized stamp and have a die made just for your event or occasion – like this “Molly’s 2nd Birthday Party” with “2″ from PSA Vanilla Peel & Stick. Use it to create party decorations too like banners, cupcake toppers, napkin seals and more.

PSA product use 3
  • Personalized CD cases

2. Make memories last forever with scrapbooking. Change up your personalized stamp – add Peel & Stick designs like Fancy Flakes, Vanilla Letters & Numbers, and more to any of your layouts.

PSA stamp product use 2
  • The finishing touches for your scrapbook

1. Stamp all of your envelopes and correspondence, quickly and easily and in-style. PSA Essentials personalized stamps come assembled with black ink included, and are good for up to 10,000 impressions. That’s a lot of stamping!

PSA stamp use 1
  • Stamps for your correspondence

Unique Gift Ideas for Dads

Father's Day

Father’s Day is coming fast, which means you need to find the perfect gift for dear ol’ Dad! Is it just me, or are dads, granddads, uncles, brothers – well, men in general – just hard to shop for?

Do I shop for what he needs? Or what he wants? Is handmade better than store-bought? What’s the perfect gift that makes ME the favorite child (at least for the day)? No stress, friends, we’ve gathered a list of stellar Father’s Day gift ideas for all kinds of dads!

For the grill master

Buy it: Heavy duty tongs, spatulas or cedar grilling planks are always a treasured gift for the grill. Did that last year? How about giving a personalized apron or a bottle of gourmet sauce and a membership to a meat of the month club?

Make it: Combine a handful (ha!) of items into a BBQ cooking mitt with a bottle of sauce, poultry rub, tongs, corn on the cob picks, a meat thermometer and an apron or dish towels and attach a note that says, “I’ll AD-MITT it: You’re the BEST DAD EVER!”

Unique gift for dad 1

Cooking Mitt from Mod Cloth

For the computer geek

Buy it: Find all sorts of quirky and clever ideas on Etsy for your nerdy smart Dad! How cool is this “I Love You” Binary Code Print?

Unique print for Dad

Print from Etsy

Make it: Create unique office accessories with computer parts! Glue cork or felt to the bottom side of a floppy disk to make quirky coasters. Pop keys off an old keyboard and glue magnets to the back sides for some cool and clever refrigerator magnets!

Geeky Fathers Day gifts

Geeky gifts from IBM & Apartment Therapy

For the sports enthusiast

Buy it: Score big with Dad and give him tickets to a game for the two of you! Not only will this be a great gift for Dad, but together you will create a memory to last a lifetime!

Make it: Can’t afford to get to a game? Recreate a game day experience in your living room! Present Dad with a Styrofoam cooler filled with popcorn, peanuts, drinks, the remote control from your TV and a home-made ticket to watch a special sports game at home (a favorite baseball team, hockey team or possibly a basketball playoff game).

Cooler gift

Cooler from Home Decorators

For the food lover

Buy it: If chowing down is your dad’s favorite pastime, get him a gift certificate to his favorite spot or introduce him to a new restaurant!

Make it: Grab a wooden toolbox (available at craft stores) and fill it with a gourmet verison of Dad’s favorite foods! For example, various flavors of thick cut bacon, deli meats and smoked salmon or jerky for the meat lover.

Food toolbox

Toolbox from Darling Doodles

So whatever your dad is into, you can find him a gift that’s perfectly suited to his style. Just think about what he likes best, combine it with a little creativity and you can create a gift that Dad will love.

And the best news is, he’s going to love whatever you get him, so don’t stress – just enjoy the day that celebrates dear ol’ Dad!

How to write graduation thank you notes

How to write graduation thank you notes

Don't get discouraged! It's easy to write thank you notes.

Pictured above: Graduation Caps Folded Notes from Expressionery.com.

Graduation season is quickly approaching and while you might be dreaming of tossing out your pen and papers, think again. Along with the graduation ceremony come graduation parties, and along with graduation parties come graduation gifts, and along with graduation gifts come THANK YOU NOTES!

In our technology-infused society, the handwritten thank you note is becoming more rare. The good news about this is, that makes it really easy to leave a good impression on your friends and family when you write one! You never know when that may come in handy later!

I graduated from college and got married all in the same week. (In case you needed further proof that I can multitask!) Because of this, I received some especially generous wedding gifts from my church family, who had all known my family for many years. I took my time and wrote out each thank you by hand on cards that I had designed myself.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I found out later that one of the ladies had pulled my mother aside to tell her how much she appreciated the card. Not only had I written the note by hand, I’d told her what I was going to use her generous gift card for – new clothes. This made her feel that I truly appreciated the gift.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here – there’s a reason I’m telling you all this. Not long after graduation, I found myself needing a reference for a job I was applying for. Being a new graduate, I didn’t have many people who could do that for me. But as soon as I put the word out, that lady’s husband (who had known my family for years, but didn’t know me all that well) wrote one of the best letters of recommendation I have ever received. I still carry his recommendation on my LinkedIn profile.

Writing your graduation thank you notes

Don’t feel pressured or worried that you’re going to say the wrong thing. As long as you write honestly and from the heart, there’s really no wrong way to write a thank you note. I probably only spent two minutes writing and addressing that one card, but as they say, it’s the thought that counts.

Graduation thank yous

Get inspired to write great thank you notes with cool stationery and accessories!

First, pick out a set of cards that suit your style. There’s no rule that says graduation thank you’s have to be formal – it’s all up to you. If you’re not the type to design your own cards, you can still get a custom look with personalized thank you notes.

Print your name or a simple “Thank you” message on the front of anything from formal embossed cards to casual, cartoon-style illustrations. You might even want to get a couple of different sets and send more formal notes to certain relatives and more casual notes to your friends. (Just don’t make the mistake of pre-printing the thank you message that goes inside – taking the time to write your cards by hand will mean so much more.)

Now that you’ve got your notecards, grab a few pens. Gel pens are great because they don’t skip like those cheap pens you wrote your term paper with. Black is the most formal color; others like blue, green and burgundy can add a more warm or casual feel. Choose based on your own style and how you want the recipient to feel when they open the envelope.

Graduation thank you note wording

And now, for thank you note etiquette 101. Just kidding – there are only a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • The greeting – “Dear” is often a good word – it’s polite, yet friendly.
  • The message – Thank the person for coming to your party and/or graduation, if they attended. They took time out of their busy schedule to be there and support you. Then, mention the gift (even if you didn’t really like it) and thank them for it. Never say you’re going to return or exchange it. If you received money or gift cards, tell them what you plan to use the money for. (Just don’t tell them if you blew it on an Xbox 360.) If you can’t think of much to say about the gift itself, talk about your summer plans – how you can’t wait to start your summer job or start your college classes.
  • The closing – this is where you have a lot of freedom. If you want your note to feel formal, “Sincerely” is a classic. For a more casual tone, you can try “Thanks again,” for relatives you can use “With love” or for a really formal (business contact style) tone you could use “Best regards.”

Graduation thank you card examples

Here are a few examples to get you started:

To a teacher:

Dear Ms. Williams,

I can’t believe I’m graduating! I am so excited, and I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I have appreciated your help over the past few years. You’ve been so patient, and you inspired me to decide upon a communications major.

Thank you for coming to my party and for all your words of wisdom over the years. I will always remember you as one of my best teachers.

Thanks again,

Elaine

To a friend:

Dear Jennie,

Wow, I can’t believe graduation is finally here. It feels like just yesterday we were freshmen! I wanted to thank you for your friendship over the years and let you know how much I’m going to miss you.

Thank you for coming to my party. You really didn’t have to get me a gift – your friendship is enough! – but I am so excited to put the beautiful lamp you got me in my new room. It will remind me of you every time I turn it on.

Your friend,

Elaine

To a relative:

Dear Uncle Joe and Aunt Susan,

Thank you for flying all the way from San Diego for my graduation! It was great having you there. Thank you, too, for the generous gift. I was going to take my old backpack on my trip this summer, but now I can get a new one with wheels and the works. It should make traveling much more comfortable!

Love,

Elaine

Sending your notes

And now for the last step – actually sending the cards! It’s easiest to address each envelope as you write your notes – that way, you don’t end up putting the wrong card in the wrong envelope. Then, stamp or stick your return address on the back flap – this saves a ton of time and makes the envelope look nicer too. Finally, put on a stamp and stick a batch in the mailbox.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to write all your thank you notes in one sitting, or even mail them all out together. It’s often easier to send out a batch here and there until you have them all done. Just keep a running list of all the cards you need to write so you don’t forget whether or not you sent someone’s card!

And now that you’ve completed thank you note writing 101 … it’s time for a pop quiz! Just kidding. Toss that cap in the air (but keep your stationery close by). It’s time to celebrate!

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?