about us

Blonde Designs is an inspirational blog focused on invitations, parties, and good design. We are Angie Gubler and Kristin Rees, best friends, graphic designers and moms.
We are both former art directors at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, respectively. 
We own Blonde Designs, an invitation and stationery company.

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Wednesday
Oct282009

october book club

I love to read. In my life-before-children, I devoured books, reading whenever I got the chance – on the subway during my commute to work, walking to work (if it was a really good book), even driving the car (although I really shouldn't admit that!). Since having children, however, my reading has taken a turn for the worse. Where does one find the time between work, children, husband, household duties, and socialization (which is few and far between!).

Thankfully, I am part of a book club which usually guarantees that I will read at least 1 book a month. Currently, we have six members (we've recently had two stalwarts move) and we meet once a month at someone's house (we rotate). Every January, we come up with a schedule of dates, who's going to host, and the books for each month. It is potluck – the host makes the main dish and everyone else brings sides. The theme of the night is determined by the chosen book and everyone really goes all out with their creativity.

For October, we chose a nonfiction book called The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It is set in Chicago in the late 1800's and tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the Chicago fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. I highly recommend it – I couldn't put it down.

 

The ghoulish nature of the book lent itself well to food. I made "eyeball" cake balls using red velvet cake, Andrea (the host) made a lentil sausage stew and cheddar biscuits, Jenny made pumpkin bread with chocolate chips and finished it off with plastic spiders crawling on top (clever).

Now I'm off to read November's book selection – Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. I'm hosting and it will be a French theme. I'll keep you posted....

Tuesday
Oct272009

andrea's halloween decorations

My friend, Andrea, is one of the coolest girls I know. On top of that, she has amazing taste and is always creating something. Halloween is her favorite holiday and boy, does she go all out. She and her husband throw a Halloween party every year that is the highlight of the season.

 

She recently made these felt pumpkin people that I think are darling. In my humble opinion, Andrea's are much cuter than the samples shown on the link.

 

Andrea has been collecting classic Halloween memorabilia for years – aren't the wooden candy corn fab? What I love is how she groups her decorations in interesting ways – she really was born to be a stylist. Andrea has inspired me to start my own collection of tasteful Halloween decorations – my girls are going to be thrilled that our minimalistic decorations may be expanding!

Monday
Oct262009

witches' tea

My darling friend, Kelli, hosted a Witches' Tea for 15 of her girlfriends, including myself. Everyone was instructed to come dressed as a witch and be "ravenously hungry." It began at 6:00 p.m. and 5 courses later, we were sufficiently satiated.

 

I loved that everyone came in costume – it somehow makes a party seem more special. I also love that Kelli thought of everything from the pumpkin soup terrines filled with the most delicious Butternut Squash Soup to the bat-shaped tortilla chips – no attention to detail was spared.

 

It was such a fun evening – socializing with friends, eating delicious food and getting dressed up entirely for yourself (no little ones to put in costume). I hope this is a tradition that continues. Thank you, Kelli, for the invitation. Count me in for next year! :)

Wednesday
Oct212009

baby gifts

Lately it seems like all my friends are having babies. Such a deluge of wee ones has also caused a deluge of gift-giving. Rather than overtax my already overfull brain, I have come up with a baby gift giving strategy: when one of my favorite children's websites, Olive Juice for example, has a sale, I stock up on baby ensembles. If you wait until the final sale at Olive Juice, you can get items for as little as $10 a piece. I keep the outfits in my gift closet along with a few of my favorite children's books – Olivia is always a favorite for girls.

In addition to clothing, I also like to give our "12 Months of Baby" cards which are always a bit hit. A baby's first year seems to fly by and our cards are an excellent way to track your baby's growth.

I also like to send personalized notecards for the new little one. My feeling is that it's never too early for personalized stationery!

 

Thank you for all your baby gift suggestions! We will announce the winner of our
"12 Months of Baby" card giveaway on Monday. Now, I just need to find the perfect gift for Kristin and her new little one, baby Will. The pressure is on!

Have a lovely weekend....

Wednesday
Oct212009

beatrice's room

Beatrice's room makes me happy. I love the colors – apple blossom (Benjamin Moore 479) with accents of pool blue, yellow and white. I love the patterns on the bedding, the boldly striped rug and throw pillows. I also love that this room is usually clutter-free (Bea prefers to mess up her older sisters' room instead!).

I also love that each piece of furniture has a story.... the crib was purchased by my parents for my oldest daughter and has followed us through 2 more babies and many moves. The side table was in my first apartment in New York, then with Kristin in her apartment on the upper east side (no room in our apartment in Brooklyn!), then back to the west coast. The rocking chair was picked up on Clinton Street in Brooklyn. It was originally a lovely shade of black with gold detailing but my husband quickly repainted it and voila, it's perfect with a few pillows to soften the back.

The painting on the wall was done by my very talented friend, LeeAnn. We chose a leaf design from the bedding and I sketched a whimsical tree trunk which she translated with paint on the wall.

 On another wall rests a metal dresser which is painted with auto-body paint in my favorite shade of pool blue. It was a sample from Martha Stewart's now-defunct mail order company, Martha by Mail, and I immediately bought it. I was just out of college and had no room for it in my apartment. I couldn't pass it up, however – why be practical when a metal dresser is at stake?!

On the dresser rests a fabric-covered letter "A" – this is a remnant from when my daughter, Amelia, had this room (I can't seem to find a "B" in the perfect color!), a set of miniature wooden animals from Scotland, a sunprint made by a dear friend and former co-worker at Martha Stewart, a china monkey bowl, and the most darling fabric doll made by another friend (it's nice to have such talented and creative friends!).

Wednesday
Oct212009

welcome, baby will!

Kristin just had a little boy, William Erik, approximately half an hour ago!
Mother and baby are doing well.

The announcement above is one of our favorites and can be found here.

In spite of Will's hefty size, Kristin may have been the smallest pregnant woman
I have ever seen! This is a photo taken on Saturday when Kristin and Erik took their children to the pumpkin patch.

Congratulations, Kris!

Tuesday
Oct202009

baby month card giveaway!

One of our most popular products is our Baby Month cards. The idea is to photograph your baby each month with the card. Each set contains cards for months 1-12 – it's an excellent way to see your baby's growth in the first year
and you end up with a lovely sequence of photos that can be framed in a grid.

To continue our baby-themed week, we are giving away a set of Baby Month cards in your color choice: pale pink, poppy orange (not shown), pool blue or sage green. The cards retail for $18 + $7 shipping = $25. If you would like to purchase a set, email us at info@blonde-designs.com.

To enter this giveaway, please respond to this post telling us what your favorite children's gift is to give or receive.

We will announce the winner on Monday, October 26th.

Sunday
Oct182009

my 12 favorite baby products

In honor of Kristin's new baby boy (she is being induced this week!), we are dedicating this week to all things baby. Hope you enjoy!

1. Triple Paste Ointment: This is the cure-all for any diaper rash. I have tried every other diaper rash ointment and nothing works as well. In my opinion, it is a miracle cream!

2. Hanna Andersson Knit Cap: This is the most darling hat and is now available in two weights of cotton – one for warm weather and one for cold. I am of the opinion that no tiny baby should leave the house without his/her head covered. I bought this is every neutral color that was available and Bea wore it everywhere (see photo below).

3. ThinkBaby Bottles: BPA-free, patented venting system, cool design. Doesn't get much better than that.

4. Sophie the Giraffe: I love this classic French teething toy – Sophie's cute, rubbery and smells good...Bea loved to chew on Sophie's legs.

5. Dwell Diaper Bag: In my opinion, this is the Rolls-Royce of diaper bags – it looks chic, has multiple pockets inside, comes with a cute changing pad, and doesn't show dirt. Really, what more do you need?

6. Miracle Blanket: I couldn't live without this blanket for the first 3 months. We used this with all our girls and I am convinced it is why they are such good sleepers. The blanket keeps their arms tight at their sides which immediately soothes newborns. For additional sleep tips, I highly recommend the book, On Becoming Baby Wise.

7. Pampers Swaddlers: These diapers are so soft, good for sensitive skin and don't have any horrendous illustrations on them. Why do diaper manufacturers really think that parents want Sesame Street characters emblazoned on their baby's bottom? Honestly....

8. Petit Bateau Onesies: I love the tiny detailing on these and the soft cotton. Please note that the French size everything small – I suggest ordering one size up.

9. Wet Wipe Warmer: This goes against my minimalist tendencies. As far as baby products are concerned, I like just the bare essentials, but this contraption is well worth the $20 investment. During late-night diaper changings, Bea would remain asleep with her perfectly warmed wet wipes.

10. Mustela Baby Products: I love the smell of all the Mustela products and I especially love this 2-in-1 hair and body wash.

11. Sound Machine: Sleep is critical and a sound machine helps drown out noises (especially from older siblings!). We don't travel anywhere without our sound machine. Bea can fall asleep with the waves crashing in the background in any locale.

12. Ikea High Chair: Without a doubt, this is my favorite baby product. It is so well designed and can be wiped clean in an instant. I don't understand high chairs with a lot of bells and whistles (and hideous fabric to clean) – I definitely think less is more, especially where high chairs are concerned!

Friday
Oct162009

october weekend

I've been adding to my pretty-colored pumpkin and gourd collection. My kids have enjoyed picking out these little pumpkins as we've been out and about. There are still two weeks until Halloween so I'm sure I'll end up with a lot more. We're planning to spend this last weekend before the baby arrives outdoors, enjoying the fall weather in Texas – hopefully we'll visit a pumpkin patch or two. Enjoy your fall weekend!

Thursday
Oct152009

rocking horse birth announcement

Lately it seems like all my friends are moving. My childhood friend, Amy, decided to not only move but also to have her fourth child in the same month (talk about an over-achiever!). Once settled, she decided that a joint moving / birth announcement was in order. Thankfully, she has a graphic designer at her service (me!) and I did my best to combine the two monumental events. I love that Amy and her husband named this little guy after a distant relative, better known as Butch Cassidy. I played up the western theme, drawing a vintage rocking horse and printing the announcement in muted shades of pool blue and red. I'm quite pleased with the results!