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tonya_kauffman
Thank you for stopping by! 
I’m so glad we can chat here because if you popped by my house, at any given time, you might find my monsters and me dancing and singing with Swiffer sticks as microphones in our pj's to old-school pop…because we can’t stop and we won’t stop…for the doorbell or anything else ;)
Stationery Academy! - Recap

So now for all the Stationery Academy goodness.

The event was in August, but I signed up back in February or March.  It seemed so far away at the time, but the anticipation I felt leading up to the event was worth it. I couldn’t wait to meet others in the industry whom I follow on Twitter and Instagram (my new fave social media outlet), read their blogs, etc…  I was a little intimidated, I must admit, but my excitement helped me plow through those feelings to make way for great things and great friendships to happen.

 When the time finally came to leave for Stationery Academy, my family and I were at the end of a pretty crazy and emotional summer.  We had some surprises and big decisions sprinkled into our lives.  This made leaving for 5 days a little tough, but it turns out that the timing couldn’t have been better. Funny how it usually happens that way!

 I arrived a little early so I took advantage of some quiet pool time.  I never knew such a thing existed since I usually have two super-splashers in tow, but I managed to make the best of it.

Pool at Hotel Palomar

[sunning at by the Infinity Pool at Hotel Palomar Dallas]

After a little R&R I went up to my room only to be greeted with the cutest swag ever.

Stationery Academy goodies

The event began with a light-hearted cocktail hour on Thursday evening followed by bags of more fun goodies!  Great night, right?  Well, that light atmosphere gradually progressed into a deep group conversation about our fears, our craziest dreams and our ‘purpose’.  Although these topics were serious and not particularly ‘party conversation’ it was the reason I was there: to dig deep, to learn and to grow.

The next two days were filled with so many thoughts, tips and lessons…my pretty Poppin pen (yes, more swag) couldn’t write fast enough.  My head was constantly abuzz – brainstorming  and trying to wring out the last little bit of energy I had left at the end of each session to finish my homework (yes, tough, detailed homework!). 

 

The workshop is organized by two amazing women: Whitney English and Natalie Chang.  I cannot even begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge and inspiration these two hold.  (NOTE:  Just a little secret between you and me…not only are their brains full…their hearts are too!)  We began by hearing their personal journeys, lessons they learned and how and why they want to share their experiences.

 Natalie, Whitney and Me

[Natalie, Me, Whitney - I am a better person having met these two!]

 Next we moved into the ‘guts’ of the workshop: details about our industry, marketing, contemplating our ideal client, how to best communicate with them and ensure positive experiences.

It didn’t stop there, that was just Friday morning!            

We also learned from more experts (i.e. more inspiration, information and...personality!):

Jennifer Faught of Something Detailed shared her experience at National Stationery Show and information about the wholesale industry.  

Emily McCarthy gave an eye-opening presentation about defining our ‘Signature Style’.  This is something I feel I struggle with, but now definitely have better insight and guidelines.

Rachel Shingleton of Pencil Shavings Studio shared her knowledge and gave wonderful, useful suggestions on blogging, running an online shop and kicking up the visual experience through better photography.

Rachel and I

[Rachel and I at the final dinner].

Sprinkled into this concentrated, but 100% beneficial schedule was a little downtime and delicious dinners…with more swag.

Final Dinner Place setting

 [This was my greeting at the final dinner - I was getting used to pretty place settings and goodies at every meal!]

One evening I managed to break away from the ‘paper party’ to check in on my family.  My husband asked if I ‘was having fun’.  I thought for a moment and responded that, yes, I was having fun, but it was a different kind of fun.  When you are learning about something you love and something you are truly passionate about, all while being surrounded by amazing people…how can you NOT have a great time?  But it was more than that.  I was also gaining valuable (or more like invaluable and priceless) knowledge and confidence... even if I was exhausted and overwhelmed all at the same time.

Noah, Cowboy Bowman, Millie

 [my welcoming committee - good to be home]

I arrived in Dallas as an intimidated woman running her business solo and constantly shooting from the hip while hoping for the best.  I returned to Chicago from Stationery Academy a confident woman who now has a vision, a plan, new goals and rules not only for my business, but also for my 'self'.  Even more than that, I am no longer flying solo, I am a part of an amazing network of supportive women who are all in ‘the same shoes’…each of us similar in so many ways, while still being so different at the same time.

I gained more from this little weekend away than I could have hoped and the amazing thing is, the learning hasn’t stopped since I left.  I have had phone calls, emails, Facebook messages supporting others with knowledge I have learned from my personal experiences… and I continue to receive the same from them in return.  How can you ask for more than that?

The next session of Stationery Academy is in February 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee – in case you can’t tell…I HIGHLY recommend it!  You can learn more here.  I would also be happy to answer any questions you might have as well! Email me at tonya@tolukapaper.com 

Just wanna see more pictures of the swag?  You can check out my instagram page or search #statacad to see all attendees’ photos as well.

Posted on 9/25/2013 to News & Announcements
Pretty Palettes
Color.  I love me some color!  One of the things I struggle with the most when designing - no matter what it is - is coming up with the perfect colors.  Whether it is for a new product design or even for a custom piece where I have a suggested color theme supplied by a client I still catch myself becoming overwhelmed with the possibilities.  The combinations, the shades, the placement...so many options to choose from.  

Below is a pic of some color palettes that have caught my eye this week.  When I first laid them out, the combinations were meant to be looked at in rows.  I thought the navy, rose and mint would be a great option for a baby announcement I am currently working on.  The olive, tangerine, and raspberry would be great combos for a stationery suite I have started...etc.  BUT the reason I am sharing this with you... The more I looked at these colors, I discovered that I have actually laid out more color palette options than I originally intended.  No matter what way you look at this color grid/layout all the colors seem to coordinate well.  If you focus on the colors laid out on the diagonal - navy, tangerine and mushroom - those colors might be great for a masculine birthday invitation (or boys bedroom colors...which is what I might be using them for).  I am also loving the mint, raspberry and mushrooms colors! I just need to find a way to incorporate those into my life...wardrobe maybe?  



Two tricks to keep in mind when choosing a color palette: 
1. Keep the number of colors you choose to around 3.  This allows you to have enough options to have 1 or 2 main colors and a nice pop/accent color without having a rainbow effect (unless, of course, that is a look you are going for).  
2. Be sure to include a neutral color in your palette.  This helps the other colors stand out without having to compete too much.

My point is (yes, I have a point) no matter what you are working on, your wardrobe, new wall/room colors, your wedding colors, a spring floral arrangement, etc lay out all the colors you like (get inspiration from anywhere and everywhere!) and mix and match them in ways you wouldn't normally put together.  You might surprise yourself! 

What color combinations are your favorite right now?  What are you using them for?
Posted on 5/24/2013 to Inspiration