Tag Archives: Alecia Stevens

Artist Way

Art seems to rush in like waves in my life and recently they seem to be at an all-time peak.

This past Thursday night Emmett and I spent time at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts checking out the new Matisse exhibit where we were inspired to “draw with scissors” and create our own colorful collage postcard to send to someone who inspires us. (Bonus: The Institute mails the postcards for free, smart promotion!). How brilliant to combine personal art with writing!

Then on Saturday afternoon our family took a walking field trip to the Weinstein Gallery, my favorite gallery in the Twin Cities. Martin Weinstein has an eye for talent. He currently is featuring a collection of work from local Alec Soth, a world renowned photographer. We heard Alec speak a few years ago at The Walker and I was hooked instantly. His projects have taken him everywhere from Paris to down the Mississippi River, each bringing with it a raw, visceral effect, giving a fresh perspective on today’s world. The piece below is my favorite from his Niagara project. No surprise, it’s handwritten. Alec asked locals to find existing love letters in their home which he then photographed. This one has my heart.

Would You Come Home? 2005

Another artist who combines personal notes with art is Cape Town artist, Lorraine Loots, with her project 365 Paintings for Ants.

In 2013 Lorraine created a miniature painting and postcards for everyday of the year, some driven by a client, others not. This year she is continuing the project with each piece painted with a Cape Town theme. Not only is the art for sale but Lorraine will handwrite a personal message on the back of each piece or postcard, making this a personal piece to treasure.

A few other exhibitions recently surfacing in the Twin Cities…

St.Paul artist Siri Knutson will feature a lovely, new collection this Saturday night between 8-10pm on 48th & Chicago (just picked up a few tiny gold circles I am crazy about!).

Alecia Stevens

Looking forward to the new Edward Hopper exhibit at The Walker, Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process, which includes never before exhibited drawings and preparatory work.

It’s a gift to live in a world with such great talent, using their hands to create art which can bring one to a different place, touching each one of us differently than the other.  

A Year to Remember

2012 has gone by in a blink for our family as well as for brown ink. Although it felt brief, it was a memorable one. We thought we’d mention a few highlights which will stay with us throughout the coming year.

Food seems like a good place to start. As soon as we mention handwritten recipes on our blog, we receive loads of homemade treats.





Instagram made out-of-town Birthday Wishes that much easier!! (even written ones)


We cheered for the noticeable trends in favor of writing. Obviously when Gwyneth starts featuring journals (this one designed with help from iomoi) on her blog, handwriting has got to be up there on the “It  List”, right?

Even clothing designers began partnering with stationery lines such as the relationship between Club Monaco and Terrapin Stationery. Way to jump on the stationery train you trendy folks you.

Many images will stick in our minds as meaningful this year. One came from our friend Alecia, whose niece was battling cancer.

Phoebe sent this hand made card out to friends, thankful for the support. Truly an inspiration.

Speaking of Alecia, brown ink had the gift of featuring guest bloggers this past year including Alecia, Jenni and Lisa. Their outlooks on handwriting, stationery and to-do lists were brilliant. Thanks again ladies!

We also appreciated friends sharing their brown ink moments during the year. Our friend Jill came back from a visit to her parents home in Washington with these images…



The mailbox is perched up on a little hill, perfect for curious minds to check on mail delivery. How magical!

IMG_0910From sticky summer handwritten popsicle stand signs to…


letterpress wedding invitations,


and the first time Baby Beatrice’s name was seen on paper,

IMG_1467there were plenty of written highlights through out 2012!!

And much to look forward to in 2013. Here’s hoping the written word will continue to stay present in your daily lives. Now on to my first entry in the 5 Year Journal.

One last image to take away with you from this year, and it comes from outside the world of writing. Aside from the oft-played Portland Proposal in our home office, this video from Olafur Arnalds Haegt reminds us to continue to find the light in the darkest of times. There is so much more to discover in the coming year.

Spooky Scribbles

The ghosts and goblins are arriving in just one week but you still have a chance to invite the gang over for a last minute Halloween Party. And with these free Halloween downloads from Design Mom Gabrielle Blair, sending out invitations is a snip snap.


 Martha Stewart skeleton invitation will scare the skin off your guests


Nothing like a toe tag invite from blush printables

Or if you simply want to send a few spooky scribbles out to those you love…

…head to Paper Source where you can find all sorts of creepy stationery and stamps. It was a great excuse for Emmett to practice writing out his friends’ names too!

Don’t forget to make the envelope extra memorable with one of these scary stamps (only two day delivery). After much discussion, the boys decided on the Happy Halloween postage for their cards.

Before I begin my next project (stay tuned for more on the postcard swap!) let’s hear it for our guest bloggers by the way!! Thanks Alecia and Jenni. Way to get people to grab a pen.

beware of walking mailbox

Although I am a big, BIG instagram fan and user (look at this madness below, so cool!)… 

 (some serious guerilla knitting going down on 46th & Bryant)

 …I am right onboard with Alecia’s thoughts in yesterday’s posting, and the importance of receiving a piece of writing in the mail which is both personal and thought out. Thanks dear.

And by the way, if you would like to read more of Alecia’s writing check out her insightful blog. So bring on more guest bloggers I say! Off to continue our week of rest…hardly.

Instagram, Insta-Life


Always the optimist; a lifelong supply of my Italian postcard books

I just got off the phone with my 22-year old daughter, Isabelle. I had the phone on “speaker” because I got so tired of holding it in the crook of my neck while spending the last thirty minutes trying to set up Instagram on my phone. She was giving me a tutorial from 1200 miles away in Charleston, SC where she works for a catering company and part of her job / pleasure is to do the social media for the company (Duvall Catering.) As Charleston is a hot spot for parties and good food it’s a rockin’ job and she’s happy to help her moderately luddite mother.

I had some idea that I should be Instagramming. I love to take photos. I can set up a shot after spending years as a stylist for shelter magazine photo shoots. I had seen how my friend Anna’s new shop, The Foundry Home Goods Store in Minneapolis, had benefitted from people Instagramming her from here to Texas. Literally. Texas.

I thought, okay, get with it. The majority of my work is visual (interior design) so I need a visual medium. So, I uploaded (I almost said “downloaded!) the Instagram app and that went fine. Then, I tried to set it up, but I couldn’t make it work. Trying to sync it to Facebook was a pain. I couldn’t remember my Facebook log in. Really, can people remember that? I had to set up a whole new account and tattoo the password on my hip so I wouldn’t forget it.

It didn’t take long, but I soon realized that Instagram is a foreign language. I had to log out so Izzy could log in to set it up. “What do you want your Bio to read, Mom?” I told her. She configured it. “Okay now I have to explain how you link to other people.” Well, easy breezy, I’m sure. I saw the “@” sign used. I know what that means. (Thought I did!) How hard can it be? But what the heck is the “#” sign for? Pounds of what? Why does it look like people are talking jive? I looked at a few photos and the text below them looked like Russian.

Then, Izzy starts talking Hash marks. “Hash, Mom, like the drug.” You need to get this down. Or no one will be your friend. Do you have a pen and paper?” Jeesh! No friends. This is too much. I get how to take a photo. I get how to set up the frame and make it look the way I want it to look. But, if I don’t get the hash thing, I will have no friends. I am not entirely sure my brain is wired for this.

“I need a break, Iz. I’ll have to finish this later.” I have a thank you to write. I want to find the postcards I made from my photos in Italy and thank my friends for their house warming gifts. Please. Just give me a pen and my postcards. Now.

Yeah, there you go. I made postcards books. Real ones. Hard copies. 200 of them in fact, which was pretty dumb, but, hey, I have postcard books of Italy that will never run out. Hand made at that and printed locally. And they arrive with a stamp on them. Not with the ding of bell on your phone. Written to one person at a time. And I have to stop long enough to think about that person, his or her quirks and preferences and maybe his / her sense of humor. I don’t think you do that on Instagram. I think you just splatter it on the world canvas, then hope that your droplet in the electronic ocean makes a splash. I’m not sure I’m cut out for this. Even Izzy said, “It’s pretty new, Mom. It would be cool for your brand. But, not many people your age will be into it.”

Thanks, Iz.

I never really got Facebook. Don’t care. I’d rather know that someone, somewhere stands there with my postcard in hand, surprised to pull it out of the mailbox, examining the image, wondering something about it’s origin, smiling at being thought of in this way, reading the text, smiling again to know that I care about him / her, this one person in a particular way. So, I’ve turned off my phone and I’m off to buy stamps.

Monday is laundry day. Sienna, italy, 2008Monday is laundry day. Sienna, Italy, 2008