Los Angeles: A Travel Guide

Los Angeles: A Travel Guide | Sycamore

I recently spend 10 days soaking up inspiration in Los Angeles, California, with my husband Kirk, and I’d love to share what I found. Each item in this guide is something that we personally visited and loved. It’s not an exhaustive list, but rather, a collection of carefully researched and vetted places, with the focus being on design, art, and food.

Click through to see my travel guide to LA, organized by neighborhood/geography from East to West…

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Art We Like

Art We Like | Sycamore

Art We Like | Sycamore

Art We Like | Sycamore

Art We Like | Sycamore

Art We Like | Sycamore

Art We Like | Sycamore

Simple yet sophisticated. Minimal yet graphic. We’re liking it…

1) Paper Weaving by Jessica Bell  2) Stacked Benches 3) Alexander Calder Mobile  4) Yoko Ono Billboard 5) Ellsworth Kelly’s Curves on White 6) Sewn Mixed Media Collages by Jessica Bell 

 

 

Tropical Inspiration

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

The leaves may be turning colors here in the mountains where I live, but I’m still feeling inspired by the tropics. Tropical plant life mixed with modern architecture (like in the photo below) was a big source of inspiration for my Bright Brush collection of cards. (Other sources of inspiration: post-modernism, brightly painted macaroni necklaces, and Australian design.)

And then in August, we were able to have a family reunion in Vieques, Puerto Rico, which is where I snapped these photos. Crescent-shaped, white sand beaches rimmed with palm trees all to ourselves — it was paradise.

I’m sure I’ll be coming back to these photos for a little warm weather inspiration all winter long! – Eva

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

Tropical Inspiration | Sycamore

Also, Vieques with kids, 5 Favorite local spots in New York City, and stationery show tips.

California Modern Bathrooms

California Modern Bathrooms | Sycamore

I’m dying to renovate my bathroom. (And now that we have 2 kids, I wouldn’t mind adding on a second one for that matter!) But it’s not in the budget for now, and that’s okay. Instead I’ll get my fill with all these beautiful bathrooms from around the web. – Eva

5 more California style bathrooms after the jump…

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Make Your Own Hand Lettered Art with a Cricut

Make Your Own Hand Lettered Art with a Cricut | Sycamore

If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen my hand lettering project #evaseverydaylettering. Each month, I pick a theme and hand letter quotes that go along with that theme. I’ve had a great time finding different quotes and interpreting them through hand lettering.

I thought it would be fun to add some extra dimension to my hand lettering using the Cricut machine, like we did for the Midsummer Mingle.

Make Your Own Hand Lettered Art with a Cricut | Sycamore

Using the Cricut software, we uploaded an image of a hand lettered quote (from Gandhi) and the Cricut did the rest of the work, cutting each letter from a sheet of our indigo wrapping paper. I love how different the writing looks with the pops of indigo in them!

Make Your Own Hand Lettered Art with a Cricut | Sycamore

If you’d like to cut your own quote (or just print it in black and white), you can download the file here. – Eva

California Modern Bedrooms

California Modern Bedrooms | Sycamore

Here are some bedrooms that I am LOVING right now. Such great eye candy.

Our bedroom is getting kinda close to being where I want it… but it’s not quite there. That’s how a lot of the rooms in our home are right now, actually. Awhile back, I ran out of the time and budget to continue my decorating efforts, and things just came to a halt. Then we got used to how things looked, I got out of decorating mode, and voila, we’ve been in a holding pattern for about 2 years now. My friend Meta is determined to help me break that pattern. And I say….

… BRING IT ON.

8 more perfectly imperfect bedrooms after the jump…

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Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong

Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong | Sycamore

Do you love paper? Have you ever wondered how to start your own stationery / paper goods company? If so, my online class might be just the thing for you!

I know when I started Sycamore Street Press about 7 years ago, I looked around for a class or book that could give me specific advice to starting a stationery business. I found nothing.

Instead, I learned the hard way.

Through trial and error, I learned how to stand out from the competition, how to plan a product line, how to find and work with manufacturers, where the best supplies were, what shipping software to use, and many many more factors (large and small) that go into running a successful paper goods company.

I’ll admit, I’ve made some big mistakes that I could just kick myself over! But those have been some of the best learning experiences which led to growth and eventually to selling our products all over the globe — in hundreds of fine independent boutiques as well as major retailers such as Anthropologie, West Elm, Paper Source, and BHLDN. Our award winning goods have been featured in the Huffington Post, Daily Candy, Design*Sponge, Cup of Jo, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living Magazine, Martha Stewart, and other fine publications…

Most importantly (to me), my husband and I have been able to support our children while working together and doing something we love. I’m so grateful for that.

Keep reading to hear the really honest story of how I decided to teach Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong

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California Modern Kid Bedrooms

California Modern Kid Bedrooms | Sycamore

I’ve neglected Lars and Ingrid’s room for far too long! Time to gather inspiration and get to work.

For years, my favorite kind of kind of bedrooms for kids have been the ones that are playful, not too matchy-matchy, and have some grown up elements mixed in. All the better if it’s done in a California modern style like these.

What kind of children’s bedroom do you love best? – Eva

7 more California modern kid bedrooms after the jump…

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The Midsummer Mingle, Part 2

The Midsummer Mingle, Part 2 | Sycamore

I’m back with a few more photos by Natalie Norton of the Midsummer Mingle we co-hosted. I’m still thinking about it and wishing I could go back and chat some more with all of the lovely people there.

Last time, I walked you through the grounds and around the party. This time, I’ll show you the Sycamore Street Press area in a little more detail.

(Also, I have no idea who that little boy is, but he might just have to be in every single one of our photo shoots from now on.)

Click through to see our indigo bohemian space…

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The Midsummer Mingle

The Midsummer Mingle | Sycamore

The summer after we were married, Kirk and I were working on an organic farm in Denmark when the longest day of the year — June 21st — rolled around. The family who owned the farm invited us to join in the Midsummer celebration — and we spent an evening filled with flowers, food, a bonfire, and good company. It was a magical evening, and one I will always remember.

With the Midsummer Mingle we co-hosted last month, this was exactly the kind of memory we wanted to create for everyone who attended. Not an exact replica — but the feeling, the beauty, the magic of that night. The whole thing was actually Brittany Jepsen’s idea (the House That Lars Built). She asked a few friends and colleagues if we wanted to co-host, and we all jumped at the chance. And so, everyone from MerMag, Caravan Shoppe, One More Mushroom, Sarah Jane Studios, the House that Lars Built, and Sycamore Street Press put our heads together to plan and execute this event. We wanted it to be like a big thank you gift to our wonderful creative communities.

Did I mention that we only had 3 weeks to put the whole thing together?! Brittany and her interns ended up putting in the lion’s share of the work. But the rest of us weren’t slacking either. Looking back, I think it was a bit crazy for me to agree to do this right after getting home from the National Stationery Show! It was worth it, though. Just looking at these photos brings back so many lovely memories…

I wish that all of you could have been there! But of course, many of you live far away. And even among locals, space was limited. We announced the event on social media, and within a couple of hours, the (free) tickets were all reserved. I think we ended up hosting around 300 people. We hope to be able to do it again next year, though! (And next time, we’ll be able to start planning much more in advance!)

Shall I walk you through the Midsummer Mingle?

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Top 5 Tips For Your National Stationery Show Booth

nss2014-booth-sycamore-street-press-4

Note: For those of you wanting to create your own paper goods company, I’m now teaching an online course called Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong.

This was Sycamore Street Press’s fifth time showing at the National Stationery Show, and the first time I was completely happy with the way our booth turned out. It was also our best show yet as far as sales and press coverage goes, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Here are my top 5 tips for creating a successful National Stationery Show booth, if you are interested…

1) Great Lighting

I’ve seen people make the rookie mistake of thinking that the overhead lights of the convention center itself will be enough. Those booths end up looking dreary, sad, and lonely.

I don’t want that to happen to you! I know that just renting a booth space is expensive and it seems like lighting should be included. Believe me, I’ve thought the same thing! But you’re just going to have to pay extra for lighting. At the very least, you should order the electrical outlet from the Javits Center, which lets you plug in lights that you can clip on to the top of your booth. We did that for our booth in 2010, and it looked nice.

But this year, we decided to really go for it with our lighting. We ordered 3 Parcan lights from the Javits Center. (Parcan lights are big, Broadway style spotlights that the Javits people hang for you from the rafters.) We were in a corner booth, so we only had two walls. This meant there was one Parcan spotlighting each wall and one spotlighting the island.

Our booth shone! It was like we were on stage. Quite a few people commented on how great (and bright!) it looked. Getting 3 Parcans was a big splurge, and therefore a big risk for an indie company like ours. (They’re $450 each, so it came to about $1350 total.) But I felt like it completely paid off for us.

When it comes to your booth lighting, I’m not saying you should do the exact same things as us. But you do need some form of extra lighting, and you do need to realize how important lighting is to your success at the show.

4 more tips for creating a successful booth after the jump…
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Spring 2014 Paper Goods, Part 3

Spring 2014 Paper Goods, Part 3 | Sycamore

Modern Floral Collection

Travel-obsessed as usual, I was searching through the home listings on one of those vacation rental sites when I found it: the perfect magical hideaway. It was a beautiful mid-century modern home nestled among tropical foliage in the Puerto Rican countryside. Lush, colorful trees, flowers, and vines encroached upon the neutral tones and clean, yet playful lines of the home. The combination was so charming.

That’s what I had in mind when I designed our new Modern Floral collection.

Keep reading for more of my creative process and 5 more images…

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California Modern Dining Rooms

California Modern Dining Rooms | Sycamore

We just got back from the National Stationery Show in New York City! (Were you following along on Instagram: @sycamore_co?) We had a blast seeing so many new and old friends in the paper goods industry. It really is one of the most supportive crowds around. And we were thrilled with all the positive feedback (and orders! thank you!) our new Minimal Bohemian paper goods received.

I’ll have an NSS show and tell post later, but for now, let’s take a look at some beautiful dining rooms, shall we?

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Spring 2014 Paper Goods, Part 2

Spring 2014 Paper Goods, Part 2 | Sycamore

And now for part 2 of Minimal Bohemian (the Sycamore Street Press Spring 2014 line of paper goods)!

Although my inspiration for all 46(!) of our brand new products was the idea of Minimal Bohemian-ism, I separated them out into four smaller, more specific collections. I showed you the first one, the Indigo collection, the other day. Today, I’d like to introduce the Bright Brush collection.

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Spring 2014 Paper Goods, Part 1

Spring 2014 Paper Goods, Part 1 | Sycamore

Hello friends! The Sycamore Street Press Spring 2014 paper goods line is here! I am so excited to be able to share it with you. We have been working like crazy to design and produce 46 brand new items. It’s our biggest collection in the entire 6 1/2 years we’ve been in business! It’s been hectic and down to the wire, but we got it all done just in time to take with us to the National Stationery Show, which takes place in New York City this coming Sunday through Wednesday. (May 18 – 22)

Click the link below to see 5 more images and read about my inspiration for the Indigo collection.

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My Mother’s Creative Influence

My Mother's Creative Influence | Sycamore

When my mom was 12 years old, her family moved to Paris. Every Saturday, she’d hop a train into central Paris with her friends, and together they’d spend the whole day roaming that beautiful city — playing guitar in the park, checking out clothing boutiques, eating baguettes, and generally having a ball. She quickly picked up the language, a Parisian sense of style, an appreciation of good food, and a certain je ne sais quoi…

That’s her in the photo above, standing in front of the Pompidou Museum. The year — 1978. The outfit — classic. The white suit, the delicate rings on each finger, the contrasting bag slung over her arm… I feel like it would look just as chic on the streets of Paris today.

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California Modern Shops

California Modern Shops | Sycamore

Back in December of 2009, Kirk and I were in San Francisco for a couple of shows, and we decided to pay a visit to our newest retailer at the time, General Store.  They had just barely opened their doors, and I don’t think they’d even had an official opening or launch yet. As we talked to the owners — Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter  — they explained how they hadn’t really been planning on opening a shop, but the perfect space in their neighborhood opened up and they decided to give it a shot.

Kirk and I had never seen a space quite like it. We weren’t sure what to call the style, but we loved it right away. And we were so flattered they’d decided to include our cards among their tightly curated selection of goods.

Fast forward to 2014, and General Store has grown leaps and bounds. They have a second shop in Venice Beach with partners Hannah Henderson and John Moore. I see them all over the internet. And their signature style has become a full fledged movement. – Eva

Click the link below for 5 more images of California Modern shops…

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California Modern Gardens

California Modern Gardens | Sycamore

It’s about this time of year that I start daydreaming about creating a beautiful outdoor living space for my family. In my dreams, it comes with a table and chairs for outdoor dinner parties, places to lounge for leisurely summer reading, and a charming playhouse or swing set for Ingrid and Lars to play on. Maybe there’s an outdoor shower or a greenhouse or a pool… and it’s all done in an unfussy yet magical way that fits right in with this California Modern style…

Do you have any dreams or plans for your garden/outdoor space/windowsill this year? – Eva

Click the link below to see 7 more examples of California Modern Gardens…

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‘Tis The Season

A conspiracy of LOVE //\\ hand lettering by Sycamore Street Press

A TIME TO GIVE:

I love this time of year. I love that it reminds us to think about what’s important, to spend time with loved ones, to reach out to those in need… This season, Elle from Solly Baby invited us to be a part of their Deck the Halls with Diapers campaign, along with Little Hip Squeaks, Paloma’s Nest, Munkstown, Ashmae, LWPH Sews, Small Fry, Meg in Progress, Collected, and A Little Bit of Lacquer. From December 9 – 12, we at Sycamore Street Press donated a pack of diapers for every order over $50. Some of the other shops involved did similar matching donations, and some gave a flat amount. All together, 4000 diapers were donated to SAY San Diego, who had just run out of diapers and were floored by the donation. (Read all the details here on the Solly Baby blog.) We are grateful for the small part we could play in this because of our amazing customers, to all the other companies involved, and to Solly Baby for making it happen!

6 more hand lettered quotes after the jump… Read More…

5 Must See Shops in Helsinki

5 Must See Shops in Helsinki | Sycamore

Shopping in Helsinki is a lot of fun. Interesting and stylish boutiques, friendly shopkeepers, and a concentrated shopping area make it easy to have a good time. Start at Market Square (Kauppatori), then work your way up the Esplanadi (a grand boulevard with a park running down the middle of it) and back down the shopping street that runs parallel to it — Aleksanterinkatu. I came back with a few unique gifts and souvenirs to take home along with loads of inspiration for Sycamore Street Press. – Eva

1) Eat & Joy Farmer’s Market (Maatilatori) – Full of local Finnish food items — everything from bread to chocolate to fresh produce — this is the perfect place to stop in for lunch and pick up some souvenirs for your family back home. I chose some Finnish artisanal chocolate and black licorice to bring back as gifts, then sat down for their lunch special. It’s a thing they do all over Helsinki — you get the soup of the day, salad, bread, and coffee or tea for a set price. It’s a great deal, and the spread at Eat & Joy was hearty and delicious.

2) Marimekko – I’ve been a fan of this famous Finnish brand since forever, so of course I HAD to see their flagship store in Helsinki. It did not disappoint. Big airy rooms, bright colors and patterns everywhere you look, it had me drooling. I tried on a few dresses, but being pregnant at the time, they didn’t fit quite right. Bad timing! Next time…

3) The Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen) – Even if you only go for the architecture, it’s well worth it. Designed by the great Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, the soaring ceilings, skylights, and modern lines are simply beautiful to look at. But they also have a great collection of books and one of the best selections of English language books we saw on our entire European trip. Kirk and I each picked up some reading for the trip, and Ingrid picked out a couple of small books that are still favorites almost a year later.

4) Monki – Now I realize that this is a Swedish chain store, and therefore shouldn’t really be on this list. BUT. 1) It’s awesome. It seems like every other person on the Stockholm Street Style blog is wearing something from this place. 2) It’s affordable. 3) We don’t have it in the States, so if you happen to go to Helsinki (or any big city in Scandinavia) you should check it out. I bought a couple of necklaces there, and I get complimented every time I wear them.

5) Market Square (Kaupatori) – A picturesque marketplace right on the waterfront, you can find everything from reindeer pelts, to umbrellas, to a warm plate of sausage and potatoes. When the weather turned freezing during our October trip, Kirk bought a pair of handknit mittens. (The market at Hakaniemi Square is also great, but you’ll have to hop on a tram to get there from the downtown shopping area. )

Also: The best way to see Helsinki monuments, and the fascinating island fortress of Suomenlinna.