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The 2011 Holiday Gift Guide from Smock

An assortment of indie gift ideas for the holidays, compiled by Smock's owner, Debbie, and Creative Director, Amy
Smock’s owner (Debbie Urbanski) and Creative Director (Amy Graham Stigler) put their heads together and came up with some really unique gifts for this year’s holiday gift guide. While some of the products are local to upstate New York (we love buying local!) everything is available online! Happy shopping!
  1. Fancy oils and flavorful vinegars: you’ll never need to buy bottled salad dressing again. Pick an oil + a vinegar and it’s the perfect gift. The vinegars are wild — a favorite combination is walnut oil + ginger spiked blackberry.
  2. Uncommon iphone cases: support indie artists. Choose your favorite artwork by a cool indie designer, then create your own unique iPhone case.
  3. Snack Taxi snack sacks: great for parents or kids. Get rid of your plastic bags for snacks! Wild and crazy patterns, made in the USA. Stella is partial to the gnomes.
  4. Toothbrushes: a years worth of toothbrushes. Made of bamboo, practical & witty – and perfect for the person who has everything.
  5. Walnut end grain cutting boards – made with local New York State wood – these cutting boards are simply beautiful. Makes cutting pretty and fun!
  6. Canning for a New Generation: get your beloveds hooked on canning with this cookbook (lower sugar, wild flavors!) and a big old case of mason jars.
  7. Lunastix Juggling Sticks: these are the perfect gift for active kids as they keep their hands and minds busy.  There are sticks for all sizes, ages and levels.  Made in Salt Lake City.
  8. Clementine Art Supplies: natural, non toxic, well designed. The natural gift set includes everything needed for your favorite young artist and comes in a tidy box.
  9. Mint owl coasters: Etsy has some of the coolest owl coasters (like the minty ones above)
  10. Hindu Holiday tea: lovely tea made right in brooklyn.  This is the perfect gift for anyone with exquisite taste, and because of their beautiful packaging no wrapping is required.  Amy’s favorite for the holidays is Bellocq’s Hindu Holiday herbal tea – a delicious fragrant caffeine-free Fairtrade chai.
  11. Dead Feminists Broadside: A beautiful, hand-pulled letterpress print, created with hand-lettered original typography and hand-drawn illustrations and patterns (in fact, everything was done by hand, the hard way!). This particular broadside features Jane Mecom and her brother, Benjamin Franklin, but there are more available in the Dead Feminists Etsy shop.
  12. Felt kindle sleeve: make someone’s Kindle reading experience more pleasurable with this cozy sleeve!
  13. Liberty water bottles – made in the USA from recycled aluminum. They are works of art!


Smock Store Spotlight – Luxe Expressions in Atlanta

Residing at StudioWed in Atlanta, an exclusive gathering of Atlanta’s finest wedding professionals, Luxe Expressions is the inspired stationery boutique of Debra Saba. (The same Debra Saba who sent us this fabulous birthday party we shared earlier this week!) Having grown up in the small Illinois town of Joliet, with fond memories of the local dime store and visiting Orange Julius with her grandmother, Debra was inspired early on to take great care in customer service. While attending college and majoring in journalism and communications with a focus in graphic design, Debra always envisioned herself moving to Chicago and working for an advertising agency or a magazine. However, after several summers spent working at a golf course and having met a number of professionals, she found herself working for the next decade as a computer consultant in the corporate world. Though not in keeping with her education or her love for design, her career afforded her the opportunity to grow tremendously as a professional and do quite a bit of traveling, leading to her meeting her husband. Soon, all of the travel began to feel like too much, and with her husband’s support Debra decided to make the leap and go into business for herself, hoping to spread her love for design through her own stationery boutique and design studio. And with that, Luxe Expressions was born.

Smock Store Spotlight - Luxe Expressions at Studio Wed

Debra figured that with her experience in building out technology centers for large corporations in her life as a computer consultant, it wouldn’t be hard to build her own business. She quickly found out just how wrong she was, but with the constant support of her husband she was able to make it work. She was inspired by her passion for stationery and her desire to work with happy people for a living, people who were celebrating life and the most meaningful of occasions. After so many years spent fixing problems, she longed for a career where she could work with people who were excited and optimistic. As she says today, “I love being around sunny happy people now.”

Smock Store Spotlight - Luxe Expressions at Studio Wed

A typical day in the life of Luxe Expressions involves Debra or one of the other in-house designers working with clients on their projects and keeping in close contact with design studios such as Smock to track progress on client orders. As Luxe Expressions is not a traditional stationery store, consultations are scheduled by appointment only either at StudioWed or wherever else a design client may like to meet up over coffee to discuss their vision and ideas. StudioWed offers fabulous industry experts in everything from stationery and photography to floral design, event planning and catering. Couples are able to visit the studio, which is exquisitely designed, and have the vendors cater to them while providing endless inspiration for their event.

Debra and her team take great care in dealing with their clients, bringing a true consultative approach when dealing with brides and corporate clients alike. From the initial consultation to the final packaging, everything that involves Luxe Expressions is thoughtful and rich in personal detail. The running joke around StudioWed is that even Debra’s invoices come neatly packaged in cute envelopes topped with pretty ribbons. The great pride of Luxe Expressions is making clients friends for life – hopefully if they work with Luxe Expressions for wedding invitations, they’ll be back to design at-home cards, holiday cards and, of course, baby announcements.

Smock Store Spotlight - Luxe Expressions at Studio Wed

If you could describe your personality in letterpress, which Smock invitation would you be and why?
I love them all but there are two that match my personality for completely different reasons. I love pattern and just a hint of the unexpected so I would say Lashar in blind deboss and eggplant. It has a bit of an ethnic flair to it and the pattern reminds me a bit of Damascus, Syria – my husband’s hometown. I also would have to have an inner envelope lined as I like to be very neat and the thought of ripping open an outer envelope and tearing the gorgeous liner makes me sad. I also love Haddington with the Smock Clermont calligraphy font and the names done by hand by Smock’s master calligrapher, Debi Zeinert.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
One of my favorite things is to collaborate with Lindsy and Beth Ann and everyone at Smock. You truly make my day enjoyable when we are working on a project together. I also love love love my clients, listening to their needs, and translating that into a design for them. I had a client that Smock did for us and when she saw her printed invitations, she cried. Those are the best part of my days for sure. I also love to “make it happen” so whatever the client needs, we’ll figure it out. I have a great team both internally and in the team of my extended vendor and partnership family.

What’s your favorite city to visit?
There are two. Internationally would be Damascus, Syria where my husband is from. I love everything from the people, to the smells of falafel cooking on the streets, to the sounds throughout the day. It’s amazing there and if I could talk my husband into moving back, I’d be there! Domestically I would have to say Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida where I lived right out of college. It was perfectly manicured and not fussy at all. It’s gorgeous and a few minutes from St. Augustine which is another favorite.

What do you think will be the next big thing in weddings?
I get a lot of requests to incorporate my client’s custom linen selections for their event into their stationery. I think bringing in a textile feel to things will take off. I would love to layer the invitations that are perfectly letterpress printed with some fabulous organic fabric.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I am a huge Zappos fan for shoes! They by far have the best customer service for an online company. I also do quite a bit of shopping for fun things on Etsy. Locally I go to Lenox Sqaure Mall in Buckhead or The Avenue at West Cobb where I live out in Acworth, GA.

What’s your top pick destinations for first time travelers to Atlanta?
You must go to The World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens as they all appeal to kids and adults. Piedmont Park is also quite lovely. Outside of Atlanta, if you take a drive up 75 north heading towards Tennessee…the view are gorgeous!

Thank you, Debra, for indulging us with the inside scoop on Luxe Expressions – you can plan on a visit from Smock the next time we make it to Atlanta! Also, a big thank you to Ross Oscar Knight, the photographer at StudioWed for the amazing photosincluding some great shots of Smock’s letterpress wedding invitations!

Stay tuned because we have some more fabulous inspiration from the professionals at StudioWed later today!

Handmade Notebook Made from Smock Gift Wrap on Etsy

We were clicking around Etsy this morning, and happened upon this incredible handmade notebook and instantly fell in love. And, really, how would we not love it? Made by Etsy seller RedOtter, this notebook features Smock’s double-sided 100% post consumer recycled gift wrap and it’s absolutely beautiful! Thanks so much to RedOtter for choosing Smock paper for one of your lovely journals and for making us smile today!

Notebook Made with Smock Gift Wrap

Notebook Made with Smock Gift Wrap

Notebook Made with Smock Gift Wrap

{Photos by RedOtter}

Hanging Around with Smock

In preparation for the 2009 National Stationery Show, Smock’s Creative Director, Amy Graham Stigler, has been hard at work to make sure our booth, 2741, is really fun and a cool place to hang out while we’re at the show. We joined forces with awesome Etsy seller LilaFrances to dream up these cute Smock hangers that we absolutely adore. Our only regret is not having her make us more so we could fill all of our closets at home with cute Smock paraphernalia!