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Filtering by Category: girls dinner

2012 highlights

Ampersand Design Studio

We can hardly believe that 2012 just came to an end, time really does fly when you're having fun, eh? We were looking back on the year and thought we'd bring you all down our own little memory lane with us!

We sure had a lot to be thankful for in 2012! This is the second full year that  Ampersand Design Studio has been our full time job...along with the full time job of raising a couple of cute toddler boys. It's been a year full of lots of great work with wonderful clients and also a year of figuring out our new balance of work and personal life, and how those two things get merged together quite often. Some days are full work days for us and some days consist of going on play dates, playing in the park or the zoo, and then working like crazy during our sons' naps. Oh, and pretty much always whipping out the laptops after the boys are in bed. It's a crazy work schedule we've got right now, but we wouldn't trade it for the world! We owe a huge thanks to our supportive husbands, as always, for putting up with our "flexible" schedules, having an etsy shipping station out of our home, constantly being asked for feedback on our latest designs, and in general, supporting our wish to own our own company!

We started off the year with a bang by launching our Signature Series on our etsy shop featuring our favorite typographic character, the ampersand.

Later in January, we attended the inspiring Alt Summit conference and we left with our brains ready to explode with new ideas of where to take our business and our blog!

In February, we were asked by the Kansas City AIGA to speak at our alma mater, The University of Kansas. We were thrilled to share our path with the design students in our area! Such an honor!

We joined forces with long time friends, Tobe of Because It's Awesome and Laura of A Girl Who Makes, to put together a new feature: Girls Dinner that shares easy ways to get your girlfriends together for some homemade food.

In winter and early spring, we worked like crazy women to completely redesign our website, including switching our .com into a main homepage instead of a blog, and making the blog a tab as a part of our menu. We knew it was time to have an entire online portfolio viewable to possible new clients, explain a little more about what we do, and in general, update the design! Wow. we had NO idea how much work and how long this was going to take, but we pulled it off just in time for our biggest adventure of 2012:

Attending the Surtex trade show in New York City. This was a longtime dream for both of us that we still really can't believe we made come true in 2012. Surtex is the biggest trade show to sell or license artwork to companies in the home accessories, stationery, table top and gift industries! We LOVE designing patterns and it's such a dream to have those patterns land on products that might end up in your home! So, we created hundreds and hundreds of new illustrations and patterns, showed them to all kinds of exciting companies, and we have some fun new partnerships, all thanks to this show. And, it's pretty great to get to hang out in NYC for a few days! (read our recap here)

One exciting partnership that came out of Surtex, was our very first fabric line with Windham Fabrics, called "Cream & Sugar"! It will be hitting fabric stores this spring! We have also partnered up with minted.com for some children's wall art and society6 We have a few more exciting partnerships to share with you in the coming months, but we have to keep our lips sealed for a bit longer. (so not easy for us) :)

We can't go without mentioning the amazing press that we have gotten this year. We are SO thankful for the kind words and fabulous features that we have gotten to be a part of. Just to share a few if you missed any of them:

The Kansas City Star: Neons are Back

M Magazine – Color Me Sweet

Cargoh Curated Collections

Q & A with House + Home

Ink Magazine's KC Tastemakers Holiday Gift Guide

My City with Meg Biram - Carrie & Morgan

We also had blast partnering on some holiday gift guides for 2012! We did a fun glam patterned DIY for the IHOD gift guide and then some free downloadable holiday gift tags for the brand new To and From magazine!

And last, but definitely not least, just before the end of the year, we launched our newest series on our etsy shop: The Love Series! AND added our art prints that were originally a collaboration with JessLC, The Wells Prints. We couldn't be happier about these additions!

Um, let's not forget that we also got to meet one of our idols, Jonathan Adler and fell in love with Genevieve!

Ok, so wow—quite the year, eh?

We're already well on our way to setting our 2013 goals, so watch out world, if you think 2012 was crazy, here we go again! Thanks to you all for visiting our little blog and any of you that might be shopping on our etsy shop. We do all this for the excitement of brightening your day or your home, and giving you some pretty things to fill your world with.

Happy 2012!

xoxo – Morgan & Carrie

Girls Dinner: Summer Tapas Party

Ampersand Design Studio

Along with Laura and Tobe, we've been waiting for the day to share this 2nd edition of our Girls Dinner series  because it's just the perfect summer get together and we're dying for you all to try it yourselves!! We always say we could make a dinner out of appetizers...so we practically did just that! We threw together a casual, tapas-style dinner on the back porch! We used a fun piece of vintage fabric for a tablecloth and mixed and matched patterns and materials to create a Mediterranean-inspired dinner al fresca!

Here are a few things we made if you want to try them:

• beet salad with goat cheese, mixed greens and walnuts

• pita with edamole (edamame guacamole)

• spicy lime shrimp (they only take about 10 minutes!)

• strawberry, basil and goat cheese mini-toasts

• red wine sangria with fresh fruit

You just might need to stop by Tobe's blog, Because It's Awesome for your very own free, printable recipe card!

If you have your eye on these darling wine glass markers, head on over to Laura's blog, A Girl Who Makes to get the full step-by-step DIY!

* all photos taken by eric linebarger

And last but not least, we wanted to share some easy ideas for you to recreate this yourself!

{1. Batik Fork and Spatula Serving Set, 2. any piece of colorful vintage scarf or fabric  3. white square 5" small plates - perfect for tapas 4. colorful pressed glass votive candleholders 5. white peonies (be sure to shake off the ants)  6. Vintage Turquoise Milk Glass Vase 7. Alseda floor cushion and don't forget a set of globe string lights!

GIRLS DINNER: Pizza Party!

Ampersand Design Studio

Well, hi everyone! Welcome to our very first installment of "Girls Dinner" — we've had so much fun bringing this little idea to life and have been just dying to share! We partnered up with our good friends, Laura & Tobe, to do a series of rotating dinner ideas to share with you all! Our whole goal is to give you some simple ways to make sure to get your girlfriends around a table together! After all, good friends are what it's all about, right?
Our first dinner is a make-your-own-pizza party. Really, it can't get much easier. Just ask each of your girlfriends to bring some toppings and then the assembly is all part of the party.
We made three pizzas and they were all super simple...and want to know a secret? Laura just picked up the dough at Trader Joe's, so that part is the easiest! (and it's really tasty, too) Here's what we made:
1 – tomato, fresh mozzarella and arugula with tomato sauce
2 – goat cheese, carmelized onions, pear, arugula and olive oil
3 – chicken, pesto and mozzarella

* all photos taken by eric linebarger

So, we wanted to make sure you all grab some girls and do your very own pizza party, so we have a few surprises for you! Over on Because it's Awesome, Tobe has put together a "get the look" for the table setting and on A Girl Who Makes, Laura came up with darling DIY Leftover Bag and she shares her step by step! Go on, check them out! And we actually have two little treats for you right after the JUMP! First up is a free printable invitation. Yes, free! Just click on the link below and you can either fill it out digitally or hand write in your info!

* above photo by Ampersand Design Studio            Pizza Party Invitation by Ampersand Design Studio

And, just in case you are feeling crafy, here is our DIY for the polka dot napkins! They are easy, easy, easy!

• napkins for as many guests as you'll be hosting (We got ours from Target for about $7 for four)
• fabric paint in colors of your choiceand a palette or little plates to squeeze the paint onto
• corks for stamping
Easy, peasy directions: • Wash and dry the napkins to remove sizing and iron as needed. Don't use fabric softener.
• Place cardboard or waxed paper under the napkin you're stamping to make sure it doesn't bleed through to the surface below. (Oops, we learned this one the hard way.) • Dip your corks in the paint colors and stamp away for the dot pattern of your choice. • Drying time depends on how thick the paint is. Our paint tubes said to allow 24 hours to dry and 72 hours to cure completely before washing. Full disclosure: we didn't wash ours before we used them and they worked just fine.
• To care for your painted napkins: use warm water on gentle cycle with a mild detergent and fabric softener (optional) in a warm rinse. Cold water may cause fabric paint to crack. Line dry. Do not dry clean. Do not use harsh detergents or bleach. • Enjoy your fun new napkins!
* all photos taken by eric linebarger