It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (almost)


I know, it’s only the end of September why am I thinking about Christmas already?!? I’ll tell you why! My gift giving list contains many hand made items I wish to purchase for my loved ones, and as an owner of a handmade shop, I know the earlier you order the better! Especially if the items are customized to the lucky ducky receiving the gift. Waiting until December to purchase handmade gifts will result in rushed orders (read extra $$$), stress on you and especially the artist trying to put a bit of themselves and a part of their soul into each handmade inch of the gift they are creating for your loved one (or you!).

As I was browsing my favorite shops and items on Etsy, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you! These are just a few of the amazing handmade items I’ve fallen for, there are more on my Pinterest boards, check out my Gift Giving (for her), Gift Giving (for him) and the What I want for Christmas boards, along with the Sparetire Design Stationery boards. My shop has several great gift ideas, personalized stationery and note pads to name a few. But the trick is to order early!

Here are 14 pics for just about everyone on your holiday shopping list!

Image1. Key Chain by theCopperPoppy
2. Hand thrown Bowl by OneClayBead
3. Bracelet by TownofBeadrock
4. Bike shirt by iheartanalogue
5. Napkins by giardino
6. Leather Bracelet by SariBlue
7. Travel Mug by snowhillpottery
8. Earrings by huiyitan
9. Slippers by Molipop
10. Journals by ordinaryartists
11. Feathers by jodyvanB
12. Scarf by AnniesCloset
13. Dog Toy by wagsandwiggles
14. Poster by JumpOffThePage

Many of these shops I have purchased from, others I have long admired. I hope you buy Hand Made this holiday season, online or in your local shops; buy something made with love (and order early😉 ).

Only About the Music: Artists for Autism


I am counting down the days to the first weekend in November! Why you ask? I am traveling down to Fairfax, Virginia for an incredible music weekend, Artists for Autism, hosted by Only About the Music (OATM). November’s show boasts 10 + musicians from around the globe and proceeds from the show will be going to The Grafton School‘s Music Therapy program.

Last September I went to a private music weekend hosted by OATM, I not only heard some amazing musicians, I also met some amazing people (including the musicians) whom quickly became friends. It is an experience that has stuck with me ever since, and I can’t wait to experience again. Artists for Autism is open to the public, but has limited tickets on sale through September 20th – so act now!!!!! 10 + musicians, meet and greets, merchandise and a musical experience I promise will be worth every cent!

Here is a list of musicians performing over the weekend. Check them out, buy a ticket and join the fun! I know I can’t wait to see them perform…
Tom Bertram

Miles Garber

Edward Hartline I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Edward play, his soulfulness will capture you the moment he sings his first note

The Hunts

Naseem Khuri (lead singer for Kingsely Flood) I saw Kingsley Flood perform at Newport Folk Festival this past summer and I am looking forward to seeing his solo show!

Shannon Labrie 

Lee Lindsay Who happens to be the mom of the talented Sam Bradley, featured here on our Emerging Artist Series

Bobby Long I’ve had the pleasure to see Bobby play numerous times. He just keeps getting better and better!

David Mayfield Parade who is very entertaining! I first saw him perform with Cadillac Sky several years ago, then again solo at a Communion New York show. Excited to see Mayfield play again!

Alex Starling

Surviving Allison who is getting heavy rotation on my playlist lately. Check them out!

Toy Soldiers very excited to see these guys live!

Denny White

Emerging Artist Series: Sam Bradley


Hi folks! Things have been busy here in the studio, I have so many ideas and topics I want to share with you… all in good time, right?! Sometimes I have something on my mind and it sits there and begs to be written about and shared (aka stealing focus away from other tasks)…. and the past few weeks it’s been this great musician, Sam Bradley. sam-bradley-not-your-kind-ep

Why has Sam been on my mind? He recently released his highly anticipated third EP, Not Your Kind; and it’s been playing non-stop in the studio (and my mind). It is a five track, beautifully recorded and produced collection of heart felt music, with a touch of banjo. (I love me some banjo). The ladies over at Shack of Soul hit the nail on the head in their review (which is hilarious): “This EP is the closest I have ever come to feeling like I am listening to him live.” And seeing Sam live is quite the treat. I finally saw him live last September and I was amazed with his ability to capture the crowd and stay connected with them the entire set. His presence on stage and sound live is something you need to experience to understand why his fans are so devoted. The set was by far way to short, I could have listened to Sam sing, tell stories and engage the crowd the entire night. He is currently touring the UK in support of Not Your Kind; I hope he plans on touring the US again soon (hint, hint). Take a minute to check out Sam Bradley, you won’t be disappointed!

Emerging Artist Series


I am a firm believer in supporting artists & musicians that spark an interest or chord with me. I love to connect with others by talking and sharing artists and musicians, especially those whom are hovering below the radar. My goal is to share these artists and musicians with any one who will listen!

To kick things off I want to tell you about this great musical movement that started in London several years ago, Communion. Communion is a community of musicians, artists and fans that showcase emerging talents. The movement has quickly grown and now many cities have their own Communion monthly shows. A few years ago, I was reading an article about the British folk scene and these “club nights” hosted by Communion, the article mentioned British musician Marcus Foster and had a link to one of his songs. I was immediately smitten with the tone of his voice and beautifully composed songs. In this day and age of the “interwebs” I quickly searched for more of his music to listen to. I was able to find an EP to buy, but knew the best way to get his music library was to attend a show.

I ( not so ) patiently waited for a US tour with a show I would be able to attend. Finally, last March I had the pleasure to see Marcus live. He did not disappoint, on the contrary I was even more impressed with his music live. Marcus has this likable charm and quirkiness as he relays stories of the road, and an incredible energy when he plays… you can see it move up from his feet and course through his being as he plays. Last fall I was invited to attend a secret concert weekend that included Marcus. I was blown away by the invitation, incredibly nervous and anxious to attend… this was way out of my comfort zone. But when would another chance like this arise? I am so happy I put my big girl pants on and attended the weekend. If it is at all possible, Marcus was even more impressive. He is also a very kind and funny gentleman. ( I gave him a set of custom personalized stationery but was so nervous I didn’t even tell him what it was or that I created it for him *hangs head* ) I walked away from the weekend with a greater appreciation for Marcus’ music, a bunch of new friends who share the same passions and a little more confidence.😉

Marcus is on tour in the US right now! He has many stops, and I encourage you to try to get to one. Tickets are not expensive and you will get a night out and an incredible music experience. I am attending as many as I can, hope you do too!

Invitation Etiquette


Wedding season is in full swing here at Sparetire Design. If you are entering the world of wedding etiquette and invitations, I hope you find this little guide helpful. Happy planning! Be sure to check out our wedding invitation designs!

Many couples find themselves in a quandry over wedding invitation etiquette. Etiquette rules, which need to be followed, which can be tweaked, which can be thrown out? There isn’t a strict guideline for our modern society but a few simple rules to keep in mind.

Tweak: Drop the inner envelope (it is a greener choice too) and use the mailing address for informing who is invited:

     Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Rossi
      and Family

     Mr. Stephen Rossi
     and Guest

Follow: The host line:
Who is hosting? Traditionally it is the bride’s parents, how ever many couples host their own wedding, often times both sets of parents share the hosting responsibilities. Choose the best format that describes your situation.
    Tweak: If the grooms parent’s are hosting with the bride’s parents, their name follows    after. If the groom’s family is not hosting but you would like to mention them, do so after    the groom’s name

Follow: Request line:
Traditionally if the ceremony is held in a place of worship the phrasing is specific: “request the honor of your presence”
For a secular venue: “request the pleasure of your company”
    Tweak: Informal wording is becoming ever more common and popular “the pleasure of         your company at the marriage of” is perfectly acceptable

Tweak: Bride and groom line:
Traditionally “to” and “and” are used and on a separate line. However “&” and an artful arrangement where the article is placed on the same line as one or both names is accetpable. Traditionally the brides surname (if the same as the parent’s name used in the host line) is not used. The groom’s last name is used.
If informal wording is used, last names can be omitted.
For example:
The Rossi and Calbutto families
invite you to share in the joy of the marriage uniting their children
Amy and John

Tweak: Date and time lines:
Traditionally numbers are spelled out and the year is omitted.I guide my clients to write out the numbers and include the year.
More and more people are using numerals. Some say this is not less formal, I disagree. I think using numerals is a less formal choice.

Location line:
Traditionally no street address is used.
    Tweak: Use the street address, do not use commas or punctuation and omit the zip code

RSVP cards:
Set the respond date two weeks before the wedding date. Be sure to have a place for the guests name, some indication of how many guests ( __ seats have been reserved in your honor) or a simple line next to your accept and decline lines. If your venue needs a count for the food you can include the meal choice. More and more couples are including something a little extra, be it a song request line, or words of wisdom line, these are acceptable and fun! The accept and decline lines can be fun and quirky too! 

Reception cards:
If your reception/celebration is held at a separate place from the ceremony it is  common to include a separate card containing the information. If it is held at the same place as the ceremony, include it on the invitation.

Not Acceptable to include on invitations:
Registry Information: It is rude to include this in your invitation. Many couples have wedding day sites, it is acceptable to have this information on the website. You can include a small card that directs your guests to the site: “For more information regarding our wedding, please visit our wedding website” or something along these lines, be sure not to include the word “registry”.

URL: Having a wedding site is a wonderful (and green) idea! However it is not ok to have the url on the invitation itself. It can be included on the reception card or a separate insert.

For wording ideas and guest addressing solutions check out our Price and Style Guide.



Backstage at Country Music’s Biggest Night™

Music Inspired Stationery at the CMA Awards

Sparetire Design, in association with The Artisan Group, will be participating back stage at the official gift lounge for The 46th Annual CMA Awards.














Being a big fan of music, I am beyond excited to participate in the official gift bag and lounge for The 46th Annual CMA Awards. The event is held backstage, October 29 – November 1, 2012, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. After the performers get ready for Country Music’s Biggest Night™ they will come through the official lounge and admire the hand made wares of The Artisan Group. The musicians will walk a way with a huge bag full of items designed for them and the CMA Awards. There are 30 artists’ work in the bag, including a set of Sparetire Design’s music inspired designer stationery.

I will have stationery on display, backstage at the lounge as well, with music and Nashville at the heart of the design! Country music’s biggest stars will be walking through; I am beyond excited to have my work, that is very much inspired by music, in front of artists and musicians that inspire me. One of my favorite bands, The Civil Wars, (check them out!) is nominated for Vocal Duo at the CMA Award show. The prospect of Joy and John Paul having a set of my stationery is positively thrilling!

Jason Aldean
The Band Perry
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Kelly Clarkson
Eli Young Band
Brantley Gilbert
Lady Antebellum
Miranda Lambert
Little Big Town
Brad Paisley
Blake Shleton
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood
Zac Brown Band


Entertainer of the Year
Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year
The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year
Big & Rich
Love and Theft
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

New Artist of the Year
Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Album of the Year
Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines
Eric Church, Chief
Miranda Lambert, Four the Record
Dierks Bentley, Home
Lady Antebellum, Own the Night

Song of the Year (Award goes to songwriters)
Eli Young Band, “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” – written by Will Hoge and Eric Paslay
Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – written by Dave Barnes
Dierks Bentley, “Home” – written by Dierks Bentley, Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers
Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
Eric Church, “Springsteen” – written by Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell

Single of the Year (Award goes to artist and producer)
Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem”
Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You”
Dierks Bentley, “Home”
Little Big Town, “Pontoon”
Eric Church, “Springsteen”

Musical Event of the Year
“Dixie Highway,” Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band
“Feel Like a Rock Star,” Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Willie Nelson featuring Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson
“Safe and Sound,” Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars
“Stuck on You,” Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker

Music Video of the Year
Eric Church, “Springsteen”
Kenny Chesney, “Come Over”
Miranda Lambert, “Over You”
Little Big Town, “Pontoon”
Toby Keith, “Red Solo Cup”

Musician of the Year
Sam Bush
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Brent Mason
Mac McAnally

Tune in!!! The CMA Awards live, November 1 at 8p on ABC

Shop News


It has been a successful and busy year so far here in the studio. I’ve enjoyed working with some amazing clients designing and developing logos and stationery designs. I have not had a chance to update the shop or blog!


New to the shop is the ability to order sample invitations of our designs in the Sparetire Design ETSY shop. The sample invitation listings include: Invitation (please specify style), two enclosure cards, RSVP and mailing envelopes, stock paper samples and a link to our Price and Style Guide. The guide outlines the price and style options as well as wording examples, font selection and information about the stationery. Please note colors and materials may not match the image shown. Our samples are not customizable, but if I have materials that match your color scheme I would be happy to include them. If there is a design you don’t see listed and would like to purchase a sample for, please contact me, I’d be happy to set up the listing.


Coming soon to the shop are new personal and everyday stationery designs just in time for the holiday season! Stationery is a classic, thoughtful and timeless gift. Be sure to contact me early if you would like a custom design created for the holidays or if you would like to customize one of the designs already for sale.


Hope to hear from you soon!


Inspiration Source


Oh how I love this time of year! My gardens are filling in and each day brings a new surprise. Nature has always been a comfort to me and source of inspiration for my design work. The plants and flowers in my garden have been sketched and photographed numerous times; often resulting in popular stationery designs in my shop. I live in a part of NJ many don’t know exist. Preserved farm land, mountains, natural springs; not the way you pictured NJ is it? Wildlife such as deer, black bears and foxes are common visitors in the yard. The deer, while majestic in their own right, sure do like to eat my plants! I have found some tricks to keep them at bay from some of their favorites. I have planted some of the tastier plants amongst plants that seem to be safe. (Seem being the operative word, hungry deer will eat anything.) I have some black eyed susans (rudbeckia) and balloon flowers nestled in with coreopsis, irises and lavender. While this helps, I have come out to take a garden walk to see these plants decimated by a hungry beast. Many gardeners spray (and spray and spray) deer deterrent every night on their plants to varying degrees of success. My trick? Shaved Irish Spring soap. I simply use an old vegetable peeler and every few weeks walk around shaving the bar and sprinkling it on the ground while pulling weeds or dead heading. The aroma of the soap has turned this task into a calming routine; it has become a favorite task for my children too.

Garden tip for keeping deer out

Easy and safe way to deter deer.

I recently read a trick to rid your yard and garden of moles… you bury empty bottles (beer, wine, decorative) and leave the top and neck exposed at varying heights. As the wind blows it makes the classic sound of blowing into a bottle, this noise and vibration keeps the moles from coming back. This is one pest we have not encountered, but the solution sure does bring a new meaning to “Beer Garden”.

Experiences : Marcus Foster Live



Marcus Foster at Rockwood Music Hall

Marcus Foster live at the Rockwood Music Hall, with Bobby Long. It was a pleasure meeting these two incredible artists.

Ever have a musician you would drop just about anything you had planned to go see? On top of my list is British singer songwriter Marcus Foster. Last night I was finally able to see him play live at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. I’ve waited a long time for him to come state side for a tour. Marcus did not let me down! In typical Marcus Foster style he entertained and charmed us with stories from the road and laughed at himself when he spent a few minutes tuning his guitar in the wrong key. He is one of those musicians that the music pulses through as they perform; every inch of him exudes his passion and talent. His voice is raw and gritty, his lyrics poignant, funny and brilliant. The intimate venue made it feel like hanging out with an old friend. Just when I thought the night couldn’t get better, he invited his friend and fellow Brit Bobby Long to join him in two songs. Marcus and Bobby played “Crooked Sky” and a very entertaining version of “Kiss is a Knife”.

I was able to grab Marcus’ new EP which is only available at shows, and was able to meet and chat with him. I am always leery meeting someone I admire and respect, but Marcus was sincere, grounded and kind. I got a chance to say hi to Bobby right before he hopped in a cab as well; he too was gracious and kind. It is really great to be able to tell someone how much you enjoy their music, and to have them truly appreciate your support. These guys are the type of artists and people you want to shout to the world about and yet keep it to yourself because you don’t want to change the incredible dynamic they’ve created. Bobby and Marcus are true talents… take the time to listen to their music, and if you have a chance, be sure to catch them live. You won’t be disappointed!

GBK Oscar Gift Lounge :: Handmade goes to Hollywood


The Artisan Group brings hand made to Hollywood at the GBK Productions Oscar's Gift Lounge


It’s time for the Oscar’s!!! GBK Productions hosts an amazing luxury gift lounge for the nominees and presenters for the Academy Awards. The Artisan Group has pulled together an AH-MAZING swag bag filled with handmade products from exceptional artisans. The best part? You too can have many of these products. Celebrities and VIP’s will be receiving hand crafted soaps and body lotions, shaving kits, and incredible hand crafted pen, designer stationery sets. You can find a list of links below! Sparetire Design has business cards in each of the bags being handed out by The Artisan Group.

Hand crafted soap by Magic Senses

Designer Stationery by BeezKnees

Hand Painted Pendant by 13 Black Cat Designs

Fine Art Photography by Afton Dufoe

Dragonfly Mini Flower Pots by Happy Moose Garden Art

Forget-me-Not Necklace by Luster WorksMermaid Bracelets by dbk design artsBeautiful paper flowers by The Crimson Poppy  Copper and Silver Earrings by Catcophony  Stick Dog Toy by Wags and WigglesCocktail rings gifted to press members by Beads of Aquarius Swarovski Crystal Bracelets Color Coded to match our causes Jewels For HopeCherry Blossom Tote Bag by Nan Gates Designs Fused Dichroic Glass Tea Light and Votive Candle Holders by Mt. Baldy Glass WorksHandmade Pottery Copper Earrings by Willow Creek JewelryOscar the Slouch Hat by Oops I Knit it Again

Luxury Edible Organic Facial Skincare by EdenSong Essentials

Fine Art Photography Oscars Collection gifted to members of the press by Paper Angels

The City Clutch gifted to the press by Sew Beastly

Wonderful Handcrafted products on display and gifted to celebrities at GBK’s Oscar Gift Lounge