Arizona Inspired Stationery Set

I’ve only just discovered the Southwest region of the United States as an adult. Arizona is a newly added state to my repertoire; having visited twice in the past three years. As a child, we traditionally vacationed close to home so the Grand Canyon still remains on my bucket list! The Southwest region is still a wonder to me and a place that I feel needs more exploration than the few visits I have under my belt. 

Photography courtesy of @clettis

As a tried and true Midwesterner, I am partial to the lush forests bursting with pine and birch trees, where the likelihood of chancing upon a freshwater lake is extremely high. When summer’s high humidity leaves the body drained and drenched and winter temperatures dip well below freezing with snow covering the landscape as far as the eye can see. The desert is the exact opposite. Its flora and fauna are scrub brush, cacti, yucca and scorpions, snakes and lizards. With little precipitation, the landscape can be a more hostile environment. Much different from what I’m used to and fascinating all in the same. Of course, I am aware that in high elevations it does snow in sunny AZ too!

I’m intrigued by the dry heat that occurs most months out of the year and the culture that the Southwest is so famous for; Native American heritage and influences in the artwork of the region, museums, and tribal lands, along with the area’s Spanish-American history and the Latino population, including the cuisine, Latino arts and music, cultural sites, and not to forget the region’s history of the Old West with cowboys and gold mining.

I designed a cactus inspired stationery line with the varied landscape and culture of Arizona in mind. In this collection is a thank you note card set, five distinct designs, and three desktop notepads, again each with a varied design. Arizona may have been my muse, but the concept of this collection looks good anywhere. If you’ve read the previous blog post on SoCal inspiring the Sarah Collection wedding invitation suite you’ll notice that I also took aspects from these funky Arizona plants too.

A nod to the Southwest is seen throughout the collection. It’s in the colors, in the succulent and cactus plants I created, in the varied colorful and terra cotta pots they’re sitting in and in the ‘tile’ design featured on the two of the notepads. I get all joyful and giddy every time I use one of the paper goods from this collection. I’m reminded of this warm, beautiful place that is so much different from my home. I hope you feel the same.

My goal is to design and create more stationery sets, mainly note card sets, for my Etsy site as well as wholesale accounts. Look for more designs later this year. If I say it out loud then I have to follow through, ya hear me!?! [self plug time] If interested in purchasing any of these awesome paper goods click here.

Setting the Tone

I realized this year that summer is such a pivotal moment when you have school aged children. Our son, C, started Kindergarten this year and it was exciting, trying, eye-opening and boggling all at the same time. Come early June we were all ready for summer break! No schedules, no commitments, no homework. We planned a quick overnight excursion to see live music on a farm two hours away the day after school let out.

It was like caged animals being set free. Our plan was to stop for lunch along the way, enjoy the Lucille the Land Yacht concert series of the day and camp at a nearby state park. We threw things in a bag and hit the road. It was overcast and dreary when we left. We didn’t care, we were on the open road. Through farm country we went. Windows down, wind blowing and the smell of farm and country surrounded us. 


We arrived at Four Sisters Farm in Rochester, Minnesota; an organic farm, who was hosting the outdoor event. Organized by the ever popular Dinner on the Farm who best describe themselves when they say they “create unique local food experiences designed to celebrate farmers, growers, chefs, brewers, distillers, makers and artisans dedicated to good, sustainable food. Through our roaming culinary events, we work to connect people back to the land and to the farmers and artisans who are making our communities a better place to live.’ The events Dinner on the Farm put on are unique, memorable, attract young and old and make you feel like you’re part of a community working for the good of our human race and the planet (insert me waving the peace sign). 


The concert took place on the deck in front of Lucille the Land Yacht, a 1973 Airstream, which is parked on the grassy lawn at Four Sisters Farm. 100% of the profits went directly to the artists. The four of us found the perfect spot towards the back of the small crowd. The clouds had parted, the sun came out and the perfect breeze had blown in. We set up our picnic blanket, lawn chairs, grabbed a locally brewed beer from the vendor, our pre-ordered charcuterie board from The Forager and settled in. American folk artist Charlie Parr was the headliner with opening artist Bentley Gillman. 


The intimate concert was one for the books. The kiddos danced, ran around, visited farm animals, snacked and truly enjoyed themselves. We took in the atmosphere, the sense of community and the sweet sounds of each one man show. We were sad to pack up as we could have stayed ALL night.


A short 30 minute drive brought us to Whitewater State Park where we quickly set up camp, watched dozens of fireflies buzz around us and enjoyed an evening campfire. In the morning, we woke to the sounds of the Whitewater River and found a path from our campsite directly to the river. The four of us in our pajamas admiring the fresh water river, collecting rocks and exploring was the perfect way to start the day. A visit to the ranger’s station, a short hike up the bluffs and lunch at our favorite college town sandwich shop concluded our excursion.


We drove home with full hearts and an appreciation for taking this time to ourselves; thus, setting the tone for the summer.