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The Holidays

I know it’s been a while since our last post but I wanted to give everyone a heads up about the new holiday items we have available and the upcoming shows and markets that we’re apart of.

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This year we revamped the holiday cards and gift tags. For the cards, we came up with two new designs and reprinted our beloved “Tis the Season” card in a much brighter red. We’re super excited to release the holiday ornaments which feature our hand lettering screen printed on Maple wooden discs. I’m beyond tickled with how these turned out! You can find all the new goodies in our shop.

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If you’re local to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, you can always find our stuff at Kitsch. For those who live a bit farther away in Richmond, you can find our goods at the Bizarre Market. Or if you have a love for local beer, you can find us at the Handmade Holiday show being held at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery this Saturday from 11am-5pm. The brewery is always a blast, so I suggest making time for that if you can.

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Whew! We’ll I’ve got a ton to do before this weekend so I better get back at it.

Hand lettering Workshop on September 18

Back by popular demand is our Hand lettering workshop! This time we’ve partnered with the Nobile & Amundsen Gallery in downtown Norfolk. We’re really excited because they have such a wonderful space to host the event. To top things off, our event is being paired with an exhibit that opens tomorrow for John Edward Welch who was a self-taught sign painter and artist.

So mark your calendars on September 18th from 7pm-9pm because we’d love for you to join us if you’re in the Hampton Roads area. Bring your pencils, pens, a sketchbook, a ruler and your favorite gnarly eraser, along with a short quote and a love of letters. We’ll give you an overview of lettering along with one-on-one assistance to help turn your quote into a hand-lettered masterpiece. Don’t worry if you’re new to lettering, this class is excellent for anyone.

We’ll also supply some other tools of the trade and explain how to use them during the class. Space is limited, so sign up through our shop here and reserve your seat today! For more detail visit the FB event page here. Since it falls after work for most of us, we’ll provide some light refreshments to help you relax and unwind.

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“Haute Desert” Stationery Suite featured in The Knot

At the beginning of this year I partnered with Lynsey Hamilton, event planner extraordinaire, on another photo shoot for The Knot. The theme for this shoot was “Haute Desert.” I used sharp geometric patterns to balance layers of coral, pink and gold for the entire suite. Per usual, the shots look incredible thanks to Lyndsey’s ability to bring together so many talented folks including Poppies & Posies, Nine Cakes and rEvolve Furniture Co.

If you’re interested in ordering this suite, shoot us an email at hello(at)mapleandbelmont.com with information about your upcoming wedding or event.

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Getting Back to Film

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Film photography has been a hobby of Derek and mine’s for the past 4 years. Up until this year, I’ve been using toy lomography cameras to fuel my film obsession. We use to share those photos through a tumblr blog called Yellow Polka Dots. Between us, we have a Diana Mini, a regular Holga, a Fisheye 2, a Sprocket Rocket and a 35 mm Holga. With these cameras, Derek and I were just having fun snapping shots of the world around us. There really wasn’t too much you could change on those cameras so it was more about capturing happy accidents. Over the span of two years, we posted 765 photos and then we stopped about a year ago. Life got in the way and we just couldn’t keep up with it.

Even with everything that was going on, I kept wanting to get back into photography. Around the holidays last year, I told Derek that I wanted to pick up an old film camera so that I could actually learn how to take a good photo – not just point and shoot. I mentioned that I was looking at a Pentax k1000 and he perked up at the name because he remembered that his mom use to have a Pentax. Derek checked with his dad and sure enough he still had it. It wasn’t the Pentax k1000 but the Pentax ME Super instead, which still had all the bells and whistles that I wanted. Huzzah!

For the past few months I’ve been taking a LOT of photos so that I could get use to manually setting a camera. Since I don’t have the luxury of checking my work as I go like I would with a digital camera, there has been a lot of trial and error. I’ll admit that there were several rolls of film that turned out just awful. I had the wrong exposure set and even the film speed was wrong on my first roll. But I learned from my mistakes and slowly got the hang of it. So I’ve been building up a new collection of photos from this camera and decided that it was time to breath life into Yellow Polka Dots again. I’m proud to relaunch this blog and share my photos with you. I’m not a photographer by any means, so if you have any tips/comments or just want me to follow your tumblr, hit me up! I’d love the advice or just a new person to follow.

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National Stationery Show 2014

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to the National Stationery Show in NYC. For those of you stationery enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of this epic event. Stationers from all across the country come together to show off their products including their newest additions to retailers, buyers and admirers. I’ve been considering doing the show for Maple & Belmont and it’s extremely intimidating. That’s why I decided to walk the show this year to get a feel for the atmosphere and let me tell you… it’s a whirlwind of inspiration, excitement and paper awesomeness!

While I took a couple photos of my favorite booths, they would not do the event justice. So I point you to Oh So Beautiful Paper where Nole does the most in-depth overview of the event. I even plan on going through her posts to see what I missed and maybe even to remember certain folks. I met a lot of wonderful people behind the companies that I admire, as for next year… we’ll just have to see.

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Camo’s Beer Growler

We’ve been behind on posting custom work but I finally took a moment and snapped a few photos of the beer growler design I illustrated for Camo’s American Grill, a local food venue based out of Chesapeake, Virginia. The owner, Evan Harrell, first approached us with a sketch of an idea that he wanted fleshed out in our style. Originally, he asked for a more symmetrical design with the eagle but since eagles are all the trend they get overused a lot. To help break away from the typical eagle pose, we did a lot of research to find inspiration for a more asymmetrical design that would still have all of the elements Evan wanted. It was a quick and simple project but one that I couldn’t be happier with. Besides any chance we get to design something for that sweet, sweet nectar we call beer is reason enough to take on a project.

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Another successful Kitsch class!

Last Wednesday we taught another hand-lettering class at Kitsch! Although it was a packed house with lots of elbow rubbing, we had a wonderful bunch of students. Below are some photos from the class. At the end of the evening, one of our students had the brilliant idea that everyone should move around the table to take a look at what each other worked on. We loved this idea so much that it’s going to become a tradition at the end of our classes. If you’re interested in taking one of our hand-lettering classes, keep an eye on our blog or our facebook page for the next one.

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Featured in the Summer issue of Distinction Magazine!

Near the beginning of this year, we received an email from Gabriella Souza, a writer at Distinction Magazine, asking us if we would be interested in doing an interview. I literally had to read the email 10 times before the awesomeness could fully sink in. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Distinction, it is an award-winning lifestyle magazine from Virginia that features relevant people and places, and compelling stories and experiences from the region. Just one look and you’ll notice that the art direction, photography and writing is at a different level than other publications from the area. It’s spectacular to see something in print done so well and representing our home state.

Once we got everything in motion, we met up with Gabriella a few times for her to get a feel for us and write the story. Then we were contacted by EJ Toudt, the Art Director for our piece. EJ proposed the idea of having us do a chalkboard wall we could interact with for the article’s cover. Derek and I got to thinking of fun summer concepts and flying kites came to mind. So we used different descriptive words from the article to create the kites. After lots of planning and sketching, the artwork went up in a matter of hours and then it was done. We worked through a few ways to set up the shot with us in it and finally landed on the one below (which was Derek’s idea by the way). Rich-Joseph Facun was the awesome photographer working with us all along the way and the one who captured the final shot. While this whole article and photo shoot were being setup for the magazine, there was a time-lapse of the chalkboard and an interview being conducted, and we have to give Hyunsoo Léo Kim mad props for the video production portion of this wonderful experience.

Below is the article in it’s entirety. You can read it here as well. There’s also a really rad video that shows a time-lapse of the chalkboard along with highlights from our interview. It’s still going to take time to sink in for us, but for right now everything feels incredible.

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We also need to give GROW a shout out for being awesome and letting us use their chalkboard.

Hand Lettering Class on May 7th

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We can’t believe it’s almost May, can you!? Nevertheless we’ve got another Hand Lettering Class going on next week at Kitsch and we’d love for you to join us if you’re in the Hampton Roads area. So mark your calendars for May 7th from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Bring your pencils, pens, a sketchbook, a ruler and your favorite gnarly eraser, along with a short quote and a love of letters. We’ll give you an overview of lettering along with one-on-one assistance to help turn your quote into a hand-lettered masterpiece. Don’t worry if you’re new to lettering, this class is excellent for anyone. Just a reminder that Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away and this class would be the perfect opportunity to make something lovely for your mother.

We’ll also supply some other tools of the trade and explain how to use them during the class. Space is limited, so sign up through Kitsch and reserve your seat today! For more detail visit the FB event page here. Since it falls after work for most of us, we’ll provide some light refreshments to help you relax and unwind.

New Pharrell Print in the Shop

We’ve been slooooowly working on some new prints and other things for the shop. This is our newest addition to our prints. We saw this quote after a friend reposted a tweet from Pharrell and who doesn’t respect him as an artist and as a person, right? Not to mention that he’s a native from Virginia Beach. During the past few weeks I’ve barely had a chance to breath, let alone work on another print but I couldn’t pass this one up. I’ve also been trying to incorporate new styles into my lettering skills and this aesthetic just seem to fit. Plus, French paper released this new Plum Punch purple paper that we thought would make the quote pop. The print is 11″x14″ and is printed in black and white ink. It’s now available for purchase in our shop!

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