9.27.2010

giveaway: the penpal project

Hello & Happy Monday! I am so giddy about what's in store. I couldn't have asked for a better way to bring back Meet the Maker Mondays...
Today's interview/giveaway comes from two of my all-time favorite bloggers, Marta of m.writes and Summer Harms. These ladies have definitely got a good thing going on. What began as a budding friendship out in the blogosphere has blossomed into a beautiful collaborative business venture called the Penpal Project, which combines Marta's graphic design sense + stationery shop with Summer's dreamy photography. Together they've created several batches of postcards, perfect for sharing a few sweet long-distance words with a long lost friend. These girls are all about reviving snail mail + celebrating simple living...What could be more admirable?

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Lucky us, not only do we get the inside scoop on the Penpal Project, but these ladies are also generously giving away this pack of Cloud&Country postcards (shown above) to one lucky reader.

To enter, leave a comment below telling your favorite smell, sight, sound, or taste of fall.

To double your odds of winning, share a link to this giveaway on your own blog, twitter, or facebook account and leave a subsequent comment indicating where.

The winner will be announced first thing Friday October 1! <--Can you believe October is right around the corner!?
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Q & A with Marta & Summer:


Tell us a bit about how the Penpal Project was born:


Summer | marta and i have been blog friends and penpals for quite some time now, so i think that paved the way for this awesome collaboration, but the project itself was all marta's brilliant concept. she had been wanting to stock her shop with postcards for awhile, and thought it would be fun to do a line of cards that featured my photography. (isn't she the thoughtful one?) when she invited me on board, i was so super excited and flattered. and i still am!

Marta | i love creating and selling pretty paper goods. i'd always thought postcards would be a fun item to put my heart into. since i have recently fallen in love with the art of taking snapshots on the road and last spring decided i'd infuse them into this postcard project. i then decided it would be awesome to have two varied perspectives in the collection of postcards; and so i asked my friend, summer if she'd like to join me in making a few collections of postcards. she takes beautiful pictures! i am a big fan of hers and knew it would be a delight to work with her. it has been a wonderful collaboration thus far; especially since we both love photography and sending mail to and fro. in the midst of working on our debut collection, we titled it the penpal project. being penpals ourselves, it seemed to suit us and our project perfectly!

Where do you draw your creative inspiration?

Summer | oh my. what an honor to even be asked this question. a few years ago i would have told you that i don't have a creative bone in my body. i am convinced that having a blog and connecting with other blogs has enormously changed my "creativity." i am inspired everyday by the talent and beauty that is generated in the world of blogs. it is a creative port like none other. i especially love any blogs that feature home life. they make me want to learn new skills and try new things, and i think that is how i ended up picking up a camera, switching it to manual, and learning how to do (hopefully) pretty things with it. speaking of creative, i consider marta one of the most creative people i know. i have learned so much from her. her writing has changed how i think about writing. oh, and very importantly, i must give credit to grant, who bought me my first canon, gives me an amazing home to work and play in, and encourages me everyday.

Marta | inspiration comes to me from even the smallest seeds of an idea. i love gaining inspiration from fellow artists, crafters and bloggers, however i find myself overwhelmed after spending time researching online. so i must admit sometimes the best inspiration comes from a quiet drive, a jog in the park, a long hot shower, or when i'm writing at my desk with the morning sunshine pouring in. i think if you listen to what your heart is saying, your inspiration instinct can kick in. i jot notes on scraps of paper whenever an idea hits me. (i sketch out drawings too.) the trouble is finding the courage to believe in your ideas and run with them.

What advice do you have for photographing food? And farm animals!?

Summer | natural light!! from my experience, this is probably the biggest and best thing you can do for your photos. i would recommend not depending on photoshop to make your photos presentable. try very hard to make them as lovely as possible straight through your lens, with the best light you can find. i love using window light for my food photos. in fact, it is pretty much all i use. if you can find a good window or two in your house (mine are south-facing), that is a perfect place to set up shop for a good photo shoot. also, a whole new world opens up when you make the switch from auto to manual. i don't have a super professional camera, but i've learned how to make it work for me by using the manual setting, learning good times of day to shoot, and playing around with different angles and props. over time, you'll find your comfort zone and find yourself coming back to the same photo characteristics. then, hooray! you've found your own style.

Marta | i would advise anyone to disengage the flash, use excellent lighting and snapshot whatever surrounds you. i love going on a sudden road trip when the clouds look incredible and snapping shots when the clouds are grey and gloomy or when they are fluffy and whipped creamy white. with farm animals, i like to take plenty of shots of the same subject with different perspectives. move the subject left, right, center and then try to stand up on something tall to get a different view of your subject. i am always surprised to find that i usually like the image that i hadn't posed perfectly; the one that just happened to be perfect in the moment. farm animals have their own agenda, so visiting them a few times has been the best way for me to get a good shot.


What was one of the biggest obstacles in designing a project with someone you've never met face-to-face?

Summer | actually, the whole process was very smooth and awesome. marta is an absolute dream to work with, and we've become quite proficient in email-communication over the years. it's kind of our bag.

Marta | i've been amazed to learn that collaborating with someone i've never met before has been an incredibly lovely experience. i'd wondered if the lines of communication would be a hurdle or perhaps our styles of working might clash, but instead it has been a very smooth process. i've found that if we are both well aware of what tasks we are each responsible for, both our efforts really go hand in hand! it also helps that summer is someone i can 'think out loud to' over late night emails. she is a wonderful sounding board for new ideas! when working in a collaboration, i think it's so important to choose a person you respect, admire and have similarities with. summer was the one who came up with the idea that the postcards would have a clean blank backside (rather than the typical lines of a postcard) and i am so happy with her suggestion! the postcards look so much prettier that way. i have used them in many more uses than just postcards.

What was one thing you learned while working on this?

Summer | i loved learning a little bit about the world of marketing. thanks for teaching me, mart. also, i learned how diligent online shopkeepers are! bravo to anyone who owns an online shop. i have so much respect for you. it takes a lot of guts and elbow grease to put your product out in the world.

Marta |i've been amazed to learn that collaborating with someone i've never met before has been an incredibly lovely experience. i'd wondered if the lines of communication would be a hurdle or perhaps our styles of working might clash, but instead it has been a very smooth process. i've found that if we are both well aware of what tasks we are each responsible for, both our efforts really go hand in hand! it also helps that summer is someone i can 'think out loud to' over late night emails. she is a wonderful sounding board for new ideas! when working in a collaboration, i think it's so important to choose a person you respect, admire and have similarities with. summer was the one who came up with the idea that the postcards would have a clean blank backside (rather than the typical lines of a postcard) and i am so happy with her suggestion! the postcards look so much prettier that way. i have used them in many more uses than just postcards.

Are there any more collaborative projects in the pipes?


Marta | yes, in fact, there are! we have a beautiful Harvest collection coming up that feature some of summer's seasonal images. i think i will be using them to write i'm thankful notes to loved ones this november. they will debut in the mini mart in a few weeks! (sign up for my newsletter to receive shop updates.)

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Find even more loveliness at:
marta's shop | the mini mart
marta's blog | martawrites.com
summer's blog
summer's recipes

39 comments:

{lovely little things} said...

My favorite smell of fall is the re-emergence of cinnamon. Whether this be a sprinkle on a cup of coffee, the hint wafting up from an apple pie, or cloves tucked into orange skin. Love, love, love the smells of fall.

Sourkraut said...

This will be really vague, but hopefully you'll all know what I'm talking about. I love that smell when you leave your house and encounter a crisp fall evening. Even better if someone's burning leaves somewhere out there.

Simply Live said...

Oh goodness am I excited :) I love both summer's and marta's blogs. Definitely some inspiration to be found there! I would have to say my favorite fall smell is the combination of spices that seem to wiggle their way into my baking. Think: pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, chai. YUM!

{Jenna Lou} said...

Glad meet the maker is back... so much fun!!

My favorite smell and taste is apple pie in the fall. My grandma makes the absolute best apple pie ever and the smell just brings me straight back to my childhood.

Amanda said...

Just this weekend I had my favorite smell experience--pumpkin spice latte. And before that, I got to taste my favorite--apple fresh off the tree.

So glad you got two blog celebrities to share an awesome giveaway!

Sandra said...

I love Fall! Everything about it smells nice, sounds lovely, looks beautiful and tastes delicious! I don't think I can choose a favorite in any of these categories.

I am excited that Meet the Maker Mondays are back and that you started with the Penpal Project. So fun!

Amanda said...

I blogged here: http://projectsimplelife.blogspot.com/2010/09/source-monday-with-weather-getting.html

KaylaDanielle said...

My favorite taste of Fall is the pumpkin spice latte :)

Laura said...

My favorite taste of fall is a Jonagold or Pink Lady apple. I'm working at an orchard right now, so my favorite fall smells, sights, and sounds all revolve around apples!

Anneliese said...

apparently my favorite taste & smell is cinnamon bun! since i have a candle burning & the same flavor of creamer swirling in my coffee!

thanks for this giveaway! i have come across your blog before but didn't bookmark it...so i am glad to be back!

ps. i am going to put a link here on my blog...

Brittany said...

love those cards, so pretty! i love the smell of cinnamon and the crunch of leaves on the ground.

Mama B said...

My favorite thing abut fall is the cool weather and the changing colors. My favorite smell has to be apples and cinnamon.

Hannah said...

Early fall is my favorite. I love the clean smell outside. Freshly cut hay smells heavenly. And any spicy smell. I love boiling cinnamon sticks, orange peels and cloves.

Maryclayre Dick said...

My favorite thing about fall, is being able to walk outside and breathe...I love the crisp, fresh air! I also love the sound of the breeze through the leaves, and the typical homey scents of cinnamon and pumpkin spice!

debby said...

i love the taste of honey crisp apples in the fall. i love the feeling that i need to put on a sweater, but not more than that. and i love these postcards!

Erin said...

One of my favourite scents of fall is the burnt candle/pumpkin smell. Do you know it? When you've lit the jack o'lanterns and the air just smells of Halloween? Love it!

Love these postcards. Marta is amazing. And now I'm going to check out Summer's site too...

Cottage Mommy said...

Love their postcards! So pretty....and inspiring to go out and snap pictures! This might sound weird but I buy this candle appropriately called "fall festival" that combines all the yummy smells of fall. I love burning it and making my house smell warm and cozy! I also buy lots of cinnamon scented pinecones....that is a weakness of mine!

Alivia said...

Oh good gracious, these are lovely.
My favorite smell has, very recently, changed to warm apples and cinnamon. I was a baking fiend this weekend & ate 6x my weight in apple turnovers, simply because of the smell.

On Second Street said...

i love taking a walk in the fall and smelling the leaves, the crisp air, someones fire and the smell of someones baking. i just love fall and wish it were longer.

Holly said...

Fall in San Diego means it is finally warm enough to go swimming at the beach. That's my favorite part of "fall" in SoCal.

Laura {Brand New Housewife} said...

I l-o-v-e the smell of old leaves. Mmmmm...wow, do I love fall.

Emilie said...

Oh there are so many things I love about fall. I guess if I had to pick a favorite it'd be the cool crisp air.

Ann Marie said...

this is such a lovely idea. makes me want to write more letters :)

Alison said...

I think my favourite smell in autumn is my freshly bathed sons. At 6 and 5 they can get mighty grubby and that lovely cleanliness of clean little boys and freshly washed hair, sitting in front of the open fire (because it gets cold enough for the fire at just the beginning of fall) after their bath is a wonderful reminder of the change in season.

Alison said...

And now I've just linked to you blog, advertising this gorgeous giveaway. What a treat to be part of this community. Regards, Alison
lallalliving.blogspot.com

Oh, My Darling said...

Pumpkins are definitely my favorite smell, taste, and sight of fall!

omydarlingblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Laura said...

I tweeted it as well! http://twitter.com/laurashumaker


laurashu22@gmail.com

Bryant said...

favorite thing about fall? i can't just put down one.

+pumpkin spice latte at starbucks (extra hot, double cup, non-fat milk, no whip, because I can)

+the back roads of northern minnesota with so many fall colors.

bryant dot dittmer at gmail dot com

Katie said...

I love the smell of fallen leaves -- and raking leaves!!

Liv said...

My favorite fall smell is my pumpkin spice candle OR the scent of crisp, colored leaves in the air..
You know, almost like a campfire all the time.

Kristi said...

i love the smell (and taste!) of apple cider. autumn is my most favorite season, i love everything about it!

Wehaf said...

I love the sound of walking over crunchy leaves. :)

urchiken at gmail dot com

Kaitlyn Luce said...

Two words.

Apple.Pie.

Just walking into my house taking in the smell of the cinnamon and apple is enough to make my mouth water.

Kaitlyn Luce said...

Also, I accidentally left this out. Here's my blog: www.kaitluce.blogspot.com

Jen said...

Taste of fall? Pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. That makes it official. :) And I'd put any spicy, pumpkin-y or apple scent in that category too.

Susan said...

My favorite fall smell is, without a doubt, apple pie baking in the oven! Mmmm...and the taste of warm apple pie a la mode just can't be beat!
Blessings!

Christine Peh said...

Just found your blog via Summer's. Her postcards look amazing. Love how you photographed them too!
Yikes! Don't know if I'm still in time for the giveaway, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Hmm... I'm from sunny Malaysia where the leaves are evergreen so I can't say what I love about fall ;) However, I do love the smell and sound of rain and the cool breeze that it brings!

So glad to have found your blog. Do drop by mine if you'd like to: http://thosedecemberdays.blogspot.com

:)

Tiffany said...

my husband and i walk together. it is a joy to be hand in hand with my god-send of a husband. my favorite sound in the fall is the crunching of the leaves as we walk. we go into contest mode to find the best crunch.

dragonflydreamer said...

I love the penpal project postcards! My favorite smell during the Fall is a spicy pumpkin pie cooking in the oven. Thanks for such a great giveaway.