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From the Desk of Dixie

Dixie Holiday Tastemaker Spotlight: Emily Ley

We are thrilled to announce Emily Ley, Founder of Simplified®, as our next Dixie Holiday Tastemaker. Simplified® is a brand of planners and organizational tools created for busy women. Emily has been featured in Forbes, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, Glamour, and Good Housekeeping and she has been recognized with numerous awards, including Best New Product at the National Stationery Show as well as Top Ten Designers to Watch by Stationery Trends Magazine. Emily is the author of bestselling books Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Livingas well as a brand new title, When Less Becomes More, that releases this week!

For her Tastemaker Collection, Emily was paired with Dixie artist Holly Hollon who created the adorable coastal artwork that features pelicans, palms and seashells - all nods to Emily's coastal hometown of Pensacola, Florida. Pineapples, which can be found in the crest Holly created, are a symbol that Emily frequently uses in her brand to symbolize "southern hospitality." Holly also found a way to incorporate a tiny rainbow in the artwork since rainbows are a significant icon to the Ley family. 

When Emily and Holly first begun discussing this collection, Emily shared with her several of her favorite Dixie products featuring Holly's artwork such as this Ginger Jar moving announcement and this Naples Save the Date. We love seeing how Holly took all of this into consideration when creating the final product! We believe the end result not only personally reflects Emily, but also exudes the bright preppy feel of the products in her Simplified® brand.

We hope you will enjoy learning a little bit more about Emily from our interview with her below. We have included additional images of her beautiful tastemaker collection at the bottom of this post, but you can shop the full Emily Ley Holiday Collection on our website.

Favorite Holiday Tradition:

Enjoying a “snack dinner” with my family by the fireplace Christmas Eve, while watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

Dream Dinner Date:

Seafood and great wine on the beach.

Favorite Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas:

A Lafco candle or beautiful notepad and pen set.

Most Memorable Read:

Recently? Where the Crawdads Sing. Of all time, wow… I was an English Major, so I have many favorites. Anything by Jane Austen.

Favorite Hometown Eatery:

Angelenas. Our friends and neighbors recently moved home (like we did!) from NYC and opened an authentic Italian restaurant. It’s incredible.

What Inspires You Most?:

My kids. Time with my family. Watching my little ones be wild and free. I’m often inspired to live more like them.

Prized Possession:

My “Family Yearbooks” (yearbooks I make from photos throughout the year every holiday season).

Most Sentimental Christmas Tree Trimming:

A frame holding a photo of me and my grandmother. I miss her dearly.

Go-To-Hostess Gift:

A “Pensacola” themed notepad from Artesana (my favorite local gift boutique) or a sweet turkish hand towel tied with a ribbon.

Hidden Talent:

My kids are pretty impressed that I can recite the alphabet backward very quickly.

Starbucks Order:

My husband and I co-own a coffee shop, Concord Coffee, so we often brew at home! For me it’s a cup of light roast with French Vanilla NutPods and one stevia

What did you dream of being when you were a kid?

A children’s book author. There’s still time, right? :)

What is your number one tool of the trade?

My Simplified Planner. Yes, I make them for a living, but I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. It helps me keep everything organized.

Photography: Mary Margaret Smith Photography

Card Image Photography: Holland Williams Photography

New Artist Spotlight: Lucy Young

While Lucy Young has been a beloved member of the Dixie family since February 2018 and has served as our Design Director since January 2019, we could not be more excited to now introduce her as one of our artists this season! Lucy, a Birmingham. Alabama native, has gravitated towards coastal towns since graduating from Auburn University with a BFA in Graphic Design. After a fellowship with Coastal Living magazine, she worked as the Assistant Art Director for a boutique marketing firm and publishing house along the shores of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. While there, she began to introduce watercolor illustrations into her layout designs, and she quickly fell in love with the technique.

After marrying her husband, Patrick, in the summer of 2017, she made the move to Mobile, Alabama, where she currently resides and works as a full-time graphic designer, illustrator, and calligrapher. She finds so much joy in bringing ideas to life through typography, color and paper. Evening walks around Mobile with her husband and pup, Galley, curling up with a good book, spending time with loved ones, and brownie blizzards are some of her very favorite things. 

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Continue scrolling for some images of Lucy's Dixie artwork in-progress as well as the finished cards in our holiday collection that feature her artwork. We have also included our Q&A with Lucy below.

Dream destination:  

Israel

Magical place: 

Paris

Ideal dinner date: 

J.K. Rowling

Favorite album: 

Alabama Christmas by Alabama for the holidays and anything Frank Sinatra for the rest of the year.

Recommended read: 

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Favorite recent film: 

Midnight in Paris

Favorite foods: 

All things chocolate, charcuterie boards and sushi

Power color: 

Ochre/Mustard Yellow

Beach or mountains: 

The beach! I lived in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida for a few years after graduating from Auburn. It holds such special memories for me!

Inspiration: 

Travel, podcasts and books/book stores

Prized possession: 

My box full of letters, cards and invitations that I have kept over the years.

Preferred sign-off: 

“Warmly, Lucy” for everyday correspondence and “xoxo” for friends

Etiquette tip: 

Sending a thank you note! (Sometimes I’m late, but sending it late is better than never…)

Writing utensil: 

Black uni-ball micro point pen.

Road trip game: 

Finding a list of questions online that spark interesting conversations.

Go-to hostess gift: 

A fancy bottle of olive oil, stationery or a candle.

Hidden talent:

I can throw a mean spiral with a football!

Perfect cup of joe: 

I actually don’t drink coffee! Dr. Pepper is my choice of caffeine.

Childhood dream job: 

An artist or a pediatrician. I went the artist route and live vicariously through my husband who is in medical school.

Creative fuel: 

New supplies and a clean working space

Tool of the trade: 

My light pad! I couldn’t address envelopes without it! 

Photography: Mary Margaret Smith Photography

Card Image Photography: Mary Catherine Brownfield Photography

New Artist Spotlight: Ashley Begley

New Dixie Artist Ashley Begley identified her passion at an early age and has been drawing and creating her entire life. After graduating from The Rhode Island School of Design with a concentration in Graphic Design, Ashley spent several years at Lilly Pulitzer as a Surface Designer, honing her craft in painting and print making. Her work converges between watercolor fluidity and applied design structure. After seven years in the fashion industry, Ashley started her newfound studio which marries her passion for painting, typography, and textiles to create custom pieces for celebratory occasions.

Continue scrolling for some images of Ashley's Dixie artwork in-progress as well as the finished cards in our holiday collection that feature Ashley's art. We have also included our Q&A with Ashley below.

Dream destination:  

Morocco

Magical place: 

Portugal, the Algarve Coast.

Ideal dinner date: 

Anni Albers

Favorite album: 

Any album from The Talking Heads! GO RISD!

Recommended read: 

The Tools

Favorite recent film: 

Lady Bird

Favorite foods: 

Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Truffle mash potatoes, Burger

Power color: 

Sage Green

Prized possession:

I have this small gold trinket box in the shape of an elephant head. It was my grandmothers. She used to put her matches in it, accompanied by this gold cigarette case. I have it at my desk. Also, My. Mom gave me a diamond necklace when I turned 16. I never take it off!

Preferred sign-off: 

xx, Ashley- I think that’s from my Lilly Pulitzer days!

Etiquette tip: 

Thank you notes of course! And never show up empty handed.

Writing utensil:

My husband bought me this tortoise ballpoint pen for Christmas one year! I loved it.

Go-to hostess gift: 

I like giving candles and often bring along some personalized stationery.

Perfect cup of joe: 

An extra shot and black please! Waiting for my heart to explode!

Childhood dream job: 

A fashion designer. Then I realized I don’t do well with 3D. :-) So I went for textiles instead.

Creative fuel: 

Travel always inspires me. Experiencing different walks of life.

Tool of the trade: 

Pen and India ink. Drawing is my first love!

Photography: Mary Margaret Smith Photography

Card Image Photography: Holland Williams Photography and Mary Catherine Brownfield Photography.

New Artist Spotlight: Abby Little Jessup

As one of our newest artists, we are thrilled to welcome Abby Little Jessup to the Dixie family! Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Abby made her start in the arts at a young age. In 2010, at 19 years old, she founded Reflect Visual Arts, a program reaching hundreds of students through classic fine art classes in schools, homeschool co-ops, private tutoring, and workshops. The past several years of teaching fine art, painting, illustration, and calligraphy, as well as her love of extensive travel and her home city, led to many projects and commissioned works.

Most recently, her projects included the launch of two colorfully illustrated children’s book and their complementing coloring books: Down in the Ham: A Child’s Guide to Downtown Birmingham and Right Here in Birmingham. Abby now lives and works from her home studio in the small, deep-southern town of Brewton, Alabama, with her husband.

Keep scrolling for some of Abby's in-process photos as well as the finished cards in our holiday collection that feature Abby's artwork. We have also included our Q&A with Abby below.

Dream destination: 

Spain is pretty high on my list.

Magical place: 

Scottland and France

Ideal dinner date: 

Henri Matisse 

Favorite album: 

It might not be of all time, but I love Bad Self Portraits by Lake Street Dive

Recommended read: 

None Like Him

Favorite recent film: 

I’ll never get over La La Land

Favorite foods: 

Almond croissant, Southern Vegetables, Pizza

Power color: 

White

Beach or mountains: 

Sun and Sea Please

Inspiration: 

One body of work leading into another and travel.

Prized possession: 

My Grandfather Clock built by my Great-Grandfather

Road trip game: 

I play DJ and snack gal

Go-to hostess gift? 

Fresh Flowers and Macaroons

Hidden talent: 

Singing (According to my husband.)

Perfect cup of joe: 

Medium Roast with coconut oil and butter

Childhood dream job: 

An Opera Singer

Creative fuel: 

Music and Snacks

Tool of the trade: 

Gansai Japanese Watercolor

Photography: Mary Margaret Smith Photography

Card Images: Holland Williams Photography and Mary Catherine Brownfield Photography

New Artist Spotlight: Riley Sheehey

We are thrilled to welcome new artist Riley Sheehey to the Dixie family! Riley is well known in the illustration world for her darling watercolored portraits and whimsical patterns. Keep reading to learn more about Riley, see some "behind the scenes" peeks at her in-process Dixie artwork and a selection of the finished cards you can find in our 2019 Holiday Collection!

Although she has always loved art, Riley started designing and illustrating professionally in the summer of 2014 after a good friend asked if she would be interested in creating a custom watercolor invitation suite for her upcoming wedding. In 2017, Riley left her elementary school teaching career to pursue freelance art full-time. Riley specializes in watercolor illustration. She enjoys working with businesses on artwork for their branding, marketing, and packaging; on editorial artwork for print publications; and on surface design for textiles and wallpaper. Her style is whimsical and feminine, and she is most inspired by interior design, fashion, and architecture, but she is always open to new opportunities to create things that make people smile. She lives and works in Falls Church, Virginia, with her husband and their dog, Stevie.

Dixie's Q&A with Riley::

Dream destination: 

County Cork, Ireland, where my great (great?) grandparents were from 

Magical place:  

Nantucket or Charleston- my husband and I have gone ever summer since we met! 

Ideal dinner date: 

My grandmother, when she was my age

Favorite album: 

Rumors- Fleetwood Mac

Favorite film: 

“Big Fish”- I rewatch it every few years

Favorite foods: 

Goldfish crackers, pizza, grilled cheese (notice a theme?)

Power color: 

Pink

Inspiration: 

I love textile and interior design

Prized possession: 

My scanner. My family and friends make fun of me because I buckle it in with a seatbelt in the seat next to me whenever I go on a trip.

Etiquette tip: 

Not etiquette, really, but it drives me insane when people misuse apostrophes!

Writing utensil: 

Pencil or felt-tipped pen if I’m feeling fancy

Road trip game: 

The Alphabet Game

Go-to hostess gift: 

A bottle of wine or decorated ornament during the holidays

Hidden talent: 

Predicting snow days (I used to teach elementary school)

Perfect cup of joe: 

Black with skim milk

Childhood dream job: 

A fashion designer

Creative fuel: 

Running outside

Tool of the trade: 

Leaping before I look (saying yes, and figuring it out along the way)

Photography: Abby Grace Photography, Riley Sheehey, Mary Margaret Smith Photography, Holland Williams Photography, Mary Catherine Brownfield Photography, and Heather Durham Photography.

Artist Spotlight: Willa Heart's Colorful Studio Space

As the Dixie team is staring down a "Winter Storm Warning" in our little Southeastern corner of the country, we thought everyone could use a heavy dose of color and cheer brought to you by Dixie artist Alyssa 'Aly' Jill Harris who goes by the name Willa Heart in the illustration and design world.  Aly's artistic mediums are widespread! While we are particularly fond of her painted artwork on our stationery, Aly's embroidery, illustrations, and designs also make for one-of-a-kind pillows, clutches, and cocktail coasters as well.

Aly has shared images of her vibrant South Carolina studio space with us, and we cannot help but notice her love of animal prints and Staffordshire dogs that appear throughout her Dixie Design artwork. Continue reading for design details on Aly's studio space as well as for insight into her creative process. We have also included some of our favorite Dixie Designs that feature Aly's artwork below. 

Tell us about your studio space! Do you have a favorite aspect of the room?

My studio space is a cute little room upstairs that I just started working out of. Up until a few months ago, I was painting and doing most of my work in the dining room. Now that I am actually in the studio, I love it. It is a small space and I have it filled to the brim with tchotchkes, art supplies, sewing supplies and all of my products. 

I love that everything is in one space now and that the walls are the perfect shade of pale pink! 

What are you currently working on for Dixie? 

I am just wrapping up Holiday 2019! I love a non-traditional holiday card so it was really fun coming up with some out-of-the-box holiday designs that will work for everyone! 

When do you work on your artwork?  

I try and stick to 9-5, but I tend to get distracted and end up working a few hours here, a few hours there. I do all of my painting in the daylight but love to draw and sketch at night in front of the TV. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

On an ideal day I wake up, go to the gym, come home and get to work. I like to do shipping in the morning so my lovely mail lady will pick it up and save me a trip to the post office. Then I will get started on painting or sketching or sewing or product development… It changes daily but I like to do the fun creative stuff in the middle of the day when the sun is nice and bright. I am a bit obsessed with sunlight. After I wrap up the painting or whatever I am doing, I switch to computer work. I start with emails and then normally have some editing to do. Then I make dinner and watch trashy tv. 

Where do you turn when you need to be creatively refreshed? 

Movies with pretty cinematography are endlessly inspiring. I love looking at photos of retro interior design and seeing how people decorated their homes. I have been super into wandering around museums lately too! 

What do you like to listen to when you work? 

I normally have a TV show going and listen to it… If it’s a really good show, it will distract me so I need the perfect balance of good/bad and mindless but also entertaining enough to keep my brain quiet. 

I am trying to listen to more podcasts or books, so I can maybe learn something but I seem to always end up back with the terrible tv I love so much. Learning is overrated anyway. 

Favorite Instagram account for artistic inspiration?

Oh this is hard because Instagram is filled with so many beautiful accounts! I few of my favorites are @Laurakitty, @lukeedwardhall, @stuffy_muffy, @thiswasfashion, @voguemagazine & @palmbeachthrifters.

Favorite Dixie product you have created?

I am super excited about the 2019 holiday cards, specifically these poodles that I painted! 

My favorite product that is currently available would definitely be the leopards (featured below and you can shop the entire collection here). I used them for our holiday cards and they were a huge hit! The envelope liner makes me so happy. Also, they make the most chic stationery set! Speaking of, I think I will go ahead and order some for myself right now! 

Studio Images Photography:: Tiffany Ellis Photo

 

New Artist Spotlight: Smith Diano

Today we would like to introduce you to one of our newest Dixie artists, Smith Diano! Smith is an amazingly talented artist, and is the owner/designer behind Textiles by SMITH. After seven years in the fashion industry, Smith transferred her creative talents into the interior design world becoming a textile designer. Travis & Company in Atlanta and Supply Showroom in Austin represent her fabric lines. Smith lives in Birmingham with her husband, toddler, and golden doodle.

We could not be more thrilled that Smith is also now also lending her artistic talents to Dixie! Scroll through to see some of her work below and make sure you keep reading for our Q & A with Smith.

Artwork Images from @bysmith_

Dream destination: 

Greece 

Magical place:

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam 

Ideal dinner date: 

Barbara Walters 

Listening to:

Fleet Foxes: Mykonos

Recommended read: 

Mom’s on Call 

Favorite recent film:

Lion 

Food groups: 

All Pasta dishes, Burgers, & Sushi

Power color:

Magenta

Personal treasure:

My daughter Lillian

One should always:

Write thank you notes

Favorite road trip game:

A clean version of would you rather

Perfect cup of joe:

Milk and sugar please

Creative fuel:

Ear buds in with my favorite songs, lots sunlight, and a clean space

Tool of the trade:

My Windsor watercolor set

You can shop Smith's holiday cards including the beautiful designs below by clicking HERE.

New Artist Spotlight: Evelyn Henson

We are thrilled with the addition of new artist Evelyn Henson to our Dixie Family! Evelyn is a Southern illustrator who designs art and gifts for a more brightly decorated life, aiming to celebrate the little things and spark kindness wherever she goes. Working primarily in gouache and acrylic, Evelyn is known for filling her stylish pieces with bright colors and clever, joyful dispositions. Her work has been featured in Glamour, Domino, Redbook, People, and more. She is currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scroll through to see some of her work below and make sure you keep reading to learn more about Evelyn!

Artwork Images from @evelyn_henson 

Dream destination:

Positano

Magical place:

Paris

Ideal dinner date:

Reese Witherspoon

Favorite album:

Taylor Swift Shake It Off

Recommended read:

Everything by Brene Brown

Favorite recent film:

It Takes Two

Favorite foods:

Caramel brownies, chocolate cake, & Talenti’s Sea salt Caramel gelato

What is your favorite color: 

Pink

Beach or mountains: 

Beach

Daily inspiration:

The little things in everyday life

Creative fuel:

The people I love and iced chai lattes.

Prized possessions:

A gold locket my Grandmother gave me that has my parents’ photos on the inside.

One should always:

Write thank you notes

Go-to hostess gift:

Champagne with a cute card!

Childhood dream:

Becoming an artist

Shop Evelyn's cards seen below by clicking HERE.  

Card Photography Credits:: Holland Williams PhotographyBrenna Kneiss Photo Co.Heather Durham Photography

New Artist Spotlight: Tenn Hens

All images from Tenn Hens Design. 

We are thrilled to add new artist duo Bonnie Cross and Currier Stevens of Tenn Hen Designs to the Dixie family! They are the talent behind Tastemaker Caroline Boykin's beautiful card collection we spotlighted last week. We have featured some of our favorite holiday designs featuring Tenn Hen's artwork below, but first, please allow us to introduce Bonnie and Currier to you.

Bonnie Cross and Currier Stevens make up the graphic design team of Tenn Hens Design, a studio based out of Nashville, Tennesee specializing in unique paper goods, branding and marketing materials. Their artistic style and advertising background combine to help them create timeless, thoughtful pieces. They adore watercolors, pretty paper, vintage postage, and all the details that make up the perfect package. Bonnie and Currier worked together for several years at an ad agency, became fast friends and were soon dreaming up ideas for their own business. They took the leap in 2005, setting up shop in a tiny spare bedroom with computers and new business cards while looking for clients. Little did they know, Tenn Hens Design would still be going strong so many years later and fulfilling their artistic passions.

Dream destination:

Currier: The Mont Blanc Trail in Europe

Magical place:

Bonnie: Istanbul

Ideal dinner date:

Bonnie: Jerry Garcia. | Currier: Queen Elizabeth

Listening to:

Bonnie: Rumors. | Currier: Eat a Peach or American Beauty

Recommended read:

Currier: YaYa Sisterhoood, The Secret Garden, The Education of Little Tree, A Time to Kill

Film rec:

Bonnie: Lion. | Currier: The Darkest Hour

Favorite foods:

Bonnie: Homemade pizza, chips & salsa, and I’m on a huge olive obsession of late! Currier: Anything with avocado, artichokes with lemon butter, and watermelon feta salad

Power color:

Bonnie: Kelly green. | Currier: Sage green

Personal treasure:

Bonnie: Vintage agricultural signs from my father’s collection. | Currier: My very extensive collection of art supplies that has only grown consistently since 1988ish

One should always:

Bonnie: Write a thank you note. | Currier: Be respectful of my elders.

Favorite road trip game:

Does listening to true crime podcasts count as a game? We're obsessed.

Hidden talent:

Bonnie: Expert horseback rider | Currier: I love to make jewelry out of found objects - rocks, antlers, tumbled sea glass, leather.

Childhood dream:

Bonnie: Professional equestrian 3-day eventer | Currier: an artist! I am thrilled to be lucky enough to do what I love!

 

Card photography credits:: Holland Williams Photography and Heather Durham Photography.

 

New Artist Spotlight: Rachel Rogers

We are thrilled to add new artist Rachel Rogers to the Dixie Family! We have featured some of our favorite designs with Rachel's artwork below, but first, please allow us to introduce Rachel to you!

Rachel Rogers is known for her whimsical and elegant work. She is a San Francisco native with roots on both the east and west coasts. Having attended Colgate University as well as Parsons School of Design, she began her creative career in book cover design and has been in love with print ever since. Explorations with ink and watercolors eventually lead to a focus on illustration and stationery designed in the playful style she has become known for. Town and Country magazine has named her one of the best Wedding Invitation Illustrators in the country, and her work has appeared in other prominent publications as well. When she’s not painting, Rachel loves to spend time at the beach with her husband, their daughter and their spunky little dog.

Make sure to check out all of Rachel's Dixie designs here and continue reading to to learn about Rachel's creative fuel as well as her dream destination!

Dream destination

Surfing in Morocco 

Magical place 

Parts of Yosemite National Park 

Ideal dinner date 

Bill Watterson or Amelia Earhart 

Favorite album 

Anything by Fleetwood Mac 

Recommended read 

My Side of the Mountain by Jean George

Favorite recent film

I recently re-watched Casablanca, a favorite classic

Favorite foods

Bread, cheese and anything Mexican

Favorite color

I switch between various shades of blue

Beach or mountains

We live at the beach and it’s total heaven

Prized possession

Does my daughter count?

One should never

Call anyone after 9 PM

Road trip game

Snacking

Hidden talent

I can make excellent salad dressing

Perfect cup of joe

Black

Childhood dream

Becoming a veterinarian or a pirate

Creative fuel

Little things, like a color or a shape I happen upon

Preferred tool of the trade

My Wacom drawing tablet and my calligraphy pen

Card photography credits: Holland Williams PhotographyHeather Durham Photography and Mary Margaret Smith Photography

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