Besotted Brand $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

north pole besotted blog

Every year it seems the holidays come sooner and sooner. We will now forever mark the beginning of the holiday season with my daughter E.’s birthday and go full tilt into our merry & bright from there. It’s super important to me that her birthday doesn’t get lost amongst the holiday stupor as so many of my November birthday friends have lamented to me. To help celebrate E.’s birthday and to get you ready for the yuletide season we would love to do a giveaway to help you make a dent in your gift list or help add to your seasonal craft arsenal, or whatever you want to do with a $100 USD Besotted Brand gift certificate!

As always when we do our bestowals (as we like to call our giveaway’s) we will pose a question and have you answer in the comments, we will choose one winner by Tuesday, November 24, 2014.

I mentioned that E. has what seems to be an innate sense of humor…

What quality do you think you were born with? or What quality have you had since you were a kid?

We can’t wait to hear your answers! If you don’t feel you have a special quality, don’t fret, pin the image or tweet the link to this post and you will be entered. Good luck!

photo by tristan b.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. She lives in sunny Seattle with her handsome husband, wonderful baby girl and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

A Year | A milestone


pooh quote besotted blog photo by michelle p.

My daughter E. turned one on 11-12. One?!  How did that happen? I am not exaggerating when I say it feels like I gave birth to her a week ago. Being a mom has been infinitely more challenging than I could have ever imagined. I have doubted my skills pretty much every second for the past 365 days.  I cried like I never cried prior the day we checked out of the hospital fearing that I would not know what I was doing (I didn’t), but the nurse comforted me by saying, ‘It’s the mom’s that cry when they are leaving that I know will be good mother’s.’  I am sure she says the opposite to those that don’t cry but it comforted me and it got me out of the hospital and here I am a year later.

I was hoping that I could do a sort of recap of my year, but it’s been kind of a blur, my once elephant like memory seems to have evaporated. Highlights though I may be able to do–hearing her call my name for the first time was pretty much like winning the Lotto, she calls me ‘mom or mum’ depending on how she’s enunciating that day. Yes, I think it’s weird too that she doesn’t call me ‘mama’, but she calls her dad ‘bah’, so I’ll take mom/mum. She isn’t walking yet, but she does have a wagon that she pushes around like a pro, sometimes our 5 lb pup George will even join her for a jaunt around the living room. She just started dancing and I think my heart will explode from the cuteness of that.  E. spends most of her waking hours trying to make everyone laugh, if I didn’t witness it myself I would say that it was hogwash, but if she does something once that will illicit a laugh she will file it in her arsenal to bring out at a later date. She has the best belly laugh ever. I have learned so much about being a mom and about myself this year. I have been pushed to my limits both physically and mentally (sleep deprivation is serious business), but at the end of the day when all she wants is to cuddle and have me hold her one last time before going to bed I feel complete. Motherhood is definitely not for everyone, if someone would have laid out everything for me, I may have opted out, it is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I foolishly (and maybe arrogantly) assumed I would be good at it, but there is so much more to it that I could have never fathomed. Both my husband and I were woefully unprepared with how much love we would have for her, it almost hurts it’s so overwhelmingly huge. It has made me re-evaluate everything in my life, my relationships, especially with my parents. I have so much more empathy for them, but I also have been secretly a little judgmental, I can’t help it. I feel inadequate a lot of the time and also selfish (I’m older and we have very little family), but around E. I try to just be present, she’s my little Buddha, I find myself uncharacteristically savoring the moment.

For her first birthday she gave my husband and I a most appreciated and unforgettable gift–she slept through the night!  After nearly 12 months of fragmented sleep, a 12 hour stretch was the most unexpected, appreciated and thoughtful gift I have ever received (besides my 5 lb. pup George). Thank you all for your support and kind words during this turbulent (and exciting) time in my life, your visits here, your kind notes, bon mots, and wisdom helped me in ways I can not find words to express. I am humbled by all the mom’s that have come before me. I have the utmost gratitude for everyone that has visited this last year, I needed you more than you could have ever known as I transitioned into this new identity.  It wasn’t seamless, I faltered, stopped and started but thank you for sticking with me (and now us),  Michelle and I can not wait to move forward with some grand plans and I am finally feeling a little more confident in my role as mom/mum, (but I am still open to advice/feedback). We both hope that this next chapter will be as exciting as we have imagined in our heads (one never knows) and that you find us worthy to continue following our adventures as we plan to continue to take you along with us!

photo by michelle p.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. She lives in sunny Seattle with her handsome husband, wonderful baby girl and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.


pro photo resources via besotted blog

Michelle and I have chosen some professional commercial photo printers for you to send your work out to. These are printers that we have personally used in the past or have recommended for our former Souvenir Foto class students. Speaking of, we have had many, many former students go on to professional photography careers and selling their prints for profit so we hope that’s a good enough testimonial for you! We chose these printers based on quality, ease of use and of course price. Some of these printers offer the same thing but may be closer geographically to you which is a preference for me (even better if they are in the same city-go local!) Many of these printers offer book services as well, which is perfect if you are getting into shooting for weddings, newborns, etc. Most (if not all) work in something called a ROES system, something you will need to download to your computer, it’s a little bit of a hassle (at least for me) but it works out in the end.  This is not an exhaustive list of course, but it should be a fairly good start! [Read more…]

Home Printer Q & A

printing from home part ii besotted blog

We received a lot of emails wanting more questions answered on the home printing front, we thought it’d be easier to answer them here than individually. If you have more questions let us know and we’ll try to add the answers to this post. Below are some of the most asked questions on home printing:

What home printer can I print heavier cardstock with?

This is not an easy one to answer, most home printers are not made to handle heavier than 120# cardstock. I have had the most success with printers that load paper/cardstock upright in the back, you can feed the cardstock through. When I had my very first Etsy stationery company, I would painstakingly do this one card at a time, it was torture!  Another printer that has a completely different finish (uses wax for the inks) and supposedly can take heavier stock is the Xerox Phaser. The finish is very unique and not for everyone, I liked it even though I prefer a matte finish, it’s definitely worth getting a sample print from the company. I worked with a small invite company that loved hers and used heavier stocks through her Phaser. For extra heavy stock I would suggest paper mounting, but that would be a topic for another post!

What printer can I use to print on fabric?

Again, I would suggest a printer that is loaded upright in the back. There’s so many ways to do this but Karen from the Graphics Fairy has an excellent tutorial!

Even with my screen calibrated my prints come out different, how can I fix this?

If you calibrated and set up the color profiles and still no luck–test print, test print, test print (in smaller versions of your original)! Michelle had addressed this briefly here. When I was trying to match colors for my stationery company I would print various boxes of the color in different tones to see how my printer would print and choose the one closest to my vision (which may have looked completely different on screen). Yes, printing at home has it’s pros (control) but some of the cons can make you pull your hair out (no control).

I want to print on shipping tags or other things that aren’t a standard paper size, how can I do that?

When I want to print on something that is not a typical size I will use artist tape (it doesn’t rip your paper when you remove it) to tape down my item that I intend to print onto a standard letter size paper and then run it through. The BEST tutorial on this is by Catherine of Design Editor and you can find it here, it’s a printing game changer!

Want to print on more atypical items? Here’s a small list:

Print on paper napkins

Print on ribbon


Back loading printers-inexpensive, moderate, expensive (pro)

Xerox Phaser solid ink printer

Artist tape



home printer favorites via besotted blog

Printing at home or in your studio has one clear advantage over using a service: control. If you are unhappy with a print, you can make adjustments and reprint it on the spot. Familiarity with your equipment is helpful too. For instance, I know these Epsons print a bit darker than my monitor so I prepare for it in Photoshop by creating a duplicate layer & screening it at 25% opacity. This makes the image too light on screen, but it prints perfectly.

My Epson Artisan 800 is a dinosaur – maybe 6 years old, and even with a broken paper tray, it still prints, and scans like a champ (I don’t make many copies, and never use the fax feature). I have prints from when this printer was new that look as good as the day they were made (the inks are fade resistant up to 98 years!). Super thick card stock doesn’t really work, but I’ve had good luck with heavyweight matte papers. It’s possible this has been corrected in the newer version of this printer, but I can’t speak to that from direct experience. Epson recently replaced the Artisan series with the Expression series, which come in at the same bargain price I paid for my Artisan 6 years ago ($130.00).

Home printer review besotted blog ii

The Epson Stylus Photo R3000, made it’s way into my studio when it became apparent that photography was going to eclipse my love for graphic design by roughly a mile and a half. It feels like such a treat to print the 13” x 19” size. My images with black backgrounds (printed on smooth matte paper), remind me of velvet (but not in an Elvis on black velvet sort of way). Tristan wanted to know where I had them printed, and was floored when I told her I printed them myself! The archival inks are fade resistant up to 118 years for color, and 300 years for black, just be sure to use archival paper to secure those results. For peace of mind, I always add another layer of protection with a couple of coats of Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to keep prints looking new for as long as possible.

For any new home printer purchase, you’ll want to check your monitor calibration. I won’t get into detail, since it’s one of those things where cost and time investment can vary widely depending on your needs. I did find this friendly tutorial for calibrating a mac that some of you may find helpful. The other thing you’ll want to be aware of is the ICC color profile information for your printer. ICC color profiles will help Photoshop and your new printer speak the same color language. Here is a video from Epson explaining which settings to use in the Photoshop print area for the R3000. Tip: Make mini test prints to conserve ink and paper: full size is for when you get all of the workflow kinks worked out!

If you have a home printer that you use for photos and love, let us know! I’ve had Epson printers for so long, I’m not very familiar with the other options.

//Resources //

The Finer : Epson Stylus Photo R3000

Priced around $750.00 but right now there’s a $200 mail-in rebate & free shipping w/ Amazon Prime.

The Find : Epson Expression Premium XP-820 ($129.99)

Screen Calibration Equipment:

ColorMunki (this is the entry level version) Spyder4elite

Photoshop + Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle now only $9.99 a month!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.


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