It is with great pleasure that I introduce
one of my favorite people in Birmingham,
Cory Bordonaro.

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Cory is the owner of Four Hats Press,
creating paper goodies and letterpressness.
She’s a talented printer, handletterer and designer.

And the girl can write.

She started out in magazine journalism
before pursuing a love for letterpress,
and even the way that she speaks is beautiful.

I met Cory years ago when I first moved to Birmingham.
I think we first had coffee with one Miss Carla Jean Whitley
(thanks, Carla Jean!)
and I’m happy that our creative paths have continued to cross since then.
She has printed several things for me, and the finished product is always stunning!

I enjoy our chats over coffee as we talk through business,
the creative world and deep thoughts, too.

You’re going to love her.

{C O R Y .  B O R D O N A R O}

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Tell us about your desk (or workspace).
(any history behind it, where you bought it, etc.)

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The desk itself is nothing special. It’s actually just an unfinished piece from Ikea. My work space has been in-progress for quite some time. I think I’m finally actually arriving at a place that I’m happy with. I started with a huge drafting table, but found that with more room, I worked a lot messier. With a smaller surface, I am able to edit carefully what I have out any time, and it actually makes for a better creative environment for me.

 

What’s on your desk (or around it) most of the time?

My mint green filing cabinet is my dear friend, helping me to stay organized. Atop of that is my other sidekick, my printer/scanner/copier. Close by is my light table, used for illuminating my paper for calligraphy work. I keep a bookshelf with paper samples and extra envelopes within arms reach, too.

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What type of work happens at your desk most of the time?

Of course, I sit at my desk to hammer out all of the administrative (read: boring) tasks involved with running a small business. Outside of that, I use my desk for my computer and communicating with clients, but it’s also the place where I illustrate and hand-letter when designing. I’ll address envelopes for wedding jobs here, too, setting up a movie on the back corner of the desk to entertain me during those long hours. Audrey Hepburn, dear, I thank you for your kindnesses.

 

What do you see from your desk view?

I’m actually up against a blank wall (there are no windows in this part of my garage studio). I’ve pinned up a calendar, quotes, photos, and an ever-rotating set of prints to keep me inspired.

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Tell us about the creative process that takes place in your space.

In some cases, I start from scratch designing invitations and wedding suites for my clients. So, when that’s happening, the process usually begins with doodling. I’ll write the bride and groom’s names dozens of times (until there are papers covering the carpet around my feet), until I’m happy with the look and feel. I then scan, digitize, and move elements around in Illustrator and Photoshop, often balancing out the hand-drawn text with other fonts. I’ll usually draft up two or three designs to send to a client for a first look, and then work from there to revise and arrive at something to match their vision.

 

How does your desk stay most of the time? (neat, organized, messy, or any other adjectives that you would use to describe it on a daily basis)

Because I spend a great deal of my time cranking my printing press, I’m often away from my desk for hours at a time. I love the up and down of my work, the opportunity to get a change of pace. So, that said, it stays pretty neat. I’m a little obsessive about things being in their right places.

 

Favorite item on your desk (if this applies to you).

I have a corner of my desk where I prop up favorite hand-written letters that I receive. I have some really thoughtful people in my life who create beautiful and visually stunning pieces of mail. I never throw them away. Maintaining correspondence is one of the very reasons that I got into printing to begin with.
What inspires you around your space?

I mentioned my print wall above, and that is truly my inspiration. I’ve learned from so many fellow printers, and am constantly being fueled by the creativity of others. I also love to keep truths —about myself and about my own Creator—in front my eyes. An author of one of my favorite books says that we should keep things in front of our eyes to remind our hearts. I try and do that as much as possible.

 

Do you listen to tunes while working? If so, what is your favorite type of music to listen to while working?

Oh, you better believe it! It runs the gamut. When I’m not listening to podcasts (like This American Life and Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me) and sermons (Matt Chandler and John Piper, being my favorite), I pick music based on my mood that day. My ultimate favorite is Patty Griffin, but when I have a lot of energy, it might be Stevie Wonder or Van Morrison.

 

Items that have to be there in order for you to work.

My press, my calligraphy nibs, my computer.

 

Favorite working drink to keep on your desk.

Coffee!

 

Anything else you would like to add?

I have an interesting relationship with desks. I’ve had some fine moments at some, but there have been other times in my life and short career that I’ve felt stuck behind the various desks at which I’ve been stationed. Studying for finals, writing college essays, working on a magazine deadline, or researching for pitch meetings. I think the thing that’s been so different about the office and desk that I’ve set up for myself in this season of my life is the flexibility I have with it. If it’s not working for me to be sitting there, I get up and move to the window upstairs to watch the (freak! Alabama) snowstorm. I’m a productive person. I always get my work done, but I thrive having the option of when, where, and how to do it. I may not always have that luxury, but for now, I’m treasuring it.

 

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What a fantastic space.
I love the look of your desk and the way in which you work
is constantly inspiring to me!

Thanks for sharing, Cory! 

For more Tiny Desk {Entre}Views,
put your mouse here.

And to learn about the premise behind Tiny Desk {Entre}View,
your mouse should go here.

I’m thrilled to continue our Tiny Desk {Entre}View series with Abby Hollingsworth.
I met Abby during a close friend’s wedding weekend (thanks, Leah!). 

I knew that she was cool immediately.

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And when it came time for me to redo my own web site,
I couldn’t find the words or the ability to make it all make sense.
A huge fan of her blog and writing style, I emailed Abby
with a subject line that read, “Branding help for the Brander.”

After all, branding for yourself can be downright daunting.
I needed someone with some skill and outside perspective.

Abby delievered beautifully, and she was a blast to work with.
I still smile when I read the copy she wrote for me,
and she came up with the perfect tagline to describe my business.

{check it out here, after you read the interview, of course}

I knew I wanted her to take part in this series
and was thrilled when she agreed to sharing.

Without further ado, let’s interview this creative mind
and find out about her tiny desk scene.

{A B B Y . H O L L I N G S W O R T H}

 

 

About me & my business:

Like many other business owners, I lead a bit of a double life. In my 9-5 job, I’m a digital marketing strategist for an education brand. In every free moment I can find outside of those hours – I’m an entrepreneur, a wordsmith, and a writer. I record the stories of my own life on my blog at DearAbbyLeigh.com, and I help others find the words to set their brands apart through my business – Abby Leigh Creative.

 

The Desk Scene

  • Tell us about your desk (or workspace). 

           (any history behind it, where you bought it, etc.)

  • What type of work happens at your desk most of the time? 
  • What do you see from your desk view?

 

I’m a bit of a floater – with a different space for each kind of work I do.

 

In my big girl office job, I was given a simple office, which I’ve made it my mission to slowly make into a home away from home. I’ve added things that make me smile to the small square room. Windows let in lots of natural light, and a wooden pennant hung on the wall behind my desk makes it feel like the sun is shining on my desk each day when I walk in.

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Light is important to my state of mind in this, my most hectic and stressful workplace. As people stop by the office with questions and urgent needs, they often smile at the way I’ve made it my own – from the wooden block cut art on the bookcase to the postcards, photo-booth strips, and calendar graphics pinned to my bulletin board. Across from me, I’ve hung a dozen postcards from the Spirit of Nashville campaign that remind me how lucky I am to be living and working in my favorite city.

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From this spot, I answer emails, have meetings, manage our company blog, website, and social media presence. I am often scooting my computer and gold/leather mouse pad aside to make another list of things to do. It’s a busy and exciting place to be, and my office at work represents my own little slice of peaceful productivity (most of the time!).

 

My personal writing takes place in my bedroom, on my velvet green settee.

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I have a desk just a few feet away, a simple Target piece. But that’s mostly just where I pay my bills. I feel more comfortable, connected, and free to let the creative spirit move on my settee. I just purchased this piece from West Elm at Christmas, and have started nearly every morning since then free writing from this seat.

 

From this spot, I can write with a pen and paper or pull out my laptop. For creative projects, I like to use the writing app Omm – which turns my busy desktop screen into a peaceful scene, free of distractions, with subtle background music and a peaceful clicking noise as I type. I often end my days here working on whatever story is stirring. It’s the perfect bookend to my day.

 

The key to my bedroom staying a creative space, even when it’s a mess (which is often), is in the details. I’ve put inspiration where I can see it – a colorful vase on the side table, plants when I can keep them alive, prints from my trip to London last summer, a giant ice cream cone to keep me from taking it all too seriously.

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This space probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s mine, and I love it. It has made all the difference in the world for me to have a place in my room – apart from my bed – that is comfortable for this kind of creative work.

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My third office space – for Abby Leigh Creative projects – is truly a moving target. Depending on the client and the kind of project I’m working on, I might find a spot in my favorite Nashville coffee shop and let the murmurs of others serve as my background music.

Other times, I’ll sit in the sunroom of our house, where the light is bright and neighbors wander by the big bay windows. I find that moving around the house can help shake up my writing and access new ideas and new voices for my diverse clientele.

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What’s on your desk (or around it) most of the time?

The one consistent in all my workspaces is my bright pink MacBook Pro. I recently upgraded to the Retina Display with no CD drives or Ethernet hubs, so I’m at my lightest and most portable fighting weight ever. I always have a to-do list nearby, a small book of poetry, and a picture of something or someone I love.

 

Tell us about the creative process that takes place in your space.

This year I started a routine called morning pages, as described in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. By free-writing 3 pages that will never be seen or read or judged by anyone else, I jumpstart my creative process first thing in the morning. Whatever work I’m doing that day – from marketing plans to blogging to branding projects – my word wheels are already spinning. It’s been a great practice so far, and I hope to continue it for years to come.

 

How does your desk stay most of the time? (neat, organized, messy, or any other adjectives that you would use to describe it on a daily basis)

One advantage to moving my workspace around is it keeps me from getting too settled and too messy. I’m a pile-maker, but I try to keep them sorted at each workspace.  I’d best describe my space as comfortable, lived in, and maybe a little quirky.

 

Favorite item on your desk (if this applies to you).

In my office, I have a bouquet of felt flowers I “picked” myself at an art fair in Atlanta last year. They remain bright and lovely month after month, and I never have to water them! If only my other plants had the same great luck.

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What inspires you around your space?

I’m always trying to find a balance of inspiration and room for the spontaneous. My workspace, like my mind, needs a little margin for a surprise. I try to leave space on my desk, my walls, and in my writing for where the creative process will lead me, not just where I think I should end up. Pictures of the past are just a jumping off point for the future. I like to have room for both.

 

Do you listen to tunes while working? If so, what is your favorite type of music to listen to while working/writing?

I’ve always loved a little background music while working, but I can waste way too much time finding the perfect song! Spotify has been a lifesaver for me in this regard. A few of my favorite working playlists were put together by other creatives. Check them out here, here, and here.

 

Items that have to be there in order for you to work.

My computer and my brain. It sounds more low maintenance than it really is. :)

 

Favorite working drink to keep on your desk.

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I love working from a coffee shop where they can make me a good cappuccino. If you’re ever in Nashville, I’ll meet you at Fido for my favorite coffee splurge – the Local Latte. If I’m at home or the office, it’s a glass of very icy water. My roommate has recently turned me on to Essential Oils, so I’ll often slip a few drops of Lemon or Peppermint into the water to help keep me focused.

 

Anything else you would like to add?

I loved this challenge to think about my space as an extension of my creative process. We are what we eat, they say – but I think we are often just as influenced by our surroundings as our supper. Cheers to much more tiny desk (or settee) inspiration!

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Thanks for sharing your spaces with us, Abby!
We’re obsessed with your settee, your moving desk
and the beautiful things that inspire you.

I’ll take you up on that cappuccino sometime. ;)

……………………………

For the last Tiny Desk {Entre}View, feel free to peruse here.

I am really excited to start with our first interview in the Tiny Desk {Entre}View series!

My first guest is one of my favorite people in the world–the lovely Laurel Donahoo of  The Lovely Bee.

Laurel has the ability to make a space sing.
She’s great at creating a space that is beautiful and playful, too!
I’m always inspired by her ideas.

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Let’s get to her desk interview…

Tell us about your desk. (any history behind it, where you bought it, etc.)

My desk isn’t the prettiest desk you’ll see, but it sure is functional! It’s a big piece of wood and two sawhorses, so it’s not even technically even a real desk! But I sit at it every day and get so much done at it! The thing I love about it not being a real desk with a whole lot of money sunk into it is that I can paint right on it without having to put something behind the paper I’m painting, get paint all on the wood, and not have to worry about it! I actually sort of like the character that is left behind by all of my old projects.

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What’s on your desk most of the time?

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Usually my computer (I’m in the slow process of moving files from my old computer to my new one as needed, so there are actually two in use right now!), my notepad so I’ll stay organized, paints, paintbrushes, lots of different papers… And occasionally some fresh flowers to brighten things up a little!

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What type of work happens at your desk most of the time?

Usually either computer work (blogging, trying to stay caught up with email… Those sorts of things!) or painting! In case you are a little unfamiliar with The Lovely Bee, it’s my paper company! The main thing I do is hand painted stationery, which you can see samples of at www.thelovelybee.com, my darling website designed by Sara Beth herself! ;) So painting takes up a good bit of the time when I’m at my desk.

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 What do you see from your desk view?

I have lots of bright and fun art, prints, and other bits of prettyness hanging over the bulk of my workspace, but thankfully I do have a little window with a willow tree right outside it!

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My husband Price and I planted that tree the first year we were married to suck up some of the standing water that used to gather right there, and now it’s a big, beautiful tree with long branches that wave around so beautifully when the wind blows! I love being in my office when the weather is bad specifically so I can see that tree dancing around!

 

Tell us about the creative process that takes place in your space.

The creative process often times starts and finishes right here at this desk! I get a lot of inspiration when looking at other blogs, looking around on Etsy, and exploring on Pinterest. I then draft a project, paint it, and package it all right here in the same basic space! If there’s something that has to be printed, that step doesn’t take place here, but all of the rest of it does!

 

How does your desk stay most of the time? (neat, organized, messy, or any other adjectives that you would use to describe it on a daily basis)

I definitely work better when everything is neat, so I try my hardest to keep things in order as often as possible. Sometimes I’ll be too busy or under too tight of a deadline to get it all picked up before working, but I love it most when it’s super organized!

 

Favorite item on your desk.

That’s hard! But I’d probably say my box with all my tape, twine, and stamps in it. For some reason I just really love washi tape, twine, and all of the stamps I’ve had made from my own drawings and writing! And I love the old cheese box that houses those items.

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Items that have to be there in order for you to work.

I’ve gotta have my iPad or phone to have some good tunes going on while working! And I’ve gotta have all my paint brushes clean and easily accessible at all times. You never know when you’re going to be in full paint mode and need that slightly smaller brush, ya know?! Gotta always be ready ;)

 

Favorite working drink to keep on your desk.

Coffee or hot tea! Right now I’m on a Tazo Green Ginger Tea kick. Yummy!!

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Any thing else you would like to add?

Everything I have hanging above my desk is by a local artist or designer. I’m so inspired by the work of others! It’s like being surrounded by creative company all the time. And lots of bright color just lifts my spirit, so when that mundane-ness starts to set in from time to time, all I have to do is look up and I’m refreshed by all the pretty inspiration!

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Although I hope to one day have a completely beat out office (with things like window treatments and a real actual desk…), I really do love my current desk/office and I love where I go when I’m sitting right here!

Big thanks to Sara Beth for including me in this super fun series! I’m excited to see the other contributions!!

 

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Thanks for sharing your {tiny desk}, Laurel!

The color surrounding your desk is stunning and inspirational!

More Tiny Desk {Entre}views coming soon!

I’m excited to share a new guest blog series with you.

Drum roll, please…
………………………………………………………………………

tinydesk-entreview

Welcome, tiny desk {entre}view.

And if it sounds sort of like NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts,
that’s not by mistake.
But we’ll get to that in a second.

I started thinking about all of the fellow women business owners in my life.
And I realized how blessed I am to work with some of these women
and to watch them from afar.

I’ve learned a lot from them through conversations,
and I’ve taken wonderful bits of wisdom from each of them.

These entrepreneurs found a dream and decided to chase it.

I typically think of an entrepreneur as someone who buys or starts businesses frequently,
usually with risks involved.

And while that’s probably the common thought about what an entrepreneur is,
I found this definition, and it seemed fitting for this series:

a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, 
especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Bingo.
These women have taken risks to do something they love.
A lot of them left jobs with good salaries and a steady paycheck
to chase a dream and see if it would work.

All of them are smart, savvy risk takers.

 I realized that they’ve made big things happen.

Sometimes in small spaces.

Which made me think of Tiny Desk Concerts.
I’ve been a fan of them for a long time.
click here for my favorite Tiny Desk Concert

These concerts take place at the desk
of All Things Considered host, Bob Boilen.

Amazing music and sound happen in this tiny space.
They don’t have to have a huge crowd or a fancy stage
to make beautiful things happen.

A tiny desk and a small space is all you need sometimes, it turns out.

So I’m excited to interview these women
and find out about their desks, too…

where so much magic happens.

Where ideas are born, where budgets are made.
Where late nights happen and early morning emails are typed.
Where businesses begin and thrive.

I want to know about these spaces–
what they need on their desk at all times.
What they look like, what inspires them as they work.

So stay tuned.
Tomorrow, we’ll have our first {entre}view
with my Lovely Buzz collaborator,
Laurel Donahoo!