Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome to the World

Who doesn’t love hearing about a brand new baby’s birth these days? With all the craziness that surrounds us these days we all need a little something to remind us of the “Bigger picture”, LIFE!
Baby announcements have dramatically transformed from a simple snapshot of the “wee little one” and the birth details to breathtaking images of little toes and sweet little grins all put together in a beautifully designed announcement.


Currently I am obsessed with Long Island based Photographer, SummerLyn Photographys’, delicious images that depict the simple beauty that is a newborn baby. Being 33 weeks pregnant myself and waiting for my sweet bundle of joy, seeing these pictures not only enhances my excitement but as a stationery designer has my mind racing with ideas for the “perfect” announcement design for my sweet baby girl.


Whether you choose a fun photo announcement such as this one from Jitterbug Stationery


or a more elaborate and formal announcement, we all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words”!

~Maria, Fleur Creations

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wedding Trend: Yellow

{Yellow Wedding}

Yellow is fresh and young. Full of hope and promise. Yellow can be sweet or elegant or playful.

I love planning events around color. Yellow has been growing in popularity as a wedding color and it's only going to continue to be a fresh and modern choice for some time to come. Pair it with black or gray for a sophisticated approach. Pair it with white or ivory for something subtle and elegant. Or for a simply fun and casual look, I love the idea of incorporating yellow gingham into a late spring or summer wedding. The possibilities are endlessly inspiring.

Okay, so you've decided to go with yellow, but you're not sure how to use it? Start by pulling together a collection of images that you are drawn to. Tear pages from magazines, find scraps of fabric. Look at catalogs, online and in your mailbox. Gather these little bits of inspiration and create a collage on paper or digitally. Also consider what type of wedding you envision for yourself. Will it be a very elegant affair or something more casual? Your vision will begin to take shape. Also consider what type of wedding you envision for yourself.

Now that you've figured out some of this stuff, you're ready to pick out the perfect invitation that will represent who you are and what type of a wedding your guests can expect. How fun!

{evy jacob}

photo credits: bloomingdales, evy jacob, j. crew, martha stewart,

New Year's Eve Bar/Bat Mitzvah Theme

{Black and White B'nai Mitzvah}

The Invitation:
Send a hint of what's to come with a hip and modern square invitation printed with graphite gray ink on a crisp linen flat card. I love this card for bar mitzvah's, but it's perfect for a bat mitzvah that isn't too frilly. Another option for a bat mitzvah could be this sweetly sophiticated invitation that is hand embellished with a Swarovski crystal in the center of each flower.

The Centerpieces:
I love the idea of filling different shapes of cocktail classes with black and white jelly beans and grouping these on the tables. Add some candles in votives and flowers or balloons if you like and the stage is set for a glamorous and fun reception.

The Favors:
A perfect take away that all the guests will love is a delicious black and white cookie in a glassine bag sealed with a sticker that coordinates with the invitation.

The very best b'nai mitzvahs are the ones filled with love and celebration of the special boy or girl. Have fun with planning all of this and have your child get as involved with the details as he or she wants. When the big day arrives be sure to just relax and enjoy this most special day for your family!

{evy jacob}

photo credits: beau-coup, evy jacob, smitten kitchen

Friday, December 26, 2008

Coming to terms with eco-friendly stationery: an eco-glossary

Buying eco-friendly products sounds simple enough, right? Well, if you’ve been shopping around for stationery lately, you’ve probably encountered a few new terms, marks and acronyms along the way. This eco-glossary was designed to provide a high-level overview of the most common terms you’ll encounter while you “shop green”. Feel free to bookmark it for reference!

Biodegradeable:
Any material found to decompose quickly and naturally without harmful effects to the environment.

Bleaching (chlorine processing):
With respect to paper production, pollutants created by chlorine (and its derivatives) have been associated with adverse affects on the immune and reproductive systems of human as well as those of fish and wildlife species.

The most preferred method of paper production is when it is Processed Chlorine Free (PCF), where the content of recycled paper is unbleached or bleached without chlorine or chlorine derivatives. To qualify as PCF, any virgin material portion of the paper must be TCF (Totally Chlorine Free). The process cannot include chlorine or chlorine derivatives. This differs from Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) virgin paper, which is processed without elemental chlorine but with a chlorine derivative such as chlorine dioxide.

Carbon Footprint:
The total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted over the complete lifecycle of a product or service. Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and climate change – eco-conscious companies within the stationery industry will prioritize carbon footprint reduction in their business model.

Carbon Neutral:
Being carbon neutral involves calculating your total climate-damaging carbon emissions, reducing them where possible, then balancing your remaining emissions often by purchasing “carbon offsets.”

Carbon Offset:
Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through emissions trading, or ‘carbon offsetting’. For example, if a business cannot reduce its own carbon footprint any further through its own actions, it may voluntarily purchase credits through another party that offers an emissions-reducing service or product. The goal of carbon offsets is to attain a carbon neutral overall effect.

Chain of Custody:
As it pertains to the stationery industry, the "Chain of Custody" follows the process involved in paper production from the forest through to the final product. When a business implements an eco-centric Chain of Custody, it can choose to apply for certification by a number of environmental programs such as the FSC and the SFI.

Deinking:
A process that removes applied inks, finishes, glues, and other contaminants from waste paper so as to extract the cellulose fiber. Typically requires extensive processing.

Eco-friendly:
Used to describe products made with environmental consequence in mind. It is a broad term that can imply any degree of environmental accountability. Usage of the term does not guarantee compliance to environmental standards.


Emissions:
Particles and gases released into the air as by-products. Greenhouse gas emissions are a major source of pollution, and contribute to global warming.

Energy Efficient:
Systems that use less energy to produce as well or better than standard systems.

Forestry Stewardship Council:
The Forestry Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. Products and services bearing an FSC trademark offer a guarantee that products come from responsible sources that support the conservation of forests and wildlife and help people to lead better lives. FSC-labeled business services and products must bear an FSC-issued authorization number to ensure compliance with the Organization’s regulations. (see www.fsc.org)

Green-e Certified:
Green-e identifies products made with certified renewable energy, including but not limited to wind power, solar power, low impact hydropower, and biomass.

Green Seal Certified:
Signifies that a certified recycled paper product is made with a minimum of 30% post consumer fiber and that mill processes, including packaging, are environmentally preferable. (see www.greenseal.org)

Low-VOC:
A term referring to reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paints, inks and finishes. Low-VOC products do not release as much gas into the atmosphere as conventional inks and contain less harmful toxins.

Post-consumer:
A term describing recycled material first used by a consumer. High post-consumer content helps divert materials from landfills.

Pre-consumer:
A term describing recycled material that came from the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer recycling diverts waste that may end up in landfills, and reduces the use of raw materials.

Recyclable:
A product or material that can be converted back into material that can be used again to manufacture new goods.

Recycled Paper:
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) guidelines on recycled paper require a minimum of 30% post-consumer content for uncoated printing and writing paper, and a minimum of 10% post-consumer content for coated papers.

Renewable Energy:
Energy drawn from sources that are not depleted when used, usually producing very low environmental impact. For example: wind power, solar energy.


Renewable:
A raw material that can be replenished within a reasonable amount of time. Bamboo is a highly renewable paper fiber.

Soy Based Ink:
Inks whose pigment vehicles contain soybean oils instead of petroleum products, and is considered to be more environmentally friendly. The organic nature of soy ink makes it easier to recycle the paper on which it is printed, without sacrificing quality of product.

Sustainable:
Actions and products that meet current needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI):
The SFI label certifies wood fiber from well-managed forests, backed by a rigorous, third-party certification audit (see www.sfiprogram.org )

Sustainably-harvested:
A renewable resource that has been harvested in a manner that allows for regeneration and continued ongoing supply.

Tree Free Paper:
Also known as non-wood paper, produced using fibers derived from any source other than wood pulp. Popular wood alternatives are cotton, bamboo, hemp, kenaf, plastic, even elephant dung.

Virgin Fiber:
Fiber that is entering the paper manufacturing process for the first time. Does not contain any recycled material.

Waterless Printing: An offset lithographic printing process that eliminates the water or dampening system used in conventional printing.

By Lianne Tokey, baron*cards. Definitions compiled from various sources, for informational purposes.

FSC Sustainable Trademark® Copyright FSC Forest Stewardship Council, Forestry Initiative® and SFI® Copyright SFI Inc., Green Seal-Certified Logo and Mark Copyright Green Seal. All respective rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

“Something Old”- Vintage trends for the modern bride.

A big trend for the upcoming wedding season is the “Vintage” look. This does not necessarily mean looking in consignment shops for a wedding dress from the 1930’s, but incorporating the classic trends of that time into today’s modern wedding. Spring 2009 Bridal collections are showing a trend back to the early-to-mid 1900’s, with lots of lovely lace and detailing reminiscent of turn-of- the-century-designers. Two of my favorites this season, the first from Carolina Herrera Spring 2009 Collection, “Bettina,” and the second from Monique Lhullier Spring 2009 collection, incorporate simple silhouettes and stunning yards of lace and beadwork. Both are perfect examples of a timeless vintage look for today’s modern bride.
Another comeback for the 2009 wedding season is the short and sweet birdcage veil from the 1920’s. Wear this look as a simple veil pared off with a little comb, or a more elaborate one, as shown below, from Etsy seller “brendasbridalveils. Embellished with silk flowers, light airy feathers and dazzling Swarovski crystals, this veil helps to draw attention to the brides face while still maintaining a “fun” and airy look. Now, every Vintage wedding needs a stunning invitation to set the “tone” of the wedding for your guests. Think simple and classic letter pressed invitations, embellished with hand woven silks and delicate silk flowers sent to your guests in a custom mailer box such as the one below from Fleur Creations' "Luxe" line. While today’s invitations are no longer sent by hand messenger, this exquisite presentation is a beautiful delight to the eyes and sure acknowledgement of the attention to detail that was customary 100 years ago.
The “Vintage” look is an easy one to achieve. Think in shades of white, ivory, creams, peaches and pinks as well as soft flowing fabrics. Add details such as lace, pearls, and antique brooches to your bouquet, bridesmaid’s dresses and centerpieces to tie everything together. The resulting look is romantic yet classic with a touch of whimsy.


~Maria, Fleur Creations

Photos in order of appearance courtesy of Carolina Herrera 2009 bridal collection, Monique Lhullier Spring 2009 Bridal collection, Brendasbridalveils, Fleur Creations in conjunction with Simply Unique Accessories.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Letterpress 101

When people start looking for wedding invitations and social stationery, there are many options for printing. Many choices often include letterpress printed items but you may be one of the many people wondering what exactly is letterpress. Consider this your crash course in letterpress.

Some antique wooden type. The letters have to be backwards so that
when they print, they are going the right way. (like a rubber stamp)

Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing that dates as far back to China around 750 AD. Ever heard of Gutenberg? He is considered the grand-daddy of the letterpress. He created the first wooden printing press that used movable type. The basic idea behind this type of printing is that a raised surface such as images (cuts) or little movable letters (type) are arranged in the press bed. Rollers distribute ink over the raised surface, paper is fed to the adjacent surface where the form (raised cuts or type) and paper are pressed together under force. The raised, inked image is pressed into the paper, leaving an impression.

Historically, movable type was either carved from wood or cast in lead. For every font and every font size you wanted to print with, you would be required to have a drawer of type which often are very heavy and space consuming. Image cuts were made from magnesium and mounted onto wooden blocks. Many printers still uses these materials for printing while others search for old cuts and type for decoration.

Now days, many printers use plates made from photopolymer. It allows us to print anything we can create on a computer. The plates take up much less space and are also recyclable which is great.

Some letterpress tools


The thing that seems to draw people to letterpress the most is the deep impression possible in the paper. What many people may not know is that is actually considered a mistake with letterpress. Traditionally, the most skilled printers were those whose form would just "kiss" the surface without making an impression. Over time, the art of letterpress has shifted the other direction where the deeper the impression, the more desirable


As for the printing presses used, most are very large and very heavy. My press weighs 1200 pounds and was built in 1926. These types of presses have not been manufactured in decades so finding a good quality press can be a hunt. Most of these presses, like mine, must be manually fed, one sheet at a time. The other notable thing about letterpress printing is that each color must be done separately. New plates must be made or new type set for each individual color. The press must be set up, inked then cleaned fully with each color. So if I am printing 200 invitations that have 2 colors, each piece of paper has to go through the press 2 times. That is like feeding 400 sheets through the press. Many presses aren't even automated, requiring pulling a lever, cranking a handle, or stepping on a foot treadle (like the old fashioned sewing machines) for each impression.

For those who are interested in learning more about the art of letterpress there are many wonderful resources out there such as the community driven Briar Press

All photos courtesy: Kelly @ Paper Stories
If you have any letterpress related questions, please email me (Kelly) at stationeryguides@gmail.com.


Personalized Stationery for Babies and Children


As a stationer I get a fair amount of requests for personalized baby and children's stationery. The average infant or kid might not need letterhead, but as a mother myself, I can attest to the fact that note cards definitely do come in handy. I frequently give correspondence cards, like the ones pictured above, as a gift to new Moms. Complete with the name of their new arrival and an illustration reflecting the baby's budding personality, these cards are perfect for the necessary thank you notes one writes after receiving all those welcome home, baptism or bris gifts. For a special touch you can further personalize the stationery by matching its theme or colors to the baby's nursery. Stationery also makes a great 1st birthday gift, and I always get a chuckle when I receive a thank you note on the very cards that were part of my present to the birthday boy or girl.

Older children who are just starting to write love to choose the color of their note cards, as well as a theme or style that suits them. Animals, princess crowns, fairy wands, trucks, soccer balls, and flowers are some of the most popular choices I see on a regular basis. It's never too early to encourage a love for the art of letter writing, and kids enjoy mailing off their cards to grandparents and far away friends. The style and colors might change, but stationery is still useful for school-aged kids and "tweens" as well. Whether it's a note sent home from sleep-away camp asking Mom and Dad for more treats, or a quick end of the year thank you to their teacher, I think you'll find personalized stationery is something no kid or parent will want to live without.


~Erin, Bride Design

Photos courtesy of Bride Design (top) and Jitterbug Stationery (bottom)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!

When planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah that is close to the holidays, it is difficult not to get caught up in the festive holiday season. While I am sure that you do not want to use blow up foam core dreidels as centerpieces, you can infuse the feeling of the holiday season into your event in small, but fun and elegant ways. And that first impression always starts with the invitation. Using an elegant blue and silver color scheme is a great way to thread the festival of lights into your celebration. The Capri Suite by Robin Beth, shown below, is a square invite wrapped in ribbon that comes in several color ways including a fabulous blue and silver combination.  





What could be more dashing than the Bar Mitzvah himself clad in a blue and silver handmade tie from this Etsy shop.



Add to that a touch of the festival of lights with fabulous menorah centerpieces at the table. From Velocity online.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Formal Wedding Invitation Wording- How to Handle Sticky Situations

If you are having a formal wedding, the wording of your invitation can be tricky. Many modern brides have families that don’t fall under the category of “traditional”. Parents may be divorced, remarried or deceased. Hosting responsibilities may fall on the bride and groom, the groom’s parents, or maybe everyone is chipping in. The last thing you want to do is offend one of your family members or future in-laws. Here are some guidelines to help you handle those delicate situations.

Parents of the Bride are Hosting (Traditional):
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Michelle Lynn
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

Parents of the Groom are Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Michelle Lynn Jones
to their son
Robert Mark
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

Both Sets of Parents are Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Jones &
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Michelle Lynn
to
Robert Mark
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

The Couple is Hosting:
The honour of your presence
is requested at the marriage of
Michelle Lynn Jones
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

Everyone is Hosting:
Michelle Lynn Jones
and
Robert Mark Smith
together with their parents
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Jones &
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith
request the honour of your presence
at their wedding
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

One Divorced Parent is Hosting:
Mr. Stephen Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of his daughter
Michelle Lynn
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

One Divorced Parent and New Spouse are Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of his daughter
Michelle Lynn Jones
daughter of Ms. Karen Doe
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

Divorced Parents are Hosting Together:
Mr. Stephen Jones &
Ms. Karen Doe
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Michelle Lynn Jones
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

Widowed Remarried Parent is Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Miller
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Michelle Lynn Jones
daughter of the late Mr. Stephen Jones
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

Widowed Parent is Hosting:
Mrs. Stephen Jones
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Michelle Lynn Jones
to
Robert Mark Smith
Saturday, the twentieth of December
two thousand and eight
at two o’clock in the afternoon

If you are in a situation that isn't listed above or you are unsure about, you can always ask your stationer and she (or he) will be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wedding Gift Thank You Cards: 5 Don'ts


1. Don't Embrace Modern Technology
Don’t send a thank you email. Don’t post a mass thank you on your wedding website. Don’t social network your thank yous on Facebook. Don’t text your thx u. It's time to put down the cell phone and pick up a pen. Even in our fast paced, tech infused world, proper thank you note etiquette still dictates putting pen to paper. These are your friends and loved ones. If you loved them enough to invite them to your wedding, and they loved you enough to bring you a gift, then don’t Twitter your thank you.

2. Don’t Send Out Pre-Printed Thank You Notes
All stationers who print custom stationery have faced this: the bride and groom who want to mass-produce a pre-printed thank you to mail out after the wedding. Don’t put your stationer or yourself in this spot. Proper etiquette calls for a handwritten, personal note. Just as your family and friends did not all get together ala a Verizon Wireless Network commercial and shop en masse for one gift, don’t lump them together as well. They spent time, money, and gas shopping for your present. You owe them a personal note.

3. Don't Combine Marry with Merry
If yours is a fall or winter wedding you might be thinking that a combo Holiday Card/ Wedding Thank You Card might be just the thing. You’re sending out holiday cards anyway, why not slip in a little “P.S. By the way, thank you for the great panini maker Aunt Sue!” Well sorry, even if you’re making those paninis to leave out for Santa himself, now is not the time. (C’mon we bet you also buy those poor souls born in December the dreaded “combo gift” as well right?) And don’t try to hide behind the idea of being eco-friendly by sending out a single card. With all the environmentally friendly stationery products on the market today, you can find holiday cards and thank you cards that let you practice proper etiquette and be green - even at this red and green time of year.

4. Don’t Think You Have a Year
Contrary to what you might have heard, you do not have a year to send out your thank you notes. Thank you cards for your wedding gifts should be sent within three months of the wedding day. For gifts shipped and received prior to your wedding date, you should send thank you notes within a few days of when the gifts were received. Sending out thank you cards as you go, and in a timely manner, not only lets guests know you actually received their gifts, it also shows them that thanking them for their generosity was a top priority. If this shortened window is making you scramble, take solace in the knowledge that according to Peggy Post of the Emily Post Institute it’s also “urban legend” that guests have up to a year to send you a gift in the first place. When you’re done, you'll likely be done.

5. Don’t Forget He Knows How to Write Too
Don’t think that as the bride you have to write all the thank you cards alone. You just got married remember? What better way to start shouldering responsibilities as a couple then sharing the task of thanking your family and friends. He’s going to use that ice bucket too, so chill a bottle in it, break out your new cheese platter and make an evening out of it. Each write half and then swap stacks so that the other can sign their personal signatures as well. Trust us, your loved ones will notice what a classy couple you two are.

-Diane, Shakespeare's Bride

Photo courtesy of Baron Cards

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Anatomy of a Wedding Program- What's in it and Do You Need it?


Wedding programs are what some might consider a necessary evil. Personally, I like them for several reasons. First, it gives you a chance to introduce your wedding party without formally doing so, and even let people know how you know them. Second, it's a nice way to give rememberance to those family members who have passed on. Third, it gives your guests something to do with their hands, and if it's a ceremony many might be unfamiliar with, it also lets your guests know what's going to happen when. Fourth, 15 years later, it may help you remember what actually happened at your wedding without having to break out your wedding DVD (this happened to me recently, though it's only been nine and a half years).

So what should go into your program and how many should you get? Well, it really depends on how much information you want to give out and what your budget is for programs. In considering how many to order, a good rule of thumb is one per couple, plus 15-20% more for singles and keepsakes. As for content, I've done small programs, and I've done HUGE programs. A 6-8 page program, even if it's small in size, could still end up being more expensive than your invitations. There's a ton of time that goes into setting them up, there are many changes that need to be made (because you do NOT want to spell your future grandma-in-law's name wrong) and it's all very last minute. The more time you can devote to them the better. But I would break down your wedding program into the following:

The necessary:
The ceremony:
processional, music, readings, recessional

The Bridal Party:
Your parents, his parents, the officiant, bridesmaids and groomsmen (including your maid of honor and best man )

The nice:
A note of rememberance, or thank you to parents

Directions if reception is at a different site

Information about your ceremony if it is different from the norm (if you are doing a handfasting ceremony for example, it would be nice to give your guests a little history of the ceremony).

If you are considering a wedding program, let your stationer know in your initial consultation that you are thinking of doing them so that she can let you know the approximate timeline for these and when she'll need the information.




~Carey@Lasso'd Moon Designs

Photos courtesty of Lasso'd Moon Designs (top) and paperzest (bottom).