Friday, January 30, 2009

An eco-friendly Valentine

OK, I know we just had a fabulous Valentine round up from Molly yesterday, but I just had to put an eco-friendly two cents in.  I just love this card from Fiona of Cartolina Cards.  


All of her products are printed with vegetable based inks on FSC certified recycled paper.


Don't you think that these fabulous little notebooks would make your special someone very happy on Valentine's Day?  They all can be purchased online right here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet Valentine, will you be mine?

I just adore Valentines day - hearts and flowers, wishes of love, red heart boxes filled with chocolates and pink m&m's, and heartfelt wishes in sweet little cards - what's not to adore?

Valentine's Day cards are a wonderful way to celebrate the special people in your life, whether it's your one true love, best friend, or a special child, there are loads of beautiful paper goods to help you express your love. Here are just a few of my favorites...


1. Love Typography card from Springcart Designs. Love, you just can't say it enough.
2. For the girl who likes a little sparkle - handmade Bling Heart pocket from Specialty Cards 4 U.
3. Send sweet Valentine wishes with the Peanut Butter and Jelly letterpress card from Sarah Marie .
4. And for the science geek in your life - I'm Attracted to You letterpress card from Paper Stories Letterpress.



1. This Bee Mine hand embellished card from Shades of Violet reminds me a bit of the delightful Valentines we grew up with, only better!
2. Love Birds Printable Valentines from Three Wheels Design are perfect for children's valentines, and great if you're a last minute shopper, you print them yourself!
3. Tree Valentine from Rock Scissor Paper. (Wood you be my valentine?)
4. And lastly, for a nature lover, or just to say Nuts About You - hand block printed Valentine from Artful Sentiments.

Hope you're inspired to find the perfect Valentine for that special someone!


Molly, Artful Sentiments

Photos courtesy of their respective owners.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Dazzling Walk-Unique Aisle Runners

Years ago aisle runners were used to prevent guests from tracking in mud and dirt into the church before the bride arrived. These plain white runners or dirt catchers were then removed and the bride would walk down the aisle. Although the days of dirt roads are gone brides still hold onto this timeless tradition but with a bolder and more edgy style!
The first time a groom sees his bride walking down the aisle, is considered one of the most dramatic and breathtaking moments of the wedding day. So, why not choose a runner that not only complements this momentous occasion but highlights and illuminates the bride as well!
Colored runners add a splash of dramatic color that is sure to accentuate the bride in her white gown as she takes the “walk of her life”! Today’s runners are artistic creations, usually hand painted and highlighted in a hue of colors to give depth and definition to the design. Couples can choose to use their monogram and wedding date, a love quote or a passage from scripture to help set the tone of their event. Couples are even choosing to add extra detail and drama to the runner by incorporating the use of crystals creating a dazzling and dramatic look!
But just because you are done walking down the aisle doesn’t mean that the runners’ job is over! I usually recommend to couples that they have their coordinator or someone gather the runner after the ceremony and transport it to the reception hall. Here, the runner can be quickly cut down and draped either on the “sweetheart table” or cake table for that extra special touch.
I also suggest to the couples that after the wedding they frame the monogrammed portion of their runner and include other special sentiments from their wedding such as: their invitation, garter or handkerchief creating a “shadow box” for display in their new home!

So a runner that helps to highlight one of the most important parts of the wedding day can be carried through and used in many other ways and eventually be a wonderful reminder of that sacred union!
~Maria, Fleur Creations
All images Courtesy of Fleur Creations

Beauty at any cost

You can get beautiful invitations in many price ranges.  The price depends on what goes into the invitation, not necessarily how beautifully designed it is.  Take these two for comparison.  The first one is understated elegance.  




A 5x7 invite, letterpress printed in two color inks, one layer of ultra luxurious cotton card stock, beautiful design that extends onto the response card and the outer envelope.



The next invite, also incredible letterpress, but with a 6x9 size, two layers, hand dyed silk ribbons and a metallic colored oversized envelope, this one comes in at a price that is more than 50% higher than the first.  Depending on your budget, think about what elements are important to you, but know that you can get great design at all costs. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bat Mitzvah Save the Date Cards

Do you need a save the date for your bar or bat mitzvah? Not really, unless...
You will be inviting guests from out town who may need to plan for the time off, or purchase plane tickets, or reserve hotel rooms.
You know that there will be lots of things going on around the time of the bar or bat mitzvah and you want to let everyone know to put your event on their calendars.
Your super excited and just want to get things going as soon as possible.

When should you send the save the dates?
Generally, the rule of thumb is 6 months ahead of the event. But lots of families choose to send them out 9 months ahead, just to give everyone plenty of time to make their arrangements.

What information should you include?
Certainly the child's name and the date of the upcoming bar or bat. Maybe you could also include some information about the hotel so that reservations may be made. It's nice to include information about what to expect that weekend like Shabbat dinner plans, a Sunday brunch, things like that. This may be printed on the back of the save the date or on a smaller card and included as an insert.

The actual invitations should be mailed out 6 weeks before the big day and that gives most guests plenty of time to plan to be there. But save the dates are good when 6 weeks might be enough.

So know you know all there is to know about bar and bat mitzvah save the dates!

{evy jacob}

photo credit: evy jacob

Invitation Timelines

So you have the date, the location, and have found the perfect invitations. Many couples are unsure of when to actually send out their invitations to guests so in order to demystify the process, here is a little timeline primer.

6-9 months in advance
  • Order your invitations. However, if you are having custom invitations designed for you, you may want to start even sooner. I often have couples contact me over a year in advance for custom work.
3-6 months in advance
  • Mail out your save the dates. If you are having a destination wedding you may want to mail them even earlier
  • Address your invitation envelopes or send them to your calligrapher. (Many stationers will send you your envelopes early just for this purpose, so don't be afraid to ask)
  • Buy postage. (Contact your stationer about the final invitation weight and make sure you keep track of any postal increases that may occur during your wedding planning)
6-8 weeks in advance
  • Assemble and mail out your invitations.

Finally, here are some tips from Emily Post on the proper way to address and send your invitations.
Of course Martha Stewart has her own tips here.

~Kelly (all images courtesy Paper Stories Letterpress)

Monday, January 26, 2009

birth announcements : beyond pink and blue

when it comes to choosing the right announcement for the arrival of your new bundle of joy, the options can be daunting. you're so excited to share the news with friends and family and want to make sure your announcement stands out. one way to do this is with an announcement that doesn't fit the stereotypical pink and blue theme. surprise them with bold burst of bright hues and it will be an announcement that's hard to forget.

the announcements below are from fin+roe. if you want yours to stand among all the other pastel pinks and baby blues, this is your answer! at fin+roe you choose your favorite design layout and then choose from 20 colors and 10 patterns to create your own customized design!


why not try a bright spring green on a baby girl announcement like the one below?


try a cheery orange for a little boy.


this bright red custom announcement from paper zest is a great color option if you're looking for a full-custom design. you can view a great selection of their previous work on their website.


this lovely orange option with pops of magenta comes from feterie. another nice touch: unlike most flat photo announcements, this one is a folded card.


i love the sophisticated and calming feeling that this chocolate brown announcement from paper stories letterpress exudes. brown is such a great color to tie into any color theme. it's gender neutral and is a softer option than black for a baby announcement.


if you're looking for a non-photo based announcement i thought these cards from InVita paper studio would be such a fun way to announce the arrival of a new baby. the colors are bright and cheerful and i love the text based design.

i hope this has given you a few ideas on how to escape the pastel pink and baby blue rut that so many people fall into. there are so many options out there. the possibilities are endless!

photos courtesy of their respective owners.

-lori [marzipan inc.]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seating Charts!

Seating Charts are a fabulous way to direct guests to a particular table without using a lot of paper. Often, they are almost works of art that you could hang on your wall after. But do you need one? If you want to assign tables, but not seating, a chart is a great way to go. Your stationer may be able to design you one that will match your invitation suite:



or



In the first example, we used a monogram/damask design on not only the invitations, table cards and place cards, but on the seating chart as well. The bride used a very different theme of green and blue- each table was named after a different shade of the color (Celadon, Peacock, etc) and then the table cards were printed in the opposite shade. The images from Blush Paperie incoroporate a pretty flourish design throughout that bride's menus, seating chart and table numbers.

Seating Charts can take a few weeks to complete. One, typically because there are many names involved (and no one wants to spell Grandma's name wrong), seating assignments change quickly and there's just a lot of room for error. And, not all stationers have the ability to print them in house as typically they are a wider format than most stationer's have in-house, so this can add to your turn-around time as well. If you do think you'll need a seating chart, mention it to your stationer in your initial consultation so that you can be sure to have plenty of time to complete it.

~Carey, Lasso'd Moon Designs

A Bridal Shower Tea


One of my favorite ways to throw a bridal shower is to host a tea in the bride's honor. The varieties of stationery, favors and decor available for this type of event are endless! Whether you approach the theme from a classic and nostalgic point of view, or choose to host a tea that is a more modern affair, any interpretation makes for a fun party that guests and the guest-of-honor will truly enjoy.

Start out by giving guests a taste of what they can expect at the shower with a cookie invite, like the one shown above, from Sweet Talk Boutique! Sweet Talk's signature shortbread/sugar cookie recipe tastes great with a cup of tea. Don't worry, a paper invite is included as well, so your guests can enjoy the cookie and still remember the details of the day. Hosts can further make the tea theme fun for guests by encouraging them to bring a vintage tea cup as part of their gift and contribute to a collection for the bride. Vintage tea cups also serve as a great party favor, as do packets of tea, or bundles of delicious loose tea tied-up and tagged with the bride's monogram or name and the date of the event.

Looking for a shower gift that any tea-sipping bride will love? How about a subscription to Springcart's Tea of the Month Club? I love a gift that keeps giving long after the shower is over. Of course, every bride knows that the most important task after a shower (besides enjoying all those great gifts with your groom-to-be or new husband!), is writing thank you notes. The letterpress thank you notes from Paper Stories Letterpress, shown below, are ideal for just this purpose! Treating yourself to a nice warm cup while you write, will also make that most crucial task a little more enjoyable.

A bridal tea need not be limited to a bridal shower. It's also nice choice for an intimate pre-wedding wedding party with the bride's friends, or an après dress-fitting get together with the bride and her attendants. You and your guests could cozy up for high-tea in a victorian mansion as fall winds blow outside, or perhaps you'll choose to sip some mint tea in your sunny backyard garden. One thing I know for sure, is that a tea-themed shower is guaranteed to be warm and welcoming. Just like that first, delightful, sip from your favorite cup of tea.

Photos courtesy of Sweet Talk Boutique and Paper Stories Letterpress

~ Erin, Bride Design and Sweet Talk Boutique

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Invitation: The Ultimate Invite


In the spirit of the day, we thought it would be fun to share this video from CNN Money on AOL, about the printing of the Inaugural Invitations. To a stationer this is the invitation to end all invitations - one million invitations were printed! An engraved, 8 1/2 x 11 invitation, it took Brooklyn-based printer Precise Continental 24,000 hours to complete the job. And the best part? It's printed on recycled paper. What a great green message to send.

Check it out, and enjoy!

Embedded video from CNN Video



-Diane, Shakespeare's Bride

Photo Credit: Robin Beth
Video Credit: CNN Money on AOL

Monday, January 19, 2009

Choosing a Baby Shower Invitation

How do you begin to choose an invitation for a baby shower? I'll take you through the process step by step. Let's pretend we're hosting a baby shower for Hillary. Okay, here's how we do it.

What will the party be like?
Will this be a very casual party? Or something a bit more formal? Will this be in a home or a restaurant? The invitation should give your guests an idea of what to expect as soon as they open the invitation envelope. This shower will be hosted in your home and it will be a Sunday brunch. So I'm choosing something that is not too fancy formal and yet it won't be super casual because that's just not the style of the expectant mom.

Is the mom-to-be expecting a boy, a girl, twins or is it a secret?
Since Hillary wants to keep the surprise till the baby is born, we're not going to use the sex of the baby to help us choose the invitation. No problem! There are so many great invitation choices that have nothing to do with the baby's gender. But Hillary is a bit of a traditionalist so let's pick something that she'll love.

Now comes the fun part. Choosing the invitation. We're going to look for an invitation that isn't too baby-ish. Also, we don't want to choose something based on whether the baby (or babies!) will be a girl or a boy. We do want something that's a fresh and fun take on a traditional invitation and is perfect for a Sunday brunch in your home. Now that you have a good idea of what you're looking for, the search will be easier, faster and more fun.

Have a great time planning the baby shower! I'm sure it will be perfect!

{evy jacob}

photo credit: evy jacob

Studio Tour - Paper Stories Letterpress

some tools of the trade - the table where i mix ink & keep some basic supplies
When choosing a printer or designer, people always seem to look at samples, their website or even their online shops. Seldom do they think about what goes on behind the scenes... in the printshop. Today I wanted to give you a little studio tour of the Paper Stories shop where all the letterpress magic happens. Hopefully other contributors will join me in sharing a little peek behind the curtain, if you will.

Since I print letterpress, I am tied to a 1200 pound beast of a press, lovingly named 'Miss Chandy P'. At the moment, my studio space is just cozy enough for the press, a few work tables, two paper cutters and a few other smaller presses (that I recently bought and are not in the pictures).
Most of these printing presses are rather old and often have little 'bugs' that need tinkering with from time to time. My press was made in 1926 and for the most part, works really well. She is a real workhorse that has never let me down. (knock on wood)
In any studio space, I think it is important to have personal touches. I have this vintage dresser mirror hanging up that is surrounded by all sorts of photographs and ephemera. Many of the pictures are from rock shows taken by my super talented photog friend, Jeff. When I am printing sometimes I like to take a break and having fun or memorable things to look at keeps me motivated and in a good mood. Standing at a press, all day hand-feeding sheet after sheet, can be very taxing on the body. Taking a little mental break now and then is essential.

I hope you have enjoyed this tiny tour. I think it is always interesting to see people's work spaces. If you aren't familiar with letterpress perhaps you enjoyed just seeing the massive equipment involved. Stay tuned in upcoming weeks as I will do a post about the different types of printing presses used. (Some are way bigger than mine even. Ouch).

~Kelly (all images courtesy of Kelly, Paper Stories)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reader Question: Bridal Shower Thank You Notes

Got a stationery related question? We've got answers! After our reader Micah read Molly of Artful Sentiment's posts on thank you cards, she contacted Molly with some follow-up questions. We were thrilled that Molly was able to put Micah's mind at ease, and would love to help more readers. Check out their exchange below, and if you have your own stationery related questions, please write us .

Question:
I have a question, if you don't mind. I was just thrown a bridal shower with over 50 guests and 11 hostesses. Half of the hostesses I had never met, and half of the ones I had never met were not even at the shower. I have no idea how to word thank you cards for the hostesses, especially the ones I do not know that were not at the shower. Thank you for hosting? Thank you for wanting to be a part of the most special time in my life?

Also, How do I keep from copying the same thing for each hostess? What if they compare notes and the sentiments are too similar?

Thanks for any advice you can give, because I've been stressing myself out for the last week about this.

-Micah

Answer:
Micah, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! It sounds like you have a lot of lovely family and friends wanting to make your whole experience special. I have a few thoughts on your hostess thank you notes. You can thank them for being generous with their time and talents in hosting such a lovely event. If you know of any of their specific contributions, you should hightlight them. For example, if they worked on invitations or decorations, let them know how special those were. That will help you to send different notes to each hostess. For those that didn't attend, and that you don't know, express how you are looking forward to meeting them (at the wedding, perhaps?). Another tip I use whenever I'm writing... I use the thesaurus endlessly. There are some words I just adore, so I use them often, but the thesaurus really helps when I want to say something a little different...

Oh, and one more thing. Breathe... this shouldn't be stressful!

-Stationery Guide Molly of Artful Sentiments

Response:
You have made it all seem wonderfully easy- thank you! And here I was, not utilizing thesaurus.com that is blatantly poised in my search toolbar!

-Micah

Eco Friendly Paper: PCWhat?

So what exactly does recycled paper mean? The answer isn't really that simple. First of all, when a paper mill recycles it's scraps of unused, never been used paper to make new paper, that's recycled paper. And it's always better to re-use than to throw out things that can be made useful. So recycled paper is a good thing.
Even better is recycled paper that is at least 30% PCW. What? PCW stands for Post Consumer Waste and that is the used paper that we throw into our recycle bins. All that used paper is recycled and ends up fresh and new and use-able again. So 100% recycled paper that is 30% PCW is so much better than simply recycled paper. And even better than that is 100% PCW paper.
Many stationery designers have been looking for ways to use eco-friendly paper as much as possible and so paper manufacturers are responding by creating beautiful papers for us to choose. So we're finding it easier to create beautiful and eco-friendly stationery for you. And that's great news for all of us.

{evy jacob}

photo credits: evy jacob

Meet Your Guides: Shakespeare's Bride


Hi! My name is Diane Fawcett and I'm the owner of Shakespeare's Bride, an eco-friendly line of bridal greeting cards designed to help you thank the people who made your wedding day so special. Our cards help you celebrate everyone involved with your wedding with heartfelt sentiments and sometimes laughter.

Here on the Stationery Guides I'll be discussing wedding related stationery and etiquette. I'll also be coordinating answering reader questions. Not only have I been an event planner and stationer, but a: bride, bridesmaid, maid of honor, matron of honor, reader, guest book attendant, flower girl (albeit many, many years ago!), shower hostess and a wedding guest more times than I can count, so I get it. And with the company I'm in on this blog, if someone here can't answer your stationery related question no one can, so send us your questions at stationeryguides@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chiyogami Paper—Pattern and Elegance

The Japanese have long been known for skillfully making unique and artistic papers, also known as "washi." Distinctly created from plant barks native to Japan, washi comes in many forms, but one of my favorite varieties is Chiyogami. You might also hear Chiyogami referred to as "Yuzen" paper, referencing the Yuzen area of Kyoto, famous for gorgeous textile patterns used on Japan's traditional and very beautiful kimonos.

The main characteristic that defines Chiyogami are the incredible patterns silkscreen printed on "kozo" or mulberry paper. From ocean waves to cherry blossoms, fall leaves to abstract designs, the pattern choices are almost endless. Chiyogami is a lightweight but tough washi. When looking at a full-sheet you can see the paper is almost translucent at the edges where it's not printed. But give it a quick tug and it will certainly reveal the strength of its fibers.

I always find inspiration when designing any sort of stationery with Chiyogami. Whether it's a baby announcement using pink Chiyogami printed with bunnies and blossoms, or social stationery featuring graceful cranes, there seems to be a style to fit almost any occasion. Tightly registered and extremely colorful, Chiyogami's intricate patterns are often embellished with gold inks that add to the opulence of these finely crafted papers, and make them perfect for use on formal event invitations. Besides lending a lot of visual impact to a stationery wardrobe, Chiyogami is also quite versatile and can be incorporated into many areas of an event. Due to its equal beauty and strength, Chiyogami is ideal for bookbinding or decór projects. The same Chiyogami paper used on a wedding invitation suite, could also embellish place cards, cover the card box, or wrap around votive or taper candles to be given as favors.

Chiyogami's perfect balance of strength and elegance make it a delightful addition to any stationery wardrobe. And for me, it's classic patterns never fail to still look fresh today.

Photos courtesy of (top) Feterie and (bottom) Bride Design

~Erin, Bride Design

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Usual Suspects-Wedding Invitation Inserts




You’ve finally decide on your invitation design, so what’s next? The inserts! Here’s a breakdown of the usual information that’s included on the inserts that go with your invitation:

Response card: Whether your design includes a postcard or a small card with an envelope, a response card is important so that you know how many guests to expect at your wedding. Be sure to apply the appropriate postage so guests can return these to you quickly and easily (let’s hope!). Your response card should have the date to reply by (usually a month before your wedding is recommended), an area to include the guests’ name, and an area to select whether they are accepting or declining. Some may choose to include a choice of entrée on the reply card as well. Depending on the formality of your wedding, sometimes guests may be given the opportunity to RSVP on your wedding website. Though not traditional, this can be noted as an option on the response card.

Reception card: If the reception information is not included on the invitation itself, and a reception is being held in a different location than the ceremony, a reception card should be included. This insert informs guests where and when the reception will take place. You may also wish to note attire on this insert, especially if the reception is black tie.

Maps and Directions: It’s a good idea to include a map or directions with your invitation as a courtesy for guests, especially if they are far apart or complex to find. They should outline the route guests would take from the ceremony to the reception. Including parking information, if applicable, is also helpful. Ideally the map and/or directions should be printed on the same paper as the invitation.

Accommodations: If you are inviting a lot of out of town guests, it’s often a good idea to include accommodation recommendations with the invitation as well. These details can easily be combined with the map and directions insert. A website can also be noted on this insert.

Stay tuned for information on additional enclosures in the coming weeks!

~Christina, paperzest

Images with * from Lasso'd Moon Designs, other images from paperzest

Save the Dates- the First Glimpse




Congratulations! You’ve set your date, secured your venue, and started to finalize your guest list. Now comes the fun part – telling your guests about your wedding!

Save the date announcements have become an increasingly popular way of letting guests know about your upcoming nuptials. While not imperative, sending save the dates are a good idea if you’re getting married on a holiday weekend, if you are expecting a lot of out-of-town guests, and especially if you’re planning a destination wedding.

Plan on mailing save the dates 4-6 months prior to your wedding, so that guests can begin to make any necessary travel arrangements. For destination weddings you may wish to extend the timeframe from 6-9 months.

Consider including accommodation information, or your wedding website, with your save the dates. You should aim to have save the dates ordered 2 months prior to mailing them. This will give you time to finalize your guest list and address your envelopes.

Start thinking about your invitations while looking for save the date announcements. Now is the perfect time to establish the tone for your wedding, and can provide a cohesive feel to your wedding stationery.

~Christina, paperzest

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You are your own worst customer?

For me, this was especially true. Last November, my oldest son became a Bar Mitzvah. As a stationery designer, I was continually getting comments from friends, relatives and customers, such as, "Oh, I can't wait to see what you do for your own son's invitations." Boy did that put the pressure on. For about a year, I had a design in mind that was a square invite and included several layers of metallic cardstocks and metallic hand marbled papers. Maybe I was looking at it too much or maybe I just realized that it didn't fit with the style of the event we were planning, but about six months before, I completely changed everything. The size, the shape, the papers, everything. I have worked before with this wonderful handmade papermaker and when I saw the "recycled" paper that he makes, it was instant love. It is made of cotton rag and recycled bits of catalogs. It could serve as a fabulous decorative paper as well as a fabulous letterpress paper. And it really went a long way to emphasize how important it is to us as a family that we think about the evironmental impact of everything we do. I was sold.




So here is what I ended up doing. Square layers on top of rectangular layers with a pocket on the back that held a forever cascading set of extra enclosures. Surrounding the text of the invite, was a quote in both English and Hebrew. One that graces the Bimah in our synagogue and really captured how we felt on this occasion. Because we had two separate parties, a afternoon luncheon for family and adults, and a kids party for my son's friends at night, there were many enclosures in the back pocket. So in all, besides the five layer invite, there were two reception cards, two hand drawn maps, and two different response cards. Plus, I custom die cut the envelopes out of the "recycled" paper with a layered return address card attached.

And there were Thank you notes. And the letterpress journals that we handed out with a cityscape design on them to coordinate with the sweatshirts and sign in board for the Skyscraper exhibit at the Liberty Science Center where we had the kids' party.

All in all, it was a huge amount of work, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. Did I go overboard? Maybe. But it was a true labor of love.

Wedding Trend: The Fascination with Feathers

It might be the light and airy way they move in the slightest breeze, or perhaps the way they glam up any outfit or event – either way, feathers have found their way into mainstream design, fashion and décor.

There are plenty of ways the feather can be used throughout a wedding or event – but keep in mind, these quills work best when used sparingly!

Event Décor: When used as a centerpiece, the addition of feathers can create an atmosphere of Old Hollywood. Themed stationery such as a peacock Table Card are great for cosmopolitan evening soirees. Add plenty of sparkle to the table top and the pairing is perfect for a Winter Wonderland affair.


Ostrich tower centerpiece from Events Wholesale, wreath centerpiece feathers from ostrich.com, feather chandelier by Moss Events, wedding stationery by baron*cards.

Dress: Brides who love the idea of feathers can share their passion through fashion! There are contemporary and traditional options available, like these stunning dresses below from Coast and Jane Yeh. For cooler climate events, celebrate vintage couture with a bolero wrap from EnAvance.


Accessorize: There are a ton of fabulous feather finds for hairpieces nowadays. Do a search on Etsy for a unique, handmade design or visit a specialty (online) store like HeaddressDesigns.com. Even the most traditional or conservative bride can make a glamorous statement with a hairpiece adorned with a wispy feather detail. The look is memorable and beautiful.

Hairpiece by Mikey. Bouquet by Soulful Flowers San Francisco. Clutch by Angel Jackson, cuff by Karen Millen.

The feather can also be added to the bridal or bridesmaid bouquets. The organic nature of the feather can provide a complimentary texture that works incredibly well with many flower varieties.

Ladies can accessorize with feathered clutch as a fabulous finishing detail. An exquisite piece of jewelry can also transform the look of your bridal entourage. But again, it’s important not to overdo it with the feathers! Either do the bouquet, or the clutch or jewelry, but not all of the above. Otherwise, the bridal party could look like they really are birds of a feather flocking together!

Hairpiece by Headdress Designs, shoes by Manolo Blahnik, clutch by Christian Louboutin.

The beauty of the feather is how well it plays with others. It can serve as the primary theme for an event, but really adds flare when used as a secondary accent. White plumes can be paired with pearls and lace for a vintage look. Jewel-toned peacock quills look rich and sophisticated when paired with black or navy silk.

Feathers are a fabulous element that can be incorporated into any event very easily and affordably, too. With so many options out there, the feather trend still has momentum. Just remember: a little goes a long way!

- Lianne Tokey of baron*cards

Monday, January 12, 2009

Offset Printing Basics

Offset printed wedding invitation by Bride Design

Printing techniques and the terminology that goes with them might seem intimidating, but I bet you know more about offset lithography printing than you think. When you flip through a magazine or read a book, chances are it's offset printed. That's because offset printing is the most commonly used high-volume, commercial printing process employed today. As you shop for stationery or invitations you might hear the term "flat-printing" used to describe the offset process. This description distinguishes offset printing from other methods like thermography (raised-printing) and letterpress printing, which bring the additional dimension of texture (and much more) to a printed piece. Flat-printing can also refer to digital printing, a technology that continues to grow but that has it's own unique benefits and limitations that differ from offset's.

Much like oil and water, offset lithography printing is based on the principal that ink and water don't mix. Once a plate has been created containing your design, it's inked and transferred (or offset) to a rubber "blanket" or roller. The image portion of your design gets regularly inked by ink rollers, and the non-image areas of your design are continually covered with a thin film of water. The inked image portion of your design is transferred to paper and voila! Your professionally offset printed piece rolls "hot off the press."

Now that you have a basic idea of how offset lithography works, how can you decide if it's right for your project? I'll save the real pros and cons of offset for another post, but I will let quickly let you in on the process' basic advantages. Offset printing offers high image quality and is an especially good choice when your design includes photography. Offset can be used to print on a very wide range of standard and specialty papers as well other materials like wood, cloth and plastic. Highly compatible with the Pantone® System, offset printing gives excellent color matching results, and since the price per unit goes down the more you print, it's the perfect choice for high-volume jobs.

For more on offset printing, continue to check our site. There will be additional posts on this method to come. If you have questions about offset lithography send us an email at stationeryguides@gmail.com. Our expert stationers will be answering reader questions on Fridays, and we're always happy to discuss printing methods and techniques.

~Erin, Bride Design