4th Annual Cardch Madness!

If you don't follow us on social media you really should. Right now, we're in the midst of our 4th Annual Cardch Madness. And it's awesome! We're down to our exclusive eight letterpress cards and will be having match ups daily until we have a. fan favorite. I wish I could take credit for this brilliant promotion but I cannot. Before I get into the details of this amazing annual promotion you should follow us on facebook & play along. It's fun! and you may win some snail mail love.

So here's a little history of my most favorite promotion. Three years ago, I had the pleasure of working with my best friend, designer, social media guru & now business owner, Jaime. She's a rock star at everything she does & when she left her corporate gig to pursue her dream of opening a store, I asked if she'd like to earn a little cash & help promote a. favorite design's social media. She graciously agreed (& took on much, much more). One of the very first ideas she had was to launch our own version of the college basketball madness (you know the one, it happens in March... but we can't use the proper name due to trademark). Brilliant, right!?! I mean who would expect letterpress greeting cards to be matched up in a challenge? To be decided on by a. favorite design fans? And really, who doesn't love a bracket? To encourage voting those same fans would be entered to win some snail mail. Again, brilliant!

2012 our very first bracket - World's Greatest Mom was the champion

Jaime & I talked through all the logistics and she created the rules. Every March when the college basketball madness starts we would launch our own bracket. Annually we chose eight classic a. favorite design cards and eight newbies in the same category to face off. We then post each match up on facebook for our fans to vote on. Voting lasts approximately 24 hours then we tally them & the winner moves on to the next round, similar to that famous March college basketball craziness. 

2013 bracket - Baby Flash Card was the Champion

Have I mentioned this is my most favorite promotion? It is. And it keeps evolving. In 2014 Tom, my partner in life & business, took over social media. That year he termed the bracket challenge Cardch Madness... More brilliance! (I apparently surround myself with geniuses)

You may notice fan favorites from previous years keep showing up to face off with newbies. We've had some fans that voted for the same card, four brackets in a row. This makes me happy. It's fun to see what our fans love & helps me gauge what design styles I should continue developing.

2014 Cardch Madness bracket - Thank You Type was the Champion

Don't forget, if you'd like to participate head over to facebook. Every vote is entered in a chance to will a letterpress card! If you want to share the madness on social media please use #CardchMadness. Let me know what your favorite promotion has been with us. Or better yet, if you have a brilliant idea & want to share. We love hearing from you!

Vintage Paper Inspiration

If you spend any amount of time on my website or in my studio you will notice, I'm a vintage paper junkie. Seriously. I have collections of paper, especially vintage. Vintage gift wrap? Check. Vintage notebooks? Check. Vintage prescriptions? Check. Vintage labels? Check. Vintage checks? Check! You get the idea. The list goes on and on. I especially enjoy vintage office papers. I often find the desk or office area of estate sales to seek out new finds. I have over-sized freezer bags filled with random office papers I've scored from church rummage sales. Many of them I use for correspondence with a very dear, long distance friend. I also have visions of using them in collages or art projects. But most recently I was thumbing through some of my papers for the background of my website product shots. I found myself sorting them. First it was just a special pile for letterpress printed papers (yes, that is a thing — ledger, legal, index cards, etc. all beautifully letterpress printed). And Finally by style: Legal, ledger, notebook, loose leaf, grid, etc. The variety within each style was amazing. Printing, paper color, line colors, margin width and so many more variations. While I was sorting them I kept thinking how paper is such a universal thing. Most human beings have used it and if not, certainly the majority have seen it. It’s a common thread we have. I love that thought. It sparked another… I should create vintage paper inspired cards. And letterpress print them like the oldest papers I have.

Voila! Here is one variety of a new series I worked on this winter. You can see the complete line in the goods section.


Be sure to look closely at the two papers in the middle of the first photo & one below. They happen to be letterpress printed. And not just letterpress printed but THREE colors. That means each of the thousands (possibly millions) of printed paper ran through the press three times. With cleaning the press & registering the print each time. That's impressive. And fuels my love for all things vintage paper.

Treasure Hunting

I'm a treasure hunter. And I come by it honestly, from both sides of the family. My grandma on my dad's side loved garage sales. Grandpa on my mom's side enjoyed visiting auctions and couldn't resist a bargain whether he needed it or not. I take after both. Treasure hunting at garage sales, rummage sales, flea markets & visiting stores is a favorite pastime of mine. During the summer most weekends you can find me treasure hunting. I'm also a romantic, which feeds my desire to purchase items with a past instead of new. I like the idea of owning something that has a great story. A history. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite scores. I'll start with the highlight of my hunting this summer....

This is what I saw as I walked up to a gigantic rummage sale in Evanston this past July. I was immediately smitten with the piece in back! It had the look of a Sheldon Rose (another story for another time...), which I have been hunting for, for several years now. This may sound dramatic but the moment I saw it my heart raced. I'm not kidding. I was so ecstatic. All I could think is “I need this.” The only issue... it was in a box of purchased items, sitting next to the owner outside. I stopped a few feet away and told my mom “I have to have that. Should I offer him some money for it?” It had a $10 price tag on it, so I knew what he paid. She encouraged me to go with my gut. Without even seeing what kind of shape it was in I counted my cash and threw out an offer of everything in my wallet. No joke, I really wanted it. The guy was very kind but I could tell a little leery. He told me his wife picked it out so I would have to ask her & she was getting the car, wouldn't be back for awhile. I gave him my card and walked inside nervously.

I was so distracted while inside shopping. I couldn’t focus on anything except the amazing letterpress block wall hanging outside. My poor mom & shopping partner kept talking to me but I was not very responsive. She decided we should leave after not finding anything. As we walked out we saw the wife hopping out of her car & coming up to talk to her husband. Again, my heart started to race. I was so anxious but really wanted them to know how much I loved the piece & how perfect it was for a letterpress printer like myself. I approached again, after the husband explained my offer. I think they were both a little baffled by my excitement. I might have come on a little strong but it was just so perfect. I'm very happy to say after considering it, the wife agreed. HOORAY! I am still so grateful. It's absolutely beautiful and every time I look at it I smile and even say a little thank you to Rebecca (the wife). I did have a moment of “did I overpay?” which thankfully, my mr. (Tom) quickly dismissed. 

Here I am with my treasure immediately after money changed hands! And below is a not-so-great image of the piece on our living room wall. The lighting was a little dark but you get the idea.

Also I'd like to mention the very kind Rebecca is a collage artist and jewelry maker. She has a great etsy shop called Shop Industrial Grace & can be found on facebook.

Holiday Card Etiquette

I love this time of year! It’s a time when most of us focus on generosity and our friends, family, loved ones and fellow beings. A fleeting moment in an age of the me mentality in an instant gratification society.

A longstanding holiday tradition of generosity is sending holiday cards. It’s a simple act to show someone you care enough to take time and send a long distance warm fuzzie. Time is often the greatest gift and who doesn’t love snail mail?

 Below are some tips I’ve compiled to help your holiday card sending be successful.

  • Just because you celebrate Christmas, doesn’t mean everyone else does. It is acceptable to send Christmas cards to those who celebrate. However, if someone celebrates any other religious tradition send a neutral greeting such as, Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. If you are unsure of the recipients beliefs always send a neutral greeting.

  • Write a short note inside each card. It could be as simple as “Wishing you a Very Merry” or “Happiest New Year”.

  • Always sign your name, even if card is imprinted.

  • If you are a couple or family signing, the wife’s name should always be first, followed by the husband then children. For same sex couples, if one partner changed their last name, they would be first. If neither partner has changed name, order does not matter but children should always be last or on the second line.
    For example:
    Amber, Tom and Scooby-doo Favorite

    also acceptable:
    The Favorites
    Amber, Tom and Scooby-doo

    Couple with different last names:
    Amber Tomsfavorite and Tom Favorite

    The only exception to the rule is formal correspondence:
    Mr. and Mrs. Favorite

  • Send newsletters and photos only to close friends and family.

  • Cards to Business associates should be sent to their office unless you know them socially. If a card is sent to their home always include the spouses name on the envelope. (remember: wife’s name or partner who changed their last name should always be first).

  • Mail cards to your co-workers home, resist handing them out at the office.

  • Mail your cards early. The ideal time to receive cards is mid-December. Plus the post office is crazy busy the week leading up to Christmas.

  • Include your return address. This way the recipient will have your current address.

  • Hand write envelopes, if possible. This gives your cards a personal touch & let’s the recipients know you gave their card personal attention.

    • When addressing envelopes the wife-partner name change rule is in effect.
      Amber and Tom Favorite
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      also acceptable (notice plural “s” not possessive):
      The Favorites
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      Couple with different last names:
      Amber Tomsfavorite and Tom Favorite
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      the ONLY exception to wife first rule is formal:
      Mr. and Mrs. Favorite
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      Now, go forth & send some warm fuzzies!