Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Handmade: Letterpress Business Cards + Motivators

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I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s summer Alt Summit, and boy did it sneak up on me! I barely had the chance to recover from January’s conference.

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I wanted to do something completely different for this session’s business cards, but I ended up doing everything last-minute. And by last-minute, literally making business cards the night before the conference.

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The cards have the same general vibe as they did previously, with a little motivator and acrylic stand, but I approached the printing and calligraphy differently.

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Instead of doing one kind of motivator (“You are awesomesauce”), I decided to switch things up and write out different adjectives. The monoline style is quite different from last time, too. I used watercolor paper and a sumi ink to create moody washes on the backs of all the papers to create a moody texture. Then lettered with white ink overtop. The texture of the black wash gives the card more depth, in my opinion.

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The printing was a little different as I was using a watercolor paper and not a thick letterpress paper. There’s still a deboss from the printing process, but it’s not as stark. I went with the watercolor so that the lettering on the back would be easier to create. Last time I had a heck of a time lettering on that soft letterpress paper.

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I also had a problem with the ink in the letterpress printing bleeding, making the hairlines a tad garbled. Above, you can see different experimentations on printing. The top right is using regular letterpress ink, you can’t tell a whole lot from the image, but it’s feathering a little bit on the paper. Then I tried various blind-deboss printing techniques, then applying ink afterward. That didn’t work quite like I had envisioned. Then the top left is when I discovered inking up my letterpress plates with a stamp pad. The stamp pad from Silhouette’s stamp kit is quite tacky and worked perfectly for inking up the plates. The printing was more crisp and the clean-up was a million times easier with the water-soluble ink. Major win! I’ll be using this method for printing with the L-Letterpress in the future.

Calligraphy: Eric & Margaret’s Invitations

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Our family just expanded! My brother-in-law Eric got hitched last month to a really awesome gal. We’re so thrilled to add her to the family.

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Since Eric and Margaret live pretty close to us (for about a year Eric lived with us), we’ve been able to get to know Margaret really well. But for some reason, I was coming up blank when it came to the design of the invitation. I think I started 3 different designs. None of them felt quite right. Too masculine, too formal, too boring.

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The other limitation was the size. We went with an A2 envelope, which left us with basically a quarter sheet. With only that much space, I had to be creative to get information for both receptions on there without looking cramped or tiny. With relying on the personality of the type and going for a simple layout, I was able to make this happen.

In this case, bride and groom had varying amount of letters in their first and middle names. This made balancing out left to right a little complicated, but the extra flourishes to the right of ‘Eric’ did the job.

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The colors were greens and bright yellows, which are perfect summer colors, but can get a little overwhelming if you have large fields of those colors. We opted for a bright white stock and green print with little details of yellow in the printing and with washi tape.

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The design and assembly of the invitation was simple, but special. I’m thrilled how it all turned out. I’m also thrilled that they got hitched, too. :)

Calligraphy: McKenzie and Andrew Wedding

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I’ve promised myself to not take on anything until February of next year, but somehow this project was too interesting for me to pass up.

A local wedding planner approached me with the idea that her bride wanted some kind of timeline of the couple’s courtship to display at the wedding along with watercolored signage for the event.

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She had found an example of what she wanted on etsy, a simple sans serif print in colorful blocks (can’t seem to find the link), but it didn’t go with her wedding’s decor, so I went a little more whimsical and romantic with the design.

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I used watercolor for their names and gold ink for the rest of the information. It’s a very subtle warm gold which plays well with the slight changes in color the watercolor offers.

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This piece is 11 x 14. The tricky part was laying out the large field of text in an interesting, whimsical way while still keeping style, scale and composition consistent. I ended up laying it out on a separate sheet of paper before transferring it to the watercolor paper.

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At each of the 18 tables for the event, there are little question/answer cards. The bride’s response on one side and the groom’s on the other. Another fun little design element that helps you get to know the couple in addition to the courtship timeline.

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They had four food stations that needed signage, so I made 8×10 artwork for that. Again, mixing the watercolor and gold ink for more dimension.

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Then I labeled the food with small table tents, mixing script and caps print for easy readability and composition.

It was a fun project, but I have to admit, I underbid the amount of time it took me to do this. The small signage came in just as predicted, but the timeline took at least three times as long to make. Lesson learned!

Part of me wants to take on more of this kind of work, but there’s just not enough time for it. And honestly, I’d much rather teach a bride how to do it herself. Feed a man a fish. . . right?

Last-Minute Happy Easter Printable

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How did Easter creep up so quickly? I can’t believe it’s already here. Our celebrations this year (as with everything this year) are going to be simple. An easter basket filled to the brim with candy that Penelope and Felix have to find. No dresses, no decor, just keeping it simple.

There’s something to be said for that. I love the idea of going all out for celebrations; but when mental health lies in the balance it’s all about simplifying.

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In collaboration with Brittany of House that Lars Built, I made a little printable easter banner. The printable is available in three sizes: 2″ wide (above), 10″ wide and 16″ wide. You can use the banners as inserts in candy-filled Easter eggs, as a little banner above Easter baskets or as a decoration at the breakfast table.

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Photo by Trisha Zemp

Brittany styles the banner with a mossy basket and paper flowers. To learn more about how to make Easter Awesomeness like this, check out her awesome DIYs here and here.

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Photo by Trisha Zemp

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I ended up using the artwork as a little printable for an activity I co-hosted for the ladies at church. We had a simple devotional about the real meaning of Easter with a little social afterward. The candy-filled Easter eggs were a sweet takeaway. The event was very simple, but just what I needed.

Lately, I’ve been enclosing my Easter eggs with washi tape to make sure they don’t randomly split open. I’ve gathered quite the collection of washi tape over the years (which I’ve now finally organized in a cute dispenser!), so it’s great to put it to good use. My mom and grandma used to tape Easter eggs shut with regular tape which was perhaps a little too effective. The sticky residue of clear tape lingered year after year. The washi tape is a nice solution because it’s easier to remove and doesn’t leave any stickiness behind.

So what will you do with the Easter banner? I’d love to hear/see what you plan on doing with the artwork!

Click the button above to download. If you enjoy the download, make sure that you follow along via feedly, instagram, facebook and/or twitter!

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
*Tape dispenser provided by We R Memory Keepers.

 

Download: Keep Moving Forward Desktop Wallpaper

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I had the pleasure of working with Chelsea Costa on a new desktop wallpaper series for her blog. I met her at Alt Summit over two years ago and fell in love with her clean style and honest approach to writing and crafting. When she did a call for calligraphers, of course I was on board.

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She gave me a few quotes to choose from, and about 2 weeks ago I felt like Walt Disney’s quote was the most appropriate for what I needed to hear internally. Sometimes life gets overwhelming. Work bogs you down. Kids can be so much work. And the house is never clean.

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Sometimes when my to-do list gets too long for me to handle, I just stop. The mental load of having so much to do brings me to a screeching halt. I need to remind myself to keep moving forward. Because if I’m moving forward, I’m getting something done. And that’s an important feeling.

Check out Chelsea’s blog and download the wallpaper here.

Now if you want me to bore you with technical details, I used a #5 automatic pen and a #8 sable round brush to complete this work. I experimented with a Neuland variation and brush script. For pigments, I used Daniel Smith Phthalo Turquoise and Cobalt Teal Blue.

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