Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Lettered & Designed: Alt Summit Business Cards


An extra dose of crazy hit my house when I was thinking up this year’s business card.

150 business cards with hand-calligraphed art and stands.

Check me into the loony bin. I spent 12 hours on my cards this year. At least.

I wanted to make them amazing and showcase my calligraphy prowess. Originally I  wanted to design my own line of washi tape and hand out rolls of tape with words like “radical”, “awesomesauce” and “groovy” calligraphed all over. But a $3000 minimum buy for business cards seemed a little steep. I’m still thinking I want to design a line of washi tape. So if you’re reading this and you have strings you can pull. EMAIL ME. I WANT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. 


Since that wasn’t an option, plan b was set in motion. I wanted to create some artwork to remind attendees at Alt that they’re amazing. Last year’s Alt Summit was inspiring, but I still left the conference with this sense of serious doubt and overwhelm.

I don’t want others to leave with that same sense of anxiety, so I made a little reminder that they’re awesomesauce.


I designed new cards to include and my new logo (notice it yet?). I worked with We R Memory Keepers for the letterpress cards and paper (I’m one of their project boggers) to make custom plates. I printed the cards in about half the time it took to stamp the same amount of cards last year. I messed up here and there with the ink on the plates, but I didn’t want to stress myself out over perfection because I’m sure people would be understanding if I letterpressed them myself.

I designed and had a local company cut the easels. they’re clear acrylic easels that can hold artwork or even an iphone (sideways). Equal parts useful and decorative!


Then I used the leftover letterpress paper to letter out “You are awesomesauce”. Calligraphy on letterpress paper was not fun. The weave and texture of the paper made the going really slow. I found that the Esterbrook 356 and 357 with iron gall ink worked best (minimal feathering) on this paper. I had origionally started with Dr. Martin’s gold ink, but it was a little unruly and took about 3x longer than with the iron gall ink. I love this old world iron gall ink as it’s slightly transparent, but moody. It destroyed both of my prized vintage nibs, though.

Here is the cost breakdown of each business card:

  • easel: $1.20
  • lettering: $2.50
  • envelope: $.09
  • washi tape: free
  • letterpress printing: $1.12 (time, not supplies*)

Total: $3.82

Most of the cost was in time designing, printing and lettering. Since these are fairly expensive (for business cards), I have the fancy ones and plain ones. I plan on asking people which one they want in case they’d rather not go home with more trinkets.

I hope I have enough cards for Alt!! I plan on bringing my stamping stuff in case I have to make up a few last-minute cards.

*Plates and paper provided by WRM.


Letter Lover Calligraphy + 30 % Off Silhouette Promo


Chris keeps asking me why I’m going to such great lengths on preparations for Alt Summit. He’s very supportive; buying me more decal material when I mess up the one sheet I have, meeting with one of my friends to pick up the surprise for this year’s business card (still not done) and feeding kids while I’m sewing and lettering like a maniac.

As I was planning my outfits, I decided I needed to do another printed shirt as a “resume” of what  I can do (see last year’s). I was trying to come up with something cheeky like “this is what a calligrapher looks like”. Alas pretty words, not clever ones, are my expertise. So I opted for a simple “Letter Lover” in the shape of a heart. A nod to Megan’s brilliant heart sweater.


I struggled to figure out if I should go with a black decal or go blingy with a shimmery metallic. The metallic won out.


I’m loving the mixed metallics trend I’ve seen pop up here and there, so I decided I need to roll with that next week. This will be part of my Wednesday outfits at Alt Summit. I can’t wait to go! Oh wait! I can! There’s so much to do! I haven’t even started printing my business cards (letterpress plates coming tomorrow!).

Yesterday, I designed and finished this shirt, sewed another shirt and tie dye skinny jeans from scratch. All that’s left are cards, signage, one shirt and two skirts! Totally doable in 7 days.


As I was working on the design for this sweatshirt, I was thinking about the actual time it takes me to write a post like this. Just an FYI (since we’re all about blogging and prep work at the moment), here’s the breakdown:

  • drafting and designing the decal: 90 minutes
  • cutting and ironing: 30 minutes
  • minor fixes to the fit of the sweatshirt: 5 minutes
  • hair, make-up and styling: 60 minutes
  • shooting and editing photos: 30 minutes
  • writing the post: 30 minutes

That’s just over 4 hours for one of my smaller posts (no tutorials included). I’d like to get faster in these processes, but I don’t know how much faster I could really get sometimes. Blogging just takes a lot of time. I still love it anyway.


Outfit details:



Also, Silhouette is offering 30% most items in their shop. This basically applies to supplies and extras like heat transfer and vinyl (my two favorites), stamps and more. Use code MELISSA at check out for the discount. Click here to shopThe 30% discount does NOT apply to the machines, gift cards, $10/$25 download cards, shapes, out of stock items or subscriptions. 


I am a Silhouette affiliate. I wouldn’t blog about their products unless I really loved them. And I do. I receive a portion of sales made with the promotional code MELISSA, so thank you for your support!!

Sponsored: 2013 Christmas Candy Box Freebie

Inspired by this month’s give-back theme for the Fiesta Movement, what do you plan on giving this year? I love this idea of paying it backward! I’ve been a lucky recipient of in years past (way before blogs were ever a thing). It’s great how such a small gesture can brighten someone’s day.
Ford Fiesta is teaming up with What’s Trending for a Tube-A-Thon benefit for Covenant house. Click here to participate and find out more.


It’s that time of year when my family comes in town and we make caramels! My mom will be in town in about a week so I thought I would get the ball rolling a little earlier on this year’s candy/gift box. Introducing the 7th Annual Christmas Candy Box!


Last year we were in such a rush I ended up doorbell ditching most of my candy boxes on our way out of town. This year I look forward to getting these babies done in plenty of time to spare. And this year’s design is so easy, I’ll have a load of these boxes made up in no time.


Each year, I’m limited to the constrains of the print margins of an 8×10 piece of paper. It’s really not much room when it comes to making boxes. I’ve found that pillow boxes are great, but they can be a pain in the rear to score and fold.

Regular boxes can be easier, but there are too many sides to cut and glue. However, a three-sided box is just the trick! I can make it nice and roomy, it’s easy to cut and fold, and the triangles are fun. I was able to cut the whole template with regular scissors and fold with just a bone folder (a credit card would do just fine).


The box is 5.75 x 2.5 x 2.5. It’s the right size for a small assortment of candies, jewelry, baby clothes (a onesie would fit perfectly in here) and gift cards. I designed the box very much like this year’s thank you printable. They match! Looking for more shapes and designs? Check out previous years:

2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012

I’ve got two versions of the little gift box, one with a label and one without. Download the free* printable below.


 This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.


*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!

Designed: Clearly Aspirational iPhone Case


When I bought my last phone (4s), I made the mistake of ordering a case after it arrived. The company I went through had really slow turnaround so not even a week before it actually showed up in the mail, I shattered the screen of my phone in a fight against some asphalt. The printing of that previous company (will remain nameless) was also terrible. Lesson learned. I loved my old 3Gs case that I got from uncommon (it’s still in amazing shape after the abuse of 2 years and 2 kids).

This time I ordered my case in advanced and from a company that knows how to properly print on plastic.

Smart move, Melissa.


I designed a tattoo-ish pattern with brushed aspirational adjectives.

It’s hard to see the words perfectly. I kinda wish I had ordered the white case instead. Part of me really wanted to show off the gold aspect of the phone. A little vain much? I think I forgot to include humble on there. Woops.


The descriptive words are reminders of who I want to be and how I want people to think of me. I don’t always embody each adjective, but I certainly hope the reminders will help me be better.


curious • lovely • unique • clever • rad • happy • graceful • artistic • sweet • loving
feminine • strong • good • creative • funny • kind • bright • radiant

I didn’t include all of the adjectives I aspire to (not enough room on such a small phone), but some could be considered umbrella terms for even more adjectives. What adjectives do you aspire to live daily?

Protect your devices in style. Use code MELISSA20 for 20% off your custom or ready-made order. Valid through 11/15/2013.

iPhone case provided by Uncommon. I’ve used their cases before and I love them. No other customizable case is quite as awesome, in my opinion. All opinions are my own.


Sponsored: 2013 Thank You Printable

Inspired by this month’s entertainment theme for the Fiesta Movement, I wonder what does November mean to you? Is it full of food, family, movies and thanksgiving? Or is it just like every other month?



My November isn’t full of surf days and slow-mo photobooths (how brilliant is that idea?). The entire month took on a more spiritual tone when I was growing up. My mom really focused the whole month on gratitude and thanksgiving. Making sure the holiday wasn’t just some speedbump on the super-speedy raceway to Christmas.

I love that she protected Thanksgiving.


I want to guard it in my home, too. Christmas decor (not that I really have any) doesn’t show up until after our blessed Thanksgiving weekend. Neither does the music. Perhaps there’s so little Christmas music I actually like, I’d hate for it to be on repeat longer than 3 1/2 weeks.

How should we celebrate Thanksgiving? Is it just a day to be had towards the end of November where we eat more than we should have, nap and watch sports games? Or is it a day where we take stock in the life’s many blessings? I’ll be doing a little bit of both (minus sports, I don’t do sports).


I encourage you to spend some time this month (we could all spare a half hour once a week, right?) to write a heartfelt thank you to someone who has inspired or helped you. To make things easy, I’ve designed “Thank You” postcard for you to print from home. I’ve done half the work for you. All you need is a pen and a stamp.


This month I’ll be working on writing more Thank You notes and prepping for a meaningful Thanksgiving celebration. Having several of these postcards on hand will help me achieve that.

If you’re looking for more styles and sizes, check out previous years’ designs:


This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.



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!
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