Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Design Candy’ Category

Wedding Invitations

So Brian and I were on a mission to get our invitations out before August. We have been behind on a bunch of things and I was starting to panic when it hit me that the wedding is only two months away. Gah! But now that we got the invitations out the door I certainly feel a lot better. It took us about a week to finalize the graphics and I had initially wanted these to be letterpressed, but since we dragged our feet for way too long there just wasn’t enough time. So we proceeded to do all the printing and cutting ourselves. At the end of it all I am glad we did it this way. There was a greater sense of accomplishment, the teamwork was flawless (no meltdowns or murder plots whatsoever), and we get to high five each other for a job well done. High five, sweetie. Although let’s not procrastinate this much anymore in the future.

This invitation suite looks nothing like our save-the-dates, but that’s because 5 months ago we didn’t have an idea of what our wedding would look like. For the graphics I wanted to incorporate elements that we’ll potentially have at the wedding: bare bulb lights, dahlias, an airstream trailer (our caterer will be arriving in one), and geometric patterns. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. Below are some behind-the-scenes-type photos that I wanted to share. Pardon the bad lighting on most of these. Cheers!













Save-the-Date Pulpboard Coasters

Hi everyone! So we finally got our coasters last week and we couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. If you’re having a casual wedding like us, coaster save-the-dates might fit the bill for you. They are fun and functional, and very fitting for a cocktail party reception. Letterpress printing adds another level of interest to it, transforming your message into a tactile piece of art.

I just finished sending these out to my portion of the guest list yesterday and I’m excited for everyone to receive it. Two things that Brian* and I agreed to incorporate in the design for the coasters: our pets, and typewriter-style fonts (he was very adamant about the latter). After we came to a consensus on the final design, I think the rest of the pieces came together pretty easily.

The coaster was designed in Illustrator. If you’re doing the same make sure to convert all the text into outlines (this is a neat trick that I had learned) prior to sending off the file to the letterpress folks. This alleviates font hassles, in case they don’t have the specific ones that you’re using.

Letterpress is fairly inexpensive contrary to popular belief. The trick is to limit your color palette. The more colors you incorporate in your design, the more expensive it gets. A color is counted every time a separate printing printing plate is needed, so if you’re a budget-conscious bride it’s best to keep things simple.

Our funny little postage stamp was Brian’s brilliant idea. It still cracks me up every now and then. Below are some photos of the final product (with some personal info deleted/blurred). I also included some info on where we had them made at the end of this post. I hope you’ll be inspired to make one for your own shindig. Cheers!

Original design: First Bar (all rights reserved!)
Letterpress printing: Laughing Owl Press
A2 kraft envelopes (100% recycled): Laughing Owl Press
Rubber stamp return address:
Awesome typewriter-style fonts that we used: Roger White Typewriter (the date on the coaster), and Typewriter Condensed (the address portion of the rubber stamp)
Colors used: Peach (Pantone DS 70-3U), and Brown (C55 M60 Y65 K40)


*I think this is the first time I’ve used Brian’s real name in this blog. Eh. I figured it’s about time you all get to know him!

Letterpress Coasters

Breezy and I were bouncing around ideas for save-the-dates that would be fitting for a cocktail party reception. At the end of the day we came to a consensus that letterpress coasters would be the way to go.

Although a century-old form of printing, letterpress has exploded over the last several years and I’m seeing it everywhere from invitations to business cards to restaurant menus and of course, coasters. In this digital world where everything is reduced to pixels, I think people have started to get a newfound (or rekindled) appreciation for things made by hand. And to me there’s something refreshing about getting back to basics. I have embraced the digital world no doubt (Hello, Adobe what would I do without you) but at the same time I don’t think I can ever let go of the trusty old sketchbook.

I finished the design for our save-the-dates this past weekend, and Joe over at the Laughing Owl Press is on board and currently working on it. These guys have an impressive body of work as evidenced on their website, they use equipment that date as far back as 1908 (what?), and they are super easy to work with. Sent them my file and that was it. Now I sit back and wait. I’m very excited to see how they turn out.

I’ll be posting our design at a later date, I can’t show you just yet or it won’t be a surprise, so in the meantime here are some gorgeous designs from various creative minds out there. Porn I say! Letterpress porn.










Design Candy: Blue Poppy Seed

So just as a forewarning to you all, I may be posting a lot of wedding related stuff in the months leading up to the big day. I hope you all don’t mind. I promise to keep it interesting and design-focused so that anyone out there can perhaps use the ideas that I post for their own wedding. This month on our self-imposed timeline, we are supposed to send out save-the-date cards to guests, and I have been looking at a LOT of pretty paper lately. And speaking of pretty paper, Jen over at Blue Poppy Seed makes the cutest invitation printables. You can check out more of her designs on Etsy. Aren’t these adorable?

Design Candy: Barkley Sound Bags Holiday Open House

Barkley Sound Bags held a holiday open house earlier this month and I went to go check out what new stuff they had in their workshop, and possibly get some presents for Christmas. More importantly I really wanted to say hello to my former boss, Dave. He started BSB when he retired a few years ago, and is the sole founder and craftsman of these wonderful bags.

It all started when the old sail from their Valiant 40 needed to be replaced, and since they couldn’t throw away the memories embodied in that sail, they re-purposed it into a tent for parties and ultimately turned it into travel bags for a world trip.

At present, BSB makes bags of different styles, from totes to duffel bags and messenger bags, using both Dacron sails that have seen many miles of ocean as well as colorful recycled wind surf sails. Dave hand-cuts each sail, carefully utilizing its features and character, making each bag unique and special. Features like batten pockets, cringles, reef points and bolt ropes are left in to give each bag its own identity. You can be sure that no two bags are alike. And because they are made of tough sails, they last for-e-ver. This I know because I’ve had mine for a few years now. I also have one of the earlier prototypes that I use as a doggie supply bag whenever I take Hudson to the park. It has held up to daily abuse remarkably well.

Below are some photos from the open house:

Bags, bags, bags!

So many color choices!

IMG_1965 copy

BSB Blue Water Totes in progress.

A yummy spread of crackers and cheese

Deb entertains the guests.

One of the work stations (I love that sewing machine)

My favorite guy and the man behind the sewing machines– the great Dave Rutherford.


Since its inception Barkley Sound Bags has gained popularity and has been featured in GQ, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Dwell and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. Barkley Sound Bags was also commissioned to do a special line for Nautica. How cool is that?!

For more info on these awesome handcrafted bags, see these links below (after the jump).

Barkley Sound Bags for Nautica:


Barkley Sound Bags Website

Barkley Sound Bags on Facebook

Textile Design – Chinese Pistache

Ola! It’s been a busy week so far I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. I think the boy feels the same way and has decided to call it a night at 9:30 (which is unusually early in this household). But since I cannot will myself to go to sleep, I’ll take this opportunity to share with you my second installment of textile designs while watching the SNL Christmas special on television. Although now I’m realizing that I’ve been sitting here for two commercial breaks in a row and haven’t gotten anywhere with this post, and that is why I’m putting the television into mute mode for now.

The Chinese Pistache is a tree in the cashew family that has pinnate leaves that turn scarlet in the fall, and is planted in urban settings for it’s attractive autumn foliage. The first time I saw these trees was in a magazine and I thought they looked gorgeous. I think the leaf arrangement itself is interesting. For the following designs however I decided against using red and tried different colors to give it a modern spin. I think it’s more fun when things aren’t too literal, no?

Fabric Design Inspirations: Autumn Leaves and Koi Fish

Last week a friend and I decided to go on a photo safari around town. We didn’t make it to all the places on our list (no surprise there) and ended up spending almost the entire, very rainy afternoon at the Japanese gardens. I was looking for some inspiration for my first fabric collection that I’ve been planning to make via Spoonflower and I found a ton here! The gardens were gorgeous and the autumn colors were spectacular. I snapped so many photos of different kinds of leaves and tree foliage which evidently will be the main theme of my design. That and maybe some koi fish thrown in the mix. What do you think? The ideas are already bouncing around in my head. I guess the next challenge is finding the time to sit down and create them before the holiday craziness catches up to me. Gah!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start.

Design Candy: Wood and the Color White

I am so obsessed with this particular combo right now. Actually I have always been obsessed about this particular combo but since I am currently in the market for a sideboard to store our kitchen crap extra dishes and glassware, my love for wood and white has been reawakened. White is classic and wood is timeless and together they look perfect and I think they never will go out of style. Here are some great photos of both furniture and interiors that I have recently pinterested. Don’t these look fabulous?

cool contemporary office

living room storage and open shelves

dining room

cool use of an attic space (love that window!)

dining room

work space (love the industrial lamps)

country kitchen

dining area in a Brussels home. light, airy, dreamy.

%d bloggers like this: