the secret is revealed…

remember the secret project we were working on back here in the spring printing blitz? well it’s finally time to reveal the big news! we teamed up with rock paper scissors (who was working with Easton Events) to print the gorgeous paper in this photo shoot featured in this fall’s issue of The Knot.

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Dani, from rock paper scissors designed all of the paper goods from the invites, menus/place cards, favor tags, napkins, etc. The calligraphy is from Alissa of Feast fine art & calligraphy. Isn’t her hand writing so incredibly beautiful?

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The shoot focuses on the beauty of the Virginia landscape and the craft of hand made + local goods. And since honey was the theme of the make believe wedding, I printed the entire suite in a soft orange brown that made it feel like the pen was literally dipped in honey. paired with the big looping arcs of calligraphy and tea stained paper (yes, Dani literally soaked and dyed each sheet of paper with tea), the stationery suite really complimented the atmosphere of old world charm meets modern bride. and I know you can’t actually touch the paper, but everything was printed on Arpa handmade paper from Spain–and it is the softest, most luxurious paper I’ve ever printed on.

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Thank you to rock paper scissors for letting me print these and be a part of the team. And don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Knot today!

lauren + lorenzo’s italian getaway!

Congrats to our dear friends, Lauren & Lorenzo on their upcoming wedding! Lauren designed the entire suite herself and we had the pleasure of printing them for the happy couple!

Even though we can’t make it to Assisi for the big party, we’ll be celebrating stateside and lifting a glass on your big day!

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housewarming party

Are you wondering why there’s been a HUGE gap in blog posts this summer? Well, that’s all thanks to our bathroom renovation. My husband and I both have architecture degrees and love to dream about all sorts of building plans for our house. When we bought the house, we knew it needed some updates, but thought we’d have a little more time. Well in January, we discovered the toilet had been leaking and the subfloor had rotted. Sweet. So instead of freaking out (okay, there was a moment or two of freaking out), we decided to move the bathroom renovation to the top of the to-do list. Six months later, we (DIY mind you) finally finished the renovation complete with a new tile floor, updated electrical & plumbing, new non-leaky toilet, custom (Ikea-hacked) sink cabinet & countertop. I can’t tell you how great it feels to walk into that bathroom everyday and know that we created it with our own two (or four) hands.

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before. blue tub, vinyl floor, cracked sink…

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during. moving supply lines to the wall at sink alcove

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after!

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after

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And what did we do after we finished the bathroom? Had a party of course. We decided to throw a belated housewarming party paired with a bathroom reveal. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a deadline to help you finish a project. We kept the invite pretty simple–a fun font paired with a simple layout and hand drawn tools. I later letterpress printed coordinating stationery to write thank you notes to all of our friends.

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What should be out next ‘reveal’ party? Kitchen anyone?

baby showers!

It seems like everyone is talking about babies…several of our close friends and family have recently had babies or are pregnant. Between May and August, my husband and I are doubling our niece/nephew count…to 6! It’s always fun to go shopping to little girl’s dresses or baby boy trucks. But it’s even more fun to design invitations and announcements as gifts for our friends.

One of my dear friends Andrea Hubbell (remember, she took these photos of the studio a while back) is having a baby boy this October! I couldn’t be happier for her and her husband, Brian. They are going to be such wonderful parents, and that baby boy is going to have lots of aunties and uncles in town who love and spoil him.

Kristin and Sarah, who are throwing the shower, wanted something fun and light-hearted to reflect Andrea and Brian. The Hubbells had already purchased these ‘monster’ prints for the nursery and we all thought that was a perfect theme to riff of of. I created my own version of a momma and baby loch ness monster swimming in the water. Don’t you just love how sweet the interaction between momma and baby are?

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One of my sisters just hosted a baby sprinkle (it’s less of a shower, more of a celebration for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th child) for her 2nd little girl, Juliana Claire. Juliana is due in August and I can’t wait to meet her! A rooftop bbq was the perfect way to celebrate…I mean that’s what you do in Baltimore, right?

So, I created these cute invitations for Juliana’s bbq sprinkle that featured a branded bbq sticker and vintage/distressed fonts. I loved how they turned out–sophisticated, yet fun.

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Maya and Bryan are getting married!

I had so much fun working with Maya and Bryan on their entire wedding suite. They are such a wonderful couple and they somehow always bring a smile to your face. They are getting married this July in Washington DC and wanted their paper suite to match their personality–fun and modern. During one of our first meetings, Maya mentioned that Bryan loved fly fishing and wanted to SUBTLY include flies into the suite. So after a few drawings, Maya and Bryan fell lin love with the movement of the swooping lines which were reminiscent of fly lines. And I was even able to tuck in small flies between some of the lines to further tie the whole theme together.

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The pattern of the lines + flies are printed without ink to create a blind impression into the paper. This allowed the text to really pop off the page. The blind impression really shows off the beauty of letterpress printing since you both see and feel the impression.

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I also had the joy of illustrating a coordinating map for Maya and Bryan that highlighted all the things they wanted their guests to enjoy. She really wanted a whimsical map, so we included lots of hand drawn icons. My favorites? A copper penny representing the Lincoln Memorial and the fishing fly in place of Roosevelt Island.

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Thanks for letting me work with you on your wedding invitations, Maya! It was truly a blast

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How-to: registration

I’ve mentioned “registration” as part of the printing process in an earlier post. Some of you readers might be wondering: what is registration? To put it simply: it’s the method of aligning different colors on the same page. Because printing multiple colors requires multiple plates, each piece of paper is run through the press once for each color. A few weeks ago, I printed 60 3-color invitations: that’s 180 passes through the press, with 3 ink mixes and 3 setups & wash-ups per color.

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Aside from multiplying press time, each additional color also makes set-up more challenging: the plates and paper guides have to be repositioned in order to print in the same spot. This method of aligning the printed areas is registration. With some designs, a loose registration doesn’t really matter – and could add some playfulness – but sometimes tighter registration is required so that colors are exactly aligned. Did you know that even an untrained eye can perceive a 1/100th-inch discrepancy in alignment?

Some printers use registration marks on their plates to make sure everything lays neatly on top of each other. In most of my printing, the crop marks play double duty as registration marks. Since I know the crop marks need to hit the paper in exactly the same spot for each color, it’s an easy way to align the plates without much additional setup.

Here’s a step by step of how I printed this most recent 3 color job:
1. set up and print color #1  //  this is done like any other set up…plate on the base, print on the paper. At this point, I’m not too worried about where exactly the form hits on the paper, just as long as all the crop marks hit the page.
2. washup & clean
3. ink up color #2  // without the form on the base, apply ink to the ink disk + rollers until you have even coverage
4. register color #2  //  adhere the plate to the base (if using photopolymer) or lock up your form in the chase. Print directly on the tympan to see where it hits on the platen. Use pins (that’s where the term pin registration must come from) and poke small holes on the tympan where the crop marks printed. Poke corresponding holes on your printed paper where those crop marks printed. Align the holes with the pins. Add gauge pins or guides to set your paper in place.
5. print color #2
6. repeat steps 2-5 for all subsequent colors until final prints are complete
7. trim  //  use your crop marks to trim your final piece(s) to size.

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Just remember that between plates, you’ll probably have to adjust your packing and make ready…but that’s a given with set up. Also examine the first few prints in each run to make sure everything is hitting correctly. If not, make slight adjustments to your gauge pins or guides.

It’s true, the more colors, the more frustrating the process…but in the end, it’s all seems worth it! Happy printing everyone!