One year late

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I've always heard that gift giving etiquette for weddings allows for a whole year to find that perfect gift, or in my case perhaps it's craft the perfect gift? Well I'm here to admit that I completely failed with that timeline. I recently gave this letterpress print and wood type shadow box to friends just shy of their second anniversary. I found the wood type shortly after their engagement, printed the type just after their wedding, and then procrastinated on finding a frame. Doh!

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  Typed locked up in the chase before going in the press.

Typed locked up in the chase before going in the press.

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The moral of the story is that it's never too late. I'm happy I finally shared this gift with my friends but really a wedding date is a great deadline for finding and making the perfect gift. I've learned my lesson and now I let go of the guilt. Yes, sometimes I feel guilty about my craft productivity.

For the crafty bachelorette

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This is the story of how I've come to be selling paper penises on the internet.

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In the spring of 2012 I had a bachelorette party to attend. As you may have figured out I try to find ways to incorporate a hand crafted touch when gift giving. I'd been interested in paper toys and had recently bought a book to look at construction to eventually make my own. I never expected the first toy I would make would be of the adult variety but it was an easy decision to make my friend a paper penis for her party. 

  My first prototype was a gift topper that could convert into a wrist corsage for the evening.

My first prototype was a gift topper that could convert into a wrist corsage for the evening.

Notice anything missing in my first prototype? Yeah, that's right, balls. BALLS! is exactly what screamed in my head when I arrived to the party and was confronted with penis paraphernalia everywhere. The gals still thought it was hilarious though the guys on the town were a bit confused. 

  My original bouquet a little beat up after a night on the town.   

My original bouquet a little beat up after a night on the town.   

The summer brought another bachelorette party to attend. I'd had more time for prototyping and crafting so I gave my friend this lovely bouquet. She clutched it the whole night. The bride's fiancee made a surprise appearance to serenade her with a karaoke song and her parting words to him were "Did you see my bouquet?!" 

  My prototypes had some skin/hair illustrations that I did away with in the final piece for simplicity of printing and template construction. 

My prototypes had some skin/hair illustrations that I did away with in the final piece for simplicity of printing and template construction. 

The thing about bachelorette parties is they can be a bit over the top with condom adorned veils and blow up penis dolls. That kind of party isn't for every bride. Another friend of mine banned penises entirely from her party. How about something in the middle? On a more personal level I know someday for myself I'd want something more in the middle of the risque dial and you know I'll definitely be a crafty bachelorette.

I had enough positive feedback from my prototypes that I knew I wanted to fully flush out the idea and create something that could be given to brides and used with any tolerance level of a penis party. I've played a lot of party games at bachelorette parties but it seems what is also missing is some party crafts. 

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Keeping those couple things in mind I focused on creating a template that could be used as a full on party craft or given on it's own. Ready to be doodled on or bedazzled. I've paired the template with a greeting card for easy gift giving. Since it's not always possible to attend the bachelorette party it can be mailed to far away crafty brides. It's a fun way to contribute to the sentiments of a last hoorah. 

  It was important to me that I use a bright fun color that wasn't pink.

It was important to me that I use a bright fun color that wasn't pink.

  I'm wearing my serious printing face as it had been some time since I'd printed on a Vandercook. This job was a little to large to print on my personal press so I used the wonderful new facilities at San Francisco Center for the Book.

I'm wearing my serious printing face as it had been some time since I'd printed on a Vandercook. This job was a little to large to print on my personal press so I used the wonderful new facilities at San Francisco Center for the Book.

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I printed these at the end of April just in time to sell at my Arch pop-up shop and just over a year after my initial idea conception. My mom took the above printing pics. She assisted me in printing these cards which is never how I would have predicted this project would go. She and my dad also spent one evening folding penise to help me refine my template directions. Picture two almost sixty year olds and penis craft while drinking a glass of wine. It should be less painful for you to imagine since they're not your parents. 

  Gold!

Gold!

There are a few product variations for this card. It can be purchased as a single card or as a party pack of 6 or 10. The party packs come with ideas for incorporating into the bachelorette festivities. 

 Print Details
Card: French Paper Company; 100C Dur-o-Tone Steel Grey and 100C Pop-Tone Blu Raspberry.
Envelope:  French Paper Company; Pop-Tone Blu Raspberry.
Template: Mohawk Paper; 65C Skytone Natural and Brown Vellum
Inks: Gold and Silver

 

Bear aware wedding in Yosemite

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I’ve made the joke many times that as soon as I purchased my letterpress all my friends got engaged. Heather and Adam were that first set of friends. As a little back story Adam made the most elaborate proposal to Heather. It was a scavenger hunt through San Francisco and Berkeley. All along the way, myself included, different friends hid clues for Heather to discover leading to the final proposal. It was full of creativity, attention to detail, and love. The same was true for their wedding except this time as a collaborative process for the bride and groom. 

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For the wedding invites we worked together to incorporate elements of Yosemite because besides being a special place for the couple it was the location of their wedding. If you've been to Yosemite then you know about the bears penchant for breaking and entering to steal your unkempt food. There are signs everywhere making sure you are "Bear Aware". This became our running theme (gag).

  I love a good pun. I wish I could take credit for this one but it was all Heather and Adam. I initially wrote a Yosemite version of the classic k-i-s-s-i-n-g nursery rhyme which got them thinking about levity for the invite. 

I love a good pun. I wish I could take credit for this one but it was all Heather and Adam. I initially wrote a Yosemite version of the classic k-i-s-s-i-n-g nursery rhyme which got them thinking about levity for the invite. 

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While their wedding was a celebration of their love for each other it was also a reflection of how much they love their family and friends. They found ways to include everyone in the day. Really in the entire weekend. I thought I'd go to Yosemite to do some hiking but in reality I went and did some eating. There were lot's of dining moments to connect with their family and friends.

It's been slightly over a year since the wedding so this seem liked the perfect time to share this project. We'll pretend it wasn't just buried in my to do list.

  We created lapel pins for guests to wear and identify each other in the camp sites. 

We created lapel pins for guests to wear and identify each other in the camp sites. 

After the initial invitation printing there was still plenty of paper and envelopes so I printed notecards that could be used for thank yous or other correspondence. I cut and reused one of the printing plates which is one of my little tricks for saving on plate making costs.

The complete invitation suite was comprised of three 5.5 x 4 inch flat cards revealing more details about the wedding with each subsequent card. Printed on French Paper, Madero Beach 100lb Cover from the Speckletone line. Envelopes are Gumdrop Green from the Pop-Tone line. It was a funny coincidence that last year I was simultaneously working on two invites with the same color scheme, though they ended up being very different in character.

Catnip sequel

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This grumpy card is a sequel to my catnip holiday card. I've had some success selling the holiday card and wanted to create a card for all seasons.

Why is the cat grumpy? I'm guessing that my cat would be grumpy if he had to wear a clown nose. Your cat won't be grumpy after you pull off the nose which is a catnip filled wool ball.

  There's a printed nose under the wool.

There's a printed nose under the wool.

This was one of my smoothest printing projects. Usually when I print I've forgotten an important detail and need to jerry-rig something to accommodate my error. It made the process go quicker by choosing colors that didn't need to be mixed. I used them straight from the ink tube. I printed slightly over 100 cards using 3 colors, 4 plates plus creasing for the fold. This added up to over 500 impressions. Something so simple can add up to a lot of work but I'm very pleased.

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I'm selling this card on Etsy and will have it at an upcoming local pop-up.

Polka-dot Chicago

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When starting this project the one request I had from the groom was to incorporate the Chicago skyline. Florencia the bride and my former roommate had a few other comments; “I like polka-dots, I like birds, no matchy matchy”. The Polka-dots were no surprise to me since she even had them on her dress. I promise polka-dots on a wedding dress is just the right amount of sophistication and whimsy. That was my personal goal for the invite design.

For the other requests, rather than just putting a bird on it, I used one of her mothers bird sketches. Growing up Florencia always liked her bird drawings and I was happy to use something extra sentimental in the invitation. I suggested the orange envelopes to keep things from being to matchy matchy and because I couldn’t imagine orange not being part of Florencia’s wedding. Living together she brought the gift of orange into my life and I’ve embraced it as a color I like to have around.

As it should be, the final result was a reflection of both the bride and groom. I printed these invites with the assistance of Florencia in March and attended the wedding in early May.

Congratulations Andrew and Florencia!

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I supplied files for Florencia to produce some extra items for the wedding.

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Patricia Lebensohn’s bird drawings.

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Paper: French Paper Company, Pop-Tone Whip Cream, 140lb Cover

Envelopes: French Paper Company, Butcher Orange

Inks: Pantone 7650 (aubergine), Pantone 383 (green), self mixed so not perfect