Monday, December 21, 2009

WAY too much fun...

A printer friend of mine, kc potter de haan, gifted me with an amazing cookie cutter set from Williams-Sonoma. Being able to print your own message in a cookie? The holidays just got a WHOLE lot more fun for the adults! Needless to say I have been delivering my own brand of christmas cheer all around my neighborhood. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

ADULTS ONLY PLEASE (strong language)

Last night the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center featured a documentary on Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. called "Proceed and Be Bold" as part of it's African American Film Festival. The special part of this event? Kennedy was in the house!

Watch the trailer here.

Kennedy is an unapologetic, say it like it is, often offensive, always provocative, living the joy of his work "lowly negro printer," consciously eschewing the title of "artist." Often commenting on injustices he sees in his world as an African American man, the contradictory world of art, or absurdities he sees in politics, Kennedy is dedicated to keeping his art affordable and accessible, tangible and less-than-precious, and is content to live life happy - not confusing that with rich.

When I sat down with Kennedy for a short chat, he took one look at the posters I chose and said, "Ahhh... a girl with attitude." Best compliment ever. We talked briefly about Tacoma and I encouraged him to visit the fine printers we have down here. You can be sure the next time we are in Alabama visiting family we'll be making an overnight trip to York to visit his studio.

new additions to our home

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unsolicited Blog Feature!


The Trollop with a Laptop blog caught wind of our naughty XXXmas Cards and featured it in a piece she wrote about some Holiday gifts. I had a feeling that being a nice girl never gets you anywhere fast!

Thanks Alison, you're quite saucy yourself...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Official Stance: The Home "Letterpress" Machine

OK, folks, there are some things I just can't keep my mouth shut about. The Home Letterpress Machine is one of them. All I can say is shame on you, Paper Source.

THIS IS NOT LETTERPRESS. This maybe can create letterpress-looking, or letterpress-ish, or letterpress wanna-be things, but to call this Letterpress - without any note of "not really but you can pretend" is an insult to our trade.

I'm just wondering how long it will be until Etsy is filled with stuff printed on this thing by people with no real letterpress training, no idea how to set type or imprint properly, and call it letterpress in the description or tag words, selling cards for a buck a piece and killing sales for real letterpress artists trying to earn a livable wage. Not to mention, putting the consumer at a huge disadvantage as there would be no way for them to really sort out who is printing real letterpress and who is printing fake letterpress until the purchase is made and, inevitably, the proof is in the quality.

My bet is by tomorrow. Way to go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daily Paper: Display Chandelier

Have you opened up the Fall Pottery Barn catalog? If you have, and you read this blog, you may have fallen in LOVE with the same think I did... the Wakefield Chandelier. I think my heart skipped a beat when I saw it - you know, the way it does when you see your new crush coming down the hallway in between 4th and 5th period...swoon...

I am totally crushing on this, and how dreamy my dining room would look with all my favorite small prints illuminated like angels above me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pictorial Webster's

This video was just posted at the Seattle Center for Book Arts blog, and I loved it so much I thought I would share it here. For those of you who don't know the history, or the heart and soul of letterpress, this is a much-watch!

Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.

via Seattle Center for Book Arts

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Daily means DAILY...

I know. Daily does not mean weekly or monthly... Daily means DAILY. But life is unpredictable with a baby in the house - especially now that our little Paper Doll (good nickname, huh?!) is cruising around, we have to have eyes on her at all times. She either has something in her hands about to go in her mouth, or is pulling herself up on another piece of furniture. This does not make for a steady work flow.

But Naomi does love paper. Envelopes, actually. Her favorite toys these days are the empty envelopes left as I open my mail. So, Naomi is today's Daily Paper.
Really, I just wanted to leave a note and let you all know that I will post the Daily Paper as often as I can, and keep calling it the Daily Paper in hopes that one day, in the soonish future, it will actually be daily again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daily Paper: New UE Notebooks!

Self-promotion here! Check out our new product: Letterpressed and handbound Dos-á-dos notebooks! Each side contains 24 pages - one side of blank pages for sketches and one side of graph paper for notes.

The cover is letterpressed in both sides, featuring the words "Sketches & Notes" in a variety of handset, vintage cuts and type! The cover was then scored and pamphlet stitched by me with linen bookbinder's thread.

These notebooks come in 3 different shades of blue and I have a limited number (30) available for sale. Get yours in our Etsy shop while you can!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daily Paper: Woodnotes

PAPER YARN, people. Seriously. Paper Yarn. Say it again, and this time believe it. Paper yarn. I think I just died and went to heaven.

, a standout Finnish company, in their own words, "...designs and manufactures products and concepts inspired by paper yarn for homes and public spaces."

Gorgeous and sophisticated, and BIODEGRADABLE? You bet. I have been telling you guys how amazing and diverse paper can be. Their products range from carpets to window dressings, furniture to accessories. Woodnotes does it all, with amazing style.

I would be honored to include Woodnotes products in my home, but I'm thinking they wouldn't last too long with the 6 month old we have scooting around now. This will have to wait until our nest is empty. Bookmarked for 20 years from now...

Above, left to right: Bed Concept, Fisherman Scarf

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We're back... and tweeting, too!

Just wanted to say a quick thanks for being patient while we enjoyed a little staycation. Over the last two weeks we have had family in town and had fun playing tourist at home!

Now that we are back, I wanted to let you all know that we have officially launched our Twitter account. I am still mending my tattered ego from the lack of response to our little "Name our Twitter Account" contest (don't feel bad. really. we'll keep posting even if it feels like no one is reading). SO, we have decided on UNVELOPE. Follow us. We'll be tweeting you soon!

**UPDATE: Our Twitter name has since been changed to UncommonStudio. Why, you ask? Read here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kiva Loan - Najibeh

It's time to make a new Kiva loan! Our latest loan is to Najibeh in Lebanon. Her lender page is sparse on details, but we know she is in the paper biz so she gets our support.
Good luck, Najibeh!

Here is the info from Kiva:

Name: Najibeh
Location: Location Undisclosed, Lebanon
Primary Activity: Crafts
Loan Amount: $1,200
Repayment Term: 14 months
Loan Use: Buy a paper-packaging machine

"Najibeh is a 50-year-old married woman and mother of four children. She has been working as a home-based bag producer to help her husband satisfy the household demands. Today, Najibeh is requesting to borrow $1,200 to buy a paper-packaging machine to develop her work in order to increase her income."

Please join our Kiva Lending Team.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Daily Paper: DIY!

I thought it would be appropriate to put a post up about how you can make paper, the object of my obsession, at home. I thought about how I could do a demo, photograph it, etc... but then I thought that I need not go through all that when someone like B_Zedan has done this already in such a marvelous way on Flickr! You must check out this tutorial photostream, including all the helpful instructions in the captions.

I'll be in my lair petting my own piles paper. GO MAKE YOUR OWN!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Daily Paper: Etsuko Ichikawa

Oh, Etsuko, your work lights my fire.

Before meeting Etsuko Ichikawa (yes, this internationally acclaimed artist resides in Seattle and learned the art of letterpress where I print) I had never heard of the word PYROGRAPH:

The word, the way it sounds, its definition, and all the creative ideas that come spilling in when considering this "medium" intrigue me to no end. And then you see Etsuko's work, DEAI, and it all goes out the window because she just can not be outdone. Etsuko's pyrographs, created with hot glass and rolls of paper, are flowing, free form, illicit contradictory thoughts of water, not fire.

Check Etsuko's website for exhibition listing updates and when you see her work is coming to your town, light a fire under your butt to go see. It is not to miss.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Name our twitter account and we'll send you a tweet treat

It's time, folks, to start a dedicated twitter account for Uncommon Envelope. The trouble is that we have not been clever enough to come up with a memorable name within the twitter parameters. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Make a Twitter username suggestion for Uncommon Envelope in the comments below that fit in the following guidelines and we'll send you a substantial freebie in appreciation!

The username must be:
  1. available
  2. 15 characters or less
  3. cool enough for us to like it and choose to use it!
Thanks for your help! We are looking forward to hearing all your clever suggestions.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Daily Paper: Vintage Stamps

What better time to talk about the art of the US mint than 4th of July weekend?! It may be cliche at this point but I still love the look of a handful of vintage stamps plastering an envelope or postcard in lieu of a shiny new stamp (the new Love stamp might be the except to this sentiment).
Clockwise from top left: 1974 Continental Congress, 1958 Statue of Liberty, 1960 Credo, 1952 Service Women
(all currently available and courtesy of
SeaJay Stamp & Coin)

You may ask, "can you actually use vintage stamps?" The answer is YES, as long as they are not already canceled. The value is the same as what is printed on the stamp.
  • Be prepared to spend a little more on postage. Vintage comes with a price, and that price is called "Catalog Value." Just remember that your stamp selection becomes a major component to your design. If you love the look of vintage stamps, just think of the extra expense as design-related, not mailing related.
  • This may seem obvious, but the value of the stamp as you are putting it through the USPS system is the same as the value printed on the stamp. They don't care that you may have paid more than face value.
  • Be prepared to remain flexible. You'll need to mix and match stamps and your selections will all depend on what is available at any given moment. It is quite possible to put together a collection of stamps that fit a color theme and/or topic theme. The fun is finding the best mix!
Here are places you can find vintage stamps:
If you become a serious stamper, you'll want to order the latest Postal Service Guide to US Stamps so you can see full size images of the stamps and reference their catalog numbers when working with stamp dealers.

Happy hunting! I feel a new (admittedly dorky) obsession coming on!

Oh, and have a beautiful and safe 4th of July weekend...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NY Times Article

I wanted to share this with you all:

The New York times ran this lovely article yesterday and I so related to many of the thoughts brought forth by other paper lovers. I, too, have a massive stationery "wardrobe" and when writing a note to a friend, client, or vendor I think long and hard about exactly which piece of stationery most suits their style and the sentiments I am trying to relay. I also do everything short of keeping a journal to take care to not send the same paper and envelope to the same person twice, and if I have it was a mistake...

Some would call this outdated, obsessive, or formal. I call it the reason I do what I do for a living. I not only love stationery, but I believe in hand-written correspondence as the ultimate way to show someone exactly how you feel about them, whether you are sending a thank you, an invitation, or just a postcard. And when I think of how often I receive half-hearted emails instead of a written note when appropriate, I am sad. A stamp costs 44¢ (for now) and you can find that hiding in your couch.

The article also touched on some technical aspects of what goes into fine, hand-crafted stationery. You wonder why custom stationery feels so special, or why it might be "expensive?" It is because in reality it is not REALLY stationery. Each piece is an individual work of art, hand crafted with love and attention to every little detail so it best represents who my clients are. I sincerely love what I do and I put hours of hand work into my orders. When you look at it that way, is it really expensive?

I encourage you to read the article to learn more...

Daily Paper: Colleen Baran

A girl can only hope to find one of these rings waiting inside a pretty little box for her anniversary or Valentine's Day or Birthday... (hint, hint). CUSTOMIZABLE love notes hidden within jewelry. OH, yum. These designs by Colleen Baran are unforgettable. If there are any men at all out there reading this blog, please keep these in mind for the ladies in your life. She'll know you're a keeper if you surprise her with one of these.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Daily Paper: Noriko Yamaguchi

When I find an amazing artist I have never come across before, I get butterflies. This is what happened when I found Noriko Yamaguchi. PAPER. BASED. INSTALLATIONS. I am really interested in the shadow play that happens when you light the pieces.
And if you love the work so much you wish you could wear it, you can. I just haven't figured out where to get the brooches. When I do, I will update this link. In the meantime, dream up the outfits they could adorn.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily Paper: Cardboard Designs

Pop into your local modern museum shop and you are sure to find a Cardboard Design Liquid Cardboard Vase. Now, once you eye it, go pick it up and play with it. I guarantee you will buy one on the spot and never use this thing for what it was intended (the holding of flowers or some such things). This, my friends, is the slinky for today's design nut. It's going on my Christmas wish list...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Facebook 100 exclusive sale!

We have hit 100 Uncommon Envelope Facebook fans! As promised, we will be holding an exclusive 3-day sale for our fans only. Starting today, June 29, through Wednesday, July 1, you can grab our Hello. Collection cards (singles or sets!) for a whopping 50% OFF!

Just visit our Etsy shop, drop what you want into your cart and check out and pay via Paypal. The 50% discount will be refunded to you via Paypal, so don't be alarmed when you are asked to pay for the full amount at first. You will be refunded after your order has been placed.

Blank inside, these make great cards to keep handy for any occasion, or grab a set and keep it on-hand as a last minute birthday or hostess gift. We can also put together custom sets if you are looking for multiples of one design or sets larger than 4. Just email me or convo me via Etsy.

If you are not yet a Uncommon Envelope Facebook fan and you would like to take advantage of the sale, we will also honor the discount for anyone who fans us in the next 3 days... we will be holding similar special events for future milestones as well. Don't miss out!
Clockwise, from top Left: Hello Lover, Hello Stranger, Hello Friend, Hello Freak

Happy shopping, and THANK YOU to all our fans for your super support!

Daily Paper: Andrea Dezsö

Andrea Dezsö is a true artistic genius of our time. If you are not already following her career, you should be. Dezsö works in many different mediums, but as this is a paper-based feature, let's focus on her cut paper and shadow book, The Day We Changed Our Lives Forever. Using the tunnel book form, hand cut and sewn and includng interactive LEDs (!), Dezsö creates an alternate universe that is truly a story created by you as you interact with the pieces in person. Just inspiring.
I am sure we'll be seeing a lot more of Andrea Dezsö on this blog in the future. Her work alone can keep me busy writing for months...

PS. Thank you, Janet, for introducing the work of this great artist to me!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kiva Loan - Juan

So Juan, aka "La Gorda Bella," dreams of growing some primo coffee. Unfortunately, he also has to work a day job to pay the bills until his operation gets big enough. We kind of know what that's like here at UE. The UE business brain spends his evenings in an aircraft manufacturing plant repairing industrial electronic equipment. It's not the cleanest job and it's not very fun, but it comes with health insurance and a 401k among other things. Also, it is way better than driving a taxi.
Good Luck, Big Beauty!

Here are the details from Kiva:

Name: Juan
Location: Chanchamayo, Peru
Primary Activity: Taxi
Loan Amount: $1,000
Repayment Term: 12 months
Loan Use: Pay to process his driver's license and buy fertilizers

"Juan just turned 35. He has lived with the beloved mother of his two children for 15 years. They are the motivation for his efforts. They currently live in their own house.
Since he was little he helped his parents in the agricultural work. From then on he was learning farming techniques. When he formed his own family he started planting citrus and coffee. He does this with his wife’s valuable help.
Also, six months ago he started driving a taxi from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They pay him 20 PEN a day. On the week ends he works until 11 at night plowing in order to get greater income to support his family.
During the coffee harvesting months he leaves aside his work as a driver and works on gathering his harvest to avoid loosing the coffee beans, which are so valuable for his family.
Juan feels very pleased with his farming, and while he is driving in his car he thinks about his crops. One time he was robbed because he was not there. Because of that his wife tries to go to the fields constantly to take care that they bear fruit. When the crop is sold, he gets very good earnings. His goal is to increase his coffee crop.
This is his fifth consecutive loan working with MFP. He makes all of his payments on time. Juan has an amusing nickname, which is always the cause for laughter with his colleagues in his community bank. They call him the “the big beauty”.
The money he is asking for is to process his driver’s license in the local town hall. With the rest of the money he will buy chemical fertilizers to fertilize his coffee fields." Translated from Spanish by Ginny Kalish, Kiva Volunteer

Please join our Kiva Lending Team

Kiva - loans that change lives

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Etsy Treasury!

Our very special "Eat, Drink, & Be Merry" coasters have been included in an Etsy treasury, which is an awesome traffic magnet for our shop! Thanks so much to Jenny, otherwise know on Etsy as CowlickCutie, for thinking of us. Go check out Jenny's Treasury, It's 5 o'clock somewhere and see our coasters in all their glory!
By the way, Jenny makes great hair accessories for kids. They actually stay put (just ask for the no-slip grips)! Naomi owns these.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Daily Paper: Lisa Perrin

I never gave much thought to paper dolls before, until I came across the work of Lisa Perrin in her Etsy shop, LeLapinTriste. Lisa specializes in such macabre subjects as Marie Antoinette (complete with detachable head), Lizzie Borden (ax in hand) and Sweeny Todd/Mrs. Lovett (a la blood stained cloths), among others... Fantastic illustrations, Lisa! I am feeling the need to start a collection.

Also, just so you know, if you have always wanted to be a paper doll yourself, just ask. Lisa can create custom orders!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Unsolicited Blog Feature!

Related to our feature on Card Observer, Paper Shop ink just posted their discovery of the awesome CO site and called out some favorite cards that have made the feature... guess who was on that list...

Thank you 9SpotMonk!

Daily Paper: Notta Pixie Press

Seattle book artist, letterpress guru, librarian and, I am proud to say, FRIEND Jenny Craig is the brain, and usually braid (if you know Jenny, you'll know what this means!), behind Notta Pixie Press. Jenny is continually inspiring me with her lovely books and overwhelming kindness. Visit her on Etsy and you'll see why.

One of my favorite pieces by Jenny is her double accordion book called "Tail" - tail referring to her hair, one strand of which is sewn through the book. Simple, beautiful, worthwhile art.
Notta Pixie? I beg to differ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Daily Paper: Celina29

I wish I knew more about Celina29 but her Etsy shop is pretty new and her profile is lacking more detailed information. Celina, if you read this, tell us more about yourself in the comments! We want to see more work because if you lamps are any indication of the aesthetic you bring to the rest of your work, you can count on us to be your biggest fans!
Also, can I be so bold as to make a suggestion? Create a "Make Your Own Origami Lamp" kit, complete with the papers, CFL light kit, and instructions and sell it in your shop. I would totally be down for spending an afternoon crafting a few of these to hang in a cluster!