now offering thermography AND letterpress printing!

I'm so excited to announce that I am now offering both thermography and letterpress printing on all of my wedding invitation ensembles!  I won't be doing the printing myself (although I will continue to offer high-quality flat/offset printing and, coming soon, screenprinted invites!); I spent much of last week calling different wholesale printers and found a printer that offers both styles at really reasonable rates.  The printing charges will be added to the basic ensemble fee, any optional extras, and shipping, of course, but for an order of approximately 100 sets, for example, you could have letterpressed wedding invitations for less than $5 per set!  Check out my shop policies or any of the sample listings for more details.


a mod wedding invitation ensemble in purple and gold

My other Etsy shop has been occupying a lot of my time lately, leaving me less time to crank out the two new designs I've had in my mind for a few weeks now. But I've finally managed to put the finishing touches on one and added it to the shop earlier today.

I've been searching for a way to offer folders without charging almost as much as I charge for the invitation ensemble itself for awhile now and I finally ordered a few samples of some smaller (A2, measuring 4 1/4 by 5 1/2 inches, to be exact) pocket folders.  I chose to create a design using the gold folder, along with gold patterned paper I received from the same paper company.  The palette is rounded out with accents of deep purple, like the satin ribbon belly band that keeps the components of this ensemble together.

Instead of using any sort of paper punch on this one, as I do with most of the designs currently in my shop, I chose instead to create a simple border on the invite itself that compliments the patterned paper layered underneath.

I'm particularly pleased with the balance created between the decadent palette and the smaller size of the overall ensemble.  This palette would be lovely for a summer or fall wedding.  And of course the colors are fully customizable, as always.  Check out the shop for more details!


fresh from the Makery: Mother's Cookies Scavenger Hunt

This week's "project" is actually a giveaway of a previous Makery project timed in conjunction with the Mother's Cookies Comeback Celebration. If you're a regular reader you know from the many posts inspired by the company's products in one way or another that I'm a fan. So of course I agreed to participate when contacted about the virtual celebration and related "scavenger hunt", especially when I learned it would involve receiving four free bags of cookies, two to keep, and two to giveaway (and seeing as how I joined Weight Watchers just a few weeks ago, I definitely can't keep all four bags myself!).  Between October 27th (that's today!) and November 10th, frosted circus animal junkies like myself will be featuring banners like the one you see to the right that you can click on to go to a cookie collection page where you can see how many cookies you've found and how many more you need to collect in order to receive a coupon for your next bag of Mother's cookies. Sweet!

To help get the party started, I'll be giving away two bags of cookies to two lucky readers (one each). Each bag will arrive with a free set of two of my 'homage to Mother's Cookies' notecards (one with pink "frosting", one with white, similar to the cards in the image above). If you'd like to participate, just leave me a comment to that effect on this post as well as your email address, if it's not included in your profile, so that I can contact you if your name is one of two I'll randomly select on Wednesday, November 11th.

The Makery will return to its regularly scheduled programming on Monday, November 16th.


if Etsy had been around when I got hitched: DIY favors with help from ILoveYoYo

This week I'm featuring satin lining "yoyos" that a crafty bride might want to incorporate in a DIY wedding project, such as these flip flops included in ILoveYoYo's customer appreciation Flickr photostream:

A friend offered ballet slippers to guests at a recent wedding I attended and I thought it was such a great idea - all the ladies were wearing them by the end of the night.  If I had to do it again, I'd encourage my guests to stay on the dance floor with something similar, offering up turquoise flip flops or slippers embellished with these lovely red satin "yoyos".

Google Android Phone Case Version 2.0

To date, I've sold four of the Android phone cases I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. How cool is that?! Two of my recent sales were actually for version 2.0, so to speak, which I "mocked up" after a prospective customer "convo"-ed me about adding a few more features, namely a second, interior accessory pocket, a top tab velcro closure, and a metal D-hook attached to the side for car keys or a swivel hook/strap combo of some sort.

There's only so much you can do with felt and blanket stitch and the fact that these are completely handmade (I do have a sewing machine but I haven't used it regularly for almost 20 years), but I'm pretty happy with the revised version.  Ironically that customer has yet to buy one but two other customers seemed equally fond of the added features.  So it's all good.

The original phone case is still available, of course (just packaged the custom green and magenta case pictured above), and received a little love from this blog and this one ("an Android for grandma"!) a couple of days after I originally listed it, probably thanks to Neal tweeting about it and one of his followers re-tweeting it.  Not exactly going viral or anything, but I'm glad my little Android dude is getting some love.

By the way, the Makery will be a day late again this week, but this time it's not my fault. The "event" this week's "project" coincides with doesn't start until the 27th. Check back then for a true giveaway, times 2!


fresh from the Makery: mmm, cookies

Sadly, folks, I got nothin'. Last week was the week of inquiries into both Etsy shops (and I sold a cozy!) and I'm still catching my breath. Which makes it sound more impressive than it is. When most of your day is occupied by feeding, entertaining, and wiping the bottom of a cranky toddler, it doesn't take much to disrupt what you've learned to accept as normalcy over the past 16 months. Getting only six or seven hours of sleep each night catches up with you real quick. But I promise I'll make it up to you with next week's post, which will involve a partly edible giveaway for not one, but TWO lucky readers to enjoy.

Stay tuned!


if Etsy had been around when I got hitched: Favors by Safiya Beauty

When it comes to wedding favors, I'm a big fan of anything edible.  For our wedding, we ordered custom-printed m&ms in our wedding colors (red and turquoise) and placed those in small vases that we used for silk flowers that the guests could take away and enjoy at home without worrying about keeping the flowers watered.  The silk flowers worked nicely for that reason and allowed me to incorporate zinnias, typically in bloom during late summer, into my early spring wedding, which used fresh gerbera daisies instead.

Though not edible, I find these little 'XO' soap favors equally indulgent and downright irresistible:

These customizable soap favors are made by Safiya Beauty from natural, eco-friendly ingredients.  I love the little hot pink boxes but of course the colors are customizable.  I think these would be great for a Bachelorette party as well.  The shop also offers monogram shea butter soaps and soap favors that have been perfectly packaged for Fall weddings.


fresh from the Makery: because Androids need cozies, too!

I'm a day late, but (not to toot my own horn or anything) I'm pretty pleased with this week's project - a phone case for all the other mobile device users out there (yep, that's right folks...there are gadgets made by companies other than Apple).

It was Neal's idea to make a phone cozy for his T-Mobile G1 (a bit longer and significantly chunkier than the iPhone), complete with a little green felt Android Robot stitched onto an accessory pocket on the front.  The example shown here and listed in my shop is actually the second version I made, not totally satisfied with the original prototype, which is now in the care of a certain 15 month old.

I used embroidered French knots for the eyes, of course, and learned the lovely blanket stitch for the edge.

Here's a shot of the cozy, in action:

Why is making cute (and occasinally, though not in this case, edible) stuff with felt and thread so satisfying?  It's a mystery I continue to try to unravel...


Save the Date!

I finally got around to adding a customized photo magnet save-the-date with paper backing to the shop late last week, something I've wanted to add for awhile now.

As often happens, a prospective customer's inquiry motivated me to mock-up a new design and add it to the shop.  Since that customer is interested in the red and turquoise ensemble (a modified version of the invitation that I created for my own wedding in April 2005), I created a save-the-date that would coordinate with that design.

I wanted to make something that would set the stage for the event and the formal invite to follow but not steal the show completely, borrowing some, but not all of the design elements of the invitation itself.

The photo magnet is calling card size, measuring 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches, and tucks into the layered, paper backing, which fits snugly into the corresponding A2 envelope.  I liked the idea of using a paper backing because it allowed me to keep the magnet itself fairly simple, a visual reminder of the event to come, and also of the anniversary to be celebrated for years after.  Even though I'll be celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary next spring, I put this mock-up on my fridge because it's still relevant!

As always, the design is completely customizable to coordinate with any of the other ensembles in my shop.  In fact, I created similar designs for the snowflake and fleur-de-lis motifs but have a little bit of tweaking to do before I add them to the listing.  More save-the-date designs coming soon!


If Etsy had been around when I got hitched: something blue from Pinkpainter's Place

One of the great things about Etsy that I personally have yet to fully explore but would have had the site been around when I planned my wedding is the vintage category, perfect for fulfilling that something old and/or borrowed and/or blue. Like this vintage, monogrammed hankie from Pinkpainter's Place:

Kind of works for all three, doesn't it?  "Perfect for your Mary, Mallory, or the next Mrs. Martin."  Indeed.  I'm not completely sure why, but I just love the idea of having an old-fashioned hankie on hand during your big day!


two new designs and free shipping this weekend!

As promised, two of the three new designs I've been working on recently were added to the shop this past weekend.  First up is a 5 by 7 inch invite that pairs a subtle pop-up hydrangea motif at top center, showing a layer of "blossom" pink paper underneath the white invite, along with a "night" (or navy) blue border, all matted on a pink patterned paper (printed front and back). 

The patterned paper and translucent pink petal wrap are from the package of samples I recently received from a new company I'm using for my paper and supplies.  I wasn't blown away by much of what I received in the mail, sticking instead to the high-quality paper and envelopes I've been getting primarily from Paper Source.  But there were a few items I liked and will incorporate into my existing inventory, including the two details included in the ensemble above, as well as a new line of smaller, somewhat more reasonably priced pocket folders in about a half-dozen different metallic colors.  Pocket folder will certainly bump your ensemble out of the affordable range if you let it, so I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to offer decorative extras like these without breaking the bank.

Next up is a square invite that uses the classic fleur-de-lis motif against a contemporary palette of white, bright yellow, turquoise blue, and chocolate brown.  I'm really happy with the way the corner punch coordinated with the main punch used on the invite, as well as a third motif flat-printed on the outer envelope, underneath the return address.  I was worried about using such a bright shade of yellow, but I think it works really well in moderation along with the other colors included in this ensemble.

The third design I'm working on uses one of the smaller pocket folders I mentioned above; samples will be available in the shop by this weekend.  I should also add that I'll be offering free worldwide shipping in my shop this weekend.  That means free shipping on samples purchased between October 9th and 11th, and down the road for any custom order started this weekend (meaning if you purchase a sample now and order invitations in a few months, I'll honor the discount then!).  Stay tuned for more details...

fresh from the Makery: Mothers Cookies Coffee Cozy

I've been wanting to do more with felt material in general (especially considering I still have quite a bit of the tan felt leftover from those DIY cat carrier covers) and with the theme of food in particular. I'm not sure why felt lends itself so well to making fake food, but I know I'm not alone in the discovery of this perfect pairing. I've also wanted to do more with the "frosted" circus animals that can be found so far primarily on paper products. Since I've already made one reusable coffee cozy/cuff/sleeve, putting the two together seemed like a perfect fit.

This week's project uses up a bit of the tan felt, along with a layer of pink on the inside, and features a "parade" of four animal cookies in alternating pink and white marching around the outside. And when you're not using it on a to-go cup of coffee or tea, you can wear it as a bracelet!

Okay, that last image is mostly a joke, but you could theoretically wear it as a bracelet on your way to your local caffeine fix.  And as I write in the Etsy listing, where for only twelve bucks you can purchase your very own handmade Mothers Cookies coffee cozy, this reusable sleeve is not only eco-friendly but also easy on your diet.  I don't know about you but I'm always tempted to get some sort of baked good to go with my already unnecessary enough (unnecessary in terms of caffeine and calories, but totally necessary for my sanity) vanilla latte (from Peets, naturally).  Maybe if I use this thing I'll be better able to resist that temptation.


if Etsy had been around when I got hitched: Jenny Hoople's Handmade Jewelry

This blog series is becoming quite the dangerous window shopping.  After posting a thread to the promotion section of the Etsy community, I got several suggestions for some really gorgeous products to post each Sunday as part of this series (dangerous because many of these items would be great for your wedding and, as in my case, beyond!).  I'll start with some of the lovely items for sale by Jenny Hoople.  After posting this "blossom" pink and navy blue ensemble to the shop yesterday (more on those new designs later), these rose quartz earrings stood out:

I love the pale pink, don't you?  These earrings would make great bridesmaids gifts (that, even better, the ladies could wear long after the big day!) and are available in a few different colors.  If you're looking for something a bit more traditional, the shop features several stunning pearl necklaces.  I'm particularly smitten by this Rhythm Freshwater Pearls necklace:

I love the organic quality to this necklace, a combination of the freshwater pearls and the undulating "rhythm" of the four sizes used, all hand knotted on silk.  This is just a tiny sampling of what Jenny Hoople has to offer, and at great prices!


flowers, new colors, and pocketfolds, oh my!

I'm working on three new wedding invitation designs, at least two of which I plan to add to the shop tomorrow (maybe all three depending on how well my 15-month old son naps in the afternoon!) so stay tuned for that.  I'm really excited about the new designs and color combinations, using some of the paper samples I recently received from a new company I'm using for materials (in addition to my existing paper stock).  I've also been busy this week generally cleaning up the shop (fall cleaning?).  I've decided to move all non-custom items, even if they qualify as "paper goods", to my other Etsy shop, where I feature items that are part of what I call the Makery and blog about here.

I sort of agonized over the decision, partly wanting to make all manner of stationery (greeting cards, Halloween party invitations, customized Christmas tags, etc.).  On the other hand, I'd like to concentrate on the work I really enjoy, and that's making wedding invitations.  And it's amazing how good it felt to streamline the shop a bit, making room for more of the stuff I really enjoy - mock wedding invitations that I hope to customize for more real couples in the coming months.

Along the lines of housekeeping, I also worked much of last weekend tweaking and re-photographing all of my existing designs and I'm pretty happy with how things turned out.  I feel like the new images showcase the invites better and the border helps to consolidate the overall look of the shop.  Most of the changes to the existing designs were minor, but I did modify the star motif ensemble to a flat invite with no die-cut motif or duplex bordering.

I wanted to create an example of how I can offer an even more reasonably priced ensemble, with the option to add on, of course (I plan to add more of these kinds of flat-printed designs and motifs in the future).  Check back here and in the shop for all the details and additions this weekend!