Thank You Card: Surprise Engagement Postcard in Four Print Runs

Idea: My beautiful cousin Michelle and her charming boyfriend Joe are engaged! Their mother’s planned a spectacular surprise engagement party the evening of the proposal and I have the pleasure of helping with the thank you cards.

Inspiration: The photo postcard was entirely Michelle’s idea so I can’t take credit for it.  However, I was the one that convinced her not to buy the template PDF file and give me the chance to draft my take of it.

Instructions:  I’ve wasted enough good paper and good ink to now know the value of running a few drafts before officially starting the production.  This thank you postcard project sounded simple on the surface – a photo and the words ‘Thank You’ on one side and a note with the guests name(s) and addresses on the other.  But here are a few things that were taken into consideration when designing the postcard:

  1. What paper weight/thickness, stock type and color will be used?
  2. Will the photo be color or black/greyscale?
  3. Will the text be color or black/greyscale?

Perhaps you’re like me and won’t know the answer to these questions until you’ve tried.  Here are the results of my prototypes:

 

Prototype # Input Observed Output
 1 Side 1 & 2 (Photo and Text in Pages):
Source: Pages
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: Vendor Matching
‘Thank You’ printed in accurate color but pixelated.Photo printed as if the source was very low resolution Side 2 text printed in accurate color but  pixelated and so thin that it was almost illegible.
 2 Side 1 & 2 (Photo and Text in Pages):Source: Pages
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Photo Paper
Printer Color Matching Setting: ColorSync to my Inket Printer
‘Thank You’ printed in drastically darker color but clear.Photo printed clearly but very dark Side 2 text printed in drastically darker color but clear and legible.
 3 Side 1 Run 1 (Photo Only):
Source: Aperture
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Photo Paper
Printer Color Matching Setting: Vendor Matching

Side 1 Run 2 & Side 2 (Text Only):
Source: Pages
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: ColorSync to my Inket Printer Tweak: Text changed to 50% Opacity

Photo printed clear but slightly dark and yellow-ish’Thank You’ printed in clear and accurate color Side 2 text printed in clear and accurate color
 4 Side 1 Run 1 (Photo Only):
Source: Aperture
Paper: White coated 100 lb cardstock
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: Vendor Matching
Tweak: Increased brightness

Side 1 Run 2 & Side 2 (Text Only):
Source: 
Pages

Paper: White coated 100 lb cardstock
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: ColorSync to my Inket Printer
Tweak: Text changed to 50% Opacity

Photo printed clear and accurate color / tint’Thank You’ printed in clear and accurate color Side 2 text printed in clear and accurate color

Using the lessons learned and using the settings in prototype 4, the print runs were:

  1. Side 1 Run 1: Photo only using Aperture
  2. Side 1 Run 2: Thank You text only using Pages
  3. Side 2 Run 1: Postcard template text only using Pages
  4. Side 2 Run 2: Mailing name and address using Excel / Word mail merge feature

 

Images: 20140712-140130-50490370.jpg

MJ

 

 

Interesting Points:

I’ve had many photo printing project run awry because of low ink in the print cartridges.  I wasn’t sure how much ink was going to be consumed by each print so I ran my print jobs 5 sheets at a time to keep an eye on the quality of the prints.  Fortunately because the prints were fairly bright and set to drop ink to plain paper (less ink is used in this setting), I didn’t have this problem with this project.

GIMP: Removing People From a Photo

Idea:

It’s a candid photo of a beautiful moment that would be almost perfect for a thank you card except … what do you do with all those people in the background of the photo?

Instructions:

  1. Get the full resolution of the photo (hopefully it’s larger than 1MB)
  2. Using GIMP (a free alternative to Photoshop) select the Clone Tool
  3. Use the clone tool!

Images:

MJ engagement animation

 

Stay tuned for the next post where we talk about how we used the edited photo.

 

Farewell sash

Idea:
A text from my sister said: I commission you to help me make a sash that says “cinco de farewell” for Lauren. Bc our going away drink night for friends and fam is Monday.

Inspiration:
A nice sash shouldn’t be flimsy and should have a 4″ width – enough room for text legible from across the room.

My brother gave me a stash of 4″x4″ blue upholstery samples a month ago and I’ve been looking for the right project to use them.

I think we have found a match.

Instructions:

    1. Determine required length: Lauren and I share the same build so it was easy for me to determine the proper length and text positioning.
    2. Sew pieces together: I used a ladder stitch to join (without overlap) the pieces. I opted for no overlap and a visible stitch since the pieces already had a trim stitch and the pieces are heavy enough to make it difficult to fold had I gone with a single stitch on the wrong side.
    3. Sew button and button hole: my singer 160th anniversary machine is built with button and button hole sew settings. It also came with the button hole foot. This was my first time using these features. With a quick read of the instruction book I had myself a nearly perfect button hole and button sew to the sash.
    4. Paint / Affix text: I had 3 options of getting the text onto the sash.
      • Create a stencil using the Silhouette SD and stencil to sash using fabric paint.
      • Cut thin fabric or durable paper using the Silhouette SD and sew to the sash like an appliqué.
      • Paint freehand.  I love my silhouette but my recent love of calligraphy made me opt to free-hand.
    1. Embellish: I added a feather, some pearls and flowers as a finishing touch. Feathers were left over from D’s moms birthday party. Pearls came from a Forever 21 necklace that unraveled. Flowers are from a lei that I took apart.

Moral of the story: one persons junk is another persons craft supplies. (A very bad moral if you’re trying to shed hoarding tendencies).

Images:
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Interesting Points:
So, I MAY have cheated and didn’t quite freehand in the true sense of the word. I held thin brown wrapping paper to my laptop monitor and traced the desired font at the desired size. I held the brown paper on top of the sash and lifted the brown paper as I went with the paint pen on the sash under the brown paper. Ok. So, I traced rather than freehanded. I’ll call it freetraced.

Baby Shower Invitation: Pooh Letterpress Part 3 – Assembly

Instructions:

And now for the finishing touches.  I affixed small sequins to add some depth to the invitations. Once that was done, I wrapped the registry notice to the invitation using twine from the The Twinery.  They carry a beautiful color called ‘Caribbean’ that closely matches the Tiffany blue on the print.

Images:

 

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20140404-130921.jpg

 

Interesting Points:

Affixing the sequins requires steady hands and I recommend a set a tweezers.  Because I started late in the evening, that meant I was up in the wee hours of the night affixing the sequins.  I overslept the next morning so to meet my deadline of having the invitations in the mail that day, I spent my 1 hour train commute tying the twine to the invitations.  The deadline was met with creative use of time.

Baby Shower Invitation: Pooh Letterpress Part 2 – Print

Idea:
In my previous post, I mentioned booking time on the Vandercook Press at The Arm.  45 pooh baby shower invitations and envelopes were my creation that night.  I wish it was as easy as booking time on the press, getting there and pressing.  But, there was quite of bit of preparation involved:

  • Book the press at least a week in advance and try to reserve a time slot that has at least another free press in case more time is needed.
  • Cut the photopolymer plates to fit on the boxcar baseplate and in a way where it will be easy to keep the print aligned when switching colors.
  • Pack enough paper and envelopes to allow for 15-25% error.
  • Pack the ink safely away from the paper.  I used wax paper and plastic bags.
  • Pack the paper in packaging and bagging that will not dent the paper, especially the corners.
  • Pack a separate bag to store the finished product (if the original packaging doesn’t suffice).
  • Give yourself ample time to get to the studio on time and preferably early.  Traffic between 2PM-8:30PM in Williamsburg due to the BQE is INSANE!

 

Images:

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Interesting Points:

  • Clean ALL rollers on the printer. Especially when you’re working in a co-op studio.  The previous printer left yellow ink on the rollers which  turned the intended grey into a beige.  I’m not thrilled but I’m also not unhappy with the final printed color.
  • Wipe down all surfaces – again, when you’re working in a co-op studio.  The previous printer also left magenta ink on the paper loader which ruined the backside of several prints and the storage box for all my final prints.
  • In a perfect world 2 hours would have been enough time.  At the end, it took me 3.5 hours (4 hours paid time).  I was 30 minutes late due to traffic.  It took me an hour and about 10 sheets of paper to get the paper properly aligned with the baseplate and an even distribution of ink on the rollers.  The printing of two colors to the invitations and one color to the envelopes took an hour and 15 minutes.  It took 15 minutes to pack my final product and photopolymer plates away safely and another 20 minutes to clean up.

Laura Hooper Calligraphy

This Saturday, I found myself in Dabney Lee’s shop attending a calligraphy workshop taught by the wonderful Laura Hooper.  While practicing my light upstrokes and heavy downstrokes, I wondered to myself “How did I get here?”

Inspiration:

I wasn’t actively looking to take a calligraphy class.  It just happened.  I’d like to call it fate.  It all started from one of my many browses of the hashtag #letterpress on instagram.  I have an affinity for maps and calligraphy so I gave Laura Hooper’s Instagram feed a browse and decided to follow her.

Idea:

I’m not sure how long it was after I followed her but one day, this showed up on my feed.  Thanks to this post, the FOMO in me and, my never-dying love of all things calligraphy (letterpress, typography and maps), I instantly registered for Laura Hooper’s Calligraphy Workshop in Brooklyn, NY.

Image:

I arrived on my CitiBike 30 minutes early which means I was really eager and excited.  Within three hours (the duration of the workshop), I went from completely uncomfortable and not confident to quite pleased with my accomplishments.

Interesting Points:

In the words of Laura Hooper “Practice Makes Perfect”.