Wedding Invitation: Spirograph for a Coaster Wedding Invitation


There is something wonderful about dual purpose paper goods to me (i.e. magnet save the dates).  Tack that on with being a letterpress paper good and I’m as happy as a pig in shit.  My cousin is looking for wedding invitation ideas and I cannot wait to propose several design’s of a coaster wedding invitation.


The Goncharow Wedding Invitation designed by Ross Clodfelter inspired me to design circular patterns that could potentially be used in a coaster wedding invitation.  My mind drifted back to a simpler time when my favorite toy was the Spirograph.  I almost went jurassic park and ordered to toy to scan the finished products.  But, because spirographs are mathematical roulette curves I was certain that digital spirographs can easily be created in Illustrator.


Follow this link for a beginners tutorial on creating spirographs using Illustrator.  There is something remarkably soothing about creating these patterns.



Signage: Vintage Wedding Date Countdown Chalkboard


The engagement party was over 3 weeks ago and I still owe the couple a gift.  I ran empty on ideas so I shamefully attended the party empty handed.  Giving a gift late is schmuck-ish but there are advantages (not that I gift late for these reasons).   Now that I’ve had the advantage to scope out the gifts they received, I’m thinking an engagement gift should give a nod towards becoming ‘one’, should be customized to the couple, is something they can use for their engagement and/or wedding but, isn’t something that one would normally gift at the bridal shower or wedding.  After scouring the internet for engagement basket ideas, I gravitated towards gifting them a custom wedding countdown.


Ask anyone that attended college upstate New York what Wegmans is and they’ll probably remember two things:

  1. It’s the only supermarket in town.
  2. They have beautiful chalkboard signs.

My adoration for chalkboard signs dates back to the earlier years of this century when I attended college and I’m thrilled that they’re making a huge presence in today’s craft / event planning industries.  They were my signage medium of choice in 2011 (the year EFI got married) and they’re my signage medium of choice for my engagement gift to a beautiful couple.


  1. Purchase an ornate frame.  The simplicity of white handwritten chalk coupled with a beautiful vintage frame seems to rustic and country chic to me.
  2. Paint the glass of the frame.  You can also opt to remove the glass, paint pre-cut foamboard / poster board and insert into the frame.  I had to paint the glass because the glass and matte were not removable.
  3. Find a signage template you like.  Pinterest is your source for inspiration.
  4. Hand write your message.  Be sure to arm yourself with a wet rag.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!




Chalkboard Paint

Thank You Card: Surprise Engagement Postcard in Four Print Runs


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.


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.


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 MatchingSide 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 brightnessSide 1 Run 2 & Side 2 (Text Only):

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







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


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?


  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!


MJ engagement animation


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


Farewell sash

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.

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.


    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).




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


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.






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

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!




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.