Saturday, June 28, 2008

Linoleum Cuts by Dave Lefner

Whenever I see well-done reduction linoleum prints, I am so amazed. I am such a huge huge fan of reduction linoleum prints. Huge huge huge. I mean, my linoleum cuts look nowhere near as well done as the work of Dave Lefner:

Don't those linoleum prints look so real? Almost like real photos! And the kicker is that he uses the same tools that I do! Mr. Lefner is simply amazing! Ah, something to aspire to...
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Dot dot dot...

Remember those letterpress business cards I alluded to?

I met Diana of Ellipses PR about a month ago at Bazaar Bizarre, and it's been a pretty fun ride ever since. She asked me if I could do some letterpress business stationery for her public relations firm. Our original concept was her logo on the card, paired with brown envelopes letterpress printed in metallics. Do you notice that the accent color is metallic mauve? I heart metallics on dark envelopes! Diana and I decided on the ellipses (you know, the multiple dot dot dots) border on the bottom:

Here's a closeup of the logo. I love the impression:

Diana also put in an order for letterpress business cards. Here they are, with rounded corners:

I also printed white envelopes for Diana's business stationery, in case she didn't want to use a metallic pen for the envelope. Here's the entire suite:


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Get Squeaky Clean Stylishly!

I just sent these out this past weekend to Debbie of Soapylove for her new high end project The Soap Lab.

They are little 1.75" letterpress squares. Very cute and chic. A very popular size here at Joie Studio for some reason. I have another project this very size as well in 2 colors to share later. I have letterpress business cards (1-color) this size, too, and people love them.

But I digress.

Debbie sent me these pictures of the little tags in action:

Absolutely gorgeous. I'm really glad my work is a part of this. The Soap Lab makes stylish soaps like these:

Makes we want to have more decorative soaps around the house!

A Decidedly Low Tech Solution

It's no secret. I love my grippers. They're my little helpers once my hands leave the paper. They hold the paper flat and still during its wild ride. So what to do when the grippers must be moved far far away from the paper, like when scoring or perforating?

Rubber bands! One letterpress mentor actually recommended that I just slide the grippers out of the way and just use rubber bands all the time. I've found that while I like the rubber bands, I like the grippers better, so I only use the rubber bands when I need to.

Here I actually put two rubber bands as I was perforating so the paper would be held down on both sides of the perforation.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


When I was working on digital goods for a health institute's events, I always found it a lark when I would get things in my email that said, "Sending You The STD" or "Your STD is on the Way." I'm talking about Save the Dates, nice little "Head's up!" notes that unfortunately share an acronym with the other kind of STD.

Anyhow, today in my inbox I saw my own design mailed back to me:

So now that they've been sent out, I can finally share! I've been working on invitations for pre-opening receptions for Michael Mina's new Clock Bar, which includes a series of digital Save-the-Date postcards like the one pictured. Wait until you see the letterpress invitations that go with them!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ah, memories...

Happy Friday, everybody! This is an almost non-business related post. It's a little break from all the letterpress I've been doing! I work with so many brides and grooms that I thought I would post share some photos from my own wedding. Most of the pictures were taken by Chris Schmitt of Chris Schmitt Photography here in Los Angeles (yes, he flew to Hawaii) with the exception of two on the bottom which was taken by my good friend Jeff, who is also an awesome photographer.

The wedding was over two years ago in Hawaii, where I'm from. We got married at Luana Hills Country Club near my parents' house, which is a simply gorgeous location nestled up against the Ko'olaus on Oahu. We had a pretty strict budget, but we wanted to make sure that our guests who had flown all the way to Hawaii were going to have a good time at the wedding. We got little boxes of Hawaiian Host chocolate covered macadamia nuts as favors directly from Hawaiian Host and wrapped them in green with a silk orchid on top.

A couple things I was pretty adamant about -- I did not want to walk in to Wagner's Wedding Song. And I wanted Chinese lion dancers. They're good luck and a lot of fun! My dad's coworker was in a lion dancing association which made it easy (and affordable), and I hired a local entertainment company to sing during the ceremony and provide dinner entertainment. I walked in to the Hawaiian Wedding Song and walked out to Tiny Bubbles -- as people blew thousands of little bubbles. It was a fabulous and gorgeous sight! We were married by Rev. Frank Mak - I loved everything about him and would recommend him to anybody getting married in Hawaii.

At the reception, I changed into a red ballgown for our first dance. As much I loved my gown (it was a Provonias gown fitted by Loyce at Sharazi), it's customary for the bride to change several times in my culture and my gorgeous wedding dress had a cathedral train that would have impeded our waltz. We danced to Moon River, one of my favorite songs. I then changed into a traditional Vietnamese ao dai for awhile. Joel's aunt danced a hula for us, and then we had a polynesian revue to entertain guests. I wanted to have our cake pictures in the white dress, so I changed back after dinner. We had a gorgeous and whimsical creation by Cake Lava that had everyone talking - and tasty, too! We had a really gorgeous wedding video, too, that everyone loved, but I have no idea what happened to the videographer.

My makeup was done by the ever sweet Dorys Foltin, and the hair and makeup was still intact at the end of the night.

If you can believe it, thanks to some really great deals, we stayed within our budget of $22,000, including buying the bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen suits for our wedding party.

Thank you to all friends and family (AGAIN!) who helped make the wedding so so wonderful. My mom's friend who owns a lei shop in Chinatown did all the flowers, our family friend altered the bridesmaid dresses and made the ties for the groomsmen, my sister bought bottles of moscato d'asti for all the tables at the wedding, my brother, mother, and grandmothers-in-law helped wrapped the favors, Brie (event planner extraordinaire) was event coordinator for the day, Heather gave us beautiful Tiffany toasting flutes for the wedding, and the list goes on and on and on.

Hope you enjoyed my wedding!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not to ruin the reveal...

I don't want to show off these letterpress business cards until after the client has seen them, but here they are, after printing, after cutting (you can kinds see the crops on the edges), before the corner rounding. There have been a lot of these things being ordered here at Joie Studio lately, which is great. Great for me, and I think great for my clients, as nothing makes an impression (Hah! Get it???) like letterpress business cards.

But these particular business cards have kind of a fun backstory to them. Now, I don't know if I've ever shared this, but living in LA, there have been some brushes with fame. The client list I have is eclectic and fun and just a tad Hollywood. Not entirely unusual. But what's kind of weird is that at the last two major craft shows I've been in, there's been Top Chef contestant sightings. At the holiday fair, there was loveable Betty. Then up in San Mateo a month and a half ago, who should be browsing but the very good looking Ryan from this season. Honestly, I didn't barely notice him until my friend whispered after he had walked away, "That's the guy that was just kicked off of Top Chef. What is it with you and craft fairs and Top Chef?"

But anyhow, meeting nice people in the restaurant world in San Mateo has led to some really cool projects (including the cards pictured above) that I'm really excited about and have made my foodie friends jump up and down with glee. And hopefully it won't ruin the reveal too much, but this link is a hint.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008


There's something about cherries that are fun...and just a little naughty all at the same time. These letterpress cherry cards are going to be in the Specialty Stationery Sampler. The cherries, as well as strawberries and other fruits, will be making an appearance in the shops as soon as I'm done packaging them! For now, enjoy, and welcome summer!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Monogram Custom Stationery

This has been on the backburner for awhile - mostly because I haven't printed a sample yet. I have a friend who has volunteered to be my sample. Actually, I have multiple friends who are greedy for letterpress and volunteer for any sample of any new letterpress design I have. But I'm sure there must be a reader out there who would like to be my sample.
So I'm offering a chance for you all to be my letterpress sample instead. Here's the deal. I'm going to offer two of the design above at cost ($40 for 40 cards and envelopes - a steal!) - one with straight corners (shown) and one with rounded corners. So email me at info{at} with your choice of straight and rounded corners. First one with each choice gets it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Thank You Letterpress Card!

I have to admit, I absolutely adore this Sakura Matsuri design and the way it prints. Here it is, letterpress printed in three delicious colors and paired with your choice of envelopes (I personally love the sage envelopes with the card). It's available on Joie Studio's Etsy shop already, and it'll be available in Joie Studio's Shop by the end fo the week.
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On the Subject of Product Photography

Yeah, okay, so I'll admit it. I've been battling with product photography for awhile. Mostly because I haven't a lot of time to fidget with photos and the lighting around here is pretty bad. Honestly, I just bought 3 (THREE!) more lamps for my office to try to light the place up better. So thus far, I've taken the cards out to my patio table and taken pictures in sunlight. If I get out there too late, the pictures turn out dark. If I get there in the middle of the day, the pictures are taken in bright, glary sunlight, which is the equivalent of an eternal flash on my pictures.

I've known for some time that I needed to upgrade my photos somehow. Now, my friend (and pretty darn good photographer) Jeff told me awhile ago that I needed a "soft box" to fix my lighting problems. Well, the thing is, really...I wasn't about to spend $100 on a soft box. I know at the end of the day it's just a drop in the bucket compared to other prices I've paid for things around the studio, but, well, I have my priorities and $100 is a really nice font or two.

I was about to hire a product photographer that my friend had told me about a year or two ago when that same friend told me he had moved away. Most of my photographer friends are decidedly NOT product photographers, and I didn't want to trust just anybody with Joie Studio's letterpress goods, so seeing as how I had the proper camera and lens already, I decided that I should just suck it up and get some proper lighting equipment to take nicer product photos.

After a round of searching on the web, I found some instructions on how to make your very own light tent. It didn't involve very much effort, honestly, or else I wouldn't have done it, and it used things I had around the house, with the exception of the black paper, which my friend (and also a fine art photographer) Michelle donated to the cause. Et voila! My very own card photo studio!

I took a couple of pics tonight to test it out. Here are some before and after pics. What do you think?


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Friday, June 6, 2008

Calligraphy & Illustration by Laura Hooper

In the old days, people hired calligraphers to create invitations for their formal events. Then calligraphers would write out every single invitation with beautiful lettering, swashes, flourishes, and swirls.

Today calligraphers are relegated to wedding envelopes, if that.

I think some of the most gorgeous wedding invitations are the ones where a calligrapher writes out an invitation, and then the calligraphic design is letterpress printed. So when I learned that the talented Laura Hooper of Laura Hooper Calligraphy was local, I gave her a call. We met yesterday at my office in Burbank, otherwise known as Starbucks. She's really down to earth, easy-going, but is looking for perfection in her product, which makes her perfect for brides and makes me feel more at ease with offering her services packaged with my own.

So I'm pleased to FINALLY be offering package pricing on custom calligraphy design AND envelope calligraphy. What's especially fun is that Laura can illustrate maps for your event. I'm redoing my website's wedding section right now, so email for the package pricing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Luxe versus Super Luxe Custom Letterpress Business Cards

I did these custom letterpress business cards awhile ago. These are on our standard paper, a luxe 110lb 100% cotton (tree free) cardstock. For these cards, our client chose to go with fluorescent ink, which is a special order ink here at Joie Studio. The results are gorgeous.

I get asked a lot what the difference is between bright white or pearl white. Colin's letterpress business cards are in bright white. Valery's is pearl white - a creamier natural white. Colin's cards are printed on super luxe 220lb cardstock, while Valery's are on our standard luxe 110lb cardstock. You can see how much thicker Colin's is in the pic below.

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Super Luxe Custom Letterpress Business Cards

Custom letterpress business cards anyone? First impressions are everything, and my client chose super duper thick (220lb!) cotton cardstock for that extra sense of high-end luxury. Colin wanted his cards to be eco-friendly, so these cards are printed on 100% tree-free, recovered cotton cardstock with vegetable oil ink. I custom mixed the ink with metallic silver and black to give the color a little more depth and pizazz. The result is super luxe, ultra high-end, and eco-chic.

Can you almost feel the texture and imprint of these business cards? Custom letterpress business cards like this are not cheap, but I think they are worth every extra penny. After all, you only make a first impression once!
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