We are a design studio specializing in statement-making social stationery.
Fashion First When Hiking in the PNW
Fashion first when it comes to shoes , even in the forest. Because the squirrels do in fact care what you wear. One of the reasons I en...
Fashion first when it comes to
, even in the forest. Because the squirrels do in fact care what you wear.
One of the reasons I enjoy social media is that it gives me an excuse to set up styled photo shoots with my friend and photographer
, owner of
. It feels like we're pretending to work because it's so much fun. If you've ever seen a photo you like on my blog... she shot it. Although sometimes I get anxious and a little out of hand ("Kim! I'm going to bake a cake... should you come over with your camera and take pictures?"), we actually try and keep it authentic.
One such shoot, she dragged me out of bed at 6AM on a Saturday to meet her and go on an easy hike to scenic
, not too far out of town. Admittedly, this outing was a little more "authentic" for her to be doing than for me, but once I was there, it was a lot of fun. We were there to get some scenery shots and try and show off some of my stationery in the wild. And in the process, she got some funny action shots of what its like to be me out in the woods.
(Pretend) reading about fishing, but not actually planning to fish.
The outdoorsy profile pic.
And the windy outtake.
Four Times Pretty Postage Stamps Made Your Invitations Better
You can always tell when someone has put in the extra effort to match their stamps to their stationery or invitation. Sometimes we ...
You can always tell when someone has put in the extra effort to match their stamps to their stationery or invitation. Sometimes we even design
custom printed postage
to go with an invitation design. But as an art nerd, I'm surprisingly far more impressed when standard issue postage stamps are used and they match as well, if not better than custom postage. And the more stamps the better--as long as they're all different! Collecting stamps for your big mailing project does take a little work. There are a few ways to find stamps for your special mailing.
If you're lucky, there's a great post office in your area where you can go in person and find a patient postal worker willing to pull out all the available options. There are even some post offices that stock older out of print stamps, where you'll find more variety. And actually, I have pretty good luck finding great postage on the USPS
. Be sure to browse all postage denominations, sometimes the perfect stamp might is a 10-center; find something to pair with it to get enough to make your mailing rate (always, always have your special mailings weighed for postage rate at the post office; it would be a pity to go to all this trouble and have it all come back to you because you didn't put enough postage). Splurge if you have to--paying an extra ten-cents for perfect looking postage wouldn't be the end of the world. Plan ahead, if you can order online they'll mail it to you so you can avoid hoofing it to the post office.
Here are four times the postage matched so well, it actually improved the overall mailing:
1. CALLIGRAPHIC IN LAVENDAR
Her stationery is gorgeous--beautiful hand lettered name by
Karen Yee Chan
, letterpress printed in the most beautiful shade of lavender ink. You wouldn't think it could get any better, but look what happened when we paired it with postage in purple, magenta and chartreuse! Yes, we cheated, these are vintage stamps, but it just goes to show you that it's worth the effort to shop around for stamps.
2. ARCHER IN EARTH TONES
On the trendy side, this charming stationery features a crossed-arrows motif and chevron envelope liner in an earthy taupe color with kraft envelopes. To make it pop, we paired it with postage we found in bright neutrals like oxblood and olive, and even matched it thematically with an owl stamp with an earthy green background. See? Better.
3. ARCHITECTURAL MONOGRAM IN BLIND IMPRESSION
This felt like a trick question because, what matches no color? The answer of course is everything. So to make this postage pairing work with the stationery--a masculine monogram with architectural design, deeply letterpress printed without ink into double-thick pearly white cotton--we chose earthtone colors in reds, greens and rusty browns that matched the card's character: masculine and organic.
4. ABSTRACT PAINTERLY PATTERN IN PERIWINKLE, NAVY AND WARM RED
Sometimes, you just get really lucky. This stationery design was inspired by the frivolous, energetic and sometimes irreverent art of Donald
Robertson. The liner design looks like it could have been drawn with
in bold shades of blue and red. Finding stamps (with a fun outer space motif, no less) that matched the three colors exactly was amazing. #meanttobe
Shopping for Nostalgia and Creating a Good Old Fashioned Childhood
Slide of me and my mom in her blue Pontiac LeMans, circa 1973. I'm a bit of a thrift store junkie. There's something about f...
Slide of me and my mom in her blue Pontiac LeMans, circa 1973.
I'm a bit of a thrift store junkie. There's something about finding treasured objects that you can't always buy in stores anymore that keeps me going back for more. When I shop, I keep a few prizes in mind that I'm always searching for (the perfect cookie jar, for example) but I'm more interested in the unexpected. I don't want my house ever to look like I just bought the store display somewhere, as lovely as it may be. I want it to feel cultivated and real.
Recently, I spied on a high shelf (I'm 5' 2" so that could be almost any shelf, really) a yellow box that contained a working Kodak Carousel projector. (You know, the one Don Draper named in an episode of Mad Men.) When my father passed away a few years ago, I inherited a box of old family photos, letters my siblings and I had written as kids, and also a bunch of slides. The slide boxes were labeled things like "Heather's 1st Birthday" and "Giveout Creek" a rustic ranch property my parents bought in the 1970s in north eastern Washington. When I first went through the box, I held up a few to the light and could kind of see what was going on, but with the projector, it's a whole new experience.
One of my favorite thrift store finds: Kodak Carousel projector.
My boys got a kick out of seeing me as a baby, and noting our resemblances. The images of "the ranch" as we always referred to the property, remind me of the times we spent there, being kids in the country, playing in the barn and chasing mice in the field. And later, as a teenager, I remember arriving at the ranch, pulling in to the field and I'm listening to Depeche Mode on my Walkman, and my dad says to me 'turn that off now, you're in John Denver country'. I'm not even sure he was a John Denver fan, but
(now the official state song of West Virginia) will always be the song that reminds me of him.
And suddenly I realize that I'm now trying to recreate that experience for my own family, with our cabin we bought in the mountains last year. I spent a lot of time in the country as a kid, and I want my own kids to have the kind of memories and connection to the region that I feel. Tearing them away from technology, they seem to go through some sort of drug withdrawl, but once they finally break free, I know they're building the most wonderful memories.
Adding Bling to Your Invitation
Crystal rhinestones are an enchanting embellishment for any invitation. And I do mean any--because rhinestones don't always look l...
Crystal rhinestones are an enchanting embellishment for any invitation. And I do mean any--because rhinestones don't always look like jewelry, sometimes they're
and look more industrial than whimsical. They come in
so many colors
, you're sure to find one that works with your piece. Applied the right way, they add drama and elegance.
and apply by hand with a
that heats up the backside so it sticks. In other words, no messy glue applications. If you're doing it yourself, it's worth the small investment to get the tool. It comes with different size applicators that you swap out so you can use it with a variety of rhinestone sizes.
For position, I like to use it to, say, dot one "i", or to embellish a decorative element. Rhinestones are darling on place cards and table signs, too. I like the rhinestones that are just about 1/8" in diameter for a couple of reasons.
First, the smaller rhinestones don't add too much bulk to the piece if it will go through the mail. Rhinestones that are tucked into an envelope do run the risk of damaging the envelope through the mail. If you do mail it, stuff it so that the rhinestone faces the back of the envelope. That way when the post office runs it through its machines, the bulk of the abuse will be on the flat side of the card facing the envelope.
The second reason I like the smaller rhinestones is that although we use the highest quality
crystals, they are not real jewels. The bigger the rhinestone, the more obvious this becomes and they start to look more fake than pretty. We're trying to add a touch of class, not crass.
When it sparkles, a little goes a long way.
Placecard embellished with a tiny magenta crystal rhinestone by Real Card Studio
Details Matter: Choosing Ribbon to Enhance your Wedding Invitation Design
"The details aren't the details. They make the design." –Charles Eames While the satin ribbon expertly tied ar...
"The details aren't the details. They make the design." –Charles Eames
While the satin ribbon expertly tied around your wedding invitation is not the design, it is often what ties the piece together, so to speak. When I use ribbon in my designs, I like them to be a major focal point, and not sharing the space with a lot of other details. If there's icons, monograms and a lot of other design elements competing for attention, your guests won't know where to focus. Use a tide knot or sweet bow to draw their eye to the place on the design you want them to focus, which is usually the names or maybe to underline a spectacular event location.
And don't scrimp on the ribbon: cheap ribbon will make your invitation look cheap. Use the good stuff: hand dyed silk, double-face satin or cotton herringbone. And ribbon doesn't have to be shiny to be pretty, maybe it's an organic cotton that has natural appeal. Let your invitation designer choose a textile that reinforces the character of your invitation. Details matter.
Parisian Street Style Chic Attire for a 40th Birthday Party
For the style obsessed, plan a party around your preferred attire, and then just go with it. For Valentina's 40th birthday, she plann...
For the style obsessed, plan a party around your preferred attire, and then just go with it. For Valentina's 40th birthday, she planned for a girls' day on the town in Minneapolis starting with lunch at her favorite french pâtisserie followed by shopping. These mint and vibrant yellow invitations–reminiscent of her favorite macarons from
in Paris–were the perfect introduction to une soirée très bonne!
Pâtisserie invitation is party of
Real Card Studio's
Party Collection available at select stores nationwide, including
RSVP in Virginia Beach
Architectural Bar Mitzvah Invitation in Gray, Silver and Blue
Beautiful texture created by blind impress letterpress repeat of the name, accented in silver foil It's no secret, my favorite...
Beautiful texture created by blind impress letterpress repeat of the name, accented in silver foil
It's no secret, my favorite color is gray. (Not that it's really a color...but you know what I mean.) There's just something beautiful about a strong neutral like gray, that's always so elegant. It's really hard to design something in gray and not come out classy. This bar mitzvah invitation is no exception.
One of my favorite elements of this invitation design is the texture of the front cover of the pocket folder. The name repeated in blind impression is almost like the weave of a warm chunky sweater. Accenting the center name in matte silver makes this seem more like a luxury fashion label than a thirteen year old's party invitation.
Another fashion-forward indicator for this invitation package is the coordinated but not matching envelope. I love when the envelope is a color that pulls the whole package together without actually being a color specifically used on the invitation. Same for the reply envelope, when you stack insert cards in a pocket, I love to add a pop of color in the mix with the reply envelope. And that's not even the coolest color pop for this piece.
The boldest design move in this invitation is the blue liner. I have worked on thousands of invitations over the past decade-and-a-half, and let me tell you: people agonize over finding a matching envelope liner. I say forget matching. Pick a color that obviously works with your colors, but pick something surprising. The blue envelope liner is really refreshing amidst the shades of grey. Be bold! It always pays off.
Real Card Studio
designed this bar mitzvah invitation for
L.S. Amster Company
in Scarsdale, NY.
Photographed here by
Color - Blue
Chicago Skyline Envelope Liners with Ampersand Save the Date Wedding Cards on Wood
Real wood cards with large ampersand letterpress printed in navy blue ink Location love: Chicago skyline envelope liners Save the...
Real wood cards with large ampersand letterpress printed in navy blue ink
Location love: Chicago skyline envelope liners
Save the date card with skyline envelope liners for a wedding in Chicago
City chic with a warm rustic touch. Combine earthy wood cards in clean type and a fun over-sized and cut off ampersand with location-savvy envelope liners depicting a graphic Chicago skyline. The inclination for most is to match the envelope liner color to the print color on the card, but if you want more depth and interest, choose a complementary color to contrast with your card instead. The overall look will be more polished and personal.
Wood save the date cards by
Real Card Studio
in Chicago. Photo by
Classic Monogram Wedding Invitations in Blush and Black
Elegant wedding invitation letterpress printed in black on cotton paper with blush pink backer. Coordinated from save the date throu...
Elegant wedding invitation letterpress printed in black on cotton paper with blush pink backer.
Coordinated from save the date through stationery for writing those thank you notes after the wedding.
Sometimes the simplest solution is also the best solution. We started this wedding project with a hand lettered monogram that we used and then adapted as the event progressed. As an engaged couple, their monogram would either be just their first initials or both of their first and last initials, because before the wedding--when invitations go out--the couple does not yet share a last name and therefore cannot use a three letter monogram that implies a shared last name. In this case, they opted for a four letter monogram that featured both of their last names, even though they have the same last name initial, M, repeating it is necessary. The pre-wedding monogram was used on their save the date packet and their wedding invitations.
Immediately after the wedding, they are able to begin using their three-letter monogram, with just the one M, on their reception items such as the menu and of course, their new stationery.
Beautiful cotton paper letterpress printed in black ink with black satin bows accenting pieces and just a hint of pink was used for this very formal and classic invitation suite.
Real Card Studio
created this wedding invitation for a couple in Minnesota. Please visit our website to find a store in your area that carries Real Card Studio. Photography by
Minimalist and Modern Ampersand Note Cards
Brilliant silver foil with blind impression ampersand on white cotton This stationery design is so simple it looks amazing contr...
Brilliant silver foil with blind impression ampersand on white cotton
This stationery design is so simple it looks amazing contrasted with an antique floral.
I don't often have stationery envy, but when I do the cards look just like this one. Bold and contemporary typography that cuts off on the end with the names in a brilliant metallic silver foil and the subtle punch of ampersand letterpress printed blind--without ink. Sleek in a simple white envelope, or pair it lined with pretty much any pattern and it will look fantastic.
Foil and blind impression printed stationery by
Real Card Studio
Blacker and Kooby
in New York City. Photographed by
. Styled by Heather van Breda
Distinctive Stationery and Business Cards in Warm Neutrals and Marbled Paper
Marbled liners make each note completely unique Business cards letterpress printed in grey on a textured and metallic nude car...
Marbled liners make each note completely unique
Business cards letterpress printed in grey on a textured and metallic nude card stock
Coordinating note cards and business cards for chic correspondence with clients
is a stationery and invitation purveyor in Scarsdale, and I've done countless projects with Judy Chamlin and her clients over the years. So getting to work with her on designing her own business stationery was a treat for us both (I hope!)
We worked with the logo she already had, to keep it consistent with her website and social media. The paper she chose for her business cards,
Odeon Patina, is a beautiful metallic and textured nude stock that we fell in love with when we used it on a wedding invitation for one of her clients. It was a good choice for her, as it's distinctive yet not too flashy. Elegant, which is representative of the kind of work she yields for her clients.
When introducing herself to potential clients, she typically writes a personal note, so gorgeous notecards were in order. The marbled liners were an easy choice, so she chose luxurious 2-ply cotton cards, Reich Paper Savoy in 236#, and brought in a little contrast with natural sand colored envelopes to tie in the grey letterpress printing and the gold, silver and grey marbled liners.
Based on her stationery alone, I'd hire her without hesitation on my stationery or invitation project!
Letterperess printed staitonery and business cards by
Real Card Studio
L.S. Amster Company
in Scarsdale, NY. Photography by
NSS / National Stationery Show
NSS: My Booth at the National Stationery Show
Exhibiting at the National Stationery Show at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC is one of the more exciting things I get to do as a station...
Exhibiting at the
National Stationery Show
Jacob Javits Center
in NYC is one of the more exciting things I get to do as a stationery business owner. It takes enormous effort and planning, not to mention the expense, but it always pays off. And not just in dollars (although there is that) connecting with the stationery store owners around the country that keep me in business is an important reason we make the effort to exhibit.
Designing the booth was a lot of fun. For this exhibit, I went clean and contemporary.
Real Card Studio
is known for it's bold and colorful invitation and stationery designs, so clean white art gallery walls and shiny white floors were the way to make everything I had to show pop.
I also wanted our logo to really stand out, so I gave it its own wall. I had it laser cut out of wood, painted it black so it would stand out, and attached it with offset screws so that up close, it was dimensional against the flat white wall. Sadly, it broke when we tore down after the show so I had to leave it behind. But I was very pleased with its performance during the show.
I did not, however, leave behind my
. Made of transparent acrylic, under the right light the hot pink color made them light up like neon signs. They were my biggest splurge (beside the walls and lighting of course), but they were show-stoppers. Seating in your booth--for visitors, not for you--is important. Getting a potential buyer to take a load off while they look through your catalog is why you are there. These statement pieces did that and more.
The show is three and a half long days on your feet, schmoozing and talking. For those of us that are naturally more introverted, it's both exhilerating and exhausting. By the last day, the traffic through the show slows down dramatically compared to the first day (it starts on Sunday, and some of the shop owners that travel to the show and only stay for the weekend). Exhibitors start to get a little cabin fever, even in a larger 10x12' booth like I had.
One such slow day at the show brought me my most unforgettable moment, which was also my biggest show failure. After not seeing anyone in my booth for half hour or so, I took a walk down the aisle, just to get a change of scenery. When I wandered back in to my booth expecting it to be empty, I found
, editorial director of
Martha Stewart Weddings
magazine looking at my display. She topped the list of people I dreamed of meeting at the show, and I was so caught off guard, I didn't give her my pitch, that I'd been working on eight hours a day for the past three days. I'm not sure I said more than 'hello'. She looked at me, smiled, and walked out of my booth and went to throw confetti around with the
Knot and Bow
gals in the booth across from us. I wanted to punch myself in the face. I'll be ready next time.
Invitation Wording + Etiquette
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