10 Planning Essentials

So you're engaged, congratulations! Now there's the little matter of planning the wedding. With a few quick keystrokes inputed into a search engine you can find inspiration and tips on nearly every wedding detail from venues and photographers to seating charts and eating utensils. But what about the wedding planning itself? We've put together a list of ten awesome items that will help you get through the process and smooth out some of the rough edges.

1. #butfirstcoffee. Some days--especially those right after a late night scouring the internet for the perfect shade of white for your dress--might seem like they are solely fueled on caffeine. Might as well make it a tasty cup with expertly roasted beans from Stumptown. If you're not sure what kind of coffee you're into, try the Stumptown Blend Trio ($35) to sample some of their finest signature roasts.

2. Positive daily affirmations are said to reduce stress levels and generally improve self confidence. This kikki.K Kontrast Mug ($15) is sure to keep you optimistic from the get-go. Stay yay all day.

3. While there technically is an "I" in "wedding," there are a lot of people that help you out along the way. From vendors to gracious wedding guests, thank them with a hand-written note on a Letterpress Made Feather Note Stationery set ($13).

4. There are a lot of musings, ideas, inspiration, and notes that need to be saved for later when you're in the midst of wedding planning. A trusty notebook like this leatherette Kate Spade Take Note If I Do Say So Myself Large Notebook ($22) will be your go-to for anything you might need to remember or sketch out until you say "I do."

5. Colorful or patterned Washi tape (various) takes planner organization to a new level. Due dates, appointments, and tasks can be quickly identified at a glance and switching them from one day to another is a breeze.

6. Colored pens are another great way to keep your organization game strong. We love LePen Neon Pens (available at Paper Source, $7 for set of 4) for their smooth writing and popping hues.

7. Your friends and co-workers will probably, and maybe frequently, ask "How's the wedding planning going?" Say no more and simply hold up this "I am very busy" ban.dō iPhone case ($20) and they'll get the picture.

8. Having a small pencil case to use as a catch-all can come in really handy. Use it to store pens, washi tape, and/or receipts. We love this handmade Zipper pouch ($20) by Apple White for its fun pattern and superb craftsmanship.

9. Everyone searches for that perfect to-do app. There are hundreds of them out there so how do you know which is the best? Take it from us, the TeuxDeux app ($3/month or $24/year) by swissmiss is the end-all-be-all. We're huge fans--and avid users--of this one because of its simplicity. Add items to your day (including days or weeks ahead) and simply tap them to cross them out once they are completed. Anything you didn't get to is automatically carried over to the next day. You can also create additional lists for things you might want to get to in the future; expert mode tip: you can also use this feature to make shopping lists.

10. Just like the beauty of TeuxDeux lies in its simplicity, so does the Medium or Large Monthly Planner by JSTORY (available at MochiThings, $7-$13). Lots of planners out there come with endless tabs and sections, which can actually turn out to be overwhelming. Here, each page spread contains a monthly calendar with space on the end for notes and large boxes for each day--with 13 spreads in all you will be ready to tackle an entire year's worth of planning. This is where your washi tape and colored pens come into play. It's easy to see upcoming deadlines or move items day to day or month to month.

Not planning a wedding but know someone who is? These make great gifts--you might even score an extra piece of cake at the wedding!

Scuttlebutt: Kelly & David Nail + String Sign

Scuttlebutt is our occasional posting of projects we've been working on around the studio. This week we're sharing Kelly and David's nail and string sign for their wedding. Yep, it's not letterpress. Sometimes--when the mood is right and someone asks--we create stuff that isn't letterpress related. Well... it's kind of related because it stems from our lovely "Mellow Yellow" letterpressed wedding stationery suite. Requiring superb patience and dedication to create, nail and string signs often evoke that "wow" you want your guests feel when looking at wedding decor. They notice it and take the time to appreciate the work that goes into the piece. 

In the case of Kelly and David's gorgeous name sign, we banged exactly 777 nails into a custom stained board and looped, swooped, and tied countless yards of string. The result is an organic meets geometric meets industrial piece that will, not only, grace their venue on their wedding day, but will probably be an art piece in their home for years to come. Check out the photos of the progress from start to finish below. And contact us if you'd like more info on working with us to create your own custom sign.

Here we go... deep breaths... we got this.

Here we go... deep breaths... we got this.

Okay, one letter done. That wasn't so bad... *sigh*

Okay, one letter done. That wasn't so bad... *sigh*

Alright, now we're talkin'. Time to get our string on!

Alright, now we're talkin'. Time to get our string on!

Many, many, many hours later... we're done! Close up of our yellow string...

Many, many, many hours later... we're done! Close up of our yellow string...

... And the awesome ecru ampersand...

... And the awesome ecru ampersand...

... And peacock blue "David."

... And peacock blue "David."

The final product turned out great! Well worth all the detail work!

The final product turned out great! Well worth all the detail work!

DIY Corner: Oxidize Silver Using Eggs

A few months ago we posted some lovely examples of outdoor-inspired men’s wedding bands. This particular beauty by Epheriell stood out because of its really awesome gunmetal look. The matte effect comes from the fact that it's brushed, but the darkness is actually just oxidized silver, making it a beautiful ring for an even better price. The caveat: oxidized silver will return to its natural shiny state. The rate at which this happens depends on wear and the individual’s body chemistry. But now for the good news: you can actually re-oxidize your ring right at home using eggs. We love this because you don’t have to get mixed up with any nasty chemicals... though we have to warn you that your kitchen will probably have some stink with this method, but at least it’s not harmful.

Photo: Letterpress Made

Photo: Letterpress Made

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
-a container with lid
-one or two eggs
-shiny, silver ring

Photo: Letterpress Made

Photo: Letterpress Made

STEP 1: Get hard (boiled).
This is pretty straight forward. We’re not here to teach you how to hard boil eggs, but if you’re unfamiliar with the process some quick Google-ing will get you squared away. 

Photo: Letterpress Made

Photo: Letterpress Made

STEP 2: Scrub-a-dub-dub.
While your eggs are firming up, wash and dry the ring you’ll be oxidizing with warm water and dish soap then dry it thoroughly. Make sure not to touch it with your hands after this. Any oil or residue or fingerprints on the ring will keep it from oxidizing evenly.

Photo: Letterpress Made

Photo: Letterpress Made

STEP 3: No touching.
When your eggs are done and ready to take out of the pot, you should forgo the typical step of cooling them (normally done to stop them from cooking further). This is because you want them hot and steamy so the sulfur vapors are at max penetration in your container. Peel and quarter each egg lengthwise and place each “slice” around the perimeter of your container yolk side up. Put your ring right in the middle. Again, don’t touch the ring with your hands and also don’t let any yolk touch it either. This will cause uneven oxidization and weird rainbow effects. However, maybe that’s the look your going for, in which case forget what we said.

STEP 4: Waiting game.
Put the lid on your container and wait. You can start checking it after 40 minutes. We knew we wanted a darker look on our ring so we left it closed for 2 hours straight so as not to let any sulfur-y goodness escape.

Photo: Letterpress Made

Photo: Letterpress Made

STEP 5: Admire your craftiness.
Boom! Remove your ring, give it a rinse, and pat dry. You’re ready to rock your re-oxidized ring once again!

Let us know how it goes if you try this method, we’d love to see how it turns out! See the image below for our results, lookin' good!

Photo: Letterpress Made

Photo: Letterpress Made



3 Factors to Think About When Considering Letterpress

To press, or not to press? That is the question--and it’s a common question, at that. Why have something printed on a letterpress at all? And when is digital printing a better choice? Here’s the quick and dirty on letterpress printing and knowing if it’s right for you.

1. Spoiler alert: we can’t print photos.
This is THE biggest limitation we face when asked about creating save the dates, baby announcements, etc. Letterpress is not a means by which we can print photos. Photos are comprised of hundreds and thousands of colors, mixing to create other colors, etc. We can print just one color at a time. Obviously, that makes it an impossible task. And we’re including the inability to print gradients (colors fading from dark to light, or from one color to another) in this, too--though we have special caveats we won’t get into here, it stands as a general rule.
GO LETTERPRESS IF: a) You're okay with not using a photo at all and relying more on design, layout, typography and illustration to create a beautiful piece. Letterpress is lovely in and of itself so let it shine in other ways. b) We can print halftone patterns to simulate a photo--think a blown up version of the dots comprising the images in a newspaper, or something like a Roy Lichtenstein piece. This is definitely not a replacement or a work-around to photo-printing, but more of a stylistic choice. The sizes and spacing of the dots creates areas of light and shadow, but does not create different colors themselves. cThe best solution to the photo conundrum, we feel, is designing around a photo and then gluing it onto each piece. We think it’s the best of both worlds. d) You can plan to include a photo in the “package” in some other way--loose in the envelope, attached with decorative tape, twine, etc. 
GO DIGITAL IF: You can’t let go of the idea of the photo being printed directly on the paper.

2. Sticker shock.
Letterpress is expensive. And it’s for good reason. The cost of quality supplies is only the tip of the iceberg. A LOT of things go into letterpress, from design to file set up to mixing ink to calibrating the press to the complexity of multi-color jobs... the list goes on an on. If you haven’t seen the process happen from start to finish, there is probably a good deal of mystery in between signing off on your proof and getting your finished pieces in the mail. You’re paying for a very special and specific set of skills your printer has acquired over the years--and professional design experience--to make your project happen and letterpress looks and feels like nothing else. 
GO LETTERPRESS IF: You have the budget and understand the tactile quality of letterpress cannot be matched with digital printing.
GO DIGITAL IF: You can’t tell the difference between letterpress and digital.

3. Practice will never make perfect.
No two letterpress pieces are exactly alike, even in the same print run. This is part of the charming quality of letterpress. Slight variations are to be expected and subtle changes from piece to piece are inevitable. Of course there is a quality control aspect and we will remove pages with smudges, glaring blemishes in the paper, etc., but we understand that total perfection is impossible. We also think that these little imperfections are what combats some of the sterility that can accompany a digitally printed piece.
GO LETTERPRESS IF: You like the romance in the idea the each piece was created by hand.
GO DIGITAL IF: You think perfect consistency is key.

Talk to your printer about what you’re looking for. Letterpress isn’t for everyone, and not just for monetary reasons. The project you want printed might actually be impossible to complete exactly how you want it using letterpress printing. Maybe the best solution is a combination of both letterpress and digital. Most printers are happy to bounce around ideas to create the perfect package for you and your specific project needs. If you have any questions for us, specifically, feel free to comment below or shoot us a note using our online form.