Guest Post – A Little Baby Love with Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Hold onto your seats, because today’s guest bloggers are none other than the fabulous ladies behind Gus & Ruby Letterpress – Samantha and Whitney! In a darling shop in Portsmouth, NH named after their beloved dogs Gus and Ruby, Whitney and Sam offer a carefully curated selection of stationery and paper goods in addition to creating stunning custom letterpress designs for clients. Today I am excited to announce that they are here with an AMAZING giveaway!

At Gus & Ruby Letterpress, we love creating paper goodies for all things celebratory – weddings, anniversaries, family reunions, backyard shindigs, bat mitzvahs, solstice soirees, you name it — we love ‘em. But, one celebratory event that we just can’t stop dreaming up designs for is the birth of a new baby.

yellow-pink-giraffe-letterpress-baby-announcements

blue-green-custom-letterpress-baby-announcements{Cusom letterpress announcements by Gus & Ruby Letterpress | Photos by Emilie Inc.}

Birth announcements are pretty much our favorite things ever. Ruby is a natural mother and Gus just can’t get enough of children. Ok, that’s not entirely true. Ruby is a bit of baby herself and Gus is wary (at best) of people his size. But, Whitney and I, well we could snuggle babies all day long and have an arsenal of fabulous designs in our back pocket for those sweet baby projects that come our way.

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I have a bad habit of creating inspiration boards for fantasy projects.  See this one here? Can someone please have a baby just like the little one in the top left corner and design her a sweet little nursery nest? Please? We’ll make fabulous birth announcements for you if you do.

In fact, in honor of Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago, we’re going to give away a set of 50 custom letterpress birth announcements to one lucky reader! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on our blog in which you describe your dream nursery or source of inspiration for a birth announcement by 8:00pm EST on Friday, May 21st. We’ll then have a super official out-of-a-hat drawing to pick the name of the lucky winner to be announced here on The Sweetest Occasion on Monday, May 24th. Hooray!

We’re so excited to see what you come up with! Oh, also, if you aren’t preggo, we’d be happy to do a set of custom baby shower invites for family or friends, instead. Just because you don’t have a bun in the oven doesn’t mean you can’t dream up a super fab nursery or birth announcement!

Thank you so so much, Samantha and Whitney for this incredible give away! To enter, be sure to comment over at the Gus & Ruby blog and stop back here on Monday to find out if you are the lucky winner!

Photo credits for style board, created on Dessy -
Clockwise from top left: Kari Herer Photography | Studio Mela | Pantone | Petite Collage | O’Brien & Schridde | Kari Herer Photography | private nursery found via kenziepoo | Serena & Lily | private nursery found via kenziepoo.

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Guest Post – Freelance Mommyhood with Wild Ink Press

It’s with great excitement that I welcome the immensely talented Rebakah Tennis of Wild Ink Press to The Sweetest Occasion. Rebekah is a graphic designer, letterpress printer and devoted mom I personally admire – today she’s here to share a little bit of insight into life as a wonder woman juggling all of those titles and more. Without further ado, I’ll allow Rebekah to share her wisdom…

Hello, to all of Cyd’s fabulous readers on The Sweetest Occasion! Rebekah Tennis here. My husband and I have a small but growing letterpress studio in Chico, CaliforniaWild Ink Press. I was thrilled when Cyd asked me if I could write a guest post in honor of the National Stationery Show in New York City this week. Could there be a more fantastic place to be? Wish I was there this year! Sigh…

So, I work from home as a freelance designer. Before wading into letterpress about two years ago, I was a regular freelance graphic designer. That’s what I got my degree in, and I love it. I worked for a small firm in Sacramento for a year or so, before realizing that freelance was the life for me. So for the past seven years I’ve been blessed to work for myself. Those of you who do the same know the great ups and downs -  pick your own (long) hours, find inspiration everywhere as you work, flexible schedule, etc. It’s tough, but enjoyable and reasonable.

Then, I became a mommy. In 2007, a small adorable baby, Cameron, entered our lives. He is now a precocious two-year-old bundle of energy. This is him:

rebekah-wild-ink-press-cameron

He is our first, and honestly, we have a couple more planned (we’ll see…) so kids are likely to have a greater impact on our letterpress business in the future. So does it work to be a freelance, work-at-home mommy? I say yes! While never easy, it’s very rewarding and I wouldn’t change my life for the world.

Here are a few things that have helped me along the way:

Keep reading…

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Milk + Cookie Favor Printables

I am so excited to welcome my next guest blogger, the lovely Kristen of Paper Crave. Paper Crave is one of my favorite blogs, a treasure trove of inspiration dedicated to all things paper and stationery. (Appropriate for National Stationery Show week, no?) Kristen is here with an amazing DIY project and, lucky for you, she’s offering up her amazing designs as free downloads for The Sweetest Occasion readers! Thanks, Kristen!

milk-and-cookies-wedding-reception-ideas-diy-favor-ideas
A little milk and cookies, anyone? Printable milk carton favor boxes and “report card” recipe cards and envelopes help create an air of whimsy in everything from school-themed children’s birthday parties to nostalgia-laced adult birthday parties and baby showers. Place baked goodies in the favor boxes for guests to take home, and include the recipe for the goodies and other favorites in the report card envelopes so they can make their own yummies long after they’ve finished yours.

[Tip: Wrap baked goods in oven parchment or waxed paper before placing in the favor boxes so any butter or oil in the treats won't leak onto the box.]

birthday-party-themes-report-card-recipe-card

milk-cookie-shooters-wedding-favor-ideasAdditional decorating ideas:

Use the recipe report card envelopes as place cards for each guest by adding labels with their names to the front.

Use bowls of apples or bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils (for adult parties, where pointy things aren’t an issue) to create table centerpieces.

Set up a coloring station with boxes of crayons and coloring pages for a fun activity for both children and adults.

Write the party menu on a chalkboard, and hang it on the wall or place it in some other prominent area where everyone can see.

favor-ideas-milk-cookies-download-recipe-cards
Feeling inspired? Download your free milk carton favor box | recipe cards | and report card envelope templates, created especially for The Sweetest Occasion readers. Thanks, Kristen!

{Photos by Paper Crave.}

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Guest Post – Au Courant Trend Alert: Cute Russian Matroyshka Dolls

Erika from Delphine is back this afternoon with one of her favorite current trends in the world of stationery and design. I have to say, this is one trend I absolutely love!

One of the perks of being in the stationery industry is getting to walk around the major trade shows in New York each season – the New York International Gift Fair and, of course, the National Stationery Show. One of the trends I noticed on the trade show floors last year is now starting to show up in stores – adorable Russian Matroyshka dolls. Think Olga meets Hello Kitty…it’s a super cute modern take on the traditional Russian icon and Russian folk art style. I expect to see even more of this darling trend this week at the National Stationery Show.

au-courant-trend-alert-russian-maryoshka-dolls

Shown above -

1. and 4. Nesting doll wrapping paper by The Good Life, available at Paper Source.

2. Set of six white plastic Matryoshka doll measuring cups, from Urban Outfitters.

3. Set of three stoneware Matroyshka doll measuring cups, at Anthropologie.

5 and 8. International “Russian” doll greeting cards by Boda.

6. Russian doll melamine plates by Thomas Paul.

7. Sweet doll notepad from Paper Source.

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Guest Post – A National Stationery Show How-To with Delphine

In honor of the 2010 National Stationery Show opening today, I’m making a rare weekend appearance to welcome my first guest blogger of the week, my good friend Erika Firm. Erika is owner/designer of Delphine, a California-based stationery line specializing in gorgeous wedding invitations, greeting cards, gifts, social stationery and so much more. Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Erika with her how-to crash course for tackling the National Stationery Show for those of you who will be attending as buyers, designers, or press. Thanks, E!

My eye is twitching, my jaw is aching…the National Stationery Show must be right around the corner! It’s the highlight of every stationer’s year – including mine. I’m always super excited to catch up with old friends, check in with favorite shop owners and buyers, make new friends with fellow designers and, most importantly, meet new clients! An incredible amount of work goes into setting up for the show, but it’s all worth it once all of us are gathered under one roof. This year I’ve heard from a number of brand new shop owners (congrats, ladies!) who are preparing for their very first visit to the National Stationery Show, so I thought I’d prepare a little primer, based on their questions and my experience as a vendor/exhibitor…

national-stationery-show-behind-the-scenes-delphineLeft: Two giant crates of Delphine stuff in our booth when we arrive at the Jacob Javits Center.
Right: The blank slate (no flooring, no walls, no good lighting, etc.) – this is what we start with before installation.

Bring lots of business cards.

Whatever number you had in mind, double it. Seriously. You really can’t have too many business cards. Bring more than 100, especially if it’s your first visit to the show. On that note – update your business cards! Business cards should have your full name, the name of your business, a physical address, phone, fax, email and website, as applicable. Please have them professionally printed. If you print them off your home inkjet printer you lose authenticity points. Remember, you will be handing them out to people who design on paper for a living. Whether we like to admit it or not, if you have a crappy business card red flags will raise and we will not take you seriously. (Sorry!)

Visit a booth, talk to a vendor…leave a business card.
One of the main reasons vendors exhibit aside from making sales is to make contact with prospective buyers. If you like us enough to visit our booth, please leave a card so that we can follow up. If you prefer not to be added to an email newsletter list, please indicate that on your business card by writing a note.

Wear your badge.
This one is important show etiquette – I know it’s not attractive, I know it itches, but we all have to do it. And please, don’t flip your badge over so we can’t read your name either. This is considered poor etiquette and disrespectful to exhibitors. If a vendor cannot read your badge she will be thinking, “Oh dear, I hope this person in my booth isn’t trying to steal my designs/rip me off/copy me,” and will be hesitant to answer questions. Nothing makes us more nervous than an unidentified person scoping out our wares. Be upfront about why you have visited our booth. Introduce yourself or remind a vendor of your name. (Confession: I totally remember faces but am horrible with names, and really appreciate it when you remind me!)

Keep reading…

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