Category : Wedding

Heather’s wedding suite

As I recently mentioned, I was a bridesmaid in my sister in-law’s wedding. I had never been a bridesmaid before and was quite honored to have been chosen.

Among my many responsibilities was to go to a fireworks store (yes, they exist – apparently within 5 minutes of my home) and buy sparklers.

I did not realize at the time that said sparklers would result in my catching on fire – more specifically, my shawl.

I’d like to publicly thank my sister in-law for giving the shawl to me as a bridesmaid gift – No stop, drop, and roll for me – I just blew that flame out. Not sure why I didn’t have a major freak out…the whole thing just seemed so damn hilarious.

Now that the wedding has passed, I can show you some of the things I worked on.

I printed the invitations on my Gocco…I think I went through 3 or 4 screens on the main invitation. It was late in the process that I finally realized that my printing problems were not due to the screen, but to the deep texture of the paper (Strathmore Grandee). It was hard to get consistent results.

Wedding invitation Gocco screen

Inked wedding invitation Gocco screen

Gocco'ed wedding invitations

I had to hand-correct the majority of them – I think I fixed over 2,000 little green hearts.

These printed cards were trimmed and punched to become hang tags:

Gocco'ed wedding invitation - information tags

Here’s what the final package looked like – very vintage:

Gocco'ed wedding invitations - packaged

I liked everything much better once it was finished. The baker’s twine was key in pulling it all together.

I made a few other things, like place cards and favor tags:

I also made the guest book, programs, and some other signage, but forgot to take pictures.

The wedding had lots of fun and personal touches – Heather worked hard to give everyone a memorable experience. There was a casual photo booth that included a quilt as a backdrop and an old trunk full of props.

That’s the last of my husband’s siblings – two brothers and two sisters. I’m thrilled that all of them trusted me to make their wedding invitations!

Thrashed Thursday

My intention was to write up a recap of Open Studio Weekend, but my brain can’t get wrapped around it. My life hasn’t yet settled down enough for me to do so.

You see – I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding this weekend. I have lots to do. This is what my worktable has looked like for most of the week:

Messy studio worktable

I really hate this punch. I killed one. It deserved it.

Messy studio worktable

Okay, so maybe I don’t really hate it. The punch makes the cutest little lacy edge:

Chocolate cake sign

But the paper was too thick to take full advantage of the embossing feature. So now I hate you, you evil punch.

Hopefully I’ll get back to my sunny self when all of these little paper bits are off my table!

Worktable Wednesday

Something that not many people know is that I make guest books. I’ve been making them for a while, but it’s usually for custom orders.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change that.

The idea was put in motion by Artisans Hand Craft Gallery‘s upcoming show, The Wedding Show. The gallery sent out a call for work that is suitable for a bride, groom, and/or wedding party. In particular, they’re looking for handmade items that include shades of cream, white, and soft greens.

I figured that now is a great time to officially add guest books to my production line (and soon my Etsy shop). Green is my favorite color and I have lots of materials to choose from – today I started on my first batch of guest books.

Welcome to my thought process.

First, I pull out every possible option for paper and bookcloth (a.k.a. make a big, fat mess):

Handmade paper and bookcloth in shades of cream and green

Some of the materials don’t make the cut. I choose four papers to pair with cream-colored bookcloth:

Handmade papers

The leafy paper at the top is one I use in my line of photo albums. The other papers are ones that I’ve used before for custom orders. It’s hard to see, but the paper at the bottom has baby’s breath in it.

Next I deal with more interesting options. I love this paper:

Handmade paper with grass inclusions

And I have the most awesome floral brocade bookcloth that I bought at (the sadly-closed) Kozo Arts. I decided to pair the dark green brocade with the grass paper.


Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with grasses

The next paper is a harder choice – it has cream and sorta-beige flower petals in it:

Handmade paper with flower petals

I can’t decide which bookcloth to use. Which do you like better?

Option 1: Dark green floral brocade:

Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with flower petals

Option 2: Kinda-peachy/sage green floral brocade:

Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with flower petals

Let me know what you think – even if you don’t like either of them.

I’m on the fence…and it’s a big fence…

Be our guest, be our guest (book)

My brother-in-law is getting married this weekend and I just finished the guest book. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

I gave my future sister-in-law the guest book as a gift for her bridal shower. I used the same paper for the cover as I did for their wedding invitations. I also got to use one of the gorgeous Japanese brocade bookcloths I bought last summer in San Francisco at Kozo Arts (before they closed). I love love love this bookcloth.

Here’s the process in a nutshell:

For the mat under the title card on the front of the book, I used some paper I had left over from the invitations from another Campbell wedding. I can’t help but feel sentimental about making that family connection through paper.

It’s going to be so satisfying to be able to see one of my books in action – I almost never have that opportunity.

Campbell wedding invites, part III

Studio life has been pretty busy lately. First of all, I’ve been engaged in the oh-so-fun [read sarcasm] task of inventory for the past couple of weeks. Although I do enjoy going down paper memory lane (“Hey, I forgot I bought that!”), after the umpteenth piece of paper, I start having stash revenge fantasies.

In addition to inventory, I completed a gift of wedding invitations for my brother-in-law. This is now the third Campbell to have received invitations made by me – since no one has complained yet, I’m assuming that I’ve been doing a good job. There’s only one Campbell left and she’s engaged – thankfully her wedding is over a year away.

I need to time to recuperate.

Speckled moss paper from the Greenfield Paper Company

The invitation wrap was made from paper by the Greenfield Paper Company. The company is located in San Diego and they specialize in plantable seed paper. I used their “Speckled Moss” paper, which contains wildflower seeds.

Wedding invitations in the press

The paper was really thick and after the invitations were scored and folded, I had to press them to help them stay closed. It’s amazing what a little pressure can do.

Note: A lesson for marriage?

Wedding invitation - interior

I used Paper Source’s Eco-White paper for the invitation cards, response cards, and mailing envelopes. Thankfully, the card stock went through my laser printer like a dream. I highly recommend it – it has a lovely texture.

Wedding invitations in a row

The invitations were wrapped in a green lokta paper belly band, which coordinated nicely with the flecks in the outer wrap. I got really lucky with the lokta – I had ordered a bit more than I needed and ended up using all of it. It was a close call!

These were probably the most eco-friendly invitations I have made to date:

  • In addition to being plantable, the wrap paper is made of only post-consumer content.
  • The Eco-White paper is 100% recycled with 30% post-consumer waste.
  • Lokta fiber comes from the Daphne plant, a renewable resource (it reaches maturity in 4-5 years). The harvesting process is actually beneficial to the crop because old growth results in decay, preventing new growth.

Wedding invitations wrapped up and ready to go

I was so glad to get those finished invitations into the mail. I was even happier when I found out that the bride was happy. Happiness all around!

Now I just have to get the guest book done…

The shoemaker’s kid has shoes!

After 10 years and 1 day, I finally finished my wedding albums. I tried to get them done in time for our anniversary, but I got sick last week. Meh.

For years, my hubby has threatened to buy albums from a store so he could start putting in our photos.

That was so not going to happen.

I somehow managed to keep the albums a secret from my husband – and I am a bad liar. I told him that I had a custom order that I didn’t want him to see until it was finished (my studio is in our house).

Wedding Photo Albums

When they were done, I called him into the studio and asked him what he thought of the books. I thought that he’d recognize the albums because they were covered in a bookcloth that we had picked out ourselves. No such luck. His response – “They’re really nice!”

Once I realized that he had no idea what was going on, I had to explain that the books were for us. Then I got the reaction I was looking for.


There is one final touch that is still in the works – an inset for each cover with our names and wedding date. I’m having this done by a local letterpress artist – Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio. I’ll post images of the albums with the insets when they’re done.

Now we just need to get the pictures in…so we have another 10 years to do that, yes?

Tutorial: A-7 Pocket Folders

Finished A-7 pocket folderAs I promised yesterday, what follows are step-by-step directions on how to create your own A-7 pocket folders, similar in style to those for sale at Paper Source.

The pocket folders are perfect for use in DIY wedding invitations (I’ll show you my own finished invitations once the bride has mailed them out).

My tutorial is ideal for creating an A-7 pocket folder in a paper that better coordinates with your colors or theme. The Paper Source website has a tutorial available for download with ideas on how you can further embellish the folders.

In addition, there’s a significant cost savings in making them yourself. By making the pocket folders myself, I spent about $30.75 on materials (paper & adhesive) to assemble the folders (not including tax). Buying the folders pre-made would have cost me $92.25 (not including tax) – this is a significant savings.

Be forewarned this is not a fast process.

Not including the time it took me to figure out the measurements and process, it took about 4.75 hours to assemble 100 folders (that’s about 3 minutes per folder).

On a positive note, the process is pretty easy – so if you have more time than money, this could work for you. If you have eager bridesmaids, make a party of it!

Some notes before I begin:

  • Yes, my cutting mat really is that ugly.
  • I am not a great photographer.  I’m serious, these photos are not pretty. What can I say – I’m a bookbinder, not a photographer.
  • You’ll notice that the images include paper that changes from black to blue…that’s because I realized I forgot to take some key pics, so I had to make another pocket folder to get them.

So here we go!

    1. Cut a strip of paper measuring 16″ high x 6″ wide.
    2. Place the paper on your cutting mat so it is oriented in a horizontal manner.
    3. Measure 5.5″ in from the left side and make a vertical score line.
    1. Measure 3.5″ in from the right side and make a vertical score line.
    1. Place the paper on your cutting mat so it is oriented in a vertical manner, with the 3.5″ scored section at the top.
    1. Using a quilting ruler, measure 1/2″ in from the left side. Make a score line from the top of the paper to the score line, 3.5″ down.
    1. Using an X-Acto knife, cut from 3.5″ (right below the score line) down to the bottom of the paper.
    1. Rotate the paper so that the 5.5″ scored section is now at the top. Using a quilting ruler, measure 1/2″ in from the left side. Using an X-Acto knife, cut from the top of the paper to the 2nd score line, 12.5″ down.
    1. Using a bone folder, make a vertical score line from the 2nd score line (12.5″ down)  to the bottom of the paper.
    1. Cut the 1/2″ wide strips off of both sides of the paper.
    1. You should be left with a shape that looks like a narrow “T”, with the widest section at the top being 3.5″ high.
    1. Rotate the paper so that the wide part of the paper is at the bottom.
    1. Fold in the two side flaps, flattening them with a bone folder.
    1. Unfold the flaps and flip the paper over. Apply adhesive to the back of the flaps. I like roller adhesive because it’s quick and is dry on application.
    1. Make a diagonal cut on the tab from about 1/2″ below the score line to the score line. This will eliminate some of the bulk when you fold the tabs in to create the pocket.
    1. Flip the paper over. Tuck in the two side flaps press down on the edges of the pocket using a bone folder. I recommend using a teflon bone folder if you have one – it won’t leave shiny marks on your paper.
    1. Fold down the top flap to create the cover of the folder. Use the bone folder to press down on all of the folds, making them sharper and flatter.

That’s it! [she said after 17 steps]

Once you do it several times, it gets much easier. If you’re doing multiples, I recommend working on one step at a time on all of your pieces. It will not only save you time, but it will also help you make less mistakes.

I created a printer-friendly pdf of the directions for the pocket folder. If you do print it out, color printing works best. When I printed it out in black & white, the images became less clear.

I hope you find this tutorial is helpful and I’d love to hear feedback on how it worked for you.

Ohhhhh…and send me pics of things you make using the tutorial and I’ll post them on the blog!

Working working working…

Somehow a week has passed since my last post. Meh.

Holidays love to throw a monkey wrench into things. And usually I like monkeys.

I’ve been busy working on my sister-in-law’s wedding invitations. As I’m sure many of you can relate, they are taking much longer to complete than I had anticipated.

To date, 12 Duck Permanent Adhesive Rollers have lost their lives to the invitations. Many more will make the same sacrifice. Please take a moment to honor them.

I won’t be posting images of the completed invitations until they’ve gone out in the mail. I’m pretty sure that’s what the bride would want.

However, I do have something in store for tomorrow. I took one of Paper Source’s A-7 pocket folders and figured out how to make them from scratch, using the paper of your choice. I took pictures of the entire process and will post a step-by-step tutorial tomorrow.

In addition, I will provide a printer-friendly, pdf version of the tutorial for your own use.

Now I just have to go wash this glue residue off my hands.

Please tell me what to do

My husband’s brother and sister are both getting married this summer.

Not to each other, ew.

I offered both couples a wedding gift of handmade invitations and both accepted. I spent the last several days in a frantic whirlwind of wedding invitation assembly for couple #1. (Don’t get me started on the printer nightmare I endured…)

Wedding invitations and skeleton leaves

I came to a strange realization during the process of designing the invitations – I perform better when people tell me what to do. I thrive on super-anal specifics. This is true of any custom order – the more specific and detailed a project is, the happier I am. Given free reign, I will over-analyze every single detail until my brain aches.

In general, this is not good for me. Or my brain.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated the trust that my brother-in-law and his fiancée put in me. They were very flexible with colors and style. However, I know that I just had too much leeway and as a result, I spent countless hours on the design – my perfectionist self wouldn’t allow anything else.

Thankfully, I’m very happy with how they turned out – I think that they really reflect the couple who will be receiving them.

Packages of handmade wedding invitations

I’m thankful that bride #2 is very specific and clear about what she wants. It only took 1.5 hours to completely design her invitation, from walking into Paper Source to purchasing all of the supplies.

Val, I love you for ordering me around. Feel free to do so any time. 🙂

Boxed In

Sea Green Floral Bridal Suite by Blue Roof DesignsToday I spent some time in the studio working on a hinged lid box.

To show you an example, the Bridal Suite at right includes a large hinged lid box that fits all of the contents shown.

The one that I was working on tonight is much smaller – just the right size for papers that you have hanging around, but don’t know what to do with.

The hardest part about making a box cutting out the pieces. It is really difficult to get the pieces square. I do all of my cutting by hand, so there’s always a chance for a small error. Usually these can be corrected with some sandpaper after gluing the pieces together.

Lucky for me, the box I was working on was from a kit so the pieces were already cut.

What a joy!

Today I glued the sides to the base of the box. I’m letting this dry overnight before I proceed to the next step.

Handmade box construction

You can catch a glimpse of my very green cutting mat that I have on my work table. I love the color, but it quickly gets grungy. I hope to kill this one off soon so I can replace it with a darker version.

My customer, who is my web designer Heather Boissoneau, picked out a lovely blue patterned Japanese paper from Paper Source.

Handmade paper and bookcloth

I worked at the Paper Source in Cambridge, MA while I was in graduate school. Back then, they only had 2 stores – they have over 20 now.

Paper Source is the reason for both my paper addiction and my love of bookbinding. They have so many drool-worthy papers…in case you can’t tell, I’m desperately in need of a paper fix.

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