Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas (One Day Late...)!

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it!  I meant to post this yesterday, but in all honesty I was lounging around enjoying the holiday instead of paying attention to my blog.  We had a very nice Christmas filled with good food, fun presents and not doing too much of anything.  Last weekend we decorated our tree - we got a live tree in a pot this year so that we can potentially use it again as a Christmas tree next year, or plant it in the backyard this spring.  Here it is the night that we decorated it:  

My cat, Oliver, thoroughly enjoyed the tree decorating process.  

At least the laying in the tissue paper that the ornaments were wrapped in part.  Isn't he cute? At the top of this post is a picture of our tree on Christmas morning, with all of the presents under it.  

In work related news, we had a small, but exciting event happen just before Christmas.  Our etsy shop, which has only been online since December 14th of last year, now has 200 people who are calling it (us) a favorite!  That's a pretty good milestone I think for only one year of being online.  See the screenshot I took of the favorites below.  I don't know how many of them are reading this blog, but if you are one of those now 200+ favorites, thank you, it's really neat to see how many of you there are out there.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, everyone!  I'm working on finishing up a big custom job today, which I will tell you all about soon, but in the meantime, I thought I should let everyone know that the last of this year's holiday cards (what's left of them, anyway) are now available in the Etsy shop.  I can't guarantee that they will reach you before Christmas this year, but it's never a bad idea to stock up early for next year.  Here are some photos of the last of them:

This one features a string of three origami cranes.  It's printed in red, green, copper and black inks and was inspired by our recent trip to Japan.  It is an A2 size (4.25" x 5.5") and comes with matching red envelopes.  You can purchase them in packs of 12, packs of 6 or as singles.  The Christmas Volkswagen card at the top of this post was printed in 6 colors (that's a lot for letterpress!!) and is also available in packs of 10, packs of 6 and as singles.

Lastly, this cheerful mouse holding a Poinsettia flower card is a 4bar size (3.5"x4.875") and was printed in 5 colors (grey, green, red, pink & black).  It is also available in packs of 10, packs of 6 or as singles.  Go check them out!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let it Snow!

A couple of days ago an unusual occurrence happened in Eugene.  We got snow!  That stuck on the ground... for more than a couple of hours!  (See my feet standing in it above outside of the shop.) We have been planning to release a new set of snow related holiday cards for a while, but now that we actually have snow on the ground it seems a little more fitting.  So here you are: there are now some very fun and festive letterpress printed snowflake cards in our etsy shop.  You can purchase these as singles and in sets of 6 or sets of 10.  

Also new in the shop as of today are some simply elegant Peace Dove cards.  I really love the way this script face looks stretching across the whole front of the card.  

These are also available in sets of 10, sets of 6 and as singles.  Both card designs are a 4bar size, come with really light blue coordinating envelopes and are blank on the inside for your own personal message.  All of our cards generally ship within one business day of order, so if you're running short (or haven't gotten around to sending out any holiday cards yet), head over to etsy and snatch some of these up!  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Featured on Lake Jane!

Twin Ravens Press got a lovely little write up this morning on the design and culture blog Lake Jane!  Blogger Marie-Eve also posted several lovely pictures of a variety of our work from wedding sets to greeting cards.  Check out the post and pictures here!  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Valerie & Rebecca are getting Married!

Hello all!  I know I've been posting a lot of stuff about Etsy and holiday cards lately and not a lot about custom work, so I thought I would take a break from showing off all of the cool stuff you should go out and buy for the holidays to write about a recent custom job.  Remember how I said a while back that I somewhat hastily completed not one, but three custom jobs and got them sent off to their respective clients right before leaving the country for two weeks to go to Japan? Well, I wrote about the first two of those custom wedding stationary jobs here and here, and this my friends, is the third one.  I saved the post about this job for last, partly because I had a lot more to write about it than the other two, partly because the first round of pictures I took of this stationary didn't really do it justice and I wanted to take more, and partly because I was struggling with the tiny imp inside me who never *really* wants to write about politics in conjunction with my work, but sometimes just can't resist anyways.  Remember this post about the Obama cards and voting that I put upright before the election? Yeah, like I said, sometimes it just comes out.

Several months ago, long before the election and Japan and other stuff that's been going on here lately, I was contacted by a wonderful (and rather talented!) lady named Valerie about creating a wedding set especially for her and her fiancee.  I get contacted fairly frequently about creating custom wedding sets, so initially this job wasn't all that different from the many others that I've written about here.  You see, what makes this job somewhat unique other than the stationary designs themselves (and what gives me political-imp amo) is that Valerie's love of her life is also a lady.  So, here we go, political rant first, then pictures of pretty stationary.  (If you would rather skip this part because you're not in the mood for a political rant, or you're like "Yes, Kristin, we know, you're preaching to the choir", feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph and the next one.  After that, I promise, I'll be talking about the actual stationary).

Unless you're reading this from outside of the U.S., or you've been living in a cave for the last few years, you're probably aware of the fact that the U.S. has some pretty unfair and inconsistent laws regarding marriage.  On the whole, marrying someone who is your same-sex in the United States is either banned in most States or recognized as a union, but not recognized as "marriage" in others.  Whether or not individual states allow or recognize same-sex marriages or unions is still a major issue in contemporary politics and elections and is one of the main issues that divides people in this country politically.   The most recent display of this kind of political injustice was this November's passing of Proposition 8 by the state of California which banned same-sex marriages in the state despite a Supreme Court ruling on May 15th of this year that stated "the right to marry in California extends equally to all, gay and straight alike...".  Personally, I find California's contradictory behavior on this issue as well as the majority of the country's lack of acceptance a little appalling.  Personally I think you should be able to marry whomever you want because you're in love with them and want to spend your life with them, regardless of who they are or what gender they happen to be.  I feel much the same way about same-sex marriage as I do about the abortion issue: simply put, if you don't agree with same-sex marriage (or abortion), then don't have one.  That doesn't give you the right, however to tell others they can't if the decision is right for them.  I think in general marriage is a wonderful gesture, but the fact that it isn't extended equally to everyone in this country is pretty sad.  Valerie wrote about these issues briefly in correlation with why she and Rebecca chose to get married on her website far more eloquently than I ever could.  She writes: 
"There are a lot of things about marriage that we don't like, particularly the way marriage excludes some couples and elevates the state of coupledom above all other relationships, but we knew that we wanted to make this commitment to each other, before our friends and family. It is not the right choice for everyone, but it is for us. That’s why we’re recreating marriage for ourselves. Not to say we’re better than other couples because we threw a big party, but because we’re leaping off a cliff together and we want the other people we love (because we also don’t want to cut off all ties from everyone else just because we’re getting married) to be there to catch us."
I think for the majority of people out there, gay or straight, this is what marriage is about or what it should be about.  I don't believe that one couple is "better" or more "real" than another because of the gender or genders of the people in it and because of this and the fact that they are a wonderful couple to begin with, I was delighted to work with Valerie and Rebecca on their wedding stationary.

One of my favorite things about working with any couple on their wedding stationary is that you really get to learn about who the couple is - both as individuals and as a unit.  Valerie is a poet and creative writer receiving her MFA from Florida State University and she and Rebecca fell in love at a music festival under an oak tree in Michigan.  They're favorite colors are orange and green. They wanted to incorporate some of these aspects of their personalities and their story into their wedding stationary - which makes the creative designer part of my job really fun.  We came up with several different designs incorporating botanical elements, oak-themed elements, poetry and literary elements into the designs and this is the one V&R decided on:

Above you can see a picture of the whole stationary suite.  It included an A7 size invitation, A2 size reception card, a 4bar reply card, 2 sets of invitation envelopes, folded 4bar thank you cards and thank you card envelopes.  All of their stationary was printed with three colors: chocolate brown, light green and orange and the four main pieces all feature an oak tree with scattered oak leaves, referencing the place V&R first fell in love.  To incorporate a bit of the literary element into this we chose Garamond as the main font for the stationary, which is the same font Valerie uses for all of her poetry.  We then chose a more whimsical, contemporary font printed in orange for select elements on all of the pieces, like names and dates, etc.  The second photo above is of the invitation itself with the two different envelope colors.  Both of these are outer envelopes that were lined with a white paper - we ended up doing half of one color and half of the other rather than doing an inner and outer envelope.    Below is a close up of part of the invitation so you can see the small details on all of the oak leaves and the different fonts:

The reception card and reply card had a similar layout to the invite and featured the same elements for continuity, but were different sizes.  You can see pictures of these two cards separately below as well as the invite, reception and reply cards all stacked up together.  Notice on the reply card that the format is fairly different from others that I've done.  V&R are having their guests RSVP on their website rather than sending the card back because they're moving in between when they mail out their invites and the actual wedding.  This is a great idea, in my opinion, for couples who are in a similar situation (yay for modern technology!).  

The last part of Valerie and Rebecca's suite was an oak tree thank you card with a coordinating green envelope for after the ceremony.  Check it out here:  

I really love how this set of stationary turned out.  The design and colors were really fun, the couple was wonderful to work with and the printing turned out beautifully.  I especially love how all of the little elements in the stationary really reflect the story and personalities of Valerie and Rebecca.  Valerie was pretty excited about it too.  If you'd like to read what she had to say about the stationary and about working with me and Twin Ravens Press, you can read it on her blog here.  Congratulations Valerie & Rebecca!  You two are awesome! 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cat & Lights Holiday Cards

My sources indicate that there are some very adorable holiday cards now available in the Twin Ravens Press Etsy Shop featuring an orange tabby cat and a long string of tangled up Christmas lights.  The lights loop around the whole card from the front to the back, and the inside is left blank for your own personal message.  These cards are an A2 size (4.25" x 5.5") and come with matching pine green envelopes.  They are available in packs of 12, packs of 6 and as singles.  Go check them out!

Monday, December 8, 2008

They're back!

Hello everyone!  I just thought that I would make a quick post to let you all know that the first of the holiday cards are (finally) back up in the etsy shop.  There will be more designs added later this week, but if you would like a set or a single of the hedgehog holiday cards they are now available for purchase via etsy.  You can find sets of 10 here, sets of 6 here, or the singles here.  Go check them out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Meet Your Maker Show & Sale Tonight!

If you're in Eugene, Oregon tonight you should come out and support your local artists and craftspeople at the December Meet Your Maker Show & Sale!  The event will be this evening, December 5th at the Broadway Wine Bar (200 W. Broadway) from 5-8 pm.  I will be selling some of our new Christmas & holiday card designs there tonight and there will be a free wine tasting and awesome raffle for cool free stuff!  For those of you on the lookout for awesome holiday shopping opportunities, you will definitely find one here.  Other vendors that will be there tonight include: La Petite Vie, Happy Medium, Laura Long, Lucky Lisp, Skull & Bones Production, Cannibal Eclectic, Twinkle, Bree's Way, Bellybaloo, S. Jane, Practical Rabbit, BeBe Babies & Friends, Secondhand Saints, Things in Stuff and Bliss Monkey Studio.  Admission is free so come down and check it out!  We hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Happy December Everyone!    Because we were away and closed for a good portion of November we're a little behind on getting our 2008 Holiday card designs out, but if you've been waiting, I think you will find that they're worth the wait.  Below you will find pictures of the computer-ized designs for this year's holiday cards.  All of these designs will be available in my etsy shop, one by one, starting tomorrow, and all of them will be available by the end of next week!  I'll also be offering the cute holiday hedgehogs that you see at the beginning of this post from last year again as well.  They're going to be $4 for singles, $20 for a box of 6 or $24 for a box of 10.  The larger boxes of 10 are new, and they're a great deal, which is pretty exciting!  If any of you wonderful readers out there would like to pre-order any of the designs you see below (available for shipment or delivery next week), please send me an e-mail at with the Subject line "Holiday Cards" and I will get back to you soon!  Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lindsay & Jordan are Getting Married!

I hope everyone out there had a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Mine was very successful, with a quick drive to Portland, great food, wonderful company and lots of Pecan Pie.  

Now it's back to business though:  below you will find photos of the second of three wedding jobs that I completed just prior to going to Japan.  A few months ago I was contacted by a lovely bride-to-be in Corpus Christi, Texas about printing a wedding invitation she designed herself.  The suite included the invitation, a reply card, and two sets of envelopes.  The colors for her wedding were Chartreuse green (with other greens) and light grey.  We ended up printing her invitation and reply card in light grey ink on Crane Lettra Pearl White paper.  The invitation envelope was also Crane Lettra in the Pearl White to match the invitation paper with the return address printed on the flap in grey ink.  The reply card envelopes were from Waste Not Paper and were a grey color that coordinated very well with the ink - the address on those were printed in black.  Check out some photos of the individual pieces below:

The coolest thing about this invitation set, in my opinion, was the blind embossed pattern that we printed on the invitation.  It's difficult to see from the pictures of the whole invite, but you can check it out in this close-up:

In order to create this effect, we used the same kind of printing plate that we normally would for an inked image, but instead, took our rollers off of the press and printed just the impression the plate would make, without any ink, into the paper.  This technique created a really neat blind-embossed pattern in the paper that is noticeable, but subtle, and in my opinion added an elegant touch to this invitation without printing any more colors or incorporating fancy graphics or patterns into the design.  Check out the whole suite below: 

Very nice, don't you think?  I think so.  Congratulations, Lindsay & Jordan!

On another note: for those of you who haven't bought your Christmas or Holiday Cards yet, Twin Ravens Press is extremely late in releasing our new Holiday Card Designs (what with being in Japan for two weeks and all), but the designs will be up on this blog early next week and they will be available for purchase in my etsy store starting late in the week next week.  I'm sorry I'm so late in getting these out to you and I really appreciate your patience.  Have a great week!  

Monday, November 24, 2008

Classic & Elegant: Kiely & Scott are Getting Married!

Right before I left for Japan there were three different sets of wedding invitations for three different clients that I finished and sent off.  Because I had finished them right before I went out of town, I didn't have time to post about them here before I left.  So, while I get caught up on upcoming custom printing and design jobs and get the *new* Twin Ravens Press Christmas and holiday cards ready for December, check out this beautiful wedding set for a couple in Virginia.  

Kiely & Scott were fabulous clients who wanted a simple, but truly elegant look for their wedding invitations in the form of classic, beautiful typography.  Their desired "look" for their invitations struck a soft spot in my heart because when I first began learning about letterpress printing, the only thing I printed for quite some time were designs made up entirely of typography from antique metal type. While I enjoy designing invitations and cards with multiple colors and a variety of graphical elements, I really enjoyed designing and printing Kiely & Scott's wedding set because it brought me back to my original graphic design/letterpress printing roots.  

Check out the beautiful typography on the invitation.  Kiely & Scott's invitation is a horizontal A7 size invite with two classic typefaces: the script is called "Mozart" and the serif face is "Engravers".  Check out the completed invitation and a close-up of the typography below: 

Pretty, don't you think?  The entire set was printed in black ink on Crane's 100% cotton Lettra paper in Pearl White, which gave the typography a crisp, beautiful impression that you can see and feel.  Also included in their invitation set is a response card with envelope and a separate, smaller reception card utilizing the same gorgeous typefaces.  Check out the close-up pictures of those below:

The last part of the suite that I haven't mentioned yet is their invitation envelopes.  Kiely & Scott's wedding colors are evergreen and navy blue.  When we originally talked, Kiely wanted to somehow incorporate at least one of her wedding colors into the invitation suite, but still retain the rich, elegant, classic look of black letterpress typography on white cotton paper.  The best way we could come up with to do this was with a colored invitation envelope liner.  Kiely picked out a beautiful and unique navy blue paper for her liners which you can see in the photo at the beginning of this post.  It's hard to see from the photo, but the paper she chose looks more like a semi-shiny, woven, mildly-textured fabric than paper (but it is paper!).  I think that using this paper for the envelope liners was a really nice way to add a splash of color to the wedding set without being too overwhelming and distracting from the other gorgeous paper, printing and typography.  Mmm... classic typography, how I love thee so...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And We're back...

I just thought I would make a really quick post to let all of my readers out there know that I'm back from Japan (It was amazing!!) and Twin Ravens will be back in full swing on Monday.  There will be several exciting upcoming posts on this blog for you to look forward to, including three lovely wedding stationary sets that were finished just prior to my departure and new Twin Ravens Press Christmas and Holiday Card designs that will be hitting the etsy shop hopefully on or before next Friday!  If you haven't gotten your holiday cards yet (or are on the lookout for more), check back soon for our new ones!  Talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

There won't be any new blog posts for a while because I'm taking my first vacation since I started Twin Ravens Press.  My boyfriend and I are going to visit a very good friend in Japan starting tomorrow.  I'll be back and the press will be in full swing again starting November 20th!  If you are a client or prospective client and would like to get a hold of me, please send me an e-mail and I will respond as soon as I get back.  See you soon!  Bon Voyage!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fit for a Gentleman

Here is the most recent custom job from the press!  I think these stylish calling cards for Sebastian St. John: Gentleman of Leisure are downright awesome.  I mean what gentleman doesn't aspire to a title like that?  These cards were designed by the client as a gift for her fiancee's best man for their wedding.  They were printed on Crane's Pearl White calling card stock with silver edging in silver ink.  It's hard to see from the photos, but the ink nearly matches the edging on the cards and is really nice and sparkly.  

I also had the pleasure of printing the wedding invitations for this same client right before I got this blog up and rolling.  Nataliya, the bride, is a photographer and part-time graphic designer in New York, who designed her invitations herself and then hired me to print them.  You can check out some of her photography work here.  The suite included a square two-color invitation, two-color RSVP card, white invitation envelopes with turquoise ink for the return address and turquoise response card envelopes with black ink for the address.  Check out the photos of the suite below:  

Here is the whole suite all together.  It included a 5 inch square invite, a reply card and two sets of envelopes.  

Here is the RSVP Card by itself.  

And the Invitation by itself.

And, here is a detail of the invitation so you can get a closer look at the design.  Beautiful, don't you think?  Stay tuned because there will be more photos of new custom work later this week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The One that Started it All

The fact that I'm somewhat knee-deep in custom work at the moment kind of got me thinking the other day about the first custom printing job I ever did.  I really, truly love doing custom work for people and have been designing custom letterpress printed items and other personal projects for quite some time now (for at least the last seven years), but this is the first custom job I can honestly say was done under the name of Twin Ravens Press. 

Twin Ravens is still a very young little company and when I started it almost a year ago, I had a good friend, Ashley, who was about to have her first child.   Ashley is also an artist and illustrator and she had seen some of my early Twin Ravens greeting cards and some of the custom projects I had done for other people prior to starting Twin Ravens Press and she really wanted me to design and print her baby announcements.  I was totally excited and thrilled to do so, but I insisted that the project be a joint venture.  This is what we came up with: 

Ashley had just gotten back to Oregon from a vacation she took in Hawaii and really wanted an ocean-themed birth announcement.  She drew the cute little octopus down at the bottom right-hand corner of the announcement and I found the two starfish shaped ornaments in my metal type collection.  All of the words are Baskerville handset metal type.  The announcement was printed on an A7 size card with rounded corners and was paired with a coordinating blue envelope.  Here is a detail of the type (and yes, that is, in fact, their son's real middle name):

Pretty fun, don't you think?  Oh, and did you notice that picture of the cute little boy playing in the fall leaves at the beginning of this post?  That's Ares now.  He's already almost ten months old.  I took that photo of him playing in our backyard just a couple of weekends ago.  I guess what they say about time is true: it sure does fly...