Hennel Paper Co. is moving!

9 Jun

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We’re packing up and preparing to make the move from Detroit, MI to Charlotte, NC. The shop is going to be closed from noon Friday, June 13 (EST) until Saturday, June 21. All orders placed by noon on Friday will be shipped out the same day. We’ve got a long list of things to do, like packing for instance, while we’re waiting for the moving truck to get here this Friday. We can’t wait to get down there and give you an update on what I’m sure is set to be an interesting journey. We’re so very excited for this new adventure. Here we come, Charlotte.

Behind the scenes with our Grad Cards

9 Jun

A quick peek into the sketchbook with our Grad cards. Follow us on Instagram @jaymesloan and now also @hennelpaperco for shop updates.

 

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Behind the scenes with our Father’s Day cards

28 May

A behind the scenes view at the making of our new Father’s Day cards. I just love the difference between the black and white drawing and the finished art, don’t you? It’s so exciting to see them come to life.

Don’t forget, Father’s Day is June 15th! You can find all of our cards here in the shop and also on Etsy.

Follow us on Instagram @jaymesloan for more behind the scene peeks.

 

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Wishing you a smooth Father's Day.

Wishing you a smooth Father’s Day.

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Screw Flowers

Screw Flowers

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Carolina Bound

21 May

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So we’ve got some big news. Hennel Paper Co. is moving to gorgeous Charlotte, North Carolina. We are in the process of packing up our cute 4 bedroom house (who wants to rent it?) and trying to figure out how to fit it all into a 2 bedroom apartment. If you have any suggestions on that topic, I’d love to hear them – honestly :) We are very, very excited and feeling a little overwhelmed since this is all happening so quickly. The husband was offered a really great job opportunity with his company that we just couldn’t say no to. Plus, who doesn’t want to move to North Carolina, right? They get on average 4 inches of snow a year in Charlotte. Last winter, Detroit saw over 96 INCHES. It was the winter of all winters up here. 

Our move date is set for June 19th. The shop is open and fully functional – (we just released a new batch of cards this week – blog post coming), but we anticipate some down time while we are on the road. It’s a long drive from Detroit with a nervous dog and a sassy little cat. More details will be posted here on shop availability when we have them. Until then, wish us luck packing and finding a tenant. Our house went on the market yesterday afternoon and we have 8 house showings scheduled for today already. Woo!

New Grad Cards

22 Apr

There are new cards galore around here lately. Just the way we like it. This week we’d like to introduce you to our new graduation cards. Perfect for high school and college grads alike. It’s that time of year again. For more information click on the cards or here to visit the Graduation section in the shop.il_fullxfull.590009587_19fd il_fullxfull.589903126_6skb il_fullxfull.589901408_pb5a il_fullxfull.590010913_o9k4 il_fullxfull.589897780_r6dw

Find Hennel Paper Co. now on OpenMe.com

18 Apr

We’ve had a lot going on in the studio lately. We’ve released 35 new cards in the last couple weeks. (THIRTY-FIVE!!) And what’s even more exciting than that is that we’ve teamed up with www.openme.com to be one of their new designers! Have you guys heard of them? If not, jump on over and check out all of the ecard and printed card options available. By the way, the ecards are FREE. Yep, free. Pretty awesome, right? We definitely think so. We’re starting small with OpenMe.com and as we release more products on our site, we will be adding to our collection there as well. We’re so very excited about this and want to thank the lovely people at OpenMe for finding us and giving us this opportunity. xo

 

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Father’s Day Cards

17 Apr

All new Father’s day cards are here – TONS of them! We have the perfect card for your dad, stepdad and your grandpa. I don’t know exactly why, but making father’s day cards are my favorite things to create. Sorry, mom.

View the entire line with more details in the shop here.

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Behind the scenes with our Mother’s Day cards

16 Apr

Take a peek into the making of some of our new Mother’s Day cards. Mother’s Day is May 11th, don’t forget to get a card for your mom, grandma or stepmom! For regular updates and behind the scene peeks, follow us on Instagram @jaymesloanbehind the scenes with our Mother's Day cards Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

April Showers Bring May Flowers

11 Apr

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It’s finally starting to warm up around here and we’ve been getting a lot of rain. I love the rain, especially when I know it’s going to bring us beautiful spring flowers. I put together a few of my favorite Etsy items to celebrate the season. Aren’t they pretty?

1. Flower Wall Calendar – DURIDO

2. Succulent Mason Jars – Bearfruit Succulents

3. Wild Flower Embroidery Hoop Art – Kawaii Sakura Handmade

4. Flower Notebook – Posy Paper

5. Peony Postcard – Oana Befort

5. Floral Folk Art Pillow Case – Giardino

6. Rose Pouch – Studio Liscious

7. Flower No. 004 Print – Oda Photography

8. Whimsical Bouquet – Fairyfold Weddings

9. Spring No. 2 Print – Amber Alexander

10. Poppy Jar Print – Satchl & Sage

11. Patterned Note Cards – Evermore Paper Co.

12. Letterpress Notebook – Cerulean Press

14. Silver Tumbler – My Frenchy Cottage

15. Love Rose Print – Retro Menageries

16. Flower Block Print Art – Katharine Watson

Behind the Scenes with our Easter Cards

9 Apr

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately documenting the before and after pics of our recent new releases. I think it’s so interesting to see the original sketch compared to the final product. Sometimes the drawings are used exactly as I made them and sometimes I put a lot of time into tweaking them digitally before I’m happy with how they look. Don’t you just love how the color brings them to life? It amazes me every time. These are some the before and after shots of our new Easter cards. Follow me on Instagram for more updates like this: @jaymesloan

 

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Linus turns 12

8 Apr

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Twelve years ago last Tuesday, my sweetest friend was born. By my side, rain or shine, he is steady, true and full of love. I cannot believe he is twelve already. It feels like only yesterday that I went to the airport to pick-up the cutest 2.5 pound ball of fur that I’ve ever seen. He flew in from Oklahoma, alone in his cat carrier and scared to death from the plane ride. I kneeled down to peek inside and saw two quivering ears popping up out of the shredded newspaper. I reached in to help him out and fell in love. I never would have imagined that a tiny little puppy would be able to completely change my world like he has. We haven’t looked back since that day. Where I am, he is. And where he is, so am I.

Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet pup.

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“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” 
― Elbert Hubbard

Love Blooms

8 Apr

edit-IMG_2531 A couple years ago for our anniversary, Steve gave me a little baby rose bush. It was in a miniature pot and had the sweetest teeny, tiny, little bloom on it. I am not so great at keeping plants around, but amazingly enough I have been able to keep this little plant alive for over two years. It’s gigantic now compared to when we got it and what’s even more exciting is that after two and a half years, our sweet little rose is blooming again. It had been so long since it first bloomed, we had sort of accepted the fact that it probably wouldn’t happen again. But lo and behold, there it is. I’m so happy we were wrong. Hopefully it won’t be another few years before it flowers again. It’s too pretty to wait so long in between.

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The three pots on the right are the cat’s. We’re currently attempting to grow a pot of cat grass and two pots of cat nip. As you can see, the cat nip never last long. They are basically demolished immediately upon sprouting.

Hey, Mama.

26 Mar

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and we have lots of new cards in the shop, perfect for moms, grandmas and stepmoms! Click on the pictures to view more information or visit the entire Mother’s Day collection here.

 

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Life with Lilly: The Spring Cleaning Series

25 Mar

Last weekend I spent sometime weeding out old clothes from my closet. It’s almost spring in Michigan, and I say almost because at some point it has to stop snowing, and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. I decided to get a jump on it this year, maybe to give the world a hint we’re done with winter. Like, really done. We’re 3 inches of snow away from being hands down the worst winter on record, and I think I can honestly speak for everyone when I say we are ready for spring.

Somehow every year during the winter months our house becomes so cluttered with stuff. I don’t know how this happens exactly or where it all comes from, but low and behold every spring we have a porch full of items to donate to Goodwill. Does anyone else experience this phenomenon?

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This year, Lilly of course, got involved. She is a very involved pet. While Linus snoozes on the rug next to me, she is in my face. Most of the time I feel my way through a task because I cannot actually see what I’m trying to do, instead all I can see are whiskers and fur. For some reason she really loves to “help me” wash dishes and open the mail, which means that she mostly likes to get in the sink and sit on the mail, but I like to think that’s her brand of helping. So to help me clean out my closet she decided the best place she could possibly be was on top of the donation pile. I make a new pile, she gets on top of it. I relocate her to an equally comfy spot, she is immediately back on the pile. After about five minutes of that game I gave up and just let her stay there.

Pick your battles :)

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Hello, 31.

21 Mar

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Today is my birthday and I’m ready for another wonderful year. To help me make the most of it, I like to create a goal list that helps stay me on track throughout the year. I really believe the key to making these lists is to be specific. The more specific your goal is at the beginning the less room there is for interpretation and ultimately procrastination. Some of these are small goals and others are long term, but all of them will help make another great year. Here it goes:

  1. Curl my hair more, at least twice a week
  2. Rebuild our backyard deck
  3. Go back to North Carolina <3 (and perhaps stay there forever)
  4. Blog more, 3 times a week is my goal
  5. Post at least one thing a day on Instagram
  6. Complete an entire greeting card line for all occasions
  7. Expand our product line to include ready-made custom invites, art prints, notebooks and tote bags
  8. Actively pursue more custom work that fits in with my goals
  9. Start selling my products wholesale and get into 10 stores
  10. Continue to workout on a regular basis, three – four times a week
  11. Clean out and organize our house
  12. Take time to experiment with new art projects and leave room for failure.
  13. Reach 500 Etsy sales
  14. Do at least one craft show – Rustbelt Market or the Detroit Urban Craft Fair
  15. Start participating on social media more, especially Twitter, on a regular basis
  16. Go to a conference
  17. Solidify my brand style and marketing plan
  18. Get a business mentor
  19. Start Screen Printing
  20. Read a book a month, bonus if at least half of the books are from my 2014 Reading list
  21. Spend quality time every day with Linus <3
  22. Build my creative confidence and continue to improve my skills
  23. Try a new local restaurant every month
  24. Create a line of products whose proceeds go to an animal welfare group
  25. Improve my product photos
  26. Go to a concert with Steve
  27. Learn to sew
  28. Build a new portfolio site
  29. Go on a date a week with Steve. All fun, no business.
  30. Get an actual (not-for-profit) hobby, maybe photography.
  31. Get a cute swimsuit and swim in the ocean

A few ongoing goals of mine are to strive to focus on quality over quantity, to slow down and relax, and to accept that fact that some things just take time. I’m a hyper productive person and I want what I want, when I want it, so I’m really trying to have more patience just in general.

Steve and I both took that day off work to spend the day. Two years ago today it was 80 degrees outside and we went to the Detroit zoo. Today was 40 out, and we decided to go to the zoo again. It was chilly, but with the winter we’ve had 40 felt like a heat wave. Happy weekend, everyone!

See my last couple lists:
29 in 29
30 in 30

 

Goodbye, 30.

20 Mar

goodbye-30

Today is my last day of being 30 and I’m actually sad to see it go. I wasn’t thrilled about turning 30 (who is, right?), but it turned out to be an amazing year. I don’t really like the idea of turning 31. I realized though that the 20′s might be gone and now so is 30, today – RIGHT NOW, is the youngest I’m ever going to be again (and that was the exact thought behind this card I made a few weeks ago). So I’m going to enjoy it rather than feeling like an old lady.

30 was a truly great year. I was busy. I changed gears in my life and my business and it made a huge difference. I feel like a new person and am really excited about the direction I’m moving in. Let me tell you a little about what happened this past year.

1. I got a new full time job. The job I was at was draining me. I was bored and feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere with it or doing anything to make myself a better designer. It wasn’t a bad job, but it wasn’t right for me. I accepted a promotion and moved up to a Senior Designer within the same organization, but in a new department. I work at a public university, so a new department basically means a new company. All new management, different project focus, pretty much different everything except the name on the pay checks. So far it’s been really great and I’ll celebrate my one year anniversary on May 1st.

2. Got a better sense of my creative style. This started with getting a better idea of my personal style. My work is more cohesive and recognizable.

3. Changed gears with my business. When I started out I knew nothing about what I was going to do other than the fact that I wanted to do it. So it really took some work to figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to do that. I think I’ve done a really good job over the last year in determining what it is I actually want to be doing. This is a process though and it’s something that is going to evolve with me as I go.

4. Wrote a serious, professional business plan and set my one, five and ten year goals. I feel so much more confident about the direction of my business and exactly where I’m going.

5. Started sharing my work publicly online on things like Instagram and Behance. This has really made a huge difference in starting to build a name for my company.

6. Put together a better household financial plan. I’ve always been very financially responsible, but this year we really adjusted how we do things to make sure we are saving as much as we can and also paying off as much debt as we can. We set in a motion a three year plan to have all of our debt paid off except our house, while still be able to do fun things together like go on vacations.

7. I got more courageous this year. I don’t want to say that I’m an anti-social person, because that’s really not true. I love meeting new people and making friends. I am very socially timid though. I don’t like big crowds and I’m uncomfortable around people I don’t know. I took some big leaps this year and searched out new groups and communities. I also started engaging with new people more through social media. I also attended a Minted “Mintie Meet-up” and met some great new friends.

8. Got more involved in Etsy Teams and the Etsy community.

9. Updated my brand and created a new logo that fits more with my personal and creative style.

10. Started a greeting card line. This was a major turning point with HPC this past year. It helped me get more products out there and helped to let me define my illustration style. It’s a process, but with every new release I feel like I am getting better, more cohesive, beautiful products.

11. Figured out a different more efficient way to produce our products. It’s been more cost effective and also lets me test new designs without investing a ton of money that could potentially be lost.

12. Changed our studio to set-up a more production efficient space to meet demands of increased sales.

13. Really focused on quality over quantity. I did this both at home and with the business and products I create. It’s helping me create a clutter-free home that we truly love and also helping focus my brand to a very specific style.

14. Set-up a print studio in our basement for block and screen printing that I can get as messy as I want. So much fun!

15. Took on custom wedding invitations clients and started focusing these to hand lettered designs only. That’s what I love to do and anything outside of that is distracting me from my goal and not adding to my portfolio.

16. Our cards were featured on amazing blogs like Oh So Beautiful PaperPaper Crave and also on the Lonny blog. This was and is so exciting every time it happens.

17. Did an online exhibition with Paper & Stitch.

18. I created an absolute ton of new greeting cards this year. It was really surprising to me to see which ones were popular verses what wasn’t.

19. Spent a lot of time refining my hand lettering skills. It’s starting to become second nature to me now when at one point a few years ago it seemed almost impossible.

20. Started getting my products ready for wholesale and making connections with local shops and designers. We are very excited to announce we have officially started selling our products wholesale!

21. Built our own privacy fence.

22. Took Linus on a lot of adventures like the cider mill, Downtown Royal Oak, lots of car rides and some vacations.

23. Went to Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.

24. Drove to the UP for Steve’s 30th birthday

25. Spent a weekend in Traverse City, MI with Steve and Linus

26. Installed a new super efficient furnace and central air. We didn’t have AC before so we are both so excited about this one.

27. We realized that Steve has a gluten allergy and we switched over to a gluten free diet. It has made a huge impact on how he has been feeling.

28. Started an art collection of different prints from different designers and illustrators to hang up around our home.

29. Handmade a wooden headboard for our bedroom and made this a cozier space for us to relax.

30. Won an online photo contest with my favorite yarn store for a free gift card. This was a joint effort between me and the cat. I took the picture, she looked cute for it.

That’s a lot of stuff going on. I’m so excited about getting started on the next year. Stay tuned tomorrow for my 31 in 31 list.

Check out my lists from the last couple years:

29 accomplished in 29
29 in 29
30 in 30

Life with Lilly: The Cat Grass Series

11 Mar

life-with-lilly-cat-grassLike most cats, our sweet little bundle of fur loves more than anything else to go outside and eat the grass. Sometimes before I can even open the door enough to walk through she is out the door, down the stairs and off into the backyard like a speeding bullet. I like to give her as much time as possible outside when the weather is nice because I know how much she loves it. This time is supervised, meaning I sit outside and watch her like a hawk. Why? Because she is bad, that’s why. She has discovered that she can climb up under our back porch deck and hide there without me being able to get to her. It is her favorite place to be. Let’s face it, if I was her I’d do the exact same thing. It has to be similar to finding a cozy little hiding spot when you were a kid and claiming it as your own. Getting her back from under the deck usually results in me bribing her out with cat nip and treats. That works about 50% of the time. The rest of the time is on her schedule. This could take a few minutes or an hour, it really just depends on how sassy she is feeling that day.

lilly-cat-grass1During the winter months, as an alternative to going outside, I’ve started a little window sill garden for her. We have a pot of cat nip, which is devoured immediately upon spouting, and two rotating pots of cat grass. We have two pots of grass so that one is constantly growing while she is working on destroying the other one. I say destroy because she mostly likes to rip the grass out of the pot and drop it on the counter. It goes like this: she rips it out, drops it and then death stares at it like she can’t believe it had the nerve to come up out of the dirt. At this point, it’s dead to her. See below.

lilly-cat-grass4This is fairly new system I’ve implemented for her that seems to be working out quite well for both of us. It takes her a few days to completely decimate the first pot, which is about as long as it takes for a new pot to sprout up. It’s a never ending cycle of destruction, just the way she likes it. The more I please her during waking hours, the less she torments all of us in our sleep. More on that a different day.

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Hello, Baby!

10 Mar

We’ve got several new additions in the shop. I’d like to introduce you to our new baby cards all hand lettered and oh so lovely.

Find them in the shop here:

Bundle of Joy

Hot Air Balloon Welcome Little Baby

Oh Baby Pacifier

Counting Sheep & Missing Sleep

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New in the shop: Birthday Cards

3 Mar
I’ve been as busy as a bee lately. We’ve got all kinds of new products in the shop and just released what may be my most favorite cards to date. I’m pretty sure I say that about everything, but I can’t help it. They are super colorful and tons of fun. Perfect for just about anybody with a birthday coming up. All of our cards are hand lettered and produced in-house on recycled materials. We strive to create the highest quality products we possibly can while maintaining our commitment to use eco-friendly materials. Visit the birthday card collection here or click on the photos to go right to their shop page.
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As we are expanding our product line, we would love to hear your ideas for cards that you’d like to have available! Leave a comment below or send us an email through our contact form.

Right This Way

28 Feb

A little Etsy window shopping for the day. I think it’s so much fun to see how each artist can put a different spin on arrows. Links to each item are below. Happy shopping!

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Woohoo, new note cards!

27 Feb

We’re welcoming a new note card set to the shop this week, perfect for when congratulations are in order. These cards are sold in sets of 8 and come with 2 of each design: Congrats, Yay!, Nicely Done! and Woohoo. All of our cards are produced on recycled materials by hand in our SE Michigan studio. Find them in the shop here. il_fullxfull.562798743_bsel

I’ve been doing most of my blogging lately over at shops blogs. Hop on over there to follow us!

Studio Snapshots

26 Feb
Last weekend, Steve and I spent some time working to make the studio more organized and efficient. It really had the post-Christmas disaster zone look going on. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Everything was everywhere. Thankfully we were able to not only get it cleaned up, but we also reorganized the layout to make everything 5S, as Steve keeps calling it. Which basically means we set everything up to go around the room in the order that I produce items. studio-snapshot1
1.) Computer to print order
2.) Print & Envelope station
3.) Score, Fold, Cut
4.) Pack
5.) Ship
It goes around the room in a full circle now and that is so sooo nice because it really streamlines the process and helps to avoid any mix-ups or confusion. I took a few shots of the new and improved layout.

studio-snaphot2I love the cafe lights, they make the room so cheery. Our shop sign is almost done. It still needs a second coat of paint, but it’s getting there. If you are interested in seeing a picture of this sign in the making there is one here on Instagram. I took the original drawing I did for our logo, transferred it over and then hand painted it on this huge board. I’m pretty smitten with it. studio-snapshot3The studio is my favorite part of our house. It’s so calm and peaceful in there and filled with endless possibilities. Plus my little babies follow me up there and help me work. Well, they mostly nap while I work, but I think that counts.

Goodbye February, Hello Easter Cards

25 Feb

It’s almost the end of February, friends! I am particularity excited about that because it means the possibility of warmer weather, especially for us Michigan folks. It also means that Easter is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to get a head start on your Easter Cards, you know, if you do that sort of thing. I think sending an Easter card to loved ones we don’t get to see is always such a nice thing. We’ve got a whole bunch of new cards this year, ready for the picking. This one is my favorite :)il_fullxfull.566103544_g9q1

il_fullxfull.566109374_3xph  il_fullxfull.566224937_j1aq

il_fullxfull.566076326_dolt    il_fullxfull.566221537_hyzt

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Finished Knits: Bella’s Mittens

24 Feb

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I love to knit, especially in the cold winter months. It’s dark when I leave for work in the morning and it’s dark when I come home. It’s cold, I mean cold, outside and there just isn’t as much to do. Knitting keeps me busy, warm and it’s a creative project for me to feel like I’m doing something productive rather than just watching Netflix. I recently finished these mittens and just love them. They are so warm and cozy and perfect for the below freezing February days where it just will not stop snowing. Have I mentioned yet that Michigan has broken it’s all time record for the most snow ever this year and winter is not even close to over. These beauties really came in handy when I got my car stuck in a snowbank the other day and had to shovel it out. Ahh, Michigan. It’s a love/hate relationship sometimes.

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Pattern: Bella’s mittens
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-ease Ranch Red

Love is Sweet

21 Feb

We are so so excited to announce the beginning of our semi-custom line of wedding invitations and save the dates. We are rolling out new products in phases, starting with five hand lettered & lovely save the date photo cards: Grace, Charlotte, Clara, Ruby & Eva.

They are perfect for your beautiful engagement photos with designs to fit several different photo styles. These gals are easily customized to match your wedding plans, with eleven different hand illustrated backer patterns to choose from in your choice of colors.

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Learn more about our save the dates here. Have questions before you order? Piece of cake, contact us here. Get behind the scenes views of these designs in the making on Instagram.

Grey Skies

21 Feb

This winter is starting to feel like it may last forever. We’ve been watching the snow fall for months now and I don’t remember a time that I have ever seen more snow on the ground. The air is crisp, the skies are grey and I’m not quite sure of the last time the sun peeked through the clouds. You know what that means, online window shopping while snuggled up under a blanket with some hot cocoa, of course. These are some of my recent Etsy favorites.

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My 2014 Reading List – For the Creative Entrepreneur

20 Feb

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So now that we’re well into February (how did that happen?!) I figured it was about time to post my 2014 reading list. Most of these books are geared toward small business, design and creativity since that’s what I focus on in my free time. It is not a reading list for everybody, but it’s my reading list and I hope it inspires some of you. There are a few at the bottom that are focused on the greater good that I’m particularly excited about. I’m currently working on Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary and it’s already wonderful. I may not get through some of these books this year, but I can sure try. If you’ve read any of these books, leave a comment and let us all know what you thought of it!

Money, Business, Design & Creativity

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
by Marty Neumeier

Start
by Jon Acuff

We Are All Weird
by Seth Godin

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
by Michael Hyatt

The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Your Shit Together
by John Carlton

Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
by Pamela Slim

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
by Sally Hogshead

The Compound Effect Paperback
by Darren Hardy

The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
by Danielle LaPorte

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown

How to Invest $50-$5,000: The Small Investor’s Step-by-Step Plan for Low-Risk Investing in Today’s Economy
by Nancy Dunnan

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
by Daniel Goleman

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice 
by Todd Henry

Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process 
by Blaine Hogan

Normal Gets You Nowhere
by Kelly Cutrone, Meredith Bryan

Die Empty
by Todd Henry

The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship (The Portable MBA Series)
by William D. Bygrave, Andrew Zacharakis


Life with Lilly

20 Feb

If you don’t already know, we adopted a cat from a local shelter in 2009, named Lilly. You can read about that (and then some) here. She is sweet and cute and absolutely fully of personality. So full of personality in fact, that I’ve decided to start a little column here on the blog to share some of her stories with you, called Life with Lilly. It’s mostly going to be funny photos of her non-sense and shenanigans. And here it goes..

 

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One thing I love more than Nate Berkus is Target, put them together and you’ve got a winning combination in my book. We purchased this basket to keep our mail in and our counter top tidy, but upon bringing it home, it was immediately reclaimed (along with everything in it) as a miniature sized cat bed, or maybe she is just an over-sized cat. You can find her here at any given point during the day. Need something out of that basket? You’re going to have to wait your turn. My favorite thing about this situation is that half of her body doesn’t even fit and you know she cannot be that comfortable. But still, it’s hers and she loves it.

Hey, love.

9 Jan

The Valentine’s Day cards are here, a whole mess of them. They are all hand lettered and illustrated by me and produced on 100% recycled materials. All of the cards are 5×7 and blank inside so you can write your own cheesy message. We are especially smitten with the new line of animal cards. There is just something about a cute, fuzzy critter that makes you feel all lovey inside.
View them all here.

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Get Found on Etsy

12 Dec

etsy-get-found-550Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on Etsy trying to figure out how to improve my stats. I want more views, more favorites and more sales. Just like everybody else. I’ve been hearing, and thinking that I understood, everyone saying it’s all about the Keywords. I was tagging my listings, using all 13 available keywords, thinking like a shopper and using words shoppers would think to use. Turns out I was doing it all wrong. I’ve been reading articles from the seller’s handbook and have also found the community forums extremely helpful. So here are my top five mistakes and some other important things I’ve learned along the way.

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to my stats. I always check to see my activity, views and favorites, but I wasn’t really paying attention to where the traffic was coming from. I missed out on some really great features where my cards were published. I didn’t even know that one of our father’s day cards was on Lonny.com until today when I went back to look at traffic sources from this whole year. Um, Lonny is kind of a big deal guys, I would have been telling everyone and their brother about that at the time. P.S. Check that out here.

Mistake #2: Listing Titles! The titles section has essentially turned into another keyword section, more or less. It’s less about describing the item for the shopper now and more about the search algorithms. They way Etsy’s search works, it uses keywords from the title, and the closer the words are to the front of the title, the more importance they have in the search. I thought I was creating good, descriptive titles for my listings, but according to Etsy’s standards my titles were not so great. The absolute most important words should be grouped together at the front. So my old title would have been something like this: “Silent Night Holiday Greeting Card A7″ but the new title is: “Cabin Holiday Greeting Card Set of 8 A2, Silent Night, Winter Cabin, Rustic, Snow, Stars, Hand Illustrated, Christmas, Recycled”. Yep. People are banking on the fact that shoppers use the image, not the title.

Mistake #3: Using single word keywords instead of phrases. Apparently using phrases are the way to go. You get more bang for your buck, basically. The best way to use keywords is to use terms that shoppers would look for an item with. So for instance, my old tags were something like christmas, holiday, card, set, greeting, etc. But they should have been holiday greeting, christmas greeting, christmas card set, holiday card set, etc. Descriptive phrases.

Mistake #4: I wasn’t keeping track of my keywords. I added what I thought was good and that was that. Wrong. You have to not only keep track of what you use, but you should be keeping track of what keywords people searched to find you. You need to be monitoring what terms are getting traffic and what terms aren’t. If a term isn’t getting you views, then it needs to go and something else should be tested out.

Mistake #5: I wasn’t looking to see what keywords similar items in other shops were using. That seems pretty basic, but I wasn’t aware that was available information. Apparently it is. At the bottom of each listing page there is a section called “Related to this item”. Those are the keywords. Take note.

Notes, Observations & Research
Once I changed my listing titles in combination with the keywords, my views started going up almost immediately and my items popped up to the first few pages of the related browse sections. Ahhhhh! Why am I just now figuring this out?! Right? If you are reading this, you’re probably thinking the same thing. Below are my notes from my research.

Etsy search is based on RELEVANCY, not recency. Meaning how relevant your item is to the search term used instead of how long ago it was listed for sale. This is why keywords and titles are so important.

1. The most relevant words that would be searched for should be at the beginning of item titles.

2. Phrases in titles should match phrases in keyword tags.

3. Single word Keyword tags are not effective, use phrases instead.

4. Vary listing names (titles) with synonyms. ie: childrens, girls, toddlers, so each similar listing is different. This will help to reach more people.

5. Recency does play a small role in search results, especially when a shopper searches for a broad term, ie: greeting card. Add items to your shop regularly.

6. Use shop stats to monitor and modify what is and isn’t working. Test, test, test.

7. Compare to tags from your competitors. See what’s working for them.

8. Create an ongoing list of tags for your items, to have on hand when you make new listings and also to track what you know works and what doesn’t. Also keep track of the search terms people used to find your shop.

9. Use descriptive words, think about synonyms.

10. Reference the Google keyword planner for ideas.

11. Use the Etsy search bar to start typing in your search term, it will pull up recent searches from shoppers and give you ideas for keywords that shoppers are using.

12. The Relevancy Search algorithm IGNORES punctuation, no needs to use commas or dashes. Google ignores this too, but looks for words grouped together.

13. Search the community forums for help. Use this space to ask informed questions. I find this more helpful than searching through old and potentially outdated articles. https://www.etsy.com/forums

Helpful Articles:
Brainstorming Keywords
How to Get Found in Search
How to Get Found in Browse
Put Your Shop on Top – relevance search
Make your shop more relevant

And for now, that’s all I know. If you know more than me, leave a comment below.

Hand Lettered Holiday Gift Tags – Free Download

6 Dec

hpc-gift-tags-webThis year I thought it would be fun to create some hand lettered holiday gift tags to put on our presents. And since they turned out so stinking cute we’ve decided to make them a free download so you can use them on your gifts too! There are 8 different designs in total with 14 tags printing to a sheet. The file is set-up to easily print on letter size paper. We printed ours on 80# card stock, but anything in the 65-100# weight range would work nicely. After printing we used a paper cutter to trim them down to size and then used a small hole punch. Pair it up with some jute twine or cute baker’s twine and you’re really going to give a pretty gift to your friends and family. Click here or on the photo below to download.

HPC Hand Lettered Holiday Tags

We’re on Papernstitch + New Products

4 Dec

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We’re really excited to officially announce the we’re exhibiting on Papernstitch through the end of the year! If you aren’t familiar, Papernstitch is an online exhibition space that was created to promote artists, designers, and makers selling handmade goods. The exhibition space is fabulously curated on a monthly basis by Brittni Mehlhoff and showcases the very best hand-picked items on an international level.

We’re very very excited to be part of it. And as a little bonus we’ve made today’s top pick and are being featured on the pns homepage! Thank you Brittni!

And like that isn’t enough, we’re also debuting a few new products to celebrate. These products are currently only in our Etsy shop, once we get them on our website we will make a formal announcement back here.

 

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Go check out Papernstitch!

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Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!

28 Nov

Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!

This year we have two ways to shop our biggest sale of the year. We’re offering 20% off everything in our Etsy shop with code ENJOY20 OR free shipping on your order above $10 from our website (no code necessary). Take your pick, but don’t think about it too long, only good from now through Monday, December 2.

Three Years of Marital Wonderfulness + a Little Adventure

15 Nov

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Last week Steve anImaged I celebrated our three year anniversary. It’s pretty much been a whirlwind ever since we met. The time is just flying by, each day gets better and our relationship grows stronger and stronger. Getting married was a welcomed, but somewhat scary transition for me. I’ve always been extremely independent and completely ok on my own. I liked taking care of myself and having the sense of pride that comes along with that. So moving in and joining my life with another person was an adjustment, but I am proud of both of us. We’ve learned how to go from “me” to “we”, if you will excuse the cheesiness of that phrase, and we’re doing a really great job at it. We’ve moved to a place in our relationship where we feel strong and act as a single unit, while still maintaining our own unique individuality. That’s not always the easiest thing to do. Marriage is a wonderful adventure, friends.

This year to celebrate, we went on our own little adventure. We both really love to travel, so we planned a quick trip up north to see the beautiful wine country of Traverse City, Michigan. Since it was just an overnight trip we thought it would be really fun to bring our Westie, Linus, with us. He loves the car, going places, and anything that involves his leash, but most of all he loves being included. Anytime we leave the house without him his little face goes from super excited to super sad. It breaks my heart every single time. So this time, he got to go. I’ve rarely seen him so excited. He was racing through the house at full speed with that huge Westie smile on his face, I couldn’t get him in the car fast enough. He is just like having a little kid, except furrier. It turned out to be a pretty drizzly weekend, but the scenery was still absolutely beautiful. We caught the end of the autumn colors, drove up the Old Mission Peninsula through wine country and walked around downtown sipping pumpkin lattes, mmm. Short little trips like this are such a nice break from reality that give you the chance to slow down and relax. These are a few photos I was able to snap through the rain.

 

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Into the Woods

8 Nov

I don’t know about anyone else, but with the changing seasons I’ve been infatuated lately with the idea of buying a little cabin in the woods and cozying up there for a while. If we did I would fill it with all of these warming Etsy finds. Do you love Etsy as much as I do? I think my favorite thing about it is that you never know what you are going to find. It really makes you feel like you are finding a new treasure every time you visit.
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1. Herringbone Tea Towels
2. Hand Carved Antlers
3. Wood Grain Ring
4. Reclaimed Chevron Wood Wall Panel
5. Wood Slice Coasters
6. Pinecone Letterpress Card
7. Organic Cotton Printed Bucket Tote
8. Mixed Metals Minimalist Necklace
9. Quilted Ceramic Mugs
10. Vintage Wood Crate
11. No Vacancy Sign
12. Painted Branch Tealight Holders
13. Reclaimed Industrial Coffee Table
14. Rustic Wooden Wreath
15. Hanging Bird Calendar
16. Free Spirit Wall Art

Illustration Process Snapshots

23 Oct

So today I thought it would be fun to show a little glimpse of my illustration process. This is something that I’ve been working on for a while now and I ended up writing a detailed explanation of the entire process, where I go into specifics on each step. If you’re interested in seeing how I do it, hop over here and get the whole scoop.

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‘Tis The Season, The Holiday Cards Are Here

15 Oct

We’re so excited to to finally be announcing our brand new, beautiful line of holiday cards. These have been ready to go for months and it’s been so tough to keep them under our hat until now. From Thanksgiving to New Years we’ve got everything you need to get a head start this year, including a new addition to our product line. We’re very thrilled to introduce two personalized card sets for a custom look without the custom price — printed special for your family. There are only 70 days until Christmas so now is the perfect time to get started.

Boo!

20 Sep
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Cue the creepy haunted house music, the Halloween cards have arrived. I’m swooning over the black princess skull. It’s the perfect mix of creepy and beautiful. What do you think? Do you send Halloween cards out? Growing up me and my sisters (all six of them) used to get cards from our grand parents and other close relatives. That’s always a nice little memory for me. Halloween isn’t a big family get together kind of holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but sending a card is a nice way to still celebrate with everyone you love. I’ve got a stack over here waiting to be addressed.

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A Wedding in the Mountains

8 Aug
I’ve been sharing little bits and pieces of this project for a while now on Instagram and am excited to finally be able to share the whole project on the blog today. I’ve been working with a wonderful lady on these for her and her fiancé. They are getting married on a mountain top in California and it sounds absolutely magical. They wanted to incorporate their ceremony location into the design of their invitations, so I worked to come up with a few custom concepts for them.

 

I really loved creating the hand lettered type design below. On the left is the inked sketch and next to it is the concept design. It’s always amazing to me how much the inked drawings come to life once they on the computer and colored. It gives me the opportunity to adjust the layout and spacing and really define the elements that should stand out.

 

 

Ultimately we ended up using the first sketch for a simple, clean layout perfect for their day. Below is the final invitation. I had so much fun working on these and just love how they turned out. I don’t take on a lot of custom wedding designs each year, but am so glad I had the opportunity to work on this one. Congratulations to Jane & Ed!

 

New Cards + New Adventures

1 Aug

Very excited to announce another batch of new cards now available in the shop. I’ve been as busy as a little bee lately with more new cards on their way, a full line of holiday cards almost ready for release (hooray for getting a head start this year), custom branding designs and custom weddings. I’ve also been working on refining the HPC brand and ferociously going after my 2013 goal of taking HPC wholesale.. meaning that HPC products would be sold in stores. How exciting would that be? The day I make my first wholesale order is going to be a day of celebration. But for today, we have brand new editions in the shop. And I have to admit, the new Holla card is my all time favorite thing I have ever created, ever.

I hope you like them!

Holla
Blank inside

It was always you.
And it always will be.

You <3
You make me incredibly happy.

Husband & Wife
Cheers to a happy life.

You win.
I’ve thought a lot about this and have come to a conclusion. I was wrong.

So.. yeah that happened.
Really sorry about that.

Gnome – Happy Birthday!
Inside: “Weeee”

Hip Hip Hooray We’ve Got New Birthdays

21 Jun

So that title didn’t work out quite as well as I was hoping, but we’ve got a new line of birthday cards nonetheless. And with every new line I launch I get more and more excited, because that means we are that much closer to having a full line of greeting cards, which is my ultimate goal right now. So to kickoff our birthday line we have seven, fresh off the press, beauties. They are all 5″x7″, hand illustrated and printed on natural recycled cover stock. Click on each image to go to the shop listing for more information.

Get ‘em while they’re hot.
Inside: Just don’t count ‘em.

Happy Birthday
Inside: Live it up.

Have a super birthday!
Inside: Hope it’s more exciting than a flying dog.

Mmmake a wish
Inside: You know you want to wish for more cake.

It’s your birthday!!
Inside: Hot diggity dog. Enjoy!

Celebrate
Inside: Happy Birthday!

Quiet – A book review

31 May

-1I recently read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain and would like to share my thoughts with you today. Being an introvert myself the subject matter interests me greatly and I had hoped by reading this book I would be able to gain some insight and understanding. I can certainly say I have gained what I set out to along with a new appreciation for introverts after reading this book.

As far as the book itself goes, I thought that it was extremely well researched, almost too a point where it became laborious to read. There were sections halfway through that I just could get through. I ended up skipping parts of chapters 6, 7 and 8. The topics and in-depth detail being explained I felt had little relevance to what main topic of the book. A simple explanation and overview in these areas would have been plenty to make her point, but they went on and on. This is a book that I would love to get a Cliff Notes version of. I felt that the chapters 1-3 and 8-10 were the most relevant and insightful. By the time I made it to chapter 8 I was exhausted and really doubting my ability to make it to the end. But 8-10 really turned it around and offered some really incredible explanation. The conclusion notes seem like common sense, but combined with the information from the rest of the book its extremely motivating and a concise summary of the key points

With that being said I think that this is a necessary ready for everyone, at least chapters 1-3 and 8-10. It will help to gain a better understanding of your family, friends, children, co-workers and anyone you communicate with on a regular basis. The information provided was a welcomed explanation to so many things I’ve always written off as just me being weird. My entire life I’ve always felt like the weird kid. I just didn’t quite fit in. I was different, but I didn’t know growing up that I was still normal. It helped me to adjust my view not only on myself, but the rest of the world. People are people, false. The truth is that you are you, and I am me.

Some of the key points that really stuck with me were these:

Open floor plan work environments: kills creativity and makes people inhibited, uneasy and uncomfortable.

Intense passion and commitment to an activity (ie: art) leads to happiness and well-being. (I’ve always been immensely attracted to creating art and have always felt happiest and most calm when I was submerged in creating my art projects.)

Over-stimulation in large groups, public events and spaces is stressful, physically & mentally exhausting for introverts. It interferes with attention span and short term memory – a  key component of speaking on the fly.

Solitude was a word that always resonated deeply with me. Its where I am the most calm. I can relax, recharge and where I do my best thinking and work. Introverts desperately crave downtime away from social over-stimulation.

The culture of character that occurred before the 1920′s eventually shifted to a culture of personality post 1920. When this happened the occurrence of social anxiety rose greatly.

Society tells us that we have to be super extroverts to be happy and successful. It makes us introverts feel wrong and ashamed of whom we really are.

Its easy to lose who you are if you started changing who you were too early before you got to know yourself. Self-discovery is something you’ll have to find out later in life. Cain provides simple questions to help you determine who you are and what you like called “core personal projects”.

1. What did you like as a child?

2. What do you do when you procrastinate?

3. Who/what are you envious of?

Introverts have a hard time projecting artificial enthusiasm or excitement.

Public speaking is more difficult if you are not interested in the topic.

Introverts can have different social selves to fit the situation or group they are with during that time. This explains why we can have extroverted moments then revert back to introvert mode. This was something that always confused me.

I would like to end my review with this quote. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Get more information about this book:

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

New Father’s Day Cards

28 May

Our new Father’s Day cards are here. Seven to choose from, each card is printed on a heavy, recycled cover stock and paired with a blue or natural colored envelope depending on the card. All designs are hand drawn and produced in our studio. Visit each shop listing for additional details and images. Don’t forget, Father’s Day is June 16th.

Screw Flowers
Outside: (bouquet of screwdrivers)
Inside: “Screw flowers. Happy Father’s Day!”

You’re the Man
Outside: (mallard + wood grain texture)
Inside: “You’re the man. Happy Father’s Day.”
Back: (wood grain texture)

Cheers to a Smooth Father’s Day
Outside: “Cheers” (glass of scotch)
Inside: “Wishing you a smooth Father’s Day.”

The Ultimate Man Card
Outside: “The Ultimate Man Card” (manly collage: mallard, t-bone, rifle, pipe, canoe, oar, football, swiss army knife, hat, cigar, scotch glass and a golden plaque)
Inside: “Happy Father’s Day.”
Back: (tufted leather pattern)

Tools He’ll Never Have to Use
Inside: “Tools you’ll never have to use. You’re welcome. Happy Father’s Day!”
Back: (hand drawn plaid pattern)

Dad You’re Super Rad
Inside: “Happy Father’s Day”

Stepdad You’re Super Rad
Inside: “Happy Father’s Day”

Spring Knitting

13 May

Spring is here and that means warmer temperatures and chilly offices. Perfect lacy wrap weather if you ask me. So I’ve rounded up my top ten patterns for some cozy spring knitting.  All of the patterns come from Ravelry and most are for purchase, but 9 and 10 are free patterns. I picked up some Stroll Tonal sock weight yarn from Knit Picks in the Thunderhead grey color and the Nefertem pattern. I can’t wait to get started.

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1. Andrea’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur
2. Nefertem by Kirsten Kapur
3. Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood
4. Damask by Kitman Figueroa
5. Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur

6. Celes by Jared Flood
7. Be.Leaf by Kitman Figueroa
8. Xeni by Kitman Figueroa
9. Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn
10. Spearmint Tea by Kateryna Golovanova

Life Lessons – Be Good

24 Apr

I’m back today with another life lesson. The last couple weeks have been quiet for me and I had to put down my sketchbook and pencil. Working all day and drawing all night has been putting tremendous strain on my wrist and I’ve been dealing with some carpal tunnel issues. So to rest and heal I have been limiting the time I spend sketching. This has not been easy and there has been more than a time or two where the husband has walked into the room to catch me drawing. And with that fact I think this is the perfect life lesson for everyone (myself included) today.

Day nine of the Life Lessons hand lettering group project: Be good – most of the time. I believe in being good. I am a rule follower by nature. I don’t like to make waves. I think that you should obey the traffic laws and in general just be a good person. I also think there is a time and place to break the rules. I’m not talking about major laws here. I’m talking about the rules we as a society, and as individuals, put in place. The ones about how you shouldn’t tell someone you don’t like their new hair cut when they ask or keeping quiet just for the sake of politeness. Sometimes you have to speak up. And sometimes you just have to drink coffee at 1am. You know it’s not a good idea at the time, but it doesn’t matter. The fun you have doing it outweighs the consequences. The risks you take in life are often the things you remember the best.

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This life lesson is extra special because it has been submitted to the Minted + West Elm design challenge. Submissions close on 4/26 and voting will begin. If you get over to Minted keep an eye out for my lettering!

More information on this project and how to join in can be found here. View the entire collection on Pinterest.

Mother’s Day Cards

8 Apr

The Mother’s Day Greeting Cards have arrived in the shop. All of the cards are standard A7 greeting card size (5×7) and printed on a heavy recycled card stock in a speckled cream color. Cards come with an A7 envelope in purple, blue or natural, depending on the design. HPC has recently invested in a wonderful printer that we are going to be printing our own greeting cards on. I was a little nervous about making this move, but after seeing the amazing quality of the test prints I’m so excited about it.

Mom You Were Always Right
Inside: I finally said it. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Blue Ribbon

Inside: Thanks for being so awesome.

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Bouquet

Inside: blank

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No Green Thumb Required

Inside: Happy Mother’s Day!

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You’re So Crafty

Inside: Thanks for making me.

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Life Lessons: Eight

5 Apr

Day eight of the Life Lessons hand lettering group project -  Stay home if you are sick – Don’t be a hero. You don’t want to be sick, we get it, but pretending to be well enough to go to work fools no one. And nobody wants what you’ve got. So don’t be a hero. Use those sick days. That’s what they’re there for. The work will be there when you get back.

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More information on this project and how to join in can be found here. View the entire collection on Pinterest.

Life Lessons: Seven

3 Apr

Day seven of the Life Lessons hand lettering group project -  Use Your Vacation Days. And I mean all of them, because nobody is going to think you are more awesome if you let them expire. Just the opposite actually. So get out there and have fun. Its the best way to recharge and stay motivated. More information on this project and how to join in can be found here. View the entire collection on Pinterest.

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New Hand Printed Note Cards

3 Apr

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We’ve got two new additions in the shop today! Both are hand printed on kraft paper with white ink. The bouquet cards would be perfect for Mother’s Day and also congratulations or thank you notes. The Michigan cards are right for just about anything to let everyone know how smitten you are with the mitten. Get yours here.

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