Archive for November, 2009
In celebration of the holidays and the earth, here at Smock we are officially renaming this Friday Green Friday. On Friday, November 27th, for one day only, we’ll be donating 50% of all proceeds of sales on smockpaper.com to the Amazon Conservation Association! As one of our Smock eco partners, the Amazon Conservation Association works to conserve the vitality of the Amazon – an ecosystem that is vital to keeping the planet alive and well. The Amazon is one of the world’s most important carbon banks and is home to 20% of the planet’s animal and planet species; it plays an integral part in helping slow global warming; and it’s an area threatened by deforestation.
What does that mean for you? You can nab up all of your favorite Smock goodies from our Everyday collection and in turn, we’ll do our part to help out the earth. With the holidays swiftly approaching, now is your opportunity to stock up on our festive double-sided gift wrap printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper and adorable letterpress gift tags, letterpress holiday cards and more, all sustainably printed on our bamboo paper. Help us help the planet this holiday season!
One more reason to eat local and fresh from your farmer’s market or a CSA….turns out most canned food, even organic canned food, has substantial amounts of BPA, which has been linked to reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease – ugh! BPA surfaced for anyone with young children a few years ago, when it turned out sippy cups & bottles (and even the hard clear hiking Nalgene bottles) often contained BPA. This new report on canned food + BPA came out recently through Consumer Reports and there’s really no excuse for companies to still be using this harmful material (other than the bottom line, I suppose).
We just joined our local organic farm’s winter CSA last week, so we’ll be getting local veggies through the end of December – meaning our stock of canned food has gone pretty much untouched of late. One of the many wonderful things about eating local is you know where the food has been (a farm, a truck, then you). Plus this winter CSA has already made me appreciate vegetables that I used to shun. Who knew there were so many ways to cook cabbage! And butternut squash! And potatoes! And more cabbage! And look, there’s more cabbage! Though we have two young kids at home, we’ve managed to make cooking local a priority this year by cooking massive amounts of CSA & farmer market veggies on the weekend, and soaking and boiling a pound of beans too, maybe broiling a pound or two of tofu, and making a few easy grains (barley, quiona, brown rice, and millet have been favorites). Maybe add one easy veggie soup too. Then the meals during the week are mixes and matches – a grain, some veggies and either beans or tofu for lunch and then a different variation of the same for dinner.
My love affairs with cook book authors goes in waves, but right now the guy who holds the key to my cooking heart is Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and Food Matters are his two books on my shelves and his blog, Bitten, turned me onto the BPA article. He also writes the Minimalist for the NY Times). His recipes are simple, easy, and full of variations – I love how he says “use more or less” or substitute away depending on what’s in the fridge. Perfect for those who have a negative amount of time to cook.
One of the places right at the top of our list of destinations to visit when we make it to the west coast is Urbanic Paper Boutique, a truly inspired shop dedicated to all things pretty and all things paper, a store we’re honored to call a Smock retailer. Before opening Urbanic, owner Audrey Woollen worked in the fashion industry for many years. She fell in love with the evolution of style and the dynamic nature of the fashion world and that, combined with her lifelong love for paper, led to the opening of Urbanic. She began designing stationery and invitations for friends and eventually was inspired to create a boutique in her neighborhood stocked with a carefully considered array of the best in hard-to-find paper goods. Audrey shares, “I wanted to fill a niche for style-minded brides who wanted something completely original. I discovered so many great lines (like Smock) that filled this niche perfectly and was bursting with excitement to share these finds with Los Angeles.”
Today, Urbanic is a boutique recognized nation-wide for carrying an incredible variety of paper and letterpress goods geared toward fashionable people looking for something a bit special and a touch unusual. When choosing products and planning events for the store, Audrey is inspired by design of all kinds – architecture, furniture, fashion, graphic and interior design. For her, filling the shop with beautiful things is a true joy. Items are hand-picked with a keen attention to detail, keeping the store well-edited and cohesive so it’s inviting as soon as you walk in the door. When asked about what she loves most about her job, Audrey shares, “I enjoy coming into work because our existence is based around all the good things in life! Weddings, babies, birthdays, gift giving, thoughtfulness…there is a constant flow of creativity around here. Whether we are making paper vines for an event, building a paper pom pom window install, helping customers coordinate their wedding stationery, or doing an over the top gift-wrapping job, there is always something amazing being produced!”
Being such a trendsetter herself, we had to ask Audrey about her favorite trends in paper and stationery and her predictions for upcoming trends…
One thing I am loving (that you at Smock are brilliant for) is the mixing and matching of patterns and colors! Patterned backings, patterned envelope liners, and even folios. I adore the trend of mixing things up without being “matchy-matchy.” There is a way to do this to add a stylized touch, without losing the simplicity and elegance of a clean modern design. As far as the next big thing, I think blind deboss and edge painting will be getting a lot more attention next year as well as unexpected accents…details such as scalloped edges, glassine wraps, and hand accent details like stitching or hand stamping.
If you were invited to the White House for dinner, what would you wear?
Good question – this could change weekly! Right now at this moment I am feeling like I would want to go tailored and classic with a hint of forward style. I envision a mid-length dress with a deep v, and an unexpected asymmetrical detail. Fabric covered buttons down the back and for color, it would have to be an interesting solid neutral like a taupey gold or black plum. I just kind of made this up in my head, so I’m not sure where I could find my imaginary dress, but I am thinking it could be a cross between Juliette Hogan and Milly. To finish off the look I would go with peep toe pumps and pretty, simple jewelry.
What are your top pick destinations for first time visitors to Venice?
I think all visitors should check out the Venice Canals. The city is called Venice because it was built on the canals to resemble Venice Italy in the early 1900′s. It was a resort town and termed “The Coney Island of the Pacific”. Today the canals are full of beautiful homes and modern garden landscaping. There are little boats everywhere; it is charming and a mini escape from the city. Must do’s would include, walk Abbot Kinney Blvd and go bike-riding down the bike path along the ocean. Abbot Kinney Blvd is the upscale and eclectic shopping street in Venice where Urbanic is located. I love our block. It is full of shops, restaurants, art galleries and design firms. The street has a reputation for being forward, creative and alternative. The bike path is just good old fashioned fun.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
Mostly I love exploring new areas in different cities with boutique streets kind of like ours. I love the experience of walking into a shop or bakery when you can feel that proprietor poured their heart and soul into the business. The little details are everything! Going into Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters is always a treat for obvious reasons. I am completely blown away by how talented their design and merchandising team is. When I am in NYC, I love peeking into the store windows and trekking around all the different parts of the city. ABC Carpet is one of my faves!
Thank you, Audrey, for sharing with us – we can’t wait to come visit when we make it to California!
At Smock, it truly never ceases to be incredibly exciting for us to be featured in some of our favorite publications. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to be featured in a recent issue of Inside Weddings, one of our favorite wedding magazines. Our Haddington letterpress wedding invitations were featured, showcasing our love for calligraphy and fabulous patterned envelope liners.
Smock was also mentioned in a cute piece in Victoria Magazine featuring great business cards and calling cards. Our Smock letterpress business cards were featured alongside some other fabulous calling card designs.
Thank you to our friends at Inside Weddings, Natural Home, Victoria Magazine and The Wall Street Journal for mentioning Smock! It’s an honor to be included.
Working with incredible retailers across the country and internationally is, hands down, the best part about what we do at Smock. They keep us inspired and energized and looking forward to creating imaginative, sustainably printed letterpress for customers worldwide. One store in particular that continues to amaze us is Urbanic Paper Boutique and their fabulous blog Parcel Post, where owner Audrey Woollen routinely feature a glimpse into life at Urbanic and the great paper products they carry. We’re always delighted when Smock products pop up in their weekly Friday at the Shop feature and have found ourselves continually loving the great photos they’ve taken of our 100% post consumer recycled gift wrap.
All of our gift wraps are double-sided, printed with bright festive patterns that coordinate with many of our letterpress greeting cards and letterpress gift tags. Later this week, we’ll be featuring Urbanic in our Smock Store Spotlight feature so be sure to stop back for all the behind the scenes details of one of our favorite paper shops!
With the holidays swiftly approaching, we were recently contacted by two of our fabulous Smock retailers about contributing some Smock goodies for holiday events being hosted at their stores. Naturally, we couldn’t resist getting in on the holiday action. At Smock, we believe in giving back at the holidays and throughout the year so we were excited for the opportunity to help our stores out this holiday season.
We sent these little bundles, featuring a few of our letterpress holiday cards and letterpress gift tags, to our friends at Salutations in North Carolina where they were hosting a holiday open house at each of their stores in Charlotte and Chapel Hill. Guests to the event had to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the local food pantry in order to gain admittance to the event. We’re delighted to have been a part of such a fabulous event!
We also happily sent some of our double-sided 100% post consumer recycled gift wrap and letterpress gift tags to Broadway Paper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Broadway Paper’s holiday open house is being held this Saturday, November 14th – you can visit their website and the Broadway Paper blog for more details if you’re in Wisconsin and would like to attend.
What are you doing to get in the holiday spirit? We’d love to hear about the fabulous events you’re hosting or attending this holiday season!
When Smock’s Master Calligraphy, Debi Zeinert of The Blooming Quill, welcomed a new granddaughter this summer, we were positively thrilled for her and her family. It was a true honor and a pleasure for us to print these beautiful custom letterpress baby announcements to welcome baby Natalia into the world. Perfect for welcoming a little baby girl, this customization was based on our pink Lamby greeting card and features lovely hand calligraphy on the inside from Debi herself. The baby lamb motif featured on this card is available through our new Social Occasions album, released earlier this year, so you can mix and match motifs, colors, patterns, and fonts to create the perfect baby announcement or social stationery to celebrate any occasion. This letterpress baby announcement was such a joy to print – we look forward to printing many more!
If I wasn’t running a letterpress invitation company, I would love to be Nicholas Kristof. He’s an editorial writer for the NY Times who is a wonderful example of using one’s life – and job – to bring about concrete change in the world. One of his focuses has been bringing attention to women’s plights around the world – childhood prostitution, for instance, or the crazy high mortality rates for women in childbirth, or the lack of education of girls. He writes, “In the 19th Century, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape. Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. ‘Women hold up half the sky,’ in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos.” What a guy. How can we, as women, not care about this?
His latest column in last Sunday’s paper deals with those suffering from obstetric fistulas – 3 to 4 million women in Asia and Africa, often injured in childbirth while teenagers because they gave birth before their pelvises were fully grown. After giving birth, a young woman with obstetric fistulas is “incontinent,” Kristof writes, “steadily trickling urine and sometimes feces through her vagina.” These young women are then usually abandoned by their husbands – “scorned, bewildered, humiliated and desolate, often feeling cursed by God.” And to repair their bodies and their lives? A $300 surgery that takes 20 minutes. Wow.
I’m coming at this three months after an amazing birth of my second child, a birth complete with a doula and a midwife at a local birthing center. It makes me think if I wasn’t running an invitation company, I would love to go back to medical school, learn stuff, and then help women in this way. But – I don’t have a medical degree, can’t do medical school right now, so what I can do is this. We’re running a free invitation envelope printing promotion through Smock. Buy a letterpress invitation set, get free envelope printing on your outer envelopes through December 31, 2009. This saves you about $300 for a quantity of 100 invitations. Sure, you can pocket the money, or use it to buy some nice organic sheets, or shoes, or books, or – you can donate the savings to the Worldwide Fistula Fund (or pick another cause that you care about) and really make a difference in someone’s life. Even if you’re not shopping for invitations – make a difference, forgo that Starbucks coffee for a while, and then make a donation. Read more about what you can do to help those suffering from fistula on Nicholas Kristof’s blog.