Best of 2014: My Favorites!

I love doing these “best of” round up posts because they help me see just how much we really packed into a single year. When you’re publishing new content on a daily basis (10-15 times per week!) and you’re constantly focusing on what’s next, it can be easy to lose sight of the posts that made an impact in the previous months or weeks. So here are a few of my personal favorite posts – from guest posts to Emily’s Brick + Mortar column and a few others along the way.

Envelope Address and Hand Lettering Tutorial by Ladyfingers Letterpress for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Envelope Address and Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

A Peek Into the Process of Swiss Cottage Designs

Caroline’s Strawberry First Birthday Party

A Day in the Life with Erin Austen Abbott of Amelia

Brick & Mortar: Raising Your Baby and Your Business

10 Tips on Opening a Retail Shop from Urbanic

Where to Find Vintage Stamps for Wedding Invitations

Paper Party 2014!

DC Guide: The National Postal Museum

Book Preview: Make & Give

I was absolutely thrilled to receive a review copy of the amazing new book Make & Give by Erin Jang and Steph Hung – I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time! I’m a longtime fan of Erin’s design work and Steph is an amazingly talented stylist, so you know a collaboration between these two talented ladies was just bound to be good. I also admire Erin’s ability to come up with (and execute!) the most amazing party themes, from birthday parties to baby showers. Erin and Steph designed the book themselves with an emphasis on bright colors and a modern layout – and the results couldn’t be prettier!

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Make & Give features 35 modern and meaningful craft projects for a variety of everyday occasions – not just birthdays and holidays. I love that the projects can be completed by crafters of all skill levels with commonly used materials! It was hard to pick favorites from the 35 projects, but I really love the Custom Growlers and Progressive Date projects – such fun ideas!

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Make & Give is available now – grab your copy right here!

From Make & Give by Steph Hung and Erin Jang,  © 2014 by Steph Hung and Erin Jang.  © 2014 Photographs by Erin Jang. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Roost Books sent me a copy of this book for review, but all words and opinions are my own.

Where To Find Vintage Stamps

As you probably know by now, I’m a big fan of using vintage stamps on milestone stationery like wedding invitations and baby announcements. I used vintage stamps for my own wedding invitations, moving announcements, and for Sophie’s birth announcements almost two (!!) years ago – and I’ve featured countless wedding invitations with beautiful vintage stamps over the years. Vintage stamps offer a wonderful opportunity to represent your personal style, whether chosen thematically or by color palette. And since unused postage never expires, there are endless options to suit everything from a formal black tie wedding to a casual backyard gathering. Some readers have asked for tips on where to find vintage stamps over the last few weeks, so today I thought I’d share my go-to sources!

Where to Find Vintage Stamps by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Union Photography from Allison and Mark’s wedding invitations

eBay

If you have the time to search for stamps yourself, eBay is a wonderful resource for finding vintage stamps! This is my personal go-to source, and I like to search for entire sheets of vintage stamps. You can start here, and you’ll find sheets of everything from 3¢ stamps to recently issued stamps. You can refine the results by adding keywords – like science, love, birds, etc. – but leave out the word “stamp” since you’re already searching by stamp sheets. This method can be super effective if you’re searching for thematic stamps, but you may run into a bit of trouble if you’re trying to group stamps based on a particular color palette.

The best way to search for vintage stamps on eBay is by identifying the Scott number of a particular stamp that you love, since many eBay stamp dealers will use only the Scott number in their listing. For example, a really pretty flower “Love” stamp is #1951, my favorite constellation stamp is #3945, and another favorite stamp with state birds and flowers is #1953.

Where to Find Vintage Stamps by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by me from Sophie’s Constellation-Inspired Birth Announcements

Online Shops

There are a bunch of online vintage stamp shops that will curate a collection of stamps for you based on your theme or color palette – such a great option for busy couples or anyone feeling super overwhelmed by the whole process. There are probably a million more that I don’t know about, but here are a few of the shops on my radar:

Underwood Letterpress

Verde Studio

Pack and Post

TreasureFox

Vintage Postage Shop

Darling One

Love the Postage

A couple more online stamp shop options: Champion Stamps and US Mint Sheets. They don’t offer stamp curation, at least that I know of, but you can buy tons of vintage stamps here. Just browse by Scott number through pages and pages of vintage stamps to find what you like – just pay attention to the pricing, which may not be face value.

Where to Find Vintage Stamps by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Antiquaria from this Vintage-Inspired DIY Save the Date Tutorial

Local stamp dealers, stamp club members, and stamp shows

If you can track down a local stamp dealer or stamp club, they will often have vintage postage that they are willing to part with for face value. I’m told they come by large piles of vintage stamps when they buy stamp collections – but many are considered “worthless” from a stamp collecting point of view. Seriously: just Google your city/area and “stamp club” and see what comes up. You can try emailing the club or see if they list upcoming stamp show dates and go talk to them in person.

Where to Find Vintage Stamps by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Paisley Quill from Brooks and Erin’s wedding invitations

Local stamp shops and antique stores

If there is a stamp and coin shop in your area, you’re in luck! Stop by and ask to see their face value stamps. Stamp museums also often sell vintage stamps; a fun detail I discovered during a visit to the National Postal Museum earlier this year. You can also try local antique shops – if they don’t have any in the shop they may still be able to connect you with a local dealer with an extra supply of face value stamps. I’ve also heard of some people stumbling onto affordable stamp collections at flea markets – just be sure that you’re buying unused/uncanceled stamps!

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Photos via Martha Stewart Weddings

A few tips for using vintage stamps:

While you’re searching and shopping for stamps, make sure that you have one stamp worth at least 15¢ (or more!). Most wedding invitations require a minimum of 70¢ postage at the current rate. The 3¢ and 8¢ stamps are beautiful, but you’ll need a 29¢ or 33¢ stamp somewhere in the mix to make up the difference.

Consider planning out your stamp arrangement ahead of time to make sure you leave room for an address – and to maximize visual impact. Some stamps look best in a straight row across the top of an envelope, while others look best in a puzzle piece arrangement in the corner. It all depends on the group of stamps you select!

Tell your stationer and/or calligrapher as soon as possible if you plan to incorporate vintage stamps into your wedding stationery. A calligrapher will definitely need to know so he or she can leave enough room at the top of the envelope for your stamps, and a large number of vintage stamps might affect a stationer’s idea to use a non-traditional envelope shape or layout.

If a particular stamp design is in high demand, some dealers will list the stamp at a price greater than face value. I’ve seen this happen to some of the pretty “Love” stamps frequently used on wedding invitations, so if you have your heart set on a particular stamp you might need to factor that cost into your stationery budget. I personally think it’s worth it to find the perfect stamp for the occasion, but the trick is to find stamps that collectors don’t care about yet make a visual impact when assembled as a small group on your envelope.

Those are my tips! Are any of you planning to use vintage stamps soon?

Envelope Inspiration: Calligraphy and Vintage Stamps

If you’re reading this blog, then hopefully you’re like me and LOVE a pretty envelope. Dress an envelope up with some beautiful calligraphy (or a well designed mailing label) and some colorful postage stamps and I’m a very happy lady. So I was thrilled when calligrapher Korie Lynn of The Weekend Type sent over some beautiful envelope inspiration from her collaboration with florist Jody Strom of The Moss & Rose and event planner Natalie Dawley of To Be Wed! Let’s get straight to the envelope eye candy…

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From Korie: Vintage stamps are the perfect way to continue the overall theme and color palette in an invitation suite. Using multigenerational postage allows you to create a storyline and always makes the envelope more interesting. Each vignette tells a color story: the backdrop, the floral combinations, the envelope, ink choices, calligraphy style, and the stamps. From Americana to English countryside to Garden glamour, Jody accented each envelope with flowers and foliage grown and selected from her personal garden.

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Thanks so much ladies!

Calligraphy: The Weekend Type

Floral Styling: The Moss & Rose

Styling: Two Be Wed

Photo Credits: Korie Lynn Photography

Urbanic Faves | Live in the Sunshine

Fire up the barbecues, dip your toes in the water, and find a hammock to nap in, it’s Summertime! We’re embracing the salt air over here at Urbanic and  have gathered up some of our favorite things from around the shop that capture the spirit of sunshine. Hoping that wherever you are, you’re wearing flip flops! xo – Audrey

Urbanic Summertime Faves for Oh So Beautiful Paper

 1. Linda and Harriet notepads; 2. Fringe Studio soap dish set; 3. Salty Road salt water taffy; 4. Cardtorial wood cards; 5. Baggu coin purses; 6. Linnea’s Lights ocean candle; 7 Joanne Dugan summertime book 8. Fugu Fugu Press love card ; 9. Fringe Studio notebook; 10. Paddywax lantern candle; 11. Rifle Paper Co. phone case; 12. Orange Circle message in a bottle kit ; 13.Paddywax candle; 14. Sugar Paper anchor wrap

{images via their respective sources}