Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Hi Everyone! The ladies of Ladyfingers Letterpress were kind enough to fill in during my summer vacation last year, and this post on Arley-Rose’s signature hand lettering was one of my favorite posts that week! So I jumped at the chance when Arley-Rose volunteered to stop by with some tips and tricks for adorning your envelopes with beautiful and whimsical hand lettered addresses. Take it away ladies! –Nole

With the majority of correspondence these days taking place in the digital realm, it’s always such a treat to get something real and tangible in the mail. Heck, even before e-mail dominated our lines of communication, you knew something was really special when it arrived through your mail slot all decked out with big, beautiful lettering that you knew someone took time to carefully create. Hopefully by the end of this post you will want to sit yourself down and experiment with some of the styles shown below to make your own beautifully styled envelope addresses. –Arley-Rose of Ladyfingers Letterpress


I like to think of hand-lettering as more of an “illustration using letters” more than a “trained handwriting” kinda thing, so I choose pens that give me the most control as possible. People are doing beautiful things with pointed pens and modern calligraphy these days, and I encourage you to experiment with pointed pens if you like, but for now I am going to stick the tools that I know and love.

We’ll begin our journey into the world of lettering with familiarizing ourselves with a few different lettering styles that will act as our foundation and give us some variation in style that we can draw upon throughout our lettering endeavors! Personally, I like to combine different lettering styles, fluctuating between scripts, roman, and sans-serif characters to give the piece a lot of motion and personality. Not sure what a roman character is? Read on! Have questions about the etiquette and formality of addressing your envelopes? Martha Stewart has a terrific go-to tutorial about that!


Roman lettering, which can also be called a “Serif,” has some of the earliest origins dating back to, well, the Romans! The word “Serif” is latin for “foot”, which makes sense when you look at the letters. See? They all have feet (except o’s)! Serifed typefaces such as Garamond or Baskerville look great as all caps and spaced out (which us type nerds refer to as “tracking”), or spelled out in both caps and lowercase with normal tracking. I sometimes like to make tall condensed roman letters if the address is really long and I need to make the most of my space. On capital As, Rs, Ns, Ys, Ks, Hs, and sometimes Gs, I like to add a little flourish, as you’ll notice on some of the envelope samples below.


Now that you know that the word “Serif” means “foot”, naturally “Sans Serif” means “Without Feet!” Sans Serif letters were popularized in the mid twentieth century with the arrival of Helvetica, Gill Sans and Futura. I think they look great as all caps, tall and condensed! I also find that they’re easy to draw because they most closely resemble a clean, handwritten print style.


Now the fun part begins! Getting the hang of lettering a script might take some time to get the hang of, but here’s a secret! Write in cursive as you normally would, and then darken the strokes that should have accents. Feel free to refer to other scripts with a quick google image search to see where those accents should be. Have some fun with your script: it’s not necessary to keep a straight baseline, in fact I tend to like scripts that dance around a little bit on the page. They have more character! Ha! Get it! Character? Typography? Joke? Uhhh….. Nevermind.



My favorite go-to pen is the Pigma Micron from Sakura of America. I’ve been drawing with Micron pens since I was a wee young artist, and they continue to be my favorite pen for all types of uses, especially drawing on light-colored envelopes. My size of choice is an 08 but there was a time when all I used was the smaller 03s to get a really nice fine line.



Keep it classy! Sometimes a white pen is all you need to do the trick, especially on dark or brightly colored envelopes. My go-to is the White Gelly Roll 08, which gives me a nice smooth line without any breaks or clogs. I’ve found that the Metallic Silver Gelly Roll pen is also super awesome! It’s not really too sparkly, but is super opaque which is exactly what I want. I also like the Moonlight pens for an extra burst of color.


Sometimes I like the swift expression that can only be found with a brush pen. When I don’t have time to whip out the gouache and brushes, the Pigma Brush pens really do the trick. They also come in  a variety of colors, so if you’re not feeling like black ink is your thing that day, you can also choose from a variety of other colors that look great on white or light colored envelopes.


The Do Not Open Lettering Project  by Erik Marinovich was recently brought to my attention by my amazing typographer friend Jeremy Mickel, and it blew my mind. It still does blow my mind. Every time I look at it. I thought I would refer to it here because it shows how creative you can be with large oversize envelopes. Besides, envelopes: they’re really just a canvas for beautiful lettering, right? Anyway, the Permapaque markers are incredible for this task. They’re nice and opaque like a paint marker without the nasty smell, and you get a huge variety of colors!

Now that you’ve seen some samples, I’d love to see what you come up with! Don’t forget to tag your work on Instagram with @beautifulpaper, @ladyfingersletterpress and @sakuraofamerica. Thanks and happy lettering!

Pens provided by Sakura of America, with awesome stamps provided by Pack & Post!

Photo Credits: Ladyfingers Letterpress

A New Year’s Eve Cocktail Dinner Party with St-Germain

Only a couple more weeks left in 2013! I always look forward to New Year’s Eve – both as an opportunity to celebrate with friends and as a chance to welcome change with open arms. Ever since I read The Night Circus earlier this year (so good!), I’ve been intrigued by the idea of formal midnight dinner parties. Invite a few close friends, give them an excuse to dress up in their best party clothes (something I don’t get to do nearly often enough), and have a wonderful evening full of great food and cocktails. And what better occasion for a midnight dinner than New Year’s Eve? So we’ve teamed up with our friends at St-Germain, Karson Butler Events, and Meant to Be Calligraphy to offer some inspiration for those of you planning some New Year’s Eve festivities: a cocktail dinner party!




As always, let’s start with the invitations! Because we were aiming for something a bit more formal this time around, I decided to go with calligraphy from start to finish. Michele from Meant to Be Calligraphy created a stunning invitation in classic black ink on white paper and a calligraphy flourish on the back. We paired the invitations with slate gray envelopes (with a colorful DIY envelope liner) addressed in shimmery gold ink.




We set up a side table as a makeshift bar to welcome guests with cocktails and appetizers – a little something to keep everyone happy through the countdown to midnight! We’ll be sharing the recipes a little bit later, but our menu included a cheese plate (a party requirement, yes?), a punch, a classic cocktail recipe, a champagne cocktail, and a mocktail for any designated drivers.




Slate from Brooklyn Slate Company / Wood serving board from Target






Vintage punch bowl set and ladle / Coasters from Linea Carta



I’ve been obsessed with these constellation matchboxes for the longest time – they seemed like the perfect favors for a New Year’s Eve party! We paired them with gray and white striped favor bags from Shop Sweet Lulu with Michele’s calligraphy in gold ink.




I found these heart shaped cards at Paper Source a while back (sadly no longer available in black), but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Michele came up with the brilliant idea of giving them to guests to inspire resolutions for the new year and conversations with fellow guests. Michele wrote out phrases on each card, again in gold ink – they’re now pretty much my favorite thing ever!




After midnight, time for dinner! Amber and Emily from Karson Butler Events created a backdrop of white streamers and a mixture of tissue paper fans and honeycombs in various sizes for a really beautiful layered texture. It’s so pretty against the white brick wall!



I had so much fun with the floral arrangements! I created a single centerpiece for the dinner table with peonies, garden roses, black and white anemones, paperwhites, silver brunia, white hypericum berries, and seeded eucalyptus. Smaller arrangements with the same flowers were sprinkled around the bar, along with a large bunch of seeded eucalyptus and bay leaves in an antique metal pitcher.


I also did a simple swag of greenery down the center of the dinner table using small clippings of seeded eucalyptus, bay leaves, olive leaves, hypericum berries, and gold spray painted pepper berries (for a bit of extra sparkle) – all tucked around the centerpiece floral arrangement and small mercury glass votives. No floral wire necessary! We also created a table runner using layers of burlap – a plain loose weave burlap over silver polka dot burlap from Joann Fabrics.



Our place settings included place cards with Michele’s calligraphy in silver ink on slate gray paper, metallic rimmed plates with gray linen napkins, and gold flatware.



Full cocktail and mocktail recipes are coming up in just a bit!

Styling: Oh So Beautiful Paper and Karson Butler Events

Invitations and Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy

Floral Design: Oh So Beautiful Paper

Location: Karson Butler Events Design Studio

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Book Preview: Yellow Owl’s Little Prints

I grew up in a creative household. We made t-shirts at birthday parties, decorated the light switch plates in our bedrooms, among other crafty projects. I’m looking forward to creative projects with Sophie as she gets older, and I was so excited when Christine from Yellow Owl Workshop released her newest book – Yellow Owl’s Little Prints – dedicated entirely to handmade projects to make for (and eventually with) kids!


Yellow Owl’s Little Prints features more than 25 creative projects ranging from DIY birth announcements and birthday party invitations to keepsake boxes, book plates, growth charts, rubber stamped bed linens, and nursery decorations. I’ve been in awe of Christine’s amazing creativity for years now and the incredible products she produces for Yellow Owl Workshop. Christine employes some of her favorite materials and techniques in Little Prints, including rubber stamps, stenciling, and hand printing techniques. Most projects can be done during an afternoon nap, and Christine was careful to exclude any projects that might require special equipment. Christine even includes a wonderful introduction with tips for teaching art to children and activity recommendations based on age and skill level. And of course, no craft book would be complete without a list of resources and templates (there’s a whole section of both in the back).



My two favorite projects? A folk art wall mural using contact paper decals and a custom canvas name banner. So good!



You can grab your own copy of Yellow Owl’s Little Prints right here!

Photo Credits: Laure Joilet for Potter Craft

Christine and Evan of Yellow Owl Workshop kindly sent me a copy of this book for review, but all words and opinions are my own.

Inspired By: Rose Gold

Since we’re already on the subject of beautiful metallic foil today, I couldn’t help but think of my current favorite metallic hue: rose gold! Don’t get me wrong, I still love gold, silver, and copper, but there’s something so soft and romantic about rose gold. I just can’t get enough, from jewelry to stationery to utensils. I’m looking forward to seeing lots, lots more beautiful rose gold over the coming months!


1. Seesaw (sadly no longer available); 2. Re: Coco from New York; 3. Rose Gold Foil Coasters by For Your Party for the 2013 Paper Party, photo by Charlie Juliet Photography; 4. West Elm; 5. Smock; 6. Kate Spade

{images via their respective sources}

Mohawk Maker Campaign

As you may remember, I had the pleasure of working with Mohawk for the 2013 Paper Party back in May: they provided the paper and envelopes for the invitations, along with the paper for the colorful backdrops behind the bar! I’m a longtime admirer of Mohawk’s commitment to partnering with craftspeople and creative professionals. The folks at Mohawk are always up for special projects and collaborations, which I think speaks volumes about the company as a whole. And today I’m thrilled to help spread the word regarding a new campaign to support maker culture: the Mohawk Maker Campaign!

The central tenet of the Mohawk Maker Campaign is as follows: Making is the most fundamental expression of the human spirit. The Mohawk Maker Campaign includes the introduction of three new publications celebrating the culture of craft: The Mohawk Maker Quarterly, Mohawk Craft Cooperative, and the Mohawk Declaration of Craft. The publications feature the stories of printers, designers, manufacturers, artists, artisans, musicians, and all those who make their living as makers. The second issues of the Mohawk Craft Cooperative and the Mohawk Maker Quarterly just arrived, and both issues focus on the topic of materials – specifically the importance of selecting and using the highest quality raw materials to achieve the finest results.


The first publication – the Mohawk Maker Quarterly – is a vehicle to support a community of like-minded makers and was created to serve as a co-branded publication by printers who are interested in using the content as a sales and promotional tool for their business. Content focuses on stories of small manufacturers, artisans, printers, designers and artists who are making their way in the digital world.


The inaugural issue of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly focuses on ‘Heritage & Innovation’ and features Leslie Williamson, Shugo Tokumaru, Unionmade, Tugboat Printshop, Taylor Stitch, Alabamboo, Eatwell CSA, Andante Dairy, Colossal Media, Tim Kerr, Stephen Shore, Best Made Co., and Moo.


The second edition of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly focuses on ‘Mastery of Materials’ and features the following makers: DODOcase, Almanac Beer Co.Sawkill Lumber Co., Brooklyn Slate, Heath Ceramics, Mast Brothers Chocolate, Harris Tweed Authority, Juniper Ridge, and Neeman Tools. The cover story, ‘Why Materials Matter’, features interviews with materials experts explaining why they go to great lengths to use only the highest quality materials for their products, from KOBO Candles to Pendleton to Koppi Coffee.


The Mohawk Maker Quarterly was designed by Hybrid Design. Issue 1 was printed on Mohawk Superfine, Eggshell Ultrawhite 80 Text/118 gsm by Shapco Printing, with seven color UV inks and a black satin foil stamp by McIntosh Embossing. Issue 2 was printed on Mohawk Loop, Inxwell Vellum, Eco White (100% PCW), 80 Text/118 gsm by Classic Graphics.


The second publication – the Mohawk Craft Cooperative – is a quarterly publication designed to appeal to printers by restoring belief in the power of craftsmanship in the midst of a digital world. The publication features strategies on growing business though craftsmanship, selling print in a digital world, tips on working with the mill, and thoughts from industry leaders. Issue 1 focused on the intersection of Craft and Business, while Issue 2 focuses on “The Business of Materials.”



An eight-page, tabloid-style, fold out brochure, each issue of the Mohawk Craft Cooperative features a beautifully designed  27” x 19” poster with a powerful message. The Mohawk Craft Cooperative is designed by Hybrid Design. Issue 1 is printed on Mohawk Superfine, Eggshell Ultrawhite 65 cover/176gsm with eight color UV inks by Shapco Printing. Issue 2 is printed on Mohawk Loop, Feltmark, White (100% PCW), 65 cover (176gsm) using four color process by Classic Graphics.


The final publication – the Mohawk Declaration of Craft – speaks to Mohawk’s heritage and serves as a manifesto for Mohawk’s beliefs: heritage & innovation, mastery of materials, pride in the details and respect for a community of makers.


The Mohawk Declaration of Craft was designed by Hybrid Design and printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 80 cover/216 gsm and 24 writing/90 gsm at O’Neil Printing. The artfully produced publication features a foil stamped and blind embossed cover, partially printed with ProMetal silver type, and smoke grey foil stamp. Cover finishing and binding were completed by Roswell Bookbinding.

All three publications are enhanced with additional content made possible through Mohawk’s new mobile app, Mohawk Live, which generates interactive experiences via print. To view the publications online or to sign up to receive Mohawk’s new Culture of Craft publications, visit Mohawk here!

This post is sponsored by Mohawk. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help make Oh So Beautiful Paper possible!