Hello Brick & Mortar: Real Customers, Merry & Bright

Ed Note: I can’t imagine a better way to sign off for the holidays than with this beautiful post from Emily – with real cards carefully picked out by very real people. I’ll be back next week with my annual “best of” round up and a couple of New Year’s posts, and with brand new content on January 5! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! xoxo – Nole

It’s Christmas Eve! I love this day almost more than Christmas itself, all of the anticipation of tomorrow just bursts today. But I’ll be honest, this shop owner is also very, very ready to settle down for a long winter’s nap. I’ve had a wonderfully full and exciting year, due in large part to many of you who egg me on and share the best conversations and questions. This will my fifth holiday owning Clementine. I know that holiday magic waits behind so many tiny moments: sneaky emails, hiding presents, surreptitious returns to purchase that little gift a loved one adored.  I’m totally exhausted, but equally hooked on the bits of magic that flutter through this season, I hope wherever you are, a bit flutters to you. ~ Emily of Clementine.

OSBP-Hello-Brick-and-Mortar-Clementine-by-Emily-McDowell-IllustrationIllustration by Emily McDowell for Oh So Beautiful Paper

In the past, I have asked customers to hold their card up as they purchase it and tell me where the cards are headed. This year, we are all so rushed, I asked instead for a simple image of the card and story about it’s recipient.

From Nan: I used the box set of cards to send a little bit of Middlebury love to some of my best friends who go to other colleges who I haven’t seen in a while. It’s the perfect personalized note to let them know I’m thinking of them this Christmas season. 


{Merry Christmas With Love from Middlebury ~ Custom Designed cards by Parrot Design Studio}

From Susan: I’m sending this to my Manhattan friend. We have sort of a tongue in cheek “city mouse/country mouse” joke so I love sending her cards that remind me of her hustle and bustle neighborhood. She, in return, sends me cards of farm animals and generally bucolic images…


{Swiss Cottage Designs Christmas on Main Street}

From Chenoa: This card is going to one of our favorite people who cares for our daughter every day. We truly couldn’t live without her. 


{Rifle Paper Co. Snow Globe}

From John: I’m putting together a collection of cards from your store for my wife. She’ll love them all, these are especially beautiful. 


{Peace Wreath and Succulent Wreath by Hartland Brooklyn.}

From Sas: I sent this postcard to my dear friend in Brooklyn; she’s the only person I know who gets into the holidays the way I do! I love that the scene on the card feels like a snapshot of rural Vermont!


{Rifle Paper Co. Holiday Scene Post Card}

From Emily (that’s me!): I chose these diagramed snowmen for my son’s preschool teachers and friends because I love that they take the jolly holiday spirit of a snowman and break them down into their fun little bits. They remind me of all of the toddler activities his teachers so thoughtfully design – taking each craft piecemeal and creating something wonderful. OSBPEmilyGCT

{Girls Can Tell Snowman}

From Meg: My husband and I don’t give each other gifts for the holidays. Instead, on Christmas Day we leave notes for each other and treat ourselves to a delicious homemade chili.


{Pearl & Marmalade’s I want to hibernate with you!}

Sarah purchased a little stack of cards for her employees, a mix of holiday and thank you cards. Like many of you, Sarah is running a small business and knows that the greatest holiday sentiment at this exhausted holiday moment is thanks! From Sarah: This card, among the others, is for the amazing hard work my employees did this year. We would have never gotten here without every one of them. 


{Seriously Thank You Times a Million from Emily McDowell}

I’ll take a tiny breather here to say that this final story is a bit more tender. In other words, it makes me cry every time I read it. But in a good way, and I hope it hits you in a good way too. Stephanie and I have followed each others lives, without ever meeting, after becoming far-away friends on instagram almost three years ago. I tucked a card in to her order last year with no idea how it would follow their life story. This year has been momentous for Stephanie, I am lucky to be the tiniest snowflake in her story and to get to watch this family grow. From Stephanie: Last year I admired the Dear Santa stationary from afar. My husband and I didn’t have children, and at the time, weren’t planning to, but the idea of it was so sweet. I made an order from Emily’s shop and she slipped the Dear Santa card into my order. I squealed when I opened it. It was precious.

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{Dear Santa by Printerette photographed here with another favorite, Parrot Design’s From the Desk of Santa}

When we unexpectedly found out in January that I was pregnant I pulled the Dear Santa Letter out of the Christmas stuff. I wanted to have it for our baby girl’s first Christmas. We named her Wright. At 18 weeks she was diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality that was terminal. We spent the next 6 weeks waiting to go into labor though we knew she wouldn’t be born alive.  For many reasons I never got around to putting the Dear Santa letter away. In late summer we had another unexpected event; a distant family member called, asking us to adopt her 2 year old son. We said yes.

On September 14th, C landed at JFK to the waiting arms of my husband. As we began Advent, I found the Dear Santa letter among Wright’s things, and with profound awareness of how complex and fantastic the year had been my husband, C, and I sat down to write our first letter to Santa as a family. Far more tearfully and joyfully than I expected – we mailed it from Macy’s on 34th Street – with our deep grief in our hearts and our overwhelming miracle in our arms.

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{Dear Santa, Printerette Press)

Wherever you are I hope your hearts are full and your holidays are bright. Even if you’re slogging through some of your days, I hope you catch a little bit of the magic too.  May you hug, laugh and create as much as possible. Merriest of holidays to you all and a Happy New Year! xoxo, Emily

DIY Tutorial: Vintage Map Save the Dates

As wedding season winds down, all of us here in wedding land are getting ready for engagement season! The first thing that comes to mind with an engagements is planning the save the dates. Save the dates are the first chance you get to show your guests what they get to look forward to on your big day. So whether you DIY it or find a designer to work with, make sure it represents you, your partner, and your theme! – Lauren

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

I love the idea of using vintage maps for a destination wedding. It could work for couples that love to travel – or are just incorporating the idea as inspiration for their wedding decor. Here are the simple steps to creating your own map save the dates!

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper


Maps – vintage, reproduction, or current (these are from etsy)

Paint brush

Acrylic paint in your color of choice


Envelope and stamps

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Step 1. Start by tracing and planning where you want all of your text to lay on the map. If you do it lightly with pencil you can paint over and you won’t have to do any erasing.

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Step 2. Go in with your paint brush and make your first pass over the pencil.

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Step 3. Add 2-3 more coats over the letters so that they are opaque and legible against the map lines and type.

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Step 4. Fold and fill all of your envelopes. I love these string & button envelopes. They are a little more interesting than your standard envelope.

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Step 5. Address and send off to your friends and family.

This idea would be especially great for a destination wedding as you will probably have a smaller guest count and hand painting would be much more manageable. Finding maps for the state or country you will be married in would make them even more memorable.

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

DIY Vintage Map Save the Dates by A Fabulous Fete for Oh So Beautiful Paper

I know we’ve received a few save the dates that were put away in a drawer after we marked the date on the calendar. These poster-style vintage map save the dates would be a fun work of art for your guests to enjoy and definitely wouldn’t be hidden!

Have you ever considered hand painting pieces like this for your wedding?

Guest Post: Erin Austen Abbott of Amelia + Cooking with Tom Otis

I’ve asked some of my favorite creative mamas to help out while I’m away with our new baby. Today, the wonderful Erin Austen Abbott from one of my most favorite shops – Amelia – is sharing a recipe from one of her favorite activities with her son Tom Otis: cooking! Thanks Erin! –Nole

When I was in the fourth grade, my mom had me start making my dinner for myself each night. I had cooked with her a little before that, but I was more or less thrown to the wolves to figure it out. She also dropped me off at the grocery store and I did my own shopping. While that was REALLY young, it taught me some valuable lessons. How to shop on a budget yet still get the most for your money, the beauty of fresh veggies, and it allowed me to not be scared to create my own recipes. –Erin



I’ve grown to love cooking… I cook breakfast each weekend for my family. I make dinner six nights a week and I’ve started cooking with my two year old. He gets out his stool and climbs up to sit where he can see. I talk to him about each step that goes into the dish. If I mince the onion, we talk about it. When I select a spice, we talk about it. I tell him about flavor of the spice and how they go with the other ingredients. We might talk about the country that the dish is from. I let him stir, pour and his favorite part, taste test. I hope that he will always want to cook with me, because everything is more fun with him around to help.

Below is a recipe, that is one of his favorites, that I created for him.


Veggie Pizza

Prep time, 10 mins

Cook time, 12-15 mins

Total 22-25 mins


One flour tortilla

Olive Oil


Garlic powder



Several Broccoli florets

One stem of Kale



Green Peppers


Spaghetti sauce



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lay the tortilla on a cooking sheet.


Spread a light layer of olive oil on the tortilla.


Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, pepper, and basil over the tortilla.

Add a spoonful of sauce onto of the spices.

In a blender or food processor, blend the raw broccoli and raw kale until finely minced.


Add a layer of the mixture over the sauce.


Sprinkle cheese to cover.


Add mushrooms, onion, green onion, chopped spinach.


Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.


*If your child is really picky about the veggies, you can blend them with the broccoli and kale and hide them under the sauce and cheese. None the wiser.

A Day in the Life of Urbanic

Hi Everyone! Our new baby has arrived – so I’ve asked some of my favorite creative mamas to help out while I’m away on maternity leave. This week, one of my favorite ladies and the owner of one of the most amazing stationery stores – Audrey from Urbanic – will be sharing a few posts, from birthday parties to thoughts on running a successful business. Thanks Audrey! –Nole

Hello Hello!  It’s good to be back here guest blogging again, and even more wonderful for such a special occasion! It’s a true honor to fill in for Nole while she takes her maternity leave. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Audrey Woollen and I have a shop in Los Angeles called Urbanic Paper Boutique. I’ve known Nole for many years and really value our friendship. It’s a rare and amazing thing to find a person in this world that shares the same passion and enthusiasm for paper! I contribute a post here monthly, called Urbanic Faves which is a round up of inspiration that we’re feeling in the shop, but for this weeks posts Nole suggested that I take you on a journey with me of what life at Urbanic looks like. This week, I’ll be giving you a glimpse into the front and back end of our retail shop as well as a peek into our family life.  I will also be sharing some tips of things I’ve learned along the way!  First up, a typical day in the shop… A Day in the Life at Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper A typical day starts at 9am. We officially open at 10 am, but have found that an hour of prep time before our doors open is hugely beneficial for progress. There are usually 2 and sometimes 3 of us working at a time. With so many different facets to the running the shop (many of which often happen simultaneously) it really takes a team to keep this going.  I am extremely grateful for the 5 amazing staff members that we have. Each person plays a big role at Urbanic and it’s our talents combined that make us who we are as a brand. Each day we kick off with front end presentation. Every detail matters here, from cueing up our curated tunes, lighting our featured candle, product entering, tagging, merchandising, and most importantly, working with our customers! There is a slew of email correspondence which takes place daily, as well as our client gift wrapping service, both of which we handle collectively.

A Day in the Life at Urbanic Paper Boutique via Oh So Beautiful Paper

In the back of the shop we host the ‘Urbanic Wedding Lounge‘. This is our by-appointment suite where we work with couples creatively to choose and customize wedding invitations and personal stationery. We have a design library with of a wide selection of options that we’ve hand-picked from the best designers across the country. Our team assists with design concept, layout, proofing and project management of the orders. We often work with couples for a few months throughout the process and build relationships with them along the way. It’s the BEST feeling when a bride comes in to pick up her invitations and we get to see her eyes well up with tears of joy upon receiving them. There are usually hugs all around and we feel privileged to have had a part in such a monumental event in their lives.

A Day in the Life at Urbanic Paper Boutique via Oh So Beautiful Paper

The creative process behind the business is enormous, but also my favorite part about the environment! There is always a work in progress happening with new things forming. These projects show themselves in many different ways! Our store windows entail brainstorming, sourcing, crafting and then finalizing the plan with the install. You can see some of our favorites windows here. When merchandising around the shop we like to constantly re-invent ourselves with new concepts and fresh displays. We work creating blog posts, newsletters, promotions, store events, collaborations, and of course there is the buying and curation of the merchandise we carry. In addition to all of this, we’ve recently started making little video promos of happenings around the shop. Here’s one below of one of some of the amazing mail we’ve been receiving.

A Day in the Life at Urbanic Paper Boutique via Oh So Beautiful Paper

My husband Joshua and I built Urbanic together in 2006. Since then, we’ve had 2 little boys, and together this is our family business! Joshua and I handle the not so glamorous parts of the company (finances, lease, building maintenance, operations… oh I could go on.) Although he is working more on making videos these days he is still a huge part of all that happens here.

As you can see, a lot goes down each day around here at Urbanic! We keep a digital store log where we document everything. This communication is key to keeping us all on the same page and helps us keep track of customer orders, daily interactions, basic store functioning and the progress of projects. Towards the end of the day the log is finalized, the sales are counted, the orders are faxed in, and the doors are closed… all in preparation for the next day.

photos by Joanne Pio & Jessie Webster


NYNOW Through the Eyes of Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Hi Everyone! I always look forward to the twice-a-year NYNOW trade show – but with my due date rapidly approaching I was sadly unable to attend the Summer 2014 NYNOW in August. Luckily, Samantha and Whitney from Gus & Ruby Letterpress – one of my favorite stationery stores in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – were planning to attend and agreed to share a few of their favorite finds from the show with us! Thanks so much ladies! –Nole

Hello Oh So Beautiful friends (see what we did there?), Sam & Whit here from Gus & Ruby Letterpress! A few weeks ago, we jetted off to NYC for a mad dash through the aisles of the NYNOW summer show in search of some rad new products for the shelves of our little shop. We walked the show for 2.5 days and found oodles of gorgeous new products that we can’t wait to share. We were writing orders like crazy and trying to visit as many new booths as we possibly could during our quick trip. Here are a few snaps of some standout booths:

Hand in Hand

This gorgeous skincare & fragrance line had us smitten with their hand-made paper-flower booth design – you know we’re suckers for some gorgeous paper blooms! The packaging of each product was just darling and the scents were divine. Even better, it’s a company with a cause: for each product sold, Hand in Hand saves 50 square feet of rainforest and donates one bar of soap and one month of clean water to a child in a developing country. Beautiful products, beautiful mission.


Photos via Hand in Hand

Yellow Owl Workshop

Yellow Owl Workshop always puts up a awesome booth and this show was no exception. We loved their new 3-color tiny ink pad sets and the holiday-themed carve-a-stamp kit.




Produce Candles

We’ve been carrying this fresh line of hand-poured soy candles for some time now and just can’t get enough. With new fall and winter scents on the way, it was a treat to sniff the next harvest. And it’s always so great to meet our beloved vendors in person.


Banquet Atelier & Workshop

Banquet Workshop goodies absolutely fly off the shelves at Gus & Ruby, so we were jazzed to see the new advent calendar, monthly calendar, and some lovely new pillows and greeting cards from this talented group.


Photo via Banquet Workshop


Coral & Tusk

The intricate embroidery of Coral & Tusk is too good to miss. Each print and pillow is a work of art.


Photos via Coral & Tusk

Belle & Union

We were totally digging the new recipe card boxes from Belle & Union as well as their gift wrap and cheeky cards. And let’s give it up to B&U for a super clean, cohesive booth design, too!






Photos via Belle & Union

Haptic Lab

We had been lusting after these hand-made kite ships for some time so we were eager to see the pieces in person. The booth design was absolutely magical and the kites proved to be as lovely and whimsical as we’d hoped.


Photo via Haptic Lab

Rebecca Atwood Designs & Light + Ladder

Oh, Rebecca, where do we even begin? Your gorgeous hand-dyed fabric pillows and bags made us weak in the knees. Please let us live in your booth? Thank you.


Light + Ladder


Light + Ladder / Rebecca Atwood photos via Rebecca Atwood

It was a slap-dash, so-much-to-see, exhausting trip to be sure. But, man oh man, are there some talented makers out there! We left feeling inspired and excited or what’s to come. Thank you for letting us share a teencey weency snippet of our time in NYC – we had a blast!

xoxo, Samantha & Whitney

Except where noted, photos by Gus & Ruby Letterpress