Friday Happy Hour: The Stone Fence

This is a very simple, three hundred year-old drink, just updated a bit with the addition of bitters. The Stone Fence pre-dates the United States, made by colonial farmers with what they had easily at hand: apple cider from their orchards and rye from their fields. Rye was the grain and drink of choice until settlers made their way into the Kentucky Valley, discovered they could grow more corn there than they could ever eat, and made bourbon into America’s spirit.  This is an old drink, but don’t dismiss it as an antique: this is the sort of drink that wins battles.


Read below for the full recipe!

The Stone Fence

2 oz Rye Whiskey
Apple Cider
2 Dashes Angostura or Aromatic Bitters


Combine the whiskey and bitters in a highball glass filled with ice, then fill to the top with apple cider and give it a stir.  Garnish with a bunch of bruised mint leaves and enjoy. 


Bourbon works here, and dark rum would be historically accurate too (rum probably predated rye in the Stone Fence), but the spiciness of the rye is a nice balance to the sweetness of the cider.  If you want to really recreate the original version of the drink, use hard cider (just drink this one carefully).  The result is a drink that is sweet, tart, spicy, and as refreshing on a summer day as it is warming on a cold New England night.


So here’s the bit about winning battles: on the morning of May 10th, 1775, Ethan Allen led 83 of Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys to capture Fort Ticonderoga from the English.  Allen’s plan?  Rush into the fort and see what happens.  The lone sentry fled, the Green Mountain Boys began rounding up the sleeping English soldiers, and Allen charged into the officers’ quarters.  Allegedly a giant of a man, he demanded they surrender “in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”  At least, that’s the legend.  The English promptly surrendered and no one died.  Where did they get their courage to charge into the fort, guarded by professional English soldiers backed by canons, and audaciously demand its surrender?  Allen and his Boys were up all night on the 9th planning the attack and drinking Stone Fences.  A few hours later, on the morning of the 10th, they were almost certainly still drunk out of their minds.  Allen’s men then looted all of the fort’s liquor and probably kept on drinking.  So goes history.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

{happy weekend!}

In all the hubbub of Alt last week, I kind of forgot about an important personal milestone – the anniversary of my husband’s deployment to Iraq.  He’s now been home as long as he was deployed, but I still wake up every day feeling grateful that he’s here.  Everything felt so chaotic and overwhelming this time last year; a feeling that continued up until the day he came home.  So if you know of anyone with a spouse or family member deployed overseas, give them a few extra hugs – I’m sure they would appreciate it.  I’m looking forward to enjoying a weekend here in DC before heading up to NYC on Sunday for the New York International Gift Fair and to help judge the 2012 Louie Awards.  But in the meantime…

…a few links for your weekend!

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

A big welcome to the newest Designer Rolodex members!

As usual, we have a fun cocktail coming up for you this afternoon, so check back a bit later for the recipe!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday with some favorite finds from the Gift Fair! xoxo

Photo Credit: Madelene Lindqvist

Chinese New Year Cards from Twig + Fig

Happy Friday everyone!  As I’m sure most of you know, Monday marked the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.  Designer Stephanie Laursen sent over some fun letterpress cards that she helped to create at Twig + Fig in Berkley, California to commemorate the occasion.  Stephanie created two versions: one on the more traditional side and another with a more modern and stylized design – both paired with classic red envelopes with gilded gold characters.


From StephanieWe wanted the cards to have a dragon theme (since it’s the year of the dragon).  We also wanted them to fit into coin envelopes, as it’s traditional to give money in small red envelopes.  We decided to pick two different dragons, one in a more traditional Chinese art style, and one that was a bit more graphic and modern.  The typography for each design reflects two aesthetics: the more modern dragon has large bold ‘2012’ typography, and the more traditional one is paired with a classic, smaller ‘2012’ and the Chinese character for dragon.


We wanted the back of each to say ‘Happy New Year’, but in a more simplified way to give people room to write if they chose, and we decided to make the back the same for each for ease of printing.  I also chose to pair the Chinese characters for ‘Happy New Year’ (“gung hay fat choy”) to tie the Chinese theme into the back of the card.

Of course, the red printing ink and the gilded gold envelopes were the finishing touches to really make it appropriate for the Chinese New Year. (We learned that the envelope to give money in should traditionally have gold characters on it, for luck).

Thanks Stephanie!  For those of you in the Bay area, you can pick up these cards at Twig + Fig in Berkley, California!

Photo Credits: Stephanie Laursen

Seasonal Stationery: Valentine’s Day Cards, Part 5

I have just a few more Valentine’s Day cards that I’d like to share with you.  So today I have one final round up for you – full of some of the sweetest Valentine’s Day cards yet!


Studio Olivine

Wishbone Letterpress

Satsuma Press


Impressed Design


Sycamore Street Press

Echo Letterpress


Fugu Fugu Press

Lulu Dee

Eva Juilet


Our Paper Shop

Valentine’s Day artwork from Akimbo

In case you missed them, you can check out the previous round ups right here!

{images via their respective sources}

Inspired By: Papercuts!

I’ve been in love with papercut pieces as long as I can remember, as any longtime readers will know from my love for all things Rob Ryan.  I’m completely in awe of this stunning technique (the precision! the patience!) and the even more stunning results.  So today I’m rounding up a few of my favorite papercut pieces, from artwork to baby announcements.

No. 1 Rob Ryan; No. 2 Dinara Mirtalipova (originally posted here); No. 3 Woodland Papercuts; No. 4 Elizabeth Messina; No. 5 Helen Musselwhite; No. 6 Julene Harrison

And speaking of Rob Ryan, he just released his 2012 Valentine’s Day print!  This year, Rob is offering a beautiful screen print in burgundy ink on off-white paper.  Check out all three designs right here.  So gorgeous!

Woodland Papercuts is a mem­ber of the Designer Rolodex – you can see more of Naomi’s beau­ti­ful work right here!

{images via their respective sources}