Behind the Stationery: People I’ve Loved

For our next installment of Behind the Stationery, we head to the San Francisco Bay Area to get a look behind the playful hand-drawn illustrations of Carissa from People I’ve Loved. She delves into her thought process behind designing, time management struggles, and the dynamics of her team. I love all the honesty throughout her post. Take it away, Carissa!
Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

From Carissa: Before stationery there was nothing. Ha. I had to say that. I studied print at SFAI and was really interested in social interactions. My buddy Luca Antonucci and I started Colpa Press right after grad school where we were really interested in making prints, books, objects, and cards that were concept driven and affordable. I think I got into cards as mini performance art works. I could theoretically compose a situation for two people and have them come together to feel connected. I would imagine people’s social situations as working out better than my own —that they could say what they really felt. Do you ever have a conversation on repeat in your head? I get obsessed with things I should have said. But I am not quick witted…

I guess I could say that we are women-owned and run, and we like to deal with feelings that are not always pretty. I think now we are in the really special time where we can be more open about how we are feeling and that things don’t always have to make sense. We have a lemon tree.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

We are in the Bay Area. Oakland. PIL has really always been in my house. The rent is high around these parts and we just cannot compete with tech budgets. PIL keeps taking up more and more of the house, so something might have to change sometime soon to save my marriage. But for now, we just kind of pack it in wherever we can find space.

Schedules are something that I am not super good with. Josh, my partner, said that I have a problem with authority. And I was like, “What? No, I don’t.” And he was like, “time — you have a problem with time.” These days, we try to work 9 – 5pm and then swim. I kinda think that everything is work though. Watering plants is also inspiring so I like to spend time with them. And I think about work all the time – some of my favorite ideas come while in the shower. Most days there are people around, which is great because, as it turns out, I like people. I am scared of being alone. I mean I don’t know what I would do with myself if I was alone.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

Process is tricky. Everything is always different. Sometimes we have brainstorming sessions for card ideas, sometimes someone is having an event in their lives that we explore, or sometimes we might just randomly feel like making time to make something.

For budget and ethical reasons, I always try to make things here, at the house from either ethically sourced materials or recycled stock. That being said, we have to order pins overseas. Which is what it is. If anyone can actually find a pin person in the USA, let me know. I would be all about that.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

As for who does what — everybody just kinda does what is needed or what comes up on the day to day. I am trying to do less production which is hard for me since I love production, but we all brainstorm ideas, and help out where we can. Loretta is a really great organizer, manager, and writer so she has taken that on. Grace helps with website, C&P printing, and being an all around joy to be around. And Emily does all or most all of our screen printing. I do the Vandercook printing (but I shouldn’t because my wrists are in bad shape these days).

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

Oh, oh, oh! And we also have help from our press superhero, Al. He has pretty much saved my life time and time again. He also works at Solstice Press in Oakland, and if we do outsource things, we do it with them. They are a local lady-run print shop. They help out with all of our offset printing and foil. They do a great job and I don’t think I would ever print with anyone else.

Most of all, I love to draw. I wish I had more time for just drawing. I think I would like to work on one thing at a time. These days I feel like my mind is in so many places at once that I end up feeling overwhelmed all the time.

Behind the Stationery: People I've Loved

All photos by Carissa Potter Carlson

Want to be featured on the Behind the Stationery column? Inquire with Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for details.

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations

Um, YES. With shiny and colorful holographic foil and a custom enamel pin keepsake, these wedding invitations are right up our alley! Designer and lettering artist Rachael Gibilterra designed these stunning modern holographic foil and enamel pin wedding invitations and save the dates for her own special day. We can’t imagine a better way of sending fun vibes to all of your guests than a wedding invitation full of holographic foil and mailed INSIDE hologram envelopes!

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations by Rachael Gibilterra

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations by Rachael Gibilterra

From Rachael: It all started with my main goal for our wedding: be different. In this social media age, and especially with Pinterest and wedding blogs, everyone is seeing and doing the same things. They’re all very pretty, but as a designer and creative, I strive to do what no one else is doing. I came across these holographic envelopes and after initially writing them off as “too flashy,” I came back around to them about a month later, still obsessed, determined to use them in our wedding stationery.

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations by Rachael Gibilterra

With the whole night sky concept I had for the actual stationery pieces, holographic foil printing was the obvious choice. It’s unexpected and amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with the final result! It fit perfectly into the starry night bohemian vibe I envisioned for the whole event. It embodies us as a couple. What I’ve learned so far through this process is that you should never back down from something that speaks to you because of what other people may think. If you make decisions based on things you love, it will all come together beautifully FOR YOU, which is what matters most.

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations by Rachael Gibilterra

The enamel pins are another unusual addition to a wedding suite, and I wanted to do something special for our save the date that was memorable and sort of interactive, but also useful and not have our names plastered all over it. This way, our guests can keep and use this pin for themselves and while it’ll remind them of us and our celebration, it’s also totally unbranded! I wanted to give them something that they could keep and use well beyond our wedding. Many friends tell me they still have our save the date on their fridge, which warms a designer’s heart.

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations by Rachael Gibilterra

I’m so happy with how our wedding came together, everything following in the wake of these crazy invitations. Once I followed my instincts and these actually came into existence, it helped me to visualize the rest of the wedding. We finished it off with organic, wild florals, midnight blue tuxes, blush details, and an embellished deco-inspired gown. We also had hand-dyed shibori tea towel favors and donuts for a cake! We tried to just choose things that spoke to us as a couple and be genuine in everything we did. It worked out fabulously, and it was the best day of our lives.

Modern Holographic Foil and Enamel Pin Wedding Invitations by Rachael Gibilterra

Thanks Rachael!

Design: Rachael Gibilterra Design & Lettering
Printing: Mama’s Sauce
Paper: French Paper Company
Envelopes: Blake Envelopes
Ring: Heidi Gibson
Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

Check out the Designer Rolodex for more tal­ented wed­ding invi­ta­tion design­ers and the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Rachael Gibilterra

Happy Weekend

My heart and thoughts are with the people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and the Caribbean islands this weekend. I lived in Florida from 1992 to 2002 before moving to DC, and even though I’ve moved away and my family has since moved out of state, it will always have a special place in my heart. If you’re in Irma’s path, please stay safe and know we’ll be here to help however we can. In the meantime…

Adventure / Amare Letter Shop via Instagram

Image by Amare Letter Shop via #dailydoseofpaper

…a few links for your weekend!

All about these frosé juice pouches

Totally obsessed with these leather block-heel sandals

This DIY wood bead chandelier is BEYOND amazing

How cute is this sweater??

One of the many reasons I love science: it’s raining diamonds on Neptune and Uranus (!!)

Loving these modern bar stools

This sounds delicious: Wild Mushroom Mezzaluna with Garlic Butter Sauce



This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Celebrating 9 years of Oh So Beautiful Paper – and introducing Common Room Studio!

New illustrated September wallpapers

Gorgeous gold and plum watercolor wedding invitations

Aaaaalllll the boob cards!

9 Years of OSBP + Introducing Common Room Studio!

Write Your Own Story / Frankie's Girl

Today Oh So Beautiful Paper turns 9 years old! And earlier this week, I turned 36 years old! I never could have imagined what a wild and beautiful adventure lay ahead when I published my first post nine years ago. I started Oh So Beautiful Paper just three and a half months after my wedding; my husband saw that I was in need of a post-wedding project, so he suggested that I start a blog. I was still working on a diplomacy career at the U.S. Department of State, so Oh So Beautiful Paper was initially my creative outlet and a way to share my love of stationery and wedding invitations with anyone who might listen. You can read more about my story right here, but even after nine years of blogging and seven years of self-employment I still can’t quite believe that I get to wake up and do this every day!

As excited as I am to celebrate NINE years of OSBP, I have even more exciting news to share: we’re opening a brand new studio space in Alexandria, Virginia called Common Room Studio! It’s going to be part photography studio and part workshop space, and I can’t decide if I’m more excited to finally have a space to produce some larger scale DIY and cocktail party shoots or to have a space where I can host people and engage more with my local community. We’re planning everything from calligraphy and watercolor workshops to cocktail classes. Common Room Studio will also be available to rent if you’d like to host your own photo shoot or workshop here! It’s going to be so fun!

Introducing Common Room Studio

Common Room Studio is on a quiet street in the Potomac Yard neighborhood of Alexandria, just a few minutes north of Old Town Alexandria. Our building is more than 100 years old and was originally built as a cafeteria for the workers in neighboring businesses, so it has an industrial vibe with a very open floor plan – which is both super rare in DC and perfect for me! I feel so lucky to have found this space after looking on and off in DC for nearly four years! We’ve been working on building out the inside of the studio for the last few months, and I thought I’d share some of the before photos and some of the progress we’ve made so far!

So here’s what the studio looked like the very first time I walked in:

Common Room Studio: Before

Common Room Studio: Before

Common Room Studio: Before

Common Room Studio: Before

In rough shape, but with lots of potential. I know it’s hard to get a sense of the layout from these photos, but the studio is around 1,000 square feet divided into two rooms. The front room (with the glass block window) is the smaller of the two rooms, but is still quite large with plenty of room for an entry space/sitting area and a small photo bay. There is a doorway into the larger second room, which contains our large photo bay, the kitchenette, bathroom, and our workshop space – all of which gets tons of beautiful and bright natural light from a large skylight!

The first thing I asked my contractor to do was tear down the 1960s-era drop ceiling and paint everything – floor and walls – a bright white (Extra White by Sherwin-Williams). Here’s what the studio looked like after taking out the drop ceiling and painting the floor:

Common Room Studio: Progress

Common Room Studio: Progress

Common Room Studio: Progress

Common Room Studio: Progress

Better, but after taking out the drop ceiling we found old water damage in the ceiling drywall, some old fluorescent lights, and random old pipes and wires. I’m planning to embrace the industrial vibe of our space, but we still needed to clean things up a bit. So we took everything down and put up brand new ceiling drywall and cleaned up the pipes and wires:

Common Room Studio: Progress

Common Room Studio: Progress

We also added a fun band of light pink (Alyssum by Sherwin-Williams) in the workshop space and painted the back door in the same shade of pink. Here’s what it looked like a few weeks ago, just before our furniture arrived:

Common Room Studio: Progress

That’s about as much as I can show you for now! I can’t wait to share more about Common Room Studio in the coming weeks – including my design plans for the entire space! And I’m so excited to finally start shooting some projects in our new space and sharing those images with you. In the meantime, if you’re in the DC area or interested in attending a future workshop at Common Room Studio, you can sign up for our monthly newsletter right here!

Thank you so much for following along for the past eight years and as my business continues to evolve and grow. I’m so grateful for all of you! I know this 9th year of Oh So Beautiful Paper will be the best one yet. xo

*A big thanks to our friends at Sherwin-Williams for providing all the paint for the studio! Painting everything white made SUCH a huge difference, and I love the pop of bright pink in our workshop space!

Stationery A-Z: Boob Cards

Be it the women’s movement, the uptick in lady social clubs, or just a general sense of growing female empowerment, but we’ve been seeing a whole lot of a certain, ahem, anatomical item (or items) showing up in greeting cards recently. There seem to be boob cards for pretty much any occasion! These particular ‘designs’ are available in all shapes, sizes, colors, and categories and can be used for everything from a thank you note, to a good luck card, to a quick pep talk for someone battling cancer. Send one to your mom, your mentor or even your bosom buddy. Whatever the inspiration, we’re two lady lumps up for this new trend. (I know, I know.) – Shauna

Trendspotting: Boob Cards!

From top right:

1. You are the best! Send this delicately painted Boss Dotty card to your bestest buddy.

2. They come in all shapes and sizes, so why not in holographic foil as well? From Gravel and Gold.

3. Tits are, in fact, pretty dope. Send this Dahlia Press card to anyone who needs a little flattering at this moment.

4. Cheerleading encouragement or sexy compliment? Either work with this Anne & Kate design.

5. You (and your tits) are downright perfect and I’m so glad that Jordan Sondler for The Found agrees.

6. We love a good pun here at OSBP and this Lark + Raven design is no exception.

7. Literally so many uses for this Egg Press greeting – an empathetic note for someone battling breast cancer, an encouraging message for a new mom, or a cheeky congratulatory sentiment for a recent plastic surgery recipient. The list goes on!

8. This Gold Teeth Brooklyn note comes in not one, but three shades of female anatomy.

9. We all could use a little encouragement every now and then…often in the form of lingerie. Also from Boss Dotty (check our post on her debut at the National Stationery Show here).

10. A timeless tradition, now forever immortalized in this clever design from Lovebird Paper Co.