Friday, April 20, 2012

Handmade Nepalese Lotka Paper - An Obsession

Hi Paper Lovers!

It Sara from S2 Stationery and Design. It's been a month or so since my last guest post on the K.Batty blog, and things have been busy, but even so my paper obsession has not stopped. In fact, I have found even more paper to be obsessed with and I am going to blame it on a little store called Anthropologie.

See, two years ago, I wandered into their store on Fifth Avenue looking for Christmas presents and instead stumbled on a collection of hand made paper from Nepal and a few from Thailand, but the ones from Nepal stopped me in my tracks. They were stunning! I don't have pictures of them below, instead I have pictures of last years (2011) collection. They were vividly purple, pink and white, another one that looked almost like lace.  I wasn't thinking, when I bought one or two of each and then thought, I'll just come back after Christmas. Nobody is going to buy this paper. I was wrong.

I was wrong again this past year when I did the same thing. These papers have a tendency to be fully stocked and then as the holiday gets closer, gets discounted and then flies off the shelves. I totally get why. A package of 3 sheets of this handmade paper costs $12 initially and then just before Christmas, I think $8 or $9 and then is probably $6 after.

As a paper lover, I spend much more on single sheets sometimes, but you know what? I just can't stand that I'm buying $12 paper from Anthropologie. Don't get me wrong, it is totally worth the $12, but I've always joked that it's better to save the money you'd spend there, buy a ticket to India and then buy all the clothes you want for cheaper. I maintain that still, but when it comes to the paper, I fight with myself because I know, just know, that it won't be there for long. And that was much the case this past year, when I saw even more vibrant and stunning colors and styles than the year before. I couldn't justify the price tag, but by the time I went back, much of their inventory was gone. Leaving me SOL. Sigh.

The greens and blues alone in the two bottom pictures are the ones that caught my breath, but the top photo of the rings is another one that left me stunned. As soon as I saw them, I knew I HAD to work with them. I had to add them to my repertoire somehow!

Of course, I'm not going to give away my secrets here, YET, but I am in the process of working on a line of cards for men a wedding set. Although, the first could also be part of the Olympics headed our way this year. I never know what will pop out of my mind when I hold these sheets!

Thanks to Anthropologie, I have become obsessed with Nepalese paper and I go hunting for it around the City where it costs more than $12 for three sheets.  I have been fortunate to find paper similar to the ones above, but nothing quite like the ones from the year before. Which is why I get so annoyed that I didn't just buy as many packages of the paper when I first saw them. My life would be a lot easier in regards to designing more than 3 sets of what I think are going to be some of the most stunning pieces I've ever created.

But alas, let me get back to business, or the history of this paper, for those of you also interested.  The paper is actually still crafted by hand through the time-honored tradition of Nepalese papermaking using the bark of the lokta bush (Daphne cannabina), found in the hilly regions of Nepal.  The paper is a sustainable source as the bark regenerates after harvest.  The paper sheets, after being made, are transported to Kathmandu, where they are dyed, painted, or screen-printed.  The paper is extremely durable (some sheets even have a waxy feel to the touch) and is resistant to insects.  Originally the paper was used for drafting official documents, but it has made it's way into the Western world as gift wrap and writing paper.

It is commonly known amongst my friends, family, and network that I want to travel to Japan and Asia to learn paper making techniques so that I can make my own paper in-house and design using it for individuals as interested in the art of paper making and sustainable/environmental products. Until seeing this paper, I had never thought of Nepal as an option, but now I see it more clearly. In order to keep buying the paper, I need to see it in process and understand it's origins and the people, mostly women, that make it still and sell it to stores like Anthropologie to Western consumers.

There is a lot to read about online regarding Lotka Paper. You can find sheets of designed paper for sale at many paper stores across the country.  Also stay tuned. I'll be sure to post photos of the pieces I create with the paper shown above and when I do take my big adventure, I'll be sure to keep you and Kerry posted on all that I'm learning. Exciting, right? Yeah!

Oh, and please feel free to leave comments below about lotka paper, or even just traveling in Nepal if you have experience or suggestions.

Until next time, keep enjoying and exploring paper!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One Stop Shopping

So, when you for a gift for someone, what do you do? You pick out a nice gift & then get a card to go with it, right?

Well, now you can accomplish both of those things with one click of your mouse. In my Etsy Shop.

Ta-da!!! Introducing my Mother's Day Gift Set Sale! Magical, right?

One listing - 2 parts. You get one of my VERY popular I HEART MOM gift cards, as well as ANY set of stationery in my shop - all for $13.50. Read that again - ANY set of stationery. Even the ones that are $18 will be included, like this one. Sadly, to meet demand, I can't guarantee colored envelopes from any of my listings, but I do guarantee something that will make Mom feel special & one of a kind just as she deserves.

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13!! Don't leave it to the last minute!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cards of the Week :: Totful Memories

When looking for material for Cards of the Week posts, I have found myself on the same shop several times in the last few months...Totful Memories. Her work is chic, modern, clean & really well done. The tagline on her shop says "simple adorable printables." Definitely! I love her choices on fonts & color schemes. So! I thought a little Cards of the Week Profile was definitely in order.

Let me introduce you to Tania from Totful Memories...

1.     Introduce yourself & if your Etsy shop isn't your full time gig, tell us what your day job is.

Hi, I’m Tania, a mom of two very active and loveable boys and the designer for totful memories.  I am also an elementary school teacher, but have decided to stay home and concentrate on my boys and growing my home business.  I design everything from birth announcements, to invitations, to cupcake toppers and party decorations.

2.     Tell us something NOT in your Etsy profile...

In my past life I used to be a competitive figure skater.  I grew up in rinks and dance studios and felt most at home when I was alone on the ice.  I believe that skating was a one of my true great passions in life and has taught me to live and work with that same degree of discipline.

3.  Figure skater?! That is rad. How/when did you start making printables?

I have always loved crafts and all things handmade, but it was my search to find unique and tasteful party ware for my boy’s special occasions, that totful memories came to be. I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell printable party invites and decor that would be sure to please both parent and tot.

4.     We all know that I love your shop & how I've sung it's praises, but let's hear you describe it in your own words:

My Etsy store is full of fun and fresh party invitations and printables, and I am continually adding new products.  I like to dabble a little in all different styles, something modern, sometimes shabby chic and others…just plain fun!   For a very reasonable price, my customers can create a truly special “just call me Martha” birthday party for their little ones.

5.     How do you spend your time offline?

{Tania with her little pieces of inspiration...her boys}

 When I am not busy working, I love spending time with my boys.  They are so full of energy and can be every super hero imaginable in just one afternoon (I do lots of laundry because there are  full pajama costume changes several times as day :) I love traveling with my family, gardening a bit here and there, and hanging out with my besties!

6.     What do you do when you get stuck, creatively?

I have a new obsession with Pinterest…me and Pinterest, we get along :) It’s great for gathering my thoughts when I am planning a new party theme, I find so many creative and unique ideas.  My husband and I are currently building a new home and I love pinning fabulous home ideas, it’s my current pastime.

7.     And I want to know who YOU heart on Etsy...who are your faves?

Who do I heart on Etsy…mmm, that’s tough because I love so much that I see :)  I have loved the work of LoraleeLewis from the first time I saw her shop! Cutest vintage invites and party d├ęcor.  I also love the beautiful and whimsical work of Elly MacKay’s Etsy shop, Theatre Clouds.  

I recently found Elly MacKay's shop too! LOVE!!! Tania, thank you for letting me pick your brain.  Best of luck with your shop! 

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

K. Batty + An Etsy Artist Assembly

{Jason finishing set up while Mr. B "helps"}

BIG NEWS!! I am a vendor at the Dekalb Market!

This announcement on the blog is long over due. My bad. Along with 6 other members of my Etsy Street team, the NewNew, I am one part of container 27/28 - An Etsy Artist Assembly.

The market is open 7 days a week, from now (just last weekend, actually) through the December holidays. Our container has a home goods spin - pillows by Ilka of Ilara Design, air plant & terrariums by Zsuzsanna of Roots in Rust, photography, by Kelley of Kelley Gudahl Photography, fabulous leather goods & funky dish towels by Lauren of LolaFalk, jewelry by Melissa of Be In The Moment & amazing lamps by Jason of Merrimack and Monitor.

Come by any time between 11 & 7, Monday through Friday! If you want to catch me, in the flesh, Tuesday is my "work" day. Directions are on the Dekalb website. Also, check out our shops Facebook page here.

Spring is going to be big for K Batty Design & Stationery. Can't you feel it?!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Welcome to my breakfast table...

I love the sentiment here. It's the whole reason I started this blog. In conducting business over the internet, there is very little information for you to go on when choosing stationery or someone to design your invitations, yet, to me, both of those things are extremely personal. You just have look at someone's work website & go with your gut.

So!! I started this blog as a way for potential clients to get to know me & since it's tough to meet all of you for coffee, I love what this quote says about my blog & what it represents. Plus, I am usually drinking coffee & it is usually is the morning when I'm blogging. Perfect!

On Swiss Miss Via A Cup of Jo
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