Thursday, February 28, 2013

Say "No Way" to Novites

This morning I am seriously disgusted. CBS Philly reported that a new trend in wedding invitations is to send a "Novite" - a note telling people NOT to expect a wedding invitation from you. It's the anti-Save the Date.

As I read the title of the article, I was hoping it was a clever new way to tell people you'd eloped. Something sensationalized to get readers to click into the article. No. Such. Luck.

The apparent defense of this appalling behavior is that your Facebook friends might see an update in your status, announcing you're getting married, and expect an invitation. However, as we all know, we're in a recession. Times are tight & not everyone can be invited to your big day. Couples are sending emails (?!?!?!?!?!?!) or in some cases cards to tell friends or family not to expect an invitation.

Social media does not excuse poor taste or bad behavior. Please promise me that none of you will send out something as tasteless as this. Never ever!! Promise!!!

Found via The Finer Things. Original article on the local CBS Philly website.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why letters are important!

I say it on this blog, on my website and on my Etsy shop every chance I get:

And today the proof is in the pudding...

...or rather the telegram. Rachel of Attic 17 collects & sells vintage ephemera. Knowing her love of old paper & things, her brother gave her a box of it for Christmas. An intriguing telegram was inside, something that held her special attention, something that clearly marked an important moment in time for 2 people, Kay & Donald. And now, literally 55 years later, thanks to the magic of Google,  Rachel is able to return this telegram to Kay, who lost Donald last year & is very thankful to this total stranger for providing another memory of her late husband.

No one is ever (ok, probably never) going to find a meaningful email that you sent 50 years ago. The server it was sitting on will be long gone. Notes, letters, cards...and telegrams...that's a different story. Those are the things we save, the things we'll be pulling out here & there over the years to read & remember.

An example...

My dad sent me a card a few years ago with pictures in it of a trip we'd taken YEARS ago. He found them in a box somewhere & thought I'd like to have them. In the note, he told me a little of what's going on at home & some parts of our trip that he remembered. That is a keeper to me! I love to pull it out & read it. I remember the trip, the horses we road, the people we met, the time we spent together.

So, again...a reminder!
Nothing will replace the sincerity of a hand written note! Buy some stamps, pick up a pen & show someone you care by sending them a note.

I'm not talking a diatribe...just a hi, how are ya, happy birthday. How about Happy Friday!

Read the original post on Attic 17 here, the follow up here. Rachel has a lovely Etsy shop where she sells her vintage finds. I read about it on Snippet & Ink. AWESOME wedding blog!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Elevating my envelopes :: A Handstamping How-to

Even though my new print-making medium is letterpress, I do not want my stamping to completely fall to the wayside. On a recent paper buying trip I found some cute heart stamps. I thought I'd use some them to spruce up some envelopes for the cards I made for Valentine's Day.

Here's what I did so you can have some fun too! 
Detailed instructions below

Materials I used:

White acrylic paint (or whatever color you'd like)
sponge brush
my stamps!
dry paper towel
damp paper towel

Not pictured:
Colored envelopes (with white envelopes, you can use regular pigment ink pads)
Scrap paper!! If you can get it in the same color as your envelopes, it's even better.

Inking your stamp with acrylic paint

You only need a LITTLE bit of acrylic paint to ink your stamp. Dab a little on the end of your sponge brush. I like to dab it on a scrap sheet or on the cap of the paint jar to even it out. Then, lightly sponge it on to your stamp.

I've learned is to be very careful with the amount of paint you get on the edges of the stamp. It's easy to over ink with that sponge brush. Also, after you've used a stamp several times, you'll see it build up around the edges. This is where that damp paper towel comes in handy. Use it for a quick clean up & you're ready to go again.

Practice first!

Did your parents ever tell you "Practice Makes Perfect?" They weren't kidding.

Most paper stores sell card stock or text weight paper in the same colors as the envelopes.  Grab some in the color of your envelopes. Now you'll know how your stamp & color of paint will look on your envelope.

Practice stamping & arranging your design on your scrap paper. This is especially important when you are first figuring out how to ink your stamp with paint. When you've got something you like & feel confident about it, move to your envelopes.

Make your envelopes

After a few practices, I went to my envelopes. Set them out of the way to dry. If you're working with 2 stamps as I did, stamp them one at a time, like in an assembly line. I stamped my large heart first, as it was the foundation of my design. Then, I came back with the small heart. It helps avoid smudging!

Have fun!

Personalize envelopes for anything with this technique. Next time I might use a monogram! Or a bunny for Easter...

Try it & let me know in the comments (or on Facebook) how it goes!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Playtime with Victor

The weekend before Valentine's Day I did it. I FINALLY inked up my letterpress & did some printing. I wish I had tons of pictures but I don't. I just didn't trust myself to keep the ink off my camera. Sometimes I think I can see into the future...

Here I am opening my ink can for the first time! Look at all that!!!

This is me 5 minutes later. It took no time at all for my hands to be covered in ink. Taking the top packing off the ink should be done with gloves from now on. I got enough off to start touching the paper...or anything that I didn't want to turn pink, but clearly this is stubborn stuff.

I hit some snags. For some reason, the lower half of my platen prints deeper than the top half. The platen (which is a fancy name for the front part of the machine) needs to be leveled. For now, I used some wide painter's tape in my packing to get an even print.

Cleaning up was actually less messy than starting. I think by that point I was more comfortable moving around the machine, in general. I will still get gloves for this part. I am an ink magnet & I would prefer not to walk around covered in it. If anyone is thinking about getting into letterpress, read the forums on Ladies of Letterpress. GREAT resource. That's where I picked up some cleaning tips like the one above - standing my roller up in a board. It was so easy to steady it, clean it & leave it to dry.

Here's the finished product...Oh, that's right. I forgot to take those pictures. I was so concerned with getting my cards in the mail that after they dried I wrote them immediately, addressed, stamped & mailed them. Done!

So??? How'd I do?

Thanks to Mr. B who took these pictures for me!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

USPS kills Saturday Service

"What?!" I exclaimed. "Is it true?!" 

Well, it is. Only for letters though, starting in August. Packages will be delivered 6 days a week, as usual. Many people, as reported all over the news, freaked out over this announcement, made by the postmaster general, Patrick Donahoe, on Wednesday last week. Check out this New York Times article...

Me? I don't really see the big deal. The United States Postal Service has been running into the ground for a long time. Now, unfortunately, the USPS has a HUGE overhead due to a commitment to pay the health benefits of future retirees (according to Donahoe). Despite the fact that they have raised the postal rates almost every year, they are still billions over budget. They have to figure out how to stay solvent...or even running at all, really.

On the other hand!! I think the question we should ask is: Is this the right cut in their services? There are probably several areas that could be cut, restructured or otherwise changed. Since packages will still be delivered, is Saturday letter delivery really the way to go?

Unfortunately for the USPS, we may not find out. According to our nations's government, they need Congress to take any of those steps. As a matter of fact, it's possible that Congress, because of past Congressional mandates on the USPS, will rule in upcoming hearings that the USPS cannot just say they're stopping Saturday letter service & be forced to continue it. Not to get political here, but I don't think any one of us can say that Congress is the entity that any of us would want telling us how to save some money. Just saying...

Oh the drama of the United States Postal Service! {said as I throw my hand across my forehead}  

So, how does this apply to you & me? Nothing will change immediately...if at all. Perhaps in August, any notes, birthday cards or invitations that you send via USPS First Class mail will not be delivered on Saturday. As we see how this unfolds, I'll have a contingency plan ready for small orders from my Etsy shop to insure that you get your purchase when you need it while trying to keep shipping costs reasonable. Stationery sets...1 or more...should not be affected. But I'll be sure to double & triple check!

What do you think? Is this a huge mistake? Long over due? Sound off in the comments or share your thoughts on twitter (@kmbatty) or Facebook.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Art for a Type Nerd

It's been a while since I've checked in over at Daily Drop Cap. Illustrator Jessica Hische has been publishing this site since 2009, with beautiful pieces of typography. Here are some recent favorites:

Love these? You can buy letterpress prints of some of them on her site. Also check out her fonts.

Jessica, keep up the great work!

Friday, February 15, 2013

High 5 for Friday

Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
My calligraphy is coming along in a short time.
• Had a great time making envelopes for my Valentine's Day cards!
• Chez Batty will soon be Puppyville.
• Oh, did I mention that I letterpressed my Valentine's Day cards?! I think that post is still a draft...Stupid busy week.
• Yesterday I took Molly for a bit while her big sister was at Daisy's. Big cookie for a little girl...

Happy Friday!

Puppy Love

{Ms. Purple from Great Lakes Gun Dogs - might be ours! We find out in March!}

The Battys are getting a new mascot. A little 4-legged girl will be arriving in March! She is a Braque Francais Pyrenees - a small French Pointer. How cute is that face??

More pictures on Facebook!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

May Cupid's Arrow Be Straight!

Happy Day of Love my friends!

This year on Valentine's Day I want to make sure that you feel the love & appreciation I have for all of you who read my blog & support my business. I LOVE to make stationery & greeting cards. Thank you for letting me do that for you!

How 'bout a freebie to show you how much I care??

I took a calligraphy workshop last week with Bryn of Paperfinger Calligraphy. It. Was. So. Much. Fun!!! I met some lovely ladies, including Bryn & have been hard at work practicing my new craft. To celebrate Valentine's Day & show off my new skills, here is a Valentine's Day card for you, featuring calligraphy by me.


Follow this link to download the card from the public folder on my Dropbox. Thank you for respecting that this is for personal use only.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Many Forms of Cupid

Which Cupid best represents you at the moment? I am definitely for the Old Fashioned Cupid. The others are super clever though & are tickling my funny bone.

Via my girl Catja on Pinterest & originally from Swiss-Miss

Monday, February 11, 2013

Inspired by Love

Friday's post was about writing love letters & included a short cut in case you had a hard time getting started - borrow from someone else. There are tons of quotes & poems on love. Don't feel like you need to "reinvent the wheel."

To get your love juices flowing, I started a Pinterest board about Love Quotes. Use these as a starting point, inspiration or as the way you express your feelings.

Let me know what speaks to you by liking or repinning them!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Love Letter 2.0

This Friday I'm "phoning it in" by reposting something I did last year, but that's only because I like this post so much I think it deserves another posting...with a few edits. Let's get our Love Letter on...

It's the time of the year when hearts take over shop windows. Everything seems to be dripping in pink, red & white & Cupid's image is everywhere. So are boxes of chocolate (yeah!) It all signals the approach of Valentine's Day, which I've already started talking about here on the blog (and here). you have a Valentine? And if so what are you doing for him/her? Not that presents are mandatory on Valentine's Day. But if you are into that, it should be meaningful. Not just a box of Whitman's from CVS.

Have you thought about writing them a love letter? Want to learn?? If the answer is yes, then you are in luck! I'm ready to help you with that. If the answer is no, keep reading anyway, I bet I can convince you to pull out your pen.

Before we get started, I just have to take care of one small thing:

**Mr. Batty, spoiler alert! I have a Valentines' Day surprise for you & reading this may give it away. Abort!!!** 

Ok! On to writing a love letter...

What you need

A pen & paper...maybe a few sheets of paper. I like to write a draft first so I'd have a notebook or scrap paper around. The operative words in that sentence are I & write. in hand write. Sentiments of love are wanted & accepted by woman the world over, but the man who puts a pen to paper instead of in an email or a text will be that much more appreciated. Ladies, that goes for you too. Don't be lazy. As we've discussed on this blog before, the art of the hand written note is dying. But, in a way there's been a positive side effect. It also means more to get one. So, pull out the pen & paper for your sweetheart.

What to say

This is why I like to write a draft. First, I know that I will make this short & sweet, but for me that's all the more reason to get my wording the way I want. Also, I don't want to waste my pretty stationery. Here's a good outline for a love letter...

Opening - Dear ___My dearest ___, or Honeybun, - if you have nicknames for each other, feel free to use them here. After all, this is a personal note! Please avoid things like Yoh!

State your positive intention - I want to take a moment to express my deepening feelings for you - or something to that effect. Just make sure that it's positive. You don't want to leave any doubt that this is a love letter & not a I-don't-love-you love letter.

Time for the feelings part - this is where you are a bit on your own. You don't need to write like Shakespeare to tell someone that they mean the world to you. Just say it. Include memories that solidify your feelings, like what your wedding day meant to you or how much fun you had together at that party last month or that exciting trip you took last year.

Closing - Usually I say something about the future, how I look forward to more memories, more shared experiences or more moments like the ones I've just described.

Sign-off - "With all my love" is my fave line. The year we got married I think I signed his letter "Your wife" Also good are: Always, Truly, and Yours. If you used their nickname to open the letter, you can put yours here in the closing. I usually just put "K" after the sign-off.

Can't find the words?

No worries! Plenty has been written on the subject of love, like, lust, etc. Find a quote or poem you like, print it on nice paper or stationery & write a tiny note at the bottom. Something like "Ditto! Love, me" or "Shakespeare said it best, but not last. Love you!" I like this one in particular:

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.” 
-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

How to deliver it

If you live together, mailing it could be really exciting, especially if your intended picks up the mail. It also shows forethought that you put it in the snail mail. I usually put Mr. B's on his plate at dinner. One year he was traveling & I hid a few cards in his suitcase.

I hope this is making putting these thoughts on paper easier for everyone. Doing something meaningful doesn't mean buying anything & doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming either. I LOVE to write these things to my husband. I look forward to telling him what he means to me in a way that I may not take the time to do every day. Putting pen to paper leaves your partner with something that he (or she) can pull out & read over again & again.* This letter to my husband will mark not only my feelings for him but will serve as a reminder of where we were in our relationship in this moment, long after he's eaten the beef jerky that I'm making for him (Yes, Chris, the Cola Jerky).

Also note that if you are early in a relationship you can still write a love letter. Maybe call it a like letter & keep it light. The point in all this is to make it meaningful.

Men, if you are looking for other resources, pay a visit to The Art of Manliness. It's a fun article on wooing your woman with a letter plus a linkage to writing a love letter like a soldier. Morbid but interesting.  Note that the writers here remind men that ladies never get tired of hearing how beautiful they are & how much you care for them...I can tell you this is true. I also liked this article from Psyc Central. And, in case you still have writers block, there are examples here or here  to get you started.

Who is ready to break out their pen?! Keep me posted on how it goes!

*On a personal note, I have to tell you that for our first anniversary, Mr. B wrote me a love letter. It was an email, but he printed it out & gave it to me. I have it in the drawer of my vanity & love to pull it out & read it. I will always cherish it!*

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's Day Cards

See those above? Yep, they're Valentine's Day cards. And you can find them in my shopI have a few more designs I'm working on. What do you think about these...

I think it's rounding out to be a nice little series. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tips from a Wedding Pro

{Kermit Ruffins leading the 2nd Line at our wedding}

One of the best decisions we made when planning our wedding was to hire a wedding planner. Living in New York, but planning a huge event in my hometown in the boondocks of North Carolina...not easy folks. I shudder to think of the stress that would have ensued had we tried to do this ourselves...mostly because at first my mom & I DID try to plan it ourselves.

We didn't just get anyone to help us. We hired Ivy Robinson. I mention her today for 2 reasons - the first is that we are in engagement season. The holidays are major engagement time & Valentines' Day is around the corner. It's wedding planning time!

Reason 2 is because Ivy recently wrote an article for the Charlotte edition of nFocus Magazine with tips on making your wedding day more reflective of you & less like everyone else. There are a few photos in it which may look familiar :)

So! If anyone in North or South Carolina is reading this & you want a wedding that is fun, stress-free & all around amazing, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars - call Ivy!!

Photos here & of my wedding in the article by Shane Snider, the man who led me to Ivy, who you should also hire.
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