by admin on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Every summer we take a break for a day and venture out of the studio for our annual summer outing. The intention is to have some fun, get to know each other outside of work and enjoy some time outside. Previous outings have involved berry picking, mini golf and a visit to the harbor islands (in an unexpected thunderstorm, naturally). Deb suggested something different this year, and so this past July we drove up to Moraine Farm in Beverly and took a Project Adventure course. We spent a half day learning quirky and interesting facts about each other, and we took on some crazy fun physical challenges like walking across wires together (1 ft off the ground) and logs too (3 stories high). It was a blast! The combination of outdoor fun with challenges and team bonding mixed in seemed to work well for our group. Plus, we learned something about each other and ourselves along the way. Best summer outing yet. Thanks, Deb!
Spark + Hustle
by Kate on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
A few weeks ago, Deb and I were asked to speak on a “Sales for Small Business Success” panel at the Boston Spark and Hustle Conference. It was a great opportunity to get out of the studio and share what we’ve learned over the past 11 years…for what it’s worth! In addition to talking about our sales strategy we also spent time meeting other small business owners and hearing about their struggles and successes thus far. It was inspiring to be around other women entrepreneurs and we were reminded of all the heart, sweat and muscle we’ve put into Smudge Ink over the past eleven years. We felt proud of ourselves and humbled to be included in this conference. Thanks to Tory and Alex for having us. And to any of you who may contemplate a journey into being your own boss, be sure to check out Spark and Hustle. You’re guaranteed to find an inspiring community to help nudge, support and cheer you along the way.
by Kate on Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Wow, I’ve really hit a record here with how long it’s taken me to post. Truth be told, this blog fell off my radar for a while as I was having another baby, moving, helping to release the 2013 holiday line — our best yet, and getting to the Stationery Show. One thing I won’t be slacking on this year is Father’s Day. Now that we have another little boy in our family, taking the time to worship dad feels that much more important. Plans for the day are still up in the air, but I can tell you that we will let my husband sleep in, we will make him pancakes and bacon, and he will be free of diaper changes for a 24 hour period. Does it get any better? Oh wait, it does! We’ll give him a card too.
A Fresh Start
by Kate on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
We love the new year at Smudge Ink. It’s the perfect time to shake things up and start fresh, and for us, this means coming out with brand new products and designs.
So what are we loving the most about our most recent release? NOTEPADS. The new line pops with bright and playful designs, and there is something about gridded paper that makes us want to start list making right away. We’ve also added 16 new boxed notes to our collection. It’s such a treat to write a note on a card you just love. With a growing variety of patterns and florals you are sure to find a few designs you can’t resist. Not to mention there are a whole bunch of new everyday cards hot off the presses. Stock up now and you will be so proud of yourself when you are card-ready for your mom’s birthday, your sister’s new baby and your friend’s engagement.
All of this and more will be making a debut at the upcoming NYIGF. Eek, there is still so much to do to prepare! Has anyone seen my notepad?
by Kate on Thursday, December 20th, 2012
For many of us, the holidays bring back memories of snowman sweaters courtesy of Aunt Doris or being dragged around the neighborhood for the annual carol-a-thon with your siblings. How funny it is that the very traditions you probably rolled your eyes at as a kid warm your heart now. What are the holidays without the traditions that come along with it?
For the folks here at Smudge Ink, we’re looking forward to family scrabble games, making cookies and gingerbread houses with our kids, eating latkas, croissants and mom’s oatmeal bread…and most definitely staying in our pj’s all day. It is these rituals, along with time spent with family and friends, that make us forget about the stress of the holidays and allow us to focus on being together. However you choose to celebrate the season — enjoy it! — and know that we wish you a happy, safe and relaxing holiday. See you in 2013!
Most of the Smudge Ink team at our annual holiday party last night.
Sneak Peak: new for 2013
by Kate on Thursday, December 6th, 2012
It’s an exciting and busy time of year around here as we prepare to release a large collection of cards and gifts for January. Heidi and Handsome (our two heidelbergs) are cranking away in the press room churning out fresh and bright designs that we know will make you smile. There’s one birthday card that seems to be our mantra these days (see below). Between the holidays, the new release, last minute custom holiday orders and buttoning up 2012, all we can really do is just roll with it (especially when the coffee machine breaks down). Enjoy the season everyone!
sip & shop 2012
by Kate on Monday, October 22nd, 2012
For the second year in a row, we are hosting a Sip+Shop here in our studio on November 1 from 4-8pm. If you live or work in the Boston area, please make sure to mark the date on your calendars and stop by! This is a fun, festive event where you can get a kick-start on your holiday shopping and drink craft beer as you browse the loot. Good combo, right? Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project will be doing a tasting and several of our favorite local vendors will be selling their wares: 2 Fresh Threads (gifts for baby and home), Soap + Paper Factory (homemade products for home and body), EH Chocolatier (artisan chocolates), and of course, Smudge Ink (stationery and paper goods…read: holiday cards!). A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank, there will be a free giveaway for the first 50 customers, and a fabulous gift basket will go to one lucky guest. It could be you!
Please spread the word to friends and family if you think they’d be interested.
adventures with apple butter
by deb on Monday, October 15th, 2012
Each fall, I make a big batch of apple butter. It’s homemade, there’s hardly any added sugar and my kids love it. Plus, it’s a great small gift to have on hand through the fall and winter months if you have an impromptu evening at a friend’s house (or the like). The process is frankly, a bit of a pain; but if you have the right tools and a rainy weekend in the fall when you’re cozying up at home, it’s something (fun?) to do and makes your house smell great.
Relative to my sisters, I’m in the little leagues when it comes to this sort of thing. One of them makes a batch of apple butter for her daughter’s entire class (in addition countless other creative & ambitious endeavors) and the other one cans just about everything she grows in her garden and has a pantry that could rival Ma Ingalls’s's’ (blueberry & peach jams, homemade pesto, tomatoes, etc etc). Anyway, here’s a simplified step-by-step of the process that I use…Enjoy!
1. go apple picking (bring the kids & eat the donuts)
2. clean the apples (gotta admit, I usually skip this step)
3. core and chop (leave skins on)
4. fill up your slow cooker (15-20 apples for the bigger sized slow-cookers)
5. add 1-2 cups of apple cider
6. cook on low for 10-12 hours
7. put through a food mill to get all the skins out
8. puree in a food processor to make smooth
9. return to slow cooker
10. add a little sugar & some spices (1/2-1 tsp each of: cinnamon, cloves, allspice) + stir
11. cook for 1 hr. on low, covered; 5-6 hours uncovered, depending on desired thickness
12. purchase some ball jars + sterlize them
13. pour apple butter into jars (careful not to get any on the rims)
14. get air bubbles out with a small spatula
15. put covers on jars and close finger-tight
16. immerse jars in boiling water (make sure there’s an inch of water over the jars)
17. let sit in a rolling boil for about 15 minutes
18. remove jars with canning tool or rubber tipped tongs + let sit
19. make sure jars are sealed (you can tell this by pressing down on the top of the jar – if it pops in and out, it’s not sealed, if it doesn’t, it is.)
20. enjoy all winter
sneak peek: sip + shop 2012
by Kate on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
This week we’ve been busy organizing and brainstorming for our annual Sip + Shop event. We’re super excited to invite everyone over to the studio for some beer and early holiday shopping. The poster is really coming together, and although I can’t reveal the final design yet, I am including some sketches below. Emily Goodale, our beloved print shop manager and a talented illustrator, is the designer, and her artful hand always helps set the stage for this fun fall event. This year the Sip + Shop will be on November 1. Details to follow soon, I promise.
by Kate on Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Tis the season for the annual tradition of covering school books. I say try something different this year by using colorful, eye catching paper. It’s great looking, easily identifiable, and I happen to know where you can buy some fun looking wrap. Whether you need a book covering refresher or want to see how we go about covering our own books, our tutorial is fun and easy. Enjoy!
Materials: 1 piece of decorative paper, double stick tape, ruler, bone fold (a clean spoon is fine), the book you want to cover, scissors and a pencil. Let’s get to work!
Step 1: Cut the decorative paper to be 4” longer than the height of the book and 6” longer than the width of the book (when opened). Center the open book on back side of the paper. Crease the paper on the top and bottom edge of the book.
Step 2: Set the book aside and fold the paper at the top crease mark. Go over fold with a bone fold or the back of a clean spoon. For the bottom fold, measure 1/8” out from the crease (towards the edge of the paper) and mark with a pencil. Fold the paper where the pencil mark is and follow with a bone fold/spoon. Place open book on top of folded paper. There should be a small amount of paper peeking out on the top and bottom edge.
Step 3: Fold the paper in from the left edge and make a crease mark where the book cover begins. Set book aside and fold paper at crease mark. Follow with bone fold. Next, take the front cover of the book and slide it (gingerly) into the opening in the paper. Make sure the book cover goes all the way in.
Step 4: Close the book, making sure that the paper is pulled snug across the book. Make another crease mark with the remaining flap of paper at the edge of the back side of the book. Turn the book away from the crease mark so you can fold the paper and follow with a bone fold. Then insert the back side of the book cover into the opening created by the paper. You will need to curl the paper a bit to reach the edge of the book.
Step 5: Cut 4 pieces of double stick tape, each about 1/2” long, and set aside. Secure the cover by sticking a piece of tape to the back side of the inside flap of the paper (you can start at any of the 4 corners). Then press the flap against the outside cover paper. Essentially, you are sticking the paper to itself so the cover stays in tact as you open and close the book. Repeat with the other three corners. This will keep the cover in place as you open and close the book.
And there you go: some darn good looking book covers. Enjoy!
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