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?
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.
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!
by Kate on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
My apologies for the radio silence, folks. Between summer vacation, a new product release, and the New York International Gift Fair, it’s been a very busy month. It’s so good to be home and settling back in my normal routine. Naturally, “normal” includes making time to watch the US Open! The first rounds began yesterday. I secretly hope it’s a cloudy, even drizzly, Labor Day weekend (but not in Queens), so I don’t feel guilty for sitting back and watching match after match. There’s a good bit of love for tennis here at Smudge Ink, and it’s even seeping into our product line. Below is one of our new Valentine’s Day cards…how fitting as I put my feet up and watch Federer work his magic.
by Kate on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Who doesn’t love a brand new notebook? I can never resist lovely, smooth papers bound together with a deliciously printed cover. The white pages just scream to be filled with notes, to dos, ideas, plans, and mindless doodles. And, for us type A’s out there, you feel super organized by keeping all of your thoughts in one place. A pretty notebook makes the day that much sweeter as I jot down a reminder to grab a gallon of milk or sketch a new idea for a design. Practical, yes, and eye candy too!
In case you didn’t guess, I’m super excited to report that Smudge Ink is launching a notebook line! Below is a sneak peek of some of the covers coming off the presses. Stay tuned as the line is set to launch in August…just in time for the fall to get organized!
Our favorite smudge ink birthday cards
by Colleen on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Given that we’ve just launched all of our greeting cards on our online store, we thought it would be fun to ask our team to name a favorite Smudge Ink birthday card. Read on to see our favorites and learn how to enter a contest to win your top five favorite birthday cards.
Co-owner Kate’s vote goes to TTB07. This fun birthday card, in shades of coral and gray, depicts a camera and the greeting, “Smile, it’s your birthday!” Kate likes the card’s overall composition, including the colors, and its clever “smile” wordplay is sure to make any recipient say, “Cheese!”.
Our designer Stephanie and office manager April both chose TTB766 depicting a sweet little snail toting a balloon. This charming card is printed in their favorite color scheme of yellow and gray, and “it’s funny,” says April. Stephanie adds, “The thought of a teeny-tiny balloon small enough to tie around a snail makes me smile. I also enjoy the fact that sending this card to someone would be a pun in itself…good old-fashion snail mail!”
Co-owner Deb is another TTB766 fan. “It’s cute, clean, and I like the typeface,” says Deb, adding, “I also tend to move at a snail’s pace.”
Emily, our print shop manager, prefers one of our most popular birthday cards…TTB514′s “Have a Wild Birthday!” An adorable zebra, in graphic black & white and wearing a jaunty red party hat, is “eye catching,” says Emily. “He’s cute and out of the ordinary, compared to the other cards.”
Lis, our fulfillment assistant, has two favorites: TTB115′s fireflies in a jar design recaptures that joyful childhood pastime of catching lightening bugs and the wonder of summer nights. Likewise, TTB806′s image of a purple, swirly, soft-serve ice cream cone brings to mind that cold, delectable summer treat. “These have memories attached to them,” says Lis.
Custom wedding manager Sabrina likes the comedic touch of TTB809′s scuba diver and his bubbly underwater birthday greeting. “I get a chuckle out of it,” says Sabrina. She also admires the blue graphic design, particularly the lattice-like rendering of the ocean.
Meghan, our printing assistant, likes our FTB425 birthday card displaying a cute, balloon-adorned bicycle. She appreciates the smaller 4 bar size, the mix of red and purple colors, and the fact that “it’s festive and can be for any age.”
Speaking of bikes, I’m drawn to TTB246. I love vintage things, and the antique bicycle design on this card…known as a high wheeler or a “penny-farthing…” gets my vote for favorite card. I also like the affectionate jab at aging with its “Happy Birthday, old timer,” greeting. Whenever I come across this card when filling an order, I always think, “Good choice!” And then I wonder, “How the heck did they ever ride those things?”
Which smudge ink birthday card is your favorite? Browse our collection and then leave a comment below. We’ll randomly choose a lucky winner by April 18, 2012. The winner will receive one of each of their top five favorite smudge ink birthday cards. And the winners are: Megan and Susie! Thanks for your participation!
a day in the life of a smudge ink greeting card: part one
by admin on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Given that we are a working studio, we thought it would be fun to share with you the process of how we make our greeting cards. Our fondness for letterpress printing is part of why we started this business, so it’s only appropriate that we share some letterpress love.
Once we’ve determined a card must be printed, there are a series of steps we go through to produce it, not to mention package and send it off to our retailers. In this first post, we’ll show you how we set up the press in preparation for printing and how we run the first color.
After we’ve determined how many cards to print of a specific design, we cut the parent sheets (large format paper) to smaller run size sheets (smaller format paper fit to run through the press but not the final size). Next, we use a measuring guide to determine where the first color should land on the run sheet.
We then take the polymer plate for the first color and adhere it to the base. Now it’s time to add the ink — we’re using warm grey for this particular card. The ink is applied through the ink fountain at the back of the press, a heidelberg windmill that we affectionately call Heidi. Once the ink is ready to go, the base is locked into the chase and set into the press. The pins that guide the paper during the run must be adjusted so they don’t get crushed by the base. Be sure to say hello to Christopher, Emily’s feline friend.
Now it’s time to take the first pull to see if the image is landing where we want it to. We do this several times and make many small adjustments so the card is printing perfectly in regard to color, impression and registration. Once it’s good to go, we prepare the stack of paper for the run. Adding air to the stack makes it easier for the press to suction the paper into the press.
We begin the run and monitor it carefully to make sure the color, impression and registration remain consistent. After the run is over, the stack is set side until it’s time to print the second color.
In the next post, we’ll cover the second color, trimming and scoring. Stay tuned!…and thanks for reading.
Invitation Photo Shoot: Behind the scenes
by admin on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
This past weekend, we took a trip to the Cape to photograph our new letterpress-printed wedding invitations we’re releasing at the end of February. Although we were intimidated by how many pieces we had to shoot (we had limited time), it turned out to be a great success. Thanks to the sun and clouds for perfect lighting, and to my mom for supplying us with a wide variety of props, protein packed meals and two days of free babysitting.
A pre-8am trip to the flower market…
Once we arrived in Orleans, we spent day one outside mostly. It was a gorgeous day, so we hit the beach and used the sand, lobster traps, sea grass and water to our advantage.
It snowed on day two–all day long. After a poached egg and half a grapefruit, we set up in various rooms around the house.
After we finished our work, we headed outside to enjoy the snow. It ended up snowing about 5-6 inches on the Cape, a coastal storm. It was a long drive home, but kale soup and a turkey sandwich from the Land Ho helped.
We can’t wait to show you our new wedding invitations! Stay tuned…
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