Dear Famous Person ... Sincerely, Smudge Ink (Last But Not Least)

by Sabrina Garber

We've had fun writing to our favorite famous folks every month for the past year. We reserved our final post for a few special people to whom we owe much gratitude and celebration.

THIS CARD to Rose Beltran and Rose Melo (aka Vo-Vo and Avozinha)

Dear Vo-Vo and Avozinha,

With this being the last post for letters to famous people, I just wanted to thank my dear grandmother and great-grandmother. Vo-Vo, I'll always remember going over to your house to both pick flowers in your beautiful garden as well as pull weeds (you can't really have one without the other). I even remember my very first drawing lessons on how to draw a flower. We were at the kitchen table. The impromptu lesson included tulips and daffodils on your handy telephone note/doodle pad. Vo-Vo and Avozinha, these rose notes are for you! You both are famous to me.

Sincerely, Clayton

THIS CARD to for President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

In honor of the recent MLK Jr. holiday, I want to thank you for refusing, as Dr. King refused, to "believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt." Thank you for refusing to believe "that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation." Thank you for inspiring a new generation to take action. Thank you for teaching a new generation how to stand tall in the face of overwhelming odds. Thank you for hope. We will cling to it.

Sincerely, George

P.S. Come visit Boston—the drinks are on me!

THIS CARD to Wes Schwarz (born January 9, 2013)

Dear Wes,

Happy birthday, buddy! Last month you were 3 and 11/12ths, but now you're 4! Way to go! I'm so proud of you and hope you have a great year.

Sincerely, Dad (Eric)

THIS CARD to Milo Schwarz (born January 17, 2015)

Dear Milo,

Happy birthday, big guy! I know you're going to be a really great 2 year old, and I can't wait to hear all the things you have to say.

Sincerely, Dad (Eric)

(image sources: Georgina Melo, NBC News, April May)


PLAYLIST: Sing Your Heart Out

by Clayton Beltran

Playlist: Sing Your Heart Out | Smudge InkSoooooo, I may be guilty of unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) singing in the office. I can't help it; I get in a work groove and singing to my heart's content seems to be the only way to express the emotions brought on by the good feeling of productivity. This playlist is for all those who feel like going a step further, and really want to let it out. Windows down, volume up, deep inhale, and go! Warning: some songs may cause passenger embarrassment if seen singing in traffic.



2017 Business Resolutions!

by April May

2017 Business Resolutions | Blog | Smudge InkLike so many people, I use the beginning of the year as a time to plan for the next 12 months. It's exciting to put goals down on paper and to review what worked and what didn't work last year. So, with no further ado, some plan and goals for Smudge Ink in 2017:

CONTINUE STAFF LUNCHES! We started this in the second half of 2016, and it was a lot of fun and a great bonding experience for the whole team.

LOOK FOR MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCY. This includes finding alternate or additional way to store inventory and packaging supplies.

MORE PLANNING. In 2016 we started planning our Instagram posts a few weeks out and doing batch days to take lots of photos at once. It's been great! I'd like to 1) continue doing that for IG, but also apply the same idea to some other aspects of the business (planning ahead plus batch days to get it done).

OPTIMIZE OUR WORK SPACE. 2016 was a year of transition for the company and for the staff. We've done a lot of reorganization in the main office and fulfillment area, and this year we're going to tackle the print room. We're going to move a few things around, bring in some new equipment, and embrace change where it's needed.

DEVELOP A STANDARDS MANUAL. We're always in design meetings working on new card ideas and thinking about potential new products. It's a lot of fun, but it can be challenging to stay focused on our design goals and aesthetic with so many creative minds in a small space. This year we'll be putting together a standards manual to help us stay true to our design goals and to our mission as a company. I'm excited about that (even though a manual sounds a little boring)!

That's a little of what we'll be working on this year!



2017 Bucket List

by Sabrina Garber

2017 Bucket List | Blog | Smudge InkI find it energizing to break open a new calendar every January 1st. It's almost as though you gift yourself 365 new days of possibilities. As we turned the page on 2016, I asked everyone here: what's one thing you’re excited about doing/getting done in the new year? 

CLAYTON. Where to begin? My bucket seems so full. If I'd have to choose one thing from my very heavy bucket (list) for 2017, it would have to be to make better use of the sewing machine some of my friends gave me for my birthday last year (thanks Emma, Jen, and Mike!). First things I'm going to sew in the new year will be for them!

ZOÁRD. 2017 will be the year I master the Risograph I bought last year, and then assemble some other like-minded creative types and start a small publishing house. We would publish mostly collaborations as small books, zines, pamphlets, editioned artworks from artists of all concentrations and of all communities focusing on the Boston area, but also the global community. 2017 is hopefully also the year my wife, Erica, and I finally get out to Europe again and put our eyeballs all over as much art as they can stand.

HALEY. This year, I really want to improve my skills in the kitchen. I say this every year but I'm already off to a good start, so I'm excited to see how I do!

ALLISON. I would like to hike at least 5 trails in New Hampshire and Maine. This will be my first full year after graduating college so I plan on getting my hobbies back and adding some new ones! 

GEORGE. My big goal for 2017 is to finally start saving for the restoration of my 1968 Porsche 912. I inherited the car in 2012 after it had been parked for 30 years or so. The floorboards are a little tender, and the seals and fuel lines will likely need to be replaced, but the body and interior are solid. I'm hoping it might be roadworthy by the summer of 2018! 

SARAH. I ran my first half marathon in 2016 and would love to do a couple more in 2017 with the goal of improving my time and overall running ability. 

SABRINA. 2017 will be the year my husband and I buy our first home. We've been looking for longer than we'd like to admit. Others started searching after us and are now way past their first housewarming party. I still get listings and tips from friends every other week. If they haven't given up on us, then we certainly can't lose hope!

APRIL. This year I want to 1) meet my new niece, 2) take a for-real-non-working vacation, and 3) make at trip to the west coast! 

ERIN. This year I'd like to do more art for fun. I have a lot of artistic projects I need to work on, but I think it's important to take the time to do something I enjoy—whether it's painting seaweed or finally making those Star Wars paper dolls I've been thinking about for years. Also, I moved three months ago and I'd love to finally get those last few boxes off my floor!