Misheard Christmas Carols: A Collaboration

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Two years ago, I created my “Misheard Christmas Carol” Christmas cards upon coming to the  realization that “Here We Go A-Waddling” was NOT in fact, a song, that it was actually “Here We Go A-Wassailing!”  Earth-shattering, I know.  This led me to rethink other songs I may have been singing incorrectly. As it turns out “Get Dressed, Ye Merry Gentlemen” is actually “God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Who knew. I realized that these would make for some pretty cute Christmas cards, and the fun thing about being a stationer is that when you want a card, you can make a card!

However, when I came up with the concept two years ago, in my excitement I’ll admit that I rushed to create the cards, and was never truly happy with the design. As the 2014 Christmas season inched nearer, I decided that I wanted to revamp the cards, with entirely new illustrations.

I had been admiring the work of Cuddles and Rage  for some time, and realized that their disturbingly cute style was exactly what my cards needed! Liz was a joy to work with, and skillfully drew the ridiculously amazing concepts as you can see below.

I’m still working on the e-commerce function of the shop here on my website, so if you’re interested in these cards, check them out in my etsy shop!

Misheard Carols gents peas

Newborn Session: Lovely Lucy

Baby LucyLast week I got to meet a very new to the world (10 days old) Lucy.  She was an alert and wiggly little one, and a dream model for this photographer.  As you might know, I just had a baby of my own 4 months ago and I tell you, all 15 pounds of him don’t feel so little anymore after holding Lucy who weighs in at 7 pounds!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from our 2 hours together.

Contact me for newborn sessions pricing and availability.

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New! Family Photography by Lennah Press

When choosing my company’s name I opted to include the word “press”, as that’s exactly what my company is!  I have two presses, and on those presses I print cards, stationery, invitations, announcements and art prints. However, you might not know that I have a long history with photography, and have decided to make the exciting step in expanding Lennah Press’s service offerings to include portrait, family, maternity, newborn and pet photography!

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of photographing these three lovely sisters. Contact me if you’d like to book a session in the Northern Virginia area!

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Real Weddings: Jenny & Andy

I’ve known Jenny since the second grade, we played soccer together, lived through some questionable haircuts (ok, that’s more about me than Jenny) and remained good friends through middle school, high school, college and beyond! As you can imagine, I was so honored when she and her fiancé Andy asked me to do their wedding invitations, especially since Andy is a kickass designer himself!

We met on a very rainy day in March in DC to discuss their ideas for the invitations. Andy being the designer was focused on typeface selection, paper type and pantone colors, whereas Jenny tackled the high level decisions. What a great team, right?  Their September wedding was going to be at a stunning vineyard in Virginia’s wine country, so they wanted to incorporate a subtle vineyard feel into the invitations without knocking guests over the head with a wine theme.  Ultimately, we decided to go with a blind impression of a vine pattern surrounding the dark peach and grey text.

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The bride and groom, photographed by A.E. Landes Photography http://www.aelandesphotography.com

A blind impression surrounds peach and grey text

A blind impression surrounds peach and grey text on the response card. Design and letterpress printing by Lennah Press.

The peach and grey letterpress invitation drove the design for the rest of the suite

The peach and grey letterpress invitation drove the design for the rest of the suite

Jenny and Andy's letterpress wedding invitation

Jenny and Andy’s letterpress wedding invitation

Jenny and Andy's peach and grey letterpress wedding invitation suite

Jenny and Andy’s peach and grey letterpress wedding invitation suite

The Details card included information about accommodations and the couple's wedding website

The Details card included information about accommodations and the couple’s wedding website

And here are a few photographs of the wedding itself, photographed by the very talented Abe of A.E.Landes Photography.

 

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The interior of Bluemont Vineyards’ stable reception venue was beautifully decorated with pops of peach and orange. Photographed by A.E. Landes Photography, www.aelandesphotography.com

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Baby’s breath, orange roses and peach garden roses punctuated the bright colors on this gorgeous September day. Photographed by A.E. Landes Photography, www.aelandesphotography.com

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The bride and groom’s first dance, congratulations Jenny and Andy! Photographed by A.E. Landes Photography, www.aelandesphotography.com

Real Weddings: Deirdre & Jason

Photography by Elisa Bricker

Full disclosure, this is my wedding…shameless, I know.  When I first began the wedding planning process, I was so overwhelmed with choices and options that I felt paralyzed and unable to make any decisions!  Enter longtime friend and current wedding planner extraordinaire Meredith Zeller of Sage Nines Event Production.  We worked together for months to create a magical day.  It was the best day of my life, I truly wouldn’t change a single thing.

If you’ve seen my site, you might have guessed that coral is my favorite color.  With the now-husband’s go-ahead, it was a no-brainer that coral was going to play a large role in our wedding, with some help from some other faves: peach, mint, turquoise and gold.  It should also come as no surprise that one of the most important details to me was paper goods.  I enlisted Michele of Meant to Be Calligraphy to pen the calligraphy that I would letterpress into my invitation suite, and couldn’t be happier with the result.  However, since my designs were text heavy, I wanted to add a visual element to the invitation.  After much thought, I decided to dip dye each invitation in a pattern meant to echo the beautiful blue ridge mountains visible from the wedding venue.

I had such a blast designing and printing all of the paper goods for our wedding, it came a close second to marrying the man of my dreams!

Event Designer & Coordinator: Sage Nines
Venue: Inn at Willow Grove
Hair & Makeup: Le Mariee
Flowers: Sugar Magnolias
Stationery: Lennah Press
Calligraphy: Meant To Be Calligraphy  & Meme Davis
Cake Topper: Bonjour Poupette
Dress Designer: Marisa
Bridesmaid Gifts: Robes by Plum Pretty Sugar

See more of Deirdre and Jason’s wedding on Wedding Chicks

The bridesmaids in robes by Plum Pretty Sugar.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

The bride and bridesmaids in robes by Plum Pretty Sugar. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

The ladies.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

The ladies. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Letterpress wedding invitations by Lennah Press.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Letterpress wedding invitations by Lennah Press. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

A close up of the closing page of the wedding program.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

A close up of the closing page of the wedding program. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Invitation Suite by Lennah Press.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Invitation Suite by Lennah Press. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Beautiful flowers by Sugar Magnolias.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Beautiful flowers by Sugar Magnolias. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Cocktail napkins.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Cocktail napkins designed by Lennah Press. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Our bulldogs were there in spirit as the cake toppers.  Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Our bulldogs were there in spirit as the cake toppers. Photography by Elisa Bricker.

The couple (us). Photography by Elisa Bricker.

The couple (us). Photography by Elisa Bricker.

Real Weddings: Jilleen & Jake

Photography by Tec Petaja

Jilleen and Jake were looking for a laid back invitation to mirror their elegantly casual wedding which would be held at Southall Eden, a stunning rustic venue in Franklin, Tennessee.  The bride had a strong vision of what she wanted, most notably the addition of watercolor to tie in with other design elements used throughout her wedding.

The details made this invitation suite so fun for me, as the stationer, but also so unique to guests.  It was so fun to splash each invitation with a unique watercolor splatter, paint each envelope liner with an ombre watercolor finish and even dip dye the twine used to tie up the whole package.

See more of Jilleen and Jake’s beautiful day on Once Wed  and on Photographer Tec Petaja’s website.

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Jilleen & Jake 1

Crafty Bastards 2012

I’m new to the craft fair circuit, and haven’t felt ready to tackle one on my own, so it’s been great that Melanie of Grey Moggie Press, Sarah of Fancy Seeing You Here, and I team up on some bigger fairs, like Crafty Bastards this weekend. Crafty Bastards is an indie craft fair presented by Washington City Paper, meant to “promote underground art and strives to connect the voice and vision of the indie craft community with our readers.”  It was an energetic atmosphere, and all of the artists and craftspeople were amazing, and I was honored to be among them.

It was a busy day that went by far too quickly, but it was awesome to get to meet customers, and see reactions to my work, which I often miss out on selling through the online marketplace.  Here’s a few photos from the day.

The Story of my Press: The Purchase

(Another re-post from my old blog.)

I started letterpress printing in May 2009, and as you’ve read in previous posts, I was absolutely hooked.  It didn’t take long before I started dreaming of purchasing a press of my own.  I realize now just how premature that was, especially considering that this was before I even knew about resources like BriarPress or Boxcar, so I went to, you guessed it, Craigslist.  Oddly enough, within a few weeks of casual searches, I found an estate sale in nearby Arlington where they were selling a tabletop press, type and lots of other old letterpress goodies.  On the day of the sale, Jason and I snuck away from work for the afternoon to take a peek, and so, I was introduced to the jarring reality of what it means to have a letterpress studio of your very own. 

We walked into the old house and I scanned the room for the press.  I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I asked a woman who seemed to know what she was doing, and lo and behold, the press and all the rest of it were in the basement!  We walked down the creaky wood stairs and there it was.  I had never seen a tabletop press in person.  Internet searches had made me vaguely familiar with names like Chandler & Price, Kelsey and Adana, but had never seen this kind before.  It was a 3×5 Caxton C&M, a brand I had heard nothing of at the time, and to this day!  It was $900, and naive me was completely ready to buy it.  It was a press, it was right in front of me, and it was less than $1000…how could I let this opportunity pass me by?  Thank God Jason was there and talked me out of it.  I know now that if I had purchased it, I would have pretty much been limited to printing business cards which are nice and all, but I enjoy a little bit of variety.  He dragged me out of there, not before I purchased a dusty old type specimen book that I have to keep in a box outside because it’s mere presence makes me sneeze.  And the search continued.

I wised up just a bit, and started checking the classified section of BriarPress for a tabletop press in the DC area.  Turns out they don’t exist…or didn’t for the 8 months that I searched.  Then I got an iPhone, and checking for presses became an obsession.  I looked constantly, and emailed anyone selling a press from here (Virginia) to the Mississippi.  Months went by and I became more desperate and more determined.  One night in April 2010, Jason and I were watching something on TV (probably Bones because I wasn’t paying attention and instead tweedling away on my phone) and I saw an announcement on BriarPress that their servers had gone done due to massive storms in the Northeast.  Fate made me check again a mere 30 minutes later (it must have been the heavens opening and angels singing that prompted me) and I clicked on a just-listed 6.5 x 10 Chandler and Price Pilot for sale outside of Boston.  I responded as quickly as I could, and then the owner responded.   I was the first, so she would sell the press to me! 

As Jason and I made the long drive from DC to Boston, I truly felt it was meant to be.  I had emailed so many people, responded to so many listings and was always met with the same answer – it’s sold, you’re too late, sorry.  That was becoming  my expectation, I was almost in denial that I was so close to finally having my own press.

When we arrived, it was more than I could have ever expected.  The wife (the letterpresser) told me how when she bought her first press, the generous printer had given her enough equipment to start a fully functional shop, and she wanted to repay the favor.  Believe me, I will do the same when it comes time for me to sell my press.  So they gave me type, furniture, tympan paper, and entire California job case.  It was unreal.  Although it felt like I had reached the finish line, this was only the start of my journey with my new press.

About to buy a Press?  Here’s a few tidbits:

1.  Contain your excitement.  Don’t let your excitement or wallet get the better of you.  There will be broken presses for sale out there, and their price tags will be very enticing.  Unless you are ridiculously good with machinery and/or tinkering, don’t do it, just don’t.  Believe me when I say that there are few things in this world more frustrating than manhandling a 60-year-old machine into working order. 

Of course it’s your call, but I’d advise against purchasing a press on eBay or any other source where you don’t get to see the press in person or meet the previous owner.  There are just too many variables in this scenario that could go wrong.  Once you find the press that you want at the right price from a reputable seller who knows that it’s in working or close-to-working condition, go for it. 

2.  Presses are old.  Letterpress printing as a profession is quite old, thus, so are the presses.  Most of them are made of cast iron, and believe it or not, cast iron is very fragile.  Fragile and unbelievably heavy.  If you’re purchasing a press, come prepared with muscles and a dolly.  My press easily weighs 250 pounds, and thanks to the mechanisms that make it work, it’s very awkward (and stress inducing) to pick up and move. 

3.  Have a stand.

Be prepared with a stand unless the press you’re purchasing is already mounted to a cabinet or table.  I originally bought a huge workbench from Costco because supporting the 250lbs of the press was my biggest concern.  I highly recommend against this.  Workbenches are generally too high and too big for the purpose of printing.  Now, older and wiser, I just bought and assembled a kitchen cart, the IKEA Beckvam, on the recommendation of many BriarPress users, and I’m very happy with it.  It’s sturdy, supports the press, and is the perfect height for printing.

4.  Be realistic.  Know that you won’t be able to print right away.  Oh what I wouldn’t have given to know this.  I got home, got the press all set up, threw on my new Boxcar apron, inked the press up and tried to print.  It was with much sadness and frustration that I realized that moving the press knocked the platen out of alignment, and I was going to have to fix it. 

Come back soon, I’ll get into planarizing the press!

Mixing PANTONE Ink Formulas for Letterpress

This is a post I created for my previous blog, but since I’ve received good feedback, I’m posting it here as well.  Enjoy!

I’ve found that color matching is one of the more difficult aspects of letterpress printing, so I’ve compiled what I’ve learned about mixing PANTONE colors to help you out!

Prior to mixing ink, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Before you can even think about mixing a PANTONE color, you must have a squeaky clean press.  Even the slightest trace of color from a previous run will alter the color that you labored to create.
  2. Another consideration prior to mixing is the color of the paper on which you’ll be printing.  Letterpress ink is transparent by nature, so the color of the paper will affect how the ink appears to the human eye.
  3. You’ll need all of the colors necessary to create a PANTONE color.  These are:  Red 023; PANTONE Black; Blue 072; Green; Transparent White; Orange 021; Process Blue; Purple; Reflex Blue; Rhodamine Red; Rubine Red; Violet; Warm Red; Yellow; Printing Black; and Opaque White.  I bought my set from Boxcar Press, and they should last for decades.
  4. One last pre-mixing consideration is that PANTONE ink formulas are meant for offset printing, not letterpress.  In offset printing, a thin layer of ink is laid on the paper, whereas in letterpress, the ink is physically pressed into the paper.  Therefore, letterpress lays down a thicker layer of ink than offset, but the ink itself is generally more transparent.  What does all of this mean?  I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but you’re not a machine, so you’re never going to have the perfect Pantone color…but it’ll be close!

Now that you’re aware of the pre-mixing considerations, let’s get to mixing some ink!

  1. First you need a scale.  I bought an Ohaus scale off Amazon, it came highly recommended by a letterpress instructor from Railway Station Press, where I took a letterpress class a while back.  This is an ideal scale because it measures small portions down to the decimal, and can be zero-ed out.  I place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the scale so that I can measure the ink without ruining the scale, then zero it out.  This way you’ll get an accurate reading on just the ink proportions.
  2. Refer to your PANTONE Uncoated Formula Guide for the color you’d like to create.  Look for the “parts” that make up the color, that’s the text right below the swatch.  For the purpose of mixing ink,  substitute parts for grams.
  3. Start with any of the colors, skim the top of the ink and drop a dollop onto the foil.  Keep adding or subtracting ink until you reach the parts/grams that you need.  Scrape the ink off of the foil and onto a flat glass or granite surface, making sure to get every last bit!  Repeat this process with each of the ink colors required to make your Pantone color.
  4. Once you’ve measured out all of the colors, use the glass or marble slab to mix with an ink knife (you can also use a putty knife).  Scrape and mix thoroughly, and you’re done!
  5. I like to make my colors prior to printing, so I scoop them into airtight containers, using masking tape around the edges for extra protection.  Since I have the memory of a hamster, I write the PANTONE color on a mailing label and stick it to the container so that future me has the option of looking it up, and there you have it!  PANTONE letterpress ink.

In Pictures:

Pantone Formula Guide

1. Choose your PANTONE color. I chose PANTONE 207U because I’d like to print my “Hip Heart You” cards to be a perfect match with some deep red envelopes that I have on hand. 207U was about as close as it gets!

Measuring Ink

2. Measure your ink substituting grams for parts. I started with 14 grams of PANTONE Rubine Red

Colors

3. Measure all ink colors required to create the PANTONE color you’ve chosen.

Mixing Ink!
4. Mix that Ink!

Final Color

5. And here it is, PANTONE 207U…ready for printing!