Category Archives: Favorites

Wedding Cheers!

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I love late Summer weddings. After just returning from a knock-out family wedding in Durango, Colorado this past weekend, (i.e. tailgating pre-wedding service, the most unforgettable flower girls and pooch ring bearer, fireworks, roasted s’mores for dessert!), I’ve had weddings on my mind and all the surrounding details, from beginning to end. So grab a pen and paper, you bride and groom to-be, and get ready to take some most likely needed notes!

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We all know the weeks and months leading up to the Big Day are often filled with many ‘things-to-do’ lists, including mailing off the save-the-date, wedding invitations and RSVPs…


Alice & Max Save the Date


Tyler and Eddie Wedding Invitation by Workhorse Printmakers


Botanical Vintage Roses Wedding Invitation and RSVP from Citrus Press


The international master of calligraphy and fine stationery, Bernard Maisner (the Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings, Darcy Miller, used Maisner for her wedding invitations).

…The rush of the event keeps the bride and groom rolling full steam, but often the arrival of the dreaded Thank You note can kill the fire. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Keep it simple with the following suggestions, with help from our friend Peggy Post, great granddaughter to the Queen Bee of etiquette.

1. Every gift or act of kindness deserves a handwritten card, no exceptions. This list should include people who give money, your attendants, friends and family who entertain for you or house your guests, vendors who go out of their way to make your wedding memorable, and even Uncle Tom who will supervise the parking at your reception. These individuals matter.

2. Respond in a timely fashion. Ms. Post feels ideally you write the note on the day you receive the gift. Possibly set a goal to write three or four notes a day. Do remember, the accepted standard is to write and send a card within three months of receiving a gift. But don’t make yourself crazy with the thought of writing each day especially leading up to the wedding!

3. Share the responsibility. We live in a modern society so why not work as a team to write these notes together. Open a bottle of good wine, light candles, play music, laugh about moments from the wedding. And be sure to include a signature from both individuals.

4. No shortcuts. Signing a store bought card or writing the same message to everyone does not cut it. The notes people remember are the one which express your heartfelt feelings. Be thoughtful and considerate. Tip: look at the gift when you are writing the letter for inspiration.

5. Be sure to pick up some kind of return address stamp to move the addressing along.

6. And a little additional suggestion from Mrs. Brown here, keep your Thank You list and notes in one location, maybe even a basket or bag with pockets for pens, stamps and cards. This way you can write on the fly. Stop at a coffee shop with your spouse before work, sit at picnic table at a favorite park or plant yourselves at a location meaningful to you both.


Wedding Paper Divas

Bottom line, especially in this day and age, a handwritten Thank You remains the gold standard of courtesy. Express your words and emotion on paper. There is simply no other way. Now briefly on to the cards themselves…

When were married, we simply ordered plain Thank You notecards (with a touch of the wedgewood blue from our wedding theme, wowza were we into details) through the old Dayton’s (cue to weep!). But nowadays there are many options.


Polaroid Photo Wedding Thank You postcard from Marty McColgan.

Although Peggy Post believes one should not include a wedding photo or photo card, if this will delay sending notes, I tend to disagree. I feel people enjoy a reminder of the day through an image. I’m especially fond of the greeting cards from Prinstagram. With the ease of using your Instagram account and the high quality card stock and envelopes, it’s a done deal.


My friends Beth and James are considering the above photo to use for their Thank You notes thru Prinstagram. It captures a blip of a moment which most guests didn’t catch yet holds the energy of the evening and the sweetness of the couple. Be authentic. Be you.

The Best of National Stationery Show 2014, Part 1

Highlighting my trip to New York City for the National Stationery Show is not a simple task. With all the new trends and unexpected surprises to share, compiling it into one post is impossible. That said, I’ll share some of my favorite lines I spotted last month at the Javits Convention Center through a series of posts over the next few weeks. Enjoy!!

Once again, Christine from Yellow Owl Workshop worked her magic and talent within this gorgeous display space (it took her and an assistant only 2 hours to hand paint the booth!)




Emily McDowell was the show-stopper this year. With her beautiful and thoughtful hand lettered paper goods, this booth was consistently well packed with attendees.



Pineapples were popping up everywhere this year, but Hartland Brooklyn was my favorite! Emily from Hartland Brooklyn freshened up her pink neon with a new South Pacific direction.





One line soon to join the Brown Ink Paper Goods boutique is Linda & Harriett out of Brooklyn, NY. We weren’t the only ones at the show crazy for the 2015 Painted Letterpress Calendars! In general, calendars appear to be the new rage, taking the place of the faithful recipe cards.



Another soon-to-debut line on Brown Ink is Ferme a Papier. With its Tahitian-Parisian inspired collection, these lovely bold colors kept drawing me back each day to visit with creator Cat Seto.




Wonderful to finally meet the sisters from Fawnsberg at the show! And excited to debut their classic wood handle calligraphy address stamp collection on Brown Ink later this summer.OSBP-NSS-2014-Fawnsberg-4



We’ll be back soon for more highlights from the show (And a big shout out to Oh So Beautiful Paper for partial photo credit). Until then, enjoy the games! #goworldcup #soccerheads



A little over a month ago Nick and I headed to Paris to celebrate my 40th birthday. We’d been contemplating this trip since the day I turned 39, researching restaurants, hotels, neighborhoods, gardens, cafes, food shops and more throughout the year. The weeks before the trip were filled with writing lists, organizing kids’ schedules, stocking the house with food and creating any possible order for our home to run as smoothly as possible for my sweet mother who looked after the Brown kids for six days.


As I finished packing the night before we were to depart, I ran through my head the most important items on my packing list. Phone charger, check. Journal, check. Camera, check. Fabulous new boots, check. Passport, check…Passport up to date…pause…deep breaths continue while Nick heads downstairs to triple check. Pause. No breath. No, passport is not up to date. Reality hits hard. I am not going to Paris tomorrow afternoon, triple check. Oh wow.


8 am came fast. With a few hours of sleep, blood shot eyes from crying, and a smidgin of hope inside of me, I headed for downtown Minneapolis to the original Government Center (potentially shutting down at any moment it being October 1st, government shutdown day) to sweetly ask, but with gentle persistence, how one might receive a new passport asap. After two hours of tracking down a passport photo, filling the meter, inhaling coffee, and watching the Government begin to shut down on CNN, I met my new friend, Maria. As I wrote out a check for my not-so-attractive passport picture (seriously, no complaints), trying to hold back my tears of joy and exhaustion, I asked Maria how I might thank her for expediting my passport. After she refused any gift cards she simply replied “Just send me a postcard from Paris.” This was only the  best possible thing I could have heard at the moment, besides “Yes, you will be receiving a new passport today.” Pure joy. I gave thanks to Maria and raced to jump on a plane as fast as possible.


Four days later, as I sat at in Parisian cafe beginning to write my postcard to Maria, surrounded by French conversations, fountains and champagne, I thought this has got to be the best postcard I have ever written. And it was. It was a memorable trip from start to finish. But writing that postcard topped it all.


The surprises continued on the flight home when we received a bottle of wine from a flight attendant with a note attached, on stationery with a photo of the Eiffel Tower. What? In this day and age. Lovely surprise. We gave thanks.

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There is hope out there people. And surprises in your day, just when you think you’ve hit a wall. We have yet to receive any of the letters we sent to our children from Paris but, hopefully, one day Maria will receive her postcard, and will smile hearing my gratitude.

Open for Business

After much anticipation, sweat, tears, excitement, learning curves, and a good knock of pneumonia over the past week, we are thrilled to announce that the Brown Ink Paper Goods online boutique is now open for business!!! It’s true.


Before I let you go and begin your pre-holiday shopping (ha!), thanks needs to be given.

From the beginning, we met many people supporting the idea of an online store, but no one more than our friend Jenni David. Her suggestions of a Creative Juicing Session (what%&!$?) and a UX Experience (User Experience), although foreign to me, were beyond helpful. Louisa Podlich, the fabulous photographer and also founder of the unique A MANO, created the beautiful product images. Kate Arends, from the well-loved Wit & Delight, was the incredible force behind the rebranding of Brown Ink. Eric Price from The Walker Art Center was our brilliant creative graphic designer. We turned to the talented duo, Scott Anderson and Jeremy Ward, at Room 34 to develop both the new look of the site last spring and most recently the store. When in need of last minute help, our friend and web designer, Heather Musil, from Little Bird Design was there in a moment’s notice. And applause to dear Sarah Hrudka for being an ever present force and guidance through many vital decisions. These people were also vital in our understanding of how to run an online business. Thank you, friends, for your time and talent. And also cheers to our sweet community of folks who tested the site before it went public and gave invaluable feedback!

I also need to personally thank my dear husband, Nick, for believing in my dream to sell paper goods. He’s one amazing guy.

Now off you go to explore the Brown Ink Paper Goods store.  We’d love to hear any comments and thoughts you’d like to share. And if you are all smiles, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our blog.

Peter Pan

There is something about the Peter Pan ride at Walt Disney World which continues to give me a thrill. As many times as I ride in that ship, flying high above the lights of London, I never get tired of the feeling. And this is exactly how I feel about writing out the word Mom. I’ve had the chance more often these days. Sometimes on lunch box notes, or writing in the kids’ journals. But it always feels so fresh to me.


I often can’t believe I am writing this word down. How did I get so fortunate to become a mom? Do I really have three kids? Breathe in, breathe out. That’s sometimes how I feel when I write the word Mom. It’s an emotion like none other, achieved through the simple act of writing three letters.