Category Archives: Invitations

Spooky Scribbles

The ghosts and goblins are arriving in just one week but you still have a chance to invite the gang over for a last minute Halloween Party. And with these free Halloween downloads from Design Mom Gabrielle Blair, sending out invitations is a snip snap.


 Martha Stewart skeleton invitation will scare the skin off your guests


Nothing like a toe tag invite from blush printables

Or if you simply want to send a few spooky scribbles out to those you love…

…head to Paper Source where you can find all sorts of creepy stationery and stamps. It was a great excuse for Emmett to practice writing out his friends’ names too!

Don’t forget to make the envelope extra memorable with one of these scary stamps (only two day delivery). After much discussion, the boys decided on the Happy Halloween postage for their cards.

Before I begin my next project (stay tuned for more on the postcard swap!) let’s hear it for our guest bloggers by the way!! Thanks Alecia and Jenni. Way to get people to grab a pen.

I’ll Take Manhattan – A Stationery Shopping Guide

Being the devoted brown ink fan that I am, Wendy and Nick asked me to write a piece for the blog’s one year anniversary. Enchanté.

While in NYC for work, I spent some downtime discovering some of Lower Manhattan’s finest offerings for stationery. Before we get started, here is a playlist to accompany your stationery craving.

Top Hat/Lower East Side

The LES exudes rockstarness. The cool factor at Nina Allen’s shop, Top Hat, is high and therefore a definite rockstar of stores. Top Hat’s pusher is Nina’s wholesale company Sweet Bella. Serving the Northern Hemisphere, Sweet Bella wholesales many distinct, keenly designed items ranging from sundry type items to whimsical bits and bobs.

Come on in!

The notecard offering is modest as it’s carefully selected. I especially like the stitching notecards. What a unique way to share a memory of a trip, give to someone embarking on their own journey or to represent one’s own wanderlust.

Learn to sew and create a memory of a trip.

Top Hat carries other stationery necessities such as pens, notebooks, push pins, etc. My personal favorite is washi tape. MT, the top dog of decorative masking/washi tape in the entire universe, is well represented at Top Hat. Including the latest addition from MT – MT Casa. Pure genius.

MT Casa gone bananas!

Easy on, easy off. You could change it up weekly.

Fascination with initials is shared by many.  These letters are handmade in Stroke-on-Kent, England  and cast from vintage originals. They come in a variety of fonts and sizes and make a delightful gift or addition to a spot in your home that needs a reminder of you. I wish I had picked up the ampersand – crazy cute.

Oh, hi, Cute.

Terrapin Stationers at Bookmarc & Little Marc/West Village & Greenwich Letterpress/West Village

brown ink and friends are huge fans of Terrapin Stationers (see my personal favorite here). I inquired about a visit to Terrapin’s workshop and received a quick reply from Terrapin’s head honcho, Ted Harrington. My dream of meeting the man who quite possibly uses the f word more than I do, was not realized as I was last minute and a weekend. Ted very kindly referred me to Greenwich Letterpress. Before visiting Greenwich Letterpress I checked out Terrapin’s exclusive line for Bookmarc and Little Marc Jacobs. These fine goodies are only available in-store- only a few are featured here. Lucky you, they take phone orders. Terrapin’s standard collection can be purchased on line as well as at a stockist near you.

You needn’t be British to send these festive invites for your next soiree.

Put it here, baby!

Sassy bookplate.

You’re gonna party like it’s your birthday with this card.

Next up, Greenwich Letterpress. I was pleasantly surprised with the massive selection of cards ranging from their own cards as well as other top notch stationers such as SuitorLifeOriginal Crown Mill, Hammer Press  and Oddball Press.

Adorable storefront.

Just as cute on the inside.

Original Crown Mill by Pelletier. In navy vellum. Yum. And regal, too.

The gift selection was party centric including party favor striped bags and a good luck horse shoe.  The stationery accoutrements were witty and fun- especially these pencils and notebooks from SuitorLife. The food snob placecards will surely rouse the discerning guests at your next Sunday Supper and even your CSA lovin’ friend.

Placecards accompany the Food Snob Dictionary.

brown ink and friends will likely enjoy this smart pocketsize journal for letter writers.

Encouragement. Inspiration.

Suggested list ideas. brown ink.may have an idea or two!

Mr. Boddington’s Studio/Chelsea

Mr. Boddington’s Studio is by private appointment only which requires planning in advance and punctuality. Thankfully, Brand Director Jessie Camden, was kind enough to accept my plea for a quick 15 minute visit. Upon an on time arrival, I was squealing with delight and maybe using a few too many f-bombs. The studio is bright, open and invigorating with layers of notecards and other goodies to be discovered.  From floor to ceiling, walls are strategically organized with Boddington’s creations – wrapping paper, note cards, recipe cards, notebooks, coasters, gift tags. And of course, wedding suites – weddings are a majority of their business.

Wanna hang out here all day?

Their custom hand drawn prints can serve as a focal point and/or an accent. Opening an envelope and discovering a custom liner is common with Boddington’s. It’s like discovering the malted milk ball at the bottom of your ice cream cone! The clever copy is written by the talented gang at Boddington’s.

Wrapping paper heaven. All custom designed.

The patterns are out of hand and the paper is like cashmere.

Studio and workspace for assembling stationery packages for lucky recipients.

Gourd season is upon which has me lusting for this bright orange leather notebook. The lizard notebooks, bound in London, are new for Boddington’s.  The gold edged paper is the perfect gilded touch. For those who keep track of passwords on paper, consider this twee notebook. Heaven! Look for stockists in your area otherwise order direct from their website.

Happiness is a cheery notebook.

Hello, awesome liner.

Guess you won’t be forgetting your passwords anymore.

Project No. 8/Midtown

Just a brief jaunt from Mr. Boddington’s, you will find Project No. 8 located in the ultra hip Ace Hotel. This store has the traveler in mind. If you’re in need of a souvenir for your best mate, a wool cap to thwart the autumn chill or a mag to read, you’ll find a thoughtfully considered mix of items. Naturally the shop’s countertop card spinner features a well curated lot of cards from such stationers such as Set Editions and LA based artist, Ashkahn. You will also find an assortment of stylish notebooks and writing instruments to accompany your card purchase.

Good reminder. A fun item to pass out at parties perhaps? By Set Editions.

For the wanna be rocker in your life. By Set Editions.

By Ashkahn. Reading is sexy- like the magnet says.

Once you’ve made your purchase you might want to grab a pick-me-up from Stumptown Roasters and enjoy some quality notecard writing time in the hip hotel lobby. Chances are you’ll Shazam a few new tunes to add to your next playlist. Oh, if you’re ready to nosh consider Sub No. 7 around the corner. I’m partial to the Mongolian Tofu with a Muchim pickle on the side. Dope.

Note: If you’re a dude, shopping for a dude or just into dudewear, head downtown for Project No. 8’s men’s furnishings outpost.

Marimekko/Flat Iron

My visit to Marimekko’s flagship store was enhanced by my insanely delicious Menta Bianca Stracciatella gelato from next door neighbor Eataly’s Gelateria. The iconic Unikko pattern lends itself quite well to the notecard offerings. The Isola print letter set in black and white comes with top flap closure envelopes- a nice detail. The notepads, notebooks are covered in Marimekko prints and inviting a place to keep to do lists, doodle or journal.

ABC Home/Flatiron

The beloved home mecca has a large stationery area located on the ground floor. The displays are well art directed and fit in with the store’s vibe. Lines include Sapling Press, hat+wig+glove, co and Motel Deluxe,  just to name a few. Stationery accoutrements abound if you care to indulge – pens, notebooks, paperweights, rubberstamps, labels and the like.

Simple. By Hat Wig Glove and Co.

Motel Deluxe’s Colorations line. Color Blocking is in this fall.

The kid’s section on the third floor offers a small but kid focused selection of note sets and individual cards. The stylings and packaging is geared toward kids just as the rest of the department is. Of course everything is top notch with a healthy dose of wonder.

Calypso Home/Soho

This home goods purveyor carries a line of luxe stationery by New Orleans based designer, Alexa Pulitzer. The collection has a gypset vibe with a dash of regalness. An exclusive, very French, suite will be available soon in stores and on line – get a sneak peek here. Feel free to throw a John Derian paperweight on top of your growing stationery supply and don’t forget to send me a card from your beachside retreat in St. Barth’s.

Pug Royalty by Alex Pulitzer.

Royal Giraffe makes for a fancy shopping list.


In classic Japanese style, Muji welcomes you with a neat display of writing instruments. The simple and functional stationery is also meticulously displayed. Craft paper notecards and envelopes are good for everyday use or you can embellish them on your own for a special occasion.

Pearl River Mart/Soho

This treasure trove offers a wide array of Asian items. The extensive stationery section includes paper products from China, Japan and various locales. The stationery sets would make a perfect gift for your niece or daughter. You can find loads of oddities from notebooks to kitchenware, slippers, etc. A perfect stop if you’re prepping for a party or looking to stock up on your stationery stash.

The two-story mecca.

Tribeca Treats/Tribeca

Tribeca Treats creates delectable delights and carries an inspiring potpourri of stationery to match the sweets. Tyler, long time employee and NYU student, was happy  to share his personal favorites from the extensive card selection in the shop. Bonus! Sweets and stationery! A majority of the quality selection is letterpress. The wide array of brands spans the US from local NYC stationers Greenwich Letterpress, Chicago’s Snow & Graham, Pittsburgh’s Sapling Press and San Francisco’s Chewing the Cud.

You can also find unique party provisions such as napkins, cake stands, candles sparkler cupcake toppers, cookbooks and kitchenware. Dip in for an afternoon sugar fix and indulge in some card purchasing while you nibble.

Sparklers from Tops Malibu.

A juicy pen is waiting for some fresh new paper to make friends with and needs you to make the introduction. Off you go.



Wedding Bells

My little sis is getting married this Sunday (YAHOO!!), as well as my dear college friend this fall (you go Jen!) so I’ve had weddings on the brain as of late. You know the best part about weddings these days? You can plan whatever you’d like – and there are many creative folks who are bringing a new energy to the big day with the addition of handwriting and sentimental touches.

This lovely country, free-spirited wedding was featured in a recent Vogue and it seems to be showing up on many blogs these days. In Montauk, the jewelry designer Pamela Love, and her partner created a personal feel to their day with a handwritten welcome sign and menu. Aside from the uber hippie bridesmaids (LOL),  I appreciate the simplicity and homemade spirit to the event.

Handwritten Vows

Simple Menu (just missing the presumed LOCAL and ORGANIC – ha.)

This wedding in Joshua Tree was all about personal touch.

The couple even provided typewriters to create love letters for the newlyweds!

Of course, what kicks off these events are the invitations.  The folks at Stationery Trends magazine feel the bridal market trend is to be both edgy and classic. With the former, people are either creating their own invitations (who has the time for this??) or finding a calligraphy or font that appear handwritten or handcrafted. Folksiness is hot!

Graphic designer and illustrator, Julie Song, created her own wedding invite by mixing watercolor details, different type style and garden details. The cursive painted names are just lovely.

Of course, if you are moving towards the Classic trend, letterpress is all the rage.

Here, Bella Figura has combined print and handwriting into their popular Country invitation.

For Sarah & Brian’s wedding this weekend, our talented friend Jean (whom I featured here) created a look which works well with the reception location at The Walker Art Center. Artsy but still personal.

For the bride who is in need of a bit of direction, Paperista has you  covered.

Last week I stopped into the store and found these classic cards for the wedding party from Tallu-lah. They think of everything these days.

Of course, you can find handwriting in some unconventional spots during a wedding.

Our friends, Gail and Phil, dug up a memento from their wedding night. Just before Phil’s brother was to give his toast, he decided the bathroom was the best place to gather his thoughts. Thus, a handwritten note on toilet paper. Classic (even at the Minikahda Club). I’m hoping to finish a handwritten toast for this Sunday night’s festivities prior to the event. I’ll be spending plenty of time nursing Bea in the bathroom so I just need to remember to pack a pen in the diaper bag!

Stationery Nirvana Part II

Soon after I posted Stationery Nirvana Part I last month I realized there were still remnants floating out there, from my stationery fog. So, naturally, I had to make the post a two part series. If it wasn’t for that darn National Stationery Show to showcase loads and loads of fantastic vendors, I would have just let it go until next year (when I hope to be drooling over the cards in person!!). Enjoy…

One of my favorite vendors is Wild Ink Press out of Chico, CA. It’s a husband and wife team (which is maybe another reason why I’m drawn to these two) who create their cards with three antique letter press machines and a letter cutter. Oh, and they also farm rice on the side. No joke.

Buttercream on my Cupcake

Antique Pakistan Tile

 Tractor Birthday Invitations

I love a good card that keeps you on your toes, especially when it comes to having a child. Look no further than west coast based FareWell Paperie.

You Had a Baby

Fawnsberg is a sister team who began their love of writing mailing letters to and from summer camp (sistas from my own heart). This bloomed into a lovely illustration and calligraphy stationery line.

Lake George

Bridgette – Wildflower

The guys from oddball press out of Cleveland, OH have a bizarre sense of humor meant for that right mate. A bit of tongue in cheek never hurts.

How Long 


The clever cards from Sapling Press caught my eye immediately when featured on a bunch of blogs chatting about the stationery show.

Sunglasses and Stevie Wonder

 Cake & Presents (isn’t that what it’s all about? ha.)

Sapling happens to sell their products in a stationery boutique in Chicago called Greer, which I’d been hoping to visit my last few trips to the windy city. Last month I happened to be in town for a quick overnight (last hurrah with Nick) and with one hour to kill I made a dash in the pouring rain to check out this beautiful store located in Old Town. It was well worth the manic taxi ride. This place is a gold mine with one of the best collection of stationery goods I’ve ever seen. A few goodies I picked up…

Dear Fork (my inspiration from Sapling Press)

Carrot and Stick Press

Telephone Pad from Rifle Paper Co (for those of us, including myself. who still like to leave handwritten messages if a family member misses a call!)

Crazy about these Indigo Blossom, letterpress square note cards from Brookfield 2


Sending Thanks from Anemone Letterpress

After returning from Chicago I was on a hunt for more local stores with unique cards. My luck, I happened upon Motto, a new boutique in Uptown which, aside from lovely home decor and clothing, happens to sell a line of cards new to me. I spoke with one of the owners, Maria Walker, who loved the idea of starting off by supporting one independent stationery company and was intrigued by Blue Barn House. Couldn’t help but leave with these beauties.

Elephant Forget

Mimosa me!

Cactus & Lizard Note Card 

As a bonus to all you readers who have made it this far into the post (big thanks!), there is a Summer Sale going on through July 13th at R. Nichols. Just enter the discount code SUMMER and receive 30% off everything on their website. Good time to stock up on holiday greeting cards, gift notes and more.

So off you go my card loving writers. Imagine how pleasant it would be if you had a few of these featured cards on hand the next time you notice the postman just parked down the block and you have 2.5 mins to write out a meaningful note!!

Hats Off to the Grads

It’s graduation time with pomp and circumstance and other glories of the season. Let the celebrations begin.

When I started noticing all the graduation party invitations in the stores this spring, I thought of Nick’s high school Graduation Party invites which he hand wrote on postcards. Thankfully my mother-in-law, Sally, photo copied them all before dropping them into the mailbox. I haven’t heard the inside scoop from either one but I have a feeling it wasn’t a long conversation as to who would be doing the writing. Here are a few samples…

I mean, seriously. Sweat, Sink, Ribmaster J? I have to believe the average parent is not familiar with the inside nicknames their graduating senior has for his or her friends. So make it personal and let the kids do the writing while you pick up the snazzy invitation from the below selection. You can also make it personal by picking up stationery which has meaning to the students’s life – Nick sent postcards created in Seattle, the town where he was born.

Keep Calm


Hats Off 


And a few gift ideas for the graduate…

This Carpe Diem Journal from Chronicle is perfect for any young adult juggling ideas of what the future might hold for them (noticed it at Bibelot in Linden Hills as well).


I love making lists so I’d be tickled to receive this one. We sent My Future Listography to Nick’s sister in Seattle who is graduating from high school and carries plenty of hopes and dreams in her mind (Congrats Ev!). This can be found at Paper Source or Chronicle Books.

I recently received this Where will you be in five years from today? journal as a gift from my friend, Alix, based on where I might be with parenting 5 years down the road (we met in a Parent Education class) but this could easily be for a graduate, an inspiration as to what lies ahead.

The All Out of Pad could be the perfect gift to that freshman who might be all out of ramen noodles but, more importantly, needs a new tube of toothpaste.


And to make sure they have no excuse not to write you a letter, send them off with stamped addressed envelopes and pencils enclosed in this airmail pouch.


This pencil case might even get a professor or a new employer to take notice.


And just a reminder of how memories of graduation and high school were captured many years ago, take a peek at Louida’s graduation scrapbook from the 1920’s. Quite lovely in its simplicity.

And off they go, hopefully with a pencil alongside their many electronic gadgets, in hand.