by Hope Johnson
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blog

Posts tagged wedding invitations
ORGANIC STATIONERY INSPIRATION | editorial with Wedding Sparrow + Jen Huang

I'm not going to say I didn't squeal. But when I opened my inbox and saw an invitation to join the editorial shoot between Wedding Sparrow and photographer, Jen Huang, my face made that wide-eyed emoji.
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And I squealed.
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When I think about summer weddings, the words dreamy, airy, and romantic are what resonates for me - everything in this shoot. From the storybook venue, St. Giles House to the luxury florals and dreamscapes, it's as if The Secret Garden and a Jane Austen novel came to life.


 

PICK YOUR FAV (or all three) & ADD TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD

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Organic Wedding Stationery || custom venue sketch || handmade paper wedding invitations || The Little Blue Chair by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
Organic Wedding Stationery || custom venue sketch || vellum wedding invitations || handmade paper wedding invitations || The Little Blue Chair by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
Organic Wedding Stationery || custom venue sketch || vellum wedding invitations || handmade paper wedding invitations || The Little Blue Chair by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
floral inspiration editorial shoot - the little blue chair by Hope Johnson
floral inspiration editorial shoot - the little blue chair by Hope Johnson
Organic Wedding Stationery || custom venue sketch || vellum wedding invitations || handmade paper wedding invitations || The Little Blue Chair by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
St-Giles-Wedding-Web-Res-45-Jen-Huang-007171-R1-013.jpg
Organic Wedding Stationery || custom venue sketch || vellum wedding invitations || handmade paper wedding invitations || The Little Blue Chair by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
floral inspiration editorial shoot - the little blue chair by Hope Johnson
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TLBC x Wedding Sparrow_sneak peek14.jpg
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LOOKING FOR SIMILAR INSPIRATION?


 
thelittlebluechairwww.thepicturepeoplela.com||Printingrightsreleased(61of80).jpg

I'm Hope. The inky hands and freckled face behind the studio doors of TLBC. 

I believe in paper, words, and romance.

...and something beautiful happens when you combine them all together - be it a Jane Austen novel, a handwritten note, or as you've presumably guessed it - wedding stationery.


LET'S CONNECT ||     instagram      facebook      pinterest      


my (pre)pinterest wedding

I have to admit something that I'm kind of ashamed to admit. My best cousin and my best friend are both getting married next year and I'm secretly (or not so secretly) living vicariously through them. See, I was married before wedding blogs were as popular as they are now. I was married before Pinterest was invited. I was married before Anthropologie launched their wedding line, BHLDN (I'm still upset about that one). However, I couldn't be more thankful. 

My husband and I have been going to the same school together since kindergarten. I wasn't particularly fond of him. He was the class clown. Fast forward to circa 2009, we were married at the young age of 20. We were crazy, but all we knew is that marriage was our next step, no matter our age. 

On August 8th, we have hit seven years together, twelve years total, and have added two little ones to the mix. Looking back at some old wedding photos, I am so fond of the special little moments and experiences we had. You know why? Because they were OURS. 

We had no idea how to plan a wedding and to be honest, we really were not concerned with the aesthetic details. ...not like I would be today, that's for sure. Maybe that's why I'm living vicariously through others. Because I'll be the first to admit that if I was married today ...we just won't go there.

The most important thing to us was the experience. ...we wanted smiles and laughter, we wanted candid moments with our nearest and dearest, we to begin our marriage.

We inadvertently curated these memories and these moments that we simply could not replicate if we wanted to. Up at the alter, my super soon-to-be husband handed me this little gold chest. I had no idea he was going to give me this. He gave me this little "I'll explain later" look, so I simply smiled and held the gold chest during the ceremony. 

After the ceremony, he explained that these coins came from his mother's side of the family. There were thirteen coins. The custom of the giving originated in Spain and is usually associated with Hispanic culture. My husband's mother's family is from Mexico and still carry many of their culture's traditions. The coins were filled with symbolic meaning signifying the grooms willingness to support his bride. The bride's acceptance symbolized trust and confidence and unconditional love. The thirteen coins recognized Christ and His twelve apostles in recognition of the newfound marriage. I'll never forget the shaky voice as my husband of ten minutes explained where this came from after the ceremony.

There were heaps of moments like this that just kept popping up. There were certain smiles that were candidly caught on camera. There were certain moments I'll never forget. Maybe I'm just a little nostalgic since my anniversary just passed, but I'm so thankful for the simplicity that meaningful choices can make in a wedding. Because at the end of the day, it's all about the marriage that will follow. That's the real story. 

PS: 

When we were engaged, I was (at the time) in college for Business Management. It wasn't until the semester after we were married that I was an art major. Although I have always had my hands in creativity, I did not know the process of letterpress printing. I did not know what my personal style was. I was not a designer. My invitations were very traditional. Oh and I just thought they were the greatest thing ever, and they were beautiful for what they were. I simply cannot imagine designing my own wedding invitation if I were to marry today (to the same Beau of course).

Maybe I'll have to renew my vows one day to find out!

 
Floral Inspired Wedding Stationery

Meet Ali & Ryan. How cute are they? When Ali reached out for wedding stationery earlier this year and referenced her save the dates she created herself, I knew I already loved her. Ali's stationery style was floral inspired and nothing sang to my heart more than a fellow flowerchild. 

Photo taken my family member, Audra Ruane.

Photo taken my family member, Audra Ruane.

 
left | dresses from  showmeyourmumu    center  | calligraphy by  judith brown   right | cake by  cypress grovers

left | dresses from showmeyourmumu   center  | calligraphy by judith brown  right | cake by cypress grovers

Ali's wedding will take place this fall in a small-town church, followed by an evening barn & farm reception.

Ali and her calligrapher friend/soon-to-be sister-in-law designed her DIY save the dates. They were printed on deckled seed paper & stemmed much of the inspiration for her wedding stationery. The calligraphy was done by Judith Browne. You can find this lovely handmade seed paper from the cutest little etsy shop, White Dragon Paper.

 

it was easy to find inspiration from Ali's inspiration. The combination of textures really compliment her handmade, rustic-meets-whimsical mood! 

IT'S TIME FOR AN ASSEMBLY PARTY

cotton paper
hand deckled edging
letterpress printing
watercolor
jute cord
preserved lavender

I cannot wait to see this remaining touches I know Ali will give to this big day of her and Ryan's. Only a few more months and this Ms. will be a Mrs.!

 

 
 
LETTERPRESS PRINTING | behind the scenes

TODAY'S HISTORY LESSON:
Way back when, any type of writing that was "mass produced" was simply written by hand, over and over. Books, manuscripts, etc. There was no assembly line, no machinery driven printers. Can you imagine? During the mid 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg got his thinking cap on in efforts to solve this issue. ...and boy am I glad he did.

"WHO IS JOHANNES GUTENBERG?" ...the only Jeopardy question I've ever gotten right.

Gutenberg invented the method of letterpress printing. Using metal casted letters, ink, and pressure, text was able to become mass produced! Imagine how you use a simple wooden stamp. An image or word was made in to a stamp by hand carving or laser etched. You tap the stamp on an ink pad, then stamp it on paper. It's a similar conceptual process. Metal letters, carved linoleum, or wood blocks are placed inside a press. Rollers are inked to cover the raised surface of your type or block cuts, paper is pressed on to the inked surface of your text/block leaving an impression in your paper. In opposition to modern day digital and offset printing, letterpress printing holds a timeless appreciate for the one-of-a-kind art is truly is. 

WHAT GOES BEHIND THE SET UP?

There are all different types of letterpress printers. I run a Chandler and Price platen press (below). It's about 100 years old and I can work this one better than my Best Buy Epson printer. 

Many printmakers still use what's called moveable type, cast iron letters that you set in to place to form your word, sentence, paragraph, etc. 

ONE COLOR AT A TIME

You mix your ink just like you'd mix paint. You can patch just about any pantone color or even order a custom pantone match. Each color is run separately. So if you have 100 invitations with two colors, you'll set up the first color and artwork, run 100 of that color. Clean your press. Mix the second color. Set up that run, then print the second color. ...totally 200 runs.

Once your materials are set up in the press, you can test your impressions, color, etc. and then get to work! My particular press runs off of a motor. There's a clam-shell action that happens where the paper reaches the inked type and stamps or impresses it in the paper. There's a quick scene in this video that shows the press running. 

Letterpress is simply appreciated for it's tactile impression it leaves in the paper. You cannot deny its method against digital and offset printing. It truly does stand on its own.

CHANGING TIMES

Over the years, there have been a number of ways to transfer text and imagery to a press bed. Moveable type is still commonly used for many printmakers. However, polymer plates (or other similar materials) are often used for its ease and flexibility. Using laser-casted polymer plates allow any vector, created with fonts or from the sketchbook, to become a printable plate. This is great for handlettering, hand-drawn imagery, and graphically designed pieces to originate the final piece.

The above photo is a letterpress printed piece that began as a sketch. The sketch was digitized and formatted to be made in to a polymer plate. The plate was then set up in the press, similar to the way moveable type is set up, then printed. 

Of course, there are 100 steps in between. There's ink mixing, color matching, press setting, packing backers to set, gauge pins to line up, paper to measure, etc. etc. etc.

For anyone in the market for letterpress printed work, this is a good insight to the setup and labor that happens prior and during printing. It's surely a labor of love that stands as an art in its own.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT
some phrases we can credit to letterpress

Mind your p's and q's: When setting casted, movable type, you set the letters from left to right, upside down in order for the type to mirror and read correctly on the paper. You'd be surprise what your eyes will fix for you as you read backwards printed letters. This is where the phrase originated from. ....same goes for b's and d's. 

Uppercase & Lowercase: Casted, movable type is arranged in type drawers. There's a little spot for each handful of A's, B's, C's and so fourth. The capital letters were found in the upper case drawer slot and the non-capital letters in the lower. 

THE WHITE SPARROW BARN | Save the Dates

Meet Sarah Jones and Chris Mohring. Are they not just the cutest couple you've ever seen? I have not had the pleasure of meeting the groom to be, but feel super connected to him through Sarah. Sarah is a former colleague of mine. We both graduated in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University and spent much of our studio lab hours together, covered in ink and elbow grease. 

I'll be honest. I was beyond thrilled and honored really when Sarah contacted me to design her wedding stationery suite. Sarah Jones was entrusting me with one of her wedding planning elements and I KNEW stationery was on her top three most important to-do's. 

Sarah majored in Printmaking back in college and had such a talent creating these magnificent sheets of paper, using that paper for sculptures and installations for gallery shows. We hadn't talked much since graduating other than tid-bits through social media. So I was thrilled and filled with a bit of nostalgia reminiscing about old print lab days at LSU.

I have to tell you that reconnecting with you and reimbursing myself in my old life of being ink and paper pulp covered has completely stirred up my art bug all over again.
— Sarah Jones

I cannot tell you how many time I physically squealed after reading one of our emails. When she mentioned that the design process uprooted her old art life, I may have actually teared up. Okay, I did. Sarah had pulled out some old paper installations to sketch some ideas of using them as a repurposed installation behind her head table at her and Chris's reception.  

Speaking of the venue, this barn. THIS BARN. The White Sparrow Barn sits in an open field in Union Valley, Texas and is the most charming barn my eyes have ever seen. Part of the process of custom designing a stationery suite includes inspirations from colors, florals, and sometimes the venue itself. Once I heard the words "The White Sparrow Barn" from Sarah, I issued another squeal. 

I had about one hundred and one ideas floating around in my head, but knew I wanted to tie in the handmade paper to Sarah's past and that simplicity and the work of the hand would best suit this suite.

A simple shade of grey ink, handmade cotton rag paper, hand illustrated barn sketch and lettering ...and we have Sarah and Chris's save the dates. The wedding day stationery that will follow, well, we will just save that for another day. ...and there goes another squeal.


A special shout out to Texas photographer, Chloe Gonzales. She beautifully captured the essence of these two for their engagement shoot. I am looking forward to being smitten all over again with the upcoming wedding photos!


paper and ribbon | silk & willow
design and printing | yours truly
lovely engagement photos | chloe gonzales

 

 
 
WEDDING STATIONERY | rustic barn wedding for the mississippi bride & louisiana groom

What a pleasure it's been to work with Ashley King (future Caruso), future lawyer and sweetest person alive. Growing up in Mississippi, she was surrounded by cotton fields and southern landscapes that would make anyone's soul feel warm. It's no surprise that she fell in love with Blake, a Louisiana boy, who is as easy going as the cotton field winds she grew up around!

Ashley and Blake wanted a simple save the date and a coordinating wedding invitation. Recycled kraft paper was a must for her, so I knew this would be a breeze for me. Recycled kraft paper and I are best friends. 

Ashley's save the dates were letterpress printed in a dark charcoal ink on recycled kraft!

The wedding invitations were printed on a cotton paper (how appropriate) paired with the same recycled policy envelope as the save the dates. The ink matched the envelopes and all together, these two pieces are the sweetest and simplest duo my eyes have ever seen.

Another great thing I love about these invitations is the way we incorporated Blake and Ashley's wedding website as their rsvp option. Many brides opt out of having a response card simply for the reason that they're not always returned. Wedding websites are becoming more and more popular as a way to have readily accessible information in regards to the wedding, rsvp included. For a non-traditional wedding stationery ensemble, this is the perfect way to include the extra information without the extra pieces. 

I am so happy to be a guest at this wedding this upcoming January. My husband and I are great friends with the groom, and now we get to grow our relationship with Ashley. Their love is as amazing as the rustic barn they will wed at, in the strawberry fields of Louisiana and I just cannot wait to witness the atmosphere and joining of the Mississippi bride and Louisiana groom. 


 
 
my life as a mother and designer - in a three minute video

THE little BLUE CHAIR began as the seat a bunch of kids opened Christmas presents on ...one at a time, in front of the audience of our grandparents. Our grandparents initiated this ritual in hopes that Christmas Eve would last just a little bit longer. I have learned through our family's delightful idiosyncrasies that the anticipation waiting for our turn, the presentation of the package was as important as the package itself. The sheer sentiment of the chair became the foundation for TLBC.

It's easy for me to resonate with TLBC. I truly believe that life's special moments and surprises are best told through the hand-written note, the mailed invitation, and the package it all arrives in ...and when you can see and feel that love behind a product, that tactile sense of affection really sings through.

I can easily title TLBC as a "family run business." My dear husband does the heavy lifting. When we need to take a road trip out of state to pick up the letterpress I bid and won on eBay, he's the one (read that story here). Although his day job consists of civil and architectural jazz, he often inspires much of my product line. My two little ones are also on payroll. In exchange for all the love I have, they offer me an abundant about of inspiration and company in between those moments of hustle and motherhood. There is nothing better than the visual representation of what you will get when working with THE little BLUE CHAIR. Watch the stream of real life TLBC to get a true glimpse.


A huge thanks to Kelly Davis who entered my world with a camera and captured my craziest, most exciting moments as a mother, designer, and business owner.

The Keeping Room | Baton Rouge Wedding Stationery

Almost a year ago, I contacted The Keeping Room in Baton Rouge in hopes for some interest in carrying TLBC's product line. Many clients and friends have referred me to this shop, so I thought, well hey, let's check it out. After speaking with Amanda, the owner, we trained off on how I got started and where I have my work printed. I told her I own my own letterpress printing business. This conversation lead us to a collaborated wedding stationery album. After months and months of preparations, designing, testing, and of course printing, TLBC and TKR has combined our efforts and talents to create ten, one-of-a-kind wedding collections. ...with full intentions of watching it grow to more.

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We are BEYOND thrilled to have all of our work alongside The Keeping Room's work inside one big album! So we of course celebrated along with some fantastic fellow businesses in the wedding industry. Joined in to help us celebrate was Alli Sims, who owns a fantastic wedding planning service as well as Cupcake Couture. Also joining in and displayed a beautiful wedding gown was I Do Bridal Couture. Plantation Florist supplied nothing short of the most lovely floral arrangements my eyes have ever laid eyes on. While we all swooned over the pretties, we did so by munching on some amazing eats from Gourmet Girls. (see sources below)
 

I got the bright and crazy idea to bring my first table-top press along for a ride. I really wanted everyone to get an idea of the process that goes behind letterpress printing. Success. Our guests were able to pull their own print and got a feel (literally) for the labor that goes behind printing. Of course, the work is done on a much larger press, but the concept all the same and I believe everyone left with a new appreciation for letterpress printing.

SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. These people are amazing. (see references below)

This collaboration has really lead us to focus on supporting local businesses. The in-house customer service and one-on-one attention we are able to give each couple establishes a more personal relationship that doesn't end at the wedding day. The evening was absolutely lovely. If you didn't get a chance to stop by, don't fret, The Keeping Room isn't going anywhere. Stop by their beautiful shop off of Perkins Road and ask to see the new album! I am looking forward to working with TKR and new couples to tailor each suite to their ideal wedding stationery. Ode to new adventures!


sources
wedding stationery | THE little BLUE CHAIR & The Keeping Room
florist | Plantation Florist
catering | Gourmet Girls
cupcakes | Cupcake Couture
wedding planner | Alli Sims
wedding gown display | I Do Bridal Couture
 

How I found a 100 year old letterpress.

When I first graduated college, my first to-do on my agenda was to find a tabletop letterpress. These presses were hard to come by. They were made well after the letterpress had been invented for the purpose of teaching. They were small, compact, and could fit nicely on a table. I knew this press was to learn the craft and hobby I began dabbling in, so I searched and searched until I found the one I wanted. 

After a few years, I quickly realized it was time to upgrade. My new search: a Chandler and Price New Style Letterpress ...and when I say new, I mean 1920s instead of 1800s. It's crazy how mad I get at my Epson printer, but I can run this age old printer just fine. So, I searched with all of my resources to find the press right for me. CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE THE HIGHEST BIDDER.

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me: "hey, what's your weekend like?"
husband: "fairly free, what's up?"
me: "we should go to Marlin, Texas!"
husband: "go where?"

I don't care what google maps said, it was not a 6.5 hour drive, it was more like 8 hours. Eight hours to Marlin Texas, a mile long town about 30 miles outside of Waco. The press was acquired by an antique store, put on eBay and BAM, in comes Hope. 

We packed up the truck with snacks and hooked up the heaviest duty trailer we had to haul home a near 100 year old, 1500 pound letterpress. Husbands with a know-how are the best and I cannot thank mine enough for putting up with my adventures and eBay bids. A day and another 8 hour drive later, we were home. Unloading this press and getting it in to my shop had to have been one of my most stressful moments ever. 

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We all got our hands dirty, but within a two week period, I went from my tabletop compact press to a much bigger beast. I'm so excited about the doors this leap has opened. ...and rightfully so, I named this letterpress Marlin, after its home town. 

The Colorado Wedding

It's a small world we live in, really. There was this girl named Mackenzie who once lived up north. She later found her way down south to Louisiana falling deeply in love with a man named Trent. After talking a bit about her upcoming stationery design, wedding, and all the lovely things that go along with that, I find out that her husband-to-be was my former childhood neighbor. This boy used to prop sheets of plywood on a single brick to test fate and ride the 2" ramp towards the sky! Now, the two of them are leaping in to the marriage world with a Colorado wedding ceremony to celebrate their nuptials. I enjoyed every bit of the stationery design and cannot wait to see their wedding photos! Stay tuned for that.

These gilceé & letterpress printed menu cards will really make a statement on the guests' dinner plate. The mixed media is eye catching in more ways that one!