Thursday, November 27, 2008

U.S. Thanksgiving.
I am going away for a few days - I'll be back at the weekend. I just remembered it's a big holiday in the States today. We have all ready had our Thanksgiving holiday up here in Canada a few weeks ago but I would like to wish all my American friends a happy holiday - and say thanks to you all for visiting Cafe Cartolina. I am so happy that you enjoy it enough to return every day! Thanks!

Before I leave I want to say thanks to some of my regular blogging friends. Thank you for participating in my daily dose of design inspiration. I look forward to your comments every morning - I really do!
Left to right, from the top: 
Row 1. Molly from Artful Sentiments. Mary from Suffix Abuse and Supafly Designs. Hanna and her blog. Michele at My Nottinghill. Jan at Poppytalk
Row 2. My pal Julie at Specialty Cards 4 U. Michelle at Cicada Studios. Carey at The Ink Spot. Jul at Un Matrimonio Formato JPG. Jan at Scoutie Girl.
Row 3. Meg from Pigtown Design, Lori from Marzipan Inc. Erin from Bride Design. Cathe from Feterie. Kelly at Paper Stories
Row 4. Evy from Evy Jacob. Vantiani and her blog Vanilla Vain. My best pal Linda, lampshade maker extraordinaire. Brittany Noel(prolific blog commenter - thank you!) and her blog. And finally, Tina at Pfeiffer Photos. 
{Thank You card at top from our new collection arriving next week.}

Invitation from Terrain

Look at this gorgeous invitation from terrain for their Holiday Open House. Terrain is part of the Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters Group. Check out their cute web site.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Window Shopping | Wisteria
Not sure when I ran across this collection of wares . . .  there are a few things here that I think are quite interesting . . . . 

I am rather intrigued by these religious icons(above) especially the carved wooden one above. I just like their vintage decorative quality.

This new chair looks just like the amazing, fairy tale-like, faux bois furniture that you can buy at the Paris flee markets.

This blanket is gorgeous, there's something about blankets that have contrasting patterns on the reverse that I LOVE don't you?

This elephant bell is so familiar to me. We had lots of these around the house when I was growing up - in all different sizes (long story!)
These are interesting too - Victorian drawings of Parisian Gardens - the top one looks like a Spirograph creation!
I really like these pillows and that sofa - love linen and burlap together and those wild pillows with the oversized pattern(below) are just crazy cool!

This is a fabulous drafting chair - nice combination of plywood and steel - and that bookshelf looks interesting too.

Random Object | Vintage Elephant

Odd little pull-along elephant from here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New business cards | Paper Stories Letterpress
This is my elephant. And pretty soon Kelly is going to turn my elephant into some beautiful business cards for me. I haven't had any business card that I have been thrilled about in ages so I thought it would be great to have some letterpressed. I need new business cards for the spring shows and now is a great time to get them designed and printed. I would like something simple and sophisticated so I have chosen Paper Stories Letterpress because I am familiar with Kelly's terrific work. My cards will be printed on a Chandler and Price press in the Paper Stories studio in Chicago. You can see more of her work below and on her website(she has an Etsy shop too.)

Another reason that I chose Kelly is because of her commitment to the environment. It means a lot to me that my cards will be printed on tree-free paper with non-solvent based inks. I can't wait for my new cards. I'm going to ask Kelly to take a couple of pictures during the letterpress process and I will post them here. I think you will find the process really interesting, I know I do  - so stay tuned.
Design | Business Cards
So now, of course, I am obsessed with business cards - from one obsession to another - never a dull, non-obsessive day here! I found these here and I thought you might enjoy them. Really brilliant design work - for some wonderful creative clients with good taste.

Ephemera | Vintage Business Cards

Aren't these sweet? Vintage business cards from here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Design Details | Spot varnishes

People ask me all the time about spot varnishes. All our large cards have spot varnishes. A spot varnish is applied to specific areas of flat or matte paper to high light certain aspects of the design. I find they work best on the darkest areas of the images and especially on blues for some reason. Here is an example of one of our cards with its spot varnish - it really catches the light when you tilt it. Also it has a slightly raised feeling when you run your finger over it.
Short term gain, long term pain.
I was in Target at the weekend(in Spokane WA, which is the closest city to us here in Nelson). I was really floored when I saw these holiday items by John Derian. I had heard that John Derian was producing a limited product range for Target a few months ago and was interested to take a closer look. John Derian's products are all about the imagery - that's what we love about his work - the gorgeous vintage images embedded in glass. These images chosen for this holiday collection are dull, predictable and cliche. But what bothers me more than anything are the MADE IN CHINA stickers on the back. The quality was so poor that the packaging was barely holding up to the handling it was receiving on the display. And the price was SO CHEAP. I really question the designers who decide to go the off-shore production route. There are many so called Indie producers these days who have made this choice and I am happy to say I am not one of them. 

These days I am frequently asked by buyers where our products are produced(Canada).  It used to be that the first question they asked was if we used recycled paper(which we do) but now its all about WHERE we produce our product. We don't sell the cheapest cards in the world(in fact they are probably about twice the price of any cards at Target) But in today's economy we all have to make the best decisions for the world as a whole - not selfish, short term decisions based on greed. We have to look into the future and understand that by supporting the poor labour practices of countries like China we have been gradually undermining the foundation of our own economy. No one gains from these practices except the corporate top level. We have to stop expecting to buy everything for cheap and we need to recognize and value quality and craftsmanship that's produced here at home with a conscience. Over and out.
Weekend Snap Shots
I am a huge sucker for beautiful interior photography especially detailed styling as you probably have realized if you have been reading this blog for very long. I just wish I was a better photographer myself. It was a lovely sunny day here yesterday so I decided to spend the morning shooting pictures of my favourite things. I took 216 shots with my Nikon D40 and, I have to say, I don't think it's a very good camera at all - most of the pictures were terrible! Here are the only ones even slightly worth posting. I am very disappointed with that camera  ;-)

No seriously, I have a whole new respect for photographers these days - taking interior pictures is very difficult - it's all about the lighting. Our house is very sunny and I swear that makes it worse - or it could just be the camera - right?
{UPDATE: Just sold that camera on Ebay this morning. Going to get a Canon G10 to replace it - that's BOUND to make me a better photographer!}
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