Vendor Love: Vintage Stamps from Send More Mail

May 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

Apologies to those who noticed there was no Workshop Wednesday this week – I’ve literally been so busy I didn’t even have a chance to take any photographs or even write a blog post this week!

My father-in-law is getting married this weekend (you can see their invitation here) and we all have our duties: my husband is the Best Man, I’m a bridesmaid, my oldest son is the ring bearer, and my youngest is…well…just there to look cute! Looking forward to such a joyous family event.

Also getting ready to go to New York next week for the National Stationery Show – this is the first year I’ve actually been able to attend (for various reasons, usually involving my offspring in one way or another), so I am stoked. And…my Mom is coming with me, and I’m also going to get the chance to meet a ton of people from the industry (vendors, suppliers, bloggers and even my girls from Let’s Talk Stationery). So excited!

Anyway, back to the matter of Vendor Love! This week, I have such an exciting vendor to share with you…

Here’s a sneak peek:

Yes, vintage stamps! But not just ANY vintage stamps, oh no – CANADIAN vintage stamps, so all us Canucks can get in on the vintage stamp trend. Hooray!

Send More Mail is creating a buzz these days with their fantastic vintage stamp packs, and for good reason. A fantastic way to get your hands on vintage Canadian postage without a whole lot of effort!

Send More Mail was created by Jaime Maddalena – a photographer who loves everything vintage, including her green bicycle, typewriters and postage. Send More Mail’s stamp packs are a surprising mix of mint vintage Canadian stamps. Each pack contains enough postage to mail a standard sized letter within Canada.

Got an overweight or over-size invitation? No worries, Jaime can create custom stamp packs for you too! Have a particular theme in mind – floral, rustic, nautical? Jaime’s got that covered, as the stamps in each stamp pack are hand picked and can be grouped thematically.

Displeased with Canada Post’s rather sad selection of current stamps? Are today’s stamps too modern for your vintage invites? Or maybe you’re just not a fan of sticking the Queen’s mug on everything? Then Send More Mail stamp packs are for you!

Behold the loveliness:

Doesn’t it just make you want to go out and mail something right now?

Stamp packs are available through and also at one of my fave shops, The Paper Place on Queen Street West in Toronto.

You can also find Jaime taking gorgeous wedding photos with her husband Joseph and Joseph + Jaime Photography – check ’em out!

Vendor Love: Fleurish Floral Design Studio

April 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

Did you miss Vendor Love last Friday? I did too…I was out with another random illness brought home by my loving kids!

But – this one was worth waiting for…

Today we feature Jessica Dreyer from Fleurish Design Studio and her amazing florals!

I met Jessica back in January at Mix Mingle Marry, and I was so amazed by her work – she was walking around at one point showing off one of her stunning bouquets and I joked I needed to get married again so she could do my flowers! Jessica’s florals are gorgeous, whether they are modern, traditional or vintage, colourful or monochromatic, each arrangement is a beautiful mix of colours and textures.

I particularly love that there is often something just a little offbeat about each arrangement – a unique floral I haven’t seen before, a unique combination of texture or colours, a little birch bark or a feather here or there. There is something special about each of Jessica’s creations.

Jessica grew up among flowers, so it only seemed fitting to cultivate her love for fresh flowers & passion for colour into Fleurish Design Studio.  Starting at a very young age in her family’s greenhouse and later going to Seneca College in Toronto, Jessica combined technical skills with her own creative flair to find her place in the floral world.

I had such a hard time choosing photos to showcase, but here is just a sampling of Jessica’s work.

Enjoy all of Jessica’s work and her modern approach to classic design at and be sure to check out her blog which has her most current work displayed.

Friday Finds: Invitation Designers – You NEED to Read This! Seriously.

April 1, 2011 § 6 Comments

Have I lead you astray before? Of course not!

So when I post about something on The Invitation Blog – whether it’s another vendor, a product, whatever – you know it’s the real deal.

The real deal today is Paper Clique and Let’s Talk Stationery. If you are an invitation designer, you will want to stick around for this. Trust me.

Up-front, honest-to-goodness truthiness: I have been a member of Let’s Talk Stationery for about a year, and was one of the very first Paper Clique members. So yes, you are getting an insider point of view, but I have not been and will not be compensated in any way for posting this information. Sharing it’s sheer awesomeness with other designers is what prompted today’s post!

Paper Clique is a game-changer in the invitation design business, hands down. As the new prestigious, premium membership section of Let’s Talk Stationery, Paper Clique is offering the best tools out there to stationers and designers: lots of freebies , premium giveaways [gift certificates and more], premium discounts [myGrafico, Local Traffic Builder, Catprint and more] and weekly updates [The hottest blogs, newest discount codes, success tips]. All members are heavily vetted to ensure that the information shared among Paper Clique members is safe and secure.

Sounds good right? But you haven’t heard the best part yet. As a Paper Clique member, you have access to a huge library (currently more than 100,000) of Digital Stationery Engineering Templates. Yes, I hear you asking yourselves, “what the !@#$ are digital stationery engineering templates”. Ever spent an hour measuring and drawing a pocketfold in Illustrator? Cursing trying to match a paper colour on screen? Being stumped at how to accurately represent a patterned stock? Paper Clique’s exclusive templates (Currently available for Envelopments and Do It With More Options, with additional vendors coming soon) take all the guesswork out of putting together realistic, perfectly-sized and accurately-scaled mockups. Fantastic for custom designs, and an amazing tool for those who sell to DIY clients – not only can it save you time when designing, but imagine sitting with a client and literally showing them how their invitation will look (while switching out colours and options) on the fly.

A picture is worth thousand words, right? Well here are some to prove it to you:

Click for a larger, more detailed view

You can also view a video of how Paper Clique Digital Stationery Engineering works on the Paper Clique homepage.

I’ve been using the Paper Clique Engineering Templates to do mockups for clients for the past couple of weeks, and it has been amazing – I never realized before how much time I was wasting just setting up mockups, and now it’s a breeze (and actually kind of fun too!). The great thing is that there is no software to install, no drain on your system resources, no steep learning curve – the Paper Clique Engineering Templates are available via download from the Paper Clique website in .png format, and can be used in any graphics program, in whatever way you like. Whether you need to create a custom sized cardstock layer, add items or manipulate a colour, it’s possible directly within the design programs you use every day.

The Paper Clique Digital Engineering Templates are the brainchild of the fabulous Renae Judkins, owner of Paper Clique and Let’s Talk Stationery, and all around awesome chick.

Paper Clique Digital Stationery Engineering is still growing – Renae’s goal is to double the current number of graphics to 200,000 by this time next year with more manufacturers, ribbons, graphics and backgrounds. And word from Renae is that the next evolution for Paper Clique will be a software plugin that will allow you to access the Engineering Templates directly from your favourite design program (Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop etc.). I know I’m super-excited at the prospect of this tool getting even easier and more efficient to use!

And what about Let’s Talk Stationery itself?

Have you ever wished there was a community of stationers and designers out there that you could look to for help, guidance and support. Where you could find out about the newest suppliers, the best printers and the answers to your toughest production questions. Where you could just talk…stationery? Well, that’s exactly what Let’s Talk Stationery is – an exclusive forum for stationery designers and vendors that brings together all aspects of the industry in a safe, supportive environment.

Let’s Talk Stationery has made such a huge impact, professionally and personally, on Hip Ink in the last year. When I have any kind of question, problem or issue it’s the first place I go – okay, these days, when I wake up in the morning it’s the first place I go. I have learned a ton, found great new suppliers, and uncovered the answers to questions I didn’t even know I had. Most of all though, I have made so many great ‘friends’. Friends who are generous with their advice, who I know understand what I’m dealing with in this industry day-in and day-out and that I know I can count on for support when I’m having “one of those days”.

So, yes…I’m on my vendor love soapbox in a totally different way this Friday.

I.heart.Paper.Clique (and I’m betting that you will too!).

Vendor Love: ShutterBrugs Photography

March 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

I have to admit it: I love sharing the Vendor Love with you.

It is SO much fun to share with you some of my fave wedding industry peeps – some are friends, some are colleagues and some I just admire, but they are all awesome 🙂

Today, it’s Niagara-area photographer Mandie Charlton from ShutterBrugs Photography.

First, allow me to let some pictures do the talking:

Hello gorgeousness (is that a word?)…seriously.

I love that the ShutterBrugs website features some of Mandie’s polaroid photos from “back in the day” where her passion for photography began – it says a lot about her commitment and love for her craft.

“It is not enough to capture your day with a series of snapshots,” says Mandie. “Instead, I believe my photography to be a collection of defining moments which will arouse in you the intense emotions, the spirit of happiness and the memories that you never want to fade.”

I love Mandie’s creative style – the unexpected shots, the perfectly staged details; but, where Mandie shines is in capturing those small fleeting moments that really tell the story of your big day!

And did I mention her fab engagement shoots? LOVE!

I am thrilled and honoured to be working with Mandie on the invitations and paper goods for her upcoming wedding in 2012, and you’ll be seeing more of Mandie’s work on the Hip Ink blog as well, as she’ll be photographing some our work (thus saving you from my very poor photography!).

And here’s the very chic Miss Mandie herself:

Vendor Love is here to hook you up with the best of the best in Southern Ontario and beyond – and ShutterBrugs is definitely one of them 🙂


Vendor Love: Et Løfte Events

March 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Hey, hey, it’s Friday…time for some Vendor Looooooove.

Today, the spotlight shines on a *very* important piece of the wedding vendor puzzle – your Wedding Planner. I’m one of those people who firmly believes that almost every couple can benefit from the services of a Wedding Planner, whether it’s wedding day management, month-of management or full-service planning. There is a Wedding Planner out there to suit every style and budget, and hiring a planner can actually *save* you money and help keep your budget on track, not to mention lessen your stress considerably.

So – what kind of planner would I be hiring if I were to do it all over again (and the thought crosses my mind daily, working in this industry)? Someone who specializes in events that are unique, who thinks outside the box, who brings that flair for something just a little bit different.

Someone exactly like Melissa Nowakowski from Et Løfte Events in Toronto.

Et Løfte Events is a wedding & event planning company that specializes in weddings that have an innovative spin. Et Løfte Events strongly believes that every couple is truly unique and that no wedding should emulate another, and Melissa uses this belief to create weddings that are off-beat, eye-catching, entertaining and completely original.

Known for its out-of-the-box vision, quirky personality and distinctive approach to wedding planning, Et Løfte Events can skillfully assist you with every step of the planning from full theme design, creative direction and itinerary development to dotting that last ‘i’ on your invitations.

What makes Et Løfte (which is danish for “a promise”) different from other planning companies? Melissa (a Wedding Planners Institute of Canada certified planner) says, “What sets Et Løfte Events apart from other planners is our personality and creativity. While I’m quirky, edgy and laid back in personality (after all planning a wedding is supposed to be fun right?), I also have a very meticulous side that enables me to focus on even the smallest of details and ensure that nothing is missed when it comes to my clients’ wedding. As one client of mine announced in her wedding speech last year, “I think you’re organized enough to run a military campaign, nevermind a wedding!”

Where does Melissa find her unique concepts? Probably not where you’d think! “With regards to our creativity, I’m not the type of planner who will thumb through wedding magazines searching for inspiration, ideas or trends.” says Melissa, “Usually if I’m looking through a magazine it’s because I want to ensure that an idea I’ve come up with has never been done before. And if it has I’ll tweak the concept until it’s completely original. I’m not about trends, I’m about bringing something different to the table. I love the challenge of coming up with unique ideas and original ways to personalize a clients’ wedding. Some clients want every aspect of their wedding to be unique and different while most clients prefer just a few yet impactful touches that will set them apart from other weddings they’ve attended or seen. I’m happy to take on the challenge in either case.”

I seriously love that approach, and it’s near and dear to my heart, as that’s what we try to do at Hip Ink as well – the unexpected.

Whether it’s implementing a unique concept at every turn or focusing innovation in one small, but important, detail Et Løfte Events delivers on its promise to create a wedding as unique as its clientele.

You can find out more about Melissa and Et Løfte Events at their website, or find some fantastic information on planning and more on Melissa’s blog.

Okay, can’t resist one last photo:

Vendor Love: Gorgeous Hairpieces and More from Frilly Bits

February 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s that time again folks – it’s Friday, and time for some vendor love!

Today we’re featuring Frilly Bits, created by the lovely and talented Kalee and her mom, Wendy. I just love the idea of a mother and daughter team coming up with these gorgeous creations.

First, let’s give you what you really want – a peek at Frilly Bits, well, bits!

Is there a word for ridiculous, spectacularly awesome fantastical gorgeous? Because if there is – that is what these are! Frilly Bits has been around for only a year and they are already gaining quite a following, creating gorgeous custom hairpieces and birdcage veils for nearly 90 brides and accessoring their wedding parties too!

So how did Kalee decide to jump into the wedding biz?

“I have always wanted to be part of the wedding industry”, says Kalee, “but just didn’t know what aspect I wanted to delve into. I had so thoroughly enjoyed planning my own wedding 5 years ago that after the confetti landed, I was left feeling a void. As the years passed I was always trying to think of something creative I could do that would involve me in the wedding industry. It wasn’t until a year and a half ago, when one of my best friends was getting married and she was trying on a hairpiece in a wedding shop and balking at the price. ‘Kalee, you could totally make me something like this, couldn’t you?’ and it was then that the concept was born!”

And what about working with her mom, Wendy? “I decided to recruit my mom into the business too–she was always very crafty and creative and, being so close, it was the perfect opportunity for us to work together!”

What’s so special about Frilly Bits? You mean besides how amazing their work is? Kalee explains, “We love what we do–we get the chance to meet amazing clients and create something dazzling for their special day that celebrates their unique style–instead of the “cookie-cutter” veil and tiara. Weddings are becoming less about tradition and more about giving the guests a glimpse into what makes the couple so specia and unique–and Frilly Bits is a perfect way to emphasize that! We don’t just do weddings though–Frilly Bits creates shower favours, bachelorette hairpieces and anything fun and funky for that special occasion or big night out!”

So, what are you waiting for, visit and Be Memorable, Be Gorgeous, Be “Frilly”

Friday Finds: Vendor Love – One Happy Girl

February 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

I was just thinking how in the wedding industry, “TGIF” doesn’t really exist, since for most vendors the weekends are their busiest times (either for providing services or conducting consutlations etc.).

That said, Friday still holds a special place in my heart. Which is part of the reason why I’ve decided that on Freeform Fridays will now be alternating with Friday Finds: Vendor Love. Why vendor love? Mostly because rather than have a page of links on my website (which I have to admit I find rather impersonal and suspect at times), I’d rather introduce you properly to vendors offering products and services that are awesone, both locally and internationally.

Today, for the inaugural Friday Find, I’m going to start with someone very special – Karen Sutkus from One Happy Girl (*you* can find her on Etsy!).

When planning for the Burlington-Oakville bridal show this year, I knew I wanted to showcase how  paper in other ways on your wedding day. I came up with the idea of doing a paper wedding dress, and also a paper bouquet. Well, I knew the bouquet was probably going to be something I’d have to do a lot of research on, and to be honest I had made paper flowers in the past and wasn’t that excited by the idea of doing it myself. And then, along came Etsy – I figured someone must be doing paper bouquets, right? Absolutely, and doing them amazingly!

I found Karen’s shop and was amazed by her paper floral creations (which, by the way, is not all she has to offer – she also makes amazing hair accessories and more). I ordered a bouquet, along with two corsages and a boutonniere for us to wear at the show. I asked Karen to make us something bright, incorporating our Hip Ink colours.

The results were spectacular (and had lots of brides buzzing at the show!):

So what keeps Karen inspired and passionate about creating her works of art? Here’s what Karen has to say:

“I thrive off the creative process – starting with a small daydream all the way through seeing the final pieces come to fruition. Nothing makes me happier than to work with a client to make their vision come to life! All of my pieces are handmade with the utmost amount of care and love. For as long as I can remember I have found myself trying my hand at various forms of art – and have the glue gun burns to prove it! I feel that a mind at work is a beautiful thing – and from every attempt and failure only comes a growing desire to improve and succeed. Believe in yourself and live every day as best as you can. If you’re not doing what makes you happy – make it happen! This business is my dream – and while I’m just starting out – I know only good things are to come – and I’m ready!”

Love it! Her passion for what she does shows – in everything from her totally cute packaging, to her handwritten postcard, to the perfumed flowers in the bouquet. Karen is such a total sweeheart and so easy and pleasant to work with – the hallmark of a great vendor.

You can find Karen’s amazing creations on Etsy in her One Happy Girl shop, and you’ll also be able to find the gorgeous creation below in an upcoming issue of Brides magazine.

Tune in two weeks from now for our first local vendor to be featured on Friday Finds – Kalee from Frilly Bits.

See you Tuesday!

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