New cards for people who are not me

Growing up in a homogeneous small town in a fairly homogeneous state, I wasn’t exposed to much in the way of diversity. Sure, I had a few (and I mean few) classmates whose skin was a different color than mine, but real differences—religion, culture, sexual orientation—were few and far between. Let’s just say it was easy to forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

congrats_WW_6128I grew up, met new people, made efforts to broaden my horizons. I strive to be more conscientious about being inclusive in life, and in my little corner of the letterpress world. You’ve seen my same-sex marriage cards for years now—those were easy to come up with—but it’s still hard to write and design greetings for occasions you personally don’t have the cultural context for. Lucky for me, I have friends who can fill in the gaps.

lchaim_6963So this year, keep an eye out for a more inclusive card collection! The cards pictured are all now available in my etsy shop, and please feel free to leave me a comment with a sentiment you’d like to see!

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Gift Guide: It’s Wedding Season!

Despite the snow on the ground, wedding season must be nearly upon us—I just received my first pearlized envelope in the mail. So what’s a gracious guest to do? Start planning the gift now instead of grabbing whatever’s left on the registry on the way to the reception.

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: Many modern couple just want cash. It’s easy for you, it leaves them free to spend it on whatever they need. Rare is the bride and groom who don’t already live together and really need to stock a new home. I’m not saying don’t go out and get something to wrap up, but if you don’t? Hey, that’s ok. Get a nice card (ahem, we have a few suggestions), throw in some cash and call it a day.

Now on to the more three-dimensional presents! (This is a gift guide after all.) First up: Registries are there for a reason! Believe it or not, nobody wants the $5 set of fish-shaped serving bowls you found at TJ Maxx (true story). Choose something from the couple’s registry, then find a way to make it more fun. Do they want a wok? Fill it with hoisin, soy sauce, rice noodles and a cookbook. Did they register for always-exciting new flatware? Package them up with a napkin and funky napkin ring for each place setting. A box of plates can come wrapped in a tablecloth. You get the idea.

If—and this is a big if—you know the couple really, really well, you may [pause for dramatic effect]… go off registry.

Make sure you’re gift is something they couldn’t register for—maybe something completely custom like the “Story of Us” wall hanging above, or a product handmade by a local artisan, like any of the cast iron pans shaped like Midwestern states below.

Another great option? Find something the couple can do together. Fund a date night (a gift card to their favorite restaurant or wine bar and concert tickets ought to do the trick), give vouchers for a cooking class or start a new hobby (beer or wine-making kit anyone?).

Best friends with the bride?  Give her something truly special: a custom fashion illustration of her dress. Local artist Jen Thompson of Illustrate the Dress created this beauty below (modeled by Miss Mollie Busby on her wedding day).

Whatever you give, do so with love and know that your presence on the dance floor well past 11pm means just as much—if not more—than whatever you set on the gift table 5 hours prior. Happy wedding season!