The Happy Cactus spring collection is full of nature-inspired designs, hand drawn and painted in vibrant colours. Designer Brannon Addison creates pretty patterns with sweet greetings. Inspired by her travels and outdoor explorations in her new hometown of Durango, Colorado, Brannon sketches from memory and photos. I had the pleasure of asking Brannon a few questions about her design process.


Q: Please tell me how your travels and the outdoors have inspired your latest designs. 

This latest collection was heavily inspired by three distinct trips I had the good fortune of taking over the past year. First, we drove out to the Texas Hill Country (near my old home of Austin, Texas) during peak wildflower season, where bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes were in full bloom. It’s just overwhelmingly beautiful. I was just dying to capture the beauty in my work, especially since I knew I would be leaving Texas for Colorado. I was also able to take an amazing trip to the island of Kauai – you see some of the tropical foliage and island colors coming into my work. And then some time spent hiking across Colorado last summer – again, more flowers!

Q: What does your design process look like?

In my early days I used to work in spurts where I’d hunker down for a few days straight and only focus on creative work. So much of running my business now means not being able to spend as much time of the creative side – I have so much else to focus on that it gets trickier to just have time to draw. These days I try to spend at least an hour every day on something creative – whether it’s just doodling in a sketchbook or finishing a painting. I’ve realized it’s important to schedule that time into my day and make it a regular practice. Once I build up a collection of doodles and sketches I then piece together how to place them into a cohesive collection.


Q: What drew you to experimenting with gouache?

In the past, I really just stuck with pen – drawing in a sketchbooks, scanning those drawings, and then laying out and coloring them using Illustrator and Photoshop. As I began envisioning this latest collection, I realized that a lot of the look that I was going for would really look best in a more painterly style with the ability to play around with tone and layers in a way that can’t be achieved using my other methods. So I began experimenting with gouache and really loved the end result. It’s definitely something I will continue doing and I like the balance of working in both mediums.

Q: What does your creative space look like?

I work out of a room in my home here in Durango that is dedicated to Happy Cactus. I lucked out in that it has large windows making it the most light-filled room in the house. I have a few desks (that are usually quite messy) and house a lot of inventory in my studio office as well. It’s a constant struggle to keep the space tidy!


Q: Please complete this sentence: Snail mail is….

Snail mail is one of the most meaningful ways to stay connected with loved ones as it provides a tangible reminder of your connection.

So, get our your stationery and send a loved one some mail!

Here at 8Balloons, we love all things paper, and that includes teeny pieces of paper, and sparkly bits – to make any fete all the more festive. I’m talking confetti. Messy? Maybe. Fabulously fun? Definitely.

gg048Thimblepress offers up a gorgeous line of stationery, art prints and fun celebration items. I’m in love with their All that Glitters Push-Pop Confetti – this is sure to add sparkle to any festive occasion. And, they’ve also created a gender reveal version, a fun way to share baby news. Worried about the environment? Worry not, there’s an eco-friendly version; confetti will disintegrate in water.


And then, there’s The Confetti Bar, which is as much fun as it sounds. Confetti is sold online by the cup, and there are loads of variations available, including Pretty in Pastel, Disco Ball and Unicorn Dandruff. Custom confetti can be created for any occasion.


With all this talk of confetti, I leave you with this sweet art print from hopealittle – wise words, I say!



Sideshow Press is sure to tickle your fancy with their witty cards and stationery products and vintage aesthetic. Vintage type features heavily in their designs as do sayings like “Golly Gee”. I adore the letterpress greetings that are adorned with removable patches. Once you’ve fallen in love with their cards, take a gander at their stationery products, with unique items like address label (and wood veneer!) tape and calling cards.


Q: How would you describe the Sideshow Press aesthetic?

Our stationery and gifts are playful and nostalgic, with cheeky, type-driven designs. All of our cards and journal covers are printed in house on one of our two vintage letterpresses. We love that letterpress allows us to print on unusual materials and bring unique textures to our products.

Q: What is the appeal of vintage type, colours and designs?

Vintage type has an inherent purpose and timelessness that’s very strong. We try to capture this when creating new designs for Sideshow Press items.


Q: Finish this sentence: Snail mail is….

…so tactile and personal, and one of the best ways to tell someone you care about them. It’s something that should never go away!

Q: What stationery item(s) don’t you leave home without?

Our pressboard folios are our favorite way to take notes in style, especially on the go! We’re known to often write with the vermillion and turquoise blue Color Block pens.

Book Cloth Journal_cream

Q: Where do you find design inspiration?

We collect packaging from the 50s and 60s as well as other ephemera that’s clean with lots of personality. Travel has provided insight into other art and design disciplines that we otherwise wouldn’t have come across. Interiors and product design can always make us feel inspired.


Over the past four years through writing on 8Balloons, I have met amazing people and also have made some of the most important friendships. The blog allows me to connect with the people I admire and continues to help spark my own creativity and hustle for my startup. This past year I have been lucky enough to see some of my favorites not only create wonderful work, but to see them grow even larger and be sold to favorites like Urban Outfitters, forever21, and even Wu-Tang Clan. Here’s just a few of these wonderful shops that I am lucky enough to not only call friends but also the people that help push me daily.

Scratchoff GreetingsScratch Off GreetingsDiamond DDiamond DonatelloPaperFrecklesPaper Frecklesqueeniescards_photo_greeting-card_avocuddle_product_1-510x361Queenie’s Cards

Loving the Paper Crown x Rifle Paper Co. collaboration – super sweet styles in gorgeous Rifle floral patterns – the perfect addition to your spring wardrobe. The dresses are to-die-for pretty.


 Marc Jacobs lipstick, because red lips are always classic.


Thurston Post gift wrapping kits, so that your presents look as lovely as you do!


 Kindah Khalidy everything, but specifically this clutch.



The National Stationery Show (NSS) happens annually in New York – a paper lover’s dream.  NSS 2015 runs May 17 – 20 and is predominantly meant for stationery buyers. There are loads of fantastic stationery lines exhibiting their designs. I thought I’d honour NSS with a post featuring some of my faves.

Albertine Press offers up letterpress greetings and does custom design work. I love their Letterpress Library series that features iconic cityscapes. I was happy to see my own city, Toronto, represented!


Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress cards are so very lovely. They offer a number of different collections – one of my favourites is the Calligraphy Collection, which combines a great colour palette with gorgeous designs and typography.

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Steel Petal Press is great for so many reasons. A Chicago letterpress studio, their designs are text-based, featuring good looking type ranging from script to sans serif fonts. I’m loving the ‘Holy Shit’ collection – an appropriate response to so many of life’s occasions.



Stay tuned for more NSS 2015 picks!

Emily McDowell NotepadRaise your hand if you have purchased productivity lists, notebooks, and/or calendars and then never used them. I’ll raise them for you because I know we are all guilty of this! With the amount of work piling up from various projects the past few months, I am finally on the look out for the perfect notepad and this time it will be put to good use.

{first image via Emily McDowell Studio}Dubu Dumo NotepadDubu DumoHipster HousewifeThe Hipster HousewifeHey Hello DesignsHey Hello DesignsAmanda Cowgill DesignsAmanda Cowgill Designs

rhubarb paper co queen beeMother’s Day is this coming weekend and I had to share my the last group of favorite cards. It’s true, we should always tell our mother’s how much we love and appreciate them and not wait to express it with a card. I try to all the time, so when the time comes to express it with a card, I tend to go with humor. I can’t help but smile with these cards. {first image via Rhubarb Paper Co.}

The Hipster HousewifeThe Hipster HousewifeJoanne HawkerJoanne HawkerNaughty Little CardsNaughty Little Cards
Classy Cards CreativeClassy Cards Creative TextsClassy Cards Creative
The MessingerThe Messenger


Make a Wish

Halfpenny Postage is a lovely line of letterpress cards, beautifully crafted and printed on paper from Crane & Co. Designed by two creative Canadian gals, Halfpenny Postage is based in Toronto. Their designs feature stylish type and script, gold foil, pops of vibrant colour and humour. I love that some of their cards are in French – salutations en francais always sound so chic. I had a chance to ask this fab duo a few questions.

Q: What led you to create Halfpenny Postage?

We had six good ideas for cards and decided to take a chance and produce them. We had some vintage Canadian envelopes that had the Halfpenny Postage stamp and voila! we had our name. We had such a great time and good response to the six cards and many more ideas, so we decided to keep going.

Q: What about letterpress appeals to you?

We like the quality and texture of letterpress. We love Crane paper and the clarity of print that letterpress gives you.


Q: What does your creative space look like?

We have two desks back-to-back and colourful prints and inspiration on the walls. There’s a large centre table that is a piece of glass on a hundred-year-old kitchen table.

Q: Why do you think snail mail is important? 

An email is a flash thought, a moment in the day. A card always means you took the time to think and really consider the recipient.





I have always said that my favorite cards are the “just because”, including ones with words of encouragement. There’s nothing better than receiving a note of encouragement from a loved one, especially during a tough week. It let’s us know that the work we are doing, dreams we are pursuing, and friendships we are investing in are not going unnoticed. I promise you, you’ll receive just as much from sending some positive vibes to others this week as you give. Happy Monday!

Rhubarb Paper CoRhubarb Paper Co.Hello Happiness DesignHello Happiness DesignEmily McDowell Studio Velvetten RabbitEmily McDowell Studio Thoughts on FailureEmily McDowell StudioSea and LakeSea & Lake Paper Co.Pixies and PorcupinesPixies and PorcupinesPage Fifty FivePageFiftyFive