Category Archives: Featured Artists

semisweetpress_holidaycardsThe holiday season is quickly approaching, which means you’ve gotta make sure your card game is strong. Semi Sweet Press has you covered, with hand-illustrated cards featuring items like half-eaten cookies (one of my faves) and inappropriate holiday desserts. California-based designer Kristin deNeeve is all sweet, with a predilection for drawing desserts and baked items. Her greeting cards are mostly sweet, with a dash of irreverence and a pinch of humor – sure to please everyone on your list!

I love that many of your cards feature baked goods (baked items are near and dear to my heart). Tell me why you decided on the name Semi Sweet Press.

Deciding on a name for my company took months. I wanted a name that gave me license to include designs with sweet illustrations and sentiments, as well as snarkier ones that had a little more bite. Bittersweet Press was my first idea, but I think Semi Sweet Press sums it up better. And it just happens to be the name of a kind of chocolate, which is a bonus!


While we’re on the topic, what is your favorite baked good?

Hmm. It’s a toss up between scones and donuts. Wait, do donuts count as baked goods since they’re fried? Then I’ll have to go with scones (especially if there’s chocolate in them).

Tell me about your design process (do you start out sketching and move to digital?).

I usually jot down my ideas in words, then develop them into ugly little doodles. Once I have an idea of what exactly I’m drawing, I’ll do a more detailed sketch. I draw best at smaller sizes, so once the sketch is finished, I’ll scan it into the computer, enlarge it, then print it out and trace it. Then I’ll scan the tracing in and color it in Photoshop. It sounds like an arduous process but it works for me. I’ve switched over to coloring the illustrations digitally, rather than painting in watercolor because it allows me the flexibility to change the color easily. It also allows me to be indecisive which isn’t always a good thing, lol. You can tell which designs are my earlier designs because they are done with watercolor.

Anatomy of Christmas was the first card you designed. Where did the inspiration for this awesome card come from? (I really hope you have an Uncle Bob!)

In the fall of 2012, I started freelancing, and I decided to do a promotional piece to send to prospective clients. I wanted to highlight my random sense of humor as well as illustration skills, so I made the Anatomy of Christmas card. I decided to print a bunch extra to send to friends and family, and it was a hit. Unfortunately Uncle Bob wasn’t really based on an actual uncle of mine, but he represents that odd family member that everyone has. The person that you only see a couple times a year and wouldn’t otherwise know if you weren’t related to him.

Your holiday cards are super fun. I love the series of wrapped items – a friend once gave me a tennis racket wrapped exactly this way. What is it like dreaming up a holiday collection during the summer months? How do you get yourself into the festive spirit?

I wish I had thought to include a tennis racket in that design, lol! It can be difficult and bizarre to put yourself in that space, especially when it’s sunny and warm outside. I usually put on a Christmas movie (The Nightmare Before Christmas is a good one) to get myself in the spirit. I don’t actively watch it, it’s more in the background while I brainstorm ideas. But having Christmas on the brain in the spring/summer makes actual Christmas feel late. Like, didn’t we already do this? breakfast_pouch_styled_IMG_3653_square

You’ve recently added zipped pouches to your line – any other new products or projects we should look out for?

Ah, yes the zipper pouches! The idea to make them has been rattling around in my head for so long, that I’m glad they’re finally here. They were so much work though, it made me realize how much time, money and effort goes into developing a brand new product. So for my next release I’m not designing any new categories, but new designs for existing categories: cards, tote bags, notepads, etc. I’ve had many people ask me for Mother’s and Father’s Day cards, so there will be some of those, as well as new birthday, thank you, and congratulations cards.


Happy Thanksgiving y’all! We’re thankful for you, dear readers. The lovely Kristin has a fab Black Friday sale  running from today through Sunday, with 25% off everything in the shop (except zippered pouches)! Time to stock up on your holiday (and other) stationery.

Photos courtesy Semi Sweet Press and Madeloni Photography.

I kind of want Allison Black to be my new BFF because she’s a super talented designer, an animal lover, and uses her artwork to support good causes. Also, she once built a 5′ unicorn named Herman. Allison is awesomeness all-around, and so is her new line of greeting cards, Hip-Hip! You may recognize Allison’s illustrations from her previous stationery line Hooray Today, a collaboration with designer Alyssa Nassner. Allison’s designs are vibrant, fun and cheerful, oft featuring animals in party hats. Hip-Hip features rich, bright color palettes, hand lettering and sweet, celebratory illustrations.Your designs are happiness on paper. Please tell me a bit about your creative process.

I’ve tried so many processes over the years, but no matter how I approach a project my best work happens when I’m not over-thinking it!  I always start with loose sketches, usually on scrap paper, so I don’t feel anxious about just going for it.  Once I have a concept that I’m excited about, I look up images of the animal and take note about their shapes, details and colors so I can keep that in mind while I work.  After that, I go straight into final art!  If I do tight sketches, it loses something when I transfer it into the computer.  The art evolves a lot as I work in Photoshop – I have a million layers in my files!I like that animals and celebration (and often a combo of the two) are oft featured in your designs – your cards are smile-inducing. Tell me a little a bit about your love of animals and any pets you have or hope to have. 

My dad and sister are veterinarians and I grew up in a house with 18 pets.  Needless to say, we’re an animal-loving family!  We make up voices and personalities for our animals, so transferring that into art comes naturally.  Right now my husband and I have two dogs, two guinea pigs and a cat.  I hope to one day live on a big piece of property where we can have chickens, goats and a pig or two!What would be a dream creative project or collaboration for you?

My dream collaboration would be with the Land Of Nod.  I’d love it if they asked me to create a cast of characters and products for them to produce.  I’ve been in product design for over seven years, but I’m always asked to develop items for someone elses brand.  I’d love the chance to explore Hip-Hip characters in different product categories outside of stationery.  Right now the Land of Nod is selling some of our art prints from Hooray Today, so who knows – maybe it’ll happen!What appeals to you about stationery? 

Stationery is a great medium in which to share art.  When I was younger, I made hand-drawn thank you and birthday cards for my friends and family.  I always enjoyed the process of making art and giving it to somebody, so it’s amazing to be able to do that on a much larger scale now!  I also love that the items people buy from my shop not only travel to that person, but then they send it someone else.  My cards have traveled farther than I have!

What stationery item or related item couldn’t you live without?

Probably my Dahle sliding cutter! It may seem like an odd choice but I’ve had it for 5 years now and I use it to trim cards, journal packaging…you name it!  The second thing would be this insanely huge list pad I got as a development sample.  There was an error with the size, but it’s amazing because I have SO many lists and it’s actually big enough for me!  I might develop something similar for Hip-Hip next year!


You’re donating $5 from every order placed through December 25th to the farm Sanctuary. Please tell me a bit more about this. 

My parents taught me that it’s important to give back to those that are less fortunate and also to give a voice for those that don’t have one.  I’ve done a lot of charitable work, but I’ve always wanted to make a bigger impact – including educating others about the efforts of amazing groups like Farm Sanctuary.  When I started making initial plans to build Hip-Hip, utilizing the brand to give back was a top priority and Farm Sanctuary is an incredible organization, recognized for utilizing their resources and making a big impact with every dollar they receive.  We’re hoping by the end of our campaign, we’ll be able to sponsor a Hip-Hip chicken for a year!  Plus, have you seen photos on their site of their rescued pigs?  Adorable!Please complete this sentence: Snail mail is….

Snail mail is…a way to send a smile to friends and family!

Anything that you want to share that I’ve not asked about?

Here are a few fun facts about me:
1. I’ve drawn more cats than any other animal throughout my career – and I still love drawing them!
2. I built a 5′ tall cardboard unicorn (named Herman) for a show in Minneapolis a few years ago and he barely fit in my car.
3. I’ve owned guinea pigs since I was five and I’ve had 18 of them over the years!  My two current piggies are named Bean and Earl.

Want to win a sweet holiday giveaway? Check Instagram for more details about the Hip-Hip giveaway!


Eunice Roe - planner
Eunice Roe’s Instagram account is a thing of absolute beauty. Each week, Eunice shares the pages of her planner – a customized Midori Traveler’s Notebook – and it is a sight to behold. Her calligraphy, hand lettering, color palettes, use of washi, stamps and vintage embellishments are simply gorgeous. If you are a planner lover (read: addict), you’ll be beyond inspired by the pages that Eunice shares. She applies the same care and aesthetic to her snail mail. Read more about Eunice, and I think you’ll agree that she is an artist dedicated to the craft of documenting her days and sending love via snail mail.


What appeals to you about chronicling each of your days in a journal/planner?

I initially started documenting in my journal/planner as a mere means to just stay organized.  When I went back at the end of the year and read it, there were simple yet beautiful moments that I would have most likely forgotten. The memories were now permanently etched into pages and I could relive them at any time. Can you imagine an 80-year-old Eunice reading back and reminiscing about the 20 or 30-year-old Eunice? My journal is a really special original memoir of my life and that is what is most appealing to me.


Your printing is so lovely that it could be a font – how have you developed your printing style?

Handwriting has been important to me from a very young age. One of my early memories is me sitting at a desk – from the age of 5 – where I would practice writing my ABCs and my name everyday. As I grew older, if a certain font appealed to me, I would keep practicing or write in that style until it became second nature. I also took a modern calligraphy class about 2 1/2 years ago, which helped me develop a unique style.


You often include inspirational quotes in the pages of your journal. Please share one of your favorite quotes and why it has special meaning to you.

It would be far too difficult to pick just one quote. I always select a quote that reflects or outlines my thoughts or feelings about that particular week’s events so they are all special in their own way. They are inspirations that remind me of my life journey.


What do you like about writing with a fountain pen?

I love writing with fountain pens because there is something really charming and old school about them. I enjoy the way the nib feels on the paper and how the ink flows out of them. There is an effect called “shading” that results when using a fountain pen, which is tangibly different than a regular pen; it is quite lovely.


When did you start sending snail mail, and what led you to do so?

I have always been interested in letter writing and I have many early childhood memories of writing notes to my classmates and sending letters to my friends in the USA when I lived in Korea. However, I never had international pen pals nor did I write to strangers until about 3 years ago. Since it was becoming a lost pastime I wanted to take part in the re-birth of the snail mail revival while also taking it as an opportunity to learn about different cultures and people from around the world.


What do you enjoy about letter writing?

I enjoy letter writing because in this super technical fast paced world, writing a letter requires you to actually sit down and take the time to send something special from the heart. I truly enjoy the moments that I spend creating letters because it allows me to express my creativity while making something truly unique for someone.


What are some of your favorite stationery items?

*In no particular order
No. 1 Washi tape
No. 2 Rubber Stamps
No. 3 Vintage gummed labels
No. 4 Vintage inspired stickers
No. 5 Unique paper textures/memo pads
No. 6 Pens (All variety of pens including calligraphy nibs)
No. 7 All types/colors of onion skin paper
No. 8 Unique paper clips/clamps
No. 9 Leather pen/pencil cases


You’ve recently started sharing more about your journalling process on your blog – how are you enjoying blogging? Any thoughts to share about the intersection of our digital society and snail mail?

Yes, blogging has been fun, interesting and quite the learning experience. It is still very new to me and I am continuing to explore how I can present content in a way that is enjoyable. Every time someone stops by my blog I hope they can take away something inspiring or learn something new. Although I always stress about how I am very much an analogue type of person, I feel our digital society is equally as important. Our digital society allows us to connect in ways that we could not have ever imagined. I am able to share my love of snail mail and analogue with thousands of people from all over the world instantaneously via social media and inspire others to pick up a pen, write, or create! I
think it’s a beautiful thing when two completely different worlds can exist for the same purpose.


Please finish this sentence: Snail mail is…

Snail mail is the most romantic form of analogue from the heart.


Mailin Jewelry Celebrate

During my recent trip to Toronto I was taken back by not only the beauty of the city, but the creativity that surrounds it. Not to mention, all the amazing paper stores! While visiting Fringe Festival, I was introduced to the lovely and extremely talented Marlissa of Mai Lin Jewelry. I instantly connected with her as she was so passionate about her work and couldn’t have been sweeter. Her jewelry stood apart from others with style that was distinct and very much like her: delicate, strong and beautiful. Her collection of bracelets can be worn alone or, as I like, stacked together. The bracelets are made of delicate silk with gold or silver plated beads and semi-precious stones. It’s not only the beautiful bracelets that caught eye, but the attention to detail and thoughtful words on each package that makes this the perfect gift for your loved ones or even a treat for yourself.

Mailin Jewelry Follow Your BlissMailin Jewelry Fall 2014Mailin Jewelry GoethMailin Jewelry Red GarnetMailin Jewelry Mineral Collection Light Pink

Continue to follow Marlissa here:

Mai Lin Jewelry


I’ve been fortunate enough to have had such supportive friends during the beginning stages of 8Balloons. One of those friends was Cristy Flores, who eventually became one of my favorite guest bloggers. Cristy always had an eye for fashion and could make anything ordinary look unique. It wasn’t shocking when she told me about her new design venture, California Ave. with her friend Carly. California Ave. pairs their love of colorful designs with jewelry and other fun accessories. Everything from the simple, yet distinct packaging to the eclectic mixture of pieces makes me oh so happy.

{all images via California Ave.}

California Ave. packaging

California Ave Purple

Key NecklaceWish BraceletsHair TiesPink Quartz




A few weeks ago, after feeling a bit defeated in “start-up land,” I saw Eric of Spofford Press post one of his new letterpress prints from their summer collection and immediately felt inspired. There are many reasons Spofford Press stood out to me, among them being from the Northeast (just like me!). They continually create unique and fun letterpress cards and prints, all hand-drawn and printed on thick cotton paper with hand-mixed ink. Being in the start-up community myself, I can always appreciate a company that matches their creativity to how passionate they are with their work.

You can check out more of their note card sets, prints and new releases throughout the months on their site here!

Spofford Press You Got This

Quit Slackin

Ship In A Bottle

Jimmy Smithimages via Spofford Press


Nothing stirs my holiday cheer each year more than picking my favorite letterpress holiday cards to share with the most important people in my life. At this point, it’s almost expected that they’ll receive a beautiful card which, of course, puts no pressure whatsoever on me (wink). Although finding that perfect holiday gift can sometimes be painstaking and difficult on budgets, personalizing something special to share with those you love is important.

That’s why I love sending a unique, beautiful card that serves as a gift in itself! Here are some of my picks from my favorite shops that I have personally bought from for my family and friends. Ssshhh don’t tell. Just like Santa, I know whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

Spofford Press

I first found Eric Hoffman and his shop via Instagram—and I’m so glad I did because his talent is only surpassed by his passion for letterpress. For those of you now in the know, my favorite pick is the Christmas Lights Card above.


via Spofford Press

Cherry Laurel Studio

My mom’s favorite holiday movie is A Christmas Story, so I had to buy this card by  Cherry Laurel Studio.


I adore this card by DeLuce Design and can’t wait to give it to my friend’s little ones.


A very cute card for my little cousins by Fat Bunny Press.


For the foodies in your life by Echo Letterpress


Looking forward to giving this card by McBittersons Shop to all my guy friends. They all loved it last year.

Hartland Brooklyn

My girlfriends loved this dainty card I gave out last year by  Hartland Brooklyn.









Happy Fall everyone! Fall has always been my favorite time of year especially with so many fun things in the mix to write about. There are many exciting projects and plans coming up in the next few months for me, including a quick trip to San Francisco in October for a little work and play. While vacationing, most people will find the tourist attractions a must see, but for me, I always look up the best stationary and letterpress studios in the area. I am making a list of the must see letterpress studios, and Hello Lucky Press is on the top of my list. Hello Lucky Press was founded in 2003 by sisters Eunice and Sabrina Moyle as a specialty letterpress printer and design studio creating wedding invitations, greeting cards and personalized stationary. They now have offices in San Francisco and London with clients ranging from Anthropologie, Kate’s Paperie, and Liberty of London.

Recently I was reminiscing about all the great memories of states I have had the opportunity to live and visit. As I was searching for a unique way to remember these memories, I came across these beautiful illustrations of all the states by Kelsey Oseid of Kelzuki. Kelsey illustrates each state according to patterns and colors found on the state’s official bird. Now I can be reminded of the below states daily and that fills my heart with happiness!

I first stumbled upon Perideau Designs a year ago after finding their organizing printables so helpful. Perideau Designs then became my daily go-to for all the fun, modern, and clean stationary designs offered. The woman behind this beautiful brand is Bridgett Edwards. She is a wife, mother, business owner, and all around extremely creative woman whose work I adore. I always wanted to reach out to her and ask for a q&a, and when I finally did she was so generous to reach back and agree!

What led you to create Perideau Designs?

I’ve always loved creating and drawing so after realizing planning weddings wasn’t my niche, I turned to creating accessories for parties.

As a paper lover myself, why did you choose paper as your medium?

I love the touch and feel and getting beautifully designed invitations and notecards in the mail.

Do you use paper more so than online apps to stay organized?

I tend to waiver between the 2. Right now I’m using digital apps like Things and Google calendar since they are both easy to sync between my desktop and iPhone. But I love a good ol’ fashion pen and notebook when brainstorming ideas.

How do you begin a “theme” for your party designs?

From my lovely customers. They always have the best ideas and are so creative.

Your pieces are so clean, modern, bright and colorful, what’s your favorite color?

Hands down green, hence the business name Perideau (a homophone of peridot, my green birthstone) : )

Do you ever feel “artist’s block”, and if so how do you overcome it?

All the time! I take it as a sign that I need a break from work and go play with my children, workout or design for fun.

How would you describe your style?

Simple, clean, modern and fun

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

My family. We’re a bunch of goofballs.

You’re a very busy woman, how do you stay so organized and how does it help you achieve your success?

I don’t like to stay still. I need to have an agenda, a direction so to speak, to function. I tend to get “lost” if I go with the flow.

I discuss artist’s “creative spaces” a lot on the blog, can you describe yours and how you like to keep it?

We turned our bonus room into an office. I use 2/3 of the space and my husband uses 1/3. We painted the walls a khaki with a green accent wall. I need to work in an organized space so everything has it’s place. My workspace mimics my design aesthetic so it’s very inspirational.


Thanks again Bridgett!

To learn more about Bridgett visit Perideau Designs and her lovely blog, Bridgett Edwards