Winter Wonderland Book Review

Winter Wonderland by Mary Beth Cryan

I recently received a review copy of Winter Wonderland: Charming Winter Paper Sculptures for Parties, Holidays, and Home Decor by illustrator and paper engineer, Mary Beth Cryan, and I knew that it was going to be a fun book as soon as I spotted the little paper squirrel peeking out at me from the box.

Winter Wonderland isn’t just a book, it’s also a paper craft kit that includes pre-punched project sheets for creating the 12 fun paper sculptures that you can find in the book. These pre-punched sheets make the sculptures easy to assemble, and detailed instructions (visual diagram style) can be found for each.

The kit also includes ribbon by which you can hang any of the projects … on your Christmas tree, or as a garland that you can used to deck the walls. And if one pair of paper ice skates or one cute paper birdhouse isn’t enough, then you can find templates for all of the projects in the back of the book. Photocopy the templates onto cardstock, and you can make the paper sculptures as many times as you’d like.

Winter Wonderland Paper Craft Book Kit

While many of the sculptures are a little advanced for very young children to create by themselves, they can easily be made with a little help from an adult. I also like that the book is spiral bound, so you won’t have to hold the book open while you’re trying to put together the sculptures. This really is a fun little book for both kids and adults, and I think it would make a great holiday gift for paper crafters, too.

Winter Wonderland is available at Barnes & Noble, and Mary Beth Cryan will be promoting the book in B&N stores throughout November, so she may be coming to a store near you!

Here’s a peek at some of the projects that you’ll find in Winter Wonderland:

Winter Wonderland Paper Crafts by Mary Beth Cryan

photos by Kristen Magee

2011 Calendar Designs, Part 1

It’s finally that time of the year, time to share bunches of wonderful new 2011 calendar designs, and boy, there are so, so many beautiful calendars this year. I probably say that every year, but it’s true! Calendar design has been raised to an artform over the past few years, and I look forward with increased anticipation every year.

Ilee always creates something spectacular, and their 2011 letterpress and silkscreen calendar is filled with wonderful imagery, including a festive rabbit to ring in the new year (2011 is the year of the rabbit) and an October moon that glows in the dark. Awesome!

Ilee 2011 Letterpress and Silkscreen Calendar

Already receiving plenty of buzz (and deservedly so) is this beautiful, modern, metallic gold foil and warm grey letterpress calendar by Seesaw Letterpress. I love that each page is perforated, so you can tear off the calendar part and frame the illustrations.

Seesaw Letterpress Calendar 2011

Seesaw Letterpress Calendar 2011

INK + WIT’s 2011 letterpress Totem Animals at Play calendar features a menagerie of amazing patterns and animal illustrations.

Ink + Wit 2011 Letterpress Calendar

Ink + Wit 2011 Letterpress Calendar

Ink + Wit 2011 Letterpress Calendar

Ink + Wit 2011 Letterpress Calendar

I have a huge owl obsession, so naturally I’m loving the 2011 Owl Lover calendar. This calendar is exciting because 1) it’s free!, and 2) it features downloadable owl illustrations from 30 talented illustrators. Choose your 12 favorite owlies, as well as the month that you’d like each owl to represent, print, and you have your own custom 2011 owl calendar!

My Owl Barn 2011 Calendar

Satsuma Press always creates such a beautiful calendar. The 2011 letterpress calendar is filled with soft and lovely illustrations to carry you through the year.

Satsuma Letterpress 2011 Calendar

Inspired by the colors and shapes found in nature, Laura Macchia has created a vibrant, illustrated 2011 calendar, which features a different illustration each month.

Laura Macchia 2011 Calendar

And this is just the beginning. Look for plenty of other calendar roundups in the coming weeks, and I’ll be starting A Letterpress Christmas 2010 soon, too!

images from their respective owners

Art Prints by Love Sugar Design

I am completely in love with these swoonworthy art prints by Love Sugar Design. The giclee prints are available in a variety of sizes and feature awesome, mid-century style illustrations with fun and inspiring messages. I think that my favorite has to be the one with the bear!

Nicole and Jimmy Chung, the duo behind Love Sugar, create art prints and paintings in other styles, too. You can check out their Etsy shop to see the full line.

Love Sugar Happy Together Art Print

Love Sugar Yes Print

Love Sugar Where You Need to Be Print

Love Sugar Bonjour Print

images from Love Sugar Design

iLetterpress? Apple’s New Letterpress Cards

Apple iPhone Letterpress CardsI never thought that I’d be discussing Apple and letterpress in the same sentence, but here I am, discussing Apple and letterpress in the same sentence. Last week, Apple unveiled iLife ’11, a software suite that includes iPhoto, an application that can be used to turn your digital photos into photo books, albums, and other physical items. What has the stationery world buzzing is the announcement that users will be able to create letterpress cards using the latest version of iPhoto. Letterpress cards?!

Apple iPhone Letterpress Cards

Cards are available in 15 different styles, and they’re printed on 110# Crane Lettra Cover stock. Cards are $2.99 each, on the less expensive end of the letterpress card spectrum, but not crazy cheap. Photos and personalized text are digitally printed onto the ready to order letterpress cards, so you’ve got some flat printing going on, too. The cards are pretty cute, and photo cards are hot, hot, hot right now, but I’m feeling somewhat torn about this development.

Since the announcement about the new letterpress cards was made, many letterpress printers have expressed their concern about the new iPhone option, and I can see where they’re coming from. I realize that there are letterpress shops of all shapes and sizes out there, but when I think of letterpress, I think of small, artisan shops, not a gargantuan entity like Apple. This begs the question: is there such a thing as mass market letterpress? With the limited availability of presses and those who have the technical knowledge to be able to use them, can there be? If so, is this it? Also, is Apple outsourcing the work to a shop in the US? Overseas?

On the other hand, I see this as a smart marketing move by Apple, who are far from being slouches in marketing their products. Their customer base already consists of the majority of graphic designers, photographers, and other creatives, people who are more likely to know about and purchase letterpress printed goods. A number of these customers may be letterpress printers who are alienated by Apple’s latest move, but Apple’s undoubtedly playing the percentages here, and their goal is to capitalize on the popularity of letterpress, not to place nice with the small, artisan presses who have done the work in bringing the art of letterpress printing back in style.

So, what do you think? Will Apple’s new letterpress card option take the popularity of letterpress to even higher levels? How could Apple’s latest move affect small, artisan printers? Would you purchase these cards?

images from Apple

Upon a Fold on My Wishlist

Justine & Matt continue to add some of the coolest paper goods around to the Upon a Fold shop, and each time they make an addition, my wishlist grows longer. Penny-farthing paper kits, intricate paper ferris wheels, greetings that look like lollipops and ice cream novelties — fantastic! And what is it about paper goods that look like food that’s so appealing? Hello, Message Burger!

Paper Goods Upon a Fold

Shown above, clockwise from top left: Paper Bicycle Model Kit by Shinichi Iwami; Lollipop Card by Livework Studio; Message Burger; Ferris Wheel Pop-Up Card Kit by Japanese paper artist Hiroko;  Chocolate Ice Cream Card by Livework Studio.

images from Upon a Fold