Creating Specialized Paper

This week we had two special things happen at once – for one thing, we had our first batch of really fantastic weather here in St. Louis; it was around 80 degrees all week, and though we did get some storms, we had a lot of hours of sunshine, too.

The second, and more important thing, was that we received a rare and exciting type of order – one of our valued customers ordered our folio-sized sheets (23”x35”) of handmade, fern-embedded paper.   Most of our orders are for our small products – our wedding invitations, our blooming floral ornaments, our eco-friendly paper cones. But every so often, about once a year, we get an order for the really, really big sheets.

These large sheets have a lot of uses – they make for a unique and colorful matte paper for art framing, they have enough give to make for excellent letterpress stock, and they can also be “parent” sheets for any number of uniquely-sized projects like bookmarks, invitations, or even business cards. This particular client uses these sheets as liner pages for signature books.

Thanks to the warm weather, we had perfect conditions to take the show outdoors, as Alvida walks us through the process of how this fascinating stock is made.

First, we take fresh green ferns and make cuttings in a variety of lengths – the fresher the plants the better, as they retain more of the color that way. That’s true for our fern-embedded sheets, and for our flower-petal line of products, like our Floral Expressions invitation stock.

Alvida floats some of the fern fronds in a vat of water, alongside a fairly-generous portion of our paper pulp. Alvida and our other employees have been doing this for years and years, so they know exactly how much to add in.

Next, we dip a screen into the water, scooping up enough of the mixture to cover the entire screen. This is trickier than it looks – you have to do it just right to get uniform coverage and thickness across the entire screen, so it lays flat, looks right, and can be used for projects.

Then, we dry out the sheets – we have a drying room, but when an order is for hundreds of these sheets, it really helps to have a nice sunny day so we can spill out into the parking lot a bit.

Once the sheets have dried, Alvida carefully separates the paper from the screens, taking care not to tear them. The resulting paper has a fine deckled edge – the slightly uneven end that you will only find on fine, handmade papers.

Projects like this are a lot of fun for us – it’s paper-making at its finest, a process we’ve honed over decades of practice. There’s really nothing better than spending a sunny day making great paper. If you’re interested in ordering some yourself, drop us a line for more information.

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You use a butter mold for what?

Here in St. Louis, we have a fantastic hidden gem of a place called the Campbell House Museum. A mansion once belonging to one of the richest fur trappers in the country, the Campbell House displays all the most lavish luxuries the mid-1800s could bestow upon a family. They played host to presidents and heads of state, Native American chiefs and famous celebrities of the era.

And they had a lot of butter molds.

What’s a butter mold? Well, for fancy society parties back in the day, putting out a stick of butter simply wasn’t good enough. Special molds were used to create butter that looked like different items appropriate to the meal: fish-shaped butter for a seafood dinner, corn-shaped butter for a prairie theme, lamb-shaped butter for an Easter feast. They could also use these same molds to create specialty desserts.

You might be wondering why a blog about hand-crafted paper and stationery is talking so much about butter molds. It’s because those precious antique molds needn’t be used only for butter and chocolate. Over our decades of operating with fine handcrafted papers, we’ve collected dozens upon dozens of these molds from antique stores, estate sales, attic rummaging and the like, and amassed a truly impressive collection of beautiful, one-of-a-kind molds.

We’ve given these molds new life for our lines of plantable seed paper ornaments, like the blooming heart ornament and the blooming shell ornament we said we’d be talking about this month. We have many different types of plantable seed paper ornaments, of course – shamrocks and Christmas trees, shells and easter bunnies, doves and angels… the list goes on.

Our Blooming Heart Ornament was a perfect symbol of February- not only Valentine’s Day, but also National Heart Health Month. Whether it’s for a Valentine’s gift, or favors for a heart-healthy charity event, or maybe just a little something to show someone you’re thinking about them, our blooming heart ornament is one of our most popular items year-round.

But with our one-of-a-kind-collection of the sort of molds that simply aren’t made anymore, we have all sorts of shapes to fit whatever occasion or event you might want. Take our blooming shell ornament – not many places have a mold laying around in the shape of a perfect seashell. But for your summer event or beachy-themed wedding, we’ve got that. We pride ourselves on our variety of products,

We’ve been making plantable seed paper ornaments for decades, now. It’s a family business and our lifelong passion. And part of that passion has been going out into the world and gathering the tools of our trade, so that we can boast that we have options that nobody else has – because the only way to get them would be to go back to the 1800s and buy them while they were still being made.

American Animal Hospital Association Conference

This week (March 12-15) we’re going to be taking a couple of days to head down to the AAHA Conference in Tampa, Florida.

Plantable Pet Cards
Plantable Pet Cards

Not that one really needs an excuse to head to Florida, especially when the Midwest is still only just starting to get temperatures in the 50s, but we’ve got a very good reason to head down there this time.

The AAHA is the American Animal Hospital Association, and as of late we’ve started to work alongside veterinary professionals to offer a line of pet memorial products.

Cast Paper Art is a family company, after all, and we know just as well as any pet owner that our pets are a part of our family. When you’ve lost a pet, you’ve lost a real piece of your family, and that calls for a real, dignified way to express your sympathy.

That’s why we offer a wide variety of products for pets, just like we would for any other member of the family. Pet sympathy

cards, eco-friendly pet memorial products, small blooming mementos – these can be a difficult time for pet owners, and we try to find ways to help make it easier.

For veterinarians, we’re proud to offer these products as a way for them to offer their sympathies to clients. After all, nobody understands the bond between a pet and their owner better than someone who has devoted their whole life to healing animals, and they deserve a way of expressing their sympathies that reflects that.

This weekend, we’re bringing to Tampa samples of our blooming ornaments, plantable products, sympathy cards, and our bookmarks, which come printed with the “Rainbow Bridge” poem that every pet owner knows and loves. It’s our way of saying “hello,” and thanking them for the service they perform.

And don’t worry, folks – while we’re in Tampa, there are still going to be folks around the workshop, so you can still plant your usual orders.

Book Themed Weddings

Despite what people might say in this age of kindles and Twitter, books are not going anywhere anytime soon. And one way you can see this clearly is in the proliferation of book-themed weddings out there. Many a couple has come together over their love of the written word, and many of the more ornate, beautiful libraries in the world are capable of accommodating large events to hold a truly storybook wedding.

The trick to executing a good theme wedding, however, is commitment. If you’re going to have a theme, it can’t simply show up idly in 0c3d6e601e470e9827466443369437d2the corner of an invitation, or pop up suddenly atop your wedding cake. It has to be apparent, from the design of your place cards, to the selection of your venue, to the favors you distribute to your guests.

For a truly unforgettable wedding favor, our line of Plantable Seed Paper Bookmarks are a sure thing for the book lovers out there. Not only can they serve as an instant, take-home bouquet for your guests (just add water), they also make a fantastic wedding favor when actually used as a bookmark, often remaining in your guests homes – and hearts – long after candy would have been eaten or novelty items thrown away. A solid bookmark can continue serving its purpose for decades, after all.

Bookmarks can be used for any number of special occasions, not just weddings – you can distribute them with a favored poem or prayer at a wake or memorial, for example. They can serve as a special thank-you gift for charitable events, or as a giveaway item to include with informational mailings.

With the right word choice, you can also use bookmarks as a quirky form of invitation or save-the-date for weddings, baby showers, or other special occasions.

*Photo courtesy of Pinterest 

Sharing why we love what we do

We wanted to briefly share a note that we got the other day, which reminded us just how much we love what we do, and how important it is to us.

Though for many years our business has been focused around weddings and wedding products, that isn’t all we do here. Some time ago, we realized that our handmade products, floral themes, and biodegradable materials were also valuable for use in memorials, wakes and funerals. Flowers and paper celebrate life and love, but they also commemorate those people who gave us life and love who are now gone.

A customer recently ordered several of our small biodegradable token urns, and wonderfully, they took the time to send us a note:

Wish to thank you for the lovely crosses. They were sooo perfect. We went to sea last weekend off Southern California. All 25 of us had a white cross to write a special farewell note and float upon the blue water, even the youngest, age 7, wrote a note with pictures to Grampa.  Very touching day for all of us.   I sent your website to a few local mortuaries because our experience was unforgettable.

It’s always good to hear when our products have helped make a day special, but it’s even more touching when we feel like we’ve helped someone through a difficult time.

Cast Paper Art is a family company – Steve Deines turned his mother’s hobby into a thriving business many years ago, but it’s never stopped being a labor of love. It’s a monument to the time our family got to spend together, and that’s what our products are all about. Whether our plantable seed papers are being used to join two people together in marriage, or say goodbye to someone we will miss dearly, these items aren’t simply products to us.

 

Eco-Friendly Funeral Ideas

Today, being eco-friendly has become increasingly popular. From living an environmentally friendly life to planning a good-for-the-earth wedding, leaving a positive mark on this planet has become a number one priority for many. Sadly, there are times in life where planning an event such as a funeral can become a heart breaking and overwhelming experience but one that can be done while keeping the planet in mind.

Green funerals are now a respected part of the funeral and cremation community. These funerals are beneficial to both the family and the environment, and it is one of the better alternatives when choosing to arrange a memorial.

The following are some of the green products we carry to assist with memorial service planning:

  • Hospice Sympathy Cards
  • Plantable Memorial Bookmarks
  • Plantable Memorial Cards
  • Plantable Seed Paper Adornments
  • Tribute Angels
  • Biodegradable Urns
  • Biodegradable Token Urns
  • Bio Scattering Vessels
  • Eco-Friendly Guest Registers

People often overlook green funerals because they are concerned that they are non-traditional or more expensive. However, one of the best things about a green funeral is that it is very similar to a traditional funeral in many ways and is often less expensive.

 

Plantable Wedding Invitations

In the wedding industry it has been a long time tradition to use a printed, standard card stock for invitations. These cards can have wild designs or show a simpler theme and are accompanied with a standard stock envelope. Using this type of card means an industrial paper making process that includes cutting machines, duplex board machines, hydraulic head boxes and pressurized screens, not to mention a great loss of trees in the forest. Smoke from the factories and exhaust pipes of tractor-trailer delivery trucks bound to all four corners of the lower 48 causes additional harm to the earth that cannot be reversed. All of this energy — the fossil fuels, the man-hours — turns a simple wedding invitation into a giant carbon footprint.

Reducing your carbon footprint is a large topic in today’s society but through the use of recycled products, your effect on the ecosystem becomes just a little less.

When we began making plantable products, we were the only company to do so. Our mission was to provide customers with popular products that were eco-friendly and could be used for a dual purpose. That mission is still true today as more people become concerned with the effects their lifestyles have on the planet.

Wedding Invitations with a Lasting Impression

Our favorite eco-friendly invitation idea is, of course, the plantable card. Our plantable invitations are made with seeds embedded in the paper. The paper and ink is biodegradable, so the recipient can simply stick the invitation in a hole, water it, and watch the flowers grow. This invitation is embedded with wildflower seeds:

pocket-w-card-2-cutout-e1355431939976

If leaving less of a carbon footprint is important to you, using recycled or plantable invitations is the sure fire way to make sure your efforts don’t go unnoticed. Recipients will be able to watch the flowers from your invitations bloom as a constant reminder of your love.

Wedding Invitation Copy Basics

wedding copy collageLet's face it, brides-to-be, there aren't very many rules any more when it comes to getting married, and invitations are no exception. These days, your invitation can pretty much say whatever you want, as long as it gets people to the venue on time. All that possibility, however, can make it more difficult than ever to word your request. Luckily for all you invitation-writing newbies, we live in the age of Internet advice. Here's our master list of 7 things to consider when writing your invitations, based on the traditional formula.

1.The Tone

Figure out your tone depending on what kind of wedding you’re having. A backyard ceremony with a few dozen guests doesn’t necessarily warrant a formal invitation while a huge wedding in a church might. The invitation is the first thing people associate with your wedding so make sure it truly represents the event (and you and your fiance). Keep in mind that invitations are traditionally written in the third person.

2. The Host(s) and the Request
The first part of the invitation usually lets people know who's hosting (aka paying for) the event.  This could be the bride's parents, both sets of parents or you and your fiance. Typically this part involves listing the hosts' names followed by something like “request the honor of your presence”.

Examples would include:

“Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith request the honor of your presence…”
“The Smith and Johnson families request….”
“Michael and Nancy Smith and Joe and Susan Johnson request…”
“Tina Smith and Tony Johnson together with their families request…”

There's many ways this part could be worded obviously, but, if you are setting up an invitation like this, make sure you include every one that needs to be.

However, you may not want or need to list hosts.  If this is the case, you can write the invitation as if you and you fiance were directly inviting the person. Examples would include:

“You are cordially invited to the wedding of…”
“Please join us in celebrating the marriage of…”

3. The Couple
Not that you were likely to forget, but the names of the couple getting married needs to be on the invitation somewhere.  On a traditional invitation, they would go after the parent's request; the brides first and middle name would be listed first, then the groom's title and full name.

An example would include:

“Tina Marie to Mr. Tony Robert Johnson.”

Less formal alternatives would include:

“Tiny and Tony”
“Tina Smith and Tony Johnson”

Again, there are some things to decide here. Whether or not you want to include middle names. If the phrasing should be “and” or “to”. It comes down to what you're comfortable with.

4. The Location and the Time

After you have all the details involving people worked out, you need to let guests know when and where the ceremony will take place. It's up to you which one gets listed first.

For location, list the name of the place and then its address. If it's well known location, like a museum or landmark, there is no need for an address.

On a traditional invitation, the entire date is spelled out and is followed by “in the morning”, “in the afternoon” or “in the evening”. An example would include:

“Saturday, the twenty-fifth of May, two thousand and fourteen at two o'clock in the afternoon”

A less formal example would include:

“Saturday, May 25, 2 pm”

5. The Reception

If the reception is at the same location directly following the ceremony, than a simple line such as  “Reception Immediately Following” will work.

If it's at a different location or at a later time, then this information needs to be included either on the invitation or on a separate reception card. This card should include the location and time of the reception, plus any other pertinent information, like whether there will be dinner and/or dancing  (a line such as “Dinner and Dancing” often takes care of this). Also, make sure sure to let guests know if there won't be dinner so they can eat ahead of time.

6. The RSVP

Like the reception information, RSVP details could be included either on the invitation or on a separate card.

A traditional response card reads like this:

“The favor of a reply is requested before the twenty-eighth of February.”

It includes a blank spot for the person's name and a line for them to check if they will attend or not.  A blank line for the number of people in the party could also be included. Essentially, RSVP details include how potential guests must reply and how long they have to do it.

A less formal example:

“Please let us know if you will attend through (method of contact) by February 28”

7. The extras

Make sure to include anything else that guests may need to know or may need to let you know:

-Hotel/Travel information for out of town guests or destination weddings

-Registry information

-Dinner options (meat, fish, vegetarian, etc).

-Dress code (potential dress code categories include black tie, white tie, formal, casual, cocktail).

-Whether children are allowed. If they aren't, include a line like “Adult Reception”.

-Anything guests may need to bring or do ahead of time

Example 1:

Mr. and Mrs. George Ray

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of your daughter

Susannah Michelle

to

Christopher Scott

Sunday, the fifth of June

two thousand and eighteen

one o'clock in the afternoon

St. Matthew's Cathedral

5867 Elm Street

Danbury, Wisconsin

Informal Reception following the ceremony

Example 2:

We invite you to celebrate

the marriage uniting

Libby Jane Maberly

and

Dylan James McCarthy

Saturday, December thirty-first

two-thousand and eighteen

one-thirty in the afternoon

St. John's Chapel

Edmonds, Washington

Reception six o'clock in the evening

The Grainery on the Boulevard

5521 North 27th Street

Edmonds, Washington

Example 3:

The honor of your presence

is requested at the marriage of

Lily Sutton Ries

to

Justin James Sinclair

Saturday, August 27th, 2019

1:30 pm

Our Lady Catholic Church

Frankfort, Michigan

Cocktail hour 5:00 pm

Dinner 6:30 pm

Harrison House

425 South Main Street

Glen Cove, Michigan

Links to Creative Informal Wedding Copy:

Something Green

OffBeat Bride

How to Plant Seed Paper Products

growing_02_with_favorSo, you like the idea of seed paper but don't know what to do with it now you've got it?

We include planting instructions with most of our wildflower seed-embedded paper products, but we know sometimes these get lost or forgotten.

Of course, we can't always guarantee growing success, given the nature of well, nature, but here's some general tips on how to turn those little seeds into beautiful blooms.

1. We recommend planting within the first year of receiving your seed paper product. After two, it might be okay. And after that, well, it's time to buy some new paper to plant!

2. For optimal results, only plant mid to late spring or early summer (it almost goes without saying that the dead of winter is not the best time for wildflower growth).

3. Remove any tags, ties, etc. You don't want anything in the way of your young plants' future growth spurt.

4. In the case of dimensional ornaments or larger sheets of paper, gently break apart or tear into smaller pieces.

5. Choose a sunny outdoor garden/spot or planter/pot.

6. Plant in 1/4″ to 1/2″ loosely packed soil. Give 'em room to grow!

7. Keep very moist, especially until the seeds begin to sprout…

8. Continue to water as needed….

9. Watch them bloom! Then do a little congratulatory dance because you just grew your very own wildflowers!

Please note that different varieties of wildflowers will sprout at different times of the growing season. So, if it's not growing now, it might grow later!

If you have any further planting questions about our products (or would like to let us know about your growing success-we love to hear that!), please feel free to email us at customerservice@castpaperart.com or call 314-968-6896.

Wedding Trend: Rustic

Lately, while browsing through inspiration boards on Pinterest or wedding photos on various bridal sites, we’ve been noticed a definite upswing in the number of events involving rustic elements: big, beautiful barns as venues, old-fashioned hanging lanterns as lighting, tree stumps as cake stands, pine cones bundled as bouquets, and burlap used as decor in every conceivable fashion. And while it’s easy to see the appeal of hand painted wooden signs and sparkling recycled glassware candle holders for any bride, the rustic theme is great choice for eco-conscious brides since it can incorporate so many natural elements (one creative bridal party we saw even used a bird’s nest as a ring holder).  Here’ our favorite rustic ideas from the ever-creative sellers at Etsy and the Green Bride Guide, plus some product suggestions from us!

natural wrap cutout

Natural Seed Paper Wrap Invitation

Upcycled Just Married Burlap Banner

Wood Place Card Holders

Burlap Honeymoon Fund Box

Burlap And Lace Utensil Pockets

Natural Fern Seed Paper Petal Favor Cones

Wooden Table Numbers Set

Mason Jar and Pine cone Centerpieces

Wood Save the Dates

Antler and Amboyna Burl Ring