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2015 = expanding in every direction!

We kinda have a little bit of a crush on the jute twine that we use on our invitations. It’s hempy, but not too granola. It’s rustic, but not too ‘backyard and barefoot’ (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s just… I don’t know, honest. Here’s a few great shots of it doin’ it’s thing:



But 2015 is going to be about growth, being open to it and making room for it. While I was researching new sources for this perfect twine, I found one that not only carries the usual kraft and natural color that we’ve offered in the past, but low and behold to my surprise, it comes in COLOR! Check out the glorious colors you can now have with your rustic button twine. It’s the little things, folks. The sun is shining on January 28th and my new twine samples arrived. Hooray!

2015-01-28 14.00.25

2 years.

Tony and I have been plugging away at Spilled Ink Press for just about 9 years. There are a few pinpoints in our timeline that are important ones- whether we realized them or not at the time, looking back you can say, yep, that’s where things shifted.

Here they are…

2005.06.04 A & T 0656June 4th/ 2005. We got hitched. We had been together for YEARS before then, but it put in motion our move back to Chicago (we were having fun  in San Francisco for a while), and also was the change in scenery that got my friend Alieen saying, “so, you are doing this Spilled Ink Press thing now. For real…. ” and she started introducing me to our coworkers and friends as “Amanda, architect and really a great invitation maker”. It was key.

IMG_20120617_131113March/ 2006. So we did it. We incorporated. We’re an S-Corp and when people ask why, we say, “I think someone explained to us back then that it was better for us… but we don’t remember why”. We knew nothing (and still don’t know much, honestly). But we were legit on paper, the federal and local governments now officially recognize us and are eagerly awaiting us to start making “real” money so we can give them taxes (that wouldn’t happen for a few years though- so says the reassurance of our amazing accountant).

September/ 2008. I walked away from that cushy architecture job, nervously, to work on Spilled Ink Press full time. So we thought, ok. Here we go. Sink or swim. We had a little bit of a nest egg to lean on for a while. It was supposed to be our down-payment to something, but we’re really bad at committing to anything more than an apartment lease, so starting a company and putting all your eggs in one basket felt like less of a risk. *Did I mention we didn’t know anything?* October is when the market crashed and so many more architect friends got laid off. I often wonder if I had only waited a month if I ever would have had the nerve. This is when we REALLY learned how to live lean. My mother in law gave us gift cards to Potbelly’s as birthday and holiday gifts, if that gives you an idea.

…and we plugged along for 4 years. Things were good. We learned a lot about running a home-based business with each other. We did things, and people gave us money to do so. All in all, everything was moving in the right direction. But what was our next step? There was a next step out there somewhere but I struggled with recognizing it. It started to feel a little wheel-spinning-y.


February/ 2012. *I just deleted and long sappy paragraph* Let me just say, the amazing Ann sent me a message on twitter, asked if I wanted to sell our cards to her because she had a new grown-up store in the works. I replied with, “how about you sell US in the store too”. I’m still mildly embarrassed at my boldness. We had never met, just were twitter buddies. I didn’t know anything about the store, and she didn’t know anything about Spilled Ink Press, really… but for some intuitive reason on both our parts we confidently thought we were on to something and set up a time to meet over beer (at Revolution). It almost from the beginning wasn’t a question of if, but of how. Hello, next step. Nice to meet you.

announcement_june2012June/ 2012. Shop 1021 opens. Ann is taking another gamble on Logan Square (owner of the already established and awesome *Play) and on us. We were also taking a big step- we now officially have over-head, our name on a door and an address that we don’t sleep at. We rent out the corner of Shop 1021 and our business model shifts ever so slightly. Its forced us to make grown up decisions, solidify our operations, pricing, marketing, product offering. We now see the small-business world through retail glasses, and what we’ve learned still doesn’t come close to what we still need to figure out, but we’re getting there. I’d say the biggest challenge is that Ann and I challenge each other so much to grow and do new things that it’s just hard to figure out how to do all the things we want to do! Ah, if only time and money fell from the sky the way the snow did this winter…

So the reason for walking down memory lane here (it was a long way around… if you’re even still with me here), it’s that the Shop 1021 TWO YEAR anniversary is this weekend. Come by and have a drink with us on Saturday/ May 31st. All are welcome. We’ve learned over the past 2 years that we like to throw parties, and we’re good at it. See you at 7pm. Come ready to be happy and say officially HELLO SUMMER!

Hello Summer 2014_final

It’s Earth Day. Let’s DO something.

Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (Indiana).
She can kick any Chicago Alderman’s ass. Read on to learn why.

Why hello there.
It’s been a while since we’ve talked.  I know.  Life has a way of doing this to us, doesn’t it?  I owe you many fun posts about what’s happening, photo’s that you’ll “like” and swoon over… and I have both, believe me.

But for now, and at risk of being rude, I’d like to take a minute and get real.

It’s Earth Day.  With all it’s gimmicky goodness, it does allow for us to take pause.
Yesterday- our usual “pause” was our small break in work to shove some food into our faces and sit on our couch and watch a little TV.  This is Tony and my only time for concentrated recreation these days.

I turned on the TV and flipped to PBS instead of or usual Comedy Central or the DVR list. Playing was “Bag It“, a documentary made in 2010 that I’ve learned has won numerous independent film awards.  I’m not one to jump to the latest Supersize Your Mom fads, so I’m not surprised I missed it.  The Cliff-notes summary is that it is about a man who starts out trying to avoid plastic bags and leads him down a rabbit hole of amazing discoveries about PLASTIC. (dum-dum-duuuum).  It doesn’t sound like much, but boy… it was kind of amazing.
Anyway… I’m still angry and thinking about it.  I ran to Facebook and posted my usual mini-rant about endocrine disruptors (you know, the usual).  Then I googled a bit and found a petition to sign- I signed it- posted it to Facebook as well and asked friends to sign it.

Today, I woke up… still thinking, there’s more to be done.
I sent my Alderman a quick facebook post asking him to watch the movie tonight on the Documentary Channel.  That’s annoying, I know, but what the hell. He’s like 3 years younger than me, so whatevs. I can send him a facebook message, I voted for him.
So then I found a list of the Alderman in the City of Chicago.  Turns out, their email addresses are pretty simple: ward01 [at], with the appropriate ward number for where you live of course.

Then I sent them ALL an email and asked them to “think outside the bag” (*insert word-play cringe here).

This is the point of my blog post.
How are we supposed to see progress in our priorities if we don’t let those making the decisions know what our priorities are?

Chicagoans, I urge you to keep your Alderman on speed dial, …or the email equivalent.  Let them know what you want.  Did you know last November, Alderman Joe Mareno from Ward 1 attempted to pass legislation that would allow for plastic bags to be banned in Chicago?  It was chopped down to essentially “strongly urging” merchants to offer recycling programs. (*insert sad trombone sound here).  Boo.
That sucks.  Had I been informed then, perhaps I could have helped let the city counsel know how I feel about.  Ok, I’m just one person, but I’m not.  We know this.  Social Media (capital S, capital M) makes us know this.

In my googling frenzy last night, I found out that INDIANA of all places has legislation out there for a bag “fee” (there’s some debate on whether it’s a fee or a tax).  If passed $.10 per bag will be charged and 25% would go toward green industry and 75% would go toward public schools.  The bill was purposed by Rep. VanDenburgh, a female Democrat from Crown Point, IN (everything about that phrase is awesome, by the way- that’s where Tony is from) and no one is overly optimistic that it will pass in the red state that Indiana is… BUT, still, INDIANA is more aggressive than Chicago?  I think this bill is simple genius.  Call it a tax. Who cares? In Chicago, we tax cigarettes, we tax alcohol, why can’t we tax something that is polluting pretty much every aspect of our lives? (seriously people, you NEED to watch this movie- you owe it to the BPA and pthalates coursing through your veins and making you infertile).
So in short, my personal to-do for this Earth Day:
  1. Know your local government well.  Don’t be shy. Make your voice heard.
  2. Avoid plastic bags as much as you can.
  3. (from Bag It): Avoid single-use items as much as possible. Reward companies that package things in as little crap as possible.
  4. Watch “Bag It” and learn more.
  5. Get Angry. Don’t be intimidated about organizing.
  6. Write lengthy blog posts and hopefully inspire someone else.


If you’re looking for Tony and I on Sunday, we’ll be at the Paris Club, rubbing elbows with some of Chicago’s finest wedding vendors.  This is the Lettuce Entertain You’s 4th Bridal Fair.  We are honored to be apart of the fun and fancy day.

What I’m most intrigued about is this particular show’s set up.  At our Committed Show last week, we decided to organize the vendors by “departments”, we hung signs that let couples know they were in the “invitations and stationery” department, the “cake, cocktails and confections” department, etc. etc.  It was interesting and different.
For THIS show, the vendors will be organized by style.  There will be 6 wedding/party “styles”, otherwise known as the buzz words that help couples organize their big-day aesthetic.  They will be as follows:

  • Traditional/Chic
  • Rustic/Boho
  • Vintage
  • Whimsical/Casual
  • Romantic/Elegant
  • Modern/Edgy

Spilled Ink Press will be representing the “Rustic/Boho” and the “Whimsical/Casual” styles.  We’re bringing our rustic button twine invitations for the rustic boho and for whimsical style we’ll be sporting a few of our custom illustrated accordion invitations.  It was a tough choice picking which style we would like showcase as we create custom invitations, I feel like we’ve designed all of them*!  That’s what I love about what we do actually, we get all kinds!
*Hmmm… note to self, an interesting blog series featuring each of these styles…

So with this unique and fun show organization paired with the backdrop of the Paris Club, I have no doubt this is going to be a top notch show.  Plus, my friends at Mignonette will be there, so that’s always fun when I see a familiar face in the vendor crowd!

Come by and say hi!
Tickets are available here and by the sound of it, they’re going fast ($10 per).
See you Sunday!

Are you Committed?

The long planning process is almost to an end… I can hardly believe it.  My fellow Chicago Green Wedding Alliance members and Tony and myself have come a long way (baby).  The Green Wedding Alliance is a group we had a hand in starting 2 years ago when we realized our priorities with our lil’ ol’ Spilled Ink Press needed to be as eco-responsible as we could possibly make them.  We started reaching out to other eco-savvy businesses in Chicago and discovered low and behold, we were all searching for the same thing: alliance.  Perhaps more importantly, we were all looking for a vehicle to get the word out about greener weddings.

So from discussions over a few beers with our friend Lynn at Pollen… cut to 30 + members… cut to a whole lot of planning later…. we welcome you to join us at Committed, Chicago’s first exclusively green wedding show.
This show is for couples who are committed– committed to each other (obviously!), committed to the environment, committed to throwing the bast damn party of their lives.  Because really, that’s what a wedding is- you and someone you couldn’t love more, coming together with friends and family to eat, drink, and boogie down.  Love is love, we’re big fans, it’s worth throwing a party for!

Because it’s such a big deal, you’ll be spending time and money on this party- choosing your vendors that will walk this journey with you is equally as big.  Committed will showcase Chicago Green Wedding Alliance members- the best of the best in Chicago; come and taste their treats, touch our paper, smell the flowers, look at the amazing photographs, all for yourself, all in one beautiful room at the Greenhouse Loft.
Tickets are still available here.  Peruse the vendors here.

Sunday, February 26th
Greenhouse Loft
2545 W Diversey (in the Green Exchange Building)

For a teaser on a few things you’ll see at the show, click on the WGN still shot caption below!

This is me concentrating on not throwing up on Deana’s shoes.

Love and the forces of the Universe

“The four fundamental forces of physics: electromagnetism, strong nuclear interaction, weak nuclear interaction, and gravity. We’ve been talking here about the forces that bind the universe. But what binds humans? Love. Powerful in small spaces and yet with profound affect in distances, love defies time. Outliving its source and object, love is faster than light, for light requires time in order to travel through space but love reaches its object instantaneously. Love journeys forever into infinity and is here binding together two lives.”

Ok- so I first saw this on one of our bride’s wedding website and thought it was an amazing quote. So I googled it… and turns out it’s from the TV show Numb3rs. So way to go random writer living in LA probably not getting any credit for this! Your words have traveled the blogosphere and in my google search it came up on A.LOT. of other wedding websites.

But it’s so true and profound, so I’m happy to share it with you all. ESPECIALLY since we’ve been sucked into the land of “stupid busy”, as another wedding vendor coined the phrase and haven’t had any time to post. I’m going to make a point to snap picks of jobs as they go out the door though so at least you can be updated on what’s shaking at Spilled Ink Press headquarters.