diy: not your mama's wreaths

Wreaths have come so far. If I weren't spending all my free time renovating my home, I'd grab my tacky glue and make all these!
(1) via Pickles (2) via Bleubird Vintage (3) via Unplggd (4) via Martha


keep dreaming

Looking back at old posts is a funny thing. I came across this one. And, wow. All my wishes (plus some) came true this year.

//image via we heart it//


dueling holiday craft fairs

For all you in LA, there are TWO holiday craft fairs going on this weekend! Renegade and Unique LA. I'll probably just be able to stop by Renegade, but can't wait to see what everyone has in their shops.


and the pantone color of 2011 is...

Honeysuckle. Last year was turquoise and this year is a watermelon-esque color. Check out what the folks at Pantone have to say about the choice here. And see how it can translate into interior design from our friends at Apartment Therapy. As a girly girl, I have to say, I've always loved any and every shade of pink. Can't wait to mix up the perfect batch of honeysuckle ink and slap it on Big Red.


font love

Once December hits, the countdowns start to pop up everywhere. Top songs of 2010. Best news stories from 2010. Popular colors of 2010. Well, I totally geek out over type. So I wanted to share Veer's staff font picks of 2010. Plus, Margaret and I share a love for Business Penmanship by these guys.
image via Veer


it's not too late

Hey procrastinators! It's not too late to order your holiday cards. What an amazing way to send warm wishes to friends and family. And if you don't have one picked out, check out my (slightly modified) art on sale at Minted. For you trendy types, collages are all the rage. And this collage is filled with sweet little wintery illustrations that spell out JOY. enJOY.


let's get down to business

You might notice things are looking a little different around here. Not only are we cleaning up the shop and putting it together, we are cleaning up our web space, too. Lots of papery excitement to come. I promise. in the meantime, we have our very own established URL. There's not much to see at the moment. But it's a start. Visit us at dearlolaletterpress.com or say hello at hello@dearlolaletterpress.com. While we love a good old fashioned paper note, we love email, too.


letterpress goodies

As I build my studio, I've been getting lots of letterpress deliveries lately. Looking forward to printing on Big Red really soon.


Apple does letterpress

Dear Apple - You never cease to amaze me. Your letterpress photo cards are really cool.

Dear Friends - I can make photo letterpress cards of all sorts, too. //coming soon//


creative and inspiring birthday goodies

I've mentioned that my birthday is my favorite holiday, and I was truly spoiled this year by my nearest and dearest! Letterpress drop caps by Jessica Hische were included in the goodies. Can't wait to put these up in my new house. And I also received amazing inspiring books like Fingerprint and New Vintage Type to add to my library. I'm a lucky girl.


it's official

Big Red is moving into her new studio. Both Red and owner are ecstatic. I know it doesn't look like much with all the trash from demolition (I've been tearing up sheetrock and flooring more than I've been printing and designing lately). But I'm going to be turning this into a stellar studio for Big Red in the next few months. There will be lots of pictures and updates to follow.


me = bad blogger

Dear blog and my lovely readers,

I have been a bad, bad blogger. I think summer, combined with a lovely long vacay in Italy (love), buying a house (!), securing a studio space (double !!), designing (fun stuff), getting ready to print (funner stuff), having a birthday (my favorite holiday), having summer fun (the best season) and working my regular old 9 to 5 job (boring). Well, I have neglected my blog. I promise, lots of fun stuff coming up. In the meantime, here's some inspiration straight from the cobblestone streets of Rome and the tiny adorable villages of Tuscany. Ciao for now.



Amanda + Rick just moved into their beautiful new federal style house. They are updating friends and family with a postcard that features a hand drawn illustration of their new home. I hope everyone who receives this is so excited that they immediately update their contact info.


bethesda eats

My dear friend Nicole just started a new facebook page (blog to soon follow!) with her hubs that rants about their eating adventures in Bethesda, MD. I'm sure it will be such a hit that it will expand outside Bethesda eventually. Check it out here. In the meantime, here's a little logo design for you.

i want

Wow has it really been a month since big red was delivered? Well, July came and went and I've had lots of good stuff cooking. More about that later. In the meantime, check out this video from one of my absolute favorite artists. She talks letterpress and you can see her swoon-worthy letterpressed drop caps. I have my eye on the S, C and ampersand prints. Consider them added to the list of I wants!

Beautiful letter C drop cap via Jessica Hische


meet big red

This was a monumental week for Dear Lola! Meet Big Red, a 1927 Chandler & Price press that was saved from a scrapyard by her last owner and completely refurbished. I'm sure she's very tired. She took a ride on a trailer from Las Vegas to Los Angeles at 4AM this morning. Now I will be able to give her a loving home with lots of good printing projects to follow. For now, she's sitting in a garage while I get my studio situation squared away. Knowing she's sitting there waiting for me is totally surreal since I've been searching for a press for an entire year. All the stars aligned for me and Big Red and I just had to jump at the chance to own this 1700 pound beauty. Isn't she pretty?


pom pom programs

Angie was married on her family farm and I recently designed these small pocket sized programs for her. They are about 4x5", 4 pages and tied together with black ribbon. These are programs your guests won't just dump because they can easily fit in their bags or pockets. While they weren't letterpressed due to lack of having a press, I think I have some really good news on that front. More to come next week.

i'm in love with chandler & price

I had a wonderful Saturday spent learning how to operate a Chandler & Price (C&P) platen press at the International Printing Museum. 7 hours of pure printing fun! Up until now, I had printed on Vandercook's and Heidelberg Windmill's. And, I know I have mentioned previously that I have my eyes on buying a Windmill. But that all went out the door within the first few hours of my class. I think a C&P is definitely the press for me. And, the museum has a few to refurbish, so one of them might just be the Dear Lola work horse. The presses we operated in the class were 9x12 and 10x15, which means that's your printing area. The 9x12 was a little easier for a small girl to operate, but I think I will go the 10x15 route. Since the C&Ps there didn't have a motor, we had to treadle with our right leg to keep the press in motion. It was quite a test in coordination, but I finally got it down. When there is no motor, you have to treadle so the platen will keep momentum and keep printing. So you are pushing the pedal with your right foot, while you feed the press with your right hand and your left hand takes your finished print off the press. It's like rubbing your tummy while patting your head. But 100 prints later, I feel like I got the C&P dance down. I will most likely opt for a motor on my own press which will free up my leg from treadling. But if you're just doing a few prints, there's no point in turning on the motor.

I loved the class so much that I'll be spending this Saturday taking the second part class where we will go deeper into color registration. Oh, such an important and crucial thing to know unless you plan to only print 1 color, but what's the fun in that!?


dear lola in the minted design challenge finals!

I'm tickled with excitement! 4 of my designs have made it to the finals in the Minted Design Challenge. You can vote here. There are some incredible designs in the mix. Minted is going to have a fabulously modern collection of holiday cards this year.


congrats, sister!

I'm heading to Seattle this weekend to celebrate my baby sister's graduation. I'm so proud of you, sister. You've accomplished a longer list of stuff than most people your age (and most people my age). Seattle has been lucky to have you there the past 4 years. I know Philly and the students that await you won't be disappointed. Maybe I'll be inspired to create some Seattle and grad worthy designs with a modern twist?


flea market fun

Yesterday morning, Kelly and I spent the day having some flea market fun. It's so refreshing to see old things waiting to be loved by new people. Much like the old Heidelberg's, Vandercook's, C&P's, Kluge's (the list goes on and on) being salvaged by a young generation of printers. Such an amazing art.

Luggage waiting to be loved via We Heart It


holiday cards, anyone?

I've been hard at work on my designs for the Minted Design Challenge. It's been a lot of fun pretending that Christmas is right around the corner and the June Gloom at the LA beaches has really helped put me in the mood. As voting starts, I'll share more, but here are a few of my designs. Would you like to send these out to your loved ones around the holidays? I hope the answer is an enthusiastic, "YES!"

P.S. Photo cards are difficult to translate into letterpress, but I have a few modern ideas up my sleeve that involve putting my soon to be received Husqvarna Viking to good use.



christmas in may

My amazing friend Nicole (seriously, if you had your own cheerleaders in life...she would be one of mine) alerted me that the fine folks at Minted just started another design challenge. These challenges are really great ways for up and coming stationery designers to network with other designers and get their names out there in the small world of stationery design. I've wanted to enter one for a while, and now feels like the right moment to make my debut. So, I've been spending the past few days (and will likely be spending many more!) dreaming up holiday inspirations. Happy holidays. Oops! I mean Happy Friday.

Pretty twinkly lights via We Heart It


let's talk paper

Paper is oh so important in letterpress. A coworker recently showed me a wedding invitation he received that was letterpressed and it was printed on some plain old cardstock. If you are going to spend the money on letterpress you should definitely make sure the paper is worth spending money on. Unless you prefer cardstock and to that I say, to each their own. There are many 100% cotton papers out there that were engineered specifically for letterpress because it takes the impression so well. Plus, you get the added bonus of giving recipients of your beautiful stationery, business cards, or wedding invitations a sensory explosion and them being left thinking “wow, this person really sourced out the best for little old me!” I just ordered some samples of this Holyoke paper (gotta love the cool packaging!) and I am in love. It’s 140 pound paper and I typically print on 110 pound. Love, love, love.


printmakers do it in reverse

We set type in reverse so it doesn’t print reading right to left! My dear friend Meghan bought me this perfect and hilarious magnet as part of my birthday present last year. She’s such a great and very thoughtful friend and we both of the same sense of humor so she can never go wrong with these types of gifts. This is a look at my first attempt setting lead type last year, it's a confusing exercise since you have so spell everything backwards. I have no idea how people used to set entire books and newspapers this way. We are so lucky to have copy editing programs!


pretty weekend flowers

I can't wait to use these pretty spring flowers I saw over the weekend in some designs! I love the bold orange poppies and this pretty peach ruffley flower. I obsess over anything with ruffles so I am LOVING this flower!


yoga for printing

I’ve mentioned that I am a yogi. I have a very devoted vinyasa practice. But wait, does this relate to printing? It totally does. You need to be strong to operate a press. Back in the day, printing was seen as a man’s job. Pulling the various levers, lifting and especially setting up a chase on a Heidelberg takes some serious upper body strength. Even if you are already strong and printing is a piece of cake for you, you can benefit from yoga by making yourself more flexible. A supple body is a lot less prone to injury. Namaste, printers!

[yoga asana via We Heart It]


meet lola

You probably wonder why I decided to call my line Dear Lola (if that thought hasn’t crossed your mind, just amuse me for a minute). It’s a pretty simple answer. My line is modern, pretty and girly. Lola has always been a name that I thought was girly and fun. I mean, hello! There are plenty of songs that use the cute two syllable name: “her name was Lola, she was a show girl” and “la-la-la-la-la-la Lola.” So I paired an adorable name with a common salutation that is typically used to begin letters. And there you have it, Dear Lola was born. We even named our dog Lola because I love it so much. She’s not a poodle. She’s not a lamb. She’s a sweet little bedlington terrier.

[Lola by Next Exit Photography]


happy friday

I’m off for a little extended weekend vacay. Turquoise oceans and white sand beaches are filled with inspiration. Happy weekend!



I recently took a class on the type of press I'd like to buy, a Heidelberg Windmill. The class was held at The International Printing Museum which houses tons (literally, the weight of all the equipment in there has got to be in the tons) of antique printing equipment. They also offer classes and I got to learn from one of the best Windmill teachers in the biz! He’s so good that someone even came all the way from Texas just to take the class. And, he taught Rosario Dawson how to print so she wouldn’t look like a poser while shooting the film Seven Pounds. I’ve never seen the movie, but I often hear “ohhhh, do you do what Rosario Dawson did in that movie with Will Smith?” The class was amazing and I learned so much. Since then I’ve researched Windmills for sale and have driven near and far to check out three for sale. The first was way too overpriced, the second worried me (but then my teacher went out and tested it for another student and he deemed it a great buy…UGH) and the third had some issues, like tape holding pieces of it together and the registration was off. No thanks. But mine is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be saved. Besides, I only want to move the 3,000 pound beauty once, so I need to get this studio situation sorted out. Until then, here’s a looksy at a Heidelberg Windmill. Isn’t she pretty?


i have a case of the i wants

C always makes fun of me for having a case of the I wants. I want a letterpress studio/house, a Heidelberg Windmill made between 1954-1965 and a trip to Italy all in the same year. I’ve always been an impatient little dreamer that wants it all now (not a good trait for a yogi to have, but what can I say?). Also, I don’t dream about having a big fancy mansion. Just an uber cool modern home like this one. The back house would make an amazing letterpress studio. Don’t you think? Happy Friday all!

[awesome house via Apartment Therapy]


love at first crank

I remember walking into my first letterpress class almost a year ago, filled with excitement. I was THAT girl in class. You know? The one that everyone is super annoyed with because she won’t stop raising her hand and asking questions. I was thrilled that I was actually going to learn how to letterpress on a mysterious machine that I later learned was called a Vandercook. Vandercooks were actually used as proof presses back in the day, but nowadays artists use them for pretties of all sorts, you can read more about them here. I’ve come so far since then, now I have a lot (not anywhere near all) of printer jargon down. Which I’ll share as I post. But for now this post is dedicated to the Vandie that changed my life. I remember my first big project - 2 color thank you cards printed on Crane’s Lettra in Pearl. A really ambitious project for a first timer since there were 2 ink colors and with 2 ink colors you need to make sure your registration is flawless. I was in class for 6 hours and totally forgot that it was midnight on a school night, I had to get them done and I was having way too much fun to stop. Cranking that cottony paper through the press was so exciting and the fact that it came out looking like this made it even more exciting. You never forget your first crank on your first Vandie.



My name is Sabrena and I am a letterpress and stationery junkie. I know, this sounds like the beginning of a fill-in-the-blank’s anonymous meeting. But seriously, most kids spent their allowance on toys and candy. Not me. Mine went towards pens, stationery and beauty products. More on the beauty products will get us off track, so I'll stick to the pens and stationery. I always loved doodling on my giant pad of paper with my even more giant bag of pens by my side. What’s mind blowing, is that even though that was my passion 20 years ago, it wasn’t until last year that I realized I can make a career out of my love for paper and pretty things. What happened, you may ask? I planned my wedding. It seems that so many brides these days become inspired and decide to pursue other interests post the creative fire of wedding planning. That’s me! So, basically I have my wedding to thank (and C for marrying me and being 110% supportive of my wildest hopes and dreams) for giving me what I need to move on and pursue my true passions.