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Inviting Traditions in Letterpress: Milkfed Press & Bindery Fashions Custom Designs

wedding deals proposal ring

wedding deals proposal ring

“I work with brides and grooms who are searching for something different. They don’t want cookie-cutter invitations, routine stationery or run-of-the-mill paper items. They desire high quality with personality to match,” explains Victoria Heifner, founder of Milkfed Press & Bindery located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Milkfed Press is a quaint one-woman operation housed within what used to be a turn-of-the-century neighborhood grocery store. Located within a tight-knit East Bay community, her tidy work¬space and by appointment retail shop shows off samples of her work – note cards and stationery hang from an old wooden door, walls flanked with wonderful silk book cloths, colorful leather skins and hand-cut show posters.

There’s a huge work table that doubles as client meeting surface/packing table, plus a prized-possession, an old counter top table screened with an original Wonder Bread logo left behind. Tucked round the corner are Heifner’s workhorses – two antique printing presses which she hand-feeds to turn out individual piece of art.

Both artist and problem-solver, Heifner continues, “Clients come to me with an idea of what they like, but no idea how to produce it. I love helping them bring their most beautiful visions to life. I design and create custom stationery, note cards, printed matter and also do custom-bound books for brides-to-be, artisans and a variety of clients from around the U.S.; her customers hail from the East Coast to the southern states. Long-distance work doesn’t seem to be a concern. “We communicate via email and I can send samples of materials in the mail,” she adds.

wedding fonts

The Beauty of Letterpress

You cannot help but run your fingers back and forth over the imprinted letters and the wonderful papers in her shop. “The principles of letterpress printing are the same as they were in 1445, but with a new twist that incorporates polymer plates (created from the digital design files she creates on a computer), rather than hand-set lead type,” she says. “Technology has aided this fine old tradition in printing and the scope of what I can design and create is practically unlimited.”

To output her designs Heifner relishes everything from luxurious fine European printmaking papers to the most utilitarian of objects – pieces of wood. “I let my design dictate which materials are most appropriate for the job. I take into account the theme and formality of the event, the personality of my bridal couple, and what they are trying to achieve. I approach each job with a fresh perspective and try to remain open, allowing the design to dictate the outcome.”

As for design inspiration and sensibilities, she adds, “I love looking at how things are packaged – and that includes everything from a wonderful set of ribbon-tied bridal stationery to milk cartons in a grocery store. I love wrappers and packaging. I marvel at, but honestly don’t pay much attention to the latest design trends in stationery. I also find inspiration in old books and typography. I’m working in a craft that has been around for 600+ years—quality and integrity are timeless and trendless.”

Design Process

The design process engages with a lively exchange of ideas and visions. For wedding invitations and stationery, many brides bring in a swatch of fabric to pair to their inks, papers or trims. The letterpress print process uses ‘spot’ colors (each color is printed separately), so Heifner matches each tone exactly through an age-old method of hand-mixing ink combinations on a stone. “The entire process is very hands-on, which is why I love it so much.” Heifner prepares all of the work herself— from design and hand-setting of type, to hand-cutting letters and fashioning her own photo-polymer plates.

Save-the-date cards, maps, coasters, place settings cards, thank you notes, book marks and delightful custom- bound books are some of the items in her repertoire. She requires four to six weeks for custom orders, start to finish. Milkfed Press excels in custom design work, but Heifner also carries a small line of collection styles and retail pieces available within her shop. Her collection features a wonderful range of traditional motifs, patterns and layouts in a bevy of color combinations. For personalization to pieces from her collection, she requests a minimum of two to three weeks to add details.

Custom Design

design press letteringTiming Heifner recommends that a bride get in touch as soon as she has all information ready to build her invitation or any printed or bound item. She’s delighted to schedule an appointment to meet with customers at their conve¬nience. “A bride can also call, email or drop me a note to get started. When we meet I show them samples and discuss the process and timing. The bride is already sold on crafting a fine letterpress invitation and she under¬stands that it’s generally more expensive than other processes such as thermography. The wonderful tactile quali¬ties of letterpress win customers over almost every time,” notes Heifner.

Twelve years back Heifner began studying to become a bookbinder and conservator. She gained industry expe¬rience by working in the Preservation Lab at the San Francisco Public Library and apprenticed to a fine printer and typographer for several years to learn the tradition of fine letterpress printing. Four years ago Milkfed Press & Bindery was founded. In addition to her exquisite letterpress correspondence pieces, Heifner designs and cre¬ates custom-bound books and restores tattered old tomes to their glory through delicate restoration services.

Owner Victoria Heifner combines a love of both letterpress and bindery to offer unique pieces that mark special occasions and celebrations of her customers’ lives. Letterpress minimum starts at 100 pieces.

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Wedding Favors For The Bridal Party

wedding bride

wedding bride

They are your best friends, sisters, inlaws, and relatives. They are the women who make up your bridal party and you need special gifts for them. There are many different types of wedding favors that are available for the bridal party. There are general bridal party favors that are used often and then there are also personalized wedding favors that can be given to the bridal party. It is all up to the bride in giving the bridal party what she thinks the women will enjoy. These are a few items that can be popular bridal party favors:

Lotions and oils – Lotions and oils can be great bridal party favors. You can be sure that the women will probably use lotions or oils that are given, as they are very popular items with women. You can get hand or body lotions as well as lotions that are scented. There are many different oils as well from body oils to bath oils. You can also make a little basket and have both of these items in them as a good wedding favor.

Jewelry – Jewelry can be a good option as all the people involved in the bridal party can wear matching jewelry such as a necklace or a bracelet. This can get expensive though if you decide to buy nice jewelry.

Chocolates – Chocolates are always a nice bridal shower wedding favor. A box of chocolates or an assortment can be given as well in a gift basket along with other wedding favors. Many times the bridal party is given chocolates that are personalized such as having the initials of the bride or her new last name.

Purses and handbags – You can also give out handbags and purses to the bridal party for a wedding favor. One nice option is you can have them all match so they can use them at the wedding. From a small wallet to a nice handbag they can be a great wedding favor for any bridal party.

Personalized t-shirts – One way to make the wedding more personal is to have t-shirts made for the special occasion. They can be made in many colors and styles and they are practical as well.

Flowers – A bouquet of flowers is always a nice wedding favor for the bridal party. This way you can ensure that everyone will have a bouquet so they do not have to fight for the one that is thrown by the bride at the reception.

Gift baskets – A gift basket can make it easier to give wedding favors to the bridal party as you can incorporate many things in to the basket. You can put things such as flowers, mugs, wine, coffees, chocolates, oils, lotions, and anything else that is small and will make a nice little gift.

Stationary – You can give stationary as a wedding favor as it is always a nice wedding favor. You can even go a step further by personalizing the stationary with the date or various photos. You can ensure that women in the bridal party will keep in touch with you by giving personalized stationery.

No matter what you choose to get for the women in your bridal party, make sure that it has some type of personal touch added to it so that they will all know it came from your heart. These wedding favors will be something that each one will cherish for many years to come.