49 Hours in NYC: The Stationery Show, Part 2

NSS 2015 // 417 press | simple pretty

417 press

Even though the bulk of my time at the Stationery Show is pre-plotted and painstakingly researched (because I am a details person: you may call it OCD), it’s inevitable that I’ll stumble across a serendipitous find. or two. or three. Part two of my recap features my favorite “finds” from the aisles of Javits.

I first took note of 417 Press (photo at top) while perusing the press room: the press kit, with simple type on a white envelope, jumped out at me from the shelves, and I snapped a quick photo to remind me of the booth number. Canadian designer Michelle Secondi noticed a lack of simple letterpress options in her hometown of Montreal and took action. The line of greeting cards features simple typography accented by bright fluorescent inks, and I loved it. An Etsy shop is launching shortly.

laura stoddart for hester and cook // NSS 2015 | simple pretty

laura stoddart for hester and cook

As someone who is a bit obsessive about British artist Laura Stoddart, I was thrilled to see new products featuring her whimsical watercolor style at Hester & Cook. A new illustration, ‘Butler’s Pantry’, will be featured on placemats and coasters as well as journals and gift wrap. Here’s hoping this is the first of many new pieces from Ms. Stoddart.

line posters // NSS 2015 | simple pretty


Loved LinePosters translation of metropolitan transit systems into graphic prints + letterpress cards, even though I remain skeptical of the Los Angeles version. Clever execution.

ditto ditto 'somewhere in time' // NSS 2015 | simple pretty

ditto ditto ‘somewhere in time’

As someone who is becoming buried by souvenir ephemera (because I have this grand plan of documenting our time in London yet never get around to doing it), I was happy to discover Ditto Ditto‘s new ‘Somewhere in Time’ collection. The line of folders, organizers, and pockets is designed to make organizing and displaying memories easy and pretty.

margins imprint // NSS 2015 | simple pretty

‘la luna’ letterpress cards: margins imprint

Margins Imprint caught my eye with its understated aesthetic. The La Luna letterpress cards, available in blind deboss and gray (and also as prints), appealed to my love of all things celestial. Also a favorite? Margins’ gorgeous Om Seed Sound prints.

sleigh wrap: miks letterpress+ // NSS 2015 | simple pretty

sleigh wrap: miks letterpress +

I’m always on the hunt for Christmas gift wrap. DC-based Miks Letterpress+  introduced a line of blueprint/architect-esque wrap in holiday motifs, including Santa’s sleigh, jingle bells, and dreidels. So good and would be great juxtaposed with an over-the-top big ribbon, or accented with simple cotton tape à la Angela Liguori.

mr boddington gift wrap // NSS 2015 | simple pretty

mr boddington gift wrap

Finally, I always enjoy the undercurrent of wit at Mr. Boddington’s Studio. New this year is a gift wrap featuring a vibrant array of color swatches. It’s best enjoyed up close so you can read all of the delightfully-named hues: some of the options for grey include ‘5th Avenue Pigeon’, ‘Arc de Triomphe’, or ‘Beijing Smog’. And of course, there’s a ‘Peonies’ pink. I might have to frame a sheet.

all photos by jane potrykus

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49 Hours in NYC: The Stationery Show, Part One

NSS 2015 // felix doolittle | simple pretty

felix doolittle

I’m back from my whirlwind trip Across The Pond for the National Stationery Show. What may seem a bit crazy to many of you (only 49 hours in the city?) actually was very efficient, as many of my friends from across the country were in town for the show. (I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t quickly say thank you to the lovely team at Paperless Post for hosting a fabulous party Monday night, which allowed me to catch up with some of my dearest paper friends without the guilt of pulling them away from order taking.)

To give you a taste of the show, I’ve broken down my visit into two posts. The first covers “friends”, and the second (coming up shortly) will feature my “finds”. Enjoy!

A stop at Felix Doolittle‘s booth (photo at top) never fails to bring a smile to my face. Loren and Felix could be two of the kindest people on the planet, and that spirit carries through to their designs and customer service. I’ve long admired Felix Fu’s gift for illustration and watercolor, and so I’m thrilled that they’re slowly adding larger prints of his work to frame and display. (And I must say, it was a special treat to spend time with them at the Paperless Post party: Loren knows how to work a party photo!)

NSS 2015 // sugar paper | simple pretty

sugar paper

Infectious enthusiasm permeated Sugar Paper‘s booth. This year, it was all about black and white with a splash of gold, meticulously edited, of course. I’m loving the new collaboration with Jennifer Vallez: her peppy illustrations are featured on a line of notecards and framable prints (shown above). And I’m coveting Sugar Paper’s brand-new line of luxe desk accessories, especially the snail letter opener — swoon. (New additions should be online soon!)

NSS 2015 // the social type | simple pretty

the social type

Another must-see booth was The Social Type. Not only for the brand’s bright + cheery line of greeting cards, but also to meet the newest member of The Social Type family: Allison’s daughter, Pia. (Allison, call me if you’re in London and need a babysitter!)

NSS 2015 // iron curtain press | simple pretty

iron curtain press

There’s definitely a California theme running through this post: Iron Curtain Press does such brilliant minimal letterpress work (designer Rosanna Kvernmo remembered my obsession with this simple pretty thank you set). New this year is Shorthand, a soon-to-launch line of notebooks, notepads, and desk supplies (including “yay” washi tape! oh how I want that washi tape). A nice detail: the notebooks have rounded corners, which is an important feature to prevent visible wear-and-tear during use.

NSS 2015 // ink meets paper | simple pretty

ink meets paper

New this year from Charleston, SC letterpress studio Ink Meets Paper was Gatherings, a line of boxed fill-in invitations that are ready to send whether your party is for 2 or 12. (Having letterpress printed envelope liners is a nice touch.) Keep a box of these in your stationery arsenal to lend last-minute get-togethers a bit of affordable style.

NSS 2015 // studio carta | simple pretty

studio carta

Last stop on my “friends” tour was Angela Liguori’s Studio Carta. Angela always partners for the show with Albertine Press, and it was so civilized to take a few minutes to share an espresso-and-chat with Angela and Shelley at their booth And if you’re looking for the utmost in beautiful cotton ribbons, Studio Carta has you covered.

all photos by jane potrykus

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Helen Beard Ceramics

helen beard ceramics | simple pretty

a close-up of beard’s watercolor-illustrated ceramics at her craft central studio, including cylinder vases (front)

As someone who loves the idea of collections but hates (fears) clutter, artist Helen Beard’s ceramics seem like the perfect compromise.  Her illustrated pottery begs to be displayed, but looks and feels like it can withstand use and “love”. I’ve been a fan of Beard’s for a while — I think my first discovery was her simple, elegant bird cups sold at Ashes & Milk. This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to see her pieces thanks to Craft London events at Fortnum & Mason as well as Beard’s studio space at Craft Central in Clerkenwell. (My timing was off and though I had hoped to meet her in person, it didn’t work out: I wanted to hear about her inspirations, and ask about her experience as an apprentice to Edmund de Waal! I did meet Beards’s current apprentice, Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown and was happy to discover her more minimalist line of ceramics.)

Beard’s whimsical illustration style works perfectly on pottery: many of the pieces have London themes (Lido fans should check out her charming “swimmers” collection). I’m hemming and hawing, plotting a “souvenir” order: choosing my favorite place in London will be hard! If you’re smitten, too, options include one-of-a-kind custom pieces that are individually thrown and hand-painted, an affordable line of dailyware (slip-cast from molds and decorated using decals and on-glaze paints), as well as a limited-edition sketchbook and an assortment of greeting cards.

helen beard ceramics, royal albert hall bowl | simple pretty

a custom large bowl at craft central, featuring royal albert hall

helen beard ceramics, egg cups | simple pretty

egg cups at fortnum & mason

helen beard ceramics at craft central | simple pretty

more of beard’s ceramics at craft central (bowl, front right, features the chelsea physic garden)

helen beard ceramics, beakers and cups | simple pretty

a wall of beakers and cups at craft central

photos by jane potrykus

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Photo Favorites: May 2015

juliet roses from wild things flowers | jane potrykus photo for simple pretty

May is flying right along (at times, I feel like I’m living life with the fast-forward button on). At the end of this week, I’m heading to New York to attend the stationery show: I’m so excited to see what’s new from my creative paper friends and get a dose of the USA. Back in London, junior year is winding down with exams and prom and all things spring. Deep breaths all around …

To unwind, click through a few of my latest Instagram favorites:

  1. Beautiful day to fly!
  2. Upstairs at violet.
  3. spotted on my way to the train station.
  4. untitled
  5. We are soooo close to sharing a full tour … **
  6. All most there.
  7. A little slice of Japan in San Francisco.
  8. A leafy paint doodle ….
  9. untitled
  10. untitled
  11. Ranuncs on the breakfast table!
  12. untitled
  13. { A new journal } …
  14. missing this light today
  15. Magic carpet …
  16. The menu at this South Bay pastry heaven
  17. Moo cows – near.
  18. Quack!
  19. The Basics
  20. blowsy and beautiful.
  21. Love at first sight.
  22. loving these colors at FARMSHOP.

image at top by jane potrykus (the flowers are david austin ‘juliet’ roses and they’re a new favorite!)

** this kitchen is amazing! i’m ready to move in.

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Simple Pretty Soho

a simple pretty guide to soho | simple pretty

Last summer, we moved from Notting Hill to St. John’s Wood in order to be closer to our son’s school. At first, I missed having all of Notting Hill’s options at my doorstep but quickly realized it was a fantastic opportunity to broaden our horizons and see more of London. We’re now closer to Soho, which is just a quick tube ride away (accessed via Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus). The area is vibrant and packed with dining, shopping, and people-watching options. (It’s also relatively spread out, and therefore my map focuses on the west half of Soho.) Often, we’ll head down on a Saturday for a leisurely afternoon of walking and window-shopping while we decide where to eat. My favorite restaurants tend to serve small plates and are heavily slanted toward Italian food, but that just means if you’re visiting London, they’re all great choices to pop into for a quick bite (and a drink: you are in London, after all). No post-meal nap required. Win win, right?

For a visit to Soho, I suggest you:


  • Bocca di Lupo The place to go for Italian small plates. (Many of the dishes come in “small” and “large”: the wait staff is more than happy to help you figure out how much to order.) Parties of two are seated at the bar, but don’t fret: that’s exactly where you want to be as it offers a full view of the kitchen. After you order, watch the chef and staff work their efficient and delicious magic. A signature dish is the Nduja sausage orecchiette, but seasonal specials also shine. (12 Archer Street // @boccadilupo)
  • Central & Co A popular spot for brunch, but our preference is to slip in right as that service is ending for lunch and cocktails. Reliable brasserie fare. (22 Great Marlborough Street // @centralandco)
  • Damson & Co Coffee shop by morning; wine bar by afternoon, the always-charming Damson & Co boasts an extensive menu of G&Ts (we’re working our way through the list) and flavorful small plates with a focus on healthy fare. (21 Brewer Street // @DamsonAndCo)
  • Fernandez & Wells Soho is home to F&W’s first two locations. (There are now six F&W’s in London.) The original shop, on Lexington Street, has an evening feel as the menu is focused on charcuterie, cheese, bread, and wine, while right-around-the-corner at Beak Street, mornings and mid-day take the lead with coffee, baked goods, and sandwich options. Both are excellent — and both are usually packed. (73 Beak Street + 43 Lexington Street // @fernandezwells)
  • Flat Iron Steak and a small salad for £10? It’s hard to beat that deal. Add some fries or a side, and a glass of wine for the win. (A second option for entrée changes daily.) Communal/bench seating + yes, you’ll probably wait a bit at peak hours. (17 Beak Street // @flatironsteak)
  • Polpo Of all the restaurants on this list, I’ve probably eaten at Polpo the most. Once, it was twice in one weekend! So many great options on the small plates menu, but Polpo’s prosecco + pizzette (with an affogato for dessert) keep calling my name. (41 Beak Street // @polpo)
  • Princi I wish I could tell you the “insiders” time to visit, but I’ve never seen this place without a crowd: even off-hours are busy. Half the restaurant is table service (no reservations) and the other half is counter service with a plethora of tempting options. The wall of bread alone is photo worthy. And please do not leave without a pastry or two for breakfast! They are not to be missed. (135 Wardour Street // @princi_milano)



  • Ham Yard Hotel The latest addition to the Firmdale stable has it all: a hotel + restaurant decorated in Kit Kemp’s instantly recognizable style, a spa (+ a separate nail salon), a bowling alley which screams rent-me-for-parties, and short-term apartments for those who’d like to stay a little longer (wish that were me!) Plus, the property’s immediate surroundings have been reënvisioned as an urban village. Retail onsite includes Caramel Baby & Child, Bloomsbury Flowers, My Cup of Tea, and more. (Instagram tip: the courtyard’s lights are a fantastic backdrop for evening selfies!) (One Ham Yard // @ham_yard)



  • JP Books 2015 is the year my addiction to Japanese magazines took hold. First was Fudge, and now, the object of my affection is the newly-launched Cluél. (Why the US doesn’t offer something similar is beyond me. No matter: JP Books makes ordering + collecting my favorite print indulgences a breeze. The shop, right across the street from the Ham Yard, is well-stocked for browsing and discovering. (24-25 Denman Street)



  • Liberty  If you follow anyone on Instagram who lives in or is visiting London, chances are they’ve taken a photo of the Liberty flower stand, run by Nikki Tibbles/Wild at Heart. I must confess, I take a photo every time I walk by: it’s impossible not to. Observing the variety of flower offerings each time I visit is a lovely way to track the change in seasons, and Peony Season is almost here. (Flower stand on Great Marlborough Street // @libertylondon + @realwildatheart)

note: “@” addresses denote twitter account names

map layout, design & type by jane potrykus

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