Need ideas for a baby shower? We're big fans of the Scandinavian look--black, white, and natural wood...and a bit of gold thrown in always seems like a good idea. Here are some of our latest looks/invites that we did for a baby shower this summer. 






The napkins, train set, water bottles and coasters are all from IKEA, the flowers are from Trader Joe's, the tissue paper and favor containers are from Target, the white tablecloths, plates, utenils, and 36" white ballons are from Party City, and the black & white striped runners, blue & white streamers, and gold dot banners were purchased from Etsy. PPP made the invites and the table signs. 

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I feel like I've put together a lot of moodboards in the past few years, usually for whatever room we seem to be redoing (and even for rooms that we weren't). I've made boards for friends wanting custom / personalized invitations, products, and so on. But lately, I've been inspired by all the cool nursery / kids rooms that I've come across and it totally made me want to put together a hip moodboard for a small person. If I was a baby and these were my digs, I'd be one happy kiddo. No shock that I went with the Scandinavian look of white, black, and natural wood. Sources at the bottom. 


Rug | Bouncer | Sleep Sack | Basket | Crib Sheet | Wall Color | Crib | Light | Glider | Pillow | Gold Dot Decals | Onsies | Light | Diaper | Blocks | Ikea Pax | Stroller | Blanket | Clipboard | Changing Pad | Boppy

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It's 2015. And while I'm a tad behind getting this up on the site, it's calendar time! Luckily you can still enjoy 11 other months before 2015 comes to an end. Similiar to the one we made last year, this one uses the same wooden clipboard hanger which makes it super easy to hang just about anywhere. Office? Yep. Bathroom? Sure. Kitchen? Of course! The calendar has been for sale on our Etsy site which is embarassingly bare lately, but you know, there's only so many hours in the day and a lot of my time lately has been focused on coins and Netflix, so sorry-not-sorry.

I've also been creatively starved lately. Everything is boring, amirite? And it's not for lack of trying...oh, I'm definitely trying to find some quick and fun DIY project to help get me out of this winter funk. Even the tulips I bought from Trader Joe's this week look bland and colorless. It must be the end of January, aka, my least favorite time of the year. But you know what, that's ok. It could be worse. I could be on the east coast right now looking at my ability to leave the house vanish under the weight of 3 feet of snow.

Ahh, the bright side of things.

Anyway, while there is absolutely zero surviving vegetation in this house, I can still look at the pretty flowers on my calendar... Get yours here!


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Hello, Holidays! It's my favorite time of year--the Christmas trees, the music, the food, the people, the snow flurries. We've had another great year at PPP creating your special cards and invitations, and we are looking forward to even more next year! We've created a new calendar for 2015 which will be for sale shortly on our Etsy page, but for now, here's a look at our family Christmas card and decorations.

I loved our 2013 Christmas card so much that I ended up sticking with a similiar floral scheme. Of all the cards I've made this year, this is probably one of my favorites. It's so cheerful and bright and I love the randomness of the snow, the flowers and the text. Hopefully you received one of our cards this year, if not, make sure to send us your address so that you get one next year!

Our Christmas tree is a little different this year! We loved our old tree so much, but due to electrical issues we had to stop using it. I started looking around for taller trees (since our last tree was only 6 ft and we have 12 ft ceilings) because I wanted to go big. But going big meant paying big, so that was discouraging. At exactly the same time, my wonderful aunt was looking to sell her 9 ft tree, so we jumped at the chance and brought this baby back from Michigan during the summer. You'd never know that this tree is something like 9 years old...because it's perfect. It illuminates the whole loft when it's on (which is practically all day since I can't stop myself from turning it on as soon as I get up). The tree is pre-lit with roughly 1 million white lights and there are pine cones nestled within the branches. Everything is perfect! Except! That remember this post about finding the perfect tree collar that I wrote last year? Yeah, well the base on this 9 ft tree is about 6" wider all around, which meant that I was starting over on that project. I ended up scouring every place I could think of, trying to create my own DIY basket, and in the end virutally giving up...until I saw that Ballard Designs carried a white-washed tree collar in a 30" diameter. It barely fits, and by barely I mean it sits up a little bit in the back, but since no one can see that part I'm going to put the perfectionist in me aside on this one. So, here she is in all her beauty!















We hope you have a wonderful holiday and a safe and healthy New Year! Thank you again for your continued support of PaperPlanePress!

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When I say there aren't enough hours in the day, what I really mean is that I have way too many interests and I can never quite fit everything in during a normal 16 hr day (this is assuming I get 8 hrs of sleep, but let's be real, it's more like 6 after I watch two episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix...ok after I watch one episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix and fall asleep halfway through the second one).

But, here's a pretty easy DIY craft that takes literally an hour to make. I saw it a few months ago on this blog and I loved it so much that I wanted to make one for our front door.

It's pretty easy and there are a million ways to style your yarn tapestry since basically any type of yarn will work, but I tried to go for several textures and one or two thicker yarns to give it that bulkier look. Supplies: Scissors, Yarn, wooden dowl, leather cord (found in jewely section at Joann's), plastic canvas and a little bit of creativity.

To make the lengths, I just wrapped the yarn around my elbow (for the longer sections) and around my hand (for the shorter sections). I tied them with a string at both ends and then cut them on either side to make two sections.

Eventually ou'll have a bunch of sections, short and long and you'll need to attach them to the plastic. Here's a horrible visual of mine showing where I tied them. It's not really an exact science...but 'm not gonna lie, I made several counting errors the first time I tried to attach them to the plastic. But, the end product is just as weird as I'd like it to be and it looks pretty awesome hanging on the front door.



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A few weeks ago we went to New Buffalo to celebrate our 5 year anniversary...and mostly to get some fresh air. It seems like fall is really here now, but at the end of Septmber we were blessed with one last beach-weather weekend. It's so nice to be able to hop in the car and within 2 hours be in the most beautiful place ever. I'm one of those big-water people. I don't have to be in it to enjoy it, but the bigger the body of water, the better. And, for all the traveling we've done in the past few years, (and all the seas, oceans, and lakes we've vacationed near), there is nothing like Lake Michigan.


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Oh fall. You're so great with your swirly clouds, cool breezes, & your pretty flowers. We're taking a few days off from the internets to work on other projects and enjoy being outdoors, picking apples, eating a lot of good food, and celebrating our anniversary--5 years, y'all. We'll be back next week with a sweet DIY yarn tapestry and a new way to decorate your front door for fall.

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Finally, some light. I got this super heavy-duty lamp back in February from the Brown Elephant and while I knew it needed some love, I was pretty unprepared for how much time it would take to just replace the cord...and then the threaded light socket...and then the switch..and then the bulb.

Here's the lamp in its totally attractive before state. The shade is clearly an afterthought and while the lamp actually worked, the cord and plug were definitely janky and the last thing we need is a house fire. I thought this would be an easy fix. New cord, remove the shade altogether, and just toss on an edison bulb. And while that's exactly what we did, it took way (way, way) too long.


I thought I'd go all out and pick up a sweet cloth-covered cord, but the hole in the lamp arm was so tiny that I was nervous it wouldn't fit. Luckily that part at least worked out. I also picked up an edison bulb at the local Menards.










But, as with retrofitting anything, we had to pick up a few extra washers and tweak a few things along the way. I kinda love the way it turned out, though. A little old, a little new, and a lot of new that looks like it's old. Win-win.

Here's one last before-and-after shot to appreciate how far a few bucks can go into turning something meh into something awesome.

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I'm anxiously awaiting fall here, or at least some kind of weather void of humidity. I have several spray-painting projects that I want to accomplish but I'm worried that I won't have the perfect weather/time/patience trifecta. In the meantime, several of our deck flowers reached their overgrown state / expiration, so I spent some time on the deck earlier this week cleaning things up and cutting back the vines that had grown so long they were wrapping themselves around the deck boards. Whoopsch. Nothing says fall like the Bears losing their first game and mums, so after a short trip to Cali for business, I picked up some fall foliage to get in the mood. 



I'm also working on a new wreath for the front door because the last one fell and cracked (yes, the styrofoam actually separated) and made a super sorry yarn mess in the hallway. My plan is to create something similiar but slightly modified. 

We're also working on a lamp project that was supposed to be a super simple quick fix but has turned into a project where I sit online searching for threaded light sockets and double-gauged wire. Hopefully the parts show up soon so we can check that guy off the list. 

Other than that, it's almost time to start designing holiday cards to get up on Etsy. Hopefully we Chicagoans actually have a nice fall before the arctic tundra sets in and we are housebound for 5 months. Hopefully...


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Above: City maps of a few of the places we've visited along the years...Copenhagen, Paris, Athens, Munich, Stockholm.

It's a celebration! We've been in the loft for 5 years now and I can't believe how much this place has changed. Well, I can, because looking at these "before" shots is kind of shocking to me. I clearly forgot about all the work we did around here. And, if we're being honest (I think we're at that point in the relationship now) I'm shocked that as soon as I walked into this place that I was sold instantly. Maybe I knew what it could become with a lot of paint...and I'm so glad that I was willing to overlook so many things...you'll see what what I mean when we get to the photos. So, without further ado, here are the "before" shots of our "Italian Villa Loft" that were taken by my father-in-law during our inspection back in '09. 

The Dining Room/Entry, before. Note our awesome realtor pondering the existence of extreme faux finishes (sponge painting, stripes, sponge painting over stripes, an all-over sand wash, and the ultimate winner--faux leather!) while Kevin and I are having a serious conversation on whether or not to hold our next Knights of the Roundtable meeting under that 200lb chandelier. Fun fact: I tried to sell that chandelier for two months. The retail price was over $1400. Shockingly, no one wanted it so it ended up at the Brown Elephant. Adorable Fun Fact: Kevin and I are both wearing boat shoes.

Now. Less clutter, more storage, and without the sponge-painted walls. Our dining room is virtually all CB2--the table, the chairs, and the black light. The three 8 ft cabients are from IKEA and are amazing. Our entryway nook has a small tufted linen and brass bench by Threshold for Target below a framed copy of the HOLSTEE Manifesto. Horns are everywhere in this house, so just get used to it.


The Living Room, before. Definitely not our style, but stil cozy and inviting. I totally miss those 12 ft long metallic silver blinds though, not.


Now. The wood floor is the same and we've added an 8x10 FLOR rug and turned the back wall into a giant stripe gallery. The main color in the room is gray (spoiler alert: every wall in the house is some shade of gray). Gone are the metallic blinds, surround sound speakers, and garish red wall. The furniture is a mix of old and new. The couch is from Room and Board and the sideboard is a vintage piece from Modern Cooperative in Pilsen.


The Bedroom, before. This room still makes me gag a little bit. I mean the leathery faux finish, the wicker, the carpet...

Now. No more carpet or faux leather walls. We've gone minimalist with all of our furniture and replaced the blinds. The bed is from Room and Board and the dresser is from CB2. The stools are from Roost in Andersonville and the brass MCM lamps were a gift. Bedding is from IKEA.


The Bathroom, before. The sinks are in the hallway between both of the bedrooms and the flooring was...carpet. So gross. The toliet and shower are in a separate room.


Now. The first thing we did when we got the keys to this place was gut the bathroom. We were able to do most of the demo ourselves (cue long nights of me sitting on the bathroom floor scraping carpet glue off the concrete) and we were able to buy all of our bathroom pieces locally from Community Home Supply. The bathroom was originally all white, but as soon as the painters left, I put that gray stripe in there. I couldn't help myself.



The Second Bedroom, before. Here it is, the culmination of bad faux finishes. We've got sponge patining and stripes...and some UFO sconces. 

Now. We've turned this room into an office because that seemed like the adult thing to do. Plus, we needed a space to store all of our computer equipment and everything that comes along with the letterpress business. We've also got my digital piano in there and our washer/dryer (which is hidden in one of the closets). This room has gone through a lot of phases in the last 5 years, but it finally feels finished now.

The Kitchen, before. Not much has changed in here except for the wall color. I'm not a super huge fan of the backsplash but the idea of changing anything scares me at this point because I imagine I'll start with something small and it will turn into a gut job. The previous owner had just finished re-doing this space before he listed it and he made some smart decisions regarding the layout/appliances. If we were doing it over, I would have gone with a lighter scheme because there isn't a lot of natural light in here.

Now. So similiar but so different. More gray and we added some white stools to the counter. What a difference a coat of paint makes, right? I really do love the kitchen, especially in the fall/winter when I can hide in there and bake and cook. It may not be huge (said in a Donald Trump voice) but it's definitely laid out well (except for that giant concrete support) and very efficient. 


The Deck, before. Other than the furniture/flower boxes the deck is pretty much the same. So, I guess it's all different then?

Now. New flower boxes and different styling. We spend a lot of time on the deck in the spring-fall months and being able to have an outdoor space that's all our own is really awesome.

I'm glad I finally put this post together just so I can map the evolution of this place over the last five years. I guess it's true what they say about design, it's never really finished. It's so easy to change up a space with color or accessories. Maybe if I had more time I'd start a third business...just kidding.


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PaperPlanePress is a husband/wife collaboration based out of an old pencil factory loft in chicago. Who would think that when you put together a computer engineer and a world coin numismatist you'd get creative gold.


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