From the moment I began to exist, I loved three things.

      #1: Cats. We do not need to elaborate too much there. But as an anecdote, my favorite comment was made by a boyfriend a long time ago as we were traveling through Europe, in towns littered with strays, each of whom I tried to befriend. As I crouched and extended my hand to the umpteenth feline, enticing it to come out from beneath an overturned rowboat in exchange for a head scratch, he observed, “You stop for all cats.” I never realized it until he said it, but yes. Yes I do. I stop for all cats. And I think my traveling companion was kind of annoyed and/or horrified by it, because by all he meant ALL. The one-eyed versions, tail-less versions, the oily-haired versions. I’d stop to pet them all, pet them all good. And then go back and reach for his hand. Ha ha.

      #2: Strawberries. I also stop for all strawberries. Dan has a co-worker who loves to bake desserts on the weekends. On Monday he IM’d me to say that this co-worker had this time brought in her own chocolate-covered strawberries, and they were colossal. I made him do a ghetto move and bring one back for me in a Tupperware. When he came home, I removed the strawberry from the Tupperware and the chocolate from the strawberry, ate just the strawberry, then said, “Oh hi you’re home.”

      #3: Paper, and any paper-related goods, such as pens. My mom said I knew how to “write” before I could talk. If there was no paper to write on, I used my arm, my leg. Several years ago when my college BFF and I were unhappy at our desk jobs, we dreamed up a plan to start our own business in custom wedding invitations. She would be the right brain of the business, I would be the left.

      We particularly liked letterpress so we decided we’d specialize in letterpressed stationery, and even went so far as to name the business The Cats on Beacon Hill. (By the way, this friend of mine calls me Cat and I call her Kitty. This whole cat thing runs deeeep.) Beacon Hill was (is) my favorite neighborhood in Boston. The residents are the type of clients we would want to cater to. Also we thought it sounded nice.

      We had a couple of brainstorming sessions and even a few excel spreadsheets were drawn, but the start-up collapsed due to insufficient funds and lack of…anything and everything else necessary to start a business. For example, one question that came up during brainstorming was, “Um OK so how does letterpressing work…?” Neither of us really knew, and then we had a meeting to go to and a conference call to make, and well we never got to researching that part of our letterpressing business.

      My love of paper is still intact though, and if I weren’t doing photography, I still would love my own little printing business. The thing that’s stopping me now isn’t lack of focus or drive. It’s lack of space. I met Sarah’s 100+ years-old press last weekend and it’s huuuge! But so beautiful. Sigh. I want one.

      I think I need to get married again so I can have Sarah do the wedding invitations. Or maybe I need to finally have that baby now so she could do the announcements. Hmm.

      But in the meantime, I am so, so, so happy about this:

      And this!

      They are CUSTOM-MADE (eeeeeee!!) letterpress plates made from my font and my logo.

      Sarah mixed up the ink paste herself, matching the shade to that of the orange on my business card. Below are some practice sheets. I saw these in her studio – ah such a pretty little studio!! – and asked if I could have them.

      Something about seeing my name and logo stamped over and over on scrap notecards had me in a small state of bliss. It just illustrates how painstakingly handmade, and therefore imperfect, and therefore beautiful, the whole process is.

      100 cards inked and pressed by hand, just for me. This might sound crazy, but these cards are a DREAM COME TRUE.

      The plan is to include a little note with each print order I make. The cards were going to say “Thank You” at the top, but then I couldn’t resist seeing my name in print. Also, now they don’t necessarily have to be thank you cards. Wish my name were longer though…more letters to press. “Knightly” would be a great name to see letterpressed. Or “M. Night Shyamalan.”

      I’ve been gliding my fingertips over the impressions like inverted Braille. I don’t think I can bear to give any of these away.

      If you get one of these notes from me, you must promise to never throw it away, ok? Not even into the recyling bin.

      So if anyone has their own business and needs personalized cards for that added touch, or is getting married soon or knows someone who is getting married soon, tell them about Sarah and Things are Better With a Parrott. Because they are! Go local, go boutique, go special! Check out her etsy shop too! You will love your exquisitely made cards.

      Love love love.


      Oh god, they’re so gorgeous. I love paper. And cats. And strawberries. Ahhhh they’re just so pretty!

      These are absolutely lovely. The orange ink adds a lovely modern touch to an otherwise ancient craft!

      OMG That is the most fabulous find ever! I’m with you, I am in love with paper (probably why I majored in drawing?). I think the stamped note cards are just so amazingly awesome.

      I am also a sucker for the paper goods. These are soooo nice! Congrats.

      They’re fantastic! I visited Sarah’s sight and she needs to have you come back for another “swap”, this time doing her portfolio. It’s all very pretty, but I can’t tell that they’re letterpressed, unlike your second to last photo. In that one, I can see the indentations, but I’m not picking that up at all on her pictures, they just look stamped – pretty, but not as much “WOW” factor.

      So, statement #1? My mom is exactly the same way. Wherever they go on vacation, my mother finds the cats. Here they are in Athens – with mom petting the street cats in Athens. Here they are in Hawaii – with mom petting the cats on the mountain. Mom petting the Hemingway cats on Key West. Fortunately for my mother, there are a lot of cats in the world waiting for her to come and pet them!

      Thank you so much, Li, for this wonderful post. :) I am so happy you love your stationery and look forward to working with you again!

      Steph: The reason that all of the pictures on Sarah’s website do not look letterpressed is because most of her projects (about half or more) are done with gocco printing (japanese screenprinting technique) and not letterpress. Although gocco is a fading artform (the supplier of gocco products has discontinued the production of gocco materials), it still allows many to obtain a handmade product at a lower price. For more about gocco, check…. people even have local fundraisers to “save gocco”: !!!

      I do think the letterpress option is worth the premium price for that “wow” factor (deep impression) that you are talking about. Anyways… just wanted to explain that as I’m a fan of gocco. letterpress and Sarah (and Li!). :-)

      Oh they are beautiful and I totally get your love of them. For the record I think “Li Ward” is an wonderfully strong but feminine name for the head of your company. They did a fantastic job with the fonts, sizes and whatnot’s.

      As for stopping for ALL cats . . . doesn’t everyone do that?

      Thought of you today as I was sipping on a glass of wine at an in-town Virginia Highlands restaurant (Atkin’s Park) and a doll baby girl Lab of 16 years old was making the rounds saying “hi” to all. So hard to get her in a good shot. I just kept snapping away with my camera.

      about time i had my fat orange cat fix!
      meeeeeeOOOW! what beeeauuutiful paper, its the kind u wouldn’t mind getting paper cuts from.haha
      keep up the beautiful work Li =D
      Looovin it!