A custom deck inspired by the Eames House of Cards

Mar.24, 2015

We recently had the opportunity to work on a really fun and creative custom job for Karen who commisioned an Eames-inpsired House of Cards style deck for her husband's 50th birthday. Read on for details from Karen about this amazing project and gift. We hope it will inspire you as much as it did us!

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects.  The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”
-Charles Eames


John turned 50 on October 10.  I wanted to commemorate the milestone and honor him at the same time.  I hoped to design something that was personal, relevant to his interests and allowed his friends/family (near and far)  to express their wishes, thoughts and memories.

I started by thinking that 50 was really John's mid-century, which was relevant because he has always been drawn to mid-century design and, in particular, to the work of Ray and Charles Eames.  I remembered a fund development project that I had been involved with that used the idea of the iconic Eames House of Cards in a similar way. John and I had used the Eames cards to build "houses" with our sons when they were younger and had always enjoyed the connection between the unique nature of the individual cards and the texture that they brought to a single structure, once the cards were combined.

It was a perfect way to allow for the individual contributors to John's birthday project to express themselves in an authentic and unique way, but also combine their efforts to create a vibrant and beautiful structure.  Each card representing a part of John's life separately, but being an integral part of the whole.  (I've attached the letter of introduction/explanation that I sent out with the cards - which might do a better job of explaining my thinking - I hope anyway).

I commissioned the custom deck because I didn't have the skills to create what I envisioned in my head.  I contacted my friend and graphic designer, Carey Portzline, and pleaded for help.  She graciously agreed to help me and suggested that we connect with Egg Press (ALWAYS my favorite card "shop") to see what was possible.  We decided to create 4 different card designs, each  with a common birthday "stamp" on the reverse side.  The rest of the card diversity was to come from the creativity of our friends and family.  It was a crazy fun project.  Everyone was really respectful of the purpose and goal of the project, and seemed genuinely invested in making the idea into an even better reality.  I was ecstatic with the outcome.  The cards were exactly what I had envisioned - better even.


When the cards were returned, I was overwhelmed.  Each one was unique and told a different story.  I had a box made (by MADE, Inc) so that we could store the cards once the structure came down and that is how  I presented it to John.  His response was layered.  Surprise (which is huge because very little surprises him), appreciation for the beauty of the cards and the box, wonder and gratitude for all of the people who had taken part in honoring him, and celebrating his mid-century.  We also had a lot of fun combining all of the cards into a single "house", which we did in several different combinations.

All in all, it was perfect.

Thanksgiving tips from Anna Mara

Nov.21, 2013

The countdown is on for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the states. To help us get ready, we thought we would check in with our friend Anna Mara for advice on ordering flowers and setting a pretty table.

Hi there Anna,
It's so nice to be your neighbor in the Schoolhouse Electric building, and we are excited to share a table with you again this year at the Portland Bazaar! We are always picking up your beautiful arrangements for our special occasions, when we need to cheer people up, and sometimes, just because. We'd love to ask you a few questions about flowers for the holidays!

Name: Anna Jorgensen
Business name: Anna Mara Flowers
Address: 2181 NW Nicolai Street, Portland OR 97210
Contact info: 503.758.4986,

What is your first memory of flowers?
My first memory of flowers, that's a hard one because I feel like they have just always been there. But there is a very strong memory of when I was graduating pre-school and my mom picked some roses from our garden and made me a little bouquet, bright pink roses and the scent of those roses stuck with me forever. It felt so special.

How did you get into the floral business?
I've always loved working with flowers and so I got my first job working at the most beautiful little flower shop and nursery in the town where I grew up. It seemed like a dream and just so much fun, so I started by just helping to clean flowers just to be around them.

What are your go-to flowers for Fall?
During each season I am drawn more to color rather than particular flowers when making a bouquet, but I do love to include garden roses, ranunculus, hydrangea and hints of gorgeous seasonal foliage. During the fall, the bronze football mum is really striking.

How far in advance should a person order from a florist before a big flower holiday?
At our shop, the more notice the better, but usually a 3-7 day notice is really helpful. We always plan to stock up with the prettiest and freshest selection we can, just in case there are a few last minute needs!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Definitely setting the table and adding the flowers. The centerpiece and flowers on the table truly make it come together and make it feel like a really special occasion.

Describe the way you set your holiday table?
For our table, I like to keep it simple sticking to one color scheme. This year I'm really drawn to the classic white/cream with accents of yellow and gold. I always have a low lush arrangement, usually including hydrangea, garden roses, mums, ranunculus, herbs and fruit. I really love when I can add in something more unusual like date palm or a pincushion protea to add a little something unexpected. Then I like to style the table with extra candles and fruit and if there's room add a few smaller votive size arrangements, usually a single orchid bloom or ranunculus, to playfully dance the length of the table. I got some great tips for place setting from the lovely ladies at Commonwealth I'm excited to incorporate this year too!

What are you thankful for?
It is definitely a time for being grateful and I could not be more blessed to be surrounded and supported by loving family, friends and the best co-workers/neighbors a little flower shop could ask for. I hope everyone can fill their tables with a little flower love and decadence this year and truly celebrate these gifts.

What's new in the shop for the holiday season and/or are you cooking up anything special for the Portland Bazaar?
We are excited to introduce our "winter wonderland" styled terrariums this winter and lots of gorgeous hand made wreaths with a very special local ribbon. Check back soon and come see us at the Portland Bazaar to see what we've been up to!

Learn more about the Portland Bazaar here

Japan, we love you!

Oct.24, 2013
categories: Inspiration, studio, travel

Our second trip to Tokyo was a blast! Our official mission was to exhibit at the Tokyo International Gift Show. We shared a booth with other Oregon based companies; one specializing in essential oils, the other in natural fragrant room sprays. Between the two we were smelling lovely all trip long! Our off-booth hours were spent exploring ramen joints in building basements, jogging around the Imperial Palace (where the Emperor actually lives!), walking around Ginza, gathering inspiration in Daikanyama shops, drinking Whiskey in Shimbashi and scouring the 100 yen stores for studio gifts. Not a moment was wasted and yet we barely scratched the surface! Sayonara for now, Tokyo. We hope to see you again next year.

A Custom Print Job for Christopher and Laura's Wedding

Jun.4, 2013
categories: Friends, Inspiration

We recently got to do a really fun custom print job for the upcoming wedding of a couple of wonderful Portlanders. We were so inspired by all the creativity and thoughtfulness that Chris and Laura were putting into their wedding that we wanted to know more about their special day.

Thank you Chris and Laura for taking time out to talk to us during this busy time. We are so honored to have been able to play a small role in your wedding. Congratulations to you both!!


We are Chris Dyer and Laura Althouse, and we're getting married this July at Peninsula Park in North Portland. Chris is a nurse at the county jail, Laura is an in-house attorney for a company called Qmedtrix. We met two years ago after being introduced by mutual friends--we like to joke that they won the matchmaker World Series since it's resulting in a marriage. In all seriousness, we do owe them a huge debt of gratitude--who knew back then that this simple little get-together would turn into all of this?

Can you tell me about the lemon preserves and how the print job evolved?

We like to make things around the house--we're both really into cooking, making pickles, crafting cocktails at home, that sort of thing. When we were thinking about what to give our guests as wedding favors, we knew we wanted it to be something homemade, and the preserved lemons came to mind right away. They have an incredible savory flavor, great for cooking with; Meyer lemons were in season as opposed to using out-of-season berries for jam, or waiting for summer pickling cucumbers that would have us working on a really tight deadline; best of all, they're really bright and beautiful.

So then, when we met with Cassie at Egg Press, a lemon motif for our printed materials was one of the ideas we brought to the table. We batted around a couple of floral ideas and things of that sort, but it was clear from the outset that everyone was pretty excited about the lemon idea--especially Cassie. Soon, she sent us some proofs of different layouts and font options, all with this really beautiful and naturalistic lemon motif. We did some back and forth emailing to get everything just right, went in to settle on some colors from the Pantone book, and ended up with these really lovely products. We're super excited for our guests to see these. And of course we had a few extras printed for us to keep.

Cassie at Egg Press was really great to work with--she always let us know what our options were, gave us lots of room for input, but wasn't afraid to direct things either. And the results are lovely.

If I have it right, you mentioned you were donating to a marriage equality organization--can you tell me more about that?

We are making a donation, on behalf of all our guests, to The Human Rights Campaign. We feel exceedingly fortunate that we can do this thing--get married--and face basically no barriers. Sure, there's lots of planning and organizing involved, and a little bit of bureaucracy to deal with, but basically, it's easy. We met, we fell in love, we decided to do this, and now it's happening. Done.

For millions of others out there--including close friends, former lovers, family members--the same option doesn't exist to cement their love and commitment in this way, or if it does, it's severely truncated. We feel strongly that we have a responsibility to advocate for others to have the same basic rights we can so easily access, and that the legalization of marriage for the LGBTQ community is among the most important movements of our times.

What has the process of planning your wedding been like?

It's actually been really fun so far. We feel fortunate that we are managing to pull off a pretty DIY wedding that's going to be pretty much how we want it to be. We're really excited about every aspect--Peninsula Park is going to be beautiful; the Firehouse Restaurant, where we're having our reception, is one of our favorite neighborhood joints; we're doing lots of our own crafts and decoration; the flowers are being done by our friend Sara at Solabee Flowers; we absolutely love our photographers, Daniel and Lindsay Stark. The pieces are all falling into place nicely, and we can't wait to share it all with our friends and family.

What makes your wedding uniquely you?

Well, we're planning it ourselves from top to bottom. One of our closest friends is our officiant, we're writing our own vows, making the music mixes ourselves, relying on the great help of several friends to help us pull off all the day-of logistics, the list goes on. More than anything though, we're packing it full of the absolutely best family and friends we have.

It's going to be a really great day.

And the bride wore...

Laura is going to be wearing a beautiful dress by local designer Elizabeth Dye. Chris, not that you asked, is wearing a suit made by the folks over at Duchess Clothiers in SE Portland. We really wanted to keep this thing as local as possible, right down to the clothes. And we're going to look really good together.

Do you have a song?

We're going to be doing our first dance to "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing" by The Magnetic Fields, off of their great 69 Love Songs. I guess you could say that will be our song.

Chris is planning the music for the reception. Guests can expect a wide range of indie rock, pop, reggae, jazz, hip hop, afro-beat, soul, and folk music, not to mention many many many R&B sex jams.

The beautiful portrait of Chris and Laura is courtesy of Daniel Stark Photography.

Quick Trip: SF

Nov.20, 2012
categories: Friends, Inspiration, travel
Sol Food in San Rafael!

P-Town, we love you… but SF, what can we say – your town is a whole lotta inspiring. This last weekend we spent two quick days in The City by the Bay. Our first stop was a tour of the new Heath Ceramics Factory near the Mission. The huge kilns for tile production are not up and running yet but were impressive nonetheless. We ate well: Puerto Rican food in San Rafael, Mexican in Oakland, Belcampo cheeseburgers, sandwiches from Salumeria. We went to Old Oakland for pop-ups (yay for Umami-Mart!), and the Marin Country Mart to visit friends (missing the food cart round up by one day!). And lucky for us our trip coincided with the Heath Ceramics annual sample sale in Sausalito. Needless to say our carry-ons got heavier.

Tom goes to LA

Oct.11, 2012
categories: Inspiration, studio, travel

The Egg Press travels continue! Based on typical LA clichés, it's the last place you'd think to find Tom Sprenkle (Egg Press lead printer extraordinaire) who prefers walking to driving, the abstract over the obvious and wears a uniform of black most days. Once we heard how he spent his time, it all made a little more sense….

Portland was starting to feel like a bubble, so it seemed like a good time to go visit my sister Meg in Los Angeles, which is perhaps the Anti-Portland (or as close as one can get without leaving the country). Los Angeles is a huge and crazy sprawl of different and not always intersecting realities, offering a variety of new perspectives.

Each day we set out on a new adventure. For example we started Thursday by winding through the hills on Mullholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard, on to Malibu for fish tacos, a stop off at the pier and beach in Santa Monica and ending up at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a disorienting and labyrinthine collection of seemingly random curiosities (a statue of Napoleon inside the eye of a needle; a map with lights showing the distribution of trailer parks in the world; a room dedicated to early 20th century neuropsychiatrist Geoffrey Sonnabend—who may or may not have existed—and his Theory of Forgetting. The place is hard to describe—you really must experience it yourself).

Other highlights include sneaking around in the partially (barely) renovated Alexandria Hotel and a visit to the Last Bookstore downtown; finding a row of small contemporary art galleries in what seems like a back alley in chinatown (with exhibits such as the Guns + Roses themed show at Coagula); a visit to the Watts Towers; the wonderfully freakish Venice Beach; watching pelicans fishing in the canal at Playa del Rey just after sunset, enjoying the slightly awkward way they would abruptly twist and dive into the water and then bob back up before taking off again, using their feet as paddles to help get going; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Griffith Observatory where after watching the sunset we saw a half dozen coyotes as we exited the park.

Summer continued…

Sep.26, 2012
categories: Inspiration, studio

Kara Yanagawa, a designer and veteran here at the Egg Press studio has been on many adventures this summer. Here's the latest….

Each September Denali National Park hosts a four-day event called "Road Lottery." During these four days, winners of a lottery drawing are given a chance to purchase a single, day-long permit, allowing them to drive as much of the Denali Park Road as weather allows. At other times of the year when the park is open, the only way into the park is on a bus.

My family has made a new tradition of entering the lottery and have scored a permit two years and running. I joined them this year for a 4 day getaway including good eats, thrift shopping and two nights and a full day at Denali National Park. The weather on our permit day was the best you could ask for - clear and somewhat sunny. Never mind the constant wind and 45 degree temp - it wasn't raining (as it had the day before and the day after) and we were happy. We saw six large grizzly bears - mammas and cubs mostly, Dall sheep lounging in the sun and a flock of swans making their way south. The fall colors were amazing - a range of yellows to reds mixed with the deep greens of the pines and the minty green of the lichen. We made it out to Wonder Lake (mile 85) at the end of the road - and got a quick glimpse of the mountain herself at the end of the day when the clouds cleared and we got a peek at her peak (see main image).

ISOT and Tokyo!

Jul.11, 2012
categories: Inspiration, travel

We are back from Tokyo - tired and inspired. The Egg Press team was busy! We explored Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza, Ebisu / Daikanyama, and of course spent a lot of time on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay which hosts among other things, Tokyo Big Sight – the home of ISOT (the International Stationery Show)! We had a great time at the show introducing our line to fellow paper lovers and meeting local letterpress printers and folks in the industry.

We heart Japan! And we were inspired by literally everything - 100 yen stores, convenience stores, street signs, street fashion, bicycles, vending machines, the food... And we were blown away by so much thoughtful design and rich retail environments / experiences. Amongst our favorite were:

Tsutaya Daikanyama

If you are in Tokyo or planning a trip, go check them out!


Jun.13, 2012
categories: Inspiration, New York

We had so much fun in NYC—eating delicious food, visiting our friends at Purl SoHo, getting inspired at the Marimekko flagship store, seeing the Schiaparelli/Prada "Impossible Conversations" show at the MET, and exploring the city (we heart the High Line!). Just like Portland in the spring, we had to carry our sunglasses and umbrellas at all times.

Now we're back and getting caught up on post-show thank yous with the help of these new designs we call 'quiet thank yous' (soon to be available on and our new fountain pen from Muji. We are also filling our coordinating notebook with lists and notes as we prepare for our Japan trip at the end of the month. JAPAN!

Jayson's letter sweater

Mar.15, 2012
categories: Inspiration, studio

Last week we were inspired by our co-worker Jayson's vintage wool sweater. Turns out it was made right here in Portland, Oregon at Dehen Knitting Company! When we investigated further we learned more about Dehen – an amazing company with a rich history of providing authentic knit goods, and we felt a kinship to their commitment to quality and craft.

From their site: Dehen persevered and continues to provide crafted product, still made in Portland, Oregon, often on machines that are older than the people that operate them.

Machines that are older than the people that operate them??! That sounds familiar!

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