The Whole Package

One of the trickiest parts of having a small crafty business (yes, I’m
actually calling it a business now. I figure that’s a good start.) is
deciding on all the supporting materials that go with the work.  It is
easy for me to lose hours working on doll designs or under the sewing
machine but stopping to take the time to work on labels and business
cards and stationary is always a challenge. I think because there is so
much more involved than just the design. All the production stuff
eludes me. With no art school background I always have to start at the
beginning when trying to figure out screening or printing or stamping
or what not. Of course Tim is a huge help with all of it but the poor
fellow can hardly keep up with the demands I make on him so I’m trying
to get my act together and actually do some of these things my damn

I am reinvigorated in my quest by this cool book by Ellen Lupton,
D.I.Y. Design it Yourself. The table of contents gets my heart pumping: press kits – yes please!,
stickers – right on!, stationary – of course!, books – yes yes!!


The book is a collection of amazing design ideas all created by
students and faculty in the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland
Institute College of Art and they’re all very do it yourself.
Printing stickers on your home printer, make book covers out of beer
cases, iron on transfers on t-shirts. The work they come up with is so inventive. You can see some of them over here at their
website. I love the tote bag and embroidery ideas. The book is very inspiring and definitely has me wanting to create everything myself.

I’m always trying to achieve the perfect balance between doing it
myself and having it look professional. We were kicking around the idea of printing
up the booklets ourselves. We were pricing color laser printers and
fancy papers. I had all sorts of cool ideas for the booklets including
printing pattern pieces on vellum and gluing envelopes into the back
cover of the booklets to house them. Ultimately though, I think a
little less DIY is going to win out over here. Tim had to take me by
the shoulders and shake me around a little bit until the reality of
gluing hundreds of envelopes into place finally sunk in.  So publishing
is being sent out, but I’m still keeping myself busy with projects I
can do here. I printed up some new thank you cards to fit some cute square vellum envelopes I found at Paper Source  and then stamped up some little 5" square canvas bags I found at Hobby
Lobby to send my pincushions out in. Tonight I’m going out for sticker
paper that can be sent through the printer.

38 thoughts on “The Whole Package

  1. Anna says:

    Sounds like a great book, I think I need to check it out.
    I really love the Thank You cards and also want to try out the homemade stamp thing.
    Looking forward to the Patternbook!!!!!!!!

  2. Alicia A. says:

    Very nice. It looks like you’re headed in the right direction! I’m looking for fabric tags right now too.
    (don’t you love that soft block printing stuff?!)

  3. Kelli says:

    I have to say, I think you should cut yourself some slack. You are more DIY than 99% of others! Those thank you cards look professional, for example. I am always inmpressed.

  4. Jessica Hood says:

    Good luck to you in your (semi)new venture. I know you’ll be extrememly successful b/c all your stuff is AWESOME! btw, I love the thank yous & bags. So creative! You go!!!

  5. LLA says:

    It is all wonderful – you are huge source of inspiration, always…
    Thank you to for the introduction to a fabulous-sounding book. I’m on my way to add it to my Amazon WishList now….

  6. cat says:

    i’d be interested in knowing what sort of sticker paper you’re going to be purchasing. the sticker paper i’ve found is lame. can you help?

  7. bonnie says:

    hilary: I love your work, all of it. I spent years and years doing pr and making press kits for some interesting and sometimes challenging companies. I’d be happy to help you create a press kit, talk about media relations, how to approach editors, what kind of publicity you really want/need, etc. We could do this over tea or coffee sometime. Just let me know. You’ve been such a blog inspiration to me, I’d be thrilled to help. I know it’s odd because we’ve never met but I am a relatively normal mom and I live in Chicago. (I also helped my best friend with all of her press kit needs at the Stationery Show in NY last May and she’s been getting truly amazing coverage . . . mostly because the product is great, which is where I think you’re at.)
    Either way, good luck and yeah, at some point in your business, you’re going to have to stop being so darn crafty and actually farm certain things out, even though it will be so hard to give it up. It is the tough cusp of emerging as a business.
    Enough from me, blabber mouth.

  8. emily says:

    Ooooh I just ordered that book from Amazon several days ago! Now I am dying for it to hurry up and get here! 🙂
    All of that other stuff (packaging/printing for large quanities) is markedly less fun sometimes, and can get super-duper expensive to attempt on your own, but I totally understand the urge.
    I cannot wait for your book…you know you’re gonna have to set up a major pre-order list 😉

  9. amy k. says:

    i think you will be *really* happy you aren’t printing them yourselves. and wow-bonnie sounds like she’ll set you up! whoo-hoo! love the thank you notes and cool book too.

  10. Stephanie Cullison says:

    Doesn’t everything just look better in vellum or glassine envelopes? I remember years ago watching Martha use them and I hunted down a small packaging company that had them. I fell in love. I would also buy the wrapping paper glassine and wrap presents in it with colored tissue under it all tied up with a satin bow ala Martha. Just gotta love the stuff. It’s great for printing on as well ;o) I can’t wait for the pattern book!! WOOT!!!

  11. sarah says:

    Once you get going, will you make your products available online? I know I (and it sounds like most of the people above me) would love to contribute to your success by purchasing!
    Glad to find another fellow Hobby Lobby lover! I loved mine in Texas, unfortunately there aren’t any anywhere close to where I live in Florida.
    Props to Bonnie for offering such valuable help!

  12. Angela says:

    I love the notecards, they arrived and I am thrilled. I am so looking forward to your book! If you have a list, please add me to it!

  13. hannah says:

    that DIY book is so wonderful, i too got really excited when i flipped through it. it is hard for me to not let my mind run away with itself, i stayed away last night until two thinking of freezer paper stencil designs… silly. your style is already so defined i think of it as a package. it will be exciting to see what your mind comes up with for your business. espeically given the little touches you come up with for a whim of a swap. loving your style hillary…

  14. jess hutch says:

    I love that DIY book and I LOVE your little cards with the vellum envelopes. Your printed elements (like the postcards) always look very professional – but not scarily so, they always have that Hillary touch. I can’t wait to see the booklet.

  15. kelly says:

    this all certainly sounds stressful, but fun too, right? congratulations on getting all this together and being in the position to make the big decisions – i know there’s a lot of work already under the bridge!
    i’m curious – what was decided on the scalloped borders?

  16. Lili says:

    I struggle soooo much with packaging. I can only hope to have lovely paper goodies like yours! Thanks for recommending the book. i dont have much faith in my paper design talents, so i am thinking maybe the book will help?
    I saw on the small object blog that you were asking about the xyron machine. I have one, and i would recommend it for stickers that you were going to use yourself, but not for stickers to use as freebies for customers. also, the machine is quite terrible for magnets (personal experience). I haven’t tried the lamination yet. It’s a pretty neat craft gadget to have.
    last night i was nosing around on the paper source website, and i found these: . I am planning on using them in some of my packaging. its nice to be able to break from the white labels!

  17. ramona says:

    thank you for the inspiration with the book. i’ll browse more on their website. if you ever have questions about design, just ask them. that’s what i study 🙂

  18. debra says:

    These are wonderful!! I think you’ve just inspired me to get to some of this same stuff that I’ve been putting off for too long now. LOVE your thank you cards!!

  19. AngelaM says:

    Just ordered the book – thanks for the tip!
    And not like you don’t already know it, but your things are beautiful! Thanks for sharing and for inspiring.

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