Jack and Lulu, a business started by Tom and Julie Murphy, is in Illinois, but its stationery is straight out of Candy Land. Tom says, "We want our stationery to feel irresistible, even edible." The wooden ice cream spoon packaged with their Neapolitan ice cream collection adds to that illusion. "I like including little surprises the way Cracker Jack does," Julie says. Soon, they'll be one step closer to edible stationery with scratch-and-sniff cards in flavors like hot chocolate and peppermint (847-475-0335 or www.jackandlulu.com).
"I like to use images that are quirky and a little different," says Lynne Amft of Fiddlesticks Press. A former graphic designer at Random House, Amft debuted her collection last May: witty note cards ("What's Up?" paired with a toaster illustration), gift tags (some have her own drawings of penguins and martini glasses; others borrow images like the sledder she found in an old picture book) and baby announcements. She uses a letterpress in her garage in Bellport, New York, and draws in a home office with boxes of stationery all around her. Still, she confesses, "I don't write as many notes as I should. I just sent a belated birthday greeting to a friend by e-mail" (631-286-1827).
When Melissa and Brad Foster got married, Melissa created invitations for their beach wedding using a light blue embroidered Thai paper covering that "evoked a sense of water." Last January, the couple launched Elum, in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, letterpressing invitations and stationery on luxurious cotton rag paper. Melissa loves the challenge of customizing wedding invitations, creating a yellow daisy covering for a "sunny" bride and a gauzy rice-paper one for a Chinese couple. Brad isn't surprised by Elum's success: "Even my guy friends were wowed," he recalls (760-230-1039 or www.elumdesigns.com).