Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blog It Forward | What Inspires Me

Hello and welcome to Cartoules Letterpress! I'm so excited to be a part of this wonderful project that Victoria at SfGirlByBay clerverly conceived and launched. Blog It Forward is a blogger mash-up of amazing people who've all been asked to answer the question, "what inspires you." I've been passed the proverbial torch by Carmen Torbus who wrote a great post yesterday, and you can read what inspires Molly de Aguair tomorrow at Charlotte's Fancy.

While this is a topic that is way too huge for me to limit to one blog post, here goes:
My very own wedding was all the inspiration that I needed to start my stationery business, Cartoules Letterpress, which is also the reason why I write this blog. I took pride in being a DIY bride in almost every aspect of my own wedding, and when it came to doing my invitations, I was doubly determined to letterpress my own. Because my husband and I married in Greece, it was important that we had bilingual invitations, and because I noticed a gap in this unique niche, I launched my own stationery business. Cartoules is currently one of my biggest sources of inspiration: from the clients that I work with and their unique aesthetic to other bloggers and letterpress printers who provide me with wisdom and advice.

Our wedding invitation: Designed, printed, and photographed by me

My parents have always been my constant inspiration from the beginning. My father the engineer and my mother the english professor/artist have always inspired me with their humorously polar opposite traits: from organization, design, and discipline to creativity, love of the arts and languages.

My husband's passion for life and having fun, his motivation for all things good, and his unwavering support and love inspires me to succeed and better myself everyday.

My sister's wit, humor, friendship and beauty brings the best out of me and inspires me to be more like her.

I'm the one flexing on the left | She's the snot on the right :)

My friends are fabulous and full of life. They're always there for me, they accept me when Tzouli (my alterego) shows up to the party, and they remind me that I can't take life too seriously.

Inspiration comes to me at the weirdest times of the day: the hour before I fall asleep and while I'm in the shower. I'm sure many of you can relate to this. In fact, I had beautifully written this blog post in my head a few nights ago, but of course have forgotten most of it - so consider this the rewrite. Creative individuals, open minded people, and free spirits inspire me. Starting my business has opened my horizons to the many creative and knowledgeable people who have inspired not only my work and my business, but my life in general.

Typography, antiques, and handmade things inspire me. Dying crafts of time gone by are incredibly intriguing, and just thinking about the people who practiced them get my creative juices flowing. My maternal grandfather was a tailor. While I didn't know him very well since he passed away when I was very young, I always imagined what his shop was like and marveled at the work he left behind. I've tried my hand at many of these dying crafts including needlepoint, sewing, calligraphy and now letterpress. The level of expertise that used to be required to create the things we take for granted today inspire me. I love letterpress for this reason and pride myself in being a very small part of a movement to keep these dying crafts alive.

My grandfather - the tailor

Photo credit: The Birds and the BeastsOh-so-quiet, Lutterlagkage

The original ladies of letterpress. I love it!

Travel and photography inspire me. From a young age my parents exposed my sister and me to the beauties the world has to offer. Traveling to Greece every summer to visit family, and trips around the United States, Italy, Spain and Mexico opened our minds to not only experiencing other beautiful lands, but to also appreciate language, food and other cultural traditions. My post on The Greek Font Society is one example of how typography and language has inspired me.

Top: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; The Alhambra, Granada, Spain; Tuscany, Italy (top row images taken by me)

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading so many inspirational post because of this mash-up (the full schedule of bloggers), and I hope you continue to follow the chain. Leave a comment, I'd love to hear what inspires you and hope you stop by again!


  1. Lovely. I know just what you mean about having written things in your head beautifully - eloquently! - and then forgetting exactly what words you'd chosen when it came time to write it down.

    Thank you for sharing - and thanks for passing the baton to me.

    Molly/Charlotte's Fancy

  2. love this blog it forward post. it's definitely one of my favorites yet! i adore the pictures you posted of your parents, husband, sister, and friends. at the end of the it's the people in your life that keep you motivated when you're feeling uninspired.

  3. great post. i especially liked the nod to your grandfather. i share the love for things of old that take great care. i like the thought of feeling connected in history, too. adorable blog. definite revisit required.

  4. YOU inspire me, sister! I love being your lifelong 'MiniMe' :)

  5. Such a beautiful post! Amazing pictures and sweet thoughts. And you and your husband are a stunning couple!

  6. Best blog yet Tzouli... we are so glad you found an outlet for your artistry and creativity... and now you can share it with the world!

  7. the photos alone told a whole story!

  8. beautiful post, and lovely family! thanks so much for sharing! :)

  9. Thank you for all of your comments! I had so much fun writing this post, and I'm glad to have virtually met all of you. Here's one last photo that truly inspires me. I only wish I had found it yesterday -

    I think I'll go back and add it now :-)