She’s Here – birth announcement

October 11th, 2012 by

As the last few weeks of pregnancy inch toward the due date (or beyond in my case) family and friends are dying to know how you’re feeling and if today is the day. So when designing Anna’s birth announcement I knew exactly what it would say (YES!) She’s Here. Ha!  The card is letterpress printed in 2 colors with a vellum envelope holding Anna’s photo.  The color scheme is one of my most favorites and what we also used for her bedroom. Hope you love them like I do.

We had her newborn photo’s taken with Misty of Fresh Peas Portraits and we couldn’t be happier.  A ribbon and tag with Anna’s name is the top most layer to tie it all together.

We are also very happy to announce that we have this Photo Birth Announcement in our Etsy shop. You can customize this design to send family and friends, showing off your little one.


stitched baby announcement

August 2nd, 2011 by

My sister-in-law, Stacey, thought it would be sweet to have flowers, for a soft natural theme for her baby girl’s announcement. From there we decided a hand-sketched, abstract set of flowers growing from the bottom of the page would be perfect. After a lot of sketching we scanned them in and waited for baby. Once baby Emeline arrived we entered her stats and got her lovely picture to stitch on for family and friends.

{one color letterpress on 110lb cotton stock with stitched photo}

hare thank-you

April 21st, 2011 by

While ordering plates for a job a few weeks back we had a little extra space for something. Excited, I decided to do a little something for myself!

I love my new last name, I mean its nothing too special I guess, but its fun. Most of the time when I leave it for a reservation or tell it to someone new it gets a little confused, but its simple: Haire. I also love that is it the name of a cute little bunny!!! That’s where I got the inspiration for a thank-you. It may be cheesy, but I’m in love with how it printed on the woodgrain paper.

Happy Easter!! It’s the weekend everyone can join me in loving bunnies!

& baby makes 3!

March 3rd, 2011 by

Some friends of mine are having their first baby in a few short months from now. Joey and Leslie are super special to Daniel and I because they sort of played match maker when we were first getting to know each other. They are having a baby boy and I am helping with her shower so why not make a letterpress invite!!!

Dianna and I have been dying to make some “baby” templates, and this is the first one. You will be able to order this one for yourself as a shower invite or a baby announcement so keep checking back.

So on to the pressing — proud to say this was Holland’s (our C&P) first job!!! Thanks to Daniel for getting him in working order. Everything went really smoothly and we are very pleased with the outcome! For this job we used Mr. French Muscletone 140# paper, process blue ink, and kraft envelopes… Super simple and absolutely adorable. Hope you enjoy them.

just ripe | silent auction

January 19th, 2011 by

Last weekend Dianna and I attended a silent auction for Just Ripe. Dianna met Kristen Faerber, founder of Just Ripe, while volunteering with her this summer to raise money for Knox Heritage.  It was nice of her to think of us when coming up with her donation items. Many friends of Just Ripe donated some beautiful things to be auctioned with all proceeds going to this great new venture. Just RIpe is all about connecting the consumer and the grower. Started by the vision of 5 talented women, they use local produce, dairy, and regional products in their recipes. Their storefront space at the Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, will stock local produce and offer delicious prepared foods, including a seasonal menu. While the storefront space is still under construction check them out at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Knoxville (Market Square wed & sat).  I hear their chocolate truffles are fantastic and would make any sweetheart happy on Valentines Day.

Fourth Year donated a pair of custom silhouettes, and while we were there we had the opportunity to do a little shopping ourselves.  I bid on a wonderful old storefront door with so much character. I look forward to getting it in place and giving you guys an “after” shot to go with the “before” picture below. Dianna was the highest bidder on a set of books “Keeping Chickens” and “Canning and Preserving” by Ashley English.  We really enjoyed ourselves – good food, good music, and great company.  We are thrilled that Just Ripe is opening up a storefront space and we plan to continue supporting them along the way.  If you missed your chance to bid on the silhouettes visit our etsy page or email us to order your own.

diy Christmas Cards: Potato Stamp

December 14th, 2010 by

Dianna and I had really hoped to get “Holland” (our C&P letterpress) up and running in time to print Christmas Cards, but its not ready just yet, so I settled for a simpler technique — Potato Stamping! I’ve seen it done many times before creating some adorable fabrics. But here’s how I did it!

I started with some mini cookie cutters I found at Hobby Lobby (you can always draw your own design onto the potato), one medium/large potato, a pearing knife, an ink pad, and paper. First you cut the potato in half and take the cookie cutter of your choice, center it, and press down firmly into the potato. With the cookie cutter still in the potato, cut about 1/4″ from the top, throwing away all the excess potato edges. Remove the cookie cutter, and voila you have your stamp!

Next, choose your paper. I used some leftover paper from a wedding we did for a really fun couple (Jennifer + Brian). The paper was used as confetti for when they walked down the aisle and it has wildflower seeds in it! Cut the paper down to size (mine are 4″x6″ postcards) and stamp away! Make sure to ink your stamp well the first time and maybe use some test paper too.

What do you think? While I was at it I also made some gift tags for Christmas presents! Try it yourself the possibilities are endless!

Coptic Bound.

December 9th, 2010 by

How does a graphic designer showcase their work at a meeting with new clients or even friends for that matter? You don’t want to open a website and fumble through online images, the whole beauty of our work is its tactility and texture. We wanted our clients to be able to hold our work and get a good feel for its materiality and proportion with a little more finesse than toting around a manila envelope.

We studied the small sketchbooks that I made themed from Dianna’s wedding fabrics and wondered if we could make a bigger, bolder coptic bound portfolio book with the same character of the mini versions. And, while we’re at it why not stitch fabric pockets to house each project.

What is Coptic Binding you ask? Coptic Binding is dated back to the 2nd or 3rd Century AD. The name comes from the “copts”, a name given to Egyptians who converted to Christianity in the 1st century. This method was a variation of carpet weaving and they used it to hold their papyrus books together between wood covers (beautiful I can imagine)!

Why is it so great? Not only is coptic binding striking but it is also functional and here at Fourth Year Studio we are all about getting the most bang for your buck.  It is great for sketchbooks because when opened to any section, be it the first page or the last, the book lays flat. There’s no using one hand to hold the book open while the other is drawing. There is something to be said about a hand stitched binding versus a saddle stitch (staple) or coil binding.  Due to the size of our book it took two people; one to pull the thread and another to keep the book tight.

How do you do it? There are several tutorials on line, but in college I made my first coptic bound book during a graphic design class and since have made more than a dozen books from those same instructions. You start with 2 covers (matte board, chip board, or thin wood work great), at least 5 signatures (folded sections of paper ex. if your book is 4×6 then your paper is 8×6 folded horizontally — you can put as many sheets in a section I like to use 3), waxed thread (you can get online — try etsy), an awl, and a large enough sewing needle to thread a 3 or 4ply waxed thread. If you are interested in trying it for yourself use the web to search for tutorials or for detailed illustrations reference Volume III Non-Adhesive Binding: Exposed Spine Sewings by Keith Smith.

Do you think this technique will showcase our product well?

Weekend Branding…

December 6th, 2010 by

My sister (Jamie) typically calls me daily or vise versa, as we are super close! So it was no big deal to get a call from her while getting some supplies at Home Depot to clean up “Holland” (our C&P letterpress). The surprise came when she asked if I could come up with a name for her and create a business/calling card for her. Still no big deal except there were less than 6 days to do it (she’d entered a trunk show last minute)! Luckily I know her well and have seen most, if not all of her work so it was pretty fun to do a quick design charrette.

Jamie is really great at portrait photography especially involving sweet children, and she is also a painter! Her husband is currently in pilot training school with the United States Air Force, so we decided that we could play on the beginning of that exciting journey. Check out the designs below, which is your favorite? Jamie picked “pretty plane j”. Good luck with the trunk show!

See below some of Jamie’s sweet photography and paintings!

Business Cards | first run!

December 1st, 2010 by

Dianna and I were given the opportunity, by a friend, to test run a C&P letterpress just like our “Holland”. You know just to make sure we were comfortable running such a large machine that we were reminded numerous times, “could crush our fingers” before we actually purchased one and went through the trouble of bringing all 1200 lbs. of it home. Needless to say Dianna and I were so excited and we couldn’t wait to try our hand at the craft we had just started learning about. So one Saturday we got together with our friend Larry of Larry B. Newman Printing and his C&P.

We started with a design we had previously created and separated the color for three plates (2 for gray ink, 1 yellow). Next we fired up the laser cutter and etched our own plates from a plastic material called delrin. I guess the first times not always a charm because we learned a lot about the design and the laser cutters plate-cutting limitations, so a quick redesign and 3 more plates later we were ready to lock our plates into the chase and get started!

With the chase locked up and in place we dove into the ink collection for the first run. Luckily we found a few inks that would work straight out of the can and didn’t need to be mixed. Our friend Larry even gave us lessons on how to “walk” the paper and get it ready for feeding. After inking the disk just right Dianna and I both printed for the first time our very own business cards. We each printed the gray portions of our cards then cleaned up the machine and re-inked it for the yellow.  When the yellow fully covered the ink disk and rollers it looked neon green (yikes!) but as soon as it hit the white paper it was a nice shade of yellow again.  There were areas where overprint caused the ink be printed in spots that it shouldn’t be, so we embraced the use of frisket to mask out the design.  This protected the areas a paper we wanted to keep white.  After printing, trimming, and rounding the corners we each had a stack of fully functional, hand printed business cards.  Thanks to a lot of nerve and verbal coaching from Larry I’d say our first try was not only a HUGE lesson learned, but a success. Now we can’t wait to get “Holland” cleaned up and get our first job going!