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hello!lucky: interview and updated sneak peek

by Grace Bonney

today we’ve got a special peek into the world of sisters sabrina and eunice moyle of hello!lucky. as soon as i received my copy of their fantastic new book, handmade hellos, i was hooked and wanted to see if they had some time to chat with me about their latest project and perhaps share an update of their beautiful studio and home. luckily, they were game! so today i’m happy to share an interview with sabrina and eunice, along with some images of the fantastic diy projects in their books, and an updated look into the hello!lucky san francisco studio and eunice and sabrina’s homes. if you missed eunice and sabrina’s earlier sneak peeks you can click here and here. if you’d like to skip straight to the interview and images from the book, just click here or scroll down and click “read more” below.

we originally ran sneak peeks of eunice and sabrina’s homes this april but i thought it would be fun to share some additional shots. in addition to working on their lovely office (click here for a tour of their san francisco studio), eunice and sabrina were kind enough to send over photos of new bits around their homes, which you can see above and below. i hope you’ll enjoy them as much as i did. when you’ve finished with their home tour updates, please click here to read on for their interview and images from their new book, handmade hellos.

[Sabrina’s Entryway, left: In addition to the bedroom (above), this space has just started to come together. I got the mirror at Ohmega Salvage, and the lap, mercury glass bottle, and umbrella stand at the Alameda Flea Market. I love that red and white gingham umbrella – I got it at Marc Jacobs a couple years ago for $10! Living Room, right: Since the last Sneak Peak, I added quite a bit to the living room. I found some fresh new pillows at Ikea and Thomas Paul – I’m big into fuchsia and love it paired with lime green right now. I also got these great X-benches from Jonathan Adler.]

[Sabrina living room: Here’s a room that’s recently come together. I found this couch from Cisco Home via ABC Carpet & Home and got the animal photographs from Catherine Ledner. The ottoman is covered in fabric from John Robshaw and the pillows (which used to be in the living room) are from our honeymoon in India.]

[Sabrina’s breakfast nook, left: Here’s the breakfast nook, just off the kitchen. I love the paper bird house from Ige Design and recently added these Chinoiserie needlepoint pieces from the flea to wall beside the nook.]

[Sabrina’s Bar area: We have a little built-in bar in our living room, which comes in handy for entertaining. Above the bar are a couple of prints from India that have miniature paintings on old customs documents.]

[Sabrina’s living room, Bitossi Bird from Monument, and Rob Ryan print (purchased at his gallery in the Columbia Road Flower Market in London last fall). It says “Our adventure is about to begin.” The leather chair is from Arkitektura in Situ– a beautiful modern store in San Francisco.]

CLICK HERE for the rest of the interview with Hello!Lucky and a sneak peek into Eunice’s updated house!

[Eunice’s bedroom: The view from our bedroom window. I love these two two paint-by-numbers Japanese ladies, found at the flea. The quilt was made by Daniel’s mother and has a hilarious collection of patches from various childhood adventures such as a trip to LegoLand sewn into it.]

[Eunice’s guest room, left: Our guest room. This is a tiny little room with a fabulous view of the city that we use when people come to visit. We wanted it to be functional as a place to hang out when we didn’t have guests, and cozy and comfortable when we did, so we had our friends at Because We Can make us this super cool couch that folds out into a full size bed. The trunk is a vintage Louis Vuitton that Daniel inherited from his grandmother (it arrived full of vintage millinery and bits of fabric that I will someday find good use for). Daniel’s family is from St. Mortiz and the posters on the wall are childhood collectibles from Christmases spent in Switzerland. Swedish Chair, right: I love this vintage red chair for it’s folksy Scandinavian feel. The pillow I found at Antoine et Lili in Paris – maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 80’s but I love bright colors and especially neons! The set of prints are from Lab Partners – they are some of my favorites.]

[Eunice’s dresser, left: The bedroom bureau. Another salvaged bit of furniture – I painted it, silver-leaved the top and added cut glass knobs from Anthropologie for vintage look – I’m especially fond of a sort of “crumbling glory” décor style. The small blue vase was made by Sabrina, who happens to be, among other things, an excellent potter, and I found the faux scrimshaw ships hanging above the mirror on Etsy – a gift for Daniel, who has an online game company that does a game called Puzzle Pirates (as a result there are lots of pirate references around the house). I also love this cool Nixie clock custom-made for Daniel by a friend from German 1950’s vacuum tubes. Eunice’s hallway alcove, right: We had bookshelves built into this alcove to hold a tiny portion of our vast, possibly ridiculous, library of books. On top are various travel souvenirs and flea market finds. A few pieces from a collection of vintage dog trophies, a bull mask from Costa Rica, a Huichol Indian bull picked up in Baja, Turkish lace flowers, and other bits and bobs]

[Eunice’s living room, left: Our dog Simon kicking back on vintage orange velvet chair in our living room. Also in view, a few volumes from my collection of old books, some candlesticks found in Paris, and a pair of silver pheasants from the flea. The apartment is steam heated so we have these cool old heater covers with ornate grillwork throughout the house. The best thing about the living room is that it has the most outrageous view. We live on the eighth floor and can see the Bay Bridge, Twin Peaks, and SOMA – it’s pretty amazing. Hallway, right: The walls are painted with a Swedish kurbits inspired mural. The acorn-worshipping squirrels are a little nod to our dogs (this doorway leads to the hall that leads to the P-A-R-K).]

Design*Sponge Interview w/Eunice & Sabrina Moyle of Hello!Lucky

Design*Sponge: Congratulations on your new book, Handmade Hellos! I know many of us have been anxiously awaiting its debut since catching a peek at the Stationery Show. Could you tell us a little bit about the book and what inspired it?

Hello! Lucky: Thanks! The inspiration for the book actually originally came from Jodi Warshaw and Kate Prouty, editors at Chronicle Books. They had noticed that there was a void in the marketplace for a quirky, hip DIY card making book, and asked us if we’d be interested in writing it. We loved the idea. Since starting Hello!Lucky we’d gotten to a huge number of amazing artists and designers working in the stationery medium, so we were immediately brimming with ideas of people we wanted to include. We put together a proposal for the book, focusing on artists who share a quirky, hip yet accessible sensibility. And then we were off to the races!

D*S: Could you also tell us a bit about you, your backgrounds and Hello!Lucky(how you started the company, etc)

HL: We’re the only two kids in our family and grew up traveling around the world (our dad was in the Foreign Service), so we’re super close. Our mom was a crafting maven (she literally has a degree in Home Ec), so we started crafting from the time we were tiny: sewing, knitting, printmaking, drawing, baking – you name it. Our dad used to read to us every night from grown-up (Gone with the Wind, Treasure Island, Jane Austen) and we would listen and illustrate the chapters in our sketchbooks.

We went our separate ways in college – Eunice studied illustration and printmaking, and Sabrina studied art history and ceramics – and both ended up back in the Bay Area in 2000. Eunice was working as a graphic designer and Sabrina was getting a business degree. The idea for Hello!Lucky came about when Eunice took a letterpress class at the San Francisco Center for the Book and started designing cards. Sabrina was working at The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting organization, at the time offered to advise Eunice and write a business plan. By 2005, we were both working on Hello!Lucky full-time.

We started the company in Eunice’s garage in Oakland with a hand-cranked Vandercook printing press. We started with 8 cards at the National Stationery Show in 2003. The next year, we went back with 30 cards. In 2004, an editor at Martha Stewart Weddings asked us to design all the stationery for her wedding, which was featured in the magazine in 2005. That launched our wedding invitation collection. In the meantime, we also did our first book with Chronicle Books, Hello!Baby, a baby’s first year journal and launched our baby announcement collection.

We opened an office in London in 2005 because a good friend, Chun Yee O’Neill, was casting about for something entrepreneurial to do. She basically went door-to-door to the leading independent boutiques there (and some big ones, like Liberty) and sold our cards. She stored them all in her guest bedroom!

We’re now about 12 staff with a 4,000 sq-foot studio in San Francisco SoMA district and a small (read: closet-sized) office in London. We have about 300 card designs, which are sold in about 800 stores worldwide. Crazy, eh?

D*S: How long did the book take to complete, from concept to final project? Were there any changes along the way or concepts you wanted to try that didn’t ultimately work out for this book?

The timeline for the book was (ridiculously!) short – we basically wrote and illustrated it in about 4 months. We wrote the proposal in April, got approval within a couple of weeks, and then contacted all the contributors in May (many of them at the National Stationery Show). The artists had until the end of June to submit their projects. We then wrote the book, tested and illustrated the projects in July and August. Sarah LaBieniec of Lab Partners (who was then on our staff) did the illustrations. The photo shoot with Sheri Giblin was in September and took about a week. Chronicle Books designed the book and we reviewed galleys in October. We first saw a prototype of the book right before the Stationery Show in May, and brought it with us to show you!

We pretty much loved all the contributors’ projects right away. We only went back to the drawing board on a couple. In that respect, we got really lucky – there just wasn’t time to do too much revising!

D*S: I love the artists you chose to work with for the projects- how did you decide which artists you would work with for the book?

We basically just picked artists whose ideas and aesthetics we’ve always admired and who share a quirky, fun, accessible style. For the book to be successful, we felt the artists had to be top-notch designers well-respected in the design community, but also appealing to a suburban mom shopping at Michael’s.

We also wanted to include a mix of more established designers, like Egg Press and Binth, and fresh talents like Sarah Adler (who has since started the studio Hearts & Anchors) and Francois Vigneault, an amazing illustrator and crafter who’s made incredible window displays (including a life-size yeti made of paper!) at one of the San Francisco Paper Source stores for years. Since we have an office in London, we also made sure to include some of our favorite UK and European artists – Kate Sutton, Petra Boase, Abigail Brown, and Darling Clementine.

D*S: For readers who haven’t seen the book yet, can you tell them what types of projects are inside and the range of skill levels represented?

There’s a wide mix of projects in the book that cover most of the basic card making techniques, including paper collages, stenciling, glitter, rubber stamping, embossing, fabric collage, sewing, origami, and basic pop-up cards. Most of the projects can be made items that can be found at standard art supply stores (we list where to find specialty supplies in the Resources section). The projects also cover a wide range of occasions: Birthday, Valentine’s, New Baby, Mother’s Day, Friendship, Sympathy, Thank You, etc., and for each card we offer at least a couple ideas for variations.

For more advanced or avid crafters, we included a couple of silk-screening projects and a linoleum block print project.

The simplest projects involve just a few steps – for example, the simple origami folding technique in the first project of the book. For the more complicated projects, there are stencils at the back of the book that readers can trace or use as a template for cutting, making it easy to replicate the project as shown in the book.

D*S: There’s such a wide range of projects in here, and a wide range of craft tools and techniques- how did you choose what sorts of projects would be right for the book?

Each project first had to be visually and conceptually engaging, with a fun to make. After that, we looked at the number of steps involved. We wanted most of the projects to be simple enough for the beginning or intermediate crafter, but complicated enough so that the reader is learning a new skill and there is enough to do.

When we initially invited the artists to contribute, we also asked them to pick an occasion to make sure that a wide range were represented and we didn’t end up with 25 birthday cards! We also provided basic guidelines – e.g. the project can’t require special equipment (such as a sewing machine) or software. We ended up making a couple of exceptions, most notably for Print Gocco, a simple printmaking technique using an inexpensive tabletop printer from Japan that yields near-professional quality prints. But it’s so brilliant and still something of a secret among avid card crafters, that we thought it deserved to be mentioned.

D*S: Have you always enjoyed making stationery and cards by hand? And what are some of your favorite home-made projects you’ve done over the years? Do you remember how old you were when you first started making cards by hand?

Yes! We both have been making cards for as long as we can remember, though I’m sure we probably started in Kindergarten along with everyone else. Eunice’s first card was a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer block print that she made when she was about 5. Sabrina doesn’t remember her first card, but does recall individually drawing a series of about a dozen Valentine’s cards featuring polar bears and hearts in the 5th grade. And she used to love the technique of making a collage using hundreds of tiny wads of tissue paper (what a gift that must be to kindergarten teachers!).

D*S: Do you have a favorite project in the book- or a project that you keep going back to again and again?

The origami folded note by Darling Clementine is one we go back to a lot because it’s so simple and it can be adapted in so many ways – as an adorable little gift tag, for example! We also keep going back to the two pop-up card projects by Kate Sutton and the Owl-y Friend card by Petra Boase. We made the latter at a crafting party last week and it was so cool to see all the variations people came up with.

D*S: Were there any surprises that happened during the book process or things you learned that you didn’t expect? (whether that surprise is about book making or something craft-related)

Silk screening at home was tough one to figure out – we’d done it on professional equipment in art school, but doing it with a home kit was a first for us. We went to great lengths to experiment with it and test the process, then to figure out how to explain it in a clear, concise way. During one early (failed) trial, Eunice used up all the hot water in her apartment building rinsing her screens out (at the same time she was scrubbing it out with a toothbrush)!

At about the same time Sabrina was reading Julia Child’s My Life in France and found solace in the fact that Julia and her co-author took 7 years to test all the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking!

D*S: What’s next from Hello!Lucky? Are you thinking about another book or is there a dream project you’d love to do next?

We’re already working on our next book – a wedding DIY book featuring projects for every aspect of the wedding. Handmade Hellos also got us really fired up about collaborating with fellow artists; we’ve since started we’ve collaborated with Kate Sutton on some letterpress cards, and are working with EIEO, Joel Dewberry, Lab Partners, and Julia Rothman on wedding invitations which will debut on our new website which launches next week (!). Eunice is also contributing to an Exquisite Corpse book (spearheaded by Julia Rothman) for Chronicle. We also have several children’s book ideas that we want to work on. Oh, and Eunice is getting married in May so we’re also working on designing her wedding. Not a lot going on, really! Just twiddling our thumbs over here…

D*S: Lastly, do you have any advice or tips you want to give the readers of your book?

Sure. We recommend getting a basic arsenal of crafting supplies – especially a cutting mat, cork-backed metal ruler, Exacto knife with extra blades, a glue stick, a bone folder, and a stash of pretty papers (we love to collect gift wrap by favorite designers like Snow & Graham for crafting projects). A corner rounder is a great thing to have – you can get a simple handheld punch at most craft stores – rounded corners make every card look more finished and modern.

Finally, we should note that two of the templates (for Owl-y Friend and New Baby Nest) accidentally got left out of the back of the book, and can be downloaded here.

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