Thursday, January 31, 2008

LOST (Midwest)

Finally, the 31st of January is here. I have scads to do, but what I plan on doing is watching the season premiere of LOST tonight. Last night I watched the finale from last season. Again, I was devastated by Charlie's fate. Oh how that was hard to watch.

Btw, this clever photo came per the LOST flickr group and was uploaded (and photographed I presume) by northwickpark.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Inspiration and a Class (West Coast)

This past Sunday I took a tabletop letterpress class up in San Francisco at the Center for the Book. I was really impressed with the Center, and the teacher of the class I took, Susan Angebranndt. If I had more time, this would be the place to hang out and explore. In a one day course I got a good basic guide to running a tabletop press. They had two models to try, a Pilot and a Kelsey. I worked on three notecards setting lead and wood type. It was really inspiring! I can't wait to get my press up and running!!!

This is my first attempt at setting a bit of lead type, and having a run on the press by myself. I love the impression in the paper from the lead. My camera can't capture it, but it is quite lovely!

This card was made with old wood type. I had to use type that was all the same height, to make it easier to set it in the form. I love the texture it make when it prints. I like that you see irregular coverage in the ink. Can't wait to print again!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Today I Print! (Midwest)

I got up at 5:15 (!!!) this morning with good intentions of going to the gym. But, I decided to check my email. Crucial mistake. Do not sit down at the computer when you are planning on doing something else, especially exercise. Not much email. So, I checked a couple blogs. Now I needed to order some Gocco screens. Ok done. Oh, and I should finish designing my cards. Oops. It's too late to go to step class. Doh! Oh well, I will get some good bicep exercise printing later this morning. Unless I gocco. So many options for the day. I haven't been on press in a week and it's about time. And anyway, if I had been in the gym I would've missed this great sunrise. Dirty, blurry windows and all it was very pretty. I think I will print pink today. Or orange. Or red! Happy Monday to you! :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday (Midwest)

It has been a nice week here even though outdoor temperatures have made my office super cold. Old houses with old windows. You get used to it. The kids had indoor recess at school every day this week. That makes for some crazy end of the day behaviors in our house. Today they had early release so we went to a local indoor pool, the one with 88 degree water, and got enough exercise to make up for the extra time inside. We are back now with pruney fingers, nibbling on bunny crackers and having some down time. Ah.

Earlier this morning Joey and I went to a local estate sale. I'll post photos of the items I scored after I have a chance to photograph them. I bought two prints by an artist named Gabrielle Brill. I tried to google some more info on her, but maybe I have her first name wrong, because I turned up nothing. Anyone?

Oh, I'm posting a photo of a treasury that I was lucky enough to be included in. The individual products look so good together. I like the graphic nature of the subjects. It's fun to see what people put together in treasuries. Gotta love Etsy.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Print! (West Coast)

I have finally made a print from my new Gocco printer. I got it as a birthday gift from my husband, and for one reason or another I haven't had a day to get to work on it. I think I had first print syndrome, where each design I came up with, wasn't worthy of wasting a screen and set of bulbs on. After much discussion with Amy, I bit the bullet, and shot away. It was really very rewarding to just make the thing! Now that I have wasted the first set of film and bulbs, I want to get going on a few more to complete a line of cards for etsy.

I have been a collector of paper for years, and so my inspiration for these cards was my origami collection.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Blog (Midwest)

I'm posting to alert Laurie, and others interested in graphic design, to the blog link that I just listed in our Graphic Design Links and Design Blogs sidebar. I found Graphic Exchange via Flickr and am very pleased to see the beautiful photographs posted there about projects and graphic design agencies. As a visual person, I tend to frequent blogs with beautiful photos and often let the pictures talk for me. I sometimes don't stay to read. Time poverty and all. This looks like it will be a regular "read".

Since I'm posting about Graphic Design I'm going to put up a few shots of some design work per Print (Regional Design Annual 2007). First packaging from Charles Spencer Anderson (always reliable, good design).

And this logo by Tactix Creative for a pharmacy. I love the creative humor here. Whimsy is often a great thing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What!?! It's Sunday Already? (Midwest)

It seems like I was just posting yesterday about having a relaxing Sunday. That was 7 days ago, and that means the week in between was busy (which it was), but it also means another weekend day to get some "me" things done. Perfect.

So, Joey took the kids to the Y to do calisthenics and burn off some energy. I love that he has them do high knees, grapevines, etc. It's super cold here, wait let me check yahoo... 1 teensy degree, so they need it big time. Can't play outside without freezing your face off. While they are gone I'm printing on my letterpress. I was up late last night gocco'ing my first layer on two batches of cards (Birthday and Thank Yous). Today, I letterpressed a second color on one of the designs. Tomorrow, time permitting, kids cooperating, I'll run the other card. Very fun. I took quite a few photos of my press inked and printing block locked. Here is one:

If you examine the photo you see all the packing which is the paper you use to elevate your printing surface to meet your block when you squeeze the press together. Also, the tape on the rails (far left) which you add to or take off to raise/lower your inked rollers to hit your block just right. These are things I have to fuss with each time I go to print. Variations on paper thickness, ink amount on the ink disc, block height, etc., happen. So these are the things you monkey with each printing (or at least with my press and my rookie skills) to get the "right" impression. It's a time consuming process, but very satisfying as if you are solving a puzzle. The only part that really bugs me is that you waste lots of paper testing prints.

Alright, I need to get back to my alone time. GO PACKERS!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Outside My Window (Midwest)

For those of you who aren't in the Wisconsin, you are missing a spectacular snowstorm. It's been snowing about an inch and hour since late morning. Sam and I have been out twice. Our entry is littered with wet mittens and puddles. We plan to pick up kids from school via sled not car. This is part of why we moved back to Wisconsin from California. I wanted my kids to have winter memories similar to mine from childhood. LET IT SNOW!

For those who have sent me emails wondering about my studio space I'm posting a shot from our front yard taken earlier today at the onset of the snow. The right bank of three windows is the South facing wall of my office. It's a 10' x 14' sunroom with windows all along 3 walls. The light in the room is amazing. I should probably thank Joey for letting me have the sunroom. His office is in the basement (neener neener). Some sunny day I'll photograph the interior.

Finally, I'm thanking Jan over at Poppytalk for posting about my "love" card. She has sent a good deal of traffic to my Etsy shop. I've sold several cards already. Here is one of the card orders all ready to be shipped. I try to include a freebie with every Etsy purchase. Usually, it's a hangtag or two as is the case in this order.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gathering (Midwest)

This year I'm striving to be a little more organized or maybe more business-like with Bee13. I've been taking inventory of printed pieces, organizing supplies, etc. I'm mentally preparing to file my sales tax and also do some year end bookkeeping. It feels good to take care of these business loose ends. I also reviewed my paper catalog and got a large paper order placed today. I've ordered 3 new colored folding note stocks. I've always been comfortable mixing ink and printing on white papers. I'm going to challenge myself and see what happens when the paper already has a color, tone, value and saturation to it.

Aren't the colors above pretty? I seriously wanted to order them all. It was really difficult to stay in budget and stick to three colors. Of course I had to order envelopes in coordinating colors. So exciting.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday R & R (Midwest)

It's Sunday morning and there is another batch of the fluffy white stuff on the ground. It smells like coffee and fireplace remnants from yesterday. There is talk of sledding and breakfast. This is the start of a lazy day.

The photo above highlights not only my mood, but the new socks my sister Mira sent me. She knit them using Gammy's famous sock pattern. They are very snuggy and perfect for a day like today. Thanks Mira!

Oh yeah, Laurie, I went ahead and put up the *new* masthead. We were going to tweak the type a little further, but I (as usual) got too excited and impatient, so I went ahead.

I'm off to have a relaxing day, probably the only one I'll get this week.


Friday, January 11, 2008

A Late Gift (Midwest)

Yesterday morning as Joey and I strollered Sam home from dropping the girls at school we were discussing Etsy. This discussion triggered Joey's short term memory cells and he realized that he had another Christmas present for me...somewhere. After some seeking in the basement he presented me with this family of cone vases that he bought for me from Etsy seller SecretSnowbird. You should check out SecretSnowbird's shop. She knits and felts from her own patterns and has a nice sense of color and design. I like the little embellishments she adds after felting. I'm very excited about these and can't wait to find a perfect spot for them in our house.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Printing Fix (Midwest)

WTF? You wonder. A second post in one day? Yes. It's true. All 3 kids and 1 husband were asleep by 7:30, so I put on some JT (simmer down, I can't help myself) and got to printing. I feel so much better. The knots in my neck are gone.

Here is a rather poor photo, with the lack of natural light and all, it's late people, of the first of 4 cards I have designed for 2008. Ideally, I'd like to have about 8 card designs. I think Laurie is working on more ideas on her end. I'm eager to see those.

Anyway, this card is my "love" card. I printed it first because Valentine's Day is a comin'. See I'm catchin on to how it works. I gocco'd the peachy pink cupid this afternoon and tonight I ran a hit of pms 185 red on my letterpress over the top. Let me tell you I really had to discipline myself in order to print pink with the red instead of my usual Robin's Egg blue. I used the magnesium block that I mentioned in the post below. I definitely like the printer's blocks better than photopolymer. The imprint is nice and crisp. There is some flippin' thin type in the design that printed pretty cleanly. Also, the heavier weight fonts have a nice hand-printed texture to them. The paper I'm running is 80 lb Esse by Gilbert Papers. It's partially recycled and has an interesting texture. It took the ink just fine. Tomorrow I will photograph some better shots and post to my Etsy shop.

Sleep tight everyone.

Midweek (Midwest)

As usual, I have been up since about 5 am. Those who have known me for more than a decade will still be stunned knowing that I'm an early riser now. I have NEVER been a morning person. But, with kids and the business the day brings, I find it a nice time to sit, read, and sip. This is the time of day I catch up on blogs, do paperwork, or go to the gym.

This morning I went over to Print and Pattern. This is my all time favorite blog. It is always inspirational and I never feel that it is just a large advertisement for the blog writer or the things she showcases. I read, and I feel like sketching and designing. I followed P&P's links to this Japanese shop. The images I'm posting are of products they carry. I especially like the rubber stamps. Laurie and I used to design and have stamps made that we would use for business purposes. For instance, we used to stamp all our invoice envelopes with a stamp that had a bee and said "Ouch that stings!". Grownups playing with rubber stamps. Always good!

This week I have to spend some production time making changes to a brochure for our local preschool, make some name/text changes to newly married Joanna's business cards, and print a new batch of letterpress cards. I'm wondering how it can be Wednesday already, and how I will fit this on to my calendar. But, at the same time I'm eager to get to it all. I love my job(s)!

Here's a peak at the magnesium die I had made (free!) for my Valentine's Day Love card. I'm testing metal plates verses photopolymer to see which leaves a cleaner imprint.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Goodbye Winter Break (Midwest)

Tomorrow the kids head back to school and me back to work. HOORAH! We have had a nice holiday, but I'm missing my press and with 4 new card designs done I must get printing.

Oh but, I will miss the lazy pajama'd mornings, and the interesting games the kids came up with. Like the morning where Sophie was married to a bottle cap in a short and sweet ceremony performed by her older sister. Sophie, now "Mrs. Full Sail", took the bottle cap in "sickness and in wealth". And, the time the three kids performed a routine to the Black Eyed Peas song "Pump It" (naked of course). That was nice. Sam getting stuck in a snow bank. Also good. But, they (and when I say they I mean me) need go back to the normal routines of school, Brownies, play dates, swim lessons, etc.

So here I am eager to dig into 2008 and do something creative. I debated coming up with a better name for my greeting card "company". Bee13 or beethirteen isn't really clever or memorable enough, but I'm starting to think that I have some equity in that name already and maybe I should just keep it. Still pondering this one.

I have to thank Stephanie at Tepitalk for hooking me up with a call for submissions over at Rockport Publishers. I sent them an email with some card photos and they accepted them all. I had to ship the actual cards to them for photographing for the book to be called "1000 Handmade Greetings". Very exciting, thanks so much Stephanie!

Finally, a won an eBay auction for a lot of 23 small printers blocks a few weeks ago. I think I paid 53 cents plus a couple bucks shipping. Anyway, they came yesterday. There are some fun tidbits to design around here.

Happy New Year Everyone!