Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are the Planets Aligned? (Midwest)

I can't believe I didn't post about this when it happened.

Last Thursday Joey and I were out for dinner. I had the most amazing salad with truffle dressing at Lombardino's. But, that's not why I'm posting. Although I now see the salad as foreshadowing to the event that was soon to happen. Somehow we ended up at the mall. Usually we end up at the bookstore, but this time it was the mall. I made a beeline to Anthropologie losing Joey somewhere in the 40 feet journey from our car and the store. I milled about as usual grabbing things here and there, thrusting them at the nearest sales person, filling up a dressing room. I tried on and liked several items.

Now you may be thinking that a rockin outfit is my story's climax. But no.

I gave the clerk my 3 purchases and also the 50 or so things that didn't fit. Then, as I walked to the checkout table...I saw them...


Can you stand it?!? I am always on a quest for vintage letterpress anything. And, here they are at my favorite store? C'mon. Has the universe inverted?

When Joey finally hooked up with me again he asked suspiciously "What's in the bag?", and I said clothes and letterpress blocks, and I was right. Shopping karma for sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Delivery (West Coast)

My second letterpress arrived safely and well packed this afternoon! Alan came home and helped me move it into the garage. I am very happy to say it is just about set up and ready to go. I ordered my boxcar base last week. Now I realize, I still need some quoins and a key. Almost there!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A (Midwest)

As I await the start of another school day I just had to take a minute to post this photo I took yesterday. This is a shelf in our bedroom. Of course it features my favorite color palette. The two letters "A" and "A" I bought from the happydashery on etsy. You have to at least go look at her shop banner and avatar. They really make me smile. Joey has always been the big collector in our house. I've been on a roll as of late collecting some things of my own like, letterpresses & vintage type. I am starting to think about organizing our home to showcase our found objects and small collections. We have had neglect a lot of decorating because of little hands. Our kids are getting older and I'm looking forward to having a more "grown up" home.

Yesterday I printed for a short while. I have a new work table (vintage from Germany per Joey on Valentine's Day) and my press isn't bolted to it yet, so there was too much creep. I had to stop. It would be terrible if that press slid off the desk and onto the floor (or me - yikes). It's a couple hundred pounds.

I did get a few impressions. I hope to do a larger run soon. This is "scribble bird".

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Family Member (Midwest)

I'm posting this post per the request of my family...

We are slowly inching our way up the pet responsibility ladder. We started about 4 years ago with Mo, the beta fish. Then, 5 days later, Mo II, the replacement beta fish. Now, 3 years later instead of Mo III, we are introducing Sunnie, the fancy rat (see image 3). She is adjusting to the little grabby hands of Sam (his representation of Sunnie - image 2). The overly zealous giggling and extra special dance moves in her honor from Sophie (image 1). And, the responsible, order making, primary caregiving, Hannah (too busy for the rat study drawing project suggested by her annoying mother). I haven't had much time to bond with our new pet, but come Monday when school is back in session I will spend some time with her on my lap. I'm sure the idea of a pet rat is pretty horrifying to some. I had a pet prairie dog for 7 years and have learned to love rodents. They are much cleaner than you would expect. And, the bigger ones are quite social. Here's hoping that she stays happy and healthy in our crazy house. Oh, and that she doesn't ever bite anyone.

My goal this weekend is to rid my house of little people and print up some new cards. I need a letterpress fix for sure. I'm getting over my virus and want to do something to make me feel better. I'm thinking of sending a link to this post to my husband. (hint. hint.) That may help my cause.

Enjoy your weekend all. Hopefully I will post images of new work on Monday.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Spring Yet (Midwest)

First my whine: It's flippin' -12 degrees outside! WHY!?! I think extreme snowfall records should be quite enough to deal with for one winter. Mother Nature what are you thinking? I do thank you for the lunar eclipse last night, though. That was pretty dope. Ok. Moving on...

I finished the promotional card for Kate this week. I love how a beautiful picture can make a design. Isn't this photo fantastic? I have more cards to complete for her if/when Sam is not tugging on my leg or driving his trains across my desk. We'll have to see how today goes.

I'm fighting some sort of kid initiated illness (again). My throat is scratchy and my voice is about an octave lower than usual. I sound like Kathleen Turner. Weird. I think I will take Sam out to buy some lemonheads today. (To help my throat in case you missed the connection.)

Finally I'm thanking a few blogs who have posted about my cards or mentioned my shop name. Thanks go to etsy-love, orangebeautiful, Haute Innovations, Indie Fixx, and mydesign scout. I'm very grateful for the support. And, I am enjoying reading new blogs.

Ok. I'm off to pack lunchboxes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One More Time (West Coast)

Well I am at back in the running in my quest to own a letterpress. After one failed Ebay purchase last month, I have purchased a second Kelsey off Ebay. The first press I purchased, was dropped in transit, and arrived with pieces protruding out of the packaging. It was an extremely sad day for me. I am hoping for the best this time. I am at the mercy of UPS. The person I purchased my press from this time is bolting it to a board before shipping. His hobby is restoring these old presses, and he has more experience shipping them. Lesson learned: when buying a press, definitely get the shipping insurance (luckily I did).

Now to get ready to print... With Amy's advise, I am in the process of ordering the necessary items to print with. Next, I have to come up with a couple of designs, and order my boxcar base. I can't wait to start!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Stuck (Midwest)

Today we have ICE. And rain, freezing rain, and sleet. Did you know that hail, freezing rain and sleet are all different things? Who knew. We have them all today. You could skate and swim in our driveway. Ice with a layer of rain. It's 20-something degrees out so I'm not sure why it's raining. But, it is. We can't go anywhere. At some point the rain is supposed to change to heavy snow. Oy.

This week I look forward to finalizing some graphic design work for Kate. And, starting a new project for The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. I am loving having some design projects on my plate. Using my brain to think about things other than what to put in a lunch box. Finally!

Lastly, I checked my quiet Etsy shop this morning to find some major new views and hearts. Seems as if I was in another treasury that hit the front page. Exciting, and again, a very interesting grouping of products. Check out the crocheted cuff by irregularexpressions in the second row, middle. In fact, look at her shop. I love her method of free form crochet. Great colors and technique. Inspiring.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day! (Midwest)

So today, to celebrate Valentine's Day, we start out with an 8am trip to the kid's dentist.

What was I thinking?

I scheduled this appointment 6 months ago, and I guess I must not have considered the date. They are gonna love me for this one for sure. The day will be better later. Joey and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day umpteen years ago with a carpet picnic. There was this colossal snowstorm and we had Italian deli treats on a table cloth on the floor. We did this every year until we had kids, and then we started to include them. So, tonight we will build a fire, lay a tablecloth on the floor and eat expensive picnic foods with some goldfish crackers thrown in for good measure. There will be chocolate. It has become a much loved family tradition.

I have decided that part of my enthusiasm for lettepress printing needs to be tossed monetarily back into the community of small letterpress businesses. So, I'm starting by making quarterly (and then some) purchases from other letterpress vendors. Here is the first item I bought. It's a calendar from Don't Press Me. Each monthly card has a different color graphic. They all slide neatly onto this wooden base. It's very nice and the perfect size for my cluttered desktop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Symbol of Love (Midwest)

As we approach Valentine's Day I'm thinking this is a good time to have my wedding ring resized. It has fit me well for the last (approaching) 10 years. I even wore it through 3 pregnancies. In the past months it is getting tight. I haven't gained weight. The only thing I can think is that all this printing, cutting, working with my hands is making my hands larger. Is that possible? I guess a 4 1/4 ring size is pretty teensy to start out with and sizing probably won't be a problem. I'm hesitant to take it any old jeweler. This ring was hand made by a metal and jewelry artist in Santa Cruz. Laurie and her mom hooked us up with him. What to do. What to do.

On the letterpress front I was excited to see one of my prints hit the Etsy home page. It's an interesting grouping of products don't you think? I have had a lot of shop traffic due to the front page and Poppytalk. This is encouraging. Next week I will check in with some shops that carry my things and see about filling some more wholesale orders.

I am off to take Sam to the mall. We are going to look for more "animal shirts" for his little toddleresque torso. I'm hoping we don't walk past any Spiderman displays or we will never get to do what we are heading out to do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Scooby Doo (Midwest)

A conversation before school this morning involving Joey and Hannah (father and daughter)...

Joey - " Hannah, which character is your favorite then?"
Hannah - "Velma."
Joey - "Gafaw, ha, ha, ha!" "Now, wait. Let's discuss this. Let's see. Daphne, well I hate to say it, but she's just eye candy. I mean, she's really useless as a crime fighter. Fred, he's pretty good. He drives the Mystery Van, so he's got to be important. Shaggy and Scooby. Psshhhh. Give me a break. And, don't even get me started on Scrappy Doo. That show seriously jumped the shark with that one."
Hannah - "I still like Velma".

I'm in the kitchen at this point defrosting bagels. It always surprises me when there is something from my childhood that my kids are into, too. I hated Scooby Doo, but my brothers liked it. I found it intensely, annoyingly obvious that the ghost, who later turned out to be someone in a mask, looked and sounded like a ghost, but then at the end of the show, looked more like a fake. C'MON! And, Shaggy and Scooby did nothing but muck up and create danger for the other characters. Hannah is right, Velma was the only voice of reason on that show for sure.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Trying Something New (Midwest)

Yawn. Sigh. I have nothing I have to do today. Well I do, but I'm taking the day off. After this post you might find me watching tv, in the tub or maybe even at the mall. Uh huh uh huh. Bring it.

Yesterday Hannah and I went skiing at Cascade Mountain. I'm amused that ski places in Wisconsin can call themselves "mountain". Really big hill is more appropriate. Hill or mountain doesn't matter. It was a blast. I wish we could do that more often. Next time I want to get Sophie on skis. She's 5 and (I think) old enough to learn.

Tomorrow my table at Poppytalk (see above) debuts. My main goal is to get more traffic to my etsy shop. We shall see how it goes. I need to pay off my mega paper order, so that I can justify buying more. And, I'm fantasizing about buying a larger press.

Ok. Short post. Leisure stuff to do. Enjoy the rest of the weekend all.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Is it Over? (Midwest)

The 14 inches of new snow temporarily complicated our lives here. I had a frantic and stressful print session on Wednesday while the kids were home for a snow day. The results were not as bad as my mood was. I'm letterpress printing sets of cards to (hopefully) sell at my table over at Poppytalk Handmade. The market starts Monday. Here's a peek at the cards. I know. I said I wasn't going to show you until Monday. But, the snow has changed my attitude and I'm planning ahead for unforeseen crisis. I may be shoveling on Monday instead of posting!

Yesterday Sam and I drove through the snow to meet Kate for a photo session downtown. Sam was excited about the parking garage and I was excited to get to shoot with one of Kate's cameras and her favorite lens. I'm sure my shots were out of focus and improperly exposed. Doesn't matter. It was fun. I'm also pleased to have a pal who has similar creative inclinations. We had a nice lunch chat over the fork banging of our two year olds about the commercial art industry, living in Madison, and our experiences that brought us to this point in our lives. I reminisced about my first graphic design internship and how that experience brought me to today. I was so lucky to talk my way into that first job so full of opportunity for me (that company now).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oh Pickles! (Midwest)

For frick's sake, school is closed today! In Madison. Because of snow. Oodles of snow. That never happens! Just my luck. I need to work today. Rant. Scream. Curse. Goshnabbit! Ugh! I feel like Charlie Brown and Lucy has just yanked that football up into the air. The horror! Rats. Rats. Rats.

Ok. Maybe this will work out. I mean, if I send them out there in all this, they could get lost, right? Or, possibly stuck in a snowdrift. Hmmm. How am I going to survive the chaos that this day will surely bring? I have no projects lined up. No food in the fridge. Well, we'll just have to wing it. Where are my snowpants?

p.s. I'm not really a terrible person, please trust me on this one.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Art and Etc. (Midwest)

Good Morning people. I'm organizing my desk today for a psuedo client meeting. I have so many things in my office that are waiting to find a home. A mini art quilt, three knitted cupcakes, stuff like that. Oh, and the big print that I bought at an estate sale (I posted about this before). We are somewhat limited on wall space in this house. Plus, my husband has this phobia about nailing into old walls. The permanence of putting a hole somewhere that might not be exactly the right spot. Me, I would nail away.

So, back to the print. I found out very little about the artist, Gabrielle Brill. What I learned is that she is from Germany, lives or lived most recently in Hollywood and her etchings often reflect embryonic life and visuals. I spoke with Jan, my step mother who used to run and maintain the UW Madison Union's Art Collection, and she said this type of thing sounds like the art done in the 70s, which is when this print was likely created. Hmm. I'm still undecided about it. It may join the other prints I have stashed in my art collection.

Finally, I am planning on being on press tomorrow. I received my Boxcar plate order and I have about a dozen card design options I can create, depending on how I cut the plate apart. The themes relate to the spring and my deadline is to have items ready for posting this weekend. If I get 3 designs printed I'll be happy. Plus, I have two related gocco cards ready. I finished those last night. Busy bee = me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Checking Things Off the List (Midwest)

From Saturday's letterpress print session. Laurie, the sage ink came from mixing opaque white, process blue, red, yellow, and black. I'd say 4 toothpick dabs yellow to 1 each of the the others, and of course mostly white. This is the sage above, and below.

So, here I am for my Sunday morning weekly post! It seems that by Sunday our family has settled into the weekend and the kids are not at my feet, giving me some time on the computer. Today I hope to spend a couple hours working on some stray design projects. I have three type changes to make to the brochure below, then it can go to the printer. I have an Etsy banner to design for a friend (not ours Laurie - that's still a secret - shhhhh), various print marketing materials for a client, and some gocco cards to finish up. Ambitious for the amount of time I have available today. It will be good to cross these items from my list. How I long to have an 8 hour day to work. It's really hard to schedule these things in for an hour or two here or there. I shouldn't complain. I'm very fortunate to be able to stay at home with the kids and work (if I want).

Tomorrow I will print more items for my shop. Also, I've been a busy bee preparing some cards to debut in my booth over at Poppytalk Handmade Market to start on Feb 11th. This is very exciting for me. I may post a sneak peek next week, but I'm planning on keeping the final products under wraps until they go up for sale. :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday (Midwest)

After a smallish bout of insomnia last night (from the adrenalin from LOST?), I find myself blurry eyed and behind this morning. I was planning on going to the gym. But, since I didn't get back to sleep till well after 4:30 I was too tired. Maybe next week. After I haul all the squirts to school I will have an extra cup of coffee and hopefully some success on the letterpress and my day will start to look up. I need to get those thank you cards done.

Yesterday, I received my delivery from Paper Source in the mail. On Monday I ordered new Gocco bulbs, screens and ink with my gift certificate from Gilbert (aka GI, aka Gilboat). I had some extra room on my gift certificate so I indulged in some rubber stamps and pads. It was quite the haul. Of course, when the box came yesterday I ripped it open and got busy. All the bits and pieces of paper in my house got adorned. Now I have a stash of little cardlettes to put into my Etsy shipments.