#RealTalk: Love Edition

You guys, my boyfriend of two and a half years, the one I moved to a foreign country to be with, has never written me a love note. I’m not talking Byron and Keats here, all I want is a Valentine’s or birthday or just because card that I can look back at when the road gets rocky or when he’s traveling or when I’m feeling sad. (Full disclosure: When we were long distance he used to occasionally send very sweet, long, loving texts… but it’s just not the same!)

In fairness to him, there’s a lot of cheesy crap out there when it comes to lovey-dovey card shopping. While brainstorming straightforward sentiments, I started thinking about the love cards I’d really want to send. I started here:

loveyoumore_6803And then I came up with a brilliant idea… funny and honest, and a reflection of the sender, which is really all you want in a card, right? Here’s the first batch, all of which are now available in my etsy shop. I’ve already come up with a bunch more to print, feel free to leave your ideas below!

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#RealTalk

Avid readers of this blog have seen a progression (intentional and non-) toward more type-based designs lately. Not only does that mean ordering fewer [very expensive] printing plates for me, but people like cards with words on them, whether it says something they couldn’t quite figure out how to put into words or weren’t sure they were allowed to say.

I’m a pretty straightforward person. If you’ve met me in real life (or maybe you can even tell from my writing!), you more or less know how I feel about you, a situation or the work that you’ve made. I’m tactful, but I’m just not going to bullshit you—in fact I think it’s incredibly rude to say one thing to someone’s face and another behind their back (or even think it really).

So it makes sense that the cards I’ve been working on lately cut straight to the point. Sure, I could send you something with a quote about your journey and how everything happens for a reason… but wouldn’t you rather have this?

sorry_6815 ugh_6818The card above was actually inspired by a girlfriend’s experience with miscarriage. She said the best, most truthful sentiment anyone expressed to her was from her doctor, who simply said, “This really sucks. You don’t have to be ok right now.”

Of course that straightforward attitude works both ways—when I’m truly excited, you know it! And so, for when exciting things are on the horizon:

OMG_6812 holycrap_6809I’m at that age where most of my friends have or are thinking about, maybe working on making babies, which still just blows my mind. I know the survival of the species depends on it and all, but DO YOU KNOW ANOTHER, SEPARATE PERSON JUST GREW INSIDE YOU AND IS NOW OUT IN THE WORLD? “Holy crap” pretty much sums up how I feel about that.

These are now all available in my etsy shop, and there’s more to come in my next post! Stay tuned!

Travel Guide: AMERICA!

Ok, you guys, I fooled you. This really isn’t a travel guide per se… but since most of you readers are American, it’s really just a reminder of how great  having access to EVERYTHING YOU’D EVER WANT OR NEED really is.

I just returned from a long weekend in Atlanta, where my youngest sister lives. It was my first time off the island since January (my longest stretch yet!) and boy, could I tell.

We decided we would eat in the first night, since we’d be out and about the rest of the weekend. So, on the way home from the airport, we stopped at her local grocery store for provisions. You guys! Do you realize how amazing American grocery stores are? First of all, the produce department alone in her smallish neighborhood shop was nearly the size of the entire store closest to our house. The variety! I usually have to go to two different stores if I really want to check everything off my list (and even then, I haven’t been able to find sweet potatoes anywhere in months). Plus, you can pick up flowers, houseplants, specialty kitchen gadgets, any kind of booze or beer or wine you might desire… the list goes on.

And the best part was, nothing was rotten, wilted, or so far away from ripe it barely resembled the end product. I could have happily taken a bite from anything on display and it would be juicy and flavorful and perfect.

Second, the prices! I ended up picking up a few extra items simply because they were less than one-third of the prices they are here. I understand nearly everything in my grocery store has to be shipped here, but seriously. I spent the same amount on sandwich supplies the day we got back on island that my sister did for very fancy dinner ingredients.

The next day, I dropped my sister off at work so I could borrow her car. I spent the entire morning at Target! Dear readers, I support shopping local. I do it every chance I get—I’m always buying handmade gifts and supporting local makers. But when a giant, corporate one-stop-shop is not an option, simple errands become a rather large undertaking. The fact that I can get a couple cute tanks, work-out wear, makeup, razors, a new purse, SodaStream flavors, coffee and a mango smoothie (which is what I got), plus shoes, housewares, sporting goods, electronics, etc. all in one stop is just about the best thing ever.

And again with the prices. Clothing, like everything else here is a little pricey, but the real problem is the quality. A top that’s Target quality is marked at Bloomingdale’s prices… and there’s nothing you can do about it. There are really only 2 department stores and a handful of smaller shops here and they each have several outposts throughout the island.

And then, I got to stash my bags in the car and walk next door! I love my scooter, and it’s really the most convenient thing for Bermuda roads, but it’s such a luxury to be able to throw something in your back seat, lock your doors and know that no one’s going to nick it.

Lunchtime. I’ve been dreaming of this… pushing aside cravings for months… Qdoba. I actually had to settle for Chipotle since the only Qdoba in Atlanta is in the airport, but it still did the trick. (Also, America, you have TWO of essentially the exact same restaurant and they’re both thriving!) I know fast-casual is the latest buzzword in dining, but man, do I miss it. We’ve got three basic levels here: total crap fast food (It’s not even good! Knock-off KFC or greasy burgers from a truck.); bar food, which will still set you back around $20 a plate, plus you feel pressured to order at least one $7+ drink; or a sit-down restaurant with varying levels of fanciness (and price, but all expensive). Oh, and they do Mexican food TERRIBLY here. Don’t even try it. A couple bars have mastered nachos, but we all know that’s actually American.

So, burrito, chips and guacamole—check! I stopped at a mall. It was glorious! And then I did do a little shopping local, in well-merchandised stores with very high quality wares. They were organized, they were charming. They were all on the same street. I bought myself some letterpress stationery (of course!) and a gift for my mom, and just barely managed to resist buying a BUNCH of handmade jewelry.

That night we went out for barbeque (again, something they do very poorly in Bermuda, plus I don’t even want to know how much a restaurant would charge for that much meat!), then grabbed a few drinks at a rooftop bar closer to my sister’s house (and they had live music that was actually good!).

It was a fabulous weekend that reminded me how good we had it back in the old U.S.A. So my dear Americans, you may feel uncultured, corporatized (made-up word), and stuck in a dysfunctional political system, but remember how great things are too! Capitalism! Infrastructure! National parks! A melting pot of food and culture! Burritos!

 

Words with Friends

As you may remember, just a few weeks before I moved to Bermuda, I bought a bunch of vintage wood type from a college classmate who was closing her shop. I never even got a chance to print with it in Wisconsin, it went straight from the back of my car to the containers I was loading into my crate.

typeA_6793Within the first few months, I had proofed all the type and was offering custom stationery sets in a variety of styles along with a handful of type-based note cards, but after that I focused on my attention on my spring collection and let my wood type gather dust.

I’m happy to report that I’m rather word-focused at the moment and my collection of vintage type is getting inked up regularly. Check out the stop-motion video I made of locking up type before printing!

The “hell yeah” card and others are now available in my etsy shop. Here are a few of my faves—check them all out here!

hey_y'all_6604 nerd_alert_6536

mazel_6967 bestMOMever_6592 bestDADever_6796Oh hi! You made it all the way to the end of the post! For that you get a little sneak peek of something else I’ve been working on… more to come :) Thanks for reading!

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Postcards Posted

A few weeks ago (I’m going to take an aside here and apologize for beginning what seems like 99% of my blog posts this way. Letterpress is a long process and so by the time I finish the project and photograph it, several weeks or a month or two have always gone by, so it feels strange to pretend like I just did whatever it is I’m writing about. My apologies!)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, a student from the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) emailed to ask for some letterpress goodies to include in his senior show. His thesis was on moveable type and letterpress and he wanted to create a hand-out kit with a variety of examples. He mentioned past projects (business cards, wedding invites) were just fine, but almost all of those are created with a custom printing plate, not vintage type. The main thing I use my type for is greeting cards and coasters, but that would mean giving away several hundred dollars worth of merchandise—which is a big deal to a teeny tiny business like mine!

But I did want to help the guy out and I had been tossing around an idea for postcards for a couple weeks, so I decided that would be the project for him!

You all know I repurpose my practice printing paper over and over again, and then cut it up into tiny paper circles/confetti, 2-inch paper squares, gift tags and garlands. While printing this latest collection, I had a lot of what I refer to as “happy accidents”—designs that overlapped in a really interesting way or somehow worked together in a design, even though I hadn’t planned it.

postcards_6460I had been saving these pieces, not wanting to chop them up into little bits, yet they had too much already printed on them to use for practice sheets. So, I trimmed them up to a standard USPS post card size, used vintage lead type to print “Post card” and a dotted divider down the front, plus added my logo to designate where to place a stamp. Voila! The coolest post cards you’ve ever sent.

postcard_6462I sent most of them off to Ohio, but made a few extra sets and they’re now available in the shop. Pick some up now for quick notes, or they’re great to have on hand for summer vacation or when the kids go off to camp!

New Prints on the Block

Having totally awesome new product photography has motivated me to finally get some new prints listed in my etsy shop!

kickass_purpleP39The first is a special request from a friend. She knew what she wanted it to say—wake up, kick ass, be kind, repeat, with absolutely no punctuation—but not quite how she wanted it to look, so of course that’s where I came in! I started with a watercolor ombré background… which is basically my new favorite thing. Using several of my antique lead fonts, I printed the phrase in ever-so-slightly sparkly silver ink on top. She and I both love the results! I only printed two extra, and they are available here, but I’m also totally open to commissioned pieces in this style! Send me your favorite phrases!

bestdayever_P3The second is obviously one of the experimental pieces in the process of making these prints. I didn’t have much of the chipboard material, but I did really love the results, so I printed as many as I could—just five available in the shop!

Love is Love

Before I moved to Bermuda, I got in touch with all my wholesale clients to see if they wanted to stock up. Not only did this save them on shipping costs for future orders, but it also meant I had less stuff to move.

One of the designs that completely sold out were my “congrats” icons. I had tried reprinting them during one my first press days here, but they’re a fairly temperamental design and things just weren’t working out. Since then I’ve been too busy to get to them!

But a few weeks ago during my printing frenzy for Driftless Studio, I also finally got all three designs on press. They’re available in the shop—hetero couple here, and same-sex couples here and here!

congrats_MW_6134congrats_WW_6128congrats_MM_6137