Tag Archives: letterpress

My Heart Belongs to Presley…and Mail

Elvis Presley, Elvis sticker, Presley Patch, mail from MargaretMargaret sent me the best mail last month–a Presley patch in a Midori Kraft Window Envelope adorned with an Elvis sticker!! She hit all of my favorite things!! My Heart Belongs to Presley patch by Tuesday BassenMargaret loooooves Presley. (Presley loves Margaret, too!) Margaret said she couldn’t resist getting this custom patch from Tuesday Bassen (Link is to a similar one because the “My Heart Belongs to” version was a limited edition, see Margaret’s comment below.) at the Whurl & Friends Shop ‘n Pop. I love this patch! Think of the possibilities! You could get your own pet’s name, or your partner’s name, or your favorite snack. (“My Heart Belongs to Hot Dogs.”) Perhaps mail lovers need a “My Heart Belongs to Letters” or “My Heart Belongs to the USPS.” mail from MargaretAnd in true Margaret fashion, the patch came in the sweetest package. She addressed it on the flap side so that the patch could be seen clearly through the window. The label is letterpressed with the turquoise design and Margaret hand-stamped my name. Thin washi tape sealed it all up. I was delighted to find it in my mailbox. Thanks, Margaret.

P.S. Did you know today is World Post Day?

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New Year’s Cards 2015

New Years cards, nengajoOn January 1st, I spent the day catching up on all of my mail. I sent out a big stack of seventeen New Year’s cards and thank yous on the second.

For New Year cards, I sent three different versions–two different Japanese postcards and letterpressed greeting cards. We got the Japanese postcards at Mitsuwa again. Roughly translated, the fan one says “We humbly wish you a happy new year” and the bamboo one says “Thank you very much for all assistance rendered the previous year.  We ask for your continuous guidance this year as well.” The little bamboo drawing on the bottom is a classic Japanese New Year symbol called a kadomatsu.

The greeting cards are from Saturn Press, a letterpress printing company in Maine. (They don’t have a website, but I found some information about them here, which I think is quite interesting.) The card features two juncos sitting on a branch and the quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” I love everything Saturn Press does, but these are my favorites–from the birds to the simple phrase and the gorgeous paper stock with its deckled edge…these cards are dreamy. Cavallini Japanese Woodblock calendar, mail artI put all of the cards in envelopes (even the postcards) and decorated them with washi tape, metallic stars, and old Japanese Woodblock Cavallini calendars. (I had several in my stash, so I picked out the wintry months to use. Cavallini uses artwork by Hasui Kawase, the same artist who was on our Christmas cards.)Letter Writers Alliance member number seal stampAnd to seal the deal, I got to use my shiny new Letter Writers Alliance member stamp. It feels good to start the year out with a stack of mail…let’s hope I can keep up the postal momentum!

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Holiday Cards 2014

holiday cards with presley, christmas cards 2014Siiiiigh…our holiday cards are out…most made it by Christmas. Others didn’t. And that’s okay (she says, begrudgingly.) chirstmas cardsI worked on my cards over two days–one with my friend Jackie and her cats (Eskimo is shown above…she finally warmed up to me on this visit and now that she’s rested on my cards, I’m for sure we are best friends), and the other at home with Presley overseeing my progress (top picture). I took some people off of my list this year, and added some new friends, totaling forty-four cards for the season.Hasui Kawase christmas cards Hasui Kawase christmas cardsI found these Hasui Kawase cards at the Book Table in Oak Park. I love that they are peaceful and snowy. Some people may say they lack “Christmas” but with their “Season’s Greetings” message inside, they worked for a variety of people. 16 Sparrows Chicago winter card, letterpressI also had a few 16 Sparrows Chicago Snowflake cards that I sent to a few former and current Chicagoans on my list. (It’s their interpretation of the Chicago flag.) And since twenty-eight cards were not enough, I mixed in some of last year’s leftover cards and some from a Cavallini kit that I’ve had for a few years. Trader Joe's stickersNot a single piece of washi tape was used for this year’s cards, but I did put a Trader Joe’s sticker on each one. (I often ask for a few stickers when I’m checking out at the store. I like to use them on my mail and my calendar. On a recent visit, the manager gave me the whole roll. Trader Joe stickers forever!!)

So, they weren’t perfect, but I wrote a personal message in each one, so hopefully that part was appreciated, even though the envelopes were a little plain. And now…onto New Year’s cards…I only have a few but the clock -again- ticks…

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John-the-Mailman Retires

Save the Post letterpress cardA quick post today…

I know I blathered on about my letter carrier, affectionately know as John the Mailman, in this post, but he’s retiring this week after forty years of delivering mail.

The Forest Park Review featured a really sweet article about John this week. Our new letter carrier has some big shoes to fill…


P.S. Pictured is a card that Donovan made during her letterpress class with Rar Rar Press. I’m going to give it to John as a retirement card.

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Urbs In Horto

Urbs in Horto, Starshaped Press, Letterpress PrintI bought this amazing “Urbs in Horto” print from Starshaped Press last year at Show of Hands. This weekend, I finally framed it and hung it…one of those things that should have happened last November but didn’t. I originally bought the print for our front hallway. We have kind of a travel/map/Chicago theme going on in there. But I thought the print was too amazing to be stuck in a corner that we barely see coming in and out of our apartment. So I hung it up in the living room where we can see it all the time.

Urbs in horto, Latin for “city in a garden,” was Chicago’s slogan in the 1830s, celebrating Chicago’s commitment to parks in the city. (This article from the Chicago Park District can tell you more.) Starshaped Press created the print to celebrate Chicago’s 175th anniversary in 2012. The print is made with only antique metal type and letterpress printed in seven colors…it’s truly a work of art. I’m only sorry I waited so long to hang it up!

The weather is gorgeous in Chicago all week long, so if it gets a little quiet around here, just know I’m out soaking up the last bits of summer…now that fall is almost officially here!

P.S. To see some impressive detail shots of the print and the incredible set-up of all that type, go here!


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Show of Hands Chicago

show of hands purchasesOn Saturday, Karen and I braved the cold, cold wind and headed to Ravenswood for Show of Hands Chicago. Karen has never been to Renegade and we had plans to go this summer, except my trip to Japan got in the way. When I heard about Show of Hands, I knew it would be a good alternative.

First the space, the Ravenswood Event Center is spacious, interesting and amazing. The architecture and elements are gorgeous and the space holds old cars and crazy-awesome old neon signs. I feel like Naoto would have been entertained by the cars and signs if he had joined us. The Event Center is right off of the brown line, but we drove and parking was plentiful (for the city)…we only had to walk about two blocks from the car.

Second, Show of Hands was well-organized. There was a coat check and a lovely printed program. Everything was marked clearly as if the signs were ushering us into the event center and into the event room. The sellers were close enough to keep the flow going but there was room to breathe, to roam around and space to browse in each booth. (There is nothing worse than getting shoved out of a booth because people are crushing in to see.)

Best of all, it was a well-curated show. The crafters/designers/makers/sellers were all amazing. I could have bought something at every booth. And today I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying a few things (a woven clutch and some tangerine lavender lotion to name two…) It was the perfect size, too. Usually by the end of Renegade, I am DONE looking at things, chatting with sellers and pretending to be interested in the five hundredth ironic t-shirt. At Show of Hands, I never felt this way. It was the perfect variety of things and the perfect amount of shopping.

I can’t show you all of my purchases because I managed to pick up a few gifts. But the gifts for myself are pictured above.

The “Thank You For Being A Friend” postcards are from Zerobird. There are five in the set with the words to the Golden Girls theme song. They also had Three’s Company and Laverne & Shirley sets…obviously, Zerobird has great taste in television.

The vintage stamps and “I must decline for secret reasons” calling cards are from 16 Sparrows/Letter Writers Alliance. There are four versions of those calling cards…perfect for those of us who are a little bit introverted.

The typewriter postcards and the K stationery are from A Favorite Design. I couldn’t resist another monogrammed card and those typewriter cards are going above my desk.

Sidenote: I wish I had taken pictures of our day in action. I feel like I always say this, but I’m not a “blogger”, I’m a person with a blog, so I find myself getting caught up in the moment and enjoying seeing things in person sometimes rather than from behind the camera or my phone. There are some things I go into planning to write about it, and other things I don’t. But Show of Hands was just too good. I hope it’s an annual thing.

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Good Things From The Yubinkyoku

Japan Post Office StationeryAs I mentioned in my first post about sending postcards from Japan, I couldn’t wait to pop into the post office for some postcard stamps and postcards. While I was buying those, I scoped out some of the exclusive yubinkyoku (post office) stationery. Pictured above is the classic red mailbox postcard, the classic red mailbox glue stick, the Japan post letter set (including stickers of a mail bike, a mail bag, a mail truck and a mailbox) and a letterpressed postcard. They are all part of the Posta Collect Basic stationery series presented by the post office. The papers used in the letter set and postcards are really thick and lovely. The postal clerk was adamant that the big red mailbox postcard was not for international mailing, but Naoto sent me one a few years ago during one of his solo travels to Japan and I got it…so…mail at your own risk? Japanese Constellation Postage StampsI also bought a sheet of these awesome constellation stamps. Japan is very on-trend with their postage…constellations are everywhere lately!Japanese Constellation Postage StampsIt’s hard to see in the pictures, but the stars are gold foil and the pictures are holographic silver. Apparently these stamps are the third in a series of constellation stamps. (You can see the first set here and the second here, scroll down.) I’m bummed I missed this first two. Japanese Letter Writing Day Postage StampsAnd while I was at the post office one last time, I could not pass up the other Letter Writing Day stamps. I fell in love with the depictions of summer in Japan, especially the somen (bottom left), the roasted barley tea (second right) and the flowers and vegetables. And obviously the little girl writing a letter, the red mailbox and mail truck sealed the deal.

Japan really knows how to do postage stamps and merchandise…I think the USPS should take note!

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Another Procrastination Project


The spare room is still a disaster. The bathroom still has no mirror or towel hooks. The floors need to be swept. Am I taking care of those things? No. I’m hanging up kitchen art.

I spent Saturday framing a bunch of old family pictures. My plan (eventually) is to make a family photo wall on the open wall in the dining room. (You can see a bit of the wall in this post.) I would have hung everything up on Saturday (I’m feeling very hammer happy these days.) except I realized I have zero pictures of myself. Grandparents, parents, and a young Naoto, yes…but no young Kimberly. I’m going to have to see if I can come up with some good choices (hint, hint, Mom!) before I start making holes. I’d love to do something like this by Young House Love, mixing my photographs with other sentimental things but, let’s be honest…at the rate I’m going it would take a lifetime to fill our wall!


Since I couldn’t hang up the stuff I’d framed (and the bathroom details are on hold until Naoto can help me lift things), I decided to finally hang two more doughnut pictures in the kitchen. The top one is a letterpressed greeting card that I found while cleaning and the bottom one is the picture (the sprinkles are police officers) that has been sitting on my kitchen counter for a long while. It took two minutes–no templates, no measuring, no level…I just eyeballed it this time. It’s a small improvement, but it feels good to get two more things on the wall (instead of on the floor!)


And while we are talking about the kitchen…when the weather got colder, we brought in our wicker loveseat from the balcony. It just happened to fit on the little wall in the kitchen. (We kept Presley’s food and water bowls along this wall, but she moves them around so much that pretty much the whole kitchen floor is her food and water bowl.) It turns out that the loveseat has been a useful little addition to the kitchen. We hang out there when we’re cooking and Presley takes naps on it every day. It’s kind of the perfect place for her. She can get her snooze on and be aware of what is coming out of the refrigerator. She can hear the sound of the cheese drawer opening and yogurt containers opening from anywhere in the apartment…being close gives her the advantage of seeing if the food choice is worth the effort of getting up to beg for it.

So, that’s what’s going on around here in the recovery house. Naoto is probably going back to his day job soon…Presley and I are going to miss him as we’ve gotten quite used to him hanging around with us during the day!

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Project Distraction…


You know those little home improvement projects that you finish and then say, “What took me so long??” Yeah, this was one of those. The Great Clean-Out unearthed a whole lot of art gathering dust in the closets and on the floors of our bedrooms. This week I decided to tackle the desk art.


On a giant piece of kraft paper, I tested my layout on the floor first (with Presley’s “help” of course) and traced the frames onto the paper. Then I cut out each “frame” and hopped on my ladder and taped them all up, readjusting a few times until I got them all where I wanted them. Then I measured for the picture hangers and hammered and hung each picture one at a time. I readjusted things as I went, based on tiny mis-measurements. It wasn’t an exact science (for instance, I’m not sure how I feel about the tiny cat floating away from everything at the top) but I’m pretty happy with my  little collection up there. Eventually I’d love to take down my twine-o-postcards and have art hanging up across the entire desk unit, but I’m okay with this for now.


Finishing this was a nice distraction from the Great Clean-Out (which is still sprawled across the dining room table and the living room floor). Now back to putting things away and plotting the rest of the art in the apartment. Right now, I’m loving the haphazard collage look and I’m thinking I might need to “build” another one with some old family pictures in my stash.

Clockwise from the top left: Cat–postcard purchased in Japan//Girl on a Swing papercut–Tina Tarnoff//photo strip–taken at Fitzgeralds a few summers ago//You Are My Sunshine–purchased at Renegade a few years ago, but I can’t remember the seller//Presley–one of my first Instagrams, developed by PostalPix//Iron Head collage–Vivienne Strauss//Lord Byron Letter Writing quote–Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress

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New Stationery


Naoto has been working a lot lately. I mean, he always works a lot…between his translation job and Trader Joe’s, the man clocks a lot of hours. But lately, he’s been clocking seeeerious hours. He worked on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which would have been really annoying if I hadn’t been still recovering from the flu. He’s been staying late to work on translation stuff at his office when he doesn’t have to go to Trader Joe’s, and when he does have to go to Trader Joe’s, he comes home and works on translation stuff all through the night. On Saturday (his only day off each week) he went into the office and put in a full day of work. He felt really bad about leaving me home alone (well, with Presley) again…

So, when he got home on Saturday night, he came bearing gifts…I know, I know…no gift will ever make up for the time we missed together, but it’s still nice to be thought of!

He brought me some new teas and this gorgeous, elegant, grown-up stationery. It is made by le typographe in Brussels and the paper has a beautiful weight. I wrote my first letter on it early on New Year’s Eve morning and writing a letter has never felt like more of a luxury. Most of my stationery collection (which by the way takes up an entire dresser drawer…and then some) is whimsical and colorful…I’m happy he chose something more sophisticated to add to my collection. And a big thank you to Chandra at Greer for helping Naoto pick something perfect from all of Greer’s beautiful choices!

Here’s to writing more letters in 2013!

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