Tag Archives: letterpress

Halloween Treats

Tag Team Tompkins

Halloween decorating is coming along slowly this year…until motivation arrived in my mailbox today with my treats from Tag Team Tompkins! The Tompkins ladies (a mother & daughter team) turn hand lettering and paper cutting into gorgeous letterpress designs. These are (obviously) Halloween-themed, but they offer everyday designs, too. The paper is nice and thick and the letterpress impression is just perfect. I like that their shop is filled with classic black and white designs, but I love that they went all out with the silver ink on black paper for these. I’m going to hang up some twine over my desk and clip them up with tiny clothespins. (I hope it looks as good as it does in my mind.) Tomorrow, the Halloween decorating will happen. In the meantime, here is Presley enjoying her favorite October spot:


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renegade chicago 2012

This past weekend, Naoto & I made our annual trek to the Renegade Craft Fair. I start looking forward to Renegade weekend in the middle of summer, checking to see who is coming and browsing online to see what I want to buy. [Sidenote: Naoto never looks forward to Renegade…he’s just along for the ride, and the beer I buy him to keep him from getting grumpy.] I’ve mentioned on the blog before–I am very frugal with a lot of things. I hate spending a lot of money on toilet paper, toothpaste, make-up and cleaning stuff. But, I never mind spending money on things that I think are high-quality, unique and beautiful, especially when they are handmade. I do a lot of shopping for our home at Renegade (and on Etsy), and, except for two concert posters and a map, everything on our walls comes from independent artists. (That’s a post for another day…once it all actually gets hung on the walls!)

My first stop at Renegade is always the 16 Sparrows/Letter Writers Alliance booth. Donovan & Kathy always have a fun space full of postal goodness and this year was no different. (Don’t you love the airmail accent on the tent? Donovan made it with tape!) They were selling pigeon posts like hotcakes (For more information on my experience mailing a pigeon, go here.) This year, they debuted their pneumatic post, so I snagged one of those along with some labels and a postcard.

After the LWA we did a pass through all of the booths at the fair, scoping out which ones deserved our attention and attempting to shop. I say attempting because the crowds were thick and the booths were tiny, making it a huge challenge to navigate, decide and pay. So, we went to lunch.

We were lucky to get a seat at Jerry’s right by the fair. It was my first time and it was incredible! Their sandwich menu is a novel of unique sandwich pairings, tasty sides and beers. I had the Munchy: a grilled cheese with pickles and potato chips on it and a side of dill potato salad, and I also may have eaten Naoto’s entire side of mac and cheese. Yum!

Refreshed from lunch, Naoto took over. He charged through the crowds dragging me behind him and helped make some space in the booths so I could shop…it was kind of hilarious. Watch out annoying people with dogs on long leashes–we are coming through! Move your stroller, mom with the toddling toddler, we are flying by. Shove over canoodling couple, we want to shop!

One place I really wanted to shop was Son of a Sailor. I’ve been eying their Etsy shop for awhile and I wanted a necklace with our initials (K&N). Their other bracelets and necklaces were tempting, too (I’m keeping my Christmas list options open, Naoto!)  Luckily we were able to sneak into the booth during a wee lull so I had a moment to scope things out, make my purchase and have a tiny chat with Jessica (the designer). She was absolutely lovely and cheerful and she is just the kind of artist that makes indie shopping such a great experience!

Other than the postal goodies and the necklace, I bought two letterpress prints. One is the desk with the Lord Byron quote (“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.”) from Bison Bookbinding and the other is the donut (“Donuts make the world go ’round.”) from Nourishing Notes by Letterform. I’m very excited to get a couple of frames and get them on the walls. (For the record, last month I hung something up that I bought last year at Renegade.)  I also got some decals from Oh, Hello Friend and the lovely pillow cover from Little Low Studio.

All said and done, it was a great shopping trip, and a gorgeous day to be outside! Yay for Renegade! I can’t wait to see you again next year!

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letterpress class with Rar Rar Press

I had an epic weekend: a sausage-centered party at Big Guys Sausages, a letter social with the Letter Writers Alliance & a letterpress class with Rar Rar Press. While the party at Big Guys was fun (I had the Italian Chicken Sausage and I am officially three-for-three with loving what I order there!) and the letter writing social was as lovely as always (I wrote 1.5 letters and one postcard!), the letterpress class was a huge highlight.

I’ve been wanting to take a letterpress class for a long time and Rebecca’s class came highly recommended. Unlike a lot of letterpress printers today who design on the computer and have a polymer plate made for printing, Rebecca still hand sets all of her type using old letters made of wood or metal. Some of her type is from the early 1900s! I kind of wanted to spend the whole four hour class just poking through it all and playing with fonts, but there were posters to print!

We learned a little bit of terminology (oh, there is so much terminology…and measuring & math!) and about setting our type and we learned about her two presses before we got started. It took me a long time to choose my type styles and Rebecca assisted a lot when it came to setting my chase (the frame that holds all of the letters together). It is like playing Tetris trying to fill in each and every inch of the chase so the letters are securely set and ready for print. (Rebecca joked that she can pack a car like no one else!)

Rebecca printed the rainbow background first, then we printed the text on top. Every print is a little bit different, some have darker blue-green rainbows, some are lighter …I love that about them. Naoto said I should sign each one (since they are a limited edition of 25) and I think I will. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas!

The biggest challenge for me before the class was choosing what I wanted to print. I have a long list of quotes that I love (most of them are pinned here on Pinterest), but in the end, I decided “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt) is a perfect life lesson to have on my wall. It’s a good reminder, don’t you think?

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