Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Give your Valentine a...Tree!

The Prospect Park Alliance, the group who operates Prospect Park here in Brooklyn, is offering a unique gift for Valentine's Day this year. Give a tree!!

You can give a sapling to help maintain & restore the forest around Prospect Park for $75. Or, for $100, you can give towards an Arbor Day tree. Order by February 8th & your loved one will get a certificate in the mail showing that you dedicated a tree to them.

So skip the box of chocolates & give the tree of Love!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Paperfinger Calligraphy

Wahoo!!! I am signed up for a beginner calligraphy workshop next month. Last year I was inspired by Mr. B's cousin to get a starter calligraphy pen set & start teaching myself. Which I did! But it was tough to keep practicing & I wasn't learning the style that I wanted.

Enter Paperfinger Calligraphy! The workshop is February 7th at 6:30 at Poppies & Posies Floral Studio in Greenpoint. That's in Brooklyn, y'all. There are still spots left if anyone is interested. Click here for tickets.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Red, White, Pink & Super cute!

Not sure why these picks are just for moms. I guess it's because I found it on Hello Bee, which is a great blog for any new moms out there. Which I am not one of nor do I know that I will be one in the next 10 months. So again...I'm not really sure how I stumbled on this.

Anywho! I thought these items were adorable & definitely worth sharing. That hot pink infinity scarf has me thinking... Find out where to get each piece over at Hello Bee.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So many blogs...

Each day it feels like I discover a new blog, making my list of book marked blogs in my "blog" folder longer & longer all the time. Here's what I discovered this week:

Ramshackle Glam - Usually I'm not big into fashion blogs. Not sure why...I think I find them intimidating. This one though, I could get into. If I have a bigger closet...

Lulu the Baker - this is one delicious looking blog. Plus, I love reading about her & her husband's adventures in farming. I want bees too!

Pixology - helping women in design. I'm new to all these blogs, but not new to the idea that women of all kinds & backgrounds should stick together. So far I'm feelin' the love.

The Brick House - home tours, DIY & she just launched a line of home goods called CAMP.

Inside & Out by Potter Barn - What?! They have a blog? It's full of all the cool things you'd imagine. Or maybe more than you'd imagine if you're like me & have kind of been over PB for a while. What caught my eye was their Valentines' Day card post. Great taste!

Where did I find these? All over! Mostly from other people posting about them on Facebook or Twitter. Oh! Or Pinterest. I found loads of craft or DIY blogs from searching pins. Or, sometimes you never know what's going to pop up in a Google search.

Putting this list together reminds me that I need to update my blog roll over in the right rail. Put some new faves in there! What are you reading these days? Do share!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This week on The Press...

This week I received the rest of my letterpress supplies so I went as far as I could getting my press set up.

 Unpacking & repacking my stuff. My mother-in-law got this fabulous box for me for Christmas. It could be a jewelry box or you could store stationery in it (eeeeee!!!), but I thought "what a great way to store some of my furniture, etc for the press AND make it look nice." Like this...

Fits nicely on the hutch in my living room & when it's closed up, everything is protected, hidden but accessible. Yeah!!!

 The gauge pins Matt showed me...oh, btw, Matt is the lovely guy who sold me the press in Pittsburgh. He uses these a lot. I like the way they look. But! On the Boxcar Press videos I've been watching, they use a different kind, which I also happened to order. I like options, especially when trying to figure out what works...So...

Here they are! Gauge pins (the other ones) all set up! Except they weren't. I measured wrong (something that honestly never happens to me. Measure twice, cut once is my motto.) and so had to move the single size pin up. That led to much frustration & cutting of the tympan...that tan paper. That let me to do some more research on pins. Apparently there are these pins that are compressible, that do away with the worry that they will hit your $300 printing base & break it. I'll take those, please.

I figured it out though! Learning to letterpress on my machine is a process, not an event (that should be a poster...). Here is my machine all set up - polymer plate is on the base, gauge pins in, scrap paper out of the shot. Now all I need is ink...

I took this picture specifically so I would remember where to put the plate on the base next time. My mom didn't raise no dummy.

One thing I do not have yet - cleaner, which is why I am not showing you any actual prints. The opinions vary far & wide on what to use or what not to use. I'm printing at home, so I'm a little worried about fumes. Odorless Mineral Spirits comes highly recommended, but I'm reading that we'll still be breathing in the chemicals & it's still flammable. Someone on has recommmended...wait for it...Crisco. Ya! What?

So, I think I'm going to start with Odorless Mineral Spirits & go from there. The research will continue, no matter what.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Mitten Built for Two

How cute is this mitten?! Never heard of a couple's mitten before, but this is cool. I found it on Etsy this morning. It's the Red Heart Shaped Lovers Mitten by I Sew Naked.

This would make a great prop for a Valentine's Day couple shoot. And/or add your wedding date & make it a photo Save The Date for any time of the year. So creative!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Looking into my crystal ball

Where am I going in 2013? No idea...but I have a few thoughts for the first quarter:

1. Be more visible in social media

I'm not just talking about Twitter & Facebook. I think those are strong areas for me actually. In 2013, I'm getting off my site a bit & reaching out to other bloggers. That will mean commenting more on other blogs that I like/love & forming a plan on others to approach as media partner.

2. Be more visible on the market scene

2012 was great at confirming what I thought in the back of my head all along - my cards will sell well in person. It was tough to get started, but I think I might be hooked. Connecting with your customers, hearing & seeing what they like on your table is THE BEST feedback that I can get. AND!! It drives online sales, duh.

3. Learn it, love it, letterpress it

First quarter is about 2 things - picking some spring markets & getting to know my new letterpress.

I wish I could layout the whole year for you right here, right now. Past the 3 things I've mentioned above, I'm kinda stuck. For the first time I do not want to set goals for the year. In the past, those goals have gotten me to February or maybe March. Then I tend to forget them or loose track of how I'm keeping them going all year. That makes setting them feel pointless & like I'm setting myself up for failure.

This year, I'm setting goals/plans by quarter. I need smaller bites...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Wasted Morning of a Type Geek

{Say hello to Trend, one of my new fonts! So many options with this one...}

My favorite font site, for the most part, is My For some reason, just this morning, I discovered their Special Offers section. Oh. My. Mistake. So many fonts. So cheap. So little time...and funds...But! I did manage to control myself a little bit & find a few gems that I feel I MUST add to my font arsenal.

{can't you see this letterpressed?! Melany Lane @}

{not sure what this will be for yet, but I'm thinking a funky save the date...Insolente @}

{Oh man, I can't wait to have some fun with this font & it's ornaments...Romeo @}

Valentine's Day is coming...

Seriously, I cannot believe we're talking about Valentine's Day already. I JUST put away the Christmas ornaments.

To get you in the mood, I want to share these FREE iPhone wallpapers from Living Locurto. Amy comes up with all kinds of great freebies & party ideas, PLUS for any of my fellow shutterbugs out there, she writes a fabulous photography blog - I Heart Faces.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Setting Up Victor...

{Valentine's Day cards from a previous letterpress printing sesh at The Arm}

I've had lots of questions about my press in the last 2 weeks. Here's the update:

1. Have I started printing?

Not yet :( I have tons of supplies to order. A base to put my plates on, ink, pins, plates to print with...there is a long list. I've been looking at this stuff for weeks & I know what I want, but since I was sick & then filling that Hammock Pack order all last week, I just haven't pulled the trigger on purchasing what I need.

2. What am I going to print first?

Great question! Since Valentines' Day is around the corner I'm ordering plates for my You're Cool & Smooches cards. Plus, I thought it was high time I made stationery for myself. Lastly, my mom said she needs a reorder of the stationery I made for her a few years ago, so perhaps I'll whip something up for her.

3. What does this mean for my business?

As I said in a previous post, I've been designing with this type of printing method in mind for a long time. Several of my designs will become available in letterpress, plus I'll start offering custom letterpress stationery.

But not everything will make a made dash to the press. Some of my cards work well because of their use of color & type together in a way that will not make sense to print on my press at this time. Figuring  out what makes the transition to the press will take some time.

Bring on the wedding business! One of the most common questions I get is if I can make letterpress wedding invitations. I've always said yes because I knew I could rent press time somewhere. Now, the answer is YES!!! All caps, in bold! It will take some practice, but by the end of the first quarter, I want to have some designs for sale to build that part of my business up.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ahoy, Hammock Pack!

Happy Monday! Today, 135 people will be getting 2 of my Ahoy cards in this month's Hammock Pack. What's Hammock Pack? Oh, I'll tell ya!!

Subscription goodie boxes seem to be all the rage these days (Birch Box? Box of Awesome?) and Hammock Pack is one of them. A really good one!! Erin, who started the service last year, chooses a theme each month & puts together really great products around it. Check out the Hammock Pack blog for items from her December "ski theme" box. Makes me wish I'd ordered one.

This month's theme is sailing! Enter my Ahoy cards, which Erin found on Etsy. Thank you, Internet :) One week & a small transaction later, she is the proud owner of an enormous amount of stationery for her boxes and I am very excited I had the chance to work with her.

Why Hammock Pack? Well, for me, it's because Erin has great taste. She picks products much the same way I design cards. I think about what I would like & I make it. She fills the boxes with what she likes & it turns out her subscribers agree. Plus, Hammock Pack brings "a doorstep getaway" to you each month. Who couldn't use that? Especially this month. Sailing vacay? Yes, please!

There are 3 subscription methods: sign up for one month, for 3 months or the year. I'm thinking after one month, you'll be hooked.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Flu + The Battys

{all the brown is where the flu is widespread. Ewwww...}

The Batty household is pretty resilient, but we were smacked by the flu that is going around. Mr. B is still limping back to health. I hope you & yours have avoided this plague! Grab your vitamin C!

**Map from the CDC**

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to check the weather in 2013

Have you guys heard of (Pronouced: Weather.)

You put in your location. You get the forecast & ideas for what to wear. Like the items it chooses? Click on it to buy it! Boom! Easy.

I am having fun checking this in the morning! The clothes are not always to my taste. Mostly not. But, I love the concept! And whomever is picking the shoes & outwear is doing a great job. There used to be another blog, years ago, that was similar. I think they closed their doors. And! Now there is another site with a phone app...of course. Anyone used Cloth? Seems cool. Going to check out the site anyway.

I need another app like a hole in the head.

Welcome, Victor!

Big news today...I am off on a road trip to Pittsburgh.

Ok, that's not the big news. But the reason I'm going to Pittsburgh is. I have found a tabletop letterpress! Tabletop means that it sits on a cabinet or other surface, not on the floor which means it's apartment-sized. FINALLY!! I have been looking for this machine for YEARS. Seriously, years.

That's my precious in the picture above - a Cook's Victor 6 x 9.

You guys know my love for letterpress. I post about it frequently, especially in the Cards of the Week post that I used to be good about doing. Then there was the letterpress month I did a few summers ago. Anyone remember this Valentine's Day post...that went up in April? Am I on top of my blog calendar, or what?!

This road trip is a milestone in my love affair with letterpress. I'm a little nervous as I've been in pursuit of this form of printing & this type of press for so long, the saying "be careful what you wish for" seems to be ringing in my ears. But! That is just self doubt creeping in & if 2012 taught me anything it's that my gut kicks my self doubt's butt.

My gut says: I'm off to Pittsburgh...
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