our new holiday helper!

I've noticed many of my greatest ideas come out of nowhere. I typically brainstorm ideas for holidays or seasons. I have notebooks full of ideas, a lot of these come from sitting down and thinking…"birthdays…what reminds me of birthdays?" and spirals from there. Other ideas, my best ideas, come from nowhere. It's an amazing thing. I'll be busy printing, daydreaming, thinking about my shopping list or even washing my hair in the shower and BAM! The muse visits and blesses me with an idea. That idea usually evolves very quickly and won't stop until it's on paper. I'm happy to say that was the case with our new Holiday Helper: a helpful holiday organizer.


I was in the midst of finishing printing all my holiday card designs and suddenly, I was sketching ideas for a holiday organizer. I wanted it to include: planner pages for November, December and January, to-do list pages, notes pages for sketching or taping magazine or catalog clippings, fall and winter holidays for the next three years, helpful tips, card etiquette, greeting card lists, gift lists, tip list, donation list, baking list, party list, thank you note lists, resolution list, inspiring quotes, fun tid-bits, basically anything for the holiday season. Oh! And it had to be cute and usable for up to three years if you want. That was a tall order.


I started designing after a long day of printing. And had a final draft a week later. Again, this was during the holiday print crunch time so a week for a 32 page pocket planner was impressive. I researched who to partner with to create the perfect book. Almost immediately, I reached out to Scout Books in Portland. I had questions, as I always do, they were extremely helpful, kind and quick with their responses. I have purchased many of their books and we have quite a collection of the 33 beers journals designed by 33 books co. I knew their product and quality and trusted them. They didn’t disappoint! Honestly, Scout Books was a dream to work with. Their customer service is amazing. And their production department was even sweeter! I can't sing their praises enough. The books turned out perfectly. I'm excited to start sharing them you. I think they will make perfect little gifts that help you and your friends stay organized all season long. You'll be so organized, you may even have time for some caroling, making this year
the best holiday season yet!

Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear your thoughts about our new Holiday Helper!


Mother's Day Inspiration From Old Faithful

In 1995 I visited my first National Park, Yosemite. It was absolutely amazing. I remember feeling the complete awe of Mother Nature. Honestly, it was life changing. I went back to my small town with wide eyes and a desire to experience as many National Parks as possible.

Tom & I at Glacier National ParkTom & I at Glacier National Park

I'm very fortunate as my partner in crime (Tom) encourages my park love. Recently we've made it a goal to visit a National Park every year. It makes me giddy just thinking about it.

Serigraph Yellowstone Poster

Another passion of mine is design, especially graphic design. I adore vintage posters, the designs are simple but still hold up. The Work Projects Administration (WPA) Posters of the 1930's-1940's combine my love of National Parks and amazing graphic design.


Old Faithful Doodle

While brainstorming spring cards I kept thinking of National Parks and started doodling. Then I listed some of the characteristics of Old Faithful and quickly realize Mom shares those same qualities. I knew I had to make a card. I looked at lots of WPA posters and photos of Old Faithful. It was fun to design.

Letterpress Mother's Day Card
Old Faithful Inspired Letterpress Mother's Day Card

Printing it was a whole other issue. I seem to always challenge myself with letterpress printing. The ideal letterpress print designs are type based with some lines or detail and not too tight registration. Large solid areas are bet suited for silkscreen. Tight registration is best suited for digital or offset. I tend to almost always have tight registration and/or large, heavy ink coverage in my designs. I joke, "I love a challenge" which is a little true but printing tight registration or heavy ink coverage can be very frustrating and extremely time consuming. I designed this card with both tight registration and heavy coverage... did I mention I love a challenge? To help with the tight registration I added a white line to the design so there could be a little forgiveness when printing. Despite both challenges, it turned out great. And my wholesale clients agree! The cards are selling well. You can get yours here.


Letterpress Love From the Southernmost Point

I’m back from a relaxing, beach vacation (hooray!). It was much warmer than home. I’ve been visiting Key West for about 13 years now and it never disappoints. It's the perfect February thaw out for this Midwestern Girl. Being a letterpress business owner I always take note of print shops and anything letterpress inspired. Below is a little letterpress love from Paradise.

 Cabanas Printing & OffsetI love peeking through the window of Cabanas Printing & Offset, Inc. This shop has been family owned for a couple generations. Doesn't it look magical?

windmillThey have a Heidelberg Windmill press that seems to always have pms 185 on it. We stopped in a couple years ago to talk shop. They use the press mostly for numbering, thus the red ink.

print license plateWe enjoy sitting by the water & enjoying seafood at Half Shell Raw Bar. If you’ve been there you’ve seen the huge collection of license plates that decorate the walls. I spotted this one out of the hundreds, maybe even thousands of plates. Check out their clever Eat It Raw license plate inspired shirt.

A must visit is Blue Heaven. Delicious food, great bloody marys, eclectic decor, and a bohemian courtyard complete with a ping pong table, free roaming roosters and several Hemingway Cats. This beautiful dilapidated Chandler + Price Platen Press is sitting out in the elements in their courtyard. Years of salt water has taken it's toll on her. She's still quite beautiful and almost magical with the rust and tropical plants taking her over. I wonder how she got there and why.

Finally, no trip to Key West is complete without a visit to the Green Parrot. I think they have the best live music on the island and Cigar City Brewing Maduro on tap (yum…). They have an amazing Letterpress Wood Type piece above the door with their motto No Snivelling (typo intended). Unfortunately, my photo didn't turn out but you can check it out on here.

There you have it, a little letterpress love from the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States.

Letterpress Inspiration Boston Style

Last week I had the pleasure of vacation & it was perfect. While away I visited a few stores (it can’t all be play), ate lots of amazing food, drank delicious local beer, saw a game at the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, climbed several mountains, watched sunrise from a mountain top, watched sunset from the side of a mountain & enjoyed the full moon eclipse on the beach. The entire trip was inspiring.
 coasters from ICOB

Our first stop was Boston. What a fun city! Tom & I filled our whirlwind visit with as much history, sightseeing, walking & food that we could handle. Thanks to Carrie of Holmes Handmade for Kids & Laurie of Two Trick Pony, we were able to plan the must-sees. One suggested dinner spot was Island Creek Oyster Bar. Not only was their food delicious but also their printed pieces have a vintage ephemera look that’s stunning. I was smitten. The drink menu had a letterpress printed red pressboard cover. Their daily menu was also beautiful; each was individually letterpress numbered & date stamped in red. Tiny details that made this ephemera girl swoon. Their coaters also crush-worthy: well designed, two color with heavy letterpress print coverage (not an easy feat), tight registration (also not easy), heavy type mixed with tiny type (again, difficult) corner rounded & neon edge paint! Stunning. If I lived closer, ICOB & I could really be friends.