Friday, March 27, 2009

Birdhouse Booklet Giveaway!

It's about time I offered a blog giveaway, dontchya think? For my first blog giveaway, I'm offering two of my new little birdhouse booklets. You can see more about how I made them here, at the Handmade Artist blog on Poppytalk Handmade. If you would like to be entered for a chance to win one, please leave a comment below before 9:00 am CST next Friday morning, April 3, 2009. I'll pick a topic: your favorite thing about... spring! { Seeing as we're expecting something like 8 inches of snow here tonight, I'm going to have to use my imagination. :) }

I will use a random number generator to pick the two winners on Friday morning. I'll post the names of the winners at that time, so don't forget to check back then. Thanks for participating!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something New From Something Old

I often make the things you see here for a particular person in my life. This one is tailor-made for my dad. If you've ever met him, you know he's crazy for anything map-related. Last Christmas, he creatively wrapped our gifts in outdated, discarded topographic maps. I couldn't bear the thought of them being thrown away afterward, so I decided to make little booklets out some of them. The booklets are pocket-sized, and some are available with a sparkly yellow cover, some with a sparkly blue one. (Again, I couldn't decide which color I liked best.) The pages are made from the maps and some found blank notebook paper and graph paper. My favorite part is how the baker's twine echoes the red and white striped highway symbol on some of the maps:

All the maps were different, so no two booklets are alike. They are available here — enjoy! (And Dad, yours is on its way...)


Update, August 2009 – these are all gone now. I won't be able to make any more of these, but will be making another map-type journal sometime soon.


Update, April 2010 – here is version 2.0 of the map booklets!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


{My Grandpa at his Linotype machine in the 1980s.}

I think I've always had ink in my blood. My grandparents owned a small, family-run letterpress shop on Champa Street in downtown Denver for over 30 years. I remember spending long summer days at the shop, helping Grandpa set type and learning how run the machinery. He could hand-set a line of type from a drawer in seconds flat, and he taught me how to properly lock up a chase. I loved watching him zip out lines of type on the Linotype machine, and hearing the tap-tap-tap of the wooden mallet as he nudged each slug into place. I was mesmerized by Grandma slipping pieces of paper into the C&P floor press over and over, and loved sitting in her big wooden desk chair, pretending I was running the place, taking orders and chatting with the customers who dropped in each day.

One day, my cousin convinced me that the Linotype machine was just like a typewriter, and it wouldn't hurt to pretend we were office workers and type just a bit on it. It was off, so what could it hurt? I'm sure I knew that this was against the rules, but I did it anyway. Turns out that, even when the Linotype was off, the letter molds that make the lines of type still come down the little chute, piling up and waiting for the lead to be poured in. Boy, was Grandpa mad when he found them. I learned to never do that again!

My favorite place in the shop was the little room in the back where the paper was kept. I could spend hours fingering the stacks of paper in all sorts of colors, weights and sizes. My favorite papers were the label stocks and the carbonless NCR paper. Every now and then, my Grandpa would clean out the paper shelves, and send us home with a giant box full of scraps. I made my own little receipt books with the NCR paper, and coerced my little brother into playing store and library with me for hours on end, just so I could write out receipts. And remember those little teddy bear stickers you could buy in the 80s? The ones that came with their own little clothes and accessories, so you could put them on your spiral notebooks and dress them up? I used the sticker paper scraps to make my own. But I had way more accessories than what you could get at the stationery store. :)

The shop closed in the early nineties when my grandparents retired. Grandpa passed away in 2002, but every now and then I feel him nearby, watching over me as I grow my business as a printer in my own right. When the shop closed, letterpress was almost a dying art. I think he would be very surprised and quite pleased to see the resurgence of letterpress in recent years...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Sneak Peek

Spring is just around the corner, I can feel it (even though we woke up to 17° weather here this morning). Next week is the start of a new market at Poppytalk Handmade, and I'm working feverishly on some new things that fit the "Green Pop!" theme this time around. This is a sneak peek of the red birds I printed yesterday... they'll appear in the shop over the weekend, along with several other "hot off the press" items, including some new recipe cards designs. I'd better get back to work...

{Update: the project with the birds is up now, here!}