Thursday, January 9, 2014

And orgy of evidence

(I should be concerned that this is only like 20% of what I printed in the last 30ish days... Also I'm exhausted... And loving it!) 

What do they normally call this on the tv crime shows? An 'orgy of evidence?' I may have made that up. But to say the last month and something have been busy is an understatement.

I've been busy designing and printing new wedding suites for clients all week and keeping up to my old shenanigans. I have big plans for the studio folks! I'll try to get my dis-organized self to write a list of all my goals... I wrote that down as one of goals too- to actually make a list of my goals (lol). 

I can't wait to see what 2014 brings us!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Holiday Collection

We've been hard at work fulfilling custom holiday orders, weddings, and holiday gifts, so I'm a little late in presenting the 2013 holiday collection to you all!  I want to make it up to you... how about 15% off everything in the etsy shop until the end of November?  Use code JINGLE2013 when you check out!

A couple new designs and old favorites! Stay tuned for more updates!

(designed by Erica Morgan Long, printed & edge painted in gold ink w/ kraft envelopes)
Bright 1holiday cheer
(designed & printed by me, edge painted, folding A2 cards paired w/ kraft or fuchsia envelopes)
additional joy 2additional highlight
(designed & printed by me, folded 4Bar cards paired w/ red envelopes)
('happy new year' & 'merry christmas' garland)
 Coasters 1
(old favorites! party coasters!)
Visit the shop today to take advantage of your 15% discount!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

jet plane

Hello everyone! 

Quick check in to let you all know I'm taking off on a jet plane today... to San Francisco! 

The hubs got me flights to the good ol' west coast for our anniversary so I could partake in a much talked about class offered by Amber over at Flywheel Press.  The class is a full 3 days of intensive training around the Heidelberg Windmill... and since my press has been giving me the stink eye for not learning how to run it, I decided its high time to get on this horse.  Tons of folks in the industry have taken the class Amber offers and swears by her methods and techniques, so I'm excited to head to the land of sun and learn.  Check out this post by Eva & Kirk at Sycamore Street Press who took the class earlier this year). 

... I also get to visit with a certain friend that just moved her whole life over there in June, and I am so excited, I could graffiti happy faces all over my body.  She and I go way way way back and I couldn't imagine my first time to San Fran with anyone else.  Follow me on instagram and facebook for full reports of our shenanigans.  And no judging. 

Back on Monday!

photo credit: pinterest

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

what we've been up to lately...

Dear readers.  I hope you have enjoyed the rest of your summers and early start to fall.  Oh wait, it's already mid- October?  My mistake. 

I've been heads down making this house a home and getting my studio up to snuff for the all the wild orders I've taken on lately.  Let me tell you, some of these are absolutely incredible and I can't wait to unpack my dslr and snap a few shots.  You read that right... I still can't find my camera from the move.  It's annoying more than anything since I know it's here somewhere... just... don't know the exact location...

So.  Where am I right now.  I'm working!  I have a ton of orders to go through right now (which, really, I'm thankful for) and I'm getting back into the swing of working on the presses every night.  It's a great feeling, folks.  Is it hard?  Yes.  I'm dog-tired after working all day, baby wrangling all night, and when Bells go to sleep, you kind of want to crawl right into her crib for a little snooze too, but there is work to be done!  Announcements to be printed!  Envelopes to be lined! 

I wouldn't change it for the world, though.  I love what I do.  I love working with new (and past!) clients, from all over the world, and discussing paper.  Love. It.

Studio Updates
Right now, we have the big stuff completed; things like walls are up, windows are sealed, presses moved, tables constructed, roller boards are secured to the wall, and power is hot.  Some of the small stuff is complete like painting (walls and ceiling... for the record, I will never paint another ceiling for as long as I live. It's absolutely a thankless job.  You're welcome ceiling, for making you look so incredible, thanks for doing nothing to help me except be a total nightmare for 3 hours), and moving stuff around so I have a place to work.

A lot more needs to be done here: install the door knobs (why is this so challenging? it's really hard to drill those holes in the doors, folks...), finish trimming the walls/ceilings (ugh), paint the doors and window moldings.  Basically make the place livable for the foreseeable future.  I want to hang some inspirational art and start a chalkboard wall on one wall to help me organize all my thoughts, orders, little notes, whatever ramblings are going through my head at the time.  I want to find unique art from my ridiculous travels the past few years and I want to make this studio mine.  I don't want it to be a garage anymore.  I'm done with the garage look.  It's so 2013. 

I'm going to leave you with a  montage of pics from our move, studio renos, and life pics. Enjoy!
Untitled messyprogress Untitled
{hurray! it's a wall! Bells was not as thrilled as these 4 guys...}

A few current studio pics (forgive the iphone quality... and general messiness... and... just be nice, mmk?):

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

building a new home, studio, concrete jungle & what not to do

Happy face?  Yeah.
We're standing in
our new driveway!
Alright.  The down and dirty to building a home.  Something I never want to do in my life.  Yep. I said that.  If you're not at all interested in building a home, don't read this, I'm certain I ramble through the whole post and it's long...

I thought the process would be fun.  I thought it would be seamless.  It's been neither of those for me.  Call me anxious, but I'm kind of the 'get me to the end of it, already' kind of gal and I hate the in-between stages. I suppose I have heavy expectations of others (maybe a personal fault?) since I put so many on myself, and when those expectations aren't met, I'm disappointed.  Like frowney-face and sad pouting, kind of disappointed. 

Enough foreshadowing? 

Overall, we love the new home.  It should be finished in about 3 weeks, we have a final walkthrough on the 14th of August.  Husband and I had a pretty darn specific punch list when we were house-hunting... like every other time we've house hunted, we needed to compromise:

No, Husband, you can't have a 4 car garage for under 1mill.
No, Wifey, you can't have a master closet the size of a bedroom with custom built-ins.
No, Bells, you can't have 3 play rooms.
No, Atticus, you can't have engineered hardwoods, your nails are like daggers of terror on your giant paws.

We're difficult.  I honestly felt terrible for our realtor, but she stood with us through every single one of the 20+ already built homes we toured in the North Raleigh area.  She is a rock star folks, and I am happy to pass her name to anyone interested (in the interest of privacy, I won't post it here). We saw happy homes, sad homes, homes that sat on busy streets, homes that could have potential with some tlc, and homes that we were 88% sure had a murder committed inside at some point in time.  In the end, nothing worked for us.  We gave it a good go, though, that I can tell you for certain.  We tried not to waste time- if we pulled into the driveway and knew the house wasn't going to work, we moved onto the next one.  Every time, our realtor was one step in front of us scheduling the next showing.  I am seriously impressed with her skills, yo.

We came to NC with baggage.  We have 4 cars (for 2 drivers... don't get me started), we have 3 huge letterpress machines that weigh enough to sink a tanker, we have a great dane who loves to prance around outside, and a family we want to grow (at some point, don't get all excited Mom). 

One of our last stops was at a new construction development right smack next to one of the nicest areas of our target location and a brand new elementary school just opened down the street.  Awesome.  Bells is take care of!  When we walked into the show-home, we were bowled over with the details of the house.  Sure, there were things we wanted to change immediately: we hate the contractor beige used in every house on the planet, the engineered hardwoods had to go ASAP, kinda wish we had a 3rd car garage at the very least, and ohbytheway, can we pretty please have a huge back deck?  Yes?  Sold. 

graded lot
We took a look through their 6 offered floor plans and selected one that was nearly identical to the home we had in Georgia.  We entertain a lot (an understatement), it's who we are, and we needed a relatively open floor plan with traditional elements included like formal dining room, walls (because total open concepts are weird to me), and upgradable features like adding a bedroom if we wanted (we did), premium hardwoods, better carpets, etc.  All of which, we got. 

brick foundation
Untitled We made every upgrade possible to increase the square footage and resale value of the home like extending our kitchen nook by 4 feet- which doesn't sound like much, but adding 4x6ft to the house adds up!  We upgraded carpets & pads for cozy living, site-finished hardwoods throughout the entire downstairs, added a full bath and made a weird loft at the top of the second story into an actual bedroom (with closet).  It's all in the name of resale.  A 5bedroom, 3full-bath house looks better than 4bedroom 2.5bath house, right?  Yeah, I thought so too.  We also extended the back deck to cover nearly the whole back of the house, added a 3rd garage, and asked for a crap ton of concrete to extend our driveway so Husband can easily play basketball on a full size court-- kidding.  Kind of.  We didn't do any upgrades that could easily be done after we built- like have the builder paint walls a more socially acceptable color, change out faucets, lighting, etc.  We just had them do all the really hard stuff.  Stuff that we would have a hard time doing later, or that would cost us way more to do after the fact. 

Untitled So you see, building a home means you still have sh*t to do.  We have to paint all our interior walls any color but that ridiculous contractor-beige, we need to upgrade our door levers to knobs for Bells' safety, qualified electrician for the presses, we need to rip out the horrible boxwoods the builder is required to plant(gag)... so... much...more. 

Enough about our whole dwelling: what does the studio look like?

Well, it started out as a 'utility garage.'  An 18x11ft 'addition' to the 2car garage already being built with literally nothing inside.  I added a large window, 4,244 outlets (reality: 5, but it felt like a lot more when I was paying for them...), service door to access the outside without actually going through the large driveway-garage-door, and higher height.  All in the name of comfort for when I'm out there printing for 8hrs a day.  Right now, the 3rd car garage is open to the 2car garage, so we'll be building a quick wall to separate the two and protect the presses from Husband's car fetish.

I have grand plans, folks.  Full wall chalkboard to help with order-organization, large movable tables to help with storage and workspace issues, ac/heat to make it less like a prison & more like a place I want to be in.  It's going to be a work in progress for quite some time, but I'll share some design inspiration with you soon. 

Next step: closing and moving in!  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 2, 2013

checking in...

Hello dear readers.  It is with a full heart, that I tell you, I'm almost back!  We're due to move into our house in a little under 3 weeks, presses to be moved in a few days after that... and it's time to finally introduce you to our newest addition:
Yeah.  I know.  I'm stoked.  Rather, I'm 'sucked' right in.  I barely know how to turn it on, and I'm still waiting to have it hauled out of another studio & into ours, but... I couldn't sit on the secret any longer.  This incredible machine is self fed- called a Heidelberg Windmill- and literally picks up the paper from one feed tray and self feeds it into the press, then takes it out again... about a thousand times faster than I could ever do with hand feeding my other 2 presses. 

I found my press from a really great guy moving to another city- he just didn't have the space to bring his press with him & couldn't imagine putting it in storage for the near future.  He gave me a few tutorial lessons about running the press- we're talking bare bones here- cleaning, how to turn it on with the power source at the wall; I made no less than 10 videos on my iPhone to remember every last detail and through all of them, you can hear my ridiculous giggles of delight.  So no, I won't be posting them here.  You're welcome.  Anyway, I basically threw myself at this opportunity and before I knew what I was doing, we agreed to a price and shook hands on it.  Yeah.  I mean, I felt like a baller talking about spending a few thousand bucks on a press I have no idea how to run and all, but whoa; I didn't even know how I was going to get it into the new printing studio and ohbytheway, we don't even have a house yet to call ours.  Details.

I've been thinking for a while that I needed something 'new' with the studio.  I've been thinking about where I want to be with the business.  I've been thinking about the future.  Call me a romantic, but doing what you love for a full time job is something to be admired, not feared, and for a lot of people, it's not a reasonable alternative.  Well, it's still not for me, not yet, anyway, but I want it to be.  So I'm going to bust my tail to make that dream a reality.  This press will help me reach for more of my goals, and I am so excited to share this all with you. 

We have a lot of work to do before I can show you the fruits of this labor, so be on the lookout for more posts about this newest addition.  This post was meant to be a check-in and I turned it into a love fest for the new press.  Oh well.  Forgive me?

Up next: building a new home, studio, concrete jungle & what not to do...

Monday, April 15, 2013

letterpress production video & one small {and large} hint on whats to come...

It's pretty clear that I have plenty of free time these days.  It's why the website is looking to get an overhaul AND I'm quite busy surfing the net, pinning random home design and letterpress business items, as well as finding incredibly cool videos about letterpress printing for some much needed inspiration while my boys are in storage.  Like this one:

Don't you just love that Heidi press?  Guess what? I'll have some news to share with you all about a Heidi soon... I would insert a coy little winky smiley face here, but I think you all know I'm grinning ear to ear at the mear mention of this little hint.

I'll be back in a few days with some new house updates including plans for the new print studio! 

ps: I miss you, readers.