These are my ruminations on life, design, and the pursuit of happiness…

A week of type & printing

I spent a great deal of time this week at the International Printing Museum. I was also busy this week printing my recipe card for the Letpress Cookbook. (Letpress is a web server for letterpress printers.) I had my type cast at the museum last Saturday, ingredients cast in Ludlow and directions on the Linotype. Unfortunately, the fonts I was thinking of in my head, they did not have at the museum, so I had to redesign on the fly. Once I got the type home, I realized it wouldn’t fit the layout. However, I had 350 recipe cards to get out, printed in 2 colors on the front, and 1 on the back, and had to get printing on at least part of it. I decided to keep the ludlow type, and try to recast the linotype text later in the week. Monday I printed the Ludlow cast “Mandate” font, along with my bird linocut, and hand set “Vaudeville” for the titles.

Tuesday I had a field trip to the museum with both of my classes. (Last semesters trip here) we had a super fun time this semester, printing wood type and cuts on 2 Vandercooks, an 1850’s parlor press, and a proof press.

The Linotype operator wouldn’t be in until Thursday though, so when Thursday rolled around, back to the museum I went. Thursday was also Veterans day, so I had the kids with me, and got them started making some decorations for the Museums’ upcoming Dickens Day event.DickensDay10FlyerV3-791x1024
I finished printing the recipe card Thursday night and Friday, so now that project is at least done.

Saturday, back I was again at the museum, for the Book arts Guild meeting and lecture on Richard Hoffman.
Hoffman was a printer and teacher, known for his use of ornament, such as on this lavish cover
After the lecture we had hands on time printing with some of the museums ornaments,
and a viewing in the gallery of some of Hoffman’s printed works.
This cover was one of my favorites, with its inspired use of swashes.IMG_1559
Just when I was getting ready to leave, some fellow docents were printing a proof of these fabulous initial characters. Deco script initials
Stuff like this gives me chills, I like it so much! Here they are cleaned up a bit in photoshop, and alphabetized: script initials alphabetized Now we at the museum would like to find out where they originated from. If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comments below!

Pihs Ho!

At CSULB, I teach Typography and Graphic Design classes. One thing I enjoy doing with my class is introducing them to the history of both by taking a field trip to the International Printing Museum. When you go to the museum, either as an individual or with a group, you get a guided tour through the museums display of antique printing equipment.

It starts with the museums Franklin press, museumtour3
where Gary Mark Remson demonstrates the casting of type, and the quick cooling of type metal.

Then on to the reproduction Gutenberg press, museumtour6where one of the students assists in helping to print a page of the Gutenberg Bible.

We also see the fancy Liberty press,

and everyone’s favorite, the Linotype.
museumtour22 (this photo is from an earlier date)

We then move across the parking lot to the Book Arts area, for some hands on printing. My morning class was having such fun printing, I had to kick them out for the afternoon class!

When you have never printed before, and are setting type, some funny accidents can occur, like this example- he was trying to spell “OH SHIP”, but “PIHS HO” he got it backward!

We al thought this was so funny, that it became our catch phrase for the semester, whenever something went wrong. On the day of the final one of the students brought in a silkscreen, and printed us all “PIHS HO” shirts.

Happy summer everyone!

The season for multi-tasking

The mad dash from Thanksgiving to Christmas is always a crazy one isn’t it? I haven’t blogged in a while, so this is a bit of a catch up post. We have the holiday season parties, shopping, and cooking, as well as wrapping up the end of the semester at my work, and usually a kid school project or performance thrown in for good measure.

Thanksgiving was a small family affair. It was just the 4 of us, but I like getting out the fine china, (vintage Franciscan “Platinum Band”) and setting a pretty table.

The day after Thanksgiving when the rest of the world was out shopping, we started our “low budget black friday craft” of designing birdhouses. Each family member came up with their own design idea, and we cut them out of 1/4″ plywood. The kids each cut out their own, with some help from dad, and I was mainly in charge of the painting.

Sadie did a Gnome, Dave made a rocket,

Theo an apple with a worm, and I made an owl.

We wrapped them up for the Emery family Christmas party gift exchange. I think they were a hit!

Soon after, we took the kids for the annual trip to see Santa.

Sadie asked for a sleeping bag, while Theo for the second year told Santa to “surprise him”!!!

The next family project was a diorama Sadie needed to build of the Eastern Woodlands Indians. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but my husband is a Visual Effects Modeler for the movie industry, so he was able to show Sadie some tricks of the trade.

First he had her go use her Playmobil to set up what she had in mind. After a few hours in her room, this is what she came up with.

Awesome! The princess dome was a stand in for the wigwam, and notice the guys carrying the deer back from the hunt, and the spear fisherman.

Then it was time to recreate it.
My husband had her carve the hills and waterfall out of 6lb foam, and taught her some paint techniques including spray and washes. They also used spray glue to put down some “grass” of dry cilantro leaves. (It was the greenest herb I had in the pantry!)

I taught her to make indians out of pipe cleaners and sculpey clay. She went on to make bows, arrows, fish and pots. We also made corn and a deer out of pipe cleaners. For the wigwam, a palm tree mat was used over a cardboard base.

The end result was fantastic.

The night we were baking the sculpey indians, I was also getting ready to go to a “Julie and Julia” party. This is basically a party where you invite 6 friends, each is responsible for a different part of the meal, and cooks a Julia Childs recipe. You then eat while watching the movie. (our fine hostess set up the fine china on TV trays!) I was in charge of baking the dessert, and came across her Calfouti recipe here. I decided to make it with blueberries, which I already had (frozen) on hand.

I then took this amusing photo of the indians, hot from the oven sharing the stovetop with the start of my calfouti.

Here are more shots of the clafouti in progress. I finished it up with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Seriously, if you ever need a delicious easy dessert, try this. It is unbelievably easy and SO good!

Yesterday we had the annual Dickens Day at the International Printing Museum. As museum volunteers, we help the patrons with some of the more simple presses to print christmas images. Theo and I were also the “poster children” for the event this year, as our (silly) photos made it into the Long Beach Press Telegram and the Daily Breeze.

Here is docent Marjorie Wilser demonstrating the 1850’s Parlour Press, and Museum Director Mark Barbour, dressed in Dickens era Holiday finery.

My fellow etsy seller In My Blue Room was selling holiday goods at the event as well, and I just couldn’t keep myself from buying these adorable birds, garbed in vintage scraps, fur and feathers. Notice the tiny skates around the neck of Mr Bird with their paperclip blade- too cute!

So that’s some of what we’ve been up to since Thanksgiving. I also had a couple more parties I attended, Finals for my classes at the university, and Sadie had a concert at school. Yes, it’s been a busy month.

Hopefully later this week I can get time to show you some of the holiday decorations, as the house is looking quite jolly!