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

Unemployment Benefits

So those of you who know me and mine know that my husband has been out of work since May. This being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would put a positive spin on a bad situation, and share with you what good has come out of this forced “time off”.

Project 1: Olie Olds

We are a bit of a car family. (That’s a bit of an understatement) My husbands recent car “favorite” is his 1956 Oldsmobile 88 convertible. We found it in Michigan through Hemmings Motor News and had it shipped here to California. It had a few dents, and some bubbling of the paint from rust in spots, but wasn’t half bad.

It originally was an all black color scheme, but somewhere along the way had been painted black and white. The interior also had been poorly and incorrectly redone, but it drove, it was cool, and we had fun in it for several years, always knowing Dave would eventually get around to it’s restoration. We had accumulated most of the necessary tools while he was still employed, he had the talent, and then suddenly had the time!

First he did all the body work, rust repair, and replaced the doors. Sanded. Sanded. Sanded.

Then primer, (more sanding) and paint, all of which he accomplished in the driveway. (Told you he has talent!)

Then it was off to the upholstery shop for new carpet, interior, and top.

Thanks to a tip from a friend we found a great shop to do the work, at a fraction of what some other shops were asking.

So now “Olie Olds” is looking beautiful, but sadly I didn’t even get a good finish shot of him before he was garaged for the winter so Dave could move on to…

Project 2: My Dream Car

So being that he is “car inclined” Dave has subscribed to Collectible Automobile magazine on and off over the years. Way back in August of 1993, (I know this because the issue is for sale on ebay right now) they did a feature on the Austin Atlantic. I saw it. I was smitten.

The Austin A90 Atlantic was a British car produced by the Austin Motor Company, and was designed specifically for the American market. Unfortunately it didn’t take hold in the states, and only about 350 of the 7981 produced were sold here between 1959 and 1952. (350! Thats it!)

Well, I never really thought I’d have one, or even see one for sale. In about 2002, we did see one for sale, and fairly close too, within driving distance anyway, but at that time we were just getting ready to start our house remodel. We tend to be wildly impractical at times, but even we thought it would be a bad idea to spend the money on a car when we had a house waiting for a second story.
(And yes, this is reminding me I need to get back to blogging about our house remodel someday.)
Dave wouldn’t even take me to go see it, because “If we see it we won’t be able NOT to buy it.”

Forward to about October of 2007, when another A90 surfaced on ebay. By then the house was more or less done, and a new project seemed like a fine idea.

We had her shipped from her former home in Fargo, North Dakota, and by November she was here!

In this photo you can see the beautiful lines of the car that I fell in love with. And notice the cool flying A’s on the fenders!

Speaking of fenders, they had to be removed to get at all the rust the car was unfortunately full of.

Rust was ground back, and in some cases cut away completely. Dave made patches, sometimes making cardboard templates first to insure proper fit.

Somehow he found a neighbor who had been itching to buy a welder, and didn’t mind if we used it first.

(Don’t you love neighbors like that?)

So this is where the project stands currently. Dave is still out back everyday keeping his sanity by throwing energy at the car, looking for jobs when the sun goes down.
And I’m still finding plenty to be thankful for!

Reference + Family Fun = Awesome!

So if you’ve poked around here at all, you might get the idea that I’m into vintage graphics. Especially vintage children’s graphics.
Well, right, and right again.

The internet is a wondrous place with a load of great imagery to sift through of course, but a jem of a website that I came across a few years ago is Kiddie Records Weekly. Basically once a week for about 4 years, these awesome people have been uploading a vintage children’s record, complete with graphics to this site. Not only can you have a look through their archive of album covers, but you can download or stream the audio files ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! How awesome is that? (Ok, I’m listening to the “Flying Mouse” as I type this)

Here are some of my favorite images found in the archives of Kiddie Records Weekly:

Say what you will about Disney, they have a long history of amazing graphics. “the Flying Mouse” and “Elmer Elephant” are two of my favorites.

I love the flat graphic quality of this Eagle and the Thrush cover. The birds of course are lovely, but the bunny and pie-head squirrel are equally great!

Grumpy Shark is awesome! Is it the illustration of the shark, the border or the color scheme? I don’t know, but I may be listening to this one next!

Here is a beautiful Christmas cover. I love the line art in the wings.

More freaky than anthropomorphic fruits and vegetables are these anthropomorphic clothes, shoes and socks. Look how happy the family is. You think they would run screaming. I mean my room is generally a mess, but when the clothes get up and dance by themselves, it is WAY PAST time to clean! (But a fine use of the typeface “Hobo”!)

This is another really outstanding cover. The juxtaposition of the line art with the filled in bear is really fabulous. And is the girl with the bear? I may need to listen to find out what is going on here.

After all of the brightly illustrated covers, this one stands out with it’s simplicity. A simply beautiful cover. And orange. With polka dots. And monkeys. What’s not to love?

Okay, those are my favorites. Now go download and listen to a few yourself!

New holiday cards have arrived!

So after a week of carving, paper ordering, ink mixing,
press treadling madness, I am happy to say that I have 4 lovely new holiday cards in stock.

First we have the splendid Seasons Greetings Penguin.
I sent him out as my holiday card last year, and he was quite a hit.
He is hand carved from linoleum in 3 colors, and has hand set type for the “Seasons Greetings”. Seasons is printed in the font “fortune” later called “fortuna” from the Bauer typefoundry. There is an awesome specimen book of it posted over at grain edit. The greetings is set in “thunderbird” that was an antique reissue cast by
Typefounders Phoenix.

Then I printed the jolly Peas on Earth.
For this card I had a magnesium plate made from my original drawing. I used A&G Engraving to make the plate, I met them at the Los Angeles Printers Fair. This was my first time using them, and I have to say I couldn’t be happier. I will definately be back!

Next up is this sweet card that I call “Dreams of Peace”.
It is all hand carved from linoleum, and I love the retro pink and green color scheme. I might be sending these this year, but I haven’t decided yet. I have another card in the works with a deer with his (her?) eyes open, but I haven’t finished carving it all yet.

Last I thought I would revisit my Hop Pea graphic and reinvent it as a Hanukkah card.
The pea image is printed from a polymer plate I had done at Boxcar Press. I then hand set the star, braces, and type which is “Romany” from American Type Founders (ATF). He makes me Hop-Pea!

So which is your favorite? Leave a comment and let me know, or even better- go buy some!