goose, as in wayzgoose, not the feathered friend

Posted by debbie lee on

last weekend was hectic. the good husband accompanied his wife and drove her 4 hours away, to stay only 3 hours, to drive back 4 hours on only 2 hours of sleep to the amalgamated printer's association's wayzgoose & 16th annual midwest and great norther printer's fair (that's a mouthful!) in mt. pleasant, iowa. i had no idea what wayzgoose even meant until a few minutes ago when i looked it up on wikipedia, meaning- "Wayzgoose was at one time the name for an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew's Day (24 August). This marked the traditional end of summer and the point at which the season of working by candlelight began. Later, the word came to refer to the annual outing and dinner of the staff of a printing works or the printers on a newspaper."

on with my little road trip story.. so we awoke at 4am and drove through hours of a whole lot of this

when we arrived though, we saw plenty of neat things like this



and check out this paper cutter.. this is no fiskar's brand paper cutter from hobby lobby

we saw recycled type being cast right in front of us by sky himself, joined by his wife johanna, the dynamic duo of skyline type foundry. i even bought some brand spankin new type and a border set from them

the coolest thing was the newspaper demonstration on the steam powered babcock press. how crazy is this?

after the paper is printed, it's fed through this crazy contraption to get folded and the ends trimmed

we also saw some letterpress posters like this

and amid all the huge, industrial machinery, we also saw these cute collectible hand presses from paul aken's massive collection that make up the platen press museum in zion, il

and after all of that, i just couldn't leave empty handed! i of course had to purchase a few goodies...

-3 used type sets

-7 tubes of oil based ink

-2 new sets of type

-1 new border set

-3 new gauge pins

-a ton of old but never used borders

-and a husband with a greater appreciation for letterpress!


now how fabulous is that?! go wayzgoose.. can't wait until next year!

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knock knock... who's there?

Posted by debbie lee on

the telemarketers and junk mail. boo. this is going to be a quick post as the house is quiet and i need to catch up on sleep. so, note to esteemed and aspiring entrepreneur: when you register your business, you WILL get a plethora of phone calls, junk mail, ads, etc. trying to get you to purchase/rent a credit card machine or they want you to pay for a weekly ad in their newspaper or they want to give you tax and accounting help.. everyday. repeat, everyday. and my number is on the national do-not-call registry.. so hmm.. that's making me wonder.

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painstaking printing

Posted by debbie lee on

i finally got some printing time squeezed in during this oh so busy labor day weekend. it all started a few days ago when i finally got my hands on some lettra- crane's exclusive letterpress paper- and it is just as fantastic as i've read.. the paper is 100% cotton, soft, pillowy, thick, EXPENSIVE, and worth every penny.

after cutting my paper, i got to printing, but it wasn't as quick and easy as i imagined. in my head the play by play was supposed to be: cut paper, stick on photopolymer plates, place paper on press, pull print, finish, reach for next paper, repeat last three steps until complete, clean press, sleep. that is not what happened. but of course i waited until the eleventh hour to print so i have no one to blame. after hours of fiddling with roller height, finicky grippers that kept running into my rollers, horrible registration, poor make-ready, trial and error with packing, over inking, and lack of sleep.. i finally finished my weekend of printing invitations at 4:30am. what? i know. in addition to being over tired, it probably didn't help that i had poor ventilation in my room and probably got high from hours of inhaling press wash and mineral spirits. {i'm weird and gross because i'm actually starting to like the industrial chemical smell. ill, i know.. i'm probably still high from the fumes.} so here's the first set of invitations- mickey mouse kid party- the first picture are all the mickeys drying-

after finishing those, i took a break from printing {which probably led to my demise} and didn't start my second set of invitations until two days after. i originally intended for the invitation to be a little larger with a big "60" blind debossed at the top of the invitation, but the 60 wasn't working with me so i had to reconfigure the plates to make it work. in the end, i was happy with it despite the changes and i think my friend was too {or she has a really good poker face}.

my friend loves to bake for friends and family. in addition to the notecards i decided to make these cute tags that read "for your tummy-made with love from elaine's kitchen" so she could attach a tag the next time she gives homemade goodness away. i put my husband to work and had him help me hole punch the tags when he caught it. instead of the tags reading, "made with love", i letterpressed "MABE with love.." what a dummy! and to the recycling bin they went.. so sad. i need to redo them and will post pictures in my next post. wow this was my longest post so far. delirious from lack of sleep and intoxication of fumes. lesson learned this weekend: i prefer metal type over photopolymer, do not wait until the eleventh hour, and open windows for ventilation when handling chemicals. all in all, it's been a good weekend; mended an old friendship, bears game, friend's birthday, friend's baby shower, apple picking tomorrow, and painstaking yet successful printing! good times.

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something old, something new

Posted by debbie lee on

i have not at all been schooled or trained in the graphic arts so programs like illustrator, indesign, photoshop, etc. are foreign to me.. but in order to have photopolymer plates made by any one of the bigger platemakers, it helps to have your design created in any of the major design programs. say again? i know right.. you're telling me. my other obsession is scrapbooking so i'm more familiar with terms like eyelets, glitter, rubber stamping, rub-ons.. nice, pretty sounding words. but of course, no, scrapbooking and making cards with rubber stamps wasn't enough i guess.. i had to stick my nose in letterpress printing and with that comes jargon like mineral spirits, hi speed quoins, reglets. and then mix all that old school letterpress talk with new school digital talk like eps files, press-ready pdf, embed images, outline fonts, dpi, lpi, cmyk, halftones, and the list just keeps going. seriously? what the freak!?! so on with my self-teaching quest with youtube and online tutorials as my best friends. {note to self, take a basic class on adobe illustrator} phew. so after i sent my designs off to this fabulous company, boxcar press, i had so much anxiety because i wasn't sure if i did everything properly. but today my friends {eh hem, correction, my imaginary blog reading friends}, the plates arrived.. and they turned out just how i imagined! the photopolymer plates, base, and roller gauge all arrived only 3 days after i ordered them. go boxcar press! and the base isn't even mine.. it's a loaner because apparently the base i need must be custom cut which takes a few weeks so boxcar sent me a loaner base in the meantime {talk about customer service}! here are the plates-one for my friend's mom's 60th surprise birthday party and the other a mickey mouse themed kid party for my friend's daughter along with the handy dandy loaner base and roller gauge. {note to imaginary blog reader that is not a 'letterpresser', you may be thinking, what's a base for? so here's a quick lesson from a total newbie.. in order to print with photopolymer plates, they need to be type high which is .918". photopolymer plates aren't made that high so you need a base to adhere the plates to so that they are the right height.} now if i can only find the time between the screams of my two toddlers to actually use these plates and start printing... now that in itself is a whole other issue.

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Posted by debbie lee on

i titled this post "aficionado" thinking it meant official, but not according to merriam-webster online which states afi·cio·na·do : a person who likes, knows about, and appreciates a usually fervently pursued interest or activity : devotee ; aficionados of the bullfight; movie aficionados. hmm.. so i guess the title makes sense after all since i would like to consider myself an aficionado of letterpress, among other things. back to the subject at hand.... it's official, penelope's press is now officially official! in the mail today arrived my certificate of ownership- penelope's press is a registered business in the state of IL. when i held the piece of paper with the gold foil emblem, i had such an exhilarating feeling! strange though because in my former life as a real estate agent, i also had an "official" piece of paper stating i was licensed in IL to practice real estate, yet that little paper never gave me the goose bumps. something about truly being my own boss.. ownership of something completely and utterly my own... gets me really, really pumped (hmmm and really, really scared at the same time). oh well.. i either succeed in my pursuits or fail miserably trying to succeed in my pursuits. win-win situation i suppose! below is said certificate of ownership along with the legal business notice that was printed in the local paper. note to self: must frame and hang certificate with fancy gold emblem and must scrapbook newspaper clipping. tee hee. i'm giddy, can you tell?

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