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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Exclusively Boring

bento_boxOn the acquisition front, I got in a whole lot of old air mail #10 size envelopes which I have plans for. I also received my order from PodPost a couple of days ago and I am in postal sticker heaven. I even got an incredibly awesome Japanese rubber stamp that says “Urgent”. I’ve been using my treasures to help decorate some miniature folders that I make exclusively for sale at The Boring Store. I think it’s working out swimmingly.top_secret_folders

Friday, June 29, 2007

For the love of post

All this month, Kathy and I have been wracking our impressively sized brains to create something new and exciting for 16 Sparrows. I think we’ve succeeded. It brings me great pleasure to introduce to you the Letter Writers Alliance! Our mission statement is:
In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form; neither long lines, nor late deliveries, nor increasing postal rates will keep us from our mission. As a member of the Letter Writers Alliance, you will carry on the glorious cultural tradition of letter writing. You will take advantage of every opportunity to send tangible correspondence. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters!

We have our own official correspondence stationery, member card, and badge. Membership opens up a whole world of free downloads and secret goodies. No “Drink more Ovaltine” here, no sir! Everything we offer is completely legitimate and totally rad. I’m working on a letter writing handbook, Kathy’s putting together an address book and we’ve got a pen pal service. How’s that for exciting?

Also new are two letter-themed stationery sets for sale at my little shop; one based on air mail and one on an illustration I did.
new stationeries
I am having a love/hate relationship with my new printer. It works great when it works. Still, I can’t go back to the inkjet after using the laser. It’s just so sharp and clean looking.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Have I mentioned I like old paper?

ebayfinds1I’m always looking for old papers and things. Once again, the temptations of eBay have been unavoidable for me. Most of my saved searches start with the word “vintage.” My recent acquisitions include: about 15 pages of alphabet plates from an 18th C book, 100 assorted pharmacy labels, a lot of stamps and papers, and a bunch of airmail envelopes.

cancelledstamps1I have many nebulous plans about what to do with my new horde of ephemeral goodness. Some of it will get framed; some will end up in journals or as the basis of art pieces. The seller I bought the vintage pharmacy labels from sent her package festooned with old stamps for the postage. I can only imagine what sort of a house she must have if she has lots of old labels and stamps just laying about. Ofcourse, it's the sort of house I want!

A couple weekends ago, a group of us went out to the annual Printer’s Row Book Fair. It’s a huge deal and the weather was nice so it was too crowded to be comfortable. I like the Fair, but I always go expecting yard sale prices and they are all book stores doing the selling, so they have book store prices. I still did manage to find a gem for twenty bucks; Wonders of the World Illustrated.

There were other exhibitors as well. At the Columbia College booth, there were a number of letterpress options, but I spent my money on some lovely hand-marbleized paper from Paper Fragments. Both of my purchases are intended to be cannibalized for art, but the book lover in me really loathes destroying books even in the name of art. handmarbled paper

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feeding my perversion

podpostletterI love this site, Pod Post! I’m just waiting for my paycheck so that I may procure 75% of their shop page. I also sent them a cute little letter. I think I’ve found some new pen pals.

Speaking of, I just joined Postcrossing, a community where people all over the world exchange postcards and the system keeps track of how many have been sent and number of miles logged and other factual information that I just find fascinating.

buttonsKeeping with this theme, I’ve added some one inch buttons at my Etsy shop which feature my flying envelope logo and say “Write more letters”. And thanks to Sweet Jessie for another library card project!

natpostmusnoteLastly, in my mailbox last week, there was a card from the National Postal Museum. At first, I thought it was yet another renewal notice from the Smithsonian magazine, but then I noticed that the address was handwritten. My heart sped up when I opened it. Turns out that I had sent a 16 Sparrows order to Allison of the National Postal Museum and I had told her how much I enjoyed the museum. In return, she sent me a lovely thank you card. That’s a wonderful thing!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

There's a class in that

Okay, so a download of the new Firefox was all it took to get Instructables up and running. I've created two entries. One is a ribbon dispensing box and the other a handmade book made of envelopes. The actual projects didn't take that much of my time, but, Boy Howdy, did the tutorials take for-e-ver to write. Check them out, let me know what you think!forjournal

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I hate Times New Roman

I’m so excited right now. I think it’s probably because I’ve had far, far too much coffee after having none yesterday. My schedule for work is even jam-packed and still I’m in an extremely positive mood. Having an Etsy store has really jump started my creative juices. I don’t think it’s the prospect of having something sell, I think it’s the sense of being a part of a community of making things. I just feel like I want to play with the other kids. Does that make sense?

I’ve got a billion projects on my burners right now. I’m carving linoleum blocks for printing, I’m designing patterns for paper and fabric, I’m thinking about tote bag and change purse designs, I’m finally working on image research for some cards I’ve been wanting to do, I’ve got plans for the Sew Useful contest*, and tons of other things. Plus, I’ve ended up with an issue of Craft magazine which is just FULL of stuff I want to make, namely, thesehouse slippers and this pin cushion. Not to mention that the last half of the Frederick Douglass House project is finally underway.

Kathy has returned to Chicago. I’m excited to have my partner-in-crafting-crime back. She will of course be very busy with custom design work and hanging out with her boyfriend and going off to Italy for a cruise, but I’m sure she’ll find time to come over and hang out on the porch with margaritas. She’s been here about 4 days and already there are some new recipe cards up on the site.

*The Sew Useful contest is really biting me in the butt at the moment because I can not get the Instructables site to work AT ALL. I've been trying it on and off this past week. On both Mac and PC platforms with different browsers [Safari, Explorer, Firefox], it is either: a) slow, b)loads blank, or c)when it loads, crashes the browser within a couple of page clicks. Anybody have any ideas on how to get around this? I really just want to know I might fix it if it is fixable from my end. I’ve cleaned out my cache and opened up some security parameters and still it’s a no go.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Shhhh! This is a library…

If you know me, you know that I love books and reading and libraries. Kathy is all over me to go back to school for Library Sciences because I enjoy cataloging and archiving and making spreadsheets and filing and alphabetizing and all that. If I had any time, I’d volunteer at the library. In fact, I think I might anyway, because I just don’t feel right having “free” time. I seem to operate the best in “always having something to do” mode.

libraryjournalcursiveset1I think that’s partially why I’m always making things. During my week “off” I played around with library checkout cards, like the ones from school libraries who haven’t made the digital leap. I ended up making a series of small jotter-like notebooks. To make each one original, I’ve typed in some quotes about books or reading. I think my favorite is “Wear the old coat and buy the new book.”

libraryjournaltypeinsideKeeping with the school theme, the inner pages are of primary writing tablet paper that I found in the kids section of Staples. I used my nifty, new long stapler for the binding and then book tape for extra binding and finishing. Book tape is new to me. I was buying envelopes at PaperSource and was looking around for ribbon which they didn’t have a good selection of, but I did find this book tape stuff. Essentially, I think it’s just book cloth with adhesive backing. In the future, I can probably make my own with the all-powerful Xyron. My first versions didn’t have rounded corners, but they just look too nice to forego. So I rounded all the corners. Even though I have a little punch to do it, it’s still a big pain because the punch only gets through about 3-4 pages at a time.

I don’t think that I’ve exhausted the possibilities here at all. I see rolodex dividers and business cards in the future and who knows what else. If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to leave a comment. If I make your item, I’ll give you one for free. That’s a pretty sweet deal.