Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm sure it will surprise absolutely no one that I'm eyeing these ornaments for Christmas.

Thanks to Ugmonk, I don't feel bad for having such an unrelenting thing for ampersands. It's not my fault they're so good looking.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sesame Street

I feel like I ramble on about letterpress quite a bit here and to friends, family, and acquaintances. What I hadn't yet considered was showing them how letterpress reunites children with their beloved pets.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This is the work of Stanislava Pinchuk, who works under the street artist name Miso.

I think they're dreamy. Delicate and temporary and special.

I found a few treasures in the photos of her studio exhibitions as well.

Thank you to the always lovely Valori for the heads-up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Movie Break

Two videos for you today:

1. I'm excited for The Leonardo to open next month. Their daily countdown videos are tiding me over for now.

2. I recommend watching this one with the sound off. The paper sculptures/pop-ups I love, the muzak not so much.

I need to go find my video camera. And some scissors.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pinewood Derby

This is the best thing I've seen today.

A tiny pinewood derby car made to look like a Vandercook press. And those teensy posters were even letterpress printed. Wait, did you get a good look at the tiny ink can?

photos by Jeremy Slagle

Jeremy Slagle. Stop it. (Don't stop it.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beautiful Swear Words

This project cracks me up. But obviously, don't visit Beautiful Swear Words if you're offended by, well, swear words.

via swissmiss

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dry the River

I just saw these paper horses over at Uppercase.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


When not watching online videos on how to tie elaborate knots, I've been a bit preoccupied with origami lately. So I was totally enthralled when I saw Homako mentioned over at Uppercase. She's created necklaces featuring fabric origami in great colors.

I think this qualifies as "need". And if you're not already charmed by her jewelry, take a look at her flickr account. Anyone that spends her birthday taking photos of balloons (rabbit mask optional), has my vote.

photo by Homako

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Belle and Sebastian

Just for fun, and because this is a short work week for me. (Thank you, Utah pioneers.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mainstream Wood Type

I originally heard about Hamilton Wood Type when the Typeface movie came out. Now they're partnering with Target to make some tshirts.

I love having another glimpse inside this wood type museum, but honestly, I'm a little torn on this one. On one hand, I'm thrilled that Hamilton is getting attention (and presumably compensation) by a big name like Target. It will help to ensure their long-term survival, and that's important to me. And then there's the other hand:

Though it's not all clearly detailed in the video, it looks like they found some images they liked, printed them, and then will scan and resize/recolor the images and laying out the design electronically. Don't get me wrong, that method absolutely makes sense for large scale production.

But in case you're not as obsessed with wood type and letterpress printing as I am, let me explain a bit more: the texture of the wood type and the fact that it's old isn't the only thing that's interesting.

Before modern conveniences like digital printing and incredibly helpful design programs, you had two options for producing printed materials: either choose the typeface and font size that a printer had on hand, or have your own specially made. If you can just resize and tweak the image on your computer, are you missing the point of working within the confines of available type?

The person manning a letterpress printing press was (and is today) mixing and applying the inks by hand. So if you ordered a print one day and the ink looked bright and lemony one day, but the next day it looked like old mustard, instead of saying "wow, what charming handcrafted variation," you'd probably be saying "this isn't my brand color, what am I paying you for?" (Were there sticklers for brand consistency many years ago? I'm not sure, but we'll roll with it.)
So if someone can just change colors and adjust textures on their computer, then why start with wood type in the first place? I enjoy the potential for imperfection and variation that comes with letterpress printing, but why did Target go to Hamilton if their project wouldn't really be using letterpress or the wood type in a meaningful way?

I suppose my complaint (if there is a complaint worth making) is that these tshirts are portrayed as having the authenticity of a handcrafted object, but are as mass-produced as any other clothing item in a big box store.

What do you think? Am I way off base here?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Welcome Home

Something you may not know about me: I love embarrassing people at the airport. That means that if you ask me to pick you up (or even if you don't, but accidentally let slip your arrival date and time), I will try my hardest to show up, holding a large sign and jumping up and down excitedly. I like to think that despite your so-called evidence to the contrary my friends and family secretly enjoy it.

While my favorite sign just said "You Are Our Mom" (Mom laughed, sort of), I started making this sign last night, about 5 minutes after I should have been leaving my house.

My condolences, you've just discovered that this post was only created to show you that I'm getting better at spacing out words on posters. Bright side: I've also basically volunteered to pick you up from the airport.

It really should say "Fancy Babysitter," since that's what my niece, Nora calls our beautiful nanny friend Jillian.

Though I should note that, after Nora saw me with more makeup on than usual (read: any makeup at all) it came out that she may think that "nanny" is actually the word for Woman Who Likes Kids and Wears Eyeliner.

I'll take it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Visual Diary

My Visual Diary from joehollier on Vimeo.

Admittedly, I'm a little over stop motion photography at the moment, because I think it's been overused. But I liked this video. And it makes me want to get my scissors out of whichever box in my basement they're hiding in. And that is progress.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's happening around here?

It's been a little quiet around here, despite a growing pile of postcards waiting to be photographed and mailed out and the ampersands scattered around my house. Let me explain:

I've decided to move (again), and have been scaling down on the number of possessions that I'll be taking with me. So the time that I usually devote to thinking up things to tell the internet, I've been sorting through books, clothing, craft supplies and even typewriters to decide what will stay and what will go.

So while my yard sale pile has been growing at a healthy rate, it's been altogether too quiet around here. Please be patient with me! And if you're a friend that will need my new address, well... perhaps I can send you a postcard.

Friday, April 29, 2011

April Ampersand 18

This quilled ampersand has been waiting to be posted for far too long.

Have you tried quilling yet? It's a super satisfying project that can take as long as you want it to take. The trickiest part of making something like this is the measuring and drawing the ampersand shape. The kraft paper shape is a little tricky to get to stay together and standing up in the right position, but then filling it with the white curlicues is pretty fun and speedy.

And then it takes about 3 more minutes to take the frame out of its packaging, pop it open, and drop in the ampersand.

Want a little quilling in your life? You can get one of these ampersands or another monogram in the Anderson Ink shop.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April Ampersand 17

For my craft night ampersand, I somehow ended up with two books about butterflies and moths.

So what could I do except create an ampersand that a 10 year old girl would think was maybe just a little bit tacky?

I couldn't resist it. Butterfly ampersand!

You too will not resist the draw of the butterflies. Mwahahaha!

April Ampersand 16

I had a little impromptu craft night with my supremely talented friend Valori. We gave ourselves a rule: we had to make ampersands out of items from the Target dollar bins. Here's what Valori came up with:

Supplies: polka dot greeting cards and buttons

And the finished product:

How does she freehand these so neatly? It doesn't make any sense.

They even still work as cards, as long as your note is short and sweet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April Ampersand 15

I think that punched tin can sometimes look sort of awesome, so I decided to give it a try. I started simple.

And here's how it looks in the magical twinkle of candlelight.

This was fun. I read somewhere once that the trick is to fill the can with water and then freeze it so that you don't bend the can with every hole you punch into it. That worked like a dream, except that the ice made the bottom of the can bow out when it expanded as it froze. Anybody know how to solve that problem in the future?

Monday, April 25, 2011

A sneak peek into May

I've been thinking about a new project for a little bit. Here's a hint:

I'm plotting to send a postcard each day in May. What do you think?

Want me to send you a postcard? Leave a note in the comments section and I'll put you on my list.

April Ampersand 14

On Easter, I also made a cake.

Can you see the ampersand? Look closer. Closer...

This post was sponsored by Perez Hilton.*

*This post was not sponsored by Perez Hilton.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April Ampersand 13

Happy Easter, you lovelies. I've got a backlog of ampersands to share with you, but today I'll be taking these eggs to family dinner.

Our family has legendary and very vocal egg fights, and I've got a good about this year's batch. Does forgetting that eggs are boiling for 20 minutes strengthen or weaken the structural integrity of the eggshell? This is important.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Paper Perfume

Karl Lagerfeld is developing a perfume based on the smell of old books.

Swoon. Once he's done developing the fragrance, it's going to be sold inside a hollowed out hardbound book. I think I might love him.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Ampersand 12

In a recent fit of de-cluttering, I took apart my inspiration board by my desk and re-hung it in a better location. (You saw part of my inspiration board on my first post about the April Ampersand project.)
When I cleared off my inspiration board, I found several green paint chips. I clearly have some sort of problem.

These paint chips were a fun, quick ampersand project to keep my hands busy while I watched Dexter on dvd.

Things I learned during this project:
  • My ruler is not completely straight.
  • It weirds me out when Dexter day-dreams his dad.
  • My dining table has officially run out of room for working on craft projects without putting anything away.
I made ampersands and found a use for a little bit of clutter. I declare today a success.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Ampersand 11

Have I mentioned that I own seven typewriters? It's an addiction, and other than writing love letters at a Mad Men-themed birthday party, I usually don't have a use for my darling typewriters.

Until now. I sketched out a flourish-y (we're pretending that's a word) ampersand, then used it as a template for a shape to recreate with my typewriter. There was plenty of trial and possibly even more error, but it worked out, more or less.

This is my blue Corona. It's the first typewriter I bought, and the only one that still has any ink.

Most of the rows of letters spell "ampersand" if you read them vertically.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April Ampersand 10

I was inspired by a photo that I saw on Pinterest:

Cute, right? Sadly, I didn't reference this photo while I was making my washi tape ampersand, and so mine is a very poor version.

Sigh. On the bright side, though, I like having an excuse to use washi tape. It's adorable and I love how it feels. Am I weird?

Don't answer that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April Ampersand 9

I think this is my favorite so far.

You might say that this matryoshka doll is a little lopsided, but I would say that it is charmingly homemade.

The ampersand is based on a font called Friska, but... plantified.

And once I got to the embroidery portion, it came together quickly.
First I sketched out a design, then went over the lines with a thin black marker and scanned in the image.
There are lots of ways to get a pattern from your head or a piece of paper onto fabric for embroidery. You could use iron-on embroidery patterns or carbonless paper or a temporary marking pen. I decided to ignore all of these useful tools, however, in favor of something more ghetto.
I fear that may be said about more things in my life than I'd like to admit.
Anyway, if you want to be ghetto like me, you can scribble on the back side of the paper, then go over the lines with a pen or pencil so that the graphite transfers to the fabric.

I went over the lines again with pencil to make them more visible.

Finally, it was time to start embroidering. And only a few hours later... ta-DA!

Do you want to make a doll of your own? You can grab this image, print it out, and get to stitching.

This pattern is for non-commercial use only. All rights reserved.