Wanamingo

published by Fran Shea

My kitchen faucet broke (again) and as I crouched on the patio with the garden hose and plastic scrubby, my mind wandered to faraway lands. Specifically, Wanamingo, Minnesota. Oh, Wanamingo! Has anyone written an ode to thee? I was in Wanamingo today and overheard this “conversation” between a mother and child at the 60 Stop Gas Station:

Child: “I  want eggs for breakfast.”

Mother: ” You can’t get everything you want. I wanted flowers for Mother’s Day and I got nuthin’!”

Oh, well. The REAL Wanamingo is full of chickens, barn cats, fictional alpacas and acres of hard-working folks that build chicken coops and excavate pig cemeteries – just for fun. These people walk around with just a hint of a smile, a smile that says, “I chop the logs to heat my house. I know how to grow potatoes. I know the difference between bush beans and pole beans.”

They also spend the Winter trying not to recreate a scene from The Shining.

I’M JUST SAYING.

Okay, so maybe I don’t have what it takes to step off the grid and live like Ma Kettle. Maybe the closest I get to feeling the heartland is living with a broken faucet. Fetching water for cooking makes me feel like a barbarian.

In between all my water fetching I made this :

Cafe-Greeting-Cards-business-card-red-&-black

It’s gonna be BIG people.

BIG.

GRANDMA!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME??!!

published by Fran Shea

Grandmas don’t read HOW and they certainly do NOT read SWISS  MISS but they DO read Better Homes and Gardens. You know, BHG? See how I just dropped that abbrev? Grandma would thumb through the fashion and gossip mags at the checkout but like any good homemaker she would add the BHG to her cart. If she was feeling particular sassy, she’d throw in the DIY magazine (brought to you by the good people at BHG).

Oh, DIY! You know Martha Stewart (PS: Martha, I DO want to see how you hay your fields) reads you under the covers with a flashlight – praying that Alexis doesn’t march into the room and flip on the soft-and-natural light. 

DIY magazine is doing a story on handmade goods – a “Best in Show” collection of the various craft shows around the country. We’ll be featured in the “Printed and Pressed” spread. Mmmm, printed and pressed… that makes me want a panini. Here are some photos – we can’t decide, although I think #4 tells a good story. Sometimes I go into the shop at night and Jen is just standing there like that. Shudder.

Jen and Fran must be happy.Jen and Fran seem so content.

Fran with hand gun. Is Jen evil?scary-jen-and-fran-photosho

ONE MORE! (I photoshopped a smile on Jen’s face):

Jen is smiling.

A Poster on Rosin Paper

published by Fran Shea

Recently, my roof was crawling with roofers and I watched while they threw hunks of 80-year-old shingles into my Lilac bushes. After screaming at them in the only Spanish I knew (¿De quién perro es ése??!! : Whose dog is that??!!) I grew very interested in a particular part of the process: a giant roll of red paper was used to cover my roof like gift-wrap – I thought it was strange and tried to mime some sort of conversation – my arms waving wildly, like I was landing a plane on an aircraft carrier. The foreman handed me a hundred-dollar-bill and told me I was special. I still don’t know what happened. 

Madge is turning sixty AND ALSO celebrating her 35th wedding anniversary. I have the honor of creating a poster to commemorate this Holy Convergence. There is a roll of red rosin paper and a couple cans of ink in the shop that are dying to be a part of the project. Here’s a sneak peak:

scan-35-60.color

Are you my logo?

published by Fran Shea

Back in the day When Men Wore Hats, back when cuffs were linked, when the boardroom had a bar, when men were men and women were secretaries; way back then, The Logo was king. I wish I could have been there. Thank God for Mad Men.  Dear Lord, please protect Don Draper from small cell lung carcinoma. Amen.

I love a good logo. I love it like I love my mother. I want it to challenge me at every turn.  I want it to lodge itself into my relational thinking. I want it to manipulate me. I DO.

Observe:

Vandalia-Street-Press-card.

Selby Otis card

Californy is the place you ought to be

published by Fran Shea

California would be the perfect place to be except for one teeny-tiny thing. No Zeichen Press. But soon all of its fine citizens will gobble up our goods like manna in the desert. LIKE MANNA. 

Will Los Angeles (and its glorious surrounding areas) embrace the simple and slightly twisted humor from Minnesota? 

Stay tuned.

My Google Shrine is bogus

published by Fran Shea

What am I doing wrong? I devote myself to one search engine. ONE. There are so many more but my eye has never wandered. Sure, I played around a little bit with Yahoo – who didn’t? I just feel like this relationship is completely one-sided. I do. I give and give, search and search and when I FINALLY search for me, I get nothing but pages and pages of other letterpress studios. UM, that makes me ill. Listen, google: (If that is your real name) You either put me first or it’s over. That’s me; Zeichen Press. A design and letterpress studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Maker of fun and funny greeting cards and disc sleeves for one and all.

First Base with Trader Joe’s

published by Fran Shea

The Trader Joe’s card chick sent a fat check with a little note that said, “Dearest Zeichen Press, let’s get it on.” 

Isn’t that romantic?

Sighhh, I love this stage of a relationship. Both a little awkward, both excited – sniffing each other’s bottoms. Other things go unnoticed –  cleaning, bills, cooking, dad’s life-support machine. 

I used to raise my hand in class, working my face to communicate a message to my teacher. It was important to get into character – my character was The Girl That Needs To Use The Bathroom Super Bad. It was serious. Of course, I’d be excused and head to the library. The librarian was the tough but lovable hunchback, Sister Avila. She loved the Dewey Decimal System. Never a word from her mouth – just the stern pencil-tapping was enough to make me stuff a sock in it. Every day there was a crisp new StarTribune on the big table. I would feign interest in Global Matters but couldn’t wait to get the comics.

If Trader Joe’s likes this next round of cards I owe it all to skipping class, Sister Avila, and the comics of the late-1980’s. I claimed to despise the Family Circus, but dammit – I read it every day. I also followed Mark Trail – the Cary Grant of the comics. BUT I saved The Far Side for the very end – Gary Larson was the Pope of the Funnies. If he ever comes out of his pen-and-ink cave, I will kiss his ring.

Okay, here we go:

HURRY! That birthday is just around the corner.That's MR. Happy BirthdayYou don't look a day over three.I'm clearing my calendar for your birthday.Yikes! My youth just scurried by.

Craftstravaganza Review/Doppelganger Evidence

published by Fran Shea

The day began with a single, tissue-wrapped banana-lovingly prepared by the May Day Cafe.

It’s all about the details.

From there it was a regular thrill-ride down 35W. Sometimes when Jen drives, I close my eyes and scream The Lord’s Prayer. Jen tries to shut me up by stuffing buttermilk scones in my mouth. I do a lot of praying when Jen’s around. Dear God, please help me not to crush Jen’s toes with a case full of lead type.

The Craftstravaganza was more fun than usual. Everything is more fun with darts. We sold lots of stuff, here’s Jen practicing her smile:

Jen!!

After I took this photo, I backed into Pevenshire Wiffynuts.

Mr. WiffynutsPevenshire Wiffynuts Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.Needless to say, my mind was blown. With barely a moment to recover, Two Bald Men came to our table. I fainted and hit my head. To wake me up, Jen threw a cup of hot coffee at my face. She should be a nurse.

Two Bald MenCheer up, you could be two bald men. Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.

Celine Dion at the Craftstravaganza!!!

published by Fran Shea

I’m totally kidding. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? I was picturing her at Bergan’s Grocery Store this morning… standing with her microphone –  between the Rug Doctor Rentals and the helium balloons… Singing like it’s a Saturday Night in Vegas. Oh, Celine! Shopping would be a pleasure with your angelic voice wafting through the air, mingling with deli-smells – My heart would go on.

The Craftstravaganza? Right. We will be there with 55 of our closest crafting friends. When I say, crafting” don’t think about toilet paper cozies, kleenex box cozies, toaster cozies, and toilet brush cozies. Don’t. I’m not judging the ladies that make things cozy, I’m just wondering why everything needs to be so cozy. Okay, DO think about hand-made goods. GOODS. I’d even call them hand-made greats. See how I am? See how I roll? You know it.

craftstravaganza09poster-download1

Going to the State Fair Grounds off-season is like bumping into your teacher at your dentist’s office. What the hell are YOU doing here?! You’re not supposed to leave school! Your teeth aren’t real!!

See you on Saturday my Best Beloved. Bring your wallet. And your mom.