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.

Creek-Bike & Room & Board

published by Fran Shea

The ice on the creek melted and it was time, again, for the Creek-Garbage-Opener! Our tackle box contained exactly two things: a giant hook (the Kitchen-Aid-bread-dough-attachment) and 50 feet of obsolete ethernet cable.  The catch-of-the-day was larger than usual and after  a nail-biting struggle, this was pulled  out:

Creek-Bike

It smells like death but it’s ours

What does any of this have to do with Room & Board?

Ugh. It’s so obvious. 

So anyway, we gave our prints to Room and Board and we’re waiting to hear what the President & Vice President think. Personally, I don’t think they really needed to take it to that level. Obama is a busy fellow. Here are a couple things they liked:

Big gray typeWood type

Wanted Poster Type

Must…write…more…cards………………

published by Fran Shea

There seems to be something gnawing on the chicken-bone of my subconscious. Not just gnawing, but dipping it in creamy, blu-cheese dressing and sucking on it.

Thank goodness for the wet-nap, or whatever is doing the gnawing would contaminate the rest of my psyche. I like my non-physical parts to be separate. Like a melamine hot-lunch tray. Everything stays within it’s little-walled-area and nobody gets fussy.

Unfortunately, or maybe not, there does seem to be some breach in the Dreaming ~ Day Dreaming compartments. Sandbagging might help. Or a thick, mashed-potato partition – the mashed potatoes finally living up to their destiny.

Great writers are great ruminators but great ruminators are not necessarily great writers. I think that’s what I’m talking about. Or was I talking about my days in the cafeteria? Ah, the cafeteria…“Lunch Lady? Would you mind being careful to keep the gravy in its… No? Yes, you’re right. It all ends up in the same place…”  In the toilet. Which is, of course, a metaphor. That’s what happens when you give children mixed-messages.

So, anyway. I have a growing collection of printer’s cuts and for some reason I feel compelled to give each of them something to say. I realize that the New Yorker’s Caption Contest is eerily similar to what I do. Except I always win. That’s the nice thing about owning the company. Thatand the hugs I get from complete strangers. Why do strangers hug me? They might be trying to squeeze the life out of me. I’m not sure. They tell me not to resist – I’m always like, “Resist? Resist what? Who am I to stifle this bizarre act of love?”

Where was I? … Right. A line I wrote for a lonely cut:

Sorry.

PSSST,

are you coming to my funeral?

Franimals: A-Z!!

published by Fran Shea

Should a grown woman spend the day in bed drawing animals?

No? What if the animals are super-cute and made entirely of her favorite font? What if the woman was very ill, clinging to life by a bed-thread? What if… what if… oh, what if… oh, my bed-sores… Without further ado, Franimals:

copyright: do you feel me??

A-J Franimals were originally designed for Room & Board. Sadly, they were overlooked. Apparently kids today aren’t interested in “animals” or “alphabets” That’s not Room & Board’s fault. Or…is…it?

ANYWAY, I love Room & Board. Sometimes I break into their showroom and rehearse scenes from Failure to Launch starring Mr. Matthew McConaughey.

Matthew! Your mischievous smile… your love for Mother Earth… your shirtless-ness…

What am I talking about? Oh, yes. My fever. It’s very high and I wouldn’t turn down a copy of Erin Brockovich and some German Spaetzel.

If your parents REALLY loved you

published by Fran Shea

they would have me design a super sweet invitation for an important event in your life. IF they REALLY loved you they would call me on the phone and say, “Hey, Fran! My name is Mr. Blee-Blah-Blah! I would like to demonstrate my love for my child by paying you to artistically interpret an upcoming event.  Your design savoir faire is the ONLY match for the depth of love I have for my child. They have a (insert important event) coming up. Let’s do this.” 

CLICK.

I’m just saying.

We created the following Bat Mitzvah invitation for a family that clearly knows how to express their love:

Testify!

Room & Board & Me & Jen & Kangaroo Meat

published by Fran Shea

Ding! Round two!

Meeting with Room & Board this afternoon. If all goes according to my master-plan* R&B will bite the inside of their cheeks to stifle their sobs of awe when I reveal The Prints. To diffuse the awesome aura, I will hand out sunglasses. Personally, I think inked antique type is as delicious as kangaroo meat from First Course.

YES. kangaroo meat. 

Round one for Room & Board ended up being a creative exercise – I know, I know. My Reward Will Be In Heaven. I produced some cutey cutes for Children’s Rooms. I dug down deep into that soft part of my heart – it was under a layer of small pebbles – and found these: I call them Franimals:

franimals

*master-plan: do not get lost driving to Room & Board HQ.