Best In Show

published by Fran Shea

I was always jealous of those farm kids at the State Fair. Barefoot and confident, covered in dust — their coveralls did indeed coverall, catching every drip of ice cream, every drop of grease. I imagined that they slept right on the hay bales that penned off their milking goats – what a life!

Their blue-ribbon proudly pinned for all the Fair-Goers to see. And The City Kids lined up to milk their goats! Why can’t I have a goat? Why can’t I run around the fair barefoot — ringworm be damned! 

I guess that DIY story is coming together — one of the writers called me on my telephone… I kept telling her everything was “off the record” – she seemed confused. I can’t just open myself up to the public.  They did ask me to create Headlines for the other “Best In Show” categories. I wanted to do them in macaroni but they reminded me that I own a design and letterpress studio – not a design and macaroni studio. Now I feel like a missed the boat on that concept.

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Here are some of the headlines they asked for:web-printed-pressed-450x213web-cast-and-carved

Oh, they also wanted some blue ribbons:web-first-place-three-ribbo

Sankyou Panko Japanese Style Breading (box)

published by Fran Shea

“How can we be expected to teach children to read when they can’t even fit inside the building?”-Derek Zoolander

It turns out that Panko Japanese Style Breading boxes are the perfect size for my Press (kit) Boxes! It’s true. Now my family will enjoy breaded EVERYTHING for the next two weeks.

Breaded meat, breaded not-meat, breaded bread… YUMMY.    press-box-closedpress-box-open

The boxes have been turned inside-out, printed on, and stuffed with a variety of cards. I might sprinkle extra breading in for packing… We’ll see. I’d say that I’m sending them to my favorite magazines but that’s not entirely true.

Bass Master, Muslim Girl, and Quick Quilts didn’t make the cut.

Who did?

Oprah and Martha. And others. I think Oprah and Martha should combine forces, the masses would kneel before them.

Chanukah and the Beach

published by Fran Shea

Back on the Cape (Cod) again. I spent a restless night out in the barn. Maybe it was the vinyl covered futon OR my teenager’s shenanigans OR the twin mosquitos that took turns attacking me. I just don’t know – I just don’t know why my uncomfortable evening produced this:chanukah1

(Inside: God bless you.)

TOPLESS WOMAN MOLESTED BY LOCAL SEAL

published by Fran Shea

Wellfleet, Massachusetts

A Minneapolis woman dove into the icy Atlantic Monday morning in an attempt to “meet a seal”.
Assuring onlookers that the attempt was an “act of diplomacy” she swam a distance of approximately 50 yards using a stroke known as the Dog-Paddle. She met the 350 pound Harbor Seal unaware that the top of her two-piece bathing swimsuit had become untied and dropped to her waist. The woman is reported to have said that the seal reacted to the introduction like “some sort of wild animal” … “His flippers were all over me.”

David Hasselhoff, Jerry Lewis, Zeichen Press

published by Fran Shea

The closest I’ve been to Australia is the Victoria’s Filet at the Outback Steakhouse in Blaine, MN (pop: 44,942). I’m not sure who to thank for introducing Zeichen Press to our Australian cousins. Maybe Ampersand Duck had something to do with it or maybe it was my grassroots advertising campaign. I stuffed (but first I drank) 1000 bottles of wine with Zeichen Press Cards and threw them into the Atlantic Ocean.

Maybe one washed up on the shores of Melbourne because this showed up in their newspaper:sunday-age-450x277

Our CanCards are their Object of Desire. Thank you, Australia.

Someday I will visit you. And your kangaroos. And your boomerangs.

Seven Pounds is the name of the movie not the weight of my head

published by Fran Shea

About a jillion years ago, I was contacted by some Hollywood set designer – she wanted to know if I had extra letterpress “JUNK JUNK JUNK” for a new movie starring Rosario Dawson and Will Smith. Wait. What?! Trembling, I clutched my Fresh Prince of Bel Air collection to my chest and replied, “Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, I could Fed Ex some stuff to you guys – I won’t charge extra for the dust.” (Followed by cool and knowing laughter). What a comfortable rapport! I was talking TO Hollywood. Maybe they’d ask me to audition for the movie! The movie… Maybe Rosario Dawson needed an understudy… or a body double?

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We could be twins!judy-gets-a-bath

I asked the set designer when they’d like to fly me out, explaining that my schedule was flexible enough to accommodate movie- shoots, sightseeing, and pool-parties. She told me she’d have her people call my people.

ANYWAY, it turns out they were able to pull the set together without my JUNK JUNK JUNK and Rosario politely declined my offer — we’re still totally friends

…So I finally watched The Movie last night. Ummm, Will Smith can fix my press anytime. Is that my review? Is that all I have to say? … Uhh, Rosario was convincingly ill and I bawled like a baby. There. Happy?? OH, and the garage-studio was super cute and perfect.

PS: Strangely, Rosario’s character ALSO nicknamed her press The Beast. What?! c-and-p-shop-2012

96°

published by Fran Shea

I’m dripping with sweat. I’m marinating in sweat – the shop has got to be 100° . My head feels fuzzy… and my hands (are those my hands?) are leaving sweat-finger-prints on all the paper that I’m cutting.

Wait, I smell barbecue chicken! Wait, maybe I’m on fire…. False alarm. It’s really chicken.

So, I’m cutting paper in my bathing suit. I feel like I’m wearing a snowsuit in a sauna.

I love summer. I’m not even kidding.

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 :

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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.