Posts in letterpress blog
My brother took some old bicycle parts (they weren’t really old, just unguarded) and screwed them to an outhouse. He called this his ice-fishing house and wheeled it the five blocks to Lake Harriet every morning before school.
It probably wasn’t an outhouse and he probably wasn’t ice-fishing. But the important thing was the procedure: Wake up before the crack of dawn, drag, push, and pull the little house through the dark and cold, onto the frozen lake.
What a strange young man.
It has taken us years to fine-tune our order-processing procedure at Zeichen Press. It is now just like a beautifully choreographed ballet. Costumes are optional so Jen never wears hers. Anyway, we are testing out a new step in the procedure. I call it the Order Chute.
Had to drive down to Russell, MN the other day. And when I say “had to drive” I mean “I” drove. Me. Fran. For those of you that don’t know me: Driving on the highway makes me feel like mackerel-chum in shark-infested waters.
I drove most of the way, anyway. I think my fancy shoes made me courageous. There I was, driving down 212 like some kind of commuter – the kids were barely terrified and I was barely crying.
The farm inspired me enough to recycle a line from another card and pair it with this image:
I showed it to my husband and he said, “Oh, that’s really sweet.” and I said, “She’s talking to a pig.” and he said, “Oh. Am I the pig?”
And it’s these little questions that can be left unanswered – that’s how we keep the marriage fresh and mysterious.
I didn’t even ask Jen how she got all these boxes for New Zealand
to the post office. Maybe Henry the Dog helped her. Or Loretta, she’s pretty strong. I couldn’t help anyway because I was busy taking a sponge bath. Andrea says sponge baths are for 80-year-olds but I’d like to see an 80-year-old get into my kitchen sink.
No, I wouldn’t.
The hot-water-heater decided it was time to rust through and I don’t blame it a bit. It really is the most boring household appliance. If it were a person, I’d hate it.
So, I boiled some water on the stove for my bath and as I squatted in it, I thought to myself, “I wish I had curtains on my windows.” and “Is this funny or sad?” I decided it was funny but only because the new hot-water-heater is coming on Monday.
My grandma kept a drawer-full of greeting cards in her buffet. An entire drawer, devoted to spontaneous correspondence!
What a woman.
She also kept plastic on her sofa and carpet on her kitchen floor. She really wanted to protect her furniture and linoleum.
The Thank-You Note is a classic greeting card and should be the foundation of any collection. Receiving a thank-you note in the mail is a little bit like finding money in last Winter’s coat or a good hat in a snowbank.
Let’s write one together!
First, choose a card:Now on to the writing… We’ll break it down into 5 easy steps:
1) Begin with a greeting: Dear Aunt Shirley,
She loves to hear her name because cats can’t talk.
2) This is the meat of the note and notice there is no appetizer. This is a “note” not a letter. Cut right to it: Thank you so much for the medical marijuana! If the gift from Aunt Shirley was cash, do not mention it. Speak instead of her “generosity.” Thank you for your generosity!
3) Say a little bit about how you use or will use the gift: I smoke it everyday!
4) Mention the last time you saw Aunt Shirley and hint at a future meeting: It was lovely to see you at Uncle Bob’s funeral, I hope to see you again before your funeral!
5) And scene: Love, Fran
Oh, and here’s another card that will be added to the line:
Oh, Winter! You blustery old fool – you are the antagonist of the seasons. And as I am the protagonist in my own story, I gladly throw my fleece-lined hat in the ring. It is February and that means Triumph is within my grasp. I can smell it like a plate of clam fries. Mmm, clam fries… Once Upon A Time, I found myself sitting in front of an abandoned plate of clam fries. They were left by an angel disguised as a drunk couple. God is so mysterious!
Here is a new card, inspired by the soft blanket of snow that covers this land:
2010 has a short driveway and as we backed down it we (I) felt wistful. It seems like only last year we were freezing in Brainerd. Here we are again, eating thick-cut bacon and praying for the strength to survive round after round of Name That Tune. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions because the prisons are overcrowded as it is and also because the world isn’t ready for my style of leadership. (Deer-in-the-headlights.)
This was a big year for Zeichen Press – and as I sit in my Fiberglass Insulated Cell, I feel gratitude. I also feel greasy from all of the bacon, but like the sparrow, I will take a sand-bath to freshen up when the time is right. A new website, a fleet of reps, prints in Room & Board, the dog’s wig:
Who wouldn’t be grateful? I believe Jen and I are coming up on The Five Year Anniversary of Our Zeichen Press Partnership – we will celebrate by not murdering each other in cold blood.
Don’t worry, we’ll send out Save-The-Date cards.
The Big No-Coast show is only 5 days away.To prepare ourselves, Jen and I are watching hour after hour of training videos. We have found that the only way we can really get into the spirit of a craft show is with a Dolly Parton soundtrack. But I’m sure that’s true for everyone.
I guess writing this blog FOR TWO YEARS means I’m a writer. Or something like that. I’m going to put on hospital scrubs and walk around HCMC for a couple of years – I’ve heard that doctors make more money than me and I’d like to change that.
Loretta already gets it – she’s a princess.
That was a lot of syllables.
I’ve heard that experiencing four letterpress harbinger doppelgangers is about as rare as seeing the Virgin Mary in a pancake. I’m not saying that Zeichen Press cards predict the future, I’m just saying that some of our cards seem to foretell a subsequent event. Wait, what am I saying? Never mind, let’s just get to the evidence:
Don’t freak out. This is being investigated by the proper authorities.
*Thanks to high-school-english, I know the meaning of at least one of these words.
Fran Shea’s résumé
1988-1988 (Nov. 1-Dec 23) Lyndale Garden Center
My first job. Silly me, I heard “making Christmas wreaths” and thought I’d be “making Christmas wreaths.” Pre-made wreaths were heaped onto a lunch table – my job was to choose the sprigs for the wreaths. “Sprigs” was an industry term for cheap Christmassy crap.
1989-1989 (Sept. 1-Sept 15) Pearson’s Family Restaurant
I bussed tables and was told to clear as much of the table as would fit in the gray bin. It would have been very satisfying if I were training to be a power-lifter. Two weeks was too long.
1989-1990 (Oct. 1-March 1) Leeann Chin, Richfield
As a server, I wore a little white hat and jacket. Like a chef. A disgruntled, panicked, 17-year-old chef.
1990-1990 (June 1-Aug. 15) GJ’s SuperValu
A block walk from my apartment above Ribizza – this job required speed and superhuman strength. Bagging groceries during a “rush” filled me with doubt and indecision – eggs before bread or bread before eggs?? Should I take my smoke break now??
1990-1990 (Sept. 1-Nov. 1) Telemarketing for the Special Olympics
I don’t even know how I found this job – it was in a bland office in a bland office building on University Avenue. The script we were handed was written in the 1950′s and we were supposed to offer lots of garbage bags in exchange for donating to the Special Olympics. Our boss was, I think, Bob Saget.
1990-1991 (Nov. 15-Jan 15) Meyer’s Bakery
A job that required cash register skills. I’d rather wash old peoples bottoms than use a cash register – I’d try to push customers into buying things that would result in even dollar amounts so I wouldn’t have to make difficult change. Three cookies? Why not four?… Two loaves of bread? Why not two loaves of bread AND a cookie??
1993-1996 : Carney Studio
The interview went something like this:
“So, you want to be a graphic designer?”
1996-1997 : Odney Advertising
This is where I learned about advertising. And stealing office supplies.
1997-present : Stay At Home Mom
This is where I learned about cleaning up poop.
2006-present : Owner of Zeichen Press
The culmination of a life-long set of painfully acquired skills.