28 February 2012

Etsy experiments gone right

Anti-Valentine's Day Letterpress
I can honestly say that my experiment with trend-tagging on Etsy was a success. After a few months of zero sales, I sold two items in the two weeks preceding Valentine's Day! Not to mention all the "favorite" bookmarkings I got along the way. So fun when these sorts of gimmicky things actually work. I have no interest in making anything that can be called gimmicky, but sometimes such tactics must be employed to get a buyer's attention and communicate your item's relevance to all sorts of occasion-related gift-giving. 



The moral of the story: if you never show up on the search results page, they're not going to know you exist. I think I now have a new (albeit, still cynical) sense of appreciation for Valentine's Day.

21 February 2012

Sherlock on typewriters

I have been spending a lot of time with my secondhand copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes for the past month or so. When I started in on the third book in the set, I came across a passage describing how typewriters can be identified like fingerprints. Just a fun little bit of literary trivia.
From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story "A Case of Identity" from Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in which Sherlock is quickly closing in on his weasel of a suspect:
'It is a curious thing,' remarked Holmes, 'that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man's handwriting. Unless they are quite new, no two of them write exactly alike. Some letters get more worn than others, and some wear only on one side. Now, you remark in this note of yours, Mr. Windibank, that in every case there is some little slurring over of the "e," and a slight defect in the tail of the "r." There are fourteen other characteristics, but those are the most obvious.'

14 February 2012

From library to living room

I finally found a use for the card catalog I bought last year. I found it on the cheap at an antiques store last spring and grabbed it fast. It is a 9-drawer maple set, formerly used to catalog the nonfiction section of some small library or other. But it is a very deep piece of furniture and the only place I could find to put it was on top of my dresser. It's been there for a year now, minding its own business, waiting for a new purpose.

Then along came my printing press and its wonderful baggage, all of which needs sorting, organizing, and storing within my tiny living room studio. There are so many little (and larger) bits and bobs that are required for printing. So I decided to house my press furniture, longer leads and slugs, woodcuts, and linocuts in my card catalog. The depth of its drawers are actually quite well-suited for this job. It has been moved out into the living room (where it looks quite at home), given freshly typed labels for its drawers, and then stocked up.

For those of you out there who are not printers, here's what some of those terms mean:
Traditional Cabinet for Press Furniture
  • press furniture: these are rectangular blocks of wood or metal varying in size used to fill the empty space between the set type and the edges of the chase (a quoin is then used to tighten and lock it all in place).

  • leads: thin strips of lead used to create the appropriate spaces between lines of text.

  • slugs: like leads, only thicker; they are used to create larger spaces, like the spaces between paragraphs.

  • woodcuts: type-high images for printing, carved in wood or lead.

  • linocuts: type-high images for printing, carved on mounted linoleum blocks (this is actually something I plan to try making for myself soon).

07 February 2012

All of those essential nonessentials



1. I really do love everything typewriters. And when I saw this little change purse from Octopurse, my brain said, "Perfect!" The perfect combination of geeky and girly, and the shape of the purse even conforms to the typewriter pattern. 

2. I can't wait until this book is released March 27! The first two books in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series were terrific. I am in love with the voice of the narrator, a Jane Eyre-esque heroine, matter-of-fact with a dark sense of humor. She is governess to three mysterious and lovable children raised by wolves, for whom the figure of impending doom always looms shadowy.




3. I adore these concrete cloud pendant designs from DrCraze. Who would think to use concrete as a gem? But it works so beautifully.




4. I am one of those unfortunate souls who has never known the luxury of a true bathrobe. But I find myself lusting for one now. I really like the kimono-style ones and this black and white print from UnderWrapzRobes would suit me perfectly.






5. Isn't this Blooming Thistle Silver Ring with Amethyst from Winged Lion just charming? I also love the gem-less companion band. I want them very very much. Unfortunately, the price is a bit prohibitive for me right now. Maybe a birthday present to myself... I think April is the perfect month for these anyway.