Sep.25, 2013

We are shiny, happy people here now that we have foil, beautiful foil! So many possibilities and just in time for making some sparkly custom holiday cards, among other things.

Our lead printer Tom Sprenkle explains how one of our trusty Heidelberg presses was converted...


Soon after moving into the Schoolhouse Electric building we acquired our second Heidelberg windmill press, which happened to come with most of a hot foil stamping attachment. But there were some missing parts and we never got around to using it in that way. We started using the press quite a bit for printing and eventually removed the foil assembly. Then we got another press and, as we had already used up all our existing electrical circuits, had repurpose the outlet we had set up for the heat unit.

A couple of years down the road and another windmill in our shop, it was time to get our foil up and running. Kevin, our electrician, updated our electrical situation by adding a completely new electrical feed and breaker box, and wired a new outlet for the foil heating unit. Meanwhile, we put in a call to Bob Basel (Portland's original letterpresser, and our go-to guy for parts, presses, and all manner of printing advice) who looked into some different options and found the necessary parts to complete the foil feed spool, put them together in his shop and then attached them to the press. We loaded it up with a sample roll of iridescent rainbow foil and tried it out. For the most part it went well but it turned out that the maximum foil pull was about 2.5 inches, which was far to little for the various cards cards we needed to print.

We increased the size of the pulley but it was still not nearly enough, and made us realize that some math might come in handy. With the help of Ben Shultz (printer Katie's husband & local bike builder/espresso machine technician) we figured out the size ratio of the pulleys and also, due to the closeness of the pulleys and angle of the belt, figured that gears might work better. Here we go!

Minor setback as the heated base was too small for the size of our foil dies, but Bob quickly found a new base in an old shop in Dundee (how does he keep track of all this stuff?). We're in business! Just in time for restocking all the Hello!Lucky foil cards as well as our special edition slang fancy cards for Cole Haan!

Sep.23, 2013

Did you get something beautiful and inspiring in the mail this weekend? My brand-spanking new Schoolhouse Electric catalog arrived just in time for the autumnal equinox which suddenly has me in a cooking and cozying mood. The styling and merchandising is top-notch and my wishlist is long. We are so honored to have several Egg Press for Schoolhouse Electric styles included.

Shown above are the the wool Herringbone Rug (also in black), the hand silk-screened linen Egg Press Arrow Napkins (also in grey), the Dot Print Sheet Set (in grey or yellow), and the Anchor Tray which is made in Sweden out of birchwood and is dishwasher safe. Cool!

Sep.13, 2013

Egg Presser Emily is known around here as a DIY dynamo and we are so excited about her latest creative endeavor--a collection of embroidery kits she made for Williams-Sonoma's Agrarian. Read on for a little interview...

*Tell us about the new project you did for Williams-Sonoma. How did it come about?

I've been designing and making embroidery kits since 2009, under my business Tako Fibers. I basically have two full time jobs - working at Egg Press and making my kits! This past December I had the pleasure of being a vendor at Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. In addition to the show being incredibly busy and a wonderful experience, I met many amazing people. One of those people bought several of my kits, and they turned out to be from Williams-Sonoma! They were starting a new craft program, and wanted to work with me to make custom kits. The kits were designed for Agrarian, which is their line that focuses on the homegrown and homemade movement. We worked on the custom design and test embroidery for several months, and then I set to work producing the actual kits. It was a challenge, but also very fun to do such a large project!

*When did you learn embroidery?

I had been collecting vintage crewel pieces from thrift stores for years, and decided that I wanted to make some of my own. I learned the stitches from several books, and made several embroidery pieces with my own artwork. It was all very casual, until I realized that there were not very many good kits out there for other people to learn! I became really serious about embroidery when I started making my kits in 2009.

*What other crafty things do you get up to?

So many things that I have put limits on myself! Besides embroidery, I am constantly knitting, I like to sew my own clothes, and I love making pickles and jam. I make a lot of artwork also - my first love is printmaking, but I also do quite a bit of drawing and painting with acrylics and watercolors. I really do not have time to do all these things, so I decided that I am not allowed to get into quilting under any circumstances, even though I want to. If you see me working on a quilt, stop me!

*You're expecting twins soon. Any special baby projects you are working on?

Between finishing up the Williams-Sonoma project, getting our apartment ready, and freaking out that I don't have enough meals frozen yet, I haven't been able to get as many projects done as I'd like! But I am currently working on knitting two Little Coffee Bean sweaters and several pairs of Magic Slippers, and sewing two Maggie Rabbits for my girls! We'll see if I finish them before they arrive... :)

Sep.4, 2013

When we hatched a plan to offer a Pen Pal themed giveaway with our friends at Hello!Lucky we had NO idea we would get SUCH a stellar response and especially that we would get so many incredibly thoughtful and inspiring entries.

Many of you told us touching stories about how much you missed the letters you received from grandparents growing up. The celebrity dream pen pals were a total hoot ranging from Mr. Rogers to Mother Theresa. And hats off to our Instagram friend Tome of Ink & Oak Calligraphy who was inspired to create the AMAZING envelope above for her dream pen pal J.D. Salinger, complete with stalk of rye and deer hunter hat--two references from Catcher in the Rye.

Without further ado, our 3 winners are announced below along with their entries. Thank you to everyone who entered--you have inspired us so much!


Grand Prize Winner Jaclyn:
My dream pen pal would be my Great-Great-Grandmother Angelina who immigrated to the U.S. from Italy. Never adopting the English language, I’d love to translate her italian handwriting to read her firsthand account of growing up in Italy in the late 1800s, moving her life to America, and raising 8 children in Delaware. I’ve heard only stories of the strong woman that she was, and her letters would be something I could pass on to keep those stories alive.

Thank you for such a neat, thought-provoking contest question!

2nd Prize Winner Angela:
Oh I love this! My dear friend and I have been consistent pen pals since 1997-ish. We even wrote letters when we lived in the same city (we haven't shared a zip code since 1999). The last two Decembers we have tried to make and mail a postcard a day to each other (Daily December). This year we are working on a postcard a week (52 for You).

Hmmm, but if I could be pen pals with anyone else...a buddhist monk, yes! Or a poet like Mary Oliver! Oooh,Beatrix Potter! Too hard to choose.

3rd Prize Winner Samantha from Instagram:
Sharing a photo of her correspondence-covered fridge said "Because I live far from friends and family sending letters is an important way for me to keep in touch. I post correspondence with pride."

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