Monday, January 19, 2009

Gift registry alternative

For any brides out there trying to work out what to put on your gift registry when you both already have everything you need, here's a great idea - get your guests to donate to a nominated charity instead. Today I'm posting off some invitations and gift suggestion cards to Sara-Jane and Esther, and I've just loved working on the designs. This card is just a teaser though. The main photos will be up shortly.

It's funny how sometimes the most ugly things end up looking so beautiful. Take this rag for instance. The combination of pink and green made it look more like a lovely flower. I just had to share.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A treasure-trove of ink

I had a few boxes of miscellaneous items arrive with Plan B, and I still haven't got through them all. I've just opened one of them now to find 44 cans of inks, deglasers and varnishes. Some are probably dried right out and useless, but there's definitely a few in there that I'll be using a lot.

I just love the variety of old labels though. Also note the "Collies Ink" label - from the research I've done, it looks like they're the company that manufactured my Collie's Paragon press.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Popplet JAN 09 out now

The first edition of Popplet, our email newsletter, is out now. Leave us a comment with your email if you would like to be added to the mailing list (don't worry, I won't publish your email in the comments). Alternatively, drop us an email at louise [at] poppyletterpress [dot com dot au].

Monday, January 12, 2009

Presses in position

After a hot afternoon yesterday, the two presses are finally in their final positions ready to work. It took 5 people, one engine hoist, hired chains and a pallet jack to get them there. My anxiety levels were at an all-time high as we had each press dangle 1.5 feet in the air. When lifting Collie, we had four people standing on the engine hoist to counter-balance the lift, but still managed to (slowly) drop it on the ground, sending the skids through the wooden wall behind it.

All ended well though. No people or presses were harmed.
Here's a basic floor layout of the studio so far. The left side of the studio near the sink is still taken up with our housemate's storage for a few more weeks, but eventually that's where the platemaker and other units will go.
The new positions are great - lots of lighting and space around each press.

After thinking about the best name to give the new press, I've decided on "Plan B", since that's what I've been calling it anyway. And it was bought just for that - a plan B in case something goes wrong with Collie. At least that's how I like to justify this purchase...

It's great having another press here that's so similar to Collie. All rollers and chases are interchangable because they're the same size, so that makes parts easier. Plan B does have some lovely little features though, including the shots below: original 'lids' on some of the oil holes to prevent dust and debris getting in the holes, an original counter, and a foot treadle complete with the Chandler & Price logo as the grip. I'm not too impressed with the condition of the rollers though, so I'll be recovering them this year. In the meantime, I've still got great rollers on Collie.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pregnancy and printing

It’s going to be a hot day here in Canberra today (32C/90F) and it’s just going to get hotter as the week progresses. I’ve got the new house all locked up in an attempt to trap what cool air is left inside.

Heat is just one of the problems pregnant women face. It always seems so much hotter than it really is, so now that summer’s in full force, I’m finding myself hot an exhausted all the time.

I posted a while ago about how temperature affects printing
. Yes, printing is better for the press in summer, just not me when I’m pregnant! (Also, note the last paragraph of that entry – me dreaming of having a new studio. See? Dreams do come true!)

Another big factor that affects pregnant women in the studio is toxic fumes. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started wearing a respirator to block out the fumes. It works exceptionally well, and it’s nice finishing up the day without having a head full of toxic smells. The downsides? They’re hot, and it’s like having a mini steamroom on your face. You can’t sing with it on (which I do a lot of when I print) because of the restricted airflow. And sneezing is like a monsoon. Ew.

There have been studies into the affects of offset printing ink fumes on the unborn baby, and it’s all bad news, so putting up with the respirator is worth it. I also wear an apron and gloves, which is a good idea when printing regardless of who you are.

Morning sickness and constant tiredness have been the biggest issues though. I was one of those unlucky women who gets morning sickness for a few months, and it was the sickest I have ever been. It started at the busiest time for Poppy, too. Now I’m not sick anymore, but the tiredness looks like it’s here to stay. So I’m getting used to limiting what I can do in one setting, and how much work I can take on.

Of course, the most obvious thing I’m dealing with though is the big belly. And it’s already big at 20 weeks. Very cute until you need to stand at the press and reach for the paper while the press is running. Or stretch up to grab the guillotine handle. Or reach across the desk to grab a pen.

I’d love to hear about the experiences of other women who have worked through pregnancy, whether in printing or elsewhere. What restriction did you have? How did you cope?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Painting the office, Part 2

One of the most exciting things about buying your first home is that you can paint the walls whatever colour you want. What's even better than that, is being able to paint your own studio office walls.

We're keeping the house interior white, but I was keen on a colour for the office. It's a great space as it is -- away from noise, and a door straight into the studio -- but it needed some sprucing up so that I'd feel more at home in it. After all, I'll be spending a lot of my time in there on the computer and guillotining paper. I chose this soft green as it's one of my favourite colours (was even our wedding colour), and it's so calming.

Here are the before photos, followed by some after-the-first-coat photos.

Moving Collie

A couple of days before Christmas, Collie arrived at the new studio on the same truck that brought over the new C&P (yet to be named). They took great care with him, so I was happy, however one of the guys almost crushed the other guy behind the press when he released the brake on the pallet jack. My heart went through my mouth. He was okay though, but if I'd had the flywheel turned to a slightly different position, he would've crushed his ribs.

It took them quite a bit of fiddling to get Collie into the studio. Now that both presses have arrived, I need to hire lifting equipment to get them off their pallets and into their final positions. We've got a bit to clear out before that can happen, but hopefully in the next few days.

I'm just glad that I don't have to move any more presses!

My little press dog, Taylor, is currently on holidays taking care of her beautiful puppies, and in the meantime we're living with two golden retriever boys. Above is Basil, who sniffed Collie all over on arrival.

And for any of you who are interested, here's just one of Taylor's cute little pups:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Painting the office

Happy New Year everyone! I hope this year brings you all that you wish for and work towards. I know it's going to be a huge year for myself with the arrival of our baby in (hopefully) May, and an inspiring new year for Poppy.

I don't do new year's resolutions, but if I did, I'd promise to blog more and post more photos. That is on the big list of things to do in the new year though. For now, let me update you on what we've been up to.

The Collie's Paragon press arrived safely from our old house, so now both of the platens are in the new studio, albeit still on pallets waiting to be placed in their final positions. Having just moved house, and still in the process of unpacking endless boxes, the studio itself is full of bikes, boxes, tins, a Harley, and some random bits and pieces.

The new studio has a sink, separate toilet, office, and ample shelving. The office currently contains my desk, bookshelf, chair and guillotine. I got a blast of inspiration this morning and bought some sample pots of colour. Now that I've decided which to go for, tomorrow morning I'll start painting the office. I'm stupidly excited about this for two reasons: 1, it's my first private office, and 2, it's all mine so I can paint it whatever colour I want! Having been a renter for the past 10 years, this is quite a thrill :)

So this first week of 2009 is dedicated to cleaning out the new studio and office so that I can get all of the equipment into place and start the year fresh. Feels good!