30 April, 2007

Pink & Purple Things

Top Row: BBQ sign in Pismo, radishes, Laurel at the Madonna Inn (taken by Myles)

Middle Row: Seymour at 3 months, cakes at the Madonna, a plant in Florida

Bottom Row: Ice plant, Seymour, ?

The Color Issue

I'm pretty disappointed with the Martha Stewart Living Color Issue. It's such a great idea, but the colors aren't specatcular, and I feel like they could have done much more with the entire issue, rather than just a few articles. Probably the most beautiful colors were in these photographs of ravioli made with beets, and this summer pudding, but overall there was very little color saturation, and I feel like the spread of pale pink home decor was a waste of paper. Also, there was an article on white foods that was very disappointing. Does anyone remember the issue that had the gorgeous pastel dishes that were over-exposed to make them almost disappear into the page? Those were beautiful! But this issue pales in comparison. Martha, really, couldn't you have come up with something more bold?

Gray Things

Top Row: View from the Empire State Building (taken by Lynn), guys controlling the submarine, the beach at Bodega, the old Oakland train station

Second Row: Submarine parts, old building in Berkeley, linocut on my press, a tree in Los Angeles

Third Row: Tag on my platen press, engravings, periscopes, same building as above

Fourth Row: View from the periscope, Javitts center floor, same tree as above, scuttlebutt warning

Fifth Row: Train station, submarine parts, my living room before I pulled up the carpet, windows at Urban Ore in Berkeley

29 April, 2007

This Week

The ladies at Design Boner have a tradition of posting photos they've taken each week, and I am going to give them the sincerest form of flattery. Every Sunday (let's hope), I will put up pictures that I've taken during the week. Here are this week's. I guess I was feeling the oranges and greens! In top row, you can see my little sunbleached car, Lucy. I just got her last month and I'm totally smitten. She may not be as stylish as my previous cars (see Hugo, below), but she's a trooper.

Blue Things

Top Row: The speedometer in Hugo (my P1800), my mini-cuisinart, not my car! This one lives in London.

Middle Row: Chai cupcakes Jenn, Erin and I made, a ceiling at the Madonna Inn, Hugo being towed home from Los Banos

Bottom Row: Seymour in Hugo, the USS Hyman G. Rickover, a seafood joint in Pismo Beach

28 April, 2007

fame and (J.D.) fortune

Alright, I promised to do the research, and I have! Here's what happened to the winners of the TLC and INXS shows.

According to Wikipedia,
'Tiffany Nicole Baker (born 1985) is a choreographer, singer, and rapper from Atlanta who was chosen as the winner to be featured on TLC's new single "I Bet" (October 4, 2005) on the reality tv program R U The Girl. She currently is going to college and will release a solo album soon after... She is also trying to start up a reality show; a teaser was shown on youtube.com...
O'So Krispie has recently appeared on a remix of Chris Brown's single, Poppin' rapping 2 verses.'

You can also check out her website here.

As for the INXS show, "Rock Star", the winner was J.D. Fortune, whose long biography can be read here, and who 'is currently working on a solo album, Death of a Motivational Speaker, which is expected to hit shelves in the fall of 2007. He told the Australian Associated Press "It's the best stuff I have ever written."'

So, things look promising for Asia, winner of "The Search for the Next Doll"... she may even have a solo album oneday!

the new blue

I have to say that I am pretty excited to see "my" shade of blue all over the place this season! Within the last month, I have found the following treasures at Target alone:
scissors, salad bowl, measuring cups, ceramic vase. And of course, I had to buy them all. Yesterday while shopping in SF, I noticed that Diane von Furstenberg has a gorgeous leopard-like print in aqua chiffon... and no, I didn't buy anything from her collection.

Also everywhere: emerald green (see shoes below!)

this old house

I found this little house near my parents' place, and I love it! Check out the nautical chain-link mailbox post, and the starburst on the lamp. I wonder if the interior is filled with avocado, burnt orange, and goldenrod? Pendant lamps hung in corners of rooms over sectional sofas? Stereos built into teak cabinets? Shag carpeting?

finding a focus?

I think this blog is going to be mostly about color, and also occasionally about food, friends, and design. I like color, and I live my life by it, really. I keep all my red, purple, black and white books in the living room, my blue and yellow ones in the guest room, my green and brown ones in my bedroom, and my orange ones in the back room.

Even as a kid, I organized my books by color because it was easier for me to find things that way. My closet is organized by color, my shoes are organized by color, my movies, my home... and my work is so very dependent on color. If you look at the paintings I did in high school, they are about color. I used to give myself assignments like picking out three colored pencils (one dark, one light, one in between) and drawing something with only those colors. It is only this year (since my short-lived Goth period in 7th grade) that I have even begun to own black clothing, aside from the prerequisite shoes, little dress, etc..

Anyhow, it will be interesting to see how this love (obsession?) with color will translate into blogdom. Clearly, photographs are key. Stay tuned!

Green Things

Top Row: Warehouse in Oakland, Eric mowing the lawn, my fig tree, succulents at Jodie's

Second Row: Palm fronds, succulents, motel in Northern California, peppers at the market

Third Row: Brussel sprouts, submarine controls, agave, new shoes

Fourth Row: My backyard, golf course in Bodega Bay, artichokes from my dad's garden, cactus

bright houses

I'm finally working on my photo essay of extra-brightly colored houses, which will be up here eventually, so if you know of any good ones around the East Bay, please let me know! I'm talking about electric blue, purple, day-glo orange... the houses that make you wonder if the owners are color blind.

27 April, 2007

Yellow & Brown Things

Top Row: A cow in Oregon, citrons at the market, Chip and his bear, Piper's apple dumplings.
Middle Row: Donut and chamomile tea in London, Valentine chocolates, Spudnuts sign, chestnuts
Bottom Row: Duck-fat cheese fries at Hot Doug's, Max, squash, beer tasting in Chicago

Orange Things

Here's another installation of colored photos.

Top Row: My father and I at the NASA center in Florida, kumquats at the market near my house, the Charles Bronson pumpkin my friends Jenn and Amanda carved for Halloween.

Middle Row: Persimmons, a duck sausage from Hot Doug's in Chicago, my friend Jane with squash.

Bottom Row: Squash at the Portobello Road in London, sugar pumpkins, a pumpkin growing in Berkeley

26 April, 2007


Tonight I made pasta with cherry tomatoes and olives.

First Impressions

Since we're talking about printing, I thought I'd share some work from my fellow letterpress printers. First, let's start with Peter Koch, the man to whom I owe my introduction to the craft. His designs draw largely from his Montana heritage, and he has produced many beautiful books. This is a page from my very favorite, a book called "Zebra Noise" with wood engravings and poems by Robert Wagener.

Next, we have Richard Seibert, who has taught me so much about printing over the years, and who works magic with his press. This is one of his greeting cards, based on an antique engraving of a pair of cherries. I think it's gorgeous, and I wish you could see the print quality!

During the time I spent at Peter's shop, I was fortunate enough to work with Victoria Heifner of Milkfed Press. Victoria is an accomplished bookbinder as well as printer, and I think her work is stunning. It's so hard to pick just one image of hers, but this is a notecard you can purchase on her site. Take a look around while you're there- everything is lovely.

I of course must mention Olivia San Mateo, of Olive-Route Design & Letterpress, with whom I share my shop. Via's work has grown enormously during the time I have known her, and I can't rave enough about it. Her specialty is wedding work, although she also designs beautiful social stationery and ephemera.

Another local friend and mentor is Rori Zendek, of Paper Monkey Press. She also does gorgeous weddings, but my favorites are always her notecards, which I used to sell in my shop. Here's a beautiful card that reflects Rori's punk rock style!

I think it's nice to see so many creative, talented people printing letterpress work that doesn't conform to the current trends. Letterpress has definitely become more popular in the last few years, and it seems like new companies are popping up all the time. A lot of them are doing really interesting work, but sometimes it seems like the majority are just jumping on the train. It's really rare to find young printers who have actually apprenticed or spent any time learning from the older generation of printers, and I think it's a shame because those men and women have so much to offer. Not that I don't admire those who have the guts to up and buy a press and then teach themselves how to use it, but it definitely makes me feel good to know the people who have passed on the tradition of printing the way it has been for 400 years.

Little Shop

Today we made margaritas and guacamole at work, and because I love my job so much, here are some pictures from our shop. I share the space with Olivia (Via) of Olive Route Design and Letterpress, and we've been there for just over two years now. When I first set up shop, I had a little storefront in downtown Oakland where I printed and also sold work by different artists. It was a bit lonely, and I found that I didn't like retail work very much, so when Via came along it was very fortuitous. She had been apprenticing for David Goines, whom I knew because one of my own mentors, Richard Seibert had also apprenticed with him. The press at Mr. Goines' shop had broken, and Via needed to print a job, so she asked if she could use mine. Then, shortly afterwards I broke my arm in a car accident and couldn't print, so Via was nice enough to help me out sometimes. When she mentioned that she wanted to buy some equipment but was nervous about renting a space on her own, I was thrilled and we managed to find a space just down the street from Mr. Goines' shop. Eventually Richard moved in with David, and now we have a nice little Printer's Row.

Red Things

I feel like I have some catching up to do, so I think I'm going to start sharing some photos I've been holding on to. Naturally, I am going to do this by color, so let's start with red. Here are some photos of red things that I have taken over the past year.

Top Row: 10 lbs of peppermints, tomatoes, the steakhouse at the Madonna Inn.

Middle Row: Seymour at our shop, ranunculas, a roadside stand Laurel and I stopped at on our way home from Bodega Bay last summer.

Bottom Row: A tart I made for Passover, extra chairs at the U.S. Sumo Open in Los Angeles, my Vandercook press.

Going Down the Tubes Without You*

I am bummed that last night's episode of Top Model was a recap, but things are about to get good... And what about The Search for the Next Doll??? I can't believe that Asia won!! I was rooting for Chelsea, but would have also been happy to see Melissa R. take it. What were they thinking? What I wonder is, given her age (18?), will she really be able to fit in? I mean, I don't know that much about PCD, but it seems like the women in the group are considerably older, and undoubtably more mature. I hope she can handle the fame and fortune. What does become of the people who join established groups through reality television? What happened to the INXS show, or the TLC show? I will have to do some research and get back to you on this.

*PS- that's a reference to "Making the Grade", one of my favorite movies.

Let Them Eat Cake

Yesterday afternoon I blew off work and watched “Marie Antoinette.” I was prepared to find it frivolous and a bit boring, but I also knew I would be stunned by the visuals, which is why I had rented it. From the opening shot (red cakes and blue walls!) on, I was awestruck. I probably would have been just as happy with the sound turned off, but it really was stunning to look at.

Tricks of the Trade

One of the many joys of owning a wholesale business is attending trade shows, and there is only one show solely devoted to the stationery industry: The National Stationery Show in New York. Last year I shared a booth with the lovely ladies of Boon, Dog and Pony Show, Good on Paper, Blissen, Just My Type Letterpress, K. Autumn, and Olive-Route Design and Letterpress.

This year I am braving it alone for the first time, and it’s coming up in less than a month now. As you can imagine, I have lots and lots of work to do in order to get myself, my booth, and my product ready. Today I received my promo postcards in the mail, which I will be sending out to anyone and everyone that I could possibly hope might come visit my booth. (If you are reading this and you are a retailer or journalist, I’ll be in booth #1355!)

This week I have one more custom job (thank you cards) to complete before I devote myself entirely to show preparations. Stay tuned for progress reports!

25 April, 2007

Proud to be Mundane

So, if you haven't already heard (and of course you have), my Paper Towel Flashcards were featured last Friday on Happy Mundane! I love Jonathon's blog because it is full of wonderful, mundane things, and I am thrilled to have been included!

They Must Have Taught Us Something...

I also want to use this blog as a place to draw attention to some of the amazing artists and designers I know. Today I'm going to show off some work from the talented people I went to RISD with.

First, my good friend Jane Kim, who's been working on some fantastic paintings. I have three in my house so far, and Eric owns one as well. She uses time-period specific paint palettes from Sherwin Williams as her inspiration, and then paints these gorgeous pieces on drywall panels that have been framed up like a wall. I love this painting with the deer and I am kicking myself for letting Eric's roommate buy it! But then again, I probably have enough deer in my house...

Another really talented friend is Beau Buck, who makes these ridiculously cool motorcycle helmets. I almost wish I had a bike so I could buy one! (But on the other hand I value my life and my skin, so...) Beau was always such a great guy in school, and it makes me really happy to see him continuing to do such wonderful work. Take a look at hiswebsite to see all his creations.

I also want to point you in the direction of David Wiseman, whom I was never really friends with, but whose work I have been admiring for a long time. In college he made these beautiful deer hat hangers, which (no surprise) I always loved. Now he's doing all kinds of work from ceramics to glass to metal, and it's all beautiful. Take a look at this ceiling he transformed with porcelain flowers and branches- it's breathtaking!

Alex Lukas has been publishing zines and small books for some time now under the imprint Cantab Books, and also does really cool installations and illustrations that you can see here.

I love the bags that my friend Shawn Parks makes from construction material. At RISD we used to go around scavenging at construction sites but now he's gone legit, and really created something beautiful. Shawn is such a talented guy that everything he touches turns to gold, from textiles to architecture. And he's also a great guy to have around.

On the edible side of things, another friend, Robyn Giragosian, makes these delicious, gorgeous cupcakes. They absolutely put my baking to shame. And she takes such amazing photos of them! Maybe I just love this one because the cupcakes are blue and red, but I think they look divine. Check out her blog for more pics and projects.

Last but not least, I have to mention Andy Kennedy, who is a terrific animator and dear friend. Go visit his website to see some of his work. Look carefully when you watch "The Oak Dresser"- I made hundreds of those acorns our senior year!

Hospital Chic

This has been an eventful week. On Monday Seymour cut himself somehow and I had to take him to the Pet Emergency clinic to have stitches, while also dog-sitting Chip, my parents’ dog. It was quite an adventure. In the meantime, my friend Myles came into town from LA and so I put him up for the night, although I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good hostess.

On Tuesday, my mother had spinal surgery to eliminate her sciatica. I visited last night. Here’s a picture I took in the bathroom of her hospital room. It’s a little blurry, but can you see how amazing the wallpaper/ faux woodgrain are? Anyways, the procedure went well, and she came home this morning. My dad is taking a trip to New Mexico next week, so I’ll be playing nurse.

Oh, You Pretty Things

Here are some pictures from around my house...

I've been putting little succulents everywhere!


guest room...

living room...


And these are my new IKEA bedroom curtains!

Brave New World

I am starting this blog to indulge myself by writing about the things I like, and I suppose I should tell you a bit about myself first. My name is Hannah and I live across the bay from San Francisco, in a little town called Albany, just north of Berkeley. It's a cute town that was built almost exclusively between the 1920's and 1950's, so it has a wonderfully nostalgic and quaint feel. My particular block was developed in 1942 by an architect named MacGregor who is known for his tudor-inspired peaked roofs and an attention to detail that earned him the nickname "One Nail" (because he always had to put in one last nail). I bought my house about a year ago after having lived in a tiny studio apartment for three years. This is my first house, and you can expect a lot of posting about it.

I decided to buy a house because it was impossible to find anything to rent for anything less than my current mortgage. I wanted to get a dog, and I needed a house with a yard, so I bought one. About 4 months ago I adopted a dog named Seymour, who is quite a little character. He's a labradoodle (half labrador, half poodle), and he's adorable.

I grew up here in the Bay Area, and my parents still live in Oakland, about 10 minutes away. I went to college at RISD in Providence, RI, where I majored in Printmaking, with a "concentration" (minor) in English Lit (specifically the Victorians). I also spent a semester studying book art at Central St. Martins College in London. During my summers I apprenticed at the letterpress shop of Peter Koch, Printers, where I fell in love with the trade. After I graduated, I started my own company, which has evolved into Pie Bird Press. I print greeting cards, which I sell wholesale to stores all over the country. If you want to know more about that, you can visit the Pie Bird Press website at www.wetfootpublications.com.

What else? I have a wonderful boyfriend named Eric, who worked for many years at the best independent record store in the country, Amoeba Records, and who now works for a wine distributor. I love baking and cooking in general, and am an obsessive collector of antiques. I try to read at least one book per month, although I tend to be a binge reader in that I will read four books in one week, and then nothing for two months. Mostly I prefer non-fiction, and I will probably be posting my book reviews here. I am a sucker for reality television, especially the trashy sort like ANTM and "The Bachelor." I have been fascinated by spies and detectives since I was a child, from Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy to James Bond and Jason Bourne.

As for the rest, I am sure it will come out soon enough!