31 May, 2007

Manly Gift Wrap

I just finished wrapping my dad's birthday presents and I thought I'd share some of my collection of vintage giftwraps. These are my most "manly" two:

And yes, that is woodgrain...


When I was growing up, every time my mom and I made pie, we'd cut the extra crust into shapes, sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, and bake them as cookies for my dad. I never liked them as a kid because they weren't sweet enough, but they were my dad's favorite! So for his birthday today I decided to make some with the extra dough I had, but I left them in the oven just a bit too long... luckily my dad has always liked the burnt cookies the best!

First Pies of the Season!

Here are the first pies of the season! I made the sour cherry one for my dad's birthday, which is tonight, and the buttermilk one for our Fried Chicken Dinner tomorrow night.

Also, I just got back from the florist and I'm walking on air because he loved my selection so much! What a compliment! But I have to give credit where due and say I was very inspired by the yellow peonies and cabbage in House Martin's latest arrangement.

More Woodgrain!

How could I forget to include this beauty by my good friend Richard at Letterspressed?

29 May, 2007

Woodgrain Cards

Last year I thought about doing a series of cards called "Looking Up, Looking Down", which would have included a lightbulb, airplane trails in the sky, tree branches, hardwood floor boards, marbles, moss, and some other things I can't remember. In the end I got caught up in botanicals and cherry pie, but in a way I'm glad I didn't do the floor boards. As much as I love it, there are so many woodgrain-inspired cards everywhere these days, I figure the market is okay without another one! Here are a few nice designs that other people have done:

This set is from Jessica Jane.

This one is from Blue Snail Papers.

This one is from Night Owl Paper Goods- I can't resist posting it again!

These ones are from Egg Press.

This one is from La Familia Green.

This one is from Pancake & Franks.

This is a notebook, not a card, but it fits. It's from Small Stump.

This one is from Twelve Fifteen.

These are from Rock Scissor Paper.

And... this one is from my friends at Dog and Pony Show.

A Quick Recovery

This is Seymour, post-surgery, in his little life preserver/ e-collar.

27 May, 2007

Book Review: Jumping Someone Else's Train

Nights when you're home sick are a good time to catch up on reading and listening to music. Tonight I finished "Love is a Mix Tape" by Rob Sheffield, a book I've been putting off for some time, and not because it wasn't engaging, but because I knew how it would end. I don't want to ruin it for anybody, but you know the minute you read the book jacket, or even the second page. It's actually pretty amazing, and maybe it's because I'm a sucker for mix tapes, but as the author tells the story of his relationship with Renee (through the mix tapes they made), I think I fell in love, too. As I read, I smiled along with Rob and even giggled a bit, and then kept putting the book down, not quite ready for the inevitable. And then somehow, just as I picked up the book to finish it tonight, the Replacements came on- "Unsatisfied". It seemed so appropriate, so I put it on repeat while I read the part I was dreading. And then, there it was, on page 205, just as Rob and I were beginning to move on. I'm not sure how, but I think that somehow proves a point this book is trying to make about music bringing people together.

Ultimately, wouldn't put this on my list of favorite books, but it is rare that I am so moved by something in print. And who knows- maybe like some really great songs, I will have to think about it for a while before it becomes a classic. In any case, now that I've finished it, I feel like I've suffered my own loss.

Peacock Blue

Today Jane and I went to check out the SF Decorator's Showcase before it closed. For those of you who don't know, Jane
painted this beautiful mural in the master bedroom decorated by Kendall Wilkinson. I was lucky enough to get a preview while Jane was working, and now having seen the rest of the house, I can easily confirm that this is by far my favorite room. Not only is Jane's work gorgeous (you should see the painted radiator in the dressing room), but as you might guess, I just LOVE the colors that were chosen.

26 May, 2007

In the Numbers

Between my last post on the subject and our departure from JFK, Laurel and I counted 121 pairs of silver shoes, and 75 pairs of gold shoes on the streets of New York. I have no doubt that if we had begun counting upon our arrival, those numbers would be significantly higher, as it really seemed that Monday was the day that everyone decided to wear silver shoes. Still, pretty impressive statistics, I must say.

More Ideas

I came away from the Stationery Show with lots of ideas for how to expand Pie Bird Press. The two that I really want to research are: having limited edition screenprints made of some of my designs, and having fabric printed with my designs and made into products like throw pillows and coin purses. I think my "Peppermints" design would lend itself especially well to fabric, so that is probably the first one I would try. The key here is finding somebody to do the sewing, since I myself am not very good with the machine.

As for the fine-art prints, I WISH I could do them myself! I love screenprinting so much, but I just don't have the space for the setup. So I'm looking into outsourcing that as well. But the question is, which designs would I chose to blow up? If you feel like weighing in, please check out the shop section of my website and let me know what you would want on your wall. Thanks!

She's Crafty

So I've been thinking about taking my cards around on the craft show circuit to try and build my reputation and also generate more income (each retail sale is twice the amount of a wholesale one, after all, not to mention that the booth fees are like $50, as opposed to the $5,000 I shelled out for the NSS), and I'm trying to figure out where and when these things happen. I've never really been one for the DIY scene, but I know my cards would fit in, and, well... I guess I'm hoping to exploit that.

It seems like the big indie fairs (Renegade, Bazaar Bizarre, etc.) are all in Chicago and New York. While I'm willing to entertain the notion of going to both those places (and taking advantage of the hospitality of my friends who live there), the ideal thing would be to do some local fairs as well, where I could save on airfare and make 100% profit. As it is, these shows require far less scenery (they provide you with or charge you a minimal fee ($10) for a table, you throw some fabric over it, and voila!) than the wholesale shows, where the booth fee is $25 per square foot and you are required to buy their foamcore in a minimum quantity of 5 panels (at $200 per panel), and flame proof your fabric, etc.... So a little airfare, especially given a free place to stay, would be acceptable. But I am not entirely sure how much I would make per fair, and I'd like to come out in the black a few times before I start spending like crazy. And then there's the time... A local show would mean spending a day or two behind a table, whereas travel and wanting to see my friends would mean a four or five day trip.

Anyways, I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for craft fairs, local and not. If you do, let me know!!

25 May, 2007

Final New York Moments

On Wednesday night I went out for dosas with Andy, and it was great to see him. He's working on some really fun animation projects, and also on a show for Nick, Jr., which I am dying to see: "Wonder Pets".

Then yesterday morning before we left town, I made my usual pilgrimage to Doughnut Plant, one of my favorite places on earth. When I walked through the door, I could smell the amazing aroma of fresh Blackberry dounuts. I got one for Laurel and myself, and also a Banana Caramel, and a Valrhona Chocolate one, and some Tres Leches that I hoped would survive the plane ride home to Eric.

Afterwards, I walked over to Rice to Riches, the "rice pudding place," and picked up some pudding for our flight. I got Vanilla and French Toast for myself, and Laurel got Mango and Mascarpone with cherries. As it happened, there was a Cath Kidston store going out of business around the corner, so I stopped in to check out the sale. Of course I wanted everything, but I needed nothing, so I restrained myself and headed uptown to meet Laurel for lunch... only to walk RIGHT past the Sigerson Morrison store (I swear I didn't plan this!!), where I couldn't resist peeking in. Amazingly enough, they had the red patent flats I've been dying for, for half the price I'd seen them sell for in the past!

Reader, I splurged.

And then I walked up to S'mac to meet Laurel. We shared three small portions of mac and cheese: the Goat Cheese, the Cheeseburger, and the Manchego. All three were yummy, and the presentation was great (they are each served in little skillets), but I feel like on a scale of Country Crock to Mama's, they were somewhere around Annie's for me. Not bad at all, and I definitely ate my share, but not quite the homemade goodness I prefer. The best thing for me were the add-ins, like the fennel in the Manchego, and the Kalamata olives in the Goat Cheese.

In any case, it was quite the eventful morning for food! I think the only thing we could have done to make it more so would have been a trip to Peanut Butter & Co., but I have been there before and I have to say that as far as I'm concerned, most peanut butter sandwiches are pretty much created equal.

Our flight home was an easy one, with the exception of some miserable kid behind me who screamed the entire time. Thank goodness for DirectTV!! I got to watch "Being Bobby Brown" (which was so painful that I had to change the channel after watching Whitney pop a zit for Bobby beside a public fountain), "Shear Genius", "Dirty Jobs", and lots and lots of the Food Network. The rice pudding was a little disappointing; it was extremely custardy, and I like my pudding to be less eggy than that, but I think it would have been greatly improved if warmed.

When I got home, Eric was here waiting for me, and we discovered that the donuts had made it, albeit a little soggier for wear.

Home Sweet Home

I'm home! There's nothing like four days in a convention center to make you miss your home. All in all, I think we had a pretty successful show, and a really fun trip to boot. Laurel, thank you so much for coming along to help out- I truly could not have done it without you!! And I have to give a shout out to Evan for letting us stay with him, and sharing his stash of John Masters Organics products. Evan, you're the best! Now I am looking forward to a couple of days of doing nothing before I start shipping orders...

23 May, 2007

Meanwhile, at the Javits...

While we were busy smiling at strangers at the NSS, there were also a couple of other conventions happening at the Javits Center. Downstairs was the always exciting International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and upstairs (and downstairs) was Surtex, a licensing show for mostly textile designers. We were able to switch off and take a quick turn around these other shows, and here is what I liked.

At ICFF, I found Palo Samko, who makes gorgeous wooden furniture like the table in the pic below.

I also loved these lamps by Perch!.

Surtex was a bit of a blur for me, but there were some cool patterns to be seen. I was in a bit of a rush to get back to my booth, but I was able to stop and drool over the designs of Julia Rothman . Julia went to RISD with me, and I am so impressed with her work, both illustration and pattern design. We talked a little about doing a collaboration, and I really hope that happens! These are some of her textile designs.

The Wrap

Today was the last day of the National Stationery Show, and I for one am very happy to be done with it for another year. We made some really great contacts, and some new friends!

One of our favorite new finds was Night Owl Paper Goods from Alabama. Not only were Alan and Jennifer SUPER nice, but they also make really cute cards. Here are a couple:
We also loved Motormouth Press, fellow-Californians, who had their booth decorated in stunning hot pink and white vinyl made to look like a kitchen. I should have taken a picture!

Another really sweet couple who make handmade things was La Familia Green, whose Luchador and Tim Gunn cards are awesome, and who might even be crazier than I am because they cut all their cards by hand.

And I was lucky enough to meet the girls from Albertine Press while waiting for the ladie's room. I love the colors and patterns they are using.

I couldn't stop looking at the beautiful silkscreens from Spruce Avenue

It was also really fun to see the people from Hammerpress, Pancake and Franks, Peculiar Pair, Old School Stationers, Hello Lucky, Egg Press (below), Trace, Manifesto Letterpress, Binth (below), and my friends at Relish and Twig and Fig.

Flowers in the Booth

Colorful Newspaper Boxes Outside of Cooper Union

Oh, Duncan...

Look what I found!!! I'm bringing home four boxes for future use...

Eric's gonna kill me...

... but the other night at Cafeteria, I had a Blackberry Mint Julep. I know, I know, it's a terrible thing to do to bourbon, but it was very tasty. And this color:

22 May, 2007

More Cupcakes!

Evan, Laurel and I are about to head out to Mama's, but I just wanted to report that we stopped by Billy's on the way home from the show today, and they had the red velvet!!! I have to say that these cupcakes are even better than the Duncan Hines. I'm still working on finding a recipe this good, but for now the cake mix will have to suffice.

21 May, 2007


Alright, so now that we've had our fill of cupcakes, we're on to mac and cheese. Let me tell you, people, we are having a serious health week. Anyways, tonight at Cafeteria we had Mac and Cheese Spring Rolls (mac and cheese rolled up in dumpling papers and fried- also served with a cheese dipping sauce. I have to say that I think the Fried Mac and Cheese at Cafe 50's in LA is even better...), and tomorrow we are planning to go to Mama's, where I always have the mac and cheese, and Paula told us about THIS place. I am SO excited to go there, so you can expect a full report when we do.

This is for Paula

My favorite pen for many years has been the Pilot Hi-Tec C, which has an incredibly fine point and comes in great colors. I've been buying them in Japantown at Kinokuniya Stationery, but otherwise the only place I've ever found them was in London. Tonight we had dinner at Cafeteria (yum!) with Laurel's friend Paula, and I discovered that she has been taking notes in her medical textbooks in tiny print. When she saw my pen, she got very excited, so I gave her one (in exchange for future prescriptions- her offer, not my request). Now I've done some research, and these pens can be found here, and I'm sure many other places if you look hard.

silver shoes

Laurel and I have been seeing silver shoes all over the place. We saw six pairs during the time between when we left the Javits Center at 6:00 and when we got to the apartment at 6:45, and loads more during the course of the last two days. The majority have been flats (my favorite), but there have also been sneakers and sandals. If I could have any silver shoes (and I already have some, of course), I would want these, by Sigerson Morrison. I love the cut of their shoes so much, but they are WAY out of my league. Sigh... I guess they will just have to replace the bag that was on my wish list!

wish come true

Today I went to the Hable Constructionbooth to drool over that
that gorgeous bag, and the friendly staff told me that they were writing personal orders! So I got it, and for the wholesale price! And then Laurel got one, too. Yay!

20 May, 2007

Crystal Gravy

This car is on display at the show to promote a line of crystal covered greeting cards. It is very hard to capture the essence of this "Crystal Car", so please feel free to look at the website of its creators here.

The Empire Strikes Back

Looking down 34th St. just after the rain stopped.

cupcakes galore

There's something about hanging out with Laurel and Myles... we always end up eating a lot of baked goods, and especially cupcakes. Last night Laurel and I tried a new place in her neighborhood called "Burgers and Cupcakes". It was the kind of place where you build your own burger from lots of choices (bison, ostrich, venison, and salmon were a few of the options), and then they also serve cupcakes! Laurel had a veggie burger with cheese and grilled mushrooms, and I had a chicken chipotle burger with goat cheese. Yum! I will eat goat cheese on just about anything. I said, "just about." Then we got a banana caramel cupcake to go, and headed over to Billy's and picked up a chocolate cupcake and also a slice of icebox cake (!!). We put the cake in the fridge at the apartment and then took our cupcakes to the show this morning, but I misplaced the banana caramel (and found it again just before we shut down for the night), so we still have that one for tomorrow. After we left the convention center, we walked over to Cupcake Cafe for a chocolate cupcake or two with milk.... Mind you, we never planned to do any sort of cupcake tour. It just happened! Luckily, I think we might be out of places to go to, since we've both had our fill of Magnolia... not that there aren't plenty more cupcake shops around. What is with New York and cupcakes?

Anyways, I think I might curb my sweet tooth for now and hold out for Donut Plant, my mecca.