Sunday, December 20, 2009

Letterpress or bust!

So, here it is almost a year since I got the press. I'm a bit embarrassed it's taken me this long to sit down and make it work, but better late than never. I decided to tackle our holiday cards. I probably had three different ideas laid out before settling on this one and getting down to business.

A note: Letterpress is not easy.

But, it is very rewarding when you figure it out. Setting type is tricky and I don't think I'm doing it quite right, but for now it worked and that's all that matters. Below are pics of the process. I think once I got it printing evenly it took me about an hour to print all the cards, maybe not even that. Also, even prior to all of this I soaked the press in a vinegar and lemon juice bath for about 3 days. It's amazing how much of the rust came off. Some of it is back already, but I think it helped.

Next step is to figure out how to get some custom plates made. Since the press is pretty tiny I probably won't be doing any type heavy designs with it, but I have some ideas for images/illustrations that I think would make cute notecards, etc. I'm in the process of figuring out what size base I should order. I'm working with Elum Designs. They have been super helpful.

Here are the pics:

Here are press proofs done while I was figuring out how to get an even print. The process involves tightening and loosing screws and adding padding to the tympan. It is tedious, but well worth it.

Plate on press, ready to print

Fancy paper ready to go

Rollers inking the plate

Prints drying

Finished cards

Hat and Scarf Set

Before I made the six scarves for my co-workers I tried out the pattern. I had enough yarn leftover to make a hat to match. Turned out pretty cute. The only thing is that the hat is a little big. I may stitch some elastic thread into it to tighten it up a little. I like how the flower "pops" and the way the hat curls along the edge. Cuteness.

Six Scarves a Curling

I found a super cute scarf pattern (once again, on the Lion Brand site) and it was so easy I decided to make one for each of my six co-workers this year for Christmas. They all turned out really cute and the girls loved them. The scarf curls and when you wrap it around your neck it looks really full and fun.

I also created some tags for these gifts. It's the first time I've tagged my work. I used iron-on transfer paper and an old t-shirt. They look really good. I got just as many compliments on the tags as the scarves.


I was the tooth fairy for Halloween this year. In order to make my costume look more "fairy-ish" I cut the petticoat from my wedding dress to fit under the tooth fairy dress. This left me with a TON of tulle and no idea what to do with it. My co-worker and friend, Kendra suggested I make tutus for my nieces for Christmas. Mmmm, great idea! So, that is exactly what I did. Below are a few picks of the finished pieces. We also got the girls shirts and tights at Target to complete the look. Hopefully they'll have some fun dressing up and dancing around in them.

If you're not up for trying to craft your own tutu, you should order one from my friend Kendra. You can find her on line HERE or in my links under "Crafty, Artsy Friends." Hers are way cuter than mine.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Elephant Gift Set

I finished a crocheted elephant awhile back. You can read about it HERE. It was the first part of a gift set I was working on for a cousin who was due in November. Well, the little guy decided he'd rather have an October birthday and arrived a few weeks ago. I finished up the onesies and sent off the gift.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fabulous "Tartique" in Bozeman

Bozeman has a pretty solid community of artists. One of my favorite galleries/shops is "Tart." They are located in the Emerson Cultural Center. Today they launched their new web site @

Be sure to check them out. They do an awesome job promoting Montana artists and crafters. It would be so cool to sell my creations there, if I ever get around to creating some worth selling.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Puppy

I have finished what I think will be my last toy for awhile. I'm hoping to focus on getting my office space set up and start playing around with my letterpress printer.

Here is "Happy Puppy" from the Lion Brand site again. This girl is tiny, but turned out pretty cute. I used stash yarn that I don't think is as thick and heavy as the yarn the pattern calls for. She and "Pink Puppy" will be a gift for a friend of my mom who is having a girl this winter. Fun!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I (heart) Elephants

Here is my finished "Amigurumi Elephant" from the Lion Brand Yarn website. He's very tiny compared to the other toys I've made, but so dang cute. I used some of the leftover yarn from the pants to crochet him.

I have a plan for a onesie to match this cute little guy as part of a gift. I'll post that as soon as I get it done.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Baby Pants

I wasn't going to post these until they were complete, but all I have left to do is put the elastic in the waste band and they are so dang cute I couldn't wait to share.

I LOVE these little pants. I love them so much that I'm going to hold onto them for a bit. I have some ideas for onesies to match that would create an outfit so I'm at least holding onto them until I have a chance to work on those.

I used another free pattern from the Lion Brand Website. It's the "Baby Brights Pants" pattern. I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn. Love that stuff, but it is a bit pricey. I think just for the yarn these are $20-$30 baby pants. I didn't check my gauge and had to do some adjusting. Basically I reached the length the pattern called for before I reached the number of stitches. I've read that length is more important, so I just altered the pattern for the number of stitches. I think with baby pants it is probably okay to do that. They don't look funky or anything :) I did the striping on my own, the pattern calls for a particular Lion Brand Yarn that looks like it self stripes. I may have to make a few more pairs of these with pink, green, purple maybe? I think I'll try a different yarn that is a bit more affordable though. I'm still working on my seam sewing skills. Matching stripes can be tricky too, but these turned out pretty well.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pink Puppy Love

My mom asked me to make some gifts for a friend who is having a girl later this fall. She picked a couple of the puppy toys from the Lion Brand site. I am loving all of the toy patterns on that site. PLUS, they just made ALL of their patterns FREE! So awesome! I'm working on a pair of pants from the site right now as well. I think they are going to be super cute.

Anyhow, here is the happy pink puppy :) Isn't she cute! You can find her on the site HERE. I was able to use stash yarn again and I embroidered her entire face. I think the pattern calls for plastic eyes. I find it's easy enough to embroider eyes and it is safer for babies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Aaarrgh, matey!

My friend Cathy asked if I would make a stuffed toy for her son. I sent her a link to the Lion Brand website's "Toys" free patterns and she chose the stuffed Pirate. I dug into my stash yarn to find colors I thought would be the most pirate-like. The final outcome is pretty cute. He had an awesome smile on his face when she gave it to him. Aarrrgh! Pirates rule!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I just finished this giraffe for my friends daughter. She'll be two next week and her birthday party theme is "safari/jungle". I'd been eyeing this giraffe pattern for a while and had just the right colors in my stash to make it. It was super easy, fun and fast. I love projects that I can finish in less than a week. Also, my friend's little girl is apparently very into giraffes right now. So, it was all around a great project.

I used the pattern on the Lion Brand Yarn website. It is free if you register with the site. They have TONS of free patterns available.

My favorite part is the head/face. The horns and ears are so dang cute!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm headed out to visit my good friend Beth in Colorado for the weekend. It was her daughter's 5th birthday today. I thought it would be fun to take her a little something and decided on this awesome scarf ("Pom-Pom Boa") from the One Skein book by Leigh Radford. It was super easy and used up a ton of my stash. I know it's not really a very "summery" birthday gift, but she starts kindergarten this fall and so maybe she'll wear it to school :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cupcakes & Dolls

I recently finished a couple of fun projects as gifts for some sweet girls. I made the cupcake for my niece for her 1st birthday and the doll for a good friend's daughter for her 4th birthday. Both turned out great!

I love the cupcake, even though the candle is a bit off in terms of scale. I used the cupcake pattern from "One Skein" and then I did the candle myself, using a bit of trial and error. The doll is from the Black Apple pattern. I knitted some leg warmers and made the skirt with stash fabric. My friend's daughter loves dancing and is taking dancing classes.

Happy Birthday Girls!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Baby Sweater & Booties

My friend Kim is due in May and is having a girl. Her shower was today and this is what I made for her.

I found the sweater pattern HERE and the accent flowers HERE

and the booties HERE

All of these patterns were really easy. I am a big fan of the booties. They are adorable and a super fast knit. I think it took me about 1/2 hour to do one. I used stash yarn for this entire project (so proud of myself!). The only purchase I had to make was the buttons. The sweater pattern called for a zipper, but I thought that buttons would be more fun. They all turned out so well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Technicolor Dream Sweater FINISHED!

I finished my technicolor dream sweater! Yay! It turned out really well. There is a lot of extra to the front piece/neck, but I like it. It is super warm, so I don't know how much I'll get to wear it until Fall rolls around again. It feels good to have finished it. I think I'll wear it quite a bit, as it has every color in the rainbow in it, so I can wear it with practically anything. Below are pics. CLICK HERE for the free pattern.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Knitting and knitting and knitting . . .

I've been knitting :) I finished a hat for a friends new baby boy over the holidays and I'm very close to finishing the first sweater I'm knitting for myself. I've also got another sweater I'm working on for a friend who is due this spring. Lots of fun stuff! Here are pics of the hat and the back piece for my sweater. I am calling my sweater the Amazing Technicolor sweater :) It's going to be a rainbow of awesomeness!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Best Christmas present EVER!

About a week or two before Christmas, my husband asked me "If you could have anything for Christmas, what would it be?" After thinking for a minute I said "A letterpress printer would be really cool." He had already bought the press. Here it is:

Kelsey Excelsior 3" x 5" Model M press

It came with a couple of type sets and a handful of super cool icons (dragonfly, bird, a couple flowers and religious symbols). I had to order new rollers and so am waiting for those to come back before I can actually print on it. I've already set my first "plate." Excuse my mistakes, I'm still learning the lingo. I can't wait to post my first creation. It will be a month or so for the rollers, so stay tuned!