Monthly Archives: December 2008
Well, obviously I’m a day late, but it’s for a good cause: I printed the second to last screen on my Christmas cards last night (and finished tonight!). A post about them will be coming once they’re all mailed out (don’t want to ruin the surprise!).
But on to this week’s links: for the past several weeks, some rather inspiring vintage Christmas ephemera images have been popping up. So to get everyone into the holiday spirit, here are a couple of the ones that really made me excited for the holidays (and vacation time).
I absolutely love old greeting cards and postcards from 1950 and earlier. Both Design Sponge and NOTCOT had some links/posts with great collections:Â
- Design*Sponge’s Vintage Christmas Ephemera collection
- Delicious Industries’ Vintage card collection (via NOTCOT)
- So seeing both of those reminded me of Card Cow’s awesome gallery of turn-of-the-century postcards. They’re for sale, but also make for good reference.
Not strictly vintage, but…
Â …the craft involved in constructing Aspen Boutique’s Christmas cards is amazing.
- Interview with Bill Gardner with an excellent gallery of the cards including the one from 2004 below:
Animation Treasures featured some excellent backgrounds from the Nutcracker Suite sequence of Fantasia.Â
Absolutely stunning. I’ve since set it as my desktop background and have had the Nutcracker Suite running through my head. Whenever I see frost on a window pane it reminds me of this specific part:
Fantasia doesn’t say Christmas to me, but this sequence definitely does. I think of this scene more often than the ballet when I hear that melody. If you’d like to enjoy the full sequence from Fantasia, click here.
I’ve been thinking of this commercial a lot lately (as I do every year). This (if you ignore the coffee) just epitomizes coming home for Christmas to me:
Imagine my surprise when I got a little package in the mail from my good friend, Jen, over Thanksgiving weekend! And while the presents were delightful, the presentation was superb! About a month ago now, I had emailed her this awesome how-to that I saw on Creature Comforts describing how you can turn old plastic bags into cute pom pom gift toppers. I never suspected she’d put the instructions to use on a gift for me! So I just had to share the adorable results:
Never knew your old bags could look so classy, did you? And just in time for the holidays, too!
So I had a lot of fun things that popped up in my feed this past week, but thought I’d share some resources instead. You see, I’m getting ready to print my Christmas cards this Sunday, so I thought it might be nice to share a bit on how I’m going to do it before I post my process post on the card itself.
Using Gocco for Screen Printing
For two of the screens/layers of the card, I’ll be screen printing. When I graduated from college a couple of years ago, I was really bummed to lose access to our awesome Print Lab. It’s a little hard to screen-print something as large as the poster my friend, Robyn, is working on below (BEFORE) when you have to do it in your apartment. Then I found Gocco (AFTER):
Obviously, I won’t ever be doing anything as big as Robyn’s poster unless I do it in sections, but I really don’t need to. And with the Gocco, I don’t have to worry about emulsion or power washers or table space: the unit exposes the screen and prints the image. On the downside, they’ve discontinued making them and their supplies. However, I believe that between all the resourceful gocco-ers out there, we’ll find alternatives. Below are some of the resources that I’ve found really helpful in learning how:
- Gocco Flickr Group (the discussion threads are particularly helpful)
- Gocco-Printers Yahoo Group (Joining this is a must: an excellent way to locate supplies, get expert help, or download templates, etc.)
- NEHOC Australia (all instructions given in English, as well as a list of produced supplies/accessories)
- DIYLife’s Gocco article (although some of these links are now broken, it still has great info on where to find supplies/tutorials/etc.)
- Celestina Carmen (Good inspiration and awesome tips: thanks for sharing your expertise, Tina!)
Relief Printing by Hand
For the relief plate, I’m working on a linocut that I will then print at home. This should be relatively easy as I printed most of the Incidents Among the Savages illustrations at home. I actually came across a really good How-To for creating and printing linoleum cuts at home via Coudal’s feed today. The National Gallery of Canada has a little microsite up for their exhibition of Albrecht DÃ¼rer’s prints. (While there, be sure to check out the Gallery of DÃ¼rer’s work: he is near the top, if not THE top, of my favorite artists of all time. His attention to detail in his engravings/prints is just mind-boggling.)
To locate the tutorial, click “Looking Forward” under DÃ¼rer’s name and then select “Linocut Printmaking: How To” to view. Each step is accompanied by a photo and instructions. However, rather than printing using my fist, I generally rub the paper with either the back of a wooden spoon or a baren. Since I’m printing at home, I plan on using the water-based block-print ink rather than oil based. I perfer oil, but have had a hard time finding the variety in color that I need at local stores, and figure the water-based will make clean up easier anyways. (Besides, some people don’t like that oil-based inks are toxic…)
It’s not often that something comes along on TV that really stands out as something Different in terms of storyline, art direction, and narration; and still manages to win awards (nominated for 12 Emmy’s) and critical acclaim in addition to my Official Seal of Approval. So when Tricia of Stickers and Donuts let me know that my favorite show, Pushing Daisies, was canceled, I was shocked, annoyed, and depressed. Honestly, I blame ABC for the way they promoted/handled the show. Last year it had a huge following, but the season was cut short due to the Writer’s Block. As TV.com reported many of the shows not continued following the strike have since been axed.
After wallowing in self-pity for a while, I figured if they can save Scrubs from the chopping block, then why can’t Pushing Daisies still have hope? So here I am to tell you why YOU should watch (if you don’t already), and ways to help save it. (All images are courtesy of PushingDaisies-tv.com and copyright belongs to the show…)
Why to Watch:
- Unique Storyline This isn’t yet another medical/law/CSI related knock-off. Ned discovers as a young boy that he has the power to bring the dead back to life by touching them. Another touch will make them dead forever, but if he doesn’t touch them again within a minute, something else will die instead. A pie-maker by day, Ned uses his powers to help PI, Emerson Cod, solve murders by night…including the murder of his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, who once brought back to life, he just can’t find the heart to kill again. A mix of mystery, romance, and comedy ensues.
- Amazing Cast Two words: Kristin Chenoweth (of Wicked! fame). She steals the show every episode as Ned’s friend/employee at the Pie Hole (and occasionally sings!). Rounding out the main cast are Lee Pace as Ned, Chi McBride as Emerson, and Anna Friel as Chuck. Guest stars have included Paul Reubens and David Arquette just to name two.
- Amazing Art Direction From set design, to lighting, to the over-all cinematography, Pushing Daisies is a feast for the eyes. (Look slightly familiar? The creator was influenced by Amelie among other things.)
- Magical Narration Each episode is narrated by none other than Jim Dale, the Grammy-award-winning narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks…no wonder it sounds so magical!
- Inspired Fashion Tricia posted an awesome article about the vintage inspired fashions on the show. I’ll just leave you with this:
- Quirky Humor The writing on this show is just superb.
Emerson: Your book was a bomb.
Author: Who are you to criticize my life’s work?!
Emerson: Your book was a bomb. It exploded.
Chuck: You didn’t sleep well.
Ned: It was deep and perfect, like a nap in the backseat of a car after a day at the beach.
How You Can Help Save the Show:
- PushingDaisies-tv.com has listed contacts for other networks that might be interested in picking the show up. (It also has an awesome gallery and episode guide…)
- Save Pushing Daisies is a blog devoted to just that.
- Sign the Petition: it’s quick and painless!
When I first got my iPod Touch, I had mixed feelings: guilt over abandoning my (now broken) G2 iPod (that crystalline beauty had an elegance unmatched by any of the click-wheel iPods), feeling frivolous for getting the Touch (even though it was free with my new mactop), and disappointment that it wasn’t the iPhone (I’d just upgraded to a new cell phone right before they were available). But now, 4 months later, I’m in love and can’t imagine life without it.
It’s consantly attached to my hip: mainly because I (finally!) upgraded so that I can install applications on it. So I thought that I would share the applications and bookmarks that are quickly becoming my favorites. I’m sure I’ll be updating this list as more come out, but for now, everything on the list is absolutely free and can be used whether you own an iPhone or iPod Touch.
Both the iPhone and iPod come with a handful of applications already installed that are designed to sync with your computer. These are actually the programs that I use the most, and why (in addition to laziness) I didn’t really feel the need to upgrade until just recently.
- Mail: Top of the list for sure. It’s so handy at work to have my personal accounts automatically checked for new messages, and I love that I don’t have to sign in to each online portal anymore. Although full synchronization requires a MobileMe subscription, I don’t recommend it…it can be annoying to not have your Mail programs fully sync’ed, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I’d want them to be.
- Calendar: This has totally eliminated the need for me to carry around a paper planner…and helped me be just one more step towards going Green.
- Notes: Again helping me thinkÂ Green by eliminating about half the post-its I’d otherwise use…also a great way to jot down quick blog post ideas.
- Maps: !! I just tried this out when I had to report for jury duty this past week. The step-by-step driving directions are a life-saver and my new favorite thing.
- Facebook: I know, right? Facebook, practical? But I’m on it so often, that this helps me cut down on the obsessive-compulsive need to constantly check the newsfeed. The application is so well designed, that it’s effortless to navigate through the various features. And I love that it alerts you when you have unchecked messages or notifications.
- myLite: This handy flashlight app comes in rather useful.
- WordPress: Although not fully featured, I love that I can write full posts on my iPod…including uploading photos. This would be even more helpful if I had the iPhone’s camera feature.
- Pandora: I love that they’ve made Pandora available as an application…and I love that it basically turns my iPod into a radio.
- Urbanspoon: I have a hard time making decisions anyways…this is just a fun way to decide on lunch. And I like that you can lock in each criteria depending on each meal.
- Google Earth: I only get on this to have fun looking places up, but it’s great to have in the palm of your hand.
- Lightsaber: I know, I’m a nerd. But it’s fun to challenge people to duels with! (couldn’t find a direct link, but rather easy to find in the app store)
- BubbleWrap: A great little game for when you have literally just a minute to kill.
- Black and White/Reversi: I’m obsessed with Othello anyways, so this can be dangerous to have when I’m procrastinating. (There are several versions out there to try.)
- MazeFinger: Yet another highly addictive time-killer. I spent half my time at the courthouse breaking my own records while waiting to not get selected for jury duty.
For the Design-Nerd:
- FontShuffle: Just launched by FontShop this week, I’ve already had fun browsing the various fonts. Works kind of like UrbanSpoon, and allows you to custom-test copy in each font. The custom tests can be saved and uploaded to your computer. Handy!
- Shadows Never Sleep: The interactive story I wrote about in August is just as beautiful as I had hoped.
And Finally, Bookmark These:
- GoogleReader: The iPhone version of the site is great and comes in really handy for when I want a quick look at what’s going on out there.
- GoogleChat: Better than SMS/texting because all of my friends already have it and it’s free.
I’m not gunna lie: I felt a little panicky when I got back from vacation and had 850+ unread posts in my feedreader this week. Ack! I ended up marking-all-as-read to a lot of them just to help my sanity. Not that it has any bearing on today’s links because I’ve been gearing up for this one for several weeks!
My favorite season of the year is Finally upon us: Advent! I just love the anticipation of Christmas approaching and the magic that’s in the air. Not to mention, there’s something rather satisfying about opening a door a day and revealing a tastey little piece of chocolate or a surprise (or even just removing a paper chain link). To celebrate, I’m sharing the fun I’ve come across below:
Advent Calendars to Buy:
- What better way to count down than with Typography? Verlag Hermann Schmidt‘s Adfontskalendar from Judith Schalansky lets you do just that! (via Slanted)
- Poppytalk had a whole post about cute Advent Calendars that are around this season. This one especially caught my eye because it would also work nicely with St. Nicholas day coming up this Saturday (Dec. 6):
- Lego has an advent calendar: who knew? (Seen at Barnes and Noble)
Advent Calendars to Make:
- DesignSponge had a really awesome Advent Garland how-to recently if you’re feeling crafty and happen to have extra envelopes lying around…
- Maria of Stickers and Donuts found this handy template on-line if you want to create your own:
Advent Calendars On-line:
- Grain Edit’s Dave guest-blogged about vintage Advent Calendars on Design Sponge a while back: makes for good eye-candy…
- Slanted is posting a “lyrisch-illustrativen Adventskalender” each day by pairing an illustration with a poem if you’re up to reading some German…
The series of posts is mainly to promote their book of the same name:
And finally, another look at a truely inspired ad campaign:
Whew! What an amazing vacation! I had some time to finish nearly all of my personal projects in progress–some of which I’ll be blogging about soon–as well as time for family fun and a stint at jury duty (not all that fun to tell you the truth…). But now I’m back and back to posting!
I was checking our AIGA chapter’s Flickr stats recently and noticed an awesome set on a fellow board member’s Flickr page. Nate’s uploaded an awesome collection of Reichsbanknote that he bought at the Berliner TrÃ¶delmarkt the last time he was in Berlin. (of which I’m totally jealous of…)
You may remember the link to Steven Heller’s post on Germany’s Notgeld that I posted back in a September edition of Wednesday’s Weekly Reader. The colorful, and often wonderfully designed, bills were issued locally by cities during the deep depression that hit Germany between the two World Wars in order to combat the rising inflation.
Anyways, enjoy the collection and a huge thanks to Nate for sharing it!