Our Favorite Dog Cards!

by Sabrina Garber

Happy National Puppy Day! To celebrate, Sarah and I rounded up some of the best cards out there that feature our favorite furry friends. Because whether you want to say “happy birthday” or “gee, I’m sorry” sending a card with a pup on it will not disappoint. Below are the ones that we found extra loveable …

Dog Card Round Up | Blog | Smudge Ink
1. Send a little happy in the mail with our balloon-toting and dashing dachshund birthday card!

2. When you mess up, it’s time to bring out those big puppy dog eyes with this adorable bulldog by Lucky Horse Press.

3. Some folks just like to keep it cool on their birthday. Others wish for a tambourine playing corgi. Thank you, Emily McDowell.

4. When you’re in love, it’s no time to hold back. Fortunately, CorgiThings has got your back with their pizza-eating corgi card!

5. We love Boston. We love dogs … especially ones who know the local lingo.

6. Wild Ink Press knows any kid or adult would woof receiving this oh-so-cute card

7. Every dog has its own personality and that is one thing this quirky card by Ohh Deer does not lack! 

8. Mini ones, tall ones, spotted ones, furry ones, and even hot ones, this adorable HelloLucky card celebrates them all!

9. Clearly we have a thing for bulldogs and this irresistible face by our own Erin Ellis is no exception! Don’t we all have some reading we’d like to catch up on?

10. What’s better than 101 dalmatians? One big Dalmatian and another one on the way! Such a sweet card to announce a new baby by Mr. Boddington.

 

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Feel Good Friday

by Sabrina Garber

Victorio Nakata(photo credit: Victorio Nakata via Instagram)

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re looking forward to resting our aching backs from all of the shoveling. What about you? Here are few links that made us chuckle through the snowstorm this week …

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Secret draws, dances, does yoga, and puts us to shame.

Is there such a thing as laundry zen? We weren’t sure until we saw this makeover. But really, everyone needs to channel a little Outkast in their laundry room. 

When stuck indoors with two restless children, make French fries.

Even after an epic face plant, Olly is having the time of his life. The announcer is clearly loving it too (though perhaps not the woman trying to keep up!).

It’s true. Benedict Cumberbatch can’t say it.

So this video of Marion busting into her dad’s BBC interview almost blew up the Internet this week. Because it’s So. Good. And her press conference? Priceless. 

Only one more dog video, promise! Plus, this one has an itty bitty kitten.

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Dear George: How Can I Get Started in Letterpress Printing?

by George Graves

Letterpress Q&A | How Can I Get Started in Letterpress? | Smudge InkI faced this exact dilemma when I decided to explore letterpress in 2010. I was a design student at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts hooked on typography and drooling over the design and printing coming out of letterpress shops around the country. But there wasn’t anyone near me. Or was there?

A nearby school, Montserrat College of Art, offered an Intro to Letterpress course which I was able to take during my final semester at Endicott. After graduating, I was introduced to Mike Dacey of Repeat Press in Somerville, Massachusetts who told me about an opportunity at The Mandate Press in Salt Lake City, Utah. After spending a few years in Utah, I eventually returned east and actually ended up working at Repeat for a bit before finding my way here to Smudge Ink.

In short, just start looking. As with a lot of things in life, you will get back only as much as you put in. I didn’t think there was much of an opportunity around me, but I quickly discovered that there were far more resources than I realized. Many small letterpress shops offer workshops as do a lot of the college book arts programs. If you’re interested in letterpress you probably have some luddite leanings, but this is where Google will come in handy as far as finding the workshops closest to you.

Luckily for you (and me) the letterpress community is extremely welcoming. If you find a local shop, but no local workshops, reach out and ask if you could visit. Your local printer most likely knows someone who could be an educational resource for you. Beyond finding a place to physically learn how to print, social media has become an incredible resource for this community. There are Letterpress forums on Facebook and too many printers on Instagram to name. Find someone near you by surfing the #letterpress tag.

As letterpress continues to grow in popularity, it is easy to romanticize what it would be like to trade in the computer for a printing press. I know, I’ve been there. Before applying for any internship opportunities, make the effort to take a workshop or two. If possible, take a full class. Proving that your desire to learn letterpress is great enough to pursue the craft on your own will separate you from the endless ranks of designers who would “just love to get into letterpress.” 

FORUMS

Letterpress | A public Facebook group described as “a gathering of all things letterpress, printing, typography and book arts related.” Members post everything from current projects to equipment for sale and help each other troubleshoot problems as they come up.

Briar Press | Like the Facebook group, Briar Press is “a community of letterpress printers, book artists, and press enthusiasts” dedicated to “the preservation of letterpress-era equipment and the art of fine printing.” This is a great troubleshooting resource and there is a fair amount of equipment posted for sale here too.

Letterpress Commons | Started by Boxcar Press, Letterpress Commons is a “one stop shop” of sorts for all things letterpress. As it’s community driven, there are some categories that are not as robust as others, but there is a great collection of press manuals, instructional articles, and a press directory.

SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT

Boxcar Press | If you are looking to move beyond workshops, Boxcar is a great place to get all of your supplies. They make custom printing plates and they sell just about everything else that you’ll need. Check out their article on how to build the ideal letterpress shop.

Letterpress Things | When you’re ready to track down your first press, be sure to reach out to John Barrett at Letterpress Things in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Whether or not he has what you’re looking for, he’ll be able to point you in the right direction. His shop is a treasure trove, but be sure to check his schedule as he is only open on select Saturdays.

NA Graphics | Another one stop shop, NA Graphics carries everything from A-Z whether it’s instructional materials, equipment, or printing supplies.

CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS

Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA (April 5-6, 2017)
Big Wheel Press, Easthampton, MA
Maine Media Workshops, Rockport, ME (April 8-9, 2017)
MASS ART, Boston, MA

FAVORITE PRESSES AND PRINTERS

Aesthetic Union 
Baltimore Print Studios 
Ben Jones 
Big Wheel Press 
Boxcar Press 
Brad Vetter 
David Wolske 
Genghis Kern 
Hammer Press 
Hatch Show Print 
Huckleberry Letterpress Co. 
Mama’s Sauce 
Power & Light Press 
Repeat Press 
Studio on Fire 
Workhorse Printmakers 

Do you have any letterpress-related questions for George? Please email him at info[AT]smudgeink.com! 

(photo credit: Studio Nouveau)

Happy National Pack Your Lunch Day!

by April May

A day devoted to lunch? That's my kind of day! You might have already picked up on my love of lunch from my earlier post on kid lunchbox ideas. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've got lots of packed lunch ideas for adults too! 

I started making my own lunches regularly when I got my first full-time job. I couldn't afford to go out to eat every day and resorted to making sandwiches for myself. Honestly, my lunch was pretty boring. That is, until I got a lunch box with compartments! The compartments inspired me to go beyond PB&J. 

I rely pretty heavily on leftovers, and I fill in with fun salads when there aren't any leftovers in sight. For a little inspiration, see below for some of the lunches I've packed this month. 

butternut squash soupPACKED LUNCH IDEA #1. Butternut squash soup with a hunk of baguette, baby carrots, and orange slices.

I use this butternut squash soup recipe from Dinner A Love Story. It's a family favorite and I usually double the recipe so I can bring leftovers for a few days.

chicken and greenbean saladPACKED LUNCH IDEA #2. Greens topped with lettuce, blanched green beans, hard boiled eggs, and ranch dressing with pretzels and mashed sweet potatoes.

I often buy a rotisserie chicken, chop it up on Sunday night, and use the cubes in lunches and dinners during the week, which makes it really easy to throw a simple salad together.  

chicken tikka masala
PACKED LUNCH IDEA #3. Chicken tikka masala with naan, avocado, and orange segments.

I get the Maya Kaimal tikka masala simmer sauce at our local grocery store when I'm in the mood for fast, inexpensive Indian food. I added rotisserie chicken, potatoes, and frozen spinach to the sauce.

salad with chunk tuna and shaved parmesan  PACKED LUNCH IDEA #4. Greens topped with chunk tuna, hardboiled egg, avocado, shaved parmesan, and creamy vinaigrette with orange segments and a mix of almonds and raisins.

When we're out of food or I'm running late, I open a can of tuna. This is just a quick salad I threw together before rushing out the door.

lasagnaPACKED LUNCH IDEA #5. Lasagna, fruit salad, and a mix of almonds and raisins.

I was really happy to find a few pieces of lasagna (and some fruit salad!) leftover after a small party. The easiest lunch ever.

spaghetti carbonaraPACKED LUNCH IDEA #6. Spaghetti carbonara, orange segments, and a mix of almonds and raisins.

Spaghetti carbonara is pretty easy and this recipe makes a lot. An excellent double-duty meal that's easy to reheat in the microwave.

tuna sandwichPACKED LUNCH IDEA #7. Tuna fish sandwich, pink grapefruit, and Wheat Thins.

Last but not least, a classic sandwich. These days I don't make myself many sandwiches, but when there's a loaf of brioche in the house I can't help myself!  

What's your favorite thing to pack for lunch? I'd love to try something new!