Thursday, September 26

Crafty Bastards is this weekend!



I'll be hawking my wares this Sunday, September 29 in booth 115 from 10AM - 5PM. Only $5 to get in if you buy your tickets online by the end of the day Friday (the price doubles at the door). It's the largest handmade craft fair in the Mid-Atlantic. Obviously, you'll be there, right?

I've been finishing some last-minute ideas up in the studio this week to have old favorites and new designs ready for the event. Come see in person some new pieces like these travel-inspired hand-drawn Gocco prints!

Gocco prints drying by Melissa of craftgasm | shopcraftgasm.com

tl;dr:
Union Market, DC
Sunday, 9/29
10-5
Booth 115
BE THERE.

Tuesday, September 10

Analog's grand opening!

I've been busy behind the scenes prepping Analog for its grand opening this past weekend, but I have survived! And I've only minorly injured myself a few times. Success!

Analog at Monroe Street Market in Brookland, Washington, DC
Analog, open for business on its grand opening.
Tons of people came through this weekend, helped by some kind blogs who put out the word for us. Lisa and I are excited to have such enthusiastic neighbors in Brookland.

Fabulous friends who've donated their labor or items from their basements to get us up and running. Dan deserves a special shout-out for living with all my craft stuff in our house for so long and putting up with my ups and downs of this process so nicely. I love that man.
 We had a small gathering before our grand opening to thank our friends and family who've been so supportive of us in this venture. My grandparents and my little cousin Amanda even came from upstate New York to join us (and my grandma brought us cookies, because she's awesome). 

My cousin Amanda and I.
All of this is to say: we are officially open for business! Our hours are Thursday - Saturday, 12-7pm, and Sunday, 12-6pm. Swing by the Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market to check us out and see all the other studios that are beginning to open their doors. 


       


Friday, September 6

Analog's getting some love!

Pretty psyched to have the following press mentions before we even open our doors!

- Elevation DC asked us some questions about our new venture for their article about our grand opening.  (Thanks, Jeanne!)

- Prince of Petworth and Brookland Bridge chatted us up on their blogs this week. Yay!

- The winner, though, is this video taken by the Washington Business Journal, which has my face being all "whaaaa?" in the preview, with the added bonus of us not knowing we'd be interviewed on camera. Hello, painting clothes and messy hair! (I hold Ms. Cooper harmless in this, for the record.)

Friday, August 16

Coming Soon to Brookland!

I've been bursting at the seams to share this news for months now, but needed to wait until the ink was dry. But the wait is over -- I've just returned home from Monroe Street Market, where I signed a lease to open a little studio and shop!
www.shopanalog.com

Analog will be opening (to some degree) later this month!

I can't properly express how excited I am for this new chapter for my business. I'm sharing the space with Lisa of Beltway Vintage, who will be repairing and re-making vintage clothing and accessories. We're psyched to be able to work together to bring reclaimed and recycled products inspired by the past to Washington, DC.

We will have workspace in the back half of our studio, where you'll be able to find me making Gocco prints, gluing envelopes, and otherwise making big messes. I've had so many ideas for products, bit I've been limited by the lack of storage and workspace in my dining area (which hasn't seen us dining in it in well over a year). I'm excited to have a light-filled space to get things done!

We will also have open studio hours for people to visit, as well as several special events and workshops throughout the year.  (I'm thinking mail art socials up the wazoo.)  Plus, there will soon be 26 other studios along the Arts Walk to inspire you whenever you visit.

I can't wait to show you our space as we start making it our own -- we begin painting tomorrow!  We are hoping to be up and running in a few weeks, so watch this space for updates!

Analog at Studio 5, Monroe Street Market, DC



Thursday, August 1

Mail in the News!

illustration by Eleni Kalorkoti

 There was a beautiful piece in the New York Times yesterday by Ramona Ausubel about the marvel of mailing things halfway around the world. Check it out if you're a fellow philepistolist.

Thursday, July 25

Happy 50th Birthday, Mr. ZIP!


One of the great things about working with the folks at the National Postal Museum is that when I say things like, "Oooh, what if we had a letter-writing event for Mr. ZIP's birthday?" they don't look at me like I have two heads. (They also know who Mr. ZIP is, which is pretty great.*) "Do it!" they said, and so I am.

I designed a few pieces of stationery just for the event, and you can come pick some up on Saturday, July 27th, from 11AM to 3PM in the museum's atrium.  There will also be a limited number of vintage first-day covers to use, as well as plenty of free postcards and blank envelopes to send off your missives.

The National Postal Museum is located next door to Union Station at the following address:
2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Hope to see you there on Saturday!  

*Mr. ZIP was presented to the public in 1963 to help increase the use of the newly-introduced ZIP codes and speed the processing of mail.  He's also pretty cute, doncha think?


Wednesday, July 10

Last Grant Avenue Market of the Season!

Beltway Vintage will be right next to me!

Our last Grant Avenue Market for the summer is this Sunday! It'll also be your last chance to buy from me at a market until later this fall, too, so come visit me and my fellow vintage and handmade vendors.

Come visit us on July 14 from 10AM to 3PM on Grant Avenue where it meets Carroll Avenue.  Hope to see you there!

vintage cartoon notepads available at my booth! both photos courtesy of Megan at Grant Avenue Market.


Wednesday, June 5

Grant Avenue Market this Sunday!

Troll stationery! Photo by Megan of Grant Avenue Market





Come find me and 30 of my vintage and handmade-selling friends at this Sunday's Grant Avenue Market!  I'll have some sets of this fabulous troll stationery and other amazing vintage finds, as well as my usual handmade goodness. 

We'll be on Grant Avenue across from the Takoma Park Co-Op on Sunday, June 9 from 10AM to 3PM.  Come find something fabulous to start your summer off right!

Monday, May 20

Artisphere Workshop Wrap-Up

The mail art workshop at Artisphere was a success! There was a roomful of people making awesome mail to send out to friends and loved ones.

I just wanted to share some of the fun pieces that participants were willing to share with my crappy cell phone camera.

mail art by melydia at the craftgasm artisphere workshop

I finally got to meet @melydia, who made these two pieces among others; the envelope was to our mutual friend and fellow mail artist, Mary.


mail art by Mame at the craftgasm artisphere workshop

mail art by Mame at the craftgasm artisphere workshop

A lovely woman named Mame made short work of the above pieces. She built up quite the stationery hoard for herself in just a couple hours!


mail art by Other Melissa at the craftgasm artisphere workshop

Melissa (not me) made these envelopes and cards with very precise lines before our classroom time was up.


mail art by Dan at the craftgasm artisphere workshop

Dan surprised me by being able to attend when I wasn't expecting him. He and Beth of Tigerflight mostly just sat in the back and made fun of each other, so I was not surprised to see that these seem to be addressed as primarily in-jokes with her. I was also not surprised to see a naked form on there.

Many thanks to the lovely folks at Artisphere, especially Katherine, who helped move the event when its first location was overrun by people from the neighboring space, and who were kind and gracious enough to have us there.

Wednesday, May 8

Craftgasm at the Grant Avenue Market

Come visit craftgasm at the Grant Avenue Market in Takoma Park!

Come visit me this Sunday, May 12 at the first Grant Avenue Market of the season! They've focused on finding unique vintage and handmade vendors, so it's sure to be a treat to wander the stalls and check out all the offerings.

I'll be there with my handmade upcycled paper goods, plus vintage National Geographic maps and vintage stationery finds that I've been hoarding for years and am only sharing if you promise to take good care of them for me and write to lovely people with them.

The Grant Avenue Market will be where Grant Avenue meets Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, across from the TPSS food co-op, and just a ten minute walk from the Takoma Metro.  Vendors will be there from 10am to 3pm, so bring a friend and a shopping bag and get ready to buy some amazing stuff!


Tuesday, May 7

Mail Art Workshop at Artisphere this Thursday!

flyer for mail art with craftgasm

Check out the fancy flyer that Artisphere made for the series of upcycled art classes that Beth Baldwin has organized! I'll be hosting a workshop this Thursday to share my love of mail art. Can you come?

Details:
What: A mail art workshop led by me! I'll have examples of upcycled stationery and be glad to answer questions about what will successfully make it through mail sorting machines and how to make envelopes from reclaimed papers.  I'll also provide tons of fun ephemera to use in your project.

Where: Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22209.  It is two blocks from the Rosslyn Metro and its urban location has plenty of bicycle parking. There is also free parking with validation.

When: Thursday, May 9, from 6-8pm. There will also be a cash bar from 5:30 to 8:30pm in case you want to get liquored up before crafting, you lush.

Cost: $12, which includes all crafting materials, (or $11 if you're a student, member of the military, or a senior citizen).  Buy tickets online, or pay cash at the door. If you have your own materials you want to bring, feel free!

I hope to see you there!



Thursday, May 2

sneak peek of prints available soon!


Were you wondering what it would look like if I took a picture of pretty new suitcase Gocco prints with my crappy cell phone camera? 

Wonder no longer!

(This also gives you a good idea of the excellent facilities with which I work: a wood drying rack with paper towels taped to it for this half of the print run and vertical metal file folder holders for the other. Nothing but the best!)

Bust Craftacular this Saturday in Brooklyn!


Are you near New York City? Come visit me this weekend at the Bust Craftacular at DUMBO!  I'll be in Brooklyn on Saturday, directly under the Manhattan Bridge, offering up my handmade prints and stationery for you. There will also be 120+ other vendors of crafty and vintage goods, and workshops offered for doing your own bits of crafty, too.  We'll be there from 11AM to 6PM. Come visit!

(Mention this blog post for a free surprise!)

Wednesday, April 10

Cherry Blossom Bliss

cherry blossom photo by Dan Malouff | beyonddc.com
Photo by Dan | BeyondDC
Cherry Blossom Season (yes, all capitalized) in my mind is one of the best things about living in the District. I coaxed Dan into leaving the office early to hang out along the Tidal Basin this afternoon, where the temperature was a good ten degrees cooler than in the rest of the city. We spread a sheet out and just lounged about, read books, wrote letters, and people-watched.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could just get everyone we liked here at the same time?" I asked.

I thought the weekend would be crowded, but doable. However, a check of the weather forecast shows it is going to rain on Friday. Rain usually takes out a good chunk of remaining cherry blossoms (I'm looking at you, early spring storms of 2011). The forecast adds a bit of urgency to the timeline.

So! Come hang out Wednesday, April 10, between 2pm and sunset under the peak cherry blossom canopy. Bring a blanket, a snack, and something to occupy yourself (drawing, stationery, reading, knitting, or whatever -- I can't be expected to entertain you the whole time), and hang out with other cool DC folk. I've made a map of the approximate location I plan to lay claim to, so just go and yell if you can't find me. Feel free to bring a friend!

Monday, April 1

Craftgasm at the DC Meet Market this weekend


It's the first market of the season, and I'm excited to show off some new journals I've been working on!  Come out to the DC Meet Market to find me and 40 other local vendors enjoying what will hopefully be some true spring weather, according to the forecasters.

See you at the Market!

ETA: Check out the Craftgasm spotlight they put on the blog today!

Thursday, February 28

Using Pinterest Responsibly

AKA: Wheaton's Law of Don't Be a Dick.

Ever click on a pin, just to find the link goes nowhere useful?  It’s super-annoying, right?

That happens when the previous user didn’t click the link to see if actually went anywhere before re-pinning it to his or her own board.  It’s extremely frustrating, especially if you want to learn more about the image or project or product that was pinned. 

If you’re as addicted as I am to Pinterest, you’ve surely added their “Pin It!” widget to your browser.  Then whenever you see something awesome, you can just click the button and save it to your Pinterest boards.  However, make sure you’re not part of the problem!  Be sure the site you’re on is the permanent link to that image before clicking “Pin It!”

Here are a few examples of terrible pinning, and their solutions.



BAD: the homepage of a blog, such as http://lovetaza.com
Any site, especially if it’s a blog, is going to change as new posts are added.  A year from now (and people will be seeing it a year from now and beyond – this pin is over a year and a half old), that image you loved could be buried under a 300 new posts.  That makes it harder for you AND other pinners to find it.

GOOD: the exact post in which the image is included, such as http://lovetaza.com/2011/01/baby-shower
When pinning an image for the first time, take the extra two seconds to click on the title of the post so you get an address similar to the one here, and then pin from there.  This takes you directly to the image you were inspired by, and makes it easy to find in the future. 



Pinning from here is even worse than the homepage of a blog. No one else who is not logged into your profile will ever, ever be able to see where the fuck you were when you pinned the image. No one. And you’ll never be able to find it again, either, so you’re only screwing yourself.  Think this is too obvious to even deserve a mention? I cannot count the number of times I’ve clicked on a Pinterest link only to be directed to my own profile’s dashboard. DO NOT DO IT.

GOOD: Anything else resembling a website that is not your own reading profile. Please, please for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, just click on the title of the post before you pin it. It’s that easy.



BAD: a link that sends you to another pin instead of the image, or any link with “pinterest.com” in it, like http://media-cache3.pinterest.com/upload/234327986831112691_oqTwPe4y_f.jpg
This gives you no information about the image. None. Plus, it won’t load when you try to click on it. How does this even happen? Do people use the “Pin It!” button FROM Pinterest instead of just re-pinning? WhatisthisIdon’teven.

GOOD: Just re-pinning the (properly sourced to the original location) image.



BAD: a link to an image’s static page – like http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oYa1KJOt7Fw/TpbOfXqr0dI/AAAAAAAAVzk/Oy-MTr6leqU/s1600/3.jpg -- or pretty much anything ending in .jpg.
 This is the page you’re taken to if you click on an image in a blog post to make it bigger.  You’ll never be able to find the original source with only that link to guide you, and it’s a huge pain in the ass for everyone else who comes after you.

GOOD: The permalink to the original post.
Of course you want to see the largest image possible if you like it. But click the “back” button before you pin it, because the link of just the image gives you ZERO information to help you find the blog from which it came.  



BAD NOT GREAT: an Etsy shop’s homepage, like http://www.etsy.com/shop/WonderlandRoom
I saw this recently, where an item I like was pinned from a shop called Wonderland Room.  However, Wonderland Room has 33 pages (at the time of this writing) of items in the shop. I appreciate that the original pinner wanted to spread the joy of Wonderland Room’s items for sale, but I am highly unlikely to scroll through 33 pages of items to find the one that was pinned. 

This is the item that was on Pinterest that I liked. If the original pinner had linked here, she would have been able to pin a larger image of the item for sale, and it would take her directly to this item in the future. If the shop sells this listing, Etsy tells you that and suggests other items in the shop that are identical or similar to the sold item.  Plus this way, you’ll be able to click on her shop icon to see her whole line of products in an instant.  I've also found users pin the item from the item's page, but use the description to link to the shop's main page.  I think this is a good solution, too, and am going to be doing it from now on.

/rant.

Here are some ways to be a responsible Pinterest user who gives credit where credit is due.
  • Click the image to visit the link before you re-pin it. Make sure the link goes to a website that actually features the image you clicked on. Then, make sure that image originated on that website. If that website has a link attributing their source of the image, click on that too, and repeat the process. Make sure any future re-pinners of this image will be able to find its original source by editing your pin’s link to direct them to the original location of the image. If the link is no good and does not link properly to an original source for the picture, the easiest thing to do is to simply not re-pin the image. Do not continue to perpetuate the problem.
  • If you love the image for some reason, and want to do the harder thing, go find the image’s original source. Sometimes a Google image search (“green floral wallpaper bathtub vogue,” for this one, based on the item pictured and the watermark) will pull it right up. Then you can click all the instances of it in the search results until you find it on its original website.
  • Often the front page of a blog is the landing site from the Pinterest link. If that website has a search function, use it, and your work might be very simple. If the website doesn’t have a search function, you can Google it by specifying you only want the search engine to look for certain words on one particular website. For instance, if I want to search for the word “mail” in my own blog, I’d Google: “mail site:craftgasmdc.blogspot.com” (without the quotation marks). Replace the page after “site:” with whatever page you’re searching. Then use due diligence to make sure that page is the original source, as specified above.
  • My last resort option if I can’t find the image on the web, but I want to be able to refer back to it for a project, is to “like” the image. Then it’s stored in my profile, but not added to the feed of every person who follows me.
  • If you find one person in particular is consistently lax about sourcing their images, it’s usually less disappointing to stop following their boards rather than getting frustrated each time you can’t find a source. Don’t reward irresponsible behavior!
  • Sometimes you won’t be able to find the proper source for an image. It’s frustrating, but not as frustrating as it must be to be the original owner of the image who is receiving no credit or website traffic for their work.
I can't promise I'll never make a mistake in pinning properly,
but I can promise I'm trying a lot harder than most.

Tuesday, February 26

Nate Silver is my hero

https://www.etsy.com/listing/124814345/nate-silver-gocco-print-math-bitches-5x7
AKA: Every liberal's rallying cry the night of November 6th.


Throughout the fall, my grandmother, a conservative Democrat who watches CNN in the afternoons because she wants to give herself another stroke (I can't think of another plausible reason), kept calling to tell me how worried she was about the election polls. I would respond by refreshing fivethirtyeight.com and telling her what the actual facts were.

Her: Who says that?
Me: Nate Silver. And math.

I called her just after midnight on November 7th.

Me: I told you Nate Silver wouldn't let us down.
Her: You were right. Thank goodness.

I made these Gocco prints on November 8th. They're printed on atlas index pages, the local place names reminding us that actual people in cities and towns matter more than polls on supposed national opinion.

You can buy yours here in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 13

Happy Valentine's Day!




I posted these vintage Valentines a couple of years ago, but I cleaned them up recently and thought you might like them in an easier-to-print format.  They're perfect for cutting out, either along their outlines or in evenly-sized rectangles (with 1/4 inch margins around the edges). Download the printable sheet here!

Printed on white cardstock, they lend themselves well to decor; dress them up with glitter or ribbon, or just leave as-is.  If you make anything with them, take a picture and link to it below so we can all see!

Thursday, February 7

Nana's Handmade Valentine Mart


While I will be at the Postal Museum's Valentine's Day Card Workshop, my wares will be in good company across town at Nana's Handmade Valentine Mart in Mt. Pleasant.  More than a dozen of the DC area's fabulous makers and shakers will be selling their items at this one-day event.  Come get your Valentine's Day shopping all wrapped up by buying from local designers and crafters, including some new Valentine's Day cards from me!

The show is from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, February 9th.  Nana is located at 3068 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW, just a couple blocks from the Columbia Heights Metro. My work will be lonely without me, so it hopes you can swing by to say hi!

Valentine workshop at the National Postal Museum this Saturday!


Have you made your Valentines yet? If not, come make a couple at the National Postal Museum's free Valentine's Day Card Workshop with me on Saturday, February 9th! We'll have tons of supplies: cardstock, pretty papers, cancelled postage, ribbon, rubber stamps, washi tape, and more.  Cards mailed from the museum will also receive a special cancellation (which I will hopefully be able to convince the postal employee to put on all my Valentines that I'm also bringing with me).

The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, right next to Union Station. We'll be there from noon to 4pm. Hope to see you there!

(And if you can't make it to this event on Saturday, take a look at the Handmade Valentine Mart in Mt. Pleasant on the same day!)

Tuesday, January 22

We have winners!


I don't know what those reasons were, but they were the most accurate. I sent 1,141 pieces of mail during 2012, and Michelle was only off by 32.  Congrats, Michelle!  I've got your address and will be sending a little packet of stationery items your way shortly.

 
Plus! as promised, I entered the number of entries into Random.org and it awarded the second packet of stationery stuff to Alegna101. I'll mail it out as soon as I get her address from her.

Thanks for playing, and especially for reading the blog!

Monday, January 14

2012 in mail, and a giveaway!

[crappy cell phone picture of some sent mail]
2012 was a record year for me in mail-sending terms. I know this because my OCD record-keeping lets me look back on my spreadsheet and see what I sent (and how much I spent on postage).

I also have piles and piles of excess stationery, and Dan and I are trying to start the new year off with less stuff and more space.

Let's play a game!

Guess how many pieces of mail I sent from January 1 to December 31 of 2012. Place your comment by January 21st at 12:01 AM Eastern time, and I'll give away two packets of assorted stationery -- lettersets, notecards, postcards, and the like from various brands and crafters -- to one person whose guess is the closest numerically (above or below the actual number is fine), and to one person whose name is drawn randomly. Be sure your comment somehow includes a way to contact you so I can get your address, if I don't already have it.

P.S. I'll give you a hint: I finished my first year of participating in MailArt365 in 2012.