When it comes to Mr. New Media, there is no place for subtlely laid hints at what I'd like for birthdays or Christmases or anniversaries or Leif Erikson day. Had I earlier adopted the beat-him-over-the-head-with-my-short-list-of-needs-complete-with-potential-sources-and-pricepoints approach, I could have avoided receiving the bubble wrap (that's right, just bubble wrap gussied up with some giftwrap), or extracted a decent marriage proposal out of him. So, no dog-eared catalogs or "Gee, honey, I could sure get more meat into this stew if I had the Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 11-3/4-Inch Skillet with Iron Handle in Caribbean" at our house. Also, no leaving it up to him to actually remember those important dates. Around here it's the shock and awe, early and often approach. I start hitting him three to four months ahead of time, and don't let up until an appropriately sized box is shipped to my door.

Last year, I announced that if he didn't come through with a Gocco, things would not be very pleasant for him around here. And what happened? On my birthday, I opened a primly wrapped Gocco. See? Tell him precisely what to get, and ye shall receive. 

This year was a bit trickier. I've had letterpress on the brain lately. My design work has always been for offset/web presses. And, yes, there is an art to it, and the result is rather nice sometimes. It certainly hits the instant gratification button. But when was the last time you kept a magazine or newspaper because you really liked the way it played on your fingers, how worthy it felt? They're just kind of disposable, right? When you get used to designing for newspaper and magazine, you start adopting a bit of a disposable mindset, too. If this concept doesn't hit, well, it'll only be for this issue. But here, right now, that's not what I'm into. Letterpress has bite. It says "Here is an idea worth pounding into paper, worth stamping out the hot metal (or, you know, polymer plates) for." 

Of course, a nice old-school press, even a more compact one, is still going to be rather large and heavy and pricey and I don't actually know how to operate one. Yet. And with four fumbling little kid hands and a backlog of projects to work on, who has the time to pick up new crafts? So, yeah, there was a little bit of wishy-washyness when it came time to direct Mr. New Media's gift-giving. I think I muttered something like "Gee, Honey, I sure am intrigued by the idea of letterpress, especially those old-school ones," and then directed him to my Major E-tailer Wishlist. But that Mr. New Media is pretty crafty himself, and a few weeks before my birthday, a very hefty, clangy little box arrived. The mailman was compelled to conjecture that it must be gold.


Five pounds of metal type. Hundreds of little characters in various typefaces and sizes. Just thinking about them gets me giddy, but now that they've been neatly (some might say anal-retentively) alphabetized in my newly acquired letterpress drawer along with bits and pieces of sewing gear and trinkets and things The Boy picks out of the dirt… I don't know. It feels like everything's coming together? Sure. It's a nice mesh of things. Fun and pretty and not entirely practical, but serving a little bit of purpose nonetheless. Perfect. 

Tags: letterpress


That honestly looks like SO

That honestly looks like SO MUCH FUN!! Alas, I too am staring (quite literally) at a backlog of projects that need to be finished in a relatively SHORT period of time, and find that I just can't pick up something new. Its great that Mr. NM picked up on your need for heavy metal characters and is supporting you in that!! Can't wait to see product!

Sadly, no ideas for product

Sadly, no ideas for product yet. Just sitting there being very heavy, possibly leaden, eye candy.

I'm quite impressed with the

I'm quite impressed with the gift. Although in the Venn Diagram that is your lives, design and journalism do join hands in those letters.

I love reading backwards. Remember to mind your "p"s and "q"s.

Mr. New Media kindly pointed

Mr. New Media kindly pointed out that I should have actually placed the letters "G-M-O." Lower case "b"s and "d"s were also a bit of a mind freak.