Hellooooooo, San Francisco!

San Franciscans, we need your help! Our Chicago cards are done, and Erin is working away at the drawings for our new Alameda set, but when she finishes those, we’ve got plans to move across the Bay and tackle some of our favorite San Francisco landmarks.

We’ve narrowed our choices down to a short(ish) list of 10 places around San Francisco, and we need your help to choose the best five. Whenever we put together a set of cards, we really work to stay away from the touristy locations and focus on the places that are nostalgic for natives and locals – you know, the ones that give you that warm fuzzy feeling when you think about your beloved city.

I lived in SF for 7 years, and Erin is still there, so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re looking for, but we want some more opinions. So, we’re looking for input from people who live or have ever lived in the Bay Area – check out the landmarks below and tell us what you think. Which are the warmest and fuzziest for you? Are there any that are decidedly NOT warm and fuzzy? And if we’ve forgotten somewhere that can’t be missed, tell us that too!

Leave a comment telling us what you think, and be sure to include which part of the Bay Area you live/lived in so we know you’re a local! Once the San Francisco cards are drawn and printed, we’ll randomly pick three people from the commenters below and send them a few cards in the mail as a thank-you. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Keep in mind, these are not the photos/angles/perspectives we’ll be using for the cards – just some preliminary research, courtesy of flickr and wikipedia!

The San Francisco Short List

SF conservatory
Conservatory
DSC03431
Palace of Fine Arts
Copper Building
Copper Building
(Columbus & Jackson)
Port of San Francisco
Ferry Building Sign
the famous st. francis hotel, home to many high-priced escorts both gay and straight
St. Francis Hotel
City Hall SF
City Hall
De Young Museum Tower
De Young Museum
City Lights - San Francisco
City Lights Books
legion of honor
Legion of Honor
San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge "Visitor's Center"
Golden Gate Bridge

Thoughts? Ideas? Loves? Hates? Leave a comment and let us know what you think. And when the cards are done, we’ll send some SF letterpress goodies to three randomly-picked commenters as a thank-you!

Coffee and Crafters and Houses, Oh My!

Looking for some fun holiday shopping this Saturday? Come out to the Low-Cal Artisan Fare at the Fire Escape Coffee Shop in Ben Avon from 10am-4pm. We’ll be peddling our wares and drinking lots of tasty coffee, along with Garbella, Lexi & Gem and a bunch of other great local artists.

low cal artisane fare

If you haven’t been to The Fire Escape, you’re in for a treat – good food, yummy coffee, and a cozy atmosphere make it a great place to spend a chilly Saturday afternoon. While you’re there, you can pick up your tickets for the Ben Avon Holiday House Tour, going on all day in the surrounding neighborhood. The houses of Ben Avon should be beautiful all decorated for the holidays – I’ve already got my tickets, and I’m heading to the Candlelight Tour as soon as the Low-Cal Fare is over. Hope to see you there!

Sweet Interview/Review on Modern Typography

Want to win some letterpress goodies? Melanie over at the Modern Typography blog is giving away a box of our Natalie’s Birds Flat Cards! I sent Melanie a few samples, and she was kind enough to give them a glowing review – and she sent me some fun questions to answer as well. Just head over to her blog to read her feature on us, and to find out how to enter the giveaway. Be sure to check out the rest of her blog while you’re there – she’s done features on some great other Etsy sellers too!

Say Hello to Sunbonnet Sue

I’ve been meaning to write a post about these little ladies for months now, but I’ve been so busy with all the new cards and prints I’m working on, I haven’t had a moment free to write! Finally, though, I’d like to introduce you to Miss Sunbonnet Sue, the star of our newest line of cards. Isn’t she sweet?

The inspiration for these cards came from my mom, who is an avid quilter, and the gorgeous redwork embroidery quilt that she’s working on right now. I didn’t know much about redwork before she started this quilt, but as soon as I saw what she was working on, I fell in love with the simple line drawings embroidered in red thread on a white background. Thinking that embroidery patterns would translate well into letterpress, I started looking through pattern books and vintage needlework catalogs. There are thousands of great patterns out there, but I kept coming back to Sunbonnet Sue, in her sweet little dress and adorably large hat.

Sunbonnet Sue is most widely associated with vintage quilts – there are hundreds of quilt and embroidery patters depicting Sue doing everything from picking flowers to reading a book to conspiring with her straw-hatted cohort Overall Sam (or Bill or Andy, depending on the pattern). After doing some more research, though, I discovered that all of these patterns are actually based on a set of much older drawings, taken from The Sunbonnet Babies Primer, published in 1902. Illustrated by Bertha Corbett, this beginning readers book follows the escapades of Molly and May, two little bonnet-headed girls who wouldn’t be named Sue for decades to come.

After finding a few photos of the book online, I knew that those original drawings were exactly what I wanted for my line of redwork cards. The Primer has been out of print for ages, but through the fabulous inter-library loan system at our local library, I was able to request a copy of it from a library in North Dakota. I couldn’t believe that they were willing to loan out a 100+ year old book, but a week later, I had it in my hands. It was amazing. As I (very carefully) turned the delicate pages, I just kept coming across more and more drawings that I wanted to print. Molly watering the garden. May feeding her chickens. The girls and their friends (the Sunbonnet Babies) sitting on a wall, all lined up with their fishing rods in hand. I loved them all!

So, I am thrilled to introduce the first five in what will eventually be a much larger line of Sunbonnet Sue cards and prints. They’re a great gift for anyone who loves quilting or needlework, but they’re just so sweet, I don’t see how anyone could not fall in love with these girls. I certainly have.

Introducing Natalie’s Menagerie!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a brand new line: Natalie’s Menagerie, featuring original illustrations by artist Natalie Sklobovskaya. Natalie has created a gorgeous set of birds, some of which you can find on our first set of flat notecards, pictured below. We’ll be printing another notecard set in the next few weeks, and we’ve got a few prints up our sleeves as well, so stay tuned!

peacock letterpress flat card

crane letterpress flat card

toucan letterpress flat card

owl letterpress flat card

finch letterpress flat card

Cardamom Pear Pie

I love pie. Since going gluten-free, pie has been my savior on more than one occasion. I found this fabulous gluten-free pie crust recipe (so good that gluten-eaters can’t tell the difference!), and now I can whip up all kinds of tasty GF desserts (not to mention pub pies, empanadas, and all sort of other things that call for a doughy crust). I’m always experimenting with new pie fillings, and of course, I love to find ways to incorporate a little cardamom whenever possible, so I’ve been working on this Cardamom Pear Pie recipe. It’s taken a few tries to get it right (the first one was way too cardamom-y!), but I think I’ve got it down now.

The filling is loosely based on the Apple Pie recipe from the Joy of Cooking, but I’ve made a lot of changes and additions. I make a GF crust from scratch, but it’ll work just as well with a gluten-filled crust, or any kind of store-bought crust. It’s really all about the filling!

Cardamom Pear Pie:

1 9-inch pie crust (from scratch or store-bought, gluten-free or gluten-filled)

2 pears (I use d’anjou, but any kind will work)
1 apple (something sweet – honeycrisp, gala and ambrosia are my favorites)
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Thinly slice the apple and pears, then toss in a big bowl with the rest of the ingredients and let them sit while you make the pie crust (or about 15 minutes if you’re using a prepared crust). When the pie crust is ready, toss the filling again, and then layer the fruit in the crust, making sure to get a nice even mix of apples and pears. If there’s any syrupy juice left in the bottom of the bowl, drizzle it over the pie once all the fruit is in.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 45-55 minutes, until the fruit is soft and the juice around it is bubbly. If you’re using a GF crust, you may want to cover the pie with foil once the crust starts to brown (GF crusts often brown a lot faster than non-GF – I usually cover mine after about 15 minutes). Also, I like single-crust pies, so the fruit on top gets a little browned and crispy – if you don’t like that, it works just as well with another crust on top!

Let the pie sit for 10-15 minutes after it comes out of the oven, so the juices can gel a little bit before you slice it. Also so you don’t burn your tongue on the hot filling. Trust me. I speak from experience.

This pie is super-tasty chilled or warm, by itself or with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I don’t know how long it keeps, because in our house, it rarely lasts more than 2 days. Enjoy!

Help Wanted: Inquire Within

This is only sort of somewhat related to Cardamom Press news, but since I’ve got firsthand experience with it, and would encourage pretty much anyone to consider it, I’m posting it here. We’ll return to your regularly scheduled Cardamom updates in a few days!

Sapling Press is looking for an Intern!

I’ve been working with Lisa at Sapling Press for more than a year now, and I have to say, it’s been one of the greatest, most educational, and most fun experiences I’ve had in years. A little over a year ago, I knew nothing about letterpress, and in the last 14 months, Lisa has taught me more than I ever imagined possible – enough that I now have a thriving business of my own!

Sapling Press is doing a booming business too – especially since Lisa launched her new Dear Blank card line last month – and on top of that, the National Stationery Show is swiftly approaching. With that comes a crazy month of prep, followed by a summer full of designing, printing and filling new orders. We’re looking for someone to help with all that, starting ASAP. Here’s the skinny:

We’re looking for someone with:

  • a desire to learn letterpress
  • a good work ethic
  • a perfectionistic streak
  • organizational superpowers
  • a sense of humor
  • 2-4 days/week to spend in the studio (hours are totally flexible)

Some things you might end up doing:

  • printing
  • cutting/scoring/folding/die-cutting/playing with paper
  • packaging/shipping orders
  • organizing the studio
  • taking inventory
  • ordering materials
  • wanting to devote your life to letterpress printing
  • miscellaneous odds and ends

What you’ll get out of the deal:

  • training in letterpress printing
  • a first-hand look at running a creative business
  • access to letterpress studio and equipment
  • dozens of new twitter friends
  • lots and lots of candy

We’re hoping to find someone by June 1st (preferably starting ASAP!), but for the right person, we’re totally flexible. If you’re interested, if you’ve got questions, or if you’d like more insider info, just drop me an email – let me know who you are, why you’re interested in the internship, and what your favorite candy is (all vital bits of information when working at Sapling Press). We can’t wait to hear from you!

Note: Some of Lisa’s previous interns have gotten college credit for their work at Sapling Press – it totally depends on what you can negotiate with your particular department, but it’s definitely something that Lisa is open to!

A little bit of color inspiration

Just some lovely colors that I’ve been saving up as inspiration for our next series of cards. Can you tell I’m hooked on the antique-y milk paint color palettes?

We Have a Winner!

It took me a few minutes to figure out how the random number thingie worked (and a few more minutes of being totally distracted by all the other things it does – how cool is it that you can tell it to generate a random jazz scale?), but I’ve got it figured out now, and we have a winner!

first edition seattle letterpress notecards

This lovely set of First Edition Space Needle notecards goes to the lovely ClumberKim, woman of many talents, much wisdom, and even more stationery. Glad we could add to your collection, Kim!

Thanks to everyone who entered and spread the word about our first giveaway, and don’t be sad if you didn’t win – we never did get the contest up on the Cityhopper facebook page, so we’ve still got one box of cards left! Erin’s busy working on the drawings for our upcoming Chicago set, but when she gets her contest up and running, I’ll be sure to post something here and let you know. Thanks for playing!

Helloooooo, Seattle!

Update: Hello, Cityhopper facebook friends! The contest over here ended yesterday, but we’ve got one more box of cards to give away. Head back over to the comment thread on facebook, and tell us what city you’d like to see next. We’ll randomly pick a winner from the comments next Thursday, March 31st. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

space needle letterpress cardGoooooood morning, Seattle! We are thrilled to announce our new line of Seattle Landmarks Letterpress Note Cards, hot off the presses. We’ve got a set of 5 gorgeous drawings of Seattle architecture done especially for us by artist Erin Auses of Cityhopper Studios (go check out her Facebook page – she’s got even more great drawings there!) These 5 drawings are available as single cards and in boxed sets, and we’re printing each design in a different color, as well as in a stunning all-black version. We’re hoping to be selling the cards in stores around Seattle soon, but in the meantime you can find them all in our online shop.

seattle letterpress notecardTo celebrate our first venture outside of Pittsburgh, we’re also having our very first giveaway contest! We’ve got two boxes of First Edition Space Needle cards, which are not for sale anywhere – the only way to get them is by winning this giveaway. We printed these lovely cards in copper and pale blue from an early drawing that Erin did of the Space Needle, when we were doing our first test prints and considering whether to embark on this crazy letterpress adventure together. We printed about two dozen of them, and I only have 10 left – and I want to give them to you, our lovely readers!

So here’s the deal:

I’m giving away one box of 5 cards here, and Erin is giving away the other box on the Cityhopper Studios facebook page, so head over there and enter to win those too! (Note: The Cityhopper giveaway isn’t posted yet, but it will be soon – check back later today!) There are three ways to enter here – feel free to do all three for extra entries!

  1. Visit our Etsy shop, then come back here and leave a comment telling us what your favorite item is.
  2. If you’re from Seattle, leave a comment with the name of your favorite local stationery/gift/museum shop (yes, we’re using you for market research). If you’re not from Seattle, tell us what city you’d like us to come to next!
  3. Tweet a link to this giveaway with the hashtag #seattlecards, and then leave a comment here telling us you did. (If you want, you can just retweet this: I just entered the giveaway @CardamomPress. You should enter too! http://bit.ly/hSBFbF #seattlecards )

The contest ends next Wednesday, March 23rd, at 11:59pm EST, and we’ll randomly choose and announce the winner sometime Thursday afternoon. Good luck, and thanks for being a part of our very first contest – we can’t wait to read your comments!