Sunday, 25 January 2009

Random Retro Photo: 1977


Although I can only see one candle, I'm pretty sure this was my sister's second birthday (she's the showy little character on the right).

I wish Mum had kept our dresses – I'd make Berry wear them in a heartbeat. And I covet the crockery cabinet behind us with the bubble glass... I could decorate a whole room around that.

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Friday, 23 January 2009

Job description


"Mommy, who that is?"

"That's Barack Obama. He's our president now."

"What president means?"

"It means he's going to look after our country and try to look after us and help our country to do good things."

"Oh. Is he our daddy?"

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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Ready


I came to America in July of 2001, wondering if I'd ever be allowed to stay. I had to get through all kinds of expensive, stressful bureaucratic hoops to get a work visa, and later a fiancee visa, and later still my green card.

But ever since I became eligible for US citizenship a couple of years ago, I've been in a mental holding pattern about it. I couldn't picture myself pledging allegiance; I couldn't take the leap. But today I decided – I'm doing this.

Now, at last, it feels like time. Things have changed, and this country feels like mine.


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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Random Retro Photo: 2006


Berry lost a tiny pink sock in Notre Dame early one October morning. I feel it is her most culturally-interesting sock-loss so far.

Also, I'm pretty sure I learned the French for "Oh! Your baby has lost her sock!" though sheer repetition.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Letterpress: Red Berries


At last! The red berry letterpress cards I started printing way back in November are finished!

I based the design on this plant by our front courtyard...


...made some sketches one sunny afternoon...


...and after a lot of refining and redrawing in Illustrator, I sent the design away to have plates made.


I printed the red in early November, but I didn't get around to printing the green until mid-December, and I didn't get around to folding and photographing the cards until... well, now.


I mixed the colours myself and printed on 100% cotton Lettra stock on my Chandler & Price 8x12 Old Style. The registration was tricky at first and I had a bit of a struggle with getting the correct roller height (more tape on the rails – no, less – no, not that much less!)

In the end, everything came up roses.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Oh, bother.


It was bad enough that I smashed three gauge pins on the very first turn of the flywheel. It was worse that I was turning the wheel by hand, and should have felt the resistance... but didn't. It was much, much worse when I opened what I thought was a box of gauge pins and found only replacement tongues. No pins. No pins for me until some new ones can be shipped down from Colorado. That, of course, means no printing for me until next week. My business cards and packaging inserts will have to wait a little longer.

Silver linings to this cloud:
1) at least I discovered I've run out of pins now, and not in the middle of an important print run
2) instead of these spring tongue pins, I'll be getting the very snazzy Kort Adjustable Quad Guides... the Rolls Royce of gauge pins.

There will be No More Smashing.

(You're saying to yourself, is the time stamp on this post correct? Why would she be awake at 3.50am? Indeed, Kickbaby... why are we awake at 3.50am? And why were we awake at 2.50, 1.50, 12.50...)

Monday, 12 January 2009

Whoa Ione


Ione Skye (the sweet girl from Say Anything) just married Australian musician Ben Lee and made my head explode – in a vastly-different- parts-of-my-world / I didn't even know they were dating / which one of them is Hindu? kind of way.

You may recall my affection for Ione. She is still lovely.

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Saturday, 10 January 2009

Dancing to Dylan


Do normal three-year-olds think Bob Dylan is prime dance music?

No, they do not.

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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Not secret anymore


Now that the holiday season is over it's safe to show you these... I printed this set of letterpress stationery as part of my mother-in-law's Hanukkah gift.


And on the same day, I made these as a Christmas present for my brother-in-law, Marc (yes, that's my marvellous Chandler & Price posing in the background).


The cards are printed on thick, 100% cotton stock and they feel wonderful. Marc is hands-down the most serious letter-writer I know (and I'm including myself in that assessment!) so really, only the best will do.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Poor little malcontent


Kickbaby wants to stand up so badly, and he's so mad that he can't. Every time I try to sit him down on the floor he does vigorous straight-legs so that he remains standing while I hold him. He makes a few very satisfied "Hah" noises while he surveys the world from his rightful position, and then protests long and loud when his little knees buckle him to the floor.

He's pulling himself up on everything (but not managing to get fully upright yet) and banging his head on everything else. I mean everything else. We would buy him one of those baby-protector helmets, but then he'd have no friends. And the helmet wouldn't protect his nose and mouth and chin, which he also bangs against hard surfaces with great abandon.

Nothing stops him, either. If he sees a toy that he wants and the cross-bar of a table (for example) is in the way, he'll repeatedly bump his head into the cross-bar while trying to reach the toy. Crawl forward, bump, cry, sit back, see toy, crawl forward, bump, cry, sit back, see toy, crawl forward, bump... and in the end I have to remove him. His granddad says this is a positive – a "promising sign for his level of tenacity". I, on the other hand, think it foreshadows a loooong 18 years ahead until he "safely" reaches adulthood. And then, Uncle Aaron has colourfully illustrated for us how "safe" adulthood can be. Ahem.

Excuse me. I have to go rescue him again.

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Sunday, 4 January 2009

There went Santa Claus


Berry was very concerned, in the days leading up to Christmas, that Santa might "come into my house and say HO HO HO at me". This would not have been acceptable.

What was acceptable was for Santa to come in very quietly and half-eat two cookies, and not wake Berry up, and leave her the Hello Kitty necklace that she had requested in not one but two very detailed letters dictated to mummy.

Santa came through, and all's well with the world.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Ho ho ho


One year, we got school supplies for Christmas.

I was nine years old, and lest anyone picture the wrong kind of "school supplies", I'm not talking cute Snoopy lunchbox, fun Smurf pencil case, pink Barbie ruler, glitter-covered notebooks. I'm talking a wooden-ruler-cheap-Kmart-lunchbox-plain-Tudor-exercise-book kind of misery.


There just aren't enough disclaimers for presents like that, but I'll give them anyway. We'd just arrived home in the nick of time for Christmas, after a two-thousand-mile road trip from Brisbane to South Australia where Dad was – seriously – picking up a vintage car. (Now that's the kind of trip you take your wife and four kids along for. At the height of summer, pulling a trailer, in a non-airconditioned car meant to seat only five.)


So where was I ... oh right. Mum didn't really have much time to think up good presents – or perhaps to think at all. Maybe she had the school supplies already in the corner and thought if she wrapped them in festive paper, the kids might not know the difference. Uh... wrong. That was not a fabulous Christmas.


I say all this not to embarrass my mum (sorry Ma), who did arrange excellent Christmases on other years, but to illustrate the contrast between my childhood Christmas expectations and those rapidly forming for Berry and Kickbaby (yeah, SEE PICTURES). This is the Christmas version of "when I was your age I walked twenty miles to school in a blizzard every single day".

Trust me, I plan to milk it for all it's worth.