Friday, June 29, 2007

Pittsburgh's Secret Jewelery Abode

There is a special building in downtown Pittsburgh called the Clark Building. Instead of being filled with accountant's or lawyer's or optometrist offices, the first four floors are occupied by nothing but jewelery stores. I've never been a woman who craved jewelery, but there is something about that building that makes me happy every time I go there, and this is despite the fluorescent lighting and drab carpeting. I really like the idea of having all of one type of store in one place. We were able to peruse the whole range of quality and price in just an hour, too short to get bored or sick of looking at the same thing.

Both my ring and my fiance's came from stores on the third floor. I wore mine secretly on the bus ride home after picking it up alone. I've never worn a ring, but I found mine to be instantly comfortable. We are each holding one another's rings until our ceremony to help me resist the temptation to wear mine prematurely again and again.

There is also one store in the Clark Building that sells amazing Tacori hair accessories. Unfortunately, they only sell ones made of silver. I can't justify spending $325 on something that won't match my dress.

Still, I want one!


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posted by Alison 6/29/2007 08:47:00 PM : (0) comments : splink


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Now I Know Why Letterpressing Is So Expensive

I never imagined that it would take so long to letterpress our invitations. Last week, I spent two days in a letterpress studio setting type for our invitation wording and directions. If you've never set type before, just image setting tiny metal dominoes.

I was able to use the studio for free as a favor from our friend Nick. It is located in a garage in Squirrel Hill with no running water or toilet facilities. After my hands got too dirty from the type I couldn't rub my eyes. Happily, it rained later that afternoon and I was able to hold my hands out in the downpour to clean them off. The next day I brought a bottle of water and a towel.

A few days later Nick helped me to get the type ready for printing. We spent from 8:00 pm until 4:00 am just setting up the press and adding pieces of onion skin paper so that the type would hit just right. We spent six hours the following day printing and resetting for the next page. Once we finished adjusting the press it took less than an hour for the whole 200+ print run. The same would have taken four hours with a silk screen and would have suffered a much higher error rate.

The press itself is from (circa) 1895. I runs on manual power and moves smoothly despite its age. First, the roller grabs ink from a plate and rubs it on the type. Next, the type pivots forward and kisses the card on the platform. While the roller grabs more ink a human (Nick, in this case) takes out the printed card, lays it out to dry, and then places the next card. All this happens while someone (me or a trained monkey) provides the power by spinning the wheel.

By the time we finished our two sets of cards my arms were ringing and I was sick of looking at my invitations. I gave up on letterpressing rehearsal dinner cards and returned home. I am tired of invitation work, but they still must be assembled and mailed. I would kill for a crafty post office fairy right now.

It's standing room only in the garage:


An iron frame for holding type and spacers called 'furniture' in the type industry:


Some of the type I set:


Paint and shelves of wooden type:


Drying prints:

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posted by Alison 6/28/2007 12:52:00 AM : (0) comments : splink


Friday, June 15, 2007

Hanging Out at PNC Park

Baseball is much better live. I've never been a fan of sports television, but I can force myself to watch basketball or football without getting antsy. That has never been true for baseball. The only time I ever watched it on television was once in 1989 after I couldn't find anything else to watch. After 5 minutes of boredom an earthquake shook Candlestick park. What are the odds?

Still, live baseball games are fun. I have the attention span of a monkey, so all of the gimmicks and bright colors work on me. I love the pierogi race, the 7th inning stretch and the mascots. Plus, I love nachos. Nachos make everything great.

Also, it is a great excuse to hang out with friends. We switched seats frequently until one of the stadium attendants scolded us for sitting in the aisles. She claimed that were inconveniencing people behind us, but our group took up all of the back three rows. A friend gave her a $10 bill and she left us alone after that. Hooray for ballpark bribery!

Amy and me with chocolate marshmallows on a stick:
Marshmallow! On a stick!

Godzilla won for the 7th inning stretch:


Our Maid of Awesomeness and the Best Man: Our Maid of Awesomeness and the Best Man

Glorious downtown Pittsburgh as captured by my malfunctioning camera:
Our fair city

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posted by Alison 6/15/2007 04:35:00 PM : (0) comments : splink


Thursday, June 14, 2007

I am the Human Error in Screen Printing

My end is almost in sight! The screen printing phase of our invitations is nearing completion. Actually, it would be complete if we hadn't bungled so many copies of the cover illustrations, or rather, if I hadn't ruined so many copies. The best man and maid of awesomeness cranked out perfect invitation after perfect invitation while I smudged and stained proofs that had been perfect up until that last layer of ink. Out of the print run of 200 we are only left with 120 copies of acceptable quality. I'll probably drag my sorry behind back to the studio some time in the next few weeks, but I need some time off from screwing up my own wedding invitations. On the bright side, the other two pages have enough good proofs so that I am not embarrassed to send them out into the world.

I know that most people will toss the invitation ten minutes after it arrives, but even that can't settle the perfectionist Miss Hyde within. No more Martha Stewart for me for a few days. It unsettles the humors.

A look at our current incarnation, the cover, map and invitation wording pages:
screen printed invitations

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posted by Alison 6/14/2007 10:21:00 PM : (0) comments : splink


Monday, June 11, 2007

My Favorite Fonts

To follow up on my last post, here are a few of my favorite fonts from the 9800 on this website:

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posted by Alison 6/11/2007 10:36:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Stop the Graphic Design Insanity

I created a wedding logo this week. This is a sure sign that I have too much time on my hands, but I was on a plane and I had nothing better to do. Clark insists that it looks like a company logo, but this will be what we are going with until he offers a substitute.

There should be a rule about this sort of criticism: no complaints without a viable alternative. I don't have the time or brain cells to fix everything on my own. However, in this case, after listening to him I looked at all 9800 fonts at this site, but I decided that I liked the current incarnation. Luckily, I am a font geek and enjoy spending hours looking at typefaces. I did find a few good selections to add to my collection.

Anyhow, I printed out 600 logo stickers to seal our invitations and candy buffet bags at the reception.


I'm tempted to silk screen it onto all of our place mats, but I think the bridal party would murder me in my sleep if they have to spend another Tuesday in the studio.

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posted by Alison 6/11/2007 07:32:00 PM : (0) comments : splink


Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Lucky Veil from a Happy Marriage

Ho boy! My future mother in law sure is a nice lady. Because she has three boys and Clark will be the first son to marry, I am the lucky heir to some of the to M. family wedding keepsakes. Namely, I'll be wearing her wedding veil. My mom didn't have a one of her own. She borrowed her sister's wedding dress and instead of a veil she wore a big southern-belle wicker hat. Yeah, not my taste, really.

So, I dodged a bullet, an ugly hat-shaped bullet. I'm especially excited to have a veil from a happy, long-lasting marriage. It was cathedral length and attached to a lace cap. I say 'was', because I chopped it to bits this morning. I reduced it to ankle length, removed the cap, converted it to a double layer veil, and rounded the corners even more. My mom will be adding trim to the edges with her new serger.

I did all of this with permission of course. At my FMIL's wedding her husband kept stepping on it, almost yanking it off of her head. Most of my their wedding pictures have her cap askew. Amazingly, it is still intact; there isn't one snag or tear. Even so, I felt evil hacking it up.

Measuring and rounding the corners:


Here are my results:
My veil!
Sadly, I only have two photograph faces: eyes-closed or crazy.

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posted by Alison 6/10/2007 10:53:00 PM : (0) comments : splink



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