World's Tiniest Christmas Card

After flirting with an elaborate 5” x 6” Christmas card design that went horribly wrong at makeready, I’ve opted for a simpler design. A design that will, I think, end up being the world’s tiniest Christmas card.

Merry Christmas

Prince Street Raffle Tickets

Every year the Prince Street Home and School holds a Christmas raffle to raise money. And every year for the past 5 years I’ve volunteered to produce the tickets; for the last three years it’s been a good opportunity to take the letterpress out for a ride. This year, partly because I was running out of time, and partly because of design inclination, I decided to go very simple:

Prince Street School Raffle Ticket

If I had to do it all over again, I would have realized that when I flipped the “Phone:” and “Name:” around to face the other way (to let me slip a piece of steel under the perforation) their order was reversed. The perforation really is a perforation, and this was the first time I’d set up a job to print and perforate at the same time.

Perf Rule

The type is the 24 point Bodini Bold I purchased from Atelier Domino in the spring. My favourite part of the job was the opportunity to use the ffl ligature — a ligature is a special piece of type that combines several letters that would otherwise run together unpleasantly, and most often involves the letter f — in the word Raffle (apologies for the obviously-not-cleaned-enough type!):

ffl ligature

The tickets didn’t technically require numbers, but, well, I like using my numbering machine, if only because it’s just a lovely piece of technology: on every impression the number automatically increments, and the “No” is the trigger for this:

Numbering Machine

When you put it all together it looked like this:

Prince Street Raffle Tickets

It took me about an hour to run 300 tickets; it would have gone faster but I stopped the press every 30 tickets to carry a bunch of tickets across the room to set out to dry. I’m rather pleased with the result.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, December 8, 2012 at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market (next to Lori and John’s perogi stand); you can also buy them at the Prince Street School Christmas concerts on December 10 and 12, and then again at the Market on December 15; the draw is at 2:00 p.m. on December 15 at the Market. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5.

The Guardian on Christmas Day

While it is tradition for newspapers to not publish on Christmas Day, this hasn’t always been the case: The Guardian printed on Christmas Day in (at least) 1913 through 1920 and in 1926. Here are the covers from those editions, pulled from and rendered with ImageMagick:

Christmas Day Covers from The Guardian

For those of you wanting the recipe:

  1. Scrape high-resolution JPEG2000 images out of (a non-public beta right now).
  2. Convert to JPEG with GraphicConverter (could have also done this with ImageMagick).
  3. From the command link, use the ImageMagick “montage” command to stitch them together:
montage *.jpg -tile 3x3 -geometry +20+20 ../montage.tiff

Oliver’s Christmas Word Search

Oliver is quite resourceful when it comes to navigating the alleys of the Internet, and his creations are a constant source of surprise and delight. Here’s a word search he made for Christmas (you can download a printable PDF for your hometime enjoyment).

Oliver's Christmas Word Search 2012

Oliver's Christmas Word Search (PDF)38.32 KB

Everything was going so well…

Tonight was my first night in the basement of The Guild taking the new Golding Jobber No. 8 letterpress for a ride, printing something actually useful (or, at least, something actual): it was printing night for the 2012 Christmas cards.

Over the weekend I set the type, a passage from A Christmas Carol. The original plan was to set it in the shape of a Christmas tree, but I couldn’t make that work on the 3”x5” index cards, so I shortened things up and set it as more of a candle or ornament shape that looked like this:

Christmas Card Type

I made a proof with a rubber stamp, noting and fixing some issues (the “shut-up hearts” was set as “shus-up hearts” with a non-printing “u” for example):

Christmas Card Proof

With the job proofed, I set it in the larger Golding Jobber chase and, tonight, headed down to The Guild (I really do need to get “composing” and “printing” under the same roof sometime soon!). The original plan was to print the text surrounded by four lines, with ornaments, printed in red, in each corner.  The vertical lines, however, proved problematic: I couldn’t adjust the job so that they were equidistant from the right and left edges, and I ended up not liking the look of the lines in any case. So I removed the vertical lines and left the horizontal ones, which made for a dramatic improvement:


I then used the awesome power of the Golding Jobber to run off 100 of these in about 10 minutes. I didn’t take very long to get into a good rhythm (and to realize that I need to recreate the old wooden “shelf” that holds work in front of the press). And then I had a pile of 100 of the black:


Next, I removed the black type from the chase and set the red ornaments in, set to appear in the four corners just touching the black horizontal lines. Things were going so well by this point, that something was bound to go wrong. Here’s as far as I got with the red:


With everything aligned almost perfectly, I moved the metal “paper holders” that swing up and down to hold the paper in place on the press a little closer to the job. I was sure that they weren’t too close. I was wrong. The result: on the next run there was a metal-metal-paper sandwich that crushed the right-hand ornaments:


In the end, with no replacement ornaments and the evening drawing to a close and Christmas only 11 days away, I had to settle for a black-and-white job and leave the fancy two-colour job-with-ornaments until another year.

The silver lining in this experience: it was the ornaments, not my nose, fingers, ears or hands, that got crushed. And I learned another layer of awesome respect for the crushing power of the press, something that I’m sure will stand me in good stead.

So you 66 Mail Me Something subscribers, your red-free cards will be in the mail to you on Wednesday; depending on your location they’ll arrive before or after Christmas. Enjoy.