Work-life balance

I admit it: I don’t always have the healthiest work/life balance. I love working from home, but find it more & more difficult to strike a balance between home-life and work-life. Now that I work mostly on a laptop, I tend to do my design work anywhere in the house: the couch, the dining room table, outside on our porch. I love the flexibility, but often leave behind a cluttered trail of sketches, snacks, files, scanner, camera…

Each room of our house has at some point been “the studio” and I don’t work in the actual studio space nearly enough. In fact, I seem to work in any space except for the room dedicated to work. Here’s a quick snapshot of “the office” today: the dining room.

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I do always print in the studio (the press is not quite as mobile!), but also really love working in the dining room. The large table means there’s just more room to spread out. But I have made two promises to myself for the year:

1. All studio work to be conducted in the actual studio
2. Close the laptop at 6:30 each night and put work away until the next day

For those of you who work from home, how to you strike a balance? Any advice for a novice?

We go together like…

To celebrate Valentine’s day, my husband and I took a wood-type letterpress class together at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center last weekend. We designed, sorted, & set vintage wood type & printed on a Vandercook cylinder press. This was a really fun course to take together because I use photopolymer plates, rather than wood type, on a table-top platen press. And even though I’ve been printing for a while now, my husband has never pulled even one run.

For the Valentine’s Day theme, we created a phrase to complete the saying “We go together like…” on 12 pre-printed cards. I chose “We go together like beauty and the beast” – only slightly poking fun at me & my husband. He chose chose “We go together like bacon & everything else.” Cute right?

The VABC has drawers & drawers full of type. After much searching, we found letters. But since we were using physical type, we had to make some adjustments to our designs. Size, spacing & font selections are more restrictive since we we dealing with physical type instead of digital design. A few hours later – it’s also a much longer process to set individual letters & spacers! – we each ran the cylinder press and created some fun pieces.

Despite the aesthetic limitations of the pre-printed design, I think the cards turned out pretty great. It even reminds me of a checkered tablecloth, which goes really seemed appropriate for bacon!

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Pen pals

Who doesn’t love getting a hand-written note in the mail? Doesn’t it just brighten up your day to open the mailbox and see a note from a friend – and not because it’s your birthday, but just because?

I was inspired this week by a conversation with a woman at our local stationery store. She has been writing to her pen pal for 20 years! Twenty year! They’ve never met, nor does she think they ever will – her pen pal lives in the Czech Republic. They started writing when one of them saw an ad in an in-flight magazine soliciting pen pals. Wow!

This woman and her pen pal made me think of my own pen pal, whom I haven’t written to in – oh – 15 years. When I was a kid, my family moved from upstate New York to Virginia. I wrote to a friend in New York for a few years, updating her on school and life down south. But as the years went on and we each became busier, the letters sort of just trailed off. I know that my story is nowhere near as cool as the woman and her european friend, but everyone has had a pen pal story right?

We sent these two sets of personal stationery off this week. I wonder what they’ll be used for: a thank you note? a message to a far-away pen pal? If you’re as inspired by the possibilities as I am, then wherever you are, send a note to someone this week and bring a smile to their face!

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