Kaibyo: the Supernatural Cats of Japan

Whew! What a whirlwind month it's been already!

THIS WEEKEND IS SECOND SATURDAY ON FOSTER!
If you follow our Instagram feed, then you have seen some of the cat swag we are collecting in our storefront. Like some really beautiful things from Paper Puffin and Quill & Fox.
This week we'll be hanging the artwork...

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 I know, "cats" are reason to enough to have a party, but the whole reason for this party is to help Mercuria Press celebrate the publication of their first book. Congratulations!

The book's title is Kaibyo: The Supernatural Cats of Japan, by Zack Davisson.

Davisson will be signing books at Wordstock 10am-6pm. After that, he's coming to party at Darling Press! You get extra cool points if you bring your autographed copy of Kaibyo will you. :) Of course, if you don't make it to Wordstock, Mercuria Press will be here on Saturday with fresh copies, and we'll be offering them in our storefront afterwards, too.

Zack Davisson is an award winning translator, writer, and scholar of Japanese folklore and ghosts. He is the author of Yurei: The Japanese Ghost, The Ghost of Oyuki, and The Secret Biwa Music that Caused the Yurei to Lament from Chin Music Press.

Zack Davisson is an award winning translator, writer, and scholar of Japanese folklore and ghosts. He is the author of Yurei: The Japanese Ghost, The Ghost of Oyuki, and The Secret Biwa Music that Caused the Yurei to Lament from Chin Music Press.

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Next door to our fine studio -- and within the same building -- is another fine establishment called the Champagne Room, and they are hosting a group show of over ten artists.

Word has it that they will have a pet psychic on hand, too. So if your furry friend has an issue they can't quite find the words to express, bring them down, and hear what they've been trying to tell you!

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AND, upstairs, our friends at Happy Camper Tattoo are keeping the party going, too. In addition to Supernatural Cat-themed artwork, they will also have on-trend flash available. You know you've got the itch for a little ink.

As always, there's even more to come! Stay tuned!

All the things

We have been quietly working on some new things: both Alia and Jason have been building side ventures to highlight their unique talents. They have each created an artful spin-off of the Darling Press universe. (Because we each needed another project, right?) We thought it would be fun to show them to you all.

Before we get into it, all of this has been instigated by posting daily drawings on Instagram. It may not seem like much, but having that accountability is powerful. Knowing that people are watching and are expecting to see more cool stuff regularly is a positive motivator. If you have ever "liked" one of our drawings on the interwebs: thank you! Those tiny gestures help fuel our creative fires. Constant daily practice is so important to working artists, and starting new habits is hard without a strong motivation, so thanks, again!

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First, Alia has formed her own Design & Illustration studio called Rosa Pine.
In her tenure at Darling Press, Alia has amassed an impressive portfolio of brands and designs she's created for our clients. People love her style. :) Through Rosa Pine, Alia will be able to focus on clients who want her style and who aren't interested in having anything printed, necessarily.

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In addition to her regular design client work, Alia has developed a whole line of stickers, prints, and temporary tattoos, too. It can all be found at her website or here, in our retail space on SE Foster!

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To his credit, Jason has finally committed to creating his own website, Publikwerks.
There, he offers his pen for hire. Jason specializes in commission drawings and writing.
Jason's site also offers prints, one-of-a-kind original drawings, and a growing collection of Harry Potter and Star Wars themed fan art bumper stickers. These are also available here, at our retail space on Foster Road.

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With both co-owners starting new ventures, it's bringing some fresh perspectives to Darling Press, and one big advantage is that we have more to offer in our storefront -- just in time for the Holidays.

The last thing I'll mention for now is the Supernatural Cat Show we're hosting this month.
AAAAAAAAHHHH!
It's going to be so much fun. Cats are filling up our displays.
It's kinda crazy, but whatever.
I'll dedicate next blog to cats. Stay tuned!

Raspberry Jam: A How To

We are going to try and write some blogs from time to time, even though, to be totally honest, we don't have a lot of time to do so. Still, we're going to try because our life is pretty cool, and we would like to share a little of it with you. Here's a recipe from our garden and its most prolific crop: raspberries

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We like to harvest our raspberries and keep them frozen until we've gathered enough for a big batch. Our garden produces gallons of berries each summer, so working in large batches makes sense for us. If you're making jam out of a few pints that you picked up at a farmers market, this method works for you as well. We always follow the fruit to sugar ratios found in our packets of pectin. (No, Pomona's Pectin did not pay us to promote them, but we do like their brand the best.)

After you've gathered up your sugar and pectin, start mashing up your berries. Measure your mashed fruit and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, mix your sugar and pectin together. This will prevent clumps of pectin to form in your jam.

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We used to boil our jars for sterilizing, but now we prefer to use the oven. Just set the temperature to 250 and bake them for 20 minutes. Pop those bad boys in while you're taking care of the jam on the stove. Additionally, bring a small pot of water to a gentle boil, and simmer the jar rings and lids to make sure they're good and sterilized, too.

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Once your fruit has come to a boil, add the sugar/pectin, and lemon juice if you prefer, and once again bring to a gentle but steady boil. Generally, it takes about 5 minutes of simmering jam for the pectin to work its gelling magic. An excellent way to test if your jam has set is the "frozen spoon method." Keep a metal spoon in the freezer on a small plate and use it to take a sample of jam. Set the cold spoon and little bit of jam in the freezer for a few minutes, then pull it out and see if the little sample has thickened enough that it doesn't slide off the spoon. If it's still runny, keep boiling your jam until the spoon test proves a gelled jam.

Ladle your raspberry goodness into hot jars, use a clean rag to wipe off any drips along the jar ridge, and screw on the lids. Within 24 hours all of your cooled jars will make little popping noises, signaling a successful seal of the lid. Store in a dark cupboard and enjoy your preserved taste of summer all throughout winter.

Spread the Wealth and the Love

The past several weeks have been emotional for nearly everyone in our lives. Individuals have been left with feelings of helplessness against the powers that be, or have genuine fears for their futures. Within this turmoil, we have also seen an outpouring of support for organizations that are for people not profit-- organizations that are now facing potential uphill battles.

This holiday season, if feels especially important to spread love and to help those who need it. That's why we're changing up the traditional Black Friday sale event and shifting it into Good Karma Weekend. Instead of offering a sale on our goods, we're sending 10% of our weekend proceeds to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), who defend the people who need it most, and 10% to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

Help us help them make a difference.  Shop for cards and gifts in our online store, or visit us in person at our brick and mortar shop at 5300 SE Foster Rd. Portland, Oregon.

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Our new video.

We often get questions about our process like, "Can I have my wedding suite printed over night?" or "What's letterpress?"
If we're talking in person, we can kinda explain with some hand gestures, "The image goes here and the rollers come down like this," but that doesn't fly in emails.

So, for years we've thought that we should totally make a video to show people what all goes into their wedding invitations. Thanks to our friends Emily and Aaron over at Hunting Ground Films, we have a real (legit) process video that even shows the kids and the chihuahua!

Check it out!

Ta dah:

Letterpress Classes at Our Studio: a success!

This past holiday season, we saw an interesting trend in gift giving. Plenty of folks were gifting experiences rather than things, and it seemed to us that our letterpress classes were a popular choice.
We had a great time teaching so many classes following the holidays!

Our classes are small -- one-on-one is how we prefer to teach them. It's important to get one's hands dirty setting type and mixing ink to get a real feel for this historic craft/art form, and in our workshops, there is plenty of hands-on learning.

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We offer a variety of projects for those interested in dipping their toes into the waters of letterpress printing. By far, the most popular project has been setting type for pocket journals. From printing inspirational quotes, to witty one-liners, to more pragmatic verbiage, everyone enjoyed printing enough journals to gift to their friends and family members. Students were able to choose a cover paper stock and the perfect Pantone for the title before stepping up the press. Afterwards, they worked our vintage commercial saddle stapler for a quick binding, and then we trimmed the edges for a clean finish.

It's interesting how easy it is to do so much with such a simple project!

If you would like to take a letterpress course with us, you can find all of our classes listed here.
In addition to setting type, we offer classes on linoleum block carving, printing with polymer plates, and designing for letterpress (for designers anxious to see their work pressed into thick, cotton paper). Enroll with a friend and get a discount.

Spaces and classes are limited, so sign up now!

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Print Round UP: Wedding Season

This year's wedding season is wrapping up, and we're beginning to get inquires from brides and grooms who are getting ready for their 2016 wedding. 

Take a look at some of our wedding favorites:

This invite was printed on both sides, which doesn't happen too often. The bride wanted the front of the invite to have a classy but casual look on the front, and use the back of the invite to include useful information. The whole set was mostly designed by the bride, with a few custom touches from us (hint, those trees are Jason's handiwork) We love a good blind impression ampersand. 

This cotton inspired set was designed in house, with calligraphy and illustrations by Alia. Keep an eye out for this set appearing in our wedding shop. Soon, this set will be available for anyone to custom order. 

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We now have advice cards, available for purchase, in our shop, too!

Holiday Cards for 2015

Take a look at our newest holiday cards! Keeping with our love of and fascination with the natural world, both designs feature cute creatures.

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The jackelope with its nose so bright was drawn by Jason, and that sly arctic fox creeping between the words Joyeux and Noël was drawn by Alia. 

Each card is available in our shop, and we would feel honored if you chose to send our drawings to your friends and family this holiday season. 

Uber Darling

Well, if you haven't heard about Uber, they are the creators of a (revolutionary) rideshare network. Here's what Uber says about themselves:

"Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. "

The coolest thing is that they have been coördinating with local neighborhoods, and the businesses operating therein, to drive more traffic their way. (The pun is intentional).

We are happy to announce that Uber's newest Neighborhood Love event is focusing on the Foster and Montavilla neighborhoods, and Darling Press will be taking part, of course. They are calling our area "Portland's best-kept secret."

Check out these great photos by uber-photographer Grant.

Check out these great photos by uber-photographer Grant.

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If you've been meaning to stop by our studio, but don't have a car, your bike has a flat, and you just used your last bus ticket, this is your perfect chance!
Uber on over here for free and get a gift certificate for $10 off our letterpress goods and services or 10% off our fine selection of locally-crafted retail merchandise!

free coffee

As always, we'll have some coffee brewing.

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The promotion lasts from Aug 22nd to Sept 7th, so you could even get a free lift to/from our First Friday event on September 4th... just sayin'.


Featured Maker

 It has been a lot of fun loading our new storefront's shelves with Portland-made wares. Let us introduce Idis Dream Catchers as one of our select makers.

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We first noticed Idis Dream Catchers in the Montavilla neighborhood at Union Rose  - a local boutique that also happens to carry our greeting cards. We were immediately enthralled with how the delicate threadwork put a modern, yet respectful, twist on a traditional art.

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It's not common we come across a dream catcher that is modern and minimal. Even the feathers used are sleek and void of extra fluff.

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All of Idis Dream Catchers are black, white, or both, and they feature precise geometric designs and line work. Best of all, they're made in Portland by a sweet woman. We are happy to support her on her creative business endeavor. You should, too! Come in and snag one of these modern dream catchers, and keep those bad dreams at bay.

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Meet Our New Employee

That's right. You heard us. A bonafide employee.

Meet Robyn, the lady who handles most of our email correspondences, job inquiries, job management, and provides an overall positivity to the work room.

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We asked her some questions about herself/background so that you can get an idea of how wonderful she is.
Continue reading and you'll see why she's the perfect fit for our studio:

1. Where did you go to school?

I got my B.A. in Environmental Education from Western Washington University in 2009.

2. Where did you grow up?

The woods! Eagle River, Alaska, a small community just north of Anchorage.

3. What is your favorite pastime?

I am an avid home cook and preserver of foods, make cheese, I eat cheese, I dream of cheese, and, of course, I binge watch Law & Order.

4. Describe the paths that lead you to darling press:

Let me say, first off, that for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a secretary. As a small child, I would ask for blank ledgers from the store instead of traditional toys. I would steal and hoard the carbon copies of checks my parents had written, and file them away in my ‘office’.

As I got older, I set my sights a bit higher and aimed to make the world a better place by spreading my love for wilderness, wildness, and our perfect planet by getting a degree in Environmental Education.

I met Alia, Jason, and their two beautiful children in 2013, and we quickly became fast friends. When they realized that their business was growing in such a way that they would need to hire someone to help with customer service, bookkeeping, and odd jobs around the shop – I was looking for a career change and gearing up to start an urban farming apprenticeship. The timing could not have been more perfect.

Now, I spend mornings at the Darling Press studio/shop and afternoons in the dirt, learning how to coax plants – for food and medicine - out of an urban landscape.

5. What quality do you like most about letterpress printing?

It’s old-schoolTechnology can be stressful and overwhelming, I love watching a 200 year old piece of machinery at work.

I love the look and feel of letterpress printing on cotton paper. It’s dramatic and nostalgic

7. Do you have a hero? Has he/she been a lifetime hero, or someone you recently stumbled upon?

Maybe it’s cliché but my hero is my mother. She selflessly raised my sister and I with grace and good humor.

10. In the face of an impending zombie apocalypse, how will you prepare?

Preparation would only make me anxious and paranoid. The best I can do is keep my body and mind in tip top shape. I work everyday to acquire and perfect what I like to call “skills for the apocalypse” – gardening, fabric making, sewing, butchery, preserving foods without a refrigerator, story telling, etc.

And, our kids just think she's the best.

And, our kids just think she's the best.