Friday, May 8, 2009

Sharing the letterpress love: Get free stuff!

On Wednesday we drove to Denver to pick up my new press--a Chandler and Price 10x15, made in Ohio somewhere between 1916 and 1920, or thereabouts.

She's in pieces now, disassembled by the previous owner so they could get her out of a basement. Fully assembled, she weighs in at an estimated 1,650 pounds!

Here's what she'll look like when she's put back together (except I'll be giving her a good scrubbing and a nifty new paint job first).

Needless to say, I'm really excited to have her. I love my old press, but this new one opens up a whole new world of letterpress printing for me. And I want to share that world of letterpress with you!

In honor of my new press and my 100th blog post not long ago, I'm doing my first "get something cool for reading this blog!" contest.

So here's the deal: I've mentioned the 3/50 Project before--the idea is that you pick three independently-owned businesses in your local community and spend $50, in total, among the three each month. I'd like to hear your thoughts about it. Do you think it's a good idea? Are you trying to support these kinds of small businesses in your area? If you are, I'd love to hear about the shops in your area!

Rules: Write a comment for this post between now and next Friday, May 15, and let me know your thoughts on the 3/50 Project. You can post up to three comments--one for each independently-owned business you're considering supporting this month. I'll randomly pick a winner over that weekend and announce it on Monday the 18th. The prize? A set of 50 custom letterpress printed cards--your choice of wording and your choice of the ink colors and fonts I have on hand. And if you're not a big note writer yourself, here's a GREAT opportunity to get a cool gift for someone special in your life! Here are just a few examples of what you can get, but I'll work with the winner to come up with something that works for him/her.

Good luck, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts!


  1. I like this idea, although, I have to admit, I've had mixed success with this. For example, the local farmer's market that runs every Fridays in the summer has high prices and mediocre quality produce when I can easily go to the grocery store and get get produce for much less. Same for the coffee store that used to be in our neighborhood. Nice concept but terrible service. It would take 10 minutes (no exaggeration) to get a cup of coffee in the am before work and it wasn't a great cup either. The local Dunkin Donuts however....that's what I'm talking about. :) So, my point is, I really wanted to support these places, but bottom line, you have to be competitive. But, I love, love, love one of my local nurseries in Chestnut Hill and save up money to buy flowers and plants from there rather than other stores because they always grow better and healthier. And, I finally found a cute little Indian restaurant near us that serves good food. It's cozy and charming, and delicious.

  2. I don't have an amount I set aside for local businesses. Instead, whenever I need to buy something, I think first about local businesses that could I buy it from. The problem is where I live has been "upscaled" over the last 10 years and has lots of chains. Ugh. But you can dig for gems...I used to get my dog's food at Petsmart until a local couple opened Living Ruff. Their service is fabulous and I know my money is going back into the community rather than to a CEO and executives who keep their money in offshore tax shelters. Whenever a friend suggests we meet at a Starbucks, I ask to meet at a non-chain (of course, I'm a tea drinker so the coffee quality isn't as relevant). There's a GREAT website called that I use to locate independently-owned coffee shops in whatever neighborhood I'm meeting them. They do talk about coffee quality for those that take their coffee seriously. I wish there were similar websites for other things...

  3. First off... What a BEAUTIFUL machine you just hauled back from Denver! It will be so cool using it, and imagining all the other jobs it did years back!

    I LOVE the 3/50 idea. I do it...well not down to the science...but I always give my money to the local bookstore...or Dog place...or artsy boutique...or produce store. It is always my pleasure, and it even just feels better. Support the local retailer has always been my mantra!

  4. I think 3/50 is a great idea, and doing it will get ne to cross-off a few items I've had on my "to do" list forever. For example, take bike for tune up (at Pegasus Cycles) so that I can FINALLY hook-up that baby wagon thing and go for rides this summer. The problem is that we live in a very NON-"independently owned" kind of area, within walking distance of IKEA, Dunkin Donuts, IHOP, Starbucks (two of them), you name it. Truthfully, some of the indepedently owned places in my area seem a little shady--others are initimidating, like private clubs. And then there are places I'm not too sure about, such as My Organic Market (which we love)-- is that independently owned? So this will take some effort, and a bit of research, but we'll give it a try!

  5. I am a big supporter of independent businesses especially in the art and craft field. To that end I always check sites like when shopping for anything I might need and/or gifts. I chose mother's day cards, personal stationery and graphic design services from them.

  6. I love the 3/50 Project concept! I try as much as possible to support local businesses even though I find myself resorting to my faithful friend Target for certain items or ordering from Since reading about the 3/50 Project, I’ve been thinking more about how I can do a better job of supporting local businesses, and I’m going to make a more concerted effort to do so. Stay tuned for comment #2! ~Alisha H., Baltimore

  7. In support of the 3/50 Project, I plan to purchase any gifts I need over the next few months from one of the locally owned stores in Federal Hill (Zelda Zen, Pandora’s Box, among others), buy my books from the Book Escape (they have mostly used books, but can also special order new books) and buy music from Sound Garden. More ideas in comment #3 (can you tell I’m a huge fan of Letter Press?!)! ~Alisha H., Baltimore

  8. Here are some other ways I plan to support the 3/50 Project: buy wine from locally owned businesses; buy fruit and veggies from Cross Street Market; and order more often from (I’m a big fan!). I’ll continue to think of other ways I can support the 3/50 Project. Thanks, Melissa! ~Alisha H., Baltimore

  9. I love that concept!

    We have local toy store that is independently owned and I enjoy taking what business I can to them (Piccolo Mondo for those in the Portland Oregon Westside area). Their prices are competitive enough with the internet and I love getting things right away.

    Also, Lisa Lenard makes fabulous custom/unique jewelry. She is not local to me (local to where I went to college) but she is independent and makes lovely pieces.

    Last, we have local farms that we visit for picking summerproduce and we can't wait for them all to open up in June!!


  10. Okey dokey...I have done my work. I have supported a local boutique. Bought candles.

    I have supported my local farmers market...and will be doing it again this morning. Fresh locally grown produce.

    AND.....continued on next post....

  11. The biggest was buying some beef from a local farmer...the cow was a local resident :(

    I know...maybe TOO local, eh? asked.

    What about you, where are you buying these days?


Hi! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your thoughts and comments!



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