Entries in Inspiration (9)



Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Maine for business. I wouldn't normally jump at the chance to leave my family a week before Christmas and travel across the country by myself, but the pull of the Northeast was too powerful for me to resist.

When I first started Type A Press almost four years ago I had a feeling in mind that I wanted to capture for my branding. The image was of orange sunsets and deep blue seas, white sails and grey docks. I knew I wanted to incorporate an anchor, but I didn't know why. I still don't other than it felt right. When I showed folks my initial logo desgins they asked me, "why nautical?" and I fumbled for a reply. My brother asked me "are you selling boats?" and I still couldn't explain the emotional attachment to the nautical colors and imagery. I painted the walls of my shop navy and white, found some antique signal flags for the walls and opened shop with my anchor logo. 

I remember talking to my mother about this early on and trying to explain my need to see and "feel" the coasts of New England. I felt that the maritime history and the lighthouses were an endless inspiration. I told her I could move there someday, and she said "we're not east coast, we're west coast". My favorite authors wrote about growing up in New England, my favorite adventure stories were about whaling. The pull of the sea has had it's grip on me for as long as I can remember. That grip feels different on the Oregon coast. The history isn't there, or at least the histroy that I wanted to know. I love the Oregon coast, I grew up searching for sand dollars and building sand castles there, it's one of my favorite places. But when it comes to my business, I wanted to represent something different. Something older. 

So, when the opportunity came to see Maine, I tacked on a couple of extra days to the trip so I could see the coast that I have been dreaming of. I wanted to see the lighthouses, and the ships and soak up whatever history I could. Sometimes my need to see something inflates my sense of adventure. Often when I travel I take off by myself so that I can experience something that is important to me. My fear of missing out on opportunities outways my fear of something going wrong. That was the case with this trip.

After a long day of travel, I arrived to Bangor in the middle of the night, with 18 inches of snow on the ground. I trekked out in my moccosins into the snow to retreave my rental car (I had never rented a car before) and plugged in the GPS route to my hotel. 

There was no way I was going to stay in a hotel that didn't have some history or charm. If I was coming all the way here I wanted to feel like I was in Maine. That need took me 15 miles outside of Bangor to The Lucerne Inn. As I was renting my car, the guy asked me where I was staying and when I told him he chuckled and said "I won't tell you the stories about that place." Which meant it was haunted. (Ghost Hunters has filmed there, awesome). As I drove out of Bangor in the middle of the night with only the snow plows to keep me company, my anxiety grew as I realized I was driving in the snow, in Maine, at Christmas time, to a haunted hotel. After a few calls to the front desk at the hotel I realized I had taken the wrong route, so what was planned to be a quick 15 minute drive out of town to a cute hotel, turned into "an adventure". When I got there I was shown my room in this once private residence, turned halfway house, turned hotel and tried not to think of the ghosts.

I was on a mission to see as much as possible in the short two days that I had on the coast. So I woke up early and got in the car and headed south. My goal for the day was to get to Bar Harbor and back. (Side note, I was so amazed and thankful that even though there was so much fresh snow on the ground I could easily drive a small rental car confidently. In Oregon we don't deal with snow and ice well, in Maine they are pros.)

My first stop was to a 20,000 square foot antique mall outside of Ellsworth. It is in an old chicken barn and had an entire top floor of books and maps. This is when my antique overwhelm began. Trying to hurry through the antiques in Maine was almost painful. There are so many amazing, historical, quality pieces everywhere you look. I found myself holding my breath a lot trying to take it all in. I have a new house to decorate and I wasn't going to miss this chance to find some pieces for it.

This photo is from the top floor book section. They had set chairs everywhere so you could sit and look through the books, magazines and maps. Everywhere I go I try to find early editions of my favorite book "The Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving. In the book there is a motorcycle riding bear whose name is State of Maine. I was able to find a copy for my collection here, kind of perfect right? 

I stopped at a few more amazing antique stores in Ellsworth before heading on to Bar Harbor. There were so many beautiful sites on the way, I kept saying "how cute!" and stopping for photos. It was so cold, I think it was 2 degrees outside. One stop I got out without my coat and gloves and within a minute my finger tips ached from the cold. You can see why I kept stopping, the snow and cold and the sun made everything sparkle. I took a few cemetery shots to show my husband. He manages our local cemetery and we will soon be living there as well, so my facination is growing. 

I got to a nearly deserted Bar Harbor. I didn't realize that a lot of the town and businesses shut down in the winter when it's not tourist season. I found a place to eat my first lobster roll (not my favorite, but at least I tried), and explored the downtown. 

There was one boat in the water, which I probably looked completely stupid taking pictures of in the freezing cold. I didn't care. Who knows when I will be back.

It got dark about 4 o'clock so I headed back north to the hotel. I took a different route so I could see a bit more of the countryside. 

I went through a small town where every house and building was white with black shutters. Add in the snow, the wreaths and the candles in every window and I was in love. I stopped to take a few pictures and a woman kept watching me through her window. I didn't care, it was too cute. 

I got back to the inn and had dinner in the bar. I ordered macaroni and cheese with lobster (again, not my favorite but I tried) and a drink. And proceeded to find out more about the ghost from the bar tender. (The ghost is a little girl roaming the halls. Which doesn't seem to have anything to do with the fact that the original owner of the house found his wife in bed with a man in one of the rooms, and shot them and himself...right next to my room.)

While I missed my family, sometimes a solo adventure is good for the soul. Sitting by the fire after a fulfulling day was so very relaxing. 

The next morning I had an aggressive agenda. I "had" to get south to Camden and Rockland and then back up north to turn in the car in Bangor and hop on the bus for the four hour drive into the north coutry. So I was on a tight schedule. 

My dad had told me that I should stop in Camden where they filmed the tv series "Peyton's Place". I had never heard of it, but now I want to hunt copies down. Camden is one of those towns that met every bit of my New England expectations. I am sure if I had come in the summer there would be more boats in the water, but I didn't care. I had the town practically to myself. Thank god I had a warm coat and boots so I could treck around all of these towns. The top two photos in the post are in Camden as in the one above. It is a town for the wealthy, the homes are beyond beautiful and the downtown is full of charming shops. 

I kept going south towards Rockland. My main goal for the day was to see a lighthouse. There aren't many in the area I was in, and many of them you can't see except by boat. But there was one I knew of and I was determined to sit in front of it for a while. 

I explored the harbor a bit and found a place to eat lunch. I think it was the best fish and chips I have had at The Brass Compass Cafe. It was made with haddock, which we don't have in Oregon. It was served in one large filet and it was perfect. 

My mission after that was to get to the Breakwater lighthouse. My photo doesn't do it justice (and it has a lame zoom) because I couldn't get close enough. Which was BEYOND frustrating to me. Everything was covered in snow, and there was no path to get down to the beach to get to the quarter mile long jetty out to the lighthouse. So I was stranded, tromping though the snow trying to find a way to get to it. After a half hour of fighting with my need to walk out to it and get the inspiration I so longed for, and the clock ticking away and the fear of missing my bus, I settled for taking some video so I could remember the sounds of it all. At least I had seen it. IT wasn't that I had to see that particular lighthouse, it was that I needed to see at least one. I couldn't be here without having an image to take home with me. I wish for a day when I can come back and explore more of the lighthouses in Maine. 

I got on the road north, back to Bangor. On the way I stopped at the cutest little post office in a town called Winterport and filled boxes with my finds and sent them home. It would take weeks to stop at all of the antique places on Maine, but I was able to stop at a few more and find some really amazing treasures. 

This was one of those "just breathe Chelsey" antique shops. I wanted to come back with a trailer and load all of these nautical pieces up and bring them home. 

I about caused an accident when I saw this anchor Christmas decoration on a little town utility pole. 

The drive north was beautiful. I was happy with my day and felt like I had done all I could in the time I had. I got back to Bangor in time to take a quick full moon detour to the cemetery where the Stephen King movie "Pet Semetery" was filmed. Definetly spooky. I successfully returned the car and got on the bus for the north country. I spent two more days in Maine here and headed home with a full heart. I am so happy I made this trip, and I can't wait until I can come back to the Northeast and explore more, hopefully with my kids next time so I can pass along some of my passion. 

This trip was the ending of a part of my business that I wasn't passionate about. It marked the begninning of setting new goals for my letterpress business and working more on the on the parts that make me happy. 2013 was rough in so many ways and I am ready to leave it behind. I look forward to a new year with more possibility, and more productivity and more adventures. 




Brief Thoughts on Change

Someone told me recently that 2013 was the year of the female snake, and that the shedding of skin was a reflection of a year of change. And then, that 2014 is the year of the horse which means prosperity. I tend to believe in the stars and am going to hang on to this symbolism. It is what I have been experienceing and what I hope to find in 2014. Though, I do think a lot of hard ass work relates to how prosperous one can be. 

I feel like I can't explain the profound change I have gone through in this past I will save that for a post when I can formulate my thoughts.

For now, I am so excited and inspired to be working with some amazing folks around the country on some new and exciting products for my Type A Press product line. I want to do this right, so I am learning from the experts and putting in a lot of planning and design time before I go live with the new pieces. I have a good feeling about the work we are doing and I can't wait to show you more. 

This print is a simple hand lettered illustration from my friend Christian at (if you haven't seen his blog and shop you need to stop and go do that right now.) I printed it with black ink on deep brown paper and I also did a black on black version that I love! I have been gathering fun props at flea markets and antique stores, as well as from walks on the beach and visits to grandparent's farms. Some of them I actually got for our new house (more on THAT later too), but thought they would go well with the designs we have been working on. That's what you see in this photo. 

I love this stuff. 

Oh, and by the way, I am pretty sure this October in Oregon was the prettiest one I have ever seen. We had so many dry days but it felt perfectly fall. I am excited for November as well. This is the start of custom Christmas card printing in the shop and it is so fun to work with clients on these projects. 

So many good things. So thankful.


PS - I've started to add a few pieces from my collaboration with to my Etsy shop, check it out!



Home from Josh Brine on Vimeo.

I was sent this video recently and it really struck me. I don't normally share things like this, but this piece seemed to make sense. I've been doing a lot of reflection lately on what I do, and where I find my inspiration. It's not an easy task with so many blogs and Pinterest drawing my attention. I think my angst ridden teenage self had an easier go at it. This video by Josh Brine is so simple, and you really get a sense of what's important to him. I can use more inspiration right now, and was grateful to see the home I love protrayed this way. 

I hope you like it, I bet Josh does too.

Have a great week,



Hand Lettered Inspiration

I'm always looking for inspiration. I roam the blogs of designers I like, I pin on Pinterest, I shop on Etsy. There are so many ways to find amazing things online now. 

I found this video on one of my favorite illustrator's blogs this morning, Oh My Cavalier, and wanted to share it with you. Leandro Senna hand lettered the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues", just try not to be in awe. I love the music tie in. I'm currently working on a project that does the same thing...stay tuned. 

What inspires you?




Photo Styling 101

I took a class this past weekend on photo styling put on by Chelsea Fuss from Frolic! and the PDX Etsy Team. It was so much fun, but I still don't feel anymore confident in my styling skills. The workshop was full of great information and I really felt like I was learning from the best. This is my own insecurities at it's finest. Do you ever love what other people create but hate anything of your own? That's me. I get sick of things really fast and don't feel confident that what I create (or throw together) will look "right". And "right" to me means professional, that's why I went to the class. The biggest lesson of the day for me was that to do what I do well, and let others do what they do well. So, when I need photo styling I am going to ask for help. That's a good plan, right? 

The other highlight of the day was getting to spend it with Jane from Jane Reaction. We have some seriously awesome plans up our sleeves and I can't wait to share them with you...just not yet. 

(Notice that's Jane taking my product shots, not me!)

c'est la vie,