Letterpress holiday card 2015: He’s making a list …


It’s funny because it’s true.

The 2015 letterpress holiday card is done!

This year, though, I didn’t rely on what Phoenix Print Studios had in reserves as far as typefaces and artwork go. I laid out the card in InDesign, and shipped the file to Boxcar Press to have two polymer plates made — one for the text, the other for the list-making lady. (The illustration came from Fotosearch.) I did rely on Cindy and Gary at PPS to concoct the right mix of printing inks, to match the colors I wanted for a vintage-y vibe. That light green, for example, is actually a combination of lime, blue and transparent inks.


The card from 2012.

Using polymer plates is a different process — dare I say “easier?” — from traditional letterpress, which requires you to assemble individual letters and lock them down in a “chase” before you can begin. Click here for more about that process; here to read about the card from 2012 [pictured here]; and here to check out the 2013 card (which is still probably my favorite—don’t tell the others).

And just in case you think that “lists” thing is a joke, I present to you …

Active lists in my life right now

  • Things to buy at Target.
  • Recipients for this year’s holiday card.
  • Ideas for next year’s holiday card.
  • Songs I will choose if I’m ever forced to sing karaoke.
  • Errands I need to run this weekend.
  • Films for upcoming Mandatory Movie nights.
  • Companion Cocktail ideas for Mandatory Movie nights.
  • People I’ve slept with.*
  • Titles of books I want to buy.
  • Female poets to read more about.
  • Song contenders for the 2015 holiday compilation CDs.
  • Upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and weddings.
  • Gift ideas for aforementioned events, plus holidays.
  • Work conference room phone numbers, for when I work from home.
  • Household stuff I bought over the past month, to be deducted from January’s rent.
  • Addresses of street art and murals I haven’t got a good shot of yet.
  • Names and addresses of restaurants and bars in New York.

I’ve successfully put off buying these things for three weeks. I think toothpaste is going to be the item that breaks my will, though, because I’m almost out.

* (OK, not such an active list lately, but still, it exists.)

On my home desk is a stack of notebooks of varying sizes and rules — several Moleskine Cahiers — as well as a “Note to self” pad [pictured here]. In the store I assumed the shrink-wrapped package contained a stack of sturdy kraft paper, but when I opened it at home I was dismayed to discover that it’s actually a bunch of sticky notes. (As you can see, that hasn’t stopped me from putting it into use.)

And that’s just in my personal life. Work’s a whole different beast; I can pretty much guarantee I’m the only person in my office who cuts used 8½ x 11 paper into quarters, so I can use the backs as my own personal stash of scratch paper to write down the day’s to-dos.

I tried keeping a Day-Timer for a while when I was a newspaper editor, but found the regimen so oppressive — use special symbols! sign off on everything or it’s lost to the ether! — that I gave it up pretty quickly. A list can sit around for a week (or three) if need be, and doesn’t judge you when you return to finish it up. I’ll stick with low-key organizing, thanks.

WHAT SAM WORE: 12/11/15 (working from home day!)
shirt121115 pants121115 shoes121115
The shirt: Long-sleeved cotton flannel, from Abercrombie & Fitch.
(Look how subtle the moose is! You can hardly see it.)
The pants: Selvedge jeans from Uniqlo, New York.
The shoes: Suede high-tops, from the Nike outlet store at Anthem..

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