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hello there.

Well, whaddya wanna know?  Here's the plain and simple truth:  My name is Rebekah Tennis and I love design.  I love paper, the way it feels, its weight and texture.  I love extra special touches on little things: homemade tags on gift-wrap, old stamps on an envelope, and twine on nearly everything.

My husband, business partner and all-around solid rock Matt would probably tell you that he likes tools - lots of 'em, finding the perfect way to do something, taking things apart, and precision in everything. 

So you might as well have guessed by now... we are the perfect match for an old letterpress studio. Together we farm rice and have three adorable and active boys ages 5 and under.  This keeps us fairly busy, but whenever we have a spare moment, we crank up our 102 year old Chandler and Price platen press and pull some prints, or whip out a card line on the Heidelberg. 

There's more, oh yes, there IS more - but that's what this blog is for.  Take a look around, get to know us, our great town of Chico, California and our beautiful presses.


national stationery show 2014 { the recap }

As promised, a (much) delayed recap of our trip to the National Stationery Show this May! 2014 was our fourth year exhibiting. Crazy, I know, but time does fly when you are having fun.

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We used the same booth walls as we have since 2011 (how’s that for longevity?), but as usual, they got a fresh look and a new coat of paint.

This year’s color scheme?

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Soft gray and bright mint! As in previous years, we did a dry run through in our garage so I could make sure there was space for everything (next year we need a bigger booth for sure):

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I love setting out the new cards and messing with layout and helping myself feel sure of the set-up beforehand. You don’t want to be second-guessing yourself at the Javits Center in NYC T-minus 24 hours before the show! Details matter. They just do.

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Since Matt was in spring work, I packed up this crate by myself (well, with a little bit of help from my handy assistant, Elizabeth):

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And shipped it off to the Big Apple…

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One short week later, we were headed on a plane to NYC ourselves! As per usual, our journey was tempered with huge delays (what is with the airlines nowadays?) We spent a good eight extra hours in Denver…

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…but eventually made it to NYC at 2 am to stand in the World’s Longest Taxi Queue at La Guardia (you know the one).

And of course we got up bright and early and headed to the Javits on Friday, where we found that our crate had not shown up. Ugh. Three hours and a lot of choppy phone calls later (the worst cell reception ever is at the Javits, you knew that, right?) we had our crate delivered to our space…

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Luckily – I had Matt with me!! Yes, I dragged him off of the Ranch to come help me in NYC. What can I say? Audrey was off galavanting in Europe. :)

We made a solemn pinky-swear not to squabble over set-up, and he did come in awful handy with booth and furniture assembly…

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… so I think I’ll keep ‘im. ;)

By the end of day one we had our traditional walls and furniture up and done:

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The next day was card assembly – I always think that’s going to go quickly, but it takes forever, even with a good plan. I was missing Audrey and Elizabeth there, let me tell you!

Still, we pulled it off and by early evening were ready for the Sunday open!

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It was fantastic show for us. I always LOVE catching up with our current stores, meeting new ones, and seeing all of our stationery peeps. It truly is an amazing community. The traffic itself was a bit quieter this year, but I’m happy to say we did better than we’ve done any other year and were able to pay back the show investment by the end of day two!! It’s so rewarding to watch our little company grow with blood, sweat and (some) tears.

But before I forget, here’s details around our booth. New metal-faced sign:

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Gift wrap galore (now comes in rolls and sheets!):

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Our beautiful flowers (by the talented Pretty Street Botanicals):

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And the most random card that turned out to be a hit:

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Oh, and yes, we won our second Oscar Louie Award! For Family Celebrations – our little Father’s Day Tie Card will be joining our Hot Mama card on the shelf of honor (Mom and Dad, you can’t say I don’t take good care of you, cardwise ;) )

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Such an honor and such a fun night.

To spin through the rest, I turned 34 and got to have a birthday dinner at ABC Cucina

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We got caught in a New York downpour without an umbrella…

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We met tons of fun paper peeps at Nole’s legendary Paper Party

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(Yes, I look tired. You would too, after tradeshow days and nights!)

We said hi our cards at Paper Source (always fun to do!):

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And then, just like that, it was over. Tear down at 1 pm Wednesday, without fail.

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Thankfully, it went totally smoothly, and our crate came back by 3 pm(!) thanks to Matt’s quick thinking (he told the freight guys as they were storing it that it was my birthday and we had a special dinner (all true), and they stuck it in a spot for us).

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All packed up and ready to go back to Chico!

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It was a blast having Matt with me, and I was so encouraged by our stores and other paper friends, that while I had been getting kind of a little “show tired” I think there’s no question we’ll see you all again in 2015!!

That’s a wrap, friends. Have a great Labor Day weekend!

 

playing catch up.

Hi there, friends. I’ve missed you.

It’s interesting how hard it is to return to a blog that’s gone silent. I almost feel like I somehow lost my blog “voice” – as in, what do I say now, and how do I say it? In April, things got very, very busy as we had Spring work at the ranch and our annual Stationery Show prep. And this blog became the thing I didn’t have time for, the thing I had to drop. It made me sad, because a lot of what I share on here, be it a new recipe I’m crazy about, a fun day trip (tired of looking at that one? ;) ), a diy project or a big before-and-after reveal, was just as inspiring to me as I hoped it would be to my readers and friends – keeping me creative, keeping things fun, keeping my hobbies going.

But once you’ve gone silent for a month or two, it’s hard to drop back in. “Folks will dump me from their readers, or be irritated and unsubscribe,” I think to myself. I imagine that I have to come up with the PERFECT post to break back into blogging, with wow content and  whole series of new posts lined-up. These thoughts have kept me from dropping back in with the free and easy manner that I enjoyed for the past five years of blogging (yes, five years!! crazy, I know).

Then I thought, what the heck is wrong with me? Either I love this blog and sharing with you or I don’t. I’m not trying to impress anyone with my polished content, and not every post is going to be earth-shattering or even on-topic. The point is, it will be here, it will be me, and so what if I lose a couple of readers? Let’s just jump back in!

So, I think the best place to start is with a catch up post. Sort of a smorgy of April to August, if you will. Just pretend each of these bullet points was an actual blog post, and we’ll be all caught up with each other. ;) Shall we?

First off, Easter was extraordinarily early this year. And this was the best picture I could hack of my three boys in their finery…

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In Lance’s defense, he had just woken up from a grumpy nap. Don’t they look dashing?

Next up, we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary (wowsers!) and by abusing using the generosity of BOTH pairs of grandparents as sitters, managed to get away for a long weekend:

 

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To Mexico! Tulum, to be exact.

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White sand beach, clear turquoise sea, fruity beverages? Don’t mind if I do.

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We always combine any travel/vacation with our anniversary, rather than separate the two, so taking a real beachside, do-nothing break was incredible (albeit short).

Up next was Spring work at the ranch, and I made the boys take their requisite tractor wheel pictures:

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They are getting so big, so fast. Speaking of big, here is Matt’s rig during Spring work:

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During that time we were also full speed ahead with prepping for the National Stationery Show, but this year we had an ace in the hole, because yes, we finally hired another printer!

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Rik Pape actually joined our team back in January, but I’m a little late in sharing the news with you. It’s been amazing having a dedicated pressman around and made prep for the show SO much easier.

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We are super happy to have Rik on our team, and I can’t believe Wild Ink Press is a crew of six (!) now.

One the cooking front, we still had our little share of culinary adventures….

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…including when fresh Monterey squid landed in my lap for $2 a lb. We cleaned a boatload of them for Paella de Marisco. Inky, inky, ink…

And I almost didn’t share this last one, but I want to pass on encouragement to anyone looking to shed a little weight/get back in shape. Last August 28th I embarked on a journey to take better care of myself. Mainly, eat clean and workout regularly. I’m happy to say I am almost one year in, and have *very* slowly lost about 2o lbs and gained strength and muscle in the process! It’s worth its own post (maybe in a month or two), but here is a photo of me in May having fun trying on jeans for the first time, in oh, forever:

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They are better than my highschool size. Most of all I have energy and a daily zest for life that I haven’t had in years.

< Insert 2014 National Stationery Show here. > I would add this in but it’s worthy of its own post!! Recap soon, and only a couple-three months behind!

Back on the kid front, this little guy turned four…

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Life is one big grin and gigglefest for this guy (with some whines thrown in too, I’m not gonna lie). He’s my fun foodie and go to chore-man and we’re delighted to have spent three-and-a-half years with this boy. One week till he starts preschool!

Cameron ran his very first 5k race with me over the fourth of July…

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Not only did he run the WHOLE way with Matt and I (no walking!) but he placed first in his age group and was pictured in the Chester Progressive! So proud of this kid. I hope to have a running partner pretty soon here!

And then, just yesterday (I guess that means we’re caught up to the present), this little guy turned three years old…

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My last three-year-old. Such a sweetie-pie (and tough bruiser, I should add). So much fun and so much noise!

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We’re still working on the whole three fingers bit.

 

Oh, and P.S. – We bought Wild Ink Press a building.

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Lots more to come on that one soon. ;) Hold your horses folks, a renovation is involved!

Glad to be back, and happy Monday!! Please say hi in the comments, I’ve missed you guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

daytrippin’: table mountain & the wildlife sanctuary

It’s Spring! Hip Hip Hooray! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We managed to pull off a weekend full of some of the best-of-the-best things that Chico has to offer for the season, and it was dee-lightful.

So delightful I thought I’d share it with you. Remember this day-trippin’ post from a couple years ago? And this one for fall weather? Well, here’s another low-key excursion to be had locally, which I’m sure you could replicate on some level in your own town.

It’s a wildflower chase. Driving somewhere just to see the flowers (just like chasing fall foliage, but for Spring)!

Chico’s best spot? Table Mountain.

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We don’t always catch it at the right time every year, but we try to drive out there and run around in the sunshine and see the pretty blooms. This year I packed a picnic lunch, which I highly recommend.

Table mountain is on the way to Oroville, out past Butte College, and you get to drive through the quaint town of Cherokee on your way up. If you like a slight little detour, you can also visit the ghost town of Oregon City and it’s historic schoolhouse and the nation’s “newest” covered bridge crossing the creek.

Once you reach the top of the hill, it looks like this:

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One lone oak tree. And plenty of daytrippers, if you judge by this parking lot:

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Strangely, it doesn’t feel crowded – everyone disperses well and there are kite flying/birders/picnickers spread out across the meadow.

I won’t overwhelm you with flowers, but they’re just charming:

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And in a little soccer and one exploratory hike…

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Plus a picnic lunch in the sun:

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With all these guys:

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And you have what shapes up to be a pretty good day. I just have to say this: aren’t my boys cute??

And, a selfie – to prove I was there, too. Apparently, I have focus issues.

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A little Klean Kanteen action (we are a klean family – one for each of us!):

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And enough time for a little sun nap:

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After our little lunch, we packed back up and headed home for kid naps. On the drive back, we stopped off at the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Foundation.

It’s a little wildlife sanctuary here in Butte County that cares for non-releasable, endangered and exotic live animals. Think: big cats with bone disease, alligators rescued from illegal handlers, blind and nutrionally-challenged animals, creatures that cannot be released back into the wild but need to be cared for and rehabilitated.

You can see these magnificent animals very up close and personal:

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Like most cats do in the afternoon, these big kitties were intent on napping. ;)

There are clipboards on each enclosure so you can read about that animal’s story:

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The tigers preferred the shade, but the lions seemed to like the sunny spots:

wildlife_sanctuary_3This Siberian tiger is blind, but amazingly large and beautiful.

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It’s very very low key – not an “exciting” zoo, but rather an inspiring little place where you can learn about these animals and their needs. Perfect for a short afternoon in the Spring.

I would not recommend visiting in the summer – it would be meltingly hot under the blazing sun!!

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And with that, we walked back to our car and headed home for nap-time…

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All in all an excellent little Saturday jaunt from Chico. If you haven’t checked it out, you should.

So, your turn to spill: favorite Spring traditions? Easy trips that are off the beaten path?

 

wild ink press in enjoy magazine.

Hello friends! Just wanted to share with you a little article/feature about Wild Ink Press in a local/regional circulation, Enjoy Magazine. We were honored to be interviewed for their March issue (See the spread: page 63-64).

Do you want me to be completely honest? I almost didn’t share it here because I was a leeetle embarrassed with how the layout ended up photoshopping some super-large crowns on Matt’s and my head (I know, I know, now you have to look). And the prints/printsess thing was a little “punny” for my taste. Vanity, vanity, vanity.

But then… I decided to get over myself. It’s a very sweet article, with fun photography and captures our story very well. We can just laugh at how silly Matt and I look and the fact that my arm is leaning on an invisible Heidelberg, and enjoy the tale of a little letterpress studio in a small town. Update: And as it turns out, in the online version of the article, the crowns have disappeared. :)

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Many thanks to Enjoy and Melissa Mendonca for deciding to share our story!

new work: easter cards.

Popping in with a little letterpress action here! We’ve been working on tons of new designs for roll-out this May, and reprinting lots and lots of cards that were out of stock, and oh… we hired another printer here at Wild Ink Press! So exciting. Yes, we are now a staff of six – Matt, me, and four awesome employees. But, that’s another post for another. And while we’re at it, I’m due to give you another studio tour too, so you can see the crazy mess place that is our card operation.

But, for today, just wanted to post these pretty little Easter cards. Not everyone wants to send a bunny or egg card… but if you want to send a Christian/religious Easter card, you are stuck with the over-the-top/uglies, mostly. Well, with that in mind, I drew this trio of happy sentiments…

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I bet you can recognize their lyrical origins (name those tunes!). Although the top one is my favorite congregational response, and not a hymn.

Anyways, here they are. Happy spring palette, whimsical calligraphy, simple sentiments:

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I shot them in the (very low) light of my dining room as all the winter storms coming through recently have made it dark, dark, dark. Finally I quit waiting around for sunshine and just decided to let photoshop be my lightener/friend. :)

And in case you want to see behind the scenes of a Wild Ink photoshoot…

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Kinda haphazard, huh? In a sort of spring/easter/sunshine way. Thanks to my parents for the lovely farm fresh eggs!

You can find the cards on our website, on etsy or here in Chico.

instagr.am { the month of february }

Welp. February is toast.

Although we’ve been getting happy rain lately, February was a mild, mild month overall (sorry to all you blizzard sufferers). In fact, this is what our downtown looked like on February 1st(!):

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{ Downtown trees in bloom. Earliest spring ever. }

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{ Remember last month? With the beer? I lied, apparently. We got our hands on a bottle of the maple stout we printed! }

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{ And we drank it! It was very good. A little too intense for me, but Matt loved it. }

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{ Valentine’s day oatmeal = raspberry hearts for the kiddos. }

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{ forsythia from the market. }

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{ Bocce ball on our back court. }

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{ Three boys on a bridge… }

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{ …and three star-wars fanatics. the littles mostly by association. }

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{ What “going red” looks like. Before, plus two lifts and some dye… }

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{ = this. It may not be forever, but I’m having fun with it now! Hey, if I have to cover greys anyway (I have a shocking number of them), I may as well have a good time! }

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{ Paella!! I made that. :) }

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{ and… picking colors for a new card series. }

That’s a wrap, folks! I hope to share some of the stationery work we’ve been doing… hopefully tomorrow!