Hostess Gifts (that are not wine)

Well, hello there! Popping in today to share with you a quick little gifting guide for some ideas to get you through the last three weeks of the holiday season, which, let’s face it, includes a lot of holiday parties and get togethers. A hostess gift is a must, and soooo many people bring wine (which is okay, bring on the wine), I just wanted to give you a few options for a more imaginative thoughtful gift.

BONUS: these are ALL available at the Wild Ink Press Brick & Mortar shop! With free parking and no mall crowds! Chicoans, you’re pretty lucky. I’m just sayin’.

For the hostess with the mostess:



Clockwise from top left:

  1. Mason Jar Lights (battery-operated), to make her home look like fairy town.
  2. Adorable animal ornament. These little guys are made of the palm sago bush and are fair-trade from the Philippines. The fox may be sold-out but we have llamas and frogs and owls, oh my!
  3. Holiday Coasters. A set of six little christmas trees with a cloth muslin bag. Designed by yours truly, etterpress printed here at Wild Ink Press.
  4. A lovely seasonal candle. PF Candle co. is based in California and makes some amazing holiday scents. Spruce is GREAT (but Apple Picking is my favorite).
  5. A set of tea towels. These lovelies are by the fabulous gals at 1Canoe2, but we have more than five styles of tea towels in stock, including holiday.
  6. A happy little notepad. Edge-painted and letterpress printed, this little gift by my friend Meg at Moglea is sure to give a smile.
  7. Dried Lavender Bundle. This is my current favorite hostess gift. Fresh 2015 crop, already dried and wrapped in brown paper tied up with string, ready to give. Who wouldn’t want to receive this as a hostess gift?!

Hope you enjoyed this little guide. You can find these online, or if you’re in Chico you can pick them up at our little shop downtown!



how to remodel a boring building.

August marked the one year anniversary of buying our studio downtown! It’s hard to believe that it has only been a year (really only nine months since we actually moved in), it feels like it’s been home to Wild Ink Press for a long time. We’re already running out of room (a bit!), and the space feels loved and lived in.

In honor of the anniversary (and similar to how I shared my kitchen remodel a year after the fact), I will be posting a whole series of before-and-after pics of the space!! If you know me at all, you know before-and-afters are my favorite, so I hope you like them as well. I feel like they sort of demystify the process of a design and remodel, and make it more accessible to your average DIY hack (read: me). So hold on to your seats – we’re starting with the exterior, but we’ll be covering, in no particular order: the pressroom, retail shop, shipping room, packaging area, my office, and a couple how-tos – how to tile a word, how to plan and layout a space on a computer (or on paper) and how to ombre paint a wall.

I hope you enjoy the ride! First off, to start at the beginning. We were desperately running out of space in our little two-story converted garage studio behind our house. You can see it in its original heyday here:


Lovely seating area, old presses, cabinet storage. Good for the occasional greeting card, and to meet brides and design custom invitations and print them on old presses.

But with our company, the greeting card section took off, and we had to hire employees for shipping, packaging as well as bring another pressman on. Also, we had to store our growing line of cards and gift wrap. So, around last summer, it looked more like this:

clutteredstudio_1 clutteredstudio_2 clutteredstudio_3

I’ll spare you the mess that was the attic stock room. With all that stuff, plus four employees coming each day, it was clear we needed to find a new space and find it fast.

I won’t bore you with huge long tale, but basically after poking around all over Chico, we found this empty office building downtown:

builidingbefore_1 builidingbefore_2 builidingbefore_3 builidingbefore_4

5200 square feet of blank dingy beige structure. It had been the assessor’s office for about 20 years, but for the last two it had been empty. Prior to that it had been a local title company (their space is now next door), but its original use was as a soda bottling plant – owned by Bowman’s Beverage Company and built in 1941. I searched around as well I could and these are the two best items I could come up with for the building’s history – the first, an ad for Bowman’s Beverage (bottom left) listing our address and what they bottled here:

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 4.14.55 PM


And this bottle of squirt which lists Bowman’s Chico as its place of origin:

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 4.15.46 PM

Apparently they also bottled Nehi soda here, We found a big vat of Nehi grape concentrate shoved in the rafters of the building when we remodeled (perhaps stopping a leak? Holding it up?). It was pretty wedged in there, so we left it right where it belonged.

Back to the story, we saw potential (rather I saw design/remodel potential, Matt saw space/equipment potential and we trusted each other to know what we do best), so we made an offer to buy the building and it was accepted.

So the fun begins!! How do you take a beige box and make it interesting? Turn it into a jewel box! First, a moodboard…


The plan was to use a really dark palette – rich green/blue (almost black), with glossy black subway tile, bent metal signage, revamped lighting, and a tile entry.

Next came a digital mock-up so we could get the city’s approval:





And then, the dirty work of tear-down. In taking off the seventies-added fieldstone and stacked rock, we found a couple discoveries:


The original title company signage, and… windows!! Windows in the concrete that had been boarded up and stuccoed over previously.builidingduring_2

Even another large window in the front, which balanced out the building greatly.

Also, beneath each front window we uncovered a little niche which had been sloppily filled in with brick before being  covered in stacked rock…


Perhaps it was for advertising, or a special tile design, but we wanted to keep them open of course, despite it adding cost to the project. They added a great deal of dimension to the front of the building.builidingduring_4

Meantime, our sign was being bent out of raw steel by the talented Dave Richer at Earthen Iron:


Bent and welded. Aren’t those overlaps amazing? Such a cool process, I just had to show you a tiny bit of it.

Well, not belabor things, are you ready for the after pictures? Here goes…




Old school gilded lettering on the doors…


And here’s a “glamour” shot at twilight:


My favorite bit of the front:


And our hanging sign (different from my original concept, but I love this one):


We love our little shop, and I was so happy to transform this little empty spot and become a vibrant part of downtown Chico. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Up early next week… stay tuned for the interior (it’s a doozy!)


a summer soirée

I hope you had a wonderful summer! In spite of the fact that we have several weeks left of it, I always sort of feel like summer ends with back-to-school, and my kids have, well, done that already, so – hello to FALL! Bring on the sweaters, crisp air and autumn leaves.

I wanted to share with you our summer soirée (aka Official Grand Opening of our new studio, our six year anniversary as a letterpress studio and also the visiting Itinerant Printer). Many people were out of town as it was high summer (and June Saturday which means lots and lots of weddings), but so many others came out, and it was fantastic to meet new faces and show Chico around our studio space.

We made a little video of the event – so if you missed it, you can still enjoy the fun! Seriously, it is the. cutest. Even if you were there you should watch it. Just push play!! ▶️

Also, some photo highlights from the night…


We were just delighted with the evening, sharing it with MONCA (the Museum of Northern California Art, our register proceeds and bar cash for the evening went to them), the Itinerant Printer, Schubert’s Ice Cream, live jazz and live printing, and the lively community of Chico. We couldn’t be more proud or happy to be downtown!



huevos rancheros (sort of)

I’m back with a fitness update! If you remember the post from December – My Journey to Me… which some of you found encouraging/inspiring (and that was my goal), I just wanted to keep you all posted on how it’s going. Real talk!

I finally hit my goal weight in January, after 18 plus months of hard work (can I get a woohoo?)! Oh, wait, there’s a card for that (one of our new happy cards).


Now, I’m sure any of you who’ve seen me in person (or just in pictures) knows that my goal weight is not supermodel-thin, or actress-thin, or even average street-thin. Rather, it’s healthy and strong, and it’s the spot where I look in the mirror and think – “you look pretty good.” I recognize that unattainable goals can be a slippery slope, so I’m happy where I’ve parked myself, and here I stay.

My new goals (goals are important!) involve challenging myself – completing unnassisted pullups, holding a longer plank, stilling my mind more.

But the reason I popped in today is I wanted to share with you what is possibly my FAVORITE breakfast of the past almost two years. The breakfast that really got me through it all, made me happy and full and healthy each morning I had it.

I present to you… my version of Huevos Rancheros. It’s so simple and easy, one pan, done in 7 minutes. Total, start to finish.

Begin with 2-3 cups of fresh spinach – cook them in a pan over dry heat (no oil, no water necessary) until they wilt:


Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of black beans (I use Trader Joe’s Organic as the sodium is lower). Add 1/2 cup of salsa, as hot or mild as you like, or as pico or rojo as you like. Sometimes in the summer I just use straight tomatoes.

Heat it all up, and make a bed for two eggs – crack them right in there and put the lid on.


Cook five or so minutes, depending on the heat of your pan and how done you like your eggs (I like mine medium/not too runny for this application).

Remove from heat, salt and pepper, and add less than a tablespoon of shredded cheese (I used to leave this off entirely), and some fresh cilantro:


Oh, and you can add in four tortilla chips (not more!! and no snacking from the bag!) to stud the top. I don’t usually add this, but it’s a fun level of decadence occasionally. Only add it if it won’t slip you down the slope of eating the whole bag. 😉

Now, I like to save dishes, so to round out my ideal morning:


Just add water, coffee and the New York Times Crossword puzzle. Happy day.

This recipe has so many variations! Green onion, avocado, flax seed are all great additions. But just remember, the base is simple and easy and always there for you.

Nutritional Value:

Calories: 314 (287 without the 4 chips)

Fiber 6.7 grams

Sugars 4.8 grams

Protein 20.5 grams

Carbs 26 grams

Vitamin A  212%

Vitamin C 82%

Iron 28.3%

Calcium 28.9%

Not bad, right? For someone like me, who can’t handle drinking her breakfast in a smoothie, it’s a wonderful option. I can guarantee you, it also makes you feel very full.

So, for any of you on a similar journey here’s another card for you…


You’ve got this!!