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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Whole Foods and the Big Box store dilemma

Whole Foods. We went to Chicago to pitch to them. Big time, right?   They have a “holiday show” in April where the buyers from the Midwest region stores come and check out vendors wares for possible inclusion in their stores for the holidays.   This opportunity came to us from Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago in December. One of the buyers was running (literally) through the fieldhouse and he stopped briefly at our booth. Over the next couple of months we went from thinking we would just send them some samples to realizing that they wanted us to exhibit   at this show, which requires a lot more work!

Carrie’s resourceful dad built us this awesome back drop which folds flat and works really well for hiding sodas and cell phones on the table behind it. We made a few new products for them and were super happy about the way our table looked. There were about 50-75 other vendors there, and we thought our table looked about the best. We definitely put the most thought into display.

Now, a few words about big box stores. First, they aren’t used to dealing with small time companies. We want our small time company to go big time, so after SEVERAL discussions regarding whether we should chuck the whole thing, we decided we should go ahead and jump through these hoops in order to show at Whole Foods.

Big box stores expect you to buy your own UPC codes, provide solid packaging, and sometimes (like the last big company we dealt with, not Whole Foods) adhere to 42 page shipping regulation documents. And if you do something wrong, they can charge you for it. At least that’s what the shipping document said. Like if you send your items in a box that is not 24x12x12, you get charged $200. And then if the UPC sticker isn’t in the lower left hand side, it’s $200 plus labor for them to fix it.   So you could end up spending more than you made!

And then there’s the terror of it actually working out and your little company suddenly has to create 1000 recipe card boxes and figure out how to fork lift them onto a freight truck!   All I’m saying here is this: before you make a product, make sure you price it so that it’s still a good profit for you at 50% or less of the retail price. You don’t want to have to turn down a great opportunity like Whole Foods or Anthropologie, and you don’t want to be bitter about it later because you didn’t make much money.   This is a public service message provided to you by 1canoe2.



DIY baby onesies

So this isn’t related to letterpress, but it’s still a fun craft project. It’s really easy, too! I thought my baby just couldn’t live without some proper tie-dyed onesies. I wish I had made 6, because once you have the dye mixed up, you might as well make several.   I was a fibers and design major in college, and fabric dying was my very favorite part.   Here’s the recipe and step-by-step instructions:

What you need:

  • Onesies or t-shirts, prewashed in hot water
  • lots of rubber bands
  • Ziploc bags
  • rubber gloves
  • squeeze bottles (can be old ketchup or mustard, washed out of course)
  • dye solution–you can use Rit I’m sure, although I don’t know the recipe. Here is my recipe for dying: make a solution of 6 cups water, 1/2 cup soda ash, 1 tablespoon urea pellets.   divide into your squeeze bottles, and add a teaspoon or so of Procion dye powder. Shake well.   You can get all of these chemicals from Dharma Trading Company.

Get a blank onesie. This could definitely be a used one, because the more it’s been washed, the better it receives and holds the dye. It could even have a few stains. Not that anything like that happens at my house.

Lay it out on a flat surface, and start twirling the middle. This is for the traditional spiral pattern. You can also accordian fold it, or just gather a bunch of pieces and tie them off with rubber bands. Just remember, the bunchier the better. Is that a word?

Rubber band the daylights out of it.

Squirt dye solution on it. Make sure you let it soak in, then apply more. Unless you want lots of white spots, which is fine as well.

Place in a Ziploc bag for at least 24 hours, and preferably in a warm place. Like your car on a hot summer day. Not that I would ever do that. Heavens, no.

Rinse in sink with cold water until it runs clear, then run in the washing machine on the hot cycle and through the dryer. Works like a dream! Be careful if you use red dye, it’s pretty runny. You might want to hot-cycle it 2 times.


Last step: take a picture of your baby and send it to me at this e-mail address: beth[at]

Good Luck!


This Week in the Art Room

At our school we have a big multicultural celebration coming up.  Each grade is studying a different continent or country, and we’re doing a bunch of art projects to go along with what the kids are studying.

My first graders are super lucky.  They’re learning about Australia.  Australian Aborigines are those people who are native to Australia, and they make some pretty cool paintings.  They like dots…lots and lots of dots.  So, we made dots too…lots and lots of dots.

Lots and lots of dots, in lots and lots of colors.


We’re thrilled with how these turned out, the kids did such a great job!  They’re going to look incredible when they are all hanging up together.  Makes me happy just to look at them!


:: Carrie ::