Wednesday, August 12, 2009


is not only a Carly Simon's what I'm feeling right now!!!  In September the Great Northern Printer's Fair along with the Amalgamated Printer's Association's Annual Wayzgoose will be held in Mt. Pleasant, IA and I will be attending all the days this year! There will be demonstrations on printing (even registering a 7 color job I'm told), bookbinding, and even paper marbling.  I've really been needing some time for myself lately and I can't can't wait for it to come!  

To check out some of last years awesome-ness (and pictures of me printing things) click here and here for my old post.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm pretty sure I definitely need this. And I need to form my own Occasional Print Club!

Great work by The Occasional Print Club via their flickr stream

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Big Building, Big Dreams

Many of you may know I'm originally from Ossian, Iowa and I still get my Ossian Bee, the local newspaper, to keep up on the news.  While catching up on Ossian news last night I perused the City Council minutes, to find out one of the largest buildings on Main Street had been donated to the city.  The Dessel building as it is known, has been sitting empty on Main Street for approximately 25 years according to the article. It is the second building in from the right in the photo above. 

Now this may not seem particularly newsworthy, but as I kept reading it stated, "A lengthy discussion ensued regarding liability, insurance, maintenance, possible uses for the structure, and possible demolition of the building."  Now this got me a little riled up, as I have been dreaming more or less about having my own little letterpress business in this building and residing in the second floor.  Now, this is obviously just a dream at this point, but now that they are talking demolition, it really breaks my heart. 

An excerpt from Reflections of a Golden Era, Ossian, Iowa shares this about the Dessel building: 
"The year 1898 found much new construction in Ossian.  F. W. [Dessel] started the construction of the "Dessel Building." This building is 42' x 100', 2 stories in height with a brick and stone front. The huge limestone blocks which are at the 4 corners of the basement area were quarried from the Fred J. Figge quarry south of Ossian in the Silver Springs area."  It goes on to mention that the walls are 6 bricks wide and the Dessel business closed in 1962.  

I would really hate to see the building go.  It could be utilized in so many different ways.  I just hope the city reconsiders or perhaps sells it off to someone wanting to utilize and preserve the building. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tea and Tarts

Last week I decided to have a little lady pampering party for a few friends. When I was planning the party, I really wanted to use these vintage display pieces that I had found recently. They are kind of like mini cupcake trees, but I haven't seen them anywhere else.
I began searching for dessert recipes that would be appropriate for the display tree and thought; Tarts! They'd be perfect. I eventually found a recipe on the Joy of Baking for Shortbread Tarts with Cream Filling, using blueberries for the topping, and they were delicious!

Here is the recipe:

1 cup (227 grams) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (72 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch or rice flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

1-8-oz. (227 grams) package cream cheese - softened
1-14 ounce (396 grams) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Any combination of berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) or other fruit such as slices of kiwi.

Shortbread Tarts: Lightly butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, 36 miniature muffin tins (approximately 2 inch (5 cm) in diameter). Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together (approximately two minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix just until incorporated.

Divide the dough into 36 even pieces and place one ball of dough in the center of each muffin tin. With your fingertips, press the dough up the sides of the individual muffin tin so there is an indentation in the center. Once filled, place the tart pan, with the unbaked shells, in the freezer for about 10 minutes so the shortbread can become firm. (This will help to prevent the shortbread from puffing up during baking.)

Bake for approximately 18 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned. About halfway through the baking time, lightly prick the bottom of each shortbread, with the tines of a fork, if they have puffed up. Check again after another five minutes and prick again if needed. Once they are fully baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, remove the tarts from the pan. (These may be made in large quantities and frozen.)

CREAM CHEESE FILLING: In your food processor or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and process until smooth. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. It is best to make the filling at least a day in advance to give it time to become firm and for all the flavors to mingle.
To serve: Using two small spoons, fill the tart shells with the cream cheese filling. The filled tart shells can be made several hours in advance and refrigerated. Just before serving top with fresh berries or cut up fruit.
Makes about 36 - 2 inch (5 cm) miniature tarts.