Tag Archives: work

Portland Button Works, or the thing that has been in the back of my head for months…

Portland Button Works has been an idea kicking around for months. I walked by an empty store front last autumn and thought “It would be nice to have a shop. I could sell buttons. I could sell my custom buttons from an actual shop. I could let  people make their own buttons and have the machines lined up on a bench. I could sell zines too!”  The reality busted in “Shops have a lot of overhead. You would have to be there a lot. What would you do when you left town?” So, I tucked that idea into the back of my head.

Then Derek gave me the large percentage chance that he was moving back to Portland. I was stoked that he would again be working on the Portland Zine Symposium and having him closer would make it a lot easier to put out episodes of Nobody Cares About You Stupid Zine Podcast. Derek also makes custom buttons and someone asked him what he was going to do when he moved back and if he and I would have turf wars for button business, then that person suggested we form a collective.  We joked about it and I told him about my button dream.

The next day he told me that he had a dream that night. In the dream we had a button business called One Hour Buttons, where people could pick up their buttons in about an hour. Something came out of that dream, we started to talk about the things we would want and not want in a shop. We talked about business and physical locations all the idea that we were dreaming about, but every time I would say something about an opinion I thought he might not like, he actually agreed. It was really exciting to think about but it was still just a dream.

Then a space was open that would require us to look at it immediately once we got back from the Chicago Zine Fest. We thought we would look at that and a few other spaces but first, we had to have a serious talk. So, we sat down over breakfast. It was fun to make lists and share googleDocs of ideas but the brass tacks of it were scary and involved leases, insurance, promotion, and deciding what to do with our individual businesses.

The deciding what to do with our individual button businesses was a big thing, still is, especially for me. I’ve been making  custom buttons in Portland since 2000 and working under the business Small World Buttons since 2006. I have a lot of repeat customers in Portland and beyond and I had to build all of that back up since I left where I was working before.  The truth is that I can see my personal capacity coming at me. There is only so much I could do alone from promotions to the actual button pressing. I’m tired of going at it alone in business. Derek is a good friend and hard worker. I have organized the Portland Zine Symposium and a podcast with him. He”l, we’ve even traveled two days on a train to Chicago and didn’t get on each other’s nerves! Derek is clever and funny and excitable and has lots of skills that I don’t. He’s good at encouraging me and pushing me when I need to be pushed. We have a lot of compatible values, ethics, and politics. And even though he is straight edge, I know I will enjoy this new business partnership in my life.

So, the past 2 weeks were about business filings and setting up credit union accounts and getting all our ducks in a row. We have approached a small handful of zines we would like to carry, we have build a website, I’ve purchased a new button machine in 2.25″ size that will make bottle openers, we have worked out a logo, and more things we can’t actually talk about yet. I am really excited about this!

So, along with creating this website here: Portland Button Works, the Facebook page: here, and the Twitter page here we have also started an IndieGoGo campaign. I have a bit of money but having more will really help. If you can give anything it will help us out.  We wanted your contribution to be an investment for you to get something you would already want so reward levels range from copies of our zines, a Portland Button Works bottle opener, pre-orders of custom items, and lifetime discounts on custom orders.  While your monetary contributions would be greatly appreciate, we would also love it if you could help promote this project and spread the word about our fundraiser.

Please go here to help out!

Thanks so much! Words of support and encouragement are greatly appreciated!

 

30 Day Photo Meme- Day 23

Day 23- Your desk or work area

My work area this morning has been my bed with jackie next to me. Our new memory foam bed is way too hard to get out of in the morning.

Day 24- Something important to you
Day 25- Graffiti you have seen
Day 26- Something you do everyday
Day 27- Your favorite place
Day 28- A favorite piece of clothing
Day 29- Something you like
Day 30- A photo of you today

 

30 Day Photo Meme – Day 18

Day 18- Where you work/go to school

I work at home in a room directly before my bedroom. I press buttons and magnet for people and package up zines and books. Ideally it looks like this:

But mostly it is a mess. Last night, while I was finishing up some work, these three shelves fell on me spilling EVERYTHING onto me head and the floor.

There was actually more on the bottom shelf. I got really frustrated and stacked on the boxes on the floor. I’ll re-hang the brackets on another day.
Day 19- Something you love
Day 20- Your mailbox
Day 21- A photo you are proud of
Day 22- Something you cooked
Day 23- Your desk or work area
Day 24- Something important to you
Day 25- Graffiti you have seen
Day 26- Something you do everyday
Day 27- Your favorite place
Day 28- A favorite piece of clothing
Day 29- Something you like
Day 30- A photo of you today

The busy-ness of business

I have been super busy and also sad that I can’t find my card for my digital camera!

The contractor  finally came and poured concrete on the part of the sidewalk that they city made me replace. We thought long and hard about what to write in it. So long that it was very difficult to cut anything into the cement that wasn’t quite wet. I was going to go with “BUREAUCRACY IN ACTION” In reference to what seem like a scheme the city has set up. If you don’t fix the sidewalk they will do and it charge you an arm and a leg. On top of that they start sending your information out to other contractors who will send you a dozen letters about how they can fix your sidewalk.

Anyway, we decided to just go with “MIND THE GAP” Hoping people get the London Underground reference and not think I’m talking about the clothing store. The idea is that maybe people will take notice and not trip over the protruding 3/4 inch rise that our tree roots will end up making as years go on. One of my friends with mobility issues laughed that the city made me fix such a minor problem. Oh well, now it is done!

I am in the middle of a large button order with several small ones that I’m actually contracting Paul to do. But yesterday I followed my horoscope and put pleasure before work. My friend Sam had brought me back a fist full of real vanilla beans so I made sugar cookies with real vanilla. I made frosting with natural coloring: yello Tumeric (it was good!) brown cinnamon, purple blackberry juice from my yard and also just plain vanilla with vanilla bean.

I don’t really like sweets so when I cook them I eat one of two and then have to talk my housemates into eating them. Which is sort of a problem right now because two of our housemates are at camp, one a cook in Massachusetts and the other as a counselor here in Oregon. Which means that Paul and I have the house to ourselves. We are also looking for a new housemates for our empty room which is difficult when two of the people who will be living here can’t meet a new person. Know of anyone looking for a room?

I’m still loving my new kitchen. I am waiting for a few more things to finish it up. I have almost decided to keep the 1940′s base cabinets and get a new counter top and sink. That would make this kitchen remodel complete! Unfortunately countertops are crazy expensive. boo.

My friend James moved to Portland this week. He was one of my closest friends right before I moved to Portland 10 years ago. He was really there for me and has stayed my friend since. We have all sorts of fun discussions so I’m excited to actually live in the same town again. I feel like I’m his personal concierge answering text questions about how far it is from point A to point B and where he can get an omlette downtown. It is cute and I’m stoked that he is so excited to live here.

Ok, I need to get back to work. Here’s some stuff on the internets to look at:

I wrote this scatterbrained article about the Portland Zine Symposium for Last Hours in the UK.

My friend Zach takes neat pictures and he took these one of me up at the Riverhouse last week. We used to work together and he also used to live 2 houses away so we saw eachother a lot. good time. I think we would hang out more I would jsut actually look at my phone every now and then and called back. I really hate the phone.

long post about the past two weeks…

It has been a hectic two weeks leading up to the Portland Zine Symposium and the aftermath workload has stretched me to my limit but I think I’m just about caught up. Currently I’m house/dog/car sitting for my sister at her house up in Kenton. I have had a bunch of buttons orders to take care of and I’e been chilling in the ait conditioning with her dogs.

Here’s a small recap of my past 2 weeks. Tuesday the 28th was my housemate marc’s birthday. He and my Paul, Lisa and other paul are in a band called The Tagalongs. Marc wanted to play a show on his birthday so they decided to play in other Paul’s basement for their very first show.

It was fun! I really like them. Afterwards I sat in a hammock on the back porch and we realized that Shawn Granton is the connection between everything! We also decided that the Tagalongs would be my “backing band” durring the IPRC benefit show. I thought I would have other people reading from zine but it turned out that it was just bands and DJs and that made me feel a little weird so I thought I would add a band to my alloted set.

So the Tagalongs second show was at Holocene. They played well.

I was late getting to the Holcene show because I was freaking out at the IPRC trying to place people at tables for the symposium. We made it way too difficult for ourselve and we didn’t even realize it until Thursday. here is why:

1) we offered tables per day so we had people who had 1, 2, or 3 days that we had to seat.

2) we limited the full tables to 30 which left 120 half tables to place people with 3 days each table. There were a ridiculous amount of possibilities.

3) There were over 250 tablers that all had to be corresponded with including about 15 cancelations mostly due to economic reasons.

4) I had the bright idea to put the names and locations of the tablers in the program this year. I think it was a  great idea but it was way too much work.

After the IPRC show a bunch of us headed back to the IPRC and started making copies of the program, stapling and folding. I got home around 1:30am and got up at 5 to start working on things. My throat stated hurting and needless to say I was a bit sleep deprived but I had work to do.

I forgot to take a lot of photos and most of the symposium was a blur. I filled two cars with zine symposium crap like workshop supplies, old symposium merch,  donated food. Just lots of stuff that had to be hauled.

Most of this stuff stays in my basement for most of the year. How did the Portland Zine Symposium acquite so much crap?!

Most of this stuff stays in my basement for most of the year. How did the Portland Zine Symposium acquite so much crap?!

I think I spent more time making coffee than actually sitting at my table. I think things wenpretty smoothly. We had a lot of food donations and lots of coffee. Friday was pretty chill but I was beat by the end of it and headed home to crash.

Saturday was rad. I helped with a workshop about the Cascadia Zine Coaliting, an idea that came out of the zine librarian “(un)Conference. The idea is to promote zines in the pacific northwest. It was really rad to get everyone together and as soon as I’m back home with and all the symposium stuff is finally packed away I’m going to start some work on it.

I didn’t take too many photos but this one is a bit odd. I have never taken this shot at the symposium. Basically, if you walk out of the ballroom with all the tables and take a left this is what you see. From here you can take a skybridge to the Cramer building which is where all of our workshops are.

hallway to Cramer

hallway to Cramer

The Multnomah County Library always brings a huge library card to events and has people get pictures taken with it.

Androo Robinson and Paul Burke

Androo Robinson and Paul Burke

Me with the library card.

Me with the library card.

My walking brainstorm of a friend Rustin and his chapbooks including one full of poetry about staplers.

My walking brainstorm of a friend Rustin and his chapbooks including one full of poetry about staplers.

That’s about all the photos I took. The symposium breezed by and next thing I knew it was time to pack up all the stuff and head home again. We only ended up with one houseguest out of 3 we were supposed to have which was weird. I now how a huge pile of symposium supplies in my livingroom that I didn’t have time to put away.

Monday was spent tying up a couple of loose ends and Tuesday morning Paul and I headed to the airport to catch a plane to Oakland and BART to San Francisco to see Jarvis Cocker. We flew in on Tuesday and got to our hotel in Japantown that was on the corner of the hotel with a neat veiw out two windows. It was between 90 and 105 degrees in Portland and we were in San Francisco wearing sweathshirts wishing I had brought some leggings. weird.

Chase in the corner of our cozy room with nice screens for the windows.

Chase in the corner of our cozy room with nice screens for the windows.

view from one of our windows

view from one of our windows

We walked around about 5 miles and found the San Francisco Bewery which was alright. One the way back to our htel we stopped at BevMo! for our first BevMo! experience and loaded up on neat beers and a rad bottle opener that looks like a key but has a bottle opener cut into it.

At the Filmore we had the most expensive beer we have ever drank. Our mouths dropped at the $24 price tag for 2 beers! Holy Crap! good thinkg we had some beers before we left!

Jarvis put on an absolutely amazing show. I knew it would be. Were really close and to the left of the stage. I didn’t bring my camera so here are some photos from my phone.

i think this was either during Fat Children on Black Magic

i think this was either during Fat Children on Black Magic

On the way back to the BART station after eating at Herbivore we walked by that stupid Full House Park and the Full House House. There were tons of people standing around taking photos of the house. We thought it was hilarious!

So, we stopped and took a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. Paul actually took a photo of me taking a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. I dont have that one though.

So, we stopped and took a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. Paul actually took a photo of me taking a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. I don't have that one though.

and to round out this wacky post here is a cute home improvement cat

hi OJ!

hi OJ!

And one of our blooming artichokes that Pauls friend was amazed by.

And one of our blooming artichokes that Paul's friend was amazed by.

Tonight is our last night with the dogs and my sister’s air conditioning then it is back to my messy and hot house. Time for some serious cleaning and sorting.

The Zine Symposium starts in 1 week!

The Portland Zine Symposium starts one week from today! We pretty much have our workshop matrix sorted an dare working on tabling placement next week after we know who has dropped out and who is staying and whatnot.

I spenta  few hours yesterday driving around in rush hour traffic doing pick ups and shipping for items the symposium needs with fellow organizer Katie. I think we have most of what we need for symposiumn and for the 24 hour zine challege that is happening at Cosmic Money Comics this Saturday. We also have received several awesome donations.

On top of all that it seems that everyone wants buttons and they want them right now. I made 1,000 buttons on Tuesday and 900 buttons yesterday. people seem pleased with how quickly I have been getting them out but I don’t want to leave anything to chance when I know how much of a time suck the symposium is going to be next week.

I have been asked to take part in the IPRC‘s writing and comics certificate program. There is more information about it here and the Mercury even wrote a bit about it here. It is basically a year long course in publishing writing and comics. I’m going to be turning Stolen Sharpie Revolution into a lesson plan with the help of my mom. I’m hoping I can pull a lesson plan together with the spirit of SSR that there is no wrong way to make a zine and that my instruction is just a jumping off point. I think it should work out awesomely! Get in touch with the IPRC if you are interested in the courses.

Ok, back to button making!

I just heard from the printer than the first 1,000 copies of Stolen Sharpie revolution ship out on Monday! That’s good because I have pre-orders for 0ver 300 and that’s not even getting to few hundred I have to send our as promo copies. Want to you your self a copy? Read all about it here.

The other day I had a “take your partner to work day” I showed Paul all the ins and out of my various online shops and paypal, the strange organization of my office and packing area. he’s going to be running things while I’m out of the country. I’m taking down the craft roasted coffees, small custom button orders, and my zines so he will basicaly deal with larger button orders, premade catalog buttons and all the Stolen Sharpie Revolution orders.

I have been working on more promo SSR stuff and have a bit more to do before I send them out.

Right now I think I have allergies. I haven’t really had allergies since I was little. My head feels fuzzy and weird and I can’t think straight but my nose is not stuffy. I don’t think I like having allergies. it makes me feel non-productive. At least I didn’t catch the flu from hanging out with my sister the other day.

Stolen Sharpie Revolution so close I can taste it!

I feel old. I sat on the floor for 12 hours scanning and touching up pages for Stolen Sharpie Revolution yesterday. My body hurts. But, I should have  the book to the printer in a few days and then I can start taking preorders! I’m going to be so happy to have this done and over with… at least this part of it.

Here’s an image of me sitting on the floor with Marc’s cat Jackie supervising on the ottoman behind me.

silly cat

silly cat

Ok, back to work.