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Heidi Shenk "etsy shop"

Many of you have been following the recent pencil saga via Instagram and Twitter. About six months ago, I started to brainstorm ideas for products to add to my shop. This was when I was in the dreaming phase of quitting my teaching job and thinking about ways that I could expand to make this a reality. I began making lists of items and ideas that I wanted to add that made sense with cards and stationery, but I simply didn't have the time to do it. Over the past three months, and as the school year was winding down and I knew I wasn't going back in the fall, I started researching the possibilities of adding pencils to my shop.

At first, I looked into the possibility of having pencils imprinted based on words or phrases that I ordered from a pencil company. As I began looking into what it would cost to do this, I started to think that it just simply didn't make sense to go that route. First, the Etsy marketplace doesn't allow the resale of mass-produced items, and I'm not one to try to sneak around. Second, my business is a handmade business, so it seemed natural that I should stick to that. My cards are all cut, scored, printed, folded, and packaged by hand. My notebooks are all cut, printed, punched, and bound by hand. I wanted to continue the handmade nature of my shop since that's what I love about it most.

I spent the next few months trying to figure out what my next steps would be. I began reading about hot foil presses. I wanted to get a hot foil press, but the cost was exuberant. Then I ran across a few articles that suggested vintage presses. I began a new set of research to find out which presses performed the best and would most likely still be of use today. I finally decided on the type of press that I wanted and I waited until the right one came along. Finally, an amazing deal popped up. I waffled over it for about four days until Andrew, getting annoyed with my indecisiveness, finally said, "Just get the damn press! It's a hell of deal and even if it's a risk it's one that I know you can make pay off!" So I bought it. A Kingsley hot foil press that is probably circa 1950s, in near mint condition (minus a missing handle, hence the screwdriver).

I truly want to share more about this press with you all in another blog post. I will be taking photos of everything that came with the press to share with you because it is truly a piece of history in itself. But for now, after all of this back story, I want to share another true labor of love that I have added to my shop-- imprinted pencils. Each pencil has been hand stamped on my Kingsley press so no two are exactly alike. I'll be adding more pencil colors and phrases (trust me, I have a whole section in my idea book full of them!) as I am able. Here is a look at a few of the current options.

In addition to the pencils that are available ready to ship, I also have a custom option for those of you that want your own phrase or name on a pencil. The custom pencils are available as a minimum set of 10 due to the time it takes to set the type and press the pencils.

I know that I often say that I'm super excited about new cards or products, but this has to be one of the most exciting so far! The entire story of the press as well as the process for making these pencils is truly energizing. It truly is a creative process that feels incredibly rewarding on a personal level.

What do you think about the new pencils? Have you been learning or experiencing any new creative processes lately?

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