Clothes for Jam.

My labels are done! Well, sort of.

After talking with the people at Renaissance Printing—which were hundreds of dollars cheaper than any other place I called throughout the country—I decided the design Isaac did wasn’t going to work out logistically. I wanted the text orange and red. Well, Renaissance didn’t have orange ink available for a 2 color job. They have standard colors and for some reason, orange just wasn’t one of them.


So I decided to go with red and white print on a full bleed black label. Only thing was, because there was text near the edge, and because of the font style, Renaissance said it could not be done.


So I was going to go with red and black ink on a white label. And it was going to be a generic “Sabimata” label which would not have the flavor/product type on it. I would just figure out something for the back label on my own, listing flavor along with ingredients. It would not be USDA legal but I was feeling frustrated by the whole getting legal in Florida thing, anyway.
But then something miraculous happened. On the way home from school my kids fell asleep. A deep sleep. The kind where I carried them from the car to their bed and they didn’t wake up.

Ahhh. Time. I finally had some!

I felt an urgency to get the labels done because there was a woman in California who had been waiting a few weeks for her jam. She was willing to wait for the labels, yet every time I thought I had it figure out, I didn’t. Anyway, I decided to take things into my own hands, starting out with the postcard design, moving on to the business card and then finishing up with the ever so important label.

I designed (if I may be so bold as to use that word) it all in Microsoft Word and, despite my lack of skill and training, felt the limitation of the program’s layout abilities. Nevertheless, I persevered. Everything was lining up just fine in the printer, but as insurance against future alignment issues, I purposely designed the labels to be off centered. Symmetry is beautiful, but not when you can’t get it to work out.

I was up very, very late working on this stuff. I was into it. I even learned keyboard shortcuts. I was feeling very professional and multi-talented. Here I was, a jam maker, food stylist (more on that another post) and now, a graphic designer.

Feeling self satisfied, I packed up an order from a friend of mine in New Jersey. Hers’ was the first postcard I filled out, and quickly I realized that 2 o’clock in the morning is an hour that naturally impairs already bad handwriting. “Penmenship” was not something I could claim to have mastered during my internship with Sabjimata. To remedy that I bought myself some good quality pens the next day.

The next couple of nights I spent printing labels and applying them to jars. Oooh, good fun. The labels require a little practice getting on the jars and there are a few different shaped jars so that also requires some added finesse. There were some bubbly, crinkly moments, but all in all things were looking good.

It was a change to see my jars of jam adorned with labels; I was used to them in their naked, glistening state. The labels do change the tone of things. The original design Isaac did was for 2 inch diameter labels which still allowed for a lot of naked jar. Now I am using 2” X 4” mailing labels which aren’t quite the label equivalent of a burqua, but they definitely do leave more to the imagination.

When my husband returned from work I was so excited to show him my fabulous design creations. We both admired the cohesiveness of the design from postcard to business card to label. When I first began looking into the label thing back in November, Festino recommended having one person design everything so that it was matchy matchy. His shirt design definitely inspired my choices and I think it all goes pretty well together.

I was feeling so happy. Totally positive, like jam would go somewhere. Jam was looking good. Jam had momentum. Life was happening for Jam. And then, my husband broke the bad news to me, which he said he told me before but that I refused to listen to him (I. of course, had no idea what he was talking about).

He told me that because everything was printed on an inkjet printer, everything would smudge badly if the ink came into contact with moisture. I was so upset that I decided to tune out everything he said after that.

So, more time wasted, more money spent. Office Depot has a color laser printer on sale (it also has a mail in rebate), which I am going to order online tonite. In the end printing at home will be cheaper than even printing at Kinko’s because I have so many varieties in small runs. Well, I guess exceptionally small runs because according to professional printers, 500 is a small run. I desperately need the flexibility home printing enables.

These setbacks feel frustrating because getting this jam thing together takes a lot of time, especially time away from my family during a really hectic period in our life. Although I am at home making jam, I am busy and cannot drop what I am doing at a blood curdling scream’s notice to see who is killing whom. Thankfully, my husband is a great father and loves spending time with the kids (when they are not busy killing each other). And he is really supportive of my jam gig.

Some may say that he is a real man of the times, giving generous emotional and financial support to me and my business, but I know the truth. He likes keeping me in my place: barefoot in the kitchen.


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