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Tallying Up

14 May

I got tired a while back of writing my business name at the top of each receipt. Yes, it’s a small thing, but it seemed to me that there were a number of reasons to have custom receipts printed. First, I wanted to give customers my information. Second, in a busy show, it’s challenging to keep up with wrapping and bagging, let alone needing to add another line to the receipt. So I went to a printer’s shop and asked for an estimate to have receipts printed. Ouch!!! Apparently they’re making them from gold leaf now-a-days. To be fair, my daughter told me later that I’d happened to stop in at the most expensive printer’s in my town. Perhaps if I’d chosen another shop things would have been different . . . .

Several hours later I’d designed my sales invoice in MS Word, and after another hour or so, I finally figured how to print them two to a page and have them end up precisely on top of one another once I cut the page in half and stacked them. (I wanted half-sheet receipts — the kind you get in most common receipt books.) About this time I was beginning to see a little bit of what the printer was charging for. 😳 Still, they had to have this stuff already templated, and besides — they presumably know what they’re doing. What took me so long might be 15 minutes for them. Still, it wasn’t 15 minutes for me! Never mind. Next time it will go faster, right? (I haven’t gotten to ‘next time,’ so I can’t say for sure, but surely it will!)

I ordered some padding compound from Dick Blick Art Supplies, and when it arrived, I took my uncut receipts to my mom’s to use her super-duper paper cutter. And it really is super duper. Only I didn’t realize that 8.5″ x 11″ paper isn’t really 8.5″ by 11″. It’s more like 10 7/8″. I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t. So as I’m sure you’ll realize straight away, I ended up cutting the first batch of receipts unevenly. Oh well. I would still make them work. After that little glitch, I cut the remaining receipts correctly, cleaned up my mess, took my precious little slips and headed back home. The pad compound worked great. I cut a back from some heavy stock, laid the receipts on top, and jogged the whole thing so that the top edge would come out even. I trapped my receipts (with the edge to be glued facing out) in a flower press my dad had made for me years earlier, and which I’ve been using as a book press. You could also use bulldog clips. I then painted the edge with pad compound, and went away and forgot about them until several hours later. Then I went into my art room to look for something, and there they were! The glue was dry, and they were perfectly padded together. Hooray! I promptly forgot (and still can’t remember) what I had been looking for.

It wasn’t enough that I had a receipt book. I wanted a folder to put it in. I chose to make it from some inexpensive watercolor paper I had previously made the mistake of buying in order to save a penny or two. It isn’t much good for watercolor, but it makes a great receipt book cover. Here’s a photo of the book, closed, after I had it at market all day. As you can see, there were a few quiet moments:

Receipt book cover with the doodles I’ve doodled so far.

And here is a photo of the opened receipt book:

The annotated receipt book cover — with receipt book installed.

When it’s been doodled all over, I’ll spray it with matte varnish and then paint matte medium over it. Then it will be easy to keep clean and nice. I wish I hadn’t used a white string, because it’s already starting to look dingy. So . . . when I get around to it, I’ll dye the string blue with a permanent marker. That should help a lot.

Counting up all the time I put into this silly little thing, the print shop would have saved me money. But it’s SOOOO cool! Plus, it won’t take me long to make the next receipt book now that I have the files ready to print. And of course the cover is reusable. I hope this will be useful to you — help you save a few dollars and give you something to doodle on in the interludes between the mobs pressing in to buy your beautiful wares. 🙂