31 December 2008

Welcome 2009

As I was going through my Flickr pages I realized just what a busy and amazing year 2008 was. Billy and I quit our teaching jobs, said goodbye to our friends in Boston, and drove cross-country with two dogs (one riding shot gun in each car) to settle in New Mexico. It's been a year of personal ups, downs, homesickness, and all-around adjustments, but every day I wake up grateful for a wonderfully supportive partner, temperatures that average in the 50s, and clear mountain air.

Despite all the personal changes, I had an inspiring year in terms of my creative life. Several of my Gocco designs, especially the Jane Austen series (the notebook above is now sold out) and the llama card, received lots of lovely blog press. I was also in an article about Etsy in The Albuquerque Journal, especially exciting since it was my first print feature and I was so new in town!

Challenged by the dwindling Gocco supplies since rumors of factory closure began circulating early in the year, I began using more vintage elements in my work in 2008, creating buttons and magnets from old book illustrations. I also did some personal projects just for fun, refreshing my sewing skills and making this hat and hoping to actually finish this dress sometime in 2009! I also toted my new Diana camera to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and took some fun pictures.

Most exciting of all, I am now the owner of a lovely, century-old letterpress that I cannot wait to start creating new stationery on. Look for new letterpress designs, featuring cotton paper and soy-based ink, in the coming months. I'd also like to do some collage work and some bookbinding with the collection of vintage papers I've built up, but we shall see. There's only so much one woman's hands can do in a year.

Here's hoping for a creative, inspiring 2009 for all.

30 December 2008

So this is the new year . . .

1. Going to the top, 2. wake up

I've been busy hosting family this week, but I will be back in the New Year with a few thoughts on future projects and perhaps the---gasp!--- public airing of resolutions for 2009. I feel the same way about a new year as I do about shiny new notebooks and planners--- perfect, shiny, and full of possibility, until I use the wrong-colored, smudgy pen and muss it all up. I kid, sort of.

26 December 2008

Friday Finds: Vintage Owl from DomestiKate

I don't care if the owl trend has been declared dead. This is "Amy Winehowls," a vintage pottery owl from DomestiKate, and I love her.

Flickr Favorites 2

Christmas Brunch Recipes

I put on Christmas brunch this year, and was lucky enough to receive a new cookbook, Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe, on Christmas Eve. Her recipe for Mustard-Roasted Potatoes with Dill was the perfect last minute addition to our meal. The recipe:

4 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 lbs. small potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 to 2 tbsp minced fresh dill

1. Adjust the oven rack so that it is about one third of the way from the bottom of the oven, then preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking tray with foil, add 1 tbsp olive oil, and brush to distribute it over the foil.

2. Whisk the remaining 3 tbsp oil and the mustard in a medium-sized bowl. Add the potatoes and toss to coat.

3. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared tray, and place the tray in the oven on the rack you adjusted in step 1. Roast until the potatoes can be pierced fairly easily with a fork--- about 20 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the pieces.

4. Remove the tray from the oven, and sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, toss with fresh dill, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

(There's also a variation where Katzen replaces the mustard with wasabi--- yum!)

I also made a really good grapefruit-avocado salad that was really good and so pretty--- I'm regretting that I did not take a picture!

23 December 2008

And the winners are . . .

The winners of the Site Celebration Giveaway are Katie, Dana, and dangerousmezzo. All three ladies have been sent a coupon code for the item they liked the most!

Remember, if you did not win, you can still shop on the new site and enter the code BLOGLOVE at checkout for 30% off your first order.

22 December 2008

Are We There Yet?

Whew! It has been a busy few days of cooking, baking, last minute shopping, and other preparations for the family that is coming into town. I love the busy-ness of this time of year, but I'm also looking forward to setting up the luminarias in our yard, sitting down with a cup of tea and some cookies, snuggling with the dogs and watching It's a Wonderful Lifeand A Christmas Storyback to back for the third (and fourth, and fifth) time this year.

Above is some seasonal inspiration from my Flickr favorites. And just a wee reminder that there is only one more day to enter the giveaway!

Wishing you all a very happy holiday.

{ Individual photo credits: 1. Curious Squirrel, 2. Cardinal in Snowy Tree, 3. my coasters, 4. Untitled, 5. 24 Days of Christmas - 12/24, 6. Get the shovel !!!!!, 7. three little berries, 8. Titmouse, 9. We're Home! }

19 December 2008

Flickr Favorites

Flickr is such an inspiring place that I thought I would start a regular post exploring the interplay between my favorites.

18 December 2008


I was so thrilled to find a little message in my inbox this morning from Jen Skelley--- I won one of her awesome screeprinted calendars! You can pick up one for yourself in her Etsy shop, if you like.

And hey--- don't forget to enter my own giveaway below!

Friday Finds: Tweeter Brooch

I am in love. From the super-talented thenoisyplume.

{After I had my coffee I realized I am a day early. Happy Thursday, everyone!}

17 December 2008

If I had the decorating gene . . . Part 2

I know these images have been making the blog rounds the past few days. The creator was kind enough to let me share them here, too (hint: click on the images to make them larger and see all the lovely detail).

{Originally discovered via OnceWed, who was via Lobster and Swan,
and seen again on Poppytalk}

16 December 2008

Site Celebration: A Giveaway!

Hello darlings! As many of you know, I am super-excited to have the new website up and running. And to celebrate, I thought I would host a little giveaway!

Here's how it works: From now until December 22, visit the new site and then come back to this post and leave a comment stating what your favorite item in the shop is. Then, on December 23, I will choose three winners using the Random Number Generator. Those three winners will receive individualized coupon codes for their favorite item in the shop (shipping included, but one item only please!). That's it! Just be sure to leave some way for me to contact you in your comment, and have fun looking!

{Remember, if you can't wait to win, you can enter the code BLOGLOVE for 30% off your first order at the new site until February 1st.)

Hello From Snowy Albuquerque

My New England heart is glad today. It snowed all day yesterday, and even though it wasn't much in my book, people tend to freak out and stay indoors here. Which is a-okay by me; I spent the snowy evening making one little Black Apple doll for my niece. Sadly, my skills have declined in recent years. I used to make jointed teddy bears, for Pete's sake, and this felt doll's head is all lumpy. But that is the great thing about making presents for toddlers--- they are not perfectionists. I'm knitting this doll a tiny scarf and cap today, and am also starting on a little friend for her, while the snow thaws out.

Oh, and I'll be posting a giveaway for the website later this afternoon.

15 December 2008

If I had the decorating gene . . .

I would do it like this.

{Image from Living Etc., via Design is Mine.}

(Just a small note that my finger is still killing me--- whoever knew a nail was that important?--- so I'm not doing much with my hands and am really, really bored. This might translate into a giveaway to celebrate the new website.)

14 December 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen

Two new sets of buttons that are available here and here. These are made from vintage children's encyclopedias and remind me of the perfectly polished characters in one of my favorite shows, Mad Men.

Cheese Log, Lady Fingers . . .

Yesterday, in the midst of party preparations, I did something incredibly stupid. I was making this cheese log, and the recipe calls for blending all ingredients with an electric mixer. Well, we don't have an electric mixer (I keep meaning to replace our old one), but we do have an immersion blender. So I used that, and got it jammed with cheese in about three seconds. So I stuck my fingers in the blades to unjam it. AND THEN I TURNED THE BLENDER ON.

It was one of those weird slow-motion moments that went from What the? to Ow, that kind of hurt to OH MY GOD I AM GUSHING BLOOD INTO THE BOWL LIKE MAD AND HAVE NO FINGERNAIL. The dogs were traumatized, I was traumatized, and Billy had to run home to bring me to the emergency room for a tetanus shot and some serious bandaging.

Last night eggnog and bourbon helped, but today it's a bit sore. This makes some last-minute gift making a bit more challenging. Hey, I can handle a challenge. Our ugly sweater party went off without a hitch, and my finger made for some good conversation (although people were understandably nervous about the second cheese log).

12 December 2008

And tomorrow . . .

is our first annual ugly Christmas sweater party. I can only hope that hilarity such as that in the picture above ensues. Hey, we finally get to serve eggnog in these tacky glasses. We are doing a Yankee Swap. And we have our pickle ornament. And we also have, perhaps best of all, one of these. Apparently, I survive the holidays by making them as hideous as I possibly can. What more could a girl ask for?

Shop Update: Llama Llove

The llama cards are almost sold out in the brown and white (only one left in the Etsy shop!), so I updated both here and here with a new run in soft blue and turquoise.

I also printed up these little cards, which make perfect Valentines or thank you notes. They are also available on the site and in the Etsy shop.

Remember you can use the code BLOGLOVE at the new website for 30% off your first order!

11 December 2008

Friday Finds (a bit early): Lion Gocco Print by Lab Partners

This limited edition Gocco print by Lab Partners is lovely in its own right, but proceeds from the print also go to a great cause. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Uganda Village Project Scholarship Fund, a charity that helps Ugandan children attend secondary school. You can purchase the print here.

10 December 2008


Brigid over at Grey Eyed Scorpio tagged me . . . here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

So here are my six random facts/quirks . . .

1. Every year, I have a glass pickle on my Christmas tree. You can read about the German tradition here, but mine just stems from the fact that I just really, really like pickles.
2. One summer in college I was a nanny for an American family in the South of France.
3. I am a fabulous cook, but only a fair baker.
4. Hazelnut-flavored coffee makes me break out in hives.
5. I have driven cross-country twice.
6. One of my dream vacations is a horseback safari in Kenya (they really exist! See here.) Essentially I want to do everything Ernest Hemingway did, save for that pesky shotgun incident. And yes, I am aware I have a vagina and am not a hardcore alcoholic.

(Do you think using the word vagina two posts in a row will increase my hits? Let's hope so.)

I'm going to wrap this up by tagging Amy Olson, Julia at minecreations, Tameka at Tea and Honey Bread, Michelle at Cicada Daydream, Silver Gelatin, and The Sea Within. Have fun, ladies!

09 December 2008

The Sexy Peach

I don't blog about sex, and for lots of good reasons besides the fact that you probably don't want to hear about it, at least here. My family reads this blog, as do former coworkers and lots of other random people I don't know personally. So I don't blog about sex. Instead, I blog about the fact that I make lots of little magnets from lots of little pictures. I sell lots of little magnets made from lots of little pictures at lots of little shows. You wouldn't think this would be read as sexual. Ever. Until this weekend.

Scene: At a small local craft fair.
Woman walks by my table, studies magnet display. Smiling at all the cute animal magnets. Suddenly, she frowns and looks up at me.

Woman: Don't you think that's a tad, ahem (clears throat, stage whispers while looking away from her child), inappropriate?

Me: (cranes neck to look at front of display): What? The peach?

Woman: Yes. (Points, slightly frantic, continues stage whisper) That. One. RIGHT. THERE.

Me: Um, I'm sure it's a peach? At this point I fully understand what she's getting at, but since she's such a prude, I'm hoping I can actually make her say "vagina," genitalia," "vulva," or even "hoo-haw."

Woman: I really do not appreciate that.

Me: (smiles) Well, have a nice day.

Woman takes child's hand and scurries away in a huff. I decide to rearrange my display with the shocking peach right in the center, hoping that by some unknown Freudian force it will draw lots and lots of customers. It doesn't. So it is still available here.

The moral of this story is, if you are confusing tiny peach magnets with vaginas, you need more fruit in your life. And more sex. And probably more of these guys.

No Title, Just Calm

I wanted to share what may be my favorite photo on Flickr ever (and bicyclettes was generous enough to let me share it with you). I could meditate on this image, every day. And I don't even meditate.

No clever thought for today . . . now that holiday shows are over, I'll be working on a huge site update and adding a few things to the Etsy shop as well. Other than that I'm trying to enjoy the Christmas-y hustle and bustle rather than letting it make me crazed and rushed.

08 December 2008

Big Thing No. 2

Remember Big Thing No. 1? Well, here is Big Thing No. 2. It is sitting in the late morning light of my studio in all it's antique glory--- a Baltimore #11 letterpress, over 100 years old. And actually, "big thing" may be a bit of a misnomer. The #11 is quite small for a letterpress, and I'll be starting by printing things like gift tags, calling cards, and little 4bar notes.

I took a wonderful letterpress and bookbinding class at Albertine Press over a year ago and fell in love with the letterpress process. The idea of procuring a press and the necessary equipment, though, seemed way too intimidating--- until the demise of Gocco. In a way, the closing of one door motivated me to open another. Billy kept encouraging me to get one, and when you are lucky enough to have someone that supportive, what can you do but listen? I'm so very, very excited to begin exploring letterpress with my sweet new little machine.

(If you are unfamiliar with letterpress, this short letterpress documentary is worth watching.)

07 December 2008

Away in a Manger

This little decoration is one of my favorite ornaments on our tree, a handmade object that my father crafted in Catholic school over fifty years ago. He entrusted it to me awhile back, and I love its plastic-and-paste, worn charm.

Handmade Holidays: Force Red and Green and (Paper)white Bulbs

Okay, so these don't look like much now, but they will in a few weeks, I promise. And they make great gifts. When the paperwhites (also known as narcissus) bloom, they smell wonderful and look clean and cheery in the dead of winter.

Gather a few glass jars or old vases--- I like to reuse old canning jars. Fill 2/3 of the way with firm, fresh cranberries (you can also use small pebbles, but I like the red-white-green thing these have going on). Place a paperwhite bulb in the center, and fill in any gaps with more cranberries. Then fill the jar with cold, clean water and place in a cool windowsill and wait. In a few weeks you'll have an amazing display of greenery and sweet white flowers. Tie raffia or ribbon around the jar and presto, instant present.

05 December 2008

My New Favorites

Sometimes I put these sets together and just want to keep them. This one features all my favorite things about New England. Available on the new site (remember you can get 30% off with the code BLOGLOVE).

Friday Finds: Red

Another cotton jersey scarf by MaryInk. I want it; it can be found here. I also had fun perusing some Dala horse items recently. Cheery, folkloric, and Christmas-y. I love them all.

{Drawstring bag (perfect for pressies!) by designnight.}

{Gift tags by thecraftpantry.}

{Set of 8 notecards by blomma}

04 December 2008

Holiday Sale

I know, I know. Yesterday I copped to the fact that my posts have been very business-focused lately, and today I'm telling you about another sale. But have you bought your Christmas cards yet, hmmmmm? Have you?

All cards (and the sweet little chickadee ornament) are now marked down on the website and in the Etsy shop so that people still have time to send them (on the website, remember you can use the code BLOGLOVE for even more savings).

03 December 2008

Tutorial: Junk Mail Stickers

I know that my posts have been increasingly business-focused lately, and I apologize for that. I've been really consumed with launching the new website and some other side projects, but I realize it's probably made for really boring reading. That's why today seemed like a perfect time to do another tutorial! I've been making these stickers for awhile and often include them as freebies with Etsy orders. They're quick, easy, and a great way to reuse pretty papers that you would otherwise throw away. Please, just forgive the dark photos that follow, since I did these last night in front of the television.

You will need a craft punch in the shape of your choice. I'm partial to the Martha Stewart ones, but be advised that simpler shapes work better; ornate shapes will likely tear when you try to go and use the sticker. You will also need a bone folder and a Xyron sticker maker. Finally, gather some junk mail that you can reuse. I'm partial to the Paper Source and Anthropologie catalogs for two very specific reasons: 1) they have pretty prints that translate well into stickers and 2) the paper is matte and a heavier quality than most junk mail, making more durable stickers. And now I need to make the disclaimer where I say I receive these catalogs anyway, and that if you go and request them it's not really recycling in your craft. Okay? Okay.

First, take your craft punch and punch some shapes. Use the window on the back to position patterns and prints and crop out anything you don't want to show up.Next, take your shape and feed it into the Xyron sticker maker. Use the line in the center to feed your shape in the direction you want it.From the bottom of the machine, pull the sticker through. There are two layers, with your shape being sandwiched in the middle--- an adhesive layer and a backing. Your shape is being coated with adhesive as it is being pulled through the machine (I should note here that Xyron makes two kinds of cartridges for the sticker maker--- permanent and repositionable. Both are archival, but your junk mail probably is not).
When you are ready, tear the sticker sheet off. Rub over the sheet (and especially around the edges of your shapes) with the bone folder.Then peel the mylar sheet away from the backing. Ta-DA! Now you have some sweet little stickers.Keep going to your heart's content. These are addictive and a great, cheery little way to seal up your Christmas cards and packages. Happy sticker making!

02 December 2008

Five for the 25th

As much as I fancy myself a crank and a cynic, I am unashamedly, unabashedly, nostalgically in love with certain Christmas albums. It reminds me of winter and Vermont and childhood and all good things. Here are five I cannot live without:

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi

A Christmas Together by John Denver and The Muppets

The Little Drummer Boy by Adolphe Adam

Little Drummer Boy: Christmas Favorites by the Vienna Boys Choir

And . . . I must break down and buy Sufjan Stevens' album Songs for Christmas this year, too!

I'd love to hear what others listen to during the holiday season.
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