29 February 2008

Hop! Card. Made on Leap Day.

Yes. I did it. I managed to get out the Gocco tonight and printed these cards--- a totally whimsical vintage image of rabbits and tiny hopping frogs. Here's a little preview--- I'll post a full photo tomorrow, along with the listing in my Etsy shop.

Easter Ephemera

I plan on updating my Etsy shop this weekend. Which means I need, I must dust off the Gocco tonight while my husband is at band practice. I have two versions of a lovely rabbit card designed, and the reminder that Easter comes early this year is even more motivation to get going.

In the meantime, as promised, I'm going to share a little more of my collection of vintage ephemera. Vintage images are a real source of inspiration for my Gocco work. While I prefer simpler Victorian engravings, I really love the quirky weirdness of the first one. A rabbit in a clown suit balancing on an egg? Huh? In the second, the pussywillows and the chicks with little ribbon leashes are just too sweet.

28 February 2008

Blossoms and Butterflies

Life keeps interfering with craft this week . . . specifically with all my big Gocco plans. I did, however, manage to make a new set of pretty recycled stickers. I love the Japanese style-blossoms on these. They're available in my Etsy shop.

26 February 2008

A Personal Update . . . and Found Magazine

First off, I really need to apologize for the lack of crafty posts. I really do love sharing my own work, but I just haven't found the time for printing the most recent designs (more of the Jane Austen series and some bunnies coming up shortly, I really do promise). I'm short on time and supplies lately. On the upside, a custom order for wedding invitations has been keeping me in a fresh creative frame of mind (I'll share those end results, too).

In the meantime, if you liked seeing the first bits of my photobooth collection, perhaps you'll enjoy the random awesomeness that is Found Magazine. They publish "found" materials submitted by readers--- like the note above.

Have I mentioned I teach high school? Between walking our dogs in the city and what ends up on the floor of my classroom, I have a potential goldmine of submissions. Sometimes I think about all the tragic tidbits I could mail in, if I wouldn't feel so darn guilty about it. But right now, my classroom is like my own little microcosm of revealing found objects, I guess.

24 February 2008

Photobooth No.2

This was given to me by an old friend who said I reminded him of the girl in the picture. I'm not quite sure I took that as a compliment, but it's a sweet little picture nonetheless.

Visual Vocabulary: Dahlias

I know that dahlias are more of a late summer rather than an early spring flower, but they're lovely and cheerful and looking at them in late February makes me feel all warm and hopeful. I had a bouquet full of ivory dahlias and herbs for my wedding, but I also love the intense pink ones shown here.

{All images from Eric in SF on Flickr.}

Photobooth No.1

After posting about Lisa Congdon's inspiring arrangements of her collections the other day, it became apparent that there is one place I can currently display my collections--- right here!

I'll be posting images from my photobooth collection first, and then some vintage postcards.

Do you like the first one? I think the girl's hair is awesome.

23 February 2008

Flower Bunny Necklace from LOOKAjewelry

After posting a flurry of rabbit images, I had to follow up with this necklace from LOOKAjewelry. I met Liz awhile back at the Providence Open Market and have been in love with this necklace ever since. It's silver. It's a bunny. It has flowers. What could be better?

Visual Vocabulary: Little Rabbits on Flickr

After recalling the book The Little Rabbit, I went and looked all some little rabbits on Flickr. Hope they make you smile!

I may just do some bunny cards regardless. Forget about timing!

1. Bunny, 2. Our first run in with bunnies (06/2005), 3. Bunny, 4. Macro-Bunny, 5. beautiful baby bunnies, 6. Baby Bunnies - Day 16, 7. Flopsy Bunny :), 8. Bunny Paws, 9. Tiny Small Bunny, 10. bunnies bunnies everywhere, 11. Flopsy Bunny :), 12. MILKA, A TINY FLUFFY BUNNY-SNOWFLAKE

The Little Rabbit

We're having some late winter (please?) snow this weekend, and in an effort to think myself out of a February funk I tried to visualize how I think of "spring." I totally intended to do Easter-themed Gocco cards and was playing around with a few designs, but Easter is coming so early this year that time seems to have gotten away from me. Then, suddenly, this book popped into my head: The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn. I used to read this with my parents and sister all the time. In fact, my Dad and I did our own "publication" that probably drew a lot of inspiration from The Little Rabbit (and just might be a future blog post).

My childhood copy is well-worn and well-loved (and still around somewhere, I hope). There's nothing better than recalling the memory of a good book that also involves images of bunnies and buttercups.

If I struck a nostalgic cord, there are used copies of the book available online!

22 February 2008

More Space, More Things?

My husband and I live in a very small urban space. Very small. So I squelch my inner collector in the hopes that it will maintain my sanity and a sense of order in the apartment. Two things I have a real weakness for, though, are vintage kitchenware (especially pretty plates) and old ephemera like photobooth pictures and postcards. Right now I keep a collection of Victorian postcards and old photobooth snapshots in an album.

I was so inspired to see the way Lisa Congdon arranges her collections of similar items (via Poppytalk). Maybe someday?

21 February 2008

Gocco Printing on Wood

Over the past few months I've been charmed by wood veneer stationery making the rounds in the blog world (Oslo Press and Night Owl Paper Goods have particularly lovely designs). All this veneer, along with the current faux bois trend, got me curious if Gocco printing would work well on wood. The news I heard from other Gocco'ers wasn't encouraging, but I decided to give it a go--- mostly because a wood veneer wholesaler was kind enough to send me a whole package of samples to experiment with before I decided to place a big order.

Above is the result. The ink took well, and the image is true to the design. My only concern is that the wood veneer is too thin to hold up for correspondence--- the corners have already bent. I think I will hold off listing any in my Etsy shop until the quality is perfect. The wholesaler does have a "postcard weight" veneer that may hold up better.

I'll follow up with another post!

19 February 2008

First Sewing Project

Yeah, yeah. I know I should have started by doing something simple, like a pillow or napkins. But I don't do things the simple way.

Let me start by saying that this top was supposed to be a handmade version of a tunic in Anthropologie that I couldn't afford. Let me also say that Joann Fabric's was having an amazing President's Weekend sale. I got the pattern for a dollar and the fabric was $1.50 a yard. So I guess a few screw-ups are allowed.

My perfectionism is getting the better of me, though. The top has taken the better part of two days (way longer than I thought it would) and while I am close to done, I can't quite figure out how to finish off the straps in a way that looks, well, finished.

Any advice? I'd love it if sewing enthusiasts would post a few tips.

18 February 2008

Fabric Lust

I'm going to the fabric store later today . . . Alas, the awesome Purl Soho is too far away for a rainy day like today. I'm looking forward to experiment with Gocco printing on fabric, but I'm also in love with these pretty Japanese prints. They remind me of spring and also the cute homemade dresses my mom and grandmother would make me in the late 70s and early 80s.

All fabric shown is from Purl Soho.

17 February 2008

Hurry Up, Spring! Sale on Etsy

The cards above are on sale now in my Etsy shop. I need to make room in my teeny, tiny apartment and I need to make room in my shop for new spring items!

You can see all items on sale here.

16 February 2008

Jane Austen Card No. 2

I took advantage of some time today to print the second card in my Jane Austen series. The card reads "I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible." This brilliant comment on language and communication is from Austen's novel Northanger Abbey.

It's available in my Etsy shop.

15 February 2008

Rest? I'm not sure I know how.

Today was my last day of teaching for a whole week. This is a welcome break which I've already filled, in my obsessive-compulsive manner, with a long list of things to do. A lot of those things involve our household and our upcoming move, but I am hoping to squeeze in some time to create. I'm looking forward to the following this week:
  • Printing the next card in my Jane Austen series on my Gocco.
  • Break in the new sewing machine that my Dad gave me for my birthday (thanks, Dad!).
  • Use the new pattern books along with the new sewing machine.
  • Perhaps needle felt a baby bunny to go with the bigger one I made a few weeks ago.
  • Experiment with Gocco printing on fabric.
And perhaps less fun, but equally necessary:
  • Clean and organize my work space so I can actually, erm, work in it.
  • Experiment with reshooting some of my cards for the Etsy shop.
In posting this I realized I've probably already burned through a week. I need to learn how to chill like our Rottweiler, Bear.

14 February 2008

Feel the Love

I love you. You know who you are. And I am making you chocolate fondue later.

Card available in my Etsy shop.

12 February 2008

More Stickers

I've been busy making more stickers from old magazine images . . . I really love how different patterns show up in the butterfly shapes. Each is random, different, and pretty. These are my latest available for sale in my Etsy shop.

My grandmother, being the pack rat and farm gal that she is, gave me a bunch of her seed catalogs, so look for lots of floral butterflies soon!

11 February 2008

Custom Thank You Notes

This weekend I finished a custom order. The bride-to-be requested my "Thank you, my deer" cards in her wedding colors, red and aqua. Love the cheerful color story! I bet the wedding will be smashing.

If you have a custom request, please feel free to email me.

Rustic Cabbage Soup

I made this last week (the recipe is originally from the site 101 Cookbooks and can be found here). It's perfect for a cold New England evening. And if you skip the sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, it's vegan!

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock
1 1/2 cups white beans, precooked or canned (drained & rinsed well)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
more good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes - it's o.k. to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is (varying widely between brands, homemade, etc)...

Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.

Serves 4.

I Love You, Ira Glass

I drove to Vermont this weekend to see my cousin and his new bride, who had flown in from Tibet (yes, I said Tibet). It was a long drive and I love the sparseness this time of year . . . literally the only colors I saw were white, brown, black, and gray. It was the perfect chance to let my mind stop it's running monologue, enjoy the scenery, and catch up on some old episodes of This American Life.

I love driving and crafting to This American Life because their thematic format keeps me entertained without obnoxious, loud, or intrusive. It's good humored, gentle, and cerebral all at the same time.

I highly recommend the August 2007 episode "Break-Up" (available in the archives) with Valentine's Day on the horizon. It's cringe-inducing. Not to spoil anything, but one of the contributors writes a break-up song and shares it with Phil Collins. Hilarious and genius.

05 February 2008

Happy Super Tuesday.

Here's hopin'. Cards by novmeber.

04 February 2008

Thanks, Little Sis

I had a great birthday package waiting for me when I got home today. My super-awesome sister sent two craft books, Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing and Fleece Dog, a Japanese craft book full of--- you guessed it--- little needle felted dogs.

I'm counting down to winter break so I can try out some new projects and post photos of the results.

Thanks, Emily!

03 February 2008

Making Progress

In January, I posted about my crafty New Year's Resolutions (you can read the original post here). A month later, I've made pretty decent progress! If only this commitment worked so well in other areas of my life . . .

Above is my first attempt at needle felting. I bought the kit from the marvelous Woolpets on Etsy, which includes the wool roving, felting needles, and directions. My bunny isn't exactly perfect, because I was living in fear that my two dogs, who usually both sit in my lap all night long, would jump up at an inopportune moment and get a scary felting needle in the eye. That said, the project was quick and fun. I'd like to try Woolpets' polar bear kit next and then do needle felted versions of Chesney and Bear. They are in the picture above, by the way, to show exactly why the new bunny needs to live on a high shelf.

I also have a new sewing machine (thanks, Dad, for the 30th birthday present) and the book Sew U by Wendy Mullin of "Built By Wendy" fame. I got the book on eBay for a song and can't wait to pick up some fabrics to try out some cute tops and skirts. The book is great; you can essentially sew up an entire wardrobe. I'll post pics of the projects I try soon--- hopefully February vacation will give me some time to refresh my sewing skills.

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Sometimes I get caught up in the day-to-day of "real life" (although right now the fridge is empty and the laundry basket it full), and sometimes I get caught up in the "operations" side of crafting--- ordering supplies, scheduling shows, promoting, trying to make a workable space.

One book I love and reread from time to time is The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. Though she is a modern dancer and choreographer, her recommendations for re energizing your creative well are inspiring no matter what media you work in. Chapter by chapter, Tharp explains the habits she has used to keep ideas flowing throughout her long career, and how she gets herself "unstuck" during those not-so-creative times.

The book is definitely worth a look.

01 February 2008

Sweet Jane

While there is a bit of annoying glare in the photo, these are hot of the press (er, wet off the Gocco?) and I couldn't wait to share them. This is the first in a series of Jane Austen cards I've been working on. The silhouette of Austen is from the first edition of her novel Mansfield Park. The quote featured is from a letter to her sister Cassandra--- and as a fellow cynic and perpetual crank, I've always gotten a kick out of it.

These cards will be available in my Etsy shop when the ink dries. Future cards will feature Austen's witty observations from each of her novels. Hope fellow Janeites enjoy!

{If you have a favorite Austen quote you'd like to see on a card, please email me!}
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