30 March 2008

New Stickers

In the spirit of procrastination (my pile of laundry is downright massive), I updated my shop this afternoon with new stickers. They're made from repurposed paper. These kraft-colored ones are my current favorites.

And the winner is . . .

Jessica, otherwise known as mamaziel on Etsy! Jessica will receive 20 personalized flat notes created on my Gocco. I hope you have some favorite things in mind, my dear!

It's so much fun to meet a big goal and to share the love with others. I'm really looking forward to creating more personalized items for customers. If you have a special request, Alchemy is now up and running in my shop, and I'll also be listing personalized stationery as an option soon.

{In case you're wondering how I chose the winner, it was randomly generated on random.org.}

24 March 2008


This weekend I met my big goal: 200 sales in my Etsy shop. I also finished up my first big custom order and I hit 100 posts on the blog awhile back (just don't ask me which one). To celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway--- a set of 20 custom flat notes printed up just for you on my Gocco.

What do you need to do? Post a comment on the bottom and check back--- at the end of the week I'll have a drawing. And then, if you're the lucky winner, I'll post your name here, you email me, and we'll design something fabulous!

23 March 2008

Say Anything: I Gave Her My Heart, She Gave Me a Peep

After posting achingly pretty cyanotypes and Easter eggs, I had to lighten things up a bit with the Peeps diorama contest from the Washington Post. Click on the link and have a good laugh!

22 March 2008

Happy Easter

Wishing you and your family a happy Easter. Or a happy spring. Whichever you celebrate, may you enjoy the beauty of renewal--- the buds are appearing on the trees outside the window, which always makes me hopeful.

These eggs are from Martha Stewart. I tried this method a few years ago and it worked beautifully. I used blue dye and the eggs were reminiscent of the cyanotypes I posted about earlier.

Camp Notes

I have another Moleksine notebook available in the shop . . . this one was inspired by Vermont and Girl Scouts and hiking and summer camp, and going into the woods, and trying to recall all the things you find there. It would be perfect for nature sketches and field notes.

The notebook has a heavy-duty kraft paper cover and a vintage textbook illustration of a moose and her calf heading into the woods. I'd like to do the same soon!


I have a love of blue, Victorian England, and the natural world. So of course I'm drawn to cyanotypes.

This early form of photography, pioneered by Victorian botanist Anna Atkins, is so ethereal and pretty (see Atkins' work above). I've had plans for quite awhile to combine the style of cyanotypes with Gocco printing . . . but living in the city imposes its limitations.

I need a weekend up in Vermont to gather some more interesting ferns and grasses.

21 March 2008

Indigo, Girl

I love my friend Lisa. She's one of those people who supports any crazy idea you may have, shares great books, and always wants to get Thai takeout with you and watch Project Runway (no matter what your respective husbands might think).

Lisa recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Indigo Scout. She asked me to design some custom thank-you notes for all the baby gifts she received and gave me free reign and no deadline (her take? No one expects a mom to get them out right away, anyway).

Lis and I both love cyanotypes, and Indigo's name provided some clues as to color choices! The daffodil seemed a natural choice for a babe born in early spring. I also printed the image on the side of the envelopes, because I think the outside should be just as pretty as what's inside, don't you?

{Interested in a custom order? Feel free to email me.}

19 March 2008

Busy Bee

So let me start by saying my cookbook idea was completely insane. I'm running a small business, trying to ignore the pile of 50-plus research papers written by sixteen year-olds, and planning a cross-country move. And I think I have time to methodically cook a shelf full of recipes? Um, no.

I will be trying a more flexible approach, though, and I'll post the best recipes here.

Another thing that has been keeping me so busy is a custom order for wedding invitations. The bride and her husband-to-be are actors who are getting married in late summer in a Northern California vineyard. They wanted a simple, summery, and rustic invitation (and green--- the invites are on recycled paper). We incorporated the bee silhouette as a mirror image, since bees are a special symbol for them.

I had so much fun collaborating on this project and am finishing the RSVP cards and envelopes this weekend. Interested in a custom order? Feel free to email me.

17 March 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

It seems like I've been blessed with the luck o' the Irish lately.

And I don't care how long I've been a vegetarian for, I'm craving corned beef and cabbage right now. I guess I can always venture out for some soda bread and a Guinness!

16 March 2008

Cookbook Project (Insert Snazzier Name Here)

Have I mentioned I have an insanely long commute in city traffic? Well, I do. One way I've learned to cope with said insanity is to listen to an audio book while on the drive. Currently I'm listening to Julie and Julia--- about a woman about to turn 30 who has no idea what she wants to do with her life (ahem). She has always been fascinated with her mother's copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (double ahem, grandma). Needing a challenge, she embarks upon a project (chronicled in her blog) to cook all the of recipes in the cookbook in one year.

Have I also mentioned that I am sort of a recipe junkie? Well, I am. The photo above is just one shelf of the cookbooks, cooking magazines, and clipped recipes that I hoard. I even save recipes for meat dishes just because, maybe someday, I might fall off the wagon and they look really good. I've sort of gotten out of the habit of cooking lately, being busy with my "real" job and custom orders, but I really do love to cook. We're also moving in July, and the cookbook stash could stand some thinning out.

So henceforth I'm embarking on a project to cook the recipes in all of my cookbooks. It'll take longer than a year, and I better start embarking on regular exercise again as well . . . but it'll be fun. I'm starting with Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanette Lemlin, because I've already checked off quite a few in that one and they're easy during the week.

I'll let you know how it all goes!

(And yes, that is a recipe book for dog food on the shelf there.)

15 March 2008

The New Gocco Guide

I'm a DIY type of gal. Unfortunately, this also means I'm a screw-the-directions and a jump-right-in and a I-can-figure-it-out-dammit type of gal. This has not always worked so well when attempting projects on my Gocco. Or sewing. Or cooking.

As part of my crafty resolutions, I recently picked up The New Gocco Guide by Claire Russell. I haven't read the whole thing yet. In fact, I've only read the "Troubleshooting" chapter because some pesky silhouette images on a custom order have been giving me some trouble. But boy do I wish I had picked this book up earlier.

Best tip from the book so far? Block and ink the screen with the master still attached to it (how did I not think of this earlier? so much easier), and spread ink evenly over the entire surface so that the design prints more evenly. She also has recommendations for different carbon pens, so hopefully I can start experimenting with some of my drawings! When I start keeping that sketchbook, that is . . .

13 March 2008

Janites Unite

I am so thrilled that people have connected with the Jane Austen Moleskine notebooks I made on a whim last weekend. They were featured on Poppytalk, Moleskinerie, and the front page of Etsy in conjunction with Style Me Pretty. In fact, there's only one left in my shop!

If you'd like to be notified when more become available, please email me and I will let you know!

11 March 2008

Almost There . . .

I've been furiously posting little images of spring the last few weeks, trying to get through and over the March hump. It looks like we're in for snow tomorrow, so Chesney and I took the opportunity to take in a long walk today. He wouldn't stop to pose for the camera because he was so excited to be out and about without our other dog, Bear (she tends to run him over in her enthusiasm). Here's what we saw--- blue skies, buds on the trees, and snowdrops. I think I can make it a few more weeks.

10 March 2008

Paper Menagerie on Green Pop! Poppytalk Handmade's Eco-Themed Market

Hi all! Just wanted to let you know that starting today, Paper Menagerie will be featured on Green Pop!, Poppytalk Handmade's spring eco-themed market. Many Paper Menagerie cards are printed on recycled paper, and my stickers are die cuts made from repurposed papers.

There are lots of other great artists on there as well, so go shop green!

09 March 2008

Jane Austen and Moleskine = Luxury List Keeping

I am fastidious keeper of lists, sketches, and ideas for stories I never write. Unfortunately, I keep this lists on scraps of paper that get lost and I'm forever trying to recall what it was I jotted down. If only I could remember, it would be fabulous! Right?

I've made the resolution, time and again, to keep my lists in one place. Perhaps a pretty notebook will help. I picked up a bunch of my favorite Moleskine Cahier notebooks. Do you know Moleskine? They're a French company with an amazing history--- Hemingway used one, Van Gogh used one, Picasso used one. They're super durable, fit in your pocket, and they have a handy flap in the back for those slips of paper I'm bound to still keep writing on.

I printed these with a silvery silhouette of Jane Austen from the first edition of Mansfield Park (and, just because I like symmetry, I photographed the book on an antique edition of Mansfield Park from my own collection). There are 64 blank pages inside. I plan on using a few of them myself, but I'm also listing a few in my Etsy shop soon.

08 March 2008

Nests, Lambs, Violets

Some of my Flickr favorites. I'm really just looking forward to spring and a day to get out of the city.

{1. Robin's Egg, 2. the glory of Spring, 3. Shy Lamb, 4. Wild Violets, 5. Too Late For Easter, 6. Spring Lamb, 7. Robin's Egg Blue, 8. Spring Lamb - 2007 BBC Countryfile competition winner., 9. Violet }

Pied Beauty

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.

{Image by Alicia Bock}

06 March 2008

Eggplant Rollatini

This luscious-looking eggplant (dare I say sexy?) became the key ingredient in my new favorite weeknight recipe: eggplant rollatini. It's quick, vegetarian, satisfying, and low-carb. Think cannelloni or manicotti without the pasta.

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into thin slices the long way
1/2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 c. Marinara sauce
1/2 c. Mozzarella cheese

Wash and slice eggplant and lay the strips in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Microwave for 6-8 minutes or until eggplant slices are limp. Remove from microwave and set aside. Cover bottom of casserole dish with a thin layer of Marinara sauce. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, egg, garlic, basil, and pepper in a small bowl. Spoon ricotta filling on end of eggplant strip and roll up. Place roll in casserole dish seam side down. Continue working until all filling is used (you may have some eggplant left over). Cover with remaining Marinara and then cover dish and microwave for 12-15 minutes. Add Mozzarella and microwave for two minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let cool slightly before serving.

{Adapted from Everyday Food}

05 March 2008

Simply Vera by Vera Wang

So I usually don't post about commerical items on here, or at least I try not to. And I fully intend to make some of my spring clothes (I still need to finish the straps on that top I posted about awhile back).

However, I was really excited to see that Vera Wang was releasing an affordable Simply Vera line at Kohl's. I never got around to checking out the fall collection, but I stopped by after work today, found the whole line on sale, and picked up this top.

I wore a Vera Wang Maids dress for my wedding (in ivory, as a bridal gown) and her "low end" collection does not disappoint. She fits petites really well. And the top is comfy and has that Anthropologie vibe, with a lower price and even better quality.

04 March 2008


This weekend the snow finally started to melt and reveal these pretty snowdrops. I love walking in the city with the dogs and seeing these little elements of spring slowly appear. This time last year was when I first purchased my Gocco (is there such thing as a Gocco-versary? And can I celebrate by getting the fancy model?). The snowdrop card above was my very first design, and it's now marked down in my Etsy shop.

02 March 2008

The Coolest Save-the-Dates Ever

I have something amazing and bookish in the works. No picture of the product yet, but I promise you, they will be cool. It involves library cards (and no, not the ones that reference poop). And romance. And they will be awesome.

Now all I need are some literate, sexy-librarian-brides-to-be!

Orange and Navy

It's been a pretty lazy Sunday today (as Sundays should be, right?). I did manage to list these stickers in my Etsy shop. They're made from repurposed paper, and the navy and orange color scheme reminds me of the 1970s.

Old and New

One major subject of this blog is what I loosely refer to as "inspiration"--- those things in everyday life that I see, remember, and interpret in my cards and prints. It's something I also like to call a "visual vocabulary"--- those things you've seen, whether in art or in life, that stick in your mind and that you connect with and continue to use in your work.

A lot of people (including myself) have described my aesthetic as vintage or Victorian, and it certainly is. Even from a small age, I really connected with things that are old (blame it on Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, or the fact that my grandmother gave me free rein of her attic).

I wanted to show here, though, what I take from both old and new. The vintage postcards shown above are from my own collection. I love the sweet chicks and quirky use of items like the hat and mirror. However, I think that the overall scenes in the postcards are a little too sweet, even for my taste, so I like to make some adjustments when creating my own work. I love the colors used in the originals, and that chick yellow and the green on the brim of the hat serve as similar, but simplified, backgrounds in my own cards. I chose scalloped edges to give the cards some interest, but I tempered that with printing the image in brown. I also like the overall quirkiness of animal behavior in the originals--- I connected with a similar vintage image when I found the rabbits and jumping frogs. I added the text myself, which I think gives it a little more humor--- that we know that the picture is pretty, but silly.

Like my modern take? The cards are available in my Etsy shop.

01 March 2008

Tagged, Part 2.

The second piece of this is that I am supposed to--- and I quote from lepetitmonstre--- "re-present it to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blog land. Let them know through email or by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times, and if you do, consider yourself really, really loved. So to pass it on and keep the love going." Soooo, the following blogs that regularly make my day are:
  1. Julia of minecreations. I found her blog through an Etsy blog ring, and now I read her regularly. I get the sense that if we lived close by, I'd want to hand out with here all the time.
  2. Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry, who makes lovely vintage-inspired pieces and is a fellow member of Boston Handmade.
  3. Allison, who creates amazing tooled leather items, at Sunny Rising Leather
  4. The very talented and fellow Gocco stationer Sarah from Things are Better with A Parrott
  5. Cicada Studio's blog Cicada Daydream always has great product reviews and home items
  6. Jaye at thirteenthstory always does such a wonderful job of explaining her process
  7. Cloth.Paper.String, who just organized a mid-winer Gocco swap
  8. Jennifer at Swallowfield has amazing collages and pattern work
  9. The amazing photos at My Polaroid Blog
  10. And fellow teacher/crafter Marysusan
These blogs have a lovely balance between "art" and "life" and truly do make my day. I'm off to tag them now!


So I've been tagged and given the "You Make My Day" award by lepetitemonstre (thanks!). It was a great surprise, because sometimes I feel like I'm posting on the interweb for a very tiny readership--- so this will be fun! So here it goes . . .

Seven Random Facts About Me
  1. I have extremely fine hair. During my 80s childhood, my mom decided to give my sister and I home perms for that extra-voluminous poodle look. No one explained to me that it I could no longer comb my hair with a fine-tooth comb, and I ended up yanking down hard and . . . spraining my neck! Yeah, that's right . . . I spent about 6 weeks of 5th grade wearing a huge padded neck brace because I tried to comb out my home perm.
  2. I have a slightly crazy and irrational fear of slugs. I know they move slow and can't do anything to me (like I said, irrational), but if I encounter a slug I will get totally frozen and weird. I think this developed when I was a nanny in the South of France--- the garden of the house I was staying it had the largest slugs I have ever seen. Once when I was carrying the baby I stepped on one and almost dropped the poor kid. Needless to say this developed fear made my trip to Portland, Oregon pretty interesting . . . they grow big slugs out there!
  3. I really would have a menagerie if I could. Currently my husband and I have two dogs (a Jack Russell terrier and a Rottweiler) and two spice finches. I'd really love to have a bunny (not a good mix with the terrier, I know), some chickens, some llamas, and a horse.
  4. I used to have a 30-pound cat named Big Mama. I took her in because I thought she was a pregnant stray. Turns out she was just a stray. Who liked to eat. A lot.
  5. I am low maintenance to the nth degree. I love design and art, but I cannot deal with making myself look decent. Hairdressers make me feel self-conscious, so I trim my own bangs (and far too infrequently and crookedly at that). If I "did my makeup," that means mascara, a dab of blush, and Burt's Bees lip balm. My favorite clothes are my oldest pair of Levis and my vintage Frye boots.
  6. I once helped make a vegan dinner for Devendra Banhart and The Arcade Fire. They were playing in Cambridge, Massachusetts and my friend had booked them. They all needed a decent vegan meal before the show. I'm a pretty decent vegetarian cook.
  7. I come from a huge extended family. And I do mean huge. My father is one of fourteen siblings, while my mother is one of eleven. Needless to say, I had lots and lots of cousins to play with growing up. Some summers we would rent out an entire campground on a Vermont lake and the kids would run wild. It was a blast!
Stay tuned for Part 2--- the 10 blogs that make my day. Share the love, right?

Hop! Card Now Available in My Etsy Shop

I adore this new design, I really do. Each time I walk by it in my workspace it makes me smile. If you read my previous bunny posts you know how I love them, and the tiny little frogs are a detail that make the whole thing. It just says spring to me.

The card is available in both butter yellow and sage green in my Etsy shop.
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