30 November 2008

Just a Little Reminder . . .

that there are two different sales going on in the Etsy shop until Monday night. It would be a great time to stock up on stationery or holiday cards! You can see details for the sales in the shop announcement (or here and here).

I also wanted to put a little message out that Big Thing No. 2 should be announced this week!

29 November 2008

Big Thing No. 1

People are still asking what this post was about. So, here is a tiny little reveal. The website above isn't quite ready yet, and I want to offer a special coupon code for my blog readers, but it should be ready by Cyber Monday!

This was actually the site (designed by the wonderful Arianne at Aeolidia) I started with before I discovered Etsy, and business has been growing enough for me to decide to relaunch it. I am very excited to have it up again, especially because of a second big development I'll have to share a bit later.

I'll post a link and a coupon code shortly, my sweets!

28 November 2008

Friday Finds: Jams by Lemonbird

The homemade jams in Lemonbird's shop look amazing to me. I have a weakness for jams and jellies and their combinations sound mouthwatering: Fig with Honey and Cinammon, Pear and Anise with Balsamic Vinegar, and Pink Grapefruit with Basil are just some of them. They also offer a gift box and a jam of the month club, both perfect for the holidays.

27 November 2008

In Thanks

{See the pecan pie recipe here.}

It's been a challenging few months, but I still have so much to be thankful for.
  • I'm so thankful for my family, and especially for Billy. It sounds like a cliche, but he is so consistently amazing, positive, and supportive of my goals. I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful partner.
  • I'm thankful for my ridiculous dogs, who make me laugh on a daily basis.
  • I'm thankful for the people who follow and support my creative ventures--- whether I've met them in person or not.
  • I'm thankful that I work with kids who crack me up.
  • I'm thankful for my health and the health of my family.
  • I'm thankful for the mountains and the big sky in our new home.
  • I'm thankful that this is just the beginning of the my gratitude list.

Black Friday-Cyber Monday Special: Free Shipping on all Holiday Items!

From now until Monday, December 1, I am offering free shipping on all items from the Holiday section of the shop!

Simply wait for a revised Paypal invoice or, if you forget, I will refund your shipping. Combine this with the Note Set Sale I have going on and you could stock up on some sweet stationery!

26 November 2008

I Eat Your Pie. I Eat it Up.

In a last minute change of plans, I was assigned the desserts for Thanksgiving dinner. And this, as Martha would say, is a good thing. Because I have the easiest, most excellent pecan pie recipe ever, and I wanted to make it again. It's baking in the oven right now and the house is filled with the aroma of maple-y, nutty goodness.

{Eva's Maple Pecan Pie}

1 unbaked pie shell (your favorite recipe)
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, and optional pecan halves for top

Mix all ingredients except pecans. Spread pecans over unbaked pie shell and pour batter over nuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until filling is set and slightly puffed.

I recommend placing the pie pan on a cookie sheet in case of spillage.

Tiny Blossoms

I think the thing that I love about making these buttons is discovering tiny, sweet little images and then putting them together in sets. When I was younger I had a "miniature" collection of random porcelain figurines that I would constantly arrange and rearrange into little scenes. I suppose a part of me still adores tiny things.

These flowers are one of the newer sets listed in the shop. They can be made into pins or magnets and would be a great gift for the gardener is your life. The geraniums in the bottom corner are my personal favorite!

24 November 2008

The 12 Days of Tacky

Yesterday Billy and I had a really fun afternoon thrifting for sweaters for our "Hideous Holiday Sweater" party that's coming up. And find hideous holiday sweaters we did. Think sweatshirts rather than nice wool. Think glitter. Think puff paints. Think sewn-in collar. Think matching looks, except too small for him and oversized for me. It's going to be great.

The other thing we stumbled upon were these "12 Days of Christmas" glasses. The set is missing three of the days, but we didn't care. They're printed in awesomely weird retro color combinations and we thought they'd be a fun way for everyone to remember which glass of eggnog is theirs.

I love a good thrift store find.

23 November 2008

Note Set Sale

Stock up on stationery from the Note Set section of the shop! From now until December 1, all note sets are buy one, get one free! Just enter "NOTE" in the "Notes to Seller" upon checkout and I will send you a revised invoice. Higher price prevails and shipping still applies. Sorry, but this offer does not apply to holiday cards.

Handmade Holidays: Make a Black Apple Doll

'Tis the season where I start trying to make handmade gifts. I had, of course, intended to start much, much earlier, but some local shows and some boring "life" chores like dealing with insurance companies have kept me quite busy. I managed to have an almost entirely handmade Christmas last year. What I could not make myself I bought on Etsy, and the whole process was a lot more fun and a lot easier on our budget.

I plan on making this Black Apple doll for my niece (and I'm sharing this because she's probably one of the few family members who doesn't/can't read the blog --- hi to the rest of you!). You can get the pattern here on Martha Stewart. If I have time, I'm also hoping to knit up some removable mini accessories for her from my yarn stash.

What are you planning on making this holiday season?

P.S. There are several big things in the works for Paper Menagerie in the next month or two. A lot of people emailed me wondering what this post was about. I can't quite share yet, but I will when I'm able!

21 November 2008

Essential Book Meme

I lifted this meme from Charmaine's blog, because I'm really interested in seeing other people's lists.

List the following:

(a) Fiction book
(b) Autobiography
(c) Non-fiction book
(d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre

Explain why the books are essential reads in no more than 30 words per book.

a) Fiction: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Like most fans I have an affection for Pride and Prejudice , but in Persuasion, Austen's description of the hope of young love growing into a more mature, measured relationship rings so true.

b) Autobiography: The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
Jeanette Walls recounts an amazingly painful childhood with bohemian parents in a clear, compassionate way that does not seem dramatic or self-indulgent.

c) Nonfiction: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
I love a good travelogue, and one that also captures man's affection for his dog is even better. Steinbeck is so good at capturing the spirit of the American road.

d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre: The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway I am a huge fan of short stories and anyone might as well start with the master. For a list of other short story books I love, click here.

So what about you? I'd love it if people would post recommendations or links to their own lists. Now that I am not currently teaching I am reading a lot more again, and I'd love to know what other people are picking up these days.

Friday Finds: Ninainvorm

I stumbled upon a new shop a few days ago. Ninainvorm takes vintage ceramics and screenprints them with sweet images of birds, flowers, hearts, and droplets in a variety of lovely colors.

Just amazing.

20 November 2008


I was still playing around with my Gocco fabric printing experiment up until this week. I knew I wanted the end product to eventually be Christmas ornaments, but I wasn't exactly sure what the final result would look like. Then, when organizing my studio, I found the stash of embroidery floss above. I've had it since high school and it was added to by the mother of my college roommate. In any case, I hadn't touched it in a long time.

That's when I got the idea to finish the ornaments using blanket stitch, for a rustic, vintage cabin-in-the-woods feel. Here is a picture of the Gocco printing on linen in the early stages. I used a hand stamp kit and then heat set the prints before cutting them into squares.

And here is the finished product, lightly stuffed with batting and edged in blanket stitch. As is the rule with good embroidery, I tried to make the back look as neat as the front. If you want to learn blanket stitch, futuregirl has an excellent tutorial that I used as a refresher.

Well, that was it! I hope people like them, and I hope to have these listed in the shop shortly. I'll post a notice when I do.

19 November 2008

Stocking Stuffers

{Stockings by RikRak, 4 for $54.}

I seriously think the best part of Christmas is shopping for stocking stuffers. So many little, precious things to be found! In addition to my own buttons and magnets in the shop, which I think make excellent stocking stuffers, here are some items from some other Etsy shops that I just adore. All are under $25!

{Winter Forest Reindeer earrings by enroute, $15}

{Chocolate Orange Cardamom Shortbread Cookies by Whimsy and Spice, $8}

{Choice of two silkscreened votives by maryink, $18.00}

{Cran-Orange Exfoliating Soap Bar by dennisanderson, $3}

{Winter Fox Sticky Notes by cicadastudio, $5.50}

18 November 2008

On Dasher!

Just a quick note that there is only one more set of these in the shop . . . you may want to snatch them up now!

Wishin' and Hopin' and Prayin'

Something very big might be happening for Paper Menagerie. I can't talk about it yet, but keep your fingers crossed for me!

17 November 2008

Gocco Test Swatch

Side by Side Gocco Test Comparison, originally uploaded by candice kimchee.

Candice Kimchee had the brilliant idea of doing a test swatch of a variety of pens, and then printing it on her Gocco. Though I do most of my designs in Photoshop and then photocopt them before I print them by hand, this is a great resource for those who want the freedom of drawing a design and printing it up right from the original image.

I discovered this on Flickr's always-inspiring Gocco pool, and Candice was generous enough to let me share it here. There are a few more shots of the experiement on her page. I hope other Gocco fans find this useful!

14 November 2008

Friday Finds: The Caitlin Top

Unicorns and a folkloric-print in a tunic-style top? It's like my childhood aesthetic and my adult aesthetic blended together, and I love it.

From snoozerloser.

13 November 2008

Crafter's Law

Have you heard of it? No? Good, then I'm laying claim to the term right now. Crafter's Law is the cousin of Murphy's Law. It's the law that guarantees no matter how fabulous your results are when you're just tinkering around, when deadlines loom, everything will go wrong. That means that the week you have a show will be inundated with other "life" appointments, the bobbin on your sewing machine will suddenly decide to act up, your dogs will demand attention by reverting to puppyhood and chewing on household items, and when you do have time to sit down and work on things, you will run out of thread.

Hopefully I can get back to these little chickadee ornaments today.

12 November 2008

Let it Show, Let it Show, Let it Show

It's shaping up to be a busy week. I'll be spending the morning cutting the rest of the printed linen and making ornaments.

If you're local, you can catch me at three upcoming holiday shows:

Saturday, November 15th, at the Bandelier Holiday Bazaar from 9-4. 3309 Pershing SE.

Saturday, November 22nd, at the Sandia Annual Fall Craft Fair from 9-4. 7801 Candelaria NE.

Saturday, December 6th, at the 13th Annual Collet Park Craft Show from 9-4. 2100 Morris NE.

Hope to see you there!

11 November 2008


You thought Elections were over?! Me too! Imagine my surprise when I saw my card design (above) featured in Etsy's Holiday 2008: Choose Your Favorite Greeting Cards! feature.

You can vote for your favorite design (Paper Menagerie or otherwise) here.

09 November 2008

Saturday in the Park

This is how we spent our Saturday afternoon. We packed Brie, crackers, an apple, some quinoa salad, cheese sandwiches, a chocolate bar, and a thermos full of butternut squash soup. I've come to the realization that a mug of hot soup outside, under a yellow tree as the sun is going down, is one of life's great pleasures.

Sunday has not been as enjoyable, as I'm fighting off a funky cold-flu thing. Oh, well.

08 November 2008

Chickadees and Linen

In a fit of boredom this afternoon, I decided to stop hoarding my Gocco supplies despite the sad news that the factory has closed. I bought a fabric stamp kit a long time ago and realized if I didn't use the screens soon, they would likely expire.

I decided to use some linen (bought on sale in Boston and then shipped cross country) and printed a chickadee image in brown. Once these are dry and heat set, I'm hoping they will make really lovely Christmas ornaments. I just need to choose the right backing and ribbon.

07 November 2008

Shop Update: More Reindeer

Just a quick note that the new reindeer cards are now in the shop.

Friday Finds: Folkprint Scarf by Red Prairie Press

Ever since I've started the Friday Finds segment I'm seeing more and more handcrafted lusciousness, and it's making me greedy! Oooh, how I want this cotton jersey scarf from Red Prairie Press. The print is lovely, and the idea of a soft T-shirt like fabric wrapped around one's neck on a cool day? Heaven.

06 November 2008

Busy, Busy

Now that the election is over I feel like I can return to everyday routines. I spent the morning printing another run of reindeer cards in green and gold--- they're drying as I write this. The brown and gold version proved very popular and I only have a few sets left for the holiday season. It feels a little bittersweet printing holiday cards this year, with the closure of the Gocco factory. But I'm branching out, and I have a few more projects in the works beyond buttons.

I'm also working on relaunching my own website. I'll show you all when it is ready, along with a special offer for the relaunch!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cinnamon Butter

I made this for our Election Night dinner, along with mushroom turnovers. It was very easy and delicious. Please forgive the bad photo. It's quite dark in our kitchen.

2 acorn squash, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise, and seeded
1 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange on sheet, cut side down, and roast until easily pierced with a paring knife, 35 to 45 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium, stirring, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately pour into a small bowl; stir in cinnamon. Place squash on a serving platter; top with cinnamon butter.

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine.

On a side note, I often spray olive oil on veggies with my Misto Sprayerrather than tossing them. It's one of my favorite kitchen tools. Seriously, check it out.

Yes We Did, Yes We Will

I have not posted since Election Day because there are not adequate words to express my joy, my hope, and my pride in this country. For the first time in eight years, I am hopeful that we can move forward and that the world can once again respect our actions and our policies.

I have spent the last eight years working in communities that have lost hope and I thought of the people in those communities, teary eyed and smiling, as I watched Obama take the stage with his family.

Rather than continuing to wax philosophical, I thought I would end with Obama's words:

This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

(You can read the full text of Obama's acceptance speech here.)

03 November 2008


There was early voting here. I'm hoping tomorrow goes well. And that's all I can say about that.

02 November 2008

Slowly, Slowly

This dress has been coming together. It's looking a bit like a tent (yes I did measure myself before, thank you very much), but I don't want to rip the side seams out and start over now that the collar is gathered and stitched in. It will probably still be cute with my favorite vintage
Frye boots
or some tights and ballet flats.

I bought an invisible zipper, and I am procrastinating on putting it in . . . zippers scare me. Any tips from sewers out there?

I want to wear it in time for the holiday shows I'm doing.
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