31 January 2009

Seeking Balance

It's been awhile since I've posted a fully (or even half) formed thought on here, and even longer since I've made new work. As I said in this post, my position at a national nonprofit has been keeping me really busy. Insanely busy. I leave for work well before Billy in the morning and get home well after him. I get calls on my work cell at all hours of the night and on weekends, and end up going in on weekends as well. I was waking up at night filled with worry, and exhausted to the point of tears. And while I'm not going to name the company, I will say it's not a nonprofit where emergencies are justified. I do not work for an agency that deals with medical issues or domestic violence. There is no real reason for me to get be at work twelve hours a day and receive phone calls into night.

And so, I quit.

There is no possible way I could justify working for a "worthy cause" while sacrificing my own well-being, creativity, and the home life I value so very much. Life is short, and I want to spend my time at home being exactly that--- at home, with the husband and dogs I love. While I want to make the world a better place, I still want my own space in it to be tolerable.

The luckiest piece of all this is that just as I was struggling to breathe and figure out how to function in this very difficult position, a new job came along. A job that will still challenge me and help others, but a job with better balance and better benefits. And beyond the blessing of the home life I value so much, I know that finding a new job so quickly is a huge blessing as well. I count myself very lucky these days, and I am looking forward to restoring some balance here at home.

Flickr Favorites 7

Belated Friday Finds: Vintage Footed Coffee Mugs

My insanely hectic day job has kept me from blogging regularly, but I'm back, baby! A happy Saturday and a belated Friday Find to all.

I always sort of regret sharing vintage finds on here, because inevitably someone else buys them. But these vintage coffee mugs are just too good not to share. I love the aqua and white and the midcentury modern rooster graphic. If I didn't have such a fondness for cupping my hands around a warm cup of tea (the footed bottom messes with that habit), I'd snap these up in an instant.

By swoonantiques. Swoon, indeed!

24 January 2009

Vintage Valentines

Check out this amazing collection of vintage valentines on riptheskull's Flickr page (originally discovered via The Black Apple). I'd love to have some of these beauties in my own vintage postcard collection (you can see selections from my own collection here).

18 January 2009

More Diana Photos

After some film processing drama, I finally managed to have the second roll from my Diana Camera printed and scanned. I'm not entirely pleased with this roll (and there were a few shots of dahlias that I was hoping would be lovely, but did not come out at all), but I do realize that part of this camera's charm is its unpredictability with composition and color. It was definitely fun to walk around Albuquerque this past fall with a camera in my hand, getting to know the city.
{The sunrise from our backyard}

{Fall foliage on the trees outside the library.}

{Ristras at the Farmer's Market.}

{A whole truck hung with ristras.}

{A cottonwood tree near the Rio Grande.}

{Same tree, new light.}

16 January 2009

Friday Finds: Plastic Chalet

Another accoutrement for those terrariums I keep saying I'm going to make. A little chalet for a little forest. From Layer Cake Shop.

Flickr Favorites 5

Still Here

Whew. It's Friday night and I am just catching my breath. My new position at a national nonprofit, although I am making the decision not to talk much about it here, kept me busy all week and late into the night (and will again tomorrow).

The thing that makes me rather sad is that I have not made anything in weeks. Nor taken a photo. Nor walked the dogs. Nor cooked a homemade meal. Sometimes I find myself wondering aloud why nonprofits ask so much of so few individuals, but I really know that there's no sound answer to that. Sometimes I find myself talking to Obama in my head about community organizing, which, yes, I know is really weird. I keep reminding myself that I am grateful to have any job in this economy, to have a challenging and meaningful job on top of that, and to have a partner that supports what I do with a hot dinner and a foot rub at the end of the day.

Hopefully I'll achieve some balance soon, and I'll be back here with creative updates, including a custom project I'll be finishing this weekend and really enjoyed.

11 January 2009

Button Sale in the Etsy Shop

I'm in the process of reorganizing both the website and the Etsy shop for spring, and thought I would have a little sale.

Please note that the following sale applies only to buttons in the Etsy shop: All sets of buttons are buy one, get one free (unlimited quantity, so if you buy four you get two free, et cetera)! Higher price prevails, and please remember to specify if you want pinbacks or magnets. You can either wait for a revised invoice or I will refund the difference via Paypal.

The pictures above are examples of what's available. Happy shopping!

10 January 2009

Shop with the Artist Event - Paper Menagerie at Cravin' Cookies!

Just a note to local readers that on February 7th, I will be doing a "Shop With the Artist" event at a cute little cafe with fantastic baked goods!

Cravin' Cookies is located at 10420 4th Street NW in Albuquerque (the closest major intersection is 4th and Alamdea). The show will be held from 10AM - 2PM on Saturday, February 7th, with delicious baked goods and door prizes on the half hour!

Hope to see you there!

{If you're not local and like the valentine above, there are just a few left in the Etsy shop.}

Flickr Favorites 4

(Belated) Friday Find: More Prints by dkim

I know I've featured a print by dkim before, but "Making Pictures" makes me think of spring and playing with my Diana camera and all good things.And "The Stars are Against Me Tonight" is, well, just awesome.


Wow. The post-holiday slippage back into reality was more like a crash and a bang. Chesney (above) got some sort of crazy-desert-spiderbite which required a prolonged and expensive visit to the vet. Then Bear, who has always been a bit of a drama queen, decided she was terrified of his new collar and was going to hide in the bathroom for the first two days.The good news is, Chesney is now using his collar as a battering ram to remind us all that he is feeling better. He's feeling so good, in fact, that he's a bit randy and humps Bear as they walk around the house together. Imagine a little terrier in a lampshade hanging onto the back of a Rottweiler for dear life while scrambling about on his two back tippy-toes . . . and it's like having a window into our living room.

In addition, I received a pretty big (and pretty immediate) promotion at my "real" job for a national nonprofit. I know I'm very lucky to have any job in this economy, let alone a promotion, yet the huge list of tasks had me waking up in a sweaty fit this morning. I'll be interested to see how this new role will effect my creative life. When I was teaching full time in Boston, I couldn't wait to get home and finish grading so I could dedicate a weekend to designing and printing. Somehow the limited time really helped my ideas flow and made the process that much more precious and enjoyable. Once we moved to Albuquerque and Paper Menagerie was a half-time gig from home, I felt a bit stifled. It really was the "grass is always greener" syndrome. I wanted the time to make Paper Menagerie grow, but in a new town in a bad economy, I felt isolated and uninspired.

Now, I have a challening full-time job, an interesting custom project to show you shortly, and a few upcoming shows and designs for spring. The cycle begins again--- we'll see where it goes!

07 January 2009

Button Seating Cards

I am a bit late in the game in discovering these, but I love them! What great conversation starters at a wedding reception--- 1" buttons attached to each guest's seating card.
These are from Martha Stewart Weddings (but of course), and I stumbled upon them via two great blogs, Ritzy Bee and Weddingbee.

And now for . . . my shameless plug. A lot of people on both blogs were looking for button suppliers (and especially suppliers that did not require a ridiculously large minimum order). I would love to do custom orders for a project like this. Love. I have a 1" button maker and usually make one-of-a-kind buttons from vintage book illustrations, which would make great conversation starters in and of themselves, but I could also work on designing something special for your event.

You can contact me via email, or through the contact page on my website. And, you can see examples of my vintage book buttons (along with feedback) both on the website and on Etsy.

04 January 2009

2009 Resolutions

I've been putting off doing this long enough, but both Julia and Michelle really inspired me, so I thought I'd finally cave and not only solidify, but publicly post, my resolutions for 2009.

Although I'm a lover of lists (which you know if you read this blog), one reason I've been avoiding resolutions this year is the miscarriage--- it really hammered home the fact that there are a few very big things I want to happen in life that will never quite be under my control. And as someone with a Type A personality, this really eats at me. One thing I'm trying to be better at--- New Year or not--- is letting go of the things that I have no true influence over.

Rather, I think 2009 will be a year to focus on slowing down, letting go, and just counting my blessings. In that spirit, my resolutions are:
  • To get back to enjoying the process of crafting. I want to take a step back from "production" mode and experience more "flow." I want to slow down and just enjoy learning on my new letterpress and take on (and finish) a few personal projects. I would love to make more of my own clothes, as well as a quilt.
  • To be outdoors (and away from the computer) more. We are so lucky that we moved to a place with so much open space and natural beauty. I want to take daily walks with the dogs, and hopefully some more challenging hikes and some weekend camping trips, too.
  • "Only connect." I want to spend more time just hanging out--- with Billy, with family, with new friends. I also want to be better about keeping in touch with our friends who are far away but very much missed!
  • Start a garden. Even if it's just a few containers on our patio, I'd like to grow some of our own food this summer. In 2008, we started composting, baking our own bread, and brewing our own beer. I'd love to grow some fresh veggies in 2009.
  • Continue to practice letting go. While I think it will always be part of my personality to worry and make those to-do lists, I don't want it to dominate my life. I want to find a healthier balance between being busy and motivated, and appreciating the wonderful people and places around me.

02 January 2009

Flickr Favorites 3

Friday Finds: "Human Nature" Print

My sister and I used to tramp through the Vermont woods in the spring, and this art print by shirae (entitled "Human Nature") makes me all sentimental.

01 January 2009


After my many posts about terrariums (a project I must do in 2009, now that we are finally settled), I thought these images from Martha Stewart were worth saving. I love both the mushrooms and the muscari with the moss; the hollowed wood containers are particularly charming.Unfortunately, the directions note that the mushrooms will live only 1 to 2 days! A terrarium seems much more satisfying. I also fell in love with this fantastic cushion moss wreath , but I'm wondering if it would survive long in an arid climate?

Everything in Its Place

I've been trying to take it slow today, really I have. But January 1 seems like seems like such a perfect time to organize, make lists (my favorite), and think about goals for the upcoming year.

As I was sorting a pile of old magazines for recycling (a sad way of "taking it slow," I know) I came across these images of ideal craft/work spaces from the April 2008 issue of Martha Stewart. While I'm not usually a girl who loves pink, this compact desk (actually two hinged bookcases; you can see it shut in the third image) is so pretty!

The painted pegboard for hanging different craft tools, along with the fold-up desktop, help with organization in a small space.

I love the Regency-period inspiration and the compactness. It seems ideal for a small workspace. For more computer and business-y type work (and if you have the room for sprawl), I love the ideas here:

The board behind the desk alternates cork and magnetic boards covered in the same blue linen; such a good idea for different ways to stay organized in one unified look!

Do you have any organization tips for the studio? I consistently waver between wanting a beautiful space and being too cheap to spend any real money on setups like the ones seen here. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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