You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2007.
1. What is your favorite word? serendipity
2. What is your least favorite word? the “c” word
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? good music, good books, other creative souls
4. What turns you off? abusive people
5. What is your favorite curse word? goddamn
6. What sound or noise do you love? the coffee percolator
7. What sound or noise do you hate? LOUD music
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? graphic designer
9. What profession would you not like to do? nurse
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? what took you so long?
I was intimidated at first, but it turned out to be much easier than anticipated. I love how it turned out, although for some reason the covers are the wrong size…
I also refurbished a composition book – I wanted something with lined pages but felt the original comp book was too dreary for my tastes. It needed a little bit of inspiration… Here are the before and after photos:
I’m quite happy with the new look. It’s cute, but not too much… I absolutely love this paper by Basic Grey. Unfortunately my LSS just ran out of it – I’ll have to find other sources for it.
I’m not a scrapbooker, but I do find inspiration in some of the scrapbooking books, blogs and magazines. I’m very selective about what I read though. I tend to like the scrapbookers whose styles are more eclectic and not too fluffy and cutesy. I recently bought this book by Elsie Flannigan:
I’m attracted to certain elements of her style, but sometimes feel she gets a bit too cutesy and goes overboard. But I love her in small doses…
Gotta get back to work and finish some handout notes for a few workshops…
I realized this morning that I didn’t have a proper container to hold my legal-sized file folders. I don’t really have many of them, but it bugged me that they were just laying around because I didn’t have anywhere to put them. So I decided to build my own storage container, with paper to coordinate with my craft room walls. Here’s the result:
It’s not perfect, but you can’t really see the flaws. I’m quite happy with it. It seems durable, but we’ll have to wait and see… I’m now thinking of building a whole slew of organizational containers for my office/craft room!
I spent most of the day yesterday working on some workshop projects: developing good samples that I can leave in the stores where I’ll be teaching, and costing each workshop project. It is so difficult to cost things out and I really hate this part! But it’s sooo important, because I recently realized that I’d been underpricing my products by a lot, simply because I’d been too lazy to calculate how much the materials and labours really cost. It was an huge eye opener when I first did this exercise… Here’s the store sample of the CD case workshop I’ll be giving:
I have a feeling this product will sell like hotcakes…
I am in such dire need of storage containers for all the bits and pieces I’ve been collecting for my craft projects. I decided to try making origami boxes based on this tutorial, and they turned out fabulous! I made them from 12″x12″ scrapbooking papers, with their finished size approximately 4″w x 4″d x 2″h. Perfect for storing small trinkets!
Watching the East Coast Music Awards on TV last night brought back so many great memories. In 1997 I had just been laid off from my job for a few weeks, and was feeling bummed out. When I realized I had tons of time on my hands, I phoned the ECMA organizers to see if they needed help (this was the week before the conference and awards show). They asked me to come over IMMEDIATELY. They assigned me to the Director of Communications, who had me calling media to confirm their attendance – imagine the thrill of calling the editors of Rolling Stone magazine! I guess she was so impressed with my work that the night of the awards show she assigned me to the backstage press room; my job was to facilitate interviews between media and artists. It was incredible being backstage – I got to see Rick Mercer in action (he was still with 22 Minutes back then), and Peter Gzowski was there to receive an award for his contribution to East Coast music. I also got to attend the post-awards party, where I mingled with the guys from Great Big Sea and Sloane. It was truly a magical evening. As I was on my was out of the hotel where the party took place, an impromptu kitchen party broke out in the lobby, and I ended up staying even longer. I think I finally made it home at 8 am… To this day, the week spent at the ECMAs is still the best fun I’ve ever had. I can’t believe it was 10 years ago already…
I also just finished reading The Birth House by Ami McKay, which I thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend. I loved Marie Babineau’s background link as an Acadian/Cajun (I am of Acadian descent) and her way of speaking. I’ve just started The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards, and like it so far…
Last night B. and I stopped at a local thrift store to check out their wares, and spotted THE perfect crafting table. I’d been complaining for a while that I dislike using the dining room table for my bookbinding because it’s starting to get scratched from so much use, and I have to clean it up for every meal when I’m in the middle of a project. I was so delighted to find this table last night for only $15 – it’s nice and wide so I can spread out, and it’s the perfect height too:
I think I’ll present it to my local scrapbooking store and see if they’re interested in doing a workshop with it…
I’m not normally a pastel-type of person, but I’m trying to come up with projects that will appeal to the scrapbooking crowd. The great thing about this book is that it can be adapted to any colour scheme or theme, and you can add ribbons and beads to it, if that’s your thing.
Completely off topic, can I just say Thank You to CBC for broadcasting re-runs of Arrested Development, which was sadly cancelled by Fox about a year ago. It is by far the most hilarious TV program I have ever enjoyed, and despaired when I learned of its demise. At least now I can enjoy the Bluth family just a little bit longer…
Now that all the book orders have been filled, I finally have more time to start developing new papercraft projects for my workshops. I have had so many ideas floating around, but no time to play around with them, so I’m finally having fun again…
Last week I went shopping at Active Surplus, a store in downtown Toronto (it’s just steps from MuchMusic) that sells…well…everything. It’s hard to describe this store, but they seem to be a liquidator of electronic parts and so many other items. Anyway, I bought a pack of 100 CD sleeves and thought they’d be perfect for making some kind of book because they were pre-perforated. Here’s what I came up with:
Here it is opened – there are 5 CD sleeves, each able to hold 2 CDs:
And the back cover:
B. said it was the most brilliant thing I’ve ever designed, so for Valentine’s Day I made him this surprise gift:
The back is a Hank Williams LP. Unfortunately I was rushing so much while making it (I wanted to finish it before B. got back) that I glued the back on upside down. Oops! I’ll fix it for him this week. In the first sleeve I included a CD of some of our favourite songs, which B. really loved.
I’ll be teaching a workshop at nathalie-roze & co. on how to make these nifty CD sleeve books. The tentative date for the workshop is Sunday, March 18, but check her website for more details and to register.
I’ll probably be presenting an adapted version of the CD sleeve book for the scrapbooking market. Instead of LPs or record sleeves as the covers, I’ll use paper-covered chipboard, embellished with ribbons and such. It’s great that I can make the same project but adapt it to two completely different clienteles.
I’ve also been trying to come up with a Mother’s Day workshop project using file folders. This is what I made a few nights ago:
It can contain photos and other ephemera, or it can be used as a pretty recipe box. It still needs some tweaking, as I’m not completely satisfied with the final project.
And finally, I’ve been living in a house full of Inuit stone carvers for the past few weeks. A few of B.’s friends have been staying with us, and they’ve been producing like crazy, which is fantastic. I tell ya, the creativity running through this house is inspiring! For the first time ever, we’ve actually been able to display some carvings on our mantle:
Normally B. sells all his carvings as he makes them, so they’re never around the house for more than a day or two. With two other carvers around, it’s great to see such a wonderful display of styles and creativity, although it won’t last – today the plan is to make a gallery run and try to unload as many of these carvings as possible…
I’ve had a love of handmade soap for many years now – I love the smell, the texture, and the fact that it’s great for my sensitive yet problem skin. This afternoon I participated in a soap-making workshop and loved it. Several years ago, I bought a book on soap-making but the instructions seemed too complicated and overwhelming, so I never attempted any of the recipes. But now…I think I may have a new hobby (with great gift-giving potential). Just as when I took a bookbinding class a few years ago, it has given me the confidence to attempt it on my own now that I understand the materials and the technique a little better. I made tea tree oil and lemongrass scented soap and my hands still smell nice from the essential oils we used…yummy. The hard part is letting it cure for a few weeks before I can start using it.
I’ve also confirmed what workshop project I’ll be teaching next month at nathalie-roze & co., although the dates have yet to be confirmed. It will be a CD case made of record sleeve covers. Very hip AND utilitarian. I can’t wait – I’ll upload some pictures of the project soon.
I’ve filled all the book orders and confirmed a few workshops, but still need to work on a few new workshop project ideas. I think I’ll take tonight to recuperate and get a fresh start tomorrow, when I’m rested.
Here’s a list of things I’m enjoying at the moment:
- Listening to… This American Life podcast. I only started listening to it a few weeks ago but I’m hooked. I love the way they set up a story and you never know where it’s going to go…Brilliant.
- Reading… Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion (the Feb/Mar issue has story on business tips from creative women). Creative Home (the Spring 2007 issue that features Alicia Paulson’s dreamy studio). Country Home (Feb 2007 issue on organizing and decluttering).
- Making… Handmade books. Developing workshop projects.
- Loving… Hot baths on cold nights. Chai tea. Connecting with creative souls (online and in person). Learning. Playing with paper.
I don’t even know where to start – the past month has been completely overwhelming (in a good way)…
Firstly, I have taught three bookbinding classes so far at Urban Scrapyard, with more to come. The first class, Intentions Lapbook, proved to be way too much work for way too little pay. I learned this the hard way, working until 1 a.m. a few nights just getting everything ready for the class. The subsequent classes are going to be much more simple with much less prep work. Seems everyone was happy with the class, because the girls at Urban Scrapyard immediately booked me for two more classes. Looks like I’ll be teaching there on a fairly regular basis. Yay!
Although the Intentions Lapbook class turned out to be much more work than bargained, it paid off in the end: I received an email from the editor-in-chief of Scrapbook & Cards Today and they want to publish the project in their magazine! Seems that one of the workshop participants was so impressed with the project that she presented it to the magazine, and they in turn contacted me! Looks like they’re aiming to publish it in the Fall 07 edition. I can’t believe I’ll be featured in a national magazine – it’s all surreal!
I had also approached the owner of nathalie-roze & co. to gage her interest in selling my handmade books. She was very interested, and in fact took 25 books – practically wiping out my entire stock! Additionally, a few days after delivering the books to her, I received a phone call from the owner of The Paper Place (which is THE place to buy beautiful Japanese papers here in Toronto). Seems he bought one of my books at nathalie-roze & co. and wondered if I’d be interested in selling my books in his store! I was flabbergasted – never did I expect such a reaction to my books. Well, after meeting with him, he placed an order for 82 handmade books, most featuring the Japanese paper he sells in his store. So for two weeks I worked like a madwoman to fill this order. It was quite a challenge, with guests staying over for several days, but I finally got it done and delivered…
And just when I thought I was going to get a much-needed break, nathalie-roze & co. contacted me to order some more books! Ack! So once again I’ve been working day and night, trying to get as much done before Valentine’s Day… I’ll be delivering what I can tomorrow, when I’ll be at the nathalie-roze & co. boutique to take a soap-making workshop. I can’t wait – I have an obsession with handmade soap, and have wanted to learn to make it for so long…as if I need another new hobby at the moment.
nathalie-roze & co. also asked me to teach a workshop in March, so I’ve been trying to develop papercraft projects that will appeal to artsy hipsters (a much different clientele from the ones at the scrapbooking store). These workshops have been great so far: I really enjoy teaching, and coming up with fun and interesting projects has really challenged my creativity and forced me to try new techniques I would otherwise have never discovered. And I’m meeting great people in the process – others who understand my paper fetish!
So while I’m completely exhausted from the past month’s events, I am extremely happy (and humbled by the attention I’m getting). I really need to focus on getting the business side of things organized before everything gets out of hand. And now more than ever, I need to start working on a Web site and other promotional materials.
In a side note, a few weeks ago B. and I went to visit the Norval Morrisseau exhibit at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg. Coincidentally, Mike Ford of Moxy Fruvous fame was performing there that same day. Moxy Fruvous is one of my all-time favourite Canadian groups, and I’m sad that they’re not performing together anymore. Nonetheless, it was fantastic hearing Mike perform alone (especially his version of I’ve Been Everywhere). Here’s the story: B. has often told me that he met and became friendly with the guys from Moxy Fruvous many years ago during a concert in Yellowknife. B. said he had particularly hit it off with Mike. Now, I must admit that I felt that B. was perhaps slightly exagerating when he described his friendship with Mike. I was therefore somewhat doubtful that Mike would recognize or even remember B. when we showed up at the McMichael. Well strike me down, Mike recognized B. and immediately recalled where and when they had met! It was amazing! So not only did I get to see Mike perform, but I also got to meet him. Cool.
Hopefully things will slow down slightly and I can go back to posting on a regular basis, instead of being quiet for weeks at a time and then rambling on incessantly…