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I had resolved to do something creative every day in 2010. And things were going well. I was converting these:
I was practicing my calligraphy skills:
(Can you guess which movie I watched while I practiced?)
I was sewing new curtains and designing a card for a friend’s top-secret surprise birthday party.
Indeed, things were going well. Until day 5 of 2010, when I decided to go to the walk-in clinic to get my sprained ankle checked out because it wasn’t getting better. Four hours later, I came home with this:
Turns out I’d been walking on a broken ankle for the past week. When the doctors told me it was broken, I thought they were kidding (because doctors like to play practical jokes on their patients…right?). Even when they showed me the x-rays, I didn’t believe it. And even as they were putting the cast on, I was still skeptical.
So for the past few days I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole situation. The doctors have said I’ll need the cast on for 6 to 8 weeks. They’ve scared me into staying off the broken ankle with threats of surgery if I don’t comply.
Getting to and from the office is a huge struggle in the ice and snow. And to make things worse, I need to travel extensively to implement 13 events in the next 7 weeks. Yikes. I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll get it all done.
Although I’m quite happy to be single and living independently most days, I could sure use my very own Mr. Darcy right now!
So that “creative every day” resolution I was talking about earlier? Out the window. The good news is that I’ve been catching up on my reading. Right now I’m enjoying “Through Black Spruce” by Joseph Boyden (isn’t he a cutie?) and “When You Are Engulfed In Flames” by David Sedaris – exactly what I need to cheer me up.
It’s hard to believe that today is already Day 4 of 2009… Time continues to tick away, when there is still so much to do. I’ve spent the past several days just vegging out and thinking about what I want to accomplish this coming year. Although I haven’t posted on this blog in several months, I’ve been very busy creating in other areas of my life. In December alone, I:
· Took part in a craft fair (while recovering from a nasty bout of food poisoning)
· Made no less than 6 custom books and 3 boxes for special commissions
· Taught 3 bookbinding workshops
· Wrapped up a weekly web design course I was taking
· Made a bracelet as a Christmas gift for my mom and started a second one for myself (Found a new hobby – oh, joy!)
· Made a painting (18”X24”) of Jim Morrison as a Christmas gift for my brother
· Organized and delivered three events in three different cities for my pesky day job
I think I really overextended myself this time…no wonder I’m feeling so burnt out. For months I’ve been working long and stressful hours at my pesky day job, and on my crafty endeavours every evening and weekend.
Despite the current economic downturn, it is my greatest hope to start working for myself. Being a realistic person, I know it won’t be possible just yet. But in the meantime I have decided to set the wheels in motion so that when the timing is right, I’ll be ready. One example of this is the web design course I recently took – I started with the intention of learning to design my own website, but I can now see myself selling my services to others one day. With this in mind, I’ve signed up for a course to learn Adobe Photoshop, which will in turn help me to design better websites. I also signed up for a full-day workshop on Starting Your Own Business, so that when the timing is right, I’ll have the tools and skills in place to get things done quickly and correctly.
When I came back from my Christmas trip in Switzerland a year ago, I had decided I wanted to learn a new language (meeting so many Europeans who could speak several languages really inspired me) but I never did anything about it… Now one of my closest friends, Neil, is getting married in Greece this coming May, so I registered for a Greek-language course to keep me focussed on my goal of saving enough money to attend the wedding (and impress my friends by speaking Greek!). Living in the Greektown area of Toronto will no doubt help me learn the language more easily. I can’t wait until next week, when the course starts…should be fun!
Part of me feels that I’m again overextending myself by registering for all these course during my busiest time of year at my pesky day job (I will be organizing and delivering 5 events in January and 6 in February), but the other part of me feels that I really need to do this for myself if I want to improve my life in the long run. If I can get through the next two months, I can get through anything! I just need to stay focussed on my goals, get lots of sleep, and enjoy every free moment I have.
Here are a few photos of some recent projects:
A notebook I made for a swap that never took place…
A wedding album & box commission (I made 5 albums and 3 boxes for this couple)
Another commission – a large journal for a Bluenose aficionado (like me!)
The Jim Morrison painting I made for my brother
The half-finished silver & teal bracelet I am making for myself (I made a similar one in gold & cream for my mom)
So tell me, what do you have planned for 2009?
Oh dear…as if I needed another project to add to my already too long to-do list…sigh.
I have tons of album covers laying around the apartment, since I mostly only use the vinyl records to make my LP journals.
I just came across this brilliant project – I wish I’d thought of this first!
Found at Paper and Stitch
I was saddened to hear about the passing of comedian Harvey Korman last week. I used to love watching the Carol Burnett Show and its incredibly talented cast of characters. Whenever Harvey was teamed up with Tim Conway, you knew you were in for a good laugh. I searched YouTube and found this gem:
I could spend hours watching all the videos from the Carol Burnett Show – even 30 or 40 years later, they are as timless and funny as ever!
In more creative news…
Now that I’m fully recovered from the crazy super-bug I caught a few weeks ago, I’ve been spending lots of time at my craft table. I’ll be moving into a new loft later this month and will need to decorate the new place. Since my budget is limited at the moment, I decided to create a decor element of my own. I introduce you to my new friend Audrey:
The photo on the right shows the image that I used to create the canvas painting. I’m thrilled with how she turned out, and I can definitely see myself making more of these in the future!
I’ve also been making books, books, books for sale at nathalie-roze & co. Of course, I forgot to take photos of the dozen or so LP journals I made before delivering them, but they included Steve Miller Band, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, BTO, and more. I found out that one of my David Bowie LP journals will be used as a guest book at a gallery in Scarborough. They’re showing an exhibit on LP cover art (including the Bowie cover I used to make the journal) so it’s a perfect match!
As a change from making books all day, I started making these a few months ago. I have to admit, they’ve become a bit of an obsession. I loooooove how they add a touch of class to just about anything:
(I’m also loving the macro feature on my camera!)
Today I plan to plug away and make more books for sale, but I’m not sure how far I’ll get with the heat. It’ll be close to 40 Celcius this afternoon with the humidity factor, and it’s already hot and sticky. Ouch. I may need to take a few ice cream and cooler breaks in between the book making…
- I had a great time at the Gordon Lightfoot concert last night (it was pretty thrilling to see a Canadian icon in person):
- I haven’t disappeared from the face of the earth; I’ve simply been dealing with some life changes that include becoming newly single, finding a new place to live and everything in between. Part of the process is yucky and sucky, and yet it’s a time for great opportunies and changes. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason and it’s important to learn from every situation that comes your way, good or bad. Already, some good has come following the bad…more to come soon.
- Now that things have finally slowed down at the pesky day job, I’ve finally found the time to take a few workshops, such as a basic letterpress class -
- I even took my very first scrapbooking class (!):
- I’ve been busy making LP Journals to sell (available at nathalie-roze & co.) – by the way, you can learn how to make your own LP Journal on May 24, when I’ll be teaching a workshop at nathalie-roze & co.:
- I’ve been making bookbinding kits to sell (available at Urban Scrapyard):
- I completed a commission that had been in the works for a long time – a dos-à-dos (back-to-back) large-sized journal:
- I participated in several swaps on Swap-Bot:
- I even found the time to take a walk on the beach:
And yes, there is a beach in Toronto.
I am so in love with these – and they’re super easy to make!
Find the tutorial here.
I’ve mentioned a few times that I love participating in swaps, particularly on Swap-Bot.
The last swap I took part in required each participant to make a book filled with letters and envelopes filled with goodies. Here is what I came up with for my partner:
I created my book based on a Christmas theme – I found some wonderful old-fashioned clip art from a CD & book my mother gave me for Christmas last year. If you look closely, you’ll notice that each of the signatures is made from a mini file folder, with even smaller (minier?) file folders interpersed.
In one of the envelopes, I included the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter. In some pockets I added a packet of tea and one of minty hot chocolate.
All in all, this was a fun project to make. As usual, I wish I’d had more time to work on and embellish it…oh well, maybe next time.
This weekend was great, from a crafty perspective. I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit, despite being so exhausted from my day job. Worked on a few projects:
Project #1: Chunky Advent Book
Bought a kit to make this project and turned it into this:
Each page is a numbered mini-envelope with a tag inside. The book itself is 2″X2″, and refuses to shut close (but that’s exactly how I like it!).
I was debating what to include on each of the tags, and finally decided I would write one self-reflective question for each day. The end of the year is always a time for me to look back on past accomplishments and to future goals. I love those end-of-year questionnaires so I figure I’ll adapt one for my chunky advent calendar.
Speaking of advent calendars, if you’re as obsessed with them as I am, check out this site – I was very pleased to see the star advent calendar I made several weeks back:
Project #2: Christmas Cards and Envies
Some days I’m convinced I’m insane to insist on making my own Christmas cards every year (or almost), but it’s so important to me and I love doing it. Here is what I made for this year:
The envelope has a small window, inside of which is stamped “let it snow”. (And it’s not diarrhea green, as in the photo; it’s actually a beautiful olive green. Trust me.)
Project #3: Ribbon-Hinged Albums
I was commissoned to make two ribbon-hinged albums, both of which I’ve started and almost finished. Photos to come…
Project #4: Personalized Journal
I was also commissioned to make a journal for a co-worker’s daughter. She (the daughter) is a ballerina whose photo was used on promotional material for a ballet school, and her mother has asked me to include some of the material as part of the journal. I love a great challenge! I think I’ve finally figured out what to do…again, photos to come…
All in all, a great weekend!
Spending way too much time online looking for Christmas projects and not enough time catching up on my sleep after a rough week (I organized three out-of-town events this week alone)… Planning on spending what’s left of today catching up on some commissions for handmade books and finishing my Christmas cards… Sometimes I wonder if I’m insane to insist on making my own cards and gifts when I barely have a moment to myself, but I can’t help it – Christmas has this effect on me….
Here are a few projects to inspire you, should you have some free time this weekend:
I’ve had this idea stuck in my head for several weeks now, and was trying to figure out how exactly I should execute it… This past weekend I finally produced my first star book/advent calendar – here’s what it looks like:
There are a total of 24 tiny envelopes, each containing a round tag that expresses “Merry Christmas” in a different language… That’s right, by the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll be able to say it in 24 languages! There are two tags per panel, with one extra panel at the front of the book where I added a short history of the advent calendar, and one at the back where I simply added “Merry Christmas” with a hand-drawn tree.
I’m very happy with how it turned out, although there are parts I’d like to tweak, such as the round tags. I’m thinking of replacing them with more traditional-looking tags. And I need to figure out how to decorate the covers, which are too plain-looking. I’m not one to embellish my handmade books – this is an enormous step for me! I love the colours on the outer panel (the ones the envelopes are glued to) – it looks Christmas-ish without looking too Christmas-y. Know what I’m sayin’???
I also received a great package in the mail yesterday – it was for the Handmade Happiness swap on Swap-Bot. As part of the swap, we were to send two handmade items to our two partners. Here is what I received from Lithmire:
It’s a tote bag made from a t-shirt! Brilliant! I love it – especially the t-shirt she made it with (I believe every town should have its own Rubber Chicken Festival). She also included a handmade bracelet in beautiful green and teal beads.
I’ve really become hooked on Swap-Bot – this past month alone so many great and creative swaps have come up. I think I’m signed up for at least 10! Better get my butt into gear and start creating…
All in all, a pretty darn productive weekend, I’d say! Especially considering the fact that our neighbourhood suffered a power outage for about three hours yesterday afternoon…
When I woke up this morning, the power was out YET AGAIN. Which meant no shower, getting dressed and applying makeup in the semi-dark, and worst of all, NO COFFEE. (Collective gasp!) Let’s just say the day was off to a rough start – not sure why we’ve had all these power outages, but I’m happy to report that all is well again.
Well as I’m reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, I’ve certainly put it into practice this weekend (even though 6 weeks later I’m not yet done reading the darn book, but that’s a whole other story). I took full advantage of it being a long weekend in Ontario to work on some projects – although tonight I couldn’t even remember what I did until I looked at my photos… I tell ya, my mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be!
Saturday morning I taught a workshop at Urban Scrapyard – it was a great group and we had lots of fun making ribbon-hinged albums. It’s always amazing to see how every person’s project turns out even though they all choose different papers…
That afternoon I went out for lunch at a local bakery then came home to work on some books. I spent an unreasonable amount of time online – I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, not sure why. Can you say procrastination???
Sunday morning I woke early and watched “The Shop Around the Corner” starring Jimmy Stewart on tv. I love old movies, although the acting and dialogue always seem so dramatic and exaggerated. Entertaining nonetheless.
Then I got to work on some swaps I’m part of. My partner on an earlier swap never received her package (she’s in the UK), so I promised I’d send her a new one because I really wanted her to have a good experience. This despite the fact that I never received a package for the last three swaps I’ve participated in… It’s very disappointing, considering the amount of time I spend putting them together (I mostly include handmade items), but that’s part of the game, I guess… Anyway, enough with the whining – here’s what I put together for my swap partner (LAVA please shut yor eyes!):
Quite a bargain – many people don’t realize how expensive coloured paper is… The colours are a bit funky, but I’m sure I’ll be able to put them to good use…
Part two of the weekend report will follow tomorrow – it’s getting late and this post is already way too long!
It continues to be unbearably hot and humid here in Toronto – I haven’t even looked at my paper or projects this week. I can’t even bear the thought of doing anything more than lying on the sofa in front of a fan or sleeping in our cool basement.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about projects and ideas – there are many stirring around in my little blonde head… I just can’t execute any of them because of the heat…
Since I still don’t have anything to show off to you, here is a little inspiration – hopefully it’s not as hot in your neck of the woods and you might just get something accomplished:
- Cardboard Folding - in case you’re in need of cheap furniture
- Magazine Box Tutorial – should you want a box made of magazines
- Book Sculptures - what to do with all those old library books you forgot to return
- One Little Word - for all those scrapbookers and art journallers (like me) looking for one-word inspiration
- Jennifer Collier’s shoes – because a woman can never have too many shoes
Enjoy – I’ll be back as soon as the weather cooperates!
One thing most good instruction books tell you is when you’re making a new type of book for the first time, always make a maquette from scrap papers first; that way if you make mistakes or need to make adjustments, you’re not wasting your good papers.
Do I ever follow these instructions? Noooooo……
And so I’ve spent approximately $20 on paper to make a star book that doesn’t quite form into a star shape…
Here’s what it looks like closed:
Don’t get me wrong – I love how it looks, the colour combinations, the way it fans out, etc. It’s just that it’s supposed to completely fan out so that the covers touch each other. You see, I couldn’t find instructions for this book, so I carefully studied several photos until I had it figured out… I got it right for the most part, and it would take only a bit of tweaking for it to be perfect, but in the meantime I’ve spent a good chunk of money on a book that won’t open properly. And I can’t take it apart to redo it.
Lesson (grudgingly) learned.
However, I do believe I’ll send out this book for a swap I’m participating in on Swap-Bot. The challenge is to make a book that is MORE than a book, something that is interesting and interactive. I think this will fit the bill perfectly if I add a few pockets and some tags…
On Saturday I took part in my very first Crafternoon Tea at nathalie-roze & co. Although I didn’t sell tons, it was a worthwhile experience nonetheless – I got to promote my books to a very interesting and interested crowd, and I was able to meet and mingle with some pretty cool crafters, namely le petit pig and soap scum. I never cease to be amazed by the sheer amount of talent and creativity out there – it’s very inspiring and makes me want to try so many new projects…except the pesky new day job keeps getting in the way…and yet it’s the pesky new day job that allows me to finance the new projects. It’s a sad, sad situation, I know.
Be sure to stop by nathalie-roze’s Crafternoon Tea where I’ll be one of the vendors…
MINI Crafternoon Tea
WHEN: Saturday June 23rd from 11am to 5pm
WHERE: Nathalie-Roze & Co. – on the side patio and back garden
WHAT: A hip outdoor crafty fashion market and charity tea-party
Expect over 20 local craftista-designers selling their fab limited edition merch at wallet-friendly prices (lots under $30) – many items are eco-chic, creatively incorporating vintage and/or recycled materials. Peruse wearables and gift items including unusual handcrafted jewellery & accessories, quirky-cool clothing, unconventional paper goods, dreamy organic soaps & lotions, plus lots more handmade crafty goodness.
Highlights include: onesies made from vintage t-shirts, reusable shopping/tote bags made from recycled sheets and drapes (no more plastic!), knitted purses made out of t-shirt scraps and gorgeous summer tops and brooches made with vintage silk scarves, sock toys, vinyl LPs morphed into journals, clay jewellery and other inspired wearables.
ALSO: a stellar raffle (over $400 worth of prizes), a discount craft supply & fabric table as well as lots of sweet eats – scones & cream, cupcakes, gourmet tea (iced or hot) and lemonade served in the back garden.
Proceeds benefit the Woodgreen Community Centre.
Vendors include local faves and newbie talents:
Kari Lynn Bianchi, Sweetie Press, Kim Kutner, B. Skin, TLC/Echoes in the Attic, Naynu, Kate Johnson, Le Petit Pig, House of Hsueh, SLO, Jules & Annie, Little Brown Wren, Sally Girl, Peach Berserk, Sally Girl, Rat Girl, L’Ammie, Melissa Clemente, Soap Scum, simply. by amanda, Paper Muse, Toronto Craft Alert, Church of Craft and Rat Girl (& other guests).
For more info and vendors pix, visit: www.nathalie-roze.com OR call 416-792-1699
It’s not yet 4:30 pm Saturday, and I’m feeling very creative and productive. This morning I made the following refillable notebook:
On the inside left cover, I made an accordion-like envelope booklet to hold receipts and business cards:
After hanging out at Urban Scrapyard for a while this afternoon, I came home and made my very first star book:
I love the look of this type of book, and you can cut openings through the layers to make it even more interesting. I found the instructions for this book in Cherryl Moote’s “Books with Girth”. I bought this book a few months ago and really love it – the projects are fabulous, the instructions are clear, there are many, many types of books to make. All in all, a great investment.