Getting to Know Me…

Found this Q&A list on Create a Connection via Art Junk Girl‘s site. Thought I’d give it a go…

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?

These past few days, I haven’t been working on very many books; I’m focusing more on developing upcoming workshop projects. However here is a coptic-bound book with a twist:

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:
comp-book-before.jpg comp-book-after.jpg

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…


More Storage Goodness…

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:
file-folder-storage1.jpg file-folder-storage2.jpg

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:
cd-case-lc.jpg cd-case-lc-back.jpg

I have a feeling this product will sell like hotcakes…

Handmade Storage Containers

After running around all day yesterday, trying to find supplies for an upcoming workshop, I spent the evening relaxing with wine and a game of Yahtzee. But first I made these:
origami-boxes-2.jpg origami-boxes-1.jpg

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!

ECMA Memories…

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’ve only made one book in the past two days. It’s a new binding for me – ribbon-hinged. It turned out quite nicely, and I love the colour combination of pink and brown:
ribbon-hinged-pb.jpg ribbon-hinged-pb-spine.jpg

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…

My New Crafting Table

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 decided to try out my nifty new table last night and made this CD book:

I think I’ll present it to my local scrapbooking store and see if they’re interested in doing a workshop with it…

I also made this piano-hinge book to present to the scrapbooking store; they’ve asked me to develop a Spring- or Easter-themed project:

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…

New Projects…

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 Made Soap!

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.
ReadingMary 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.