Replenishing the Stash & Modigliani

I spent a good part of the day replenishing my depleting stock of paper and other materials. I was hoping to post some photos of the great stuff I bought, but my camera is misbehaving at the moment. I’ll try uploading the photos tomorrow, hopefully with better luck…

Well I’m happy to announce that I will soon be joining the working masses again – I just got a job! I’m quite happy with it; it’s in my field of work (special events management), my boss and co-workers seem awesome, and the pay is more than I could have ever hoped for! I really feel I hit the jackpot – I’m really looking forward to starting work on April 10th, although there is a part of me dreading the return to a 9-to-5 schedule.

Which now means that I only have a dozen or so days to go on a huge bookbinding blitz, as I suspect my new work schedule will be hectic in the next few months. So I’m planning to produce several dozen books for sale, in addition to presenting a workshop or two, before the start at the new office. Hopefully this deadline will help me keep my focus to just produce, produce, produce.

Seeing as I can’t post any photos at the moment, I thought I’d share a bit of inspiration with you. Over the past weekend, B and I rented the movie Modigliani starring Andy Garcia as the artist himself. It’s not the best-made film I’ve ever seen, but it was certainly fascinating to witness Amadeo Modigliani’s love/hate relationship with Picasso (who really wasn’t a likeable person at all, it seems) and his interaction with a number of other artists at that moment in time. I would have loved to have been a part of la vie bohème in Paris a century ago. After watching the movie, I did an online search on Modigliani, as I didn’t know much about him. He tragically died at the young age of 35, from the effects of life-long meningitis that was exacerbated by his lifestyle of excess. His partner, Jeanne Hébuterne, was so devastated that two days after his death she threw herself out of a 5th-floor window, killing both herself and their unborn child. Okay, so maybe la vie bohème wasn’t so much fun after all…

This reminds me of a few years ago, when I had decided that instead of making new year’s resolutions that I couldn’t keep, I would choose a different artist each month and study as much as I could about them. I researched Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and several others, and it was interesting to discover their upbringing and influences, the evolution of their style, and ultimately become closer to understanding the artists and their work. I’m now thinking this is a project I should resurrect; learning more about Modigliani has made me realize how much I had loved this whole process of discovery. Something to add to my to-do list…

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Inspiration Dump

I’ve been hooked on several crafty websites and blogs, and thought I’d share a few of them with you:

Craft TV Weekly: I’m not a scrapbooker, but I enjoy watching these webisodes, especially the ones by Tricia Morris. She focuses on bookbinding and book structures, and always has funky projects. I also love that you can download the project guides in pdf format.
Fiskars: They also have webisodes featuring well-known scrapbookers, as well as a ton of articles and projects you can print out.
CaiLun: Dennis Yuen creates the most gorgeous handmade books – I love his clean style and use of colour.
Shimelle: She’s a scrapbooker who also offers online classes. I love her mini-book ideas and find her work inspiring.

There are so many more sites that get my creative juices going – I’ll post some more in the future!

Happy Monday!

In Production Mode

I haven’t had much time to produce new books this past week. I’m in the middle of a job search, and between the searching, preparing and interviewing I’m pretty exhausted. But things are looking up, and I have a feeling I’ll be getting some good news in the next few days…keeping my fingers crossed!

B and I spent several hours yesterday walking around Kensington Market and Chinatown. I had a job interview in that area, so we decided to take advantage of our being there and really explore. We’d been in the area a few times, but we were always in a rush to go somewhere or else it was always so cold outside that we couldn’t really take a leisurely stroll in all the shops. We found so many gems and definitely plan on going back when we get a bit of moolah going. We can across an import store that sells large sheets of Japanese-style papers for $2.99, whereas in other stores they sell for $10-20! And journals…and more paper…and kitchen stuff…it was all too much to take in.

The previous evening, B and I had gone for dinner in an area called the Beaches (or the Beach, depending on who you talk to). We decided to walk over to the boardwalk along the lake, and were pleasantly surprised to discover that there’s actual sand on this particular beach! When I think of Toronto, I somehow don’t associate it with beaches and sand…but I’m definitely planning to spend time here this summer.

I really love the multiculturalism in Toronto – having grown up in New Brunswick, which is very homogenous when it comes to cultures, this ethnic diversity is fairly new to me. Ottawa, where I lived for seven years, is diverse, but nowhere near as much as T.O. In fact, B and I had a good laugh a few weeks ago, when we realized that an Inuk (B) and an French Canadian/Acadian (me) were being served by a Mexican waitress and an African-American chef in a Thai restaurant in Greektown in Toronto!

Okay, on to the fun stuff. This afternoon I finally got my butt into gear and made:

mint-brown-coptic.jpg Coptic-bound journal

orange-teal-ribbon-hinged.jpg Another ribbon-hinged album

mini-album.jpg A 3″X3″ mini-album

coin-envelope-book.jpg coin-envelope-book2.jpg Coin Envelope Book

I have ideas for several other new bindings and book types – if all goes well tomorrow I’ll try out a few…

And finally, I just finished reading The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life by Camilla Gibb, which I thoroughly enjoyed although the ending was a bit weird. I’m about to start Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor, which was so valiantly defended by my (imaginary) boyfriend Jim Cuddy during the latest edition of Canada Reads. Can’t wait to get into Jim’s mind and see what he so loves about it!

Not Bad For a Blonde…

I missed the television broadcast of CBC’s Test the Nation last weekend, but just now decided to take the IQ test for the heck of it.

Having never done an IQ test before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so when they asked me to estimate my IQ, I guessed 115 (the average is 110).

Imagine my surprise (and relief) when I ranked at 128! Which was higher than the group of surgeons (avg: 119) who took the test! Woo hoo!

Here’s my score breakdown:
Language: 10/12
Memory: 5/6
Logic: 11/12
Visual Memory: 2/6 (I guess the glass of wine I drank before the test didn’t help in this area…)
Math: 11/12
Perception: 12/12

Take the test yourself and post your results in the comments section – I’ll send a handmade book to the fifth (5th) person to comment…

Springtime & Paris

This morning on my way to a job interview, I spotted the first sure sign of Spring: a robin! I was very excited, as it’s probably been years since I’ve actually seen one. Mother Nature has been playing head games with us lately; just when we think Spring is here for good, bam! she sends below-freezing temperatures. When I left the house around 11 o’clock this morning, there were high hopes that we’d reach today’s forecasted high of about 9C. A few hours later, it was only 1C, and very chilly because of the wind and rain. Not a very spring-like attitude, if you ask me…

But to cheer myself up and keep me going until Spring really arrives, I made this with the papers I found last week:

ribbon-hinged-notebook-paris.jpg

Same concept as the ribbon-hinged albums mentioned in earlier posts, except that I used white 24-lb. paper for the inside pages instead of cardstock. I love how it looks – makes me want to go visit Paris in the Springtime!

This journal as well as my most recent record books were all delivered this morning to nathalie-roze for sale in her boutique.

I can’t wait to try out the other spring-like papers I bought this week…

Toxic People Be Gone. Good Karma Welcome!

There come times when you are required to make tough choices, and yesterday was one of them. For about 6 weeks, B and I had been helping out someone in need, who came to us when he had nowhere else to go. We provided a work space for him, let him stay at our house until he could find his own place, fed him, drove him around when he needed to do errands or deliveries. In short, provided a comfortable environment to someone who hadn’t known such a thing in many years, if ever. Unfortunately, it seems that we may have provided too much comfort, for although he had found his own apartment, he continued staying over at our house. And eating our food. And expecting us to drive him around. He had become a nuisance and a burden.

The lack of privacy was really starting to get to us, and Saturday night B and I told him we wanted an evening alone and drove him to his own place. He obviously wasn’t going to take a hint, so we were forced to be quite blunt with him. Well the next morning, he showed up on our front porch, knocking at the door. B and I knew who it was, and decided we weren’t going to answer. We knew he had probably been drinking, but figured he would go away if we didn’t answer. Wrong. Unbelievingly, he continued knocking on the door for another 45 minutes… When we finally realized that he wasn’t going anywhere, B opened the door and told him to get the hell off our property (I’m actually surprised the neighbours didn’t call the cops, considering how much a racket he was making on a Sunday morning).

We made the decision that we would never let this man into our house again. He has left several phone messages for B, which we’ve ignored. We talked about it most of yesterday, and both of us feel that a huge burden has been lifted from our shoulders. This man had become a huge nuisance, and was obviously not interested in helping himself out of his situation. I’m all for being charitable, but there comes a limit when the financial and emotional burden is too much to take… I made a conscious decision several years to try to, if not eliminate, then reduce, the amount of contact I have with toxic people, and this guy definitely is on the black list.

On to more positive things…

Saturday morning I taught the ribbon-hinged album workshop and had such a great time with my students. Three of the five students had taken my other classes before, so it seems I’m building quite a reputation! I was a bit nervous about teaching this class, as the book structure was much more complicated than the other classes I’ve taught, but the students were sharp and caught on quickly. They also had very positive comments to say about the class, so I’m quite ecstatic. The students got to choose their own papers for this class, and the results were amazing. Everyone’s book was different, but each was just as beautiful as the next. I really hope to teach this workshop again soon, especially since I now know what to expect.

I was scheduled to teach a class at a new location on Sunday, but unfortunately we were forced to cancel due to lack of participants. Oh well… The owner of the store was very apologetic, but I don’t blame her in any way. I’ve never taught at her store, and I’m assuming her clientele don’t really know me or my work yet. We just need to give it time. I think she’s hoping to reschedule another workshop sometime soon, so hopefully this one will draw more interest.

And finally…

This past week I’ve received several emails from complete strangers who said they have come across my blog and really enjoy it! Being completely new to the blogging world, I’m extremely flattered to receive ANY comments at all! Thank you to Soren, Kristen and Judith for your heartwarming emails and for the encouragement! And thanks to Iona (not a stranger, but a dear friend) for your wonderful comments too!

New Books and Goodies

I have been busy producing new books in the past several days, but couldn’t quite find the time to take photos and post the results. Here is a group of 5 record books I recently finished:

lp-books.jpg

There’s something about a stack of books that makes me completely giddy – doesn’t this look absolutely yummy?

stack-lp-books.jpg

Here are some ribbon-hinged albums in progress, as well as the finished product:

ribbon-book-blocks.jpg ribbon-albums.jpg

The one on the far right is an album I made yesterday afternoon, when I taught this project in a workshop for the first time. I had lots of fun, and can’t wait to teach it again on Saturday. This is probably my favourite new book structure, although it’s a bit expensive to make with all the cardstock and scrapbooking papers. I need to somehow adapt it so that it’s not quite so pricey.

Earlier today, I needed to stock up on various art supplies at a few different locations. Imagine how thrilled I was to discover these delicious papers at Loomis, and just in time for Spring!

new-paper.jpg

I must now determine what projects could possibly be worthy of such beautiful papers. Oh, the possibilities…!

And finally, I’ve decided that on my next birthday (a mere 10 months away), I MUST MUST MUST throw myself a paper-crafting party, after reading this article in Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion. How cool is this? There’s also a great article about the Paper Source, a chain of stores I’ve only visited in my dreams…