Another Month Gone By…

I can’t believe it’s August in less than two hours! What the heck happened to July???

I’ve had the very best intentions for the past several evenings, but Mother Nature has put a damper on my plans. I was going to make tons and tons of books to build up my inventory, because I know I won’t have much time to devote to my bookbinding projects come Fall. But it’s been so bloody hot and humid here for the past few days (and it’s only going to get worse), I have no patience or energy for anything. I’ve been either sitting at the computer or on the sofa, trying to move as little as possible.

So I don’t have any new projects to show off. However I’d like to take a moment to thank several cool bloggers who have written about the Papermusings blog in the past month:

Jotterblog (who has been extremely generous in promoting my blog and projects, thus making me blush profusely…)
Wedding Bee
Lil Something

Now just as soon as the weather cooperates again, I plan on becoming a bookbinding maniac again! I’m especially looking forward to the long weekend coming up for an extra day of crafting.

Keep cool!

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In Need of Some Fun?

I love, love, love the Muppets. I grew up with the Muppet Show, and have never tired of watching it. It’s even funnier now that I actually GET the jokes. Here are three of my favourite Muppets (including my all-time favourite, Beaker) performing Danny Boy…

And if that didn’t make you laugh/cry enough, here is Beaker performing Feelings…kinda reminds me of the Carol Burnett version…

Great Finds…

Today I walked a few houses down to check out a garage sale. Bought some books (mostly to tear apart and make into recycled books and envelopes), but also found these gems:

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Let me explain – I LOVE steamer trunks (I own three others, but they’re in storage halfway across the country at the moment). This one is HUGE, and best of all, I paid all of THREE DOLLARS for it! I thought it was a mistake (these trunks go for about $100 in second-hand stores), but no…

The second big purchase was this:

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The set of drawers was very inexpensive as well. The old-fashioned suitcase and cake stand were other recent purchases from the Salvation Army. Inside the suitcase I’ve thrown in all those prototypes of books that I just couldn’t figure out what to do with – in some cases, they’re botched projects, in others, not quite good enough to be able to sell… In the cake stand I’ve put these:

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These are all 3″X3″ mini-albums that I’ve made for craft fairs and gifts. I thought it’d be cool to display them in an unconventional way…

I’ve spend the whole evening rearranging and cleaning the craft room to make room for the new set of drawers. It’s amazing what you can find when you actually clean the place once in a blue moon:

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Take a closer look at that red circle on the wall – it’s a vinyl LP of The Who’s “Who Are You”. Don’t think I’ll be cutting that one up anytime soon…

It’s been a crazy week – between being sick with a cold, travelling by plane, and preparing for a new 4-hour workshop, I’m quite exhausted. Today I taught a workshop using the large star book as the project. Not only was it a fairly complex book structure, but students also had to learn coptic binding. I must say I was thoroughly impressed with how quickly they all caught on. It made for a great class with awesome projects…

Tomorrow morning I will be making record notebooks for sale, then in the afternoon I’m off to visit a Mineral & Gem Show… If time allows, I’ll be working on some new star books (I have three on the go)…

Seeing Stars…and Bears

I don’t know how I ever managed to resist making star books for so long. I had always considered them “artist books”, whereas I felt my books were more “artsy books”. And yes, there is a difference.

But once I tried making one star book, I was hooked.

Here are my latest creations:

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Small Fortune Star Book

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Large Pink & Purple Star Book

And my favourite to date, made with a new line of Basic Grey papers:
basic-grey-lg-star-book-2.jpg basic-grey-lg-star-book.jpg

I can see this last one becoming an advent calendar or a super duper Christmas ornament/gift/album.

If you’re in Toronto, I’ll be teaching how to make these projects at Urban Scrapyard later this week. Check out the Events and Workshops page for more details.

In addition to the books, I also worked on finishing one of B’s carvings. He had to leave in a rush (I think HE’s the one who should read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, not me!), so I was delegated the task of water sanding, washing, heating, waxing and polishing this polar bear carving. Guess what I did Friday night and Saturday morning???

bear-carving-1.jpg Bear Carving in the Sanding Bin

bear-carving-2.jpg Finished Bear

Stuff

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since my last post. Although I’ve been busy with bookbinding projects and work, I’ve mostly been busy dealing with stuff. Un-fun stuff. Tough stuff. Some days are good, some not so great. Like today. But I’m trying to plug through, keep busy and productive, and hopefully things will get better soon.

I’ve been doing fun stuff, too. Just over two weeks ago, B and I visited my brother in Ottawa for a few days. We went to the Ottawa Bluesfest and caught Van Morrison and Bob Dylan in concert. How could that not be good? And I had lunch with one of my favourite people in the world, a former boss who is more like an over-protective big brother to me. Good times.

B was back home for barely more than two weeks (after two months away). Just as I was getting used to having him around again, he took off to participate in an arts festival. Gone for another three weeks. This is certainly part of the un-fun stuff I’ve been dealing with.

Work has been a challenge too, for the past few weeks. Although I love my new job, during the course of the summer I’m in the planning process for all the events that will take place in the fall and winter. As much as I love organizing events, to me the planning stage is the not-so-fun-and-exciting part. It’s the boring and mundane part of the process, unlike the implementation stage when you’re actually in the middle of the event and your adrenaline is rushing and you can see the concrete results of your hard work.

So to help me get through all this, I decided I needed a goal of some sort. And I decided that reading through (and implementing) Getting Things Done by David Allen was going to be my goal. You see, I’m a very organized person at work. And at home, to a certain extent. Where I struggle is in synchronizing the two together. I’m hoping to develop a system that will help me better keep track of my home and work stuff better.

Aside from reading the book, I’ve also been surfing the web for related websites. Here are a few I’ve been enjoying:
Lifehacker
43 Folders

There are too many more to list here, but these two are the best sites. Just getting through the book and the websites has given me more energy, and I already feel my creative juices starting to stir. This system greatly appeals to the anal-retentive side of me that loves lists, order, time management, and organization.

Not done reading the book yet. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Exhausted…

but for a good reason. Look what I made:

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Looks simple enough. A sketchbook made of watercolour paper. Ah, my friend, there lies the deception. This is the reason I am so tired and achy all over:

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This book was commissioned by my director at work, so of course I wanted to impress him and do a good job. He gave me free reign when it came to the decorative binding, so I went and chose the most complicated binding I could find in Keith Smith’s “1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings: Non-Adhesive Binding Volume II”. Goes to show, I never learn. I had never tried this particular binding before, and although I knew it would be a lot of work, I underestimated just how long it would take me to do the sewing part. THREE LONG HOURS. Here is a close-up of the spine:

nature-sketchbook-spine.jpg

I am thrilled to report that I didn’t make any major mistakes, and I love how it turned out. I was lucky, I guess, that it turned out so well on the first try. Knock on wood…

However, having spent a large chunk of the day on this book, I am concerned because B. finally arrives from his trip tomorrow morning (after two long months) and the house is a complete disaster. I kinda neglected the housework while he was gone and chose to focus on my bookbinding projects and activities…so now I am scrambling to make the house presentable before I leave at 5:30 am tomorrow morning to pick him up at the airport.

By the way, Happy Late Canada Day! I spent a nice, quiet day shopping (finally checked out the Martha Stewart line at Michael’s) and last night I watched the Canada Day concert broadcast live from Parliament Hill. I remember that growing up in small-town New Brunswick, every year I’d watch the Canada Day celebrations on tv, hoping, wishing, that one day I’d get to take part in the activities. And my wish came true when I moved to Ottawa in 1997. It went even beyond that when I was recruited to become part of the team organizing the Canada Day celebrations – never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine such an opportunity… So for three years, I laboured and did my best to create a fun and exciting environment for the event participants. Unfortunately the work environment wasn’t always so fun and exciting, and I eventually left before I completely burnt out. Although I’m grateful for the experience, I am now completely content watching the celebrations from afar, in front of my tv, with a nice glass of red wine. Cheers to Canada and being Canadian!

I won’t be posting for the next few days – Wednesday morning B. and I head to the Ottawa Bluesfest to catch Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. Should be fantastic – I can’t wait!

See you soon!