Be Merry Be Bright

It’s hard to believe there are fewer than four months left to Christmas, right?!? Yikes – no reason to panic!

But it’s a great reason to celebrate the few remaining lazy, hazy days of summer with a retro “Christmas in July(ish)” cocktail party – and you’re all invited! YAY!

PaperlessPost Invite

I found this lovely card at Paperless Post, where they just released a brand new selection of holiday cards. You can either send e-cards or customize and print your own cards through their website – very cool indeed!

Of course it wouldn’t be a real party without some funky music, so I created a swingin’ Xmas-themed playlist just for the occasion:

Now doesn’t that make you want to groove all night? Dean Martin sure thinks so!

Dean Martin RecordAll that dancing will make anyone thirsty…

And since beautiful, fragrant herbs are so plentiful this time of the year – it would be a shame not to use them. I just so happened to find several refreshing cocktail recipes using fresh basil, including Basil Lime Cooler, Basil Smash, Strawberry-Basil Martini, and more. Yum yum!

Bar

Drinks

Snacks

You want to make your own funky vinyl record snack bowl, you say? You can find the instructions right here. Just remember to line your bowl with wax or parchment paper before adding in the snacks!

And if you’re a little tired from the dancing and drinking, why not grab yourself a seat, put up your feet and admire a lovely little display rack filled with handmade cards. (Why yes, I did make each of these cards myself – thank you for asking!)

Card Rack

I hope you enjoyed yourself at my summer retro cocktail party – I sure had a great time planning it! Maybe we’ll see you around here again soon…Happy holidays!

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A Special Thank You!

As a special THANK YOU for your support in 2015 (and beyond), I’ve created these printable planner pages to help you get a head start on a super organized 2016!

If you own one of my Papermuse Designs refillable LP notebooks (5.5″ X 8.5″ format), these pages will fit once you’ve trimmed and hole-punched them.

I’ve created two designs: A pink-themed page and a grey-themed one. The two designs contain the same sections: “Today’s Top 3 Goals” and “To Do”. Feel free to use one or both of these pages!

To download, print and prepare your planner pages:

  • Click on the link below each photo to open the PDF document.
  • Print the pages on letter-size (8.5″ X 11″) paper.
  • Use a paper trimmer or scissors to cut each page in half at the 5.5″ (14 cm) mark.
  • Punch two holes at the top of each page.
  • Insert in your refillable LP notebook!

I hope you enjoy using these and find them useful. Over the next months, I am planning to create other printables to fit my LP refillable notebooks, so if there is something in particular that you’d like to see, please let me know!

Snapshot Daily Planner Page  - Pink

Click to download the Pink-Theme Daily Planner Page.

Snapshot Daily Planner Page  - Grey

Click to download the Grey-Theme Daily Planner Page.

Star Book Workshop: May 26

If you’re in Toronto next weekend and looking for something fun to do, I’ll be teaching a bookbinding workshop at Wise Daughters Craft Market in the Junction. This is the class project:

advent calendar bookbinding

This particular book was turned into an advent calendar – the 12 panels each fit two mini-pockets, making it perfect for this purpose!

If you’re interested in learning how to make this type of book (there are still a few spots left!), but at a loss for ideas on what you can do with it, I’ve gathered a few examples.

First up is a star book I made a few years ago for an online swap. My swap partner loved Frida Khalo, so I made her colourful paintings the theme of the book:

You can read my blog post and see more photos of  this book here.

Next up, a circus sideshow-themed book by Courtney Autumn Martin that is simply stunning! I love how the book is in the shape of a big top and so colourful.

Another artist whose work I love is Andrea Dezso – here is a carousel book that she illustrated and made:

Although this isn’t exactly the same binding style as the star book workshop I’ll be teaching, it can easily be adapted for a similar result.

Other possible uses for this type of book:

  • Travel journal – my last few travel journals were accordion books, but star books are definitely on my list…
  • Sketchbook – cut pieces of watercolour paper to the appropriate size, paint or sketch on them, and bind them afterwards
  • Art book – it doesn’t have to have a practical purpose – sometimes it’s just fun to look at a pretty book! I’ve been dreaming of making a Muppet-inspired book one of these days…

Back on the Radar

I haven’t been very active on the blog lately (in case you hadn’t noticed). The demands of the pesky day job have left me burnt out and lethargic. Other health issues in recent months (i.e. broken ankle, back pain) haven’t helped the situation. I feel like I’ve been living passively, always too busy or tired to really enjoy much of anything.

Now that there’s a [slight] lull at work, I’m finally catching up on my sleep. I hadn’t realized how sleep-deprived I really was.

I’m also creating again. Working on some new projects – easy projects, mind you – but creating nonetheless. I’m playing with paper and fabric and my sewing machine. And I’ll be offering workshops again really soon. I promise (it’s in the works)!

I’ve also been reflecting on changes I need to make in my life so that it’s more balanced. As much as I love certain aspects of my job, I can’t honestly keep up this pace and workload. And I’m happy to announce that I’ve taken concrete steps towards making big changes (I’ll talk about these more in a later post).

It’s all a little scary. But exciting. We’ll see where it leads.

In the meantime, I’m feeling more energetic, creative and hopeful. And I look forward to sharing with you all again.

Ciao for now!

Tuesday Tunes – William Fitzsimmons

In the same spirit as Film Fridays, I’d like to share some of my favourite musical discoveries. Music has always been such an important part of my life. Thanks to my older cousins (who I greatly admired), at a young age I discovered the Bee Gees, Rick Springfield, CCR, Adam Ant, and so many others. To this day, I love finding new (or new to me) artists – if you read this blog at all, you’ve definitely noticed this!

My latest obsession is William Fitzsimmons, a most charming singer-songwriter living in Illinois. I only discovered his music a few weeks ago, but after downloading his latest album, “The Sparrow and the Crow“, I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. If I had followed TV shows like Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy, I would have discovered him much earlier.

His regular posts on his Facebook fan page show a quirky, witty sense of humour (I actually look forward to his status updates). His bio is also quite fascinating.

He also has the soothing, haunting voice of an angel – not exactly what you’d expect from a guy with a Grizzly Adams-size beard.

He also does a fantastic cover of Go West’s “King of Wishful Thinking”:

Beautiful.

Short Films Galore

I recently discovered the National Film Board’s Facebook page and website – what an amazing treasury by Canadian artists and filmmakers! For the past year, the NFB has been embedding their films online to make them more accessible to the public, with very successful results.

I’ve been enjoying so many classics that I hadn’t seen in years – here is a sampling of my favourites.

The Big Snit by Richard Condie

The Cat Came Back by Cordell Barker

The Sweater by Sheldon Cohen (based on “The Hockey Sweater”, a story written and narrated by Roch Carrier – every Canadian child has read this at least once in their lifetime)

Le même court métrage, mais en français cette fois-ci!

The Log Driver’s Waltz (a fitting tribute to Kate McGarrigle)

I’ve also discovered some very cool new-to-me films…

A Sunday at 105 by Daniel Léger (a fascinating story of a 105-yr-old Acadian woman, filmed by her great-grandson)

Madame Tutli-Putli by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (a stunning animated film in HD)

I am totally hooked – I can’t stop watching!