mini-break

There are several projects that I'm working on that will keep me quite busy for the next few days. I just wanted to let you know that I'll be taking a mini-blogging break so that I can take care of it all. I'll see you next week.

Be well!


Flower Favor Box project found in Home, Paper, Scissors and featured in DIY magazine.

just thoughts

I just deleted a long post that I had ready to go. I know, maybe I shouldn't have done that. On the other hand, just writing out my thoughts was all that I needed. In lieu of my ramblings I leave you with a couple of quotes that sum up how I feel right now.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

- ­Mark Twain.

It's time to start living the life that you've imagined.
- Henry James

do it yourself magazine

Thanks to the heads up from a friend (don't you love online friendships!) I purchased the latest Do It Yourself Magazine (Winter 2009) and found that four pages were dedicated to four projects found in Home, Paper, Scissors. It's so exciting to see the word spreading around about my book.


I hadn't had a chance to really take a better look at this magazine. There are some fun projects in it and they're inspiring me to look inward a bit. Inward in the sense that it is high time to apply some of my ideas to our own home. I've been concentrating on work so much that I've neglected to make our little corner a little cozier. That will be changing and hopefully the results will be good enough to share with you.

• • •

Thank you to Apartment Therapy - OhDeeDoh for featuring my Numbers Flash Cards on their site. Welcome to those of you that are visiting via their site.

I've had some serious thoughts about using the illustrations in my flash cards for to be used for paper or fabric designs (maybe even digital applications?). I'll have to do a bit more of research to see what direction to take. Hmm.

numbers flash cards

I finally got around to working on this project that has been on my mind for a while and has been a request from some customers. This is a set of printable (animal themed) numbers flash cards that match my alphabet flash cards.

They are available in my shop now in: English, Spanish, German, French (feel free to contact me for any other languages).





Thank you so, so much to those of you that added a comment to my previous post. My little C enjoyed every single one of your words. They also sparked interesting conversations between us. This Mom is very appreciative of your kindness.

special request

For all intents and purposes my weekend started today. The kids were with me because parent/teacher conferences were this morning.

We've been working on one of D's school projects and the only reason I'm here is because my little C asked me to post the drawing below. She'd like to know what you think about it (her words). I'll be reading your comments to her if you care to share.




Friday Tidbits
- Irma Gruenholz: This illustrator uses clay in ways that just astound me.
- Genevieve Bennett: This artist does amazing work in leather.

Well that's it for today. Have a wonderful weekend!

makoto yabuki

White Box from makoto yabuki on Vimeo.


I found this so inspiring. For some reason it gave me many ideas to explore. It puts my little video to absolute shame, doesn't it?

More of Makoto Yabuki's work can be seen here.

autumn tree gift tag tutorial

I believe it was about two years ago that I made a very simple series of gift tag projects during the fall. I enjoyed working on them because they were quick and they gave me some crafty time that I many not have had otherwise.

I'm going to start up another series of simple projects. Instead of my usual photo tutorials, I'm going to make short videos. As a warm up, I worked on a simple autumn themed gift tag to welcome the first day of the season.

For those of you with more experience, please keep in mind that some of the steps are very basic. I've taken the approach of assuming that beginners would find this more useful. The other thing is that there are no fancy cutters or tools in this tutorial. I want to keep the gadgets to a minimum — no huge investments here.


This is only the second video I make and I know there are many issues to be conquered (editing, lighting, maybe the addition of some music etc. etc.) so please bear with me. If you don't mind watching me stumble a bit, these videos will also be a great way for me to learn something new.

I feel like I'm talking rather slow in this video so I'll definitely be speeding things up for the next one. More editing to make the project go faster will also be a priority. If you have any helpful suggestions or critiques I'd be happy to hear them too.

Here we go...

mental + physical



The fall brings a new soccer season, so yesterday we were at a day long tournament with the kids. While we watched one of D's games, my little C took the camera from me. After taking some 'normal' shots she started experimenting a little. I didn't change the photo above at all. She took it on that angle.

Once we made it home I headed straight for my bed, at 4pm mind you, and took the best nap ever. The price I paid was that once everyone was in bed at night I couldn't sleep a wink. But I did use my time wisely.

I know several of you may be viewing this via a reader but I just wanted to give you a heads up on a bit of housekeeping I did on my blog. There is a new menu bar at the top of the page that will guide you to the most visited sections. I felt like super woman doing it all without my IT guru husband. I hope you find it useful.

I'm hoping for a very productive week. One of the items on my to-do list is to follow the kids' example and get on the exercise bandwagon again. I desperately need it. If only cutting paper were a high calorie burner — I'd have it made!

Thank you to those of you that voted for me at Craftevolution. Home, Paper, Scissors was selected to part of the October book club meeting!

happy friday!

These are two books that I received in the last few days and they are so adorable. They're part of the same Make Good: Crafts + Life series that I mentioned a while back. The photography alone is beautiful and the projects are all very doable and sweet.



Felting for Baby: 25 Warm & Wooly Projects for the Little Ones in Your Life:
Isn't this cover adorable? I scared Mr. Z by saying that this book almost wants me want to have another baby. But no, I'll wait to be an auntie or for friends to have babies to work on any of the more specific baby projects. There are some that I could try now, like the: Felt Basket, Wall Pockets or Sachets. I love the simplicity of all the designs and the instructions are very clear. The how-to photos are excellent.

Carefree Clothes for Girls: 20 Patterns for Outdoor Frocks, Playdate Dresses, and More:
What I like about the designs in this book is that they aren't the typical types of clothes that I see little girls wearing. They have a rustic comfy feeling to them.The photography throughout makes me want to try making everything, but I'll probably start with something simple like the scarf. If these designs could convince my daughter that she looks beautiful in dresses that would be an added bonus. I won't be holding my breath though. I used to hate dresses too.

For more info about both books and many photos (which I'm sorry I didn't have time to take myself for a better review) visit Make Good Books.

Friday tidbits
Nathan Martell: I fell for his paper lamps that I saw on Design Milk and had to check out the rest of his work. I love it all.

A Lego a Day: I just found this blog this week and even though the year long project is completed it's still a fun place to visit. I find myself digging deeper and deeper into the archives. We are big Lego lovers in this house!

Enjoy your weekend!

crafty synergy feature | maya made

The simplicity of Maya's work is what first caught my eye. The materials and her graphic designs are a perfect match. The organic feel is an added bonus and I confess, I just love burlap. I also happen to be very partial to the country name on the bucket of the first photo.

Artist: Maya Donenfeld
Business: Designs Maya Made
Web site: mayamade.com, www.designsmayamade.etsy.com
Blog: maya*made
Location: Upstate NY



What do you create?
I design items for home and family that celebrate simplicity and sustainability. You'll often find me working with burlap from salvaged coffee sacks. I live just down the road from the roasters for Gimme!, one of New York's most popular coffee companies. Using materials that would otherwise go to waste is a common thread in much of my work. I often find fresh ideas in my recycling bins! In addition, I design patterns and write craft tutorials. I love empowering people to make things on their own. I have a strong belief in the power of DIY and feel compelled to spread the word.



When and why did you start your business?
I had been a stay at home mom (of two) for a decade and was wondering which path I would choose as my children grew older. I had a wonderful opportunity in February of 2008. I was hired as the interior design consultant for a renovation for Mama Goose, a local children's re-sale shop. For inspiration for current design trends, I was pointed in the direction of design blogs. A whole new world opened up and I fell in... down the rabbit hole I went. I soon realized that writing my own blog was a perfect way to chronicle the progress of the renovation. maya*made quickly took on a life of its own as I shared stories about my rural lifestyle and how-to's for making something out of nothing. My readers' enthusiastic responses to my projects encouraged me to open an Etsy shop and determined its focus. Designs Maya Made has been open for a little over a year. I feel so fortunate to have found a business that combines ,not only my background in early childhood education, natural foods, and the arts, but that I can do it from home, as well. maya*made is the first time that all of those pieces of me fit together perfectly!



Which of your tools is your favorite?
I love my sewing machine for everything from coffee sacks to paper, but right now I'm having a love affair with all of my printing tools. Carving my own designs has been one of the highlights of the last year. I find the process of carving to be so meditative and relaxing. I so enjoy the creative challenge of integrating my printed images with the things I make.



What part of the creative process do you enjoy the most?
It's hard to choose just one element, because I'm passionate about each step of the process: from the dreaming and brainstorming... to the sourcing of materials... to the making... to the styling for the photo shoots. What I hadn't anticipated, was the exhilaration of being part of an enthusiastic and supportive global community. Sharing the process, and all of its components on my blog, has connected me with makers all over the world in ways that I never could have imagined.


Thank you so much Maya!

2010 die cut calendar

It's here! I'm very happy with this this calendar. The sheets can be hung individually or as a group. If each sheet is hung on its own, your wall color will show through the die cuts, blending in with your decor. Love that!

The paper is natural colored (with visible fibers), recycled and FSC certified.







This calendar is now available in my shop. My 2010 printable calendars are available too.

[Click on the photos to see them slightly larger]

home, paper, scissors in the news

I was in the news today! Here is the video. I tried embedding it in this post and I was having technical difficulties.

I got to watch the segment with the kids as it ran on the news. They were sooo excited. I love sharing all of this with them.

Wouldn't you know that the day the segment was shot I was having one of those horrible bad hair days that only happen when you least expect or need it. Oh well.



The internet is slow as molasses around here so you'll excuse me if I keep this brief.

Ta-ta!

2010 calendars

I hope everyone had a great weekend. It was gloomy and gray around here for a good part of the two days so not much got done outdoors. However, I did get to finish some work that was pending and many board games got pulled out.



Several people have emailed me asking about my 2010 printable calendars. They are now available. I keep trying to retire these designs and I keep getting requests for the same ones—so I figured to leave them be and come up with a new one to add to the group.

Unfortunately, I can't show you the new calendar. What's even worse is that I'll probably have to abandon the idea because of technical difficulties. So frustrating. Grrr. I'm thinking that I may produce a very, very limited edition. We shall see.

The calendar above is a printout of the patterned initials calendar. It has 12 new colors and patterns. The initials cutout calendar (not pictured) and the perpetual calendar (below) are also available.



Thank you so much for those of you that have voted for me at Craftevolution!

nominated!

I'm so happy to be included in the latest book club group at Craftevolution. What a surprise and an honor! Two more fabulous books are included and I'm excited to see the outcome. I always feel weird about asking for something like this, but if you feel inclined to vote for me, you can do so on the right hand column here.



Friday Tidbits

Today these links are for those of you that need more paper related ideas.

Paper Crave: There's so much inspiring work to see here. Kristen also happens to be having a giveaway of two signed copies of my Home, Paper, Scissors book. All you need to do is help her out by filling out a quick survey to participate.

Folding Trees: There are so many paper crafts here. Grab a cup of your favorite drink and some paper when visiting!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone!

crafty synergy feature | gretchenmist

I don't remember how I found Beinda's work but as soon as I saw it I wanted to know a little bit more about her. I like the uncomplicated but methodical and rhythmic look of her work.

Artist: Belinda Kemp
Business: Gretchenmist
Web site: Gretchenmist.etsy.com
Blog: Gretchenmist.blogspot.com
Location: Melbourne, Australia



What do you create?
Mixed media artwork {painting, drawing, collage} on paper and wood and also hand-painted wood and silk pendants and brooches.



When and why did you start your business?
I started my etsy shop almost 18 months ago. When I first started listing my work I thought of my shop as kind of online folio or a place to collect all the work that I was making. {I also have 2 little boys at home}. I was so excited to discover etsy and the idea of being able to actually sell my work completely independently and at a level that suited me ~ in terms of my lifestyle and available hours. Really I felt that I had nothing to loose and just jumped in about a week after finding etsy!

Which of your tools is your favorite?
Am loving my new size 0 round brushes at the moment. They are so skinny and neat.



What keeps you motivated?
Having the need to create and work is like a driving force for me at the moment! The etsy and blogging communities also really help to keep me motivated. Having so much information available about how to get things happening business-wise is great. Also having people commenting on work in progress and new work, via my blog and flickr is really good for keeping the ideas and productivity flowing. I've joined in a couple of weekly blogging activities which has really helped me to focus on where I'm at with my work ~ it's also fun catching up with the other people and seeing their work on the go.



Thank you so much Belinda!

recycling project no. 19 - yarn gift tag

recycling no. 19 - yarn gift tags

The segment that I shot yesterday with a local news crew went really well. I was a bit nervous at first but as soon as I got into a rhythm it went smoothly from there. The segment will air next week. I'll post it if I can get a hold of the video.

We worked on projects from my book, but from more of a recycling angle. We used paper towel cardboard tubes for one of the projects. The leftover cutouts inspired this new idea. It's a quick, very easy and cheap project to make.

Materials:
- Paper towel cardboard tube
- Yarn - two strands of different colors that are about 4' (120cm) in length each
- Scissors

1. Fold cardboard tube lengthwise and cut off 'ovals' that are about 3/8" (1cm) wide.

2. Starting on one end of the oval, wrap the yarn continuously around the cardboard. Once the oval is completely covered in yarn, make a double knot with the two loose ends.

recycling no. 19 - yarn gift tags

3. Repeat step 2 with an another piece of cut cardboard and the additional strand of yarn.

recycling no. 19 - yarn gift tags

4. Attach both tags to a gift and cut off the loose yarn strands evenly. I made a very impromptu video (my first! - so bear with me) of how I attached the tags to a box.



I would've wanted to record something a bit more substantial but it got really dark around here just when I was working on this.

recycling no. 19 - yarn gift tags

I called these gift tags for this project but these yarn decorations can also be used for a party (hung around a table, on branches or a mantle) or holiday tree decorations. What about a whole wreath full of these?

Need more ideas that use cardboard tubes? Try my glass hurricane or tea light covers.

some truths about me

I was tagged by the very talented Lotta with the honest scrap award. Here are the rules:

I should share 10 true things about myself, pass the award on to 10 other bloggers, let them know about it, and they link back to me when accepted.

Lotta, I don't mind getting tagged at all but I'm terrible about tagging anyone else. I'll do it a little differently. I tag everyone that reads this. Feel free to post about it if you feel like it.



Here are my truths:
1. I'm good about eating fruit but I'm not as good with the veggies.

2. If I had to pick another career, I would've enjoyed being a professional Broadway dancer.

3. I don't think my psyche would survive in a place where there are too many gray days in a row. I need the light. On the flip-side, I really enjoy working at night when everyone is asleep. Unfortunately, my body isn't taking too well to this practice anymore. It's taking me longer to recover.

4. Before getting married I was extremely neat and organized—almost to the OCDish point. I think that's still in me somewhere but I've learned to pick my battles.

5. Many of my preferences are affected by my sense of smell, touch and sight. That's why there are many things I can't buy online.

6. The books that I enjoy reading just for fun are murder mysteries. The more intricate the medical details are, the better (that biology degree has to come in handy for something). I also enjoy spy novels.

7. I love reading in bed while Mr. Z is sleeping next to me.

8. Cooking is such a chore for me. I know how to do it and I'm decent at it but I don't enjoy it. I hide all of this from my little C who apparently inherited the gene that skipped my generation. I would feel terrible about killing her love for anything culinary so I make the extra effort to make things fun for her when she pitches in. Her favorite channel is the Food Network.

9. I don't really get the whole bath thing. I'd rather stand in a hot shower for a spell.

10. My big dream is to host a craft show. I already know what angle I'd take and as far as I know it hasn't been done before. It would be so much fun to do!

• • •

I'm frantically getting things ready around here. A local news channel (ABC-13) is coming to shoot a segment for the news.

It's going to be a busy week. Happy Tuesday!

happy friday!

I didn't even know how much I was looking forward to this long weekend until I started writing this post. This has been one of those long weeks that makes you just want to just kick up your feet, relax with a good book and drink in hand. I think I'll actually have time not only for that but for some crafty work too. It's still too hot for gardening—my apologies to our little friend who is probably wondering where we've been.



Friday tidbits

- Living Creatively: This is an Australian web site that I found a while back. Although I don't get to visit as often as I'd like, I do find some inspiring articles and links there.
- Chris Gilmour: This artist works with cardboard and I have never seen anything like it. Amazing!

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back on Tuesday. Enjoy, relax and be merry!

wrapagami - book review

Wrapagami: The Art of Fabric Gift Wraps
By: Jennifer Playford

Wrapagami teaches how to use simple twists and ties plus a simple square of fabric for gift wrapping. This technique is derived from the ancient Japanese tradition called tsutsumi—the added bonus is that it is eco-friendly and very easy to learn.

The book itself is very colorful and cheerful looking. I really like that it has very clear and easy to follow diagrams too. So many of us (even those of us that don't really sew) have stashes of fabric that could easily turn into attractive wrapping material in just a couple of minutes.



I can see myself using some of the ideas here particularly for difficult to wrap gifts. Those that make you crumple up wrapping paper in frustration, after you've tried unsuccessfully to stick that pointy end that keeps tearing hole through it all. It always happens when you're in a hurry too. Been there?

crafty synergy feature | fold

I found Miro's work a few years ago and I have one of her cards on my bulletin board. Her amazing dexterity is plain to see in her wire creations. I enjoy the whimsical quality of her work and it's simple and graphic nature.

Artist:
Miro Chun
Business: fold
Web site: fold here, fold here (big cartel)
Blog: fold here



What do you create?
These days, mostly handmade greeting cards, made with wire and paper + thread. I have a line that is made primarily with wire objects attached, and then another line that is sewn—sometimes as mobiles. I am working on a few new things though—hopefully in the next week or so, I'm going to release a small collection of jewelry (all made with wire—except instead of the black coated copper I usually use, it will be out of sterling silver and gold fill). I try to keep everything I make bright, simple, and modern.



When and why did you start your business?
I've always made greeting cards. The story I like to tell is that it started when I was in pre-school. My parents, having grown up in Korea, didn't know about Valentine's Day—or rather, the custom of exchanging cards with classmates on February 14th. One of the other mom's in the carpool must have said something to my mother—so the night before, we frantically made enough valentines for me to take to school the next day! My mother is an artist (an abstract expressionist painter), and she's always been "crafty", so she cut out these beautiful three-fold animals, such as squirrels and hippos, out of different colored construction paper. It was then my job to print each one with a tiny heart in a contrasting color—she made a stamp out of the end of a carrot (just like a potato print, but out of a different veggie)!

Anyway, that started the tradition of making handmade cards and I've never really stopped! Flash forward to a couple years after college, while working as an architect, I was getting a little frustrated with the long, drawn-out timeline of an architecture project- you work on a project, throw your heart and soul into it, and then it's often years before you see it completed. I was looking for a side project that would provide me with a little more instant gratification! And since the process that goes into creating a building involves multiple people with different ideas and agendas, not to mention money, every project becomes embroiled with a lot of complex emotions, not all positive, both within the process, and with the end result. I wanted another outlet that would let me make something to bring moments of joy into the world. When you give
and receive a card there's so much heartfelt emotion in the act—you know that it's picked out with care, and given with the best possible intentions! Who isn't happy when they receive or give a handmade card?



Which of your tools is your favorite?
I have a favorite pair of pliers- it's the perfect size for my hands-with pointy, even-sided tips, and a cutting edge too. I also took the little spring out that keeps it open- it made it hard for me to hold, and made my hand ache! I'm always looking for another pair though- just in case! I also love my sewing machine- it's just a fairly basic Kenmore from Sears, but it's a workhorse! I originally bought it to make the maid of honor's dress for my wedding, thinking I'd upgrade if I ever really used it again. Well, these days, I use it all the time- for my greeting cards, and also for things around the house and garden. I'm still thinking I'll upgrade when it dies, but I haven't had a problem with it since I bought it ten years ago.

What keeps you motivated?
The act of making things. I like the process, and I like being able to see the end result of a process. There's something very satisfying about holding something you've made yourself—especially in this day and age of industrialized goods. I'm also inspired by the work of other artists, my fellow small scale makers-of-things, as well as artists such as Alexander Calder and of course, the artist I was named after, Joan Miro!



Thank you so much Miro!

crafty synergy is back

For those of you that have wondered what happened to Crafty Synergy, the answer is simple. It got pushed off the edge of my plate of to-dos. But worry not, I can't let it go. I still think it's something very worthwhile to continue. And in an effort to be more efficient and organized I've decided that I will merge the project with this blog and that the interviews will be slightly shorter.

Whenever I do have an interview ready to go it will be posted on a Thursday. I will tag all the posts with the words Crafty Synergy so they will be easy to find. I hope that you continue to enjoy the artists that come by and visit and that we all get inspired by their work.

Look for a new interview to be posted tomorrow morning. Enjoy!

thank you


:: Double-Bow Gift Topper project found in Home, Paper, Scissors ::

Congratulations to Allison W. and Meghan! The random number generator selected you as the winners of the copies of Home, Paper, Scissors.

Thank you to those of you that shared your recent projects and recipes. I'm jealous of all the crafty work that you're doing. My hands are getting antsy to try something myself.

As a very small thank you for all your support I made this free printable of two thank you cards. I hope that you'll be able to use them in sending anyone else in your lives a little note of gratitude. Download here.



Happy Wednesday!