paper cutting: contemporary artists / timeless craft

paper cutting

I know... another book. But this is one that I'm totally gushing over. I just got my first look at Paper Cutting Book: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft and I'm so honored to be included. If you have any interest in this type of art you really should get this book. It's so, so beautiful and full of inspiring work. To see my pieces among the artists that I admire so much is beyond anything that I could have dreamed of just a few years ago. It's so humbling.

paper cutting (me!)


Here are a couple more spreads for you to get a feel for the book.

Heather Moore

paper cutting (heather moore)

Matthew Spozynski

paper cutting (matthew sporzynski)

• • •

Speaking of books... Thank you to those of you that shared all your wonderful ideas of future projects on Friday's book giveaway post. I hope you get a chance to work on them. If you need a nudge, maybe yesterday's tips will help you.

I have two winners: Billy and Anne. Congratulations!

Have a great day everyone!

how to make time for crafting

craft time

I've been thinking about this more and more, as your comments on my previous post keep rolling in. You all have such lovely ideas and projects in the works and I sure wish you can eventually get to start them.

I happen to be in a business where I get to be crafty. But to be honest, it's just fun to make something for me and just for fun—like my crocheted slippers. It's hard to find the time to get to personal projects—isn't it?
I'm just as guilty as most of you about not making enough time for my personal crafting—so I'm not an expert on this subject by any means. I'm not only talking to you, I'm reminding myself that it can be done—because, I've done it before.
So, here are some of my ideas on how to make time for crafting:
1. Ask for time as a gift.About three or four years ago, I asked my husband not to buy me anything for my birthday. Instead, I asked him to give me the gift of 'just me/alone' time. I specifically asked him for Wednesday nights after 7pm. I asked for that particular day because it gave me a break between the weekends, it didn't take away from family time and we never went anywhere on Wednesday evenings. Mr. Z took care of everything after dinner including bedtime.
I explained that I needed the time to recharge and just do whatever I wanted without feeling guilty about anything at all. I would go to the bookstore, coffee shop with a book or sketchbook in hand or stay home and go to our bedroom and simply close the door—no kids or husband allowed. It worked like a charm and if truth be told I didn't always craft. It felt so luxurious to have that free time. I felt so recharged and centered again and that made me a better mom & wife. The routine gradually slipped away once the kids where old enough to be in school all day and my schedule changed dramatically.
2. Set up a craft appointment in your schedule.We all keep appointments for all sorts of things like the dentist, doctor or other people's invitations to events, birthday parties and such. Why not make an appointment with ourselves? Pick a day when you think you would normally be able to yes to someone else's requirement for your time—but this time you're asking yourself to do it for YOU.
Making the proactive effort of carving out time for yourself is like practicing preventative medicine. Isn't that what we do when we take time to go to the gym? We're working on keeping our bodies healthy. Crafting is just another way to do the same—it affects us physically (maybe a lower blood pressure) and mentally (feelings of relaxation, pleasure and satisfaction).
3. Use down time for crafting.Sitting in a waiting room is a perfect opportunity to have a knitting, embroidery or crochet project handy. If you're like me and prefer something a bit simpler to carry around, take a sketchbook to draw and plan future project ideas or a book about a new craft technique you're interested in learning.
Do you travel by train or bus on a regular basis? Wait for your child to finish an after-school activity? Maybe that's the time you can work on a small project. Do you ever sit in front of the TV and wonder why you just wasted that time watching something so mediocre? If you craft while watching television at least you'll have something to show for it in the end.
4. Use crafting as your personal reward system.Let's say you are just really overwhelmed with a long to-do list (hello, house chores!) and you simply can't do any of the above—why don't you work a bit on your to-dos and reward yourself with a bit of crafty time? Look at your list and choose how many items need to be done before you reward yourself with an X amount of craft time. Any little bit of time helps and it will do wonders to your productivity. You'll want to really be quick about everything else in order to get back to your fun project.
Some additional thoughts:- Before you start trying any of these ideas, write out a wish list of what projects you'd like to tackle. Make sure you have the materials you need and be ready for either that gift of time, your scheduled crafty appointment or that unexpected moment of downtime—you'll be ready!
- Do this with no guilt attached to it. If you make craft an important part of your life, then you won't see it as a frivolous waste of time. Consider it an investment in yourself and know that it's part of your plan—part of the way you want to live. Why feel guilty about that?
- Don't think you need to finish a project in one sitting. Unless it's something that involves drying time (paint, glue), there really is no need to finish, for example, a scarf or skirt in one sitting, is there? Even if you just do a little bit each time, that's better than not starting on the project at all.
- If it helps you in terms of commitment, set up your crafty time with another friend or group of friends. Form a craft group that meets on a regular weekly or monthly basis.
So how about it? Do you think you can use any one of these ideas this week? Do you have other ideas?
Happy Monday!
[Photo - Mod Wall clock project on page 52 of Home, Paper, Scissors]

book review: at home with handmade books

at home with handmade books

I received a copy of by At Home with Handmade Books by Erin Zamrzla (published by Make Good Books) and with my weakness for paper it was easy to for me to get into it. There is a lot of information about Japanese bookbinding and it includes ideas on how to use recycling materials. Excellent!

The book has 28 projects that can be made to suit your style and interests. There are ideas for journals, notebooks, a travel album and even a gardener's journal—a lot of applications and all really beautiful. I'm particularly taken by the Idea File project on the left side of this photo—it's one of those "why didn't I think of that before?!" projects.

at home with handmade

Instead of having the typical pretty final photo and instructions grouped together for each project, this book has all the finished projects at the front of the book, the techniques and materials section in the middle and the instructions for individual projects in the back. I like this approach because you enjoy all the projects at once (like flipping through a pretty magazine or portfolio piece) and when you've decided what project you're interested in, you go to the back for the instructions.

I've always wanted to tackle this type of binding. This recipe book would be a cute way to give recipes to a friend that loves to cook!

at home with handmade

The instructions and diagrams for each project couldn't be any clearer. They all are very easy to follow.

at home with handmade

Like I've said before, I really like the design of this series of books. Their design is simple, well photographed and styled. The craft ideas are very approachable and beautiful. This book is no different. There are more photos and even a video about the book and author here.

Now for the fun part— The publisher has graciously offered two At Home with Handmade Books for a giveaway! The drawing will be open until Monday, March 28th at midnight and I'll be announcing the winners on Tuesday the 29th. The good news is that they are willing to mail the books to any part of the world so you're all welcome to participate.

To enter the giveaway— All you need to do is leave a comment on this post by answering the following question (let's make this a little fun, ok?):
If given the gift of time to craft (let's say a couple of hours—dinner is taken care of, the house is clean, and if you have kids there's a babysitter already watching them—ahhh!) what would you make?

Please!! - Make sure to include your email address to contact you.

Have fun dreaming (and maybe make a plan to make it happen—why not?) and have a great weekend!

I should work at 2am more often

flower gift box

I got so much done and made this while watching the cheesiest of movies (nope, won't share the title, too embarrassing!). The box solved three things I've been wanting to do:

1. Make a new type of gift box. Hint: The flower isn't simply sitting on the cover.
2. Figure out how to make an origami box that had a narrower cover, so that the bottom box color is visible on the sides.
3. Add another project to my spring collection of projects (coming next week to the shop!)

So, for now, I'm quite pleased. Ask me how I feel in a few hours. I'm sure my body will be reminding me that I am no longer a college student that can run on fumes and coffee. Those were the days!

• • •

Thank you to those of you that have responded to my Facebook post. I really didn't expect much at all. But I knew I had to get it all off my chest. It's nice to know that I'm not alone and not out of my mind. So thanks!

I hope you come by tomorrow because I'll be having a small book book giveaway. I haven't had one of those in a long time. This is a good one—all about paper!

sometimes I just let them take over



This is a box of goodies that we're sending to a little friend. He's adorable and he's 3.



I didn't get to finish my doodles when the kids saw it and they took matters into their own hands.



The crayon box appeared out of nowhere and after some unusually quiet time (coloring is always so relaxing) this is what they proudly ended up with.

Now to add addresses and put it in the mail!

leaving facebook

I don't care for what Facebook does to my sanity, my time or my image.

Before I dive into explaining all that, please don't take this personally if you're someone that enjoys Facebook. These are simply my ideas and experiences with the site. I don't aim to be a know it all on the subject. I simply am sharing my thoughts because I don't want those of you that have seen me pop in there to wonder what happened.


[our table runner was made by the very talented Heather Moore - love it! - appropriate photo simply because I happen to be writing this here]


So back to my opening comment...

How FB affects my sanity. ('sanity' may be stretching it, but it's close enough)
I'll be honest and say that I joined because I felt compelled to do so. It is considered a major online business tool and a lot of my friends are there. Yes, I fell into the peer pressure hole. But I've never felt genuine there. I've never felt at ease.

The privacy changes —
I consider this is a major issue. I don't like to be concerned about what information I'm sharing with who and what information or photos should be private, which shouldn't, etc. Who has time to go from drop down menus to check boxes because of ever changing policies? I can't even find them half the time! Which leads into...

Design and interface—
The fact that this site is so popular and yet so confusing perplexes me to no end. I don't find it pleasing to the eye or mind. I don't know why there isn't talk about it. Why is it so accepted just as is? I think we've definitely settled on that score and in the process sadly misinformed the masses as to what is an acceptable user experience.

Who to friend and who not to friend—
I'm not out to offend anyone, so at the beginning I tended to add friends that I barely knew online because I couldn't say no. Now it's too late and un-friending people would just be mean. I would just rather keep FB to the people that I actually know in person—but it's too late. It's such a waste of my energy to even think about all that.

How FB affects my time.
From the beginning (because admittedly I wasn't really sure what I was doing), I've had a mess of personal friend followers with online followers and business vs. more personal relationships. Now, I even have two pages (one for business and one for personal). Yes, I have folders and whatnot. I organized it all, but there's still too much to keep up with. Aside from the fact that I'm back to being a watch dog of the privacy policies thing.

I feel like I'm repeating myself too much—
How annoying is that? I figure, if you're interested in my work and my blog then you follow my posts through a feed on a reader or come here directly—why bother and post that on Facebook again (which is what I've been doing)? I feel like a tacky sales person. I'd rather offer new information, interesting links and have my water cooler moments too—which is what I do on Twitter. I realize that FB has worked for many in this way, but I haven't devoted enough time to cultivating relationships there because, again, I'm just not into the site at all. I try to get in and out as fast as I can. I'd rather hang out where I feel comfortable and that's where Twitter comes in.

How FB affects my image.
Like I said, I don't feel quite at ease there. I post and run—and that just isn't me. I like to interact and/or answer questions, but my lack of inspiration for the site makes me appear like I'm not the same person wherever I go. I've always thought that the people that only know me through FB aren't getting the full picture. They don't know the real me. They don't know that I try my best not to do things in a half-baked way and that's what I reflect on FB. Oh, how that bothers me!


Simplicity is what I'm after. I want to enjoy the time I spend online, keep it streamlined and be more efficient. I really enjoy online interaction but I also need to allot enough part of my day to my true passion of creative pursuits. FB is simply something that drags on with no happy ending in sight and it drains energy that I could be using elsewhere. Why waste time with something that literally makes me squirm?

And that my friends, is the reason I will no longer be updating my Facebook pages. I will keep them open, but that's it. I'm out.

Will leaving FB harm me in some way? Maybe. But I don't see the value in continuing. I've come to the realization, once again, that it's best to follow my own instincts. My blog and Twitter feed are my two major online presence tools. Leaving FB will only make me more available to remain in the spaces where I feel comfortable and more 'me'.

• • •

For anyone wondering why I'm not completely deleting my account— I decided to change my Twitter name from A Little Hut to my actual name a long time ago. When I realized that I should have kept my business name (just in case), it had already been taken, in a just a matter of a few hours. I'd rather keep my account in the unlikely event that I want to return to FB some day—when and if my opinions drastically change.

simplicity

lovely spring

All plans for work went right out the window this week. The kids are out of school on spring break so I've been focusing on them. I have no idea what I was thinking when I thought I'd get so much done this week. All self-imposed deadlines were way off. However, I did launch into a two day massive spring house cleaning job. I've been attacking our belongings with brutal honesty—"do we really need this?"—nine times out of ten the answer is no. Goodwill and the public library received many goodies in great condition and this morning the rest went out the door in trash bags. Frankly, it is so liberating to watch all of it just go. I recommend it! It's like free therapy and once you get started it gets easier to just keep going. If you need a little push here's a great article about identifying clutter.

I found this quote and I think it sums up my thought process of this week very nicely...

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

It's as simple as that.
• • •

I'll be back in earnest on Monday. In the meantime, if you'd like to explore other wonderful crafty blogs check out this list. It is such an honor to be included and in such great company. Thank you to Babble and to all of those of you that visit—and thank you for the kindest messages and emails I've received in the past month or so (you know who you are! :)) I cherish every word.

I must go now because the Houston zoo awaits and my very patient children are eager and ready to go. Have a wonderful week everyone!

still



"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have"— Frederick Keonig

All my thoughts are with everyone in Japan and those that have family and friends there. Such sadness.

spring fever

wip

Flowers are everywhere! I'm not typically the type to dress up in flowers (although I have a couple of tops that beg to differ) nor do I buy any interior decorating items with flowers on them. But fresh flowers? Seriously, who can resist?

I've always said that my favorite flowers are the gerbera daisies but just thinking about it right now I'm leaning toward dahlias and peonies. They have totally different personalities... Hmmm.

wip

Since the house is woefully lacking in the natural version (where's a farmer's market when you seriously need one?) I've decided to explore paper blooms. I've taken lots of photos (of sadly colored grocery store flowers), scoured online images to explore petal shapes and I'm still tweaking my designs.

This is a little sneak peek of what will be coming next week to the SVG and printables section of my shop. I love how they're turning out and they're so fun and easy to make!

clay

bowls

I love ceramics. Love. I don't know what it is about them but they truly call out to me. I think it may be a combination of the material (the natural aspect of it) and the hands on quality of the art itself. I started a pinterest board with ceramics with a few examples but I know of several more artists that need to be added.

all our work

I just happened to read that the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft was going to offer a clay bowl workshop for families on Saturday. Hello! I wanted us to go no matter what.

sharing some crafty clay time

Little C and Mr. Z where up for it but my dear D was pouting all the way there. He didn't think making anything with clay was going to be fun at all (a been there done that attitude). By the end of the afternoon he relented and admitted that I was right—he did enjoy himself a lot.

Don't moms always know best? Hehe. (Admission: I hated when my mom would say anything similar.)

first lesson

Little C and I tried our hand at the wheel. I'd never worked on one and the few minutes that I did left me craving for more. I'm going to have to look into taking a class. The man that gave us our five minute lesson was so sweet and kind. He's been at it for 20 years.

my first time

We had a wonderful time, learned something new and have little treasures and photos to reminds us of the day. It was the perfect thing to do after a week of the most dull, brain cell reducing, production work I've done in a while. I really needed to get my hands into something—literally.

For anyone in the Houston area... There are other interesting events coming up. Visit their calendar of events page for more information. We found out that they offer different workshops, on the first Saturday of each month. I will definitely keep this on my list of places to visit again.

BTW - How cool is it that Mr. Z thought of taking the pictures of us in action (without me asking—I was too busy having fun!) because he knew I'd want to blog about this later? He knows me so well! :)

Happy Monday everyone!

march

noclouds

This is my favorite month because the weather here is spectacular this time of the year. Not a cloud in the sky and the cool breeze brings such energy with it. You'll have to forgive me if I overwhelm you with leaves, trees and flowers in the next few weeks, they are all just starting to bloom around here.

I need to restock my personal stash of cards so here is the first one of the month. No fuss at all. I just used natural colored card stock, green paper, a Sharpie of all things and my Xacto.

leavescard

TIP!
I 'colored' the inside edge of the cut out leaves with a black colored pencil. The card stock is so thick that the white edge looked strangely unfinished. I didn't use the marker for this since it may bleed onto the front or the inside cover of the card.

By the way, did you know that this is National Craft Month? I just found out today! Where have I been?