works in progress
She Is print (coming from Pinterest?)

arrivals Friday

Well, if I were honest, that should be called arrivals Monday-Friday... for two weeks. Sigh.

Well, by now you hopefully know that if you *really* want the most up-to-the-minute updates, you'll like us on Facebook. And yes, I know, not everyone is on, or even likes, Facebook but if you want a picture of what arrives to the store the day it arrives, that is going to have to be your source. The narrative version takes a little more time. So clearly I have some catching up to do here.  I started uploading pictures and then realized I had to go a bit further back than I realized. Not off to such a great start for the new year.

That said, my work and studio life is going well. After the gift of a freed-up week of non-jury duty, I have continued with an assortment of new projects. Anthology's fifth birthday (? anniversary? what do you call it?) is coming up in the middle of March so we're starting to think about a party, which requires invitations... and new jewelry...  I came up with an idea for a great fifth birthday present for my sister which I am trying to keep secret... with very little luck, except for the fact that the main piece is still a work in progress from an artist I found on Etsy. I'm so bad at keeping secrets. We'll see if it works the way I want it to - cross your fingers! In the meantime, I'm working on the parts that I can work on. I took a trip to my favorite bead store here in town, Bead Bin, only to find that they were in the middle of a store closing sale (ultimately, an employee will be taking over and moving the shop... to an undetermined location most likely still on the west side of town). I have really mixed feelings about store closing sales: I'm sure the owner doesn't want to have lots of inventory in their basement but I'm also sure they would have been happier if they didn't have to close as would have been the case if I bought everything before the sale at full price. So, I always have a bit of a vulture feeling, but since I didn't know they were closing, I didn't feel that so sharply. And so, instead of buying just a few loose beads, I went way overboard (spending AND saving more than I intended) and bought several strands, including some sparkly Swarovski crystals. I've spent the last couple evenings on more labor-intensive beading than I am accustomed to. That said, I'm really liking what I've come up with so far and am mildly tempted to make some similar pieces for the shop.

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The party invitation is also shaping up. Most of the postcards that I've made for Anthology over the years (one sent out at Christmastime, one usually around our birthday time) usually feature a collage of assorted merchandise in a particular color theme. I was in the mood to do something different so I'm doing some painting and collaging. So far, so good. I do love using that punchinella stuff for stencil painting.

I'll be house-sitting for a while so I've packed up more craft projects to take with me. Most of them are what was packed for jury duty, but I've added more jewelry since that seems to be what I'm in the mood for. I've also been working on a new batch of resin jewelry pieces and mixed that up today. I'm particularly excited about the new ring and earring bezels.

  Ring 002

I snuck out to SWAP and got another wish come true - flat files! From my artist friends, I always hear mixed reports about flat files; many people seem to find it difficult that you can't see your paper. But these are perfect for storing the backstock of our wrapping paper, which has previously been in hard-to-access cardboard boxes. This will make it much easier to restock. As an added bonus, the drawers are big enough to hold two sheets of wrapping paper side by side in most cases, so it holds even more than I thought it would initially. There was a larger flat file but I wasn't sure it would fit in the office so I went with the small one, even though I wasn't sure it was big enough (I'm horrible with measurements). It's big enough.  It took some rearranging in the office but I am much happier - something about new storage space always puts me in a good mood. Our office has never really been well-arranged. We cram some shelves in here and there but there's just an annoying mix of craft project supplies and things to sell and paperwork. They always have pictures of artist studios in magazines... I'm a far cry from the high level of organization that is usually pictured (though I pretty much know where everything is, despite the less than charming appearance). Still, drawers are good.

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As far as arrivals to the shop, I had to do some more rearranging to fit in our Martha Stewart order of stencils and paints. As usual, when placing the order, I didn't think at all about where I was going to put them. But I cleared off the kitchen counter and I think it works pretty well. There are so many lovely colors of paint but I'm most excited about the stencils and screens. I think the stencil world is gradually getting more interesting and Martha's lovely botanicals and doilies certainly help. I've been wanting to get some general craft paint to take advantage of various stencils I plan to order for the shop so stumbling across the Martha Stewart line was fortuitous. There's just something about her colors.. though I'm willing to admit that it might just be the weight of all the marketing work that has gone before (You can't imagine how many Martha Stewart Living magazines I've cut up for collages and scrapbooks). I'm thinking about screen printing with her doily screen onto some denim skirts that I got from the thrift stores. But the paint is multi-purpose and can be used to decorate glass, plastic, wood, metal and fabric.

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Valentine's preparations are in full swing. In addition to the window, we've got the back craft table filled with supplies so you can make your own Valentine (and if you don't have time or inclination for that, we have plenty of ready-made Valentine cards to choose from).

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Arrivals from the last couple weeks include: dictionary prints with love-related text (sorry, it is sideways, I am having a battle with the photo edit options today), moustache and macaroon wrapping paper, fun necklaces and earrings with botanical and other images, lovely boxed thank you and blank notes, and a sweet little felt Wisconsin ornament.

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Thursday 003Rifle

Finally, we are taking the month of February for field-trip Wednesdays while our part-timer runs the shop. Sachi and I went down to Milwaukee this week and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It is often hard for me to get away - to just feel like I can leave the store and the list of things to do - but it is always a good thing. We even came up with a plan for the Christmas window while chatting on the way back home in the dark. We gave my brother-in-law further ammunition to make fun of us for our busman's holidays - but what can we say? We like shopping and specifically for cards & paper - that's why we opened our shop but that didn't completely cure us of our fondness.  Broadway Paper did not disappoint, and it was fun to check out the Milwaukee indie craft scene: Sparrow Collective and Waxwing are definitely worth a stop. As is La Reve.

Thursday 001


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