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January 2014
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March 2014

tissue paper tassels - Pinterest WIN

I have to admit that when I first saw these tissue paper tassels on Pinterest they kind of had to grow on me. But we've been visiting the Bubbler space with an eye towards how we will turn it into our studio space and though I continue to battle about Art vs. Craft, I am just jumping in with what Anthology would have in our own creative space. Why, yes, we would have such garlands in our space so I'm going to go for it! I initially gathered my usual blues and purples but I've been really attracted to this warm color palette and at the last minute switched to pink/champagne/yellow. Guess we all need the warmth anyway. I was a little nervous that there might be some Pinterest failure going on but I spent last night cutting tissue paper and making them up. I do think that the color combo works particularly well. Being me, I like the maximum variety in colors/patterns of tissue paper used.

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I went to the Bubbler again this morning and am getting antsy about getting into the space. I think these will be fun to hang along the window that looks out at the children's space - everyone will think there's a party going on and will just HAVE to stop in and check it out!

(and, yes, we will have supplies so you can stop in to the Bubbler and make your own tissue paper tassels).


snippets of blue sky

eeek! time is going so fast! Our Bubbler move-in date is a week away. I'm mostly feeling like I just need to move all the supplies over there and then we'll see what gets going. I think that having all the pieces together in one place (not crammed into the office, sitting by my door, in my parents' basement) But it would be nice if we had things to decorate the walls with and otherwise make the space ours. So, while I have mostly been staring into space this cold day, I did start a set of blue sky snippets. My idea is to have the whole wall covered with white paper onto which people can attach their own snippets of sky. We'll bring over our extra large square punch (which is around 1.25"). You can stop in and make your own to take with you, but it would be lovely to have a whole wall. And I thought I should get the ball rolling. I do love this project. I am also using it as an opportunity to clean out some of my boxes of photographs. At this point, there is a lot that I am not going to use and will just let go - they'll be available for people to use for snippets, and also for my upcoming travel journal workshop. Though I usually use pictures that are 100% sky, I thought I'd copy one of our customers who had little bits of horizon line in there as well.

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Well, it's a start anyway. I kind of look on this as yet another opportunity to provide people with the seeds for their own creative endeavors - not so much about us exhibiting finished works but involving people in the process - letting them peer over our shoulders and do things themselves. So I guess all that I need is a start.


Bubbler plans

We're making progress! We met with Trent last week to start to plan for our time at the Bubbler. In all honesty, my head is still spinning. As it is, I have several different projects in mind and meeting with Trent just added to the list. I think it will all become clear when we actually move in to the Bubbler and start to get things organized. I have several boxes in my living room awaiting transport to the library, likewise in the office.

But here are some preliminaries (pending confirmation with the rest of Bubbler schedules).

Move in date: March 5th & 6th. So maybe plan to stop in on March 7th or later?

Sachi studio time: Tuesday afternoons

Laura studio time: Monday afternoons; Lily and I will be there together on March 17th

Sachi and/or Laura studio time: some Wednesday and Thursday afternoons

Right now, most of what I'm thinking of working on is paper-based: journal pages, altered books, garlands, photo snippets, batik paper, simple book structures, collaging. That gives me more than enough projects - if someone was interested in sewing, I would really recommend some of the area businesses like Sewcial Lounge for lessons. My skill level is really too low to qualify as instructor.

 

Drop in projects that will be set up and available to do at any time (no supervision needed):

1. Snippets of Sky

2. Found Poetry

3. Collage bookmarks (make one to keep and one to plant in a book on the shelf)

4. Paper garlands

5. probably in April, simple book strucutres: piano hinge and file folder book

 

Meet Your Maker sessions  with conversation, demonstration and opportunity to do stuff:

March 22: paper crafts with Anthology

March 29: Gocco printing with Sachi

April 12th : travel journals with Laura

April 26th: altered books with Laura

I definitely recommend checking out the Bubbler calendar online for more details, precise time, etc. They have TONS of stuff going on - not just downtown, but at the branch libraries as well. For example, an idle scan of the calendar revealed that they are doing drop-in screenprinting on March 20 at the Goodman South Madison branch. How cool is that?!

And, of course, one corner of the Bubbler will be set up with works in progress by Laura and Sachi so you can stop in at any time to peer over our shoulders or otherwise get a peek at our process.

Please stay tuned as we finalize these various dates and have more information (pictures, too, once we get set up).

 


where to begin?

Hmm... good question... We went this morning to The Bubbler at our wonderful downtown Central Library to talk with Trent the Librarian about plans for our upcoming residency. SO MANY thoughts whirling around in my head right now! My list for the Bubbler looks something like this: paper chains, paper garlands, fabric collage, wax collage, batik paper, cyanotype, bookmarks, altered books, travel journals, screenprinting, sewn journal pages, sewn garlands, photo snippets, found poetry, book page flowers, Madison postcards, file folder books, book making. Are you rolling on the floor laughing right now? Yeah, that's easily a year's worth of projects to cram into two months. And that was just the list before we talked to Trent and he told us about all sorts of supplies and options that already exist at the library. He just casually mentioned a whole bunch of wood panels that they have and I'm distracted with ideas of collaging/painting/stenciling.

Meanwhile, I'm in the process of a long overdue reorg of my home, moving some things out of the living room, rearranging the studio. I do this work in other people's studios and I don't know why it is so much harder in my own place. It is not just the distraction that each new project brings along and the potential for tangential paths. Just for example - I have had fabric strips draped across a drying rack for a long time. It's nice because it keeps them from getting too wrinkled, but it takes up a lot of space in the studio and, in fact, makes it hard to walk in there. If it were someone else's studio, I think I would have had them remove it long ago. But only last night it occurred to me that it was causing more trouble than it was saving me from. So, down it went. I have three other racks that have fabric draped on them (in a corner) so I transferred the fabric there... and voila! I can walk! The whole process is definitely less efficient than in other peoples' studios. I have all these little scraps and several baskets with ribbons, yarn, buttons and other doo-dads in them and last night I dumped them all out and sorted through them - in the process freeing up a few shelves and drawers. Also, organizing the ribbon. I found that the rods I took out of my card catalog drawers fit exactly across the width of the wire shelving so I put all the ribbon in one cubby. Very satisfying. Now to deal with the rest of the studio.

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In the process of all this reorganization, I have uncovered any number of works in progress, things to take to the Bubbler, ideas and plans to revist...  There's so much fun stuff to do, how does a person possibly choose?! Off the top of my head these projects have come to the surface in this process: cardboard painted pages that need to be bound, paint chip book, France travel book, terrarium collages, sewn crowns, knit or crochet scarves, cyanotype, altered thesaurs, altered gratitudes book, Madison postcards and hand-lettering projects...

In the face of all this distraction, it is a minor miracle that I managed to stay focused long enough last night to finalize one corner of my living room which used to have unpicturesque wire shelving filled with studio supplies (now moved into the studio but somehow not holding everything that it held when it was out in the living room) and replace it with still-not-fancy but one-step-up white particle board shelving with my 2x2 book collection and my red/orange/yellow section of the children's book collection. I think the walls are a little less acid green than the picture shows - the overall palette of the living room is red/green/garden which works well for that part of the children's book collection. The purple/blue spine books are in my bedroom.

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Tonight I am off to clean someone else's studio so that should be a much more efficient process. And then back to deal with my living room, start to pack for the Bubbler, and prepare for my travel journal workshop at the Alicia Ashman library. Oh, and my PhotoShop class starts in a few weeks, and the workshop with Sabrina Ward Harrison.  I'm feeling mostly energized and inspired, and only teetering on the edge of totally overwhelmed with all this crafty goodness. I just need to keep my head down and keep working and everything will be fine.

 


V-day

I kind of wish I could have taken a picture of myself last night but also not sure I really want anyone to see how exactly I get work done and what condition my living room is in. I'm in the middle of a major paper shuffle - trying to wrangle all those pieces into some semblance of order.  My studio is a total disaster and I've taken boxes out of the studio closet and into the livingroom, with the intent of going through them and sorting/recycling. Last week I was focused on my notecard collection, this week it is old school notes, magazines, articles, pieces for collage. So last night I was sitting on the floor, surrounded by piles of paper: for the happy book, for the ad collection, for eventual collage, for more immediate collage projects, to share with the Bubbler, for travel journals, for the library travel journal workshop, to recycle. Out of all of that, I think that I managed to get rid of three boxes so I'm feeling like progress is being made. Before I got up from the floor, I started thinking, "hey, maybe I can have people over for dinner." But then I got up and took a bird's eye view.... not so much. It was very inspiring - to revisit some of my piles of intended projects (but resist going down the tangential path of starting something new), to collect some completed pieces for show n' tell at the Bubbler (yet to be determined how that is exactly going to work out), to stumble across some almost-finished pieces. I think it is so easy for me to get caught up in my head - thinking/planning - even though the best thing to do is just start shuffling paper, see the colors and shapes, start to glue things down, arrange things... I'm feeling very inspired to do some collage work after all of that work last night. That said, I've also found a local printer - just basics, but still fine quality (boy, things have come a long way, haven't they?) and need to sit down with my photographs to order some notecards. I am looking forward to having sets of Madison notecards by summer tourist season. And I am on hold just a little bit until my PhotoShop class starts in May because I have ideas for what I will be doing there... but don't know if that will match the reality.

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In other paper-shuffling news, this week has been a big week for Valentine card-making. Sachi was at two branch libraries and the table has been set up with various supplies for card-making. We've had at least three people each spend approximately 3 hours making cards - and I think about how happy I would have been if I had not created space for crafting in my life and had stumbled across such a thing. But most people spend less time than that.

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People particularly seem to be enjoying the mini envelope punch.

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 Tomorrow is Saturday and we are participating in an event for the 200 block - Walk the Block Bingo - where customers can visit various stores to fill up their card and then enter it to win gift certificates and other prizes.  Amy at Little Luxuries is the ring leader who organized the whole things - and, golly, what a difference it makes to use a professional graphic designer (even though I am mostly fine with our more casual approach to documents, these Bingo cards look great!).

Shop15 002We've had a spike in business these last few days, and the store suddenly shifts its demographic from the majority female that it is during most other times of the year (excepting the two weeks before Christmas). But it is fun to help people find just the right Valentine card or card-making supply or gift. We have a lovely array of jewelry and restocked our mini Wisconsin stamped charm necklaces just in the nick of time. Of course, it is convenient that SERRV and Kilwin's are on the block so you can get your chocolate fix as well (though I still prefer James J. Chocolate on Midvale Blvd. if I'm going to treat myself).

Meanwhile, I will admit to mixed feelings about the whole holiday. The crafter in me has always appreciated the glitter and the doilies, and the decorated mailboxes and tiny cards from elementary school days. Being single at Valentine's Day is generally not fun because it feels like the rest of the world is happy and paired up. But I've had couples tell me it isn't THAT much fun from their end either. To some extent it just feels like a Capitalist-manufactured day... and yes, I know, that is silly to hear coming from a Capitalist. I'm all in favor of buying stuff and giving stuff and, especially, sending cards, but not if it is just out of some sense of obligation and not being done with genuine heart. Well, I resolved those feelings somewhat now that I have my niece to dote upon and can distract myself with the sending and receiving of Valentines among friends. Also, at the height of my infatuation with Viggo Mortensen, I converted the day to V-Day so there is more to celebrate that way. Perhaps a little Lord of the Rings is in order tonight. Tomorrow I will be going to Milwaukee to shop its cool indie stores like The Waxwing (there's a print I think I want... if I can just figure out where it will fit in my home) and Sparrow Collective and Fischbergers and Broadway Paper, and to see my dear friend and V-Day compatriot and drink Sconnie Mosas (orange juice, champagne, Door County cranberry wine). Oh, and to get pastries for Dad from Le Reve.

And I don't know if this is just a function of the age that I'm reaching, or that I'm paying more attention, or that there has truly been a string of unusual tragic events, but I feel like several people have just dropped dead recently - very unexpectedly and generally too soon. It's a rather unsettling feeling, not to mention sorrowful. So, any feelings of ambivalence about the holiday are really just overcome by the need to tell everyone they are loved, to hold that adorable girl close, and to be thankful for all the precious and fleeting moments we are surrounded by.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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"In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them." StoryPeople by Brian Andreas

 

 

 

  





painted pages finis

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more or less....   But I did almost ruin two pages so I am forcing myself to stop with the paint-gesso-ink stage of the process. Last night I re-stitched the fourth book but, really, I'm going to stop.  Really. Except for a few pages that are still waiting for text. But I thought that since this book was for my fortysomethings, I should perhaps leave a few pages blank for any additional quotations that come into my life in the remainder of the decade.

This morning I sat down with all four books and read them from start to finish. Tried to turn off my critical eye and just enjoy.  If I were better at video, I really should just take a video of how the whole book reads because it is really hard to take a photograph that conveys the entire book. But I thought I would at least take pictures of my favorite elements.

{and if you haven't been following along, here's the start of the process at Whispering Woodlands with Pam Paulsrud as well as some of the posts from along the way: here, here and here.

In no particular order:

1. twinkling watercolors on black paper. white gesso on black paper with colored pencil on top. lines of white pencil on black paper. In fact, just in general, using twinkling watercolors - so fun!

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2. batik paper. back side of batik paper, particularly the time when I thought I really messed up by putting still damp batik paper down on plastic tablecloth to dry only to find out there were splotches of dye from the other pieces of batik paper that pooled in the ridges of the warped paper. using sumi ink before the final coat of wax and adding random marks/approximations of text to the back side of the batik paper.

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3. The funky and uncontrolled things that watercolors do. Especially watercolor bleeding into pre-moistened paper, watercolor bleedingwhen I should have waited to watercolor until after the step that involved running the whole piece of paper under running water. The way the particular color of purple has some aqua in it that bleeds out when wet.

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4. The way facing pages that weren't designed initially to face each other work out. Even if I had to do a little extra painting to make that happen.

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5. Sequin waste (aka punchinella) texture created with gesso and/or watercolor.

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6. My decision to go back in with watercolors and fill in the negative space that was created through my random sumi ink lines.

 

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7. My pie, and non-pie charts.

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8. Colors, colors, colors. Notably - a lot of warm tones, and warm with purple.... a bit of a change from my usual purple/blue/green.

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 9. The Michelle Ward approach to making the artists' "hand" visible - imperfect and hand-drawn, almost scribbly, circles.

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10. Using my own photographs.

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11. Frisket.

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 12. Sumi ink lines drawn and then washed out after about five minutes so they create a vaguely marbled look on the rest of the page, and also so that the lines are not solid black. Making up my own sumi ink marbled paper but just from random happenstance not through any "real" techniques.

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13. Playing around with handwriting. I just read a book about calligraphy and I think that is just not for me - what I am really wanting is to work on my handwriting with ink. I like the flow of handwritten text without the time-consuming care required for calligraphy. Writing with pen and pencil. Filling spaces with text. Drawing lines and then writing on them. Also cutting out little pieces of magazine text and poetry and adding them in.

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14. Incompleteness. Which is really really hard for me to work with. The page looks much better with some actual white, incomplete space - but at what point to stop?

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arrivals and rearrangements

Golly it is cold outside! I know, I know, it IS winter in Wisconsin. But for some reason, I was not paying attention to the weather report. At least I have my legwarmers from SERRV but I will admit that the vanity of wearing a skirt in winter made for a slightly prickly wait at the bus stop. I miscalculated the arrival time and was out there longer than anticipated. I actually sat down and pulled my coat tighter around me and rubbed my legs a bit because I was worried that frostbite was setting in. All right, probably not frostbite, whatever it is that is one step below that. Sigh.

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At least there are new goings-on at the shop to keep me occupied. The big event this week was the arrival of the card spinners that we purchased from Shakti. I spent a whole day rearranging and reorganizing, even uncovering some cards that I didn't know we had.  It was nice to give the cards a little more breathing room, even though, I admit, I still had to put more designs in a pocket than one should. I also rearranged a bit at the back of the store - we had a little shelving unit that had been down on the floor and I put that up so it is more visible.

Some of the area businesses got together this morning for a session with a professor from Madison College. Together we brainstormed window display ideas and talked about ways to display product, approaches for merchandising... As much as I think that I would be happy to sit alone and not talk to anyone, I can reluctantly admit that it was nice to chat with fellow business owners and share ideas and plans. That gave me an idea for a future window and perhaps we will end up with a coordinated street plan (as much as we can accomplish anyway - as my old boss used to say, "you don't call them independent businesses for nothing.") It would be fun to have a theme across several stores, but of course, it is challenging to find a theme that would work for everything from shoes to cards to books to vitamins.

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When it gets really quiet, I just pull out cards from the box of quotations. Not that there aren't other things to do but there are some things that can't be done while one still has to be at the counter tending to potential customers. I can't quite trust to fate so much - I think the theory was that you are supposed to just randomly pick a card from the box. I tend to have to read through several before I find the one I want to photograph. Come to think  of it, I should also be using this as a resource for my painted pages book. I have just one more volume to re-bind (after I found two identical pages next to each other) and then I am going to try and stop the painting component. I have twice almost ruined a page by going too far. I think I salvaged it with gesso, but I really just need to stop. But there's still room to write more quotations. I have been housesitting again and binge-watching Breaking Bad while sewing book pages. I'm somewhat tempted to buy a spool of yellow-gold linen thread for binding but I think the coral, red, orange and purple will be fine. Now I just have to figure out how to house the volumes. I'm really thinking they should have a box of their own and even though I know someone who makes amazing boxes with marbled paper, I'm really thinking that I should make it myself. It would be annoying if the box was so amazing that everyone kept raving over that, even though it is just the case for the book itself. So, I have to figure out how to make a box.

Shop14 261Shop14 266Shop14 269Shop14 267Still quiet in terms of arrivals but we did get some t-shirts, including this revival of the classic Madison shirt, the very entertaining Goodnight Loon, and more cut-out alphabet books. I had an idea about spelling out LOVE for our Valentine window but someone has already claimed the two Es.

Shop14 262And we are in the midst of Valentine card-making season. I have a couple in mind that I have to work on - but that might wait until I return from housesitting and am back to my own studio set-up. Sachi had a successful workshop at Lakeview and word is that the Monroe Street branch workshop is full, so that would just leave Pinney on the 11th. But the table will be set up at the shop through Valentine weekend so you can stop in and make cards here as well.


shopgirl heaven

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That's what it looks like. 4 empty spinners just waiting for cards.

I have a chronic lack of space in all areas, but card display is one of the biggest culprits. I've been hindered by my inability to find spinners that will fit the sizes that I have and also fit the style of the store. Most card companies these days will offer some sort of spinner purchase program (buy $1000 of cards, get a spinner and just pay shipping...) but either the spinners they offer will not fit in the space I have or are made of that annoying plastic/plexi which I really don't want in the shop.

SO, I will admit to a little feeling of being a vulture when Shakti announced that it was closing. Sad, no doubt, to be losing a neighbor, but a little greedy about the possibility of spinners for the shop. Unfortunately for my sister, they became available yesterday when I was occupied with other things on my day off. I have a feeling there was probably some under-the-breath muttering as she rolled these guys up the block. But I promise it will be worth it!

Now excuse me, I have to go rearrange cards.

 


where was I?

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Well, among other things, I returned to my alma mater, James Madison Memorial High School, to see "Singin' in the Rain," an enjoyable marvel of singing and dancing, and fun costumes. I can't remember the last time I was there so it was a strange walk down memory lane, albeit a lane that had brighter coats of paint than I remembered. So strange to think of all the things that seemed so important at that age... which seem mostly unimportant now. It would have been fun to poke around some more and explore the hallways which were on my usual route but there wasn't quite the time.

And what else? Our dad has more or less recuperated from last year's surgery but we are now waiting for hip surgery at the end of February. It's a challenge - what do you do when ultimately anything you do won't help the root of the problem? What do you do when pain clouds the every day gratitudes and simple things? I'd vote for more drugs but apparently that doesn't really do the trick. I've been keeping him company in the evenings,  reading aloud from As Always, Julia, the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. There's a mix of cooking and politics of the 1950s (McCarthy... ugh) and everyday life in New England and France. And we're also trying to think of outings that are not too taxing but would be enjoyable (namely, to get food). It is very challenging getting around in the winter with a walker and a concern that a person might slip on the ice. I'm learning all sorts of things and have pretty recalculated all possible journeys with an eye towards how close he is from car door to sitting down. Our mom will be away for this coming week so we are on heavy duty, and I am also housesitting so I am feeling extra discombobulated. Also, my house is a mess. There were two days right at New Year's that I had it all tidied, but then I started an ambitious project of sorting through paperwork and it is back to being a disaster. "Physician Heal Thyself" definitely applies in this case - so much easier to go to other people's studios and help them than to deal with my own. Sigh. I did a little tidying before I left for housesitting so at least it won't be a total disaster when I return home. Well, anyway, I made my bed, which I hardly ever do. But I really need to spend some time in my studio. I'm willing to concede that straightening the space might go a long ways towards helping me organize my head and my plans for this new year.

And meanwhile, work continues at the shop. I have to wrap up the books for end of the year tax prep (and then deal with my own taxes). Sachi's getting ready for her workshops at the libraries and pulling crafty bits and pieces to bring with her. And there is the everyday of rearranging the store, planning for spring, helping customers...  We are sad about the closing of Shakti but happy that we were able to purchase some card spinners from them. It's really hard to find ones that work for the sizes that we have and also that have some element of charm despite the fact that they are just a twist of metal. I moved all the journals up to the front of the store and am looking forward to having a little more breathing room for our cards - which are often poorly displayed 3 to a pocket in a most irritating way (I realize this, but in an effort to have the full array out, this is what I've settled upon). We have many lovely blank cards and I never quite have enough room for them all. Despite the very cold January, the month went fast and we are off to a good start, ending the month ahead of January 2013, which is the way I like to start. This is a quiet time in terms of shipment: most orders don't start arriving until later in spring but we've already got plans for new product: t-shirts, prints, drinking glasses, paper goods...

We are starting to plan for our March and April at The Bubbler.. though mostly overwhelmed with all the options and really needing to just sit down and be more realistic. I'm also starting to gather pieces for my travel journal workshop (apparently registration isn't up yet, but I'm just sharing the link FYI) at Alicia Ashman library in March.

I'll be taking a Photoshop class at Madison College in the spring and am looking forward to learning all about that. I have grand plans about things I'd like to ultimately turn into prints and cards for the shop. We'll see how realisitic I'm being. Happily, a local printer contacted me with information about their services (including note cards) so I feel like the ducks are lining up. Meanwhile, through a series of random events, I'm also taking a workshop with Sabrina Ward Harrison. I've always enjoyed her work and think that I own all of her books. I'm not quite sure how it all happened but somehow a post appeared in my Facebook feed, which led me to her Tumblr page and the realization that she was teaching a workshop in Minneapolis. Which IS close and had me on the fence about whether I should go or not, when I hit "older" and found that her next workshop was in MADISON. I mean, I realize that you shouldn't go all crazy with spending money and doing things, but it was just too perfect. I couldn't pass it up. It only seems crazy and spontaneous if you disregard how long I've been eyeing her work and telling people that it would be so cool if she was teaching a workshop that I could go to. So that is also in March. And all this means that after March, I must stop whining about what it is I am going to make. Well, mostly I have been whining about how I am going to translate what I am making into something to sell at the shop, which is rather a different thing. I'm just feeling like I need to come up with something... new...  I know, I know, I'm just reacting (competitively) to the fact that my sister has her Gocco prints. Is everyone still just a 7 year-old kid inside?

I am very excited about our plans for a postcard show and have already had questions from artists so I hope this is the start of a new tradition. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to make! Time to try a quilted map?

I have just one book left to bind in my painted pages series but am thinking that I might have to rebind one book because I just realized that I have two pages next to each other that are alike - seems like a small thing but I have a feeling it will bug me. Then, I think, I will be making a box to house them - and I haven't the foggiest idea what goes into that so there's something new to keep me occupied. Maybe I can make some decorative pages in my Photoshop class, and then, I think, make the structure out of book board and then cover it.  What else? We had a momentary shortage of our mini Wisconsin charm but more should be arriving soon so I can get back to making the stamped charms that go with it.  I don't think we had those for graduation so that will be a new item this spring. And now I think I've caught you up!


Sunday with children

It was my turn for time with children at our church this morning - that precedes the sermon and is a time when a grown-up sits on the floor with all the kids and tries to convey the message of the scripture readings in a more kid-intelligible format.  There are some who missed it... so, here you go:

Children’s Time. February 2, 2014

The first thing that came to my mind when I read today’s scripture was: Opposite Day. Have you ever played that game? Like when someone says they want a piece of cake, and you say, “ok, it’s opposite day, I’ll just give the cake to someone else.” Or when you say, I’m going to do my homework, but since it is Opposite Day, that means I’m actually going to play outside.”

 

In Micah we hear: Will God be pleased with thousands of rams, with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?

 

The answer, in short, is no. Will bringing lots of stuff to God bring God lots of happiness? No. Happy Opposite Day!

 

Honestly, I think it is really easy for people to forget about Opposite Day. We get caught up in what other people are doing, what they tell us to do, what we think we should buy, even though a lot of times these actions are the opposite of what will make us happy or bring us closer to God. The scripture readings that we hear today point out the ways that things are turned on their heads – the way we get things backwards, and the way God challenges us to think differently.

 

In Corinthians, we hear:

God chose what is foolish

God chose what is weak

 God chose what is low and despised in the world

 

God chooses, God values, what we so often do NOT choose and do NOT value. Happy Opposite Day!

 

Let me give you two examples.

 

 

First: recently I was driving with my 6 year-old niece and a box of stuff I was recycling. She looked over into the bin and said to me: You’re not going to throw that away, are you Aunt Laura? She ended up picking out three cardboard tubes that used to hold wrapping paper. She was very excited about the tubes and proceeded to tell me about the light sabers she was going to make, and also her plans to make storm trooper and yoda costumes out of colored tissue paper. These three empty cardboard tubes easily brought her more enjoyment than anything I would have purchased from a store. Happy Opposite Day!

 

Second: before my sister and I opened our own store, I worked for almost 10 years at another store. I thought what I always wanted was to become owner of that store. I had a very specific plan and when things stopped going according to plan, it caused me all sorts of anxiety and sorrow. I was so attached to my plan that it took me a really long time to realize that God had something else in mind for me. Now I am so happy that my plan did not work out. Happy Opposite Day!

 

And in Matthew, when Jesus spoke, he did not say, blessed are you who have lots of stuff or get what you want or hang out with the popular people or get to tell people what to do. No, in effect, Jesus said, Happy Opposite Day! Blessed are you who are sad, who are meek, who are merciful, who are persecuted, who work for peace and justice. Be true to God’s message of love, and you can rejoice and be glad. Happy Opposite Day!

 

Let us pray:

Dear God,

Thank you for Opposite Day

Help us to see love where there is hate, power where there is weakness, healing where there is pain, joy where there is sorrow.

 

Happy Opposite Day!

 

Amen.