where to begin?
and still more apologies

sorry! sorry! I'm here!

Really, I am. But, goodness, time is going fast. My birthday is at the end of August and in case you don't remember, I celebrate my birth month, which somehow has ended up being +/- 30 days around my birthday. So, time for the celebrations to kick in! Though first I feel like I have should finish up something or other. We'll see what it is.

I don't know about you, but this year seems particularly emotionally exhausting. I remind myself that I have the luxury of stepping away from racial injustice, which, in my opinion, only obligates me to not step away. Trying to remember self-care, including turning the tv off any time "2016 election coverage" is mentioned. I retreat to my natural optimism about the goodness of humankind but it is a stretch some days. But, really, Donald Trump? Isn't Hitler's Germany looking suddenly more prescient? This morning I woke up thinking more people need to read The Sneetches more often. Any number of thoughts are rumbling around in my head, and of course, a lot of uncertainty and fear about the future. So I regularly and forcefully have to change the direction of my thoughts before I let those get the best of me and I become what maddens me so much in others. I'll let you know how that works out. I'm spending a lot of time with Story People, let's just say that.

July has Maxwell Street days, with its grueling 10 hour days but now that is behind us so we can look ahead to...well, let's be honest, Christmas.  I have a bit of an idea in my head for the holiday window but we'll see how that shapes up. We are heading to Toronto at the beginning of August for a buying trip / mother-daughter trip. Mom was very excited when I mentioned we were thinking about Toronto so it seemed rude not to invite her along. The charming Olivia gave us a very thorough map of stores to visit while there and I've got my eye on expanding my washi tape collection. Because you can always use more washi tape, right?

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I have even been good and put my washi tape to use sending out a few packages this summer.

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I am very curious to see what Toronto has in store. We have never been to this show so we don't know what to expect at all but it will be nice to visit a new place. Usually the shows this time of year are where I firm up the plans for the holiday window so that will be useful.  I have a tentative idea in mind but... well, we'll see. I've started gathering a few pieces, but I have been known to change my mind. Always fun to see how the planning actually manifests.

Meanwhile, Sachi has been gearing up for election season with a new batch of Hillary buttons. And I've started thinking about an election season window. Might be time to bring back more desk signs.

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At home, I've been playing around with ink and nib. Just a very narrow nib - not going to try to tackle proper calligraphy, but I like the vagaries of ink as opposed to a uniform pen width. I wrote text for my little 2x2 book for our holiday book party so those are ready to go. I've been trying to use more of the papers that I generated in various workshops lately - this background is from Pamela Paulsrud's mark-making workshop last fall.

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I've been working my way through the 15 crowns that will be part of an exhibit at Overture in winter. I've done a little doodling with gelli pens and am now adding a coat of matte medium just for added stability. Next up: ink in gold? white? Haven't quite figured out what will show up best. And writing the 15 short stories that will be written on the crowns. I'm also working on the mirrors themselves. Each mirror is going to be labeled "Queen of" and the crown it belongs to will be set atop the mirror. I think I've settled on Sharpie paint pen for that stage. Still have to decide how many different colors I am going to work with. My natural inclination is to use a different color for each mirror and crown but I think a little consistency across crowns will help tie the piece together.

 

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And, yes, I know, time is going too fast and I am party to blame for hurrying it along. But some people are asking so, yes, calendars are starting to arrive to the shop. We have an assortment of planners, from academic to calendar year, as well as wall and desk calendars. I'm glad to say that it is not just me caught off guard by the speedy passage of time - for some reason all of our calendar vendors are a little behind schedule on shipping this year. We should, however, have the full assortment in stock by mid August.

 

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In exciting news on our block, the Orpheum's new (reproduction of the 1920s original) arrived and was installed. It was quite a feat of construction and craftsmanship.

 

 

 

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As far as the store is concerned? It has been a good summer. We worked hard in late winter on some new Wisco items. The coloring book has been a major boon, in part because Sachi- and Laura- designs have now gone from the coloring page onto stickers, t-shirts, postcards and more. Of course, Sachi's been busy working on brand new designs, including her "glue guns not handguns" which will probably end up as a print and stickers.

 

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We received good luck turtles to add to our good luck cats and owls. I couldn't resist them when I saw them in New York. It is always gratifying when one's impulse purchases are met favorably.

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We are awaiting new prints from Kennedy Prints who sent us this set as a teaser... which just led to a discussion about what the Midwest version would be. The "I am as Sconnie as" series has now been added to Mr. Kennedy's to-do list.

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In other exciting news in the realm of begging people to make stuff for our shop, we found the Wisconsin effigy mounds print! We got permission to print the image in exchange for sending a portion of the proceeds to the Effigy Mounds Initiative. So, hooray for the Universe at work via the magic of the internet. Sachi saw the image during the gravel pit protests but we never had any luck connecting with the artist. I saw it months later on someone's car, posted it on our Instagram and a follower gave me the lead on Facebook. So happy! The image comes as sticker, ornament, t-shirt, card, and print. 

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oh, and Sachi's family got kittens. Eek! the cuteness! I am learning all about the challenges of trying to take a picture of moving creatures.

 

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