Slowly digging out from being gone for a week.... Too bad the pile of paperwork that I left didn't particularly diminish. Isn't it nice when you dig into such a pile and you find things that are expired that you can just recycle? Not really happening this time around.
There ARE new arrivals to the shop and there will be many more coming given all the orders that we placed at the Stationery Show last week (which will be spread out over the next couple months but have already started arriving - new Wisco prints and letterpress cards today). But I thought I would at least recap our past week away. Mostly, the diary of two shopgirls on "vacation." Many times we laughed at the way Sachi's husband would be irked with us - but we opened a paper and craft shop BECAUSE we like paper and crafts and shopping... so naturally we have a busman's holiday when we travel unsupervised. Sure, there are plenty of afterhours entertainments to be found in New York City, and we did manage to attend an art opening, eat delicious meals, walk along the High Line Park, take the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty, and otherwise enjoy the sights of the city.
But the bulk of the time, as is proper, was spent - either at the NSS itself or in other stores - looking at, buying and thinking about: note cards and other paper goods, new vendors, store layout, window displays, placement of goods, things to make, etc.
(I always enjoy visiting ABC Carpet and Home - their merchandising is always inspiring, including the little artfully spilled piles of glitter in their window and jewelry cases.)
But first up, the show itself. Two jam-packed days of walking up and down aisles scribbling down notes and trying to figure out orders to place. It's not a bad problem to have, but nonetheless a challenge to see it all. I'm happy with the many new vendors we found and excited about the directions that people are going in - particularly, for me, the growing selection of interesting text-based prints that are available, such as these from the booth of Live Love (and, yes, we did place an order and many of these prints will be arriving to the shop). I am still left with a sense that I didn't get everything done and need to spend a lot of time pouring over catalogs, just as soon as they arrive (I shipped them home in a flat rate box and was commended by the post office guy for how much I packed into one of those boxes).
Taking pictures at the show is a somewhat delicate thing, as there are proprietary issues to consider, as well as the simple fact that I was pressed for time as it was. But, there's a great series of blog posts over at Oh So Beautiful Paper which conveys the sense of the show very well, and includes some shots of vendors we ordered from.
Besides the Stationery Show, we hit our usual favs and discovered some new ones, like Paper Presentation, which made us somewhat jealous of the square footage and size of market to be found in NYC - pretty much every color and size and shape of paper you could imagine - sheets, envelopes, tags... We are particularly enjoying the Chelsea Market, the food, the washi tape craft table at Anthropologie, the vendors in Artists & Fleas...
Also the proximity to the High Line Park, where we strolled, took in the sights of city and art and spring flowers (and good thing too since 80-degree weather back home means that we returned to mostly summer flora).
We lucked out with the weather and only had a few sprinkles, which left us mostly free to enjoy springtime in NY.
oh, and we ate delicious food, like this brioche french toast we had at the Belgian bistro right next to our hotel in Chelsea.
This trip also seemed to be much about books - we found several great bookstores and I added to my collection of children's books, as well as found some books to read during the vacation component of my trip. I am such a sucker for a well-illustrated children's book - I've actually had to force myself not to look too closely at children's books sections ever since we started the shop and I've been on a small business owner budget. I can easily drop $50 every time I look at children's books. We particularly enjoyed browsing Powerhouse Books in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, Brooklyn), as well as strolling the streets and coming across this little gem of stencil art, which makes me feel like stenciling all over the place.
And, of course, it is fun just to BE in another place, to view the sights and sounds of unfamiliar spaces, to appreciate new colors and shapes and lines and different arrangements from your own everyday.
LOVED this sign at Posman Books in Chelsea Market:
And then the two sisters parted ways and Sachi came back to Madison while I went on to Western Massachusetts to visit a friend I haven't visited in ages, grabbing 4 consecutive days of vacation, which I think I have not had since about August of last year. Hard to complain when one is totally responsible for deciding to work one's dream job, but it's not without its grinding elements. Though spring has been really busy for us, we also know things just get busier from here on out, so it was nice to grab a little time to do nothing but chat and eat and sightsee and read books on the porch. I did do a little shopping, thus prolonging the busman's holiday: and stumbled across a new printer whose work I hope to carry, as well as picked up ideas for window displays and other merch.
In keeping with the children's book theme of the trip, I did go to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and enjoyed seeing some original illustrations, peeking in on their craft room (with cleverly labeled trays: "put your scraps here" - now why didn't I think of that?!), and, of course, being tempted by more wonderfully illustrated books.
It was also lovely to experience spring on the East Coast - the azaleas were in full bloom, as well as lovely Dogwoods. Spring, as always, feels terribly short-lived - I'm getting a sinking feeling that climate change means we will get longer summers and winters when what I'd really like is an extra month of autumn and spring. At least I did make it to the arboretum before I left town, and there will be plenty of summer flowers to come.