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December 2008
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February 2009

it's only.... tuesday?

Everything is a bit of a blur.  There are palm trees, that much I know.  It is a little on the chilly side but not nearly as cold as it is in Wisconsin.  We got to the beach for a bit today and I got some great pictures of Lily on the shore with the light of the setting sun.  But it might actually be Monday.  After a day of traveling on Saturday, we settled into our cute little house with a hot tub out back.  A nice vacation spot.  My brother-in-law has been driving us around and Lily has been really super.  Her new thing is "doke - doke" which means "okey doke."  Sachi and I went to the Craft & Hobby Association trade show on Sunday and part of today.  We pretty much did all we can do (all that our brains can hold) so the rest of the week is vacation.  Hooray!  

The show was really amazing.  Pretty much all that we wanted, and then some.  You could honestly spend all the time at the show working on art projects - almost every vendor has "make and takes" where you can sit down, try out some of their products, and make something to take away.  Sachi and I both used hot glue guns for the first time -- I know, it's shocking that we haven't before.  She made a picture frame with little buttons and shells and seaglass on the border and I made a cool candle with a flower.  There are so many cool ideas.  We really only made a few things -- next time I'll definitely spend more time in workshops, but for our first trip we had to see all there was to see.  I ran into an old coworker from Boston Store handbag days so that was pretty cool.  My suitcase is loaded down with projects and catalogs.  We placed a fair number of orders so new things will be coming to the store soon, and we have some catalogs for later orders so we can get a new infusion a little later in the year.  

Just a sampling: new books: freeform crochet, collage and art journals, embroidery; fun freeform board books and plexi books; scrapbook papers & notions (stickers, labels, doo dads); ribbon; decorate your own bangles; fun recycled paper flowers for embellishing.  I know there's more but I've packed all the catalogs to keep them out of Lily's way. I'll be showing you pics and more details when I get home and get the camera hooked up to the computer.  

Plus I found a really cool jewelry company that I have used for my own creations.  I think we will put together some lovely charm bracelet kits using their sweet charms.  And they had a make and take that was super fun that we will try to duplicate.  I can't wait to show you what I made.  They used flat metal pieces and embellished with text and stamps and then made them into necklace charms.  It was really fun to think of your own text and pound it into your own charm.  Very simple, but should be a fun craftivity.

All right.  Just wanted to say a quick hello so you know I haven't forgotten about you.  We had an amazing time and can't wait to share all the ideas that we found here in Southern CA.  After we get back from the rest of the vacation...

back soon

California here we come!  I still have to finish packing, and there are chores here around the store to finish, but, come 6 a.m. tomorrow, we will be on our way.  I'm really excited to see what there is to see at the trade show, and of course, pretty excited to spend a little time in sunny CA.  I don't know what the computer situation will be so you might not hear from me next week; hopefully I will at least be storing up lots of interesting project ideas or products for the store to share with you upon our return. 

Please note that we are on reduced hours next week: closed Sunday and Monday and open noon to 5 Tuesday through Friday while Pamela and Mom fill in for us.  Be patient with our mom please!  We'll be back to regular hours on Saturday.  Hope you have a good week!

thanks Kelly and Amy

Ok, it was a while ago but I hadn't really gotten over it.  One person gave us a mediocre review on and no one else had said anything to dispute his three stars.  It's been MONTHS now.  Sigh.  Care to join me in a pity party?  Jen thinks that I could be opening up a can of worms in my desire for more reviews.  Ok, yeah, just like anyone, I have my faults that translate to the store; I have my good days and bad days, which may coincide, or not, with your good days and bad days.  Still, I hope that I can learn from whatever anyone has to say (even if the lesson is only "get over yourself Laura"), whether the reviews are good, bad or ugly.

Now, personally, I don't usually let a bad review dissuade me from something as long as it isn't food related so perhaps I am being to sensitive about the power of Zachary S.  I didn't quite want to call on friends or Mom to counter the review, but the thought that someone's only experience of our store would be his words was still frustrating.  Luckily I have my happy book of quotations to go back to if he is making me feel too insecure.  Anyway, I'm trying not to be compulsive, but I do check back on Yelp every once in a while to see if things have improved at all.  So, thanks Kelly and Amy.  I feel better now.

countdown to California...

Oooh... only a few days left!  There is much to do, but one of the items on the list is: PACK cooler clothes for the beach.  Sachi tells me not to gloat too much because then I will jinx us.  Still, I am really looking forward to taking a little break from Madison and the Wisconsin winters.  The Craft and Hobby Association trade show promises lots of new products and projects. This is our first time attending so we have no idea what to expect.  We rented a little house and Tom and Lily are coming along.  After the show, we are staying a few extra days to have a little vacation.  Sachi went to school nearby in Long Beach, and I visited her there a few times, so we are looking forward to returning to old stomping grounds.  I will try to write here while I'm away but don't know what kind of computer access I will have.  If you don't hear from me, be sure that you will hear all about it when I get home!

And if you were planning to come to the store, a few things to note.  We are leaving at 6 am on Saturday January 24th.  Pamela and Jen are tending the store that day - open from 11 to 6.  We will be closed Sunday and Monday.  Then we're on reduced hours that week: open noon to 5 pm.  Mom is working at the store two days, and Pamela is working two days.  The Valentine card decorating supplies are out on the table, and the button machine is available.  Any other craft activities will have to wait until we return. Thanks for your patience and understanding (you will be rewarded with new goodies in the store so I think it is a fair price to pay).

25 random things

So here's a fun little game.  Last week I had to list three random facts about myself for the Heart Handmade interview.  This week, on Facebook, I got a note about listing 25 random things.  It was a fun exercise.  Here are mine.  What are yours?

25 Random Things About Me

1. I love to cha cha to Depeche Mode's Policy of Truth
2. I think the scent of my favorite perfume, Laura Ashley No. 1, has been sold to a bathroom air freshener company.
3. Sometimes I still have to match my pen to my socks.
4. I organize my CDs and books by color.
5. The first word that I taught my niece was "necklace"
6. I collect charm bracelets.
7. I collect other people's collections (not the collections themselves, just a running list of collections)
8. I could write 25 random things about me based solely on collecting but I will not.
9. I was born in Tennessee and sometimes I wonder how I would be different if I had grown up there.
10. I think everyone should be making books on
11. I've all but given up on pantyhose and just wear knee-his when needed (not granny knee-his, but fun stripes and other patterns).
12. I'm totally infatuated with Viggo Mortensen and have to watch his movies no matter how violent they are going to be.
13. I would like to go back to Greece and Italy sometime soon.
14. I wish everyone would leave their outdoor Christmas lights up year round.
15. I believe there's no such thing as too many pictures when you are traveling and part of the reason I want to go back to Greece and Italy is that I didn't take enough pictures.
16. In college, I covered my dorm room walls with color-themed collages of ads that changed every month.
17. In college I played A LOT of cards - spit, rummy 500, king's corners.... hmm.. I  had a lot of spare time in college.
18. I like cats but can't live with them because they sit right in the middle of art projects.
19. I stayed up 'til 2 am two nights in a row to read Twilight.
20. I'm dreaming about an art workshop getaway in Bali for my 40th birthday
21. Maryjane shoes are my favorites.
22. I spontaneously dance in my living room and studio.
23. I have very weak abdominal muscles... but I hate doing situps so the situation doesn't look like it will improve anytime soon.
24. The beach is one of my favorite places to be.
25. I used to know a lot more chemistry and calculus equations and rock and mineral compositions.

inspiring people: Lewis Hyde

I've been thinking a lot about this article about Lewis Hyde from the New York Times Magazine.  It was very inspiring and presents some very interesting ideas about copyright and art.  I haven't read his book yet, but it seems clear that I should.  I'm delivering the sermon in church in February and the scripture includes something about duty and preaching the gospel, being all things to all people, which I am finding to resonate with this article about Lewis Hyde and my own thoughts about sharing my art.  Hopefully it will all manage to connect itself intelligibly. 

Shortly after the article came out, I had an altered books workshop and this article was brought up in the context of sharing crafty ideas.  Naturally, I charged a fee for my workshop but I am also really happy to share these ideas and inspirations.  I acknowledge that they aren't solely mine and I'm happy to participate in their dissemination.  I would like to be able to make a living on this store and on my art, but I also want other people to take these things and move forward (without having to pay me a copyright fee) - is it naive to expect both?  I feel really fortunate that people have shared projects and ideas with me, many of which I have profited from without paying a user's fee; I only hope I can be as generous in my own life.  In the language of our everyday economies, the reward is not immediate or visible but that doesn't mean there isn't a reward.

Ultimately, the premise of the article as I understood it, is that art and ideas are common property - how does one claim ownership on something that is derived from the work of so many other people; if talent and inspiration are gifts that we receive should we not be as generous in the sharing and giving of the products?  Hmm.  It's kind of a radical (illegal)(crazy) idea in the copyright law realm but has a long history - he quotes Benjamin Franklin: "That as we enjoy great advantages from the invention of others, we should be glad of the opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously."

drumroll please...

Here it is!  My new blurb book!  I had to stop obsessively checking the wording and spelling and page numbers and photo placement and color arrangement.  I'm sure something got missed but at least Pamela helped me with editing - though any errors are my fault not hers.  I'm super excited and for a few brief minutes, when you go to the blurb bookstore and click on "just published," MY book is there on the front page... though already it has moved down in position so I can see it won't be there long.  I ordered copies to sell at Anthology but it will probably be a few weeks until they arrive.  In the meantime, you can check it out online and preview it.  Hooray!


A high pressure system has brought in clear skies so I've enjoyed sunshine these two days of my weekend.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that it is really really cold.  I think they've rescaled the windchill rating system though so it doesn't seem to get to the 4o- and 50-belows of my childhood.  Still, they are warning people not to stand outside for more than 5 minutes.  I know, I know, that's what you get for living in Wisconsin.  This is the view out my studio window this afternoon.  It's pretty, isn't it?  It would be really annoying if winter was only cold with no pretty.DSC04053  

It's amazing that anyone leaves their house.  Still, we've had some hardly souls coming into the store, and have a craft party scheduled for Sunday.  They are making the decoupage mirrors so I've been gathering new scraps of fabric.  I spent some time in the studio today, working on a commission quilt and the sewn French journal pages.  And a lot of time this morning cataloging CDs.  This collection makes me realize how lacking my classical music knowledge is.  I am coming to realize that certain projects are never going to get done at the store.  I naively thought I could do them in January.  Actually, for years now I end up with a huge list of things to do in January "once it slows down" but it never slows down.  I should just learn my lesson.  At least I've had time in the studio today, though I really need to sew some more Valentine hearts.  Sachi made some embroidered text for me so that will be fun to incorporate.  And I found some vintage hankies that I am thinking of adding as well. 

Hope everyone is staying warm!