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May 2009

cards for mom

DSC06572 Today someone came in the store and said to her friend, "that table is a HOT mess!"  From the tone of voice, I think it was a compliment.  The craft table is filled with card-making supplies for Mother's Day.  We've got the brass charms that can be stamped, as well as this fun petal-fold envelope with circle notecards. And the usual assortment of rubber stamps, markers, watercolors, etc.  Stop in and make Mom a card - won't she just love it?!  Also, check out our tribute to OUR mom in the window - we printed a batch of childhood pics so you can see the Komai girls with their mom. 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


the way to start the week

Yesterday (Monday) was a moderately productive day off. Well, I got three knitter's pockets finished at least. I spent time on the computer, organizing my photos, played with Lily, took more photos of Lily, worked on magnet picture frames, got a massage, went to yoga. It was a lovely day. I do still have lots of sewing to do, and drilling for the magnet picture frames. But it was fine to delay those and spend the afternoon with the adorable girl. I got some nice pictures of her out in the back yard... "melling" flowers. I'm already looking forward to the blurb book for this year.  My wrist still hurts from all the button-making of the weekend so I think it will be fine to rest it a bit.

Now it is Tuesday, the first day of my work week.  I have the Mother's Day window to install and the usual store rearranging that results from a window installation.  It is Gallery Night on Friday night so I want to shift some of our more artful pieces to the front of the store.  It looks like rain for Friday so that isn't so great.  Last year was a lovely evening and lots of people came out to stroll around.  We'll have to see what this week brings.  Now, however, it is a nice sunny day so that is good.  It's been busy so far.  In all, we've had a really good April, despite the rains.

A customer walking around has been thoroughly enjoying herself in the store.  She has a charming French accent and says that the store is a dream come true for her.  Isn't that lovely? Hopefully it is a good omen for the rest of the week.

Flight of the Conchords, here we come

Ok, we're pretty excited about the concert tonight, but this does have some creative relevance because we made t-shirts.  I think this was a fun craft party that we'll have to do again sometime.  We have foam alphabet stamps so you can stamp out any message you want.  Here are our shirts.  I know, I know, there are... issues... with my shirt.  But I didn't follow my own advice and start from the center when stamping the longest word.  It says, "be more constructive with your feedback, please."

Fotc8 Fotc 003 Fotc 004 Fotc 005

cold and rainy weekend

Perfect weather for staying in bed under the covers, if there wasn't so much to do.  I woke early this morning and lounged a bit, enjoying the sound of the rain.  But then on to the work - grabbed a few minutes at the sewing machine to make headbands before picking Sachi up to head downtown.  As expected with a cold and rainy day, it has been pretty quiet but we were both prepared so things are getting done.  My wrist hurts a bit from all the button making.  I need to find one more back-up task.  We've been taking turns with the button machine making flat-back buttons for picture frames and bracelets and magnets for magnet picture frames.  I haven't made any since before Christmas so it's time for another big batch.  The big excitement of the week was that we got a fabric button maker.  It's a bit of a challenge to work with fabric that stretches and shifts, but the promise is pretty exciting.  I made one picture frame decorated with batik fabric buttons, and made a dish of fabric buttons using the headband fabric scraps.  I think they could be interesting incorporated into necklaces.  I need to spend some time with the fabric stash, selecting pieces. 

And then I decided upon my own skirt - cherries, as if there was a debate.  Sachi's cupcake skirt is pretty adorable but I'm looking forward to making my own.  The other project for the week is a stamped t-shirt for tomorrow night.  We have tickets to the Flight of the Conchords and we are all wearing shirts stamped with various messages.  I found a great navy & white striped shirt at Goodwill and am going to stamp with dark pink text.  I'd like to work out something for stamping and iron-on for a craft party because I think it would be fun for people to bring in their own shirts to decorate.  Last Saturday we had one t-shirt decorating party which was lots of fun, and tonight we have another.  I have a lot of text to stamp on the front of my shirt which has a cool result but which is a pain in the butt to actually stamp out, one letter at a time.  In preparation for the concert, we've been listening to the CD at the store.  So fun!

Ho hum.  What else?  It's almost May, which is really hard for me to believe.  It seems like suddenly 5 years could go by.  Wonder what we'll be up to?  Will I be further through my list of things to do?  Yeah, I doubt it too. 

newsletter: April 2009

Happy Spring from Anthology!

There’s so much going on downtown and we’re delighted to see so many people out and about, enjoying the lovely weather, film festival and farmer’s market as well as weddings at the Orpheum and Broadway shows at the Overture Center. We are looking forward to Gallery Night, Mother’s Day and UW graduation.

A few of our NEW favorite things: colorful felted ball earrings, Scrabble tile necklaces with images of the Eiffel Tower, Ferris wheels, birds, nests and Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, as well as hand-carved block printed dish towels featuring woodland creatures. An artist whose art boards, canvases, journals and cards we love has expanded into paper sheets that we now carry. Customers love the patterns for their art projects and apartment décor. Coming soon: even more adorable Japanese stickers, memo pads and bento boxes, and even more recycled book journals (Dr. Seuss and Golden Books).

Madison seems to be in the midst of a baby boom so our onesies, blankies, sock monkeys, stuffed owls and storybook picture frames are selling like hotcakes. We’re happy to have a mother-in-law/daughter team making many of the baby gifts. A few of our new favorite onesie designs: “raised by wolves” and “future librarian.” Sachi continues to embroider XX and XY chromosome onesies as well as custom designs (college mascots, pugs, etc).

‘Need a graduation gift? Our favorite photographer Mike Bass has promised more of his hip images of Madison which make the perfect memento for any Millenial. We also have posters, recycled bottle cap map necklaces, and Laura’s elegant epoxy necklaces featuring the Capitol and Terrace chairs.

We now have Nikki McClure books, prints and cards. She is an amazing artist from Olympia, WA who starts with a piece of black construction paper and cuts away with an x-acto knife to reveal incredibly intricate birds’ nests, babies, tree leaves and trickling waters. You’ll just have to see for yourself!

In the past few months we’ve hosted a number of kids’ birthday parties and a delightful group of librarian card-makers. We’ve also provided fun afternoon projects for many mothers, grandmothers and daughters. Remember, you can book our craft table for two!

At the craft table:


Stop in to make a Mother’s Day card for $2.50. We’ve splurged on some pretty petal-fold envelopes and colorful circle cards that you can decorate with twinkling watercolors, rubber stamps and paper cutouts. You can also hand-stamp a brass charm starting at $1.50. Embellish with brass birds, butterflies, hearts and leaves.


We will feature this activity on Gallery Night, which is Friday, May 1. Stop in and say hi!


Laura & Sachi Komai

fun with iron-ons

Here's Sachi's cupcake skirt that I made her.  She found the skirt at Goodwill and it reminded her of Neopolitan ice cream. She thought it called for more sugar so I made iron-on patches of cupcake and candy fabric. So cute!  I want to make more.  I'm thinking that a skirt even with floral patches would be pretty too...

a day of rest. or sewing as it is otherwise called.

Sunday morning.  Normally a day of working at the store, but Mom has generously offered to work for me.  Yay Mom!  She's busy with church activities so I am opening the store but then heading over to the studio for lots of sewing.  There's a long list of things I'd like to accomplish. We'll see how far I get.  I did have a lazy morning.  Woke up super early but then drifted back to sleep listening to the rain.  That's the best, isn't it?  Listening to the rain while you lie in bed?  Then I got up and came to the store for a little office cleaning, a little computer catch-up...  I am off tomorrow as well, though that day is filled with CD cataloging and studio-cleaning as usual. 

I am really close to finishing one batch of knitter's pockets, and just at the beginning of another batch.  It's also getting to be headband season so I have a batch of those to finish up.  There are three quilts that need binding.  Three small patchwork pieces I am working on for the Facebook-make-something-trade and for a Gemini birthday present.  A batch of aprons, including one (finally) for my sister for her July birthday.  A batch of artist pockets.  Oh, and those fabric pennants... well, some people are calling them bunting but that word conjures up something different for me, so I'm still sticking to pennants.  flags?  Whatever.  There are only two left in the store and they look so nice - I want to keep those in stock.  Plus, Sachi has an idea to personalize them; she'll iron-on letters so people can have a little message.  I think they'd be sweet in a kids' room or for a birthday celebration.  And then there's all the fabric that my helpers sewed for me.  There's a lot of that - for knitter's pockets, artist pockets, crayon pockets and crowns.  Phew!  Oh, and Sachi's cupcake skirt that I owe her. 

Yesterday was a busy day - first Farmer's Market. Sachi and I were pretty exhausted by the end of the day but it all went really well.  It's still better to be exhausted from busyness than from a slow day.  I am sure that it is not good business, but then again, all those corporations share their quarterly reports.  Anyway, I won't do it often, but I thought it would be nice to have some good news amidst all the general financial gloom and doom. April is our very first full month that we can actually compare to the year before, and so far, it is going really well.  As of April 17th, we have surpassed April 2008 sales, which means that we are on target to continue to grow in this, our second year of business.  Hooray!  Thanks to everyone for all their support of our little store!

Bday 002
After the Farmer's Market rush, we had a birthday party - 8 girls making decoupage mirrors.  It's so fun to look over to the table and see them busy with fabric and Mod Podge, chatting about this and that while they work on their projects.  Here's the new pic I've been having fun taking -- protecting the identity of the innocent, but showing off their mirrors!  Great batch this time; very creative uses of color.  I think this was my favorite, from the birthday girl; why didn't I ever think of that?
Bday 001
And then after we closed, we had our own little craft party.  I totally forgot to take pictures; this would actually be a fun craftivity for the store.  Everyone brought in t-shirts and we decorated them. We are going to Flight of the Conchords next week so we wanted t-shirts for the occasion.  Everyone picked different lyrics and stamped them on their shirts with fabric paint and sponge stamps/stencils.  Plus we could iron on fabric patches.  Somone cut up a bandana and made fun patterns to iron on, and then stamped with some fabrics....  Hey! bring that shirt back so I can take a picture!  It WOULD be a fun project.  Hmm.  I'll try to get pics at the concert.

a night in for a change

Wow, last night I took the bus home from work and arrived home while it was still light out!  I opened the doors and windows and let the fresh air in.  AND I even had time and energy for cleaning before I settled in for a night of art projects.  Haven't had one of those nights in a long time.  Usually there are errands to run, or else I am at work or at my parents, in the studio, at the computer...  Finally got the living room picked up.  There's always a point where the number of projects far exceeds the workable space or time; then it is time to face facts and be ruthless about what projects I'm actually working on (Vintaj jewelry, Valley Ridge preparation) and what projects I'm not.  So I put some pieces away, even vacuumed before getting sidetracked.  I tried hard to practice what I preach with my studio-cleaning clients, which is not getting emotionally wrapped up in the guilt of projects to work on, being honest about what is useful/used and what can be put out of the way to make room for actually working.  I've been gathering things for my Valley Ridge workshop in June but they were in three different places and now they are all together.  I even filled up a few bags of recycling.  I have stacks of magazines and catalogs that I need to go through - tear out a few pages for ideas and collage and then the rest can go.  Anyway, I took care of one stack last night.  Now I have to deal with the kitchen and bathroom.

recent works

Tuesday 007

Been having lots of fun with the possibilities of the chunky albums.  In addition to chipboard, there are clear acrylic pages which make for some interesting layering.  You can attach pictures and other pieces with glue or double-sided tape.  Since these pages are "bound" with large rings, there is a lot of room to expand so you can make think pages with lots of stuff on them, and then you can tie lots of ribbons on the rings.  This is the album I made of Lily in California.  These books would be great bases to be used for a craft party - nice and simple construction but fun end result.

Tuesday 006 Tuesday 005 Tuesday 004

And here's the latest batch of button bracelets.  They are photographs from France and Barcelona.  Now I want to go through the rest of my photos and make more, with color themes, all windows, all flowers, etc. etc.

Tuesday 003 Tuesday 002

Anthology on TV

Well, that was a little early in the morning yesterday.  I've been a little surprised to hear from people that they were awake and they caught it.  In case you missed it, and want to see it, here I am on NBC 15 Weekend Live.  Please excuse the "ummms." I can't seem to get the precise link - but if you go here, on the right hand side is a video box with the various clips along the button edge. Pick "in studio with Laura Komai - Anthology 4/12/09". The picture is a close-up of our Easter basket goodies.