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a productive evening

DSC08125 Ahh... isn't that nice?  Of course, it is offset by the email from my sister reminding me that I am sold out of Madison snippets and really should make some more for this weekend.  Still, I spent last night watching movies and working on some jewelery.  Finished another Vintaj bird necklace to replace the one that sold a few months ago.  Sometimes it is hard to focus - looking at the coffee table with the little baggies of beads and findings.  Where to begin?  I had some charm bracelets in mind and ended up going in a completely different direction.  DSC08124 The cloth button bracelet just needed a few finishing touches.  And, oh, speaking of cloth buttons, I really need to spend time cutting out more fabric scraps to make more of those.  The super mini cloth button bracelets are all sold out... but boy, those are not easy to make!  First, cutting those tiny circles of fabric, then pressing them into buttons, then gluing them on. 

After I finished those two pieces, I was still going strong, so then came this pearl charm bracelet which was a total whim.  I do love how the pearls look with Vintaj bead caps.DSC08123 Naturally I started gathering beads for several other projects.  Why is it that it is so much more fun to start a new project?  We got bottle cap beads and charms in so I'm making a fun bracelet of those.  Then I really need to look at my sales records and prioritize the list of things to make for the upcoming months.  Magnet picture frames, button bracelets, I know, but I'm sure there's more.

Meanwhile, my parents are starting to prepare to move from the house that they've lived in since I was in 5th grade.  Eek.  I'd like to think that I am a good daughter but yes, I am using their house as a storage unit.  I still need to make more room at my place, but I think I'll be moving the sewing machine over tonightt and start to get that set up.  The realtor is drooling a little at the thought of showing their house, but not with my fabric scraps strewn all over the place upstairs.  The irony is that a side job is cleaning and organizing other peoples' studios.  It is SO much easier when it isn't your own.  I'd better do some major sifting, sorting and cleaning and clearing.  Maybe when this is all over, I will have such a great space that I can take pictures and submit them to some magazine like Where Women Create (I'd still like to see more studios in there of everyday people, not Marie Osmond, their last covergirl. I don't know why but it is a real pet peeve of mine when people who are famous in one area crossover into another.  It's not nice because everyone should be allowed to do what they want to do but I feel like their fame gives them an unfair edge - like Madonna writing children's books or Marie Osmond making dolls.  I'm all about the fairness and you should have seen how diligently my sister and I monitored or childhood presents and slices of cake).

fun 'n' games

First of all, Happy Birthday to me!  Just about an hour ago sometime in the 1970s I was born on this day.  And to celebrate, I got to sneak away to the beach last week for a few days.  Here's the birthday present that I bought for myself.Saturday 009 It's a lovely flower necklace that is so charming to me.  It is family tradition to go to Point Beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline sometime in the early fall (and it is definitely fall-like this August in Wisconsin).  I went by myself this time and enjoyed some lovely reading on the beach and other solitudes.  Since I was camping, I didn't bother bringing art supplies that would get messy or sandy so I didn't work on any projects.  EEK!  Now I need to focus and do a little catching up, right after I finish all this birthday eating.  Still, it was wonderful to get away.  I went to the Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan.  I love that space.  It is very inspiring.  I think it might be among my all-time favorite spaces to be in - I can really imagine a fabulous party/wedding/funeral there.  All my art work could be hanging on the walls, there could be dancing on the lovely wooden floor, whimsical little fairies could flit amongst the little stone houses...

I also got to (FINALLY!) visit the shops of some artists that I know and admire.  Dainty Daisies' work is carried here in the store but she has her own store in Oshkosh which I've been wanting to see for a long time.  So many lovelies!  I got some Christmas shopping done so that was fun.  Her hand dyed slips are so wonderful!  I'm hoping we can have some here even though we don't have a fitting room for people to try them on.  Trust me, you don't want to go back behind that curtain!

And I also got to Persimmons in Manitowoc.  SO much fun!  Lots of ephemera like Bingo cards and scrabble tiles, and inspiring pendants. Sunday
Kim is the owner and artist and I've been meaning to connect with her and bring some of her creations to Anthology and I finally got to do that.  We are building up our collection of charms and other jewelry pieces so people can make their own charming necklaces.  Here is what I brought back from Manitowoc. Kim makes soldered pieces, including some that incorporate Lake Michigan rocks.  Also some sweet pendants with vintage linens and quilt scraps.  I am going to redo the jewelry case to make room for all these charming options.  I like that people will be able to make their own necklaces, and also that I have more supplies to draw from when making necklaces for the store.  We got in some colorful enamel beads and pendants from Duluth last week - which I think will work well with Vintaj brass for necklaces and bracelets.  I need to have a jewelry-making marathon!

I also made a stop at the St. Vinnie's and gathered some more ephemera to add to what I picked up at Persimmons so I made some fun 'n' games packs for the store.  It was fun to see the variety of game cards, flash cards, and game pieces that I could pull together.  Saturday 010

In a few more weeks we will be going to Chicago to scope out more new artists so that will be fun.  And the store continues to stay busy, an increase over last year. There aren't as many summer tourists but the students are back and decorating their apartments and dorms.  And then, before you know it, it will be Christmas.  Sorry, I just had to say that. As an artist, it is time to gear up and get cracking on that list of things to do.  Sigh.  It's such a long list!  A friend came to visit and asked how I was progressing on the necklaces that I started when she was last in town (several months ago).  Hmmm... can I take a pass on answering that?  There are several Vintaj necklaces waiting in the wings. 

We are still accepting applications for the Craftacular and that has been fun to see the various creations that people make.  We are excited this year to be able to help out with that.  There's a big pile of paperwork that I have been neglecting so I do need to work on that part of my job as well.  Besides balancing the checkbook, I'm looking at what sold last Christmas and what has sold this year, so I can give our artists some idea of what we could sell this year for the holiday season.

But now I am off to my birthday dinner.  The work will have to wait...

charmed, I am SO sure

Pages 008
Returning from Door County with my mind awhirl with possibilities.  So many fun places to stop, so much inspiration!  And quicker than that, new projects arriving to Anthology.  The wonderful Something Fishy in Egg Harbor was a heaven of charms.  You may not know this about me, but charms are a serious weakness of mine.  I have more charm bracelets than anyone could know what to do with, plus tons of charms I've purchased over the years with the intention of making into charm bracelets.  But this clever shop was using gorgeous silk ribbons and simply tying charms onto them.  SUPER simple, super fun, and SUPER lovely!  Hmmm....  One of many nice aspects of this project is that it is easy to untie and change charms.  Plus, you can combine three different silk ribbons for one necklace, then change out one of the ribbons and make a different necklace.  It's like a good statistics problem: how many possibilities are there?!!!! 

Charmed 008

Charmed 009Anyway, silk ribbons arrived yesterday so I was up late last night making necklaces for myself (mostly for customers' benefit of course - they have to see samples to get ideas) and a few for the store.  But we'll also sell the silk ribbons individually so you can make your own combinations.  My head is reeling with options.  Besides the usual charms and pendants from necklaces, we've got thoseCharmed 018 fun bottlecap beads and Vintaj brass charms, and also ceramic and enamel pieces on their way, and also Green Girls pewter charms.  And THEN, what about all those single earrings that you've lost the mate of?  Those could be a fun little trinket tied onto a ribbon.  The ribbons can also be used to tie your hair back or wrapped around your wrist as a bracelet.  fun fun FUN!


goodie box

SO much fun last night.  As a wedding present, Sachi and I are giving an album from Molly West along with lots of goodies for scrapbook pages.  I'm getting carried away.  I found this lovely Martha Stewart box which I couldn't resist.  I spent last night gathering odds n' ends and tying them up with various ribbons and yarns: tags, envelopes, sequins, doilies, glitter....  It's a fun little sampling.  Now I have to figure out more box options and make some for the store.  That Martha box is really nice, but kind of pricey.  It would be nice to find some boxes with clear lids so you can see inside.  I'm thinking it would be fun to have different color themes...

getting away from it all

Such as it is.  Sachi and I are taking turns grabbing a little break and going up to Door County this weekend.  A little cabin and a view of the Big Waters, sitting in the adirondack chair, sleeping in a bed with high-thread-count sheets, shopping, Swedish pancakes with strawberries for breakfast... 

I'm almost done packing.  The basket of projects is bigger and heavier than the bag of clothes.  I don't know why I imagine I will be more productive than usual.  Ah well, there will be choices when I get there.  I'd really like to spend some time and make some more Vintaj jewelry pieces.  The ones I had in the store have sold.  It takes a little more quiet and concentration than button bracelets... though I have scraps of fabric to cut for those as well.  The tiny fabric button bracelets are doing well so I have to cut out tiny circles of fabric.  I was hoping the pieces would arrive today so I could take them along but it looks like I'll just be cutting circles and not actually making the buttons.  Then I went to the library this morning and came back with a stack of books to add to the stack I already have at home.  Oh, and a jigsaw puzzle.  Not to mention the long list of places to go to in Door County: spend a little time on the beach taking pictures of the adorable girl, spend a little time shopping... 

Pamela kindly gave both of us the gift of time for our birthday presents.  Is that so amazing?!  She offered to work some shifts at the store so we could get away.  And she even told me that she'd prefer that I use the time to get away and not work on any projects or chores... so now I have permission to do so.  I had so much fun painting the color swatch postcard that I would love to make more of those... hmm, maybe that will be a good book project.  The guild that I am a member of has an exhibit coming up next year at the Overture Center.  It's exciting but a challenge as well - we make books, but they'll need to be contained or kept safe/protected in some way, as well as hang on the wall.  Hmm.  How to have color swatches in a book that can hang on the wall...  But the postcards are the current project for the store so I can't exactly take all the twinkling watercolors away with me.  Just as well since the trunk is getting full.

Anyway, I will probably be without computer for a couple days (not that you'll know the difference since I've been kind of slacking on the blogging end of things).  I'll be at work tomorrow but then leaving and not coming back until Wednesday.  Hope you are all able to grab a little time away from it all this summer too!


I know, I know, you've heard about this already.  But have you tried the sparkling watercolors?!  I'm so addicted to them.  I'm really happy that the company is staying in business (there was some question for a while) and coming out with new colors.  They haven't arrived yet, but you can be sure that you will hear about it when they do.

The craftivity for the month of August is watercolor postcards.  I've been painting on book pages for so long that I kind of forgot how nice it is to paint on real watercolor paper.  I made two sample postcards yesterday so I got to play around a bit.  On one, I just made a grid of color swatches - nice neat little rows and columns of squares of color.  Underneath each swatch I put a label of something summery.  Initially I was going to try and match the colors to the concept but then it was getting to be too much of a challenge so I put words rather randomly; there's beach and lake, but also early and late and nap and porch.  It was so fun that I want to make more.  Hmm.  I also painted one that is suggestive of terrace chairs, but also polka dots because I love polka dots.  It is just fun to have such a big assortment of colors to choose from.  A mother and her daughter stopped in the store and painted postcards yesterday so that was also a treat.  It's fun to be at the cash register and look over at the craft table and see other people creating (though it is most fun when the creating is followed up by some purchasing; every once in a while there are loiterers who test my patience and the sincerity of my intention -- yeah, yeah, I want to make the world a more creative place and get people motivated to create something, but I also have this thing called rent...).  Ah well, you never know what will come of anything so I should just try to think good karma thoughts...

newsletter. summer 2009.

We hope you’re enjoying a fun, relaxing summer! 

It’s been a busy one at Anthology--

We were delighted to find our little shop mentioned in the New York Times travel section over 4th of July weekend in an article entitled, “36 Hours in Madison.” The following week they featured Aix-en-Provence, so we thought we were in good company!

Here is the link if you missed the piece:

We’ve enjoyed great crowds from the Farmer’s Market, Art Fair on the Square, Maxwell Street Days, and several birthday parties for giggly girls.

For the annual summer sidewalk sale we had our button maker outside so people could make a button for a buck--for charity! Customers made 540 buttons, and we were able to divide the money among the Art Cart, the Monroe Street Fine Arts Center Claire Aubrey Roberts Scholarship Fund, and the Lussier Community Center. Thank you so much for your generosity!

The BIG news is that the Glitter Workshop and Anthology will be co-hosting the 5th Annual Holiday Craftacular at the Masonic Center, just a few blocks from the shop. Mark your calendar for the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 28th. Bring your friends and out-of-town guests to shop for truly unique handmade goods from over 65 local and regional crafters. If you or someone you know is particularly crafty you can apply for a booth; we have spots for sponsors as well. More information at the new website:

A few of our NEW favorite things at the shop:

- Art boards, journals and boxed notes from collage artist Sabrina Ward Harrison

- Postcard tins featuring the artwork of Anahata Katkin (we already carry her art boards, canvases, cards and journals)

- Handmade recycled sock monsters from local artist Emily Keown

- Vintage fabric balls, perfect for play with babies and toddlers

- Re-ment miniatures: Bread & Butter, Sushi Bar, and Have a Bite! (take-away foods)

- Children's books with beautiful illustrations--each page is a work of art!

Coming Soon:

- Re-ment’s “European Grandmother’s Kitchen”

- 80 new recycled book journals--we’ve requested more Dr. Seuss, Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew, Medical/Science textbooks, Animal/Nature and Craft/DIY

Also more adorable onesies featuring British English terms and illustrations (brolly, lolly, ladybird, wellies, and a soccer ball labeled “football”). Also onesies depicting old cameras (Polaroid, etc).

Be sure to stop in and see all that’s new!

Laura and Sachi Komai

218 State Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53703

inspire -- create -- celebrate

the list.

That's right.  Did you think that I had forgotten about that?  No such luck.  I've been reviewing the sales history from the past year and trying to make a somewhat focused & less overwhelming list of priorities in terms of what I need to make for the store. That list is just the old stuff, and of course, an important part of being an artist and being in retail is having new stuff as well.  What to do, what to do?!  I've been looking over issues of Marie Claire Idees and brainstorming new possibilities for the store... filling several pages of the notebook.  Have you seen those cute little fortune cookies that are made out of fabric instead of cookie?  I think those would be a fun project.

August is my birthmonth and I'm actually getting away for a couple days to the beach so that is exciting.  Naturally I'm trying to figure out what little  project I can take with me.  I think I'm going to bring the beads and work on some more elaborate Vintaj jewelry pieces.  Maybe scraps of fabric for cloth buttons....

And, don't yell at me for saying this, but Christmas is coming soon!  I have plans for making presents for several people but I'd better get to work if that's actually going to happen.  Not to mention the Craftacular.  and the altered fairy tale project rolling around in my head.  and preparing for the little class I'm teaching in October.

Then there's old stuff that I never actually got around to doing so it kind of counts as new stuff.  Since I started this post over a month ago, I have managed to finish up a couple things so I can cross them off before they even make it to this list.  Hooray for that much at least.  The list is long, but it is not without fun or value.  Wow!  I sold all that! Wow! There's so much to choose from!

The new(ish): art journal swap, collage pendants, glass square pendants, mini cloth button bracelets, scrabble tile necklaces

The old: button bracelets, magnet picture frames... always on the list, artist & knitter's pockets, Vintaj jewelry, notecards, photo snippets, collage paper packs, notebooks/journals, photo pendants, fabric pennants, button picture frames, paper garlands, bracelet kits, fabric packs, epoxy necklaces, fabric buttons, cupcake aprons, altered shirts, hankie flower pins, beaded anklets, bead coil bracelets, fabric scrap cones, origami crane ornaments, magnets, headbands, wrapping paper rolls...