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Happy Halloween

Sachi 004

A quiet day so far...  which gives us a chance to recover from yesterday.  There was a downtown family Halloween and I think we went through slightly more than one jumbo bag of candy per hour from 11 am to 6 pm!  Phew!  That's a lot of giraffes, darth vaders, power rangers, dorothys, turtles, cupcakes, farmers, thomas the tank engines.....  It was very entertaining to walk down State Street and see it filled with all sorts of costumed children.  I especially like the groupings - like a farmer with a carrot and Mr. Peanut, tinkerbell with Capt Hook and Peter Pan, etc. etc.  I must say that I am especially charmed by the homemade costumes that are becoming more rare nowadays.  Why, back in my day.... ah, you don't want to hear about it.  I'm already trying to think about a possible theme for next year's costume.  I have a mermaid costume from a while ago, and have heard about a fun jelly fish costume made with one of those kids' umbrellas.  Though Sachi still likes the idea of the adorable girl always being something food (until she says otherwise) so we might go with a mermaid and her meal of sushi...

Tonight is the big Freak Fest, which really only starts in earnest well after we've gone home.  There is the occasional costumed passerby though.  As for myself, I confess that I love wearing my fairy costume and would probably wear it for several days if I had more pairs of knee-his that coordinated with it.  Sometimes I wear it for no particular reason - or I wear it for a reason (like a children's sermon at church) but then leave it on for the rest of the day.  Last night after work I went to Borders, still in my fairy dress and hat.  I heard several whispered phone conversations "I'm in Borders and there's a FAIRY!" 

Sachi had been keeping her costume secret so I didn't get to see it until Friday.  Here she is, Sachi Kahlo.  The entire costume is made up of pieces that she already owns, which is always a fun challenge.  And after being a pink and glittery fairy yesterday, I guess I was in the mood for something else today.  I made a dark blue ruffled and starry apron for a workshop last year and all that I needed was my hat.  WitchyL 001 WitchyL 002

Re-Ment bracelets

Just so you know, this is not for the faint of Re-Ment heart.  Those of you who leave your little collectibles sealed up in their plastic might want to avert your eyes.  Presenting: Sachi's Re-Ment bracelets.  Tiny little foods attached on top of our button bracelets.  How about some more s'mores?  or cream cheese with your lunchtime bagel?  We love these tiny foods and Sachi has cleverly made them into a bracelet so you can WEAR your Re-Ment.  Tee hee.


crowns to wear in castles in the air

Sunday 004
  Ta da!  Here is the protoype of my paper crown.  The background text comes from pages of books that were ripped out for altered book projects (yeah, that's right, I can't throw anything away).  And as for the rest, I just sat down at my art/coffee table and pulled out pieces from various collage and wrapping paper boxes.  GREAT way to use more little pieces of paper!  The pieces are all stitched down with a couple seams at the bottom of the crown but otherwise it is completely made of paper.  This week I will finally get to try some of the cool resin and see how this will work.  It's about time we had crowns for sale at the store.  This was so much fun to make and my mind is spinning with all the various color possibilities!

mmm.... paper

Seriously, I LOVE paper!  This morning we got a heavy box filled with paper from Italy.  So gorgeous.  Besides these lovely florals, there are sheets of paper with frogs, dogs, roosters, penguins (not all on the same sheet).  My mind is kind of spinning - button bracelets, paper packs, for starters, but I am anxious to try out the resin/paper techniques that Sachi learned.  I'm thinking about applying resin to some of these papers, maybe cutting them in shapes to make slightly more durable paper crowns or maybe some jewelry of some sort.  So many exciting possibilities!

changing seasons, catching up

Thursday 001Time is flying, or swinging?  But it's still October, right?  I think I've finally managed to catch my breath!  This summer was so crazy; I was so tired I was near tears for most of August, and it took me well into October to finally feel like I could face the holidays.   But now I'm ready.  I've been slacking a bit but Sachi declared that it's time for both of us to get ready for Christmas.  To that end, I have been very productive this last week: made butterfly button bracelets, scrabble tile necklaces, scrap paper packs, mini fabric button bracelets, glass square pendants, epoxy necklaces, Madison photo snippets. 

CupcakeI even made a cupcake costume for the adorable girl for Halloween.  I was inspired by the Pottery Barn catalog, but we found wide wale corduroy at the fabric store so I rigged up a litle cupcake bottom from that.  The top is a multi-layer felt cape of pink and red, with ric rac for trim.  There's a headband too with a cherry on top. 

We'll see if she actually wears that.

The leaves have been inspiring to look at; I do love the changing seasons here in Wisconsin, though it seems like autumn got real cold rather fast.  But at least that's an excuse to wear my striped hoodie from Charlie & Sarah with the camera silk screened on it. 

Thursday 002

Besides working on my list of projects, thinking about new projects (thanks to Valley Ridge Art Studio for the resin inspiration), placing Christmas orders with vendors and artists... Oh yeah, the Craftacular! 

Now, don't get me wrong, I am excited about the Craftacular.  I feel like it is a really important event to have and am committed to be a co-host, even if it leads to my being committed...  Let's just say it's like a full-time job all on its own, except that I'm not being paid and that's on top of the other full-time job that I'm doing.  On the whole, most artists are appreciative but of course everyone wants to make sure that they have a successful event so there are lots of questions to answer and some hands to hold.

Yesterday I was feeling very cranky and then suddenly I realized that aside from anything else, between the Craftacular, a 2x2 blurb book that I am editing and a collaborative art journal swap that I'm coordinating, I am working with over 100 people - trying to get them to reply to my emails, making sure information is correct and complete, trying to motivate without scolding or nagging...  That's a lot!  As I was stomping crabbily around yesterday I realized that I felt a lot like those New Zealand sheep dogs, trying to run like crazy to get the entire herd to move as directed.... all the more so when Ann pointed out to me that it is to be done without barking or biting.  Hmm.  What exactly is an introvert like me doing in this situation?  What was I thinking?!

And THEN, as if there wasn't enough already, we are entering into the countdown of the final days of my childhood home.  My parents will be moving next week so my apartment is a jumble of boxes that I had to take from my studio which was at their house, not to mention other odds n' ends from childhood... a box of old art projects, a box of school papers... There has to be some good art project for those.   There are emotions as well to pack up and move around but after one week of feeling overly emotional, I've been able to look forward to what lies ahead.  Having my sewing machine at my place has already been very handy, and my parents are clearly ready for a new location and a smaller house.  It's still very close compared to other people so the change is rather minimal.  I'm sure I will accidentally take the bus to their old house a few times (it's just two stops past my own bus stop).  I went with the adorable girl to see thier new house and she was already excited about the park that's around the corner. She informed me that Elmo lived in the yellow house across the park.  AND there was a dresser on the curb in front of the new house.  6 narrow drawers.. .. why, just last week I was commenting that I needed another dresser for the store!  Sweet!  I had to ride facing backwards in my brother-in-law's car, holding onto the dresser while we drove downtown, but I've already fit it into the store and filled up the drawers.  My sister says I am like water, able to expand to fill any space...  It is nice to have a little more storage space going into the holidays.  The store is really filling up!

I've been taking pictures around the old house.  Eventually they will be part of an altered book.  I have a book that is cut in the shape of a house so I'm planning to put in pictures and text. In all my spare time... So much had been packed up and really, so much about the house has changed since we moved in 20 years ago, it was tricky to find views that were quintessential to the house.  I think I need one or two more times around the house to get pictures; I think I've forgotten to take a picture of the bathroom floor, which is the same green tile as when we moved in.  Despite all the changes and the chaos of packing, I managed to get some really interesting/good photos so I think this is going to be a really lovely book.  Here's a picture from yesterday's rainy morning.

Thursday 003

Sachi's new resin works

Thursday 004Oooohh.....  Sachi just got back from a workshop with Susan Lenart Kazmer at Valley Ridge Art Studios...  SO much inspiration!  AND, Susan has this totally wonderful resin - not toxic, less bubbly... a big improvement over the resin we've been using for various projects.  And yes, it is more expensive, but if you knew how many pendants we had to throw away because of resin failures, you'd agree that the price is worth it to pay.  Sachi just finished up a new batch of her little necklaces using the resin; she's got some new designs and she's been busy adding beads and making them into necklaces today.  Thursday 005

We are anxiously awaiting a shipment to Anthology so you can buy some for yourself, and our minds are spinning with craftivity possibilities.  Sachi brushed the resin on pages from books and then cut them into circles to make into a pendant/ring/something or other.  It's really cool with book text, but I'm also thinking it could be nice with the floral papers that are arriving soon from Italy.  Hmm.  Ah, it's always so fun to have new projects to think about even though the list of other projects that I should be working on is long.  These are pictures of pieces that Sachi worked on in the workshop; she had lots of fun adding text and working with shells. I love them all together - could be interesting as a print... hmm.... Thursday 006

Sachi's bookmaking class

Sachi 001 Sachi 002 So my sister has been teaching a UW-Continuing Ed workshop in bookmaking on Monday nights.  It's a late night for her so it usually means that this is what greets me on Tuesday mornings.  Oh yes, she comes and picks it up before we open, but I just couldn't resist showing you what they must have worked on last night.  Super cool tunnel books.  There are so many aspects of bookmaking that haven't managed to keep my interest, including measuring and being precise, but this structure sure is cool!Sachi 003


There's a fabulous shop in Manitowoc and I suggest you go and check it out quickly.  The owner/artist Kim has been a store owner for 10 years and is starting to think about moving on to new and exciting ventures.  As an artist, I can totally understand - one of the big challenges of owning a store that I didn't anticipate is that there really isn't any pure quiet time.  There is always the potential, while you are open, that you will have customers.  And while customers are very important to the whole store staying in business, they add another layer of challenge to the creative process.  When we first opened Anthology, I had visions of being able to work on art projects on quiet days; while that is true to some extent, there are some projects that you just can't work on in the store.  Sure, it works for making button bracelets and picture frames, but when it comes to designing a new piece of jewelry from scratch or painting or collaging, you need three uninterrupted hours to focus and keep your train of thought on its tracks.  At the same time, I find it very inspiring and invigorating to be interacting with customers and to getting such immediate feedback about what they like and dislike. So, for now, for me, working in the retail setting has not interferred with my artmaking, though it does make for some long nights.  Check back in 10 years.

In the meantime, Kim might be the glimpse of me in 10 years (though not in terms of her actual age - she's younger).  I've met her only recently - through mutual friends & fellow artists on Facebook.  Ever since I checked out her etsy shop, I have been coveting her work for Anthology.  I was pretty excited in August to combine a little vacation at the beach (Point Beach along the Lake Michigan shoreline is an annual tradition in our family) with a chance to meet Kim in person.  Her shop is Persimmons and it is totally inspiring and super fun, rather like Kim herself.  I got a wonderful necklace for myself and would love to carry more of her necklaces.  Her style is awesome.  Plus she makes all these great charms and cards and has LOTS of ephemera.  We have her charms here in the store - great to make into charming ribbon necklaces, and her cards, and also purchased some of her great flash cards and other ephemera for our games scrap pack (filled with bingo cards, playing cards, etc.)

Anyway, I can tell from what little I've seen of her work (both in the community and in beads/paper/etc) that there is much more to come and I can't wait to see what it is.... Luckily, as far as I know, she's still planning to supply us with goodies.  As for you, sure you can stop in Anthology and see what she's made for us, but I highly recommend a trip to Manitowoc.  Check with Kim beforehand and make sure she is open but her store is well worth the trip. And while you are on your way there, stop in Oshkosh at the charming Dainty Daisies and tell Michelle we say hello.

Craftacular! Craftacular!


Wait, did I remember to say THANK YOU to Naomi and Jerome for founding the Craftacular in Madison?!  Next time you see them, you should thank them too. Whether you are an artist or a shopper, this is a great event! I feel very strongly that this is an important event for the crafters & artists & holiday shoppers of Madison but, phew! There is SO much work involved!  We are very lucky that I am only following in their footsteps and that they are willing to spare time from their busy family and work lives to co-host.  That little baby is due pretty soon!

Do you remember that scene in Moulin Rouge when they are dancing around trying to pitch their new idea for "Spectacular! Spectacular!"?  For some reason, that comes to mind.  Something about that frenzied dancing strikes a chord.

And now there is less than 2 months to go before the big event.  The planning details are wrapping up; time to start focusing on making things to sell!  The artist list for the ballroom is finalized.  We ended up adding the classroom space because there were so many people on the waiting list.  And even with that we had to turn some people away.  Unfortuntely some artists are only hearing about it now, and applications closed a month ago.  If you are one such artist, I'm sorry, but all that I can offer you now is to put you on the mailing list for next year.

Over 60 vendors will be present including: Absolutely Art, Anthology, ArtforGas Collective, Antiquebasketlady, Artsy Fartsy, Artsy Momma, Art Kitten, Bags by G, The Bare Tree, Bernie's Girl, Betherella, The Bohemian Bauble, Built to Last, Corgimo Collars, Cutie Cooties, Dainty Daisies, Dairy Air Collective, deeconstruct, Ella Bultman, Emily Keown, Fennel Studio, Five Green Acres, Found Object Fashions, The French Made, Frosted, Glamdring Beauty, The Glitter Workshop, HappyKATT, Hats-O-Fancy, Imagin Design, Jen Zimmerman, Jenny Blasen Pottery, Jewelry Infusions, jill2day, Just for Fun, Kellybot, Kim's Crafty Apple, KR Metals, LaZorra Glassworks, Little Dandelion Studios, Lucky Bee Press, Lula & DeeDee, Lulu's Stabby Critters, Made by Amy, Midwest Beauties, Miel Paredes, Mimi and Mom, Mimmysmittens, Mindy Kuen, Mirasol Farm, Picture Day, Prettifications by Cynthia, Pretty Theory, Recreative Crafts, Re-Threads, Space Oddities, Storyline Design, Tie Beau, Tiny Tree Farm, Tyler Poncho, Uncommon Objects, Whimsy House, Wild Plum Mosaics, Xanthe Walker.

Andrea and Chad have been working on our graphic design and I just ordered postcards today. It will be nice to have those since many of our customers will surely like to know about the event.  We'll be sending out notices closer to the event but we'd love it if you would help spread the word too!  There's a great group of artists and this is a really great opportunity to get some holiday shopping done in ways that will benefit the people whose hands actually made the goods, not the supplier, distributer, middlepeople in the long line of the supply chain (not to totally knock the middlepeople, because I'm one of those too).

checked ONE thing off!

So I made my list of things I need to make to restock the store - items that have sold over the past year, but especially during the summer, which would be good to have back in the store, notably before Christmas.  At least it is confined to one piece of paper.  And today I've been productive - the pieces for this project has been sitting around behind the register for about two weeks.  But I've finally cut the photos, attached them, and it looks like I'll even get to the framing today.  1 project down, 39 to go.  No problem!