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February 2011
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April 2011

I'm voting and I hope you will too

My vote note.  There are some geographic specifics, but, on the whole, I think the note is pertinent no matter where you are reading this.

If there's only one message that I need to convey in this post, it is this: vote vote vote on April 5th.  Vote absentee if you need to, but, please, I'm begging, vote.

It is so easy to feel helpless or hopeless or powerless, to feel uninterested or busy with other things.  And it is in some peoples' interests for you to stay that way.  But it is NOT in your interest.  We all matter.  You matter, I matter.  We cannot be a silent majority, especially when a vocal 20% claims that they are the majority.  In silence, there is consent and disagreement, there is assumption, there is any number of things, but there is not knowledge or power of any effect in these days.  I read a quote once from a religious leader who was dealing with some controversy in his community.  He said, "20% think it is an abomination to believe this way, 20% think it is an abomination NOT to believe this way, and the other 60% wish we could all just get along."  Perhaps the 60% that wishes we could just get along needs to be louder than the rest, I don't know, I just know that 'silent majority' is an irksome phrase to me.  I think between ourselves (even inside our own selves) we might have extremes that seem incompatible, and it is easy to get caught up in the extremes and the "sides," but there is still a core that is love and peace and justice and creativity and if we can all tap into that core, that, I believe, is our only hope of moving forward instead of bouncing back and forth between "sides."

Our votes and our voices matter.  You WILL be affected by everything that plays out in the national, state, county and local levels and on YOU is the responsibility of our taxpaying and shopping and working.  So please vote.

You could stop there if you like.  What follows are my reasons and my endorsements.  Perhaps my reasons are your reasons to vote the opposite of me, perhaps reading my reasons will cause you to dislike me for my political or religious views. I am optimistic that we have other histories and connections that strengthen our relationship and I believe we have things in common in our hearts.  But I will not be silent on the matter.

First, money.  I know, it is not all about money, but there's no denying its role.  I have no regrets at all about leaving my job to start a business but the halving of my income has been a challenge for my single-income single life.  There was a glimmer of hope at Christmastime, that customers were seeing the end to the recession, and that perhaps I wouldn't have to get a third job and could rely on the growth of our business to pay the bills.  And yet, in the past six weeks, what I hear from my customers (over and over and over again) are their fears and uncertainties about their own income, which naturally translates to uncertainty about my future.  Quite frankly, the actions being taken at the state level seem only to be prolonging the recession.  Because, yes, these are our teachers and our state office workers, our students, and our farmers and seniors (the list goes on), but they are also our customers.  We are all connected and we cannot have success ourselves if it is at cost to other people.  So, yes, I am concerned about politics because whatever corporate tax break I get (perhaps a few hundred dollars) will in no way offset the reduction in customer spending.  In turn, this reduces the amount of money that I pay the state of Wisconsin in sales and other taxes.  And it also reduces the amount of money that we pay to our consignment artists - some 60 local and independent artists.

On another money note, I don't understand this whole anti-tax movement.  I LIKE the things that my taxes pay for.  I like children occupied with art programs and fed by after-school programs, I like my police and firefighters at the ready, I like parks and preserved wetlands.  I'd like a lot more proactive spending of my tax dollar and less spent on putting people in jail and sending them to war (but those are never the things that are on the table to cut).  I feel blessed in my own life and I am quite happy to pay for those blessings.  Quite honestly, I feel like we get a really good deal for our tax dollar and all the state employees that I know are very passionate and hard-working individuals.  I also highly doubt the ability of Capitalism and corporations to do all that needs to be done in the world and I question anyone who believes that private enterprise is the be-all end-all to our woes.

Second, morality.  At heart, what I take from my United Church of Christ upbringing is to "do unto others as you'd have done to you."  My objection to many peoples' behavior is that they treat other people in ways that they would never tolerate themselves being treated.  This might be too "Wisconsin nice" but I wholeheartedly believe in extending to everyone the courtesy, respect, rights and privileges that I myself expect. I strongly object to the behavior of Walker and the Republicans in office because I highly doubt that they would tolerate being treated that way.

Furthermore, growing up with my sister cultivated a strong sense of fairness (to the extreme, I'll admit - you should see how long it took us to divvy up a piece of cake).  Ultimately, the concentration of wealth among the top 1% of this nation is something that I believe will be our downfall and needs to be fought against.  We are making judgments about who is more valuable and deserving and in doing so we are missing out on aspects and contributions of many other people - all of which are necessary to a successful nation.  I believe it is our moral duty to share the wealth that we have and work towards a world that is more equitable.

Third, balance, compromise, the American way.  Whether you agree or disagree with me about the above points, whether you are more inclined than I am to support the actions of our state government, I hope that we can agree that the United States works (at least the theory of it works) because it gives everyone the opportunity to speak freely with their voices, their pocketbooks and their votes.  Even when someone has a "majority," that does not mean they are now king or god.  Our government is structured so that there is a balance of power.  And just in case you think I am a minority squealing about silly things, I would ask you to consider putting yourself in my position.  How will you feel when there is a Governor you don't like who now has all the power that Walker has granted that office?  To make decisions and appointments without checking in with the public or people who are experts in the field?  Even if I liked a person, I really don't think they should have that much power.

All right, so there's the summary of my thoughts on the matter, here is how I am voting:

1. Wisconsin Supreme Court JoAnne Kloppenburg: If there was ever a moment when we needed an independent third branch of government, this would be it.  The Republicans in office seem to be marching along with the Governor in ways that I find highly objectionable and unconstitutional.  It is more than likely that some of these issues will find their way to the Supreme Court.  When they do, I would like to think they will be met by blindfolded Justice and I don't trust Prosser to be impartial or independent.

"We must have a truly nonpartisan and independent Supreme Court to check and balance the other two branches. Unfortunately, I do not believe that Justice Prosser can be an independent jurist, based on prior statements and decisions. I am therefore endorsing JoAnne Kloppenburg in the upcoming General Election to replace Justice Prosser and to restore faith in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the court." Marla Stephens

2. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi: See above on matters of taxes and Capitalism, the latter of which I think Eileen Bruskewitz relies too heavily upon.

"The support of Sheriff Mahoney and the Dane County Sheriff’s Deputies is the latest endorsement for Parisi.  Joe has also been endorsed by current Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Dane County Board Chair Scott McDonell and 22 County Board Supervisors, Former Dane County Executive Rick Phelps, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke, former Deputy Secretary of Commerce Zach Brandon, labor unions including International Painters and Allied Trades Local 802, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 314, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 159, Democratic Assembly leaders inside and outside of Dane County, women leaders across Dane County, and leading environmental advocates."

3. advisory referenda on the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision "yes" and "yes":  First of all, the amount of money that is spent on campaigns is quite sickening to me.  I believe we are in need of more restrictions, not less, and I would love it if that extra money just went straight to the food pantry.  If corporations want to be treated like people and have the rights of free speech and anything else, they cannot cherrypick their rights and responsibilities, no more than we can.  In short, they should be paying taxes.  If it were up to me, we would each get one dollar and one vote.  

4. Madison Mayor.... I don't know!  I'm totally undecided.   I have people who I respect on both sides of the matter.  In this, and in fact, in all of my endorsements, I welcome your input. 

Through all of the hubbub (I decline to call it chaos because that implies some element that wasn't present out on the Capitol lawn, though I can't speak of inside the offices) of the last month, one thing that remains is my belief that we will never get anywhere if we stop talking to each other.  Silence will not do.  We need to share our stories and listen to each other, we need to grow beyond our simple presumptions and categories and find things that we can agree upon.  It is not always easy but if we can listen with love, even to the pain that lies underneath the hatred, maybe we can make this whole thing work.  I have serious concerns that life is going to get more difficult for more people, and that their anger and hostility is only going to intensify.  It is up to all of us to continue to the conversation and to continue to work for a better life for all.

"Listen, here's what I think.  I think we can't go 'round measuring our goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude.  I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include."  - from the movie 'Chocolat'


"In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them." StoryPeople by Brian Andreas




bicycle window

Can I just say how pleased I am with my window?  I'm installing it tonight and having lots of fun.  And also feeling rewarded as people walking by on this cold rainy night pause to look in the window and exclaim over the products.  Sachi and I have been gathering bicycle-themed items for this window for over a month - I'm not exactly sure what started it.  Perhaps Jes' great new bicycle t-shirt combined with the "keep calm and ride on" print.  In any event, we've collected an assortment of prints and clothing with bicycles printed on it.

I just had a lengthy conversation today about merchandising windows and leaving white space, and seem to have broken all the rules that I was instituting just a few hours ago.  This is the first time I've hung so many prints in the window and I like the collage effect.  Plus, it's not exactly color-coordinated in my usual style, but I think it all works.

I was debating a little.  Sachi and I have been discussing how the protests are evolving - we've been coming up with some new buttons and even as there are days when there are fewer people on the square, we are continuing to sell buttons and we continue to feel as we did when we installed our first protest window (February 15th... seems so long ago!).  We still feel very strongly that Walker's actions will hurt our business and we also feel strongly that we want to support the people who are protesting at the Capitol.  But it is also important to keep one's window fresh and changing. 

So my debate was how to keep the protest aspect and also go ahead with my bicycle window plans.  But then a few days ago, it suddenly occurred to me that the two themes work pretty well together.  I was reminded of my first protest window when I put in a bicycle t-shirt with words like, "there's room for all of us on this ride."  Something like that. Sachi came up with a new slogan so she'll make that sign tomorrow and add it to the mix.

In the end, the protest theme is kind of mixed in with the bicycle theme.  We have two new prints from Milwaukee artists - "WI RISE UP" and "Union Made" but I think they go well in the mix, particularly with the print of many people on bicycles: "I move, You move, We Are Movement."

Sachi found some reproductions of vintage bicycle prints, and I'm quite fond of the Billy Ocean print. 

And then there are the variety of screen prints: bicycles on skirts and onesies, neckties and t-shirts, not to mention the "sexy sexy bicycle" shirt and the ever popular "Let's Rub Tires" bicycle notecard made in Milwaukee. 

And pretty soon the weather will actually be pleasant enough for me to dust off my bicycle.  I admire those hardly souls who have been bicycling all winter long; I'm strictly a fair-weather cycler.

CHA arrivals

Oh that's right, there are crafty things going on, too.  We've started to get our orders from the California buying trip!  Yippee!  New crafty goodness.  It seemed so far ahead when we put March ship dates on our orders, and yet here we are.  We've had a few calls for credit cards and some emails of shipping notifications so I know there's still more on its way. 

This week's arrivals include: new German paper scraps, including Easter bunnies, colorful sea life, and lovely metallic blue birds.

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We've also received several different shipments of crafty books,

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new rubber stamp designs

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and assorted paper pieces, rub-ons and other vintage floral designs for card-making, scrapbooking and collage.

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newsletter: Spring 2011

'Hope you are enjoying fewer layers and more daylight!


February and March are typically the slowest months of the year for us, but we have been incredibly busy making protest pins--over 6,000 and counting--ever since the rallies began a month ago on the Capitol Square. Our protest pins feature everyone from Queen Victoria to The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy; we’ve created ones for nurses, teachers, librarians, bus drivers & family therapists. Coming Soon: large buttons featuring images from original screen prints by two Milwaukee artists.


Laura & I were born and raised in Madison; our parents worked for the UW and we took countless UW-Extension art classes for kids while growing up, eventually both attending UW-Madison for grad school. We are indebted to the state and university as well as our public school teachers, so we feel strongly that we must support our friends and customers who have made this city such a great place to run a business, raise a family, and retire to.


In late January we flew to LA for the Craft & Hobby Show, a huge showcase of projects and products. We ordered paper from around the globe, encaustic wax kits, lovely new rubber stamps, piles of vintage-inspired ephemera, and countless crafty how-to books on drawing & illustration, mixed media collage, bookmaking, and sewing kids' clothing.


NEW at Anthology:

Delightfully illustrated Recycled Notebooks featuring owls, songbirds, sock monkeys, electric guitars and banana seat bicycles from the 70’s.

Re-designed “Madison Baby” onesies printed on Willy Street right here in town

Decorative Wrap with dogs in sweaters, forest critters and cats

Pottery made in Milwaukee and stamped with owls, crows, deer and trees

Cheery rubber stamps with birds, bunnies, sea creatures and circus performers


We look forward to seeing you downtown for the Wisconsin Film Festival at the end of this month. The shop is abuzz with cinephiles emerging from the Orpheum and comparing notes on which flicks they picked. Laura will set up a bicycled-themed window with posters, prints, t-shirts, rubber stamps, neckties & greeting cards.


For our April craftivity you will be able to decorate a papier mache cone with Golden Book illustrations and glittery German paper scraps; stuff a little grass inside and fill with it with jelly beans and chocolate eggs!


During the month of May you will be able to stop in and make an altered book using a vintage Golden Book (printed in Racine, WI).


Stop in and see what's new!

Laura & Sachi Komai

protest pins


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Oh my goodness, what a blur it has been.  Today we are approaching the 6000-button mark.  (that's 6000 buttons sold since February 18th of 2011).

It's so strange how things just evolve.  My old boss used to always say: Listen to what your customers are asking for and take your lead from them.  And as early as February 15th, we had customers stopping in to see what buttons we had.  Just to be clear, we've had buttons for sale and for people to make since we first opened - this isn't something that we just started because of the protests.  That same week, a Facebook friend said, "oh, you must be doing great business right now.  Protesters LOVE buttons!"  When she said that, the protests had only just begun and business was slow because everyone was just going straight up to the Capitol. 

Not that I expected them to be shopping, and I was fine with that.  But the other thing my boss used to say was, "Don't go hunting when the ducks aren't flying," which is to say, don't put a lot of energy into sales and marketing when you don't have a lot of potential customers around.  But the people were definitely out.  

It's interesting to look back on that first week.  All of the shenanigans (and by that I mean the actions of the politicians) going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol happened so quickly that we spent the time just trying to wrap our minds around the situation, let alone come up with buttons. Personally, I think this is evidence of the unseemly haste at which our politicians are moving - when capitalism cannot keep up with politicians, something is a little off.  But you already know where I stand on those matters.

Still, after four days of customers stopping in and asking for buttons, we finally had some buttons ready for sale on Friday the 18th of February.  I was using our 1.5" button-maker (which we purchased a while ago but which hadn't yet paid for itself).  Meanwhile, Sachi was adapting her Obama buttons with things like, "State workers are sexy," and "Smart women for union contracts," and "Cute gals love collective bargaining."  I think we sold 200 buttons that first Saturday; yesterday we sold over 1000.  We have enjoyed and been inspired by the humor of the many signs marching by our shop and have tried to pass some of that humor along in our buttons.  (update: as of the end of April, we've sold over 11,000 buttons.  A percentage of our button sales has always been donated to local youth arts organizations.  The result is that we've made more donations in the last 3 months than we did in all of last year).

We are barely keeping up with button sales in the store and every spare moment has been spent making buttons.  I'm falling behind on a variety of tasks but have received several requests for protest buttons from afar.  Here, then, is about as close as you are going to get to a catalog.  We are always making more buttons and you can always send us an email at and we can send you pictures of what we have (though, be warned, taking pictures of buttons is difficult since there's always the reflection of the platic cover to deal with).

We have two basic styles: a 1" button for $1 and a 1.5" button for $1.50.  Not all the designs come in both sizes but there is some overlap.

First, the simple black text on white background, available in both sizes.

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Possibilities include:

crafty women RECALL shifty men
If the ewoks can do it..Let’s stop Imperial WALKER!
with Liberty & Justice for ALL
BUCKY doesn’t bust unions
Yeah, I bussed in. on MADISON METRO!
Oh no! I wanted WALKER, Texas Ranger
Librarians Recall WALKER like an overdue book
second star to the left and straight on to ROCKFORD
whose house? OUR HOUSE
Walker is a KOCH-head
Cheeseheads Not Koch-heads
unbelievable unprecedented unAmerican
even Batman doesn’t support WALKER
WORKER rights Not Walker WRONGS
clean ENERGY not dirty politics
BUCKY doesn’t bust unions
RUNNERS not Walker
This is what DEMOCRACY looks like
Don’t Walker all over my rights
Never mind the magnificent 7, we have the FABULOUS 14!
Therapists are running out of patience
Wisconsin, FORWARD!
Where are MY THUGS?! (Teachers & Humans United for Government Sanity)
if I wanted a dictatorship, I would have picked a place with shorter winters
"Naked Power Grab" only sounds like fun
Crafty women UNITE!
RUN to Rockford
Cops for Labor
No sleep ‘til ROCKFORD
railroaded by WALKER
can we disagree without being disagreeable?
I {heart} the FAB 14
we {heart} COPS for Labor
crafty women {heart} firefighters for Labor
Yeah, I bussed in. on MADISON METRO!
Walker is a KOCH-head
Teachers are our building blocks. Don’t knock ‘em down!

Never doubt that a large group of thoughtful committed ticked-off Cheeseheads can change the world

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Second, Sachi's retro ladies & men.  The 1" buttons are 1950s women.  Options include: State workers are sexy, Cute girls love collective bargaining, City workers are sexy, Collective bargaining is sexy, Gorgeous women love union men, I love a union man, Cute gals love union men, County workers are sexy, Smart women for union contracts.

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The 1.5" buttons are 1960s Penneys catalog models, women and men. Options include: State workers are sexy, I love a union gal, City workers are sexy, Walker you messed with the wrong woman, I'm going to give that governor what-for.

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Third, Laura's "Union, Yes!" with photographs of Memorial Union terrace chairs.  Available in both sizes. Please specify chair color: green, orange, yellow or mixed.

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Fourth, Rosie. In both sizes. Options include: Nurses can do it!, Teachers can do it!, Unions can do it!

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Fifth, "Keep Calm and Protest On."  Available in both sizes.

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Sixth, Miss Forward and/or the Capitol.  1" button with "Wisconsin, Forward!" or just "Forward!"
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Seventh, Laura's mini 1970s people.  1" button.  Options include:  Not cool Walker not cool, Wisconsin Forward, crafty gals unite, we {heart} the fab 14, crafty women recall Walker.

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All right, that's the collection.  If you have any other questions, you can send us an email at

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altered Golden Book

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(This is not to say that matters political are at all settled; making protest buttons and protesting are still taking up much of our time and energy.  But the creative life must go on...)

Yesterday I spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Madison Children's Museum.  That place is so amazing!  I would love to spend some quiet time there to soak up all the artful details... so perhaps I'll go back sometime on my own.  I have a feeling that going with my niece would not be that quiet.  I overheard one parent say, "let's go run off some energy in the gerbil wheel."  Tee hee.

I was there for their March theme of bookmaking.  Tucked into their art studio, I enjoyed two quiet hours of sharing altered bookmaking techniques with some delightful students and their parents & grandparents.  One of the students showed me how to make a folded paper pocket - already I can tell she is going to be a very helpful teacher in whatever field she chooses. Here's my pocket page:

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Another student made some interesting layers in a collage and inspired me to add a little more to my own pages.

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I brought Golden Books (purchased from St. Vinnie's, who has three shelves of Golden Books to choose from) and the Children's Museum provided paper, magazines and photographs to cut up, glue, scissors, rulers.  Their art cupboards make me quite envious.

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The workshop started out with basic instructions but after the pages are attached, the rest of the time can focus on collaging and drawing on pages, which gave me a little time to work on my own book.   I'm quite pleased with it and am thinking this would be a great craft table activity.  After the book structure is taken care of, then you can go back and use the pages that you tore out - add text back in, maybe incorporate some images from the original book.  One grandmother spent most of the time carefully cutting out pictures from Cinderella for her granddaughter to glue back in.

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I really enjoyed using someone else's collage source materials.  There is some element of serendipity that can be quite freeing (as opposed to having to sort through all my boxes of collage materials and decide upon a theme).  There was a big pile of the magazine 'The Sun' which I had never really looked at before but which had some really interesting black and white photographs.  Angela at the Children's Museum is also a photographer and she had a huge stack of her own photos that we could use.  So fun!

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