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January 2013
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March 2013

busy as bees

I seem to remember last year our Mother telling us that February is one of her least favorite months. Even though it is her birthday month and it is a short month, it is some of the least pleasant times of year in Wisconsin, and she said the month tends to drag. It certainly doesn't feel like a shorter month here, and we've certainly managed to pack a lot into it.

Valentine's Day was busy at the shop - we had the craft table full of supplies and easily a dozen people each day stopping in the week before the 14th to make cards. We were a little worn out by the end, and a little crabby about caps left off the glue sticks and other breaches of crafting ettiquette.

I might have finally made it through all the end of year wrap-up, for the store at least (I still have to deal with my personal taxes but I'm just going to not think about that for a week). Sachi doesn't seem to have let up the pace at all when it comes to making things and restocking for the store. She got out all her supplies to make more felt Wisconsin ornaments and has been cutting little fabric scraps to make thumb tacks as well.

cloth button thumb tacks

This week, however, we have mostly been in a jewelry-making mood. Sachi's been studying her French General jewelry-making book and getting some ideas and I've just been going crazy with beads from Bead Bin and Vintaj supplies. I'm usually very lazy about putting things together but I've been making more necklaces and earrings using eyepins to add more dangly elements and other complications. We are hoping to head to Galena next week for more Vintaj inspiration.

bird nest flower Vintaj brass necklaces earrings necklaces with Vintaj brass

I am house-sitting and have all my jewelry-making supplies strewn around the living room where I am sitting and watching Lord of the Rings on the big TV, comforting myself in the sight of Viggo and the words of hope that are desperately needed as Wisconsin's Governor announced his budget which seems to be devoid of anything but kickbacks to his special interest donors (road construction, private school vouchers, to name a few). We have been on a bit of a button hiatus since the November election but Sachi and I are slowly warming up and gettting back into the swing of things. The latest batch has a few for Wisconsin's upcoming Supreme Court election as well as some general Wisconsin politics buttons.  I did NOT know that Pat Roggensack's given name is Patience! For some reason that just seems so incongruous. I can't look too long at the numbers of her campaign donors but it irks me to no end that a Supreme Court judge would be receiving campaign money from out of state people like the WalMart heirs. Ugh! It's taking a little editing, but we're close to getting something for Walker's "I care too much" speech (apparently he cares too much about poor people to maintain a safety net, but doesn't seem to mind government dependence on tax breaks and contracts for private industries). More tax breaks for wealthy people and corporations are leaving us a little nervous about Wisconsin's future, particularly our public school systems which used to be held in such high regard.

Ed Fallone for Supreme Court
Earlier this week, we hosted my niece's 4K class - 18 4- and 5- year-olds... in this shop? Luckily that morning a friend of mine who lives in Africa mentioned that a troupe of monkeys invaded her house so I was aware that it could have been worse. The kids had a little tour of the shop and then made a banner for their classroom. The highlight was probably when they got to take turns playing customer and sales associate, scanning bar codes of products. I was honestly so busy try to keep an eye on all those little hands that I didn't take any pictures while they were working on the banner, but this is the before picture, showing all of Sachi's prep work. She decided to cut the flags in a different shape (cutting 12x12 sheets into 6x6 squares, then marking a spot 2 inches up and 3 inches over and using a scissors to cut the points) - they turned out to make a very cute banner.

  paper banner

Items that we ordered at the Craft & Hobby trade show are starting to arrive. The 6x6 paper pads continue to be a popular item for us. Given our small space, we have trouble finding enough room to display 12x12 papers and pads as they deserve, but these guys are easy, and convenient for card making and other paper projects (they'd be just the right size to make banners).

paper pads Basic Grey

And we also got these fun tote bags. I have a Farmer's Market window in mind for April and am starting to think about all the pieces that should go into it, tote bags being one.

buy local tote

She Is print (coming from Pinterest?)

(apologies to our regular readers but the Pinterest link seems to bring people to the new arrivals section, so I'm trying to keep this post towards the top so people who click through are actually rewarded with results. That's becoming one of my new Pinterest pet peeves - clicking through to a website and then not finding the thing that I went there for. Of course, I usually find other things of interest, but still).

Just a little note for anyone coming from Pinterest, the full post about the She Is print is here. The print is available from our Etsy shop here; even if it is sold out, you can convo us and we'll set up a listing or PayPal invoice.

She Is print at AnthologyPlease respect the original design of Anthology co-owner Laura. The print black text on white cardstock, 11" x 17". It is available for sale (just contact us via email at The print is $5 plus shipping/handling.

arrivals Friday

Well, if I were honest, that should be called arrivals Monday-Friday... for two weeks. Sigh.

Well, by now you hopefully know that if you *really* want the most up-to-the-minute updates, you'll like us on Facebook. And yes, I know, not everyone is on, or even likes, Facebook but if you want a picture of what arrives to the store the day it arrives, that is going to have to be your source. The narrative version takes a little more time. So clearly I have some catching up to do here.  I started uploading pictures and then realized I had to go a bit further back than I realized. Not off to such a great start for the new year.

That said, my work and studio life is going well. After the gift of a freed-up week of non-jury duty, I have continued with an assortment of new projects. Anthology's fifth birthday (? anniversary? what do you call it?) is coming up in the middle of March so we're starting to think about a party, which requires invitations... and new jewelry...  I came up with an idea for a great fifth birthday present for my sister which I am trying to keep secret... with very little luck, except for the fact that the main piece is still a work in progress from an artist I found on Etsy. I'm so bad at keeping secrets. We'll see if it works the way I want it to - cross your fingers! In the meantime, I'm working on the parts that I can work on. I took a trip to my favorite bead store here in town, Bead Bin, only to find that they were in the middle of a store closing sale (ultimately, an employee will be taking over and moving the shop... to an undetermined location most likely still on the west side of town). I have really mixed feelings about store closing sales: I'm sure the owner doesn't want to have lots of inventory in their basement but I'm also sure they would have been happier if they didn't have to close as would have been the case if I bought everything before the sale at full price. So, I always have a bit of a vulture feeling, but since I didn't know they were closing, I didn't feel that so sharply. And so, instead of buying just a few loose beads, I went way overboard (spending AND saving more than I intended) and bought several strands, including some sparkly Swarovski crystals. I've spent the last couple evenings on more labor-intensive beading than I am accustomed to. That said, I'm really liking what I've come up with so far and am mildly tempted to make some similar pieces for the shop.

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The party invitation is also shaping up. Most of the postcards that I've made for Anthology over the years (one sent out at Christmastime, one usually around our birthday time) usually feature a collage of assorted merchandise in a particular color theme. I was in the mood to do something different so I'm doing some painting and collaging. So far, so good. I do love using that punchinella stuff for stencil painting.

I'll be house-sitting for a while so I've packed up more craft projects to take with me. Most of them are what was packed for jury duty, but I've added more jewelry since that seems to be what I'm in the mood for. I've also been working on a new batch of resin jewelry pieces and mixed that up today. I'm particularly excited about the new ring and earring bezels.

  Ring 002

I snuck out to SWAP and got another wish come true - flat files! From my artist friends, I always hear mixed reports about flat files; many people seem to find it difficult that you can't see your paper. But these are perfect for storing the backstock of our wrapping paper, which has previously been in hard-to-access cardboard boxes. This will make it much easier to restock. As an added bonus, the drawers are big enough to hold two sheets of wrapping paper side by side in most cases, so it holds even more than I thought it would initially. There was a larger flat file but I wasn't sure it would fit in the office so I went with the small one, even though I wasn't sure it was big enough (I'm horrible with measurements). It's big enough.  It took some rearranging in the office but I am much happier - something about new storage space always puts me in a good mood. Our office has never really been well-arranged. We cram some shelves in here and there but there's just an annoying mix of craft project supplies and things to sell and paperwork. They always have pictures of artist studios in magazines... I'm a far cry from the high level of organization that is usually pictured (though I pretty much know where everything is, despite the less than charming appearance). Still, drawers are good.

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As far as arrivals to the shop, I had to do some more rearranging to fit in our Martha Stewart order of stencils and paints. As usual, when placing the order, I didn't think at all about where I was going to put them. But I cleared off the kitchen counter and I think it works pretty well. There are so many lovely colors of paint but I'm most excited about the stencils and screens. I think the stencil world is gradually getting more interesting and Martha's lovely botanicals and doilies certainly help. I've been wanting to get some general craft paint to take advantage of various stencils I plan to order for the shop so stumbling across the Martha Stewart line was fortuitous. There's just something about her colors.. though I'm willing to admit that it might just be the weight of all the marketing work that has gone before (You can't imagine how many Martha Stewart Living magazines I've cut up for collages and scrapbooks). I'm thinking about screen printing with her doily screen onto some denim skirts that I got from the thrift stores. But the paint is multi-purpose and can be used to decorate glass, plastic, wood, metal and fabric.

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Valentine's preparations are in full swing. In addition to the window, we've got the back craft table filled with supplies so you can make your own Valentine (and if you don't have time or inclination for that, we have plenty of ready-made Valentine cards to choose from).

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Arrivals from the last couple weeks include: dictionary prints with love-related text (sorry, it is sideways, I am having a battle with the photo edit options today), moustache and macaroon wrapping paper, fun necklaces and earrings with botanical and other images, lovely boxed thank you and blank notes, and a sweet little felt Wisconsin ornament.

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Thursday 003Rifle

Finally, we are taking the month of February for field-trip Wednesdays while our part-timer runs the shop. Sachi and I went down to Milwaukee this week and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It is often hard for me to get away - to just feel like I can leave the store and the list of things to do - but it is always a good thing. We even came up with a plan for the Christmas window while chatting on the way back home in the dark. We gave my brother-in-law further ammunition to make fun of us for our busman's holidays - but what can we say? We like shopping and specifically for cards & paper - that's why we opened our shop but that didn't completely cure us of our fondness.  Broadway Paper did not disappoint, and it was fun to check out the Milwaukee indie craft scene: Sparrow Collective and Waxwing are definitely worth a stop. As is La Reve.

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