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AND, I'm finally getting to work on my sister's awesome idea: a Madison/Wisconsin coloring book with works by some of the many artists we work with. How cool will that be?! Well, there's a little bit of work yet to be done but I think this is going to be a great addition. We've had some frustration with the internationally famous (internationally printed) coloring books as it seems that no one is quite able to keep up with demand. Example, this Color Me Calm book which arrived, sold out, arrived, sold out  in the space of a month. Hopefully I reordered enough for the holidays (but, yes, my boss' voice is still scolding in my head about under-ordering).


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Classic Komai solution: just make your own. I just sent out requests for artwork this morning and already heard back from a handful of artists. This is going to be good stuff.

 In other store news, last night's cool weather and the very many back to school ads are making me think about fall, though in other ways I'm already on to Christmas. A retail calendar is a strange one. But I was not ready to see Halloween decorations in store as they were when I went to the craft store last week. Eek! Don't worry, on the sales floor we're still in the middle of lovely summer, aided by Rifle Paper Co. florals.

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We are starting to get more things from our May and July buying trips, including a fun assortment of washi tape, and stickers. We were interviewed recently for the Wisconsin State Journal and it was funny to think of the ways our interests from childhood have just carried over into the store. I don't know about you, but our mother is still very pleased with herself for getting us to do all sorts of chores just for a 25 cent sticker. The sticker- and note card collecting continues...

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We got another batch of t-shirts back from the printer and I finally made a girly version of my Madison tee. We get many requests from customers who are looking for a Madison shirt for someone named Madison. Oddly enough, most of our other shirts kind of hint around the topic but never quite did the trick. Hopefully this will.

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This week has been a little on the quiet side. Next week I will go away on my annual beach pilgrimage to Lake Michigan with Mom and my niece, staying at Kohler Andrae State Park this time, visiting some of our favorite art and inspiration spots (Hamilton Type and Print Museum, Kohler Art Museum, Bookworm Gardens). September tends to be a slightly quieter month for us, which is good as that should give us time to finish up the rest of the holiday preparations. Maybe give me a chance to clean up the office. Ha.

book works

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I had a fun evening last night at Pinney library as part of our ongoing partnership with The Bubbler, Madison Public Libraries (and the Friends of). There have been many great opportunities to work with artists from around our community through these programs - I recommend you keep an eye on the calendar. I have an altered travel journal workshop coming up at Alicia Ashman as well as a batik tag workshops at 2 and 4:30 on December 8 (not yet available for registration) and Sachi will be teaching tags & garlands at Pinney and Monroe Street in November. And there are many other offerings from the many talented makers in our community.

In other book news, I will be going to Middleton High school in October for a book show n' tell and discussion with an art class there. I'm looking forward to gathering the various projects and forms and sharing them with the students!

I still haven't figured out what I'm making for my 2x2 book for our holiday trade in the art group I'm a member of. Last year, I had my book done by January so I'm feeling a little behind. I did cut paper for one book... but the structure is rather ... not complicated or difficult, just time consuming, so I'm procrastinating about that. Mostly I've been sorting through my collage papers and trying to reduce the bulk (one of these days, I am going to have to move my sewing studio from my parents' basement so I'm trying to make room for that) and working on my purple/blue/gold moon and star collage series for our holiday window. Play play play.

altered travel journals @ the library

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Last night was my first workshop at a branch library - though Anthology has been represented at the branches quite well via Sachi's various outings (and it is probably not the last given how eager the librarians were to talk to me about future options, and how long the waiting list was). I was a little nervous as it has been a little while since I've taught a workshop but everything went smoothly - the most work was the packing and hauling of supplies, which always emphasizes to me why we opened the shop in the first place (particularly since it is impossible to fit the shop into any sort of vehicle... though that would be a cute craft/bookmobile).

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This workshop was focused on altered travel journals. People were invited to bring ephemera from their travels and I brought an assortment of books to work in. I personally like a spiral bound book - I get address books or weekly planners on clearance, but of course an altered book could be any format. I will be hosting a similar workshop on Saturday April 12 at Central Library (that one, however, requires that you bring your own book as well as ephemera). I brought atlases to cut up, other scraps of map and travel papers, rubber stamps, postage stamps, punches, washi tape (also glue sticks, rulers, scissors, as usual).

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I have to admit it was a bit of a relief to send some of the scraps we've amassed onto to new homes. I've still been working in my studio to organize the paper and came up with a box of travel ephemera that I no longer needed, not to mention all the scraps of map paper that we generate with our buttonmaking. We spent an enjoyable two hours discussing travels past and future. I do always love to see what people make with the supplies we have!

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so much Valentine goodness

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We've got a nice assortment of papergoods for Valentine's Day this year. As usual, we have set up our craft table for Valentine's card making: $2.50 per card includes use of our various supplies: colored pencils, scissors that cut various edges, rubber stamps, glitter, punches, buttons, baker's twine, and, of course, scraps of paper. We are particularly happy about the new superheroes and villains paper which we think would make great Valentines for school (and a nice change from what Walgreens has to offer).

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Sachi will also be at the branch libraries with Valentine garlands, cards & gift tags. Thanks to the Friends of the Library, these events are free to the public. You do have to sign up.

Feb 4th at Lakeview Library

Feb 11th at Pinney Library

Feb 12th at Monroe Street Library

Additionally, we have washi tape, rubber stamps, blank cards, scrap paper packs, glitter, punches and other supplies to purchase and take home for your own Valentine crafts.

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 I am particularly fond of the pad of little notes for tucking into lunch boxes and sending to loved ones, but, of course, we have plenty of individual notecards as well.

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Finally, next weekend is the Valentine Craftacular at the Madison Masonic Center downtown. There are sure to be lots of Valentine goodies!

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blooms for the library

oooh.... we are counting down!  The downtown public library is re-opening in a few weeks and we canNOT wait. We have really missed them, even though they had a temporary location on the other side of the Square that really wasn't that far away.

In honor of the grand opening and to help with the opening celebrations, Anthology is hosting book flower making at our craft table for the rest of August.  Stop in and learn how to fold this simple paper flower out of book pages. For every flower you make for the library, you get to make one to take home.

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For the library's opening, we're making the flowers out of simple black and white pages but we've seen these made from atlas paper and think they would be fun from patterned paper as well. You are welcome to bring any paper you'd like to try (not cardstock though, that's a little too thick) and/or purchase some paper from our shop.  Book pages come from some old World Books that were donated from a school library - there's no charge to use those.

Sunday fun: washi tape garland

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Since we decided that we are not going to move, I've been doing a little more settling in. Not that we weren't settled in already, but since it has been on our minds for a few months, there were some things I wasn't bothering to deal with. Now I'm looking with a somewhat more critical eye. Also, Sachi took a merchandising workshop while in New York so she's been bugging me with an assortment of plans.

Mostly I'm looking at how we are using the square footage that we have: are we using it to the best of our ability? These are the kinds of thoughts that are always on my mind - that's one of my best tools for increasing sales (Sachi's talent is customer service, mine is product placement), but I'm digging a little deeper. This also goes along with Sachi's workshop where she was told that people love to look at themselves in mirrors and so you should have something for sale while they are looking.

Anyway, Sachi made a couple garlands for a sample workshop and we put those on our mirror but everyone always asks if they are for sale when they are really just supposed to give you an idea. (That would be a prime example of losing a sale but neither of us have felt like producing those garlands for sale). However, I started thinking that if we aren't going to sell the garlands themselves, at least we could make the garlands out of supplies we can sell (as opposed to scraps of wrapping paper that we no longer have in stock).

Plus, ever since I first searched "washi tape" on Pinterest and came across the fun assortment of washi tape garlands, I've been wanting to try this project. Our drawers of tape were running a little low and while I have a stash of my own to draw from, I thought I'd wait until our order came in from New York. Well, that happened a few weeks ago, but it wasn't until today that I got all the pieces together.  I started this morning, and Olivia has been working on the garland this afternoon. I think it is looking really cute!  For the time  involved, the price will have to be high, but the main point is to give people an idea of something to do with all the fun patterns of washi tape that are out there. So far, the project is entertaining enough that I may well make some for sale, but perhaps I should check with Olivia who has spent a better portion of her day making this one before I judge how fun it is.

I think these will be cute as little decorations in a small space (like here), but I've also seen them used to decorate cards or to decorate packages - instead of ribbon, just wrap it around a plain paper package a few times (such as they did here). We used about two yards of baker's twine and each piece of washi tape is about 3 inches long, folded in half over the baker's twine and then cut to a two-pointed end. Personally, I love the look of a great assortment of tapes so we'll probably offer our collection of tapes for a craft table activity.

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simple paper pleasures

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"Resorting to connecting the dots this morning because it was a long night & he needs to do something really simple to get started again."

Story People by Brian Andreas

I'm happy to note that I'm gradually getting back into the swing of things.  I've done a little more rearranging and restocking around the shop, and I cleared the jigsaw puzzle off my coffee table so that the crafting space is available.  I spent a few hours making magnet picture frames earlier in the week, and in the process discovered that I'm running out of certain colors of paper. I have a huge stack of pre-cut paper but naturally I needed more.

Add to that the memory of early January inventory - spending a few hours counting all our lovely wrapping paper, and being reminded of the many pretties that we have and you get a wrapping paper project of immense proportions. If I wasn't leaving for jury duty on Monday, it would have gotten even bigger. As it is, I mostly focused on picking out wrapping paper sheets for magnet picture frames and paper chains. The picking out is always the fun part, which was followed by several hours of paper cutting... not as fun.

But that meant that last night (sleepover night), I was ready with a project. We had an enjoyable night making paper chains and watching "Brave." I wanted the chains to be somewhat oversized so I cut strips 2" wide and 12" long. They are going to hang in the window so I wanted the variety of papers to be really visible. But I can see that it might be fun (at least as far as finished products are concerned) to make mini paper chains - maybe less than an inch wide? and 6-8" long?

It has been ages since I made paper chains but as we were working on them last night I was totally reminded of the Brian Andreas story that I included at the top of this post - nice to work on a craft project, but also keep it rather simple... just get back into the swing of making things.

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Overall, I'm quite pleased with the end result. The mix of papers and colors is very appealing to me. And I'm already thinking about a craft table project. Maybe in late August when the students are decorating their dorms. We are hoping to revise the craft party menu soon, with some projects and ideas that we came back from California with. That will definitely be an addition to the list. The few double-sided papers that we have were particuarly nice for paper chains.

Lily is coming to the shop tonight to help me hang them in the window. She really wanted to help decorate the window. I'm afraid she will be a little disappointed that most of it is done. But I have plans for her assistance with our birthday window. If only I had known she wanted to help so much - I could have used her help hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Wisconsin Book Festival, sneak peek

Don't worry, it isn't that late in the year. Yet.

We have started making preparations for the Wisconsin Book Festival, November 7 - 11, however, so here's the sneak peek.

Laura is a member of the Bone Folders' Guild here in Madison, and the group will have their book arts on exhibit in the store window

Title:  Finding the Not-So-Lost Art of Bookmaking.


Wednesday, November 7 through Sunday November 11

Exhibit of BFG new and/old Book Art in the Window of Anthology

Many members are already pondering things lost and found, but we'll also have some past works.  My current plan (which is always subject to change) is to make a piano-hinge bound book using map pages that I've batiked. I've been wanting to spend more time on the batik process and really like the way the dyes and wax interact with the existing map lines. It harkens back to my old geology/geography map days so already that is something that was lost and found, not to mention the way maps conjure up losing and finding in my mind. Valleyr 022

Thursday, November 8, 2012. 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Slinky Bookmaking Demonstration with Nan

The slinky book is a very cool structure! If I remember correctly, in involves four needles so it is a complicated structure, which is coolest the more pages you have.


Friday, November 9, 2012. 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Artist Reception at Anthology

Many of the members of the Bone Folders' Guild will be at the shop, and will be available for questions and comments. We'll probably have some examples of books for you to take a closer look at on the back table.


Saturday, November 10, 2012. 11:00am – 1:00pm

File Folder Folio Bookmaking with Sachi. $7


A simple book structure made using a file folder and a simple pamphlet stitch.

Sunday, November 11, 2012. 1:00 – 3:00

Altered “Golden Book” Bookmaking Activity with Laura. $8

As you might know by now, this is one of my favorite book projects of the moment. We've had several groups come in and work on altered books and I always love to see how different books emerge from the same materials. These make great little books to commemorate an event (a trip or a birthday) or just to house some fun childhood-inspired collages.


Sunday, November 11, 2012. 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Make & Take Bookmaking Activity with Nan

This will be a one sheet of paper with pop ups book. Free


In all, it is shaping up to be a weekend filled with interesting and stimulating activities. We hope you will come downtown to take it all in.


reunion (!) buttons

Well, this might be the classic case of 'if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail,' but we do tend to think in terms of what buttons we can create.  Upset with the Governor, what button will we make?  Excited about Barrett, what button will we make?  So perhaps it was only natural that when talk came around to reunion nametags, Sachi thought of buttons.

To be fair, a customer came in a while ago and gave us the idea.  She was attending a family reunion and made buttons for all the attendees.  Her idea was really quite clever -- I think there were 6 founding siblings and all of their children got a button with their parent on it.  If money were no object, how fun would that be at a reunion to attach a button to all the cousins and grandchildren, too - so you could easily see which side of the family they came from.

I also made buttons last year for my birthday party - I think that would be a fun party favor, especially the older one gets - like having an 80 year birthday party where everyone gets childhood photos?

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Anyway, Sachi's 20th reunion is coming up soon (and yes, that makes her the age you think it makes her, and no, I'm not the younger sibling) and she offered to make buttons using pictures from the yearbook.  To be honest, I'm not entirely sure I would want my high school self on a button, but it's still a pretty fun project.  For some reason, I have a feeling that there will be some button-trading going on by the end of the night.

awww... don't they all just look so young?!