Pinterest, wreaths, and how lucky am I?

Well, you can tell the busy holiday season is in full swing.  Seems like there isn't much to say.  We are grateful for everyone who is making the effort to buy local and handmade and thankful for a strong holiday season (we're ahead from last year which makes the four years of growth).  I had some last minute restocking to do, but on the whole, we're just settling in for the season of selling... and the season of giving! 

This has always been my favorite time of year, and as much (or more so) because of the gifts I give.  I'm still working on a Blurb journal though, so I'm afraid that I got the better end of the bargain tonight.  Poor Jen, I just gave her the pieces to finish up her own wreath...

Meanwhile... this is what I unwrapped:

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Even though what I like about Pinterest is that it isn't *all* about shopping (as opposed to Etsy treasuries), most of the things that I pin are things I wouldn't mind having.  Some are ideas, words, places, but I like them all.

SO, wasn't it convenient that something I pinned inspired my dear friend to make something for me?!  I've been really getting into wreaths, thanks to Deandra in Minnesota and Stefanie here in Wisconsin.  I had this idea of having a wreath to hang on my door (though I'm not sure this one will make it on the outside of the door - I want to look at it more than just when I walk in).  But I didn't really get that far on my own wreath making. I have some supplies but I've been spending my night working on a jigsaw puzzle and Blurb books.  That's about all I can handle after days of double- or triple- sales.

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Of course, Jen customized the colors just for me.  I could get used to gift-selection by Pinterest.



some thoughts on creativity

I think one of my greatest frustrations about owning Anthology and standing behind the cash register is hearing people, almost every single week, say, "oh, I'm not creative."  Of course I take it personally because their tone of voice dismisses the entire store and everything that I'm working towards, but there are deeper issues at stake.  It makes me think of my mom, who was told by a teacher at a young age, "you can't draw," and only started expressing herself creatively in recent years, and all the other people who were told by someone with a limited idea of what it means to be creative, that they weren't talented enough or artistic enough, that they weren't qualified in some way. Who are we to judge? 

Personally, I think that everyone, to borrow the words of Rice Freeman Zachary, has the capacity to be creative - I don't know if there's a day that goes by that we aren't bringing new things into being.  And for me, creating is so fundamental to my everyday happiness that thinking of my life without creativity, or anyone's life, for that matter, just makes me sad.

I can grant you that some people have more time or more patience or more skills, but I really doubt that they are more creative than anyone else.  Seriously.  We certainly do have things that we are innantely good at, but a large part of creativity is just practice, learning through trial and error, working with your hands over and over until you find the way that works for you.  Today I read Freeman Zachary's blog post which touches on this topic, which also reminded me of a story that my sister used to tell from grad school:

There was once a class of pottery students and the teacher divided them up into two groups.  The first group was told that their final grade would be based on the perfection of a single pot that they threw at the end of the year.  The second group was told that their final grade would be based on the number of pots they made by the end of the year.  And so the first group went to the library and studied how to throw a pot, checked out books and interviewed artists, tried to come up with a plan for that one perfect pot they would throw at the end of the year.  And the second group went to the studio.  They spent day and night there, throwing as many pots as they possibly could.  They didn't care about perfection, they were focused on the process and on quantity.  And, yes, in the end, who created perfection in their pottery? Not those who had been studying and planning and thinking, but those who had been trying, erring, honing their skills.  The moral of the story?  Get to work! I can almost guarantee that the first thing you try to make will look nothing like what you have in your head, but over time, the things in your head and the things in your hands will come closer together (to be honest, sometimes your hands know better than your head, but you'll have to find that out as you work).

I find that many people get stuck at the point of planning and thinking - and I do it too.  But when people wonder at how much I get done, the reality is that there's simply less thinking and more doing.

Our goal in opening Anthology is to try and bring creativity into other people's everyday lives - in little ways like with interesting greeting cards that inspire you to decorate a room a little differently or take a picture from a different angle, or pretty wrapping paper that inspires you to change the lining in your dresser or desktop, and otherwise sharing the images and products that inspire us to retreat to our studios.  We hope that you won't dismiss your own creative spirit - however it is expressed, whether in your selection of accessories, garden plants, spices, fabrics, paper, musical notes or whatever else calls to you.


Update: 5 days later:  A friend on Facebook just posted a link to this blog post which makes a lot of great points about creativity: How to Steal Like An Artist

cha cha CHA


Oh dear, I hardly know where to begin!  After being away for a week and soaking up lots of sunshine and inspiration, my mind is kind of a befuddled whirl.  But I know you just want to hear about crafty inspiration, so, let's see.  Sachi and I arrived on Sunday morning to the downtown Los Angeles convention center, where the Craft and Hobby Association was holding its biannual meeting/exhibit/show.  The event includes workshops on building your business, social networking and crafting, as well as showcasing products from about 500 exhibitors.  There are always zillions of make n' takes that one could spend time on, but we were really focused on checking out all the vendors, stocking up on ideas and inspiration and products for the shop.


We walked the entire show on our first day, with a break for lunch, placed a few orders, and then returned the next day to walk the whole thing again, make final decisions and place orders. The show is for all sorts of crafts, so we get to see embroidery floss, yarn, canvas, sketchpads, scrapbook papers, Mod Podge, you name it.  There are fine craft supplies and more basic items - things you might find at Anthology, and things you might find at Michael's craft stores.


As usual, there was lots of inspiration to be found.  I'm not sure if it is because this is our third year - things that looked new for two years can't sustain the third year, or if the economy had an effect, or what, exactly.  It didn't seem like there were as many fabulously merchandised spaces as I remember from the past.  That said, some of our favorites included lots of clever ways to use paper: as garlands, wreaths and other decorations.


This might be one of my all-time favorite wreaths.  It uses little puffballs of yarn and also cupcake papers (!!) and strips of book pages to fill the various paper cones that compose the wreath.  Seriously, this (plus Anthropologie's clever cupcake wall art installations) makes me want to go out and buy all the many cute cupcake papers like these that are available nowadays and use them for paper projects.

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Overall, it's pretty amazing to see everything that people are doing with paper.  There was very little 2-D work, lots of dimensional additions to pages and "scrapbooks" that went completely off the page: either as framed wall pieces, shadow boxes, or embellishments on accessories, aprons or tote bags. 


It reminds me of what my former boss used to say of accessories: a handbag starts out with a simple new shape.  Then the next step is to embellish the simple shape, and then embellish it more, and then more.  Eventually you reach a point where you've embellished it all that you can, and we react by going back to a new, pared-down and simplified shape, and the cycle starts all over again.  It feels a little as if scrapbooking is reaching this point.  Just about everything that can be added to a piece of paper is now available.  It appeals greatly to me - flowers and sparkles and texture and glitter but it is hard to see what more can be done.  That didn't stop us from buying flowers and sparkles and textures, of course.  There are some great stickers and flowers and cabachons on their way.


There sure are some amazing things being done to paper, and it felt a lot more creative.  There was less of the cookie-cutter template work going on and a little more creativity flowing underneath it all.  Say what you like about scrapbooking, but I consider it a gateway drug - getting people who don't consider themselves crafty to start to consider composition and color.  And I think their desire to move beyond the page is reflected in these more elaborate works of paper craft bordering on art.  Certainly there were lots of possibilities for things that I'd consider more altered books and less scrapbooks, if that makes sense.  We found some really lovely wrapping/art papers, including handmade textures in sheer whites and gorgeous Florentine patterns.

There was also a strong underlying element of textile being combined with paper.  Besides, the needlepoint and yarn-hooking and knitting and needle-felting, there were spools of thread for decoration (is this wreath so great?  It uses old spools wrapped with various pieces of scrapbook paper) and also patterns on papers and notions.  Additionally, there was a lot of sewn paper, people using sewing machines to stitch paper together for garlands and onto scrapbook pages.  I love sewn paper so that was fun to see.  Sorry you have to tip your head, the computer was not cooperating (but that was a bunch of tickets sewn together into garlands for decoration.  That was the 7 Gypsies booth - they always have such clever displays!).



Other inspirations for things to do with paper: party decorations for straws and cupcakes,


sweet simple garland made by stapling little scraps of paper and many other garland ideas
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accordion folding them to make medallions - petite for first place ribbons or oversize for party decorations.  I could see filling the window with a whole bunch of these made from our various wrapping paper sheets.

a paper bird cage holding a paper bird


shadow boxes filled with fun vintage ephemera   (we'll be getting blank shadow boxes that you can paint or decoupage and then fill with your own goodies). 
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and other fun random groupings of paper and ephemera like this one, which got us to dreaming about plans for new window installations.


Combined with all the inspiration we found visitng L.A.-area shops and the orders that we placed, Sachi filled several pages on her little notebook with ideas and plans for the shop.  Should be fun to see how it all rolls out over the next several months (the ship dates are staggered between now and mid-April - first to arrive are encaustic kits - I got the email notification from USPS today).

fabric fun

oh my goodness, I hardly know where to begin.

First of all, today is Sachi's birthday.  Happy Birthday Sachi!  I had a birthday present for her but at the last minute started thinking of a book that I meant to track down.  I went to the bookstores and got distracted in their crafty sections.  Have you seen the book called Sewing Bits and Pieces?  It's by Sandi Henderson, the person who designed the pattern for the blueberry dress that I have made (x4) for the adorable girl (Portabellopixie).  She has a great sense of style, fun fabric prints, super cute patterns and lots of inspiration.  Even searching Flickr for her name brings up lots of inspiring photographs.  I purchased the pattern at my favorite local fabric store, Stitcher's Crossing on Mineral Point Road.  Much of the fabric in the dress (and in my headbands, aprons, skirts, fabric garlands) comes from this shop.  Here's the girl in one of the dresses that I made this year - the apron has a little overlay of a vintage hankie, which was my own variation on the pattern, inspired by the vintage remixing of The Painted Daisy, one of the artists whose work we have at the shop.

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Anyway, the book is filled with inspiring ideas so now my head is awhirl with thoughts of fabric covered lanterns, fabric garlands, and more.

Meanwhile, I have a total of 5 skirts in the works for myself, also inspired by The Painted Daisy and Orangy Porangy, and by the heaps of fabric that are in my studio.  I'm finding that these two layer skirts are a great way to use up fabric.  Four of the five skirts have some combination of blue/purple/green but I kept finding pieces of fabric that I wanted to include in the skirt.  I've gone a little crazy - the underskirt has at least two different pieces of fabric in it and the overskirt has at least six.  My personal opinion is that if you are going to sew a seam, there's no point in sewing two of the same fabrics together...  I am having a lot of fun with my skirts, though I haven't yet tackled the hemming (but am thinking about a mixed/raw edge that's not perfectly straight so that would simplify things quite a bit).  Perhaps someday I will make some for the store (seeing as there is so much yardage in my studio) but that will have to wait until I get a serger... or learn to sew a French seam (at least that's what Jes says).

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In other fabric news, Jenny of The Painted Daisy dropped off a new batch of little girls' skirts, as well as some for grown-ups.  Such a fun vintage assortment.  I saw some cute pillowcase dresses up at the Art Fair on the Square so it was nice to get a delivery of pillowcase skirts as well as the four-panel vintage linen skirts.

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How cute is this little owl skirt?  And Jenny even did a little applique of owls on the pillowcase side of things. 
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I'm sorry, I have to go home and sew now.


Bonefolders' Guild at Overture

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It's up!  The Bone Folders' Guild of Madison is pleased to introduce our Overture exhibit for summer 2010.  The exhibit runs until September 19th so if you are downtown in Madison, we hope you will take the short jaunt to the second floor Gallery II at the Overture Center, 201 State Street.

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We started setting up the show around 6 pm last night... and I'm hoping that others were not there too much later after I left at 9 pm.  Carey's husband Steve was a tremendous help.  To anyone who has ever hung a show, I have to say "bravo!"  I had no idea!  I have hung my own shows in the past and while one short person hanging a quilt is no easy feat, it is still a relatively simple matter of eyeballing the levelness of the two nails stuck in the wall.  There's lots of climbing up and down ladders and a little juggling of hammer and nails, but nothing like this.  How many Bonefolders does it take to hang a piece?  Well, count the pairs of feet for yourself...

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Pieces of all shapes and sizes, shelves, plexi boxes, nails, screws, caulk and assorted other tools went into the display of these works, not to mention the wood, hand-made paper, books, feathers, photographs, fibers et al, which went into the actual construction of the pieces.

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Standing back and looking at the exhibit, it is an exciting statement about the book as art.  We have gathered together a fascinating (if I do say so myself) assortment of book works around the theme of the show: "Contained."  

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If you thought books were just for checking out of the library and sitting on a shelf, this exhibit will hopefully stretch your mind.

story necklace; language and memory

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Almost finished.... I know, you are wondering if it is heavy enough? and if maybe I've gone too far?  It probably wouldn't be a true Laura necklace if you weren't asking those questions.  I have zillions of charms collected over the years and I spent an enjoyable night pulling all the possible pieces to put into this necklace.  Probably four times more than can fit. 

Thurs 001(That's my mom's watch that she got when she graduated from high school, next to an earring I wore often in college but lost the mate to, and a round locket I got on Etsy, with Susan Lenart Kazmer charms on each side).

It's tempting to work on a series.  I love the idea of scrounging other people's bead and jewelry boxes to make a personalized necklace.  I hope you won't find this blasphemous if I say that it feels a little bit like prayer beads, running my fingers over all.  Sitting on the bus with the adorable girl this morning, we went through the various charms.  "What this is?" "Does this open?"  Susan Lenart Kazmer calls hers talisman necklaces, but it feels like a story necklace to me.

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(especially for Facebook friends who were wondering about my mention of a diaper pin - here it is.  This was a gift when I was born, a pair of monogrammed silver diaper pins - from people who had way more money than my parents had at the time, which is to say that I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, though that would be another thing that could get incorporated into a necklace such as this).

It makes me think about what language we use to speak of other people, words, of course, but also physical objects and photographs.  I feel like a lot of people and times and places have gone into this necklace. There's Cinderella and Thumbelina, the Owl and the Pussycat, the cow jumping over the moon, Valley Ridge Art Studio (and the influence of Nina Bagley, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Kathy Malkasian, Michael DeMeng), the girls of Vintaj brass, the adorable girl,  Jill Schwartz, Kim Geiser, Susie Carlson, the Jens, Mom....  Is name-dropping so annoying?  Sorry, it annoys me too but I do feel it is  important to give credit to my muses.  There is Travel, Whimsy, Play, Memory, Loss, Family.  There is Luck.  Charm.  No wonder it's so heavy.  Truth be told, it's not totally comfortable.  I'm going to have to find a way to display it so that I can enjoy it without wearing it - though it did make for an enjoyable bus ride this morning.  Lily has already decided upon her favorite piece.  She calls it a button and pointedly seeks it out.  I wonder what she imagines is happening when she pushes it.

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(this key is from an old lock of mine.  I couldn't fit the car key in, it was just a little too long.  The black oval is an unmatched earring from Mom's jewelry box - I remember handling it as a child.  The woman on the moon is from Vintaj).

I still want to do some resin work - maybe adding some snippets of text to the keys and other trinkets.  Oh, and there's a couple lockets and a box so I need to put something in those. And maybe tying on a few hand-dyed ribbons...  I can't stop...!!!!

Thurs 005 (yet another key from a padlock, that blue and silver is another lost earring, and there's the edge of a round enamel piece that I've been eyeing from the Duluth artist we carry at Anthology.  The brown button is from Mom's button box, maybe an old coat?  I just remember handling it as I sorted through her buttons in those rare 15 minutes of peace that she could get from me.  The seahorse is also from Vintaj, another charm we carry at the store).

fun with SLK

Well, for starters, Sachi enjoyed an amazing workshop at Valley Ridge Art Studio last year, with Susan Lenart Kazmer as instructor.  Sachi came back with all sorts of wonderful things to do with resin - not just filling in bezels, but also brushing on papers, coating natural forms like leaves and grasses (see last year's post).  We are very excited to be able to carry ICE Resin, Susan's formulation of the two-part resin and hardener mixture that she uses in much of her own work.  Both ICE resin and bezels are for sale here at Anthology, as well as items that we've made using these materials: terrace chair photo charms, Sachi's little drawing necklaces, paper crowns, etc.

Today I finally made the trip to Michael's, where I'd heard rumors of a new line from Susan Lenart Kazmer.  I'm a little envious - it's an exclusive to Michael's that I wish we could carry here, but I have to concede that is worth the trip.  I probably spent a half an hour mulling over that section - first pulling off all the things that I liked, and then narrowing it down to things that I didn't already have or didn't want to make myself.  She certainly makes you look at keys and tokens in a completely different way.  I got a few pieces for starters but now I'm eager to go home and gather my own tokens for some sort of chunky necklace.  I could have spent so much more money on these trinkets! There was lots of temptation... and still lots of envy.  It's not pretty. Halfday 005

I've already gotten carried away - that's what a few spare moments will do to you.  I haven't even made it home to my stash of odds n' ends.  This is going to be a weighty piece.  I wonder if I can add my old car key to it?

It's still not (quite) as much as SLK does herself.  Does anyone actually believe that?

guess i'll have to keep this in mind, aka karma

Kohler 009Oh yes, karma will get you for sure.  Last week we went to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Yes, that's right, it's in Sheboygan, not in Kohler.  But, yes, it is THAT Kohler.  It is a totally wonderful museum.  They focus on "outsider" art and usually have really interesting exhibits.  An exhibit of artist books is what drew us there on this particular occasion.  But the space itself is really wonderful too.  I know that not everyone has the same taste, but when I go into a space like that, it makes me wonder why we can't have more spaces like that.  If I lived closer, I would have a big party there and make everyone come for a visit.  As it is, if you are ever in the neighborhood, or passing through on the way to Door County, I'd recommend a stop there, as well as at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in nearby Two Rivers, Wisconsin (apparently pronounced "Trivers" though I never knew that - and I have been living in Wisconsin most of my life).

Anyway, the adorable girl came along.  Now, ordinarily, I am very mindful of everything the signs say and I was watching her very closely to make sure that she didn't touch anything, but chasing around after a two-year old is a little distracting.  And, I'll confess that as usual I was in my adoring Auntie role which includes snapping pictures at every opportunity. So I completely forgot that I was in a museum.  I only took this one picture and I've cropped it so you will just have to go to Sheboygan yourself to see what the focus of her gaze was.  Anyway, the museum guard gave me a scolding.  I'm sure that a two year old in a museum makes such a person nervous anyway so I'm also sure that I'm not imagining the close scrutiny that we were under for the rest of the visit.  Still, as someone who is very mindful of rules and perhaps overly sensitive, the scolding stayed in my mind for most of the day.  I was also sulking because I missed a couple awesome shots of her looking at art.  Don't get me wrong, it was offset by the wonderful space and the inspiring art, the great company and other lovelies such as the gorgeous Sheboygan store, NEST, and a visit to a lovely chocolaterie, a walk around a pond, and dreaming of a fantastically tiled bathroom at the Ann Sacks store.

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So, what was I sulking over?  First, that darn karma.  I mean, I totally realize that the museum and the artists need to support themselves.  In fact, it's a similar case when people come into the store and take pictures of things that we have.  Of course, I have no idea why they are taking a picture, but sometimes there is some inkling that they are taking a picture so they can go home and make the thing themselves or that they are trying to replicate some aspect of Anthology in their own store.  A part of me bristles and wishes that I could be like that museum guard.  I can't help thinking that if I can't pay rent, then I won't be here very long for people to come and take pictures and be inspired.  It's a free country, of course, and there is very little that I can do - so perhaps there is some feeling of powerlessness that adds to (or detracts from) the situation.  It is part of our mission to inspire people, to get them to create, and it is a compliment that they like something enough to record it and share it with other people.  There is the potential that the picture is the first step to an eventual sale so you can't exactly forbid it completely (unlike in a museum where the items are not for sale so a photograph does not benefit the museum.... although, I think if you had seen the photographs that I was going to take, you might have been tempted to visit the museum yourself....Did I say that I was done sulking?). 

(There was no sign outside so I think I can at least give you this picture from our stroll outside among the stone castles.  I wrote a little story about these and made them into a mini altered book.  The last time I was here with the adorable girl, she was one month old and we had to take turns walking outside with the swaddled, crying infant).

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An artist friend of mine once said that if she gains inspiration from someone's work, then she would at least pay the artist for their inspiration by purchasing something from them.  I think if we are true to ourselves, then whatever we create has our own unique quality to it, even as it also derives from other things that we see or experience.  So even if we are imitating someone else's work, it's almost impossible to exactly duplicate it, unless you are a forger and that's another matter entirely.  I try to practice that support of others' works - even just buy a postcard or something.  Just some way to thank the artist for doing what they did and for contributing to my own artistic journey. And, yes, I did make a donation to the museum.  I didn't see a postcard for some of my favorite pieces (and why not?).

There is that whole matter of copyright/credit/forgery... which is only finely separated from art/inspiration (see recent discussion by Michael DeMeng).  I mean, I don't really think there is anything that is completely of a single artist - they are inspired by people and forces outside of them so the whole matter of ownership gets tricky (see Lewis Hyde/The Gift), thus does the matter of copyright, thus does the matter of my right to draw inspiration from someone else's art, thus does my right to take a picture in a museum. But I'll try to stop sulking about that.  It just made me think about Art, accessibility, is there more harm than good, or vice versa, when I take a picture?  Are we all just constantly on the defensive, protecting ourselves from the possibility of theft and copying? can there be something that we are missing out on that could persuade us to relax those defenses?  Will I remember this feeling the next time someone is snapping pictures in the shop?

The guard did inform me that I could take pictures in the bathrooms.  They have really spectacular bathrooms there, no kidding, and you have to go visit all of them (just knock loudly.  The men's blue and white bathroom might be one of my favorites, which started that whole trip down "dreaming of riches and fame" lane that ended in the Ann Sacks tile store (I'm thinking about flat river rocks on the floor and green/blue glass tiles....).  Anyway, I'll leave you with one successful picture of the adorable girl.  Not quite as interesting as if she was peeking out of the house of words....

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it's all about the ribbon

well, not ALL... but mostly.  It's a little hard to focus on other things...  The table is full with hand-dyed yarns and ribbons that we received this week.  I've been slowly winding them out of skeins into more usable forms so we can cut yardage for everyone.  I'm totally in love with the ric rac.

Ribbon 003I've had a few late nights at home, watching good movies ("Departures" was the best of the lot this week) and winding, winding, winding.  Last night after a meeting, Pastor Tisha said to me, "just reading your status updates, I think, she sure is having a lot of fun with her life."  It's true.  There is something very satisfying about working with my hands on such a simple task.  There's a clear beginning and end, a definite improvement that I created.  Not to mention the enjoyment of watching the lovely colors slip through my fingers.  There's something meditative, and, dare I say it, kind of Zen about the whole thing.  Still, it will be good when Pamela brings in the ball winder and swift.

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I started thinking about things to do with all this ribbon.  When I ordered it, my first thought was about knitting.  And yes, a skein would be a gorgeous scarf...  I remembered that I've used such ribbon as fringe on knitted scarves - that's one way to use it in smaller amounts, and I'm still thinking about ribbon necklaces and bracelets.  But last night I was reminded that I have several lovely books from Ryland Peters and Small in my bookshelves. 

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Sachi and I love that publisher - the photos are always so lovely.  In fact, I have a book called Ribbon Details, which has tons of different ideas that have my head spinning even more.  They've sewn ribbon on the edges of blankets, pillowcases, napkins and placemats, used ribbon for garlands and displaying photos, trimming picture frames or lamp shades, wrapping presents, and so much more.  Sorry, we don't carry their books at the shop - Frugal Muse and Half Price books are usually where we find them...

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After my meeting last night I suddenly realized that Saver's was still open for another half hour so I quickly drove over there.  I've had a few thoughts rolling around in my head for altered clothing - namely to get more striped shirts and to get some denim skirts for the shop.  I think those will be fun with some patches of fabric.  I also want to get a photo shoot of the adorable girl in the arboretum wearing a fairy dress.  Since I'm not going to get her summer dress sewn in time to catch the flowering trees, I thought I'd find a shirt to add a tulle skirt to.  Now, the minute that I found out she was a girl, I ran out and bought a dress for her but I really don't let myself do a lot of shopping because I could so easily get carried away with cuteness.  I don't know why I keep forgetting the thrift store options.  But it's probably a fine thing.  As it is, my brother-in-law has to counterbalance the fluff with Carhart overalls (who knew they made those in baby sizes?!).  I don't think he has to worry too much about my influence (though she does already know about lipstick), but I did hold off on the little pink cheerleader skirt (it was at Saver's last night if you want it).

Anyway, I found a sundress with lilacs all over it, which will look great under a skirt of tulle... now all I need is the lilacs at the arb.  And I found this sweet little yellow dress.  I'm thinking that I will do a little ribbon embroidery of sorts.  I'll have to play around with it, but maybe a little free form cursive in a hand dyed ribbon?  maybe some ribbon flowers? I know that I won't have the patience for true silk ribbon embroidery, but I think I can figure something out.  Oh, there's so much fun to be had, it's hard to know where to start.Ribbon 008



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Every once in a while, we luck out and someone brings in a pile of goodies for us.  Maybe they are moving and don't have room in the truck, maybe they've decided to move on to some other project or make space for other things.  Either way, we are happy when they think of us.  Donations are always welcome.  In fact, donations account for a large part of our merchandising approach (almost all of our dressers come from other people's garages and basements, for one thing).  We are getting ready for our studio garage sale in July (during Maxwell Street Days with our Absolutely Art co-host) and taking the opportunity to clean out our own studios.  You can buy a $2, $5 or $10 bag and fill it up with half-used tubes of paint, paper and fabric scraps, how-to books, beads, you name it.  It might be a little hodge-podge but it's a chance to find something for a project.  Furthermore, all the money from the garage sale will be donated to local arts nonprofits.  We feel strongly about getting art supplies back into circulation/use and also supporting the many arts programs that provide creative energy to the area.

Nostalgia 001

Sometimes we are able to make things into paper packs for people to purchase at the store, other times we incorporate them into craft table activities.  The pile of encyclopedias is useful for pedestals around the store, and also for the altered books workshop.  Two not-so-recent donations have an assortment of vintage goodies.  I couldn't resist putting together the little assortment above.  I don't have any particular feeling of nostalgia for the Domes of Silence, but that little box of gummed stars brought back memories, as well as that lambie card.  The cards of hooks and pins conjure up memories of Mother's sewing box.  Less distant memories (of college card games) were elicited by the classic bicycle cards.

Nostalgia 002I'm still not at all sure what to do with this box of threads.  They were in someone's basement in a box of other sewing notions including zillions of scissors that are tempting to just hang up on the wall if they didn't look too creepy (think Edward Scissorhands).  Sachi's been incorporating the vintage buttons into her necklaces.  Aren't all those colors, just like that, are very appealing.  Maybe just set it in some resin?  How about you? What items conjure up your own nostalgias?