Sigh.... so far far behind. And it is already the middle of June. Double sigh. 

That said, I came across some insight recently which will perhaps surprise no one who stops in here regularly. I am still sorting through paperwork and came across an old Myers-Briggs test that I took shortly after graduating from college in that period of 'what am I going to do for the rest of my life?' I noted, first, that shopkeeper is towards the bottom of a two-page, two-column list of likely careers, which was topped by librarian, nurse and teacher. After our experience at the Bubbler and my brief glimpses into dealing with large groups of children, I'm not sure that librarian or teacher would satisfy the extreme introvert that I am either. But I also read the accompanying text which was all about this type liking to be helpful and usually filling their days with lots of activities and tasks which they complain about but if you tried to be helpful and took them away, the type would be sad and complain even more. So, I guess you are stuck with this.

In any event, this year is not slowing down at all. I have finally caught up from being gone on vacation and am currently feeling like I can never do that again because I kind of feel like I was punished for it. However, I will probably get over that feeling. There is still a long list of work to be done, and I really just need to wake up early and get to the store so I can have a big chunk of uninterrupted time in the office to deal with the rest of the paperwork. At least it isn't the end of the quarter yet (which has another set of forms to file with the Feds and State). Despite all the tasks, the time has been filled with many lovely surprises.

Fellow artist and Stencil Girl extraordinaire Mary Beth Shaw posted this picture on her Facebook page - but, hey! I recognize those fabrics!  Those are the tiny little scraps that I generate in my sewing projects! And I have to say it is a tremendous relief that someone else is putting them to use. After the work that I have done to generate the scraps, and after all the other fabric that I still have to deal with, it is a treat to be able to know that what I produce will not go to waste and will instead go on to further creative life. These scraps are really all too small to sew again in a conventional way (a quarter-inch seam turned under), but work perfectly if you don't mind raw edges. Almost tempts me to make some journal covers...  No. Focus, Laura, focus.



In my own creative life, the last week was taken up with sewing paper garlands for an installation at our church. Some circles were cut before I went away, but I wasn't totally sure of the scope of the project until about a week before it was due. The project itself is rather simple (an imitation of my batik circle garlands at the library, except not just batik paper since I knew there wouldn't be enough time to batik more paper). Mostly, it relies upon sheer quantity for impact, which meant sewing until 11:30 at night to get all 50 done. There's always that gap in time between how you envision a project and how it actually turns out - that gap, however small, is somewhat stressful. I had some experience to go on, but still was not sure it would work for the space or be as nice as I was hoping it to be. However, the reaction was very rewarding. Phew, success! I kind of wish I was a videographer beause the moment when we were raising the garlands from the floor was super cool: all these drapey garlands rising up. It would have been a cool clip.

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And perhaps the biggest news of all which I should have said first is that Wisconsin is taking steps towards accepting gay marriage! It's hard for me to convey what a big deal this is, and it doesn't even affect me directly, except that it does, because I think all of us are better off when all of us have liberty and equality, not to mention that I'm quite sure I could sell more wedding cards (I saw a sign once that said: "Three words to end the recession: gay wedding registry.") More people in love and having other people acknowledge their partnership is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, in 2006, Wisconsin passed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. I didn't vote for that! And I have always felt it was unconstitutional and frankly been a little puzzled why it wasn't challenged and brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ways of the courts are a mystery to me. Technically speaking, undoing that constitutional amendment would require another vote of the people AND two legislative sessions (highly unlikely in our Republican-controlled legislature). All of this is to say that I had resigned myself to Wisconsin being left behind yet again. I know that many people have been waiting years for this, but I myself am feeling stunned and grateful at the speed at which I went from having a resolution years in the distance to such a feeling of optimism right now. There is still a lot of work to be done. The Attorney General is dragging his heels and promises to appeal the judge's decision. I rather expect that this will end up back in the U.S. Supreme Court and they will have to decide forcefully that state's rights do not trump the rights of all citizens under the U.S. Constitution to have freedom and equality.


Nonetheless, there's some giddiness in the air. For my little shopgirl part, I went out and ordered more rainbow cake wedding cards, put in a request to a typically hetereosexual card company to see if they had any same-sex couple card plans in the works, and am working with our rubber stamp company on a new design to commemorate the hashtag that arose: #lovewinsWI. Clearly this is because I am a Capitalist, but I do feel like some of the movement on this issue will come from people realizing that, hey, this is good for business! Anyway, word from the judge that the amendment violated the fundamentals of liberty and equality came down on Friday June 6, so I immediately spent the rest of the day converting our window.

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And I have an idea about a print of some sort - I do love hashtags - so I'm playing around with sumi ink and my coke can pen. It's taking lots of practice. 


Meanwhile, back at the shop, new goodies are arriving daily from our buying trip out to New York. We're in paper heaven: letterpress cards, science cards, funny cards from the UK...


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Sweet little letterpress notebooks with collections of quotations, 

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handmade papers in lovely florals and other patterns...

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We also received more book letters, but are once again sold out of one already. It's always a different letter that I don't order enough of. Someday I'll get it. I hope. The batch seemed particularly nice this time - lots of fun patterned covers.

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Finally we received these lovely enamel Wisconsin necklaces so we continue to add to our collection, though the tiny Wisco charm remains quite popular and has us busily making more just trying to keep up. Of course, the numbers tell me that we're having a strong spring - so I really shouldn't be surprised when I open a drawer on something I thought we had lots of, only to find the stock is dwindling. It keeps happening though. I know, I know, not a bad problem to have...

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Anyway, we do have lots of new goodies in store and the store is looking good after my last flurry of rearranging. We hope you have a chance to stop in soon!


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 Anthology@tds.net). 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.

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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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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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felted warmth

The boxes really ARE starting to arrive! Today brought several new shipments including stickers, address books, craft books, and tiny little tins to store little things in (such little sets are always irresistable to me).

We are also thinking warm thoughts because of a shipment of felted wool that we are unpacking. We found this vendor at CHA and were excited about all the possibilities: garlands, sweater embellishments, earrings, acorn ornaments...  The felted wool comes in a variety of shapes: flat circles and flower cut-outs, colorful balls, and larger sheets to form your own shapes.

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I am particularly happy about these colorful little bundles that have small rectangles of felted wool. I got a similiar bundle for my sister and she embellished her sweater with green leaves. I have a boring gray boiled wool jacket that I am just dying to add a little color to!

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ok... let the new year begin...

I know, I know, January is already well underway, I really shouldn't be so pokey. The time away in California certainly helped, but I am still feeling rather lazy. I did seem to get that cold that so many people have but am down to just the sniffles and the lingering coughing. That's not reason enough for my laziness. I'm pretty sure that any day now I will stop talking about getting back to work and jump back in. Soon. Very soon.

I decided to start another jigsaw puzzle at home, which completely takes over my coffee table, which is where I should be doing art projects. But I just decided last night that I really really should get to work so I'm going to cut the puzzling short. The puzzle is a Charlie Harper puzzle of migrating birds... against a blue sky, which I think I will pack up instead of doing my usual systematic piecing of same-colored pieces. I'm pretty sure that as soon as I get the assembly line up and running it will be smooth sailing. The biggest hurdle is always getting started. I do have the possibility of jury duty next week so I'm just waiting to see if that will come true. If yes, it means thinking up projects that I can take to the courthouse and sit and wait with (will they let me bring the round-nose jewelry pliers through security with my beading supplies or should I just bring paper cranes?). If no, it means a week freed up... for working on projects. I'll get there.

In the meantime, I am two days away from wrapping up the year-end bookwork for the accountant. Once that is done, I will feel like the new year really can begin. I'm sure of it.

And just in time, because the new arrivals have already begun.

I installed the Valentine window, with the exception of some paper chains that I am going to make with my niece on our sleepover night. She's been anxious to help out with the window - and that's the sort of action you want to encourage and reward.

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I also rearranged our note card backstock which was a long overdue task. It was fun to be reminded of all our lovelies and also rearrange them on the sales floor a bit. Now we are finally having some time to recuperate from the holidays and to do a little restocking and rearranging. I am especially pleased with our collection of Valentine cards this year, and also enjoying the steady build-up of our Mother's Day cards. For some reason, Mother's Day seems to always catch us flat-footed. A lot of times, card companies only have a few designs that we like so we kind of have to create the collection over a series of orders. Our first Mother's Day we ran out of cards so fast that we went home to our own card collections to add to the stock. At least two years I've had to make emergency runs to the copy shop to create some cards. We'll see if we can skip that tradition this time around.

As far as new arrivals, we received our first order from the Craft & Hobby show: felted wool that comes in sheets, pre-cut circles and flower shapes and balls. Sachi used such felt to embellish a sweater and we've had a lot of people asking. I got a couple other shipment notifications this week so there is more on the way. I know some bezels are coming, which means no excuse not to finish up that photo charm commission and the Madison necklaces that I didn't get to before Christmas. And we got some boxed notes and new wrapping paper designs, including canned goods, macaroons, mustaches and guitars. Over the last couple years, it has been really great to see how many people are sending note cards and using wrapping paper (if not for actual wrapping, then for art projects and wall decor). It is fun to be a part of a paper renaissance even when so much of the world seems to be about digital technology. We are looking forward to more journals, stationery, sheets of paper and note cards.

On a political note, I have to admit that politics at the state level are rather preoccupying my attention, and overwhelming my enjoyment of Obama's second term. I'm rather dismayed by the little inklings of action of our Governor and state legislators - including the Governor's secret declaration of a "Protect Life" Day. IF by protecting life, they meant something more than the first 9 months, I would be elated. And I don't at all dismiss the importance of the first 9 months of a person's life, but if that's all that you protect, while cutting away social services, educational opportunities, health care, work opportunities and all else, then I don't have a lot of hope for the remaining 840 months, nor do I particularly respect your claim that you are protecting life. All that doesn't fit in a button, unfortunately so there is some work to be done. Meanwhile in the state legislature, today was the one and only public hearing in Madison on a mine in Northern Wisconsin (what? no hearing amongst the communities that will actually be affected? no wonder people hate government). There seems to be little interest in creating jobs that will actually benefit the state. So that's disappointing. I've still not been paying deep attention to politics because as soon as I do I get outraged, but it is clearly time to start up the button machine again.

In the meanwhile, we got another shipment of the great prints on vintage dictionary pages. This one particularly spoke to me. There are any number of things that I cannot WAIT to be destroyed by the truth... much of which traces back to the Wisconsin GOP.

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another week

Another week flown by. I found out that there was some miscommunication between the card company and the spinner company so my spinners have *still* not arrived. Hopefully next week. Because I'm quite sure that two card spinners will solve all my space issues. Ha ha.

The Christmas ornaments and other window elements have been filling up the shelves in the back hallway. A couple more weeks and then I can face up to the challenge of displaying it all. In the meantime, the big news was the arrival of our shipment of paper from Italy. I spent a day on a major reorganizing project - hauling out all the boxes of backstock, sorting by color, labeling...

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And after well over a year of occasional nagging, we are excited to introduce our Wisconsin map wrapping paper. The person we get our other map wrapping paper from intially told me that he didn't think there was enough of a market but we'll show him.

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Apparently the theme of the week is paid-off nagging as Deandra also delivered another shipment of her great repurposed scarf/necklaces with fun mixes of t-shirt knits. And she *promises* that my commissioned yo-yo shirts are coming soon, along with some great embroidered portraits (she's still working on Viggo's stubble... swoon).

Newwarriv 009Other arrivals include a new Wisconsin t=shirt, more notecards for the spinners that aren't here yet, repurposed embroidery earrings and bracelets

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And our latest print, made just for us:

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Sachi and Pamela got a kick out of the thought of Margaret Mead actually saying "cheeseheads."

midweek check-in

Hmm... where to begin? I have mostly been working on my own bed quilt (which I find probably needs to be four times larger by October 22 - no pressure or anything) and preparing for my workshop out at Valley Ridge Art Studio this weekend (which means gathering moon/sun/star lyrics and patterned papers, pondering color combinations, fun stuff like that). That is distracting me a little bit from the other tasks I should focus on: restocking my own creations for the holidays, nagging other artists to restock, trying to find room for everything. That last task is getting a little crazy - I did buy a lot of things for the holiday window so now I'm just stashing everything in the back office and hallway. I have a feeling that I have more than one window's worth. Thankfully the fire inspector came and went without too much comment. Well, I mean, there IS a path...

I'm still waiting (impatiently) for the card spinners to arrive. There's a space cleared for them, and plenty of new cards still arriving - some lovely letterpress (we love letterpress so much) and even some photo cards made by our dad from his rocks and water series.


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We enjoyed a little burst of excitement when the President came to campus last week. He didn't come strolling down State Street, unfortunately, but Sachi really enjoyed hearing him speak, and we appreciated the lively group atmosphere.


I *have* been accomplishing some chores: cutting felt Wisconsins for other people to sew into ornaments, sorting enamels and putting together clusters for necklaces, unpacking and rolling prints into cardboard tubes.

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Meanwhile, Sachi installed the Halloween (but mostly Day of the Dead) window. I know, people come in and ask for Halloween decorations and whatnot but I just haven't found products that really inspire me. I'll keep looking. We also received some lovely letterpress prints, which Sachi puts on colored cardstock so they have a little more...presence. I love the way the colors compliment each other. I'm pretty sure that nest necklaces are next on her list.


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In terms of other new arrivals, we received some lovely double-sided sheets of wrapping paper. The patterns are quite lovely... hmm... maybe I need some to take out to Valley Ridge. The yellow-gray color palate that is so popular is finally getting even to me (the girl who disliked yellow for a long long time). The sun-moon-star theme of the workshop should lend itself to yellow/gold and gray/silver... with some navy and purple thrown in. For a while I thought I was challenging myself to work in other color palates, but I'm fully throwing myself into my favorite blue-green-purple at this moment between this workshop and my bed quilt.


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Other new arrivals include new patterns of washi tape (including some really fun designs with vintage bottles, switches and pins which should be interesting additions to collages), mini colored pencils (are they so cute?! I totally remembering loving a little set like this that I had when I was a kid), spools of tinsel, delicate ceramic necklaces and earrings, and some more really great charts including this huge and amazing chart of rap artists which I might just have to get even though I barely know any of the artists - it's the categories themselves that I find highly entertaining... sigh. .. I need more wall space...  Even if you don't think of yourself as a chart person, or don't think the topic is interesting, I do recommend taking a closer look at these prints. We think the Brooklyn artists who made them are quite clever.

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From our local artists we have more Wisconsin onesies and napkins, some new knitted coffee cup cozies, and the promise of many more arrivals coming soon. Many of our artists have their own holiday shows to prepare for but they have promised to send some goodies our way too.
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week(s) in review

Hmm... Is it really possible that a whole week has gone by since I said I was going to get caught up on this blog? And now it is October. Eek. This Friday night is Gallery Night, the twice-annual event during which galleries around town will be open into the evening showcasing their wares. As soon as I clear off part of the back table, Sachi is going to set up our assortment of Madison photographs. I have some photographs from various artists which I've been hoarding for a while. I'm hoping to at least get them in cello sleeves for display. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving.

We are also a little giddy this week because President Obama is coming to Madison. I'm entertaining myself with visions of selling an Obama button to Obama, but I have a feeling the Secret Service will not let him walk down State Street.

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In my personal art life, I've been preoccupied with quilt making. I found out suddenly that my machine quilter is retiring so I went into a bit of a tizzy, deciding that I really ought to have a quilt for my bed. Which is a good thing because I can finally move forward on my vague thoughts of new wall paint and an EKRA rug for my very own (I had been waiting for a tax refund but also having a hard time making up my mind about colors. I love her jumble rugs with the little bits of lots of colors but needed to make some decision about the exact combination of purple-blue-green). Anyway, I knew that I had one last machine quilting appointment but thought it was perhaps October 1, which meant two days of frantically sewing and cutting and ironing and washing, until I heard back from my machine quilter, who said that my appointment is October 22. Breathe. But don't relax too much!


The quilt is, for me, a rather complex pattern which I have created recently. I love the way it looks but it requires keeping track of where everything belongs from the beginning - I'm accustomed to pretty much just winging it as I go. But the finished results are worth it. Now I just have to hold all those purples, blues and greens in their place.

As far as the shop is concerned, we're in full Christmas-prep mode. We have a few more weeks of orders and arrivals and then we mostly settle in to customer service and keeping the store looking presentable.

We are getting a nice array of fall accessories so we cleared some space for all of them together. I particularly love the yo-yo scarves made from silk scraps. I'm expecting more armwarmers and t-shirt necklaces/scarves, but kind of kicking myself for passing up the lovely felted wool scarves that I saw at so many booths on my Atlanta trip. I do love scarves.

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In other silk news, we got some lovely skeins of silk sari ribbon. I guess the sari-making process generates a lot of scraps because I've seen a lot of different ways they've been put to use. A women's cooperative in India takes the little strips and sews them together into continuous skeins so you could use these to knit or crochet, though I've also seen some lovely necklaces made from them.


I installed a new protest window, with prints. Nikki McClure always lends herself to the subject, but I also made some various quotation prints, in response to the crackdown on people exercising their freedom of speech in our State Capitol. As someone who has spent most of my life having unfettered access to the the Capitol building, I have grown up thinking that it truly is the People's House, so I find it maddening that Governor Walker & Co. continue to try and limit what happens there.  


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I'm slowly gathering pieces for our Christmas window. There will some lovelies too, but I couldn't resist a few whimsical elements. I sure would have loved to have a kid's room to decorate in a forest theme with this toadstool footstool. And the terrarium miniature pieces that I got will have a few little Totoros to go with them, which won't be so visible in the window so I got just a few bigger Totoros for accents. Judging by the reaction amongst my Facebook friends, I did not order enough.

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Other new arrivals include more "Midwest is Best" t-shirts and more "represent" onesies, still more notecards (I had to order a lot but then I qualified for a free spinner... and we all know I need more spinners.  I rearranged the shop a bit and am impatiently waiting for the spinners to arrive. It will be nice to have a little more space for all the lovely cards).

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And other than that, it's all about the buttons. We're in high gear now for the Obama campaign buttons, but Sachi's latest series has also been very popular (sluts vote, hussies vote...). And we've had some custom button work as well, including this fun favor for a wedding.

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And that just about wraps it up. For the moment. There were a fair number of companies with 10/1 ship dates so every day brings something new.

arrivals wednesday, ok, thursday

This week's arrivals include goodies from a variety of shopping excursions: some independent artists from the Atlanta show, some crafters from the Chicago show, an Oakland artist I saw while at the San Francisco show...

First up: more prints. Some lovely letterpress prints, as well as more Keep Calm, the popular french fry print. More dictionary prints are coming soon, as are other letterpressed messages of inspiration.

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We also received new notecards (yes, that's pretty much a constant thing. That's what happen when two card-collectors open a shop). Curly Girl cards were one of the first purchases I made for the shop, and I still love them.

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Other new arrivals include ceramic necklaces, ephemera/assemblage necklaces, and intricate cut-out wood necklaces and earrings.

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I made some shrinky dink charms with my niece and I'm thinking I could make a similar assemblage/charm necklace with the pieces that she made. It was initially hard to persuade her to do her drawings, but eventually she came around, to the point where she said, "maybe I could be one of your local artists!"

Our dad always says that what you love about something is also often what you hate about it; in retail, I love that every day I don't exactly know what is going to happen... and for a control-freak such as myself, that also adds some element of challenge to my day. Nonetheless, this time of year is fun in that we usually get some package or another each day.

Other arrivals include hand carved wooden stamp blocks:

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Pins and earrings cut out from old book covers:

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new books:

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And magnets from our favorite bird artist:

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And yes, we are still making buttons. Sachi asked what we were going to do after the election, but I have a feeling it will be the same as what we did after the recall: keep making buttons. After the failed recall, it turned out that most of the buttons were still pertinent. And if the Capitol police continue their constitutionally questionable behavior, there WILL be buttons. I'm already starting to work on a protest window for the fall. Last night I was trying to figure out the layout for a First Amendment print. And then this morning I came across that awesome (though profanity filled) letter from Chris Kluwe which has this line which I also might have to make into a print for the window: "This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different from what you believe, or act differently from you?"

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falling behind, catching up?

Ok, seriously... WHERE did the time go? I look up and all of a sudden it is LABOR DAY WEEKEND?!  Ack. The girl had her last day at preschool and is moving on to 4K. It's the end of my birthmonth and time (past time, if I was honest with myself) to buckle down and focus on... yes, I said it, Christmas.


I looked back at posts this summer... Honestly, I have NOT been on vacation that much. Truth to tell, we have had a pretty awesome summer as far as sales go, in ways that have left me scrambling to keep up with reorders and restocking. I know, not a bad problem to have. But I have definitely been neglectful over here on this blog. My apologies. Unfortunately we are starting to get to that time of year when I put things off until January, which actually ends up being February or March. But don't worry, there will be plenty of new things to tell you about and I won't forget about you.

(that said, if you are really impatient to hear about new things, our Facebook page might be the best bet. I tend to post pictures there as soon as things come in. You don't get as many of the chatty details, but sometimes that's fine.)

Anyway, here goes. I see from blog posts that I have LOT of catching up to do. I should mention first of all that we are open this holiday weekend. There's usually quite a lot going on downtown, and I'm looking forward to a little "studio" time on Sunday and Monday. We're open regular hours on Saturday (10 am to 7 pm) and Sunday (noon to 4) and reduced hours on Monday (noon to 4).

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Has it really been so long that I've written that I didn't say anything about CREATE in Chicago?! A week ago, Friday, we drove down to the outskirts of Chicago to the Wynham Hotel in Lisle. Sachi and I said the next day that we felt like we had packed three days into one. I packed the car the night before and we left Madison around 11, drove to Mitsuwa for Japanese lunch & groceries, to IKEA for a quick look-around, then to Lisle to set up. The Vendor Faire went from 6 to 9 pm, then we packed up, ate a late dinner in the hotel, and drove back home, unpacked the car, and went to bed around 1. We were very glad we went; we had great sales, introduced ourselves to some new customers, were tempted by many fellow vendor wares, and were flattered that some people remembered us. The next day, there was a workshop for drilling pebbles so we were a little sorry that we had to get back to the shop. There seemed to be many interesting workshops and artists and people to connect with.

As far as the shop is concerned, I'd like to blame our UPS driver for bringing so many boxes this last week, but I know it is only my fault for placing all those orders.

We went to Milwaukee recently and while, for the most part, I was not jealous of other shops' product lines, I WAS jealous of their space. and their card racks. It's feeling a little crowded at the moment, but who could resist these? A lot of people have been asking for cards made in Madison - I know, you'd think that I would have plenty of those, but we didn't really. Now to add to the Artsy Fartsy collage cards, we have my photo cards and Stefanie Lin's painted/collaged girls as well. And, though it seemed like I went to Atlanta only to buy things made elsewhere, I did pick up a new line of cards from an Atlanta couple.

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I especially love these postcards.

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The big story for the summer is t-shirts, which is yet another thing I have not been staying caught up on. My old boss would have had me order them in grosses, but I have no place to put so many shirts. Still, at least we've restocked some, including the very popular Midwest is Best (just arrived today).

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Other new arrivals include fun Black Apple buttons, the much-anticipated Nikki McClure calendar, prints with inspiring quotations, invitations,


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Sachi finally responded to my nagging and made Obama button bracelets, and restocked her panty bracelets. I know, I hate that word too, but someone I like using it in conjunction with the pins protesting the GOP.
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I had a momentary feeling of panic when I realized the calendar was turning to September and Christmas is that much closer. Luckily, many artists responded quickly and we now have a nice stock of earrings, from Kim in Manitowoc and Cynthia (formerly of Madison, now on the East Coast).

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Other new arrivals include cut-out leather cuff bracelets, new art boards,  more prints, sarcastic bird magnets, solar powered lanterns, more calendars, including my Blurb calender which is really more of a journal than a planner, but is filled with my photographs and my collaged calendar pages and will be a pleasure, at least for me, to use in 2013. I *think* we are close to the complete selection that we will have, in terms of calendars.

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We also received new neckties, including a fun gnome design, and scrapbook paper pads... What else?
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There are still three boxes that I haven't even dug into this week (keep calm prints, handcarved wooden stamps, guest books), and some recent shipment notification emails that indicate more items on their way. There's always some moment, right before the holidays, when it seems like the store is the absolute most stocked. I'm not quite there yet - there are some spaces in the drawers yet to fill.