Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

The time is almost upon us. Gift exchanging with friends at work. Surprising some who weren't expecting a gift; that's something I enjoy: when you give because you want to, not because you have to. I'm giving lots of handmade gifts this year. And they're bringing lots of smiles and I can see true appreciation for something that was created just for them.

I am feeling the holiday spirit more this year than I usually do. Maybe that's the effect two-year-olds have on you. I have had fun picking out present for my little curly-haired dynamo. I will enjoy wrapping them as I think about how happy he will be when he unwraps them.

I am also looking forward to a little creative time over the holidays to make some journals and play with paint and collage bits. My journal inventory is down to almost zero so it is time to start replenishing it.

Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The never-ending To-Do List

One of the tunes that plays in my head regularly is "busy, so busy..." from a Thomas & Friends movie (occupational hazard of having a two-year-old boy obsessed with a fictional train), but right now it is an applicable soundtrack for my life. And so the annoying little song reminds me that there are about three hundred and eighty-seven things that I need/want/have to get done....ASAP! Because they are TIME-SENSITIVE. So if I don't get them done on or before a certain date, I might as well just skip them!

Here's a little run-through of all that I need to accomplish in the next week or so:
1. Make Bingo Books for my last craft show of the year this weekend (it's at Central Presbyterian Church at 39th & Grand in Des Moines in case you're out & about and want to say hi). Luckily this is something simple that I can do in a few steps, because I've got this Bingo Book thing down to a science. This morning I picked out the papers for the inside covers, tonight I'll glue them, and tomorrow I will put together ten little Bingo Books.
2. Create a Christmas card. Now that I am the parent of an extraordinarily adorable child (no, I'm not bragging, just stating an undeniable fact here, folks), I feel obliged to send out a photo Christmas card to friends, family, and a bunch of people I know but rarely, if ever, talk to anymore just so they can see how cute my kid is....isn't this why people send photo Christmas cards? I mean, honestly?
3. Finish Christmas shopping. I like shopping for art supplies and toys for my little guy. But I detest Christmas shopping. I am an avid and guiltless regifter when possible (i.e. when I can get away with it!). I also have three wonderful friends who have December birthdays who tend to get neglected because of Christmas, even though I have the intention every year to send them a unique, handmade gift. Probably not gonna happen.
4. Clean my house. Okay, this one's optional. However, I did promise that I would clean out the little pantry closet in our kitchen as well as the red hutch where I have a slight tendency to stack my magazines, mail, books, supplies, toys, batteries, mittens, keys.....and well, you get the idea. The "red thing" in our kitchen is a deep source of irritation for my beloved. So is the little pantry closet, which is just full of fun things that I've shoved in there, except I can't remember what all I've shoved in there so I can never find those things when I want them.
5. Update my etsy shop. It has been sadly neglected these past few months due to a slightly hectic craft show schedule. Now that my last show will soon be over and done with, I need to get some fresh inventory in my shop.
6. December Daily! Some of you might be familiar with this fun project, from Ali Edwards. I did a good job of putting my foundation together in advance, but I find myself falling behind with the "daily" part. And I feel the inclination to share the Daily on this blog, if ever I could snap some pics of it and upload them for your viewing pleasure. Because I just know that you, my multitude of readers, are all dying to see it. Right.
So, that's what I'm thinking about. In between trying to complete the above tasks, my mission to defend the Christmas tree from the little boy and the cat continues. They're ahead, three to nothing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

All I can say is....WOW!

That's right, WOW! Market Day Black Friday just rocked! I knew it was going to be good, but it totally exceeded my expectations. Everything was great: the location and all the shoppers. There were TONS of people there, many of whom had never been to Market Day before. And there were lots of people there who I recognized from previous Market Days. It is so cool to recognize and even get to know your customers. I had repeat customers, which just makes me so happy! It also makes me feel really good when somebody likes something I've made enough to give it as a gift to someone they care about. And it was great to see people choosing unique handmade gifts instead of spending all their dollars at the big-box stores. Personally, I would rather get something handmade. Wouldn't you?

Now I'm down to just one more craft show for 2010 and I will be busy over the next two weeks replenishing my inventory for the HOLIDAY MARKET at Central Presbyterian on December 11 and 12. And I even managed to update my etsy shop last week and am going to try and add a few more things this week.

My other main activity from now until Christmas will be keeping the two-year-old boy and the nine-year-old cat from destroying the Christmas tree. I'm afraid this may prove to be more than one woman can handle alone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My dream... to work at home. All. By. Myself. Making Stuff. All. By. Myself. Well, okay, not completely. My cat Bob will be my studio assistant. But I think the husband and child will have to vacate the house so that I can work productively. This might be a little unrealistic, because there are not that many places where an energetic 2-year-old and his less-energetic father can hang out all day on a budget of zero. So we'll work on that.
In the meantime, I keep dreaming about that SOMEDAY when I the stuff I make will bring in enough income so that I can QUIT MY DAY JOB. That's the big dream. And I know it's a BIG one, but that little voice in the corner of my head (okay, one of the little voices in my head) tells me that if I work hard enough I can make it happen. And I have to keep believing the little voice!

If any of you would like to make a small contribution to my dream fund, come see me at Market Day's Black Friday Sale this Friday at the Pappajohn Center smack in the heart of downtown Des Moines. Buy local, buy handmade, buy to help people like me make our dreams come true! It makes a difference. And you get way cooler stuff for yourself or for those on your shopping list than you will EVER find at a mall, I guarantee it!

Happy Turkey Day, and see you on Friday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Where to find me...

Well, once again it's been a month since I've updated this blog. Despite my best intentions I am still only an intermittent blogger at best. I'll keep trying!

Last weekend was a fun and busy one, what with Market Day on Saturday and then the final Sunday Bazaar on Sunday, of course. I don't think I'll quite know what to do with myself this Sunday, since for the last 8 I've been down on East 5th street selling my stuff.

My holiday show schedule is not as hectic as some; since I just did 10 shows in 8 weeks I figured I'd better cut back a bit so my family doesn't disown me. But I still have a few great shows on my calendar for November and December, and I encouage you to check them out. Shows like this are a great opportunity to buy local for your holiday shopping and get some gifts that are unique, handmade, and will really endear you to those on your shopping list.

So here's where I'll be in case you want to find me live and in person.

CRAFT SATURDAY: The 5th Annual Handmade Holiday show is THIS SATURDAY, NOV. 5, in downtown Des Moines at the 4th Street Theatre, right next door to Java Joe's. Hours are noon to 6. Lots of lovely items to choose from, and you can get a preview right here: Just click on "vendors" to see who and what you will find.

BLACK FRIDAY SALE: This is Market Day's special day-after-Thanksgiving edition, and please note the NEW LOCATION: The Pappajohn Center downtown at 1200 Grand Avenue. Same hours as regular Market Days, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Shop local from over 60 vendors with art, handmade, and vintage items. This is a definitely a not-to-be-missed event!!

Central Presbyterian Church HOLIDAY MARKET: I've never done a church craft show before, so I figured, why not give it a whirl? This event will be at the church (duh!), which is located at 39th & Grand in Des Moines, on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and then on Sunday, Dec. 12, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. I think this is going to be a great show, hope you'll come check it out!

And in other big exciting Papercake news, my journals are now available at Green Grounds Cafe in Valley Junction! Stop in this fun and funky locally-owned, independent coffee shop and try some of their goodies.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life is busy, life is good....

....another wonderful sunny day today, perfect weather for East Village Sunday Bazaar. Great people, great music, the smell of good food: a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. My very first customer today informed me that she had seen a picture of one of my Bingo Books in the Sunday Register today--how exciting! You can check it out in print or online; the article is called "The Art of the Bazaar." That's one of my Bingo Books there, and they even spelled my name right(people have had trouble with that my entire life), and got my etsy shop on there as well. There's also a feature on Market Day in the latest Grand Views, the Grand View University newspaper. I didn't make the print version, but there's a pic of me online in case you want to check it out. Can't beat free publicity! other craft show news, I will be part of Craft Saturday's Holiday Show on Saturday, Nov. 6. It will be at the 4th Street theatre downtown, adjacent to Java Joe's Coffeehouse, on 4th street between Court and Walnut. Craft Saturday was the first show I did this year, back in April, and it was a wonderful time and I am looking forward to it again. There are going to be lots of craft shows and bazaars coming up during the holiday shopping season and they are great opportunities to buy local, handmade gifts for yourself and your loved ones. Or even your not-so-loved one whose name you got in the Secret Santa exchange at the office.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday Bazaar and the Blustery Day

The debut of the East Village Sunday Bazaar exceeded all my expectations! Lots and lots of people came to check it out and it was a fun, successful day. Got to meet new people and see a few friends I've been missing. My spot was right next to the gals from Porch Light Antiques (great stuff!) and I learned that their new store, right on East 6th & Grand, will be opening at the beginning of October (can't wait!). Got to chat with some SASS friends, as well as admire the amazing art of Kay Sperry of Sweetwater Studio, listen to good live music, and partake in some people-watching in between taking care of customers. It was great to see how many people showed up! Thanks to Amy Hassebrock of aimee for spearheading this awesome event.
If you missed this Sunday, don't despair, because you have seven more Sundays to get down to East 5th Street (between Walnut & Locust) and check out all the goodies. Noon to four, rain or shine--or wind! And yes, there was a moment or two when I held on to my tent and hoped that it didn't blow away!
(P.S. I was totally going to post photos but something is up with either blogspot or my laptop and I can't get any uploaded right will try to remember to post some real soon!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Countdown to the big book sale....

I really love the month of September because it means the big Planned Parenthood book sale! This has always been one of my favorite events, even back before I became a maker of stuff. There's just something about it....all those books in one place, never knowing what I might find. I get excited just thinking about it. I don't even mind hauling heavy boxes full of books out to the car and then unloading them again at home. Even the challenge of trying to make space in the house for them (and keeping it on the down low in the hopes that the husband won't see just how many books I've brought home) is fun. I always find lots of good stuff there and I can't wait to get home and start giving these old books a makeover. The book sale starts one week from today, and I will be there first thing on Friday morning (yes, I even took the day off work for this very important event). And I will make at least two visits to the fairgrounds this year. Can't wait!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

At Summer's End....

I can't believe it is Labor Day weekend already. Another summer gone and I know fall won't last long enough (it never does here in Iowa) and I am so not looking forward to winter. Here's what's happening in my little world...

Last Saturday's Market Day was great. Met lots of nice people, sold quite a few journals, and even had a few folks offer to give me some old books to work with (what could be better!). Already looking forward to September's Market Day on Saturday the 25th. Next up for me is the East Village Sunday Bazaar, which begins on Sept.12 and is every Sunday (rain or shine!) through October. I think this is going to be a great event and I hope lots of people will take advantage of it and come out to see how great the East Village is and SHOP LOCAL! There will be art, handmade, antiques & vintage, furniture, and food, wine, and music. What more could you ask for, right? Bazaar hours are noon to 4 p.m.

Some sad news this morning: my cat Lucy is having some health problems...although hopefully not as serious as her brother Ricky's thyroid condition. I'll be spending some time this weekend making sure she is eating and using the litter box. Hopefully it won't end up being anything that can't be treated. It's hell getting old, as many of us know, and Lucy and Ricky are fifteen now. I can't imagine my life without them. Nobody else has put up with me that long (other than my mother and I guess she had no choice!). I will do whatever is best for these furry creatures that have been there for me so many times when no one else has been. (Yes, this is the part where you think, hmmm....crazy cat lady? Yes. I am.)

Okay, back to happier I've been working on a little book recycling project. My darling and sometimes destructive son seems to have a penchant for destroying books: tearing the pages out, bending them, stomping on them, etc. So instead of tossing the poor ruined books into the recycle guessed it, I had to make something out of the pages that were still in one piece (good thing those board books can take a lot of abuse). I also used it as an opportunity to practice the single-signature binding and I like how it turned out. I just used a few papers that I had in my stash, a few stickers, some photos, and my own handwriting. I kept it simple and finished it in 24 hours (in between laundry, vet visit, playing outside, etc.). Here's what it looks like....

And here's what the cover page and then the last page look like.

...the picture on the last page is one of my very favorites of my little man. It is getting harder to get a good pic of him because he doesn't stand or sit still for very long!

That's all folks! Enjoy the last days of summer, and here's hoping for a long and lovely autumn!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Inventory in Progress!

Hitting it hard now that our visitors from California have left us (the house feels unusually empty with only three humans and three cats....funny how quickly I got used to having three extra people in the house), getting some journals ready in order to replenish my inventory for next month's Market Day and my etsy shop, in addition to keeping the shelves stocked at the wonderful shops who sell my journals. After a few requests for Trixie Beldon at last month's Market Day, I got lucky on one of my thrift-store jaunts and found a few vintage Trixies! I should have a few on my table at Market Day in August, and I sent one down to Pure Paper recently too. I also have some yummy new papers that I'll be using for the inside of the journals.
AND some great vintage bingo cards just waiting to become Bingo Books.

So whenever I'm not at work, or outside playing with my little man, or doing laundry, I'll be tearing up old books, cutting, pasting, binding...oh what fun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Bevy of Bingo Books...

this is what I've been up to the past few between entertaining visitors from out of town (my brother and two nephews)...and doing laundry for said visitors...putting together 20 Bingo Books to go into the goody bags for a new store that's opening at Jordan Creek Mall. I'm glad I picked something simple and easy or else I'd be going crazy right about now! All that's left to do is tag 'em and bag 'em and drop 'em off at the mall. The new store is Torrid.

Friday, July 2, 2010


...summer is flying by! Can't believe it is almost the Fourth of July...and another "holiday" on the 5th as well: my birthday! Am I brave enough to confess my age? You bet: this year is number 36. I admit, I would love to be younger. But of course I can't, so I must learn to love being 36. A good friend of mine, whose birthday is three days after mine, forwarded an article about the beauty of "Age 36" that she read in Allure magazine recently. Among other things, the article reports that 36 is the age when "you're old enough to know yourself but still young enough to be considered of interest to everyone else." It then goes on to identify some well-known fellow 36-year-olds, like Heidi Klum, Victoria Beckham, and Kate Beckinsale. I know I always feel better when I compare myself to these gals, right? Well....I do like the idea that I know myself and am still "interesting" to others. I hope that I always know myself.
Birthdays are worth celebrating, no matter the number attached to the day. This year I will be treating myself to the new binding machine by We R Memory Makers: the Cinch. I am super-excited to start working with this baby! I'm going to keep my handy-dandy Zutter Bind-It-All, but I think the Cinch is going to make putting my handmade journals together even quicker and easier. It is Competitor Coupon day at Memory Bound Scrapbook Store in Ankeny, so I'm going to save my husband a few dollars (he's buying me the Cinch for my birthday! Isn't that nice of me to save him all the trouble of having to pick out a gift for me?).
This means that I will have plenty of new journals on my table to offer at the next Market Day that I will be part of. I am foregoing July's Market Day so I can attend the awesome Altered Art Retreat at Sweetwater Studio, hosted by the fabulous Kay Sperry. I will be back at Market Day on August 28. I just picked up some sweet new papers from Pure Paper, and can't wait to use them on some upcycled journals and handmade books. And I've already started to make an inventory of small bingo books--they seem to be the best-seller!
I'll sign off for now and get ready to enjoy some traditional midwestern Fourth of July fun: grilling burgers, watching the parade in my hometown, and seeing some old friends. And then treating myself to celebrate 36!
Happy Independence Day!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer's Here...

Last weekend was busy and wonderful, wonderful and busy! The first MARKET DAY of 2010 was a great success...the new location at 300 SW 5th Street definitely brought in the foot traffic from the Downtown Farmers Market. Seemed like people were actually lined up at the door waiting for us to open at 9 a.m. A wonderful, busy time where I got to see some crafty folks I met last year at Market Day or more recently at Craft Saturday...and a chance to meet lots of new people, some of whom were shopping Market Day for the first time. Local people and some from far-away places like just never know who you'll see at Market Day and for me, that is a big part of the fun. Cat Rocketship and the gang at make/break did an absolutely awesome job of organizing Market Day and making it successful. I am so looking forward to the rest of the season. FYI, Market Day is a monthly event held the last Saturday of every month May through October, and then in November it is held on Black Friday. You can find it in the old Ahrens-Pershing Warehouse at 300 SW 5th Street, right on the corner of SW 5th and MLK....and like I said earlier, it's an easy walk from the fabulous Downtown Farmers Market, so maybe next month you will wander on over and check it out. You can find out more info at, or become a fan on facebook. (of course, facebook!) You can find me at Market Day every month this year except for July, when I am treating myself to an Art Retreat at Sweetwater Studio with the fabulous Kay Sperry. That was a tough decision, choosing between two of my favorite things, let me tell you. Luckily there are seven Market Days this year!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mother's Day gift to myself...

I'm a big believer in treating myself when possible. I definitely make it a point to treat myself to a birthday gift of my choice every year (okay, maybe a few b'day gifts every year....). Now that I get to celebrate Mother's Day, I take another opportunity to treat myself. Why not? I deserve it, right? This year my gift to myself is Kelly Rae's e-course, Flying Lessons. It's all about learning how to grow my creative business. I am super psyched for it to begin on May 30. If you're interested too, you can find more info on her blog and website at There's still time to sign up.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nothing but Nancy....'s what I worked on this past weekend, for my book-art group's exhibition at Pure Paper this Saturday. I'm also attempting to finish an altered book but let's just say it is a good test of my patience! But I'm pretty fond of this little Nancy book. It started life as the result of the first class I took from the fabulous Kay Sperry of Sweetwater Studio, the Flag Fold class, back in February, and then it just sat on my work table for a while before the inspiration to fill it with Nancys struck.

Monday, April 19, 2010

so here goes...

I've been wanting to get started with a blog for about a year now, but thought I needed some techno-instruction since I'm not always up to speed with computer stuff. So after procrastinating and procrastinating, I just decided to jump in and figure it out as I go along. Very typical.


this past Saturday was CRAFT SATURDAY and it was a great day! I sold some of my journals, made new friends, and saw lots of inspiring creations from the other makers who participated. This was my first Craft Saturday so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I definitely hope to be part of the next one.
Next up, Market Day on May 29! For now, I have updated my etsy shop with a few new items. You can find it here: