Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Daily update

The gusto I had for this year's little December Daily book has gradually dissipated over the course of the month and here on Dec. 28 I find myself woefully behind on this project.  Here are a few (really bad) photos of some of the pages from earlier this month that I did manage to complete:
My page for December 3 is always going to be about my grandpa, because that was and always will be, his birthday.  And after I finished this page lickety-split, I realized that I used the exact same photo in last year's book.  Which made me think about how much fun I made of an old friend in junior high for wearing the same sweater for school pictures two years in a row.  But, the photo stays.  It's one of my favorites so it's no surprise that I used it again without realizing it.  That's me!
Another super-easy page:I just cut our holiday card to fit the page size and stuck it on there.  Even though I've only put minimal effort into my pages, I am still behind!  Oh well.  I will make some time in the next few days to finish the book. 

What I have learned is that I don't like working with such a small size book that is already bound.  It has made this a little less fun for me.  I've already decided that I'll go with a much bigger size and not bind it all together until it's finished.  Much more fun that way.  Funny how I'm planning for next year when I haven't even finished this year's book.  I'm good at that.  Sometimes the planning is just as much fun as the doing, don't you think? 

Friday, December 23, 2011

'Twas the week before Christmas...

...and all through the house:
we moved my studio from upstairs to the basement, creating what is effectively a combination art studio/laundry room.  Every artist's dream, right?  Actually it saves me quite a few trips up and down the stairs, so while it might take out some of my daily cardio, I can get more work done. 

Finally finished up all the orders I needed to deliver by Christmas and all customers were happy.  I'm already starting to fill my event calendar for 2012.  I have virtually no inventory left, which is, of course, a good problem to have! 

Realized that today is December 23 and I still have some holiday shopping to do.  Guess that means I will be hitting the mall today.  Not my favorite thing, but unavoidable.  I'm sure we'll manage to squeeze in one last train ride for Jacob while we're shopping.  Riding the train at Valley West Mall has been his favorite activity for the last month. 

I would like to thank everyone who reads my blog and who has supported my business this year.  2011 has been a good year and I am grateful for those who appreciate handmade goods and who make the effort to shop locally.  It makes a big difference to me.  I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy 2012!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My very first WALOC

This past Saturday I did my last craft show of the year, What a Load of Craft!, in Iowa City.  This was my first time at WALOC, and boy, oh boy, was I blown away. 

It was amazing. 

This show has good word-of-mouth here in Des Moines, I knew that.  And there's good reason why several of us Des Moines crafters will drive all the way to Iowa City on a very cold Saturday morning in December. 

People in Iowa City obviously appreciate handmade and they came to buy it.  And us artsy-craftsy people who are trying to make a living doing what we love to do the most really appreciate it when people come to a craft show ready to buy.   And buy they did!  I was so busy!  People were waiting at my table.  I ran out of large bags and tissue.  My feet hurt at the end of the day.  But, boy, did I have a great day.  Great sales and I had the pleasure of meeting great people, from Iowa and beyond.  And I was pleased that the one person in Iowa City who I had talked to about this show was one of my very first customers.  She happens to be a nurse who took care of my husband last month at UIHC and she remembered about the show and came out to see me.  She told me that she and her husband agreed to buy only local gifts for each other this year.  Love that idea. 

So, thank you WALOC, thank you, Susan for putting together an amazing show, and thank you Iowa City for supporting independent crafty people like myself.  This show was a great way to end another year of craft shows and I am already looking forward to doing it all again next year. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Giveaway!

Today I'm participating in my first-ever blog giveaway, as I was flattered to be asked by Britni over at to be part of her 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways.  So hop on over to her blog and leave a comment to get your chance to win an upcycled journal made by yours truly.  You can choose one from my etsy shop OR you can let me know if there's a certain type of book or title you'd really love to have and I can see what I have in my craft-show inventory or even create it if it's a book I happen to have in my stash (okay, stashes, plural.  Which, I am told, are "all over the house.")  I want to make sure the winner of this giveaway gets a book he or she will love. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One book's journey to me

I was at Half Price Books this morning, which lately has become a weekly routine for me.  It's always been one of my favorite places; I even worked there for a few months back in the day.  Today, while I was waiting for my trade-in offer to be assessed, I was browsing in the "Nostalgia" section, as I often do.  I came across this sewing book, Modern Tailoring For Women, from 1947:
We've all heard the old saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover."  Well, I do just that, all the time, obviously!  I liked the cover of this one, so I took a look inside:
Most of the old books I deconstruct to make into journals have the name of one or more previous owners inside, and many have stamps from schools and libraries.  I have taken apart books from all over the country and a couple from England.  But the name and library stamp inside this book are pretty close to home: Mrs. Fife was my 8th-grade Language Arts teacher!  I know it must be her old book, because I'm pretty sure there was only one Pat Fife from my hometown of Carlisle.  I've wondered before if I would ever come across a book that had been owned by someone I know, and it's finally happened.  Small world.  It's little stuff like this that delights me. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Remembering Grandpa

Louis Price, 1947

December 3 is a holiday to me: it was, and still is, my Grandpa's birthday.  He would be 101 today.  He's been gone for thirteen years now.  And I still miss him every day.

When I take stock of all the goodness in my life, having wonderful grandparents is always tops on the list.  I was so lucky to have four awesome grandparents.  But my Grandpa Price and I were close.  He was my favorite.  When I was little, I called him "Pa" and "Favorite."  I remembering wishing so much that I could live with him.  Until I was older than I care to admit (okay, about eleven) I threw world-class fits every time we left their house, tearfully begging my mom to just take me back to their house. 

It's hard to write about him, because words are inadequate.  I simply can't do him justice.  He was kind, loving, generous, hard-working, smart, and so much more.  One of my favorite stories about him isn't even a memory of my own, but a story my grandma told me about him once.  It's short and sweet:  when my mother was a little girl, she went into town with her mother and lost one of her new red mittens.  She was quite sad about this.  So the next day, my grandpa went into town, located the lost mitten, and chiseled it out of the puddle where my mom had dropped it, and brought it home to her.  A man who often worked from four a.m. until ten at night--he was a farmer--took the time out of his day to do that for his little girl.  Because he knew it was important to her. 

There will never be anyone quite like him.  And while I wish more than anything he was still here, I know how lucky I am to have had him for my grandpa. 
This is me with my grandparents, in 1975, somewhere in Nebraska, en route from Colorado to Iowa.  I can't remember this, of course, but I know I was happy at this moment. 

Love you, Grandpa. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily: cover & first page

This is the book I'm using for this year's December Daily.  It's one I made; it measures about 5 in. wide and 6 in. long.  This is the first time using a spiral book; last year I didn't bind the book until I had all the pages mostly finished, so this will be a little different.  And yes, it's red and pink, not red and green.  Because I like to be a little different.  I'm not sure yet what I will do to embellish the cover, maybe some bling, or maybe nothing at all...haven't decided yet.  Plenty of time for that.

This is what the inside cover and title page looks like.  The inside covers of this book are done in this awesome faux crocodile paper that doesn't even feel like paper.  I like incorporating different textures into my books.

I put the title page together in less than ten minutes using whatever happened to be within arm's reach of my work table and tool box (yes, I have a big tool box in my art room.  Which, I'm proud to say, I loaded into my vehicle all by myself this past spring at Menard's because I became impatient waiting on the guys at the store to help me).  The "celebrate life" sticker is by Cosmo Cricket and is 2 or 3 years old.  I stuck the sticker on a scrap from a file folder, and used a smaller scrap for the "December 2011" tag, and on both pieces I rounded the corners then edged the pieces with some StazOn ink in Blazing Red.  Then I stuck some ribbon in the middle.  I used a scrap of the book's cover paper for the background to make it coordinate with the cover, yet not too matchy-matchy.  I don't usually go for matchy-matchy.  Another thing that is consistent about these little books of mine from year to year is that I always use my own handwriting to tell the stories I document.  It is quicker and easier and my handwriting is pretty legible.  Plus I think it adds a pesonal touch to the book that I wouldn't get with typed journaling. 

Today's goal is to upload and print photos from yesterday and get them in the book.  I always start new projects like this one with lots of enthusiasm which eventually wanes over the course of the month, and there are always days where I scramble to put something in because I forgot to take photos.  But right now I'm filled with that new-project enthusiasm so I'll get a good start on this book.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Daily!

If you're a scrapbooker, you've probably heard of Ali Edwards' December Daily project.  It's a great way to capture your holiday season.  This is the third year I will be doing one.  I really enjoy this project.  I try not to make it too complicated.  What I enjoy most about it is the fact that Jacob enjoys looking at these books and seeing how much he has grown since the previous year.  Here's a look at the two December Daily books I've done:

For 2009 I used a small binder (I think it's by BoBunny) and adhered velvet-flocked paper.  I used a variety of different papers, including the chipboard ones that came with the album, for the inside pages.

2010's book was made from an old book entitled Happy Holidays that was a book sale find.  I used some of the book's pages including the library card pocket that says "Warren County Schools", since we're from Warren County.  The inside pages are a total hodge-podge of different papers that I just grabbed, sometimes because they were whatever was lying on my work table.  I don't get too worried about everything on the inside pages matching--way too much work for me!  For me, the point of these little books isn't creating something that's perfect, but something that shows our life during the month of December. 

This year's book will be different, of course.  I'm going to use a spiral book that I made and see how I like working with that format.  I'll post pictures at the end of the month. 

When the holidays are over, I pack these books away with our Christmas decorations, and don't look at them for nearly a year.  I find it's more fun to look at them again when I haven't seen them for a while.  Then it really strikes me how much Jacob has grown in the last year. 

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving is over, but I think it's good to think about all that I have to be thankful for no matter the date.  Here's a by-no-means-all-inclusive list, in no particular order, of some of those things for which I am most thankful:

My beautiful, wonderful little boy:  I am thankful he is healthy and happy and that I get to spend most of my time with him.  I am consciously thankful for him every day.

Health, my own and that of my loved ones.  So important.

Pandora internet radio.  Love it. 

Quick shipping when I order supplies online.  And good customer service, especially when I email places like Paper Source with questions!  They actually email me back, and quickly.

Thankful and very happy about another awesome Market Day Black Friday sale today.  Love meeting new customers and talking about what I love to do with people who are interested.  And loved seeing so many folks shopping local, as well as folks in town for the holiday weekend who had never been to Market Day before discovering and appreciating it. 

Being surprised today with a visit from my friend Katie, who came to visit me at Market Day.  Totally wasn't expecting to see her, which made it even better.  Thanks, Katie!

Not-freezing, not-snowing weather in late November in Iowa.

Really good books (recommendations always welcome); I just finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, which I loved.  Sometimes I wish I didn't read so fast, because it's so much fun to be engrossed in a good book.  I'm also loving Fannie Flagg novels these days as well, and recently re-read my three favorite Jane Austen titles: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma.  

And....there's so much more, but for now, I'll stop here.  Every day I make an effort to think about something in my life that I'm thankful for and I find this helps me remind myself how good I've got it. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A bit of word art to inspire

This has been my favorite project/new product the last two months.  Yes, it's the same John Lennon quote I quoted in my last post.  I think about this every day.  Career update:  I'm happy! 

This project is simple, if a bit time-consuming.  The good part is it is easily broken down into steps.  If you decide to make one yourself, be forewarned: stamping such a long quote will leave your fingers stiff and black with ink. 

I use a 16 x 20 size canvas.  Have fun with some acrylic paint and make a background.  I like to make some different layers/patterns with bubble wrap and whatever else I happen to have lying around.  You'd be surprised what you can find in your junk drawer that could come in very handy in your art projects!  While your paint is drying, you can work on stamping your quote.  I used these stamps:
I picked these up a while back at Half-Price Books for five bucks and I love them, absolutely love them.  I love vintage typewriter font.  Because yes, I'm old school, and remember using a typewriter. 
So you stamp, and stamp, and stamp some more until your hand almost hurts, and then you're finished.  Then comes the fun part, which is cutting up your words and arranging them on the canvas.  Then it's time to glue:
Lots of options for glue.  I happen to love Claudine Hellmuth Studio matte medium.  But I can also use matte Mod Podge if I have to.  But I don't love it.  But it works just fine.  Sorry, Mod Podge.  Just a personal preference.  I pretty much use Studio matte medium for all my collaging and recommend it highly.  And no, I'm not paid to do that (unfortunately!). 

After your glue has dried, the final step, which might not be absolutely necessary, but is something I like to do, is adding a coat of glazing medium.  It will protect your piece, and yes, make it shiny.  You could use another layer of matte medium or a spray matte finish if you don't like shiny. 

I like word art because I like having visual reminders of what's important to me. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

If it makes you happy: Deep Thoughts on Self-Esteem

I enjoyed seeing my father a few days ago; he was here in Des Moines a visit from his home in beautiful, warm Arizona.  We talked about a variety of things, but one in particular has had me thinking a lot about it ever since.  We were discussing my "employment status" which appears to be  a disappointment to both of my parents--which is ironic, because my mother and my father are very different people. We were discussing the reasons for wanting a "real job": you know the kind, the one where you show up for eight hours a day, five days a week, demonstrate the behaviors appropriate for the culture of the workplace, and in return, you receive a steady paycheck.  My dad said that a "job" or "career" such as this is a source of self-esteem. 

I disagree. 

My self-esteem is not dependent on proving my abilities to a handful of people in positions of authority.  I have had quite a few jobs in the last twenty years; some of them I've enjoyed, and some of them I have fervently detested.  In the majority of jobs I've had, I've found that the skills and abilities that are most valued are regular attendance and the ability to never disagree with those in upper management, or just plain keeping one's mouth shut.  Now, I'm pretty good at showing up for work.  No problem there.  But the other skill, keeping my mouth shut and not saying what I think or feel, is definitely not something I'm good at.  Being able to voice my opinion is important to me.  What's more, I enjoy it.  And sometimes, disagreeing with the higher-ups makes them uncomfortable.  And people don't like to feel uncomfortable. 

Earning the approval, respect, and esteem of others is great.  But compromising my own value system and my own personality in order to do that isn't so great for me.  The good opinion of others isn't the most important thing in the world to me.  There are a handful of people in the world whose good opinion matters to me.  But as we all know, you can't please all the people all the time, so you might as well please yourself. 

Since losing my "real job" this spring, I've had time to focus on what is most important to me--my son and my craft business--and as a result of doing what I love, my self-esteem has soared through the roof.  I feel good about myself when I spend time with my son, doing activities that improve his quality of life, whether that's reading a book together or going for a hike or playing outside.  I've been able to spend time making new products that people pay money for, which is, of course, very gratifying!  I've had opportunities offered to me that demonstrate that I am earning the respect of other people in the world simply by doing what I love most, to the best of my ability. 

That makes me happy and I think that happiness means one is successful, no matter what you do for a living.  John Lennon said it better than I can:  "When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down "happy."  They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As October comes to an end....

I'm trying to make lots of stuff for upcoming craft shows.
I finally finished Jacob's birthday thank-yous tonight. 

I made our November calendar/scrapbook page before November started!  I feel especially proud of myself for this small accomplishment. 

I am happy that Jacob loved his first day of "Gym & Learn" class today. 

I am getting ready for Market Day this Saturday and trying to decide if I can muster up the effort to put together a costume.  My guess is: probably not.  I'm not all that into Halloween, and comfort is important to me, especially when I'll be on my feet for oh, about nine hours straight!  But if you're coming to shop at Market Day, you should definitely wear a costume, if only to enhance my people-watching fun!

I can't believe that this Sunday is the last East Village Sunday Bazaar of 2011!  Time sure flies when you are doing shows every week!  And loving it, might I add.  But I'm looking forward to indoor shows for the rest of the year tent is heavy!  And sometimes wind gusts are rather annoying.

I need to remember to buy some candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters Sunday evening.  I mean, I need to buy some candy that Jacob and Daddy will end up eating because we'll be out trick-or-treating ourselves.  We're obviously in dire need of fresh candy at our house, since I finally threw away the 4th of July parade candy a couple of weeks ago. 

I made flyers with my fall/winter show schedule to mail out to customers and hand out at craft shows and again, checking something else off my never-ending "to-do" list makes me happy. 

And now, I think it's time for some ice cream. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I think this is the official version: Fall & Winter 2011 Shows

I'm pretty sure this is it: here's where I'll be the next couple of months.  Taking my show on the road a little bit this year, as in outside of the Des Moines city limits.  Very exciting, actually!

Sunday, Nov. 6: Fall Festival Arts & Crafts Bazaar, 105 W. 1st Ave. Indianola IA, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday Nov. 11(6;30 to 8:30 p.m.) & Saturday Nov. 12 (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Beaverdale Holiday Boutique @ Holy Trinity, 2926 Beaver Ave., Des Moines.

Market Day Black Friday!!  9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Nov. 25 (duh!) @ the Kirkwood, 4th & Walnut, downtown Des Moines.

Saturday, Dec. 3: Small Town Country Christmas craft show, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Milo IA.

Saturday, Dec. 10: WHAT A LOAD OF CRAFT! 11 to 7, Johnson County Fairgrounds, Iowa City, IA.  This is a new show for me this year and I'm super-excited, because I have heard all kinds of great things about it from my fellow crafty-ites here in Des Moines who have done it before.  Can't wait.  I'm sure all of these shows will be a great time.  It's always fun to meet new customers and see repeat customers.  I've honestly never had a bad time doing a craft show.  That's one big reason why I keep doing them.  Pretty simple:  they are fun. 

So, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, your pizza delivery guy, etc:  shop local and buy handmade for the holidays.  It's a great way to "occupy Wall Street" and also support your local crafters, artists, & makers of wonderful, awesome handmade stuff.  And the person who opens said fabulous handmade gift will be genuinely delighted as well.  Everybody wins. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I've been making books non-stop this month, so I'm spending lots of time using all of these tools.  These are the tools I couldn't live without.  my non-stick scissors (top left), and I can't even recall the manufacturer, but they are a must-have, especially when I'm cutting super-sticky redline "commitment" tape.  Next to the scissors you can see my Corner Chomper, by We R Memory Keepers.  I've been using this so much lately to round journal pages that my right hand is feeling a little bit arthritic!  Bottom right is my Fiskars rotary cutter, which is meant for quilters, but I use it to cut the large pieces of beautiful paper that I use in my journals; it goes hand-in-hand with the long metal ruler on the far right.  Bottom middle is my handy little pair of Zutter wire cutters: I held out on buying these for a while, but I'm so glad I did.  Totally worth it.  On the bottom left is my "heavy-duty" craft knife that came from Harbor Freight Tools.  I use it for lots of different things, from taking books apart to cutting book board.  It was cheap and it works great.  And last, but certainly not least, is my paper cutter: it's new this year.  I used a cheapo plastic one for quite a while, but this one by We R Memory Keepers was affordable (thank you, Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon!) and it works well and I can cut multiple pieces of paper, which has helped me increase my efficiency and keep the carpal tunnel at bay a bit longer!  I think I could cut paper in my sleep......

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In the News...

Yes, this is two consecutive posts that contain the word "news" in the title, but I couldn't come up with anything better, and it really is pertinent. 
If you read The Des Moines Sunday Register (which I'm sure people everywhere in America, not just here in Iowa, do) you might have seen the "Handmade in Iowa" article on page 2 of the Iowa Life section.  Thanks to Paula Reece for including me.  And for spelling my name right.  I'm not kidding about that.  My name has been misspelled throughout my life.  Not to mention mis-pronounced.  So I was very happy for some good, free publicity.  Great timing, too: Market Day is this Saturday, Aug. 27.  And East Village Sunday Bazaar is just two weeks away!  Which means I've got to get busy and stay busy making more books. 

In other important news, I'm also pleased to announce that my journals and cards are now available at White Rabbit Gallery, at 109 South Linn in Iowa City.  You can find out more at  Definitely worth an in-person visit the next time you're in the Iowa City area.  You won't be disappointed.  I hadn't been to downtown Iowa City for many years and it was fun to have some time to walk around the ped mall and pretend I was nineteen again.

Back to my paper and glue!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Big News!

Something very exciting happened a few days ago.....
I travelled south to Osceola to King's Canyon Fine Art and am proud to say that my journals and cards are now available there.  King's Canyon is a wonderful place to visit; there is a wide variety of gorgeous art and handmade items by many Iowa artists.  And they serve delicious lunches, Tuesday through Saturday.  You can find out more on at  If you like them on facebook, you'll even get their weekly lunch menus.  I had a great time talking with Sara King and her mom, Cheryl, on Tuesday.  Sara even invited me to teach a class this!  I am very excited about that.  I am really lucky to meet people like Sara, who I met last year at the East Village Sunday Bazaar, which I am looking forward to doing again this year every Sunday during September and October. 

The other big news will be in your Sunday, Aug. 14 edition of The Des Moines Register.  I am going to be featured in the "Handmade in Iowa" series, which has featured several people I know from Market Day and as well as the ladies of Ephemera, so I feel quite fortunate to be in such good company!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Little Bird Book

The little man and I have become bird watchers these past few months; since we started feeding birds (and other "outdoor pets" as the bags of bird seed refer to the squirrels, ground squirrels, and rabbits who also enjoy devouring bird seed) we have enjoyed learning more about and identifying different birds.  Then I remembered this gorgeous bird and floral print paper that I've had for a couple of years but have only used once or twice and realized it would make a good cover paper.  And luckily I had a lotka paper in a very vibrant hot pink that matched perfectly for the endpapers of this little blank book. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Books & Begonias

This is what's blooming around our house right now: new handmade spiral books and begonias in the backyard.  Love, love, love summertime! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mud and Flowers

I was very happy to pick up a vintage washtub this weekend at the Valley Junction Antique Jamboree; yesterday I got some flowers planted in it.  Maybe I should have waited though, because having a washtub available might have come in handy after Jacob accidentally took a dive into the huge mud puddle in our yard, courtesy of yesterday's torrential downpour. 

How cute is he covered in mud?  Pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.  He handled the situation well:  "Mommy, please help me.  Get me out of this mud puddle."  Apparently he enjoys splashing in puddles but not diving into them; but his little bicycle got stuck and he went face-first over the handlebars.  I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Art in the Park

On Saturday I travelled to Dallas Center for Art in the Park.  It was a great day; even the weather cooperated.  Here are a few pics; I tried getting more creative with my display for my first outdoor show this year and had fun using my mom's vintage typewriter and a birdcage that I picked up for five bucks at Market Day a couple years ago. 
It was nice to get out of Des Moines and do something different.  Mound Park in Dallas Center was a great location for this event and I enjoyed meeting lots of nice people.  I am looking forward to going back next year.
Next up is Market Day on June 25.  Always a good time.  If you're a Farmers Market regular, then you should definitely add Market Day to your agenda.  We're just a few steps away inside the Kirkwood at 4th and Walnut from 9 am until 2 pm. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Perfect Day, start to finish.

Yesterday was one of those rare days where everything went just right.  I woke up early and puttered around in the studio, adding some finishing touches to a few projects.  Enjoyed a beautiful morning with coffee on the patio, feeding our bird visitors, watering the flowers, and yoga before the little guy woke up.  Jacob and I went to the park, made new friends and we found out about the nature education & storytime that happens there every Wednesday; we stayed to enjoy storytime and a short nature hike.  It didn't rain so I hung the laundry on the clothesline.  And a nice surprise: a new customer of mine from Market Day took the time and effort to include a bit about the journal she bought from me on her blog; you can check it out at:  Thanks, Kristin!

I'm so lucky to spend my days with the best little guy ever and doing what I like to do.  Doesn't get much better!  Here's to a wonderful summer. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All in a day's work...

Today was a busy one.  I worked really hard scouring the antique mall for treasures.  Sounds fun, right?  Well, if you're into that sort of stuff, which I am, it definitely is!  And for me, it's part of my job....because making journals out of old books requires finding old books.  Which means that I have to go shopping.  Because it's a job requirement.  Lucky me! 
Found some good treasures today: a few Trixie Beldens (I was fresh out of them!) and my best score was a few volumes of these 1961 Popular Mechanics Illustrated "Home Handyman" Encyclopedias.  They're in pretty bad shape and were crying out for a makeover.  It was kind of funny that I found these today, because I'd just visited a good friend who, along with his lovely wife, are currently in the middle of home remodeling hell (Hi Jerry & Pat!).  Around our house, the home handyman is working on a new fence so we have enough room to put in a swingset for the little guy (who, by the way, will celebrate two weeks of being potty trained tomorrow!).  Father's Day is around the corner so these books found their way to me at just the right time of year.
I also worked on some ideas for my display for Art in the Park in Dallas Center this Saturday, that I'm pretty excited about.  Usually my displays are pretty basic, involving a tablecloth and cramming as much stuff onto the table as I can.  But since I'll have a lot more room for Art in the Park, I'm trying to spruce things up a little.  I don't have it finalized yet, but I can tell you that it involves a birdcage and a beautiful vintage typewriter.  You can always come check it out Saturday, at Mound Park in Dallas Center, from 1 to 5, and I will be sure to post some pics afterwards. 
Okay, back to work.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Market Day is almost here...

I can't wait until Saturday.
I love Market Day. Love, love, love it.
Are there people left in Des Moines who don't know about Market Day? I certainly hope not, but if that should be the case, then please, help those folks educate themselves. Send them directly to this week's Juice or to or the Market Day blog, Or, you could read this post on I just did. And lo and behold, there was a photo of my journals! It is always exciting to find myself out there on the internet.
The best way to learn about Market Day, is of course, to show up. And you can do that THIS SATURDAY. Downtown Des Moines @ 4th & Walnut from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. You won't be sorry. I promise. You will, however, be amazed, delighted, and happy. And when you buy from local artists, makers, curators, & collectors, you make us happy too. So everybody wins.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where to find me: Market Day & more.

Lots of fun stuff coming up and you should come check it out! Here's where you can find me over the next month or so.
On Thursday May 26 I'll be at the Valley Junction Farmers Market again, in the Green Grounds Cafe booth, 4 to 8 pm. Music, food, and crafts...what more could you ask for?

MARKET DAY!! I am very excited to be part of Market Day again this year. Hands down, a truly awesome event! This year Market Day will be located in the Kirkwood Building downtown at 4th & Walnut, just mere steps away from the downtown farmers market. 9 am until 2 pm the last Saturday of the month, May through October. And of course there will be the Black Friday sale in November (more on that down the road).

Dallas Center Art in the Park: Saturday June 4, 1 to 5 pm in Mound Park in Dallas Center, IA (one block west of downtown D.C.) This is a new event for me this year and I am looking forward to it. I get to host a young artist in my space and I think that will be lots of fun. There will be art, food, and more so come check it out!

It is lots of fun to meet people and see returning customers and friends and check out what other crafters & artists are doing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Craft Show Display

Craft Saturday was lots of fun. This is what my table looked like. I'm happy to say that the new collage print cards were a hit! It was great to meet new customers and see some returning ones. Next up for me is the Farmers' Market in Valley Junction this Thursday evening; you can find me at the booth for Green Grounds Cafe. Find it on 5th Street in Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines. You can find all the info at

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Craft Saturday!

If you're in or around Des Moines today, stop by the 4th Street Theatre downtown and check it out. Lots of lovely handmade items; you're sure to find something you love, either for yourself or maybe a unique Mother's Day gift. Noon to six, on 4th Street between Court and Walnut, downtown Des Moines (right next door to Java Joe's). Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring is here and life is good....

Spring! Finally! For me, spring means craft shows. I am busily making journals and collages and cards for my first show of 2011, Craft Saturday. Seriously can't wait. It was good to have a bit of a break, but 4 months without a craft show is plenty long for me. I really like doing them. I also have some other opportunities on the horizon for spring which I'll mention a bit further down the road. The last two weeks have been 2 of the happiest ever for me. At the end of March, I was relieved of my day job due to a "reduction in workforce." The reasons, whatever they might be, don't matter to me. The result does: not having to force myself to go to a soul-stealing day job for a while is like a precious gift to me. I am loving my life so much now that I don't have to go to work. I truly feel like a new woman. Or maybe, my old self. Probably a combination. I feel super-lucky to get to have time with my son, who is fun and amazing and wonderful every day. We are having lots of fun playing outside. We are busy working in the art room. He colors while I make books. I love how he announces each color after he uses it: "I colored green!" I've been enjoying simple pleasures like hanging the towels out to dry on the clothesline. And somehow at the end of the day, I am tired from working and playing hard, rather than feeling exhausted by stress and anxiety like I had felt after a day at my old job. My ultimate dream, of course, would be to never have to go back to working at a day job. I know that's probably not realistic just yet. But it doesn't mean I've given up hope. For now, though, I am grateful for every day that I get to work at home and enjoy life the way life should be enjoyed. If anybody would like more info about Craft Saturday, you can find it here: You can find us in downtown Des Moines on April 30th from noon to 6 p.m. in the 4th Street Theatre, which is adjacent to Java Joe's. Would love to see you there and I know you will enjoy all the fabulous handmade items. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Sale booty and the backstory of my craft adventures.

This weekend is one of my very favorite each and every year: the great big Planned Parenthood Book Sale. I have been going to the book sale for years, because I have always. loved. books. Ask anyone. At one time I had 26 boxes of them that I moved around with me from one apartment to another; I packed them and unpacked them in alphabetical order and was ridiculed for this, but I am after all the daughter of a librarian. So every year I would go to the book sale and be unable to resist such steals as a vintage etiquette book for a dollar. I would read a few pages and then put it on a shelf with other vintage books in my collection. Vintage books make lovely displays in any home, in my opinion. I did this for years and in 2008 I made my first upcycled journal. And then I made a few more, for practice. I got better at it. I started to sell a few. When Belinda from Pure Paper said my journals were nice and offered to sell them in the store, I was elated! I got busy making books. I got brave and applied to craft shows. I had fun and made money--really, what more can you want in life? That's the dream you hear people talk about : do what you love and the money will follow.

The book sale has been, and always will be, one of my very favorite things.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The gals have arrived... my etsy shop, in the form of greeting cards. I know, I'm not the first person in the world to do something like this, but nonetheless, I am super-excited because, let me just say that I LOVE cards! I love buying them, sending them, and of course, receiving them. I don't think electronic communication will ever replace the delight of getting a real old-fashioned greeting card in the mail. Birthday cards, great. Christmas cards, great. But a card just for no reason to say you were thinking of me? Even better! And that's the kind of cards that I've made. They're blank inside so you can send them for absolutely any occasion or for no reason whatsoever.

I'll be listing a couple each day on my etsy. The listings are for single cards, but if anyone wants to order a certain card in quantity, just let me know!

Friday, February 25, 2011


"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." --Anais Nin

For me, this quote speaks to being your true self and to chasing your dreams, whatever they may be. Life is just too short not to, don't ya think?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eye Candy on a Dreary Day

Unusually awful day at the day job today. Thank goodness my latest order from Paper Source was waiting for me on the doorstep when I got home. Can't wait to start using these gorgeous papers in some new journals. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mail Art Rocks

You know it's a good mail day when there's a crown right above your name and address.
And there are cool customized stamps and Katharine Hepburn stamps on the envelope as well.

A few days ago I received the second issue of WWRD? from Sweetwater Studio. What in the heck does "WWRD" mean, you ask? It stands for "What would Ruby do?" Ruby is the studio assistant to the fabulous Kay Sperry, artist in residence at Sweetwater Studio, and the creator of fabulous altered books, altered art, and gorgeous handmade books. I have been lucky enough to take classes and learn from her and laugh with her for the last year. Maybe you saw Kay and Ruby this past fall at the East Village Sunday Bazaar? You can also look for Sweetwater Studio on Facebook and even become a fan! If you want to know more about WWRD, a fabulous newsletter filled with art, wit, and whimsy, become a fan! I so look forward to the days when WWRD arrives in my mailbox.
In other important news, I submitted my application for a craft show today--the first one of 2011, so it's time to get in gear because spring will be here soon (I think? Not so sure looking out the window and listening to the howling wind just now, but I'll pretend to be optimistic) and then the fun will start! I have really missed loading up my tables and my inventory and seeing my craft show friends and meeting new customers. I can't wait for it to start again this year.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

We enjoyed a nice mellow weekend and started celebrating Valentine's Day (or V.D. as we like to call it) by exchanging gifts. The little guy made out like a bandit, fueling his idea that he should get a "present with trains on it" every single day. There was candy, new Starbucks travel mugs, Elmo outfits and monster truck t-shirts, and of course, trains. A good time was had by all. Jacob really seems to have the Valentine spirit and enjoyed making Valentines and handing them to Mom, Dad, and Nana. Also shown above is a bit of Valentine art that I made last year and stowed away with our V.D. decorations. So I felt the need to add a quote and just a hint of glitter to it as it seemed to be lacking that certain something. I just love the vintage Valentine that I copied and included in it; it was one that someone gave my grandpa's brother (my great uncle) many years ago. The quote I added is one by Joan Crawford: "Love is a fire. Whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell."
Happy V.D. everyone!