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!