Saturday, January 28, 2012

Typing-Book Sketchpad & Typewriter Tablet

To continue my typewriter theme this week, here are a couple tablets I just finished.  The larger one is a sketchpad upcycled from an old typing book.  I love these.  The small one is paper-over-board, a good size to tuck in your bag to jot down important or not-so-important stuff.  I just love this typewriter paper; if you need some too, you can find via Paper Source (  The inside of these look like this:
Red faux-crocodile for the typewriter tablet. 
Funky, retro checks for the typing-book sketchpad. 
(This fabulous paper is from Hollander's,

I have another old typing book I'm going to do, and the plan is to put the typewriter
paper on the inside covers.  Because I just can't resist. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Inspiration: Vintage Typewriter

This is my mom's typewriter.  Although I must admit, I sort of think of it as mine now, since I've had it in my possession for several months.  I started using it as a display prop at shows when I have a big booth space to fill.  People of all ages are drawn to it.  One little boy called it "an old-fashioned computer."  Which, I suppose, is fairly accurate.
My mom got this typewriter in the autumn of 1960, at the beginning of her senior year of high school.  It went with her to secretarial school, and she used it to write letters home to her parents when she moved to Colorado and Texas when my dad was in the service.  I remember her typing letters on it into the 1980s.  I remember her telling me not to touch it.  And I remember sneaking the case open when I was old enough to be home alone.  This typewriter has been around. 
I have a typewriter of my own that is probably old enough now to also be vintage; it, too, is a Smith-Corona, but mine is electric.  I got my sophomore year in high school and used it my first couple years of college.  I used to make a little extra beer money by typing papers for friends at a rate of one dollar per page.  I preferred typing on my trusty typewriter in my dorm room rather than waiting in line in the computer lab in the basement of Burge Hall at the University of Iowa.  I even used it well into the nineties when my second-hand computer died on me the night before a final paper was due when I was going to Drake.  I still use it today for little stuff, like scrapbook journaling (just used it yesterday, as a matter of fact, to type up some quick journaling for this week's Project Life layout).  Ribbon for it is becoming a little hard to find, which kind of worries me.  Because I love my typewriter. 
Yes, I'm old school.  And I'm okay with that. 
So, to honor this trusty old-school technology, I made some cards featuring a photo of the 1960 Smith-Corona.  They're plain and simple, but I like them:
One is a thank you card, one is a birthday card, and one is a "hello there" card.  Nothing fancy, but I think they work.  Just like my trusty old typewriter.  I love that I never have to worry about it crashing. 
In case you want one, these cards are available in my shop, and I'll be bringing them to craft shows as well. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

I love this part.

Deciding which paper to use for the inside covers of my journals is probably my favorite part of the creative process.  For reasons I can't quite explain, it is just so much fun for me.  For some covers, it's an easy choice.  For others, I have to spend a bit more time debating; like with this cover from a 1930 Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, which I scored on ebay.  (Book police, please note: this book is possibly a first edition, true.  However, it was already in pieces when it was put up for auction on ebay, so I didn't destroy a valuable artifact.  Thank you.)  The cover is simple, just silver with black text, so theoretically lots of papers would "match" it.  But I had the book for about ten days before I made a commitment, and I'm glad I waited until my most recent order from Paper Source arrived, because this fan-tab-ulous red floral paper was perfect.  I love red.  I love the contrast between the plain cover and the floral inside.  I love that it won't be too matchy-matchy.  The finished journal looks like this:

I have made a few journals out of old BH&G books, inspired by a special order from a customer, and I love working with them.  They are a nice size and just perfect for upcycling.  And since Meredith Corporation is located right here in Des Moines, I like to think of it as not just repurposing these old books, but repurposing locally

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In the studio

Here's what's been happening at our house lately:

I have a new apprentice in the studio; his name is Jacob, he is three years old, and he loves to paint.
He wants to paint every day.  And so I let him, even if it's a tad messy.  I let him because he loves it and because I'm pretty sure my parents never let me paint at eight in the morning, or any other time of the day, for that matter.  Because I might have made a mess.  Messes were discouraged.  But sometimes, things that are fun are messy.  So if Jacob wants to paint, that's what we do.  Now he even has his very own toolbox with his very own paints and brushes in it, just like Mom.  A couple of weeks ago he said to me, "Mom, I want to do what you do."  We further discussed this matter and it's been decided that Jacob is going to make stuff and do craft shows with me.  I am looking forward to that.  Hopefully he won't change his mind.  But if he does, that's okay. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello New Year!

I love the feeling of a fresh start that a new year brings.  And another thing I love about a new year is that it means new calendars.  I love calendars, always have.  I like writing down birthdays and events and the feeling of anticipation and planning ahead that I get when I start a new calendar.  And of course, when it comes to calendars, I'm totally old school: no electronic calendars for me.  It's all about the paper. 

2012 will be the fourth year that I will be making a calendar, which becomes a scrapbook of our year.  Essentially it's just creating a scrapbook layout as the art for each month.  Here's a quick look at a few of my favorites from last year's calendar:

For me, the trick to keeping up with this ongoing project is to keep it quick and simple.  Usually I spend about ten minutes putting together the page for each month.  Either I snap a new picture or use a very recent one, because I like the calendar to show what's happening at the moment.  Then I just grab some bits and pieces and scraps of paper that I've got close at hand and stick'em on the page and call it good.  Once in a while I'll spend a bit more time on it and dig out some embellishments from my stash, like I did for October's layout.  That month is special because it's Jacob's birthday, so I will spend more time on it.  Other layouts, like the ones for August and January, are totally simple and took five minutes. 
Here's the page I made this morning for January:
This page consists of a piece of pattern paper cut to fit the calendar (I use the 8.5" x 11" Archiver's blank calendars), a piece of polka-dot tape (might be 7Gypsies, but I'm not sure), a piece of sparkly red rickrack, a few letter stickers (October Afternoon), and some staples for a bit of extra texture and to make sure everything stays put.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

My tip for making your own calendars is to go through and put the dates on for each month in advance.  I didn't do this the first couple years and then it became more of a hassle when I wanted to jot something on the calendar ahead of time.  There are month stickers available, like the clear ones I used this year.  Last year I used my favorite typewriter font stamps to stamp each month, and I've also just used my own handwriting.  I also double check my dates with another calendar to make sure I keep all my days straight. 

I love how these calendars show the day-to-dayness of our life.  I try to jot down as much info as I can, like funny things Jacob says, in addition to events (birthday parties, concerts, craft shows) and routine stuff like doctor appointments, etc.  It's a great record of our life.  These calendars also help me remember stuff when I want to create a page for our scrapbooks; since I'm woefully behind on those, I need something to help me remember. 

But of course, one of my New Year's resolutions is to get caught up on my scrapbooking. 

Happy 2012!