Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Memories

OK, I can't resist it, I have to do a Michael Jackson posting today. I know he got really weird, crazy . . . and white in recent years, but he still holds a prime spot in a lot of my good childhood memories. I just have to share today.

Michael Jackson's Thriller was the first album that I remember liking and wanting. I was probably 6 or 7 when it came out, and just LOVED Billie Jean. I remember my dad buying the tape and always wanting to put it on and dance around the house. When the Jacksons were going to be touring in 1984, I wanted to go sooooo bad. It was impossible to get tickets, but my dad was able to score some the day of the concert! I remember him calling home when I got home from school and telling me to be ready when he got home from work. For some reason, "getting ready" involved 8 year old me thinking it was a good idea to shave my legs. (???)

The show was great, we had floor seats and I can remember being so overwhelmed and excited. I still have the concert shirt, I'm wearing it today! (It must have been huge on me back in 1984.) I still have the concert book too.

My other awesome Michael Jackson memory is the Grammy Awards back in 1984. I was dying to see him perform. I remember I needed to be in my pajamas and all ready when it started, and I was allowed to stay up a half hour past my bedtime. Of course, this was the pinacle of Michael's career. He was the finale, and everything he was up for were the final awards given out. Bedtime came long before before any good footage and I went to bed bummed. Remember, this was pre-youtube, even pre-VCR. Missing it meant missing it!

When it was time for his performance I was fast asleep (as was my mom), my dad came up to my room, scooped me out of bed, and brought me down to watch him perform Billie Jean. Aaahh, it was SO good! Plus, I was the only person in my class who had seen it! (Note to parents: waking kids up in the middle of the night might mean they'll be tired and crabby the next day . . . but they'll still be psyched about it 25 years later.)

I also remember trying to moonwalk across our kitchen floor, sleeping at a friend's house to watch the Thriller video (we didn't have cable) and then being scared from it. To this day, I never make a party playlist without a couple of Michael Jackson songs and I always requst some Jackson 5 at any wedding I go to (and usually specify to use the version of ABC with the "shake it, shake it, baby" part).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Need Some Feedback

The one negative thing about being in my home studio all day, is that sometimes I really want some creative feedback. I've had this project sitting on my desk for so long, that I'm thinking that cyberspace just might be the place to throw it out for some feedback.

When I moved recently I went through my small collection of textiles. In that box was this little piece I had done years ago. These tiny little weaving studies that I did and then cut apart and sewed onto a piece of muslin. I sort of felt like I wanted to do something else with those little weavings. I pulled some of them off and thought they'd make cool cards. What do you think?

I have some in pairs, some alone, some in collages with paper. I can't decide about them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Cloth in Action

Today I woke up to find my book cloth perfectly dry and ready to be put into action. I finally made something that will stay with me and not end up in my Etsy shop, an awesome photo album for our trip to Kauai in January 2008.

I'm sure you're learning that I have a thing for Hawaii. The hula girl fabric I used, I bought a couple of years ago from because I thought it would make cute curtains in my kitchen. It did.

Curtains made, had extra. Decided to make book cloth for a Kauai journal to bring.

Still had some left over, so I made a super cute tote bag.

Fast forward a year and a half, I've moved and the curtains no longer are being used and I have yet to make a photo album with all the Kauai photos!

So, yesterday's book cloth was made with what had been my kitchen curtains. I had intended to make this album for ages. (Got the prints back in August, then folded all the paper for the inside around January, and had all the photos mounted in by March.)

Yesterday I decided having the album done would be a great gift for DJH to celebrate our 3 years together. (Check out what he gave me, here. Killer!) I think it looks awesome. Happy hula girls on the covers, bright orange book cloth (bought at Paper Source) for the soft spine and sturdy paper inside. Makes me want a mai tai!

Here are some photos of the process:

Here's the dry book cloth, ready to go.

Glued onto the covers, cloth spine added.

Ready to start sewing. This is a fat album, we were there 2 weeks!

Getting near the end. I like to put the photos in before I sew so I allow for enough room and minimal bulge.

Look at that nice spine. I love it :)

There it is all done.

I love when a book opens flat, that's essential for me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How To: Book Cloth

I've been putting off a project lately . . . because it's for me. The only down side to selling stuff I make, is that I definitely put off the projects for me now. I've had a project lingering for far too long (more on that tomorrow) but decided today that I need to finish it by tomorrow. Nothing like a deadline to kick things into gear. I think the main thing I was putting off was making the book cloth from fabric that I wanted to use. Well, I just made it and forgot just how fast and easy it is. (Note to self: book cloth is no longer an acceptable excuse for procrastination.)

I thought I'd share how I learned to make book cloth. If you make it another way, or have some tips, please let me know in the comments!

Step 1: Mix up some wheat paste. This is available in any art supply store and is super easy to mix up, just follow the instructions on the bottle. It will be a yogurt-like consistency when it's ready.
Step 2: Cut your fabric to the desired size and press crisply. I find it easier to make smooth, bubble-free book cloth with smaller pieces, so I cut the fabric to the size I need for my project.

Step 3: Cut your paper down to the same size as the fabric. For paper, you want to get a really thin, but strong paper. Kozo paper is very fine, yet very sturdy. I hate to use the phrase rice paper, since that's for egg rolls, but think of that when picking paper. (If you're in Providence, the RISD store has the best paper selection in town.)

Step 4: Lay your fabric face down on a smooth surface, check to make sure you have no stray fiber bits on the back and saturate with water using a spritz bottle.

Step 5: Using a brush, coat the fabric with the wheat paste. Make sure it's smooth and not gloppy in any one area.

Step 6: Lay the Kozo paper down on top carefully and press down firmly. I press starting from the center and work out to the edges. Make sure there are no bubbles anywhere.

Step 7: Blot out the excess water with newsprint.

Step 8: Hang or lie flat to dry. I put them on the window.

It should take about a day to dry. Check back tomorrow to see what I use it for!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Out in the Wild

Last week a customer who I did a custom journal for sent me some photos of her journal out in the wild, on a train in Ireland. How cool is that? The journal had a map of Ireland, and showed each of the cities she'd be visiting.

Totally made my day! I love seeing The Irish Times and the gorgeous lush Irish landscape out the train window. I hope my journal had a Guinness!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rain Boots

I never thought I lived in a climate that could justify owning super cute, loudly printed rain boots. Well, that was before June 2009, now I'm having second thoughts. I'm a firm believer that rain gear should be bright and loud to brighten up the day. Maybe I should hit Target today and pick up a pair. (Some of these are even on sale for just under $13!) I'm torn, I think the stripey ones might be my favorite.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ready to Bind

I've been feverishly making more books all week for this Saturday's Open Market. I'm amazed at how quickly all my Providence and Rhode Island books go, so I'm stocking up. I do things in stages. Cut paper, fold paper, make covers, then sew. It's a little daunting when I stage everything to sew and realize I have this many to do. Hopefully it doesn't pour the whole day and keep everyone inside. I've got some good ones!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stuff Other People Make: My Table

I have an uncle out in Colorado who does a lot of beautiful woodworking. He made this table for me 10 years ago and I'm pretty sure he even turned that knob on his lathe (not sure I have all the terminology right on that one). I think it was a graduation gift, but I remember him giving it to me when I first moved to Providence and had my first apartment.

I'm often quoted as saying that the nicest furniture I own is this table and my loom. It's now traveled with me to its 4th home and is prominently featured when you walk through the front door and looks great with fresh flowers on it. I love that when you pull out the drawer and turn it over, you can see where he signed and dated it, such an heirloom.

Once I was bummed about a nick it got in it during a move and he said "Think of it as its history." That made me feel better. Years after he made it, he sent me this photo he took while building it. I love seeing process photos.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Remember the Sun?

OK, I expect seasonal depression and being crabby because of gray skies for days at a time in February, but June?! June, with its promises of sunshine, al fresco dining and sunscreen, is supposed to be what I look forward to in February to get me through the gray days!

Stretches of gray usually inspire me to sit around and think about Hawaii. Last night I watched a Hawaii Five-O episode and today did a quick Etsy search of Hawaii themed items. Since we have no actual sunshine to feed our souls, maybe some of these cute things will help.

Super cute wooden hula doll, by myfriendamy.

I wonder if the seller would fill this with Maui Chips before shipping it to me, by SasakiCreations.

Fun aloha notecard, by juniperberry.

Retro Hawaii pendant, by pennydogaccessories.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Providence Art Festival

Great turn out this weekend at the Providence Art Festival. As promised on Friday, I did make sure the sun came and graced us with sunshine all day long. A lot of people came out, I think everyone had cabin fever from a week of rain! I was positioned near fabulous artists and fellow members of Arts in RI, an Etsy street team. We made a pretty impressive showing, if I do say so.

Again, I did well, sold out of all the Providence and Rhode Island journals (so I'll be making a ton more this week) and ended up with some custom orders for places like Iran, Mali and Hawaii. I love people who end up telling me why they're buying a particular journal. I originally had thought of my books as travel journals, but now I realize that they're far more than just for traveling. More often then not, people are buying them for a special connection they have to a place and it's fun to hear what that is.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This weekend in Providence

Despite the best efforts of our mayor and the firefighters, Providence will still be bustling this weekend as the US Conference of Mayors descends on the city. Full hotel rooms, restaurant reservations, this is just what the city needs right now. I'm bummed Joe Biden won't be here :(

For all you mayors attending, and for everyone else who has cabin fever from this week of rain, come on down to the Providence Art Festival right in the heart of downtown. It's from 10:30 - 5:30 and will be full of handmade goodness, great gifts for Fathers Day, music, a beer garden and lots of sunshine. I promise, I'm in charge of bringing the sun, so it'll definitely be there.

Later that night, there will be a Waterfire, and the Ballroom dance floor will be up for Latin dancing. Loads of fun for our wee city. Come on out!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cultivating Life

At long last, I can tell you about my paper making and peach project that I've been keeping under wraps.

Yesterday I was a special guest on the TV show Cultivating Life, a show about outdoor living. Each episode has a different theme and is made up of a variety of segments, such as food, garden, crafts, and building. I was the craft guest for the vegetable show! I taught the show's host, Sean Conway, how to make paper, and make it vegetable related by putting a lot of veggie seeds in the paper, and flowers we had harvested from his garden. It's filmed outside, in Tiverton, RI.

This was a whole lot of fun. I've never done anything of the sort before, and it was cool to get a behind the scenes look at how a television show is filmed. I also was assured that it looked good, went smoothly, and my hair didn't start to look like a frizzy mess despite the mist and drizzle. (I'm a leo, I can't help it, I'm vain about my hair looking good.)

My episode was vegetable, and my good friend Deborah's show was peaches, where she demonstrated stenciling. I helped her design and make some of the products which were displayed during her demostration.

Of course, I totally forgot to give someone a camera while I was up there! Blast! I did, however, sneak a few shots of Deborah while she was up there and of the peach display.

I'll be sure to let you all know when it airs. They film all summer, so I'm not sure if it'll air in the fall, or next spring, but I'll be sure to spread the word when I find out. I guess it's always possible I could end up on the cutting room floor, but I hope not!

Move over, Martha! There's a new crafty chick hitting the television scene!