A few years ago, there was a huge hurricane and we lost many of the trees in this park. I guess the bright side is that now you can see the sky....
...and this little guy still has a home. After this brisk and chilly walk, it was off to the pub for some refresing ale and an order of curry fries. Bye for now.
I had a fantastic christmas. Great time with family, lots of food, and some wonderful presents. I got a few books - among them "The Time Travellers Wife" which I read from cover to cover yesterday and a Marie Antoinette biography, some gorgeous earrings, and a set of "Great Artists" fingerpuppets, complete with their own theatre. I am very happy and appreciative - thanks everyone!
Now that Christmas is over, I've been thinking about my New Year's resolutions. I know, it's terrible to make resolutions because it's like a jinx - none of them ever come true, but I like thinking about the fresh starts the New Year brings and dream about all the things that I will do. So, here are my resolutions, in no particular order:
- start cooking more. I love cooking, but it's kind of fallen by the wayside, so I hope to get more into it in the New Year.
- take better care of myself. Eat better, drink less, etc. I am planning to do another detox once the holiday season is over. I really felt so much better. And, I want to start taking either Yoga or Pilates classes.
- pay more attention to my house. I just want things to be tidy and organized, and beautiful. We did lots of improvements when we first moved in, but we've kind of slowed down a bit. I'm not talking big things - maybe just a bit more storage, and things that will make our life here more comfortable.
- do the things that I want to do with my business and art. I want to keep doing my books, but I'd like to take things a step further and create some designs that are more reflective of me. I think it's easy to get into a "trap" of producing things that are popular, but the real way to be sucessful and fulfilled is to make things that are truly a reflection of who you are.
-learn something new. I want to take a letterpress class this year, and also learn more about photography.
- and daschunds. More daschunds please.
Number of packages to wrap – about a dozen.
Number of pillar candles glowing in the fireplace – six.
Number of cute pink eggs in my new Christmas tree nest – three.
Number of yummy things left to eat -lots, thank goodness!
Number of good friends back in town for a visit - two - yay!
Number of times that I want to listen to "Linus and Lucy" on the Charlie Brown Christmas album - about a zillion - I just love it! (I might not be saying that after a couple of days though!)
Number of days left at work – just one.
Number of books, projects or other crafty commitments left – zero! I am especially happy about this one. While I get so much satisfaction from my little book business and would be totally lost without it, it’s been a very hectic season for me. I am so looking forward to kicking back, reading, enjoying time with family and maybe even finishing up knitting the shrug I started about a year ago.
We are off in a couple of days to spend the holiday with my Mom and Grandmother in Truro. They live out in the country and don’t have access to high-speed internet. So, I will have a bit of a break from blogging and surfing the internet as well. I’m sure I will miss reading all your blogs and finding out what you’ve been up to, but I think that sometimes you need to get away from technology and just connect with the people around you. Sappy, huh?
Happy holidays to everyone!
Well, maybe my life is not quite so secret and fun - I'm busy making another pile of books this weekend - the last little push before Christmas. I got up before the sun this morning to start work- but being Canada in winter, that was not so hard to do. The sun's up now, and it's looking beautiful out there. I'd better get at it so I can go out and enjoy it later. Happy Sunday!
So, when I saw this book at my local bookstore, I was very excited. It has wonderful photos from many of Cary's films, and reminded me of why I love him so much. I know that it's one book on my Christmas wish list, and I'm sure that Shona would echo that sentiment. Cary Christmas everyone! (Like Cary, I cannot resist a corny pun!)
I spent yesterday sprucing the place up, literally. I finished decorating my tree - well, actually, I redecorated my tree after someone came home late after a work party and knocked half the ornaments off. Not naming any names, but this person was in the doghouse for quite a little bit. Anyhow, I decorated my sad little $10 bargain store tree, and I think it looks ok. The branches were a bit sparse, so I filled them in with red berry branches. I've gone for a bit of a "woodland" theme, but really, it's all over the place. I just took all the things I like - disco balls, little birds, butterflies, vintage glass ornaments and lots of pink and silver - and plunked them on the tree. Really, you can't go wrong with a Christmas tree, anything with lights on it looks so pretty. By the way, these are the first photos with my new camera - hurrah! Much better macro and low light functions. There are a couple more over on my Flickr, if you're interested.
The other sprucing came in the form of cleaning. Since the craft show, our house has been a real mess. I spent hours cleaning up, and also hanging some pictures and things that I've meant to do for a while. I finally got the print that Marieke gave me off the mantel and on the wall, and I think it looks quite sweet. Today, I tackle my studio and get back to work on my final pre-Christmas orders. Wish me productivity!
I've been looking, quite obsessively actually, for a camera for the last few weeks. I've had a Canon digital camera for years, one of the first in their "Elph" series, so old that it's only 2.1 megapixels. It's ok, the photos look all right online, but prints come out all pixel-y, with a lot of noise. I've been getting frustrated with my camera for a while, but the final straw for me was my craft show, when I took photos of my booth and products and they turned out, well...crappy. I was hoping to use these photos for future show applications and my upcoming website but they are just not good enough. Also, I'm really starting to enjoy taking photos, and I want the way that I'm setting up the shot in my head to be the final outcome, not the blurry mess that comes out now.
Initially, I thought that I possibly wanted to get a high-end SLR type camera, but I don't think I'm ready for that. There would be a steep learning curve for me, and I couldn't fit it in my pocket. So, in the end, I've decided to go for the little beauty above. It's got a decent number of megapixels (6), optical zoom (x4), image stabilization (good-bye blur!), macro and night shooting modes, and a few manual controls that I can play with. I may still get an SLR down the road, but even if I do, I would still like to have this as a second camera for everyday use. So, it's off to the shop tomorrow for an early Christmas gift. I would have gone tonight, but we're in the midst of the another snow storm. So, I bid you farewell and hit the couch for a film night - I've got a choice between "Friends with Money" and "A Prairie Home Companion." Full review tomorrow...
We came back around 9am the next morning and finished setting up. I was fairly happy with the way everything turned out - the photos that I took aren't really great, but I got loads of nice comments. The show opened at noon on Friday, and when I hadn't sold anything after a few hours, I was a bit worried. But, it suddenly got very busy and I ended up having a pretty good day.
Saturday and Sunday were also good. I had a great time chatting with all the customers, and the other vendors I met were lovely too. Most had been at this market for a few years, and were more than happy to help and watch out for a rookie like me! While the feed back from customers was great, I have to say that getting nice comments from other craftspeople was especially wonderful. A special thanks for this goes out to Alex and Trudy (yes, another Trudi) who were kind supporters and patrons all weekend.And, I must also thank my husband Martin, who has been so patient and helpful through this whole process. I'm having this week off from my studio to regenerate, and we're going to have the weekend in a little cottage by the sea. But right now, my week off starts with the latest episode of Dexter - it's getting really good!
Well, it's finally here, Christmas Craft Market Eve. I'm heading off in an hour or so to set up my booth, and then the market starts tomorrow. My car is sitting in the drive, packed to the gills with stuff, and I'm just finishing off a couple of things before I pick up my husband at work and we go and unload and put together my little Japanese winter wonderland. If by some strange coincidence anyone reading this happens to be in Halifax this weekend, come on by booth number 162 at Dalplex Christmas Craft Market and say "hello." I'll be there, all day, every day.
Best go and finish up. Thanks to everyone for your encouraging words over the last couple of months. Pictured above is a butterfly collage I made recently, and like it says, I must FLY.
The materials are all really simple, and mostly came from my local dollar store, and from my backyard. I'm still planning to make these a bit more wintry, with some glitter and fake snow. I wish that I could make fake cherry blossom bushes all day, but right now, it's back to work on some books.
I'm hoping to do some fun things too though. Perhaps see a movie, get some dinner, get outside while the weather is still kind of bearable. I've been wondering if I should take a blog break, both reading and posting, to get everything done, but I've decided that it's times like these that I really need to blog. Reading all your lovely comments keeps me going, and reading all your wonderful blogs keeps me inspired. So, thanks for your comments and for sharing all your beautiful work. Now, time for some work of my own...
As my show gets closer and closer, I get more nervous, but also more excited. I saw an ad for it in the paper yesterday, and it really hit home - in a couple of weeks time, I will be at the biggest show I have ever done with about 10,000 attendees. I have no idea what to expect. I do know though, that I want to make my little booth really speak to people. I want it to be like my having my own little shop for three days. I want it to be furnished. That's where this big green rack comes in. I went and took an order over to Henhouse today. While the owner was serving a customer, I had a look around. That shop is a very dangerous place for me, I love everything in there, and always want to buy something. Anyhow, this rack caught my eye, I've been looking for something to get my books up off the table, and make them really stand out. I am not sure if I will hang the books from the pegs on strings, or rig up some sort of ledge system. It was originally a herb drying rack from Eastern Europe, but I think that it has a slightly Japanese feel, in keeping with the rest of my "props." It's becoming a Japanese winter wonderland/rustic furniture kind of theme. I just hope that I can pull it off!
Making the covers for a photo album. This is the sticky bit of the operation.
Got distracted and put together my sign for the craft show. Have to get something better than duct tape to secure my branch on there, or that little bird's in big trouble! Every so often, I look up at my lanterns for a happy feeling.
And then it's back to working away (notice giant mess behind me!) into the night...
As usual, I've been slogging away on my books. I've still got a few weeks to go until my show, and I have no idea what to expect in terms of numbers, etc, so I'm just trying to make as much as I can! I am getting a little burned out, and feel like I need to step back a bit and get some perspective. I just have to remember that whatever happens at the show, it's not the end of the world. If I don't sell anything - I will just have more stock for my other clients. If I sell out early, I will just take orders and spend lots of time looking at other booths and chatting with people. If I look at it this way, it's really a win/win situation.
In other news, my mom, grandmother and auntie visited for a couple of days last week, which was nice, but crazy busy. It was my grandmother's birthday, and she and I went off to see Randy Travis. Not my favorite musician, but my grandmother is my favourite person and I'll do just about anything for her, including spending a few hours in an auditorium full of senior citizens listening to twangy country music.
And now, it's the weekend again! More book making, but hopefully, also some relaxing, eating, drinking and movie watching. TTFN!
If I had a practice of naming my books, which actually isn't a bad idea, I think I'd name this one Andie, after Molly Ringwald's character in "Pretty in Pink." I'll admit, it's pretty sad that I know the names of the characters in that movie, but I am a true child of the 80's.
There is something in the combination of pink and red in this book that reminds me of the movie, and of Molly. Maybe I am thinking of the tragic pink prom dress she wore (no wonder Blaine didn't ask her - yikes!) in combination with her red hair?
Although I loved this movie as a "tween", I don't think that I ever thought this dress was cool. In fact, as I've mentioned in previous posts, my colour sense is pretty boring in the everyday. I'm a basic black kind of girl. However, when it comes to my books and artwork, I love colour. The more loud and garish the combination, the better. Take a peek inside this album - the pages are a colour called strawberry. Red, pink and strawberry...I think that Andie (and Duckie!) would approve.
After a great Friday night dinner at Janes, we felt like watching a fun movie, so we rented "The Philadelphia Story" again. It's a great film, with lots of "star power" - Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart are all great in it. Jimmy Stewart's "drunk scene" is especially good. In fact, I think that Jimmy might be replacing Cary in my affections. I also watched "Harvey" again a few weeks ago, and Jimmy was absolutely fantastic in it. In case you haven't seen "Harvey" it's a movie about a man who has a 6-foot tall invisible rabbit as a companion - I think it was a sort of pre-cursor to "Donnie Darko."
Anyhow, for the rest of the weekend, it's been work on my books. I am just going back into the studio now to get started. Then, maybe another classic film tonight, perhaps "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" - haven't seen that one yet. Ciao!
It's been a good afternoon. It was incredibly sunny outside and I got to leave work early. I wandered leisurely downtown checking out a few shops. In my fave shop Biscuit, I found this laptop bag. I've been looking for ages for a laptop bag that has a bit of style, not the generic black one that you see everywhere, and I think that this one fits the bill. Up until now, I've actually been carrying the computer around in the cardboard box it came in and, although it has a handle, that's not very chic at all. I gotta go, because we're going out for dinner - it just gets better and better. Happy weekend!
Speaking of house arrest, I've been working on a project that I got from "Martha Stewart Weddings" - these are little crepe paper cherry blossoms that I'm going to decorate my craft fair booth with. I think this project appeared in "Weddings" sometime last year, and it's really cool. The blossoms get attached to tree branches with hot glue, it's very sweet. I'll show you some pictures of the finished project when I get there. I've probably only got about a hundred cherry blossoms to go...
For me, lately, it's all about black and white. I've always loved wearing black and white (a lot of this is laziness on my part - I buy lots of things in black and white because, well, it matches), and now I'm seeing it everywhere - it's even creeping into my work. I made this little book today, when I saw this beautiful black and white (with a touch of blue) chrysanthemum paper, I had to have it. Black and white is also showing up in home fashion, like this plate by Marimekko...
And on the runway in this dress by Stella McCartney. Vogue has named black and white as one of the top trends for spring 2007. I love it when the cycles come round, the planets align and I end up being in fashion again!
I did getlots of work done this weekend, but I'm feeling exhausted and suffering from a bit of cabin fever. We were meant to go out to a movie tonight, but I think we are both feeling a bit tired, and after dinner, we may just curl up in front of the telly. "Dexter" is on tonight, so that would be good to watch. I am still not sure if I totally like this show, I mean, I like it - but I just wish that Dexter was not a serial killer. But then, there goes the plot. Best go and get the dinner together. The picture above is a flower I saw on my walk down the street today.
I thought I'd share some links from the lovely Japanese book that Marieke sent me (ISBN 4-07-250056-9). I know that I should turn them into hyperlinks, but I've been working on this post for two days, and the internet keeps cutting out, or my computer crashes, or I just get too darn tired - so I hope you don't mind cutting and pasting into your address bar. Here they are - enjoy!
http://www.anano.net - the cutest stuffed bears ever!
http://www.shirokumasha.com - furniture and zakka
http://www.tupera-tupera.com/ - illustrators, a bit like eric carle
http://www.le-duvet-doux.com - lovely muted zakka
http://blog.livedoor.jp/liecot/ - chewi-choak blog - I like this blog, although I can't understand a word, and it's got links to some great bookbinding books on amazon japan.
http://www.colobockle.jp/index.html - another great illustrator
http://www21.ocn.ne.jp/~jellyfis/ - kyoko kurabe - prints and handmade books
http://www.bonboog.com/ - cute stationery and home products
http://www.2dimanche.com/ - wonderful Japanese books on French and European style
http://www.l-musee.com/ - beautiful buttons and beads
http://www.monmagasin.net/ - wonderful French inspired Japanese shop. A picture of their interior is below - I can imagine spending some quality time (and serious yen!) there.