I didn't have a very productive weekend. These are pretty much the fruits of my labour - three chunky little photo albums. Although I quite like their chunkiness, I was hoping to finish a bit more work. Still, my weekend was productive in other ways - we went out on Friday night and saw "The Prestige" which I really enjoyed. Slept in on both Saturday and Sunday...ate some yummy pizza...got a new winter hat. So, I guess the weekend was not a total loss.


Portrait of a Reader

This is me, circa 1980, with Gypsy - I was about 8 years old. She was my favorite pony at the riding school that I attended for a few years. I started thinking back to this time in my life while listening to an essay called "Why Bother" on the audiotape of Jonathan Franzen's "How to be Alone" that I was listening to while working on my books this weekend. The essay explores the issue of how fewer people seem to be reading nowadays, and Franzen questions why he should bother writing novels. The bit of the essay that really caught my attention was Franzen's citation of the work of Shirley Heath,a linguistic anthropologist,who has studied the reading habits of children. When I heard her description of the "social isolate" reader, I felt as though she was describing me. The social isolate reader has a "displaced" sociabilty. While she may be very social, she feels different from everyone around her and finds her community in the books that she reads. I was painfully shy as a child, and loved to read - still do. Another characteristic of the social isolate reader is that she feels restless without the company of books, and must return to reading - in Franzen's words "may feel a gnawing, almost remorseful need to be alone and do some reading to reconnect to that community", and it's this need amongst people like me that is keeping the literary novel alive. Another facet of the theory is that many social isolates turn out to be writers, and while that doesn't describe me, perhaps it's the reason that I love making books. It's a mediative, solitary exercise that allows my mind to drift and enter an imaginary world. I can become the little girl in the picture again, well, minus the horse. It's kind of ironic that listening to "How to be Alone" made me feel a part of a wider community of readers.


Missing in Action

That title pretty much sums up my last week - unintentionally missing from my blog - but definitely in action!

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!


Marie Antoinette Rocks!

I saw "Marie Antoinette" tonight. I thought it was fantastic - the movie is a real feast for the eyes. In one scene, a character describes M. as "delightful, like a little piece of cake" and that's what the lovely ice-cream pastel pallette of the movie brings to mind. The photo above is an exception, showing Kirsten Dunst as M. in her finest red chinoiserie - a girl after my own heart! I would most definitely recommend this beautiful and inspiring movie.


Happy lucky me.

Unlike the title of my post, I've been feeling a bit down and tired the last couple of days. I've been busy in my day job, and busy working on my books for the show. I took a little bit of a break tonight, but my mind is still racing, thinking of all the things I have to do over the next couple of weeks. But, when I think about it more, I really can't complain. People are paying me to do something I love, even if it's only part-time, and I've got lots of good things going on in my life. I've got a partner, friends, family, a comfortable (if messy) home and the luxury of complaining about it all once in a while. Now that I've had my whinge, I'll toddle off to bed and be happy lucky me again tomorrow. Good night!


Pretty in Pink

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.

The Philadelphia Story

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!


Computer Geek Chic

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!


The paper has landed!

I ordered a whole bunch of paper from Paper Source, and it's finally arrived - woo hoo! I got lots of great colours to make the pages of my albums. They really do make the nicest colours that I have never seen anywhere else, and, their customer service and packaging are excellent. I also got their handy dandy swatch book, as pictured above, for future reference. So, now it's back to house arrest for me, as I use this lovely paper to finish off my albums!
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...


The reasons why I love this town...

This photo was taken (unfortunately not by me) on a city street here in Halifax over the weekend. Apparently, the deer used a cross walk to get across the road at a busy intersection just ahead. Not sure where they came from, but I hope they reached their destination safe and sound...


Black and White

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!


Long Weekend

It's a been a long weekend here in Canada, and I've been under a self imposed house arrest, trying to get lots of work done for the craft show. It was a bit unfortunate really, since it was a very beautiful and gorgeous weekend. I did sneak out this morning for a brief break, and walked down to Tim Hortons for tea and a muffin. Tim Hortons is a bit of a Canadian institution, especially here in the Maritimes, it's fast food type coffee and donuts kind of place and I wouldn't normally go there to sit and read the papers - but I have to say that it was nice this morning. It was the only place open on the holiday, so there were lots of people there and it had a bit of a community feeling. If only they had some decent cappucino, maybe I would go there more often.

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.


Beta Schemta

I switched over to the Blogger Beta last night, and I'm starting to think that was a mistake. I kind of did it on impulse, and didn't really read about it beforehand. I was attracted by the typepad-like label features, etc, and didn't know about the drawbacks. I can't post a comment on a non-beta blog, I have to set up my special banner all over again - right now, it's just all too difficult. I'm going to go have a glass of wine and think things over.


Cool Japanese Links

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.


Treats and Treasures

The name of Marieke's blog is perfect - she sent me an amazing box of treats and treasures the other day! It all started a few weeks ago when I posted about a tool that I use in my bookbinding - we decided to do a little swap, I would send her the tool and some magazines, and she would send me a surprise. When I opened the box, I was thrilled - Marieke knows all my loves and obsessions. There was a Japanese book on artists workspaces (it's really great - I'll share some images soon), marie claire magazines from France (both incredibly inspiring - I wish I could get things like this in Canada!), a sweet notebook, a lovely bird candle (which I don't want to burn because it's so cute), hand-printed notecards in glassine envelopes and some candies in the most beautiful packaging.

But best of all, Marieke included one of her "hello" prints. I'm going to frame it up very soon and put it in a special place in my house. So, thank you dear Marieke, for your thoughtful and wonderful box of treats and treasures!