Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 round up

seems like most of the blogs i've been following are doing round ups of things they've done in i'll hop on the bandwagon and put in my list of things i did/experienced:

- got an awesome puppy
- received a puppy friendly plant for my birthday & managed to keep it alive
- started working in a gun shop
- got my car fixed (from someone backing into me the year before)
- started blogging consistently
- redesigned my website
- rocked a pistol & carbine class
- went on a day hike
- went on an overnight hike
- bought a wilson combat 1911
- made a bunch of custom orders
- met bfff's family
- had my first "first friday" show
- sadly lost one of my parents doggies
- two new stores (artique ltd & josephines) started carrying my artwork
- entered two big craft shows (bad girls & museum) & sold a ton of my artwork
- got a credit card
- celebrated an awesome year of living with my bfff

i'm not so sure about resolutions for 2010 but i do think that i'll have a few goals to aim for...but i'll share those later. i need to think about them some more. hope you all had an amazing 2009!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


i was working on a couple of projects around the house last night. one big project - filing. i HATE filing. i love the result of having things organized, but the actual process of filing is just awful. so i put it off. and put it off. and then 10 months later, it's the end of the year and i have to file because i'm looking for something important. so i did that, and its a relief to be done with it.

while i was downstairs filing, the puppy would come down and visit, check on me, or bring a toy to play with. i'd check on him occasionally too. i finally get finished stuffing things in drawers and head upstairs...lo & behold, vito opened up another present...that wasn't his! (it's for our neighbor's baby girl) and he looked SO disappointed that it wasn't a toy - he had this look on his face like a little kid getting underwear for christmas instead of a super cool robot. it was pretty hilarious.

the other project is a secret for now....i did a lot yesterday and will hopefully get most of it done in a couple more days. my friend jamie (aka partner in crime) might help too. i'll have pictures this weekend. i'm so excited!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

much love's fill in the blanks

i was reading the blog Much Love and decided to answer anna's fill in the blanks:

one thing that you loved in 2009? being loved & appreciated by my bfff
one thing you're loving this very moment? the anticipation of seeing my happy puppy soon
one thing that you'd love to do next year? get out of this chilly state for vacation! (among a laundry list of other things....)

how about you?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

merry christmas!

puppy's first christmas with us!!

i hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


well hello! i wonder what these little guys are for... (i based the dog off of my puppy)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


look what i got! what a nice surprise!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

custom orders

finished my second round of custom orders yesterday! two small address books & one large address book, plus a photo album with a box, which is still in process. the box set is my last custom order of the year and it's turning out quite nice so far. i'm using a japanese paper with hues of green & gold, for the covers of the box and the album:

thanks to papermojo for the pic

then the inside will have two different neutral colors of mulberry paper with a tissue lace layer flecked with silver & gold over that. it'll be gorgeous!

i'm looking forward to get this last order done so i can do some serious cleaning. my studio looks like a bomb of paper exploded inside of it. and the mess has flooded into my office (aka storage room of random boxes). one of my goals is to have the studio & office organized and in working order by the new year. which includes moving the art stuff that has also invaded the living room. and kitchen table.

wish me luck! i'm going to need it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

etsy addiction

why can't i stop ordering things from etsy? seriously. i have my christmas shopping pretty much done. there is no logical reason to keep buying things. but it sure is FUN!

i've really enjoyed browsing for random things on etsy and managed to only buy myself one little thing - a 4"x5" matted watercolor koi from fish fanatic. check it out:

photo thanks to fish fanatic

i have yet to start putting my products up for sale on etsy. i was planning to get that done after the shows were over, but it's the holidays and things are busy! (not to mention a number of things i was going to post ended up selling, so i have to make more books!) i have a handful of custom orders to finish up and some christmas presents to make too....then it'll be etsy posting time. here's a pretty cool article about selling on etsy that i found from the blog a cup of jo. it discusses how people are quitting their day jobs & pursuing their hobbies & passions. very cool.

and i'll leave you with this picture i snapped yesterday on my way to lunch:

p.s. now that i look at that picture again, it looks like the red car ran into the usps truck. it didn't.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

christmas shopping - etsy style!

i just finished up my first round of custom orders last night! a large address book & two medium sized boxes with removable trays. they are currently drying under some weight, so i'll get some pictures soon.

can you believe christmas is in 9 days?! i actually have my shopping pretty much done, for once. and a lot of my shopping was on etsy! i picked up some great finds from new sellers & some old favorites. i'll post some of them after christmas, since i don't want to ruin any surprises under the tree! here's some of those sellers:

Barry Singer of Fish Fanatic - he makes gyotaku, which are Japanese fish rubbings. literally. he inks up a fish & pulls a print from it. the detail that is captured is AMAZING. he also has some original watercolor pieces too. i know i should be shopping for other people, but i did treat myself to a little gift - a small watercolor koi. he is a pleasure to work with too. here's a couple of other pieces i've purchased from him in the past (pictures thanks to fish fanatic):

rainbow trout gyotaku

original rainbow trout watercolor

Bread and Badger
- they etched glass home goods with fun hand drawn designs. very cool items with a wide array of choices. and the items i received are very durable - glasses have to be pretty sturdy around our humble abobe. here's something i bought as a gift (picture thanks to bread and badger):

crow's catch - gorgeous handmade jewelry by Irene Wood. we went to school together and i came across her jewelry not too long ago. her artwork was so inspiring back in school, just as her jewelry is now. go browse her etsy shop - i'm sure you'll find something you love. a couple of my favorites (pictures from crow's catch etsy site) :

more to come later! have a good wednesday...

Friday, December 11, 2009


alaskan winters are known for two things: cold & dark. lots of it. the cold hasn't been so bad this year, as the temperature is hanging around the mid-teens right now. but the dark is getting to me more than normal. the sun rises at 10am and sets before 4pm. i feel drained, like i'm going into hibernation mode - although i'm probably still catching up from all of the art shows & work in the past couple of months.

in the midst of all the cold & dark, anchor-town has been seeing a lot of fog. or i guess not seeing, since you can't see through fog. anyhow, the fog has left behind a layer of frosty-ness on everything, making the great outdoors gorgeous. see:

even the weather is decorating for the holidays!

hello kitty

i came across this awesome site:, thanks to jenn ski's blog. lots of fun things to browse, from clothes & accessories to home decorations & really random stuff. clothing prices seemed to be fairly reasonable too, for some cute & different things.

another reason i like this site: HELLO KITTY! i have loved hello kitty since i was little - my grandma used to bring things back from japan for me, before she became more popular in the US. granted they only have a handful of hello kitty items, but that's okay. here's a few of them (images courtesy of modcloth):
hello kitty wallet

hello kitty key capshello kitty flash drive

hello kitty tanktop

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

artique show

this past saturday was the artique gallery feature - i was lucky enough to be featured with bryon birdsall! if you are unfamiliar with his work, go here. he has a lot of originals up at artique right now and WOW...they are amazing! the show is named: "McKinley Japonisme II" his work looks like it's very influenced by japanese ukiyo-e wood block artists such as Hokusai & Hasui. such vivid color! he was very kind & open to talking with me about his work. it was such an honor & a pleasure to meet him.

a handful of my books sold, and the address books flew off the shelf! here's a couple of pictures of my displays:

and here's a picture of me with byron. he's personalizing a print for me. very cool!

all of this art work reminds me of when i did wood block prints so many years ago. i think i might need to place an order for some supplies and work on a series of prints. i'm getting excited at the prospect of printing something different, besides note cards & business cards.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

crafts weekend at the museum, part 2

for once, i actually remembered to bring bff's real camera to the show (with a full battery). here are some photos of my space:

from left to right...all 14 feet of table

from right to left (there was a wall a few yards in front of the tables so i couldn't get a straight on shot)

card stand (thanks to mom's garden) and linoleum block printed card sets - created from my drawings

2 box sets with matching photo albums, lined journals, small handmade boxes

guest books, address books, secret belgian binding books

secret belgian binding books, post bound photo albums, blanket stitch books

japanese stab binding books in 3 different sizes

it's pleasant to look back at these show pictures & realize "WOW i made a lot of stuff!" the two big treasures from this show were the box sets i made. i honestly thought that people would look at them and go "ooooh" and then i'd take them home at the end of the show. to my surprise & delight, they both sold! in addition to that, i had a custom order for another set! i'll post some photos of those sets soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

december first friday & hair trauma

sorry for the sporadic posting lately. with all of the shows coming to an end, i think i'll be able to get back into the swing of things & actually post on a regular basis. i'll have new photos to share from the show, updates for the website, and custom order pics, in addition to lots of other things...

i dropped off my inventory at artique yesterday and felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. what a relief! the ladies who work at the gallery were oohing & aahing over the books - it made my day :) check out artique's website - i'm listed in the right hand column under byron birdsall for saturday, december 5th!
i'm looking forward to stopping by friday night for their first friday reception too & checking out some other things downtown - such as....

- the lovely ladies of one world designs & annie's arts & follies will be showing their gorgeous jewelry at kaladis downtown. go here for details.
- and i'm going to visit upstairs studio to pick up a bracelet i ordered that matches my belt and to check out the venue. i've had a lot of requests for bookmaking classes and this working studio might be a great place to hold a class or two.

on a completely unrelated side note, i was shopping at tar-jay (target) for a few things and bought these weird bendy hair rollers. since i'm getting irritated with my hair (& am getting the urge to cut it off), i thought i'd try something new. i tried them out and got crazy hair, although you probably can't see it too well in my quality camera phone picture:
let me just say, i've developed a new found respect for all of you people out there with naturally curly/wavy hair. i don't know how you get unruly hair to co-operate, but i applaud you. my hair is actually looking better now that it's starting to relax a bit. i'll probably try this out a few more times & see if i can make it work. or just get a haircut.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

crafts weekend at the museum, part 1

what a busy long weekend! i hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving & enjoyed spending time with those you care about. we had lots of good food (bff made yummy stuffing & i made the pies) and relaxed with family & friends. overall, a great day.

after eating way too much, bff and i took all of my artwork to the museum and set up for the big weekend show. we were going to set up wednesday night but it snowed a ton and the roads weren't plowed...figured it would be a safer option to wait a little bit. i'll get some pictures of the table up soon!

(sorry this is so short - getting sales numbers done from the weekend & am doing some prep for the big artique weekend!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


as the time crunch shrinks before this next big show, i find that i am thinking "oh if this doesn't get done, it won't be the end of the world." i am in pretty decent shape - which is good since show set-up is one day away. i have all of my cards packaged and ready to go. books are coming along...and boxes are too. here's a peek at the set of small boxes i made :

lids closed

lids open!

i'm testing a small number of boxes to see if customers like them. i really enjoy making them - much like books, i get a lot of satisfaction from making these boxes from book board & paper. and with the number of jewelry artists at these shows, they would be great for jewelry boxes. i think i mentioned this before, but the idea for paper/book board jewelry boxes came from a winnie-the-pooh jewelry box (that i still use to this day) that my mom gave me. i thought it was the COOLEST thing to have a box that wasn't made from plastic or wood, but was still sturdy.

will probably be burning the midnight oil again tonight. wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

vito's birthday

yesterday was vito's big birthday! he turned one year old. i can't believe he's already a year old.

he went from this:

to this:

note the 3 toys stuffed in his mouth all at once. the little stuffed bone was from us...the other two toys weren't even his. he hasn't quite learned the concept of sharing. oh and these toys were out of commission within about half an hour. we should have named him "vito the destroyer".

he had a couple of yummy birthday cookies and got to hang out with his bffs. we also bought him some presents. in addition to the stuffed bone, he got a new nylabone & a new kong ball, since kongs are the only things he hasn't destroyed...yet.

mmm puppy cookies. bff thought they were donuts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


so it was pointed out to me that my last entry didn't come off how i had hoped and that i sounded unhappy. well, i'm actually quite happy - for the past year, i've been extremely happy with bff! i've done more things and had more adventures this past year than i have in...well i don't know when.

to clarify one section:
"and i know i can't always be happy, but i could be happier more often." in the past week, i've heard of three deaths. a daughter lost a mom, a mom lost a daughter, and an incredibly creative & sweet man passed away. so, i wrote that i know i can't always be happy, because things like this happen - people pass away before it's their time to go. and it's heartbreaking. knowing people i care about are hurting makes me hurt. so i am going to try to be happier more often, appreciate more little things, not let stress get to me, and even be thankful that i have this stress.

i hope that clarifies that last post. i did not get the "writing" gene (my brother did).

Friday, November 20, 2009

bright eyed

sometimes i wish i was more like my puppy. yes he can be annoying, yes he likes to punch people in the face, yes he tends to do the exact opposite of what you tell him to do. overall though, he's a good dog.

a couple of things that i want to do, just like vito:

- have a perpetually optimistic attitude. nothing gets him down. he's always on the lookout for fun. it doesn't even occur to him that stress exists. he's always happy. and i know i can't always be happy, but i could be happier more often. stress gets to me. or, i should say, i allow it to get to me.

- wake up bright eyed & bushy tailed. i am not a morning person. at all. i slowly wake up after hitting snooze about 18 times, then lay there wishing i didn't have to get out of bed. once i do manage to pull myself out of bed, i plod through the morning. coffee is a necessity. vito on the other hand, wakes up, gives me a few nuzzles & kisses, then it's like "let's get this morning started!!!" i think he takes after his dad in that respect.

a few shots of vitters with his sheep (which lasted a whole 5 minutes):

posing for the camera

more later...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

its official!

i am thrilled to announce that my books will be shown (and on sale) for the month of december at the incredible gallery, Artique, Ltd! i am ecstatic & honored to be asked to show my work as such a prestigious gallery. i will be at the gallery on december 5th, from 1 - 3pm to meet & greet customers, along with the very well known & well respected artist Byron Birdsall.

things are falling in
to place! more later....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

shipping woes

a couple of supply orders that i place after the success of the bad girls show have been held up. unfortunately. i was expecting them to arrive today or tomorrow and as it turns out, one shipped yesterday & the other will be sent today. ugh.

in the meantime, i'm chipping away at the inventory and have 64 books in progress.

i was working in my studio last night and called for my puppy. bff said puppy jumped off the bed and was super anxious when he heard me, like he was worried about me. so i called him again and he came racing downstairs to check on me. i hope that was his protective instinct kicking in. bff said he's never seen puppy like that before.

it is cold car thermometer read 0 degrees. but at least it's clear & sunny!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

friday the 13th weekend

what a week(end)! i think i had some bad karma or bad luck this past week. to start, my credit card had some mystery charge on it, so i followed up and cancelled it and ordered a new card (that isn't here yet). the good news? i got my money back the next day! i also received some announcements for the upcoming museum show, and it listed that i make paper/jewelry. jewelry? really? but not that big of a deal - i'll just adjust it before i send them out. got stuck in an hour & a half's worth of traffic on my way to my part-time job...and everyone knows it takes about 20 minutes to get pretty much anywhere in anchorage. i came down with a nasty sore throat & fever late friday night & saturday (right when i had gotten rid of that nagging cough!), which prompted a trip to the doctor. but i am feeling better now, thank goodness. oh, and i slipped and fell on the driveway this morning. at least it was dark out so no one saw me! haha. alright, that was a good amount of venting. and after looking back over it all, it really wasn't that bad. on to better things...

printed some more ornament cards over the weekend. and printing went SO smooth. it was one of those dream printing days where everything goes right, the prints turn out wonderful, and life is good. here's a couple of pictures from that:

block 1 printed of ornament cards!

sweet ink slab

i also worked on lots of books and things are coming along. still have a ton of work to do, but i'm making progress. puppy kept me company in the studio. it's like he couldn't get close enough. he started sleeping by the door, then in the closet, then under the table on my feet. he's so cute. bff and i bought him a couple of new toys - a rubber bone and a sheep. he managed to destroy them in about 2.5 seconds.

guardian of the studio

and my luck is changing....good news to come tomorrow!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

so much work to do....

so i'm a little stressed. i have about 2 weeks until the next big show - crafts weekend at the museum - and i have so much to do, it's ridiculous. while i have been a bit better about preparing for fall art shows this year, i'm still behind. what happened to getting everything done before november? EPIC FAIL.

i have 113 books left to make (geez that's it? ha), 14 boxes, and about 300 cards to print. and t-minus 2 weeks to do it in. seriously. *deep breath*

my attitude went from "how am i possibly going to get this done?!" to "i'll get it done, i have no choice." thanks to sarah von of the awesome blog "yes and yes", i now have a few tips to aid me in my productive whirlwind. if you get a chance, drop by her blog - it's highly entertaining and funny. sarah comes across as one of those warm, inviting people that would be a great friend & confidant.

wish me luck this weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

stuff i bought myself at the bad girls show part 3

finally, i bought myself a new belt at the bad girls show. i have been oogling the belts by Julie Patchin of JP Designs for a good couple of years. her work is just amazing & eye catching, not to mention that she is extremely nice (this show was the first time i met her in person). i've seen her products at bella boutique - the fine accessories shop that also carries my books. she makes belts, watches, bracelets, wallets & much more. she will also customize things to your size or will take measurements & make something specific just for you. i also have a bracelet on order to match my sweet belt. i can't wait to wear it!

my new belt, in all of its colorful glory

and of course i was attracted to the circles. it reminded me of one of the first sets of cards i printed - my dots cards.

love Julie's work? want to contact her? try her e-mail:

stuff i bought myself at the bad girls show part 2

continuing with my shopping spree at the bad girls of the north show....

next up, i bought a sweet pair of earrings from Vicki Potter of Orion Designs. she makes beautiful jewelry with gemstones & pearls. she's also been making her living through her art, which is something i would LOVE to do someday. at her etsy shop, she has an assortment of items - earring, necklaces, bracelets, even pins!

these earrings bring some sparkle to the dark winter ahead
- this picture doesn't do the earrings justice

take a look at Vicki's etsy shop, or visit her at some upcoming shows (scroll down the page a bit for her schedule.) you won't be disappointed!

stuff i bought myself at the bad girls show part 1

every art show i've participated in (all 3 so far) have wonderful perks. not only do i get the opportunity to meet a lot of new people, i also get to show my work (duh) and network with some of the best artists in alaska. they take craft to a fine art level, in my opinion. and one of the joys of these shows is that i get to shop - unique gifts for other people and sweet stuff for myself. i sometimes wonder how i make any money at these shows since all i want to do is buy everyone else's stuff. so here is the first post of "stuff i bought myself at the bad girls show". now, i didn't go all super crazy shopping, but i did buy a few items that i just love.

one item i get every year is Wicked Good Lip Stuff made by Carol Green of Sound Soap.

(sorry it's blurry - my camera phone tries hard)

Carol creates hand made soap, lip gloss, & other body products in small, carefully controlled quantities. everything is certified made in alaska with premium plant oils. and let me tell you, i have bought a LOT of lip stuff over the years, looking for the perfect blend that doesn't leave my lips sticky or dry - this stuff is the best. plus the ingredients are things i recognize, like vitamin e & olive oil. no weird chemicals here. if you get a chance, check out her website and all of the yummy things on there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

bathroom remodel

bff & i have talked a lot about making a functional office, one that we would actually like working in. we are still flinging ideas around, especially since there hasn't been time to put our ideas into action. (after the art shows are done for the year!) we've also talked about glamming up the bedroom and bathroom.

so where do i go for ideas? design sponge, of course!! here's a super cool bathroom:

(thanks to design sponge for the picture)

of course i don't think it would fly with bff. can you tell i love blue? he's told me a million times "you can't make everything in the house blue!!" which i respond with "why not? there are lots of different shades..."

Monday, November 9, 2009

bad girls of the north show!

thursday night i was up til about 3am, prepping for the show. here are some pictures:

books & ribbons & price tags, oh my!
(notice the puppy keeping me company)

working hard

lots of books!

watching some quality tv (ncis)

i packaged tons of books & cards! setting up friday early afternoon went quite well and my table looked great! i'll have some more pictures soon.

one of the nice things about prepping for a show (besides all of the necessary coffee drinking), is getting to see all of the products i've made. as i packaged books, i looked at the stacks and stacks of bright, festive books and realized that i've done a lot of beautiful work. that sense of accomplishment is SO satisfying.

the morning of the show, as i was setting up, i was nervous. and this happens with every show. "what if people don't show up? what if lots of people show up, but no one buys anything from me?" lots of "what if's" pop up in my mind...i'm a bit of a worrier, if you couldn't tell.

the show itself was excellent - it was packed friday night! tons of wonderful vendors to visit and lots of great people visited my table. saturday was busy too, very steady. i did get a chance to look at a few of the other artists work (WOW!) and bought a few goodies for myself :) i'll post my goodies later.

the puppy was so sweet - he actually stayed out in the living room with me while i worked into the wee hours. he slept on his bed and would get up and check on me every once in a while.

time to do some sales analysis!

Friday, November 6, 2009

check this out!

i've gotten hooked on yet another blog: frenchie and flea! these gals have a gorgeous etsy shop and they are big supporters of handmade products. they make stationary, beautiful things to adorn your home with, wedding & bridal items and lots more!

they will be highlighting 12 different artists & their etsy stores and will also be doing some giveaways too. click on the picture below (borrowed from frenchie & flea) and read the details.

enjoy...i'm back to prepping for the show tomorrow! if you get a chance, come see me at the bad girls of the north show, millennium hotel (on spenard road), friday 4-9pm & saturday 10am-5pm. it'll be tons of fun, food, shopping, & handmade items!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

blast from the past

so the other day, i was at the pharmacy (due to an obnoxious, nagging cough that hasn't completely disappeared yet) and the pharmacist was a girl i went to high school with! that got me thinking about how quickly 10 years have passed. i wonder what other people are up to. i know i've changed a lot since then. maybe our reunion will be like the movie grosse point blank, excluding the guy trying to kill john cusack.

i finished gluing book covers last night and have some binding to do tonight, then packaging and packaging and....packaging. sweet. i wonder how many things puppy will try to eat tonight.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


just ordered more paper for the next show (crafts weekend at the museum - thanksgiving weekend) and am really excited about it! here's a sneak peek of what is coming:

images courtesy of paper source

i'm seeing a teeny tiny light at the end of the tunnel for the's about this big -> .

i'm down to 7 sets of book covers left to glue...then some binding, which shouldn't be too bad. overall, i'm in pretty good shape for this weekend's show. although, i'll probably be up in the wee hours of thursday night. i think, no matter how prepared i am for these shows, i'll always be up all night doing last minute stuff.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

printing weekend

at the end of last week, i was busy carving linoleum blocks for some new notecard sets. i was up pretty late and had a major hankering for chocolate pudding. one night, bff came home with this:

and pudding :) how sweet! definitely recharged my batteries! (see my blocks in the background?)

i did a massive amount of printing this weekend - 350 cards total. tried printing on some new paper, which was great for my new bird card set. i also printed a new 3 color card of presents for this weekend. a total of about 11 hours of printing.

halloween was fun and relatively quiet - dinner, games & a movie with our friends. puppy got to come with us and play with his friends too.

i have about 800 things on my to do sticky note lists...time to start conquering things!

p.s. i hope puppy is like this while i work!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

show display

i've been thinking a lot about my display for the upcoming bad girls show. i know that i will have one table, probably a 6', which isn't a ton of space, since the variety of items in my inventory has grown. i also decided that i need some signs this year to differentiate between different types of books. here's what i was thinking about using to hold signs:

picture courtesy of MoMA store

something fun & different - plus they don't take up a lot of space. hopefully i can find something in town like that, since i don't think they'll get here in time if i order them...unless i pay through the nose.