Wednesday, September 30, 2009

album & box company

i was reading another blog this morning and came across a link for an incredible company called cypress fine handmade albums and boxes. they make a number of different photo albums and boxes and will even print & mount your pictures. they create custom boxes for the albums and also for loose or matted photos. and they use japanese bookcloth, which i LOVE to work with. their work is beautiful - and their craftmanship is exquisite. having made boxes and books for a small handful of years, i am thoroughly impressed with their work. i would love to see some items in person, especially the folio suite (pictures are here, under the sept. 28th post). too bad they are in california and i'm in freezing alaska. check out cypress's website here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

weekend & first friday stuff

the past weekend was SO busy. friday afternoon was a black belt test (i'm in martial arts by the way) that i helped facilitate, then a dinner afterwards. puppy got to play at his friends house. he's so hysterical - if bff or i even mention "bear & gauge", his little ears perk up & he gets SO excited.

saturday consisted of some martial arts clinics, making more books, then meeting some friends downtown for drinks. vitters met lots of new people at the clinics and was fairly good in the car (meaning he didn't chew through another seatbelt).

sunday was a mellow day - i got to sleep in for the first time in ages, which was awesome. made even more books, prepped paper for post bound photo albums and made a couple of traditionally bound photo albums. whenever bff is home, the puppy gets to roam the house. every once in a while, he'd come downstairs to my studio and check on me. he'd trot in, ask for pat on the head, do an investigative round of sniffing, and then head back upstairs. we took him to the lake to play and swim for a little bit, and he had fun, even though we were a bit frustrated with his tiny attention span. gotta keep reminding myself that he's only 10 months old.

the first friday show is coming up so quickly! i'm getting close to being ready, but still have quite a few things to do. i have quite a few books left to drill holes into & bind, then i need to take pictures and package everything. and get some notecard sets together. i will have some new products and will try to get some pics up tomorrow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

sad day...

one of my parents dogs, who we got when i lived at home many years ago, passed away yesterday. freckles was a sweet, loving cocker spaniel with a carefree & positive attitude. she didn't let anything bother her. we were her fourth owners. she came to us with her daughter maisie and she was such a good mom. we think she survived a lot of bad situations and due to that, she took advantage of every opportunity to eat or drink whatever was around. one of her favorites was my dad's lattes :)

she was diagnosed with cancer last december. she did quite well and i think a big part of that was her great attitude. she lived to be almost 15 years old!

we miss her and love her. rest in peace freckles.

maisie (angel costume) & freckles (witch costume) halloween 2008

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

first friday update

alright, here's some more info -

my first friday show will be held on october 2nd at bella boutique, 2601 Spenard Road. Go here for a map.

there will be munchies & other refreshments, lots of good people and great stuff at bella! party time is 6-9pm, so come on out and enjoy yourselves!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

custom box

my friend asked me about purchasing one of my products for a wedding gift. so after some brainstorming, we decided on a jewelry box. she said fall colors were a part of their wedding and i had the perfect paper for it! i designed, measured (and measured again just in case), cut board, and went to work. instead of just a plain box, i decided to liven it up with a partition down the main compartment and a removable tray for small items, like earrings. the final project size was about 5.25" x 7.5" x 2.25".

here's a side note: my mom gave me a jewelry box years ago that was covered with paper and had a removable tray. this was long before i learned about book & box making. i thought it was the coolest thing - a jewelry box not made of wood or plastic! it was different than anything i'd ever seen and i loved it.

i got so engrossed in the project that i started & finished it last night! here are some pics of the final result:

top of box

side of box

inside of box

with tray removed!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

thesis pictures

i ran across some old pictures from my senior thesis exhibition back in 2004 and thought i would share. the pictures were taken by my professor mat kelly.

here is the view from entering the gallery. i had such a good spot!

here's a better picture of my entire space. i handmade everything except for the mirrors. the rugs were woven (weaving is SO cool), the boxes were handmade, and there were lots of items in them representing the balance between my Japanese & American backgrounds. the hanging clothing was made from paper prints that i hand stitched together. the prints were created with a number of different types of printing including monotype & japanese woodblock (ukiyo-e).

here is a detail of the kimono - in my opinion, the prize piece of my exhibit. i incorporated my prints & origami paper and hand sewed traditional quilt squares. there is a front and back - and i designed the size based on my yukata (a casual summer kimono). i sewed for an uncountable number of hours and remember taking these little blocks everywhere i went.

hope you enjoyed the little journey into the past!

BIG news!

i will be the featured artist at bella boutique for the first friday art show in october!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am SO excited!

for those of you who aren't familiar with first fridays...the first friday of every month, a ton of shops & galleries around town stay open late and have a little reception featuring an artist and their work. it is a really cool program and a great way to get out and see some gorgeous work by local artists.

i have always wanted to be a part of first fridays...and i am absolutely thrilled that bella gave me the opportunity! thank you annie & lena!

more details to come...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

blog following

for some mysterious reason, my little followers widget/gadget thing on the left side of my blog just stopped working. my enormous following (of 5 people haha) has disappeared! i tried searching for the fix to this problem and haven't had any luck yet. if you have the same problem, go here: apparently blogger is working on the issue. i hope they get the problem fixed soon. i worked hard for those 5 people dammit.

if anyone has any ideas on how to fix this thing, let me know please. i can also see that there are 5 followers in dashboard, but when i click on the link to see who they are, the list is empty. sadness.

website update

i finally updated the "about" page on my website. if you want to see it, go here. i always have a hard time writing about myself. i never know what to say...which is ironic considering i write a blog now. it's just awkward. i don't want to brag or sound like i have this giant ego, but i also don't want to sell myself short. the whole point of the website is to get my name out there and promote myself and my business. if you have comments about the site at all, please let me know. i always want to improve it. my next goal is to create slideshow that makes the pictures bigger, so the visitor can really see the bindings. i know the pictures are small right now.

i contacted the muse
um yesterday because i hadn't received the additional show information yet and it seemed like i should have. it's a good thing i got in touch with them, because they had the wrong address so i never received the follow up info! now to decide how big i want the booth to be this year...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


what a productive weekend! made lots of book covers, cut down a bunch of book board and put a good starting dent into my show inventory. a couple of pictures from my studio (of chaos):

my main work table

book cover scraps - i always want to keep these little triangles for some reason.

i'm planning to have around 260 books made for the november shows, in addition to some new note cards, boxes, and some prints. whew. so far i have 14 books completely done. haha i have a ways to go. but i also have 89 books in progress. maybe, just maybe, this year i won't be completely sleep deprived. riiiiiiiiiight.

my puppy kept me company while i worked and made sure to keep me on my toes. there was a lot of "drop it, Drop It, DROP IT!" and "hey come back here!" and "don't chew on that!" he eventually calmed down (for about 10 minutes). he always sleeps in these weird positions. if he's on his bed, his head is hanging off the edge. or lately he's been doing this:

o he also came with on a little field trip to pick up more dog food. he got to pick out a new toy:

he proceeded to rip off an arm & strew stuffing everywhere by the next day. one more toy added to the growing pile of toys that need surgery. at least he hasn't destroyed any of my work....yet.

bff & i went to see a performance of the lion king, which was AMAZING. i didn't think i would be impressed, but wow i was wrong. not one detail was left to chance. the performers were incredible. the costumes were so creative. just WOW. plus it was our third official date! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

college memories part 2

i'm been spending quite a bit of time in my studio lately and it's interesting how it reflects so much of my college experience. i have a ton of photos, show announcements, magazine cut-outs, ticket stubs, and other random bits & pieces that i've kept over the years.

one piece in particular came to mind the other day. it's a written piece by a friend of mine that just recently started blogging. he's a phenomenal writer and you can read his blog here. my junior year of college, he lived across the street from me and we became close friends over that year. he wrote a piece on being a barista and it literally made me laugh out loud. still does to this day. we managed to keep in touch until about two & a half years ago...i was married at the time and i distinctly remember it was right before the shit hit the fan and the rapid descent into darkness started. i flew down to seattle with my mom for a little birthday vacation. it was such a fun trip! he and i met up and spent the day together, catching up and generally just enjoying each other's company as good friends do.

i lost track of him soon after that. fast forward to today....i've gradually fallen out of touch with a number of friends from college (and high school for that matter) and i miss them. these people were my support structure with whom i spent countless hours with laughing, crying, bitching, talking, and drinking colossal amounts of coffee. i suppose we all grow apart and move on at some point.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

labor day weekend

i hope everyone had a great long weekend! i'm still getting caught up, as you can tell, since it's already wednesday and i haven't posted anything. bff & i helped out at a defensive pistol course all day saturday & sunday. it was a great class - everyone was tuned in, the weather was gorgeous, and it was a lot of fun! (doesn't hurt that i got to do some shooting too.) puppy met lots of people and was pretty good for the most part...except for the chewed seatbelt buckle. but it still works. we also had a chance to catch up with some friends sunday night. it seemed like its been forever since we've seen them!

monday was my day to get stuff done. did a bunch of laundry (although it is still waiting to be folded). finished some books for bella boutique and cut down a bunch of book board, paper, and ribbon for my next batch of books. also figured out my supply inventory. whew. bff came home from fishing and made the best spaghetti and meatballs EVER. and i made funfetti cake!

so i figured out what i would need to purchase and placed a couple of orders today with my suppliers. and i have to get on my soapbox for a couple of minutes: shipping costs up to alaska STINK! for goodness sake, we are NOT another country, we are part of the united states and should be included in the same shipping rates as everyone else in the contiguous 48 states! it's not the mail delivery people have that hard of a time delivering packages to us - its the same as everywhere else. and how about offering some other shipping options besides UPS? because they might as well ask for your first born child instead of the ridiculous shipping rates they require. *getting off soapbox now* does anyone else have this problem?

oh here are some pics of my favorite books i dropped off at bella (i seriously contemplated keeping them for myself):

this paper is PHENOMENAL in person. it is "Katazome-shi" or stencil dyed paper, printed based on traditional kimono printing techniques.

isn't this perfect for fall?

i hope the rest of the week flies by! i love short weeks :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

website updates

i finally got around to updating the Tama Press website. lots of new book pics were added and i took down the under construction signs for the contact & custom pages. some of the pictures were taken with a black background and the books were sold so i didn't have a chance to retake them.

here's the main updates i did:
added pics to the medium japanese stab bindings here
created a page for blanket stitch books
created a page for the new secret belgian binding books
created a custom order page
created a contact page (finally)

i'm working on products for the etsy site and for the two upcoming shows. i'll do my best to get some things up soon!

all of the pages are currently set up as a viewing gallery, so if there is something that you like (that isn't available on etsy), send me an e-mail and i'll be happy to make something for you. keep in mind that all of the books are unique, and the exact same book might not be available. but i'll try my hardest to match colors and paper as closely as possible.

so go check out the updated site and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


this morning, i shipped my first batch of products to a store called Josephine's in wisconsin! i'm so thrilled to add a second store to my list of shops that carry my work. here are some pictures of what i sent:

small japanese stab binding

medium japanese stab binding

large japanese stab binding

secret belgian binding

in addition to the books, i also sent some cards too. i wanted to try out the new packaging with the books - simple, but informative.

the weekend was fairly productive...especially since the puppy decided i needed to be awake at 7:30am on sunday. it turned out to be a good thing - i got a ton of stuff done: packaged and prepared the order for Josephine's, bound books, cut lots of book board for the next batch of books, and worked on some inventory for Bella Boutique.

in case you don't know, Bella Boutique is a great shop here in anchorage, run by two fabulous women - Annie Ciszak and Lena Kilic. check out Bella's website here or go visit them if you are in town. Annie & Lena both are jewelry artists and make some incredible pieces. in fact, i'm wearing one of Lena's today! see:

i drooled over this necklace for quite some time before i bought it

in addition to jewelry, Bella also carries handbags, shirts, belts, hats, and lots of other accessories...and of course, my books!

time to work on some inventory numbers for the upcoming shows in november...i can't believe how quickly the summer went by!