Saturday, February 27, 2010

the artistic stylings of me

i was reading some archived entries at The Fierce Beagle and learned that the author, Erin, has some mad skills at drawing. see proof here. sweet giraffe, right?

that got me thinking about things i used to doodle in high school notebooks, margins of paper, binder covers, etc. and the only consistent thing i remember doodling was this (forgive the cell phone picture):

apparently, a smiley face and hearts with my current crush's initials just didn't cut it. after years in college taking horribly difficult drawing classes, i'm sure i could probably come up with something more realistic. but i like to kick it old school.

Friday, February 26, 2010

or perhaps the name "rampage"

just when i think there is NOTHING else in the empty hallway for the puppy to destroy...

after leaving vito with a peanut butter filled kong and other fun chewy toys for two hours, i came home to this:

yes that is a carbon monoxide monitor.

what is this mystery object? weather stripping off the front door!

and of course, he started in on the edge of the carpeted stair

this, of course, is not his first rodeo...when it comes to carpet. quite a few months ago, he thought, "oh i'll chew on the carpet!" but it wasn't a piece in the corner or by a wall. vito started pulling up little carpet chunks right smack in the middle of the floor. so if you ever visit, you'll know why we have a completely random hole in the center of living room.

apparently toys aren't enough for the destructive puppy...he wants bigger and better things. next thing i know, he'll go after the sheet rock, like my parents dog maisie. i'll save that story for another day.

winter, you suck

dear winter,

how dare you come back with a vengeance! yes, i know fur rondy & the iditarod are coming up and need the snow. but you went on a mini vacation! it was a toasty 40 degrees & sunny! and then this morning, you sneaked in and dumped a crap load of snow on us. you are such a tease. i hope you realize that i loathe cleaning snow off of my car and driving in whiteout conditions at 2 mph. thanks a lot winter. how about next time you at least give me some warning?

~ me

p.s. i'll give you props for covering all of the gross dog poo and giving us another chance to go sledding. i guess.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

we should have named him "destruct-o"

after last week's episode of vito dismembering our friend's baby/dog gate, i had the urge to try, try again. so i made my way to our local tar-jay (said with a french accent of course) and picked up a new baby gate. something without mesh. something made of plastic & smooth surfaces to avoid attempts at puppy climbing.

bfff arrives home after the first attempt - puppy had a couple of hours alone with a peanut butter filled kong, favorite bone, bed & water....and all is well. we decided to try this alone time again, upping the ante at close to 3 hours. all is well. the next day...bfff beats me home again. and all is....umm, well...see for yourself:

i know this might be difficult to make out (darn phone camera) but these are the blinds that dared to stand in the path of vito's rage (i.e. puppy energy). i should say, what's left of them, that is.

at least the gate stayed up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

custom books & DVD holder

check out the custom set of books i made ~

also some pics of the DVD holder (in progress):


inside front cover



i had a good birthday this year. it was at the tail end of a long weekend. i turned the big two - eight...i feel like i've officially entered my late twenties. so that means i should be older, wiser, & confident, right?

this year was extra special because it was the first time bfff & i were able to spend my birthday together in alaska. (there was one other time but we were in seattle.) every other year he's been out of town due to work. bfff set up this big dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and ordered the most delicious cake. here are some pics from the evening:

bfff actually did not hit my eyeball, but it was close. sweet hat, no?

opening presents (3 generations of my family!)

my super special awesome birthday cake, thanks to bfff

tadgear softshell - gift from bfff. i have been eyeing this coat for months.

after dinner & getting ready to go home

i laugh out loud every time i see this. it's titled "picture face". ask my mom :)

i had such a fun evening with some of my favorite people! too bad puppy couldn't be there. but then we'd never be able to eat there again.

i wonder what 28 has in store for me this year....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

vito's great escape

now that vito is growing up, bfff and i decided we wanted to start leaving him out of his kennel while we aren't home. we wanted to give him some freedom to stretch his legs, but still keep him safe. so we borrowed a baby gate from our friends (who used it for their dogs too) and set it up on top of the first stair.

we thought it would be high enough that he couldn't jump over it (and puppy can jump crazy high) and bfff set it tight enough that he was certain vito wouldn't knock it over. our puppy had the run of the downstairs, his bed, water & favorite toy of the day. we came home after the first test and it went great! second test....still great! third test....ummmm....

it was on my birthday. i was going to run a couple of errands and be back in a couple of hours. i figured this was another opportunity for vito to test the waters and for me to get used to the idea that he can stay out on his own. i set the gate up, fill his water bowl, tell him to be good, and am on my way.

when i got home, i glanced up at the upstairs window and i see vito's floppy ears and his smiling face looking down at me. oh crap. as i walk inside, i see that the gate is still up and i'm amazed. i thought for sure he would have jumped it and knocked the darn thing over. vito comes barreling down the stairs to say hi to me and goes through the gate. yes, THROUGH. the puppy decided to pull out some of the wire mesh, just enough to create a space for him to fit through. bfff & i didn't even CONSIDER that option.

thankfully, he didn't get into anything upstairs, which i think was pure and total luck. or maybe he figured he should be on his best behavior. he's pretty darn smart.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

blue awesomeness

since i'm an aquarius...and blue is my FAVORITE...check this out:

mrs. aquarius (i'm not a mrs, however)

thanks to design crush for the link!

paper cutter suckiness

i received the stack paper cutter i ordered a while back (and wrote about it here) and was SO excited to get it open & in use. i imagined stacks of perfectly cut paper & book board just waiting to be made into books. i saw images of the blade cutting through 10 sheets of book board like butter. tons of ideas floated around in my head - new books i could make with trimmed, flat edges. and then reality kicked me.

first off, i thought the cutter would come assembled, due to the many reviews i read online. umm NOT! so we (meaning bfff) pieced it together fairly easily, following the rather minimal instruction sheet. then we had to square the measuring piece up to the blade (pain in the ass). so it was square & done & we left it alone for a couple days.

well i realized that some other adjustments needed to be made - measuring piece had to be moved so that it would cut 2" and not 2.5". then the cutting wasn't so good. in fact, it sucked. book board was a huge hassle. i couldn't get enough leverage to cut through the board. bfff adjusted the blade so it was more level. cutting still sucked. the board edges were mangled. the clamp had to be locked down so tight that it left ruts in whatever i was cutting. and even so, the stack still moved. a lot.

fed up with the number of adjustments & the fact that this machine wasn't performing up to my expectations, i called the company and laid it out for them. basically, the rep made it sound like operator error, that i needed to make more adjustments, and finally, he reluctantly gave me a return authorization number. i had ordered a refurbished cutter but they actually sent me a brand new one because they were out of the refurbished ones - not that it mattered. SO disappointing. and frustrating. and irritating because i now have to pay an asinine amount of money to ship this stupid piece of crap back to the company that they WILL NOT REIMBURSE ME FOR.

lesson learned: order from a trusted company, be wary of amazon reviews, and get free shipping.

Friday, February 19, 2010

outdoor fun!

since this past weekend was a long weekend for me - plus valentines & my birthday, bfff asked me "what do you want to do?" i dug deep into my childhood and a brilliant idea came to me - SLEDDING!! oh yea! we geared up, snowpants, gloves, hats, and all. bfff had gotten vito (the now 67 pound puppy) a harness and lead for skijoring (for those who don't know - apparently the dog pulls you while you cross country ski. which means i would probably run into trees or be dragged face first a lot.) we got the puppy all set up in his harness and after a while he stopped trying to bite it.

we headed out into the warm, sunny 30 degree weather...and made a quick stop at our local tar-jay. bought 2 saucer sleds and this:
yes it's a sled for pulling stuff. but it's also large enough to sit in and has this little rope on the front that gives the impression you can steer. which, i found out, you can't steer. at all.

we went to the park where we normally take vito. bfff instructed me to sit on my neon green saucer and hold on to vito's lead in the middle of the trail. i sat at the top of a hill with a gentle slope and vito took off FULL BLAST! we flew down the trail and it was SO freakin fun. all vito wants to do is pull so we figured - let's let him pull! must be the half husky in him.

we found a good sledding hill, that kids abandoned for the goliath hill on the other end of the park, and i got the first run. i hauled ass down the hill with snow spraying in my face while i screamed the whole 3 second ride. i had seriously forgotten how much fun sledding is! vito ran up and down the hill with us and pulled me on another trail (and almost into about 10 trees).

lesson learned: screw expensive winter activities like snowboarding & skiing! free sledding is the way to go!

oh, and get a padded sled. i think my backside is bruised.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

birthday break

i'm back from a nice long weekend! I had a 4 day weekend, an extremely rare event in my world, and it went by WAY too fast. I would love to have a 3 day work week every week. starting back up on wednesday isn't so bad.

i actually meant to get online and post some tidbits here and there...and just never got around to it. sorry about that.

here's a run down of some upcoming posts:
- outdoor fun
- paper cutter disappointment
- vito's great escape
- birthday blast!

stay tuned....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

surprise at work

i received a mystery phone call right after lunch today:
"is this stephanie?"
"do you work for the *insert business name here*?
"umm who is this?"
the caller then immediately launched into an explanation for the phone call....he was a delivery guy. for this:

seriously?! flowers!! how awesome is that? i was completely surprised. bfff did good :)

what color matches your personality?

i was perusing the blog how about orange and there was a quiz listed by true value paint. since i LOVE taking quizzes (i'm getting back in touch with my junior high self), i hopped over to true value paint and took it. and my color?

"Spontaneity is the key to your existence. Quick-witted with a flair for originality, you enjoy situations that allow you to explore your creativity. Comparatively conservative, you appreciate beautiful surroundings, especially if they’re found in nature. Your relaxed and self-assured personality allows you to work well with others. Surprisingly enough, your unique and unusual tastes don’t prevent you from being comfortable among your more conservative peers."

really? i'm not sure how accurate that is...i'm not exactly the most spontaneous person on the planet. at all.

Friday, February 12, 2010


look at my puppy-poo getting his cute on!

yoda ears

Thursday, February 11, 2010

pay it forward

i have read about this fun idea with handmade goods called "pay it forward" on a couple of blogs: not your average ordinary & brand-eye (both wonderful reads - i highly recommend them).

here are the rules:
- i make a handmade gift for the first 3 people to comment
- i have 365 days in which to send you the gift
- the gift will be a total surprise
- you keep this going by posting pay it forward on your blog

my mystery gift is coming from brandi at brand-eye! it'll be so nice to get a pleasant surprise in the mail, instead of bills. so if you would like to be a part of this fun project, leave me a comment and an e-mail address so i can contact the first 3 people & get your snail mail address.

*as of march 12th, all spots have been filled. thanks for reading!*

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

pretty things - wear it!

since it is chilly and gray outside, i thought i'd do a post on some pretty things to brighten up the day:

oscillations cardigan, anthropologie

strike a chord dress, modcloth

and since i inadvertently created a little's a couple more things to complete the look:
soothing song heels, modcloth

pin flower hair clip, mimi charmante

pearl coral turquoise & silver earrings, crows catch
(i just got a pair of these & they are awesome)

pearls on a half shell necklace, annie's arts & follies

if you get a chance, check out the last 3 shops listed - they are all on etsy & make gorgeous work. and don't forget to drop by my etsy shop too. viva handmade!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


when i was a kid, i had a handful of art supplies (actually it was a closetful) that i kept within arm's reach. lots of colored pens, included the giant pen with 10 different colored inks in it:
a couple sets of markers - the skinny ones and the mr. sketch smelly markers. the turquoise blue mango smell was my favorite :)

stencils made of translucent colored plastic - otherwise known as AWESOMENESS:

and this sweet "toy": the spirograph. OMG i LOVED this thing. armed with multicolored pens, i could create a freaking rainbow of crazy designs. well, while i was christmas shopping, i found this:

and proceeded to get so excited i could barely contain myself. i finally purchased a set and have been happily doodling since then. but now i'm thinking of some artwork i can apply this process'll be a grown up version of an old school joy. i'll post pics once i get started on this new project...

(p.s. click on pictures for links to sources)

Friday, February 5, 2010

book binder's dream shop

i was searching for a source for some italian photo albums i use, since my regular vendor will be out of stock for quite some time, which means i'm now seriously considering binding my own albums. i originally started using these text blocks (which is just the inside of the album, no covers or anything) because they save me a lot of time (which means $$) and i can pass that on to my customers. but since i hate it when shops are out of stock and i don't like being dependent on someone else for this type of thing, i'm going to figure out how to make one of these beauties. in the meantime, i have to hunt down supplies, crunch some numbers, and make some prototypes....

as i was searching for some other options, i came across a website called Talas - and was thrilled!! this shop is a book binder's dream!! there are tons of options for book cloth & other supplies, lots of specialty items & equipment, not to mention their prices are comparable or even cheaper than my current suppliers. OMG. i am desperately restraining myself from buying everything i see on the site. i will do the responsible thing and order a couple of sample books before splurging on massive quantities of supplies.

if you have any interest in book binding, this is the place to go.

i'm famous! (sorta)

my wonderful friend brandi wrote a post about one of my books and etsy shop here. SO COOL! my work has never been featured on someone else's blog before. thank you brandi!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

no coconut birthday cake please

i've never been a big fan of coconut. those white, chewy, dried pieces just don't do it for me. now, when i lived on guam, i remember seeing palm trees with bunches of coconuts for the first time and thought "holy crap! real coconuts!" but that didn't make me want to eat them. i did try some fresh coconut though, and it is a gigantic leap up from that dried stuff at the grocery store.

on to my story...when i was too young to remember, my mom made me a coconut cake for my birthday. i think she said it was pink too. after eating some cake, i apparently got really sick. thank goodness i can't remember that. maybe i just blocked it out of my memory. i'll spare you the gory details, but as you can imagine, it was pretty bad. and from that experience, i believe i gained an intense dislike for coconut, pink, and throwing up. i've grown out of my dislike for pink though, but the other two are still high on my list.

TMI? yes, definitely. but now you know why i'll politely decline that coconut birthday cake you're thinking about making :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

valentine's weekend

so our friends gave bfff and i a super cool gift for christmas - a one night stay at alyeska (which is a nice hotel/ski resort about 30 minutes out of town for those who aren't familiar with it). oh, plus a coupon to watch our angelic (ha) puppy vito while we go on our mini vacation. well, i called to make some reservations for v-day weekend and dammit they are booked. completely. actually i take that back, they had 2 rooms available. one for $1300 & the other for $800. riiiiiiiight.

so our plans have changed to...well, i don't know. i do know that i'll have a long weekend and i'm looking forward to that. but i'm disappointed too. bummer.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


i am STOKED that it is now february!! my favorite month out of the whole year. and why is that? well lets see:

- my birthday is right smack in the middle of the month. (15 more days, not that i'm counting) and birthdays are awesome. i went from having a birthday, to a birthday weekend, to birthday week, to birthday month. so it's birthday month.

- february is a short month. its in and out. makes me appreciate every day a little more because it goes by so fast.

- valentine's day! i know it's cheesy. and i know some people hate the dreaded v-day with a passion. i used to wear black on valentine's day and glare at all of the ridiculously giddy people flouncing through my high school's hallways. but now things are different. i like the anticipation of the when i was in elementary school and we'd get to pass out valentines and get candy-grams. and then eat a ton of sugar (those conversation hearts get me every time!) but this year in particular, i'm looking forward to spending the day with bfff. in person. and i'm excited about hanging out with my favorite person on this mushy holiday.

- the alaskan darkness seems to dissapate. the morning light comes sooner and that glowy ball stays up in the sky longer. and reveals that yes, i am pale pale white. like blend into the wall white. yikes.

so those are a few reasons i adore february. do you have a favorite month?


how was your weekend? i was pretty darn productive!

the office: i cleaned out the office (i.e. put everything in the hallway) and moved the monstrous desk into the garage with the much needed help of bfff & my friend. my friend & i also searched for a new desk for the room - something small but functional. we went to some thrift stores with no luck :( so we traveled to our local tar-jay and found a decently priced desk. we started to put it together...then took a dinner break, and afterward, bfff and i finished up the job. actually, it was more like bfff would put a part on and i'd say "are you sure that's the right part?" or "are you sure that's the right direction?" haha. here's the finished product:

it's the monstrosity's mini me

now it's just a matter of cleaning up the hallway of stuff, getting some pictures on the walls (since bfff put the kibosh on painting one of the walls blue), and getting it into working order. it's amazing how much bigger the room feels with that monstrosity gone.

i also worked away in my studio. got a ton of work done on 2 shop orders plus i finally took some pictures of a couple finished custom pieces:

large address book & small address book

photo album & box set covers

box set inside

inside of box

i was really happy with how all of the custom pieces came out. the box set was more challenging this time - i had to be a bit more creative with the paper, as i didn't have a lot of one particular kind. instead of covering the inside boxes with the parasol paper, i tried 2 different green hued mulberry paper & layered lace with gold & silver flecks over it. the result was SO nice. the colors on all the different parts of the project really came together to compliment each other. (the parasol paper has been so popular with custom orders too!)

i've also been shopping for a gift for valentine's day for bfff. it'll be the first one we've spent together in the same state - last year, he had to leave due to mt. redoubt's hissy fit. i have a couple of ideas, but since i know he reads my blog, i can't share them :) what is everyone doing for valentine's day? have any good gift ideas? guys are so hard to shop for!