Monday, January 16, 2012

I've moved!

I'm not sure what you'll find more surprising, the fact that I'm posting something new here,
or the news that I've got a whole new place for my blogging efforts to reside. Either way, I hope you'll follow me over to my new home on the Web: !

It's a brand new site with all sorts of fun features, and more on the way. One new facet I'll explain soon is the Lake of the Month voting poll that will allow you and anyone you can convince to join you to vote on the lake, city area, or coastline I cut next for the shop.

Mad props to my Cap-G Geek hubby for helping me migrate to the new .com, and in advance for the tech help I'll very likely need as I go along.

I appreciate all of you who have ever visited this blog, especially those who may have subscribed and have been patient readers over the last two+ years. Thank you! Now, c'mon over!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Topographic Table

My studio is... well... it's practical. It's not lovely, airy, sun-soaked, or spartan like all good studios are supposed to be, but it gets the job done. My studio is the messy pony tail of the workspace universe -- It ain't pretty, but it helps me get my work done.

I work in the basement of our home. Sure, I have to supplement the lighting with lamps. And sure, I have workout equipment, an old t.v., dusty VHS tapes, and a stray sock from the laundry chute as my twisted feng-shui backdrop. Who cares? 75% of the year it's the perfect temp -- if on the cool side, I can crank the stereo without waking the kids, I can write off the "overhead" as a business expense, and most importantly, it's big enough that I can fit all my stuff here and I don't have to share with anyone.

So, it was a little fun when I actually made some changes to it recently. I occasionally take EVERYTHING off the 8-foot table and give the surface a good scrub. After staring at the wet marks evaporate from the faux-woodgrain tabletop, I was inspired to paint it white. I found some old white paint the former owners had left and laid on two, gooey coats of it in one day. From its age, my misuse, or something, the paint did not spread very nicely. Some parts were wonderfully white, while other parts hinted at a darker layer beneath. I'm an impatient re-decorator, so instead of applying yet another layer of paint on, I uncapped my Sharpie and went to town. Drawing (literally) from all my experience with contour maps over the last 4 years, I topo-fied my tabletop.

It still isn't spectacular, but it's brighter, more creative, much less faux-woodgrain, and totally Crafterall. After editing the "stuff" I need on the table and replacing the bare essentials, I can honestly say that it was worth it. Something about it says, "Yup. This is for real, y' know. This is your job. Now go, kick some butt."

I am o.k. (for now) with the fact that my studio will never look like Martha's or any of the dreamy spaces I've seen featured online. I do want to work a little more, though, on paring down even further, finding more out-of-the-way places for my less-frequently used tools and materials, and getting the whole place to jive a little more. If I'm going to spend 60 hours a week down here, I better darn well enjoy it! Maybe I'll get around to a complete "before and after" post when that "after" feels complete... say, in a couple years or so. *wink*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Although I've never had a paper route (it doesn't count that my brother hired me a few times to help him with his), I fully accept the moniker "Papergirl" given to me by the kind folks at Midwest Home magazine.
They featured me this month in their In Town section, and I've heard from many lovely folks who've stopped in the shop after reading the article. While I have been fortunate enough to have been featured before on numerous blogs and web sites, there's something extra special about being mentioned in print. I guess it's no surprise as I've always had a love for tangibility and paper. ;) I've got my copy saved and stashed away. Thanks again, Midwest Home!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Introducing CrafterAlt!

This has really been a long time coming, and, while I'd thought about waiting until we had a really full lineup, I'm so pleased that we've got the first few things ready for you and I just can't hold it back any longer.

My dear friend, Kendra of No Moniker (formerly Green Post), and I have teamed up to create a new offshoot of Crafterall. Call it a branch, a grafting, an offshoot, a hybrid, or just one heckuva clever collaboration, and know it by its name: CrafterAlt.

CrafterAlt is a new body of work made completely from my paper scraps. The line will include frameable 8 x 10" art pieces, foldover cards, bookmarks, journals, tags, and loads more. Between Kendra and I, we've jotted down close to 50 different items that we could make and market, all of them entirely recycled, entirely handmade, and entirely gorgeous.

We've started with the simple beauty of the silhouette of my home state, Minnesota, and we will work to produce more themes and images as we go along. Stay tuned for more posts about the process we have to produce these pieces, the other ideas we have floating around in our minds, and updates as we continue to roll out more works.

I'm thrilled with the quality and beauty of these pieces so far. Everyone I've shown them to remarks that they look even better in person too. The best part? I get to work with an amazing artist and paper wizard to create something new and beautiful out of what I'd otherwise dump in the recycling bin. How many people can claim that?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shows & Things to Show!

Whew! It's been a while!

While I'd like to be able to say that my hiatus is due to an extended snorkleing trip in the Fijian islands, I'm even more happy to say that I've been crazy busy with lots of awesome paperwork! I'm not being sarcastic. How can paperwork be awesome? When it's working with paper to churn out some of these pieces:

Above is a massive 4-piece, segmented work depicting the water of and land surrounding Lake Attersee in northwestern Austria. Each piece is 12 x 12" and at the thickest portions, there are 14 layers of cardstock. I would love to see this after it's matted and framed!

I've done quite a few sets lately. Another genius idea was this set of four places that traces four key locations that the buyer and her husband visited or inhabited in their young lives so far, and includes (clockwise from top left): San Francisco, Baja California, Amsterdam, and the Sunderbans of India.

Someone else ordered something akin to a "family pack" with different colors of the same lake:

Other fun custom pieces include Prince of Wales Island at the bottom of Alaska's "tail":

Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri:

And New York's Long Island done up in rich, harvest golds:

I finally worked out my plan for plastic-free packaging for my card sets:

I still have to incorporate them into my listings, and they could endure some more refining, but I like them for their simplicity, practicality, and recycle-ability!

Last month marked my second gallery exhibit, this one as part of a super cool show fronted by the brilliant Mr. Curt Lund. Curt just wrapped up his artist-in-residence term at the charming Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley and for his grand finale, invited four other artists to join him in creating Geographies: a multi-media investigation of place. As fun and thrilling as it is to be part of any show, Geographies is so near and dear to my heart and what I do every day, that it is and will always be extra awesome to me. Here are some shots from the show:

Three all-white pieces (from left to right or west to east, if you will): San Francisco Bay, Lake Minnetonka, Manhattan

A bright, extra-dimensional piece called "Buoyancy":

This piece, two 6 x 6" layered "halves" of the same stack, I titled, 'Touched."

I invite people to touch this piece in the hopes that over time, it will begin to show the dirt and grime of a thousand hands. In a way, this reflects how we both connect to and corrode the land around us.

The show is up through the end of April, so if you're in the Twin Cities area, do check it out! There are more of my pieces than what I've shown here, and lots of other amazing pieces by the other artists in the collection.

Last Saturday, I joined Curt again, as well as a dozen other artists as an elite group vending our work at the beautiful Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. It was a very simple set-up: we were each allotted a single, simply draped 6-foot table, set in a line along a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. The Walker staff treated us to some morning goodies, a lovely lunch, assistance whenever needed, and a free and amazing selling venue in exchange for half of our earnings that day. The turn out and response far exceeded my expectations and I sold out of a few things. You can see how spotty my card display looked below when my hubby and the kids stopped by in the afternoon:

I didn't intend to take my zip-up hoodie off, or have my hair pulled up, but it was warm and I was busy! It was a great day! One of the personal highlights for me was when an older gentleman asked me if I was from Bemidji. When I told him I was, he said that he knew my Dad. I pressed him for more information and he said he saw my last name on my info card, had a hunch, and then saw my blue eyes and knew I was my father's daughter. I was so chuffed to think that my eyes were the giveaway clue to my identity. I called my Dad after the show to tell him and he thought it was pretty sweet too. :) It was wonderful, too, to hear all the very nice comments people shared about my work. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love what I do!

What's next? More custom pieces, each one different, each one with a story behind it. I am so lucky to be able to make pieces for people who find these so special. Who knew it would become so huge since my very first custom piece about two years ago?

Also, up next, is the very fun, very crazy, very awesome, St. Paul Craftstravaganza! This year's event is held in the same place as in recent years, the Fine Arts building of the MN State Fair Grounds. The event takes place one day only, on Saturday, April 30th, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. I'll be in the same place I was last year as well, just off to the right side from the main entrance.

There will be loads of other handmade goodies there from all over the state and region, with some of the most unique and high-quality items you'll find in this area. Please stop by and say "hi!"

Until then, I'm busy, busy, busy prepping more fun stuff for the show, as well as crossing off pieces from my custom to-do list. New orders from my shop will be shipped beginning early May, and my turn-around time on all my work should shorten considerably soon thereafter.

Thanks for reading through this meaty update! I hope to see you soon!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Twine Holder Tutorial

I jumped on the trendy and simply decorated cotton baker's twine bandwagon, and finally bought my own spool. I've started to include it in my packaging and really like the nice, little touch it adds. Since I use it so often, I keep it handy, but on its own, it gets knocked over, the twine come unraveled, and it isn't fitting in with the organized flow of everything else in my workspace. Etsy's blog recently ran an article on antique string dispensers and my first problem-solving thoughts jumped to buying some fun, vintage artifact that was made to do just what I needed it to do. I browsed and was quickly discouraged by the selections, the prices, and the fact that many of them were either best mounted on a wall or required the spool to be unwound first.
I stared intently at the spool and suddenly, creative inspiration high-fived thriftiness, and I had my solution. I grabbed the materials and headed to the work bench. No more than three minutes later, I had my twine holder. Sweet!

Obviously it's not very complicated, and I wouldn't have thought to post a tutorial, but I couldn't find anything like that in my quick Google search, and I thought of a neat little tip on the fly that I think is worth sharing. So here is how you can make one for yourself, you twine-loving crafty person you!

Start with these few simple elements: Your spool of twine (mine is a 240 yd spool of the popular Divine Twine), a jelly jar that the spool fits into (I found this tall, quilted jar fit perfectly, but many medium-sized jars would work too), a hammer and I relatively large gauge/ thick nail.

I imagine this would work with a single piece lid, but it worked very well with a 2-piece. Set the nail into the center of the inside of the flat part of the lid (on the workbench or some other surface that can handle a nail driven into it -- NOT on your dining room table!).

Once the nail fit through the opening, I took it out and flipped the lid over. Here's where the genius really kicked in. I put the nail back through the hole in the lid so that that head of the nail rested on the sharp edges of the hole opening. Then I positioned the lid on the workbench so that the nail hung over the edge. A quick rap or two with the hammer on the head of the nail, and I flattened those sharp edges.

So now, I had a smooth, snag-less opening on the inside of the lid:

And a relatively ouch-less opening on the outside of the lid. I patted myself on the back for that one.

Then, I just put the spool in the jar, threaded the twine through the opening and the lid ring, screwed on the lid and Presto! Twine Holder. It fits the spool like they were made together, it's weighty enough to stay in place when I pull on the twine from the top, it's pretty darn cute, it didn't cost me a cent, and it's crafty as all get out.

I suppose an uber-crafter could go to town decorating the jar and/or the jar's lid with all sorts of craftiness, but I'm happy with this simple, re-purposed gem, and my hubby is glad that I didn't buy anything else. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

East Coast? West Coast? NO COAST!


Let the countdown to mass craziness begin, baby. Here's all you need to know:

What: No Coast Craft-o-Rama
When: De-cem-ber 3rd & 4th
Where: Midtown Global Exchange building in Minn-e-apolis
Who: Craft-er-all and a boat load of some of this region's coolest artists and handmade geniuses
How Much: How much you got? ;)

Seriously, I'm psyched and totally inventory deficient. Going to stock up first on some bulk "Midnight Oil" so I can burn the heck out of it.

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