Arabic-Inspired Lettering

For the Ones I LoveOr Farsi, really, since the Arabs got their alphabet from the Persians, but whatever. I’m working on a leather photo album as a gift for a Persian family and I wanted something that would hark back to their origins.  I saw this lettering and loved how it mimicked Arabic calligraphy and decided to try it out myself.
I really love how it turned out, and I decided to have it laser-engraved into the leather.  I’m debating about whether to then paint the letters with gold leather paint.  It’s an expensive mistake if I end up not liking it in gold.  We’ll see, and I’ll post pictures when I’m done.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State of the Eight

There has been a serious dearth of posts going on around here, but lest you think I’ve given up on creativity, I’m going to give you a status update.  About 2.5 months ago, I gave birth to child number three

baby yawning

My little guy, just six days old.

(isn’t he so cute!) and discovered that three children is 10 times more work than two (blech).  I know the math doesn’t add up, but that’s convex non-linearity for you.  Basically, the sum is greater than the parts and I have NO TIME–and what would I do with that eighth day I so wish we had?  Sit around nursing a baby just like the other seven, that’s what.  The last couple of weeks I’ve managed to get the toddler and the infant to nap at the same time which gives me 1-2 hours to accomplish what I can.  Not a lot of time, but since I am incapable of NOT having one or a dozen different projects in the works, I have managed to squeeze some creative activities into my days.  However, since I have limited time, documenting those activities has suffered.  In an attempt to fix this, here’s an image dump of things I’ve been doing since my last post.  This isn’t even half of the projects I’ve been working on, but feel free to ask questions about anything you want more information on!


Posted in Arts and Crafts, Digital, Lettering, Letterpress, Paper Arts, Printmaking, Visual Arts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sneak Peak

Paper cut Blackberries by Sarah (

Cut paper blackberries

I’ve hinted previously at a most wondrous project I’m working on, and I thought I’d treat ya’ll to a sneak peak. I’ve got a couple hundred tiny little paper circles floating around my desk right now–I can tell you I drove my husband crazy with hammering to punch all of them out–but they do look nice put together, don’t they?  And how about that paper leaf?  Does it look leaf-like?  I’m debating about whether to keep the twisted paper for the stems or do flat paper strips.

Posted in Paper Arts, Paper Cuts | 4 Comments

Lunaria Annua or Happy Birthday to Me!

Lunaria annua, silver dollark plant, money plant, or honesty

Lunaria annua, silver dollark plant, money plant, or honesty

A few months ago I saw a dried silver dollar plant arrangement at our local grocery store.  I hadn’t seen them since I worked as a gardener in high school, and I’d forgotten all about them and how fascinating and lovely I thought they were.  I happened to be with my husband at the time, so I gushed to him about them.  Well, halfway through my birthday, my husband remembered it was my birthday ;) and ran over to the grocery store, coming back with two delicious varieties of chocolate ice cream and a bunch of dried silver dollars.  I was touched he actually listened and then remembered, and aren’t they so pretty!

Silver dollar seed pods

Silver dollar seed pods

The thing about silver dollar plants, or Lunaria annua, is that even though it’s pretty when it’s green, it’s breathtaking dried.  The plant is biennial, and the first year it’s pretty small, but it shoots up to 3-4 feet during it’s second spring and blossoms with pretty purple-pink flowers.  People like it because it’s unusual to see this sort of tall flowering plant in the spring, but I like because that second autumn when it starts to die, the flat, waxy green seed pods start to flake leaving this onion skin-like discs housing little seeds. I really like the pearlescent quality.

Posted in Photography | 4 Comments

What’s this?

A big flat cardboard box

A big flat cardboard box

A cardboard box, you say? Not so!

Tada!  Beautiful colors.

Tada! Beautiful colors.

This is a fabulous shipment of oh so colorful paper!  I was so excited when I saw the UPS guy, I just about pounced on him.  No really, I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m crazy.  It’s just that I had to wait weeks, WEEKS, for this to arrive.  This is my first experience ordering paper without handling it first–just based off the descriptions on the website.  I was leary, let me tell you, especially when a person is used to a place like the paper department at New York Central Art Supply–thousands of papers to finger.  I did it anyway because this isn’t paper I’m using for a book or anything (gasp!), at least not in the traditional bookish sense, but for another project I’ve had on hold for a while because of the binding and printing I do.  Any guesses?  If you’d like a hint, go here to this Pinterest board.  Are you excited yet?  Because I know I am.

I may be as excited for the boxes the paper came in, as I am for the paper itself.  Just think, you have mondo (25″x35″) sheets of paper and a couple of kids entirely too fond of scissors. How do you protect your precious booty?  By squirreling it away under your bed of course.  At least now that I don’t have flat file drawers at the Center for Book Arts, that’s what I do.  But then what do you do when your husband shoves his computer under the bed when he’s ready to sleep?  It mushes up the paper and you may as well let the kids at it with scissors.  So these boxes are going to be very useful for protecting this new paper, as well as the paper I already have.

Stickers on paper! The nerve!

Stickers on paper! The nerve!

I do have one question for you–what kind of people put stickers on paper?!  I ordered this paper from paper people, people!  That sticker effectively wastes the top two inches of every tenth sheet of paper I ordered.  Don’t they get that?  I ask you.

Posted in Paper Arts | 2 Comments

Journal Writing for People Who Can’t Keep a Journal: The Power of JUST

Just is your new best friend.

Just is your new best friend.

You may or may not have noticed a long hiatus in my promised series of Journal Writing for People Who Can’t Keep a Journal.  I have lots of really good excuses, as do all of us among the journal-impaired.  Mostly I haven’t been journaling, so I feel a bit like a hypocrite preaching about how to effectively keep a journal.  I just moved to the other side of the country, all my books (including my journals) are in storage…. Great excuses, but we all know what those are like.  And again, we all know what it’s like to go a while without journaling.  You start storing up all the things you ought to be writing about, and pretty soon the task of recording everything you haven’t recorded becomes insurmountable.  Well today, I found my salvation in my inbox in the form of a Behance newsletter which I would normally delete without looking at, but the subject line caught my eye. The article that finally inspired me to get back to was Start Small: Why Tinkerers Get Things Done by Mark McGuinness.  Long story short, you start without starting.  You’re just going to jot down a few lines.

“I’ll just prime a canvas.”
“I’ll just play a few chords to warm up.”
“I’ll just write the characters’ names out.”
“I’ll just copy out the previous design.”
“I’ll just get the folder out of the filing cabinet.”

You remove your resistance by NOT doing this behemoth task, you’re just doing the first step.  Nothing else.  I’m not cooking dinner, I’m just chopping up vegetables, ets.  So here I go to just jot down a few words and to heck with “journalling.”

Posted in Journal Writing, Literary Arts | 5 Comments

Central Park

I have another tutorial in the works–get excited ’cause it’s a good one!–In the meantime, have a gander at this picture I took at Central Park last time I was there.  Now, I would like honest opinions from you lovely people out there who know stuff:  is this any good?  I’m not much of a photographer, especially when it comes to landscapes, but I sure try and I’d like to get better.  Advice is appreciated.

A nice man decided to row across my shot, making the scene even more picturesque.

A nice man decided to row across my shot, making the scene even more picturesque.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Pencil Notepad Tutorial

Pencil notepads to adorn your desk.

Pencil notepads to adorn your desk.

I was trawling through Pinterest, as one does, and found this darling stationery by Alma of Nicole’s Classes, and was inspired to make a teacher gift with it for back-to-school.  A while back I made my daughter a pencil pouch, which I then claimed as my own (she didn’t like it until I wouldn’t let her have it), following this tutorial, and I thought I could do something awesome just like it for a notepad. The problem was, the notecards Alma created were on 1/3 of a sheet of paper, and after printing it out, I thought it was a bit small, so I asked if she could pretty please make a version on quarter-sheets of paper with maybe quarter-inch margins all the way around for trimming? and she happily obliged!  Awesome, right?  Go here to download the design to print out for your pencil notepad, and then follow this handy tutorial I made just for you:


Posted in Arts and Crafts, Bookbinding, Paper Arts, Scrapbooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The House that Book Built

photo of a house-shaped book

The House that Book Built

Seeing as I am currently press-less (both the printing and binding kinds), and have no board shear, yet having an endless stream of ideas, I had to do something.  I’ve been thinking about houses and the narratives they are of our lives, and also villages as narratives of a community, so I thought of creating a village of narrative houses.  This first little book is just a prototype to see if it was possible to implement my idea.  I cut the board by hand.  Not nice on the wrists so I’ll have to get access to a board shear before I can complete the project.  The prototype did call some details to my attention that I’ll have to modify before I go into production mode, like the fact that the book likes to splay open when you set it up house-like.  I think I know how to fix it, though, so no worries.

**As a little FYI, that pink paper behind the house?  I colored that with madder during a Natural Dyeing for Book Artists workshop given by the natty Natalie Stopka at the Center for Book Arts in June.

Posted in Bookbinding, Paper Arts, Photography, Watercolor | 2 Comments