Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cupcake toppers!

Sometimes you just have to mix things up a little. I have been happily making my plantable paper items for years. But every few months, I try to add a new product not only for good business practices but also to excite myself and do something different. I have a new product in my shop: cupcake toppers. These are made from my plantable paper shapes that are on a stick. You simply push the stick into a cupcake and — voila! — a really pretty and colorful addition to a cupcake in seconds. Party guests can pluck off the plantable shape and plant it in their garden or force it indoors and grow wildflowers. Skip the expensive cake decorating class and save your money on those dyes for frosting. Since cupcakes have been all the rage for a couple of years, I have been enjoying more of them myself. I used these cupcake toppers as a good excuse to visit my local cupcake shop. I needed only one for a photo prop but I couldn't decide between red velvet, chocolate with vanilla frosting or raspberry lemonade so I got all three! I have a hunch that these toppers might not be very good sellers but they are fun and different so I thought I would explore them a little bit. If you would like to see more, go to my Etsy shop at

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Paper sculpture

If you are into paper and paper arts like I am, you will find Beijing artist Li Hongbo's work absolutely stunning and intriguing. He makes artwork from thousands of layers of paper so that they look like carved porcelain human forms of busts and skulls. Not only can I not imagine the patience it must take to create these works, I also can't imagine how many weeks of work are wasted if the paper is torn or damaged. Yikes!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A walk down memory lane

I have been moving my old studio into my new space this week. As I go, I have been cleaning out old files and boxes that I haven’t looked at in years. I have been surprised that the daunting work of moving has actually ignited passion and excitement as I become re-inspired by what has laid quiet in boxes. I am fired up to make new things and excited to remember old things that I have made. In one of the folders was a magazine article about a project I had forgotten about. Back in 2010, I was lucky enough to find myself in collaboration with a group of California artists who were making some very unique wedding favors for a “wedding as art project” event. Two artists were getting married and wanted a wedding that was anything but typical. They ended up having a “festival of interactive and performance art” and my work was included. I worked with artists Bettina Hubby and Ed Ruscha to make the thickest paper I could —it was more than three inches thick! — that they wanted to use for a die cut project. (How they ever cut through that thick of a piece of paper is still a mystery to me.) They cut “I DO” into the paper and used it as wedding favors. It took quite a long time to accumulate the amount of white paper scraps to make such thick paper. I had to build special molds to pour the pulp into and then it took at least a week for each sheet of the handmade paper to dry. I made a couple hundred of them and then shipped them off to California with my blessings and the assumption that, now that my part of the work was completed, I would not hear from them again. I was thrilled when I did hear from Bettina, several months later. After the wedding, Bettina sent me a thank you note with clippings of articles about the wedding from several different magazines, including LA Weekly and The NY Times Style Magazine, with pictures featuring the paper I had made. It reminded me how much I love to collaborate with other artists and how much inspiration I get from those experiences. It makes the dreary work of unpacking and organizing into a treasure hunt. Now back to the unpacking to see what other surprises and memories await!

To see the entire article in the New York Times Style Magazine, go to:

For the LA Weekly article, go to

Friday, February 14, 2014

If only I were a cat...

… then I could eat whenever I wanted to, get massaged any time I rubbed against someone, and plop down to take a nap in the sun, even if it turned out to be in the middle of someone else's work space.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's paper pulp!

So I went to the Etsy forums and posed the question asking what people thought my avatar was (see photo below). The answers were quite interesting and not what I expected. Here are a few of them: Yarn for making rugs?
Looks like it could be spices, or pots of dye.
Beads or beans!
Ground up/grans of something? Maybe a plant? Maybe glitter?
Paint pots or beads in small plastic jars from above.
A cloth swatch? I almost think it looks like a multi color zoom in on a quilt.
I feel silly for my answer, but at first glance I thought it was jelly beans.
Well, I guess I should get a better avatar for my shop. The photo is a birds-eye view of plastic cups full of different colors of paper pulp! Here is the same photo at a different angle to give you the perspective that helps you see it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What is it?

Here's a question out there for anybody who might find their way here and read this blog. The picture posted here is the avatar that I use for my Etsy shop. I have always used it but it recently dawned on me that most people who see it may not even know what it is. It looks like a bunch of colorful circles but do you know what it is? Take your guesses in the comment section. I would love to hear what you think!


Nothing makes me as happy as a big box of paper scraps to make my handmade paper. I use a lot of high-quality junk mail to make all of my papers. But since I do not use bleaches or dyes to color my paper, the only way that I can make all the delicious colors is to combine various paper scraps — some yellow scraps and a pinch of brown makes a beautiful mustard color. Cobalt blue with a little bit of black makes a nice navy blue. And I love combining pinks, oranges and creams for a beautiful peach. I met a lovely woman named Cindy who owns a card stock company. She saves the trimmings and cast-offs from cutting down large pieces of card stock into cards for her paper orders. Then she sends them my way so I can make them into gorgeous handmade papers. Don’t get me wrong - I don’t want your scrap paper! I have had many friends and acquaintances offer me their discarded paper. There is so much paper that goes through my life — even as I get off all those mailing lists and do more bill paying online — that I don’t need one more scrap of it from anyone, even the most well-intentioned! One of my friend’s friends heard about my papermaking business and decided I was the perfect avenue for her wonderfully obsessive recycling. She gave my friend, who then gave me, a huge garbage bag full of toilet paper wrappers. This is the super thin paper that comes around a new roll of toilet paper. It practically dissolves into nothingness when you look at it. She must have saved those wrappers for more than a year to accumulate the amount she gave me. I appreciate the gesture but I really have enough paper between my own mailbox and household recycling. But I digress. I received a lovely huge box of paper from Cindy this week. It is heavy card stock, saturated with color - perfect for my plantable paper products. (Say that 10 times fast!) It’s always a nice surprise when I open up a box from Cindy and see what is inside, and how the colors will inspire to create something. Some women love getting new shoes. For me, it’s paper scraps!