Friday, August 28, 2015

Yard sale fever

The yard sale mentality has hit, and hit hard. I have been going deep in drawers and cupboards to clean out my studio for the annual sale at my artisans cooperative this weekend and I am giddy with the space I have been able to free up. I found some plastic card covers that someone gave me a few years ago. She had ordered the wrong item and thought I could find a use for them. Instead of getting the plastic envelopes she meant to order, she received these sleeves, which don't close and just have a little pocket at each end. I couldn't think of a way to use them but I am such a recycler that I could't throw them away.

They have sat in a drawer for several years until yesterday when I pulled them out and was determined to use them somehow at this sale and finally get rid of them. I am pretty psyched at what I came up with. I have many mismatched plantable paper doves, some envelopes I got for next to nothing at a paper auction and some blank business cards that I also got at the paper auction. I stamped my plantable paper instructions on the blank cards, then put everything together and tucked it into the plastic pocket. Then I folded it over, cut it and secured with a round sticker. Voila! Got rid of a ton of things all at once and got my drawer space back!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Once a year, my artisans cooperative holds a sale. We all clean out our studios and bring in our seconds and shop-worn pieces. But you can also get discontinued items, things we haven't sold and don't want to look at anymore, experimental pieces and so much more. For me, it is like preparing for a yard sale. I have a little pile of things that I want to get rid of, but then I get the fever. I love the extra space I just regained from a drawer. I can do something else with that shelf that is now empty. I feel lighter and free when there isn't so much stuff in my life. So I start walking around and grabbing anything that isn't nailed down. (I will admit that I am still kicking myself for putting my paper quilling materials in a yard sale about 4 years ago. The needle and papers sat around for years and then the week after I got rid of everything, I thought to all kinds of new ways to use it. Doh!) So I may regret getting rid of some of my creations but you won't - the prices are drastically reduced and most of the time there is nothing wrong with the item. I am selling some of my greeting cards that got a little damaged when I didn't take the rubber bands off of them for storage and a couple rubber bands snapped and left a mark across the card on the top of the pile. You can barely notice it but I don't feel right about selling them at full price. I have three framed Petal People. I never loved the composition of two of them and apparently my customers didn't either! They haven't sold in about 6 months and my display is starting to look a little stale with the same pieces so these guys were taken out and have to find a new home since I rotated in new work. The third one has a knick in the frame, though a Sharpie would probably do the trick to fix it. Finally, I have lots and lots of plantable paper for the sale. When I make batches of handmade seed paper, I always have leftovers since I make more than I need for a custom order. I used recycled scrap paper but the colors of the paper scraps change, even slightly, and I can't match old items with the same color when I make a new batch. So I have tons of odds and ends that I have packaged up and heavily discounted. Come take advantage of the huge savings while supporting the arts. I will be manning the cash register from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., but the sale runs until 5 p.m. There is always a line before we open for this much-anticipated sale so get there as early as you can for the most selection. Or just stop in and say hi!

August 29, 10 am-5 p.m.
August 30, 11 am-2:30 pm

Valley Artisans Market
25 E Main St
Cambridge, New York
(518) 677-2765

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pig Pen Theater Co.

After a vacation to beat all vacations, where I woke up every day to a new adventure, I realized I need more play in my life. So in order to balance my work life and the intense demands of a one-woman business, I have starting having one adventure every single week: go someplace new, try something new, eat something new… Last week it was seeing my new favorite band, Pig Pen Theater Company, who happened to be playing within driving distance.

I don't often gush about bands I have seen, but I really want to spread the word about these guys. They are 7 guys who graduated from Carnegie Mellon having studied theater. They began touring with an amazing shadow puppet theater production (and they are now completing a children's book) but took a little side path with a couple of folksy albums that I just love. Their performance has witty banter, breathtaking harmonies and an acoustic part where they come out into audience for a few songs. We were part of an audience that ranged from people in their 20s to 70s. They play in small venues - we saw them at MassMoCA in North Adams, Mass. - so it is an intimate feel, and after the show they hang out in the lobby to talk. See them!

And this is really cool: they just made their film debut in "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. They are the wedding band in the background!

Hear some of their music for free here:

They even have a Ted Talk!

Friday, August 14, 2015


1. an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.
2. the action of leaving something one previously occupied.

Just came back from three weeks on the road, taking an RV trip across 8 states, covering more than 3,500 miles. If you have never taken an RV trip and can get along with other people in a small space, I highly recommend it. I took my first RV trip 4 or 5 years ago just to satisfy my curiosity and get a check mark on a bucket list item. But it was such a blast that we did it again! This one was the first vacation in a while where I took everything down from my shop and had a real vacation - not only an extended period of recreation but also a much-needed break away from my work and my shop. I have kept my shop open before for other short vacations, but I spend so much of my time answering questions in a timely fashion that I don't end up really taking enough time off to reenergize myself. This time I sacrificed the sales I may have gotten and embraced vacay. I didn't look at my phone for days at a time, read three books cover to cover, played endless games of Uno and snapped hundreds of photos (623, to be exact!).

My favorite part of the trip might have been taking paddle boards out on Flathead Lake in Montana.

I found inspiration for my work on this trip, like stumbling onto these beautiful colors while playing among the rock formations in the Badlands in South Dakota. Perhaps you will see some of the images or colors from the trip creep into my work.

Nothing like a long hike to a mountain lake to clear the senses.

Anyway, I am back at it, my shop is open again and I am here!

Monday, August 10, 2015

The earth laughs in flowers

My very favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, captured in this Etsy treasury featuring my plantable paper earths.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Paper flowers

Love these beautiful flowers, made from handmade paper. What a beautiful way to use paper so that a bouquet of wedding flowers can be kept forever. Wish I had the patience to do something like this!