Saturday, November 28, 2015

Yoga Mandali

In my homage to retail spaces selling my work, the next space focus is on Yoga Mandali, a yoga studio on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. I haven't been doing yoga lately (I go in phases with exercise and movement, from water aerobics to pilates to, most recently, walking 5 miles a day and doing weight training), but when I regularly practiced, I adored the classes at Yoga Mandali. I loved it so much that I actually briefly considered taking a 200-hour teacher training program to deepen my practice and understand the poses more thoroughly.

Yoga Mandali is a wide-reaching studio deeply immersed in the tradition of Bhakti (the yoga of devotion). They host special events all year long from kirtans to yoga book club to vegan cooking classes. And my very favorite perfume is an amazing oil that I buy from the studio store that has a hint of patchouli in it without being a blatantly hippy scent. When I am wearing it and hug someone, they always ask what scent I have on and where they can buy it. Naturally, I am psyched that the Studio Store is now carrying my Petal People card of a person doing a yoga bend. (One of my yoga friends was charmed at the fact that this yoga person even has a little tail bone.)

I know I will circle back around to a regular yoga practice some day, but right now I am obsessed with my FitBit and feel such a huge accomplishment when I get an email from my little device congratulating me on the total amount of steps I have walked. Or when a recent hike prompted an email on how many stories I had climbed that day. Very motivating!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cone sculptures

My weaving cones sculptures have sold out at my artist cooperative but never fear, more are on their way! If you are stopping in this weekend for our open house, you will see a bunch of new ones, including these, which are my two favorites. (Apologies for the fuzzy pictures - too much to do!)

I made a very tall Santa, more than a foot tall:

and this little guy, who might be an elf of some kind. My favorite part is the little star garland that he is holding. I started running out of the red handmade paper so I had to improvise with this guy. I might like him even more than the others I made, with his straw-colored paper and a body of torn book pages.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Swatch Swap

I got my first Christmas present this week! My Swatch Swap book has arrived! If you don't know what the heck I am talking about, you can catch up here:

So excited to feel all these wonderful papers and get inspired by the pages and pages of swatches and recipes others have provided. Yay for papermakers from all over the world!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

I love this quote by Robert Lewis Stevenson. It is a quote I have used when giving advice to others, as a parent, and it even inspired a product of graduation-themed cupcake toppers:

But it is also one of those meaningful bits of wisdom that sometimes I need to remember and apply to my own life. This week has been a reminder that I often plant seeds and then forget about them, and I am always bemused when they grow into something and give me a nudge to keep on planting new seeds.

A year or so ago, I had been talking to the owner of a local garden nursery. She surprised me by knowing who I was because she knows my neighbor and recognized me. We got to talking and I learned that during the off-season she makes and sells her own pottery. As artists do, we compared notes on where to sell and what works best. She mentioned that she has an artisans showcase every year on the first weekend in December where she sells her work as well as the work of a select group of hand-picked artists that complement the design work that she does. It has grown into a substantial event with food, booze and an intimate shopping experience with a targeted market of people who like unique, handmade items and are looking for a more meaningful way to shop for the holidays. I told her if she ever has any extra space that I would love to participate. Then it completely left my brain. This week, almost a year later, she contacted me and asked me if I would like to be one of the artists. I was so tickled and said yes immediately, especially because her flower market is the perfect venue for a new design of gift tags that I made this week, on a total whim: tiny little folded cards with real pressed flowers on them.

If you aren't local, you can get a set in my Etsy shop here:

If you are local to Saratoga County in upstate New York, come, bring a friend, an empty belly and socialize. You never know who you might meet and what seeds you might plant that will sprout in a year or so!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Alexander Graham Hell

I like to mess with solicitors and scam artists who call me. I always think that the time they waste talking to me might save an elderly person from being scammed out of money. So any time I have some flexibility to play with them, I dive in deep and spend a good amount of time wasting theirs. Here's a recent example of how a call goes:

me: Hello?

man: Good morning, ma'am, I am calling blah, blah, blah

me: Tony? Is that you?

man: No, ma'am, I am calling about blah, blah, blah

me: I want my car back, Tony.

man: This is not a sales call. Blah, blah, blah

me: Don't play games with me, Tony. I wouldn't have let you take it if I knew you were going to disappear for two days. You better not bring it back with an empty tank again or I am gonna crack you over the head.

man: Uh, ma'am, I am not Tony but blah blah blah.

me, with a rising voice: Tony, I am not gonna take your crap. You bring that car back to me and bring it back today. And tell Helen that she better get her stuff out of my house or I'm going to thrown it in the front yard and let the dogs take a shit on it.

man: (some confused mutterings, trying to stick to his script but getting agitated)

me: (getting loud and arrogant): And don't come swaggering back in here thinking you are going to sweet-talk me into bed. I am not putting out for you any more, Tony.

man (now high-pitched and sounding panicked in a sing-song voice): Vat are you talking about?

me: (now very loud and getting raunchy when I hear a click and a dial tone).

First time I ever had a solicitor hang up on ME! There's a new scam going around where very aggressive men (presumably from foreign countries since they all have Indian accents) call and insist that something is being downloaded onto my computer. They insist that I must follow their directions so they can help but what they are doing is directing me to help them break into my computer where they will have access to all of my passwords every time I log into something, and God knows what else. They are aggressive and mean. They remind me that they know my address and recite it to make me feel threatened. (I grew up with older brothers - it doesn't work on me.) Please don't fall for it. This is the basic gist of what happened during a recent conversation in a barrage of calls this week:

me: Hello?

man: Ma'am, ma'am, you must hurry. Someone is breaking into your vindows and downloading onto your computer. Are you at your computer?

me: My windows are closed and locked. I don't see anybody breaking in!

man: No, ma'am, vindows on your computer. Can you turn your computer on?

me: Windows? No, I don't have Windows. I have an Apple.

man: Your Apple computer, ma'am, please turn it on.

me: I don't have Windows on my computer. I think you are confused.

man (aggressively): Who said anything about Vindows? I never said that. I said Apple. Turn your computer on, they are downloading viruses.

me: You did. You keep talking about windows this and windows that!


me: Well, I have my computer on. Nobody is downloading anything.

man: How do you know? Are you a technical person?

me: OH! You are calling for technical support? Sorry, you have the wrong number. I don't offer technical support and I don't install windows but I know a good contractor if you want his name.


me: OK, I have his number. Do you have a pen? Oh, wait, no. That number is for the guy who came and did some plumbing for me. I think his name was Paul. Do you know him? Because if you have something that is blocked he's actually pretty good. He is a little expensive but he works alone and he's kinda, well, a large man so it takes him a long time to crawl in and out of tight spaces, if you know what I mean. So if you can negotiate a cost for the job rather than an hourly rate, you would probably be a lot better off. But I'll go look for my contractor's number if you would rather just deal with your windows for now…. Hello? Hello?

Just a little fun on a rainy day…

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Northern Cross Vineyard

Just want to give a shout-out to a few of the retail spaces that are now selling my Petal People cards, as well as other bits of my artwork.

The first place is Northern Cross Vineyard (located at 1103 Beadle Hill Road, Valley Falls, NY), a cool little upstate vineyard. Vintner Kathleen Weber is a funky chick — funny, interesting and extremely artistic. She is an artist always creating, from wine-making to her hand-painted floorcloths to her lovely silk scarves and Christmas ornaments made from pine cones. She is venturing out into using vintage license plates as a new artistic medium and I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

But I digress. More about the vineyard:

"At Northern Cross Vineyard, we keep winemaking uncomplicated and authentic. We grow cold-hardy grapes in our vineyard and make them into wine that is both new and delicious. We are so confident of the integrity of these grapes, that we named our wines for the predominant grape used in making them. Our red wine grapes are Marquette, Frontenac, St. Croix, and our whites are Lacrosse, La Crescent and Prairie Star. You may not have heard these names before, but we are sure that our wines will offer you a fresh tasting adventure. Our tasting room is a warm space where you can choose your experience – taste, tour, picnic, enjoy the free Wi-Fi or simply hit the pause button. We offer a relaxed, seated tasting experience, so please take your time!"

The tasting room has also been turned into a place where they sell local artwork to make the experience more attractive and fun. I love how my work looks in the space. Thank you Kathleen!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cone heads

More fun with weaving cones, handmade paper and leftover felting wool. Love this sweet Santa!

I've got some more tweaking to do with this figure and not sure if it will become one of three Wise Men or be a stand-alone person but love where it is going, especially the cast paper hands!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Silent Night

I've been having a blast today playing with discarded weaving cones from a friend's weaving studio. In past years, I have used them to make Christmas tree toppers. That is, little pieces of art that you would put on top of your tree in place of a traditional star. Read more about last year's toppers here:

This year I wanted to do something different for my artisans cooperative Christmas show so I used the cone as the base of a body and started making a nativity scene all in recycled paper - and handmade paper at that. It's not an easy thing to manipulate paper, especially the hands, which are thicker cast paper and can't be bent without cracking and breaking. But I really like how everything turned out. I just hope I don't end up keeping them for myself. I have way too much handmade Christmas stuff already…