Category Archives: Inspiration

the joy of POD books

Pen and watercolor illustrations for my next Blurb project.

The beauty of the software from the folks at Blurb is that you don’t have to know how to write code, or even have a background in layout design, to join in the immediate gratification of bookmaking. My experience with print production goes back to my early twenties, when I learned how to set type on keyboards that evolved into desktop publishing computers. Bottom line, I love typography and I love the process of assembling images and words into books. Eating Clean was my first formal bookmaking project, but that was in 2002, before the wide popularity of print-on-demand, not to mention digital book formats. There are no wholesale rates for the books made on Blurb, but if you’re not interested in the expense of inventory and relinquishing storage space to boxes of books-that-are-yet-unsold, the 1-by-1 pricing might just work for you. For now, that suits me just fine. I can keep playing and doing, which is where the joy in POD is for me.  Have you tried an online POD bookmaking service? Love to hear about it and hear your thoughts.


One collage closer to work-life balance

Nary a photo or word written in weeks. As rewarding as teaching is, I have yet to master the balance between work-work and personal work.

The holiday season drew me into a handmade mood, though. Thoughts of a holiday greeting had me scouting the internet for a mac- and pocketbook-friendly alternative to Photoshop or Illustrator, with layers, for image and text combining. The free option at Picnik gives generous — but limited — tools. I’ve been using this site for a while and have found it easy to navigate with enough font variety to keep me happy. (Yes, I am like a kid in a penny candy store when it comes to a list of font choices, and forget all the rules of design simplicity.) And who wouldn’t love Picnik’s little messages that accompany a page or image upload? “Mowing the grass” or “picking blueberries,” to name two.

Picnik’s upgrade ($24.95/year) gives access to all sorts of fun tools and effects. I had a ball making the collage above. With a vintage cherub from the Graphics Fairy as my base, I was off and running. Do you remember the thrill of a new box of Crayola crayons? All those colors to choose from? The smell of the wax? I can’t say digital collage is a tactile experience, but I like the immediacy of sharing the results online. And it feels like play. Here’s a short article on the stress-relieving benefits of play for adults.  In fact, I had so much fun I decided to give the blog a new look with a fresh banner.

What are your strategies for work-life balance?

Friday Flickr Favorites

Friday Flickr Favorites - 11/25/11
1. Sibsey, 2. [workinprogress], 3. My embroidered headband., 4. Denver 30: 23, 5. Sheep heid baby cardigan, 6. Socks Patchwork, 7. Alivia, 8. alpine conditions, 9. Children’s Day in Brazil…, 10. Southern light, 11. Fabric of the Week winner: The Dinner Thief by kayajoy, 12. Untitled, 13. Liberty mug rugs, 14. Strings Attached – pot holders, 15. Linda’s Vintage Baby Hats, 16. Luxury

Every time Sibsey’s mum posts a photo of her, I click the ‘favorite’ button. So who better to lead today’s mosaic than the fluffy beauty herself?!

Meanwhile Corabelle spent the week parked on my lap, purring.  Without a doubt, her companionship contributed to my quick recovery from Tuesday’s surgery.

This year’s handmade Christmas gifts are a bit closer to the finish line after purchasing a delicious assortment of Julia, the yarn Kristin Nicholas designed for Westminster Fibers. Sadly, this wool/mohair/alpaca blend has been discontinued, which really amped up the pressure as I labored over jewel-toned colors most certainly inspired by Kristin’s own zinnia beds and field of sunflowers .  Continuing to gather project supplies, I hopped on over to Kristin’s online store for the Knit-It-Felt-It-Zip-It bags and Quarters Cap patterns. There is something exceedingly satisfying about shopping in a way that contributes to the livelihood of a kindred creative.

A glimpse into my studio: Fabric, fiber, and handwoven finished objects.

A Thanksgiving Table

I am thankful for the beautiful artistry of my friend Beth.

Her table settings always feature a seasonal centerpiece …

… and a holiday theme party bag at each lucky guest’s place.

Finding Joy in a Verb

Friday Flickr Favorites 10.14.11

Gems from the Flickr-sphere

1. Daisy Chain Quilt, 2. Fish Baby Log Cabin class sample, 3. NYC Mod Bee: For Me, 4. Sawtooth Star Quilt, 5. Green Afternoon, 6. WIP Wednesday 9/27/2011, 7. keyboard playing meerkat, 8. Linda’s Vintage Baby Hats, 9. Pink Layer Cake, 10. Viva!, 11. autumn country picnic, 12. Chai Latte Cupcakes, 13. You’re never alone with a dog, 14. Old Home Place 1985, 15. 2011 10 10 Moonrise over Lowell, 16. Beach BIrds

Favorite is an action word in flickr-speak and one which I exercise with great frequency. At this moment in my flickr Favorites there are 1,761 photos of fabric, quilts, knitting, crochet, food & beverages, pets in adorable poses, and sumptuous outdoor scenes from around the globe. My passport expired a couple of years ago but that hasn’t stopped me from armchair touring. Browse the entire collection here. Do you have a flickr account? If so, I hope you’ll drop by and say hello.

This little video transported me to a charming world filled with birdsong. Dare you to watch just once!

For the past 24 hours I have been bursting with excitement — Jacqueline-the-Jack-Russell’s portrait was accepted over on craftgawker. Remember when I was being philosophical about my other photo rejections from craft- and I guess persistence does pay. And if persist is your mantra right now, this article about Kathryn Stockett’s 60 manuscript rejections for The Help just might inspire. I hope so — it worked for me. I’ve got some manuscript rework that’s calling me right now.

A Story of Her Own

Current Project -- Baby Alpaca scarfToday is a special day. My Aunt Liesa, a woman wise and endlessly supportive, is embarking on her own memoir-writing adventure. A faculty member of the MFA program at Fairfield University is running an eight-week memoir-writing course. My aunt wrote me, “…You inspired me. Will take good notes with you in mind. …” I am tickled — she has been an inspiration to me and I am certain her life stories hold inspiration for others, too. Woo-hoo, Aunt Liesa!


Earth Wonders Photo Challenge

sky cloud Lisa Allen

the theme this week is "white"

Need a break? Join me in a browse of the photo challenge pretties on Earth Wonders.