fun : a few favorites

Hi Everyone -

Thanks so much for the nice words about our art board and the suggestions! As hard as I try to resist it, I'm really one for order and embrace the grid, which is reflected in the board. My Mom was the opposite and loved things that were asymmetrical. Over time, it might be nice to expand beyond the board to make the display a little bit spontaneous. I'm sure I'll show you ;).

Something else I worked on this week was my desk calendar (see in the picture above). I picked one
up from kate spade and made a book cover for it with a pocket. I used an 18"x18" sheet of Martha Stewart craft paper, but can imagine using the comics, wallpaper, graph paper, glassine, or anything you like. Maybe some Japanese tape? It was pretty easy and can be changed, anytime. The pocket is really handy and would be great for schoolbooks, too. I'd really like two pockets, but my paper hasn't been long enough for the extra folds, yet.

Hope you enjoy today's favorites. We'd like to do something fun this weekend to make up for the last one. Any suggestions? Have a great weekend!

xo, Cindy

Blog : Very Short List always has something very interesting like the flight of this paper plane from the 31st floor.

Music : Spy for Hire is an up-and-coming band from Atlanta with a fresh, appealing sound. Their first album, Speak In Numbers, is due to be released on February 27th.

Phone : Gelaskins liven up select phones, iPods, and laptops whether they be tired or just don't speak to the real you.

: A Person of Interest
by Susan Choi is the first novel I've been able to read in a long time. This beautifully-written and compelling story is about the suspicion that surrounds an Asian-American professor during the investigation of the death of a colleague following a Unabomber-style attack.

Stationery : The ringlet jotter from SusyJack* is perfect for me because it's small, looks neat, and if I mess up a page, I can remove it. So far, so good.

craft : art display is easy

Hi Everyone -

{Note 6.29.09 : I should have gone with the art wires as we almost immediately outgrew this board. See new display here.}

We had an empty space above the sleigh bed in our second bedroom that I could only get to by standing on the bed, which is kind of a pain. The room is very small and we didn't want to make it worse by hanging a lot of framed art. Over time, we've accumulated a nice collection of prints/photos and wanted to display them. I love the wire and clothespins that I saw on Simply Photo and even thought of making a pulley-system like a clothesline, but it was going to be complicated.

Finally, I thought I could use a foam core board, which is very light and would be easy to get to. I wanted to cover it to make it nicer and had some fusible cotton fabric that I just ironed on. Sweet!

I would use the wonderful Japanese tape I purchased to attach the art (thank you simplesong).

Found some floral wire, made a loop and taped it to the back. Hammered a nail into the wall. Simple! I was so excited because the entire project took less than 30 minutes. I hung the board on the wall and after a while heard some noise. Half of the artwork fell off and some went behind the bed! Oh, MAN!

I realized the tape was not strong enough to adhere to the fabric and it would be best to use pushpins. Since they couldn't be just any pins, I found some clear versions at Kinokuniya that would go into the board, but not the artwork.

It's working very well and probably a better solution. The tape is low tack but did tear one of my letterpress cards and left some glue on one of my photos (NO!) when I pulled it off so beware. And, it was so easy ;). Now, what to do with that tape? Any ideas?

xo, Cindy
Jenifer Altman
Port2Port Press
Blissful Images
Abby Powell Thompson
Print + Pattern

Hope to add one of these

blog : lemonade luv gets a+

Hi Everyone -

Recently, sweet Julia of Red Otter nominated us for the LUV Award, lovely Charlotte of We Blog Artists nominated us for the Lemonade Award, and wonderful Yasmine of A Print A Day gave us an A+. We are so grateful and glad we don't have to get all dressed up to accept the awards and then have people criticize our fashion choices like the Oscars ;).

The nicest part about receiving awards is to then pass them along to some favorite blogs. I tried to choose those we have not nominated or mentioned before, and if you're reading this, consider yourself nominated, too.
  1. An Open [Sketch]book
  2. Artsyville
  3. Bandelle
  4. Good-Ness
  5. Greenbeanbaby Art
  6. Inleaf
  7. (Into) the Fray
  8. Kelly Loves Whales
  9. L'Atelier
  10. Lyrical Journey
  11. Omami
  12. Poetic Home
  13. Pretty Good
  14. SimplyGrove
  15. Small Expectations
  16. Treasuring
Thanks to everyone for being a part or our lives and your constant inspiration.

xo, Cindy

[Note : Choosing a list like this is painful, but it's nice to return the favor. So, anyone who leaves a comment will be added. There, I feel better.]

life : no mojo

Hi Everyone -

Thanks for all the well wishes! I think they worked because the cold is under control. But, it seems like when one is under the weather there is no ambition to do much of anything resulting in a lost weekend. I do have some happy tulips for you, though.

In other news, the owner of Tusk loved all of your feedback about the Perfect Messenger Bag and we're going to see what we can do over the coming weeks. I'm very relieved because I didn't check with him before posting and it all could have gone very badly. Your comments have been incorporated into a spreadsheet, so official, and I'll keep you posted!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend and had more fun than we did ;)!

xo, Cindy

fun : a few favorites

print + press : lotta jansdotter

Hi Everyone -

Thank you so much for your feedback on the quest for the perfect Messenger Bag, which might end-up being a perfect Tote, or a Yoga Mat Tote! I'm going to share the post and comments with the owner next week, so if you haven't left a comment - love them or not - please do. I'll let you know what happens, but I know your thoughts will be seriously considered.

[Note 2.20.09: I spoke briefly with the owner of Tusk today and he is game! Phew!]

This week, my doctor is in big trouble. I know the flu shot has nothing to do with getting a cold, but I have a cold and I blame him. In my opinion, it's 'thisclose' to being the flu with aches & pains and a Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer-style nozzle
in both look, sound and feel. Anyway, today's favorites make me feel much better and I hope they'll keep the a-a-a-achews! away from you, too. Spring is on the horizon in these parts and there's no time for a cold. Have a great weekend!

xo, Cindy

: Abby & Chelsea's collaboration called print + press
is a perfect example of how using similar materials (ink + paper) can result in completely different outcomes.

Earth : Vivid and up close satellite images of the good, the bad and the ugly of our dear planet on GeoEye (via VSL).

Fun : My brother sent me this video of George Carlin talking about finding a place for your stuff. It's funny and so true. We love our stuff!

Music : So excited about the new album, Middle Cyclone, to be released by Neko Case on March 3rd. I think her voice is so distinctively clear and cool. Some guests include M. Ward, Sarah Harmer, Los Lobos, The Sadies, The Lilys, and Giant Sand. I love the album art, too. (iTunes : Amazon)

Stationery : Lovely Vana of Le Papier Studio made a special 2009 calendar for our Tusk wholesale clients this past holiday. Her work is wonderful and so is she.

Yums : I'm not a big fan of chicken wings. Might be because I always got the drum stick as a kid. I do love Ken's Buffalo Wing Marinade on my chicken cutlet sandwich, though.

craft : messenger bag + survey

Lotta Jansdotter Fabric

Hi Everyone -

I love messenger bags and have been seeking the perfect one for years. A bag that is just the right size and designed with a feminine touch. I'm not an advanced sewer, but I've even tried making up my own patterns and sewing them myself. They're usually ok, but not quite right. In fact, it's not unusual for sewing to turn into a contact sport involving bouts of arm wrestling with the sewing machine in tandem with frequent uses of the seam ripper. Ugh!

After seeing the great tote Michelle made in her wonderful new Mod Quad fabric, I was inspired to give another one a try. This bag is made with some Lotta Jansdotter linen fabric I had and is lined in canvas. I love pockets, so it has two on the front and one inside. I really wanted to have a nylon strap and purchased a used messenger bag at thrift store for $4 and cut off the strap. I don't have a tutorial, but found a great one on Craftster in case you'd like to give it a try, too.

Now, I work part-time with an accessories company, Tusk, and haven't been able to convince the owner to make a messenger bag that I think is ideal for women. Assuming I'm not alone in this quest, it might help if I had some feedback from others to make the case. If we can convince him, we might also be able to come up with a name for the bag and see a little bit of the design & manufacturing process.

So, here are the questions for the survey -
  1. Do you like to use messenger or cross the body bags?
  2. If yes, what would you like to see in the perfect bag?
  3. Have you found one that suits your needs?
xo & thanks, Cindy

life : any time love

For He : SusyJack* Card & Stephanie Congdon Barnes Feather

Hi Everyone -

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Our Valentine's Day was very nice and far from fancy or expensive. I love the holiday, but any day can be one to say 'I Love You' with small, thoughtful gifts that are sure to be appreciated. I do think that the best Valentines must be the ones kids make in school. Love those.

xo, Cindy

For She

Yellow Tulips from the local market

Vintage Swingline Stapler from Ugly Luggage & Smudge Ink card

For He

McClure's Pickles are incredibly delicious and one of Scott's few indulgences.

For Both

Raspberry Mousse Cake from the local bakery

Our World's Smallest Valentine was the absolute highlight and something we will treasure for many years.

love : poetry

Hi Everyone -

Thank you so much for the Quaint Tea love yesterday - it was quite a thrill, actually. As a special thank you, I thought I would share another poem from the charming Valentines book by renowned poet Ted Kooser as our special Valentine for you. Here goes -

In A Light Late-Winter Wind
In a light late-winter wind
the oak trees are scattering valentines
over the snow - dark red
like the deep-running, veinous blood
of the married, returning

again and again to the steady heart.

This leaf is yours, friend,

picked from the heart-shaped hoofprint
of a deer. She stood here

under the apple tree during the night,

kicking up sweetness, her great eyes

watching the sleeping house.

Isn't that beautiful? Listen to Ted recite this poem and read others over on npr. Pocket Poem is just wonderful. Have a lovely weekend! Do something special just for you.

xo, Cindy

PS I ordered a
World's Smallest Valentine from Leafcutter Designs for 'Scott' and can't wait to open it! I mean for him to open it ;). I really couldn't come up with a 120-word love letter, so I chose some of the lyrics from our wedding song - Just You and I. Hope he likes it!

blog : guest post @ tartelette

Hi Everyone -

I was over the moon when Helen asked me to be a guest blogger over on Tartelette while she finishes up her first book on baking. Please join us for an English Sweet Tea just in time for Valentine's Day, or whenever you feel the need for a nice cup of tea. Cheers!

xo, Cindy

PS Hello to our new friends from Tartelette. I'm looking forward to getting to know you and visiting your blogs.

fun : a few favorites

Amy Ruppel

Hi Everyone -

Our list of favorites is a day early because we can not wait to see comedian Demetri Martin's new show starting on Comedy Central tonight and you can read all about it in New York magazine. His interpretation of the song Selfish Jean by Travis is great and so is that song. Happy Wednesday!

xo, Cindy

Art : Amy Ruppel creates incredible paintings using paper, oils and beeswax, which are priced from $40-130. She also has a wonderful print in her new Etsy shop for $25.

Music : Steve Forbert's sweet folk-rock has endured the test of time. Back in the day, I saw him twice in the same week. My favorite album is his first - Jack Rabbit Slim.

Paper Art : Jen Stark's paper art is incredible and so are her cool stop motion videos (via Boom).

: How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) looks wonderful as it tells stories about the search for the meaning of life from people who have actually lived it, a long time.

Yums : Carvel Ice Cream cakes (or, any favorite cake) simply because we want one!

pics : pre-spring garden

Hi Everyone -

This weekend we visited the New York Botanical Garden looking for early signs of spring. Outside of the Conservatory, the only one we found is pictured above. No matter, there's always something interesting and a few of the photos in this group almost seem like creatures from another planet, or inspired by the movie Coraline. I've organized them to flow by color from beige > reddish-pink > pink > purple > green > gray. I hope that works and be warned, I love moss.

We're thinking of Australia today and everyone who is enduring the fast-moving bushfires in Victoria. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

xo, Cindy

film : coraline

Hi Everyone -

We were lucky to see Coraline today, our first movie in 3D. It's pretty GREAT! The other kids seemed to like it, too ;). I love you stop motion people with boundless creativity and patience. See the trailer and really cool behind the scenes videos here. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

xo, Cindy

PS Author Neil Gamen's discussion of Koumpounophibia, fear of buttons, is interesting. I didn't have it before seeing the movie.

fun : a few favorites

Hi Everyone -

When it comes to my $99 monthly budget, I'm glad January is done. I went over budget by $51 with Stephanie's fabric feather and a cassette player. So, I can either go with a budget of $48 for February (yikes!) or take a reduction in my cash allowance. I have an easier time saving cash, so reduction, please! I can always go to the Rainy Day fund, but there are a few things I can do to stay in the black and you can, too -
  1. Coffee: We have a 4-cup Mr. Coffee and make a pot each morning - savings $3.
  2. Breakfast: The most important meal of the day is also the easiest to make at home - savings $3.
  3. Lunch: Scott makes a sandwich for each of us every day and I bring my favorite Teany drink. Not only does it save $$, it's also convenient - savings $9.
That's already a conservative savings of $15 for each day times the usual work week of 5 = $75 a week! Do you have any tips for saving money in your daily routine? Let me know because I'd love to sink it into some of these favorites. Have a nice weekend!

xo, Cindy

: Jennifer of Scissor Paper Glue can make her Polaroid sing in ways I can only imagine. Her photos are just wonderful. I love the fluttering butterflies.

Craft : I've been collecting hankies for years. The screen printed versions from Bird and Banner couldn't be prettier.

Music : I purchased a new Sony Walkman so we could listen to our cassettes through our Tivoli radio and it definitely helped put my budget into the red. At $30, I thought it was a better deal vs. replacing our dozens of cassettes, which include the sweet sounds of Freedy Johnston.

Videos : Unless you're up at the crack of dawn, you'll rarely see a video on MTV these days. Why do they give awards? You can see videos on Fuse. The countdowns are diverse and I always learn about a new artist like alternative-rock band Anberlin.

Yums : I'm not a big fan of bananas, but they are very high in potassium, an essential nutrient. I do love Zico Coconut Water. It's got lots of potassium, too.

pics : hello sunshine!

Dear Sunshine -

Well, hello! Long time no see and you're getting a little bit brighter each day. Your reflections from this glittered Eiffel Tower reminded me of the City of Light. I'll see you again because I just caught you from the corner of my eye moments before you moved out of view.

xo, Cindy

design : ed fella

Hi Everyone -

This weekend I saw the wonderful show Design People on Ovation about artist and graphic designer Ed Fella. His hand-lettered type is created using a trusty 4-color Bic pen, crayons and good-old-fashioned cutting and pasting - no computers. When Ed started more than 30 years ago, his work was considered to be ground breaking because his lyrical-style defied the conventional grid system in font design. His Polaroid photos of type taken across America are wonderful and capture vintage signage that is disappearing.

Ed also has a great philosophy defined as 'Exit-Level Design'. After 30 years of working as a commercial artist, he retired with a lot of creativity left in the tank. He thought that 30 years was a long time to be doing one thing and wanted to pass the torch on to the next generation. He didn't stop working, though. Among other things, he is now a member of the Calarts Graphic Design Faculty.

I tried my hand at Ed-style type with my own Bic pen and photographed some books from our collection that feature interesting type and book jacket design, although nothing as lyrical as Ed's. I converted my digital pics using Poladroid, but I'm not sure how I feel about the technology. It's neat, but I kind of feel like I'm cheating on my Polaroid camera ;).

xo, Cindy

holiday : send a card

Hi Everyone -

Hope you all had a great weekend! As you know, Valentine's Day is in a couple of weeks and the holiday has special meaning for us. We met on our infamous blind date to the Ice Capades (see no. 4 here) in the first few days of February many years ago.

Scott sent me a Valentine's Day card that year with a personal note, which I have with every other card or note he has given to me. It's a pretty funny card by today's standards because he signed it Love, Scott. He also wrote a note about how he'd like to get together again and that I should call him. I think when we did meet again he gave me a single red rose and some candy. I wonder what would happen if someone did such nice things these days after all the books about the 'dating rules'?

Scott gets an A+ when it comes to cards and notes. Sometimes, he likes a card so much he'll buy it several times, but I think he forgets he's already done so. It's ok, at least his message is consistent ;). We don't make a big hoopla about the holiday, though. I don't always get flowers on the actual day, but either before or after. As much as I love flowers, I'll take them anytime and don't place an emphasis on a particular day.

I buy Scott a lot of cards, too. I'll put them on his inspiration board as a surprise, but he rarely notices. It's ok, because I kind of think they're more for me to look at, anyway. I recently added wonderful letterpress cards from Chewing the Cud and Twig & Fig, which are very cute.

Coincidentally, this year we each bought a card from Smudge Ink. You can see mine above (click on the image to see the full message), but his is turned over so I don't see it. I'm quite proud of myself for not peeking. I'm usually a peeker. He's also getting the Surprise-a-Sweetie card from SusyJack* and I can't wait to set it up the night before. He will notice this one ;)!

I also adore cards from You Send Me and it was one of the few Scott could purchase when I was selling my own handmade greeting cards. I think Scott will like this post and seeing that very first card. He likes cards. Me, too.

xo, Cindy