Who do you think you are?

30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in paper (3)


Outside In

Outside In © 2009 Cameron Blazer
{I know, I know. Enough with the ginkgos. I really think this is my last ginkgo-centric post for a while.}

I got this photo mobile for Christmas last year, and while I liked the idea in theory, in practice it just wasn't working for me. All the photos bunched up on top of each other, and none really stood out—basically a big, jumbled mess. I resorted to using it to tack up in-progress designs and fabric swatches.

A while back I had cut out a couple of these ginkgo leaves for no particular reason, and they'd been sitting on my studio table for months. One day in the midst of a rare but fierce cleaning fit, I came across them under a layer of accumulated junk. I didn't want to throw them out, but I didn't really have a plan for them either. So I clipped them to mobile to get them out of the way. And, duh!! It was suddenly so obvious. The holes in the leaves made it possible to see each leaf as a part of a layered whole.

I finally got around to cutting some more out today, and I am really happy with how this turned out. Because the paper is practically weightless, I didn't have to worry too much about balancing the sizes of each leaf pair.* And now I'm thinking the sky's the limit--it will be so easy to switch the leaves out for snowflakes at Christmas or Easter eggs in the spring or...woah! As I was writing that, I began thinking I'd better check my closet--have I become one of those holiday sweater people without even knowing it?!?** Whew. Stepping away from the craft table. For now.

*This is good, because the point at which I realized I was hopelessly unlikely to become a physicist was when we got to torque and I had to balance a mobile. Science FAIL.

**Some day I'll tell you the story of a family member who has a perpetual holiday tree. You've never lived until you've been forced to admire a fake Christmas tree decorated in valentines or shamrocks.


I want that Wednesdays #4

Today I decided to feature two crafty items for which I have long held a torch.

Such a Cut-up
I cut a lot of paper. Not in clever, nifty shapes. Not into amazing pop-ups or silhouettes. Nope. I cut a lot of rectangles.

My first real foray into designing cards or stationery was when my husband and I designed and made the invitations for our wedding. All 100+ of them. And, of course, because I'm me, it was an elaborate affair of paper on paper, of odd shaped cuts requiring surgical precision, of nightmarish color matching (try matching colors onto cream stock using a solid ink printer--try it!). But we (I) got exactly what we (I) wanted. Although I do look back with some dismay on the font I chose (Lithos) and the way the full justification added some imperfect, wonky spaces between words, I am still proud as hell of my first stabs at digital illustration (hooray for the perfect simplicity of cherry blossoms) and my custom maps. And the color palette holds up four years later, too, I think.

I digress.

Anyhoo. That was only the first of many, many long nights of cutting, of obsessing over slivers of an inch.

I have two different tools for cutting straight lines from paper: a standard guillotine arm trimmer (with two missing pads on the bottom--not nice for keeping things steady), and the little thingie that came with my Xyron 900 laminating machine (which is one of the world's greatest tools/toys.) I can only cut one sheet at a time with either of these and with varying degrees of accuracy. This does not suit me.

See, I am a very messy (not dirty--just messy) person, but I crave order and precision. Making perfect cuts is my version of coloring in the lines. When I'm in the groove, it's soothing to see order spring up out of the chaos that is my creative process. When I'm not, every missed milimeter feels like a symptom of the disarray that threatens to consume me at any minute.

So this heavy duty ream cutter is my idea of a good time. Perfect, precision cuts. In, like, MORE THAN ONE PIECE OF PAPER PER MINUTE. Insane.

I want that.

They Don't Make 'em Like They Used To
It was the Christmas of either 1982 or 1983. That Christmas was a craft bonanza. I remember paintable suncatchers; collage assortments of pipe cleaners and pom-poms and dyed pasta; and awesome marker sets that smelled like blueberries and limes or somesuch. But without a doubt, the most memorable gift of that year (and nearly any other year) was the Fisher-Price weaving loom my parents gave me.

This was no rinky dink potholder loom (not that I don't enjoy those). No, this was a real, full-fledged loom. It took a multi-page manual to describe its proper use and no small amount of patience (as measured against the typical amount of patience possessed by a seven-year-old) to prepare the warp yarn. It had two shuttles (two colors of weft--shut up!), and a hand crank that made the weaving part pretty easy. It was packaged with a skein of hideous, scratchy blue acrylic yarn, but you could use it with any worsted-weight yarn, of which my grandmother had a plentiful, if cigarette-tinged, supply.

The only project I remember ever making to completion on the loom was a clutch-style pocketbook featuring the complimentary blue yarn, but I do also distinctly remember weaving with some of my grandmother's substantially more hideous variegated brown yarn (Shout out to the Naval commissary!).

I held on to the loom for years before my mother finally made me give it up. The only picture I could find of one is from a now-expired ebay listing, where the damned thing went for $4.99. Unbelievable--it was one of the best-made, most educational and entertaining toys ever. Given my outsized affection for this thing, I guess it's not surprising that I had grossly misremembered its size: in my memory the loom was huge--two or three feet long. Not so much. According to the listing, it is acutally 10 inches. I can only believe that means 10" across and more like 18" deep, but still, it's much smaller than in my memory.

But it's not so much the specific toy that I want (though, you know, for $4.99, I will definitely take one off your hands!). What I really hope is to be able to provide for my child the same joy and wonderment from toys that teach and inspire him--whatever his passions may be. Yeah, I want that.


What's the buzz, tell me what's a happenin'


Have I mentioned that I love paper? I mean, seriously, I love it. I grew up in a print shop, so paper has always been a part of my life. Lately, I've been experimenting with a technique in my illustrations that makes my drawings look like paper collages. Which, um, yeah, I really like.

These bees are printed on linen-finish cardstock--I am addicted to Neenah Paper's linen-finish stock--and accompanied by a...you guessed it, linen-finish bright white envelope...and packaged in a little glassine sleeve.

If you would like me to send you one of these little guys, leave a comment on this post before Midnight, EST, November 14 (that's tomorrow). I'll pick three names at random, contact the winners, and send the cards your way posthaste!