Thursday, August 30, 2007

The DigiCam

It has arrived! Yay! is quite evident that I am going to need a lot of time to practice taking photos before I post anything for sale. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Eeps, right? Everything is so grainy and shadowy...I am going to have to put aside some time to really work on lighting and figuring out this editing program that came with the cam...sigh. So much to do, so little time. Now that my shop opening is imminent I'm getting really nervous! I'm kind of worried that the market may be oversaturated with blank books. I hope that mine are nice enough to get noticed. Well, I am sorry that I haven't posted in a while, but this post will have to be short because I am super tired. Here is a picture of Nick Nolte for some LOLs.

Ooh...Isn't he scary?


Sunday, August 26, 2007


If you'll recall, I mentioned SCRAP a while ago. SCRAP is pretty much my very favorite place in the city at this time. From their website:
SCRAP is a creative reuse center, store and workshop space founded in 1976 in San Francisco, California. Donations of re-usable materials such as textiles, paper, jewelry findings, wood, buttons and plastics are collected from businesses, institutions and individuals and distributed to art and educational groups.
By breathing new life into old objects, SCRAP reduces the amount of waste going to crowded landfills. By offering low cost art and re-use workshops and providing schools and organizations with badly needed art supplies, SCRAP stimulates creativity and environmental awareness.

What that means is, you go to SCRAP, which is a giant warehouse in an industrial area, and there is aisle after aisle of stuff. Pretty much anything you could dream of in your wildest crafting dreams. The other day when I was there they had about 20 bowling balls (unfortunately, none of them fit my big fingers.). They have a whole aisle devoted to papers; colored paper, lined paper, letterhead, weird cloth paper, rice paper, vellum, carbon paper...the list goes on. I spend most of my time in the paper area when I'm there. Last time, I picked up some letterhead for the San Francisco Chinese Bowling League! They also have tons of fabric, found photos, rubber stamps, National Geographics, wooden dowels, art supplies, greeting cards; I could go on and on. I just think it is the most amazing place, and I am really in awe of the people who run it. While SCRAP is a really awesome place for me to go for my bookmaking supplies, I think it is way cooler that it is an awesome resource for teachers. Hey though, keep it hush hush. I don't want too many people to know about SCRAP!
Anyway, here are some pictures from my walk last week from my sewing class to SCRAP:

It's pretty, right? I know, I was surprised. It actually kind of reminded me of Sacramento; flat, dusty and dry. It was much more pleasant than I had expected. I love discovering new areas in San Francisco, I'm always coming upon some neighborhood I never knew existed.
Oh, and here are a few really crappy photos of the album cover notebook I made for my friend's birthday:
Really, it looked way cooler in real life. The middle picture is the inside cover.
Finally, here are some elephants that Sarah and I drew:
And for those of you waiting on this with bated breath (oh, I know you're out there) the new digital camera is scheduled to arrive fedex on the 30th of this month. Until then, I am busily churning out the crafty goodness, so expect my etsy shops grand opening to follow soon after.

Friday, August 24, 2007

the finest in mixed tapes

Oh my gosh! I was just browsing Etsy, as I am wont to do, and I found the amazing shop of Lindsey Porter. Her stuff is so cool! I had to share immediately. Felt mix tape zipper pouches...I almost died when I saw this one. I want one right now! Also, check out her blog, Brave Moonman.

busy busy

Yesterday was a busy busy day! I took a half day at work, which was really really nice. Then I tried to buy some muslin for my sewing class on Saturday...but that did not work out. Then I did a million loads of laundry and got stuff tidied and then my friend Erin came over for some heavy duty crafting. It was super fun. I really like having "craft nights." I made ten more of my "gumball" sculpy magnets and for some reason it took me about three times longer than the other day when I made seven. But they turned out pretty nice. Ooh, and we watched the new Laguna Beach (which is now set in and called Newport Beach or Harbor or something), and it looks exactly like the first season, meaning awesome.
Oh oh! I bought a new digital camera yesterday! I'm so psyched! It's a HP photo M something or other. It was on a really good sale, and the reviews seemed mostly positive. It's coming in the mail, hopefully by next week. I can't wait! I am so anxious to get my Etsy shop up and running. Also, I bought some Crayola Fabric Crayons today, because...well, I don't know why, because I am a sucker for that kind of thing I guess. Novelty products. I am excited to try them out tonight though. I am envisioning an awesome big rig truck and one of those funny Toyota trucks, in red...I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum...

I just spent nearly my whole lunch hour in the Etsy Forums! So addictive. It's really great to be able to talk to fellow crafters/Etsians. I love the feeling of community that comes from the fact that everyone is so nice!

The forum's awesome-ness was two-fold; firstly, I received some awesome advice from my peers, and secondly, I got to discover amazing new Etsy shops! I want to thank all my new pals for giving me advice by sharing some of their awesome products from their shops.

This is the Watermelon Measure Up brooch by LianaKabel. Isn't it cute? This is the first featured item on her shop page and it caught my eye immediately. It distracted me almost completely from the rest of her shop, which is equally as lovely. I love the knitting needle bangles! They're funky but sweet. The brooch is definitely my fave though, I think I may become the proud owner of one very soon...

Sygnet Creations almost makes me sad I don't have a child. Only almost. If I were a mom though, my kid could be all tricked out with awesome burp cloths with skulls and blankies in a Halloween theme. My favorite thing in the shop was the above Orange Braided Scarf. Sygnet Creations also has cute printed neck pillows, which are great if you do a lot of traveling, trust me.

All of the beautiful glass bead jewelry by DancingMooney reminds me of the seaside, specifically of Bodega Bay, where I just was. It was hard to choose my favorite out of all the gorgeous pieces, but I think I like the above Sea Breeze Lampwork earrings the best of all. The colors look to me like the ocean in the morning, and I love lampwork beads.

It was also extremely difficult to pick my favorite of Tricia McKeller's amazing mixed media collages. They are a lovely amalgam of earth colors, industrial feel, and cute little animals. I think I like the Plans & Diagrams series the best (Plans & Diagrams #2 is shown above). I like the birds in silhouette.

Can you believe how cute these bobby pins by Simply Shell are? I love the rosy cheeks on the little fabric children. Shell also has sooooo many beautiful, colorful pieces of jewelry on her etsy page, and I don't think there was one I didn't like! You can see what she's working on on her blog, simplyshelldesigns...the blog. It's pretty new, but it seems like it's going to be a great place to get a heads up on new items in her shop.

Finally, I bought this print from organicstills' shop:

Great, isn't it? I think it will be just perfect in my house, I'm just trying to think exactly where...maybe in the kitchen?

And there you have it! If you are a blogger or a crafter or both, go check out the Etsy forums, so much fun and so helpful. And thanks again to everyone who responded to my forum post.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Being Bad

Today I am being bad. I am listening to Adam Green sing Kokomo and looking at shoes on And I ate chocolate cake. Mmm, delicious delicious chocolate cake.
And yesterday I was mean. I registered a complaint against a muni driver. But he was mean to me first! I've been talking about complaining for a while now, because at least once a week I get screwed by someone driving the 2-Clement bus, and the other day Gavin Newsome was on Forum talking about muni problems, etc, and he mentioned 311. That was still fresh in my mind, so even though I was so so so mad, I could remember to call that number. I am so glad I did! The lady was so nice that eventually I just couldn't be a crazy pissed off person anymore. The whole experience was such a relief that I wasn't even hardly mad at Steve when I tried to tell him about it but he was too busy to pay attention, because I already got to vent to that nice lady. So, yes, try 311, it rocks.
Speaking of Gav, I was very excited to hear him on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer today. He was featured in a story about bottled water vs. tap water. I am glad that I jumped on the contra-bottle bandwagon earlier this year, though I had been a real slave to bottled water before. It seemed to be the only way I could get myself to drink water, because if I had a bottle I would be strangely compelled to drink the entire thing as quickly as I could. Now though, I have myself a nice nalgene bottle that works the same trick. I would recommend one to everyone, it may seem expensive when you first buy it (they are about 5 to 8 dollars) but just think how much less that is than what you might spend on bottled water in just a week. Also, the Brita filter that hooks on to your faucet is very handy if, like me, you are sensitive to the taste of tap water sometimes.
The digital camera search is going pretty well, I should have one soon, I hope. I am so eager to get my etsy shop opened up! Last night I stayed up much much too late making magnets with little sculpy beads. I wish I could show you pictures!
One last thing, this is from the blog, and I think it is such a cool idea. It's a project by artist Kirsty Hall called The Diary Project. She is drawing a picture on an envelope, putting a secret treasure in it, and then mailing it to herself, one a day, everyday for this entire year. She has a blog here showing each drawing, a bit about it, and when she received the letter again. The letters will remain unopened until next year, and then the public will be able to see all the items inside the envelopes. I think it is such an interesting idea, and I love Kirsty's drawings. They are so deceptively simple. You should also check out her other blog, Up All Night Again, if you are a blogger yourself, she has some really good advice.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

i'm a Cutter

Well, the digital camera is still broken in that it will not take pictures, but not broken in that I was able to upload all the pictures that were on it! I was so relieved. I was already thinking about getting a new digital camera, and now I guess my mind has been made up for me. All suggestions are welcome, since I have little to no experience or know how. Let me know what has worked for you.

I went to IKEA today (I don't know why exactly I'm writing IKEA in all caps), and I got the cute little red cart drawer thingee, and I also got this which is really cool (and cheap!), you buy little bins to put in it (it holds 12), I think it will be perfect for storing paints and brushes and other supplies. Now though I'm tired from driving around in the East Bay heat (Steve's car doesn't have air conditioning) so I am blogging instead of putting my new stuff together. Organization may have to wait 'til next weekend.

Anyway, like I said last night, I was crafting all night long, so I wanted to share some pictures of that with you. Here is one notebook I made:

Note the clutter. I really like how this book turned out, I used all the same lined paper, it's about 100 pages. The paper is really thin, I was writing on it last night and it's really nice, especially for pencil. It's really smooth.

Also last night I tried out my Crayola Cutter that I got for my birthday. As soon as I saw the Cutter I knew I had to have one, my craft knife skills are so mentally challenged. With this you use it like a pen or pencil, it feels very natural. Here is a picture of me working on a cute little tag I made, and a picture of the completed tag:

The picture doesn't really do justice to how cute it is. Finally, I made another book as well, I don't have any pictures of the final product because it was completed after the camera was broken, but here is a picture of it in process:

There were a couple neat things about this notebook, one was that I used my corner rounder on it, which I've had for ever but hadn't tried until last night. At first I was having some trouble with it, but I got the hang of it after a while and it really made for a neat look. Secondly I used this vintage Laura Ashley wall paper as the binding (the pattern is the first picture at the beginning of this post). I am really excited about that wallpaper because I saw it at SCRAP (more about SCRAP later) a week or two ago and wanted to get it but I already had soooo much stuff that I passed, but I when I went yesterday and it was still there I had to snatch it up. It was only four dollars for the whole roll! I can't wait to use it more, it's so pretty.
The last thing from last night, I tried making a felt magnet because I had a bunch of felt and a bunch of magnets, so ... why not?

I'm not sure how I feel about's kind of nice, but I'm not in love with it. I'm not really that into flowers, but I wanted to do something quick and easy while I was still experimenting. Maybe dinosaurs would be better...

Well, I feel pretty refreshed now so I think I'm going to go work on putting my IKEA stuff together. I have to hurry though because I'm seeing Superbad tonight! I am so excited. Oh, speaking of Michael Cera, if you haven't already seen this, seriously, you have to. It is genius.

i suck at technology

So, boo, I really wanted to get some pictures up today! I spent all tonight working working working, and I had some cool stuff to share, but just now the camera started acting all funky and not working! The lens and stuff won't go back, I guess the pictures will have to wait 'til tomorrow. Tomorrow I am planning on going to IKEA, one of my most favorite places in the world (yum, swedish meatballs), to get this. I'm excited, it's perfect I think. The apartment is so cluttered now with me doing crafting all the time, because I don't really have a good place to store my supplies. Right now all of the papers I get are in old plastic shopping bags, just kind of heaped in the corner. Which is not very good for the apartment or for the papers really. So, tomorrow I will be
1. super organized
2. stuffed with lingonberry juice
3. (hopefully) posting tons of pictures at this site.
Now I am really exhausted.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I am currently on a bit of an elephant kick. It first popped into my mind last month, trying to make a cute circus themed thank you card for my grandparents. I was finding it very difficult to draw the elephants and it was really taking away from my bowling game...because I always bowl while I make thank you cards, don't you? Anyway, I was noticing these stuffed elephants that my coworker has in the cube across from me (ahh, the cube life) and I realized that elephants are easy to draw! They only have two shapes to them if you draw them in profile, and now I've just been busy busy doodling elephants all day! Then I turned to Etsy, of course, and look what I found!

~ The Best of Friends Brooch by Stick In the Mud - It doesn't get much cuter than pink elephants. This brooch would be perfect on a t-shirt or a big canvas bag. I'm glad I found Stick in the Mud in my search for all things elephant, she has a huge inventory of cute stud earrings(dinosaurs!), and lots of other little treasures.

~Japanese Elephants Zip Pouch by KungFuCowgirl - Ooh, kawaii! I love the colors of this bag, so fresh. And what is so exciting is that KungFuCowgirl is having a pretty awesome deal at her Etsy shop now, where any three zip pouches 5x5 or smaller are only $12 shipped! And she will remake a sold item if she still has the fabric. Hmm, it's almost too tempting.

~White Elephants block print by Amanda Kindregan - I love the colors in this print, and the little elephants look so sweet and sleepy. Be sure to check out Amanda's blog to see new work if you dig her rustic-retro prints and paintings.

~I Will Never Forget You necklace by basilthecat - basilthecat makes funky, pretty jewelry using materials she picks up at thrift shops, estate sales, and the like, which means a lot of her pieces are one of a kind, like this elephant necklace (I love the name!). This pendant has really amazing detail, it reminds me of something my grandmother has.

~ Baby Boy Elephant Mobile by GeorgeBee - Ok, I know it says baby boy ... but I can't resist the big eyes! They're too much for me! And I am really into felt lately. Unfortch, I could never own this (or any other mobile, I suppose), the cats would destroy it in a matter of minutes! But maybe another of GeorgeBee's felt items. She also has amazing handpainted false nails! So amazing! I am head over heels for the lime green set, they are so outrageous, but Steve would not be pleased. And how would I type?
I should probably quit the Etsy before I get myself in too much trouble!
Again, I am hoping to get some pictures of my work on here by tomorrow, if I am not too hungover after my friend's birthday party tonight. Cross your fingers!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Last night was the first class of the drawing course I'm taking at City College. I'm excited! We're going to be using India Ink! This class is mostly so I can take a printmaking class next semester, but I'm hoping it will inspire me.

I made a cool notebook for my friend for his birthday. It was my first try using a record sleeve as the cover, and it turned out ok. The paper block turned out kind of wavy, and there were a few loose pages. I'm going to try again tonight, with book tape. The problem that I didn't think of before is what to do with records after I use their sleeves. My mom sent me this, which is pretty cool. I think I could take this basic idea and really run with it. When I was in Occidental last weekend I came upon Renga, and they had neat coasters made of just the label of old records. If you live in the North Bay Area, or are visiting there, I definitely recommend stopping by Renga, it is the cutest little shop in a really unexpected place.

I am hoping to have some pictures up on this blog soon. I need to get in some more practice with my digital camera, but by the weekend (I hope) you will be able to see examples of my work on this page.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

this new venture

Hi everyone, and welcome to my journal. I am Mel and I am trying to start a tiny little business selling my handmade notebooks, cards,buttons, bags and anything else that might catch my fancy. Here you can read about my adventures as I learn from my mistakes. Also, I will probably talk about blogs I love, music, and other general life stuff. If you would like to read what I have to write about movies, go here.
Anyway, I'm really excited about this new venture and I hope that you will enjoy my blog! Thanks.