Squeezing in a Little Book Binding

Despite my super hectic schedule I have found some time to do some book binding. Thanks to a pile of commission work I've been lead into my studio to do what I like best...folding, pasting, cutting, and, lately, creating decorative papers. This afternoon I've been given the gift of time and I don't know how to handle it. P and FGH headed up north to the cabin for a fishing excursion of sorts and, since I have an all-day class learning Adobe InDesign both Saturday and Sunday I felt it appropriate to stay home. They took off after lunch and I've since accomplished a nap, supper, a lot of cleaning, some brainstorming for my upcoming website and ad assignments, a book conceptualized and mostly finished, and an episode of Six Feet Under watched. It's only 8:o0 so who knows what else will happen tonight.
Here are some commissions I've been working on lately:

This is my workspace tonight. I've claimed the kitchen island because it's tall, big, in bright light, and my internet connection is stronger in here. I'm making a long-stitch album suitable for 4x6 photos. The papers I'm cutting up in the picture are from a design assignment. I decided not to go with it for this project, but for awhile I was excited about them. Notice the glasses, I haven't worn them since college. It's all this staring at the computer screen.
This Jambo "hello" African-y book is just about finished. I painted the black and white paper using frisket and black watercolors. The jambo lettering is done with rub-ons. It's coptic bound, there are a variety of papers inside for text, and I included an elastic band since it is probably going to be used as a travel journal. I used a matte finish on the cover paper to make it more durable.

Here's another African-themed book. This was commissioned as a scrapbook to be filled with photos from a recent trip to Africa. It's coptic bound, there are beads on the cover. I collaged the inside covers. I got most of this paper at Archivers.

The Best Chocolate Ever

It was recently brought to my attention that the most delicious chocolate bars ever are made right here in the Twin Cities. I've had the good fortune to try the Salty Dog (dark chocolate with coarse sea salt) and the Chile Limon (my all time favorite). They are made by Minneapolis' BT McElrath and I buy it right here on Grand Ave. at the Golden Fig, a must-stop for all of your local/regional gift food treats.
At the Golden Fig They're big on samples, too, which justifies the purchase of a $5 chocolate bar or $7 box of crackers. Sort of. The salted carmel sauce you can sample by the spoonful? Tortilla chips grown, processed and packaged in MN paired with local salsa? I think they even have a special cupcake day. Sold!


Twilight was Great

I have to admit, Twilight was addictive and sweet and sexy. I finally added it to my queue. I wasn't going to watch. I haven't read the book. I was scared from all the hype. But, it was good. I wish I had a vampire boyfriend to watch out for me and take me flying into the trees. Now, to Amazon to order the books...sigh.



"The Artist's Book" at the MN Center for Book Arts has been fantastic. We have been introduced to many painterly techniques. The goal of the class is to create a book full or samples of the different papers, mediums, and techniques to reference as we continue to create conceptual art books in the future. I haven't painted for quite a few years but it really started coming back to me this week and I was surprised to see that my practice pieces were turning out pretty interesting. These following paintings plus whatever I finish before next week's (the last) class will be stab-bound into a simple book. I'm tempted to cut-up some of them for collage or even use some of my creations for book coverings.

It has been most helpful to put these pieces away and then take them out a few days later, assess, and add another layer. Some of these pieces may end up with text or more layers, or they me happy as they are.
2 resist techniques, acrylic, watercolor on Strathmore Laid paper
stamping, watercolor, and resist technique on dark green heavy paper
acrylic, colored pencil on black gessoed Rives BFK tan
acrylic and white chalk pastel on dual toned paper
watercolor, resist techniques, ink stamps, colored pencil on watercolor paper

(somewhat clipped by scanner) putty medium, actylic, watercolor, stencil, colored pencil, transfer, chalk pastel on black gessoed BFK paper


Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry

Happy Solstice!
Summer is finally here and we have a fridge full of fresh produce waiting to be eaten. Our CSA started last week and it is super fun. Since I know a bit about CSAs already I have quite the "game plan" for dealing with our weekly share:
1. I will bring some shopping bags to each weekly pick-up site and fill them up, leaving the box out of our cluttered house.
2. I plan on washing and trimming all the produce before putting it away. It is being stored in tupperware and reused spinach clam shells (you know, the huge rectangular plastic containers that spinach and salad greens are packed into).
3. There shall be no rationing. All of the produce is so delicious fresh that it's best to gobble it up. There has not been a problem thus far of running out since I've also been volunteering at the farm for some extra stuff. It would be much worse to have something spoil.
4. Salads for lunch every day.

That's all I have so far. The biggest difference so far between joining a CSA and living on a CSA farm is that I have this urgency to use everything up. When we were living at the farm, it was like,
"Oh, half a head of lettuce left? Just feed it to the chickens and we'll pick more tomorrow. "
and now it's,
"Use every bit, rehydrate that fallen leaf and it will be as good as new."

Here's a pre-CSA baby bok choy stir fry that I was cooking up after snagging a boxload of greens after an afternoon of volunteer hand weeding a couple of weeks ago. It's so pretty.

Cheapest Clogs Ever

I had a fabulous find at a yard sale this week, 25 cent clogs!  There I was, nonchalantly glancing passed the used and abused toys and worn our sneakers and I spotted some blue leather woven-type clogs with wooden soles.  They were my size.  They were Swedish.  They were $.25.  
FGH likes them, too.  (I could have at least snapped his onesie.  Poor kid.)


Clip Art

Wow!  Amazing!  It's a box cutter!  My first official vector graphic!  Woo!

I made this 100% with the pen tool on Adobe Illustrator.  

I heart you pen tool, at first you were so confusing with arrows going every direction and now you allow me to make all sorts of lines and curves.  Thanks.

So much staring at a screen...


Vomited News About My Life that Is Not Very Interesting to Others

Going to school again is weird. It's my third week so it's getting easier, at first I had a hard time paying attention. I would be processing the last tidbits while the instructor had already moved on to the next topic. I feel old, too. Some of the people in this class are in college still...they are such innocent little things and I can tell their brains work a lot better than mine. The multi-tasking mom brain is a little exhausted by the end of the day...that's my excuse anyhow.

My Graphic Design class is challenging, so that must mean I am learning something. The instructor is great, she has some big job and still finds time to teach in the evening. I'm glad. She also just joined a CSA for the first time so that's been interesting getting her take on it. She said she missed the first two weeks not realizing that she was supposed to be picking her box up weekly.

My Web class is taught by an engineer. He's boring but I think I'll learn a thing or two. I will probably build a website for my books as practice. If anyone else wants a website next fall I'll be up for it. Last week we learned how to use the rollover function (you know, when you roll your cursor over a "button" and it highlights). It's nerdy.

My book arts class is very very different from the MCAD classes. My instructor just got back from France where she made paintings and books for three weeks. She and 4-5 of her contemporaries are in the class of 9. It's intimidating. It's all about expression, free movements, trying new things and new mediums. Stumbling upon great things is not how the graphics stuff works, so it's liberating.

I'm not sure if volunteering at the farm once a week is going to work. Maybe every other week. I just need an extra 1-2 days/week this summer.
We are moving! We are heading north 2 miles to a new rental house. It's darling. There's a dishwasher. A nice yard with a even nicer fence. A garage. Tighter windows. A basement. A huge claw foot tub. So exciting. We move Aug. 15. Woop Woo!

That's that.


New Bag

Now that I'm back to school I've decided that I need a new bag.  My backpack is in great shape, but I've had it since the year 2000 and it's just not exactly what I would call "cool" or "me."  I've been keeping an eye out as I run errands but nothing as really jumped out at me.  With high hopes in finding a bag I attended the St. Anthony Park art fair in the rain on Saturday to spell my friend Jena who was selling pottery.  Nothing was quite right.   Then, Jena said, "Katy, why don't you just make one?".  Hmmm...  OK.  So, of course the first place I look is the Amy Butler website and, of course, she has a great pattern.  This is going to be a major challenge for me.  There are THREE zippers.  Anybody want to help me with this?  It is perfect.  


Tequila and Carrots

I am sipping some tequila mixed with orange/carrot juice.  It's all we had and actually, it's tasty.  And, I'm not really sipping it, more like chugging it, not for emotional reasons but because I just had some chips and salsa from 
El Burrito Mercado and that salsa is BLASTED HOT, yet still delicious so I keep eating it in big scoops and needing some beverage to stop the burn.  

I'm officially taking classes at MCAD as of this week.  I started Graphic Design 1 on Monday, which was fun and challenging, and Intro to Web Design tonight which was a bit of a snoozer but I will learn things nonetheless.  All that web work needs to be done by someone and that someone might end up being me.  My book arts class starts next Tuesday night.  I start my weekly volunteering at the farm tomorrow.  Hmmm...a little too busy perhaps since I still have mom duty most hours of the day.  Oh well.  That's what casseroles/hot dishes are for.  What? 

And now for some summer cute: