Bookshelves bookshelves bookshelves

Show and tell time.

These are my family's new bookshelves:

Ahhhhhhh.

I LOVE them. 

Please note all the picture book shelves. And the face-out picture book rack on the wall to the left of the shelves. I am a proud picture book hoarder. I feel that this is a very fine thing. I have a five-year-old afterall (or maybe, yes, that 's just an excuse...).

Also! These awesome bookshelves do not stand alone.

How about some bookshelves just for all our handmade journals and photo albums?

Are two shelves too many? How about three? How about one for the wall? Face out!

Or maybe four?

Aren't these shelves AWESOME?

They are like half-tables stacked on top of one another.

 Dreamy!

Now, how about some handmade shelves by yours truly (and my crafty sister):

Patchwork bookshelves for the nook at the top of my stairs.

 Because every crafty lady should try DECOUPAGE at some point.

 Here's the shelves right after I hung them, before I filled them up. My son helped me. He loves helping mommy with projects.

 As long as said projects don't involve trips to the craft store.

Is it embarrassing to realize that this little list does not include the bookshelves in my studio? Or my bedroom? or the one downstairs for cookbooks? I mean, is that too many? Too many bookshelves?

NO SUCH THING!

In fact, how about I just add pictures of those shelves too. Why not?

Studio shelves, complete with flying pig light

Cookbooks under the T.V. Wouldn't we rather be reading anyway?

This one houses journals I'm still filling.

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."
-Anna Quindlen (from an article in the NYT)

Alright. Enough already. Go read a book.

Ornament suggestion for travelers

We've been enjoying the holidays in Malaysia, where people take their mall decorating, very, very seriously.
 Christmas decorations are EVERYWHERE here.
 But I confess I kinda miss my happy collection of more humble ornaments that are back in Bellingham, WA, in a box in my basement.
 Still, my son really wanted to put a tree up. So we did.
And thanks to my souvenir of choice when I travel, our tree is actually pretty full (because we've been traveling a lot while living in Asia).
What's my souvenir of choice?

It's anything that looks like I could turn it into an ornament. Key chains. Silly small stuffed bobbles.  sometimes even bookmarks. Especially if any of the above are handmade. I throw them in a box and before Christmas, I turn them all to ornaments.
That way, when I'm decorating my Christmas tree, I'm reminded of all sorts of fun adventures of the past. 

Thought I'd share in case anyone out there will be traveling for the holidays too.

Merry Christmas!

Collecting Shooting Stars

 A torn edge of a brochure taped over a found child's drawing with a scribble of what I was thankful for that day.
 I love looking back at my old journals, with their cluttered and messy pages.
 The practice of writing (and drawing and taping or gluing stuff) in a journal has helped me seek adventures that are worthy of recording. And to notice little things in the grass or colors overhead.
 While I've been traveling so much this year, I've found a lot of the photos I take are these sorts of snippets. Colorful bits and pieces I'm happy I didn't walk past -- but stopped to notice.
I took all of these photos in November. I think I was subconsciously collecting shooting stars. 
 Not a bad thing to collect, and a happy thing to collect on accident.
My photos are an unconventional sort of journal (my favorite kind). They aren't professional or serious, they are just pauses to notice small moments. Each on their own aren't very special, but altogether they kind of tell a story. Just like a journal.

Do you keep any unconventional journals? 
I'd love to hear about them.

P.S. This week I'm GOING HOME, as in BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON home. In fact by the time this post goes up, I'll probably just be arriving. Blessing to all who are traveling this season -- whether it be home or away from home. I hope you collect many amazing moments.

I've put up a few posts in advance of being gone, so the blog won't shut down while I'm away. Enjoy!

Me As A Muppet

Have you been to the Jim Henson exhibit at Experience Music Project in Seattle yet?
You only have until August 16!
I put this quote from one of the exhibit's signs in my journal:
"Jim Henson described his characters as his palette."
The best part of the day: I GOT TO BE A MUPPET!!!!!!
I even got to play in a Muppet band a few times.
Lest you think I'm exaggerating when I tell you that this moment was a dream come true, here is a picture of me from high school with my favorite puppet that I made back then:
The puppet's name is Boris. He lives above my drawing table (next to a few other puppets) and distracts my muse when I should be working. Or maybe he reminds me to use my characters as palette. Ya, that's the ticket!

As a bonus after I checked out the Jim Henson exhibit, I also checked out the exhibit: American Letterpress: The Art Of The Hatch Show Print.
I'm sorry, I failed and am blogging about this after the show is over.
But if you like letterpress work, here's a cool video that was at the show about Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest letterpress companies in the US:

SUMMER FRIDAY TRAVEL JOURNAL SERIES: Another Tool For The Journaling Tool Belt

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK...

Last week I shared about my magical day in Morocco, a strange and wonderful interlude from my trip to Spain. I also shared the ugly collages from my journal that I made from that amazing day. I expressed my disappointment and also my cherished rule of letting go.

So like I said last week, I let it go. Or so I thought.

When I got home, I made a few different sorts of collages. I couldn't help myself. I'm crazy crafty Kjersten and sometimes I have a hard time letting go of fun crafty projects. Especially when they relate to my travel journals. (It doesn't matter if I have tons of other stuff to do. Don't visit my house. It's always a mess).

So partially out of my frustration with my Tangier collages and partly due to the fact that when I added my photos to those of my camera-happy sister I had about a million photos, I decided to make a second journal altogether. I actually do this with travel journals quite a lot, I'm a bit ashamed to say.
Anyway, I made a blurb book of our entire trip as a gift for my Grandmother. Blurb books look like traditional coffee table books, but they're your own. Blurb makes the sort of self-published books that self-publishing is good for: family albums, family histories, family recipe books etc. They print on demand and their prices are awesome. Here's the Tangier pages from my blurb book:
I felt like I was cheating on myself at first to make a photo album from my trip that wasn't handmade, ordered off the internet no less. Gasp! But I had read about blurb books from a few other blogs and decided to give it a try for the photos from my trip. What I learned: They are just one other way of making a "hand-crafted" book. One more tool for the tool-belt.

Why limit myself? I have a personal pet-peeve against using the exact same kind of album or journal for every thing you ever need an album or journal for (sorry, I know for a fact that I have a lot of beloved artist and writer friends who are stuck in their journal selection and like it that way. But I have a hard time accepting this. It makes me more playful to use different sorts of journals all the time. I'm a bit evangelical about it. I don't like the idea of getting stuck in a rut. I dare you to buy a wacky and weird different kind of journal next time you fill yours up and go to replace it with that same boring old same-old you've been using for years. I've heard all your arguments for sticking with the same kind. I still disagree. But I digress).

I love my blurb book and if you have a gazillion pictures from a trip you should buy an album from me, another crafty artist and/or etsy. But if you're looking for something you can make a small print run of (say if you want to give a travel album to everyone you traveled with and you don't want to physcially make the book that many times), I highly recommend Blurb books.

Here's my two journals from Spain displayed on my wall using plate holders (why not?). The blurb book is on the top, the Collage Journal is on the bottom and underneath is a photo of my Great Grandmother cuddling my Grandmother who was then a baby.
I've often found that I end up having two books after a trip, one for photos and one for writing/art. They feel like a team. Here's my blurb book next to my handmade journal:
Thanks Grandma Muriel! For inspiring our trip with your dream. And also for passing on that travel bug you've always had.


Oh ya. P.S.
My house is cluttered with a few different collections: handmade books, puppets, pottery and weaving. Forgive me for being a tourist; I bought a weaving in Tangier:
Isn't it beautiful?

NEXT WEEK: PLANS VS. SURPRISES; IN TRAVEL AND IN TRAVEL JOURNALS

Illustration of the Month: October, 2008

I gave myself a challenge this month to make an illustration using a very simple background and a very limited color palette. Here's the sketch:

And here's the finished piece:
I LOVE puppets. I collect them. They are everywhere in my house.



I like the idea of shadow puppets though; think of all the puppets I carry with me in my handy dandy hands!

I watched a bunch of you-tube videos with hand shadow puppets as "research" for this piece. I stumbled upon some super cool videos. This one is my favorite: