Saturday, April 26, 2008

and... update

And just to let y'all know, the internet is going kaput today. I'll be back online & responding to emails, or whatever else internetty, on Wednesday of next week. Happy trails!

other notes on change

The unexpected thing about this change has been these loooooong blog posts. Oh, my goodness!

Today I would like to start off with a thank you to Jen over at Busy Bee. I enjoyed her latest post, "In Honor of Change" over a mid-day coffee break yesterday. She has written this post in honor of the numerous friends & fellow bloggers who are going through a change in their lives this season. Have a look, theres LOTR quotes and everything!

The move, for me, is just a manifestation of becoming an Aunty, but it reminded me of all of the amazing changes that have unfolded since both Celeste and I started down this path
in our own ways. Many places in our lives long held as obstacles have cleared, eased, transformed themselves. I'm really grateful for Jen for opening up a moment as a reminder of what it took to get to this point, and it has been such a pleasure to look through the blogs of her friends and follow their experience as well. Jen, I'm your fan! :)

Some other news about the trip that is an significant difference from what we thought it would be is actually that my sister isn't coming. Yes, this is big news.

Celeste had long planned to take a tour across the states, visiting with her friends and ending up in Portland, Oregon. Back when she agreed I could come along for the ride it never occurred to either of us that she might be having twins by this time. Pregnant? Yes. Twins? Well, wow.

Obviously, the twins are the most exciting and welcome alteration of the plan, but it was inevitable that revisions had to be made. There is sadness around that, too, but I was really proud of her when she decided to fly. She's thinking like a mom with that one. (and we'll have plenty of road trips ahead of us, once I can get used to driving over 25 mph. I'm positive of that). Although there is no medical reason she *has* to fly, we will be around a month without consistent medical care. At least for the good of her own mind, and those of her family and friends, she has chosen the "safety first" option. Bravo!

There was still the matter of her car, home, and sibling to get out to OR. Many options were discussed. But theres only one person I know with whom I could have this conversation:

"I'm so tired of my job, Laurie. I've tried this for three years but I think I'm going to quit. Maybe in April."

"Really? Hmmm, what if by 'think' you mean 'am' and by 'April' you mean 'May'... and by 'quit' you mean 'quit and take a month off from work helping Laurie and her sister drive across the country'... that would be a pretty amazing statement. Isn't that what you meant?"

(glimmer in eye so clear I can hear it over phone)
"Its funny, that is exactly what I meant!"

And so it is that my friend Phil will be joining us on the trip. He usually resides in San Francisco, will be landing in Boston several days after we arrive in Massachusetts. I probably won't see him much while he visits in MA & NY and I do my own visiting (for our mutual friends- he will not be at ice cream day, for example). You know, if I'm posting from the road I didn't want you to get confused as to why all of a sudden my delightful and pregnant sister had transformed into a not-pregnant man. She'll be recording her own journey to a new home and (tears) getting the results from the exciting gender-determining ultrasound as soon as she gets to OR while I'm making my way by car.

I'll introduce you to our other traveling companion (who has his own web site and everything!) at a later date. He may be inanimate, but he's the most well-traveled inanimate object I know.

I really don't know when this trend started, but my last "change" issue is that one awkward thing about the last week of packing: laundry. At some point in recent years I started wearing skirts through my moves. Maybe its because I'm terribly short, so jeans always fit sort of funny. Anyway, I've been wearing this outfit for like a week. Ugh. Yesterday as I was hauling our media mail boxes into the post office in 80 degree weather (yes, that's a wool top) I realized maybe this whole skirt thing was getting a little silly. Time to break down and do some laundry!

This is me goofing around with the camera when I should be packing. La la la.

Friday, April 25, 2008

happy Friday

Hi guys. The blog has been sort-of ignored lately, at least not the most mindful posts, and I apologize for that. The move is going great (in that things are really coming together) underneath all the tiredness! My mother and family friends were generous enough to travel up to Boston and take care of my long-idle storage unit there. Even though I didn't participate in that clearing out it has felt like a weight has lifted.

This part of the journey has long been about a great clearing out of the possessions I accumulated in my 20's. Much of that work awaits me in Massachusetts, but just knowing its beginning is reassuring. Celeste is still feeling a great deal of pain daily from her ribs, which is making this part for her so much worse, so I'm hopeful in MA we switch roles. Hopefully for her, those weeks will be much more about watching this process unfold with real surprise and amazement.

We are back to pretty constant out of the house chores for another weekend, thrift stores and post office and such. The weather has been clear and in the upper 70's. Unbelievably beautiful, we both keep reminding each other to enjoy it while we can. I'll get you some pictures of the brilliant dogwoods but meanwhile, the maple leaves burst into action this week. There's constant sneezing while eastern PA is coated in the film of bright green pollen. 2 posts ago I put up my view from about 7 days ago, and above is how it looked just 3 days ago. It was (ah-choo!) so fast!

Have a sunny, green, and peaceful weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


This is barely even a post, but if any of you are in PA or have friends here and want to go see FEIST at the Kimmel Center this Sunday, April 27th... please let me know! We bought 2 aewsome tickets back in the winter thinking this would be our celebration post-packing, but the packing is still going strong. Just not enough time.
The only hitch is, you gotta pay cash and you gotta pick them up- we live in scenic Norristown- obviously there is not enough time to mail them. Its only 4 ROWS(!) from the front, $80 for 2 kick-ass tickets!

More info here. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

rock the vote PA

If you haven't heard, theres a little voting going on here in Pennsylvania today. I was all excited about posting a picture of my sticker (yeah, well...) but no sticker came with my PA vote. Ah, well. I'm sure if I write to my nominee of choice, somebody will send me a sticker. That, my friends, is a democracy at work.

I'm going to take this opportunity to also vote for my current favorite thing about moving: Haagen-Das vanilla & almonds ice cream bars after an exhausting day of chores.

And also casting my vote for the most unbearable thing about being in PA this month: Chris Matthews on on TV every night. Listening to him talk is like being assailed by a constant volley of knives. (this made me feel a little better, or maybe just laugh through the pain.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

soon, the sea

Just one more week in the PA suburbs. Next Monday we leave for the first stop on this journey, Cape Cod Massachusetts. My parents are there, as is the ocean. May the week ahead be a peaceful one.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

*Oh, you.*

Yes, today will be the last day of the shop. It feels so strange to be closing down (although I haven't so much as listed or re-listed for a week) I don't really know what to say. I owe my wonderful readers and friendly customers a debt of gratitude for all the support, as well as the helping me meet the exciting goal of 300 sales by the end of April!
Woo hoo!

Since all of the initial designs for the shop sprung up while I was in-between homes, living on my Uncle's couch in Manhattan before moving here (thank you Uncle Donald! and also for putting up with the smell of Sharpie Markers for so long!) I have no doubt that another move will harbor good things and invite a revival of creative energies.

As I've said, the blog will keep going (and I'll let you know if there are any temporary openings along the way) through the transitions. Hopefully ouou will be back on the scene as early as July.

I'll leave this post with a shout out to the unstoppable Mollie Johanson, who has a brilliantly colorful and adorable shop on Etsy well worth the visit, and who was kind enough to put together this lovely treasury. Follow her creative endeavors on her blog here! Thanks, Mollie- it was such a joy to find this the other day!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Hi all, and happy Friday.
I'm having some trouble with Blogger (it keeps doing weird blippy things) so this post will be quick. It is a beautiful sunny day here, I'm drinking an afternoon coffee in recovery from a spontaneous Gocco printing session that has lasted the last 2 days. Lucky for me, two of my outside Etsy shops must have sensed an energy surge in the Gocco force and have also been in touch, clearing me out of the stashes I've been working on yesterday & today before I even knew what I was printing them for.

The fun began when I thought, I should print up a big batch of spring tags for an afternoon project. Turned on some music, opened the windows, put out my palates and got to work:

Then, not wanting to waste my green ink, I thought I'd give Sofie a little re-print. Tried out a darker ink on the bird and liked it so much... why stop at 6?... or 12?...or 35?...
I'm printing in my room right now since the apartment is a complete disaster of boxes and packing and chaos. It was pretty ridiculous, cards and tags and ink everywhere.
Last night my sister Celeste and I had to work on her baby shower registry, too, with a trip to Babies R Us. So I ended up coming home with a handful of new Moleskine journals for another session with the Gocco today.

Now that its the afternoon, however, I think I'm getting some Gocco burn out. Off to cook dinner and concentrate on something else! Whew! Happy weekend, everyone!

(explanation of that top picture- this is what happens when your scrap paper magazine pile has unexpected recipes lurking in it. I must have almost thrown away that piece of paper 4 or 5 times before the words "Vanilla Malted Cookies" got the better of me. You'll be the first to know when I make vanilla malted cookies. I promise.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

you gonna eat that?

Sometimes, you realize a perfect formula for sketching & a lovely afternoon, and the invitation to walk right into one opens before you. It was back to Wayne, and a stop at The Gryphon before a sunny, warm walk around town.

(I think this is miles to Philadelphia)

Another page from the sketchbook...

"oh, um, you gonna eat that?"

A digression:
Yes, it is a little hard to post today without bringing up the great debate in Philadelphia last night. I'm enjoying the oasis this morning of the BBC before the assurance of all sorts of commentary and reaction that will no doubt carry through the weekend.

My friend Phil asked me what it was like here with the election coming up, and other than listening to the press~ I admit that people are discussing (and I mean to use that word, more than just talking) politics so much more than I've heard in years, and in a different way than I've ever witnessed. It is very positive here! Conversations you overhear on the bus, street, waiting in line, in the coffee shop, at the mall (malls are a big deal out here)... people seem really enthusiastic to share their views and experience, even encouraging each other whether they agree or disagree. Its exciting, and considering I live in a very varied socio-economic area of PA (poverty down the street, mansions up the road) it is quite reassuring to hear everybody involved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

...and a few more...

...more little building stacks... :)

What Inspires You

Going back to this idea about inspiration, the nice thing about working on taxes this month (yes, I waited until April) is that it gave me pockets of time where I was focusing on an isolated task that didn't involve artwork in any way. You know, a big part of creativity (for me? for everyone?) is the part where you aren't actually creating anything... I like to think of it as the digestion period.

In creating, I love the part that involves looking at and exploring new and favorite artists.
I love the part that involves long hours of aimless drawing, preferably in a pool of sunlight, with a tea or some coffee.
And we all know that fire that grabs you when you're running with an idea, fully realized, dedicating a day or afternoon or very late at night sprinting elated to the finish, revising along the way, or picking up an old theme and rebuilding upon it. For me, those are the most energized times, driven.

Currently, though, I'm just floating along, enjoying a steady flow of doodles and sketches awaiting their turn, all having been conceived during the crunching of numbers, sifting through papers, and leafing through the tax forms of 2007. Such a surprise! : ) As you can tell from my posts over the last month or so, my mind hasn't been settled enough to draw. I've been working on other things, and enjoying taking photos, but its very satisfying to feel inspired to draw again.

While I'm on the subject of inspiration, I would like to mention the most recent blog I've come upon. The illustrative Amy Walsh of Gocco and Etsy fame has a very stirring and peaceful blog by the name of
w o n d e r c a b i n e t. Check it out, not only is her work jaw dropping and varied but she talks a lot about process and the details involved in her complex works.

In shop news, I am still working on the clothing, in case I close and then re-open while in Massachusetts before the trip. There was a fun little rush on the iron-on sheets in the shop at the beginning of the week, too. Yay! I've got to go back and revise my photos, however, now that it is sunny here again. The onesies aren't grey. Seriously.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Born Into Color & PA turns out to be cool

The other day on a walk I came upon some snowdrops.
I could never get these spring bulbs to grow in Massachusetts, so haven't ever seen them other than in photos. Peeking out from among the ivy by the sidewalk, I was reminded of one of my favorite lines from Rumi: "Like someone suddenly born into color". This line goes through my head in times of great happiness, such a perfect reflection on the feeling of an uplifted heart.

Your way begins on the other side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color. Do it now. You’re covered with thick cloud. Slide out the side. Die, and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you’ve died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence.
The speechless full moon comes out now.
-- Rumi

While thinning out my boxes of paper goods I found this little charm my friend BB sent me from her visit to Japan last year. (The frog, underneath, is from a flier of Japan and the Art of the Book~ an exhibition of book arts that was at the NYPL in 2007) In my recollection, it is the kind of thing one attaches to a bag or purse? Is this correct? Well, anyway, it was so wonderful to find her right in time for the trip. She's coming along in the car!


Alright, why didn't anybody tell me that The Colbert Report came to PA last week? Oh no! In our cable-less household, watching of the Daily Show and Colbert Report via internet is weekly, if there are no Netflix or major projects going on... but there have been so many major projects and Netflix that I confess... it had been a while since tuning in.
Anyway, have a peek if you're not a regular viewer (or, like me, without cable). The show has been collecting children's drawings from local elementary school students of Clinton, Obama, and whats-his-name and they are really really funny.

Alright... okay ... starting to relax.... another thing I just discovered is a PA blog called DESIGNPHILADELPHIA. Seen it? Well, I'm a little late, but its a great read.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bear With Me (please)

You know, this weekend was the point when it has finally sunk in that having the shop open right now is becoming a very tricky balancing act. Less the shipping or re-listing, but maintaining it in other ways. I've been really struggling with getting back to convos and emails, even with the 7 p.m. no-internet rule all blown to bits. Speaking of that, I want to thank Super Kawaii Mama for including Audrey in her blog! Did I mention Gigelea yet, too? My goodness.

As some of you may already know, or all of you, I am packing up and moving out of PA at the end of the month. My sincere wish is that through this time any of you reading the blog have patience with me through these transitional posts. I'll take you with me best I can, and the fun thing is I'm moving cross country vis road trip... so hopefully it will be an exciting read! I'm planning out my travel journal (I may have already talked about this) ahead of time and promise to try my very best to get non-lame (see above, see below) pictures. Please bear with me, thank you so much for your wonderful comments so far, and come along for the ride!

The count now is 14 days. (nervously chewing lip)

The plan at first was to keep the shop open until early May, but I will have to use the upcoming week as a test run. My sister Celeste has closed up her Etsy shop Bamboo Village already, we had a weekend of pizza and packing and ...more packing. Saturday I had my first really great driving day- thats another silly part of this trip: I have lived in cities or been moving around so long that I never got my driver's license. I seem to have finally relaxed and begun enjoying being on the road. : ) Now that the price of gas is $3.30. Ugh.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

everything I know about Gocco

Today I'm going to bring you a rather long post, the wonderful gritty details of our Gocco experience. When I say "our", the Gocco machine actually belongs to my older sister, Celeste, who bought the machine last year at this time to spice up Bamboo Village Press, her Etsy shop, with printed paper goods. Since opening my own shop on Etsy the following November, I've gotten so much guidance from my wonderful sister that I forget sometimes there are people out there maneuvering the craft world or Etsy on their own.

So, here is any tips and sites from our experience that have come in very handy while thinking about setting off on a Gocco adventure! ***This is also my first attempt to edit my own HTML so that links open in a new window. If something doesn't work, let me know and I'll try to fix it/ get you the link. :)

The best site on the web for an introduction to Gocco is probably Save Gocco. This will give you the whole background and history behind the machine, and the campaign to keep RISO from taking them off the market. What they are are essentially silkscreen kits designed to fit in your home and be cleaner/ easier to use than using the press & squeegee method. I've done some home silk screening (wooden frame and tubs of ink) as well as printmaking in college and other than the questionably toxic bulbs that Gocco requires to create the screen image for you, I agree it is much cleaner/ easier.

(However, if you can help me to get my house to look like this... I would be really very grateful!)

The process is simple: you start with an image you want to use for your print and transfer this image (either using a Micron Pigma, carbon pen, or photocopy) to sized paper sheets Gocco provides you. This rests on the bottom of the machine. The upper most part of the frame has your screen and a removable bulb case that, when pressed down (as though you were making a stamp) will activate the bulbs and transfer the darks of your drawn image to the screen. Now you no longer need the paper drawing. Once you have made your screen you remove the bulb case, lay ink down over the dark transfered lines of your screen, and proceed to stamp away!

    • One of the things I really love about this particular way of printing is that your transfered image is not backwards. It took some getting used to, since I was used to printmaking, but really it is so easy not to have to plan in reverse!
    • What I've noticed a lot of fascinating and design savvy Gocco users will do is plot out their 2 or 3 color designs on a computer first. This way it is much easier to plot out how to proceed if your end image will have more than one color.
Our Gocco machine is a pg6. The pg6 is the largest Gocco model and my sister got this one in order to easier print on fabric. The pg6 measures 15.7"x 18.1" (our microwave, for example, is smaller) but it is pretty lightweight and the screens themselves can print an image almost as big as a normal 8 x 10 sheet of paper.

After printing with the pg6 for the last 6 months, I am eager to try out the smaller stamp Gocco, like this pg5. Why? well, the base of our printer is designed to move with the pressure you apply. This is a good thing considering you are smooshing ink through a screen, but can be tricky around the edges of such a large area if you have many images on one screen. Doing my own research about my favorite Gocco artists (mostly from Etsy, but Flickr is wonderful for Gocco info) I find that many people are using the smaller stamp models.

Now, lastly, let's be really honest about how expensive these little guys are. Our pg6 came from one of my favorite stationary suppliers, Paper Source. I fully trust them and their customer service is great, but they are on the high end of craft suppliers. Along with another set of supplies, bulbs, and shipping, the entire cost was almost $500.00. This does not include the cost of what you will be printing on. When I first started printing on paper, I would say about 1/3 attempts turned out to be mis-prints or not good enough for sale.

Also, despite the size of our printer, I have to date not successfully printed on fabric. Celeste has done some beautiful images which leads me to believe it is easier with bolder, thicker designs if you are going to tackle fabric (see above). But, she had a couple of hiccups with these cloth bound journals, so you have to factor in your supplies as well as whether your supplies work against you while considering the long-term costs.

If you still want to get a Gocco, my suggestion would be to practice, practice, practice with your basic inks and one color printing before expanding. Our secret weapon for supplies is Welsh Products, who seem to be a small company (you have to email your customer order to them) and are really friendly, helpful, reasonably priced. Shipping takes about a week, slower than most, but if you plan ahead its a company worth supporting. Lastly, there are constant discussions about Gocco in forums, both on Etsy and Flickr. Countless groups on both these communities, as well as IndiePublic, MySpace, Facebook, and even Yahoo are fantastic resources when you jump in!

I'll do my best to answer any other questions as they come up, but otherwise the very best of luck to all of you:

Saturday, April 12, 2008


At around 6 a.m. this morning the birds were singing outside my window, sweet spring scent drifting in on the breeze. Whats a girl to do but throw on some jeans and go for a saunter through the neighborhood. I was raining all night last night, cleared up right before dawn.

Friday, April 11, 2008

We Have Gear!

Not so Painty Friday today, but TGIF to all my conventional friends out there. I'm interrupting what would normally be Painty Day to introduce ouou's expanded section: DIY and Clothing! Here I've had iron-ons in the shop for over a month, and will be offering several sheet designs altogether, the ouou children's gear I'm going to list will mostly be images that aren't on the sheets. The Little Monsters below are already up, Blush from above is going to be listed later this afternoon, 3 different styles and another onesie next week. :)

I've got to get outside into the crisp weather before thunder rolls in, but while I'm posting here are the things I'm working on for the weekend:

I'll be posting about my experience with Gocco since there have been a lot of questions coming in recently. Any new Gocco converts are awesome, but it really is a huge investment of money so I try to be upfront with people about what you will need/ run in to. I'll be mostly using my weekend for taxes (nervous! first year of 1099) but I'll release the new iron-on sheets Saturday and Sunday, too. My sister and I have been glued to Netflix of BSG Season 3 (we had been waiting for months) so with the
and *science fiction marathon
it promises to be a nerdy, nerdy weekend. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Pretty

We had a break in the weather here today, the morning haze gone and 70 degree sunny skies taking over. Spring in PA is showing off its emerging reds, and now quite suddenly whites, in the impressive decorative flowering trees around town. I just got back from an irresistible stroll. These white buds here are a close-up of these white trees, the red are buds on a bush we also had in the yard of my childhood home:

Yesterday's second Etsy new listing is a very limited run of this design on small moleskines:

Since the design is exactly the same length as the Moleskine, it's just too risky to make too many of them (messing up on a $$ Moleskine is so terribly frustrating), so there are just a few of these little ladies in existence.