Thursday, November 24, 2011

Awesome Austin Part 1 – Hotel San Jose

Austin, Hotel San Jose, Jo’s Coffee, Home Slice, Woodland, South Congress

Earlier this month, my husband Michael and I spent the weekend in Austin with three other couples, celebrating his sister Vicki's birthday. It was the first time I'd been to Austin and I liked it a lot. Because we didn't have a car, we weren't the masters of our own destiny, so there were some things we might have done otherwise that we didn't – visit our friend Marcia, or go hear some live music, for example. Still, it's a cool city with lots to see, do and eat. We stayed at the San Jose, a fabulous boutique hotel on South Congress, smack dab in the middle of all the action:

San Jose Hotel Austin 1000
Welcome to the San Jose 1000
The rooms were super-cool and funky -- modern and retro at the same time. Rock posters served as the artwork throughout the hotel.
San Jose hotel petite suite 1000

San Jose hotel petite suite 2 1000

San Jose hotel room 1000
The patio was filled every night with people drinking and socializing. 
San Jose hotel lobby 1000

The outdoor spaces were beautiful too:Hotel San Jose courtyard 1000 birdhouse
Jo’s Coffee is right next door to the hotel:Jo's Coffee 1000
While we were there, we had some tasty pizza at Home Slice, awesome shrimp & grits at The Snack Bar and a transcendent chocolate bread pudding at Woodland.
More later…

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Anna Wili-Highfield

paper sculpture, paper artist, bird sculpture, paper art

I have been meaning to post about this artist’s work for a long time.

Anna Wili-Highfield dove

Anna Wili-Highfield perched owl

Anna Wili-Highfield owl descending

Anna Wili-Highfield robin

From the Sundance Channel, here is a lovely interview with Anna:

You can read more about Anna and see more of her beautiful work here.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bliss in the studio

make a book, book binding how to, sketchbook, recycled

Last weekend, for the first time in ages, I was able to play in my studio. Not only that, I made something -- something I like. It was NOT an easy project, and I'm happy I stuck with it. I made a longstitch book with a leather cover cut from a pair of old motorcycle pants from the 1930s. It is the second book I've made from these pants. You might remember the first one, here.

text block 
For this book, I decided to use paper from an old, turn-of-the-century ledger book for the inside pages. Seemed like a cool idea. All of that incredible pen-and-ink handwriting from a century ago, to become overlaid with sketches and writings from the here and now. Layers of meaning and marks and generations.

I designed my own stitch for the spine. Here is the template lying on the leather, waiting to be punched:punching template
punched spine

Then I punched the signatures (for those of you who are not bookbinders, a signature is a single group of folded sheets):punching detail
In this photo you can begin to see a hint of the problem I encounter later.

handmade leather book
It's starting to look like a book! Time to start sewing!

OK, this is when the trouble started. Because the paper is over 100 years old, I was halfway through sewing the second signature and the paper started breaking between the holes. Another problem causing strain on the holes was that my thread was too thick.
waxed thread

So I switched to a thinner thread and decided to reinforce the signatures. I wanted to be rather ad hoc and not over-think it -- the way you see old books or old sheet music repaired with no thought for aesthetics, only function. So I reinforced the inside and outside of each signature with drafting tape, which you can see in the fourth photo from the top. I was happy with it and liked the way it looked. But when I went to punch through the drafting tape, it also ripped. Arrggh. At this point, I was thinking I might have to abandon my ledger paper idea. I thought to myself, 'What do I have floating around the studio that is strong enough to reinforce these signatures without ripping?' And I found a roll of espresso brown bookcloth. So I cut it into strips and reinforced the outside of each signature with it:
book clothOK, now we're cooking with gas!

On just one of the signatures, though, the holes were still ripping on the inside of the fold. So I decided to further reinforce them with some vintage postage stamps:
postage stamp reinforcements
It still ripped through one of the stamps when I sewed, but no matter -- it's a strong enough binding, which was the goal.

I finished sewing, tied it off with a couple of tiny, square shell buttons, and finally, the result!handbound leather book
page number detail
spine stitch detail
front page
inside spread
postage stamp detail
I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I've listed it for sale in my Etsy shop.  It would be such a wonderful journal or sketchbook for someone who does altered books or journaling. 


Monday, April 18, 2011

I heart vintage cigar boxes

vintage cigar boxes, vintage typography, packaging, lettering, graphic design, design inspiration

Look what my wonderful co-worker and friend Gerry gave me!

Gift from Gerry 1000
This is not all of them. Oh no. This is a just a fraction of the bounty. Go get yourself a 
cup of coffee. This is going to take awhile.

Cremo 3 for 10 1000  Cremo cigar box inside 1000 
Cremo. 5 cents straight. 3 for 10 cents.

De Luxe Phillies 1000

excise stamp 1000
I love the excise stamps. I successfully soaked one off of one of the boxes, along with 
some of the labels. They are so cool. It destroyed the box, though.

Casa Marina cigar box 1000
The graphics on this one are much more delicate and beautiful than they look in the
picture. As with all of the images, click on it for a larger view.

Belvederes squared 1000 Gold coin detail vintage cigar box 1000
Beautiful graphics on this one. The signature alone is a stunner. Click for larger view.

Light fixtures studs 1000

Rubber bumpers 1000
The boxes came from an uncle of Gerry's. He was an electrical engineer and stored  
various parts, etc., in them.

Stack of colorful cigar boxes 1000 

Marsh Wheeling cigar box 1000Stack of old cigar boxes 1000

Perfectos cigar box 1000

Ship's head adj 1000  Aren't they beautiful? I hope you've enjoyed this tour of my major score. Thanks Gerry!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dana Tanamachi - exquisite chalk lettering

cool lettering, typography, retro lettering, signage, chalk, chalk lettering, Dana Tanamachi

Look at this:

You can learn more about Dana and see more of her incredible work here.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Iain and Rachael's big day

travel theme, ideas for a vintage wedding, guestbook, wedding pictures

Since Spring has sprung (sort of) and love is in the air, I thought I would post about a beautiful Scottish wedding I had the pleasure of being a (very small) part of. Rachel Boyce (now Mrs. Iain McCallum) contacted me last summer about doing a map-covered guest book for her wedding, which was to have a vintage travel theme. We worked together, long-distance via email, to come up with something custom and very personal to her and Iain. Here are a couple of photos of the guest book.

 Custom guestbook
  Rachael requested a map of North America for the cover, since she and Iain 
  have traveled here several times. This map is from a 1920s atlas.

Vintage key tags

guestbook pages
The date on the passport stamp is their wedding day. Travel images illustrated each
page and there was space for guests to write their best wishes for the couple.

custom guestbook detail

And now for the big event! They deftly carried the vintage travel theme through all the details of the wedding:

Luggage tag on napkin

Luggage tag on vintage suitcase 2

  Luggage tag on vintage suitcase

 handsome Iain
 Handsome Iain 

Beautiful bride Rachael
Beautiful bride Rachael

Beautiful venue

Iain kisses Rachael

vintage car

white umbrella

Beautiful couple
Happy day! Congratulations to a lovely couple.

All wedding photographs by Craig & Eva Sanders Photography.