Thursday, March 25, 2010

a pocket full of posies

In addition to all the bibs and blankets I've been sewing, here's an adorable little pinafore top I made from a pattern by Heidi & Finn...and yes it's reversible! For now it looks a lot more like a dress rather than a top, but she'll grow into it. I think the mini papercut seems to like it:)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

winter meet spring

It looks like winter is ready to pack up and leave (even though it snowed yesterday for about half an hour) and we might just be seeing the beginnings of sunshine ahead. We are really looking forward to shedding all our layers and snowsuits, even if it means we'll be trading them in for raincoats and umbrellas. Hey, anything has got to be better than all the salt and slush!

I've already started a lot of our spring cleaning, and it feels good to be purging the baby clothes that the mini has outgrown, as well as snowsuits, boots and toys that have seen better days. We got a new rug for our entryway, and tomorrow I'd like to pick up some new floor mats for the kitchen. Every few months we go through the kids' toys and donate the ones they aren't playing with anymore. The house always feels lighter and more organized after we've done it, and now with a third little rugrat with her own pile of toys, the house feels like it's due for a good overhaul.

With the departure of winter we can pack away all our gear that has cluttered up the front hall since November...skates, helmets, boots, snowsuits, hats, gloves, scarves, heavy jackets. I love the winter months, but we are all impatiently awaiting the warm weather, and I think it might be on it's way! Keep your fingers crossed:)

goodbye my friend

I love my little machine that I bought over the summer. It was the very first sewing machine I ever owned, and it has served me well over the last few months, especially when you take into consideration that I only paid $25 for it:) But it is time to say goodbye. The foot pedal has died and I think I need a machine that has more features and stitch selection. Plus it would be nice to have a machine that is heavy enough that it didn't creep across the table as I sew! While I'm still learning as I go along, I am doing enough sewing to know that this little guy isn't gonna cut it anymore:(

I searched for quite some time to find the right machine. With the help of Julie over at elliven studio, and the sew, mama, sew meme, I have chosen the Brother CE-5000. It is a great machine for beginners, and comes with a wide variety of stitches and features (some of which I'm sure I'll never use). I believe the American version is dubbed the 'Project Runway' model. I had considered some better brands, but they were a little too pricey for me, seeing as I'm not sure how much sewing I'll be doing once I have time to do artwork again. But this machine was quite affordable and offered a lot more features than some of the other basic models.

I've been using my new Brother for about 2 weeks now, and I LOVE it!!! I've been sewing like a crazy woman, and while I adored my little machine, I cannot believe I used it for as long as I did. I have to admit, when I first bought my new machine, I was a bit intimidated, and it sat in the box on my kitchen table for about a week. But since opening it, I've made 2 dresses, 1 top and a jacket for the mini papercut! Yes, pics will follow shortly, and I'm still learning as I go along, but today I say farewell to a good friend.

I will miss you, it was fun while it lasted, but it's time to move on ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

yay, march break is over :)

While it was wonderful having nowhere to be for a whole week, it was not particularly fun being sick for the duration of March Break. Yup, not only was I sick (and I still have a bit of a cough), but my son had a fever for a good 3 days and was quite crabby. The mini papercut has also been under the weather which translates into very little sleep for mommy. Thankfully though everyone is well enough to be at school today, so I'm off to the fabric store with my youngest in search of some nice fabric. Hope you all had a great March Break!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

feature: greenbeanbaby

When I first started Little Papercuts, it was more for fun than a means of income. As time went on, and it became evident that there was genuine interest in my artwork, the stress of everyday family life and the need to be creative and productive, put me into somewhat of a rut. I began to worry that there would be no way to accomplish everything that I wanted to or needed to.

It was late one night, after both kids had gone to sleep, while I was perusing numerous photos on flickr for inspiration, that I stumbled upon a fantastic artist...her name is Ellia Hill. Ellia, otherwise known as Greenbeanbaby, is a cut-paper illustrator who manages to find the time to make wonderful notebooks, magnets, artwork and cards for her Etsy shop, does freelance illustration for children's books and creates adorable images for rubber stamps and iphone apps... and this is just a bit of what she does in addition to being a full-time mom and wife. Her love of paper manifests itself in such wonderful and imaginative ways. See what Ellia had to say when asked about herself. Enjoy!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
i'm the short girl who cannot reach the top aisles in the grocery store without having to stand on the lower shelf.... i'm the mom with curly hair that's shoved into two massive pigtails while my 3yr old daughter's hair mimics a similar look... we even share the same nail color- teal, metal gray, green, or yellow depending on mood... i love wearing heels but rarely get to feel 4 inches taller since i rarely get to dress up... i dress like i'm in college- jeans, and a worn fitted shirt and some darn cute flats... i guess you'd say i have an artsy look and am less chic but definitely not sporting the typical mommy look... i have the biggest purse one day and a teeny vintage purse the next... my cell phone is beat up and chewed up but it's pink and shiny... i'm a wife to a talented husband [who's a foot taller] who shares similar passions for superheroes and video games... i'm a talker, fulla ideas and ready to show you a book or an illustration or some site... i'm the person who LOVES being a mom but enjoys her quiet moments late at night, working on art... whether it's i love lucy or dexter, the office or the justice league cartoons, i'll watch something on my laptop while cutting up paper, sketching, or packaging... and when i need a break, i will sit back in my bright pink chair and play some video games on my OWN xbox 360... bet you never knew how much this greenbean loves shooting zombies!!! oh, and i love green [or is that too obvious?]

2. What made you first want to create?
3. How did you get started?
i've always had a passion to create but i cannot pinpoint the exact reason of what FIRST made me want to create... i remember my early drawings of rainbows with clouds and ladies with big eyes and long lashes... i loved having new crayons and disliked having to share them with careless and heavy handed playmates... i've always loved writing and making greeting cards for others, especially if they were upset or sick... i enjoyed making people smile regardless of the situation.... once i was called a big mouth bass because i was incredibly loud... with hurt feelings, i made a card with a fish that had a HUGE mouth saying "i'm sorry i was so loud".... the person smiled at how literal i took their words and sincerely apologized... but i can still remember how i reacted to such a situation- i made a card [and a memorable one, at that]... i've always been a talkative person so when it was time to make a self portrait out of wood, i made a chatterbox... when someone locked their keys in their car, i made a card with paper keys... i thought it was cute, apparently the humor didn't outweigh their frustration [haha]...when my files were erased from our computer, i cried then illustrated... when asked to participate in a paper quilt, i made an illustration of what i was going through at the time- pregnant and eating tums like candy... when i found out my son needed his tonsils and adenoids out, i made an illustration... i guess now that i think about it, art has always been my way of getting my feelings across while trying to lighten up any frustration or fear.... this attitude kept me in school and lead me to the greeting card and children's book industry... [it even lead me to the best husband in the world- who also happens to be an illustrator!]

4. What does your workspace look like?
my workspace is a neat and organized environment as this is the only way i can work.... there are scissors and rulers carefully hung up on the wall near my desk along with a duster so that i can dust daily... through trades and purchases, i've acquired artwork from friends... these pieces hang on wall directly facing my desk... it's the perfect wall of inspiration... my entire studio has sections of papers organized in drawers, shelves, and bags... papers are organized by size, color, pattern or plain, name brand, and the "must use this"... I have a drawer full of scraps that are packed into individual bags according to color and pattern... retro children's and adult books sit on my shelves next to freelance illustration books and paperwork also meticulously organized... even my embellishments are arranged in such a fashion! a few toys, modern and old adorn the shelves away from toddler hands...

5. What do you offer in your shop?
Currently, my shop is a bit bare but for the past couple of years, i've offered quite a variety of goodies.... my personal favorite are my handmade paper magnets... they are characters cut out of paper and mounted onto wood... they come in all sizes, shapes, and characteristics... sometimes, there are prints available in the shop or original illustrations in need of home... recently, i've created a line of paper embellishments where people can use my artwork in their scrapbooking creations... i'll admit, that is another favorite product of mine.... on occasion, there are illustrated notebooks, photo albums, wall hangings, and cut paper kits... While these are my handmade goodies, i also design rubber stamps for Stamping Bella as well as take on freelance illustration jobs on the side...

6. What’s the one piece of advice you could give about starting your own business?
most people will say that having patience and having support is key to starting up a business.... while this is true [and indeed important], i must say that NOT comparing yourself is vital as well.... it's hard enough to keep a dream afloat with the ups and downs and concerns of having a business.... but when you start comparing yourself with other successful business owners, it plays and eventually wears on your emotions and self esteem... this person is selling hundreds.... why aren't you? this person can create goodies daily, but your shop is still bare... and if you think about, you might remember that this person isn't married... or this person doesn't have kids... while they can spend all day and night creating, you are juggling chores ranging from dishes to mopping, picking up unexpected messes, caring for a child who suddenly got sick [AGAIN]... you have to cook while you email or you get the kids down for bed and are ready to work on creating but the kids need you over and over... you are exhausted and after working all day and night as a mom and a wife, you get to work MORE on you YOUR DREAM while the rest of the family sleeps... you work all hours of the night catching up on emails, creating, advertising, sketching, networking, printing, or packaging... by the time you go to bed, a child seems to wake up in need of water... by the time you fall asleep, the husband is waking up to go to work and in a short time you must get the kids ready for school.... i know this routine all too well and while i have been able to push myself night after night with much needed breaks in between, i cannot afford to look at the next person and compare... i cannot feel bad that i didn't MAKE the valentine cards for my son's class... i cannot worry bout making enough goodies in my shop to update it daily.... it's all about finding the right pace for yourself, for your business, and finding a balance... if you don't compare yourself with other business owners, and you set goals based around your circumstances, you will find yourself less frustrated and feeling more optimistic about the road ahead...

7. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
as i stated earlier, most of my inspiration is from life itself... sometimes, my son or daughter rambles off and he'll inspire me to get a sketch going... overall, my subject matter can vary but i like to illustrate life in such a way that a person will want to chuckle... after all, life can be rough at times, we all need a moment where we sit back and smile... when it comes to color schemes i love looking at vintage books and vintage greeting cards... i LOVE looking at retro children's books and observing layout, colors, clothing styles, and the whimsical goodness of the past... i also like sifting through vintage better homes and garden books... i have a few for home decorating and they have the best color palettes and the wildest furniture shapes... it helps get the creative juices flowing... watching a television show or a cartoon can also inspire my subject matter as well as sifting through flickr pages but most often, it's life and how you look at it...

8. What 3 words best describe you?
passionate, unpredictable, colorful

To learn more about Greenbeanbaby, and Ellia, visit her blog at . Thanks for being so inspirational:)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

what to do?

Since the kiddies will be home this week for March Break, I've been on the lookout for fun activities to do with them. I'm thinking of doing some finger painting and maybe painting some little bird houses too. Or we could go to the AGO or ROM, but I figure that all the museums and art galleries will be pretty crowded this week. Hopefully the weather will be pleasant...enough that we can dust off the bikes and go for a ride around the neighbourhood at least:) I think for the most part, we're just looking forward to having a relaxing and lazy week, spent mostly in our pajamas! What are your plans for March Break?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

start small

I have big hopes for Little Papercuts.

Over the past few years I've come to realize that while it would be wonderful to have a website, a blog can be a great forum to promote your work.

I would love to have a a big airy (read organized) studio space, separate from my kids' play space, but it's nice to be able to watch 'Twilight' as I work and listen to the chatter of my funny monkeys:)

Even though being busy with artwork is something I enjoy, I am content to put it on hold because the mini papercuts are only young once, and I don't want to miss even a second of it.

I really need to get my etsy shop up and running, even if it means only offering 5-10 custom orders a month in the beginning. (Yes muffin, I hear you and I know you're right)

Word of mouth can be a girl's best friend, and really help out the pocket book. I am lucky to have such wonderful customers, family and friends!

If you have a great product, it will speak for itself. Start small and dream big...yup I think that's right:)

Monday, March 8, 2010

sew, sew, sew

I finally got around to sewing up all of those beautiful fabrics I had purchased last month. I still have a lot of things I'd like to make, and enough leftover fabric to do so, but for now I thought I'd give you a look at my new lovelies:)

I haven't had a chance to get a new sewing machine yet (Thank you Julie for all the advice!), so considering that I made all of these with my little toy sewing machine, I'm pretty happy with the finished products.

Thus far I've made 2 reversible changing pad covers that double as portable change mats, a crib blanket, 4 reversible bibs, a pacifier clip and a light-weight blanket, not to mention the crib bumper, crib skirt, duvet cover and pink pillows I made while pregnant. I was able to get more sewing done this past weekend and made a cute little pinafore for the mini papercut. I have a couple patterns for more baby clothes that I'm eager to try out, but I think I'll wait for my new sewing machine before attempting them.

I never thought I'd enjoy sewing as much as I have. I was never all that fond of Home-EC class, but now that I have little people to sew for I'm having lots of fun!

Friday, March 5, 2010

almost, but not quite

© 2010 little papercuts

I'm trying to get back to work. Everything that I've tried to use as a substitute is not really filling the void. I finally dragged out my makeshift light table and I'm determined to finish up some artwork that I had started for my niece while I was pregnant, before my belly got in the way. I 'm not sure if I'll be able to devote enough time and attention to Little Papercuts, but it's a start. I had high hopes that by now I'd be back to work and whipping through orders while the mini papercut watched, content to play on her own and watch from her bouncy chair. That is obviously not the case.

Even though I've found the time to sew, I have come to realize that not having an actual studio space to do papercut stuff (and working in a medium that is prone to fly off the table if someone walks past me at a brisk pace, causing a gust of wind) could become a bit of a challenge.

For those of you who are patiently awaiting my official return to work, I say 'Thanks'. I promise I will return, I'm just not sure as to when that will be. Sorry :( Hopefully it'll be soon!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

warmer temps and a cold

It figures that just as the warmer weather seems to be on it's way that my two older kids would be home sick with colds. I guess I should keep my fingers crossed that the mini papercut doesn't get sick too, but we've been down this road enough times to know that it's pretty much unavoidable. My eldest has almost completely lost her voice and my son has a really bad cough (sounds like a smoker's cough) and is really congested. Hopefully it's going to pass quickly, but I'm not holding my breath. And with my luck, hubby will be sick next week...and he's the biggest baby of them all when he's sick;) Oh well, I'm off to the pharmacy to stock up on cold medicine, Vicks vapor rub and Benylin plugs. So much for enjoying the spring-like weather. I hope it's here to stay though:)

yummy in my tummy

My baby's growing up. On Monday the mini papercut went for her 4-month check-up at the pediatrician and he gave us the green light to start on baby cereal. Yesterday was our first attempt at 'eating', and she LOVED it. I'm a little sad because it feels like she's in a rush to do everything her older siblings are doing, and I'm just trying to enjoy my last little one.

But we are very excited about trying all these new foods, and if her reaction to rice cereal is any indication of what this food journey will be like, it's gonna be a fun ride :) Oh and there's a little hint in my pics as to what I've been up to lately with all my pretty fabrics...can you guess?

Monday, March 1, 2010

a b c d e f g....

I made this a few years ago, but I thought since I wasn't doing anything papercut related, it might be nice to give you all a little peek at something I made for my daughter a while back. Enjoy!