back home

I can't quite say 'home, sweet, home' but at least we are home. Although the stay in a hotel was quite relaxing and convenient, I just want to get to tackling the whole mess we have here.

A result of some doodling with my little C while D did homework yesterday.

It isn't all bad, because there is a silver lining to this whole situation. We now know, for sure, that we can live with less. No real shocker there at all—but when you experience it 'for real' it puts things in perspective. We stayed at a hotel this week, where we only had some clothes and personal items, a few books, school work and my laptop. That's it—and we were ok. More than ok.

If anything, we had a great time together. I realized at times that I was feeling like I was 'really' there, really present and not doing one thing will thinking about what needed to be done next (laundry, the next meal, the next project etc). We slowed down and I really enjoyed that feeling. It has given me some food for thought.

Now that we're back, I'm going to focus on becoming more lean in regards to our belongings. We just proved, that not much is needed at all so I want to take advantage of that lesson. To that effect, a good part of everything, that was dumped (in a huge hurry) either in the living room or part of the kids' rooms, will not go back to were it was before. It will either be donated, given away or thrown out. I'm actually looking forward to that.

As for waiting patiently for all the work to be done for replacing base boards, painting, insulation, water heater, etc. etc. Yuck! I will mentally kick and scream the whole way through it all.

I'll be back next week. Be well!

• • •

Check out the wonderful review Diane gave Home, Paper, Scissors! Her Craftypod podcast is one of my very favorites and I value her opinion a lot, so her words mean the world to me. Thanks Diane!

one hundred eighty

Friday evening I joined a group of ladies that were in Houston for the Quilt Market. I saw familiar friendly faces and meet new ones. In particular, I was so happy to see Michelle again and meet her partner Gina. I am most impressed by their hard work and perseverance. Check out their Cloud 9 fabrics. They are all organic—love that!

I was the outsider, by not being a fabric designer, but I enjoyed hanging out with these very creative women for a bit. I hope they all did well. It is so unfortunate that the Market isn't open to the general public. I'll have to scour some other blogs to see how it went.

On Saturday, we went camping with D's boy scout troop and had a wonderful time. Not even the gray weather could dampen the fun. There was hiking, touching a baby alligator, and of course many roasted marshmallows. It was so nice to unplug from the world even if it was only for 24hrs.

The rest and relaxation ended the minute we got home to discover our water heater had burst in our attic. We walked in to feel squishy carpeting under our feet in several areas of the house. I will spare you all the details of the minutia behind taking care of something like this. I'm sure many of you have been through something similar and I know it could've been worse but... umm... wow.

crafty synergy feature | crafterall

The first time I saw Marnie's work it reminded me of my childhood interest in maps. It brought up many memories. The simplicity is very alluring.

: Marnie B. Karger
Business: Crafterall
Web site:
Blog: (shop); (family)
Location: Shorewood, MN

Can you share with us a bit about your business and how it got started?
I make and sell hand cut cards and art. I’ve always wanted to have a role in some sort of indie business and found just the right fit with an Etsy shop. In the fall of 2007, during my maternity leave with my second daughter, I started listing fairly cookie-cutter greeting cards. I liked their simplicity, but felt they sorely lacked any sense of uniqueness or authentic handmade touch. I started experimenting more with my favorite material, paper, and dug through my tool drawer to find my X-Acto blade. Full disclosure: I was inspired by Patricia’s recycled paper projects that seemed to be featured everywhere and that exuded a “you can do this too” invitation to try it. From there, I totally fell in love with cutting paper. The movement of a nice, sharp blade through crisp card stock and the reward of a clean cut edge or a smooth curve had me sold as a paper cutter.

How did you come up with the idea of working with topographic images?
It was a bit of a happy accident. I was working with chromatically related papers and I just sort of fanned them out on my studio table. As the colors graduated from light to dark, I was instantly reminded of topographic maps of lakes and oceans. I’ve always loved poring over maps, and trying to read the history of how the land was shaped by glaciers, fault lines, waterways, and time. My home state of Minnesota is renown for its glacial scarring and the thousands of lakes produced by the receding ice. I love lake silhouettes and looking at them much like you’d look at clouds, seeing in them recognizable shapes and characters. I love the mystery of lake depths and all the spooky thoughts of what creatures and plant life reside in the deepest, darkest parts of a body of water. Working these thoughts and feelings about lakes into a series of layered cardstock is like inventing my own little tracts of land and the lakes and rivers that live there. While the resulting image has a modern and simplistic appeal, the process itself is what keeps my creative fires stoked.

Which of your tools is your favorite?
Since I work with so few tools, this is pretty straightforward. My tool of choice is this neat little gizmo called a Blade Runner. It’s basically a small shaft of clear plastic with a teeny tiny swivel blade on the end. It took a bit of mastery, and this is what allows me to cut graceful curves and smooth lines in my work. I also couldn’t work without my self-healing cutting mat, my double-sided adhesive, and the pair of daylight lamps that illuminate my workspace.

What part of the creative process do you enjoy the most?
It’s a tie between creating a new sort of fictional landscape, and watching a piece come together as I add layers and color. Even when I’m in “mass-production” zone working to fulfill a wholesale order, every piece is at least a little different and therefore each piece unfolds a little differently from the last. It’s this uniqueness in what I make that keeps me going.

If you had no financial or time constraints, what dream project would you like to work on?
I think I’m living the dream right now! Honestly, being able to work at home, spend loads of time with my girls, my husband, and our dog while still being able to successfully create and sell my handiwork is pretty sweet. Thinking outside my idyllic little existence, I’d love to do learn how to work topographic-type landscapes into other, more durable media such as ceramics and wood to produce large-scale topographies, fit for an entire wall or a permanent art installation. The idea of an entire wall transformed from flat into a 3-d topographic work of art gives me goose bumps.

Thank you so much Marnie!


I will be making a huge chandelier for the kids' school (cruise themed) fund raiser. I'm torn between excited and worried. I've never worked on such a large scale before. On the other hand, large installation type pieces are something I've dreamed about doing. The chandelier will be a center piece for the room (aka "cruise ship ballroom") and it needs to be really big in order to look proportionate to everything else. I've been doing a little research on shapes and styles. I'm leaning toward doing something a bit more contemporary due to weight and time constraints. I'll try to post some photos as it develops.

If I go the traditional route I will definitely be using Jeff Ruddell's beautiful paper chandelier as inspiration. Isn't it amazing?