Monday, September 30, 2013

Artist Interview No. 1 Genevieve Santos

I am SO excited to share this interview with an artist I admire very much, Genevieve Santos. I met Genevieve a few years ago, Victoria of Paper and Type, introduced us. 
1) What are some of your favorite books/artists/ illustrators as a child? Do you feel like they have (or still do) influence you?
GS: Like a lot of kids, I grew up on Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, and Disney Afternoon. These influences summarize my artwork and sensibilities pretty darn well--scribbly illustrations, goofy stories, monsters, and animation. I've always drawn, but the real driving force is my love for animation. Once I figured out how to work the VCR & remote control as a kid, I drove my family bananas watching cartoons frame by frame. As in I hit the pause button, sat really close to the TV with my sketchbook, and pressed the FWD button whenever I was ready to study the next frame. I was an absolute nerd. Though I don't animate anymore, I think it influences my work immensely. When I illustrate something, I try to tell a story like a key frame--with a singular, still image hinting at a beginning and an end. And writers like Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak taught me that great stories can be off-the-wall ridiculous and playful, as long as they have a lot of heart.
(Roald Dahl image from the huffington post)
2) How often do you draw?
GS: I draw everyday, which is necessary since it's my full-time job. Gotta get paid. The real struggle is finding the time to draw for myself. I'm trying a new routine where I draw before bed, and as a result, I've come up with some fun stuff
Once upon a time, I attended a panel discussion of illustrators and a young, aspiring illustrator in the audience asked for advice. The guy answered, "Draw every day. Doesn't matter what it is, or even how long. Just do it every day." I'm pretty sure professional writers give the same advice to their novices, and I'd like to think that I am a product of that mantra.  
3) What do you love about traveling? And how does traveling relate to your work/art?
GS: TRAVELING!! Where do I begin?! I have a goal of visiting 30 countries by 30. At age 29, I've visited 26 countries in the past 7 years. The goal is really about making sure I leave the country and explore. I can be a hermit with my work, so it's important I have an adventure in the name of creative inspiration. I often travel alone, too, to give myself the flexibility of stopping and drawing whenever I want. Most recently I revisited the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, and spent a few days drawing elephants with another artist who lives in the park. It was just us and the elephants, like a walking/drawing safari. I also rented a camper van in New Zealand, and drove through the South Island--again, by myself--hiking, wine tasting and drawing. Being in the middle of no where with a sketchbook is a powerful experience.
4) What is your favorite piece or drawing currently?
The pieces I'm most proud of are "Oranges & Elephant," "Rawr," and "Clink." In my early emo days, I painted my relationships. So if you see an illustration of a girl with black hair and a guy... that's probably a guy I dated. So, "Clink" is a small doodle in my sketchbook waaaaay back from when I was first dating Kevin.  I think it's a good sign that Kevin has been my best muse. 
Do you see the resemblance?
"Rawr" is the first illustration I drew for my unpublished children's book, so it's very near and dear. I also really love her chubby arms. "Oranges and Elephant" is one of those pieces where I can't believe I made it. Fun fact: I painted it trying to get over a guy while listening to "Fake Empire" by The National on repeat. EMOOOOO. Another fun fact, it was the blond guy.
At the moment, I'm working on the 2014 calendar. The theme is "Adventures with Teddy." Have a peek. I also love the stickers I just made. I used to collect stickers as a kid, and count them every Sunday. I had over 1,000 stickers so it's pretty nifty seeing my art in sticker form.
5) Tell us about your workspace
My workspace is ever-changing. Over the years, it's been a dining room table in my parent's home, a space in Tech Shop, Victoria of Paper & Type's dining room table, and even my car. I roam a lot so the physical space always changes. But I make sure to bring my printer, scanner, computer and art supplies. I have shipping supplies and inventory in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Jose, so whenever I arrive, I'm ready to rock.

6) Being a creative artist means sometimes you get stuck in a creative rut. How do you shake things up?
I hop on a plane and go somewhere. It's an expensive addiction, but I never regret it. For times when I don't have the flexible schedule or money, I escape to San Francisco, take a walk, go on a bike ride, or do yoga. Something physically active that will distract my brain. I also recently downloaded the Disney Animated app on my iPad and every time I fiddle with it, I'm pumped to draw again.

7) It's great to work for yourself but there are pros and cons. List a few of your pros and cons.
Pro: You never have to update your resume, which I think wins the universe. 
Pro: Setting your own schedule. I haven't stayed in the same city for more than 6 weeks in the past 4 years so it's nice not having to request vacation days every time. 
Pro: Netflix and podcasts, all day, e'erday. I think this is a common practice amongst crafters since we talk about TV a lot when we see each other at craft fairs.
Con: Working alone. I feel like I've lost some of my people skills. Half-joking.
Con: Learning when to say NO. It's tough to say no to work when it's never-ending. But it's necessary. I take at least one mandatory vacation day a week.
Con: SCHEDULE C. (IRS tax form for small businesses) UGH!

8) My biggest con is handling with a difficult customer. How do you deal? Any tips?

Oh that is tough, too. I listened to the audiobook, "Delivering Happiness" and there's a section about customer relations. They make it a top priority to "deliver happiness" to their customers, not in the sense that the customer is always right, but the customer should have a positive experience from start to end, not just when something goes wrong. They attribute much of their success to that intention. I gained more patience after listening to their story. 

When I do come across a tricky situation, I talk it out privately with my craft peers. They immediately understand the complexity of the problem, and are most likely not as emotional as I am. I also wait a day to respond. I write a draft of what I want to say before bed, then in the morning I revise it. My head is clearer and I think both parties are more open to listening and working it out. Once it's all resolved, I reflect on it, altering my policies and/or contracts if necessary and hope to prevent it from happening again.

Thanks for answering all of my questions, Genevieve! Now, on to some more cuteness-
She just came out with these ADORABLE mail themed stickers- what? I LOVE THEM. Not only did she draw these, and get them made into stickers, she also sent me some! Along with the stickers, she also included a sweet note. I can't believe I inspired them- these are way cuter than anything I could ever come up with.
Really, aren't these fantastic?
I needed to use these right away, they were way too good to just sit on my desk.
They are on outgoing mail this week :)
You can find these mail themed stickers, and more, in Genevieve's shop.

If you're an artist that would like to be interviewed on Paper Pastries Blog, please get in contact with us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Guest Post No. 30 DIY Wrapping with Kraft Mint

Hello readers at Paper Pastries! It's Ursula from kraft&mint blog {a journal of modern crafts} and today I'm excited to share with you a diy tutorial on how to wrap a cute gift with a few materials.  You will need: one sheet of white paper crepe, two kinds of washi tape, one 12x12 square sheet of pink chevron paper and a couple of pom-poms. Please take a look below for quick instructions.

Inside of the gift

  1. Fill a standard white shoe box with shredded pink and Kraft paper.
  2. Use a berry box and use one of your washi tapes. Tape with washi around the top of the berry box.
  3. Fill your box with your gift(s).

Outside of the gift

  1. First, gather you materials and cut the chevron sheet of paper in half.
  2. Wrap your box with 1 layer of white paper crepe.
  3. Once your box is wrapped, center 1 half of the chevron paper and wrap and tape around the box.
  4. You will cut the other half of chevron paper in 2 again and tape both strips at each vertical end of the box.
  5. Add solid pink washi tape on both sides of the centered chevron paper. Look at step 5. Add another layer of washi tape (washi with grey pattern).
  6. Finally, use bakers twine and a pom-pom at the center of the gift.

Other ideas I tried

These are other ideas I tried and my favorite was "c". Which one is your favorite?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Guest Post No. 29 Candy's Paper Boxes DIY

Today's guest blog is by paper artist Candy Wooding of As a calligrapher, book binder and lover of all things paper, Candy has been playing with paper for as long as she can remember.
These 2-toned boxes were made from hand painted paste papers and hand colored watercolor paper. 

I've really enjoyed playing with these easy to make 2-tone boxes. When I was asked to be a guest blogger here, I decided I wanted to share something  that's fun for me, but that other people could have fun with, too. When I looked at my books and boxes and papers on the shelf, I realized that these boxes were perfect. So far, I've made these little boxes with my paste papers, papers I've digitally designed and printed printed (such as my autumn leaves box below), card stock, watercolor paper and scrapbooking paper. I wouldn't recommend using tissue paper, though.
In Adobe Illustrator, I designed an autumn color striped paper and a leaf pattern and printed them out to make this little box.
If you don't feel up to designing a paper on the computer, you can draw, paint, stamp, collage or stencil the paper, then use it to make your box. This is a fun project for children, teens, and adults. Since you can use almost any paper, it’s easy to decorate it for any holiday or event. If you need an excuse to make them, they'd make great as favors for a birthday, shower or wedding. Or even just because.This shows the top and bottom of a box and the flaps on each that get tucked inside the other half when the box is closed. The red tool is a punch that rounds corners. Notice that some of the corners have been rounded and some have notI used a corner rounder (shown above) to make rounded corners on my boxes. It's not necessary, but it does make a much more durable box over the long run. Another option would be to cut the corners diagonally to remove the point (which is the weak spot of any piece of paper that sticks up like that).     The bottom and top can be made exactly the same. The long sides of one part tuck into the short sides of the other part of the box. If you want a more "traditional" box with a smaller top and larger bottom, you can adjust the height of the boxes. I chose to make my boxes with the bottom of the box taller than the top of the box. I made the flaps (the pieces that tuck inside the other half) 1” longer than the side of the box. This works with any size as long as the sides are at least 1" long.

2-toned boxes made with card stock, hand painted paste paper and computer printed paper.

Click here for a downloadable pdf template of the box, top and bottom. I encourage you to play around and maybe even adjust the measurements once you're comfortable with it. This is a very versatile box with lots of possible variations.
Enjoy, Candy                                                                                                                                     You can find more of Candy's art, including information on how to make paste papers on her blog, 

Guest Post No. 28 Small Couture and Postcard Giveaway

Hi ! I'm Marine and I live in Paris, France. I've been a snail mail lover for ever. When I was a kid, I wrote so many letters to my summer friends to keep in touch in between holidays. I really believe that it's the little things that matter in life, this is why I named my Etsy shop Small Couture. I sew zipper pouches and cushions inspired by my travels. I'm really fond of Instagram too; it's where I discovered Margaret's work in the first place. So when she asked for guest bloggers, I wanted to share my journey in Mozambique in November 2012.
 On the plane between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Maputo, Mozambique, I was the only European person. Not the only French. The only European! To be honest, when my friend Marion told me she was going to work in Mozambique for two years, I wasn't able to pinpoint the country on a world map. Geography is not my strongest skill. I learned that Mozambique is a beautiful East African country with a 2000 kilometers of coastline along the Indian Ocean. And that it is pretty difficult to find… postcards. Well, after a little hunting, I did find some and I had to lower my expectations about the picture on the postcard. 
Now I just needed postage stamps. At that point, my friend warned me. "I don't think your postcards are going to make it to France, the postal service here is very bad. You should mail them when you arrive at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport." But I can't do that. I want my postcards to make the same journey I did. I prefer them to be lost, rather than sending them from my country.
I am now at Maputo airport two hours before my flight home, I have 10 postcards… and no stamps. Maputo airport is tiny but I decide to go on a stamp search anyway. A man says there is a post office but after having checked every booth twice, I still can't find it. I finally find someone with the answer.

“ - You see that counter ?

- The one that is CLOSED ?

- Yes ! You just go behind and there it is!”
The booth is actually closed from the front, but he's right, a woman is there to sell stamps behind it. The few stamps are in a brown envelope in an empty drawer. I think I understand why it was so hard to find postcards.
 Unfortunately, after all that, I had change for only 4 postcards. I left them with the post lady and go to my flight to Addis Ababa, a bit sad that I couldn't send them all. When landing in Ethiopia, my only goal was to eat local food, and have some of their great coffee… then I spotted a mailbox! I thought, 
I can mail the rest from here! It's still Africa, after all. $6 later, all my postcards have stamps, mission accomplished, I can go have my Ethiopian meal, stop bothering my friend with my crazy quest, and go back to Paris. 
 The funny thing is, the postcards from Mozambique arrived two weeks later. As for the Ethiopian batch, I thought it would never get to Europe. Until 4 months later, when a friend sent me a thank you text. My guess is the Addis Ababa Airport mailbox is emptied only when full. 
My goal was fulfilled when my mom said to me “Thank you for the card, but, God, I received it in such a condition! I can see it has made a long journey”. Yes, about 9000 kilometers!   
I took some instagram photos while I was there and just got them printed into postcards. like to give away two of my travel postcards to Paper Pastries readers.
To enter, just leave a comment saying where you hope to travel to next. This giveaway is open worldwide. Last day to enter is October 12th. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Paper Pastries at Crafty Bastards

We are heading to our Nation's Capital for Crafty Bastards! We'll be at booth #122. Check out the rest of the vendors (and a bigger version of the map) here.
Ticket Info:
Crafty Bastards Tickets can be purchased online in advance for $5
Day Pass + 2 Craft Beers with code CRAFTYBEERME 
Shopping for great handmade finds can make one, well, parched! With that in mind, Crafty Bastards will be serving craft beer. In partnership with New Belgium Brewing, there will be an outdoor beer garden featuring several of New Belgium's amazing Belgian-inspired beers, plus food from local vendors and D.C. finest food trucks. We have a special discount code for you craft beer lovers— a single day pass + 2 craft beers for $10 when you enter the discount code CRAFTYBEERME when purchasing your ticket online. 

$8 Weekend Pass with code VENDOR2013
One day of Crafty Bastards is not enough! Double your shopping time with an $8 weekend pass. 

We will only be there on Saturday, September 28th. We trying something new for this fair- only custom stamps and custom design. We'll see how it goes!

Guest Post No. 27 Amber Carlson

Hi, Paper Pastries friends!  I'm Amber, and I like to write letters and play with paper.  Today I thought I'd share a really simple way to add some fun to your snail mail.
I have a good selection of paper punches and rubber stamps, and sometimes I want to play with them, even if I don't have a specific project in mind.  I just like to make things.
For instance, after I got the Paper Pastries label stamp in the mail, I spent an entire evening just testing out the stamp because I had to use it!  It makes a beautiful impression on an envelope, but I wanted to try using it to make my own labels in several different colors.  I stamped sheets of 8.5 x 11 label paper, let the ink dry, and then cut around each shape.  Now I have lots of labels in a little pile waiting to be used or--I decided--shared with pen friends.
If you enjoy mass producing little paper things just for the sake of making, then you might enjoy this approach to creating snail mail treasures as well.  For labels and stickers, stamping on label paper (or homemade sticker paper) is great.  Just choose stamps you think your penpal would like and stamp away.  Then cut around the edges of the design.
(Hint: Apparently almost all snail mailers are cat lovers, so a cat stamp is handy to have around, even if you are not one.  Also, I am a recovering childhood cat lover who is slowly coming back around, thanks to my sister and Instagram friends.)
You can do the same on regular paper or scrap paper--stamp and cut.
Paper punching is pretty self-explanatory.  I like to use heart punches on all types of paper because I have a thing for hearts.
Your penpal can use all of these little paper pieces for collage or mail art or journaling . . . there are lots of possibilities.  (And you can do the same, but for now send these babies out because you are probably just going to make more anyway.)
Here are some things I mailed in a recent letter:  paper punched hearts made of seed paper, stamped image cutouts, a paper bow cut from a free printable, a coin envelope made from a Paper Source template, a "patient penpal" award, and stamped label stickers.  [Photo from my Instagram.]  
I think it's important to note that a letter in and of itself is cause for great celebration, no matter if there are extras inside or not.  What's better than a letter?  Not much.  But--if you like sending extras (and you enjoy punching, stamping, and cutting) then this is an easy and inexpensive way to add a pleasant, tactile surprise without spending more money on supplies or paying extra postage (as long as the envelope doesn't get too thick!).
Have fun playing with paper and sending lovely mail!  If you like talking mail, I'd love it if you paid a visit on Instagram (@amscarlson) or over on my blog.  It would be a pleasure to meet you.  :)
I hope you're having a great trip, Margaret.  Thank you so much for having me!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guest Post No. 26 Giveaway from Red Type Ink

Red Type Ink is a Toronto-based stationery co. that just launched in 2013 with their Red & Black Collection. The Red & Black Collection features anonymous woodcuts discovered in old, crumbling source books produced for designers creating Communist propaganda in the provincial cities and towns. Beautiful in their simplicity and evocation of daily life during the height of Maoist China, these cards are a great way to say hello.
Find us on Twitter @redtypeink and
We'd love to offer THREE sets consisting of a postcard book and a box set to Paper Pastries readers.
To enter, leave a comment describing the last card you mailed, who it was sent to, and for what occasion. Entries accepted until October 10th, three winners will be announced October 11th. Good luck!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gifted No. 27

My younger cousins are so smart and such little bookworms. Are they bookworms because they're smart or smart because they are bookworms? The girl, Veronica, asked for a kindle as her birthday present. A teenager asked for a kindle! When I was a teenager all I wanted were clothes. I came across this reading journal and thought she might like it.
Since all the books she reads are digital, I like the idea of her having a place to actually write down her thoughts and lists.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Recent Finds - Brika

Sometimes I wait to hear about a website a few times before I check it out. I couldn't stop hearing about Brika, people were talking about it everywhere. So I finally decided to sit down and check it out. They have a wide selection of great products. What caught my eye was this white leather envelope. What can I say, I'm a sucker for anything shaped like an envelope. It was sold as part of the you're a gem gift set thought up by Rabbit Foot Fern. This being a Brika exclusive, I thought it wouldn't be too long until it was sold out. It arrived about a week later and I love it. White is such a part of our day to day life, I never really give it a second thought. But it is really striking and clean, and makes a powerful statement. 
I love this set and I would definitely purchase from Brika again. A few more of my favorite makers:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Washington tips?

Tony and I are going to Washington DC at the end of the month. We have both been separately, but never together. I am very excited! Our good friends live there, so we will have built in tour guides. But, I am always interested in hearing about people's favorite places- especially stationery shops and the like. All I have on my list right now is to see an art exhibit there, and visit the postal museum. Any tips/shops/neighborhoods recommendations are appreciated :) You guys know what I like!
Paper Pastries will also be vending at Crafty Bastards this year, and we're trying a new traveling set up, come see us.
photo from here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gifted No. 28

Is it just me, or do I get the coolest presents? Katie found this for me and I am just beyond obsessed with it. 
It's a vintage "dial-a-phrase" that's really heavy duty.
It's been well loved and used, as all vintage things should be. 
I had to try it out right away.
It works great! I love it Katie! You're the best.
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