things to smile about today

my leg warmer

three new books finished


things to smile about today

my leg warmer

three new books finished


do your part to help H.E.L.P. spread global literacy

The crew of Bookbinding Etsy Street Time (B.E.S.T.) are using their bookbinding prowess by donating their handmade books, to help H.E.L.P. spread global literacy.

H.E.L.P. International is a charity that promotes international health, education and literacy. Buy a specified book listed for charity on Etsy (search for "charity" or "bestbooks"), and 100% of the proceeds (less shipping costs) will be donated to H.E.L.P International.

Here is my donated book, with a quote from one of my favourite poets - Emily Dickinson. It just seemed fitting for the event:

Interview -- Drawings of Flora

Name: Susannah Coleman-Browntulipsuspended.jpg
Shop Name: Drawings of Flora
Shop URL:

We would love to know a bit more about the woman behind "Drawings of Flora" (name, age, background, etc.): I'm 27 and I live in a tiny apartment in Melbourne, Australia with my boyfriend Cloud and a few plants. I'm from Tasmania (small island south of the mainland) originally and was always very creative as a young child. I followed my talents/loves (music,dance,drama,art) throughout school until University where I attempted to become a kindergarten teacher (I had romantic notions of quiet classrooms somewhere in Ireland...). Anyway-it wasn't for me and I was far too young, I thought, to be responsible for 30 children every day. I quit, did odd jobs from nannying to administration (I love repettive tasks!) and travelled a bit. Which I didn't enjoy on the whole. For example, Egypt, in the middle of summer is just a stupid idea. Got married (in my case, a particularly stupid idea - at age 20 and moved to Melbourne to study at the best Creative Arts College in Australia-the Victorian College of the Arts (Voice major- Jazz/Improvisation). My husbands idea, as I had none at the time. I worked really really hard, did well, graduated with great marks, got a singing teaching job and some fantastic gigs/recordings, got a divorce then proceeded not to sing, or go anywhere or do anything for three years! I returned to Art slowly by drawing flowers as gifts for my family. I haven't stopped! And so Drawings of Flora began.

Tell us a bit about your business and how you got started: The more I drew, the more realistic and luscious the drawings became. I use only coloured pencils and fine tip pens. The drawings are often mistaken for paintings which I think is great! It means all my hours and hours of blending has paid off! I scanned the originals then had them professionally (expensively!) framed to eventually exhibit. Then I designed greeting cards with the images and later, giclee prints on beautiful premium papers. As each original drawing can take about a month to complete (drawing between 1-3 hours a day approx.) I like utilising each image as much as I can.

The other aspect to Drawings of Flora is commissioned works. I get requests to draw particular species/varieties and I have a beautiful pamphlet where the customer can specify the paper, size, composition and even select a background effect from my samples. I've found that people like to be involved with the process of planning a piece of art for their home, but some will to leave it to me.

It's absolutely vital personally- to make affordable art of the highest possible quality. My prints are Unlimited Editions to try and keep costs down for customers (and I hate the idea of someone missing out on the one they love). I'm extremely picky when I get my work framed so that the standard is superb and consistent.

How long have you been doing your craft? I attended a fantastic children's school of art and design in Hobart, Tasmania when I was 11 or 12-through till I was nearly fifteen I think. It was there that I can honestly say I learnt the most about drawing techniques. The class size was no more than 6 or 7 students once a week, for about 2.5 hours. It was so fantastic. I wish I could still attend! I have always drawn really, but it's these last few years I've allowed myself to take it seriously and make it a priority over singing/songwriting.

Apart from art, what are your other interests? Lately? Learning to play the drum kit. It's so much like dancing, but you get to sit down! Of which I am a dedicated fan. I also write and illustrate children's books and last year, started an Artist Group (we call it the mutual appreciation society as it isn't a forum for critique). I found that after such intense creative training at the VCA I attended, I felt quite isolated and vulnerable after I graduated. There were no lecturers to help, guide or challenge and I was frustrated to feel blocked creatively. So, I started a group! To encourage each other, drink wine, eat homemade soup and hear about current and future projects, attend each others performances etc etc. There's an actor, a poet, an author/journalist who has interviewed people like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Kinky Freidmann (spelling?), a retired ballet dancer who is an extremely talented Choreographer and me (visual artist and hermit singer/songwriter!). I have also become interested in 'blogging' where I post works in progress. I'm even planning to film my drawing process then play it back really fast-like time lapse photography.

What inspires you? Flowers, obviously...brilliant cinematography...fabric...ceramic forms...definitely other artists...good movie soundtracks. My own need to contribute to the world creatively or respond to the world...that inspires me. It's more a compulsion really.

Is there a certain piece of yours that is your favourite, or epitomizes everything you love about what you do? There is a piece that springs to mind, so that's what I'll talk about. It's called 'Memory of a Muse'and it's a drawing of a tulip species called a 'Parrot Tulip'. It has frilly edges to the petals and the blooms are quite large. It started as a realistic drawing, then totally metamorphosed into this swirling romantic, spiritual and intensely emotional piece that I have only now been able to part with. It took an extremely long time to finish. Very very demanding of me personally. I believe I tried to settle an argument between a dear friend who died the year before-through this drawing. We weren't reconciled before he died and naturally, I had a lot I needed to pour into it.

What handmade possession do you most cherish? A handmade acoustic guitar made of huon pine and other Tasmanian woods. It was made by a family friend who is a superb musician and artist himself. He's known me since I was born and he gave it to me on my wedding day. He was annoyed because he used the wrong varnish on it so it's a thick, deep treacle colour on the body. But I loved it.

Name your top 5 books, movies, songs/musical groups, and websites:
This list is ever changing, but here goes.
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan (exquisite picture book and it happens to be in front of me)
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
The Turning by Tim Winton
The Harvest by Maggie Beer (it's a cook book but it is huge, has an embroidered cover and Maggie is just a delight)
Flower Portraits by Joyce Tenneson (photography)
The Secret of Roan Innish
Good Will Hunting
Angels in America (technically a series. Jaw-droppingly good script)
Lilo and Stitch
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)
Fast (2) from album 'Different Trains' Steve Reich played by Pat Metheny
Mary Chapin-Carpenter (all her ballads)
John Martyn
Bruce Cockburn
Damien Rice

Name some Etsy shops that are your personal favourites? (ceramics) (ceramics) (jewellery/wood) (seriously, it's my favourite and that is that).

Discount offered to readers: Free shipping plus a 15% discount. Simply write 'DoFBLOG' in notes to seller and wait for a revised invoice.

a new 'antique', and other projects

aged pagesI've always wondered what it would be like to write in a journal made centuries before, and this comes pretty close! With this journal, I artificially 'aged' each page with a light coffee wash (then quickly baked to dry) to emulate centuries old paper. This journal really has the look of a book that has weathered the centuries. Aging the paper was a bit painstaking but the final result was well worth the effort. For the cover, I used premium Italian goatskin in a deep antiqued mahogany - it's buttery soft and heavenly to hold! I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's now available on my Etsy shop, although I'm sorely tempted to keep it all to myself. ;) See more photos at the Etsy listing.

My latest custom journal was for a couple from California who wanted their love letters bound. They were really great to work with. The journal was quite an undertaking as the pages had to be printed and interposed (something I've never done before). I finally figured it out and the finished product was better than I expected. They were really pleased with it. I'm so glad! :)

I also finished a sketchbook yesterday made with gorgeous heavy-gauge nutmeg oilskin cowhide. It's approx. 5.25"x5.75"x1.25". I used a longstich/link stitch binding, used the raw edge of the hide for the cover flap, and a thong tie to keep the book shut. Turned out really nice! It's a gift.

Interview -- Cobby & Fribble

Featured Seller Name: Sharon Scotton
Shop Name: Cobby & Fribble
Etsy Shop Address:

cloche1.jpgWe would love to know a bit more about the woman behind Cobby&Fribble (name, age, background, etc.):
My name is Sharon Scotton and I am 33 -- er, 34 years old. I'm the wife of a very sweet man who taught himself to knit to prove to me that it was easy and the mother of two very artistic daughters that blow me away with their charming wit. I was born and grew up in a very small Nebraska town, the youngest of five. I am currently a busy housewife, spending my days chasing my 11 month old nephew around the house and unraveling yarn. I have three fat cats and a penchant for old movies and period films. I try to laugh at most things as I can usually find a bright side to every situation. I am an avid problem-solver, an emotional non-eater, a winter fan, and lover of Italian food. I am usually a very quiet individual, most gladly forfeiting the spotlight for those who are better suited for it. And I love cheese.

Tell us a bit about your business and how you got started:
Well, I'm still getting started really. :-) Growing up I was always creating things and have always enjoyed trying new ideas. I remember flipping through my dad's sketches after he passed away and realizing the talent he had that had gone to waste because he died so young. I wondered if I had any of that talent and vowed that if I did, I wasn't going to waste it. I am so similar to him in that he always tried new things, from remodeling our house to playing the guitar to making intricate belt rings out of scrap silver. On the other hand also, my Grandma Lela (my mom's mom) crocheted and quilted. I grew up admiring the enormous - and I mean HUGE! - afghans she'd make and the intricate doilies she had everywhere. So drawing, painting, crocheting, sewing, crafting in all sorts -- it was always a part of me and my life. I always did these things. One day I wondered if there could be a market in it, crafting these things that other people admired but maybe didn't have time to make themselves. Now I'm looking into beauty products because I have always had a passion for make-up and feeling pretty but have found myself greatly dissatisfied with, if not a little leery of, what's on the market today. I'm jumping up eager to get started on that aspect of my business. So I still have a way to go in finding my niche but I'm getting there.

What is the meaning behind your business name?
I am a fool for a thesaurus. I basically wanted my business to say "home & fashion" but how dull is that? So I looked both words up and found cobby, another word meaning home and fribble, which basically means a well-dressed person. The double b's appealed to me and I thought it had a nice ring to it. It also brought to mind teapots and doilies which are two of my favorite things.

Apart from your craft, what are your other interests?
I have so many interests. I love to cook and read. I love music, period films and photography. I adore art of any kind, just looking at it makes me all fuzzy inside. I also enjoy planning luxurious vacations I will never take, graphic arts, and blogging.

What inspires you?
I am completely inspired by emotion. That sounds crazy but I am inspired when I see something or hear something and it makes me feel a certain way. That's why I can never settle to one or two styles or projects because one day I am inspired to feel urban and chic and my projects lean in that direction. Three hours later I'm wearing a high-collared blouse and have my hair in ringlets. Okay, that's a rather scary exaggeration but you get my point. I can look at the same thing twice and get a totally different feeling and/or idea each time. Also what others feel inspires me. I think emotion is basically what any inspiration boils down too anyway but in the case of my ideas and projects it makes for a shaky middle ground.

Is there a certain piece of yours that is your favourite, or epitomizes everything you love about what you do?
I would have to say that at this point it's my signature cloche and that's because it resembles the split personality I sometimes think I have. *lol* It is my favorite in that there's a period romanticism about it that makes you feel like you're just stepping out for an evening stroll in the English countryside; there's also a great urban feel to it where it looks great with jeans and you just feel pretty in it. I adore anything that makes me feel pretty (regardless of how I look.) The idea that I can make something that insights those feelings in another person is wonderful.

How do you promote your work?
Currently through etsy and word of mouth. I have a blog I keep to try to give some background into my raging thoughts and endless projects. Once I get a bit more settled with my new bath essentials line I will do more cold-calling and craft shows locally.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
That would most assuredly be my queen size appliqu├ęd "Sun Bonnet Sue" quilt that my Grandma Lela made me when I was fifteen. It's a reminder to me that talent is nothing without loving what you do. That makes all the difference.

Name your top 5 books, movies, songs/musical groups, and websites:
Books: The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan; Sophie & the Rising Sun - Augusta Trobaugh; Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens; Wishes - Jude Devereaux; An Episode of Sparrows - Rumer Godden (from when I was a kid)
Movies: Pride & Prejudice; Barefoot in the Park; The Good 'Ol Summertime; Better Off Dead; The Goodbye Girl
Song/Musical Groups: "Silver Springs"- Fleetwood Mac; "A Little Luck" Paul McCartney & Wings; "All That I Want" the Weepies; "Mary Jane's Last Dance" Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; "Mama I'm Coming Home" Ozzy Osbourne
Websites: for all my news; Etsy (I love browsing); (because everything is there!); Treehugger (I adore all the homemade this and that); & *lol*

Name a couple of your favourite Etsy shops, and why they’re your favourites?
Urban Heirlooms - I think it is the coolest, most original idea to use skeleton keys in this way. Such a unique idea and every piece looks like a million bucks.
Aria Images - I was completely bowled over by the beauty of her photos. Such light and detail and really raw emotion that you can just feel through the photo. Amazing.
Adventures of Jessica Rose Cashmere - I am just on awe.

Discount offered to readers of this blog: 15% (put in seller's notes)

little leather address/phone books

At the request of some customers, I have made a couple leatherbound address books for my Etsy Shop. They're so much fun to make and a great way of using up smaller pieces of leather from my journals. More on the way.

(Excuse the poor picture quality - my camera is on its way out.)