Last week, I received an email from my friend Pam. "Hey, Karen, I'm in Houston. Any chance you could meet for lunch?"
Now, there was no way I was going to let Pam leave town without my seeing her. Besides the fact that she's incredibly smart and really, really charming, she's also one of my living-beautifully-different she-roes: she's a technical writer who lives in Seattle, and is the creative mind behind the brilliantly-written Nerd's Eye View, a travel-photography-blog where she brings you her first-hand views of her journeys to places like Tanzania and Antarctica (for God's sake), as well as poignant stories of her family and personal life. And -- get this -- she's a whiz on the ukulele, having played since before it was cool. In fact, it was she who helped Marcus buy me my own ukulele, through the technological wonders of text and image messaging, about a year ago.
In short, she is an awesome, awesome person.
So naturally, I jumped at the chance to reconnect with her, and we did (along with Marcus and Pam's good friend, Kayt Sukel, making our lunch extra-great), at one of my favourite little cafés, where we caught up on life and she blessed my uke with a bit of strumming (above). And while we were talking and laughing, I couldn't help think how really fantastic it is to be in the company of creative people, especially people who are creative in ways different from my own. Being around differently-creative people helps you recognize the vast possibility and potential of your own creativity, don't you think?
Thanks for the amazing visit, Pam. It is always so wonderful to see you.
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And now, onto the business of the day: welcome to the second day of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks giveaways! Today, I'm so proud to give away to some lucky commenter a gift pack of some beautiful books and accessories that will help spark your creativity:
Image courtesy Kelly Rae Roberts
A signed copy of Taking Flight: Inspiration & Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings. I've had this book ever since it first came out, and I seriously love it. Written by my friend Kelly Rae Roberts, this book is full of great artistic techniques to start making your own beautiful art. And these are not just Kelly Rae's methods, but she also features the work of several other artists whose work you've probably admired. If you've always wanted to make canvas art but were afraid to try (or even if you've just wanted to try your hand at making art in your journal), then this is really a great book for you to get started.
Here's some more about Kelly Rae:
Artist's statement: Since discovering my passion for painting, I wrote Taking Flight: Inspiration + Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings, a best selling book that encompasses all aspects of what it means to live the creative life. I’m also the author of Flying Lessons: Tips + Tricks to Help Your Creative Biz Soar - a series of popular e-books where I share everything I’ve learned about starting, running, and growing a successful creative business. My work has been featured in a variety of mixed media books and I’ve had several articles published in various magazines, including Cloth Paper Scissors, Somerset Life, Somerset Studios, Where Women Create, Memory Makers, and more. Much of my artwork is licensed and can be seen in stores nationwide on a variety of products, including decorative wall art, home decor products, stationery, and so much more.
Photograph courtesy Bella Bookmarks
And since "fabulous books deserve fabulous bookmarks," it's only fitting you receive a set of beautiful bookmarks as well. These are the brainchild of Jessica Brogan, who creates these beautiful bookmark gift sets to "complete the booklover's gift package." Aren't they lovely? They'd be perfect to mark your place in your latest read or even your journal.
Here's some more about Jessica:
Artist's statement: Bella Bookmarks were born out of my two great loves: Reading and Making the perfect gift for a friend. The "perfect" gift to me always entails a book. But what to put with it? A bar of chocolate? A pair of socks? I began making these handcrafted Bookmark Sets as a way to make the complete "Book Lover's" package and I've loved making every single one. I love it even more when I hear how much a recipient treasures their set. I want you to. I am a lover of lists, of books, of art, of travel (most of all Hawaii & Italy) and intimate dinners with interesting folks. Above all, I love the transcendence of creating a whole piece of art - with meaning - from many small pieces. It's therapeutic and the final result, in this case each Bella Bookmark Set, has its own personality.
And by the way, since we're talking about journals ...
Photograph courtesy Igloo Letterpress
I'm thrilled to introduce you to Igloo Letterpress, featuring handcrafted stationery, art and other goods. Allison Chapman, the creative mind behind Igloo, has kindly contributed her no-sew refillable journal (and you know how I love me a journal). This refillable book features letterpress printed French paper, and the elastic spine allows you to add and remove pages as frequently as you like.
Here's more about Allison and Igloo:
Artist's statement: Owner Allison Chapman has been printing since she was young, and was taught how to print on her Grandad's press in his print shop. She went to school for history and eventually completed an internship at the Smithsonian in 1994. After that, she moved back to Minneapolis and spent a decade teaching at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. After inheriting her Grandad's press and collection of vintage images and type, along with his 19th century press, Allison founded Igloo Letterpress in '96 in Minnesota. The heart of Igloo Letterpress is the press and collection of images gathered by her grandfater, although they have acquired cases of lead type, antique wood type, and vintage images from friends, family and letterpress lovers. It is this treasure trove that serves as inspiration for their work: honest, friendly, bright pieces steeped in story and simplicity. Their goal is to create pieces and workshops that embody what makes the Midwest great: an approachable, hospitable foundation with a clever and quirky design.
And finally, you'll receive a 2012 Chookooloonks desk calendar (comes packaged in a fold-out CD case), featuring 13 of my favourite images from 2011.
Cool stuff, yes? For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below, saying whatever you'd like, before 12:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 14th, US Central Time. Please leave only one comment. Also, it doesn't matter where in the world you are. I'll choose a winner at random using Random.org, and update this post when that person is chosen.
(For the duration of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, please note that there is no guarantee that you will receive any items before Christmas.)
Thanks guys, and good luck!
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AND THE WINNER IS: According to Random.org, the winner is MichelleG, who said "I have been looking for a Journal that I could refill keeping the cover I love. So much to read also in this next year stocking up now." Congratulations, MichelleG! Please keep a lookout in your inbox for an email from me with instructions on what to do next!
Thanks for participating, everyone -- still 10 more days to go!