Etsy find Fridays: Books as art

It’s happened again . . . I’m bored with my room. Since the big redesign, cleaning and purging of June ’09, I’ve been reasonably happy with the set-up of my books and furniture, but something new is irking me: I need new art. Like, yesterday. Because all the posters from the plays in which I performed in high school, oh, ten years ago? It’s time to move beyond. I’m ready.

So I’ve spent the better part of my Black Friday looking at art on Etsy, my most favorite of all online retailers. Doing a search for “print” will give you about seven million trillion results, so don’t put yourself through that. I’ve been looking for something that screams “MEG!” (or, you know, gently shouts it?) to hang in place of all the random memorabilia currently scattered on my walls.

Being the consummate book lover you all know and love, this inevitably led me to search for book-related prints — and I certainly have my options! Join in the fun and help me decide. Or just order these right out from under me, basically stealing my art- and book-related joy. You know, whichever.


Where The Wild Things Are upcycled book page by wallenvyart, $16

Emma is fascinated with The Great Gatsby by flapperdoodle, $10

"Shakespeare In Paris" fine art photograph by AliciaBock, $35

"Ideal Bookshelf 2" print by janemount, $25

The Library print of original sketch by NestaHome, $25

Books print by theblackapple, $16

The BookMooch Journals

img_5964While perusing Korianne’s blog a few weeks ago, I came across an exciting and curious link — for something called The BookMooch Journals. I know I’m constantly extolling the virtues of BookMooch, a community of literature lovers who swap books. I’ve gotten so many awesome titles over there, many of them in like-new condition. And all for my cost of mailing one of my own books to another member — around $2.23 in shipping, via media mail. I joined BookMooch last October and have, to date, sent out more than 50 novels — and gotten 50 in return. Sometimes it’s tough to find first-run books there, but I’ve managed to claim titles as varied as Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, Laurie Notaro’s The Idiot Girl And the Flaming Tantrum of Death and Geraldine Brooks’ March, all of which I’ve reviewed here at write meg! So it’s not impossible to get new books — just a little tougher. But I’m persistent.

Well, I have new BookMooch obsession to start taking up my time and energy — the aforementioned Journals. According to the project website, more than 400 of these art projects are currently in circulation, via BookMooch, around the world.

So how does it work? From their page:

The rules are simple: Begin one or more BookMooch-only journals, created out of a hardcover blank journal, a used hardcover book, or a sturdy softcover book, and create a theme and name for your journal. After you’ve made the first art entry in your journal, set it loose into the BookMooch world.

Participants can mooch your journal just like any other book listed on BookMooch. Each person that mooches a journal adds their art entry, and within two weeks re-posts it into the BookMooch system to be mooched by another member, who adds their art entry to the journal and again adds it back to BookMooch for the next moocher, and so on. When the journal is completed, it is sent back to its owner.

I love, love, love projects like this — and I just contributed to my very first journal! It’s called “A Year Of Poetry,” started by Milano in Florida, and is a recycled, hardback calendar. Since it began circulating in May 2008, it’s made stops in Oklahoma, Georgia, New York, Utah, Alabama, Virginia and, most recently, Maryland. In the future, it’s heading to the Phillippines, England, Australia and lots of other places here in the States.

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I contributed three poems — two by me and one of my favorite poems ever by Kim Addonizio. I had a tough time choosing the “dates” on which to paste them. In the end, I went with the most personal ones available, but I’m really happy with my pages. To maintain a bit of an air of mystery, here’s just one of them — with Addonizio’s poem:

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And, since it’s tiny, here’s one of my poems — added on the date I graduated from college! Despite actually graduating from the creative writing program, I think I’ve only written a handful of poems over the past few years. That pretty much broke my creative spirit! Ha. But I’m getting it back!

the english major
by megan

Your grammar enraged me
far more than
your cheating ever did,

And I’ll always love language
far more than
I ever loved you.

A little fun with PhotoFunia

Much like the great Yearbook Yourself viral fun of ’08, something new is making its way around the Internet — a little program called PhotoFunia! Is it a website, software or… what? I don’t know. But it’s just plain cool. Natalie discovered it first and tagged it as “a fabulous time waster,” and I would definitely have to agree.

So, without further ado… write meg! gets around. Around the art world, apparently!

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me_billboard

me_multicolor_art

And, apparently, I’m an inspiration for the Russian government. And possibly a former leader of the republic. Yay!

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Let’s get Etsy-fied

I scrapbook, crochet, make cards, design digital graphics and just generally . . . consider myself “artsy.” Not in the pretentious, black-beret-wearing way — just in the “I enjoy art and making stuff” way. And I sit at a computer all day and hang out on the Internet in between work projects most afternoons. And I’m the Queen Googler! Give me a problem and I promise that Google, the keeper of all knowledge, will have the answer.

So how, then, did I not know about Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods?

It’s like eBay for crafts. And it’s awesome. You can find pretty much any gorgeous, homemade item you could possibly want! And most of it is quite affordable. There are a hundred reasons why buying from individuals all over the country (and the world) is probably better for you and them than heading out to a “big box store,” but it’s mostly exciting because I’m psyched to be able to find really different, ecclectic items for presents and decorating. I’ve been looking for something else to go with my office’s London theme — I have a London corkboard, various desk items and a London painting my sister got me. And then I saw this for sale by NestaHome (please ignore my very crude text box to keep the photo from being replicated):

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It’s a digital collage — of London! And from a series the creator calls “Alone In the City.” I pretty much am in love with it. This one is “Waiting For the Bus”; there’s another in the set I bought called “Sometimes all you see are buildings.” I have wall space all picked out for them!

And I bought something else as a present . . . but I can’t divulge that highly classified information! Suffice it to say I’m very excited to get it — and to give it for Valentine’s Day.

Once I got more comfortable with Etsy, my plan is to start selling some of the multitudes of scarves I’ve crocheted over the years! My sister and I paid for a table at a local craft fair a year and a half ago — and sadly came back home with the majority of what I’d created for the show. We hardly sold a thing. And I don’t think it was for lack of quality, let me tell you — I’m very proud of my scarves! And I didn’t have anything on the table selling for more than $10. People were just being cheap that year. This past November, when we were in the throes of the recession and folks were gearing up for Christmas? We probably would have done much better. But that’s fine. Now I might have a way to unload some of my stock and bring smiles to the warm, happy faces of potential buyers looking for just the sort of random scarf I happen to be selling! That calls for some cheers!

UPDATE at 8:45 p.m.: I try not to be all talk and no action! I officially have my very own Etsy shop, boasting five scarves that I’ve crocheted lately! I figured I would start small, though I have plenty more to list. Feel free to stop by! And for you Harry Potter fans, here’s a sample — complete with my cultured hands-on-hips pose . . .

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Where’s Waldo? Stirring up controversy, that’s where!

After discovering the “Where’s Waldo?” book series by Martin Hanford on the American Library Association’s top 100 most-challenged books of the 1990s, I had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach.

What could be so bad about a children’s book — fun for all ages — that my sister and I poured over for hours upon hours as children? We loved the original volume of the work and would often challenge each other to figure out who could spot our favorite red-and-white striped hitchhiker the fastest!

Of course, I’m a little late to entering the hype over the series — the first “Where’s Waldo?” book was published in 1987 (I was two). But a little Googling got me to the bottom of this craziness pretty quickly. One page in the first “Where’s Waldo?” book featured a tiny, particularly risque character in a beach scene — a topless sunbather. But to be fair, the woman is startled by sort of impish child ramming a cold ice cream cone onto her back! In her surprise, she leaps up and flashes the beachgoers around her.

Mind you, there really isn’t much to be seen here. Not to mention the fact that the female in question is smaller than the size of my thumbnail. But apparently this “lewdness” was enough to land Waldo on the outs with libraries across the country.

Here’s a portion of the controversial page in question, linked from Waldo Wiki:

And here’s the “clean” version, published as part of a special 10th anniversary edition of the book released in 1997:

Is this “risque” difference really enough to land Handford’s illustrated classic on the banned books list? I don’t think so. But some people let their feathers get just a little too ruffled, I guess.