Mar 8, 2010

Review of Conduit Press on Etsy and Upcycled Notebook Giveaway (CLOSED)

I can't tell you how much writing is a part of my life. It's how I earn a living, it's what I do in my spare time, and as if that weren't enough - I also keep journals that I write in on a regular basis. Writing and reading are as much a part of me as breathing and blinking - so finding Conduit Press on Etsy was a real treat for me. Talia, the owner, creates beautiful 'upcycled' journals, notebooks and other items that are unique and special.

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review some special notebooks from Conduit Press, and to interview Talia. I hope you enjoy - and as you'll see at the end of this post, Talia has offered something very special for a lucky 2 Lil Muffins reader!

The Interview:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

"Well, I'm a at home momma of a beautiful bouncing little 7 month old beauty named Griffin as well as a wacky teenager and a game-playing 8 year old. I spend my days reading Goodnight Moon and The Hungry Caterpillar and singing the ABC's in my best soprano (I'm an alto, so it's not a very good soprano). I spend my afternoons (baby nap times) tearing paper and cutting leather to make into beautiful handmade books that give me a catharsis I can't even explain.

I spend my evenings helping glue together shoebox book reports and editing freshman English term papers. I spend my nights cuddling with my Loving husband on the sofa whilst watching Lost (on a good day). I spend my life creating beautiful amazing useful too many words to describe people and things and I pretty much Love it."

2. Your shop contains quite a few 'upcycled' or recycled goods. What is your favorite creation to make?

"Really, every book is a joy to make. It really is. And every time I come up with a new design for a new book I fall in Love with that very one just a little bit more than the last. I've recently discovered that upcycling materials to make into books is so much more fulfilling than simply buying book board and paper from an art store because, well, you can really feel good about where it comes from, and where it's going. So, currently, my favorite creation to make is the leather journals I've been working on.

Leather is such a versatile material in so many ways and it's really beautiful. I'm using an upcycled leather from an upholstery shop in town so I know it's of extraordinary quality and had I not purchased this leather, it would have ended up in a dumpster. It feels really good to know that I was able to save something from adding to the pile of rubbish that we create daily without even thinking about it."

3. How long have you been creating paper goods, journals, etc?

"I've been making books in some form since I was a wee child honestly. My father bought me my first diary when I was about 7 and when I filled that up I stapled some pages together, tore a beautiful photography of a ballerina out of a magazine and called that a cover. Since then I've definitely grown with my skills though. ;)

I took an Artist's Books class my senior year of college (about 8 years ago now) and
I never looked back. There is where I learned how to make archival books using archival materials and learned how to really sew a book together they way you're 'supposed to'. Ever since I've been reading Keith Smith books like crazy and teaching myself all the new ways in which to bind and create books. One can never really have enough books I think, because we never stop thinking to fill them."

4. Do you have a favorite piece in the shop now?

"I do. It's leather, of course. It's a maroon leather journal with a large round chartreuse bead sewn on the wraparound cover. I Love the colors of this journal. I Love maroon and chartreuse together for some reason. I like their opposition on the color wheel, and their brightness. I also Love the size of this journal (about 4x6) and that it's landscape and not portrait. It could be used as a photo album or a journal or even a sketchbook. The pages inside are a nice medium tooth white paper that will take almost any medium and the leather covers are nice and durable to protect whatever is inside."

5. In your opinion, what's the coolest thing about Conduit Press?

"For me, the coolest thing about CP is that it gives me the freedom to create things and share them with people I might never meet in real life. I Love creating and the art of creating things and being able to share them with the world, is really amazing. Aside from that, I think the coolest thing is that I am able to use a lot of materials in my art that would otherwise be trash, and saving our world from more trash is well, cool. :)"

She's right - it's totally cool and really admirable as well...not to mention the truly unique works of art that come out of the process!

The Review:

Talia sent me three small, upcycled notebooks to review. Made from recycled vinyl, thin typing paper and featuring a hemp closure - these notebooks are very pretty. What I love most about them is that they're so natural looking - very clean lines but rustic in a way. I immediately fell in love with them! When I'm not writing non-fiction articles for my clients, I'm writing fiction - and throughout the day, an idea will suddenly come to me for one element of a story or another. Usually, I jot them down somewhere and come back to them later. Well, I've started using these mini-notebooks to jot down my ideas.

I think it will be super-cool to have these little books full of inspirational thoughts and ideas, long after the ideas have transformed into stories and poems! What a neat little memento, right? The books are wonderful quality and I just love how they're so unique. I think these kinds of books would make a PERFECT gift for someone in your family who is a writer, or someone who enjoys writing their thoughts on a daily basis.

The Giveaway:

Talia was generous enough to offer 2 of these beautiful mini notebooks as a prize for one lucky 2 Lil Muffins reader! Here is the description:

A due of pocket-size blank journals: each measure approximately 4" x 6" and hold 40 sheets (80 sides) of a thin typing paper. Each book is hand sewn with hemp thread using the pamphlet stitch and can lie flat when open. Each also has an excess of hemp thread to use as a tie closure. Covers are upcycled vinyl remnants with various colors. Great for use as a simple list book to keep in your purse or a place to keep thoughts."

  • How to Enter: Visit Conduit Press on Etsy and browse through her unique and beautiful items. Let me know which one is your favorite in a comment!

Extra Entries:

  • Follow this blog publicly or let me know if you already are. (1 extra entry)
  • Purchase an item from Conduit Press and let me know which item you've purchased. (10 extra entries)
  • Put my button in your sidebar and leave the link, or let me know if you already have it. (3 extra entries)
  • Subscribe to 2 Lil Muffins via email and confirm. (2 extra entries)
Good luck to all!! This contest will end on March 16, 2010 at 8PM EST and the winner will be chosen by Remember to leave a comment for each entry so they all count when the winner is chosen. Also - leave your email address if it's not public in your profile.

Note: I was sent an item free of charge in order to make a review about this shop and its products. I was not monetarily compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine and honest.

Mar 7, 2010

Child's Room Painting of Your Choice Giveaway (CLOSED)

I think a child's room should be special - it's their getaway, a little place belonging to them! They should be surrounded by images and items they love and that comfort them. That's why I'm excited about The Ivy Lane on Etsy and this giveaway!

Amy is an incredibly nice and very talented woman. This artist is also a Michigan mommy of three! **Where does she find the time to paint?** If she's anything like me, a lot of her work is done to the sound of snoring. ;-) Her shop is filled with beautiful paintings for little boys and girls rooms - and she loves customizing paintings for her customers.

So, if you have bedding or other decor in your child's room that you'd like a painting to match, Amy is your gal! Just let her know what you need and she'll fix it right up for you. Amy has generously offered one painting for 2 Lil Muffins readers - your choice! How exciting!!!

How to Enter:

Visit The Ivy Lane on Etsy and browse through the beautiful paintings there. Let me know which one you'd choose if you win the contest!

Extra Entries:
  • Purchase any item from The Ivy Lane shop - maybe get started on a collection!! Come back here and let me know what you purchased. (10 extra entries)
  • Follow this blog publicly. (1 extra entry)
  • Enter any of the giveaways over at Champagne Wisdom and let me know which one. (2 extra entries)
  • Follow my partner Yona's blog publicly for excellent giveaway news, reviews, and thoughts. (2 extra entries)
  • Grab my button and put it on your blog sidebar. - leave me a link! (3 extra entries)

Good luck all! This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only and will end March 14, 2010 at 8PM EST. The winner will be chosen by Have a great time winning this beautiful item and let your friends and family know about 2 Lil Muffins!

Playing Catch-Up and 2 Winners!!! (Robin's Egg Necklace and Tooled Leather Barette)

Shew...which one of you stole a few days from my calendar? My partners and I have had a hectic few days and sadly, I'm behind on choosing my winners here. There's an up side though - some of you got in a few extra entries while I was being neglectful!! But I'm here now and ready to choose the winners of our 2 ongoing contests. I'm also ready to post a few great new giveaways. Without further ado...

The Winner of the Robin's Egg Necklace:

The winning comment:

Grace Wong said... 105

I love the Ribbons and Pearls Bridal Necklace, oversized pearls!

Note: If any of you are wondering why Grace's comment is #105 and the winner says #305, it's because of the way blogger displays the comment numbers. If there are 300 comments, only 200 show on the first page. When you click 'newest' to go to the second page of comments, it starts counting from 1 again. So, while her # says 105, she's actually the 305th comment. Confusing, I know...but I'm not sure how to fix it or if there even is a way. Anyway...

The Winner of the Hand-Tooled Leather Barette:

The winning comment:

jennifer57 said... 21

following via twitter :)

my id: jennifer57

Congrats guys - an email has been sent to both of you and you'll have 48 hours to respond and claim your prizes! Thank you so much to both sponsors - without them, there'd be no contests! :-)