Gourdness gracious

When we were in Seattle last month, we took a little road trip to the countryside and discovered a lovely farm that was hosting a family day. One of the activities was decorating gourds and other vegetables, attaching wheels and then racing them down a ramp. Fun! Here are some of the zippy veggies...

Owl costume

It is a major triumph when I find/make time to sew something. Here is Finley's first Hallowe'en costume. It was fun to put together... I just made a vest that is large enough to fit over his winter jacket (it snowed this morning) and made some wings. The materials are remnant pieces I took from my mom's stash of leftover suiting material as well as some cut-up trousers from Glen. There's some French General linen that was part of a table centrepiece at The Creative Connection and some Fog Linen swatches that were part of an issue of Selvedge magazine. The brown ribbon is leftover from my wedding decorations and I think the piece of gold fabric was my grandma's. It's nice to have a variety pile of fabric on hand because if I had had to go out and buy this stuff I don't think the project would have happened at all. Hoo hoo hooray for all of us packrats!

Black cats...

Illustrator and designer Laurie Rollitt was born in the city of Winchester and raise in the seaside village of West Lulworth. He graduated from UWE Bristol in 2011 with first class honours in Illustration then moved to Stoke Newington, London where he now lives and works.

See more of his portfolio here.

Participate: share your story of creative adventure

Hearing from our readers and subscribers is always inspiring. For issue #12, I'm collecting stories of creative adventure... Did you quit your day job to start a creative business? Did you go on a sketching or photography odyssey? Did you travel to far off lands to pursue an artistic dream? Did you uproot your family for a year on the road? Please share your unique story by filling in the form here.

#11: Mr. Clarence Riggs, Fisherman

As I was compiling content for the current fall issue, a fishing theme emerged. I was drawn to the creativity of fly fishing and fly tying, the appeal of fisherman and nautically-inspired clothes, the diversity in design of lighthouses, and the authentic stories inspired by river and sea.

We have an article about Clarence Riggs, life-long fisherman from Newfoundland, profiled by writer Martin Connelly and illustrated by Omar Jaramillo Traverso. Omar did his sketches in person while Martin conducted the interview!

An excerpt:

"Clarence Riggs (“Clar” to his friends and “Sir” to me) has had a place up on the Terra Nova River since 1960. Born in Burin, Newfoundland, he moved to Glovertown, jtmarust north of Terra Nova National Park, some years before confederation, before there was a “national” anything in Newfoundland.

The original cabin, a field office bought from a completed government building project, burned down in the late 80s. The cabin we visited one grey Saturday in June was the new one. It’s just a kitchen, split bunk rooms and a porch with “Fish ’n’ Fur” written on a sign hung upside down. But you can tell that it has been home to weeks and weeks of good summer, year after year. 

The walls are lined with plaques poking fun at fishermen—the kind they sell in rural gas stations. “Old fishermen never die,” said one, “they just can’t raise their fishing pole!” On another, with what looked very much like a sketch of the cabin: “There is no place anything like this place, anywhere near this place, so this must be the place.”

We made the trip in an open boat, piloted with causal expertise by Clarence’s son, Phil. While his father had come from elsewhere, the younger Riggs grew up on the Terra Nova; this was home turf.  ..."

[Read more in the current issue!]

Martin also filmed and edited this short film of his interview with Mr. Riggs (with a lovely story about meeting his wife for the first time.)

Thank you to all these fine gentlemen for lending their time and talents for this article.

Featured Stockist: OrangeBeautiful

OrangeBeautiful in Chicago has the newest issue of UPPERCASE magazine in stock plus elusive copies of back issue #7! There are literally just a few dozen copies left of #7, so get it while you can! They also have The Elegant Cockroach (a great treat for Hallowe'en!), The Suitcase Series Volume 2: Dottie Angel and Lisa Congdon's A Collection A Day.

4658 N Damen Ave
wed-sat 11-7 // sun 11-5
closed mondays + tuesdays

JetPens giveaway!


Good morning! As promised, we are hosting a giveaway from JetPens.

The JetPens prize includes:
Ohto Chocolate Bar Cross Paper Clip - Mix - Pack of 6
Saki P-661 Roll Pen Case with Traditional Japanese Fabric - Maccha Green
Midori Animal Shape D-Clips Paper Clip - Original Series - Elephant - Box of 30
Marvy 4300 LePen Porous Point Marker Pen - Black

To participate:
Follow @uppercasemag on Twitter
Follow @jetpens on Twitter
Then retweet the giveaway mentioning both @jetpens and @uppercasemag in your tweet

BONUS PRIZE: @uppercasemag is at over 7900 followers... the lucky 8000th follower will win a free subscription!

The JetPen prizewinner will be picked randomly on Friday.


Flip through issue #11!



Dear Readers,

Though our front cover features crayons, this is by no means an issue dedicated to child’s play. (Perhaps a future issue?) In fact, it is just the opposite—with an exploration of sharp objects like hooks, knives, and other cutting tools, this issue could inspire some dangerous pursuits!

Our fall issues have traditionally been more “manly” in content. This time around we profile a few elder gents (a fisherman and a pinstriper), and indulge in a tonic or two. We also spend some time in the dark with a special coated section of the magazine. But don’t be afraid—we have flashlights and lighthouses to guide you on your way.



{ Please SUBSCRIBE, RENEW or purchase a SINGLE COPY or BACK ISSUE today! Use the discount code "weekend" to get $5 off any orders placed until Monday morning!}

#11: Dolan Geiman

Issue #11's Beginnings column by Erin Loechner features prolific artist and entrepreneur Dolan Geiman. They've scanned the article for their press section, so feel free to read it here.

visit the Etsy shop

Trend: Maps (Call for submissions)

ElizabethStLuciusArtMyBeardedPigeonLigattoselvaticoLittle Owl Design
Do you use maps in a creative way? Are they an integral and graphic part of your products or artwork? Whether vintage or modern, factual or whimsical, we welcome your submission for a feature about map trends. Files should be at least 4 inches wide at 300dpi. Please follow the upload instructions here. Submission deadline November 15.

JetPens - Love at First Write

Next Monday the fine folks at JetPens and I will be hosting a fun giveaway. If you haven't been on the JetPens website, be prepared!!! You are going to want to buy so many things. Specializing in difficult-to-find, high quality and Japanese writing implements, there's a seemingly infinite selection of inspiring tools for writing, calligraphy, sketching and marking of all sorts. Inspired by their name, here's a post of jet-black pens and ink.

You may wonder what makes Asian pens so special. JetPens has an interesting answer:

"Kanji (Chinese characters) are much more complex than the English alphabet. A single character can have up to 30+ strokes! As a result of this intricacy, many writing instruments in Asia are much more precise than those available in the United States. At JetPens you'll be amazed to find fine point writing instruments that you can't find anywhere else in the world. In addition, we have mind-boggling colors that will beat the selection at any local office store. JetPens is a home for pen fanatics."

Look for more about JetPens on Monday!


Ask Rena Tom

Here's your opportunity to ask UPPERCASE business column contributor Rena Tom a question about your creative biz.

What would you like to know about starting or maintaining your creative business? In what areas do you need most encouragement or advice? Please leave your questions in the comment section.

(Please note that these are general questions, not specific questions or evaluations of your products.)

I've been virtually following Rena's entrepreneurial career for many years and had the pleasure of meeting Rena and her family at the Collection a Day book launch in San Francisco earlier this year. At that point, Rena and Lisa Congdon had just sold their shop Rare Device to a new owner. (Rare Device stocks A Collection a Day and other UPPERCASE titles.)

"Rare Device was renowned early on for its carefully edited collection of design objects, books and fashion, and for supporting small and innovative designers and artists whose work was not easily found in stores. I sold Rare Device in February 2011 but the entrepreneurial bug has not left me. I have met so many wonderful designers, crafters, artists, retailers, buyers and bloggers and have learned a great deal from every one of them."

Rena has since harnessed her experience as an artisan, designer and shop owner and is passing on her knowledge on through retail consulting. She can help you start a new business, open a store, evaluate your product and help you get noticed by the right people.

After reading Rena's guest post "Too Much Success" on Poppytalk, I immediately emailed to thank her for a post that hit really close to home and invited her to extend her experience to UPPERCASE readers. Her first column appears in the current fall isssue #11.

Brought to you by...

A short and sweet video of Trip Print Press by Brought to you By.

Thank you, Paige!

For those of you who have seen the dottie angel book in person, you can appreciate all the lovely tactile details that went into the book's production. In appreciation of our helpers (Ana, Erin, Paige, Kendra, Janice & Bonnie), Tif gave then each one of her embroidered chapter dividers and I wrapped up their books in some of the project remnants—vintage pillowcases that were too nice to cut up, some miscellaneous doilies and button cards. The parcel above was given to Calgary designer Paige Smith, who documented it with these great photographs.

Paige and I share a love of vintage things, flea markets and old typography (but our styles are different enough that we aren't coveting the same things when we go to the Sunnyside Flea Market, which is a good quality in a thrifting buddy!) I gravitate toward print and books, while Paige is always on the lookout for old china to make into her stunning ring and jewellery holders:

These holders are available in Anthropologie stores or you can custom-order one from her Etsy shop by selecting your favourite saucer.

Please visit Paige's blog and website for more inspirational images of her workspace, vintage finds and product photographs. And I would be remiss not to mention that she's also a talented web designer!

Nancy Straughan textiles + The Power of Making

Nancy Straughan and her fashion and textiles
Textile designer Nancy Straughan recently introduced herself and her work via our suggestions link. (Thank you to everyone who is submitting their links and portfolios! Even if you don't hear from me right away, I look at all of it and put you in my visual file for later reference.) While perusing Nancy's blog, I came across her post of a video by the Victoria & Albert museum that I'd like to share with you as well.

Guest Blogger on Elements

photo from the Elements website
, a creative firm in Connecticut, recently invited me to submit some page layout examples from UPPERCASE magazine for a book they're working on for Rockport Publishing. They also invited me to be a guest blogger on their site and that post is up today. I invite you over to their blog to read a bit more about me. Thanks, Amy, Alysson and the Elements team.

Issue #11 preview (and iphone advice, please)

instagram pic by Karyn ValinoI'm still waiting for the truck to arrive with my many hundreds of pounds of magazines. But many of the fine stockists have already received their shipments, like the workroom in Toronto. (Thanks, Karyn, for the instagram pic!)

I had planned on taking my own instagram pics and twitter about the new issue but my technology is not cooperating. My iphone has worked a-ok for a couple of years, but this morning I dropped off Glen's phone at the repair shop (alas, his met its match with a muddy puddle). After exiting the repair shop, I checked my phone for the time and proceeded on my way. Twenty minutes later, I got to my office and tried to use my phone and it doesn't even turn on! I've tried to restart it to no avail. My first thought was that the repair shop is an evil genius that can transmit "no-workie" signals to unsuspecting phones so that they need repair. It had a full charge this morning.

The frustrating thing is that learning from Glen's unfortunate incident, I was all set to sync my phone on my work computer so that I would have all the videos and pictures of Finley safe and sound. Now what should I do? I don't want to lose anything! The more I think about the pictures on my phone, the sicker I feel. Anyone have recommendations on recovering an iphone 3G without erasing images?

Looks like I'll be heading back to the repair shop on my walk home. ugh!!!

blogshop NYC

photo by Angela Kohler

I was happy to have UPPERCASE magazine as part of the swag for the latest blogshop recently held in New York. I'm so impressed by their fashionably fun marketing savvy! Thanks, Bri, for the invitation. Check out the video:

I want to go paint my nails now. It makes typing a blog post much more exciting.

Video from the book launch

dottie angel book launch from UPPERCASE gallery on Vimeo.

Thank you Emily and Andie for hosting a wonderful evening in Assemble Gallery & Studio. Tif, Glen, Finley and I were very happy to be there.

Seattle, you can now purchase UPPERCASE magazines and books in their fine shop! Dottie Angel books are available there or online here.

There and back again

More pictures from Seattle and the dottie angel book launch at Assemble soon. Just catching up on all the emails and orders and details of the release of issue #11...