Let’s Call it the Little Pencil Pattern Book

Inspired by some of the other #LittleArtBook-ers using spiral bound books, I made this little book tonight. It is filled with roughly and random cut #watercolorpaper. #artbook #bumblebee

It started with a craft night with some girlfriends. I have a hard time focusing on art when I’m around others, so I usually bring something that doesn’t require a lot of attention. This night I brought some regular printer paper and a pencil. While we chatted I scribbled out the flower pattern on a halved sheet of paper (used as a #littleartbook backdrop in the above picture).

I liked how it looked, so I thought it would be fun to make more. So much of my favorite art and design start out that way. No pressure, just fun play. I like how the pencil looked, and went with the bare, basic and scribbly quality of the pattern illustrations.

little pencil pattern book

I folded a bunch of pieces of paper to put together a booklet. Then, I found this 8.5×11 sheet of grid paper I had also scribbled out with pencil for another project, and figured it would make the perfect cover.

little pencil pattern book

Forks, knives and spoons, and few plates for good measure

little pencil pattern book

Some abstract blingy rings

little pencil pattern book

Back to the original pattern, which I had drawn out on the side of paper which would either have to be a left center spread page or a left page in the back. Because I liked it so much I decided to make a center spread and do another pattern on the opposite. They are unrelated, but maybe I should have done another pattern that was meant to work with the first.

little pencil pattern book
Some little houses
little pencil pattern book
And of course, lily of the valley.

Stay tuned as I use some of these patterns for other projects.

Too Little, Too Late


Imma jerk and never got to posting about my Big Time sign (on my blog) before the owner of the shop had to call it quits. Above is the picture I shared on instagram last year. I’m so sad because I really wanted to share this with others and order another for myself. Waaaaaaah!

The story is that my friend Joon‘s husband opened up an etsy shop where he was creating all sorts of woodwork pieces and came up with this great design based on National Park signs. I ordered this one for our house that says Big Time because Matt and I use it all the time to mean “a lot” or “REALLY” (not that it is unique, but I’m just saying as opposed to us being big Peter Gabriel fans).

When my nephew (3y/o) was over last weekend we were teaching him how to incorporate the phrase BIG TIME into his everyday conversation. "Do you like the video game Spelunky?" "BIG TIME!"

For the longest time my sister, Matt and I tried to incorporate into my nephew’s dialogue, but he refused. Here’s the caption from the above picture, from over a year ago:

When my nephew (3y/o) was over last weekend we were teaching him how to incorporate the phrase BIG TIME into his everyday conversation. “Do you like the video game Spelunky?” “BIG TIME!”

Back to the signs. Mission Beach Woodwork shop had to close up recently (sadface) Joon recently shared some of the signs that Evan (her husband) made for their house, which reminded me of how I never shared my own sign.  It is so beautifully crafted.

#LOVEOURSWIRLINGBLUEPLANET above their headboard. I love this so much! The lettering is this beautiful pale blue color.

And of course one with her nickname, which makes me even more sad because I planned on ordering one with ROBAYRE for my studio.

Think of how much fun it would have been to even make some and place them on trails guerilla art style! Nobody would question it because they were so well made.

Birthday Crowns

I don’t think I’ve ever shared my birthday crowns here. It started with this crown in 2012

Today I made an #upcycle paper crown  for a coworker's birthday.

I made it for a coworker’s office birthday, with materials from the building (big sheets of flat cardboard, paper scraps from the printing presses, adhesive, a sharpie and a stapler). I snapped this picture of myself wearing it, because I was so proud of how it came out.

Madame Alyn's Lid

The inspiration came from the artist Alyn Carlson, pictured above, and her beautiful paper hats. She actually has a book out now and I need to get it!

mailart 129/365

I’ve been inspired by her before, with this series of mailart postcards. You can see more here.

But back to the birthday crowns. I liked that first crown so much I knew I just had to make more.

Erica crown

I wish I would have been better about documenting them as I made them, but here are a few more that I made. This one was for my best friend.

Ann's birthday crown

Here is an expectant Ann (of A Beautiful Party), wearing her birthday crown. I think she was just a week or two away from her due date with her daughter Maybellene, and we were singing her Happy Birthday and I think she was just about to blow out her candles.

Last night's project, a custom requested crown. It's bee a while since I've made one.

This one was a commission, and I can’t remember what it said all the way around. Something like “Your Wonderful Highness”.

me in crown

Of course I had to make one for MeSelf!

2.11 capsule machine

It currently lives on top of my gumball machine.

Progress photos of the most recent birthday crown I made. I'm particularly proud of this one and it fit @shealwayslovedlarking perfectly!

And most recently, I made one for my friend Courtney (of She Always Loved Larking) for her belated birthday party. Here is a progress shot of the crown before I stapled it together.

Courtney birthday crown

And a picture that Ann took of her wearing her crown surrounded by all the beautiful parti-ness.

Emily Neuburger facebook birthday crown

Thank you Emily Neuburger, of Red Bird Crafts, for sharing my crowns on your facebook page too!

I love making crowns as they are super low pressure. I think the scrappiness and playfulness really make the crown.  It was also really fun to put together this post and see how they have developed over time.


Ruth Denning – Wealth

It’s National Poetry Month!

Looking for an old picture recently I found a greeting card and when I opened it up, it was filled with handwritten copies of favorite poems of mine. The poems were all written over time and in different pens and pencils. I have absolutely no recollect of filling this card, but I am glad I did, and I am glad I found it because of one poem in particular. A poem I think of occasionally, but can’t find by simply googling the title or author. My grandma shared this poem with me when I was just in high school. My grandma used to write articles for the local papers in Joliet, IL and one of those articles was about a treasure she found at her public library. It was a book of poetry written by a teenage girl who (if I remember correctly) was killed in a car accident before she graduated. Somewhere in my possessions I have photocopies of the whole book and hopefully a copy of my grandma’s article too, and if I find it I’ll share more, but in the meantime I’ll just share my favorite poem by Ruth Denning, 1930. Sidenote: (also if I remember correctly) Ruth had quite an interest in the gypsy life.

She has wealth
Clothed in laces and silks,
Perfumed and coiffured and gemmed,
She sits surrounded by luxury.
Jewels gleam from her shining hair,
And she laughs at life.
She has wealth.
I have wealth.
Clad in gingham and sandals,
Windblown and happy and free,
I stand on a high hill.
Sun shines on my browned hands,
on my tossed hair,
And I laugh with life.
I have wealth.

Strike Away Show

2.28 3636 Project

In 2014 I was invited to participate in a group show, curated by Courtney Cerruti, The 36/36 Project. I think this picture above was the one featured on Uppercase Magazine, and my spoon is the upside down, grass green one.

This year Courtney and Alicia Dornadic (AdornDesign) are curating a matchbook themed art show. If I am understanding it correctly, this show is open to ANYONE who wants to participate. Submissions are being accepted until April 15th and pieces must be in their hands by May 3rd, 2015. Like the 36/36 Project, this show will be up at Paxton Gate Curiosities in San Fransisco.

I was really excited to hear about it, but was also hesitant to take on another project, as I have so many unfinished already on my plate. The sign up date was a while away, so I decided to take some time to think about it. And then BAM! In that short time, all of a sudden, I just started seeing vintage matchbooks. First at a pop up show my friend Courtney (of larking.etsy.com)  was participating in. Then at my parents’ house. THEN while sorting my paper hoard I found a whole baggie full of beautiful vintage matchbooks that I had bought at a garage sale years ago, never knowing what I would use them for at the time. That was all it took, I figured these were the signs I was looking for and I signed up. But it hasn’t ended. Last week my SIL and I went to an estate sale and in the basement I found a mishmash box of unpriced items. Just in case there might be a treasure, I started rifling through it and pulled out a binder. It was a matchbook collectors folder, with slits in the pages to hold all your matchbook covers with several pages already filled. One, who knew such a thing even existed and two, how on earth did it come to me and three, now I have a place to store my baggie of beautiful matchbook covers.

Have you heard about @ccerruti's upcoming Strike Away matchbook themed show? While going through my paper stash I found a bag full of these vintage matchbooks and took it as a sign to participate. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do, but I have some i

I’m still trying to decide on what to do for my pieces. I’d really like to use some of my vintage matchbook covers (pictured above), but at the same time how do I make them into my own pieces of artwork without covering the already existing beautiful artwork on each one? I have some ideas and need to start playing!

Now, I’d really love to encourage everyone reading to participate as well! As Courtney said “The more the merrier.” More details and the submission page can be found here at ccerruti.com/strikeaway. AND if you are on instagram, check out the #StrikeAwayShow to see what types of things other people are working on and submitting.

Goodbye Winter!

3.29 Winter 14-15 chalkboard

I’ve probably said this before, but I may not make pretty scrapbooks, but I feel like this chalkboard is kind of like my version of a memory book. I’m not even all that great at remembering to write down things that have happened on the board, but I hope that I at least capture the highlight reel.

When I look back at last season I think the only thing I am really bummed that I didn’t do was go sledding. There were a few days where it was nice out, there was sun and beautiful snow but I just could NOT get myself to go out in it. What’s happening to me? I used to love to play in the snow. Instead I just felt cold, cold, cold. I even started sleeping with a heating pad on the end of the bed near the end of the season (I couldn’t find my heating blanket, which I haven’t used for 10 years and probably threw away). I can already tell a week into Spring and I am SO HAPPY to have some warmth and fresh air. Yesterday I went for a walk outside for an hour and a half!

Onto SPRING! Onto new blossoms and shoots, clean air, AND SUN!

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

Battling my Paper Demons

paper pieces


Hello, My name is Robyn, and I’m a paper addict.



Recently I decided to undertake the big project of destashing my paper collection. I’ve realized that I am just not using the decorative, art, and vintage papers that I have, like I used to. At least for my artwork, I’ve been choosing my own painted and printed papers more and more instead. I’ve also realized that it’s such a BIG PROJECT because I’ve have had no self control and have never tackled it before so the paper hoard just grew and Grew and GREW! A few people on instagram said that they destash every few months or when their collection STARTS getting out of control. How smart of them (pounding my head against a wall that I didn’t think to do this myself).

My modest and humble paper collection originally started with a little accordion folder and the papers sorted inside. And then there were little ikea shelf of drawers that I had purchased to hold my entire collection, you can see them below my stereo in the picture below. The collection overflowed to the large flat shelves that stores magazines, calendars and old clipart books, and the book shelve in my studio that holds vintage books and old paper sample books. THEN when we moved to our house in 2011 I had something like 5 boxes of random papers that had no place to go, so they just sat on the floor of my studio. Over the years I was able to consolidate and get it down to just 3 boxes, but 3 boxes is still too much. I’d like to get it back down to a what’s on the flat shelves and then in the ikea drawers. Once it starts expanding, then I need to start making cuts again.

Studio getting unpacked
A picture of my studio when I first unpacked it in 2011, with the boxes of paper conveniently pushed out of the frame.

As I sort and get rid of paper I’m beginning to wonder if I don’t use any of it because it is just too overwhelming to even look at. I’ve offered paper packs of ephemera in the past. The first couple rounds were awesome and sold out quickly, but the last version I listed years ago, just sat in my shop.

It was distressing me to think of pitching my own paper collection, but I felt like the hoard was closing in on me and I know I work so much better with room to breath. I remembered when I was in college taking some fiber arts classes and the teacher had these boxes of random papers that we could sort through and use however we like. It was great! When I remembered those boxes and bins of paper in college I had the idea that I could just donate MY paper to the art school and I’m sure some college students would be SUPER HAPPY. Even if they are putting it in a blender to make recycled handpulled papers, it is being used, which is more than can be said for it on the floor of my studio.

My paper hoard - discard pile

Sadly, I’m at my end, so I’d really just love to take those boxes straight to the college but I can’t. The biggest problem is that I’ve been sloppy with my paper collection. Interspersed amongst beautiful art and fascinating vintage papers of all kinds are a variety of treasures that should not be donated. I’ve got three ongoing piles, one to donate, one to keep and one to pitch.

Found while going through my paper hoard

So far, I’ve found (I think) 6 Polaroid i-zone pics, and two photobooth strips. I have a whole container for photographs with specific individual bags for polaroids and photobooth strips, so these should not have been amongst the papers, but like I said, I’ve been sloppy.

Found while going through my paper hoard Found while going through my paper hoard

I’ve found COUNTLESS notes to myself, to-do lists, and grocery lists. As I mentioned in my last post, I used to write and draw on loose, quartered scrap papers all the time, and naturally many of those papers made their way into my stash. I’ve also found receipts, and paystubs, and bills, oi. Above I found a sketch and a letter from a friend.

One thing I wish I had started keeping were all the fortune cookies fortunes. There have been so many and they could have just been taped onto a sketchbook page.

Scrap pile

The piles of paper I plan on throwing away sometimes look so beautiful that I have to take a picture. I have a moment where I think I just want to keep it and start making stuff with it. When this happens, I’ve stepped away for a while. BUT THEN I found this box of the teensiest, tiniest, beautiful scraps. Everything is like 3 inches or smaller.


Crazy starts talking to me again and I think, I should start a photograph series documenting the piles because they are so beautiful! The paper may go in the garbage but the photographs are pieces of art on their own.

Ok, I have to admit. This box (the contents of which are in video and many pictures above) has been my brick wall. I might just make room for most of its contents in the Ikea shelf.


Midori Update

#midori #raydori

I planned this post to be an update on my Midori, but apparently other than sharing it on instagram, apparently I never really shared it here on the blog. So, let’s start with a little back story.

Last spring, you may remember from this post, I was all ready to jump on the Midori Traveler’s notebook bandwagon. After being introduced to them by videos of Kristin Nohe I was hooked.

Rushed home from work today hoping today would be the day. I opened up the mailbox and my heart leapt. My field note sized #midori style (#raydori) arrived. It's green and SO SO beautiful! I want to jump right in filling pages but I think I should first s

I joined this Midori facebook page and connected with Ray Blake who I commissioned to make me a custom Midori styled book (fauxdori, or Raydori as he calls his books). I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. Look how beautiful, green with my name pressed in the cover.

Hello, it's @robayre and I'd like to introduce my new project - a  project I'd love for you to to be a part of. If your little book is store bought or handmade, filled with pencil or ink, stamps or photographs, collage or paint, rivets or weavings, digita

For years and years, I’ve been carrying quarter sized books (sometimes moleskin cahiers, but more often handmade ones) which I fill with to do lists, scribbles or art books. I love these little books because for years before that I was just writing on quarter sized scrap paper and those loose leaf notes and doodles would just be everywhere. I love paper products and now this little Midori would allow me to carry a few little books at a time, keep the subjects (lists vs. art) separated and be more organized.

When I first got my Midori, I wanted to wait a little while until I had really started using it and figuring out how it would work best for me. Well, it’s been more than 6 months, and in short, it hasn’t really gone anywhere.


1. Finding out about the midori and getting my own coincided with my absolute falling in love with the square Pentalic sketchbooks, pictured above. I actually finished a whole sketchbook, which rarely happens. Usually it starts falling apart or I get bored with it before I can fill it. Not these! I purchased 5 more to use in the future.

2. I started the Little Art Book community and find that I am working in other little books. When I got the Midori, it came with a moleskine cahier in it and I wanted to fill that up before putting my own books in it, but I’m just not filling the supplied book. After writing this out, I realize I should just toss the one that I’m not using and replace it with a book I’m currently working on.

3. There’s something about the small act of having to remove the elastic and open it, and when I do have it open, because there is so much in there, it takes a slight effort to keep the pages open, it just keeps me from being able to grab it and immediately jot things down.

Fauxdori-raydori  Fauxdori-raydori

I have two full sized books inside, one for notes, lists and ideas, and the other book for art. There are also a couple of other inserts and smaller books made from scratch paper inserted as well. So far, I definitely use the book for text a lot more, but even that I feel like I don’t do as often as I did before getting the Midori.


Here you can see some of the other inserts, I used coin collectors album page to hold things, binder clips to section off areas and I use stickers and washi tape to bookmark pages that I want to reference again quickly. As you can see, I use it and I still carry the Midori with me everywhere in my bag and I’m not giving up on it. I just think I need more time before it becomes a real necessity or my first go-to book.

Say it with felt hearts

Last month I designed and released a valentine to my etsy shop, and I just realized I never posted about it here.

And then - Better late than never! I just added these Valentine's Day cards to my etsy shop. They double as a lasting decoration, with the easily removable garland.

The idea is that the felt hearts are a garland that detach from the card, and that the recipient can hang them up somewhere and think about the sender whenever they see them.

The felt hearts are all hand cut from old vintage felts I purchased at a flea market. The woman that sold them to me (THREE BOXES FULL, THREE DOLLARS A BOX!) told me that they had belonged to her grandmother who intended on making a felt rug. The various colors and patterns of felt are all cut in strips and I’ve used them for different projects here and there.

Each card comes with a red envelope and is sealed in a cellophane wrapper for protection. You might be able to tell from this pic, but I sewed each garland with a red thread on top and a white thread in the bobbin, so that between each heart you get that adorable candy stripe twist in the thread.

The inside has a little scrappy valentine message “Happy Valentine’s Day! Take this garland, hang it up somewhere, and everytime you see it know that I love you!” Just as I’m typing this out I had the idea that I should rephrase that somehow to be a cute poem. I might need to re-do the insides now.

Tiny felt hearts, more to come...

I cut all the tiny felt hearts with a pair of scissors and some elbow grease, so you know there is a lot of love in each and every card and garland.

Once again, better late than never! #valentinesdaycards

And then of course, after I designed them, I just had to send a bunch out to some friends and family that deserved some love! The cards were of course designed as Valentine’s Day cards, but I think they are perfect for any time you want to say I love you, or ahem, I luff you! The inside message can be easily removed or altered (they are just adhered with washi tape) and your own new message included. Find them in my etsy shop here!

This Postcard is a Sculpture (Box)

Everything is Connected postcard book by Keri Smith

Last year I bought Keri Smith‘s postcard book Everything is Connected. It’s been fun because I decided to send postcards to people when I think of them, and when I do, I just randomly open the book and whatever postcard it ends on is the one they get. Oddly, each postcard that I sent  (I think 5 so far) has been perfectly suited to each person. I wanted to share one that came back to me recently in an unexpected way recently!

Postcard Sculpture Keri Smith

The postcard above was selected for my favorite college teacher, Michael Bennett. He was the head of the Art department at the Community College I attended, and I took many jewelry and metalwork classes with him, amongst other Art classes as well. It seemed fitting that he got a postcard saying to make a sculpture from the postcard. Of course I just imagined that he might fold it up into a paper crane or something and just set it on a shelf.

1.29 artbox Front

A few weeks ago he showed up at my work to visit, tell me about a show he is curating at the local university and to surprise me with this present. He made a joke that he was the teacher but here I am sending him an assignment. He took my postcard and made me a box sculpture from it! So, you can see the original postcard says “this postcard is a sculpture” and he changed it to say “a box sculpture” and that the object should be exhibited at “Robyn’s House”.

bare feet on log

He built the box and transferred the images of the original postcard, the altered postcard AND wrapped the edges with a repeated pattern transfer of an Art-O-Mat painting of mine he purchased (from the machine purchased in his honor when he retired). The picture above (left) is of him purchasing from the machine, from Kishwaukee College’s site, with a picture of my painting he purchased.

1.29 artbox back

The inside of the lid has a transfer of the written side of the postcard, stamp and cancellation and all! The back (or bottom) of the box has an image transfer of the original postcard.

1.29 artbox inside

The inside is filled with little reproductions of the postcard, fronts and backs!

I was so thrilled and honored to get an original piece by such an important person in my life. Not only that, but it is kind of a collaboration with his, my own work AND the fabulous Keri Smith as well!

edit to add one more postcard that I sent from the book:

From the #kerismith postcard book, a card I made and sent to a friend. #showandmail #mailart

The first postcard I sent out from the book was this one in May 2014, which was just an empty sign and I designed the lettering. It was just the beginning of projects that I started using cut up Gelli Prints from and I liked this one so much I’ve been thinking of using the idea for a series of cards or notepads.

Late night #sketchbook designs #robayre

I’ve filled a bunch of pages of designs but have just been sitting on them and stalling, not sure what to do next.

I Luff You #LittleArtBook Don't forget to enter to win a little art book by hashtagging and participating in the @littleartbook community