Have you noticed the tremendous love despite all the sadness that we experienced in the last two weeks? Just when you think the days are darkest and you’ve become a cynical, stressed out mess, someone will always lend a hand and make it all right. Always.
The One Fund Boston, Inc. was established by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to help the people most affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy. Find out how you can get involved here.
The New England Patriots and New England Revolution Charitable Foundations are collecting funds to provide relief to victims. The Kraft Family announced it would match the first $100,000 in donations. Learn more here and here.
The Richard Family Fund has been established to honor the 8-year-old boy who was killed in the blast and to provide support for his mother and sister who were injured, the Boston Herald reports. Call Meetinghouse Bank for donation information (617) 298-2250.
The Salvation Army has deployed four mobile feeding kitchens and more than 30 volunteers to dispense food, drinks and emotional support in Boston. One canteen is stationed at the Family Assistance Center at the Park Plaza Castle where survivors and first responders are congregating. Find out how you can get involved here.
The Red Cross says the best way to help right now is to get in touch with loved ones through its Safe AndWell Listings. The organization is not asking for blood donations at this time.
Ten of the victims were taken to Boston’s Children’s Hospital. Follow @BostonChildrens on Twitter for the latest updates. Donate to and check out their useful resources for how to talk to children after a tragedy.
Anyone with info about the incident can call 1-800-494-TIPS.
This month’s Team DIY features upcycled birthday party ideas. It is T-Minus one week until I will turn – gasp! – 35 years old. What’s a girl to do? Throw a big bash, of course! Here are three decor ideas plus a bonus found on Pinterest that made the cut for my party.
Note: These were incredibly hard to find. Don’t ever start a search with “DIY birthday party”. You’ll be inundated with mommy ideas for the under five set or things that look like they were made by a five year-old. Sheesh! :\
1. Glass Bottle Flower Feature
I love these suspended bottles with floral pops of color. It’s the perfect filler for that usually-empty space above the food table. Why this bothers me so much, I don’t know. I just figure if a host/hostess spends so much time doing up the rest of the place for the party, this high-traffic area should be the first checked off the list as done. This presentation would really help with that and seems easy and cost-effective to achieve. This is outdoors and under a tent but I bet something could easily be rigged for an indoor party.
2. Bike Wheel Photo Display
Photos clipped to a clothes line or on a wire in an old picture frame? Yawn…been there, done that! Bike wheels are better and here’s why: They are sturdy, can hold cards and have a neat focal point in the center. The space allowed cuts down on that big collage mess that can become a well-meaning photo display. I’d like to do this one year-round because I could change it up when I get bored or as the seasons change. This one’s definitely going on the summer tag sale things-to-find list.
3. Paper Lantern Table Setting
There’s something very Pretty In Pink about this simple table setting. You know, like the time when Andi first goes to Iona’s apartment? The lanterns and the paper garland catch the eye again and again. The mismatched chairs in both style and color are adorable. I want to sit down, chatting and laughing with friends for hours. Best yet, the folded over lunch sack goodie bags look like they are full of favors I’d like to take home from a fiesta!
Bonus Track: Backyard Movie Theatre
Hang a sheet, borrow a projector from a friend and grab blanket and pillows to watch old films under the stars. Do I need to say anything else about this idea?
Which is your favorite? Got a pin of a fab party decor idea? Share it so we can see it!
Hola, todo el mundo, soy Jake. I’ve been learning Spanish in my free time, which is pretty much all the time. I’ve gotten muy bueno at it. This month has been pretty low-key in the studio. Sarah’s been working on her Women & Food photography project and Erin the Intern has landed her first-ever newspaper internship. That’s it for this month. Nos vemos en Mayo!
Melissa Chao is the Boston-based bookmaker behind To Boldly Fold and her work has been featured in UPPERCASE and CRAFT magazines. A fellow 2012 Assets for Artists grantee, Melissa encouraged me to restart this blog’s popular “Meet Your Maker” interview series so it’s only fitting that she be the first new interview.
What is your name and where are you from?
Hello! My name is Melissa Chao and I am the owner and artist of To Boldly Fold – Handmade Books & Paper Goods. I live and create in Massachusetts.
How did you get your start and how did your business go from an idea to what it is today?
I started making books when I was a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I was studying photography but still found myself using sketchbooks on a daily basis. I started making books because all the sketchbooks my friends and I were buying at the store were poorly made and kept falling apart! I began by taking a few beginner bookbinding and paper making classes. From there I realized that I could make books of any size, shape, and with whatever types of paper I wanted. It was really quite exciting to have so much choice in the matter.
By the time I graduated, I had taken every bookbinding and paper making class MICA offered, and even studied the craft during a semester abroad in Italy. After graduating, I moved back to my home state of Massachusetts and began bookbinding full time. Since starting my business in 2009, I’ve made well over a thousand leather books, and countless more of varying styles.
At first, I focused the business solely on books, with a dedication to high quality materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and functional design. I was interested in making books that I hadn’t seen in stores. I wanted artists and writers to have a book made with really nice quality paper because I believe that a handmade book can be an incredible source of inspiration for an artist.
Another big belief of mine is functionality. If it looks beautiful but doesn’t work well, it’s not for me. I’ve always hated books that don’t lie flat on a table when open. Commercially-made books with glued spines tend to have this problem and you have to crack the spine to get the book to lie flat. I use binding styles that allow for the books to lay completely flat and lets the artist to work from edge to edge.
What are your favorite materials or colors? What inspires you to create and what is your studio/work space like?
Many people see the leather in my work first and assume I’m a leather worker. Leather happens to be the best material for the job but my true calling is paper. I love working with paper. I love the variety of weights and colors. I love how different it can look and feel. It can be clean and crisp, battered or distressed and it’s still perfect.
I’m inspired by nature, by other artists and by the simple act of making. I’ve been extremely lucky to have found a supportive and inspiring art community in Massachusetts. It’s exciting to meet people who aren’t starving artists but thriving artists. The craft movement and the internet have enabled so many artists to build businesses on their creativity and it’s exciting to see art as not just gallery work. I’m inspired by people who work hard and create with their hands because I love to do the same.
What do you do when you are not at work in your studio?
Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat. Just kidding. Even when I’m in the studio, it isn’t all work. I love to create and, thankfully, bookbinding for a living hasn’t spoiled the magic of making art purely for fun! Rarely is there a weekend at my house spent watching TV. I’d rather build a garden than hang out at the pool. I try to draw and read a lot. I find it relaxing. I also love to cook and bake. I grew up constantly learning to cook from my mother so I’m thankful of all the delicious dishes she taught me. This year my goal is to travel more!
What are the top three reasons readers should stop by your Etsy shop or visit you at an event?
- I’m in love with bookbinding and can’t wait to see where To Boldly Fold will go. The business has grown tremendously over the last year and new opportunities constantly present themselves.
- Creativity is not something we lose when we grow up. It’s there within all of us and sometimes it just needs a nudge to come back out of hiding. Pick out a book today and get started!
- My shop, toboldlyfold.etsy.com, is updated and there are lots of new books available now. I’ll be launching a brand new line of cards and paper gift items over the next few months.
Melissa has generously set up a special perk in her Etsy shop for Anselblue readers: apply discount code THANKSSARAH at checkout for 10% off! To learn more about Melissa and her amazing books, visit www.ToBoldlyFold.com or check her out on Pinterest.
What quiet helpful thing do you do sometimes?