Happy Halloween & Welcome to Etsy!

This morning has been an absolute mess! I took off of work, because I decided today was the launch day for my shop. After five hours, my shop is up and running at www.papermichelle.etsy.com. I can’t even believe it.

For those of you that don’t know what Etsy is, I’ll explain. Etsy is an amazing online venue for artists and crafters. It allows people to set up a free shop and sell their handmade items for a very small fee. Its really been revolutionary for “struggling artists” and crafters alike. I highly recommend that everyone checks it out at www.etsy.com. You can find the most amazing, creative and beautifully handmade things. Please try to do some of your holiday shopping from the site and support local artists.

Holiday Cards

Hungry Hippo: Transfer Pizzeria Cafe

This weekend, I had the pleasure of patronizing Transfer Pizzeria Cafe located at the intersection of 1st and Mitchell (www.transfermke.com.) I’ll admit that I wasn’t totally sold on trying it out. Driving by, I didn’t know what “Transfer” meant…is it a bar? Is it some Asian fusion restaurant? Perhaps a dance club that is far cooler than me? I was swayed by the argument that it got rave reviews in all respected Milwaukee publications–and with good reason.

Transfer was an interesting place, every part of our experience was just slightly left of center (…house wine in juice cups, perhaps a tradition I don’t know about?) The restaurant is housed in an old pharmacy, still fitted with original wood beamed ceilings and stained glass windows advertising “Candies, Cigars & Tobaccos.” The old-fashioned building is juxtaposed with decor half inspired by a 1950s diner, half by a modern day skate park. Sounds strange, but it works.

The menu features every Italian option you could want: salads, pasta, panini, pizza and of course, dessert. Without the kind recommendations of our waitress, we might have been overwhelmed by all the options but we were able to settle on a small Fiesta Pizza ($10, garlic sauce, mushrooms, red peppers, cheese) and a small Mario Pizza ($9, tomato sauce, bacon, cheese.) We were warned that the garlic sauce on the Fiesta was to die for and it surpassed the hype; it was the best pizza I’ve had in a very, VERY long time. The Mario was more traditional, but amazing no-less. The best feature of both was the beautifully rustic, crispy, bubbly crust, which is something pizzerias seem to struggle with.

Being short-sighted, hungry, twenty-somethings, we pigged out on the pizzas leaving absolutely no room for anything else. I suppose I will have to go back and I will get some more of that garlicky goodness. I advise that you do the same.

I give Transfer two thumbs up for effort and execution. Bravo.

Transfer Pizzeria Cafe
101 W. Mitchell St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 763-0438

Mixed Tape Monday 10.27.2008

In honor of Halloween 2008, I’ve selected three tracks that have an element of scary. Personally, some of the most appealing music is the kind that haunts. If music doesn’t make you feel something, well, its not music.

1. “Family Tree” by TVOTR (2008, Dear Science) In tone and lyrics, Family Tree qualifies for today’s list. This YouTube video eerily captures the song with Disney clips from the 1930s. Enjoy. www.tvontheradio.com

2. “Wet and Rusting” by Menomena. From 2007’s Friend and Foe, Wet and Rusting is an experiment in cumulative emotion. Its quiet introduction feels either melancholy or threatening, I made you a present, you’ll never expect it. Beyond the tinkering piano, the song builds into a fury of percussion and intention resulting in an explosive and cathartic experience. www.menomena.com

3. “Sunrise” by Yeasayer. I’m a sucker for heavy percussion and a good bass line. This song isn’t particularly scary, but I feel like it would make a good soundtrack for slinking through a haunted mansion. Check out the epic Jools Holland performance:

www.myspace.com/yeasayer

Fall Colors Revamped

Good news! You are not limited to wearing brown, forest green and mustard corduroy this fall. You don’t have to decorate the kitchen with harvest themed hand towels either. Bright, lively hues are totally in. While traditional colors are certainly acceptable and prevalent, you don’t have to ditch the mint scarf that you wore all summer. Brights are too much of a stretch? How about plums, warm grays and muted blues? You have no reason to be drab, so don’t.

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I generally don’t shop at Pottery Barn, but I must say they do try hard. There is something to be said for effort. How I wish all things were colorful, clean and thoughtful (this includes people.) I was happy to stumble across this cheerful, nicely lit candle display occupying a quiet corner of an otherwise crowded, noisy mall. www.potterybarn.com

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Anthropologie might be the most pleasant shopping experience anyone can have. The aesthetic is perfect from start to finish, a sensory rollercoaster that makes you sad when you have to leave. I love Anthropologie and these cute measuring spoons. They make me want to get all domestic and bake something. www.anthropologie.com

Just how excited am I?

You know this is a jam!

I have a Tax ID#? Say what?!

PaperMichelle will be functioning as a legitimate, tax-paying shop as of 11.01.2008! I can’t even believe it. I am honestly thrilled.

Thaddeus and I have put a ton of time, glue and effort into getting this thing going. Its been so much fun but as the saying goes…we’ve only just begun. I’m obviously excited to see how things unfold over the next year, but no matter what–I have learned a lot about myself and the value of doing what you love. I am definitely happier, more motivated and hopefully more interesting. Its been an invaluable experience and a total blast.

In the meantime, I’m working on a handful of holiday designs and some non-card prints which should be posted shortly. If you have a heart, you will love them! :)
XOXO, Michelle

Warm thoughts for this rainy day: Hot chocolate with the colored marshmallows on top. Yum.

Mittens Update!

My Favorite Mittens

Remember the mittens I threw away? (See Mittens in Oktober) Well I randomly found their Fall 2008 counterpart at Moda3 while partaking in Gallery Night in the Third Ward on Friday. www.moda3.com

I love them so much! They are the UK Mitten by Coal. Coal makes really high quality, cute head/hand cold weather gear. www.coalheadwear.com

Mixed Tape Monday 10.20.08

I find it absolutely necessary to create one cohesive mixed tape for each season, a collection of songs that defines the times. Yesterday, I finished my Fall ‘08 selections. Here are a few highlights and recommendations for your leaf changing, pumpkin carving ways:

1. “Up” by Rob Crow. From Crow’s “Living Well” (2006,) Up is immediately intriguing. The guitar hook is catchy and uplifting. The sleepy but lively vocals (yes, it is possible) distract from the somber and poetic message of the lyrics. You’re ultimately left feeling like you’re meant to be in motion. www.myspace.com/robcrowreally

2. “Dawn of the Dead” by Does It Offend You, Yeah? Musically reminiscent of early 80s, synth-heavy pop. The vocals are similar to Joel Pott of Athlete, simple and poignant…but make no mistake, this is a feel-good jam meant to be played loudly while you dance with your hipster friends. www.myspace.com/doesitoffendyou

3. “Dark Horse” by Bowerbirds. Bowerbirds are a simple, folky trio out of Raleigh, NC and Dark Horse is true to form. The vocals are perfectly awkward as you feel they could break at each note. The inclusion of the piercing and lofty violin is perhaps the most effective piece of the song. Dark Horse is beautiful in the way that it makes you want to retreat to a cabin in the woods, watch the snow through the window, drink whiskey and tell stories. www.myspace.com/bowerbirds

Some of the other artists that made the playlist are MGMT, Cut Copy, Santogold, The Notwist, Wolf Parade, Foals, Lykke Li and Ratatat.

Mittens in Oktober

It was a perfectly pretty fall morning today - sunny, cold, clean. This is my favorite kind of day. It was cold enough that I let my car get adjusted to the newly brisk weather, I even turned on the heater. As I sat there I realized, I’m sitting on my hands. Like any adult, I should’ve reached for gloves but lets keep in mind that it is mid-October, not
January…and I threw my mittens away (lovely, warm, pea-green mitts that never left my side last winter) in a fit of “I need to throw everything away.”

As I sat on my poor fingers, I thought of the practicality of being able to knit. Knitting, I will say, is currently very trendy but I mean that in a good way. If something deserves to be trendy, knitting is it. It is a tradition, an incredible skill and a true test of patience. I attempted to take a knitting class two falls ago at a cute shop named “Loop.” They have since moved into a new location in Riverwest, but at the time, the shop was on a quiet corner in residential Bayview. The store is owned and operated by a lovely mom and daughter team, a friendly duo with amazing knitting, crocheting, creating abilities. The class was a great beginners lesson, but the aesthetic alone justified my visit. I could’ve spent hours admiring the beautifully saturated colors of the yarn filled shop.

I am embarrassed and disappointed to admit that knitting wasn’t a perfect fit for me. I wanted to love it so badly, but I am not known for my unending patience; I am known for not liking things that I’m not good at. I didn’t completely give up because I wanted to be good at it. I took home the book they required for class (Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller) and sort of, kind of made a scarfy type thing. The problem was that I never really learned how to stop, so if I hadn’t put the needles down on my own, I would be knitting the same “scarf” as we speak.

Now that I’m a whole two years older and two years more patient, I’ve been toying with the idea of returning for another session of Knit 101. I have a vision of my future-self as a little grandma in a rocking chair next to the fireplace, a loyal dog at my feet and a huge family that needs lots and lots of mittens for the cold winter mornings when the car needs to get it together. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m keeping the dream alive.

Loop offers a variety of monthly classes for varying skill levels. Please visit their site or their store (2963 N. Humboldt, Milwaukee, WI) to check the schedule. www.loopyarnshop.com

Bayview Carrots

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The Bayview Outpost Natural Foods has beautiful produce. I love the colorful, meticulous displays. 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207 www.outpostnaturalfoods.coop

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