Sunday, 16 April 2017

I'm still here!

Origami Easter chicks populating my desk...

I know I haven't written anything or added new cards to the shop in a while. So sorry about that! My day job in academia has kept me very busy these past few months, as I am currently teaching two courses at two different universities, one of which has me commute two hours one way, twice a week. Oooff! Unfortunately, this has left me with very little time to update PaperTurns. Buuuut...

   ... the Etsy Shop remains active and open for business, even if you'll have to be patient for a wee
       bit longer when it comes to new designs.
   ... I managed to participate in the Toronto Etsy Street Team's Valentine's Pop-Up at their new
       gallery! (More below.)
   ... and I booked my first Spring Market! For the third year in a row I will be returning to the
       Spring Artisans' Market at SickKids Hospital, which always takes place the Friday before
       Mother's Day. Mark your calendars and check out the market on Friday, May 12, 10am-5pm, in
       the Atrium of the hospital (170 Elizabeth Street, Toronto). You'll find me there with plenty of 
       cards for Mother's Day, weddings, birthdays, baby showers and many other occasions, as well as 
       card sets and origami magnets. And yes, there'll be new cards, too! Yay--finally!

For now, let me wish you all a wonderful spring, and to those who celebrate Easter: Happy Easter!

This is how you say "Happy Easter!" in German

Finally, here's a glimpse at the Valentine's pop-up that was held at the Toronto Etsy Street Team's new gallery space on 906 Queen Street West in early February. It's a beautiful space where all year long pop-ups, workshops, exhibitions and other events will take place. Check it out!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Holidays!

2017 has been yet another amazing year for PaperTurns, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support, interest, custom orders, and your many purchases.

Enjoy the holidays, have a wonderful Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, 

and a terrific and very happy new year!


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Open Secret: The Trinity Bellwoods Flea is one of the best markets in Toronto

As a firm believer in what is usually labeled handmade, craft, or artisanal, I love local markets. You know that I make greetings cards, and you may also know that I bake with sourdough, but I also love shopping for handmade gifts for my loved ones from other local vendors. After all, I can't make everything myself! Knowing that the wares have a small carbon footprint, and that I'm contributing to the salary of a local artist gives me a lot of joy. My husband's birthday is in the fall, so I did my gift shopping in the late summer. I know, not usually a time when there are tons of craft markets around. But there is one market reliably popping up every month that has an amazingly well-curated assembly of vendors every single time: the Trinity Bellwoods Flea. It's been so successful as a monthly market that it celebrated its first anniversary, i.e. its twelfth(!) incarnation in August. And needless to say, that's where I got some of my husband's gifts. My husband is a member of Postcrossing, i.e. in constant need of postcards; he is also a history buff and an American, so getting him Hamilton Musical colouring postcards by Justine Fisher was a PERFECT gift. Justine is really young and only just starting out, and without the Trinity Bellwoods Flea, I would have never found her! And that was just one of many cool moments from my own experience as a mere visitor or local shopper. The market takes place at the Studio Bar, which not only has a great vibe but is also really spacious. With its two rooms, it fits a ton of vendors, which is great for visitors, because the event has something to offer for everyone -- adults, kids, pet lovers, stationery enthusiasts, foodies, fashionistas,... The flea provides a really welcoming atmosphere for everyone, and you'll want to linger before, between and after your shopping. There is a different selection of new and seasoned vendors every month, so it's well worth making a monthly visit part of your routine. That's what I've done, and it's been very rewarding. The Studio Bar is located at 824 Dundas Street West, in the heart of the always beautiful Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood, so you can combine your visit with a stroll through the park, or a meal in one of the neighbourhood's great restaurants. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

For it's Pre-Holiday and Holiday editions, the market runs Saturdays AND Sundays to double the fun, and I'll give you another good reason why you should attend the next two Sunday pop-ups of the Trinity Bellwoods Flea: I will be part of it as a vendor, and you can get all your greeting cards without having to rely on Canada Post. Have you stocked up on holiday cards yet? You haven't? Well there you go, what better reason is there? For your card-loving friends and relatives you can buy giftable card sets that range from cute ("Panda Love") to elegant ("Four Seasons - Floral"), and from multicolour "Birthday" set to "Thank You" set. I also got you covered for the next few birthdays, weddings, funerals, births, anniversaries or "just because" moments.

I will be in the company of awesome crafters that will make your shopping experience totally worth your while. Let me introduce you to a few who will be sharing the room with me on Sunday, November 20:
  • FoldIt Creations: You've got to admit that it's practically impossible to find a better gift to pair my Santa Crane card with than a necklace that features an origami crane in silver or gold. Right?
  • The Otter Potter: My miniature paper creations are one of the things that draws people to my cards. What if I told you that there was a potter who has as much fun with the minis as I do, the only difference being that we're using two different mediums? Yup, that's the Otter Potter. 
  • Elixir Chic Designs: Remember the jewellery designer who interviewed me for the Toronto Etsy Street Team Blog this summer, and who got interviewed by me in return? She'll be there too with her funky, spiky designs.
  • Citchen Candle Co.: 'Cause who doesn't love the smell of Christmas or pumpkin pie when you're merely lighting a candle? The candles have a long burning time and come with the added bonus of a reusable mason jar at the end. Genius!
  • YYZ Imports: If you've seen me perform with PushPULL Dance, you will have seen one of their models with me on stage. Dancer-supporting jewellery designers for the win! Get starstruck or reminded of your favourite PushPULL moments by association. Hehe. But in all seriousness, their line includes some stunning pieces. 
  • Island Oysters: Because oysters. 

So, yeah, totally worth attending the Trinity Bellwoods Flea for, n'est-ce pas? And that's only a TINY selection! Imagine how awesome all the other vendors will be -- you can find the full list on the Event Facebook page. It shouldn't come as a surprise then that the Trinity Bellwoods Flea Pre-Holiday Edition has been listed among the markets that are a MUST for local holiday shopping. How could BlogTO, Narcity, Style Democracy, AND Daily Hive all be wrong? Basically a mini-version of the One of a Kind Show, except it's all FREE!

Here are all the remaining chances of visiting the Trinity Bellwoods Flea in 2016:

  • Saturday, November 19, 11am-6pm
  • Sunday, November 20, 11am-6pm -- PaperTurns will be there!
  • Saturday, December 17, 11am-5pm
  • Sunday, December 18, 11am-5pm -- PaperTurns will be there!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Live demo of how I make my cards... Coming up on Saturday, November 12

When people look at Paper Turns greeting cards, one of the first things I hear from them is often, "Wow, these are so intricate. How long does it take you to make one?" (Answer: It depends!) Or they ask, "How do you do origami with such tiny pieces of paper?" (Answer: It takes a lot of practice.) But with every art and craft, it's so much more useful to show, rather than tell. And so here is a unique chance to watch me fold origami and see the magic that goes into my cards live! Thirteen unique artists and crafters will be at the Gibson House Museum next weekend and demonstrate their work processes. On top of that, each artist will also have a vending table where you can purchase gorgeous handmade goods. Organised by the Toronto Etsy Street Team, this "intervention" has been included on several lists of not-to-miss holiday markets this season, including those on blogTO, and Narcity. So what are you waiting for?

If you have never heard of the Gibson House Museum, let me tell you why it's a really cool location for this event. The Gibson House is one of 10 historic museums operated by the City of Toronto. It was built in 1851 and is an elegant farmhouse with Georgian-style exterior. Scottish immigrant David Gibson and his family were the original inhabitants, and today visitors can travel into the past and experience what living there was like. The Etsy vendors will be set up throughout the house, which gives you the opportunity to take in both the historic grandeur of the museum and experience ancient crafts such as embroidery, sewing, jewellery making, and paper folding in their modern artistic reincarnations. On top of that, the museum has a tea room where you can enjoy festive treats and of course plenty of tea.

Event details:

When: Saturday, November 12, 11am-4pm.

Where: Gibson House Museum, 5172 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M2N5P6.

Participating Etsy Vendors: Check out this LookBook featuring all participating vendors. 

How to get there, admission etc.: All available on this website.

Facebook Event Page: Confirm your attendance, set event reminders or invite your friends on this page.  

I looking forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

My November Craft Markets

The days are getting shorter and colder, and Christmas and Hanukkah are a mere two months away. If you follow Paper Turns, it is probably safe to assume that you send at least a couple of seasonal greeting cards each year. It takes time to write those, and then there's the time it takes for the postal service to deliver them... Guess what? This year, you can buy them early, and you can write them early, and if you get a bunch of card sets on top of the holiday cards, your gift shopping and holiday mail will be done in no time! A whole lot of holiday cards are already listed in the online shop, and I am busy as ever creating lots and lots and lots more cards for the upcoming holiday markets. That's right, if you're in Toronto you don't have to order online; you can just visit me at one of the markets! Here are three of them, for a start.

1) The Etsy Team 416 Hustler Holiday Market 

Sunday, November 6, 10am-5pm, at the Great Hall on 1087 Queen St. West.
Find more information here.

2) The Roncesvalles United Church Christmas Arts & Crafts Market 

Saturday, November 19, 10am-4pm, at the Emmanuel Howard Park RUC on 240 Roncesvalles Ave.
Find more information here.

3) The Trinity Bellwoods Flea - Pre Holiday Market

Sunday, November 20, 11am-5pm, at the Studio Bar on 824 Dundas St. West.
Find more information here.

I look forward to seeing you at one (or several!) of these markets.

The new 2016 holiday collection will be officially launched at the Etsy Market on November 6, but you'll find a sneak peek over the course of the next two weeks on Instagram and Facebook.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

About those Turns in Paper Turns

Performing with PushPULL Dance in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Photos by Raph Nogal and

Today is World Ballet Day, and numerous ballet companies and aficionados share their passion for dance all day. It seems a fitting occasion to tell you a little more about my own passion for dance, and about how ballet turns inspired Paper Turns. The idea of founding my own greeting card label had been on my mind for quite some time before it became reality in the fall of 2014. Several factors led to it, but the reason it happened then and there, has much to do with a dance company called PushPULL Dance.

I have been dancing since I was eight years old, and it saddened me that after college you were expected to resign yourself to a life of drop-in classes with an ever-changing roster of students and instructors, if you wanted to keep dancing but didn't want to do it professionally. What I loved about dance school as a kid and teenager was the build-up to a performance; the fact that you didn't just dance for yourself, but also with your friends, and for the entertainment of others. Part of what allows you to improve in skill and grace is the fact that you can share it with others whom you get to know intimately, and who grow with you and encourage you. This is what's absent from your average drop-in class. Constantly new faces, and you rarely build towards anything let alone something you can share with others. But then I discovered PushPULL Dance, a company of dancing professionals, not professional dancers. Everyone in the company is so passionate about and dedicated to dance that we meet two nights a week to take classes together, improve our technique in numerous styles of dance, develop choreography together, and create an annual show, in which everyone participates. I auditioned for and was accepted into PushPULL Dance in September 2013, and I have just started my fourth season with them. Becoming a member of this amazing company was one of the best things that happened to me since I moved to Toronto. But what does this have to do with greeting cards?

Well, you see, PushPULL Dance is full of incredibly versatile, creative and successful people. The dancers come from all walks of life, and several of them have gone through a number of career changes and down numerous creative avenues. Not that I was looking for a change of career -- I am still very happy as a professor of English literature and cultural studies -- but my professional identity is only part of who I am and what fulfills me creatively. Being surrounded in my dance company by people who are constantly pushing creative boundaries and willing to go the extra mile to achieve something they're passionate about*, made me realise how much I wanted other creative outlets to be part of my life, too. And that's when I knew that it was time to found my card label as soon as my first PushPULL show was in the bag. So I did.

Conceptually, dance has always been an important part of my card making, even when I was still doing it purely recreationally for friends and family. It was, after all, physical movement that allowed me to turn paper into a greeting card as opposed to an academic essay. Bending, creasing, folding, cutting and gluing paper transformed it into shapes that were beautiful to look at. Paper, in this process, is like the twisting, turning, contorting body of a graceful dancer, moulded into whatever shape the choreographer/designer sees fit. Knowing that my creative passions -- dancing, card making, writing -- all came from the same well, it seemed apt to reflect that in the name of my brand. That's how the idea of "Paper Turns" was born.

My dance bag with the little pile of origami paper that always travels with me

While I typically don't create a lot of dance-related cards, my card making and my life as a dancing professional have intersected in two ways. One, I do a lot of origami in the dance studio during rehearsal breaks. If you have ever held one of my cards that feature origami, chances are that the shape was folded while I was sitting on a dance floor and wearing my ballet slippers or jazz oxfords. Two, I occasionally make thank-you cards for dancers or patrons, which I like to connect to our show costumes. Let me show you a few examples.

Thank-you card tied in with the 2015 "The Art of Dreaming" show

In 2015, the company received a generous donation from one of our patrons during the run of our 11th annual show, "The Art of Dreaming". The main characters in this show wore very distinct costume colours, which were also featured on our poster, and many of the choreographies included masks. I subsequently replicated these features on a thank-you card.

Our 12th annual Toronto production, "Can You Keep a Secret?", in 2016, saw my debut as a choreographer. I created a funky ballet to Michael Jackson's song "Bad", which told the story of a number of professionals in a variety of jobs, whose secret to a great work-life balance is dancing. I was really pleased with how the number -- our show opener! -- shaped up. To say thanks to my gorgeous cast who transformed my vision from scribbles on paper to an engaging performance, I made cards featuring their individual costumes.
"Who's Bad?" from the show "Can You Keep a Secret?" (2016). Performance photo by

We have just started rehearsals for our 13th annual show, which we will be presenting at the Al Green Theatre in Toronto in June 2017. As always, it will contain a mix of styles (Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz Dance, Hip Hop, Folk Dance, Modern...), and I look forward to choreographing a new number for this show as well. What this show will bring in terms of paper crafting inspiration, we shall see, but I have no doubt, that new dance-inspired cards will emerge as the season progresses. 

If you would like to receive updates about future dance shows I am involved in, I recommend joining the PushPULL Dance mailing list. Happy World Ballet Day!

*In order to get a better understanding of what I mean, check out this Toronto Star article about the costume designer of PushPULL Dance, who is also successfully running her own interior decorating and design business.