Interview -- Aria Images

A new feature of my blog here at La Paperie & Cozy will be interviews with fellow artisans that sell their lovely handmade goods at

Our first ever interview will be with Melody Kristensen of Aria Images who has kindly offered to answer some of our questions.


Name: Melody Kristensen
Shop Name: Aria Images

We would love to know a bit more about the woman behind Aria Images (name, age, background, etc.):
My name is Melody and I am a 27-year-old New Yorker, born and raised. I moved back from London, England about a year ago with my Swedish husband of 3 years. I currently work as a Legal Secretary but hope to make photography my full time business at some point.

Tell us a bit about your business and how you got started:
I am an amateur photographer who especially loves shooting travel and architecture. I have always loved photography, even at a very young age and taking photos has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. When planning to go to Paris in 2006 I bought a little Kodak and after taking a ridiculous amount of pictures and sharing them with my friends and family, I received so much encouragement I decided to carry it with me whenever possible. In May of 2007, I saw an Etsy shop (yours to be exact! :) ) and decided to look further into it. I didn't think I would get so involved, thought it would be nice to make a bit of money but after selling some pieces and knowing my photography was in others homes, I got addicted to that feeling and to Etsy. :)

What is the meaning behind your business name (Aria Images)?
I wanted something I could keep forever, something that would tie in with my name and I wouldn't get sick of. Something that would be very ME. So I looked up my name "Melody" in the thesaurus and saw Aria then looked up the definition of Aria which is "an elaborate melody sung solo with accompaniment, as in an opera or oratorio. In contrast with recitative singing, arias are melodious; in contrast with ordinary songs, arias are usually elaborate." And that was it for me. I found my name.

Apart from photography, what are your other interests?
I absolutely LOVE to read. That would be right up there with photography. I could not imagine my life without books. I also love movies with my hubby and friends, traveling as much as possible, museums and hiking outdoors.

What inspires you? Thats a good question that I really had to think about. I know this will sound corny and cliche but I truly do think that there is beauty in just about everything. Trying to find that and show it to others really inspires me. I want them to look at things in a different way, maybe a way they normally wouldn't see it.

Is there a certain piece of yours that is your favourite, or epitomizes everything you love about what you do?
Yes, my print "Modesty". There is something about it that is just so ME. I have no problem with nudity in statues and found the one in that shot absolutely gorgeous. The light, the architecture in the background and then the gorgeous statue. Its everything I love about photography. The best part is that I put me right in there, it shows who I am in my opinion.

How do you promote your work?
Mainly on Etsy in the forums. I have met some incredibly talented people. I also blog about my work and others I find on Etsy. I have a Flickr account which has led me to be featured on Schmap. I also use Talentdatabase and Red Bubble but not as much as my blog and Etsy.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Honestly? Its this old fashioned knife my husband made when he was like 14 in school. It has a leather cover and everything. Extremely dull but the workmanship is nice and I think its cute to have something he worked on in school. Even if its a knife.

Name your top 5 books, movies, songs/musical groups, and websites:
Books: The Woman in White, The Count of Monte Cristo, Life of Pi, Anne of Green Gables, Roots
Movies: The Princess Bride, Fiddler on the Roof, The Fifth Element, Sense and Sensibility, Signs (the Mel Gibson movie) ---> man my taste is all over the place!
Music: Seal, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews, Keane, Moda (Italian band)
Websites: Etsy (of course!), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Overstock, Gizoogle (good for a lot of laughs)

Name some Etsy shops that are your personal favourites?
GabrielsAunt (awesome scrubs!)
Juln (beautiful glasswork)
StarWillow (my fave earrings)
Vintaj (I want all their vintage jewelry!)
Imagesofbeauty (another amazing photographer I admire)

Melody at Aria Images was kind enough to offer a 15% discount to readers of this blog!
Just put "15BLOG" in notes to seller when purchasing and wait for a revised invoice.

book swappage

I finished the book I'll be entering into the next Bookbinding Etsy Street Team Book Swap (deadline Feb. 29th). This will be my first time participating in the swap, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The binding is a combination link and long-stitch, and the leather is one of the nicest I've ever seen...pebble-grain black cherry goatskin. I just love it! The striations on the leather make it look almost like tree bark. Very cool. I hope whoever gets it will enjoy it, and forgive my "newbieness" to bookbinding. :)


catcher in the lye

I loathe buying lye. Really I do.

The only lye you can get around here is at Home Hardware in 3 kg jars --- it's huge. A lot of stores have stopped selling it in pure form due to the fact it's the main chemical components used in making methamphetamines.

Without fail, I always get this sideways glance when I'm carting this huge jar of lye around. I'm making soap with it, people...really!


don't worry, be happy

I received some concerned emails from folks thinking I'm stopping my soapmaking in favour of my bookbinding. Rest assured this isn't the case. So don't worry, be happy. :) I'll still be making and selling my soaps, but just not on the same scale as before. La Paperie & Cozy's sudsy goodness is still alive n' kickin'. heh!

NEW SOAPS ON THE CURING RACK --> Made Last Week: Available Soon!
~ Lavender Oatmeal
~ White Tea & Ginger (with calendula petals)
~ Coconut Dream
~ Fresh Cut Cucumber
~ Citrus Burst Goat Milk Soap

It's truly unfortunate that one cannot send "smell vibes" over the net, because these all smell absolutely delish!

In other less soapy news, I've been working on some new stitches for journals and making some new books. I just completed a new one today, using a link/longstitch that I really love:


Besides keeping my Etsy shop stocked, I need to work on some books to send out west to the boutique in Vancouver, BC. I've got a few custom projects to finish as well as making a book for the next B.E.S.T. Book Swap. The deadline is quickly approaching, and February promises to be a busy month, so I "best" get busy!

Also, new company website at

exciting news, book thongs and magnets

I'm so excited! In addition to the boutique where I'll be selling my books wholesale in Halifax, I've just been asked by another boutique in Vancouver, British Columbia if I'd like to sell my books in their shop on a consignment basis. I'm thrilled! The Velvet Room Boutique exclusively supports Canadian designs, and small manufactured unique product lines. It's located in the high-end shopping district of Kerrisdale. Lots of traffic! I'll be taking my books to Love, Me on Saturday, and will be busy preparing for this new order to send to Vancouver. Busy times ahead!

In addition to ripping some paper for some more journals, I also worked on a few small fun little projects for myself, and the other for my Etsy shop.
For moi? Sets of bubble magnets with my favourite theme -- Pride & Prejudice, of course! I've been wanting to make these for a loooong time, and I finally got the supplies the other day. Now I can greet Darcy and Lizzy as I go get the milk from the fridge in the morning. ;) It's nearly impossible to capture them clearly, due to the reflection off the glass - they're not blurry in real life. I just love 'em!


And for my Etsy shop, I made some book thongs (trust me, they're the only thongs I'm interested in!) with some lovely glass beads I had. These are practical yet pretty little bookmarks, with lovely little beads/jewels hanging out on each end of the book to save your place. I use them all the time, and they are fun to make.

more books

I got some more lovely leather in the other day...antiqued saddle brown with a beautiful marble pattern, and unique distressed brown sheepskin -- these made some pretty gorgeous journals. Since my whole aim is to give the journals an 'old world' look, these leathers are perfect.

I've incorporated some new quote pages as well...

Charles Dickens - David Copperfield
Jane Austen - Pride & Prejudice
Lucy M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables
Victor Hugo - Les Miserables
Edgar Allen Poe - The Raven
Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre
Ernest Hemingway

New journals added to my Etsy shop:
Piccies, piccies...

More on my Flickr album.

binding my brains out, amongst other things

Things have been crazy here…but in a good way. I’ve been inundated with journal orders (which is great!).

Even better, a trendy little boutique in Halifax has offered to buy my books at wholesale price to sell in their store. I’m really excited about that. It’s a nice little shop just off of Spring Garden Road called Love, Me - they only sell quality handmade items from Canadian artisans. Glee? I have it! It’s just a small order for now, but it will give my work a bit of exposure in a up-town setting. Also, if the journals sell well, it would lead to more orders.

Although I love soapmaking, it’s taken on a slightly smaller role lately in my daily routine — I’ve been mostly bookbinding. You’ve gotta love a job that allows you to do something you enjoy, while watching Pride & Prejudice! ;) But I still plan to keep making my soaps.

I’ve asked a local craft shop if they’d be interested in carrying my soap and journals. I’m curious to know what they think and if I’ll even hear back from them about it. We’ll see.

Piccies of the new journals to follow soon.

new packaging & paperie goodness

Yay for packaging solutions! I revised my logo a bit, and created some new cigar bands which I will use for most of my soap sales (online orders or those I sell from home). I really like them! And they're cheap/quick to make. For store sales, I will be using kraft boxes with samples in the cigar bands.

Also the name of all my products, including the soap, will be under the name La Paperie & Cozy. This is because right now I am only able to officially register one business name. Maybe later I will register Cozy&Co Soaps...but for now, this will do. ;)

Here's some piccies of the new soaps with the new packaging (click for larger view):

Meanwhile at the paperie.... I've been hard at work with my journals. I've recently commissioned a new customized rubber stamp by the talented Farrah of Sweet Papery: Custom Stamps on Etsy, for labeling the back page of all of my journals before I ship them out. I also got some beautiful new leather in, which will make some pretty gorgeous journals; as well as some new bookbinding thread from Quiet Fire Designs which should last me for a good while.

busy Beevy

Whew! I was busy li'l Beevy today. Now on the curing rack...

- unscented goatsmilk soap (beautifully creamy!)
- citrus burst (with essential oils only, and goatsmilk)
- patchouli & clove (with goats milk)
- freshly cut roses (with rose petals)

The kitchen smells gooood. :)