Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I’m Michelle Taute, and I work as a freelance writer. You might find me writing for design magazines or helping everyone from start-ups to really big brands tell their stories. And most importantly, I try to have at least one zany creative side project going at all times! (See: paperfortunetellers.com)
Tell us a bit about the book?
It’s a book where you’re actually supposed to rip out the pages! Inside there are 100 gorgeously illustrated paper fortune-tellers (for grown-ups) that you simply rip out of the book then fold up. They make great desk accessories, party favors, greeting cards, conversation starters, boredom-busters, substitute psychics and more.
What was the inspiration behind it?
When I was little, I used to make cootie catchers (aka paper fortune-tellers) with my friends. It was so fun to fold them up and have them spit out fortunes or yes/no answers. But as an adult, I have even more pressing questions!
So I decided to make cootie catchers for grown-ups that answer a wide range of gnawing issues: Will my cat video go viral? Am I in love? Does my boss secretly hate me? Then I convinced a bunch of super talented designers and illustrators to help me make them look amazing. Those collaborations were the best part of the project. ?
Which is your favourite project?
I have a soft spot for the “Is living alone making me peculiar?” cootie catcher. It was guest illustrated by the wonderful Aimee Sicuro, and she made the whole thing look like a painting. It’s a bird’s eye view of a girl lying on the rug in a messy apartment, surrounded by her cat, takeout containers, stray bras and stacks of magazines. I want to frame it and hang it on the wall.
What is your craft space like?
My office is probably the size of some people’s closets! But it’s sunny and bright and on the third floor of a historic building in downtown Cincinnati. There are about 200 folded up cootie catchers on top of my bookcase, an awesome sock monkey, a Mr. T action doll, and a whole bunch of succulents I’m growing on the windowsill. Oh, yeah, and a desk, too, with a giant monitor for my middle-aged eyes.
Have you always been creative?
It’s a funny question, because I really believe everyone is creative. People just express it in different ways or need a little coaxing to bring it out. I’ve always written things – little stories and articles – and devoured stacks of books my entire life. Words are definitely my thing, so it was fun to craft all the cootie catcher fortunes in the book.
When did you first start crafting?
Tough question! My mom’s Christmas tree is full of all these crazy crafts I made when I was little, including a Santa Claus tree topper made from a cardboard toilet paper roll (up-cycling before its time). I went through a big knitting phase, but now I’m into random home décor crafts. I rescued a hideous, smelly, bug-covered, 3-foot owl lamp from a flea market last summer, and I’m putting the final touches on its makeover now.
Who are your crafty heroes?
So hard! I’ll start with some of my local friends. Grace Dobush wrote a wonderful book called Crafty Superstar about how to sell your crafts on the side. Judi Ketteler put together an awesome tome called Sew Retro with vintage-inspired patterns that are so FABULOUS. Makes me want to master the sewing machine. Also in Ohio, Amy Butler makes me swoon for all her fabric designs. Of course, there are a thousand others.
Where do you find inspiration?
It’s really everywhere. I have notebooks full of ideas, but I don’t have the discipline or time to follow through on all of them. Procrastination and over-thinking are my enemies. ?
What's next for you?
I’m still making new fortune-tellers on my blog at paperfortunetellers.com and I’m mulling over ideas for a new zany side project. Stay tuned!
Cootie catchers aren't just for kids anymore! These 100 paper fortune tellers provide a fresh take on a childhood favorite with answers/strategies for handling tough adult situations and answering important life dilemmas like:
Should you have another cocktail?
What Jane Austen heroine are you?
Your '80s movie alter ego I'm breaking up with you (with this cootie catcher)
What would Mr. T do?
The hipster wedding decoration
Important messages from cute puppies
Emergency excuse generator
Each fortune teller features a unique and colorful design created specifically for this collection, including contributions from such design luminaries as Noah Scalin (creator of the Skull-a-Day project), Stefan Bucher (creator of dailymonster.com), textile designer Jessica Jones, and more. (There are even a few blank ones so readers can get out what's on their minds.)