Monday, December 31, 2007

little foot-in-bucket

well, right before leaving for the post office today i stubbed and, yep, broke my wee pinkie toe. since i'm sitting here in ice anyway i thought i would catch up with Heroes (i'm still on season 1) and do some blogging.

the shop has been through some changes lately in preparation for new year and new designs. i've brought in some mini card designs in sets of both 5 and 10. very excited about these... and being able to finally tag something "ninja". etsy doesn't have a giant mutant kung fu octopus tag, but i'm sure admin is working on it. until then, i typed "geek" with a contented sigh.

they are also among the several designs for my freebies, my next step is to make some little sleeves for them. i would like all my mailing goods to be reusable, so i have high hopes for those. otherwise, i finally updated my shipping to bring down my Canada rates and provide rates for the UK! those Little Monkey moleskines are doing just swimmingly, once we get more Gocco screens i'll be expanding that line.

anyway, i hope everybody has a happy new year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday


More news to come. This week felt almost like dragging myself through molasses just to get to the weekend and roll up my sleeves! New drawings & new shop items on the way... :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

a painting a week

Howdy Christmas! I hope everybody had a warm, snuggly, happy & safe holiday!

Here it was several days of hard work at the shop & also at the drawing table. I have had a couple of projects I have been working on for over a month that have been pretty difficult to hammer out, and spent the last couple of days really concentrating my effort.

I enjoy having an Etsy shop dedicated to the advancement of cuteness, but lately several other paintings have been tugging on my imagination. So many people on Etsy have more than one "style" or craft they enjoy working in. I am in the camp that believes these separate projects (usually) intermingle and can (often) inspire each other. However, there is a fixed and very definite style the shop has taken on. Since opening the shop I have found myself reluctant to give myself over to the day or so it takes for me to set up, draw, and finish a
watercolor. Maybe its because I know it won't be in the shop, or maybe it is the time involved in painting vs. pen & ink. I have been trying to think of a way to remedy this.

Well, I took out the projects I have been orbiting these past weeks and cleared my desk of everything Etsy. Away mailing material, away pens, markers, ribbon, tissue! I began painting early. And it felt great! And three or four other side-ideas emerged throughout the day, always a pleasure!

But also, while working, it occurred to me just how soon I am moving. 14 weeks and I'm off to the west coast! Wow! I move a lot, and in the last 5 years have had the experience of getting into a very good work space & then realizing I'll be moving out of it far too often. All things to consider if 2008 is going to be a year of non-stop art extravaganza.

So while I am still out of boxes and have the available space, I'm going to try something. I'm going to try and see if I can finish a painting a week. Won't that be fun? I love the 365 project (example), where people pledge to do something crafty once a day, all year (there is a lot of pledging in the crafting world)... but this for me is a little too vague. Allowing myself a day every week dedicated just to my little friends the watercolors, a resolution that gives permission for creativity instead of setting restrictions? Yes!

I'll show you the results as often as I have a camera... and sunlight... at my disposal. Fun crafty resolutions!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yum for Christmas


Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

News from the couch

I'm still grounded with the sniffles, but here are some pics of recent adventures:

Got myself a paper cutter this week ...hooray for streamlining...

The girls were sort of overwhelming my shop so I'm bringing in a couple more boys in January...

...and another addition to the Snowflake Series... also a boy...

And those wacky monkeys found their way to moleskine!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bingo

Well, I have a pretty bad cold and am sequestering myself to bed. Pajamas, tea, and my good friend Tylenol Cold.

I would like to report that last week my lovely order from RikRak came in. I had mentioned her shop a while ago in the Felt Issue post, and was delighted that she actually found out about it!! I bought some goodies to send out to my friends, they came in last week and are just adorable. K from RikRak also sent along some goodies, too: an iron-on letter "L" (maddeningly adorable), a really lovely card, and this unexpected stocking- ITS BLUE! : )
This parcel's arrival just warmed the house with its sweetness.

I'm not the only one to get sick this week: my trusty laptop caught the CuteOverload virus... perhaps the single least shocking development you could imagine. Yeah, I guess they're site was having trouble, and since I check it as often as the weather (nerd? ...bingo!) I was on the front lines.
Of the virus, yes, but also of cuteness. Did you see those whales in Santa hats??!!
Yep. That's what I'm talking about. That picture was almost worth the loss of my kingdom of Bookmarks.

Okay, I'm just making the nerd thing worse, aren't I?
(sigh) Santa hats. (shakes head)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We Like Lists

A blog created by two sisters (sound familiar?) found Celeste's shop and has featured Milk and Cookies!

Cookie was added to Bamboo Village Press several weeks ago. Maybe both Celeste and I were a little too expectant for these lovely napkins to get scooped up for Christmas. It seemed they were not getting that much attention in the first week or more. Personally I was a bit dismayed by this, we have a set Celeste made for the apartment and they really are adorable.

Finally today Celeste got an email that Milk and Cookies made its way into the REV It Up blog! They have the picture of the full set and a sweet little description. Thanks, ladies!


Another incredible seller on Etsy put together a front page-winning treasury... and Jingle Bells got a chance to show off her stuff before Christmas is over. Yay! Though I have a deep love of drawing people with scarves and mittens on, this was the only design I had up specific to the Christmas Holiday. I'm glad she got some time in the spotlight, she will remain on sale for a little while and then be retired when the new designs start coming in January. Good job little trooper.


Sew Crewel, the seller who put together this treasury, is on my list for the next Art & Such I write, but for now get a load of the irresistible power of adorableness in her shop:

Yes, she has made the most precious little mitten ornaments in all of Etsydom. And they are tiny! And they are made of *felt*! So, you can imagine I was pretty excited to see she had put together such a lovely treasury & gotten on the front page. Sadly, I keep missing the front page excitement- this time I was out cold with a miserable migraine- but it was a nice thing to see upon checking back in this evening. : ) Thanks again Sew Crewel, you stitch a mean mitten!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gonzo

Finally! A day without rain! And just when I'm trying not to exclaim so much- GAH!
Anyway,
let's do some catching up, 'kay?

It all started with the week of treasuries.
The friendly and so encouraging Avril of Avrilloreti put together this one, a charming black & white collection that ended up on the front page. Yay! She even followed it up by sending me a screen grab since I had been at work at the time & did not get a chance to see it! A couple of my other Etsy loves were in there, Morton Watches the Moon from Yellowmonday and more of those amazing bowls from JDWolfe. Congratulations again, Avril & Co.!


There was another black, white and gold treasury that the sublime Femputer put together. Snowflake Series - Hearts had a spot when it worked its way onto the front page too ( ! ). My little moment of starlight that time lasted about 5 minutes, but I got to meet Lauren from LocalLibrary. Her piece Cold DayGlow was the cornerstone of the treasury, and she moseyed on by the old blog to check out these here parts. Thanks Lauren! : )

It really all started with Celeste's marvelous Gocco Love treasury, but I'm saving that for The Love Issue. : )

Orders were still building, however, when the treasuries left... and right when I was going back to work. It was during this crazy time that Celeste Googled ouou and figured out that a "mail serve" (I am still unclear as to what this is, other than a newsletter?) had posted about several pieces in the shop. Ooh my goodness! Even the Little Monkey Gocco tags! Go Gocco! I was thrilled to sell my first tags, and now the second set to darling Vicki. This was the most exciting and unexpected thing.

So it was right then that you don't want to run out of printing options. Right? And that, dear friends, is exactly what happened. That state only lasted about 4 days (what a long 4 days...) things are now beginning to return to normal. I was able to print this morning, and after sending out apologies to everyone for the orders that were late, thankfully have gotten some very patient and kind responses. I spent the whole day cutting and folding, wrapping and ribboning and stuffing envelopes. Here is my workspace while I played catch-up:

And while I was home preparing packages to go out, a very welcome package came in: New Gocco Supplies!

Ooh, I'm hoping to really cut my teeth and fill out the Gocco section in ouou over the next few months with more art for sale, Valentines a go-go, and more stationary. It sure does take a lot of ink, though. The most important thing was that we had *lots* of red. Love, love love.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Roots

Good morning. Finally, my weekend has come! I want to share this article in the NYTimes about Buy Handmade ~ here. Yay!

Okay, so LOTR is on the TV today and it is another day in the marathon winter rain we are getting. (If I build an ark, should I sell it on Etsy or give it away to my 100th customer?) Plus, I've quite a bit of shipping awaiting me & some Gocco since Celeste and I started printing our own shipping envelopes. Last (but, first) I am rather behind in several projects of importance to my heart, so I'll be drawing for most of my time off before going back to work Tuesday. So, yeah, those are the things I'll be doing. : )

I've also been doing a lot of artist blog-browsing in my early mornings & have some new artists to share with you! I made a promise last weekend to take Sundays totally off from Etsy, a good plan I think to have a day away from the computer, but here I am blogging instead! Silly girl, off to rescue my sketchbook from wherever it is buried and spend some time watering these roots.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was my 1 month anniversary on Etsy. And, oh what a week it has been! Little OUOU sure has taken a running leap into the thrilling, I have been amazed and touched by the reception.

This week I have had the pleasure of receiving several very sweet conversations. I'm sending all that good feeling back in time to the Laurie who had just left her job and apartment in New York and was really freaking out about what to do next. That's part of why I'm gushing, here. Etsy really has been part of a radical change from even just a month ago. Meeting all these new people and seeing the love and attention crafters from all around the world put into their work is beautiful and exciting!

I will be back this weekend with a more detailed post, but for now I would like to send out the most sincere thank you to all of the people who have sent such marvelous conversations, to those of you riding along through the blog & sharing your thoughts, to my cheerful and friendly customers, my dear friends that I am far away from. Big hugs all around to my family and last but not least, ever-abundant thanks to my beloved sister,
who creates more-better worlds than she can ever imagine.

Its good to be here. : )

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am so calm!

(following last night's groggy post)... When we talk about tea around here, 9 times out of 10 we are talking about sedatives. Plain and simple. Look at all that "relaxing" tea!? Sleepytime is certainly a staple around here, and we are stockpiling. ...obviously.

One of these days we will have sunshine again, and new photos of recent drawings will go up. Promise.

I also promise to cut down on my use of EXCLAMATION POINTS! in my blog posts. Etsy has a lot of EXCLAIMING! involved in it, and I admit: I got hooked. What can I say? Its been a very exciting time. I'm just going to make my blogging mind a nice cup of... hmmm... maybe some chamomile? and let those EXCLAMATION POINTS! just melt away in a blissful bubble-bath of calm. If there is ever any question as to whether or not I am super-psyched? Just remember I still use the expression "super-psyched".

And what, you ask, am I super psyched about today? Well, part of that "big supply shipment" I spoke of yesterday came in today- chock-full of mailing excitement. (that was rough, not to exclaim that, but I made it.) Not only do I thoroughly enjoy mailing things anyway, but we have been printing on some of our shipping envelopes lately, so theres more Gocco to go around too.

I may just make it to 50 sales by Friday. Friday is my month anniversary on Etsy. The thought of that is just incredible to me. I will be falling off the EXCLAMATION POINT! wagon that day, you better believe.
...But I'll go to the gym the next day. So its cool.

Anyway, the fun part about doing well on Etsy is that I can expand there sooner than I thought. In the treasure trove of mailing supplies was the absolute gem of red envelopes, I am excited about offering those with the fiesta of love designs that will hit the shop January. I have been playing with the idea lately of mini cards since my shop is already set up around adorableness. In forums today someone said they give bookmarks away with every purchase. Oh, the places OU'll go!

Monday, December 10, 2007

boy oh boy

The introductions continue in my little ouou shop. This morning I added a couple new Mixed Sets after watching the sales of the last month. Sometimes people are buying in groups by theme, so I thought I would make it easy and create note card sets that offer a selection from the series that I have in the shop. It still needs some work, but over the next week I should be able to get up to five different sets available.

Not only did I sell a bunch of individual sets in the Snowflake Series today, but one of the mixed sets too! On its first day! I nearly fell over I was so excited. : )

Actually, I've been up since before dawn in a pretty Etsy-heavy day. Today was creating new listings, mailings, banking, finishing two new designs (hint: that Children and Dragons section may rule the roost now, but Valentine is coming to town next at ouou and, yeah, its gonna be purrrdy) and working on a commission I need to mail in the next couple days.

I'm happy to report I also was able to read, go to the printer, place some major supply orders, finish the dishes and talk to my friend BB for a long while too. How do people with children do this? You guys have a well-spring of respect coming from this little shopkeep. (low bow)

I can't wait to get the new designs in the shop. They are building and building as I had a lot of time off last week, but it will also be nice to catch up with myself a bit. I don't even have pictures of them yet to share with you! Part of learning how to do this is knowing when to call it a night and relax. Close the laptop, close the sketchbook, put the pens away & go have some tea. Yep: don't mind if I do!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Week In Review

Good morning, Sunday. Here in PA winter is in full swing! We had snow mid-week and for the last several days it has been very cold. That's okay, the hunkering-down effect this freezing weather has lead to a lot of rearranging of the house. That wintertime nesting.

This year, for me it involves the major task of giving or throwing away many of the things I have accumulated over the years. Oddly enough, this process is flavoring the early winter with a spring cleaning feel of relief and clarity. Like opening the windows to crisp, clean spring air while the wood burning stove melts the snow off your wooly mittens.

That does not mean, however, that I have given up on the shopping list. Thursday was spent mainly on supply shopping and maintenance of shop details. I have been delighted by the look of these new cards as I try out new ways of printing, and even made these snappy little tags for my parcels going out! Replaced the ribbon I was wrapping note cards in ($$$) with rafia (wraphia) that looks just as lovely, and replaced my fading Micron/ Sharpies.

Fridays shipping was extra fun with these new add-ons!

More exciting things about Friday began with Celeste being featured in a treasury on the FIRST PAGE of Etsy! Go Sista! I don't think either one of us really knew what to do with ourselves while her views skyrocketed. She bravely left the house during all the excitement, and her sales were great, but the buzz did not die down for quite a while. Great fun!

I have also added two new designs to the shop, Little Blue note cards and Love, Orange Dragon!

(little dragon: )

I tried my hand at forums and met some fun new shopkeepers, too! I'm still pretty shy around the forums (these are Etsy chats) though I think they are a great resource for advice and announcements. Today I am in the Paper Goods Section showcase, actually was just chatting in a forum about it too! It has generated some views, though I have better luck with sales in the afternoon and evening. Anyway, it is pretty funny to see Green Dragon next to all that letterpress and fancy bookbinding!

(big dragon!)


Stay Warm!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Gone to Oxford!

mmm... Golden Compass comes out tonight... mmmmm....
taking the weekend off! More news later : )

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Felt Issue

Okay darlings, I just can't go another day without posting about those great felt artists on Etsy!

It is chilly and snowing here in PA, looks like I am not going to make it to Massachusetts, so to cheer myself and add some warm goodness to the doorway of Winter, here is an introduction to some amazing arts. From time to time I'll take a stroll with you through some fun shops that have caught my attention: I hope you have fun scrolling through this colorful, light-hearted extravaganza & welcome your suggestions too!

Let's get started with the King of the Jungle:


Rory Lion you have stolen my heart! (swoon) This chubbers from Scatterbox Originals absolutely glows bright orange and marigold warmth. Their shop has a lot of lovely brooches and printed tapes, and those wrist warmers ain't too shabby neither, but Rory is certainly my favorite. Boxy, stoic, cuddly... Scatterbox has made the perfect stuffy. : )


Stockings galore are just the beginning in color-bonanza rikrak! Kinckknack ornaments come in simple red & white... maybe its my love of things Scandinavian, but those ornaments certainly don't have to be just for Christmas. They would make great gift tags, bag embellishments, office eye-candy. Beautiful. They sell fantastic bibs (what first caught my attention) and adorable iron-ons, too!

...And yes, for those ex-Girl Scouts in the room, they do, yes indeed, make rickrack look good!!! Nummy num num.

If those ears don't convince you, what about those whiskers? Girl savage has a shop full of hand-stitched goodness, Kelly green bunny (and those floppy ears) along with Sid the sunk are the two I'd like to highlight. Seriously folk-y and funny, go check out this shop because not only have you never seen Feltidermy like this before, but these plush look as tried & true as anyone's favorite binky, blanky, or little red wagon!


There's never enough good things to say about Lupin (shown above)... certainly the shop that started my felt craze. After finding that shop I stumbled into KupKup Land (shown below) and that, dear friends, was history.


These two masters of the felt arts not only have beautiful work, but beautiful shops too! Lupin's photography is some of the best on Etsy, and KupKup Land has succeeded like few others in creating a miniature and surreal world for these creations. I follow both blogs religiously and eagerly await the day I can purchase a bit of scenery from KupKup and a custom mobile from Lupin! I may start with a tea cup and work my way up.


And what felt adoration post would be complete without some booties!? Rory would totally wear these... if he wore shoes. These green dinosaur booties from Babycakes Collection are the most practical things in my list of feltastic Etsy finds, but also little pieces of art in their own right. And... do I see rickrack?

* * *


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tea + Robots = Lovely!


Quick News: I got into some other treasuries! Yay! One of them is a tea theme, not only so very cool to be ranked among the tea drinkers (I type that while sipping coffee, mind you), dragon and everything, but the very same day Celeste's "Coffee for Two" appeared in a coffee themed treasury!
Woah- Wacky role reversal!

The other one is a robot themed treasury, and I must say it was very well done. Full of cuteness and geekery. The image in there is "Two + Yarn = Love" that appears in Bamboo Village Press as part of the guest artists section. Some of the other robotists are in my favorites... good times today on Etsy. Good times.

Tuesday

I participated in a swap just a little while ago, finally got a good picture of the item-in-question. Two sweet little green hair pins I just as easily could have had when I was 6 (I vaguely remember a green wool sweater that could have had these buttons...)! : ) Thank you twiddledee! They are gorgeous.

As predicted, a little mailing was the perfect cure for my printing frustrations yesterday. Just sit me down at my desk with some ribbon and tissue paper and I'll be right as rain in no time!

Today has been dedicated to arranging some space in my "studio" area to actually fit the way I use the space. Otherwise it is just a sea of piles scattered around the floor, scissors, CDs, rulers and photocopies intermingling about. My poor paint brushes are giving me pout-y-lip too. I found a couple of sketches from last year last night (impetus for the major cleaning effort) that I am still very fond of. If the Gocco and watercolors rumble later tonight... my money is on the watercolors.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Projects Beget Projects

Hola everybody!

Another busy day. My my, there are a lot of details in opening an Etsy shop and taking th
at big leap of selling your creations! Today was a day of testing out possibilities. Lucky for me when I run into a wall my sister is a fountain of patience and goodwill. We tried out different printing today (try, try again) to eventual sucess and jubilation. Though the output was the best yet, I confess... for a while there I was not so sure I could keep up. Whew!


Now, in art school they toss around quite a bit this stereotype of the fumble-thumbed artists trying to be their own businessmen. "Get an agent as soon as you can!" was the mantra from our Illustration professors. I get it. I do. And yeah, if I could just sit around drawing and sculpting and making prints or tinkering at new projects while handing off my designs to helpful little elves, wouldn't I? Wouldn't anyone?

Well, I was never one to deny elves anything... but I am starting to believe the more mechanical side of this process is there to help you release those creations out into the world wit
h good tidings. Perhaps regarding the production side as an extension of the creative process takes the frantic feeling out of working from a strictly business mindset. The printing stresses me out, still, but it leads to the mailing part... that is deliciously fun for me... so I guess not all sides of production are tedious.

I'm still finding my way through having a business on Etsy compared to what I learned back in art school, luckily the actual process of being in business this way is a lot more exciting and rewarding than the litany of do's and don'ts we were treated to in school. Even through the rough patches.

I have already stalled one weekend when I was planning to go to Massachusetts in order to open the Gocco section of OUOU, not so sure if my whole week off is going to end up being co-opted by Etsy troubleshooting.
Time to listen to more Craftypod podcasts on time management! Best. Resource. Ever!


Still having fun with package design, I've been playing with the idea of rubber stamps (I know it should be backwards, but that photo was confusing) for added home-made-ey-ness. Or, because I've never tried to make my own rubber stamps before. I am also cooking my first sweet potato while I blog tonight. Mmmmm, first time for everything.

And, what am I reading while in the growing pains of my first month on Etsy? Yeah, that's right, the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Gives me the option while I am biting my fingernails raw over fuzzy prints and shipping prices to either think about A. blogging or B. clouds passing through the sky (Zen gong sound). Obviously, I need some practice. But seriously? This book has a compassionate, generous, loving voice and has been an absolute pleasure so far.

Celeste got some lovely new books the other day too and I want to rave about this one before I go eat yummy dinner! Take a look at Emily's Balloon next time you are in (the best bookstore ever, or) your local bookshop. Sparse and delicate, grainy illustrations in subtle hues of (we call her "chubberton") Emily and her balloon make for a sweet rendering. Books that concentrate on toddler years, appropriately, are often colorful and cartoon-y... Emily's Balloon is a comfortable departure.

 
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