Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy New Year (reprise)

They're up! The new Chinese New Year cards are in the shop as of tonight - Yay! Talk about jolly, and what fun it was to draw those pudgy little hands. :) I remember my first Chinese New Year in Boston's China Town when I was very little, it is fun to think that every year there is a new Chinese zodiac sign to figure out how to draw.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Travel Size

There are these things on Etsy called ACEO's, not so shockingly perfectly perfect for the way I like to draw. An ACEO is a business card size piece of original art, usually. The point (as far as I can tell) is to get a reasonable price on a bit of original art from artists you love, or for collectors who tend to stockpile small, unique things.

I have not brought any into the shop yet, perhaps in several weeks, but I have to say that for linear artists who would love to check the Something Crafty Every Day box on their 2008 resolutions, these tiny bits of bristol are wonderful. And addictive. Fantastic if you are looking to incorporate quick projects and have a delirious love of the all-mighty doodle.

Me? I'm just crazy about having a canvas for the itsy-est, bitsy-est fine lines I can possibly get.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Favorite Things/ Scrabble Nightmare

I just finished an unexpected Chinese New Year design! Yatta! (I just love it that there is a link for that)
Time to take a break, sit
down this afternoon with some Earl Grey tea and a nice warm bowl of pesto vegetables ...mmm, with pine nuts!... turn on the soft lovely Jose Gonzales I just got and catch up on recent acquisitions & news.
Lady Victoria did a splendid job getting me to fall head over heels with Tiny Showcase by telling me about it right when I was dreaming about going to the Jen Corace show in NYC. I Couldn't get to the show, but I was lucky enough to get an Oceans Don't Freeze print of my very own. They print on this almost-watercolor porous mat paper that makes it look like you have an original in your hands, not to mention the painting itself is incredible. Thank you Vicki!
Looking around for more Gocco artists on Etsy, I came across this new shop by illustrator Cindy Tomczyk. I found her new shop, thinking she had just arrived in Etsy and really excited to be her first customer! Turns out she has another shop, but I was no less thrilled to see these Love Birds come in the mail! I am a huge collector of mailing ephemera and it is very fun enjoying Gocco prints now that I know the work that goes into them. Beautiful cards, Cindy! Good luck with the new shop!

Paloma's Nest is one of those Etsy shops that really gives the whole Buy Handmade endeavor a good name. I felt like they pay professional & individual attention to detail in their service, and the crafts they make look even better in person then the beautiful pictures they have of their items. This is in their Shop Description:

Paloma's Nest by Caroline Colom Vasquez, is dedicated to creating pieces for the home and for the heart. Each piece is designed and hand-crafted in our studio in Austin Texas with care, pride, and passion, from natural materials such as wood, fabric, paper, and clay. Our inspiration lies in the purity of the materials that we use, and the idea that something so simple can be so bold. By adding text, we give written ideas, feelings, and daydreams a place to rest.

I really got the feeling this little object was made with a lot of care and warmth, I highly recommend their shop if you are in the market for a singular, exceptional handmade gift.

Here you see a couple favorite things all grouped together! Giraffes, the new Chinese New Year stamps (last year they were also really nice... gah! nerd!), and... you guessed it: more cards!

These little beauties have come in some of the swankest packaging yet. Also, I'm just wild about small, smart design on a clean white surface. Turtle Papers, you are a dream come true! You all know I like the cute, but the cute needs to be quality cute, and this printer delivers. :)

Another favorite thing is Scrabble. Celeste has a board so we decided play a couple games last night. We got our tea and some Pirate Bootie, and the whole thing was civil at first. Whatever I did to the Scrabble HooDoo, however, sure did kick off a nightmare game in our second round.

Heres my first set of letters:

And it just kept going like that!

This picture is blurry because, by then, I couldn't stop laughing.
Scrabble MoJo, I bow to your wrath.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


You're all like, "Yo, wheres the monsters in this blog!?"...

I was recently re-packing the room and found my pre-ouou sketchbooks. Here was an early incarnation of Heart Mittens:

...and when "everything in blue" was going to be my shop name...

...and a blue monster that became Blue Dragon ~

Hopefully about to be thick in the Gocco inks, that is my news from Thursday! :)
Check out the shop for new Mini Card sets that will only be available until February 14th! Hooray for Mini!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monkey Makes Friends

At long last those Little Monkey gift tags finally have company! I may have already said that I have some larger Gocco projects on the burner, until I can get those together it was really satisfying to have time (and tags) to do a large run of smaller images.

Here is the Gocco printer while I was taking a break between print runs. This latest screen has a whopping total of 5 designs on it (!!!) as well as fancy new labels for the Moleskines and large cards. It was really exciting to try out some of the treasure trove of new colors, I had to really hold myself back from possibly wrecking a screen by switching colors around between sets.

This image is already a note card set, laser printed, in the shop and one of my favorite recent designs. I couldn't wait to see it with some delicious ink. I was so happy with this deep forest green on the white tags, that I printed a few Moleskines, too! There are some Gocco printed cards as well, but they are not in the shop yet.

These two were drawn in hopes to get into the shop for Christmas, but were lost in my stack of papers and never got scanned. Stumbling on them the other day when the Gocco screens came in, I excitedly went about photocopying until they were sized right then making minor changes to their clothes and hair.

Our Gocco is the bigger model, so though it can give you beautiful fine lines you must be careful with blocks of color being too thick. I tried the pink and avocado green inks, perfect compliments to each other, and they look so good on the white card stock of these large tags. The pink ink has a surprisingly pearlescent quality, increasing my curiosity about the other new colors! I haven't figured out what else to do with these two, but for now I am giddily enamored by the results of this latest printmaking project.

Last, I am still in the very beginning of this one, but a great way to kick off the New Year would be to pick up a copy of Michael Pollan's new book In Defense of Food. I was luckily home last week for this interview with Pollan by Marty Moss-Coane of Radio Times, and was stuck to the radio until it ended. Celeste also heard the interview, and picked up the book the other night.

Take some time and give his interview a listen (if my link won't work, here:
It really was a very comforting perspective around food and eating in the midst of such issues as obesity, diabetes, and even poverty regarding the Western diet. The interview is terrific, and now that I am reading the book, I am transfixed and delighted page after page.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ever Unfolding

To my friends considering opening Etsy shops: having some sort of business plan actually does help. After the last several months of thinking I could, pretty much, handle everything in an "organic" way? Yeah, that only lasts so long!

Yesterday I sat down and wrote out the totality of projects I am in the middle of, what is to come, and what I am hoping to bring into the shop/ just finish in the next two months. This did wonders in clearing my head of the constant "I want!" jabber when it comes to beginning new projects and the haphazard juggling of unfinished past projects. I mean, I hope so. I'm thinking it will be like a time-release effect, with clarity only becoming stronger as I become used to this radical new *structure*.

Still, the reality of moving and all the strings that must come together sunk in hard and fast when I had a recent change in job schedule, an unexpected lurch in the planning. Reluctant as I may be to put the excitement and ever unfolding experience of the Etsy shopkeep on hold, a plan is also helpful when you need to shift the middle ground with your shop. For me, it is remembering this is all an ever unfolding experience. Opening the tunnel-visioned aperture, I guess.

Anyway, these are my musings for tonight, since I promised myself upon starting this blog that I would talk about the experience of opening a shop... then Christmas busted onto the scene and I forgot that I am new to this! :)

So, in closing, I do have a couple new things I will be blogging about in the upcoming weeks though over all my shop growth will be slower and more deliberate. With some concentration on finishing some 1/2 done work (like this part of a weekly painting above...) and a plan in place for the shop, ooh how sweet it is!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Saving Trees, Drawing Stuff

Today I uploaded some photos on Etsy of my new packaging- ta da! Not too different from the old packaging (you still get to unwrap something) but with less waste. Recycled card stock is just out of my $$ range, so I am trying to make alterations where I can to make sure my packages are friendly to the earth.

Since the last trip to the printer, and this week's delivery of miniature envelopes from our friendly neighborhood UPS, mini cards are back in stock! These little guys sure do take a while to finish! Hopefully the stock I have now should hold strong through all your mini-needs! :)

Not only did the teeny tiny envelopes come in the mail, but our Gocco supplies did too... and since I wasn't the one who put the order through, I got to be delightfully surprised by the new colors! It will take a while to get all my ducks in a row for the new round of printmaking. Right now I am drawing and getting projects to scale for new designs to be made into screens.

In conclusion, there is some brevity to my blogging tonight, I am going to leave you with this Benny & Joon treasury somebody put together last week. They even found raisins! These people are so amazing!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Yay! Finally! On the way home from the post office we finally got some *snow*!! That is my silly new winter hat, and yes those are the pom poms on my silly new winter hat.

This part of PA is not exactly the most picturesque, but it was so much fun to turn the walk into a photo excursion!

This I just happened upon while thinking about shooting the construction guys impervious to the sudden flurries, big dude outside taking a picture of little dude who had just gotten off the bus. :) Guess I'm not the only one who has been waiting for winter!

* * *

Back at home, I have finally cleaned my workspace from some big projects (cut, score, fold, cut, score, fold...) so that I can get down to the good stuff and actually spend some time drawing tonight.

..Messiness is to blame, but also finishing Season Three of Lost before Season Four starts in a couple weeks... Got this Lost card in the mail last week from the quirky and jovial BettyTurbo that pretty much sums up my January thus far! She, too, is home of the Bizarro Flying Cake that got me into her shop in the first place?! Mmm, nothin' says lovin' like Etsy geekery!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Laughter Gifts Children

With the fishbowl in the window because it is so warm these days, we get these lovely rainbows in the house for about an hour each day. When it isn't raining around here. Usually, it's raining.
Other than rainbows, this means I finally got to take pictures again (contented sigh). The newly re-printed Monkey tags are really happy about this!

Hi all! Fun things from this past week. It somehow became the week of conversations with people on Etsy about projects and possibilities... I met some amazing people, got blogged again by the incredible felt artisan Lupin (who, by the way, is featuring artists in her blog these days & her profiles are fantastic), and somewhere in the middle there finished a couple new designs!
But, you don't get to see those quite yet as our new order of *Gocco* screens arrives on Tuesday & they may be used to become Gocco prints. So, yes, I'm just wigglin' in my seat waiting for Tuesday.

We just got back from another lovely walk on the Wissahickon Trail, another week of what can no longer be described as "moderate" ...there should be a new term for this. I propose "eerily distemperate". When we first got outside it was cold, but I mean like 40 degrees cold... and I realized I'm still wearing my spring jacket in mid-January! Relatively, then, not-cold but eerily distemperate for mid-January.

There is a great article in this month's ID Magazine about the phenomena of "going green" itself, called "Too Yellow to be Green" by Barbara Flanagan. Not sure if I can post that link, so here is one just to ID. Enjoy!

Fun treasury report from last week (or, the week before?) is that Snow Day got into this fantastic treasury ... and made it's way to the front page! This was on a particularly grumpy day (I think the broken toe was playing a role in that- all better now!) and still up when I went to work, so really a jolt of emotional shift into excitement!

Other than family, I sold my first two Gocco prints that day! Since I have been planning to bring more Gocco into the shop, but wavering and unsure about new designs, I've also been looking at a lot of printmaking artists. Yep, getting pretty freaked out, too, about their level of skill and the altitude of my own learning curve. Those sales were a big boost to morale in Team OU!

One of the lovely ladies that purchased a Snow Day wrote one of the most generous and kind emails when she (finally!... packaging has it's own learning curve) received her print. At the bottom she attached a link to a video that she & her friends had posted on YouTube that I have been itching to blog about! You wanna see it? Okay, I hope this works:

Did you watch it? How adorable is that!? Just makes you feel happy inside and somewhat curious and goofy? Well, right, as it should be :) You can tell, so much love went into that project, the end result is a joy to have received!

These are the unexpected gifts of opening on Etsy, it is just priceless seeing what other people a
re working on! Thank you so, so much to Jacinta for the heart, Catherine Please for this amazing claymation treat & Dave End for the incredible music. Also (with hearts) to Mary Jane who was so sweet~ you guys look like you are having lots of fun!

And hold up, yo~ the fun just keeps going!
I also crossed paths with the owner of MayaBella on Etsy, who fits into three of my favorite categories:

  • plush
  • felt
  • awesome!
Be prepared in your dealings with Etsy's felt artisans to be blown away by their sweetness! (Plus, you know I'm happy when I start itemizing things) Shannon of MayaBella dropped by to say hello right about the time I began some research for an upcoming blog post about plush stuffies. She hails from Oregon, destination April 2008, and has a bright, cheerful shop full of colorful stuffed animals, ornaments, and broaches! Check out Jack the Rabbit and his fluffy ears... talk about cute overload!

I had to make a note of her & her shop even before my Plush Issue, take a mosey on over to her shop for much more goodness than I can squeeze in here! She sent me this link of a great new blog to explore: that previously featured her work, too! Sew much fun. (: I have yet to find a way to make prints, this is where many of my recent conversations on Etsy have come from, and have been grateful for everyone's patience on that note. Hopefully soon there will not only be new Gocco, but larger reproductions of some of the card images!

Thanks Everybody, and hopefully I'll catch up with all of this soon. :P Until then, watch that YouTube video again and have yourself a happy chuckle. Awwe, that's the ticket!

PS, almost forgot (whispering)... ninja treasury... (now thats genius!)... :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Hi everyone! Man, oh man, it feels like forever since I have done a blog post. Today I made a *list* of the topics I wanted to blog about- and that simple (yes, crazy) act in itself got me thinking- maybe I should just post something.

Something I would like you all to go check out is the amazing work Celeste created for Poppytalk's Love Transforms issue! If you are new to poppytalk, this is a blog & showcase that picks a monthly theme and offers galleries to some really brilliant artists and crafters. Poppytalk's crisp design savvy offers some pretty amazing art in a less cluttered, less overwhelming format than Etsy.

Celeste has a gallery in this month's love themed poppytalk handmade, and in it you will find a delicious smattering of some of the most delicate and spirited work she has done so far- as well as some Bamboo Village classics! I have been watching my sister emerge as a printmaker (to add to etcher, and photographer, and non-profit coordinator) these last few months and am simply overflowing with glee about it! Beginning with moleskines, on to cards, as well as gift tags (I stole more than a few...), Celeste's recent Gocco work is everything from bold to sensitive to joyful!

It has also been fascinating working side by side and creating such different art expressions with our shops and the images/ wares we produce. There are times when it is easier to step back and see the things we are creating apart from the long nights, the disappointing mistakes, the bizarre stretches of too much time in front of the computer (thus my week away from the computer)... those times are often when the next idea comes! But, before jumping into the next project or scrounging for the sketchbook, there are moments of clarity and refreshing excitement about this work. Realizing we are both working with positively buoyant themes in our work, too, brings a flood of happiness!

Speaking of floods of happiness, guess who got her cards in the mail!? Lupin has been such a joy to be in touch with, and saved me from ignorance of the fate of her tea drinking dragons by dropping me an Etsy convo that she blogged it! Thanks, Lupin! In my mainly off-line week I would have been very sad to miss it! She is up to some incredible stuff, herself, with woodland creatures abounding... go chekkit out! :)

I'm off to bed, but boy do we have catching up to do! More soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The corner of Bamboo and Laurel

So you know how sometimes you are on Etsy and sipping your nighty night tea, thinking "I should really go to bed" but there is some tricksy magnetism that keeps you feeling as though there is just that one thing you have left to do before closing up shop for the night... and a half an hour later...

It all started when I thought I would go browsing through the gift guides to see if they were still Christmas or predominantly Valentines. Whaddo you know, but the second to last page of Book Worms and Writers (swoon) had Bamboo Village's Milk cards!

No! Wait! Silly me, it began while looking through Treasuries & finding this fantastic treasury from LapinNoir dedicated to her boyfriend! Whats that in the upper left corner? It appears to be ouou's Love Blooms cards pictured right next to Dapper Dan from Bamboo Village! What are the chances...

And, so, sure... within seconds of seeing those Celeste found the knock-em sock-em THIRD Treasury containing Bamboo Village and ou parallels. This time the aptly titled treasury "Ta Da" by Ndnchick, and boy is it fun. Yay Surprises from the Village shines in the upper left corner, Yay Party, an ouou black and white, makes waves bottom center. Everything in this treasury has "Yay" in the title, such a perfect theme for a treasury collection. Personal favorite? Yay Serotonin by Clothmothclothing.
As though that wasn't enough, check out Celeste's sneak peek at her upcoming artwork here! You will be smitten with the detailed and delicate Gocco work she has been doing... both for Chinese New Year and Love, after the great success of Cricket and Compass designs. I saw the finished work yesterday, and was just charmed beyond words. And she has more than that on the horizon! Yay Sista!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Banner

I woke up this morning and says to myself, I says, "The world could use more flying fish..."

"...and I think I can help!"

Lookin' good 2008. Lookin' real good.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

toes have won my respect

My other job apart from Etsy is still schlepping books in a bookstore, and though bookstores are friendly in so many ways, perhaps not so much to the broken toes. It was sort of a hard day because of that, but I'll tell you my fun story from earlier today in my relief to be sitting and enjoying some relaxing tea.

One of those terms of endearment my best friend from college calls me is "Lupin". So, when I started to think of creating a shop, the first domain name I checked was "Lupin". It was taken, but this was last year & before I even knew what I would sell, so I wasn't too broken up about it.

In fact, I was so excited to find Lupin's shop! She just happens to be a fantastic artist and is the author of the crafty blog Bugs and Fishes which, although I am not so savvy with fiber arts, I find a delightful & inspirational read. Not only did she fast become one of my Etsy heroes, but finding her shop began my exciting search through Etsy's felt crafters. As a nod to the UK inspirational Lupin, one of the first designs I drew for my shop was the Cocoa with Green Dragon illustration. From there, it was a split between who in "Warm Tidings" was drinking cocoa and who was sipping tea! The root, however, was the same~ her Little Teacup pin:

Wow, would you believe that this morning upon waking I saw I finally made my 100th sale! And to Lupin, no less! Full circle!

Anyway, thank you for listening to my happy circumstance story. There are some fun new designs in the shop, and more to come. You may notice the stirrings of springtime themes and quite a few more things on the heads of things! May 2008 infuse you all with creative, lovely spirit & healthy toes all year round.

100 Items Sold! Happy New Year!

And to think I almost didn't check my shop this morning...
currently on my way to work, but when I get home oooh what an exciting story for you!
HAPPY 2008!!!