Fashion Friday: Is This Even Possible?

For those of you who know me personally, I am a huge shoe fanatic. And not only am I a shoe fanatic, but a heels fanatic at that. I own every color imaginable, in a variety of patterns from polka dots to plaids to floral, and pretty high, too. And I'll do a lot for fashion, but walking funny is not one of them, so I know my height limits when it comes to wearing heels.

These heels are a new design for Fall 2009, and I am seriously just wondering: Is it even physically possible for someone to walk in these without spraining an ankle?!


Spotlight on Madison Main Advertising and New Media

Soo, I recently became a writer for the Richmond Examiner. I will be exploring Graphic Design events and topics in my area, for those of you who are interested!

Below is my first article I have written for Examiner! Feel free to check it out if you'd like :)

Spotlight on Madison+Main Advertising and New Media



Wacky Wednesday Interview: Kaotic Ekko's Curiosities

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Hamel-Smith (more commonly known as Mel or Kaos), owner and insane artist behind Kaotic Ekko's Curiosities. You can also check out Mel's blog, Facebook fan page, Myspace page, and follow her on Twitter. According to Mel..."if you can’t find me at one of these places please call the police because I’m probably dead." Good to know, Mel!

What tools are a must in your day to day business?
The internets! If the internet is down I feel handicapped. I draw a lot of inspiration and strength from my fellow artists, especially those on Plurk (like Amanda!). Having bipolar disorder sometimes requires a good swift kick in the butt as motivation and I know I can always count on my internet friends for that!

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A cat, definitely! Big cat, little cat, doesn’t matter! They are so beautiful in appearance and movement. They are also very independent and terribly clever. I’m sure the 18 hour naps wouldn’t be that bad either!

What is your favorite color combination?
Black and pretty much anything (except maybe orange, yellow and brown).

What's your favorite drink?
COFFEE! I’m pretty sure my doctor counts my blood in cc's of caffeine rather than cell count! I’m a coffee snob though. No Tim Horton’s coffee, no instant coffee. Must be real cream and sugar! If you’re going to get a soy Sweet 'n Low decaf coffee you might as well lick pavement! Why bother? You really want to get on my good side? Bring me a gingerbread latte from Starbucks!

What could I find in your refrigerator right now?
Condiments. Husband has a HUGE problem buying condiments. If the world ended, however, I could probably survive on three or four types of mustard.

What is the last book you read?
Er. I don’t remember! I LOVE to read but I get so involved with my books that I lose track of time. So I don’t read unless EVERYTHING is done and I have time to “lose.” If I think real hard, the last book probably would’ve been from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series.
What blogs do you like to keep up to date with?
GHOULS GUILD - Keep up on what my fellow Ghouls and I have in store regarding our Halloween/dark art in our Artfire shops!

BENT OBJECTS by Terry Border - His work is hilarious. I can always count on it to make me smile. And he’s an awesome guy even though I only know him via Facebook.

TORONTO CRAFT ALERT - Keep up-to-date on all of Toronto’s crafty happenings!

CRAFT CRITIQUE - Amazing art product reviews and giveaways!

And there’s tons more…which is why my Google Reader reads 880 unread posts!
What's your favorite movie?
I can’t pick just one! Return to Oz, Sweeney Todd, Pirates, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Coraline, Up… there’s loads of them!

What's the best part about selling online?
You get to meet so many people you never would have if it weren’t for the internet!

What's the biggest challenge being in business for yourself?
Not getting frustrated. When there are lulls in sales or craft shows are slow it’s very easy to want to give up. It’s especially hard if you have to be your own cheerleader. But stick with it and remind yourself why you’re in this business in the first place – the love of creating!

Tell us a little about how you manage your time.
Managed time? What’s that? My days are pretty much a free-for-all! I don’t really have a set schedule. I’m not sure I’d get more done if I did. I work best and am most creative under pressure. But I also get peeved when I can’t finish everything on time!

Thank you so much, Mel, for giving us a peek into Kaotic Ekko's Curiosities! Be sure to check out Mel's shop for all her great products!


Tuesday Treasury: A Little Squirrely

I've been really into wildlife lately, especially wildlife and surroundings that remind me of the cool Autumn air. This week I wanted to showcase those Etsy items that feature squirrels! During my search I found so many great items, it was really hard to choose, but I was finally able to narrow my search down, as hard as it was! I hope you enjoy these selections, and be sure to check out these wonderful shops!

1. Simbiosis by Julia - I fell in love with the colorful aspect of this gadget bag the minute I saw it! Rarely do you see so much vibrant color associated with squirrels, so this really caught my eye.
2. Peaches 4 Me - I love the little acorn accompanying the sweet squirrel on this necklace. This is a perfect accessory for the cool Autumn weather!
3. Janey Mac Press - I've been really into wall decals lately, because they add such a statement to any living area, but they are easy and cheap to change often! I love this little squirrel perched on its branch, and the fact that he is leaning over toward the chair.
4. Moxie and Oliver - What a sweet wallet this is! The distressed feel with the little squirrel in the corner is so subtle and cute!
5. Freshy Fig - Here is another necklace I just couldn't resist. He is so sweet!
6. Fuzzy Mu - I love this notebook and the mirroring quality it portrays when the notebook is open. This is sure to give any artist creative inspiration!
7. Marmee Craft - What an absolutely adorable print! These squirrels look so happy and would certainly put me in a good mood!
8. Elpy - How simple and sweet are these magnets! And sturdy enough to hold multiple papers! I love that the set includes different designs.
9. Buttered Parsnips - I just love the vintage feel of these sweet buttons! How cute would these be adorning your favorite cardigan?

I hope you enjoyed these squirrel picks and take the opportunity to check out each of these lovely shops!



Moody Monday: Refreshed!

Aaah...what a relaxing weekend I had! Due to forces outside of my control, I was not able to get very much work done this weekend. The paper I ordered apparently took longer than I expected to ship, leaving me with NO paper this weekend to work with! I took advantage of the time, and relaxed, enjoyed the weather, and spent time with my family. It was hard to finally relax since I can't remember the last time I had a weekend off, but I finally got the hang of it halfway through the weekend!

Thanks to my relaxing weekend, I am feeling refreshed and ready to start the week on the right foot! And I am now totally prepared to start cranking out inventory for my upcoming craft show! I chose this week's item based on the cheerful, bright colors. The citrusy colors remind me of a refreshing glass of lemonade on my porch with no worries or cares. Make sure you check out Exotic Flavours shop and see what other lovely items they have available!


Fashion Friday: What the Heck?!

All I have to say about this is....What the heck?!? This ensemble was featured at the Fashion East Menswear Presentation during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 on September 23, 2009 in London, England.

Maybe I am just old-fashioned, but I don't believe Jackie O. would ever approve of this.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Is this statement too much? Does this exceed the boundaries of "art" and "fashion"?


Growing Strong Oaks!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to share with you a custom order I just finished working on for my fellow Sassy Sister in Sales, Brenda! Brenda is the owner of the Greenish Pink blog, and Purely Natural Minerals. Even with all of this on her plate, Brenda will soon be opening Little Acorns Child Care! Not only is this just about the cutest name ever, but I just know Brenda is going to be GREAT for this role!

A couple of weeks ago Brenda asked me if I would create a logo for Little Acorns Child Care. I was so ecstatic to be a part of this opportunity, and Brenda and I immediately began brainstorming ideas! Our first direction was to create a whimsical tree, trying to figure out how to incorporate an acorn into the design. After working out some sketches, and talking about the direction of the company and the logo, Brenda and I came up with the final design, which you can see below!

I'd love to know your thoughts for this logo! Do think it portrays the idea of Little Acorns Child Care?


Wacky Wednesday Interview: Simmons Creek

I am so excited to introduce my first Wacky Wednesday interview! These interviews will ask questions not typical of the crafter's interview, and I hope you are as excited as me to learn more about these amazing crafters and entrepreneurs!

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Lora of Simmons Creek. Lora can also be found at Cooking Concepts and For the Love of Humanity. I have gotten to know Lora over the past few weeks, and I just love Lora's energy and enthusiasm for her products, and was very excited to get to know more about her....

What is you favorite color combination?
I have to admit that my tastes change. Not often, but they do. For the last few years my favorite combination has been lavender, yellow, and blue. I love the 'shabby chic-cottage style' of decorating and am in the process of playing with the style in my own home. We have a 100 year old farmhouse and I think the style suits it well.

What is your favorite drink?
My favorite drink is a Seabreeze. I saw them made on one of the Food Network shows that my hubby and I watch and just had to try them. I was instantly 'hooked'. Very good!

What time do you go to bed and wake up?
I typically wake up at about 1:00 a.m. every morning and go to bed at night around 9:00 or 10:00. Needless to say, I wake up tired most mornings! But I have been doing it for so long now that I can't even imagine what it would be like to sleep 'normally'.

What are the first three things you do when you wake up? Last three before bed?
The first 3 things I do when I wake up is make coffee, turn on my laptop, check my email for orders that have come in during the night. The last 3 things I do before I go to bed is close up the house, go upstairs and write out my to do list, turn on the TV and CRASH!

What is your favorite movie of all time?
My favorite movie of all time is Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. I remember the first time I went to see it with a friend. Had NO CLUE what I was in for. We took our oldest daughters with us. By the end of the movie I was sobbing so hard, makeup running and the daughters just laughed hysterically. I remember people turning around looking at me while I was sobbing! I, of course, bought the movie and have since watched it about 100 times. It is the most beautiful love story ever made. I can't get through Unchained Melody without crying my eyes out. While I used to cry at just the end of the movie, I now start sobbing at the opening credits!

What is the biggest challenge for you in your business?
The biggest challenge of working for yourself is keeping focused. At least for me. There are so many things that scream out to me that need to be done around the house, if I am not locked away in my sewing room, I get sidetracked! I have to admit that I am getting much better but I still have a ways to go.

Tell us a little bit about how you manage your time.
Time Management has always been an issue for me. I am quite the list-maker so I always work off of it. I jot down everything I need to do the next day and prioritize them A B or C. I make sure I get all the A's done, and some of the B's. If my list is short, I may get to the C's but if not, they go on the next day. I do strive to make the most of my time, sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't, but I try really hard not to beat myself up over it. I think it's counterproductive.

What is the best part about selling online?
The best part about selling online is the people you meet. The internet makes the world a much smaller place. I have met some amazing people online and have many wonderful friendships with people I have never met in person.

Thank you so much for giving us a peek into your life, Lora! Hmm, I think I am going to have to try that Seabreeze now....


Tuesday Treasury: Organization

I've been on an organization kick lately with the holidays quickly approaching. I find being overly organized makes the holiday rush much smoother. This week, I chose to feature some of my favorite organizational products. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do, and take some time to visit these lovely shops!

1. The Natural Hand - I just love the sleek look of this gorgeous rosewood box! And this would be perfect for the little knick-knacks I have lying around that I just cannot seem to find a home for.
2. Little Pink Studio - I just could not resist these adorable luggage-looking boxes. Not only are they perfect for storing my supplies in my studio, but they would look so cute sitting out as well! And the colors are simply irresistible.
3. Jenny N. Design - I admit that I am a sucker for a great bag. This bag is the perfect size for holding all my necessary items and a sketchbook for those spur of the moment ideas! And the color is absolutely gorgeous!
4. Raven X - I've had my eye on these cute sewer's wall hangings for quite a while now. While I am, by no means, a professional sewer, I do enjoy sewing, and know that these would spark my creativity - even if I am a paper crafter!
5. Julie Meyer - Talk about cleaning in style! I would happily clean if it meant I got to wear these adorable gloves! And in a variety of colors, there's a pair for everyone!
6. Brooklyn Bookbinder - I just love these accordian-fold calendars. They are compact enough to fit in any bag,yet large enough to stay up-to-date with your current and upcoming events!
7. Sara Schalliol - I've also had my eye on this jewelry stand for quite a while. It is very well made and comes in a cheerful bright pink. What's not to love?! I could even use it to house my ribbons and embellishments in my studio!
8. Joosy Card Co. - I've always loved this shop - and I certainly love the playfulness of Joosy Card Co.'s patterned clipboards. These are perfect for keeping your current paperwork together, or using at a craft show!
9. If N Books - Last, and certainly not least, I have always loved this cancerpants journal. Not only is it a perfect resource for housing all your ideas, but $1 from each sale goes to a cancer-related organization!

I hope you enjoy each of these just as much as I do! Have an idea for a future treasury you'd like me to feature? Feel free to let me know, and I will add it to a future list!



Moody Monday: Longing

How is it Monday already after a, not one, not two, not even three day weekend, but a four day weekend! The freedom of the weekends seems to go by so fast, no matter how long they are! However, I do have some exciting things in store for this week. For one, I am beginning all my new features that I am just so excited about! If you haven't heard about them yet, you can read a brief description of each of those features here. I am also in full swing with creating holiday items, and am almost done with my holiday line of stationery!

That brings me to my Moody Monday. Today I am certainly longing for the four day weekend back! I think this stunning watercolor by krscutie421 perfectly portrays the longing I am feeling. The pink in her hair portrays a cheerfulness, however, indicating my excitement to finalize my holiday line and begin my weekly features!

Let me know what you think about today's moody item! How are you feeling today?


Dear Etsy...

Dear Etsy,

It would be super if us sellers could schedule delayed listings. Kind of like blog posts. That would be absolutely fantastic.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Etsy seller who doesn't have enough time in the day!

Destination: Organization

I spent almost all day organizing my workspace. It has been screaming at me for months, and I finally just had to muster up the courage to get it done. It was taking so long that I almost quit halfway through, but I just kept on truckin'. Thank goodness I did because I feel so much better now!

It's not exactly the way I'd like it to look, but I need some more shelving before it will be exactly right.

But, first, here is how it looked before Destination: Organization!

And here are the lovely 'after' photos:

That ribbon shelf needs to be hung, but other than that I think it's as close to complete as it can get until I get more shelves! I can't believe I can actually sit on the bed now! WOW, is this going to be a great start to my week!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week and is geared up for my new features that will begin running tomorrow!



Happy Friday to Me!!!

We all know Fridays are fabulous. There is something so great about being so close to the weekend we can taste it - even if we work at home! It's nice knowing the whole family will be around, we can come and go as we please, and leisurely complete our tasks.

Today, my Friday consisted of a full day of Spartafest 2009 where I was a vendor at the Spartafest Craft Show! Not only was it (and will be again tomorrow!) so much fun, but I've met some incredible Etsy sellers, including Ella Scott Jewels.

To top the great day off, as soon as I left the show for the evening, I got word that I was accepted as a vendor for the Richmond Handmade Holiday Craft Show 2009 in December! Talk about excitement! This was my first year applying to the juried show, and they received three times as many applications as booths they have, so what an honor to be accepted! I'll certainly be working very hard on the show, and will keep ya'll posted along the way!

I hope everyone had an equally as cheerful Friday and an even better weekend!



Collaborative Art: An Inspiration Story

Below you will find an article I wrote for Handmade News about collaborative art, and how you can use it to find inspiration and expand your creativity. Take a look at my friend and fellow Sassy Sister, Kattia's blog feature on how my article inspired her to think about collaborative art in a completely different way than I had originally thought about it! How fun to see all the inspiration and ideas that come from collaborating with one another!

Do you have an inspiring story about how collaboration has helped you expand your thinking? I'd love to hear it!


Collaborative art is probably something all artists and crafters use in their daily creations, whether we know it or not. Not only is it a technique we use subconsciously, but it is a great tool to use when the creative juices aren't flowing so well, or you've hit a creative wall. Using collaborative art techniques purposefully is a great way to expand your creativity and think outside the box (as us artists so love to do!).

Below you will find a loose guide for beginning your journey with collaborative art. Remember, though, this is your creation, so if it doesn't go exactly step by step, then, well, you've probably created a better piece of work because of it! Have fun and be inventive!

yaelfran.jpgStep 1: Brainstorm! As with beginning any new project, quality brainstorming is a must to achieve quality results. This doesn't mean you must sit down at a specific time and start brainstorming; ideas can come to you at any time. For instance, I typically get my "lightbulb" ideas when I am driving. I make a mental note of all my ideas and keep a pen and scratch pad in my purse so that as soon as I arrive at my destination, I can jot down the ideas I had on my drive.

Step 2: Enlist friends and family. This is where the collaboration part of the creation begins. Once you have developed an idea that you are happy with and would like to create from, begin discussing your idea with friends and family members. Tell them your idea and, most likely, they will begin to chime in with their two cents. If not, ask them what their thoughts are! They may be thinking something completely different from the direction you plan on taking your creation in, which in turn will expand your creativity and way of thinking! Be sure to take comprehensive notes from each person you discuss the project with so you remember what was discussed when you are on your own with your creation again.

Step 3: Consider their ideas. Now that you have developed an ongoing list of ideas from outsiders, begin thinking about how they would fit into your creation. This is where you will start melding your bright idea with their outsider eyes. If you feel like it's necessary, you can always go back and discuss the new, collaborative idea with them again to get an even more in-depth collaborative process.

Step 4: Create your masterpiece! Now that you have developed a cohesive idea through notes, sketches, and discussions, it is time to put your talent to work creating that masterpiece! You are the ultimate artist, but along the way, you have received insightful guidance and ideas from those individuals you care for, making thing creation that much more meaningful. Be sure to share your final creation with all those involved so they can see just how their ideas played into your final piece!

As you see, there are many opportunities for variety within this technique. The process can take as long as you'd like. You could do a quick piece that only takes a couple of days, or you could do a year-long piece where you get much more insight from a broader range of individuals. Remember that it is your creation, and you have a world of possibilities lying in front of you from your discussions with other individuals. Even the way you perceive your notes when you get home an hour, a day, or a week down the road becomes something completely new!

Most importantly, take time to enjoy the collaboration process. Get those closest to you involved, and make sure they understand what you are doing so they can enjoy the process right along with you! Have fun!

Photo courtesy of Yael Fran.


Changes Are Coming!

Hey ya'll! I'm so sorry I've been MIA lately - I've been a busy bee! Craft shows and holiday stationery have kept me on my toes the past couple of weeks! You'll see I've posted a piece from my holiday line! But, don't think I haven't had a few tricks up my sleeve. I have some major changes coming to my blog that I wanted to give you a sneak peek at! Below you will find a weekly schedule of material that will begin next week. As always, I'd love your feedback, comments, and questions if you have any!

MONDAY: Moody Monday - On Mondays I will feature a handmade from an online venue that will express how my week is starting out! If you know of any handmade items (or your own!) that would be a great "moody" feature, leave a link in the comments, and I just may use it if the mood strikes!

TUESDAY: Tuesday Treasures - Tuesdays I will feature either an Etsy treasury that I am currently loving, or items I've found on my own that will create my own treasury!

WEDNESDAY: Wacky Wednesday - I am most excited about my upcoming Wednesday features! Each Wednesday I will feature an interview from an artisan or entrepreneur. The fun part, however, is that these artisans and entrepreneurs will be answering unconventional questions, so hopefully you will learn something new, gain inspiration, and expand your creativity!

FRIDAY: Fridays will be all about fashion. I am obsessed with all things fashion, so I will be featuring some items I am eyeing, or gather your opinions on certain trends, topics, and the like. If it has to do with fashion, it will be here!

Like I said, I would love to hear your feedback! If you think I can expand on one of these ideas, or are simply not even interested in seeing them, please let me know! I am looking forward to bringing these fun features to my blog and really hope you will get involved and throw your thoughts and comments out there!

Thanks ya'll!



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