Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday Spotlight On: Mona of MonasBox

Okay, so I know it's not Monday.  I've been a little distracted with wedding stuff and the fact that I leave for Florida to get married in less than a week.  I'll be lucky if I even get my Monday interview up next week.  I need to figure out how to write and save these things for later....

This week, I interviewed Mona, an Etsy crafter who stays at home taking care of her children and uses the skills she picked up as a child to make lovely bags and more.  You can visit her shop here.   If you'd like to know who was the winner of March's Giveaway Wednesday, make sure to read all the way to end of this post!

Tell us about yourself, anything you think is worth knowing.
I have been a stay at home Mom since getting laid off 2 years ago, and have used my extra time to my advantage.


What is your medium and how did you get into it?
I learned to sew and make jewelry from my Mom, who was a crafter herself and as I child I always helped her make her product and go to art fairs. Now I make more bags and children's clothes, and have always loved the design aspect of creating. I also love being able to stay home with my 3 year old son while I do this.

Where do you take your inspiration from?
I spent my college years in San Francisco and love being fashion forward. Anything I see that I love gives me the inspiration to work from. I probably get most of my inspiration from my own experience of needs. For example, I make large bags and always use my own bags, but have you ever lost your keys in your bag? I make key chain coin purses and have a custom clip inside my bag to attach them too so I can always find them. Or having a child, I know what is needed in a diaper bag, maybe a changing mat with a pillow padding? Done! 

What is your favorite piece of art you've created and why?
As for a favorite piece, they change so often. One of my first bags is one of my favorites and I used it so much that even after washing, it's too dirty to sell, so I guess I have to keep it.


If you could have one person living/dead own a piece of your art, who would it be and why? 
One person who's style I absolutely love is Zoe Deschanel, and if she was into one of my bags, I would be so happy! Both her and her sister in Bones are very cute in there individuality, yet fashionably forward.
One piece of advice you've picked up along the way that you'd like to share (can be about anything: advertising, finding inspiration, etc). 
Do what you love, and love what you do" and life will be great! 
The winner of March's Giveaway Wednesday for a choice of a notecard set of Sway or Magnolia cards is Susan of www.susanwalkerart.blogspot.com.  Make sure to pop by her blog to congratulate her and check out her lovely illustrations!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stuff I Love

I remember when I stared this blog oh-so-long ago (you know, way back in January), I did a post or two just linking to a few things I really love on Etsy.  I think I will do that again tonight, just for the hell of it.  So, without further ado, some cool stuff I have found recently, with no rhyme or reason.

I have no use for edible ladybugs, but I have fond memories of catching ladybugs in the schoolyard at recess in elementary school and this is so realistic, it's amazing.

If I had found this wedding cake topper sooner, I probably would have ordered it for our wedding.  My fiance is a huge dinosaurs lover and still has a lot of the books on dinos he owned as a child, and I myself had a brief dino obsession when I was about six, between Calico Critters and getting into Barbies.


I loved dollhouses as a kid and still do.  If I had this, I would probably play in it, despite the fact that I am nearly thirty years old.  Also, I think this would be really fun to build.  Will totally be buying this when I have kids.

Huh. I guess this did have a theme after all. Childhood.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Feature Friday: Graphic Design as Premarital Counseling

Ever since we got engaged back in July, one of the few things my fiance wanted to happen in the process of wedding planning was for he and I to design our own invitations.  With him being a graphic designer and me being an artist, it made sense to both of us and we knew it was the most surefire way to bring some of our own taste to the wedding.

Then, as the months passed, we examined our budget and what we really wanted, our wedding got smaller and smaller and smaller.  If you've read any of my previous posts about the wedding (all one or two of them), you know that we are now running off to Florida and getting married in his grandparent's backyard with only closest family and immediate friends.  You could count all of our guests on your fingers and toes.  Of course, with a wedding that small (and fast, as we only decided to do it this way about two months ago), invitations seemed sort of silly to design and print and send out, nixing on of the major things my fiance has wanted.

In spite of this, there were two things I still wanted for our wedding: a guestbook of some sort and a program.   The program is as much for me as for the guests, since I have always been the kind of person to save that sort any sort of paper thing that marks a memory.  I imagine myself, ten years from now, showing the program to our children, telling them about the music we chose, and the fonts.  As for the guest book, I wanted something nontraditional (it always seemed ridiculous to me to have people stand in a line to sign their names) and after some interwebs research came up with the idea of a sort of questionnaire that all of our guest could fill out in their seats, which I can glue into a scrapbook after the wedding, along with one for each of us to fill out at the end of our wedding day, to capture how we felt about everything, before it slips away from us, as moments so often do.

I told Nate my ideas about all these things and he jumped on the idea of designing something immediately. Since we don't really have a theme and, without things like massive bridal parties and a huge reception, our wedding colors have become kind of a moot point, it was free reign from there.  I drew up a sketch of what I wanted on the guest book page, thinking Nate would take it and run with it, my original design looking being little more than scribbles on a piece of printer paper.

I emailed it to him so he could start to brainstorm and within a day he'd come back to me with a rough sketch.  He'd taken my most basic of drawings and made something very workable.  That night we sat down together and started to tweak.  Before a few days ago, I had never designed anything with him, and it was an experience.  He takes any sort of work very seriously and treated me much like a client (if perhaps a problem one). I discovered that he and I have very different design styles that actually work well together, if we compromise.  He likes things to be off-center and sketchy and very bold.  I like things to be very balances and delicate.  We found out really quickly that those aesthetics can work together if two people just communicate, which we did.  By the end of the evening, we had designed this.

Over the next course of the next day, we conferred the same design elements to the bride and groom questionnaire pages and to the program pages.  The programs are not quite finished yet, in matter of assembly only, which my maid of honor and I will be doing tonight.  I will post a picture of them complete, then, but for now, here is one of the inside pages.

Of all the things I've had to do during wedding planning, from location scouting to budget calculations, I have to say, these projects have been one of my favorites, because it's the one wedding related thing we have truly made together.  I recommend that anyone getting married, whether you're a DIY queen or you have an endless amount of cash to blow on your wedding day, should sit down with their future spouse and make at least one thing.  It will give you a good idea of how the two of you are going to work together in the future.  Me and my husband-to-be? We're going to work just fine (and we have excellent design taste, if you ask me).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Spotlight On: Brooke Weeber of TheLittleCanoe

Sorry that this is going up a bit later than usual, guys. With my wedding in less than three weeks, I tend to get a little distracted.  Today, when I should have been posting, I was off with my future mother-in-law helping her pick out a dress to wear to the wedding.

Brooke Weeber is an awesome illustrator I came across in the Etsy Entrepreneurs Team forums.  She draws these amazing images comprised of items that shoudln't seem to go together, but in her art, ultimately fit perfectly.  I also love her work because she works in the same medium I do when I'm not doing linocut printing.  More about Brooke in her own words:

Tell us about yourself, anything you think is worth knowing.
I'm a bicycle commuter, baker and illustrator living in Portland, OR. I've lived here for over 2 years now. Although I'm originally from Oregon, I spent 4 years living in Brooklyn, NY, soaking up the culture and the chaos while attending culinary school. Even though I was able to really thrive there, refining my cake decorating skills (you can see some of my cakes here: http://citybirdcakes.blogspot.com/), I really missed the greenery and the wide open spaces of the Northwest. That's what drew me back to Oregon. Once I arrived here, I finally had the time and energy to put into my passion for illustrating, which I've been concentrating on ever since.

What is your medium and how did you get into it?
My medium is watercolor and ink. I originally got my degree in oil painting from the University of Oregon, but when I moved to New York I was extremely limited by the space I had to work in. Since oils and paint thinners are fairly toxic and difficult to keep clean, I hesitantly switched over to watercolor. They're conveniently small, portable, and easy to tidy up when you're finished. It took me a long time to feel comfortable using watercolor, being so drastically different from oil paints, but eventually, with a lot of practice, I felt right at home, and it really ended up shaping my style. I'd always been a big fan of illustration, and I've drawn with ink pens since I can remember. Now I was finally able to combine the two mediums to make something that I really loved.

Where do you take your inspiration from?
I've always been inspired by other artists. I feel really lucky to have the ease of the internet at my fingertips to direct me to artists from all over the world' one's I would never have met without the help of social/art networking sites like Society6, EtsyFlickrFacebook and Tumblr. I'm finding new artists and new inspiration on a daily basis, which is extremely motivating. Aside from that, on a more personal basis, I draw a lot of artistic influence from Greek and Native American art and pattern, as well as from old textbook illustration that I find on the New York Public Library Digital Archives Website (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm). 

When creating, do you have more "Aha!" moments or do you slowly figure things out? What's your process?  I wouldn't say I have many "Aha!" moments. I rarely go in to a piece with much of a plan. I might have a few basic ideas floating around in my mind, but things often change as they take shape in each painting. Normally, I start drawing something out, then I look around the internet for pictures or patterns, then I go back to the artwork, and so on and so on. There's a lot of erasing involved


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Giveaway Wednesday: Magnolia or Sway Cards

It's that time of the month again...no, the other time, the one people actually like.  It's Giveaway Wednesday.   This time the winner will have the pick of either a set of four of my new magnolia cards (which come in turquoise and orange):

Or a set of my new Sway cards, which come in dark yellow and blue.

The rules are as follows, and are a lot like last month:
1.  Go to my Etsy store here, find your favorite listing and copy the link for it into a comment at the bottom of this post.   Also comment as to whether, if you won, you would prefer Sway or Magnolia cards.
2.  Wait.  This time you have until Monday, March 14th at midnight.  I will announce the winner next Wednesday.
3.  Only one comment per entrant please.
4.  I will once again tally up the number of comments and use a random number generator to determine the winner.  If I cannot contact the winner within 24 hours, I will select another winner the same way. 

Let the commenting begin!

NOTE: I have decided to extend the opportunity to win these cards until NEXT Monday at midnight, so please, send your friends this way!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: Form Meets Function

There are so many beautiful things on Etsy, but let's be honest, not a whole lot of them are needed. You have a hard time justifying the purchase of those pearl earrings or that one-of-a-kind painting.  Well, everything in this treasury is usable.  Bowls for storing and eating, chests and chairs, a rucksack and so much more.  It will be so much easier to convince yourself to buy when you can tell yourself how useful it will be.

'To Have and To Hold Things' by cursiveart

Form meets function in this treasury, with every item capable of storing something, whether it be food, flowers, shoes or you.

Clam Shell Bowl

Chopsticks Noodle Bowl ...

84 inch Veronica floati...

Ben Seibel Iroquois pit...

Consoul (with frame)

Sage green creamer by M...

The Origin Family

Cast Iron Bowl

Propeller Coffee Table

2 Glass Plates in Fuchi...

Black and White Scroll ...

Curved Bay Window Bench

The Rucksack in Cinnamo...

Kart Chair

IN STOCK...Nesting Trio...

Primitive 64 Drawer Apo...

Treasury tool is sponsored by Lazzia.com A/B image testing.