Tuesday, November 29, 2011

cyber monday: 10 etsy shops i love and support

Happy Cyber Monday! My holiday sale is still going strong over in my Etsy shop. In addition to selling my artwork on Etsy, I've also bought a lot of beautiful handmade things for our apartment, studio, and wardrobe and wanted to share some of my favorites with you. Each of these sellers provided a great buying experience, and I use or wear their products often and recommend them if you're looking for quality holiday gifts (or just to spoil yourself!) 

Obviously I'm biased, but there are so many reasons why buying handmade during the holidays is awesome - for you, your gift recipients, and the craftspeople whose creativity you are supporting. Think about all the beauty you appreciate in the world - you can encourage it by shopping direct from the artists! Many of the artists below are having Cyber Monday promotions and can ship in time for Christmas, so it's worth giving their shop a look today.

I love drinking coffee - it is more of a religious ritual than just a habit - and have a huge obsession with pretty ceramic coffee mugs. The blue one above from Karin Lorenc is my favorite ever and is probably responsible for about 68% of my business' morning productivity. Everything else in her shop is equally as gorgeous and functional, and Karin also makes "incorrect math" mugs that would make a great/funny gift for your favorite teacher.

The first thing I bought from London illustrator Karolin Schnoor was this wolf to hang in my studio; I loved the folk-esque feel and tactile quirkiness of assembling them, but looked through her other work and fell in love with her botanical screen prints too, which are beautifully rendered in soft pastels on an organic-feeling grey cardstock. Karolin's handwritten letterpress cards are gorgeous as well and could easily be framed as artwork after (or instead of) being given with gifts.

I can't share what I purchased from Camille at Red Onion Woodworks just yet, but when it arrived I was floored by how gorgeous and solid her work is. All of ROW's rough-edged serving trays and cutting boards are made from lumber salvaged after storms or industrial logging operations and crafted with a ton of attention to the wood's unique texture and shape - there are burls, marbled patterns and knots galore. Camille also writes this great blog about her life and work in a self-sustaining, off-the-grid cabin in Oregon.

To celebrate getting my first job out of college, I splurged on the Victoria (2nd photo) from Paulina Carcach to bring to work. I'm not into high-end handbags or shoes at all (they'd probably end up covered in paint) but I fell in love with Paulina's structured, layered designs and still feel a little glamorous every time I walk out with my bag. Her work is very high quality and definitely stands out.

Thief & Bandit is unique among Etsy clothing designers because T&B actually screen-prints their own original geometric designs with non-toxic ink onto organic fabric prior to turning it into shirts, scarves and jewelry. They also created the leather feather headband (which then made it onto billboards in Berlin!) which is unique, well-made and one of my favorite accessories that I own. T&B also have a kids line and some of the best customer service I've had the pleasure of dealing with on Etsy.

Untamed Menagerie's fleur de lis earrings (middle) arrived very fast for made-to-order jewelry. Everything in Nikki and Penny's shop is not only unique but affordable as well. Their handmade, vintage-inspired silhouettes range from simple to dramatic and are a perfect balance between whimsical and modern.

Did you know that you can buy plants and food on Etsy? Almost all of the succulents in my apartment and studio came from The Succulent Garden, a great little shop that specializes in plant cuttings and terrariums, which are perfect for anyone with a less-than-green thumb because they grow fast and don't need a lot of attention. Daniel can even tells you which plants are safe around dangerously curious kittens and other pets.

Sixth and Main has an eye for capturing beautiful details and angles of everything - from vintage subjects to dramatic landscapes - and a talent for tweaking her photographs to create dreamy and ethereal worlds. I have two lustre prints - Mangia Bene and Al Mio Amore - in my studio and they add a sweet pop of color to my walls. 

Dennis Anderson's Etsy shop had to close for a few days after Black Friday - that's how popular his line of natural/vegan bath and beauty products are! I've bought a few flavors of his whipped soap to treat myself and loved the lip balm that came as a gift... I had Pomegranate balm, but definitely wouldn't mind  trying the "sipping rum" flavor. He also has stuff for dudes as well - Mike loved PBR in college so this soap made a fun stocking stuffer. Luckily you can still shop in his Big Cartel shop.

Texas artist Paula of PaulaArt uses her design and metal-smithing skills to create these gorgeous industrial-rustic vases and candleholders, and more recently recycled wall decor and clocks. I've shared her art a lot recently but that's just because I am so intrigued by her process. The vase I bought from Paula was a thick metal pipe in a striking ocean blue with a little bit of oxidization, and it gives a gorgeous splash of color to the windowsill in front of my work desk.

I hope these recommendations help you find the perfect gift for someone on your list! If you've found the perfect gift or had a great shopping experience on Etsy please do share it in the comments below :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


my desk Package
The windowsill at my work desk... my own painting, a mason jar of tools and some flowers from Mike in an industrial pipe vase by Paula Art. Another recent Etsy purchase from the lovely Geninne
sketchbook sketchbookRevisiting the sketchbook from my summer road trip through the Appalachians.
Experimenting with trifold pages and little hidden photo flaps... I'll share more of this soon.
chubby boots Bike
The newest addition to our family... 12 week old Chubby Boots.
Interests: sleeping and riding bikes.
New This very large 40" x 30" commissioned painting is slowly taking shape :)Starting the largest commissioned work I have done yet... it is very intimidating at first.
What to do with a huge blank canvas? But it's coming along beautifully.
words Gym
Some script words in the commissioned piece... so much fun.
My gym has motivational sayings painted on the walls... this one is my favorite :)
mike's parents' house... horse
Back in Mike's hometown for Thanksgiving... his parents' house is full of interesting old antique things.
We went out to find them a Christmas tree in a rural area of Central Massachusetts... bonus: horses!

Friday, November 25, 2011

giving thanks

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

The last couple weeks have been so, so busy preparing for and beginning the holiday rush... It was really nice to leave Boston for a few days and spend the holiday in Mike's hometown with his family. The only time I've flown back to Seattle for Thanksgiving was my freshman year of college because it's such a long, expensive flight... every other year I've gone to various friends' family gatherings and one year I even went camping in Maine alone... thinking back on those years, I am so thankful to now have another place that feels like "home." Mike's mom put together an incredible family meal and today we found the perfect Christmas tree for their beautiful house, followed by an impromptu pizza picnic at the water reservoir near the tree farm. I guess I'm thankful for picnic-quality weather at the end of November as well.

I'm also so thankful for all of you, and a bit overwhelmed by the last year... sometimes I look around my full studio late at night, or notice a big stack of packages waiting to be mailed, or read someone's response to receiving their new art, and I really do get a little choked up that this is my life now. I am literally living my dream, spending every day doing what I know I am on Earth to do, and experiencing my best life because of all of you and your willingness to share and invite my artwork into your homes.

I am beyond grateful for your support and I hope I can keep creating things that inspire you in return. I hope you enjoy your weekend, and all we have to be thankful for :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

move & learn & eat

I've shared MOVE on my Facebook page before but I wanted to share it again alongside its companions, LEARN and EAT. I can't get enough of these! I get a little choked up and feel so good after watching them... it is so exciting that there is so much in the world to experience.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

inspired by: olaf hajek

Maybe the best way to describe why I love illustrator Olaf Hajek's artwork is because it reminds me of a circus and a vintage botanical encyclopedia and a craaaazy dream all at once. If your taste in art is similar to mine these might blow your mind.

(You could also look at these with Lenka's "The Show" playing in the background if you want to ensure full mind-blowing potential.)


His portfolio is so extensive... Hajek has worked on everything from commissions in the New York Times to illustrations for a children's yoga book and has even designed stamps for the British Royal Mail. I would love to be able to afford a print of his artwork... I have no idea how muc710,00 € is in U.S. dollars but it looks like a lot and I'm scared to even find out. If I ever got my hands on one, I'd immediately hang above my bed so it would be the last thing I saw at night and all my dreams would be half this interesting.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

around my studio

Here are some photos from after I finished setting up my sawhorse table and organized my studio a little bit... it doesn't always look this clean when I'm working though :)

into my studio
plants and paints
plants on the windowsill

micron pens, paint tray
micron pens, paint tray
micron pens
lanterns and flower string lights
coffee & breakfast
but then i wonder

Pumpkin muffins and iced coffee have been my standard breakfast over the last few days... the recipe is from Camille over at Wayward Spark.