Showing posts from January, 2010

Loving the Mikey Burton Thesis Project

I am in awe of these gorgeous cover designs by Philadelphia designer Mikey Burton. He summarizes the set as "An integrated branding campaign based around the illustrative reinterpretation of classic book covers directed toward junior-high-school students." To see more photos, visit his Flickr page here. (thank you Robert Allen for sharing this story with me!)

My cards were featured on the i heart handmade blog!

I'm so excited that i heart handmade picked my Candy Sweet Valentines as a featured item on their blog yesterday.  It's so fun to see my cards in the www! Thanks, i heart handmade!

Los Banditos Jalapeños

My husband, the writer, has just completed his latest short story, La Historia de los Banditos Jalapeños. It's spicy a tale of magic and imagination, and three brothers who inspire faith in a small Mexican town burdened with sadness and dispair. Although the idea began as a children's book, it developed into a story for all ages as it touches on the dark history of the "The Disappeared" of South America in the 1970's. The finished book will include about 15 illustrations. We're hoping to have it done within the next year. Here are a few teaser paragraphs along with the very first portrait of Eduardo, Oscar, and Gabriel. I painted this with oil on a wood board. Please leave a comment if you'd like to read more and I will email you a copy of the manuscript.

On the day the Banditos Jalapeños were exiled, the children wept and no music was played.  The children believed they would never forget that day and that the sadness would keep their imaginings of it ali…

Awesome new handscript font at

It's eerie how much this looks like my handwriting. Suomi Hand Script OT

About the author: Finland’s Tomi Haaparanta joins FontShop with a remarkable font that simulates everyday handwriting better than any we’ve seen. It accomplishes the feat not with hi-tech OpenType magic but with hundreds ofligatures, connecting pairs and trios of letters the way most of us do when we write. Suomi Hand Script strikes a balance between legibility and authenticity, readable at nearly any size because it demonstrates the natural rhythm and contrast made by the human hand.

Ben Franklin's Printing Office

Ran and I stepped back in time this weekend and took a tour of Ben Franklin's Print Shop and Bindery. Whether you are a local or tourist, I highly recommend experiencing this incredible display of printing history.

Applying the ink.

Placing the paper.

Pressing the paper onto the blocks of type.

The finished product! Anyone up for an episode of John Adams?

Blog Design and Photoshop Collage Art

Here's a peek into my "digital crafting": blog banners and buttons, oh my! I created the banner on my site (of course) but I also designed the blog banners for and Take a look and, while you're at it, follow these blogs!

Maira Kalman: Various Illustrations (of a Crazy World) at the Institute of Contemporary Art

This week I had a chance to stop into one of my favorite (and free!) museums in the city: the Institute of Contemporary Art (known as ICA to us locals). I was thrilled to find a wonderful exhibit of Maira Kalman's illustrated works. She is an illustrator, author, and designer best known for her children's books and work with the New York Times and The New Yorker. I immediately recognized her piece, "New Yorkistan," that ran on the cover of the The New Yorker in December, 2001. I'm really looking forward to her lecture at ICA on February 10. For more information about this exhibit and other ICA programs, visit The Maira Kalman exhibit will be on display through June 6.

East Falls Flag (and the dos and don'ts of flag design)

Using the second design that I submitted in the East Falls tee shirt design contest, I created a flag for our front porch. This seventies style design was a bit too retro for the tee of choice but I think it looks nice in flag form. The only problem with this design is that I used text. I needed to order a double-sided flag for the text to print properly on both sides. Double sided = double the cost. A couple of neighbors have asked if I am selling these flags. I'm afraid to tell them how much I paid for this one, and I don't have the capital to get a bunch made at the lower bulk cost on the chance that people buy one. Anyway, this flag will probably be a little ragged by the end of the winter so I will make sure to design my next flag with a reversible design. Stay tuned, Fallsers, for the chance to buy one for your front porch!

East Falls Tee Shirt Design Contest

Every year, my neighborhood in Philadelphia holds a tee shirt design contest. The winning design is sold at the annual bike race, fall arts fair, and at local bars and restaurants. When we moved to East Falls in February of 2009, I was excited to participate in the contest and took my task very seriously. I was even more excited when I found out my design was chosen as the winner. I thought it would be fun to share my design process here. Beginning with a photo session of the Falls Bridge, I captured the best angle for my illustration.

Based on the photo, I sketched the scene and scanned it into Photoshop. Using historic color combinations and one of my favorite fonts, Rosewood, I drafted the design in Illustrator. As a finishing touch, I incorporated the arch shapes of the bridges along the Schuylkill River.

ihearthandmade Valentine's Day Market starts Saturday!

My cards are stocked and ready to ship. The market opens Saturday morning - get there early!

The market will have handmade items in these categories:

baby and  kids
bath and body
candles and home fragrance
home and garden
paper goods (that's me!!)
seasonal goods

Sudestada: my new font purchase from the Sudtipos Collection

If I had unlimited financial resources to put toward the purchase of fonts, I would buy the entire Sudtipos collection. However, until I win the lottery, I will settle for my monthly font fix. Instead of going to the mall, I went to to peruse my favorite classics and new releases. It's always hard to decide which font to buy. Kind of like when I was little and couldn't decide which Barbie doll to get at KB Toys. This time, Sudestada caught my eye. The handwritten style goes really well with the hand-crafted theme of my new designs. I can't wait to start working with this one. Oh wait, I already have!

New Valentine cards are in stock!

I feel like this year started off at a full sprint. I decided last week that I wanted to enter my shop in the "i heart handmade" Valentine market (see "upcoming events" to the right). The market starts ... oh... this week! I quickly gathered my creative juices and started to sketch out a few Valentine ideas. I started with the Candy-Sweet cards last week and today I've added a couple more: Bumble BEE My Valentine and Valentine Flower cards. Thanks to all who have already bought some of my cards! I truly appreciate your business.

Hand-stitched Felt Crafts with Winder and Estefi

My sister- and brother-in-law gave us these really wonderful hand-stitched felt pieces for Christmas. I am amazed to learn that Estefi has only just begun her crafting experience with felt. I can't wait to see what she makes next. Winder created the design for the skull and crossbones ornament (a pirate theme for Ran, of course) and Estefi used a template from her instruction book to make my monogrammed business card holder. A perfect gift for me as I continue to grow my freelance business. Estefi's favorite resource book is Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt. The materials used include a 70% wool and 30% rayon blend felt and embroidery floss.

Fun With Iron-on Transfer Designs

As I mentioned earlier this week, I can finally reveal my super cute Christmas gifts that I made for my family. My nephews are always carrying armfuls of their latest toys so I decided to make customized tote bags for them to hold their treasures. I created the designs in Illustrator and printed them on iron transfer paper using my inkjet printer. I used the iron transfer paper "for dark fabrics" as the tote bags were blue and red.

For Sarah and Frank, I created a special logo for Tallarico Family Brewing and transferred the design onto simple tan tote bags. For these I used transfer paper for "white or light fabrics." Be sure to read the instructions for both kinds of paper very carefully as they ARE different.

It was so easy - I highly recommend using iron transfers to make special fabric gifts! Here is a photo of my satisfied customers!

Watercolor Note Cards

Now that the holidays are over, I can share some of my handmade gift projects with you. One of my gifts to my parents was a watercolor painting of The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass. Dinner at The Red Lion is one of our favorite Christmas traditions. I also printed this image on a set of 8 notecards for a little extra gift. I'll have to remember that these would make nice greeting cards for the holidays next year! Stay tuned later this week for another handmade "reveal."

Candy-Sweet Valentine Cards

This Valentine's Day, skip the last minute trip to the card section of CVS or the even more last minute Hallmark e-card. My Valentine cards are now for sale at my ETSY shop. My hand drawn illustrations of candy hearts, a “sweetie” pie, and a box of chocolates are printed on white folded cards. Each set includes 6 cards, 2 of each illustration, and 6 brightly colored envelopes. The set is wrapped in a resealable cellophane bag and packed in a firm photo mailer. The folded card size is 4.875” x 3.5.” Happy shopping!