Showing posts from May, 2010

Crafts for your weekend: DIY appliquéd onesies

If you are like me, you feel the need (pressure?) to be the gal who gives that precious, hand-made, unique and colorful baby gift to your new mommy friend. And, if you are really like me, you also feel guilty when you turn to the registry because you can't find the time or instructions on how to produce the aforementioned amazing gift.
Then my friend Carolyn brought light to my life when she shared her latest craft project with me, appliquéd onesies. Before I could gasp, "you should be a fashion designer for Baby Gap," she produced the source for her inspiration – a wonderful DIY craft book for baby things called B is for Baby. I love this book! It's filled with oodles of ideas and templates. To save yourself a second trip after your visit to Amazon or the book store, the supplies you will need for this project are:

Solid-color onesiesFabric scraps in contrasting colors and patterns to onesiesMild detergent, such as Woolite®Cardstock for making the templates (templa…

Favorite Book Cover of the Week - The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain, illustrations by Jim Tierney

I love illustrated book covers. There is something old fashioned yet refreshing about a cover illustration with hand-drawn text to match. I discovered Jim Tierney through a post about his illustrations at the Rifle Paper Co. blog. I thrilled to see more of his work on his portfolio site: Jim is a native Pennsylvanian and studied illustration at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Does anyone know where one can buy this book? I can see the Penguin logo but can't find it online. I suppose I could ask Jim!

photos from Jim Tierney portfolio

Two Trick Pony at the National Stationery Show

At the National Stationery Show I had the pleasure of meeting Carrie and Laurie, the two wonderful ladies behind Two Trick Pony. This Boston-based studio specializes in hand screen printed stationery and invitations. All of their products are made by them and by hand! Their work is absolutely fantastic and I have been a fan for a long time. I was actually a bit star-struck upon meeting them. Here are a few photos of my favorite cards. They have an Etsy store for their cards and a Big Cartel store for their "shindigs." Pictured above: Karly from Oscar + Emma, Carrie, and Laurie.

I love this Vintage Carnival invitation:

And it's the perfect time to buy this card (click to buy):

This one makes me happy since we are about to head off on an exciting vacation to South Africa for the World Cup:
all card photos by Two Trick Pony

The winner of my watercolor "El Toro" print and a link to buy your own

At the arts fest we held a drawing for a print of my watercolor painting, "El Toro."Charis Poon is the lucky winner! Congratulations, Charis! In more news, prints and original paintings of "El Toro" are now for sale at my Etsy store.

As a final wrap up on the arts festival, here is a link to the handmadephilly blog with photos and handmadephilly members' store links. Tomorrow I'm going to revisit the National Stationery Show with a feature on one of my favorite vendors.

The Lettered Set makes its craft fair debut

The Trenton Avenue Arts Festival was a really fun experience! I shared the booth space with a talented jeweler, Malia of Cutecumb3r and was across the aisle from Christina of Momo Trees, an awesome place for handmade bags, clutches, and wallets. The festival visitors came in by the thousands (according to the festival blog, there were about 10,000 people) and it was great to see some familiar faces. Thank you to everyone who came by to say "hello" and buy cards! It was a great success for my first craft fair. It was so exciting to talk to people about my cards and my work and get so much positive feedback. For those of you who entered the giveaway contest for my watercolor bull, we will be announcing the winner tomorrow! Here is a little movie that I put together with pictures and videos from the day.

Trenton Avenue Arts Fest is tomorrow!

Aside from my table sign (my fun Friday night project!) I am all ready for the festival tomorrow. I used this helpful checklist from

-business cards
-credit card accepting things if applicable
-lots of extra change (1$s and coinage)
-Notebook to Sign Up for Mailing List
-photo album of work sold
-prices for everything
-wear my items
-tempting basket of free candy
-other crafter's freebies/promo packs
-bags for people who make purchases (paper, staples?)
-Bring something to work on while you sit behind the booth. Doing your craft on the spot draws in customers.
-Have different levels on your display.
-Bring a CALCULATOR for sale totals
-small plastic bag for trash
-folding chairs
-bring extra lighting
-CLIP ON BACKS and needlenose pliers for jewelry, just in case of requests or repairs
-receipt slips or papers
-tape, paper, pens, scissors
-mirror for jewelry or clothing
-Sign up sheet for mailing list or custom orders
-Writing …

National Stationery Show - sneak peek!

On Tuesday I went to the National Stationery Show in NYC. And what a day it was! I am going to write more about a couple of my favorite booths next week but wanted to give a quick update while it was fresh in my mind. The booths alone were absolutely incredible. It was amazing to see the creative ways that designers incorporated an entire brand motif into the layout. For the stationery itself, I saw some distinct trends, including bold colors, ranging from warm to pop tones, and lots of detailed illustration work. The best part of the experience was that I walked the show with my college friend and stationery design star, Karly Depew of Oscar + Emma Custom Design Studio. Karly started her stationery design career as a custom wedding invitation designer at Paper Source in Boston. After learning everything there is to know about invitation design and production, she started Oscar + Emma. Karly exhibited at the NSS two years ago as she launched her line of letterpress greeting cards. She…

Favorite Book Cover of the Week - Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk

I love Don't Stop the Carnival. If you haven't read it yet, you must add this to your summer reading list. If you live in Philly, I can loan it to you! This is the description from Amazon:
It's every parrothead's dream: to leave behind the rat race of the workaday world and start life all over again amidst the cool breezes, sun-drenched colors, and rum-laced drinks of a tropical paradise.It's the story of Norman Paperman, a New York City press agent who, facing the onset of middle age, runs away to a Caribbean island to reinvent himself as a hotel keeper. (Hilarity and disaster -- of a sort peculiar to the tropics -- ensue.)It's the novel in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such acclaimed and bestselling novels as The Caine Mutiny and War and Remembrance draws on his own experience (Wouk and his family lived for seven years on an island in the sun) to tell a story at once brilliantly comic and deeply moving.I love the simplicity of this cover with its…

Block print cards and craft show prep

This weekend I buckled down and began my preparation for the craft fair next weekend. I made more of my popular block print cards and packed up, labeled, and priced sets of each card design in my inventory. This list from etsy came in really handy! I have a few things left to go - the biggest of which is my table sign - but I think I am in good shape for Saturday.

I won't be online tomorrow  . . .  because I am going to the National Stationery Show in NYC! I am so excited! I'll be back on the blog Thursday with a full report.

Crafts for your weekend: DIY Bird Mobile

Great news for my fellow crafters! I discovered an awesome one-stop-blog for DIY art projects. Angela of Green Submarine has made it her mission to scour the internet for do-it-yourself crafts. She posted this sewing project last week, via Spool in Philadelphia. I was excited to learn that these birds are hand-stitched. I don't own a sewing machine (yet) so this is a project I can tackle at a relatively low cost. This weekend I am busy getting ready for the Trenton Ave Arts Festival but these little birdies are next on my project list. Happy weekend!

Favorite Book Cover of the Week – Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Winter's Tale is a book that is very near and dear to my heart. It’s a fantastical book about true love, time travel, and old New York. Ran introduced this book to me when we first started dating in 2005. I loved it so much that I made an oil painting of one of my favorite scenes—the night when Peter Lake and Beverly Penn meet for the first time. Beverly is asleep on the roof of her family mansion in the Hudson River Valley. Her family has left the house for the holidays and she has stayed behind to rest. She is dying of consumption and she needs to stay out in the cold to keep her fever down. Thinking that no one is home, Peter Lake breaks into the first floor as he attempts to rob the house. My painting shows that moment, just before the love story begins—the windows lit with candles where Peter and Beverly begin their journey to find each other. A side note about the inspiration for the building - I based the exterior on The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

My favo…

Wednesday Workshop - DIY "city skyline" stencil and stamp cards

Here is a cute card that you can mass-produce - by hand! I've been drawing a lot of city skylines for various design jobs and wanted to find a way to use them in my crafting and card projects. Finding inspiration with "The City of Brotherly Love" concept, I decided to combine a heart stamp with a simple line drawing of the Philadelphia skyline. To make it easier on myself, I created a skyline stencil that I can trace over and over again. I also carved a heart stamp using a soft printing block and my linoleum cutter. If you don't already have a linoleum cutter, it's probably cheaper if you just buy a pre-made heart stamp.

Materials used: 
1. Skyline drawing, printed on paper. You can also print a photograph, as long as it is easy to see the outline of the buildings. The width of the skyline print should be similar to the width of the notecard. It doesn't have to be exact but if the skyline is too big, most of your stencil won't fit on the card.
2. Thin ca…

Amazing wine label designs

I love creative wine label designs so it was a real treat to find this post from THECOOLIST via Ball Square Fine Wines facebook post. I love this hand-crafted look from Brazilian design firm LetItGrow. The designers took 100 empty wine bottles, painted them white and then illustrated each bottle by hand. Which one is your favorite?

Illustrated Italy, part 2

Oh my - it's been a month since we got back from Italy and I still haven't shared all of my illustrations from the trip. Here they are! Aside from the cappuccino sketch I did in Siena, I drew all of these at our villa in Castellina in Chianti.

Cheerio! DIY Watercolor cards with hole reinforcement stickers

This is a fun, easy, and fast card project. Just in time for Mother’s Day! I was trying think of things that I could use as stencils from around the house. I was eating breakfast and it came to me – Cheerios! Well, not the cereal, but those hole reinforcement sticker things that we all have lying around in the “everything” drawer. I thought it would be fun to make a card that reads “hi” to fit in with my “Cheerio!” theme. Read on for instructions and photos.

Hole reinforcement stickers
Watercolor paper (this will not work with regular paper as the hole reinforcements will adhere too strongly to the paper and tear it.)
Watercolor paints
Water and paper towels for cleaning and drying brushes in between colors
Artists’ or masking tape
Ruler or pre-cut A6 card for determining masking tape frame dimensions (exact size of an A6 card is 4-5/8” x 6-1/4”)
Paper cutter or scissors
* You can also use watercolor notecards like the ones made by Strathmore. You won't need…

Favorite Book Cover of the Week - The Black Minutes by Martin Solares

The Black Minutes is a phantasmagorical murder mystery set in the fictional Mexican port city of Paracuán. The cover has a lot going on but it all fits perfectly with the story inside. It's dreamlike and nightmarish at the same time, all woven together in a colorful Mexican tapestry.