Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Art is for Everyone

I have share these two videos that were recently shared with me.

The first is in regards to the idea of "Play," and that it isn't just for children. I feel that often times art is deemed as child's play when it is necessary for everyone to partake in.

The second is about the need for a paradigm shift in our educational system. Arts and creativity are constantly pushed down to the bottom of the stack and it is time our society leveled the playing field.

I would love to hear what you think about either of these videos. Keep making art and keep making it a part of our world.

Happy creating!

Wednesday Item Feature: Small heart, big love

The heart, a symbol with so much meaning, is usually simplified into one shape and one color. From Valentine's Day cards to decks of playing cards, this stylized shape is universally recognized as an expression of love, holding a range of emotions. However, the actual organ inside our bodies looks nothing like this simple shape. Our blood-pumping, fist-sized organ is such a detailed thing that rests inside our chests, with valves and veins wrapped around embracing the busy organ. I've noticed more and more artists crafting items and products trying to recreate the love emotion with a more realistic heart than what you would typically spot on a greeting card at the store or in an email. Then, I spotted a heart that I deemed "cute" because it was small and delicate.

Prima Cristofolo (also known as RanunculusMarket on Etsy) from Oakland translates her deep love for the natural world and the complex beauty of the human body into a whimsical world of crepe paper and fabric. Her semi-anatomically-correct model of the human heart measures one-inch wide and fits snugly cupped in the palm of your hand. Crafted carefully from red and pink crepe paper, this little heart includes ventricles, a right and left atrium, the aorta, and vena cava, as well as veins delicately placed and made from embroidery floss.

Made to order, these little hearts don't take a lifetime or even nine months to create but only three weeks. If you're in a hurry to confess your love and give your heart to someone, be patient. Order with plenty of time! Remember, wise men say only fools rush in. Not just for med school students falling in love with their classmates or those with significant others that are doctors or surgeons, these little hearts are definitely little treasures to keep or gift as a symbol; they are cute and beautiful at the same time in their own way. Though small, they carry a huge meaning and lots and lots of love.

Check out RanunculusMarket's listing on Etsy now: Crepe Paper Heart!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pricing: The Tale of Two Artists

For this month's post, I spoke to two artists. One just starting out. One firmly established. I asked them to pick two of their favorite pieces and explain how they priced them.

The Newbie: Jungshih Wang
Jungshih can't really say when she started making stuff but she's been getting more visibility lately. She had her first public exhibit at the Nucleus Gallery in the Mission just a few months ago.

Evil Teddy
A felt teddy with it's guts hanging out. Not the kind we're used to, yeah?

Price: $666

Jungshih's Pricing Tale:
"If I were to sell this piece at a gallery, I would make price a part of the concept. 666 represents evil. If I were to sell smaller mass produced replicas, at say, Anthropologie, I would look at how other artists are pricing their dolls at retail price. I would ask myself if i would buy my doll at that price. Then ask my friends if they would buy that at that price. Of course, as I get famous, I'll start raising prices. LOL."

The Veteran: Guy Overfelt Guy's work has been exhibited at SFMOMA, Evergold, Somarts and most galleries in San Francisco. He uses mixed media techniques (some which involve tasering himself, or restoring a totalled car for some of his pieces)

Burnout on Linen
Abstract landscapes made by tire marks. Linen was placed under the tires of a restored vintage Mustang.

PRICE: $8000

Guy's Pricing Tale:
"I asked my mom. She looked at the SIZE and says what's size have to with anything. Next TIME and says time? What is time? Next COST what's the cost of cost? And lastly COMPARISON and says we're all unique so there is no comparison. Then I came up with a number keeping in mind people like consistency in prices whether it's milk, gas or art."

Two perspectives. Wildly differing. Guy's explanation sounds cryptic but maybe that's the message, when it comes to pricing, there is no straight answer.

This is a monthly post on the touchiest of all subjects, pricing! See you again in September.


Wednesday Item Feature: Need a lift?

Butterflies are so light and pure; they can be such a beautiful aspect of nature. Their fluttering wings are constantly a symbol of love, when we try to describe that feeling of happiness, a natural high, and longing for someone else. There is a Japanese superstition that notes if a butterfly comes into your room and lands behind a bamboo screen, the person who you love the most is coming to see you. Some people also say that when a butterfly lands on you, it means good luck. When you're not feeling those butterflies in your stomach, you could be feeling them on your ears and keep some good luck around!

Heidi Rand (also known as GardenDelightsArts on Etsy) from El Cerrito captures the beauty of butterflies and turns them into lightweight dangle earrings. Both a nature photography and teacher, Heidi uses her original photos and crafts them into her works of art. These beautiful butterfly earrings were made from an image Heidi took of a monarch butterfly she raised herself from egg through metamorphosis. Her love for the monarch was transformed into these earrings and a new batch of monarchs that she continues to raise.

Crafted from lutradur, a spun bonded polyester with a texture than only enhances the monarch butterfly pattern, and measuring roughly around 1.25 inches long, this pair of wings will dangle lightly from your ears and give you a lift whenever you want to add something special to your outfit. The vivid orange of the monarch butterfly would pop in front of dark hair and make those with lighter hair look even more natural. For both the type of girl trying to achieve a natural look and the type that has nights out on the town, these earrings are great for a variety of occasions.

Check out GardenDelightsArts's listing on Etsy now: Monarch butterfly wing earrings - original design on lutradur!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DIY Summertime Fun

I spent the weekend with my family and one of the nights was filled with smiles and laughter as we played a new board game. Summertime is the perfect time to get outside, run around, take a picnic and play games. People tend to travel during the summer as well, and that shouldn't mean you can't take your games with you. Below are a few links to summertime DIY gaming fun. Enjoy!

Bean Bag Toss
Tutorial here.

Summertime Bucket List
Perhaps a little too late for this one this year, but I love the idea of creating a unique "To do list" for the summer.
Tutorial here.

Beach Board Game
Tutorial here.

Your favorite board games on the road.
I LOVE this idea. Take your favorite board games in the car with you. A wonderful idea and an easy to follow tutorial.
Tutorial here.

Happy Creating!
upcycled unlimited

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: Color without crunch

Fall is just around the corner, but the bay area lacks something I experienced for four years in the midwest during my college days: autumn leaves. The bay area has three seasons — spring, summer, and winter — with a long transition between summer and winter (San Francisco really only has two seasons: hot and cold). Leaves turn brown, fall to the ground, and disintegrate in the wind and under passing shoes. Experiencing a "real" autumn is beautiful and inspirational: the golden rays of the sun adding depth to the warm hues of the yellow, orange, and red leaves with specks of green left in some of them lightly falling to the ground and then sweeping them up in big heaps that you can actually jump in with a slight crunch but without destroying the leaves into fragile crumbs of nature. That's where Dawn (also known asDawnKathrynStudio on Etsy) comes in with her felt fall leaves.

Measuring between 3 to 4 1/2 inches, these cleanly cut leaves will last you all year long if you really love autumn or even just earth tones. Autumn is a season with rich color palettes, and Dawn's set of leaves is no exception. With 12 leaves crafted from eco-friendly felt, you can choose to hang them all on a string or individually around a room or even save them for Christmastime and use them as ornaments for your pine (or plastic) tree! You could also find a bunch of branches, stick them in a pot full of glass beads and hang these pretty felt leaves on the branches and place in the corner of a room or on a coffee table as a center piece. A lot can be done with these leaves, and while you can't rake them into a pile and jump carelessly into it, they'll still give life wherever and however they're used to decorate your surroundings.

With felted greens, golden yellows, rich reds, and browns like milk chocolate, Dawn's leaves are definitely little pieces of happiness to have around the house. These shapely imitations of nature have been stitched up to remind you to open up a window or take a step outside and take in a deep breath of fresh air. Hang them in your window or in your doorways and enjoy a few leaves in your life without them wilting or crumbling in your hand. If you like feathers even more, Dawn has a set of joyfully cute felt feathers in her shop as well!

Check out DawnKathrynStudio's listing on Etsy now: Felt Fall Leaves!

Dawn will also be at this Friday's EBAC Craft Show & Sale in Oakland — come and check out her knit and felt creations!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Locally Made Finds & Food Trucks...August 19th

The East Bay Arts Collective will be getting together a select group of artists for a Trunk Show & Open Studio in Temescal.

This event will be going on during the same time and just a block away from Bites off Broadway http://www.bitesoffbroadwa​ so you can spend your Friday night eating some of the Bay Area's best food truck fare while browsing some amazing handmade utilitarian artwork by east bay artists.

Shop home-wares, jewelry, accessories, paper products, and gifts.
All handmade right here in the East Bay!

Featured artists:
By Lee Design​yleedesign

Meta Light​etalight?ref=pr_shop_more

Dawn Kathryn Studio​awnKathrynstudio

Girl on Bike​irlonbike


Enchanting Stamps​nchantingStamps 

Misfit Yarns​

Mangosteen Jewelry

Kalika Designs​alikadesigns

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Birthday Party Craft Ideas

I know about 3 or more people that are celebrating their birthdays this week. I have been looking around for inspiring crafty birthday gift ideas and birthday party craft ideas. Here are some of my favorite finds.

Make your own birthday candles!

Martha Stewart's Crafts Department has a great tutorial on making your own cookie cutter birthday candles.

Of course you can always make a birthday cake from scratch. But, how about going the extra mile and making a cake your friend, mom, husband, wife, dad, whoever, hasn't seen before?

Like an animated cake.

Or a bacon and eggs cake! Yum.

More cake ideas can be found at

Here are just a few DIY birthday gift ideas. There are a ton out there, so have fun looking and making!

Make your own Sundae Gift Box

I know of a few friends that would LOVE to get one of these boxes for their birthdays. Great idea from Jan Scott over at TipJunkie

Casserole Carrier

For the one that likes to cook and share! Thanks to 2 little Hooligans for the tutorial.

Wheat and Lavender Warmers

This may not make sense right now, but come fall and winter time, a bed and feet warmer will be something everyone will want to have. Find the tutorial on A Spoonful of Sugar Designs.

Do you have any favorite diy birthday presents or birthday party crafts that you want to share? Comment below!

Happy Creating
upcycled unlimited

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: Apples can keep you healthy and organized

I missed spring cleaning out of pure procrastination, which has brought me to an end-of-summer cleaning mode. I live in a house full of people, so I have to keep my stuff contained in my bedroom. In a room roughly 12' x 10', I have to organize my clothes, hamster, computer table, TV + video games, a bed, couch, my craft table, enough room to practice violin if needed, and actually keep my books on my bookshelf. Organizing needs to be simple and efficient or else I'd go crazy and I wouldn't be able to walk around or do anything in my room. That's where storage containers come in. Bubblesandboo on Etsy offers alternatives to plastic storage bins: cute fabric storage containers made with Japanese cotton.

I have a couple cheap, stiff fabric storage bins for my clothes from my old college days stuffed away in my closet. But as I collect and hoard more and more items from craft stuff to small pet toys to candies in my room, I need to stay organized. What I like about fabric storage containers compared to plastic bins or even department store shopping bags (which I usually default to for stuffing fabric scraps laying around or stationery sets on my desk) is that they are flexible and won't rip and if you drop them, they don't make much of a clash on a hard wood floor as a plastic bin might. You have to be exact with plastic storage bins, otherwise you'll be scraping plastic and eventually cracking your bins if you're really trying to fit those two bins on a shelf that you swear were supposed to fit exactly in that 3-foot space. Or maybe your toys will fall out of that paper bag you thought was sturdy because it's lasted you a year already and you didn't notice that hole in the bottom left corner.

Bubblesandboo has cutely and brightly colored storage bins for these needs, eliminating some of those previously mentioned frustrations with organizing. Patterned with red, orange, yellow and green apples, her apple flavored bucket is trimmed with orange bias tape, lined with natural cotton duck, and keeps its shape and stability with a layer of fusible fleece interfacing. Measuring approximately 7 inches high by 6 inches deep and 7 inches wide, this storage bin would be perfect for numerous organizational needs: paper that needs to be shredded, fabric scraps, skeins of yarn you need to run through, your bunches of socks in the closet, maybe a few hamster toys and tubes that need to be tucked under a table, your kid's collection of hats and gloves for the upcoming winter, those CD jewel cases in your closet you don't touch anymore but want to keep for sentimental value, and so on. You get the idea.

Great for kids and adults, browse bubblesandboo's fabric storage bins in her shop and get organized!

Check out bubblesandboo's listing on Etsy now: fabric storage container - orange apples!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In their own words.

I love a good art quote. When I need a good dose of inspiration I tend to search out a new good quote to get me going.

Here are a few of my favorites:

A picture is a poem without words.
- Horace

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.
- John Lennon

Henry Moore
image courtesy of

There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it.
- Henry Moore

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
- Scott Adams

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
- Pablo Picasso

O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives.
- Jim Morrison

All art requires courage.
- Anne Tucker

Edgar Degas
image courtesy of

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.
- Edgar Degas

What is your favorite art quote?
Share it in the comments section below.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: Bend it like Bickham

Penmanship is a dying art. Cursive isn't being taught as much in public schools anymore, and I remember reading an article about it a few months ago noting that some kids now are growing up with signatures composed of all capital letters. You can hardly call that a signature. Katy from Moraga (also known as KisforCalligraphy on Etsy) creates paper goods with a special touch: handwriting.

With Katy's beautiful flow of ink on paper, she offers greeting cards, handmade accessories, envelope seals, and stationery sets — a pretty shop for those still in favor of snail mail and penmanship. Handwriting is something that gives that extra feeling of love and attention and is a detail that can really make wedding materials gorgeous and memorable. Katy offers a deal on wedding envelope addressing in her shop for those brides who are wishing they had more time or attention to spend on their invitation envelopes. If your wedding invitations are well designed and worth keeping, don't downplay them by dismissing how and what they're going to be mailed in.

While I haven't been a bride, but only a bridesmaid, and have worked as a designer in the wedding industry for a couple years, I know a little bit of how stressful planning and getting things together can be for that special day. Addressing envelopes to what seems like an endless guest list could take longer than you think, and that's where Katy and her pen comes in. Her lettering style honors George Bickham's penmanship and the popular formal typeface named after the 18th century master penman, Bickham Script. And, as a designer, I have defaulted to this choice many times because it is elegant and legible. It does its job well.

This is no chore or order to be done and made last minute, as Katy will need about 2 weeks after receiving your envelopes (after you place your order request, beginning with a deposit) to get the job done. She will work with you to make sure your envelopes are what you want!

Check out Katy's listing on Etsy now: Calligraphy Wedding Envelope Addressing (deposit)!

And to those of you browsing for wedding needs and seriously considering Katy's services, congratulations! You definitely deserve the best, and Katy's penmanship is something to fall in love with, too!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,