Share Out :: Being Thankful

I’m working on being thankful these days. There was a common status update going around Facebook called “24 Days of Being Thankful”, where everyday up until Thanksgiving folks would post what they are thankful for. It started off really strong with a lot of people doing it, and then 2 weeks in, it dwindled down to just a handful of folks. It’s interesting how easily we can find things to complain about and how hard it can sometimes be to remember all the little things we are thankful for.


This year I am thankful for my amazing family and being able to pursue a creative career that I love. 



I just started reading this book 29 Gifts, How a Month of Giving can Change Your Life, and I am really liking it so far and totally inspired by Cami. So much so that I’m seriously thinking about doing her 29 day challenge.


So tell me, what are you thankful for? 

Share Out :: LIDL Weekly Roundup

Us LIDL Ladies have recently started to take turns publishing a traveling roundup, on each of our blogs, documenting all the awesomeness that we’re up to, and now it’s my turn to post :-) So here are a few updates from some of the ladies that always make me look forward to Mondays Morning!!!

Amelia is gearing up for the holidays!  Visit GoGo Craft at Bazaar Bizaare San Francisco on Sunday, December 4th from 12-5pm for a Create Your Own Avatar Workshop. 

And at Teahouse Art Fair on Sat, December 10th will feature GoGo Craft’s Upcycled Fingerless Gloves Workshop from 12-3pm. 

More details here!!


Stef has been here and there, getting cozy and taking beautiful pictures along the way!!

you can see her work here.


Willo (aka WilloToons) has been enjoying speaking at various events around the country, and is loving working with her consulting clients.

“I feel like I’m so in alignment with the work I want to do: Empowering small business owners and creative entrepreneurs to grow their business with ease and grace.” With a decade of experience under her belt, Willo has been offering Marketing and Social Strategy to small business and startups, and it’s been inspiring to see her so happy doing what she loves, and what comes so naturally to her. It’s what she calls “the sweet spot” – indeed! A few of Willo’s fabulous clients right now include: feistyelle, Studiopatró and Stitch Labs.


Steph has been busy taking care and has been contemplating bigger things like writing that book she’s always wanted to write.

She is more than just the girl that makes crocheted toys for a living. GO Steph GO!!

Cupcakes Anyone!?!

Oh my gosh you guys!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am that my cupcake décor sets will soon be out in the world!! I love the way they turned out :-) Brand Castle did a fantastic job and were totally awesome to work with. Don’t they just make you want to start baking!?!

A little bit more info on how the Ornament Exchange Works

Well, it only took me a handful of tries, but I did it!! Here is my first Videopodcast EVER!!

I’ve been getting a lot of question about how the ornament exchange works. So I thought that a video would be the best way for me to explain all of the details. Besides making a video is one of my goals , so I was able to accomplish two things at once! YAY for multitasking:)  

Hopefully this will explain the details a bit more for those of you that were on the fence. I hope you’ll consider joining me in making some ornaments this year!

You have until midnight on Friday, November 25th to sign up.

Add to Cart

 All the details that you need to know are here.

sketchbook Stories :: Melanie Hall

I had the pleasure of first meeting Melanie at Surtex 2 years ago. She was helping out her friend, who I’m happy to say is now also my friend. :-) Melanie was so sweet and unassuming that I had no idea what an amazing illustrator she was until I got home and was able to look up her work. Melanie has won numerous awards and has illustrated over 30 books. She taught children’s book illustration at Pratt Institute for over ten years and currently she teaches children’s book illustration to graduate students at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. In addition, Melanie teaches creative workshops for Wing and Clover in Rhinebeck and the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, Pa.

In addition, Melanie’s work has been exhibited at the Society of Illustrators in New York and is in the collection of children’s book art at the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay, Ohio. She exhibits her paintings and sculpture at the Back Room Gallery in Beacon, New York. Melanie’s latest venture is art licensing. Surtex 2010 was her debut and she is presently designing Judaica and a home and entertaining line.

Here is Melanie Hall’s Sketchbook Story ::

MH: Mark Twain has said “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.” The focus of my art is not just the outward appearance of things, but the inner life, a depiction of the joy and mystery of life. I illustrate children’s books with spiritual themes as well as folk tales and poetry. I am delighted by the playfulness inherent in day-to-day life, the quirks of synchronicity and the way things often fall into place despite my anxieties. Because I don’t always know what will happen when I combine media in different ways, a piece of my illustration or fine art takes on a life of its own, and often surprises me.

MH: This image of an owl is from my personal work. It is an 8” x 10” acrylic painting on canvas that I’ve always liked. Owls are marvelous birds that fly silently at night. My husband and I often hear them hooting in the woods near our house in upstate New York. It is rare to see them in daylight, so when I do happen to catch a glimpse of one, it is memorable. I always think it’s a good omen. 

MH: In my children’s picturebook Wintersong: A Poem by William Shakespeare (Boyds Mills Press), I’ve “recycled” the owl motif for the verse.“Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-who, Tu-whit, tu-who a merry note.”

  Because the poem is about winter, I drew the owl sitting on a bare branch. The crescent moon is another favorite motif I use again and again. There is a village of Tudor houses in the background. I researched what houses looked like during Shakespeare’s time. These are half-timbered with stucco. I learn something new with every project I work on, that’s one of the most enjoyable aspects of being an illustrator.

MH: The finished piece of art (before type was added) is a collage with mixed media. I like using layers this way: scanning my art and then adding more media. For this illustration I’ve used water-based pastels (my favorite is Caran D’Ache watersoluble crayons) and acrylic paint. I love the rawness of the torn edges, the visible pieces of Scotch tape and the white of the page showing through.


Here’s where you can find Melanie ::

    website ::

    theispot ::



d.i.y. ornament inspiration :: part 2

Here are a few more D.I.Y. How-to Tutorials for Inspiration for those that are thinking about doing this years HandMade Holiday Ornament Exchange. Aren’t they super cute!!

1. partridge birds  2. frozen juice container  3. mini lanterns 

DON’T over think it. It’s suppose to be fun! There’s no reason to stress :) You’ll only need to commit to making 3 ornaments, and you’ll get 3 AWESOME ornaments in return. And remember sometime the simplest ones are the most beautiful!!

So head on over and sign up before it fills up!

You’ll have until midnight on Friday, November 25th to sign up or until the group maxes out. Whichever comes first.

Add to Cart

 All the details that you need to know are here.


Share Out: Marbelous Wood

How amazing is this Marbelous Wood from Snedker Studio in Denmark! They challenged themselves to use wood in an environment, where function and aesthetics reach a sublime level of harmony. And I think they totally accomplished that.

Wouldn’t you just love to have a house with these floors!?!? AMAZING!!!

Gosh it totally makes me want to do a series with this color palette!! So so pretty!!

You can see their process and how they do it here. Totally inspiring!!

Some new Holiday Art!

The holidays are coming!! So what better way to celebrate then to share with you a few new holiday designs.

I call this new series “A Holiday Tradition”.  I’ve been feeling the pull to do some more traditional inspired work. I think it may have something to do with the state of the world and the economy right now.

I’ve been feeling the need to embrace tradition a bit more then I have in past years. And I don’t think it’s just me feeling this way. I think others are also feeling the need to go back to their roots and are embracing those traditions that they hold near and dear to their hearts.I tried something I little different this time and broke out my collection of ephemera. I scanned in a few pieces to use for the background as well as some ribbons and bows I had saved for just the right time.

All and all I’m really happy with the way they all turned out.

If you are interested, they are available for licensing just shoot me an email :-)

sketchbook Stories :: Christina Ortega


I am not exactly sure how Christina and I met, but I’m glad that we did. We were in the same children’s book critique group, that met once a month for a little over 2 years. It was an amazing resource and support group. I think both of us grew from the experience. Christina studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and received her BFA in Traditional Illustration. After graduating Christina has worked on small commissions here and there. She then pursued a career in teaching art at private art schools and taught Figure Drawing, Watercolor, Sculpture, Mosaic, and Cartooning Workshops for various college programs and organizations. Now living in Austin, TX with her two kiddos and hubby, Christina is still a teacher but now Yoga is the subject. 

Here is Christina Ortega’s Sketchbook Story ::

CO: Growing up I loved to draw, paint, color, on anything and everything. When I was four or five I drew a farmyard in my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook and though she was none too pleased at me for ruining her favorite cookbook, she noticed the detail I added to all the critters (eyelashes on the horse, wrinkles on the pig’s nose, etc.) and didn’t admonish me too much. Though my parents weren’t artists themselves, they recognized my interest ran deep and encouraged me in any way they could providing me with paint sets, drawing kits and sketchbooks. My coloring books were meticulously colored page by page (within the lines, of course)  and when I quickly graduated to “paint by numbers” I chucked the directions in favor of my own way of adding color to the mapped out pictures. I am really inspired by N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, and Alphonse Mucha. I have always enjoyed working in watercolor so I’m drawn to Charles Santore’s work as well.


CO: The client wanted a unique t-shirt design based on their concept of a cupid with a banner reading “I Give Great Heart.” They sent me their drawing of what they had in mind. They were going for a classical, antiquated look and sent me some pics of background textures and sculptures to consider.


CO: I looked up some photo references and started sketching some ideas.


CO: I liked the idea of the banner unfurling behind the cupid and also felt a vertical composition would work better for the layout of a t-shirt. I really wasn’t sure how to incorporate the background textures of crumbling walls they sent me and figured it would be difficult to make that texture translate onto a t-shirt so I just focused on the cupid and banner. (BTW: That’s pretty much a nice way of putting, I didn’t like their texture idea and just wanted to work on the fun stuff!) When you’re working with a new client you don’t know very well, it can be difficult to ascertain what their concept encompasses as it’s not always clear. Initially, I try to give them exactly what they described even if I don’t agree with their aesthetics. Then I’ll, respectfully, pitch some of my ideas and maybe they’ll like them or maybe they’ll hate them but at least I gave it a shot. In this case, I became really obsessed with this old school tattoo idea. I didn’t want to go the Ed Hardy route, with bad tattoo overkill, rather, I thought it might look cool if there was this classic cherub figure juxtaposed with a more campy font treatment. 


CO: I changed the composition of the figure to arc to the left, shortened the cupid’s neck to give it a more cherub, youthful quality and added my tattoo font idea to the banner. The client liked it (yay!) and told me to move forward. I scanned my drawing then printed it out at 50% grayscale so I could still see my first drawing. I tightened up the drawing, added more detail to the banner and wings and added a heart under the cupid to anchor the piece (and to give the little guy a place to sit!) 

CO: Once the drawing was in a good place, I took it into Photoshop, added some value contrast, more detail, and finalized the font then sent it in for review. The client changed their minds about the tattoo idea (boo!) and really wanted me to go back to a more elegant, script font. I gave them a version with a stock font but they really wanted me to recreate the font they designed in the first sketch they sent me. Sigh. So I recreated their font in Illustrator, placed it in the banner and sent them a couple of concepts. By this point, they also wanted me to add distress to the heart to see what that looked like. In the meantime, I had figured out a way to add texture into the background without a distressed wall. I found a random script image, modified it and placed it behind the cupid and banner. They really liked that idea!. The distressed heart was thrown out but now the client had really zeroed in on the final design and wanted me to lay out some different compositions on t-shirt templates. To continue the heart and arrow motif, I made some in Illustrator and used them as another background element. Taking into consideration this design would ultimately be worn by a 3-D person (one would hope), I essentially had two compositions to think about: front and back and even the sides, to some extent. 


CO: Surprisingly, the finished product was done on purple and brown t-shirts, instead of black but I really like how they turned out. Unfortunately, the clothing company is no longer in business but at least I have the two t-shirts they sent me with my design on them. 

Here’s where you can find Christina::

   website ::

        blog ::

      email ::

d.i.y. ornament inspiration :: part 1

I can’t believe that the holiday’s are just around the corner and so is the annual HandMade Holiday Ornament Exchange :-)

This time of year always seems to speed up and zip on by. Sometimes it’s nice to have a project or two to slow you down so you can appreciate the now.

Over the next few weeks leading up to The Exchange I’ve pulled together, with the help of my intern Denyss, a few D.I.Y. how-to ornament tutorials. It’s a bit of inspiration to help get those creative juices flowing, and inspire those of you that are on the fence or aren’t quite sure what to make.


 1. citrus holiday  2. fabric scraps  3. rolled paper  

I mean, who doesn’t love getting brown paper packages tied up with string in the mail!? It sure beats the usual assortment of bills and credit card offers that arrive on a daily basis. So, all you artistic and crafty folks, break out those supplies and eggnog :-) Join in the crafty goodness and join me in this years HandMade Holiday Ornament Exchange !!

Don’t be left out in the Cold, join in!

You’ll have until midnight on Friday, November 25th to sign up.

Add to Cart

 All the details that you need to know are here.


Start spreading the word and be part of this years HandMade Holiday Ornament Exchange

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HandMade Holiday Ornament Exchange