Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! (Book)

I usually like to make small handmade gifts to give to all the family friends I see around the holidays. After a busy month at work there wasn't much extra time so I went to my parents house empty handed. On Monday morning we were looking through our Christmas cards we had received and I was noticing all the great festive stamps people were using on the envelopes. I thought it would be fun to make more little stamp size books that opened up into Christmas cards. I ran to the local art store and picked up some matte board, an olfa knife and some decorative paper and hammered out a few books. This was the tiny adorable end result:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Literary Carry - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

This Literary Carry contains all the items listed on a first year acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Every student begins their journey with the same set of items.

Monday, November 25, 2013

This Years Reading List

I spent this weekend wrapping up a few outstanding pages in my sketchbooks. One was this ongoing list of all the new books I have read this year. I did some little watercolor thumbnails of the cover of each once I had finished reading it. There's a full list of titles and authors after the jump.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Month of Fear - What Was Your Childhood Fear?

This past weeks challenge for the Month of Fear was to make a piece about our child hood fear. I was pretty spooked by closets when I was little, imagining what could be in different ones. So I decided to make a little book about it.

Month of Fear - Recurring Nightmare

One of the challenges for Month of Fear was to make a piece about your worst recurring nightmare. I am not a big dreamer, so I did mine about the lack of sleep, which for me, is even worse. I get so caught up in my own head, twisting and turning through my thoughts, and it's stressful and exhausting.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Month of Fear - What Lives Under Your Bed?

Our first challenge for the Month of Fear was What Lives Under Your Bed? I went with a variety of different whos and whats, this was my end result.

Worth clicking to check out a larger version.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Butterflies in Progress

Halfway through painting them all, still so much more to go!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Month of Fear!

Just as February was the Month of Love, October is the Month of Fear. This month I will be participating in another monthly challenge, this one centered all around fear! Unlike February, which was a daily challenge, October will be a weekly challenge with each week having a different theme. This week's challenge is What's under your bed?

My post doesn't go up until Friday, but some other wonderful artists have started posting already and their work is intimidatingly incredible.

Visit the challenge blog here:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Just a 'Little' Something

Made some tiny, stamped-sized books for the sake of just making something...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Butterfly in the Sky...or on my Bulletin Board

I feel like every time I put up a new post I am prefacing it with 'it's been a busy _______.' But really, it has been. There's still plenty of art getting produced, just never enough time at the end of the day to put it on the internet. This week I'm going to try and play a little catch up. And it will begin with my most recent project, a butterfly collection.

No that's not mine silly, that's from the Manitoba Museum.

I always have found butterfly collections beautiful but also a bit morbid cause those are dead butterflies. And I never knew, did they kill them just to pin them up? Because that doesn't seem quite right to me. So I decided to make a vegan cruelty-free butterfly collection. I have drawn many pages of butterflies and know am on to the painting process. Once they are all done I will cut them out and pin them into a shadow box or frame.

Here's a few sketches...


All the tape is there because I would draw one side of the butterfly and then trace it on tracing paper and just flip it over, cause symmetry's a pain.

Monday, August 26, 2013

After Some Hiatus

I know, it's been awhile. Ever since I got back from London I have been putting in some extra hours at work covering for someone on a brief leave. It's nice to pad the bank account during a quiet summer but it was a busy and stressful position. Also, the project I have been working on since returning from London was gift and had to be kept off the internet until it was ended up on the doorstep of the recipient. Which it now has! So I can post these pictures of it, hooray!

The book was a gift for our host in London. The cover is made of strips from pamphlets from the various museums, gardens and historic homes we visited. Inside the are pictures from the trip and drawings of things we saw in our various explorations, which were all done digitally. In the back is an envelope lined with a London tube map and it's filled with more pictures, recipes from dinners we made and more.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day #6&8: William Morris & the Arts and Crafts Movement

The Arts & Crafts movement was a design movement that arose in the second half of the 1800’s. In response to the aggressive expansion of industry and shoddiness of mass produced items, artists of the movement sought to return to hand produced crafts. William Morris became the leader of the group with the establishment of his business Morris & Co, which produced many handmade textiles, wallpapers, and furniture, as well as his Kelmscott Press printing company.

A very strong underlying theme in our trip was the Arts & Crafts movement, we visited lots of relevant sites and it somehow managed to sneak into unsuspecting places as well. So obviously the first stop on our Arts & Crafts tour had to be the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. This we followed up later with another walk along the Thames past the original home of the Kelmscott Press in Hammersmith and on to the home of Emery Walker, the immaculately preserved Arts & Crafts home of a printer who worked with Morris.

  Along the River Thames in Hammersmith

Read more about the stops on our Arts & Crafts tour after the jump...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day #5: Kew Gardens

While gardens and plants are a major source of inspiration for artists and designers I will try and keep my slideshow of pictures of plants to a minimum, though my unfortunate boyfriend will not be as lucky as the rest of you. But, I mostly want to focus on the piece of art we found there.

My mother and her grade school friend, our wonderful host, both love gardens and are avid gardeners so it only made sense we would end up in a garden eventually. But Kew, the Royal Botanical Gardens, is an absolutely breathtaking park with an extraordinary variety of plants, trees, greenhouses and gardens (there were even live peacocks just wandering around). 

When we came out of the first huge greenhouse we discovered our (non-vegetative) favorite thing in the park, which was the Rose Garden Tea Party, an installation created by Kirsti Davies & Giles Thaxton which featured a variety of edible plants growing up from china planters all across the table. Depending on where you sat the table and china would inform you what theme you were looking at, such as plants used in fizzy drinks. The beautifully crafted china then labelled the plants and hinted at how the plants were applied to food and beverages.

One of the artists was actually there as we were admiring the table, recoloring the text on the table. She fun to talk to and had a lot to offer about the production of the china. My only complaint would be that I couldn’t buy these for my own table.

Learn more about the incredible process of this creation here:

Day #4&7: The V&A

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is one of my favorite museums I have ever been to. It’s the worlds largest design and decorative arts museum with a collection housing over 4.5 million objects. Oh and did I mention admission is free? Because it is. I love that most of the museum is not just pictures on a wall, instead there are whole galleries dedicated to iron works, mosaics, theater design, stained glass, jewelry and so much more. We had visited the V&A on our last trip to London and realized we hadn’t even scratched the surface of their collection and had to return. We spent most of our time in the Theater & Performance Gallery as well as in their Cast Courts. See more of our favorite pieces after the jump...

Day #1: Eel Pie Island

This time last week I was just getting home from my trip to London! My mother, sister and I went for a summer adventure and spent a little over a week exploring with an old friend of my mother's from grade school who lives there now. The following posts are going to be quite a bit about the things we did there...

In Twickenham, set in the middle of the River Thames is Eel Pie Island. The private island is accessible exclusively by footbridge and is only opened to non-residents on a few rare occasions. The island used to be home to the Eel Pie Island Hotel, which was once famous for performances from many infamous groups such as the Rolling Stones, The Who and David Bowie. The hotel mysteriously burned down in 1967, after which the island became known for being the largest hippie commune in the United Kingdom.

Now Eel Pie Island is mostly home to artists and their eccentric studios. The week we were in London happened to coincide with one of the island’s rare ‘Open Studios’ day and our gracious host took us down along the Thames to see this strange place. 

Read more about our Eel Pie Island adventure after the jump...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Birthday Birds

Not only was Sunday Father's Day, a week ago was my father's birthday so there was quite a bit of dad celebrating to do. For those of you who don't know my father, he is an excellent musician, fantastic furniture maker and quite the technical illustrator. And none of those are even his day job. But his job does intersect with one of his oldest hobbies - birdwatching. So it was a natural choice to make they contents of his birthday card avian.

Here's a lovely sketch.

And the final painting.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life of Pi - Literary Carry

I promised this would go up for Memorial Day weekend and then I spent all week being sick. So I had to play some catch up, so here is my catalog of what Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, found in his lifeboat after a shipwreck.

Definitely click to view larger...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Make It Yourself: Clean or Dirty Indicator

If you live with three other roommates like I do and sometimes you find it's hard to keep up on running that dishwasher, have I got something for you:
 This lovely dirty or clean indicator!

We use ours to remind each other, 'Hey, there are some dirty dishes in here, load it up and run it.' or 'Look these dishes are clean, maybe I should put them back in their cabinets.' It's at eye level on our cabinets above the dishwasher.

I bet you are wondering, 'How can I have one of those for myself?' Well, let me tell you: by using this template and following these wonderfully easy steps put together by yours truly. Read after the jump for my full tutorial and printable template.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maddie on Things!

Last week my roommate and I went to the Brookline Booksmith to see Theron Humphrey and his infamous dog Maddie presenting their book Maddie On Things. If you are not familiar with Maddie and her special talent, stop reading right now and head over to their website:


I really didn't know what to expect, a reading? A signing? It ended up being a delightful artist lecture, listening to Theron talk about his work, Maddie and beyond.

Not only is Maddie an incredible subject, Theron is a great photographer. His work is so much about telling stories and his passion is abundant. His most recent project, Why We Rescue, tells the photographic stories of rescue dogs and their families. He is so invested in sharing these stories and encouraging the creativity of everyone he speaks to. It was an wonderful event, and if they are coming to your city you should definitely make the time to fit them in. 

Not to disappoint, midway through Theron's slideshow Maddie hopped up on a thing:

Photo by Caley Mahoney

My Father's Dragon - Literary Carry

One of my favorite books growing up was My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett with illustrations by Ruth Chrisman Gannett. This is just a little painting I did the other day cataloging all the things Elmer Elevator took on his adventure to rescue the dragon.

Definitely click to view larger...

I liked the idea quite a bit, it was fun to see all laid out what the contents of his backpack were. So now I am working on another painting of all the the things Pi found in his lifeboat in Life of Pi which should go up this weekend.

These are some of the beautiful original illustrations, done in grease crayon on a grained paper.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Flowers, Plants, and Leaves

Lately I have been trying to work on some designs for patterns, though I can't say I am progressing forward very quickly. Basically just been sketching bunches of flowers, plants and leaves. So here are just some drawings that will hopefully become something later...


Friday, May 10, 2013

Let's Shop Some Independent Artists

Recently I have adopted a new shopping vice. Before it was mostly books. I buy books like women are stereotypically supposed to buy shoes. But really, can I complain? There are worse vices, worse expenditures. I could be buying porcelain baby dolls...or drugs. My new vice is also really quite harmless but super

Not in the framed landscapes, silent auction sort of way. But thanks to Etsy and craft fairs I can get doses of little pieces of affordable art (or crafts). Some recent additions include:

Laura Berger's Feel Better Now Zine, $10
Image from Laura's Etsy
 And boy, did it ever work. I was having a pretty rotten week last week. The USB port on my tablet was broken (solution acquired though!) and my seltzer machine, light of my beverage life, was on the fritz. All my accessories were failing and I was cranky. Then I opened my mail box and found my package containing this adorable zine. How can you stay upset with images such as these:

 You can visit Laura's Etsy shop here:

Okay, so that one was kinda cheating, it's still a book but the next one isn't, promise:

Owl Rattle from Free Ramblin' Folk, $18
Massachusetts College of Art and Design hosts a spring sale every year offering a variety of work from students and alumni with a percentage of  proceeds going the artists and the rest to student scholarships. In all my years as a student, alumni and staff member I have never purchased anything from the sale, till I saw these fine fellows by Fashion alum, Katie Cavacco. I didn't actually realize it was a rattle until I picked it up to bring to the cash register, but I still don't think I would actually let a child sully his wise facade constructed of upcycled felted wool sweaters. He will be the guardian of my books. 

See more in Katie's Etsy shop, here:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Finding Design in Brooklyn...

Like that's hard, pshaw! It seems like every other store in Brooklyn sells fantastically designed (if not slightly overpriced) knick-knacks, stationary, and kitchen products. But here's a round up of some of the cool things I purchased on trip to New York last weekend.

First, every time I am in New York, I always end up in used book stores. Do I need more books? No. Do we lack used book stores in Boston? No. Do I always end up buying more while I'm there? YES. One of our first stops on our walking trip of what felt like all of Brooklyn was P.S. Bookshop in Dumbo. I ended buying a cheap copy of The Road which should be my next read, and I also picked up a few of these:
Decomposition Notebooks - Pocket Sized by Michael Roger Press, made of 100% recycled post-consumer waste, printed with soy ink, etc. etc. And even without the green appeal, they have the best designs ever on their covers. I picked up the ones above, a honeycomb and typographic map. More of their products can be seen here:

Second stop ended in a complete impulse buy of these great postcards I saw in the window of a baby store:
 I had seen these terrarium postcards by Quill & Fox online before and I thought they would be perfect to send to my mom, who loves postcards & terrariums (two birds-one stone). They had always lived on my online wish list till I picked them up in store. You can see more of their adorable stationary at:

Then we went to Williamsburg,  where all of the quirky things live. We visited yet another used book store, Book Thug Nation, a tiny space with an excellent stack of old mysteries and noirs. I picked up an old copy of Agatha Christie's An Overdose of Murder for $4. I loved the skulls on the cover.

One of our final stops was the Brooklyn Art House, home of the Sketchbook Project, which if you have never heard of is the contribution of sketchbooks by artists all over the world, compiled into an incredible traveling show. I wanted to live in this room, surrounded by all these incredible books:
You can pick a theme and the library will randomly pull two or three sketchbooks meeting the criteria of your search which you can then sit and go through at your leisure. Learn more about the project and their Brooklyn Library here:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Traveling Across These 50 United States

I was inspired over the weekend by this awesome map I found Etsy, made by Ello There Wedding Invitations & Print Shop run and created by Maddy & Seth Lucas:

I loved their map to help you track which of the national parks you've been to across the United States. I wanted to make my own map of places I had been around the country, so I tooled around in my sketchbook and came up with this:

Probably worth looking at big.

Visit Maddy & Seth's blog here: 
And their Etsy shop here:  

Book Restoration

A few days ago I was having a lazy weekend and I was trying to find something to make the weekend more interesting, a project to keep my hands busy. So I found an old book on the shelf that I have been meaning to rebind for ages. It's a copy of Grimms' Fairy Tales that I bought at a library forever ago that fell out of it's cover. I realized that before I bound the book and lost the end sheets I had to scan them in and maybe print them out to use again.I thought I would share them here because they are darling:

Here's the cover, I love the debossing and I want 
to use the font again on its new cover.

I feel like these end sheets are a bit too cheery for Grimms.

The inscription on the inside cover reads: Happy Birthday to David from daddy & Mother.  I'm not sure when the book was printed by the inscription is dated July 15, 1940. So it's a bit old. It's a little bizarre owning a book that was given to someone as a gift over 70 years ago, but I like knowing it has a history.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Birthday Banner Book-Card

I love love love making people cards. Birthdays, holidays, valentines, thank you cards, I love them all. You may not know this about me because I usually don't take pictures of them before I send them out, but this time I did. I was inspired to make these based on those birthday banners people hang on the wall at parties, the ones like this:

So I took that idea and I wanted to make a banner that you could hang that would say 'Happy Birthday' but at the end of the week when the festivities are over you could take it down and fold back into a book. Here was what I came up with:

And here is another one, just with different colors and a bit bigger (the first one measures 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches) this one is about 2 x 2.

 just went to Micheal's and bought about 10 rolls of ribbon so I expect to pretty crazy with making a bunch of these in all different colors and styles.