Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Woo-Hoo-Ha

Just looking for inspiration in my sketchbooks of yore and found this. I have no idea what I was thinking about here, but it made me smile.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Print: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Race  $20  by Pixel & Post on etsy

I'm super happy to show you a new print! Part of my Friendly Little Reminders Series.

With this image I wanted to explore more hand - drawn textures and play around with hand lettering. I even borrowed a crayon from my kiddo's art table for the tortoise's hair and mouth (shhh- don't mention it). His shell went through about a million iterations before I hit on the one I truly loved. I'm super happy with this one and the direction it is taking things.

In case you were wondering, the salt and pepper shakers at the left are from the awesome Shoshonasnow on etsy. The mini camera on the right was my mom's - it used to have real film in it, one of my favorite possessions from childhood.

Here are some detail images:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Billy Beer

I've been laid up with a bad back for two days. I hurt myself cleaning off the crusty play-doh table at my kiddo's preschool. Nothing heroic or exciting, just proof that I need more exercise and that I am getting old, my friends.

So I've had some time on my hands, laying here. Instead of watch hours of mindless and fun TV I decided to finish watching the American Experience documentary "Regan".  I followed that 3 hour joy-fest with the documentary on Jimmy Carter.

In the Carter documentary they talk about his hard-drinking brother, Billy and showed a huge close up of the beer he endorsed - called Billy of course. I had an instant flashback. Back in 2005 I went to a vacation house on the Oregon coast with some pals. Stuffed in the back of a forgotten cabinet was this unopened Billy beer can. I thought the design was pretty stellar (I'm a sucker for orange and blue together) and I loved the tagline. I went rushing (in a slow, painful way) to my shelves of sketchbooks and found it.

I drew this after reading and enjoying Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. I lovely book if you have the chance. 
As for the beer, I'll stick with my snooty Northwest microbrews like the yummy Avatar Jasmine IPA I enjoyed last night with a side of ibuprofen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inspiring Me Now: Holt Howard Ceramics

Hold Howard Pixieware plate and canisters. For sale at RetroYum Collectables.
I'm not sure how I came across Holt Howard ceramics, but I saw them a while back on ebay and was pretty smitten. I love the head shapes of their Pixieware. And while I don't feel that I can justify $600 for a chili sauce canister at this time in my life, it is still super fun to look. These items are for sale at the superfun ebay shop Retro Yum Collectables. These cat designs are pretty adorable as well. I love the measuring tape dispenser.

Hold Howard cat memo holder, cream and sugar, and measuring tape dispenser. For sale at RetroYum Collectables.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sketchbook: Meow Mix

The other day while sitting down for some drawing time with my littlest assistant, I drew these cats. It was fun. This is the loose wackiness I want to see come through more in my work. Maybe you'll see a print of these guys soon.

It feels weird to be blogging about something so light and fun in the wake of the horrible news and images coming from Japan. I'm hoping to take part in an art auction put together by illustrator extraordinaire Meg Hunt. You can check out her Art for Japan page if you would like to participate.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Etsy Wednesday #14: Tea 9 Ways

It is the perfect day for tea in my corner of the globe - windy, cold, and horribly rainy. I'm a sucker for tea cups, and have far too many. But I do choose my cup depending on my mood, and I'm a girl of many moods so I guess it all works out. Today, I'd definitely drink out of that awesome and goofy one at the top - I'm in need of a good laugh. I'd fill mine up with some good, strong Typhoo with cream and sugar of course! What's your favorite cuppa?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tips of the Trade #7: 5 Things I've Learned about Shipping on Etsy

Vintage Playskool Postal Station Toy $23 by AtticTrunk on ArtFire

When I started my Etsy Shop a few years back, trying to figure out shipping was a huge puzzle. I mean, how was I supposed to know how much it would cost to send a poster to Timbuktu? And would it cost more or less to send the same poster to London? It gave me a headache just trying to wrap my mind around the whole thing. But I just decided to jump in and see what would happen. Here's what I did and what I've learned so far:

1. Start simple. A great way to start out is to use the free Priority Mail boxes and triangle mailers from the USPS. This will get you up and running very quickly, and at virtually no cost to you. You can order the free boxes and supplies and have them delivered right to your door for free, people. The rates are easy to determine on the USPS website. Shipping using Priority Mail is more expensive (especially internationally) but it is a great way to get started. To determine the rate I should plug in to my etsy shop for international shipping, I looked at the International Priority Mail rates for Great Britain, Canada and Europe and just came up with an average. Not an exact science, I know - but it is how I got started and it worked fine.

2. When your are ready, streamline. One day while standing in line at our crazy post office with a tired and cranky assistant (my 3 year old) the woman behind me mentioned buying postage online. She was a former ebay seller and touted how much easier it was to ship this way. I knew I could be saving my US customers a lot of money by shipping via First Class mail, so I made the leap. I bought a postage scale, stay flat mailers, a box of 50 mailing tubes, a huge box of bubble mailers, and started printing and purchasing First Class postage through my PayPal account. Now I simply drop my bubble mailers and stay flats into the drive-through mail box at my local post office, and leave the large tubes on the counter inside. It is so worth it. After I had all of my shipping supplies I packaged up each one of my items and noted the weight of the package (if you do this don't forget to include any extras you normally send with these items, business cards, notes to the customer, freebies - these all add up). Then I used the shipping calculator on the USPS website to determine shipping rates for each item and applied those to my Etsy shop. Don't forget that you are really charging for shipping and handling (the time it takes to package orders, write invoices and notes to your customers).

3. Fix Up Your International Shipping. My new method of shipping via First Class Mail within the US did not address the headache of international shipping. After more research, I found a great forum on Etsy that talked about saving money on international shipping. Now I ship using First Class International Mail and insure it via a third party, like U-Pic. I recently shipped a package to Great Britian via First Class International Mail for about $10. It would have cost $23 via Priority Mail. Insurance via U-Pic was only about $1.50. As it is still nearly impossible to figure out shipping to every single international country, I know after a year or two of experience that most of my international orders come from Australia, Great Britain and Europe. I still look at the shipping rates to those countries and average them. Maybe someday I will sell a print to someone in Timbuktu - that would be pretty cool.

4. Weigh and Weigh again. Recently I shipped an envelope that weighed 7 ounces by my postage scale. Just two days later it reappeared in my mailbox for insufficient postage and a note from the USPS saying it weighed 7.1 ounces. UGH. My scale still said 7 ounces. When you buy postage via PayPal you can only plug in rounded numbers (7 ounces, or 8 ounces for example). So now I add one whole ounce to each package. It costs about .20 more, but is so much better than having a package returned to you.

5. Give your customers the option to upgrade to quicker shipping.
If you make the switch to money saving First Class shipping, know that it may mean slower delivery times, especially internationally. Let your customers know this up front, and give them the option for Priority Mail shipping by asking them to contact you for a quote. Using your scale and the USPS postage calculator you should be able to give them a spot-on price adjustment. I'm finding that most orders I ship within the US via First Class mail have been arriving to their destination just as quickly as Priority Mail with the exception of the packages I sent at Christmas. Internationally, I find that most customers would rather pay $12 for shipping over $25, and are willing to wait it out.

Shipping Materials:
Here is a list of my favorite shipping material shops. Uline has everything you'd need but you have to really watch their shipping rates. I've found ebay to be a great resource for purchasing smaller quantities of supplies, and many sellers include free shipping.
Stay Flat Mailers: UPackNShip. A great Ebay seller who includes free shipping on most of her items
Bubble Mailers: Uline
Mailing Tubes: Uline
Pay Pal Shipping Labels: esupplystore Another Ebay seller with free shipping!
Postage Scale: I bought mine from Ebay like these

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Art Heros: Abner Graboff

from The Sun Looks Down by Miriam Schlein. Illustrated by Abner Graboff. 1954
A few weeks ago I stumbled across this Flickr Set dedicated to Abner Graboff and I instantly fell in love. I love the delicate balance of solid shapes and line in his work,and the colors he uses are outstanding. The uber-talented illustrator Ward Jenkins posted a wonderful three part interview with Graboff's son over at his blog that is fantastic (thank you Ward)!

from The Sun Looks Down by Miriam Schlein. Illustrated by Abner Graboff. 1954

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Etsy Wednesday #13

Some favorite things found on Etsy recently. I love the variety of handmade and vintage goods piling up in my favorites. The colors, humor and drawing found in this group are especially inspiring to me this week. And, yeah - you'll be seeing me sporting that "Julia" necklace as soon as it arrives in my mailbox. Perfect. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Luddite Emoticons : from MonkiVintage on Etsy
I've been thinking a lot lately about the KISS principle. I first heard about it in design school - Keep it Simple, Stupid. I prefer Keep It Simple Sweetheart, or Silly, or Smartie. 

I've come to the realization that I need to keep things a bit more simple these days. That goes for my creative work, too. I recently had what seemed like a great idea for a new print (when it popped into my head). But, by the time I had enough time to sit down and get working, I'd lost all of my passion for the idea. I stuck with it, and worked on it beat it to death for a few weeks and it never got any better - it got worse, actually. I'd had too much time to think about it without actually doing anything about it.

Right after I put that idea away I got another really fun idea. Instead of waiting until I had the 'right' amount of time I acted on the idea as soon as I had a spare moment. I had to put it down again pretty quickly, but I am super excited to get back to it tomorrow. I'm hoping that if I keep working in this way I'll have more to share here.

I'm rethinking the process I use, and the amount of time I spend tweaking things with the computer. I'm looking forward to doing more work by hand and letting things get a bit messier and looser. 

Keeping it simple makes me feel simply

Luddite Emoticons : from MonkiVintage on Etsy