Starving Artist spotlight!

Ok, so I don’t usually post about blog candy but I have been ogling Doodle Factory‘s rubber stamp designs for awhile now. Her designs are sold through the Starving Artist site. I just love her quirky designs and love the fact that they are cute but not in the traditional way. They just came out with 4 new sets of stamps, 3 of which are Doodle Factory and Halloween related and since I love Halloween, I couldn’t resist a chance to win! Here is one set, isn’t it awesome?


The point is to spread the word about the 4 new stamps sets. Please read the post on Starving Artist’s blog for your chance to win Doodle Factory’s ghoulies set! Plus that post shows some samples of the awesome cards you can make with the sets! Drool!

Earth Safe Finishes

I discovered Earth Safe Finishes from the Totally Creative online magazine. ESF makes environmentally friendly, VOC free paints and varnishes. Now, I am all about being green and using less toxic stuff but to be honest, what drew me most to this product was the ability to make my own paints/sprays in my choice of colors. I ordered their green gift starter kit that comes with 3 colorants (red, yellow and blue), a bottle of fabric magic, acrylic paint base and ultra thick. I added a bottle of tackifier and a bottle of white and black colorants (to make sure I have endless color possibilities!). It came within the week! Wowee!

I was especially excited to use their fabric magic for spraying using stencils! I do enjoy using my ColorArtz (as seen here and here) but the smell can really get to you! And with Sienna around the house, I always feel guilty using it. I bought a dozen 4 oz spray bottles and went about mixing all different colors. I even tested them before putting them to use. Here is a scrap shirt I sprayed with 5 colors I made. The pink, green and orange were mixed and obviously the blue and yellow were not. I put between 5 and 10 drops for each color. This is before washing:

and after washing:

Not as vibrant (which is to be expected) but you know, not too shabby either! Also, the lighting isn’t exactly the same in both photos so this is not really scientific. I was heavy handed with my spraying so when I lifted off the stencil, the paint slid off the stencil and onto my shirt. I’ll have to remember to clean up the excess spray next time.

My first really project was for my new earring display so I used the acrylic paint base and red. I was really looking for a true red but didn’t get it. I guess because the acrylic paint was white. The bottle says you only need a couple of drops but I ended up putting a lot of drops in. I don’t remember how many but definitely more than a few. I still didn’t get the red I wanted but the end result wasn’t a bad color. That was a little perturbed about it and not sure how to get a real red. I’ll have to keep experimenting.

For my next project, I wanted to make fabric paint for stenciling the robot on Nico’s shirt as seen here. The “recipe” called for water, fabric magic, the colorant and ultra thick.
esffabricpaint.jpgI followed the exact measurements but look how watery it was! I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll try less water or maybe the acrylic base instead of water? Hmmm…

I don’t think it would have done very well with the stencil so I did not use it. I saved it so I can do a test with it on a scrap shirt. I did use their tackifier as a temporary adhesive for the stencil and it works great for that! I am loving it and can see using it a lot. Maybe I can throw away that temporary spray adhesive that smells and sprays everywhere and gets everything around your project sticky!

I also used the fabric spray on a t-shirt I made for Sienna that I will post soon. I look forward to experimenting more with these products and the ability to make whatever colors I want on a whim will make me keep on using them.



Back in early December, I met up with my friend Rachel and we hit up the Handmade Cavalcade craft fair and Martha Stewart’s craft fair. It was a rainy and cold day, not the most ideal weather for trekking in the city but it was fun regardless! We went to the cavalcade on Mott Street first, right when it opened but boy, it got crowded pretty fast! It was hard to resist all the fun goodies and I tried not to be selfish and buy just for myself. I think I did ok! I managed to snag myself a beautiful handmade Betta Fish screenprinted journal from fisk and fern. I recognized her name from her participation in my gocco postcard swap I hosted. It was great to meet her as her card was one of my favorites in the swap. She’s super sweet too! I also met Simone of craftevolution and whose etsy shop is Groundsel. I actually was introduced to her via facebook from a Bay Ridge mom who said that we were the 2 craftiest people she knew. It turned out that I was already a reader of her blog! She was really nice and I had meant to go back to her booth and buy her super cute hair clips but like I mentioned above, it got crowded really fast and I forgot! I did pick up some pretty hand soap from Nordea’s soaperia and picked up a present for my father in law. Peppersprout had these cool wooden coasters with the names of the 4 boroughs of nyc on each one (Staten Island was left out, hmmm, wonder why?) I thought he would appreciate the hand craftness of it. Sadly I forgot to take any photos of the fair. Then we headed to lunch at brgr, which is right down the block from where Martha’s craft fair was. I was actually there in November and while the burger wasn’t bad, the onion rings were the reason I wanted to go back! MMM, red onions sliced really thin!

Anyhow, I digress! Turns out there was a bit of a wait to get into Martha’s craft fair. A line outside of the building and then another line once you get inside! The wait wasn’t too bad and it was definitely more spacious once we were inside and also included lots of displays from MS Living Holiday magazine spread. It was fun to look around but I didn’t buy anything.

I parted with Rachel after that and did a quick stop for some Christmas shopping. The reason I called this post Inspiration was because of the last store I passed before jumping on the subway. Beads of Paradise is a store on 17th street full of beads (duh) and lost of other fun stuff. I didn’t go inside (too tempting) but the window display was enough! So amazing and inpirational! Really, these photos do not do it justice. I just loved how it was filled up with so much fun stuff! I love the colors! I love the little dolls and the button eyes! I love it all!




My in-laws are big fans of Obama’s, having lived in Chicago for several years. Needless to say they were quite happy he won the election and stayed up on election night to watch all the coverage. They asked me to send them some memorabilia and this is one of the shirts I sent. I got it from an Etsy seller, 57 thirty three . I forgot to take photos of some of the other stuff I sent like another shirt, a tote bag, a button and a hat (and also this pin I made). I have to say, he’s one of the most marketable President’s we’ve had!

Chocolate & Bacon and Cupcakes

My friend Tammy is buying a house in the ‘burbs (upstate NY) and is hightailing it outta NYC. Tuesday night we went out for a girls night only. Nothing too wild, just dinner at Festival Mexicana and cupcakes at our favorite Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Last week I finally bought Vosges Mo’ Bacon chocolate bar to try and saved it for tonight.cupcakebaconchocoblog.jpg

So what’s the verdict on the chocolate, you wonder? It’s yummy! The bacon felt like it was just the right amount, nothing was too overwhelming. It is quite delicious! I can’t get Yves to try a piece because he thinks it’s disgusting but maybe I can try and trick him somehow…When I was at the chocolate store, there was this group of 3 people looking at the chocolate and repeating all the names and the ingredients in the bars and sounding a bit disgusted. I guess this is not for everyone! (I also bought the Calindia Bar and had a hard time deciding which other one to try and was very tempted to try all of them!)

Joy contemplates….
She likes it! “Pork Fat Rules!”
It looks like Tammy is suspicious of her piece but she likes it (I mean, she keeps harping about these Bacon Brownies I have yet to try!)
My first bite (a bit blurry!)

Bras & Sliders

Wednesday I finally decided to go to the Lower East Side and get properly fitted for a bra at Orchard Corset Center. My friend Tammy gave me the name during the summer and told me stories she heard of the owner kinda feeling you up to size you but was a miracle worker on sizing. Then after he got married, he didn’t do the sizing anymore but his wife or shop assistant did it. I was tired of constantly pulling up my bra strap so finally went down there on that rainy day.

The store was really a throwback to the old times. Its a small rectangle store with boxes all over the place but neatly stacked. There was a little tv on a table with The View on and a nice Hasidic Jew sitting behind the counter, which was the owner. The owner was very nice, just looked at me, my back and felt the side of me. He did ask me what size I was wearing and I can’t remember if he asked me before, during or after he went to get a bra for me to try. He gave me a bra that was the same size I was already wearing! What a bummer! For some reason I was expecting some revelation about my sizing. I was actually kinda disappointed that I didn’t get felt up by somebody! I went behind the curtain with the assistant and tried on 3 bras. I decided on the first 2 he gave me. I spend $54 on them and was initially shocked at first, I don’t usually spend that much on 2 bras (which could be the problem in the first place!) and this store is, from what I read, discounted. The bras are in the hamper now so only time will tell if these bras were worth it.

Then I had decided to have lunch at Shopsin’s.  I can’t remember how I first heard about this place but did remember that this was a foodie’s paradise, the owner pretty much cooks what he wants (mac n’ cheese pancakes anyone?). The menu apparently has over 900 items with 300 soups! I didn’t count but it was 11×17 smallish print, double sided. Here’s a NY times article that better explains the philosophy and attitude of Shopsin’s. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there (more on that next). The owner and his son both have trucker’s mouths and the food was delicious! I had sliders and fries and a chocolate egg cream. My goodness, the sliders were soooo awesome! The onions, oh man! YUM! When I think of sliders, I think of White Castle sized where I can easily eat 6 of them. 3 were on my plate and I was stuffed after them and barely could touch my fries! The egg cream was scrumptious as well (and I was having fun with the goose necked straw! It’s always the little things that get me!)

To explain more about my experience. First of all, I didn’t even realize I was there (it’s in a stall at the Essex Street Market). There isn’t a sign with the name and I realized it was the place because I saw the menu hanging and recognized it from their website. I think the owner had walked away or went to do something because the son took the order of the table with 2 guys to my left.They wanted each an order of sliders and 1 order of ghetto fries. The son didn’t know what ghetto fries were and said to them, “What the fuck are ghetto fries?” He then called up his father on the cell phone and asked “Dad? That the fuck are ghetto fries?” I thought it was hilarious and while some people might find it rude, I didn’t feel like he was doing it on purpose, just thought he was being himself and talking like he was talking to his buddies. While taking their order, he saw a flash go off and said “who the fuck is taking pictures? This ain’t no museum!” He was very sweet to me when he took my order! The only incident I saw with the father was when he took the order of the table to my right, another slider order, and the woman said ‘medium.’ The father (Kenny Shopsin) said “what do you mean medium?” The woman explained she wanted the burger cooked medium. Kenny then explained, ‘we cook it the way we cook it. It comes out the way it comes out.” LOL! I love it and can’t wait to have a chance to go back again. (I’m sure Yves would hate it as it is also a place NOT to go if you are in a hurry!)


I also finally had the opportunity to check out Economy Candy! I really was like a little kid in a candy store! This place was really stuffed to the gills with candy! I only bought some UK candy tho, didn’t go crazy! I guess cuz I was still so full from lunch!



Yves got himself an early Christmas present! It’s replacing his G4 tower so it’s a long overdue upgrade. It’s pretty cool!


It’s Here! It’s Here!


The custom carved stamp that I ordered from Autumn Whispers arrived on Monday! I love it! I know I originally sent her the image from here but it had to be re-worked for sizing and then I decided to delete a line. AW worked extensively with me on this plus we had image viewing problems! The size of it was a lot bigger than I first anticipated but it just came out so cool and I love the organic feel of carved stamps and she did such a wonderful job, how can I not love it? It’s about the size of a trading card or rather ATC:Artist Trading Card (saying trading cards reminds me of my job at Mada Design– not that I didn’t enjoy my time there but I worked with trading cards so much I was dreaming about them.) So perhaps I will be making trading cards again! 😉

While working on this with me, we were convoing back and forth on Etsy. I’ve done some eraser carving in the past but never could do such a clean job as ones I’ve seen. I told her she has inspired me to give it another try and to use the special materials I bought. I usually do my carvings on the Staedler erasers because they were cheap and I didn’t care if I messed it up. The special material is a large, pink Speedball lino block. She gave me some advice and asked me to keep her updated on my finished product. I thought I would first show her the skill level she is dealing with! LOL! Here are the last 2 carvings I’ve done:

In case you can’t read it “A mix by” to be used on my mix CDs. Very sloppy as you can see. I changed my e-mail and made another stamp on the other side of the eraser (because I’m all about recycling!):

Instead of mix, I just did “made by” so I could also use it on other things. See how my carving is just so uneven? It’s a bit better than the other side. Here is a side by side comparison to her stamp!


I think the most important trait you need in doing this is PATIENCE. Autumn Whispers, can you teach me patience? 🙂