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New: Udessi {Online Gallery for Art, Craft & Design}

Great news! There is yet another gorgeous online gallery to add to our growing list, it’s called Udessi and it offers contemporary Australian art, craft & design from emerging and established artists. Launched by Kim Wallace, a graphic designer and artist born and raised in the Netherlands, Kim is constantly on the lookout for fresh and exciting contemporary art and craft.

Now based in Australia with her husband, Kim says, “I want to showcase what amazing art Australia has to offer, focusing on pieces with a uniquely Australian quality and feel, whether it’s the materials that are used to create it, the look and feel of the artwork, the colours and textures, or the story behind the artwork.”

After browsing the site this morning and looking through the various works, I knew I had to share this gem with you. It’s such a beautiful spot on the web and the products are unique, affordable, and make the nicest gifts. It’s still new so more products will be added but Udessi is off to a good start as it’s clear Kim is in the right business as she is the perfect curator and passionate about what she’s doing. Bravo, Kim!

A special thank you to Stephanie Bond for sending me the nicest email about Udessi, these little tips from readers are so very helpful!

(images from udessi)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, shopping on December 23, 2008

Cox & Cox

My friend Kat sent me a care package and tucked inside was the lovely catalog of Cox & Cox in the UK. Have you heard of them?

{cardboard favor boxes}

Cox & Cox is a mail order company launched in 2001 by Fiona Cox and Lizzie Thornton-Allan and they have quite a large and loyal following… and for good reason. Their catalog (and website) feels so cozy and personal, I found tons of things that I’d love to order but the British Pound is a little high for me against the US Dollar so I need to hold back… but a girl can dream. Here is what’s on my wish list. I know, my very long wish list. Divine I tell you, just divine… :)


{1. Shadow boxes, 2. LOVE pillow cases, 3. Every Occasion cards, 4. silver birch candle, 5. Union Jack pillow, 6. doves and hearts garland (love), 7. Damask notice board (with bird egg tacks!) and 8. Recycled Indian paper pad.}


{1. Think sign, 2. Wire mail box, 3. Sugar (or flour) shaker, 4. Pie dish, 5. squirrel nut cracker and 6. a lovely pouring bowl.}

Can you understand why my list is so very long?

(images from cox & cox)

Posted in shopping on December 15, 2008

Mateo Ilasco: New Products

I’m also so pleased when I hear from Meg (Mateo Ilasco), she is such a talented and clever business lady and I find that she is a really positive example for small business owners out there. As a product designer, blogger, author, online shop owner, as well as many other things (lot of hats!) she has many things to juggle but manages to stay organized and continues to inspire so many through her work and life. Meg’s resolution for the new year is to be more organized so she developed a collection of office products around this theme and added them to her online shop.

These products include: the Numbers Desk Set which includes a Blueprint Notepad, Numbers Notepad, and Number Organizing Clips, and the Office Desk Set which includes a Weekly Notepad, a To Do List Pad, and Action Organizing Clips. During the month of December you can enter the coupon code TEN upon checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Meg is based on the west coast but surprise! she’s currently in New York with a shop at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park for 6 weeks (look for the brand Mixed Co. which includes Meg (of course), Allymoon, SusyJack*, Nantaka Joy, Linea Carta, Carrie Saxl of Blue Wild Indigo, Laurel Denise, and Good on Paper Design.) until December 28th at booth #C03. There you can view and shop for Mateo Ilasco products and books, including signed copies of her lovely and popular book for small business owners called Craft, Inc. In addition to Meg, there are seven additional shops featuring gifts, stationery, and jewelry, over 100 in fact! Artisans, designers, and food merchants from around the world.

And stay tuned! Meg is finishing up on the Craft, Inc. Business Planner, a companion to Craft Inc. that will help a creative business get organized in order to build a successful business. This book will be released during Fall ’09 by Chronicle Books. Yay, Meg!

(images from meg mateo ilasco)

Posted in Books + Magazines, events + markets, shopping, stationery on December 11, 2008

Inspired By Mandalas {and fellow bloggers!}

I mentioned earlier today that I’ve had mandala patterns on the brain again. When I say again it’s because I was very into them back in 1999-2000. I purchased every mandala book I could at that time because I saw them everywhere and had to know more. I even purchased coloring books with mandala patterns for kids (yes, kids!) just so I could use the outlines to fill in with my own paint colors, found paper, etc. I really enjoyed experimenting with them in this way, but never had I thought to sit down and make my own from scratch without a general outline until recently. In fact I hadn’t thought much of mandalas in quite a few years. This is what made me think of them again…

One of my favorite bloggers is Kat from Secrets of a Butterfly and she recently inspired me in one of her October posts because she was touched by the work of California artist Anahata Katkin (the designer for PaPaYa!), a lady I’ve known about via the web, but Kat’s words about her touched me and it was only then did I really feel like exploring Anahata’s work myself. Do you know about her? She is an artist with work that is quite amazing and now I’m wishing I could somehow meet her and take one of her classes because the art fest she taught earlier this year seemed pretty great (images here).

Kat has never met Anahata to learn her technique so I’m quite impressed that by using her paintings as a guide she created this very lovely mandala mixed media painting using vintage wallpaper and old sheet music. You can see Kat’s painting above shown in her craft room in England. So pretty and well, REAL. I’m more and more attracted to such work, art from the heart and that is handmade at home because something the person saw motivated them to use their own hands to create something similar. So many times we consume, consume, consume without thinking, “Hey I could make that myself!” and I don’t mean COPYING work because a one-to-one version isn’t using your own creativity and it’s not fair to the artist. But if something you saw moved you and you just cannot afford it to buy it (or you rather do it yourself), then there is no reason NOT to try to do something for your own personal use.

This makes me think of cooking. In America we have nearly every meal you can imagine in the frozen food aisle. Here in Germany it’s much different, the selection is smaller. You are forced here to cook many things from scratch because you cannot conveniently buy them already made by someone (or something) else. I think it’s easy to get a bit lazy and not make your own recipes because it’s often easier and faster to buy it frozen or to order take-out. I think we sometimes forget the joy of making things for ourselves, you know? Add to this art, things around the house, etc. So much can be made by our own hands without buying it from someone else. Not everything of course, but a good amount.

Maybe we don’t have the time, or confidence in what we can do, but what about making time this month to make a few things handmade? I think it’s good for our self esteem, our wallet, and we can be a good example to others because often our children, friends, and family members (even e-friends) can be so inspired by something we’ve made and it may motivate them to create as well. When it comes to self esteem, the more you practice something you do not consider yourself very good at, you will improve and those improvements build your self confidence.

It’s not about quantity either. You don’t have to be some kind of energizer rabbit super crafter.

It can just be ONE painting, one apron, one really good batch of muffins… Just make something and how you feel afterwards. Imagine the fantastic circle of joy in that — you inspire others, yourself, and you have things around you made by your very own hands and heart. Nice!

Lots of us pledge to buy handmade and I’m all for that, but let’s pledge to also make handmade and do some things for ourselves this winter season. It’s such a good idea in this economy too. Take out those old copies of Martha Stewart Living and those PILES of arts and crafts book, pick a SINGLE project, and just do it. Want to make a pledge to make something handmade? You can leave your pledge in the comments section below and then when your item is finished, photograph it, place it in your Flickr account, and link it here once it’s finished. Or if you’ve already made your own things recently, comment with a link below because it’s fun to share.

You can see a roll of gift wrap and decide to go home and create your own like Ez did (and displayed a tutorial for) over on her blog Creature Comforts recently. I’m absolutely amazed by what some of my fellow bloggers are doing with their own hands lately and so impressed by their creativity.


Have you made anything with your own hands lately?
Just ONE thing. Anything that you are proud to share? If so, please link to it in the comments section below, please show & tell!

(images from kat and the secrets of a butterfly)

Posted in Books + Magazines, contests, etsy, shopping, stationery, uncategorized on December 04, 2008

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