I am always amazed by the way an artist can convey a certain feeling so clearly, just through the use of colour and shape. The way that they can capture movement, emotion, and even bring to mind particular sounds and smells is truly amazing. One such talented artist is Shelagh Duffett, better known as Alice in Paris. The moment that I saw her bold and energetic prints, I was immediately drawn in and transported into the seaside world that she creates.
Many of Shelagh’s prints celebrate her Nova Scotia home, and there is often a friendly feline or two making an appearance as well. They strike a perfect balance, managing to be both youthful and vibrant without being childish.
I love the strong colours, and the composition of her work. Each one can send you into a new set of daydreams, losing yourself into a whole different world full of possibilities and adventure. Even a few flowers in a vase have an element of lighthearted fun:
To get a taste of what Alice in Paris is all about, you won’t want to miss her great Blog. Then grab a cup of tea (yes, this is a requirement!) and cruise through the Etsy shop to check out all the wonderful prints. Once you’ve done all that, come on over and join the conversation on Twitter!
Daydream believer…Oui oui!
I can’t help it, I’m kind of wrapped up in Valentine’s Day fever this year… and it doesn’t help that I’m finding so many fantastic handmade hearts from shops that we already know and love!
Our friends at Cloud + Lolly (featured here), have the cutest little “Key to my Heart” brooch, available in their Cargoh shop.
Little Lion Studio (featured here) has created this lovely little print, made from thousands of variously sized circles… and personalized, if you’d like!
Billy Would’s jewellery is incredible (featured here), and these earrings are a bold but lightweight addition to your Valentine’s Day dinner outfit.
X O X O
There’s just one month until Valentine’s Day – that Hallmark-branded day that’s supposed to remind us all to treasure the ones we love a little more. How about, this year, we all spread a little handmade love instead of buying those sad grocery store floral department roses, mmmkay?!
The lovely graphic prints from Rosy Designs are a great place to start. The print below is actually called “Love is in the air”!
Rosy Hung, the artist behind the adorable characters and hearts, lives and works in Vancouver. Her designs and illustrations are reminiscent of vintage children’s picture books, and have a really lovely esthetic for Valentine’s Day – innocent, joyful and full of love and hearts. This postcard collection (below) would be great for children to pass out to their friends at school, or to send a little collection off to Grandma and Grandpa, and the “9 Ways to Say I Love You” card can be a nice alternative to the sappy sentiments at the mall card shop.
Do you have a favourite love song, maybe from the “first dance” or “first kiss” that reminds you of the early days with your loved one? Here’s my V-Day tip – the print below (appropriately called “Love Songs”) packaged up with a copy of the original album with “your” song on it. Valentine’s Day worthy, right? But don’t stop there! The prints on their own are gorgeous and creative, but when you add in the fact that Rosy will customize them for you, they jump up a few notches on the “perfect gift” scale. You can choose hair colour and style, skin tone as well as include a personalized message that she types on her typewriter and then digitally inserts them into the image. Brilliant!
While we’re talking about love, Rosy has a really lovely selection of wedding-themed prints that are, once again, fully customizable. I love the Bride and Bridesmaids, as well as the happy couple prints (same sex couple options available too! I love Canada.)
You can find more (many more) of Rosy Designs in her Cargoh and Etsy shops, as well as keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter and her own website. Visiting RosyDesigns.com where I discovered she and her partner haverecently launched a new joint venture, which you can check out in their new Etsy shop, NicRo Designs.
Share the love,
It’s that time of the year, my friends. The new year is almost here, and you need a new calendar. Yes, you do. And I’ve got a few lovelies to share today!
Hammypie’s shop at Cargoh.com is full of a beautiful line of 2011 calendars! My favourite is the long and elegant script style shown below.
Harmony, the designer and creator behind these lovely calendars, lives in Vancouver and works her day job as a graphic designer. Feeling a lack of stylish calendars in the marketplace, Harmony filled that void with her colourful and locally printed options. The calendars are large – 16-3/8″ tall x 5″ across – and there are so many ways to display them! Hang them with the silver bulldog clip they come with, clip them to a ribbon and spread them across your wall, pin to a corkboard or frame them (they are that pretty!).
Harmony is only half of Hammypie, though! Her partner Eunice chooses needle and wool to display her talents. According to the Hammypie.com website, Eunice has Harmony to thank for opening her eyes to her love of knitting. Now, she’s making lovely cozy-looking cowls, with unique button detailing and 3 sizes to suit! There are Itty-bittys, In the Middle and Big and Slouchy… head over to Hammypie to see Eunice’s work!
You can find the full line of 2011 calendars in their Cargoh shop, as well as on Etsy and their own website. Get ’em now, before January 1st creeps up on you and you don’t have a new calendar to keep track of all those parties and date nights :)
P.S. Hop over to the Etsy shop for a 25% off sale when you buy 3 calendars! Steal of a deal!
P.P.S. Vancouverites, Hammypie will be at Shiny Fuzzy Muddy this weekend. Drop by and say hello to Harmony and Eunice if you get a chance!
I’m not sure why it is, but it seems to me (through very unscientific observational methods) that many woman return to their creative roots after they become mothers. Maybe these days it’s the desire to stay with our babies and not go back to the office grind, or maybe it’s simply a function of those maternal instincts kicking in. Whatever it is, I think it’s pretty amazing that so many women are running their own businesses and pursuing their creative talents – Stacey from nisse.works is one of those women. After the birth of her daughter, she revived her childhood sewing skills and turned a hobby into a growing business.
From her home in Brandon, Manitoba, Stacey creates lovely little bags and pouches, all with a touch of hand embroidery and sweet details – perfect stocking stuffers, or gift bags for a small token of love (boys, if you’re buying your lady something sparkly, these would make a cute package!)
For the sewing enthusiast, these little needlebooks and pincushion pairs are pretty adorable!
Stacey’s graphic design roots are showing up in her shop, too – she has some animal alphabet and desk calendar printable files that you can download and print out yourself. No excuse to be without a calendar when she makes it this easy. I think I like the “Leavings” design the best, and each month is slightly different.
P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve already purchased one of Stacey’s little tote bags for my daughter for Christmas and it is really adorable!
I am a sucker for anything personalized – maybe that was the ulterior motive in naming our girls more common names, since they should never have trouble finding that pencil with their name on it, or the tacky souvenir at our summer holiday destination of choice! Yay!
Through the magic of Twitter, I discovered Penny People (via @clippo) the other day and I’m smitten. Lindsay Stephenson, the artist and designer behind the company, has created a line of personalized art as well as invitations and stationery that are cute and modern. I remember looking for something like these alphabet prints a few years ago for my daughter, and I couldn’t find any Canadian options. Problem solved :)
We’re thinking about the holidays already, and Penny People offers holiday photo cards that are really lovely, as well as return address labels, wedding invitations and more! The designs are lovely, but I also really like the story behind the name of the shop. A self-taught artist, Lindsay started out as a child, making faces using a penny to trace the circle… and Penny People were born! Her style has evolved over the years, but her designs are still bright and colourful.
Lindsay is a busy, busy woman running her business, designing for corporate clients, keeping up a great blog and chatting on Twitter! You can find her at PennyPeople.com (invitations, photo cards etc.) and on her Etsy shop for the personalized prints alpahbet prints above.
Every kid (and adult!) deserves to have something with their name on it – thanks, Penny People!
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Update! Lindsay wrote about us on her blog – thank you! Check it out here!
I love it when an online marketplace makes it easy for me to find Canadian artists and shops, so I was excited to discover that Cargoh.com (the awesome curated indie and design online marketplace based in Vancouver!) has added a country filter to their search. Sweet!
Still on my hunt for Hallowe’en-y accessories and ways to add a little “spooky” to our lives for the next couple of weeks, I came across Dead Kittie, based in Vancouver and a Cargoh artist. Megan Majewski’s artwork is a combination of sweet and dark – her subjects are all, well, dead… but still, they don’t look so menacing. Just a little decaying, and they might be eating a heart. No biggie ;)
What really caught my eye in her shop, though, were her hair clips with a perfect hint of Hallowe’en – a pretty flower clip, with a skull in the centre!
I must admit that Hallowe’en isn’t my favourite holiday of the year, but everything we’ve been finding lately is making me look forward to the fun of Hallowe’en a little more this year!
A friend and I were chatting this weekend, thinking about hostess gifts and holiday shopping, and she suggested napkins. Napkins! So off I went, with a mission.
Luckily, it didn’t take me long to find Down Home Amy, and her line of homemade housewares.
Amy hails from Vancouver, and the graphics are all her own original illustrations which she silk-screens herself on linens, cottons and organic fabrics using water-based inks. Her shop is a lovely mix of neutral tones, with clean graphics which would suit any style of home!
Unfortunately, we don’t have a clothes line, but if we did I would want this little basket for the clothespins! Perfect!
She also has a great line of snack pouches and lunch bags AND baby accessories like bibs and burp clothes. All with her original graphics!
You can find Amy’s products on Etsy and in several retail locations, but if you see something you like you’d better order soon. Amy’s headed off on an extended vacation at the end of the month, and won’t be back until 2011! You can also follow along with her on her blog, and I hope she’ll share some of her Winter holiday adventures there as well :)
P.S. Erinn, this is for you. Napkins!
Sometimes, I find what I’m looking for even when I don’t know I’m looking for it. Tonight, I loaded up my Etsy page and the first thing I saw was this print:
The piece is called “Healing” and this original artwork was created by Shira Sela of Montreal, QC. Ms. Sela is an accomplished artist, with her works appearing in compilations, calendars and magazines around the world and I’m sure many of you have seen her pieces featured on Etsy in the past. I’ve always enjoyed her graphic style in passing, but tonight I stopped and really looked for the first time.
While I don’t have a “traditional” broken heart (I’m quite happily in love with my husband of 12 years!) I do feel like I’m always looking for ways to make myself a little better – to patch a little wound there, think more positively, make a difference, stitching up the tears that happen when my babies are disappointed in me or I’m not the kind of person I want to be. “Healing”, indeed. And the print above – “Finally Safe” – well, who hasn’t sought out the strongest, most solid support they could find in a time of need? My tree is my husband – he bends, he grows, but I know I’m safe and protected from the storm when he’s nearby.
Wow, that got a little sappy there. Sorry, but that’s where I’m at this Sunday night in September :)
The other piece from her collection that really grabbed my attention was “Bliss”:
I looked at “Bliss” and saw my little girls, spinning in the backyard… and the room they will be sharing soon is decorated with red accents and well, sometimes, serendipity strikes and one must take advantage. It’s already been purchased and will be framed as a Christmas gift. I love the saturated colours, and the gorgeous organic feel of her work. Sela uses graphite, inks, pastels as well as enhancing through digital media – a great blending of techniques.
I love the personal touch of a handmade card. The trouble is, I am not a very talented artist, and am unable to draw much more than a stick figure. So I needed to find a way to put beautiful images onto my cards without having to employ an illustrator or resorting to clipart. Needless to say, I have become a huge fan of stamps. I love how quick and easy they are to use, and the results leave me feeling like I am not completely without artistic merit!
All this has led me to find the Old Island Stamp Company. Working out of Lions Bay, British Columbia, they have been making handcrafted rubber art stamps for over a decade. Many of the images are original works from west coast artists, others are sourced from rare books or antique typesets.
The online catalogue has countless options for any occasion or theme. Whether you are looking for traditional, funky, ornate or simple, you will certainly find something that catches your eye. I have already started my own wish list, and am dreaming up new card designs!