Friday, August 31, 2007

Aspirations: Symbolic Inspiration

Aspirations - It's installed!! Even though I was under the weather, Andrew was a sweetheart to help me ready the pieces and install them.

I've got one of a kind framed pieces as well as classic framed and unframed prints.

Go to show Aspirations

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Week's Activities

I'm still beat from taking a week off to create gifts for my neices & MIL!! My MIL is blogging on the family blog wondering where the heck everyone is after our huge party last weekend -she's such a party girl -I can't keep up! Wish I could take some time out to explain my bon-bon couch routine but she'll just have to pop on over 'ere to read up! :)

Meanwhile, I'm in the midst of installing my Aspirations show at EVOO and there is so much involved.

  • Andrew made awesome floating frames for only 12 pieces and because it's so much work, I decided it wouldn't be a common feature among our framing efforts.
  • I launched an email campaign yesterday (that's a 2 day effort) to my Mewsmembers as an exclusive exhibit before the public show on Friday. Wow -immediately sold 2 pieces!
  • Realized I need to replace the graphic on
  • I need to update homepage to reflect current events.
  • I need to finish designing my restaurant poster, postcards & tabletop tent cards for EVOO and get them printed.
I just finished my poster that's going to be inserted in the little plexi-frame and it reminds me of the ads you find in UTNE. For zen meditation, please visit, for yoga instruction, visit, if you want to hear a duck quack -sorry, I digress.

I'm just about finished with my postcards and intend to have them printed at Premium Postcard, so I'll let you know how they turn out.

Ugh. Back to work.

: I've been doing quite a bit of Web research on printing-on-demand (POD) and finding it difficult. Some of the challenges I'm running into are the fact that this show is small and Raleigh isn't an art mecca. Folks don't travel in bands from one opening to another and therefore, not many cards are needed -say about 100 and I keep about 50 in my personal stash for promotions. Another is that because I don't require a large number, many of the POD services are requiring a person to purchase at least 500. I have that kind of following, but it's my client list and Premium Postcard offers the service of print & mail that I need for said list. So, my needs are the inverse of what the services dictate.

What I haven't told you is that I usually go to my preferred local printer, Theo-Davis, for my print jobs and decided that it would be best for my biz to continue to shop around. I've looked at some of his old quotes and he may just be the best resource yet.

Lastly, I'd like these card by Saturday. Ugh. Is that too much to ask?

I'm tired of all this shopping 'round -I'm having another glass of wine. Oh, and it's time for dindin.

Monday, August 27, 2007

IF: Visitor

My submission for Illustration Friday: Visitor

"Welcome" extends to visitors, friends, confidants, and family alike.

"Welcome" is part of a brand new show that I'm hosting locally called "Aspirations." There are only 11 pieces that have been mounted on floating framed (built by Andrew) that will be available exclusively to Mewsmembers tomorrow.

If you want to become a Mewsmember, you might want to head here now to gain access.

Thanks for "Visiting!"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Introducing: Your Studio Mascot - A New Blog!

This evening, Andrew and I came up with a fun idea: we created a new blog called: Your Studio Mascot.

After submitting my studio to a 'Messy Studio Contest', Brenda's comment about Pip being my mascot hung with me. Studio mascot? Hmm... does everyone have a studio mascot? If so, who are they and how adorable are they?

We wanted a way to showcase beloved fuzzy faces that remain by our side as we work and I'm hoping you'll join us!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Home Away From Home: IndiePublic

I've been remiss in telling you all that recently I discovered IndiePublic -a great place to hang with other like-minded creatives. This community is different than MySpace or FaceBook or neatly categorized groups such as 'Illustrators' or 'Polymer Clay' or 'Ceramic Dolls' -not that there's anything wrong with that.

However, if I'm expanding my porfolio beyond pen & ink -and those of you who know me and my penchant for getting my hands dirty- it's a great envirnoment to be among new friends and learn.

So, I've been busy just cruising through other creative pages and learning IP's technology to craft my personal space -this is why I've been delinquent. My Creative Space can be found here.

Oh, and IP does have subgroups to join (for free) for those of you who feel you must be niched. I belong to at least 5. ;)

Getting Started with Credit Cards

Indie Craft Shows has an article about getting started with credit cards.

I know that for now, I'm still with Paypal using Paypal Pro. I've adopted the virtual terminal to accept credit cards over the phone, fax, or snail mail which as been a God send. I don't do enough open air shows to warrant a device that allows a business gal to take cc on site -but I think they exist.

Meanwhile, if your a CostCo member, it seems that they've got a pretty competitive rate for small biz.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Studio Featured

The Licensing Group to which I belong is currently running a contest: The Messiest Studio. I, however, in good conscience, could not participate after all the time my husband, Andrew, took to construct and install my 'designer studio.'

Meanwhile, my drawing table, scanner, and printers are downstairs in Andrew's office due to the potentially damaging cat hair that accumulates.

I'm posting the rest of the picts on Flickr.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yeah! I'm a Copyright Beta Tester!!

After waiting weeks for a response, the Copyright Office has selected me to become one of their beta testers!!

At their request, I've set up my account. Now I just need to hear from them to determine when I can begin submitting my work!

I let you know how it goes!

Female Porn Redux

Last night, we had our friends Amy and Phil stop by for dinner. Somehow, we began talking about the FemalePorn we each had just discovered separately -Amy found a book replete with epigrams! Coincidentally, we both loved the same one.

Meanwhile, Andrew's cooking dinner (isn't he always?) and we decided it would be good to set up a scene paying deference to the published work. I love that man of mine.

Anyhow, if you want visual stimulation -er, not porn! On second thought, maybe... We brought out Cirque du Soleil's Quidam on DVD. Wow! It's been well over a year since I've watched it and it's such a visual feast! I need to watch it monthly just to remind myself to get to the gym -very inspirational!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

IF: Captain!

Of course it's a girl captain!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Madam's Birthday Collage

Homage to Claudine Hellmuth, I did something out of the ordinary: I made a collage for Madam, actually a shrine.

Claudine's segment on DIY's CraftLab began with a collage on canvas that included a book. I was having difficulty brainstorming on the imagery that it would take to fill 8 or so pages of the book in less than 24 hours (amongst all the other projects!), so, instead, I created a portfolio. This way, I can send her notes and she's got a handy place to put them and show them off!

The collage is mounted on canvas. Madam's face is a photo-transfer and the paper and metal elements have been collected thru the years. I think most of it is from K & Company, Me & My Big Ideas, & DCWV.

Birthday Projects

Last year, I made an adorable small purse (homage to Bacchus) for my neice Caileigh. It's made of suede and leather. I was delighted that she loved it and I was told that her sister Emmy, secretly coveted it.

Emmy isn't a foo-foo girl and really likes messenger bags -she had been carrying the Harry Potter messenger bag for years that I gave her- and is growing out of it. Andrew and I were experimenting specifically with messenger bags and we decided it would be easy enough to transfer the pattern and design one with Emmy in mind.

We don't get to talk to the neices enough to really understand what kinds of trends they admire and follow and for the past few years, I had been sending Emmy 'Emily the Strange' cards and trinkets -simply because of the name and the cats. Naturally, she loved it.

Meanwhile, we thought that she might be leaning toward goth or grunge (we secretly hoped) and because she loves horses, we came up with this current design. The bag is made of denim, suede and lined with a Stewart Plaid. The horse is a hand-painted applique and the front suede is also hand painted.

There are a few things I would do differently now, but strived to keep the design clean for a student who wouldn't necessarily lean toward grunge.

Friday, August 17, 2007

WinePlay Now Available!

Combining CCats V2 - Play and a glass of wine, I've created a new CalligraphyCat named: WinePlay.

Now available as a pen & ink limited edition OLE (25) and fine prints.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Madam!!

Top 10 Reasons Why my MIL is the Best! (Dr. Bob, too!)

  1. She's a great cook (and can shoulder me out of my own kitchen)
  2. She introduced 'Splash Time' (now we've made it tradition in our house!)
  3. She'll grandkitty sit on a whim (ignoring their piddling habits!)
  4. She can talk politics (even when I don't care)
  5. She's incredibly supportive (one of my biggest fans!)
  6. She's incredibly generous (but will go across town for the cheapest gas!)
  7. She's got a wicked sense of humor (and allows me to show mine!)
  8. She finally taught me how to knit (I finally found time to learn!)
  9. She keeps a great garden (I still have 2 black thumbs!)
  10. She had Andrew!
Thaaaaank yoooou, Madam, for having Andrew! If it weren't for the 2 of you, I wouldn't have Andrew in my life!!

In Rivers With Dogs... A Giveaway!

It's the dog days of summer and it's hotter than Hades out there! For Raleigh, the high is supposed to hit 103° again this week! It's stifling, sure, and some of you are enjoying the heat by cooling off with a swim -ah, I miss that old swimming hole in Michigan. Ah, but I digress.

So, for all of you out there on tire swings, splashing around in rivers with dogs, I am going to hold my first giveaway contest: A CalligraphyPets Embroidered Towel.

Great for cats and other creatures too!

Not So Sticky Rules

  1. One has to respond to this blog entry to qualify
  2. I'd like you to be at least 18.
  3. Contest Ends Tuesday, August 28, 6:00pm (EST)
  4. Free shipping for US Residents (lower 48)
  5. Shipping outside US/48 may have to help defray costs
  6. Andrew and I will toss dice to ID the winner.
  7. Send your friends!
  8. You can't be related to me -even thru marriage. Besides, you get all kinds of cool stuff from me anyway, right?
UPDATE: The contest is now closed and I want to thank you all for your participation! Andrew and I realized that we didn't have dice in the house, so we used's Random Integer Generator to reveal our winner. And the winner is...

#7 - USASweetpea

Sweetpea, you'll want to send us a note to let us know your snail mail address to receive your CalligraphyPets embroidered microfiber towel!

Again, thanks so much! This was so much fun, I think I'll do it again in the near future!!

John Howe - I'm in Awe

If there's an illustrator to follow and learn from, this is the guy. The little chimp society has posted an interview with him and several illustrations.

From here, you can go straight to John's site.


Meanwhile, I've been thinking about composition and the lack of it. Primarily, what I see are techniques being honed, but very little about composition. Would you be interested if I were to hold a local class on composition?

Tuesday Morning Humor

Female Porn | Now this is funny! My friend Jeanne found this -I just had to post it.

Update: I've payed homage by creating my own Female Porn seen here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ugh! Frustrations!

While Andrew and I were running errands tonight, we had to stop by Home Depot tonight to pick up wood to build frames for my upcoming show. Because HD carried the wood that he really likes, Andrew -despite my dubious angst- insisted that we stop and pick up a sheet of it and get it cut. After 20 minutes of waiting and several calls to have someone help us at the mammoth electric saw and no response, we walked out... well, not quietly.

I'm sure you know how frustrating it is to get help; more so when a bunch of unresponsive, frosty employees stand around ringing their hands with seemingly nothing to do. Well, I won't be returning for a loooong while. Lowe's has always been my preferred lumberyard and they always will be. Be wary of those masking arrogance with helpfulness.

While returning home and fuming in the car (both of us quietly seething) I announced that instead of writing the title: Home Depot Sucks!, I decided I would do something a little more constructive. The Zagats were a couple who began writing restaurant reviews in NYC several decades ago, so I decided I would do the same for the locals, but in areas where we know a great deal -namely areas where we do the bulk of our shopping. Stay tuned for a links list!

There are several stores and services that we frequent and we make appoint of it to get to know them and form a relationship. Yes, it's tougher to do at a mega-warehouse, although, those said businesses keep a tap on the 'net and all things said, so they'll find this post soon enough.

Meanwhile, I'll let you know that among all the Home Depots in Raleigh, the one on Strickland (conveniently across the street from Goodberry's) is one of the most responsive ones. The HD in Cary (Crossroads Village) is one of the worst!

A Lowe's in any location beats them (HD) hands down.

Weekend Update

Sheeeeew! For a relaxing weekend, it was busy!

After keeping my nose to the grind stone, I realized that there was much that I wanted to create for my family before we head up to meet them next weekend. I view this weekend as a birthday catch-all weekend gathering because unfortunately, I rarely see my nieces and nephew. Perhaps once a year... if that? Moreover, I want to create birthday presents from my studio, not buy them a giftcard and call it a day, although, they'd probably prefer it!

Anyhow, while I can't say much (everything's a surprise!) and I'm not sure just how much of my blog they doooooo read, I promise to take photos. I will say that I've been playing with leather, canvas, sterling silver, paints, wood, paper, and who knows what else?

If there's a cat fight among the kids, I know I've done my job well. Pray for a cat fight! Pray for a cat fight!

Movie recommendation from Chez Hayden's:
The Triplets of Bellevilleresides in our permanent library and definitely belongs in everyone's collection -especially if you're an artist, a cyclist, or both!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Twingey Tuesday

Yesterday, I was fitted with tray 9 for my Invisalign treatment I am undergoing. Man! Are my teeth sore. Today I had to return to get my 6 month cleaning; it's always fun talking with Jennifer, although, I need an Etch-A-Sketch or notepad to respond when she asks questions. I'm at her mercy with the sharp instruments in my mouth!

I've begun blogging my teeth straightening experience and the Invisalign product. If you care to read the chronological effect, you can find it here. April & May's experience is pretty hazy because I was a bit pre-occupied with Surtex.

Weekend Update

We strived to fight the Post-Potter Depression the past few days. Yup, that's a real word found on Urban Dictionary.

Post-Potter Depression | The empty feeling that comes from finishing the seventh book in the Harry Potter series and realizing there will be no more.
We decided to break out our new addition to the DVD library: Qalaxy Quest and enjoy Alan Rickman once again with the remnants of our chocolate layered mousse cake and port. Mmm... We furthered attempted to quench our thirst for the cinema by scoring a copy of Pan's Labyrinth from Netflix. Alas, after wine and port, we realized we didn't want to read our movie. Was this a mistake? Did they send us a dubbed Spanish movie? I had no idea! Finally watched it last night and I also didn't realize how violent it was. Next time I'll take heed when the box reads: Adult Fairytale!

I also attempted to keep apprised of my friend, Jeanne's travels to Alaska! She's much more diligent about keep an online travel diary than I would be. I'd gather my photos and my writings, then combine them all later -like during the cicada resurgence. I'll just have to prove my creative worth while Andrew and I take our honeymoon in Europe at Christmas!

Meanwhile, I filled orders and collated wholesale kits to retail enthusiasts -jeez! that takes nearly all day! I need a little part-timer to help me!

CalligraphyPets Product Poll

Beginning today, I am surveying my enthusiasts on the kinds of products you'd like to see more of.

If you're not familiar with the CalligraphyPets products, you can begin your tour in Shop Collections. We've got home decor, fashion accessories, doggie accessories, and paper goods to start!

A quick vote can be found in the right nav bar or if an answer isn't provided, let me know!

Polls end on Tuesday, August 14.

August 14 Update: It seems as though many of you really want to see more illos from me! Fantastic! It also seems that jewelry and silk pillows would also be among the favs. Very cool. Thanks for voting and I hope to get those silk pillows available this Fall!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Woo-hoo! I've managed to license two of my Renaissance snowflake images as holiday greeting cards. Naturally, I was inspired by the classic styles within the Renaissance period and of course, the blustering scenes outside of Hogwarts leaded glass windows. I just couldn't help myself -such a romantic period!

The press release has more info.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Advice for the Young

Keith Ferrazzi has posted a question on his site about basic things you wished you had done as a teenager to boost your career and life.

I know that I wish I had learned early to recognize the people who cared and learned trust them. I did embody a fierce dedication to trust myself as I got my hands dirty learning as many skill sets as possible so that I would always have the power to make money and never get bored.

Here are my tips to the young (I'll probably add more later):

  1. Try absolutely everything (within legal reason)
  2. Embrace your invincibility.
  3. Decide your passions.
  4. Develop hobbies.
  5. Continue to build your skill sets that will support your future endeavors
  6. Learn to support your friends
  7. Learn how to say thank you
  8. Learn how to take a compliment
  9. Learn how to be a good winner (I've seen some pretty bad behavior after colleagues won a match)
  10. Become a musician (it's a meditative & powerful brain stimulant)
  11. Become a painter (this balances the bias of the left brain)
  12. Read voraciously
  13. Read a variety
  14. Read philosophy
  15. Form your own opinion. (If you don't know how, ask a trusted mentor/teacher how she feels about the article.)
  16. Be a perpetual student of life
  17. Help others
  18. Become a confidant
  19. Beome a mentor
  20. Embrace karma
  21. Embrace humor (life is too short for sour grapes)
  22. Travel
  23. Embrace other lifestyles
  24. Embrace other cultures
  25. Above all: Trust yourself.
Obviously, this is a WIP (work-in-progress) list. What would you add?

Updates & Redux

I apologize for being remiss in my blogging, after all, I am supposed to show you my creative side of life, right? *Sigh*

Okay, so I'm striving to practice what I preach: collate and clean my company identity -specially online. Because my work continues to grow, I thought it suitable to reflect that as:

  • I've updated my homepage
  • Combined ECStewart Collections with CalligraphyPets
    (you can see this on the headers of each page)
  • Eliminated redundancies
    (don't need 2 news pages or 2 blogs or 2 about us)
  • Finally, applied top navigation similiar to CalligraphyPets, a new coat of paint + background on this tired blog.
Back to client work!

Skills, Building, & Maintaining Network of Contacts

I'm a huge fan of Keith Ferrazzi and his book "Never Eat Alone." I highly recommend this book, specifically to artists who'd rather sit in the corner and create art because they fear rejection.

I'm an introvert -I'm also professionally shy. There, I said it! Yes, that's right, I'm shy. If you're an artist, chances are pretty good that you're shy as well, to a degree. Remember, being an introvert is different than being shy. Being both can be paralyzing, and that can be detrimental to your business as an entrepreneur.

Keith has created (what some call) a 'playbook' for the executive art of building a network of powerful relationships and it has helped me immensely. He's helped me shed the insecurities that prevent my personal success, he's provided scripting to parlay my shyness with my potentially affronting effervescence, and provided insight to the powerful figures of today like Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.

Bonus: Webcast!
Skills & Techniques for Building & Maintaining Your Network of Contacts
If you haven't bought the book but would like a little more insight, you can watch Keith's online event. This webcast reveals one of the most common mistakes people make when building relationships for career success, as well as the importance of showing your contacts that you are not only professional, but human.

Once you watch the video (watch thru to the end of the Q&A, too), you'll want the book.

Additionally, more free webcasts on Microsoft's site to boost your potential.

Raleigh: Open Arts Market?

Well! It looks like City Market in Raleigh is trying to compose an open arts market in Moore Square. In theory, the idea is fine, the application however, needs more work... and I'm still disappointed.

City Market Extends An Invite to Artists

Raleigh still will not allow artists to participate in the weekly farmer's market held on Wednesday's due to the fact that the bureaucrats believe art will conflict with organic foods. Oy! I guess this is Raleigh's pitiful answer to the artists screaming for open arts.

Andrew and I cruised thru Moore Square today and it was dead except for one artist who was positioned under an awning in the sweltering 95ยบ. It might have been hot, but there wasn't an ongoing venue within the square that would encourage folks to -at the very least- come downtown. The farmer's market is still is a better option because the traffic from lunchtime white collars are the artist's optimal customers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Root of All Beauty

Unfortunately, I am not Monet; I have two black thumbs that prevent anything from growing. Fortunately, my cats never let us forget feeding time! Meanwhile, I wanted to share some of the flowers I wish to grow and dream of admiring in their natural state.

Please enjoy.


Taking Flight

While my bird feeders need refilling, I wanted to share some of the exotic birds that I dream of watching. I've created just a few, but hope you like 'em.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Andrew and I took the day off and played together. We found ourselves lunching at our wedding venue, the NC Museum of Art and collecting our fabulous anniversary cake made by our original cake designer, Jennifer Hicks. It's become tradition (because it's so darn tasty!) as that chocolate cake/chocolate mousse layer is addictive, so it got special place in our fridge while we ran out and played s'more.

After our day of play, Andrew cooked dinner for the 2 of us: halibut with broccoli and a nice little bottle of Regusci Chardonnay. Upon one of his solo trips to Napa, he picked up this gem to add to his collection. Nine years later, we enjoyed it on our anniversary.

The legs were just gorgeous and the color was devine. What a fantastic nose with a splendid after finish -very light!

Treat & Reward

I was against a heavy deadline until Wednesday, July 25th. So, Deathly Hallows sat on the coffee table until I met it. Suddenly, when I think I've cleared my schedule, I have clients calling me time and again asking for materials. Ah!

I didn't get a chance to begin reading until Thursday and resisted reading any news until I could finish quickly Saturday night. When I sat down to complete the series, Andrew began his foray into the wizarding world with The Sorcerer's Stone. Yea! Now we can talk about the subplots that aren't revealed in the movies! All 3 nights, we had reading night after dinner and read as long as our eyes would allow us. At 10:30pm, page 699, my eyes just welled up and flooded with tears -I couldn't continue.

I'm now finished and no, I won't spoil the end. But, I think I need to go back and re-read Half-Blood Prince to reacquaint myself with the specifics.

Daniel Radcliffe was right, this story doesn't leave one very fast.

Wow! What an emotional rollercoaster!

Potter Mania

July 21...

We enjoyed party hopping from bookstore to bookstore last night.

We drove thru the Border's parking lot and discovered many young adults (college) and older adults hanging out and about in street clothes. Some dressed in black because they were too afraid to show their solidarity in cape! B&N was our next stop to check out the festivities -it was surprisingly crowded. About 25% of the fans were dressed in some form. After a few mag purchases, we departed and headed for our indie bookseller Quail Ridge.

Quail Ridge was much more active with tents, games, and pseudo-Diagon Alley events. Yes, I proudly donned my cape. The crowd was much more liberal and enthusiastic about being fans. Many folks dressed up (~80%) to some extent and more families and teens. The miniature pony stole the show. Unfortunately, it wasn't like Harvard Square where they turned the whole area into Diagon Alley. Rats. Yes, they had rats and they were snoozy in cages! They also had some taxidermy like owls (Hedwig), snakes (also alive) and insects. We had not pre-ordered the book but decided to support our local indie seller, so we were allowed into the bookstore to purchase it and put it on hold until today -we weren't hanging around until 1am- we were too tired. We'll probably jump in the car sometime today and go pick it up.

The next day, while we were picking up the book, our house received a call by Quail Ridge telling us that Andrew had won the Phoenix feathers count contest! Naturally, we immediately returned to the bookstore (surprise!) to claim his prize.

I love that man of mine! Up to that point, he hadn't read any of the books (does love the movies!) he hung with me and humored me by attending the HP celebrations.