Monday, July 14, 2008

Studio News: New Blog Home

CREATIVEGoddess Blog
New Blog Home:

I've secretly fallen in love with Wordpress as a blogging tool; it has more dynamic capabilities than my former home.

CREATIVEGoddess Blog (screen capture)

(Click to enlarge)

  • I found a template that I've been able to customize to look very, very similar to my new e-Commerce site.
  • I can create additional pages that will allow me to post freebies and imagery -I've already got a few populated with current and upcoming contests and a free Wallpaper archive.
  • The entries are also truncated for quicker reading. You can click either the headline or the link at the bottom that states, "Continue reading...." to pick up the remaining story along with the comments. If you've previously read the topic, you can push right past it to get to older posts.
  • More ways to search via categories or key words.
  • Snapshots is enabled to let you see an image of the Web site that's linked before you actually take it. I like that!
  • The front page allows you can see which topics are the most popular; who has commented and on what topic.
You're more than welcome to jump over to the new blog and bookmark it. I'll add more features as time permits but right now, I've got the urge to illustrate!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Companies That Win Me Over

Joseph Phelps Vineyard
Why? Because they have done what I've wanted someone to do for a very long time. Create cross-pollinating menus based on their wine or the meal.

Cirque du Soleil
Why? They never cease to amaze me; I am always amused, bewildered, and in awe of the artistic and physical expression they create. I love listening to their music when I work -keeps me in another plane.

Why? Because they create the most awesome products like the iMAC, the iTouch, the iPod Shuffle. They've also got great applications like GarageBand and iMovie. I'll post more on these soon, too.

American Airlines Admiral's Club
Why? They keep you comfortable and away from the noise pollution of the terminal concourse. You get free WI-FI access as well as coffee, tea, juice, water, and television. If you've purchased Business Class transatlantic tickets, they give you vouchers for free wine.

Why? They manufacture great vehicles like the Accord and our ugly baby, the Element. Our posts here and here.

Who or what do you love?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Stacation Updates: An Effortless Task

This weekend with 'the wall' went up without a hitch. I was really expecting more of a tumultuous issue than we had, but our predecessors helped us out -and you won't believe how!!

After spending an hour Thursday Night clearing out stuff that lay against the wall, Andrew began light demolition the next morning until I returned from my walk. I dragged my sorry butt into the house and he pulled me downstairs to reveal the idiocy left behind by the former owners.

The infamous double doors. (click to enlarge at your discretion)
1+2)Braced by only trim work by our brilliant predecessors. We're thankful we didn't have another hurricane, or worse, a wolf come blowing down our doors!

3+4)Nothing says love like inserting an inappropriate moisture-prone wood door used for dry spaces. They must have installed these for the 'quick sale.'

5+6) Two! Count 'em: 2 micey nests. Tucked neatly under this nasty step -they got in, but they didn't get out. Evidently, they died in place similar to those peat bog burial rituals found in Ireland.

Fast forward to framing
7+8) Jim finally showed after demolition -a much cleaner endeavor- trumor has it that he just got a manicure. Borrowing awesome nail guns from our good neighbor, Mike, we, er, Andrew and Jim built and installed the framing. 9-11)Rubber sheeting applied to outside to prevent moisture and windows installed; Andrew routers out the sections for windows.

12) After cutting and fitting insulation, we used materials given to us by Mike and his former projects -we love handy neighbors. Thanks, Mike! We finally got smart and snapped the drywall to create cleaner openings for the trim that will get inserted. 13) A hard day's work deserves lotsa protein -and a fabbo salad built by Jim. This was definitely photoworthy.

Hints & Tips: Making a Daunting Task Effortless
Sure, I grew up with tools of all kinds and Andrew has an industrial design background, but having these backgrounds doesn't necessarily make any project easy. Keep in mind that:

  1. Egos are sure to be involved. I have to say, Andrew & I mesh very well when it comes to projects: one is the project lead and the other is minion -and we alternate.
  2. Another important factor is research. This may be books we bring home from the home improvement store, online searches, even the next door neighbor. Although it was the holiday weekend, Mike availed himself to us for a consult since he's already flipped a house and is now currently working on his deck.
  3. Right Tools. One needs the right tool for the right job. If you're painting, don't open the can with a screwdriver, snag a churchkey from the paintstore -they're free. If you're doing framing of any kind, use a automatic nailer -it makes a difference. Oh, they're not free, so don't be afraid to rent the tool.
  4. Friends. There are many a guy out there who insist on doing projects themselves. I know that when strength will be tested on an hourly basis, he's going to need help. Sure, there's always me and I'm usually right in there getting my hands dirty, mosquito bitten, cut, but no matter what it takes, employ the help of a friend. If you think the project will only take 2 people, get a 3rd. Be sure not abuse your friend for stupid tasks -use him only for those that require brut strength. You know there's going to be reciprocity, so choose wisely.
  5. Know Your Limits. If a project looks simple and you've got the genius to do it, be sure to schedule between the raindrops. Keep a tarp and phone number of a local handyman expert handy.
  6. Double the cost, Double the time. For any project, estimate how much it will cost, then double it. Estimate the time, and double it.
  7. Keep a Sense of Humor. Any project can get soured quickly by a number of things -egos, primarily. Remembering the fact that we're all imperfect humans "should" mitigate any disaster -provided it's not a disaster that lands us in ER.
Got any tips? We'd love to hear them!

Next on CREATIVEGoddess: Will Jim ever get his hands dirty? Will the rain and humidity dry up so that we can install our siding and paint our fresh spackled walls? Will I ever get my remodelled production area in a state of extreme efficiency? Will Mike ever finish his deck?? Will Andrew and I finally get the mannies & peddies we so richly deserve??

Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Momentary Thought

Glitter is the Herpes of Craft Supplies.
Demetri Martin

Sweet Memories

There are reasons we have animals and pets in our lives.

If you don't have a pet, find a way to adopt one because they enrich your lives in ways you could never anticipate. Kids should have pets in their lives because they learn to love on an unconditional level along with companionship and camaraderie.

Some animals don't belong to us as pets. The clip shown below reveals that these guys who rescued the baby lion did this the right way. I couldn't help myself, I had to blog this after receiving a link from my friend Jeanne. I love animals dearly and this video will have you tear up in no time; the 4th time I was bawling.

Watch it now -it's quick, I promise.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Studio Stacation

I say every year that when Memorial Day has come, Summer's done.

I love Summer and this sucks.

My birthday has passed and Labor Day is right around the corner!! Somewhere tucked in there is my wedding anniversary. yay!

I am enjoying my walks w/J & C in the morning and the dancing fireflies in the evening. So at the very least, I am actually enjoying Summer without the burn. I've attempted several evenings to photograph the staccato dance of the fireflies in the yard -alas, they mate incognito. Ewwww...

Okay, now I am a photojournalist: Taking mating-ritual photos of bugs. Hmm. Maybe I'll just collect them in a jar like every 8 year old does and take photos... now I've jumped off the deep end because I was about to mention the "p" word. I guess that all depends to whom I sell the photos, right?

Wait! I was going to mention my Stacation.
While the US celebrates our independence this weekend, we're saddled with a stacation.

Def: Stacation is the result of remaining at home on a holiday break. It may be due to gas prices, lack of coin, studio products, or home improvement projects that need to get done.

Our old home, the typical ranch built after the WII is showing it's signs of age. The next imminent project is replacing a double glass door (in my new production area) with a wall and a couple of windows. Oh joy. I can think of other things I'd rather be doing.

We've broken up our trips to Lowe's so that we can prevent paying for one of those oh-so-cheap rental trucks which isn't so cheap after all. Tonight: large and heavy materials like plywood, sheet rock, and God knows what else.

I am looking forward to completely renovating the workshop.

The photo above is from our trip to Edinburgh just before New Year's. We got some awesome footage of the fireworks and river of fire walk for charity on film -I just need to take the time to figure out how to download it from the camcorder. Oh! I haven't scheduled my one-to-one at the Apple store yet, I could do that this weekend.


Andrew would be so disappointed in me if I ran away from this house project.

Anyone else benefitting from or suffering from a stacation? Best answer gets a prize.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Birthday Mnemonics

Well! I thought this Summer was going to be easygoing... I just remembered I've got photos from birthday celebrations, however quiet.

Birthday French Toast

The weekend before my birthday, we had friends Marina & Jimbob over for a long overdue dinner. Too busy talking about the business of art, we never did get a chance to to talk about their recent honeymoon adventures to Sweden. However, she did bring us Asiago Cheese bread that we turned into French Toast the next morning. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but imagine, cheese + cinnamon + maple syrup = not a bad combination. I can never have too much cinnamon and sugar!!

Later that week, I sent Amy a note wishing her a happy birthday (the day before mine) and asked her if I could get her a new paint by number set since I know she has difficulty remembering her complementary colors. She wasn't real pleased because she was still reeling from the 'make your own greeting card' kit I bought for her at Tuesday Morning last year. Hahahahahaha. Perhaps I should have picked up a color wheel for her instead...

In any case, Amy was much more gracious the next morning as she called to invite me to celebrate our birthdays together. We chose the NC Art Museum for lunch and naturally, I had to have the Artist Palette Salad complete with ceramic palette -hole and all!

*Sigh* I wish I had brought my camera.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Givewaways Aren't for Scavengers

"For every lock, there's a locksmith" I always say, and I'm becoming increasingly annoyed at the fact that there are bottom feeders who turn a sweet incentive for true enthusiasts into a circus for scavengers.

I'm watching my blog stats and I'm capable of seeing where folks come from and how they get here. I'm noticing a deluge of folks coming from a particular site ( that is strictly dedicated to post Giveaways for said bottom feeders.

I'm an artist who wants to give back to her supporters as a thank you and now you've turn this into form of entertainment where you also have 'Bragging Corner' & 'Member Brag Pages'. How Nice.

My Web site & blog is dedicated to and specifically for enthusiasts of my artwork. I don't punch a clock for 'the man' which translates to: I work hard every day (and I mean every day) on my designs and products to make them gorgeous for my collectors. While I've been inspired by larger companies who host giveaways for their customers I must say, giveaways are simply expensive for me.

Please be kind.
I don't have time to devise a better strategy to keep vultures from picking at my time. Larger companies hire people specifically to keep the gates locked, I do not.

All entries received from or any other similar site will be ineligible for the giveaway.

Please take my Giveaway entries off your forum.

PS. I'm sorry I had to get ugly in front of my genuine supporters. Thank you so much for your warmth and graciousness.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Whatever Chablis Shall Be Wine Coaster Giveaway!

Wine Down Your Day with Wine Malapropism Coasters
A Wine Coaster Giveaway!

We have a winner! See end of post.

Is your Life a Cabernet? Or do you Que Syrah Syrah your day? Perhaps Whatever Chablis Shall Be fits your mood... After all is said and done, You Had Me at Merlot.

You thirst for these, don't you? Andrew and I have already squirrelled our preferred coasters near our favorite chairs and you should do the same.

Wine Coaster Deets
Set of 4 Mixed Absorbent Coasters
Cork-backed to protect furniture
Large surface area (4.25 inches square) to catch more drips
Designed by ECStewart (that's me!)
Printed and packaged in the USA by Thirstystone.

Not So Sticky Rules:
Please read as they've been modified as of June 26th.
UPDATE -June 26:
My Web site & blog is dedicated to and specifically for enthusiasts of Elizabeth C Stewart's artwork. All entries received from or any other similar site will be ineligible for the giveaway.

For more info, please read: My Giveaways Are Not for Scavengers.

1. One has to respond to this blog entry to qualify
2. I'd like you to be at least 18.
3. Contest Ends Wednesday, July 9, 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 use the online number generator to ID the winner.
7. You must confirm your prize within one week or you forfeit and another winner will be chosen.
8. You can't be related to me -even thru marriage. Besides, you get all kinds of cool stuff from me anyway, right?
10. (New) You must be reachable so that we can contact you. You must have more than just an established 'blog account' to be eligible. If I cannot verify your ID or reach you via email, learn that you've come from a 'Sweeps' forum, I will disqualify your posts.

Send your friends and good luck!

PS. I'm sorry I had to get ugly in front of my genuine supporters. Thank you so much for your warmth and graciousness.
Can't wait? Available for pre-order thru my Web site!

UPDATE: The contest is now closed and I want to thank you all for your participation! Using the number generator, the winner is...


Hawk, you'll want to send me a note (creativegoddess at ecstewart dot com) to let me know your snail mail address so that I can send out your Wine Coasters pronto! I need your response by the end of the week.

For All: I will provide free shipping to those who want to order the Wine Coasters. Just let me know!

Getting Structured

I'm getting behind on my blog entries because I feel like I'm getting behind on a secret project that I continue to nurse this month, so some of this may just seem out-of-sync to those of you local folk. Just add one week to this post. ;)

Summer's first heat wave has washed across the SE like an old electric blanket. Smoke residual from the forest fires in the East and the urban heat are beginning to take a toll.

My morning walks with my neighbor and her new baby continue for the second week, er, third week. Last Tuesday was beautiful, but by the time Friday rolled around, we were already lathered by the 2nd lap around the canopied neighborhood. Each morning, the 3 of us walk at least 3 miles at a rather quick pace. My wedding rings have now been pushed to the 'traditional setting' because of swelling, regardless of how much water intake.

Nice time to start a regimen, eh?

What's also remarkable about this little daily constitutional is that what ever issues I have plaguing me, seem to work themselves out; I've heard the same about yoga. Meditation is very much the same -if you've got an issue, make it known to oneself and after the session, it should resolve itself. I'll be resuming that once I can make my physical exercise a mainstay and when I can be confident the pussycats won't disturb me with their feline fiascoes.

J, like any new mom, is eager to step on the scale after sweating her butt off and typically disappointed. And... why is it guys can sneeze and lose 10 lbs? I feel a personal guilt toward my body. I punished my body by not returning to the gym (after the honeymoon) because I didn't lose 1 single pound after 5 weeks of heavy, thorough exercise. After 3 weeks of consistent exercise, I refuse to step on the scale for at least another 6 weeks. I also refuse to punish my body for not responding the way I think it should -after all, I am 7 years older than my last personal training experience.

The Pact
Additionally, Andrew & I have made a pact to push each other but I'm not sure he'll actually use his voice of doom I've taught him. He won't use it on the boyz, so why am I expecting him to use it on me? Returning to our exercise regimen, thus far, is going well. Hitting the cardio and weights 3x a week is feeling rather good.

Last night, I did 40+ sit ups on an incline bench without breaking a sweat. I lost count because I got bored, so I stopped doing the sit ups. Yes, I am goofy. So I continued working on my abs thru other sources -then I felt the pain. I am elated that my rubberband is back!!

The Personal ReOrg
As far as the structure, well, I've redesigned my own agenda. I've never been a person that adhered to 'factory instituted structure' as schools are run today. I also very much enjoyed working late into the night, but now I really enjoy knowing just how much I've accomplished before 10am. Imagine that!

I guess time is just relative.

Getting up in the morning has never been a problem for me, neither has working hard -I just liked the idea of 'setting my own hours,' even if that meant working until 2am. The real challenge laid in the hours between 5-7pm when it was dinner time and I just wanted to finish a few loose ends; unfortunately, the family had other ideals. Dinner... Pftsth!

Some people get it right away, for others, like myself, it takes a while longer. Design my life around the most important goal: Me.

The question always asked of me was, "What do you want to do?" Heh! That part was easy. The real question should have been, "How do you see yourself fitting into your own life?"

One day, I might actually retire (who retires from illustrating, really?) and my body will always be here, gliding one day to the next, month-to-month, year-to-year. Hopefully, when I'm 85, I'll be proud to walk upright into the gym, lifting free-weights like the boomers and geezers today knowing exactly how I fit into my own life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Giving Girls Presents

It's my birthday today. Years ago I deemed my birthday a national holiday, just as long as you address me as Queen Elizabeth.

I found a great dialog that befits today by Charles Schultz:

Lucy: Beethoven's birthday is December 16th Shermy! Have you decided what you're going to get me?
Shermy: Yes! I'm not going to get you anything!
Lucy: What kind of a holiday is it where you don't give girls presents?

Chardonnay: He's a guy, but he plays all the girl parts.

Andrew, to my great fortune, is nothing like Shermy, he always makes me feel like every day is my birthday. He's always on the lookout for the most thoughtful gift, object that will bring me the greatest joy. I usually ask that it bring me the greatest production joy so that I can actually perfect my use and become a money making venture. So, this year he asks, "What would you like?" casually during a Jeopardy commercial break. I shrug my shoulders and really can't think of anything I need that would allow me to make a few extra bucks.

"Uh, how about a pair of earrings? I know it sounds completely selfish and I usually make most of what I wear, but I can't make diamonds."

His retort? "I was thinking a zoom lens for your SLR."

Needless to say, the diamonds were a passing phase as I was all over that lens he suggested. After deciding I needed a zoom lens, Andrew decided I needed a new SLR kit to go along with it but it was becoming increasingly expensive to shop ala carte.

I'll give you one guess where he went. Yup. Costco.
Update: I had been remiss and didn't provide a link so I went back to search for it, and they have no more.

My man is the most product conscious researcher next to yours truly, and found a comprehensive Canon Rebel XTi outfit for me saving $600. I know he just wanted to get his hands on my Canon Rebel XT that gave us so much thrill during our honeymoon.

I will find time to have fun with my new toy -even if that means procrastinating on other projects.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quiet Down, Cobwebs

I can't take it anymore!!!!!!!

After Mayhem May, I've been able to effectively re-evaluate my home studio. I enjoy creating products for my customers and unfortunately, the production & manufacturing is overriding my studio space -my cockpit desktop can no longer take the demands of my prototyping.

Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries by the Royal Philharmonic play in the background as we clear our former home theater-turned-exercise space-turned inventory stash. The stationery bike & treadmill got expedited thru Craigslist last week -yay- and now I eagerly photo more great stuff for sale. I'll post a note when I finally get around to uploading the goods (old TIVO, DVD multi players, CD players...).

The next transformation: ECStewart Manufacturing & Production Area.

Costco cashed in a great deal of our paycheck as we bought 4 chrome mobile shelving units from them this weekend. After the first 2, I realized my inventory hadn't moved, only the inventory from Andrew's office. So, back to Costco on Saturday we went for another 2 sets. Man! After erecting the recent units plus the others we have in the house, we could probably win a race.

Stay tuned for the final reveal!!

Shelving Hint for the Vexed:
When affixing casters to the bottom of the units, wedge something useless under the frame to allow for rotation -say, a 5lb weight. Using one's toes is only good for the first round of casters -they begin to put up a fight if you ask for more.

Reasons Why I Can't Return to Corporate USA

Andrew just sent this to me and I'm laffin' my ass off!

50 Office Speak Phrases You'll Love to Hate

I hurt. I need to go forward designing more secret holiday imagery... perhaps I'll loop back because I'm on the strategic staircase creating a holistic, cradle-to-grave approach.

Got your own?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Paisley Poll

It looks like there are a number of folks who love paisley and I don't want to deny you. So please feel free to vote on the current paisley poll (one can do this anonymously) and if you've got further ideas, we'd love to hear them here.

Vote now!

Upcoming Poll:
Your Colorway Favorites.


From our recent poll, here are the stats. Remember, each category has the potential of 100%.

50% voted for Fashion (Pendants)
30% voted for Home Decor (Pillows)
10% voted for Wall Decor
50% voted for PaperGoods (stationery)
10% voted for Other (Wallpaper, by anonymous)

Can you think of additional categories for this new design? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Giveaway: Paisley Coasters

Pattern your Summer with Pink Taffy Paisley
A Pink Taffy Paisley Coaster Giveaway!

Note: We have a winner!!

Remember those days at the lake when you'd walk up to the hut in your sand-filled, wet suit to seek some shade and find yourself amidst all the glorious candy? The striped ribbon of various colors on taffy didn't need fancy packaging, they just needed time spent with you in the sun pulled into strings as your dog watched with fascination.

That same great pink taffy has grown up. Pattern your Summer with pink taffy paisley and enjoy the sounds of the lake as you sip punch in the shade.

Pink Taffy Paisley Coasters
Set of 4 Absorbent Coasters
Cork-backed to protect furniture
Large surface area (4.5 inches in diameter) to catch more drips
Designed by ECStewart (that's me!)
Printed and packaged in the USA by Thirstystone.

Update: Available for pre-order thru my Web site!
Update 2: Please vote on the poll and/or idea comment on our paisley poll.
Update 3: Contest has been extended to Monday, June16 (due to Operator Error.) Sorry!

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 Monday, June 16, 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 use the online number generator to ID the winner.
7. You must be reachable so that we can contact you.
8. You must confirm your prize within one week or you forfeit and another winner will be chosen.
9. You can't be related to me -even thru marriage. Besides, you get all kinds of cool stuff from me anyway, right?

Send your friends and good luck!

UPDATE: The contest is now closed and I want to thank you all for your participation! Using the number generator, the winner is...


Curatrix, you'll want to send me a note (creativegoddess at ecstewart dot com) to let me know your snail mail address so that I can send out your Taffy Paisley Coasters pronto! I need your response by the end of the week.

For All: I will provide free shipping to those who want to order the Taffy Paisley Coasters. Just let me know!

PS. Another Giveaway is right around the corner!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Studio WeekEnd WrapUp

Yea! Thirstystone product samples arrived this week and they look fabulous!

We've got the wine series from their Ambiance collection that could easily transform into wall art -how neat is that? Plus, the paisley can be found on two items: the classic round for your mint julep or as part of Thirstystone's new line, Carsters, inserted in the cup holder of one's automobile. Snaps up! Snaps up!!

I may just host a Giveaway, so check back soon!

Secret Holiday Project Update
Sent images off to partner and she loved them. Stay tuned for details as I may just bring out the marching band during the holidays and host my own ticker tape on Madison avenue. I love how this project is developing.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MACLove, PC Out, Game Over

I'm feeling a little like Lewis Black these past couple of weeks when it comes to Apple: Mac's in, PC's out, game over (include twitchy index finger pointin' straight atcha).

I've been committed to have my weekly one-to-one sessions at the Apple store and while my head isn't necessarily in the game this month (too much imagery on the gray matter), I'm enamoured with Mac.

There are sooo many nice surprises that reveal themselves to me as I work, that I wish I had someone with whom to share this adventure. Sure, Andrew understands -he initiated this change, but from a designer standpoint, well, it goes much deeper. The everyday way a person connects with the Mac is 'the way it should be.' I think the surprises are small features, but they're not -they're a part of the system. Like peanut butter is with jelly, the fundamentals are no accident, they're planned.

I do have one major complaint: Apple is too darned efficient. Period.

Andrew decided that it would be best if I had my own Shuffle and I agree. After borrowing his on a walk around the neighborhood this week on a most beautiful day, it was an extremely nice supplement. I really try not to fall in love with every gadget on set my hands on but this innocuous, simple tool encouraged me to keep walking -I continued enjoying the day. Miss Design-a-holic did not want to return the studio.

Andrew ordered the Shuffle from the Apple Web site Monday evening; it shipped from China Tuesday. An email encouraged Andrew to sign off on the FedEx slip that he could print out and hang on the front door for Friday's delivery, it arrived a day early. Imagine that.

Tomorrow, my Shuffle arrives (because I didn't answer the door). Now I just need to shuffle my butt back into the gym.

Where Did May Go??

I've been working like a mad dog all month attempting to get imagery out to vendors -specially after Surtex & NSS.

This week much of my time was eaten up helping out Second Chance with all of their last minute collateral needs for the upcoming auction; I'll probably want to initiate a postmortem on that ordeal.

Studio Tip 1: Collateral for any event needs to be planned, devised, and designed well in advance of say 6 months or more. This gives the studio time to source paper, printers, and even ask vendors to consider pro-bono work, otherwise micromanaging the mess at the end is a bad idea -a very bad idea.

Studio Tip 2: When you plan your events out a year in advance, go to the sources at the first of the year (that's January 2nd folks) to be placed on the waiting list. Many services will provide charity work but if you're not on that list, you could be wiped off because they've either made their selections and/or have an exclusive agreement with a similar charity in the neighborhood.

Studio Tip 3: If you're new to an organization and have the opportunity to forge a new path, ask how things were done previously; not because you want to emulate them, but because one needs to know the successes as well as the pitfalls. If you have access to the original designer, get in touch with her -she can outline everything she's done to help make your job easier.

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from our travels this month that I forgot to post...

ICFF + Surtex
Sunday flew by faster than the speed of sound. Andrew woke feeling like crap so I had to do the thinking for both of us. Luggage got packed, we missed breakfast, taxied ourselves to Javits to check our bags at the luggage corral. Shew!

We managed to walk NSS quickly and efficiently, keeping a close eye on time. We needed to find the people I needed to meet and keep those appointments made prior to the show. Managed to find [most of] my colleagues at Surtex and conducted a small personal trend report. Hey Robin! Hey Andy! Sorry we missed you!

It was great to hear that mfg were receptive to my work and I think that by not exhibiting at Surtex this year forced me to work differently than if I had -preventing me from placing my all marketing/advertising eggs in one basket. Upon returning home, we both surmised that not exhibiting was a smart move on our part.

I have to say that I got as many pre-show inquiries as I would have if I had exhibited at Surtex. While my eyes give away my exhaustion, I'm finally seeing a turnaround in spite of the economy.

Boy, I sure don't miss those overpriced, less than stellar tasting tuna sandwiches at Javits anymore!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ladies Night at the Wine Merchant - Tonight!

The Brief Scoop:
Wednesday, May 21:
Ladies Night at the Raleigh Wine Merchant.

Tastings from select wineries as well as substantial discounts on wine. Oh, and I'll be there with my art featuring... what else? Wine! A trunkshow with a few surprises, too, so you locals might just want to stop by.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Core77 Party

So, Andrew snagged for us entrance into the coveted Core77 Party during the infamous NYC Design week. Like an overworked travel agent that he is, he left the Secret Decoder Ring Email that was sent by the designstaff on our printer. As we sat helpless in RDU for over 3 hours waiting for our plane, we lamented the fact that we couldn't get secret directions to get to the party... then I remembered Jim.

Jim's a reliable friend who watches our pussycats from time to time and I knew he was scheduled to check in on the free range Saturday afternoon. I sent him a quick FAVOR SOS to his crackberry pleading for him to enjoy the cloak and dagger expedition down into Andrew's dungeon to find the secret directions. After tapping the directions with his wand and aloud he said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good", he sent them to my iTouch. Sweet!

Thanks Jim!

We were exhausted today after all the prep work and cool down walking thru ICFF, but I couldn't let Andrew's bum knee prevent us from making an appearance at this party where he scored tickets. After all, Jim went to all that trouble (probably hurting himself in the process) to get us directions...

Look for the huge Ping Pong Ball...

I'll tell ya, this party was a hellava lot more fun than the uptight party at the MOMA last year. This party was free, they had free pizza (although we didn't need it since we just gorging ourselves with warm chocolate cake and a glass of wine) and party tricks for us kids.

You gotta see what we got to do! Too many photos to just paste, so I'll put them into a slide show for you to enjoy.

For more Core77 party aftermath, go here.

Dinner at the Cupping Room

We made plans to hit the CuppingRoom after our ICFF walk to snarf down our favorite sandwiches: The LaPaysan.

It occurred to me the last time we were there, they had a photographer in taking ambient shots of the place. Walking out of the place, we spotted the very photo she took including us!! Naturally, I had to share my lack of sleep giddiness with someone -so I snagged the waitress during her cigarette break to drag her all the way thru the restaurant to the other side to show her this:

"You may not care, but that's okay. You see those people in the back left corner? That's us!!!"

Sure, they misspelled coffee, but I feel like Mike Wyzcowski in Monsters, Inc. when he had that barcode taped across his face on the cover of the magazine.

Check out the Polaroid photo she gave us last year.

Okay, enough narcissism for the day... er, maybe.


For some reason, we were able to get up at a reasonable hour without setting a clock this am and get to Javits. Unfortunately, we couldn't get our entrance badges for NSS because they weren't set up yet.

Travel Tradeshow Tip #1) Watch when shows begin and end at the Javits if they run concurrently. Just because the registration booth is set up doesn't mean it's comprehensive -it was only for exhibitors today.

Travel Tradeshow Tip #2) Make sure to register earlier than 2 weeks prior to the show so that you can have your passes mailed to you; these passes can get you into all 3 shows. We had to cough up $50/ea to get into walk the ICFF today -could have been free if I had been thinking a month ago! The plus side, is that as a visitor/buyer/design firm, other than an exhibitor, one gets a barcode applied to the badge so that you can have exhibitors *ping* you and send you the material you request -one doesn't have to carry it around like a beast of burden.

This show was immensely inspiring and met great product designers with whom I may be partnering in the future -depending on circumstances.

I gave Andrew the camera because he hasn't had a chance to play with it as ICFF is the *only* place folks will allow photos.

As design lovers, we loved the British design aesthetics. However, this piece was very intriguing because it looks like a digital image on the front, it's actually wood ends. We poked our pudgy fingers between the ends to confirm our eyes speculation.

For Jeanne

Bathtub Sightings

I wasn't on the prowl for bathtubs... until my feet started to ache.

Fireplace Sightings

I wasn't on the prowl for fireplaces... until I visualized myself in one of those cool bathtubs with a small inset fireplace frame on the wall... Ohhhhh, man...

Update: Rotating Fireplace Here.

PS. I'm sorry I'm remiss about product credits. We were so tired that it didn't occur to me until late tonight. If you're desperate to learn about these products, go to the site: for more info.

NYC: ICFF, Surtex, & NSS

Hurray! Postcards do work! I received a call from a major mfg Thursday asking to make an appointment while we walk the show this weekend. They are one of those, "Don't call us, we'll call you." Baby, I got the call!

After hours spent in front of the MAC growing my designer's rear, I was finally able to make printouts to toss into a book for appts this weekend only to sit at RDU for 4 hours waiting for our plane to arrive. Weather was bad in NYC last night and evidently, air traffic controllers are hard to come by, so we made friends with a hilarious guy from Microsoft while scoring a sandwich from Jersey Mike's next door.

This was the first time Andrew and I didn't fight over the window seat (yes, we're 12) because he happened upon a former colleague that he hadn't seen in years and we were seated next to her. Being a transplant to NYC, she gave me recommendation for a good nail salon. Yay!

After finally arriving, we decided to head to Penang for a late night dinner (sorry, Kate! but now I know it's on 72, between Amsterdam & Columbus) and enjoy our favorites.

Andrew's Bluesteel Pose at Penang

It was 12:30 by the time we got back to the room to crash. Oy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Logic

I sent this to Madam for Mother's Day because I thought it was a scream. Last night I realized just how many new mother's I know and decided to post this just for you! Enjoy!

1. My mother taught me: TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE
'If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.'

2. My mother taught me: RELIGION.
'You better pray that will come out of the carpet.'

3. My mother taught me: TIME TRAVEL
'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!'

4. My mother taught me: LOGIC.
' Because I said so, that's why.'

5. My mother taught me: MORE LOGIC
'If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.'

6. My mother taught me: FORESIGHT.
'Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.'

7. My mother taught me: IRONY
'Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.'

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
'Shut your mouth and eat your supper.'

9. My mother taught me: CONTORTIONISM.
'Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!'

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
'You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone.'

11. My mother taught me: WEATHER .
'This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.'

12. My mother taught me: HYPOCRISY.
'If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!'

13. My mother taught me: THE CIRCLE OF LIFE.
'I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.'

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
'Stop acting like your father!'

15. My mother taught me: ENVY.
'There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do.'

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
'Just wait until we get home.'

17. My mother taught me: RECEIVING .
'You are going to get it when you get home!'

18. My mother taught me: MEDICAL SCIENCE.
'If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.'

19. My mother taught me: ESP.
'Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?'

20. My mother taught me: HUMOR.
'When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me.'

21. My mother taught me: HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
'If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.'

22. My mother taught me: GENETICS.
'I swear you're just like your father.'

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
'Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?'

24. My mother taught me: WISDOM .
'When you get to be my age, you'll understand.'

'One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wednesday Woes

While I'm not exhibiting at Surtex this year, Andrew and I are walking the show including NSS & ICFF. As I struggle to get imagery done for client meetings I've set up for Saturday & Sunday, I'm also churning new ideas for the 2nd Ladies Night being held next Wednesday. Man, I wish there were more hours in the day!

Prior to our trip to Vegas, I had one of my favorite charities ask for a logo for their Annual Auction as well as a few pieces of print collateral. How could I say no? Sigh. Well, Spring always seems to be an extremely busy time for me compounded by what else, the common cold -what a nuisance. I've been saddled with a darn chest cold since our return and it has naturally, eaten into my critical design time.

Below, you can enjoy the collateral I designed for the upcoming auction. Hope to see you there -SCPA has got some great raffles this year!

Second Chance Pet Adoption Auction Logo, Raffle Flyer, Wine Tasting

Auction Letters and Sponsor Outline

Sunday, May 04, 2008

MAC + Podcasting: Embracing My New Frontier

Because I want to become intimately familiar with the amenities of my new iMAC PDQ, I have acquiesced to purchasing the one-to-one sessions at the local Apple store.

I had my first session last Friday afternoon with Andrea. Andrea was very good-natured and immensely tolerant of my forcing her to listen to my free-wheelin' intro created in GarageBand. Once she traversed my terrain of spotty MAC knowledge, she was able to provide succinct guidance into the world of 'look like you know what you're doing' within my chosen subject: Podcasting.

I have to say, I'm extreeemly excited to learn this vehicle of marketing and communication.

Another smart product that comes out of Apple are the session guides: this helps Andrea and myself go thru the checklist to identify just how much I don't know. She began to understand my MAC knowledge base and would interject crossover hints from one application to another -thank you for that! Since the one-to-one cost is ~$100 for 52 weeks, I'm getting some pretty hefty knowledge for just $1.92/per session or $8.33/mo or $.27/day.

Now that I'm becoming versed in the new frontier of podcasting, what subject matter would you like to learn from me?

Quiet Thought for the Day: I will learn to love MAC. I will learn to love MAC.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Enamoured with GarageBand

While in Vegas, I've snagged a few moments to learn Garageband to create my first podcast. It's an amazing program that takes very little effort to create a professional sounding product. Think I'll add an English accent -that makes any stupid thing I say sound brilliant.

Here's a short piece I think I'll use as my Intro for future podcasts. Please let me know what you think -I'm absolutely astounded as it only took me 5 attempts!!

ECStewart Intro

PS. I'm finding that when I turn on/off my studio sign that this piece does not play; I dunno if it's on my end or if you're experiencing this, too. I apologize if you are and as a workaround, you'll probably want to close your browser and relaunch. Quite annoying.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vegas: Day 2 - ACRE, O, Bellagio, & Richard MacDonald

We spent a few more hours walking the ACRE show this morning and visiting with gracious artists. Walking shows to determine investment worthiness is imperative to one's business. Our observations cement our 'walk before each show' mantra due to an unlucky mix of a young show and bad economy, it's going to be awhile before this West Coast show gains momentum.

Unfortunately, we saw artists huddled in mass because there were very few buyers walking the show. It was 11am before one artist had her first visitor: us. I did my best to alert them that we were visiting artists and to ignore us the moment a buyer walked in; that happened very few times.

I have to say, the Bellagio is probably my favorite place to hang. It's got the water show at the fountains, the botanical garden: a sanctuary of fantastical displays & sculptures amidst a haven of flowers and butterfly garden; the lobby shrouded in Chihuly glass, and currently, an exhibition homage to Cirque by Richard MacDonald that precedes Cirque du Soleil's theatre.

We scored tix to Cirque's "O" and enjoyed a rather inexpensive dinner at Noodles. O was good and now I find myself in the afflicted condition to compare all Cirque shows. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why the obsession with all the brides and the show didn't have that seamless transition from one act to another as Quidam. It was enjoyable, but the critics exclaim that if you see only one Cirque show in Vegas, it should be O -I disagree. Thus far, I think it should be KA or if you're an open minded adult: Zumanity. Now that's a cool show. Swimming in champagne glasses is absolutely amazing. Quidam is my all time favorite.

Preceding the theater, is Richard MacDonald's current installation. Because O finished at 3:30am Raleigh time, I couldn't get photos of his fabulous sculptures. Forgive me, you'll have to head to the artist Web site to get a better glimpse. The photography of his work is better than what I could have captured: low lighting, didn't have my Canon, and an obnoxious cattle call of people pushing to get out. I couldn't wait to get to bed.

Bellagio Botanical Garden

Quiet Thought for the Day: I realized today that Vegas is to me what IHop is to Lewis Black: No matter how bad I think I look, I can always find someone who is dressed worse. You can find the IHOP audio snippet here (Alert: Foul Language).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

ACRE, Carnevino, & KA

The first day we walked ACRE for a few hours to get the feel of the venue.

The accepted artists into ACRE were incredibly talented. Although fabulous, we did see quite a bit of 'sameness' within select categories: metal, jewelry, fiber, wood, which can be good and bad. Additionally, we met some new friends who hailed from the West side of the states and were incredibly generous with their information; I happen to believe that separates East Coast and West Coast artists.

I've always been eager to share my thoughts with friends and colleagues about how I see their work progressing -many times it's in a direction that never occurred to them. Lately, I've decided to just hold my tongue with the suggestions, since folks on this side aren't quite as eager to hear my thoughts as I am to solicit them -perhaps I'm just a closet Californian. It was refreshing to have folks coming out into the aisles to touch my Bacchus book asking me if I had considered alternate ways of designing it or asking about potential partnerships -nice! Their generosity took me by surprise every time.

Keeping an open mind is important for a creative. No matter how ideas come to you, taking or receiving a fresh approach to one's challenge is always educational. I may never agree with their ideas, but I know the path of creativity is to volley potential nuggets back and forth until the best idea is generated.

Took the monorail (every city should have one!) from the Hilton to Harrahs. Walked over to the Venetian, past 3 guys slapping tickets on their hands to gain attention to the passerbys -an act itself.

After sauntering thru the Venetian Piazzo & Canal, we picked up our reserved tickets to Cirque's KA. Man I love a good Cirque show.

Dinner at Carnevino, a Mario Batali restaurant was no disappointment. Andrew enjoyed the NYStrip with an excellent rub and I managed to score some Pacific Halibut.

Both excellent venues for an evening in Vegas.

And still... no desire to gamble.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Marriage Byline

Have you ever, ever created a marriage byline? It didn't occur to us to create one until tonight.

We've returned to Las Vegas this week to walk a couple of tradeshows: ACRE and Interop.

Looking for dinner at 9 o'clock at night (6pm East Coast time) within our hotel, the prices of oh, just about everything, blind sighted me. As we were shuffling from one restaurant to another looking for a decent bite, I noticed that all restaurants were competitively priced and Andrew lamented, "Ya know, we should decide when we're going to have a nice meal." I asked him to define "nice" as we stood in front of each menu that wouldn't let the average person walk out of anything less than $30/per. Eventually, we found sandwiches and a bottle of wine at a gift shop for ~$45; this allowed us to escape the pillaging of our wallets of $70, for which we were grateful.

I'm such a Scot when it comes to buying food. Ugh.

Andrew's the font of useless knowledge and fortunately, he's got enough sense of humor to put up with me. We really do enjoy each other's sarcasm -tonight was no different.

We happily returned to the room and flipped on the tele. I'm attempting to balance the little open plastic container that hosts my chicken caesar wrap precariously sitting on the hotel vinyl folder while perched on the white on white duvet pillow topped bed. Out of no where Andrew exclaims, "Oh look! It's Ed Bernstein!"

Immediately I think, "Oh crap, I should know this" as I look up and try to identify the person on the flat panel. My mind races as I try to match his face like a scene on CSI to any one stored in my personal visual database. Nada. I got nuthin. Then I realize it's a local attorney looking for accident victims.


First night in the entertainment capital of the world and suddenly it hit me like casino pit boss: I'm about to byline our marriage.

Our Marriage
Wait! Wait! I should know this!


Priority + Crunch Time = No Cell Phone

I'm a walking Murphy's Law, there's no doubt about it.

It never fails. Whenever I decide I need to drastically cull my projects -and in my case, before we head out of town- I get 11th hour calls to work on something completely new.

I don't have a rule book I live by, but the past few months and the past few trips, I have started to create one.

Rule 1:
Staple the damn passport to your sternum.

Rule 2:
Staple the mobile to the passport that's stapled to your sternum.

Rule 3: Stop ALL work by noon the previous day before travel; this allows one to get household chores done; this also includes packing.

So, Jim, if you're reading this: STOP TRYING TO CALL MY MOBILE! It's at home attached to my Bacchus purse.

Also, Jim, please send me an email (I am at least connected that way) so that I can send you Andrew's mobile number.

I feel so naked.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Persistence & A Laff Outloud Moment

Being the introvert, a sometime single focused design-a-holic that I am, I probably miss more windows of opportunity because there are days when I just don't 'want to sell.' It's tiring for an artist who's filled with visual and suddenly have to switch gears to conversational strategy. Infrequent blog updates not withstanding.

Over the river and thru the woods, I read aloud the Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink to Andrew as we drove to the outlaw's house this past weekend. The book was well reviewed by Tom Peters so Andrew promptly snagged it from Amazon.

Johnny Bunko was a quick read, well, it would have been if I were reading it silently to myself. Just how do you read a comic book replete with visuals to the driver of the car, anyway? The book is geared toward young graduates, but Mr. Peters found it useful for all folk in every stage of their careers; I'd have to agree. Because I'm such a sap, I teared up over one tiny part -perhaps I'm just tired. Er, perhaps, I'm a sucker for happy endings.

Regardless, there are 6 major points each person must understand for oneself and number 4 resonated with me: Persistence. In spite of the economic downfall, I continue to persevere by tirelessly designing by both day and night.

Now, the professional planets were aligned for me the past few days. I received some encouraging news: looks like I'll be partnering with a prominent vendor with whom I've been working over the past few years on some exclusive Christmas products. They love my animals, so I need to get crackin' on cats, dogs, and holiday motifs. Yeaaa!!!!!!!!

How cool is that?

Core77 has posted this note in honor of term paper season. Follow the link to read colorful answers to student researchers inquiries: What psychological skills are needed to be a (good) designer?

Dog Breed: Yorkie Revisited

In addition to pushing my style into work that most people can appreciate (and purchase), I am also attempting to identify which backgrounds are most resonate with my customers.

This Yorkie is featured on the classic arts & crafts background. I just love the champagne background, so rich. I think he'd look great on a woven afghan.

What are your thoughts? Oh, how I love Mr. Frank Wright.

Here's the Art Nouveau Yorkie for comparison.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dog Breed: The Chow, Homage to Paw Paw

My second installation of the Dog Beautiful series and a timely homage to Paw Paw, Martha Stewart's beloved late pet: the chow-chow.

Update: If you follow my posts, you know that I'm not above modifying them. Today is not any different because I've been reworking (again!) the chow dog. Tell me which one you like better!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Celebrate Tax Day: Free Shipping

We're all a bit weary from preparing our taxes and need a little relief where ever we can get it. So! I've decided that in light of the little money we may or may not be getting back from the government, that you deserve a treat: free shipping -until June 1st (on select items).

Please give me a few days to go back into the pages and modify the code to give you that free shipping option. Otherwise, I will refund the money to you should you decide you need something now.

A Heads Up: I will be away from the studio from Thursday, April 24 - Wednesday, April 30th. Please be patient as it's only me attending every function of the studio, coding and shipping are just a part of it. Thanks!

Studio News: Ladies Night -Again!!

Between TAXES and SURTEX, I've been a bit busy creating new lines for manufacturers.

During our recent trip to the local wine merchant, I've been invited back to return to their next quarter Ladies Night!! Woo-hoo!

The Brief Scoop:
Wednesday, May 21:
Ladies Night at the Raleigh Wine Merchant.
Tastings from select wineries as well as substantial discounts on wine. Oh, and I'll be there with my art featuring... what else? Wine! A trunkshow with a few surprises, too, so you locals might just want to stop by.

I'll let you know more the closer we get.