Thursday, March 19, 2015

Give me your painting ideas for my sweatshirt

Hello everyone! Long time no read, right??

Today's post I'm asking all of my readers for advice.... I bought this really comfy extra large purple pullover sweatshirt at the thrift store today, and it has no design on it. The sweatshirt looks a bit like this, minus the V stitching.

I was thinking of perhaps doing a little painting on the front, some design that could be cute. If I can get a bunch of awesome ideas from my readers, maybe I'll find the perfect idea to decorate my new sweater.

Let me know in the comments what you think would be cute. In case you're all wondering, I love cats and rainbows. :)

I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Medusas and Labrets: How to fake these piercings.

Hello! I'm so sorry I haven't blogged in a long while. I've been doing some thinking about the business, and right now it's on standby. In the meantime, I'll be blogging about other things in my life.

Today I want to share with you how I fake a philtrum (medusa) and labret piercing. This also works as fake microdermal piercings, too!

As you can see in the photo above, the only facial piercing I have is my septum which I really like. I really, really love the medusa piercing on everyone, and would love to get it myself, but because it's the kind of piercing that can cause gum receding and teeth damage, I haven't gotten it. The vertical medusa, or known also as the jestrum, is another possibility, except that quite a few years ago I had a vertical labret done on my lower lip, and after a month I had to remove it because my lip would swell up just from the jewelry. I have super sensitive lips. I thought that perhaps my upper lip might behave similarly, so the vertical medusa is out of the question. Not to mention having a ball on one's lips is really weird. Really. Funny thing, if my lip gets itchy and I scratch it with my teeth, my lip will swell. That's how sensitive they are. :)

So I was doing some research, and found that some people had posted videos of faking medusas on YouTube. They didn't say much except how to do it. So I ran out to the dollar store and bought some 3mm and 5mm cubic zirconia jewels, and some eyelash glue from the pharmacy.

I found out quickly that the 5mm jewels are a bit big to use on my face, so I may be using them elsewhere as microdermal 'piercings.'

This is how I stuck the jewels to my face. First I took a q-tip and dipped it in some rubbing alcohol. I washed the area I wanted the jewel to sit above my lip with soap and water. I then grabbed the jewel with some tweezers and cleaned the back of it with alcohol to remove any oil. Let this dry. While still holding the jewel firmly in the tweezers (back side up), take your (already opened) lash glue and put a small amount on the jewel. I discovered that if I put a small amount of glue on my face where I want the jewel to sit, it will stick better. Count to 30 seconds, and then put the jewel in place. Press firmly, and you're done!! Now all you have to do is not touch it.  The first 3 times I tried this, I only put glue on the jewel, and had only swabbed my face. The jewel stayed on, but when I nicked it, it fell off. :( I think cleaning the jewel with alcohol is more effective as it washes off any oils your hands might leave behind; oils that prevent glue from working. 

Here's a few photos of me experimenting with the jewels:

 This photo above is what a medusa piercing looks like. Isn't it pretty?

This one shows a medusa and a labret. 

Here I had the 5mm jewel where the smaller one is, but thought it was a tad too big compared to my septum, so I made it into a Bindi "microdermal piercing." Totally cute, right?

And this is a photo of the most common facial piercings. The jewels would work for anti-eyebrows, monroes, and possibly eyebrow piercings. :)

Finally, I believe that if you take good care of your face, the jewels should be able to stay on all day. Don't touch them, or shower, or get too sweaty or they could pop off. But do clean the area and jewel with rubbing alcohol, let dry, and put a light cover of glue on both face AND jewel (and don't forget to count to 30), to ensure maximum sticking!

Have fun with it!! I'd love to hear your comments, or see photos of your fake piercings. :)

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Stuffed magazine feature!

If you haven't heard of STUFFED, it's a magazine that features only stuffed toys. One can send in their toys twice a year and try to get published. Since there are literally hundreds (maybe even thousands) of plush makers out there, it's super hard to get in. I got contacted by the editor, so I was already sort of in. I had to send my stuff in anyway, but the editor was vouching for me, so I got in!

Here's the feature:

Don't forget to run out and get your copy of STUFFED! They're in magazine stores now!

Monday, June 16, 2014

New product in store!!

Exciting news! I have some new fun and furry cross body bags now available in my shop!

Here's a few photos to see them in action. If you'd like to buy one, you can do so here. They're retailing for $45. If you would like to get them in a different colour, please message me on my contact page and we'll work something out. You can check out my other listings where you can design your own monster. There are photos of furs you can choose from.

The best part is that for the month of June, I'm offering a FREE KEYCHAIN with every purchase!!

Happy shopping!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th: Scary Monsters Creature Feature

Today is Friday the 13th, and I'm happy to share with you a post I got featured in today. The blog is called KID Independent, and they decided to feature a bunch of cute monsters for the day. I know I'm biased, but I think mine is the cutest. :)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Brand new products coming soon!

Hi fellow readers :)

Thanks for being awesome and patient with my lack of posts. I feel that sometimes I just don't know what to write about. I have a few drafts, and when I can find some time, I will finish those.

In the meantime, I've been working on some new ideas! I'm currently in the process of creating some furry monster cross body bags. They'll be very unisex. The bags will not be very large, about 6 inches square, will have a monster face on one side on fur, and either the back side will be furry or a matching faux leather/vinyl fabric (very vegan and animal-friendly) on the other side. This means for those who love the monsters, but want to be able to hide the face and can still  have the monster bag without showing the world it's fun!

I may make a few that are all furry, and some that are half fur, half vinyl fabric to see which ones get better reception.

Beyond bags, I'm also thinking about wallets, tablet sleeves (more of a protection sleeve) and kindle / paperback sleeves (to protect your kindle or book in a fun furry pouch). I haven't yet developed prototypes, but they're coming along. Let me know in the comments what you think of these ideas.

If you have any other ideas you'd like to suggest for fun monster-related useable items, please post a comment below!

Thanks for reading! :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

New furs means new monsters!!

Hi! Thanks for being patient with me, and stopping to read my blog! :)

For those of you not following me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, this is your lucky day! Today I'm going to be showing the new furs I bought from Amazon and the fun monsters I made from them.

When I got back from Toronto for doing the One Of A Kind show, I thought it'd be nice to buy some new furs. Furs I've been eyeing that others use, but I've never seen sold in Canada. So I hopped on Amazon and bought 5 colours. To my horror, the UPS brokerage fees were almost half the cost of the shipment. I paid it, but that was the last time I'd buy furs from Amazon.

So far I haven't made anything out of the pure hot pink fur, but be sure to know that I will be very soon! In the meantime, check out the newest monsters available for purchase!

The following monsters are available on the ONE OF A KIND ONLINE shop!

Buy Lavender Mini HERE
Buy Leeloo HERE

Leon can be adopted HERE
Bif Rainbow Monster can be adopted HERE
Rainbow Creature can be adopted HERE

To recap, these monsters are all available in my One Of A Kind Online shop. :) You should check it out! It's full of artisans who have participated at the One Of A Kind show in Toronto, and now you can buy their products year round!

The following two monsters are a new face style I came up with years ago. I got inspired by a few artists I saw, and drew my own face / monster body to go with it. I didn't want to draw up a completely new body pattern, so I used one that I knew worked already. The one I used is for the large Yetis or the Skullian monsters (black fur, skull face). In fact, I was going to make a few Skullians when I suddenly remembered those sketches from a few years past. Instead of the standard paws for hands, I made claws.

What makes these monsters special is not only their original faces and cute claws, but the embroidery detail I put in their forehead. I did some french knots! These guys are definitely one of a kind monsters, and there's only one of each for sale.

The following monsters are available in my main shop!

His name is Grogg, and you can adopt him HERE 
These are his cute claws!

This is Silent Bob, and he's available HERE

Lastly I have my Ludo series. I was inpsired from the movie the Labyrinth, and thought I'd make a few monsters from some of the new furs that weren't hot pink or rainbow. They have embroidered faces and plastic safety eyes which makes them very different from my other monsters which have no plastic pieces. These guys are definitely NOT for small kids due to the choking hazard.

This is Chaz. He's a lemon yellow Ludo-inspired monster. 

This gorgeous one is named CherryBomb!

This cutie is named Grizwald. He's available HERE

Thanks for reading my blog! If you want to stay up to date on news and new monsters, you can follow me on Facebook, or Instagram!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tips & Tricks: #1 Photographing your product (without professional gear)

I thought it might be nice to impart some of my wisdom, and talk about how I go about photographing my products without professional gear, lights or a light box. This will be especially good for those of you who have new online shops, and perhaps aren't quite there in the photo stage. Trust me, I we've all been there. But as you might know it by now, great photos help you sell better on marketplace websites such as Big Cartel or Etsy.

So let's get started!

Setting up your artwork

Ideally you would like to set up your artwork either outside on an overcast day, or inside in a room with large windows and soft, natural light, out of direct sunlight. If you are photographing inside an using window light, make sure all other lights in the room are turned off.

Hang, or lean your artwork against an object or a wall. If you're in a room and your art is resting on something, make sure the background is a neutral colour (example: concrete, white wall, black table etc.) and not harshly coloured as this will reflect unwanted colours onto your product. Make sure the window(s) are to the sides of you and your product and not behind you to prevent unwanted reflections. You'll also want to make sure that you don't see the resting object in your photo. So make sure it's small enough to be hidden behind your item. I use an empty roll of tape. :)

Set up your camera

Place your camera on a stable, horizontal flat surface. This can be a tripod, or in my case a small bag of basmati rice* on top of some boxes. Make sure it's far enough away from your art so you can zoom in with your lens and fill your camera's screen / viewfinder. You don't want to be too close with your lens zoomed all the way out, or you'll get wide-angle lens distortion. If you don't have a zoom lens, simply place your camera at a distance where your art fills most of your camera's screen.

(*What's great about the rice bag is that if I need to angle my camera, the rice will hold my camera at the angle, without having to hang on to it, in case I need to let go to hold both my product for sizing).

Make sure the lens is parallel and centered with your product. If your work is at an angle, make sure you match that angle with your camera or you'll get perspective distortion, and your work won't appear straight, or the size will be large on top and small on the bottom (or vice versa).

If you don't have a fancy camera, don't worry! Neither do I! Just make sure you can set your camera to the aperture priority, or Av. I set the ISO (film speed) to auto. This will ensure a smooth image without no noise/grain and accurate colours. By the way, you can also take nifty pictures using your iPhone, iPad or Android. Just make sure you download the Snapseed app (which is like Photoshop) to colour correct any photos later on.

Set the white-balance in your camera that corresponds to the type of light you are using. If you're using daylight choose either daylight, cloudy or sunny (depending on your camera's settings). In my case I used cloudy for the photos in this blog.

If your camera has a flash, turn it off. It'll create harsh reflections and they won't mix well with the light you're using.

Go to the dollar store and buy yourself a few pieces of white cardstock. I use these both as backdrop, and to redirect the light back to my product to illuminate the side not facing the window. This lessens the shadows, and brightens up the image significantly. Using a self-timer for this is key.

Turn on your camera's self-timer. Using this will allow a hands-free shot that will be perfectly still and not blurry. Focus on your work, get the proper exposure, and then start taking pictures.

Take a few photos to be safe and then look at them on the screen to make sure you have what you need. Zoom in on the pictures to see if they're sharp or blurry. If they're blurry, make sure your camera is properly focused on your product. If you're in zoom, make sure it's not fully zoomed as lenses are never at their sharpest with fully zoomed in or out. Lastly, use that self-timer on your camera to avoid any camera shake that might result from pushing the shutter button.

If your photos are too dark or light, you can adjust this in-camera by using exposure compensation. It's always best to get the correct exposure in-camera than fixing it on the computer as making adjustments in Photoshop can degrade image quality.

What my photo looks like when I view it in Photoshop. Time to do a little adjustment.

Preparing your digital files

Once you're done taking photos, connect your camera or memory card to your computer and open them using your program of choice (Photoshop, Preview, iPhoto).

Zoom into your artwork at 100% and double check that all your images are sharp and correctly colour balanced. You want your work to look as close as possible to how it does in real life. This is important for online marketplaces. Customers don't want to be surprised when buying an item.

If you're happy with your work, crop your image so the extra space is removed, and your artwork is visible. 

After some adjustments, the background is noticeably brighter without ruining the monster itself. 

Save a copy at full resolution!! You never know when someone might want a high resolution copy for their website/blog or magazine. I've often missed this step, and was stuck with low res images. If you're using Photoshop, keep the .psd file for this.

Resize your images. I found a trick for this. Again if you're using Photoshop, I will save my images to Web (shift+ctrl+command+S). This way I can easily resize it to my low res, and choose .jpg. This method ensures you don't accidentally save over your large resolution image.  If you're using Etsy, a good size is 600x480 pixels. Big Cartel's images are more square so 600x600 is good too. Make sure when you save a copy, that you add "sm" or "small" at the end so you can distinguish which image is the high res, and which is the low res. I like to save all my high resolution images in their own folder named 'high res' so as not to get mixed up. If you're saving these images for your online shop, you also have to think about SEO. Rename the low res file with the appropriate keywords so your images are found in Google etc. Example: brown-circular-embroidery-hoop.jpg

Once you're all finished, you can then upload them to your website!

Pssst... did you know that most of my photos in this blog (save for the last two) were taken with my iPad?? :)

Good luck, and I hope this has helped you! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments (and follow the replies so you'll get my responses). :)

Friday, April 04, 2014

2014 One Of A Kind Spring Show wrap up and overview.

Hello!! How's everyone today? I've been back from Toronto for a few days now, decompressing, relaxing, taking some time off. Working at the One Of A Kind show really does take a lot of work, and recovery takes time. But all in all the show was awesome!! I met so many nice people, and got some great exposure! If you haven't been following me on Facebook or Instagram, here are some photos from the week. I didn't have a chance to get any photos of the kiddie models walking down the runway with a few Curious Little Bird monsters. A shame! My 3 month marathon monster making definitely paid off.  I also want to thank everyone who came to visit, and those who drove for hours just to say hi! You made my day!

My booth was a small space. It was 3 feet x 3 feet, and had a 360ยบ view. On opening morning I realized my price signs were too awful looking, and ended taking them all down. This encouraged people to approach my booth, touch the soft monsters, and talk to me. Works every time. I keep forgetting this part. :)

The monster pillows were a hit. By Sunday I had sold my very last one. I will have at least 3 times the amount for the Christmas show.

The publicist for OOAK wanted a few of my monsters for the Canada AM morning spot. They decided to choose the green & rainbow pillow monster. Look at how cute he looks on TV!! If you happened to catch it, he was the star of the show. :) You can watch the spot here!

My booth was looking pretty empty by Sunday. Those pillow guys were all gone, and I had to fill all the cubes with the smaller guys.

On Wednesday I also got interviewed for InnerSpace on the Space Channel, but sadly they didn't use it. I did get a 1 second shot of a yeti at the very end. You can watch that episode here

The girls at the beginning of the show, Jaimie and Jessica, make awesome dolls and little felt guys. Their business is called Magic Circus. Below is a felt Mad Scientist from Jessica Craddock. I fell in love with him right away. I just love his feather boa hair!! And the details are awesome.

These lovely ladies are made by Jaimie Craddock, and are poseable, and all made with air drying clay? They're extremely awesome!!

Selfie!!! I got as many awesome compliments about my hair and my outfit creating a branding effect with my monsters, as I did compliments about how cute my monsters were. :)

Finally my Day In The Country monster competition piece. He didn't win the media vote, but I'm still waiting for the people's vote. I'm hoping to win!! :D

I'll keep you updated with new things as they happen later on. For how I'm enjoying my brief time off from work. Monday is back to the grind. I've been asked multiple times from customers if I'm going to be at OOAK for Christmas, and I've told them all I've applied, but won't hear back until June. So starting Monday I must work to build up my inventory as if I am already accepted. Hopefully I'll have new things to show you in the next few weeks/months. Let's just say I had a detailed talk with a customer about a monster pillow backpack.... One side is furry and fun, and the other is leather-like (or vinyl) and very discreet. I may make a few!! I have some vinyl hiding around here somewhere. :) Stay tuned!!

Here's to a great start to 2014!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In the studio..... 7 days to OOAK and counting....

It's officially 1 week or 7 whole days until the One Of A Kind show is actually happening!! I couldn't keep to my work schedule because of some unexpected things happening. For one, I got sick last Wednesday, and ended up spending most of the day on the couch. But I'm slowly getting better. I just need to force myself to drink tons of water, and I should be healthy by the time I get to Toronto.

This week I'm finishing up my yetis. I've got both Fenwicks (teenage yetis with small horns), and Geoffreys (large ram-like horns).


I have been trying to finish up 6 more pillow monsters for the show. As you can see in the photo the arms, legs and horns are all ready and stuffed. All that needs doing is sewing on the faces, embroidering the expressions, sewing on the limbs, pinning, sewing, and closing. Okay.... that does sound like a lot more work when I write it out like that. :)

Most of the pillows (bottom 3, and top right) will be for sale at the show, and a few more :)

For now I have to focus on finishing my yetis. I don't have any already made, and I'd really like these to be on display. Then I have to get my 2nd sign painted, design, print and laminate some price signs, and finally clean my apartment. If I have any time left I may finish a pillow monster or two. This poster is exactly how I feel right now. ;)

On your way in to the show, don't forget to browse the front entrance display. A few of my fleece monsters for babies will be there, smiling away!

Last but not least, if you are coming to the One Of A Kind show, here's a link to get discounted tickets. Click on the picture and it'll take you to the website to get the discount :) This promo code will instantly offer a $1 off saving from online adult admission ($12-$1 = $11).

You can find me in the RISING STAR section, booth P21!

Wish me luck!! I hope this will be the most successful handmade show I do this year. Unless of course I get accepted to the Christmas One Of A Kind show, in that case THAT will be the most successful, and spring will be awesome!!