Monday, December 21, 2009

All About Baby

The past month or so has been mostly about baby. Preparing for her arrival by making space in our home, buying essential furniture, etc., attending prenatal classes and watching informative dvds/reading appropriate books. You name it. We've been keeping busy with expectant mom & dad activities. (Yesterday we finally set up the crib in our bedroom, which makes it a bit more real to know that our babe will be sleeping in it soon)

So suffice it to say that I've felt a little overwhelmed (ie. stressed out - my poor hubby) with it all at times. Since Matt and I have both been busy working a lot as well, it feels like there's been little time to breathe or even to catch our breath. I've definitely neglected any kind of personal work in the last several months. My sketchbook has been untouched really for 2 or 3, except for being moved around, or written in. Napping, though much wanted and probably needed, was a luxury. Dishes sat in the sink for weeks...

And our baby girl has not even made her appearance yet!

We did manage to sneak in a photo session last weekend though, after months of no pregnancy "progress" photos. These are a few of the better ones of us.

I'm quite relieved that the shop is now closed for my maternity leave, but it feels a bit weird too since I would routinely check it in the morning as soon as I got up. Still, it is one less thing to worry about at the time being. All orders have been packaged and sent out as of today, including the blog giveaway packages. Now I just need to mail out some Christmas cards and a baby shower gift for this crafty expectant mom (who shares the same due date as me) before the week's end.

With Christmas less than a week away, I'm finally shifting my focus on making our home more festive. I was hoping to get this mini artificial tree since space is at a premium but the two Canadian Tire locations I went to were out of them, so I'm not about to trek all over the city just for that. We may end up getting a real tree from down the street since it doesn't quite feel like Christmas without one to me. I did pick up some cute stockings and wrapping paper from Ikea on my last few trips there. Deciding where to hang the stockings is the question, as we don't have a mantel/fireplace.

So my week is shaping up like this:

Today was my last shopping day out, getting last-minute gifts and post-pregnancy items.

Tomorrow I'll be baking up a storm since I have to stay home all day for a delivery.

Wednesday is yet another prenatal visit and I'll be delivering some Christmas goodies to a few people/places.
Thursday, I'll be happy to be at home and nest.

And Christmas day I suggested that we order take out for dinner. Yes, it'll be a quiet Christmas, which is fine by me. Matt will be working pretty much every day except Christmas up until the baby comes, so slaving away
for a whole day in the kitchen for just the two of us seems a bit like overkill. Hopefully there are some decent restaurants open. Of course, who wants to work on Christmas?

Well, if I don't get a chance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays before Friday, let me do so now. May your day(s) be merry and bright!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Winners are...

For my most recent blog giveaway, the lucky winners are as follows:

Prize #1 - cartesiandualism
Prize #2 - Rashel
Prize #3 - Andrea Jordan

I will contact the winners in the next day or two and your prizes will be mailed out sometime next week, provided I hear back from them before then.

Thanks to all who played along and commented. I really appreciate those who take the time to read and comment on my blog. The next giveaway won't happen until next year, 2010!

I'd like to write more, but today's been a long day and I'm in need of some down time before bed. Toodles!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Big Reveal

Life has been pretty hectic these past several weeks, as my due date nears...
• Baby and home furniture shopping
• a trip to the ER for my dear hubby
• maintaining my shop
• and working at my part-time job
So blogging was not exactly a priority. And I'm sure it will be put on the back burner once our little one arrives too.

But I'm happy to finally share the results of last month's hard labour and home reno project.

There are still some finishing touches that the shoji doors require to make them easier to open and close, but for the most part they are done and function fine.

Of course, some repairs are needed as well...

c/o our bad kitty, Suki.

And we need to start training the cats to stay out of the bedroom, as well as preparing them for the arrival of their little sister. That will be a task and a half. We are hoping for the best!

More pics to come in the next few weeks of our revamped home. Ciao for now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Sweet Holiday Giveaway

new pocket calendar (coming to the shop soon)

Okay, it's giveaway time again! Normally I announce them on the 15th of the month, but this past weekend just got away from me and I was not feeling energetic enough to do much else than veg after two full days of being out baby shopping and more.

Without further ado though, here are the details:

Since I will be closing shop for maternity leave, starting Dec. 16 (perhaps sooner), this month's giveaway will actually be for November AND December. And there will be 3 separate prize packs to be won.

With the Holidays around the corner, each prize pack features an assortment of goodies that are purrfect for giving away or if you're feeling more Scrooge-like, simply keeping for yourself.

Prize Pack #1

• Sukibaby Holiday Pack of 3 Cards
• Christmas Kitty Magnet Set
• 1 Set of Holiday Gift Tags
• A 2010 Pocket-size Calendar (choose 1 from 12 designs; only 1 not pictured is pirate kitty)
• Gift Certificate worth $25

Prize Pack #2
• Creme Owl & Pussycat Limited Edition Scarf
A 2010 Pocket-size Calendar (choose 1 from 12 designs)

Prize Pack #3
• Aqua Clever Kitty Boy Brief Undies
• A 2010 Pocket-size Calendar (choose 1 from 12 designs)

Ways to enter (this time):
Leave a comment sharing your favourite Christmas/Holiday memory or gift received/given.

• Any purchases made in my shop from November 1st - Dec 6th will also get your name entered in the draw.

• All my Happy Customers and current blog followers are automatically entered every month.

Winner will be chosen at random, using the random number generator and I will announce it on my blog on December 7th!

To keep things fair, winners will be given 1 week to reply to my notification email. So please be sure to include an active email account in your comment/link or give me some way of reaching you. Otherwise, new winners will be chosen.

Thanks in advance for playing along. Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Be Back Tomorrow...

The weekend was super busy and I'm feeling a little like how Dex looks above - dazed and in need of some rest - so details of this month's blog giveaway will be announced tomorrow. Sorry to keep you in suspense, but it'll be another good one.

Thanks for the sweet comments on my previous post. Hope everyone else had a great weekend and is enjoying the last few hours of it! Now time to put my feet up and relax in front of the tube.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yes, Please & Thank You!

Yesterday I had a STELLAR day on etsy, thanks to getting this on the front page and some really great customers. It was my best in a long while and yes, please, I'll have some more. Thank you :)

I love this site that I somehow happened upon last week, via twitter I think. A great way to keep up with your etsy stats and it's an attractive and well-designed site too.

Anyways, just wanted to briefly toot my own horn...

After all, it's the small things and moments in life that keep me happy.

Be back in a few days with this month's giveaway.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Long Overdue

I've been terrible at blogging lately.

So much to do and so little time.

That's kind of how I felt yesterday after Matt and I got home from doing some baby shopping, finally. We bought a crib, but the saleslady told us that a car seat and stroller are more important. We only started looking at some yesterday. Yikes!

I'm still not due for another 8 weeks - so that's not the "overdue" the post title refers to - but I feel like the clock is steadily ticking and it's hard to accomplish much these days.

These books literally sat on this cart for weeks, after we finished setting up our shoji sliding doors. I finally reshelved most of them yesterday morning. Still need to snap some "after" shots, but I'm waiting until the shelves are fully reorganized, which will hopefully happen next weekend, once we go to Ikea again.

Here are some more "in progress" shots of our shoji doors... these, like my home reorganization, are the long overdue things I'm referring to.

Oh, also of note: this morning I redrew for the winner of the October blog giveaway since I didn't hear back from the original winner. Congrats to Leslie, one of my etsy customers last month. Stay tuned for this month's giveaway announcement... happening in under a week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hello November

Wendy and her kitty, Aoi

The last week of October was one of my most trying ones since I've been pregnant. I think the third trimester has brought back hormonal changes and fatigue, putting me on a bit of an emotional roller coaster for the last little while. Without turning this into a completely woe-is-me sour post, let's just say that Thursday was by far not my best morning, Friday was a bit exhausting - waiting 6.5 hours to get the H1N1 vaccination; and Saturday I spent most of the day on the couch or on the toilet, recovering from the shot that's supposed to keep me and the baby safe. Yeah, fun!

So, I'm looking forward to a better November. Pretty please!

I know I promised to share photos of our finished shoji doors, but I have not had a chance to take decent ones yet. Instead, I thought I'd share a photo that one of my super lovely recent customers sent to me, showing off her new tee along with her own wonder kitty.

And it's also time to reveal the winner of last month's giveaway. I made the draw this morning, once again using the random number generator. Out of 93 entries, Priscila was the lucky winner.

Thanks to everyone who commented, sharing your Halloween costumes, past and present. Hope you all had a fun, safe Halloween! And thanks also to all my etsy customers for your purchases and support in October. I was hoping to offer a free download in time for Halloween to thank all my blog followers and etsy customers, but I think it will have to wait until next year.

I may come up with something for the holidays. Christmas, after all, is my favourite holiday of the year. But I'll have to get cracking on stocking up the shop with things before baby comes. Be sure to check back at my blog and my shop announcement for important suggested mailing dates as well as my maternity leave dates. I'll be finalizing those dates in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Think Pink

I've had pink on the brain lately, so I'm loving this pretty treasury that I'm currently featured in, thanks to this sweet seller.

And I finally bought the first few baby clothing items over the weekend, including these oh so adorable sneakers from Old Navy, where I've done quite a bit of my maternity shopping. I've been resisting the urge to buy everything cute in sight, but I couldn't resist these.

I promise to share some photos of the finished shoji doors soon. They are mostly done, but we are wanting to add some castors to the bottoms to make them easier to slide back and forth. Another trip to Ikea is planned for later in the week for more baby-related items and more office and studio gear. As usual, I'm looking forward to it.

Bye for now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October Giveaway

Just a quick post today to announce this month's giveaway.

(Click on image to enlarge it)

Prizes: an owl and pussycat screen printed scarf (only one end is printed) and a set of six owl and pussycat buttons. Total value is $31 in honour of Halloween!

Ways to enter: Leave a comment saying what you're going to be/do this Halloween. If you're not dressing up, then perhaps share one of your favourite past costumes.

Any purchases made in my shop from now until the end of the month will also get your name entered in the draw.

And all my Happy Customers and current blog followers are automatically entered every month.

For bonus entries: Become a follower of my blog (follow button to the left) and/or on twitter, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know that you did so. All my current blog followers are automatically entered. I have too many unknown twitter followers, so unfortunately you need to comment on this post to b entered.

If anyone has trouble leaving a comment, you can also email me:

Winners will be announced on November 1st!

It's almost dinner time, so toodles for now.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Studio Peeks & Work in Progress

Despite the long weekend, it's a working weekend for us. Here's a peek at my button and magnet making station around 8:30 this morning.

And here are some more peeks around my home studio from this morning.

my button & magnet making/shipping station

some completed button and magnet sets

my clothing stock (on the left) & the not yet completed "walk-in closet" ( it's going to be enclosed with curtains)

And here's how things were looking mid-afternoon...

Matt decided that this was the weekend he was going to build the sliding shoji doors, mentioned in a previous post. So after a trip to Home Depot this morning, and several hundred buckaroos later, work began and is still going as I type.

Needless to say, our place is looking and feeling a bit chaotic at the moment. Most of our downstairs is a work in progress, really. But once these doors are up, and after another trip to Ikea in the near future, I think our place will start looking and feeling a whole lot better. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Lucky Winners & My Latest Obsession

To save on paper and for ease, I opted to use a random number generator today to make the draws for my September blog giveaway. The luck of the draw was the number each person got assigned - I tried to make it as fair as possible - so congrats to the 3 winners.

They are:
Little Miss Mel - Prize Pack #1
GraphXGrrl - Prize Pack #2
Monique - Prize Pack #3

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or bought something from my shop. I'll definitely take some of the suggestions for new products to heart.

This month's giveaway will be announced in 2 weeks and will be a sampling of my latest designs, so I hope you'll come back and check it out.

Meanwhile, I'm a little preoccupied with my stack of books on home decorating these days... and that's not even all the books I have out from the library currently.

Can you say "obsessed"? Just a little? Thank goodness for libraries, otherwise I'd be broke buying books.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recent Work

After a fairly lengthy hiatus from doing portrait commissions, I picked up my paintbrushes again this past month and here's the result:

I was also contacted recently by the president of the Cat Welfare Society in Singapore and asked to produce a design for one of their t-shirts, pro bono, to help raise funds for the cat caregivers. As she liked my Love Cats image, we decided to go with that, with a little addition to the heart. I believe the final design will be available on a black tee, so the kitty and letters will be in white, but here's a peek at how the design looks right now.

Other than that, been up to my old tricks of rearranging stuff around our place, packing etsy orders, picking up a few shifts at the design firm I work at from time to time and working on a few new illustrations, both personal and commissioned.

I will hopefully have some photos to share of my "walk-in closet" and revamped studio soon. Both still need some finishing touches and furniture/accessory additions to complete them. They're getting there though.

And tomorrow is the last day to enter my September giveaway. Winners will be announced on Thursday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hello Weekend!

Matt emailed me this image that he came across yesterday morning. I thought it was too cute not to share and it sets a light-hearted tone for the last weekend of the summer.

This week was semi-productive, but I never seem to get as much done as I would like. Things usually end up taking way longer than I estimate them to take.

My belly is definitely expanding quite easily these days. Sitting on my ass coupled with not leaving the house for a few days certainly helps its growth. All I can say is, thank goodness for drawstring pants.

Here's a peek at what I was working on for most of the latter part of this week.

I'd been toying with an owl and pussycat idea for some time now and it finally occurred to me to make a pattern out of the animal pair. Each critter will also be made into individual screens too and I'm excited to print them onto scarves, totes and other textiles.

I'm loving the new clever kitty, as I like to think of "her".

The owl took a bit more trial and error until I was finally satisfied with "him". Getting him to look as cute as the kitty was tricky, but I think they look good together now.

Another nice online surprise I got yesterday morning was discovering that one of my items is currently in an etsy gift guide. I think that's the first time I've been featured in one, that I've known of anyways.

Hope everyone else had a great week and has a happy weekend! Bye for now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Giveaway

It's the 15th of September, which means a new giveaway is here! As promised, this month there will be 3 lucky winners, which means there are 3 different prizes.

The first prize pack includes a pirate kitty tote, a clever kitty moleskine journal - a new item to be introduced to the shop soon! - and your choice of bookmark. There are 6 different designs available. Total value = $35 US.

The second prize pack is for 2 of my prints - Thinking Capcat and The Bubblegum Gang. Total value = $30 US.

And last but not least, the third prize is for a set of Nine Lives magnets. Total value = $15 US.

Ways to enter
: Visit my shop and come back here either telling me what your favourite item is or suggest something new that you would like to see me offer.

As usual, any purchases made in my shop from now until the end of the month will also get your name entered in the draw.

And my Happy Customers are automatically entered every month. To become one, simply send me a photo of you and your purchase and I can add it to the gallery or join my group on flickr.

For bonus entries: Become a follower of my blog (follow button to the left) and/or on twitter, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know that you did so. All my current blog followers are automatically entered. I have too many unknown twitter followers, so unfortunately you need to comment on this post to b entered.

If anyone has trouble leaving a comment, you can also email me: I have found that in certain web browsers, I've been unable to comment.

Winners will be announced on the 1st of October!

Have fun and Happy Giveaway!

Monday, September 14, 2009

In with the New and Out with the Old

Several new apparel items are in the shop and there are a ton of tees on sale with more to be added soon!

Here are just a few:

Remember, this month's giveaway will be announced tomorrow. Any purchases made between the 15th and 30th of this month will earn you an entry into the draw. And of course, commenting on my blog will do so too. That's all for now. Until tomorrow!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Making Room for Baby & Shop Stuff

That's a bit of what I've been up to recently. Since we live in a loft, the open concept requires a bit more planning for a baby and we've been racking our brains on how to divide up the space. Right now we only have these curtains as a room divider.
I am leaning towards enclosing our bedroom to keep the cats out - where baby will sleep for the first year, most likely - but whatever we put up has to still let light in, be relatively lightweight but sturdy, be easy to install and affordable! Yeah, wishful thinking. Matt wants to build shoji screen sliding doors himself - I took out the book below from the library for him - but without a proper workshop and tools, I'm wondering how easy this diy project will be. Those of course would be ideal (except who knows how they would hold up with the cats loving to scratch wood?). We've got less than 4 months to come up with a solution.

{Oh yeah, we found out it's going to be a girl!

I've kind of just been savouring the news and telling a handful of people so far. We'll see if the results hold up, since I've already had my share of surprises with the pregnancy so far}

We've been making room for our new addition in there over the past several months and finally acquired a lovely new dresser for all of us on our last trip to Ikea.

Most of my clothes have made their way onto the other side of our bedroom and I am badly wanting to finish my walk-in closet plan for them, since it is kind of a sight for sore eyes at the moment.

The Stolmen system from Ikea is what I have in mind for our personal clothing and also for my shop stock, as it works well in places with high ceilings. So I'm on craigslist daily searching for that and numerous other Ikea pieces at reasonable prices.

And speaking of making room for baby, unintentionally, this past week we had to throw out almost everything we had stored in our building's basement storage locker, due to our own and someone else's ignorance. Apparently every time it rains - and this summer has been a wet one for sure - the basement in our building tends to flood. We only found this out recently. Well, combine that with someone not speaking up about a broken pipe in her storage locker and our choice to store stuff in cardboard boxes, and you get damaged goods. Plus, since we didn't try to salvage things right away, mold started accumulating and for our safety and our baby's safety, we - well, Matt mostly because I shouldn't be moving heavy things right now - had to toss out everything that we thought had been contaminated and wasn't utterly important.

That included all of his childhood mementos, albums, artwork and his most prized toy, a stuffed rabbit - his mom had gathered it all to give to him when she and his dad moved out east several years back. For me, I had to let go of a box full of old journals and sketchbooks, which had me a bit ill at ease. I don't want to imagine someone else reading those or going through my personal things. But oh well, if that stuff had meant such a great deal to us, we probably wouldn't have put them down in storage. That's what I've tried to tell myself.

As well as rearranging stuff in our home, I tried out the new rearrange shop feature on etsy the other day and colour coded all my items. I don't know why, but I tend to do that with things. My clothes are like that and when I had my own section for clothing in stores, I would do that. Our bookshelves are like that too.

Right now, red is on the first page. I will change that up probably every so often. At least you can still change the view to select "most recently listed".

Other than that, I've been pretty busy screen printing for others and getting together my own Fall stock to send out to various shops. This is one of the images I printed, which is also one of my favourite new ones available through Oddbird Designs.

I'm also working on a new design featuring an owl - yes, not just a puttytat! - and will hopefully have it ready to unveil and print in a week or so. And I've got a new custom portrait keeping me busy too, which I'll post about another day. So all in all, pretty busy and happy for it.

This month's giveaway will be another good one, with 3 different winners chosen, so be sure to check back on the 15th!