Inspired by macrame

Sep 29, 2010

In recent months, I've been itching to take up weaving.  I don't have a loom (as of yet), so I've been thinking of alternative ways to intertwine yarn.  One idea that came to mind was using knots.  I have never been a huge fan of macrame, but I was quickly won over when I saw the works of Australian artist Sarah Parkes.  Her macrame creations are a far cry from kitschy. 

In addition to lighting and plant hangings, Parkes also has a macrame jewelry collection.  I love the rosette necklace on the right.

Yesterday, I decided to try my luck at macrame.  And what started as a spontaneous idea became a several hour ordeal!  Here's a look at what I made.

The only experience I've had knotting yarn was when I made friendship bracelets as a teenager.  I found that dressing a bottle was a little trickier than dressing a wrist! I wanted the macrame design on the bottle to be organic, so I didn't follow a pattern.  And, instead of cord, I used flax yarn (which is more like twine).  The texture of the yarn definitely gives a different effect than cord -more like a crocheted look. 

Glass and rope scream beach to me, so hopefully you caught on to the sea theme.  I titled the piece Seafarer, in honor of the explorer in all of us.  I imagine the newly adorned vessel to hold sand from a faraway place or notes of affection.

I added this piece to a new section in my Etsy shop called Exclusives.  This will be home to unique, one-of-a kind creations (like my embroidery works, painted rocks, etc.). 

Oh, and don't forget the mega giveaway ends tomorrow!  I've enjoyed reading all of the comments so far.  Your thoughtful feedback and encouraging words always fuel my creative energy.  Thank you!

My Week

Sep 26, 2010

perfect day for a wedding in Shedd, Oregon (population 963)

restored 1930's onion barn that has been converted into a dance hall for the evening
the girls perform an impromptu ballet

hummingbirds feeding at sunrise

it's been a hard summer for tomato plants in Portland- not enough sun
these are the only ripe ones at the moment

printed new sticker designs and didn't like them at all! 
tried different settings to fix color saturation and kept getting the same poor results
maybe they'll print better as cards? 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
on a more positive note, i got invited to be part of an online art exhibition in December
so, i've been busy working on some new pieces
above right is one of the new works i might submit
i'll be sure to post info on the event once i have more news

Birthday Giveaway!

Sep 24, 2010

In celebration of Habit of Art turning one, I’m giving away a package of goodies to one lucky reader.  The giveaway package includes one print of your choice from my Etsy shop (up to $20 value), a new assortment of fabric tape, and a pocketbook gallery of original art and sketches!

For a chance to win the art prize shown above, all you have to do is leave a comment below.  I’m curious to know what you’d like to see more of in year two of Habit of Art, so any feedback on favorite posts would be greatly appreciated.

On Thursday, Sept. 30th at 12p PST, I will draw a name and then announce the winner of the giveaway on this post.

Update:  Congratulations, Esti-  you are the winner of the art giveaway!

Thanks to all who participated and wrote such thoughtful comments.  My Etsy shop turns one in November, so expect another giveaway ; )

Habit of Art turns one

Sep 23, 2010

A year ago today, I wrote my first post for Habit of Art.  My purpose in starting a new blog was to talk about art.  289 posts later, I feel like I have only scratched the surface.

What I've learned along the way . . .
the world is smaller than you think
blogging every day is harder than flossing every day
technology will inevitably fail you at the most inopportune moment- multiple times
there are a lot of talented people out there
who don't get enough credit
some of the most encouraging words can come from strangers
i love what i do

Thanks for reading.
(Check back tomorrow for the birthday giveaway!)

Artists I like: Tom Moglu

Sep 22, 2010

You may have noticed that I have a fascination with triangles.  I use them a lot in my work.  So naturally, when I came across the art of UK artist Tom Moglu, I was in triangle heaven.  I love how Moglu juxtaposes the sharpness of a triangle with soft, earthy tones.  And the way that he repeats the triangles and analogous colors is reminiscent of woven works. 
The piece below, Roasting Like Chestnuts, is one of my favorites.  Aside from the fact that I do love roasted chestnuts, I'm intrigued with works that show line movement.  In this particular piece, it's as if the moving lines are breaking through a fence of triangles. 

To see more of Moglu's fabulous art, click here.  And while we're on the topic of triangles, check out my new jacket I found at a local resale shop.

I was serious when I said I'm into triangles.

Blast from the past

Sep 20, 2010

Today, I spotted a bumper sticker that I had designed over 20 years ago for my high school!  Just to make sure my claim was correct, I went home and rifled through my memory box.  And there it was- my one copy of the bumper sticker.

In my memory box, I also found a sketchbook from one of my high school art classes.  On one page, my teacher wrote, "Are you trying to draw from actual objects?"  The comment made me smile because that was something I repeatedly stated to students when I taught high school art.  I guess the practice of observational drawing can never be overstated in the art classroom. 

My Week

Sep 19, 2010

playing around with a lensbaby // i might have to get one of these

now that the girls are back in school, 
my husband and i have recommenced our weekly lunch dates to the food carts 
one of our favorites- vietnamese sandwiches, 2 for $6

it's the busy season for family photos
three photo shoots scheduled this weekend and several more in the next few weeks

started a large panel painting // still mapping out the foreground in my head

A timeless summer captured on film

Sep 17, 2010

The 1978 Olympus Trip 35 was a gift from a friend.  She bought it for $5 at a thrift store.  I just got my first roll developed, and I couldn't be happier.  The photos make me want to relive those summer days all over again.

10 tips for opening an Etsy shop

Sep 16, 2010


If you've been thinking about selling some of your handmade goods, the online marketplace "Etsy" is a great place to start.  You can set up a shop within minutes and the start-up costs are minimal- just 20 cents per listing!  Recently, my friend opened an Etsy shop and asked for some advice.  Here's what I told her:

1.  Choose a store name that makes sense, is memorable, and easy to search.  Once you pick a shop name (which is also your username), you can't change it.  And before you set your name in stone, make sure to look it up in Etsy's search engine.  You might come across another shop that essentially has the same name.

2.  Excellent product shots are key.  Product shots should be well-composed, clear, and bright.  For tips on how to take better product pictures, see my post here.

Pigeon Toe Ceramics and Minx Shop

3.  Keep your shop full.  At the least, you should have 16 products to start with.  This allows people to see your passion on display. Moreover, people love options.

4.  Etsy's Search organizes products by most recent listings, so upload new products at least once a week.  Some Etsy sellers upload products every day!
5.  Use descriptive tags so that sellers can find your products.  Etsy allows a total of 14 tags per item; include as many keywords as possible when listing your product.

5gardenias and Essimar

6.  Establish clear and concise shop policies to gain the confidence of the customer.

7.  Account for all expenses and fees when determining an item's price.  In addition to materials and time, marketing and payment fees should also be calculated into the price of a product.  Etsy takes 3.5% of the total sale of an item, and Paypal takes a small percentage plus a fixed fee. 

8.  Encourage customers to shop again by personalizing orders.  Add a handwritten note and throw in a small treat for good measure.

Nea and Lisa's Retro Style

9.  Share the Etsy love by "hearting" your favorite finds.  Hearts are one way that Etsy sellers are connected.  The first time I got a heart from a secret admirer, I thought for a moment I was being stalked (when really they are fans that don't make their Favorites public).  To keep track of new hearts in your shop, go to

10.  Try to get your product on the front page.  It's free marketing! For this to happen, you'll need to be in a treasury that someone else created.  If you're following tips 1 - 9, then you'll be in a treasury in no time.  Another way to reach out to Etsy sellers is creating your own treasury.  Be sure to "convo" each Etsy seller to let them know about your treasury!

Although it can be a thrill to run your own online shop, know that it takes time to network and build a customer base.  In the first few months, you may only get a handful of sales.  Don't lose heart.  Be diligent and continue to fine tune your shop and your products.

Eye-catching Window Displays

Sep 14, 2010

[right photo image source: Lucky Magazine]

1000 paper airplanes.  That's how many the talented Katie Kulper folded and hung with string in our store windows. It was a magnificent sight, and people walking by would come into our shop just to marvel at the display. It's no surprise that Katie is now a window display designer for Anthropologie, famous for their creative window designs. Check out these Anthropologie displays using discarded books.

[image sources:, flickr]

I'm actually not much of a shopper, but I do enjoy seeing the creative mind at work dressing up a window.  Here are a few more favorite designs.

found styrofoam cup installation by Indo Projects

 Zoe Bradley

papercut dioramas

My Week

Sep 11, 2010

found grandma's pink doily in my memory box and now it's hanging on the wall
created a few paintings on black paper.  this one with six feathers i decided to keep . . . for now
fabric that my dear friend brought back from Uganda.  i feel loved
finally having time to hang some of my art on the wall, even if it's temporary

i'm thrilled about my new estate finds: metal boxes (at a buck apiece)
 one of them is full of aged note cards. i'm brainstorming ways that i can reuse them
the notes (some typed and some handwritten) are all related to trees and plants
my thought is to hand print my designs over the text
a couple of my ideas so far: shipping tags, mini zines . . . any thoughts?

new to my Etsy shop: Summer Thunderstorm 
mixed media on 4" x 4" birch panel

Show and Tell: Korean treats

Sep 10, 2010

My mother brings food whenever she comes over for a visit.  Many times it's an oversized jar of kim chee that she made the day before.  Accompanying the kim chee is usually some kind of snack for each member of the family.  Dried fish, for example, is normally given to me, and sweet rice cakes are a treat for the girls. 

I  love the colors of rice cakes, especially the pale pink.  Each color is a different flavor, and inside of each rice cake ball is sweet bean.  Yum.  I've never made my own, but I found this recipe today.

Here's the dried fish that my mom recently brought over.  It's coated in honey and sesame seeds.  If you look carefully, you can see the bones of the fish.  So, there's definitely a crunchy factor to this snack.  Not a fan favorite in the household, but I enjoy it. 

And then there's the guilty pleasure treat- Choco Pies. 

Choco Pies are essentially a Korean version of the moon pie.  They look sweeter than they actually are, but maybe that's me trying to rationalize eating one.

The packaging is classic.  Normally I steer clear of packaging like this in a market, but I am not as discriminating when it comes to international food products.  A double standard, I know, but I can't help but be amused by phrasing like "It's Now."

My art headed to the Lone Star State

We Are 1976 is an indie focused retail, studio, and gallery space in the trendy Henderson area of Dallas, Texas.  They carry a cornucopia of home goods and current art.  I spotted these bento beauties on their website and am absolutely in love with the retro design.  I just might have to pick up a couple for my daughters. 

This week, I shipped off a stack of my art prints to the Dallas shop.  Sometimes I find packaging art precarious.  I worry about the slightest bend, so I tend to overcompensate.  In this case, I used more than enough twine.  At least I had fun playing around with the design!

If you happen to be in the Dallas area, I'd love to hear about your visit to We Are 1976.  And let me know what you think about the prints!
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