Category Archives: what I like

What I Like Wednesday : Elizabeth Rose Stanton / Penspaper Studio

Dogs with their skeletons on display, a besotted teddy bear, and chickens with arms – welcome to the world of Elizabeth Rose Stanton.

I was fortunate to discover her work through Illustration Friday (a treasure trove of talent) and now, every time I see a new illustration from her, I am awestruck. From an adorable giraffe to a terrifying Wendigo (and everything in between), Elizabeth displays an amazing versatility that most artists strive for. And she makes it look so easy.

You can see her work on her web site, as well as her blog. Oh, and just to make sure she is extra well-rounded, she also contributes to Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Here are a few of my favorites…just to whet your appetite.

Old Gran Frog and Taddy Pole

Illustration Friday submission – Safari

Illustration Friday submission – Soaked


Illustration Friday submission – Influence

all images © the amazing Elizabeth Rose Stanton

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Sunshine in My Mailbox Makes Me Happy

So, as the rains started to assail us on Saturday, I was greeted by this little bit of sunshine in my mailbox.

As mentioned previously, I was somehow lucky enough to win TWO giveaways in the same week (which is probably why I ended up dealing with an earthquake AND a hurricane the following week – it’s all gotta even out somehow – heh). This envelope held the wonderful prize from Yvonne Stewart of Coramantic. Here is what I found inside.

A lovely hand decorated card protecting the goodies…

this ACEO titled ‘Out of This World’

and this original illustration called ‘On My Mind’

Yvonne’s work is very nice. I highly recommend checking out her blog and Etsy shop. You can also keep up with her on Facebook.

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With a Wooden Spoon

So, despite my (and apparently, Mother Nature’s) utterly craptacular mood, this week hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I won not one, but TWO giveaways this week. So, I have been anxiously watching my mailbox for each of my little prizes to arrive. And, today, one did!

My karmic pendulum just happened to be swinging in the right direction when Sarah Welch of Wooden Spoon Editions drew the winner of her recent blog contest and before I knew it, I was eagerly pulling the strings off of this little package to reveal the awesomeness inside. BEHOLD!

Lovely, isn’t it? Makes me want to run to the wine cellar (a.k.a. that shelf in my dining room) and uncork a bottle right now. This print, like all of Sarah’s prints, was hand carved and burnished with a wooden spoon. I love the simplicity of this style of printmaking. It’s so crisp, clean, and unfussy – just the way I like things.

You can read about Sarah’s work on her blog. You can also see and buy her work on Etsy.

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What I Like Wednesday : Mentions & Niceties

I’ve had kind of an exciting week. So, rather than focusing on one particularly inspirational person or thing, I thought I would share a few of the good things that have happened this week and the nice people who made them possible. Enjoy!



Last week’s Friday Favorites featured an etegami illustration by Deborah Davidson (a.k.a. dosankodebbie). In addition to leaving a very nice comment, she was kind enough to give me a little shout out on her blog.

Her work is pretty amazing (as evidenced by this peachy illustration) and I would highly recommend checking out all of the beautiful etegami on her blog.






I also won a book this week, which was a totally awesome surprise! I can hardly wait to be the proud owner of an advance copy of They Draw and Cook’s new cookbook!

If you haven’t checked out They Draw & Cook, do it now! And don’t forget to pre-order your very own copy of the new book (at a 35% off discount, no less).








My Sketchbook Project post from yesterday received a very nice mention on Sketches and Jottings today.

That was a very nice surprise and I was happy to find out that many people found the post helpful (the link was also shared by the Art House Co-op)





I also received some very nice comments from some of my favorite bloggers/artists/illustrators – Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Shirley Ng-Benitez, and Deirdre McCormick. Please do check out their work!


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What I Like Wednesday : Patti Backer (a.k.a. PatriciaMonkey)

Hmm, it seems I’ve missed a couple weeks of What I Like Wednesday. Oops. No matter, today’s artist is extra awesome, so that should more than make up for my lack of blogging diligence. Heh.

Whimsical. Weird. Wonderful. This is the best way that I can describe Maryland artist Patti Backer’s work. Also known as PatriciaMonkey, she describes her pieces as  ‘a combination of lowbrow and folk art.’

It was her paintings on wood (specifically the big-eyed black birds) that first caught my eye, but her slightly creepy brand of silliness doesn’t stop there. She also has a penchant and talent for reclaiming vintage furniture and turning it into must-have items for the eclectic home.

You can find more of Patti’s work on her blog and on Etsy where she not only sells her quirky artwork, but also offers a treasure trove of vintage goodness.

And now for some of my PatriciaMonkey favorites…





photos : by Patti Backer

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What I Like Wednesday : Josh Pincus is Crying

I have a confession to make. I am what is, in certain circles, referred to as a Death Hag. I find stories of celebrity (and in some cases, non-celebrity) deaths fascinating. I dream of wandering Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. And I have read on Twice.

Perhaps it is my penchant for useless knowledge that drives my desire to learn about how the famous and infamous have met their maker. Or maybe I’m just one of those people my mother would describe as morbid while cringing disgustedly. But I find it all incredibly fascinating.

Enter Josh Pincus is Crying.

JPiC, a combination of illustrations, tales of expired ‘celebrities’, and a soupçon of true crime, is another of my Illustration Friday discoveries. It has since secured a well-deserved spot on my list of Massive Time Sucks (I cannot even begin to tell you how much time I have wasted perusing the site just to write this post!).

But, it’s not all stories of how somewhat obscure Hollywood types (like Judith Barsi, Jay Stewart, and Jack Nance) and creepy sociopaths have met their ultimate demise. There are also entertaining anecdotes about being frightened of one’s own reflection and pornographic images littering the street in a suburban Philadelphia neighborhood (go ahead, click the link, I’ll wait here  while you laugh until you pee).

The illustrations are fantastic. The stories are well-written (and humorous, when appropriate). And, to me and my ilk, the subject matter is fascinating.

I highly recommend perusing the entire blog, but for now, you can check out some of my Josh Pincus is Crying favorites…

Donald Turnupseed


Phyllis Newcombe


Johnny Stompanato


And everyone’s favorite center square – Paul Lynde

illustrations : by Josh Pincus is Crying

Wanna see more of what I like? Go here!

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What I Like Wednesday : Jane Almirall

Some whiles ago, I used to bore people to death share stories of my absurd existence on a blog called Frothygirlz. This is where I first discovered the work (both art and writing) of Kansas City artist/blogstress Jane Almirall.

Serendipitiously, I found myself in Kansas City last summer, where I was fortunate enough to meet and hang out with Jane. In doing so, I discovered that, aside from the fact that she is tall, blonde, and awesomely talented, we have a lot in common.

We both spend our days (or nights, as it were) precariously balancing the art of making art with the art of raising children. And we require large amounts of caffeine to do so.

Speaking of which, in her newest series, which includes this piece called ‘Split Ends‘, Jane adds coffee to a mix of colored pencil, gouache, and, in some cases, her own tears. To see the rest of this series and purchase prints, visit Jane’s Etsy shop – Heart Full of Break.

You can also see more of Jane’s work on her web site, which is (thankfully) back online after a recent redesign. It is a great source of inspiration, as her work is not only pleasing to the eye, but also very thought-provoking.

Here are a few of my personal Jane Almirall favorites.


The Marvel of Flight




The Long Goodbye

In addition to checking out more of Jane’s art at, I highly recommend following her adventures at

See more artists and inspirations here.

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What I Like Wednesday : DKM Art & Illustrations

Yes! What I Like Wednesday makes its triumphant return!

Since I have started blogging and participating in Illustration Friday, I have discovered the blogs of a lot of talented people. And I have been fortunate enough to get to know some of them beyond just anonymously admiring their work and wishing I had their amazing talent.

Deirdre McCormick of DKM Art & Illustrations is one of those super talented people. Not only does she create fantastic illustrations in her uniquely awesome style, but her blog is also completely filled with spectacular eye-candy and some sweet tutorials. In fact, if you’re wondering what to do with all that Easter egg dye you bought for $.37 a box on clearance at Target last week, Deirdre tells you here and here in her two part tutorial.

Now, back to the eye candy. Much like yours truly, Deirdre is a collector of randomness (and she knows how to use it). She has all kinds of cool things that she uses for inspiration and she shares them in her posts – first showing all of the awesome things that inspire her and then displaying her gorgeous creations. But don’t just take my word for it check out this luscious post and this one too!

Here are some of my DKM favorites. Visit the blog and find yours!

Vintage Sunflowers. See the inspirations for this gorgeous piece here.


Silly girl calls this a doodle. A doodle! My doodles are ridiculous ball point pen monstrosities, usually involving attempts to draw a perfect circle. Deirdre’s doodles look like this!


Gorgeous flowers DKM-style. Read more about this piece here.


I could go on for days about how much I LOVE this piece. Oy, the colors! So rich that I just want to bite it. See the inspirations here.


When you visit Deirdre’s blog (and I know you will), be sure to leave her a comment (or five). She’ll love it!

P.S. I recently heard that Deirdre’s mom reads my blog. So, ‘Hi, Deirdre’s mom!’

illustrations : by Deirdre McCormick

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What I Like Wednesday: Vintage Ad Browser

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a fairly large collection of random vintage things – buttons, handbags, cookbooks, postcards, fabric, jewelry, knitting patterns.  I used to wile away many hours strolling the aisles of antique shops looking for fun, old stuff and I’ve amassed an impressive little collection.

Part of my collection consists of old magazines from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I love to thumb through them mostly to look at the ads. I actually used to get a lot of inspiration from vintage ads.

Recently, while reading blogs, I discovered the Vintage Ad Browser (or, in my case, Massive Time Sucker). This site has page after page after page of vintage ads for pretty much everything under the sun. There’s even a special section devoted solely to ads for SPAM – arguably, the most vile substance on earth (although, the local ‘delicacy’ Scrapple could probably give SPAM a run for it’s money)!

There’s a lot to be learned about history and society from ads of the past. Did you know that Coca-Cola was once marketed as a ‘healthful beverage’? Or that, at one time, a person could fly from New York to Atlanta for less than $30? Or that, during World War II, chocolate was marketed as a ‘fighting food’? Or that Frank Gifford used to shill for a sherry called *ahem* Dry Sack?

It’s all true.

There’s also a lot to be learned about design, photography, and illustration. I’ve discovered a lot of really nice art work in some of the ads on the site.

I particularly like the mid-50’s Jell-O ad campaign using animal illustrations. I also like the style of the ads for the Douglas Amphibion.

And then there’s Poochie…never thought you’d see that again, eh?

When you emerge from the Wayback Machine, don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

photos : vintage ads courtesy of Vintage Ad Browser

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What I Like Wednesday: Tsuga Studios

I have always wished that I had the skill to work with glass. Years ago, I lived a stone’s throw from a major art glass supplier. I used to love walking around perusing all of the glass art supplies and I kick myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to take classes there.

I realize now that it is probably better that I didn’t pick up yet another medium that I would end up being mediocre with, especially when there is such a high price tag attached. Oh, but how I would adore having my own kiln…and blowtorches (!).

Best that I leave all that to the experts, like Nick Kekic of Tsuga Studios.

The whole concept of glassblowing is completely amazing to me and the flawless beauty of Nick’s work, from everyday dishware to gorgeous decorative bowls and light shades, just blows me away (no pun intended – heh).  Seriously, amazing.

This weekend, I will be attending the American Craft Council show in Baltimore where I will finally get to see Nick’s work in person *insert embarrassing girlish squeal*. I can’t wait! Expect lots of photos (and possibly more embarrassing girlish squeals). If you happen to be in Baltimore this weekend, definitely check this show out!

In the meantime, go get your daily dose of COLOR at!

photos : small bowls, dinnerware, ribbon cane incalmo bowls by Tsuga Studios.

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What I Like Wednesday: Back in Black Photography

Once upon a time, there were two strange little girls. They had many odd adventures together and spent a lot of time with their faces behind cameras. One of those girls grew up to be yours truly – a moderately talented (and still strange) wannabe photog. The other grew up to be the very talented beauty and brains behind Back in Black Photography.

Back in the day, I used to blame my parents and their unwillingness to foot the bill for a camera as nice as Sara’s for the fact that the quality of her photos was always light years beyond mine. But it was really just because she has mad skillz. Heh.

She went to school for photography. I went to school for…what the hell did I got to school for? The world may never know…

She’s living it up with the artsy elite in Portland. I chauffeur the two-year-old elite to various social engagements (read: preschool and playdates) while dodging the vehicles of skeezy guys shaving on their morning commutes around Baltimore.

And all because my parents wouldn’t buy me that damned expensive camera! Heh, heh.

Seriously, check out her work. It is inspired and inspiring.

photos: seaside 3, tbf cattails, waters 3 by Sara R. Almirall

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What I Like Wednesday: Fern House Studio

So, I’m trying something new here on the old blog. I’m calling it What I Like Wednesday. I’ll mostly be posting things that fit into the art + design heroes category, but there may be a smattering of other random things here and there too.

I can’t think of a better way to start this new tradition, than by sharing the work of one of my favorite artists (and clients) – Christina Heiniger of Fern House Studio.

Christina has been a client of mine for several years now, which means that I am lucky enough to get to see her new work every time she updates her web site (one of the perks of my ‘real’ job), where she offers her original paintings, as well as cards and handmade finger puppets.

I have always loved her Animal Series featuring brightly colored scenes with animals who interact with each other in interesting ways or sometimes just hang out on their own. I love them so much, in fact, that I framed several prints from this series to hang in Sir’s room.

I sometimes struggle with a fear of color and how to use it properly in my work and I have always been impressed at how Christina can use such a wide range of colors in her pieces and make it work so well.

Christina is also the organizer of the Gifted Hand Show – an annual fine art and craft show in Ellsworth, ME (which I would secretly LOVE to be a part of, if I could justify the expense of a trip up to Maine and/or even make it through the jurying process – heh). So, if you are in or around Maine in early November, be sure to check it out!

photos : Sending & Receiving, Owl Acrobatics, and Sleeping Fox by Christina Heiniger from

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