valentine shopping fun (round up)

late to the party, my head is swimming with all the vday goodies i’ve seen floating around here. some of these items might not make it to your mailbox before the big day but you can still enjoy looking at some of my favorite categories…


romance in photography from jennifer squires, art of whimsy, kayleen michelle and alyson jones


 inspired jewelry from laurie chapman, margaux lange, victoria buckley and stephanie simek


ceramic and glass bliss from lily pottery and jeri goodman


soft-sided accessory love from las lopezlas, fringe, stewart and brown, and linda lye


poetic paper from l2 design collective, porterness, amy blackwell (via) and able and game (via)


love spray from reed seifer


chocolate creations from jean philippe maury, christopher elbow and knipschildt


sweet and funny illustrations from laura george, seaspray blue and le papier


pillows: pooh, humble and veronique

blue ribbon design letterpress

Look at these oh-so-elegant letterpress greetings and stationery from Brooklyn designer Kimberly Dreissen for her company, Blue Ribbon Design. I love the crisp color combinations and pretty patterns she includes on her cards, journals and custom wedding invitations.






See more and find a shop near you on their website, and say hi to Kimberly on her blog.

renegade craft fair 2008: highlights, pt. 4

okay, here is the last (but definitely not the least) of the vast array of handmade art seen this past weekend at the renegade craft fair in chicago…


cool sculptural jewelry by the nervous system


intriguing anatomical tableware from the folded pigs


sweet and subversive accessories by skirt (love those quilts!)


 gorgeous ceramics and papier mache sculpture from up in the air somewhere


groovy moustache racks and other assorted fun by suddenly it’s real


original art and hand embellished jewelry and bags from recycled rings


fun silkscreened goodies from blue thimble


fun postmarked stamp jewelry by foxglove

renegade craft fair 2008: highlights, pt. 2

more wonderful things from the talented and clever artists at the renegade craft fair in chicago this weekend, which is open today, september 14th, 2008 from noon-10 pm:


vibrant tableware from circa ceramics


pretty jewelry made of vintage ephemera from the foundling



politically aware accessories and toys from rebexa and abbeychristine


colorful screenprints from the little friends of printmaking



letterpress cards and stationery from luckybeepress


photographic jewelry from le photique



beguiling prints from catia chien



 recycled sweater toys from caitlin wicker

off to the renegade craft fair…

i will be back later tonight to show you some highlights from the soggy renegade craft fair that is happening here in chicago this weekend…


i really feel for the vendors who had to set up in the rain, which is just not letting up. hopefully it won’t deter buyers from coming to purchase some wonderful art. personally, i remain undaunted. i am so ready to shop! 🙂

chewing the cud letterpress

very fun, tongue-in-cheek letterpress action from san francisco stationery designer viola sutanto ting for her company chewing the cud.




purchase these pieces at elsewares, see more at viola’s website and etsy shop, and say hi on her blog.

seraph stationery and gifts

need to see something happy today? i sure do, and these fun and elegant letterpress and gifty items from utah-based seraph stationery are just perfect right now. i love the loose drawing style and funky graphics they’ve got here.






intriguing bonuses: 1) proceeds from the sock it to me line go toward the purchase of socks for their local homeless shelters; and 2) seraph does custom invitation work too, for that fabulous party or shower or wedding you might be planning.

find these items and more at soolip in north hollywood, lunalux in minneapolis, emeralds in austin and of course online at the seaph website.

naughty betty cards: let’s chat!


i nearly spit my drink out when i opened my birthday card from a dear friend recently. actually i may have and i am still a little embarrassed about it, but i couldn’t help it. it was a laugh-out-loud funny, harsh and absolutely inimitable naughty betty card, from the dark and stormy minds of chicago designers christine montaquila and courtney weinberg. christine and courtney clearly have a bright sense of humor and a keen sense of style. their cards are sharp and truthful but are tempered with just a skinch of sentimentality. this formidable combination has enough visual jet fuel to teleport you to a playful place, stand by patiently idling its engines while you play around there for a bit and get you back to planet earth satisfied and smiling. let’s have a chat with c + c and find out more!


q: where do you live, and where do you create your collection?
a: we live in the northern suburbs of chicago. we’re minivan driving, latte drinking suburban moms. can’t even try to hide it. we either create our cards in our home offices, borders, or crouched in a broom closet so our toddlers don’t find us.


q: how did you two come together to create naughty betty?
a: we worked together as a writer/art director team at ogilvy & mather in chicago. we did many, many campaigns for women’s brands that we loved but never made it out the door. so we started to craft a voice and look we loved that was brutally honest, and talked to women the way women talk to women.


q: can you tell us a bit about your creative process? how do these cards get out of your head and onto the paper?
a: it really is a very organic process. a lot of our inspiration comes from our lives. our hectic, crazy, extremely average lives. we tend to write down funny stuff along the way and see how it feels as a card and if it captures a sentiment just right. then we revise, revise, revise.


q: your collection is so memorable thanks in part to its bold and clean graphic style. do either of you have a design background?
a: the design is courtney’s gig, but since i’m the writer i will speak for her. she’s got a design background and a fabulous eye for cool, modern things. she obsesses over every color! she’s really a design whore. (ed. note: this is the quote of the week.)



q: the laugh-out-loud, descriptive imagery in your cards really hits the nail on the head and takes me (and i suspect everyone else!) to a specific place and time. have you drawn on your own experiences while creating them?
a: oh yes. all of it. i suspect my husband secretly watches porn, and i have been that drunk girl peeing in an alley. when courtney was ten she french kissed her pillow with braces on. anything you read, we’ve lived.


q: what inspires you to make the line?
a: we love the idea of connecting with women and creating this dialogue about modern life. we certainly live differently then our mother’s did, working, raising children etc., so part of it is a social commentary on it all. after working in advertising for 15 years, we also love the honesty we’re able to have. you simply couldn’t be this blunt in an ad, but the truth is, people love the truth. they respond to it. and we love being culturally relevant too. greeting cards have a shelf life, so we can talk about things in the world that work now, but may not in two years. plus, life is just a hoot. senators having gay sex in bathrooms, people eating cockroaches on tv… this is good stuff!


q: exactly who is naughty betty? any relation to ugly betty?
a: naughty betty is the name we came up with on the phone when we realized all the other names we liked were trademarked. it was a bit before ugly betty got so big. we loved the idea of it being a woman’s name, and the naughty gives us permission to offend people with our harsh language. “We’re not Politically Correct Betty” is what I like to say!


you can purchase naughty betty cards at multiple choices and paper boy here in chicago, as well as paper doll in portland, heartfelt in san francisco and nancy nancy in brooklyn. if you are a retailer contact calypso cards for distribution info, and for more general hilarity and to contact christine and courtney, see their website.


thank you ladies!

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