Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez

I've just finished the packaging for my friend Mark's new lip balms and I'm quite happy with how they turned out (and I have one to give away - see below)! I love all the beautiful flavours, they're just so unique and irresistible, which gave me lots of inspiration for colour choices for the labelling. Mark's soap, perfume and skincare business, Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez, specialises in all-natural, vegan formulations, so the lip balms are made without beeswax, palm oil, petroleum based products, or synthetic flavours. What you'll find instead, is lots of nourishing natural plant-based ingredients like cocoa butter, macadamia wax and raspberry seed oil (a natural sunscreen).

It's hard for me to pick a favourite, but I'm using Raspberry Royale at the moment, which is a delicious blend of black raspberry and violet; such an unusual and evocative combination - I love it! Mark has an online shop (the lip balms will be making an appearance there soon), and if you happen to be in South Australia, you can visit him at various markets through out the year, the next one is the Pure Veg Food and Wine Fair (a vegan event) coming up on Saturday September 12th, where I'm sure these beautiful lip balms will sell like hot cakes! By the way, there's always a small range of Magic Jelly goods available at Shanghai Lil market stalls.

I design all of Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez's branding and packaging in collaboration with Mark, who has a strong vision for his lovely brand, and I'm just redesigning and freshening up some of the earlier stuff I did for him, including the soap labelling which you can see here too. It's been such a pleasure working with my oldest friend to help him with his business.

IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME!

I have one of Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez's beautiful lip balms to give away so if you'd like me to throw your name into the hat to win it, just leave a comment (make sure to input your email address so I can contact you if you win). This giveaway is open to overseas peeps as well as Australians and I will randomly draw a name in a week's time.

Postcards Sent!

So I had a little giveaway of some of my new postcards and got a fantastic response. Sometimes I wonder if there's anyone out there, still reading my blog. Facebook has taken so much traffic away from independent blogs, which is a real shame, so this is a perfect opportunity to thank you for still being there, reading and commenting and emailing - it means a lot!

Off the little postcards go (I posted them Thursday), some within Australia (all in Victoria, isn't that odd?), as well as the US and South Africa. I've blurred out people's names so they don't know which they're getting, but I thought I'd still post a photo. I wanted to write something different for each one; so someone's getting a list of girls' names that were popular 100 years ago, another is some fascinating facts about moths, another is a snippet of a poem I read recently, a little witticism from Oscar Wilde, an interesting fact about chairs, and my recipe for Green Tea Citrus Syrup - all with a few little drawings. Some of the lovely postcard recipients have beautiful blogs of their own... Rebecca has a gorgeous blog called Needle & Spindle which is dedicated to knitting and sewing and other creative pursuits. I am obsessed with sewing blogs at the moment, so it's lovely to see Rebecca's inspiring posts pop up in my Feedly feed! Natasha's blog, Bamboo Blossom, is also a wonderful record of her creative life, with cooking, sewing, travel, etc, and I think Natasha's made my vegan cheesecake recipe more times than I have! It's really amazing to think that here's someone on the other side of the world making my cheesecake (and doing such a great job of it)! Last but definitely not least is Cadry's blog, Cadry's Kitchen, which is a vibrant celebration of vegan cooking with recipes, cookbook reviews, etc, and everything is so beautifully presented. Another one of my faves! Isn't the blogging community great? I learn so much from the things people generously share on their blogs - always so much inspiration!

This giveaway was a lot of fun, so I will do it again soon. Next time, rather than the first five responses, I'll draw the names randomly so that different timezones won't be an issue. Sorry to the people who didn't get a postcard, but please try again next time!

New Promo Postcard!

So this is my new promotional postcard...what do you think? I kind of like postcards more than regular business cards, they're just more fun, and I think people are more inclined to keep them instead of hurling them in the bin. I'm really happy with the way they turned out!

Boy, did I struggle with writing the spiel on the back. I wanted to say something that captured the essence of my work, but didn't read like an artist's statement, and wasn't written in the third person (everyone knows you wrote it yourself, so why do that?). I wanted it to be clear and concise and not pretentious or boastful, but still positive (after all, I am trying to promote myself!). Urgh, I wrote about a thousand drafts and over-analysed every single word back to front and inside out until none of it seemed to make any sense anymore. *Sigh* I had to get it right since I was having 1,000 cards printed - it's hard to sum yourself up in a couple of sentences!

In case it's difficult to read in the pic, this is what I wrote (some of it I stole from my about page, which is due for a rewrite I think): "I find inspiration in the ghosts of our past; memory, nostalgia, and the things we collect that record our personal stories. Both newfangled and old school, blending digital and traditional media, my work is a bittersweet mix of levity and melancholy. Above all, I hope it is friendly, accessible, and brings people some of the happiness it gives me to make it.  ~ Karena"

GIVEAWAY TIME! I thought it would be fun to give a few cards away. Would you like one? Just email me and let me know if you'd like a postcard, and I'll post one out with a little handwritten message on the back to the first 5 people who respond (no need to email me your name and address just yet - I'll let you know if you were one of the 5 and get your details then). Doesn't that sound like fun? Come on, it's better than the usual stuff that shows up in your letterbox, eg. bank statements and electricity bills.

PS. I'm having trouble with my blog feed. I realised that people were only getting a text preview with no images showing up, so I've tinkered with the settings, but I'm still not sure it's working. It's always disappointing to follow someone's blog and find you don't get any enticing photos in your feed! So if you happen to be subscribed to my blog and do get my pics appearing in your reader or emails, please let me know, I'll be so happy if it's finally working properly!

EDIT: Well that was fun! The five postcards have gone, but I think I'll do another postcard giveaway down the track a little. Sorry if you missed out this time!

A Little Giveaway

I'm so excited, because Cathe Holden, owner of the beautiful craft & design blog Just Something I Made, is hosting a little giveaway this week of some of the new products from my shop (the items at the bottom of this post). Her blog is so rich with creative ideas & beautiful things, Cathe is so talented & inspiring, I'm really honoured that she agreed to host my giveaway. She's written such nice things about my work, I am feeling really overwhelmed! It's been quite a day, with an endless flow of visitors to my site, lots of emails, new subscribers to my blog & newsletter, & all the wonderful comments from Cathe's readers.

If you'd like to enter the giveaway, you just need to visit Cathe's blog & leave a comment right here. The winners will be drawn on Friday the 9th of November.

You're probably already aware of Just Something I Made, & visit regularly - why wouldn't you? There's so much to see there. I share a love of cigar boxes with Cathe & & am flabbergasted by her enormous collection, & have serious studio envy too! Cathe's also written a book called Rosette Art, which is due for release in May 2013, & I think I'll buy a copy because I've been trying to make some rosettes myself lately & all I can say is, I need help! Cathe also has lots of ingeniously inventive DIY projects on her blog, & one of my favourites is this gorgeous little cigar box bed. Don't you just love the airmail envelope pillow & postage stamp quilt?

I'd like to say an enormous thank you to Cathe for her generosity, hello to all the new visitors to my blog & shop, & hello to all my old friends too! I couldn't have asked for a better start for my new shop, I'm thrilled!

Foxy Haiku Contest: We Have a Winner!

Whoops. I'm the worst blogger ever, I was supposed to announce the winner of my Haiku competition a week ago - sorry about that! I've had a hard time picking my favourite Haiku, that's for sure - what a torture - they are all so great!

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But, without further ado, the winner is Rachael, with her sweet little poem about interspecies friendship:

sleek red fox moonlight flanked by a large coal black cat there in my dark garden

Congratulations Rachael! I really hope you like your bracelet!

But I couldn't help myself...I couldn't stop at just one Haiku...they were all so amazing... So I have chosen a couple of honourable mentions & have a little prize for each of them which you can see below - these little Folk Like Us pendants (they will also be available once I launch my shop in a few weeks' time). Honestly, I wish everyone who entered could win, but I don't want to send myself bankrupt bestowing prizes willy-nilly! So, I shall restrict myself to just the two extras & will be sending a pendant to Suki, for her rather dark & moody, Film Noir-esque poem:

Autumn nights grow cold A fox comes to the city A strange cry is heard

And a pendant to bryssy for so perfectly capturing the image of a little fox gambling about on a cheery autumn day:

cracking leaves lay under padded trixter paws cool breezes blowing

Thank you everyone for entering - that was so much fun! :)

Haiku Contest - Come and Join In!

Back in the days of my old blog (three & a half years ago!) I held a little contest where I asked people to write a Haiku about a rabbit. It was so much fun - I couldn't believe how beautiful & inspiring everyone's poems were! I thought it was high time I held another Haiku challenge, & the inspiration this time is another one of my favourite animals - the fox.

The prize for this contest is from my new jewellery range, the Folk Like Us bracelet you see pictured above, which is inspired by folk art & beautiful endpaper patterns of the 1930s & 40s (& also happens to feature a little fox too). It's valued at $95 USD, & if you win, you will be the very first person in the whole world to own one, because they don't go on sale until October when I open my new online shop.

To enter, you must be a subscriber to my mailing list, so if you haven't signed up already, you can do so via the subscription form over to the right on my sidebar, or there's another form down at the foot of the blog, or a checkbox you can tick when you leave a comment.

If you'd like to join in, please post your foxy Haiku in the comments - how easy is that?! I'll pick my favourite poem on Monday the 19th of September - so you have a week & a half to dust off your feather quill, put on your Haiku thinking cap & enter. I am so looking forward to reading everyone's beautiful poems!

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It's the Little Things...

Way back in '07 I blogged about my childhood tin of plastic treasures that I called my Little Things Box. I had an old toffee tin crammed with tiny trinkets that I treasured & traded - much like the tin Amelie finds. I still collect little toys & keep them in vintage cigar boxes.

Imagine my surprise & pleasure to be approached last year by the beautiful Chinese magazine Little Thing to do an interview for their section called Little Paper Magic in the very first issue. They kindly sent me a copy late last year, & I've only just taken a few pics to show you - particularly timely because the theme of this post is all things tiny...

Giveaway Time!

I'm holding a little giveaway of the collages on canvas you see above. They're seriously small - about 2.25 x 3.25" each & come with their own miniature easels.

If you'd like to win the collage on the right, featuring my little illustration of a Death's Head Moth, all you have to do is be a subscriber to my Mailing List - I'll be drawing a name randomly - & to win the collage on the left, featuring Li'l Mary, puffin' on a giant stogie, I have devised a little contest...

Just leave a comment here on my blog letting me know you'd like to enter, & provide a link to a picture of something intriguingly small - something little, tiny, miniature, diminutive, eensy-weensy - you get the idea! If it's a photo or artwork of your own, great, but it can also be a link to something you found tinily appealing whilst browsing the internet, that's fine as well. I'll pick a favourite next Monday, & the winner gets the mini-collage! I'll draw the name of the Mailing List winner the same day too.

Can't wait to see your pics of little things!

We Have a Winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my Favourite Shoes print giveaway - what a response!

I had so much fun reading everyone's shoe stories. Stories of love & loss...hope & regret...disappointment & serendipity...

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How come shoes evoke such bittersweetness? We hang so much significance on our shoes don't we? They come to represent phases of our lives & carry such strong memories.

Anyway, enough rambling... Drum roll please...

The winner of the Favourite Shoes giveaway is Johanna of Good Girls Studio whose dire tale of disintegrated Dr. Scholl's combined the perfect blend of tragedy & comedy. I totally identified!

I gave away a second Favourite Shoes print to one of my Mailing List subscribers in a random draw. The name I pulled from the Purple Velvet Fedora was Natalie of Naked Tile.

Congratulations girls - I hope you like your prints!

Thanks again to everyone for your wonderful, poignant shoe stories! This was such a fun contest, I'll make sure to have another one soon!

Print Giveaway - Tell Me About Your Shoes!

I was so happy with the Favourite Shoes print that I made another edition in my favourite colour combo du jour - red & pale blue - & it's now for sale in my Etsy shop.

It's difficult to decide which edition I like best, but I'm really in love with the card stock I used this time, it's a lovely eggshell colour with little red & blue flecks, & looks just like a speckly bird's egg. It suits the print so well!

Anyway, I thought I'd have a little contest & give away a print. All you have to do is post a comment here in my blog giving an anecdote, or description, or even a link to a photo or artwork about your favourite shoes.

I don't really feel a burning need to win one of my own prints, but I thought I'd get the ball rolling with my own shoe story...

I remember walking down King William Street (main street through the centre of Adelaide) with my mum when I was about three or four years old. I know it was near my birthday (in October) because it was mild, late-spring weather. It was a balmy & rainy late afternoon that grew so dark the street lights came on & they reflected in the wet roads & pavements, which reminded me of a poem I had a particular love for at the time (click the image to the right).

I was wearing my favourite outfit - a purple & magenta paisley silk smock dress with swirly brass buttons (I'm talking 1971...my mum always dressed me in these ultra-short dresses, this one was no exception), little white ankle socks, & shiny black patent mary-janes. I loved those shoes. They had buttons instead of buckles - just like my Favourite Shoes print (which is based on a pair of shoes I own now).

I remember walking along the shimmery, rainy street (the acoustics change when it rains like that - the traffic was all echoey) holding my mum's hand, & in the other, clutching a brand new colouring book & box of crayons she'd just bought me. Penny Lane by The Beatles wafted from a shop doorway.

It was just one of those perfect happy moments. I loved my shoes, I loved the day & my new colouring book, & I loved my mum. :)

And have a look - I still own the book with the poem about rainy streets in it that the day evoked in my four-year-old mind...

There are other shoe anecdotes of note that I could have shared...such as the time I set fire to a total stranger's brand new trainers with a flaming marshmallow at a party...but that one's not nearly as picturesque, & anyway, it isn't about my shoes.

So, if you'd like the chance to win a Favourite Shoes print, feel free to share your shoe story. I'll pick my fave in a week's time & announce the winner. Make sure your comment links back to you so I can contact you if you win & get your address!

More Bits of Dusty Ol' Paper

Look at all the paper goodies my friend Mark bought back from a secondhand market for me! I can't wait to draw & paint on it & snip it all up & make collages. Is it weird to get so excited about bits of old paper? In other news...my Heart Attack greeting card appeared in a Treasury on Etsy's front page the other day. Thanks to The Letter V for featuring me!

I've been busy working on a new painting, as well as making some collages for my Etsy shop, & also printing packaging for buttons, magnets & keyrings, so I'll have some new things for sale soon & some special goodies for my next giveaway. Don't forget, to be eligible for the  monthly giveaways, you need to be a subscriber to my mailing list!

I'm also extremely excited about a Gocco exhibition that I'll be taking part in later this year.  Stay tuned for more details!

And the Winner Is...

Lastly, the winner of my little collage giveaway is Kelly Rinehart of Purple Lemon Designs. Her prize is in the post & making its way to her letterbox!

And the Winner Is...

Hooray! Time to announce the winners of my Super-Duper Mega April Giveaway!

I've drawn the names from my Mailing List for the 4 prizes, but 1 of the people hasn't replied - eek! Shows how important it is to keep your mailing list info up to date! I'm going to draw another person's name if they don't respond in the next 2 days, so stay tuned...

The winners (so far) are...

Lili Wilkinson (goodie pack) Cosy Up (Snap! print) Jen Vecc (goodie pack)

As for the bunny Haiku...wow it was hard to pick a winner - they were all so great! Drumroll please...the winner of the Jack Rabbit print is...

Ashley aka Le Petit Monstre with her poem...

Jack Rabbit stares off sees much to both love and fear. It's a jungle out there.

I thought it was really touching in its simplicity - I particularly love the line "sees much to both love and fear" - beautiful work Ashley! Congratulations! Not only a talented artist, but a poet & bunny lover too!

As I said, it was really hard picking just one. I wanted to give a few more an honourable mention...

The lovely Anna Laura for her ode to vegetarianism...

chicken, pork, beef, fish who eats rabbits anyway? they look better alive!

Goodfeets with a lovely little springtime revery...

green spring leaves unfold lying in the grass, she sighs a rabbit is born

And he also linked to his favourite bunny song... I don't know where he found the time or energy to write bunny poems since I just read in his blog he recently made 24 collages in 2 days!!

And finally, Treet submitted this enigmatic little number...

Quietly I sit Part of all the universe You call me bunny

I'd like to send those 3 entrants a little something too, while I'm in a prize-giving mood.

Wow that was fun! I think I'm going to have to hold another contest soon... Thanks for your entries! :)

Super-Duper Mega April Giveaway!

I have been totally remiss when it comes to my "monthly" giveaways...I think I've only had one since I started my blog last October. Today I'm making good on my promise & launching a Super-Duper Mega Giveaway with not one...not two...but FIVE different prizes to make up for the months I've missed. And I promise to keep up with my monthly giveaways in future!

Here is the little swag of prizes I have to giveaway...

Prizes 1 & 2 are packs of Magic Jelly goodies (value approx. $20 each)...they each contain the following...

  • Sunday Morning 3.5" cork-backed drink coaster
  • pack of 5 1.25" button badges (assorted Magic Jelly designs)
  • pack of 5 Jelly tags
  • a little bag of vintage plastic trinkets & ephemera

Prize No. 3 is a 5x7" print on canvas panel called Snap! & a pack of 5 Jelly tags ( value $18). Prize No. 4 is one of my Fox & Flowers limited edition Gocco prints & a pack of 5 Jelly tags(value $15).

To win one of these, all you need to do is subscribe to my mailing list - that's where I'll draw the names of the winners. If you'd like to leave a comment or email me with your preferred prize, I'll keep that in mind if I happen to draw your name. Easy!

The 5th prize is an extra special one...an original Mixed Media piece called (rather unimaginatively) Jack Rabbit. It's an ink drawing on tea-stained Hahnemuhle paper, on a collaged background, mounted to brown kraft card (sheet size 6x6"). This is an original - not a reproduction - & is worth $85 (the winner gets a pack of Jelly tags too).

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Picking a winner of this one is a little bit different...rather than just drawing a name out of a hat, I'd like you to write a Haiku about a bunny. Either post your little poem in the comments or email it to me & I'll pick my favourite!

I'm announcing the winners in a week's time, so you have until Wednesday the 9th of April to sign up to my mailing list & submit your Haiku if you want a chance to win the bunny! :)