October 28, 2013

Looks at these Monsters ...and Smile

With Halloween around the corner I thought I would share these adorable plush monsters I came across made by Monster Factory, a company based out of Toronto.

 And if those aren't scary enough for you.  Check out their limited edition Zombie Monsters.

October 21, 2013

Getting ready for Halloween...

This is a little promo piece I worked on for Disneyland a few weeks ago.  Getting to spend time in the park after all the guests have gone home is always a bit of a thrill, even if it's done with the sacrifice of sleep (we shot this between the hours of 8pm and 6am). 

Buying 25 Pumpkins at the end of September was also a little fun.  You can imagine the looks and comments I got in the checkout line! 
Loading up the carts with pumkins - seems normal in October, but is weird in September

adding a little fog for ambiance
the crew in our safety vests shooting on main street at 3am

October 07, 2013

Fresh Fall

It's been quite a summer.  From spending three weeks on a commercial in Malaysia to losing my studio work space  -- it's been a hectic few months.

So busy (and the fact that I had no place to print) I had to shut down Skårt for a few months. 

But now it's ALL GOOD. 

It's October and it's time for a fresh start -- or a FRESH FALL, as I am calling this post.

I will be spending this week putting things back up in my Etsy shop and setting up the new studio.
(which is actually my old studio

here is a preview of how the studio looks now:

Oh yes, the walls are indeed pink.  Not my choice, but I felt it was more important to get working than worry about the paint color at this point.  Stay tuned.  More to come.

May 20, 2013

Skårt now available at Kids At Home, in Toronto

source: Locally Toronto
If you live in Toronto you can now view and purchase Skårt pieces in person at the wonderful store: Kids at Home, located on Queen Street East in the Beaches area of Toronto.  Go on and check out the store.  They have a lot of great things besides wonderful art.

2068 Queen St. East - Toronto, ON M4E 1E1  t. 416.698.5727 
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00AM-6:00pm,  Sun 11:00AM-5:00PM

April 25, 2013

Has Instagram killed the Blogger?

Let's examine the time line of events.

Feb 2012  -- I get my first i-phone
July 2012 -- I begin my salad a day Instagram campaign
by Septmeber 2012 I am down from posting 3 or 4 times a week to 1 time a week if that...

and now...  Blog? -- what blog?

Why blog when you can press a button on your phone and post a photo -- an "Instabrag" to all your friends, and random strangers who care to follow you and your life. 

So instead of blogging more - I've installed an "Instawidget" on the side of my blog.  Is that cheating?

However, the new panorama option for the i-camera is not super compatible with Instagram.  So I will now share with you a non-square format photo I took last week in Brighton, England.  A most magical building:  The Royal Pavillion, designed by John Nash. 

It reminds me of a cross between the Taj Mahal and the facade to Disney's Small World Ride.

March 31, 2013

Elephant Sale!

I'm making room for some new things in my studio and so I must sell the elephants.  All of them. 
Check it out -- Big and Baby Elephant Prints on Paper only $18 each

March 22, 2013

March 14, 2013

Look at These Onsies for Adults and Smile!

Yes, I'm a self professed grown-up child.  And Yes, I actually already own a one piece pajama outfit with feet, aka a onesie.   But today I came across this Kigurumi Shop, and had to share.  According to the shop's website Kigurumi  comes from a combination of two Japanese words: kiru ("to wear") and nuigurumi ("stuffed toy"). Traditionally, it referred specifically to the performers wearing the costume, but the word has since grown to include the costumes themselves. In Japan, kigurumi costumes are worn as a way to break the conventions of traditional dress… or just as comfy pajamas!

There are so many cute ones to choose from.

 But for some reason (maybe it's the wings?) I have my eye on this one:

March 11, 2013

Color Matching

Drinking at the Watering Hole  - custom  color match  in green to a clients bathroom tiles. 

March 07, 2013

Skårt Spotting: As seen on How I Met Your Mother


I just came across an interesting site called Chasing Props The site helps track down props and dressing from TV shows.  Someone was looking for my art and they posted this nifty little GIF of Robin, aka Cobie Smulders, rocking baby Marvin. 

That magnificently, adorable piece in the background is Elephants Drinking at the Watering Hole available at skartshop.com 

 You can also read about my own adventures at an elephant watering hole HERE

February 25, 2013

And the Oscar Goes to...

...Derek McLane

Who is that? You frown and ask! 

Well, he didn't actually get an Oscar Statue last night, so you probably won't recognize his name or his face.  But his work glittered and shone on stage for the full 2.5 hours.  He is the Scenic designer responsible for the beautiful stage set ups. 

Scenic design (also known as, stage design, set design or production design) is the creation of theatrical  as well as film or television scenery. One of the most difficult challenges in creating a scenic design is helping your audience to visualize and experience feelings that can trigger memories toward a particular setting. The beauty of a scenic design can produce the most unforgettable memories of life. Scenic art should provide an experience that engages your heart and mind. It takes you to a person, place or thing that can cause us to value it.

 A few times in the broadcast I found myself admiring the background more than the outfits that were parading onto the stage.  Derek created this amazingly, glamorous, set up with simple rows of lights. 

In an article in the  Huffington Post McLane is quoted as saying: "I like the fact that when you look at each one of these individual lamps, they just look like a sort of ordinary, industrial lamp that is, quite frankly, the last thing in the world that you would think of as warm. And yet, together as a pattern, they create something that I think is magical and beautiful."

In the wide shots it the light sculpture had the effect of being in a magical underground cave.
84th Academy Awards - Stage Design by Derek McLane

Magical Cave Photo source: Flickr
 In the tight shots, the lights sparkled in the background adding just the right amount of "Hollywood Glam" to every shot, without distracting from the main event.  

Derek McLane is a Tony winning, Broadway stage designer.  In an article for Broadway World, McLane related that the main inspiration for the half-moon shaped caged lighting sculpture that frames the gigantic stage of the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles came from an object d'art in his own home - a wall installation featuring dozens of antique lamps in cubbyholes backed by iodizing mirrors.
McLane related that the main inspiration for the half-moon shaped caged lighting sculpture that frames the gigantic stage of the theater came from an object d'art in his own home - a wall installation featuring dozens of antique lamps in cubbyholes backed by iodizing mirrors.

HELLO???  Sign me up for his next dinner party so I can check out HIS home!!! 
rendering of Academy Award stage


February 18, 2013

My Effing Offspring

If you have been following my Blog from the start you will remember when the talented Jason Duncan aka the Recent Paterfamilias, used to post weekly musings about being a new dad.  (And if you don't remember you can click HERE to view some of his past posts) 

Now that his daughter is nearly two years old, he is hardly new to parenthood, so he has changed his moniker and can now be found posting regular on his own blog: My Effing Offspring.  A hilarious insight at being a stay-at-home dad in Manhattan.


February 14, 2013

Love Songs and Last Minute Valentines

So here it is, Valentines day is upon us.  If you don't have a gift, chocolates or flowers are an easy fix.

My thought: Why not write a love song.

However, if you have no musical or writing abilities (like me) then you should just visit songlyrics.com and search for a song.  Maybe it's one that has special meaning, maybe it's one you just like.  Then you can write it out, or type it out or maybe just take a line or two and give it to your Valentine.  Voila - the perfect gift. 

If you need a little inspiration here are a few example I found online:

Found on Poppy talk

Lunimeers: Hey Ho lyrics by Stoic Design on Etsy

All You Need is Love note card by Texas Girl Designs on Etsy

Rainbow Connection - Custom Song art by Skårtshop
How Sweet it is by Creative Spark

February 07, 2013

New Skårt: A Bicycle Built for Two

I can never get enough elephants and I love to bike.  These two things merged last week and this popped out:
Also, in time for Valentines day, I did a smaller version with just the bicycle built for two.  It's available in my ETSY shop.

February 04, 2013

Infographics to Make You Smile

Because sometimes you need a little visualization to help with the important decisions....

I kinda wish I had both these posters -- one in my bathroom and one in my kitchen, respectively.
 There are a ton more of these at Stephen Wildish's Friday project. And some are available to purchase HERE.

February 01, 2013

Superbowl Sunday - GO 49ERS

Go 49ers print by License2sell on Etsy
Who am I kidding? I know nothing of football. 

All I know for sure about  Superbowl Sunday is that it means that I can eat Nachos to my belly's content with no guilt. 

But this year I have a little more of an investment in who wins.  It's not because I live in California, its because I happen to have one Football Reception print left in stock - and guess what color it is? Yup, you guessed it,  it's in the San Francisco 49ers colors.  So ... GO 49ERS!!!
Football Reception - 49ers colors available at Skartshop on Etsy

January 30, 2013

Decorating Trends You Wish Would Go Away

I came across this list on Shine from Yahoo.  It highlighted 10 decorating trends that should be over.  It was so random that it amused me, so I thought I would re-post and share.  Which ones are you "guilty" of? Which ones do you think are ridiculous?

1. Obvious Signage 
I don't know, I'm kind of a fan of this trend.  I still have intentions to do more of this in my studio space. 

2. Taxidermy
I've never been a fan of this trend.  Some of the fake heads are cute, but for the most part I'm over this one too.

3. Open Layouts
I kind of agree with this one.  Sometimes walls are a good thing.

4. Cliché Design 
I'm not really sure what this means.  Should I take the mini Eiffel Tower I have in my living room down? 

5. Cookie Cutter Kitchens
I was OVER stainless steel before it began.  I've never gotten this trend.   It's cold, it marks easily.  Not into this one. 

6. Chalkboard Overload
Agree with this one - chalkboards seem like a good idea, but then they just get chalked up and look messy.  Other than in a design magazine, I've never seen a real life one that looks good.

7. Food as Decor
Food as Decor is a Prop Stylist's key arsenal.   It adds color and depth and realism.  This will never go out of style.  Unless it's fake food as decor.  That's just weird.

8. Neon
What? Neon over already? I think it's just beginning! Who doesn't want a pop of neon.  In fact now that I think about it, it might be what my bedroom is missing.

9. Intentionally distressed Furniture
I'm definitely ready to see "Shabby Chic" movement go the way of the rotary telephone.  There is a thrift store near me that just takes beautiful old wood furniture and puts a crappy coat of white paint on it and calls it "vintage" ARGGGH.  Makes me so mad!!!

10. TVs on the Mantel
Um? Where are you supposed to put your TV?

What would you add to this list?

January 28, 2013

5 Tips to Making the Perfect Candy Table

Just before the holidays I worked on a project that had me creating an over the top Candy Party.  So fun to do, and so easy to translate into an actual great birthday party for kids that I thought I would share my Tips on how to make the perfect Candy Party set up.

1. Colors: Pick your dominant color (I used pink) then pick your complimentary colors (I used orange and yellow) When you go to purchase candy and accessory items for your party, stick primarily to these three colors (varying the shades of them) This will give a nice cohesiveness to everything. 

2. Layout: Before you purchase your candy you want to figure out the size and layout of your table.  The most important thing is creating levels.  You can do this through varying the size of your containers as well as using boxes to raise things up.  I used these simple sturdy boxes from the container store to create levels.  I found a lot of my candy containers (the cute glass jars with the lids) at places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls - Under $10.00 for each one.  Crate and Barrel also has them but they are a little more expensive.

3. Buy your Candy in Bulk:  Once you have figured out they layout of your table make a list of the containers that need to be filled.  Also try to make a budget on what you would like to spend.  I actually brought my containers with me to the store to see how much I would need to fill each one.  In Los Angeles there is a great wholesale candy store called Jack's Wholesale.  I  found some of the best treats at Smart and Final, Target and the Dollar Store.  If you are getting overwhelmed with two many containers of candy some great ideas for cheaper fillers are marshmallows, donuts with multicolor sprinkles and of course cupcakes. 

4. Little extrasPaper lanterns in the trees, DIY lolipops to line the walkway into the party, oversized and bright fake flowers blooming in the bushes. Balloon trees to tie in your color scheme and of course no candy party is complete without the Bunting.  Those cute little flags on strings just make everything a little sweeter - if you have time you can make your own.  I purchased mine from Starlit Nest on Etsy.  She is fast and can customize her flags to match your theme

5. Gift Bags - My final word of advice is to make sure you have plenty of plastic bags on hand so your guests can take home candy with them when the party is done. You don't want any of it hanging around after the party is done.  And yes, hard to believe but you probably will be sick of candy for a little while. 

January 21, 2013

Back on Track: Goals for 2013

I always start the New Year with a list of goals -- I don't call them resolutions, because everyone knows, no one keeps a "resolution".  A goal seems less daunting of a commitment.  It's something you can work on or work towards.  And of course if you write them down someone where, like lets say in a public forum like a blog, well then you are even more accountable to keeping them.  (If you are waiting for my salad-a-day goal recap from 2012, don't worry it's coming!)

So without further ado -- Here are my goals for 2013

1. Figure out a plan for Skårt - more wholesale? more marketing? more shows? I need a PLAN and maybe a Sales Rep?!!
2. Keep on Bloggin' -- Maybe not every week, maybe not even every month.  When the mood strikes a post will appear.  No rules, no constraints I will just keep on Bloggin'
3. Work on a film (maybe one that doesn't involve Zombies OR Strippers!)
4. Book more commercials - They are fun, they pay well and I need to work - so why not work on some more commercials.  And I would like at least one of them to be in a new and exotic local --- ooh, like lets say Brazil or some other country in South America. 
5. Stay on top of my bookkeeping - every year I aim to do this, but I've never written it down as an official goal before.  This year it's going to be a priority!

1. Learn how to give -- I'm a horrible gift giver.  Probably because I hate giving gifts just to gift, I would rather give the perfect gift or no gift at all.  The problem with that is that I still haven't given my best friend (who got married 2 years ago) a wedding gift.  My sister's wedding was three months ago -- I think I have a year's deadline for that?  If I start thinking about it now, maybe I will send out Holiday Cards this year and maybe the card will include a special gift for everyone.
2. Hire a cleaning person - It's a luxury.  And this is the year I want to invest in that luxury.  And if I succeed with goal #4 (see above) then hopefully I will be able to afford such an indulgence.
3. Improve my endurance - I'm not sure what this entails - Running further? Running Faster? Making it through an aerial acrobatics routine without falling.  I'm leaving it intentionally vague so I can figure it out.
4. Participate in a doubles Volleyball Tournament - Playing for fun is one thing - Playing for prizes is a goal of mine this year.
5. NO YOGA - I know this seems comical, but I'm serious - people seem to talk me into trying Yoga classes all the time and each time I hate it a little bit more.  The next time someone tries to convince me the merits of the next great Yoga movement I will stay strong and say "NO!"