Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Dainty Squid.

Last year when I was doing little interview pieces on my own personal blog, I came across a very unique and creative girl names Kaylah. She was creating jewelry, sewn items such as zip pouches, and plush creatures. Recently I came across her shop once again and had realized that within all a years time she has sold 2000 and something items on Etsy and her newest masterpiece is one super cool sewing motif chest piece that she recently had done. Colorful, fun, inspiring, this is the next interview I bring to you before the New year!!!

. An introduction is in order. Lets begin with one about you!

Where to begin, I'm Kaylah, a sewing obsessed, cat lady who
lives in the middle of nowhere Ohio.

2. Usually when one has an interesting name for their Shop, others have to know what its all about. So tell us, where does the name "The Dainty Squid" come from?
Haha, well, um, Squid is my cat (which came from my love of squids) and she's a dainty little princess.

. Sewing seems to be your thing. Lots and lots of lovely zip pouches for all y
our carry along needs. When did you first start sewing? Do you remember the first thing you ever sewed up??

The first time I sewed was about 5 or 6 years ago, it was in Home Ec, I made a pillow ..or ten. They were really fun! Then I didn't touch a sewing machine for a while until about 2 years ago when I found one in my closet.

. Aside from sewing, what other creative endeavours you enjoy participating in??
I don't really do much other than sew although I enjoy helping my boyfriend screen print. But I would really like to start making soap, but it's all about finding the time!

. I think besides all of the grea
t stuff you make, I was interested in your newest tattoo that I have seen of the sewing motif. I need to know, where did this idea come up and how long has it taken to work on?? Its just brilliant!

Thank you! I've always been interested in tattoos, and one day it just hit me...A SEWING MACHINE! So I looked high and low until I found the perfect tattoo artist for the job. I let him know what I wanted included and he took it from there. It's not quite done yet, but we started in August of 2008 so we're making good time as I only have 1 or 2 sessions left.

6. Ok, back to crafting! When your out shopping(or ordering online) what sort of fabric really catches your interest? What has seemed to sell more for you??
Um, fabrics that are really cute, like something you'd expect a child to like are what catch my eye, I love cute little animals, cupcakes and cactus. I think my best sellers are things with cameras on them, like this pouch

. Since the last time we spoke a year ago, you have had well over 1,000 sales. You really have done well. What are some pros and cons of owning your own Etsy shop?

Yeah! My business has really blossomed! It's pretty crazy. Pros: I get to work when I want and do whatever I want. It's the best thing ever. Cons: I work really long hours trying to fill orders. I rarely have a day off. Those are really the only cons. I absolutely love what I do!

8. What, who inspires you? What kind of stuff do you like to surround yourself with, whether it be music, books, movies, etc.
I love Japanese culture, all the cute stuff! so I suppose that's where I get my inspiration.

So I have seen some pictures of your work space. Care to share where it is exactly that you create most of your items at.
As of right now I'm work in a small room my dad built for me in their home. Hopefully this year my boyfriend and I will be able to get a house so I can have a nice roomy craft space to create in!

10. Five things you just cant live without:

. my cats!
2. fabric! 3. family! 4. mint chocolate chip milkshakes! 5. my sewing machine. In no apparent order, they're all pretty much equal. ;)

Saturday, 27 December 2008

An artist like no other.

Well so far I have made it through Christmas . It came and went so fast, and it leaves me bitter sweet, as always. I have been holding out on bringing you this next interview because I know amidst all the holiday celebrating, she might have gotten lost. Now that we are winding down a bit, maybe, just possibly you have the chance to just relax for a few minutes and read all about our next artist. Her work is so fun, so interesting, so stunning. I am going to allow her to speak for herself because her interview is in deed an interesting and inspiring read!!!

1. Lets start off with a little story about the girl behind all of the fabulous art work, an introduction of sorts!

I'm a 24-year-old gal who lives in Philadelphia, PA with my music-obsessed husband and our six pets (one dog named Betty White, two chinchillas named Ethel Funk and Maude and three rabbits named Cadbury, Willie Nelson and Applesauce). I am a fairly recent graduate from Kutztown University, where I majored in Communication Design, with a concentration in Illustration. Currently, I am the Editor-in-Chief of a local monthly publication called Bucks Living Magazine. I get to work from home, so any free time I have goes toward drawing critters, doodlingng and obsessing over blogs.

2. "Youwannatalkjive" is the name of your blog as well as your Etsy shop. Interesting name, whats the story behind that?
There's a scene in The Royal Tenenbaums where Gene Hackman's character goes off on Danny Glover and says, "You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you've never heard!" My husband and I always thought that line was hilarious, so I made it my AIM screen name and it just sort of stuck. I decided to use it for my Etsy shop and my blog because I feel like it captures the sense of humor I'm trying to portray with my silly illustrations.

3. As far as you can think back, when did you start forming an interest for painting and drawing? What sort of stuff did you find yourself most interested in drawing?

Since I can remember, I've always been surrounded by art. My brother, who is nine years older than me, was (and still is) a huge influence in my life. He took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew about drawing and painting. From teaching me how to sketch characters from "The Little Mermaid" to touring me around art museums in New York and making sure I read Artforum every month, he always supported my interest in making people smirk by exploring odd subject matter. I grew up taking weekly art classes from grade school through high school, and then went on to college where I absorbed myself in as many artistic endeavors as possible. In college I was mostly interested in drawing figures and referencing pop culture, but now I am becoming more and more intrigued by animals.

. How would you describe your artwork? I noticed that you incorporate a lot of wildlife and then again you have some famous people mixed into your pieces here and there as well. What would you say is your style? What inspires you?

I think my artwork is quirky and playful, but I also hope that my attention to detail and unique compositions allow people to take my work somewhat seriously. I was always interested in drawing celebrities in high school and college, but now I have put people aside in favor of drawing animals. (Although, occasionally a celebrity will work it's way into a piece, like Snoop Dogg in "Shizzle My Chizzle.") I especially like playing around with words and puns and coming up with phrases that might not necessarily make a lot of sense to most people, but hopefully will amuse them anyway. Usually my process consists of me coming up with an idea of what I'd like to draw and bouncing ideas back and forth with my husband.

One night we were talking about what my next illustration should be and he just blurted out, "What if you did a painting of a walrus and it just said 'Walruses Can't Skateboard'?" It was so ridiculously random, that I decided I must do it and it actually appears to be one of the favorites in my Etsy shop! I'm always inspired by conversations I have with my friends and family, as well as vintage board games and other intriguing surfaces, such as wood or serving trays.

. Aside from your blog, website and your Etsy, where else might one see your work? Any shows in the works?

I have a solo show called "menagerie" coming up in April at Cafe Estelle in Philadelphia (, which will be opening on the First Friday in April and will be on display all month. I am in the midst of creating new works for the show, in which I will be exhibiting exotic animals drawn on wood in colored pencils. I also have several original pieces for sale at UGallery, which sells hand-selected original pieces by emerging artists (

. I read that you are a member of Crafting in Color Street Team, I for one am a lover of all things colorful. Please explain what exactly this is?

I was just accepted as a member of Crafting in Color , which is an awesome online community that is dedicated to keeping Etsy bright and colorful. I've been trying to stay involved within the Etsy community, so this was a perfect way for me to communicate with fellow crafters and artists. I have always been a fan of bright colors--my husband even admits that the first thing about me that caught his eye were my bright orange corduroy pants that I wore the first day we met at college (yes, I wear corduroys in the summer). Even our apartment is painted in several Willy Wonka-esque colors because the white walls were driving me nuts (let's just hope our landlord doesn't pay us a surprise visit).

. When did you take that first big step into selling your artwork? Any words of wisdom you can send out to our readers who are thinking of selling their work?

I sold some artwork in galleries during high school, but I never thought about selling my artwork online until January 2008, when I decided to open my own Etsy shop. The process seemed easy enough and I was certain that it would be a great opportunity to network with other artists. I'm absolutely addicted to Etsy and whenever I need to get a friend or family member a gift, that's where I always find myself turning. I think it's important that new sellers don't get discouraged if you don't sell work right away. It takes a while to get your name out there, so be patient and soon enough people will discover your store. Detailed photos and interesting descriptions always keep my attention while I'm browsing a shop, and tags are also very important in helping people find your work. Galleries and boutiques are also great for selling artwork. Right now I have prints, home accessories, revamped furniture and some other goodies for sale at the Mew Gallery and Bohema Artisan and Vintage Boutique in Philadelphia.

. Almost every artist has someone that really inspires them. Who would be yours and why?

I'm pretty lucky to have a lot of people who inspire me. My husband always knows how to make me smile and has always been supportive of my art. My brother, who I mentioned earlier, is also an inspiration to me because he has made his dream a reality by going from having a small experimental theater company to now having sold-out international shows, while still making a name for himself in NYC. I also have a lot of artistic friends who are always there to bounce ideas off of, like Laura Kicey , who is incredibly ambitious and Hilarious (with a capital "H" fo sho!).

. Do you happen to have your very own work space where you create? And if so, what might we find in there? What do you surround yourself with to keep the ideas flowing?

I prefer working in our family room, sometimes on our coffee table, but most of the time I like to work on the floor and create a bit of a catastrophe with all of my materials. In college, my painting professor always laughed at me because I always used the same decrepit palette, which was usually at least an inch thick with different colors of oil paints. I like using strange materials and will paint with anything I can find as long as it creates an interesting texture--I've never been one to just stick with what the Crayola box gives you. I like to surround myself with artwork, brightly-painted walls and tons of kitschy knick knacks from thrift stores, not to mention lots of adorable pets.

10. Five things you just could not live without:

1.) My family & friends. They are all insane and I love them to death for it.
2.) Music. Especially The Flaming Lips and Rufus Wainwright.
3.) My pets (all six of them)!
4.) I know that water is one of those obvious answers like "shelter," but I am an absolute h20holic and always have water with me wherever I go.
5.) Cheese. Seriously. I could have a block of cheese for every meal and be a happy lady, although I'm not sure my bowels would approve.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Add some sparkle to your holidays.

I just wanted to start off this next interview with a big thank you for all the support and wonderful comments I have received so far. It means alot to me. I really enjoy putting these together to share with all of you, because I know that as for myself, I enjoy reading and getting to know all of the fabulous creative people out there. I look forward to bringing you many more interviews and soon craft tutorials as well. What do you get when you put together a self taught graphic design artist and some very cute characters that lend themselves to her designs on paper and other various cute items??? You get SparklePaw, our next guest here on The Little Red Suitcase!

. Introductions are in order. Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Leslie and I'm a graphic designer in San Diego. SparklePaw is a new adventure for me, but I've always loved design, art, crafting, and cute things.

. You have a very vibrant fun shop on Etsy called SparklePaw. Where did you come up with this name? Is their a story behind it?
The name actually comes from a nickname I called my boyfriend at one time. I'm not really sure where it came from, but we thought it was hilarious. It's just one of those goofy things that starts from nothing and sticks.

. I have read that you are a self taught graphic designer. When did you first stumble upon designing? When did that love for it first develop? And how did you go about learning certain techniques and applications?
I first happened upon graphic design when I took a free Photoshop class here in San Diego in 2001. I loved it immediately and started taking as many classes as possible. I landed a job in the marketing department at a publishing company where I cut my teeth. It was a super demanding job, but I learned a ton. I also come from a very creative family - my mom, dad and two brothers all express some form of creativity. Computers and design have just always been around, so it seemed a pretty natural route to take. It's funny though; I never took a design class in college - I have my degree in psychology. I guess you just never know where you'll end up!

4. You tend to use colorful, sweet imagery. What would you say is one of your biggest inspiration for your designs? Is there a certain style that you tend to be drawn to?

I lived in Japan for five years as a young girl and I am definitely influenced by the sweet, funny characters you see on toys/stationary/candy there. I remember wandering around the little stationary shops for hours trying to find THE perfect pencil case to house my adorable pencils, erasers and pens.

. How long have you been selling your items? What has been the response to your products?
I've been selling my products since early November of this year. The response has been great so far. It's so hard to be objective at first, because friends and family are telling you nice things; but they're supposed to, right? But I have gotten a positive response from people I don't know, too, so I'm delighted.

. Aside from creating such fun graphic design pieces, are there any other art or craft projects you enjoy doing?
I love arts and crafts in general! You name it: sewing, paper crafts, painting, decoupage. My friend and I have a running "craft day" where we make something, drink wine and eat fattening food. It doesn't get any better than that!

. So with most cards come saying or greeting. How do you go about choose the perfect saying or greeting? Does anyone ever ask for one in particular?
The sayings/greetings often just come to me. But I do get input from friends and my boyfriend - he's really good at it and I know if I run something by him, he'll be honest if it doesn't work. I want the greetings to be positive and sassy, just like the animals and creatures. The world of SparklePaw is a happy one!

. Any new designs or products in the making that your excited about? What do you see for SparklePaw designs in the future?
I have several ideas in my arsenal - I want to keep things fresh. My next product will be a little owl mirror, and I've got some more cards/mirrors in the works. Eventually, I'd like to expand to other products - little buttons and magnets at first, and then possibly some prints.

. Describe your work space to us. Any must haves that you surround yourself with to really get those ideas flowing?
My workspace is actually very, well, work-like. I do most of my designs during my free time at work because I have a really nice, speedy Mac there. But I am surrounded by adorable things: postcards by my favorite artist - Yoshitomo Nara, pictures of unicorns - which I find very amusing, drawings created by friends/co-workers, and my rubber chicken squeeze toy for stress relief! Oh, and my cup of coffee.

. Five things you could not live without:

candy, my iMac, my iPod, delicious food (of all kinds), all the SparklePaws in my life!

You can find many more adorable designs over on the
SparklePaw etsy shop.

Thank you Leslie!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Follow us on twitter.

Head on over to Twitter and add us to your follow list. With upcoming interviews as well as craft tutorials, you will be able to know when our next update is and see whats going on in the world of The Little Red Suitcase!

Coming up: some great interviews with some of my favorite inspiring people. I also have lined up three tutorials, one including a Valentines day how to!!

We are also looking for the following: Sponsors who would love to do a link trade, readers who would like to submit in projects, product reviews, and also if you know someone who you feel should be featured on our blog or would love to learn more about, give us a shout at:

Have a wonderful holiday!!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Oh My Cavalier

I came across Oh My Cavalier through a much loved blog I visit every week. Right away Julianna Swaney caught my attention. Her style is so nostalgic and charming, a breath of fresh air one might say. When I look at her artwork, it feels like I am visiting my favorite book as a child again but the illustrations have a bit more of an eclectic spin on them this time around. Take for instance a sketch of a very Victorian women with antlers. One may find that strange, but in all of its strangeness is that beauty that draws you in and leaves you admiring it over and over again. That is the world of Oh My Cavalier and all of its wonderful artwork that lives in it, oh and lets not forget the most intriguing embroidery that I at least have ever seen! As I dove deeper into the work of Julianna, I in fact became a fan of all the characters that she creates. From wolves reading books to very interesting bearded men, you have to wonder who is the girl behind Oh My Cavalier?
  1. So, Julianna, lets start off with an introduction of the girl behind the fabulous art work! What is your artistic background like? Give us the scoop.

Well I guess I've always been drawing and making things. I had kind of hippy parents and I didn't go to real school until 9th grade so I was free to pursue whatever I wanted and, just as important I feel, free to daydream and play. I was always obsessed with animals, fairy tales, and art, actually I guess I still am but now I'm trying to make a career out of it! I went to Art school in Portland Maine and I that's where I feel like I was able to really focus all those things and get the technical skill to be able to make the type of work I really wanted to.

  1. What is behind the name "Oh My Cavalier"?

It's a phrase from a poem I read in class in High School, The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Long after I forgot the rest of that poem that phrase stayed in my mind. I not really sure why but I like how triumphant and hopeful it sounds. Whey I write the name I always use and exclamation mark.

  1. Your drawings are full of whimsy and bring to mind vintage Fairy Tale images. What would you say inspires most of your drawings? Where do you get a lot of your ideas for?

Yes I get a lot of inspiration from fairy tales, not necessarily specific ones but more from the feel of them. I also get it from old folksongs, antique postcards and other ephemera, and of course from some of my favorite children's book illustrators like Beatrix Potter. I also get ideas from interestingg or odd little things I read or hear about.

4. Aside from drawing I see you have quite a list of other interests that you enjoy doing. Please share.

I've really got into crochet recently, it's very gratifying to be able to keep your hands busy while you watch a movie, and then to have something useful that you can hold in your hands afterwards. I also like to get outside as much as possible, I just moved to the city from the country but I live near a large park that I walk in almost every day.

  1. Gocco printing has been a technique that a lot of artists are getting into. It seems to be a an easy answer for those who are limited to space when it comes to screen printing. What got you into using a Gocco printer? What are some pros and cons behind this printing technique?

I had a teacher in college that was really into it and she helped introduce a lot of students and other teachers into using it. Gocco is great for the reasons you just said, it's small, mobile, it's easy to keep it and the space around you clean, and the quality of the images can be great with a little practice. I feel like many people do much cooler things with Gocco than I do but I like it for hand printed editions and cards. The downside of it is it's getting harder and harder to find the screens, bulbs and some of my favorite colors of ink.

6. Aside from Etsy and your very interesting blogs, where else can we find your art work? And do you have any big plans to come for your drawings?

I have work at and, also at Together GalleryPortland OR in and AG Gallery in Brooklyn NY

The biggest thing that is happening right now as far as my work is that I got into nest years Portland Museum of Art Biennial in Portland Maine. It's huge for me, I went to school there like I said and it's a pretty important show in that state.

7. So, lets step outside of the whole art conversation and lets take a peek into your worldly travels. Where is one place that you have visited that you just fell in love with? Where would you love to go

back to?

Well, I went to Paris a few years ago and I'd love to go back someday, but everyone loves Paris! I think some of my very favorite places are a little closer to home. Last year I went on a trip though the Rocky Mountains to see glaciers, everything was breathtaking b

ut also very peaceful.

8. Most artists have their very own work space, even if it's just a corner in your home. Where do you create? What do you surround yourself with? What helps to keep the new ideas flowing?

Right now I just have a corner in my bedroom. I had a studio outside my home for a long time, eventually I had to give that up but I think I actually prefer having my studio so close now. I just have an antique table that has these leave that I can pull out if want to make it bigger. I keep some supplies on it but I also keep boxes with vintage ephemera like postcards and little things that I can pull out when I need to get some inspiration. I have my bookshelf near by for the same reason. Then I have some ferns around, because I love them and artwork on the walls by my friends and other artists I admire. There are acorns and pinecones everywhere too because I tend to pick them up wherever I go.

9. What has been the positive side of selling your art? What doors has it opened for you?

It's wonderful to be able to be able to make a living from doing something I enjoy. I was always miserable whatever other job I had, I like to do things in my own time and in my own way and selling on Etsy has allowed me to do that with some security. It's also connected me with tons of lovely people and galleries and stores that give me another way to show my work. Selling online is great but nothing beats real live artwork and shows.

10. Five things you could not live with out:

my parents (ever-loving and supportive)

my cat (always a comfort)

toast (my favorite food)

BBC period dramas (the best way to escape the world after a hard day)

Photoshop (I use it so much, I'd really be lost without it)

Be Sure to visit Julianna at her blog where you can find many a drawings, her website, and then dont forget to swing on by her etsy where you can purchase one of her prints!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Some food for thought? perhaps felt food?

I currently take care of three children ranging in age from 6 months to 7 years old. The 4 year old has a little wooden kitchen where she whips up all kinds of imaginary meals, especially pasta. However, she uses mom's real pasta from the pantry to throw in the pot and boil(all pretend of course). So you can imagine how they get on the floor, stepped on and broken and just messy. While browsing the Internet for a little something to give this one child in particular, I came across some wonderful felt food on Etsy. And of all things, some felt Penne as well as felt bow tie pasta!!! Of course I purchased the felt Penne as well as some really adorable pancakes that have a topping of felt strawberries and a splash of sewn on syrup.

The women behind the felt food extravaganza is Becky Morello, and she doesn't just stop at pasta and pancakes. At her shop one can find tons of colorful vegetables, even delectable looking deserts, all made of felt of course so that makes them fat free. Oh and lets not forget my personal favorite, pop tarts. Whether you purchase them to add some fun to your home decor or your stocking up that little ones play kitchen, just know that your buying an incredible handmade item, something I doubt you will find in any store.

Becky told us the following:

" I'm a stay at home mom of my 2.5 year old daughter Sydney. My husband's in the military so we are out here in the northwest part of Florida. I really don't sit still very well. I love to craft, bake, clean, and exercise. Even though, I do enjoy napping! : ) I am so blessed to be able to do what I am doing right now - meaning to stay at home and craft on a daily basis. I also have a personal blog:"

Now its that time to read more about the lady who creates in felt!

1.Tell us a little about yourself including your creative background. Any formal art/craft training or all self taught?

I have been crafting my whole life. My mom was a quilter and taught me to sew. My dad's hobby is woodworking and creating beautiful furniture. Together they remodeled many old homes and did everything themselves. My motto, which comes from my dad," I can make that!"

What veered you
into the direction of creating with felt? When was it that you first picked up this c
I started making felt food during all the recalls of toys coming from China. I wanted to make something safe for my daughter and my niece. I don't really know how all the food came about. I think it just was a "I can make that" moment. Felt was great choice because it comes in a lot of colors, doesn't fray and is pretty easy to use. So I made a set of fruits and veggies for them and decided to make one to see if I could sell it. They sold very quickly and the rest is history.

3. Are you inspired by anything in particular? How do you keep things fresh and come up with new ideas?
I usually think of new foods as I lay in bed about to fall asleep. I guess my mind starts winding down and I'm able to think more clearly! : ) My new ideas comes from customers asking for specific requests (ie: sandwich, apricot, spaghetti & meatballs), things I eat on a regular basis, or things I see at grocery stores or restaurants. With all the delicious real food out there, it's endless possibilities.

4. Your attention to detail is amazing, I especially love the pasta you sell, its gonna be perfect for the little kid that steals mom's pasta to fake cook with. How long does it take to complete a piece, for instance the pancakes and strawberries?

It's hard to say for each piece because I usually make them in big batches. For example, make 10 pancake & strawberry sets at a time. It's a lot quicker that way. If I'm left to work, I can get a lot done in afternoon or night.

5. Describe your work space, where do you create, and when usually sew.
I have a room in the back of the house that's my craft room. I'm so fortunate to have a whole space for me and I totally take advantage of it. Everything in that room I just love, to the color of the walls, my tables, decorations. I have to admit during the holiday season, my busiest time, it takes over all tables in the house! I usually sew during my daughter's nap time, Saturday mornings, and from 9 to 11 pm at night.

6. Besides sewing felt goods, are there any other crafts that you love to get involved in? Are there any that you would love to learn?

I would love to be able to do all sorts of crafts like knit or make jewelry but I've come the realization that I can't do everything! Even though, I have been doing some needle felting (which is very addicting). But really I say I sew and scrapbook and for the rest - I'll support other great crafters out there!

7. Seeing that the world of handmade is growing bigger and bigger everyday and lots of people are looking to list on Etsy, what advice would you give to would be Etsy sellers? And the pros and cons of selling your work.
My big piece of advice to Etsy sellers is to take great pictures. If you take great pictures, other sellers are more apt to put you in treasuries or Etsy will pick you for various promos and this is huge - it's free promotion and it works! The pros of Etsy is I'm able to be at home with my daughter but still craft on a daily basis and make money doing it. The cons is sometimes I can't separate down time from work time since it all happens at home. I always feel like I could be doing something.

8. Every crafter/artist has their favorite tools/supplies...................if you had to choose three of your very favorite, which ones would you pick?

A serger (I don't use this for my food but I absolutely love it for all other sewing), polka dot fabric or paper (it's all just so cute), glitter (everything looks better with a little sparkle).

9. I tend to get have a few people that really inspire me. Do you have any? Perhaps a famous artist? author?

I love Ali Edwards scrap booking stuff - it's all so clean and well put together. What really got me back into sewing was Amy Butler fabric. It's just so fresh and new with the larger prints and big colors.

10. Any resources you might share as well as advice to someone who is looking interested in sewing up some felt pieces of their own?

I've noticed there is a couple sellers on Etsy that sell patterns for felt food or if your confident in your sewing abilities there looks to be some fantastic Japanese felt food books around. And remember to tell yourself "I can make that!" but if you really don't want to you know you can always visit my shop! : )

If your in the market for some hand sewn felt goodness, be sure to visit Becky's Etsy shop!


blogger templates | Make Money Online