HAND-LETTERED TINY ‘TO:’ STAMP

A lot of my stamp designs are inspired by what I want. I wanted a tiny ‘to:’ to be able to use on my small parcel tags. I actually went through a few different size versions of this until I got it right.  Bonus you don’t need the tags you can stamp any scrap of paper, piece of cloth, thin wood, etc. and have yourself an instant gift tag!  It’s tiny about 1/2″ x 1/2″, I love me some tiny stamps.  Since it is Monday and as it seems to have become a bit of a tradition I will be giving away a few (3) of these little stamps to you, and you and you (that’s 3 different winners).  Just re-pin this if you would like to be considered for a prize and for extra consideration leave a comment and let me know if you are willing to photograph some of the tags you make, I LOVE seeing how creative everyone is with their Besotted booty. Just when I think I found all the ways to use the supplies you always go and surprise me!  I will choose the winners next Monday, November 12th.  Good luck!
P.S. If you have been a past winner and haven’t been contacted yet, please email me so I can get you your prize!!!
P.P.S. If you don’t have a Pinterest account you can Tweet it with the hashtag #tobesotted, if you don’t do social media (lucky you, you must get SO much more done then the rest of the world!) then please leave a comment here.

CALLIGRAPHY NIB REVIEW::GILLOTT 1068A

Well, hello! I thought I might get back to reviewing another nib whilst I explore the wonderful world of lettering.  I found a nib that I like a lot and can get both thick, thin and smooth strokes. I still love both the Zebra G and the Nikko G, but the lines can be very thin and for my purposes turning the lettering into rubber stamps, I need a little more line girth (that’s a horrible word). The nib is made by Gillott and is No. 1068A. The description for the nib is that it is very stiff with only slight contrast between thick and thin lines. I think I mentioned previously that it is suggested for beginners to use stiffer nibs and that may be why I enjoy it so much. I feel though like I can get very distinct thick and thin strokes so maybe it is just how you handle the nib?  I currently have had zero success with any other ink color than black and so my practice has only been with black ink, I recently picked up this Sumi ink because it was readily available at the art store.  I have bought several white inks, which I am chomping at the bit to learn how to use. I have not found any concrete information on how to dilute it to the point that you can use it. It’s either out of the bottle too thin and translucent or too thick and I don’t know the dilution ratios. The latter seems to be the white ink that letterers rave about for using on darker substrates. I tried Kelsey’s suggestion of Bristol paper, it is definitely smooth and the nib does not catch, it’s easy to find at your local craft or art store.  After I ran out of the Bristol I went back to my Rhodia pad which I initially felt was too smooth, but with the Gillott 1068A it felt just right.  I like the Rhodia because I can put a guide sheet underneath and practice different alphabets.  I have a lot of letters that stump me, my ‘y’s’ are hideous, yes, you have to turn your eyes away and I have a hard time with linking ‘W’s’ with any other letter.  I so wish there was a calligrapher nearby that I could take lessons from, if you know anyone in the Raleigh area let me know, I sure would like to know how to use that elusive white ink!
Above lettering was done with Gillott 1068A. If you have any lettering questions for me or for a future interview with one of the pro’s just leave it in the comments and I will try to get it answered for you!

PINTEREST CURATOR::JANE POTRYKUS

Ah, Jane, how I adore thee…I do, sincerely. When I create these boards I usually have to delve deep and create a word or phrase of what I believe sums up my fave curators style. Jane Potrykus is so efficient, so edited and such a class act that she has done that for me (and you). She has trademarked the term ‘Utilitarian Luxe’ and indeed that is her style to a ‘t’. I have been a Jane fan for many moons. In fact when I am designing my line I have a handful of dream ‘clients’ that I ask myself, ‘would _______ like this offering?’,  Jane is always top of mind. I love Jane’s pins because she also takes it to reality, where she will pin places she has either visited or will be visiting, it’s arm chair traveling at it’s finest. She has a board dedicated to coffee, which makes me smile , who else would be willing to curate the most beautiful places in the world to grab a cup? Do you see what I mean about Utilitarian Luxe being so perfectly fitting? Jane does veer towards minimalism, but she definitely has a great sense of humor and you will find elegant animal finds sprinkled throughout her pins in completely delightful ways. I urge you to visit her boards and discover some simple + pretty finds to add to your own inspiration archives.
P.S. Happy Halloween!

WINNERS + A NEW YORK BLACKOUT STORY

My apologies for being late on announcing the winners of the tiny vintage initial stamps. I have randomly chosen the above winners, except I did choose Acacia specifically because she assisted me with some great feedback to make my business better, so I think she deserves a little prize, no?  If you want to hear about my New Your Blackout experience read below (it has been edited down)…*
My heart goes out to the folks in New Jersey and New York. I was in NY during the last black out, at the airport mind you. I remember the lights flickered on and off at the terminal, myself and my fellow travelers had that instant of fear that it was another terrorist attack, it was to everyone’s relief  just a black out. The relief quickly passed when we realized we wouldn’t be going anywhere that day. It was one of those incredibly smoldering hot and sweaty NY afternoons, there were no cell phones, computers or any way to get yourself out of the situation and of course air conditioning wasn’t a consideration. I noticed out of the corner of my eye a very eccentrically dressed woman, head-to-toe pomp, topping her skull was a Kentucky Derby appropriate hat, not a JFK airport appropriate hat. I went outside to catch a cab back to the city, I waited outside 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 and so on.  The fancy hat lady, now sweating profusely dabbed at her face with a make-up soaked kerchief, she sidled up to me and said in a heavy perhaps Gypsy? accent, “You will never catch a cab, they closed the tunnel going into the city, no subways, you can’t even pump gas.”   I eyed her suspiciously as I had no cell reception and how was she getting this information? Her cell magically rang, she whispered some labored words into the phone and returned her attention to me.  “You are going to need a place to sleep, you can’t stay at the airport by yourself.” I considered this fact, but since there was no cabs in sight  I didn’t see a solution.  “You come home with me,” she demanded.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually talk to strangers let alone go home with them. I looked back at the airport terminal, my clothes sticky on my body and figured I could perhaps get a ride to Queens where she lived and catch a cab from there or find a hotel. Her friend picked us up, a complete New York caricature, I am sure his name was something like Tony or Johnny, I can’t remember now. The city was chaotic, you could see that from the road, people were actually walking in from Manhattan, walking! Unheard of, apocalyptic looking.  I knew there were no hotels to be had and that I was going to have to take this strangely dressed gypsy woman up on her offer to stay at her house. If there was ever a day that I may have never been heard from again it was the day I decided to go home with a Gypsy and her side kick ‘Tony’. It was getting late and we were all hungry and at this point I needed a glass of wine desperately, Magda, tsked tsked and told me not to worry, she had food at home. I asked if she had wine, I needed a glass of wine. She enthusiastically nodded her head, “Oh, yes indeed, I have the best wine.” I went home with her, Tony thankfully just dropped us off.   I sat on her tapestry covered settee and although it was hard as concrete and scratchy I was happy to be indoors. Magda came out with a glass and a mason jar of what looked like pink pickled something or other. “My friend makes their own wine, I don’t drink but it is supposed to be fantastic.” I looked at the jar, the pulpy fragments swirling around making this ‘wine’ cloudy’, I looked at my surrounds and knew this concrete slab was to be my bed and poured myself a glass. I think in some circles this drink would have been called moonshine. I just needed a few sips to be exported out of the room and into another realm all together. Magda explained her son was getting married and she needed to get to California, we both at that time didn’t know how long the black out would last. I was hoping for her sake (as I no longer felt anything) that it wouldn’t last past the evening so she could make her flight and be there for her son.  I asked if she had a t-shirt I could borrow to sleep in and she answered in the affirmative. She came back holding up a floor length black lacy, silky item. I think they were called negligee’s back in the day, I looked like a Sophia Loren character. I don’t think I have ever worn anything as fancy or as sexy in my life.  The next morning Tony drove us to the airport, I caught a flight home and Magda made it to the wedding, this is the first time I am recounting this story. My life has been anything but boring.

* At the time it was considered the largest blackout in U.S. history and went all the way up to Toronto!

CHICKEN WIRE GHOSTS

I thought it might be apropos to mention a very clever All Hallow’s Eve project as we quickly approach the 31st of this month. I wish I would have found this project earlier as I might have been inclined to try this myself. I love how ethereal these ghost sculptures look and I am sure that after a coat of glow-in-the dark paint they are nice and subtly spooky come evening.  A quick scary segue is that radium was the “original” glow-in-the-dark product,  it was marketed as a curative (probably because of its luminescent properties) it was put into almost everything–toothpaste, hair creams even water as a cure-all. We now know that radium is radioactive, extremely dangerous and being exposed to it causes large open sores, hair and tooth loss and diseases such as bone cancer. People were drinking this stuff! If you want to read more on radium (and who doesn’t?) this is a great article by Deborah Blum. If your interest is just getting whetted and you are dying to see more chicken wire in action visit artist Bendetta Mori Ubaldini. To get the how-to’s on making your own ghosts click the photos above. My friend Maria said her neighbors did this project, have any of you tried this or have you seen it in person? I am thinking if you had the skills you could create something that would be beautiful all year round. If I has the skills I would create a life size horse, I think it would look so serene out in our backyard especially when the fog rolled in.