Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bird (Craft) Watcher

I feel some crafters and buyers are getting fed up with the bird trend. Some blogs lately stated "[at the National Stationery Show] there was an aviary design around every corner (if not every single booth!)*" or " [at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn] if I saw one more screen-printed organic cotton t-shirt with a silhouette of a bird I was gonna scream.*" I am sorry you feel that way. I personally believe bird motifs fit right in, especially in the crafting world. If you do a tag search for "bird" on etsy you get 1847 pages for your results, while you type in "dog" and only get 1291. While the majority of pet owners, 79% are dog owners, compared to the small 13% of pet owners that own birds**.

Birds are fascinating and beautiful. They conjure feelings of awe, peace, and freeness. Birds are hopeless romantics, with their dances, displays, love songs, and gifts of sticks and twigs. Many are monogamous and stay with their lover for a lifetime. They are not needy or dependent. And you can tell by their mannerisms, they are smart and proud, yet still introverted. If you think about it, birds are very much like your average crafter/artist.

I hope the bird trend doesn't die. I want to see bird motifs everywhere I go. I want every shirt to be a screen-print shirt of a bird.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Free Tutorial - How to Make an URL Icon

Free Tutorial - How to Make an URL Icon! (Some basic html knowledge and your own web domain/hosting is needed)

Aren't you sick of this little icon? Your URL icon is everywhere, in your tabs, in your bookmark links, in your URL bar! You can personalize your website and blog with an EASY html tag and your very own icon.gif.

1). Make your icon. Open photoshop or your photo/painting program and create a new document 16 pixels x 16 pixels, and 72 pixels per inch resolution. Copy and paste in the image you want to use and scale it down to fit in the little 16 x16 viewfinder.

2.) Save as .GIF (If you have Photoshop you can "...Save for Web" and optimize your gif even smaller by selecting less colors.) Name it "icon.gif"

3.) Upload your .GIF. If you have a web domain, you should have info such as host name, user name, password and you can upload your GIF using an FTP connection. Drop it in your designated images folder.

4.) Type the following text right before your head tag closes, right before you see this, < /head>

For your personal website you need to add the code for each .html page. For your blog, go to the Edit HTML section and paste the code in there. Here is my icon.gif, !!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TADworks Chicky Puppet

Look at this Chicky Finger Puppet by TADworks.
I like his little smirk and beady eyes. I would definitely not be able to say "no" to anything someone asked me with a Chicky puppet on their finger.

TADworks has a cute blog too.

Image © TADworks 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

San Diego Zoo - Birds Galore

I just got back from my weekend trip to San Diego. I had to visit the San Diego Zoo after hearing about their walk-in aviaries! Here is a picture of the Magnificent Fruit Dove, and magnificent he is! I have plenty of photos for inspiration for new bird prints. I love how the zoo's top attractions were the koalas and pandas, which left me plenty of space in the bird exhibit while the rest of the crowds were elsewhere. The aviaries are a must visit for any bird lover in the San Diego area. They also have a Micronesian Kingfisher which is unfortunately extinct in the wild. I spent a lot of time at his enclosure listening to his sweet call, because someday it may not be heard again. Brookfield Zoo, near Chicago, also has Micronesian Kingfishers (not all on display). They currently have 13 of the 60 left in zoos around the world.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lauren Alane's Felted Birdies!

These cute little needle felted birds are handmade by Lauren Alane. She was recently at the Brooklyn Renegade Craft Fair July 14-15th, and from the looks of her blog photos, it looks like it was a great turn out!

Be sure to check out her Etsy shop, to buy the felted birds, notepads, postcards, and prints.

Image © Lauren Alane 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Bird Day!

Happy bird day to you! Technically, these handmade cards are meant for birthdays but any day could be a happy bird day! I just posted these new cards in my shop, FromTikiwithLove.

These are square 5 x 5" cards with handmade colorful vellum envelopes. I see these cards more as hand-given rather than mailed, especially since they are partially see-through from the vellum. You won't see the personal hand written message, but you can see the card itself. And don't forget a square envelope costs an additional $.20 to mail!

© CG Arts 2008

Biscotti con le Mandorle

I happened to stumble upon this great original oil pastel artwork, and I absolutely love it! It has that vintage 1920's liquor poster feeling to it, like those Porto and Absinthe posters. I love the plethora of birds and woodland creatures gathering around a simple cookie. "Biscotti con le Mandorle" is created by Suzanne Frie. The original is still available, but you can also get a print! See her other artwork on Fine Art America, and check out her etsy store Brite Ideas too!

Image © Suzanne Frie 2007

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cicada Studio

Image © Cicada Studio 2008

Wow! This dandy fabric, "Feeding the birds", is part of Cicada Studios' original textile designs! There is even a Flickr group, Cicada Studio Textiles, for members to post photos of items they make using the fabrics. I would love to see this fabric as a pillow or tote bag.

Ann Wood Handmade

Image © Ann Wood Handmade 2008

Here comes the bird, all dressed in white! Ann Wood makes these great little antique fabric one-of-a-kind birds! Her caketoppers are very popular, and I can see why. Birds symbolize a committed and lovely pair, and Ann's birds are dressed so elegantly! She has plenty of birds to spend your day browsing, just visit

Bionic Beak

Beauty - a gorgeous American bald eagle - had her upper beak torn off by gunshot from poachers. Her tongue and sinuses were exposed, and she was barely getting by with food by scrounging at a landfill. Rescuers found her and took her to the Birds of Prey Northwest Ranch in Anchorage, where she has been recovering since. Now a team fitted her to an artificial beak made of polymer plastic, and this temporary beak will be replaced with a titanium one in the near future. She most likely will not be able to return to the wild because her dependence on hand-feeding. Her beak can never be strong enough to rip flesh from prey. At least Beauty can now more easily grasp food, drink, and preen herself.

I am glad we are taking action to help animals, especially those who have been hurt by humans. I also saw on the news this morning, a dolphin being fitted with a prosthetic fluke to replace the one he lost in a crab trap.

See more pictures here

Read the full article here

Image © Associated Press 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here is a special sneak peek at some fun images that will be featured on my new upcoming notecards. These are little glass figurines I have collected from the street markets in Poland from over 10 years ago! I took pictures of them with my macro lens. They are my "close bird friends." This little cockatoo is only 1 1/2 inches tall.

Website Up, Finally

Finally! My website is up and running. I've had a place holder splash page for quite a while, and I am sorry to keep you waiting. I will eventually have multiple galleries, showing my original art and cards too. But for now I only have my bird prints set, and I need a desperate break because my carpal tunnel symptoms are flaring up. I spend a full day at work drawing anatomy and then come home and work on bird drawings, websites, and blogging! There are many new bird prints on the way, I am currently working on an American robin so check back soon!

Nut and Bee

Extra Fancy Hat (May 31 2008) © Nut and Bee 2008

One of my absolute favorite stores on Etsy is NutandBee. These cute prints are designed by Annette Lauder. She is constantly creating new designs so check out the website for weekly posts under Sketchbook Sweeties . The sweeties can be ordered as prints, notepads, labels, buttons, rubber stamps, magnets, letterhead, and stickers. She can make anything look cute, even a carton of milk! Nut and Bee is a constant source of cute-spiration for me.

Poor Pierre

This 25 yr old penguin, named Pierre, started balding (losing his feathers), and he was too cold to join his penguin friends in the water at the California Academy of Sciences penguin tank. So biologists and staff members of Oceanic Worldwide, a supplier of dive gear, teamed together to make Pierre a wetsuit out of the same material used in human diving wetsuits. Pierre can now swim with his friends and has already started gaining weight and growing back some feathers. Yay!

Read the full article here on

Image © California Academy of Sciences 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008


I must promote PinkSpiderwebs' shop. PinkSpiderwebs, run by my sister, sells handmade kawaii jewelry. I didn't even know what "kawaii" meant. It sounds like something my bird would say, he slurs the phrase "How are you" into a one word jumble "Hawwwaauuu". Kawaii means cute in Japanese. Super cute jewerly, cell phone charms, earrings, bracelets. Check it out. Maybe we will do a craft show together soon.

Image © Pinkspiderwebs 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Be Cautious of Vistaprint

Do you use for printing business cards, notecards, etc? I came across a forum on etsy about Vistaprint being a scam. Many people have had extra charges added to their credit card account, or have had their info sold to other companies and now receive sales calls, regardless if they checked a box to opt out of "specials", clicked "No Thanks," or even if they are currently on the national Do Not Call list. I too have used Vistaprint and am currently waiting for a Vistaprint order to be delivered. Needless to say, I will be on the look out and check my credit daily. As soon as my order comes in, I am canceling my account and will not use Vista again. Some other options Etsy users recommend are,, or

The Better Business Bureau has a list of the Top 10 Complained About Businesses with an Unsatisfactory Reliability Report (within the last 12 months as of 6/1/2008) and VistaPrint is #5!

Here are some other links mentioned in the forum -

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Isn't it birdorable?

BirdorableCheck out for some cute bird designs that can be printed made-to-order via T-shirts, stickers, magnets, tote bags, and more. Even boxer shorts? They don't have any blue-fronted amazons yet, but they are open to custom designs.

Image © Birdorable 2007

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Who is Tiki?

Hello! I am excited to join the world of blogging. I just wanted to introduce myself and my hunny Tiki. He is a blue fronted amazon I have had for 13 years now. Although Tiki sits on his stick all day long, I am a medical illustrator. My sister has an etsy shop called PinkSpiderwebs and she sells cute handmade jewelry, and I was inspired to open my own shop.

So I am a nerd, I like birds... deal with it. I illustrate birds, paint birds, make bird cards, and do bird things. Birds make me smile. But then again you wouldn't be reading this blog if one of my pictures hadn't peaked your interest. So enjoy, please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, emails!

And have a Happy Bird Day! from Carol and Tiki