26 January 2011

Recommit to Being Awesome - GET YOUR PAINT ON!

brushes in mati's studio
photo by kelly rae roberts

Now that we're a few weeks into the new year, let's check in... How have you done with YOUR resolutions?

We all might have asked ourselves to recommitt to eating better and exercising more, but how many of us asked ourselves to be more creative?

That's one of the greatest resolutions to ever give yourself!

With more creativity, you're able to open up a whole new world of awesomeness. And I happen to know a couple of people who can help you be more awesome, too!

lisa and mati at their joint art show in 2009
photo by kelly rae roberts

Lisa Congdon and Mati McDonough are joining forces next week to teach people from all over how to work their raddness all over the canvas with Get Your Paint On . This "5-week online tutorial course in painting... is designed to support both beginning painters and more experienced artists... while [Lisa + Mati] share their unique and colorful  approach to painting in a warm and welcoming environment."

Two very successful artists (featured in various books, shows, galleries and, of course, Etsy) who make amazing art want to show other people how to make art for 5 weeks? That's pretty awesome.

There are lot of areas that Get Your Paint On will cover (i.e. using colour, creating beautiful composition), but the best part will be the creative online community in which so many of us already thrive! Your fellow artisans will be honing their skills or picking up a new one; this seems like a good time of year to recommitt to being awesome!

Check out more info about Get Your Paint On here! 

24 January 2011

No Awesome Artist Feature? Sadface...

Sadface emoticon fine silver charm
by GSCreations - $12 USD
Ladies and gentlefolk of the blog:

It seems that I can't get always get my Awesome Artists Features up these days. And while I enjoy putting them up for viewing, they sure are a lot of work! :) For that reason, I'm probably going to start featuring some kind of rad Etsy seller every couple of weeks (cos lining them up has been challenging) and start doing real one-on-one question interviews. :)

A new year, some new changes.

Also coming up this new year:
- How to get your studio from bad to fab in one week
- Social Media Marketing: How much do you know about it?
- 5 Easy Ideas for Networking this Year
& many more!
What new changes have you been making for 2011?

18 January 2011

The nerd with new hair - From long & wavy to short & sassy!

I sure needed a makeover! Many thanks to Patty & Pauline at Shear Irish!
When I was younger, I was wild and full of dreams. I had only just gotten into the Beatles & Elliott Smith, picked up a guitar and started writing songs. I had yet to really delve into crochet and film history, let alone the art scene in San Francisco. There was a lot to be discovered. One of those discoveries was wearing my hair short and pink. :)

A lot of people know that I just wrap my hair in a bun or a ponytail and go to where I need to be. Probably cos I don't like spending a ton of time on my looks these days. So my friends & fans are always surprised when I show them how long my hair is. I guess one of the subconscious reasons for always putting it up was cos I missed it being short and out of the way.

So, I figured, if that's how it's gonna be, it was time for a change!

Having finally realised that, I decided to book a hair appointment today! My friend & fellow artist, Bettina from icky the great, had had a wonderful experience with Shear Irish in the Parkside, San Francisco last year. I had spent too much time asking friends for hair referrals (or even experimental haircuts! Eeep!) to eff around any longer.

So I check them out on Yelp and found out about their offer for the rest of the month!

1 free Hair Cut
1st time clients only, Mention Yelp for free hair cut with highlight or color purchase with stylist Patty. Trained by Aveda. Exp 1/31/11

Are you flippin' serious? It was like it was meant to be!

Not wanting to waste another minute, I called and left a message to schedule an appointment. The lovely Irish owner, Pauline, called back within a half hour to fit me in that afternoon.

When I told my friend, Rachel of Battle Against Boredom, that I wanted to get back to my roots and dye my hair pink, she told me there was nothing like getting your hair professionally coloured. "It's like the greatest thing it the world!" I was told.

So when I went in for my 12:30 with Patty, I had already my made decision to let her do whatever she wanted to with my hair. :) There were little bowls with pastes, brushes & foil involved. It was odd to be stuck under a set of heatlamps. I imagined that what eggs feel like sometimes. But Patty & Pauline were very reassuring about the process.

All in all, I finally got my groove back! Having formed a brand for nerd JERK involving lots of bright colours and awesomeness, I sure had let my personal awesomeness go by the wayside! 

With freshly purchased vintage-inspired 50s librarian glasses and a thrifted old cardigan, my new hair packed the perfect punch!
  • Side swiped bangs (for future emo moments)
  • Textured curly layers (so that I don't have to style it)
  • Shorter in the back, longer in the front (reversing bad 80s mullet effects of an ill-advised self-haircut a few months earlier had caused)
  • Chunks of HOT PINK within the layers (for a subtle punk look)
  • Grey hairs gone wild! (in my quest to achieve the Rogue from X-Men bangs look one day!)
Great fricken day to drop some cash & see some seriously awesome results! Thanks so much to Patty & Pauline for helpin' this nerd get some rad back into her life!

11 January 2011

Awesome Artist Feature: mr. deadfish GIVEAWAY!

When I stepped over to the mr. deadfish booth at Bazaar Bizarre this holiday, I knew I was in trouble. Scarves in the shapes of dead animals made out the upcycled sweaters? Yes, please!!!

So when I got to know this gal a little better, I knew I had to share her stuff with the rest of the world.

Introducing the founder & designer of mr. deadfish for our latest "Awesome Artist Feature": Amy Ng!

Amy wearing mr. deadfish in shirt form. :)
[Photo courtesy of Amy Ng]
Who are you? And what drives to you create!?
I am a San Francisco native that is inspired by everything around me. Generic as it may sound, I've been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil and once I discovered new media, I went bananas. Not only am I a full time video editor and animator, but on the side, I'm making daily scarves (for my 2011 challenge) and working on a children's book with a very talented friend Mr. Mito. Such inspirations can come from talented people like Camilla d'Errico and Marina Bychkova. Their choices of mediums are simply amazing and they've definitely mastered their artwork. Also, creating really keeps me out of trouble and lowers my cost of living, since I'm not going out buying drinks or karaoke-ing (though not dancing and eating lots of sweets is not reducing the thunder in my thighs)!

Alligator Scarf by mr. deadfish
When & why did you start your Etsy shop?
I started my Etsy shop in November 2008 because I just had a million things in my house that I've created. My friends always told me that I should sell my stuff and that people would buy it, but it's really hard to keep up with all the stuff that I make. I love illustrating, which got me into hand-drawing cards, but I think I just wasn't getting enough exposure to sell any. Then I started making hair clips, little squirrel magnets, modifying My Little Pony dolls, clay figures, stuffed animals, and now I'm trying to get this dead animal scarf going. Who knows what it'll be next month!

Top 5 fave books, movies, music, artists... 
I don't find myself having too much time to read nowadays, but I definitely have a few favorite movies in mind starting with a few childhood favorites. 

The Neverending Story, The Secret of Nimh, and such tv shows like Out of This World, Small Wonder, David the Gnome, Looney Tunes, The Snorks, Jem and the Holograms and many more. Other movies I've enjoyed are Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Zombieland, Lovely, Still, Delicatessen, Moon, The Host and many others that I really can't think of right now.


  • I love eighties music, so Hall & Oates is definitely ranked up there.
  • Stevie Wonder is oh-so-delightful when I feel like I need a faster pace and pick me up.
  • With the sultry voice of Bitter:Sweet, sometimes this is exactly what I need for snazziness.
  • If I'm feeling a bit epic, bumping up Muse will always do the trick.
  • And last, but not least, The Spinto Band really knocks my socks off and gets me groovin to the tunes.
As I strive to work with different mediums, here's a few people that drive me to love creating:

  • Camilla d'Errico is awesome with her creepy sweet characters. So innocent and lovely.
  • Marina Bychkova with her beautiful and sometimes twisted creations. I can't help but love and admire her work.
  • Audrey Kawasaki can get rather magical with wood and paints. Her works just seems so dreamy and innocent.
  • I can't forget about Scott Radke with his eerie and twisted painted sculptures. How could you not love that face?
  • Christopher Conte is definitely amazing with his use of materials. I would never be able to create such wonders of art, but just looking at them makes my jaw drop every time.
The original mr. deadfish drawing
[Photo courtesy of Amy Ng]
How did you come up with your business name?
This is actually a really random story. Long, long time ago around the turn of the century, working in the photo department of a drugstore in Davis, CA., I was running a pretty high fever. Feeling as though it would be unacceptable to call in sick, I stood in that little corner of a lab and spent most of the day sweating. Those photo lab machines used to spit out a few blank cuts before and after every batch print and since I was feeling a bit delusional, I decided to draw a bunch of dead animals with taglines to them. "I am mr. deadfish. I smell bad." and it was a drawing of mr. deadfish (which a friend of mine has the original copy). Of all the animals, mr. deadfish was the one that everybody loved, so it seemed only natural to have that be my business name.

Amy working late into the night on her newest scarf
[Photo courtesy of Amy Ng]
What does a day in your life look like? 
*Beep Beep Beep* It's six am. She shuts off the phone and pushes the blankets off the bed, allowing the chill to fully wake her. Fast forward. Six twenty, looking for all day parking in the SOMA. Video editing, animating, awesomeness. Three thirty, go home. Four pm. Spread out the colorful cut up upcycled sweaters and think about what to make for the day. Sometimes ideas are given by friends, but mostly, it's random. *snip snip snip* Cutting out the pieces. Six thirty, make the best dinner ever consisting of meat, veggies and carb. Seven thirty, finish working on scarf until the hours between eleven pm and one am. Rinse, repeat. What messes up the mix is when there's some action happening like going out. Evenings are condensed, then.

Social Squittens
[Photo courtesy of Amy Ng]
What other favourite hobbies/activities do you enjoy?
I'm trying to have this monthly thing again called Social Squittens (A squitten is a cross between a kitten and a squid, demonstrated above, where I organize events such as rock climbing, archery, hiking, or various activities around the bay. I think one of them is definitely going to involve that new trampoline park that opened up in the Presidio. Social Squittens were created to meet cool new people. I have so many awesome friends and they all wanted to meet each other and meet more new friends, so I asked my friends to invite their friends. It usually ends up just being one large hangout session, but it's fun.

I also love animating and video editing. I'm a producer for my friend Marlon Torres of Torres Studios and he's one of the most talented people I know. He's simply amazing and I love working with him. You can see our WWII short film at papernautilusfilms.com.

To find out more about mr. deadfish and what Amy's up to, check out the links below:


Now, for the GIVEAWAY:

Head on over to the mr. deadfish blog to find out how to win a FREE SCARF of your own!

08 January 2011

New Year = New Awesomeness: Goals for Motivational Inspiration in 2011

Custom Red Fox Animal Scarf
by Social Squitten - $100 USD
We all make ourselves a bunch of promises at the beginning of every new year, hoping to emerge better people with stronger willpower and follow-thru. But this year, I'm just gonna state the facts: I'm gonna be awesome-er.

Traditionally, there will be lists of items that we makes to measure our progress. And while I'm a big believer in lists, I'll be the first to admit that I often lose that sheet of paper with all my goals written on it some time by the second week of January. Therefore, I have no choice but to put my list into cyberspace.

Keeping in mind a few things I've learned from some inspirational guru somewhere along the time, I know that in order for these goals to happen, they need to be S.M.A.R.T. ones.

According to Wikipedia, there are many versions of S.M.A.R.T. goals, but for the sake of this blog post, here are the definitive words I'm going to choose:

SPECIFIC: Something that I cannot get away with vaguely alluding to.. such as previously promised awesomeness.
MEANINGFUL: If I give a crap about it, chances are it's gonna get done.
ACTION-ORIENTED: Things only happen when I put them in action. So enough talking - more DOING!
REALISTIC: I'm not going to be King of the World (Master of Geekery is quite enough, thank you), but I know that a certain level of greatness is attainable. Why not reach for it?
TIME-BOUND: With a deadline looming, there's always something to word towards. It's one of my favourite motivators!

Some of my S.M.A.R.T goals for 2011 include:

Orange Luma inspired by
Super Mario Galaxy
by nerd JERK - $46 USD
- Reach 50 items or more listed in my Etsy Shop by the end of January 2011
You guys may not know this, but I have a TON of new amazing products that I've been selling out at craft shows in San Francisco since the end of June 2010. Yeah -- I know -- why haven't I posted it yet? Well, cos it didn't make it past the craft shows! And I had to keep remaking everything... for another craft show... and remake to photograph for Etsy... until the next craft show showed up. So THIS TIME, I'm gonna photograph these suckers FOR REAL! And you're gonna get to see them and swoon... like I do when I make them!
- At least 3 regularly scheduled blog posts a week by March 2011
Another tidbit of knowledge that's only been floating around in my atmosphere is that I have 5 freakin' topics for 5 days of the week that I wanna post... all the time!!! And I've been trying to be better about lining up interviews, giveaways, Etsy Seller tips, Geek Chic Guides and New Stuff Sneak Peeks that I haven't actually gotten around to posting them as much as I'd like. While I may not get all 5 for everyday of the week, I can start with 3 regular posts. And have YOU hold me accountable!
HELLO Convo Calculator
iPhone & Gadget Case
My Tutorial on CRAFTzine.com
- Work towards more reader-based feedback on the blog - 2 to 6 comments per blog post by June 2011
I hope that you all know that I love hearing what you have to say. And I also hope that you know that what you say actually affects what gets posted here. It would be my dream that I could have guest posts and relevant advertising , etc on nerd JERK: Inspire Your Inner Geek, cos guess what? There aren't enough geek blogs representing out there. But it all comes from you. For example, I'd like to start doing more simple Tutorials & Recommended Reads, but I don't know how people are gonna react. Tell me what you want and I'll try to make it happen!
- Make between 5-10 items per week for my inventory for crafts shows 4 to 10 months in advance!
If you were my close and personal friend this past year, you saw how nutty and sleep-deprived I gradually became. I started throwing old fun exercising habits to the wayside and gave into a lot of caffeine and late-night fast food runs (doesn't help there's a 24-hr McDonald's around the corner from my house!). But one can let oneself go in more ways than just weight & health... like sanity. When all you have is 2 weeks before your biggest show yet during the holiday season and your average amount of hours of sleep per week is around 10... total!? You've got issues. Now that's it the slow season, I'll take my time to bulk up on the rad items without killing my wrists (cos I make everything myself) and without as much caffeine. And, hopefully, I'll be able to post more Sneak Peaks at my studio as well!
In keep with some of my goals, I want to let you know that I'll be featuring an Awesome Artist Feature of Amy Ng from Social Squitten and learning about the wonder world of thrifting in the City, living in SF and making the raddest scarves on the planet by hand. Make sure to stay tuned for that on Monday morning. :)

And it'd be great to hear from you: What are some of your goals this year? What kind of dreams will you dare to make come true?
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