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Inspiration: DIY Stamps from Erasers

15 Oct

I love stamps, I use them for embellishing both fabric and paper. Although I’m not so much into geometry and repeated pattern, I still find it very interesting to create a stamp that you can use over and over again for a multitude of projects.

You don’t have to buy fancy stamp-making products to create a durable stamp. There is always the option of the potato to make a quick stamp, just like they taught us at school. But there are numerous materials that we can make stamps from, and they can all be found around us in our everyday lives. Erasers are a good example; you can use cheap erasers to create unique stamps. This you can apply to different surfaces; to spruce up your tablecloths, or embellish your wrapped presents, and even personalize your totes.

And as usual, here is some inspiration from Pinterest. I tried making my own eraser stamps; they work great… and I do hope I will have the time to share them with you here in the near future.

Tips: Turning Erasers into quick stamps

Here are some tips…

  • Things you usually need: Eraser, craft knife, and pencil to draw your design on the eraser.
  • Stamps can be used on paper, fabric, walls, and any surface you can think of.
  • What really matters is the color you are using, and whether it is ink, acrylic, fabric colors, or fabric inks. And… the surface’s smoothness or lack of; whether it is porous, textured, smooth, shiny, etc. Experimenting with different color mediums and surfaces always gives you a different result, even if you are using the same stamp.
  • It is important to clean the stamps with soapy water once done with them to be able to work with them on different other projects.
  • You need to be a bit delicate with rubber stamps made from erasers, because they tend to tear, especially if the design is intricate.

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • There are many image-transfer techniques (that I might be posting about soon) to help transfer an image you like unto an eraser. An easy option is, print the image you like in reverse  on regular paper, go over the design with a heavy pencil or piece of charcoal, place the image, face-down, on the eraser, and trace over it with a dull object, so as not to tear the paper.

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • Usually eraser stamps are good for bold designs, like arrows.
  • As shown in two examples here (see one of them below), pencil rubber ends can be used without carving them as stamps. Just use your imagination.

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • Stamps are really cool to work with on fabric. Just use a good quality fabric-color range that you can later on fix by ironing. It will become washable and permanent, if you follow the instructions on the can.

I have used stamps to change the look of so many things. You don’t need to create a repeated pattern or a geometrical one, sometimes one stamped shape onto the corner of your tote, or in the middle of your T-Shirt, will be quite enough to breathe in new life to it.

Happy stampin’ :)


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Post image for DIY Eraser Stamps

In Love with the Colour Green

8 Oct

Green, and the different shades of this beautiful colour, are my newest love.

Green is the symbol of rejuvenation, vitality, and freshness. It’s the colour of nature, happiness, healing, new beginnings, goodness, generosity, and good tidings. I think it is the original colour of love, romance, beauty. Most beautiful scenery is beautiful because it enjoys an abundance of greenery.

Green is the colour of plenty, prosperity, wealth (in the physical sense and the spiritual one). And of course, it is the colour of herbs that we so love, and many vegetables, and leaves. And it is said to repel envious energy emanating from jealous people, although blue seems to be the official colour.

Green invites cheerfulness, lifts one’s morale, defeats depression, and changes one’s mood. That’s why people with depression or anxiety are advised to keep in close proximity to nature, so that eventually the colour green with all it’s hidden attributes will heal their souls, minds, and beings.

Green is the colour of inspiration, creativity, and artistic ability. Throughout history, artists, writers, painters, and millions of creative people found their muses while being in the arms of nature.

Here are some of my favorite photos from Pinterest, celebrating the colour Green.

Green & Gold…
Artichoke Green…

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Botanical plate…

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Garden accessories…
Grass-like carpet…
Vintage Green…
Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest
Botanical-print pillow…
Green bottles…

Take care :)

Packaging Ideas: A simple touch to transform Kraft paper

2 Oct

Kraft paper is so versatile. In packaging, you can mix and match it with almost anything to create a soft feminine look, or one that works great for wrapping a man’s gift. It also looks fantastic for packaging indie products for kids, girls, old people, young people.

The fact that Kraft paper comes with this beautiful organic, neutral color, makes it a great canvas to work with.

Here are some ideas that I have collected on Pinterest


The Sharpie Effect

Turn a simple box into a cute treasure chest with Sharpie illustrations

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Modern & Cool

Kraft paper envelopes, with dots, stripes and chevron, and a neon tape

The Romantic-Organic Look

Kraft paper envelope with doily and baker’s twine, and white dots

The Whimsical look

Buttons, baker’s twine and a pinking-sheered edge

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Whimsical Packages

Embellish your packge with natural elements, ribbons, beads, incense sticks… and anything you can get your hands on

Indie Brand Inspiration

A simple flower stamp, a ribbon and a cute stamped tag, with a Kraft paper envelope, can be all you need to create a branded package for your handmade brand/shop!

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Chic Packaging

For a sophisticated, simple look, a few golden dots will turn an ordinary Kraft envelope into the height of chic

The Handmade Look

Add a few hand stitches to your package and you’ll create a real cool package in just a few steps

Cute Packaging

You can use dotted ribbons, a pop of color, twine, and your plain pillow envelope is now a branded indie package

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

The Simple Touch

Using pinking sheers scissors, a cotton thread, and a simple tag is all you need to make a big impact with these cute Kraft packages

I did write a similar post a while back, and listed a few other packaging ideas (plz see below)… Enjoy!


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My Story with Happiness

30 Sep

I have 30-something years on my belt, and I know thousands over thousands of people, traveled many countries, worked in many fields, and finally learned the simple lesson of happiness, and it has nothing to do with any of this.

In one of my previous careers, I was actually quite famous. I played music with some the world’s legendary musicians, won international contests, and toured several countries. My involvement in another line of work was once mentioned by a Queen in her closing speech at an international conference, as being the most effective.

Do you think any of this brought me happiness?

I mean, the genuine, long-term, no-worry, raw, non-showy  kind of happiness  – not the kick one feels after watching a good movie or while having a good meal in good company (nor the one you parade to other people to make them jealous). These are little dots of happiness that are often interrupted by so many other emotions, especially if you have a difficult family and a bit of harsh social circumstances.

You might think it’s to have with a lot of money, or that maybe happiness must occur when you actually know a lot of people. At a certain point in my life I was basically one of a few people in the office who can actually solve everyone’s problems with a phone call. I knew so many people who belonged to so many worlds, cultures and subcultures in my city, that it was so easy for me to get the thing, or person or piece of information one of my colleagues needed.

It was quite weird. I often asked myself, “were other people like this?” I had at least 7 circles of immediate social gatherings and friends that exposed me to different types of people, parties, events, etc. From the highly sophisticated cultural circles, where I used to attend art galleries and poetry seminars, to playful niche gatherings that brought together anarchists and the  self-destructive folk. In between, there were the traditional folk, the conservative families and the religious ones.

I read countless books from mythology to psychology to self-help books and a few novels.

I know I sound like bragging, but all this counting is to underline one truth. Happiness has nothing to do with how vast and large you travel through life, nor the number of events you attend, or the kind of clothing you put on. Nor is it remotely linked to art galleries, fame and social status… nor career success.

It has to do with one thing only. And it is that the closest people around you are trust-worthy, truly loving and supportive, emotionally and spiritually. They bring the best out of you!

I had quite a long time to test this idea.

I found that whenever I had a toxic best-friend, father, mother, brother, colleague, in my life, I was always most of the time burdened with something I couldn’t really quite understand almost all the time, something darkish in nature, that was in essence, negative. Now I know what it was; it was that person’s toxic energy, consisting of their moods, ups-and-downs, negativity, envy, jealousy and cynicism.

There are people who punctuate their relationship with you with some kind of destructive energy to pull you down with them, as a means of subtle control, to keep you from being free.

Being “free” within a relationship is so important. Free to be who you are, to cultivate your interest in whatever you genuinely love, without being held back by someone’s comments, jealousies, criticism, or subtle insinuations that aim at bringing down your enthusiasm or poisoning your interest in something.

I have seen families who have sucked away the talent in their kids by either being over-proud about it – and exposing their kids to the humiliation of having to perform their talent in front of strangers at the father’s whim (without the slightest consideration to what the child really wanted), or… by playing a fake supporter to their kids with insincere support remarks that end up crushing the kid. There are friends like that, colleagues, bosses, and even acquaintances, who know how to suck the life out of anything while managing to look “positive” about it.

This brings us to another quality we need to have in ourselves, and definitely in the people we surround ourselves with: Empathy. Without empathy, a parent, a lover, a friend, a spouse, a best-friend… can almost everyday break something inside you, because they don’t empathize with your subtlest of psychological needs. Some of these people can be overpowering, over-dominating, demanding, or simply extremely self-centered control-freaks. The more toxic kind can include people who systematically aim at destroying people who make them jealous. There are people whose personal story is not as successful as yours. Say, you are a positive-thinking person who travels lightly through life, and who has a lot of potential, while that person in your immediate circle has a somewhat victim-mentality, where he/she thinks life wasn’t fair to him/her. They most probably would detest the notion that life is being fair to you, and therefore try to cause you subtle misery by pulling you down through countless strategies… that you can read about in countless books.

Surround yourself with people (or one person – which is quite enough), who care, who listen and respect your wishes when you tell them, “can you please stop doing that,” and not with people who want to walk all over you and treat you the way they want to without the slightest consideration of how you feel about it.

Surround yourself with positive & high-morale, caring, loving, honest and inspiring people. And if these qualities are far out of reach in this moment of life, make an effort to actually end your toxic relationships. Here, you need to be aware that toxic people are often emotional-blackmail type of people, who want you to believe you owe them! Toxic people are actually very clingy, and to get rid of them, you need to make a clear cut choice about it and forge forward. Keep moving, keep walking, and you shall succeed.

From experience, my advice for happiness is:

  • Build up the courage to get rid of all your toxic relationships, or at least limit the interaction with the toxic party to the barest minimum, to avoid being sucked back into their sick dramas. Cut the chord.
  • Stop going to toxic places filled with toxic people, who do not support you genuinely.
  • Quit your toxic job and look for a place that is less “competitive” and with a leader, or a boss who is “fair.” How do you get to know that? Well, one can write a book about this, but remember one thing, in job interviews, you are there to get an idea about them, the same way as they about you. If you think the interviewer (who might be your immediate future boss) is dominating, cynical, lacks empathy, and causes your stomach to churn, my advice is, don’t work there (even if it’s cool for your CV and the pay is great).
  • Have faith in positivity, and be very positive that you will find a job, a life, a spouse, a friend, with good hearts and caring personalities. Stick to this conviction, pray for it, and it shall happen. Have no doubts; that’s important.
  • Don’t put yourself down.
  • Don’t let anyone put you down. They are as human as you are, and if they love putting other people down and survive on predating on other people’s weaknesses, don’t hand yourself over to them. Keep your distance, and leave. Don’t engage.
  • Work at building a high-morale culture within you. Motivate yourself, look for people who inspire a high level of energy within you, who make you want to live life with a plate of pasta and a cold drink in your lap with no one worry on your mind.

What’s most important is to look for ways to keep your morale high in all kinds of circumstances.

If you are aware and mindful of how you lead your life, you will find out that negativity comes from outside, most of the time, from opinionated people who try to impose their sick ideas on others (personally or through TV and on the internet), thinking that their beliefs are “truths.” While they are only “perspectives.”

  • Look for people who have good perspectives on life, positive outlooks, genuine empathy and love for you. People who don’t want to judge you, nor compete with you, nor control your every step of the way, nor decide on your behalf. No, no, these people are the toxic ones. Look for people who are genuine and have other positive things on their minds other than being fixated on you and how you dress, or drive, or live life.
Choice, choice, and more choice… and persistence

The hardest thing I ever learned is that we have choice. We actually can choose to lead life the way we want to. People who think they are disadvantaged, are actually demoralized. They have been around toxic, like-minded demoralized people long enough to establish a few “facts” about life and continue living this way for the rest of their lives. This makes me want to cry, because I once was so demoralized and depressed that I actually thought I will stay in that place for the rest of my life, but I worked hard to save myself. I did the impossible to turn my circumstances around, I fought for it, I worked for it, I dedicated my whole energy, whatever tool, book, talent, I had to find happiness. I read books, met people, looked for answers, looked for theories about who we are as human beings and what kind of power we had over our lives, I read philosophy books to see if I could learn something that would get me out of the negative circumstances I was surrounded with (and the negative people). I read about the function of the brain, the left brain, the right brain, and how this affected how we “perceived” our surroundings. I worked on my “perceptions,” on my belief system, which I re-organized several times, deconstructing it at times. I dedicated my whole life, almost my whole focus on entering my 30’s (since my twenties where the learning phase) armed with the new “me” that will take me right into happiness. I had a target, a plan, and I actually learned a lot for the purpose of “scheduling my happiness” from management books (time-management, setting goals, etc). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and The Tipping Point, readily come to mind.

  • Know that you can turn things around in any given circumstance if you manage to keep your morale high. Learn to be positive, loving, and empathizing, towards yourself and others. Make this your life’s mission, and you shall come out of the gutter. I came out of mine!

My 2 cushions at Ohh Deer’s ‘Pillow Fight’ competition

15 Sep

I have two cushions taking part in a cool competition called Pillow Fight. The authors of this idea are none other than Ohh Deer, an absolutely inspiring & intelligent British online/offline shop that sells quirky illustrated gifts, from pillows to T-shirts, and, in between, gift cards and stationary.

First, I’ll talk about my cushions, then a little bit about Ohh Deer.

A personal cushion story

  • This cushion is called: Nature v.s. Psycho-analysis. You can click here to see the pillow and to read the brief I wrote about it.

Technique-wise, this pillow “carries a photographed image of one of my hand illustrations using watercolor and acrylic,” and I forgot to mention, ink. So… a bit of recycling went into this pillow’s original illustration.

I’m not going to copy-paste the full brief, but I will quote myself  with: “This year, I started making botanical illustrations over yellowed book pages from my large library of New Age books. This is to celebrate the triumph of simplicity, and the return to nature, over complexity…  In other words, this pillow carries an intentional twist, where the botanicals signify the triumph of nature over 21st century melancholy.”

  • This cushion, below, is called: Triumph of Nature over Psycho-analysis. You can click here to see the pillow on Ohh Deer, and to read the brief.

This pillow is basically about: “Return to nature and you’ll find happiness.” Love the way the paper grain is showing around the psychoanalysis type and the watercolor/acrylic/ink illustration.

About Ohh Deer

Ohh Deer is about “Quirky Illustrated Gifts,” illustration and photography that can be so cute at times and outright vulgar, at others. This is basically what stuck in my head from the brief I read on their About Us page.

Here’s a quirky example from their online store, a card dubbed Emotional Baggage by Gemma Correll, followed by 2 Pillow Fight competition entries; the first one is called: Audio Cassette – By Simon Pilkington… and… The pillow called: Huntress – by Sandra Dieckmann:

To view some of my favorite designs and pillows from Pillow Fight & Ohh Deer’s collection, visit my Pinterest boards:
  1. Artisan’s Scrapb◎◎k
  2. Pillows.Cushions

Ohh Deer Blog…  & Pillow Fight

If you visit Ohh Deer’s blog, you will find delightful surprises. My most favorite post, so far, is called “Something a Little Different.” It comes with images from a recent Ohh Deer booklet design that carries their concept, a concept of growing together and being a role model for others once we have matured ourselves. So beautiful!

This is exactly how Ohh Deer runs their endeavor, it takes care of you as an artist, and you take care of them, in the spirit of love. They offer you 25% of purchases from your artwork –  once you have won the competition and became part of their contributing team. But before that they do promote you on their website just by entering their competition.

As for Pillow Fight, the deadline is September 25, so if you are interested, please click here to read the specifications and to enter! Good luck!

I learnt about this competition through fellow WordPress blogger, “London Drawings.” Please visit this lovely illustrator’s post where you can find 4 pillow designs by merchesico. Here’s a lovely example:

DIY Table-setting Placemat | Pompom | Handpainted Floral & Botanical Design

6 Sep

I have a special thing for placemats. They can be made by hand, that’s one of their major attractions. And you can customize them to look exactly the way you want them to. You only need some basic sewing skills, some fabric colors, and a bit of imagination.

I have been dreaming about making my own placemats for quite some time, really. Recently I felt I was ready to make them since my sewing skills became a tad-bit better than they used to be.

The ingredients for making these cute placemats are:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Pom-pom trim, and individual pompom balls
  • Fabric paint and markers (I actually used more than one brand, but they all have pretty much the same ironing, and laundering instructions)
  • Sewing machine with the ability to sew a straight line
  • Flatware to trace around

I started by sewing the hems with the pompoms at one go.

Then I freehanded the word “eat” on a paper with pencil, while keeping in mind I wanted it to look like the vintage American Pop font.

I then traced the word on both placemats after taking measurements and centering it, also with pencil I used a basic image transfer technique using charcoal, for more ideas go here). I used the round lid of some cookie canister to trace the plate shapes. I then got me a real spoon and fork and traced around them (with pencil), that’s how I got the fltawre shapes. Once I was done with the basic outlines, I used a black fabric marker to outline them again, then I painted and sketched flowers and herbs to fill the plates.

The inspiration for making this specific design came from different places, which all have one thing in common: A vintage feel.

Inspiration: Table-setting placemats

I found a few table-setting placemats that I really liked. Here are a few ideas. The one above is so lovely, it has a vintage French feel, while the one below is a bit whimsical, especially that lace was used to create the place-setting utensils and plate shapes. So, if you don’t want to invest in fabric paint, you can simply applique the shapes.

Or you can use your basic embroidery skills to create this beautiful and simple placemat by Yellow Spool.

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

And of course, you can always upcycle a jean pocket to create a one-of-a-kind placemat.

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

You can actually use the pocket on its own, like this one below. All you need is cut the jean, then place the flatware inside for a cool table arrangement.

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Here is another pocket placemat idea…

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

And, finally, a cute picnic placemat with multi utinsil pockets.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you have any interesting placemat ideas, or, better still, if you have made your own placemats, please do share your link in the comments section below. Take care for now… K


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A glimpse into my atelier

9 Aug

I have been patiently tidying up – & crafting – my work space. I finally got around to put together a nice mood corner & desk. Here is a little glimpse.

I see myself as organizationally-challenged, but I am slowly & very patiently learning how to put everything in its place. You have no idea what this used to look like… and, em, no, I don’t think sharing a “before” photo is a good idea (ehem)… believe me,  imagine the worst ciaos and that would be “it”  –   hehe!

The challenge in putting together this atelier is that almost everything is handmade, and so it took some time to finish creating. The handmade items are:

  • Mood board (right): I used burlap, which I glued (using glue gun) on a piece of cardboard, and added the ribbon. At the bottom I stuck a piece of cork behind the ribbons.
  • Chicken wire mood board (left): I basically rolled some chicken wire around an old canvas frame, that I actually had since school. I didn’t staple or glue anything, just scrunched it round the frame.

  • Thumbtacks: Made those using several materials… including coins. Added a dab of E6000 to plain tacks and glued on some coins, plastic things from broken things, a bear’s face…
  • Chicken-wire lampshade, which I shared in a previous post right here.
  • Other handmade items are: White wire basket (for the pencils) and a mini wire-sculpted chair. Mini Chalkboard and chalkboard stand (a tutorial is on it’s way, hopefully!). Mini wire birdcage. Hand-painted tins (the ones under the lamp). Handmade flower magnets (using corn flour dough). Cement votive (it’s next to the tins, which are under the lamp). The botanical watercolor sketches are also mine. And other stuff.
  • Handmade bunting: Recycling old fliers I had into rectangle bunting, and there’s the mini paper flower garland, too.

So basically a bit of recycling, painting, and re-styling, went into there. What helped to tie the whole look together is the neutral shades of burlap, wood, and cork. As for the theme,  I went for a bit of British-chic in celebration of the Olympics.

Please do share links to your mood-boards, ateliers, or craft rooms if you feel like it.

Have a lovely day


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Packaging Jewelry 101: Upcycling Matchboxes

8 Aug

I have an infatuation with matchboxes, especially when they are repurposed into something else, like a little cute box for packaging my handmade earrings.

I had some glitter, some paint (yes, oil-paint for furniture), acrylic paint, white glue, and a stamp. And this is what I came up with.

The oil-based paint actually makes the matchboxes much more sturdier than they are. The stamped bird is made with foam. This stamped side of the matchboxes is actually painted with white acrylic, so that the ink would stick.

Matchbox inspiration

Here are some ideas for embellishing matchboxes. Some are shabby chic, some are not… but they’re all so beautiful.

Things to use upcycled  matchboxes for:

  • Packaging small jewelry items, like earrings and pins, broaches, and a strand of pearls – and using them in craft shows, for instance.
  • Organizing tiny office supplies – like clips, tacks, push-pins, rubber bands, etc
  • Stationary: You can put a stack of sticky notes (Post-it notes) on top of the matchbox and place a tiny pen in the “drawer” to make a quick notebook
  • Gifts: Wrapping a cute little gift (of candy, maybe) for a loved one
  • Miniatures: Making miniature drawers for small toy houses

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

One can come up with as many ideas as one can with this little drawer-shaped box. The possibilities are endless…

If you have any matchbox ideas or projects, please do share them. I created a Pinterest board for them, and I’m always on the lookout for cute little matchbox  ideas…


Inspiration: The Laura Ashley floral fever

5 Aug

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

When I was a teenager (a few years ago, hehehe), I grew up with a few Laura Ashley skirts and floral accessories, and up until this day I continue to associate pretty pastel florals to this wonderful brand. Florals are now witnessing a big come back thanks to the school of ‘vintage-chic,’ which is celebrating everything beautiful my generation has seen the last drops of. We’ve been through the ‘ugly’ eighties, but we’ve captured the last offerings of the glorious 70’s, and florals seem to have managed to make their way into our lives up until the early 90’s.

The above pic shows a few Laura Ashley floral fabrics. They go together so well, although the motifs are different.

Below is a vintage-style bedroom with a country, yet contemporary, twist. The chest of drawers is from Laura Ashley as well as the vintage-style floral patterned accessories.

For more Laura Ashley accessories, I picked this floral mug  for you…

The vintage-chic style is probably the most among other trends that is celebrating florals in a big way. Vintage-chic stylists and bloggers are showing us ways to mix and match, and stack up on  florals upon florals in one location, in one room, which is exactly what I am liking recently. Look at this…

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Florals, which are a staple of the British aesthetic and the prairie trend, have also seen a come back into fashion lately. Belts and little floral details have appeared in this year’s spring/summer clothes and accessories.

Another brand name that celebrates full throttle florals is  Cath Kidston, whose take on florals is a bit different than the classic Laura Ashley line, but all the same I love them both (I did mention this earlier in a previous post). Here is an example of Kidston’s accessories.

I also found florals from other brands,  such as this mug, which ultimately reminds us of Laura Ashley’s style.

Finally, this is my biggest floral crush… vintage floral cards. Yum.

And this one here….

Source: via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Ok, then, I’ll leave you with a flowery and sunny day, hopefully, and see you next time,


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