Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Custom Finds: Star Wars

Comic Con starts today, and while I've never attended, I thought it would be a great idea to see what a few Etsy shops had to offer featuring a popular theme:  Star Wars!   Here are my Top Ten Finds for customizable items.

1.  I always believe if you want your kids to love the things you love, you have to start early.  This Intergalactic Princess Bun Hat by alimatkwo can be made for your little princess starting for 0-3 mos to a 7 yr old.  I don't know about you, but I'd love to see a newborn wearing this cute hat.

2.  Another cute item for the kiddies is this adorable C3PO inspired dress by Christine at ChrisCrossCraftsEtsy.  The waistband on the dress is just perfect.  This shop also has a version for R2D2.  Visit her shop to see more. 

3.  For a married couple, this custom R2D2 ring holder is just over 3" big and perfect for an anniversary gift.   Aphrodite's Canvas applies R2s image just above the couple's name and wedding date.

4.  If you're going to the convention, then you may have already found The Urban Cloth's custom Obi Wan Kenobi/Jedi costume.  The comfortable oversized hood completely hides the wearers identity, just like in the movie.

5.  These Stained Glass cabinet inserts by Donna at Terraza Stained Glass are perfect for the man-cave of any Star Wars lover.  It features that famous Mos Eisley cantina scene, right before the audience meets Han Solo!  Yeah, I'm a Han Solo fan.  This cool and beautiful piece can be made into any size necessary. Although doors are not included, you can get this framed.

6.  My Tiny Tot Creative has these adorable personalized graphic art prints.  This one is made for your little stormtrooper, but this shop also has prints for Yoda and Darth Vader.

7.  You can't be a Jedi Knight (or a Sith Lord for that matter) without your own lightsaber.  Carrie & Matthew at Tweedle Geeks use similar techniques that prop masters use to make these custom, elegant hilts.

8.  These His and Hers rings are perfect for the Star Wars loving couple.  The design by Chelsea at Swank Metalsmithing incorporates the Death Star and includes the famous lines from the movie, "I love  you" and "I know".  Visit the shop and ask about your custom rings.

9.  This Star Wars caricature by  Jimmy at mccillustrator is for the entire family.  The artist works with you the entire way to create this fun sci-fi scene.  You send in your photos and will receive a sketch for approval before the real artwork begins.  Totally worth it.

10.  While this isn't exactly a custom item, I thought it was too cool to leave out.  This  Death Star clock, made from an upcycled record, is by Lindsay at LProducts.  It takes one AA battery to run and you'll have your own Death Star countdown in working order.   She also made her a Princess Leia dress out of duck tape!  Check it out and visit her shop to see this awesome clock and other Star Wars items.

Aren't these custom finds awesome?  I even jumped onto the Comic Con bandwagon, without even realizing it!  This 8x10 custom painting was made for a Star Wars fan.  He gladly went up against Darth Vader. 

These are just items that I found, but there are more.  Visit my little comic con world to see more of my finds.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Custom Requests

Etsy recently introduced a new way for sellers to show that they take custom orders.  With this new feature, you're able to communicate with the potential shopper so they can ask questions and you can get all the details you need. Once everything is all ironed out, you can create a private listing just for them.  With a "private" listing, no one but the shopper can buy or even see the listing. 

Unfortunately, you're only allowed to upload one picture at this time, so make it a good one.  If a picture isn't possible, most Etsians use "reserved listing" or "custom" signs specifically made for their shop like below. 


Here's mine.  Did I go too far?

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Monday, January 7, 2013

My Q & A

Lately, I've been answering a lot of questions and seeing comments on blogs, tumblr, pinterest and etc about my custom hand painted shoes I have listed at Ashton Atelier.   I welcome the questions and I'm happy to answer them all, but I thought I'd do a Q&A  of the top ten that I get asked about the most.  

1. Q:  What sizes do you have available?  How do I pick the size?  Do you have size...?

A:  The way the listing works is that you send me the shoes. That way, you get the size and heel height you need in a style and color that you love.

2. Q:  Where can I find the shoes in the picture?

A:  Just send me a convo and I'll tell what style the shoe is and/or where you can find them if they're available.

3. Q:  What heel height do you need?

A: Typically 4" and above is easier to display the picture, but I'd be willing to try out lower heels.

4. Q:  Can you paint another character or something not shown?

A: I sure can! One time I painted Cinderella's castle for one pair, and a dog's portrait for another.  The possible artwork on your shoes are practically endless.  You can even mix & match characters, or have them in a different pose or version. Just show me a picture of what you have in mind and I'll see what I can do.  Here's one example of the classic Mickey & Minnie Mouse listing and a pair for someone who wanted a different version.

5. Q: Can you paint the soles of flats?

A: I haven't tried flat shoes, but I don't think the painting would last long.

6. Q:  What fonts are available for the hand painted Name and Wedding Date/Monogram Initial shoes?

A: is a great place to find lettering. If you'd like to match an invitation, announcement or program, please let me know what lettering was used.

7. Q:  Where I live is really rainy. Are the shoes waterproof?

A:  All shoes are covered with a water resistant coating.  Water resistant does not mean waterproof so just to be safe, don't get them wet too often.

8. Q:  I've seen the photos on Etsy. Be honest, do they really come out looking like the actual characters?

A: You be the judge.  More views of different characters are available at my shop.

9. Q: How long does it take?

A: Depending on when I get the shoes, it possible for them to be sent back to you within days. 

10. Q: Where do I send my shoes?

A: The address where to send them will be sent to you after the listing is purchased.

If you have any questions not seen above, just post a comment or send me a convo at Etsy.  I'll be glad to answer them.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Prince: Part 2

In between waiting for paint to dry and for packages to arrive, I did a few doodles. Here's my 2nd attempt at a Disney prince.  Aladdin was my 1st attempt.  Of course I chose my all time favorite of the Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty, tied with Little Mermaid.  How do you think he turned out?

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Friday, October 5, 2012

My Prince: Part 1

In doing research for my hand painted shoes, I stumbled across a few modernized versions of the Disney Princesses. How have I not seen this before??? The one to the left, by Viria13, is one example. Aren't they awesome? I don't know which one is my favorite. You can find a few more versions here. I loved all of the creations, but eventually had one question. Where are the Disney Princes? 

Well, I recently bought my first graphic tablet.  Although I'm very familiar with graphic programs, I've never even held a graphic pen before!  Drawing a modernized Disney Prince the perfect time to test it.  I chose Aladdin as my first attempt for a few reasons: I love Scheherazade where his story is told, I adored Disney's version of it and its gorgeous characters, and a guy is the star, which I thought was rare for a Disney film. Anyway, here's what I came up with.

Its not bad for a first attempt, but I definitely see where it can be improved. I like the expression on his face. He looks like a nice guy with a mischievous side. The saggy pants are obvious but I thought it appropriate, and I kept a similar color palette. What do you think? 
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Monday, May 14, 2012


Sold out.  Don't you hate those words?  I found an adorable, reasonably priced chevron striped top, (very popular pattern this season) and immediately added it my shopping cart.  My downfall was browsing the site to see what else was new in the fashion world.  Those side links are seductive.  When I was ready to check out, well, you know what happened...Typical.

I've read a few DIY blogs and articles for both the home and fashion.  Most of these projects focus on how to get a more affordable (cheaper) version of higher end items.  But what if you found something that was already affordable, just not available?  In my case, I decided to make my own chevron top.  Isn't it cute?  Before proceeding, you should know that I absolutely, positively cannot sew.  Can. Not.  What I can do is paint.  Here's how I did it.

-- As you can see, the original top was a black and white top with a sweetheart neckline and I wanted to get as close as possible to that.  To make this particular chevron pattern, I started with a white v-neck tank top.  In my case, I had access to a life size mannequin, but if you don't have that just lay the tank on a flat surface and get it as smooth as you can. 

-- Next, mark the center of the shirt.  Having a v-neck made it easier to find the center, so I put tiny pencil mark for my start point and ending point.  Using the painter's tape, I marked the rest of the tank down the center.  I was now ready to start patterning one side of my tank.

--  The chevron stripes I wanted to do had a distinctive "M" pattern.  I measured and marked the halfway point of my first side. 

 -- Decide the width of your stripes.  Since I already had 2" painter's tape, I decided to go with that. 

-- I used of slope of the neckline to decide the angle of my stripes.  Even though the top of the tank would be painted, I taped the very top of the tank just to get the right width and use as a guide for my stripe.  Having that should keep you pretty consistent.  Then I proceeded to tape my chevron pattern from side seam to the center of the tank.

 --  Once all was done on one side, I slightly repositioned my center tape, and repeated the steps for the other side.  Make sure you angles line up.  It may take a few adjustments. Total time for me was about 30 min.

 --  You know how spray paint is, so have plastic or something ready to catch any extra paint.  

-- I used an extra canvas inside of the tank top to prevent bleeding, but you can use cardboard.  You're almost ready to paint!

-- Shake can well.

 --  When you're ready, DO NOT start spraying directly onto the shirt.  Start a little past the shirt and spray continuously.  Be careful!  Try to cover all areas.  If you go back for spot corrections, it will not dry right. 

-- Let dry.

Although my top dried, it still smelled like spray paint.  As per the instructions, I left it alone for 72 hrs before I washed it.  Because I'm overly cautious, I handwashed it.  There were a couple of bleed marks where the tape didn't meet, but I can live with them.  What do you think?  Close enough? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Top Ten: Mario Brothers!

I was one of the children who had the original Nintendo gameboy (remember those?) so I've loved the blue overall and letter-capped superheroes from an early age.  Natually as I got older, my time with them slowly decreased.  I'm happy to report that my little nephews have rekindled my love for them in the world of Mario Kart, so I was ecstatic to put their awesomeness on canvas by creating a custom painting for a little boy.  It featured his portrait posed with Mario & Luigi in Marioland, complete with an orange initial cap and shirt, his favorite colors.  I'm told that he "loves it!"  I did too.

It made me wonder what other items I could find on Etsy that featured the brothers, and my search had amazing results!  There were items for all ages.  Here are my top ten discoveries:

The Wishing Elephant
1.  The key to having a quality Mario Bros relationship is to start early.  These Mario & Luigi twin onesies are perfect for that.  Wearing these 100% cotton bodysuits, the boys (or girls) could be a great cheering section for you to get that high score.  The best part is that the appliques can be stitched for additional durability.  That means no handwashing!  Contact The Wishing Elephant for more info.

2.  Sock monkeys have been very popular lately.  Perhaps you thought of getting one for your little one.  Figurative Pie took it to another level by creating the Mario and Luigi version.  These stuffed heros are too cute!  Right now, you can get 15% off your order and free shipping for domestic orders.  Visit her shop to see what other items are there.

3.  Imagine holding a Mario Bros cake pop in one hand and your Wii remote in the other.  Yes, it could be done!  These Mario Bros cake pops are awesome for your Wii parties.  Boxed Pops will provide one dozen (6 Mario & 6 Luigi) for your special event in a variety of flavors.  Each pop is individually wrapped and carefully packaged for safe delivery.  Contact Boxed Pops early to coordinate your event.

4.  Another popular item are dictionary prints.  Liam and Leia provide 7x10  "nerd" inspired art prints.  I love that "M is for Mario" and "L is for Luigi".  If you buy 3, you get the 4th free.  Other characters are available.  These limited editions are great additions to your game rooms.

5.  If you've been searching for that perfect gift for a game loving guy, he could dress up and still be himself with these sterling silver Mario & Luigi cufflinks from Beaujangles.  They're ready for presentation in their cufflink box.  This pair comes as a Mario/Luigi set, but you can request two Marios or two Luigis if preferred.

6.  For the ladies, is this Mario mustache necklace (looks more like Luigi's mustache to me) from Lace in Spring.  Its adjustable, and comes in an antique bronze finish or antique silver.

billmain, sinj, BlakeWheeler
7.  Numbers 7, 8, 9 are combined.  I found versions of the Mario Brothers as if they'd stepped out of the game.  These three are probably what they look like if they showed up at your house to look at your pipes.  Billmain has an 8.5x11 Super Mario Portrait.  From Sinj are a set of ACEOs featuring Mario and Luigi in their golden years.  And Blake Wheeler's 14x16 original Super Dinner Bros.


10.  Finally, for everyone who receives a gift of the Mario Bros, you can keep the theme going with these Luigi thank you cards.  Elves in the Attic sells these "Luigi says Grazie" as a set of eight from recycled materials.  Custom orders are welcome, so visit the shop to get ideas, or see what comes in the Mario Bros set.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Locale

I've been wanting to focus on my local area here in South Louisiana more and have been doing a little research on my best approach.  One thing this state (and others) loves is pets!  There's a Pet Fest (coming November 13th), Dog Day Afternoon, featuring "The Gatsby Strut", and other events all about our four-legged friends.  How could I possibly fit in?  By painting pet portraits!

Pet portraits are fairly new to my portfolio, but I love painting them!  The painting below is Zach, a West Highland Terrier.  My client's mother had a love for french things, and what better way to feature Zach than on a Louis Vuitton suitcase.  It was perfect!  Here's what my client had to say:

"Hey  Nichole - It looks fantastic!  I love the details on the suitcase. It all looks so great."
The next thing to do is to find the pet lovers!  Have any ideas of where they are?  Feel free to post your comments.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Plot

Sorry about my short hiatus.  I was busy plotting taking over the world!  Well...not really the world.  That would be crazy.  No, right now I'm focusing on the U.S.  As you can see on my map, I'm working my way up and down the east coast.

Recently, I've been working with clients who live outside of my home state, and I noticed that although some paintings were living in the same state, other's weren't.  Wouldn't it be cool if I was able to say that one piece of my artwork, no matter how big or small, was in every state?  Feel free to spead the word about my plot.  Ahem... I mean my goal. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Summer Finds

Summer is right around the corner.  Although its a beautiful season, it gets pretty hot down south, so instead of thinking about the upcoming heat wave, let's focus on other great things about summer like the colors!  This original ACEO, available in my shop, definitely brings this season to mind. 

The blue is the focus because all season long, I'll no doubt wish for a cool front to blow in.  Its also a great representation of all the watersports that are popular in the heat.  The yellow represents the sunshine of course.  A beautiful combo, don't you think?  I found some other things that have these great colors in the fashion world:

These lapis blue chalcedony briolettes by Kristin at Your Unique Kreations are perfect for the summer season.  They can be made into earrings or necklaces, or whatever creation you come up with.  I love the color and shape of these!  The listing is for the two drops only, but one thing that makes Your Unique Kreations so unique is that Kristin also offers earring bases and chains too.  This particular set is wired with 14K gold, but I scoped a similar set that has sterling silver.  Check out these and other listings at her shop:

Another summer find that follows the same theme is the custom canary dress by Holly Stalder.  I'm such of fan of ruffles and this beauty has plenty of them!  If you enjoy being a girl, then this dress is perfect for you.   Its elegant, classy and yes, a little flirty.  Holly's design is made in 100% silk chiffon, which is a lightweight sheer fabric but is also great for the season as it gives off an airy, floaty look.  This design is perfect for the fabric.  Visit Holly's shop to see more of her creations at :