Update: Designing a new line

Over the past couple months, I’ve been in deep with a new project- developing what has become a new line of products. At first, I was just experimenting with a new illustration style…very soon I was in over my head! I wanted to share some of my process for how this has happened.

Here’s the first drawing I did on that first Sunday, moving through its phases of development- a pen and ink owl.

When I finished I couldn’t believe 7 hours had gone by since I settled in on the deck with my pad and pens. I hadn’t gotten this blissfully lost in the process of making art in more years than I can count.

I could hardly wait to start on the next creation- an elephant.

Since I embarked on this journey, I have spent many days immersed in this process, resulting in about a dozen new designs! I will share more of them on the blog upcoming, and they are being introduced as high quality prints, suitable for framing.

Obviously, this line is a departure from the colorful style you see in my current gifts. These have a different feel with the intricate pen and ink detail, but I think the new designs, while fresh, retain some of what makes my stuff my own. I’m still drawn to the whimsical, to images from nature, animals, and celebrating the important things in life. Stay tuned to see how I these themes appear in this new line of prints. You can get your hands on them this holiday season!

Any time is coffee time! (gifts and recipes)

Coffee lovers enjoy their joe in all weather- cold brews and blended drinks this time of year. But there is more than just the same old iced coffee and frappucinos. Cold coffee lends itself to desserty shakes, cocktails, and all kinds of fresh combos. I’ve found some fun recipes to share with you at the end of  this post.
My lineup of gifts for coffee lovers are a hit here in the Pacific Northwest, where coffee is a way of life.

Check them out:

coffee time travel alarm clock

Wake up and smell the coffee with our portable battery-powered coffee time alarm clock. This clock was made from one of my original paintings. The little red cup is the second hand which seems to magically float around the clockface as it ticks.

coffee glass gem magnets

Coffee appears in seven forms in these super strong glass gem refrigerator magnets, made from miniature reproductions of my paintings. Use these to post recipes and memos on your fridge, like: “get more coffee”. They come in a reuseable metal gift tin.

coffee time wall clock

 

This colorful “Any time is coffee time” wall clock is made from prints of a bright mixed media piece I did-colored pencil, collage, and acrylic. It is dry-mounted on black foamboard and laminated, creating a tile that looks exactly like ceramic but is lightweight and break-resistant.

Coffee-lovers, try out these hot weather coffee recipes:

1. Nutella Coffee Frappe Take your hazelnut coffee to the next level with this yummy blended drink made with real Nutella.

2. Iced Brazilian Mocha-Cola The fictional drink on the Nickelodeon tv show Drake and Josh is actually all the rage in Brazil. It sounds weird but the combo of cola, coffee, and chocolate milk appeals to many.The taste is like a cross between a rootbeer float and coffee ice cream.

3. Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk Simple and sweet– this is a traditional recipe that makes the list.

4. Cold brew coffee with Lime Simple and refreshing, sweetened cold brew with lime. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

5. Shoeless Joe This unique cold brew mocktail again brings in the cola- along with black cherry syrup and soda. Try adding vodka or rum to the mix.

Here comes the sun…4 facts and 3 gifts to help you enjoy it

sun alarm clock

Its summer and we’re finally starting to get more sunny days here in the Pacific Northwest. Time to get outside and enjoy some of the benefits of the sunshine…load up on that vitamin D for the year. If you love summer, check out the celestial gifts I make featuring my original paintings of the sun. (Moon gifts also available)

A few solar facts:

1. We need the sun! Our bodies need sun exposure to make vitamin D. Many people are deficient in this nutrient which builds our immunity, and protects our hearts, muscles, and mental and emotional wellness. Enjoying 20 minutes outside every day, rain or shine is good for maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.

sun wall clock

Here Comes the Sun wall clock on a light-weight break-resistant non-ceramic tile.

2. Don’t enjoy it till it hurts! Getting a bad sunburn raises your risk of skin cancer significantly. Enjoy sunny days in moderation according to your skin tone’s tolerance.

sunlight

3. Clouds, pollution, and water change the sun’s effects! You may think that a cloudy or hazy day is a safe day to be outside all day, but the sun can be powerful enough to give you a sunburn even when covered in clouds. Water makes the sun far more intense, so always cover up or use sun block at the beach.

sun night light

Sun night light keeps it burning through the night.

4. Every hour the sun beams enough power to meet the world’s energy needs for a year! Solar power in its primitive form began in ancient times with harnessing heat through magnifying lenses. Now solar technology is highly advanced and cheaper than ever. Check out how you can use the sun’s power in your home and save or even make money.

 

Hummingbird Hospitality: 6 tips and 5 gifts

hummingbird art

Hummingbirds are such amazing creatures. I love watching them and have made several designs honoring these magical little guys including a wall clock, alarm clock, set of magnets, nightlight and magnetic bookmark.
So tiny, the smallest hummingbirds can weigh in at less than the weight of a penny, full-grown. Though small and delicate, they are also incomprehensibly fast and vigorous and can amazingly migrate hundreds of miles in windy conditions, all while subsisting on a diet of flower nectar and gnats.
Many people like to attract these brightly-feathered friends by hanging a backyard hummingbird feeder. I just put one out last week and am so thrilled to watch them flutter in to feed. I did some research afterwards and to my surprise, learned that hummingbirds rely on these feeders in areas or times of year when blossoms are scarce. So they are not only for our enjoyment, they keep them alive. Hummingbirds can live many years without our help, but I had no idea that they often rely on the charity of us bird-watching humans.
Sadly, feeders can also kill them. The wrong ratio of sugar to water, or a dirty feeder can be deadly to hummingbird.

Here are some tips I found on how to safely feed and care for hummingbirds in your backyard habitat:

1. Use the secret recipe for hummingbird nectar: Boil water to kill any fungus or bacteria that could be harmful to the birds. Measure 4 parts post-boil, and add 1 part sugar-just enough to keep them coming back. The secret is that this is the only recipe. (Too sweet can damage their liver!)

2. Hang feeders in a safe place: in the shade, spaced from window panes, not accessible to cats or other predators.

3. Keep it natural! Commercial hummingbird feed, or additives like red dye are unnecessary for hummingbirds and may not be healthy for them. Keep it simple with the sugar water recipe above, which is close to the nectar substance they get from flowers in the wild.

4. Keep it clean! Hummingbird feeders can host a fungus that is deadly to these winged beauties. Wash the feeder thoroughly in hot water every couple days, and if it ever looks funky, wash it out immediately.

5. Feed hummingbirds gourmet wild foods! If you want to go beyond the sugar water feeder, flower and seed mixes for hummingbirds can be purchased at a garden or feed store, and spoiled fruit set out in a bucket will attract fruit flies which make a very nutritious food for hummingbird babies. Who knew!

6. Never mess with a nest of baby hummingbirds. While the mothers may be gone for long periods, and back so quickly you don’t see her, the babies have the best chance of survival without human interference. Never attempt to remove a baby from a hummingbird nest at any time. They are extremely delicate (as small as honeybees) and can lose their legs if pulled from their perch.

Enjoy your visits from hummingbirds, but always leave them in their natural environment undisturbed. If you want to bring them in your home, choose one of my hummingbird gifts, created from my original paintings, appropriate for all indoor environments.

1. Battery-powered alarm clock  great for travel! This tiny 2″ alarm clock is made from a print of my painting of this nectar-seeking hummingbird in a flower patch. The yellow and purple flower counts off seconds, appearing to hover magically over the clock face. Such a moment, when observed in your yard is quickly fleeting, but here it is appropriately captured in time. Wake up to this beauty every morning.
hummingbird alarm clock

2. Glass gem magnets – in a reusable gift tin. Would you like to see hummingbirds get even tinier? These tiny magnets are super strong. They are perfect for sticking notes and pictures on your fridge and will not fall down like many magnets do. They are made from micro prints of my hummingbird paintings encased in real glass. A beautiful flock of guests to cheer up your kitchen.
hummingbird fridge magnets

 3. Nightlight – Light up the summer nights with the image of your brilliant garden friends. Our night lights plug into any outlet and bring colorful cheer to the darkness. The nightlight is made from a print of my original hummingbird paintings sandwiched between two pieces of durable acrylic, with an easy on-off switch. These make great decor for a kids’ room or guest room.
hummingbird night light

4. Wall clock- Keep time with one of our whimsical wall clocks. My wall clocks are made from colorful high-quality prints of my original artwork affixed to a durable lightweight backing, and look just like tile. Unlike ceramic, it is light enough to hang on a pushpin and will not shatter if dropped, making it easy to hang on just a pushpin and safe anywhere in your house. bedroom clock hummingbird

5. Amazing magnetic bookmark – Keep your place with this unique bookmark. My hummingbird image sandwiches the page of your book, holding steadfast even if your book is moved, using magnets hidden inside. These bookmarks make an affordable and functional gift for anyone, and can slip right into a birthday or holiday card.  Show your appreciation of reading and make a mark with this artistic memento!

hummingbird bookmark

Free Lolita and orca whale clock

I heard the news that one of our Northwest native marine friends may be coming home after a long stay in Florida. It’s still uncertain, but there has been some progress towards a plan to release Puget Sound orca whale Lolita to her family, after more than 40 years in captivity.
If Lolita makes it all the way, we will celebrate her freedom and welcome her back home to the Sound. I’m sure many of us will be on the lookout, hoping to be the lucky person to catch a glimpse of her sometime.
orca, lolita, wall clock, killer whale
Orcas are treasured members of our ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest.
They are so special- nurturing and intelligent, and also vulnerable. They inspired me to make the above orca wall clock, which can be ordered from my website or purchased at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, or local retailers throughout the US.
You might be lucky enough to catch sight of an orca at the Washington coast, or from one of the greater Puget Sound area/Salish Sea’s many operational ferries that go to and from the islands including as Bainbridge, Vashon, and San Juan islands where Orcas island is located (whose name is appropriately but only coincidentally shared with the sea mammals that populate the area).  Sightings happen throughout the year. If you see an orca, you can report your sighting which helps researchers and conservationists in their work to protect them.
Support the cause! Mention Free Lolita when you order the orca clock in February, and I will donate 20% to Greenpeace.

How to fix your wall clock: part 3

Part three is now up in my video series on How to fix your Wall Clock! (Follow link to see my selection of over 100 unique, artsy wall clocks.)
In this two and a half minute video I will show you what to do if your clock has a loose hour hand. Usually this is caused by setting the clock using the hands instead of the knob on the back of the clock. Again, this is an easy fix that anyone can do at home with no special tools or expertise. I will guide you through it step-by-step.
The clock that is featured in this video is called Twelve Things to Make Besides Money.

How to fix your wall clock: part 2

Posting these very short 2-minute troubleshooting videos about problems that people call me about with the wall clocks. In this video we look at the clock that simply does not tick.
There are 3 possible reasons/solutions for this problem:

1. Yes, there is an on/off switch on the back of the clock. If you didn’t notice this, don’t worry, you are not the first one, and this is the easiest fix. Turn the clock on!

2. No battery or you’re using an expired or exhausted battery. Try a fresh battery before you conclude that your wall clock is broken. Even if you think the battery is fresh, try a battery from a different pack or from a device that you know is working.

3. The hands have been bent and are stuck on one another. (Note: this is due to mishandling of the clock- please use the knobs to set the time, not the hands!) Watch the video to see how to gently straighten the hands and check that they have clearance.

In the unlikely scenario that you have tried all of these and your clock still does not tick, please do give me a call so we can address the issue. This is super unusual though, so please do test carefully for the issues in the videos first. These are the most common issues, and the easiest to fix!

As in the first video, the clock you see pictured here is the 12 Things to Make Besides Money wall clock. Click the link to view or order this clock in the wall clock gallery on my website. These clocks are arranged in alphabetical order, and its under “T”.

How to fix your wall clock: part 1


In this video series, I, artist/clockmaker Pam Corwin, will show you how to troubleshoot if you have problems with a wall clock you purchased from my gift line, Paper Scissors Rock.
The majority of the time, when people call me about a “broken” clock, it is really clock that has been mishandled when someone was trying to set the time the wrong way. Note: DO NOT grasp the hands directly to try to set your clock! They are delicate. The knob on the back is designed for that purpose! Please use it.
However, if you have already set your clock using the clock hands, and have accidentally bent or jarred them loose, don’t worry! In these videos I will go over how to easily put loose clock hands back on the track, or straighten a bent hand.
If your clock doesn’t work properly, please go through these 1-minute videos and try the fixes before calling us about a return.(But please never return anything without calling us for a Return Authorization number first) I do guarantee my products, so in the rare event that your clock actually has a manufacturing flaw, I will happily repair or replace it.   However, that is really quite unusual. 95% of clock problems are one of the three issues in this video series, not a broken clock. Stay tuned!
The clock pictured in this video is called 12 Things to Make Besides Money, and is available for order online. 12 Things to Make Besides Money (corresponding to the 12 numbers on the clock): music, friends, love, time, peace, a wish,  dinner, amends, jokes, magic, art, believe.

Check out the shoe lover alarm clock’s action in this video


I recently shot some videos of my alarm clocks in action.
This clock is called “If the Shoe Fits…”, and its a best-selling gift for the shoe-addicted among us. The larger clock face image is this wacky whimsical sexy shoe, and the little second-hand one is the classic red high heel.
It is very hard to describe how the the travel alarm clocks work to people who haven’t seen it. The videos shows one in action.  Basically, the miniature image that is the second hand and rotates magically around the decorated clockface. You can’t see any hands or wires, so the tiny painting appears to just be floating as it ticks off the seconds. (the way it works shall remain a trade secret!)

5 Tips for Having an Awesome Thanksgiving

5. Remember: Thanksgivukkah comes but once every 70,000 years! If you are Jewish, its especially important to honor the rare event of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coinciding, termed Thanksgivukkah  earlier this year by a clever Bostonian on Twitter. Mashup specialties to include challah with gravy, mashed potato latkes, and of course, deep fried turkey…mmm.
If you forgot to come to Thanksgiving dinner bearing hanukkah gifts, come by the Pike Place Market on Saturday, and make up for it with my one-of-a-kind Judaica glass gem magnets, the perfect gift for the other nights.
(Like all my different kinds decorative magnets, they come in a nifty gift tin. The magnets are strong enough to pin up artwork or other items to. They will not fall off the refrigerator like so many do.)

Judaica gem magnets hanukkah Thanksgivukkah

4. Honor your host or hostess!
Preparing a Thanksgiving feast is a huge job. Of course, I think the best kind of Thanksgiving  is one where you cook together, but if you are not the foodie type, a nice gift of a centerpiece or something to decorate the home will show your appreciation for the cooks.

When in doubt, bring flowers.

When in doubt, bring flowers.

3. Don’t forget the pets. They really like to participate in Thanksgiving too. So be sure and set aside some unspiced pumpkin puree, a little lean turkey meat, or something special that is approved by your vet for your dog or cat friends’ consumption. They will be ever so thankful.

dinner dog wall clock

2. Don’t stress about the shopping!  Eat leftovers and relax tomorrow, and save your energy and money for Small Business Saturday. Supporting local businesses means giving gifts with a heart for your community.
shoe fits wall clock shopping
Lots of businesses are running promotions on Saturday. Check out our online sale all weekend to celebrate Small Business Saturday  or come visit me at Pike Place Market in Seattle for one of the most unique and special holiday events locally.

1. Count your blessings. It feels good.

handmade unique heart wall clock