my own best friend

the other day i went online and ordered my usual bumble & bumble curl creme, and when checking out i decided to try something new...i took an extra second and selected the "free gift wrap" option =) normally this would be something i just breeze past, but this time i thought it might be nice to send a gift to myself! i even went the extra step and wrote a little note to myself to be included on the card.

a week passed by and i received my package in the then i had already forgotten about the whole thing and when i opened the box i got such a sweet surprise! the products were beautifully packaged and i was wondering why...until i opened the card and saw my note to myself. such a small thing, but it made my day. now i have some really cool packaging to re-use and a great tip to use when making future purchases online.

here's a peek at the cute packaging:

beautiful graphic gift packaging

a simple note to myself =)
i urge you to give this a try next time you shop's the little things in life that seem to matter the most sometimes!



forgotten treasures

i was updating my youtube channel last weekend and found this flash animation i created during my first quarter of art school about a year ago...still makes me smile.

the starz series, spartacus, was my inspiration for this creation...andy whitfield you will be missed...



Fall's Hottest Trend: Car Sweaters!!! (UPDATED)

i was looking at my car the other day and it dawned on me that little ol' subie-doo (my subaru impreza) has been running around town...*gasp*...NAKED! unfortunately, they don't make subie-doo's shirt size in any of my favorite clothing i had to improvise =) thus, the car sweater idea was born! and, with fall right around the corner, how appropriate would a car sweater be!?!?

with a little creativity, and a trip to my trusty goodwill store, i purchased 11 afghans and started brainstorming the construction of this enormous sweater. i wanted to complete the entire sweater in one day, so thank goodness the weather was bright and sunny on the day of creation! when the sun went down i brought out the head lamp we use for camping - and trudged through the night until i was done!

here's how it all went down:

step 1: layout afghans and arrange in place
step 2: use binder clips to attach seams temporarily
step 3: use serger to sew seams together strategically
step 4: break serger
step 5: use sewing machine to sew seams together strategically
step 6: break sewing machine
step 7: use yarn and a plastic needle to hand sew seams together strategically (for hours and hours and hours)
step 8: step back and admire how cozy your car looks! =)

take a peek at the actual process:

laying out the afghans

lots of trial and error and on-lookers!

here's the finished product being modeled by subie-doo:

lookin' good on the street!

front view of car sweater

rear view of car sweater
(note the antenna is covered too!)

hope you enjoyed the making of the sweater...perhaps your car would like some style this fall too!


Recent Work

hi there! lots of good things are happening this quarter in school =) i thought i'd share my most recent work with you guys...

i am taking computer drawing this summer and it is incredible! i cannot say how obsessed and in love i am with adobe illustrator! *swoon*

i have created 3 projects in illustrator this quarter: an editorial illustration, a type-based illustration, and an info-graphic. heres a look at my finished works...

for a detailed look at my creative process on each of these, head over to my school blog: karabou-illustrations

                            Open publication - Free publishing - More based

currently i am working on a photo-realistic illustration of the following photo:

i'll post the finished product at the end of the quarter =)

thanks for stopping by!



Oh, how I've missed you!

hi there! this past quarter has been a whirlwind!! i have missed the luxuries of free time and especially blogging! i just started my summer quarter this past week and my first assignment in each of my classes was to start!! i figure if i can manage two blogs for school, then i can squeeze in a new personal blog post here and there! yay!

this past spring quarter i took TYPOGRAPHY and COLOR THEORY. both classes were a.m.a.z.i.n.g! i was sad to see them end...but i learned sooooooo much! in color theory i learned to paint using gouache. that was probably the biggest challenge i have experienced in art school so far. i can only equate the process of learning gouache with learning to speak fluently in a complex language such as japanese! with about four weeks left in the quarter i began to start to grasp the technique needed to create a successful painting. here are some of the paintings i made:
gouache on bristol using triad color system 
gouache on bristol using triad color system

gouache on bristol triptych using tetrad color system (work in progress)

typography was intoxicating for me! call me a nerd, i don't care! i loved every second of that class. while my classmates were fighting the urge to fall asleep...i was on the edge of my seat enthralled by the notions of kearning, leading, specing type, indicating layouts, and much much more! my teacher was very particular that we should learn to appreciate the intricacies of typeface and the rules of typography. he made us ink by hand all of our assignments, and expected nothing less than perfection..."i don't want to see any caca!" was his favorite phrase. i walked out of that class armed with so much applicable knowledge. here is some of my work:

ink on transparency design using symbols, numerals, smart quotes

ink on transparency indicated layout with graphic
ink on transparency leading excercise
ink on transparency indicated/spec'd layout

i got a three week break before my summer quarter began...i crammed it with two trips and a whole lot of zumba! i got to visit my family out in orange county, ca for a week, and also attended the zumba convention in orlando, fl for another week! i also got to create a costume for myself and my mom that we wore to the "glow party" at the zumba convention. the theme of the party was white - the sky was the limit after that! immediately we knew we wanted to be birds for the party so i set off making us some costumes that could be transported easily across the country.

zumba warrior birds =)

i think they turned out great! we fit in perfectly with all the other crazy zumba people!

i just started my summer quarter last week! this quarter i am taking COMPUTER ILLUSTRATION and SURVEY OF DESIGN. i am super excited for both of these classes. you can check out my new class blogs here:


speaking of class...i better get back to my homework! it was so good to catch up =) i will try to be better at my blogging habits this i said, i have no excuse since i will already be blogging for my two classes! hope you're having a great summer!!



my blog's new hair-do =)

hi everybody! 

well, this is the last day of my "spring break" and instead of doing anything productive, i have been soaking up some quality couch-time and stumbling through some amazingly inspirational design/art blogs. along the way i thought to myself, "hey you! yeah, i'm talking to you! how about you stop looking at other people's amazing blogs and give yours a new look for spring??" and then i thought, "is it weird that i have this voice in my head bossing me around?" (that's a whole other post entirely, where we can examine my sanity. moving right along...) 

yes, it is definitely time that i gave my blog layout a little TLC. how do you like the new gingham background? and scalloped header? i made these in photoshop cs5 after playing around with some ideas for a bit. i think these new additions suit me much better...and slowly but surely i will be working on adding more of my personal touches around this little ol' blog.

let me quickly tell you how freaking pumped i am to start my spring quarter! SOOOOO EXCITED!!! this quarter i will be taking COLOR THEORY and TYPOGRAPHY. i can hardly contain myself!! i hope to have fun things to share with you throughout the quarter, and yes -- i owe you some posts examining my first year's work from art school. i pinky swear i will start posting those soon =)

here's a few pics of mark and i's seattle aquarium spring break trip:

sad face telling me it's time to stop eating so we can go to the seattle aquarium!
showing the seals some love at the aquarium=)

on a more personal side note: i started seeing a new naturopath today. what's a naturopath you ask?? wikipedia defines naturopathy as:

"Naturopathic medicine employs complementary and alternative medical therapies within the context of mainstream medicine, which help improve the body's intrinsic ability to heal and maintain itself. Practitioners of naturopathic medicine prefer to use natural remedies such as botanical tinctures/medicinal herbs and foods rather than synthetic drugs. Naturopathic medical practice includes many different modalities. Practitioners emphasize a holistic approach to patient care..."

i was very happy with this new dr. and can't wait to start my treatment plan. i am a living, breathing, testimony of how naturopathy can change one's life for the better. if you haven't ever been to one/heard of one, i highly suggest giving it a try (especially if you HATE going to the doctor). the dr. actually gets to know you and your symptoms in depth (i'm talking about a one hour first appointment!), and then figures out ways to let your body start HEALING itself! not write you RX after RX that covers the symptoms and often times creates new ones. 

ok, if you made it through that long-winded detour you deserve a lollipop and a sticker =) that's it for now...hope you have a lovely day. thanks for reading!



ZUMBA for japan

wow...long time no post =) these last two weeks have flown by! i figured i better get a post up, and what better to post about than my latest project?! 

we all are aware of the earthquake / tsunami tragedies in japan...the amazing group of women (and men) that i am proud to call friends and fellow ZUMBA instructors and students have been working their tails off to throw the biggest seattle ZUMBA fundraiser of the year. when they asked me to design the poster/banner, i jumped at the chance. it has been my pleasure contributing to this event with my artistic side! 

i wanted to create something more simple and bold than i usually do for a ZUMBA poster. here's the finished product:

the same simple concept was also used to create the banner:
please join us on SATURDAY, APRIL 9 - 2 to 4 PM at HIGHLAND COMMUNITY CENTER in bellevue washington to raise money for JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF. 100% of proceeds go to japan through PEACE WINDS AMERICA. this is going to be an amazing experience - we are expecting a huge crowd and around 20 instructors are donating their time and talent to put on an amazing event! 

thanks for reading! i hope to see you at the event!!


end of quarter celebratory goodwill trip!

phew! i am officially done with my winter quarter!! feels so good to be done, it seems like that 3 months dragged on and on (mostly due to the horribly gloomy weather). what better way to celebrate than a little goodwill extravaganza with my girls!?! 

and, lucky you...i'm going to share pictures of all my goodies! are you as excited as i am?! i hope so -- because i made out like a bandit this time =) let's jump right in shall we?

i found an old recipe converter, and vintage general electric wall clock (which is in much need of some t.l.c.) the turquoise, polka dotted back drop is actually a roll of vintage vinyl wall paper. here are some close ups:

don't you just love the charm and texture of the clock!? moving along...
here are my other vintage finds. two cute 70's mugs - i'm a sucker for mushrooms!! i also found a vintage sewing box, and a roll of beautiful vintage, scarlet-red, velvet ribbon with lace edges (the picture above does it no justice, trust me!). i cannot wait to stash my sewing tools and supplies in this box, it is perfect!

as i mentioned in the last post, i always stop by the fabric section while thrifting. it pays off every time. this trip i found 2 vintage fabrics, the coral is polyester, and the teal is cotton. i couldn't pass them up...and there are several yards of each. ahh, the possibilities!

below are some newer items i found in the clothing and accessories areas:

j crew navy striped cardigan, green dress, brown leather belt, the cloth belt is vintage (had to sneak that one in there!), and a cute pair of sunnies that are mossimo brand (usually found at target)

yellow and brown graphic printed dress

i know it's a good trip when i find an owl:

and last, but not least...this strange, old, coral dress that i have big plans for (think project REstyle). but i won't spoil the secret by telling you my'll have to wait and see what is in store for this old dress =)

i wish i had my camera out to take a picture of my friends' faces when i stuck this one in the shopping cart! trust me, this dress has hidden potential...

the price tag for all of this stuff........under $70!! what a deal! 

what do you think?? my next series of posts will review my first year at the art institute of seattle. see what i've created this past year!



project REstyle #5: apple print maxi-dress

happy st. patty's day! today is one of my favorite days to go to work...everywhere i look i get to see one of my favorite colors. it's a beautiful sea of green. i absolutely love colors! the thought of living in a color-less, dull environment gives me an anxiety attack =) not only do i need to be surrounded by color, i must have LOTS of color in my wardrobe, probably more than the average person (especially in seattle!).

my next project REstyle has one of the more classic color and blue. 

sewing is one of my biggest passions...i learned to sew when i was 15, and i immediately fell in love. the fabric that i have collected over the years has grown into quite a collection - but there is ALWAYS room for more! the beauty of fabric is that you never know when or for what you might use it, but it doesn't have an expiration date. i have had several lengths of fabric that lay dormant for many years, but then put to use the moment that perfect idea came along.

while out thrifting, i have to stop by the fabric section. it is an absolute must. you never know what gems will be hiding there, and the prices are amazing! my favorite is when i find a vintage piece of fabric. vintage fabrics are beautiful and it feels like an honor to be the first person to make something out of a piece of fabric that was never used after all those years.

BEFORE: blue, bubble hem dress (from forever 21), vintage apple printed fabric

i removed the body of dress, and attached the apple fabric underneath the bodice. i added a pleated detail to go with the draping of the bodice.

AFTER: apple print maxi-dress

 i love that this dress mixes old school with new school! i also love the contrast of the fabric satin and smooth, the other cotton and casual. and of course, the color combo.

i will post an outfit pic of this once it warms up some more...along with the t-shirt REstyle. come on spring!!


p.s. i will not post tomorrow, there is a blogger's day of silence for the earthquake/tsunami victims in japan. more info to follow.


project REstyle #4: REusable corduroy cup sleeve/cozy

i am an avid tea drinker. some people have to have their coffee/ latte/espresso to help them rise and shine...for me it's tea. preferably green tea. and lots of it.

i also like to be responsible when it comes to the amount of waste i create and send out into the already over-filled world. each time i would grab a disposable cup sleeve in the deli at my work, i'd cringe and a little piece of my conscience would wither away...which is why i was determined to make a REusable cup sleeve/cozy! 

i have to admit i am guilty for waiting so long to actually create one of these things, considering how simple they are. i was holding out for that perfect one! and then one day - with project REstyle fresh on my brain - the perfect storm of events took place to give me the inspiration for my dream cozy. 

i was altering a jacket purchased at the goodwill (of course), and as soon as i removed the piece of fabric that was on the back above the pleats, it hit me! this was the perfect shape, size, and fabric for a cozy! my mind started racing with possibilities...and here's what i came up with:

BEFORE: scrap corduroy fabric from jacket alteration, scrap red cording, vintage patch

i measured the shape/fit of the fabric around a cup i had handy, then hand-sewed it in place. then i took the scrap red cording and hot-glued it around the edges for decorative purposes. last, i hot-glued the vintage patch to the center for a finishing touch!

AFTER: REusable corduroy cup sleeve/cozy

i LOVE the finished product, i use it daily! the corduroy is thick enough to protect my fingers from the hottest cups of tea =) added bonus: i get to display the vintage patch that i had hiding in my craft stash for about 10 years!!! i have gotten so many compliments on this around the office and at simple, yet SO useful.

how do you like it?



project REstyle #3: framed corkboard + traveling journal update

i would like to start this post off by saying how honored i feel today to be part of a wonderful blogging community! i am new to the game, but already i am feeling the love!

over at The Vintage Valley, ally did an entire post about the pages i contributed to her Traveling Journal project! go check it out! i am so flattered, thanks ally!!

also, julie over at Mint & Mellow just posted her completed pages of the journal...they are beautiful! she captures the essence of seattle so perfectly. and she was kind enough to give me a little shout-out =) julie has sent the journal off to the next girl in illinois ~ i wonder what her pages will be filled with??

my third project REstyle was another random, vintage find from the goodwill.

i was ending a mildly-successful trip to the goodwill and heading up to the registers...when out of the corner of my eye i spotted an abandoned, vintage, brass frame. it had been discarded under a desk in the furniture section - so i grabbed it up! the shape and detail were perfect, and so was the price tag: $0.99!! the only thing missing was the glass and the backing. no worries! i had the perfect idea for it...

BEFORE: vintage, brass frame (i didn't take a before picture of my frame, but here is what my frame would have looked like in it's original state - minus the glass and backing)

i gave the brass a good cleaning, primed and painted it, cut out a used piece of cork from an old corkboard, and recyled some cardboard for the backing.

AFTER: REpurposed, vintage, corkboard

with some simple changes, a forgotten frame is now the focal point of my cube wall at work! it goes to show you that something that may not be complete or broken can still have a useful purpose =)

have you ever revived a broken / incomplete piece?



project REstyle #2: vintage book box

tonight's REstyle project is the perfect example of how you can find inspiration from any object.

while searching through the romance novel section at the goodwill (with the hopes of finding some awesome covers to turn into tacky valentine's day cards), i stumbled upon this vintage, hard-cover romance novel. i immediately fell in love (pun intended)!

i couldn't justify bringing it home to sit on a shelf and grow dust, so my REpurposing instincts kicked in and within seconds i knew exactly what i needed to do.

BEFORE: 1950's hard-cover, romance novel, along with some scrap pieces of cardboard, fabric, and a few vintage buttons.

i gently cleaned the cover, and removed the pages along the inside spine (yes, i saved the pages - either for reading, or another project!).

next, i measured and cut the scrap cardboard to make the frame of the box, then attached the fabric and cardboard to the inside of the book. i cut a hole in the front cover to super-glue one of the vintage buttons in, and used some scrap yarn to braid a strand for the loop closure.

i put a quick coat of paint on the inside cover to mask the worn interior, and voila!

AFTER: vintage book box, which i am using to store my drawing tools for my figure drawing class!

what do you think?



project REstyle #1: t-shirt revival

this week i am going to dedicate my posts to one of my favorite hobbies...REpurposing.

let me start by coming clean: "hi, my name is kara. i am addicted to thrift stores." phew! i feel better now that i got that off my a thrifting junkie, i have an ever-growing, abundant collection of odds-and-ends that i have purchased from second hand stores. every item i purchase has a hidden potential that i am compelled to bring out.

not too long ago, the wonderfully talented elsie over at a beautiful mess started project REstyle, an online challenge "to ReStyle damaged, unwanted or unusable goods into fresh, beautiful pieces!" as soon as i heard the words RE-STYLE how could i resist?! i couldn't believe there were so many out there with my same passion! i have since REpurposed a few pieces that i'd like to share with you...

over the next week, i will be posting my project REstyle projects that i have already completed. starting with my first...

BEFORE: an old mock-turtleneck t-shirt that i have held on to for about 3 years, but never wore once!

i kept this around because i loved the fit and the quality of the fabric, yet didn't find the neckline flattering.

AFTER: with a new scoop neck, and some fringe around the neckline (to add some stability and cuteness)...a new shirt is born! 

as soon as the weather warms up a bit i will post an outfit pic with my new-old t-shirt!




welcome to karabou-creations!

my name is kara and i love to create! this blog will follow me on my journey to pursuing my passion for art and turning that passion into a career.

i am currently attending the art institute of sea
ttle for graphic design, working full time, and filling my (practically non-existent) free time with projects!

i have to admit, i am slightly intimidated trying to fill this first post =) so, i'm just going to jump right in!

the lovely ally over at is hosting "The Traveling Journal", an art journal that 10 ladies around the globe are filling with original works of art! she was so kind to let me take part in this wonderful experience...and what do you know...i was the first to receive it!

here is a look at my pages in the journal:

this octopus was done using ink on paper.
the peacock was done using various fabrics (dupioni silk, denim, cotton, vinyl, and corduroy), along with sequins, glass beads, and real peacock feathers.

here's me with the finished product:

i sent the journal off to the next lady today, and i cannot wait to see what the others will put on the pages! thanks ally for putting this together!!

i have so much more to share with you, stay tuned for more karabou-creations! thanks for stopping by =)