Don’t Get Me Wrong

soft-boiled{Image by Nancy Cho for Uncle Owly}

Look, I love eggs. If I’m in a pinch, I’ll throw a fried egg on a bowl of rice with a little bit of sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds and call it a meal. When I was a kid, my mom was worried that I was malnourished because I only wanted to eat eggs and carrots. Poached, fried, boiled, it’s all good. Soft-boiled eggs are awesome, and I’m seeing these things everywhere in restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I’m just amused that it is, like, everywhere. It just made sense to draw up the image above.


New Hobby | Calligraphy

photo 1 In the many elementary schools I attended, handwriting received a grade. My handwriting grades were pretty good in primary school, and I was always happy to receive a ‘E’ for excellent in handwriting.  I come from an immigrant family, so my parents were oftentimes uncomfortable with writing in English. Even though I knew they could totally do it, I was happy to write out envelopes and “thank you” cards as they dictated. More than over a decade now, I have been typing everything and not writing anything. Sure, I have to write down notes and make lists, but who hand writes anything anymore? Everything is done in email or clicking on small icons on phones. My hand written words have suffered, and now look more like a doctor’s prescription note. (So glad those prescriptions are now typed.) I decided that I wanted to take up calligraphy as a hobby. I went to my local craft store and bought some materials. It was a bust. The ink didn’t flow correctly, the nib was all wrong, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. What did I do? I took a calligraphy class last year with the amazing and beautiful Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls at the Makeshift Society in San Francisco. She provided everything that we needed to start. The right type of paper, ink, pen, and nib for all us enthusiastic beginners. I realized that it was imperative to use the correct supplies and to practice, practice, practice. photo 2 I took a quick snapshot of her desk set up admiring all her work and simple examples that she demonstrated. And then it was our turn to try it out. At first, I was so happy to find that my pen was working! Sadly, my handwriting wasn’t doing me any favors. As I wrote and rewrote again and again, I realized what typing for so many years had done to my writing. It sucked. photo 3 For a while after my son went to bed, I would bring out my calligraphy supplies and practice. If it was a particularly bad day, practicing calligraphy became cathartic. I was hooked and even had my first wedding invitation assignment. I mixed black and white ink to make a beautiful gray pigment that went perfectly with the blue envelopes. invitations By no means will I ever go into calligraphy as a professional, but it has become a great hobby. Since I can’t really practice piano after my son goes to bed, this is something I can do in the evening hours. Unfortunately, I do suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, so I need to take many long breaks away from this activity. But always refreshed and happy to go back to it when I’ve recovered. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

IMG_6087For black ink, I mostly use Kuretake Sumi Ink. It is very rich and dark, and flows beautifully. Higgins Eternal black ink is also a very good one to use. For white ink, I have used both of Dr. Martin’s Bleed Proof White and Pen White. I’ve also used both for mixing with black to make gray, and it worked out great. The only thing about white ink, is that you should add distilled water to your desired thickness. For nibs, I suggest reading this awesome post on Besotted. I use the Zebra G and the Blue Pumpkin nibs, and love them. For small and super fine line projects, I have loved using the Hunt 102. Also note, that not all paper is the same! The smoother the better. Nibs will oftentimes catch on the fibers in paper, so find real practice pads to start.

{All images by Nancy Cho for Uncle Owly.}


Small Adventure


I don’t know why I haven’t posted about this one earlier…. oh wait, I do know why — I’m a neglectful blogger! I discovered Small Adventure at the San Francisco Renegade show a few years back, and was fell in love with these illustrations by Keiko Brodeur. Many of her prints remind me of vintage illustrations of nature and the outdoors, which I think would go perfect in any child’s room. But, there’s something for everyone here, boy or girl, small or tall!



{All images by Small Adventure}

Yellow Owl Workshop


I have been a fan of Yellow Owl Workshop for a long time now, and even made tea towel gifts for friends and family by using their pattern from Anthology Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide. In our house, we love making and using stamps for art projects, bags, and even wrapping paper. The little guy is now into stenciling, so I was excited to see that Yellow Owl Workshop came out with these fun stencil kits. Don’t worry about having to find blank tea towels or tote bags, because these kits come with everything you need to make your project. We’re always trying to find new and fun birthday gifts, so this one will be on the top of our list!

yellowowl1 yellowowl2

{All images from Yellow Owl Workshop}

Ink + Wit

Sometimes, I wish I was fast and witty. I often find myself saying, “I should have said this!” an hour after a conversation. This stamp set from Ink + Wit is one I wish I had found for the first birthday party. Oh well. But, I looked around and found these adorable tea towels. Super cute, well, almost too cute for tea towels. I think I’d rather hang these up on my walls!


If you need an activity to do with the older kids, (older as in 6+ years), get one of these Sunprints Kits. It was developed by educators at the Lawrence Hall of Science, and encourages the interest of kids in the photographic process using only sun and water. Place a fern, flower, or other object on the special paper and set it in the sun briefly. Then rinse the paper in water and watch as a beautiful long-lasting image appears. Frame it and you’ll have beautiful art for your walls!

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Don’t be nervous, this is the good kind of fingerprinting, folks. Have your kids use their imaginations by making up characters or creatures with this cool Fingerprinting Art Set. And may this be the only time your kids get fingerprinted ;)

And while you’re at it, check out this cute Thumbprint Notecard set too. Do you ever get things for your kids that you want to play with? Oh, you don’t? hehe… nevermind then.

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Revolution for Good

I used to get all riled up when I read or hear about injustices. Well, I still do, but now I try to be a little more discreet. Guess that’s why I have a spot in my heart for this Children Unite! poster. I say, let’s start a “Good” revolution. Teach our kids and future generations to be good to each other and not be a bunch of D-bags. Ok, ‘nough said. Trying, so hard… to not.. get… political and… preachy…

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Illustrator extraordinaire,  Jacinta Sue’s (of Allymoon) drawings and paintings will capture your heart. You might find her around the SF Bay Area selling her prints, notebooks, and lovely magnets, (I have three of her prints hanging in the nursery and one original work in my living room). But if you’re extremely lucky, you will be able to view and buy her illustrations at an art gallery near you.   I wish I could have seen her show, “Small : All the Little Things” in Singapore.  Her beautiful and colorful collection of birds, owls, and graceful characters will captivate you and your little ones!

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Jim Datz

I love these posters from Jim Datz. Now if only he had one for each city. San Francisco, please! Heck, I’ll just put the Manhattan one up anyway.

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These days, I’ve been going back to my roots and have been obsessing over Pojagi. (Hence, the gushing love over Tea Collection’s new Korea line.)  This old tradition, dating back to the late 1300’s, was used for many things, but commonly used for gift wrapping, food covering, carrying items, and even bedding. Many of these were put together by scraps of material from Hanboks (Korean dress), and oftentimes made of silk.

I am enamored by the colors and simple shapes of the patchwork. Rectangles, squares, and triangles have never looked so good! My mother wraps her Hanbok (Korean dress), in one like the one below, but it is plain and does not have patchwork on it. So funny…. we grew up with this stuff and never thought once or twice about it. (Kind of like, a person not ever going sight seeing in the city he/she lives in.) I think it’s time to poke around some more at Grandma’s house.

How fun would it be to receive a gift wrapped in a Pojagi? If you receive one, just reuse it for another gift to give to someone else.

The Pojagi below was used to cover food and the fabric tab on top is to lift it off.  I don’t know why, but I think it’s so sweet.  It might also be because of the teeny tiny stitches all done by hand.  

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I’m looking for cool wrapping paper to use for our little guy’s first birthday party. I ran into Kamal and love their stunning stationery, coasters, and wrapping paper. An old shoe box wrapped in this paper will turn into a beautiful memento box.

Linea Carta

I had the privilege of meeting Diva Pyari of Linea Carta at the Stationery Show in NYC a couple years ago. I love her organic illustrations and the use of linen in her line. Recently, I saw her Baby Quilt in person and it was beautiful. The picture does not do it justice!

She’s Good

As a part of our baby shower gift, our good friend, Lisa, from Good On Paper designed our baby announcements for us. I was so smitten with it, that I had it letter pressed by Paper Monkey Press. And so, so, so, smitten, that the owl is our good ol’ Uncle Owly mascot! She also designs the most gorgeous wedding invitations and has her own stationery line. You can find a couple of cute onesies there too!

She also carries baby shower or party announcements in her shop which she did in collaboration with Allymoon, illustrator extraordinare!

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Yellow Owl

I went to Twig and Fig in Berkeley recently and saw these lovely stamp sets from Yellow Owl.  After seeing these, I went to Michaels and was so underwhelmed by their huge scrapbook section.  Should’ve gone to Twig and Fig last.

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Love for Binth

binth alpha single B

Binth came out with these beautiful single letter cards. You will love their alphabet poster and the matching cards game shown below. “B” for our little Benjamin… will look great in his room!

matching game tiles

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Paper Foldables

paper foldablesI love finding free activities, especially during these crazy hard times. That’s why the discovery of Paper Foldables was a happy moment. You can choose which character you want to do, print it out, and tape and fold!  Happy Friday!

paper foldables

Kingdom Animalia

fawn_ECThese are beautiful pieces of art can be admired on anyone’s (child’s or adult’s), wall or bookshelf. An amazing duo from Brooklyn,Enormous Champion, hand finishes each of these laser cut animals. Animals available are the fawn, moose, bear, squirrels, and kangaroo.  As tempting as they look, these decorative items are not toys, so reserve the animal play from afar.


Vintage Made Modern


I ran into these prints by John W. Golden, and thought that his prints were pretty rad. He has about nineteen pages of prints that you can look through in his Etsy shop, so you’re bound to find something for your little lad or your tomboy princess.

I thought his cut-out owl project was a cute activity you can do with your kid. You can download it and print it out… how easy and cute is that? Why not use the template and cut it out on fabric? Check it.

Baby Footprints

baby foot printWe had no idea what this was when we first opened it.  When we figured it out, we were so excited for the baby to come so that we could use it.  This was designed by Marlies Von Soden and you can get this from the MoMA store.  Inside, there are two foam blocks where you can make an imprint of your baby’s feet.  We were a little nervous at first, but you get the general idea once you’re finished.  Word of Advice – Do this when the baby is sleeping and make sure your hands are steady!baby foot print

baby foot print

baby foot print

Know Your ABC’s

I love Petit Collage.  I bought this alphabet poster for the nursery because my the colors in there are orange and green.  It was almost like she designed the poster for our room ;) yeah right.  Anyway, I love it and I love all of her stuff.  The lamp next to it I got at West Elm a couple years ago, so I don’t think they have it anymore, (sorry folks!).

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